Read the full story in E The Environmental Magazine.
Among alternative energy, wind and solar get all the media attention, all the glamour. Yet both suffer from intermittency, from the problem that their power sources wax and wane. Solar disappears at night and weakens when clouds interrupt, while wind has its own unpredictable schedule. By contrast, geothermal draws on heat from deep below the earth to provide reliable base load power 24 hours a day. Unlike solar, it’s also currently competitive with conventional energy costs. Yet geothermal remains the Charlie Brown of renewables (or perhaps the Rodney Dangerfield): Although widespread development is often predicted, such hopes are repeatedly jerked away.
Read the full story in E The Environmental Magazine.
We’d all love to let in a little more sunlight, particularly as the days grow shorter, but that pesky roof keeps getting in the way. While bulky, traditional skylights have been used for years to open up roof space and illuminate interiors, light tubes, also known as solar tubes, are a slimmer, less expensive and more energy efficient way to channel natural light inside.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released the final health assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE) to the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database. IRIS is a human health assessment program that evaluates the latest science on chemicals in our environment. The final assessment characterizes the chemical as carcinogenic to humans and as a human noncancer health hazard. This assessment will also allow for a better understanding of the risks posed to communities from exposure to TCE in soil, water and air. It will provide federal, state, local and other policy makers with the latest scientific information to make decisions about cleanup and other actions to protect people’s health.
“This assessment is an important first step, providing valuable information to the state, local and federal agencies responsible for protecting the health of the American people,” said Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “It underscores the importance of EPA’s science and, in particular, the critical value of the IRIS database for ensuring that government officials and the American people have the information they need to protect their health and the health of their children.”
TCE is one of the most common man-made chemicals found in the environment. It is a volatile chemical and a widely used chlorinated solvent. Frequently found at Superfund sites across the country, TCE’s movement from contaminated ground water and soil, into the indoor air of overlying buildings, is of serious concern. EPA already has drinking water standards for TCE and standards for cleaning up TCE at Superfund sites throughout the country.
- TCE toxicity values as reported in the assessment will be considered in:
- Establishing cleanup methods at the 761 Superfund sites where TCE has been identified as a contaminant
- Understanding the risk from vapor intrusion as TCE vapors move from contaminated groundwater and soil into the indoor air of overlying buildings
- Revising EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level for TCE as part of the carcinogenic volatile organic compounds group in drinking water, as described in the agency’s drinking water strategy
- Developing appropriate regulatory standards limiting the atmospheric emissions of TCE – a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act
This assessment has undergone several levels of peer review including, agency review, interagency review, public comment, external peer review by EPA’s Science Advisory Board in January 2011, and a scientific consultation review in 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences. Comments from all reviewers are addressed in the final assessment.
EPA continues to strengthen IRIS as part of an ongoing effort to ensure concrete research and science are used to protect human health and the environment. In May 2009, EPA restructured the IRIS program to reinforce independent review and ensure the timely publication of assessments. In July 2011, EPA announced further changes to strengthen the IRIS program in response to recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences. EPA’s peer review process is designed to elicit the strongest possible critique to ensure that each final IRIS assessment reflects sound, rigorous science.
More information on IRIS: http://www.epa.gov/IRIS
Download the publication, funded by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s Sponsored Research Program.
Methods to improve the oxidative stability of B100 biodiesel were studied. A combination of a peroxide destroyer – triphenylphosphine – and a chain-breaking antioxidant – propyl gallate – was found to largely prevent oxidative damage in soy- and waste oil-derived biodiesels. Peroxides were shown to react rapidly with propyl gallate and render it ineffective. Triphenylphosphine alone provided some protection from oxidation, but not to the extent of the combination. Propyl gallate was found to be superior to other potential surface-active or chain-breaking antioxidants tested, such as ascorbyl palmitate, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), Trolox, and other gallate esters.
The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) has developed an online repository to enable pollution prevention (P2) and environmental assistance programs to share their P2 data collection tools so that they can learn from each other. Users can search for P2 data collection tools based on the relevant sector or topic, type of P2 activity, or type of tool used. They can also add their own data collection tools to the system. Examples of P2 data collection tools include: surveys, worksheets, self-certification forms, protocols and standard operating practices (SOPs) for follow-up to P2 technical assistance visits, quality management plans (QMPs) and Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP), and checklists that P2 programs use to collect information from their clients.
Visit the site at: www.newmoa.org/prevention/projects/datacol/index.cfm.
Read the full story at SmartPlanet.
You know how so many people rely on endless cups of coffee to fuel them through the workday? One inventor figured that it wasn’t such a bad idea to build a car that can also get a serious jolt from the leftover grinds.
But Martin Bacon’ s vehicle isn’t just your average organic waste-powered car (if there is such a thing); It also recently became the world’s fastest. A few weeks ago, the vehicle set a new Guinness World Record during a run in which it reached speeds of 77.5 miles per hour and sustained an average speed of 66.5 mph. The previous speed record, set last year by the wood-burning Beaver XR7, was 47.7 mph.
Read the full story at SmartPlanet.
Walk Score is already a popular tool for exploring the walkability of your city. Now, their latest project will help you find the commutability of your workplace, and maybe even save you precious time on your daily commute.
The new Apartment Search tool helps you find apartments within a certain commute time. What makes this tool so dynamic is that you can search based on the commute length you want and also by the mode of transportation you want to take — you can choose from public transportation, car, bike, and walking. On top of all that you can get even more picky by selecting the walk score of the area you want to live in.
Read the full post at SmartPlanet.
A Santa Monica architect decided to use an entire 747 jet to build a client’s home…and his client agreed. To grant his client’s wishes for a feminine, curvy, and eco-friendly house, David Hertz of Studio of Environmental Architecture recycled an airplane into a 4,000 square foot residence in Malibu named the Wing House.
Read the full story at GreenBiz.
My recently released report CSO Back Story explored the somewhat amorphous title of chief sustainability officer. As GreenBiz Executive Editor Joel Makower noted earlier this week, “the elevation of sustainability inside companies is in large part a testament to the commitment and resourcefulness of CSOs and their ilk” Weinreb Group’s research shows the senior-most sustainability leader trending more senior over time — as high as the chief title.
But where is this profession headed? Is the growing prominence of the Chief Sustainability Officer a sign that an executive-level position dedicated to sustainability is here to stay? There is a spectrum of possibilities. One on end, the position can disappear — sustainability could be embedded in the culture, self-governed and owned by everyone. In the middle, the function can remain in the hands of the chief sustainability office. On the other end, the position could be held by the CEO.