landscaping


People who work in poor countries to try save animals are some of the noblest people on the planet.

http://wwf.panda.org/

Elephants are the largest living land mammals on the planet.
Incredibly intelligent and social, they have no real predators in the wild. Except humans.

Due to their magnificent ivory tusks, which are carved and sold as luxury ornaments, elephants have been hunted for centuries. Now they are diminishing at such a rapid pace, that we risk losing them for good.

Join the million voices against illegal wildlife trade on our Facebook page and stay up to date with latest developments and campaign actions.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Yes I know there are many things that are wrong about Las Vegas. People shouldn’t even be there in the first place. The rape of the river that no longer reaches the sea. The rape of the pristine desert and the death of many Native Americans. I lived there for a year and there is also the cheesy nature of the culture. But when they do something right, you got to give them credit.

http://www.homeenergy.org/show/article/id/1811/viewFull/

 

Nevada Energy Star Partners Demonstrate Peak Performance (Web Only)

September 01, 2012

Las Vegas may appear balmy and inviting with its sparkling pools and swaying palm trees, but those who live in Neon City know the truth: It’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of homes that were built during an amazing 50 years of rapid growth in the Southwest do not incorporate modern advances in energy performance to accommodate the wild swings of desert climate. As temperatures climb to 110°F in the summer, many homes leak large amounts of cooled air through gaps in ducts, roofs, windows, and doors. And when the frigid north wind drops the temperature below freezing in the winter, heated air escapes, leaving living rooms and bedrooms uncomfortably cold and drafty. While Las Vegans know their climate, they may not realize that they are paying to heat and cool the great outdoors.

The dramatic temperature shifts in the high-desert climate make Las Vegas an ideal place for homeowners who are looking to make their homes more comfortable and to save substantially on their energy bills. Funded in part by DOE’s Building America program, the Building America Retrofit Alliance is working with the Nevada ENERGY STAR Partners–Green Alliance (NESP–Green Alliance), and with Better Building Performance, a Las Vegas company, to upgrade two typical homes top to bottom. Their goal has been to show homeowners and remodelers how easy and effective energy performance upgrades can be.

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Go there and read. More Tomorrow.

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This is an interesting Blog and an interesting post. I am no good at posting videos so:

http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/are-pace-financed-residential-energy-improvements-capitalized-into-home-prices/

Are PACE Financed Residential Energy Improvements Capitalized into Home Prices?

September 9, 2012

The FHFA believes that an unintended consequence of obtaining a PACE loan is to increase the risk of mortgage default.  The FHFA’s  logic is that if the green investments are not capitalized into home prices then the home owner’s equity decreases as equity =  sales price – debt owed.   Under these assumptions, the green investment doesn’t raise the sales price but does increase the debt owed. My recent research convinces me that this pessimism is false.  Here is  My letter to the FHFA. Here is my July 2012 peer viewed paper on solar panel capitalization effects in San Diego and Sacramento   dastrup-zivin-costa-and-kahn .

We need more regulatory scholarship focused on empirical work and hypothesis testing.  I have an incentive to say this because that is what I do.

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Go there and see the video. More tomorrow.

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Methane is the single biggest greenhouse gas that never gets talked about because environmentalists see it as a “bridge” to a clean energy future. Making power from food refuse makes complete sense. I hate to say it but backyard composters, as well meaning as they are, just throw the stuff up in the air.  Ashley Halligan sent me this article:

http://blog.softwareadvice.com/articles/cafm/resource-recovery-facilities-economic-efficient-energy-supply-1071212/

Resource Recovery Facilities: An Economic And Efficient Energy Supply

by Ashley HalliganProperty Management Analyst, Software Advice
July 12, 2012

Although the number of U.S. landfills has steadily declined since 1990, the size of landfills has increased. In fact, Americans generated 250 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2010 alone. It’s thus no surprise that MSW landfills are our third-largest, human-generated source of methane emissions. But this is more an opportunity than it is a problem.

Many landfills are becoming resource recovery facilities–places where waste or byproducts are reclaimed and converted into energy. Captured by wells installed throughout a landfill, naturally-occurring methane emissions (or landfill gas–LFG) can be converted into multiple energy sources, including electricity, a replacement for fossil fuels in industrial operations, or upgraded to pipeline-quality gas. Methane’s heat can also be used directly. Of the approximately 2,400 operating or recently closed MSW landfills in the U.S., 535 (around 22 percent) currently have resource recovery projects.

To learn more about these projects and the benefits they deliver, I spoke to several industry experts–including David Specca, Assistant Director for Bioenergy and Controlled Environment Agriculture at the Rutgers University EcoComplex, and Barry Edwards, Director of Engineering and Utilities at Catawba County–and looked at three examples of successful projects.

____________________________

Ashley M. Halligan
Facility Management Analyst
Software Advice

(512) 539-0016
ashley@softwareadvice.com

By the way, we’re hiring

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Getting “laid to rest” is a two part process. There is preparing you and there is the ground you go into. Yesterday I covered the ground you go into part with Roselawn Cemetery which is a dated term I suppose but it is what I know. Today we take a look at the services that get you there. Jenn Bormann is with Butler Funeral Home and she was at Earth Awareness Fest with Clada Parker. They had with them a woven willow casket complete with a basket style top and an optional silk liner. Wow is all I can say. A casket you could leak out of, that is a very winning concept! Sorry I probably wasn’t supposed to say that but I am a loud mouth sometimes. Anyway I found this story about them in the SJR and I will put up their website as well. I did not want to just copy text from their website, because that is way to commercial for this nonprofit.

http://www.kirlin-egan-butler.com/

http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x155906923/Tim-Landis-Butler-Funeral-Home-gets-green-certification

Tim Landis: Butler Funeral Home gets ‘green’ certification

Posted Sep 25, 2010 @ 11:30 PM

Not only is it possible to go green. Among the newer trends in the funeral home business is going out green.

BUTLER FUNERAL HOMES and ROSELAWN MEMORIAL PARK of Springfield have obtained certification from the national Green Burial Council for sustainable funeral and cemetery practices, eco-friendly products and even organic snacks at the wake.

Butler is getting in early on the green-certification trend as far as central Illinois goes, but president Chris Butler said he expects others to follow.

“Some of this includes elements people are already asking for. They just don’t call it ‘green,’” Butler said of practices that include non-toxic embalming fluids or no embalming at all, using only natural stone, limiting loss of natural habitat, biodegradable caskets, burial shrouds instead of caskets and use of renewable products.

Butler Funeral Homes Inc. is among the city’s older businesses. Forerunner funeral homes date to 1893.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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We have over the past 3 or 4 years talked about getting animals to trim our grass. We live in the city, it is true but we have only talked about getting 2 animals. We think the village will be OK with it. So far we have talked about alpacas, goats and sheep. Now being small town kids, we assumed that they would roam the yard eating the grass and we would have a level and fertilized yard for free. But that is massively wrong. They require special feeds as supplements, they all require hoof care and must have a vet, and they can not tolerate the Illinois winters, so they have to be sheltered. The long and the short of it is that if you sell their hair to people who use it to make things (you do have to shear them for summer) then you can get close to break even but with only 2 animals it would be tough. So mow we shall for now.

Natural Lawn Care

Lawns do more than make your yard look good.

Lawns absorb water, which helps reduce storm runoff and improve water quality. Lawns also have a significant cooling effect, provide oxygen, trap dust and dirt, promote healthful micro-organisms, prevent erosion and filter rainwater contaminants.

Lawn care, however, has come at a high cost to the environment. According to the U.S. National Wildlife Federation:
  • 30% of water used on the East Coast goes to watering lawns; 60% on the West Coast.
  • 18% of municipal solid waste is composed of yard waste.
  • The average suburban lawn received 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland.
  • Over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually. (Read Healthy lawns, healthy lungs)
  • Per hour of operation, a gas lawn mower emits 10-12 times as much hydrocarbon as a typical auto. A weedeater emits 21 times more and a leaf blower 34 times more.

Where pesticides are used, 60 – 90% of earthworms are killed. Earthworms are important for soil health.

Much of the environmental cost associated with lawn care can be avoided.
Healthy Lawn Basics   

The only way to reduce a dependence on chemical fertilizers is to develop a healthy lawn, which is naturally resistant to weeds, insects and diseases. If you need to fertilize your lawn more than once a year, consider these ways of improving the natural health of your lawn:

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Go there and read more then I frankly could. More tomorrow.

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So it could be a net wash for the environment.

http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/12003/help-the-environment-and-yourself-recycle-your-food-waste

Help the Environment and yourself, Recycle your Food Waste

March 26th, 2012

MikeTheGardener MikeTheGardener, member

Billions upon billions of pounds of food waste every year are thrown away with the regular garbage pick up. This puts a tremendous strain on not only our environment but our wallets to pay people to come pick it up and hail it off to a local landfill.

All is not lost though. You can do your part and solve this problem by recycling your food waste. By recycling your food waste you are create what is called compost. Compost is the end result of organic matter that decomposes.

Your food waste doesn’t simply sit in your kitchen and rot away, which wouldn’t be too pleasant, you actually do something with it and that is you bury it. I will get to more on that in a moment.

The first step is to get yourself a giant Tupperware bowl that, from now on, you can put your food scraps into. Everytime you have leftovers that would normally go into the garbage you redirect that food waste to your Tupperware bowl.

When the Tupperware bowl gets full you will bury it in your backyard. Dig a hole about one to two feet deep and empty the contents of the Tupperware bowl into the hole. Now cover the hole with the dirt. That is it you are now done. You have just recycled food waste.

Now comes the exciting part that you don’t actually see, but trust me it is happening. There is an entire ecosystem that lives underneath that top layer of soil. When you bury food they work hard decomposing that food and give back to you compost.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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I still have some trepidation about how this Spring plays out. I think April and May should be watched carefully. These folks seem to know what they are doing. You might ask them.

http://www.gardenillinois.com/


Native Plants are Naturally Nifty!

Have you heard the buzz about native plants? Native plants are the topic of many magazine & newspaper articles, garden shows, seminars… etc. So why is everyone talking about natives?

Natives make sense! Native plants “grew up” in Illinois. From our soils to our weather, plants that are native to Illinois do more than tolerate our conditions…. they seem to enjoy it!

Since they enjoy our climate and soils they can grow vigorously and fight off most disease organisms and fungal pathogens. This means that you, the gardeners, don’t have to spray them with fertilizers, insecticides or fungicides.

Another benefit to their Illinois heritage is that our native critters, butterflies, birds, bees, etc recognize them as a food source! You might say… ahhh….I don’t want critters eating my new plants…. well, yes you do! Allow me to explain.. once a native plant is established, it can tolerate feeding from our native critters with no problem. For example: a Swamp Milkweek (Asclepias incarnata) can be nearly defoliated by monarch caterpillars- and it’s ok! The plant is no worse for the wear!

Healthy insect populations = healthier food chain. Insects are kind of like the bottom of the natural food pyramid. Many animals, birds and reptiles depend on insect protein for food. When insect populations are not healthy, neither are the populations of certain birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Healthy plant and animal populations = healthy food chain = cleaner water = cleaner air= healthier humans.

You might be thinking… what does any of this have to do with me and my yard….well- you’re yard is or should be an ecosystem! We have modified 95-97% of the land in the lower 48 states… 42% (approximately) of that land in in agriculture, and approximately 54% of that land is in suburbia. This is where we come in… the gardener. Our backyard gardens have never been more powerful than, more needed, than they are today.

Our “natural” areas are over-run with invasive plant materials like Russian Olive, Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Tree of Heaven, multiflora rose, crown vetch, tall fescue, and the list goes on. If you would like to see a complete listing of INVASIVE PLANTS check out the Missouri Botanic Garden website.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I put off starting the annual gardening meditation because I could not believe that on March 20th Winter was really done. Actually we planted some spinach and peas at the beginning of March but we half expected them to die eventually from frost, an ice storm or snow. But now it is pretty clear that global warming is here so what better way to celibrate then to plant potatoes and onion sets. Here is a nifty new wheel barrow.

http://www.wagle.com/gardening/containerscarts/flexi-yard-cart-economy-wheel-barrow

One of the drawbacks associated with traditional wheelbarrows is time consuming lifting, shoveling and scooping that takes its toll on your back. Designed to reduce stress on the upper body and make the arduous chore of moving yard debris a snap, the innovative Flexi Yard Carts put the main bucket area on the ground where the load is! Used just like a dustpan, you can roll, push, or rake all manner of material quickly and easily while also being able to haul heavy items more efficiently. Nimble and highly maneuverable, both models feature a lightweight, collapsible design for compact storage after each use. Features and Benefits

Features and Benefits

  • Minimizes back breaking work with an ergonomic design that allows you to rake, roll and slide debris directly into the cart.
  • Multi-use, the cart is perfect for gardening, yard clean up and a variety of hauling and transport tasks.
  • Tear proof, extra durable blue Duralite fabric forms the main body.
  • High quality, powder coated steel framework ensures strength.
  • 13 diameter by 3wide front tire makes for easy handling, even over rough terrain.
  • Low center of gravity (50% lower than most wheelbarrows) and self-leveling design allows the Wheel Easy to cradle and stabilize awkward or large loads.
  • Drops flat to the ground allowing loads to be rolled, dragged, pushed or raked directly onto the body of the cart.
  • Rapid release mechanism unclips the cart for simple hose or wipe down cleaning.
  • Cart can be folded flat for compact storage .
  • Holds up to 3 cubic feet of material.
  • Only 21 lbs. but capable of hauling loads over 350 lbs.

Specifications

  • Size Dimensions: 46 L
  • Capacity: 3 cu.ft. and 150 lbs
  • Weight: 12 lbs
  • Composition: Tear proof, extra durable blue Duralite fabric surrounding a high quality, powder coated steel framework to ensure strength.
  • Usage: multi-purpose transport of goods, surpassing the
  • limited functionality of traditional wheelbarrows.
  • Key Features: ground-level loading; light weight; ergonomic design; compact storage
  • Warranty: Manufacturer warranties item for 2 years against defects in materials or workmanship.

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Gotta go mow. Go there and find many more tools. More tomorrow.

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When I first saw the headline of this next site, I thought: can this be? I had heard of actual corn cob houses in rural America. They are basically slatted walls filled in with corn cobs and then finished inside and out. They are sort of a variation of hay bale houses. But this is way different.

http://www.livingoffgrid.org/building-a-cob-house/

Building a Cob House

By Off Grid Ebert

In a time in which we are increasingly hearing scary statistics about the fate of our planet, the way forward in the field of sustainable, green building may just be to go backward.  This is certainly the case for people demonstrating a growing interest in building earthen homes and structures using an ancient method known as cobwork or cobbing.  Cobbing, believed to have originated in the Maghreb as early as the 11th century, spread into wide usage across many parts of the rest of Europe as the main building style for homes.  The name of this style of building comes from the word cob, which is the name of the building material itself, formed of a mixture of earth (such as clay, sand, and other soil), straw, and water.  Despite what the materials may imply, this substance, when dried, is fireproof.  It is also inexpensive, and naturally cool in the summer heat and relatively easy to heat in the winter.

Many homes built of this material centuries ago still stand and remain in use.  Pictured here to the left is a cob house in England, believed to have been built in the late 1700s. (Photo by Tim Green, http://www.flickr.com/photos/atoach/4927564858/) These homes typically have thatched roofs, while small but efficient fireplaces with chimneys provide warmth when the weather is cold.

The appearance and texture of cob varies from region to region, depending on the available natural resources and their characteristics.  As such, cob is one of the most versatile building materials on earth.  It can be molded and shaped into whatever form is framed by the builder.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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