Our “recycled” Baby Planet Unity Sport Stroller

We just purchased a “recycled” Baby Planet Unity Sport Stroller.  We have outgrown our Snap N Go Infant Carrier and have been shopping around for a new stroller.  We first had to choose between tandem or side-by-side.  The Snap N Go was a tandem and while I think it is a good product, I think the side-by-side is better for my children as they can sit next to each other a keep each other company.

We considered the Peg Prego Aria Twin, Spider Duo, Dreamer Design Double Jogging Stroller and the Baby Planet Unity Sport Stroller.  Some of the most important things that we were concerned about was 1) size and weight; 2) durability; 3) price; and for me 4) innovation (I’m a sucker for technology).  While out shopping and trying them out we had a hard time fitting some of these strollers into our trunk.  That immediately ruled out a few of them.  The next thing was price.  Some of these strollers are up around $800-900.  That ruled out a few more.

The stroller that best fit our needs is the Baby Planet Unity Sport Stroller.  I don’t think I could be any happier with it.  The few cool things about this stroller is that it has a unique “easy steer” handle that allows you to turn this stroller around on a dime.  It also is super compact when it folds up.  It easily fits into our trunk and we have room for other stuff too!  One other big bonus is about the company itself — the company has a strong sustainability statement.

They are concerned about the negative impact of having more stuff getting tossed into the landfills.  When you’re done with your stroller and have no more use for it.  They will either help you find another family that can use it or they will take it back and have the stroller dismantled and all parts will be properly recycled by an accredited recycling company.  Is this a coincidence or pattern that my purchasing decisions seem to be frequently aligned with companies that also have a commitment to sustainability?

I also need to say that the price of a new Baby Planet Unity Sport Stroller is around $320. For a very in-depth review, I recommend that you read a review by Nancy at the MWS blog.  She provides tips about the stroller that I would have never figured out had I not read about it.

Better than a hybrid, get a recycled all-electric car

I was at the Issaquah Train Show today with my son and out in front of the event was an all-electric vehicle. I was standing around looking at electric train sets and had the pleasure of talking with volunteer Jeff Finn who was helping keep the trains moving around the track. It turns out that Jeff is the one that owns the all-electric car. I had a very enlightening conversation with him as I got to ask a lot of questions about ownership of such a vehicle.

Jeff started building his car in December of 2007 and completed it in March 2008. The vehicle was a 2000 Chevrolet Metro. He picked up the vehicle for $250 and told me that it barely ran when he bought it. He said if you’re looking to build an all-electric it’s best to find one where the engine has been blown as it’s going to be ripped out anyway. He said he invested about $8,000 in parts and another $5,000 in labor for a total project cost of $13,000.

The vehicle can go 50 miles on a full charge. The top speed is approximately 70 mph which is much faster than your neighborhood electric car. He said he wanted a vehicle that he could drive on the freeway. The vehicle is powered on 21 golf cart batteries (21deep cycle 6V lead acid batteries in series for 126V total). The batteries cost about $80 a piece.

I told him I was installing an electric car charging station at thinkspace and wanted to know how fast his electric car charged. He told me that it takes 4 hours @ 220V or 8 hours @ 110V. Since people are generally working all day, it would be simple to just put in a 110V outlet for the charging station. However, when running your own business inside thinkspace you might want to work smarter and get your work done in four hours so you can go spend more time with family and friends. The quick charger reminds me of my childhood when I had RC cars and couldn’t wait even 15 minutes to get a full charge so I could get playing again. Same thing here, only I’m no longer 13 years old.

With fuel prices where they are today and only climbing higher I had to ask how much he spends on charging his electric car. He said it costs about $30 in electricity per month. So for roughly a $1 per day you can drive your car as you normally would. This of course, in a zero emission vehicle! Pretty much makes a hybrid look expensive and a traditional vehicle look ridiculously expensive to drive. I had a different conversation a week ago with my friend Mike who wants to build a house where he can get an electric car that is charged from Photovoltaic solar panels on his roof. Now, that is the ultimate in energy efficiency!

I have a deposit down for a Smart ForTwo car but on Monday I’m going to withdraw my deposit. The EPA rates the fuel economy at 36 mpg. I would have expected more from a small vehicle like that. I’m going to take a serious look at an all-electric car, perhaps, my friend Dane can help me build one!

For more information about Jeff’s all-electric car you can check out his Volt Runner website. He’s pimped his ride, so hopefully soon, he’ll post some photos of that on his website. He’s also a member of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association (SEVA).

For those of you that are driving an all-electric car, I’d like to hear about what kind of maintenance is required for these kinds of vehicles.

Green Office Suites and Coworking Right in Redmond!

On July 24, 2008, Amy Woidtke (woid-key) wrote an article in the Examiner.com about thinkspace!  Amy came into thinkspace a week ago and I had a very good time talking to her about the space and gave her a tour as well.  In addition to writing for the Examiner’s Green Living section, Amy is a sustainable interior decor stylist and runs her business Ecokind Design.  Amy’s article can be viewed here: “Green Office Suites and Co-working Right in Redmond”.

Running on WordPress 2.6

We’ve been liberated from WordPress.com and are now running a self-hosted blog. We’ve changed our blog url too. If you’re reading this, you may have noticed that we’re no longer at blog.thinkspace.com — rather we are now at thinkspace.com/blog. If you’re noticing any anomalies please send me an email or leave me some feedback. Thanks.

Thinkspace a place of building connections and strengthening our community

On June 30, 2008, Thinkspace had it’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.  Thinkspace broke new ground by being the first building in the Puget Sound Region to market pre-certified, “green” LEED-compliant executive office suites with a carbon neutral option. The 25,000 square feet of executive office suites is located at 8201 164th Avenue in downtown Redmond. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Thinkspace is the 7th largest executive office suite in the Puget Sound Region and the largest in Redmond. Thinkspace provides private offices, coworking space, virtual offices, meeting rooms, and hosted software.

Peter Chee, CEO of Thinkspace, states “I’m looking forward to working closely with Chris Hoffman, President of the Chamber of Commerce and we are looking to build a strong community inside Thinkspace and the City of Redmond.  We’re planning on holding events for the business community and are also looking to coordinate brown bag lunches where businesses can learn more about how to operate their business in a sustainable manner”.

Mayor John Marchione was on hand for the ribbon cutting.  “Building businesses in Redmond is about building connections and Thinkspace is another place of building connections and strengthening our business community and strengthening our community as a whole,” Marchione said.

Party supplies made from potatoes

Last week we had our ribbon cutting ceremony for thinkspace. My wife and I were talking about what kinds of food to provide to our guests and how should we handle the waste at the end of the party. We wanted to make sure that since we’re having a party we should try to green it up as much as possible. She found these awesome forks — called Spudware. The forks are biodegradable and compostable. They are made from 80% potatoes and 20% soy. They are amazingly sturdy and are stronger than some of the plastic forks I’ve used in the past. One really cool fact about these forks is that they are not one time use! They actually are dishwasher safe as they can handle high heat. The manufacturer says that have a shelf life of 5 years. This is a nice alternative to plastic disposable forks and perfect for those office party events.

Sustainable Red

I’ve been busy with so many things lately and I’ve even decided to take a little time off.  I was at Whole Foods Market in Redmond today and was browsing the wine aisle looking for a new wine to buy.  One that caught my eye was “Sustainable Red 2005” a Parducci Family Farmed Winery.  They are touting that their wine comes from the first carbon neutral winery in the United States.

Their story is that they run their winery on both solar and wind power.  They also have to purchase carbon credits and offsets to achieve carbon neutrality.  Approximately half of their 400 acre vineyard is organic with the remaining 50% being converted to organic.

The big deal is how does this wine taste?  I just opened up the bottle and am having a glass while I blog this article.  The bottle says to enjoy this wine with a pizza, so I’m doing just that.  To me, it has a berry smell and has a light fruity flavor.  Now — the shock is the price.  At $9.99 it’s a super value.  I’m happy to see that the cost of this wine is not over-priced just because it’s “green”.  I’d love to hear from the Parducci family on how much money they are saving on their operating expenses since they are using solar and wind power.  That has got to help keep their costs down and deliver a product at a great price.