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ClickGreener Makes All Your Holiday Shopping Greener

ClickGreener Makes All Your Holiday Shopping Greener – For Free

TORONTO, ON., December 3, 2007 – ClickGreener Inc., a groundbreaking new company, has launched ClickGreener.com just in time for the holiday season.

ClickGreener.com is the world’s first online shopping mall that empowers people to make their ordinary purchases greener – and help raise tens of thousands of dollars for the environment – all at no extra cost to the consumer.

“Each year, online shopping malls earn millions of dollars in referral fees,” said Owen Ward, President of ClickGreener. “We’ve decided to harness this power and use it to help the environment, by donating just over half of our referral fees to environmental non-profits.”

Visitors to ClickGreener.com will find many of North America’s leading online retailers of electronics, books, DVDs, clothing and more. By clicking on their retailer of choice, visitors will be connected to that retailer’s online store, where they can complete their purchase as usual. For every purchase made this way, ClickGreener donates 51% of the referral fee from that purchase to leading non-profit environmental organizations, including Carbonfund.org, WWF-Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Tree Canada. All of this is done at no additional cost to the shopper.

“People are looking for ways to contribute in a positive way to the environment,” continued Mr. Ward. “For every purchase made through ClickGreener, you will make a contribution to organizations working hard to protect and preserve our environment.”
“If only 1% of online purchases in North America were made through ClickGreener, approximately $10,000,000 will be raised every year. With the value of online shopping expected to double by 2011, the possibilities are truly inspiring.”

In addition, ClickGreener gives visitors access to promotional offers from many of its retailers, including deals that are not available to the general public. ClickGreener also identifies green products from its participating retailers to help people maximize their positive impact on the environment.

“Instead of dreaming of a white Christmas this year, we are giving people an easy way to make it a greener holiday season,” Mr. Ward adds. “Moreover, with access to many great deals, visitors to ClickGreener will also save a bit of that green for themselves!”

About ClickGreener Inc.

ClickGreener Inc. was created to harness the power of business to help make the world a healthier and greener place. Partnered with some of the most prestigious non-profit environmental organizations, including Carbonfund.org, WWF-Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Tree Canada, ClickGreener provides people with a simple way to make their ordinary shopping greener at no additional cost.

CONTACT
For additional information or to arrange interviews:
Owen Ward, President
Tel: 416.855.6373 Email: owen@clickgreener.com

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Texas School for the Deaf in Austin Wins Global Green USA’s National Green School Makeover Competition

Texas School for the Deaf in Austin Wins Global Green USA’s National Green School Makeover Competition
Presented by Pureology

Four Runner-Up Schools Receive $2,500 for Sustainability Upgrades

New York, NY (December 6, 2011) – Today Pureology and Global Green USA announced that the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, TX, is the grand prize winner in the Global Green USA Green School Makeover Competition, presented by Pureology. As part of the grand prize, the Texas School for the Deaf will receive the ultimate Green School Makeover worth $130,000.

Four runner-up schools—which will each receive $2,500 towards sustainability upgrades—were also named: Garlough Environmental School in St. Paul, MN; Heritage Middle School in Berwyn, IL; Samuel Powel Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA; and Zimmerman School House/Abi’s Place in Coral Springs, FL, a school for children with disabilities.

The grand-prize winner and runners-up were selected by a panel of judges out of a pool of more than 220 public, private and charter K – 12 schools that submitted proposals for green school renovations.

“Global Green USA has been greening schools for more than a decade—we believe every child deserves a healthy learning environment,” said Matt Petersen, President and CEO of Global Green. “Green schools improve student performance, increase average daily attendance, and reduce operating costs, energy and water consumption. We are deeply excited to be able to bring those benefits to the students and teachers at the extraordinary Texas School for the Deaf.”

The Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) is the oldest continuously operating, publicly funded school in Texas. Since 1857, over 10,000 K – 12 grade students have graced the halls of TSD and benefitted from the school’s diverse program levels to ensure that each student will be able to learn at his or her most effective rate. As part of the grand prize, the school will receive the ultimate Green School Makeover including $65,000 for school renovations and an additional $65,000 worth of technical assistance.

“We are so excited that Pureology and Global Green have given us this opportunity,” said TSD Superintendent Claire Bugen. “Unlike other public schools, we live on this campus 24 hours a day and we generate a lot of waste. This prize will help us take our fledgling recycling efforts to the next level and install some important tools, like automatic faucets, to help us become more sustainable.”

With the funds received through the Green School Makeover Competition, the school plans to:

Update facilities to allow for energy efficient upgrades:

o Retrofitting light fixtures to allow for energy efficient bulbs, and motion-activated lights and conserve energy. Cost savings from the energy efficient upgrades will be reinvested back into the education programs.

Initiate water conservation tactics:

o Reduce water usage and consumption by installing hands-free faucets in lavatories and collecting rainwater in barrels to be used for watering the school grounds.

o TSD spends $20,000 in bottled water every year – switching to reusable bottles and installing a tap filtration system allows funds saved to be put back into education

Initiate waste reduction tactics:

o Install hands-free hand dryers in restrooms which use less paper and save materials from going to the landfills. It will also reduce supply costs for the school, cut down on waste and reduce staff time replenishing paper towels and emptying trash.

Educate student body on recycling:

o Install recycling bins near trashcans across campus to make recycling easier and encourage recycling campus-wide.

o Educate school community on recycling and spread habits to home life to support a greener lifestyle.

Four runner-up schools will each receive $2,500 towards their proposed sustainability upgrades:

1. Garlough Environmental School (St. Paul, MN)

Install a yurt[1] to be used as a teaching space for their multi-cultural nature class
Implement a 20-student bicycle-bus to serve as an alternative to school buses
Install a chicken coop as a compliment to the already existing organic garden beds

2. Heritage Middle School (Berwyn, IL)

Remove disposable products in cafeteria to reusable ones (i.e., silverware, trays, carts)
Switch to compact fluorescent lights which use 1/5 less power and have a longer rated life (six to ten times average)

3. Samuel Powel Elementary School (Philadelphia, PA)

Plant an organic vegetable garden to teach children about agriculture, nutrition, and ecology
Redirect storm water into rain gardens filled with native plants to provide opportunities for learning math, biology, ecology, physics

4. Zimmerman School House/Abi’s Place (Coral Springs, FL) (Children w/ disabilities)

Install eco-friendly flooring
Use of non-toxic paint, flooring and cleaning products
Upgrade facilities to enhance education programs on functional activities for daily living

“Pureology is proud to support Global Green USA and present the Green School Makeover Competition to help improve the lives of students while educating parents, teachers, students and the public about the importance of creating healthy green classrooms,” states Shae Kalyani, Vice President of Marketing for Pureology. “We are thrilled The Texas School for the Deaf won and are looking forward to seeing the outcome for all of the winning schools!”

To follow the progress of TSD’s green makeover, please visit Pureology’s Facebook page. Pureology will be documenting the renovation process with photos and videos from January through June of 2012.

To view the winning entries, and to learn how you can implement green improvements in your school, home and community, please visit please visit www.globalgreen.org/greenschools

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Build a Better Greenhouse

http://www.EasiestGarden.com/greenhouse – Did you ever want a good quality greenhouse? Tired of hauling your wife’s plants into the house each fall or tripping over them in the garage all winter? Or perhaps you want to extend your growing season, start plants several months ahead of the season, or just want to experiment with some of our hydroponic gardening systems?

Well, this DVD makes it not only possible – but easy, fun, and cheap. Building a better greenhouse is something that has needed to be done for a long time. Most small greenhouses (also called hobby houses) are either outrageously expensive, or incredibly low quality – sometimes both! But with this plans-and-DVD set you will learn how to build a better greenhouse – a professional-quality greenhouse at a price that can’t be matched by anyone.

First we lay down professional-grade weedblock for a floor – this is a special plastic fabric that blocks weeds, but allows water to penetrate. Then we take 1-3/8 galvanized tubing – the toprail off of chainlink fence, so you know it’s going to last for decades! – and we teach you how to bend this in three places so it’s shaped like a house.

Then we show you how to build the base and the ends out of treated, 30-year ground contact lumber, and stretch professional quality greenhouse plastic over it – and stretch it without wrinkles.

We teach you how to build the door for the greenhouse, install a fan, thermostat, and shutter, where to get all the materials, and how to put them all together. This plans-and-DVD set contains step-by-step instructions showing you every process. You don’t need any special skills – if you can use a vise, drill, circular saw, and hammer, you’re in business!

The key to a top quality greenhouse is top-quality materials. We buy most of our materials from the same place that the huge greenhouse growers do, and that’s what makes this greenhouse different. We tell you where you can buy the materials you need locally, or we offer a kit that contains all the items you need – everything except the wood, metal, fan/thermostat, and shutter!

The greenhouse structure should last you at least 30 years – I’ve had one up for over 10 years myself. Periodically – every 4-6 years under normal conditions – you’ll need to replace the plastic, but that’s a very simple process – one you’ll know how to do before you finish the greenhouse – and a very small expense. And the best part of that is, when you’re done you have what looks like a new greenhouse – all shiny new plastic for another 4-6 years.

And did I mention that this greenhouse is AFFORDABLE? The last greenhouse I built cost me less than $600 including all the materials – that includes the price of our Build-Your-Own Greenhouse Kit and this DVD!

The greenhouse in the video is 10′ wide and 15′ long, but you can easily make it longer, wider, or taller – of those, it’s easiest to make it longer. Generally doubling the length only adds about 50% to the price – so it’s easy to make a greenhouse large enough for that Ficus that takes up half the front porch!

And the best part of all is that you can use this as a small business – for over 12 years now I’ve been building and installing these greenhouses in my local area, at very competitive prices – and yet at a very good profit, too.

By buying the materials in bulk you can cut your costs down to as little as $400 per greenhouse, and with a suggested MSRP of $999 delivered and installed – a price less than half of any other similarly-sized greenhouse available on the market – you can make a nice side income.

So if you want to have a good greenhouse – a beautiful, upscale greenhouse, one of such high quality that your children can enjoy it years from now – go to our website buy this plans and DVD set. We’re sure you’ll like it – we have.

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Chelsea Green Looking for Authors

Dear Steve,

I am the Web Editor at Chelsea Green Publishing. We’ve been publishing books about renewable energy technology and sustainable living since 1984, and we’re looking for new authors.

I’m trying to reach out to the green and technology blogging communities to get in touch with writers who are knowledgeable about the green movement, know the latest techniques and technologies for sustainable living, and would enjoy writing a book for us.

We welcome all submissions of course, but to encourage the growth of a community on our own newly launched web site and blog, we’re running a community proposal contest for our Green Guide series of books, which you can check out at the link below.

I’ve posted the contest guidelines on our blog. The best entries will win a publishing contract with Chelsea Green, and a $1000 advance on royalties.

I’m hoping that you, or someone you’re in contact with through your blog, will be interested in submitting a proposal. Please check out the contest guidelines, our new web site, and, if you wouldn’t mind helping us spread the word, reposting our guidelines post (see link below) on your blog.

Feel free to email me with any questions, though contest book proposals should go directly to our Editor-in-Chief, Joni Praded (see contest guidelines for contact info).

Thanks. I appreciate your time.

Chelsea Green: http://www.chelseagreen.com
Green Guides: http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_chelsea_green_guides6_pack_set
Contest Guidelines: http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/index.php?p=956

Sincerely,
Jesse


Jesse S. McDougall, Web Editor
Chelsea Green Publishing
jmcdougall@chelseagreen.com
www.chelseagreen.com
tel: 802-295-6300 x112

Author of Start Your Own Blogging Business (Entrepreneur Press, 2007)

“We’ll never know the worth of water ’till the well go dry.” – Scottish Proverb

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7 Easy Green Home Improvement Tips You Can Do Today

Your home is a reflection of who you are, and as such, it offers plenty of opportunities to make a statement not only about your style, but also your values and beliefs like caring about the environment. From cool white roofs, to solar panels, geothermal heating systems, wood siding, insulated windows and doors, energy efficient light bulbs, there is a wide range of home improvement projects that you can do to make your home more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. However, you do not have to do it all at once, nor do green home improvements have to cost you a fortune. In fact, as a homeowner, you can play an active role in lowering the carbon footprint on our earth by adapting some very simple and inexpensive green home improvement ideas. You will be pleasantly surprised that these changes will not only be beneficial to the environment, but will also actually increase your own comfort level, and help lower your energy bills.

Here are 7 easy environmentally friendly home improvement tips that
you can do today:

1. Install a programmable thermostat

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It turns out that the number one source of energy consumption in your home is heating, especially if you live in a cold climate. While there are major changes you can make such as getting a whole new energy efficient pump, improving your insulation, installing new energy efficient windows, etc, one thing you can start with, is installing a programmable thermostat. When you are out of your home during the day this thermostat will shut off the heater completely or lower it to the lowest setting you have preset, in case you have pets in your house that need to stay warm. This nifty device will save you about 15% on your monthly heating bill, and will help the environment because your heater will not be wasting energy by being constantly turned on high.

2. Insulate your windows

It is no secret that installing new windows can be very expensive. However, you can still insulate your existing windows in a number of different ways or even use a combination of these methods. One simple change you can make right away is purchase black out curtains. These are fairly inexpensive, and you will be able to get high quality ones for around $100. Black out curtains will reduce your heat loss by about 25% and will also reduce the noise level by almost half. The beauty of black out curtains is that they will trap heat during the winter, and will keep the sunlight and heat out during the summer. This will also help reduce your air conditioning bills. High end blackout curtains will block out almost 99% of sunlight coming in. Moreover, you can also use energy film to reduce your heating and cooling costs while still letting light in. Unlike regular window plastic, energy film has increased transparency. If you really want to save energy and lower your bills, you can use energy film in combination with black out curtains and make your windows more green without spending a fortune.

3. Motion detector for outdoor lighting

Did you know that if you leave the outdoor light on all night you actually waste a lot of energy and disturb wildlife? Instead, you can conserve energy and save money by installing a light motion detector. It will regulate the outdoor light, activating it when necessary so that the area will be well lit, but without the negative impact on the environment and your wallet.

4. Conserve water

Water is one of the most precious resources that we have on our planet, and each one of us can do our part in conserving water. It just takes a few lifestyle changes, such as taking quicker showers, turning the faucet off when you are brushing your teeth, not letting the water run for too long when you are doing the dishes, etc. If you have kids, you can also educate them about the importance of water conservation and help them adapt these simple water conservation practices into their daily routines as well. If you want to get even more serious about reducing your water spending, you can inspect all the faucets in your house, and fix or replace them if any of them are leaking. Also, you can install low flow shower heads. These are a smart investment, since they help cut down on water usage and also reduce energy costs.

5. Clean air conditioner filters

Air conditioners are a lifesaver on those unbearable hot summer days. However, they can waste a lot of energy and cost you a lot of extra money if you leave the filters unattended for too long. A dirty filter will hamper the flow of air and you will need to run the system more and on a higher setting to achieve the cool temperature you want. By regularly cleaning and replacing the filters when they get too old, you will keep your air conditioners operating at an optimal level. If you are not at home, you can also adjust the thermostats on your air conditioners to an appropriate temperature level so that your house remains comfortable, but without wasting energy to keep it super cool when no one is at home.

6. Power strips for computers

Technology rules our lives and we cannot live without our computers, i-pads, phones, scanners, X-boxes, faxes, etc. What we often neglect to realize is that these devices use a lot of energy when we keep them constantly plugged in, because the flow of electric power continues even after we have turned them off. Instead, get power strips for your devices, they are inexpensive and will prevent energy from getting wasted.

7. Energy efficient lighting

One of the quickest and easiest green home improvements is to replace all the light bulbs in your house with energy efficient lights. You can purchase either LED or fluorescent light bulbs from your local hardware store. Both types of light bulbs come in a variety of shapes, styles and will fit all your fixtures from lamps, to chandeliers, to recessed lights, etc. Energy efficient light bulbs use about 75 % less energy than conventional lights and will also last up to 10 times longer. While you will have to spend a little extra money to purchase either the fluorescent or LED lights, which are both more expensive than the incandescent bulbs, you will get a surprisingly good return
on your investment with lowered electricity bills and a much longer service life.

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Red is Green — Tests Show Environmental Qualities of Redwood

Green, green, green. The green building message is everywhere, and it is an important message. Everyone should be building green. But how should “green” really be measured?

The emerging answer appears to be that building with sustainable, environmentally responsible materials is the one, true “green” way to build. And one of the best materials for deck or fence building happens to be redwood, which is not only beautiful and durable, but is a material that can actually reduce the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

The California Redwood Association recently commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to better understand and compare redwood to other materials, such as plastic composite decking. A Life Cycle Assessment  is a scientific technique commonly used to quantify the environmental footprint of producing and consuming products we use in our everyday life.

The results of the LCA were conclusive, showing that considerable differences exist between redwood and alternative decking products such as plastics and plastic composites. In fact, in terms of global warming potential, plastic-based decking materials are contributors, while growing, harvesting and using redwood for decks do not contribute to global warming.

Indeed, using redwood is a great way to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While plastics and composites rely on chemical resins and fossil fuels that release carbon and increase emissions, redwood trees take carbon out of the air and store it in wood fiber.

As they grow, redwood trees will absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, that carbon gets stored in wood fibers in the tree’s roots, trunk and branches and the oxygen is released back to the air. The faster a tree grows then, the more photosynthesis occurs and the more carbon is removed from the atmosphere. Since redwood is a fast-growing species, managed redwood forests excel at removing carbon from the atmosphere.

When such redwood trees are harvested, that carbon they captured continues to be stored in the decking, fencing and other wood products they become. In fact, wood is about half carbon by weight and so a redwood deck can actually store a half-ton of carbon. As the managed redwood forests regenerate, more carbon is removed from the air by the newly planted trees, which continues an ongoing cycle of carbon removal and storage.

Moreover, redwood is also recyclable and cleaner to produce than composites or plastics. The trees are grown and harvested in accordance with the highest environmental standards in the world as the they tap the sun for energy while soaking in California’s famed North Coast fog. In fact, roughly 90 percent of all product-producing redwood forests are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

The next time you wonder about what green building products to use in deck or fence building, remember that red is green-redwood, that is.

redwood1

redwood2

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Green Home Building and Remodeling

When it comes to home building and remodeling, much has changed in the last few years, with a clear shift in technologies, building materials and practices to more green homes. Savvy homeowners are quickly catching on to this new trend, looking to not only be environmentally conscious consumers, but to also take advantage of the numerous benefits that green homes afford, such as exceptional durability, energy savings, and improved quality of life. With a quickly growing number of informational resources, a slew of new products, service and construction companies, etc, you can keep yourself grounded and on track by focusing on the essentials of any green home.

What makes a new or remodeled home eco-friendly are the following components: a tight building envelope/insulation, roofing, siding, windows and heating system, all built utilizing green materials. These earth – friendly building materials are manufactured with a minimal amount of hazardous materials, are proven to last for decades without requiring maintenance and repairs, do not waste energy and can be recycled at the end of their service lives.

Tight Building Envelope/Insulation

A tight building envelope and high quality insulation are necessary to achieve superior durability and energy efficiency. If you already have a house and it does not have insulation, consider adding blown-in cellulose product. Not only is it eco-friendly (derived from 85 percent recycled paper products), but it is also three times more dense than fiberglass, thereby greatly reducing your home’s energy waste. For new construction, consider fiberglass or spray-foam insulation. While more expensive than fiberglass, spray-foam insulation offers tighter, more dense and more energy-efficient insulation for your walls and ceilings. On the other hand, one of the major benefits of fiberglass is that it is removable, and does not require any special equipment to install.

Roofing That Lasts

The roof is one of the most important components of making your home safe, durable and long lasting, and yet it is often the most overlooked. Installing a green roof on your home will prove to be one of the most financially sound home improvements you make. You will not know the pain of roof damage and leaks and will not have to deal with costly, maintenace, repairs and replacements for years to come.

When it comes to green roofing materials, you have a few choices depending on your home type, taste and budget. If you have a sloped roof home, one of the best investments you can make is to install a metal roof. Metal is considered to be the only truly green roofing material, when you factor in the manufacturing process, lifecycle costs, longevity, high energy efficiency and recyclability and the end of the roof’s service life. Metal roofs are considered cool roofs, which means that they reflect solar heat, thereby reducing energy waste produced by the home’s HVAC system throughout the year. A metal roof can save you up to 15% on your annual cooling costs. Additionally, during winter time, metal roofs eliminate ice dams, which can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your house. Keep in mind that metal roofing installation is a highly intricate process that requires specialized knowldege, equipment and training, and therefore should only be left to metal roofing professionals. One such company that operates in the Northeast is New England Metal Roof (newenglandmetalroof.com)

If you have a low slope/flat roof, a green material to go with is PVC single ply roofing membrane. A PVC roofing system is designed as a green roofing material. PVC is a fully recyclable roofing material that does not use any petrolium products in its manufacturing process. It also offers superior energy efficiency by reflecting upto 95% of solar heat. PVC is designed to last over 40 years and can be easily repaired if needed, which elimates costly replacements and landfill waste. Moreover, PVC roofs can withstand ponding water, ice build-ups and can be easily be applied around most complicated roof penetrations.

Green Siding

Amongst the wide range of choices available for siding, fiber-cement siding stands out as the green choice. It is composed of 50% recycled content and wood fiber pulp that is sourced from sustainably managed forests. While fiber cement siding may be a more costly option, it is more durable than wood and vinyl siding. It also requires very little maintenance, does not create hazardous waste when removed, and can be further recycled.

Another green choice to consider is steel or aluminum wall panel systems. With a variety of available integrated insulation, ventilation and heat absorption metal wall panel systems, you can reduce your heating and cooling energy consumption, by as much as 40%. Additionally, these systems are fully recyclable and are manufactured from up to 95% recycled metal.

Energy Efficient Windows

Windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of the home, through which both hot and cold air can escape, wasting tons of energy and driving up your heating and cooling costs throughout the year. To avoid these issues, its crucial to invest in energy efficient windows. Consider installing fiber glass frame windows with triple glazing and argon/krypton gas, which can offer up to 7R insulating value (a typical double pane window is only 3R). There are also specialty window products filled with heat absorbing liquid that absorb solar heat in the winter. These windows can supply up to 75% of your heating for the entire house, even on a very cold night.

Green Heating Systems

If your goal is to have a truly eco-friendly home, then a geothermal heating system is the way to go. Geothermal heating uses thermal energy stored inside the ground and extracts it by using a heat exchange process. This system only requires 25% of the energy to operate, when compared to traditional gas or oil systems of the same size. A geothermal system can also be used for air conditioning in the summer.

Geothermal heating systems are a costly investment, so if you are not ready to make the switch, consider going with gas heating. Gas heating is cleaner, more efficient and currently costs half the price of oil.

In case you have a south-facing roof, you can install solar thermal panels, which will heat your water throughout the year, and will also supplement your radiant heating system.

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Creating Healthier Environments with Plants

By Chris Karl

Recently I met with an architect who designs healthcare facilities. He relayed how he absolutely detests the use of live plants in the properties he designs. “I don’t like that I can’t control the life cycle of the plant and how it continually changes its look,” he said with obvious disdain. I believe this obviously sedentary and obese architect has become, like so many people in this country, so far removed from nature and healthy living that he has forgotten the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and being in the company of greenery. Here is a man who designs for a population that is predominately sick and unable to control their own lifestyle that have been forced to rely on an out-of-touch designer who does not know understand the healing power of nature. I wonder when we lost our ability to appreciate the primal connection we all share with the natural world?

More and more companies today are reducing or eliminating plants in the workplace to save money. They fail to realize, however, that this cost-cutting measure is short-term thinking that will compromise their employees’ well-being. Just as plants oxygenate the environment and soothe the soul, obesity cannot be altered with empty calories but requires thoughtful nutrition to turn around a life that is heavily compromised and destined not to function optimally without those changes.

A growing body of research demonstrates that access to a natural environment indoors, where we all spend the majority of our waking hours, may improve health and well-being. As a design professional, I have seen first-hand the healing and calming benefits of plants in the workplace. Human beings are hard-wired to appreciate nature. Despite our “plugged in” and sedentary lifestyle since the 1950’s, humans were hunter gathers for over 10,000 years and living as part of nature. Today we have become so far removed from nature that some of us are unable to appreciate the beauty of a living, breathing plant within our workplace. Being around plants reduces stress and engenders a feeling of well-being and improved energy in most people; a benefit that is even more acute if correct lighting is in place. Because plants have a large surface area and exchange water and gases with their surroundings, they have a unique ability to tackle and improve many environmental problems.

“A pleasing and positive workplace that is presented as a spiritually satisfying sanctuary with natural light and greenery is enormously beneficial for a person’s well-being,” says Dr. Gilda Carle, psychotherapist, author and professor. “Being able to access and enjoy surroundings that reduce stress and engage the senses is highly therapeutic for people.”

Here are my selections for the top five plants, which not only heighten and satisfy our senses with their funky and trendy style, but also help to keep our workplace environments happier and healthier:

1) Ficus Pandurata – The Ficus Pandurata or Fiddleleaf Fig grows best in a high to medium high light environment and is an interesting variation on the standard well known Ficus elastica rubber plant. The large leaves can add a striking accent to the home or office.

2) Polyscias Fabian – A native of Brazil, Polyscias or Geranium-leaf Aralia or Arilia Favian is an evergreen shrub or small tree with a compact habit. While it is widely used as for hedges in the tropics, in the United States, we use it as a beautiful, eco-friendly border as well as a captivating stand-alone “look at me” tree.

3) Dracaena Janet Craig Compacta – Dracaena is a genus of forty species of subtropical, evergreen, woody plants grown for their statuesque form and ornamental foliage. They are sometimes mistakenly identified as palms but are actually more closely related to lilies. The name Dracaena is derived from the Greek word “drakaina”, a female dragon. The link between plant and beast is the resinous red gum produced when the stem is cut which, when thickened, is supposed to resemble dragon’s blood. It is used as a varnish and in photo engraving.

4) Dracaena Marginata Character – Originally from Madagascar, Dracaena are known for their visually arresting ornamental foliage. An increasingly popular indoor plant in the modern workplace, the plant, which can grow up to 15 feet in height, is supported by an aged and knobby trunk which gives it a unique character.

5) Philodendron Red Congo –The Philodendron Red Congo is a new and distinct cultivar of Philodendron. It is a product of the cross or breeding between Philodendron ‘Imperial Red’ as the female parent and an unidentified cultivar of the Philodendron tatei. This plant grows vigorously in an upright but spreading or open manner. New Red Congo leaves are brownish maroon to almost red in color while the large mature ones are dark green in color with a touch of red. The plant’s leaf petioles remain reddish purple to bright right with long-lasting petiole sheaths.

“There is now general agreement within the scientific community that plants improve the indoor environment, and are useful weapons in the fight against the modern phenomenon known as sick building syndrome (SBS),” says Kenneth Freeman, International Technical Director at Ambius who has led many research initiatives on the benefits of plants in the workplace. “No specific cause of SBS has been identified, but poor air quality, excessive background noise and inadequate temperature and light control are thought to be important factors. Because plants have a large surface area and exchange water and gases with their surroundings, they have a unique ability to tackle many environmental problems.” In particular, plants can reduce levels of carbon dioxide, which can accumulate in buildings from the breathing of its occupants and the by-products of heating systems and electrical equipment. Plants also increase the relative humidity, which should be between 40% and 60% RH for maximum human comfort. Plants reduce levels of certain pollutant gases, such as formaldehyde, benzene and nitrogen dioxide as well as airborne dust levels. Plants also reduce air temperatures and background noise levels.

In many office towers and hospitals, there is a need to channel pedestrian traffic towards significant landmarks, such as exits, check-in desks, escalators and common passageways. Plants offer an attractive and practical solution, providing a living barrier that gently guides people to where you want them to go. Choosing the right plants and containers for this purpose is very important. Spiky plants or those with sharp-edged leaves would clearly be inappropriate in an area designed for heavy pedestrian traffic flow. Containers need to be robust, take up the minimum of floor space and in some situations be linkable to form an impenetrable wall.

About the author:

Based in Orange County, California, Chris Karl is a Design Specialist for Ambius, a division of Rentokil Initial which offers a full spectrum of services to enhance the interior space for the hospitality, healthcare, retail, and commercial industries. Chris’ design savvy was recognized with an Award of Excellence from the Plantscape Industry Alliance (PIA) for his horticultural work in the Beckman Coulter lobby in Orange County, California. With a B.A. and Masters Degree in Fine Arts from California State University in Long Beach, Chris designs and implements interior projects for commercial clients. He can be reached at christopher.karl@ambius.com.

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Going Green, Green Jobs – Are We Already In A Green Economy?

Carl Williams asked me to post this. It’s a thought provoking read:

I have lately been asking myself, both professionally and personally, how green am I? The truth is that I don’t really know. The ”Green Industry” or “Green Topics” has been a hot item since the 2008 Presidential campaign. Being environment-friendly can not only be considered the responsible thing to do, it can also lead to long term and short term savings for consumers and businesses alike. The movement for alternative energy responses and the goal to reduce emissions that could change our climate lead us to ask some green experts their opinion on the development in their industry. So try to avoid printing this out and wasting paper, OK?
I reached out to leading thinkers, proponents and practitioners to get their perspective on Going Green and its effect on industry, economy and us individuals.

http://www.odinjobs.com/blogs/careers/entry/green_job_interview

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About Us & Recent Posts

Green Trust is a Sustainability Research Organization dedicated to teaching folks how to live in a renewable, sustainable manner. We travel internationally, teaching workshops, and have lived off-grid, developing alternatives like:

  • biofuels (methane, ethanol and biodiesel)
  • home built wind turbines (see us on the Science Channel)
  • solar pv (electric) and thermal (hot water)
  • greywater and rain water recovery and biological filtration

Over the years, we have experimented, failed (learned), experimented some more, and had successes. Our goal is to help you through the hurdles, avoiding our mistakes, so you make new ones all your own. A wise person once said, “Experience is directly proportional to the equipment ruined”. It’s a true concept, and we hope to help you avoid the expensive and life threatening experiences. Along the way, you may on occasion let out “the magic smoke”, but if you follow our advice, you can avoid much of it. We are constantly trying to become more self sufficient, more independent, and want to help you on your journey as well!

Steve Spence
sspence@green-trust.org

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