Posts Tagged Green And Eco Friendly

Reclaimed Tiny House In Vermont

Yet another group of students have taken the dive and started their own Tiny House;  it is very exciting to see students getting exposed to alternative housing options!   Even better that they are building Tiny Houses out of reclaimed materials for under $2000!  The house is 8 feet by 12 feet and fully insulated, all that is left is to add plumbing and a solar electrical system.

During the design and construction process, students adhered to sustainable building practices including use of reclaimed materials whenever possible. Some of the lumber and windows came from Re-New Building Materials and Salvage in Brattleboro, Vt. The threshold to the front door is slate from a local quarry. The door and windows were also recycled.


China’s Problem

So we have seen how we have countless neighborhoods that have been almost abandoned or stopped in mid construction.  In my post, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, it shows how California has been hit hard.  This pales in comparison to China’s empty houses.  Currently there are enough empty house in China to house roughly 2/3 the American Population.  That’s right, China currently has enough homes to house over 200 million people.

In a quest to “westernize” or “Americanize” investors dumped their wealth into constructing entire cities where there might only be a handful of people living in them.  They are so big, but so sparely populated, they don’t even have enough people to keep the city in working order.

Click the photo to see these ghost cities

Micro-Hydro Power Bucket

Found this video last night and thought it was a pretty neat project.  This could be a backup power source for a Tiny House for those who have water near them.  This setup puts out 56 volts, 10 amps for a total of 560 watts.  Now I have yet to see how well it does under load and that will be the real test, but I really like this idea and I think it is simple enough for people to wrap their heads around.  This project will cost about $300-$400, but I think it would be a fun tinkering project.


Micro-Hydro Power Bucket


CEO talks about scaling sustainable business

Growing up in New Hampshire, I took many class trips to Stonyfield farms, but as a child didn’t grasp at what was going on with the company, or how big it would get.  At the time the farm, while a viable business, was still very small.  Now I live in NC, 1000 miles away and drink their milk.  Gary Hirshberg talks about how his company’s dedication to sustainability has been able to drive out costs and bring in revenue.  Below are 5 principles that he feels are key to scaling green/sustainable business, that even scale to business making 100’s of millions of dollars.

1) Be activists where we shop
Hirshberg stated that consumers have to drive the demand, so we all must do our research and make sure that we’re buying the greenest product (which might not always be the local product).
2) Recycling means we’ve failed
Businesses have to figure out how to reduce and reuse so that recycling is unnecessary.
3) Organic is not just for the elite
Organic foods often seem like they’re only available to those with enough money to buy them, but Hirshberg is adamant that it doesn’t need to be this way. We need to make organic foods affordable for everyone.
4) Design sustainable products and packaging
Hirshberg noted that Stonyfield Farms recently switched all of its packaging to plant-based plastic. He stated that while that reduces the company’s oil consumption, corn isn’t a perfect option. So they ensure that they counter their footprint with GMO offsets, which goes to literally paying GMO corn growers to switch to non-GMO corn.
5) Engage in politics
Hirshberg pointed out that the five largest agriculture interests spent $28 billion on lobbying since 2008. Organic businesses have to get active too, pushing for the regulations that protect the environment and businesses together. He also noted that we have to become more open source — Stonyfield Farms keeps no secrets, letting their competitors know their moves because they feel this will lead to faster advances on sustainable practices.

Here are two videos, shorter version first, longer second.  they are great videos by the CEO (CE-Yo, for yogurt) talking about being sustainable and the business case for it.