Tuesday, January 15, 2008

CFL Play-offs

Ok, so it's a bad pun-I just wanted  to mention that one of the problems with Compact Florescent Light bulbs is what do you do with them when they "burn out"? Don't throw them out! They contain mercury. This can wreak havoc to our water environment. For those in the Grand Traverse region they can be taken to The Lighting Center on Hall St. in Traverse City. This according to a Grand Traverse County brochure on waste recycling. As an aside, batteries (cell phone, digital camera, etc.,but not car batteries) can be taken to the county's offices on Lafranier.

I'm hopeful that LED lighting will take off so that CFL's can be a transitional bulb choice. (Unless a mercury-free CFL is developed) The price needs to come down and the bulb designs need to be broadened. With time, I'm sure this will happen. LED's last longer and use even less energy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Because of the predominance of granite as a countertop material in up-scale kitchens, I've been interested in alternative materials. Granite poses a few problems for the Green Builder. The actual mining process is rough on Mother Earth and the embodied energy of mining, manufacturing and transport really doesn't fit in the Green kitchen. Some great options are:

  • squak mountain stone (http://tmi-online.com/). These tops are made from recycled paper, recycled glass, coal fly ash and cement. Based in Washington state this would be great for western homes.
  • ShetkaSTONE (http://www.shetkastone.com/)From their website- "shetkaSTONE is a revolutionary product that has a 100% sustainable life cycle. Products that are produced from shetkaSTONE are manufactured from pre and post consumer waste paper and rely on using none of the Earth's overtapped resources. All by-products (waste created in the manufacturing process) can be recycled back into the manufacturing process. All products that are damaged or are at the end of their life cycle do not have to be put in any landfill, they can be recycled back into the manufacturing process." The company is Minnesota based.
  • Recycled glass countertops. These are tops made from recycled glass and concrete. IceStone (http://www.icestone.biz/new/is a company based in New York City that manufactures this product for kitchen, bath, wall and floor applications. "Due to the VOC-free, high recycled content and Cradle to Cradle™ certification, IceStone durable surfaces are ideal for projects seeking LEED certification." Check it out!
  • Concrete- Can be done locally and/or on the job.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


This is an interesting energy-saving alternative to the standard Google search page. Use Blackle by Google (www.blackle.com ) and save energy. It's a little harder to read but you do get used to it.  It has the choice of a Blackle or web search. It also has a green search that is small in hits but the more people that use it, I think it will grow.