clear the air

Home Loans With An Eco Rebate
February 28, 2008, 8:20 am
Filed under: Australia's Challenge, Eco-Friendly Tips, Facts | Tags: , ,
A full choice of lenders and rates, plus a rebate to purchase eco-friendly products.

Add Carbon Offset To Your Grocery List

A Norway shopping mall is offering customers carbon offsets for purchase on its shelves. John Acher from Reuters reports that the Stroemmen Storsenter shopping centre outside Oslo began selling the certificates on Saturday, at 165 Norwegian crowns (US$30.58) per tonne for shoppers to pick up with their weekly groceries.In one weekend, more than 300 Carbon Emissions Reductions (CERs) had been sold, and store managers were considering stocking up with more.

The store, partnering with CO2focus (a carbon management firm in Norway, is hoping to make sustainability more accessible to its consumers and is not receiving any return from the sales. “Many people want to buy reductions, but until we started this in the shopping mall, they haven’t known where to get them, but now they are available to everybody,” said Ole Herredsvela, the shopping centre’s technical manager.

Read more from Reuters.

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Australia’s Eco-Property Guide

The trend for people to consider selling up their higher priced city home, being mortgage free and heading to a coastal retreat for a more relaxed and family oriented life has been reported often in TV shows and print stories. Of course most of us still need to make a living so this requires either means having an easily transferable set of skills or making changes to way income is earned by running a small business or changing your profession.

Making the move to rural or regional areas of Australia is far less common despite the fact that Australia is known as the wide brown land and farming and the outback iconic. Returning to or considering country life is definitely the poor relation these days and it will be interesting to see what it may take to change this trend.

There are though some fabulous opportunities for families or business partners to consider not only moving to rural parts of Australia but taking up a new way of life. One example would be to join the organic industry by buying an already establishing citrus farm and business. All the hard work is now done with of course some potential to be realised if you wanted to grow the business further. Added benefit is that the current owners providing training and support. On the other end of the scale are properties such as in Tasmania which are more hobby farms where the activity on the farm at least pays its way and contributes food to the family and can blend with some off-farm activity to combine a wonderful way of family life.

Check out the Eco-Property Guide

“Visualising” Energy Use In Your Home

Household energy monitors have been around for some time. A few new entries into the space, however, add a splash of colour and style to make understanding energy consumption more intuitive.

Wattson, first of all, is a sleek, aesthetically pleasing device that shows homeowners through both numbers and colours how much energy they are using in their home. Consumers begin by attaching to their electricity meter or fuse box a transmitter device, which can measure both single and 3-phase systems. That, in turn, beams information directly to the freestanding wattson device elsewhere in the house, where it instantly displays current usage.

Wattson’s LED display can represent energy use in euros, dollars, yen or pounds, while its pulsing, coloured light also reflects the amount of electricity being used, ranging from cool blue for small amounts to red for high energy consumption. The wireless wattson display is portable, and when appliances are switched on or off, it indicates how much energy they use.

Homeowners can store up to 4 weeks of energy-use history on the device and download it for analysis on software that comes included; a forthcoming community feature will let wattson owners compare their usage. Wattson was listed in Stuff Magazine’s “Cool List” of the top 10 gadgets of 2007. It is priced at GBP 149.50 from UK-based DIY KYOTO.

The Home Joule, meanwhile, resembles a nightlight and plugs into any outlet in a home. The device displays not just energy usage, broadcast wirelessly by the consumer’s energy meter, but also the real-time cost of energy, which comes wirelessly from the energy company. The colour of light emitted by the device represents the costs of the moment, with yellow and red light indicating expensive energy costs, while green means energy is cheaper. The idea is that consumers can then modify their consumption accordingly, switching off discretionary appliances at peak times of the day. The Home Joule is from Ambient Devices and is currently available only to customers of Consumer Powerline’s demand-response program.

Finally, though not truly an energy monitor, we can’t resist mentioning Ambient‘s beautiful Energy Orb, which also emits different colours of light to represent pricing information. This time, however, the device emitting the light is an egg-shaped orb that plugs into an outlet. The Energy Orb has been adopted by Pacific Gas & Electric and other US energy companies, and is priced at USD 149.99.

With energy prices heading nowhere but up, so, too, will demand for devices like these. One to get in on early, especially outside the US!


Battery-Powered Trucks

In London, Electruc distributes the French-built Mega Multitruck, which is designed for inner-city use. With speeds up to 30mph and a range of up to 60 miles, the Mega Multitruck can handle payloads from 300kg to 530kg, depending on body type.

The Mega Multitruck charges from a standard 13amp (3 pin) socket, and five body types are available, including modifications for espresso carts or mobile fruit stalls. As with electric cars, the Mega trucks are exempt from congestion charges and road tax, and they are eligible for free parking in many London boroughs. Pricing starts at GBP 45 per week, based on a 60-month contract; average yearly running costs are just GBP 215, or between 2p and 3p per mile, Electruc says.

On the other side of the Atlantic, California-based ZAP (which stands for Zero Air Pollution) sells a range of electric vehicles, including both cars and trucks. The company’s 3-wheel Xebra Electric Truck, for example, offers speeds up to 40mph and a range of 25 miles per charge. Both flatbed and dump-truck styles are available, as are left- and right-hand steering. The suggested retail price is USD 12,500, and operating costs are between 1 and 3 cents per mile. This fall, Zap will also begin selling the Zap Truck XL, a 4-wheel vehicle with a payload of 770 lbs, maximum speed of 25mph and a range of 30 miles. Estimated MSRP is USD 18,500, and operating costs are about 3 cents per mile.

With their financial and environmental advantages, demand for vehicles like these will only increase. Transportation entrepreneurs: time to make “emission-free” your mantra!


“Give a Toss” to our Throw Away Culture
February 7, 2008, 8:06 am
Filed under: Australia's Challenge, Eco-Friendly Tips


Scoodi is a new and exciting Australian based initiative that gives you a free and easy way to get rid of your unwanted things and find items you need. It’s a great website that promotes sustainable living through reuse, recycling and reduction of landfill.

Scoodi’s functional and easy to use design makes it simple for every one to use, leaving no excuse for anyone to take that step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. We all want to make a contribution to our community and reduce our impact on the environment.

Scoodi has been created just for this reason.Scoodi is simple, fast and convenient. Posting your items on the site, with a full description and as many photos as you need, takes less than 5 minutes and best of all – it’s FREE.

Finding stuff is just as easy. You’re not bound to any one location, so you can search for a bike for your niece within 5km from her address or a cordless drill within walking distance of your home!Our innovative ‘act-local’ technology is about promoting sustainability through local action and community building,’ says Richard HobsonYou never know what you might find. So why not give it a go.Visit and start hunting today!

Simon Turner

Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa Wins World Travel Award

eco-lodge.jpgA boutique eco-lodge situated amongst the dense tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland was announced as the World’s Leading Eco-Lodge in the World Green Category at the 14th World Travel Awards (WTA).

The WTA is a well established and recognised travel award – ‘the Oscars’ of the industry if you will. The Daintree Eco Lodge competed in the first ever “World Green” category alongside resorts and hotels from all across the world, including Egypt and Peru. The Daintree Eco Lodge was the only Australian nominee to take home a prize.

“Eco-friendly practices are really paving the way of the future and for a green category to be finally introduced this year, I think that it goes to show that the discerning and experiential traveller is really looking for an intelligent luxury,” says Eco Lodge co-founder Cathy Maloney.

Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa

Simon Turner


dsc_0796-1.jpg HAUL started as Urban Boomerang in Tasmania in 1998 by Scott Kilmartin who, when moving to Melbourne in 2000 changed the companie’s branding to haul in 2003.


haul is an indie streetwear brand that designs using ‘green materials’ building a range of recycled accessories from used vinyl advertising billboards, rubber truck inner tubes & number plates.

rack.jpg  All products are Australian made and are certified “Good Environmental Choice” by the Australian Environmental Labelling Association.


haul products are stocked domestically in streetwear boutiques, motorcycle & design stores and independent Apple centers:  World domination planned for late 2008 (AUD$ permitting!)

Taking ‘used’, making ‘unique’, no two products are EVER the same.

Top 10 Green Ideas For The Year

bin.jpgMarquette Turner are bringing to you the best new business ideas of 2007, featuring our personal favourites. This isn’t a trip down memory lane—all of these smart concepts will continue to provide entrepreneurs with plenty of opportunities in 2008. Next up, green-green-green: eco & sustainability.

  1. Wind power, still made here: Windunie (Dutch for wind union) is a collective of 230 wind turbine owners, most of whom are farmers who operate turbines as an extra source of income. All sell the energy they produce directly to consumers. Windunie’s customers can pick a specific farm they want to buy electricity from. More »
  2. Eco-friendly pack and move solution: Moving supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap and other packaging materials remain piled up in landfills long after people have settled into their new abodes. EarthFriendlyMoving has set out to change that by offering eco-friendly moving supplies available at consumer-friendly prices. EarthFriendlyMoving’s RecoPack—short for Recycled Ecological Packing Solution—containers are … More »
  3. Biodegradable milk jugs: Designed and manufactured in Britain, Greenbottle is a biodegradable milk bottle that uses a smart two-part system to aid recycling. The bottles are composed of a cardboard outer manufactured from pulped, recycled cardboard, which is lined with an inner sleeve of biodegradable plastic made from corn starch. The plastic … More »
  4. Incentive-based recycling: Going green has gotten a lot more enticing to consumers in communities served by Philadelphia-based RecycleBank. Households can earn RecycleBank Dollars, redeemable for discount coupons at select retailers, just for putting their recyclables out to be collected. But the incentives don’t stop there. It’s also great promotion and community … More »
  5. Product life story labels: Product life story labels — Dole Organic lets consumers “travel to the origin of each organic product”. By typing in a fruit sticker’s three-digit Farm Code on Dole Organic’s website, customers can find the story behind their banana. Each farm’s section on the website includes background info, shows photos of the crops and workers … More »
  6. Eco assessment for homes & businesses: Sydney-based Todae offers businesses practical advice for cutting down energy and water usage and reducing their environmental impact. For AUD 399, a Todae consultant will come to an office or store and check everything from recycling to heating and cooling systems. The business is then provided with a detailed … More »
  7. Full-service home composting: A new start-up in Bangalore, India, hopes to arm consumers with products and services to empower them toward a simple solution for reducing landfill waste: composting. The Daily Dump offers an array of decorative composting containers that can be used in the home to manage organic household waste and … More »
  8. Water ‘skin’ reduces waste: Pitched as a water skin, a new bottle created by French packaging manufacturer Sidel provides a lighter alternative to traditional PET bottles. A regular plastic half-litre water bottle weighs 13 – 16 grams. Sidel’s NoBottle weighs just 9.9 grams. According to Sidel, “Water is the largest beverage market by … More »
  9. Solar-powered trash masher: The BigBelly is a solar-powered waste container that aims to eliminate those all-too-familiar overflowing trash cans, keeping public spaces cleaner and greener. The flagship product of US-based Seahorse Power Company, BigBelly units compact trash on the spot, optimizing refuse capacity — a BigBelly holds up to five times as … More »
  10. Eco starter kits: Most of us realize there are changes we should make in our lives to become more environmentally friendly, but overcoming inertia and actually doing it can be another matter. Now a few different companies offer starter kits to help make those changes happen.

Simon Turner

Your Green Grass Could Save The World

Grass WITH new research showing that the world’s forests are absorbing less man-made carbon dioxide each year, two Australian scientists said some plants could store CO2 for thousands of years.

Grasses such as wheat and sorghum can store large amounts of carbon in microscopic balls of silica, called phytoliths, that form around a plant’s cells as they draw the mineral from the soil, a report in the latest issue of New Scientist says.

When a plant dies, the phytoliths, or plantstones, enter the soil and lock in the carbon for potentially thousands of years, said the Southern Cross University agricultural scientists Leigh Sullivan and Jeff Parr. The next step would be to see if plants that best store carbon in plantstones have higher or lower crop yields and quality.

Strains could be bred to better produce plantstones and farmers could potentially claim carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol, the report said.

The forestry industry is already heavily involved in carbon storage but storing carbon in plantstones could become more widespread because farmers could also still earn income by selling the crops for food, the report said. 

Simon Turner


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