Category Archives: Sustainability

Practical Sustainability: Efforts Around the Home

What You Can Do at Home Without ‘Green Washing’

Bird Island: Zero Energy Home in Kuala Lumpur

Bird Island: Zero Energy Home in Kuala Lumpur

With the efforts around “going green” taking up so much of our consciousness these days, from magazine articles to news reports to websites and more, it’s easy to label people and products as part of the American tendency to turn everything into a fad. Green washing, or reducing the effort to go green to nothing more than a simple marketing aphorism, is a problem to be sure, but doesn’t every little bit help?

Homes like the one pictured above are the absolute when it comes to sustainability and eco-consciousness, reportedly turning in a zero energy rating. But none of us really live in Bird Island, Kuala Lumpur, so what can be done to make the house a more green, sustainable thing in the world?

Let’s start with the kitchen. We’ve all heard about switching over the light bulbs, trying to cut down on energy usage by eliminating efforts like pre-heating the oven before meals, etc., but what about the things we use every day, and what we tend to use a lot of? Aluminum foil. Plastic baggies. Paper towels. Things of this nature that we might have worked into such a regular routine in our lives, we don’t even think about them anymore. But rest assured, lots of cutbacks can make a real difference here, when taken in total among thousands of households. Think about it. Continue reading

4 Easy Ways to Conserve Energy at Home

1. Use More Conservative Appliance Settings

Use Efficient Appliance Settings

Use Efficient Appliance Settings

Often overlooked, simply using your existing appliances more efficiently can drastically reduce energy consumption in the home. For example, you may want to make sure your refrigerator and freezer aren’t set any higher than 37 degrees and 3 degrees, respectively. That may mean putting a thermometer in each to ensure that they’re calibrated correctly as well as examining the door gaskets to verify that they’re clean and seal tightly when closed.

Turning down the temperature on water heaters can also save significant amounts of energy and reduce carbon emissions by 600 pounds every year per 10 degree reduction. You may not even like how scalding hot your showers and faucets get–so why waste the money and electricity or fuel making them that way?

The same applies to space heating; just use your thermostat to schedule less heating during the night when you’re wrapped up in bed and return to regular levels during the day when you’re around and active. Read on to discover 3 more simple ways to conserve energy in the home. Continue reading

Oregon’s Best Green Companies

Green Businesses in Oregon

Green Businesses in Oregon

Looking for a new job? Care about sustainable practices? Well Oregon Business’s “100 Best Green Companies to Work for in Oregon” rankings may prove decisive in your search. Using surveys that prompted employees and employer-representatives to answer a series of questions about satisfaction with their employers’ sustainable business practices, Oregon Business created a poll by which to rank Oregon’s businesses.

The results aren’t exactly surprising. Industries like “Architecture, Engineering and Design” (11%) and “Environmental Research and Advocacy” (10%) were among the best represented on the list. Construction fell just short at 9% of the total 100 businesses that made the final cut. Private companies accounted for 57% of the businesses listed, while non-profits came in second at 34%.

In the top 10? Hotel chain Kimpton, SERA Architects and local grocery staple New Seasons all ranked up there. For the full list, consult the original article here: 100 Best Green Companies to Work for in Oregon.

[Photocredit: Greenhabbing]

Green Trends: Why American Companies Are Lagging Behind

Global Trends in Environmental Sustainability

Environmental Sustainability: Global Trends

Environmental Sustainability: Global Trends

Sustainability has emerged as one of the primary drivers of innovation and business development around the world, but not all regions are performing equally. Newsweek’s recently released Green Rankings 2011 report indicates that European corporations continue to lead the pack when it comes to sustainability reporting, while U.S. companies remain some of the most prone to environmental controversies.

Why are American companies lagging behind their European counterparts? Is it the result of cultural differences? Or are regional regulatory disparities shaping industry differently? Read more about global green trends and the driving factors behind them: Continue reading