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Friday, August 29, 2014


eco fashion friday finds – end of summer sales

recycled poly blazer

Hard to believe Labor Day’s this weekend. Time to cash in on some good ol’ savings. Nau’s current sale includes some great outdoorsy stuff and transitional pieces like this Carry-On Blazer designed for the all-weather commuter. This figure flattering blazer is made from densely woven recycled poly – the soft shell is designed to cut through the wind and rain to create the quintessential tailored travel piece. The pared-down, durable construction makes the Carry-On as light as possible for storing in your travel bag. Marked down from $225 to $158 @

renne denim dress

One our NYC favorites, Kaight Shop, is having their annual summer sale. You can save 50% or more on designer fashions – many of which are ethically made with organic and eco-friendly fabrics. The Rikya Renne double denim shift dress (pictured above) is cute and ethically made. $75 @

raw diamond and recycled gold ring

For me, the perfect time to buy jewelry is when it’s on sale. This ring (above) features a raw diamond embedded in a recycled 14k solid rose gold nugget. The nugget has been hand-formed into an organically-shaped heart into which the diamond has been hand set. A fun and adorable everyday ring. Click on the Summer Sale tab. sale price – $236.25 @ Louisa Gallery

yoga tank

Gaiam always features some great sale items for those looking for yoga, casual and eco-friendly clothing options. This Everyday Swing Tank (above) is marked down from $52 to a delicious $14.99 @

related: more eco fashion finds from The Alternative Consumer

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

12 story Delta passive house by studio505

Delta passive house highrise

Innovative Australian architectural and design firm, studio505, is the creative force behind an exciting new project being developed for their client, Grocon LTD. Plans have begun for a 10-to 12-story “Passive House” apartment building currently called Delta. The green building is designed to be carbon neutral and built entirely from engineered timber on the former site of the Carlton Brewery in Melbourne.

Delta passive building overheadThe triangular residential tower will eventually rise 10-12 stories above downtown Melbourne and will stand atop a 6-story podium building designed by studio505 to house an ultra-modern flexible commercial and cultural space.

passive geothermal design

Among the project’s green attributes

  • the building will have a geothermal feed and a heating and cooling ventilation system that includes a heat pump.
  • The tower will also feature triple glazed glass, a windproof, airtight outer seal and state-of-the-art insulation and passive ventilation systems.

Delta’s design will be based on the well known “Passive House” standard. The building’s airtight construction, efficient ventilation and air exchange enable heating and cooling by passive geothermal and solar sources, rather than energy hogging active mechanized systems. The goal of a Passive House is to reach a zero energy profile. Delta would be the first Passive House structure of this size and scope to be constructed in Australia.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Virtual Water Dilemma: Act One – Food

fresh water with bubbles

What is virtual water?
In times of drought people try their best to not let the faucet run, take a shorter shower and water the gardens less. But these are all activities during which we can see how much water we are wasting, making saving it simpler; we just don’t use as much. But what most people don’t think about is virtual water. Virtual water is a term for all the water that goes into making an end product.

Perhaps the most common source of virtual water in our daily lives is the food we choose to eat. In fact more than 50 percent of our water footprint is derived by the food we consume. From growing, to transport, to processing and distributing all the food we eat comes to us at some virtual water cost. Even a simple task like deciding whether or not we want cheese on our hamburger can have an impact. After all it takes 700 gallons to make one pound of cheese.

cows look into camera

The cheeseburger 
Let’s break down that cheeseburger. For the bun – top and bottom – we’re looking at 22 gallons of water. Our meat patty is 616 gallons and if we want cheese on it we need to tack on an extra 56. If we’re feeling healthy and we want the veggies, lettuce costs 1.5 and tomato costs 3. But what is any burger without some fries, so that will be another 6. In the end the entire combo takes about 700 gallons to make. But why is it so water costly to make one cheeseburger? Because of all the other things that require water to put that burger on your tray. Plants and animals don’t just grow up overnight and from nothing. Plants have to be watered from seed to harvest. And animals need to be fed food that is first grown and then the animal itself consumes H2O. Keep in mind that the gallons needed may vary based on region, processing and treatment of the livestock.

water in fruit_1

The switch up
Knowing about the virtual water that goes into a product is the first step to making water-wise choices. There is no way to eliminate virtual water consumption all together but we can make eating choices that help lessen the blow.

  • Instead of beef have chicken – beef can require a staggering 2,500 to 5,000 gallons to produce – chicken, a more modest 815 gallons.
  • 8oz of coffee will cost 29 gallons so switch it to a tea which only uses 7.
  • For a sweet treat – 1 pound of chocolate costs a 2,847 gallons vs. a mango that requires 190.
  • Cut back on the butter. Butter which comes in at 2,044 gallons is something most of us can do with much less of.

No one is saying give up eating animal products altogether but because animal products are more costly, cutting back there will have the greatest impact. Also keep in mind that not all produce is created equal – some cost more than others but as producers they may still have the lowest impact.

Fresh water with bubbles photo via

related: more food articles from The Alternative Consumer

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

American Performance Technologies: The SmartCarb

Small engine fuel delivery systems have experienced a constant evolution since the introduction of the internal combustion engine towards the end of the 19th century, with innovations such as the carburetor and the electronic fuel injection (EFI) system appearing to feed larger and more powerful engines. It’s now become common knowledge that the newest EFI systems provide the optimal blend of engine power, fuel efficiency and emissions reductions, but one good ol’ American company is working to change that.

The SmartCarb® from American Performance Technologies, based in Kansas City, Missouri, is poised to revolutionize the small engine fuel delivery system industries by turning back the clock on what is “best” for the consumer. The SmartCarb® is the culmination of 45 years of development on the classic, flat slide carburetor, featuring automatic altitude compensation, increased horsepower and significantly better fuel economy than other carburetors on the market. This device can potentially be installed on motorcycles, all terrain vehicles, portable generators and small aircraft, or perhaps conventional full-size vehicles in the future!

The most notable improvement in the APT SmartCarb® is it’s revolutionary high atomization rate of fuel (in other words, the “stream” of fuel is converted into a “mist”) which allows for a significantly higher amount of fuel to be burned in the combustion process. (more…)

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Planning a Trip to Paris? Checkout This New 2-Wheeled Trend

rental bike and Eiffel tower

Paris, the city of lights, is a world renowned tourist destination. Like many European cities it offers a wide range of transportation options. One that is particularly interesting and eco-friendly is the Velib bike rental. Instead of sitting in the traditional tour bus with a bunch of clamoring, chatting strangers, you can tour the city of light by bicycle.

The Velib program, which was launched in 2007, has had much success and been a shining example for other cities. The first 30 minutes of every checkout is free, and some of the pass options include:

  • A Velib Classic pass is 29 euros or about 39 US. And is good 24/7 for an entire year.
  • A Velib Passion pass is 39 euros or about 52 US. And is good 24/7 for an entire year and gets you the first 45 minutes free instead.
  • A 7-Day ticket is only 8 euros, about 11 US. And is good for an entire week.
  • A 1-Day ticket is 1.70 euros, about 3 US. And is good for 24 hrs.
  • Note: Depending on exchange rates these prices may change.

Velib bike share station

Bikes are rented from a collection of 1,800 docking stations which are located every 300 meters from each other, about 0 .1 mile or 984 feet.  Each station has up to 70 bike posts, where the bikes can be checked back in and re-rented. If space isn’t available a 15 minute extension is given to reach the next station. Stations are embedded all over the city and are broken up by districts. Choosing to use the bike instead of a taxi allows you to immerse yourself in city and you won’t have to worry about getting caught up in traffic. (more…)

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