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The Cost-Efficient, and Energy Efficient Future of Power Bars

Energy waste can take many different forms, such as failing to turn the lights off when leaving a room. Now, with Cactus, this is no longer an issue. Cactus is a power bar which connects to the household WiFi, and allows users to turn devices which are plugged into it on and off using a smartphone. It also has a sensor that turns the lights on when someone enters a room and then turns them off again when they leave. On average, “standby power” accounts for 10% of American energy bills, which can total over $100 a year. With Cactus this can be easily managed. The video posted below was made by the inventors to promote Cactus as a crowd sourcing project, but it also shows the device in action. They have since met their monetary goals and are developing their prototypes. These power strips can currently be ordered for about forty dollars, which is the least expensive of the smart power bars on the current market. Check out the article that creator Giuseppe Crosti wrote for the Huffington post about his journey to make Cactus an energy saving reality, and developer Paul Rolfe’s blog entry about the device!cactus-outlet-green-2

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Tidal Power Comes to Scotland!

After over a decade of testing and prototype work, Atlantis’ MeyGen tidal array is set to move forward! Over the next two years, two tidal turbines will be installed on the sea bed of the inner sound of the Pentland Firth. By 2020 that number will increase to 61, and when the project is fully installed the number will reach 269 turbines! This will power 150,000 homes, and take 100 people to maintain. The project has been financed by many large grants from different levels of the UK government and corporations; the funding totals at £50m! Set to begin construction later this year, this tidal array will be the first of its size and type in the world! Read the full report at BBC Scotland: http://bbc.in/XMmGaz.turbine farm

A Big Leap For Wind Power

AltaerosEnergies

A look at the BAT as it is being raised into the sky.

 

Altaeros Energy’s Buoyant Airborne Turbine, or BAT, is the beginnings of a new step for Wind Energy. This turbine is not on a tower, but a helium blimp housing a turbine which is tethered to the ground from about 300 meters in the air (making it the worlds highest wind turbine!). The air is not only more powerful as you climb higher into the atmosphere, but the technology is less prone to problem. Without the massive steel tower, and yaw mechanism which rotates the turbine to face the wind as it changes, the maintenance is much less significant. The turbine also is quieter, while producing more energy! Although this technology is only in prototype phase, tests have been positive. Now being tested over Alaska, CEO Ben Glass predicts to provide power at about $0.18 per kilowatt-hour, about half the price of off-grid electricity in Alaska.

It seems like this is a win for energy efficiency and standards of living! Kudos to Altaeros! Find a full article, from The Spirit Science here: Wind Turbines Take to the Skies to Generate a Magnificent Quanta of Energy VIDEO! , as well as from IEEE Spectrum here.

 

The Future of What Lies Over Our Heads

green roofing

A “Green Roof” is a roof which doubles as green space. With the use specially designed irrigation technology, and added supports to the roofing, plants of all sizes can be grown on the roofs of buildings – flat and slanted! See the image above for details on the layers of materials which go into creating a green roof, and click on it for more details!

Chicago City Hall

Green Space on top of Chicago City Hall is both economically, and aesthetically pleasing!

This technology is not terribly new, however is generally outside the realm of common knowledge. It is a fantastic way to reclaim urban spaces to both wellness and energy-efficient purposes. For example, the Chicago City Hall and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore utilize the spaces for aesthetics, leisure, air quality, habitat creation and storm water control!

nanyang technilogical university

Problem solving architects not only prevent the loss of green space in busy Singapore, but add a modern architectural behemoth, and reduce heating effects of the sun!

Video’s about the Vancouver Convention Center, and the Michigan State University show how a green roof can contribute to roof life and reduced energy bills too. MSU’s research team measures the carbon storage of the plant systems and temperature of the roof with the added insulation of the plant layer. Both have provided encouraging results. Although these examples are commercial and large scale, Senga, a landscape architect uploaded a video of how to create your own green roof on a smaller scale. Check that out here

This Is a Chemical-Free Zone!

 

natural dye

A lot of the time we consider environmental issues to be that of wildlife, or resource depletion. How often do we consider the clothes we put on our bodies? How are they made? Natural dyes are one way to ensure the fabrics closest to our bodies are not harmful! Monika is a passionate natural dyer, her products are sold on Etsy, and documents her work on her blog – Red 2 White. She posted last month attributing some of her knowledge to Michael Garcia, master dyer! If you want to give it a try, check his books or DVD’s out to get some know-how, and Monika’s blog for ideas and product reviews!

michael garcia

 

Celebrating Nature

As Canadians, we come from such a rich land. Although it can be hard to pry our eyes away from the destruction of our beloved land, and planet, sometimes it is nice to look towards what we still have to enjoy. The Canadian Museum of Nature is doing just that. They’re extremely active within their museum, and dedicated to academic involvements in house, but their blog tells of trips farther afield. Yesterday, their post was written by Dr. Paula Piilonen, a museum mineralogist. She chronicled one day on the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition, where they searched for interesting minerals in Greenland and followed a humpback whale in their zodiacs! Enjoying the environment should not be forgotten in the urge to protect it! nature museum

Going Green: A Workplace Initiative

A lot of the time, sustainability and pro-eco choices are made at home, like composting or air-drying our laundry. This business takes eco-friendly to new and unusual level! Firstly, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is only LEED certified. The LEED certification stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a certification developed by the U.S. Green Building Council which rates the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. It hopes to encourage and help owners and operators to use resources responsibly and efficiently. The building utilizes geothermal heating and cooling, solar power, carbon dioxide detecting ventilation sensors, low flow plumbing and daylight sensing lights which automatically dim and brighten lights in accordance with the amount of natural light currently available; recycled plastics, rubbers, re-purposed woods, even sunflower hulls, are used whenever possible instead of new materials.

eco museum

Moreover, the museum’s exhibits are specifically tailored to sustainability. Attendee’s could learn about geothermal and solar energy, water conservation or recycling, and why they are important to our future as a planet. The museum holds summer camps, and provides educational material for teachers to utilize in the classroom, as well.

As the first “green” museum, they really due set a tone for what we are capable of within the commercial sector. Steps small and large can be made throughout out lives, home, work, and recreation.

Check out their website for more information on educational tools, green sites in the city, and to plan your visit to the first green museum!!

Cradle to Cradle, a Benchmark of Social Fairness

The Cradle to Cradle Certification is just one way to begin revolutionizing how we as a society harvest materials, manufacture products, and most importantly, what we do with them once they are not longer needed. Product Design must play a factor in a more sustainable future! For more information on the current environmental choices being made, stop by What’s New in Eco-Materials.

What's New in Eco-Materials

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I’m not really a big fan of “certification”. I understand the reasons for it and I know that many who offer it are morally ethical with only the highest intentions but it is also based on distrust and buying integrity with dollars. Still, I really like the Cradle to Cradle Products Institute video I’ve shared above. Certainly, I do believe that product designers, architects and ordinary consumers should take such considerations into account, when creating a new product, conceptualizing a new structure or purchasing a product. And I believe it is both important for NOW and for our future generations, already alive and growing up on this planet.

The thing is that “certification” has been recognized as a definite revenue generator, so that now there are so many possible systems to validate one’s self with, that it would cost a small fortune to sign on with all of them. This…

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LUSH Handmade Cosmetics’ Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

Lush

Based in Vancouver, Canada, LUSH Handmade Cosmetics’ mission is to make effective products from fresh organic fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils, and safe synthetics. The cosmetics company purchases ingredients only from companies that do not conduct or commission tests on animals, and they only test their products on humans. Furthermore, LUSH invents its own products and fragrances, making its products fresh by hand using little or no preservative or packaging and using only vegetarian ingredients.

The company’s inventors started making products by visiting farmer’s markets and flower shops, bringing their fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers back to their labs, and infusing them into their newest inventions. In fact, LUSH has its own ingredient encyclopedia called LUSHopedia. LUSH keeps track of all of the ingredients it uses in its products and lists them alphabetically in LUSHopedia (from African marigold oil to zinc oxide).

In addition to using as little packaging as possible, LUSH’s commitment to environmental stewardship includes finding ways to eliminate waste. The company works hard to ensure that the majority of its output from making and transporting products is recycled, composted, or re-used. Also, LUSH makes it a priority to use ingredients that are produced in a sustainable way. In keeping with this fresh, eco-friendly philosophy, LUSH uses almond and olive oil—not mineral oil—partly because the company thinks (as they state on their website) that “fields of trees make our lives much richer than oil fields.”

lush+cosmetics

By the numbers: Just this year at LUSH, responsible buying of recycled supplies for the company’s administrative offices helped save over 300 trees; 511,363 liters of water (135,000 gallons of water); and 675 gallons of oil. Moreover, LUSH’s responsible buying also helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28,000 CO2 equivalents. Thus, LUSH’s commitment to environmental stewardship has had and continues to have a significant, positive impact on the environment.

To visit LUSH’s website, click here.

To peruse the complete list of ingredients LUSH uses in its products, click here.

To learn why LUSH made the 2014 list of Canada’s Greenest Employers, click here.

INVISIBLE Translation Minimizes Carbon Footprint

photo Based near Montreal, Canada, INVISIBLE Translation is a professional language services bureau that provides high-quality Canadian French and English as well as Spanish translation, advertising adaptation, editing, revision, proofreading, and copy writing services. It is also a green language services provider that conducts its business in accordance with respect for the planet, the environment, and future generations.

INVISIBLE Translation was officially certified as a Green Business by the Institute for Green Business Certification (IGBC) on November 29th, 2013. After several weeks of demanding assessment, the IGBC found that INVISIBLE Translation’s business practices were environmentally responsible and compatible with a clean, green business model.

invisible_translation_chicago_editing_revision_proofreading_writing_adaptation_united-states_canada

Certified translator and President of INVISIBLE Translation Daniel Mainville remarked, “My colleagues and I believe that the translation of written material should be invisible in the sense that it should be read as if it were an original document, rather than a translation. We wanted to apply the same concept to environmental matters to keep the carbon footprint generated by our operations as close to invisible as possible. It was a moral imperative that led us to commit to the certification process.” To this end, INVISIBLE Translation takes practical steps every day to reduce its ecological footprint. Employees read documents on screen as much as possible; print only what is absolutely necessary; give preference to 100% recycled paper; recycle everything that is printed; and preserve information electronically.

To visit INVISIBLE Translation’s website, click here.

To learn more about how INVISIBLE Translation earned a Green Business Certification, click here.