France Passes Law to Promote Green Roofs

Environmentalism is fast becoming a top concern in France – a rooftop concern, to be precise. Excitingly, the nation has just passed new legislation that will require all upcoming commercial construction projects to feature either green roofs or solar panels above their top floors.

By now, most people are at least passingly familiar with the benefits of solar panels, but green roofs remain unknown to the general public. A green roof is one that is covered in lush plant life, and the perks extend well beyond the aesthetic. Because green roofs help to insulate, buildings are able to slash seasonal energy costs for both heating and air conditioning by approximately 25 percent.

That alone should be incentive for buildings to add a “plantscape” to their roofs, but the advantages don’t end there. Green roofs also help to reduce water runoff during rainstorms, combat air pollution, provide food for the buildings’ residents, and even make a good home for birds that are normally displaced by urban development.

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Focus on Eliminating Litter Rather than Eliminating Foam

Florida has recently talked about the prospect of implementing a foam ban across the state. This Florida foam ban would not only affect small businesses and schools, but the whole tourist economy of Florida. The reality is that even if Florida was to ban foam and switch to more costly alternatives, wouldn’t those be littered as well? Rather than ban foam to prevent the wellbeing of Florida’s terrain it is important to create more recycling centers where foam can be recycled and inform Floridians on the resourcefulness of foam.

Foam is a 100 percent recyclable and currently there are four Dart recycling centers for foam in Florida. They are located in Jacksonville, Miami, Plant City and Tampa. The community can work together to build even more recycling centers where foam can be recycled rather than just tossed on the beach. Florida is a huge tourist destination where people go to enjoy the terrain of the state. Between the wildlife creatures of the sunshine state, the beaches, and the 12 national parks of Florida it is important to preserve this resourceful state. Banning foam does not have to be the solution to do this though.

There are several reasons why we should recycle, but first and foremost it is because it is good for the environment. By recycling you are saving resources, energy and money. Recycling leads to getting rid of less trash, which reduces air and water pollution that is circulating in the environment. By reducing the amount that you dispose of each day you are actually helping the landfills. The size of landfills benefit from the amount of waste we are recycling rather than disposing of. If landfill sites are inundated with waste it can have negative affects on the environment and its surroundings.

Recycling foam can also lead to the prospect of more jobs for people in a community, which is always a positive side! It is important to look at the pros and cons to the foam ban and realize that foam might not be the issue, but litter is the larger issue at hand.

Top ways your business can save energy

From the obvious offense of leaving lights on when no one is in the room to the sneaky energy suckers like incandescent “exit” signs that use up ten times the energy as an LED one, most businesses and organizations have some room for energy efficiency improvement. Below are some tips to get started:


Replace all your inefficient, outdated or underused lighting throughout the building. When replacing it, consider newer technologies, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These can also be used with compatible dimming systems to maximize efficiency by only using what is necessary. Similarly, utilizing sunlight when it’s available for the workspace can be a huge benefit. Not only does it save energy, but it is also healthier for employees.

Temperature Control

Installing either programmable thermostats or locking devices to prevent changes can save a ton of money and energy. When the temperature is at an adequate place, such as around 63 degrees during business hours and 68 degrees during nonbusiness hours, the space will remain comfortable and consistent, as well as allowing the unchangeable thermostat to prevent any tampering.

Fun fact: A one degree change in your thermostat may save you 3% off your energy bill.


Simple changes like turning off all computers, monitors, printers and copiers during nonbusiness hours can make a huge difference. Or, try switching to laptops, which can save 80-90% of the power that a desktop uses. Additionally, many businesses have had success with installing sensors that automatically turn off lights and other equipment when it is not in use.

Employee Education

Lastly, ensure that your employees thoroughly understand why your goal is to save energy and the environmental and financial repercussions of using energy irresponsibly. Several organizations, such as Cenergistic, formerly known as Energy Education Inc., exist to help organizations conserve energy through customized plans. These are often coupled with employee education, which may show why they are so effective, in addition to the customized services they offer.

Go Green, Think Locally

Polystyrene foam is 100 percent recyclable, which makes it a multi-use material made for long durations. Foam products are heat resistant, insulated and more affordable than other materials. In schools alone, using foam trays saves schools tremendous amounts of money a year compared to using compostable trays, which are a more pricey option.

As more states are quick to add foam bans it is important to think about the impact it will have on small businesses and organizations across states. The prospect of a Connecticut foam ban will put hardworking people out of jobs and increase costs for a lot of companies who rely heavily on foam.

The concept of a foam ban was created in an attempt to both eliminate litter and “go green,” but in turn it is worse to eliminate foam all together. Consumers will start to use other products, which will also be littered just like foam and it will create a vicious cycle.

So, what is a better solution?

Foam recycling centers are popping up around North America and are continuing to expand. In Massachusetts there are currently six foam recycling locations, which are located in Carlisle, Leominster, Newburyport, Reading, Newton and South Hadley. There is room for more recycling centers across New England, which will support all of the smaller states as well.

Recycling centers are a more practical solution than a foam ban since foam is more functional and affordable than its alternative options. Recycling centers are a place where people can come and bring polystyrene foam products that they are no longer using and in turn their products will be refurbished into either hangers, picture frames, rulers or much more.

Three Ways to Save Energy This Winter

In the wintertime it is very easy to hibernate and hide away for four incredibly chilly months. Rather than create a nest in your home and never leave the bubble, there are ways to save energy and warm up without boosting your utility bills. This article unfortunately does not apply to you if you’re in the warmth this winter and not surrounded in snow up to your neck. Energy conservation companies like Cenergistic Inc. strive to save energy year round. Saving energy is good for both your wallet and the environment.

  • Allow Sunlight In

Although your first instinct might be to close all of the drapes in your home and sulk in a pity party of chilly air, open your drapes and let the sunlight in! During the day in the winter although you might not think so, natural sunlight is one way to heat your home for free. Not to mention it will also cheer up your mood seeing some fresh rays in your home.

  • Turn Down the Heat at Night

Keeping your heat running on high temperatures all day and night can be a bit costly. By turning down your heat at night by 10 to 15 degrees, you can save around 10 percent on your heating bills each year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Turn down the heat to a temperature, which you can tolerate and doesn’t make your home too cool!

3)    Laundry Tips

Wash your clothes in cool water in the winter, which saves you from spending more money on hot water. Cool water in the winter is fine for your clothes even though many myths say that warm water is the best way to disinfect your clothes. It is important to also run full loads of laundry to avoid having to use excessive amounts of water.

Energy Saving Solutions

Many government agencies around the country are looking for ways to trim costs to comply with tighter budgets. A number of school districts around the nation have turned to Cenergistic for a proven and reliable way to contain energy costs and achieve compliance with the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergyStar building program. These measures can make a significant impact on these agencies’ annual energy usage.

Cenergistic For Energy Savings

Cenergistic has made its name as one of the premiere energy conservation companies in the country. They have helped institutions across the United States to maximize their energy use, minimize inefficiencies and produce measurable cost savings for better budget management. Cenergistic works with each individual client to determine how energy is being used and determines the best way to eliminate waste, yet still provide the most comfortable environment for their needs.

The Cenergistic Advantage

· Energy conservation professionals who are experienced in all types of energy systems, from old-style boilers to solar systems.

· Representatives that work on-site to work with building management staff to produce superior results.

· Comprehensive analysis of all facets of energy use using ENERGYCAP software, which provides industry-approved criteria for measurement of energy savings.

· Cenergistic requires no initial outlay of money to begin the program.

Precise Analysis
Cenergistic’s analysis and conservation measures can ensure that equipment runs only when it is needed and optimizes its operation when it is running, which leads to energy and costs savings throughout the year.

Measurable Results

Cenergistic understands that accountability lies at the heart of every consulting task. They work hard to provide understandable results that show exactly how savings are being accomplished and where further improvements can be made. The benefits are not only monetary, but in public relations, as well. Cenergistic helps institutions to comply with EnergyStar requirements, which show that your institution is committed to use energy resources wisely for the good of the society.

No Initial Cost

Another critical aspect of Cenergistic is that no initial outlay of funds is required to begin an analysis of energy use. The company is paid as a percentage of the money that the institution saves each year. Cenergistic guarantees their results and makes it easy for institutions to benefit from their extensive knowledge and experience in the energy conservation field.

Five Notable Green Buildings in America

The U.S. Green Building Council

Naturally, the USGBC is a pioneer in the green building industry, practicing what they preach with a LEED Platinum-certified headquarters in DC. The building features a, “eco-corridor,” a two-story waterfall (which serves a purpose–it regulates the building’s indoor climate) and an energy meter that gives updated feedback. Walls are gilded with repurposed good and they take advantage of as much natural light as possible in the workplace, making the headquarters a leader in sustainability and functionality.

California Academy of Sciences

Within the walls of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco (which are comprised of floor-to-ceiling German glass which minimizes cooling energy while maximizing natural light) are all kinds of innovative ways to keep the building sustainably sound and preserve our natural resources. 90 percent of all regularly occupied spaces in the building are lit by daylight and have stunning outside views, and the green roof serves as a home for wildlife.

The Empire State Building

When President of Malkin Holdings (owner of the Empire State Building) Tony Malkin decided that “bike racks and showers are not going to change the world,” he took matters into his own hands in 2009 with a retrofit for the Empire State Building. Within three years, the program cut $7.5 million in energy costs. Recognizing that commercial buildings account for around 80 percent of the energy used in New York, Malkin partnered with organizations to transform the iconic landmark, complete with LED lights, window refurbishment, efficient lighting and tenant energy management.

Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies

On the campus of Oberlin College in Ohio, the Lewis Center is equipped with solar panels, geothermal air systems and biodegradable upholstery, making the zero-energy building a mecca for environmental studies. It would have qualified for a LEED Platinum building, had the LEED system been established prior to the building.

Lance Armstrong Foundation

A 1950s warehouse was renovated several years ago to become the headquarters of Lance Armstrong’s Foundation in Austin, Tex. They recycled 88% of the building’s original material to create a multifunctional office space, complete with north-facing windows, dining facilities, and a gym. The building boasts a LEED Gold Certification.

Even Cruise Ship Passengers Recycle


The wave of recycling the trash mankind makes on any average day has spread from large cities to the farms and rural residential areas. Today large bins labeled for recycling trash separation can be seen along sprawling country roads, not just in busy shopping centers. Moreover, a decade of public education has resulted in even cruise lines on international waters doing their part to keep the earth green. Cruising in Green The cruise industry has joined the fight for green in our environment and on board luxury vessels you will find separate bins for recycling or non-recycling trash on every deck and at every eatery. These vessels are not American cruise ships but do port along the seaboard, so this is an indication that the cruising world is as adamant about recycling to keep our earth green as any good Boy Scout or Girl Scout in the States. Environmental organizations charged cruise lines loudly for polluting waste. Bluewater Network, which merged with San-Francisco-based Friends of the Earth (FOE) in 2005, charges that even a week-long trip generates serious threats to our environment: “A typical cruise ship on a one-week voyage generates more than 50 tons of garbage, two million gallons of waste water, 210,000 gallons of sewage, and 35,000 gallons of oil-contaminated water.” Recycling on Cruise Ships Today Nonetheless, the cruise representatives insist crew aboard vessels are making cutting-edge efforts to be sustainable both with the ships waste and that of passengers. Everything passengers throw away on most cruise ships is sorted by crew members and stored on the ship until the vessel can offload it at a port. The sorting room is usually two floors below the first passenger deck with full-time staff of 6-8 crew separating glass, paper and cardboard, aluminum cans and trash. The recyclables are compressed, as boxes are broken down and machines compress glass and cans. The materials are then packed into bins and turned in to the next land port recycling facility. Some ships are also recycling their cooking oil to run their engines and reduce diesel consumption, and by connecting to land lines for electricity when in port, they can turn the huge engines off entirely and be sustained by land energy. Bluewater Network Report Cards The Bluewater Network evaluates the cruising industry, ship by ship. They recently issued their first Grade A report card.

Rosetta, the Solar-Powered Spacecraft

Rosetta, of course, is the spacecraft that had successfully made a rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and landed a probe, Philae, on it. This marks the first time that a space craft has orbited and landed on a comet. The purpose of the mission was to get a close look at the comet’s nucleus and environment and to see what happens as a frozen comet approaches the sun. Rosetta has another claim to fame: It’s the first wholly solar-powered spacecraft ever built. Earlier deep-space missions had used nuclear power to power their craft. Built by the EADS Astrium, Rosetta is basically an aluminum box with wings, and the wings are solar panels 105 feet long. The European Space Agency (ESA), which launched Rosetta in 2004, had designed a new kind of solar cell for Rosetta called “low-intensity low-temperature (LILT) cells.” The solar cells allow the craft to operate 800 million km (497 million miles) from the sun, where sunlight levels are only four percent of those on Earth. LILT cells were first developed in Europe in the 1990’s. Scientists had found that ordinary solar panels would degrade unpredictably in low solar intensities at temperatures below -100° Celsius (-148° Fahrenheit). Hypothetically, the LILT cells would allow researchers to use solar-powered space craft to travel as far as Jupiter. Paradoxically, using solar technology is actually harder closer to the sun as the solar cell’s efficiency decreases as the temperature rises. Solar-powered spacecraft designed to visit places like Venus or Mercury will need mirror reflectors and other temperature-reducing devices to keep their solar arrays working efficiently. The ESA chose to use the technology to help ensure that Rosetta could survive the 10+ year journey through deep space. Rosetta was also designed to be able to go into a hibernation mode, in which most of the electrical systems were switched off, to save energy. During hibernation, Rosetta would spin once per minute and face the sun, thus collecting the maximum amount of sunlight possible. The lander Philae is also solar-powered. Its body is covered with LILT cells that absorb sunlight and thereby recharge its batteries.

Recycled Tires Give Your Home an Eco-friendly Boost

tyres_1When you think of going green in the home, many people know that turning off lights, using solar panels, and reducing waste in the house is a great start to being more earth-friendly. Most people don’t know, however, that using recycled tires in their home can give their home a real makeover that makes a positive difference in the ozone. Tires used in recycled form make great shingles for the roof, and actually use many tires to complete the project. When recycled, tires help reduce the amount of waste in landfills, help avoid toxins being thrown in the air, and actually help keep families safer in many ways. For the roof, many tires are cut into squares to use as shingles and are then nailed down onto the roof. The result is a green and earth-friendly roof that is durable and built to last. Recycled tire roofs are surprisingly attractive as well. Shredded tires in the backyard help keep mini playgrounds safer for younger children. These recycled tire pieces help absorb nasty falls and help keep children from getting drastically hurt. Not only are shredded tires attractive under swing sets and slides, but they are a great way to help save the planet, one unwanted tire at a time. Lastly, recycled tires actually have great value in the home in their original state as well. Whole tires can be used as flower planters in the yard, or as a classic tire swing for both play and decoration. When a tire is used in its original form, a person can take any old tire they find out in a landfill, on the road, or abandoned as garbage out in a field somewhere and turn it into something of good use around their home. Keeping a home earth-friendly isn’t all about recycling cans and reusing grass clippings. It’s about taking things that would otherwise destroy the ozone and turning them into something of great use around the home. Tires are just the thing to help take any home and turn it into a more earth-friendly work of art, one tire at a time.