Archive for October, 2013

Wondering Where to Move After College?

Check out 4 of America’s Greenest Cities!

Did you know that living by green spaces can improve your health? According to Washington.edu, parks and other green spaces encourage more physical activity, as people living in communities with an abundance of greenery enjoy improved health, compared to those who don’t.

Beyond the physical benefits environmentally-friendly areas afford to residents, many cities across the U.S. have also implemented green initiatives, ranging from making their communities more bike-friendly, to using eco-friendly energy sources. One consideration today for some movers is whether or not the destination city responds to environmental impact studies with innovative solutions that promote change without increasing costs to taxpayers. No matter where you move, a comparison tool for electric suppliers such ashttp://www.electric.com/energy-prices-and-products.html can show you how to optimize your energy consumption. Here are four green cities to consider if living in an earth-friendly place is important to you:

Boulder, Colo. boulder

According to the official city website, Boulder, Colo. entered an Energy Performance Contract with McKinstry, a building efficiency upgrade company, to reduce water and energy usage at 66 of its city facilities. Boulder is among only five cities to receive the new American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) exceptional energy efficiency program awards, which were announced in January 2013.

The EPC allowed Boulder to implement a two-fold efficiency program that includes lease purchase financing that, without increasing taxpayer burden and guaranteed realized savings, will generate enough to pay for the upgrades. The program also reduces utility maintenance costs and usage bills, city-wide.

Raleigh, N.C.

The Public Technology Institute (PTI) recently recognized Raleigh, North Carolina with six awards for outstanding innovative solutions, according to PTI.org. The projects included collaborative efforts between the Raleigh Police Department and the city’s Office of Sustainability. The city converted 20 patrol cars from gasoline to a propane-hybrid model to reduce carbon emissions. This program increased vehicle efficiency during emergencies while improving cost efficiency, saving the city $80,400 over a 12-month period.

New York City, N.Y.green new york city

NYC’s Zone Green received the 2013 National Planning Excellence Award for Environmental Planning, the American Planning Association (Planning.org) reports. The NYC plan is an initiative for building owners and managers to make sustainable changes in both new and existing buildings, allowing them to generate renewable, clean energy and save on energy costs. It will also help reduce carbon emissions (30 percent by 2030), manage storm water, reduce urban heat island effects, and grow more local, fresh food.

Portland, Ore.

If you love recycling, you’ll love Portland. The city recycles more than 60 percent of their waste, one of the highest percentages in the nation, reports Cereplast. There are also more than 700 miles of bike paths around the city, and Portland, along with all Oregon cities, has a required urban growth boundary, which prevents urban development beyond certain areas. These boundaries preserve all the wondrous greenery Oregon has to offer, while fostering an urban environment conducive to foot and bike transportation.

 

October 31st, 2013

5 Ways to Drive Green

car_grass

Every gallon of gas you burn creates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And a year on the road can create five to nine tons of carbon dioxide. Staggering statistics may make you want to run out and buy a hybrid, but your wallet says no. Fortunately, the following green tips can help you save and positively impact the environment without replacing your current ride.

1. Ease Off the Brake for a Smoother Ride

Your driving habits could be eating your fuel at a fast pace. Aggressive habits like rapidly accelerating and quickly braking can significantly increase your fuel consumption. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that you can lower your gas mileage by a third on the highway just by avoiding these habits, and when you drive more smoothly in town, you will lower your fuel consumption by 5 percent. Over the course of a year, that means that you can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 3 tons.

2. Check Under the Hood

A vehicle in poor shape can consume four to 40 percent more gasoline than a vehicle that is in tip top shape. Womens Health Magazine advises tuning up your car on a regular basis to avoid inadvertently turning it into a gas guzzler. Although Click and Clack, the National Public Radio car gurus and comedians, left the air last year after 35 years, you can still find a trustworthy mechanic in the Mechanic Files on the Car Talk website.

3. Replace with Green

During your car’s lifespan, you will have to replace various bits and bobs, and you should ensure that any replacement parts you buy are as green as possible. Whether you are buying new windshield wipers or blinker bulbs, pay attention to the quality of the product you are buying. While cheap items may save you money upfront, those items tend to break quickly and go straight to the landfill. As you look for replacement products, try to find companies that specialize in eco-consciousness. For instance, while tire shopping, check out a company like Kumho Tires at TireBuyer. This company focuses on eco-conscious materials and manufacturing strategies so you can drive on their tires without worrying about the impact on the environment.

4. Ditch your Ride

Green your drive by reducing the amount of time that you spend behind the wheel. TreeHugger.com offers ideas that can help you ditch your ride. If your commute is long, approach your boss with a proposal about the workplace benefits of working from home. If your requests to telecommute are denied, buy a bus ticket, use public transit or gather a like-minded group of people to carpool with you. You can also mix up your commute by driving and jumping on a train or a bus on certain days of the week.

5) Lighten the Load

A vehicle that is weighed down with extra weight will consume more gas and create more emissions. Before getting on the road, remove your luggage rack and empty your trunk. Ideally, the only extra weight your car should have is passengers from your carpool group.

October 1st, 2013


About:

Welcome to Hark Upon the Green! This blog is a shared space for members of the sustainability community at William & Mary to write about sustainability topics on and beyond. If you would like to contribute to the blog, contact Madeleine Boel, Committee on Sustainability Web Assistant, at mgboel@email.wm.edu.
Make sure to visit Sustainability at W&M for all of W&M's progress on sustainability efforts. Catch up with William & Mary Sustainability on Twitter at WM_GreenisGold
To learn what William & Mary's Environmental Law Society is up to, visit their blog at http://envirols.blogs.wm.edu/.

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