Sick of polyester leisure suits? Try on a new bamboo sweater.

Read the full story in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Organic products have penetrated fruit stands and dairy coolers. Now they’re popping up on shelves stocked with jeans and T-shirts as fashion businesses move swiftly to cash in on a growing demand for all things natural.

Big-name companies are developing clothes made with organically grown cotton — and, in some cases, even hemp and bamboo. And while they chase the new business opportunities, they tout a wide range of definitions for what constitutes organic clothing. Generally, they mean it’s made from fabric produced without chemicals or pesticides.

See also a related article in the Independent. Evidently, the use of organic products in the fashion industry is a hot topic this week.

Kiwis Lick Renewable Energy

Via Treehugger:

Just this week New Zealand made all green philatelists salivate. They released a series of stamps celebrating the fact that over 60% of the country’s electricity is generated as renewable energy via their hydro schemes (90c).

The stamps not only reflect the influence of this source of fossil fool free energy, but myriad other forms too. The largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere is at Tararua, Palmerston, supplying juice to 30,000 homes (45c). The biogas technology used at Waikato is said to be able to service a similar number of houses near to such facilities throughout the country ($1.35).

Long before Lord of the Rings fever hit , the Land of the Long White Cloud was attracting tourists to its geothermal wonders, which have also been harnessed to provide 18% of primary energy needs ($1.50). And finally our old fav Solar, shown here on the $2 stamp, powering a remote lighthouse. (and yeh, we know you don’t have to lick—or luck, as a Kiwi might say—stamps anymore, but the wordplay just tickled our fancy.) ::NZ Post, via Groovy Green. Thanks Michael.

EcoDesign Conference on Energy using Products (EuP)

Via Treehugger:

In the pipeline for a bunch of years the European Union directive on Energy using Products (EuP) was tabled late last year. Aimed at the energy efficiency and sustainability of any product that requires power to operate, it will impact the design of any of new products introduced into Europe.

A conference was held last month, aimed at developing an understanding of what this all means for designers, and their companies, keen to do, or continue, business in Europe (and other regions implementing similar measures). A similar conference was held earlier this year in Thailand, which we noted here. It was also under the auspices of the British Centre for Sustainable Design, a leader in bringing this issues to the fore.

The CFSD believe that eco-design processes hold the solutions to these increasingly prevalent design issues. Particularly, one assumes, with other directives like Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) already making their mark. ::Centre for Sustainable Design, via ::Dexigner. (Thanks Pat, for the date clarification)

Teaching Kids to Go Green

Read the full article at Treehugger.

While we believe that the best way to raise children to become Treehuggers is to get them out into the natural world regularly and often, we certainly think green schools will also play an important role in creating the next generation of environmentally-aware citizens around the world.

So, we’re delighted to see that the Go Green Initiative, founded in 2002 by PTA president and concerned mom Jill Buck, already has tangible results to show from its efforts “to create a culture of conservation on campus.” During the 2005-06 school year, the eighty schools in five US states participating in the program reported impressive numbers in terms of waste diversion.

Just a reminder to check out WMRC’s Greening Schools web site for extensive information on this topic.

Energy-efficiency installations are up

Read the full story in the Salem (OR) Statesman-Journal.

Nearly 183,000 Oregon households and businesses installed energy-efficient appliances and equipment in 2005, setting a record, according to the annual report of the Energy Trust of Oregon.

Environmentally Healthier Coffee Inching Toward Mainstream

Read the full tip sheet from the Society for Environmental Journalists.

The world’s No. 1 commodity, oil, has been dominating headlines. Coffee, next in line at about $60 billion annually, doesn’t have as many international security twists, but it’s making news that has ties to the environment and political hotspots.

For several decades, there have been various international efforts to make coffee growing more environmentally friendly. Those efforts have slowly gained ground, with some added motivation during recent periods when variable demand and supply and severe weather added even more volatility to the coffee market. One result has been a focus by growers and producers on the benefits of increasing perceived value so they can charge a higher price.

They have succeeded to some degree, as so-called “sustainably-produced” coffees have captured a small but growing share of the world market, around 3%. Of that share, organic coffee has 0.6% of the market in the major consuming countries, and last year in the US it grew about 50% from 2004 to 2005, according to the Organic Trade Association’s Coffee Council: Facts About Organic Coffee and release.

Ceramic microspheres ("vacuum beads" ) added to paint for house insulation

Via Hugg. Find out more from the Hy-Tech web site.

These “insulating paint products are based upon”(…) “insulating ceramic microspheres or “vacuum beads”, that are designed specifically for mixing into paints, coatings and composites to form a tight interlocking matrix which reduces conductive heat through the painted surface. The ceramic barrier reflects up to 90% of the heat back to the source.” Works both ways, for cooling and for heating.