Day: December 19, 2012

RE:Thinking Consumption

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Developed by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility, the Regeneration Consumer Study is an online survey of consumer attitudes, motivations and behaviors around sustainable consumption among 6,224 respondents in six major international markets (Brazil, China, Germany, India, United Kingdom and United States). Fielded in September and October 2012, the study represents a holistic exploration of sustainability market trends, priorities and engagement pathways, including information on sustainable consumption, trust, transparency, social issues, behavior change, consumer collaboration, participation and advocacy actions.

3 principles for getting rankings right

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If your company is challenged by public environmental ratings, such as the recent Newsweek Green Rankings, you are not alone. Or perhaps you are already a recognized sustainability leader, but can always do better. How might your company benefit from the recognition rankings bring, instead of being punished by it?

EPA Awards Almost $700,000 to Student Teams in Sustainable Technology Competition

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded grants to 45 college teams in phase I of its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) annual student design competition. Each grant, totaling up to $15,000 per team, for an overall amount of $675,000, is applied toward designing and developing sustainable technologies to help protect people’s health and the environment while promoting economic development. Examples of team projects this year include:

  • A design for fog harvesting technologies to provide clean water and reduced pollution in underdeveloped communities
  • A prototype system to improve building energy performance through enhancing heat transmission and solar heat gain
  • A module that can improve the efficiency of solar energy collectors

The annual P3 competition begins by awarding grants to student teams to develop and design their proposed technologies. The proposals highlight the team’s technology and its potential for improving quality of life, promoting economic development, and protecting the planet.

“This year’s P3 teams are made up of emerging environmental leaders who are part of the future of environmental and public health protection,” said Lek Kadeli, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “These P3 grants encourage the growth of small businesses focused on developing innovative technologies to combat environmental issues.”

After eight months of work on their projects, the teams bring their designs to Washington, D.C., to participate in EPA’s National Sustainable Design Expo. During the event, a panel of scientific experts judges the projects. Winners receive a P3 award and recommendation for a second phase grant of up to $90,000 to further develop their designs and prepare them for the marketplace.

The 9th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo featuring EPA’s P3 competition is scheduled for April 20-21, 2013, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The expo is open to the public and will display the 2012 P3 teams’ designs.

Energy Department Announces $20 Million to Integrate Concentrating Solar Power Systems with Fossil Fuel Plants

As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today announced $20 million in new funding that will help integrate concentrating solar power (CSP) systems with fossil fuel power plants. These hybrid systems leverage the infrastructure of fossil fuel plants such as turbine and transmission systems, helping to reduce the cost of solar-generated electricity and bring CSP plants online quicker. Today, between 11 gigawatts and 21 gigawatts of CSP could be built and integrated into existing fossil fuel plants in the United States, enough to power to between 3 million and 6 million homes.

The new funding announced today strives to overcome near-term market and technological barriers for cost-effective CSP hybrid system implementation. Additionally, CSP hybrid technology may help enable further cost reductions in stand-alone CSP projects and spur innovations across the broader concentrating solar power supply chain. The projects selected for funding under this program will work to design, build, and test cost-competitive integrated CSP-fossil fuel power generating systems.

The Energy Department seeks applications from industry, universities, and national laboratories. A total of up to $20 million is available for two to four projects under this solicitation. During the two- to four-year performance period, selected projects must pass reviews to continue advancing from the design phase through the construction and evaluation phases. Awardees are also required to provide 75% of the total project cost. For more information, see the CSP Heat Integration for Baseload Renewable Energy Development Funding Opportunity Announcement (CSP HIBRED FOA).

Preparation and characterization of a novel magnetic biochar for arsenic removal

Ming Zhang, Bin Gao, Sima Varnoosfaderon, Arthur Hebard, Ying Yao, Mandu Inyang (2012). “Preparation and characterization of a novel magnetic biochar for arsenic removal.” Bioresource Technology online ahead of print.

A magnetic biochar based adsorbent with colloidal or nanosized γ-Fe2O3 particles embedded in porous biochar matrix was fabricated via thermal pyrolysis of FeCl3 treated biomass. The synthesized samples were studied systematically by X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, selected-area electron diffraction pattern, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, superconducting quantum interference device, and batch sorption measurements. The characterization analyses showed that large quantity of γ-Fe2O3 particles with size between hundreds of nanometers and several micrometers tightly grow within the porous biochar matrix. Biochar/γ-Fe2O3 composite exhibited excellent ferromagnetic property with a saturation magnetization of 69.2 emu/g. Batch sorption experimental results showed that the composite has strong sorption ability to aqueous arsenic. Because of its excellent ferromagnetic properties, the arsenic-laden biochar/γ-Fe2O3 composite could be easily separated from the solution by a magnet at the end of the sorption experiment.

H&M Launches First Global Clothing Collection Recycling Program

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

Last week, H&M announced it will launch a clothing collecting initiative worldwide. Starting in February 2013, customers at H&M, the world’s second biggest fashion chain after Spanish group Inditex, will be able to hand in used garments from any brand in H&M stores in all 48 markets. The items will then be handled by H&M’s partner, I:Collect, a global recycling company.

The Top 10 Water Issues of 2012

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

As 2012 drips to a close, water scarcity was a hot topic amongst our writers here at TriplePundit. Whether we flushed out the details over emerging toilet technologies and challenges or questioned whether fracking was a safe energy option in the long run, the stubborn fact persists that water is now a huge business and human rights issue. More companies are placing a strong emphasis on water stewardship on their corporate social responsibility and sustainability agendas as the soaring thirst for water confronts rich and poor countries alike.

Effects of Climate Change on Natural Resources and Communities: A Compendium of Briefing Papers

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This report is a compilation of four briefing papers based on literature reviews and syntheses, prepared for USDA Forest Service policy analysts and decisionmakers
about specific questions pertaining to climate change. The main topics addressed
here are effects of climate change on wildlife habitat, other ecosystem services,
and land values; socioeconomic impacts of climate change on rural communities;
and competitiveness of carbon offset projects on nonindustrial private forests in
the United States. The U.S. private forest offset projects tend to be less costly than
European projects but more expensive to implement than those in tropical forests
in developing countries. Important policy considerations involving any mitigation
actions include effects on other ecosystem services, such as wildlife habitat, and
determining baselines and additionality. Stacking of ecosystem services payments
or credits with carbon offset payments may be crucial in improving the
participation of private forest owners. Potential social impacts of climate change
are discussed in terms of health effects on rural communities and climate change
sensitivity of indigenous communities. Potential economic impacts on rural communities are discussed for agriculture, forestry, recreation and tourism, fisheries, water resources, and energy. Salient findings from the literature are summarized in the synthesis of the literature, along with identified research needs.

Forest adaptation resources: Climate change tools and approaches for land managers

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The forests of northern Wisconsin, a defining feature of the region’s landscape, are expected to undergo numerous changes in response to the changing climate. This document provides a collection of resources designed to help forest managers incorporate climate change considerations into management and devise adaptation tactics. It was developed in northern Wisconsin as part of the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework project and contains information from assessments, partnership efforts, workshops, and collaborative work between scientists and managers. The four interrelated chapters include: (1) a description of the overarching Climate Change Response Framework, a landscape-scale conservation approach also being expanded to other landscapes; (2) a “menu” of adaptation strategies and approaches that are directly relevant to forests in northern Wisconsin; (3) a workbook process to help incorporate climate change considerations into forest management planning and to assist land managers in developing groundlevel climate adaptation tactics for forest ecosystems; and (4) two illustrations that provide examples of how these resources can be used in real-world situations. The ideas, tools, and resources presented in the different chapters are intended to inform and support the existing decisionmaking processes of multiple organizations with diverse management goals.

Winter 2012 STARS Quarterly Review Available

The Winter 2012 SQRRecap & A Look Ahead, reviews recent developments related to the evolving concept of global campus sustainability and introduces changes that can be expected for STARS in 2013.

Universidad de Monterrey (Mexico) is highlighted as the first STARS International Pilot participant to submit a STARS report and earn a rating.

As STARS matures, more institutions are submitting multiple reports and using STARS as a tool for continuous improvement. Four institutions have been highlighted for recent advancements and initiatives identified in their most recent STARS reports.

Closing out the year, this edition looks at changes that can be expected for STARS in 2013, with descriptions of new credits proposed for the launch of STARS 2.0 slated for release in 2013.