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Posts from the ‘Green Articles’ Category

8
Jul

Volkswagen is Helping to Improve Biking Conditions for People around the US By Supporting PeopleForBikes

Volkswagen supports bike riders and is helping to make the United States a more enjoyable place to bike by continuing their partnership with PeopleForBikes for at least two more years. Since they began working with the organization in 2012 they helped improve conditions for close to 5 million bike riders. They traveled around to a total of 165 different bike and lifestyle events and played a role in improving them and making a true impact on the biking community.

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Their efforts have nearly doubled the number of protected bike lanes in the United States, while engaging more than 800,000 Americans about the benefits of biking and how to improve conditions for everyone.

The Ride on Chicago

The Ride on Chicago is a 5-day bike ride event started in 2011 by Tim Johnson with support from Volkswagen. The event is a fundraiser for PeopleForBikes and in 2013 it managed to exceed its fundraising goal by generating more than 100,000 for the organization. Tim Johnson has traveled more than 2,000 miles since beginning to work with this event, and it has singlehandedly generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for PeopleForBikes.

About PeopleForBikes

Bicycling conditions in the United States aren’t the greatest and take a backseat to driving conditions even though this type of transportation is good for the environment. PeopleForBikes strives to improve biking for everyone. They work to expand bicycling lanes, improve laws for bikers and just educate people about the benefits of this mode of transportation.

Giving to PeopleForBikes

PeopleForBikes president Tim Blumenthal stated that “VW’s exceptional support of PeopleForBikes is important to the future of bicycling,” and with the major impact that they’ve made on the movement there’s no wonder. On top of sponsoring events and supporting the organization, Volkswagen has given PeopleForBikes four different vehicles now two of which are Jetta Sportwagens that travel to events at either end of the country. They also offer cobranded gear for cyclists on their DriverGear website to help support the cause.

Whether you’re a fan of bicyclists or you think that biking lanes are a waste of space, it’s clear that Volkswagen supports improved biking conditions and that they see a benefit in it to the country. With continued efforts from VW everyone should notice an improvement in biking conditions around the country, and maybe one day people will start travelling by bike more extensively than they do today. Sure automobiles will remain the fastest and most convenient way to get around, but bikes are a great supplemental mode of transportation, and they cut down on fuel expenses while helping to improve the environment at the same time.

14
Jun

Riviera Elementary Uses Trash-Free Lunch Challenge Prize to Do More Good

In 2013 LAcarGUY and Grades of Green through the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge and beckoned students from 16 different schools to try to reduce their waste while furthering education efforts. Since that challenge the winning school, Riviera Elementary, has been putting the prize money to good use making their school even more environmentally friendly. They also went on to have a contest of their own, which resulted in a very cool mural made from a unique material, that should be recycled far more often than it is.

About the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge In a partnership with Grades of Green, LAcarGUY started the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge to help reduce waste and teach students about eco-friendly habits. The contest was successful in educating students how to reduce their waste, reuse what they can, recycle everything else and finally to recover energy from unusable products. It also drastically reduced lunchtime waste, (by as much as 70% in some schools).

Riviera Elementary Efforts for a More Sustainable School After Allison Cohen, a parent of one of the children at Riviera Elementary, noticed just how much waste the school was producing at lunch time every day, she knew that something had to be done. She quickly formed “the Green Team” an organization of more than 35 different students to try and improve the health and sustainability of the school. Thanks to the Green Team as well as the prize money from the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge Riviera Elementary was able to pay to switch from Styrofoam trays to a compostable alternative at lunch time. They also setup permanent sorting stations for recyclables around the school collecting everything from typical recyclables, to compost, liquids and even unopened food. The simple sorting station was able to lower landfill trash from 12 bags a day down to two. Just these two actions should help Riviera remove a high amount of waste from their community and they set a good example for the rest of the community, and other schools to follow along with. riviera bottle cap mural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Creative Reminder to Recycle The school also held a contest to see what classroom could collect the most bottle caps. By the end of the contest the school amassed more than 400 lbs. of material that would have ended up in a landfill. All of this was put to use to construct a mural to the school and to make a statement about recycling. Lexi Rampolla, a 5th grader at Riviera, came up with the design of the mural and students and adults came together to put the project together using paint, plywood, and hardware donated by a local Lowes. The finished product serves as an impressive reminder to avoid waste whenever possible. The mural was unveiled at a school-wide assembly and is now being displayed at the school to inspire students, staff members and visitors to be environmentally conscious, and should do so for years to come.

About Grades of Green Grades of Green is a non-profit focused on environmental education. Their mission is to teach students from kindergarten up through 12th grade about the importance of reducing waste and reusing materials whenever possible. Not only do they sponsor or put together competitions such as the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge, but they also take their time to educate children whenever they can. Their work is helping to build more environmentally-conscious citizens and a brighter future for our country.

17
Mar

Green Tip of the Month: Reading Behind the Label

Nutrition_Facts_GTOTMThe food industry has become a dangerous one.

A rise in demand for consumer convenience and low-priced foods has plowed the way for the destruction of small, local American farms and for the dominance of technologically-based agricultural corporations. With efficiency and profit being the main focuses of food industries, nutritional value and integrity of production are often compromised to meet the needs of consumers. The collective desire for convenience has fueled the development of controversial practices, such as genetically-modified crops or GMO’s, an organism that has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Documentaries, such as “Supersize Me” and “Food Inc”, and increased media exposure have raised more questions about how American food is processed and where  it comes from.

According to “Food Inc.,” an average grocery store has about 47,000 products for sale. Colorful packaging and misleading advertising creates the illusion that consumers have the power to choose a variety of selections. There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Now, there are tomatoes all year round, grown halfway around the world, picked when they are green, and ripened with ethylene gas.  Even more, it’s the idea of a tomato, as most of our food is clever rearrangements of corn. Regulation is a serious issue with The Food & Drug Administration, a federal government agency which regulates food safety. There are claims that the FDA is being controlled by the very companies that they are supposed to be scrutinizing.

TIPS FOR SMART AND HEALTHY GROCERY SHOPPING

  • Shop local farmers market 1x per week
  • Shop the outer isles at grocery store – that means load up on fresh fruits and veggies
  • if you can’t pronounce the ingredients on a food label, it’s probably not good for you
24
Feb

LAcarGUY Green Tip of the Month: Drought

car_leaf_tab_custom_icon_California Governor Brown recently declared California’s drought a state of emergency and with that some very important people — President Obama among them — will convene in California this week with a singular goal: to help Californians as we endure the drought.  Last year was the driest year on record for California, and while we enjoyed some light rain last week, the drought hasn’t let up by any measure.

It’s not just a lack of precipitation that’s causing the problem. For far too long Californians have used more water than we can sustain and have not done enough to learn more efficient ways to use this precious resource. This system of too little supply and too much demand is finally catching up with us. And as climate change becomes the “new normal,” our water woes will only get worse.

While we can’t make it rain, we can prepare for drier days. The task at hand requires us to cope with the disaster today, prepare us for the chronic water shortages to come and protect this and future generations from the widening water scarcity impacts of climate change.

There is also a lot the public can do to help. Governor Brown has asked all residents of the state to voluntarily cut their water use by 20%.

Here’s how you can do your part:

Repair Leaks in Your Home. Add a small amount of food coloring to the water in the tank behind your toilet, and if any color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes you’ve discovered a leak that may have been running for months undetected. If you have a faucet or shower head that drips, or a toilet that runs all the time – that is water you could save.

Use the dishwasher rather than wash by hand. Although some people are very efficient at washing by hand, most of us aren’t and that means up to 27 gallons of water per load. A new Energy Star-rated dishwasher can consume as little as 3 gallons per load.

Use a car wash. Washing your car by hand not only uses 100 gallons of water or more in one go, but may also result in contaminated water containing brake fluid, oil, and other automotive fluids entering waterways through storm drains. Car wash services are required to channel water to treatment plants and the most efficient use less than 40 gallons of fresh water per wash.

Expanding “Cash for Grass” or “Lawn to Garden” Programs. Cities can incentivize homeowners’ switch from grass lawns that require watering to native landscaping that does not. Many are already doing so. For example, the Long Beach Water Department landscape conversion program provides a $3 per-square-foot incentive to replace grass lawns with more water-efficient landscapes.  As a result of this and similar conservation efforts by Long Beach, water use declined from 167 gallons per person per day in 1980 to 110 gallons in 2010.

Shop for only what you need and reuse as much as possible. Water is a precious resource. It is used to process all sorts of goods that we use everyday from coffee, to chocolate, to jeans. Did you know it takes 713 gallons of water to produce and manufacture 1 t-shirt?

Eat less meat. It takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of beef.

Fun Fact:
The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water every day, that’s two full bathtubs! By conserving water we can lower the demand for natural resources, reduce the emission of air pollutants, improve air quality, reduce the accumulation of solid waste, and reduce climate change impacts.

18
Jan

January Green Tip of the Month

Happy New Year everyone! Did any of you see what we saw during the holiday season? Our first thought was that somebody had started a bike delivery service. Taking a closer look at the decked out bike, we noticed the UPS logo on the side. It finally dawned on us that UPS hired seasonal bike helpers!

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Apparently, UPS had some bean counters crunch numbers and find out that by replacing a certain number of trucks with bikes in the more temperate winter climates, they could save a boatload of money over the holiday season. In some districts, up to $36,000.

The company typically delivers nearly 15.8 million packages a day. During one five-day stretch of the pre-Christmas peak last year, that jumped to more than 20 million a day. Of course, each UPS bike delivery system (typically a $350 mountain bike pulling a custom trailer) can haul only 15 to 20 packages a trip – a mere fraction of what a truck can deliver. Nonetheless, the company estimates that for every three bikes deployed during peak season on the West Coast, it will save around 17 gallons of fuel a day and about $38,000 in vehicle maintenance costs.

According to Norman Black, a company spokesman, the bikes simply make sense at this time of year (holiday). “It clearly has environmental benefits and we’re excited by those, but it works in part because you’ve got heavy volume going into residential neighborhoods.” Nearly 75% of UPS’s daily non-peak volume involves business to business packages.

Saving fuel, money and the environment with a bike. Genius.

22
Dec

Green Tip of the Month: Greening the Holiday Season

Did you know that from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day, household waste increases by more than 25 percent and this extra trash – mostly food, shopping bags, product packaging and wrapping paper – adds up to an additional 1 million tons of waste a week that is sent to U.S. landfills.

christmas_recycle_iconSo what can we do to help reduce waste and make this holiday season a little greener. Our team here at LAcarGUY have put together a list that we hope you will find useful.

  • Not all gifts have to be store-bought. Read up on Tips for Sustainable Giving.
  • Source locally made gifts. Many gifts in today’s marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming.
  • Choose gifts made from recycled resources. Here are some gift ideas made from recycled materials.
  • ‘Re-gifting’ is OK. There’s much discussion these days about the etiquette behind the trend to ‘re-gift’, that is, to pass on a gift you received but do not need. What’s to discuss? Re-gifting makes perfect sense. If you receive something you really don’t need, look for ways you can reuse this gift by passing it on to someone who can use it. Of course, re-gifting needs to be done with care so as not to offend the original giver, but keeping a gift you don’t need is wasteful.
  • Connect with nature – start a family nature hike tradition. A peaceful walk will be valued and remembered
  • Deck the halls with LED lights this year. Sparkly, energy-saving LEDs – super-efficient lights that use a lot less energy than incandescents – are abundant on store shelves this season
  • Skip paper and plastic products. This is the season where it’s easy to bring out your family china, silverware, and cloth napkins – even for breakfast. Try doing it, and you may never go back to using paper or plastic products to eat off of again.
  • Recycle your Christmas Tree. If you’re still inclined to get a cut tree, there are several recycling options available. Leftover trees can be used for mulch, erosion, habitat creation and more. Check out treecycling search to find a recycling option near you.

What are some of the steps you take to help reduce the environmental impact of the holidays? Share your tips…

12
Nov

Lexus to Show Updated CT 200h in China

lexus, ct 200h, china, facelift
The compact Lexus CT 200h is the latest Lexus to incorporate the company’s trademark “spindle grille” into its front-end design. Like other Lexus vehicles, the CT’s styling benefits from the aggressive maw, giving the car an added dose of character and aggression.

Scheduled to be unveiled at the Guangzho Motor Show in China, Lexus states the car will also receive a revised rear-end design and new alloy wheels.

Currently the CT is a hybrid only affair, affording the compact hatchback with impressive gas-mileage; however, Mark Templin, Lexus International executive vice president, recently told Motoring Australia that he hoped in the future Lexus might add a second powertrain option to the CT to target “people who want fast cars.”

Lexus recently revealed that it will show a compact SUV concept called the LF-NX with a new turbocharged four-cylinder at the Tokyo Motor Show. This engine is expected to eventually replace the IS250’s V6 engine, but will it also find its way under the hood of the updated Lexus CT? We’ll find out when the car debuts on November 21. Be sure to continue to follow LAcarGUY News for the latest Lexus news.

Image credit: Lexus

23
Oct

Toyota Cuts $2,000 – $4,500 from 2014 Plug-in Prius MSRP

by Zach McDonald | HybridCars.com

When the 2014 the Prius Plug-in goes on sale next month, one major change about the vehicle will likely be very pleasing to consumers: its price. Base MSRP for the 2014 Prius Plug-in will be lowered to $29,990 (before state and federal incentives,) with pricing for the feature-loaded Advanced model cut to $34,905. The price decreases total $2,000 and $4,500 respectively.

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The car is also eligible for a federal tax credit of $2,500 and a California state rebate of $1,500, meaning that drivers in the Golden State will be able to bring one home for as little as $25,990. Other than the change in price, the 2014 edition of the car will be identical to the 2013, and there will be no stripping down of amenities to accomplish the reduction.

Toyota’s decision to cut prices for the Prius Plug-in comes late in a year when nearly every producer of a mass-market electric vehicle has moved to make their cars more affordable in an effort to win customers. But for Toyota, the discount doesn’t seem to stem from low sales numbers. The Prius Plug-in—which is currently only available in 15 states—ranks third among plug-in vehicles in sales so far this year, behind only the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt.

The breakdown of the top-selling plug-in cars for September 2013 reveals that each of the pack leaders offer something different to buyers: the LEAF is an affordable limited-range EV; the Volt is a slightly pricier extended range PHEV; the Prius Plug-in is a shorter range PHEV with high MPGe and superior fuel efficiency in hybrid mode; and the Tesla Model S is an expensive electric sedan with a range at least double that of any other EV. Each car occupies its own place in the market, but Toyota is hoping that this newest price cut puts the Plug-in Prius on radar for more customers.

23
Oct

2014 Toyota Corolla Nominated for Green Car of the Year Award

The 2014 Toyota Corolla has been elevated to “green heights.”  The Green Car Journal has named the eleventh-generation sedan a finalist for the 2014 Green Car of the Year award and one of its top 5 Green Cars for 2014. The Corolla also earned the magazine’s ‘Green Car Product of Excellence’ distinction. The other 2014 model finalists include the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, and Mazda3. All five are also honored as Green Car Journal’s “Top 5 Green Cars for 2014″ and earn the magazine’s “Green Car Product of Excellence” honors.

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Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Availability to the mass market is a factor to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact, and finalists must be available for sale by January 1st of the award year.

”The Corolla has been the world’s most popular name plate with over 40 million sold since 1966.  The Corolla’s environmental sensitivity has evolved with the market.  The new 11th generation of Corolla, and the new LE Eco model in particular, offer increased levels of capability and fuel economy,” said Bob Carter, Senior Vice President, Automotive Operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Green Car of the Year® jurors include auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, plus leaders of the nation’s major environmental organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA. Green Car Journal editors round out the 2014 Green Car of the Year® jury.

The Green Car of the Year will be announced during media days at the L.A. Auto Show, Nov. 20-21, 2013.

22
Oct

2014 Audi A6 Selected As Green Car of the Year Finalist

Green Car Journal has identified its five finalists for the magazine’s high-profile 2014 Green Car of the Year® program. The five 2014 models include the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla. These five finalists are also honored as Green Car Journal’s “Top 5 Green Cars for 2014″ and earn the magazine’s “Green Car Product of Excellence” honors.

2014 Audi A6 TDI

An increasing number of vehicle models are considered for the Green Car of the Year® program each year, a reflection of the auto industry’s expanding efforts in offering new vehicles with higher efficiency and improved environmental impact. Green Car Journal has been honoring the most important “green” vehicles every year at the LA Auto Show, since its inaugural award announced at the show in 2005.

“The diversity of this field of finalists illustrates not only that ‘green’ has gone mainstream, but also that there is no single approach to achieving ever higher levels of fuel efficiency and environmental performance,” says Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. “There’s something for everyone in this year’s field of finalists, including clean diesel, high efficiency gasoline, and hybrid/plug-in hybrid power featured in mainstream, sporty, and executive models.”

Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Availability to the mass market is a factor to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact, and finalists must be available for sale by January 1st of the award year.

Audi is honored to be named as a finalist for the Green Car of the Year award,” said Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “Audi has been a leader in clean diesel since the introduction of Audi TDI technology in the U.S. in 2009. With the debut of four all-new TDI models this year, Audi continues to set the bar for fuel efficiency and uncompromised luxury.”

New for the 2014 Model Year, the Audi A6 TDI achieves an impressive EPA estimated fuel economy of 24 city/ 38 highway/ 29 combined MPG while at the same time delivering uncompromised performance, design and luxury. The A6 TDI delivers the best fuel economy among TDI competitors in its segment, with 30-percent more fuel efficiency than gasoline engines.

“Audi’s new A6 TDI underscores that improved environmental performance needn’t come at the expense of the joy of driving,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. “This sedan seems to offer it all – comfort, luxury, style, and advanced on-board electronics, while also attending to lower CO2 emissions and surprisingly high fuel efficiency for this class of vehicle. Offering a powerful and efficient TDI clean diesel option in the A6, and other Audi models, is important. The A6 TDI is a deserving nominee for 2014 Green Car of the Year®.

Green Car of the Year® jurors include auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, plus leaders of the nation’s major environmental organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA. Green Car Journal editors round out the 2014 Green Car of the Year® jury.