You've heard the term energy independence associated with getting the nation to produce more clean, renewable energy. A family in Washington, D.C. is trying to become energy independent on their own, installing 52 solar panels at their home with Astrum Solar to generate over 13,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. The solar power will provide between 75-85 percent of the home's electricity use. The home solar panel system is the largest in the nation's capital. The homeowners, Shelley Cohen and Mike Gala, used available federal and municipal incentives in D.C. and ended up paying about 10 percent of the $60,000 cost for the system. As it will cover most of their home's energy needs, the couple anticipates the system will pay itself back in a couple of years. “Our family is committed to living a green urban lifestyle and to reducing our carbon footprint by making our home energy efficient, using renewable energy, and reducing consumptive behavior,” said Cohen. “Our project benefited from a partnership with the D.C. government, and we encourage others in the District to take advantage of the incentives being offered for renewable energy project development in the city.” Cohen and Gala have used their background in architecture and environmental project development to make their urban dwellings greener since they married in 2001. Steve Thomas from the TV show Renovation Nation helped the couple with their renovation, which included a concrete countertop made of recycled glass and planting trees in the backyard to add natural shade. The couple wants their home to ultimately be carbon neutral. Learn about everyday ways that you can reduce, offset your carbon footprint by visiting www.carbonfund.org. Also, you can learn more and check out photos from the couple's home renovation effort here. Photo Credits: Washington City Paper and Planet Green/Renovation Nation
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 09:19

Meet the New Green Activists: Investors

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Shareholders care about climate change and energy; in fact, they’re demanding action from the companies they invest in. How do we know this?

According to ClimateBiz of Greener World Media, the number of shareholder resolutions filed with public companies in 2010 has grown from 2009. Eighty-eight US and Canadian companies received a combined 101 shareholder resolutions relating to climate and energy, a 48.5 percent increase.

Investors are demanding more disclosure and action on risks related to climate change and energy. Of the 101 resolutions filed this proxy season, 51 have been withdrawn by investors after their demands were met with action or commitments. Resolutions are generally withdrawn when a company satisfactorily takes steps to address shareholder demands.

The environment is a top-of-mind concern for consumers. Shareholders increasingly are taking note of corporate sustainability initiatives as well. Learn about how your company can take action on climate change by visiting www.carbonfund.org/business. You can read the full ClimateBiz article here.

[caption id="attachment_4862" align="alignright" width="232" caption="sampling of travel planning options at Tripbase"][/caption] Called the "Match.com of travel planning" by the LA Times, Tripbase is a unique travel site that lets you select or input what interests you in taking a trip, and the site will generate suggested destinations and itineraries. Tripbase can base its recommendations from a pool of over 22 million traveler reviews, including nature trips such as national parks in the US or abroad. A Carbonfund.org partner, Tripbase has also taken initiative to reduce its business climate impact by using more energy-efficient office equipment and environmentally-friendly purchasing, as well as other practical solutions such as keeping windows shutters closed when possible to keep energy use for cooling low. Tripbase also offsets its business carbon footprint in support of Carbonfund.org's innovative carbon reduction projects. Tripbase recently launched free downloads of its Travel Secrets eBooks, featuring many popular travel bloggers including Peter Greenberg, who has appeared on CBS, in Forbes and blogs regularly. For each ebook downloaded, Tripbase is making donations to help supply clean water in developing countries. You can download your free ebook here or by checking out www.tripbase.com.
Many East Coasters have felt some of the hottest temperatures on record for this time of the year. Washington hit 102 degrees on Weds. Jul. 7, breaking the 99-degree record for the day set in 1991. Unfortunately—results of a study that surprised even climate scientists show that long heat waves could be common in the US within the next 30 years from global warming. The Stanford University study's lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh, noted,
In the next 30 years, we could see an increase in heat waves like the one now occurring in the eastern United States or the kind that swept across Europe in 2003 that caused tens of thousands of fatalities... Those kinds of severe heat events also put enormous stress on major crops, like corn, soybean, cotton and wine grapes, causing a significant reduction in yields.
[caption id="attachment_4855" align="alignright" width="300" caption="NASA graphic on temperature deviations the past decade (click to enlarge)"][/caption] The study follows an analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies showing that the last decade, from January 2000 to December 2009, was the warmest on record. The Stanford-led study reveals that intense heat waves, equal to the longest on record from 1951-1999, are likely to occur as many as five times between 2020-2029 over parts of the US. A dramatic spike in extreme temperatures is also expected during the current decade over much of the US. The 2020's and 2030's could see even more extreme temperatures, particularly in the West. From 2030-2039, most places in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico could experience at least seven seasons as hot as those ever recorded between 1951 and 1999. "Frankly, I was expecting that we'd see large temperature increases later this century with higher greenhouse gas levels and global warming," Diffenbaugh said. "I did not expect to see anything this large within the next three decades. This was definitely a surprise." The study also raises concerns that the targeted 2-degree Celsius maximum temperature increase by policymakers may be too high a threshold to prevent extreme temperatures. The target was cited, for example, in the climate accord by the US and over 100 other countries at the UN Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009. "Our results suggest that limiting global warming to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial conditions may not be sufficient to avoid serious increases in severely hot conditions," Diffenbaugh said. Learn more about your climate impact and reducing your carbon footprint, as well as how you can offset in support of carbon reduction projects around the world by visiting www.carbonfund.org.
Thursday, 08 July 2010 13:58

US Carbon Emissions Expected to Rise 3.2% in 2010

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Heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, which fell by 7 percent in 2009, are forecast to rise this year and in 2011. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Dept. of Energy has released its energy outlook, expecting a 3.2 percent and 1.6 percent increase in emissions for 2010 and 2011, respectively. The government also projects continued demand growth by the electric power sector for coal. A factor in the emissions increases this year and next is the expected increases in economic activity, which results in more energy consumption. This includes petroleum use in the transportation sector and coal and natural gas use for electricity production. The continued demand for fossil fuels in electricity production brings to light the urgent need for more clean energy to help reduce carbon emissions. As an individual or business, you can support clean, renewable energy today. Individuals can choose renewable energy for electric power, e.g. from your utility company or supplier, and reduce and offset your carbon emissions in support of renewable energy projects. Businesses can reduce, offset emissions for everything from operations and events to products and shipping; you can learn more here. Also—companies can support renewable energy production through renewable energy certificates (RECs), such as Carbonfund.org's MyGreenFuture Green-e Energy certified RECs.
  1. CarbonFree® Certified is the first and leading carbon neutral products label in the US.
  2. Certified products are now available in 15 countries on five continents.
  3. Leading companies such as Domino Sugar, Motorola and Anvil Knitwear have certified products CarbonFree®.
  4. Much like Energy Star® certification differentiates appliances and other products, CarbonFree® certification distinguishes products as carbon neutral, climate-friendly.
  5. The certification process consists of three essential steps: calculating a product's carbon footprint, reducing the product's footprint, and offsetting to attain carbon neutrality (which supports innovative carbon reduction projects).
  6. Calculating the carbon footprint of a product requires a life-cycle assessment (LCA), including the supply-chain or manufacturing of a product, through ultimate recycling/disposal of it.
  7. Carbonfund.org worked with the renowned Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management to jointly develop the rigorous Product Certification Carbon Footprint Protocol to guide how LCAs are done.
  8. The certification program provides incentive for companies that lower a product’s carbon footprint by at least 10 percent.
  9. The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the product certification program includes experts on business carbon management.
  10. Companies can choose from a variety of third-party validated renewable energy, reforestation or avoided deforestation, and energy efficiency projects to support by offsetting.
Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more or to certify your products today. You'll be creating value for your brand and enhancing your position as a socially responsible business. As a consumer, be sure to check out our index of CarbonFree® Certified products.
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 12:19

Staying Well This Summer Made Easier

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With summer now here, minds collectively turn to one thing: looking good at the beach or outside. Well maybe not all of us, but we certainly like to look our best as the weather requires short sleeves and shorts. Gyms are getting packed and diet plans reinvigorated. As we change up how we eat, it’s important to make sure we continue to get the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. So how can I do that and in a way that’s easier on the environment? That’s where CarbonFree® Partner, Vegetarian Wellness can help. Vegetarian Wellness is an online retailer specializing in vegetarian and vegan vitamins, supplements and foods. They sell over 600 nutritional products all of which are vegetarian based. Most of their products are free of genetically modified organisms (non-GMO), vegan and gluten free. Did you know that many vitamins and supplements contain animal products? Neither did I. Vegetarian Wellness only sells products that are free of animal testing. To top it off – they offset their business carbon footprint and participate in the 1% for the Planet program. So as you get in shape this summer, make sure you’re staying healthy with some eco-friendly vitamins from Vegetarian Wellness. As they say, “At Vegetarian Wellness our mission is to help everyone live better!”
Friday, 02 July 2010 16:11

A July 4th Show Not to Miss

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A July 4th show is one of the most patriotic and, for fans, exhilarating experiences when a great show's followed by fireworks. The Honey Brothers, a new-wave folk band, is bringing their brand of music to the nation's capital July 4th, playing a rooftop concert at the W Washington D.C. Hotel. For clarification, "With a respectful (awed, even) nod to the Beatles," the band says, "we’ll be performing on a rooftop, but this absolutely will not be our farewell concert." The Honey Brothers is New York-based and has worked with Carbonfund.org to reduce their carbon footprint as a band. Their green credentials is also represented by drummer and actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier, who has presented the Planet Green TV show Alter Eco on environmental themes such as organic foods and building greener. The band's show this Sunday will be at 7pm, before the fireworks. Please call (202) 661-2478 for info on tickets. If you're not in the Washington area this weekend, you can keep in tune with the band about the show and its plans at their facebook page. While you're at it, fan our page too.