Thursday, 13 January 2011 17:05

Swedes Harvest Body Heat to Warm Building

Written by
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 division
The 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

Clean Energy Investment Hits Record High in 2010

Written by
[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.
Tuesday, 11 January 2011 14:46

Natural Haircare Products Bring out the Moxie

Written by
Original Moxie creates hair care products “for the rest of us” – real people, not models or glossy fashion magazines. Moxie creator Rachel Blistein is “one of us” - just a regular person with 'challenging' hair and a knack for creating truly awesome hair products. Rachel personally crafts each product, from customizing herbal infusions to sourcing pure, natural ingredients and fine-tuning Moxie's iconic essential oil fragrances. She’s also a life-long nature lover, so the Moxie products are made from organic, unrefined ingredients that are as chemical-free and environmentally friendly as possible. Original Moxie is committed to using natural ingredients not just because they work, but because they create less of an environmental impact than their chemical counterparts. Natural ingredients also tend to be fully biodegradable and easily composted. “The dried herbs that go into the Original Moxie herbal infusions are lovingly collected and turned into our compost heap, which will, in turn, yield rich, black soil for our gardens,” Blistein said. "Moxie" means bucking convention and doing things your own way -- with spunk, spirit and style -- and that's exactly what the folks at Original Moxie have done. Original Moxie helps customers diagnose their hair care needs based on a combination of three characteristics: Density, Dryness, & Degree of Curl. Original Moxie's exclusive 3-D Diagnostic System™ eliminates the guesswork by helping identify the products that fit the “real you.” As part of its commitment to environmentally safe hair care products and environmentally sound business practices, Original Moxie “reduces, reuses, and recycles.” They minimize the use of disposable products and tools, reuse shipping boxes when possible, exclusively package hair products in recyclable bottles, and have partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset emissions from other business operations that can’t be eliminated. Get your Moxie going and visit www.originalmoxie.com to learn more.
We incite insight. That's the motto of Green Grid Analytics and Strategy Group LLC, and they mean it. The Green Grid Group is passionate about helping organizations get excited about learning how to build a sustainable future.

The Group focuses on working with organizations that deliver services and solutions to promote home energy efficiency, sustainable living, renewable energy, animal habitat conservation, climate impact management, and related areas. Or, as founder Steven Silverman likes to put it, “We believe that we are responsible for keeping our world safe, healthy and possible for future generations.”

Here's how it works: The Green Grid Group provides a conduit through which companies can study, understand and analyze consumers in the growing home efficiency and sustainability marketplace. Their technology tools bring companies closer to their customers, especially those who are already inclined to change their own behavior, increase conservation and improve home efficiency. [caption id="attachment_7244" align="alignleft" width="234" caption="58% of consumers project they will invest in Home Efficiency in 2010"][/caption] Green Grid views its role in today’s marketplace as identifying those consumers who are already inclined to change their own behavior to address issues like global climate change and help them to take action. They work with organizations whose missions increase conservation, reduce energy demand and costs, and reduce the human activity that may be driving climate change. Green Grid provides these sustainably-minded companies with information about and access to customers who want to change, aiding the organizations to make the greatest impact possible on helping consumers to change their behavior. As a new partner with Carbonfund.org, Green Grid Analytics and Strategy Group LLC “walk the walk.” Their choice to offset the business emissions from their own operations reflects their overall commitment to pursuing sustainable business practices and environmentally sound decisions. Learn more about their innovative market research and consulting at www.greengridgroup.com.
Monday, 10 January 2011 13:07

Consumer Electronics Trend Toward Sustainability

Written by
For anyone who's ever bought an item sealed in plastic clamshell packaging, it's no secret how difficult it is to open. The shocker is that some manufacturers are finally heeding our frustration and ditching the clamshell -- not just because it's annoying but largely due to the significant cost savings and reduction in environmental impact. When electronic toothbrush manufacturer Philips switched to recycled-cardboard packaging, plastic mass was reduced from 60g to 2g, shipping became "much less expensive," and the company saw a 60% improvement in approval ratings. This is just one trend highlighting the shift in private business to rework products to be more sustainable, as reported in the Consumer Electronics Association 2010 Sustainability Report. The document showcases the best in business when it comes to consumer electronics practices and offers case studies from manufacturers and retailers that focus on energy use, packaging, e-waste and other environmental issues the industry needs to tackle. The report holds up the CarbonFree® Certified Motorola CITRUS™ smartphone as an example of sustainable product design. The CITRUS features a housing made from 25% post-consumer recycled plastic, which saves 20% of the energy needed to make the phone housing when compared with standard plastic. It also results in less landfill waste and encourages more recycling by creating a market for used materials. Positive environmental impacts measured in the report include:
  • U.S. sales of EPEAT-certified desktops, laptops, and displays grew nearly 10 percent in 2009, to a total of 48.5 million units.
  • Currently, more than 27,000 consumer electronic product models meet ENERGY STAR specifications set by the EPA and Department of Energy.
  • In 2009, CEA estimated that the electronics recycling efforts of manufacturers and retailers in the U.S. diverted more than 200 million pounds of electronics from landfills.
  • In 2009, the 10 largest CE companies by global revenue donated $882 million, in both cash and products, to support activities that enhance local environments, social well-being, and/or economic development.
The growing commonality of sustainable practices in business is an undeniable win for the environment but, as Greenbiz.com editor Matthew Wheeland explains, "These changes -- which are taking place across the electronics industry -- are not happening because of their environmental benefits, but because of the business benefits. And that makes the green improvements even more likely to continue."
Thursday, 06 January 2011 15:30

Fashionable Clothes for Kids with our Planet in Mind

Written by

The husband and wife team of Crab Apple Kids have it right – create a convenient, one-stop online shop for a lovely collection of unique, stylish and high-quality children’s clothing. Their inspiration is simple: they’re the parents of three beautiful children who often serve as models for their online fashions.

Crab Apple Kids features baby, toddler and children’s clothing for every occasion, including special events such as christenings, holidays and new baby gifts.  Their collection of Christening Gowns and dresses is absolutely outstanding.  The line also features matching family collections, perfect for family portraits, special occasions, or  “multiples.” Crab Apple Kids makes an effort to recycle where possible. They recycle and reuse shipping boxes wherever possible, a practice that cuts packaging their products almost in half. “Crab Apple Kids is a children’s store, and we feel anyone purchasing from us has their children’s and grandchildren’s best interest at heart—and so do we.” Their decision to become a Carbonfund.org small business partner, by donating to Carbonfund.org to support renewable energy, reforestation and avoided deforestation, and energy efficiency also reflects their environmentally-minded business sense. The CrabAppleKids.com shopping site gives customers the option to shop by size, brand, category and occasion. They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, free shipping for purchases over $50, and hassle-free returns. Check out the trendy and fashionable styles for your children at: www.crabapplekids.com.
Wendy Jessup and Associates, Inc. (WJ&A) is a woman-owned small business that provides preventive conservation, collections management consulting and planning services to museums and other stewards of cultural and historic property. WJ&A projects include developing preventive conservation policies, collections management and environmental improvement programs. As many WJ&A clients are housed in historic structures and have mixed collections, WJ&A works in collaboration with the architectural community to facilitate the preservation of collections in their design of new or renovated museum facilities. Wendy established WJ&A in 1987, following her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Smithsonian Institution. Wendy has over thirty years of experience in the museum field. She understands the value of conservation, both of cultural and historic properties and of our global environment. In order to counter-balance the necessary travel and operations emissions from her conservation business, Wendy has chosen to partner with Carbonfund.org by contributing to our carbon reduction projects. “As a conservator of the world's cultural heritage, I am committed to incorporating sustainability into all aspects of my practice to help preserve our natural world. Since we must travel for our work, offsetting our carbon footprint is an essential component to our sustainability program.” We’re proud to have Wendy Jessup and Associates as a Carbonfund.org partner, and we applaud her for including environmental stewardship in her efforts to preserve the past for the benefit of the future. For more information about Wendy Jessup and Associates, Inc., please visit their website: http://www.collectioncare.com/home.htm
Thursday, 06 January 2011 10:17

A Wine and Cheese Match Made in Sustainability

Written by
When you combine California wine and European cheese you get a match made in heaven - and now - sustainability. In 2010, Benziger Family Wine and Forever Cheese Inc. both committed to reducing their carbon footprint by supporting Carbonfund.org’s innovative carbon reduction projects. After taking aggressive measures to reduce their carbon footprint as much as they could, Benziger came to Carbonfund.org to offset the carbon emissions they were unable to reduce. Their donation supported truck stop electrification, which reduces tailpipe emissions from freight trucks that transport consumer goods all across the country. With this project, drivers can shut off their engines and utilize the advanced truck stop electrification technology for electricity and heat. This project is relevant to their business, to their region and environment. Forever Cheese Inc. has been a Carbonfund.org partner for many years with their generous donations to support renewable energy and reforestation projects. They are committed to doing their part in helping our planet, and their donation is supporting renewable energy projects. Now on to the delicious, fun and fuss-free part. Try Forever Cheese’s Rustico® Black Pepper, semi-soft sheep’s milk cheese from the countryside of Rome, with Benziger’s 2008 Appellation Series Chardonnay with its luxurious, round mouthfeel and creamy texture . If you prefer red, match Forever Cheese’s Mitica® Malvarosa , a buttery sheep’s milk cheese from Valencia, Spain or Romao® Rosemary Cheese from La Mancha with Benziger’s 2006 Stone Farm Cabernet Sauvignon with its flavors of toasted oak, spicy pepper and anise balanced against dark fruit like currant and ripe plum. Check out more brilliant wine and cheese pairing ideas from Forever Cheese's extremely useful wine and cheese pairing guide: http://forevercheese.com/pairing.asp.