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The Boston Globe Magazine, October 10, 2010

Here to help

Teaching, tinkering, and other opportunities for eco-friendly volunteering.

The mission of the World Computer Exchange ( is to "keep computers that still have life in them out of landfills and give them a new life in developing countries," says Timothy Anderson, who founded the Hull-based nonprofit in 1999.  [Read more]

(Globe illustration / Ben Kirchner)
The Boston Globe, April 27, 2010

Pellets over petroleum

GREENFIELD -- For someone who traffics in petroleum, Timothy Van Epps is doing everything he can to put his company out of that business.

Van Epps is president of Sandri Cos., an 80-year-old fuel oil company that is on a multimillion-dollar mission to convert heating customers to a common and cheap renewable resource: wood pellets. [Read more]
Skip Dunnell at Sandri Cos. with a wood pellet heating system, which the Greenfield firm offers as a cheap renewable alternative to oil. (Matthew Cavanaugh for The Boston Globe)

The Boston Globe, April 11, 2010

It may not be easy, but being 'green' sells

Before he listed an Andover home last fall, broker Leland DiMeco of Boston Green Realty recommended the homeowner improve the energy efficiency of the vintage 1922 Colonial. An energy audit revealed air leaks, which were subsequently sealed with foam insulation for short money. [Read more]
The cost of installing solar panels may be difficult to recoup, but they're attractive to buyers.
The Boston Globe Magazine, March 21, 2010

The case for mandatory composting

Living in the country, I have the luxury of a backyard compost pile. Right now it's overflowing with acrid slop, but eventually it will yield dark, rich soil nutrients for the garden. If my potato peels, leftover rice, and parsley stems had been buried in a landfill, deprived of sun or air, those same scraps would have given rise to methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. [Read more]
It works in San Francisco. And it could work in Boston.

The Boston Globe Magazine, December 9, 2009

Changes that pay

Households use about a fifth of the total energy consumed in the United States each year and generate 21 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions, according to the US Department of Energy. With growing concerns about climate change, government subsidies for renovating existing homes to a higher standard are rolling out as never before. Whether homeowners are looking at extra insulation, new heating equipment, or even solar panels, it's easier -- and more economical -- than ever to lower monthly utility bills by a third or more. Here's how to get started. [Read more]
Take advantage of rebates and free audits to make your home eco-friendly and cut utility bills. (Illustration by Katy Lemay), November 2007

Green Your Home

Small ways to be kind to the planet and yourself

Isn't it ironic: Natural materials - clay, earth, rock - used for generations before the plastics revolution of the last century are now making a comeback as "green.'' Lucky for us they are, as I found out when I decided to redo my home in an eco-friendly fashion. Improving your living space and going green at the same time can be as easy as painting a room with nontoxic clay paint or upgrading with any number of natural and recycled materials now available. The feel-good factor is unmatched and you won't (necessarily) break the bank. [Read more]

Northwest Explorer, 2004

Biodiesel station coming to Oracle

ORACLE - The Internet buzz went something like this: The fast-food giant McDonald's had a plan to set up recycling stations at each of its restaurants to convert used cooking grease into biodiesel, a nontoxic, biodegradable and renewable fuel.

"It turned out to be an April Fool's joke," said Megan Hartman. "But maybe that day will come."

The 29-year-old Maine native is so convinced of the environmental benefits of biodiesel, she plans to open a tank site in tiny Oracle to offer the fuel as a clean burning replacement for sooty, smelly petrodiesel. [Read more]
Northwest Explorer, 2004

The Pump is On: Biodiesel offers clean alternative to diesel fuel

ORACLE - Recycled fryer grease as clean burning fuel isn't exactly a household notion, but if Megan Hartman has anything to say about it, it's only a matter of time.

The 30-year-old Maine native opened her first bright blue fuel station Aug. 10 in this mountain town near Tucson, where she hopes to provide a green alternative to smelly, black-soot belching diesel cars and trucks.

"It's not the solution to the world's problems, but it's a simple decision that makes a difference - to get out from under the thumb of big petroleum and all the negative impacts it has on our society," she said. "And it's something you can do right now." [Read more]

Boston Globe Magazine, October 23, 2011

Don't throw it away

Options abound for donating or reselling home materials - everything from your old kitchen cabinets to wood flooring and vintage radiators - and for buying used goods cheaply, too.

OF THE 105 MILLION tons of construction and demolition debris generated in this country in 2010, only 28 percent was recycled, according to the Waste Business Journal. A kitchen and bath remodel alone can produce a ton and a half of waste. Yet renovating doesn't have to mean sending all your old treasures to the trash.  [Read more]
Harry and Jeanine James own New England Demolition and Salvage in New Bedford; their inventory includes items both decorative and practical, from radiators and shutters to 6,000 doors.  (Photograph by Webb Chappell)
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