Negotiations at the World Trade Organization on a free-trade agreement that would free “environmental goods” from the shackles of tariffs and other protectionist measures. The WTO talks involve the United States, China, the European Union, and 11 other countries and affect $1 trillion worth of trade every year.
Examples from the list include waste incinerators, which burn trash to produce electricity — and, in doing so, can pollute air and water with poisonous byproducts. The list also includes steam generators, which are used by coal and nuclear power plants. And it includes centrifuges, which are not only used for water purification but also by tar-sands oil producers.
The 2013 infrastructure report card for the U.S. is out and doesn't look good as a result of lots of deferred maintenance over many years. Let's face it, infrastructure is often invisible, and even when it is not, it is most often just not a very sexy topic. And public spending over the last 40-50 years has echoed that sentiment with public infrastructure investment in 2013 half of what it was fifty years ago in terms of percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP).
But with a nearly failing grade, it is time to sink more resources into upgrading our nation's infrastructure, creating more jobs, and creating more sustainable conections that, from the ground up keep our homes, businesses, cities and economies connected and working. Infrastructure is essential to support healthy, vibrant communities and is critical for long-term economic growth, increasing GDP, employment, household income, and exports.
Infrastructure is the foundation that connects the nation’s businesses, communities, and people, driving our economy and improving our quality of life. The U.S. economy has been one of the strongest, most vibrant in the world because of the infastructure investment made during the depression.
It is also an opportunity to incorporate sustainability measures to maximize the investment for our long-term viability – creating solar roads that move people and goods efficiently, produce renewable power for our homes and electric cars.
King County Parks, located in Washington State, took top honors for their eco-friendly cargo camping containers. When was the last time your camping experience included staying in a repurposed cargo container? King County Parks’ popular cargo container-turned-camping structure at Tolt-MacDonald Park near Carnation has been honored with the “Spotlight Award for Innovative Facility” from the Washington Recreation and Parks Association. The camping container has been a hit with visitors to Tolt-MacDonald Park and Campground since its installation among the tall trees and near the west bank of the Snoqualmie River. Campers have enjoyed the comfort and convenience of the container, including a double/single futon bunk and a futon cot-sized chair that converts to a bed. Radiant heat, LED lighting, a table and bench set, and food storage are among the additional indoor features, while outside there is a deck, picnic table and fire pit. Developed in partnership with the King County Solid Waste Division Green Tools program, the cargo camping container has been retrofitted with sustainable and recycled materials throughout the design. The work resulted in a facility that achieved the highest “Platinum” rating on the King County Sustainable Scorecard.
GREEN MOVINGTOWARD SUSTAINABLE Most notably the building industry is beginning to embrace deep sustainability in the full context of healthy environmental, economic and social systems. When we first began our research in 1998, green products numbered less than fifty, and were almost entirely 'green' with a single attribute of recycled content.
Fifteen years later, there are literally tens of thousands of products that claim to be some shade of green based on comprehensive sustainable, multi-attribute life cycle criteria. The U.S. Green Building Council has just this year addressed health issues and is promoting product transparency credits in its new LEED v4 building certification, a great leap forward for sustainability to be sure!
Even more exciting, there are now a growing number of companies producing these products that are starting to embrace social and environmental sustainability, pushing the envelope in new and innovatives ways. These companies are discovering the added value in being industry leaders and are actually creating market value in becoming sustainable. The Dow Jones even has a Sustainability Index now!
We are excited to see these developments within the building industry and are proud of the many contributions Green Building Pages has made to this market transformation.
HIGHLIGHTS COMPREHENSIVE SUSTAINABILITY CRITERIA BEFORE ITS TIME
In 2002, Green Building Pages became the first online web resource to ask full spectrum sustainability questions of product manufacturers including life-cycle environmental impacts, health impacts, chemicals of concern, as well as corporate responsibility and social sustainability reporting.
BENCHMARKING SUSTAINABILITY AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Green Building Pages' original 2002 Benchmarking Sustainability included economic and social justice criteria for the building industry based on the work done by Green America (formerly Co-op America) for the general consumer market, and incorporated corporate sustainability criteria using CERES 1997 Global Reporting Institute (GRI) guidelines.
Benchmarking Sustainability company and product evaluations provided a consistent, transparent format that enabled informed decision-making and provided concrete guidance to product manufacturers seeking to understand sustainability. It also provided a framework with incremental goals for creating and promoting sustainable products and companies.
ASTM THIRD-PARTY VALIDATION
In 2005 the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) approved the ASTM-E2129 Standard Practice for Data Collection for Sustainability Assessment of Building Products correlating directly with the Green Building Pages' 2002 Benchmarking Sustainability environmental criteria. MOVING THE MARKET In 2007 Green Building Pages initiated annual Benchmarking Sustainability Awards, and Earth Day Top Ten Awards to recognize and incentivize raising the sustainability bar.
In 2010, Green Building Pages became the first online web resouce to provide comprehensive certification information, certification transparency and cross-comparisons, in addition to benchmarking products for cross-comparisons, helping consumers to sift through growing greenwash and confusing marketing claims.
CONTINUING OUR MISSION, EXPANDING THE FOCUS
While we take pride on the work accomplished over the last fifteen years, we continue to remain focused on the our original mission to create a more sustainable world recognizing and supporting products and companies that preserve health, the environment, social equity and economic sustainability globally.
Expanding on the last fifteen years' work, Green Building Pages has launched a sister site, GREEN PRODUCT PAGES, Benchmarking Sustainability in the general consumer and global market.
Green Building Pages launched the GREEN USA TOUR in 2013 to celebrate the 15 Year Anniversary of Benchmarking Sustainability, highlighting the breadth and depth of sustainability efforts across the North American continent. These manufacturing, company and community accomplishments will be highlighted on the two sister websites, in case studies, video Interviews, and in the GREEN UMP blog throughout the coming year.
THANKS TO ALL THOSE WHO CONTRIBUTED
Thanks to all those who have contributed to Green Building Pages' development over the last fifteen years, to the dedicated product manufacturers who continue to raise the bar, and to the decision-makers who use their purchasing power to drive to market toward greater health, environmental and social sustainability with each informed decision.
FARM AND TABLE serves up great locally grown and produced foods (some grown right behind the restaurant) in a beautiful indoor/outdoor restaurant hand crafted from local adobe, natural clay paints, and recycled materials. Located in Albuquerque's North Valley, with over 300 days of sunshine, irrigation from the Rio
Grande, and rich soil, farmers and artisans are turning more and more to growing fresh
produce, raising happy animals, making delectable cheeses, cultivating
pure honey, creating acclaimed wines, brewing great beer, and serving it up in great style.
I had the pleasure of tasting some of the food harvested that day, cooked to perfection and served in the most beautiful of restaurants. By chance the owner, Cherie Austin, and her husband Joseph and daughter were there that evening welcoming and chatting with guests so I got the history and grand tour of the restaurant, farm and community. You could immediately see the importance of community, among the guests, the farm, restaurant staff and especially the owners. Here is a sampling of the community offerings at the farm celebrating the recent solstice:
7am-8am: Yoga in the Field Grab your mat and start your day with yoga led by Marisol Brito.
8am -9am: Field Blessing & Community Harvest
Aimee of Sol Harvest will lead a field blessing after our yoga class.
Then stay to join Farmer Ric for a community vegetable harvest. Take
home some of the fruits (or veggies) of your labor.
6/7/8 pm: Field Walks w/ Farmer Ric Walk the
rows with Farmer Ric. Learn more about his passion for growing local and
ask questions about growing your own. Expect a lovely sunset to close
out the night.
I imagine there are lovely sunsets most evenings here. This is sustainable and local at its yummy, nourishing and inspirational best - what a treat!
Speaking about no compromise design and innovation that will change an industry, Elon Musk has done it again! TESLA launched its replaceable (in 90 sec.) car battery along with plans to create service corridors for its electric car owners.
electric car maker’s CEO Elon Musk said the system offers an
alternative to charging EVs and should help convince consumers that EVs
are “more convenient than a gasoline car.” Musk demonstrated the new
technology on stage, swapping out two Model S battery packs in less time
than it took for a car on a video screen to fill up with gas, which
took about four minutes.
A battery pack swap will cost between $60 and $80--about the same as filling up a 15-gallon gas tank. Reuters says the stations will each cost about a half a million dollars to build.
The battery swap stations will be located
alongside Tesla’s fast-charging stations, Musk said on Thursday. The
free fast-charge stations take about 30 minutes to charge a battery.
“The only decision you need to make when you come to one of our Tesla
stations is do you prefer faster or free,” Musk said.
Tesla will roll out the battery swap
technology this year, first between Los Angeles and San Francisco and
then in the Washington-to-Boston corridor, Reuters reports.