Eco-Investing: SustainableBusiness.Com

The Sustainable Business web site covers news about eco-effective companies. It hosts a large list of the current stock prices of these companies, sorted by industry type (for example “Geothermal” or “Health Care”). The web site also has a “Green Investor” section, and lists the “20 Most Sustainable Stocks of 2004”. The editor, Rona Field, starts with this introduction: Wind …

Book Review: Natural Capitalism

Natural Capitalism is a book which dicusses similar ideas to those we present here at MetaEfficient. Written by Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, the book starts off by explaining the authors’ theory of “natural capitalism”, but then it really picks up and provides a fascinating and well-referenced examination of the vast inefficiences of …

Solar Tubes: Very Efficient Heating

Apricus makes a unique solar hot water heater which is 30-40% more efficient than flat plate solar systems. The secret to the performance is the use of cylindrical evacuated glass tubes to absorb the heat from the sun. Because the tubes are cylindrical, there is always a surface area that is perpendicular to the sun. The tubes also house a …

Slow Sand Filters

Slow sand filters are perhaps the most efficient means of producing clean drinking water. Slow sand filters rely on biological processes for their action rather than physical filtration or disinfection. They require no electricity, no chemicals and no filter changes. How is this possible? The secret is that slow sand filters work through the formation of a gelatinous layer called …

Composting Toilets: Large Scale Systems

Composting toilets can be a practical solution even for large businesses. We recently visited the Philip Merrill Environment Center, which is the headquarters for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It has a Platinum rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. After taking a tour of their offices (about a hundred people work there), …

Micro and Pico Hydropower

If you own property that has access to a stream or river, and want to produce your own electricity, then Hydropower should be your first choice. The cost of equipment is lower, and the kilowatt per dollar return is much better than any other alternative energy source. The most important element to have when producing hydropower is what is called …

Book Review: The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes

Straw bales are a renewable resource, and they are becoming a widely used construction material in some parts of the U.S. Many localities have specific codes for strawbale construction, and some banks are willing to lend on this technique. Bale walls can be erected quickly, even by amatuer builders. This book, The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes, is lavishly illustrated, …

Household Products: Health & Safety Database

What’s under your kitchen sink, in your garage and on the shelves in your laundry room? The National Institutes of Health has a database listing the ingredients of these products, the potential health effects, and safety and handling. Information in the Household Products Database is taken from a variety of publicly available sources, including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) prepared …

Waterproof Digital Camera: OptioWP

Pentax is introducing a compact digital camera, called the OptioWP, that can be used to shoot underwater. The camera won’t be available until March, 2005. The seams in the camera are protected with rubber sealant and an interlocking design to resist dust, pressure and moisture. Inside, an internal 3X optical zoom captures images as close as 0.36 inches without protruding …

Book Review: Earthbag Building

What is Earthbag Building? Well, plainly enough, it’s a method of building using bags filled with earth. This newly released book, Earthbag Building, is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks, and techniques for building with earthbags. Having been introduced to sandbag construction by the renowned Nader Khalili in 1993, the authors developed this “Flexible Form Rammed Earth …