Posts Tagged ‘health’

Semper Fi Documentary Film – Military Eco-intelligence?

Monday, November 7th, 2011

SemperFiposterIs there such a thing as Military Eco-intelligence? Normally we wouldn’t dare consider the military Eco-friendly considering all of the weapons and other military waste that they have left behind in their various closed military sites. Seeing the new documentary Semper-fi Always Faithful didn’t exactly change our minds.

When Marine Corp Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger’s nine-year old daughter Janey died of a rare type of leukemia, he sought to find answers. For years he struggled to find closure and answers to what happened. His persistent uncovering of information led to the shocking discovery of a Marine Corps cover-up of one of the largest water contamination incidents in U.S. history.

The film follows the personable and persistent Ensminger to expose the Marine Corp to their culpability of poisoning thousands of military personal as well a civilians in North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune. The film directors ( Tony Hardmon, Rachel Libert ) build on the momentum that Ensminger brings. The military trained him well. He acts like a marine on a mission who won’t take no for an answer. Ensminger carries the weight of exposing the environmental injustice of the Marines on his back and keeps his target in sights like an eagle-eyed sniper.

The film not only centers on Camp Lejeune but shows the environmental injustices in military bases and surrounding areas in various regions around the country. The film feels like a punch to the gut of the top brass of the Marines. How could they poison the water supply of the faithful people who make up the Marines then cover it up and deny? Sounds like typical military operations.

Semper Fi represents a rare opportunity to show marines and ex-marines as pseudo environmentalists, a position not normally associated with the military. A powerful film indeed and perhaps it will act as an early morning revelry and lead the troops to be always faithful to Jerry Ensminger and his environmental cause.

5 Energy Efficient Improvements To Make with FHA 203K Loans

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

green fiberHaving recently attended West Coast Green, we couldn’t help but thinking how this whole mortgage crises set the Green building movement back a few years. Unfortunately people will think about getting their loan mod or forbearance before they think about buying formaldehyde free cabinets or installing a water catchment system. The thing that many people don’t realize is that with the right property (and loan officer) buyers can use the FHA 203K loan to improve a home with Green elements.

In terms of Green building and Green interiors, people always get fixated on the energy savings aspects. True, much of Green building centers on energy (and savings) but don’t overlook the health benefits (like using zero VOC paint)

With the 203K loan in mind, here we listed 5 Green improvements that can improve a home, save money and increase the value:

1-    Go Energy Star – Energy Star appliances remain the way to go to not only cut down on an energy bill but it works as a plus for the planet as well. Some Energy Star appliances can chop 20% of a monthly energy bill and they often cost about the same as their inefficient cousins.

2-    Insulate baby Insulate – With winter looming, it only makes sense to either add or upgrade the walls and the attic. Many Green insulation options such as Bonded Logic to soy-based polyurethane can be found.

3-    Water Water Everywhere – Things like low flow showerheads (which should be a given these days) represents an inexpensive fix but think about low flow toilets, tankless hot water heaters, and for the more adventurous a water catchment system.

4-    Replace those Windows – Anyone that has ancient leaky windows might consider replacing them. The low–E, dual pane windows continue to hit the market at a fast clip. To us they represent a no-brainer as they not only preserve energy costs but they cut down on outside noise as well. Typical Eco-Star windows only cost about $15 more then their leaky brothers.

5-    Not to many people in the Bay Area have those old (pre 1992) inefficient furnaces that have a standing pilot light but consider sending it out to pasture (not the junkyard but some place like Building Resources) as they waste abut 35 percent of the fuel the use. Better to use the 203K money for a “condensing furnace” with annual efficiency of at least 90 percent. That number along with the possible 27 percent savings on a heating bill definitely sounds better to us.

Laguna Honda Hospital Will Mark the First Green-Certified Hospital in California

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

laguna_honda_hospitalWith the downturn in overall new building, more sustainable efforts have seemingly fallen by the wayside. We’re glad to see that some projects have not totally disappeared. On June 26, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will cut the ribbon on San Francisco’s new Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, which will mark the first green-certified hospital in California.

Especially with energy still on everyone’s radar, the new technology in the hospital’s three new buildings will focus on energy and water savings. The buildings will use 30% less energy than statutory requirements, have Energy Star rated roofs which keep the buildings cooler on hot days and reduce energy use, and they have “closed-loop” air conditioning systems, meaning the system uses water for cooling is reused rather than wasted. Although do they really need AC in San Francisco?

Because this is a hospital, designers and builders people actually gave a nod to indoor air quality with use of low or zero VOC paints, wood, glues, and flooring materials in the new buildings. Reducing the highly toxic VOC’s, and other indoor air contaminants will only improve indoor health for Laguna Honda residents and staff.

With this green thinking, finally hospitals will start to realize that hospital recovery not only comes with injecting various medicines into patients but giving them a place that offers a healthier environment as well.

Image courtesy JKL

Foster Farms Runs “No Plumping” Chickens at Bay to Breakers Race

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

San Francisco’s zany Bay to Breakers race brings out not only world class runners but crazy costumes as well. Some companies took advantage of the crazy and healthy atmosphere to promote various items (energy drinks, anti pain patches) but we had to question the Foster Farms “Say No to Plumping” race team.

Sure, everyone seemed to enjoy having their photo taken with the plump Foster Farms chickens but the brightly colored 16-person Foster Farms race team seemed bent on raising awareness of a little-known food fact: “plumped” or saltwater-injected chicken that costs consumers their health and money. (more…)

Buy It Green

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

green-zebra

It’s not like we haven’t seen coupon books like this before in other cities (like Portland and Austin) but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be tickled green by San Francisco’s own Green Savings coupon book.

Green Zebra – San Fran’s Green version of those Entertainment coupon books recently hit the stands. You don’t have to be too bashful about using these coupons because the book only contains local green business (sorry Whole Foods) with a slew of restaurants, spas, shops and the like. Aside from the myriad coupons the book offers ideas about how create a Green Wedding, a list of Dirty Dozen produce, and our fave, a neurotic recycler quiz. Maybe it won’t hit the NY Times Top 100 Book List but who really cares when you can sip a free Green Zebra tomato martini at Bacar.

Green House Goes Down – In Price That Is

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006
bernal-heights-green-house

We actually feel sorry for the owner for the owner of the Green house in Bernal Heights. That same property (338 Holladay Ave.) has been languishing on the market for almost three months. That’s the same residence where the house’s owner wrote a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle several weeks back, which practically exclaimed a rebuttal to the paper’s articles saying that Green houses are all the rage and will sell like hotcakes.

The owner can’t be a happy camper as he and his agent continually drop the asking price from $1,279,000 to $1,195,000 to $1,049,000 to $994,000. The owner claims that location sells houses, as evidenced by the Green house in Noe Valley.  True the Noe Valley Green house location represents a superior addy to the one in Bernal Heights. Also, that Noe Green house sale occurred in a slightly warmer market.

There may be a degree of truth in the owner’s statement but instead of location, location, location the seller and his agent should be more concerned with marketing, marketing, marketing. And education. (more…)

Who’ll Stop the Rain?

Thursday, September 21st, 2006
Rainscreen

With the Arterra, San Francisco’s first LEED certified San Francisco condos, just about ready to go into pre-sales it’s no surprise that some visitors in the sales office appear from curious to confused.

Some prospective buyers who drifted around the sales office came for the Green factor but others don’t know green from pink. The salesroom doesn’t exactly push the green aspect. Those who don’t have an attention to detail could easily miss the bamboo kitchen floors, and the dual flush toilets. Even so, one green product continually baffles potential buyers – the Trespa rainscreen system. It more than baffles, it disturbs some.

We’re not exactly fans of bedding down in high-end coffins, except maybe during Halloween, so people here should get over their fears of something new. The rainscreen system isn’t exactly the new green kid on the block. Builders have been using this overcladding technology since the 1940’s in Scandinavia. (more…)

Ashes to Ashes

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

Fly Ash

Normally the thought of ash brings to mind volcano eruptions, funerals, and maybe religious holidays but for us and green builders it’s about flyash and foundations. So, when discussing the topic with one of San Francisco’s up and coming LEED-AP architects (Melanie Jacobson) she mentioned that the CHPS school they are building in the Sacramento area will have a fifteen percent flyash concrete foundation we looked quizzically at her. Why only fifteen percent? She mentioned that that percentage was about as high as their structural engineers deemed to be sound.

We’ve heard other local green buildings contain as high as thirty percent flyash. So, why the discrepancy? It depends on the configuration of the building, the weight on the structure and most importantly what the structural engineer says. (more…)