Archives for category: Ordinance

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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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Portland Montreal Pipe Line green halo waste tracking system

The Portland-Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL) carries crude oil between South Portland, Maine and Montreal, Quebec. The PMPL was built in the beginning of World War II to transport the oil shipments to Canada to central Canada. The Portland-Montreal Pipe Line was originally finished in 1941 which could transport oil to Montreal from The USA. Today the Port of Portland is the largest volume oil port on the Eastern Seaboards because of the PMPL.

At the beginning of 2008 the PMPL parties looked into expanding and/or reversing the flow of the PMPL since crude oil reserves are increasing in western Canada. The Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada for one have also been in the news a lot recently because they have bitumen or heavy crude oil. Since the modern method of oil production from heavy crude oil causes devastation to the natural environment and human health, the South Portland, Maine area recently made the decision to keep tar sands out of its port.

The PMPL Corp. says that “the ban won’t hold up in court”.

More from:

http://www.npr.org/sections/environment/

http://www.pmpl.com/

and http://updates.mainetoday.com/updates/021895.html

 

Another great Green article from Green Halo

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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/

 

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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Green building is expected to grow 10% in upcoming years and many in the industry consider sustainable building to be the “right way to build” now a days. At a time when people are still building, consuming, and spending the majority of their time indoors it is critical that we build more sustainable buildings. Calrecycle.ca.gov explains that green buildings are designed to meet certain objectives such as “protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; using energy, water, and other resources more efficiently; and reducing the overall impact to the environment”. If you’ve ever been in a green building before, high achieving green buildings are stunning. The air quality inside certainly feels better than most buildings, the overall impact to the environment is also great because of the landscaping that is chosen and you would notice different materials that are likely made from recycling.

This article is preparation for a very special “How to Choose a Green Contractor” interview/article that is coming soon. What’s important to know ahead of time, is what a green building looks like because it is a fairly new idea. Some of the benefits are lower operating costs over the life of the building, improved productivity, reduced environmental impact, and increase in health and in comfort.

Some green buildings look like the modern marvels they are but they can also be designed to be more lavish like other fabulous homes of the past. Now, let’s look at some inspiring homes, and please read next week for the special piece that’s coming up!

green halo waste tracking system building green leed wood nvidia green halo waste tracking system building green leed wood green halo waste tracking system building green leed green leed building green halo waste tracking system

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
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After writing about the EPA’s new proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, and China’s battle against smog, we want to present a new “Smog-Sucking Electrostatic Vacuum Cleaner” idea that cleanses polluted air:

Copper coils buried in the ground create a positively charged electrostatic field. All particles of ten nanometres or more — including smog — become positively charged, and thus attracted to the grounded earth, where they are collected. “It’s a loop of fresh air,”

The method of ionizing smog particles came from Delft University of Technology researcher Bob Ursem who noticed that tiny particles of organic debris would move from the Atlantic Ocean onto the beach. The particles would fly over the dunes, towards the bushes and then over the bushes. Ursem explained that the particles had a negative charge because of friction and they floated above the negatively charged bushes, “…indicating that the electrical force is greater than the gravity force”. Ursem began studying the negatively charged particles by replicating this phenomenon in his lab and he eventually was able to reverse the charge on the particles using an electrostatic field. Under lab conditions, Ursem created an “ionic wind” as the force of positively charged particles attached themselves to the ground. This sweeping discovery is fascinating also because of Roosegaarde’s awesome plans and creativity. Roosegaarde is trying to build such devices to place on the sides of buildings in Beijing to reduce smog in the city. The latest project specs indicate that the pockets of cleansed air will be in parks so that people can enjoy a 30,000 meters cubed area of fresh air. Another testament to Roosegaarde’s creativity is that he would like the particles in smog that get collected by the air-purifying devices to be turned into “diamond” rings representing the smog that is collected in this process.

Roosegaarde’s smog air bubble airea

 

(Source: http://www.studioroosegaarde.net/project/the-smog-project/stories/#794 and http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2014/04/start/beijings-cloud-server)

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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Obama and the EPA 's fight on power plants, the epa, climate change and green house gas

We at Green Halo Systems have been following the news about the USA’s greenhouse gas policies since the beginning of the year when the Secretary of State John Kerry’s goal was to become the “lead broker of a global climate treaty” according to The New York Times. John Kerry has made President Barack Obama and millions of others focus on global warming in the past six months and today it was announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a 30% cut from 2005 figures to all power plant emissions by 2030.

To review some of what has happened since the beginning of the year, this past February, the EPA drafted a new rule to regulate 1,500 power plans in America to curb climate change and to tighten the language on such a rule. Later that month, Pres Obama ordered the development of new fuel efficiency standards for the nation’s heavy-duty trucks through the use of executive authority. Days later, the Supreme Court considered the President’s orders when it comes to emissions from “stationary sources” such as power plants. Pres Obama’s use of executive authority has since become a popular topic.

At the end of March the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change report warned that climate change is having a “sweeping effect worldwide” that is likely to grow worse unless greenhouse emissions get under control. The report gave weight to Pres Obama’s effort to use his executive authority under The Clean Air Act.

During April the United Nations report said that the United States needs to develop a climate change law so taxing carbon pollution was up for discussion. Paul Krugman’s response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s statement was that economists’ optimism about limiting emissions of greenhouse gases is due to technological innovations that have decreased the cost of renewable energy.

At the beginning of May, Pres Obama announced investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The President campaigned to build support for the EPA’s carbon pollution limits on pollution from coal-fired power plants. Also in May, research about the giant glaciers’ “tipping points” as proof of global warming was scrutinized by The New York Times. Pres Obama also recently stated that the proof of climate change makes this issue “not some distant problem of the future”.

And so now, in the beginning of June, Pres Obama reiterated the importance of climate change policies in his second-term agenda. On June 1st, 2014, the Obama administration proposed what might be the most ambitious climate change mitigation strategy in the USA so far. The proposal is that the entire power sector (America’s largest carbon polluter) must bring its emission levels down by 30% from what they were in 2005 by the year 2030.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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There is currently legislation to phase out products containing plastic microbeads in New York and Illinois. These tiny pieces are often made out of plastic and they are commonly put into body washes and facial cleansers to exfoliate the skin. Environmentalists say that these microbeads are polluting the ocean and research is now underway in the Great Lakes which contain more than 20% of the world’s freshwater.

Earth Touch News Network explains: “Because of their small size and buoyancy, microbeads escape treatment by sewage plants and are discharged into rivers, lakes and oceans. Mistaken for food, they’re ingested by small fish and other aquatic life. But the problem isn’t just the obvious belly-aching threat of swallowing plastic. The plastic beads also accumulate toxic chemicals that may be found in the water, poisoning the fish” small fish can die from ingesting too many microbeads.

microbead legislation new york illinois green halo

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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In a permanent extension of a 2007 law, San Francisco has made it illegal for the City to buy or distribute plastic water bottles. Bottled water contributes to massive amounts of litter and plastic waste all over the world. San Francisco has an aggressive plan to achieve zero net waste by 2020. In 2013, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors appeared ready to enact one of the strictest bans on bottled water in the nation. Days ago, the proposal became law, and plastic water bottles smaller than 21 ounces will no longer be allowed on city property starting Oct. 1, 2014.

Green Halo - San Francisco Bans Bottled Water on City PropertySan Francisco’s legislation, introduced by Supervisor David Chiu, “does not prohibit private business from trading in small plastic bottles of water.” Rather, it restricts the sale at events of more than 100 people (not including marathons and other sporting events), and on all city property and parks. San Francisco Airport will also be allowed to sell plastic bottles indefinitely.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors supported the legislation unanimously. Prior to the vote, Chiu held up a water bottle that was a quarter of the way filled with oil. The move illustrated just how much oil is used in the production and transport of plastic water bottles.

“He also reminded San Franciscans that the current fad of buying bottled water only started in the 1990s when the bottled water industry mounted a huge ad campaign that got Americans buying bottled water,” reports the San Francisco Bay Guardian. “Somehow, Chiu noted, ‘for centuries, everybody managed to stay hydrated.’ He, and the rest of San Francisco seem confident that they can learn to do so again.

Not surprisingly, the American Beverage Association and bottled water industry were less than enthusiastic about the bottled water ban. These critics claim that banning bottled water at concerts and other large events will drive them to choose alcohol or carbonated beverages instead of healthier water.

Learn more about this new legislation here.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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Berkeley officials took steps Tuesday to impose a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, suggesting it is the type of city that could pass one, even though beverage companies spent millions in 2013 to defeat a soda tax in nearby Richmond.

Bloomberg Moves To Ban Sugary Drinks In NYC Restaurants And Movie Theaters

The City Council voted to put a sugar tax on a community poll assessing possible ballot measures for the November 2014 election. A broad coalition of local groups, rallying under the banner of Berkeley vs Big Soda, turned out a crowd of vocal advocates for a one cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

“No city has been able to successfully pass a sugar-sweetened beverages tax. But it will happen here in Berkeley,” said Councilman Darryl Moore.

“The reason for such a tax is clear,” said Vicki Alexander, co-chair, Berkeley Healthy Child Coalition. “40% of Berkeley Unified 9th graders are overweight. An African-American resident is four times more likely than a white resident to have been diagnosed with diabetes. It is unconscionable to stand by and do nothing. Please be for Berkeley and against big soda. The health of our children and our families is at stake.”

Several council members said there is a difficult choice between placing a special tax — the funds of which could go for a specific purpose, such as nutrition programs in schools — or a general tax — where funds go into the city’s general fund — on the ballot. A special tax requires a two-thirds majority vote, while a general tax requires only 50% plus one. Alexander said the campaign estimates a one cent tax per ounce in Berkeley would produce $1.5 million annually.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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Green Halo - China New Smog RegulationsThe famously smoggy Chinese capital of Beijing is finally doing something to curb its appalling air pollution. By a vote of 659-23, the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress passed a new law that for the first time will target reductions infine particulate matter (PM2.5) that pose the greatest health risk to the city’s more than 20 million residents.

A look at Wednesday’s real-time air quality index finds Beijing’s PM2.5 level at a “very unhealthy” level of 270 micrograms per cubic meter. The PM2.5 level in Beijing surpassed 500 on January 15 for the first time this year.  Beijing’s PM2.5 level averages around 227, which is far above the national standard of 34 and the World Health Organization’s safe level of 25. Amazingly, Delhi, India’s air pollution is even worse than Beijing’s with an average measurement of 473. By mid-January, Delhi had passed the 500 mark eight times.

The law, which goes into effect in March, is designed to reduce the city’s total pollutant emissions with tougher punishments for polluters, including daily fines for air pollution violations and possible criminal action for more serious violations.

As part of China’s effort to get tough on industrial polluters, the country’s environmental watchdog last year vetoed as many as 35 projects worth 118.4 billion yuan.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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