Thursday, 07 October 2010 17:51 Written by Claire Douglass
One of the largest challenges for environmentalists is monetizing environmental good. What is biodiversity worth? We all know what it costs to buy a pen or a loaf of bread, but what is the cost of the intrinsic value of species diversity, clean air and water and a sustainable future? Economists and the environmental movement have made great strides in the last few decades monetizing global warming emissions, acid rain producing sulfur dioxide and air-dirtying nitrogen oxides. New studies even show that consumers are willing to pay more to support products that are better for the environment and companies that value sustainability. evo, a Seattle-based retailer of ski, snowboard, wakeboard and skateboard gear, has been a proud partner of Carbonfund.org since 2006 and was among the original launch partners for the CarbonFree® Shipping program. evo customers can opt to add a $0.50 donation to their order at checkout to offset the emissions from shipping their order from evo’s warehouse located south of Seattle. After analyzing data from the last 2 years of evo customer orders, customers from all states have participated, but 25 states had over 100 donations which have reduced nearly 1,000 metric tons of carbon emissions. In addition, Carbonfund.org was able to bring these reductions home, supporting projects in states representing nearly 25 % of evo’s CarbonFree Shipping customers. These projects include: • Truck Stop Electrification • Gas-to-Energy projects • Renewable energy from wind What else can we learn from these numbers? Unsurprisingly, consumers from states with strong environmental protection policies and high levels of education are more likely to support evo and Carbonfund.org’s program. For example Vermont is 2.6 times more likely to neutralize their shipment’s carbon footprint than someone from Michigan. People aware of the value of environmental sustainability are taking action and people that are just learning are starting to. Participation in the program typically rises (as much as doubling) around Earth Day when we run matching promotions. Going green is increasingly becoming the norm and here at Carbonfund.org we hear stories everyday from our partners that support this trend. Top 5 States (highest participation rate) • Vermont 8.89% • Colorado 7.44% • Washington 6.92% • Nevada 6.65% • New Hampshire 6.48% Bottom 5 States (lowest participation rates) • Michigan 3.37% • Wisconsin 3.42% • Ohio 3.5% • Texas 3.59% • Pennsylvania 3.95% evo has been a long-standing partner with Carbonfund.org and is committed to maintaining a healthy natural environment because the sports they love depend on it! While the ski, snowboard and wakeboard industries are far from perfect, a growing number of brands that evo carries are produced with the environment in mind. Some of the industry leaders in this regard include Patagonia, Arbor Snowboards, Lib Tech Snowboards, Gnu Snowboards, Surface Skis, and Liberty Skis.
Thursday, 07 October 2010 12:00 Written by Alterra Hetzel
Maryland's Bethesda Green public-private partnership for sustainable growth and Bethesda Magazine will be honoring the region’s green leaders at the Bethesda Green Gala Thursday evening at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. Carbonfund.org is making the Gala a CarbonFree® Event, balancing the event's footprint in support of third-party validated carbon reduction projects that are fighting climate change today. The evening, emceed by former Washington Post columnist Bob Levey, will feature the 2010 Bethesda Magazine Green Award Winners, a seasonal menu with fare from local purveyors, and local/organic beer and wine from Honest Tea. In addition, the gala will hold an auction including local and sustainable trips, gifts and services, including a local commuting offset from Carbonfund.org. Learn more by visiting www.bethesdagreen.org. If you're a business or organization in Montgomery County, Maryland, you can become a Montgomery County Certified Green Business like Carbonfund.org. Visit www.mcgreenbiz.org.
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 18:40 Written by Lesley Carlson
Today had a wonderful start for me–and for my daughters, scores of their schoolmates and parents, teachers and administrators. School communities of over 3,200 schools participated in International Walk to School Day. On this beautiful fall day in Silver Spring, Maryland, my daughters and I met their bus mates at our usual bus stop and walked along our bus route, making "stops" to gather more walkers along the way. While I wrote that we "walked," the kids were so excited that they ran much of the time. In the way we were adding more and more numbers to our walking bus, it felt like a mini rally for health and clean transport. International Walk to School Day is promoted in the United States by www.walktoschool.org to encourage kids and parents to find safe ways to get out of their cars and walk. Their press release highlights the benefits to kids' health, but the event also shows kids and parents how easy and fun it is to walk to get where you need to go. I heard several parents comment on how much they really enjoy walking. In the neighborhood around our school there are very narrow streets with no sidewalks, so walking can be difficult, but with all the parent chaperones, it was a safe and fun experience. Fortunately, in our neighborhood, walking for pleasure is still a pastime for many families, but it is great to be reminded of the simple pleasure of getting out of your car and walking. It is relaxing, fun and community-building, and when you're walking, you're lowering your carbon footprint by not doing other energy-consuming activities. So, get out and walk, and lose a few of those unwanted pounds of weight and of carbon. You will help yourself and your environment. Hats off to the Highland View Elementary School walkers and to organizers of Walk to School Day at Highland View and throughout the world. Thanks for the reminder to take care of our bodies and our climate. Lesley Carlson is co-founder of Carbonfund.org.
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 18:03 Written by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo
Motorola, Verizon Wireless and Carbonfund.org have announced the Motorola CITRUS™, a sustainably designed and feature-packed smartphone. Designed on the popular Android operating system, Motorola CITRUS is an affordable, entry-level smartphone with a compact design that is also good to the earth. The phone is CarbonFree® Certified through Carbonfund.org's rigorous certification program which involves a product life-cycle assessment. The phone's housing is made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic and is PVC and BFR free. The packaging is made from 80 percent post-consumer recycled paper and the user manual is made using 100 percent recycled paper and soy-based ink. Motorola then balanced the CO2 emissions required to manufacture, distribute and operate the phone to achieve certification by supporting third-party validated renewable energy and reforestation projects. Geared to new smartphone users, CITRUS™ lets users make a lasting impression through a well-designed smartphone, while leaving a smaller footprint on our environment. CITRUS comes preloaded with Bing Search and Bing Maps and delivers a PC-like Web browsing experience with quick access to Web apps and services such as Facebook, Gmail, Google Talk and YouTube. The touch panel located on the back of the smartphone enables users to navigate and scroll through websites, home screens, e-mails, music and more without obstructing the display. Learn more about Carbonfund.org's certification program and Motorola's other certified products by clicking here.
Formerly ubiquitous poster displays across the country are starting to disappear. Fading, vandalism, the need to constantly update displays and wasted paper are fueling the rise of digital signage across the country. Large venue spaces, retail stores and even hospitals are changing out their advertisements, news updates and donor recognition displays for energy-efficient digital signage. So is this an environmentally-friendly development? Eirik Frimann-Dahl of Norvision LLC says yes. Each of his displays dramatically cuts paper usage and the need to constantly design, print and manually update signage. Eirik says he can update a sign from halfway around the world with a click of a button. They are also equipped with carbon monitoring modules in each display to track energy usage and carbon emissions – which is great since they’re among the lowest power consuming displays on the market. As electronic waste has a large and growing international environmental footprint, all of Norvision’s displays are made to be easily recyclable. Norvision has installed their high tech displays in a variety of venues and retail locations, including at the Phoenix Suns, Fry’s Electronics, Kroger and many hospitals. Many have found that the signs not only decrease their waste disposal but also increase notice and sales. If you find yourself constantly changing posters or signs, check out Norvision to see if a digital sign is right for your business.
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 12:49 Written by Ivan Chan
The White House announced today that it will soon have solar panels and a solar hot water heater. The installations will be part of a Department of Energy solar energy demonstration project. “President Obama has said the Federal Government has to lead by example in creating opportunity and jobs in clean energy,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “By installing solar panels on arguably the most famous house in the country, his residence, the President is underscoring that commitment to lead and the promise and importance of renewable energy in the United States.” Solar power has had an on-off relationship with presidents. President Carter's 1979 solar installation at the White House was removed by President Reagan in 1986. Then, the first President Bush put in place a system to provide electricity to a maintenance building and heat the pool. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, “This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home. Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.” Today's announcement is part of the administration's stated commitment to clean energy investment, jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose department has not lifted a ban yet on deep-water drilling, is expected to announce approval of two large solar collection systems in the California desert and further plans for offshore wind power in the Atlantic. Learn more about reducing your own carbon emissions and support renewable energy projects here.
With fall here, the days of 8:00 p.m. sunlight are over. These extra hours of darkness in the evening are responsible by some estimates for the equivalent of billions of gallons of fuel used to light our homes, offices and shops. So how can we keep our energy usage low and reduce our carbon footprint? Our partner Exterior Solar Lights has some suggestions. Their well-stocked shop of green, solar lights can help you slash your electricity bills throughout fall and winter and make use of the available daylight. Their solar lights require no electricity and can last up to 20 years thanks to LED bulbs and modern solar panels. From stainless steel solar garden lights to designer solar lamp posts, Exterior Solar Lights has the products you can use to enjoy the outdoors during the wintertime while cutting your energy usage and carbon footprint. As a benefit to the Carbonfund.org community, Exterior Solar Lights is offering 10 percent off your next purchase of $150 (plus shipping is free). Use promo code ThankYou10. How else are you cutting your carbon footprint as the seasons change? Add your suggestions in the comments below.
Monday, 04 October 2010 16:45 Written by Greg Taylor
Transportation Management Services, one of the leading transportation experts, excels in business by excelling in sustainability. Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, TMS has again proven its model of measuring success by its environmental as well as bottom line performance. In February, the Maryland-based company earned accolades for successful execution of transportation plans for this year’s NBA All-Star game in Dallas, TX. Despite record low temperatures, even snow and large crowds, TMS maintained its high level of punctual service for the event. On Earth Day, TMS built upon its successful green roof planting last year by adding a vegetable garden to its Maryland headquarters. The company even planted seedlings for its employees to take home and start their own gardens. By encouraging behavioral change among their employees and clients, TMS maximizes its emissions reductions. On the road, TMS monitors vehicle conditions to ensure tires are inflated, idling is minimized and fuel caps are fitted properly. TMS also operates one of the most advanced fleets in the world, using ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel whenever possible. In the office, TMS requires all of its offices to recycle all paper, use recycled office materials, install energy efficient equipment and reduce energy usage. TMS is part of a growing trend where transportation companies are developing and implementing sustainability initiatives to address their environmental impact and differentiate their offerings. Carbonfund.org is working with leading travel and transportation partners, large and small, to help achieve their sustainability goals. Also, TMS has been awarded the 2010 EcoLeadership Award by The Alliance for Workplace Excellence. This honor is bestowed upon leading companies in the Washington, D.C. area that maintain sustainable workplaces. TMS also makes a priority of serving green companies, including the US Green Building Council, Solar Power International and the American Wind Energy Association. By continuing to lead the transportation industry in a sustainable direction, TMS is able to do well by doing good.