Many years ago some guy decided to leave a legacy behind. His goal was to confuse the heck out of us. But with a little patience I will try to clear the muddy water on our way to understanding R-values. R-values are a measure of thermal resistance, or the ability to insulate. You will most commonly find R-values on insulating materials at your local building supply store. R-values range from 1 (for a single-pane window) to 7.2/inch (for polyisocyanurate foil-faced panels) or as high as 10 for high-tech silica aerogel and 30 for vacuum insulated panels. But what does R-value mean? Well, here comes the confusing part: R=ft²-°F-h/Btu (I am using the non-SI definition here because it is most common in the US). What?Click to continue reading »
- Sustainable Brands® Announces 2014 Innovation Open Semi-finalists
- OF THE SEA, a new film about seafood & sustainability launches on Kickstarter
- Global Reporting Initiative celebrates new era for non-financial information disclosure in the EU
- More Renewable Energy Needed to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change
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Effective communication is not always easy. However, in order to accomplish anything when controversy or new ideas are on the table you’ll get nowhere if you can’t make yourself understood without souring the air. Speaking of the art of communications, I’m walking gingerly to articulate this post.
Yesterday morning Rick Wagoner, General Motors CEO, gave a keynote address to open the LA Auto Show. The main gist of the speech was to outline GM’s commitment to non-gasoline powered automobiles, in particular electric ones. His company is definitely not yet what I might call a “leader” in efficiency or green thinking, but they are making real steps in that direction. In particular, they announced that a plug-in Saturn hybrid is on the way, and rumor has it, something a lot more exciting will be announced in January.
At the very end of Wagoner’s speech, two official looking men took the stage and the following ensued: Click Here to watch video. The entire room was taken for a ride – who the heck were these guys? Read on for my reaction…
I’ve been lucky enough to attend the LA auto show this week along with TreeHugger team members Hank and Jeff. Joel Makower is also here and rumors are afoot that big green news awaits us all at this biggest of all auto shows. Announcements about electric, hybrid, fuel cell and more are expected from multiple carmakers… stay tuned here and on TreeHugger to see what happens!
Of all the companies that should be leaders in green building and retrofitting, Johnson Controls should be at the top of the list. They’re starting to get there, in fact there is now a “path to sustainability” on the front page of their website. Even better, the company now offers a web based “Sustainable Energy Education & Communications” program to other companies as well as their own employees. Here’s a PDF about it. The web based version of the progam is highlighted here.
Turkey day has come and gone, the Black Friday riots at the mall are over and X-mas 2006 is officially upon us. But this year we are faced with quite an ethical dilemma: Do we go to the forest and harvest our own Christmas tree or do we get a fake one?Click to continue reading »
Sometimes it’s the little things that count. At Detroit Airport, and apparantly in San Jose as well, there is now a special lane for cars waiting to pick people up known as the “Cell Phone Lane”. The idea is that instead of circling endlessly in bumper to bumper traffic, you pull in to this special lane a fair distance from the terminal, and wait for a call. That’s smart and saves a fair amount of emissions and headaches alike. Ideally, they should put up a sign saying “if you’re here for more than 30 seconds you should turn of your motor alltogether”. No word on that. Via Gizmodo.
Here’s a little tid bit you ought to be aware of – the Carbon Disclosure Project is a massive repository of informaion on greenhouse gas emissions voluntarily disclosed by over 2000 major companies. It’s 4th edition launched in September and offers detailed survey responses from each company involved.
But what makes a company, especially in the United States, voluntarily take the time to disclose their carbon footprint? It’s a process that might presumably reveal secrets afterall. It’s not just goodwill – a company that is prepared to provide this information voluntarily is a company that will be far more prepared to present it if and when government regulations require it. It also makes for a more transparent public relations with shareholders and critics alike, and that’s almost as good as a reduction in emissions.
With everything you can “neutralize” in terms of carbon emissions, it was only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to deal with the carbon emissions associated with shipping goods to and fro. Carbon Fund teamed up with students at Carnegie Mellon to put together a sytem that lets catalog merchants and other mailorder businesses offset the CO2 emissions of their deliveries. Obviously it’s still better to buy local, but this sort of program certainly helps! Check it out.
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This week Steve asks: “Which is better, running the tap water for a minute to get hot water or heating cold water on a gas stove?” In order to answer this question I need to state a few assumptions. Let’s say that tap water is 15C (59F) and our water heater is set to 40C (104F), so that will be our desired water temperature. Let’s also assume that the kitchen is on the second floor and the water heater is located in the garage, with 30 feet of pipe in between. By researching on-line I found that a stove burner (natural gas) is less than 50% efficient (think of all the heat that still escapes from underneath the pot). The water heater may have an efficiency of 67% if it is an older model.
Here’s a sweet article from the FT to get your Monday rolling (link here). The gist is this – addressing global warming and the host of other environmental problems we face represents, quite possibly, the biggest business opportunity in history. Consider the rate at which green technology and other ecological solutions are being adressed in the Transportation Sector – said to be 15% of the global economy. If one tenth of that sector becomes embroiled with efficiency efforts and carbon reduction plans it amounts to a staggering $645 billion market. Read the rest on the FT.
To promot their citywide “Greening” campaign, letsgreenthiscity.com, PG&E will be placing “grass couches” around San Francisco today, Friday the 17th of November. It should be a very fun way to promote a greener city. If you’re in town, here are the locations of the couches – The Ferry Building and Justin Herman Plaza. Additionally, couches will appear in Alamo Square, in front of City Hall, at 77 Beale Street, on Market Street in the heart of the Castro, and at the 16th Street Mission BART Plaza for a total of nine couches citywide.
If you see any of them, might you take a few photos and post them to Flickr? Tag them “grasscouch” and let’s see how many we can get up there!
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At long last, TreeHugger‘s collaborative project with Seventh Generation is launching! It’s a video contest called “Convenient Truths“.
We’re asking readers to submit short videos featuring proactive, practical and positive solutions to the environmental problems we face. We’ve got a fabulous celebrity panel to pick the winners in a few months and a bunch of great prizes.
If you have any video knack, please put this on your to-do list and feel free to pass it around to all! I think this contest is going to get some great media coverage and put pro-environmental solutions on people’s agenda in a positve manner.
The Website is here: http://truths.treehugger.com
The full press release follows after the jump…
As reported on Worldchanging, San Francisco’s New Resources Bank opened up yesterday with a wide variety of financial offerings focused primarily toward individuals and enterprises with a green or social mission in their business operations. Joel Makower reports that this is a logical step for banks, traditionally the most conservative of financial institutions, to finally get on board the metaphorical train. www.newresourcebank.com
Globalization: The root of all evil, or bringer of eternal peace and prosperity? It’s obviously neither, and a little bit of both. But whatever your opinion, many aspects of globalization are here to stay and it’s time to figure out how to do things right and get the useful parts of globalization rolling while avoiding the bad.
For example, there’s the famous “golden arches theory of conflict prevention” which states that no two countries, both of which have a McDonalds franchise, have ever warred. It’s not quite true (Israel/Lebanon come to mind), but there’s a lot of truth to it. The presense of McDonalds in a country imples a certain level of economic well being and policital stability, if not a sort-of post modern kinship, but it can hardly be said that McDonalds actually creates peace. Furthermore, multinational oil & gas and mining sectors have managed to push life in Nigeria and other parts of Africa from miserable into an unfathomable hell.
The UK’s Guardian has a watchdog article this week which outlines many multinationals efforts to come clean and look for solutions. Some genuine, some totaly cynical. I strongly belive business can and should be though of as a force for good, but we do need a reality check now and then before we drink too much CSR kool aid.