This is one of the nice reusable bags we had received at a local store, after legislation regulating plastic use was enacted in Colombia in 2016. Due to the large amount of plastic waste ending up in surrounding water bodies, Colombia has banned all plastic bags smaller than 30×30 cm, and placed a small charge on others that can still be purchased in stores (with a plan set to increase the tax each year until 2020).
By the middle of 2018, this initiative had served to decrease plastic bag consumption by 35%, and raised around $4 million in taxes [see articles below]. Success from these efforts is spurring other similar initiatives and will hopefully continue to drive progress toward mitigating damage from plastic moving on.
More on Colombia’s Plastic Initiatives:
I have seen a few installed Sloan solar faucets, which use the ambient INDOOR light to power the faucet sensor, turning it on and off automatically.
We were given this small bee house to try to encourage bees to stay and thrive in our area. Along with a garden planted to attract pollinators, we hope to see more bees in the future, since there have not been many for the past few years.
The house has been posted along a safe part of our fence to lessen the possibility of harm from wind and other factors.
When it comes to food waste, we try our best to generate the least amount as possible by encouraging guests to only order what they can eat and offering doggy bags for any leftovers. All food waste we generate is sent to anaerobic digestion plants, which in turn provides electricity. We also have a zero landfill waste policy.
The entire way we produce our vegetables is sustainable. Our farming methodology is chemical-free, 15x more land efficient, and 20x more water efficient than traditional soil agriculture, requiring 95% less water. We occupy 1/3 of an acre with 7000 sqft of actual grow space, and can produce as much as 5 acres of soil. An integrated 30,000 gallon fishery provides the nutrients used to grow the crops.
Water is constantly recycled and reused over and over again, meaning that the vast majority of usage goes toward transpiration, and very little is lost to evaporation. Because nutrients and water are brought directly to the plants roots, they grow 50% faster, can be planted up to 10x more densely, and only use 2-5% of the water required for soil. Plus, you have a protein source in the fish. Our farms serve as a fully integrated ecosystem that brings perishable foods closer to the consumer and maximizes freshness and nutritional value.
Our camp is thoughtfully designed to take full advantage of available natural light, within our domes. Not only does this serve to save on indoor lighting, it provides for a magnificent outlook on our extraordinary surroundings.
My apartment building offers a composting option in addition to the general waste and recycling bins.
Our city has a ‘Cigarette Litter Prevention Program’, and has posted these small canisters in many areas in order to collect used cigarettes. Not only does this help to keep the streets clean, but it also serves to benefit the connected recycling process. While the cigarette butts are small, the organization has seen that their total accumulation is significant, and can be used to recycle into ‘plastic industrial products’.
In the foregound, we have a buffer tank for our geothermal circuit. Pumps circulate glycol in the mitigated circuit between the heat pumps. In the background, two water heaters are used to power the restaurant. Just like the rest of the building mechanics, everything is controlled by the building-management computer system. The central computer cycles the start-up of various equipment and uses load shedding to reduce the electricity demand peaks as much as possible.
The next image displays an overview of the complexity of the piping. The cabinets at the bottom are water-to-water heat pumps which allow the surplus heat to be sent to the geothermal wells during the air conditioning period, and to draw heat to the restaurant in very cold weather.
On another section of our roof, two beehives are installed that house over 40,000 small employees. During the summer, they help to produce about 80 kg of honey for the restaurant.
Our company encourages fewer people to drive to work, individually, by offering designated carpool parking spots close to the building entrance.
The Houston Permitting and Green Building Resource Centers are housed within a certified LEED Gold building, which incorporates a large variety of sustainable and low-impact features.
Its roof not only supports this large solar installation, but is designed to follow a ‘cool roof code’, as mandated for commercial buildings by the city. The code serves to reduce buildings’ contributions to the heat island effect (a localized increase in temperature around urban areas, created by their everyday activities).
This roof utilizes solar panels (which also act as additional barriers between the sun’s rays and the roof, helping to keep the building cool), as well as exhibiting a light-colored and more reflective roof material, and vegetated green roof on the building’s side. These features give the roof a very high solar reflective index (SRI) of 89/100.
The visitor center provides information about creating pollinator and native plant gardens for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
- Growing native plants in your garden
- Planting a diversity of flowering species
- Not using pesticides or herbicides
- Providing sunny, bare soil areas for ground-nesting bees.
Pollinators are a vital part of maintaining our ecosystems. Many crops, plant species, and nearly every flowering plant on earth require help with pollination. ‘Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination – they need pollinators.
Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife (Pollinator Partnership).’
We recently converted all lighting from the restaurant to LED fixtures, saving us $ 700 per month. However, after finding these other LED filament bulbs- which adapt much better to our style of globes- we could not resist converting them another time.
Despite their retro appearance and high power (they are turned on at a minimum), these bulbs consume only 4 W of electricity, against 7 W from the previous LEDs, and 50 W for the initial halogens.
These solar canopies for parking lots not only help to provide electricity, but offer shade, rooftop protection, an efficient use of the substantial area allocated for parking space, and the option to introduce and power electric vehicle charging stations directly where they are needed.