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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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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cermak chicago greenest street in america

Cermak to Become Greenest Road in America

The city of Chicago is many things to many people, but it doesn’t have the “green” mental associations that, say, San Francisco or Portland have. That’s starting to change, however, and the plan to introduce smog-eating pavement to Chicago’s famous Cermak Rd. (which began back in 2012) could a big difference in the way people think of the Windy City. From storefront to street, the city of Chicago is installing light-colored pavement (which reduces the energy use of the street’s…

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Florida Anti-sustainability Laws v. Robin Speronis

Robin Speronis lives in a modest home in Cape Coral, Florida- and she’s living in a way that many environmentalists and preppers would call ideal: 100% completely removed from the city’s electrical grid. Despite having no access to Cape Coral’s electrical grid and no city water running to her home, Speronis is happy. The city of Cape Coral, however, is not. As word of Speronis’ off-grid existence spread city officials took notice. Eventually, a Cape Coral police officer came onto…

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Brooklyn's First Passive House Condo

Brooklyn’s First Passive House Condo is On Its Way

Built and designed by (certified passive house architect) Paul Castrucci, Architect, and Ray Sage of Race Age, Inc., the R-951 Residence currently going up in Brooklyn is the latest passive house project going up in the neighborhood. Unlike most, however, R-951 is a condo featuring 3 distinct family residences / units. The three unit walkup/condominium is being called “a unique project”, and features an ultra-efficient design built in concert with a net-metered, rooftop solar energy system. Those solar panels should…

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