As the economy continues to struggle we spend alot of time watching pundits talk about “indicators”. Seems a good barometer of the health of our country’s economy is “New Home Construction”. That’s all well and good but here at Keep Virginia Beautiful we like to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle so we started doing some thinking about some true red white and blue “Green Construction”.
We came across an article about a new food distributor in Chicago. Check this place out! Testa Produce took an old arsenal and turned it into a LEED Platinum produce warehouse. They are the first food distributor in the country to get this certification! The extra thick blast proof walls keep the building cool during summer heatwaves and hold in heat during blustery Chicago winters. They use solar panels (which are programmed to follow the sun) and a wind turbine to generate over half of all of their power needs. A real, live green roof greets employees and guests as it collects and filters rainwater. This rainwater is used for all of their non-potable needs and porous pavers in the lots drain into adjacent wetlands. Solar cisterns heat water for showers and sinks. Skylights bathe workers in great ambient light. Did we mention that they recently converted their delivery fleet to biodiesel?
We are still dealing with the effects of the tsunami in Japan but did you know that Chile was also hit? A group of forward-thinking college students there converted a slew of old shipping containers into classrooms and dorms. The containers were everywhere on the waterfront and now they have a great new use!
How can you reuse what you have to impact our environment?
The first and easiest step is to look at kitchen waste. Compost! Table scraps make great garden starters! Look at what you bring back from the grocery! All of those jars and bottles make great containers for stuff that you make and store. Sort that big pile of screws and bolts into a manageable arrangement! Many of the items that you bring home can be reused! WIndex now has a concentrate for most of their household products. Just add water and you’ve eliminated the need for that much more plastic!
As long as we’re giving a shout out to Windex did you know that old newspapers are great for cleaning windows?
Get creative, people! To Reduce you have to Reuse and Recycle!