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Velux Model Home 2020 Shows Sustainable Living Environments

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Velux, a Denmark based building company, has started construction on six different model homes that are aiming to showcase “climate-neutral construction” and “optimal indoor comfort” by making the most of natural sunlight and fresh air. Two of the homes will be built in Denmark, with one each in Austria, France, Britain, and Germany. The homes will be vacant for the first 6-12 months after their construction, but once they are inhabited, detailed monitoring of each of the home’s power usage will serve to decide just how much is being saved by living sustainably. Check out the Veluxand Velfac websites to see some of their previous sustainability model projects, and some of the cool ways they already take advantage of skylights and open concept areas.

GM, ECD To Construct Largest Rooftop Solar Power System

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This fall, the world’s largest rooftop solar power system is being constructed on top of GM‘s assembly plant in Spain and, given the size, it seems obvious that they would choose to use solar laminate “film”, rather than traditional panels. Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. will be doing all of the work, and using their state-of-the-art Uni-Solar thin-film flexible solar laminates to produce roughly 15 million kilowatt hours every year (that’s enough to power around 4,500 homes). GM and ECD have a history of working together – the GM plants in Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana both have Uni-Film rooftops to provide renewable energy to their buildings. It’s great to see GM taking the responsibility of powering their facilities with sustainable power, and taking themselves off the grid.

Primo Water Packaged in Sustainable “Zero-Waste” Bottles

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It should come as no surprise that the cost of oil is affecting manufacturers right now, but one company that’s not being affected is Primo Water. The reason? Their bottles are made from plant-based renewable oils rather than crude oils, like petroleum. Their “Zero Waste” bottles are available in both single serving, or gallon jugs for water coolers. In fact, Primo also has their own water coolers with a unique design that keeps a cleaner appearance for a home or office. So if you’re one of the people who hasn’t yet switched to a re-usable container for your water because you’re stuck on disposable bottles, this may be the solution for you. Look for bottles of Primo Water, available in your local stores now. 

5 Myths: Computer Energy Saving and You

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If you’re looking for ways to save energy on your computer, or think you’ve found ways to keep your office as energy efficient as possible, a recent list by Backbone Magazine may have you rethinking your strategies. The 5 Myths proposed by Backbone are as follows: 1) Screensavers save power. 2) Devices that are off don’t use power. 3) Turning off computers is bad for them. 4) A computer that’s not being used wastes less power than one that is active. 5) One computer doesn’t make a big difference. Of the statistics mentioned in their explanations are that standby mode accounts for 10% of all power usage in a household, and that one desktop computer left on all day equates to 1,500 lbs of atmospheric carbon dioxide in a year. So if you’re thinking about leaving your computer on overnight – over even over lunch break – maybe you should think again. Help conserve energy this summer and shut it down every chance you get. 

Smog Watch 2008: Dangerous Air Quality in 37 States

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A big issue arising this summer is the smog that covers our cities on really hot days, and after a new standard was set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this year, you can expect to hear about a lot more ‘smog days’. We all know that emissions aren’t helping the air quality, but Clean Air Watch are pointing their fingers at coal burning electric power plants as a major cause that is often ignored. 37 of the States, including California, Vermont, Maine and Florida, all have smog issues, and it’s enough to push Clean Air Watch to address the issue with the Bush administration – asking that new standards are set for dirty engines that are being imported from China. Try and do your part to cut the level of smog in your city this summer by reducing your emissions and making sure your engines (even as small as a lawnmower) are up to code. 

New Ricoh Electronic Billboard to be First Eco-Powered in Times Square

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As everybody knows, the “City that never sleeps” is full of lights and sound all night long – especially in Times Square. But a new billboard from electronics manufacturer Ricoh, going up at the corner of 7th and 42nd, will be as bright as its neighbours, but completely powered by wind and solar. The 47′ by 126′ billboard will be lit up by floodlights, whose power will come from 45 solar panels and 4 wind turbines. If it happens to be a cloudy day with no breeze, the floodlights simply won’t work. Ricoh is hoping that their effort to produce an entirely eco-powered billboard will help showcase their brand, as well as promote the environmental stance that they pride themselves on. Although it may not be as flashy as some other signs, Ricoh’s will definitely stand out as being the greenest.

Party Green in Malibu this Fourth of July

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Whatever your plans are for this year’s Fourth of July celebrations, you might take a tip from Malibu’s eco-friendly style. Tomorrow’s party, hosted by Borden Entertainment and the Environmental Media Association, will be sponsored by a ton of green companies such as Conscious Planet Media, Pure Ayre florals, BiobagSoy Basics, Handefend hand sanitizer, Germ Guardian air sanitizer, Aero-Tech Lighbulbs and many more. The best part about the party is that its carbon footprint will be offset by Carbonfund.org. There will undoubtedly be a green light cast on tomorrow’s red, white, and blue, so if you’re planning on entertaining, take a cue from Malibu and celebrate Independence Day in an eco-friendly way.  

Lebron James Joins Nickelodeon’s “The Big Green Help” Campaign

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Lebron James, the NBA All Star that plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has joined forces with Nickelodeon to raise awareness to kids about little changes that can make a big difference to the environment. James stars in his own online video game, called “The Worldwide Big Green Bike-a-thon”, where he rides his bike around the world dealing out green tips to people. Of the game, James says “We all need to be aware of how to take care of the environment,” and continued, “I’m glad that I can show kids what they can do to help.” The game also prompts the player with tips, such as keeping tires inflated, and other ways to save carbon emissions. Nickelodeon says that they have noticed a steady increase in participation in their online mini games, and plan to launch a “global green multiplayer online game” in December. If you have kids at home, or are looking for a fun way to spend a couple minutes, check the game out for yourself at Nickelodeon’s Big Green Help website.

Hawaiin Legislation Makes Solar Water Heaters Mandatory

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An interesting piece of information that popped up this week is a new legislation that will be affecting Hawaiian builders and home owners in the near future. The Environment and Energy Committee of Hawaii has been trying to initiate a state-wide rule that makes it necessary for all new single family homes to be built with pre-installed solar water heaters. Because Hawaii relies so heavily on imported fossil fuels, the rising cost of oil is expected to take a drastic toll in coming years. By starting the trend now, state officials plan to help the citizens out with their energy and water heating costs in the future. Don’t be surprised if other sunny states decide to adopt a plan of action like this one!

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