What’s Trending for “Goin’ Green in 2015”?

What’s the best news about Green Trends in 2015?

Nearly every industry seems to be trending toward environmental responsibility, more companies than ever are setting up or adding to their in-house “greenprints” and most consumers are demanding green products and services at home and in their communities.

Here’s the “Top 6″ of what’s most trending for “Goin’ Green” in 2015:

DSC_00351.  Urban farming. In response to the swelling demand for fresh, local food, expect to see integrated gardening projects becoming commonplace. People are beginning to reject the idea that farming is necessarily a rural pursuit. Community gardens are cropping up in the ever-increasing vacant city lots from abandoned home teardowns. Backyard chickens and goats are taking up residence as a result of eased-up city ordinances. Food forests are taking root from increased funding and resources from community foundations and non-profits.

In Akron, look for increased use of vacant lots in Summit Lake, West Hill and North Hill and around the Zoo for accelerated urban farming practices.

ms-julies-kitchen-9109562.  Increased sustainability in dining. The National Restaurant Association has identified sustainability measures as one of 2015’s hottest industry trends. Watch for more sustainable fish and seafood options, more responsibly-raised and free range meat and poultry served and more locally-grown ingredients added to major entrees. More restaurateurs will be partnering with local food advocacy groups to decrease food waste through composting, and conserving energy, water and other resources.

In Akron, look for increase in food waste partnerships between locally-owned restaurants and coffeehouses and composters.  

alpaca sweaters3.  Demand for natural and non-toxic materials. Already trendy, especially when locally- sourced and increasingly health-conscious.  Think zero-VOC paints, low-VOC carpeting and natural fiber insulation. Materials such as limestone, alpaca wool and local pine lumber are increasing in demand. More and more options for sustainably produced, socially responsible clothing and furnishings are all around us. We’ll see green lines from both high-end designers as well as moderate retailers like Target’s Tom’s collection and BeGood.

In Akron, look for alpaca insulation available for home energy retrofits and increased consignment stores identifying natural materials and locally-made  goods in their mix.

filtrexx living wall4.  Living roofs and walls. These “lively” roofs and walls are becoming increasingly popular not only as green home features, but also cropping up as strip mall/commercial office building adornments. Besides conveying energy efficiency benefits and helping regulate surface water runoff, they protect a building’s interior from electromagnetic radiation. Green walls and roofs not only improve aesthetics, but also moderate temperatures around buildings.

In Akron, look for a new terracing systems on hillside community gardens and living walls and green roofs on new and renovated commercial buildings.

passive haus5.  Investment in greener homes. Smaller footprints and greener features ranked at the top of the trends list among NAHB survey respondents with 74 percent saying their next homes are smaller; and 68 percent saying their homes will get greener in 2015—far surpassing the other trends on the survey. According to Green Home Builder magazine, homeowners are ready and willing to live in greener homes even for extra money. Builders are rising to the occasion with more energy-efficient new construction and water-conserving plumbing without premium pricing. Net zero, water smart and passive houses are increasing in demand.  With the increasing affordability of solar power (and even geothermal and wind) for individual consumers, this type of home is likely to explode in popularity over the next year.

In Akron, look for a new Passive House to be built by new home developer and more efforts in solar panel and wind (in the form of windpod) installations.  

Bike blog : cycle freight : Outspoken delivery6.  Cargo and e-bikes. There’s a revolution rolling down our city’s streets, and its symbol is cargo bicycles and e-bicycles (aka electric bicycle using batteries–many solar-powered). E-bikes utilize electric–even solar– batteries to offer a boost when needed for pedaling up hills. These two new-wave bicycle types are the #1 health trend identified for families in ParentMap.  Okay, the cargo bike is slow and heavy, but it transports several bodies on one vehicle and over-sized goods that once was the sole transport option belonging to the automobile. More than any development in the past few decades, these two bicycle transformations fulfill the promise of integrating bicycling into our daily lives.

In Akron, look for bicycle grocery delivery service to be offered by non-traditional grocer and more bicycle commuters mounting e-motors on their rear racks.

Sources:

Recyclebank: The List: Green Trends to Watch For in 2015

ParentMap: #1 health trend for families  

National Association of Homebuilders

Green Homebuilder magazine

National Restaurant Association

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Winter Bicycle Commuting in Akron…No Sweat!

cycling-winter

Actually, the good news is that you do generate a lot of sweat bicycle commuting on hills…and that’s what keeps your body temperature just about right, even in single digit temps!

Now, if it’s Tuesday, it must be bicycle commuting to Tallmadge in snow, sleet, wind, rain and/or hail. The reason you can count on every Tuesday in Akron to be the worst weather day of the week is because it’s my consistent day without a car. I’m in a carshare.

Dress right and smart…and bicycle commuting in winter is a pleasure. Full wool mask under the helmet, fingertip open/close gloves, long underwear, wool socks–you are never cold, just invigorated. Hey, if I can survive bicycle commuting in frigid temps on icy roads and feel great–anyone can!

Here’s my ROI on hoppin’ on the bike 3 days per week instead of getting behind the wheel November- March, auto and bicycle purchase costs not included:

BICYCLE: Down vest, fleece shirt, rainsport coat, Platos Closet, $24; wool face mask,Goodwill, $3; fingertip open/close gloves,Gabriel Bros., $6; Long underwear, Gabriel Bros., $6; wool socks, Gabriel Bros., $5; rubber overalls, Village Outlet, $6; used Nature Conservancy backpack, Goodwill, $4; used bicycle helmet, Salvation Army, $4; Schwinn combination bike lock on sale, Falls Wheel & Wrench, $15; bicycle rack on sale  (to deflect water and hold change of clothes), Century Cycles, $15; TOTAL: $88

CAR: Gas, $1000: oil change, $40; car washes, $120; avg. repairs, $450; license $75, insurance $400, parking fees/tolls, $90. TOTAL: $2175

TOTAL SAVINGS: $2087

FACTS ABOUT BICYCLING AS A COMMUTE OPTION

  • More than half of all American s live less than five miles from where they work according to Bicycling magazine.
  • Only 1.67% of Americans commute by bicycle.
  •  In Japan, 15% commute by bicycle; In China, bicycles outnumber cars 250 to 1.
  •  About 12 bicycles can be parked in the space required for one automobile.
  •  Traffic jams in the 29 major cities cost commuters an estimated $24.3 billion each year.
  •  100 bicycles can be produced for the same energy/resources it takes to build a medium   automobile.
  •  The average cost of a new car in the U.S. is $13,532; average cost of a new bicycle in the U.S. is $385.
  • Commuting by bicycle produces zero pollution a.k.a. no carbon footprint.
  • The majority of U.S. cities have seen a jump in the number of bicycle  commuters–Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis lead–Tulsa, Kansas City, Cleveland are ranked for most improved and having best future.

winter bikeThe City of Akron is making great strides in encouraging bicycle commuting–seeing a lot more designated bike lanes popping up all the time. I am still waiting for bicycle rental kiosks downtown and at the U of Akron, more companies providing bicycle commuting incentives to their employees, more paved shoulders with white lane striping and more bike racks in key locales.

Akron, you’ve got a little more work to do to become a leading community for commuter and recreational bicycling–but you’re getting there.

CHECK OUT AKRON’S BEST EFFORT YET: The Switching Gears website run by AMATS (Akron Metro Area Transportation Study) for a comprehensive look at bicycle planning and promotion for the region–very encouraging.

See what merry old England says about: 5 Reasons to Cycle to Work