Day: September 11, 2012

WaterSense has released its Version 1.1 WaterSense New Home Specification

EPA has modified its specification for new homes to enable apartment and condominium units to earn the label, update product requirements, and adjust landscape criteria. WaterSense-labeled new homes allow residents to enjoy the comforts of home and save water and energy inside and out by using WaterSense-labeled plumbing fixtures, efficient hot water systems, and low-maintenance, water-smart landscapes. Version 1.1 goes into effect January 1, 2013.

Approximately $7.4 Million in Funding Available for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

This post announces the availability of nearly $7.4 million and technical assistance in current opportunities for state, local, and tribal governments from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Funders’ Network, and American Institute of Architects (AIA) that can be used to support climate and energy initiatives, including sustainability, drought adaptation, and environmental education. For full eligibility and application details, please visit the links provided below.

In addition, please visit the calendar of 2012 EPA grant opportunities that may be of particular interest to communities.

Funders’ Network Local Sustainability Matching Fund – $250,000
Application Due: October 1, 2012

Eligible Entities: The proposal must be submitted by a team of at least two partners who are (1) the sustainability director of a city (municipality) or a county and (2) the local, place-based foundation.

The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network have joined together to launch a Local Sustainability Matching Fund. The fund will provide matching investments from national foundations on a competitive basis to build partnerships between sustainability directors and local place-based foundations to advance discrete sustainability initiatives that demonstrate broad-based community support and engagement.

For more information, visit the Funders’ Network.

AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Teams (SDAT) – Technical Assistance
Application Due: Two review cycles; upcoming due date is October 12, 2012

Eligible Entities: Committees with a cross-section of residents, local government agencies, businesses, institutions, and community groups. A letter of support from the local AIA chapter is required.

The Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program focuses on the importance of developing sustainable communities through design. The American Institute of Architects’ Center for Communities by Design is seeking potential partner communities that can demonstrate the capacity to convene a diverse set of community leaders and stakeholders for an intensive, collaborative planning process focused on long-term sustainability. The Center is particularly focused on identifying communities that have the ability to leverage local resources and build strong partnerships for implementation of an SDAT process. Awarded communities will receive pro bono services from a multidisciplinary team through the program, and the AIA commits to funding up to $15,000 for each project to cover team expenses.

For more information, visit the AIA SDAT page.

EPA Climate Leadership Awards
Application Due: October 12, 2012

Eligible Entities: Governmental entities or academic organizations with annual budgets over $100 million; legally recognized corporate organizations with annual revenue over $100 million.

EPA co-sponsors the Climate Leadership Awards (CLA) with three NGO partners: The Climate Registry, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and the Association of Climate Change Officers. The CLA is a national awards program that recognizes and incentivizes exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change. Applications will be accepted for the following recognition categories: Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Setting Certificate), Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management, Supply Chain Leadership Award, Organizational Leadership Award, and Individual Leadership Award. This year’s award winners will be publicly recognized in early 2013 at the awards gala, held in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the Climate Leadership Conference.

For more information, visit the Climate Leadership Awards site.

USDA Conservation Innovation Grants – $5 million
Application Due: October 15, 2012

Eligible Entities: Federally recognized Indian tribes, state and local units of government, and non-governmental organizations and individuals.

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. In fiscal year 2013, USDA is offering an adaptation to drought funding category for CIG projects that demonstrate and/or enhance system resilience to drought. Proposal ideas include demonstration of innovative cropping or grazing systems that increase resilience to drought; alternative animal feeding systems that incorporate novel drought-tolerant feedstocks; and alternative housing and/or heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems for confined animal operations to promote animal productivity even during periods of extreme temperatures.

For more information, see the funding notice.

EPA Environmental Education Regional Model Grants – $2.16 million
Application Due: November 21, 2012

Eligible Entities: Any local education agency, college or university, state education or environmental agency, nonprofit organization, or a noncommercial educational broadcasting entity. Tribal education agencies that are eligible to apply include a school or community college controlled by an Indian tribe, band, or nation that is recognized as eligible for special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians and which is not administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The purpose of the Environmental Education Regional Grant Program is to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. In order to be eligible, all applications must address at least one of the EPA educational priorities listed and at least one EPA environmental priority. EPA educational priorities are community projects, human health and the environment, and career development. EPA environmental priorities include protecting air quality, preventing pollution, cleaning up our communities, and protecting America’s waters. EPA expects to award one grant per Region for an expected 10 grants nationwide.

For more information, visit the grant opportunity webpage.

Webinar: Adapting Ecological Models for Linking Sustainable Production & Consumption Dynamics in Consumer Electronic Product Systems

All seminars are from noon to 1 p.m. in the Stephen J. Warner Conference Room at ISTC, One E. Hazelwood Drive, Champaign. Please feel free to bring a lunch. The seminars will be broadcast live and will also be archived on the ISTC website at

Webinar information

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Register at

The growing integration of consumer electronics in daily modern society poses a myriad of sustainability challenges.  On one hand, consumer electronic devices contribute to social & economic development & may be key to reducing energy consumption across many sectors of the economy.  However, the toxic & valuable materials embedded within the products may cause both positive economic & social benefits (e.g., recovery of valuable materials and jobs) & negative environmental & human health impacts (e.g., related to informal recycling & disposal operations).  While the production & operation of individual devices is becoming more energy efficient, rebound effects from the overall increasing number of products owned may be increasing rather than decreasing environmental impacts. Conventional sustainable production practices & policies based on product-based analyses are unable to effectively capture energy, material, & economic flows because consumers purchase, use, & discard a group of electronics such as desktops, laptops, printers, mobile phones, & digital cameras. Therefore, the consumer electronic product system’s net sustainability impact is unclear & in need of tools to help decision makers & consumers with sustainable production, purchasing decisions, & end of life management.

Research getting underway at RIT is aimed at developing a better understanding of the linkage between production and consumption dynamics of group of rapidly evolving electronic products in order to manage them more effectively.  To this end, we are building a new research framework adapted from models of community and population ecology and operationalized for test cases in household consumer electronics. This presentation will provide an overview of this research framework and present initial results that characterize how the structure of a “community” of household electronics changes over time and what that change means for environmental metrics like life cycle energy demand.

Crisis and Opportunity in the Environmental Century

Read the full story from Unity College.

Unity College aspires to be America’s Environmental College and thus climate change must be a centerpiece of our programming. It is nothing short of mission critical that we get this right. At my request the faculty and Board of Trustees have adopted Sustainability Science (sensu U.S. National Academy of Science) as our overarching framework for all academic programming, and especially for upper division courses. Although this approach addresses all aspects of global environmental change, because of its innovative delivery, it is especially suited to the urgency of climate change. As a four-year liberal arts academy, a focus this specific has sweeping implications for our programming, but it does not obviate the need for critical skills such as oral and written literacy.  Thus I am quick to point out that the humanities are foundational to implementation of Sustainability Science as pedagogy.

RIT Implements Bottled-Water Policy as Part of its Sustainability Initiatives

Read the full story from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

New students, faculty and staff at Rochester Institute of Technology got a new item in their orientation materials this year—reusable water bottles. This is part of a larger campus-wide effort to reduce the amount of bottled water used on campus.

RIT has implemented a new policy in which departments and campus groups will no longer be allowed to use university funds to purchase single-serving bottles of water. Bottled water will still be available for sale in vending machines, at sporting events and in retail locations on campus if individuals choose to spend their own money. Water fountains are everywhere on campus and water is available at fountain locations in dining centers at no cost.

In addition, hydration stations will be installed in all future construction and major renovation projects to make it even easier for people to fill their reusable bottles. RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has already taken the initiative to install two of these in existing buildings.

University of Iowa: New technology in Hillcrest dining hall increases sustainability

Read the full story in the Daily Iowan.

Every day, hundreds of students flood the campus dining halls, leaving tons of food waste in their wake. Starting this semester, University of Iowa officials have found a new way to divert that waste: It goes into the landscaping.

This summer, Hillcrest Marketplace installed a $58,000 food pulper, which UI Office of Sustainability Director Liz Christensen described as “a glorified food dispenser.”

But this food dispenser could save the UI 1.5 million gallons of water and more than $17,000 every year.

Connecting Campus Recreation, Health and Sustainability

Read the full column from AASHE Bulletin.

But why is campus recreation a great place to serve as the nexus for applying sustainable and healthy practices? Campus recreation has one of the largest carbon footprints on campus, uses a disproportionate amount of energy, manages large financial operations and, most importantly, interacts with more of the campus population than nearly any other entity. And our profession is committed to moving forward sustainably.

NIRSA, as the leaders in collegiate recreation, recently spent six months defining what sustainability means for our profession; our new model of sustainability has Healthy People and Communities at the core. We believe that it is the positive intersection of our economic, social, and environmental behaviors that creates health and wellness on our campuses and leads to better societies.

As a profession, collegiate recreation can be a partner in creating these sustainable and healthy communities. Serving 1.27 million students nationally, the opportunity to link health to sustainability in a way that students can experience is electrifying.