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8 Eco-Friendly Renovation Tips

8 Eco-Friendly Renovation Tips

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Maybe you don't want a forest-green home, but you can still keep the environment in mind when you decide to renovate. Follow these tips to ensure an energy efficient and non-toxic home improvement project.

 

  • Think before adding square footage. According to This Old House, "adding unnecessary square footage doesn't just result in the excessive use and disposal of building materials—you also have to factor in the extra heating, air-conditioning, electricity, and furniture you'll need to service the living space."

  • Get an an energy audit. A home improvement project is a great time to learn where you might improve your home's energy efficiency. Visit Angie's List or Yelp to find a highly-rated professional energy auditor near you. They can offer great tips to save on your energy bills.

  • Find a LEED-certified contractor. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) trains professionals on the latest green building practices. Find a LEED-certified contractor at the USGBC website.

  • Choose non-toxic paint. Look for low-VOC and Green Seal certified paints avoid the most dangerous solvents. Most companies now offer low-VOC options.

  • Dispose safely. Never pour thinners, solvents or paint down the drain or storm drain. Put them in tight-fitting jars or cans and have them picked up or delivered to a certified hazardous waste disposal site. 

  • Use locally-sourced, recycled/salvaged and sustainable materials. According to Freshhome, "antique shops and consignment shops are great places to visit for items such as doorknobs, light fixtures and even mantels." Look for salvaged wood and other materials on Craigslist, salvage yards, and even demolition sites (get permission first, of course).
  • Choose energy-efficient appliances. Look for the "Energy Star" label on appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators and visit the Energy Star website to learn more. 
  • Donate. Consider donating excess renovation materials to a local theater group, parks department, school, or organization, or take it to a community exchange. Many towns have “drop and swaps” once or twice a year.

 

 

NYC Elementary Students Tell City to Ban Toxic Pesticides

NYC Students Tell City to Ban Toxic Pesticides

Pesticides

Photo: www.intro0800.com


Adapted from a post by EarthShare member Beyond Pesticides

New York City passed a pesticide reduction policy in 2005, but the law has not done enough to stop the use of toxic chemicals like glyphosate (Roundup) that endanger human health.

In 2014, NYC Public School teacher Paula Rogovin’s kindergarten class at PS 290, after learning about the dangers of chemical pesticides, wrote their Councilmember Ben Kallos, asking him to “Make a Law!” and stop the use of harmful insecticides and herbicides in city parks and public spaces. And Councilmember Kallos did just that by introducing a bill called “Intro 800” in 2015.

However, that law still needs support to pass through the NYC Committee on Health, so Rogovin’s class took action in October and performed a skit in front of the committee.

“We’re going to make a great big fuss,” said the children, who showed up with chants and signs. Student Jesse Balsam summed up the core importance of Intro 800. “I think this is a good law that should pass, because pesticides are bad for people,” the student told CBS New York.

The current law encourages city agencies to use less toxic products in and around structures and green spaces owned by the city. The law also requires the city to record and report their pesticide use.

Intro 800 would go even further, limiting the use of pesticides on New York City property to only biological-based pesticides. New York City has been using more of the weedkiller glyphosate (Roundup) in recent years and the kids want it to stop.

“The World Health Organization found that [glyphosate] was a carcinogen, so we introduced legislation right away,” Councilmember Kallos said in an interview with CBS New York.

Glyphosate comprises over 50% of pesticide use by city agencies. In 2016, glyphosate was applied over 1,000 times by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

Beyond Pesticides provided testimony in support of Intro 800, and suggested some amendments that would provide additional tools for landscapers to achieve goals in NYC parks without sacrificing public health.

Items on Beyond Pesticides’ Organic Compatible Product List, for example, are approved by the independent stakeholder National Organic Standards Board and are reviewed for their safety for organic lawn care.

Intro 800 is critical to the protection of community health, particularly children, elderly, and vulnerable population groups that suffer from compromised immune and neurological systems, cancer, reproductive problems, respiratory illness and asthma, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and learning disabilities.

Councilmember Kallos told CBS New York that he hopes to pass the legislation by year end. If you live in NYC and would like to show your support to your City Councilmember and urge them to pass Intro 800, go here to send them a letter, and consider following up with a phone call.

And for more information on the hazards of glyphosate use and how you can take action in your own community, visit Beyond Pesticides.

The numbers just don’t add up to justify drilling in the Arctic Refuge

Congress is on the verge of selling off Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling, and its members don’t seem to know they’re being conned. They have been sold a $1 billion bill of goods.

BLM suspends needed methane rule, ceding regulation to states & industry

Sarah Graddy

The department is expected to announce a new draft rule in the next few weeks that could revise the existing regulation or rescind it entirely.

While America focuses on tax bill, Congress quietly tries to open Arctic Refuge to oil drilling

The U.S. Senate has passed a Republican tax-reform package that contains a provision to authorize oil drilling on the coastal plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, placing the biological heart of one of our last pristine, untouched places in severe peril.

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Interior lease sales a “colossal dud”

Tony Iallonardo

In response to news reports that the Interior Department’s energy lease sale today drew little oil industry interest, Chase Huntley, senior director of The Wilderness Society’s energy program said:

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Conservation Groups File Lawsuit after President Trump Illegally Axed Majestic Bears Ears National Monument

Jennifer Dickson

Three days after President Donald Trump issued a proclamation taking an axe to Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah, conservation organizations filed a l

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Outdoors groups oppose HR 1349, the “Wheels over Wilderness” bill

Michael Reinemer

H.R. 1349, the “Wheels Over Wilderness” bill, introduced by Congressman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), carves a gaping loophole in the 1964 Wilderness Act, which has stood for a half-century as one of America’s bedrock conservation laws.

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Bipartisan renewable energy bill supports local communities and the economy

Alex Thompson

Today, a coalition of groups representing local government, hunters and anglers, conservationists, clean energy advocates, and the outdoor recreation community sent a letter to congressional le

THEN: Trump promised to honor “legacy of Theodore Roosevelt.” NOW: Teddy who?

A year before effectively eliminating Bears Ears and vast portions of Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, then President-elect Trump claimed his administration would honor the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt and “conserve and protect our beautiful natural resources for the next generation including protecting lands.”