Sustainable Works

Green Living Workshop Update

Sustainable Workers,

Be sure to stop by the AltCarExpo this weekend, very exciting stuff happening right here in Santa Monica!

Below is the Green Living Workshop update for both the Tuesday and Wednesday RGP crews.

Tuesday Workshop
This Week 12/5 Chemicals
Next Week 12/12 Transportation & Travel

for Homework:
read Transportation & Travel Chapter
3 Actions Items for Chemicals
Lifestyle Survey After data

Below are links to the Chemical safety charts we discussed-

Chemicals to Avoid Smart Chart

Alternative Household Product Recipes

Seafood Watch List Guides

The website to find the safest cosmetic products available-Skin Deep
The Environmental Working Group, who put together the Skin Deep website, is a terrific resource for a lot of information regarding environmental health.

and thanks to Samantha for sending this rich email related to issues that came up in class. I have excepted some of it below:
This the main site I was looking at to find the links
below is:
If you have a "Clean Air Vehicle" decal affixed to
your alternative fuel, hybrid or electric vehicle, the
Santa Monica Municipal Code (3.16.120) allows you to
park in any metered parking space in the city without
charge for the maximum amount of time allowed by that
meter. In other words, if you're at a 2-hour meter,
you can park there free for 2 hours-but beyond that,
you're subject to ticketing for overstaying your
welcome. And, remember, ALL vehicles-clean air and
otherwise-are subject to ticketing and towing if
parked illegally in metered or unmetered spaces, such
as those posted for street cleaning or permit-only
parking. (Clean Air Vehicle decals are issued by the
state to those vehicles which meet rigorous standards.
For more information, visit

Also, linked off this page is:

If you scroll down to ADVO, you can see a
link( to fill
out the form online to be removed from "the nation's
largest targeted home-delivered print advertising
provider." (Make sure you've checked the remove box
and not the add box.)

Also, here is a great page on incentives for buying a

According to this page, metered parking is free in the
city of LA as well.

Thanks Samantha!

Wednesday Workshop
This Week 12/6 Transportation & Travel
Next Week 12/13 Food & Shopping

for Homework:
read Food & Shopping Chapter
3 Actions Items for Transportation & Travel
Lifestyle Survey completed and collected

Don't miss the links I added for the Chemicals issue:

Chemicals to Avoid Smart Chart

Alternative Household Product Recipes

Seafood Watch List Guides

Below is the Alternative Fuels Synopsis I read from in class, posted in its entirety-

[[[Global Exchange Quarterly Newsletter
Issue 66 Spring 2006

Until We Have a Clean, Green Car
In his State of the Union address, President Bush announced that he wanted to end America's oil dependence—and then increased subsidies to oil and gas companies. Clearly, real solutions to the country's energy needs are not forthcoming from those who benefit from the status quo. Many of us are searching for real solutions to America's oil addiction. Global Exchange's solution is to target the US auto industry, which consumes one out of every seven barrels of oil on the planet. But what is the technology available for changing the auto industry, and how does one go about separating the corporate hype about fuel cells and ethanol from the real energy alternatives?
Below we describe the various options for the road ahead. And while we don't know which combination of these technologies will enable us to end our oil addiction, we do know that we can't wait. Our planet is in now-visible crisis, human rights violations are rampant in oil-rich countries, and people are being killed in wars for oil. We must make dramatic steps to end our oil addiction.
More efficient internal combustion engines
Technology exists today that could dramatically improve the fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions of US automobiles. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if Ford Motor Company used today's readily available technology to clean up its act, the company's fleetwide average fuel economy would more than double, to 40 miles per gallon. If Ford used the most efficient hybrid-electric technology in its vehicles, the company could average 55 mpg, a big improvement over its current average of 19.1 mpg.

Hybrids use an electric motor and large battery to capture and store energy that is normally lost in inefficient gasoline engines. In the most efficient hybrids, like the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic, the energy is used to help run the vehicle and can dramatically improve fuel efficiency. However, not all hybrids are designed to maximize efficiency; the Honda Accord and Toyota Highlander use the battery electric motor to boost the power of the engine and are hardly more efficient than their non-hybrid counterparts.

Plug-in Hybrids
Although hybrids are efficient, they still use oil; they are simply more efficient gasoline cars. A better solution would be Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs). The idea is to enlarge the battery pack in a normal hybrid so that it can hold more energy, and add a plug, so that the car can also get energy from the electrical grid or from rooftop solar power. With a PHEV that uses a battery-powered electric motor for the first 30 to 50 miles, most American commuters would rarely need to fill up or even top off with gasoline unless making a long trip.
Of all the technologies currently available, Global Exchange recommends PHEVs as our top choice.

Electric Vehicles
The greatest advantage to the electric vehicle (EV) is that it has no gas tank. The only power for the car is its electric motor and a very large battery pack, which is plugged in to recharge. In the past, EVs could only drive up to 100 miles without having to re-charge, but advances in battery development give the latest EVs a greater range. The drawbacks of EVs today is diat diey have become extremely rare; Ford and GM both eliminated their EV programs and destroyed all but a few hundred of their zero-emission vehicles.

Fuel Cells
A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device, similar to a battery. It converts the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process produces electricity. Fuel cells are much hyped by some auto companies, but the reality is that no cheap, climate-neutral means of mass-producing hydrogen has yet been developed. While in the future, fuel cells may be part of the solution, currently they are merely providing auto companies with a cover to avoid ending their oil addiction using available technologies.

A regular diesel engine is equipped to run on biodiesel, a renewable and biodegradable version of diesel fuel made from biomass such as vegetable oils, animal fats, or algae. Biodiesel produces less air pollution than regular diesel and would reduce our dependence on petroleum. While sales have grown dramatically recently, there are drawbacks to biodiesel. It is twice as expensive as petroleum diesel, and there is a large debate over the feasibility of a massive conversion, as the energy used to grow the crops required may offset the benefits. There is also debate about whether agricultural land should be diverted for transportation production.

Ethanol is a biofuel that can be used in standard (non-diesel) cars that are factory modified. Since 1999 an increasing number of vehicles are designed to be dual-fuel or flex-fuel vehicles, so they can automatically run on ethanol, gasoline, or a blend of both—though few do. In the US, Ethanol is usually produced from corn, but it also could be derived from many other crops and even plant wastes such as cornstalks. Ethanol produces less air pollution than regular gasoline, and could reduce our dependence on petroleum.
However, many critics point to the very high amount of energy required for crops like corn, including gasoline in tractors and transportation of the grain as well as the various chemicals that are sprayed on the crops. The switch to Ethanol could also result in transferring power over our energy needs from petro-chemical companies to multinational agricultural giants.

Walk, Ride Your Bike and Take the Bus
Until the ideal clean, green car is created, the easiest way to break our oil addiction is by walking or riding a bike. And public transportation is much more efficient than single-driver cars. Those of us who can walk, ride our bikes, or take die bus or train are helping America declare independence from oil. What are we waiting for?]]]

And thanks again to Val for sending an email link to Grist's timely series on BioFuels! Its the start of a 2 week series.
Fill 'er Up

See the Tuesday and Wednesday workshops next week!


Alt Car Expo
The Alternative Car & Transportation Expo
Barker Hangar, SM Air Center
December 9th&10th, 2006

Getting Started With Solar
Fairview Branch Library
Tuesday, December 12, 7-8:30 p.m.

Ongoing Eco-Issues for Sustainable Works to research:
* Non-toxic painting materials for artists
* Environmental removal of large amounts of oil from a driveway
* Low flow hose nozzles
* what happens to solvents & batteries at Hazardous Waste facility


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