Toyota Takes the LEED in Texas

Toyota Headquarters Campus Achieves LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council, The Largest Commercial LEED Platinum Project in The State Of Texas, To Date

Plano, Texas (Sept. 22, 2017) – Everything is bigger in Texas. Everything, that is, except Toyota’s environmental footprint. 

Toyota Motor North America’s (TMNA) headquarters campus in Plano, Texas has officially achieved LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Jonathan Kraatz, executive director, USGBC Texas Chapter, presented the prized Platinum plaque to Jim Lentz, TMNA president and chief executive officer, today at the new campus. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Toyota’s new campus is the largest commercial LEED Platinum project in the state of Texas, to date.

“At Toyota, we have a longstanding commitment to sustainability and preserving our natural resources,” said Lentz. “With the installation of greenspaces, thousands of solar panels, a massive rain water capture system, and natural light wells, we have designed our new headquarters to reflect the local habitat and enhance its biodiversity. Recognition as a LEED Platinum facility is a testament of our efforts to become a model for energy efficiency and sustainability, and speaks to our challenge to ourselves to create a net positive impact on the planet by 2050.”

“USGBC is proud to award LEED Platinum to Toyota, for their thoughtfulness in their campus energy planning and space design as well as the overall net positive impact on the community and environment,” said Kraatz. “Our mission at USGBC has challenged organizations to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Toyota’s new Texas campus is a great example of what can be accomplished with the right leadership.”

The state-of-the-art, 100-acre campus boasts a Platinum-sized list of sustainability aspects, from renewable energy to drought resistant landscaping:  

Renewable Energy

Largest onsite corporate solar installation among non-utility companies in Texas

8.79-Megawatt solar power system, designed and installed by SunPower Corp.

Produces up to 33 percent of daily electric needs for headquarters campus

Reduces annual carbon dioxide emissions by 7,198 metric tons

Creates enough energy to power 1,200 average US homes for a year

Installation of high efficiency lighting and building envelopes to reduce energy usage on campus

Specialized rooftop design teeming with plant life to manage rainwater, reduce heat and further insulate the buildings

Flexible energy contract to preserve and resell excess power generation back to the grid

Grid energy offset by Texas wind farm renewable energy credits

Repurposed Rainwater

State-of-the-art rainwater capture system will provide up to three months of water supply for irrigation use

Cistern water storage with a capacity to hold 400,000 gallons of harvested rain water

Estimated to save more than 11 million gallons of potable (drinking) water annually

Excess drain water will be collected and repurposed for sanitary facility use


More than 99 percent of the construction waste was recycled

Construction waste was sorted offsite at North Texas’ first Construction and Demolition waste processing facility

Sustainable Landscaping

Exterior landscaping features drought-tolerant, North Texas indigenous plants like savannah, oaklands and wildflower meadows

Campus landscape will provide a natural habitat for endangered pollinators and monarch butterflies

Approximately 1,300 trees planted onsite by Toyota

More than 80 mature trees saved or relocated onsite, including a 100-year-old oak tree

Landscaping will be managed without expensive mowing, fertilizers, chemicals or artificial irrigation

Historic wetlands on the northeast corner of the campus were preserved to protect its natural state

Professionals who led this project include a host of Dallas-based firms: KDC Real Estate Development & Investments to develop and build the campus, architect Corgan Associates to design the campus, and Austin Commercial to manage the construction.

In late 2015, Toyota Motor Corporation announced the 2050 Toyota Environmental Challenge, a set of ambitious environmental goals to reach beyond net zero, and create a net positive impact on the planet. To learn more, please visit


Raise a Glass to 100 Years of Clean New York City Water

Social Media Campaign to Thank Catskill Families

CATSKILLS & NEW YORK CITY—This October marks the 100th anniversary of the date when people in all five New York City boroughs celebrated receiving some of the cleanest unfiltered water in the world from the Catskill Mountains through a complex network of aqueducts, reservoirs and tunnels, which channels water from upstate into their homes.

The New York City water supply system currently services eight million New York City residents and one million residents in Westchester, Putnam, Orange, and Ulster counties. It is a major engineering feat and a boon to city dwellers and visitors, but it was also a hardship to many Catskill families who were relocated¾losing their homes, land, and communities¾to accommodate excavation and construction of the water supply system.

Louisa Floyd and her grandson Elias Wilkes, of Brooklyn, Raise a Glass to 100 Years of Catskill Water. From now through Saturday, October 14, Radical Joy for Hard Times invites people to post social media photos of themselves, their friends, family (or even pets) raising a glass of clean NYC water to thank the people of the Catskills for the gift of clean drinking water, and to tag @CatskillsWater and use the hashtags #RaiseAGlass of #NYCDrinkingWater #PostYourToast.
Louisa Floyd and her grandson Elias Wilkes, of Brooklyn, Raise a Glass to 100 Years of Catskill Water. From now through Saturday, October 14, Radical Joy for Hard Times invites people to post social media photos of themselves, their friends, family (or even pets) raising a glass of clean NYC water to thank the people of the Catskills for the gift of clean drinking water, and to tag @CatskillsWater and use the hashtags #RaiseAGlass of #NYCDrinkingWater #PostYourToast.

To celebrate the centennial of New York City’s clean water and to acknowledge the sacrifices that have made it possible, Radical Joy for Hard Times is hosting the social media campaign: Raise a Glass to 100 Years of Catskill Water.

From now through Saturday, October 14, people throughout the NYC watershed are invited to take photos of themselves, their friends, family (or even pets) raising a glass of clean New York City water to toast and to thank the people of the Catskills for the gift of clean drinking water.

The campaign invites people to post their photos on social media and to tag @CatskillsWater on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtags #RaiseAGlass #NYCDrinkingWater #PostYourToast. Additional hashtags may include #RadicalJoyForHardTimes #ToastCatskillsWater #CatskillsWater #Ashokan #AshokanReservoir #NYCWaterways #WaterProtection.

Submitted photos will be included in a commemorative book that Radical Joy for Hard Times will give to descendants of displaced Catskill families.

The non-profit Radical Joy for Hard Times is a worldwide community of people dedicated to bringing meaning, beauty and value to places that have been damaged by human or natural acts.

“Our mission is to recognize the grief people feel when the places they love are damaged, and to find ways of creating art and new meaning there,” says Radical Joy for Hard Times Executive Director Trebbe Johnson.

“‘Raise a Glass to 100 Years of Catskill Water’ calls attention to those two polarities as they’ve affected a pair of very different communities that have been intricately connected for a hundred years,” adds Polly Howells, a Catskills resident and Radical Joy for Hard Times Board Member.

Source: Raise a Glass to 100 Years of Catskill Water

Eco-Friendly Ideas for a Homeowner – Infographic

We hear so much in today’s world about the importance of the environment and being environmentally friendly but it can be difficult to understand how we as individuals can do enough to make a difference. It’s easy to think that the task is too monumental for any change that we make to impact positively on the environment but it actually can. 

By making even small changes we are putting in place a mechanism which shows those around us that we are taking environmental issues and concerns seriously. It’s also about educating our children to understand that our behavior impacts on things around us therefore with these changes (however small) we can show the next generation that even small changes matter when it comes to the environment. The people at EZ Living have put together this infographic below which details some tangible ways that one can instigate changes in the home that will positively impact the environment. Check the full details out below and learn how you can make a change for the greater good to the environment while also possibly reducing your home energy costs at the same time!


How Data Centers are Using Renewable Energy to Lessen their Carbon Footprint

Data storage is big business in today’s world. In fact, there’s a good chance all your photos, videos, documents and files are stored somewhere in the cloud. Moreover, setting up automated backups and syncing across all our devices is so effortless that we forget where this information really lives: huge data centers spread around the world. And these data centers consume a lot of energy.

So how do some of the biggest energy consumers lower their carbon footprint? That’s easy: through renewable energy sources and other innovative means to keep those servers cool. These are how today’s data centers are preparing for tomorrow’s world of energy.

Small Business

While one mega data center may have a large carbon footprint, its use of technology and systems pales in comparison to all the servers used by small businesses across the country. As you might imagine, small-to-medium-sized companies don’t have access to the same energy-efficient technology that major corporations employ — and those on-site server rooms take up a lot of space and plenty of energy needs.

How Data Centers are Using Renewable Energy to Lessen their Carbon Footprint
Of course, the cloud isn’t just for smartphones and PC and laptop backups. Small businesses are opting out of using local storage and instead are adopting enterprise-level cloud-based services like those sold by Mozy. Removing server rooms from small-to-medium-sized companies — and instead turning to cloud-based technology — allows data to be accessed anywhere, anytime.

Dell’s Liquid Cooling

Anyone who has ever assembled their own PC knows there are two ways to cool a CPU — by using a heatsink and fan, or a liquid pump and radiator. The latter means is more expensive upfront, but reduces heat much easier and faster. Likewise, data centers produce a lot of heat, which takes even more energy to cool.

That’s why companies like Dell are creating innovative ways to cool servers using liquid technology. Liquid-cooled data centers usually use ground or city water from central pumps, which can use a lot of energy to distribute. But Dell’s cooling technology, which is used at data centers owned by eBay, store water in towers above the servers and let gravity do most of the work to bring it into the server racks. In the end, there’s no central pump to contend with and much less power is required.

Apple’s Green Initiative

iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage system and the home to almost every uploaded photo, video and backup by iPhone users, now runs on 100 percent renewable energy. This is no easy feat, and Apple goes into great detail about how it reached that pinnacle in its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report.

You may not know that most of Apple’s data centers operate in rural areas, where huge wind and solar farms power 100 percent of their energy needs. But because Apple relies on using so much of this land, the company has made it a point to create more renewable energy sources.

Next Steps

Major players like Google, Apple, Dell and Amazon have all committed to “going green” with Big Data. Indeed, these corporations certainly have the resources to build large solar and wind farms, but the next step in truly eliminating their carbon footprint is to improve efficiency — both in cooling and the servers themselves.

The Intel Xeon, a chip commonly used in servers, consumes more energy than CPUs in your standard PC. But Intel has made efforts to reduce the required wattage with each generation of processor it develops. Reducing energy dependency by five or 10 watts may not seem like much, but multiply that by hundreds or even thousands of servers and it adds up. Small increments like these can save enterprise-level companies millions of dollars on their utility bills.

Nearly 10 years ago, we talked in gigabytes, while today we talk in terabytes. And in the near future, we’ll be talking in petabytes. Big Data is growing exponentially, and it’s up to the big players as well as small-business owners to create new ways to power these data centers without increasing their carbon footprint.

Solar Power Lights Up Amazon Communities Fighting Dirty Energy

September 19, 2017 — Three indigenous communities on the front lines of the Amazon rainforest’s most emblematic rights and resources struggles now have solar energy generation capacity and internet hubs thanks to a partnership between Amazon Watch and Empowered By Light.

While Trump administration denies the impacts of climate change on the disastrous weather events in recent weeks, indigenous communities in the Amazon are leading us toward a brighter future as they embrace clean energy while defending the living forest, as demonstrated in the new video released today by Amazon Watch and Credo Mobile.

“These communities are true climate leaders,” said Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director at Amazon Watch. “Lighting the way for our climate and our forests, these indigenous earth defenders know that the solution to climate change must include stopping the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.”

Solar micro-systems and radio communications infrastructure now power five Sápara communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon as they resist oil drilling on their lands; two Munduruku communities in the Brazilian Amazon as they demand legal recognition and protection for their territory; and four U’wa communities in the Colombian cloud forests as they defend their sacred sites. More installations are planned for late 2017 and 2018.

The astoundingly biodiversity of the Amazon is home to hundreds of distinct indigenous peoples whose futures are threatened by this resurgent wave of resource exploitation, often living in remote areas where they are vulnerable to violent repression. The solar power and communications systems being installed are critical for these communities to assure their safety and communicate their stories as they defend their traditional practices and territories. In the past, protecting themselves and their territories has meant using polluting and unreliable diesel and kerosene generators, with fuel being brought in from the outside at significant expense.

Photo credit: Amazon Watch

The solar and communications equipment allow these remote communities to communicate internally to improve their safety and engage in cross-community dialogue; tell their own story to the broader world directly through new communications technology and training, subsequently further increasing their visibility and safety; and have access to reliable, clean energy for other community needs without relying on dirty energy sources like kerosene or diesel.

“We hope the introduction of clean, renewable solar power will not only help these communities protect the Amazon rainforest, which is critical for climate stability, but that it will demonstrate to their governments that similar remote or off-grid communities can leapfrog fossil fuels,” said Moira Hanes, co-founder of Empowered by Light.

Collaborative project planning, along with maintenance and communications trainings, are integral parts of all of these projects in order to maximize both system longevity and impact. These projects, all of which were specifically requested by the communities, provide critical external and internal communications capacity, thereby allowing communities to increase both their personal safety and visibility for their emblematic campaigns.

For more information:

Amazon Watch:
Empowered By Light: