Sustainability

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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210 Sq Ft “Minim” Tiny House Is Marvellous

This 22′ X 10′ Minim House in Washington, DC packs a lot of living into its 210 square feet of living space. The idea for the tiny house came from Brian Levy, vice president of Pollin Energy and Retrofits, a company that promotes sustainable living solutions. Unable to find the design he wanted from makers of traditional manufactured homes, he collaborated with Will Couch of Foundry Architects to custom design one. “I wanted something that was more livable,” Levy says. Making a house small takes a lot…

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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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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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sandwich me in chicago

Local Chicago Restaurant Produces Almost No Waste

I know I’ve said this about other industries, but it is really hard to imagine a zero-waste restaurant. From food trimmings and packaging coming out of the kitchen to the paper napkins, cups, tray liners, etc., that one finds in the front of quick service establishments, a trash can – and a dumpster – seem absolutely critical to running this kind of business. Not for Chicago restaurant Sandwich Me In, though: from the very beginning, owner and chef Justin Vrany…

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Build Your Own Sustainable, Bamboo Bicycle

Bamboo is an incredible material- suitable for building or distilling high-test fuels, the fast-growing plant could be the cornerstone of a more sustainable future. It also makes for a sikk-looking bicycle frame. That’s what the guys at Bamboobee believe, at least- and they build some of the best-looking bamboo bicycle frames on the market. Recently, however, they’ve decided to let their customers build some of the best-looking bicycle frames on the market by offering a complete, DIY bamboo bicycle frame…

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Locally Grown Shrimp Tastes Better, Saves Water

Started by Tony Curtis and his two sons, Josh and Adam, Tasty Harvest plans to grow truly fresh, locally-farmed shrimp and seafood to their purpose built facility in West Boylston, Massachusetts. Tasty Harvest’s facility uses radiant heated floors to keep 90,000 gallons of water in 21 tanks at 85 degrees year round. The first shrimp are now ready for sale to local restaurants and grocery stores. “Imported and wild-caught shrimp are normally frozen, thawed, and refrozen before finally reaching the…

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Emissions-eating Algae Going Up on Europe’s Highways

So much focus on reducing global emissions is focused on what comes out of the tailpipes of the average automobile. Replacing gasoline won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight either, though urban algae farms placed on highway overpasses could literally devour many of the harmful CO2 emissions spewing out of cars and trucks. Developed by two design firms from France and the Netherlands called the Cloud Collective, this urban algae farm installation was put in place as part of…

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