The 4 Things You MUST Test for in Your Home Right Now

July 14, 2017 by  
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Editor’s Note: This post contains affiliate links, which helps fund our Recycling Directory, the most comprehensive in North America. They’re silent, odorless, invisible and potentially deadly. Discover the four home tests you must…

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The 4 Things You MUST Test for in Your Home Right Now

Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding

May 24, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump is still trying to take a swing at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The White House’s most recent budget proposal, released yesterday, would cut money for environmental cleanup, clean air , and water programs. And thousands of people could lose their jobs as the number of full-time employees drops from 15,416 to 11,611 . The recent Trump budget proposal lowers EPA funding to $5.65 billion. If that still sounds like a hefty sum, consider what the EPA won’t be able to do with this slashed budget: restore areas like the Great Lakes and Puget Sound and run a lead risk-reduction program. They also won’t have as much money for climate change research, environmental justice efforts, or radon detection programs. The White House proposal also just about halves categorical grants which help states and local areas address water and air quality. Related: Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers EPA administrator Scott Pruitt stood behind Trump’s drastic cuts; the agency put out a statement praising the returned “focus to core statutory mission,” which we guess means dirty air and polluted water for all. Pruitt even decided to say Trump’s “budget respects the American taxpayer.” This praise comes even though the proposed budget would reduce funding for Pruitt’s Superfund cleanup program – which he’s listed as a priority – by almost one third. Toxic accidents or industrial activity have polluted these Superfund sites, many of which, according to The Guardian , are close to low-income or minority communities. National Association of Clean Air Agencies executive director S. William Becker said he was astounded the administration didn’t change much from their initial March budget proposal, even after bipartisan opposition from Congress. Lawmakers recently reached a deal for government funding through September that cuts the EPA’s budget by around one percent. In a statement on the recent proposal, Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook said, “This isn’t a budget – it’s a road map for the President, EPA Administrator Pruitt, and polluters to see that millions of Americans drink dirtier water, breathe more polluted air, and don’t have enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives.” Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency on Flickr

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Five changes agri-businesses need to make if they want to survive

March 24, 2017 by  
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For an industry that relies heavily on natural resources such as clean air, soil and water, becoming more environmentally friendly is not just a marketing ploy — it is a necessity.

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6 reasons the clean energy revolution doesn’t need Trumps blessing

February 6, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump ’s anti-environment blitzkrieg is leaving many of us struggling to catch up to and understand the dramatic changes being made to long-standing federal policy. Most recently it is being reported that Trump will “definitely” pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement, and that Republicans are gunning for the Environmental Protection Agency. There is no sugar coating it, these are dark times for those of us who are concerned about ensuring a livable climate and habitable planet for future generations. But, as much as Trump and his oil-soaked administration want to make fossil fuels great again, the global clean energy revolution is gaining speed to the point of being unstoppable. Here are a few reasons the renewables revolution will continue without Trump’s blessing. Congress is unlikely to reverse renewable tax credit extensions Congress gave a big boost to solar and wind at the end of 2015 with the passage of a bill that extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar. The 30 percent solar ITC was extended through 2019 before falling to 26 percent in 2020, 22 percent in 2021 and 10 percent in 2022. The 2.3 percent wind PTC was extended through 2016 before dropping 20 percent each year through 2020. Related: U.S. extends solar and wind tax credits to boost clean energy by $73 billion over 5 years As many solar and wind jobs are located in red states, it is unlikely that Republican lawmakers will reverse the renewable tax credit extensions when they work with Trump on his expected tax reform push. Texas leads the nation in total installed wind power capacity with 18,531 megawatts while wind supplied more than 31 percent of Iowa’s in-state electricity generation in 2015, according to the American Wind Energy Association. On the solar front, Arizona (2,303 MW) ranks second for installed capacity and North Carolina (2,087 MW) is right behind in third place, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. A new report from the Department of Energy finds that solar employs more Americans than oil, gas and coal combined — 43 percent of electricity generation sector workforce in solar last year versus only 22 percent in fossil fuels. Global market forces exist Market forces are pushing the United States and the world toward renewable energy and energy efficiency regardless of politics and policy. The reality is that, as former President Barack Obama wrote recently in the journal Science, the momentum of clean energy is “irreversible.” Big companies like Google and Apple are aggressively transitioning operations to sustainable energy — Google says it will run entirely on clean energy at some point this year, Apple has committed to run off 100 percent renewable energy, and various other high-profile corporations have similar targets. A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds that global investment in renewables increased from under $50 billion in 2004 to a record $348 billion in 2015. Related: Bill Gates launches $1 billion clean energy fund to fight climate change Cost of renewables has dropped Even without a carbon pricing mechanism in place in many countries and governments continuing to prop up fossil fuels with massive subsidies, the cost of solar and wind continues to fall — and fast. The costs of utility-scale solar power fell 85 percent and wind power fell 66 percent in the past seven years. A record low solar power project bid recently took place in Abu Dhabi — the government-owned Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority received a bid of 2.42 cents a kilowatt-hour for a 350-megawatt solar plant. The reason solar and wind will continue to beat oil, coal and gas is because of the simple fact that they are technologies, not fuels. Solar and wind technologies will keep improving, becoming more efficient and cost effective, while digging up what’s left of fossil fuels will become increasingly complicated and expensive. The rest of the world still cares about climate change The United States is an extreme outlier when it comes to caring about climate change. The Republican Party is the only major political party in the advanced world that denies climate change and Trump is the only world leader who denies climate change. Thankfully the rest of the world is more in line with the scientific consensus of man-made global warming, as exemplified by the Paris climate agreement that Trump is about to withdraw the US from. A total of 194 nations have signed the landmark deal to curb carbon emissions, with 127 ratifying it so far. The agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016. As the US goes rogue on climate action, don’t expect the rest of the world to follow. Even countries already ruled by right-wing populists such as Russia, Hungary and Poland signed the Paris accord. China is taking a leadership role, investing in renewables As Trump commits to dirty energy, China is moving away from fossil fuels toward renewables as the country’s growing middle class demands cleaner air in some of the most polluted cities in the world. China’s energy agency recently announced that the country will invest 2.5 trillion yuan ($361 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020. “Renewable energy will be the pillar for China’s energy structure transition,” said Li Yangzhe, deputy head of the National Energy Administration, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Last year China invested a record $32 billion in foreign countries, according to research by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. While the US withdraws from the world, China is already taking a leadership role by increasing domestic renewables and spreading clean energy abroad. Related: China set to invest $174 billion in clean energy over next four years U.S. states are going towards renewables with or without federal help As Trump prepares to kill the Clean Power Plan , states such as New York and California are aggressively pursuing their own renewable energy mandates without federal guidance. In Virginia, the governor just announced plans for the state’s largest solar farm — a 100 MW facility that will power Amazon’s cloud computing division. Iowa recently approved the biggest wind farm in US history that when completed in 2019 will include 1,000 turbines generating 2,000 MW of electricity — enough to power 800,000 homes in the state. Republican governors of Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Vermont have recently either announced clean energy initiatives or signed legislation to increase renewables. Related: New York approves nation’s largest offshore wind farm Don’t count on the Trump Administration to realize fossil fuels belong to the past, but since the renewables revolution is unstoppable, it doesn’t matter what Trump decides. Images via Shutterstock , Pexels , Wikimedia  ( 1 , 2 ), Flickr

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Researchers invent paper that can be printed with light and reused 80 times

February 6, 2017 by  
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In an effort to fight the detrimental environmental impact of inkjet printing, researchers have invented a new type of “paper” that can be printed with light and re-written up to 80 times. Their invention employs the color-changing chemistry of nanoparticles, which can be applied via a thin coating to a variety of surfaces – including conventional paper . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnCyTb6bgJA Researchers from Shandong University in China, the University of California, Riverside and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently published a study detailing the invention of light-printable, rewritable paper. “The greatest significance of our work is the development of a new class of solid-state photo-reversible color-switching system to produce an ink-free light-printable rewritable paper that has the same feel and appearance as conventional paper, but can be printed and erased repeatedly without the need for additional ink,” explains Yadong Yin, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Riverside. “Our work is believed to have enormous economic and environmental merits to modern society.” Why not just use recycled paper, you might ask? As Phys.org explains, the chemicals used in paper production are a leading source of industrial pollution, and abandoned paper makes up about 40 percent of the contents of landfills. Recycled paper contributes to the pollution problem through the process of ink removal. Add to that problems around deforestation, and the case for minimizing paper usage is a strong one. Related: Should your family give up paper towels? The new light-printable paper lends itself perfectly to applications where printed information is only needed for a short time, and it could be applied to any medium used for this purpose. “We believe the rewritable paper has many practical applications involving temporary information recording and reading, such as newspapers, magazines, posters, notepads, writing easels, product life indicators, oxygen sensors, and rewritable labels for various applications,” Yin said Via Phys.org Images via UC Riverside and Aidenvironment , Wikimedia Commons

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Researchers invent paper that can be printed with light and reused 80 times

Smog-containing jewelry supports the world’s largest air purifier

August 14, 2015 by  
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World’s tallest prefab tower is now complete in China

March 10, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. As reported by Lloyd Alter at Treehugger , Broad Sustainable Buildings (BSB) has just completed the world’s tallest prefabricated building; a 57-storey tower in Changsha, China. The flatpack tower, which includes 800 apartments for BSB’s employees, was constructed at a staggering rate of three floors per day, and provides residents with 100% clean, fresh air to create a healthy environment amidst China’s smog. Read the rest of World’s tallest prefab tower is now complete in China Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: broad sustainable buildings , BSB , china , clean air , Flatpack , Green Building , mini sky city , modular , Prefab , sky city , skyscraper , Sustainable Building , Zhang Yue

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World’s tallest prefab tower is now complete in China

Büro Ole Scheeren unveils designs for contemporary Guardian Art Center in Beijing

March 10, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Büro Ole Scheeren unveils designs for contemporary Guardian Art Center in Beijing Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Beijing , buro ole scheeren , Chen Dongsheng glass bricks , china , column-free space , Guardian Art Center , Guardian Art Center Beijing , hutong , mixed-use , mixed-use development , multifunctional hall , ole scheeren

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Büro Ole Scheeren unveils designs for contemporary Guardian Art Center in Beijing

GREEN BUILDING 101: Indoor Environmental Quality—Clean Air and Comfort for Homes and Office Spaces

May 22, 2014 by  
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Feeling good in our homes or offices isn’t just a matter of having a beautiful space: No matter how fabulous your furnishings, a poorly designed indoor environment can literally make you sick . Building green means considering not only the environmental impact of materials and construction, but also the physical and psychological health of the occupants. The next phase of our series covers Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)—one of the criteria of the  USGBC ‘s  LEED  rating system—and how you can achieve it in your own space. Read the rest of GREEN BUILDING 101: Indoor Environmental Quality—Clean Air and Comfort for Homes and Office Spaces Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “leed” , air , Air quality , bright office , clean air , Environmental quality , Green Building 101 , Green Walls , healthy building , healthy home , healthy office , Indoor , indoor air quality , indoor environment , indoor environmental quality , indoors , LEED-H , pure air , sick building , sick building syndrome , skylight , voc , volatile organic compounds , window

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Infographic: The Real Emissions of Your Electric Car Will Depend on Where You Live

June 10, 2013 by  
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We’re not exactly sure why, but people love a good myth about clean-tech— e.g. making solar panels uses more energy than they generate, or wind farms actually increase emissions. The most fashionable of late is that producing and charging electric vehicles means heavy carbon emissions . So is it true? In a recent study comparing grid-powered electric car emissions around the world,   Shrink That Footprint  found that electric cars using coal-fired electricity have carbon emissions similar to average gasoline cars. However, when charged with low carbon power, they have just a quarter of the emissions of a typical car, or about half those of the best hybrid. Even when you account for a car’s manufacturing footprint, it turns out that what really matters is the electricity source and where you live can have a big impact. Find out more on the subject over at Shrink That Footprint . The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , car emissions , clean air , electric car emissions , gas emissions , green air , green transportation , hybrid car emissions , reducing emissions , vehicle emissions        

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Infographic: The Real Emissions of Your Electric Car Will Depend on Where You Live

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