How would you define your level of sustainability? Do you think you do your part to make the world a better place? Are you trying to leave it in better condition than you found it? Ask yourself these questions, and see if there are improvements you can make, or if you’re already doing more than you first thought.
What Do I Use to Carry My Groceries?
Single-use plastic bags are slowly being phased out throughout the world, but not quite everywhere. What do you use to carry your groceries? Have you invested in material or cloth bags that you can use over and over again? Or, are you still relying on supermarkets and stores to provide you with packaging? If it’s the latter, consider investing in your own bags for future shopping trips.
Do I Recycle?
We live in a country that actively encourages recycling, so do you partake? Do you separate your paper, plastic, glass, metals, and waste? Do you make a special effort to make sure all trash and recyclables leave your property in the correct bins? And, if you don’t have a recycling service to your home, do you go out of your way to deliver your recyclables to a centre?
A considerable number of products you use every day can be used again, so think of this every time you throw your plastic or glass in your waste bin.
Sustainable landscaping is becoming an increasingly popular trend throughout Australia and the world. A lot of landscape designs in Australia according Clear Az Glass include swimming pools and some sort of pool fencing, which means that you need to consider your fencing options carefully.
Although there are a variety of different fencing options out there for your pool fence, glass pool fencing is popular as one of most sustainable choices. Glass is an environmentally friendly alternative to things like plastic or cheap metal fencing, and here’s 5 reasons why you should include it in your landscape design plan:
Glass Is An Environmentally Friendly Choice
When it comes to pool fences, glass is one of the most sustainable building materials that you can use. It is relatively simple and energy efficient to make, and its core components can be sourced easily through relatively non-destructive mining practices.
Glass also has a very long lifespan, which means that your pool fence will need to be fixed or replaced much less often. Glass is often the best pool design for fences, when your glass pool fence does eventually need to be replaced, the old panels and metal fixings can simply be recycled.
Studies have proven that children of all ages are far less likely to suffer from myopia when they play outside for 3-4 hours a day. This might seem like a lot, but you can count at least one hour of a school day; recess and lunch, and then there is sports. With some outdoor furniture to relax in, you can be comfortable while watching over your children.
No parent wants their child to develop any disease or ‘defect’, especially if it can be prevented. The trouble is that most people just don’t realise how many things could easily and simply be prevented by taking the simplest of actions. For instance, many children develop myopia or nearsightedness when they need not, with the result they have to wear glasses for the rest of their lives.
This is not only costly, but can decrease their self confidence and even prevent them from playing certain sports. Yet it is easily preventable. How?
Modern kitchen design by someone like colray cabinets has certainly come a long way, and in just a relatively short time. You probably still think of terms like “going green” and “eco-friendly” as mere buzzwords that companies use to try and appear progressive and caring of the environment. But sustainable design and building practice is much more than just some fad. It’s a way to allow people to take care with how they impact the planet, while choosing building designs that are holistic and better for everyone.
Planning Your Design
A lot of people don’t like to think about environmentally friendly design because they think it’s too hard or expensive. All it requires is some careful forethought, but that goes for any building or design project that you want to turn out well. One of the biggest keys to working sustainably is doing things to right way the first time. If you choose to install an eco-friendly kitchen design that you can’t live with, ripping everything out and starting again will defeat the purpose of trying to go green in the first place.
Even the most experienced eco-friendly home owner might come to a dead end when they need to move to a new home. Home removals are said to be one of the most stressful and exhausting things that the average person does. You can help yourself by checking past reviews carefully and choosing a highly rated removalist like Brilliance Removalists Perth, but first you need to consider whether you are going to hire professionals to move your belongings, or if you will just do it yourself.
Figuring out which of these options is better for the environment, and for your wallet, can be a chore in itself. And that’s before you’ve even started to organize things. Take a look at these pros and cons when you’re thinking about easy and eco-friendly home removals.
Moving Yourself: Pros
You call the shots. This is a big factor for many people, but you shouldn’t let it be the only deciding factor. If you don’t want people you don’t know going through your things and being trusted not to damage anything, professional movers might not be the best option.
If you were to ask Brilliance Removalists Melbourne you would learn that plenty of people are embracing a more green way of living, but get stuck when it’s time to home furniture removals. This is not something that your average person thinks about much, until it comes time for them to move home themselves. Yes, it is absolutely possible to stay eco-friendly when you are moving.
Think about all the waste that quickly adds up when you move from one home to another:
Gas for vehicles
Packing foam and peanuts
Plastic from all sorts of products
Mountains of cardboard boxes
And the list goes on
And there are things that will no doubt end up in landfill in the near future. Is that how you want to mark the milestone of moving into your new home?
You might want a lovely garden to enjoy when you’re relaxing at home. But does the idea of ruining the environment just so that you can have a little piece of nature on your property, worry you? It doesn’t have to! There are plenty of modern, smart, and even affordable green landscaping ideas for you to consider. Helping to save Mother Earth can literally start with landscape design right in your own backyard if you do it the responsible way.
Less Lawn Is Greener?
While you might have less actual green in your yard, in terms of lawn coverage, going without as much grass is really the greener option. Even removing turf that’s already in your yard can save a lot of water and cash. If you hate the idea of having a yard that’s completely void of any grass, consider simply reducing the amount that you have. Replace it with some eco-friendly plants instead, or a walking area that’s sustainable.
Consider Artificial Grass
Okay, you’re probably reeling in horror at the suggestion that synthetic turf could possibly be in line with a go-green attitude. But think about it for a minute; the average landscape that’s covered with grass uses an insane amount of water and other resources to keep in lush and green. There’s also the cost of maintenance, including using lawnmowers than run off petrol most of the time. Your own green oasis is far more resource intense than even a natural landscape. If you want to reduce your overall costs and your imprint on the planet, it absolutely makes sense to use synthetic turf and or products such as stone or rocks in your yard. Some areas even offer rebates to homeowners who are willing to do this.
If you’ve been trying to reduce your impact on Mother Earth, you might be caught in a conundrum when it comes time to move house. Home removals can be extremely wasteful, and people often don’t realize there are lots of greener ways to go through the process.
No More Cardboard Boxes
According to Brilliance Removalists Brisbane, if you know that house removals use up to 50 or more cardboard boxes on average? That equates to one large tree, and all just to move your things from one location to the next. What happens to all that cardboard after it’s been used one time? It is sometimes recycled, which is good but still uses a considerable amount of resources. Otherwise, the boxes are just throw away and add to the already high pollution of the planet. Instead of using cardboard boxes to move home, why not think about a more eco-friendly option?
Getting some used cardboard boxes is a good way to do things. However, the boxes are going to need to be junked eventually. They can only be re-used a certain number of times before the material becomes too damaged. It’s better to start with something more environmentally friendly right from the start, and discourage the use of cardboard boxes completely.
Swimming pools are one of the most sought after additions to a home, but can they actually be eco-friendly? If the summer is getting to you, making everyone in your household hot and uncomfortable, it’s hard to resist the urge to install your own pool. But it’s not hard to imagine how a swimming pool in every backyard would quickly become a catastrophe for the environment.
That cooling, calming water that so delicately washes away stress and boredom comes with some nasty secrets. The typical swimming is kept clean using chlorine. This is meant to keep swimmers safe by killing germs and preventing a buildup of other hazardous denizens from forming in the water.
Chlorine is not only an irritant to human skin and eyes, but it can be harmful to respiratory function. Kids who regularly go in swimming pools that are treated with chlorine, have a higher chance of developing asthma or allergies. In adults, being exposed to chlorine can possibly lead to rectal cancer, bladder cancer, and perhaps even a higher chance of heart disease.
Vandals seem to be drawn to a building site like bees to honey, but they are much more destructive. If there is no security fencing, they can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage and may injure themselves into the bargain. While the building company usually uses some kind of secure fencing, if the site is going to be fenced eventually, why not do it right away?
A large site has plenty of room for all the equipment that is needed, so they shouldn’t need all four sides of the property for access. Commercial fencing can be erected all around three sides and the fourth left for later. This will save time in getting it completed once the building crew has finished.
Georgetown is a beautiful, historic DC neighborhood that isn’t generally considered the leader of the pack on green initiatives. But, we found that there’s more going on than meets the eye. Restaurants, real estate agencies, churches, clothing shops, and nonprofits are all working to reduce their impact on the environment. Here are just a few of the neighborhood’s burgeoning environmental initiatives.
Restaurants, Real Estate & Design Firms Lead the Way
Many Georgetown businesses are reducing their environmental footprint by switching to wind power. Along with some other pretty cool initiatives, they’re leading the way for green businesses in the area.
If trying new food is your thing, go for lunch to Sweetgreen. The first location of the franchise, Sweetgreen in Georgetown has mind-blowingly delicious salads with locally sourced ingredients. They’re annual music and food festival, sweetlife, is coming up in May. For the seafood lover, check out Blacksalt Fish Market & Restaurant: they both sell and serve up fresh, sustainable seafood and often grace the various “Best of DC” restaurant lists.
2013 was a landmark year in the movement for building better business. From passing B Corporation legislation in new states to adding almost 300 new Certified B Corporations to the community, the B Corporation movement is growing and thriving in the US and abroad. With the launch of the B the Change campaign, it’s a perfect time to remember what being a B Corp is all about.
What is a B Corp?
Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. Certified B Corporations are leading a global movement to redefine success in business.
By voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, Certified B Corps are distinguishing themselves in a cluttered marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.
In honor of Rev. Martin Luther King Day, let’s recognize a few wind powered nonprofits that help better the community each day. Be it through planting trees, teaching math, coaching soccer, or providing housing, these organizations embody MLK’s call for service to others and to the community.
Environmental Conservation: Trees, Parks, & Water
DC’s Casey Trees works to protect the local tree canopy through planting programs, education, advocacy on the policy level, and community engagement. You can plant with them beginning in March.
Washington Parks & People initiates city-wide green initiatives, including public health programs, green job training, park safety, and community cultivation. They have an EPA grant for Urban Gardens.
Maryland State Game and Fish Protective Association promotes natural resource conservation and good sportsmanship among hunters and fishers through advocacy efforts and various community events.
Are you looking for a way to make an impact in 2014? Here’s your chance: help your friends reduce their carbon footprint by nearly 40 percent and earn a $25 gift card to help you to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions!
We think 2014 can be a great year, and so we’re helping you and your friends reach your goals. In 2013, energy related carbon emissions rose. Help your friends leave dirty power behind and switch to clean energy. Together, we can increase demand for renewable resources and build a cleaner future.
We know helping the environment is all the incentive you and your friends need, but we’re hooking both you and your friends up with $25 to one of these awesome wind powered businesses when they switch to Clean Currents! Grab $25 to Sweetgreen, Hudson Trail Outfitters, or Bambeco to kick start your personal 2014 resolutions. Oh, and for each additional friend that joins Clean Currents by the end of February, we will enter you for a chance to win an additional $250 gift card to that business. Yeah, we’re just awesome like that.
We are writing to inform you, with deep regret, that the recent extreme weather, which sent the wholesale electricity market into unchartered territories, has fatally compromised our ability to continue to serve customers.
We are extremely saddened to share this news with you.
What does this mean for you?
All Clean Currents customers will be returned to their utility service, effective immediately. You should see this change in service on your next bill, or the bill after that, dependent on your meter read cycle. If you so choose, you are able to switch to another third party electricity supplier, effective immediately. Clean Currents waives any advanced notice requirement or early termination fee provisions in our contracts. (more…)
Skip the lines and crowds this Black Friday and instead join the Small Business Saturday movement. Started in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to visit brick and mortar small businesses for their holiday shopping rather than big box stores.
Small Business Saturday shifts your purchasing power to small mom and pop stores and in the process builds a stronger local community. According to American Express, consumers spent an estimated $5.5 billion as part of last year’s day.
Why is Small Business Saturday important? According to Think Local First DC, out of every $100 spent at a locally owned and operated business, about $68 stays in the local economy. As compared to $43 of every $100 spent at a nationally owned retailer. Building a strong local business community is critical to both job growth and the overall economic health of the areas in which we live and play. Learn more about supporting local businesses throughout the year at Think Local First DC. (more…)
This fall, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) and Clean Currents are urging the D.C. City Council to clean up the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and to promote the cleanest sources of energy — wind and solar.
Thirty states in the US have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). The RPS mandates that utilities purchase a certain percentage of renewable energy, generally ranging from 1% – 20% of their fuel mix. These standards help bring more clean energy online and establish a more secure market for clean energy development.
Currently, the DC RPS classifies old, high-emission black liquor and inefficient wood waste under their Tier 1 renewable energy standard. Therefore, these old, dirty sources of power are attributed to the RPS. Several Mid-Atlantic States, including Delaware and New Jersey, already get over 70% of their renewable energy portfolios from wind and solar power. However, the opposite is true for DC. For the past seven years, black liquor and wood waste made up 68% of DC’s RPS. Only 12% came from wind and solar power. (more…)
Energize communities for a clean energy future by enabling individuals and businesses to make responsible choices that protect their bottom line while reducing their environmental impact.
Our Core Principles:
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Engage at the Community Level –
We are deeply involved with our customers, working in neighborhoods and in other local groups where we do business to promote a more sustainable lifestyle and build strong green-minded communities. We want to be an energy supplier that offers not only green energy but also a customer experience unmatched by other companies.
Profit but with a Purpose of Selling Exclusively Green –
Unlike other companies that make most of their money by selling polluting power, we only focus on green power. (more…)
In Annapolis you’ll find a bed & breakfast that combines 100 years of history with modern sustainability; and owner and proprietor Cory Bonney wouldn’t have it any other way. As a life long nature lover and photographer, Cory wanted the inn he purchased in 2000 to reflect his values as well.
Before its official opening as a B&B in 2002, there were a number of updates, upgrades, and expansions to make on the property. The building was previously a corner grocery store and home based business built at the turn of the 20th century. At the turn of the 21st century Cory began updating it for another type of home based business.
As part of the upgrades, Cory installed highly insulated windows and repurposed concrete siding and side boards to reduce the need for excessive heating or cooling of the house. The aluminum roof was coated with 20-year paint, a more durable, long term option. Cory took advantage of the strides forward in energy efficient household appliances, including replacing all the old inefficient incandescent light bulbs, using 5 zoned programmable thermostats for the air conditioning, and modern high efficiency washer and dryer units. (more…)
Over the past several months, Clean Currents has hosted Lots of Power — an initiative bringing together students and professional designers and architects to develop innovative concepts for specific vacant lots in Kensington. Two winning projects were recently chosen and profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer. This fall, they will come to life — transforming two lots from vacant to vibrant.
Below Gary Skulnik, Clean Currents President, reflects on Kensington and the Lots of Power program.
First the factories closed down, and the families of those workers moved out along with the jobs. Kensington is no longer the thriving Philadelphia neighborhood it once was. However, like the first shoots of a new tree sprouting in a forest devastated by wildfire, hope is returning slowly, but strong and determined. Clean Currents’ Lots of Power program is a small contribution to the momentum of a community set in motion. We hope it will add sparks to a new wave of life and positive change in this community while preserving the character and the nature of the place its current residents call home. (more…)
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Ben Fiske, the General Manager for Bedrock Billiards in Adams Morgan, to write a blog post about their impressive reduction in energy usage. After hearing about their upgrades and some of the rebate programs they used, I did some research on the DC Sustainable Energy Utility website. After finding the links I needed about their commercial rebates, I found myself poking around the “residential” section.
At the time, I was about to move into a new house so I was curious what I could do to improve my new place’s energy efficiency and lower my electric bill. Although as a renter I’m not likely to make a large purchase for my house like a new refrigerator or washing machine, I did pass on the information to my landlord so that if he was thinking of upgrading anything soon, he’d be able to save money (and hopefully keep my rent low).
The one place I could immediately make an impact was by replacing the lighting in the house. Lighting accounts for about 20% of electricity use for the year. I wanted to get LED bulbs because of their great light, instant-on feature, low energy use, and long life, but since they are a relatively new technology, I was worried they would be very expensive. (more…)
This month we feature Clean Currents solar thermal customers the Baremore family of Silver Spring, MD. They decided to install a solar thermal system on their home about a year ago. Now they share their experience with us.
What is something, beyond being a Clean Currents solar thermal customer, that you do in an effort to live a greener life?
We’re always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact. Some of the things we do include:
Ride bikes, walk or take mass transit instead of driving
Drive a hybrid car and carpool whenever possible
Sign up for Clean Currents wind power!
Turn the thermostat up a couple of degrees in the summer to reduce cooling and down a couple of degrees in the winter to reduce heating
Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of visiting a wind farm with colleagues from Clean Currents. We visited Highland North Wind Farm in Cambria County, PA and boy was it cool! At Clean Currents, we sell two products. National Wind and Neighborhood Wind. All of our Neighborhood Wind comes from Highland North Wind Farm.
Our visit started at the farm’s headquarters where Brad, the site manager, gave us a rundown of his day-to-day overseeing the turbines and keeping things running smoothly. He’s armed with high-tech software that lets him adjust the turbines in real time and a team of engineers ready for dispatch at a moment’s notice. He even has an app on his phone that lets him shut off a turbine on the fly.
After we got a peek into a day in the life of Brad, we hopped in our cars and drove into the heart of the farm. Highland North has 30 wind turbines (not wind mills, as Brad pointed out — those grind flour) and these 30 turbines have blades that are over 300 feet in diameter (almost as long a football field). Together, these 30 turbines produce enough electricity to power approximately 18,000 homes each year.
As we all know, the government is currently shutdown. But, once those 700,000 federal employees are back to their regular grind, things will pick up right where they left off (well, we hope). So, we’re digging into the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants.
On September 20th, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed carbon-pollution standards for future coal and natural gas power plants. This was the EPA’s first step in moving forward on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan announced this past June. Currently, about one third of all greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S. comes from electricity generation at power plants.
When presenting the EPA’s proposal, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy commented “Climate Change is one of the most significant public health challenges of our time. By taking commonsense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children.” (more…)
McCabe’s Restaurant in Hampden is taking on sustainable dining one dish at a time. After reading a review on Yelp which described McCabe’s as having “…soul of a West Village gastropub”, we had to learn more. We sat down with Cora Flynn, General Manager to discover all the different ways this Hampden gem is embracing sustainable dining.
CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean, renewable wind energy?
CF: We feel it is important to support clean, renewable wind energy because we are invested in the future for our children and would like them to live in an environment that is healthy and viable. Choosing a sustainable resource is just one way in which we feel we are reducing our impact globally and locally.
CC: Why did you pick Clean Currents?
CF: We chose Clean Currents because it is community oriented, an environmentally responsible choice and it was surprisingly affordable. (more…)
Teams made up of teens and design professionals from throughout the Philadelphia region
Two winners have been chosen in “Lots of Power,” an initiative sponsored by wind power company Clean Currents focused on one of Philadelphia’s greatest problems, vacant lots. Over a six-week period, five teams of high-school age students and professional designers and architects have developed innovative concepts for specific vacant lots in Kensington. The two winning concepts–one chosen by a panel of jurors, and another by the public, via social media–will receive a grant provided by Clean Currents to be implemented.
“Lots of Power came directly from conversations that we had with Philadelphia residents, many of whom named vacant land as one of the largest problems in their communities,” said Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents. “We had five outstanding concepts submitted, and we are confident that the winning concepts will help transform their neighborhoods in a way that benefits everyone.”
Three years ago today, Mark Mebus and Ryan Moylan opened Blackbird Pizzeria, a (that’s right you guessed it) 100% vegan restaurant specializing in pizza that dabbles in sandwiches, salads, and wings (okay, maybe you did not guess the vegan part). More than just a niche market endeavor, Mark and Ryan set out to create an extension of themselves as individuals.
Blackbird Pizzeria began to manifest itself about 15 years ago when Mark made the decision to become vegan. He also attended the Natural Gourmet School in New York and has worked in two vegan restaurants over the last decade. His partner, Ryan Moylan, a graphic designer educated at the School of Visual Arts in New York is also vegan–so there was really no question in their mind that their restaurant would be vegan.
There was also no question of whether or not Blackbird would run on clean, renewable energy. With a commitment to sustainability, and a little peer pressure from their circle of friends, Mark and Ryan now run Blackbird on 100% wind power. In addition, the restaurant sources from local farms, uses compostable packaging, turns used fry oil into biodiesel, and recycles and composts when possible. “We feel as though everyone should be considering the environment”, Mark explains. (more…)
The Alpert Family Aleph Bet Jewish Day School has some really fantastic sustainability initiatives on campus! Head of School Nan Jarashow spoke with us, familiarizing us with this impressive new member of the Clean Currents family.
Aleph Bet is a tight-knit community, educating fewer than 40 elementary students. In 2011, they moved into a new facility, and sustainability started taking precedence. They immediately strove for Maryland Green School certification, which they achieved in 2012. This program assesses factors such as facility construction and operations, curriculum, and school practices.
Aleph Bet dove head first into involving the young student body, getting them excited for clean practices and sustainability. The school focuses on waste, educating students to separate everything between trash, recycling, and compost. Nan told us of a particularly feisty first grade girl who is now “the recycling police” and heartily reprimands anyone who even considers incorrectly disposing of something! (more…)