Posted: December 31st, 2013 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Products, Sustainable Architecture, Trees & Parks | Tags: carpentry, construction, eco-friendly wood, joinery, materials, timber, Woodwork | No Comments »
This post comes to us courtesy of a British company called Inwood. This is a company that makes wooden entrance gates and garage doors and from the look of their site, they are very good at it. These people work with wood and make beautiful things from it. But they are also quite sensitive to the sustainable aspects of wood growing and harvesting. I found this article to be quite interesting, and I hope you do too.
Also, since this is the last post of the year, Terry, Simon and I would like to wish you all the best in 2014.
Timber is obviously one of the planet’s most vital resources, a useful building and crafting material that’s both practical and hard wearing. However it is vitally important to make a conscious effort to maintain forest-land due to its obvious importance in helping climate, biodiversity, and critical eco-systems.
When sourcing timber there are a few key areas to consider in determining whether it is eco friendly:
- Is the wood legally sourced from non-ancient or non-protected forests?
- Is the wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)?
- Is the wood certified by other organizations? (“SmartWood by Rainforest Alliance”, “Green Seal” etc)
- How durable is the wood?
- How long does it take to reach maturity? (the less time, the more easily-managed the source is)
The last two points are the key to what is known as the felling/replanting balance, it is vital for the source to be planted and grow to maturity at a faster rate than it is felled. This is the fundamental key to eco-friendly timber.
We make a sustained effort to meet all these criteria that goes hand-in-hand with the type of quality we’re looking to deliver with our wooden garage doors at Inwood. Here are the some types of sustainable wood and wood alternatives that we either use or are aware of:
Strictly a wood plant rather than timber itself, and originally regarded as a poor mans material, bamboo provides a surprisingly useful wood alternative. It is incredibly strong (used as reinforcements in Asia) but also very light, making it a perfect commodity for fencing, furniture, and flooring.
The positive about bamboo and its staggering 1500 different species is that, apart from a few of the species, it is vastly less threatened than any timber source. Although vital for housing and as a food source for giant pandas and mountain gorillas, bamboo grows incredibly fast so it is easier to sensibly maintain and meet the growing demands of the wood industry.
By using bamboo you can almost safely say that you are buying from a well-managed source, and in doing so taking much needed strain off other vital timber sources.
Here at Inwood we are proud to use Accoya wood (which comes from a softwood), we find it the best suited eco-wood in our production of gates and garage doors. Softwood reaches maturity faster than hardwood, but annoyingly it also lasts for a considerably less time.
For example Scandinavian Redwood (softwood) lasts for around 10 years but grows to maturity in 25 years, but Oak (hardwood) takes up to 60 years to grow but lasts for at least 30 years.
This makes it incredibly hard to judge weather softwood or hardwood is the most eco-friendly. However, Accoya cracks this conundrum, it’s a softwood that has been scientifically modified to greatly enhance its strength and durability.
Accoya ticks many boxes it is long lasting and fast growing, helping to maintain the felling/replanting balance which many other wood sources have tipped the wrong way, leading to mass deforestation.
Many original pine forests have been ravished, but as a consequence it is now, in the UK, almost exclusively cultivated from sustainable plantations managed and certified by the FSC. Due to the dwindling number of ancient pine forests pine should not be sourced from places without an FSC label (countries such as Finland Latvia, Estonia and Russia being rife for illegal logging).
However in most of the other northern hemisphere countries pine forests and plantations are extremely well maintained (probably the best out of the major commercially important woods). This means in the main that the all-important balance between felling and replanting is being met, making pine one of the best commercial woods of choice.
Inwood is a UK-based bespoke joinery company specializing in wooden garage doors, currently enjoying giving away free offcuts to local schools!
Wooden garage doors at Inwood = http://www.woodworkersuk.co.uk/wooden-garage-doors.htm
Accoya wood = http://www.accoya.com/
Posted: February 5th, 2013 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Initiatives, Green Products, Green Technology | Tags: Nano Technology, Nanolight, Toronto | No Comments »
Three University of Toronto grads have invented a new light bulb that they call the NanoLight. The attached link to the Toronto Star article, by business reporter Curtis Rush explains how it works and what makes it such a great innovation. But it makes us proud here at OGD that local people are coming up with big green ideas. I hope it’s a huge success because nano technology is one of the new frontiers out there and the more positive attention that gets focused on it, the more innovations will flow.Check out the article and check back with this blog for news on other great great innovations.
Posted: December 1st, 2012 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Home, Green Products, Green Technology, Our Green Directory | Tags: eco greenhouse, Gardenista | No Comments »
A lot of people think that just because they live in an apartment that there’s not much they can do to make their personal space a little greener. Well here’s a really cool idea, especially for those of you who like to grow things.
This idea comes from a company called Gardenista, and not only is it a very good looking little greenhouse, it’s also one that has some cool ‘green’ features that you might find interesting.
This unit is very compact, made from high quality materials and is designed in a very practical way. It’s also quite attractive and would make a welcome addition to any size balcony or deck.
This link will take you to an article about it.
Don’t forget to visit our Eco Specialty Store section to find the perfect green gift for everybody on your list.
Posted: January 15th, 2012 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Initiatives, Green Products, Green Services, Green Technology | Tags: Energy Star, LivClean Home Services, water heater | No Comments »
By Jim Murray, Creative Director, Our Green Directory.
Part One—The Offer
Yesterday, a rep from LivClean Home Services knocked on my door and asked me if he could inspect my water heater to see if I qualified for a free replacement water heater that would be more energy efficient. Being a green guy, I couldn’t really turn him down. After inspecting my antique water heater, which was 16 years old, he informed me that I might have a couple of feet of calcified sludge in the bottom a that would impact on the amount of water the tank could hold and how long it takes to heat the water itself. He went on to explain the features of the new water heater and how much more efficient it would be…even that I could drain the sediment periodically to keep it running at almost 100% capacity.
It all made sense to me so I signed up to have my water heater rental transferred from Enbridge and have my water heater replaced at no charge by these guys. I have an installation appointment for tomorrow morning.
I did check them out and they seem to be a legitimate organization. I can’t see how they might be scamming me if they are, because $16.95 a month is hardly worth the effort. And they are carrying the Energy Star logo on all their materials.
I believe that the cost of the new water heaters plus a profit margin is being subsidized by some government program and that would be how they are making their money. They apparently also do a range of different home products. If this goes well I might talk to them about replacing my boiler.
But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding, so I’ll finish this post after they have come and gone and let you know what my total experience was like.
Part 2 – The Installation
OK so the first thing that happened was that on Thursday, they called and asked if they could reschedule the morning appointment for the afternoon. That was fine. They did not call first like they said they were going to but who really does these days.
The installers showed up more or less on time and got set up with a minimum of disruption. I do wish they had worn those little plastic booties that most industrial people wear when they are working in other people’s houses. But they were pretty careful. I did have to stand outside and make sure that the runoff from the old water heater, which they pumped out a basement window, didn’t come right back in, which has been known to happen. This helped raise my respect quotient for people who work outside.
The installation went very smoothly. There were only a few very simple instructions re adjusting the heat levels and they were in and out in about an hour and, voila, I had a new water heater, and a more energy efficient way to do one more thing around the house.
All in all it was a very good experience. The product was great. The price (0$) was right and the installers were friendly, outgoing and capable.
Part 3 The Link
LivClean Home Services
Posted: January 8th, 2012 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Associations, Green Communities, Green Initiatives, Green Products, Green Services, Green Technology | Tags: Cleantech Revolution, entrepreneurs, investment capital, Skipso, support services, sustainable innovation | No Comments »
I was looking up some information on a client I may be doing a new web site for and found that one of the places they were listed was a site called skipso.com. This site is an excellent receptacle for a lot of things green. This site can help green businesses with access to information, investment assistance and promotion to a global marketplace.
Here’s what they say about themselves:
Skipso is an online platform and business to business marketplace entirely focused on sustainable innovation.
Skipso leverages the power of the Internet to accelerate the Cleantech Revolution.
In particular, Skipso aims to:
- Accelerate innovation in clean technologies by creating an environment where ideas, best practices and opportunities can be exchanged
- Bridge the gap between industry and research institutions / academia by creating an alternative platform for collaboration and knowledge transfer
- Facilitate interaction and collaboration of talented individuals and experts worldwide, providing them with new professional opportunities and challenging projects to work on
- Support cleantech companies investing in innovation by giving them access to an expert community to outsource their R&D or sponsor cleantech innovation research
- Help entrepreneurs and innovators kick-start their projects by gaining easier access to capital & support services
Posted: April 9th, 2011 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Initiatives, Green Jobs, Green Products, Green Technology, Our Green Directory | No Comments »
Peel Scrap Metal Recycling is one of the friends of Our Green Directory, and a client of ours as well. They have a very good blog on their site (see link below), and know a lot about the recycling of both ferrous and non-ferrous metal. But they also are keenly aware of the importance of recycling as a ‘green’ function.
This is one of of their recent blog posts about an innovation that, if it turns into a reality could have a major impact on the solar energy field.
Solar Roadways — The Biggest Green Idea Yet.
by Jeff Shaffer, Peel Scrap Metal Recycling
One of the more interesting aspects of being part of the green revolution is that you are exposed to new ideas and recycling technologies on a constant basis. Recently we came across something which really caught our attention.
The Solar Roadways Project
Scott Brusaw of Sagle Idaho is an electrical engineer whose company, Solar Roadways, wants to build solar panels that will replace the asphalt that constitutes most roadways, driveways, parking lots and even the paved areas we play on in playgrounds.
On only four hours sunlight per day, Mr. Brusaw estimates that 428 homes could go off the grid for every mile of four lane solar roadway.
This idea is as simple as they come. But like all truly revolutionary ideas, it is pure genius.
Mr. Bursaw’s vision: “Our long range goal is to cover all concrete and asphalt surfaces that are exposed to the sun with Solar Road Panels. This will lead to the end of our dependency on fossil fuels of any kind.”
With LEDs, load cells and other electronics embedded in the panels, the possibilities are endless. Safer nighttime driving will be possible as the highways are illuminated. The roadways can be programmed for traffic management with warnings for drivers and pedestrians. Heating elements can be built in to prevent snow and ice build-up. These roadways can also be constructed with self-healing power grids, a practical system for electric cars and so on.
The Recycling Industry Plays a Big Part
Implementation of the Solar Roadways system will create one of the largest green industries of all time. It will also dramatically affect the recycling industry as the Solar Roadway system is designed to incorporate recycled materials for its internal support structure.
All of this on roadways that will pay for themselves over time, replace our reliance on oil and coal, help deal with the problem of global warming in a substantial way and provide health and economic benefits to boot. It’s a win win situation.
More Than Just A Pipe Dream
As the green revolution continues to grow, we see a lot of very good ideas come and go. But the SolarRoadways project seems to have some real traction. And why not. There is really no downside to it and for the most part, the technology is already available.
A prototype of the Solar Roadway has been developed with a grant from the US Department of Transportation. While there are clearly aspects of this that need critical evaluation, we think it is a truly awesome idea.
More information on the Solar Roadway project can be found at:
Or you can watch the video on YouTube
Posted: February 2nd, 2011 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Initiatives, Green News Links, Green Products, Green Services, Green Technology, Green Tweets | No Comments »
Our Green Directory follows almost 2000 green organizations on Twitter. The vast majority of them are in the US, and so a lot of the information and insight they have to offer is relevant primarily to Americans. But there are several notable Canadian organizations and twitter sites that tweet out good stuff on a regular basis. Over the next few posts I will highlight some of them and provide you with links to their twitter pages and or web sites. Because you can never really have too much green knowledge.
This first one is called Green Tweets TO and it contains a number of really practical tips for living a more eco-friendly, energy conscious lifestyle. It also does a really good job of promoting other green tweeters through Follow Fridays and Eco Mondays.
There is no web site listed, so I can’t really tell you who sponsors the tweets. But there’s a lot of good info here as well as links to good articles. If you’re a tweeter, you might want to follow these people. If you’re not a tweeter (and I really don’t know anyone who isn’t), you may want to get started. It’s not just a way of keeping in touch with your friends. It’s a great way to keep in touch with the world.
Green Tweets TO link: http://twitter.com/#!/TO_GreenTweets
Posted: January 16th, 2011 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Initiatives, Green Products, Green Technology | No Comments »
Slowly but surely green technology is finding its way into place where it could never go. With the cast iron grip of the oil companies loosening as fossil fuel supplies dry up, energy saving ideas such as electric cars seem to be gaining acceptance at a much faster rate than ever before.
In this fine article on the Mother Earth News Blog, you can find out a lot of good info and who knows…you may even find yourself humming along sooner than you think.
Posted: December 9th, 2010 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Initiatives, Green Products, Our Green Directory | No Comments »
Cool bikes that run on batteries...Energizer bunny, eat your heart out.
I saw a number of tweets this week that were linking to a company called Brammo. Evidently they have come up with a battery that has some pretty amazing power and longevity. In fact, they’re featuring this technology on motorcycle they call the Empulse and Enertia, which can go up to 100 miles per hour and has a 100 mile charge life. This is pretty amazing stuff, and I assume, only the tip of the Brammo iceberg.
If you’re at all interested in the future of non-fossil fuel powered travel, then you should, by all means, check out these folks. I think they are really onto something.
Social Media Campaign for Our Green Directory
2011 is the year we really want to put Our Green Directory on the map. So in January we’re starting a social media campaign to help us do just that. Fortunately one of the partners (Terry Lewis(, has all kinds of skills in that area.
I guess it’s a good idea when you consider that FaceBook alone has 500 million users. That’s a country the size of Canada, the US and Mexico.
Posted: November 15th, 2010 | Author: jimmurray | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Home, Green Initiatives, Green Jobs, Green News Links, Green Products, Green Technology | No Comments »
Building Green.com is one of the best web sites I have come across on the subject of Leeds building.
Leeds building has quietly crept into the psyche of builders and developers all over the world. And just recently a study was done demonstrating just how worthwhile the Leeds Building investment can be.
This is the lead paragraph from a very interesting article on Leeds building that Building Green.com buildinggreen.com has one their blog site. If you’re interested in Leed standards or even just mildly curious. this is a good site to bookmark and visit.
“Dutch economist Nils Kok has published the most comprehensive statistical analysis to date on the relative value of green and conventional buildings. The results show that U.S. buildings labeled under the LEED or Energy Star programs charge 3% higher rent, have greater occupancy rates, and sell for 13% more than comparable properties. “Labeled buildings have effective rents [rent multiplied by occupancy rate] that are almost 8% higher than those of otherwise identical nearby non-rated buildings,” the study reports…”