“Paper Or Plastic?”

Terry Brennan Do It Green! Magazine The question “Paper or plastic?” has become a routine part of our grocery shopping experience. Maybe you answer that question automatically, without even thinking. Or maybe you pause, wondering, “Which is better for the environment?” The answer is: neither paper nor plastic is the …

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A Balancing Act

Dianna Kennedy Eureka! Recycling We’ve all seen the lists of things we can do to reduce waste at home – bring a reusable bag to the store, recycle, buy in bulk, compost food scraps, buy less stuff – and the list goes on. Many of us have taken some of …

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A Sampling of Minnesota’s Sustainable Building History

The Weidt Group on behalf of the USGBC-Mississippi Headwaters Chapter 1945 Andersen introduced the Pressure Seal double hung window, which uses a removable sash and pressure-seal weather-stripping to keep out wind and precipitation. 1966 The Perm-Shield System, by Andersen, made its debut. The patented, tough vinyl exterior for wood windows …

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Cloth Diapering

Gabrielle Hagelstrom Think Cloth Company As a mother, I am often questioned about the choices I make in raising my children. Every time I leave the house with my 5 month old I am bombarded with unsolicited advice about all aspects of his well-being ranging from his attire to his …

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Co-operative Housing

Do It Green! Minnesota From www.co-ophousingcoalition.org From the outside, a housing co-op looks like any other townhouse development or apartment building. But, a housing co-op is different – here’s how: Owned by Members The residents of a housing co-op are members of the co-op corporation which owns the whole property. …

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Dealing With Asbestos

Sara Grochowski Do It Green! Minnesota Asbestos is the name for a group of minerals that occur naturally in the ground. Asbestos fibers have special characteristics. Heat or chemicals do not affect them, and they do not conduct electricity. Asbestos is also very strong. Pound for pound, asbestos is stronger …

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Eco Roofing Options

Wayne Gjerde Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Replacing your home’s roof can be expensive and, given the importance of a roof to your home’s health, it is important to review all the options available. If chosen wisely, the material used to roof your home can directly impact your energy savings and …

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Eco-Villages and Intentional Communities

Laurie Voeltz Intern at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage I have this dream of living some kind of “happily-ever-after.” A dream where I’m surrounded by friends, and we eat together, laugh together, create together, work together and work out our problems together outside the constraints of modern society as we know it. …

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Energy Saving Appliances

The Greater Los Angeles www.aceee.org Reprinted from The Greater Los Angeles and www.aceee.org Energy runs appliances. Saving energy helps the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions given off by energy plants. One kilowatt hour of electricity generates two pounds of CO2, our biggest global warming gas. Refrigerators alone consume 7% …

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From “Brown” to “Green”

Erin Barnes-Driscoll Green Building Specialist, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Most homeowners typically face an array of choices involved in designing, building, outfitting, upgrading, expanding, tweaking, and/or overhauling the sanctuaries in which they reside. For many, it provides an important opportunity to express their personal values in the choices made, be …

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Funding Assistance for Green Building Projects

Do It Green! Minnesota Established in 1995, the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) is an ongoing project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Here are some examples of financing programs, tax incentives, loan programs and rebates: Financing …

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Getting Started with Green Building and Remodeling

Michael Anschel Otogawa-Anschel Design + Build The key to successful green building lies in two things: planning and communication. One of the big challenges in green construction and design is sorting through the vast ocean of information including all of the facts, fictions, and applications. Location, climate and building type …

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Green Remodeling Products… Don’t Stop There!

Bob Alf Construction Bob Alf Construction Green home improvement products are everywhere! These products are helpful and fun to use for a green home remodeling project, but they are not the solution to making your home as efficient and sustainable as possible. For example, how sustainable is it to pay …

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Green Building 101

Rachel Maloney Natural Built Home Store Let’s face it, green is hot. It describes everything from automobiles to energy sources. One area where the development of green products is exploding is in the field of green building. Green building encompasses initial building site selection and energy efficiency all the way …

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Green Facades

Corrie Zoll & Chris Wegscheid Minnesota Green Roofs Council Green walls use living plant material on walls to beautify buildings, improve air quality and reduce energy costs. Ivy covering a building blocks direct summer sunlight, but admits winter sunlight after the leaves have fallen. Modern green walls can provide the …

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Green Rooftops

Corrie Zoll Minnesota Green Roofs Council A green rooftop is a rooftop that incorporates plants as part of a building’s roofing system. Properly designed, green roofs are stable, living ecosystems that replicate many of the processes found in nature. Green rooftops can provide multiple ecological benefits including stormwater management, water …

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Greener Cleaning

Reprinted from www.coopamerica.org Feel like you’re killing yourself trying to keep your house clean? You may laugh, but you’re closer to the truth than you think if you’re using expensive commercial cleaners, says Karen Logan, environmentalist and author of Clean House, Clean Planet: Clean Your House for Pennies a Day …

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Greener Design and Remodeling

Michael Anschel Otogawa-Anschel Design + Build If you are reading this article, you may already know the importance of considering our planet’s resources when designing our homes. Determining the most sustainable solutions is a real challenge. Should you invest in solar panels? Should you buy the carpet with the Green …

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Healthy and Responsible Eating on a College Student’s Budget

Since moving away from home and subsequently being forced to become more self-sufficient, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is how to eat healthy with a limited budget. The following is a bit about how I changed my diet for the better both for myself and for the environment. …

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Installing a Residential Geothermal Heat Pump

Mark Snyder Do it Green! Magazine My journey toward geothermal climate control at my home in Minneapolis began some eight years ago, after my father installed a heat pump at his house in Andover, MN. At the time, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical of the idea of actually …

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Minnesota GreenStar to Take Center Stage

Michael Anschel & Corey Brinkema Green Remodeling Group & Green Institute This has been a great year of progress in Minnesota’s efforts to become a national leader in preserving and restoring our environment. From the landmark legislation in addressing climate change and developing sustainable energy resources to the growth of …

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My Experience Building a Computer

Nate Dobbins Do-It-Yourself projects – whether they be repairs, improvements, or brand new creations – are often highly regarded among sustainably-minded people, and for good reason: getting into the habit of ‘doing-it-yourself’ will lengthen the life of your possessions, thus reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ you consume. It also affords …

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Native Plantings: A Beautiful Solution for Minnesota Shorelines

Angie Hong East Metro Water Resource Education Program Here in Minnesota, shoreline living is not limited to the rich and famous. According to the MN DNR, Minnesota has 11,842 lakes and 69,200 miles of natural rivers and streams. We have over 13 million acres of lakes, streams, and wetlands, which …

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Products That Make a Difference for the Environment and Your Wallet

Peter Palmieri D&R International, ENERGY STAR Contractor As energy costs rise, consumers must find ways to reduce their energy consumption to not only save money, but to also protect the environment by reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels. Using appliances less frequently can cut energy …

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Reducing the Impact of your Driveway

EarthWizards.com Most homes have driveways. We use driveways for vehicle storage and to provide access to our homes and garages from the street. We use driveway surfaces that are sturdy enough to hold the weight of automobiles, to tolerate freezing weather and summer heat, and to stand up to snow …

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Shades of Green: Healthy Basement Renovations

Erin Barnes-Driscoll Green Buildings Team—Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Basements are notorious for being damp, dark, inhospitable places—the antithesis of what we like to associate with green and healthy living. As a rule, the basements in older homes were not designed to be functional living spaces. Yet for many of us, …

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Small Is the New Big

John Dwyer AIA, Founding Partner, Shelter Architecture and Interior Design Historically, home values in the U.S. have been based heavily on size. As homes have increased in size over the last decade, so has our consumption of goods, services and energy. Today, if everyone on earth lived like we do, …

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Sustainable Lumber and Wood Products

Tamara Downs Schwei Dovetail Partners, Inc. Minnesota’s forests are vital to the state economy and environment. The Minnesota wood products industry provides employment to rural communities and serves markets throughout the world. As global trade in forest products grows, forest certification has emerged as a mechanism for consumers to identify …

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Take a Solar Tour!

Take a Twin Cities or Duluth area solar tour! These tours are sponsored by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society and Minnesota Power. They have inspired many building and home owners to adopt the renewable energy habit. The tour features exemplary homes, businesses, and institutions that have incorporated renewable energy into …

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The Environmental Benefits of Making Dirt, Not Waste

Eureka Recycling The energy saving benefits of recycling have been touted for years, but calculations about the environmental benefits of composting are just surfacing. Recent studies confirm that composting is an effective and accessible way to reduce greenhouse gases. Our household waste is a significant contributor to global warming, and …

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The Myth of the Homeless Person

Joshua Lang St. Stevens Homeless Shelter The image that most people identify with a homeless person is the panhandler on Nicollet Mall, the vodka-guzzling man on the bus, or the mentally ill person hearing voices on the corner. These stereotypes are the visibly homeless. In reality, they are the exception …

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The Understanding of Your Housing Rights

Elizabeth A. Emerson VISTA Tenant Advocate It goes without saying that a housing problem exists in the Twin Cites. Private landlords and tenants alike find it increasingly difficult to maintain their housing and tenants, and the housing market shows no signs of relieving either group. Sustainable housing is an important …

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The World as Home

Eleise Jones Ruminator Review A home is made up of many things: foundation, structure, function, and of greatest importance, the people within its walls. A healthy home is a beautiful thing, for it implies a clean, life-supporting environment. Your home may include a whole household, or your dwelling may be …

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Thoughts on Buying an E-Book Reader (and Tips for Buying Gadgets)

Nate Dobbins Lately I’ve been considering buying an e-ink tablet for reading books and my RSS feed. I wasn’t exactly excited by the prospect of an e-reader until a friend said this to me in an email conversation: “It comes down to this – authors are putting words out there …

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Tips on Working with Your Landlord to Green Your Apartment

Amy Pickett and Chad Skally Skally Management Too often when we talk about living green, we focus on homeowners rather than renters. At Skally Management, a family-owned and -operated real estate management company in St. Paul, we’re changing that concept by finding innovative ways to practice Eco-Management: sustainable, responsible real …

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Using the Sun Wisely: Solar Shades & Energy Saving Awnings

Todd Fink Best Power, Intl. It’s 10 a.m. on a Saturday and I’m cooking an egg on the sidewalk, not in Death Valley but in St. Paul, and in a solar oven. The pace of solar cooking allows me to parent, write and ponder our civilization’s future without burning my …

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We are Living in Individual Ecosystems

Eleise Jones Do It Green! Magazine A home is made up of many things: foundation, structure, function, and of greatest importance, the people within its walls. A healthy home is a beautiful thing, for it implies a clean, life-supporting environment. Your home may include a whole household, or your dwelling …

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What Is Your Ecological Footprint?

Jessica Houlihan Do It Green! Magazine Every person, through basic life decisions, has the ability to affect their surroundings. One’s attitude can rub off on others, one’s choices can inspire people around them and one’s daily decisions affect the environment. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, “just as owning …

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Why Choose Green Building?

Sarah Nettleton Sarah Nettleton Architects Ltd The building industry consumes significant amounts of energy, water, and natural resources, and billions of tons of raw materials annually, choosing to build “green” homes can help reduce this burden on our environment. Since our “home” extends beyond the walls of our houses, we …

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Wildfire: How to Keep Your Home and Family Safe

Lindsay Brice Do It Green! Magazine According to the pamphlet “Wildfire: Are You and Your Home Prepared?” three quarters of wildfires are caused by the careless actions of people. These fires are preventable. “In the Great Lakes Region, more than one-quarter, or 1500 fires annually, are caused by careless burning …

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