Day: January 30, 2013

RSF Influences New High Performance Buildings

Read the full story from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The Research Support Facility (RSF) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has hosted thousands of visitors since it opened as one of the world’s largest high performance office buildings. Generating buzz about the energy savings possible in commercial buildings is exactly what DOE and NREL have been aiming for.

Waste Not: Approaching zero-waste in Microsoft dining facilities

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries.

At Microsoft, we have an opportunity to shift the needle on corporate sustainability practices at many levels due to our size. This extends beyond initiatives such as our carbon neutrality commitment, our work in IT efficiency and our efforts to create green data centers. This is even true in Microsoft’s dining facilities, which recently achieved the distinction of being near-zero waste by diverting 99 percent of food waste to recycling and compost.

LEED-ing the nation

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries.

This week, the U.S. Green Building Council released its annual list of the top 10 states for new LEED certifications in 2012, and once again, the District of Columbia topped the list, with 36.97 square feet of LEED space certified per person last year.

Trust in Green

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries.

As consumers increasingly scrutinize business actions on climate change, they want to see transparent, more credible information on what companies are doing to reduce their environmental impact. Labeling a product or service with “eco-awareness” just doesn’t cut it. Trust is a critical factor across all industries, and especially so within the sustainability and CSR world. Surveying more than 31,000 respondents in 26 markets around the world and measuring their trust in institutions, industries and leaders, the recently released Edelman Trust Barometer reveals a shift back to neutral in 2013, after a year of high distrust in 2012.

Specific to green brands, how can sustainable communications garner trust? Social media is one vehicle worth exploring. Shaping brand image and gaining consumer confidence starts within the company’s sphere of influence and control.

From Green New Deal to New Economy

Read the full post at Shareable.

A version of this post first appeared at The SymCenter Blog. This is part one of a two part post.

In a recent article about success in the sharing economy, Van Jones explained the degree to which sharing, crowdfunding, and other similar concepts are fundamentally transforming the economy as we know it. He turned to examples like Zipcar, Solar Mosaic, AirBnB, and Couchsurfing to show this transformation happening on the ground. For the few who don’t know, Jones founded Green For All, one of the central organizations within the growing green economy movement. His tremendously poignant article makes one wonder to what extent this sharing economy is similar to the green economy and how are we to understand their relatedness theoretically and organizationally? One could certainly say they have much in common, from the role the above-mentioned firms play in helping protect the environment by crowdfunding solar panels or reducing people’s need to own their own car. It’s one thing to see what ideas or outcomes they have in common. For the broader purposes of looking towards our collective potential to fundamentally transform the economy, it’s also important to look at how they relate to one another organizationally. This two-part series attempts to do just that. The first part looks at the green economy movement theoretically and organizationally, while the second part looks at the sharing economy, solidarity economy, and new economy to make the case for a New Economy Coalition acting to unite them all.

Sweden imports waste from European neighbors to fuel waste-to-energy program

Read the full story at Public Radio International.

Sweden’s successful waste-to-energy program converts household waste into energy for heating and electricity. But they’ve run into an unusual problem: they simply aren’t generating enough trash to power the incinerators, so they’ve begun importing waste from European neighbors.

Climate Change and Biodiversity Unit for Middle and High Schools

This online curriculum was developed by the University of Michigan with support from the National Science Foundation that fuses core science content with scientific practices and includes a species distribution modeling tool for teaching students about the effects of warming temperatures on biological communities.

DeCicco: Transportation GHG reduction policy should focus upstream on fuel supply rather than downstream on choice of fuels in vehicles

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

In a new working paper, Prof. John DeCicco at the University of Michigan argues that to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions, the proper policy focus should be upstream in sectors that provide the fuel, rather than downstream on the choice of fuels in the automobile.

More specifically, he suggests that other than supporting fundamental R&D, programs to promote alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) “are not currently warranted for climate protection. In addition to managing travel demand and improving vehicle efficiency, the implied climate policy priority is limiting net GHG emissions in fuel supply sectors.” The paper is available from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).