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9 posts from May 2007

May 28, 2007

Congratulations BoomerGirl on your Eppy

Boomer_girl BoomerGirl is barely a year old and has already won an Eppy in Interactive Media. BoomerGirl took it for being the best Best Newspaper-Affiliated Web Site. I guess older women ARE better. The site (which I also write for) is an aggregator of womens' seasoned opinions. It's more than chat however, it's also a meeting room for like minds and where I "met" Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse.

Kudos to Cathy and her hard working staff. I'm sure many more awards are in your future.

Lynn Johnson gives new meaning to "For Better or For Worse"

In Sunday's paper Lynn Johnston, the creator of "For Better or For Worse," defines in 9 cartoon cells why women feel defeated performing weekly eco-tasks only to see them undone in a manufacturing minute. Fear not, "Ellie," while you're improving your corner of Canada, standards are in place to improve the business part of the world. Companies don't have borders.

Fbofw_5  

May 21, 2007

Recycle your sofa with Help1up

H1ulogo_2Recycle the sofa and help someone get back their life at the same time. Help1up is an organization that will take your old furniture and give them a second life with those who have nothing to sit on.

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Help1up is the program of NFBA, a non-profitNational Furniture Bank Association (NFBA). It's the furniture industry's unified charitable effort.  Not only does it help those who lack furniture, it also helps to curb waste and create a sustainable environment.

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This is a free service to the general public and made possible through a network of dozens of furniture banks across the country. Furniture banks collect used home furnishings, give the donor a tax-deductible receipt, then provide the furnishings directly to families in need. Typical furniture bank clients are women and children escaping domestic violence, families living below the poverty line, and victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

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According to Don Lawrence, VP Communications, "Furniture banks collect and distribute over one million pieces of home furnishings each year. That translates into tens of thousands of tons of perfectly usable furniture which would otherwise end up in landfills and incinerators. The industry is astutely focusing on Americans' increased environmental awareness, and Help1Up provides the perfect vehicle to broadcast that commitment."

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Now you know what to do with that sofa-to-go. Just make sure you replace it with furniture that is sustainable.

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Call them for more info:

Don Lawrence, Vice President, Communications
(800) 576 0774 Toll Free
Email: dlawrence@Help1Up.org

May 20, 2007

Ask Patty and Diva Marketing take the cake

Birthday_cake Ask Patty (Jody DeVere) turns a whopping 1-year-old today while Diva Marketing (Toby Bloomberg) just crested 3 years of blogging madness. Congratulations to you both, and thank you for bringing a woman's view point to the consumer and business world.

Jody DeVere has done the impossible, she is changing the way car dealers think about and sell to women. Her blog and site fields hundreds of questions giving her a live, focus group of what works and what doesn't for women. In turn, she takes that knowledge and offers it to dealers on what would make women happier. With both sides of the buyer/seller equation grinning, the auto market is changing for the better.

Toby Bloomberg is a blog marketing machine who understands the importance of play. If you want an idea of what makes her so popular, check out her list of blogging buddies. Toby's generous spirit extends to all. Conversely, she also is a collection point for all their thoughts which is what gives her a professional edge that few maintain. Toby is the SOCIAL in Social Media. As such, she understands the rules and tools of business blogging better than most. No wonder she's a sought after speaker and consultant.

Congratulations! You both take the cake in my book.

May 18, 2007

Sustainable Furniture gets a push from GREEN online magazine

Green_cover1 It's happening, we're going from brown to eco-friendly to sustainable. Check out the new Furniture Today GREEN magazine covering the furniture industry.

Ok, I'm not really happy with the current execution, but I know it will improve and at least they are trying to eliminate the use of paper and they are covering REALLY sustainable products and the companies that are producing them. To that end, those products are now in the que to start getting certified and therefore put into an auditing system that will PROVE that they are walking the walk.

That's the last stage in this process. 1. awareness, 2. talking 3. walking 4. PROVING at the same level that everyone else is doing it. Thanks Furniture Today for putting out GREEN and drawing attention to those willing to do the right thing before anyone else.

 

May 15, 2007

Ecobuild: Going Solar with Steven Strong

Like many women, I'm watching the price of oil go up and wondering what  I can do. What happens in 10 years when the cost of energy goes through the roof? The answer? Gather energy on the roof.

Steven_strong_2 At Ecobuild today, I heard Steven Strong, the President of Solar Design Associates speak. He would panel the world if given the chance:  A) Solar Panels produce clean energy and B) They aren't the panels your father put on the garage.

He also commented that in his experience, that women care more about creating a safe environment for their family than men do. I'm listening...

Steve spoke for 3 hours - mostly on commercial applications and how Europe has a 10 year head start on we innovative Americans. Here in the states, after 30 years of having solar energy available, only 30 states are supporting it.

Solar_home_2 1. Solar panel NEVER wear out. Can you imagine getting a car with a 25 year warranty? That's what solar comes with. There are no moving parts to fix. The only thing that happens is if a glass panel cracks or gets moisture between the layers.

2. There are three kinds:
a. Poly or single crystalline (the squares you are use to seeing) that capture 12-16% of the energy.
b. Thin film (new) that comes in 16 or 32 foot long sheets and a foot across, they capture 3-6% of the energy . (but you can use more of it on big areas)
c. Electric Glass - bigger sheets and more aesthetic.  Not sure of the capture limit, but they look cool.

3. The Biggest mistake is allowing a shadow of any kind to go across the panel. All the panels are connected like a group of sled dogs. You wouldn't want a dachshund in your group. Allowing the shade of something as thin as a flagpole to cross the array will limit it's array's effectiveness.

4. Urban soiling slows it as well. The dirt in the air sticks to panels mounted flat vs. on an angle. Rain can naturally wash off a slanted panel.

5. Larger is better - less panels  to wire up to one another.

6. Two kinds of storage:
a. Net metering where it goes back into the system Net metering does shut down, however, if it gets hit during a storm. The reason for that is to protect the life of the person fixing the broken lines. (Even generators feeding into a house can cause damage "up stream" to those working on the downed wires.)
b. Off grid, where you store all energy in your own batteries. Good for remote applications.

7. IKEA uses solar not because it will pay for itself, but for marketing. It makes them look cool and caring. Is that greenwash or erring on the side of trying? I prefer the latter.

8. Steve noted that putting solar directly on the house is the best application and yet I had to say I like the picture of parking lots being turned into power lots. Instead of planting trees in the lots, plant solar collectors. They can shade the cars during the day and put energy into the grid as well. If we end up having electric cars one day, they could also plug in and get recharged.

I was recharged after seeing the possibilities. Tomorrow I'm checking out the green roofs. If I could do a combo of both, that would be really cool.

May 09, 2007

What's the difference between being "green" and being Sustainable?

Sfclogo1_2 Six months ago, no one was "green." Today, we are literally awash with it. Makes ya wonder doesn't it? How can products that weren't environmentally sound one month ago be totally in compliance the next. Hummmm... something's awash alright. In marketing terms, it's called greenwash.

I asked Susan Inglis, the Director of the newly formed Sustainable Furniture Council how SFC is determining a sustainable product. Her answer? "It's an evolving process. We're looking for companies who have a policy in place, are transparent about their practices and are willing to improve each year."

Susan_inglais_pic Susan is not only the director of SFC but is also a business broker of sustainable products called, "From the Mountain." They are, just that, from the mountains surrounding her North Carolina homebase. She is a stake holder from both sides and wants to see local art prosper, but not at the expense of the environment.

As the Director of the Sustainable Furniture Council, her immediate job is to help the 40+ members start making sense out of sustainability.

To that end, although their website isn't up as yet, they do have a membership form in place to help quantify those who are doing real, sustainable work and those who aren't. From that list we can get an idea of what entry level products and companies need to consider. You'll notice that # 9 and #10 deal with social equity. Being sustainable is more than being green, it's being socially responsible as well.

    1. Does your company evaluate the potential environmental impact of your production practices as well as the potential impact of extracting, processing and transporting the raw materials used in your finished products?
    2. Does your company or organization have a statement regarding your position on sustainability that is readily available to the public?
    3. Are you involved in local organizations dedicated to improving the environmental quality of your communities?  For example: recycling, education, “green” networking and leadership.
    4. Are you involved with or members of any other larger organizations or NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) dedicated to improving or preserving the environment
    5. Have you received any of the following third-party certifications for any of your products or services or are you currently a member of a trade association environmental management system?
    6. Do you source a percentage of your energy from green power: solar, turbine, geothermal, low-impact hydroelectric or other?
    7. Are there any forest or other natural resource conservation measures in place in these countries?
    8. Please describe what commitments your organization has made to further sustainable practices, and any projects that you anticipate undertaking that will improve or promote sustainability.
    9. Do you know if you buy from or support any companies or organizations that exploit workers or use child labor?
    10. What steps have you taken as an organization to ensure the health and welfare of your own employees and their families?
    11. Do you source 50% or more of your raw materials (based on actual number vs. weight) within a 500 mile radius of your manufacturing or retail center?
    12. Are any of your raw materials from sources that are third party certified under any of the systems listed above, or other systems?
    13. Lifecycle Analysis / Greenhouse gas contributions
      Have you contracted to have a LCA, Life Cycle Assessment, done on your products?
    14. Do you know what one is and where to get information?

For more information, contact Susan at: fromthemtn@aol.com

May 03, 2007

Eco Build - green buildings for all

Eco2007125x125combo_2On Monday I'll be attending EcoBuild which is a gathering of 300 companies with products and solutions to offset global warming. I'm excited that I can witness the beginning of what I hope will be a fast transformation from "brown" technology and processes to "green" technology and processes. As many of you know, the making, building and maintaining of buildings and every thing in them is our biggest energy drain.

Most of the conference is centered on subjects for the serious developer or architect. I'll be attending workshops, however, that cover topics that consumers are curious about. Things like the latest innovations in:

- Solar Energy

- Wind and alternative energy

- A to Z of sustainable buildings

- Energy efficient Lighting and DAYlighting design

- Green roofs: benefit, design nd technology

- and for those who can't start from scratch, Sustainable Retrofit & Renovation

For me, it's a visit to the toyland of possibilities. I've always dreamed of building an energy efficient home with a little kitchen garden at it's side. Before energy consumption became so critical, it seemed selfish to build new when so many other homes were available. Now, if I build, I can do it knowing that I'll be replacing old technology for new. Sort of like replacing a gas driven car with electric. As an eco-sensitive consumer, that works for me.

May 01, 2007

Women and Transparency Tyranny

Transparency_tyranny May Day, MAY DAY! That's what sellers will be screaming after reading Trendwatching's Transparency Tyranny. This is a "must read" for marketers and a MUST READ MORE by consumers - especially WOMEN consumers who buy 80% of the stuff out there. Ladies, embrace your power!

The Trendwatching article captures much of what we in the marketing-to-women and word-of-mouth market have been saying for sometime. It's very nicely packaged with great examples and visuals which makes it enlightening for consumers of any age.

Here are the 7 talking points:

1. Transparency in reviews and recommendations

2. Transparency in intentions

3. Transparency in prices

4. Transparency in inner company workings

5. Transparency in advice

6. Transparency in best of the best

7. Transparency in triumph

Not only does this give women ideas on how to best take a product to task or triumph, it also provides solid reasons why companies who want to look green, become GREEN in the most transparent way.

This is why those sustainable standards, I keep harping on, need to become part of marketing backbone and message. Doing so protects both the consumer from lousy products that continue to maim our world, and those same standards also protect the companies from Transparency Tyranny. They'll have all the proof they'll need to show that they are in full compliance and doing the right, green thing.

Happy May Day, ladies. It's your time to shine and take back the market. You don't even have to buy anything, just blog about what works for you. In women I trust to make the right decisions and promote the right products.