Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals releases video highlighting climate change impacts on tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska

The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) recently produced a video, “Adapting to Change,” that highlights climate change impacts on tribes and their resources in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, as well as their adaptation efforts. The video also includes information from ITEP’s Climate Change Adaptation training.

ITEP: Adapting to Climate Change from Jeremy Scott on Vimeo.

Federal Highway Administration and Georgetown Climate Center announce climate change adaptation and resilience case studies series

The Federal Highway Administration will be highlighting climate change adaptation and resilience work in the transportation sector through a new series developed by the Georgetown Climate Center under a cooperative agreement.  The first of these new resources is now available online with over 100 additional case studies to be added in the coming months. These resources will also be available through the Georgetown Climate Center Adaptation Clearinghouse.

This Spring, Look for the Safer Choice Label

Read the full post at EPA Connect.

Today, we’re unveiling a new Safer Choice label, which will make it easier to find household cleaners and other home products that are safer, more environmentally friendly—and still get the job done. If you missed the video where I shared the new label, check it out here:

The name says it all: Safer Choice products are safer for you, your kids, your pets and the environment. Our scientists employ a stringent set of human health and environmental safety standards when reviewing products for the Safer Choice program, so a product with the label is backed by EPA science. Consumers know it’s a credible stamp they can trust.

Creating an emotional connection with lighting through redesign

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Instead of buying new items when we tire of them or they develop a fault, can we design and use our products in a smarter way? Can we create a more meaningful and personal ecosystem in which the provision of lighting is radically developed from simply buying a bulb? Can Philips measure the relationship a customer has to lighting less in terms of units sold and more through an emotional connection that the company can nurture over decades?

The natural refrigerant set to reduce supermarket energy use

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Could the sugar you have in your morning coffee help prevent global warming?

Sainsbury’s thinks the answer is yes and is putting the question to the test in its Portishead store in Somerset, where it is using a refrigerant derived from waste sugar beet in its fridges and freezers.

Not only does the CO2-based refrigerant, called eCO2, have a global warming potential of one – 3,922 times less than R404A, the refrigerant most commonly used by supermarkets – it is also derived from a more sustainable source than other CO2-based refrigerants, which are often derived from hydrocarbons or ammonia.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Land of Lincoln

Read the full post from ACEEE.

Illinois—the land of Lincoln according to its license plate—has made great strides in energy efficiency in recent years. In 2014 it ranked 11th overall in ACEEE’s annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, up 15 slots from its score 5 years earlier. The main reason for its rise in rank was the state’s performance on utility-sector energy efficiency programs and policies. Energy efficiency measures installed under utility-sector programs reduced statewide electricity use by about 1% of the state’s total electricity consumption in 2013, the most recent year for which data are available. This placed Illinois 13th among US states in electricity savings, up from a tie for dead last in the 2009 Scorecard.

Under Illinois law, utilities collect the money for efficiency programs through rates, keeping 75% of the funds to operate their energy efficiency programs. They remit the remaining 25% to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which uses these funds to operate energy efficiency programs for low-income households and for state and local government facilities. Both the utilities and DCEO have done well. A 2014 ACEEE analysis found that Illinois electric utilities have exceeded their energy saving goals every year, while the gas utilities have just about met theirs. A 2014 independent evaluation of DCEO’s programs estimated that they have an overall benefit-cost ratio of 2.26.

Unfortunately, in late February, Illinois’ new governor, Bruce Rauner, proposed a budget that would divert $265 million of ratepayer funds intended to be used for energy efficiency and low-income energy assistance to the state general fund, to apply to a state budget shortfall (further information here ). This includes DCEO’s energy efficiency programs that are discussed above as well as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps pay the energy bills of low-income families. Even though the proposed budget isn’t effective yet, it’s reported that senior staff at DCEO’s energy efficiency programs have already been laid off, and remaining staff told not to sign any new contracts or to approve any new rebate applications. Most legal observers believe the legislature must approve the diversion—its approval is far from certain—but the governor appears not to be waiting.