Environment

Environment

solar sheep

Solar Sheep to the Rescue!

Many solar farm designers didn’t plan for the high grasses that would grow up and block precious sunlight from solar panels.  The solution? Solar sheep!  Here’s an eco-business that’s new, different, and in demand.

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Wind Tree Project Turns Street Art into Electric Power

A new French start-up, NewWind, is making wind power beautiful!  Their new Wind Tree offers almost a hundred mini-windmills on an apparatus designed to look like a tree. Due to the light construction of the “leaves,” the Wind Tree generates power at wind speeds as low as 4.4 miles per hour!  This translates into sustained operation times (an average of 320 days a year) that are almost double those of standard windmills that need higher wind speeds in order to…

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The Happy Planet Index

Nic Marks, the creator of the Happy Planet Index, says his HPI shows the extent to which 151 countries across the globe produce long, happy and sustainable lives for the people that live in them. The overall index scores rank countries based on their efficiency, how many long and happy lives each produces per unit of environmental output. Each of the three component measures – life expectancy, experienced well-being and ecological footprint – is given a traffic-light score — green for…

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House Fire Repairs Cut Utility Bills in Half

When an electrical fire struck their home in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Keith and Jan Giezentanner never expected the repairs they made afterwards would save them $1000 a year on their heating and electric bills. But with the help of Garfield Clean Energy, they were able to learn about modern, energy efficient windows and doors and state of the art heating and cooling systems. Garfield Clean Energy even showed them how to qualify for (and get!) rebates totaling almost $1500 on the…

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Living in a Tiny House With Children – Can You Do It?

Do 2 adults and 2 children fit into a 207 square foot Tiny House? Yes, absolutely, say Kim and Ryan Kasl, a Minnesota couple who have two young children, 6-year-old Sully and 4-year-old Story. You have probably heard of the tiny house movement. Mimi Zeiger in her book Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature describes it this way, “In the wake of the United States’ housing crisis and the overall global recession, the single-family home—once the celebratory site of domestic accomplishment—has become not…

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Sustainable Home Made With Straw Bales

According to Click Green, hay bales can make an affordable, energy efficient and sustainable home. The bales have 75% more insulating power than a traditional stud wall filled with fiberglass insulation, and are non-combustible because they have little to no oxygen inside. To begin, frame the dwelling as you would a “conventional” tiny house‘s post and beam structure, then fill in the openings with the hay bales. They should be stacked on top of a cement footing (or foundation) in…

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Edenkeeper Talks Walden Pond and Spirituality

Throughout Thoreau’s philosophy one can see a sort of neo-Taoism, specifically a way of understanding “higher” thought, spiritual and otherwise, through his reverance of nature: “It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day,…

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German Village Has Huge, 300% Energy Surplus

The German village of Wildpoldsried is producing 321% more energy than it needs. Selling that energy surplus back to the region’s local utility company adds $5.7 million dollars to the town’s treasury. Wildpoldsried’s green initiative first started in 1997 when the village council decided it should build local industries to bring in new revenue. Over the past 14 years, nine new community buildings have been equipped with solar panels, four bio-gas digesters built, and seven windmills installed. In the village itself, 190…

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Imagining the Zero Waste City of Tomorrow

Around the world, cities are committed to becoming Zero Waste communities by adopting new principles and changing the way they manage waste. And they are finding that eliminating waste is not only environmentally beneficial but also economically advantageous.   The San Francisco Experience In the US, the city of San Francisco, California is leading the charge to become a truly zero waste city. Already, it has developed a comprehensive waste management strategy that city officials believe will enable it to keep 100 percent of its waste…

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Tulare County, California is Out Of Water

Tulare County near Fresno, California is out of water. There’s none available for bathing, flushing toilets, or doing dishes. What’s doubly strange about that is Tulare is just south of California’s lush Central Valley where most of the fruits and vegetables grown in the US come from. How could it have no water? State officials say that at least 700 households have no access to running water, but they acknowledge that there could be hundreds more. The county only recently began aggressively tracking homes without running…

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Solar Panels Offer Learning Opportunity for Students

165 solar panels installed on the roof of the Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, New York were placed in service October 15. The array is expected to meet most of the electricity needs of the school and will reduce carbon emissions in the Grymes Hill neighborhood where the school is located by 36,00 tons a year. The new solar array will do more than just help meet the energy needs of the school and its 700 students. The system…

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