Monday, December 19, 2011

University of Texas at Dallas Wins the 2011 Innovation in Green Building Award

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), along with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), awarded the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) with the 2011 Innovation in Green Building award. The college received this award for its newly constructed, LEED Platinum Certified Student Services Building.

This award recognizes a college like UTD that is an innovator in using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to develop a green campus.

The newly constructed, four-story, 74,000 square ft. building houses 14 departments. The cost of building the Student Services Building was under $1.1 million.

The Student Services Building was designed with several project goals and outcomes:

Texas Temperatures- We all know how hot it can get here in Texas during the summer! The design team chose to install terra-cotta louvers on the outside of the building. They protect the building from the rays of the sun, and reduce heat gain as well

Making Use of Natural Daylight- Another important aspect of construction was controlling light and solar heat gain while providing daylight to most interior spaces. Approximately 76% of the rooms inside the building are afforded natural daylight.

Conserving Rain Water- The design of the building incorporates water conservation measures ranging from automatic sensors in faucets to outdoor systems. In the event of a thunderstorm, or even a light shower, rain water is collected in a two-tank, 40,000 gallon cistern to irrigate the Student Service's Building's drought-tolerant landscaping.

Doing Less With More- Sharing conference rooms and reducing the number of individual offices in the SSB allowed designers to dedicate 73 percent of the building’s space for specific service purposes. The remainder, including hallways and equipment closets, serves general operational purposes.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When I get that feeling, I want Natural Healing - Pooh’s Secret Medicine

Ever wonder why everyone’s favorite bear never gets sick? Despite going on adventure after adventure though the woods, Winnie the Pooh always stays healthy. The rains can come down down down, and the wind can blow as hard as it wants, but it’s not going to get this bear down. His secret? Honey of course.

Raw Honey has many health benefits. Besides being a great tasting healthier alternative to table sugar, raw honey can help kick start your immune system. It contains live enzymes and many vitamins and minerals, including B complex, A, C, D, E, & K. It also contains amino acids and is a powerful antioxidant. It’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties can help shorten the duration of colds. Taking a spoonful of honey, will help ease the pain of a sore throat. The honey will coat the throat providing soothing relief while it begins to attack the infection causing you pain to begin with.

Studies have shown honey to be effective at healing respiratory infections as well. Theses include bronchitis, sinusitis, rhinitis, cold, and flu. Unlike sugar that can depress your immune system, raw honey can actually jump start it. Give your immune system a super stimulant by adding honey to you Echinacea tea and help defeat those nasty colds. Make sure you wait until the tea has cooled to luke warm. The heat will kill the live enzymes and some of the nutritional content in the raw honey.

Local raw honey is even effective at treating seasonal allergies. My wife has suffered from allergies all her life. She began taking local raw honey just a couple months ago, and she has seen a noticeable improvement.

There is also research being done that indicates honey aids in the healing of burns and scrapes. “Honey provides a moist healing environment yet prevents bacterial growth even when wounds are heavily infected,” notes Dr. Peter Molan of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Honey has shown to be more effective than antibacterial ointment when used to treat burns. Next time your little boy falls down and scrapes his knee, squeeze a little honey on it before applying the band aid.

Winnie the Pooh’s appetite for honey is insatiable. Perhaps because the reported benefits of raw honey are seemingly endless. Desperate parents out there, try giving a spoonful of honey to aid in water retention and help against bed wetting. Some say honey can aid in sleep as well. New benefits of honey are continuously being discovered. People are beginning to use honey as an energy booster, a digestion aid, and as a natural food preservative, Women are using raw honey as an alternative to synthetic beauty products. Could this be Pooh’s secret to how he has managed to stay so cute and cuddly for 85 years? Don’t wait until you get a rumbly in your tumbly. Go pick up a bottle and start experiencing the benefits of raw local honey today.

****Do not give raw honey to infants. A bacteria in raw honey, clostridium botulinum, is dangerous for infants****


Monday, December 5, 2011

Recycling at School

Last time, I talked about different things you could do to help recycle in the kitchen. Hopefully, you guys found those tips useful! This week I'll be giving some tips on how to recycle at school. School is a place where so much can be done to save, but things inevitably end up not getting done. With some luck maybe we can change that. (:

We all know how many worksheets get passed out at school everyday, but have we ever given a thought to whether or not the backside of the paper is being used? More likely than not, the papers are printed one side. If you ever notice something like this, it wouldn't hurt to just casually ask the teacher if he or she has ever considered printing double sided. In any case, you can always use the back side of the paper as scrap paper, so either way you'll be using the entire sheet!

With all the paper being used in a classroom, whenever you get the chance, make sure to throw your papers into the recycling bin. If you see a classmate throwing something recyclable into the trash can, why not ask him or her to try the recycling bin as well?

Take the bus to school! Everyday, millions of teens are either driven or drive to school-just imagine how much pollution there is! By taking the bus, you can ensure that at least one car will be off the road, so why not give it a try?

Instead of bringing a paper bag to school and having to get another one every single day, why not try getting a lunch box instead? Not only will you be saving money on stocking up on paper bags, but you'll be helping the environment as well.

That's all for this week, but hopefully it's enough to get your mind teeming with ideas to save at school as well!

Until next time,
greengirl (:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It’s the holiday season!

Everyone is busy with shopping, finding great deals, choosing just the right gifts, and running around being Santa Clauses. There are so many ways that we can be green while shopping, wrapping, and getting ready for the Christmas season.
Here are some tips on how to have a sane and green shopping experience (Adapted from an article by Dan Shipley from

1. Make a List
Before buying, make a list of the items you might purchase for the people in your life, along with the cost of each item. Then, sleep on it. Modern marketing has made an art of turning the shopping experience into a cognitive morass that confuses your brain into spending too much money on things you don't need. Eliminate the waste by following Santa's example. A list will help you make better decisions and keep to a budget.

2. Check it Twice

Before making a purchase, check the price to get a good deal. But also check out the product and manufacturer. Greenpeace rates the makers of electronics (Nokia and Sony top the list), the Rainforest Action Network has just identified three publishers of children's books to avoid (because their policies support Indonesian deforestation) and will help you avoid toxic toys. Using resources like these are important, since marketing claims are often misleading.

3. Shop Online

Online shopping is generally a greener way to shop, essentially because trucks can deliver goods efficiently and it takes a lot less energy to run a warehouse for boxes of goods than a mall. So take a break from leftover turkey and check out the deals online.

4. Donate While You Shop

Donations to major charities were down 11% last year, according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy report documenting the worst decline in 20 years. Many sites channel a portion of the money to your designated charity. In addition, many credit cards encourage the accumulation of points that can be applied to your balance, redeemed for purchases or donated to charity. You could elect to donate the points accrued during the holiday to charity. Both are painless ways to essentially direct corporate profits to charities of your choice.

5. Shop from Your Favorite Charity

Modern non-profits often have marketplaces of their own, and the proceeds of sales benefit the organization's mission. Some examples: WWF, The Nature Conservancy and the Hudson Sloop Clearwater. Before exploring the for-profit options, see if your favorite non-profit has the right item.

6. Use Online Coupons
Several sites make finding coupons for green gifts easy. Check Ecobunga, Pristine Planet and for deals on sustainable, organic and Fair Trade products.

7. Buy Local
When you do leave your desk and hit the streets, look for opportunities to buy from local artists, artisans and businesses. That way the dollars you spend contribute more to the community where you live. Downtown business districts have suffered in the last generation as shoppers got in the habit of shopping at suburban malls, but you can join the movement to revitalize city districts by spending your holiday dollars there. A vibrant downtown helps preserve outlying farms, forests and open spaces by attracting development to urban centers.

8. Buy Certified Gifts
Whether you're buying electronics (Energy Star), clothing (Organic), jewelry (Fair Trade, Conflict Free) or books (Forest Stewardship Council), there's likely a reputable third-party government or non-profit certification program that has already done the hard work of vetting the product. Shop for products made by companies that consistently pay fair wages and manufacture products without burdening the environment.

9. Reduce Waste Before It Happens
The mound of wrapping paper, plastic clam shell packaging, boxes and ribbons filling trash bags on the curb Dec. 26 isn't made on Christmas morning. It's made with each purchase during the shopping season. Choose products made from recycled materials, with minimal recyclable packaging... and be creative when you wrap your gifts. You might just find that you end up with less waste than when you started!

The Christmas season is one of the most waste-creating occasions of the year. Here are some tips on how to reduce the amount of packaging and trash, reuse certain items and materials, and recycle everything else:

· Use fabric and yarn for gift-wrapping. These materials add pizzazz to the present in addition to being eco-friendly, durable, and reusable.

· Use bags and tissue paper for your presents. They are not as eco-friendly as fabric and yarn but are reusable nevertheless.

· Avoid using tons of gift wrap paper and excessive ribbons. Be careful when unwrapping these presents so the wrap, ribbons, and flowers may be reused.

Other tips:
· Don’t leave on your Christmas lights 24/7. Try to set the lights to have automatic timers that will turn them off and on at specific times. This can save so much energy!

· Look for a “green” tree. Artificial trees are actually quite damaging to the environment as they are usually made in China and require great amounts of pollutants to be emitted to be created. However, using fresh Christmas trees perhaps requires annual trips to load them back and forth and can wither easily.

· Choose incredible and unique green gifts under $20! You can easily find items made by independent artisans and made from natural materials without the usual loads of packaging and trash. Making your gifts from objects around the house is awesome as well!

Enjoy your holidays, everyone!


When I get that feeling, I want Natural Healing: A Spot of Tea

When I get that feeling, I want Natural Healing:
A spot of tea.

You are at work. You are feeling miserable. Stuffy nose, cough, sore throat all the wonderful symptoms of a good cold. The nice elderly women who works with you says, “let me make you a cup of tea. It should help you feel better.” You drink the freshly made tea, and sure enough your throat does feel a bit better. A little fresh air starts to pass through your clogged sinus cavities. You think to yourself, I have got to get some of this tea on my way home.

What is it about tea? Does it really have healing powers? How does drinking a cup of tea help me feel better?

Hot tea has a couple immediate benefits when you drink them. First, the steam helps loosen up the mucus that is preventing you from breathing. Second, the hot liquid has an immediate soothing effect on your sore throat. What makes tea so effective is the herbs used to make it. Most notably, Echinacea.

Echinacea is prescribed to us by mother nature. It is one of natures natural antibiotics. Echinacea stimulates our immune system making our own defenses stronger. It stimulates the cells responsible for identifying and “tagging” the intruding cells. Then, Echinacea stimulates the growth and production of white blood cells or the solider cells. Whether viral or bacterial, the new army of white blood cells can surround and conquer the intruding infection. Unlike antibiotics, echinacea works with our body keeping us strong. Antibiotics do kill the bacteria that cause the infection, but it also tears down our own defenses. Thus, increasing the chances of getting sick again. Furthermore, the anti inflammatory effect of echinacea helps open up swollen, clogged sinuses. Once mucus starts to drain, you begin feel better. The ability to breath lifts your spirit. You know the worst is over, and you are on the road to back to good health.

Herbal tea has been consumed for thousands of years across all cultures. It has stood the test of time. It was good enough for the ancient egyptians. ancient chinese rulers, and North American Indians. Echinacea is used my millions of people around the world to combat cold. Next time you are driving home from work feeling sick, stop at your local drug store. Avoid the temptation of all those over the counter cold medicines. Pick up a box of immune boosting echinacea tea, and start your climb back to health. Naturally!