Thursday, February 28, 2008

Virgin Launches Biofuel Jet

By Dan Shapley

The world's first jumbo jet to burn biofuel successfully flew from London to Amsterdam Sunday, and other airlines are poised to follow in its wake.

One of the Boeing 747-400 engines was fueled by a mixture that included 25% biofuel made from babassu palm nut and coconut oil, among other natural oils.

Air New Zealand is among the companies looking to follow suit, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Its fuel of choice may be derived from algae grown in sewage ponds or jatropha, a "woody plant that can grow on barren, marginal land."

Still, as Greenpeace pointed out, high-altitude emissions are still a concern for global warming, regardless of the fuel source.

Click here to connect to thedailygreen.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Green Marketers Can Learn from Prius's Success

Hardly a week goes by without Toyota’s Prius making green marketing headlines. Let's take a step back and analyze why this product has been so wildly successful, attracting a broad swath of consumers — and not just deep-green ones — like a powerful magnet, all the while creating a new definition of automotive cool. By Jacquelyn Ottman

Let’s start with the top reasons why Prius owners bought their car. As of the second quarter of last year the number-one reason was “Makes a Statement About Me” (57%), followed by “Other” (e.g., incentives), Higher Fuel Economy (36%), Distinctive Styling (33%), Lower Emissions (25%), and New Technology (7%) (source: CNW Marketing Research). If you’re surprised why fuel economy or lower emissions aren’t higher on the list, then you may be underestimating Toyota’s deftness at positioning this car for a mainstream audience.
Click here for the full story.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Save 20% On Gas, Every Day

10 Tips That Can Save You Money On Fuel

By Dan Shapley

Simple vehicle maintenance can save many American drivers significant cash at the pump - 20% or more, according to a new study by the Consumer Federation of America.

The group estimates that Americans pay $1,000 more per year for gas than five years ago. Simple maintenance can save $300, the group says - as much as $ .50 per gallon. While not everyone can save that much, many can save 20%. And besides saving cash, of course, reducing gasoline consumption reduces pollution.

Here are the group's 10 tips:

  1. Check Your Air Filter
    A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, and nearly one in four cars needs an air filter replacement. Changing a dirty air filter can save the equivalent of 28 cents a gallon or carry you 23 more miles on a typical tank of gas.

  2. Straighten Out
    Poor alignment not only causes tires to wear out more quickly, but also forces your engine to work harder, which can reduce gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Fixing improper alignment would be like saving 28 cents per gallon.

  3. Tune Up
    A properly tuned engine can improve mileage by 4 percent which is like saving 11 cents a gallon.

  4. Pump 'em Up
    More than one-quarter of vehicles have improperly inflated tires. The average under-inflation of 7.5 pounds causes a loss of 2.8 percent in fuel efficiency. Properly inflating problem tires is like knocking 8 cents off a gallon of gas.

  5. Check Your Cap
    It is estimated that nearly 17 percent of cars on the road have broken or missing gas caps, which reduce gas mileage as well as possibly harming the environment. Fixing or replacing a faulty gas cap is like saving 2 cents per gallon.

  6. Lose Weight
    For every 100 extra pounds carried around, your vehicle loses 1-2 percent in fuel efficiency. For every 100 lbs you unload, you''re saving the equivalent of 4 cents per gallon.

  7. Don't Speed
    For every 5 mph you reduce highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7 percent. If you typically drive 70 on the highway and slow down to 65, it's the equivalent of saving 19 cents a gallon.

  8. Drive Smoother
    The smoother you accelerate and decelerate, the better your gas mileage, with potential gas savings of 33% on the highway and 5% around town. Consumers who currently drive erratically can pocket the equivalent 48 cents a gallon by driving more smoothly.

  9. Don't Give Your Foot a Brake
    Riding with your foot on the brake not only wears out brakes but can also reduce gas consumption by as much as 35 percent. If you kick the habit of driving with your foot on the brake, you''ll get the equivalent of 96 cents per gallon in savings.

  10. Don't Idle
    If stopped off the road for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine. Don't "warm up" your car before driving -- it is not necessary. For every two minutes that you don''t idle, you''ll save the equivalent of nearly 1 cent per gallon.

For more details, read the full report.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Green and Gorgeous Remodeling: Low-VOC Paints

Green and Gorgeous Eco Paints

What comes in thousands of different colors but is green all over? The latest in environmentally responsible paints of course.

Having recognized the harmful impact of petrochemical-based solvents (they off-gas volatile organic compounds and smell funny), major paint companies (Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Olympic and AFM) now offer a rainbow of environmentally conscious options. With healthier coats in every color, texture and gloss, painting the town green is more than just a pigment of the imagination.

Click here for more information from

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Many products are made of, or contain PVC

Here you can find out what everyday products contain PVC, and see a list of items to avoid:

Building materials

PVC siding - This is widely used in the US as a replacement for timber cladding. In the rest of the world it is far less common. Alternatives such as timber or strand board are widely available.

Insulation - The use of PVC profiles in cavity closure is increasing. Alternative products made with polyethylene are available.

Roofing Membranes - Roofing film made of soft PVC is used on the insides of roofs as shielding and flashing against water. Phthalates from soft PVC can be emitted to air and to water. Several alternative plastics exist.

Pipes - Rainwater guttering and drainpipes, water supply pipes, sewerage and drainage pipes, protective pipes for cables.

Approximately 90 percent of PVC pipes produced are waste pipes, protective pipes for electricity and telecommunications cable and underground drainage pipes. The rest are found in buildings as waste pipes or as mains pipes.

Pipes are made from rigid PVC (or unplasticised PVC - uPVC). Lead or tin stabilisers are often used in pipes, and red-brown pipes contain lead pigments. PVC-Free Pipes and Ducts are available.

Electricity cables, telephone and data cables - PVC coating is commonly used in cables and lines for the transfer of electricity and information. PVC in cables is one of the most hazardous uses of PVC for the environment and for human health. Fires involving PVC cables result in releases of hydrochloric acid and dioxin. Flexible PVC that contains plasticisers is used for PVC cables. Alternatives - PVC free electrical cables and wiring

Doors, windows and conservatory frames - made from unplasticised PVC (u-PVC) are heavily promoted by industry as replacement windows and doors. Sustainable timber is a suitable alternative. Alternatives - sustainable timber windows.

Click here to read more of the article and find out which home products contain PVC.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Green Remodeling Ideas for Smart Home Sellers

It's a tough housing market for sellers.

But here's the good news: Real estate agents and homeowners alike are discovering that they can get a leg up on the competition by doing a little preemptive green remodeling. Even in the country's worst housing markets, there are easy things you can do to attract that crucial buyer, while saving the planet. Here, your trusty friends at TheDailyGreen have put together everything you need to know: the best fixes for the most challenging housing markets, the newest green remodeling products and ideas. Plus blogs from real estate agents on the cutting edge of "selling houses green."

Make your house stand out from the pack! Sell your house green!!

Click here for more!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A New Era of Green Thrift

Economy Sagging, Credit Drying Up. Go Green

By Dan Shapley

A front-page story in the New York Times today declared the end of an era, or at least an interruption in the free-for-all that has characterized American consumer spending for decades.

"The freewheeling days of credit and risk may have run their course — at least for a while and perhaps much longer — as a period of involuntary thrift unfolds in many households," Peter S. Goodman writes. "With the number of jobs shrinking, housing prices falling and debt levels swelling, the same nation that pioneered the no-money-down mortgage suddenly confronts an unfamiliar imperative: more Americans must live within their means."

The Daily Green has a reminder: Going green is thrifty.

You pay for energy, so saving it saves money. Unplug that cell-phone charger, and you don't pay for the electricity needlessly leaking. That means less coal burned at the local power plant, less mining and less pollution. Opt for a carpool and you cut your gas costs by half or more. That means less oil pumped, refined and burned.

The Daily Green has daily tips to help you go green – most of which can save you money. To start, check out these 5 Green Money $avers.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Bowl: A Greenhouse Gastravaganza

It is a new record; over 400 private jets are flying into Phoenix for the Super Bowl this weekend, carrying mostly corporate types and their clients. “The Giants in particular have a huge corporate fan base" said an organizer of corporate events in the New York Times, “And 99 percent of our clients are corporations that are looking to entertain clients at these events.” Some of those corporations may even be among those who make claims to being concerned about the environment. So what is the impact of all these flights?

We did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation.

A midsize jet with four passengers uses about 1500 gallons of fuel to fly from New York to Phoenix; burning a gallon of jet fuel emits 21.095 pounds of CO2. The trip emits 31,642 pounds or 15.8 tons of CO2.

Yet that epitome of environmental evil, a hummer H2, with four passengers, can drive from New York to Phoenix emitting only 1.79 tons of CO2. (1.46 pounds per mile times 2453 miles).

Assuming that most of those planes are flying from the east coast (a stretch, but we have no way of knowing and are trying to make a point here) we have 400 planes flying round trip so that is 800 times 15.8 tons or 12,640 tons of CO2.

The average family in America emits about 20 tons per year; the Super Bowl private jets emit as much CO2 as 632 American families living for an entire year. It emits the same amount of CO2 as driving a hummer from New York to LA and back 3,130 times.

It would be really interesting to know what companies flew in what customers on those jets. It would certainly have been better if they had just invited them to a big boardroom with a big TV and a few cases of beer. It might be an interesting question to ask at the next shareholders meeting: "Why are you using corporate funds to make this much CO2 to go to a football game?" ::New York Times

1,000 Homes a Year Now Recycled

Instead of shipping off tons and tons of broken 2x4s, shingles, old toilets and shattered glass, more and more homeowners and developers are discovering the benefits of reconstruction.

Building materials eat up huge amounts of landfill space, and it's a real shame that so much highly recyclable material simply gets broken up and tossed, considering that mining, harvesting, shaping and transporting virgin materials has such far-reaching impacts on our planet. Reconstruction leads to less mining, timber cutting and manufacturing, as well as reduced carbon footprints.

Through reconstruction, you can also salvage vintage hardware, reclaimed wood and more, much of it with high-quality craftsmanship, charm and gorgeous detailing.

These days folks are discovering places like ReStore in Springfield, Massachusetts, a nonprofit home improvement center affiliated with the Center for Ecological Technology in Pittsfield and Northampton, which specializes in salvaged house construction materials. According to the Berkshire Eagle, for a fee 10 to 20 percent higher than the cost of demolition, ReStore will carefully dismantle a house and transport its parts to Springfield.

Deconstruction costs typically range from $7 to $12 per square foot, although a homeowner can get a tax deduction worth from $20,000 to $30,000. According to the Pennsylvania-based Building Materials Reuse Association, 1,000 homes a year are disassembled for reuse or resale, with about 85 percent of the material being reusable.

Currently about 250,000 houses are ripped down in America each year, resulting in nearly 20 million tons of waste.

The biggest drawback to deconstruction? Time. Instead of a day or two to break down a dwelling, it can take weeks. Still, the benefits can be enormous to you and the planet.

Article by By Brian Clark Howard: The Daily Green