Teen Green: Make Your Own Seltzer

12 02 2010

Being full-fledged seltzer-lovers, my family has always had a cabinet full of bottles.  Up until a few months ago, we didn’t know of any other options besides bottled seltzer.  Then we discovered Sodastream.  After buying the “Pure” model in the Stainless-Steel color, three PET BPA-free compatible bottles, and two carbonators, we were good to go.

The way that Sodastream works is actually pretty simple.  When you “run out of gas” in your carbonator, you can either exchange it for a new one at a participating retailer (here are some in Brooklyn) or send it back to Sodastream and you’ll receive a  new one via mail soon afterwards (or you can just swap out the old one for a new one at the Co-Op).

So far, after having had it for about a year, we’ve only used up two carbonators and as a result have saved a ton of money.  We drink at least a bottle per day, and still each carbonator has lasted us months and months!

One of the best things about it is that you can customize how bubbly the seltzer is: you simply choose how many pumps of gas you do based on how strong you want it to end up.  It’s also great to know that you’re being so efficient by not purchasing hundreds of plastic bottles per year.

In all, I could not recommend this more.  It truly has proved itself to be one of the most useful products that we own.  If you and your family are seltzer drinkers, you’ll love this!

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke speaks out about Global Warming

26 05 2009

ocean-waterA press release written by our Congresswoman Yvette Clarke recently caught our attention.

Written with Eva Erbskorn, Greenpeace Field Organizer and titled “Climate Change threatens New York City and Long Island; It warns about some of the more severe but ultimately expected effects of climate change:  rising ocean levels.

Congresswoman Clarke also highlights the “good news” in the situation at hand:  the possibilities for economic development in the fields with green jobs opportunities. Her highest hope is that we pass green economy legislation that minimizes U.S. global warming pollution by at least 34% by the year 2020.  This, she says, is the minimum amount scientists believe is necessary in order for us to avoid a “planetary catastrophe”.  She ends by noting that the only way to “protect our citizens and the planet is to pass strong climate legislation as soon as possible”.

We wholeheartedly support these issues and we’ll be watching to see what future legislation Congresswoman Clarke supports.

Read the full press release below:

Climate Change threatens New York City and Long Island; Congressional representatives have a responsibility to protect their constituents 
By: Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke and Eva Erbskorn, Greenpeace Field Organizer 

The results of the climate crisis are already being seen around the world through the increasing intensity of Hurricane Katrina type storms, melting ice caps, and millions of refugees fleeing extreme weather and increasing desertification.  New York City and Long Island are especially sensitive to the impacts of out-of-control global warming.  A one-degree rise in temperature could more than double heat related deaths in New York City, and a new report by a Florida State researcher shows that rising sea levels and massive coastal flooding would impact New York coasts more than others.  The Battery Tunnel in lower Manhattan, the Lincoln Tunnel entrance, the subway system and LaGuardia and Kennedy airports are all at risk as hurricanes intensify and sea levels rise.

Indeed, according to Columbia University, the Rockaways, Coney Island, much of southern Brooklyn and Queens, lower Manhattan, and parts of Eastern Staten Island could be under water. Unless we take action immediately, that means more flooding of basements, more disease, and more drinking water shortages (and worse).  Another report estimates that the impacts of climate change will cost American families an average of $2,000 every year as they try to reinforce their houses and taxpayer funds are spent to build giant, unsightly flood walls, and have to pay more to cool their homes. Under this scenario, people without extra cash floating around to pay the extra costs will be hit hardest. In this economy, that’s a lot of hard working people. 

The good news is that we can avoid the worst of these impacts by answering President Obama’s call to solve the climate crisis and shift to a green economy. We can start by investing in efficiency and clean energy sources like solar and wind power, as well as in smart transportation, like more subways and buses. President Obama’s stimulus package was a great start, but we need to do more to meet this challenge

First and foremost, we must pass green economy legislation that cuts U.S. global warming pollution at least 34 percent by 2020– the minimum amount scientists say is necessary to avoid a planetary catastrophe.  The community in my congressional district in Brooklyn is one of the nation’s most vulnerable. Given how hard the economic crisis has hit our district, it’s also one that most desperately needs the green economy to kick into high gear. Green jobs are already putting people back to work in my district.  EcoLogic Solutions, Inc.  manufactures and distributes over 100 non-hazardous, non-toxic, non-polluting cleaning products to major hotels, property management companies, and restaurants throughout the country.  The small business also provides environmental sustainability consulting services to companies that wish to “go green” cost effectively.  But to restore true eco- prosperity, we need 100 more of20these companies – and need them fast.

Delay and excuses won’t get us there. If our country is serious about protecting its citizens and the planet – and creating a new era of prosperity – we’ll pass strong climate legislation as soon as possible.

For more information on green businesses in New York City, visit greenspacesny.com. Information on green initiatives and resources in Brooklyn can be found on greenbrooklyn.com and [brooklyn green] http://www.ehapc.wordpress.com 

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke represents New York’s 11th Congressional District in central Brooklyn. Now in her second term, Rep. Clarke sits on three House committees—Education and Labor, Small Business and Homeland Security, where she is the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cyber Security and Science and Technology. Congresswoman is also a Senior Whip for the House Democratic Caucus and Whip for the Congressional Black Caucus.



Teen Green: what iPods can do, besides play music

29 04 2009

Not only can an iPod play music, but I’ve discovered an application called Go Green that gives eco-friendly tips and facts. Some of them are vague such as “volunteer in your neighborhood” or “start a recycling program”, but some of them are surprisingly interesting. Here’s a few that stood out to me:

– If every U.S. home replaced just one light bulb with an Energy Star bulb, we’d save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year.

– Instead of sending old rugs to the landfill, check with local animal shelters to see if they can use them. Old towels, blankets and sheets could also be appreciated as well.

– Washing clothes in cold water eliminates 2 pounds of CO2 per load.

-Wrap your water heater in an insulated blanket and you’ll eliminate 1,000 pounds of CO2 a year. Eliminate another 550 pounds by lowering the thermostat to 120°F.

– Paying bills online saves time, postage, and trees. If everyone switches to online banking, we would cut 1.6 billion tons of waste and 2.1 million tons of CO2 a year.

– If every U.S. citizen recycles half of their annual waste, we’ll recycle a 280-million ton mountain of trash — the equivalent of 550 Empire State Buildings!

– Use 100% post-consumer copy paper. It saves five pounds of CO2 per ream. A ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees — and those trees absorb 60 pounds of CO2 a year.

Teen Green: Where to Find Really Yummy Peanuts

29 04 2009

Whenever I’m at my friend’s house, I always go straight for the big bag of peanuts in the cabinet above the sink. They are hands down the best peanuts I’ve ever tasted, and unfortunately for her (and her family) I gobble them all up in one visit. Where do these magical peanuts come from you may wonder? The Park Slope Food Coop.

Since 1973, the coop has been providing cheap, local, and organic foods to Park Slopers, Brooklynites, New Yorkers, and even people from out of state. The coop takes pride in its abundance of healthy yet cheap products, estimating that their prices can save members 20-40% off their weekly grocery bill. In return for these unbelievable savings and yummy food, my friend’s mom only has to work at the coop once a month for around a measly 2 and a half hours.

Also, the coop has a very extensive environmental policy pertaining to their products and their store’s upkeep. For that information (along with any other questions you have about all Park Slope Food Coop-related things), go to this website.

As a closing note, when I asked my friend if she felt satisfied with the coop, she replied (loudly, I may add) with an enthusiastic “YES, EXTREMELY HAPPY!”.

Updated alternative energy incentives in the stimulus package

15 02 2009

Once again, heeeere’s Anthony on the updated alternative energy incentives included in the Obama stimulus package.

In a nutshell:  Lots more money to make installation of alternative energy systems more affordable to homeowners.

carbon footprint of food

6 02 2009

just thought we’d pass this along.  I signed up for Random Graphic of the Day from Environmental Knowledge for Change, a project of the UN.


Ellen Honigstock Architect PC launches the Toeprint Project

30 01 2009


Welcome to the Toeprint Project.

Toeprint definition: a very tiny footprint; a small part of your larger footprint.
Project definition: a temporary collective endeavor involving research and design, carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.

The Toeprint Project will be a year-long process meant to bridge the gap between the desire to make our homes and businesses more sustainable and actually having the tools and capability to do so.

Each week for 52 weeks, we will publish a different strategy aimed towards making buildings more efficient, durable, healthier for the occupants or otherwise more sustainable. We will interview experts and bring you relevant up-to-date information about pricing, the pros, cons and trade-offs inherent in various strategies and even offer discounts and giveaways whenever we can make it happen.

We chose the period of a year because while reducing energy, water and material consumption, it is very difficult to chart progress on a daily or weekly or even monthly basis. Stick with us and we will provide metrics for you to measure your progress throughout the Project.

Who are we and why are we doing this?

We are a small architectural firm based in Brooklyn in New York City. Our residential and commercial projects are generally on the small side and it seems like no matter how green we make them, the resulting improvements to the environment are barely noticeable. We know that reducing consumption of resources is not an easy process. It takes work and commitment and plenty of tools and expertise.

Over the past 18 months, we have published various findings that interest us at Brooklyn Green but our reach was limited. We want to share our knowledge in order to have a more significant impact on the environment.

We often give talks teaching people how to make their homes and lifestyles more sustainable and the one response we almost always get is an appreciative thank you for “putting all that information in one place”.

We’re firm believers in well-roundedness so the Toeprint Project will touch on areas of Energy Conservation, Water Conservation, Community, Food, Health, Indoor Air Quality, Material & Resource Consumption, Water Conservation and Zero Waste.

As you will see, the strategies will range from minor lifestyle changes to fairly complex infrastructural analyses. We hope to make all the strategies interesting and accessible to anyone without previous expertise in these areas so as to “spread the sustainability” and reduce each of our carbon footprints to a mere toeprint.

You can subscribe to the feed here. Join us!

Ellen Honigstock, RA, LEED AP
Ellen Honigstock Architect PC