Day: December 28, 2012

UK: Guide to Citizen Science

Via Docuticker.

UK: Guide to Citizen Science

Source: Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UK)

A new practical guide on how to develop, implement and evaluate citizen science projects to monitor the UK’s environment is published today. The guide is based on conclusions from a comprehensive report reviewing more than 200 citizen science projects from the UK and around the world.

Scientists from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and the Natural History Museum in London were commissioned by the UK Environmental Observation Framework (UK-EOF) to undertake a review of citizen science. The aim of the project “Understanding Citizen Science and Environmental Monitoring” was to learn lessons from past citizen science projects. The report and guide published today are particularly timely because there is growing interest in using citizen science, an increasingly valuable approach to scientific discovery, for environmental monitoring purposes….

Citizen science can broadly be defined as the involvement of volunteers in science. The UK-EOF project reviewed 234 projects ranging in scale from small one-off local surveys, such as a bioblitz in a local park, to large scale long-term programmes, such as the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The project team studied the motivations of volunteers, held structured interviews with users of citizen science and environmental monitoring data, and looked at how such projects help meet policy needs.

The practical guide accompanying today’s full project report shares the good practices found during the review process, making suggestions on how to plan, carry out, and evaluate citizen science projects to provide benefits for both participants and potential data users.

+ Report (PDF; 3.5 MB)

+ Practical Guide (PDF; 3.5 MB)

Climate Change Policy and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Livestock Operations

Download the document.

Methane digesters—biogas recovery systems that use methane from manure to generate electricity—have not been widely adopted in the United States because costs have exceeded benefits to operators. Burning methane in a digester reduces greenhouse gas emissions from manure management. A policy or program that pays producers for these emission reductions—through a carbon offset market or directly with payments—could increase the number of livestock producers who would profit from adopting a methane digester. We developed an economic model that illustrates how dairy and hog operation size, location, and manure management methods, along with electricity and carbon prices, could influence methane digester profits. The model shows that a relatively moderate increase in the price of carbon could induce significantly more dairy and hog operations, particularly large ones, to adopt a methane digester, thereby substantially lowering emissions of greenhouse gases.

West Village Community: Quality Management Processes and Preliminary Heat Pump Water Heater Performance

Download the document.

West Village, a multiuse project underway at the University of California Davis, represents a ground-breaking sustainable community incorporating energy efficiency measures and on-site renewable generation to achieve community-level Zero Net Energy (ZNE) goals. When complete, the project will provide housing for students, faculty, and staff with a vision to minimize the community’s impact on energy use by reducing building energy use, providing on-site generation, and encouraging alternative forms of transportation. This focus of this research is on the 192 student apartments that were completed in 2011 under Phase I of the West Village multiyear project. The numerous aggressive energy efficiency measures implemented result in estimated source energy savings of 37% over the Building America B10 Benchmark. This research seeks to evaluate performance and efficiency of the central heat pump water heaters as a strategy to provide efficient electric water heating for net-zero all-electric buildings and where natural gas is not available on site. In addition, effectiveness of the quality assurance and quality control processes implemented to ensure proper system commissioning and to meet program participation requirements is evaluated. Recommendations for improvements that could improve successful implementation for large-scale, high performance communities are identified.