Being Green – Good News!

Hi Folks!  Friday again… where does the week go?  Wait a minute – didn’t I ask that same question last week?  Oh well…  This is going to be short, I’m afraid, but I didn’t want to let a Friday go by without doing a ‘Being Green‘ post.  I’ll add my usual weekly links at the bottom, but I wanted to mention a few ‘good news’ items I’ve come across recently.  While I don’t like to show favouritism and highlight specific companies, there are many that are making a conscious effort to go greener in different ways.  I’ll let you decide whether or not their products are right for you.  One is Method, a company that makes environmentally friendly cleaning products.  They’ve just announced a new non-toxic, plant-based laundry detergent, super-concentrated, but the best part is that it’s “the world’s first Cradle to CradleCM certified laundry detergent, thanks to its comprehensive green design. And like other method products, it’s recognized by the US EPA’s DfE program for its safer chemistry.”  They even show their ingredient list on the site.

Got the munchies?  SunChips has recently announced a new biodegradable/ compostable packaging for their chips.  Gotta like that.

Since, as the song says, children are our future, Brincadada has come out with a new eco-friendly doll house for your child to play with!  The Emerson Housefeatures many extras including mitered-glass corners, two fireplaces, sliding glass doors, solar panels, and recessed LED lights. Finally, the house is easy on the environment with only non-toxic and lead-free wood stains and paints.

How about reducing the energy requirements of your computer?  Cray makes supercomputer systems like the XTS, the kind of computing power that is used to assess climate change or plot stellar systems.  Since a large HPC facility can use 35,000 MW of energy/ year, reducing the power consumption by even 10% can have significant impact.  There’s a video here on how Cray is reducing the energy requirements of their supercomputers.  It’s pretty self-selling, but it has some good information too.

Something close to home (for me) is the ‘Inn at Laurel Point‘, which is striving to be BC’s first ‘carbon neutral’ hotel.  According to their website they’re finding it impossible to reduce their carbon footprint completely to zero, so they’re purchasing carbon offsets from Offsetters.  It’s free to clients, so when you stay with them they cover your carbon footprint during your visit.

Let’s see, what else?  Although not ‘new’, something new to me is the restoration of the Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul, South Korea.  The stream, which runs through the center of the city, was widened and built up in the 18th century, but by the middle of the 20th century it had become a shanty area and the stream was becoming heavily polluted.  The stream was covered over, and in the early 1970s an elevated highway was built over it.  At the start of the new millenium, for various reasons it was decided to remove the highway and return the 5.8 km stream to a natural watercourse with parkland running along both sides.   Traffic was diverted using both alternate routes and with an increase in public transit. The  Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project took three years to complete, and it  has become a major tourist attraction and a wonderful healthy ecosystem in the heart of the city.   A .pdf discussing the project, including the sustainability components (more than 75% of the waste was recycled) may be found here.  This route and other similar ideas are being considered as part of the plans for Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway (link is to a .pdf).

Something that’s very new is being introduced by a company called Bloom Energy.  I think it’s too early to say much about it yet, but they’re promising a 100KW solide oxide fuel generator that’s small enough to fit into a parking space, one that uses no acids, rare metals or molten metals to operate.  Will it work?  FedEx, WalMart, EBay, Google and Staples are among early adopters.  It’s pretty exciting.

Anyway, those are just a few tidbits to celebrate some of what’s going right with the world.  If you have any to share, please leave us a comment!

Links this week include:

Okay, that’s it for now.  See you next Friday!

Mike.

Something a little different:  Artificial arthropod hair makes for top-notch waterproofing.

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