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Creative Loafing Overviews Green Cities Florida

Tue, 05/26/2009 – 22:55

Green Cities? Florida hosted in Orlando was last week (May 20th & 21st) at the Orange County Convention Center.?The overall focus of the event?was to bring businesses and municipalities together to achieve green goals to save the planet, increase profits, and to qualify for possible federal funding.?The Green Cities? conference ?demystified ?sustainability? and provided tools, steps and resources from top experts and educators?.

There was a ribbon cutting ceremony and official ?Flipping the Switch? for the new 1 MW Solar Electric System atop the Orange County Convention Center.?This is the largest installation of its kind in the Southeast US, and one of the largest outside of California and the Pacific Northwest. This installation was installed with the help of a $1.8 million grant from the state of Florida, an example of the kind of partnerships that Green Cities? Florida advocates.

The City of Orlando and Orange County teamed up to make Orlando a Solar City. Through this partnership, OUC (Orlando Utilities Commission), the city and county will develop a strategic energy plan with the goal of increasing the use of solar technology and the amount of renewable energy in Central Florida.

[ Read entire article ]

Buckminster Fuller Challenge

Mon, 05/25/2009 – 16:12

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The saying ?Necessity is the mother of invention? has never been more relevant.? The world is facing environmental degradation on one side and economic collapse on the other.? Fortunately, one can counter with the adage of ?crisis is another word for opportunity? still holds true.? The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is an annual contest for harvesting big ideas and strategies that aim to solve a pressing global problem.? These strategies are systematic means of changing the world which take into consideration the complexity of such a large task.? First place winners receive a cash prize of $100,000.00 to support the on-going development and implementation of their winning solution.? The first two contests have shown just how wide the scope of focus has been.

The ?Idea Index? is a catalog of the entries submitted to the contest in its first two years.? Here you can see what issues the contestants thought to be most pressing and how they would solve them.? The 2008 winner, John Todd, focused on restoring the overly strip mined areas of Appalachia in a piece named😕 Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia.??Todd suggested a four stage process that took account of all angles, including land purchasing and funding to create a better design for producing energy (namely replacing coal power with wind power in Appalachia).? This year saw 33 contestants make it to the final round of judging.? The winner was the student team from MIT?s Media Lab with their entry titled😕 Sustainable Personal Mobility and Mobility on Demand Systems.? The winning entry was much more than futuristic cars and transportation systems.? A 2009 juror stated:? ?Sustainable Personal Mobility isn?t just about the design of these lightweight, highly efficient, electric vehicles, it also about inserting that technological innovation into the social and cultural environment and designing an intuitive system within which they function.?? To view a detailed list of entries and submitters, the Buckminster Fuller Challenge website has created the Idea Index.? Here is where one can go to see what problems people see around them and what strategies they would utilize to solve the conflict.

Buckminster Fuller will always be known as one of the greatest visionaries and forward thinking people who have changed the world.? This challenge series will keep his spirit alive as others attempt to tackle the troubles of the world.? We?ll keep you posted with any updates for further Buckminster Fuller Challenges.

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?Visit the official Buckminster Fuller Challenger site:? http://challenge.bfi.org/home

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Podcast: Tom Kimbis Interview

Thu, 05/21/2009 – 21:05

In this interview from May 20th, 2009,? Gillian Coats interviewed Tom Kimbis, Director of the Solar America Cities Program for the DOE. Tom Kimbis explains how the Solar America Cities program is assisting 25 US cities in innovative solar implementation, and he speaks specifically about the solar installation on Orlando?s Orange County Convention Center where the Green Cities Conference is taking place on May 20th and 21st. Subscribe to our podcast and make sure not to miss the rest of the interview series.

Organic Architect Eric Corey Freed Speaks Out About Greener Buildings on Wake Up Daytona

Wed, 05/20/2009 – 19:49

In the run up to this week’s Green Cities Florida Conference in Orlando, Eric Corey Freed, urban sustainability activist and principal of organicARCHITECT, was interviewed on WELE-AM’s Wake Up Daytona.? As a speaker at the conference, Freed will address Re:Vision Dallas and draw from the most advanced research in Green Building to offer up a roadmap of the next 50 years for our buildings.? Here, Freed talks with Doug Kosarek about his work and the significance of greener buildings.

Read Eric Corey Freed’s monthly column.

5 Questions With: Lori Cunniff

Wed, 05/20/2009 – 16:39

Growing Bolder recently interviewed Lori Cunniff, speaker at Green Cities Florida (happening today and tomorrow) and is Manager of the Orange County Environmental Protection Division in Orlando, Florida.

Question 1: Devil’s advocate question — why bother going green? I’m only one person … does it really make a difference whether I recycle my soda cans or bike to work instead of driving?

Of course 1 person can make a difference. Those landfills didn?t fill themselves, they are the accumulation of individuals. So yes, each one of us has a responsibility and can make an impact. Start small, you don?t have to be perfect, but you do need to get involved. Ride your bike, make your next car gas efficient or try an alternative fuel vehicle, try using mass transit such as a bus, install a solar water heater, make your home more energy efficient, change your incandescent bulbs to CFLs, hang your clothes on a clothes line instead of using the dryer, buy local food and goods, give up single use bags and bottled water and try reusable bags and refillable bottles instead, and recycle that soda can! The choices are endless and you just need to start with one.

Let’s look at a simple example, changing an incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent (CFL). This one action can use 75 to 80% less electricity yet emit the same light. The cost of CFLs are now very reasonable, making the switch easy and remember CFLs last 5 to 7 years. EPA states that a CFL will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. Ok, so if each individual, say in 110 million homes in America, replaced one 60 watt bulb, the energy saved could power a city of 1.5 million people or almost all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island! So, a small action by an individual can make a difference because when several individuals do this, the effect is compounded. This one bulb changed, could save enough electricity to close two power plants, or better yet, not build two more. So, now if you have not already made the change to CFLs, go count how many bulbs you could replace in your home and imagine the impact you can have as one person and oh yeah, you?ll save money too.

Each individual taking action is the way we can make a difference.

[ Read entire article ]

Green from the Ground Up

Wed, 05/20/2009 – 14:36

Funds for green initiatives are available nationwide through governmental and independent organizations.? Since fiscal year 1994, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has awarded more than $61 million in grants to assist state counties, municipalities, schools, colleges and universities with their recycling and reduction goals.? GoUpstate.com brings us this repost on how the students and faculty at Woodland Heights Elementary School put their piece of the pie to use:

Don’t throw a piece a paper in the trash can at Woodland Heights! The students here are serious about recycling. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control awarded the school a grant for $1,450 for educating students about environmental issues. A Green Team of students from each class, Kindergarten through fifth grade, is responsible for helping classmates remember to recycle paper, plastic, and aluminum cans. Recycling bins were purchased for every classroom and the students wear their Green Team t-shirts proudly on Fridays. Southern Paper Stock of Spartanburg provided rolling cans and picks up the paper to be recycled.

The Earth Day Celebration was a creative exploration of discovery. Woodland Heights teachers practice actively involving the students in the learning. They sang songs about recycling, painted pictures, made paper mache’ globes, and wrote about “What a Wonderful World” we live in. The fifth graders entertained their parents and the student body with a program that highlighted their recent three day field trip to Barrier Island.

[ Read entire story ]

Ecofactory Becomes Newest Green Cities Florida Media Partner

Mon, 05/18/2009 – 17:39

What do you get when you combine an online environmental news service with a digital community of green thinkers and top it off with shopping section featuring products from the top environmentally conscious producers?? You get the phenomenal website that is www.Ecofactory.com.?? You also happen to get Green Cities Florida?s newest media sponsor.

New to the environmental movement, editor Gabe LeBlanc had the idea behind Ecofactory about two years ago and gives most of the credit to the work of Al Gore and a shift in worldview after becoming a father.?? Ecofactory is the one stop spot for the ?world?s green thinkers? as it not only gives you the latest environmental news from around the nation, but also offers a spot for the audience to respond and contribute content in the form of blogs and even videos.? Fresh off the success of their beta site, Ecofactory has developed a unique platform for those seeking to learn more about the green movement, which is constantly evolving from the ideas of both the original creators and users.

?I really feel that the Ecofactory project has been a liberating experience for me in that it has freed me from any guilt of apathy,? LeBlanc says. ?Plus, I am always learning and working to become more green. The education I receive through my own research and as an editor reading others? works has helped me evolve to think differently about my own habits and about the importance of being involved in the green movement in general.?

The past year brought upon a wave of new environmentally oriented sites.? Ecofactory went with a big idea of combining various services into one interface to make itself stand out.? Between the balanced reporting, an online community with numerous outlets for contribution and the soon to come ?Shop Green? section Gabe LeBlanc has created an online resource that could very well change the way people connect members of a community.

On Twitter?? Of course you are.? You can keep up with the goings on at the Ecofactory by following them at: www.twitter.com/ecofactory

Orlando Weekly Critics Pick Green Cities Florida

Mon, 05/18/2009 – 16:33

Green Cities Florida is one of the most recent Orlando Weekly’s Critic’s Picks.

Critic’s Pick: Not many sustainability conferences begin with a schmooze session fueled by organic juice and smoothies and continue with organic food buffets and fair trade coffee breaks. But organizers of the Green Cities conference in Orlando know their target ? local government entities, business entrepreneurs, students ready to begin careers and students of life ? and they promise programming way beyond a ?preaching to the choir approach.? Doers, not dreamers, lead the seminars and workshops.

[ Read entire article ]

Green Cities Alabama in the Huntsville Times

Sat, 05/16/2009 – 18:52

Gina Hannah of the Huntsville Times recently wrote an article recapping? Green Cities Alabama.

The event, held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, brought together over 100 forward thinking and solution minded architects, government officials, citizens and entrepreneurs.? Discussions ranged from how Huntsville continues increasing energy efficiency and lessening waste, the benefits of greening the business sector and planning for September’s Huntsville’s Green U festival.

To read a digital version of this article visit the Huntsville Times blog by clicking here.

Meet Trish Riley of Go Green Alternatives at GCF

Fri, 05/15/2009 – 13:57

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It may seem as though the green movement has caught lightning in a bottle and exploded onto the mainstream overnight.? However, Trish Riley of GoGreenAlternatives.com, has been connected with nature for quite some time now.? Ms. Riley will be featured during the Open Space Technology session of Green Cities Florida on May 21st.? Founder/CEO of GoGreenGift.com and The author of The Complete Idiot?s Guide? to Green Living, Ms. Riley has also been featured in such publications as:? Hemispheres, Audubon, The Miami Herald, South Florida Business Journal, Natural Health, Natural Home, and E/The Environmental Magazine.

Her new book, ?The Complete Idiot?s Guide to Greening Business? tackles issues businesses may have bringing their companies up-to-date with the sustainability movement.? The work also covers:

????????? Setting practical, achievable goals for the right green initiative

????????? The difference between ?Green? and Sustainability

????????? Streamlining operations

????????? Innovative staffing strategies to save commuting time and office overhead

????????? Cutting fuel and energy costs

????????? Understanding carbon credits and their value

????????? Making your products greener

????????? Green manufacturing, packaging, and shipping initiatives

????????? Paperless marketing programs, precision-targeted to get more from less

When asked why she chose to change her focus from personal living to business Trish replied: ?While it’s essential for individuals to do whatever they can to reduce their environmental footprint and to reduce their exposure to synthetic petrochemicals, the most effective changes to our planet will occur when businesses and government adopt truly sustainable policies and practices. Businesses are motivated by markets, which are dictated by the choices that individuals make. We can vote green with our dollars as well as in elections. That is how we – as individuals – have the power to save our planet. Helping businesses to go green – in response to the demand created by the public – was a logical step toward moving us into a healthier future?.??

Originally from Carmel, Indiana, where she was introduced to the wonders of nature, Trish and her partner James Steele (a veteran of natural growing techniques and web design) run Go Green Alternatives out of Gainesville;? a resource point for all of those wishing to make themselves and their surroundings as environmentally friendly as possible.? Together they are aiming ??to create a community resource to help bring these green-minded individuals, groups and businesses together to help strengthen our green community?.? Gainesville, like many other cities in Florida, is facing a myriad of sustainability issues from improving mass transit and lanes for cyclists, to eliminating pollutants from their water supply.? Her recommendation on how to tackle all these problems fits perfectly with the philosophy of Go Green Alternatives and that is ??with small steps in every direction?.

On May 21 from 1 – 4pm Green Cities? Florida will offer sessions presented by conference participants and organized using Open Space Technology, allowing attendees the opportunity to dive deeper into topics and to get expert advice on specific questions and areas of interest.? Ms. Riley?s experience allows her to speak on numerous issues that attendees may have.? Though she states ?I’d also like to share information about how to help build green communities by helping to raise visibility of environmental issues, businesses, jobs, and the people who are working toward a cleaner future.? ?

2nd Green Cities Florida Tweetup May 14th

Wed, 05/13/2009 – 20:04

Mills 50,?Green Cities Florida?and The?Dandelion Communitea Caf? invite you to join us for a fun evening of networking at the Dandelion Communitea Caf? at in the Thornton Park neighborhood!

If you represent or have been looking to connect with the growing ?green? business and government community in Central Florida, join us for the second Green Cities Tweet-up?on?Thursday May 14 at 6pm at the Dandelion Communitea Caf?.

We are especially thankful for the help of the Mills 50, an organization comprised of business owners, members of community and government officials seeking s?to improve the Mills 50 District of Orlando. ?Come meet them and connect with other sustainably minded professionals and learn more about what is coming to Florida in terms of green economic growth.? You also grab a mighty healthy meal while you are there. ??

Just a few more reasons you should join us on Thursday May 14th for THE progressive networking event of the year!

  • ?Meet and network with ?eco-preneurs?, business leaders and other ?green? professionals from Orlando
  • ?Learn more about Green Cities Florida and?get to know other conference attendees.
  • ?Get a preview of what it will be like to experience the Open Source Technology session at Green Cities Florida via intimate ?one-to-one communication.

And don?t worry; you don?t have to be a Twitter expert to attend. This event is designed to be beneficial to anyone interested in creating professional connections with the ?green? focused businesses and sustainably minded professionals in Central Florida.

Directions to the Dandelion Communitea Caf?:? ?http://dandelioncommunitea.com/drupal/location

?If you are not on Twitter yet,?click?here?to sign up and for the latest buzz be sure to follow us @GreenCitiesNews or @GreenerCity!

?Register today at?www.greencitiesflorida.com

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Dandelion Communitea Cafe. We'll see you on the couch!

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Taylor Huff tells us what to expect at Green Cities Florida

Wed, 05/13/2009 – 13:52

Thanks to our good friends at Ecofactory for putting this together.

Taylor Huff gave us some inside information about the topics covered at Green Cities Florida. Experts in sustainability, land use planning, green building, and clean technology will be on hand to give high-energy presentations, hold round table discussions, and help individual business owners and municipalities find their niche in this growing market.

Green Cities focuses on environmental sustainability, pragmatic training, and insight into environmental business opportunities. Taylor Huff informed us that many speakers have illuminating topics about how to tap into government stimulus money to help fund new green initiatives, and how to increase your company’s profitability.

“A wide array of courses will be there, that can appeal to virtually anyone,” said Huff of the many training tracks available. “Our goal is to power people to be profitable and sustainable.” This event is ideal for companies that are ready to launch on a full scale green initiative, but need to set realistic goals that are geared to increase profitability. Courses on LEED and SMaRT certification will be given, as well as other continued learning opportunities. “This is a great opportunity for people who have been displaced from their jobs or lost a business,” said Huff. Getting aligned with green careers and starting green businesses is a key reason to attend Green Cities Florida.

[ Read entire article ]

Green Cities Florida Tweetsdown to conference

Mon, 05/11/2009 – 14:17

Thanks to Doterati.com & the Orlando Brewing for a successful Tweetup leading up to Green Cities Florida.

On Wednesday night, the toast of the Twitter and Doterati communities came out to tweet about the upcoming Green Cities event. Everyone came out for an excellent selection of organic brews with dynamic names such as: Pompous Ass IPA, Miami Weiss, and Box of Chocolates to just barely scratch the surface! @taralamberson the President of Doterati.com was in attendance with other members like @therootlist, @ecofactory, and @webfugitive. @norm_fl came with @wayneroth who had most of us in stitches that night! There were friends who tagged along who may not be on Twitter and will hopefully join Florida?s growing social networking community. Thanks to the rest that came out: @butterflycomet, @ecohuset, @jefforlchi, @rgeorg, @raediant1, @senrad, @ddwordnerd, @ezrafree, @lovelyrita 904, @gil_lopez, @turnandface, @networkingorlando, @mgrossfl, @blinkrichmedia!

There were raffles for a $25 gift card to Dandelion Communitea Caf? won by Cassandra, @therootlist and a tour and tasting for 10 guests at the @BrewOrlando (Orlando Brewing) taproom valued at $200 that was received by @rgeorg! Beer tokens were given away and some of our tweeters followed @GreenCitiesNews on Thursday for a chance to win 1 of 2 complimentary all-access admission to Green Cities Florida, like @turnandface! We thank the Orlando Brewing Company @BrewOrlando for hosting us and @doterati for partnering with @GreenCitiesNews for this event. It truly marks a community effort to collaborate towards sustainable and progressive change!

The next tweet up will be on May 14th?at the Dandelion Communitea Caf? at 6:00 pm in the Thornton Park neighborhood!

Major thanks to @TuffCreative and @AMSenn for their hard work in coordinating this event!

Yours,

@GreenerCity and @skimtheocean

APA Approves More Green Cities Florida Courses for Credits.

Thu, 05/07/2009 – 20:37

Need more incentive to attend Green Cities Florida? Get a load of this: The American Planning Association has approved 17 of the Green Cities Florida courses for AICP CMs (the Continuing Education designation for Planners) for a total of 20.5 hrs of credits. Here is a list of those courses:

Achieving Climate Neutrality: The LACCD Sustainability Plan
Wednesday, 05/20/09 02:30PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 03:30PM

Alternative Energy Innovations
Thursday, 05/21/09 09:00AM to
Thursday, 05/21/09 11:30AM

Building Florida’s Clean Tech Economy
Wednesday, 05/20/09 02:30PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 03:30PM

Effective Actions and Collaborations for Addressing Climate Change
Wednesday, 05/20/09 04:00PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 05:30PM

Federal to Local: Translating the Stimulus Package for local governments
Wednesday, 05/20/09 01:00PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 02:00PM

Green Roofs, Living Walls, and buildings as Green Space
Thursday, 05/21/09 09:00AM to
Thursday, 05/21/09 10:00AM

Leadership in Florida’s Green Local Governments
Wednesday, 05/20/09 04:00PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 05:30PM

Local Government: Setting a Course of Action
Thursday, 05/21/09 09:00AM to
Thursday, 05/21/09 11:30AM

Preserving Florida’s Water Supply and Quality with LID Practices
Thursday, 05/21/09 09:00AM to
Thursday, 05/21/09 10:00AM

Re:Visioning The American City
Wednesday, 05/20/09 02:30PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 03:30PM

Renewable Energy Policy and Programs Panel
Wednesday, 05/20/09 04:00PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 05:30PM

Self-sufficient Urbanism: Contraction of the American City
Thursday, 05/21/09 10:30AM to
Thursday, 05/21/09 11:30AM

Sustainable Hospitality: In Search of Low Hanging Fruit
Wednesday, 05/20/09 02:30PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 03:30PM

The Bridges: Sustainable Community Design
Wednesday, 05/20/09 01:00PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 02:00PM

Transit Oriented Design and Central Florida’s Sustainable Future
Wednesday, 05/20/09 02:30PM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 03:30PM

Understanding the Dynamics of the Global Carbon-Climate-Human System
Wednesday, 05/20/09 11:00AM to
Wednesday, 05/20/09 12:00PM

Huntsville Mayor Battle to name members of Council on Green Sustainable Industry

Wed, 05/06/2009 – 17:17

Mayor Battle will formally name the thirteen members of his Council for Green Sustainable Industry and announce the first major event of the initiative ? a major conference on green sustainable industry to be held in early May. Biographies of the members and an electronic release will follow the event.

Major event sponsors ? Environmental Systems, Inc. and The Huntsville Committee of 100 ? will also be in attendance.

A Solar Revolution in your Hometown?

Mon, 05/04/2009 – 16:17

This winter, as Congress was scrambling to pass the stimulus package, the bottom fell out of the renewable energy sector — the very industry that lawmakers have held out as our best hope of salvaging the economy. Trade groups like the American Wind Energy Association, which as recently as December was forecasting “another record-shattering year of growth,” began predicting that new installations would plunge by 30 to 50 percent. Solar panel manufacturers that had been blazing a trail of growth announced a wave of layoffs. Some have since cut their workforces in half, as stock prices tumble and plans for new green energy projects stall.

But there is one place where capital is still flowing: Gainesville, Florida. Even as solar panels are stacking up in warehouses around the country, this city of 120,000 is gearing up for a solar power boom, fueled by homegrown businesses and scrappy investors who have descended on the community and are hiring local contractors to install photovoltaic panels on rooftops around town.

One of those investors is Tim Morgan, a tall fifty-something man with slicked-back hair and ostrich-skin boots who owns a chain of electrical contracting companies. His industry has been hit hard by the downturn, but he has a plan to salvage his business, which he explained over a drink at the Ballyhoo Grill, a gritty Gainesville bar with rusty license plates nailed to the wall and Jimmy Buffett blaring on the jukebox. Morgan intends to rent roof space from eighty Gainesville businesses and install twenty-five-kilowatt solar generating systems on each of them, for a total of two megawatts — a project that would nearly double Florida?s solar-generating capacity. He estimates the venture will cost between $16 million and $20 million and bring in $1.4 million a year. Already, he has lined up financing, found local contractors to do the installation, and staked claims to the rooftops of at least fifty businesses. “And we?re just one tiny player,” he told me. “Look around. You can see how fast this thing is going to move.”

[ Read entire article on AlterNet.org ]

Dial ?M? for Mercury: CFL Light Bulbs Not Without Controversy.

Sun, 05/03/2009 – 18:19

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CFL light bulbs are making us more energy efficient, but should we concerned about their mercury content?

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Though praised for their longevity and efficient use of energy, CFL light bulbs are still subject to scrutiny mainly in regards to mercury content.? Mercury, the heavy metal often found in thermometers, numerous electronic devices and oddly enough in some dental fillings, has recently been the subject of debate when discussing the benefits of CFL over incandescent bulbs.? We all can agree that we should be striving to eliminate mercury from all consumer goods, but let?s look at the problem in a relative context.

CFL?s averaged about 4 milligrams of mercury per bulb a year ago.? Over the last year as more research and development has taken place, producers have managed to drop the mercury content of CFLs 20% with some even down to 1.4-2.5 milligrams per bulb.? Add this to the fact that no mercury is released while the CFL is intact and operational and one can see this is a great product still being perfected.?? Currently the U.S. is putting about 104 metric tons of mercury into the environment each year.? Meaning if you took all of the 290 million CFL light bulbs sold in 2007 and banished them immediately to the landfill, they would only increase the net amount of mercury in the environment by 0.13 metric tons (less than 1%).

? The bigger picture is where the energy used to power light bulbs comes from.? The single largest producer of mercury is the coal-fired electrical plants.? These plants generate 13.6 milligrams of mercury when generating the power to activate a normal incandescent bulb compared to the 3.3 milligrams produced to power a CFL bulb.? I?ll never be mistaken for a mathematician, but I understand that is a drop in the total amount of mercury put into the atmosphere.? Focus should be placed on more efficient and less toxic energy production.? Curbing and eventually eliminating the use of coal for energy should be the larger target, not the lesser side-effects of CFL bulbs.? Yes, CFLs contain mercury, but they are also saving on overall energy use while constantly decreasing their toxicity.? The technology isn?t perfect, but it is an improvement on the old model.? Mercury usage should be declined and CFLs are actually helping.? They reduce more mercury than they use and create light more efficiently and last longer than normal incandescent bulbs.?

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It Is Time For A Tweetup

Wed, 04/29/2009 – 23:16

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Doterati.com,?Green Cities Florida?and The?Orlando Brewing Company?invite you to join us for a fun evening of networking at the Orlando Brewing Company, Florida?s only fully certified Organic Brewery. ?

If you represent or have been looking to connect with the growing ?green? business and government community in Central Florida, join us for the first Green Cities Tweet-up on Wednesday May 6 at 7pm at the Orlando Brewing Company.

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Connect with other sustainably minded professionals and learn more about what is coming to Florida in terms of green economic growth.?

?Just a few more reasons you should join us on Wednesday May 6 for THE progressive networking event of the year!

  • Great door prizes including one-day passes to the Green Cities Florida Conference
  • Enjoy award winning certified organic beers & wine?right from the source.
  • Meet and network with ?eco-preneurs?, business leaders and other ?green? professionals from Orlando
  • Green Cities Twitter team will be on hand to help de-mystify the world of Twitter and help you connect with the people, businesses and communities you have been wanting to meet.
  • Learn more about Green Cities Florida and get to know other conference attendees.

And don?t worry, you don?t have to be a Twitter expert to attend. This event is designed to be beneficial to anyone interested in creating professional connections with the ?green? focused businesses and sustainably minded professionals in Central Florida.

Directions to the Orlando Brewing Company: http://www.orlandobrewing.com/Directions.php

?If you are not on Twitter yet, click here to sign up and for the latest buzz be sure to follow us @GreenCitiesNews or @GreenerCity!

Early Bird Registration for Green Cities Florida ends May 11 – Registered today at www.greencitiesflorida.com

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*FYI: ?Orlando Brewing has Wi Fi, so feel free to bring your laptop and tweet till your heart’s content*

Florida Sustainability Survey Results

Tue, 04/28/2009 – 21:16

Over the span of two weeks, Green Cities Florida identified and contacted 100 cities in Central Florida to find out what sustainability initiatives they have on their radar and what topics they would like to learn about at the conference. Nearly 40 cities responded to our call, sharing their programs which cover everything from renewable energies and water conservation to community education and green work force development.
Florida is taking its place as one of the nation?s leaders in sustainability, looking ahead to create a better future for Florida citizens, children, communities, business and government.
Here are our top 10 picks for cities leading the sustainability movement in Florida, along with examples of transformations currently underway.

  • Orlando ? http://www.cityoforlando.net/elected/greenworks/index.htm
    Through grant money provided by the Department of Energy, Orange County is currently installing a 1 megawatt (MG) solar array atop the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, making it the largest solar?array of its kind?in the Southeast.? In addition the City of Orlando has established, Green Works Business, an educational program designed to provide the Orlando business community with comprehensive best practices for sustainability in business.
  • Deland – http://www.beacononlinenews.com
    The City of Deland has systematically changed its water program to encourage conservation by adopting a tier structured rate program and rebates for customers who switch to energy star appliances.
  • Jacksonville ? http://www.coj.net
    Jacksonville has Florida?s 2nd largest community owned utility, JEA,? which generates green energy by burning methane gas from one of the city?s sewage treatment plants and from several local landfills, capturing the energy that would be lost if they merely burned off the gas.
  • South Daytona ? http://www.southdaytona.org/egov/docs/1238690842802.htm
    The City of South Daytona has issued a Green Mission Statement, which proclaims the policy of the City of South Daytona to finance, plan, design, construct, manage, and maintain its facilities and buildings to be sustainable.? It is the City?s intent that all buildings constructed meet criteria standards of USGBC, LEED, Florida Green Building Coalition Green Building certification, or any comparable performance criterion.
  • Fort Myers ? http://www.cityftmyers.com
    Fort Myers encourages strict green practices in all city departments including Parks and Recreation and has a close relationship with the University of Florida extension services which helps educate city staff on energy saving techniques, water conservation and air quality.
  • Gainesville ? http://www.cityofgainesville.org
    The City of Gainesville has implemented a four day work week for all city employees, closing down all city offices one work day per week which reduces utility use and creates pollution reduction resulting in big dollar savings for the city.
  • Pinellas Park ? http://www.pinellas-park.com
    Pinellas Park enforces landscaping codes which ?green? the city, encouraging use of native drought resistant plants, reclaimed water usage and shading of parking lots. In addition, they city has purchased hybrid vehicles for use by city workers in select departments.
  • Clearwater – http://www.clearwater-fl.com/green
    The City of Clearwater has started monitoring and tracking energy use within government buildings. After current usage rates are determined, the city will develop a plan to reduce energy use. The same methodology will be followed for solid waste, recycling, and water use.
  • Tallahassee ? http://www.talgov.com
    Tallahassee?s city bus service, StarMetro has park and ride routes called 80X routes. These routes service the community?s highly populated suburbs, offering free Wi-Fi and over 88 i-stops which are stand-alone solar powered bus shelters, providing increased safety for evening riders while utilizing renewable energies for power.
  • Venice ?? http://www.venicegov.com
    The City of Venice recently began green planning efforts by adopting the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.? Additionally, funding has been secured for formal application towards Florida Green Building Coalition?s (FGBC) Local Government Green Standards through the Planning Department, and certification by both the City Engineer and Building Official through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Thanks to the cities that participated in the Green Cities Florida Survey, we pinpointed the following top priorities that Florida leaders would like addressed at the conference.

  • Alternative water supplies and water conservation as a whole
  • How emerging technologies will be used in conservation efforts
  • How to market sustainability to the public
  • Green house gas reduction strategies
  • How the American Recovery and Investment Act will affect job growth and retention
  • How to apply for funding to assist with the implementation of sustainable initiatives
  • Implementing renewable energies in new building technologies
  • LEED certification requirements
  • Cost benefit of implementing green practices
  • How municipalities can influence policy makers to allocate funds to help achieve greening goals
  • How other cities handle their recycling programs in the current economic climate
  • How to get the community involved in greening projects and save money doing it
  • Alternatives to landfills
  • Alternative energy sources

You can learn more about these various topics and many more by registering for Green Cities Florida today.

On May 20th at 9am at the Orange County Convention Center, history will be made; join Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty and Senator Lee Constantine as they ?flip the switch? on the largest PV system of its kind in Southeastern United States. The one-megawatt rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system sits atop the Orange County Convention Center and will be turned on for the first time at the opening ceremony for Green Cities Florida.

Click here to see the press release – http://greencitiesmedia.com/2009/03/orange-county-convention-center-launches-solar-project/

To get more information about Green Cities Florida please visit www.greencitiesflorida.com

Download this press release as a .doc

Green Cities Florida/Orlando Brewing Company Tweetaway

Sun, 04/26/2009 – 20:01

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?UPDATE: We will be hosting a GreenTweetup on May 6th at 7 PM! Mark your calendars and watch our tweets for updates. In the mean time, be sure to follow @GreenCitiesNews, on Twitter, Thursday at 1:00 pm for our next tweetaway. We will have 2 1-day passes (you choose the day) and this prize package from the Orlando Brewing Company?

??????????? -A private tour for 10 of the Orlando Brewing Company

??????????? -Certificate of Participation

??????????? -1 flight of 4 samples per person

??????????? -Valued at $200

Orlando Brewing is Florida?s only certified organic brewery. What does it mean to be organic? It means that ingredients used in crafting our ales are grown without insecticides, bioengineering, or irradiation. Our Blonde Ale has been officially certified Organic by the USDA. Our beers are the only ones declared ?Fresh From Florida? by the State?s Department of Agriculture. You can taste the difference.

They brew in accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516. This means they use only natural, organic ingredients and never any cheap fillers or adjuncts. The beer is fresh and never pasteurized.

Come visit us! We are located near Downtown Orlando at 1301 Atlanta Avenue (adjacent to the Orlando Amtrak Station).

For more information, visit www.orlandobrewing.com

Want to meet some of the folks headed to Green Cities Florida while enjoying some of the finest organic beer ever made? ?Yes…yes you do. ?Make sure you attend the Green Cities News Tweetup at Orlando Brewing Company May 6th at 7pm.