Monthly Archive July 31, 2006

Northern Ireland Mandates Green Energy For New Buildings

ByGroovy Green Jul 31, 2006

Now this is a little more like it. It’s amazing what can occur when an actual government gets behind renewable energy. In a step that’s sure to please environmentalists while making RE investors salivate, the ‘Government is proposing changes to the Building Regulations which will make the use of renewable energy compulsory in all new builds from 2008′ The new changes will apply to all new homes, company, and public buildings making solar hot water, roof photovoltaics, and small wind generation madatory in under two years.

Almost four thousand households will benefit immediately from the new systems. Those families on low incomes will also receive 100% grant assistance to install solar hot water systems for more than 500 homes. From the article,

‘Launching an 8 million renewable energy Household Programme, Peter Hain said that Northern Ireland is leading the rest of the United Kingdom in green energy. I Am fully committed to the use of renewable energy and I know how effective it can be. In my home in Wales, I have installed PV panels on my roof and this has resulted in my energy bill being halved. As a Government, we are also moving forward in changes to the building regulations to help and encourage greater use of renewable energy.’

Chick Update :: Last Call

ByGroovy Green Jul 28, 2006

This is your last chance to submit names for the 10 urban chickens we’re raising here at Groovy Green. The winner of our contest to “Name That Chicken” will receive one of these sweet T-shirts. Reply below with one or more names you think we should use on our animal additions to my backyard.

The chicks themselves are doing fine. They’re growing with great speed and it’s becoming obvious which ones are roosters and which ones are hens. Can you tell the ladies from the gents? I’ve started to give them time outside of their enclosure when I get home from work. They stay close by. When I first started to raised backyard chickens I thought they would do their best to escape but in reality they never wander to far away. At the first sign of danger they take off towards the safety of their chicken house. They did eat several seedlings from the garden. I have to remember to keep them out of newly planted areas, but for the most part I like to let them wander through the garden. They eat bugs and deposit fertilizer and are just fun to watch.

Be sure to leave a few names in reply and who knows, maybe you’ll win the coveted chicken T-shirt for your efforts.


ByGroovy Green Jul 26, 2006

I’ve recently received a number of emails calling for me to Kick the Oil Habit by supporting E85 which is a liquid fuel made up of 85% ethanol and 15% regular gasoline.

Bobolink has the same email in his inbox starred and ready for comment, and has been wondering what to do with it.

It’s just his luck that James from the Alt-E blog took the words right out of his mouth…

Is Ethanol / E85 Fuel the Solution?

Bobolink (and Steve) think that Pocket Farm is one of the best green/local/sustainable/farming/simple living/…kitchen sink blogs out there. If you’re reading Groovy Green, you need to be reading Pocket Farm.

This post tackles frugality, and offers up some simple ways to save some dough:

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GreenSprings Natural Cemetery

ByGroovy Green Jul 19, 2006

Life is filled with choices. Many of them are daily, some are monumental, others take us in new directions. We use our decision-making skills to forecast positive end-results for our own lives and the people around us. Choices, however, are not limited to the mortal coil–we can also make choices now that will decide our impact on the planet well after we’re gone.

I’m not talking about wills or trust funds, but more your organic relationship with the planet. In the United States, most people lean towards traditional burial: a nice casket, flowers, tombstone, concrete vault, and a small plot. We intentionally exit the planet in much the same way we lived on it; above nature. People readily embrace the notion of ‘dust-to-dust’, but then fail to let that very act occur. Do you believe that air tight vault with the air tight coffin is going to preserve your body? And what the hell are you preserving it for? Is it vanity? Is it fear? Are you thinking that someone might open you back up one day and you’ll be embarrassed by what they see? Since most of the world believes the human body is simply a container for something larger (think: soul), why worry about what happens to it? Why spend thousands on beautiful wood that’s placed in the ground? Why bother with expensive accessories and adorations?

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China To Invest $200 Billion In Renewable Energy Within 15 Years

ByGroovy Green Jul 15, 2006

Can you imagine if the U.S. posted that type of initiative? Hey! You in the back that still believes the U.S. is the smartest country in the world, sit down. China’s economy isn’t the only thing roaring to life. Their renewable energy initiatives are quickly eclipsing anything close to what the U.S. is considering and American companies are eager to partner up and get a piece of the action. Sadly, if the U.S. does eventually wake up, most suppliers will probably be tied up in China! From the article,

“Beijing wants a tenth of its energy to come from environmentally friendly sources by 2010 – a desire driven by soaring air pollution and chronic environmental degradation that is swelling medical bills and provoking discontent.
Projects will need turbines, blades and other power components, which is why General Electric Co, Vestas Wind Systems and Gamesa, as well as homegrown firms China Solar Energy Holdings Ltd. and Suntech, are expanding capacity in the country. “Renewable energy will likely become China’s next boom sector with oil at historical high prices,” said Norman Ho, a fund manager at Value Partners, which has invested in Chinese wind energy components supplier Nanjing Gearbox.”

Wind developers in all areas from manufacturing to design have got to be especially pleased; the compound annual growth rate of China’s wind power capacity will be 39% in 2004-10 and 20% in 2010-20! Hit the jump for more!


ByGroovy Green Jul 12, 2006

Coming up this Sunday evening set aside some time to check out the Discovery Channel’s feature on global warming:

Discovery Channel visits global warming tipping points across the planet, talks to the world’s leading experts, and examines the latest evidence about global warming in GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. Produced by Discovery Channel, the BBC and NBC News Productions, and hosted by award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw, the two-hour special presents the facts and leaves it up to viewers to determine their own opinion about global warming. GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW premieres Sunday, July 16, at 9 p.m. ET.

After the show come back to Groovy Green and share your review of the show in the comments of this post!

How Starbucks Could Have Saved The World?

ByGroovy Green Jul 10, 2006

Starbucks talks the talk but can they walk the walk?  “Beginning to use post-consumer recycled-content hot-beverage cups is an important milestone for Starbucks in addressing the environmental impact associated with our paper-buying practices,” said Jim Donald, Starbucks chief executive officer.

Yesterday I listened to a four-minute radio story about the new Starbucks coffee cup.  Apparently as the company became successful in the 1990’s, more and more customers developed a wasteful habit known as double cupping.  Customers started using a second paper cup to keep the hot liquid in the first paper cup from burning their hands.  It sounds like a simple solution to the problem of carrying around a scalding hot beverage.   The practice however instantly doubled the amount of waste created by drinking Starbucks coffee not to mention the additional trees and energy necessary to make all those second cups.  The company began looking for an environmentally sensitive solution back in 1996.  It came up with a sleeve made from 60% post consumer recycled paper.  However, the hunt for the prefect coffee cup continued.

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America’s Big Fat Oil Problem?

ByGroovy Green Jul 10, 2006

Why is America trying to treat its oil dependence problem like it is trying to solve its weight problem?


Americans are getting fat. This is not breaking news. I myself could spare to shed a few pounds. As I began the endeavor to lose weight and get in better physical shape, I began to see the corollaries between how the American public attempts to shed pounds and the way that we are trying to solve our dependency on oil.

First off, lets look our “oil addiction”. We are addicted to oil and its derivatives: gasoline, diesel, kerosene, etc., as much as we are addicted to corn and all its derivatives: corn chips, cereals, and the vast amounts of high fructose corn syrup hidden in our foods. Both are very abundant in the US. Gasoline may be expensive, but it is highly available. We have built our society around the excess availability of both food and oil products. Many areas, we know, cannot be accessed without a vehicle now, and one can find very few towns who have not been afflicted by the homogenizing effect of fast food restaurants and national food brands.

Many great minds have written recently on the energy crisis and the obesity epidemic that faces our nation, lets just stipulate that.

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