Tag Archives: Resources

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.

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#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

Don’t get too cozy: Your couch may be toxic


Don’t get too cozy: Your couch may be toxic | Fox News http://ow.ly/fUIUo ^HH

Sustainable Style : Rebuilding or Renovating Your Home with Reclaimed Wood


See on Scoop.itGreen Real Estate

I first talked about reclaimed wood, briefly, in my piece 10 Eco-friendly ways to Renovate your Home…. Now, on the heels of Hurricane Sandy many of us are looking to rebuild or renovate our homes after suffering severe damage and devastation.

See on homes.yahoo.com

Nanotechnology Now – “Nansulate® Industrial”


See on Scoop.itChicago healthy homes

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

Buying or refinancing? Energy Efficient Mortgages Might Make Sense!


I wanted to share this great new concept some lenders are providing as a nice way to roll some of the more expensive yet cost-saving building systems into a new mortgage or refinance of an existing home. I am going to explore and will report if I have success or issues that come up! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

All About Energy Efficient Mortgages | GreenBuildingAdvisor.com.

All About Energy Efficient Mortgages

When you buy a new home or refinance your present home, you can pay for energy upgrades with an EEM

If you can improve your house in a way that lowers your utility bills, a bank will lend you more money. Why? Because if you have lower utility bills, you’ll have more money in your pocket each month to pay back the bank.

A relatively new home financing option — the energy efficient mortgage — can let home buyers qualify for larger loans than they might otherwise, while improving their homes with environmentally friendly, cost-cutting upgrades that can reduce energy bills.

An energy efficient mortgage (EEM) is a great way to help a family improve their home and save money while doing good for the environment, and securing one is a lot simpler than you might think.

Creating Healthy and Energy-Efficient Housing


Home Energy Magazine :: Creating Healthy and Energy-Efficient Housing.

Creating Healthy and Energy-Efficient Housing

What Does the Research Tell Us?

August 29, 2012
September/October
This article originally appeared in theSeptember/October issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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Click here to read more articles about Home Performance with Energy Star

During the next decade, over a million homes are expected to undergo energy upgrades. Government programs and property owners will fund this work. Key actors will include DOE’s Weatherization and Better Buildings programs; HUD’s Rehabilitation and Repair Home Loan and HOME programs; utility-supported programs; homeowners who employ home performance contractors; and property owners who are making sound financial decisions. Done well, these energy upgrades offer an unprecedented opportunity to improve health conditions for millions of Americans at a time when our health care costs are skyrocketing, exceeding $7,000 a year per capita (OECD, 2010).

Sustainable Green Building Materials from CalRecycle


Green Building Materials

Introduction

The concept of sustainable building incorporates and integrates a variety of strategies during the design, construction and operation of building projects. The use of green building materials and products represents one important strategy in the design of a building.

Green building materials offer specific benefits to the building owner and building occupants:

  • Reduced maintenance/replacement costs over the life of the building.
  • Energy conservation.
  • Improved occupant health and productivity.
  • Lower costs associated with changing space configurations.
  • Greater design flexibility.

Building and construction activities worldwide consume 3 billion tons of raw materials each year or 40 percent of total global use (Roodman and Lenssen, 1995). Using green building materials and products promotes conservation of dwindling nonrenewable resources internationally. In addition, integrating green building materials into building projects can help reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction, transport, processing, fabrication, installation, reuse, recycling, and disposal of these building industry source materials.

What is a green building product or material?

Green building materials are composed of renewable, rather than nonrenewable resources. Green materials are environmentally responsible because impacts are considered over the life of the product (Spiegel and Meadows, 1999). Depending upon project-specific goals, an assessment of green materials may involve an evaluation of one or more of the criteria listed below.

Green building material/product selection criteria

This information was based on Lynn Froeschle’s article, “Environmental Assessment and Specification of Green Building Materials” (Adobe PDF, 1.4 MB), in the October 1999 issue of The Construction Specifier, a publication for members of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). Selection criteria similar to what is presented below was also used for the East End Project as identified in the Review of Construction Projects Using Sustainable Materials.

Overall material/product selection criteria:

Resource Efficiency can be accomplished by utilizing materials that meet the following criteria:

  • Recycled Content: Products with identifiable recycled content, including postindustrial content with a preference for postconsumer content.
  • Natural, plentiful or renewable: Materials harvested from sustainably managed sources and preferably have an independent certification (e.g., certified wood) and are certified by an independent third party.
  • Resource efficient manufacturing process:Products manufactured with resource-efficient processes including reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste (recycled, recyclable and or source reduced product packaging), and reducing greenhouse gases.
  • Locally available: Building materials, components, and systems found locally or regionally saving energy and resources in transportation to the project site.
  • Salvaged, refurbished, or remanufactured: Includes saving a material from disposal and renovating, repairing, restoring, or generally improving the appearance, performance, quality, functionality, or value of a product.
  • Reusable or recyclable:Select materials that can be easily dismantled and reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.
  • Recycled or recyclable product packaging: Products enclosed in recycled content or recyclable packaging.
  • Durable: Materials that are longer lasting or are comparable to conventional products with long life expectancies.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is enhanced by utilizing materials that meet the following criteria:

  • Low or non-toxic: Materials that emit few or no carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, or irritants as demonstrated by the manufacturer through appropriate testing.
  • Minimal chemical emissions: Products that have minimal emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Products that also maximize resource and energy efficiency while reducing chemical emissions.
  • Low-VOC assembly: Materials installed with minimal VOC-producing compounds, or no-VOC mechanical attachment methods and minimal hazards.
  • Moistureresistant:Products and systems that resist moisture or inhibit the growth of biological contaminants in buildings.
  • Healthfully maintained: Materials, components, and systems that require only simple, non-toxic, or low-VOC methods of cleaning.
  • Systems or equipment: Products that promote healthy IAQ by identifying indoor air pollutants or enhancing the air quality.

Energy Efficiency can be maximized by utilizing materials and systems that meet the following criteria:

  • Materials, components, and systems that help reduce energy consumption in buildings and facilities. (See Green Building Basics for more information.)

Water Conservation can be obtained by utilizing materials and systems that meet the following criteria:

  • Products and systems that help reduce water consumption in buildings and conserve water in landscaped areas. (See Green Building Basics for more information.)

Affordability can be considered when building product life-cycle costs are comparable to conventional materials or as a whole, are within a project-defined percentage of the overall budget. (See Environmental and Economic Assessment Tools for links to resources.)

Three basic steps of product selection

Product selection can begin after the establishment of project-specific environmental goals. The environmental assessment process for building products involves three basic steps. (Froeschle, 1999)

1. Research. This step involves gathering all technical information to be evaluated, including manufacturers’ information such as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) test data, product warranties, source material characteristics, recycled content data, environmental statements, and durability information. In addition, this step may involve researching other environmental issues, building codes, government regulations, building industry articles, model green building product specifications, and other sources of product data. Research helps identify the full range of the project’s building material options.

2. Evaluation. This step involves confirmation of the technical information, as well as filling in information gaps. For example, the evaluator may request product certifications from manufacturers to help sort out possible exaggerated environmental product claims. Evaluation and assessment is relatively simple when comparing similar types of building materials using the environmental criteria. For example, a recycled content assessment between various manufacturers of medium density fiberboard is a relatively straightforward “apples to apples” comparison. However, the evaluation process is more complex when comparing different products with the same function. Then it may become necessary to process both descriptive and quantitative forms of data.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is an evaluation of the relative “greenness” of building materials and products. LCA addresses the impacts of a product through all of its life stages. Although rather simple in principle, this approach has been difficult and expensive in actual practice (although that appears to be changing).

One tool that uses the LCA methodology is BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) software. It allows users to balance the environmental and economic performance of building products. The software was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Building and Fire Research Laboratory and can be downloaded free on their Web site.

3. Selection. This step often involves the use of an evaluation matrix for scoring the project-specific environmental criteria. The total score of each product evaluation will indicate the product with the highest environmental attributes. Individual criteria included in the rating system can be weighted to accommodate project-specific goals and objectives.

Source: Green Building Materials: Sustainable Building.

References

  1. Lynn M. Froeschle, “Environmental Assessment and Specification of Green Building Materials,” The Construction Specifier, October 1999, p. 53. (Back)
  2. D.M. Roodman and N. Lenssen, A Building Revolution: How Ecology and Health Concerns are Transforming Construction, Worldwatch Paper 124, Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C., March 1995, p. 5. (Back)
  3. Ross Spiegel and Dru Meadows, Green Building Materials: A Guide to Product Selection and Specification, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1999. (Back)

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.

Where to Recycle Your Christmas Tree in Chicago – Chicago Christmas Tree Recycling 2012-2013


I will once again be leading up the St Josaphat’s Elementary School Green Recycle Christmas TREECYCLING efforts. We are offering pick-up services for a $10 donation in the Lincoln Park and Lakeview and surrounding neighborhoods and will bring your Christmas trees to the Chicago Park District for you!

If you would like to set up a time for us to come between January 1-15 please let me know!

Here is a list of recycling sites if you are venturing out on your own!

Ready to take down your Christmas tree? The Chicago Park District is accepting trees at the following locations. Also, there will be some wood mulch available at the sites. If you have additional questions, you can call the Department of Environment at 312-744-7606. The Park District will be accepting trees through January 17.

Chicago Christmas Tree Recycling Sites:

Bessemer Park: 8930 S. Muskegon Ave.

Clark Park: 3400 N. Rockwell Ave.

Forestry Site: 900 E. 103rd St.

Garfield Park: 100 N. Central Park Ave.

Grant Park: 900 S. Columbus Dr.

Humboldt Park Boathouse: 1369 N. Sacramento Blvd.

Jackson Park: 6300 S. Cornell Ave.

Kennedy Park: 11320 S. Western Ave.

Kelvyn Park: 4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.

Lake Meadows Park: 3117 S. Rhodes Ave.

Lincoln Park: Cannon Dr. at Fullerton Ave., parking lot east of Cannon Dr.

Margate Park: 4921 N. Marine Dr.

Marquette Park: 6700 S. Kedzie Ave.

McKinley Park: 2210 W. Pershing Rd.

Mt. Greenwood Park: 3721 W. 111th St.

North Park Village: 5801 N. Pulaski Rd.

Norwood Park: 5801 N. Natoma Ave.

Portage Park: 4100 N. Long Ave.

Riis Park: 6100 W. Fullerton Ave.

Rowan Park: 11546 S. Avenue L

Sheridan Park: 910 S. Aberdeen St.

Warren Park: 6601 N. Western Ave.

Wentworth Park: 5625 S. Mobile Ave.

Where to Recycle Your Christmas Tree in Chicago – Chicago Christmas Tree Recycling

Affiliated Contractors Listing | MyHomeEQ


List of green certified heating and cooling contractors in northern Illinois.

Affiliated Contractors Listing | MyHomeEQ.

via Affiliated Contractors Listing | MyHomeEQ.

Citizens Utility Board | Saving Money | Electric/Gas Choice | Electric Competition: What ComEd customers should know


Who has jumped the ComEd ship? Mayor Emmanual just announced they may move the City of Chicago away from Com Ed and into these alternative energy sources which can save as much as 30% on electric bills I read.

In northern Illinois, you can choose Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), the regulated utility, to supply you with power, or go with alternative suppliers.

Remember, even if you choose an alternative supplier, you’re simply buying electricity from that company. ComEd will still bill you to deliver the electricity to your home, and you’ll still call the utility in the event of a power outage.

While it’s an interesting development in the electric market, long-term savings are not guaranteed. The jury is still out on whether residential competition is going to bring real value to consumers in the long

Citizens Utility Board | Saving Money | Electric/Gas Choice | Electric Competition: What ComEd customers should know.

 

Carbon Footprint of Building Products


REPOST:

Carbon Footprint of Building Products.

At Architecture 2030, our mission is to transform the Building Sector from a major contributor to climate change to a central part of the solution. Slowing the growth rate of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and then reversing it is the key to addressing climate change and keeping global average temperature below 2C above pre-industrial levels. And on the road towards carbon neutral, or ‘net-zero’ buildings that emit fewer GHG emissions, it is imperative to consider the carbon footprint of building products.

via Carbon Footprint of Building Products.

Green Technology : Make It Right Foundation Session


Join Us: Green Building Seminars by Make It Right Staff and Other Experts

Local builders who have questions about green materials, design, installation, ratings systems and overall cost/benefits of green building should join Make It Right and the Louisiana Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council for a series of workshops called Green Boots at Xavier University.

via Green Technology : Blogs : Media : Make It Right.

via Green Technology : Blogs : Media : Make It Right.

Grants from The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity – Recycling


Grants available for funding Green Projects – recycling money and deadlines. Starting accepting grants 10-3-2011 and Deadline is Dec 8, 2011

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity – Recycling.

The Green Education Foundation October Newsletter is out!


 

 

 

 

The Green Education Foundation Newsletter is out and FULL of great information. Check it out here.

 

 

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/GEF-Member-Newsletter—October-2011.html?soid=1102282929404&aid=mRYWGXMJ_pw.

Anyone got an extra planet we can consume?


World Footprint

Do we fit on the planet?

Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.

Moderate UN scenarios suggest that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us. And of course, we only have one.

Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend.


world footprint scenarios

The result is collapsing fisheries, diminishing forest cover, depletion of fresh water systems, and the build up of carbon dioxide emissions, which creates problems like global climate change. These are just a few of the most noticeable effects of overshoot.

Overshoot also contributes to resource conflicts and wars, mass migrations, famine, disease and other human tragedies—and tends to have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who cannot buy their way out of the problem by getting resources from somewhere else.

World Footprint.

Your Ecological Footprint: Defining, Calculating, and Reducing Your Environmental Footprint : TreeHugger


 

Your Ecological Footprint: Defining, Calculating, and Reducing Your Environmental Footprint

by   on 02. 7.08

 

 

REpublished from treehugger.com

Ecological footprint: what is it?
An analysis that gauges our impact on the planet’s biological systems, the ecological footprint measures human consumption of natural resources in comparison to Earth’s ecological capacity to regenerate them. Individually, each of us has “a footprint,” and, collectively, they aggregate across geographical zones and other means of classification. Calculation of the footprint takes into account just about everything we do; from the food we eat, to the house we live in, to the car we drive and the other consumption habits we practice each day. It’s a very complex calculation that answers a straightforward question: how much of the Earth’s resources do our lifestyles require?

Your Ecological Footprint: Defining, Calculating, and Reducing Your Environmental Footprint : TreeHugger.

City of Chicago Restarts Waste to Profit Network


The City of Chicago announced today that it has issued a grant to the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) for the re-launch of the Chicago Waste to Profit (WTP) Network, a by-product synergy project in which wastes and under-valued resources at one facility are matched with users at another, resulting in cost savings for the participating businesses while diverting waste from landfills, reducing energy use and CO2 emissions and helping create and retain jobs.

The highly successful network was started in 2006 by the Chicago Manufacturing Center and the US BCSD in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Environment, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and US EPA Region 5.  

City of Chicago :: City of Chicago Restarts Waste to Profit Network.

Green Home Guide from USGBC


A really great tool available to align home owner’s Green goals with contractors.

ASID Foundation and USGBC have partnered on the development of best practice guidelines for sustainable residential improvement projects. REGREEN fosters sustainable renovation practices and benefits by providing quality resources, including REGREEN Residential Remodeling Guidelines, numerous case studies, educational offerings, a Certificate of designation for green remodel professionals, a green strategy generator that specifies green measures based on project scope and goals and much more.

U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide.