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Friday , 29 August 2014

Category Archives: Green Living

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Environment-friendly stories, latest technologies, news, tips and how tos.

Danes testing street lights as smart city infrastructure

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If you were a city planner with a desire to maximize your ability to monitor your city’s consumption of resources as well as the movement of its population, what kind of infrastructure would you need to install to achieve these goals? None at all, if your city already has street lighting. The average city’s thousands of street lights and poles, lining every street and lane, are ready made for the job. A group called the Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab, or DOLL, is setting up experimental lighting areas in the city of Copenhagen to test future LED lighting that will focus on “smart city solutions.” More than two dozen companies are ... Read More »

Headache? Check your cosmetics and cleaning products labels

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The sheer number of potentially harmful substances that surround us is staggering, and more and more are added regularly. Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan recently announced that it had gathered new information on 1,340 of 2,700 substances present in consumer products, including food, household cleaners and cosmetics, and children’s toys. The information will be used to update the existing inventory of substances as part of Environment Canada’s ongoing program. Ironically, one of the most dangerous sources of health-threatening chemicals is also the most glamorous: perfume. While the perfume industry plays up the glamour and the “natural” ingredients in various scents—florals, spices, aromatics, citrous—it’s the presence of harmful chemicals that is worrying ... Read More »

Canada’s building industry a bright spot on dim energy scorecard

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When asked what makes a building green, most people, builders included, think of energy efficiency. In fact, energy efficiency is the most important factor cited by builders, especially builders of high-rise residential construction. A recent survey of builders in the US by McGraw Hill Construction found that 84 per cent of multi-family builders consider energy efficiency the biggest factor in green building. The survey also showed, however, that just over one in ten low-rise builders are actually building greener homes now than they did two years ago. A survey of builders, as of any other group, gives no more than a glimpse into the question at issue. Is there a way ... Read More »

Innovative BioSkin combats heat island effect

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Do parents today still shout at their kids in wintertime to “shut that door” with the words “Are you trying to heat the whole street?” or a variation thereof? (The line can be adapted for summertime air conditioning.) As we now know, there’s more to this than we ever thought. Heat created in buildings really does heat up the street outside. In big cities, with hundreds of large buildings standing close to one another, the combined result of all that escaping heat is known as the heat island effect. And it contributes to urban misery when summer temperatures soar. A Japanese architecture firm, Nikken Sekkei, has just won recognition for ... Read More »

World church body joins movement to divest of fossil fuels

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Churches and other groups have used their collective clout in the past to help effect social change through “stigmatization.” This is the process of showing strong public disapproval, even shaming, of a person or group or government, such as the South African government of the apartheid era. A sustained campaign of stigmatization can bring about far-reaching changes in social attitudes, as has happened with the tobacco industry and smoking. The power of stigmatization is being marshaled now to draw attention to climate change and the part that fossil fuels play in it. The World Council of Churches announced a few days ago that it was divesting of any stock holdings ... Read More »

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