University of Wyoming’s Biodiversity Institute Achieves LEED Gold Status

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The University of Wyoming’s Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center has been awarded LEED Gold certification for a variety of sustainable building features.

The university is home to Laramie’s only living roof, and is known for sustainable features including locally sourced building materials, native or adapted landscape vegetation, natural air ventilation, and building exhaust energy recovery.

The Berry Center is a 44,000 square foot building located in the northwest corner of campus, housing multiple groups and individuals that study animals, plants, and other organisms. The space contains laboratories, archive facilities, four classrooms, and office space for faculty and grad students.

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“It’s fitting that a bunch of scientists interested in biodiversity conservation should work inside a green building, because sustainable building practices support our goal,” says Dorothy Tuthill, building administrator and associate director of the Biodiversity Institute. “We use the Berry Center as a teaching tool. We can show that green building features not only reduce human impacts on the natural world, but that the outdoor space, including our native-prairie green roof, can actually enhance biodiversity in an urban environment.”

A few notable sustainability features include racks to hold 140 bicycles, low-flow showers in changing facilities, low-emitting wood, paints, carpets, adhesives, and sealants, vast use of natural daylight, low-flow faucets and toilets, and the 3,600 square foot green roof.

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Sustainably Grown Timber Compliments Energy Efficiency of True North Log Homes

True North Log Homes

Built from from white pine heartwood timber that is sustainably grown in northern Ontario and Quebec (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council), this stunning log home comes to us from True North Log Homes.

While reminiscent of the rustic, breezy log home of the distant past, these structures are tech-savvy and utilize computerized machinery and careful preparation of timber to save labor time on-site.

Modular components allow for flexibility in design, as well as reducing the carbon footprint, and exterior construction that takes only a few days to complete. Joined together without screws or nail, the exterior shell is weather-tight. To make up for wood shrinkage, patented systems tighten the house to eliminate the need for chinking of holes.

Interiors can be retrofitted to increase sustainability with options including energy efficient windows, solar panels, spray foam insulation, soundproofing with sheep’s wool, and radiant floor heat.

President of True North Homes, Rob Wrightman, built this log cabin for his family, and frequently opens it up to show his customers the advantages of living in a log home.

True North Floor Plan

Roughly following the floor plan of the Citadel model, the 3,300 square feet includes a separate apartment and garage.

True North Floor Plan

Founded in 1986 and based out of Bracebridge, Ontario, True North Log Homes is known to be a manufacturer of some of North America’s best-engineered log homes. Canadian owned and operated, their innovative craftsmanship and technology is complimented by a commitment to the environmental needs and concerns of forested regions.

True North Exterior

Firefly is a New VAWT Small Wind Turbine

South Carolina-based Firefly Power is one of 20 other social- or environmentally-inclined companies presenting at the i2i Awards program in conjunction with SXSW Eco in Austin through Friday, October 5, 2012.  The company makes lightweight small wind turbines out of carbon-fiber blades in the vertical axis form.  The residential unit is rated at 1.8 kW, weighs less than 60 pounds, cuts in at 10 mph winds, and is expected to sell for about $7,000, according to Firefly Power.

[+] More about vertical-axis turbines by Firefly Power.

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Plug and Play Solar by Go Green Solar

I’ve been watching plug-and-play solar systems like the one offered by SpinRay Energy to see how viable and affordable these can get.  It turns out just unveiled a similar system called the SunPlug Plug n’ Play Solar Kit.  The kit includes one 235-watt polycrystalline panel, a 120 VAC/60 Hz grid-tie inverter, racking mount, WiFi module for monitoring, and a connector to plug directly into an AC outlet.

Although the output from one panel isn’t much — about 1 kWh of electricity per day in average conditions, according to Go Green Solar — the kit is scalable up to eight solar panels per branch circuit.  There’s a 25-year warranty on the solar panel, a 10-year warranty on the inverter, and the entire kit currently costs $1,199.95, excluding potentially available tax credits and other incentives.

[+] More about the SunPlug Plug n’ Play Solar Kit by Go Green Solar.

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How to Power Gadgets While in Nature

I spent three days camping and hiking in the mountains of Utah last week and used my iPhone to snap the above photo while slightly downhill from the summit of Mount Timpanogos, which has an elevation of 11,749 feet.  In preparation for this trip, I researched for a sustainable, backpacker-worthy solution to keeping my iPhone powered in order to take photos, jot notes, listen to music, and maybe communicate with family when presented with an available signal.  I don’t have an iPad, but this solution works for both iPhones and iPads, either one.  Here’s what you need:

#1: Instapark 10-watt Portable Solar Charger
Price: ~$70 on Amazon.

This foldable, 10-watt package has a pocket with the USB charging ports to keep your gadgets unexposed while the panels harvest energy from the sun.  I received a defective version, and the manufacturer immediately replaced the product.

#2: Anker Astro2 Dual-USB 8400 mAh Battery Pack
Price: ~$55 on Amazon.

A battery pack gives you the ability to store power to charge your iPhone even when there’s no available sun.  I powered the Astro2 with my solar panels and got several phone charges out of this little workhorse.

#3: Nite Ize Gear Ties 6-Inch
Price: ~$6 (2-Pack) on Amazon.

Nite Ize makes colorful gear ties that can be used to strap solar panels to your backpack, tent, or anything else.  With two sets of these ties, you can strap the solar panels to the top and bottom of your backpack and bank solar power all day.

What do you use to keep powered while in the middle of nature?

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Read more from the original source: How to Power Gadgets While in Nature

A Shady Trellis Wall That is Also Edible

Lindsey Hutchinson and husband Todd — both with design backgrounds and a passion for gardening — decided to build “green curtains” or exterior trellises covered in edible vines, according to the Statesman.  The 15-foot living walls will shade the home and rain barrels from the sun, but the Hutchinson’s also intend to harvest the vines for grapes, passionfruit, and Scarlet Runner Beans.  Thusly, these green curtains perform double duty in the form of food production and energy conservation.  What a great idea!

[+] More about the Hutchinson’s edible trellis wall via the Statesman.

Credits: Lindsey Hutchinson.

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Wild Sheep Foundation Helps Reintroduce Desert Bighorns in Northern Nevada, Largest Conservation, Mountain Hunting Convention in Reno January 19-21

Reno, NV (PRWEB) December 16, 2011

The Wild Sheep Foundation Convention and Sporting Expo, The Sheep Show?, returns to Reno at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and the Silver Legacy January 19-21, 2012.

WSF is the largest conservation and mountain hunting convention and recently helped reintroduce desert bighorn sheep in the Virginia Mountain Range of Northern Nevada in cooperation with conservation partners Nevada Bighorns Unlimited and the Nevada Department of Wildlife. It?s the first step in an effort to re-establish a population of Nevada?s state animal in this range for the first time since the 1880?s.

“We?re grateful to be a part of Nevada?s efforts,? said Gray N. Thornton, WSF President and CEO. ?Our 2011 convention at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and Silver Legacy Resort was a grand success for our exhibitors, attendees and WSF conservation funding goals, generating a 43% net increase over the 2010 event.”

For the 2012 convention, the WSF expects to generate even more revenue for conservation. Sheep and other permits, from Alberta to Nevada and Texas, and Colorado to California, will be available. With the support of auction bidders, attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and donors, the WSF expects to raise more than $ 5 million in gross revenue to help wild sheep, and other wildlife across North America and around the globe. For a complete listing of the special sheep and other permits offered visit

Celebrating its 2012 event, the WSF has again partnered with MidwayUSA as the Official Sponsor of the convention.

In addition to the special permits dedicated to state, tribal, and provincial conservation, the 2012 WSF convention will offer an auction of nearly $ 2 million in hunts, trips, wildlife art, fine sporting arms, hunting gear and accessories for the wild sheep and hunting enthusiast. Funds generated at The Sheep Show will help wild sheep conservation efforts throughout North America and the world.

The three-day convention and expo is open to the public, Thursday through Saturday, January 19-21 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Show hours are 10 a.m. ? 5 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. ? 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. ? 5 p.m. Saturday.

Daily admission is only $ 10 with $ 5 off coupons available at Reno-Sparks Cabela?s, Scheels, Sportsman?s Warehouse, and Scolari?s Food and Drug Company stores. As an added incentive to attend the show ?floor credit? drawings will be offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday for credits valued at $ 1,000 to $ 5,000 to be used with Expo exhibitors. Five $ 1,000 credits will be drawn Thursday, two $ 2,500 credits drawn Friday and one $ 5,000 credit Saturday. Attendees must be present to win. Daily passes are available at Expo Registration.

The banquet and live auction events kick off Wednesday evening January 18 at the Silver Legacy?s Reno Ballroom downtown. WSF will hold their legendary auctions Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings. In addition, a Ladies Luncheon, International Night party, Ram Awards breakfast and Life Member Breakfast will be held at the Silver Legacy.

Other events include a Sporting Clays Shoot with USA Shooting Team members Thursday morning at Sage Hill Clays, and a wine tasting in the expo hall Saturday. Visit the Foundation?s website for a full schedule and details on the events.

“We look forward to returning to Reno again in 2012 and are pleased to announce that in 2013, WSF will host the Sheep Show? under one roof at the Grand Sierra Resort” said Thornton. “The Grand Sierra Resort property was the home for the Sheep Show? for nearly two decades. We look forward to the January 30-February 2, 2013 homecoming event as well.”

Nevada is home to nearly 10,000 bighorn sheep, which is more than any other state. This conservation success is due the exceptional work of Nevada wild sheep advocates, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited and Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn, the Nevada Department of Wildlife and other WSF partners

The Wild Sheep Foundation, formerly the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, was founded in 1977 by sheep and mountain hunting enthusiasts and conservationists. With a membership of more than 6,000 worldwide and a chapter network in North America, WSF is the premier advocate for wild sheep, wild goats, other wildlife and their habitat

The Wild Sheep Foundation has raised more than $ 80 million for conservation and educational programs in North America, Europe and Asia. In 2011, the Wild Sheep Foundation has raised and put on the ground more than $ 3 million for wildlife conservation and other mission programs.

For a full schedule of events and to join as a member, or for more information on the Foundation and the conservation and education programs, please visit, contact 800-OK-FNAWS or email info(at)wildsheepfoundation(dot)org. FollowWSF on


MOPAC Plant & Building Services Assists the Veterans Administration with its Conservation Goals

Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) November 22, 2010

MOPAC Plant & Building Services just finished installing two highly reflective white roofs that will assist the Veterans Administration (V.A.) with its conservation goals.

MOPAC was brought in by B.S.I. Contracting of Birmingham Alabama as an energy consultant to assist with the inspection, specification and implementation of an efficient roof management plan for the VA. The project consisted of two roofs.

The first roof had an existing modified, granulated roof system. MOPAC determined this roof did not need replacement and that the modified roof system could be cleaned and coated with a highly effective insulating coating.

The second roof, which was above newly renovated lab areas, was determined to be compromised and needed removal. The existing roof system was removed and replaced with 3″ of iso board and a highly reflective pvc membrane. The roof deck and insulation system combined meet the PIMA recommendation of R-20. To limit VOCs, a water-based adhesive was specified to fully adhere the roof membrane.

After new membrane was installed, 40 mils of a highly reflective insulating coating was applied to the top of the pvc membrane. Although the pvc membrane is highly reflective, the insulating coating thermally protects all year round. Reflective rooftop coatings and membranes only work during the hot summer months. The insulating coating applies the common physics principles of reflectivity, conduction, emissivity and absorption. Its microscopic particle structure, which resembles popcorn-like particles, reflects upwards of 85% of the radiant heat gain back to the environment from which it originated.

Each ceramic particle encapsulates air, thereby offering a slow path of thermal transfer. This high content of entrapped and stagnant air blocks thermal transfer very efficiently. In addition, the coating’s low emissivity allows for low heat flux. The combination of these factors allows for total thermal dissipation across the surface of the coating. The unique composition of the coating makes it extremely efficient for its thickness and prevents substrates from gaining heat.

Winter conditions can yield a 10-30% savings, due to the coating reflecting heated air back into the internal

environment. Depending on geographic location and local conditions, the energy savings derived from using the coating can average between 10 and 50%.

Bryan Morris, an EVP with MOPAC and a LEED AP, stated, “We really enjoyed teaming with B.S.I Contracting on this project. It allowed us to become part of the VA team and to demonstrate our full portfolio of services. We inspected, specified and performed the project as a turn-key solution. We were able to provide both value-added and value-engineered solutions, which provided cost-savings and long-term solutions for the VA.”

With energy-savings and green solutions playing an even greater role as part of the Veteran’s Administrations Operations Plan, Morris hopes to strengthen MOPAC’s relationship within the VA team in order that MOPAC can continue assisting with the VA’s sustainability efforts.

MOPAC’s sustainable service offerings include: white and green roofing, Solar Solutions (thermal water heating and photovoltaic systems), water reclamation/recovery, insulation, lighting optimization, HVAC re-commissioning, pervious pavement, etc….

Contact Information:

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Gaylord Hotels Shows Support for Environmental Conservation

Nashville, TN (PRWEB) August 19, 2011

Gaylord Hotels will further demonstrate its commitment to the environment this September through its support for Conservation International. As the featured charity for the Gaylord Hotels Rooms for Good program during the month of September, Conservation International will receive 10 percent of proceeds raised through a special package rate available at all four Gaylord resorts.

Conservation International (CI) is a non-profit organization that works to create a healthy planet to ensure a better life for everyone, everywhere. CI helps communities, countries and societies protect tropical forests, lush grasslands, rivers, wetlands, abundant lakes and the sea. CI believes that every person on Earth deserves a healthy environment and the fundamental benefits that nature provides. By working with partners, CI is forging a brighter future for both people and nature.

?We are thrilled to be Gaylord Hotels’ selected charity this month as part of their Rooms for Good program,? said Andrew Wilson, vice president of corporate relations at Conservation International. ?Support like this is so important in enabling Conservation International to continue its mission of maintaining a healthy planet for the well-being of humanity.?

The exclusive Conservation International Rooms for Good package rate starts at $ 179* per couple/per night, based on availability. It includes one night?s accommodations at one of Gaylord Hotels? four properties, located in some of America?s most popular destinations, including the Washington, D.C. metro area, just outside of Orlando, Fla., in the heart of America?s Country Music Capital, Nashville, Tenn., and in the Dallas/Ft. Worth-area, in the Lone Star State.

?At Gaylord Hotels, we have an active and committed ?Get Green? program at all of our properties,? said Amy Atkinson, vice president of leisure marketing and public relations, Gaylord Hotels. ?From our LED lighting project at Gaylord Texan to the state-of-the-art laundry facilities at Gaylord Opryland and efficiency campaign at Gaylord National, our long tradition of corporate and environmental responsibility has driven us both to the inception of the Rooms for Good program, and also to Conservation International as this month?s partner.?

Rooms for Good is a co-operative marketing and fundraising program that features a different charity each month. In addition to raising money for non-profit organizations, Gaylord Hotels raises awareness of the cause through its advertising, public relations and social media platforms.

For more information and to book a Rooms for Good getaway, visit

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