What GAO Found
The 14 agencies GAO reviewed have vehicle repair processes that generally allow field office staff, such as the vehicle operator or local fleet manager, to make vehicle maintenance and repair decisions. These processes neither mandate nor prohibit the use of remanufactured parts. The agencies we reviewed generally do not keep data on the extent to which remanufactured parts are used. Agency officials from the 14 agencies in our review said that they use remanufactured parts when warranted, and we observed the presence of remanufactured parts in the stock rooms during our visits to repair facilities. Deciding when to use remanufactured parts, according to agency officials and related guidance, depends on a number of factors including the cost, availability, and reliability of the part. According to agency officials, these factors are considered on a case-by-case basis for each repair to yield the best value for the federal government.
Why GAO Did This Study
In fiscal year 2011, federal civilian agencies reported about $975 million in maintenance and repair costs for approximately 588,000 vehicles that the agencies owned. These vehicles can be maintained and repaired using new or remanufactured parts. While there is no standard definition of a remanufactured vehicle part, the Federal Acquisition Regulation defines remanufactured parts as factory rebuilt to original specifications. Remanufactured vehicle parts tend to be less expensive than comparable new parts. The principal remanufactured products in the motor vehicle sector are engines, transmissions, starter motors, alternators, steering racks, and clutches, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Given the potential for cost savings from using remanufactured parts in the federal fleet, you asked us to examine this issue. Thus, this report describes (1) the vehicle repair process for selected agencies, including the use of remanufactured parts, and (2) the factors that agency officials consider when deciding whether to use new or remanufactured parts for repairs.
Read the full story at GreenBiz.
What have the turbulent past few years done for consumers’ behaviors around the environment? With political leadership on the issue notable only by its absence, the issue of whether consumers will ever embrace the sort of behavioral change most experts say is needed to avoid future environmental disaster is becoming ever more pressing.
Leadership companies will be those that get into the game and join those already playing. That means boosting their credibility and building much-needed trust in business to nudge “stuck” consumers on the environment.
Read the full story in the New York Times.
Houses of worship have been slow to embrace green initiatives, for reasons including architectural challenges and a lack of incentive to make the upfront investment.
Don’t miss your chance to inspire, empower and motivate the campus sustainability movement! With this year’s theme in mind, “Resiliency & Adaptation,” the AASHE 2013 Conference & Expo is an opportunity to share and discuss innovations, activities, frameworks, learning outcomes, tools, strategies, research, theory and leadership initiatives on the largest stage in North America for for higher education sustainability thought leadership. The call for conference abstracts closes on March 21.
We are also looking for abstract reviewers! If you are interested in being part of the presentation selection process, select “volunteer to be a reviewer” once you have logged into the submission site. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Read the full story in Electrical Construction and Maintenance.
Fluorescent lighting illuminates the majority of today’s aging hospitals. By harvesting daylight and leveraging the energy-saving benefits of LED technology, however, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford is striving to achieve greatly reduced energy consumption as part of the medical center’s sustainability goals. Design and construction teams are currently working on two projects concurrently on the Stanford University Medical Center Campus: the expansion of Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., and the new Stanford Hospital in Stanford, Calif.
Read the full story at GreenBiz.
What will the next generation of Net Zero energy buildings look like?
Ask a panel of engineers and architects who built the first generation and you’ll hear that they may be bit smarter, perhaps a lot bigger, but they will be designed using the same principles. What’s new, they say, is a greater focus on the occupant’s role in operating these buildings.
Read the full story at GreenBiz.
When writing anything about climate change — and particularly about climate risk — I often hear back about the need to mention “opportunities.” The same goes for sustainability. Apparently, the only risks we can hope to manage, and the only things we should consider “sustainable” from a business perspective, are things that make or save companies money.
This has always struck me as odd, given that many of the environmental problems we’re grappling with are generally recognized as attributable to the existence of economic externalities. Broadly speaking, the whole topic of sustainability (and climate change) has evolved from the recognition that we need to deal with nonmonetized externalities. That being the case, how can it be true that everything we do to solve those problems has to make sense without having monetized those very externalities?
The bioethanol industry exerts a significant demand on water supplies. Current water consumption rate in corn dry grind ethanol plants is 3 to 4 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol produced (gal/gal) and 6 to 10 gal/gal for cellulosic ethanol plants. The main goal of this study was to examine the use of treated wastewater effluent in place of potable freshwater for cellulosic ethanol production. The effects of using two different types of filtered treated effluent; Bloomington- Normal, IL (Residential type) and Decatur, IL (Industrial/Residential Mix type); on the rate of fermentation and final ethanol yield from a pure cellulosic substrate were evaluated. Final ethanol concentration with Bloomington- Normal and Decatur effluent and our control study using de-ionized water were similar, resulting in 4.57 0.22 % v/v (0.36 g/g, db), 4.74 0.13 % v/v (0.37 g/g, db) and 4.55 0.28 % v/v (0.36 g/g, db), respectively. Residual glucose concentrations were <0.04 % w/v at 48 hr in all cases, suggesting complete fermentation. Further study with Decatur effluent using 0.08 mm finely ground Miscanthus as the substrate resulted in a final ethanol concentration of 0.46 0.008 % v/v (0.14 g/g db) which was similar to ethanol concentration of 0.52 0.07 % v/v (0.17 g/g db) obtained with control treatment using de-ionized water. These findings suggest that with proper characterization studies and under appropriate conditions, the use of treated effluent water in cellulosic ethanol production is feasible.