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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Green Tuesdays: An Inspiring Rooftop Farm

Becky

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Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint

I know we’re a little early for garden talk for most parts of the country, but I was just reading about urban gardner Annie Novak in who brought this 6000 square foot rooftop garden in Greenpoint Brooklyn to fruition. The Eagle Street Rooftop Farm has a Sunday market and also provides fresh produce to local restaurants.

This innovative farm utilizes the latest rooftop gardening technologies while remaining organic, which is not an easy feat. Luckily Novak is up for the job, and has an eager corps of volunteers she’s training to be urban farmers. The fresh food and the view are their own reward.

To learn more about where to buy their produce or to volunteer, check out rooftopfarms.org.

Top photo via Flickr, photos 2 & 3 from rooftopfarms.org.

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Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Flickr Faves on Fridays: Reclaiming and Repurposing

Becky

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Today’s flickr fave comes from our industrious and creative pal, furniture designer Thomas Wold. Thomas collects and reassembles cabinetry and other furniture and creates spectacular assemblages. I’m especially loving the mix of colors and shapes in this one, and the fact that I can squint at the picture and get a peek at what else is going on in Thomas’s studio and try to guess what’s coming next!

thomas wold-rock candy

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Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Environmental Tuesday: Planning for the Holidays

Becky

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O.K. now that Halloween is over, the stores are filled with Yuletide tunes, people are buzzing about Black Friday insanity, and the stores are filled with all kinds of Holiday decorations. Here are a few quick tips to decrease your holiday carbon footprint.

1) Consider sending holiday cards over the interwebs. I hate this idea because holiday cards are some of the only good snail mail I receive all year long, but it will save on paper and the energy used to deliver your cards. If you can’t stand the thought, at least use recycled paper, and be sure to recycle the cards you receive.

2) Use reusable or recycled wrapping paper. If you’re like my grandparents, you neatly folded up every piece of wrapping paper you ever used and put it in a drawer, and never used it again. You can use newspaper, recycled paper, cloth bags, or a pretty extra piece of fabric you have around the house to wrap up your gifts. Here’s a fun video with some good ideas if you want to get super-crafy:

3) If you do the tree thing, don’t feel too guilty. Christmas tree farms are not the enemy. Just be sure to leave your tree out for mulch composting after the holidays. You may also consider a live tree to plant later (though honestly, in most parts of this country, January 1st is not exactly prime dig-a-hole-in-the-ground-and-plant time).

4) E-cycle: If you’re expecting to upgrade some of your electronics via some killer gifts, make sure you dispose of your old ones in a recyclable way. If they are not fit for donation or resale, check the EPA’s guidelines for E-cycling them.

5) Buy eco-friendly gifts. I love to shop handmade, and from the green sections of retail websites. I’ll be working up a list of what Design Public has to offer in this arena in the coming weeks.  Here’s one of my many faves, the k studio Birds Pillow:

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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Environmental Tuesday: How’s Your Energy Efficiency?

Becky

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It’s getting chilly outside. Winter is the time of year where it’s too easy to waste all kinds of energy and it can cost you a lot of extra dollars. There are a few quick and easy things you can do that will save you a big bucks. Start with an online survey from The U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Saver. If you have a few more bucks set aside now to save a lot later, consider having someone audit your house. The Building Performance Institute Inc. can help you find a local contractor who has been certified to audit your home here.

If you are raring to put a few items on the honey-do list this weekend here are a few quick and easy energy saving moves you can do yourself:

1) Install a programmable thermostat.

2) Wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket (this will run you about $20). Make sure your water heater is at a low setting (usually a little lever near the bottom – even I was able to find this sucker, and I’m terrible at this stuff).

3) Add weather stripping to your windows and doors where needed (you know where you’ve felt a draft coming in – every time you feel it, imaging the dollars slipping right out those cracks.

4) Have your HVAC equipment serviced. Last time I had someone out, they let me know that some shrubs around my A/C unit were making it work twice as hard and once they were gone it saved me a ton.

5) Purely a money saver: If you are not locked in at a good per-therm rate and you use natural gas, call the gas company to lock in a good rate per-therm. Call around to a few to find out their best deal – if you don’t want to switch, your current company will likely match the lowest rate you find in order to keep your business. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t locked in last year; when I finally locked in a rate, I cut my gas bill by 50%!

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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Environmental Tuesday: An Upcycling Double-Entendre

Becky

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I was really glad we received an email from Carolina Fontoura Alzaga. She makes elegant, Victorian-style chandeliers out of recycled bike parts. I love to see projects where I have to look really hard to figure out what the parts were in their former lives.

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