• Sharing The Toy Recall Blame

    Since early August, more than 20 million toys have been recalled over lead paint concerns and pieces of toys possibly being hazardous to children. Right or wrong, the "Made in China" label on toys has developed a black eye. But a research report released earlier this week reveals that placing all the blame on China's factories and workers is unfounded because more than three-quarters of toy recalls in recent years were triggered by design faults instead of manufacturing

    ... >> Read the Full Article
  • Eco-Engineering, Learned From A Steam-Spitting Beetle

    Leeds, UK - An amazing insect, which sprays its predators with toxic steam, has inspired research into a new generation of technology at the University of Leeds.

    The research has resulted in the new µMist™ technology which has the potential to become the platform for the next generation of more effective and eco-friendly mist carrier systems. It has multiple potential applications – such as new nebulisers, needle-free injections,

    ... >> Read the Full Article
  • Cooling From The Sun: SunChiller

    The SunChiller provides air cooling as a primary output, with space and water heating also possible. The system uses vacuum-tube heat-pipe solar thermal collectors to heat water, which drives an absorption chiller to provide cooling. Water serves as the "refrigerant," avoiding the use of ozone-depleting compounds. A SunChiller can be used in a hybrid system to provide space heating and water heating in addition to absorption cooling. >> Read the Full Article
  • Designer EcoLuxury Products; Vegetable-Tanned Leather and Custom Bamboo Furnishings

    SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Maria Yee, Inc. is introducing vegetable-tanned leather, and eco-friendly BambooTimbre, at the fall International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, North Carolina. Vegetable tannin is extracted from natural plant materials to convert rawhide into leather. Its use eliminates heavy metals, such as chromium, commonly used in the tanning process.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • New Fingerprinting Method Tracks Mercury in Environment

    ANN ARBOR, Mich.—With mercury polluting our air, soil and water and becoming concentrated in fish and wildlife as it is passed up the food chain, understanding how the potent nerve toxin travels through the environment is crucial. A new method developed at the University of Michigan uses natural "fingerprints" to track mercury and the chemical transformations it undergoes. A report on the work is published today in... >> Read the Full Article
  • First Platinum Medical Center Opens

    Portland, Oregon - The Center for Health and Healing at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, is the first medical center to achieve a Platinum rating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System. The 16-story, 400,000-ft2 (37,000-m2) building features a chilled beam and displacement ventilation system, a membrane bioreactor for treating sewage, rainwater harvesting, and a 6,000-ft2 (560-m2), glass-skinned Trombe wall for storing thermal... >> Read the Full Article
  • Making Carpet Environmentally Friendly

    Few building products are as ubiquitous as carpets and rugs, which cover 70% of U.S. floors, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute, the industry’s trade association. That ubiquity has come with some notoriety, as carpet has been on the front lines of several environmental skirmishes. Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other potentially toxic components from carpets have been widely recognized as an indoor air quality problem. The estimated five billion pounds (2 billion... >> Read the Full Article
  • Use Performance-Based Transportation Credits in LEED

    Back in August 1999, I participated in a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) charrette to craft the LEED 2.0 Rating System from the original LEED 1.0 pilot. The small workgroup focused on site and ecosystem issues, in which I participated, sought to remove any bias that encouraged building on previously undeveloped sites. We ended up with five credits that provide points for development density, access to public transit, bicycle storage and changing rooms, infrastructure for low-emitting... >> Read the Full Article
  • Curbing Key Chemicals Could Beat Kyoto Climate Goals

    OSLO (Reuters) - Curbs on chemicals that damage the ozone layer could have a side-effect of reducing far more greenhouse gases than the main U.N. plan for confronting climate change, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Thursday. About 191 governments will meet in Montreal from September 17 to 21 to seek ways to speed up freezing on production and phasing out ozone-depleting HCFC gases, widely used in fridges and air conditioners, that also trap heat in the... >> Read the Full Article
  • In Depth: Antimicrobial Chemicals in Buildings - Hygiene or Harm?

    The market for antibacterial lotions, soaps, and wipes has exploded, and antimicrobial compounds are now common in other consumer items like shampoos, deodorants, shoes and apparel, and food-preparation and storage items, despite widespread evidence that these compounds often don’t work as advertised. But now even our buildings are getting in on the trend. The use of chemicals in building products, especially to kill mold, is centuries-old, but antimicrobial chemicals are proliferating in... >> Read the Full Article