Green Living News

Drive Electric Hudson Valley Officially Launches

For immediate release


Melissa Everett 845-514-8567

Seth Leitman 914-703-0311

The First Electric Vehicle (EV) consumer education program in the Hudson Valley goes live this fall. For the growing population of consumers who are curious about EVs and want to learn more, Drive Electric Hudson Valley will provide consumer workshops, informational materials, and test drive opportunities throughout the fall.

A project of Sustainable Hudson Valley (SHV), Drive Electric HV is supported in part by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). It’s led by Seth Leitman, author and consumer advocate who reaches tens of thousands on social media and at special events as the Green Living Guy. Leitman has worked for the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and NYSERDA on developing and implementing major marketing and infrastructure programs for electric vehicles. In addition, he test drives the greenest cars for reviews for other major publications regularly. Seth will partner with mechanical engineer and clean technology-bilingual outreach expert Hugo Jule to inform and inspire green living and technology enthusiasts throughout the Hudson Valley.
 The program will launch during Drive Electric Week September 10 – 18, 2016. The calendar ifeatures a car demonstration and “ask the expert” opportunity at the Sustainable Saturday street fest at the Ulster County Building on September 17th, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., at 244 Fair St., Kingston. 

SHV’s Executive Director Melissa Everett notes that “New York has made a commitment to getting 750,000 electric cars on the road by 2025. This program has been designed to close the gap between consumer curiosity and confidence, and create an opportunity for entire communities to climb the learning curve.”

Drive Electric Hudson Valley will offer a full schedule of workshops in community centers and at car dealerships, an informative website and experts available at outreach tables at commuter hubs such as train stations and Park & Rides. In exchange for completing a simple survey on their knowledge and attitudes about electric vehicles, consumers will have an opportunity to test drive the cars and attend free workshops. Program Associate Hugo Jule, a bilingual energy educator with automotive, electrical and mechanical engineering background, will be raising the program’s profile by driving a demonstration VW e-Golf around the region.

Drive Electric Hudson Valley supports Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy to build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system and helps New York State meet its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. The transportation sector is the State’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Local community actions like Drive Electric Hudson Valley are vital to Governor Cuomo’s energy vision for New York,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “We congratulate Sustainable Hudson Valley and all its partners on this effort to educate consumers about electric vehicles, which reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help address the challenges of climate change.”

Drive Electric Hudson Valley is modeled on the successful three year Solarize Hudson Valley program, rolled out by Sustainable Hudson Valley in partnership with Catskill Mountainkeeper. Research shows that many of the same people who use solar panels, also purchase or lease electric vehicles.

According to Leitman, “When you combine solar and an EV at home, the economics become really compelling, and so do the environmental benefits. That’s because the car’s operating costs are so low and you can charge from your solar panels.”
“At our forums, we will tell the whole truth about EVs – the learning curve for the consumer, the economics, and their huge contribution to cleaner air which consumers may not recognize”, said Leitman. “Even factoring in the electricity it takes to charge it, the EV is still cleaner than any other gas car on the road. As the NY grid gets cleaner, expect those benefits to increase.” 

Electric vehicle (including plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) sales are growing exponentially, from around 10,000 in 2010 to over 800,000 today. The US is the world’s largest market, and trends point to sharpening growth. For example, battery prices fell 35% last year alone. Bloomberg projects that by 2040, long range electric cars will cost on average less than $22,000, and 35% of new cars worldwide will have a plug.  

Still, consumers need education and confidence-building, said Everett. Drive Electric Hudson Valley will address that need.

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How To Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

Committing to greener living isn’t an easy task but you can start reducing your carbon footprint and lower the cost of your electricity bill by making some eco-friendly changes to your home which you can start implementing straight away.

The eco-friendly home infographic by Roofing Outlet comes in a handy room-by-room design to help guide you through the littlest and biggest changes you can make in each room of your house. We should all be aware of the problems and the negative impact which we’re causing to the environment and should be aiming to reduce the carbon footprint on this earth. Quite often though, it’s knowing where to start and it can become quite overwhelming when deciding to make greener lifestyle changes, which is why it’s best to either focus on one room at a time, or just pick one key change from each room to start off with.

From washing your clothes at 30 degrees and using energy efficient light bulbs, to buying food locally and choosing second-hand furniture, let’s start making a difference today!

However, The Green Living Guy suggests LED bulbs vs CFL. 

10 common recycling mistakes Americans make

Did you know that Americans create 254 million tons of waste each year, and that $7 billion worth of that waste is recyclable material which ends up in landfills because of improper disposal? Do you remember when we were told not to recycle the caps to plastic bottles? Many people still think it’s not good to do that, yet, it’s actually one of the most common recycling mistakes we make nowadays.

There are many things we can do to better our recycling efforts, and one of the first steps to doing something better is to understand what you’re doing incorrectly. 

Check out the Common Mistakes People Make When Recycling infographic here:


Grocer Program Shows 32 Percent Lift in Sales with Sustainability Ratings
NEW YORK, September 13, 2016 – HowGood, an independent research organization and the best source of information on the food we eat, today announced a new program in which select HowGood certified brands will now be able to display their HowGood BEST rating directly on packaging. The new program, aptly named HowGood Certified, goes beyond the typical shelf tag rating system (next to the price), making it even easier for consumers to identify authentic brands they can trust, and in turn, support an overall better food system. The program spans a number of categories: coffee, dairy, eggs, superfoods, and more, and includes brands like Trickling Springs Creamery, Ethical Bean Coffee, Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, Big Island Bees, and Solana Gold Organics, among others. 

best organic howgood

“Getting the HowGood BEST rating directly on the package and into the hands of consumers has been our vision since day one,” said Alexander Gillett, CEO of HowGood. “While we still offer our more traditional shelf tag system, which has a proven lift in sales among grocers, the next evolution of HowGood will allow brands to educate buyers on why these ratings matter. Smart, ethical brands understand the need for consumers to know how their food is being made and what impact it has.”

With this new program, HowGood supports brands with better practices by helping consumers find them more easily, which in turn will create a better food system. A new website dedicated to offering more in-depth information on the brands allows consumers to understand how the brand is bettering the food system. For brands, it offers another way to share their story around what makes them sustainable, including how they earned a BEST rating from HowGood, based on the following criteria:

· Better sourcing and processing standards
· More wholesome ingredients
· Humane treatment of animals
· Fair policies for workers

“Not only will this help better the food system, but it will disrupt the norm with information and transparency, while also allowing consumers to differentiate between brands,” said Joe Miller, Director of Marketing for Trickling Springs Creamery. “Being part of the HowGood Certified Program means wider access to existing and potential customers as well as a place to share our story.”

To date, HowGood’s grocer program shows an average lift in sales of 32% for BEST rated products when the rating system is on the shelf. Over the past nine years, HowGood has developed the world’s largest database of sustainable food ratings, including an in-store rating system that identifies industry leaders in the food system. HowGood is currently the only company that rigorously researches the goodness of food products based on multiple metrics and highlights those ratings for consumers at the point of purchase. With over 70 industry-specific indicators per food item, from ingredient sourcing to labor practices, the organization has rated over 170,000 products.

The in-store ratings can be found on the shelves of hundreds of stores across 26 states and are also accessible via iTunes and Google Play.

Source: HowGood

Mirabella Homes “LEED” to Huge Savings for Home Buyers

BRADENTON, Fla., Sept. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Linda Lawrence was stunned when she opened her first month’s electric bill. It was $40.67. Unheard of in Florida.

“I keep my thermostat at 77 degrees,” she said, “And it actually feels chilly.”

Lawrence was the first to buy a villa in Mirabella, a new development near the Gulf beaches, Sarasota/Bradenton, and the IMG sports community.

leed homes

Marshall Gobuty is Mirabella’s developer. “I’m terribly concerned about global warming and what it will mean for the Florida’s future,” he said. “I’m building the most energy-efficient homes in the United States. The houses are designed to save water as well as electricity. Building materials are recycled. “All this adds only about five per cent to the cost of these homes,” Gobuty says, “And they have everything it takes for LEED certification.”

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the U.S. Green Building Council’s way to measure five design categories aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of new homes, while increasing the living qualities of those homes at the same time. The five ways in which certified homes are measured are:

leed home florida
Sustainable sites
: this emphasizes the vital relationships among buildings, ecosystems, and ecosystem services.

Water efficiency
, which is based on an “efficiency first” approach to water conservation.

Energy and atmosphere, focusing on energy use reduction and energy-efficient design.

Materials and resources, which supports a life-cycle approach that improves performance and promotes resource efficiency.

Indoor environmental quality for air quality and comfort.

Of the 647,800 single-family homes build in the United States in 2014, less than one per cent met LEED standards. The percentage meeting those criteria on the Gulf Coast of Florida was even smaller, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Mirabella’s LEED certified homes use nearly 40 percent less energy than what is used in a typical home. They feature Energy Star appliances manufactured by companies including GE, Carrier, Argos, Shaw and Atrium.
Plumbing features include EPA WaterSense faucets, toilets, showers and irrigation controllers, which help reduce water consumption significantly — with no reduction in overall performance.

Homes are inspected for quality control during each phase of the building process. Synergy Building Corp., the lead builder of Mirabella, insures that almost all construction waste is recycled.

Peggy Christ, who is with the Governing Council of a USGBC branch in Southwest Florida, said the biggest benefit that people get when buying a LEED certified home is a healthier home with less maintenance.

“These are the most energy-efficient homes in the country,” Christ said. “It’s a win-win situation for the buyer and what they’ve done is just phenomenal.”

New LEED homes also offer a spray foam insulation that provides a barrier up to 50 percent tighter and more effective against moisture and allergens. High-end vinyl windows help keep cool air indoors and drastically reduce bleaching of floors and furniture – which in turn help drive energy costs further down.

Clarence Jones owned a home on nearby Anna Maria Island before relocating to similar-sized house in Mirabella. He has been saving nearly $200 a month on his electric bill. Jones credits that to the insulation that was installed when his home was built earlier this year.

“During the summer my electric bill would have been over $250, but the highest it’s been here in Mirabella is $60,” Jones said. “The temperatures in my house and in my attic are rarely more than 10 degrees apart — and an attic in Florida can be 150 degrees in the middle of the summer.”

All of these energy-friendly features recently helped Mirabella win three prestigious Aurora Awards. Mirabella was tops in Green Construction categories “Green Construction,” “Water-Wise Home” and “Energy Efficient Home.”

In addition to the Aurora Awards, Mirabella just earned LEED Platinum level certification. That is the highest level of certification a home can maintain and the only one that’s earned that level in the state of Florida, according to Christ.

Mirabella’s villa homes start at $270,880 and average around 1,500 square feet of living space. Comparable homes on Florida’s Gulf Coast that lack the environmentally-friendly features of a LEED certified home start in the low to mid-$300,000’s.

Christ said that today’s homebuyers – particularly retirees on a fixed income – are looking for long-term savings on energy costs. This is particularly true in Florida, where air conditioning systems run year-round. 

“LEED Platinum certified homes are exceedingly rare, particularly in this price range,” Christ said. “These homes should be worth 10 to 15 percent more than they are because of the way they help you save on energy costs. They’ll also have high resale value.”

Mirabella promotes an active adult lifestyle featuring first-class amenities that include gated entry with 24-hour security cameras, large clubhouse, heated swimming pool and spa, fenced-in dog park, pickle-ball courts, a modern fitness center, and an outdoor kitchen and barbecue area.

There are also several events each week that are aimed at bringing the community together. Marc Dillworth, who resides in Mirabella with wife Melea, says the couple has gotten to know a lot of their neighbors through the social gatherings.

“We came from a single-family home where you were on your own,” Marc Dillworth said. “People are kind of isolated, but here it’s more of a community feeling and this is what we want in this phase of our lives. It’s a lot of fun and we’re very happy.”
Gobuty said he’s leaving the door open for another LEED-based development in the future.

“I’ve learned to never say never, and anything is possible,” he said. “What I have learned from the Mirabella Florida development is that being environmentally sound, sustainable and friendly to the Earth is a crucial component as the buyers we attract are willing to pay a little bit more for something a whole lot better. That means instead of being just a part of any next development, it would be at the center of it.”

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