Wednesday, 30 June 2010 18:32

A Smarter, Greener Way to Rent a Car

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Although hybrids are a popular green technology, it’s used today not only for Priuses and other smaller cars but in large vehicles getting less than half the miles per gallon (MPG) of those cars. Choosing an eco-friendlier rental car should be based on overall emissions rather than the technology. For example, Avis and Budget both offer EPA SmartWay® certified vehicles, meeting rigorous air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions standards. Each vehicle receives an Air Pollution Score and a Greenhouse Gas Score, on a scale of 1-10. A vehicle must receive a 6 or better on both scores, and have a total score of at least 13 for certification. A full 100 percent of Avis' economy, compact, intermediate and standard car classes and 85 percent of full-size cars are SmartWay® certified.  Similarly for Budget, all economy, compact and intermediate and 99 percent of standard and full-size cars are certified. Selecting a SmartWay® vehicle is easy. When I made a reservation at Budget.com, I was thrilled to see the SmartWay® certified cars, easily denoted with a leaf icon: You can also look up vehicle fuel-economy information and SmartWay® vehicles on EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide, which is updated through model year 2010. Where available, you can further reduce your emissions by opting for a GPS navigation system in your car to get where you need to faster (and avoid getting lost). Also, you can skip the lines at toll booths by choosing electronic toll collection when renting your vehicle; Avis offers eToll collection services in more cars and more cities than any other car rental company. Hybrid technology is a wonderful leap for cars and is driving new innovations and products. At the same time, we also need to keep our eyes on the prize of overall carbon reductions and climate protection rather than focusing on specific auto technologies. We feel similarly about not picking winners and losers in the green energy space; we need to focus on zero-emission energy without picking wind over solar, geothermal over biodigesters, and so on. Remember you can always reduce your trip’s emissions further, making it carbon neutral, by offsetting in support of Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated carbon reduction projects around the world. Visit www.avis.com or www.budget.com to offset your rental vehicle. Want to learn more? Please check out our Save Energy page for fuel-efficient driving tips.
Friday, 02 July 2010 16:11

A July 4th Show Not to Miss

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A July 4th show is one of the most patriotic and, for fans, exhilarating experiences when a great show's followed by fireworks. The Honey Brothers, a new-wave folk band, is bringing their brand of music to the nation's capital July 4th, playing a rooftop concert at the W Washington D.C. Hotel. For clarification, "With a respectful (awed, even) nod to the Beatles," the band says, "we’ll be performing on a rooftop, but this absolutely will not be our farewell concert." The Honey Brothers is New York-based and has worked with Carbonfund.org to reduce their carbon footprint as a band. Their green credentials is also represented by drummer and actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier, who has presented the Planet Green TV show Alter Eco on environmental themes such as organic foods and building greener. The band's show this Sunday will be at 7pm, before the fireworks. Please call (202) 661-2478 for info on tickets. If you're not in the Washington area this weekend, you can keep in tune with the band about the show and its plans at their facebook page. While you're at it, fan our page too.
Calling all college students: school will begin soon and there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the carbon footprint of your dorm room.
  1. Make someone else’s garbage your treasure. Browse Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for futons, desks, chairs, etc. instead of spending a fortune buying new furniture.
  2. Sharing is caring. Do you and your roommate really need separate mini-refrigerators and TVs?
  3. Think organic. Consider 100 percent organic cotton or bamboo linens and bedding.
  4. Take charge. Use power strips to easily manage your appliances and unplug whatever you aren’t currently using.
  5. Turn off the lights and all appliances when you’re not in the room. Encourage dorm-mates to do so in lounges or other dorm common areas too.
  6. Choose energy-efficient products such as CFL/fluorescent lightbulbs and Energy Star rated appliances.
  7. Invest in a reusable water bottle. It will cost less than $15, and some cafes give a discount when you use a reusable bottle for drinks.
After you have mastered your dorm room, encourage your university to go carbon neutral. Carbonfund.org partners with a number of colleges and universities to reduce their carbon footprint and support third-party validated carbon reduction projects. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 11:01

5 Ways To Make Your Summer Greener

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1. Avoid Air Conditioning Overkill Yes, I know, air conditioning provides respite from heat waves and dreadful humidity, but we should still take steps to avoid overuse. For starters, turn off the air conditioning when no one is home! It is a waste of energy and your money.  Also, turn the thermostat up a few degrees so that the AC comes on only when it is truly unbearably hot. It will go a long way towards saving cash and protecting the environment.

2. Keep it Local Enjoy local activities like going to the park or spending the day at the beach. Invite your family and friends to make the trip more fun and exciting! Reading a book and playing frisbee is much more environmentally friendly than say, taking a long road trip.

3. Barbecue in Green Style BBQs are a classic summer pastime, but did you know that propane burns much cleaner than wood or charcoal? Keep this in mind the next time you need to  invest in a new grill. Also, use reusable plates and utensils rather than paper or Styrofoam. This cuts down significantly on environmental waste and saves money if you tend to host a lot of BBQs. 4. Easy on the Water It can be tempting to take multiple showers a day during the dog days of summer, but why not cool off by taking a swim instead? If you don’t have your own backyard pool, many towns have community pools or beaches for residents to enjoy. While we’re on the topic of water, try using reusable water bottles as opposed to disposable plastic ones. 5. Travel in an Eco-friendly Way Vacations are a staple of the summer season. The carbon emissions produced from automobiles, trains, and airplanes can be substantial, however.  Here are two ways to plan your vacation to be as green as possible:
  • Fly with Carbonfund.org partners Virgin America or JetBlue
  • Take a train trip with Amtrak
  • Offset your travels on Carbonfund.org with preset or customized options to reduce your carbon footprint while supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects.
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:59

5 Reasons You'll Find Good Eats at Moe's...

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  1. All of the ingredients used in meals are free of trans fats and MSG.
  2. Each meal is made fresh to order (as opposed to pre-prepared and reheated).
  3. Moe’s Southwest Grill does not use microwaves or freezers in its kitchens, which cuts down its energy usage significantly.
  4. Keeping in mind that eating less meat can considerably reduce a person’s carbon footprint, Moe’s menu offers a variety of vegetarian options. In fact, Moe’s won the 2008 Proggy Award for Best Vegetarian Mexican Restaurant.
  5. Moe’s Southwest Grill has demonstrated its commitment to create a better environment by supporting renewable energy production with the purchase of Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) through Carbonfund.org.
Individuals can support renewable energy projects by clicking here. Want to find your nearest Moe's Southwest Grill? Check out Moe's restaurant finder.
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 14:23

5 Reasons to Love Modern Eco Homes

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Modern Eco Homes collects what you need for your home and puts it at your fingertips. They can help you make your home more eco-friendly and furnish it in an economical, chic way. They also reduce their carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org and have been a CarbonFree® Partner for two years running. Here’s my list of five favorite things about Modern Eco Homes: hm11. Modern Eco Homes Blog to tell you about the newest green options for your home; 2. Modern Eco Homes Blog (part II) – Helped me come up with a great green idea for Mother’s Day (planting in her garden); 3. Their great collection of chic green furniture for my home in downtown DC – check out the Blow Up Bamboo Table or their Breeze Coffee Table. Stylish! 4. Eco gift ideas! Ideas for last-minute gifts that don’t cost a ton and have a smaller environmental footprint. 5. Eco-friendly apparel for those who mean the most in your life: your dogs! Check out the great fashion ideas for your pet. You can also stay connected with and follow Modern Eco Homes on their facebook and twitter pages.
Thursday, 15 April 2010 14:55

5 Green Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

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img3If you’re one of the lucky ones getting a tax refund this year, here are five ways that you can use your refund to help the environment and fight climate change. 1. Make energy efficiency improvements in your home, such as with Energy Star qualified windows and appliances. An energy efficient replacement can reduce your heating, cooling or electricity bill while reducing your home's carbon footprint. And you may qualify for a tax credit, such as for 30% of cost up to $1,500 for energy efficient improvements! img42. Buy eco-friendlier goods such as those labeled fair trade, CarbonFree® Certified, or organic. Each represent action taken to make goods more socially or environmentally responsible. 3. Reduce, offset your carbon footprint. Find out what your footprint is by calculating it and take actions to reduce what you can and offset what you can't by supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects. 4. If you drive, be sure your vehicle is tuned up and ready to handle the stresses of summer heat or congestion. Take public transit when you can, but if you need to drive, getting a tune-up and having your tires checked and properly inflated (this alone can save 400-700 pounds of CO2 each year) save gas and help keep your vehicle out of the junk yard. img55. With the economy recovering, consider investing in environmentally responsible companies or mutual funds. For companies, see if they have clearly articulated and taken steps to reduce their impact on the environment or improve the sustainability of their operations. You can view their annual or corporate social responsibility reports, or check out a list like Carbonfund.org's partners who are fighting climate change. For mutual funds, a starting point can be the Social Investment Forum. Learn more on actions you can take to reduce your climate impact here. Good luck this Tax Day, and try using some of your refund, if you get one this year, to help the environment!
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:10

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Footprint as a Renter

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There is a lot of talk out there about how to “green” your home, but what if you rent? For instance, you cannot replace your windows with more efficient ones without your landlord’s permission. However, there are still steps you can take as a tenant to reduce the carbon footprint of your home.
  1. The most basic thing you can do is reduce water usage. According to the EPA, we consume about 2 to 5 gallons per day when we brush with the water running continuously. Of course, it takes energy to pump and heat water, so conserving water makes a difference.
  2. For paper goods, minimize their use but also choose recycled paper. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, if every household in the nation swapped just one roll of traditional toilet paper for one made with recycled paper, the effort could save about 424,000 trees.
  3. Opt for energy-efficient alternatives to the traditional lightbulb, e.g. LED or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.
  4. Install faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads. Aerators break up streams of water with air. You get the same water pressure but reduce the actual volume of water.
  5. Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. "Vampire" energy loss accounts for approximately 5-10 percent of residential energy use in the U.S.
After you’ve done this, encourage your landlord or management company to make additional leaps. Ask them to replace old appliances with Energy Star rated ones, caulk or insulate, and install programmable thermostats that will end up saving energy and money.