June 30th, 2016 by Cathy Rust
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Rustic Amber Bamboo Flooring by Ambient Bamboo Floors
Ambient Bamboo Floors has been selling high-quality bamboo floors for over 25 years. If you’ve had any experience with bamboo flooring you will know that its durability depends on many factors. I have spoken with a few people who’ve installed it believing they were choosing a well-priced environmentally friendly product. Within five years, however, they had to tear up that floor and put in a completely new one due to wear beyond repair. How environmentally friendly is a floor that needs to be replaced after five years? The old adage remains true: you get what you pay for. If you cut down on price, it usually means quality is lowered as well.
These factors are particularly true for bamboo flooring. It goes back to how bamboo is grown and harvested. It is a grass and can be harvested after four years and up to seven. The longer it grows, the stronger the grass stalks become, the more durable the flooring will be.
Ambient has been working with the same group of factories in China since 2005, so it has a solid history with the product. I asked Alex Everett, spokesperson for Ambient Bamboo Floors about the product and the practices at the factory. Here are some of the features of the flooring:
- It is FSC Certified
- Has a lifetime structural warranty and a 30 year finish warranty
- It can be installed by anyone and will maintain its warranty
- Floors come prefinished in either Accuseal polyurethane or a Hardwax oil finish
- Floors can be glued down, recommended glue is Bilder’s Ultimate All in One, or Bilder’s Choice (both low VOC)
One thing to note: bamboo does behave like wood in terms of humidity and moisture. It’s recommended that indoor humidity range between 35-55% moisture in order to avoid shrinkage in dry conditions.
In addition, the website points out some of the advantages of bamboo:
- It is three times harder than oak
- termite resistant and rot resistant
- can be installed over radiant heating
The company uses a carbonization technique to produce the darker floors. This is a heating method that affects the entire piece of wood, so it’s coloured all the way through the floor.
For pricing, visit this page (note all prices are in US dollars).
Amibient will ship to Canada.
To see Ambient’s full line of products visit the website.
May 6th, 2016 by Cathy Rust
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Forest Fire in Fort McMurray, AB, May 2016 By DarrenRD (straigntened and enhanced by CoolCanuck) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
According to a report on Green Tech Media, shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Insurance have voted to ignore climate risks. Apparently Mr. Buffett “doesn’t think climate change creates serious risks for Berkshire’s insurance business.” http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/berkshire-hathaway-shareholders-vote-to-ignore-climate-risks
Hmm, let’s take a quick look at what’s happening right in Fort McMurray. A massive forest fire has burned through a significant portion of the town leaving tens of thousands homeless and forcing the one of the largest evacuations in Canada’s history. The fires are due to a milder than normal winter combined with less snowfall, fostering an extremely dry spring. In fact, the situation is so bad in northern Alberta and BC, that BC can’t even send its own firefighters to help combat the blaze because they’re worried about their own fire problems.
Most of these properties will be insured — how much is this going to cost the insurers? Recent estimates based on a similar fire which burned through Slave Lake, Alberta in 2011 cost insurers $780 million. Fort McMurray is about ten times the size of Slave Lake. Currently, the estimate is $2.4-4 billion in property damage, however, if the fire keeps raging (and there is no weather relief in sight until tomorrow), it is predicted that the insurance price tag could be as high as $9 billion. To put that in perspective, the Alberta floods in July 2013 cost insurers at least $1.7 billion with more than another $4 billion in uninsured losses — a price tag that now seems paltry by comparison.
» Read more: Climate Change Effects and Insurance — Berkshire Hathaway Should Be Worried
May 4th, 2016 by Cathy Rust
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Please join us on Wednesday May 18, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. in the Steam Whistle Gallery for an exciting series of presentations and informal discussions featuring Ontario-based products and solutions. This forum will feature innovative approaches to radon control, energy storage, heat recovery, wall systems, and water re-use. The presentations will be followed by a cocktail and networking reception catered by Steam Whistle Brewing and Daniel et Daniel.
The featured products include: Vertical Indoor Garden (VIGA), SolarWall, Greyter Water Systems, RadonGuard, and Quad Lock Insulated Concrete Formwork technologies.
We look forward to welcoming our expert presenters Mr. Phil Fung, Mr. Todd Marron, Mr. John Bell, Mr. Richard Baumgartner, and Mr. Shawn Eldebs
Please visit our Eventbrite page to register – Cost is $47.46 to attend.
Visit Sustainable Buildings Canada for more information.
April 29th, 2016 by Cathy Rust
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Green Bonds are bonds that are designated as having some sort of environmental bent to them. The world of green bonds is still young, so there is not a lot of regulation around them yet. I have wanted to invest in green bonds for awhile, but until now they have not been available to the consumer. Enter CoPower.
CoPower was formed in 2013 when the founders identified a particular hole in the green investing and technology market. They have developed a market for people who want to invest their money in clean-tech while providing businesses who do clean tech with capital. But they are not looking at start-ups and risky investing. CoPower is providing money for a variety of businesses that install renewable energy projects and energy efficiency projects such as improving a building’s insulation and replacing lighting with LEDs. They only invest in projects using experienced designers-installers who use proven technologies.
» Read more: CoPower – providing green investing options for the consumer
April 25th, 2016 by Cathy Rust
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EverLED LED tube replacements for T8s.
Made in Vermont is the sister show of the Vermont Home and Garden Show. In addition to some great foody exhibits, I found this manufacturer of LED lights EverLED. What I liked about this product was the ease of transition from fluorescent to LED. Basically, you pop out your old fluorescent tube and pop in the LED replacement.
This light uses about 40% less energy than a T8, which is the most common tube fluorescent in use today. Like all LEDs it contains no mercury and has no annoying flicker or stroboscopic effect that can happen to fluorescents over time. It also extends the life of the ballast because it doesn’t over heat it. The light output is the same as the T8.
Unlike fluorescents, it is not affected by how many times it is turned on or off during its use, nor does it have a warm-up period.
I spoke with Bob Sparadeo, Sales Directory, who told me that they have been in use for ten years so far, so they are rating them now with a ten-year lifespan, but they really don’t know because they haven’t had one burn out yet.
Colour temperature: The lights are available in three colour temperatures: 3500K, 4000K and 5000K.
They are recyclable at end-of-life.
Suggested applications for this LED light are:
- Food preparation and service
- Hard to reach, high maintenance cost areas
- Clean rooms, laboratories and research environments
- Museums and galleries
- Hospitals and medical environments
- Colleges and universities
- Office buildings
- Hotels and hospitality suites
- Parking garages
- refrigerator and freezer cases
- retail signs and displays
For more information on these products, visit the EverLED website.