Archive for August, 2010

Image Source: akseabird

Dear Pablo: A few of my co-workers and I are wondering what we should tell people when they refuse to use ceramic plates for lunch meetings, etc. They want to use paper plates. Do you have any information on the comparison between resources used for dish-washing vs. paper production?

This question has been asked by many people in many different forms. Years ago I was asked if it’s better to wash dishes by hand or use the dishwasher. I collected some empirical data on my clunky old dishwasher to find that washing by hand is better. Meanwhile, a German study using the new energy-efficient dishwashers showed that they can use half the energy, one sixth the water, AND less soap…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

Image Source: TottoBG

Dear Pablo: I am thinking about replacing my windows to cut back on my home’s energy usage. Will this yield a good return on my investment or is my money better spent elsewhere?

Most windows can be compared to a giant hole in your home’s insulation. While a standard wall might have an R-Value (resistance to heat flow; higher is better) of 13-19+, a single-pane window is no better than 1. A gas-filled double-pane window can reach a R-Value of 3, or closer to 2 once the seals have failed and the insulating gas has escaped. Of course there are triple-pane, gas-filled, low-e windows with insulation-filled frames that would have even higher R-Values but most of us don’t have that kind of money…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

Image Source: Alan Levine

Dear Pablo: I am seeing more and more hotels claiming to be “green.” What exactly makes a hotel green?

Virtually every hotel these days has signs asking you to hang your towel if you want to use it again or leave it on the floor if you don’t. This does not make it a green hotel though, it just makes common sense. According to Project Planet InterContinental Hotels estimates that it saves almost 200 million liters a year in the US alone, and Marriott International claims an 11-17% reduction on water and water treatment costs. According to Southwest Florida Water Management a hotel can save $15,000 a year with a towel reuse program (100 room hotel with 60% occupancy). It makes financial sense and decreases environmental impact but it does not necessarily make it a “green” hotel. What makes a hotel sustainable then?… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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