Tag Archives: Sustainable Materials

A Green Thumb

After being recruited to write a quick blog about our experiences last Friday volunteering for the Green Learning Adventure (GLA) I decided to use this opportunity to join Dan in coming up with new ways to lead a more sustainable, environmentally conscious life.

First, a little recap of the GLA. I met up with Bennet after he and Dan educated Sea World employees, we then headed out to a community recreation center that was holding a small Earth Day celebration for elementary and middle school children. There were a handful of environmental education booths for the kids to visit – each kid was required to visit every booth and learn what each had to offer. For some incentive they could enter a raffle at the end to win some cool prizes, including surf lessons. After we spoke to each and gave them a spin on Pedal Power (the human-powered energy bike that demonstrates how much electricity it takes to run lighting and other household items), we would give them a sticker moving them one step closer to the raffle. Each booth would then do the same making for a great day of education.

It was a blast showing the kids the energy differences in the older incandescent light bulbs and the newer more energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s use about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 10 times longer – energystar.gov). I was also amazed at some of the knowledge these children already had – some were even educating ME on what they knew about “vampire loads” and energy efficient light bulbs that their families were already using. We later learned that the community rec center runs programs about energy efficiency and renewable energy.

All in all it was a great experience and I look forward to helping the GLA in the future, it is important to educate the next generation about living sustainably.

As for our next initiative in this project we wanted to move onto a slightly different topic – horticulture. Our recent blog posts have opened us up to new energy and water saving tips and our next step will involve using good ole’ Mother Nature in order to make our everyday lives healthier and happier. We have already started a very nice backyard garden including different varieties of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, peas, strawberries, and a small citrus tree. Our two green thumbs behind the operation, Dan and Colin, have made some great strides towards harvesting farm fresh, organic produce in the backyard.

In the next few days I want to bring some greenery inside in order to freshen up the house. Using house plants as decoration will not only look nice but they will also help improve the air quality. According to Eartheasy.com NASA recently released a study that ranks the top plants for reducing indoor air pollutants. I will be sure to look at some of these for ideas on selecting plants. By doing this, we will make our rooms brighter and more inviting and make us feel more connected to nature.

Stay tuned for the results and a little bit more on connecting our built environment with the natural landscape that surrounds us.

-T. Ufferman

Alley Garden - Adding something fresh to the back alley.

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Filed under 30 ways in 30 days, Buy Local, Carbon Footprint, Conservation, Environment, Gardening, Philanthropy, Uncategorized

Responsible Materials Made or Grown in the US

We started making our shutters from bamboo because we know that bamboo is, without question, a rapidly renewable material.  It regrows into a completely harvestable form, in much less than the required 10 year time frame.

Bamboo, however, has one big pitfall that is really hard to overcome.   It is not commercially grown and harvested in the US.  That translates to long distance shipping.   Not the best scenario.

We started a quest for materials that were responsible and locally grown.

So far we found a few good US sources for poplar (also rapidly renewable) and some FSC Certified basswoods – both very suitable for making shutters.    In addition, we sourced a variety of recyclable composite materials with verifiable recycled content that might prove to be more weather resistant and will create a more “traditional” looking shutter material.

We will continue to search for those materials that best support both the Earth and the US economy as much as possible.  On our wish list:

  • A few consistent sources for reclaimed  materials – ie., barn wood, old flooring – or downcycled materials – ie., pressed pulps or aggregates.
  • A material where we can re-use or completely recycle our scrap and waste.

Next up, re-using and re-working existing shutters to make them more “power-full”.

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Filed under Environment, Recycled Materials, Responsible Materials, Supply Chain Management, Sustainable Businiess