Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LEED for homes

Logo for LEED for Homes.The new LEED for homes standards are fully up and running (since January 2008) and are now gaining momentum and popularity across the country. If you are interested in building a green home and want the certification with the highest level of visibility and most brand recognition, LEED is definitely the way to go.

Integral to the certification is obtaining a HERS rating and becoming Energy Star eligible... In most areas of the country there are considerable financial incentives to do this. Generally the cost of the HERS rating is completely covered, and often you can gain extra money to cover the entire certification process plus some - these would all be in addition to the financial incentives that are locally and nationally available for your gas water heaters, solar power or water, insulation, energy star appliance rebates, etc. For information on what is available locally, check in with you local government or contact your local LEED for homes provider or field agent.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Eco-Friendly Pet Food

Is anybody else out there wondering what the heck is wrong with the picture when it comes to the growing popularity of "healthy" pet food products on the market...?

The gourmet pet food industry is booming these days, especially since the recent scares with melamine and other food contaminants in cheaper popular pet food brands.

Wysong, Solid Gold, Nutra, Wellness, and other brands are capitalizing big time on consumer interest in "organic", "natural", and "healthy" products...

So what's the problem? ...Well, has anyone noticed the inclusion, and supposed required criteria for these products of "human-grade" food? Are pets human? ...NO! Do they need "human-grade" food? ...NO! Absolutely not! Is it better for them? ...Without a doubt NO! If anything, it is worse.

You see, the important distinction between a "quality" pet food and a "cheap" food is actually the nutritional value and the lack of harmful additional products, hormones, pesticides, etc. as well as the quality control over manufacture of the product.

The first, and simplest problem with a lot of these so called "better" foods that include "human-grade" meats and grains, is that it is not what the animal prefers or requires... Both dogs and cats prefer the highly nutritional "byproducts" such as entrails, brain, spinal cord, bones, etc... What they do not need in the byproducts is the teeth and hair, but the food that should be used for human consumption is completely wasted on our pets.

What is worse is that it is completely unsustainable to use these high grade products for our animals. We simply do not have enough arable farm land to support the production of meats and grains for pets AND humans. With starving people all around the world, and with the rapid loss of natural habitat for wasteful farming practices it is unconscionable that we continue to purchase these products for our pets.

We are in desperate need of a healthy, byproduct-line of food for cats and dogs. What we should be demanding from the industry is that entrails and other "byproducts" of organic and sustainably produced meats and grains be used for the food. And... that the food is high quality and nutritionally complete. But please, everybody, stop trying to buy whole-chicken, whole-duck, beef, and other human-grade foods for your pets. you are only doing the rest of the world, AND your pets a huge disservice.

Sorry to my readers for being so preachy with this post, but wow, I simply cannot stand to sit by and watch the self-righteous, over-consumptive, or strangely misinformed argue for the need for "human-grade" for animals anymore. Stop the insanity!

Please do post to this if you are aware of any "good" pet foods out there that use quality by-products for their line of pet food. We could all use this information.