Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home Depot Shareholders Want Green

Home Depot shareholders are asking Home Depot to assess its companywide energy use in its buildings, transportation, and supply chain; set energy use reduction targets; and report findings and progress to shareholders.

“Throughout the country—and the world—there is growing recognition of the need to use energy more efficiently. . . It’s time for Home Depot to step up to the plate,” said Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier.

Corporate energy use and carbon footprint tracking is becoming increasingly important as the cost savings of going green are being recognized worldwide.

In a similar vein, earlier this month the stockholders of Chevron demanded that the company begin tracking its carbon footprint. 

Although carbon footprint tracking seems a daunting task for companies with several locations and divisions, a company called Clear Standards offers software that eases the pain.  The industry leading software also has modeling capabilities so you can "test" different energy-efficient solutions to find the most cost-effective ones before investing in any major changes.  Most importantly, it can also project how much green you will save by going green!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Arizona - The Solar Capital of the World?

Las Vegas is the Entertainment Capital of the World and sadly, Nevada is one of the foreclosure capitals of the world.  While Nevadans party their pain away, Arizona is looking on the bright side and becoming the solar capital of the world.

The sunny deserts of the Southwest United States is one of the ideal planetary locations for solar.  In fact, with the amount of sun and the available land, it could produce enough electricity to meet the electrical needs of the entire US!  Photovoltaics, or PVs, are 85 times as as efficient as growing corn for ethanol; on a 300 ft x 300 ft (1 hectare) plot of land, enough ethanol can be produced to drive a car 30,000 miles per year vs 2,500,000 miles by covering the same land with photo cells. Which is good news for the Southwest, where soil temperatures are often way above proper corn germination temps of 60 degrees!

A fact not lost on Arizona Public Service, they have announced another large solar plant - a 290 million watt concentrating solar plant, among the largest in the world, to be built in the Harquahala Valley, 75 miles west of Phoenix.  This is in addition to a 280-megawatt concentrating solar power plant to be built 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, near Gila Bend, Arizona.  Together the two plants will supply electricity to 143,000 consumers.

Not stopping there, Arizona Public Service, APS, offered Flagstaff customers the opportunity to help APS build an interconnected solar power plant – one rooftop at a time. For this program, APS will own and receive energy from solar panels installed on about 300 customer rooftops. Participating customers will not have any up-front costs or other requirements and they will receive a low 20-year fixed community power rate for the solar portion of their electricity bill.

APS staffers also celebrated with visitors as the Grand Canyon's Visitor Center went solar with 84 solar panels on the center's roof and on adjacent ground-mounted platforms. The 18 kilowatts of energy generated by the panels provide enough power to offset 30 percent of the center's electricity use. APS said that the Grand Canyon is important to their efforts "because of the opportunity that exists to educate more than 4.5 million Canyon visitors each year about renewable energy."

Maybe someday Nevadans will get over their hangovers and see the light.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Plastiki, the bottled water boat!

Adventure Ecology founder David De Rothschild and his team plan to sail the Plastiki, a boat built entirely of plastic bottles and recycled waste products, from San Francisco to Sydney, Austraiia in August 2009 to raise awareness about the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating landfill twice the size of Texas located between California and Hawaii, and the growing masses of plastic accumulating in our oceans. 

Building boats out of all that waste plastic isn't the solution, but de Rothschild is attempting to spark conversations about rethinking waste. De Rothschild explained that we consume 200 billion liters of bottled water per year, and only one in five bottles is actually recycled. He aims to showcase a solution, and encourage people to rethink waste as a resource.

“This is the hundredth year of plastic,” de Rothschild pointed out.  “Plastic is an amazing material and it is still misunderstood. I’m trying to get people to think about plastic as part of the solution.” 

When finished, the Plastiki will be made of 12,500 2-liter plastic bottles collected by Waste Management, will weigh 9 tons, and will have a crew of six. The Plastiki will have a composting toilet, onboard renewable energy and a garden.  When the voyage is done, the team plans to upcycle the boat.   

In parallel with the sailing of Plastiki, de Rothschild has launched a Smart Art Trash into Treasure competition ( to inspire innovative solutions to waste. What’s your idea?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dell takes responsible E-waste steps

Dell, throught their senior manager of environmental sustainability, Mark Newton, announced: "If it's not working, Dell considers it to be electronic waste, and they will not export it to a developing country. Period." This comes in response to the growing awareness that some companies are shipping their electronic waste to developing nations who dismantle the e-waste in polluting and unhealthy ways to salvage potentially valuable minerals and materials.

In the 1990's, Europe, Japan and some US states set up e-waste 'recycling' systems. But many countries did not have the capacity to deal with the sheer quantity of e-waste they generated or with its hazardous nature. Therefore, they began exporting the problem to developing countries where laws to protect workers and the environment are inadequate or not enforced. It is also cheaper to 'recycle' waste in developing countries; the cost of glass-to-glass recycling of computer monitors in the US is ten times more than in China.

If you are concerned about where your e-waste goes, you can look up proper disposal sites near you at

Friday, May 15, 2009

Going Green Guide for Artists

The Green Guide for Artists by Karen Michel is an inspiring book that makes innovative recommendations for greener artwork and a greener studio.  The book includes tips on safe and green practices for the workspace, recipes for DIY art supplies such as ones for mixing your own nontoxic paints and adhesive, and using recycled materials. The book also contains a resource guide for ecofriendly materials and supplies, including websites and forum links.

The author herself is a mixed media artist who lives in New York, where she runs a 10-year old nonprofit art center for kids, the Creative Art Space for Kids Foundation, with her artist husband Carlo Thertus.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Portable Eco-Friendly Wine Packaging

The Three Thieves, a brand of California wine, unveiled the Bandit - wine in environmentally-friendly Tetra Pak containers. 

"No bottle, no opener, 96% wine, 4% packaging; and less energy use," says Three Thief developer Charles Bieler. "It’s packaging for every occasion, and for a green planet."

The packaging is made of Tetra Prisma™, which is comprised of 70% paper, a renewable resource, thus reducing the packaging waste associated with bottled wine by 90%. It is more efficient and lightweight to transport than bottles, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and saving fuel. In fact, it would take 26 trucks filled with empty wine bottles to equal just 1 truck filled with empty Tetra Pak cartons.

The Bandit comes in four wine selections — Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Grigio.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mother's Day gifts fit for Mother Earth

Mother's Day is Sunday. If you are looking for the perfect gift that even Mother Earth will appreciate, check out Funky Recycling's jewelry, buttons and magnets made from aluminum cans.
Chocolate and flowers are always a winner. 
If you are sending flowers, find flowers grown using sustainable practices at Organic Bouquet.

Some of the best organic and vegan chocolate is found from Sweet Earth or give Mom a subscription to a chocolate-of-the-month club that donates a portion of their
profits to protecting endangered species from

Help mom relax with all-natural and organic body oil and massager from our friends at Good Clean Love.
Whatever you do for your mother this Sunday, remember Mother Earth!