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26 June, 2010

Greening London: Dwell On Container City Design

The original Container City project, located at Trinity Buoy Wharf, in the heart of London's Docklands was completed in 5 months in 2001. Container City I was originally 3 stories high providing 12 work studios across 4,800 sq ft.
After high demand a fourth floor was added providing three additional live / work apartments.
As well as being very cost effective Container City I is environmentally friendly with over 80% of the building created from recycled material.
As the second phase of the original Container City project at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Container City II is both an extension and evolution of the first building. It is built adjacent to Container City I, with inter-connecting bridges, a new lift and full disabled access, Container City II was completed in 2002 providing a further 22 studios over five floors.
In contrast to the first phase, Container City II is a funky ziggurat shape and painted in bright colors to reflect the creative flair of those who work there.
Following on from the Governments initiative to lower industry carbon emissions, the new Part L building regulations that were introduced in April 2006 require all commercial buildings to produce 27% less CO2 than was formerly allowed. While many firms will struggle to fulfil this criteria the Container City™ system lends itself perfectly as a a cheap way to recycle industrial products.
  • Minimal concrete foundations required (existing structure strong yet lightweight)
  • Little noise pollution (Off site construction and fast installation)
  • Natural ventillation (No need for air conditioning)
  • Photoelectric light sensitive cells (External lighting sensitive to light changes)
  • Thermally efficient (uses external walkways and lift towers, double thick insulation and sealed south facing glazed units)
  • Minimal artificial light required (fully glazed facades)
  • Separate light and heat controls for each unit. (modular system less open plan)
Devised by Urban Space Management Ltd, the Container City™ system uses shipping containers linked together to provide high strength, prefabricated steel modules that can be combined to create a wide variety of building shapes and adapted to suit most planning or end user needs.
To date Urban Space Management Ltd has successfully used the Container City™ system to create office space, retail space, artist studios, a nursery, youth centres and live / work space. For More Info: Container City

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20 June, 2010

A Green Day In Paris

By X. M.
Here are four options to move in an ecological way around the capital:
• Hop into one of the G7 hybrid taxis for an eco-friendly journey!
• Take a bike or Vélib ‘: The green Parisian favorite transportation that allow you to avoid traffic jams as well!
• Try the Urban Cab, where the driver carries you on a bicycle. It’s time for you to seat and enjoy your eco-ride.
• Discover Paris on Sedan, the least polluting car model, to appreciate the charm and the beautiful architecture of the city while preserving the planet. (Ecovisit Paris from 150 € )
Naturally Fair
From June 4 to June 7, Naturally the fair on organic products and environment welcomes you at Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles. The calendar of events includes workshops on how to better know your body needs, conferences such as “100 natural prescriptions on 100 common diseases”, “secrets of senior vitality” or “gardens that help us”.
Organic and natural products are everywhere : from cosmetics made out of vegetable butter to hemp made clothes, detergents, books…everything will be present there ! A fair to be visited with your family in order to relax, get some good food and, of course, do some organic shopping !
Salon Naturally
Parc des Expositions de Paris
Porte de Versailles – Pavillon 8
Friday June 4, from 1030am to 10pm.
On June 5, 6 and 7, from 1030am to 7pm..

Take care of yourself
 Coiffure & Nature saloon, in the heart of Marais, uses the natural substances to your hair. Vegetal coloration and gentle care of your hair, such as the deep scalp massage using 100% natural wild Shea Nut.
1, rue de la Bastille – Paris 4th
• Couleur Caramel, a bio-cosmetic specialist, opened a Cafe – Beauty Saloon, in the 4th district. Maquillage Caffè is a warm place for you to be more naturally beautiful.
8 rue Nicolas Flamel, 10 rue Jean du Bellay – Paris 4th
• The Cosmetox Guide, published by Greenpeace, classes the leading brands of cosmetics by a scale of eco-friendly. It’s perfect for you to find out the recommended products and those that you need to avoid!
Have a green hand
• Passy Park, located close to Gavarni hotel, was awarded the Ecocert label. Some other parks in Paris have  also received the label Ecocert, and you can discover them at Ecolosqy.
Passy Park: rue d’Ankara , avenue Marcel Proust, avenue René-Bolylesve, avenue du Président Kennedy – Paris 16th
• La Coulée Verte, in the 12th district, situated along the route of an old railway line, leads you to Bois de Vincennes. A perfect unusual walk in Paris for all nature lovers.
Let’s do some eco-shopping
• For green gifts: Nature & Découvertes, a nature chain stores offers a variety of products ranging from the solar energy lamp to the organic beauty products.
Shop near Gavarni Hotel: 75 rue de Passy Paris 16th
• For those who wants to be trendy: Monsieur Poulet, a fashion concept store that perfectly links design and environment.
28 rue des petites stables – Paris 10th
• For the fashion victims: Dalia and Rose, a very girly shop, with lots of beautiful ethical products (shoes, swimwear, key chains …) which involved a high quality fashion.
9, rue du Marché St-Honoré – Paris 1st
• For everyone’s liking: Altermundi Mode, the first brand in Paris to have understood that “It’s chic to have an ethic!” The shop brings together numerous fair trade brands and organic products.
9, rue de Rivoli – Paris 4th
• For the fans of eco-luxury: Vanessa Bruno, a fashion designer is very sensitive towards the environment. She has done numerous noble action and beautiful gestures, such as her involvement in a reforestation program.
Vanessa Bruno near the hotel Gavarni: Franck & Fils – 80 rue de Passy – Paris 16th
• For children: the Filambule brand create tee-shirts from organic cotton and handbags from candy paper for young eco-travelers.
12, rue Mandar – Paris 2nd
Eat organic
• During breakfast : Pastries and organic breads at Boulangerie Moisan. This property offers exclusively products from organic farming, and they are home-made. A crispy idea which is perfect to start your green day!
Shop near the hotel: 75 rue Lafontaine.
• During lunch: La victoire suprême du cœur is an excellent vegetarian restaurant. The chef offers you mouth-watering and original organic culinary creations and you will enjoy it in a friendly and colorful environment.
31 rue Bourg Tibourg – Paris 4th
• In a rush: Stop at Exki. The chain of the famous Belgian bios fast-food proves that you can eat as quickly as you want at any time but keeping at the same time the “I love environment” spirit.
Exki – 9, bd des Italiens – Paris 2nd
• Cocktail break: The Artisan Nature bar introduces a numerous unexpected bio drinks (pears cocktail, aloe vera brew, Maracuja syrup …).
123 rue Saint-Maur – Paris 11th
• Fruits and vegetables: There are two organic outdoor markets in Paris, one at Batignolles (Paris 17th) on Saturday from 9am to 3pm, and the other at Boulevard Raspail (between rue du Cherche Midi and Rennes ) on Sunday from 9am to 3pm.
• Some tips to buy organic eggs: Attention to the number indicated on the shell. If it is 0 or 1, you can purchase with your eyes closed, but if it is 2 or 3, better not!
-> Exhibition «La Terre et Nous» at the Cite de Science until August 30th 2009. To learn more about the consequences of population concentration in cities on the environment.
-> Eco-friendly books at «Nature & Découverte» and in other book shops :
• «Paris Ecolo» by Patricia Michel, 2,90€, First
• «Pesticides» by Fabrice Nicolino et François Veillerette, 19 €, Editions Fayard
• «Toxic» by William Reymond, 19 €, Flammarion
• «Guérir par les plantes» by Claire Laurain, 18,90 €, Editions Anagramme
• «Protégez vous enfants de la malbouffe!» by Cyril Lignac, 17 €, Michel Lafon
• «Santé, les trucs qui marchent» by Sophie Lacoste, 17€, Michel Lafon

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18 June, 2010

Greening Paris: Hotel Gavarni In The Parisian Chic 16th Arrondissement

Hotel Gavarni is the greenest little hotel in Paris. But you wouldn't know it unless you a) did your research a b) took some time to have a conversation with hotel manager Xavier Moraga, Hotel Gavarni's own eco-chic Parisian.
Tucked away just off Rue du Passy in the chic shopping district of the 16th arrondissement, this 25 room hotel is luxurious and at the same time offers an easy and relaxing charm that is both welcoming and discreet...and eco-friendly. It carries the European Eco-Label rating, equivalent to North America's Green Keys.
The staff is there to help with all your requests, whether that's picking you up at the airport in a hybrid Prius, getting you instantly connected to their complimentary Wi-Fi or guiding you on how to make the 5 minute walk to the Musee' de la Mode at the Trocadero or the 10 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower, they'll do so graciously and with good manners. They'll also readily engage you in conversations about the state of solar paneling on buildings in Paris (problematic because many of the buildings are heritage or historical) and in gray water management, a topic often reserved for the most sincere eco-ists.
Parisian Green Philosophy
Xavier Moraga's green philosophy is to show guests how easy – and subtle – it is to be green in our every day lives and thereby have a big impact on the environment.
He believes that talking about ecology in general, not backed up by actions, no matter how small, and “guilting” people into ecology is not the way to go. Not if you want to see results. The better way is to lead by example and to make those examples enjoyable.
“In Paris we can't change the facade of buildings. We have no right touch the facade, add solar panels, change the windows, things like that. We can't do structural changes but we can do systemic changes. A hotel this size is like a house. All our 'small' actions can resonate with our guests so that they can copy the actions at home,” said Moraga.
Hotel Gavarni, like all good luxury hotels, practices understated hospitality in an atmosphere of quiet elegance. So it follows that you'll only notice the hotel's eco-aspects when you really pay attention.
For example, each of the rooms boasts a jacuzzi bathtub. The warm jets of water pulse on your tired muscles as you lie there, your neck and head cushioned on the back of the fitted soft pillow. You'd never guess that all of the faucets in the hotel's bathrooms have been replaced with valves that save about half the water usage of the average Parisian bathroom. Each of these valves cost about 5 Euros. And by saving half the water usage, they save about half the water bill.
Their complimentary organic breakfasts feature fresh, organic fruits from the market like seasonal melons, cherries, oranges. There are farm fresh eggs and “bio”(organic) jams to accompany your warm croissants and aromatic, fair trade coffee. The hotel has established relationships with local organic farmers so they buy direct. In fact, the hotel even serves as a distribution center for the upscale neighborhood's Community Supported Agriculture co-op, a program that is so popular there's a waiting list to get on.
Green Means Think For Yourself!
Moraga emphasized over and again how being green is simply re-thinking the way you do things. “It's thinking for yourself,” he said. “Even if you're not rich, genius, famous, you can still make a difference.”
For example, the hotel's lights are all LED lights. This switch-over resulted in 10X less energy consumption and a savings of 21% in their energy bill.
Using natural cleaning supplies was also a shift towards the simple, the natural. Vinegar, it turns out, is one of the best cleaners to prohibit the lime build up caused by the hard Parisian water. And vinegar is not just a safe and non-toxic cleaner, it's also very cost-effective.
Being green isn't simply a job for Moraga. Like so many of the green tribe, it's a way of life, it's in the DNA. When he's not at the Gavarni, he and his family are building three apartment buildings and two houses that are all environmentally friendly, even implementing gray water and natural building materials. “It's a small step for man, a huge step for mankind,” said Moraga with a smile when he described his personal projects. He's also just returned from a trek to the Antarctic where he documented the pristine natural habitat of seals and penguins through fabulous photos. “People say the Antarctic is 'all white,' it's not...It's blue!”
Moraga has given green a lot of thought as it pertains to Paris's hotel industry. He's come up with a number of good questions, one of which is why don't the tourist booking agencies, such as Thomas Cook, have a booking search filter for how green a hotel is? For example, people search for hotels based on cost, based on star ratings, so why not based on an Eco-Label rating? After all, it is well documented that the tasteful traveler today is ever increasingly choosing eco options.
He has goals to match his progressive thinking. “We'd love to get the chance to speak with the Minister of Tourism so we could talk about undertaking a campaign about what hotels are doing in Paris to be green. For example, to get a 5-star rating, a hotel should be required to implement at least 10% eco-friendly practices,” he suggests.
Progressively Green: Passy, Paris
A quick walk around the Passy neighborhood reveals even more good ideas. Across the street from the hotel is one of Paris's “Velib'” which are the bicycles on demand. For about 1 Euro per day, you can take one of the bikes, use it, then drop it off at the bicycle station nearest your next destination. On a Sunday afternoon, there were hundreds of Parisians and tourists alike on these bikes swarming the streets near the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero. Municipal programs such as these show that when the city and the citizens are on the same page, great (green) things can happen.
A direction to go in from here would be to focus on building energy retrofits throughout Paris. Moraga is quick to agree. In a city whose buildings predominantly fall under historical preservation, demolition is out of the question. Energy retrofits, including window replacement, however, would demonstrably cut down on energy consumption and also GHG emissions, of which buildings generate even more than transportation.
“It would be great, for example, if there were tax incentives and favorable terms for bank loans taken out specifically for energy efficiency building retrofits,” suggested Moraga. “This could also potentially create a number of good green jobs,” he noted.
Hotel Gavarni is located at 5, rue Gavarni. also Find them also on Facebook.

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15 June, 2010

Jet Set:Eco Fashion Goes Continental

by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff,.EcoStiletto

Last month’s assertment that Los Angeles was the epicenter of North American eco-fashion ruffled a few feathers—from New York to Canada. (“The Emerald City? Puhleeze!”) Our eco fashion part deux:


There’s eco-jewelry and then there’s fine eco-jewelry, the kind of serious pieces think about for a long time before you buy them—and wear them for a long time to come. New York-based jewelry designer Sandy Leong’s gorgeous, angular cocktail rings—crafted exclusively in recycled gold with fair trade gems like the one pictured above—are just those kinds of pieces, and have made fans of celebs like Zoe Saldana, Kristen Stewart, and Fergie. Not bad company to keep.


We’ve loved Lina Rennell and Ashley Watson separately for a while now—Lina for her swimsuits and Ashley for her upcycled leather jacket purses—but their new collaboration on a series of bags crafted from hand-printed organic cotton with recycled leather accents is a dream come true. With Ashley in New York, Lina in NorCal and the bags made in Canada, this is truly a multi-city offering.


There’s nothing basic about LABEL’s Tony tee. Crafted from the thinnest possible, tissue-weight lyocell, it’s equally at home at the beach as it is on the dance floor. Since 2007, LABEL has utilized all natural, organic, renewable or reclaimed fibers to make their sporty-meets-sexy designs. Can we get one in every color?


The genius behind eco-fashion mecca TEICH, Allison is a super-green geek—we say that ever-so-lovingly—who retrofitted her East Village location with vintage fixtures, low-VOC paints and energy-efficient lighting before opening in 2009. She offers a wide range of sustainable jewelry and accessories, mostly made locally in New York City, but our favorite is her eponymous line of TEICH handbags like this vegan ultrasuede, organic-cotton lined Nolita shoulder bag with the detachable vintage chain strap.


Vancouver-based Flora and Fauna specializes in sustainable separates, like this back-to-the-beach hoodie shrug crafted from organic bamboo and cotton and accented with coconut buttons. Plus, $2 of each sale goes to local animal rescue associations. (Cute dog not included.)


Brooklyn design house Feral Childe is known for their hand-drawn textile prints and construction details—a peplum here, a plume there—crafted from sustainable materials. Find them—and other cutting-edge eco-designs—at eco boutique body politic, which adheres to its sustainable ethics with recycled shipping boxes and an emphasis on low-carbon-footprint online catering to customers with emailed size recommendations and style tips.


Wear your inspiration on your sleeve? Try moving it up to your shoulder with Boston-based Pansy Maiden’s new Lady Day bag, inspired by Billie Holiday’s signature gardenia and crafted in all-vegan-all-the-time materials like organic twill and hemp. Sweet and rugged, dainty and durable—just like all our favorite heroines.


The steel canyons of Pittsburgh are crawling with green start-ups, despite the dirty reputation the industrial age has left with the city. Local designer Jonano pioneered the cultivation of eColorgrown cotton at a Brazilian artisan cooperative, where organic cotton grows in a rainbow of gorgeous colors without dyes, but we’re partial to their new line of water color dresses made from organic bamboo and cotton that look to us like a gorgeous cloudy sky—the perfect counterpoint to a sunny summer day.


We may love peace silk evening gowns, but even a green girl’s gotta work. We love Seattle-based Plaid Doctrine’s new line of vaguely preppy work bags crafted from vintage-inspired fabrics made from recycled bottles, accented by veggie-tanned leather. We’re snapping it all up, from briefcases to laptop totes to accessories like this smart—yes, we said it—purse organizer, which could very well double as a clutch. 


Winner of the first-ever eco-fashion “Designer of the Year” award from Fashion Takes Action, Canadian designer Nicole Bridger is an original innovator of the Vancouver sustainable fashion movement. Nicole learned about sculpting fabric while working with Vivienne Westwood, then applied the knowledge to fabrics such as naturally pest-resistant—and therefore truly organic—linen, like the beautiful Presence top, pictured below.


With its clean lines and innovative designs, Thieves spearheaded the Canadian eco-fashion movement when it was launched by designer Sonja den Elzen in 2006. Four years later, Thieves is still setting milestones—summer’s five-in-one tencel dress, which can be worn a myriad of ways, is a definite case in point. We can’t wait for next season, when the label introduces pieces crafted in beeswax organic cotton, like the wrap belt we’re sneak peeking here. Shhh.


There’s a reason Vancouver-based Nixxi has such a cult following: The line infuses refined classics with edgy, contemporary styles crafted in sustainable materials like hemp, soy and linen. Eco-dyed and sewn in fair-trade Canadian factories, this is a line with its ethics intact. Oh, and did we mention that each and every piece is ridiculously cute?


Leanne McElroy’s eponymous label hits sustainable fashion on every level. Not only do her clothes rock, but she manufactures through fair-trade cooperatives in Indonesia, where she also sources her certified organic or sustainable fabrics, including the buttery soft chambray tencel denim featured in these adorable slouchy trousers.


Soft buttery fabrics like micromodal and tencel—created from beech and eucalyptus trees using a “closed loop” process that isolates and recycles chemicals before wastewater is released—flatter most body types, while carefully-placed details such as gathers, pleats and ruffles make Vancouver-based Lav and Kush a staple of any ecoista’s closet.
So stop with the bickering, city girls! There’s definitely enough eco fashion to go around!

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