sustainability

Recycling
12:09 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

On America Recycles Day, UT Students Go for the Record with Box Castle

A student works on the box castle.
Emily Mathis for KUT News

The sound of masking tape being stretched and torn, cardboard boxes being folded, and students laughing and chattering filled Gregory Plaza on Friday morning, as more than a hundred students gathered to build the first cardboard box castle at the University of Texas.

The box building comes as a part of America Recycles Day, and the project is quickly becoming a national fad. In universities across the country, students gather to build a temporary structure made entirely of cardboard boxes and held together with masking tape.

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Weird
2:51 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Coming Soon to Austin Parks: Brush-Clearing Goats?

A Swede Farm goat chows down on some poison ivy at the SFC East Market.
Courtesy of Sustainable Food Center

The Sustainable Food Center's East Austin farmer's market had a perennially irritating problem: Poison ivy was blocking a portion of the market's space. They couldn't use chemicals or herbicides — it wouldn't exactly jive with their goal of sustainability. 

So they got creative, turning to a four-legged, environmentally (and people) friendly alternative: Goats.

Now, Austin parks may be looking to adopt the strategy to beautify green spaces across the city, as well.

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Environment
12:31 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Texas Ranks Tenth in U.S. for Sustainable Building

UT's LEED Gold certified Student Activity Center.
University of Texas at Austin

Texas ranks tenth in the country in Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. That's according to a report issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that issues LEED certification.

The LEED 100-point scale rates the design, construction, and operation of buildings, neighborhoods, and homes to promote sustainable infrastructure. It looks at factors such as sustainability, water and energy efficiency, materials, indoor environmental quality, as well as design and innovation to issue one of four different levels of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

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Environment
12:35 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

City Switch To Green Energy To Cost $6 Million Over 10 Years

Photo by Austin Energy

The City of Austin says it will become the largest local government in the United States to be powered entirely by renewable electricity when it flicks the switch on Saturday. The move is estimated to cost taxpayers $6 million over ten years.

“It’s a commitment you make to further the goal of reducing carbon emissions,” Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell told KUT News. “That’s a value to everybody that lives in the city.”

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Environment
12:12 pm
Wed June 15, 2011

The EPA Really Likes This Natural Water Filter In South Austin

Austin was praised by the EPA as one of the top ten cities for green infrastructure, specifically because of the Lundelius-McDaniels Water Quality Pond in South Austin, which acts as a natural water filter for storm runoff.
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Updated for Correction

Austin is one of ten model cities for environmentally friendly infrastructure, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Specifically, the EPA says the Lundelius-McDaniels Water Quality Pond – a natural water filter in South Austin that removes pollutants from storm runoff draining back into the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer.

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Environment
12:17 pm
Fri April 22, 2011

Buy Stuff, Help Earth

View in a larger map

It's Earth Day, in case no one told you already, and all the businesses plotted on the map above (also listed here) have vowed to contribute 5 percent of their gross receipts today to local non-profits devoted to ecological preservation and the environment.

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Environment
1:01 pm
Thu April 21, 2011

City Council Approves New Energy Rules For Apartment Homes

Woodwillow Townhomes in South Austin is among the 1,000 apartment complexes in Austin affected by the new ordinance.
Photo by KUT News

Austin City Council approved new rules this morning that could have a big impact on the owners of apartment buildings and the people who live in them. The Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) Ordinance will require multifamily property owners to conduct specialized audits that reveal the energy efficiency of apartments and townhomes. That information would be disclosed to tenants, and the most inefficient buildings would require upgrades.

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Environment
3:01 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Plastic Bags Could Be Banned In Austin

Plastic shopping bags will be banned in Brownsville this week. Austin is reportedly considering another attempt to do the same thing later this year.
Image by KUT News

Austin city leaders have been talking about banning plastic bags at stores for a while, but signs for such an ordinance look strong this year. 

“We have a report that we’ve been working on, on the cost impact of plastic bags. That study has been presented to City Hall, we hope to have that in the hands of city council within a couple of weeks,” said Bob Gedert, the City of Austin’s Solid Waste Services director.

That report has not been released to the public yet.

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Environment
4:31 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

How Would Peak Oil Affect Your Life?

Drivers currently clog I-35 in downtown Austin and other highways, but some experts say that could disappear in a matter of decades for lack of oil.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.

Nationally, gas prices are hovering around $3 a gallon these days. It’s far off the record price of more than $4.10 in the summer of 2008. Remember those days? Well, what about $5 dollar, even $10 dollar a gallon for gas?

To understand the rest of this story, you need to get one concept: peak oil.

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FOOD
2:53 pm
Wed December 8, 2010

Eat Local Week Continues Until Saturday

Watch this video by KUT's Peter Babb to get inspired for the remaining four days of Eat Local Week. It's an event sponsored by Edible Austin magazine that encourages Austinites to learn about and indulge in locally produced food. Proceeds go to Urban Roots, a non-profit that helps high needs kids learn about sustainable agriculture.

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sustainability
4:08 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

Dell Is Greenest Large Company in America Says Newsweek

Dell tops a Newsweek list ranking the "greenness" of the 500 largest companies in the US
Image courtesy Flickr user dontthinkfeel http://www.flickr.com/photos/dontthinkfeel/

Newsweek just released its second annual green ranking of America's 500 largest companies. Topping the list is Round Rock-based Dell, which employs about 16,000 people in Central Texas.

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