The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

January 10, 2017 by  
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For an EcoGeek, there were many surprises at the 2017 edition of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). We’ve been watching the emphasis on green cars decline for a number of years. Some of that is in the mainstreaming of more efficient vehicles, with increased fuel efficiency standards, greater numbers of hybrid vehicles, and alternative fuels. But nothing brought home how far things have come quite so much as this year’s show. Last year, we thought , “the days of green cars being featured at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) seem to be over.” Where the “green” cars were once a niche item that were typically highlighted with special displays. This year, green is so mainstream that the 2017 Green Car of the Year is also the North American Car of the Year for 2017. Those awards, along with Motor Trend Car of the Year, all went to the Chevrolet Bolt. And there are many companies with multiple electric drive vehicles. Toyota, Ford, GM, and BMW each have a variety of options available. Some are all electric drive. Some are gas/electric hybrids. Some are smaller, shorter range commuter cars, while others are readily capable of long range trips. It is no longer the case that, if you want an electric drive vehicle, your selection is limited to the one model that a company offers. There are choices, and not just between this manufacturer or that one, but a variety within a company. Even Fiat Chrysler, which has in past years seemingly paid no attention whatsoever to eco-mindedness, has a hybrid Pacifica minivan, which offers an 83 MPGe rating. At this point, it seems that the automotive manufacturers don’t feel a strong need to keep pushing the market to accept electric vehicles or to get them to understand the benefits. That has been established with consumers, and it is now a matter of finding the right vehicles to meet the demand that they have fostered. What is exciting for us as EcoGeeks is that the pursuit of transformative technology continues. The lower level of the show has been an unpredictable sideline to the main floor show. In some years it has been almost like a ghost town. In others, it has offered a driving track with sometimes many different vehicles available to test drive. This year, the lower level was packed with dozens of different booths ranging from second-tier manufacturers (who make components and systems for the automakers), autonomous vehicle technologies, two different folding electric scooters, university racing and design programs, and a row full of developers of automotive- and transportation-related apps and services. As has been the case in previous years, hydrogen-fueled vehicles caught our eye as the next wave to watch in the transformation of the market. The joke about hydrogen fueled vehicles has long been that “Hydrogen powered vehicles are always 20 years in the future.” But now, after several years, that 20 years is starting to feel like it might be inching a bit closer. Where electric vehicles were a decade ago, hydrogen vehicles are today. They are something that some companies are dedicating some of their floor space to displaying. Toyota and Honda both have available hydrogen vehicles on display, and are selling hydrogen vehicles to consumers. In addition, GM, in conjunction with the US Army, has a fuel cell powered Colorado variant on display on the lower level as an investigational next-generation HMMV replacement which is slated for field trials later this year. Completely unrelated to attending the auto show, but perhaps a telling sign, while driving home on the highway on Sunday night, I passed a tanker truck carrying a load of liquid hydrogen. Perhaps it’s the shape of things to come.

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The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

How to find energy-efficient commercial space

August 26, 2016 by  
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Rocky Mountain Institute and the Institute for Market Transformation create standards to help commercial renters understand what a green lease promises.

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How to find energy-efficient commercial space

12 creative ways to reuse shipping containers

June 1, 2016 by  
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If you’re looking for a new project to work out your creative muscles, take a gander at cargotecture . Shipping containers have been converted into new exciting structures all around the world and can be easily purchased from warehouses, port terminals, or even eBay. Market Inspector created an infographic that explores a dozen different ways to repurpose shipping containers , from food trucks to hotels. Keep reading to see all the ways you can transform an old container into a beautiful, affordable, and sustainable new structure. + Market Inspector

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12 creative ways to reuse shipping containers

Chevy’s 200-mile range Bolt enters pre-production ahead of Tesla’s Model 3 debut

March 22, 2016 by  
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Chevy is one big step closer to bringing the $30k 2017 Bolt electric car to the market! Chevy has announced that the first pre-production models are currently being built at GM’s plant in Michigan. These models are the next step in the process to get GM’s plant ready to begin production of the 200-mile range Bolt by the end of this year – a good year ahead of Tesla’s similarly-priced Model 3 . Read the rest of Chevy’s 200-mile range Bolt enters pre-production ahead of Tesla’s Model 3 debut

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Chevy’s 200-mile range Bolt enters pre-production ahead of Tesla’s Model 3 debut

BioMason’s bricks “grown” with sand and bacteria to hit the market next year

March 1, 2016 by  
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BioMason is inching closer to commercially debuting its eco-friendly “grown” bricks , which they say could be on the market as early as next year. Since its founding in 2012, the North Carolina startup has been pushing to revolutionize the world of building materials in a way that slashes carbon emissions by using bricks grown from sand and bacteria, instead of firing traditional bricks. An increasing number of architects and builders are looking to sustainable construction materials in response to the growing demand for green buildings, and BioMason’s emission-saving biobricks fill a unique niche in the market. Read the rest of BioMason’s bricks “grown” with sand and bacteria to hit the market next year

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BioMason’s bricks “grown” with sand and bacteria to hit the market next year

DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe Worthy Of A Spin

February 19, 2016 by  
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Laundry.  The scents, suds and satisfaction knowing you have clean clothes again. Now, there are a plethora of laundry detergents on the market today.  One walk down the aisle of many retailers and the number of choices will make your head spin….

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DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe Worthy Of A Spin

3 Green Upgrades For Your Eco-Friendly Home

January 29, 2016 by  
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Going green doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your home’s style. From countertops to synthetic lawns, there are many green updates you can make to your home. Many of the materials on the market today are renewable or recyclable, so you don’t have to…

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3 Green Upgrades For Your Eco-Friendly Home

New super-strain of E. coli resists all known antibiotics

December 21, 2015 by  
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If you’ve ever experienced food poisoning from E. coli , you already know just how unpleasant an infection can be. But what if there were no treatment on the market that could wipe out the bacteria? If a new study out of China is any indication, that might soon be our terrifying new reality. Read the rest of New super-strain of E. coli resists all known antibiotics

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New super-strain of E. coli resists all known antibiotics

Digno Rafre washable smart phone hits the market

December 17, 2015 by  
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You may soon be able to wash your smart phone with good old fashioned soap and water. Japanese telecom firm KDDI and Kyocera have been busy working on the “Digno Rafre phone,” which users can scrub-a-dub with suds. With waterproof phones already on the market, KDDI is developing the washable phone geared toward parents needing to effectively keep their phones clean from their kids’ grubby hands- or phone addicts who can’t part with their gadgets at bath time. Read the rest of Digno Rafre washable smart phone hits the market

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Digno Rafre washable smart phone hits the market

12 eco-friendly backpacks for tweens & teens

August 9, 2015 by  
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The back-to-school shopping season is upon us, and that often means shelling out some hard-earned cash for another backpack that will likely not survive to see the following summer. Finding eco-friendly options can be a bit challenging, especially for older kids and teenagers who have more stuff to haul. We want to help make your school shopping a little less painful and a little more earth-friendly, so we’ve scoured the market and come up with a dozen of our favorite options to share. Each backpack on the list is sturdy and sizeable enough for your star student to lug around all their books and binders. Many of the packs we love come in gender neutral colors and some might even last more than one year. Read on to check out your options! READ MORE >

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12 eco-friendly backpacks for tweens & teens

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