photo credit: flickr user cliff1066

On Thursday, April 14, Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011″ to the Congress.  The bill seeks to modernize some aging legislation, namely the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), which was designed to protect americans from exposure to dangerous toxins.

According to a press release [PDF] sent out on Friday, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is supporting this piece of legislation.  Green Depot, which sells a range of green products, is an active member of the ASBC, and our CEO Sarah Beatty has spoken in favor of this legislation, as well.

“I believe more fervently now than I did six years ago we have the right to know what’s ‘in’ the products we buy,” Beatty said, “and TSCA reform is a vital first step.  As a mother, I believe corporations and government share in the responsibility to safeguard the healthy development of all Americans, especially for our next generation.  As a businessperson, I believe emerging ‘green’ technologies, materials, and green chemistry not only make sense, they will be a key to America’s reinvention and competitive growth.  The time for this reform is now.”

The ASBC has been keen to point our the economic benefits of TSCA reform, noting that the act would cut the costs of hazardous waste storage and disposal; improve worker protection, health care costs, and future liabilities; and supports market trends that transform supply chains that result in better businesses.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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waterMarch 22nd was world water day, and while we’re few weeks late in celebrating it, water conservation is something to always consider.  International World Water Day was first recommended in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and development as a way of “focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.”  The United Nations General Assembly designated March 22nd as World Water Day, and this is a tradition that has occurred annually ever since.

As the webpage for World Water Days points out, each year WWD highlights a specific aspect of freshwater conservation.  It is perhaps especially appropriate for  those of us dwelling in urban areas to (re)consider water conservation in 2011, since this year’s theme was “Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge.”

But what urban challenge?  Well – this is the first time in human history that more people are living in urban areas than in rural ones, and this trend is expected to continue for some time.  Because urban water consumption is then set to increase, strain will be added to the area watersheds that provide potable water to city populations.  Given that climate change will change some aspects of the water cycle, this strain could increase in some urban areas.

Another major water challenge for the coming decades is that the rapid pace of urbanization has given rise to vast informal settlements – or slums – for which there is often no piped, safe drinking water.  93% of all urbanization is occurring in the developing world, and 40% of that growth is the growth of informal settlements.  Infrastructure has not kept pace with this growth, meaning that conservation is especially important in these areas.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

In an urban, suburban, or rural home, water consumption is most likely to occur in the kitchen and bathroom, where in many places our flushable water is the same as our drinking water.  To address issues of water conservation, Green Depot is focusing on green products that reduce water consumption in the bathroom.

Green Depot is currently offering 50% off Caroma Dual-flush toilets and sinks, which gives one the ability to choose whether less or more water is needed to flush. With a two-button system, the user can select a small flush (0.8 gallons) or a larger flush (1.6 gallons in some models, and 1.2 gallons in the High Efficiency models). A 4″ trap throughway assures the user of maximum flushing efficiency.  A Caroma dual-flush toilet will help conserve water in any commercial or residential project, and are certified by EPA-Watersense as a water-saving device.

All models of toilets have complementary sinks–call Green Depot to inquire.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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It’s been several weeks since the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster hit Japan.  We’ve all been harrowed by the scale of the disaster and emboldened by the bravery and resiliency of the Japanese people.  But the disaster is far from over, and folks over there are in urgent need of disaster relief aid.

Green Depot hopes to help the relief efforts this week through a promotion.  Now through April 3, 2011, Green Depot will be donating 15% of all profits made online and at our Bowery Headquarters location to Japan Earthquake Relief efforts.  And to encourage participation, Green Depot is offering 20% off on all purchases of $100.00 and up.

Just to clarify: the offer is valid at http://www.greendepot.com, and at our New York City headquarters, located at 222 Bowery (at Prince st.) in the Lower East Side.  Due to restrictions, the offer is not valid on special orders, Bonded Logic insulation, or in conjunction with other offers.

Green Depot’s 15% donation will go to one of the leading disaster relief agencies in Japan right now – World Vision.  World Vision has issued this call for help in aiding disaster victims in Japan:

World Vision is distributing relief supplies to thousands of people devastated by the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11. An emergency response team is on the ground in hard hit areas, providing water, blankets, and other urgently needed supplies to survivors. Ongoing efforts will focus on the unique needs of children, who are the most impacted… In the wake of a disaster, World Vision is often one of the first organizations to begin relief work by distributing emergency supplies and sending highly-trained staff to assess and respond to the most urgent needs. We remain on the ground for the long haul, rebuilding communities and restoring hope.

To learn more about World Vision, you can visit their web site.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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Earth Hour 2011

March 26th, 2011 | Posted by tjones in Current Events | Living Green - (0 Comments)

Earth Hour 2011 is today at 8:30pm!  Turn all of your lights off for at least an hour tonight to show commitment to protecting the earth and conserving energy and resources.

Earth Hour is an interesting – and successful – concept.  Organized by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), it began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia to show a unified stance against anthropocentric climate change.  At the time 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 business participated, according to their website, and the movement rapidly gained momentum, become a worldwide phenomenon with over 50 million participants around the world in 35 different countries and territories.  One of the more dramatic symbols of the movement has been the dimming of major work landmarks – including the Syndey Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Empire State Building in New York City.

This year, the organizers of Earth Hour are asking participants to extend Earth Hour beyond Saturday into their everyday lives.  The campaign is called 60+  Beyond the Hour, whose webpage is intended to serve as both a source to share ideas on living sustainably, and to find inspiration for living sustainably from people across the world.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

Green Depot carries an enormous array of green products intended to help anyone reduce their energy consumption (and, in doing so, reduce their energy bills!).  These green products include green insulation, energy-star certified water heaters, CFL and LED lightbulbs, and many other energy-saving products.  Going “beyond the hour” and extending sustainability into our lives goes beyond energy reduction, though, to include anything from cycling to work to composting at home to reducing plastic consumption.  Earth Hour gives us all something to consider every year – and the inspiration to make important changes in our lives that can help to create a healthier and more sustainable world.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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the bank of america tower, in new york city, one of the world's first LEED platinum skyscrapers

Each year the Environmental Protection Agency posts a list of the twenty-five cities in America with the highest number of energy efficient buildings. As Grist.org reports, “that means commercial buildings that have earned an Energy Star rating that signifies they consume 35 percent less energy and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than average buildings.”

It may be surprising to learn, then, the Los Angeles – the city of perpetual smog – has actually topped that list for the third year running!

L.A. is home to 510 Energy Star buildings, which is up 75 percent from 293 buildings in 2010.

What’s also interesting about this annual list is that the other winners are not cities one might typically consider “green.”  The top ten are, in descending order:

  1. Los Angeles: 510 buildings
  2. Washington, DC: 301 buildings
  3. San Francisco: 248 buildings
  4. Chicago: 232 buildings
  5. New York City: 211 buildings
  6. Atlanta: 201 buildings
  7. Houston: 175 buildings
  8. Sacramento: 168 buildings
  9. Detroit: 151 buildings
  10. Dallas Fort-worth: 148 buildings

You can read the remaining top 15 cities by clicking here. [PDF]

EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson noted in a statement that, “Through their partnership with Energy Star, metropolitan areas across the U.S. are saving a combined $1.9 billion in energy costs every year while developing new ways to shrink energy bills and keep our air clean.”

$1.9 billion: that’s certainly not small change.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

While extensive green construction may be out of reach for the ordinary home owner, Green Depot carries a number of green products that are Energy Star rated.  You can view them by searching our website for “energy star,” or simply by clicking here.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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photo: World Economic Forum via http://www.grist.org

In current environmental news, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has achieved its 2007 goal of going carbon neutral by 2010.  GreenBiz reports that the company, which owns a huge variety of businesses including Fox News, 20th Century Fox, Harper Collins, Wall Street Journal, and MySpace, not only announced the achievement of this goal, but a new set of sustainability initiatives for the long- and short-term.

News Corp achieved its goals through tangible investments in its environmental impact profile – from retrofitting all of the lighting in News Corp facilities, to constructing massive solar arrays, to reducing the size of DVD packaging to save on raw materials and transportation emissions.  What the company couldn’t tangibly change to reduce its carbon emissions, they accomplished through the purchasing of carbon offsets.  Carbon offsets have raised a degree of controversy since 2007, when News Corp made its neutrality pledge, but News Corp has responded by pledging to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2015, compared to 2006 levels.

The company has set out a number of other 2015 goals, which include reducing GHG intensity by 15 percent, investing in clean energy equal to 20% of electricity used, engaging its 100 largest suppliers on improving their environmental impacts, and measuring and significantly reducing its waste footprint.  News Corp has also set out a set of aspirational, deadline-free goals including 100% clean energy consumption, grow business without growing GHG emissions, minimizing all solid waste sent to landfills, and engaging readers, employees, and customers on sustainability.

Investing on energy reduction strategies has already seen a massive return on investment, Green Biz reports.  Simply by making News Corps’ data centers centralized, the company is saving $20 million dollars a year; each ton of carbon avoided has already yielded about $180 in savings.  Indeed, efficiency measures seem to have achieved a return on investment in less than two years, which is surely encouraging to any company (or person) seeking to reduce their energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

One of the ways News Corp is reducing its environmental footprint is through efficiency measures, including lighting retrofits.  We’ll tell you more about energy-saving measures for the household or business, below:

While most people are aware that using compact florescent light bulbs is energy-saving, even more efficient are LED light fixtures.  In the past, these were far too expensive for the home or business owner to consider, but in recent years prices have come down substantially.   The LED Undercabinet Fixture replaces standard florescent fixtures.  Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, its innovative design is engineered to emit comparable light to a typical fluorescent under-cabinet fixture, but will use approximately 1/2 the energy.  It has won the DoE’s Solid-State Lighting Quality Advocates label, which was created to assure and improve the quality of LED lighting products.

Motion sensors for light fixtures also reduces the amount of energy consumption from lighting.  Green Depot carries several models.  The WattStopper CH-250 Passive Infrared (PIR) Multi-way Vacancy Sensor helps save energy. Users must press the pushbutton to turn on lighting by turning off lights when no one is in a room. The CH-250 employs PIR technology to sense the difference between the infrared energy from a person in motion and the background space. It keeps lighting on as long as motion is detected and provides automatic shutoff, following a user-selected time delay, when motion is no longer detected. Users may turn the connected load off manually.

One of the most significant ways in which individuals contribute to greenhouse gas emissions is through their household energy consumption. Heating homes and heating water are two of the most energy-intensive activities that occur in a home.   We’ve written extensively in the past about insulating homes and the added benefits of fitting your home so that it retains more heat, instead of losing it.  This is better for reducing heating costs, and thus for reducing our environmental footprint – approximately 4 metric tons of carbon dioxide are emitted each year from residences, most of which is the consequence of home heating.  Conventional fiberglass insulation is a suspected carcinogen, so using a green product like Bonded Logic Ultratouch Recycled Cotton Insulation is a major step towards making a greener home.  For an even more efficient home, National Fiber Cel-Pak Cellulose Insulation is a blow-in material that settles into the tiniest corners and cracks of walls, ceilings, and attics.

Water heaters are one of the largest consumers of energy in the average home, and swapping out an older-model water heater for a new, energy-efficient model can substantially reduce energy costs.  The GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater is an especially energy-efficient model, qualified by ENERGY STAR.  It combines heat pump technology with traditional electric elements to save the homeowner up to 62% on annual water heating expenses  — even up to $320.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many othergreen products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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