Green By Building Green
(NAPSI)-You can help
the ecology and your own economy by going green.
Being energy efficient and eco-friendly is more popular and more
accepted than ever before. For homeowners, green is not only the right
thing to do for the environment; it's the smart thing to do for their bank
accounts. A common misconception is that going green is always expensive.
The reality is there are many green home improvements that can help
increase energy efficiency at home while actually saving money and
providing a healthy return on investment.
To help you establish a green home while saving cash, consider the
Save on your energy bill. Replacing leaky, single-panewindows with
high-efficiency, Energy Star−qualified windows can save hundreds of
dollars a year. With more efficient windows, you use less energy, which
also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
Add insulation. According to the Department of Energy, ensuring your
home has adequate levels of insulation can save up to 30 percent on energy
Take advantage of incentives and rebates. Applying for government
rebates can further increase the return on investment for a green upgrade.
To look for rebates and incentives, visit the Database of State Incentives
for Renewables & Efficiency at www.dsireusa.org.
Quality products pay you back. Using quality products pays off. You
don't have to replace them as often, diverting tons of materials from
landfills each year. A good example is CertainTeed's Cedar Impressions Siding.
The polymer siding comes backed by a lifetime, limited warranty; it's a
long-lasting, low-maintenance and durable product.
Increase your resale value. Some green products increase the value of
a home in the long run. For example, a recent Cost vs. Value report
conducted by Hanley Wood, LLC, shows that if a homeowner chooses fiber
cement, 83 percent of the cost can be recouped when the home is sold.
CertainTeed WeatherBoards fiber cement contains 50 percent recycled
content--making it an excellent choice.
Protect the community. Choosing products with the environment in mind
is a great start to ensuring a healthy community and preserving the
environment in your neighborhood. Do your part by selecting products that
are produced by companies that embrace sustainability in their operations.
Homeowners looking to green their home and save some cash have many
options. To find out more about sustainable efforts, visit www.certainteed.com.
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Coloring Our Communities Green
by David Wenzel,
green is more than making our individual homes, buildings and cars
friendlier to the environment.
It's thinking green for the entire community.
Sustainable towns and cities are within our reach, thanks to innovations
that provide public services while protecting, as well as improving, our
Roads less traveled. Changing the way we get around can make a big
difference. Fewer as well as more efficient cars on the road would have the
most impact. Washington state has set goals for reducing vehicular miles
driven. Greater use of public transportation also has received more
attention. So has a focus on renewing neighborhoods that puts people closer
to their jobs.
Creative drainage. Modern systems route drainage through crushed rock
banks along the roadside, filtering and cooling the water, then running it
underground where temperatures are lower. The water reaching rivers is
cleaner and cooler, which is healthier for plants, fish and other wildlife.
Stormwater planters. Streets also are being designed to channel
filtered drainage into roadside "stormwater planters" made up of
native flowers and grasses. They appeal to the eye and offset carbon
emissions while reusing drainage water in a positive manner.
Tires as fill. Tires are being ground up and mixed with sand and other
soils to use as fill in construction projects. This reduces waste and
conserves natural materials.
Combining renewables. In in a number of communities, plans are being
considered to use a combination of solar panels, wind towers and underwater
river turbines to light a parks area, including roads, trails and bridges.
Methane captured. Sewage treatment plants discharge methane 24 hours a
day, usually into the open air, when it can be put to better use. As an
example, some plants now capture and burn methane to generate energy and
power the facility.
Having met with more than 40 transportation officials across the
country, it's clear to me that sustainability has become a requirement for
A recent survey from HNTB shows the public agrees. More than six in 10
(64 percent) are willing to pay more today for national infrastructure that
is energy-efficient and less wasteful in order to save money and resources
in the long run.
Americans should work together, carefully planning, designing and
constructing infrastructure that improves our quality of life and our
economic competitiveness while respecting the environment.
We owe that to ourselves and to the next generation.
To learn more about America's sustainable infrastructure, visit www.hntb.com.
David Wenzel, AICP, LEED-AP, is the sustainability services chair for
Toward A Cleaner Coast
appears, is all wet. That's because so much of it ends up in the world's
oceans, lakes, rivers and streams--but it doesn't have to.
In a new report, "Trash Travels," the Ocean Conservancy
demonstrates marine debris has become one of the most widespread pollution
problems the world faces.
The organization estimates that about two-thirds of all ocean debris
starts out on land as items considered "disposable" by today's
standards--straws, soda cans, plastic bags, eating utensils and food
What's Being Done
In fact, in a single day's cleanup, almost a half-million people in 108
countries collected 7.4 million pounds--over 10 million individual
pieces--of trash. More than 50,000 of the volunteers came from Coca-Cola,
which turned out employees in 35 different countries. Bank of America, as part
of a 10-year initiative to help address climate change, turned out
thousands as well.
"The ocean is our life-support system, and when we trash it we are
trashing our own health and well-being," said Vikki Spruill, president
and CEO of Ocean Conservancy. "Eliminating marine debris will improve
the ocean's resilience to climate change and other threats, but cleanups
alone cannot solve the problem--it's time to stop marine debris at the
source. We all have a role to play: Corporations can reduce packaging,
governments can enact strong marine debris policies and each of us can
reuse items, recycle when possible and always put trash securely in its
At her organization, they believe it's time to look beneath the surface
to see where the health of our planet really begins. All living things are
connected to the ocean, she says, and it's time to understand that going
green starts with living blue.
What You Can Do
The 25th anniversary International Coastal Cleanup will be held on
September 25th, 2010. You can volunteer to be a part of it.
You can learn more, sign up for a cleanup or download the full report at
call (800) 519-1541.
You can be part of a sea change when it comes to cleaner oceans--the
source that sustains you day to day with the food you eat, the water you
drink and the air you breathe.
And Green Blue Jeans
(NAPSI)-According to a
recent survey conducted by Infogroup | ORC on behalf of Whirlpool brand,
despite advances in high-efficiency laundry, many consumers don't realize
the environmental impact of their laundry habits. With the average American
doing more than four loads of laundry each week, it can be important to
reduce the environmental effect of that age-old chore.
To help, consider these simple tricks to keep jeans looking newer,
longer and without wasted water and energy:
Hot and cold: According to the survey, 48 percent of respondents who
do laundry believed that water temperature has no effect on the
environment. However, washing clothes in cold water can positively affect
the environment (check the label to be sure of appropriate care
instructions). Using cold water also helps prevent shrinking and color
Fully loaded: Thirty-three percent of respondents said a specific
denim cycle would make a big difference in how they efficiently and
accurately care for their clothing. Another way to be more efficient--wait
for a full load of laundry when running a cycle to save an average of 3,400
gallons of water per year.
True blues: Fourteen percent of consumers worry about fading and
fabric wear and tear of their denim when washing and 41 percent do not
allow anyone but themselves to wash their jeans. To help, the experts at
the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science recommend wearing jeans a few
times before washing, and when you do wash jeans, turn them inside out.
Circle of life: Don't trash old jeans; instead, donate clean, gently
worn jeans so others can enjoy the blues.
Learn more: For more tips, visit www.instituteoffabricscience.com/.
Commuter Bikes Answer The Call For
"Greener" Modes Of Getting Around
prices high, the economy downturned and a greater consumer shift toward
environmentally friendly products and living a "greener"
lifestyle, bicycling is steadily growing as a regular mode of
transportation. Bicycle manufacturers are catering to this market by
producing new lines of commuter bikes designed specifically for daily
Commuting via bicycle is healthier for both the environment and the
cyclist. According to the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), a four-mile
round trip by bicycle prevents the production of 15 pounds of air
pollution. If just one out of every 10 commuters who now drive to work
switched to bicycling, the savings would amount to 2 billion gallons of
gasoline per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25.4 million tons.
Performance Bicycle, the nation's No. 1 specialty bike retailer,
recently launched the TransIt line of city and commuter bikes to help
people make cycling part of their everyday routine. "I think we're in
the midst of a renaissance of the American bicycle, and commuter bicycles
are going to play a larger role in that trend," says Performance CEO
Many cities across the country are taking the initiative to encourage
local commuters to bike to work by developing commuter bike paths and bike
lanes on city streets. They also are providing bike "parking."
Cycling to work and around town definitely takes planning, so commuters
should take the time to map the best route, know how long the ride takes in
order to leave in plenty of time, and possibly bring a change of clothes if
it is hot.
Having the right bike is also of the utmost importance if you plan to
trade in your car keys for two wheels. Fortunately, the new generation of
transit or commuter bikes are designed to handle well and remain durable in
urban environments--they can take the abuse of daily commutes far better
than other types of bicycles.
Commuter bikes can range in price from $500 to $900 and address
different needs and preferences. Performance Bicycle's TransIt line, for
instance, includes five different models. One, the TransIt Kenan, is designed
specifically for students to hop curbs, descend stairs and weave between
walkers. Other models offer versatility, combining speed, utility and
style. For a more complete list of commuter options, visit www.performancebike.com.
For Saving Lives And Property From Wildfires
the reality of wildfire danger can help save your home and those you love.
According to experts, wildfires across the country are burning hotter and
faster than ever before. After a severe 1985 fire season that saw 1,400
homes burned nationally, the National Fire Protection Association, through
an agreement with the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Department of the
Interior and the National Association of State Foresters, created the
Firewise Program--to offer simple ways by which community members can work
together to prevent their properties from becoming fuel for a wildfire.
"By learning about how wildfires spread and taking simple steps to
reduce damage, we can adapt to the inevitability of wildfire danger,"
said Michele Steinberg, Firewise Program Manager in Quincy, Mass.
"Wildfires do not have to burn everything in their paths. You can
prepare your home simply and effectively."
Residents can reduce the risk of their home's ignition by simply
modifying their homes and immediate surroundings. For example, to make a
home's landscape Firewise, create space around the home to reduce wildfire
threat. Reduce vegetation surrounding a home (30-100 feet, depending on the
area's risk of wildfire) and prune large trees so that the lowest branches
are 6 to 10 feet high to prevent a wildfire from spreading up to the
treetops. When planting, choose low-growing, carefully placed shrubs and
trees so the area can also be more easily maintained. Even something as
simple as cleaning gutters and eaves of leaves and debris can prevent an
ember from igniting a home.
Also, when possible, choose Firewise construction materials for homes,
decks, porches and fences. The most protective roofing materials will be
rated "Class-A," including asphalt shingles and metal, cement and
concrete products. Wall materials most resistant to heat and flames include
brick, cement, plaster, stucco and concrete masonry. Double-paned or tempered
glass windows also make a home more resistant to heat and flames.
Our increasingly damaging wildfire seasons may be caused by rising
temperatures that in turn create drier wildfire fuels such as scrub, grass
and brush. Also, millions of people are moving into formerly rural and wild
areas vulnerable to wildfire, which presents added challenges for
For more information on taking real action to reduce wildfire damage in
your community, visit www.firewise.org.
Film On The Tsunami Sparks A Wave Of Interest
documentary tells the story of the tsunami of 2004--and its aftermath--from
the perspective of those who lived through it. The documentary film tries
to capture what happens after the media and public attention moves on to
the next big headline, while the critical work of healing and recovery have
only just begun.
In December 2004, an undersea earthquake produced a series of waves
unlike any ever recorded. Reaching heights of 100 feet and traveling over
5,000 miles, "The Tsunami," as it came to be known, leveled
coastal communities and killed more than 230,000 people. Ultimately, it was
considered by some to be one of the deadliest natural disasters in human
The film--"Kepulihan: Stories from the Tsunami"--follows the
lives of three survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. These
individuals actively volunteered to tell their stories and participate in
the making of the film. The film's title comes from an Indonesian word for
healing and recovery.
As the film crew returned to Sumatra each year, the survivors being
profiled were allowed to view footage from their previous interviews so
that they could reflect on their experience and report on their lives since
Filmmakers were intent on allowing each survivor to participate in the
creation of the documentary, letting it play a critical role in their
personal recovery process.
The film attempts to draw a clear line between the immediacy of news
coverage and attention in the aftermath of a disaster and how people's
lives are impacted for years after a life-altering event. The end result is
the need for long-term disaster recovery assistance.
Filmmaker David Barnhart worked closely with partner groups, including
The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, relief workers and medical agencies,
to establish a connection with the people being considered for the
Barnhart has specialized in documenting communities impacted by war and
natural disasters, focusing his lens in Latin America and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. He has also profiled homeless migrant workers in
Chicago and the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
To learn more, visit the film's Facebook page or http://thetsunamifilm.com.
Editor's Note: The film will air on select ABC affiliates throughout the
country on November 21, 2010. Check local listings or contact local ABC
affiliates for information.
Steps To Make Your Office Green
about ways to reduce your environmental footprint, a great place to start
being "green" may be the office, whether at home or at work. From
paper and printers to lights and furniture, there are many ways to make a
difference. Going green can be easy and it can become part of your daily
routine. There is a wide selection of products that incorporate
environmental features, such as recycled content, environmental
certifications and environmentally friendly designs to help you go green. Here
are 10 easy and affordable ways to reduce your environmental impact at the
Eco-Friendly Tips for Any Office
1. Whether it's reusing old stationery as scratch paper, setting up a recycle
bin for cans and water bottles or separating boxes and newspapers, make
sure materials in the office are properly sorted to be recycled.
2. Take your old computers, monitors, laptops, printers, faxes and
all-in-ones to any Staples U.S. store and drop them off at the customer
service desk to be recycled. All brands are accepted for recycling
regardless of where they were purchased. Staples also provides ink and
toner cartridge recycling.
3. Set up computers and other energy-draining equipment (copiers, fax
machines) to go on standby to reduce energy consumption. Consider ENERGY
STAR−certified products, which are 50 percent more energy efficient
than standard units.
4. Save materials and important documents digitally on your computer
instead of in file cabinets. Consider a printer from the Staples HP EcoEasy
line of printers, which use up to 50 percent less paper with double-sided
5. Turn off equipment at the end of the day or before the weekend starts
and unplug equipment until it is needed, since many machines consume energy
even in the "off" position.
6. Replace any incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent
lightbulbs that last up to 10 times longer.
7. Make over your desk with eco-conscious products. In addition to
recycled paper, Staples offers a wide selection of eco-conscious products
such as bamboo flash drives and remanufactured toner cartridges.
8. Use eco-conscious cleaning products when tidying up the office.
Staples' Sustainable Earthฎ cleaning products provide powerful cleaning
action and minimize impacts to the environment.
9. Look into furniture and cubicles that are Greenguard certified (www.greenguard.org). The materials in
these products have been tested for toxic emissions. Products that are
under the allowable limits of toxins are defined by the U.S. Green Building
Council as Greenguard products.
10. Carpool to work; if you and a co-worker live by each other, riding
to work together will reduce polluting car emissions. If you live close to
work, think about walking or riding a bike.
For more information on going green, visit www.staples.com/ecoeasy.