Fungi, with the exception of shitake and certain other mushrooms, tend to be something we associate with moldy bread or dank-smelling mildew. But they really deserve more respect. Fungi have fantastic capabilities and can be grown, under certain circumstances, in almost any shape and be totally biodegradable. And, if this weren’t enough, they might have the potential to replace plastics one day. The secret is in the mycelia.
Solar cells are just like leaves, capturing the sunlight and turning it into energy. It’s fitting that they can now be made partially from trees.
Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University researchers have developed efficient solar cells using natural substrates derived from plants such as trees. Just as importantly, by fabricating them on cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates, the solar cells can be quickly recycled in water at the end of their lifecycle.
The technology is published in the journal Scientific Reports, the latest open-access journal from the Nature Publishing Group.
The concept of teamwork may seem like a very small issue in the shadow of a larger business sustainability pursuit. However, sustainability teams and the expanded definitions of teamwork are proving to be far more powerful than most business leaders might have originally thought.
To most people working in a traditional business setting, teamwork means working well with coworkers on a defined task or project. However, today’s high-performance team activities are expanding stakeholder cooperation and communication through the entire value chain. Discussed in some detail in the article, Making Star Teams Out of Star Players, the author provides insights from leading business sustainability organizations. The post focuses on best practices on identifying and developing next generation skills.
Debra Jacobson, Regional Operations Manager
Email Address: email@example.com Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
Prairie Research Institute
University of Illinois
1010 Jorie Boulevard, Suite 338
Oak Brook, IL 60523
The DEQ has opened nominations for the fifth annual Michigan Green Chemistry Governor’s Awards.
The Governor’s Awards recognize advances that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacturing, or use. The awards acknowledge efforts to design, implement, and promote safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes, and products.
Awards are open to individuals, groups, and organizations, both non-profit and for profit. The program was established by the Michigan Green Chemistry Roundtable to celebrate innovations using green chemistry in Michigan. Thirteen winners have been presented with an award in the first four years of the program.
Entries must be sent no later than July 19. The awards will be presented at the 2013 Michigan Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference: “Designing a Sustainable Michigan,” which is scheduled October 23-24 at Grand Valley State University.
To find a one page guidance document and a copy of the nomination packet, or more information on the Michigan Green Chemistry Program, visit the DEQ Web site at www.michigan.gov/greenchemistry, or call the DEQ Environmental Assistance Center at 800‑662-9278.
CNT Energy and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) examine the factors that contribute to effective energy efficiency program design for multifamily buildings. The report provides an introduction for utilities and other energy efficiency program administrators to the multifamily housing sector, the market for energy efficiency within it, and the interests and concerns of sector stakeholders as related to energy efficiency. It outlines nine strategies that can help utilities design and implement energy efficiency programs that will attract multifamily building owners and achieve deep energy savings. It also provides examples of successful programs funded by utility-customers that demonstrate how effective energy efficiency program design benefits building owners, tenants, and utilities. Long-term benefits to multifamily building owners include direct savings on utility bills, reduced maintenance costs, and decreased tenant turnover.
Voluntary corporate sustainability initiatives and environmental policy are essential, but not complete solutions by themselves.
We also need laws, oversight and guidelines to help shape our economy and planet to one that is just and sustainable.
With all businesses following the same rules, the competitive floor can be set at a level that protects the environment and ensures a quality and quantity of jobs consistent with human dignity. Individual business owners can make a big difference by advocating for policies that spur innovation that builds on such a platform.
This article is the first in a three-part series exploring the challenges manufacturers face to design healthier products and the resources available to help them avoid chemicals of concern. Each post will focus one of the three phases in the Cradle to Cradle framework: inventory, assessment and optimization.