Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Offshore wind power for NYC: Make it so.

Bloomberg has evidently been inspired by his trip to Copenhagen. We are all aware of the arguments against offshore wind farms, but I personally believe it's just about money, not politics (no one really likes oil wells in their parks, but that seems to happen regardless). I'm hoping Bloomberg takes this opportunity to pull the trigger and not just use it for PR alone.
via Treehugger

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Batton down the hatches

While it happens to feel like spring today, I thought it would be worth reminding everyone about the protocol for keeping warm air in your home this winter. The New York Times published a brief summary of different ways to conserve energy and comfort, beginning with the easiest and cheapest way: seal up the leaks. Barb Johnson, a New Orlean expert, recommends using a candle to locate leaks around doors and windows. Then comes the caulk. Find more ideas and see the full article here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cameron Sinclair: The Refugees of Boom-and-Bust

Haven't gotten a chance to watch this one yet. But I can only imagine it's insightful. Take a look.

via Ted

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reccomended Reading: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

While Jonathan Safran Foer's new book, Eating Animals certainly promotes veganism, it primarily speaks to the fundamental importance of meat. It is important in its health, and ethical impact, and, more urgently, in its ecological impacts. As a vegan myself, however, I fear the title might scare some people away from a really important topic. In any case, I demand everyone read it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New from Latvia: MINT

Latvia's Rauzas Company recently debuted their new home furnishings label MINT, including a table-style kitchen collection. Definitely worth a look --local Latvian Ash, eight different colors of laminate, and some admirable proportions.

Monday, October 26, 2009

D-Build: The Heritage of your Floorboards

Reclaimed lumber is pretty popular these days. And rightly so. It is often pitched as a sustainable alternative to virgin lumber, which, in all likelihood, it is. However the value in reclaimed material has more in common with the value on an antique piece of furniture that it does its virgin counterpart. Syracuse-based D-Build is seeking to articulate this value into a new marketplace of sorts. While a weathered beam is pleasing enough in itself, D-Built is matches each material with its own backstory (flooring from a home built in 1894 by European immigrant, for instance). The plan is to create a venue through which people can sell reclaimed building material while also contributing to the inherent value of the materials (of the sentimental type). For starters, D-Built has been given permission to dismantle and document several homes in the Syracuse area. Check out their blog here to keep tabs on their progress.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Join Us Tonight

Purekitchen will be hosting a meeting of the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park at our Williamsburg showroom (66 N11th street, b/t Wythe and Kent). Drop by, track the progress, voice an opinion.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Sourcemap Demo!

Getting Started with Open Supply Chains from Matthew Hockenberry on Vimeo.

Purekitchen on Sourcemap

As I perused Treehugger over the weekend, I stumbled across Sourcemap, self-described as "an open-sourced project about where things come from." It is definitely something I have been thinking about -- a great tool for developing transparency in sourcing and, ultimately, in creating a lower-impact product. There is definitely a margin of error at the moment, but I wanted to share the results nonetheless.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

IKEA's Sustainability Report

I am a little behind the times, but I just came across IKEA's 2008 Sustainability Report. While still open to a bit of criticism, it's still surprisingly comprehensive. Take a look here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lots and Lots of Water

Monte Sereno, CA resident Jerry Block has upped the ante on residential rainwater collection. The 20k gallon capacity of the tanks, a figure dervied from the area's annual rainfall, are projected to collect enough water to irrigate his acre of crops and, in turn, feed 2 people for the year. More photos and article here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Story of Particleboard

Slate recently published a good beginner's-guide to buying wood products. From the standpoint of a sustainably-minded kitchen designer, durability is at the top of list. Unfortunately, with durability often comes a higher price, which for many people is out of reach. The compromise, we find, is to find lower-cost and less durable materials that are manufactured more efficiently, from recycled fibers, and without the formaldehyde. Read the full article here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fred Pearce at the Guardian

I recently came across Fred Pearce's recurring article for The Guardian. Fairly depressing, but enlightening nonetheless. Find Pearce's articles here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For the Love of the Planet...And Scotch

Scottish utilities provider, ScottishPower, announced this week plans to construct an tidal energy system projected to supply the island of Islay, known for its historic Scotch distilleries, with 100% of their power. The project foreshadows the Scottish government's goal of 2GW of tidal-generated electricity throughout Scotland by 2020. While there's no consensus among the island's 3000 inhabitants (one objection being the danger to fishing nets), substantial government subsidies and far-sighted investment groups appear to have won out. Furthermore, the "out-of-sight" nature of project seems to have quelled the NIMBY populace. See the full article here.
via The Guardian

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

Monday, August 24, 2009

Introducing: LEED for Homeowners

The USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) recently introduced its "LEED for Home Affiliate Program," and created a much more layman-friendly set of guidelines in the process. In a collaboration with ASID, the USGBC developed a program that is meant to cater to both the "renovation professional or a savvy do-it-yourselfer." While we admittedly have yet to dive too deeply into the material, those of you familiar with the New Construction LEED program might find the REGREEN Guide, that is; renovating single family dwellings, a bit tangential to the pretext of efficient urban density. In any case, the program may help to bridge the gap between the abstraction of "Going Green!" and the hard numbers used to actually make the project happen.

Modern Desolation

I am admittedly late in sharing this slideshow of Roger Black's Cinco Camp in West Texas. On a personal note, this is just about my ideal set-up. Five stilted shipping containers, each with a specific purpose (kitchen, utility room, etc.) and completely impervious to the elements when sealed-up in his absence. Purportedly built for around $200k, the simplicity of its design and its choice of materials seems to have done its job.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Inspiration (Of the Scandinavian Cabin Sort)

For those of you currently brainstorming about your next Scandinavian summer home, here are some ideas. It also makes for a good New-York-City-Summer-Stuck-in-an-Office-Daydream. My Scandinavian Retreat

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kitchen Review

So we are, admittedly, still working on the focus of the blog, but I came across this slideshow from LivingEtc and thought it worth sharing with anyone looking for some kitchen inspiration. Take a look.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Required Reading

Author John Grant's new book, Co-Opportunity, is available to read online (as a draft version--You can critique as he goes!). Grant's previous book, The Green Marketing Manifesto dramatically changed and clarifies how I look at marketing and sustainability in general. I haven't gotten my act together enough to start reading, but my hopes are definitely up. And for those of you not yet familiar with Mr. Grant, I recommend his blog Greenormal.

Analyzing the Sustainable Consumer

Speaking from the perspective of a sustainable marketer, it is sometimes difficult to reconcile the tenets of sustainability with those of buying a product (even if it's ours). For me, it comes down to the best possible compromise. However, the good people at Continium decided to take this a step further.

Based on a broad survey of consumers in Boston, Atlanta, and Fort Collins they conducted a study, titled Colorblind. At face value, the majority of their conclusions are not entirely surprising. However, it does point out that the variety of reasons people choose to act sustainably. Definitely worth a read.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tesla Motors is Out of the Red

Tesla Motors of San Carlos, California, the love child of a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, announced recently that it turned a $1 million profit on $20 million in revenue in July--impressive not only in the context of the current automotive market, but also in the defiance of their oil-fed brethren. Having debuted their highly popular Roadster in July, 2006, Tesla has come to exemplify the potential of electric vehicles -- particularly their capacity for speed. Their flagship roadster boasts a 220 Miles-per-charge range and have an even longer-range family sedan, the S, is currently shipping to a short-list of U.S. customers.
If their independent success isn't sufficient, in July their efforts have earned them them $465 million in low-interest loans from the Department of Energy, which they say will go toward the development of their S sedan manufacturing plant, set to retail just under $50k. Aside from saving on gas, tesla owners also qualify for tax credits, are exempted from sales tax for the purchase, free parking, and a variety of other benefits.
I am eager to see how this all plays out. Kind of a curve ball.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

USPS Completes NYC's Biggest Green Roof

The United States Post Office's 2.5 acres lofted above the corner of Ninth Avenue and 30th St. now holds the title of NYC's largest green roof. In addition to the improved lunch breaks, and the projected 30% reduction in energy by 2015, the project also brings attention to USPS's other sustainable initiatives -- including Cradle-to Cradle certification for their Express and Priority packaging. (Michael McDonough's handling of the his Cradle-toCradle program, however, may not be as admirable).
This move by USPS points out both their current passive sustainable practices (delivering letters on foot rather than driving, for example) as well as their broad eligibility for further, institutionalized sustainable initiatives. All USPS offices have green roofs by 2020 anyone?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Solar Getting Closer...

As suspected, the transition toward renewable energy seems to start with legislation. According to a recent report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Hawaii, Florida, and California have been greedily sucking up sunlight, doubling their photovoltaic capacity in 2008. Surprisingly, solar thermal devices (hot water heaters to the laymen) account for much of the gain, increasing in usage 500% in the continental US in the last 4 years.
Anyone looking for more info on tax credits for sustainable energy usage, check out the DSIRE.
via grist

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Huge Green Innovation: Patagonia and Walmart

I should probably be fearing it as a sign of the apocalypse, but the news of the new Patagonia Walmart collaboration has me intrigued. You may be familiar with Patagonia's sustainability index known as the Footprint Chronicles, through which consumers can quantify the actual footprint of Patagonia products. According to an itnerview with Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, Walmart is asking for help if developing a similar index for all of the products in all of its stores. Huge.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

IKEA: mixed feelings, but so affordable!

IKEA recently unveiled their newest convenience: Pre-ordering!
Speaking from a furniture-design perspective, IKEA represents some notably mixed feelings. Its easy to hate cheap and ugly furniture, but cheap and attractive? I'm torn. On the one hand, you can line IKEA next to, for instance, any department store and they're miles ahead. Alternatively, its tough to deny the portion of landfill-bound ikea products. It seems to me, until we figure out how to talk everyone into living with less, we're left to choose the lesser of 2 evils. Either way, you're bookshelf is going to fall apart in 2 years.
via Apartment Therapy

Good news for the tired cylist

Some recent sightings of electric bicycles. One is very much a retrofit and the other was being ridden by Genia Gould of WG, a local newspaper that serves Williamsburg-Greenpoint. She rolled up silently on the thing and let us take a ride around the block. It was surprisingly nimble and quick. Bike pedal mode seemed to work well but at 70 lbs, would be a tough climb to your third floor walk up. Top speed 20 mph and range of 20 miles. It is interesting to see the development of the application of electric technology to vehicles. Brings to mind the early variants of bicycles with small engines that became motorcycles at the turn of the century. The platform of the bicycle seems to be the most appropriate balance of weight to performance for electric vehicles at this point. If anyone's looking for a test-driver, let us know.

Boston's New Builder/Blogger

Getting Home Design of Cambridge, MA (who recently profiled us here) is a design and build firm responsible for gettinghomedesign.com, a resource for Boston area residents looking for advice and suggestions on home remodels. Check em out.

The first post. Im speechless.

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A blog.
Stay Tuned.