Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I was doing some research the other day on land use. Interesting stuff.
2. The Truth About Land Use in the United States, by George Wuerthner, Watersheds Messenger, 2000
Posted by Leigh Stringer (aka Greenette) at 8:13 AM
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I’m working on revisions to a document today and have been marking the pages I need to go back to with the little Post-It tape flags. I love these things...but what I really love about them is that they are completely reusable. Just take them off when you’re done, stack them back up and you’re ready to go.
This got me thinking about all the things that regularly get pitched in the office, but really could be reused. Last time we had an office clean-up day, here are some of the other reusable items that got tossed:
- Binder clips
- 3-ring binders
- GBC binding combs
- Paper clips
- Rubber bands
- File folders
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
- Dance classes, adult & children
- Exercise class
- Bicycle races
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Posted by Leigh Stringer (aka Greenette) at 9:47 AM
Monday, August 11, 2008
Many of you have probably heard of personal rapid transit (PRT) also known as personal automated transport (PAT)- essentially, it is mass transit for those of us who hate to be crammed into mass transit vehicles with people who sneeze in our faces (I know, I know, I am a big snob for not liking people sneezing in my face, stepping on my feet, elbowing me in the back, etc.).
A bit of news for you all: A tougher version of BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method), the UK's most popular method of measuring a building's green credentials, was released last week. A summary of the changes made are:
- The weightings given to each area of credit were changed to give more emphasis on energy efficiency
- Mandatory credits were introduced (the equivalent of LEED prerequisites)
- A second stage was brought into the certification process, so that certification occurs post construction as well in addition to design stage review.
- Introduction of shell only assessments
- A BREEAM Outstanding rating has been introduced (above Excellent rating)
The change making most waves in the UK press is the introduction of more credits relating to energy efficiency. Previously projects could have been awarded BREEAM excellent but still been energy inefficient buildings. The new credits include benchmarks for CO2 emissions, which will align with the the new Environmental Performance Certificates (previously written about on this blog here) introduced in the UK.
Posted by happy clinical depressive at 11:24 AM
Saturday, August 9, 2008
San Francisco continues to stay ahead of the sustainable curve: Newsom signs strict green building codes into law. New codes are to be phased in, with full implementation in 2012. They focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing use of alternative power sources.
Friday, August 8, 2008
With gas prices high this summer and a big election coming up in the fall (as well as all the global warming talk!), energy efficiency is a huge topic. We hear a lot about what can’t be done, but one town is doing it!
The town of Rock Port, MO (northwest Missouri) has done something many thought impossible – gone off the grid. In the article Missouri Town is Running on Vapor – And Thriving, we learn about how this small town has used four turbines to bring power to its 1300 citizens.
Yes, it’s a small step, but it’s a great example of what can be done.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Over here in the UK there has been increasing evidence that the credit crunch is causing green issues to slip down both the political agenda and personal values. Luckily, it is still up there on the corporate social responsibility front, as sustainability has become a key factor in recruitment.
I’m really interested to understand whether you are feeling the same impacts in the US? I have summarised the UK evidence here:
- According to MORI, 15 per cent of those polled last year put the environment in their top three concerns. That figure has dropped by a third to 10 per cent this month. Now people they put crime, the economy and rising prices at the top of their list.
- According to research company Populus: “There is a direct correlation between how people perceive the economy and the importance they place on the environment. When times are tough people resent paying more to salve their conscience.”
- This means that fewer people are now buying organic food from the supermarkets and more are buying cheap non-ethically produced clothing. For instance, according to the consultancy Organic Monitor, demand for organic food grew by 70 per cent from 2002 to 2007; now it has stalled.
- Green policies coming out of the government have now taken a back-seat to make room for discuss of tax-relief for those buying homes and a one-off tax levy on energy companies.
However, there is a counter argument to this:
- Energy prices in the UK are rising massively. It was reported last month, that due to the rise in oil price, UK consumers may face a fuel price increase of up to 40 per cent in 2008.
Leading market analysts have suggested that, in order to maintain profitability, energy companies may create a series of price hikes. This would result in an increase in the UK's average energy bills from £1,048 to £1,467 within seven months.
- The rise in energy prices is leading making people focus on cut costs, which has the incidental effect of being better for the environment. By taking energy-saving measures in the home, such as investing in better insulation, being more economical with the use heating and air con and being more aware of the use and efficiency of electrical and gas appliances.
- Fewer people are moving home in the current economic climate, and my therefore be more inclined to invest in their existing properties. Home improvements and extensions are becoming very popular in the UK, which may again incorporate energy-efficiency measures.
- Also, as fewer people move house fewer new white-goods, such as fridges and washing machines are being bought.
- With the rising cost of petrol and diesel more people are investing in hybrid or electric vehicles.
- The trend for people growing their own has risen sharply, in London the waiting list for allotments is three times longer than the actual number of allotments there are!
As The Times commented today, it is ironic that “it's the downturn that has made greenery look unappetising - but it may yet prove to do more than anything to save the planet.”
Posted by happy clinical depressive at 9:39 AM
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Just a bit of news I thought would be of interest to you all...
In July Accenture introduced the Accenture Green Technology Suite. This is a set of tools designed to help an organization assess their environmental standing and recommendation courses of action to reduce their carbon footprint through improved management of IT. The tools within the Suite also help calculate the impact of the specific initiatives in terms of workplace environmental efficiency and data center energy savings.
There are three main areas to the suite:
- The Green Maturity Model – assesses the environmental efficiency of IT, suggesting actions to improve the organization’s overall environmental standing.
- The Data Center Estimator – provides an assessment of the environmental and financial impact of data centers. The Estimator suggests energy reduction strategies based on information gathered from the facility, such as air conditioning, power distribution, and server, storage, and networking components, among others.
- The Workplace Estimator – helps an organization adopt a greener technology culture by developing recycling and energy saving policies for personal computers and procuring new equipment with energy efficiency in mind.
Monday, August 4, 2008
- Major chemical use - nail polish remover (frequently acetone), undercoat, nail polish, top coat, aerosol finishing spray. None of this stuff smells too good and usually isn't too good for the environment either. And let's not forget all the lotions and scrubs you can add on.
- Major water use - lots of soaking in the foot tubs, then rinsing of the tubs. And, given the opportunities for fungus, etc - let's hope it's all fresh clean water.
- Major electrical use - those massaging chairs probably take more energy than your typical armchair.
- Animal rights - have you ever heard of the fish pedicure?!
The good news is that there ARE more environmentally-friendly options. Acetone-free removers do exist. Ventilation in salons is getting better. And eco-friendly nail salons do exist. Pretty cool for a culture that has fairly stringent expectations for personal grooming. (Of course, the most environmentally friendly option is to go au naturale)
Friday, August 1, 2008
For those of you on the fence about whether you should take the Leadership in Energy and Evironmental Design (LEED) test... this is a sure fire way to help you make up your mind.
1. I’m waiting for the challenge of taking next year’s “updated” exam so I can feel smarter than all those early-adopters.
2. I thought it was the “L.E.D.” exam…and wasted a ton of time studying low voltage illumination techniques.
3. I’m are afraid I’d look like a hypocrite after commuting 60 miles to work in my Hummer.
4. I read on snopes.com that the USGBC is a hoax.
5. After wallpapering Dilbert comics all over my cubicle walls, I have no space left for a LEED AP certificate.
6. "Because that bastard tree killed my mom."
7. Ever since you were a kid and your mom made you eat things like broccoli, spinach and brussel sprouts you have had a fear and loathing for all things green.
8. You prefer FEED - “Following in Environmental Energy and Design.”
9. You like it when your clients know more than you do about green buildings.
10. I might actually have to act green if I know more about it - ignorance is much more fun!
More reasons? Let us know!