Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spotlight: Greentown Labs

At last week's Sustainability UnConference, hosted by EcoMotion, we heard from Emily Reichert, the executive director of Greentown Labs. Based in Somerville, Greentown Labs is an incubator for green businesses that also provides prototyping space. Lab space can be difficult to find in cities, even in Boston where there are scientists and creators everywhere. Greentown Labs provides meets this essential need for the next generation of sustainability businesses. The idea, which started with just four companies, is now host to over 40! We love that Greentown Labs truly embraces and encourages the entrepreneurial spirit of the Boston area.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

5 Easy Green Lifestyle Tips for Spring

Image courtesy of Lets Go Ride A Bike

1. Forget driving, taking cabs, or even taking the T - bikes rule this time of year, and for good reason, they are a low carbon, quick way to get around the city.

2. No heat or air conditioning. Open up those windows and breath the fresh spring air!

3. Unplug your workout. Now that the weather is nice, there is no need to go to the gym and use energy-intensive machines. Instead, try jogging outside or taking a class.

4. In season, local foods. Strawberry season is right around the corner, so look for locally grown options. 

5. Air dry your laundry. This is one of the best ways to reduce energy use and save money. Plus, you'll be surprised how fast your clothing dries on a sunny day. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Green Events for April 28 - May 4

image courtesy of Explore, Dream, Discover



  • Make a vegetarian meal with your family or housemates! 

  • Catch up on the latest environmental news by listening to Living on Earth online!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Today is Fashion Revolution Day

Turn your clothes #insideout today and tweet / instagram it as part of the first annual Fashion Revolution Day. Today marks the one year anniversary since the tragic garment factory collapse in Bangladesh. For people around the world, this was an eye-opening moment. Our clothes are often made by unethical and unsustainable means, but as consumers, we have the power to change that. Be part of the movement today!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spotlight: Sustainable Endowments Institute

This week's Green Business Spotlight was inspired by last night's Sustainability UnConference, hosted by EcoMotion. One of the evening's keynote speakers was Mark Orlowski, founder and directer of the Sustainable Endowments Institute - an incredible organization striving to make green revolving loan funds the norm at universities, hospitals, and municipalities. Full disclosure, I interned at the Sustainable Endowments Institute in 2009, where I helped develop the College Sustainability Report Card. Since The Princeton Review and AASHE now also rate colleges on their green initiatives, SEI refocused and directed its energy helping universities create green revolving loan funds with a project called the Billion Dollar Green Challenge.

So, what is a green revolving loan fund?
If an organization has a certain amount of capital they want to invest in energy efficiency upgrades - such as LED lighting retrofits, they will quickly see the money they invested in the bulbs return to them in the form of savings on their utility bills. SEI helps organizations track these savings so that they can then use the savings for more energy efficiency projects. Since green technology is always improving, it is increasingly difficult to reach a point of diminishing returns. Tracking return on investments for green projects is now easier than ever with SEI's new GRITS project management program

Locally, Harvard and BU have green revolving loan funds. And more large institutions are becoming interesting in implementing similar programs!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day Giveaway!

In honor of the 44th Annual Earth Day, Boston Green Blog has teamed up with the Nature Conservancy to give away an amazing prize pack!!! The prize includes some awesome Nature Conservancy swag and tickets to ALL THREE Future of Nature events.

To enter, finish the sentence "The #futureofnature is ________." and tweet it to @BosGreenBlog and @Nature_ne.

Each tweet that fits that format will be considered 1 entry to the contest. Contestants are invited to enter as many times as they'd like until Noon on Friday, April 25, 2014. A winner will be randomly selected and announced via twitter and facebook later that afternoon.

Good luck and Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Movie Night Suggestion

image courtesy of tumblr

If you haven't already seen the eye-opening documentary Blackfish, I highly recommend you get on Netflix and watch it ASAP! As a lover of wildlife, I was horrified to learn of the conditions in which many orcas are kept around the globe. While SeaWorld claims that much of Blackfish is false or misleading, the documentary certainly does a good job of making people think of the human-animal relationships in zoos of all types. There are always more than one version of the truth, but an opinion on orca captivity simply should not be made without viewing this film. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mayor Walsh Launches the Carbon Cup

On April 8, 2014 Mayor Walsh announced the Greenovate Boston Mayor’s Carbon Cup, a voluntary program for hospitals, universities, and commercial building committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2020. In order for the City of Boston to reach its citywide target of reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) by 25% by 2020, large building portfolios will need to lead by aiming for a higher GHG reduction target.

“A cleaner, greener, and more prosperous future, as outlined in our Climate Action Plan, requires leadership from every sector.” said Mayor Walsh. “Carbon Cup pledges and winners will represent the cream of the crop for our large buildings, demonstrating what’s possible in energy efficiency, while greening our city and creating quality jobs.”

Those pledging to the Carbon Cup commitment must enroll at least 1 million square feet, with additional tiers of recognition for those enrolling greater than 2 million or 5 million square feet.

“Commercial buildings comprise over half of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.” said Brian Swett, Chief of Environment, Energy Services, and Open Space. “Getting our biggest property owners enrolled could cut emissions by over a hundred thousand metric tons of GHGs, equivalent to ten thousand homes taken off the grid.”

The City is seeking initial pledges and possible Carbon Cup winners to be announced at the Greenovate Boston Community Summit on May 31. Over the summer, the City will work with initial participants to finalize guidelines for reporting and accounting, and continue to source new participants. The Carbon Cup is a part of the larger Renew Boston Commercial/Industrial Strategy for saving energy and bringing down the GHG footprint of Boston’s institutions and businesses. Guidelines can be found at Interested entities should contact

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Lenox Leads the Path for Sustainability in the Hotel Industry

The Lenox, centrally located in Copley Square, is known for its status as one of Boston's most luxurious boutique hotels. What many don't know is that the Lenox has superior sustainability initiatives. Lowering their carbon footprint has been part of the company's mission since the mid-1980's! They launched the country's first linen-reuse program and has all of their sustainability reports easily available on their website. It is great to see such transparency!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stronger in 2014

Today, we are taking a moment to honor those affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon Tragedy which happened one year ago today. The families of those who lost their lives are in our hearts and we stand #BostonStrong with the survivors. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Boston's Eco Activities for this Week

image courtesy of Flickr

  • First 70 degree day of spring! Head to Follain to pick up some earth-friendly, chemical free sunscreen. 
  • Save some $$$ while cutting your environmental impact by turning off your heat and committing not to turn it on again until November or December.
  • Enjoy a vegetarian Easter celebration. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Think Dirty App Simplifies Makeup Shopping

I am obsessed with this *free* phone app. Simply type in a cosmetic product you use and the app will instantly tell you if it is safe or not and why. It is as if you have the entire Skin Deep Database at your fingertips! Think Dirty also has a mechanism for favoriting products so you already have a list of safe products handy next time you hit the drug store!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

NEWIEE Awards Gala Recap

On Tuesday evening, I attended the Fourth Annual NEWIEE Awards Gala at the Lenox Hotel. It was an inspiring evening that also happened to fall on "equal pay day," or the day to which women would have to work to make the same amount a man would have made in their job in 2013. This added a extra bit of fire to the event which celebrated female leadership in the energy & environmental sectors.

The keynote address was delivered by Karen Gordon Mills the Former Administrator of the Small Business Administration. She spoke to the importance of entrepreneurship and the role of women in the U.S. economy - using the incredibly successful story of Spanx founder Sara Blakely as an example.

The awards were then presented to these very-deserving leaders:

NEWIEE Achievement Awards:

  • Alicia Barton, Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
  • Janet Gail Besser, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, New England Clean Energy Council
  • Elin Swanson Katz, Consumer Counsel, State of Connecticut

NEWIEE Leadership Award:

  • Patricia Stanton, Senior Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, Conservation Services Group

Each recipient graciously accepted their award and spoke to the importance of "stepping up," "asking for what you want," and "becoming a good mentor to younger women." Great advice all around!
We then sipped on coffee and snacked on desert. I am excited to see what NEWIEE has in store for their two other signature events this year!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spotlight: Osmium

Its not often that I cover menswear on Boston Green Blog, but lets be real, women aren't the only ones who shop! Luckily there are some great green clothing options for men in the Boston area. One such brand is Osmium, based out of Stoneham. All of their offerings are made in America, including 80% of their products that are produced in Everett! This helps reduce the customer's carbon footprint since the average t-shirt usually travels through 4 countries before reaching its final destination.

One of Osmium's shirts takes sustainable style to the next level. The Chandler is made of Tencel, an eco-fiber derived from Eucalyptus trees. It is made by breaking down sustainably-harvested eucalyptus pulp with a non-toxic organic solvent, then forcing the slurry through small apertures to create fibers that can be spun into thread. This process also uses 5-10% less water than is needed to process cotton. So, do your part to support the local economy while also being mindful of the earth's resources by checking out Osmium! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dust Yourself Off For Spring

source image courtesy of

Ah yes, spring cleaning continues. Dusting is a quick and easy step towards a clean and healthy home. Here are some dusting tips that reduce your exposure to toxins that may be in your household dust or in your usual cleaning supplies:

 Skip the feather duster. Interior household dust often includes tiny paint particles from slamming doors and opening and shutting windows. If you live in a building that was constructed before 1978, this paint most likely contains some amount of lead - which if inhaled through dust can decrease IQ and lead to serious developmental issues. So, instead of using a dry duster that irritates particles back into the air, use a wet rag instead. Using a rag is also more efficient because many brands of paper towels are made from virgin forests! Warm water is also the best method because it ensures that you aren't replacing household dust with toxic cleaning chemicals. If the dust is particularly hard to remove, try using vinegar and lemon juice on the rag as well. 

Happy cleaning! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eco Events in Boston This Week

source image courtesy of flickr

  • Go outside! Temps may hit 60 around noon!







Friday, April 4, 2014

Kiehl's Collects Old Cosmetic Packaging for TerraCycle

People who purchase Kiehl’s products in Boston can help keep recyclables out of landfills by bringing their empty containers to the store at 112 Newbury Street!  As part of the Recycle & Be Rewarded program, Kiehl’s sends shipments of their collected product containers to TerraCycle on a weekly basis, where they are then recycled into new products. Since 2009, Kiehl’s has recycled more than 1.3 million bottles, tubes and other product containers. Kiehl’s is the only beauty brand to collect used consumer products year-round at retail and recycle them with TerraCycle. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Renew Boston Extends Deadline for Energy Efficiency Incentive Program

image courtesy of Next Step Living 

In 2013,  Renew Boston, the City of Boston’s energy efficiency program, helped Boston residents to weatherize 1,581 homes! These weatherizations resulted in a total energy savings of approximately 210,000 mmBtu. The Renew Boston team believes that helping Boston residents to make their homes more energy efficient is a key component to reaching the City of Boston’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

This is why Renew Boston, in partnership with National Grid and NSTAR, is extending the Whole Building Incentive, a program that significantly reduces the cost of energy efficiency improvements for two and three unit buildings in the City of Boston. Originally scheduled to end at the close of 2013, the program has been extended until June 1st 2014. If you own property in Boston, or are on good terms with your landlord, learn more about the program here. The incentive offers up to $3000 per apartment!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Eco Events Around Town

source image courtesy of Flickr

  • Hey, it doesn't look as if there are any events tonight, so prepare for the next event by reading the newest IPCC report on Climate Change that just came out on Sunday. 


  • Enjoy a delicious meal as part of Green Thursdays at 75 Chestnut in Beacon Hill. 

  • Prepare your house for the spring by turning down your thermostats, and removing window-weatherization plastic from the winter. 



Have a great week!