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Friday, November 28, 2014

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eco-fashion friday finds – kid’s stuff


Today’s collection of personal faves sheds light on stylish threads for the younger set…

baby with cap

(above) Several years ago while traipsing through a Go Green Expo in NYC I happened upon a fresh line of children’s clothing called TANE Organics. TANE means seed in Japanese.

Founded and designed by Sheree Lee, these beautifully and thoughtfully crafted garments are as special as your sun, moon and stars. Precious and pure as newborns, her super soft fabrics envelop wee ones in soft, natural hues and easy, comfy shapes. Lee applies her women’s knitwear background to the tiny tot collection, replete with a conscious approach to detail from responsible fabric sourcing, assuring fair trade wages and working conditions to artisans, and supporting positive production footprints regarding mama earth.

organic kids clothes

organic cotton toddler

organic kids clothing

(above) The fall/winter 2014 review features the brand’s signature 100 percent certified organic cotton fabric in soft colors and alpaca knits created from the finest undyed cashmere, knitted in the textural link stitch. Luxurious and sophisticated, designed to last through rigorous play-time. Choose from onesies, knit outfits, sweaters, blankets, accessories and toys; $23 for knit hats to $128 for luxe alpaca sweaters @ taneorganics.com

organic cotton baby leggings

(above) For the totally hip – handmade Phoenix Leggings in sweet organic cotton $34 via SugarPlumLaneBaby

organic pj's

(above) From across the pond you can find these adorable pj’s and lots more from The Natural Store. Pictured above, girl’s organic pyjamas, Piccalilly Ditsy Dot Girls’ Pyjamas in Bunny Bag – perfect for an overnight stay. £26.00

organic cotton girls' dress

(above) Treading lightly – the Picalilly Strawberry Applique Dress, fun and fruity in organic cotton; sized from 1 to 8 yrs £20.00

And that my friends, is a wrap … remember to love what you already have and be sure to pass along those pre-loved items so they don’t wind up in the landfill.

related: more eco fashion finds from alternativeconsumer.com

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Steps You Can Take To Reduce Harmful Emissions from Your Car


Eco-friendly carA car is a necessary form of transportation for many people. Cars also produce harmful emissions that damage the atmosphere and reduce local air quality. Although emissions cannot be eliminated completely, they can be reduced. You will want to know about a few steps that you can take to reduce your car’s carbon emissions.

Choose the Right Vehicle
The first step is to choose the right vehicle. If you are going to buy a new car, then look for a vehicle that runs on electricity or that has a hybrid engine. Electric cars produce very few emissions. They are a good choice if you do not have to drive long distances every day or if you live in a city. Hybrid cars switch between electric and gas when appropriate. They can dramatically cut down on harmful emissions.

Regular Maintenance and Inspections
You want to take your vehicle in for car inspections on a regular basis. You should consider scheduling an inspection two to three times a year or once each season. A vehicle inspection can detect problems that are causing your car to work inefficiently. The technicians can perform maintenance at this time to repair small problems and prevent larger issues. The result will be a car that burns less fuel and that emits less carbon into the atmosphere.

Find Ways to Drive Less
One of the best ways to lower carbon emissions is to find ways to drive less. You could organize a car pool to get to work in the morning. You could park farther away from stores and buildings to lower emissions by a small amount every day. Try walking to nearby stores or parks instead of driving a short distance. You might be able to start taking green public transportation instead of driving.

Use the Air Conditioner Less
The refrigerant required to create cool air when you run the air conditioner is very harmful to the atmosphere. The emissions from the car will increase noticeably while you are running the air conditioner. Open the car windows instead while driving. Park your car in shady spots to keep the interior cool. Consider installing a solar-powered fan on your dashboard so that you do not need the air conditioner as much.

Schedule Repairs As Soon As You See Problems
Never allow problem with your car to go unaddressed. If you start to notice performance issues, strange sounds or unusual burning odors, then schedule a vehicle inspection right away. Even a very minor problem could increase emissions every year. Car inspections will detect the source of the problem. The automotive technicians can then make repairs so that emissions do not spike suddenly. This will also improve your fuel efficiency.

Drive Using Green Techniques
A final tip is to use green driving techniques. Keep your car as empty as possible to reduce the weight. Keep the outside clean so that there is less resistance while driving. Always follow the speed limit. Do not brake and accelerate suddenly at traffic lights or intersections. All of these techniques will improve fuel efficiency and reduce harmful emissions.

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Window Treatments: Staying Green and Keeping Bills Down


vertical blinds light filtering

The term “window treatment” may sound a little scientific – and certainly not something that you’d associate with textiles which were once solely regarded as decoration. However, we now live in a society where staying green is on the tip of everyone’s tongue and as such, making wise window treatment decisions are crucial.

If you haven’t deciphered the term just yet, we’re basically referring to blinds and drapes. Most of us usually decide on a product based upon aesthetics, but if you can follow certain tips with your blinds and curtains you can cut your heating, and possibly cooling, costs considerably. We’ll now take a look at just how you can achieve this.

reflective blinds

Consider reflective blinds
One of the recent advancements within the blinds industry is reflective products. These have been devised especially to combat the effects of energy loss and experts believe that they can do this to a mammoth 45%. They can block sunlight from entering, whilst “insulating” a room when winter arrives.

As such, if you haven’t yet purchased your window treatment, this could be something worth considering.

Always hang curtains as close to the window as possible
This is one of the more simple tips we will cover and it solely revolves around the position in which you install your curtains. Allowing them to hang as close to the window as possible will save considerable amounts of energy, simply because you are minimizing the heat exchange potential. If you can also make them overhang so they are touching the windowsill, you will again be able to stop as much heat escaping from the room when the temperature drops.

vertical blinds

Use the blinds’ flexibility to your advantage
One of the reasons why blinds have become more popular over the last few years is there versatility. It doesn’t matter whether you opt for a modern, motorized solution, or standard vertical blinds, they still offer more flexibility than curtains.

Therefore, it’s at this point that you should be using this to your advantage. Alter the position of the slats and create a balance between allowing sufficient sunlight and heat into the room, in accordance with the temperature at the time.

Keeping your curtains closed can be fashionable
We’re by no means suggesting that you should live permanently in the dark, but there can be occasions when keeping your curtains closed can prove to be a godsend from an energy perspective.

During the hot months, it should go without saying that keeping your curtains closed is going to block a lot of heat coming in. In fact, if we look at this from a statistical viewpoint, it’s understood that you can minimize this heat by 33%.

Alternatively, during the cold months, the opposite can occur. By drawing the curtains at this period of the year you can stop heat escaping, with experts suggesting that this can prevent heat loss up to 10%. Both margins are significant, over the course of a year at least, and can make a great impact to your energy bills.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gobble Gobble


thanks centerpiece

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy good food and good company. We all have a lot to be grateful for, so relax and celebrate the bounty. Remember to:

  • Eat and drink in moderation.
  • Exercise appropriately – even a 15-minute walk around the block will help your cardio. And hey, if you see some misplaced trash along the way, pick it up and dispose of it properly.
  • Keep it green – reduce consumption of natural resources; reuse whatever you can instead of tossing into the landfills; recycle packaging and bottles.

Bon appetit!

photo credit: via allwomenstalk.com

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Options for a Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Meal


What is the history of Thanksgiving and when did we all start celebrating? A short version of the story is as follows, in 1621 the pilgrims and Indians came together to share in the bounty of the earth. Following this the first recorded Thanksgiving observance wasn’t until 1671 and happened in Charlestown on June 29th.  Then in 1789 president George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving observance under the new national government. But it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln announced the official fixed date to be the last Thursday of November. Just like that, the turkey holiday was born.

From the start, Thanksgiving has been a holiday surrounding the sharing of food and the giving of thanks. The iconic Thanksgiving food in today’s pop culture is perhaps the turkey.  Trying to keep environmental impact low however means excluding the holidays mascot from the table. Turkeys use up a lot of resources to raise, receive large amounts of antibiotics and have toxins in them. We all know that to lower our carbon foot print we want to consume foods that are at the base of the food chain, namely plant products. But unless you are already a committed vegetarian resisting that sumptuous bird in the middle of the table or envisioning Thanksgiving without it might be tricky. However, now-a-days there are many alternative turkey options to help you make that jump.

tofurky

The poster child of these options is Tofurky. Tofurky has been providing a turkey like alternative for non-meat eaters since 1995. But there are many other options on the market as well if Tofurky doesn’t do it for you. Some other brands Include Field Roast Grain Meat Company, Quorn’s and Gardein.

gardein roast

Many options can be found online or in stores like Whole Foods Market which sells the Gardein holiday roast 3.99 for a 6 oz serving (above).

veggie whole turkey

If a log shaped turkey substitute is not for you and you want to try something more closely resembling a turkey they’ve got that too. Vegetarian Plus makes a turkey shaped turkey substitute that you can even stuff with your own stuffing (above). It’s a bit pricey, Vegetarian Essentials is selling it at 69.99, but despite this they are sold out for the season.

apple turkey

But who says that you have to have a meat like turkey substitute for your table? You can have the iconic turkey on your table alongside your farmers market vegetables as a fun creative platter. This example above uses fresh farmers’ market organic apples sliced and fanned out in alternating colors to create (more…)

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Drive for Free with the Drive Green for Life Program!


Drive Green

Owning the vehicle of your choice and driving it freely through the web of roads crisscrossing your home city is as much an American tradition as the Presidential pardoning of one lucky turkey each year about this time. Being able to finally buy that personal car of your dreams is engrained into American culture, symbolizing freedom, economic status – and a means to sustain life for those that rely on their cars for business.

Drive Green

As we are all aware, each of these conventional-fuel-burning vehicles emits extremely harmful gasses  and with over 250 million registered vehicles in the United States, their combined emissions contribute heavily to climate change. The threat of a changing climate is real, but could anyone really point to their neighbors and say, “I think they should retire that S.U.V. to stop polluting…”?

Drive Green infographic

Well, one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the United States recently partnered with SunPower, a leading supplier of home solar PV systems, and The Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental NGO in the country, to offer consumers the opportunity to more gain access to alternative energy for their home. Ford Motor Company is offering new and existing Ford electric car owners a $750.00 rebate on their purchase or lease of a SunPower home solar system through (more…)

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Monday, November 24, 2014

a tasty new gluten-free snack


quinoa cluster Sometimes I just crave crunchiness. My mouth needs to chomp on something tasty but my mind won’t accept something as bad for you as say, Cheetohs. As I made my way around Fresh Market the other day, this item said buy me. I’m so glad I did.

These little squares are totally yummy … a little salty and nutty with a swirl of chocolate. Here’s what’s in ‘em: organic quinoa, almonds, organic tapioca syrup, organic brown rice syrup, organic cane sugar, organic dark chocolate, organic brown rice crisps, baking soda, salt, almond oil.

nutritional labelThey’re vegan and non-GMO. Quinoa never tasted so good! If you use a little self control and get 4 portions from the package, that’s 130 calories with 3 grams of protein of snackiness. very satisfying. crunch on.

There are 4 other varieties ($4.99/each) – you can check it all out @ iheartkeewah.com

related: more healthy food related on alternativeconsumer.com

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Martifer PV Projects: Integrated Solutions for Fulfilling Solar Power Needs


martifer portugal solar field

Martifer Solar is more than merely a company that focuses on solar energy.  This Portugal based company employs teams of engineers and people who fabricate and design required engineering solutions for various types of solar energy related projects. As per Greentech Media Research’s statistics, Martifer Solar ranks third amongst similar companies in Europe. IHS lists the company in 5th position within Europe and 16th in the world.

martifer solar install rooftop

EPC Services from Martifer Solar
One of the drawbacks that have prevented PV solar technologies from taking off has been the cost versus returns in comparison to the fossil fuels. Martifer can offer PV solutions on 360° turnkey basis, which would include all engineering, purchases and procurement, project management, construction and commissioning related to the PV solar system installation and operations.

Photovoltaic Projects or PV projects from Martifer include EPC or engineering, procurement, and construction services. This means the company can offer customized solutions based on the needs of the people so that each such project becomes viable and offers optimal energy cost savings. It is because of its high standards of reliability today it boasts of having implemented more than 500 projects. The company is also maintaining and operating solar power generators with a capacity of 560 MW across the world.

integrated solar window panels

Variety of PV Projects offered by Martifer Solar
Martifer Solar offers all types of solar power generation solutions under one roof. Therefore, its portfolio of PV projects includes:

  • Ground mounted solar power generating systems
  • Rooftop solar power generating systems
  • Building integrated Photovoltaic projects (BIPV). Martifer’s Torre De Cristal in Madrid still qualifies as the tallest BIPV project, even though the project was completed in 2008.
  • Off-Grid solar power generating systems for people and businesses in remote locations
  • Small solar power generating systems for residential accommodations

Effectively, Martifer undertakes projects suiting the needs of small as well big customers.  This adaptability is one of the reasons for Martifer Solar’s larger market share.

One of the reasons many well-known companies opt for Martifer Solar is because it does more than supply the instrumentation and materials. Its personnel ensure that the project is commissioned and functioning to the satisfaction of the client.

Global Presence
Though Martifer is originally from Portugal, it has spread its activities across the globe. There are collaborations and joint ventures with various companies in different nations. For example, Martifer Solar entered into a joint venture with Hirschfeld Industries in the US. Likewise, it became Maisis’ partner, for technology.

The company has implemented PV projects for well-known businesses such as Hertz. Westfield Group is another famous business that has availed the services of Martifer Solar. In Latin America, the company recently installed a 30 MW project for Gauss Energia.

Martifer Solar has recently received a new contract from Italy. It is a 90 MW project. The company is implementing a project for well known private Equity Fund Company, i.e., Eland, and Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

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