I'd like to get people's opinions about green ideas especially green ideas in Houston.

What green projects have you had? What went right? What went wrong. What do you recommend?

Eric Standlee

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I Just bought "green" insulation from Payless Insulation ( a woman owned Sterling Bank financed business ). I am installing it in a office shed I just built in our back office. I will let you know how it works there. Just too much cleanup since IKE and it has made projects like this drag on. I have my A/C for the office and all I needed to get was my AT&T Uverse installed into it so I can watch the news while I work, but my Uverse tech freaked when I asked him to install that. I will have to pull the coax myself! Then, I can complete the power wiring, install the insulation, hang the sheetrock and lay the carpet and finally move in. I cannot wait. At least the Uverse internet seems fast enough.
Hello Dewey,
As you are probably aware, 10yr old A/C units are very inefficient. You most likely have a 8 to 10 SEER unit and the minimal code these days is 14SEER. These new units make a substantial difference. You have put in place some really great renovations so the A/C is the next logical step.
Check out my profile on InHouston and if i can help drop me an email.
All the best.
Patrick
Great topic Eric. We are seeing more and more companies that want to "go green" but don't know where to start.

Obviously in my business we are pushing the paperless office. While some companies are still very much attached to their paper there are little things that can be done.
* Attach a message to your email signature saying, "Please only print if necessary" and post the Recycle logo.
* Send out meeting agendas via email
* Use Go To Meeting or webinars rather than wasting gas
* RECYCLE within your office (soft drink cans, plastic bottles, ink cartridges, anything)
* E-market rather than printing countless brochures and flyers that often end up in the trash anyway

This is a very important topic. I am curious to see additional responses. Thank you Eric!
The best place to start implementing green is at home. This is a realm we fully control and can use as a testing ground we can expand to our business or workplace. We make a big difference not just by reducing our waste stream but in benefits to our health.

1. Recycling has been mentioned. Many times motivation is what creates a commitment to do something. Then it becomes a habit. Why recycle? Other than to do the right thing, we recycle to reduce our impact on the environment by reducing our waste and need for landfills. We make a statement by creating consciousness about packaging, use of low decomposition materials, and contamination of air and water. Just think, what if we had to pay the trash man by the pound? And what if the the reycling guy paid us? That is essentially what happens. What you toss out, comes back to bite you.

2. Check under your sinks. What laboratory of chemicals is down there? Are you aware of all the safety advisories they print on the label and what they really mean? example: what is a ventilated room? What chemical soup do you create when you mix two or more of what may appear to be harmless cleansers? example: soap and bleach?

3. Are you aware of the indoor air emmissions produced by the materials you use inside your home? What is emitted by your carpet, paint, flooring, treated wood, etc.? How does it affect you? Are all those chemicals really necessary and what can you do to avoid bringing them into your home?

4. What about electronics? We have every plug maxed out. Everything is humming all the time. Do we really need to have all those toys on "stand-by"? Not only does it affect our electric bill but it also adds to the environment. Don't think so? What happens when you bring your cell phone close to the mic, TV or radio? What kind of electronic soup do we live, relax and sleep in? And what do we do when we want to dispose of these gadgets? Do we know how to dispose of them appropriately?

The best thing to remember is that if we buy it, we acquire the responsibility for safe disposal of these materials as well. Improper disposal costs a lot of public money. If we build a habit of waste reduction and proper disposal we don't have to be regulated to do so. Because as I said before, what you toss out, comes back to bite you.
I try to "go green" around my house:

1. I use the second side of paper that would otherwise go in the trash or green recycling bin for pickup.
2. I print in smaller font to use less paper.
3. I print in "draft" mode for items I plan to keep for me or file.
4. When I don't need a light, I open the blinds to use natural light instead.
5. We keep the temp at about 68 degrees in winter and about 77 in summer.
6. We save our fruit and vegetable scraps for a compost pile. We then use that as mulch for our fruit trees and flowers.
7. We try to use firewood (not sure if that's "green" exactly).
8. Computer, printer, and speakers get turned off at night.
9. Our doors are insulated to ensure no a/c loss or cold air seeping in.
10. We recycle all plastic containers, cans, and glass by putting them in the green recycle bins
11. I will need to start plugging out appliances I use (my iron always seems to be "on" even when I turn it off".

I am trying to go "green" at work:
1. Recycling paper that items printed on in error (using back side).
2. Saving cardboard inserts from packages we use that would otherwise be thrown out.
3. My boss offered me the green dot matrix paper that gets separated early. I will cut up and use this as notepaper, and give some to my brother who likes to draw.
4. I will be suggesting a recycle bin be set up for all printer/copy paper that would be otherwise tossed.
5. We also need one for soda cans and plastic bottles.
6. I have been taking home boxes (we get a lot of packages every week) to use around the house.

Next stop, "go green" in other activities:
1. Carpool, carpool, carpool.
2. Take the bus.
3. Suggest activities that use less emissions and electricity.
4. Research other ways to conserve and save money in the process!
5. Buy a low emissions vehicle or one that uses less gas.
Forgot to mention most of our bulbs are compact fluorescent. We also need to get energy efficient appliances when we replace old ones.
Just working out of our home office saves lots of gas and reduces emissions. If I was working in an office, I would ask for at least a 4-day, 40-hour work week to save that one day of driving. Plus, I like long weekends!
Hi Eric,
My name is Jessica Zapatero, founder of Green Lily Events. We are eco-event planners that serves the Houston, Austin and San Antonio markets. Our company is environmentally focused as we provide recycling, food repurposing, and floral donation at the end of every social and corporate event. If there is an opportunity we would love to be an eco speaker at any networking meeting. We provide green consultancy and event planning.
We are in the process of creating a new social networking montly event for eco minded individuals. If you have any questions, please visit our website at: www.greenlilyevents.com or contact me: jessica@greenlilyevents.com
Thanks !
Jessica,

You may want to add Catch the Moment (Green Screen Photography) to your list of vendors. Instead of printing photos at events we can send each guest to a branded website to retrieve their photos. Plus the viral marketing is INCREDIBLE as they send their photo to family/friends/facebook/myspace... We also can collect data at event so if you want to learn about the guests we can require them to answer some marketing questions. All "green" and now you can target promotions to the guests for future! Dusty Nosek, Regional Director of Sales
dustyb@catchthemoment.com
I like to believe that others are just as excited by eco events as I am! Our company, Sweet Spirit Productions, offer videography, super 8mm film, and photography for events (as well as internet videos and commercials).

We also have occasional house concerts at our home and we always promote recycling at them. We live in Waller County and are proud to be a part of the FIRST recycling facility in the entire county.

I see so much waste at events and it always saddens me. Kudos to you, Jessica!
Eric...have you opened a massive topic here.
I am a homebuilder/consultant and actively research and educate myself on the subject of Green building daily.
I see the Green movement as a three pronged subject (if only to condense the subject down to managable parts). #1- health ( aka "personal enviroment") #2 - environmental conservation & #3 - energy savings. There was a survey done by an organization that asked; of those three things, what are folks most concerned with. I was surprised to read that people are most interested in #1. I would have betted that it was energy savings but it did come in a close second. But on reflection, i guess if you don't put personal environment first and health goes down the drain...what the heck do the other two matter??!!? You are snuffed out and not really concerned.
As a builder/consultant I present these categories with their long list of respective choices to my clients, then we cull through which ones are a good "bang for the buck".
#3 (Energy savings) ideas usually provide the most bang for the buck and the other two categories are more intangible.
What really fascinates me is how the Green movement is really nothing new......hundreds of years ago homes were built with intuitive reasoning on what was most efficient and sustainable. Exploding population and technology has allowed us to drift away from that mindset. The mindset is what needs to be shifted for humanity to be successful.
This post was a bit on the philosophical side but if i got into specifics on "Green" technologies.....I might exceed the "GIGS" on the InHouston website!! (maybe).
Great topic. If anyone has specific questions for me, I will be glad to field them one at a time.
I am "following" this topic and will see what comes and goes.
Adios amigos y amigas.
Patrick
One of my smaller side jobs is being a technical editor for a research company. I get to read a wide variety of magazines and I love "Professional Roofing" because it ALWAYS has at least one article about going green. I find it very interesting. The biggest surprise was the vegetative roofing possibilities. http://www.professionalroofing.net/article.aspx?id=1402

Also recycling asphalt shingles is a great idea -- http://professionalroofing.net/article.aspx?id=1441

I think my husband is tired of my talking about new roofing ideas...

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