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michelle's blog

Meatless Mondays!!

Meatless Mondays

I am all about making small lifestyle changes to decrease my negative impact on the environment. While I may not be able to afford solar panels or an electric car, I CAN by local foods, hang-dry my clothes and do other small things which can add up to a BIG impact by the end of the year.... read more

10 Green Pregnancy Tips

Pregnancy Green

There is no better time to green your lifestyle that during pregnancy. Common pollutants that barely impact you and I  can have a much larger effect on your growing baby, in utero and out. Make these simple changes during pregnancy to establish healthy habits for your kiddo.

Here are some green pregnancy tips:... read more

San Francisco Electric Plug-In Car Project Faces a Few Roadblocks

Plug-in electric vehicles are becoming more affordable, available, and popular. Leading “green” city, San Francisco, passed legislation to help increase the convenience of electric vehicles in hopes of enticing residents to purchase the green cars. The city is challenged with the task of installing 80 public charging stations at 20 locations by 2012.

The city has been working for roughly two and a half years to implement the charging station policy and necessary infrastructure. ... read more

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Food: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Through What You Eat

Food Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A comprehensive study released on July 18, 2011 by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) outlines guidelines to help you, the consumer, make wiser food choices. We have long known that certain foods create an abundance of CO2 emissions. What this study adds is understanding the roll of the entire life cycle of various foods, whereas previous research mostly focuses on food production. The EWG research tracks food production, processing, consumption and waste disposal to teach us how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and pollutions that result from our dietary habits.

“By eating and wasting less meat, consumers can help limit the environmental damage caused by the huge amounts of fertilizer, fuel, water, and pesticides, not to mention the toxic manure and wastewater, that goes along with producing meat,” said Kari Hamerschlag, EWG senior analyst and author of the report. “Choosing healthier, pasture-raised meats can also help improve people’s health and reduce the environmental damage associated with meat consumption.”

Five Worst Foods For the Environment:

1. Lamb, especially loin

2. Beef – choose grass-fed and lean meats to reduce your impact on the environment

3. Cheese (this one shocked me! Total bummer!) - Less dense cheese (such as cottage) results in fewer greenhouse gases since it takes less milk to produce it... read more

Solar Panel Cost and Finance Options

In theory, going solar is a no-brainer. The amount of gas saved and emissions reduced annually is tremendous. And the long term financial savings are also clear. However, the initial Solar cost can be more than most homeowners are able to afford (the average out-of-pocket cost after government rebates is about $15k). Paying for solar panels seems out of reach... But it's not! There are many options that include solar loans with low interest rates and solar leases with no money down.

In the past decade, local and national government policies have driven private companies and public policy to make solar panels more affordable for Average Joe. Enter: Solar Loans. Power Purchase Agreements, and Solar Leases.

Solar panel leases are offered through private companies such as Sungevity and Solar City. They allow homeowners to borrow solar systems. The homeowner is often not required to put any money down and then pays a set amount of money per month. This monthly rate is almost always equivalent to the current energy bill, so the homeowner does not see an increase in monthly cost-of-living expenses.... read more

US Green Job Growth Amidst Struggling Economy - 10 cities that are leading the way

Green Job Growth

The Huffington Post and 24/7 Wall Street released articles today naming 10 US cities with the largest green job growth.  The statistics are based on a non-partisan Brookings Institute study.

While the overall US economy has struggled, green businesses added 565,337 new jobs in between 2003 and 2010. The median salary for a green job is almost always higher than that of a non-green job and many of these jobs are in the manufacturing sector, creating job growth in some older cities known for manufacturing that have been hit hard by the recent economy. The report also states that “on a per job basis, establishments in the clean economy export roughly twice the value of a typical U.S. job ($20,000 versus $10,000).“... read more

Solar Lease Versus Solar Loan

Solar LoanVersus Solar Lease

If you are considering solar panel installation for your home or business, there are many different financing options available to you. You can pay in cash, take a state-sponsored solar loan, take a private solar loan, lease a system, or enter a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

It is important to understand your options in order to make a decision that is best for you.... read more

Independent Study Finds San Francisco the Greenest City in the US

San Francisco Greenest City

An independent study conducted in June found San Francisco to be the “greenest” city in the United States and Canada. This doesn't come as much of a surprise – the city has made headlines for leading the way with policies such as mandatory composting and a grocery store plastic bag ban.... read more

What is a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?

Solar Power Purchase Agreement

Over the past 3 years, California and other states have seen a large increase in Solar Lease programs and Solar Power Purchase Agreement programs. Both types of programs allow property owners (residential and business) to power their property with solar energy without a large upfront investment. But what is the difference between a solar lease and a power purchase agreement?... read more

Obama Proposes Dramatic Fuel Efficiency Increases for New Cars by 2025

Obama Car Emission

Last week the Obama administration released information about the proposal for increased auto emission standards.  The proposal includes a 56.2 mpg minimum for all new cars by 2025. American car manufacturers would have to meet this number as a company-wide average.  With the demand for electric cars already on the rise, this move would give electric vehicles the boost needed to become more mainstream.... read more

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