While radiant heaters can help make individual houses more sustainable, initiatives that take on grander scales have the potential to make sizeable differences in the communities around them. Installing the best heating system in your house can have a tremendous accumulative effect and should not be sold short, but what Legoland in Florida did for this past Earth Day was a first in the U.S. theme park world.
Renewable energy for a day
Legoland Florida partnered with Tampa Electric for Earth Day with the goal of running the entire park off of renewable energy for the day, according to Inhabitat. It became the only theme park in the U.S. to be powered completely by solar energy and, in doing so, saved the same amount of energy it would take to drive three cars for an entire year. This one action also had the same environmental impact as planting an entire 6 acres of trees.
The theme park is no stranger to trying to make a positive impact on the world around it. When Legoland Florida opened in 2011, the parked prevented 18,000 tons of new concrete from being sent to the dump during construction by simply grinding the previous layer of foundation at the site and using it as the base for the new sidewalks, reported Think Progress. They also saved some 660 palm and oak trees from being cut down by relocating them until construction was completed and then bringing them back to the park to be planted again. Visitors are strongly encouraged to recycle, and much of the furniture seen through Legoland Florida was made from recyclable materials as well.
In honor of Earth Day, Legoland Florida and Tampa Electric installed a 30-kilowatt arrangement of solar panels in the park's Imagination Zone that will remain there, powering that area all year long. To take it even further, in June a new model will be installed in the Imagination Zone depicting the Earth and showcasing the benefits of solar energy for visitors to learn about. Other small interactive models powered by renewable energy will be placed throughout the rest of the park also as the company whose core product is made from plastic tries its best to reduce its negative environmental impact on the world in other ways.
Disaster relief bricks
Legos themselves have inspired groups to harness the potential of the building blocks for other sustainable uses beyond the theme park and manufacturing process. UNICEF has created a very practical solution for some of the problems that follow disaster relief efforts with the help of the Psychic Factory, reported Inhabitat. Inspired by Lego blocks, UNICEF developed a brick made up of two compartments meant to hold water and rice.
It's often a process sorting out all the aid to be distributed to troubled areas, and the trash left behind can create a mess. With UNICEF's block, victims of disaster now have an easy way to receive food and water. Even better is after the contents have been consumed, the blocks can be filled with sand or dirt to be used to construct makeshift shelters to protect them from the weather. This innovative solution solves numerous problems in a constructive way - literally. Keeping with the Lego spirit of reusability, after recovery from the disaster is complete, these blocks can be gathered to be distributed over and over. There are many opportunities to create something new that will benefit the environment and, luckily, Legos are encouraging people to do so.