Living

ReGeneration Roadtrip: Verde in Vegas

Hitting the Vegas strip to see the world’s largest LEED certified building

  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas … except when it comes to spreading the news about exciting green ventures. To do that, Todd and I hit The Strip (official work business, I swear!) to visit the world’s largest LEED certified building: the brand-new Palazzo Resort-Hotel.     Situated next to the Venetian, amongst all the flashiness of Sin City, the Palazzo Hotel-Resort is 50 stories of luxurious and classic elegance — built to LEED silver standards. It’s a property of Las Vegas Sands, a company that’s recently committed to adopting green initiatives on a global scale. They’ve got …

Reusable shopping bags not so green if you don’t use ‘em

These days, you can’t swing a dead cabbage without hitting a reusable bag. The darlings of the environmental movement (totes, not cabbages) are increasingly being provided free or cheap to green-minded consumers. And they serve a good purpose: four or five reusable bags, used at least once a week, can replace the use of 520 plastic bags each year. But if not used for their intended purpose, the bags are hardly an environmental boon. Cotton and canvas bags can require a lotta water and energy to manufacture and may be colored with toxic dyes. Nonwoven polypropylene totes require about 28 …

Clif Bar’s husband-and-wife CEO team talk about staying independent in a Big Organic world

Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson. Photo: Bart Nagel Walk into Clif Bar’s Berkeley headquarters, and you might think you’ve entered greenie-nonprofit world: multiple recycling stations, cruiser bikes kept for employees’ lunchtime use, and a fridge that serves as a pickup point for a local farm’s community-supported agriculture program. Vending machines peddle Amy’s Organic frozen meals and healthy snacks and drinks. A Coke machine provides the exception that proves the rule: Sustainability is a priority here. Hard to believe this is the headquarters of a company with estimated revenues north of $150 million last year. But Clif Bar’s atypical in lots …

Wal-Mart will slice use of plastic bags

Wal-Mart aims to cut plastic-bag waste in its global operations by an average 33 percent over the next five years, the retail behemoth announced Thursday at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. And if you ever doubted that Wal-Mart is big, consider this: The move is expected to eliminate some 9 billion plastic bags each year, equating to more than 135 million pounds of trash by 2013. Wal-Mart will give out fewer bags, offer plastic-bag recycling, and encourage customers to use reusable totes (it will offer its own line of reusable bags for 50 cents each). In the …

ReGeneration Roadtrip: Driving the future

Tesla’s motoring toward sustainability one sports car at a time

If you wanna talk about moving toward a greener future, surely the sexiest way to do that is in a Tesla Roadster. This car goes 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds — faster than a Ferrari — without guzzling a single drop of oil. All you need is about three hours plugged into the wall, and you’re fully charged and ready to impress. Tesla has already delivered about 50 of the cars to eager buyers — including familiar faces like Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Matt Damon, and the guys at Google (they bought three!). The five-year-old company is working on upping …

Swimming in chlorinated pools linked to childhood asthma, study says

Kids who swim regularly in outdoor chlorinated pools are up to five times more likely to develop asthma than youngsters who have never been in a chlorinated pool, according to a new study by Belgian researchers in the European Respiratory Journal. The same research team found a few years ago that kids who swim regularly in indoor chlorinated pools also experience an increased asthma risk, but it was thought then that outdoor pools would be less likely to cause the same problems since chemical vapors can more easily escape than in an enclosed indoor pool. However, it turns out that …

Solar-panel thievery taking off in U.S.

Solar-panel thievery, long a problem in Europe, has been gaining popularity recently in the United States courtesy of high energy prices, rising demand for solar, lax security measures to protect panels, and solar’s sexy chic. (After all, you don’t see anyone running off with your energy efficiency do you?) While no official statistics exist, solar panel burglary appears to be heaviest in California where the market is the largest and demand is high, but solar thieves have also struck in other states. A number of stolen panels have resurfaced online, with eBay and Craigslist among the favorite venues to unload …

ReGeneration Roadtrip: Google juice

A quick stop at Google HQ

During our travels in the Bay Area, Todd and I ended up near Mountain View and took the opportunity to make a quick stop at Google HQ. We were hoping for a tour and maybe a lunch at their super-sustainable cafeteria, but apparently the place is closed to the public so all we ended up with was a free bottle of juice. Well, that and a quick little video of the parking lot — which is actually a lot more exciting than it sounds. The parking lot is covered with solar panels and even includes plugs for any electric vehicles …

It's no Portland

Oregon’s capital far behind its bigger sister

From LoveSalem: So we were talking about keeping chickens as part of a scheme for implementing the "Food Not Lawns" ideal (Victory Gardening for The New Reality). Someone thought you could keep hens but not roosters. Someone else thought you couldn’t keep either. It all led to an inquiry to the powers that be, who replied … Read the rest if you dare.