Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Green Roof Industry is Growing Fast

A rapidly growing initiative is seeing homeowners and businesses planting vegetation on rooftops around the world. Green roofs are growing in popularity because they offer both economic and environmental benefits. These roofs reflect far more light than black tar roofs in summer and thus act as heat shields. In winter they offer excellent insulation and throughout the year they absorb precipitation rather than letting it flow down a storm drain. They also support biodiversity, improve air quality and act as a carbon sink.

Green Roofs and Storm Water Runoff

Green roofs contribute to urban sustainability planning by reducing heating and cooling costs for buildings but they also help to reduce the amount of untreated water that flows into local waterways. They reduce runoff by approximately 90 percent.  In addition to a host of other financial benefits green roofs offers a storm water mitigation benefit of $4.26 per square foot.”

As reviewed in a 2011 Triple Pundit article, a study on green roof conducted by ConEdison in partnership with the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research, reveals that green roofs help cities find cost effective ways to deal with excess storm water.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Benefits of Green Roofs

Green roofs provide a wide range of benefits, perhaps the most widely known is the fact that they significantly reduce energy demand and the cost of interior cooling. However, green roofs offer a wide range of benefits that extend beyond sustainability and cost savings. In addition to contributing to the comfort of those who reside inside such buildings, green roofs provide immense quality of life benefits outdoors.

Types of Green Roofs

A green roof allows vegetation to grow in a growing medium and usually includes the following elements: waterproof membrane, a root repellent system, a drainage system, a filtering layer, a growing medium and of course plants. Here are three main types of green roof systems as explained by the city of Toronto:  These roof types can be divided into seven categories: intensive, extensive, new, retrofit, complete, modular, or pre-cultivated.

Intensive

Intensive or active green roofs have a deep growing medium that supports a variety of landscape design and growth. They are accessible and used as recreational space. Intensive green roofs are essentially parks in the sky. They provide a peaceful retreat, full of trees, walkways, and seating areas. In dense urban environments, intensive green roofs can create a garden and yard for an entire apartment building.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

2012 CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference (Event)

The 10th annual green roof and wall conference will take place in Chicago on October 17th to 20th at the historic Congress Plaza hotel. Chicago was the site of the first CitiesAlive conference in 2003 and has been North America’s green roof leader for the past decade. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) invites you to the place where it all began, to celebrate our shared legacy and to continue build a higher quality of life in the built environment. Join GRHC and the City of Chicago as they celebrate a decade of living architecture at the 10th Anniversary of CitiesAlive. A living example of legacy urban planning.

Green Roof Gatherings: New Green Roof Technology (Event)

On Thursday August 9th an event will be held on green roofs in Toronto Ontario. The event will be held by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC). This event will be held at the site of one of Toronto's most exciting green roof projects - the Carrot Common. It is a great chance for you to network with professionals in the green roof and wall industry, and those looking to get involved.

GEA National Geothermal Summit (Event)

On August 7 - 8, a geothermal summit will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento, California. This event brings together companies and individuals in the geothermal industry with experts, government officials and other key decision makers. This is the second annual National Geothermal Summit, the event brings together companies and individuals in the geothermal industry with experts, government officials and other key decision makers.

Energy Storage & The Grid (Course)

On Augtust 4th in London UK, Green Power Academy is offering a one day introductory course on the economic rationale for large-scale energy storage and the technology solutions. The highly accessible, informal and extremely interactive course will address future energy strategies, particularly as it concerns renewable power like solar and wind. The course will specifically deal with the critical importance of large scale energy storage. It will also deal with the financial balances affecting market growth and technological solutions.

The Cool Roof Project (Video)




Friday, July 27, 2012

The Effectiveness of Cool Roofs in Hot and Cold Climates

A relatively simple idea like light reflective roofing material can help reduce global warming. Research shows that cool roofs can provide significant benefits in hot climates, but there is some controversy as to whether cool roofs make sense in colder climates. In places where there are more hot days than cold days, cool roofs may not provide a net benefit in terms of cash savings or emissions. In northern countries like Canada this may seem intuitively obvious, but in the US the situation is not so straightforward. According to the US Energy Information Administration's, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, heating accounts for 36% of commercial buildings' annual energy consumption, while air conditioning only accounts for only 8%. However, according to the Cool Roofs Rating Council (CRRC), "The roof is an insignificant source for heat gain in winter. While cool roof owners may pay slightly more to heat their homes, this amount is usually insignificant compared to the cooling energy savings during the summer".

20 Cool Roof Resources from the CRRC and Other Sources

Here is a compilation of resources for anyone interested in installing a cool roof. As reviewed in previous posts, cool roofs provide many benefits and cost savings can be measured with a couple of excellent tools. Below you will find a list of resources from the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) and several other sources. The CRRC is an independent, non-profit organization that maintains a third-party rating system for radiative properties of roof surfacing materials. The resources listed below offer everything you need to know about cool roofs including guidelines and information related to materials. For more detailed information on other aspects of green building and construction see the "Related Posts' section at the bottom of this post. It contains a wealth of information spanning the gamut from natural lighting to ventilation.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Northern Ice is Melting at a Dramatic Rate

The combination of declining Arctic ice and Greenland's melting ice sheet are part of a troubling trend that cannot be ignored. As of June 2012, Arctic sea ice declined by 1.10 million square miles and as of July a total of 97 percent of Greenland's ice sheet had melted.

According to satellite images from NASA (see above left), Greenland's ice sheet is melting at an alarming rate. Before July 2012, the most extensive melting seen by satellites in the past three decades was about 55 percent. Ice core records reveal that we have not seen such pronounced melting of Greenland's ice sheet since 1889. To make matters worse a 70 square miles (181 square km) iceberg broke off Greenland’s Petermann Glacier.

Cool Roofs Savings Calculators

A cool roof is a way of reducing the costs associated with air conditioning and this reduces energy usage which in turn reduces emissions. Estimates for cost savings associated with cool roofs run between 10 and 25 percent. There are a number of tools to help people evaluate the cost savings resulting from the installation of cools roofs. Below you will find two such tools, one from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory deals and the other developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Three Types of Cool Roofs

Cool roofs fall into one of three categories: roofs made from inherently cool roofing materials, roofs made of materials that have been coated with a solar reflective coating, or green planted roofs. While green roofs are in many ways the best, they are also the most difficult to construct and maintain. Inherently cool roofs like vinyl are relatively easy to install, while the easiest and in this respect the best cool roof is a coated roof.

Complimentary Webcast on Integrated Reporting: Achieving Value with Financial Grade Sustainability Data

On Wednesday, July 25, 2012, 8:00 am PDT/11am EDT/4pm GMT watch a free webinar that will address integrated reporting. Register now to learn how best in class companies are leveraging CDP disclosure, the GRI reporting framework, sound business processes and technology to unlock new business opportunities through better transparency and accountability of their operations. Sustainability experts will discuss best practices on leveraging the current set of frameworks and standards available, including GRI and CDP, and help you understand what information needs to be disclosed and at what level. You’ll also gain insights on how to ensure your data is credible and how best to leverage the data to add further value throughout your sustainability programs.

The Benefits of Cool Roofs

Cool roofs offer energy savings and global warming mitigation. In its simplest essence, Cool roofs offer high solar reflectance. This is achieved primarily by reflecting the visible, infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths of the sun, which in turn reduces heat transfer to the building. Cool roofs are also are high in thermal emittance (the ability to radiate absorbed, or non-reflected solar energy).  Cool roofs can reportedly save up to 15% off the annual air-conditioning energy use in a single-story building.

Most of the sunlight that falls on a white roof much of is reflected and passes back into space. But when sunlight falls on a dark roof most of it is absorbed and converted into much longer wavelengths which we know as heat. The atmosphere is transparent to sunlight but opaque to heat, which is why white roofs help cool the planet and dark roofs warm the planet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Electric Vehicle Buyer´s Guide

The Electric Vehicle Buyer's Guide can help you to avoid costly mistakes when buying your first green car. Many consumers are unfamiliar with the specifics of green cars, so deciding which one to purchase can be challenging. This guide will help you understand more about electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and when it comes time to selecting one, you’ll know what to look for, know the right questions to ask, and how to determine the right car for you. By reading this guide, you’ll learn the characteristics of green cars and be better informed when considering different cars and models. With this knowledge, you’ll purchase a car that you’ll enjoy for years to come. To go to the Electric Vehicle Buyer´s guide click here.

Bill McKibben: Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven't convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pakistan's Sustainable Development Strategy

As announced at the Rio+20 summit, Pakistan has a new national sustainable development strategy (NSDS) that will see the creation of a knowledge management system that is based on science, technology and innovation. As reported by SciDev, the knowledge management system will support key economic, environmental and social goals through academic research and foster solution-driven innovation for policy, information gathering, and technology development.

Islamic Banks and Renewable Energy in MENA

Islamic banking involves activity that is consistent with the principles of sharia law. Sharia prohibits the fixed or floating payment or acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money. It is also prohibited to invest in businesses that provide goods or services considered contrary to Islamic principles. Many Islamic banks were formed in the late 20th century. Now Islamic banks are are increasingly looking to support renewable energy including hydropower, solar and wind energy. Finance is a crucially important component of building a green infrastructure and this is especially true in the context of economic difficulty and political volatility we are seeing in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Geothermal Power Economics 101: Resources, Technologies & Economics (Course)

This one day training course will take place On August, 3rd, 2012 in London, UK. This event is brought to you by Green Power Academy and is an introductory course intended for non-engineers. This course will cover the basics of geothermal power – the resource and the methods of harnessing it – along with its competitive positioning within the power and energy markets. In addressing the latter, the course will also briefly cover the fundamental concepts governing the supply and demand of power/energy, including the basics of power grids and the factors which determine popular economic measures such as levelised electricity cost (all with particular reference to geothermal as compared with other power sources, both fossil and renewable).

Introduction to Solar PV (Course)

Green Power Academy presents Introduction to Solar PV. This one day course will take place on August 2, in London, UK. The course will provide a solid introduction to photovoltaic technologies Including their economics and business case. The course objectives include understanding Solar PV power generation. It describes and illustrates geographic variations in solar resource, explains the various technologies and system components required to create a project and discusses the business case issues such as costs, competition and regulatory frameworks. Challenges (and solutions) in integrating solar into the grid on a large-scale are included as are the pros and cons of competing power generation options (both renewable and fossil).

European Permaculture Convergence 2012 (Event)

European Permaculture Convergence 2012 (EUPC2012) will start on August 1 and run through August 8, 2012), Escherode/Kassel, Germany. This is the 11th European Permaculture Convergence. This 5-day-gathering will involve up to 300 activists and designers. The event will include A wide range of transdisciplinary workshops, action, presentations, dialogues, design, art and social sculpture – and above all: European networking and grand celebration!

Certified Passive House Consultant Training (Course)

This 9 day course will start on Tuesday July 31 in Toronto, Ontario at Ryerson University. This training course will train next generation of Passive House buildings suitable for Canada. Homesol Building Solutions Inc. CEO Ross Elliott wants to inspire a new generation of Canadian Passive House architects, designers, contractors and engineers to build a new Passive House standard that can reduce home energy costs by up to 90 per cent. Elliott is currently involved in 8 Passive House projects and anticipating another 30 this year. His goal is to create a new generation of expertise around the world’s highest residential energy design standard.

Engineering Outside the Box: Natural Building in the 21st Century (Event)

This technical seminar will take place on Friday July 27 in Toronto, Ontario at Ryerson University, The Pit, 235 Church St. The three-part seminar covers everything a building design professional would want to know about working with traditional and emerging natural building materials. The seminar is eligible for OAA credits.

The seminar will be conducted by innovative engineers and researchers Bruce King (Ecological Building Network) and John Straube (BuildingScience.com). They will present a technical seminar in three parts:

Friday, July 20, 2012

TerraCycle Facebook Game App: Upcycling & Recycling

An initiative from TerraCycle incorporates recycling into a game. In 2011 TerraCycle, the company which turns trash into eco-products, launched Trash Tycoon, a Facebook game that teaches players to upcycle. Instead of planting crops or building cities as in FarmVille or CityVille, in Trash Tycoon the player cleans houses and town buildings such as a library, a school and a town hall. Players also build factories, which upcycle and recycle the collected trash and include a worm farm, glass smelter, plastic extruder, injection molder, paper recycler and greenhouse.

Climate Change Science Shows Anthropogenic Origins of Global Warming

The science exploring mans role in global warming is getting stronger. A new study revealed more than two dozen climate “indicators” were revealed in an annual State of the Climate report released which was released on July 10. A related study went further saying man-made global warming is already increasing the likelihood of extreme weather. These are the finding in the State of the Climate 2011 report, published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shell's Game with the Future of the Arctic

Questions are being raised about Shell's ability to manage its oil and gas drilling operations in the Arctic Ocean. The company is reneging on its emissions commitments and is already having trouble with the ships tasked to locate fossil fuels.

Right before it begins its drilling operations in August, Shell is trying to change the terms under which it was granted permission to drill. In an application to the agency, dated June 28, Shell said they cannot meet the requirements for emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia of an air permit granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January. Shell has asked the EPA to loosen air pollution requirements for its Discoverer drill rig and to a lesser extent its Kulluk drill ship. “This is a classic bait-and-switch.”

Lawsuit Protecting the Arctic from Oil and Gas Drilling

A coalition of conservation groups filed a lawsuit on July 16th to protect the Arctic Ocean from Shell's exploratory drilling scheduled to get under way in August. The legal papers filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage challenges the oil spill cleanup plans for Shell Alaska's upcoming operations in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Shell claims it has already spend $4 billion on the drilling operation. The suit invokes the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, a tough law passed in the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. This act imposes strict standards on companies in the Arctic Ocean involved with oil and gas drilling and transport.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Scientific Support for Anthropogenic Climate Change

There is increasing scientific support for the relationship between human activities, global warming and climate change. The latest research was published on July 10th, 2012. According to an accompanying analysis in the annual State of the Climate report, compiled by nearly 400 scientists from 48 countries and published in the peer-reviewed Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 

The report itself remains "consciously conservative" when it comes to attributing the causes of certain weather events to climate change. However, the report’s accompanying analysis titled "Explaining Extreme Events," make the link between human-driven climate change and six selected weather crises in 2011, including the Texas drought of 2011.

Bridging the Gap: A Financial Approach to Sustainability (White Paper)

"Do good and you will do well!" pundits and companies often assert. While the tagline sounds great, the reality is that many companies struggle to connect sustainability with core business goals such as increasing sales, reducing costs, or reducing risks. As a result, sustainability departments are often seen as tangential to the core business, and annual CSR reports are mostly filled with anecdotal feel good stories. More often than not, environmental impacts, costs, and risks are mostly hidden and do not show up in companies' main accounting systems. As long as a CFO or Procurement Officer does not have visibility on such costs and risks in financial terms, the environment will at best remain a Chief Sustainability Officer issue.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Three SAP Reports on Sustainability

Here are three SAP reports on sustainability. These SAP reports have practical information that is useful in your business. The first involves end of life reporting, the second suggests that sustainability is nearing a tipping point and the third concerns compliance management. These are three highly recommended reports for businesses involved in sustainability or those looking to explore.

Apple's Reversal on EPEAT Says a Lot About Consumers

After dropping Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) certification, Apple succumbed to pressure and reversed its decision. In June Apple announced that it will withdraw from EPEAT, than on Friday July 13, Apple said it will return to EPEAT certification program (with the exception of its new MacBook Pro Retina model). The decision says two things, the first it says that Apple will go where the money is. What is really noteworthy is that fact that the public is interested in green certification and it is willing to let companies know about it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Building Support for Action on Climate Change Before We Reach Tipping Points

We need to take aim at those who are environmentally indifferent and hit them with an effective call to action. If climate advocacy is to succeed, we must do more than regurgitate the same tired rhetoric, we must work on a targeted message that encourages action. While a growing number of people accept the facts about our environment, inaction threatens the survival of our species. Time is running out, and unless we can find a way to get through to those who refuse to act, we will not make the needed changes in the time we have available.

It is easy to understand why many laugh at the Luddites who ignore climate change. However, this group is no laughing matter; they are in fact a serious threat to planetary health. Deniers are in the way of efforts to enact progressive national and state policies on energy and the environment.

Crafting a Positive Environmental Narrative

Positive narratives may be our best hope for fostering desperately needed environmental action. Decades of ecological warnings have failed to produce the necessary societal changes. The enthralling realities and fascinating mysteries of the natural world offer endless inspiration for an alternative message that is both factually accurate and emotionally appealing. One of the most universally attractive messages we can communicate is the idea that we are part of the web of life that surrounds us.

Biodiversity is no longer the exclusive domain of academics. As revealed by the plethora of science oriented subject matter in popular media, Americans are increasingly fascinated with accessible portrayals of the natural world.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Architecture After Oil: Natural Building in the 21st Century

Architecture After Oil: Natural Building in the 21st Century will take place on July 26, 2012, in Toronto, Ontario between 7-9pm, (Ryerson University, The Pit, 325 Church Street). The event will include world-renowned engineer and researcher Bruce King. He will make a public presentation of Architecture After Oil: Natural Building in the 21st Century. Bruce will make the case for the use of natural building materials and methods in a modern context, showing how architecture can become much more planet and human friendly. Bruce is the author of the books Buildings of Earth and Straw, Design of Straw Bale Buildings and Making Better Concrete. His leads the Ecological Building Network and maintains a private engineering practice in San Francisco. The suggested donation is $5-15.

Solar Energy Five Day Course in Toronto

The Solar Energy, 5-Day Course will take place on July 23 to Fri Jul 27, 2012, in Toronto, Ontario. This special Ontario Solar Academy course guides students from system fundamentals to advanced mechanical and electrical concepts in accordance with Electrical Code requirements in Ontario. Solar Academy’s 5-Day Solar PV Design and Installation Course (Level One) covers fundamental knowledge and reviews the design, installation, evaluation, and sales components of residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The solar training, based on the NABCEP learning objectives, includes site evaluation tools and techniques, solar electric component operation and connection, system design and sizing, and standard requirements and practices.

Toronto Greenhouse - Green Cars Event

On July 24, 2012,Toronto Greenhouse will present a Green Cars event in Toronto, Ontario. This event will answer questions like: How sustainable is your vehicle? Should everyone drive electric? Is fuel efficiency the answer? The discussion will be focused on green cars and will include representatives from General Motors, smart Canada (Mercedes-Benz) and Plug'nDrive Ontario.

Earth Wisdom Permaculture Event: A New Paradigm in Regenerative Living

Earth Wisdom Permaculture is a 2-week Permaculture Design Course. It will take place on July 20 to August 3 in London, Ontario. This internationally recognized, 72-hour training offers information on the ethics, principles, methods, techniques, and practices of Permaculture Design Course. The Earth Wisdom Permaculture course provides you with the skills to meet the challenging cultural, environmental and energy-supply changes that face us. It teaches how to reconnect with the 'Original Instructions' revealed within nature so that we are empowered to create positive, active and practical solutions for personal, community and environment benefit.

Permaculture Design Course at the Whole Village

The Permaculture Design Course at the Whole Village will take place on July 22 to August 4, 2012, in Caledon, Ontario. This course is designed to create a self sufficient lifestyle in harmony with nature. This intensive 13 day course offers practical training in permaculture design principles and techniques to create sustainable environments that provide self-reliance in food, shelter, energy, fulfilling employment and supportive community. This training will be useful for those from beginning, backyard gardeners to design professionals. Field trips and practical sessions for design and gardening are included. Evening seminars and socials complete the day sessions. Topics include: Ecological Landscape Design, Organic Gardening, Edible Landscaping and Forest Gardening, Poultry Care, Appropriate Technology, Ecovillage Design, Ecoforestry, Soil Fertility and Composting, Fruit and Nut Production, Water Harvesting and Uses.

Ecological Farmers Summer Bus Tour to Rodale (Event)

On July 19-21, 2012, there will be a summer bus trip to Rodale (3 full days/2 nights). We will participants will be part of the Rodale Institute Annual Field Day where speakers will present research information and a tour of their research farm. They will also visit include several farm stops in New York and Pennsylvania including Eric and Anne Nordell’s vegetable farm (at Trout Run, Pa) and Steve Groff’s Farm to discuss cover crops and his crop management systems.

STIHL Tour des Trees 2012 Fundraising Event in Oregon

The STIHL Tour des Trees is a cycling fundraising event that will take place in Oregon on Aug. 5 to Aug. 11, 2012. Participants cycle more than 500-miles visiting historical trees and planting new ones for future generations. Participants in this year's event will cycle and plant trees along the Columbia River Gorge, vineyards, the high desert and Mt. Hood.

The 2012 Women In Green Forum (Event)

The Women In Green Forum will take place on August 28-29, 2012 at Sheraton Delfina, in Santa Monica, California. This event is known for facilitating meaningful discussions between leaders in the sustainability movement and calling attention to emerging environmental issues and initiatives. The 2012 Forum promises to engage attendees with inspiring presentations and networking activities designed to encourage and develop this dialogue.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Environmental Advocacy through Citizen Journalism



Exposing all the environmental insults taking place around the world is an important part of changing the way we treat the Earth. This video shows you how to become a citizen journalist and report important environmental stories effecting your community.

How to Help Pass Environmental Legislation



This video addresses an approach to changing environmental and energy laws. This class teaches you how to get results by developing and proposing adoptable solutions at government meetings. Although the course suggests "ready to adopt" laws, there is no need to confine yourself to this list. In this world of negative politics this no-blame approach may improve the chances of successfully passing environmental legislation.

Environmental Advocacy Influence on Policy and Law



Environmental advocacy can change laws. When enough people get involved lawmakers will listen. In this video Allen Grosboll, co-legislative director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, explains how you can use environmental advocacy to have a positive impact on policy.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Fractal Frontier: Sustainable Development Trilogy from SLDI

The Fractal Frontier is a geometrical algorithm which balances and integrates the triple-bottom-line needs of people, planet and profit.  In this context a holistic fractal matrix becomes increasingly detailed, and guides effective decisions for sustainable results. It was originally developed to enable sustainable land development throughout the planning, financing, design, regulating, construction and maintenance processes while always enabling project context to drive specific decisions. These principles were developed by Sustainable Land Development international (SLDI). The SLDI Code for the sustainable development matrix are universal in their application and need not be confined to land development projects.

Pessimism is Impeding Environmental Advocacy

While it is easy to understand why so many environmentally concerned people are fearful and pessimistic, these attitudes detract from the goal of improving our environment. Fear is well warranted, we are on the verge of a widespread ecosystem collapse and we have reached 400 ppm of atmospheric C02 in the arctic. However, rather than just ask how bad things are, we should be asking how we can best address the calamities we face within the time we have available.

Fear mongering does not move us forward, if anything, it alienates people who most need to be brought into the discussion. The reaction to Rio+20 is a great illustration of the point. The summit in Rio has been justifiably described as “weak,” ”remarkably listless,” and a ”disappointment.” Sometimes the zeal of some environmentalists makes it hard for them to recognize progress. The business community’s commitments were the one bright spot at Rio, nonetheless they too were subjected to a barrage of harsh criticisms.  One article suggests that progress at Rio was derailed by big business. Some even dismissed the entire process, claiming that the summit was hijacked by powerful corporations.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Green Lumber Certification Standards

Green certification of lumber is very important as the responsible harvesting of trees can go a long way towards protecting our environment. Forests are the lungs of the earth, they provide oxygen and help to remove carbon from the atmosphere. There are at least five eco friendly certification standards in use across North America: 1) American Tree Farm Systems, 2) Canadian Standards Association, 3) Forest Stewardship Council, 4) Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes and 5) Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Of these programs, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainability Forest Initiative (SFI) are the most widely used for determining whether wood is green and sustainable.

Manchester Wood Furniture

At Manchester Wood the environment matters, their goal is to create top quality furniture from beautiful American hardwoods with minimal impact on the environment. To meet this goal they use sustainable, eco friendly timber like white ash and soft maple. Their wood furniture uses hardwood lumber which is grown in sustainably managed forests in the Northeast by suppliers that meet strict State and National standards for forest management developed by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

US Small Businesses are Creating Jobs and Contributing to Greentech Innovation

Small business is not only the engine that drives the US economy it is also creating jobs and driving green technology innovation. According to recent research, Small businesses are creating much needed jobs in America and they are also behind green technology innovation.

A recent report by the US Small Business Administration, indicates that small businesses outperformed large companies in net job creation by about 75 percent from 1992-2010. Small business is stimulating the US economy and small business innovation is contributing to America's competitive advantage.

Greentech and Renewables Help the Economy and Create Jobs in the US

Demand for green technology and sustainable energy solutions is helping the US economy and providing new jobs. Two new reports, one from the Brookings Institution and another from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics convincingly make the point the America is benefiting from green technology and renewable energy. These reports make it harder for critics to deride the virtues of the green economy. This message is particularly important for Republicans who continue to advocate for an economy premised on old energy paradigms.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why We Need to Reach American Climate Change Deniers

While there are a growing number of people that accept the facts about our climate, almost one third of Americans are putting the survival of our species at risk. The industrial revolution took 200 years, if we are to survive, the sustainability revolution will need to make substantial changes in one tenth of that time. Time is running out, and unless we can find a way to get through to those who refuse to see the facts, we risk failing to make the needed changes in the time we have available. 

A New Study Indicates We Are Reaching a Tipping Point

According to a new study we are on the verge of an environmental tipping point. We are heading towards an imminent, irreversible collapse. The researchers indicate that the planet’s ecosystems could quickly and irreversibly collapse this century. These conclusions were arrived at by 18 scientists using a combination of scientific theories, ecosystem modeling and paleontological evidence.

As reviewed in SFU News Online, these scientists reviewed the Earth’s worsening trends in biodiversity and extreme weather. This was factored in the context of the Earth's interconnected ecosystems. Their results were contained in an article titled "Approaching a State-Shift in Earth’s Biosphere," a paper recently published in Nature.