Archives for category: California

good_job_san_francisco

San Francisco, California achieved a remarkable diversion rate of 80% which is higher than any other U.S. city and they plan to be a zero-waste city by 2020! Talk about an extreme amount of planning, consideration and most importantly a great shift in habits.

Since 2009 the city’s municipal ordinance requires city-wide source separation of all organic materials, that means that urban food waste and composting measures were put into effect. There are also three bins for composting, recycling and lastly their (sometimes smaller) trash cart! Besides requiring San Franciscans to contribute food waste to compost, and the three bins which encourage recycling, the third effective phenomenon that has been seen in San Francisco is a reduction in the amount of convenience items such as plastic bags that shoppers use.

Now, the city has 20% more waste diversion to go to reach their goal of zero waste and our source has a good point that this last bit might be the most challenging. Although San Francisco has the right incentives, technology, habits and laws, there are still more convenience items in their waste steam that will be key in achieving zero waste.

Please, tell us what you think @greenhalousa on Twitter

Our recent blog posts about San Francisco working towards zero waste:

 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall–Who’s the Greenest of Them All?
San Francisco Bans Bottled Water on City Property
Cultivate Festival

 

 

Sources: http://bit.ly/UO3Zkg

and

http://bit.ly/1oR5dYq

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solar panel green halo waste tracking system

Great news for those in favor of the USA increasing the amount of renewable energy production and for those who want to see solar panels succeed! Business Insider posted early this week Politifact’s findings that 142,698 employees in November of 2013 spend “at least 50% of their time supporting solar-related activities”. At the end of 2013 the same group also discovered that there were 123,227 coal mining jobs in the USA.

 

Source: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/07/22/u-s-solar-workers-coal-miners/

Another great Green article from Green Halo

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This is the outside of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s new FLEXLAB

 

FLEXLAB is the world’s first energy use lab that will help builders and manufactures test entire building systems down to the component level on a significant scale.

This lab offers solutions for people who bring products to test out and want to use all of the lab’s equipment to do so, to people who want to bring their product to test out with their own machinery and equipment.

Current projects involve measuring energy usage for the Genentech building, PG&E and more!

The lab has 4 stations (shown in the video above) to accommodate a variety of testing scenarios including:

1. “Test-drive technologies”

2. “Individual circuits and meters”

3. “Lighting and plug-load elements”

4. “On-site training”

5. “Compression testing”

and more.

According to the FLEXLAB, there is a problem that buildings are designed to be energy efficient, but once they are being used they end up using a lot more energy than was planned. A new study even pointed out that energy efficient buildings sometimes use more than twice the energy than was expected based on their design.

Here’s an except from the lab’s website about what they offer:

FLEXLAB is the first test bed in the world that can evaluate the energy efficiency of major building systems, as an integrated system, under real-world conditions. Stakeholders can evaluate energy-efficient building technologies individually or as integrated systems in advance of building projects or retrofits, in order to:

  • Optimize integrated systems to maximize energy savings
  • Ensure occupant comfort and user-friendliness
  • Verify cost-benefit numbers
  • Train building operators
  • Build confidence in new technologies

 

( Source: http://flexlab.lbl.gov/ )

Another great Green article from Green Halo

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tesla supercharger station image green halo waste tracking system

 

For the lifetime of Tesla’s Model S, owners can travel for free between the cities of well-traveled high ways in North America, Europe and Asia! The Tesla Supercharger is a station that can provide a half a charge in as little as 20 minutes! Again, these chargers are free, and they are strategically placed so that owners can drive to station to station and enjoy nearby amenities if they so choose.

To learn more about where the stations are located, how to charge an EV and more, click on the link below.

 

Source: http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger

 

Another great Green article from Green Halo

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green halo waste tracking system woman with gmo salmon fish

“Whole Foods Market Inc, Trader Joe’s and other food retailers representing more than 2,000 U.S. stores have vowed not to sell genetically engineered seafood if it is approved in the United States…”

Reuters posted this announcement from the Campaign for Genetically Engineered-Free Seafood in an article by Lisa Baertlein since the U.S. F.D.A seems close to approving genetically engineered salmon from AquaBounty Technologies. A product that they call “AquAdvantage Salmon” would be the first genetically engineered animal for the US’s food supply and it is designed to grow to market size in half of the time that conventional salmon take to grow. This salmon is “essentially Atlantic salmon with a Pacific salmon gene for faster growth and a gene from the eel-like ocean pout that promotes year-round growth.

green halo waste tracking system gmo pineapple fish

It’s true that many popular foods in the U.S. such as corn cereal, soy milk, and other veggie products are bioengineered but the debate about engineering animals is a hot one. Let us know what you think @wastetracking on Twitter or in the comments here!

 

Another great Green article from Green Halo

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This old fashion style video about sustainability is fully hosted on YouTube and it is a popular, educational and full-length movie!

The Treasure of San Buenaventura, An Environmental Sustainability Production can be viewed here:

This film takes place in the old west in 1880’s Ventura where mysterious occurrences start because a time traveling environmentalist from the future comes to San Buenaventura to start new environmental programs similar to the ones that are currently practiced.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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A new experimental polymer was discovered by IBM researchers in material science:

(Source: https://wastetracking.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/ibm-research-just-invented-a-new-experimental-polymer/ )

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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build high green halo waste tracking system xeros washer water

It’s not news that certain parts of the world have drought emergencies right now but Xeros has an new invention that is helping reduce the travesty. Xeros came out with a polymer bead laundry system which comes with enormous savings and benefits that currently attracts mainly commercial locations. This new laundry system is currently impacting the hotel, gym, and hospital industries in a great ways.

By reducing consumption in commercial laundry, hotels can conserve valuable resources, gain competitive advantages, market themselves as green to increase their brand value and improve customer loyalty in addition to reducing costs.

The Xeros washer works by utilizing the hydrophilic properties of polymer beads. Scientists at the University of Leeds School of Textiles discovered that these beads, mixed with a small amount of water and a special detergent act as magnets for stains and dirt to clean laundry better and more gently than traditional methods. These reusable polymer beads also last for hundreds of washes before they need to be recycled and the Xeros polymer bead laundry system uses 80% less water, 50% less energy, about 50% less detergent and results in better cleaning results compared to traditional methods.

Source: http://www.waterworld.com/articles/iww/print/volume-14/issue-3/features/wiser-washing.html

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
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Altaeros Energies has announced the first planned commercial demonstration if it’s Buoyant Airborne Turbine or BAT product. The announcement event plans to deploy the BAT at a height of 1,000’ above ground which could break the record for the highest wind turbine in the world. See what the BAT looks like here:

The BAT has a helium-filled, inflatable shell which lifts the apparatus to high altitudes so that energy can be consistently generated in a low cost way as well. BAT is secured to the ground with high strength tethers and electricity gets sent to the ground from there. The reason behind traveling to higher altitudes is because the winds are stronger and more consistent higher up in the sky.

To learn more, visit: http://www.altaerosenergies.com/

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
Follow Green Halo on Twitter at http://twitter.com/greenhalousa

Jeff Jungsten, President of Caletti Jungsten Construction, tells us how to choose a green contractor

By: Jenelle Feole, Green Halo Systems

(MILL VALLEY, CA) – Jeff JungstenJeff Jungsten shared decades of green building industry experience earlier this week from his office in Mill Valley, CA. An avid biker and green builder, it’s obvious that Jeff cares about nature and his clients. Jeff is a game changer, a perfectionist when it comes to building people’s homes and he is deeply in tune to our planet’s needs and sustainability. He was on the Technical Advisory Committee which met weekly for over a year to devise a new green building ordinance for Marin County so that green building could be more simple and accessible to everybody.

Jeff is a Build it Green Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP) and he also holds the Green Home Retrofitting and Remodeling Advanced Certified Green Building Professional certification (GHRR Advanced CGBP) – it’s a rarity. In 1995 Jeff joined John Caletti’s general construction company and complemented the already high–end quality work with a bend towards sustainability. We discussed the bleeding-edge green building technologies that are developed on the West Coast and later used worldwide, what drives green building in other areas of the globe and much more:

1 What is the story behind Caletti Jungsten? Our story really was that, and has been, that we started as a small group doing really high definition work. Started in 1987 by John Caletti here in Marin, taking on some really nice general construction work. John and I met in the mid-90’s on a small project and then took on a really big project together, honed our skills together and figured out what we really wanted to do. We’ve taken that energy and expertise that we both carry and put it into really good people and culture, and we setup a good momentum for our community. So we are really into where we work, why we work, and who we work with.

2 What does it take to be a green contractor? It takes a lot of energy, focus, drive, and understanding that there is a better way to do what we do. It takes a proactive approach, knowledge and energy around why you’re doing certain things.

3 How should one go about choosing a green builder? The best way to choose a green builder is to talk to as many people as you can who have investigated green building. There are township blogs, there are other groups like the Marin builders association. Most municipalities have a builders group of some sort. The people that are doing these things are known by great non-profits like build It Green or the USGBC. [Laughs] Google is a great way to find green builders in your area. They might be listed on the Build It Green or USGBC website of certified professionals. It’s usually just word of mouth but one of the things that we try to do is to get ourselves listed on as many boards as possible to just get the word out.

4 So people will research, or they will find out about you from word of mouth, and am I understanding you correctly that the credentials are really important? Would you say that being a GCBP is a must? It’s a must. The people that take the time to learn and study and take the energy to get themselves certified are the people that are at least trying to understand and stay current of sustainability. And, I would say that if you hire a company that has zero credentials as either a business or individuals and expect them to know more than the people who are studying it, it would be an odd choice. If you are going to hire a company that claims to be a green builder, they will have had to have had projects in that realm that are either published or known or researchable that you can look at and say: were they successful in what they sought out to do? Was is certifiable at a certain level with a certain group? What type of work have they done and where? Who have they worked with?

5 I see, so if they are not certified, one should look at work examples, but sometimes work examples are not impressive enough so take just the work examples with a grain of salt? It depends: one of our intentions was to set a relatively rigorous standard in Marin for a green building ordinance so that people would have to build better than a C- building as a norm. So even if you weren’t certified, you would have to build in a certain way that achieved a certain level of efficiency. The people who can achieve those levels of efficiency in every single building that they build and can prove it, that’s the type of thing to do your research for. To say: “What type of buildings have you built, and how have you proven them to meet the goals that you set up early on in the project?” Everybody can buy low VOC paint, find or buy recycled or reclaimed materials, and claim that they are green builders. But the people that know how to combine them in multiple ways for low cost, and who are out teaching other people or who are being involved in your community, are the people that are usually taking the biggest stride.

In 2010, the Marin Builder’s Association gave me the Leadership and Sustainability Award for being a pioneer in the community which was really cool. Similarly, a LEED Certified home, can’t be built without LEED a Certified team member, so there are certain projects which you cannot do without being certified.

6 Are you certified for LEED? I am not personally…for me I am kind of outside of that loop, and up higher in the policy programming, and the ordinance portion. The people that are actually manufacturing the product that we build are LEED Certified, Project Managers would be LEED Certified.

7 So it’s possible for people to build a LEED property through your company? Yes, absolutely. We did a LEED Gold residence here in Marin two years ago…it was in Camp Woodlands.

8 When it comes to green building, do you think that there’s an area that people are too focused on and they miss considering something else that is important? Most people say: “I want my home to be more energy efficient”. And I think that the indoor air quality part is the part that they might be missing the most. Probably the most toxic place to be is in a new home. It’s like a new car. You can have a really efficient home, seal it up really tight, and then it just develops a really bad problem where you don’t cycle the air enough. So I think that probably the one thing that people miss the most is how to make it healthy.

9 Is it more expensive to build green?

It can be upfront. It can cost more if you’re not going to be in your home for a long time. Low VOC paints and finishes and those things aren’t more expensive, but the other products, like a radiant heating system are more expensive than a forced air system. However a radiant heating system is more far more efficient and way healthier than blowing a bunch of air and dust around the house. So there’s where you have to start making your choices about what type of healthy environment and efficiency you want. Our goal is to get as many people doing these things as possible which makes them more cost effective for a normal consumer.

10 How do you calculate the payback period for green building? The client will inherently have to make choices about upfront costs vs. lifecycle and costs. Part of what any good general contractor will do is help guide a client through those value oriented decisions. Some things just don’t make sense for some clients, and it’s responsible to say: “it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on this, it will never pay off for you”. If a certain budgetary condition is installed in the relationship and things can’t be achieved, then our job is to maximize their budget in as many value-oriented places as possible. And we do that, so we have a deep preconstruction activity upfront before the job that integrates as many sustainable features as possible, using the budget as widely as possible. And not only do we do that, but we have consultants that we bring in that work with the clients directly and work with us directly…these people are experts in facilitating the conversation before it even makes it to us, so these people are incredibly valuable.

11 The architecture firm plays a big role in this too, so where does the construction company come into play and how do you add value? Some architecture firms are getting it and they are understanding that sustainability is not an overlay, it’s a design principle. We come in hopefully as early as possible and I think any general contractor that studies this deeply wants to incorporate these systems at the earliest stages of design. Even as early as the sighting of the building to help integrate these systems into the plan if possible. That’s what the good architects are doing, they are bringing in people like us…

12 So a lot of the awesome homes on your website, you’re working with architects in the early stages of development? Absolutely. Way upfront. As early as the design phase.

13 How do you collaborate with architects and the client? Once we get through the design phase, we define everybody’s role and once the project is running, everybody plays a role in that. We all just collaborate as deeply as possible, as openly as possible, with as much humility as possible. We have a project right now where we are working incredibly closely with the architect, the client, the designer, and the engineers. It’s one of the most amazing homes that we’ve ever seen and it’s really all about being as collaborative and open as possible. Everything’s open for discussion. In the sustainability world, it’s kind of mandatory. There used to be a very closed loop between 2 parties and then a 3rd party would come in- the builder, and it would be a sort of odd scenario. Our goal is to just open up that whole relationship and be as collaborative and proactive as possible with everybody and have everyone do the same. If we’re talking about money, we have to talk about money openly. If we are talking about schedules, we have to talk about schedules openly. If we are talking about systems, we have to talk about systems openly. So that’s what happening in our world, a deeper level of relationship, more client–centric and certainly more proactive for time and money.

14 What inspires you? Everything!!!! Everything! I think if I really break it down into the smallest common denominator, it’s creating beautifully healthy homes for families, structures that- people get to grow up in, get married in, and have kids in. When somebody trusts us to build their home, that’s what we focus on. You know, perfect is close enough for us. We don’t want to just take the lowest common denominator and do that, it’s easy. What inspires us is to learn our craft a little bit deeper than most and then provide that value to people and see it happen. We just love the idea of building an inspired home with more energy and care. I honestly feel that it’s noticeable…and if we do our jobs right, and we care enough, then it’s obviated.

15 I looked at your Green Halo Systems account, I see that you’ve diverted over 255 tons from the landfill, which is a carbon footprint equivalent of 26,000 gallons of gasoline. What types of insights come to your mind when you see these statistics and numbers? One of the things about Green Halo that I really enjoy is that it’s similar to this program called “Cool the Earth”, which we work with here locally. It’s a great grass roots program that’s spreading nationally. Their idea is to train kids to focus on things that they can change…show them that when they turn the lights off and then they see the energy bill at the end of the month, then they will start to see that the small things they do actually have a result. And that’s what I like about Green Halo is that we have the ability to account for the material, see the results of what we are doing, and then change our behavior and modify how we work to then enhance that savings even higher. When I saw what we have diverted since using Green Halo, I turned it into a personal conversation about how: in my smart car, that’s 3,750 fill ups or the equivalent of about a million miles driven. I’ve taken an entire life time of driving off of the planet’s carbon footprint just in this short amount of time that we’ve been using Green Halo! And if we can measure it, we can change it, and that’s what Green Halo allows us to do. They’ve done a really good job making it useful, efficient, scalable, and the best tool for the job. Individual companies like myself can use it, municipalities can use it to collect information from people like me and then they put their stats out as a county. So we use the system as much as possible, and we review it monthly, and everybody always enjoys seeing what’s happened to the material or how much we are diverting or how we can do it differently.

 

Check out http://www.calettijungsten.com/

 

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