Posts Tagged recycling

Football season kicks off in the US this month, and the Big Apple has a brand new green home for its two teams.

2010 is the first season for the New Meadowlands Stadium, the new 82,000-seat home of the Giants and the Jets, in East Rutherford, NJ, just a few miles west of New York City.  The $1.6 billion venue was constructed right next to its now-demolished predecessor, Giants Stadium.  It has twice the square footage, holds more people, and boasts many more amenities than the old stadium.

Its builders say it’s “one of the greenest stadiums in America.” Last year, the EPA signed an agreement with its owners to “incorporate eco-friendly materials and standards into [its] construction and operation.”

But did it apply for LEED certification?  No.

According to Sports Business Journal, the stadium would have been “one or two points shy” of the total needed to be LEED certified because of the glass used to enclose its 200 luxury suites.  The mullions that seal the insulated glass that they could have installed would have obstructed fans’ view of the field, so the stadium’s management chose less-insulated (and less energy-efficient) glass, and elected not to pursue LEED certification because they knew they would have come up short.

Still, there are plenty of features that would have given the New Meadowlands Stadium plenty of LEED points, including:

-The stadium is on a brownfield site in the New Jersey Meadowlands

-It was built with 60,000 tons of recycled steel, including some from old Giants Stadium

-The seats are made of recycled plastic and scrap iron

-A new rail service takes fans to and from the stadium, cutting down on auto traffic

-The men’s rooms have waterless urinals

The stadium has gotten plenty of  positive publicity in the green community, and rightfully so. Its builders went above and beyond to make it as green as possible, despite its lack of LEED certification.  But still, it’s a shame that windows are the obstacle preventing the new crown jewel of America’s favorite sport from really leading the way.

Besides, aren’t you supposed to watch the game outside anyway?

Plastic Bags!

Posted: May 18, 2010 by , Category:recycling, Sustainability

Ok, blog time again. I am going to take this opportunity to follow up from my blog before about plastic bags. I’m sure some of you will want to use one to suffocate me but I need to get it out there ok? Anyway.. so I am an active member of my local green group, The Beacon Hill Green Committee, meeting once a month or so to discuss and brainstorm ways to improve the “greenness” of the neigbourhood. This month, I was put in charge of an investigation into plastic bag policy. Now, lets look at what other countries have done.

Some countries just decide on an outrite ban but that means they need an alternative and paper bags aren’t much better. However, China did this and saved 37million barrels of crude oil per year though — if they can do it, why can’t everyone? (politics) Ireland chose a different approach, introducing a tax on the bags — 33 cents or so per bag (not sure about the number), but it was high enough to deter people from taking them resulting in a 94% decrease in plastic bag consumption. The accumulated tax then subsidised the cost of a pint of Guinness (in an ideal world).

So, to get back to my meeting. I looked into it for Boston, and there was talk about bringing in a ban or a tax but these things take time (politics), so I took it upon myself to do it another way — through education and awareness of the impacts that they can cause. I think my poster does that quite nicely — straight to the point, shocking and truthful…

The New CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme came into force on 1st April

The new Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme began in earnest on the 1st April! The scheme aims to achieve an annual energy reduction of 3.2m tonnes by 2020 and stimulate businesses to make their buildings more energy efficient. It affects around 20,000 organisations — is yours one of them?

Any organisation with a half hourly settled electricity meter needs to do something. It was the requirement for qualifying organisations to start monitoring energy usage from all qualifying sources that started on 1st April 2010.

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And whilst it may be straight forward to gather retrospective data from half hourly sources, this may not always be the case for class 5-8 meters, for example, which are also considered as core sources under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.

Those qualifying for the CRC will also need to register while those under the threshold still need to make an information disclosure. Both actions must be done before 30 September 2010. However, as the process could take up to 4 weeks to complete don’t leave it until the 29th September!

A raft of recent surveys indicates just how confused and unprepared organisations are for its implementation…

A survey by energy consultancy McKinnon and Clarke found that 54 per cent of participants were uncertain whether they come under the scheme, which encompasses all bodies and businesses with half-hourly meters (HHMs) that consumed more than 6,000 MWh of electricity during 2008. Around 5,000 of the UK’s heaviest energy users will need to participate fully, while another 15,000 odd organisations that consumed less will need to make an information disclosure.

In addition, the survey also found that three in five companies had not factored in the financial implications of having to participate fully in the scheme. At the lowest qualifying level, a typical organisation will pay £45,000 a year to advance purchase allowances at a rate of £12 per tonne of carbon dioxide. In addition, they will be placed in a league table, showing their carbon emissions relative to their peers. Companies at the bottom of the table will be penalised, with the money recycled into rewards for the most energy-efficient.

In another survey by the power supplier Npower, nearly half of companies surveyed said official advice about the new legislation had been “inadequate”. About 49 per cent said they did not understand how to buy the necessary carbon allowances and 44 per cent said they do not know how to forecast their carbon emissions.

Mudballs Clean Up

Posted: February 25, 2010 by , Category:Uncategorized

Recently, there is different kind of activities in Malaysia where people start promoting a technology called Effective Micro-organism (EM) technology. This is mainly used to treat greywater, minimise odour in septic tanks, remove sludge from drains and improve recycle water.

Last year, there is an environmental biomediation project & awareness campaign in Penang named “One million apologies to mother earth”. The idea was to organise an event of making one million EM mud ball and throwing them into various heavily polluted rivers in Penang, Malaysia in a single day.

The concept of EM Technology was developed by Japanese horticulturist Dr. Teruo Higa, from the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan. Dr. Higa claims that three groups of micro-organisms exist: ‘positive micro-organisms’ (regeneration), ‘negative micro-organisms’ (decomposition, degeneration) and ‘opportunist micro-organisms’. In every medium (soil, water, air, the human intestine), the ratio of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ microorganisms is critical, since the opportunist microorganisms follow the trend to regeneration or degeneration. Therefore, Dr. Higa believes that it is possible to positively influence the given media by supplementing with positive microorganisms.

Japan had used EM Technology to clean up more than one hundred heavily polluted rivers over the last 20 years. EM is a proven technology in environmental remediation and all the rivers that have been treated with EM in Japan have also managed to resuscitate aquatic life, bringing back all fishes and other water life forms and aquatic plants. The most famous project in Japan is the cleaning up of the Seto Inland Sea.

EM has also been employed in 130 countries in many agricultural applications and also in the production of several health products in South Africa and the USA.

Hope this technology can be promoted more around to help improve the water quality in any polluted rivers or close system ponds in an environmental friendly way.

Here is a video on how to make mud balls.
http://www.youtube.com/user/jcikulim#p/a/u/1/KO_Rv9eJry4

For more information about Effective Microorganisms Technology, here is some extra reading.
http://emproducts.co.uk/downloads/EM.pdf

Calculating your Carbon Footprint

Posted: January 27, 2010 by , Category:Sustainability

If someone asked me what my carbon footprint was 10 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have had any idea what they were talking about. Now, I can find that answer rather quickly on a number of different websites including carbonfootprint.com and the Nature Conservatory’s website. Just by imputing a few estimations about my home energy use, recycling, and transportation choices I am given a number in tons of carbon/year. Most sites will also show you how you compare you to the US national average and the global average and show recommendations on how to lower your green house gas emissions.

While measuring my personal carbon footprint takes a few minutes, how would someone go about measuring the carbon footprint of an entire city like Boston? Calculating this footprint has a great deal more variables including measuring the exhaust of the commuting traffic daily, energy consumption for both commercial and residential and consideration of photosynthesis in the city. Recently Nathan Philips from Boston University received a grant to take on this task. The National Science Foundation and U.S. Forest Service are financing the precursor to this project which will measure carbon footprint around one of Boston’s busiest streets, Commonwealth Ave.

Their calculations will cumulate to create a map of Boston that will display the largest carbon emission spots and uptake zones. Philip’s hope is that policy makers in the city will use this to address the serious problems that the city and other cities worldwide are currently facing.

How can cheese save the world?

Posted: November 17, 2009 by , Category:Sustainability

Any idea? Neither do I. Instead, I would like to blog about quantification because it’s been bothering me. For example, let’s take the Prius. Is it really that good for the environment after you take the batteries into account? The embodied energy..how much energy is required to process, manufacture and transport the batteries? What about the disposal of the batteries? How long do they even last? Does the reduction in emissions from fuel efficiency offset this enough? How do we know? Is keeping an old car that gets 25mpg better than buying a new one that gets 45mpg when you take that embodied energy into account? How long do the batteries last anyway? What about a Lexus hybrid? 6.0L car that comes in hybrid version. Is the hybrid actually worse for the environment?

I read an article saying that driving 2 miles to the store is actually better than walking because the energy required to process, manufacture and transport the food needed to provide the calories for the walk is greater than the emissions from the car. Ummm…what about the energy to extract, process and transport the fuel? What about the energy to manufacture the car? Did the walker get his lunch from the moon??

In the home, is it better to recycle junk mail or switch off your heater and burn the paper to keep you warm? How do you quantify this? What about paper towels vs hand drier vs cotton towels? Which one? Are the paper towels recycled? Is the hand drier hot or cold air? Is the water you use to wash the towels hot or cold, detergent natural or synthetic?

Oh btw, these are not rhetorical. Answers on my desk Monday morning please. Oh and bring me some cheese.

Save some for the fish

Posted: October 21, 2009 by , Category:Sustainability

My parents used to always warn me that it was wasteful and potentially life threatening for creatures of the ocean to leave the water running while brushing my teeth. When I was a child I remember this to be a huge deal and was conscientious to ensure that no extra drop was wasted. A few years later, I realized that this was potentially a stretch of imagination and a fairy tale my mother and father created. Once Global Warming became a household concept, I found myself to start believing the severity of the situation and actual lack of available fresh water.

Even though the globe is mainly covered in water, humans naturally require fresh water to survive. With the world’s population increasing rapidly and the availability of fresh water decreasing just as fast, it is important to think of strategies to increase our supply on both small scales and large. I picked out some

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of my favorites techniques below:

Learn how to fix a leaky toilet — There is something to be said for someone that is able to fix household plumbing issues and by staying on top of this, you can save a great deal of water from being wasted.

Wait till you have a full load – We all have our favourite jeans and are disappointed when they are in the wash, but it’s important to hold off until you have a full load to conserve water.

Grey Water — The home of the New England Patriots and New England Revolution uses grey water supplied by the stadiums own wastewater treatment system. This system recycles over 10 million gallons of portable water a year.

And of course make sure the water is off while you are brushing you teeth!

The Perfect 10:10

Posted: October 9, 2009 by , Category:Building Regulations, Sustainability


As a company, IES is very proud of the fact that it can play a vital role in helping its clients to design buildings that are sustainable, energy-efficient and green. Indeed, it is the cornerstone of what the company aims to achieve, both through its product line and its support for carbon-reduction initiatives such as the 2030 Challenge. However, I often feel that as an individual it can be a little more difficult to see what role we can all play in helping to shape the future of the planet, as it seems like such a vast challenge. We often hear on the news about various government pledges to reduce carbon emissions, but it can easily feel like it is someone else’s problem – the policies introduced by our leaders will somehow be enough to solve the problem of climate change, and that there’s nothing we can really do to help.

I have to put my hand up here and admit that I am as guilty as anyone on this front. We all know about recycling and trying to use public transport more, but even though we know we could (and should) do more, it’s all too easy to simply think that it’s too big a problem and that our own individual actions won’t actually make any difference. But during my time at IES, I’ve come to realise more and more that we all have to take responsibility for what will happen to our climate in future – government policies and initiatives alone will not be sufficient to turn the tide on climate change, so we all need to accept that we have our own part to play.

That’s one of the reasons why I was very interested to hear about the 10:10 challenge, an initiative that has been set up here in the UK by the Guardian newspaper in conjunction with Franny Anderson, director of the climate change documentary, The Age of Stupid. The campaign is hoping to recruit thousands of everyday people to sign-up to a pledge to reduce their own individual carbon footprint by 10% over 2010, by simply making small, simple and achievable changes to the way we live our everyday lives. The campaign site gives lots of information to prove that we all need to take the time to make a difference and explains why the 2010 target is important. We’re all aware of the 2030 and 2050 carbon reduction targets, but the campaign explains that there is a growing belief in the scientific community that our carbon production levels need to peak and start to reduce within the next few years if we’re to have any real hope of our stopping the problem of climate change.

The campaign has already had a lot of positive press and publicity buzz, including various celebrity sign-ups and endorsement from politicians here in the UK. The plan is to continually grow the campaign over the course of the next year, including allowing people to share their own experiences and tips on reducing their carbon footprint. It is this aspect that I like the most – 10:10 is set up to show us that not only do we all need to take responsibility for reducing climate change, but that we can all do it in ways that are both achievable and meaningful. It’s not just about businesses or governments taking action – as responsible citizens, we all have to make changes for the sake of future generations. This can include obvious changes to our lifestyle such as flying less and not keeping electronic devices on standby, but the site also gives lots of other useful ideas for energy saving, along with an approximation of the amount of carbon each action could reduce the footprint by.

Whilst these changes for each of us alone will not be some magical “silver bullet” that means climate change is no longer an issue, I’m hopeful that the campaign will allow individuals to see that they can collectively help to make a difference and that it’s not all someone else’s problem. We can all be very good at talking up our responses to climate change, but ultimately our actions will speak louder.

Find out more about the 10:10 challenge by visiting http://www.1010uk.org and http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/10-10.

After finally making a big decision to move from the west coast to the east coast, I realized how unfriendly moving can be on our environment. So, I have started to do research ways to “relocate responsibly” and limit the negative impact on the environment.

Here are some of the tips that I have found and hopefully this will help others relocating to take into consideration:
- Limit the amount of items that are non-essential to lower the number of trips needed and less packing supplies and waste- Donate items at www.freecycle.org or sell items on craigslist
- Use eco-friendly packing materials
- Use recycled pacing paper instead of newspaper
- Reusable containers
- Recycled material boxes
- Make your own packing peanuts out of popcorn
- Get recycled boxes delivered to your door: UsedCardboardBoxes.com
- Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies
- Reduce the Amount of Junk Mail — tip from “Green Moving Guide“: File a temporary change of address with your post office rather than a permanent one to cut down on junk mail at the new place. The U.S. Postal Service sells lists of permanent address changes to direct marketers, but doesn’t bother doing so with temporary addresses.
- Choose a moving company that uses Biodiesel fuel and follows a green mantra through their moving process
- Use a Green Storage Facility
- If you live in the Long Beach/Orange County area of California, there’s a great new company on the rise called Earth Friendly Moving – a company dedicated to creating greener moves

Construction has a huge contribution to make to everyone’s quality of life and at IES we are all committed to enabling that to be achieved in a more sustainable manner.

Construction outputs alter the nature, function & appearance of the towns & countryside in which we live & work. The construction industry in the UK alone employs 1.5 million people, consisting of approx 8% of GDP. The amount of construction materials used annually is equivalent to 6 tonnes per head of population in the UK. Pollution has major sources in the construction process: waste materials; noise, vehicle emissions, contaminant release into atmosphere, ground & water.

My question is: Are tougher Global Government Regulations Required for the Construction Sector?

It is difficult to comprehend the scale of global construction. Working as I do in the Middle East and having spent most of my career travelling the world does give me some sense of the scale and it seems that everywhere I go there is more and more construction. In developing countries like China and India the rate of construction is staggering as it is across the Middle East. Whole new cities are appearing as these countries and regions become ever wealthier and populations continue to grow at environmentally alarming rates but economically satisfying ones for the local people and national governments. And herein lays the dilemma. As huge regions of the world awake from poverty to new found wealth fuelling construction and consumerism booms our planet continues to be put under unsustainable strain.

Every two weeks I wheel out my ‘blue’ bin with my separated recycled waste and feel good that I am doing my bit, but, according to data issued by the UK Government (DTi), the UK construction sector produces annually 3 times the waste produced by all UK households combined. Waste from construction & demolition materials & soil equals 70Mtonnes annually. 13Mtonnes of this consists of material delivered to sites but never used. 90%+ of non-energy minerals extracted in UK are supplied as materials. Moreover, energy produced from non-renewable sources & consumed in building services accounts for approx 50% of UK CO2 emissions, contributing to climate change, consuming non-renewable resources & adding to pollution. These are the official stats from the DTi.

The situation, of course, is far worse in the developing regions where volumes of construction waste are enormous and there are more often than not no local facilities to recycle construction waste and no regulations to control construction pollution or to ensure that the buildings are being designed and constructed according to international best practice.

In January 2008, Dubai, one of the world’s worst contributors to this problem, passed a law mandating that every new building had to be green. In doing so design, construction, pollution and waste management practises were changed.

Dubai adopted the US LEED rating system. Abu Dhabi is now creating its own rating system — Estidama. Another proprietary rating system is being developed in Qatar and there are a number of other voluntary rating systems in other parts of the world including BREEAM in the UK and Greenstar which is used in Australia, New Zealand and is now being adopted in South Africa.
There are pros and cons to each of these systems. I personally favour LEED because each building is independently assessed by the USGBC, providing additional rigor in the process.

My questions are: Is enough being done? Should the construction sector be further regulated? What regulations are being/have been put in place already? What effect have these had and what more should be done? And, should version 6 of be mandated for every construction project on the planet?

I would love to hear your views?

Steve

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