Thursday, October 3, 2013

Green Wave Bike Lanes

Green Wave Bike Lanes
What are Green Wave Bike Lanes? They are simply bike lanes that are have a posted speed limit that if you ride the limit you will get green lights all the way along a certain road or path without having to stop at any red lights. Not bad when you time it just right. Sometimes the green wave bike lanes are even painted a bright green and other times they are just left the normal street color. Personally I like the normal street color as the bright green gets really ugly over a little bit of time. A lot of people prefer the bright green because they feel we shouldn't have to share the bike lane with anyone but I just don't think that's feasible. So, what do you think would you like to see a Green Wave Bike lane in your town at least on your way home from work. That would be my favorite. Or do you think that it's just a fad and it slows down vehicle traffic too much? What do you all think? 

If You Had a Green Wave In Your Town Where Should It Be

If you could decide where to put it in your town where would you put it or would you put one at all. would you put one on the way to work or on the way home from work. Or would it be on the way to pick up your kids from school. We all have differing needs form our bicycles. I know that a lot of people will be against this bike infrastructure as they are with a lot of bike projects but I think this is something that is worthwhile. Especially in downtown's where speeds are slower so you don't slow down the pace of traffic too much to accommodate the green wave bike lane.
photo by SFBIKE@FLICKR


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Is LEED a Scam

Is LEED a Scam?

The LEED Green building certification is the current go to thing to have if you want to be hip and with it in the green construction and environmentally responsible building designs. But suppose you go out and build your building do everything your supposed to do get the top LEED certification get all the good green press that you can then go away. All is good right? Not really if your building is not really green at all. This is precisely what happened with the Bank of America Tower that opened in New York City in 2010. This building was given the LEED Platinum rating. (see this article in co.design)However it is truly a high energy user in fact it uses more energy than many older buildings in New York. Suppose your building is really not a Prius but a Hummer H1 going down the freeway at 80 miles per hours in terms of energy consumption? Well then you have a problem right, well not really because it's not like the Leed people will fine you or take away your LEED certification. They really can't do anything to you since they have no power to do anything like that. They are just a certifying group. They are a group of designers, builders and industry people really who have a vested interest in your building being LEED certified. 

Replace Leed With Something Better

Replace Leed with something better. That seems easy enough right. I think it can be done pretty easily. You see a Leed certified project is a building that is certified before it is built and they tell you what the energy usage will be before you ever build the project. To me that is completely backwards they should be giving out certifications after the building is built. Only then can you see how much energy this project uses. That is the way to determine if this is truly a green building or not.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Santa Clara County Considering Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

Santa Clara County Considering Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Santa Clara County is considering a push to make wiring all new homes and homes that are remodeled more friendly to electric car chargers. As it stands today, typically electric vehicles are charged on chargers connected to 110 to 120 volt outlets. This can take a few hours to charge an electric car battery. A faster charge can be had with a 220 volt outlet the type more commonly found for use with dryers and washers. A yet faster charge as little as 30 minutes or so can be had on an outlet that serves 480 volt DC. However currently there are no rules in place in Santa Clara County to require the high voltages for auto charging. The supervisors are considering requiring all new construction and all remodels to come with at least 220 volts in the garage so that a new owner of an electric vehicle will not also have to get their house rewired. Because with all the talk of charging stations all over the country as common as gas station. The fact of the matter is the charging station most people use every day is the one in their garage. A lot of people will think this is not a good idea because hey it adds to the cost of a home or the cost of a remodel and that is all true but if you own an electric vehicle you will be saving the money on not buying gas. I suppose if you don't own an electric vehicle you will spend the money regardless and not see the savings but I do suppose you will at least have smaller lines at the gas station and that is worth something right. What do you think?
Photo by RightBrainPhotography@Fickr.com

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013

The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013

Spotify by Johan LarssonThe Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 is a new bill winding it's way through government bureaucracy that basically says that companies cannot throw you in jail for up to five years and fine you huge sums of money while hiding behind copyright and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Basically what this is about is companies like Apple computer, Samsung, and Sony don't want you doing such nefarious things with the product you buy from them as Jail breaking them. Or god forbid that you take one of those products to a new perhaps cheaper carrier and cut off their cash cow. Now they are using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to say that simply jail breaking a phone is breaking their copyright. That is simply wrong. 

The Beginning

In the beginning of the personal computer age in the time of the TRS 80 and other computers of that time and day you were given the code and some simple programs to master to help you learn how to code. On the TRS 80 it was BASIC and one of the first things I did was I coded some games and I took out the original coders name and put in my own. It was simple to do and it was cool for a kid who was twelve and it taught me to love what you could do on a computer. So here we start out where they give you all the code and teach you basic programming and the computers are always in need of working on and you just have to work on them they are made for the owners to work on all the time. Basically remove 4 screws and you can get into your Personal Computer anytime you want now what do you want to upgrade and make better or faster? Then DMCA comes along and these companies are saying whoa stop there don't change a thing. After they taught us hey you need to keep working on this machine to keep it going and keep it up with current technology. Now they say stop. Not only do they say stop but they say you bought this from us but we still own the copyright on it so you can't touch it and if you do you will go to jail. Many people did anyway and some got in trouble with law. That's how we have come to the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 To stop these abuses of regular people just trying to make to phones that they spent their hard earned money on work better for them. 

Comparisons

So what is you bought a table from www.ikea.com and it was beautiful, the best table you could find. But then you found out that everyone in town had virtually the same table as you? So you said to yourself hey I will buy some paint from  www.homedepot.com and paint my table. But then you get the call from Ikea, don't paint the table because if you do you are breaking the law and you will go to jail for a long time and be fined so much money you will never be able to pay the bill. Sounds pretty stupid right? I know it totally makes sense about this table. But for some reason these phone companies just don't want to let go of this control they have on all of us. I know you are thinking why is this type of post of a green living blog? Well, part of green living is being able to choose and live a life in the easiest cheapest way. The Unlocking Technology Act Of 2013 will help to make our lives a little easier and cheaper. If we want to unlock our phone to get more features or to take it to another cheaper carrier then we can. More power to you.
Spotify, a photo by Johan Larsson on Flickr.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Paper or Plastic? Which Grocery Bag To Choose

Paper Or Plastic Which Grocery Bag To Choose
Attack of the Plastic Bags by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.comPaper Or Plastic we are given this choice at least once and sometimes several times every week as we go about something as simple as our grocery shopping. So what is the right answer? I know that some people just prefer the plastic and some people will say hey it takes as much energy to make a paper bag as it does to recycle a plastic grocery bag. But this is my thought on the paper or plastic grocery bag question. I think that a paper grocery bag is made of a biodegradable product that can be used over and over again. Now I know that a plastic grocery bag can be as well but it just isn't as durable as a paper grocery bag. I mean think about it. Remember back in school when we covered our books with paper grocery bags and it would last a whole year. Then we would throw what was left away at the end of the year. Do you think we could make a book cover out of a plastic grocery bag that would last a whole year of school?

Deforestation To Make Paper is a Big Problem
There are some that say huge swaths of forest are being deforested to make paper bags. I say that is not true. The truth of the matter is that paper is made from trees that are fast growing and from trees that are replanted at a rate that will keep up with the rate of cutting otherwise the paper company will go out of business.

It is Easier To Recycle Paper Than Plastic

The steps the recycle paper are fairly straightforward. First you must collect the paper products. Then the large bales are soaked so that the paper separates into individual fibers. Chemicals are then added to this soup of water and pulp. This paper soup is then sent into a system to remove all of the ink. Once the ink is taken off the pulp it is treated just like fresh pulp and fed into a paper machine. 

Reusable Shopping Bags

Reusable Shopping bags are really a great thing. They are the best thing to use. They are king of like the steel reusable water bottles. The best choice for the job at hand. But if you are like me you don't always have your reusable bags with you. So you know the new laws that say you have to purchase a bag for 10 cents if you don't bring your own reusable bags? I hate those laws. Now since this is a living green blog you would probably think I would love those laws but I hate them simply because they take a normal cost of the grocery business and pass it to the consumer as if it's a great thing. Not to mention that they sell you the reusable bags. Make using reusable bags as easy and simple as throw away bags and then it will become so simple and normal and people will have no problem with it. But I do like them I just don't like the fact people have to pay for them and then are forced to pay ransom for their groceries if they forget their reusable bags at home.

Friday, April 26, 2013

USPS Jumping Into E-Waste Recycling

How Much E-Waste Is In Your House?
Junk Drawer Organized With Temp Containers by ZayabibuOkay now go ahead open up that junk drawer. What do you have in there? I will tell you what is in mine. I have Batteries of all sizes including ones for flash lights and cameras I no longer use. I have old iPhones and iPods, Smart phones and dumb phones, and I don't know how many ink cartridges that I just haven't taken back to the recycle place. Oh and a couple of desktop computers in the garage that have been there since college days. Not to mention the laptop that just doesn't come on anymore. But the United States Postal Service is going to come to my rescue. They are going to liberate me of all of this junk that I no longer need. Heck I no longer needed it a long time ago. So What do I do with it. 
How do You Get Recycle Your E-Waste

You go down to the post office and get a postage paid envelope and place your e-waste in a postage paid envelope and mail it off to Clover Technologies Group a Chatsworth based company that recycles E-Waste. They beat out 19 other companies to provide this program for the United States Postal Service. The Postal Service believes that this will be a new revenue stream for the Post Office which has been losing money in the last few years. Not to mention that people like me will be able to get rid of all these things laying around in their junk drawers. 

Junk Drawer Organized With Temp Containers, a photo by Zayabibu on Flickr.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

5 Low Flow Shower Heads To Save Water In The Shower

Save Water With Every Shower
low flow shower head by TarynMarieIf you are like me you  have an older home and the shower head as well as all the other fixtures in the house are not exactly modern low flow models. Not to mention the cabinets and sinks and floors are not exactly modern either but that's for another post and another few thousand dollars. But, modern shower heads that actually save water and at the same time 
will give me a shower that really feels like a real shower and the water is not just dripping out that is what I am looking for. So, it has really taken a while but I have narrowed the list down to five modern low flow to save water yet they will still give you a shower that feels like the old fashioned shower head that just dumps water on your head. So here is my list of shower heads and one that I just couldn't believe the price this is the most expensive shower head I could find and no it's not low flow but I just couldn't believe the price.

Old Style Shower Head Flow Rate

So, if you just bought that old house or if you have had it for a long time and you still have those shower heads that you love because man they just put out a lot of water lucky you or not so lucky you. How much water does an old style shower head put out? An old style shower head puts out about 7 gallons of water per minute. Wow, can you believe that? How much water is seven gallons a minute. Well you can plug up your tub and turn on the water for one minute and see for yourself and hey by the way save that water and at least water plants with it or do something useful with it don't just let it go down the drain. Another way to picture it is you know at Home Depot those big orange buckets they sell? Those buckets are five gallons so if you run your old school shower head for one minute you will fill up one and a half of those buckets. Then hey it's at least easier to water the plants that way. Now how many minutes do we all usually shower for? I know I am bad I take about a 20 minute shower so that's about 140 gallons with the old style shower head.

Low Flow Shower Head Flow Rate

Now if you have been using the old style shower heads you see above how much water you have been just wasting. But when you see the low flow shower head flow rate you will see there is an answer because it's more than just water it's really money going down the drain every time we use more water than we need. So how much water does the average low flow shower head use per minute? Typically a low flow shower head flow rate will be anywhere from 1.25 gallons per minute to 3 gallons per minute. So as you can see it's quite a bit less than the old style shower head in the example above. Basically it's half and you still have a nice comfortable shower.

So here is my list of five low flow shower heads that I recommend. 


low flow shower head, a photo by TarynMarie on Flickr.











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