Building vast fields of solar panels is a clean and efficient way to power a community, but the challenge is in the long-distance transmission. Where are you going to find the space to build solar fields in huge cities like New York or Los Angeles? Developers have been chasing the solution in the form of very thin plastic solar cells that can be attached to anything from windows to car roofs, and one tech company took a leap forward to deliver. Konarka Technologies, Inc., already produces thin organic based photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells like the ones seen on backpacks that can charge your cell phone, but those only produce at a low energy level. Konarka's newest inception of OPV solar cells demonstrated a record-breaking 8.3% efficiency. The possibilities are great, although maybe not quite New York City-block huge. At least not right now anyway. San Francisco took the torch and ran with this innovation in 2009, outfitting bus stop shelters with thin OPV solar cells embedded in wavy red "Power Plastic." California sunshine is absorbed during the day and used to power the intercom, LED lighting and wireless routers for the city-wide WiFi that San Franciscans enjoy.
The 8.3% efficiency rating on flexible cells is about half the energy produced from the rigid, silicon-based solar panels, so it won't be lighting up entire cities just yet. Bus shelters are a small step but at least one in the right direction.
1. CauseWorld (iPhone and Android): This app works like a digital loyalty card. “Check in” with your phone when you walk into stores and businesses and instead of collecting hole punches in a card, you rack up karma points that can be used to donate to your favorite cause. For one karma point, Carbonfund.org will offset two pounds of CO2. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="199" caption="CauseWorld app"][/caption] 2. Green Gas Saver (iPhone): You may have heard taking it easy on turns and acceleration will improve your car's fuel efficiency, but it's hard to always remember that behind the wheel. This app allows you to snap your iPhone or iPod Touch into a dashboard mount and receive a fuel efficiency score at the end of your trip. Green Gas Saver is also popular tool for the terrified parents of new teenage drivers. 3. Find Green (iPhone and Android): Formerly known as 3rdWhale, Find Green helps you do just that. The GPS-powered app pinpoints your location and directs you to nearby green and sustainable businesses. With over 60,000 listings, you can flip through everything from retail to food to leisure and then decide if you want a location that’s in driving, biking or walking distance. 4. GoodGuide (iPhone): For conscientious consumers puzzling over two seemingly identical dish soaps, the GoodGuice app allows you to scan the barcode on over 50,000 products to instantly receive detailed ratings for the health, environment and social responsibility record for food, toys, personal care and household products. You can also use the app to pull up ranked lists for products, like the 10 best air fresheners. 5. Energy Savings Calculator (Android): If you’re trying to decide whether it’d be worth it to buy new appliances now or wait until they really fall apart, you can use the Energy Savings Calculator app as a tie-breaker. Punch in a few fields (energy used in watts, hours used a day, etc.) for your old appliance and the new one, and the app calculates a savings summary report with week, month and yearly savings as well as return on investment time for money spent on new appliances.
While at a friend’s wedding this past weekend I experienced a rarity: men talking fashion. Our table held five couples, and at some point during dinner all of the guys at our table started talking about the fit of their dress shirts. Each had their own challenges in the quest for the perfect fitting shirt. Joe’s arms were too long; Steve had broad shoulders and a narrow waist; while Jeremy’s neck size was shockingly large (and he’s is a pretty small guy). The conversation lasted a remarkably long time with each telling the other where to procure the best shirts and the girls sitting in silence, shocked by how excited their husbands were about the topic. Just a week later, I have the perfect solution for these fit-frustrated guys. Recent Carbonfund.org Business Partner Solosso provides premium custom dress shirts in the finest fabrics, tailored to your exact fit. Pick your style and fabric and enter your measurements and your tailor-made shirt will be shipped to you free of charge! In addition to their high quality shirts, Solosso aims to run a socially responsible and environmentally friendly organization that produces sustainable products. They hold their suppliers to high environmental standards, use packaging made from 95% and 100% recycled materials and offset all of their shipping and business operations emissions. They work hard to continually minimize the environmental impact of their organization and, with the help of their partnership with us, to offset their carbon footprint. To get that perfect fit for you, or the guy in your life, check out www.solosso.com/en.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 15:39 Written by Linda Kelly
Looking for a new approach to healthy living and natural treatments? If you live in the midwest, within 250 miles of Chicago, you have a wonderful alternative source. Inner Ecology™ Botanical Pharmacy and Online Prescription Service aims to facilitate the practice of East Asian botanical medicine in the Chinese tradition and to support a strong community of professional excellence in the greater Chicago area, in ways that consistently promote both human and environmental well-being. As practitioners and patients of East Asian Medicine (EAM), the folks at Inner Ecology have a strong personal and professional interest in preserving the wisdom gathered over centuries and in doing their small part to forge a sustainable path for its continued evolution. They are eager to serve their customers and their patients in this spirit and to boldly ask, together, what a more sustainable medicine could mean. Ever mindful of the connection between human health and environmental context, the staff at Inner Ecology does their utmost to make decisions that are kind to the earth and all its inhabitants. From the careful sourcing of herbs to their bicycle delivery service, from selection of packaging with high PCW recycling percentages to their commitment to staying local, Inner Ecology lives this commitment daily. The Inner Ecology pharmacy carries well over three hundred medicinals of plant, animal and mineral origin in both raw and granular forms, which enables them to carefully select the highest grade medicinals available for your specific formulae and with your well-being in mind. Inner Ecology actively seeks suppliers who cultivate direct relationships with growers and who demonstrate real investment from soil to shelf. As the medicinals arrive at their pharmacy, Inner Ecology staff follows time-honored traditions of organoleptic (“sense-derived”) analysis in order to further confirm their cleanliness, freshness, and accurate identification. Sourcing superior quality medicinals that have been cultivated, tested, processed, packaged, transported, and stored with attention to safety, fair labor practices, and sustainability has been a primary concern of Inner Ecology’s from the start. Beyond the quality of the products, Carbonfund.org believes this is a business worthy of your support because of Inner Ecology’s commitment to environmentally-safe and sustainable practices, which includes:
- Carefully sourcing the medicinals with attention to the sustainability of cultivation methods and certified absence of pesticides;
- Ensuring that any endangered medicinal bears a CITES certificate to guarantee safe sourcing;
- Using Energy-Star rated appliances wherever possible;
- Employing passive solar heat during the winter through large SW-facing windows and shades to block rays in the summer;
- Identifying packaging choices that are biodegradable and have the highest post-consumer waste recycling percentage;
- Transporting themselves to the office by foot, bicycle, or public transportation;
- Offsetting their total estimated carbon footprint via Carbonfund.org.
Leap Realty, a CarbonFree® partner since 2008, is a green-minded full service real estate agency in Winston-Salem, NC that specializes in marketing the energy efficiency and sustainable features in properties. Leap seeks out eco-friendly products in the practice of everyday life and business including: utilizing more eco-friendly business supplies and promotional materials, website hosting by solar powered servers, reducing paper consumption by utilizing computer technology and supporting other environmentally responsible businesses and organizations. You can learn more about Leap Realty’s commitment to going green on their website. Leap Realty has joined the CarbonFree® Small Business Program to offset its carbon footprint by supporting renewable energy projects, stating that “being carbon neutral is another way for us to be environmentally responsible.”
Monday, 22 August 2011 10:20 Written by Linda Kelly
It’s back-to-school time! Are you ready to stock up on earth-friendly supplies? At OfficeFrog.com, you can shop for all of the office and back-to-school supplies you’ll need to make your workplace and your backpack more earth friendly. OfficeFrog.com was founded with a simple goal…make every workplace more earth friendly. Everything they offer carries with it an easy way of “giving back” to replenish the earth. OfficeFrog believes in benefiting the earth’s ability to replenish the natural resources consumed in the manufacturing of office products used every day. Their stewardship efforts to replenish the earth’s resources are clearly seen with the products they offer to customers, the reusable boxes that products are shipped in, the ongoing donations they make to plant trees throughout the world, and the reduction of their operation’s carbon footprint through support of Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency projects. OfficeFrog also provides a simple way for shoppers to select green products already identified as the most earth friendly items in their category as well as the best performing products for your office. Whether you choose Friendly, Friendlier, or Friendliest, you’ll shop knowing that every time you make a purchase from OfficeFrog.com, you are always “doing your part” to help our environment recover in the most natural way possible. “So we’re asking you to get started and join all of us in the effort. It’s not just about buying the office gear we sell…nor is it all about hugging a tree or saving a frog. It’s about preserving forests, protecting life, and acting responsibly. It’s about choosing to connect yourself and your workplace with a movement which will literally affect our world…our one and only world. Thank you for choosing OfficeFrog.” - Dave Shapiro & David Conner, Co-Founders of OfficeFrog.com
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 16:05 Written by Michelle Lam
Carbonfund.org is proud to work with many champions for the environment and leaders in different industries. When it comes to rowing, Filippi and its US counterpart, Elite Rowing, Inc., manufacture high-performance equipment. Over 70 national rowing teams have raced Filippi boats and subsequently won hundreds of medals in World Championship and Olympic competition since 1986. The company is the official supplier to the Italian Rowing Federation and US Rowing. Over 70 other national rowing teams choose Filippi, including Canada, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, South Africa, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt and Brazil. Click here to see the full list of teams that Filippi supplies. For its quality control in manufacturing, Filippi has been awarded ISO 9000 certification. To demonstrate its environmental leadership, Filippi is reducing its business carbon footprint by partnering with Carbonfund.org and supporting projects that fight climate change. Learn more about our business programs here.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the midst of a five-day visit to India has not been received warmly by her hosts as she broaches the subject of carbon emissions reductions. Clinton is urging India to reduce its emissions in accord with proposed action of the rest of the world to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of global warming-causing carbon dioxide emissions. Ms. Clinton asserts “no inherent contradiction between poverty eradication and moving towards a low-carbon economy,” a claim that some officials disagree on. “There is simply no case for the pressure that we, who have been among the lowest emissions per capita, face to actually reduce emissions,” Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister told Ms. Clinton. Here you have the paradox - how can we fight global warming without India's participation? How can we get India to participate when they have more pressing issues at hand? Is there an inherent contradiction between economic and social development and clean energy? There is no clear answer to these questions, hence the paradox. But there are real steps that we can take today the fight global warming and support local communities. Live Climate is an organization that fights poverty through the use of carbon financing. Their projects not only reduce emissions, but also bring electricity to remote communities or provide work to otherwise under-employed people. Also, there are clear areas of convergence where fighting global warming will certainly help improve the quality of life of the poor. Many type of renewable energy, for example, are highly probable and can be implemented in remote locations that wouldn't otherwise have power. And a fundamental principle of fighting global warming - improved energy efficiency - should help allow everyone to do more with less.