Day: February 9, 2012

Over Bowls Of Soup, Donors Find Recipe For Change

Read the full story at NPR.

The Soup Movement in America is based on a simple recipe: Bring a bunch of people together to eat soup. Ask each person for a modest donation — say $5. Listen to a few proposals about how people might use that pool of money for a worthwhile project. Vote on the best proposal, and give all the money to the top vote-getter. Go home full and fulfilled.

NPPR Lean & Environment Webinar: Design for the Environment

Libby Sommer, Environmental Scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment Program (DfE), will talk about DfE’s efforts to inform and promote the use of safer chemicals. Under the DfE Safer Product Labeling Program, DfE allows the use of its logo on products that meet stringent green chemistry criteria. DfE recently added an ingredient disclosure requirement, making this the first labeling program of its kind to require such disclosure. DfE is also assessing alternatives to priorities chemicals such as BPA and brominated flame retardants, and will be assessing alternatives to phthalates.

HOW TO CONNECT

  • Date: Tue., Feb. 21, 2012
  • Time: 3:00 pm EST, 2:00 pm CST, 1:00 p.m. MST, 12:00 pm PST

WEB ACCESS

Join as Attendee: http://stateoftexas.qwestccc.com/QwestWeb/LeanEnvironment

First time CenturyLink CCC user? Run system test: http://stateoftexas.qwestccc.com/utilities/fullbrowsertest.aspx

AUDIO ACCESS

  • Dial-in (U.S.): Toll: 1-720-279-0026
  • Toll free: 1-877-820-7831

Agenda

  • Welcome and Introductions: Hugh O’Neill, Chair, Washington Dept. of Ecology
  • Bill Paugh presentation
  • Q&A/Discussion

ABOUT THE LEAN AND ENVIRONMENT WORKGROUP

The lean and environment workgroup is a partnership between the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (P2.org), the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx), the Zero Waste Network (ZeroWasteNetwork.org), and the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC.org). Its purpose is to demonstrate the profitability of incorporating sustainable business practices into operations.

Anyone who is interested in being part of the group should go to http://groups.google.com/group/lean-and-green-workgroup?hl=en and click on “apply” for membership. If you already have a Google ID, you can sign in and apply for membership. If you don’t have a Google ID, you can click on the link to the right to create an ID and apply for membership. Also check out the NPPR Lean and Environment Workgroup Google site at https://sites.google.com/site/leangreenworkgroup/

Low speed electric cars popping up in small communities; safety concerns remain

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

At first glance it looks like golfers from one of the resort’s world class courses took a wrong turn.

But those aren’t golf carts on the streets in upscale Bay Harbor, Mich. Rather it is the largest per capita collection of low speed vehicles in the world.

The brownfield-turned-upscale resort in northwest Michigan has a fleet of around 350 low speed vehicles, said Denny Brya, general manager of Bay Harbor.  Bay Harbor underwent a massive facelift in the early 1990’s when asbestos, coal and dust from a former cement plant were replaced by boutiques, equestrian clubs and golf courses.

Green Parents Can Nab Bylines At Kiwi

Read the full post at 10,000 Words.

If you know a thing or two about sustainable, healthy living, you’ve got a great shot getting a byline at Kiwi.

This niche mag seeks “to be the sane, supporting voice in the green world and the alternative, open-minded voice in the parenting world,” says editorial director Sarah Smith. So green parents with a knack for the organic lifestyle should can find a home for their queries in Kiwi‘s myriad of sections.

New Research Pushes Back on the Rebound Discussion

Via the GLRPPR Blog. Thanks to Rick Yoder for an insightful post.

The benefits of energy efficiency policies have been questioned by various media organizations and think tanks due to a phenomenon called the “Rebound Effect”, also known as Jevon’s Paradox.  The Rebound Effect is the idea that consumers and businesses have incentives to spend the money saved from energy efficient strategies on the same or other energy consuming products or services, paradoxically increasing energy use because of energy savings.  According to The Breakthrough Institute (BTI), macroeconomic Rebound Effect accounts for 30%-50% or more energy consumption and sometimes even greater than 100% (known as “backfire”) of the original amount of energy consumption saved.  Rebound raises questions about the impact that energy efficiency policies have on the total energy use in all industries.  If true, it has serious ramifications to the work being conducted to mitigate global GHG emissions and to the efforts of the Pollution Prevention (P2) community.

Last year several articles volleyed the value of Rebound – most notably The Rocky Mountain Institute, Joe Romm and others at Climate Progress in a response to the report by the The Breakthrough Institute.  This year, a report conducted by Shakeb Afsah, Kendyl Salcito and Chris Wielga at co2scorecard.org stirred the discussion once again, followed by an article on Grist.  The discussion provides the P2 community with a more nuanced understanding of the potential savings of source reduction recommendations and provides evidence to support efficiency strategies.

P2 professionals ought to consider a trip down the Rebound rabbit hole for several reasons.  First, the P2 community stays credible by staying engaged.  If one drills through the contentious nature of the Rebound blog posts, it’s clear that the arguments are not about whether Rebound occurs, but at what level.  At its core, that makes the Rebound discussion one about measurement – how large are the gains claimed by those working in resources efficiency?  It’s fair to consider Rebound as a loss much like friction modifies the ideal laws of motion.  And it’s fair to expect the P2 community to be interested in whether the Rebound loss is trivial or sizable.  Even a brief look at the academic literature listed below makes it clear that efficiency measurements based on expected savings will likely fail to accurately report actual resource consumption rates.  Measurements that forecast savings without considering Rebound are a little like projecting savings with a Simple Payback calculation – it’s ok as a first approximation, but it’s not considered a complete calculation – Simple Payback often ignores cash flows received after the payback period and typically does not recognize the time value of money.

The second reason for P2 professionals to notice the Rebound discussion is that it highlights the critical importance of considering social and behavioral science and that a focus through technology blinders is limiting.  The Rebound premise recognizes that waste comes not only from technological change, but also from the actions, decisions, and behaviors of individuals and organizations. The P2 professional who wants to stay active in a world focused on the sustainability challenge will need to be proficient in both technical change and behavioral change.

Lastly, P2 policymakers should recognize the relationship of Rebound information with the mandates of the 1990 P2 Act (PPA).  Congress told the EPA Administrator in the PPA to use grants “…to promote the use of source reduction techniques by businesses.”  Among other things, it says, grant funded programs should “[t]arget assistance to businesses for whom lack of information is an impediment to source reduction.”  Certainly the information about whether and how much Rebound can impact resource consumption is information which can impede ultimate source reduction success.

More potential discussion topics surrounding Rebound exist for technical assistance providers, program managers, and policy makers than this author has time to cover in one post. Some of the bright young economists at UNO College of Business Administration (CBA) have posited interesting research to add to the mix.  I hope you’ll look a little bit further into Rebound, as it seems to be an annual topic of interest which generates significant give-and-take.

Bibliography of Papers on Rebound

Ahmad, Mobin-ud-Din, Hugh Turral, Llyas Masih, Mark Giordano and Zubair Masood. 2007. Water Saving Technologies: Myths and Realities Revealed in Pakistan’s Rice-Wheat Systems. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute.

Alcott, Blake. 2005. Jevons’ paradox. Ecological Economics. 54: 9-21.

Birol, Fatih and Jan Horst Keppler. 2000. Prices, technology development and the rebound effect. 2000. Energy Policy. 28: 457-469.

Gomez-Baggethun, Erik, Rudolf de Groot, Pedro L. Lomas and Carlos Montes. 2010. The history of ecosystem services    in economic theory and practice: From early notions to markets and payment schemes. Ecological Economics. 69: 1209-1218.

Hertwich, Edgar G. Consumption and the Rebound Effect. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 9: 85-98.

Huffaker, Ray and Norman Whittlesey. 2003. A Theoretical Analysis of Economic Incentive Policies Encouraging Agricultural Water Conservation. Water Resources Development. 19: 37-53.

Llop, Maria. 2007. Economic impact of alternative water policy scenarios in the Spanish production system: An input-output analysis. Ecological Economics. 68: 288-294.

Lorentz, Andre and Julia Sophie Woersdorfer. 2009. ‘Energy-efficient household appliances and the rebound effect – A model on the demand for washing machines’. Working paper.

Madlener, Reinhard and Blake Alcott. 2009. Energy rebound and economic growth: A review of the main issues and research needs. Energy. 34: 370-376.

Negri, Donald H. and Douglas H. Brooks. 1990. Determinants of Irrigation Technology Choice. Western Journal of Agricultural Economics. 15: 213-223.

Peterson, Jeffrey, M. and Ya Ding. 2005. Economic Adjustments to Groundwater Depletion in the High Plains: Do Water-Saving Irrigation Systems Save Water? American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 87: 147-159.

Pfeiffer, Lisa and C.-.Y Cynthia Lin. 2010. Does Efficient Irrigation Technology Lead to Reduced Groundwater Extraction?: Empirical Evidence. Working Paper.

Polimeni, John M. and Raluca Iorgulescu Polimeni. 2006. Jevons’ Paradox and the myth of technological liberation. Ecological Complexity. 3: 344-353.

Roy, Joyashree. 2000. The rebound effect: some empirical evidence from India. 28: 433-438.

Ruzzenenti, F. and R. Basosi. 2008. The role of the power/efficiency misconception in the rebound effect’s size debate: Does efficiency actually lead to a power enhancement? Energy Policy. 36: 3626-3632.

Saunders, Harry D. 1992. The Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate and Neoclassical Growth. The Energy Journal. 13: 130-148.

Sorrell, Steve and John Dimitropoulos. 2008. The rebound effect: Microeconomic definitions, limitations and extensions. Ecological Economics. 65: 636-649.

Sorrell, Steve, John Dimitropoulos and Matt Sommerville. 2009. Empirical estimates of the direct rebound effect: A review. Energy Policy. 37: 1356-1371.

Thomas, Brinda A.  Estimating the U.S. Economy-wide Rebound Effect.  Carnegie Mellon University, 2011

Ward, Frank A. and Manuel Pulido-Velazquez. 2008. Water conservation in irrigation can increase water use. PNAS. 105: 18215-18220.

Cooking Oil Recycling Program

The Cooking Oil Recycling (COR) Program is a residential recycling program bringing used cooking oil recycling to Asheville and greater Buncombe Co [North Carolina]. Recycling bins are centrally located to allow area residents to easily recycle animal and vegetable oil used after cooking.

Made possible through funding from the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, the Cooking Oil Recycling Program engages multiple, diverse communities across Buncombe County in recycling, reducing waste, and creating clean, local energy. The Cooking Oil Recycling Program is working to support the North Carolina Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership goal that by 2017, 10% of liquid fuels sold in our state will come from biofuels grown and produced in NC.

Less Energy, More Jobs

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

What’s the cleanest, cheapest and most benign source of energy available in America today?

If you guessed it’s the energy we don’t use, you’re right on the mark. You’re also right up the alley of U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who has been promoting building retrofitting as a source not only of energy but also of jobs as part of the “Back to Work Minnesota” initiative he launched last October.

Franken brought his energy- and economy-boosting ideas to the University of Minnesota last week in the form of a Forum on Energy Savings and Retrofitting sponsored by the Institute on the Environment, the Energy Service Coalition, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Urban Land Institute, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s “Minnesota Waste Wise” affiliate, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Clean Energy Resource Teams.