Day: June 27, 2012

Puma: How Big Is A Sneaker’s Carbon Footprint?

Read the full story at Manufacturing.net.

In a quest to find out, sportswear giant Puma’s chairman, Jochem Zeitz, helped develop the Environmental Profit & Loss Account, or EP&L, a balance sheet that assigns a dollar figure to the environmental costs inflicted at every step of the manufacturing process that transforms rubber, cotton, leather and other materials into the brand’s iconic soccer shoes, track suits and jerseys.

While Puma hasn’t been able to break out the environmental cost of manufacturing a pair of shoes or other individual products, the label in 2010 put the estimated cost of its overall environmental impact at 145 million euros ($185 million). Puma distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 11,000 people worldwide and had more than 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in consolidated sales last year, more than half of that for footwear, according to the company’s website.

Energy Department Announces Building Energy Efficiency Investments in Twenty-Two States

The Energy Department today announced new investments in state-led energy efficiency projects, supporting the Obama Administration’s commitment to reduce building energy costs and transfer those savings directly to taxpayers. The Energy Department awarded nearly $14 million to 22 states and territories to conduct energy efficiency upgrades in public facilities and develop local policies and programs to help reduce energy waste and save taxpayer money. These investments are part of the Energy Department’s national strategy to create jobs, boost domestic manufacturing in energy-saving technologies, and help American families and businesses save money.

“Deploying energy efficiency in our buildings, vehicles, and industries creates jobs, grows markets for American-made products, reduces energy bills for families and businesses, and makes the American economy more competitive,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “In support of President Obama’s all-of-the-above approach to American energy, these investments are part of the Department’s broader efforts to spur the development of a sustainable market for energy efficiency that will help protect our air and water and create jobs for American workers.”

The state-led projects announced today will conduct whole-building energy efficiency upgrades across hundreds of public buildings, saving millions for state and local governments and creating new local jobs for energy auditors, architects, engineers, and construction workers. The projects selected today fall under three categories, including:

  • Advancing Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings—The Energy Department will invest $7.9 million to assist 13 states to develop cost-saving whole-building retrofit programs across a broad segment of their public building portfolio.
  • Stimulating Energy Efficiency Action in States—The Department will invest $1 million to assist two states in generating the necessary policy and program frameworks to encourage cost-effective energy efficiency investments and establish or increase statewide energy savings goals by 2015.
  • Deploying Fee-Based Self-Funded Public Facilities Energy Retrofit Programs—The Energy Department will invest $5 million to assist eight states in developing, improving and implementing comprehensive programs that can finance energy upgrades to public facilities, including state and municipal buildings, National Guard assets, school districts, and water and wastewater treatment facilities.

Buildings in the United States last year consumed more than 40% of all the energy used by the U.S. economy. The projects announced today are part of a broader Energy Department effort to reduce energy costs in our homes and buildings, create jobs and boost American competitiveness in the global race for clean energy technologies. These efforts also build on the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Challenge, which works with private and public partners to reduce the energy use in their buildings by at least 20% by 2020. Over the past year, more than 100 organizations have joined the Challenge, representing almost 2 billion square feet of building space and nearly $2 billion in energy efficiency investments nationwide.

Read more detail on the projects announced today.

3 Things Journalists Should Ask About Their Data (includes good data literacy advice for everybody)

Read the full post at 10,000 Words.

Have you ever read a news article that cited confusing statistics or some fuzzy math that didn’t seem to make logical sense or add up? Chances are, the math and stats didn’t make sense to the reporter who wrote it either.

Whether it’s quarterly earning statements, census figures or standardized testing results, journalists on all beats can’t avoid data. It’s ubiquitous and, thanks to the Internet, readily available. Unfortunately, “data literacy” isn’t quite as common.

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $102 Million for Small Business Research and Development

As part of President Obama’s broad efforts to support American small businesses and help advance cutting-edge clean energy innovations, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Energy Department will award new funding to 104 small businesses nationwide. The grants totaling more than $102 million will support businesses in 26 states, helping companies to continue to develop promising technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing half of all workers in America and creating two out of every three new jobs in the U.S.,” said Secretary Chu. “Bringing these innovative technologies to market is just the latest step in the Energy Department’s efforts to support the critical role that small businesses are playing in creating jobs for American workers and expanding our country’s clean energy economy. These businesses are helping to reduce our dependence on imported oil and protect our air and water, while ensuring that the United States leads in the global clean energy race.”

Funded through the Energy Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, today’s 104 selections are for Phase II work. In Phase II, companies will build on the conceptual work undertaken in Phase I and pursue next steps in bringing the technologies to market. The Phase II awards are up to $1 million for work over two years. Phase I included grants of up to $150,000.

The 104 awards are going to developing technologies in areas ranging from large wind turbine towers to particle accelerators with medical applications, from more energy-efficient data centers to advanced imaging and X-ray technologies. View details about the 104 projects announced today.

Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. Between 1993 and 2008, small business created 64% of all net new jobs, totaling 14.5 million new jobs. They also employ nearly 40% of the U.S. science and engineering workforce.

Read additional information on the Department of Energy’s SBIR and STTR programs.

Community Renewable Energy Deployment Success Stories: Landfill Gas-to-Energy Webinar

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will be presenting a live webinar, Tuesday, July 17, 2012, from 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. Eastern Time on the challenges and benefits of developing successful community landfill gas-to-energy projects in Illinois and Florida. Learn more about the projects below and register for the webinar.

Prairie View RDF Gas-to-Energy Facility: A Public/Private Partnership

Dean Olson, Director of the Will County, Illinois, Land Use Department’s Resource Recovery and Energy Division and Paul Pabor, Vice President of Renewable Energy at Waste Management, will discuss how Will County partnered with Waste Management, using a portion of the county’s DOE Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding, to develop the Prairie View Recycling and Disposal Facility. A gas purchase agreement was executed in 2010 and the facility became operational in December 2011. Waste Management provides monthly payments to the county based on the amount of gas generated from the landfill and flowing through the facility. As market conditions evolve, the County will share revenue 50/50 with Waste Management in addition to the gas payments.

Escambia County, Perdido Landfill Gas-to-Electricity Project

Brent Schneider, Engineering and Environmental Quality Manager at Escambia County Department of Solid Waste in Escambia County, Florida, will discuss the county’s Perdido Landfill project, which has been operational since October 2010. The Perdido Landfill generates income from the sale landfill gas to the Gulf Power company, the project’s development partner. DOE funding provided for expansion of the gas collection system, while Gulf Power independently funded the plant. According to the county and Gulf Power, the partnership is unique because no third-party developer was involved, and the contractor who currently operates the plant for Gulf Power also operates the wellfield for the landfill.

Register to attend the webinar

San Francisco debuts North America’s ‘greenest urban office building’

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

Last week,  the city of San Francisco announced the grand opening of the Greenest Urban Office Building in North America. The new San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Building (SFPUC) boasts new Living Machine technology, as well as LEED Platinum standards.