Monday, February 28, 2011

You dirty Skype polluter!!

General Electric has launched the other day “How much CO2 is created by…”, an application on their website created by designer David McCandless, where you can calculate the amount of emissions produced by simply daily routines. 

It seems in fact that Skype produces more CO2 emissions than Facebook (24 million tons/year against “just” 13.6 million tons). 

Here are some other curious data taken from this application:

TV: 1 Hour in front of a 15” tv produces 34 gr of CO2, 76 gr if you are using a 28”.
If you like to go big, as on a 42” plasma screen, you produce 220 gr per hour; (I’m in the middle so I don’t feel that guilty).

Phone: 1 minute of phonecall can be free on your operator but provides 57 gr of CO2 to the environment. According to ZDnet, Bridge Ratings says the average phone call is in general 3 minutes 15 seconds, producing then 185 gr of CO2. One text is just 0.014 gr!  Adding all the “txts 2 ur frnds 4 a yr” produce 51 gr, so it’s better to send texts than call, remember!

Food: an hamburger produces 2.5Kg of CO2 while a veggie burger, an orange or a slice of bread just 1Kg. 1.8Kg for 6 eggs, 720gr for a Bottle of milk, 210Kg for a year of coffee and 12Kg for a whole case of cheese, 900gr for an imported beer (happy beats burger).

Uh, this is interesting. I am getting married in August, so let’s see how much a wedding produces: a wedding with 100 guests produces 5 tons of CO2, a big style with 300 guests, about 85 tons. Let’s reduce the guestlist then!! (It’s for the environment, you know…)

Sport: a football match produces 820 tons of CO2. The world championship has produced a total of 2.8 million tons. And the rest I’d say if you calculate all the “extras” around it.

Population: now, here I will get some bad feedback from my friends all over the world, but these are the numbers. Number one pollutants seem to be Australians, with 30 tons of CO2 per person yearly, followed by Americans (28), 15 for British and surprise surprise just 3.3 for a chinese (tons of CO2, lets remember) and at the end my friend africans with just 1 ton per person/year.

Just to remind everyone, a VW Beetle weights 1 ton, so make the comparisons…

Travelling: a flight NY to Miami emits 193kg per person. Every day on Europe skies are produced 560.000 tons of CO2. (Yes, 560.000 VW Beetles). If you count ALL the flights in one day all over the world, we are at 670 million tons of CO2. Still making the VW Beetle example uh? A night in a hotel produces just 25Kg. No smoking room, obviously.

So, what is Zero emission?
An apple just picked from a tree (at the supermarket it’s 80gr and imported from abroad 150gr). Zero emission is drying your clothes on the line outside or, a nice warm bath with solar energy heated water.

This post has produced about 20gr of CO2, Not bad indeed!

Here is the website: How Much CO2 is created by...
Original post taken from: here

Friday, February 25, 2011

New MacBookPro from Apple with a good eye on the Environment

Cupertino, CA. February 25th, 2011. February is always the month of news from Apple! After spending like crazy and getting the newest gadget for Christmas, here comes after 2 months a newer and better version of what you got so impatiently!

Voila’: the new MacBook Pro are out. They are faster, better, and more environmentally friendly. I am not getting into all the new specs of these new versions (Thunderbolt, Graphic etc.) but I am actually admiring the section that Apple has deliberately put online regarding the environment and how much CO2 is produced by each model.

First of all, congratulations for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Energy Star qualification for the MacBook Pro low power consumption obtained. That is already a very good start. Secondly, lets enter more in detail about the energy savings of these new products:

(from the Apple Website)


·      Efficient power supply.

MacBook Pro includes a highly efficient power supply that reduces the amount of power wasted when bringing electricity from the wall to your computer. Lower power consumption reduces energy bills and lessens the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

·      Advanced power management.

Unlike a lot of Windows-based PC systems, MacBook Pro uses energy-efficient hardware components that work hand in hand with the operating system to conserve power. Mac OS X activates sleep mode on already energy-efficient LED-backlit displays. And it balances tasks across both central processors and graphics processors. Mac OS X never misses a power-saving opportunity, no matter how small. It even regulates the processor between keystrokes, reducing power between the letters you type. That’s just one of many ways Apple manages small amounts of power that add up to big savings.


MacBook Pro meets the stringent low power requirements set by the EPA in their ENERGY STAR 5.2 qualification. ENERGY STAR 5.2 sets significantly higher efficiency limits for power supplies and aggressive limits for the computer’s typical annual power consumption.


The greatest environmental challenge facing the computer industry today is the presence of arsenic, brominated flame retardants (BFRs), mercury, phthalates, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in products. Apple engineers have worked hard to eliminate BFRs and PVC from MacBook Pro circuit boards, internal and external cables, connectors, insulators, adhesives, and more.1 And they’ve eliminated many other toxins that are a common part of notebook computer manufacturing — choosing, for example, mercury-free backlighting and arsenic-free glass for the MacBook Pro display.


Every MacBook Pro comes in a smaller package than it used to — including our most popular model, the 13-inch, which ships in packaging that’s 41 percent smaller than the original. And smaller boxes are much better for the planet. Because smaller boxes mean we can fit more boxes on each shipping pallet. Which means more products will fit on each boat and plane. Which means fewer boats and planes are used, resulting in fewer CO2 emissions. It’s one seemingly minor change. But it has a major positive impact on our environment.


Recyclable materials.
Apple has minimized the waste when MacBook Pro reaches end of life through its ultraefficient design and the use of aluminum, which recyclers can reuse for other products.
Free recycling for your old computer.
If you live in the U.S., Apple offers a free recycling program for old computers and displays with the purchase of any new Mac.

Here are some information about the Apple Environmental plan: 


The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT, evaluates the environmental impact of a product based on how recyclable it is, how much energy it uses, and how it’s designed and manufactured. Through its innovative and environmentally friendly design, MacBook Pro has earned the highest rating of EPEAT Gold.


Apple’s life cycle analysis accounts for all emissions associated with our products. That includes raw material extraction, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, a three- or four-year period of use,3 and recycling. In the course of this analysis, we determined that more than 95 percent of Apple’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from the products we make.

If you want to see how much CO2 is produced by your (future) brand new MacBook Pro, here are the pdf with the Environmental specs.

13” MacBook Pro: Environmental Specs
15” MacBook Pro: Environmental Specs
17” MacBook Pro: Environmental Specs

Obviously the smaller the better. Congratulations anyway to Apple for taking care of the Environment and always be transparent on the energy and environmental issues of its products. 

A solar Bicycle path that generates Solar Energy in the Netherlands

Amsterdam, February 21st, 2010. The Dutch government is launching next to Amsterdam the project SolaRoad, a bicycle lane that can generate energy from the sun. At the moment it is been tested but they’re hoping that it will be activated within the next year.

The solar-lane will be powered by a system of concrete blocks covered by a 1 cm width layer of silicon solar cells and by a layer of toughed glass. The SolaRoad will produce around 50 kWh per meter squared every year. The electricity generated will be then used for traffic lights, road illumination or houses nearby.

The first bicycle lane will be created in Krommenie, next to Amsterdam. The project has been developed by TNO, a research institute alongside the Province of North Holland, the Ooms Avenhorn Group and Imtecha; if successful it will be produced in many other cities.

For more information,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Earth Hour, March 26th 2011 and some considerations.

Early last week, Earth Hour's 2011 TV commercial began sweeping the globe with a call for people everywhere to take action for our planet and switch off their lights for one hour at 8.30pm on Saturday 26 March. 

But Earth Hour 2011 – and its people-powered TVC - comes with a big plus this year and encourages everyone to go ‘beyond the hour’ by doing something that has ongoing benefits for the environment. 

“The concept behind the ad goes along with the idea of Earth Hour, of people coming together to achieve a unified goal. The ad itself involved over 100 people coming together to form various images that pertain to Earth Hour,” says commercial director Greg Jardin:

“We have the image of a globe, we have the image of a bike because this year is ‘Earth Hour Plus’, so in addition to people turning off their lights, people are encouraged to do one other thing to save the environment - so in this case it’s ride their bike to work,” he added.  

Developed by the creative minds at Leo Burnett and produced by Radical Media, the ad’s over 100 Earth Hour volunteers illustrate that every pixel counts – quite literally.

(WWF International Website, 2011)

The Earth Hour is surely a big worldwide event; great in theory, but I am not sure if it has a strong feedback in practice. Unfortunately this is the example of radical changes in people. You cannot turn off the light drastically, but you have to make a small little change that can change people’s wrong behavior.

Many countries for instance have already started several plans to change all the light bulbs in commerce from incandescent to eco-friendly. 

Since September 1st 2009 Europe (Ireland?) has started to say goodbye to the incandescent light bulbs to be replaced by the high-energy efficiency ones.

Changing to HEE or LED lighbulbs will save worldwide around 46 billions of electricity and 239 million tons of CO2. In Europe we will save about 10 billions in electricity and emissions will be reduced of 38 million tons. (2009,

Global Service Jam 2011

From March 11th to 13th, 2011 I will participate to this interesting Design Marathon in Dublin. It's a 48hrs Design Brainstorming.

As the site says it's 

"a worldwide event that brings people together to develop, prototype and share new services. With over 40 cities and hundreds of participants, this will be one of the largest service design events ever, and you can take part!"

Rules are pretty simple:
"You don’t need to come with an idea or a team, just enthusiasm and an open-mind.
You might be interested in this event if you work, study or are just interested in services, people, technology, graphics, products, environments, business, marketing, or user experience. Over the weekend, experienced service design mentors will support groups in developing new services around a global theme". 
Not bad uh? There are already 25 people signed in, but I'd say there will be more...
Check out the closest city next to you. There might be one and we can keep in contact!
Here's a video that explains what is it like: GSJ 2011 Video
And here is the website of the event: Global Service Jam 2011

Graduation and new beginning

February 19th, 2011: Graduation for the MSc in Sustainable Development, Dublin Institute of Technology, DIT, Ireland.

I finally got graduated! What an achievement! It has been a great and tough year, above all the exams and the essays (writing scientific essays in a foreign language is not the easiest thing ever).
I have met great friends and people and I am very happy of my progress.
So, let's start immediately with this new chapter in my life, plenty of things to manage and organise:

Myself and my two collegues Joanne Kindregan and Janine Kennedy Fairitear are creating a NEW Sustainable and Social Incubator (Hub) for recently graduated designers. We are now proceeding with the written statement and first contacts. In a week we have met already so many people and got so many contacts! Thank you to Gordon, Lorna, Mark, Helen, Karan.
Next step is a physical place where to begin, we have few contacts already. In two weeks I think we might be ready to start. We also might need some funding, so if anyone know or is interested....

Also, I am opening this Blog. I really think that nowadays sharing information and networks is fundamental to get credibility and been recognised all over the world, so let's do it!

In this sustainable and social Design Blog i will try to insert all the biggest and interesting news that are happening all over the world in Sustainability and Social Design.

Feel free to comment!!!