Loca - What?!

March 9, 2008

An email arrived in my inbox this afternoon containing a suggestion from a co-worker for an upcoming blog topic. The message included a brief description and a few urls describing the following word…Locavore. I immediately thought to myself…Loca what?! Locavore. It was not a typo and it was not a dinosaur descriptor.

In fact, it was The New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year in 2007. The word is just a few years old and originated in the San Francisco area. Locavore is defined as a person who seeks out locally produced food. As I dug a little deeper on the internet, I came to find out that many Locavores only eat foods produced within a certain mile radius of where they live. There is even a challenge known as the 100-mile diet.

Wow! This seems to tie in nicely with Earth Day Resolution #1 – Go Green – I Mean Literally. The resolution encourages people to make an effort to eat more locally grown greens, fruits and other colored vegetables. Who knew it had such a fancy name and that locally could be translated into an actual mileage radius! Suffice it to say, I continue to learn something new every day and today, I learned a cool ‘green’ word.


Earth Day Resolution #1 – Go Green, I Mean Literally!

March 6, 2008

What would be a resolution, be it New Year’s, Earth Day, or Birthday, without it having something to do with eating habits, diet, or losing some extra pounds? It just seemed like the natural choice for our first Earth Day resolution to have something to do with food. Green food that is, but food nonetheless.

This Earth Day, why not resolve to Go Green, and I mean literally. Promise yourself that you will make an effort to eat more locally grown greens, fruits and other colored vegetables. In addition, start making organic food choices when local options may not be available.

By supporting your local farmers markets and agricultural services, you will contribute to a reduction in the amount of fuel needed to transport the food to your home. In addition, the more nutritious your diet, the better you will look and feel and the greener you will be.

In honor of Earth Day 2008, make a pledge to: Buy Local, Eat Organic, and Go Green! Green-up your food choices (and, may I add that Green M&Ms do not count!) to become healthier while simultaneously helping our environment.


REC’s – Dollars and Sense

February 25, 2008

RECs, Renewable Energy Credits, Green Tags, Tradable Renewable Certificates, Renewable Energy Certificates. What does it all mean? Let’s begin with the basics of renewable energy (also referred to as clean energy). There are varying forms of this energy which are derived from resources that can not be depleted. In other words, these resources are naturally replenished. Wind and Solar power are two common examples of renewable/clean energy. Biomass, Biodiesel, and Geothermal are also types of clean energy. 

So what exactly is a REC (Renewable Energy Certificate) and how much does one cost? According to Wikipedia’s definition of Renewable Energy Certificates, RECs are “tradable environmental commodities that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource. These certificates can be sold and traded and the owner of the REC can claim to have purchased renewable energy.” Businesses and individuals can buy these RECs whether or not they have access to clean energy.

The cost of the REC depends on which type of renewable energy one is interested in purchasing. The price of these renewable energies can fluctuate. The quantity of the RECs purchased is often determined by how much electricity a business or home uses over a period of time. The REC provider will help you with the calculation. Suffice it to say that RECs are not super expensive. For example, a business I know recently purchased RECs to offset their yearly energy consumption in their 6,000 square foot office. The total amount of the RECs was less than $350 for the year.

The bottom line is that purchasing RECs makes good business and environmental sense without breaking the bank.


The Stairs – a Green and Healthy Choice

February 12, 2008

Believe it or not, there are more beneficiaries of Greenifying than simply our environment and your business. Some Green steps can directly impact your health. For instance, let’s examine your method of transportation to and from work. Yes, if one is able to bike or walk to work rather than drive, obviously the reduced emissions from the vehicle benefit the environment. Engaging in aerobic activity in lieu of driving a car for your commute benefits your heart and body.

Here is another easy way to help the environment while helping your heart. Stairs! If your office is above the first floor, take the stairs rather than the elevator. Walking up to your office will burn some calories while at the same time save the electrical energy used during each push of the elevator. It may not seem like a big sacrifice (unless, of course, your office is on the 90th floor!) but the rewards are both healthy and environmentally beneficial. On average, a 3 minute walk up the stairs burns about 25 calories. Greenify – for the environment, your business, and your health!


Recycled Paper Travails

February 9, 2008

Going Green will require a company to modify some of the ways that it operates, and sometimes this may require a bit of an adjustment, but these steps are not too onerous and tend to be well supported by employees. For example, switching to recycled paper (for printing) is an obvious item on any company’s to-do list. From a practical perspective, this simply involves swapping one kind of paper for another whenever printer paper is purchased.

The adjustment referenced above is not just related to purchasing a different type of paper. Since the paper is thinner it is sometimes harder for the printer to grab a single sheet at a time and as a result, multiple pages may be passed through. It doesn’t jam the printer, but there may be blank pages within the document that is being printed. If this happens, just reuse those sheets and that way, nothing will be wasted and the benefits associated with using recycled paper will remain intact. 


Unplug Phantom Electricity

February 5, 2008

Did you know that many electronic devices and appliances, such as cell phones, PDAs, computers, printers, faxes, microwaves, dryers, copiers, televisions and more, consume energy even when turned off? While you sleep, when you go away, while in your house and even when you are not, these appliances are using small amounts of electricity and costing you money. This phenomenon is known as phantom electricity. It can actually cost your business or home a significant amount of money each year.

You may ask why a device or appliance that is turned off is actually using electricity. The answer is that when you turn an appliance, cell phone, computer, or monitor to the ‘off’ mode, it doesn’t actually turn completely off. Rather, it goes into a sleep or rest mode. While ‘not on,’ each device or appliance uses small amounts of energy in order to be ready to instantly work when it is switched back to the on mode. 

In order to avoid phantom electricity usage, think about items that are plugged in to an outlet that you do not use frequently. Unplug them after each use. For devices or appliances that are used more regularly, consider plugging them into a power strip which when switched to the ‘off’ mode is actually not consuming electricity. The simple act of unplugging frequently can save you some money at home and work while reducing electricity waste and helping our environment. 


Start a new habit…unplug!


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