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Denver International Airport, Among the Greenest in the U.S.

Denver International Airport, the largest airport in The United States, also just so happens to be one of the greenest in the nation as well. According to this article from Urbanful, DIA, ranks as one of the top six greenest airports in the entire country! Check out this article and see what makes DIA, so green.

Inside America’s greenest airports


The Nickel Tour: These are the most innovative and environmentally friendly airports around the U.S.

Not only is flying usually the most expensive part of traveling, it also has the highest impact on the environment. Airports themselves have been stepping up their eco-game by instituting sustainable initiatives from green building practices and energy reduction programs, to better waste management, recycling, and resource conservation. Check out what some of our “greener” airports have been up to.


San Diego International Airport (SNA) is now home to the world’s first LEEDPlatinum (the highest environmental certification possible) certified commercial airport terminal.

San Diego was the first US airport to adopt a formal sustainability policy back in 2008. In 2012, the oceanside airport, became the first in the U.S. to install LEDs on its runways, guard lights, and airfield signs.

Sustainable features include a 3.3-megawatt solar array, low-flow water fixtures that save the airport approximately 4 million gallons of water annually, drought-tolerant landscaping, energy-efficient and natural lighting (daylight-harvesting lights automatically turn down when natural light is brighter), reflective roofs, and non-toxic interior construction materials and paints.


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) focuses sustainable efforts on conservation. The airport has 307 acres of sand dunes voluntarily set aside as a nature preserve. Native plants and animals, including the delicate El Segundo Blue Butterfly (among the first insects put on the federal endangered species list back in 1976), are thriving again as part of this restoration project. LAX created this habitat, the largest remaining coastal dune area in Southern California, with a goal of preserving the coastal buckwheat plant, which is the only source of food for the El Segundo Blue Butterfly.


Indianapolis International Airport (IND) is the granddaddy of green airports. In 2011, IND was the first airport in the U.S. to win LEED® certification for an entire terminal campus. Now, the airport is home to the largest airport-based solar farm on the planet. It is able to supply enough energy to power 3,200 homes. When fully completed by the end of the year, the IND solar farm will encompass more than 150 acres, with more than 76,000 solar panels, and generate more than 31 million kilowatt hours.


Not only does Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) have a wetlands restoration program, electric vehicle charging stations, green fleet vehicles, and anaeroponic garden for use by its restaurants, it now has the first major on-airport apiary (bee yard) in the U.S.

In 2011, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) installed an apiary of 28 beehives at O’Hare, and this year it expanded to 75. With more than 1 million bees, it’s the largest apiary at any airport in the world. In the first year, the ORD bees produced 1,200 pounds of honey which is sold at the O’Hare farmer’s market in Terminal 3 and at retailers like Whole Foods. The work is done in partnership with an employment program offering valuable job experience to ex-offenders and disadvantaged people.


As one of the nation’s newest airports, Denver International Airport (DIA) was built with sustainability in mind. DIA uses natural day-lighting, a comprehensive deicing fluid collection and recycling system, pre-conditioned air supplied to aircraft parked at gates to reduce emissions, and a hydrant system for fuel deliveries to reduce the potential for spills and excessive fuel truck traffic. Denver Airport’s fourth solar array is now online, bringing the airport’s total solar generating capacity to 10 megawatts, or 16 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s enough electricity to power about 2,600 typical Denver-area homes each year.

And now the airport is partnering with one of its newest restaurants, Root Down, to pilot the airport’s first commercial composting program in the concourse area. The restaurant will collect all of its organic and compostable materials which will be collected daily and taken to an off-site facility. Their hope is to get additional tenants to embrace this and other programs to reduce their overall environmental impact.


We’d be remiss to leave San Francisco International Airport  (SFO) off the list. Unsurprisingly, they have a LEED Gold certified terminal, a greenhouse gas emissions reduction program, solar panels, are increasing their use of clean fuels or electric vehicles, planted 2,020 trees of over 15 different species, resulting in an estimated 121 metric tons of carbon sequestration per year, and have one of the largest recycling and composting programs in the county in which 75% of the solid waste is getting recycled.

But they also have goats.

Every year hundreds of goats are used to graze on brush as part of the airport’s unique —and environmentally friendly—approach to fire prevention. The airport owns 180-acres of undeveloped, protected land which is home to two endangered species—the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog. Since machines can’t be used, goats spend two weeks each spring munching away a firebreak on the west side of the airport to protect nearby homes from potential fires.

Images courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Green Gadgets

Remember beepers? Flip phones? AOL? There was a time when those were groundbreaking advancements in technology. Now, you can listen to an entire library of music, watch a movie, or just browse the internet while waiting at the bus stop all from your phone. It’s pretty crazy how much technology has changed in just the last decade. Well, the “green” community is advancing as well. In fact, some of the newest green gadgets were on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas. Here is an article from Enviro Maids, which highlights some of these new advancements in green technology. Pretty cool stuff.

Latest Green Gadgets at the International Consumer Electronics Show

blog-CESEach January, thousand flock to the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to catch a glimpse of the latest and greatest technologies and innovations in consumer products. This year’s show took place January 5-10 in Las Vegas and showcased an impressive array of state-of-the-art products. Our favorite products come from the “green” category, of course! Here are some of the standout green products for the home and why we love them.

EverSense Thermostat by Allure Energy, Inc.

This “smart” thermostat features a Wi-Fi touchscreen and Proximity Control Technology to make your home greener and more energy efficient. Proximity Control is a patented technology that controls and adjusts your home’s temperature while you’re away based on how near or far you’re from your house. While you’re at work or away on vacation, you probably adjust the setting on your thermostat to save energy while your home is empty. When you return home, you adjust the temperature back to your ideal setting. With EverSense’s Proximity Control, the thermostat works like a GPS system, sensing your proximity to your home and adjusts the temperature automatically before you arrive home. You’ll always come home to the perfect temperature. The EverSense thermostat works using the Eversense mobile app for iPhone or Android.

RZT S Zero Lawn Mower by Cub Cadet

Move over electric cars, now there’s an electric lawn mower! Manufactured by Cub Cadet, the RZT S Zero ride mower is chock-full of environmentally-friendly features. According to the company website, features include:

  • Zero engine noise
  • Zero gasoline
  • Zero filters to change
  • Zero belts to change
  • Zero engine heat
  • Zero oil
  • Zero oil disposal
  • Zero gasoline emissions

LG Front Load Mega Capacity TurboWash Washer

This large capacity washer is huge in size and huge in savings. This 5.2-cubic-foot capacity washer features TurboWash Technology that gets through even large loads 20 minutes faster than traditional washers. LG’s ColdWash setting makes this washer even more energy efficient. According to the LG website, the ColdWash setting cleans as well as warmer settings yet saves you 60 to 91 percent more energy per load.

LG Electric Double Oven Range with EasyClean

This kitchen workhorse is perfect for entertaining. Featuring an infrared heating element, broiling time takes 20 percent less time than conventional ovens. According to the LG website, this electric, double-oven range is a breeze to clean thanks to the EasyClean technology. Unlike other self-cleaning ovens, this LG oven takes only 20 minutes to thoroughly clean and only requires water. No harmful chemicals! The secret is the enamel lining. Simply spray the surfaces inside the oven with water and press the EasyClean button. Twenty minutes later, wipe any bits of loosened dirt and you’re done!

Samsung DV457 Front-Load Dryer

Large household appliances such as dryers are notorious energy sappers. When it comes to energy efficiency, Samsung wins top prize. The Samsung DV457 Dryer is the first dryer to ever receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Emerging Technology Award. According to, an ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award winning clothes dryer could:

  • Save enough energy in a year to run an ENERGY STAR certified clothes washer for 11 months.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 6,000 pounds.

Another useful feature on this energy-saving dryer is the VentSensor feature that notifies you if there’s lint blocking in the vent filter. Cleaning your vents regularly improves dryer performance.

Belkin LED Lighting Starter Set and Smart LED bulbs

Belkin’s lighting system allows you control, dim and schedule your lighting from anywhere via the WeMo app and Wi-Fi. Gone are the days of leaving forgotten lights on while you’re away from home. The long-lasting bulbs provide a warm, white light equivalent to a 60-watt bulb and can last up to a remarkable 23 years. Other features include:

  • Switch lights on or off or adjust time schedule from anywhere
  • Fully dimmable
  • Vacation mode turns lights on and off so it looks like your home is occupied
  • Dim to sleep — gradually dim lights to fall asleep more naturally

Cleaning the Chandeliers

Nothing brings elegance and class to a room quite like a beautiful, sparkling chandelier. Unfortunately, even the most beautiful and expensive chandeliers lose their luster when they haven’t been properly cleaned and become covered in dust. So, how do you keep them clean? In this article from The Wall Street Journal, you get a look at a few ways some professionals clean and maintain these elegant light fixtures.

Keeping the Sparkle Alive

Chandeliers bring elegance and shine to any room—until they’re due for a cleaning. How professionals maintain the notoriously hard-to-reach lighting fixtures.

Keith Campbell, owner of Acu-Bright, cleans a Boston client’s chandelier.                      Kelvin Ma for The Wall Street Journal

When the antique crystal looks a little too antique, when the romantic lighting goes from dim to dark, when each drop begs for a rub—it might be time to clean the chandelier.

It’s easy to forget about them. Chandeliers are usually out of reach and they’re not always in the direct line of sight. That is, until cobwebs are the center of attention at a get-together.

“You’re standing here because I had a dinner party and someone remarked at how dirty [the chandelier] was,” Brian Greene of Sparkle Chandelier Corp., based in Mount Kisco, N.Y., said one of his clients told him.

These spectacularly hard-to-reach dust-collectors are often placed in the hands of professionals when it comes time to polish them, but even the experts don’t all use the same methods.

Mr. Campbell pulls a crystal out of a cleaning container.                      Kelvin Ma for The Wall Street Journal

The best way to clean these beautifully pesky items? It depends on whom you ask.

This question started turning in the mind of professional cleaner Keith Campbell during a wedding he attended, when he noticed how ornate—and how dirty—the chandeliers in the hotel were.

Mr. Campbell had been studying ultrasound at the library and remembered learning about an attempt in Japan to clean clothes using sound waves. “One day it just came to me, about how to apply it to the chandeliers,” he said.

He developed a machine—a box with an open top that beamed ultrasound waves—that cleaned individual crystals when the machine was raised to surround each drop.

Mr. Campbell brought his prototype to a Marriott hotel in Boston and offered to clean a chandelier. After seeing how well it worked, the general manager then gave him the whole hotel to clean—and a great recommendation, he said.

“The rest is history,” said Mr. Campbell, the owner of Acu-Bright Inc. in Exeter, N.H.

This system takes about 80% less time than other methods, he says, and the average home chandelier costs between $300 and $700 to clean. He has used the method on chandeliers worth millions of dollars, he said.

But not everyone thinks new invention is necessary to clean a chandelier well. Sometimes it is simply a matter of repurposing a product that is already on the market.

Chris Smith of Crystal-Smith Inc. in Brooklyn, N.Y., uses surgical soap—the same soap used to clean metal hospital instruments—for the job.

Rinsing the cloth in a bucket filled with plain water between every rub is also important, he says, to keep the dirt from being reapplied.

“You don’t want to use anything that’s corrosive,” he said. Cleaning of an average chandelier runs about $350, he said.

Mr. Smith also notes that metal hooks holding the crystal drops are usually gold- or silver-plated brass, and ammonia can take the finish right off.

In general, chemicals can be harmful to chandeliers, stripping lacquers and metallic coatings.

Mr. Smith does full restorations in his shop on chandeliers that require more attention than he can give from the top of a ladder.

The chandeliers he sees in the store have often fallen into severe disrepair after years in storage. Others come to him after being purchased at an auction in poor condition.

Sometimes the condition of the chandelier is the result of a leak or a fire where hoses were used. Water will leak down through the electric outlet and fill up the arms of the chandelier, he said.

Good chandeliers are supposed to be airtight on the inside, he said. But in these more-extreme cases, Mr. Smith said he takes the chandelier apart, rewires it and re-pins the drops.

These types of restorations can run in the range of $700 for a standard dining-room chandelier to $1,500 for a more elaborate, or more damaged, piece.

Brian Greene of Sparkle in Mount Kisco, N.Y., says chandelier cleaning simply requires the tools you’d expect: a pair of hands and a meticulous eye.

“We hand-polish ever single centimeter of the chandelier,” he said. “It can take hours.” His jobs run between a few hundred dollars and upward of $1,000, he said.

Mr. Greene said he was brought in to clean a chandelier on the Upper East Side in New York City. It had hung in the apartment for 35 years without a cleaning.

“It looked like a milkshake,” Mr. Greene said of the layers of dust giving the piece a frosted appearance. He polished it until it sparkled like new. It took nearly four hours.

“There’s a lot of detail to it,” Mr. Greene said. “It takes patience.”

Tips for Heating Your Home

It’s hard to believe it’s already the first week of November. In just a few weeks the beginning of the holiday season will be here, and so will the cold. Keeping your home nice and warm during the winter months is important, not only for comfort sake, but also to help keep everyone from getting sick. Unfortunately, many of the ways people heat their home can be expensive and even harmful to the environment. This article from Do The Green Thing, gives you tips on how to cut back on energy cost and waste, when it comes to heating your home.

Heating your home the green way green heating word cloud

Keeping warm in winter can be costly for you and for the environment. But there is plenty you can do to minimise the cost of both. Here are five top tips for people who want to maximise domestic warming whilst minimising global warming.
1. Switch to a ‘green’ energy tariff or supplier
Specialist suppliers that source much or all of their electricity from renewable sources are becoming both more common and more competitive, as are ‘green’ tariffs from mainstream suppliers. Even if you’re on a tight budget, it’s well worth investigating whether a green plan might be right for you: they can sometimes work out cheaper than the alternatives.

2. Insulate
Whether it’s double-glazing, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation or just the humble draft excluder, are you doing everything you reasonably can to make sure the heat you generate stays inside your home? Insulation will save you money in the medium to long term as well as upping your green credentials, and many people are eligible for grants to help towards or even cover the up-front costs.


3. Green space heaters
If you use electric space heater (one that heats just one room rather than central heating), investing in a new one can often be another way of saving money and energy. The most recent models take advantage of new technology that allows them to provide the maximum amount of heat using the minimum amount of electricity. Some features to look out for include a thermostat, which will allow you to keep your room at a constant temperature and not waste money by over-heating it and a timer to give you more control over when the heater goes on and off.

4. Green central heating
If you use central heating, then getting a ‘power flush’ to clean out your system may be a good way of making it more efficient. Turning down the thermostat a few degrees and pulling on a jumper is the quickest way to save money and energy. Only use central heating when you need it. There’s an urban myth that claims it’s more efficient to keep it on all day and night, but this is not true. Make sure the heating’s off if there’s no-one in, and rely on thicker duvets and pyjamas to keep warm at night. More drastically, if your radiators are old, then getting them replaced with newer, more efficient models can be a cost-effective option in the longer term.


5. Heat pumps and other ‘alternative’ heating systems
If you’re really serious about making a difference, then there are a number of exciting new technologies that can help you heat your home in an environmentally friendly way. Heat pumps take warmth from the air, ground or water, and use it to heat your home. They are designed to work even in low temperatures and are already really popular in Scandinavia. For example, in Sweden, they are used in 97% of new builds. Under-floor heating is another alternative for people with the budget for more substantial work. It heats the house more evenly than conventional central heating, and is great for keeping your feet nice and toasty.

Green Gadgets

Going green is all about making changes in our lives to ensure a better future for the environment and for ourselves. In this article from Living Green Magazine, you are shown a few products that look like they are right out of Star Trek. So it just goes to show ya, the future is looking green.

Crazy Eco Cleaning Gadgets

The concept of Eco-Cleaning is a current trend with people looking to move away from chemicals and toward more natural innovative solutions.

This article highlights some highly innovation cleaning devices that may become part of every house in the future—and some that you can buy now to tackle life chores with a lower environmental impact.

 Futuristic Washing Machine

The Renew, designed by Louis Filosa for Electrolux, makes use of RFID and infrared scanners that detect deficiencies in the fabric (fade, tears, etc) and suggests new clothing options as well.  The smart home appliance also includes an OLED touchscreen interface, and Wi-Fi allows for easy navigation and updating. All you need to do is swipe your dirty clothes between the two steam blades, like a credit card, and get ready-to-wear clothes within no time.  (Source)


Door Handle with Self-Sterilization System

With door handles and knobs being bacteria breeding grounds for microscopic germs to live, in residential and commercial properties, this product sees to eradicate them with UV light.  Using UV light instead of chemicals is eco-friendly and allows for sterilisation throughout the day, reducing common communicable diseases.  How many door handles have you touched today?  (Source)

Eco-Friendly Cardboard Vacuum Cleaner

Designed by Jake Tyler a UK student, the eco-friendly vacuum cleaner is constructed from its own packaging, including the wheels!  Jack gave the following insight into creating the eco-friendly vacuum cleaner:   “Environmental stability was in at forefront of the design and that is why I used cardboard. Most consumer electrics need to be taken to a landfill site, my idea was to have something recyclable and you can build it yourself, so you feel part of the product.” (Source)




Integrated System

The Washup washing machine-toilet was designed by Sevin Coskun.  With space becoming limited and more uses being found for grey water (water that is not clean enough for human consumption) this gadget uses the grey water from the washing machine to flush the toilet. Saving space , water and cleaning this product ticks 3 Eco boxes! (Source)






Orbital Washing

Using two individual washing containers the orbital splits the washing into colours and whites. The ball filled with dirty clothes is then placed into the washing machine to be washed.

Once the drum is inserted into the machine the drive rotates the drum and the weight of the clothes spinning would then rotate the orbital ball around in another directions. As the drum rotates in all directions a centrifugal force is acting on the drum. As the drum spins it forces the clothes to stick to the inner sides of the drum allowing the water to pass through and efficiently washes the clothes.

In a conventional washing machine a large amount of energy is needed to drive the drum through the water, however in orbital the water is pumped through and sprayed out on to the drum through a shower which surrounds the tub. The drum would require less energy to spin through the water and less water is needed as it is being continually pumped around and sprayed. (Source)

Air Clean Balls

The Air Clean ball purifies the air around the device by using a form of ionisation.  This ionisation is in the form of a photocatalyst complex, which sterilises the air particles.  This does not freshen the air by releasing chemicals, but uses the internal filter to purify, removing viruses and bacteria.  This could be the fruit bowl of the future.  (Source)


Go Green For Your Pool

The official start of Summer is only 10 days away. With the temperature rising, one of the best ways to beat the heat will be going for a swim in the pool. In this article from Earth911, they give you 8 ways you can “green” your pool this summer, including an alternative to using harsh chemicals to clean the pool. So, before you throw on your bathing suit and take a dip, check this out…..

8 Ways to Green Your Pool

Summer’s here! Swimming pools are a terrific way to cool off when the mercury climbs, and they can also be a surprisingly easy way to go green. Whether your style is cannonballs or chaise lounges, here are eight tips designed to turn your pool into a green oasis.

1. Got Salt?

Spend a lot of time in a chlorine pool and you might emerge with red eyes, green hair and itchy skin. Recent findings have even linked regular swimming in a chlorine pool to the development of asthma in small children as well. To combat this, consider switching to salt water. The absence of chemicals means it’s more gentle on the skin, and the salt helps keep the pool naturally clean and algae-free, translating to less money and less maintenance.


Try purchasing reusable containers for pool chemicals as many curbside recyclers will not accept containers that once held hazardous chemicals. Photo:

2. Reusable Containers

Is there a mountain of bottles and jugs scattered around your pool? Even if you choose natural products to keep your pool clean, all those plastic containers can still add up.

Check with your curbside recycler to see if they accept the bottles. If they held hazardous chemicals the answer is probably “no,” so find out when your next Household Hazard Waste event is occurring and drop-off these containers then.

Also consider buying pool supplies from a company that utilizes reusable containers, such as West Coast-based HASA, Inc.

3. Pump It

Like many household appliances, pumps are becoming more energy efficient. Look for the Applied Research Laboratories stamp, which means the pump meets U.S. standards for saving energy.

Pumps are now available in a wider assortment of speed models, meaning you can turn the motor down for regular daily use or up for shorter, more intense cleanings. Buying a timer for both the pump and the filter will ensure that they will run only when you want them to.

4. Check for Leaks

It may sound like a no-brainer, but even losing an inch of water a day can add up to 102,000 gallons of lost water per year. Mark the water line with a grease pencil and check it 24 hours later. If you suspect a leak, have it fixed as soon as possible. Refilling a pool with captured rainwater is an excellent way to cut down on wasted water, and it doesn’t hurt to give that new border of irises and cattails a drink while you’re at it.

5. Go Solar


If adding solar heating to your pool isn’t within your price range this summer, try a solar cover for your pool. Make sure it’s manual! Photo:

Switching from natural gas, propane or electric heaters to solar energy not only saves you money, but it also saves the environment. One pool alone emits three to 10 tons of carbon dioxide each swimming season. Eliminate that and it’s like not driving your car for a year!

The annual cost of heating a pool the traditional way can easily exceed $2,000 (more if you include service technician’s fees). Sunshine, however, is free. The average cost of installing a solar system for your pool can run between $2,000 and $3,000, but since solar is basically maintenance-free, that upfront cost is pretty much all you’re going to pay.

Check out Find Solar, endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy, to find installers in your area that specialize in renewable energy. And don’t forget the rebates and tax incentives you’re entitled to claim when you go solar.

6. Cover Up

If installing a solar system seems too costly or too daunting, throw a solar cover on your pool. Not only are you helping to heat the water, but you’re reducing the need for chemicals and lowering evaporation by up to 95 percent. Adding a cover also keeps debris out, meaning less maintenance and more time in the water. Just be sure to choose a cover that you can pull on and off manually, either by hand or with the help of a reel. Automatic and semi-automatic pool covers rely on electrical motors, defeating the purpose of saving energy.


Adding green landscaping around your pool can fight water evaporation and absorb carbon dioxide from pool chemicals. Photo:

7. Add Some Green

Another way to combat water evaporation is to increase the landscaping around your pool. Planting shrubs and trees closer to the water means that they can act as a barrier on windy days (just make sure they don’t block out the sun if you rely on solar energy.)

Plants can also absorb some of the carbon dioxide emitted from common pool chemicals. For extra credit, you can even create a water cleaning system for your pool water using certain flora such as irises, cattails, arrowroot and reeds. Have an ecological landscaper place these plants in a gravel area next to the pool; the shallow water they grow in is purified by the natural bacteria in the roots and then re-circulated into the pool through a pump.

8. Subtract Some Green

If you own a pool, you’ve probably done battle with algae at least once or twice. These aquatic spores appear whenever there is a chemical imbalance in the water. It used to be that the only way to prevent and rid your pool of these pesky spores was to douse the water and surfaces with harsh chemicals.

However, eco-conscious companies such as Orenda Technologies are finding safer ways to keep your water clear. By removing the nutrients in the water that algae feed on, the non-toxic and non-hazardous additives prevent algae growth and staining without chemicals.

What Are Green Cleaning Hybrids?

Here is a very informative article from Environmental Leader, on green cleaning hybrids. In the article, they explain what these hybrids are, what they consist of, and how they are used in the cleaning industry.


Understanding Green Cleaning ‘Hybrids’

While they have been in limited use for more than 30 years, mostly for consumer cleaning, what some call “hybrid” cleaning products — commonly known as oxygen-based, bio-based, bio-enzymatic, or bio-renewable products — are making more and more headway into the professional cleaning industry.

Before going into the reasons for this growing popularity, let’s discuss what these hybrids are, how they are used, and whether they are green. Bio-cleaners are typically derived from agricultural products such as corn, soybeans, coconuts, and citrus. Because they are made from renewable sources, they may be the ultimate in sustainable cleaning chemicals, if they have also been certified, proven safer for people and the environment.

Some bio-cleaners are bio-enzymatic cleaners. In addition to being made from agricultural products, bio-enzymatic cleaners are also formulated with specific enzymes as well as aerobic bacteria (bacteria requiring oxygen to survive) and anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that require little or no oxygen to survive) that essentially “eat” living soils.

Oxygen cleaners are another type of bio-cleaner. These contain primarily hydrogen peroxide along with surfactants and/or other ingredients.  Because of the hydrogen peroxide, some oxygen cleaners, if they have EPA (US) or Health Canada/DIN (Canada) Registration, can be used for disinfecting.

While bio-enzymatic cleaners may be used to eat soils such as bacteria that cause odors and oxygen cleaners may be used to help sanitize and disinfect surfaces where they have EPA or DIN Registration, overall, bio-cleaners can be used as alternatives to most cleaning chemicals, green or conventional.

Depending on how they are diluted, bio-cleaners can be used for such things as:

  • Cleaning and spotting carpets
  • Cleaning hard-surface floors
  • Removing grease and grime from hard surfaces
  • Cleaning restroom fixtures
  • Doing all-purpose cleaning
  • Polishing stainless steel

Some are even used for stripping floors, which serves as an indication of just how powerful bio-cleaners can be. In fact, a Massachusetts hospital tested eight different bio-cleaners used for stripping floors and found that all eight surpassed the effectiveness of the conventional floor chemical strippers that were then being used in the facility. And further evaluations found that all eight products had a reduced impact on the environment when compared to conventional floor strippers.

However, this leads us to a clarification that must be made about bio-cleaning products. While they can offer a greener and more sustainable way to clean all kinds of surfaces in a facility, they are not all green certified. Only some bio-cleaners have been proved sustainable by such organizations as Green Seal, EcoLogo, and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for Environment Program. Just as with other green cleaning chemicals and products, managers must look for the eco-label on the product to ensure the bio-cleaner they are selecting is indeed proven green.*

So why are these hybrid cleaners garnering more attention today than they did, say, 25 years ago? One reason relates to what we just discussed: many have now been certified and proved sustainable. This means they may be used as part of a green cleaning program, especially in those properties seeking to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.

Another reason involves price and performance. As the price for these hybrid cleaners has come down, their effectiveness has improved. New technologies developed over the past few years have significantly improved these products, including developing ways to make them more cost effective.

However, the big catalyst making bio-cleaners so much more prominent in professional cleaning is the US Department of Agriculture BioPreferred program created in 2002. The program requires that a certain percentage of all cleaning products purchased for use in federal facilities be bio-cleaners registered in the Bio-Preferred Program. The program was developed to help promote the use of these products in all federal facilities around the world, create new jobs, reduce US dependence on foreign oil, promote sustainability, and help reduce cleaning’s impact on the user and the environment.

The program received a boost in 2009 when President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13514, which encourages the purchase and use of bio-cleaners in Federal facilities wherever and whenever possible. The goal of the order is for the US government to “lead by example” by setting sustainability performance standards and selecting products that are derived from renewable resources and have less negative impact on health and the environment.

And the program is working. More and more bio-cleaners are now available for professional cleaning, and, even more important, more have been independently tested, proven sustainable, and registered in the Bio-Preferred Program.

While they will likely not entirely replace green and/or conventional cleaning products, it is expected that bio-cleaners will find their niche in professional cleaning. For instance and as expected, we are finding government facilities, school districts, and educational facilities big markets for bio-cleaners. What green-certified bio-cleaners offer facility managers is another alternative to keep their facilities clean and healthy while at the same time protecting the health of cleaning workers, building users, and the environment.

*Some bio-cleaners contain d’limonene as a key cleaning agent, which prevents them from being Green certified. D-limonene—can be a skin and respiratory irritant and cause allergic reactions for some people.

Toilet Paper More Eco-Friendly

Here is an interesting and informative article from GreenBiz, on how the paper industry (and especially toilet paper) is doing it’s part to lessen it’s negative impact on the environment.

Most toilet paper available today for the  away-from-home market includes most, if not all, recycled content. While the percentage of pre and post consumer recycled content in bathroom tissue can vary by brand and supplier, the good news is that, whether pre or post consumer material, the use of recycled fiber keeps it out of the landfill. Some brands of tissue are more eco-friendly than others. With a bit of research, one can determine what to consider, besides cost, when making a green purchasing decision.

The U.S. Department of Energy ranks paper manufacturing as the fifth most energy-intensive industry: a major emitter of greenhouse gases through electric power generated using coal, oil and gas. While its energy use remains a huge challenge, the industry has made giant strides in reducing its environmental impact in recent years. Today, according to Dan Silk, vice president of sustainability for Georgia-Pacific, there are more trees in the United States than 120 years ago. Properly managed forests are certainly important but the transition toward including more recycled content in products has also made a huge difference.

The elimination of chlorine from the manufacturing process — a step now certified by the Chlorine Free Products Association and signified by its Processed Chlorine Free mark — has further reduced tissue’s negative impact. In paper making, dioxins are formed during the bleaching process when chlorine combines with organic material. Dioxins can bioaccumulate in the environment and are a proven cause of numerous health problems. Dioxins almost wiped out the eagle population in the United States.

Byproduct of Recycling Process

While what chemicals are used in the manufacturing process is important to consider, so too is what is done with the byproducts of manufacturing. For example, the de-inking of recycled paper produces a sludge that historically has been sent to landfills. Georgia-Pacific’s Silk says concrete manufacturers are now using his company’s de-inking “waste” as an ingredient in concrete. Joe Tadeo, CEO of Atlas Paper Mills, says his company is providing it to farmers to use on their fields. “It holds water in the soil and adds some degree of nutrient,” he says.

Earlier this year, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published a report titled, “Don’t Flush Tiger Forests: Toilet Paper, U.S. Supermarkets and the Destruction of Indonesia’s Last Tiger Habitats.” WWF found that American companies and consumers are inadvertently contributing to Indonesian rain forest and tiger habitat destruction by buying toilet paper and other tissue products made with fiber from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). Products made with APP fiber, such as toilet paper,were increasingly landing in hotels across the country under the Paseo and Livi brandnames, WWF said. The WWF report highlights the importance of knowing where the ingredients for tissue come from.

“I would be skeptical of product made outside the United States,” Tadeo says.

Those looking for assurance that companies are indeed doing what they say they are doing from an environmental standpoint should not only look for the Processed Chlorine Free mark but also the Green Seal, EcoLogo, Forest Stewardship Council, and Sustainable Forestry Initiative marks.

The “Greeness” Of The Freedom Tower

With today being the 11 year anniversary of the tragic attacks of September 11th 2001, I thought it would be interesting to a look at how the new Freedom Tower (which stands near the site of where the World Trade Center stood) is helping to honor those lost, and providing a look at a greener future.

One World Trade Center, or “The Freedom Tower” began construction in 2006, and is due to be completed sometime in 2013. When completed the massive building should stand at 1,776 feet, to honor the year our country gained it’s independence. The building will be proof that New Yorkers, and Americans in general, are moving forward towards a better future. This can also be seen in the way the building is being constructed. Much of the building’s structure is made from recycled materials, and almost 80% of the building’s waste materials are also being recycled. The roof of the building will even collect and recycle rainwater.

The building uses special glass that conserves energy by blocking out heat and uninhibiting light. While only using limited oil, and natural gas utilities, the tower will primarily be heated by steam. One World Trade will also make use of off-site hydroelectric and wind power. A steam to electricity turbine will also be used to conserve energy by using steam that in turn generates an electric current. The tower is also expected to receive a LEED Gold Certificate, which would make it one of the largest, most environmentally sustainable buildings in the entire world.



Recycled Water, Would You Drink It?

With nearly 60% of the U.S. going through drought conditions, and half of all the countries in the world declared as disaster areas, there is a need to find a solution for another source of water. But where would we look? How about in your toilet? The wastewater (what we usually flush down our toilets) can be recycled and is a fairly cheap and effective way to obtain more water. In fact, according to the National Academy of Sciences, if the wastewater which is flushed were recycled, the U.S. could increase it’s water supply by 27%, or nearly 12 billion gallons!

While the process for recycling wastewater is more rigorous than the process for regular tap water, it is up to 2/3 cheaper than Desalination (turning seawater into drinking water). This is due in large part because of the filtration that needs to be done. While wastewater is only 1,000 parts per million salt, seawater is 35,000 and therefore needs a more rigorous filtration. The other problem with Desalination is, it is limited to states near an ocean.

I’m sure that even the thought of drinking what was once flushed makes the majority of people cringe a bit, but according to the NAS, “Recent advances in technology and treatment design, potable reuse can reduce the concentration of chemical and microbial contaminants to levels comparable to or lower than those present in many drinking water supplies.”

It is estimated that only 7% of municipalities across the U.S. use recycled wastewater, and of that 7% only a handful of communities actually drink it. The wastewater is usually used for agriculture and golf courses.

With the world’s fresh water supply dwindling, and countries continuing to deal with drought conditions, recycled wastewater may end up being the answer we need. And hey, my dog drank directly from the toilet all the time and he seemed to like it!