Archive for September, 2011

Hagadone goes solar in a big way

September 27th, 2011

Hagadone recently installed a 433.7-kW solar PV system on its rooftop at a cost of $2.7 million. Hagadone will be able to sell excess energy back to HECO at market rates. Photo courtesy Hagadone.

Hagadone recently installed a 433.7-kw solar PV system on its rooftop. With the feed-in tariff program, excess energy will be sold back to HECO at market rates. Photo courtesy Hagadone.

Hagadone Printing Company, which prints most glossy magazines and brochures in Hawaii, has gone solar.

The company installed a 433-7-kW solar PV system on its rooftop, with a total of 1,408 panels spread across 25,000 square feet of existing roof space. That's a pretty large system (RevoluSun did the job).

With a price tag of $2.7 million, the new PV system is expected to power a quarter of the energy used by its administrative and printing operations.

It's also one of the first commercial installations to take advantage of HECO's feed-in tariff program. That means that any excess energy produced by Hagadone will by purchased by HECO at market rate prices.

The system is expected to save Hagadone more than $160,000 in electricity costs in its first year, and to pay for itself in about six years. I would imagine other commercial businesses will follow suit.

Hagadone also offers a carbon offset program in partnership with natureOfficeUSA.

Get on your bike

September 23rd, 2011

Got a bike?


Moving Planet encourages people to get moving and get off fossil fuels. Courtesy Photo.

Then you're invited to join Moving Planet Waikiki as the tail unit in the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade tomorrow.

You will be part of a global movement. Events are taking place all across the globe on Sept. 24.

Moving Planet, a group rallying for safer streets for bicyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians, invites anyone to join in, wearing a floral lei. If you don't want to ride a bike, you can also walk — or skip.

The idea for Moving Planet came from, a global campaign against climate change mobilizing through grassroots organizers in 188 countries.

The parade starts at 9 a.m. at Ala Moana Beach Park and finishes at Kapiolani Park around noon. Moving Planet is meeting before 9 a.m. at the Ewa end of Ala Moana Park (You can look for Moving Planet blue arrows and bikes). You will need to sign a waiver, which you can find on Moving Planet's Facebook page or at the meeting spot.

Moving Planet's goal is to "get moving beyond fossil fuels," both physically and politically. Organizer Robyn Petterson, a student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, says: "Now is the time to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and MOVE!"

Questions? You can send an e-mail to

Plastic debris in Antarctic waters

September 19th, 2011

The Tara research vessel sailing under a full moon on its way to Hawaii. Photo by J. Girardot/Tara Expeditions.

The Tara research vessel sailing under a full moon on its way to Hawaii. Photo by J. Girardot/Tara Expeditions.

The Tara,  a 118-foot schooner and research vessel, is arriving in Honolulu today, just as scientists reported findings of plastic pollution in Antarctic waters, meaning that plastic pollution has found its way to even the most remote parts of the globe. Tara is heading this way after a stop in Tahiti.

The TARA Foundation for Marine Research and Algalita launched a new three-year voyage in late 2010, including the Antarctic Ocean.

During this leg of the voyage, scientists on board the Tara gathered samples of material filtered from the Antarctic Ocean. Every sample taken from the Antarctic Ocean contained plastic with the count of between 956 and 42,826 pieces per kilometer collected at or near the ocean's surface.

At every sampling station, a special surface net will be lowered into the water for an hour and half to collect particles of plastic.

Algalita will analyze the data collected by Tara, focusing on the impacts on marine life as well as human health. Of particular concern is how floating pieces of plastics in the ocean absorb toxins, which then enter the food web. Scientists will also study the effects of global warning on coral reefs.

Tara heads to San Diego and New York next, following its stop in Honolulu, and will continue to monitor the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Posted in Ocean | 2 Comments »

International Coastal Cleanup

September 16th, 2011

HECO employees and friends picked up 427 used tires during a beach cleanup at Kahe Point last year. The Ocean Conservancy's 26th annual International Coastal Cleanup is Saturday, Sept. 17. Photo courtesy HECO.

HECO employees and friends picked up 427 used tires during a beach cleanup at Kahe Point last year. The Ocean Conservancy's 26th annual International Coastal Cleanup is Saturday, Sept. 17. Photo courtesy HECO.

It's time for the 26th annual International Coastal Cleanup this Saturday, Sept. 17.

For the pat 25 years, nearly nine million volunteers from 152 countries have picked up 145 million pounds of trash from the shores of lakes, streams, rivers and the ocean on this one day. The movement is called "Get The Drift & Bag It."

You, too, can join them on Oahu, from the windward to the leeward side.

Beach cleanups are planned on Saturday at the following beaches:

  • Kailua Beach Park, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Join Plastic Free Kailua, which welcomes volunteers to help pick up, sort and count trash from the beach with fine, soft sand. Check-in time is 10 a.m. near the Canoe House, main parking lot. At noon, join Plastic Free Kailua for a trash count and low-impact potluck lunch plus raffle prizes from Whole Foods, Muumuu Heaven and Global Village.
  • Ali‘i Beach Park at the Haleiwa Surf Center. 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Check-in starts at 8:45 a.m. Volunteers will weigh trash, recycle and compile data cards for the Ocean Conservancy. Bring buckets, grocery bags, sunscreen, hats, work gloves, pens and a snack to share. Also, if you haven't seen it yet, "Bag It" is being shown for free at Patagonia Haleiwa (66-250 Kamehameha Hwy) from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, too.
  • Chun's Reef in Haleiwa. 10 a.m.-noon. Visit for more details.
  • Sand Island Beach Park. 10 a.m.-noon. Meet at the ewa side end of Sand Island Access Rd. Organized by the Surfrider Foundation. Bring reusable canvas bags and gloves. Sponsors Hoku Solar and Pilates Advantage will provide free food and a raffle.
  • Malaekahana Beach Park,  Kahuku end. 9-11 a.m.
  • Makua Beach Park. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Over and under the beach cleanup — you can choose to dive and pick up underwater trash or help others clean up the dive entry area. Visit for more details.

Kudos to the 100 or so Hawaiian Electric employees, retirees, families and friends who plan to clean up the shoreline fronting the Kahe Power Plant from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. If you know someone from HECO, perhaps you could pitch in.

In 2010, HECO volunteers collected 8,500 pieces of trash at the site, nearly half attributed to shoreline  activities that generate fast food wrappers, beverage bottles and plastic utensils. HECO's tally: 427 used tires, 2,933 cigarette butts, 1.023 pieces of fishing and boat-related items and 31 medical/personal hygiene-related items that were picked up and properly disposed of.

Results from the marine debris collection are used in an annual report produced by The Ocean Conservancy. This may well be the last data collected from  beach clean-ups before debris from the Japan tsunami start appearing on Hawaii's shores.

The Kokua Hawaii Foundation also has a great Plastic Free Schools Educator's Resource guide.

Garden grants for Hawaii's schools

September 12th, 2011

Gardens not only teach kids where their food comes from, but how to eat healthy. Photo courtesy Whole Kids Foundation.

Gardens not only teach kids where their food comes from, but how to eat healthy. Whole Foods is now accepting donations for garden grants. Photo courtesy Whole Kids Foundation.

While ringing up your goods at Whole Foods Market, you can now conveniently donate $1 or $5  to Whole Kids Foundation, which offers grants for gardens in schools.

The newly launched Whole Kids Foundation is offering $2,000 grants apiece to schools or groups that want to launch or expand garden projects from now through Dec. 31. A total of 1,000 grants are available.

The Foundation was launched in order to increase children's access to healthy foods.

Last year, for instance, Whole Foods partnered with F3 (the Food, Family, Farming Foundation) for its salad bar project, in which it helped install 57 salad bars in schools across the U.S., including Halau Ku Mana and Waikiki School (Oahu), Kanuikapono Public Charter School and Kapaa High School (Kauai) and Haleakala Waldorf School, Hana School and Kihei Charter School (Maui).

Public, private and charter schools as well as community gardening groups can submit applications at

On a national level, the Environmental Working Group in Washington DC is also rallying for new government guidelines for marketing unhealthy foods to children to combat childhood obesity. EWG is asking for your help in telling the CEOs of 13 major food manufacturers (including General Mills, Kellogg's, Kraft and McDonald's) to market healthier food to kids instead of junk food.

The EWG suggested food companies voluntary adopt two principles: to make a meaningful contribution to a healthful diet by containing a significant amount of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products or extra lean meat. Also, to have only "minimal quantities of nutrients that could have a negative impact on health and weight," such as sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and added sugars.

It's interesting when you look at the list of ingredients under foods packaged specifically for kids – you really have to be careful — sometimes sugar and high fructose corn syrup are second on the list, especially in boxed cereals and even in biscuits geared towards toddlers.

Swap your bulbs at Kakaako Makai Marketplace

September 2nd, 2011

Every Friday evening for the month of September, the non-profit group, Hale Kipa, is holding a CFL Exhange fundraiser at Kakaako Makai Marketplace.

Swap your incandescent bulb for a CFL. Photo courtesy Blue Planet Foundation.

Swap your incandescent bulb for a CFL. Photo courtesy Blue Planet Foundation.

Hale Kipa will man a booth at the market where you can swap your incandescent bulbs (which are slated to be phased out next year, by the way) for CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) courtesy of the Blue Planet Foundation.

Blue Planet provides Hale Kipa with 1,000 of the CFLs, and pays 40-cents for each light bulb exchanged. Hale Kipa in turn will be able to use those funds to support local youth at risk programs.

If you're interested in learning more about how your group or non-profit can raise funds through Blue Planet's CFL Exchange Program, click here.

Kakaako Makai Marketplace is a new farmers' market focused on promoting local Hawaiian aloha, produce, artisans, fishermen chefs, farers, crafters, performers and historians. It defines itself as a "sustainable and green marketplace" where GMO products, Styrofoam and non-biodegradable plastics are kapu (forbidden).

Some of the vendors include Aikane Coffee from Ka‘u, Baker Dudes from the North Shore, Khamphout Farm, Leialoha's Coconut Creamery, Ono and Pono Foods and Farm Fresh Hawaii.

Besides a beginning hula and Hawaiian language class, the market recently decided to add ukulele classes on Friday nights.

The marketplace meets Fridays from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at Kakaako Makai Gateway Park (mauka area) and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kakaako Makai Piano Lot.

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