Tag Archives: ecological footprint

Chicago City Council OKs electricity deal with zero coal-fired power


Chicago City Council OKs electricity deal with Integrys – Utilities News – Crain’s Chicago Business http://ow.ly/g3gYU #healthyhomeschicago

“Chicago will be the largest aggregator in the nation and the first major city to adopt this kind of a program,” he said. “And, in fact, I suspect Chicago will set a national standard by utilizing the cleanest power mix possible without increasing cost.”

In winning the deal, Integrys agreed not to purchase any coal-fired power in supplying the city’s residents and small businesses. Company officials told the City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday that the vast majority of the power will come from natural gas-fired plants.

While not without negative environmental effects, the burning of natural gas contributes significantly lower emissions of carbon gases that are tied to global warming. Coal also is connected to pollutants that contribute to urban smog.

Over the course of the two-year deal, city officials project the average household will save $130 to $150.

Said Mayor Rahm Emanuel today: “I think it sends . . . a clear message, the fact that we made sure for families that live paycheck to paycheck that our residents are going to get what the suburban residents have been getting for a while: saving on their utility bill.”

He also said the deal proves “a city the size of Chicago (can be powered) without any coal.”

My guilt on fake vs real tree has been answered!


My guilt on fake vs real tree has been answered! Real Christmas trees more sustainable than fakes http://ow.ly/g2oRl#healthyhomeschicago

Real Christmas trees more sustainable than fakes, forestry professor says

Steve Mitchell among the cultured Christmas trees at the UBC Farm in Vancouver, B.C., December 7, 2012. Mitchell says the most sustainable Christmas tree is the wild tree cut from underneath power lines and road right of ways – with a permit. The carbon footprint of artificial trees takes about 20 years to payback.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , Vancouver Sun

An artificial Christmas tree would have to be used for 20 years before its carbon footprint matches that of a farmed tree, according to a forestry professor at the University of B.C.

Steve Mitchell said most artificial trees are kept only six years before fashions change and owners throw them out. Most end their life in a landfill.

“Artificial trees need to be kept for 20 years for the carbon emissions to be equivalent to using natural trees,” Mitchell said, referring to a life cycle study done in 2009 by Ellipsos, a Montreal-based sustainable consulting company.

People can choose a wild tree and either a farmed cut tree or a farmed living tree. Of all the options, the most sustainable is a wild tree, he said.

Technology Green Energy: Sustainable Design


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

architecture building and culture a unique compendium of links for those interested in and building a good start when moving toward making life easier on the earth bridge the oregon chapter of the american apwa …

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

A wealth of topics and resources on sustainable design & energy grids

See on technologygreenenergy.blogspot.fr

Healthy Memphis: Keep moving all day to avoid ‘sitting disease’ – Memphis Commercial Appeal


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Healthy Memphis: Keep moving all day to avoid ‘sitting disease’Memphis Commercial AppealIn contrast, other jobs require frequent movement, such as mail carriers, construction workers, stay-at-home parents, athletes and yoga teachers.

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

Oh crap, this is not good considering my long days at the desk, but I had to post. Get up and move around at work, become a postal carrier or yoga instructor….

See on www.commercialappeal.com

#USGBC Is at it again with this awesome interactive and innovative website they just launched to promote the global initiatives being discovered and improved around the world. GBIG


Green Building Information Gateway http://ow.ly/fYHml #healthyhomes

The First Net-Zero-Energy Stadium Will Be In The Next World Cup


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Brazil is about to do double-duty hosting international sporting events–first, the 2014 World Cup and then the 2016 Olympics. That means some serious sports center remodeling is in order.

See on www.fastcoexist.com

More British homes to stay warm with heat pumps or solar | Greenbang


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If winter is making temperatures drop to frigid levels where you live, you’re likely grateful for a functioning home furnace … but dreading the coming heating bills. Wouldn’t it be wonderful not to have to worry about those, …

See on www.greenbang.com

Sustainable homes for Earth – Earthship Biotecture


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By Caitlin Howlett G Magazine Looking like something Tolkein’s hobbits would reside in, the quirky Earthship homes are in fact some of the greenest ki…

See on earthship.com

American Homes Filled With Fire Retardants | Care2 Healthy Living


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Spare change isn’t the only thing hiding in your couch cushions. Fire retardants are surprisingly common in everyday furniture items.

See on www.care2.com

The incredible origami house that can change shape depending on the weather


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This new incredible folding house is able to, in the words of its creators, ‘metamorphosize’ into eight different configurations to adapt to seasonal, meteorological and even astronomical conditions (The house that is EIGHT homes in one: The incredible…

See on www.dailymail.co.uk

Shooting hoops for healthy hearts at HMS – Helena Independent Record


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Shooting hoops for healthy hearts at HMSHelena Independent RecordAbout 50 Helena Middle School students took to the basketball court Friday morning to keep their hearts healthy, learn basketball skills and celebrate their contribution to the…

See on helenair.com

Homes go from blight to energy efficiency – Toledo Blade


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Toledo BladeHomes go from blight to energy efficiencyToledo BladeThat’s the goal of NeighborWorks Toledo Region, which launched construction Friday of two new houses on the 300 block of Toledo’s Chapin Street.

See on www.toledoblade.com

Former President Carter and wife to build homes in Denver neighborhood – Denver Post


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Former President Carter and wife to build homes in Denver neighborhoodDenver PostFormer President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will visit Denver next year to help build 11 new townhomes and repair up to 15 existing homes in the Globeville…

See on www.denverpost.com

Healthy People Have Hundreds Of Flawed Genes – Medical News Today


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Zee NewsHealthy People Have Hundreds Of Flawed GenesMedical News TodayA normal healthy person has an average of 400 flaws in their DNA, according to a new study in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

See on www.medicalnewstoday.com

Chicago Mayor Jump starts the Electric Vehicle Industry


Mayor Emanuel Jump starts the Electric Vehicle Industry

Last week, Mayor Emanuel joined city, state and federal leaders to make a number of important announcements with respect to electric vehicles and batteries: a $15 million incentive program to encourage the adoption of electric trucks; Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp. opening an electric-vehicle factory in Chicago; a new procurement program that will encourage city contractors to purchase electric vehicles; and a dramatic expansion of the city’s commitment to building an energy-efficient fleet. The week was capped off with the announcement of a historic partnership and a $120 million investment in Argonne National Laboratory that will turn Chicago into a world-renowned battery hub.

These five initiatives fit into one broad strategy that addresses every aspect of electronic vehicles, from their conception and design to their construction to, ultimately, their presence on our streets. In line with Goals #11 and 12 of the Mayor’s roadmap, Sustainable Chicago 2015, this strategy will lead to Chicago becoming the electric-vehicle epicenter for Illinois, the Midwest and beyond.

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/December-2012-City-of-Chicago-Sustainability-Programs—Events.html?soid=1102254033668&aid=ZG9c_8teC74.

Nanotechnology Now – “Nansulate® Industrial”


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Heard about this really cool product today at the IIT IPRO presentations in Chicago. Energy savings up to 35% improvement with a simple coat of this nano-product! Case studies on the site. Thanks undergrads for the great lead and for all your hard work! “The paper titled, “Energy Conservation Using Nanotechnology Based Insulation Coating in Paper Machine Dryer At Seshasayee Paper” describes the benefits experienced in the pulp and paper industry by using patented …

See on www.nanotech-now.com

Geo Thermal Heat pumps. Theory and operation from Sibley. | lowcostheating


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Another from Mr. Herbert’s Science class, using a practical, personal application as a lesson, we study the operation and repair (Geo Thermal Heat pumps.

 

Visual look at NYC carbon dioxide output in 2010


In 2010 New York City released 54 metric tons of CO into the atmosphere. That is two tons per second! 75% of the output came from buildings.

What does this mean exactly? Here is visual look at the carbon dioxide output of New York City in the course of one day, one month and one year.

With one of the best public transportations systems in the world, individual New Yorkers tend to have smaller carbon footprints than typical Suburbanites, but with a population of over 8.2 million, the carbon footprint for the city itself is pretty outrageous. This visualization shows what it would look like if all of the carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles, buildings, factories, and people could be captured in “bubbles.” Each turquoise orb represents one ton of CO2, which would fill a sphere with a diameter of 33 feet, and as of now two are released every second in the Big Apple!

Buildings: Global Consumption and Sustainability


I wanted to share these thoughts I wrote one night a few months ago when  the thoughts and data which were floating around in my head came together which is the primary purpose for my putting all this new energy into this blog and this career. It is more than a job, It is a mission:

Buildings: Global Consumption & Sustainability

When I was born there were 3 billion people on the earth. When I turned 40 there were 6 billion people on the earth. When my daughters turns 40 there will be over 12 billion people on the earth.

“If undeveloped countries consumed at the same rate as the US, four complete planets the size of the Earth would be required. Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.”

At the current rate of population growth and human consumption at some point there is no debate the earth will not be able to supply the resources necessary to meet societies needs and our current rate of consumption.

At this inevitable rate of growth the time to act is now before it’s too late. If we continue to build homes that demand the current resources to build, maintain and operate our homes and commercial spaces the point on the graph where these two points meet will likely be in my lifetime but in most cases in my daughter’s lifetime and I cannot as a responsible parent and as a steward of the planet allow this to happen.

Building Science Digests

The construction and operation of buildings consumes over a third of the world’s energy consumption, and 40% of all the mined resources. Striving to make buildings more sustainable, while saving construction and operating costs and improving health and occupant well being is not only possible and practical, it should be the goal of the building industry. Achieving this goal requires an awareness of the problem and the skills to design, specify, construct, and operate buildings in a manner that is often quite different from current standard approaches. This digest will review the challenge of sustainability, discuss methods of assessing green buildings, and recommend a process by which more sustainable buildings can be delivered.

http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/digests/bsd-005-green-building-and-sustainability/

Consumption by the United States

In the United States:

Reducing consumption without reducing use is a costly delusion. If undeveloped countries consumed at the same rate as the US, four complete planets the size of the Earth would be required.

Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.

On average, one American consumes as much energy as

2 Japanese

6 Mexicans

13 Chinese

31 Indians

128 Bangladeshis

307 Tanzanians

370 Ethiopians

The population is projected to increase by nearly 130 million people – the equivalent of adding another four states the size of California – by the year 2050.

Forty percent of births are unintended.

Americans eat 815 billion calories of food each day – that’s roughly 200 billion more than needed – enough to feed 80 million people.

Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily.

The average American generates 52 tons of garbage by age 75.

The average individual daily consumption of water is 159 gallons, while more than half the world’s population lives on 25 gallons.

Fifty percent of the wetlands, 90% of the northwestern old-growth forests, and 99% of the tall-grass prairie have been destroyed in the last 200 years.

Eighty percent of the corn grown and 95% of the oats are fed to livestock.

Fifty-six percent of available farmland is used for beef production.

Every day an estimated nine square miles of rural land are lost to development.

There are more shopping malls than high schools.

Other Facts:

250 million people have died of hunger-related causes in the past quarter-century — roughly 10 million each year.

700 to 800 million people, perhaps even as many as a billion, don’t get enough food to support normal daily activities

Africa now produces 27% less food per capita than in 1964.

1.7 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and by the year 2000, the number of urban dwellers without access to safe water and sanitation services is expected to grow by 80%.

0.1% of pesticides applied to crops reaches the pest, the rest poisons the ecosystem.

Each year 25 million people are poisoned by pesticides in less developed countries, and over 20,000 die.

One-third of the world’s fish catch and more than one-third of the world’s total grain output is fed to livestock.

It takes an average of 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat in modern Western farming systems. It takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef.

Each person in the industrialized world uses as much commercial energy as 10 people in the developing world.

source: Paul Ehrlich and the Population Bomb / PBS

To our Healthy Homes. It is more than just a fleeting thought or idea. It is a mission.

Lets make sustainable housing for everyone – Steve Glenn


For those that don’t know who Steve Glenn is check out this ‘DoLecture” video below and see how his group is putting sustainable building methods and practices to work in Los Angeles and around the globe. The mission is strong and one I believe can be replicated here in Chicago. He starts off by discussing his past, his inspirations and his business mission and vision. He hires an architect and builds his own home using top award-winning architect Ray Kappe and the results are inspiring. 

Here are some of my notes from the video I wanted to share:

Conclusions:

  • There are companies that wed process and purpose. Both business imperative and social imperatives. Purposeful businesses. Prius, Whole Foods, Patagonia
  • Golden Rule: believe in a greater social mission with your business models. 
  • Developers are more important than architects. They hire architects to meet their vision. 

 Consumers: 

  •   GREAT DESIGN: appreciate products with great design (form and function)
  •   HEALTHY & SUSTAINABLE; products that are healthy and built in a sustainable way
  •   NO SUPPLY: can’t find homes that reflect these values

Living Homes Model: 

  •   World-class architects who design standardized Living Homes
  •   Extremely comprehensive (Z6) environmental program
  •   Pre-fab to make homes better, quicker, cheaper and smaller ecological footprint

Ray Kappe LIving Homes (SiArch)

Kieran Timberlake Living Homes

Jim Rouse    Better Places, Better Lives: Autobiography of James Rouse

New Urbanism: Festival Market Places

The Enterprise Board; Grants and loans for affordable housing

Prefabrication:

4 systems: 

  •   Manufactured (wheels -movable / HUD control)
  •   Modular (built in pieces and assembled on site/ City jurisdiction
  •   Panelized homes
  •   Pre-cut/Kit homes

 

  1. Time savings 1/2 or at least 1/3 faster than site built
  2. Materials savings/Efficiency (30-40% standard site built waste production vs 3-10% pre-fab waste). Store materials onsite of fabrications
  3. Modules: expensive to ship (air not flat)
  4. Panels ; flat easier to ship; more efficient 
    1. Living Homes uses a combination of Modules and Panels: 
      1. bathrooms/kitchens/utility cores ; LivingHomes uses modules
      2. walls and floors LivingHomes uses pre-fab panels systems
  5. US Buildings:
    1. 39% of All Energy for US goes to Buildings
    2. 71% of electrical consumption
  1. Energy: zero-energy very important
    1. tight envelopes 
    2. energy efficiency
    3. zero water
    4. zero energy
    5. emissions/ IAQ
    6. plants and indoor air quality system
    7. steel is highly recyclable
    8. newsprint insulation

Movable partitions to allow growth

Add rooms and stories

Young adult to family to down size after move out

Zero Ignorance

  • make responsible choices
  • Prius feedback

Lucent Technologies

performance technology and measuring of homes

Homes Sustainability Score Card

Image (image borrowed from www.dolectures.com)