How Green Is My Orange?

January 22, 2009

Have you ever wondered how green your morning glass of orange juice is? Tropicana, owned by PepsiCo, is taking steps to find out and Green the Orange.

Click here to read the story in its entirety from today's New York Times.


Green School Building

August 22, 2008

The first day of school is always exciting. This year, for some of our local kids there was an added bonus - a Green School Year. A new lower school building that is LEED certified. Brand new construction, brand new LEED Certifcation! Exciting.

What does this really mean for the kids? As the head of the lower school noted in an email (note...not a paper flier in the backpack), "In line with the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards the new music floor will be sealed with a water based finish. Indeed there have been no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) used during the construction. In addition, the natural light from the solar tubes and the excellent air quality provided by the 100% fresh air drawn in by our main roof top A/C units will provide an exceptionally healthy environment."

The floors on the main entry have river rock and recycled colored glass mixed in the polished concrete. In addition, the toilets have a 'special' flush according to my youngest child. The great news is that this seems to be a trend across the country...more schools are planning on building LEED certified when planning their expansions and current building projects. As the kids say, the new school year has begun. As a parent I think, the new Green school year has begun!


Did you know this Green fact?

August 5, 2008

I recently received an inquiry from someone who was trying to Greenify his office. He wanted to know how much paper is made from one tree. Do you have a guess? How many pounds of paper are made from one tree?

The answer is about 118 pounds. So for every 118 pounds of paper you print, copy, throw-out, scribble on or even eat and drink from (as in paper plates and cups), one tree has to be chopped down.

Just a little Tuesday trivia for you. Think twice before using paper products at home or printing documents unnecessarily. Trees are much more aesthetic in the forest rather than in white sheets on your desk!


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Green Hotel Options

July 7, 2008

Vacation time is here! I’ve recently been doing some research on green vacations and green hotels and have been fascinated to see all the different ways hoteliers are making efforts to Greenify. Almost fifteen years or so ago, I remember thinking some hotels in Arizona to be extremely eco-minded in that they were working to conserve water by not washing towels or bedding every day.

And while that practice seems to be spreading nationwide, I’m glad that lots of new ideas are coming into vogue as well. The Environmentally Friendly Hotels website has gone into depth as to what each hotel in their database actually does to be green. You can plug a destination into their search engine such as “Sarasota” and all the hotels with green practices in that area will come up. The hotels are rated with one to seven trees depending on how many practices they follow and you can check out exactly what those green habits may be.

The Green Hotel Association maintains a list of green hotels both within the US and internationally.

Some of the new innovations in the green hotel industry include recycling buildings (rather than just building a new one); the Kimpton hotel chain has remodeled old hotels, a post office, a warehouse and a department store. Other hotels are using alternative energy for power, solar tubes for light, supplying organic snacks in the mini-bar and eco-friendly toiletries in the bathroom and installing low-flow faucets in the showers and sinks.

Next up, entrepreneur Richard Branson is planning an eco-resort on the British Virgin Island’s Mosquito Island. Solar and wind will supply the energy, guests will be fed from an on island organic garden and orchard and beach mobiles will be moving along with bio-fuels. I wonder if he will consider a more eco-friendly name for the island?


Greenify Your Commute

June 18, 2008

The average price of fuel this week in the U.S. is $4.08 a gallon, well over a dollar higher than it was a year ago at this time. As high as that is for us, in Europe the average gasoline price is close to $9.00 a gallon.

If you Greenify your commute, you can save a little on gas and help save the planet at the same time.

Ten hour days, four days a week are now normal for city workers in Birmingham, AL. If you can convince your boss to let you do the same, you will save 20% of your fuel costs for the week, encounter less traffic since you will not be driving during peak hours (less traffic idling too!), and your place of employment will save on electricity costs – less AC will be used. If you want to maintain a five day work week, can you telecommute a day or two a week?

Walk or use public transportation. Since public transportation is not as convenient in most cities in the US as it is in Europe, this may not be a good option for you; but maybe that means it is time to start lobbying for more public transportation in your area.

Looking for a new car? Some employers (Google, Timberland, Patagonia, Bank of America to name a few) are offering financial incentives of up to $5,000 to employees who purchase either fuel efficient cars or alternative fuel cars. The top most fuel efficient cars include Smartfor Two, the Mini Cooper, Toyota Yaris, Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Honda Accord, Honda Fit, VW Passat Wagon, Ford Escape Hybrid, and the Ford Focus.

You can green your commute by keeping your car as well tuned by as possible – make sure your tires are properly inflated, regular oil changes, etc. A well maintained car will use 10% less gas than a car that is not taken care of.

And finally, car pool to work. One woman in my office bikes 4 ½ miles every day to a co-worker’s house and they ride in together with a third co-worker. Split three ways, gas prices are much more manageable and it is nice to have a little company on their 60 mile roundtrip.


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Earth Day Resolution #6 – Going Green for Schools

April 18, 2008

For the past few weeks, the parents at my children’s school have been hearing about the upcoming spring fundraiser. One never knows what that is going to entail – selling cookie dough, chocolates, wrapping paper or magazine subscriptions. As I my kids became more excited about the ‘sale’ and the prospect of selling enough items to get that coveted grand prize, I became more concerned about which neighbors and family members were ‘on deck’ in the friendly rotation of supporting one another’s schools via the children’s fundraisers.

I was very pleasantly surprised when the folder came home in the backpack and it looked unfamiliar. My kids could not stop talking about the ‘Go Green’ sale they were having. “Go Green,” I asked? “Yes mom…you know Go Green as in doing something good for the earth,” the kids replied. I immediately opened the envelope to find an eco-friendly looking brochure from Growkids – help children/heal the earth. What a concept, the kids are going to sell items like seed collections, green foaming soap, reusable shopping bags and hemp frisbees. The school receives 50% of all proceeds, a tree is dedicated and planted for every sales participant and the products being sold are environmentally friendly. It seems like a win for all – the school, the kids, the buyers and our environment!  As Sarah Talley, the founder of Growkids states on her website, “I’m not ready to run off into the forest and forfeit all of the comforts of modern life ... but I am learning to walk a little softer on the earth.”

In the midst of my excitement I picked up the phone to tell a friend at a neighboring school. When I started to talk about the Go Green fundraiser at our school, my friend quickly responded with her school’s version of the Green sale…CFL light bulbs. Her school was having a CFL sale. We seem to be moving away from cookie dough, candy and magazine sales. How nice!

This Earth Day, resolve to help spread the word at your children’s school about Green fundraising opportunities. Face it, the school fundraiser is here to stay. It’s a right of passage for the youngsters. The cute faces knocking on your door eager to make a sale are not going away and I hope they never do. Why not teach the kids about the importance of doing the right thing for the environment while going green and helping their school at the same time! I hope that we can all walk a little gentler this year!


Happy Green Holiday

March 17, 2008

It’s hard to believe that the calendar is already indicating that the Ides of March have come and gone. The clocks have sprung forward and, if you are like me, you are still trying to get used to waking up in the dark. While many parts of the country are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring, they are still seeing lots of white (ie snow).

However, this Monday, many parts of the country / world will be seeing Green. I am not referring to Green as in dollars and cents (although that would be nice). I am not referring to Green as in the environment (although that would be even nicer). I am not even referring to Green as in seeing grass rather than snow. I mean Green as in Saint Patrick’s Day Green. The luck of the Irish Green. The little Irish mythological fairy known as a Leprechaun - Green. As in shamrocks, four-leaf clovers, Green beer, Green clothes, Green hair. Green! Green! Green!

Not only is Ireland known for its Green landscape but it is actually known for being forty shades of Green. Do you think they knew centuries ago when people started celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day how cool and positively impactful being Green could be? We at Green Business Alliance wish you a Happy Saint Paddy’s Day and encourage you to join in the green festivities and Greenify Today for a Better Tomorrow.


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