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Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
I have found nervana... it's a combo social networking / green behavior changing gadget that is affordable and simple to use. The winner of the Greener Gadgets design award was announced today in NY. The gadget is a jerry-rigged Kill-o-Watt plug in device (seen above) which effectively measures the power your computer or appliances use. What makes it a Tweet-a-Watt is an added wireless device that sends regular messages to your friends through you Twitter account of the energy you are used that day. Not only does it wirelessly tell your friends about your power use, but it tracks energy use over time through an internet site, so also you can make incremental changes to reduce your power use.
Even better - the inventors are making it open source, so that others can play around with the technology and use it for other technologies. AWESOME.
Image from Make Blog
Posted by Leigh Stringer (aka Greenette) at 6:15 PM
Recently I've been reading a lot about idling: it's been a hot topic on the Fostering Sustainable Behavior listserv, it's hit Planetizen, and my mom's school's environmental club has asked parents in car line to turn off their cars.
Every day millions of people drive to work...and a lot of us sit in traffic or pause at the drive-thru. Or we use busses, vans, and taxis that idle. When our vehicles are running, they're spewing emissions (well, most of them except the ZEV's)...even if we're sitting still.
So, what's the story? Should we be turning off our cars? There's certainly a myth out there that turning off the car has greater wear & tear than idling. Here are a few bits of research that help dispell that myth:
- Greentips from the Union of Concerned Scientists
- Consumer Energy Center
- Natural Resources Canada
- EERE Resources (commercial vehicles, mostly)
- Smart Idle (more for trucks, but the principles still apply)
Image Source: slate.com
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
For those of you who haven't figured this out, there are lots of smart people blogging for The Green Workplace. Check out the "Posted by" note at the bottom of each post to find out who said what. Most of us use a pen name or "handle" if you will, but we're not ashamed of our identity. To find out more about us, go to the right hand side of the site and scroll down to the section "About Bloggers."
A special thanks to our regular bloggers for their outstanding contributions to this blog, the industry and the environental movement:
Millenial 4 Earth, aka Jodi Williams
Green A, aka Anica Landreneau
Green London, aka Emma Wharton
There are several other brilliant contributors to The Green Worplace as well. Check them out!
Posted by Leigh Stringer (aka Greenette) at 8:38 PM
Friday, February 20, 2009
Posted by Green-A at 9:53 AM
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
A great post from my Emma Wharton on the Life at HOK blog. Here's what she says:
Herman Miller’s iconic Aeron chair today has received the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) Cradle to Cradle Silver certification for environmentally friendly design. The design is already 94 percent recyclable and made up of up to 64 percent recycled materials. The seat frame and back contain over 60 percent recycled content, made from approximately 36 recycled two-liter plastic beverage bottles per chair. Aeron is also assembled with 100 percent renewable energy and is GREENGUARD certified.
Posted by Leigh Stringer (aka Greenette) at 8:33 PM
Just ran across a fantastic article about using leafcutter ants as an example for traffic planning:
Taking Traffic Control Lessons — From Ants.
The authors discuss how leafcutter ants travel immense distances in large groups, carrying heavy loads...but never get stuck in a traffic jam. This is because the ants have learned (0r instinctively know) that sacrificing speed for the individual benefits the collective group.
Researchers believe that if humans could utilize a system like the one used by ants, traffic incidents would be largely prevented, and average wait times would be reduced. Definitely a green idea!!
Pretty cool idea...even if it means giving up control.
Check out Greenette's previous post on the HOK/Biomimicry Guild Partnership, or some Life @ HOK posts on biomimicry.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
With all the talk of government bailouts and stimuli, there's been a lot of attention paid to making a greener car. This is great news, since we are clearly "addicted to oil" and have our rear ends firmly implanted in our cars. But there is a downside: when things are more efficient, we tend to use them more (or buy more of them, or more people buy them)....which offsets the good done by making them more efficient.
Check out The Myth of the Efficient Car.
As a hybrid driver, I'm not 100% behind Dubro's argument - I certainly don't drive MORE than I used to, but I don't drive dramatically less either. Regardless, it's certainly thought provoking. Happy Valentine's Day!
Well, we've done it. Though I have my misgivings, the U.S. Congress has signed a massive stimulus package for $787 billion. The good news in my view is that the bill dedicates significant dollars for energy programs and tax credits focused largely on energy efficiency, renewables and smart electricity grid projects. The Detroit Free Press gives a very clear breakdown of spending if you're looking for an "at a glance" view here. Some of the measures I'm most interested to see play out:
- $18 billion for clean water, flood control and environmental restoration.
- $8 billion for high-speed rail.
- $4.5 billion to make federal office buildings more energy-efficient.
- $30 billion for a smart power grid, advanced battery technology and other energy efficiency measures.
- $20 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next 10 years.
- $6.3 billion for energy efficiency in multifamily housing getting federal assistance, such as HUD-sponsored low-income housing.
- $5 billion to weatherize more than 1 million homes owned by “modest-income” families.
- $1.6 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science for areas such as climate, biofuels, high-energy physics, nuclear physics and fusion energy.
- $1 billion for NASA, including $400 million for climate change research.
Posted by Leigh Stringer (aka Greenette) at 8:22 AM
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Google is just about the coolest thing to ever hit the internet. Once again, Google strikes in a massive effort to help connect moving people to transit, alternative fuels and useful information about getting from A to Z. Props to DOE and NREL too!
Posted by Green-A at 10:17 AM
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I'm sure you remember Mr. Yuk reminding you to avoid drinking/eating poisonous materials, but did you know that your electric company may begin to use a similar method to dicourage you from excess electricity consumption?
A friend turned me on to an article in the NY Times: Utilities Turn Their Customers Green, With Envy. Basically, energy companies are starting to use the "keeping up with the Jones'" concept to help their customers reduce their energy use.
Energy bills can include comparisons to average and efficient neighbors, as well as comparisons to previous usage patterns. One company went so far as to assign smiley/frowny faces to customers to encourage conservation.
It's a great way to see how you're doing, and how you could do better. I hope my utility company starts giving comparisons to neighbors soon!