Monday, August 27, 2007

Organic vs. Local

It seems as though the current banter in the "green" world is the benefits of local foods versus organic foods. We have come to know, or at least think we know, what organic foods are. The short definition of organic foods is that they are foods grown without using chemical pesticides, antibiotics and with using sustainable farming methods. The USDA has set standards for what can be labeled organic.

Now we are hearing that we should buy locally. The "local" foods definition is generally agreed upon as foods that travel less than 250 miles from "farm to fork". Some of the arguments for local are:
  • Local food travels a smaller distance from "farm to fork". Shorter distances equal fewer food miles, which in turn produce less carbon dioxide and therefore, less global warming.

  • By eating foods that are grown locally, we preserve our regional farmland. This protects open space and encourages environmentally responsible farming practices.

  • Buying and eating locally grown foods fosters a sense of community and develops a relationship with your area farmers.

  • Buying and eating locally grown foods enables smaller farms to compete.

So which is best - organic or local? Personally, I vote for both! Visit your local farmers' market. Many times you will find local farmers that also farm organically.

We are looking for stores that carry locally grown, organic foods. If you have a store in your town, drop us a line and let us know!

Happy eating!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Green Architecture

Green architecture is an interesting topic. What makes architecture “green”? We have explored this a little and have found that there really hasn’t been any concrete definition put in place.

“Green Architecture is a term used to describe economical, energy-saving, environmentally-friendly, sustainable development.”

“It means looking at a material in terms of the energy required to extract, treat, manufacture, and even to transport it to a job site. And then looking at the maintenance of it, and what happens to it once its useful life is finished.”

(Architecture Week)

The closest thing we have found to standardization is LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Their Green Building Rating System is currently the nationally accepted benchmark. We are curious to hear your comments about LEED, especially if you are familiar with a building that is LEED certified.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Car Rental Agencies - Eco Savvy?

Car travel is currently at its highest peak for the year. And renting a car is sometimes the best way to go if you are traveling distances. But do any of the popular car rental agencies try to include environmentally friendly cars in their fleet? We checked out a few and this is what we found –

Hertz – The Green Collection - Now you can reserve fuel efficient, environmentally-friendly cars that are both easy on the wallet and suitable for families and small groups traveling together. Reservable by specific make and model, with an EPA highway fuel efficiency rating of 28 miles or more per gallon, the Hertz Green Collection features the following four cars – Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Buick LaCrosse and Hyundai Sonata. Hertz plans on adding the hybrid car Toyota Prius to its fleet by 2008. Also $1 from every "green collection" rental goes to the National Parks Foundation.

Enterprise – Included in its fleet are hybrid vehicles and flex-fuel vehicles. Enterprise claims to have the most environmentally friendly vehicles of any of the fleets. Also, Enterprise launched the “50 Million Tree Pledge” last year to celebrate their 50th anniversary. They have partnered with the National Arbor Day Foundation to plant 1 million trees per year for the next 50 years.

Avis – The Toyota Prius has been added to Avis’ fleet of rental cars and are available in California, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA and Washington DC. They have also announced that they will be adding the Nissan Altima hybrid soon.

National Car Rental currently offers the Toyota Prius and the Camry in its collection.

Happy Traveling!