Day: September 27, 2012

Food Waste Accounts for 40 Percent of All Food Generated in U.S., NRDC Says

Read the full story in Waste Age.

Food waste comprises about 40 percent of all food generated in the United States, according to a new study.

The analysis by the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that Americans are throwing away the equivalent of $165 million in unconsumed food each year, according to a news release.

The brief, “Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill,”analyzes recent case studies and government data across the U.S. food supply chain.

The full report is available at http://www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf.

House Rules

Read the full story in Waste Age.

Household hazardous waste programs can vary as much as the materials they take in. They range from one-day drop-off events to permanent facilities that operate six days a week. And community size doesn’t matter; a small district might operate a full-time facility while a big city relies on events. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot depends on the community served and political will.

It’s hard to nail down concrete data on household hazardous waste (HHW) programs and how they’re trending in the United States, says Victoria Hodge, HHW program supervisor in Denton, Texas, and vice president of the Westminster, Colo.-based North America Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA). NAHMMA has about 450 members comprising municipal and private waste handlers. She doesn’t know of any programs that have shut down, but notes that the budget constraints facing many of the nation’s communities represent the main challenge for HHW program managers.

Finding the Right Biofuels for the Southeast: A Range of Alternatives

Read the full story from the Agricultural Research Service.

Thanks to sunny skies and long growing seasons, farms and forests in the southeastern United States will play a major role in efforts to produce biomass for biofuels that reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. And Agricultural Research Service scientists are focused on finding ways to tap into the region’s potential.

Why sustainability pros need to attack from the middle

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Embedding sustainability is a term I have jousted around for a decade. What kind of embedding is working today? How has the embedding work shifted? Certainly in the past two years, we have seen significant shifts from external to internal drivers. Employee engagement is a key theme in embedding CSR internally.

Today’s column is co-written with Grant Ricketts, CEO of Tripos Software, who has developed software to engage employees and has a substantial background in learning and talent management. From his conversations with practitioners, he is well positioned to understand their challenges in embedding sustainability. He calls these challenges “getting around the blockers.”

The challenge to embedding sustainability is that everybody has a day job, and sustainability is often not seen as integral to it. The question becomes how to get around these “blockers” and engage people in ways that build synergy and upscale results. Companies can leverage three business practices that will help make sustainability part of the everyday business experience.

Water use in electricity generation: the sobering facts that make a case for wind and solar power

Read the full post at Renewable Energy Focus.

Did you know it takes 100,000 gallons of water to produce a single megawatt hour of electricity? Well according to a new report out today, it does – unless you’re using wind or solar power that is. So maybe, with much of the world battling more regular bouts of drought and water shortages it’s something policy makers need to start taking more notice of?

The proponents of the report from Synapse Energy Economics – prepared for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI) and the Environmental Working Group – certainly think they should. These groups warn that the huge demands on increasingly scarce water are “a major hidden cost” of a business-as-usual approach to American electricity generation.

The report, The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels, analyses six fuels used to generate electricity — biomass, coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar (photovoltaic and concentrating solar power), and wind (both onshore and offshore). Water impacts, climate change impacts, air pollution impacts, planning and cost risk, subsidies and tax incentives, land impacts, and other impacts are all considered.

EPA to Hold Webinar on Estimating the Health Impacts of State and Local Climate Change and Clean Energy Programs, October 11

Date and Time: Thursday, October 11, 2012, 2:00-3:30 PM EDT. To register, visit the webcast registration page.

State and local climate change and clean energy policies can improve air quality, reduce negative impacts on human health, and save lives. This webinar will cover three EPA tools that state and local governments can use to estimate and communicate the health and related economic benefits of actions that reduce air emissions:

Audience: Recommended for state and local air quality, energy, public health, sustainability, and transportation planning staff. For more information about this topic and view presentations as they become available, go to the State Climate and Energy Technical Forum page.

Community Renewable Energy Success Stories: Net Zero Energy Communities

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM EDT
Register at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/183754886

The Energy Department will present a live webinar titled Community Renewable Energy Success Stories: Net Zero Energy Communities on Tuesday, October 16, 2012, from 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. Eastern Time.

There will be two presentations that deal with net-zero-energy communities in California and Hawaii:

1.)  University of California Davis West Village:  The Largest U.S. Net Zero Energy Community
UC Davis West Village ultimately is a new housing development that will ultimately occupy about 200 acres near the University of California (UC) Davis.  The development will have apartment buildings for nearly 3,000 students and approximately 500 single-family houses for both faculty and staff.  Apartments for the first 800 students opened in August 2011 and an additional 500 students moved into apartments in September 2012.  Energy efficiency measures combined with onsite solar photovoltaic electricity generation will achieve the goal of zero net energy from the grid on an annual basis.

2.)  Hoa‘âina: Hawaiian Communities in Social & Environmental Harmony
Kaupuni Village is an example of bridging cultural values with the desire for sustainable living. At this webinar you will learn how the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust is developing diverse housing products to meet the housing needs of a modern day Native Hawaiian family.

For more information about this webinar, see the CommRE Webinars page on the U.S. Department of Energy website at: www.eere.energy.gov/office_eere/de_webinars.html