Top 10 states for LEED green buildings in 2018

February 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has officially revealed the Top 10 states for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ) certification. The states that led the country in LEED standards constructed over 468 million square feet of green building space for a population of 128 million people. The USGBC has high standards when it comes to LEED certification. Buildings that fall under the LEED umbrella have a small carbon footprint, are energy efficient, use less water and are affordable for family and businesses. The new top 10 list corresponds with the newest rating framework, LEED v4.1, which places a higher priority on gathering statistics. Illinois led the pack of the top 10 LEED states in the country. Last year, Illinois had 172 projects that adhered to LEED standards. One of the more interesting projects to come out of the state was the Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, which was built on an older campus and features more than 700 doctors. Related: LEED Gold Gateway Arch Museum sports a 3-acre green roof in St. Louis The most popular reasons for building eco-friendly LEED homes are demand and health concerns. Not only are green buildings better for the environment , but they also improve the health of occupants by increasing the quality of air and water. With LEED being the worldwide standard for best green building practices, the trend is catching on. Massachusetts came in second on the list and is a great example of how schools are incorporating LEED standards into their building practices. The state’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School was certified LEED Platinum for being energy efficient and using its building to teach students about sustainable living. Other states that made it onto the list include Washington, New York, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, California and Maryland. Several states, such as Illinois, Maryland, New York, Colorado, Virginia, California and Maryland, were also in the top 10 in 2017. Via Living Standard ,  USGBC Image via USGBC

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Top 10 states for LEED green buildings in 2018

14 vegan and vegetarian Valentine’s Day dinner ideas

February 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it. If you need some romantic vegan and vegetarian dinner ideas, look no further than this list of amazing appetizers, main dishes, sides and desserts. We even found a recipe for a rich, velvety vegan hot chocolate that will surely impress your significant other! Vegan fondue Just because you are vegan doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fondue. This dairy-free cheese fondue from  The Edgy Veg  really spices up a romantic date night. For this  plant-based  fondue, you will use rice, potato and cashews. It is so delicious, you will want to dip everything in it. Sweet potato and avocado bites Another appetizer idea for your Valentine’s dinner, these sweet potato and avocado bites from Blissful Basil are a show-stopping treat. The ingredient list is short, and you simply start by tossing sweet potato slices in olive oil, cumin and paprika. After roasting them, top the sweet potatoes with an avocado and lime juice mixture, and finish with a garnish of tomato and radish sprouts. It’s a delicious vegan dish for the start of your romantic evening. Grilled zucchini rolls From Menu Musings of a Modern American Mom , these grilled zucchini rolls combine herbed goat cheese , roasted red peppers and zucchini. They are incredibly easy to make, and they are a great appetizer to munch on while you are making your main dish. Vegan Caesar salad Featuring homemade elements like Caesar dressing, peppery croutons and hemp Parmesan cheese, this recipe comes from My Darling Vegan . It is the perfect side dish for your vegan or vegetarian Valentine’s dinner. Related: How to make a hearty, warm kale salad with spicy chickpeas and sweet potato noodles Grilled eggplant with tomato and feta This amazing first course from Epicurious features eggplants, basil leaves, a large slice of tomato and crumbled feta. You start by grilling the eggplant and then stacking the ingredients. Continue grilling until the cheese melted. If you don’t have a grill, or if it’s too cold outside to fire it up, but you still want a delicious vegan eggplant dish for Valentine’s Day, try this vegan eggplant Parmesan recipe from Oh She Glows . Mushroom and leek risotto This vegan and gluten-free dish comes from The Minimalist Baker , and it is a creamy, cheesy comfort food that takes just eight ingredients and 30 minutes to prepare. You will need vegetable broth, olive oil, bella or cremini mushrooms, leeks, arborio rice, dry white wine, vegan butter, vegan Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and some salt and pepper. It is the ideal side for an Italian dinner. Stuffed mushrooms A savory appetizer for your Valentine’s dinner, this recipe is from Cheftographer , and it features sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and vegan cream cheese stuffed inside bite-sized mushrooms . This appetizer pairs well with a glass of wine, and both vegans and non-vegans will love it. Cheesy spaghetti with dill and peppercorns sauce You can indulge on  Valentine’s Day  with this creamy, cheesy dish from  Gourmandelle . The peppercorns give it a spicy kick, and the sour cream, feta cheese and dill give the pasta a delicious flavor. You can also choose a gluten-free pasta and add as many leafy greens as you like. Cauliflower steak with mushroom gravy When it comes to a cauliflower “steak,” the name refers to how the cauliflower is cut. No, this is not for a steak-loving meat eater, but this  recipe  from  Oh My Veggies  is excellent for vegans. The mushroom gravy gets its complex, umami flavor from the dried porcini mushrooms. But if you can’t find those, any dried mushroom will work. Cauliflower hemp Alfredo This deliciously creamy sauce calls for 10 ingredients and just 30 minutes to make, plus it is dairy – and nut-free. The recipe comes from Making Thyme For Health , and you can add this sauce to your choice of pasta, spaghetti squash or spiralized veggies. You can also give the dish “extra veggie power” by adding peas, mushrooms, broccoli or whatever else tickles your fancy! Related: How to cook and enjoy 10 types of squash other than pumpkin French salted hot chocolate This is a decadent beverage made with dark chocolate, coconut milk and coconut cream, then topped off with a flaky, gourmet salt. This idea comes from Champagne Tastes , and it is a perfect treat that you and your Valentine can enjoy before or after dinner. Heart cutout cupcakes This idea from Food Family Finds creates cupcakes that are filled with love. Basically, you make your favorite cupcake, cut out the center into a heart and fill the hole with cherry pie filling, strawberries, fudge or anything else your heart desires. Valentine’s Day heart cookies This vegetarian recipe from Food On Paper is a classic cookie recipe that features butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, vanilla and a dusting of powdered sugar. But the most important part of this recipe is the heart-shaped cookie cutter. Alternatively, whip up your favorite cookie recipe, then use the cookie cutter to make your cookies into lovable shapes. Raw chocolate almond cheesecake This recipe comes from The Vegan 8 , which means it is a vegan recipe that only calls for eight ingredients. Not only is this dessert vegan, but the chocolate crust is also gluten-free. To make that crust, all you need is sliced almonds, raw cacao, raw agave nectar and some sea salt. Related: DIY decadent vegan, gluten-free chocolate lava cake For the filling, you will need raw whole cashews, sliced almonds or regular almond butter, lemon juice, raw agave nectar, vanilla extract, sea salt and chocolate almond butter. Images via Michael Miller , Julien Pianetti , Stacy Spensley , Klara Avsenik , Thomas B. and Shutterstock

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14 vegan and vegetarian Valentine’s Day dinner ideas

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