Thursday, April 30, 2009
So, if we are going to have to rely on fossil fuels, we should support the companies that are the greenest—that is, those companies that are spending some of their profits on alternative-fuel research and honestly and accurately file environmental reports. Consumers also need to keep it mind that not all companies follow the exact same processes for getting oil out of the ground, refining it, and shipping it to your oil pump, meaning that one company's carbon footprint can be smaller than others.
With that said, one company—BP—stands above the rest in the rankings of the greenest oil companies. However, much of this can be attributed to money spent in the past on alternative fuel research, something the company hasn't been doing as much of since its ownership changed in 2007.
Sonoco and Shell ranked second and third on the list, and the largest oil company (and currently the most profitable company in the world) Exxon Mobile ranked sixth.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The report examines air pollution on a county level, ranks the best and worst areas in the country in terms of pollution, and assigns each county a grade. While Boston did not make the list of the top 25 cleanest cities in the U.S., it did fare pretty well in the rankings. The city ranked among the top 50 or so cities in the country in terms of short-term particle pollution and received a grade of an A in the particle pollution categories.
One area of concern for Boston, however, was the ozone pollution (smog) grade for the city. The city did not rank in the list of the most polluted cities as far as smog goes, but it did receive a grade of F in this category from the American Lung Association. This means that a lot of people are still driving alone to work instead of taking transit, bicycling/walking, or carpooling. Don't forget that your company offers you programs and incentives to help you use these methods to get to work each day. You should check them out and think about commuting some way other than driving alone.
To read the full State of the Air Report, go to this website.
Mellisa Z., from Forma Theraputics in Cambridge, won a tree at one of our Earth Day commuter benefit promotions.
This is what she had to share:
"When I first saw this Dwarf Alberta Spruce, I was signing up for a raffle and learning about the Commuter Benefit Programs that Transactions Associates provide for green-commuting at my work. I looked at it's beautiful young, springy needles, and I actually said out loud, "I'm gonna win you, little buddy!" Low and behold, two hours later, Jax Adele from T.A. brought me my little green friend; synchronicity! My boyfriend Dan and I planted this special tree on Arbor Day at Endicott Park in Danvers, a beautiful garden and nature reserve. I'm sure my spruce will be happy there, as we were happy to help it grow! :)"
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
This is part of Governor Patrick's "Greening the Turnpike" initiative that promotes energy efficiency and environmental friendliness among government agencies. "This is a great example of how state agencies can work together to achieve our common goals," Patrick said in an e-mail to the Globe. "This wind energy project is good for the environment, and it will help create jobs within our clean energy economy."
The site was chosen because it is believed to be the windiest location on the turnpike. For more information on the wind turbine, check out this story from The Globe.
Monday, April 27, 2009
In fact, environmental enthusiasts are reporting that home gardens are becoming more popular as the economy slumps and concerns about food supply increase, fueled by the recent salmonella outbreaks in peanuts and pistachios.
To many, growing their own food sounds like a neat idea, but where do you start? That's where this slide show and story can help. The Daily Green has complied a list of nine steps to start and manage your garden. The Web is also full of dozens of other resources to help you if you have other questions.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Whole Foods officials said the panels will generate about 30 percent of the power needed to run the stores. Wal-Mart has been toying around with alternative energies since it unveiled its solar-powered store in Dallas, Texas. The retailer will now expand the program to include up to 20 stores in California.
For more information on this and solar energy in general, check out this story from Business Green.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
However, after backups as long as eight miles that lasted several hours at toll plazas on the Pike during the Easter weekend, Pike officials began rethinking the policy.
“There should be absolutely no reason why everyone in the Commonwealth wouldn’t have a transponder,” Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi said after members voted to keep the transponders free of charge. While Aloisi has not done the best job of managing the Pike, he's right about this at least.
Fast Lane transponders can be applied for online at www.masspike.com or by calling 1-877-627-7745. Transponders can also be picked up in person at the Fast Lane service centers in Auburn, Natick, and East Boston, as well as at many Registry of Motor Vehicles branch offices.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
As you'll learn as you look at some of the resources in the guide, the idea that going green has to cost you more money simply is not true. There are hundreds of ways to live a greener life that will actually save you money. In addition to tips for saving money, you'll find Earth Day facts, tips on how to help the environment, and ways to improve the greenness of your diet in the guide.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
From cleaning pots and pans or even your car to repairing the damage chlorine does to hair, there are many surprising uses for ketchup that you probably never thought of. Check out this story from The Daily Green to read more about creative ways to use ketchup.
Monday, April 20, 2009
From special exhibits at the Boston Children's Museum to an Earth Day walk and tree planting around Walden Pond, there is plenty to do in the Boston area this week. Check out this slide show on the Globe's website for these and other ideas.
Friday, April 17, 2009
So, what's the alternative? As people become more and more aware of the effect that chemicals have on their bodies, many are turning to completely natural pools at their homes to cool off in the summer. Companies are popping up that offer products that keep natural pools clean without the use of chemicals.
The Daily Green has a slide show with 23 of the best all-natural swimming pools and ponds they could find. Check it out here.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The study estimated that 63 trillion spam messages were sent last year, resulting in a usage of 33 terawatt hours of energy. That's roughly the same energy consumption as 2.4 million houses!
While each e-mail itself only results in a very small emission, the emissions resulting from all spam e-mail are equivalent to that from over three million cars.
"There is an energy cost with the transaction, storage and deletion of any email," McAfee's Dave Marcus told Business Green. "When you start to add it up, we are talking about a significant impact."
For more info on the study, check out this story from Business Green.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Pike officials said the delays were caused by toll workers calling in sick, and a new policy that does not allow other toll workers to work overtime to fill in. The Pike is facing a huge budget deficit and doing everything it can to conserve money.
Pike director Alan LeBovidge said the delays will be just as bad, if not worse, over Memorial Day weekend. He is encouraging drivers to get FastLane transponders, so they do not have to wait in toll lines.
Getting a FastLane transponder is not a bad idea, even if the Pike's methods for encouraging people to get them might be a little shady, as many people have pointed out.
For more info, check out this story in The Herald.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Registry officials said that they dealt with over 57,000 requests for records last year, and this system will decrease the burden on the RMV, while making is quicker easier for drivers to view their records.
Viewing the record costs users $6, which seems a bit ridiculous, but it is probably easier than the hassle of going into an RMV branch and waiting in line. Keep in mind, though, that your insurance agent can likely get you a copy of your driving record for free.
For more info, check out this story from The Globe.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Their favorite, and mine too, was the Toyota Scion iQ (pictured to the right). It's been a huge hit in Japan and Europe, but it will be interesting to see if it catches on in the U.S. My guess is at a cost of only $14,000 and fuel efficiency at around 54 miles per gallon, several people in the U.S. will be willing to give this microcar a chance.
For more info on the Scion and the other four cars on the list, check out the slide show from The Daily Green.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Massachusetts communities of over 35,000 people will divide the $28.2 million allocated from the stimulus plan, meaning that Arlington, Brookline, Framingham, Marlborough, Newton, and Waltham are among the communities eligible for the funds.
Each community can accept or reject the funds, but several of the communities have already said they will use the funds.
"It's extraordinary, and we're very grateful," Framingham Town Manager Julian Suso told the Boston Globe. "There is a broad range of opportunity for utilization of these funds. We look forward to that and applaud the support for those needs."
For more info, check out this story in The Globe.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
GM has been testing a prototype of the scooter as part of what it calls Project PUMA, or Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility. The company hopes to have the scooter developed by 2012.
Company officials said the scooter will likely be able to reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour, have a range of up to about 35 miles, and have an enclosed passenger compartment, unlike current Segways.
The vehicle may contain wireless technology to help the driver avoid traffic jams or other adverse road conditions. GM has even hinted that the technology could allow the scooters to navigate themselves through city streets.
For more info, check out this story on the Wall Street Journal's website.
The last part may be particular useful in tough economic times that see house values decreasing while many cost of living factors increase.
Check out this calculator when you get a chance because everyone can play a small role in protecting the environment by reducing their personal greenhouse gas emissions. And don't forget that you'll likely save some money as you do so.
The EPA reports that more than 100 million cell phones are discarded annually. If all these cell phones were recycled, it would save enough energy to power more than 18,500 U.S. homes for one year. HopeLine provides a convenient way to improve those statistics.
“Consumers demand more from their cell phones today than they did when we created HopeLine 14 years ago,” said Jack Plating, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Verizon Wireless. “Recognizing that having the latest technology means more old phones are left behind, Verizon Wireless makes it easy for consumers to recycle their phones during National Cell Phone Recycling Week – and throughout the year – in our stores or online through HopeLine.”
To read the rest of this story, click here.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The building, which was the tallest building in the world until 1970, will have upgrades made in an effort to increase its energy consumption by 40 percent. The upgrades include extra layers of insulation on the 6,500 windows on the structure and a new, modern cooling system to replace the current one in the basement of the building.
The upgrades will also allow officer workers in the building to take responsibility for their own carbon footprint. Each worker will be able to access information on the Web detailing how much energy in being consumed in their part of the building.
For more info, check out this story in The Guardian, a UK newspaper.
Monday, April 6, 2009
The gum, called Chicza, becomes non-sticky once it dries and then decays into dust within six weeks, company officials told cnn.com.
Besides the obvious environmental benefits, British authorities are celebrating the release because it could save millions on clean-up costs associated with removing gum from streets and public buildings.
The gum sells for the equivalent of just over $2. For more info on the world's first biodegradable chewing gum, check out this story from cnn.com
Friday, April 3, 2009
So, what is one to do? The Daily Green has this great article on 13 things you can make using recycled bottles. Check it out here because several of these ideas are actually really, really good and could save you some money as well.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Each individual team in the league is sponsoring local events to help the environment, and the league itself will hold auctions with the proceeds going to the NRDC.
In addition, several teams in the league will be wearing green jerseys instead of their usual home colors to promote the event. Some teams are offering 25 percent off the cost of tickets to fans who take public transportation to games, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are even giving free upper-level seats to those who take transit to a game.
For more info, visit the NBA's special website for this event.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
But, if you're in the market for a new laptop, you're in luck. Several computer makers have given you the option of buying environmentally-friendly laptops. From Apple to Toshiba to HP models, these laptops are made using non-toxic chemicals and materials and also use much less energy than their non-green counterparts.
EcoGeek has put together an informative list of the five greenest laptops on the market. Check it out here.