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waste tracking wastetracking.com system apuan alps quarries mine marble carra

In Tuscany there is currently passionate dispute over land-use in the area that famously provided Michelangelo’s marble for David in a region known as the Apuan Alps. The 150 firms that run the quarries are eagerly waiting to see the outcome of the Tuscan regional government’s decision or its “final approval to the plan” this week.

waste tracking wastetracking.com system apuan alps quarries mine marble

The Apuan Alps quarries are from classical times and still have traces of the engineers that mined and the Roman artisans who sculpted. Unfortunately, these quarries left scars on the surrounding landscape and entire mountain peaks have been destroyed.

One of the quarry owners and operators was concerned that the Tuscan regional government’s plan is the first step towards closing these quarries. Shutting down the 48 will result in a direct loss of about 5,000 jobs. A spokeswoman for quarry employers said that about 150 employers have agreed to suspend all activity on Monday and Tuesday by barring workers from entering the quarries.

This lock out is being described as “anti-democratic and contemptuous of the rights of works” whereas the regional government is trying to be more responsible for their environmental impact and irreversible devastation.

 

(Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/30/tuscany-marble-quarries-shut-environment-dispute)

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Jeff Jungsten, President of Caletti Jungsten Construction, tells us how to choose a green contractor

By: Jenelle Feole

(MILL VALLEY, CA) – Jeff JungstenJeff Jungsten shared decades of green building industry experience earlier this week from his office in Mill Valley, CA. An avid biker and green builder, it’s obvious that Jeff cares about nature and his clients. Jeff is a game changer, a perfectionist when it comes to building people’s homes and he is deeply in tune to our planet’s needs and sustainability. He was on the Technical Advisory Committee which met weekly for over a year to devise a new green building ordinance for Marin County so that green building could be more simple and accessible to everybody.

Jeff is a Build it Green Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP) and he also holds the Green Home Retrofitting and Remodeling Advanced Certified Green Building Professional certification (GHRR Advanced CGBP) – it’s a rarity. In 1995 Jeff joined John Caletti’s general construction company and complemented the already high–end quality work with a bend towards sustainability. We discussed the bleeding-edge green building technologies that are developed on the West Coast and later used worldwide, what drives green building in other areas of the globe and much more:

1 What is the story behind Caletti Jungsten? Our story really was that, and has been, that we started as a small group doing really high definition work. Started in 1987 by John Caletti here in Marin, taking on some really nice general construction work. John and I met in the mid-90’s on a small project and then took on a really big project together, honed our skills together and figured out what we really wanted to do. We’ve taken that energy and expertise that we both carry and put it into really good people and culture, and we setup a good momentum for our community. So we are really into where we work, why we work, and who we work with.

What does it take to be a green contractor? It takes a lot of energy, focus, drive, and understanding that there is a better way to do what we do. It takes a proactive approach, knowledge and energy around why you’re doing certain things.

3 How should one go about choosing a green builder? The best way to choose a green builder is to talk to as many people as you can who have investigated green building. There are township blogs, there are other groups like the Marin builders association. Most municipalities have a builders group of some sort. The people that are doing these things are known by great non-profits like build It Green or the USGBC. [Laughs] Google is a great way to find green builders in your area. They might be listed on the Build It Green or USGBC website of certified professionals. It’s usually just word of mouth but one of the things that we try to do is to get ourselves listed on as many boards as possible to just get the word out.

So people will research, or they will find out about you from word of mouth, and am I understanding you correctly that the credentials are really important? Would you say that being a GCBP is a must? It’s a must. The people that take the time to learn and study and take the energy to get themselves certified are the people that are at least trying to understand and stay current of sustainability. And, I would say that if you hire a company that has zero credentials as either a business or individuals and expect them to know more than the people who are studying it, it would be an odd choice. If you are going to hire a company that claims to be a green builder, they will have had to have had projects in that realm that are either published or known or researchable that you can look at and say: were they successful in what they sought out to do? Was is certifiable at a certain level with a certain group? What type of work have they done and where? Who have they worked with?

5 I see, so if they are not certified, one should look at work examples, but sometimes work examples are not impressive enough so take just the work examples with a grain of salt? It depends: one of our intentions was to set a relatively rigorous standard in Marin for a green building ordinance so that people would have to build better than a C- building as a norm. So even if you weren’t certified, you would have to build in a certain way that achieved a certain level of efficiency. The people who can achieve those levels of efficiency in every single building that they build and can prove it, that’s the type of thing to do your research for. To say: “What type of buildings have you built, and how have you proven them to meet the goals that you set up early on in the project?” Everybody can buy low VOC paint, find or buy recycled or reclaimed materials, and claim that they are green builders. But the people that know how to combine them in multiple ways for low cost, and who are out teaching other people or who are being involved in your community, are the people that are usually taking the biggest stride.

In 2010, the Marin Builder’s Association gave me the Leadership and Sustainability Award for being a pioneer in the community which was really cool. Similarly, a LEED Certified home, can’t be built without LEED a Certified team member, so there are certain projects which you cannot do without being certified.

Are you certified for LEED? I am not personally…for me I am kind of outside of that loop, and up higher in the policy programming, and the ordinance portion. The people that are actually manufacturing the product that we build are LEED Certified, Project Managers would be LEED Certified.

7 So it’s possible for people to build a LEED property through your company? Yes, absolutely. We did a LEED Gold residence here in Marin two years ago…it was in Camp Woodlands.

When it comes to green building, do you think that there’s an area that people are too focused on and they miss considering something else that is important? Most people say: “I want my home to be more energy efficient”. And I think that the indoor air quality part is the part that they might be missing the most. Probably the most toxic place to be is in a new home. It’s like a new car. You can have a really efficient home, seal it up really tight, and then it just develops a really bad problem where you don’t cycle the air enough. So I think that probably the one thing that people miss the most is how to make it healthy.

9 Is it more expensive to build green?

It can be upfront. It can cost more if you’re not going to be in your home for a long time. Low VOC paints and finishes and those things aren’t more expensive, but the other products, like a radiant heating system are more expensive than a forced air system. However a radiant heating system is more far more efficient and way healthier than blowing a bunch of air and dust around the house. So there’s where you have to start making your choices about what type of healthy environment and efficiency you want. Our goal is to get as many people doing these things as possible which makes them more cost effective for a normal consumer.

10 How do you calculate the payback period for green building? The client will inherently have to make choices about upfront costs vs. lifecycle and costs. Part of what any good general contractor will do is help guide a client through those value oriented decisions. Some things just don’t make sense for some clients, and it’s responsible to say: “it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on this, it will never pay off for you”. If a certain budgetary condition is installed in the relationship and things can’t be achieved, then our job is to maximize their budget in as many value-oriented places as possible. And we do that, so we have a deep preconstruction activity upfront before the job that integrates as many sustainable features as possible, using the budget as widely as possible. And not only do we do that, but we have consultants that we bring in that work with the clients directly and work with us directly…these people are experts in facilitating the conversation before it even makes it to us, so these people are incredibly valuable.

11 The architecture firm plays a big role in this too, so where does the construction company come into play and how do you add value? Some architecture firms are getting it and they are understanding that sustainability is not an overlay, it’s a design principle. We come in hopefully as early as possible and I think any general contractor that studies this deeply wants to incorporate these systems at the earliest stages of design. Even as early as the sighting of the building to help integrate these systems into the plan if possible. That’s what the good architects are doing, they are bringing in people like us…

12 So a lot of the awesome homes on your website, you’re working with architects in the early stages of development? Absolutely. Way upfront. As early as the design phase.

13 How do you collaborate with architects and the client? Once we get through the design phase, we define everybody’s role and once the project is running, everybody plays a role in that. We all just collaborate as deeply as possible, as openly as possible, with as much humility as possible. We have a project right now where we are working incredibly closely with the architect, the client, the designer, and the engineers. It’s one of the most amazing homes that we’ve ever seen and it’s really all about being as collaborative and open as possible. Everything’s open for discussion. In the sustainability world, it’s kind of mandatory. There used to be a very closed loop between 2 parties and then a 3rd party would come in- the builder, and it would be a sort of odd scenario. Our goal is to just open up that whole relationship and be as collaborative and proactive as possible with everybody and have everyone do the same. If we’re talking about money, we have to talk about money openly. If we are talking about schedules, we have to talk about schedules openly. If we are talking about systems, we have to talk about systems openly. So that’s what happening in our world, a deeper level of relationship, more client–centric and certainly more proactive for time and money.

14 What inspires you? Everything!!!! Everything! I think if I really break it down into the smallest common denominator, it’s creating beautifully healthy homes for families, structures that- people get to grow up in, get married in, and have kids in. When somebody trusts us to build their home, that’s what we focus on. You know, perfect is close enough for us. We don’t want to just take the lowest common denominator and do that, it’s easy. What inspires us is to learn our craft a little bit deeper than most and then provide that value to people and see it happen. We just love the idea of building an inspired home with more energy and care. I honestly feel that it’s noticeable…and if we do our jobs right, and we care enough, then it’s obviated.

15 I looked at your Green Halo Systems account, I see that you’ve diverted over 255 tons from the landfill, which is a carbon footprint equivalent of 26,000 gallons of gasoline. What types of insights come to your mind when you see these statistics and numbers? One of the things about Green Halo that I really enjoy is that it’s similar to this program called “Cool the Earth”, which we work with here locally. It’s a great grass roots program that’s spreading nationally. Their idea is to train kids to focus on things that they can change…show them that when they turn the lights off and then they see the energy bill at the end of the month, then they will start to see that the small things they do actually have a result. And that’s what I like about Green Halo is that we have the ability to account for the material, see the results of what we are doing, and then change our behavior and modify how we work to then enhance that savings even higher. When I saw what we have diverted since using Green Halo, I turned it into a personal conversation about how: in my smart car, that’s 3,750 fill ups or the equivalent of about a million miles driven. I’ve taken an entire life time of driving off of the planet’s carbon footprint just in this short amount of time that we’ve been using Green Halo! And if we can measure it, we can change it, and that’s what Green Halo allows us to do. They’ve done a really good job making it useful, efficient, scalable, and the best tool for the job. Individual companies like myself can use it, municipalities can use it to collect information from people like me and then they put their stats out as a county. So we use the system as much as possible, and we review it monthly, and everybody always enjoys seeing what’s happened to the material or how much we are diverting or how we can do it differently.

 

Check out http://www.calettijungsten.com/

 

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Altaeros Energies has announced the first planned commercial demonstration if it’s Buoyant Airborne Turbine or BAT product. The announcement event plans to deploy the BAT at a height of 1,000’ above ground which could break the record for the highest wind turbine in the world. See what the BAT looks like here:

The BAT has a helium-filled, inflatable shell which lifts the apparatus to high altitudes so that energy can be consistently generated in a low cost way as well. BAT is secured to the ground with high strength tethers and electricity gets sent to the ground from there. The reason behind traveling to higher altitudes is because the winds are stronger and more consistent higher up in the sky.

To learn more, visit: http://www.altaerosenergies.com/

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green halo systems coconut-water-splash

Tokelau, a New Zealand island has an abundance of coconuts but the same can’t be said for other natural resources that help us survive. For this reason, Tokelau’s leader Foua Toloa announced in 2009 that the island will switch to using coconuts and solar power to provide all of the energy for the island. At the moment, diesel is administered to the island from New Zealand to meet the island’s electricity demands (about 42,000 gallons annually). In addition to diesel, gasoline and kerosene is also imported to the island.green halo systems tokelau 2

In Tokelau, most of the population has modern appliances, including satellite TV and Internet. It’s astonishing to think that the island can run off of solar power and coconut oil but we applaud Foua Toloa and Tokelau for being so bold.  green halo systems tokelau

The new energy plan is to transfer most of the islands’ power generation to 93% photovoltaic solar arrays and biofuel from coconuts will supply the remaining 7% of power generated in Tokelau. Some say that this effort is purely symbolic but we should note that this is part of an effort amount South Pacific island nations to encourage renewable energy systems.fresh coconut halves on beach

Source: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1678915/a-tiny-pacific-island-is-now-powered-by-coconuts

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waste tracking system nasa sustainable trip to mars 3d printing and more

“NASA scientists have been conducting research focused on harnessing the power of biology to create useful things out of what seems to be nothing”. Rob Verger of Newsweek sums it up perfectly and his article “Recycling on Mars” covers everything from reliable space trips, to human waste not going to waste, and mainly- the technology that is being carried into space.

In “Recycling on Mars”, Verger quotes Michael Flynn, an engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center who spoke about how important it is that the space stations have regular maintenance so that they won’t inevitably fail. Flynn’s point about maintaining the spaceships segue into an analogy to the human body which he explains as a more dynamic system that includes “the ability to repair itself”. The stunning abilities of the human body and biology is why, the Ames center is trying to “integrate the lessons learned from biological systems into mechanical systems”.

This is why a 3-D printer is being sent to the ISS of the SpaceX4 mission and why scientists on the mission will also bring yeast cells that could produce pigments. Making pigments is a test, and if it succeeds all sorts of materials such as cotton, bone and adhesives could be utilized so that a Mars mission is sustainable.

(Source: http://www.newsweek.com/2014/05/30/recycling-mars-251740.html)

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greensky jet wastetracking.com waste tracking system

British Airways is partnering with Solena Fuels to build the world’s first landfill waste to jet fuel conversion facility. The project will be based out of Thames Enterprise Park, which is located on a part of the former Coryton oil refinery in Thurrock, Essex.

Through an innovative and revolutionary process, Solena Fuels will convert approximately 575,000 tons of post-recycled waste to 120,000 tons of clean burning liquid fuels thus diverting over half a million tons of waste from landfills or incineration facilities. British Airways has made a long term commitment to purchase all 50,000 per annum of the jet fuel produced at market competitive rates, representing 2% of their overall fuel consumption with hopes of obtaining 10% of its fuel from the waste-to-energy process. Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG said:

“We are always striving to reduce our impact on climate change and this first-of-its-kind project marks a significant step for the aviation industry.  The construction of the GreenSky London fuel facility at Thames Enterprise Park will lay the foundations for British Airways to reduce its carbon emissions significantly.  The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road. Solena has been developing the project and will be using its patented high temperature plasma gasification technology to convert the waste efficiently into synthetic gas.  The gas will then be converted into liquid hydrocarbons using third party technologies which will include cleaning and conditioning of the gas, a Velocys Fischer-Tropsch conversion process, hydrocracking and electric power production.   With the initial engineering design completed, Solena and its partners are now starting the next phase of engineering of the GreenSky London facility.”

Even though flights will not be taking off any time soon, consumers should feel relieved that leading companies are taking the initiative and looking for alternative, sustainable fuel options.

(Source: https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/bamediacentre/newsarticles?articleID=20140416080250#.U2qJe_ldV1i)

To learn more about Solena’s Fuel Solution, including Velocys Fischer-Tropsch conversions and hydrocracking, please visit http://www.solenafuels.com/index.php/our-solution

For a video of Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG (parent company of British Airways) discussing the new project visit British Airways’ YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF5YzmQzL3Y

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Makers of electronic cigarettes such as Lorillard Inc. (LO) and Altria Group Inc. will for the first time face regulatory oversight, including passing a review to stay on the market, under a U.S. plan that doesn’t ban TV ads or flavored versions of the new products.

The Food and Drug Administration today proposed to extend its reach over the tobacco industry to include the $3 billion market for e-cigarettes such as NJOY and blu, as well as cigars. The rules, if made final, will prohibit sales to minors, ban free samples and require nicotine addiction warnings.

Green Halo - E-Cigs Under FDA ReviewConsumer groups have said e-cigarette companies use candy flavors, TV ads and music festival sponsor-ships to target youth, who doubled their use of the products in 2012 from a year earlier. Agency officials called today’s proposal a foundation that may lead to tighter control in the future.

“For the first time there will be a science-based, independent regulatory agency providing gate-keeping,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a briefing. “The regulator will finally be doing its job.”

Industry representatives reacted positively to the proposal.

“This is not a sort of trenched-in, battlefield mentality,” Miguel Martin, president of e-cigarette maker Logic, said in an interview. “ We want to work with the FDA.”

Martin and Jeff Holman, president and co-founder of Vapor Corp., were upbeat about the FDA’s plan.

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Peruvian researchers have collaborated with an ad agency to create an unusual billboard that generates drinking water from thin air. While the billboard fulfills its traditional role as an advertising tool—in this case for courses at Lima’s University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC)—it harvests moisture directly from the air, which is then processed through a filtration system. Capable of producing 25 gallons (96 liters) of water a day during summer, the billboard has produced 9450 liters of clean drinking water for a nearby community in the three months since it was first installed.

Lima, Peru’s capital city, receives less than one inch of rain each year, forcing some residents to get their water from dirty wells. Despite the lack of rain, the high humidity makes it possible to harvest water directly from the city’s air, providing a sustainable, alternative source of drinkable water.

The researchers at Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology teamed up with Mayo DraftFCB advertising agency to create the billboard. The panel consists of five machines which convert humidity into water through use of air and carbon filters and a condenser. The water is stored in five tanks located at the top of the structure. The filtered water flows into a pipe at the bottom of the billboard, supplying the neighboring community with clean water. In the three months since it was first installed, the billboard has produced 9450 liters of water.

Video:

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Green Halo - Google Buys Solar-Powered Drone Manufacturer Titan Aerospace to Boost Internet Access in Third World Countries3D printing may be all the rage in design, but for Big Tech, drones are where the money is. On Monday, web giant Google beat out Facebook in a race to acquire Titan Aerospace, a solar-powered drone manufacturer. Although Google claims the drones will be used for the forces of good, such as broadcasting Internet signals to remote areas, some worry that the high-flying drones may pose troublesome consumer privacy implications.

New Mexico-based drone maker Titan Aerospace specializes in the creation of high-altitude solar-powered drones. “It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,” said a Google spokesman in an email to AFP. Google also plans to use the high-flying drones to assist their ongoing Project Loon, which uses giant balloons to broadcast Internet signals, as well as Makani, a project to build an energy-efficient airborne wind turbine.

The drones may also be used to enhance Google Earth’s aerial imagery capabilities. According to Titan, its drones can stay airborne for up to five years without the need for routine maintenance. The search engine giant’s continued foray into drone investing mirrors similar gambits by other high-profile consumer-based businesses such as Amazon’s proposed drone delivery service and Facebook’s similar plans to deliver Internet via drones to third-world countries.

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Monitoring LEED project compliance is a full time job, especially when it comes to monitoring waste flows from the project, its contractors and sub contractors. Waste Flows  provides waste and recycling tracking and monitoring solutions that are inexpensive and easy to use, while saving you time and money. Check out the website: http://wasteflows.com/ Tracking_Your_Waste_and_Recycling_for_LEED_is_Easy!

 

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