Go, Fight, Green! Is Your Favorite Sport an Eco-Friendly Institution?

“Going green” surely seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days. We talk about going green in our everyday life, politicians talk about green initiatives, tax breaks are given to business large and small for implementing green practices and public relations representatives everywhere are touting how their respective clients are strengthening the green effort. However, this still leaves out on crucial sector of American society: entertainment and specifically, sports. Our favorite American pastimes oftentimes involve participating and watching countless hours of college and professional sports. But how much are these larger than life organizations hurting our environment? You’ll be happy and maybe surprised to know that some of our favorite sports franchises are giving going green the ole college try.

Going green and Nascar may seem an unlikely pair. The sport is inherently centered on consumption. Fast cars burn fossil fuels at a rate that would embarrass any self respecting conservationist. However, Nascar is making the sport as green as it can. Authorities have implemented green initiatives such as collecting used fuel for recycling along with oil filters, fluorescent light bulbs, metal shavings, aluminum and steel. Some raceways are planting a specific number of mature tress per race to offset carbon emissions and still others are using sheep lawnmowers to trim infield grasses.

In addition to Nascar, both the NFL and the NBA are contributing to the cause. The Washington Redskins hosted the Arizona Cardinals at what was lovingly dubbed the “Solar Bowl” on opening weekend. FedEx Field is home to 8,000 solar panels that provide 100% of the stadiums power on non-game days and 20% of power on game days. The solar panels also provide shaded parking in one section of the parking lot.

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Travelling for Memorial Day? Go Green!

Memorial Day is just around the corner and for most of us, that means the start of the summer travelling season. We find excuses to get outside, to go to the beach and to escape the trials and tribulations of everyday life. However, just because our schedules have new values, doesn’t mean we have to give up our green ones. Here are three ways you can maintain your green values even when you’re far away.


Pack Light. Not only will being prudent in your packing choices make your life easier when it comes to moving your luggage around, but it will also reduce the weight put on whatever train, plane or automobile you will be travelling by. The lighter the mode of transportation, the less gas it uses. We have already discussed cleaning out the trunk of your car to get better gas mileage; the same concept applies to larger transporters.

Buy Local. Eating at local restaurants and purchasing authentic souvenirs will not only create a unique travel experience but will reduce carbon emissions required to transport food and trinkets from faraway places. Additionally, you won’t be paying transportation and shipping costs but will put the money back into the local economy for higher quality, authentic meals and products. Besides, who wants to eat at McDonalds again when you can have freshly prepared dish from a recipe perfected by the local culture?

Do Your Airline Homework. Many airlines are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. Aircraft initiatives like reducing bulk and actively decreasing taxi times make a big difference in reducing gas consumption and emissions. It is important to support those companies that are making ‘green’ changes.

So travel, experience, learn and stay green this summer!

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5 “Green” Gift Ideas

Christmas is this weekend and if you’re anything like me, you haven’t bought a thing. At Backyard X-Scapes we are always looking for ways to help our customers “go green” without breaking the bank or pushing too far outside the box. We believe that Christmas gift-giving can be meaningful, generous and eco-friendly. The following are 5 of our favorite ideas for green gift-giving.


iTunes or Amazon.com Gift Cards – While it goes without saying that digital gifts cut down on waste by eliminating packaging and carbon emissions by eliminating production and shipping, they are also in high demand in today’s tech savvy society. We all know that both iTunes and Amazon offer gift cards for downloading music, but they can also be used for video streaming. Instead of buying DVDs as gifts, give your loved ones the gift of waste-free entertainment; they can stream almost any movie as well as entire television series.

Homemade Gift Coupons – Give the special person in your life many gifts in one without costing you a dime.  Coupons for massages, breakfast in bed and babysitting are all great options that only require time and effort on your part. This gift is ultra-personal, won’t drain your checking account and doesn’t produce an ounce of waste, especially if you use recycled paper to craft each coupon.

Sony Ericsson GreenHeart Cell Phone – The techie in your life will love Sony’s new GreenHeart line of cell phones and accessories. These phones create 15% fewer carbon emissions than traditional phones by eliminating the paper manual (it is stored digitally within the phone), utilizing recycled plastic in the phone’s structure, employing an energy efficient display and waterborne paint. The packaging is also eco-conscious.

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Reused Land Offers Promise in California

For years, California has been in a state of drought – a result of sparse rainfall coupled with intricate irrigation systems and the inherent difficulties in supplying over 35 million people with water. A budget crisis and political unrest have recently added to the states problems but now, there is a bright spot (literally) on the horizon. A proposal by Westside Holdings in California has initiated the construction of the largest solar panel field in the country: the Westlands Solar Park in the San Joaquin Valley.


Westlands will reuse 30,000 acres of land contaminated with salt and other pollutants from years of irrigation and over-planting for a solar panel field capable of producing up to 5,000 megawatts of clean energy. As the largest current solar panel project underway, the field promises enough energy to power almost 4 million homes. By contrast, Spain currently claims the largest functioning solar panel field in the world, with a 60-megawatt capacity.
Phase one of the Westlands project will install solar panels on 9,000 acres of land leased by farmers to Westside Holdings and will generate 600-1,000 megawatts of renewable energy, to be transmitted on existing infrastructure. To complete the project, billions of private and public dollars will have to be invested in both construction and infrastructure development, ultimately creating thousands of jobs.

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Go Green for Back to School

The summer months are coming to a close and students and parents alike are looking towards the start of a new school year. Typically, back to school time entails lots of shopping and preparation. The “starting on a clean slate” mentality engenders cravings for new school supplies and clothes. However, in today’s day and age, it is becoming increasingly important and fashionable to save resources, monetary and otherwise. Luckily, with the development of new and more creative ways to conserve it’s easier than ever to go green while remaining on a budget. Approximately 56 million children will attend elementary and secondary schools this year and each one will produce approximately 240 pounds of waste, so it’s important to save and reuse where we can. Here are some helpful ideas and products to help you save this school year.

The first important step to leading a greener lifestyle is to stay organized. Make a list of all the things you need (or think you will need) before doing any shopping. This will keep you from going overboard when you see all the shiny new equipment offered at Target or Staples.

Secondly, take stock of what you already have. Most times, at some point another, you’ve overbought pencils, pens, paper, notebooks and other school supplies. Using them now will not only save you money this year, but will also free up the house of a little clutter.

If you must purchase new back to school products, there are plenty of ways to go green. Everything from lunch boxes and pencils, to clothing and backpacks exist in an environmentally-friendly form and include such developments as a solar paneled backpack from Voltaic that can charge your cell phone, laptop or iPod while you walk. Big name brands have also embraced the green trend; just check the labels and avoid excessive packaging.

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The Benefits of Solar Lighting

 

As the summer months drift lazily on, there are more and more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether entertaining guests in your backyard or simply sitting solo with a good book into the evening is your style, you’re certain to run into a classic summer problem: the weather is still warm and comfortable, but the sun has gone down, forcing you to retreat indoors. Once again, Backyard Xscapes has the answer to your most vexing questions – the use of solar lights can easily and cost-effectively solve your outdoor lighting dilemma.

Solar lights capitalize on one of the Earth’s most reusable resources –the sun. A solar panel within the unit “stores” the energy from the sun’s rays during the day and subsequently emits this energy through LED light bulbs at night. Most solar lights turn off and on automatically with the help of  high-tech darkness sensors, making them both easy to use, waste free and an integral part of any intention to “go green.”

To make your life even simpler, solar lights don’t require a connection to the house power source and therefore do not require any confusing wiring or outlet planning. Positioning is the only tactical consideration as the bulbs require direct sunlight during the day in order to operate at full capacity at night.  They usually consist of two or less parts making them easy to assemble, easy to move and easy to install.

To add to the growing list of benefits to solar lighting, they will not add to your electric bill, produce environmentally harmful emissions or become dangerous in any way. Children and pets cannot be electrocuted or burned because there is no electricity involved and the bulbs are always cool to the touch. The lights can be placed anywhere that is lit by direct sunlight during the day, with no consideration for potential water spills or contact with upholstery or other flammable materials.

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5 Reasons to Go Green With Bamboo

It’s nearly impossible to not hear about going green, the 3 Rs (reduce reuse recycle) and the infinite ways in which you can help the planet.  For your next home decorating or landscaping project, we wanted to give you 5 reasons why we are buzzing about Bamboo and what makes it so great!

1) Bamboo is STRONG
Different species of bamboo are stronger than oak, harder than cedar and have the tensional strength comparable to steel.  By purchasing bamboo, you’re getting a quality building material at a fraction of the cost, and is also incredibly versatile.


2) Bamboo is GREEN
Being that bamboo is not a woody tree but in fact a weed like grass, it grows at an incredibly fast rate.  Unlike traditional trees that can take years or decades to grow, Bamboo can be grown and harvested at a much quicker rate.  It’s a renewable resource that serves as an alternative material that can be used for an infinite number of possibilities for goods.


3)Bamboo is VERSATILE
From sheets to cutting boards, fencing, tiki bars, furniture and so much more, Bamboo is being used world wide in various types of production.  You can even customize your own building project with rolls of fencing or individual poles.


4)Bamboo is AFFORDABLE
Let’s face it, economic times have not been at their greatest in the past few years and investing in upgrading your home or landscape can be a hefty investment.  Bamboo offers an affordable way to instantly give your home and garden that tropical or zen revival.  Replacing a wall or fencing around your yard can also be quite expensive but at times necessary if you’re looking to sell your home or are required by home associations;  Bamboo fencing can offer a cost effective and easy solution.

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