Thursday, July 3, 2008

Solar Everyday products

More things than ever have been converted into solar products which are not harmful to use and save you money in the long run and are good for the environment. Calculators, radios, refrigerators, and even toilets are just a few of the excellent solar products you can use in your home or anywhere else. Check out some of the offered products at Solarproducts.org

Once a Week?

I was reading some articles today and found this watering schedule in San Antonio. According to this program, your lawn only needs to be watered once a week..... That doesn't sound right to me, but I'm no expert. Check it out http://www.saws.org/conservation/SIP/


Follow-up Blog to "Don't Let Your Lawn Die"

Here is the follow-up story from SacBee.com about the couple fined $746.00 by the City for letting their lawn die. Apparently the City of Sacramento has decided to not fine them for conserving water during a state-wide drought.

The city's director of code enforcement, Max Fernandez, told The Bee on Wednesday the front-yard rules allow more flexibility than the code language indicates. He said his department has begun preparing a flier to give to people who have chosen to let their lawns die so they will know their landscaping options to comply with city rules. That should be available next week. City Councilman Steve Cohn said the code enforcement officer in this case may have been "overzealous". -(www.sacbee.com)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Don't Let Your Lawn Die!

I came across this interesting article on www.sacbee.com.

A California couple decided to let their front lawn die in order to conserve water in light of the statewide drought declaration made by California State Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, as admirable as that may be, apparently they are in violation of a City code which states that all lawns "shall be irrigated, landscaped and maintained." They now have a $746.00 fine!!!

While it is wonderful to be that dedicated to "going green", here are some tips for maintaining your lawn that might prevent you from violating a City code!

Tips for saving water in the yard (As copied from SacBee.com):

• Make sure your irrigation system is well maintained and working properly.
• Know how much water your irrigation system puts out.
• Water the lawn when it needs water. Water as early in the day as you can to cut down evaporation.
• Set your lawn mower at its highest level. Short-clipped grass needs more water.
• Leave clippings on the lawn to add nutrients to the grass.
• Use drip systems or soaker hoses.
• Add mulch. A 3- or 4-inch layer of mulch insulates soil from heat and cold.
• Use as many natives and Mediterranean-type plants as possible.





Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Time to Shop!

Looking for a unique present? Check out Great Green Goods for anything from recycled cards to a wine bottle coat hanger! All of the products advertised on the web page help you live lighter on earth or are made from recycled material!

Going Green at the Movies

Sasha Pave over at Divine Caroline says "Films often set out to tell one story but end up telling another one all together." Sasha came up with a great list of movies that most people know and have seen numerous times but did you catch their green message? Take a look at Sasha's list. There's even video trailers.

Global Warming Will Melt Ice at the North Pole by the End of Summer

For the first time since man started recording history ice covering the North Pole may melt away this summer due to the rising temperature of the Earth.

CTV Canada: "Ice at the North Pole quickly and significantly melted away last year, and that may be causing further melting this summer. Scientists say the disappearance of long-term and thicker ice formed over the years has disappeared. Now, most of the ice that's left is seasonal ice, which melts away much more quickly during warm weather.

"This year there is a lot of young ice. There's always some, but this year there's a lot," Andy Mahoney, a researcher at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center, told CTV.ca.

Satellite observations indicate the ice remaining at the poles is melting faster than last year's rate, which was already a record year for Arctic ice loss. Scientists say whether or not the ice melts completely, this year's northern melt is yet another example of the impact that global warming is having on the planet's environment.

"There were some people who were saying last year was a rogue year. If the same thing happens again a lot more people are going to be persuaded about the consequences of global warming," Mahoney said.

"A lot of people think it's a very small change in temperature. This shows that the change in sea ice is quite a dramatic consequence."

As the ice melts, interest in the region is intensifying. Canada and other nations that border the Arctic -- including Russia and the U.S. -- are scrambling to lay claims to vast parts of the area, which may someday allow new resource development and shipping lanes.

"If the North Pole melts, then you don't have to worry about the Northwest Passage. It will still be significant, but going on top of the globe would be politically easier," Mahoney said.

A UN panel is supposed to decide on control of the Arctic by 2020. Last year, Canada's Conservative government announced plans to acquire up to eight Arctic patrol ships and to build an army base in Resolute Bay and a naval station in Nanisivik."


America is Going Green

All across America communities big and small changing the way they think and going green by requiring new buildings to meet national standards for conserving energy and water resources.

Business Facilities.com: "When Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed a comprehensive green building law in April, Los Angeles became the largest American city to date to enact strict environmental standards on private-sector construction. It joined a growing list of U.S. cities that either require or offer incentives for companies to "go green" by building or retrofitting their facilities using sustainable designs and materials.

Washington D.C., through its Green Building Act of 2006, was the first major U.S. city to mandate green construction for all privately owned real estate, requiring that all new development in the city conform to the standards of the United States Green Building Council's (USGBC) rating system, known as LEED (Leader in Energy and Environmental Design).

Washington is expanding this mandate in 2008 to include all publicly financed buildings, and construction of private buildings of at least 50,000 square feet, starting in 2012. The city has since 2006 offered an array of incentives, including expedited permit reviews, grants, and technical assistance for green buildings.

Boston went a step further than Washington last year when it adopted a zoning code that brought renovation projects for existing buildings into the fold. Boston has since January 2007 required all new and rehabilitation projects of more than 50,000 square feet to earn either LEED certification or approval by the Boston Interagency Council, which incorporates LEED checklist items and Boston-specific credits involving transportation, energy, historic preservation and groundwater recharge.

Numerous other jurisdictions, big and small, across the country have jumped on board the green building movement, crafting a diverse array of laws designed to lessen their communities' impact on global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This is just the beginning, says Brooks Rainwater, director of local relations for the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Rainwater's recent study, "Local Leaders in Sustainability," reveals that 14% of U.S. cities with populations of more than 50,000 have green building programs, and many more are about to follow suit.

"We have been seeing this happen at an impressive rate over the last few years, as cities across the country pass green building laws that focus not only on public buildings, but [which] also incentivise green development in the private sector," Rainwater says.

"From 2003 to 2007, the number of cities with green building programs grew by 418%, from 22 to 92. Another 36 cities, as of last summer, were in the process of developing green building programs. The future for green design looks bright, as we move toward a sustainable build environment that would not be possible without local leadership and strong citizen involvement," he adds.

"Going green" is no longer the wave of the future—it increasingly has become a central feature of today's building practices. Developers and corporate executives have recognized that sustainable, energy-efficient buildings may come with a cost premium, but can also bring immediate and long-term financial rewards. Green development increasingly has become a prime agenda item in boardrooms when new construction is being discussed. For a developer, returns can come in the form of higher sales and rents; tenants can save on energy and utility costs.

According to Kenny McDonald, executive vice president of the Charlotte Regional Partnership and a member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, building with sustainable design yields cost savings for companies committed not only to following the proper guidelines, but who also set out to plan their buildings in ways that will save money.

"The whole rationale is to cut your energy usage and to conserve more," McDonald says. "Your waste disposal is going to be smarter and hopefully that will reduce your cost, and there also are tax credits that provide direct cost advantages."

Major players who have emerged in green building include Bank of America, Wachovia, and Toyota. "These companies are deeply committed, but they're also very smart about how they do it. Companies that are [superficially going green] to gain a marketing advantage probably are not saving much money right now," McDonald notes."