How to Select a Green Lodge when Traveling, Part 1

You are a person who puts active thought into eco-practices at home, but what happens when you go on vacation? Do you ever wonder “Where Can I Find a ‘Green’ Hotel or B&B?” or “How Can I Tell the Difference Between an Authentic Eco Lodge and One That Is Not?” or “Is There a Reliable Directory I Can Use?” If you have asked those questions, you’re in good company. But the answers are surprisingly complicated.

Here’s the reality: there is no one universal authority or definitive tool that eco-conscious consumers can turn to for sourcing “green” vacation accommodations.


With hundreds of countries around the world – all with different government agencies, infrastructure, politics, regulations, and living standards – it is a most difficult task to devise a uniform platform.

In a pinch, that’s the bad news.

The good news is that the ecotourism industry is relatively young and evolving quickly. More consumers are demanding “eco-friendly” travel options, so there will be a response in kind from the industry. More information will become available via online directories and useful apps ready to download to your smart phone or tablet.——————————————————————————————————

Costa Rica is a top-ranked destination for “green” vacations. Click here to learn more about a jungle lodge and rafting adventures down the Pacuare River in Costa Rica – https://www.ecotourlinq.com/blog/spotlight-interview-with-rios-tropicales

Photo: Rafting on the Pacuare River  Photo credit: Rios Tropicales
Photo: Rafting on the Pacuare River Photo credit: Rios Tropicales

What does a green lodge look like? Well the facility can be any number of things – a working ranch or farm, a seaside hotel, a mountain inn, a jungle lodge (on the ground or in the trees), a small village B&B, a desert bunker, a campground, or a dormitory-style hostel. Frequently these accommodations will be located inside or near a national park or possibly a World Heritage Site.
Coming up in Part 2 – Tourism Bureaus and Ecotourism Associations

Guest Writer Bio: Deborah Regen is the publisher of a website directory and blog dedicated to consumer information about ecotourism and sustainable travel. She also sends out a free monthly e-newsletter to subscribers including notices of giveaways. https://www.EcoTourLinQ.com and her email = admin@ecotourlinq.com

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JAGUAR ELECTRIFIES WITH I-PACE ELECTRIC CAR

– The I-PACE Electric Vehicle accelerates to 60 mph in around 4 seconds, and features a 90kWh battery with an estimated range of 220 miles (EPA cycle)(1)
– Driver-focused all-wheel-drive performance from twin-electric motors generating 516-lb ft of torque and 400hp(1)

– To be one of the first owners go to jaguarusa.com and click the ‘I want one’ button

This Jaguar I-PACE will be on the road in 2018. Customers can register now at jaguarusa.com to be one of the first I-PACE owners.
Jaguar’s engineering and design teams have torn up the rule book to create a bespoke electric architecture, matched with dramatic design. The result is a no-compromise smart, five seat sports car and a performance SUV in one. 

Ian Callum, Director of Design, said: “The I-PACE Concept represents the next generation of electric vehicle design. It’s a dramatic, future-facing cab-forward design with a beautiful interior – the product of authentic Jaguar DNA, electric technology and contemporary craftsmanship.”

Dr Wolfgang Ziebart, Technical Design Director, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “This is an uncompromised electric vehicle designed from a clean sheet of paper: we’ve developed a new architecture and selected only the best technology available. The I-PACE Concept fully exploits the potential EVs can offer in space utilization, driving pleasure and performance.” 

The electric motors and 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack were designed in-house by Jaguar Land Rover to give the best possible performance and range for most daily commutes.  

For rapid charging, using a public 50kW DC charging network, a full charge will take just over two hours. Enough to deliver an estimated 220 miles range (measured on the US EPA test cycle)(1). 

The I-PACE transforms the electric driving experience and offers the driver-focused performance and response Jaguar is renowned for. To help deliver this, the I-PACE has electric motors on the front and rear axles. Their combined output is 400hp and 516-lb ft. of torque(1) – the same torque rating as the F-TYPE SVR. 

Ian Callum said: “The interior of the I-PACE is finished with beautiful, premium materials and an unwavering attention to detail. Throughout the interior you will discover a host of beautiful details to surprise and delight. From the expansive panoramic glass roof to the sporting, beautifully finished seats, every feature bears the hallmark of British craftsmanship. 

“And there is digital craftsmanship too, with two touch screens serving up information when and where you need it, limiting distraction and improving the driving experience”

“Jaguar, by embracing cutting-edge technology in this way, has created an experience rich and rewarding for its consumers. It has undoubtedly redefined the future of how automotive brands introduce their new vehicles to customers.” 
“Jaguar, by embracing cutting-edge technology in this way, has created an experience rich and rewarding for its consumers. It has undoubtedly redefined the future of how automotive brands introduce their new vehicles to customers.”.

All pricing and figures for acceleration, power, speed, range and charging are Manufacturer’s estimates based on best information available at time of publication. Jaguar I-PACE production vehicles will be tested and certified prior to release, with official figures available prior to any customer order.

Sources: Jaguar http://www.jaguarusa.com and Jaguar Land Rover 

Green Homes in Texas Add $25,000 Resale Value, Study Finds

Washington, D.C. – (July 11, 2017) – A new study from The University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) finds that new homes in Texas built to meet green building standards like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the world’s most widely used green building rating system, are worth an average of $25,000 more in resale value than conventional homes. The study, “The Value of LEED Homes in the Texas Real Estate Market: A Statistical Analysis of Resale Premiums for Green Certification,” found that homes built to LEED standards between 2008-2016 showed an 8 percent boost in value, while homes built to a wider range of green standards saw a 6 percent increase in value. 

“Our research shows there is a ‘green premium’ in the Texas single-family home market,” said The University of Texas at Austin’s Dr. Greg Hallman. “The average new home in our Texas MLS dataset sells for $311,000, so a 6-8% green premium represents a significant gain for home owners, developers, and real estate agents and brokers.” 

The Green Homes study looked at more than 3,800 green-certified homes, including LEED-certified homes, built in Texas between 2008 and 2016 to determine if certification raised the resale value of homes. The study was conducted by the Real Estate Finance & Investment Center at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. It was based on an analysis of more than 230,000 homes in Texas and used a regression model taking into account interior floor area, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garages and the age of the home, as well as whether or not homes were built according to green standards including LEED.
The Green Homes study looked at more than 3,800 green-certified homes, including LEED-certified homes, built in Texas between 2008 and 2016 to determine if certification raised the resale value of homes. The study was conducted by the Real Estate Finance & Investment Center at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. It was based on an analysis of more than 230,000 homes in Texas and used a regression model taking into account interior floor area, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garages and the age of the home, as well as whether or not homes were built according to green standards including LEED. 

New homes built to LEED commanding 8 percent premium

“As developers and buyers continue to see the value in LEED, we expect the number of LEED-certified homes to increase in the Texas market,” said Taryn Holowka, senior vice president, USGBC. “Homes that are built to meet green standards deliver more value to the seller and also ensure that buyers will have a high-value sale down the road and reap the benefit of lower utility bills while living in the home.” 

LEED-certified homes benefit the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit by enhancing the health and wellbeing of occupants, saving costly environmental resources like energy and water, and providing cost savings to individual homeowners or residential building owners. On average, LEED-certified homes use 20-30 percent less energy than a home built to code, with some homes reporting up to 60 percent savings, which lowers energy costs. 

The LEED Homes rating system was created in 2008 as a way for single-family homes and multi-family buildings to achieve LEED certification. LEED Homes projects undergo a technically rigorous process to become certified, including multiple on-site inspections and quality assurance. More than 1.5 million residential units are currently participating in LEED in the world. USGBC’s 2015 Green Building Economic Impact report found that the residential green construction market is expected to grow from $55 million in 2015 to $100.4 million in 2018, representing a year-over-year growth of 24.5 percent. Currently, there are more than 6,890 homes certified or pursuing LEED-certification in Texas. 

To learn more about the Green Homes study, visit: https://www.usgbc.org/resources/value-leed-homes-texas-real-estate-market.

Sources: U.S. Green Building Council and the McCombs School of Business

Recycle Old Electronics While Purchasing Gifts at Same Time!

Did you know that 25% of all men suffer from “green guilt”, coinciding with the significant increase in E-Waste (used cell phones, old gadgets, old laptops, etc.) we’ve been accumulating? Those are the facts according to a new survey by Call2Recycle®! (Green Guilt is the feeling that they could and should be doing more to help the environment.) 

Father’s Day is right around the corner, so why not help dads get rid of those guilty feelings and remind them to pitch in and help out the environment? If you’re readers receive any new electronics or cell phones as gifts, they can get their dose of green in by recycling those old phones and the used rechargeable batteries from the devices they’ll be replacing. 

With the help of Call2Recycle, the only no-cost rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in North America, dads can recycle the used rechargeable batteries from their old devices (cell phones, digital cameras, cordless power tools, laptops, etc.) at any of its drop-off locations at community collection sites and retailers nationwide such as Best Buy, RadioShack and The Home Depot.

“Our research shows that more than half of us are holding on to old gadgets in junk drawers and elsewhere rather than recycling them – in part because they don’t know how or where to recycle old technology,” said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle.  “Keeping electronics and used rechargeable batteries out of the waste stream is vital to the long-term sustainability of our planet.” Since 1996, Call2Recycle has diverted 70 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from landfills and established a network of 30,000 public collection sites.

Using rechargeable batteries is a simple step toward a greener lifestyle, and Call2Recycle offers up the following tips to assure the family get the most life out of their new rechargeable batteries by reducing how often they need to be replaced.

  • Follow the charging guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Each product has specific batteries charging battery charging times prior to their initial use.
  • Never return a fully-charged battery to the charger for an extra boost – it actually shortens the life of the battery!
  • Do not leave your rechargeable battery in the charger when not charging. Continuous charging can shorten battery life.
  • When they no longer hold a charge and it’s time to replace your battery, be sure to recycle your old one.

Call2Recycle is the nation’s most comprehensive rechargeable battery and cellphone recycling solution, providing a responsible and convenient way to recycle cellphones and rechargeable batteries found in electronic products, such as laptop computers, digital cameras, cordless power tools, two-way radios, mp3 players and camcorders.  There is no charge to drop-off batteries for recycling or be a collection site. For more information and to find local drop-off locations, visit www.call2recycle.org.

Analysis Group report: No evidence that changing power mix endangers electric system reliability

Washington, D.C. — A new report by Analysis Group answers questions asked two months ago by Energy Secretary Rick Perry about the reliability and market rules of the U.S. electric power grid.

Analysis Group finds it is market forces – primarily low-cost natural gas and flat demand for electricity – that are causing some coal and nuclear power plants to retire, and not state and federal policies supporting renewable energy development. The report finds that the changing electricity resource mix poses no threat to reliability of the nation’s power system.

Perry launched a 60-day review of “critical issues” on the grid on April 14. National business groups Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) commissioned Analysis Group to answer independently the questions Perry raised. The Analysis Group report has now been submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy to inform its review.

“Recently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like existing coal and nuclear units) and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability. In addition, some point to federal and state policies supporting renewable energy as a primary cause of such impacts,” states the Analysis Group report. “The evidence does not support this view.”

Recently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like existing coal and nuclear units) and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability. In addition, some point to federal and state policies supporting renewable energy as a primary cause of such impacts,” states the Analysis Group report. “The evidence does not support this view.” width=Recently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like existing coal and nuclear units) and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability. In addition, some point to federal and state policies supporting renewable energy as a primary cause of such impacts,” states the Analysis Group report. “The evidence does not support this view.solar helps the gridRecently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like existing coal and nuclear units) and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability. In addition, some point to federal and state policies supporting renewable energy as a primary cause of such impacts,” states the Analysis Group report. “The evidence does not support this view.
“The transformation now under way in the electric power system is driven primarily by market forces,” said Susan Tierney, senior advisor, Analysis Group, and one of the authors of the report, along with Analysis Group Principal Paul Hibbard.

Low natural gas prices, technology changes, and flat demand for electricity have been putting financial pressure on and leading to the retirement of older, less economic power plants

This is a natural consequence of market competition. The result is a more diverse set of energy resources on the grid that is being capably managed in a way that provides reliable electric power.”

Key findings of the Analysis Group report:

Market forces: Fundamental market forces – flat demand for electricity, low natural gas prices since the mid-2000s and the addition of significant amounts of highly efficient new gas-fired resources since 2000 – are primarily responsible for altering the profitability of many older, merchant generating assets in the parts of the country with organized wholesale competitive markets. These market fundamentals are producing savings for consumers. 

Lesser factors: Factors such as rapid growth in deployment of advanced energy technologies, and state policies supporting such technologies also contribute to reducing the profitability of less economic assets, but such factors are secondary to market fundamentals in causing financial pressure on merchant plants without long-term power contracts.

Aging resources: The retirement of aging resources is a natural element of efficient and competitive market forces, and where markets are performing well, these retirements mainly represent the efficient exit of uncompetitive assets.

Reliability benefits: Many advanced energy technologies can and do provide reliability benefits by increasing the diversity of the system and by providing important reliability services to the grid. The addition of newer, technologically advanced, and more efficient natural gas and renewable technologies is rendering the power systems in this country more, rather than less, diverse. 

Baseload” an outdated term: Given the many attributes associated with a reliable electric system, the term “baseload resources” is an outdated term in today’s electric system which depends upon a wide variety of resources to provide essential reliability services and is seeing gas-fired resources and renewable capacity together providing both around-the-clock power and the flexibility to cycle and ramp as needed to meet and sustain bulk power system reliability objectives.

“The electricity system in the United States is stronger than it’s ever been,” said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE. “Thanks to innovation and smart policy, we have a more diverse fuel mix, a more reliable grid, and lower electricity costs. The Analysis Group report highlights how advanced energy technologies are helping to modernize the grid and how grid operators are well equipped to manage this market change. As DOE finalizes its report on reliability, we hope the Department will incorporate these key findings, which reflect the true state of the grid.”

Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said, “Like DOE, we wholeheartedly agree that reliable and affordable electricity is essential. Analysis Group’s report finds that wind and other advanced energy resources, driven by markets and technological advances, are improving electric reliability and reducing costs. Past dependence on a few fuel sources has given way to a more diverse grid, which is more robust and resilient. We think this analysis will be useful for DOE’s study, and we look forward to working with state and federal policymakers to implement market-based policies that will provide consumers with even more reliable electricity at lower cost.”

BACKGROUND

In a memo dated April 14 to his chief of staff, Brian McCormack, Secretary Perry directed the Department of Energy to conduct a study that would “explore critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid,” and to analyze “market-distorting effects of federal subsidies that boost one form of energy at the expense of others,” and to report back in 60 days. 

On April 28, business trade groups AEE, AWEA, and SEIA sent a joint letter to Sec. Perry asking that the DOE “initiate a public process,” and that the study “follow standard practice and be conducted in an open and transparent manner,” noting that it is “customary” for agencies developing reports that provide policy recommendations to allow public comment on a draft, prior to the report being finalized. No reply was received. A DOE spokeswoman told Axios on May 5: “The findings will be released to the public (including stakeholders) once the study is completed this summer. The Secretary looks forward to receiving input from all parties once that occurs.”

On May 16, AEE, AWEA, SEIA, and ACORE held a press briefing on documents each submitted to DOE to inform its study of the electric power system and reliability:

AEE: Changing the Power Grid for the Better – shows that today’s electric generation mix is more diverse than ever; low-priced gas is primarily driving the change in resources, followed by flat load growth and competition from renewables; ERCOT and PJM experience shows reliable grid management with high degree of variable renewables and even in extreme conditions.

ACORE: Energy Fact Check – The Impact of Renewables on Electricity Markets and Reliability – ACORE-produced report covering questions around baseload power and economic impact raised in Secretary Perry’s April 14, 2017 memorandum directing a study to explore critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid.

AWEA: Renewable Energy Builds a More Reliable and Resilient Electricity Mix. Grid operators are already reliably integrating large amounts of wind energy, and their studies show they can go much higher. Integrating renewables on the power grid costs less than integrating baseload sources; modern power electronics enable renewables to provide reliability services as well as or better than conventional power plants; and renewables diversify the energy mix, improving economics and resiliency. Renewables are not the primary factor undermining baseload sources – as can be seen by maps of where each is predominately located, cheap natural gas is the primary factor. AWEA also submitted a literature review of over 30 existing research studies by federal agencies, regional grid operators, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), and others.

SEIA: Solar & Renewables Benefit Grid & The U.S. Economy – Solar and renewables provide significant advantages to the national grid in terms of reliability, fuel diversity and national security. This SEIA review highlights multiple studies showing that the existing grid can handle high penetrations of renewable energy to the benefit of ratepayers, grid system operators and system performance.

In their letter transmitting these materials to DOE, the groups concluded: “We believe that, taken together, these reports demonstrate that the U.S. electric power system is more diverse in its energy sources than ever before, and due to the flexible way these resources are now managed, becoming more reliable and resilient as a result.”

Sources: Advanced Energy Economy at American Wind Energy Association, June 20, 2017