Wolves In Yellowstone National Park

Posted: September 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Climate Change, environmental challenges, Solar Energy | Tags: , , | No Comments »

We all are pretty much aware of just how delicate the world’s ecosystem actually is. And just how relatively easy it is to upset that balance.

In fact, it’s pretty much a fact of life that we are currently experiencing that imbalance, as the earth’s climate starts to change, due in part to a number of disrupting human factors. Not the least important of these factors are the virtually unchecked burning of fossil fuels and the unrestricted clear cutting of large rainforest areas around the world.

This four minute film on SFGlobe.com is a classic example of how a single element, that was missing in the eco system of Yellowstone National Park, was returned to the park and, in a very short span of time, started to restore its eco-balance.

The missing element was wolves. The changes that the reintroduction of a group of wolves to the park has made are truly remarkable. In a strange way, it shows you just how much change can be affected simply by restoring balance to any eco system.

This film takes about 4 minutes to watch. But honestly it will fill you with a sense of joy and hope that maybe, if we can stop repressing progressive technologies like wind and solar, if we can start incorporating technologies that already exist that to make fuels burn cleaner and reduce carbon emissions to ridiculously low levels, and if can get industries and countries to incorporate pollution controls religiously, then the earth’s whole eco system might just stand a chance.

View the film here.


How Green Is Your Tech?

Posted: September 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Our Green Directory | No Comments »

This is a guest post by Jordan Jacobs, which was originally posted on Singlehop.com. This is very interesting stuff. Hope you enjoy it, and it gets you thinking….Jim

How Green is Your Tech?
by Jordan Jacobs Industry Insights

Climate change is on nearly everybody’s mind, in one way or another. Becoming more aware of the effects of emissions on the environment, people are looking for “greener” ways to live, from buying local (and sustainable) food and products, traveling via lower-emission transportation methods, and building up recycling and composting programs.

There are some obvious things that help — like riding a bike to work or turning off the lights when you leave a room — but everyone tells you that stuff. As a technology company offering public and private cloud hosting services, we wanted to focus on some of the ways that everyday technology consumption like email, social media, and data storage affects your carbon footprint.

Before you hit send…

Going paperless is great, but electronic communications aren’t exactly carbon free. According to Mike Berners-Lee — professional carbon-emissions consultant and brother of the guy who invented the World Wide Web, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about — every time you send an email into the ether(net), you’re using up 4 grams of carbon.[1] And that’s if you don’t add any attachments.

Okay, 4 grams doesn’t sound like much, and in the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t. Four grams is about how much sugar Mary Poppins advises will help the medicine go down. But think about how many emails you send each day, then multiply that by 365. That’s a lot of sugar.

Basically, each year the average person emails an amount of carbon equal to the exhaust of a 200-mile car ride. Looked at from a different angle, all the emails sent scurrying around the Internet in a single day generate more than 880 million lbs. (that’s 44,000 tons!) of carbon per day.

Now, this isn’t to say that email is a bad thing: it’s certainly better than sending all of those messages on paper in paper envelopes using sticky paper stamps. But there are a lot of ways to cut down on carbon by checking the number of emails that go whizzing from server to server.

Stop replying to all. The “reply to all” function works by sending duplicate emails to all of the people listed in To: box. So instead of sending one email to lots of people, it’s actually sending separate emails to individuals — and multiplying your email-generated carbon footprint at the same time. Before replying to all, take a quick moment to see if everybody on the list really needs to get your message. You’ll save a few grams of carbon, and you’ll avoid aggravating all those people who might otherwise ask, “Why the heck did you send me that?”

Learn to search. Becoming intimate with your email app’s search functionality can save carbon, time, and sanity. Instead of asking your colleague to re-send that document you need for the big presentation, do a quick search of your inbox and archives to see if you have it already.

Don’t spam. Nobody likes to think they’re a spammer, but it happens. Even reputable companies with great products tend to carpet-bomb people’s inboxes with marketing messages that go mostly unread, in the hopes of finding just one more loyal customer. Just because you can send an email to anyone and everyone doesn’t mean you should. Tailoring your audience help you increase conversion rates while cutting back on carbon.

Unsubscribe. On the flip side, if you’re receiving emails that you don’t have time to read, take a minute to remove yourself from the mailing list. It’ll help keep your inbox clean, and you can feel even better knowing you’re helping to trim your carbon footprint.

Start a conversation. We’ve all done it; emailed that person who is sitting close enough that you could literally talk to them without even raising your voice. Instead of sending that email, have a little chat. Even if they’re down the hall, get up and go talk to them. Guaranteed, you’ll use less carbon by talking than you would by sending that email.

Less social media, more social awareness

Speaking of conversations, maybe emails aren’t your thing. Keeping messages short and sweet — say to the tune of 140 characters, a quick pic or a sentence-long status update — can’t really take up much carbon, right?

Actually, that is right. The carbon footprint of a tweet is estimated to be 0.02 grams.[2] Facebook has reported that the average user consumes about 311 grams (0.7 lbs.) per year, which has about the same impact as a medium latte.[3] (Hey, at least it’s not a “venti.”)

Still, those calculations only take into account what’s happening on the company’s end. If you’re using your laptop, tablet, or smartphone to explore social media sites, chances are you’re not simply posting and then leaving. You’re probably browsing a bit, seeing what your friends are up to, making some comments, playing a game or two, engaging in highly politicized debates with unreasonable so-and-sos who just don’t understand how the real world works. That sort of thing.

Let’s face it, most of that stuff is probably a waste of time — and a waste of carbon. There’s nothing wrong with using social media, but cutting back isn’t a bad thing either. While reducing social media usage isn’t going to stop global warming on its own, every little bit does help. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind:

Look up once in a while. How social is it to spend your time looking at your phone? If you’re out and about with a group of friends, focus on what you’re doing, rather than what other people are up to. Sure, it’s okay to post the occasional status update or share a pic or two, but constantly bending your neck is carbon wasteful and may ultimately lead you to a chiropractor’s office.[4]

It’s okay to miss something. The “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) is a psychological condition that has been exacerbated by the explosion of social media.[5] While connecting with people you don’t get to see every day can be wonderful, if you’re scouring your friends’ posts to judge whether their activities are more interesting than your own, you could be missing out on the simple enjoyment of being “in the moment.” Save some carbon and anxious brain cycles by turning those push notifications off.

Delete unused accounts. Maybe Instagram just isn’t your thing. Maybe you don’t really understand the appeal of tweeting. Or maybe you signed up on Google Plus to get more exposure for your business, book club, or improv group. Whatever the case, if you’re not using a particular social media site, deleting your account can decrease your carbon footprint while also helping you declutter your online presence and protect your privacy. Just Delete Me has direct links to the delete pages for hundreds of social media sites, with a visual guide of how easy it is to send your account into cyber-oblivion.

Cloud your data

With the rise of cloud computing, you can reduce your personal carbon footprint by relying on the economies of scale that cloud storage provides.

We’re not gonna lie: Data centers use a lot of energy. But as a company, some of the ways we’ve managed to reduce our own carbon footprint is by installing LED lights, taking advantage of cool-weather conditions — such as that chilly polar vortex that swept down near our data centers in Chicago last winter — and making strides in server virtualization, which helps us run our processors at peak efficiency.

In thinking about data storage for your own personal or company use, it’s worth asking yourself whether you’re wasting energy, space, and money by keeping your servers on site.

Check your overhead. All computers have an energy overhead, and in our experience most on-premises servers tend to be underutilized. Some of the most efficient network hardware costs an extreme amount of money and also requires large amounts of use to make them cost effective. Rarely can the average business justify such purchases, not just in money, but also in utilization. Using a managed hosting service that optimizes its networked hardware for maximum efficiency can help you save carbon while reducing your monthly energy bills.

Stay cool. Most on-site servers use consumer-level cooling systems, utilizing carbon-excessive air conditioners, fans, or possibly water cooling systems that tap into municipal supplies. Cloud storage centers, however, can develop custom cooling technologies that are much more efficient on a per-machine basis.

Understand your needs. We offer a revolutionary level of flexibility in server architecture to our consumers. For example, by customizing your data access and storage needs through our LEAP platform, we can greatly optimize your compute environment and consolidate server use. This helps you use what you need to run and grow your business, saving carbon emissions while keeping energy use low.

Back up smartly. Even if your main server is on the premises, you still have to worry about offsite backups to protect your company and customer data. Setting up a second server can multiply your carbon footprint and jack up your costs. Our virtual machine solutions are integrated with our already efficient server architecture to provide redundancy and diagnostic tools. We also offer standalone backup services for those who want to keep their primary servers close at hand.


Global warming won’t be solved by any single person, company, or even government. It’s going to take a lot of people all over the world working together to understand how their everyday activities affect the environment.

But every individual decision we make helps. We at SingleHop believe that most people are not merely mindless consumers of technology, but want to use technology to make connections with others so they can live richer, more fulfilling lives.

In the end, it’s about awareness. Hopefully this post has helped you learn more about a few of the ways you can make small strides in reducing carbon consumption through technology. And we know we can always learn more, too. We’d love to hear some of your own tips and ideas!

Read more at http://www.singlehop.com/blog/how-green-is-your-tech/#GluAFTJShwsUF4WJ.99



Stay Cool & Be Green–Innovations in Air Conditioning Technology

Posted: September 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Energy Conservation, environmental challenges, Green Home, Green Initiatives, Green Technology | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

This is another in our series of guests posts…this one comes from Audrey Clark and will give you some insights into how to make air conditioning your home and or workplace more environmentally friendly. Please note, we have an open door policy for blogs. If you are interested in posting on our site, email me at jim.murray@ourgreendirectory.com and I will send you the submission criteria. 

Here’s Audrey’s post…hope you enjoy it.

High-efficiency is the name of the game in green living, especially when you’re talking air conditioning. Today’s cooling systems are worlds above those old, cantankerous window units of old. Using new, exciting and innovative technology, manufacturers are taking the art of home cooling to the next level.

Remote Programmable Thermostats

If you forgot to turn the air back before you left for the day or the weekend, never fear. A remote, programmable thermostat allows you to complete the task from the convenience of your mobile device. A device like this can save you up to 15 percent on your annual home utility bill, according to the U.S. Energy Department. You can also program your thermostat to automatically cut back on energy usage during certain hours of the day or night.

EverClean Flexible Duct

Higher-quality ductwork translates into better energy efficiency, and according to information provided by Home Depot, the EverClean brand of flexible duct ranks near the top of the list. EverClean duct features the following advantages over plain old ductwork:

  • A layer of insulation between the core and the outer shield–making this ductwork more immune to the growth of mold and mildew
  • Fiberglass composition–making for quieter and more fire-retardant operation
  • The use of low VOC (volatile organic compound) materials
  • Energy-Star certification

Homeowner Contribution

It’s not a new invention, but more emphasis is now falling upon the homeowner when it comes to operating in the green. Speaking with your HVAC installer about upkeep and maintenance of your home cooling system can help save money, and helps you to keep your ventilation system working efficiently, according to Refrigeration School, Inc.

  • Planting shade trees and shrubs around your home and outdoor air conditioning unit helps keep temperatures at bay, making it easier to keep the air inside your home cooler.
  • Keeping windows and blinds these drawn on the hottest days of the year.
  • Keep ceiling fans circulating to help move cool air around your rooms.
  • Keep lamps away from your thermostat. These can fool your cooling system into thinking your home is warmer than it actually is.
  • Using cool roof materials or coatings, as well as white blinds or backing behind your curtains helps to reflect heat back outside your home. So do solar shades at the windows.
  • Installed correctly in your attic space, radiant barriers help keep the heat from your roof from transferring into your attic.


Author Bio:

Audrey Clark is a skilled freelance blogger covering a range of topics from careers and finance to travel and leisure, along with everything in-between. When not writing, she’s always on the lookout for her next adventure. Connect with Audrey on Twitter and Google+.