All posts from Paul Smith

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How to Both Save Energy and Sleep Easy

Evening Breeze sustainable bedIt’s summer in the Northern hemisphere, and for many, that means going on holiday to warm, tropical locales. And using air conditioning. Lots of it. In fact, in some tropical places, nearly 80% of energy use in a hotel room is for air conditioning. 1200 to 2000 watts on average.

Evening Breeze is an interesting solution: It’s a canopy bed that has adjustments for both temperature and humidity, and delivers it quietly, overhead, using only 400 watts. As it’s focused just on the place where coolness is desired, there’s no need to try and cool the whole room. Simple, brilliant. The resulting energy savings can mean 4MWh, $1000 and 2.5 tons of CO2 reduction annually.

June 25th

One Great Way to Support Green Startups: Think Inside the Box

Here’s an idea that comes from outside the green business world, but has much to offer us and I think should be repeated all over.

In London, KiosKiosk is a simple, powerful, powerfully fun idea: Create an attractive temporary space for upcoming (but ready to sell) businesses to be at, in a high traffic area. At no cost.

Backed by the London Sustainable Development Commission, businesses just need to submit a brief form describing what they’d like to use the kiosk for, when, and why they are a good idea for the KiosKiosk and vice versa.

While the KiosKiosk is focused on creative/design/arts/music businesses, such an idea could, and should be replicated for green startups, many of which, like any small company, may not have the funds or credit history to get a full fledged, full time space

June 19th

Zipcar + iPhone = Smart Integration of Two Tools for One Big Result

Unless you’ve been laid up in bed all this week, you’ve heard that Apple is releasing a new iPhone 3G-S with an amazing array of features But one you may not have heard of is a brilliant bridging between the iPhone and Zipcar.

These two are as they say peas in a pod, technology enhanced life(style) enhancements, for a demographic that I imagine likes that they get to both have what they want, when they want it, and do good by the planet at the same time.

June 11th

In Search of Sustainable Community: It's Within Reach

You hear so much about people striving to live a greener, more sustainable life. You may at times wonder, who else is doing it, and is all that happy talk translating into real world results?

Three friends decided to find out. As they put it,

Mandy, Ryan and Brady are ‘bikepacking’ 12,000 miles to the East Coast and back to California, using solar-powered electronics and leg-powered bicycles. The result is a feature-length documentary film that will present a realistic experience of seeking out and living in sustainable community.

May 21st

Green Marketing Firm Curb Prove not all Advertising is Garbage. Sometimes it’s Snow.

Some people feel that advertising is garbage. London based Curb advertises with garbage. And sea water. And snow.

Calling themselves “The Natural Media Company,” Curb create advertising based on natural elements, the most recent being for the London Aquarium utilizing “sea tagging,” which is using sea water and a stencil to create temporary ads on the sidewalk. Sea water evaporates more slowly then water, but being a completely natural substance, no permit is needed to do it.

Another water based innovation is what they call H2Show, where a waterfall is somehow able to be manipulated to display words, logos, and images, and even accept text messages to display different words.

Crop carving, once the province of aliens and pranksters, is now being put to use in a smart way, as in their Shredded Wheat logo carved out of, yes, a wheat field.

In the clearest example of green marketing I’ve heard of,

April 23rd

A New, Open Source Model of Car Design Emerges

As the auto industry as we know it continues to crumble, a new model is emerging out of the Netherlands, known currently as c,mm,n. Open source design has proven itself successful in a number of arenas from software to restaurants. But a car? Yes, one where the design will be made available to the public, with the provision that their design be likewise made open to the public to do their own revisions and modifications on it.

April 16th

Recycled Paper is a Good Start, But This is Even Better

These days it seems everybody has some sort of recycled/eco friendly paper offering. So what’s the big deal about a Swedish offering making it’s US debut on Earth Day this year?

White Lines factory reuses their carbon emissions in a closed loop, making for zero CO2 emissions, for one. Then they offset what they can’t reuse (transportation, etc) via planting trees in Africa, as coordinated by environmental consultancy U&W (interestingly pronounced “You & We” in Swedish) The wood used for the paper comes from locally sourced, sustainably managed forests, and woodchip waste from sawmills. And every package tells you the precise carbon footprint, the materials traced back to the source.

And then it gets interesting.

April 2nd

Ecostore Shows How to Effectively Cut Through The Green Static with Social Media

So often these days you hear about green and greening cleaning products. But beyond the trendiness and this vague notion of it being “better for the planet,” most of the time people don’t know how that’s so and why it matters.

The founders of Ecostore, a New Zealand based company, now with an American division based in Michigan, saw quite directly why using the usual cleaning products has an impact: They lived on a eco village where each of them was responsible for dealing with their waste water. When it didn’t just go down the pipe, out of sight, out of mind, but they directly saw the effect it was having on their pristine waterways, the need was apparent and the incentive there to do something about it.

Greater visibility of the impact of your choices is something I think many more people should experience. People generally aren’t purposely irresponsible in their choices, they just don’t know any better because of “invisible” impacts.

March 26th

Traveling Down a Different Route: Exquisite Safaris Philanthropic Travel

In our highly connected world, travel can happen from any number of means, catering to just about any human desire out there. So why should you bother with Exquisite Safaris Philanthropic Travel? For many reasons, the top of which being that when you travel with them, $250 goes directly to organizations and communities where you visited. No opaque claims of a percentage of proceeds or other such vagueness. You get emailed a copy of the Wells Fargo bank transfer, showing exactly who it went to.

Not something your run of the mill backpacker “eco adventure” travel agency would do. But then, Exquisite Safaris Philanthropic Travel’s main focus as a business is to raise funds for high impact non profits around the world, through the vehicle of memorable, powerful travel experiences, spending substantial time with local people in the regions you visit. Real, meaningful interactions, rather then pre packaged tourist shows. And at the same time you get a superbly accommodated trip.

March 19th

How to be a Truly Sustainable Business

In these turbulent economic times, there’s two major approaches that can happen: tighten everything down and hope you survive, or create new opportunities, within your business or in a whole new one.

For those that choose the second option, there are several interesting paths to follow, and many places to find ideas to inspire which one you choose. Springwise is my favorite, with thousands of trend spotters around the world, writing brief, engaging pieces on companies expanding what’s possible. For quick scanning, they’re categorized by type, as in Eco & Sustainability, Style & Design, Non-profit & Social Cause, and Life Hacks.

This piece on Scout Books, sustainably made custom designed journals created for what Springwise calls “minipreneurs” is one example. Though this article was focused on how Pinball Publishing enables ecologically minded artists and innovative swag seekers to create high quality journals to their specifications in a relatively small run, suitable for selling on Etsy stores and the like, it was when I looked further at Pinball itself that I saw a dynamic business model well suited for these times.

March 12th

Possibly the Easiest Way to Open Your Own Green Store

So you have an interest in sustainability, particularly when it comes to your home environment. You know enough that your friends seem to flock to you for advice. They say, “You should open your own store!” You think hmm, they might be on to something. But you’ve never opened up a store, and it’s a tough economy these days for doing so.

g Green Design Center may be just the ticket.

March 5th