Now this may come as a shock to you, so brace yourself, but the United States of America is not the most environmentally friendly country in world. Okay, so maybe that’s not actually that shocking. But you may be surprised by some of the countries that top the Environmental Performance Index – jointly developed by Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum – a report that is released every two years ranking countries’ performances on environmental health (air quality, water and sanitation) and ecosystem vitality (forests, biodiversity and habitat, climate and energy). Truly leading by example, the countries listed below are the top 10 environmental performers as of the 2016 EPI report:
Finland (Score: 90.68/100): Finland is the world’s environmental leader; and for good reason. In air quality, biodiversity, water quality and sanitation, Finland scores top marks in almost every aspect. In addition, the country generates nearly 2/3 of its energy from nuclear and renewable resources, and its goal of consuming 38% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 is legally binding. Finland has also committed itself to becoming a carbon neutral society by 2050.
Iceland (Score: 90.51 /100): Losing out on the top spot by an ice cube shaving is the island nation of Iceland. The country nearly notched a perfect score in their citizens’ access to clean air and drinking water, as well in their sanitation practices. Also, about 95% of Iceland’s heating demands are generated through geothermal energy making the country the largest green energy producer per capita in the world.
Sweden (Score: 90.43/100): In 1995, Sweden introduced a tax on carbon intensive fuels, which has significantly reduced C02 emissions. As of 2016, Sweden generates over 80% of their electricity through nuclear and hydroelectric power. Energy efficiency is also highly valued in Sweden and like IKEA, they provide you with all of the tools you need to succeed; every municipality has an energy adviser that citizens can turn to for advice on making their home energy efficient.
Slovenia (Score: 88.98/100): The first non-Nordic country to make the list we figured would be one of central Europe’s economic powerhouses, so we were quite surprised to see it was actually Slovenia. Surprises aside, Slovenia has a beautiful country and they know how to take care of it. With over 50% of its territory listed as protected areas, Slovania ranks second in the world to only Venezuela in total percentage of land area protected.
Spain (Score: 88.91 /100): Deforestation and air-pollution, two issues that often go hand-in-hand, have caused problems for Spain over the past few decades. In response, Spain has set in place plans to reduce waste, improve their air quality and atmosphere protection, and improve their biodiversity. And despite all of this, Spain ranks as one of the top countries in the world in sanitation and cleanliness of their drinking water.
Portugal (Score: 88.63/100): It’s actually quite surprising that Portugal isn’t closer to the top of this list considering that in 2016 the country ran for 107 straight hours on renewable energy. In addition to their commitment to renewables, Portugal is working diligently to preserve their water resources and improve on their wastewater treatment sectors because of their vulnerability to the effects of climate change as a smaller, coastal country.
Estonia (Score:88.59/100): Ranking at #1 in the world in both biodiversity and agriculture, Estonia also scores near perfect marks in the health impact categories: clean air and water sources, and sanitation. Estonia does a wonderful job of providing a sustainable environment for their local flora and fauna as well as for their citizens.
Malta (Score: 88.48/100): The azure window of Malta. If you’ve never seen it before, I can commiserate with you. It unfortunately collapsed into the sea earlier this year. Still Malta is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and their denizens’ collective mindset is just as breathtaking. 99% of their citizens believe that environmental protection is of personal importance because of the negative impact it can have on their public health. 99%!! Compare that with only 40% of American’s holding that same belief. Because of these concerns, Malta has made a conscious effort to keep their air quality and water sanitation some of the cleanest in the world.
France (Score: 88.42/100): That’s right, coming in at number 10 is France. Scoring well across the board, France’s multifaceted environmental protection effort is well deserving of a spot in the top 10. Additionally, nuclear energy provides over 75% of the electricity in France and the country has no domestic oil reserves. Because of France’s fertile land, over 50% of their territory is cultivated for farming.
Clearly European nations have dominated the environmental performance index over the past few years and have set a wonderful example for the rest of the world to follow. And as a bonus, you now know that if you’re planning a vacation to one of these countries any time soon, you won’t have to worry about drinking water. Cheers to the great progress these countries have made and the leading example they have created for the rest of the world to follow.
As solar energy rises in popularity and its barriers to entry (particularity cost) begin to diminish, an onset of products are coming forward in the market—all promising clean, off-grid energy delivered by the sun. There are solar products for every need (a solar charging wallet has even been developed), and solar charging stations have become a mainstay at commercial properties, parks, and universities nationwide. These stations satisfy the need to mix work with relaxation, while also providing security for its users with the knowledge that their devices can be charged seemingly anywhere.
With such a plethora of options in solar charging stations available, we are often questioned about what makes the ConnecTable unique. We find that a lot of potential customers are unaware of the benefits and limitations of certain stations, and so we created this blog to help clarify what you need to know when considering buying a solar charging station.
Power Capabilities– While designs with dainty or small solar panels may be aesthetically pleasing; they may not have the ability to charge many devices. Ask about the size of the solar array, and how many Watts it generates. It is also a good idea to ask how many devices can be charged per day on average. For some spaces, it may not be necessary to have the capability of charging 50+ devices per day, but for others it may be essential.
Charging Capabilities– What kind devices are you looking to charge? Just cell phones, or will you need 120v outlets for laptops, projectors, and other devices? It is important to think about how the station will be used. If it’s in a common area like a quad or a corporate campus, you will probably need 120v so students and employees can plug in their laptops to work.
Autonomy– Autonomy is essentially how long the solar energy will be stored after the sun stops shining. This is important especially if you are in an area that has a lot of rainy/overcast days, or if you expect patrons to have the need to use the station at night.
Materials– It is very important to understand the base materials of a solar charging station and their purposes. Some stations are meant to be easily collapsible/transportable to other areas. Others however, are made to withstand harsh weather conditions. If you live in an area that is susceptible to hurricanes, tornadoes or heavy rainfall, you will want to invest in a station made from durable materials that is wind tested to endure the elements.
Design– How well will the solar station’s design complement your surrounding environment? The design may be functional, but will professionals feel comfortable working at one at a corporate campus, will students enjoy it in a university setting? How well will the station blend with the natural landscape of a local park?
Maintenance– Pay close attention to how often the station will have to be cleaned/have batteries changed, etc. Some stations require routine maintenance, while others will barely need any.
Service Life- A solar charging station shouldn’t be a short-term investment. Look for warranties, and figures on the expected service life for the station and its component parts.
There are many different solar charging stations on the market and each of them focus on different customer needs. We hope that this blog helps you understand what exactly you are looking for in your charging station and ultimately leads to you selecting the product that best fulfills your property’s needs.
For more information on ConnecTable solar charging stations, or to speak with a sales representative, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267.419.8496.
By now everyone has heard of solar energy. It’s one of the top sustainable tools for residential properties, corporate campuses and universities worldwide. While solar panels on the roof are the most common use, there are many other ways to seamlessly integrate solar energy into any property. Take a look at some of the more out-of-the-box/grid solar solutions:
Solar Car Station – For the many users of electronic vehicles, solar car charging stations provide a practical and sustainable method of “refueling.” Commonly found in general parking areas, these stations also provide good shelter from the rain or snow, and are a great place to get some shade during the summer months.
Solar backpacks – A mobile option great for hikers and other outdoorsy types, solar powered backpacks provide on-the-go energy. While not as powerful as fixed panels, the energy contribution made is still very valuable, especially in emergency situations.
Solar Charging Tables – Solar charging stations, like the ConnecTable provide an outdoor work space, social gathering area, and a sustainable charging zone. These stations are great for students, businesses, and parks, allowing users to plug in phones, tablets, and laptops.
Mobile charging devices – Tired of having your phone battery die when you need it most? A mobile phone charger, like the Grid2Go, might be an option for you. It can be charged via solar, or via grid/electrical energy, and provides you with the perfect, miniature charging resource.
With technology changing every day, it’s safe to say the capabilities of solar will only continue to grow. We encourage you to think beyond just “a solar panel on every roof” to see what possibilities lie in other applications of solar energy. A greener, more sustainable future depends on it.
With Earth Day quickly approaching, many of us are left with a feeling of “what can I do for the environment?” While there are a few commonly known practices, for the most part, it is relatively simple to maintain a “green” lifestyle; it is more just a matter of adjusting awareness and behavior.
Every year, many students and faculty members are looking for ways to make an impact on the environment and go green at school with some great environmental sustainability projects.
We can help you WOW your current and future students by planning one project that will be sure to create some buzz on campus:
Stand Out from the Crowd with Our Innovative Solar Charging Tables
Many people ask, what is the best way to create a sustainable, eco-friendly campus? How can I create a green school?
To make it simple, we are compiling a list of some easy, yet impactful ways for students to make a difference on this Earth Day and all other days moving forward. The following tips should get you started:
The Definitive List – 55 Campus Sustainability Ideas
1. Take notes electronically – Instead of using paper notebooks and agendas, use your laptop to take notes and keep track of assignments and meetings.
2. Purchase reusable bags – Not only are these great for groceries, they can also be used to carry other classroom items and supplies.
3. Invest in one good water bottle– Stop buying and using plastic water bottles. Instead, find a nice, reusable bottle (can be found at any pharmacy) to refill throughout the day. If water quality is a problem, simply buy a filter for your sink, or a pitcher with a built-in water filter to keep in the refrigerator.
4. Recycle – One of the oldest tricks in the “sustainability book” is also one of the most effective. If your room or building does not have a bin available, request one from your school.
5. Compost – See if it is possible for your campus to provide a compost bin for food waste from the cafeteria.
6. Create a campus garden – Plant a garden to beautify your space, or use it to grow some of your own vegetables.
7. Be smart about transportation – It is widely known that automobile emissions are a significant contributor to pollution. Offset this by biking or walking where possible, or take your campuses public transportation to classes.
8. Check your lighting – CFL or LED bulbs not only provide a better quality of light, but they also use less electricity.
9. Only use what you need – So much power goes to waste when we leave lights and devices on when they are not in use. Be sure to flip the switch when you leave the room & unplug your devices when they are finished charging.
10. Use real dishes and towels – Plastic or paper cutlery, plates, and towels are wasteful. Buy a set of silverware and plates to use whenever possible and opt for dishtowels that can be reused instead of paper.
11. Make the most out of your laundry – Wash your clothes only when you have a full load, switch to cold water wherever possible and hang items to dry instead of using the dryer.
12. Donate – Give all clothes you are not using to Goodwill, they will also accept furniture and other household items you don’t have use for after you move out.
13. Buy green – Do your research on what products are green and good for the environment before you buy. Some products, such as laundry detergents and hair products, may have labels indicating they are made with environmentally safe, sustainable practices. Also be aware of what you are buying: aerosol sprays and products with microbeads, for example, are very bad for the environment.
14. Go digital – Opt out of receiving snail mail, opt in for email alerts instead.
15. Be an environmental bookworm – If possible; try not to buy new textbooks. Buy used, online versions (if available) or check the library to see if there is a copy you can use for reference.
16. Use less paper – If it is required for your classwork to be printed out, try reducing margins and spacing and print double sided. It may also be a good idea to ask your professor if you can submit your papers online instead.
17. Buy local – See if there are any farmers’ markets or thrift stores in your area to use in place of malls and supermarkets. Not only does it help offset carbon footprint, you will also find more unique purchases.
18. Use less water – Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth and cut down on shower time as much as possible to conserve water.
19. Get educated – If you are really interested in environmental sustainability practices, consider pursuing a degree in the field so that you can help to educate others as well. Even if you don’t wish to make a career out of it, many schools offer minors or concentrations so you can learn more about it.
20. Get involved – Join an environmental group, or if there isn’t one already, form one! Connect with your office of sustainability to see what practices are already in place on campus and see how you can help make an impact. Today, many universities offer a variety of sustainability “challenges” (for recycling, turning off lights, etc.) and subsequent rewards and reimbursements for participation.
23. Reduce your consumption of meat – Meat production in America accounts for the creation of enormous amounts of the greenhouse gas Methane, which accelerates global warming. Try to go vegetable-forward in your meal choices, and save your meat eating for one or two days per week, or for weekends. You’ll be eating a more-balanced diet, and helping to reduce emissions.
If you’re in the habit of eating meat regularly, and want to shift your habits, start small: Try your next burrito without chicken, or skip the pepperoni on your next pizza slice. All of our consumption habits collectively make a major impact on our environment.
24. Carry a thermos, and skip the daily throw-away coffee routine –Coffee cups are one of the most common single-use products in the world. Imagine how many people you see drinking coffee on their way to class every morning. Now imagine that’s happening every day on nearly every campus worldwide.
Bringing your own thermos with you reduces waste and sets a good example for those around you to be more thoughtful about their consumption habits.
25. Shop at thrift stores – Buying gently used clothes is the perfect way to keep your style fresh while conserving resources, not to mention preserving the funds in your wallet.
Producing new clothes requires lots of energy and resources, such as water, and most clothes are made overseas, which creates an even greater carbon footprint. Buying used clothes from a local thrift store means you’re eliminating the need for all that resource use!
26. Avoid fast fashion and buy Made In The USA –When you do buy clothes new, opt for quality items made in the USA, instead of buying cheaper options made overseas to meet the demand of the next short-lived trend.
Save your money for a few quality pieces that will last, instead of continually buying cheaply made clothes that will turn into rags in less than a year. This saves money in the long run, and is better for our environment.
27. Pack a lunch –Buying food at the campus food court or from food trucks often results in un-recyclable waste from packaging. Also, the expenses really add up over the course of a semester. Avoid this buy planning your meals ahead of time and bringing lunch to campus with you in reusable storage containers. Get nested containers that fit into one another to save space in your backpack.
28. Buy new things/Replace old materials only when necessary – ostentatious living is rather a major problem to conservation. The want for more items which may not necessary be needed makes people acquire new things that end up as waste in no distant time.
Repairing old or faulty items may help prevent this. We can cut down on our need to “show-off” our wealth.
29. Use old/unused materials for other purposes –don’t just throw away stuff that are old just because they are old. Find other uses for them or gift them out to those in need. One man’s trash is another’s treasure.
You can use old items as ornamentals within the house. You can even create your own mini museum of antiques.
30. Grow your food –creating simple vegetable gardens at your backyard will go a long way in cutting down money spent on groceries. With many farmers using chemicals, it also affords the opportunity to eat healthy
31. Dispose waste properly – As simple as this is many people find it hard to drop their waste in the designated disposal sites. The sightings of plastics everywhere is an evidence of this. Burning off of waste is still commonplace as well. Right disposal of waste helps keep the environment clean and safe for all.
32. Sort your waste –waste sorting makes it easy to recycle materials. It also makes you realize the materials you might want to cut budget on.
33. Be conscious of nature – people get so busy everyday chasing a life without the thought of the earth. If the earth is gone where will you continue your daily hustle?
34. Switch off all appliances when not in use – you don’t need an energy economist to tell you this. You get to conserve a lot of energy when you switch off unused light bulbs and electronics at home and in offices.
35. Create a shopping list before leaving home – this is a very simple way to avoid impulse buying and waste creation. This will also help maintain an optimum budget. It’s a good way to learn
36. Schedule your errands – scheduling errands will reduce the amount of time you have to spend moving around. It will also help organize your trips into a chain of activities you will be able to achieve n less time. Lesser driving time means lesser emission.
37. Repair damaged water/plumbing pipes in homes – we need not waste water buy leaving damaged pipes unattended to in buildings. Conduct a routine check often and ensure you are in good shape.
38. Support green businesses – If you are really interested in going green, you should support sustainable businesses. Buy organic foods and eco-friendly materials.
39. Keep a garden journal – keep the records of how you tend to plants in your garden, it will promote your understanding and love for nature.
40. Visit conservation parks/sites – experiences in conserved areas teaches you new things that keep you in tune with nature. You can try this to gain inspiration for Biomimicry and nature photography.
48. Monitor your energy and water bills – Tracking energy and water use in school buildings involves monitoring, recording, reviewing and analyzing bills and data on a regular basis so that you can identify how energy is used, and reduce costs and consumption.
49. Participate in a Green Apple Day of Service project –The Green Apple Day of Service brings together volunteers, parents, teachers, students, companies, and local organizations to contribute to sustainability projects in schools that create a lasting impact.
50. Put rainwater to use – According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, during an average rainstorm more than 700 gallons of water run off the roof of a typical home. After a rainstorm, water is rushing right off of nearby buildings and pavement and back into the local waterways, bringing a whole lot of pollution with it.
By capturing rainwater with rain barrels and water gardens, you can cut down on the amount of runoff going back into the environment, and even use the captured water to water your plants or for non-potable water uses.
51. Train custodians on green cleaning – Green cleaning products and approaches protect health and promotes better learning environments, reducing environmental and chemical hazards that negatively affect childhood growth and development.
Training custodians on effective cleaning processes is essential for helping schools keep kids healthy in school, and achieve their highest potential.
52. Communicate your school’s sustainability values – Signs and murals are great and public ways for a school to show its commitment to healthy and sustainable learning environments, and also provide a teaching opportunity for students and adults alike.
53. Learn more about your local watershed – Turn this into a teaching opportunity by learning about where a school’s water comes from, where it goes in storm sewers when it leaves the site, and how that impacts the local environment.
54. Apply for a Green Schools Fellowship – The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council places three-year sustainability directors in school districts through its Fellowship Program. Since 2008, the program has been successful in bringing green practices to school systems that want to make the case, through proven results, for staff capacity to address sustainability.
Here’s wishing you and your campus a happy & sustainable Earth Day 2017!
Have some more ideas for this list? Let us know and we may feature your suggestion.
For more information on how you can help your campus “go green” with a ConnecTable solar table charging station, please contact us at email@example.com.
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While sustainable initiatives continue to permeate university building projects worldwide, a new kind of campus has begun to match the enthusiasm of the academic sector when it comes to “green” building – the corporate kind. Many of the world’s biggest brands have begun to plant the seeds of what it is to be the workplace of the future, one in which carbon footprints are smaller, and creating a healthy, safe environment for employees is part of the key to business success. Below is a short list of some of the top sustainable corporate campuses throughout the United States. Take a look at some of the innovative practices they have created:
70% of Adobe workspaces are LEED certified for a total of 25 buildings — 17 of those are Platinum certified
Completed more than 180 energy efficiency projects that have reduced electricity use by 50%, natural gas use by 30%, domestic water use by 79%, and irrigation water use by 71%
Eco-friendly bathrooms feature water-less urinals and automatic flush valves
20 Windspire wind turbines were installed to capture the energy of the wind speeding up as it flows between the three office towers
In 2014, Adobe became the first Fortune 500 company to install and manage an energy intelligence system which provides real-time data analytics that allow employees to automatically respond to spikes in the building’s electricity use and draw on previously stored power to reduce energy costs
The first skyscraper of its kind to receive a LEED Platinum rating, the building produces net zero carbon dioxide emissions
The building is made from renewable, recycled raw materials from within 500 miles of the city; air filtration system vents clean air back into the city, allowing the building to function as one huge air filter for New York City
Using its own cogeneration plant, the building creates 70% of its energy needs
Water doesn’t go to waste, thanks to the reuse of rainwater, water-less urinals, and low-flow fixtures
From 2010 to 2015, the company reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 37%, primarily through implementing energy efficiency projects, consolidating space, and leveraging a less carbon-intensive grid
Member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Workplace Charging Challenge,” in which companies commit to adding charging stations for electric vehicles in their parking facilities
Carbon neutral company since 2014, pursues zero waste to landfill
To balance the climate impact associated with fuels within the Biogen supply chain, business travel, and employee commuting, Biogen purchases a matching amount of carbon offsets
In 2015, 61% of Biogen’s waste was diverted (composted, recycled, donated or recovered for energy by anaerobic digestion), with the rest primarily going to waste-to-energy
Alliance with MIT’s Sloan School of Management to help companies embed sustainability into their organizations
In 2016 Biogen engaged with 20 suppliers, which represented 45% of their supply chain carbon emissions to ensure accurate accounting of their footprint, and decrease their overall carbon footprint by 8%
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions and investments in energy conservation have resulted in savings of 1.75 billion kWh
Facilitated the construction of 18 solar electric installations at Intel locations around the world, generating more than 10 million kWh of clean solar energy per year
Largest voluntary purchaser of green power in the U.S., according to the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership rankings
Purchased 3.1 billion kWh of green power in 2013, enough to meet 100% of U.S. electricity usage for a year
Since 1998, Intel has invested more than $220 million in conservation programs, helping save more than 46 billion gallons of water
Recycle more than 75% of the total waste generated in their operations
We are proud to see companies taking the initiative to promote sustainable business practices, but also amazed by some of the unique green innovations they have created. Based on what we have seen so far, we feel the best is only yet to come!
For information on how to make your corporate campus more sustainable email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 267.419.8496.
Still need to do some last minute holiday shopping? If so, think about giving more than just a gift to your loved ones, think about making an impact too. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite companies that give back so that you can give the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season:
FEED makes a diverse line of bags, as well as accessories and apparel—all created with the purpose of providing food to children in need. Each item purchased provides you with the number of meals you are helping purchase for children around the world. “FEED is a social business, which means there is an enduring principle at the heart of what we do: people’s choices of what to buy and wear have the power to change the world.” All of its products are produced under fair-labor conditions, using environmentally friendly materials, and are made by artisans in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mexico and Peru to provide livelihoods to underserved populations.
You may have heard their story: For each pair of shoes you purchase, Tom’s will donate another pair to children in need. As of December 2016, over 60 million pairs of shoes have been donated. Tom’s hasn’t stopped there, however. They now also offer:
Eyewear – each purchase provides an eye exam to someone in need.
Coffee – with each bag purchased, Tom’s provides 140 liters of safe water to a person in need.
Bags – each purchase enables the delivery of the vital materials and training needed to help provide a safe birth.
Backpacks – each purchase helps to provide the training of school staff and crisis counselors to help prevent and respond to instances of bullying.
Krochet Kids International‘s goal is to holistically equip people living in poverty with the skills, education, and resources to change their circumstances forever. Today, over 150 people in Uganda and Peru are working, receiving education, and being mentored toward a brighter future all through KKI.
We could write an entire blog post on all of Patagonia’s environmentalism efforts to date. Between their resourceful infrastructure, recycling, and compost-ability of product materials or their Worn Wear program – in which they will repair or recycle older, worn-out products – they also take a top prize in corporate responsibility. Furthermore, the company is now working on a new initiative called Patagonia Provisions, where they will focus efforts on building a healthier, more sustainable food chain and provide a new perspective and sense of urgency around some of the environmental causes they support. For example, their salmon products are sourced from Bristol Bay and Yakutat, Alaska, places where groups that Patagonia supports are working to stop the Pebble Mine and preserve Tongass National Forest.
During the holiday season, Prana donates a portion of the proceeds from select items to Outdoor Outreach—a not-for-profit that transforms lives by connecting underserved youths with the outdoors. In addition, Prana’s products are made from sustainably sourced materials, and manufactured in partnership with the Fair Labor & Trade associations to minimize their carbon footprint.
Under the mantra of “doing as the bees do” (taking only what they need from the environment and leaving it a better place) Burt’s Bee’s is committed to creating a positive environmental impact. The company has several strict policies in place – sending zero waste to landfills, outfitting their facilities with energy-efficient lighting, resource management software, and efficient production equipment—which have yielded great results. Burt’s has achieved the Carbon Neutral certification from the Natural Capital Partners.
A charitable company by nature, Ivory & Ella has made it its mission to save the elephants. 10% of all net profits are donated to a variety of causes to protect these beloved animals. Starting in Kenya and China, Ivory Ella creates good clothes for a good cause.
For every pair of sunglasses purchased, Diff will donate a pair of reading glasses to Eyes on Africa. They also have an initiative called the “pouch project” to help raise money for building a school in Uganda as part of the proceeds from their sales.
PlanToys® creates products and activities with a strong commitment to contribute positively to the world. With Sustainable Play – a foundation of how toys cultivate creative minds and bring children closer to nature – they aim to have the next generation grow up with knowledge and appreciation to respect and to preserve natural resources.
Leave us a comment with your favorite philanthropic/sustainable companies!
Less than a month ago, the Los Angeles Rams broke ground on their new $2.66 Billion City of Champions Stadium in Inglewood, California. It is being billed as the most expensive stadium ever built, but could it also be the most sustainable? What would the stadium look like if it adopted the best sustainability practices from around the league? Below we look at 5 of the greenest stadiums in the NFL. These teams have built and modified their stadiums, which for the most part remain dormant for 8 months out of the year, to reduce their environmental impact and set an example for other organizations to follow:
Soldier Field (Chicago Bears) – Although it is the NFL’s oldest stadium, Soldier Field continues to set new standards. In 2012, Soldier Field was the first NFL stadium to be awarded a LEED certification. Soldier Field utilizes many energy saving methods including replacing the standard stadium lighting to energy saving LED lights as well as providing free charging stations for fans who drive electric cars to the game.
MetLifeStadium (New York Giants & New York Jets) – Home to both NY football teams, but located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, MetLife Stadium signed an agreement with the EPA that states that the facility will work to conserve energy and water, reduce pollution, and improve waste management. Their efforts have resulted in the vast reduction in water consumption and a heat gain of 25%.
M&T Stadium(Baltimore Ravens) – In 2013 M&T Stadium became the first outdoor professional sports facility in the U.S to receive a “Gold” LEED Certification. The stadium uses a green cleaning program to reduce waste, saves over 3 million gallons of water with water-efficient restrooms, and recycles over 30% of their regular waste. M&T Stadium’s sustainability practices has helped them to offset over 120,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases and save over 5,000,000 kilowatt hours since 2005.
Although the Rams have just broken ground in Inglewood, stadiums around league have already laid the groundwork for what a great sustainable stadium can be. These franchises have shown what it takes to become “green”- no matter what their team colors might be.
Thanksgiving: a time honored tradition of feasting and football. While it’s well-known that this is the day where we all stuff our faces, there is a lot more to the 4th Thursday in November. It’s a day to give thanks, to give back, to appreciate a great meal and great company. Unfortunately, the aftermath of this treasured holiday has detrimental effects on the environment. This year, we encourage you to combat these effects by doing your best to take part in a sustainable Thanksgiving holiday. Below we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you make your Thanksgiving a healthy and eco-friendly day for all the important people in your life:
BYO shopping bags: Shopping for the big meal requires a lot of bags. Bring reusable shopping bags (many grocery stores have them available for purchase), or simply bring used plastic bags with you to reduce unnecessary waste.
Think local, think natural: When shopping for the items off your list, check your local farmers markets first. Not only is the produce fresher, you are also helping to support local agriculture and cut down on food miles. If you do have to go to a supermarket, choose organic foods! By selecting organic foods you are doing your part to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, while simultaneously providing you and your guests with a safer and tastier meal.
Get more of the food you buy: If you are cooking pumpkins or squash, roast the seeds for a snack or garnish for soups. Use leftover bits of turkey and vegetables as additions to stews or salads—get creative with using up all the parts of the food you have purchased to reduce waste!
Double check what you already have: Before heading out to the store, double check what ingredients you already have on hand. We often forget about canned goods, pastas, herbs, and spices that can save us time and money, as well as inspire us to try new and exciting recipes.
Eat less meat: While we know the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving Day meal is usually a bird, consider adding more green options as sides to help offset the environmental effect. What effect, you ask? The meat industry is the number one source of methane gas, which is a major contributor to climate change. Supplement your plates with a variety of healthy sides like squash, carrots, green beans, and Brussel sprouts.
Reconsider the turkey: The only way we can produce 46 million turkeys for consumption on one day is to factory farm turkeys, a process widely considered to be inhumane. Add the fact that livestock is responsible for one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, and it becomes clear that turkey day is not very environmentally friendly. If you can’t stomach the idea of having Thanksgiving without a turkey, try to choose one that is humanely raised vs. factory farmed. Or, if you can do without the turkey but not without any meat, consider using venison steaks.
Grow your own veggies: If you have the room, the will, and the time, start growing some of your own herbs and produce! You can start simple with some herbs: all you need are some seeds, fertilizer, an area with sunshine, and a reminder to water them from time to time to get started.
Keep it moving: We all have experienced the after-dinner food coma. Combat this effect by taking part in a Turkey Trot 5K the morning of, tossing around the pigskin with some of your family members, or going for a walk at the local park.
Use reusable: Use reusable dinnerware, glasses, and napkins to reduce the amount of items that will wind up in landfills — a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Nature-fy your centerpiece: Instead of buying a centerpiece for the table, collect leaves or other natural items to color the table with. Make a homemade wreath. Create a new decoration by using some old candles and surrounding them with acorns and pinecones. Get creative — and if you aren’t creative, use Pinterest!
Drink tap: Americans spend around $18 billion each year on bottled water, much of which is actually tap water mixed with toxins from their plastic containers, which will sit in a landfill for years to come. If you’re concerned about the quality of your drinking water, opt for a filter on your tap. If you are feeling adventurous, try infusing your water with cranberry and mint in the spirit of the holiday!
Give thanks: Don’t forget about the point of Thanksgiving! This is a day to be mindful of the blessings we have, but also to give back to others that don’t. Make a donation to support a cause you care about. Companies like Meals on Wheels and Feeding America deliver meals to millions of people every day and work to end hunger in America. Some of your favorite organizations, such as Hello Fresh, have Thanksgiving-specific initiatives that allow you to give back as well–look up ways to donate or places to volunteer before your meal.
Save your scraps: Stats indicate the average US family wastes $600 in food annually. Rather than throwing out your uneaten fruits and vegetables, compost them. Many major cities offer compost bins, if yours does not, purchase your own bin and transform your Thanksgiving scraps into fertilizer for your garden.
Hopefully these tips help make your Thanksgiving holiday a bit more special AND sustainable. Enjoy the time with your family and friends and be sure to check back in with our blog each week for new tips on how you can live a more sustainable lifestyle.
People often say that going green and living sustainably has become the new fad. But at ConnecTable, we disagree. Fads come and go. Sustainability is here to stay. Here is a short list of some of our favorite sustainable innovations that have come out recently, as well as a few to look out for in the future:
These sneakers are cleaning the world’s oceans in a creative and stylish manner. The upper area of the shoe is made from recycled ocean plastic, and the midsole is 3D printed using recycled gillnets. In addition to newer, greener products, Adidas has also recently eliminated the use of plastic bags in all of their retail stores. Saving the world one sneaker at a time.
Most people probably don’t consider the greenhouse gas impact of water use, but the easiest way for the average person to reduce their carbon footprint is by cutting down on their daily water consumption. The Nebia Shower offers an innovative design that addresses this problem by reducing water waste from showering by 70% while also improving the shower experience. The shower atomizes water droplets to create a surface area that is 10x the size of the average shower—virtually enveloping you in water from the moment you step in.
Transparent glass is now being used to capture solar energy. This solar panel system from Onyx Solar operates the same way as any other solar system, but the material is transparent and allows for natural light to pass through. Onyx solar has recently installed an entire walkable floor of photovoltaic glass in the Apple Store in San Francisco. This state-of-the-art walkable solar glass floor will generate enough electricity to completely power the store.
Green Magic Homes or “Hobbit Holes” give a whole new meaning to green living. The homes are created with sustainable materials and designed to allow residents to be one with nature. Built directly into the landscape, Green Magic Homes are also extremely energy efficient; the thermal mass from the dirt that covers the homes is able to keep the house temperature consistent year-round. Furthermore, the homes are made to accommodate a variety of settings, with models available for the tundra, desert, forest, pasture, and mountains.
After they have become too small to write with, these writing utensils can be placed into soil where the will grow and blossom into a plant. The Sprout Pencils are made of cedar and come with a biodegradable capsule that contains seeds and peat. There are several plant seeds available; including, sage, rosemary, thyme, broccoli, mint, and cherry tomato.
By 2050, global water demand is expected to increase by 55 percent, and by 2025 nearly 2 billion people will live in areas affected by water scarcity. This is why a team from MIT has come up with a new solar powered way to turn salt water into clean drinking water. The system uses the process of reverse-osmosis, which removes particles from water through a polymer membrane. Desalination plants are not a new idea, but recent decreases in cost have made them a new viable option to mitigate the world’s fresh water problem. The technology would allow the use of brackish water to turn barren landscapes into agricultural oases.
The Seabin Project was created when two Australian surfers made a floating garbage can that filters out water and collects waste that has been tossed into the bay. The can works like a fish tank filter, but on a much larger scale. It is capable of filtering out floating garbage, fuel, oil, and even detergent from the water. This brilliant invention is helping to slowly but surely clean up the local ocean, and can hopefully be implemented on a broader scale in the near future.
Bike sharing has become a great form of eco-friendly transportation in large urban areas. It allows users to pick up a bike at any service point and return it to any other service point in the city. There are currently bike shares located in many cities across the U.S., including: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle and Houston. Coming soon to LA!
Why waste the energy to heat or cool and entire building when you can heat or cool individuals directly? MIT engineers have developed a wristband that allows an individual to alter their body temperature without discomforting anyone else in the room. The wristband regulates the wearer’s body temperature by sending out hot or cold pulses to the wrist. Although this is only a prototype at the moment, look for them to be on sale in the not-so-distant future.
Do you have any sustainable innovations that you think could have made our list? Feel free to leave your comments below.
As the summer heats up and the U.S. experiences record temperatures in the Southwest, there is no better time to cool off indoors with a cold glass of water and a good movie.
As a sustainability company, some of our favorite flicks are those based on real life that shed light on the need for better environmental practices and leave us inspired (or awestruck) about this amazing world we live in and our power to preserve its beauty.
Below we have compiled a comprehensive list for your heat wave watching pleasure, from environmental documentaries to Pixar movies, and everything in between. Get the popcorn ready!
No Impact Man
No Impact Man follows Colin Beavan on his journey to go COMPLETELY green while living Manhattan. His year-long project with his wife and daughter documents the struggles and benefits that come with giving up the comforts of modern living — no TV, no taxis, no plastic, no electricity. Watch with delight when he tells his New Yorker wife she can no longer have Starbucks.
Truly a visual masterpiece, Avatar explores the clash between mankind and the environment on a fictional world named Pandora. When humanity discovers the rich resources of this new world, they create an Avatar for paralyzed Marine Jake Sully so that he might infiltrate the ranks of the native population on a mission that will allow humans to mine(and in the process, destroy) the planets ecosystem. What follows is a beautiful twist on what it means to have compassion for different species and environments.
This film is worth watching for the visuals alone! On assignment for National Geographic, James Balog headed to the Artic to capture images for a piece on climate change. Originally a bit skeptical, he was astounded when he witnessed the rapid disappearance of an incredible landscape that much of the world never gets to see. A man on a mission, Balog took a team back with him to capture time-lapse evidence of the melting Arctic. Complete with breathtaking views and more than a few cliffhanger moments (literally) this film is a must see.
It swept the 2014 Academy Awards for good reason! Gravity will have you on the edge of your seat as you tag along for the ride of an abandoned astronaut in space. It makes our list not just for its cinematographic achievements, but also for its stunning views of planet earth and strong message of survival.
An Inconvenient truth
Arguably the most popular film on climate change, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth drew controversy from its inception. Both informative and terrifying, don’t miss the movie that brought the discussion of climate change to the forefront of the media.
Fuel [Field of fuel]
The “unofficial sequel to An Inconvenient Truth”, this documentary sets out to answer the question, “What can we do to help the environment?” Environmental activist Josh Tickell examines alternative energy sources with the help of friends Sheryl Crow and Larry David, focusing on the impacts of biofuel.
Everyone knows Pixar has the secret formula when it comes to making great movies. However, Wall-E broke the mold when it was released. Regarded as one of Pixar’s best, the film follows a robot named Wall-E, as he is sent to clean up the destruction from a post-apocalyptic earth devastated by environmental change. Along the way he finds his robot love and follows her across the galaxy, while still managing to save the day and sprinkle in some laughs and tears along the way.
The 11th Hour
Not to be confused with the 2014 Kim Basinger thriller, The 11thHour is a documentary focusing on the political side of climate change. This is not a movie for the faint of heart, as it includes very intense footage of some of the more recent natural disasters, but it provides a great educational experience that will leave you feeling inspired to make a difference.
See Julia Roberts in one of her most famous roles as she portrays whistleblower Erin Brockovich. Based on true events, Brockovich is single mother who finds employment as a law firm secretary. What she uncovers is a corporate cover-up involving cancerous water pollution that has led to tumors in the local population. Watch it for the great acting and a powerful message of one person’s ability to make a difference.
Years of Living Dangerously
From executive producer James Cameron comes a documentary series that focuses on the effects that global warming has had in various places around the world. What’s more, Cameron uses those most in the spotlight, celebrities, as the personal correspondents for each episode. With each installment the series gives you an in-depth look at each location with a brand new perspective.
Another science fiction movie for the ages, Interstellar follows an astronaut who leaves Earth to find a new habitat for humanity as the health of Earth is declining to the point of no return. With groundbreaking special effects and superb acting by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, Interstellar is a story of the survival of the human spirit at its best.
Short for “Your Environmental Road Trip”, this documentary is a bit more on the lighter side of climate change. Watch as 3 people travel to all 50 states in 1 year (jammed in 1 hybrid) in an effort to highlight the initiatives each state is doing to reduce their carbon footprint.
Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest
A childhood favorite, Fern Gully is an animated cult classic. When Krista the fairy discovers humans are planning to chop down their rainforest she decides to shrink one of them so he can truly understand what it is to appreciate and love nature the way she and the animals are able to. Keep an eye out for the hysterical Batty Koda, voiced by Robin Williams.
A Fierce Green Fire
For all the history buffs out there, this documentary takes a look at the story of sustainability and climate change in the United States since it first became a hot topic in the 70’s. With great raw footage of the environmental movement and compelling narration by Robert Redford this is guaranteed to keep you captivated.
Race the Sun
Every movie marathon needs a 90’s throwback movie, plus it has Halle Berry! While this film may be a bit corny to some, it’s a fun adventure that follows a group of underdog high school students in Hawaii as they try to create the very first solar car.
There you have it! With 14 movies making our list you should be set for at least one weekend heatwave. Happy watching!
Please feel free to leave your comments on your favorite sustainability themed movies, or recommend ones that you think we missed below!