Friday, 21 January 2011 10:33 Written by Dare Wenzler
The growing cost of commuting -- in both time and money -- is making working from home more and more attractive. At the same time, technological advances are making it easier than ever to work from a home office. There are a lot of advantages to working at home but, before you set your home office up, there are a number of important factors to consider. [caption id="attachment_7423" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Another advantage to working at home: the casual dress code! (image courtesy of chiefhomeofficer.com)"][/caption] The first thing you'll need to think about is finding a space in your home to put your office that is 1) private , so that family members are not constantly interrupting you, and 2) accessible, if you plan to have clients or customers visit you in your office. The den or a spare bedroom, for example, are obvious choices but what if you don't have a space like this? Here are a few other options to consider that may not have occurred to you:
- Basement: If you have a basement, this may be where you'll find the most available space.
- Attic: An attic can be a large, quiet space–and also bright and cheerful, if you install skylights or roof windows.
- Attached Garage: A garage will have easy and private access. It has quite a bit of room and can be finished off fairly easily. The big space left by the overhead door is a wonderful opportunity to design in some nice windows and/or door into your office.
- Hallway: Hallways with niches or extra space are opportunities for small office spaces.
- Closets: Closets are usually in short supply, so taking one over for an office space may not be a popular idea in your household. But possibly the closet contents can be moved to a basement area, attic area or someplace that is good enough for storage but not good enough for office space.
- Sharing Space: A wall or two in the kitchen, living room, a bedroom or some other room may work for you. Possibly some office functions can be in one space and others in a second or third space (try setting up your computer in the bedroom and link to the printer in the kitchen).
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Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:49 Written by Alterra Hetzel
If your organization is looking for a way to show its commitment to the environment as a group, an event provides a great opportunity for you and your attendees to make a statement by offsetting the event's carbon footprint. Our CarbonFree® Events program makes it easy and affordable for you to distinguish your event and reduce its climate impact. In fact, in 2011 we already have two great examples of organizations committed to decreasing the environmental impact of their annual events. "Forward Together" The 2011 Congress of Healthcare Leadership Chicago, Illinois March 21st through March 22nd This event is hosted by ACHE (American College of Healthcare Executives), an international professional society of more than 30,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations. This event allows healthcare professionals to connect with colleagues, find solutions to challenges, and explore the new healthcare frontier. ACHE is committed to offsetting all the base emissions of this event through a partnership with Carbonfund.org. “The Museum of Tomorrow” The American Association of Museums' 105th Annual Meeting Houston, Texas May 22nd through May 25th As the museum field’s premier professional development opportunity in 2011, the AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™ will showcase the best thinking from both practitioners and visionaries on the major issues confronting us and the communities we serve. The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. They are dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. The AAM Annual Meeting is also dedicated to reducing their climate impact by offering participants an easy way to offset the emissions resulting participant travel and attendance for the annual meeting. Find out how you can offset your event at: www.carbonfund.org/events
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 14:49 Written by Jordana Fyne
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="387" caption="image courtesy of tomfishburne.com"][/caption] The Federal Trade Commission's "Green Guides" are nothing new. The first one came out in 1992, went through several revisions and since 1998 has sat stagnant with vague suggestions on environmental marketing. As interest in sustainability picked up over the years, so did the irrelevant claims manufacturers would make about environmental friendliness, like air conditioners labeled with a big green "CFC-Free" sticker. CFCs are banned by law -- you don't get brownie points for not making an illegal product. In October, the FTC released an updated Green Guide that addresses the issue of marketing green energy and carbon offsets for the first time as well as helps define deceptive marketing claims and adds specific language on renewable energy and carbon offset claims. The guide was open to public comment and the final version will be released this year. Carbonfund.org is excited the FTC is ready to hold other companies to the same standards it uses to certify products, which involve a rigorous life-cycle analysis of the product that ensures all environmental claims are real, specific, measurable, third-party backed, verifiable and transparent. While the Green Guides aren't binding regulations, they do set the bar in measuring compliance with the FTC Act, which allows the agency to prosecute against “deceptive acts or practices” in marketing and advertising. So what is the future of green product claims going to look like? The revised Green Guides set out some clear Do's and Don'ts for enviro-marketing, including:
- DO avoid broad claims
- DO clarify and qualify all claims
- DO have competent and reliable scientific evidence
- DO carefully choose seals and certifications
- DO ensure claims are clear and limited to a specific benefit
- DON’T overstate the use of renewable energy
- DON’T double count renewable energy or carbon offset credits
- DON’T claim that products are “carbon neutral” without knowing the carbon footprint
- DON’T use false claims in certification marks and seals of approval
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 17:29 Written by Linda Kelly
“No one takes care of them the way I do,” a refrain you’ll often hear from owners whose pets are ill, or who must travel and leave their beloved “family members” in the care of others. Well, if you live in vicinity of Patterson, New York, you’re in luck! Celebrating 29 years of quality service, the staff at Brook Farm Veterinary Center in Patterson provides a warm, comfortable, and professional atmosphere focused on the same family values that formed the cornerstone of the practice in 1982. Brook Farm Veterinary Center is a full-service small animal hospital that provides complete veterinary care, including canine and feline boarding, surgical care and hospitalization. The folks at Brook Farm Veterinary are committed to sustaining strong and vibrant communities, improving quality of life, and making a positive difference in the communities where they live and work. The practice maintains a unique set of values, including a commitment to “WOW” service, embracing and driving change, and creating a fun, creative and open-minded environment for patients and staff. Need another reason to check out Brook Farm? How about 10 reasons? Their site outlines 10 ways they go above and beyond the competition to make a trip to the vet, well, more than just a trip to the vet. Our favorite is #3: They actually answer their phones. In addition to their exemplary customer service, Brook Farm Veterinary has partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset the carbon emissions of their business practice by supporting Carbonfund.org’s projects that contribute to environmental sustainability. If you're a pet owner in the Patterson, New York, area looking for the perfect practice for your furry friends, be sure to give the folks at Brook Farm Veterinary Center a call. There's always a live person to answer, even at 3 am on New Year's Day.
Friday, 14 January 2011 16:45 Written by Linda Kelly
Have a special occasion coming up? Whether it's a birthday, anniversary, get well wish or new baby to celebrate, make it a truly unique and healthy gift with OrganicBaskets.com. When you send an Organic gift basket, you are letting the recipient know that you care about them and the environment. Organic Baskets is a family owned and operated business dedicated to selling only USDA certified Organic gift baskets from the best orchards and farms in the world. As a new partner with Carbonfund.org, Organic Baskets is taking the extra step to offset their business emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction projects. Organic Baskets has a gift basket designed for everyone and for every occasion. They offer a large selection of congratulations gift baskets to help celebrate any special day, as well as a wonderful line of eco-friendly corporate gifts that make it easy to show clients how much you appreciate them. OrganicBaskets.com guarantees 100% customer satisfaction, offering a refund or a replacement gift to be sent out immediately. Act now to take advantage of their Valentine's Day special. Take 10% off the gift of your choice by entering the code "holiday" at checkout. OrganicBaskets.com -- Always Fresh... Always Organic.
Last year tied with 2005 as the warmest year since records began in 1880, with global combined land and water surface temperatures 1.12°F above the 20th century average. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their data this week, which was corroborated soon after by NASA's Goddard Institute report that came to the same conclusion. The northern hemisphere broke records as the warmest year on record above the 20th century average, while the southern hemisphere experienced less extreme warming with 2010 ranking as the sixth warmest year. Furthermore, 2010 saw a dramatic shift in the El Niï¿½oï¿½Southern Oscillation, which influences temperature and precipitation patterns around the world. Click here or the map below to see the interesting graphic NOAA put together on significant climate anomalies in 2010, including the worst heat wave to hit Russia in 130 years and the most devastating monsoon floods to hit Pakistan since 1929. most recent UN climate summit in Cancun where bold plans where outlined and then left to flounder. UN climate representatives walked away from Cancun without creating a system to enforce the plan, track the dollars or measure the progress. Thus it will continue to fall primarily on non-governmental actors, including individuals and businesses, to fight climate change.
First they brought us the sweet sounds of ABBA and Ace of Base. Then they delighted us with the home decor empire Ikea. Now Sweden's hottest idea export is a clever source of cheap and renewable energy: body heat capture. Stockholm Central Station is the busiest train depot in Scandinavia with over 250,000 travelers and shoppers bustling through each day. Engineers for real estate company Jernhusen figured out how to harness the heat energy generated by the moving bodies and use it to heat an office across the street, lowering that building's energy bill by 25%.
There are about 250,000 people a day who pass through Stockholm Central Station. They in themselves generate a bit of heat. But they also do a lot of activities. They buy food, they buy drinks, they buy newspapers and they buy books. All this energy generates an enormous amount of heat. So why shouldn't we use this heat. It's there. If we don't use it then it will just be ventilated away to no avail. -- Klas Johnasson, one of the system's creators and head of Jernhusen's environmental divisionThe commuters in the train station aren't left out in the cold to warm the office dwellers across the street. What happens is Central Station is heated appropriately, and then heat exchangers in the ventilation system convert excess body heat into hot water, which is then pumped into the office's heating system. This isn't the first instance of body heat harvest, but it is the first to figure out how to transfer energy to a different location. Can you imagine how much clean, renewable energy could be generated by the sofa-slipcover-seeking hoards of the 316 Ikea stores worldwide? Sounds like a match made in Sweden.
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 15:14 Written by Jordana Fyne
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="384" caption="Image courtesy of Solar Thermal Magazine"][/caption] A record-breaking $243 billion was spent globally on clean energy investment in 2010, which represents a 30% increase from 2009 and double the amount spent in 2006, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report released yesterday. Wind and solar power, as well as energy-smart technologies like electric vehicles and power storage, all saw a boost in investment dollars, which Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, lauds as a huge achievement. "It flies in the face of scepticism about the clean energy sector among public market investors, who have been concerned about the sustainability of subsidy programs in Europe, the failure of the Obama administration to deliver a climate or an energy deal, and the crescendo of ill?informed doubts about climate change," Liebreich said. China and Europe were the main drivers in last year's clean energy push with investment in China up 30% to $51.1 billion, by far the largest figure for any country. Small-scale generation projects like rooftop solar panels surged by 91% in 2010 to $59.6 billion, largely in Germany but also in the U.S., Czech Republic, Italy and elsewhere. “We have been saying for some time that the world needs to reach a figure of $500 billion per annum investment in clean energy if we are to see carbon emissions peak by 2020," Liebreich said. "What we are seeing in these figures for the first time is that we are half?way there, and it is very good news." While this surge in clean energy investment is positive, Liebreich does point out that 2010's growth was spurred by government intervention, particularly in China and Europe. He suggests that the industry needs to continue to drive down costs to reduce reliance on this type of support so that the global community can eventually thrive on these alternative energy solutions. Find out how you can hasten the transition to a clean energy future by learning more about Carbonfund.org's renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects.