Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category
August 9th, 2009
The partnership between a home improvement company and a shelter provider might seem simple, but the plans that two established organizations have now are far from cut and dry. A $30 million green building program is going national, funded by the Home Depot Foundation, and plans to build 5,000 efficient homes over the next five years.
Habitat for Humanity and the Home Depot Foundation started a pilot last year through 30 affiliates that resulted in 260 sustainable homes. The Partners in Sustainable Building program began there, and is now poised to break into the national sphere.
Some of the homes were even certified to LEED Platinum, which resulted in nearly 50 percent energy savings in some cases. During the pilot, which according to Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford was “extremely successful,” early results yielded 15 to 30 percent energy savings.
At the end of August, over 120 Habitat for Humanity affiliates will participate in the national rollout across 45 states. Affiliates will receive grants depending on certifications that structures attain– $3,000 for Energy Star guidelines and up to $5,000 for other nationally recognized standards.
Habitat expects nearly 1,500 homes to be built between the August start and the end of 2010. Some of the certifications mentioned by Reckford were the National Association of Home Builders standard, LEED, EarthCraft and Enterprise Green Communities.
Retrofitting has been an emphasis by administration recently, citing green jobs and efficiency, though Habitat is meeting an ever-expanding need for new and innovative construction. These new buildings will be supported by Habitat’s network through eight Habitat State Support Organizations (which service 4,400 affiliates) and will be growing in size and host new training sessions to teach green standards.
Out of the 263 homes built in the pilot program, most buildings leaned towards a higher green building level (135) and 128 were certified to the Energy Star guidelines.
Popularity: 11% [?]
August 6th, 2009
Universities and colleges are rated all the time - for their academics, their athletics, and even their parties. High school students rely on highly respected raters like the Princeton Review to help them narrow down their college application choices. The Princeton Review also rates universities and colleges based on their environmentally-related policies, practices and academic offerings. For 2010, the Princeton Review rated 697 schools in the nation to see how green they really were. Scores went from 60 to 99, and this year 15 schools received the highest Green Rating of 99 and were placed on the Princeton Review Green Honor Roll.
Popularity: 3% [?]
August 5th, 2009
With summer in full swing, it might be time for some new ideas for entertainment. New green ideas, of course! Whether it’s catching a movie in a theater powered by solar power or hosting a barbecue using (gulp) reusable plates and utensils, check out our suggestions on how to close out summer with a (green) bang.
Popularity: 4% [?]
July 30th, 2009
When it comes to the beach, it’s what you can’t see that can really hurt you. We all have irrational beach fears of sharks, jellyfish, rip currents and the like, but our greatest chance of getting hurt or sick at the seaside or lakeside comes from not from these scary but rare threats but instead from the bacteria and other pollutants in the water.
According to the latest version of the NRDC’s annual beach water quality report, pollution-related beach closure and advisory days in 2008 exceeded 20,000 nationwide for the fourth year running. Seven percent of water samples collected at beaches across the country contained human or animal wastes, and over 13 percent exceeded health standards in the Great Lakes. By state the worst offenders were Louisiana (29%), Ohio (19%) and Indiana (18%), meaning that you have a 1 in 5 chance of running into some smelly stuff in these states - yuck! Delaware, New Hampshire and Virginia were best, all falling at or below 1%.
Where does this crud come from? The primary source is stormwater runoff, especially from urban areas. Clean rain falls on dirty surfaces. It picks up all sorts of pollution on its way to the ocean, river or lake - trash, metals, oil and grease and yes, human and animal waste. On a side note, we can all play a role in helping with this problem. The use of rain barrels, rain gardens and other rainwater capture techniques help keep the clean water in your yard before it gets to the much dirtier streets and storm drains.
Some of the best beaches were:
- California, Stinson Beach, Marin County (0%)
- California, Newport Beach, Orange County (0%)
- Delaware, Rehoboth Beach, Sussex County (0%)
- Florida, John Lloyd State Park, Broward County (0%)
- Hawaii, Sandy Beach County Park, Honolulu (0%)
- Massachusetts, South Beach State Park (Martha’s Vineyard), Dukes County (0%)
- Michigan, Petoskey State Park, Emmet County (0%)
- Minnesota, Park Point (Beach House), St Louis County (0%)
- North Carolina, Ocracoke, Hyde County (0%)
- New Jersey, Atlantic City Beaches @ Lincoln, Atlantic County (0%)
- New York, Coney Island Beach, Kings County (0%)
- Texas, South Padre Island, Cameron County (0%)
- Virginia, Virginia Beach (0%)
And now some of the real stinkers:
- California, Santa Monica State Beach @ The Pier (43%)
- Florida, Alligator Point, Franklin County (56%)
- Louisiana, Holly Beach 5, Cameron County (50%)
- Ohio, Edgewater State Park, Cuyahoga County (34%)
Popularity: 4% [?]
July 28th, 2009
It’s still summer, the perfect time to picnic, enjoy the wonderful weather, your homegrown tomatoes and a sustainable wine. Wineries are getting back to their roots as well as adding some new technology to produce not only fantastic wines, but in a way that reduces their carbon footprint and environmental impact. California wines are dominating the sustainable wine business and they are employing a lot of techniques to do so, and it’s not just about producing an organic or biodynamic wine. There’s a growing list of participants in the Sustainable Wine Growing Program and you’ll be pleased to find that some of your favorites are on that list. As you might suspect, not only do sustainable growing and business practices save the wineries money, but they’re also producing great wines. (more…)
Popularity: 6% [?]