Which of the following would you support or advocate to Grow Tully Green?

Friday, November 28, 2008

How to measure your electrical use: Electric Meter and Watt-Hour Meter methods

How to measure your electrical use: Electric Meter and Watt-Hour Meter methods

This is really cool stuff! I bought a Kill A Watt meter that I am am using now to monitor my laptop power usage (currently 35 watts, down to 5 watts in sleep mode, and 0 watts of course if I unplug it!). I am planning to check out the actual usage on my 2 refrigerators (which I know I probably need to replace with more energy efficient models - hopefully eliminating the one in the basement all together).

I also will use this to help everyone understand the power usage of all of our electronics even when they are "off". Unfortunately, turning off the TV & other electrical appliances is not always enough, because of this "vampire" usage - http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/vampire.html. Basically, anything with a transformer (like a cell phone charger) or that operates a clock, or in "standby" mode will consume some amount of electricity even when not being actively used! This website is great, and provides some good suggestions on how to deal with this.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

t r u t h o u t | "Major Discovery" From MIT Primed to Unleash Solar Revolution

t r u t h o u t "Major Discovery" From MIT Primed to Unleash Solar Revolution

This is truly "innovation that matters", a way to store solar energy for use when the sun isn't shining... These are the kind of breakthroughs that will be required in order to slow climate change. Isn't it interesting that while most scientists now agree that the current period of accelerated global warming is caused in part by human beings, and particularly the industrial revolution, this same industrial revolution has created the platform of knowledge, expertise, and scientific advances required to launch us into a sustainable world ecology & economy... Of course, this is dependent on our willingness to see what's possible, invest in brand new clean technologies - until they are effective and scaleable, and to euthanize old processes, business models, and technologies that no longer serve us....

Can we "let go to grow" as IBM executive Linda Sanford writes about? The optimist in me says that we can... and in fact, we already are. Let's accelerate...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Green Tip

We are very fortunate to live in an area of the world that has an abundance of fresh water. Central New York is blessed with plentiful natural aquifers, clean lakes and streams, and a climate that replenishes them quite regularly. This doesn't mean we shouldn't conserve water when possible. If you are planning on a new home or addition in the near future, consider installing LEED's rated toilets for more efficient water use. These units are available in both 1.28 gallon flush models and also dual flush models that give you the option of under a gallon or 1.6 gallon flushes. The current standard flush units utilize 1.6 gallon only. This might not sound like much of a difference, but over time can be a considerable water savings. If you currently have an older model toilet chances are it's using between 2-3 gallons per flush, so an upgrade from that is an even better savings.

Low flow faucets are another option for water savings when building new. For existing faucets, there are flow restriction inserts available for many units that don't require replacement to cut down on water usage. Consider rain water barrels to store water runoff from your roof downspouts. This water is ideal for lawn and garden irrigation for those summer months when we sometimes see dry spells.

Leaky faucets should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. That slow drip adds up to a lot of wasted water over the long haul. We can't take for granted anymore this wonderful natural resource we enjoy here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, by Bill McKibben

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, by Bill McKibben

“Masterfully crafted, deeply thoughtful and mind-expanding.”—Los Angeles Times
"In this powerful and provocative manifesto, Bill McKibben offers the biggest challenge in a generation to the prevailing view of our economy. Deep Economy makes the compelling case for moving beyond “growth” as the paramount economic ideal and pursuing prosperity in a more local direction, with regions producing more of their own food, generating more of their own energy, and even creating more of their own culture and entertainment. Our purchases need not be at odds with the things we truly value, McKibben argues, and the more we nurture the essential humanity of our economy, the more we will recapture our own. More about the book." Source: Author Bill Mckibben's website.

Hi all! Please take the time to preview this book - Deep Economy - and consider joining a book discussion this Thursday evening, May 8th, at 7pm at the Tully Library. This will be the first meeting for the Grow Tully Green book discussion group. We will get to know each other, discuss chapter 1 of this book, and "get organized" - setting up future meetings and potential books.

As you probably have gathered from the book review above, this book defies convential economic wisdom, which results in "economic stimulus packages", deepening the federal deficit by handing out money to Americans and encouraging them to spend the money to boost the economy. Interestingly, many Americans are planning to pay off debts and save money. Perhaps we are truly starting to realize that "more stuff " doesn't necessarily mean "more happiness".


While we are on the subject of "stuff" - check out this nifty little video called "The Story of Stuff". I really think this should be shown in all schools, and on college campuses. More to come on this one... but that's another blog entry!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Why long-haul food may be greener than local food with low air-miles - Times Online

Lamb and apples from New Zealand? Green beans from Kenya? That can't be a good green choice - or can it???

Check out Why long-haul food may be greener than local food with low air-miles - Times Online. As many of us gather to read the book Deep Economy, we want to keep in mind the total carbon footprint, based on something called "life cycle assessment". The life cycle assessment approach takes into consideration all aspects of energy use required to cultivate, grow, packagem store and transport our food (or anything for that matter). While logically it makes much more sense to "buy locally", there are instances in these articles which clearly illustrate some exceptions to this rule!

For other examples of life cycle assessment vs. food miles, check New Yorker Article - How the myth of food miles may hurt the planet.

There are some rules of thumb. Eat less (waste less - in the UK, about 1/3 of the food bought is thrown out), use your leftovers, and compost scraps! It also seems likely that buying very local foods in season is the way to go, particularly if they were grown without lots of fertilizers and pesticides. Note, Kenyan green beans have such a low carbon footprint because they don't use tractors, the use "cow muck" for fertilizer, and they have low tech irrigation systems. And according to this article, driving 6.5 miles to buy your green beans emits more carbon than flying a pack of Kenyan green beans to the UK (in bulk obviously). Note - these articles are both written in the UK - where all of this carbon management stuff is taken very seriously.

Of course, if you're going to go to the supermarket anyway in your hybrid (and where else are you going to pick up Kenyan green beans)..... well you get the idea! This is not as simple as it seems.

There is a movement in the UK to use life cycle assessment to calculate a product's carbon footprint. However, beware, it took a whole year to figure out how to do this for a bag of potato chips (a.k.a "crisps" in th UK)! This is not for the faint of heart, there are no standards on what must be counted as part of the "footprint", and there are really too many variables. For example, are all of the potatoes for these chips sourced from the same place? How were they produced? How were they shipped? And where did that packaging come from? And the list goes on....

So read these articles to get a little smarter, and then, as always, we all need to use our own informed judgment! But now, we're just a little more informed... and perhaps a little more conscious...

This ought to make for some pretty interesting discussions in our GTG Book Study - don't you think? Pick up a copy of Deep Economy, and join us at the library on May 8th at 7pm!

Sustainably yours....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another solid step on the journey - let's continue the dialogue here!

Well, tonight we took another step on the journey to grow Tully green. And it was a good, solid step, with some tremendous community involvement in the display area, on the panel, in the audience and behind the scenes. This is of course a multi-year undertaking, perhaps "never ending", as we recognize the need for continuous improvement.

This blog can be a powerful tool to keep the dialogue going. I encourage people to post comments and ideas, and if anyone would like to be one of the officially GTG bloggers, just e-mail Melissa O'Mara (melomara@us.ibm.com). I will gladly add you to the blogging team which currently includes me, Kraig Pritts, and John Bishop.

Another immediate next step that you can take is to join us for the Grow Tully Green book discussion group. Here are the logistics for the first meeting.

First Book: Deep Economy, The Wealth of Communities And The Durable Future by Bill McKibben
First Meeting: May 8th at 7pm – Chapter 1 – Deep Economy (first 45 pages)
Location: Tully Free Library Fireplace Area

Please Join Us!

Finally, let us know what you thought about the community forum tonight. What particular insights did you gain? What do you want more of? Or less of? And what was missing entirely? These are important bits of information that we can use to plan additional community forums. And of course, if you would like to be part of a future forum, let us know that as well.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day and countdown to Growing Tully Green TOMORROW!

Today is Earth Day, which has turned into Earth Week on many of the large TV networks. Programming on the current climate challenges is everywhere this week, as is green marketing and sometimes green hype, or greenwashing. A colleague of mine from IBM remarked yesterday on some program he had seen on the history channel - "designed to scare the heck out of us" - at least this was his point of view.

So what do you make of all of this? While greenwashing is probably on the upturn, so is serious climate mitigation. While a handful of progressive individuals and institutions have been committed to environmental responsibility for decades, many others are just awakening to the reality of the challenges ahead of us. And with challenge comes opportunity. A growing number of big companies are moving from regulatory rcompliance, to being proactive, even asking the federal government for more regulation. USCAP - the US Climate Action Partnership was formed by companies like Dupont, Caterpillar, and GE, and also several NGOs (non-governmental organizations) like the Pew Center. And beyond regulations entirely, many companies are reshaping their products and services portfolio to provide climate solutions. GE's Ecomagination initiative is probably the best known example of this.

We will hear much more tomorrow night about what local organizations are doing to sustain our environment at the Grow Tully Green community forum.

See you there!