Tag Archives: sustainability

Green, but still feeling guilty about negatively impacting the environment

Taking The Blame: Sustainable Experts Feel The Guilt

Being green isn’t always easy. With the commercialization of practically everything nowadays, sometimes it’s simply easier to do things the “non-green” way.

And we’re not the only ones who succumb to this.

An article in the New York Times sheds light on this issue with a great piece titled “Green, but Still Feeling Guilty.”

In the story, several leading figures in the sustainability movement sheepishly admit that they, too, sometimes take the easy way out.

Disposable diapers are one example. Several of the individuals interviewed admitted to using them on their children. Despite their best efforts to act in a sustainable manner, often this is easier said than done, and there is no better example out there than babies and their diaper needs.

From having a pool, to owning two homes, the list of green “offenses” goes on. But the message remained the same: no one is perfect in the quest to lead a sustainable lifestyle. What matters most is that the good outweigh the bad. So you use diapers, no problem, but then you’ve got to minimize your impact in other ways and so forth.

In this day and age, it’d be difficult to lead a life that wouldn’t in some shape, way or form harm the environment. There’s no reason to feel guilty. There is a difference between wastefulness and necessity. Making smart choices in places that you can (i.e. recycling, limiting water use, etc) will hopefully make the kind of impact that will make Mother Earth happy with us for years to come.

Paper-To-Pencil Machine

Green News Roundup-Green Advertising, Products & More

Welcome back to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve decided to focus on introducing you to some green advertising campaigns and green products.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing kasia@azbigmedia.com

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

G.E. Says, ‘Eco! Eco! Hello! Hello!’
General Electric has been revealing its innovative “ecomagination” ads since 2003. The newest ad campaign titled “Tag your green” is making its rounds through the viral landscape on Flickr, Howcast and YouTube. The goal is to encourage fresh ways of thinking about the environment.

DBA 98 Pen
While perusing the Web I came across two really exciting products that will make you look at office supplies in a whole different way.
The DBA 98 Pen is a 98 percent biodegradable pen, the only one in the world. The ink is made of simple, environmentally friendly ingredients and it was also produced in a wind-powered facility in the U.S. Talk about a green way to write!

Paper-To-Pencil Machine Repurposes Printed Pages
If your office looks anything like mine, there is always plenty of papers floating around. We do our best by recycling all our used paper, but this machine takes it to a whole new level! This concept was created by designers Chengzhu Ruan, Yuanyuan Liu, Xinwei Yuan & Chao Chen and it basically takes old paper and pops out whole pencils. The pencils core is fed in and then as the paper is put in the machine, it wraps around the core and is compressed. And voila! you’ve got yourself a pencil. Now will this make it to production? Who knows. But I think it’s a great tool. Even if the office doesn’t have much use for pencils, I’m positive local schools would be more than happy to accept them.

Image courtesy of: Yanko Design

Bikes as an alternative means of transportation.

Cycling – The Greener Way To Travel

Traveling throughout Europe this summer, I experienced several modes of transportation: From planes to trains, to buses, bikes and more.

I was pleased to come across this bit of news from the NY Times’ In Transit blog that featured an interesting event going on in Prague — one of the amazing cities I was lucky to visit during my trip.

Critical Mass, an event drawing attention to the bike culture, is being held Sept. 25 in Prague. The event begins with a “sustainable living” street party, eco-friendly fashion shows, music and more. Then the fun begins. Participants will bike a two-hour trip across main sections of the city and Nusle Bridge. Last year, approximately 5,000 cyclists participated.

Cycling is slowly but surely becoming a part of the city’s culture. Prague City Hall even launched a committee dedicated to improving the infrastructure for the city’s cyclists. More and more cities across Europe and the globe have begun to accept bikes as a serious means of transportation for its residents, clearly a good sign for the sustainability movement.

Another city I visited, London, has also recently launched a bicycle-renting program called Barclays Cycle Hire. Barclays has docking stations located throughout the city and residents simply need to sign up online, rent a bike and go! The program isn’t free (with the exceptions of trips up to 30 minutes which are!) but short trips won’t break the bank. Similar programs are also offered in Paris; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Barcelona, Spain; and more! In the U.S., Minneapolis recently unveiled its system as well as Washington, D.C., and Pentagon City in Arlington, Va.

Hopefully we will see a similar program here in the Valley in the near future.

origin-minnesota.publicradio.org
http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com
www.tfl.gov.uk

Insic Wall Socket

Green News Roundup- Green And Sustainable Retail Products

Welcome back to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve decided to focus on highlighting green products, some are available now and some are still in prototype stage. Either way, they point to an exciting new direction for the retail industry and their involvement with sustainability.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing kasia@azbigmedia.com

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

Insic Wall Socket is an outlet product created by Designer Muhyeon Kim that lights up and displays how many watts are being used by whatever device is being plugged into it. The idea behind it is that users will see just how much energy their devices are using and will become more aware of unplugging things when not in use to save energy.

Simple Shoes based out of Flagstaff, Ariz. is committed to making sustainable footwear that is vegan and eco-friendly. Products include bamboo, organic cotton, crepe, jute, hemp, cork, water based glues, recycled car tires, and PET recycled plastic. Not only are the shoes sustainable but the entire manufacturing process is as well.

Healthy Baby Happy Earth is a store in Glendale, Ariz. that sells environmentally friendly items for babies including cloth diapers, organic cotton clothing and a food processor that allows parents to make their own baby food. A lot of their products also provide long-term purposes like the cloth diaper which can serve from newborn to potty-training age.

Yumberi Yogurt is serving up frozen treats in Glendale, Ariz. while also supporting a sustainable environment. All of the yogurts at Yumberi are served in biodegradable bowls made from corn oil and plant fibers and the spoons are made from potato skins. The company also supports eco-friendly events such as their monthly contest that asks kids to write a letter explaining what they are doing to help change the world.

Image via Yanko Design

Illustration of suburb with recycle logo

Sustainability Is Possible In The Suburbs. Really.

Is it possible to build a sustainable suburb? The answer depends largely upon your perspective.

Of course, sustainability is a word freely associated these days with eco-friendly building materials, alternative energy and “living off the grid,” and is usually used in conjunction with the concepts of urban living, light-rail and transportation-oriented development. However, some of the first sustainable buildings were lovingly referred to as “land ships,” and built far from cities.

The deserts of Taos, N.M., for example, still host these forward-thinking renegade buildings dating back to the late 1960s and 1970s, and were colorfully branded by many as “crazy hippy stuff.”  And certainly these buildings are a far cry from the buildings and locations we think of as locations of sustainable development today.

Arizona has long been associated with sprawl, and frankly it’s the reason why the sustainable movement has been slow to catch. However, with a struggling economy and real estate development virtually at a standstill, it’s important to think beyond our limited frame of reference. But the suburb? Can it really be sustainable?  Our twin love affair with privacy and the automobile has made the suburb far from a likely place to orchestrate sustainability. Places where garages line streets instead of trees and retail buildings have walls around them virtually imposing a drive instead of a walk. But there is a sustainable sun on the horizon.

Arizona State University’s Stardust Resource Center has created a Growing Sustainable Communities Initiative, and its strategies for growing sustainable communities in the Valley of the Sun include:

  • Promoting mixed land uses
  • A range of housing types
  • Thriving economies
  • Environmentally responsive design
  • Having a variety of transportation choices
  • Compact development
  • Making places safe
  • Promoting healthy living
  • Community engagement

 

I could write four pages about each of those points, but essentially they mean: building sustainably occurs block-by-block, street-by-street, house-by-house. It is an organic process and there is no cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, the standard of cookie cutter replication is what has created much of the challenges in every community built after 1950 in Arizona.

To be successful, it is imperative that we change our standard “square mile” approach to development, where commercial businesses exist only on the edges and residential homes on the interior and there is virtually no interplay between them. No parks, and no tree-lined streets. A better strategy is to develop on the quarter-mile, where neighborhoods have work and play uses and schools and shopping centers interact with residential neighborhoods through a network of paths and pedestrian/bike connections — just like the village concepts of the historic neighborhoods built prior to the 1950s. Ask any Midwesterner what they miss about home and I’ll bet they say their “neighborhoods.” There’s a reason why.

What the sustainable movement is advocating is greater creativity on the developer side and less regulation and restrictions on the government side. Scott Carlin, an associate professor of geography at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, makes an excellent case for a deeper theory of sustainability. He suggests we re-invigorate ties to cities and villages, by building new homes only where there are existing water and sewer lines, sidewalks, schools, businesses and the other infrastructure within a reasonably close radius. In other words, so we can get out of our cars and walk.

What about existing neighborhoods? Well, they can be re-imagined as sustainable by relaxing zoning code to allow for commercial uses consistent with vibrant neighborhoods and by resisting the status quo. It will also happen when residents advocate for and pursue the creation of public amenities like parks and pathways and tree-lined streets. Even the Urban Land Institute recognizes the opportunities suburbs represent because it’s where the biggest gains could be made. Still, it cautions that connecting the dots between suburban projects through effective sub-regional planning is essential.

It is possible for us to focus on more than buildings when we think of sustainability.  With a bit of imagination, and the commitment to integrate the principles of sustainability even on the outskirts of town, we can succeed. Surprisingly, in fact, we won’t be creating anything new. Because, it’s when we look to the past and incorporate the best of what it means to live in an American neighborhood we win. Sustainability is certainly a look to the future, but its reality and its secrets are grounded in our American past.

Most Admired Companies - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

2010 Most Admired Companies Winners – Social Responsibility

The Social Responsibility category recognizes companies that excel in corporate giving, volunteerism, philanthropic efforts, and/or “green” initiatives.

Winner: St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center
Category:
Social Responsibility
Headquarters:
Phoenix
Year Est.:
1895
No. of Employees in AZ: 5,342
Recent Award: Ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Top 10 Hospitals in the nations for neurology and neurosurgery – 2010-2011
www.chw.edu | www.stjosephs-phx.org | Facebook | Twitter



video by Sonoran Studios

St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center participates in outreach programs that touch local and global communities. By donating medical equipment that can no longer be used at the hospital to Project C.U.R.E., St. Joseph’s helps citizens in more than 120 countries. This program also is one of the many ways St. Joseph’s is a good steward of the global environment. Also, the hospital’s Commuter Options program offers incentives to employees who carpool, bike, walk or use the bus or light rail to get to work. Several recycling programs are in place at St. Joseph’s, and eco-friendly materials, such as automatic faucets and low-impact lighting, are used in the hospital.

St. Joseph’s provides care to the un- and underinsured in Maricopa County through several programs. The hospital helps uninsured patients by running a clinic for students at Crockett Elementary School, and the MOMobile gives prenatal care to uninsured pregnant women. Physicians at St. Joseph’s support a clinic at St. Vincent de Paul that provides medical services to underinsured patients.

In addition, each year St. Joseph’s employees contribute about 25,000 cans of food to the St. Vincent de Paul holiday food drive. About 450 employees participated in the 2010 American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Walk and raised more than $40,000. St. Joseph’s also hosts seven blood drives annually, and each year these drives maintain or surpass the gold standard goal set by United Blood Services. These programs are only a few examples of the approximately 100 community partners St. Joseph’s works with to bring care to Arizonans in need.


Wist Owners

Finalist: Wist Office Products
Category:
Social Responsibility
Headquarters:
Tempe
Year Est.:
1955
No. of Employees in AZ:
60
Recent Award:
Ranking Arizona’s Best of the Best award – 2010
www.wist.com

Wist Office Products is committed to giving back to the community and the environment. The company has converted more than 70 percent of its customers to using e-bills in order to reduce paper usage. Wist’s truck fleet has been upgraded to a higher emission standard, and a carpooling and ride-sharing program is available for employees to take advantage of. Wist is committed to sustainability not just within the company. It also created the Blue Bin Recycling Program so customers can recycle toners free of charge.

The company also has several structured programs that encourage employees to give back to the community. Ian Wist, the general manager of the company, started Phoenix Forty, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Phoenix youth. In addition to Phoenix Forty, the company has provided the Phoenix Boys & Girls Clubs with backpacks and office and school supplies for members. Also, Wist and the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits have a three-year partnership through which Wist gives local nonprofit organizations rebates on Wist’s products.


Lifelock

Finalist: LifeLock
Category:
Social Responsibility
Headquarters:
Tempe
Year Est.:
2005
No. of Employees in AZ:
479
Recent Award:
Arizona Business Leadership Association’s ABL Leadership Award  – 2009
www.lifelock.com
| Facebook | Twitter

LifeLock’s companywide belief, “Do what you should, not what you can,” has led the company to create several programs designed to support and educate the community. Every LifeLock employee receives 24 hours of paid volunteer time off. LifeLock strives to provide volunteer opportunities in a variety of activities in order to include all employees’ interests. In 2010, LifeLock aligned with Junior Achievement and HomeBase Youth Services, both designed to help local youth.

LifeLock also donates time and effort to educating law enforcement officials on new ways to protect citizens against identity theft. In 2009, the company partnered with the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association to create a series of free Identity Theft Summits. The summits provided law enforcement officials with an arena to share information about preventing the growing crime of identity theft. The success of the events in 2009 led to LifeLock initiating 36 events in 2010.



To buy a print version of the 2010 Arizona’s Most Admired Companies
go to MagCloud.com

Arizona's Most Admired Companies November-December 2010

Ipad vs. Textbooks

IPad vs. Textbooks, A Greener Facebook And More

Some really interesting things happening in sustainability this week. Check out these stories about: Facebook, Japan’s dolphin hunting season, Notre Dame using the iPad in a paperless course, and others.

EarthFest Educators Night
On Sept. 16, more than 400 educators will receive resources on how to make their schools greener.  At this free event, educators can enter to win two full-tuition scholarships to the University of Phoenix to obtain their Master of Arts in education and $5,000 in grant funding for the 2010-2011 school year.

Japan’s Controversial Dolphin Slaughter Begins Again
Yesterday marked the beginning of open season for dolphins in Japan.  This famous annual slaughter is the subject of the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove”, which was turned into a miniseries on Animal Planet called “Blood Dolphins”.  The first episode aired last Friday, Aug. 27.

Notre Dame Starts Paperless Course With iPad
The University of Notre Dame is using the iPad in a project management course instead of a textbook.  The course has 40 students and isn’t the first e-reader classroom test, Princeton University tested the Kindle last year.

Facebook Comes Under Fire to Be Greener
Facebook is the subject of a petition that Greenpeace says 500,000 people have signed.  The petition is protesting the social media site’s planned use of coal to power a facility it is building in Portland, Ore.  The facility is projected to get 67 percent of its power from coal.

U.S. Ban on Drilling Could Be Overturned
A United States ban on deep water oil and gas drilling could be overturned for a second time.  On Sept. 1, U.S. District Court judge rejected the Obama administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the oil industry.

Photo Credit: www.apple.com

This exhibit showing the creative uses of recycled items is aimed at raising awareness of the sustainability movement in Poland. Photo: Kasia Marciszewska

Seeing Poland In A Green Light

Our associate editor and resident green blogger, Kasia Marciszewska, is currently traveling in Europe. While there, she stopped by her native country of Poland. Ever vigilant about the subject of sustainability, Kasia sought out Poland’s green side.

Visiting my home country of Poland is always a fun and exciting experience. It seems every time I come here something is different, as Poland continues to shift and grow with the changing times.

This visit proved to me once again how far the country has come, when I realized that Poland was taking “being green” to a new level.  The concept of eco-friendliness in some ways is new to the country, but upon closer inspection it seems that Poland was on the road to helping the environment long before it became popular.

One way the country is and has been reducing its environmental impact is through its transportation system. Many of Poland’s residents commute via public transportation, which includes trams, rail and bus. Though not always the fastest routes, public transportation is an integral way of life for the Polish people and definitely the greener way to travel.

One can easily travel throughout Poland on public transportation. The rail systems span the whole country, and you can travel with relative ease; from the northern city of Gdansk all the way down to Krakow in the south, it’s all just a train ride away.  Travel to neighboring countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic also can easily be done via trains, making visiting other countries ecologically sound.

Though transportation by car has steadily increased over the years, the sizeable difference is in the cars themselves, literally. Cars in Poland are taxed based on their engine size, so many people choose to drive cars with smaller engines (thus fewer emissions) in order to reduce their costs. That frugalness helps the environment at the same time (The price of gas in Poland is also extremely high, so using public transportation makes much more economic sense for most people).

Another “green” innovation in Poland is grocery bags, or rather the lack thereof. Many of Poland’s cities are making an effort to reduce plastic bag waste by simply asking customers if they need a bag. The catch? If you want a bag you’ll have to pay for it! A nominal fee is tacked on for plastic bags during your shopping, so a better, cheaper and greener alternative is to bring your own bags.

The cities of Gdansk, Inowroclaw, Tychy and Zabrze already have passed local laws to ban the free handing out of plastic bags, and many more cities are deciding on similar initiatives.

Poland is truly undergoing a cultural shift toward environmental friendliness. Awareness about the topic is spreading with more and more initiatives sprouting up all over the country.

I recently observed an exhibition at a shopping center in Wroclaw titled “Eco Fashion.” The goal of the exhibition was to demonstrate practices on how to recycle with a focus on fashion.  The campaign showed a multitude of creative ideas for recycling everyday items into clothes, furniture and more, along with games, prizes and interesting facts about recycling. For example, did you know that recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours?

The entries varied in shape and size from a plastic cup coffee table to a dress made from garbage bags. But the overall message was heard loud and clear, eco-friendliness is here to stay in Poland — with many more “green” advances to come!

Future Generations Go Green

The American Dream Reborn Through Sustainability

When my father’s grandparents immigrated to America, they had one objective: to give their children, and some day their grandchildren, a better life. They worked hard and sacrificed to instill the desire to make thing better for the next generation, my grandparents.

Maybe you can remember the sacrifices you saw growing up, how past generations saved money and withheld pleasure from themselves in order to make sure the next generations strived.

That generation is long gone and has been replaced with an American culture that is more focused on the here and now. We don’t think as much about the future, particularly one that doesn’t include us. Today, we look out more for our own best interest. Yes, of course, we want our children to have a better life than us, that is, as long as our lives are exceptionally good.

In 1928, Herbert Hoover was elected president based on the promise of prosperity. “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” boasted the campaign slogan, and people lined up at voting booths. Think about that for a moment – to our ancestors the thought of owning a car and having a good meal seemed like a dream! Times have changed.

Our society is in debt, and I am not just talking about our financial woes. We are borrowing resources from future generations: their trees, water, air, flora, fauna. And we have no plan or intention to pay it back, leaving the bill and a big mess to our children and their children.

So the question is: How do we deal with environmental issues that will exist beyond our allotted time here on earth, affecting generations that may never even know our names but will remember our water bottles?

Issues like global warming, pollution, loss of biodiversity and an economy based on carbon will have a much larger effect on our ancestors than it ever will on us, and the solutions for those issues will take generations to fix. Weaning ourselves from carbon is not as easy as electric cars and solar panels, carbon-based fuels are used for much more than powering our cars and heating and cooling our homes. Plastic, makeup, diapers, medical equipment, roads, computers, nearly everything you have in your home in some way or another is connected to these products. Our demand continues to grow and the technology to replace oil, coal and natural gas will take time to evolve and take even longer to meet our growing needs.

So what can we do? First, we need to start thinking beyond our own lifetime and the impact that our actions today will have on future generations and take personal responsibility for those actions. It is a seedy picture of those 25 generations from now weeding through mounds of our plastic, living amongst a significantly smaller circle of species, and enduring famine and disease as a result of decisions made by us today.

Second, we need to demand accountability of our government and the companies we support, asking them to create positions and departments that represent the rights of future generations. In addition, our justice department needs to aggressively defend the rights of those inheriting this planet.

Finally, we need to reconnect to our instinct of sacrificing to create a better world for our children.

To our children, our impact will not be taught from history books but seen in the evidence we left on the planet we lived.

Bike Sharing Program

Green Jobs In Arizona And Around The Nation, Bike-sharing Program And More

There’s so much going on in sustainability, it’s hard to narrow down what news to share. Here’s a couple of interesting bits from this week. We’ve gathered stories about new green jobs in Arizona and around the nation, a bike-sharing program and Valley Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards, among others.

Arizona Gets 100 Solar Jobs
Rioglass Solar, which makes reflector components for solar thermal power plants, is building a $50 million manufacturing facility in Surprise, Ariz.  The facility is going to bring 100 jobs by the time it is operational in 2011.

Valley Forward Chooses Judges for Environmental Excellence Awards
John Kane, founding partner and design principal of Architekton, will be the lead judge for Valley Forward’s 30th annual Environmental Excellence Awards.  The eight other judges include: Steve Gollehon, vice president and managing partner, HDR Architects; Tim Lines, managing vice president, Stantec Consulting Inc.; and Caroline Lobo, director of the Education Studio at The Orcutt/Winslow Partnership.  The winners will be announced Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Phoenician Resort.

President Obama’s Push for Green Energy to Create Jobs
Not only does Obama want America to be greener; but his push for green energy could create up to 800,000 jobs by 2012.  The major issue for green energy jobs in America is that employers are being forced to outsource jobs to stay competitive in the industry. Watch President Obama’s speech at ZBB Energy in Wisconsin.

Do-It-Yourself Solar Panel
CNN’s “One Simple Thing” series takes a complicated process – installing a solar panel – and turns it into something anyone with an electrical outlet can do. Clarian Power’s president, Chad Maglaque, talks about how his company is trying to make the biggest cost in solar power, the installation, a non-issue.

NYC Looks to Start Bike-Sharing Program
Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan want to start a bike-sharing program that would offer 49,000 bikes to be shared.  Many other cities worldwide including Paris, Copenhagen and Taipei, Taiwan, offer bike-sharing programs.  Right here in Arizona, Northern Arizona University offers the Yellow Bike Program for free.

Crayon

ASU, Crayola & More Making Sustainable Impact

When it comes to sustainability, it’s a great time to be proud of Arizona.  This week we’ve gathered stories about ASU making the green honor roll, Phoenix being a top city for graduates and others.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

ASU Makes the Green Honor Roll
Arizona State University was one of the 18 colleges and universities that made The Princeton Review’s 2011 Green Rating Honor Roll.  ASU was chosen for leading the way in the sustainability movement. It established the first School of Sustainability in the U.S., and employs more solar panels than any other university in the country.

Phoenix is One of the Top Cities for Green Grads
Phoenix is No. nine on mnn.com’s top 10 cities for new grads seeking green jobs.  Sandwiched between Detroit and Houston, Phoenix’s solar capabilities and commitment to green endeavors make it one of the top.  One of Phoenix’s favorite Suns also has his city on the list.  Sacramento, Calif., whose mayor is Kevin Johnson, is No. six.

Yet Another Reason to Buy a Hybrid

Hybrid cars are almost never stolen.  Whereas gas guzzlers like the Cadillac Escalade should just have targets painted on them.  One in every 100 cars that is stolen is an Escalade.  Small cars like the Mini Cooper and the Saturn VUE are also low on a thief’s wish list.

Crayola Goes Green
A 15-acre solar farm could help crayola not just produce green (crayons) but also be green.  Funded in part by a federal stimulus, this farm could produce enough energy to help produce one-third of Crayola’s annual output of crayons.

Walmart and Seventh Generation Team Up
Seventh Generation, which produces environmentally-friendly cleaning products, will put its products in about 1,500 Walmart stores nationwide and online.  Previously Seventh Generation and Walmart haven’t been the best of friends.  But maybe they’re coming together for a greater good?

Grand Canyon

Solar-Power, Eco-Friendly Grand Canyon & More

With so much happening locally, this week we’ve gathered stories about Arizona’s green endeavors, including a solar-powered plane and the Grand Canyon’s eco-friendly practices, and why a massive lawn is part of the Postal Service’s goal to reduce its energy needs.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.


Green Roof Gives Postal Service Energy Savings
In Midtown Manhattan one building is lucky enough to have a lawn, on its roof.  This 2.5-acre lawn isn’t for sunbathing; it is part of the United States Postal Service’s goal of reducing its energy 30 percent by 2015.  With the help of this immense lawn, the USPS is more than two-thirds of the way to meeting its goal.

Unmanned Solar Plane Flies for more than a Week
A solar-powered unmanned plane flew a total of 336 in Arizona and landed last Friday.  The previous record for longest flight of an unmanned solar-powered plane was 30 hours, which the 110-pound plane beat by more than 10 times.

The Grand Canyon Goes Green
As previously mentioned ecotourism is a new way to be green while on vacation.  Well, now one of the most famous and most visited vacation spots in Arizona, the Grand Canyon, is a little bit greener.  With solar panels powering a building and recycling bins scattered along trails, your family’s visit to the Grand Canyon just got more eco-friendly.

The Greenest Wedding So Far
We’ve written about green weddings before ,but all of the others pale in comparison to this greenest of the green weddings.  A couple from Maine is growing and raising (yes they’re raising their own chickens) all of the food to be served at their wedding.  Aren’t weddings stressful enough?

Feds Capture and Recycle CO2
The federal government, via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is putting $106 million into six projects that turn carbon dioxide (CO2) into beneficial products.  The products range from biofuel to cement

Google Buys Wind Power

Oil Spill, Google Wind Power & More

From global new to local business this week we’ve gathered stories about how hair can help the oil spill, what Belgium wants to do with the deceased, Google buying wind power and more. Plus, we’ve got an additional story on what one Valley business is doing to help the environment.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

Local
Cut Your Hair and Help the Oil Spill
Matter of Trust wants you to mail your hair, your dog’s hair and your kids’ hair to them to help soak up the oil in the Gulf.  Send hair to 99 Saint Germain Ave., San Francisco, CA 94114, and visit http://www.matteroftrust.org/ to see images of the hair in action.

Learn about the “Energize Phoenix Project”
The “Energize Phoenix Project” will provide energy-efficient improvements to neighborhoods along the 10-mile stretch of Phoenix’s light rail corridor.  It’s expected that this project will create up to 8,000 new jobs over the next six years.  To learn more about this project, attend the Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce’s education forum on Monday, July 26.

National
Google Buys 20 Years of Wind Power from Iowa Farm
Google Energy, a subsidiary of Google, signed a 20-year deal with Story II Wind Energy Center in Iowa to buy wind power.  This is another step in achieving Google’s goal of becoming a carbon-neutral company.

In California, Kaiser Gives $1 Million to Build Green Health Clinic
La Maestra Community Health Center in San Diego would not only be green, but also help promote green building and living to the surrounding community.  La Maestra could be the first of its kind to earn LEED certification.  This clinic’s impact wouldn’t be small either, the clinic, expected to be 36,400 square feet, is projected to see 180,000 patient and client visits annually.

International
An Eco-Friendly Burial Isn’t a Burial at All
Belgium authorities hatched a plan to dissolve the dead in caustic solutions and flush them into the sewer system as a way to replace cremating and burial in a cemetery, which are both not environmentally friendly. Six states, including Colorado and Oregon, recently passed legislation to allow this process to occur in the United States.

Iceland Volcano Causes Decrease in CO2 Emissions
Think back to April when the hard-to-pronounce volcano Eyjafjallajökull had European planes grounded for six days.  Those six days without most of the European air traffic decreased our carbon emissions dramatically.  The volcano did release CO2, but at a much lower rate than humans produce.  Is nature sending us a message?

Recycling CLothes and more

Green News Roundup – LED Lights, Cothing Recycling Progams And More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about LED lights, clothing recycling programs, a solar-powered plane and more.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

LED Lights to Brighten Mesa Streets
The city of Mesa is going green by replacing traditional light bulbs with LED lights. The city also hopes to save thousands of dollars with this eco-friendly replacement. Click the link to see a video on Mesa’s efforts.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – All Three Are Important
Many companies and consumers are focused on how much they recycle or how much recycled materials are in their products. However, this article points out that all three actions – reduce, reuse and recycle – must be done for a healthier environment. This article details how the paper products industry can be cleaner from factory to customer.

Recycle Your Clothes and Create Jobs
When you move or decide to change your style, it’s easier to throw clothes away than to find a place to donate them. However, used clothing is wasting away in landfills when it could be recycled and creating jobs. New York City is launching an initiative to combat the wasting of textiles, like old clothing, by placing donation centers in high-traffic areas. The city and its partners hope to make recycling clothing as easy as throwing it away.

Solar-Powered Plane Makes 24-Hour Flight
Solar-powered batteries, yes. Solar-powered cell phone chargers, sure. Solar-powered plane, what? A single seat plane that uses the sun’s rays to power itself during the day and also saves up energy to use during the night landed in Switzerland on Thursday, July 8, after a 24-hour flight. The company who produced the plane is hoping to fly around the world in this solar-powered aircraft in the future.

Turn Down the Air Conditioning!
Italian Energy company, Eni, started a program in 2008 to turn the air conditioning in its offices one degree Celsius, almost two degrees Fahrenheit higher than before the program. The company doesn’t allow employees to swelter in the heat, most employees don’t even feel the one degree increase. Employees are also allowed to wear lighter, summery clothing to work. This small, almost unnoticeable change decreased Eni’s summer energy consumption 9.5 percent. Maybe Arizonans should take a lesson from Italians?

Green News Roundup- Green Wedding, Alternative Fuels

Green News Roundup – Green Weddings, Alternative Fuels & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about green weddings, alternative fuels, green burials and local sustainability-related events taking place throughout the Valley. Happy 4th of July!

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.


Green Wedding
This couple took eco-conscious to the next level by making their wedding a low-impact environmentally friendly affair.

Couple Recycles 400,000 Cans to Pay for Wedding
Green weddings certainly are in style! This couple took their dedication to the environment a step further when they used only proceeds from their recycled cans to pay for their wedding! The couple managed to recycle more than 400,000 cans and raise approximately $4,000 to pay for their specialy day. Local food, home-brewed alcohol and flowers grown specifically for the wedding make this wedding a truly low-impact, eco-friendly affair.

Green Homes that Float
From New Orleans to Dubai, from houseboats to Boeing planes turned into homes, these eight cool, and green homes float above the rest. All of these homes are eco-friendly and sustainable. Each has its own reason for floating, some are houseboats, some are meant to survive another massive hurricane in the Louisiana. These homes show that design and be functional, green and interesting.

Hurricane Alex Spreads Oil, Has Officials Pondering New Oil-Skimmer
As Hurricane Alex pushes oil to new places, disturbs more wildlife and discolors more beaches, officials may be considering a new option to remove the oil that is marring the gulf. Using an oil tanker that has now been converted into a skimmer, could be turning problem-causer into problem-solution.

Into the Green and Beyond
Some people are very dedicated to leading a sustainable lifestyle. They recycle, are conscientious of the environment and are dedicated to making our world a better place. Can this same dedication extend to the end of a person’s life? The New York Times Green Blog explores this issue and discovers an eco-friendly way to limit impact on the planet even at the end of a life: a green funeral. Traditional caskets wreak havoc on the environment, every year, 30 million board feet of hardwood, 104,000 tons of steel, 2,700 tons of copper and bronze and 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete is buried in cemeteries across the nation.  A greener option is cremation and burial in a biodegradable urn, caskets made from renewable materials and burials in fields and forests. Though these types of burials are rare in the U.S. right now, there are options for those interested.

Casa Grande Hosts Alternative Fuels Workshop
The Renewable Fuels Association’s Alternative Fuels Workshop is coming to Casa Grande, Ariz.  If you are interested in learning more about fuels from Biodiesel to ethanol to Propane to vegetable oil, this workshop is right for you.  The Alternative Fuels Workshop will answer your questions about how to use renewable and alternative fuels to power your business and your life.  Visit www.altfuelsalliance.org if you would like to attend the July 23 conference.

Green Companies Flock to West Valley
With its proximity to California, freeways, available industrial space and nearness to other manufacturers, the West Valley has become a haven for green businesses.  Recently, Linamar Corp., announced plans to open a facility, which will initially employ 52 people, in Glendale.  Linamar Corp., is only one of several solar companies and suppliers to open and operate a facility in Glendale.  This Phoenix Business Journal article details the West Valley’s solar expansion.

Energy Efficiency

Green News Roundup – Energy Efficiency, Green Organizations & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about energy efficiency auditing, promoting your company as a green organization and more.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see in the roundup to kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles about sustainability efforts in the Valley and state.

REEis Provides Independence From High Energy Costs
REEis, a local Valley company that specializes in energy efficiency auditing and contracting is hosting an Independence Day promotion in hopes to get more efficient homes on our streets. Utilizing low cost, energy efficient improvements to our homes and commercial buildings can greatly reduce energy consumption and our dependence on oil and foreign energy sources. “America’s Energy Independence Day Promotion” will be offered for one week starting June 26. REEis is also offering Arizona homeowners a $29 comprehensive energy audit if booked by July 4th. If interested please call (480) 969-7500 or visit the company’s website at: reeishome.com

Is it Energy’s Turn Now?
The New York Times Green Blog looks at the possibility of energy and climate change legislation being in the works for the government. As the financial regulation nears completion, some Democrats are hopeful that this next challenge can be met before Congress leaves town in August.

June Education Forum: Green Marketing
The Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce is hosting their monthly education forum at Rio Salado College on Monday, June 28th at 5:30 p.m. The topic for this month’s forum is exploring best practices for promoting your company as a green organization. Learn about effective strategies to maximize your green marketing efforts and minimize impact on the environment. RSVP to the event here. For full details visit: www.arizonagreenchamber.org/Phoenix/

First U.S. offshore wind energy project faces lawsuit
Environmental groups plan to file suit in federal court against the Obama administration regarding the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound. The groups accuse the administration of violating the Endangered Species Act with the approval of the project. The suit states that the project, which calls for a set of 130 wind turbine generators to be installed on Nantucket Sound, would fail to protect endangered birds and whales. Yikes, don’t know how this will pan out but I hope the Obama administration finds a way to work this out amicably.

Energy Saving Air Conditioning

Green News Roundup – Green Renovation, Energy Saving Air Conditioning & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about video conferencing, green renovation, energy saving air conditioning and local sustainability-related events taking place throughout the Valley.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

Energy Saving A/C Conquers All Climates
As Phoenix rolls into its hottest time of the year, residents are all dreading the energy bill. Keeping cool requires non-stop air conditioning, and that doesn’t come cheap! Or does it? The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has invented a new air conditioning process that has the potential of using 50 to 90 (yes 90!) percent less energy than today’s best units. The process uses membranes, evaporative cooling and liquid desiccants in a way that has never been done before. But alas Phoenix, we’ll still have to wait for our cheaper A/C as the system is best for dry climates that don’t get too hot or humid for example Denver. It doesn’t work well for climates such as ours or very humid climates like Miami. Still, it’s encouraging to know that alternatives are in the works and hopefully ours will come out in the near future!

Sealing Deals in Virtual Space
Video conferencing is a term we’ve all heard before. However, as technology has progressed so has this innovative conferencing method. Cisco-AT&T Telepresence is one of the latest incarnations of this exciting new technology. The New York Times Green blog covered this topic, noting the significant benefits limiting airline travel for conferences can have on the environment. Not only does this help the environment, it also helps businesses save money. London-based Carbon Disclosure Project examined “how greater reliance on teleconferencing might affect business costs and emissions,” also encouraging companies to collect data about greenhouse gas emissions hoping they will take steps to reduce them.

Valley Partnership Presents “Green Renovation for Progress & Profit”
Learn how to apply the green renovation and operation strategies of Arizona landmark, El Chorro Lodge, to your business.  The tagline of this breakfast, which will be held on Friday, June 25, at 7 a.m., is “A case study on solar strategies fueled in part by sticky buns!”  Come educate yourself on how to efficiently use green power in your business while chowing down on El Chorro’s famous sticky buns.  To register for this event visit www.valleypartnership.org.

New Meritage Green Home Concept Gets Kid-Friendly
Turn your kids into junior sheriffs working for fictional Sheriff M. Green who takes wasted energy from Wally Wasteful and gives it back to the community.  On Saturday, June 26 at 10 a.m., Meritage Homes will literally unveil its green home concept in Meritage Home’s Lyon’s Gate in Gilbert.  The work on this green home concept has been kept under a secretive green drape and will finally be revealed.  Contact Mary Garrett at (602) 432-2010 or mary@mgpublicrelations.com for more information on how to take part in this green unveiling.

Clean Up After Your Pet the Green Way
Ever wanted to clean up after your dog in a more environmentally-friendly way?  Well PoopBags, Inc. is here to help.  PoopBags, a pet waste disposal product, is made with renewable resources like corn.  This American-made product is 100 percent biodegradable, shelf-stable and will decompose at the rate of an apple after usage.  PoopBags, Inc. is trying to make the world a better place for generations to come.  If you’d like to order PoopBags, visit www.poopbags.com.

EarthFest Night is Back!
Valley Forward’s Annual EarthFest Educators Night is back for the sixth time.  Arizona kindergarten through 12th grade teachers have the chance to win $5,000 to put toward environmental programs in their classroom, school or community.  Free resources on environmental education and how to create a greener school will also be available to attendees.  EarthFest Educators Night combines education and entertainment in innovative programming that uses Arizona’s unique desert character.  To learn more about this free event, held Thursday, Sept. 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Phoenix Zoo, visit www.valleyforward.org.

USA Energy Guide

Green News Roundup – Alternative Energy, USAEnergyGuide & More

I’m always on the lookout for developments in the local sustainability industry. USAEnergyGuide was started by three Arizona entrepreneurs passionate about the environment. Realizing that rebate and tax incentives are hard for consumers to navigate, they jumped at the opportunity to create a site that would be simple and user-friendly.

Originally only for Arizona residents, the site has recently expanded to include California and Texas with plans to add more states in the future. USAEnergyGuide is your free online source used to calculate rebates and savings that you can receive by switching to more sustainable forms of energy.

I had the pleasure of meeting with two of the company’s founders — Michael Barber, director of operations and Ken Bonham, director of business development — who took the time to answer a few questions I had about their company.

What led to the creation of USA Energy Guide?
One of our Founders was going through the process of researching how much it would cost to install solar panels on their home, how much they would save on a monthly and yearly basis and what the tax incentives and rebates were, but couldn’t find a site that answered all these questions. So, we sat down and mapped out how we could make this process easier for consumers.

What challenges did you encouter and how were these overcome?
Similar to many startups we had the classic chicken and egg scenario. In order for the company to be successful, we needed installers who matched our qualification criteria and qualified leads (consumers) who were interested in being contacted by these installers. We worked to introduce ourselves to every installer in the markets we served so they could understand how we could help them be successful and also focused on connecting to consumers via social media. Along the way, various local media outlets stumbled across our site and did stories on us. The press stories and word of mouth helped us overcome both these initial challenges.

What are the company’s full line of  services?
For consumers, we provide simple ways to understand how much money alternative energy would save them, what rebates and incentives are available in their geographic area and all associated rebates for the products they are interested in. For installers, we provide leads to consumers and business owners who are qualified and ready to purchase these products.

What is your favorite aspect of the industry/company?
Our favorite aspect of the sustainability and alternative energy industry is that it is rapidly expanding and changing every day. There are new advances in solar technology and energy efficiency regularly, and more and more consumers are trying to understand how they can minimize their impact on the environment. This makes every day different and pushes our team to understand how we can help both our customers — installers and consumers — reach their goals.

What kind of a role do you think sustainability plays in today’s Arizona economy?
Right now, the sustainability industry in Arizona is only in its infancy. As costs for alternative energy technology decrease and consumers’ interest in living a greener lifestyle increase, the industry has nowhere to go, but up. However (and this is big however), the industry’s Achilles heel is support from local, state and federal governments. Without broad based government support to spur continued growth, the industry could die a quick death.

What has been the company’s greatest achievement to date?
From the beginning our greatest achievement has been providing information to consumers they couldn’t easily find before. Along with this, it’s the stories we hear from people who have used our site, found qualified installers and are now enjoying solar panels or solar water heaters in their home.

What are your future plans for the company?
While we have been primarily focused on the solar and energy efficiency industries, the sustainability industry goes well beyond those two verticals. We have big plans to not only expand the site beyond those verticals, but become a community where visitors can find a wealth of information across a wide variety of sustainability topics, both on a national and local level.

www.usaenergyguide.com

Battling Urban Sprawl by Creating Parks

Green News Roundup – Recycling, Oil Spill, Climate Change & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about stylish ways to recycle your paper, climate change regulation, urban sprawl and more.

Please feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

Two-in-One Design
The talented folks over at Pigeontail Design have come up with a way to recycle all that junk mail and decorate your living room at the same time. How you may ask? Answer: The Papervore. This versatile piece of furniture doubles as a coffee table AND a paper shredder. Just crank it and be rid of all those pesky flyers. On that note, here are some quick links about recycling paper here in the Valley: phoenix.gov and www.recyclearizona.net.

Gulf oil spill figures may be double earlier estimates
Unfortunately the oil spill disaster isn’t getting better any time soon. According to government scientists, as many as 40,000 barrels of oil per day have been gushing into the gulf. And even more bad news, BP has said that the blown-out well won’t be plugged before August.

Preventing Urban Sprawl with Parks
Phoenix has mastered urban sprawl, however, what if we could conserve land by creating more parks? This blog suggests that urban sprawl could be reduced if cities simply provided citizens with more park space. Parks provide citizens with the same open, natural space that yards do, but parks do it in a more space-conscious way.

Senate Rejects Republican Effort to Thwart Carbon Limits
This article from The New York Times details how a Senate vote could effect potential climate change legislation in the future. On Thursday, June 10, the Senate rejected an attempted block on new EPA carbon emissions limits. The EPA released findings in 2009 that showed that carbon emissions were a threat to human health and the environment. Limiting carbon emissions is a contentious debate on both sides of the aisle.

Green News Roundup- Moving Toward a Meat-Free Diet

Green News Roundup – Meat-Free Diet, BP Oil Spill In Perspective

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about curbing meat and dairy intake to save the world from impacts of climate change, the BP oil spill in perspective and more.

Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet
Meat lovers beware! According to a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report a “global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change.” According to the report, as the global population grows to a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable. To reach their conclusions, the panel of experts ranked products, resources, economic activities and transport according to their environmental impacts. “Agriculture was on a par with fossil fuel consumption because both rise rapidly with increased economic growth, they said.” The only way to reduce these impacts would be a worldwide diet change, one that doesn’t include animal products. What do you think? Can we lower our meat intake?

BP Oil Spill in Perspective
We’ve been hearing many news reports about the size and scope of the BP oil spill, but it’s difficult to put the facts into perspective when you’re observing from a distance. Sometimes the true devastation cannot be accurately portrayed. However, thanks to a new website there’s a way to bring the spill to a real-life vantage point. The site www.ifitwasmyhome.com uses satellite map technology to illustrate how the oil spill would look if it was in your state, near your home. The results are staggering. When I visited the site, I saw all of Phoenix and many surrounding communities covered in the black oil. The imagery is effective in showing just how serious this oil spill is.
For more photos of the oil spill and its aftermath visit the Huffington Post website.

AZ Energy Guide
Ever wonder what you can do to save money and make your home more sustainable? Well a local company has come up with a FREE solution to help you do just that. AZ Energy Guide makes it simple. Just log on, specify your property type, power company, average monthly bill and see what kind of savings there are available to you. Then, to further inquire about available rebates, simply type in your address. This website makes saving money with solar a no-brainer.

Green News Roundup, Recycling Cigarettes, Solar and More

Green News Roundup – High-Efficiency Solar Projects & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about recycling cigarette butts, high-efficiency solar projects and more.

Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

A Call to Recycle Cigarette Butts
Every get annoyed by the countless cigarette butts that line every crevice of the sidewalks, roads, etc? Well fear not, a solution for this nuisance may be in the works! When New York State Assemblyman Michael G. DenDekker received a suggestion for a cigarette butt recycling program from a constituent he admittedly “had a little chuckle” at first. Luckily, he didn’t dismiss the idea until he did a little research on it. Turns out scientists in China had discovered that “soaking cigarette butts in water creates a solution that can protect steel pipes used by the oil industry from corroding.” And that’s not all! A designer in Brazil cleans cigarette butts and spins them with sheep wool into clothes while an inventor in Ohio has a patent pending to turn cigarette butts into sealants and adhesives. Pretty impressive for something that most of us would assume is hardly fit to be recycled. Who knows what else may be on the horizon?

Victorville Campus to Unveil High-Efficiency Solar Project
A new high-efficiency solar project has been revealed at Victor Valley College in Victorville, Calif. The school’s new 1-megawatt plant will utilize concentrator photovoltaics, or CPV. The technology is claimed to generate more energy at lower costs while using less open space. The plant will sit on a six-acre dirt plot in Victorville and will provide 30 percent of the campus’ power. This $4.5-million facility will be the largest of its kind in North America.

Oil Spill in the Mangroves is a Disgusting, Sticky Mess
Guest blogger Philippe Cousteau, chief correspondent for Planet Green shared his up close and personal accounts of the BP oil spill while reporting from Grand Isle, Louisiana. His reports show a sobering reality of the effects as they hit close to home. After visiting with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fish Department he learns that oil has made its way into the mangroves. This means that some of the most fragile wetland habitats in the world are at serious risk.

Green News Roundup- Biogas Powered Data Centers

Green News Roundup – Greenhouse Gases, Biogas-Powered Data Centers & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about greenhouse gases, biogas-powered data centers and more. Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

One Moos and One Hums, but They Could Help Power Google
“Information technology and manure have a symbiotic relationship,” said Chandrakant D. Patel, director of H.P.’s sustainable information technology laboratory. If these words are come as a surprise to you, you’re not the only one! According to this New York Times piece “with the right skills, a dairy farmer can rent out land and power to technology companies and recoup an investment in the waste-to-fuels systems within two years.”
It seems to be the perfect solution for all parties involved, companies need places to build and power their large computing center and “dairy farmers have increasingly been looking to deal with their vast collections of smelly cow waste by turning it into something called biogas.”

If You Build It…
In this piece in the New York Times Green Blog, it’s revealed that actor Kevin Costner “has been overseeing the construction of oil separation machines to prepare for the possibility of another disaster of the magnitude of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.”
Costner is most famous for his acting roles, but he is also an environmental activist and fisherman. He purchased the nascent technology from the government in 1995 and even put $24 million of his own money to develop the technology for the private sector. This week it was revealed that BP’s chief operating officer, Dough Suttles, stated that the company had approved six of Ocean Therapy’s machines for testing. The centrifuge processing technology essentially acts like a giant vacuum, that sucks oil from water, separates it and sends it back into the water 99.9 percent purified.

National Academy of Sciences urges strong action to cut greenhouse gases
This week, the National Academy of Sciences called for big changes in the actions to cut greenhouse gases. They called for “taxes on carbon emissions, a cap-and-trade program for such emissions or some other strong action to curb runaway global warming.”

These actions would increase the cost of using coal and petroleum, but the Academy argues that this is necessary as we continue to battle the negative impacts from climate change. The three reports, totaling more than 860 pages provide some broad outlines for the U.S. to respond to this ever-increasing threat.

EPA: BP Must Use Less Toxic Dispersant
The latest updates on the BP Oil Spill are available on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website. On Thursday, May 20th, the EPA issued a directive requring BP to “identify and use a less toxic and more effective dispersant from the list of EPA authorized dispersants.” Dispersants are a chemical that is used to break up the oil so that the oil beads are more easily degraded.

Green News Roundup- Alternative Energy Sources, Bioplastics and more

Green News Roundup – Alternative Energy Sources, Bioplastics & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about green entrepreneurs, alternative energy sources, bioplastics and more.

Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

Body Heat: Sweden’s New Green Energy Source
This article will make you think twice the next time you’re sweating it out at the gym or simply walking to work. Swedish engineers have figured out a way to harness body heat and transfer it to energy for an office building. Though using excess body heat to warm a building isn’t a new concept, transferring it from one building to another is. The future for this new energy source is exciting!

Entrepreneurs Ditch Day Jobs to Create Green mobile apps
Two University of Arizona graduates developed a green application for the iPhone geared toward the environmentally conscious consumer. iGoGreen offers green tips for hundreds of situations.

Solar Inspired, Eco-Friendly Gallery Opens at Arizona Science Center
Arizona Science Center announced the grand opening of its newly renovated gallery, Solarville. This hands-on gallery is focused on sustainability including exhibits on how to harness and distribute sustainable green energy, exploring ways to utilize solar and renewable energy in your everyday life and more. The exhibit opens May 23 and will offer daily demonstrations.

The Promise and Pitfalls of Bioplastic
In a previous post I wrote about petroleum and its strong presence in our everyday products. Since petroleum-based plastics do not biodegrade, bioplastics are hoping to fill the gap. This article discusses the future of the environmentally friendly plastic and its role in a petroleum-based world.

Green News Roundup, Wind Energy in US

Green News Roundup – Wind Industry, Green Products

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about green products for the home, that status of the wind industry in the U.S. and more. Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com.

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

Cape Cod Project Is Crucial Step for U.S. Wind Industry
Offshore wind turbines have been crucial to generating electricity in nine European countries, and China’s first opens this month. Finally, after 10 years of effort, the Obama administration is getting ready to announce the decision on Cape Wind off the coast of Massachusetts. The decision could determine the future of wind energy in the United States. (This article, written Monday, provides context for the project, which was approved Wednesday.)

Why Are Windmills Always White?
Now that the Cape Cod project has been approved, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of how wind energy and windmills work. It may all seem basic, but this article explains the little nuances of windmills — the color, the design — and how they work together to provide us with energy.

IKEA to put solar panels on roof of Tempe store
IKEA is planning to install 2,600 solar panels on its 46,000-square-foot Tempe location.  It will produce about one million kilowatt hours of electricity every year and offset 712 tons of carbon. This is IKEA’s third solar project, following Pittsburgh and Brooklyn, and is expected to be completed in the fall.

Green Products for the Home
Renovating? Seize the opportunity to make adjustments to reduce energy and water use. This article suggests places to shop for sustainable home items, and suggests specific items, such as the Solatube, a skylight-like device that can be installed on a roof to redirect sunlight into a house. As long as you’re making changes, might as well make them green.

60% of Americans Live Where Pollution “Reaches Dangerous Levels”
Steps have been taken to decrease air pollution in cities in recent years, but unfortunately it continues to be a problem. 175 million Americans currently live in places where air pollution reaches dangerous levels on a regular basis. Hopefully legislation will keep coming and pollution will continue to decrease.