Filed under: environmental issues, Food for Thought | Tags: 10 to the 100, change the world, google
Do you have an idea that could change the world for the better and truly make a difference? Google thinks with all the information out there that some of us must. They created a whole project dedicated to that assumption called 10 to the 100th. For their 10th anniversary they have committed to invest $10 million dollars in a winning idea(s). The deadline to submit ideas on this one has passed (unfortunately, it was Oct. 20th), but you can still sign up to vote for the winners. Voting starts Jan. 27th. Google will post the top 100 ideas, the public will narrow it down to 20 projects, and then an advisory board will select up to 5 for funding.
The intent of the project is to take advantage of “crowdsourcing”. That’s the Internet-age idea that the collective wisdom of mass audiences can be leveraged to find solutions to design tasks. Interesting thought… maybe one person can’t change the world, but together we all can.
Filed under: environmental issues | Tags: carpooling, environment, gas prices
It’s been crazy over the last few weeks with the news being filled with stories about how gas prices are actually declining. This is a day we all probably thought we’d never see again, but here in KC, gas is down to about $1.63 in some parts. With gas below $60 a barrel, we’re likely to see them drop again. This is now my moment to be like Al Gore when he said he invented the Internet, but I really think that I have helped drive down the price. Now, I know I am not alone in this effort and there are many factors that have led to this point, but sometimes I like to take the credit. I can take this credit because I am an official carpooler! I’m not talking just me and someone in shot gun, but a full car! That’s right everyday I ride to work with 3 of my co-workers. We are four proud everyday!
Not only are we saving gas, but maintence costs on our cars as well. I went from driving approximently 50 miles per day (about a thirty minute commute) to 6 miles a day total. That reduces the number of oil changes and scheduled maintence. We drive to a shopping parking lot everyday and one person is in charge of driving for the week. That’s right I drive to work only one week a month. One of my fellow ‘poolers (that’s what I call them) actually said she almost forgot how to get to work the other day because it felt like it had been so long since she had driven.
Of course there are a few drawbacks and that’s convenience. I do add about twenty minutes on my day driving to the meeting place and then home at the end of the day. Also, it isn’t as easy to leave during the day to run errands or grab lunch, but we plan ahead and pack our lunch more. You might also worry about emergencies and what you would do if you had to leave unexpedidly. In KC there is a free service where once you register, you can call for a free taxi ride if your ride has to leave. How cool is that? Now you have no excuse.
All in all, it’s definetly been worth it to my sanity and my pocket book. The drive goes by quicker on days where traffic is bad and I haven’t listened to annoying morning show DJ’s in months. It does take a bit more planning, but I would recommend it to everyone. We’ve been ‘pooling since June and you won’t find any compliants here. Just because gas is cheaper doesn’t mean we have to use more! My carpool has vowed to stick together even if gas continues to drop. Go ‘poolers!!!
-Alison KC, MO
We’ve all heard “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, but what if you can turn your trash into your own treasure? I was recently introduced to a local startup that’s doing just that. It’s called RecycleBank. Their concept is simple. We’re not all motivated to protect our environment, but we’re pretty much all motivated by money. So, they’ve partnered with many major companies to provide coupons and incentives to you for recycling. They work with the local trash collector to have them pick up your recycling that has a sensor attached to it. The weigh the bin before it goes into the truck and the sensor tells them who to allocate that weight to. The more you recycle, the more points you get, and therefore, the more rewards you get. Each pound equals about 2.5 points. Companies like CVS, Bed Bath & Beyond, Coca Cola, Applebees and many many more have all signed on. It’s not available everywhere just yet. They obviously have to get companies working together in each community, but they’re expanding to new places all the time.
And it’s working! Their CEO said,
“We generally see about a 100 percent increase in recycling in mid- to affluent neighborhoods. In lower-income neighborhoods, it can be up to 1,000 percent, because the recycling rates are so low there.
If you think about solar or wind power or buying a hybrid, they’re very important, but today they’re not something that’s accessible to the average person. I look at recycling as the average thing that every person and household can do.”
I think it’s a great idea and I hope they succeed.
Filed under: business, design, environmental issues, savvy tools | Tags: business cards, FSC, green printer, letterhead, recycled paper, soy inks
We’ve crossed a milestone in our “little” endeavor and it’s about time we have our own business cards! We’ve been meeting a lot of new contacts recently and decided that writing our contact info on the back of reciepts found at the bottom of our purses isn’t the most professional. Little did we know, there are so many choices to choose from in the world of business cards…. one sided, 2 sided, inks, papers, colors, and of course the overall aesthetic of the card.
If you haven’t noticed in our previous posts, we all have what one might call a “greener” conscience. This being said, we’ve decided to go with a company called Greener Printer. This is an eco-friendly online printing company that produces everything recycled from business cards, letterhead, brochures, catalogs, posters, etc. They have 8 different papers to choose from, all of which are 100% recycled or post consumer materials and 4 that are Forrest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. They also have the option of printing with soy or vegetable based inks…. This hardly breaks the surface of the company’s capabilites, environmental impact and green business practices.
I wanted to post the designs we’re leaning toward, but I’m not that computer savvy….hopefully we’ll have something for you to see soon!
Kelsey – Vail, CO
Filed under: environmental issues, fun!, san francisco | Tags: parking day, Rebar, the trust for public land
Do you ever get tired of the city life, the concrete jungle as they say? Long for your own little patch of grass? Well, then find a park, or just make your own. That’s what we did last Friday for Parking Day 2008. It was a great success! It’s amazing how people were drawn to the sight of green… or maybe they just thought it was weird to see a park in the middle of cars on a busy road. Either way, it garnered a lot of attention and all the feedback was positive. Some people even ask us if we could make it permanent. That could be a little difficult (grass doesn’t usually grow well on asphalt), but we can always use more green. You can check out all the mini parks around the world here on Flickr. I also saw Method’s park on my way home and wanted to give them some props as well. There was so much creativity involved in all the parks! I already can’t wait for next year!
our bamboo jungle…
Filed under: environmental issues, san francisco | Tags: park, PARK(ing) Day 2008, parking spot, Rebar, san francisco
At the last minute, I decided to throw together a Parking day group at work. For those of you that don’t know, PARK(ing) Day was started by a San Francisco group called Rebar. They’re a group of artists, designers, and activists and they came up with the idea back in 2005. They picked a specific spot in downtown SF that’s under served by public open space and they set up an “intervention”. They fed the meter and set up a small park. The installation garnered a lot of press and quickly turned into a global movement. Since then, more people have joined the efforts each year in cities around the world. Everyone’s invited to join in and create your own park wherever you see the need. This year’s PARK(ing) Day is on Friday, Sept. 19th. The website has a very helpful manual describing exactly how to set everything up and join in the fun. I’ll upload pictures from our park next week. We’ll be at Folsom & Spear if you feel like joining us!
Filed under: architecture, design, environmental issues | Tags: LEED-H, Margarido house, MdDonald Construction & Development, Medium Plenty, Plumbob Architects, Sally TV
I had the privilege of touring the Margarido Houseon Saturday. It’s Northern California’s first LEED platinum home and the first home in the nation to be both LEED-H certified and GreenPoint Rated. The place is absolutely gorgeous! It’s located in the Oakland hills and has stunning views out over the bay towards San Francisco. I had no problem picturing myself with a glass of wine in the roof top garden watching the sunset over the city.
You can check out a video tour below from Sally TV.
As is to be expected of a LEED platinum home, it has all kinds of sustainable features like:
-Solar panels on the roof providing all heating & hot water, and most of its electricity
-4,000 gallon rainwater cistern that collects all the water on site
-Living roof covered with native grasses and succulents
-Exterior cladding and interior flooring made from Heath Ceramics’ used kiln shelves
-Reflective cool roof
-All LED/ CFL lighting
and much more…
The owner/developer is Mike McDonald with McDonald Construction & Development. He partnered with his brother Tim McDonald from Plumbob architects in Boston and interior designer Ian Read from Medium Plenty. McDonald Construction and Medium Plenty had already partnered on the 24th street house that was featured in Dwell Magazine in their June 2007 issue.
They’ve definitely shown that going green is not a sacrifice. If you ask me, they’re living in the lap of luxury. I’m hoping homes like this will inspire people and we’ll start seeing a lot more green homes around the country!