Day: March 8, 2013

How GIS helps the Navy reduce its energy consumption

Read the full story at the SmartBlog on Leadership.

Like many organizations, the Navy decided to reduce its energy consumption in an effort to cut costs and become more environmentally-friendly, but unlike many organizations, that feat for the Navy involved looking at its facilities all the way from a global perspective down to a local one. In order to achieve this, the Navy used GIS software to develop the Navy Shore Geospatial Energy Program, which Sandrine Schultz presented during day two of the Esri Federal GIS Conference in Washington, D.C., last week.

‘Green electricity roof’ could provide power, water storage and insulation

Read the full story at Environmental Research Web.

A significant part of the electricity needed for buildings could be generated using plant-covered roofs within a few years, thanks to research carried out at Wageningen University of the Netherlands. Similarly, fields of crops such as rice could help produce electricity without the requirement to choose between using land for growing food or biofuels.

The 4 biggest barriers to corporate sustainability

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

[Editor's note: This is the first installment of WRI's five-part series, "Aligning Profit and Environmental Sustainability." Each post, which will run on Thursdays for the next four weeks, will offer solutions for businesses to better integrate environmental sustainability into their everyday operations.]

Implementing corporate environmental sustainability strategies is increasingly becoming standard practice. More than 300 firms on the S&P 500 index, for example, report their greenhouse gas inventories each year to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Fortune 100 and S&P Global 100 companies are investing billions of dollars to reach renewable energy procurement targets. Some companies are going further and taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of their products, services and supply chains.

Despite this encouraging progress, a confluence of global environmental challenges is putting more pressure on corporate environmental sustainability strategies to get to scale quickly. Not enough global businesses have integrated environmental sustainability into their long-term decision-making. And, as it stands today, existing practices are not enough to protect the natural resources that society and businesses depend on.

WRI examines this gap between existing corporate sustainability practices and the environmental protection needed for the 21st century in our new report, “Aligning Profit and Environmental Sustainability: Stories from Industry.” We interviewed sustainability managers from AkzoNobel, Alcoa, Citi, Greif, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Natura and Siemens to better understand why strategies that are good for both business and the planet are not getting to scale.

Seeking Simple Sustainability Strategies? Try the Electronics Challenge for Librarians

Sign up for this introductory webinar to find out how the State Electronics Challenge can help your organization meet its sustainability and stewardship goals. The Challenge offers a simple, straightforward approach to greening your organization’s office equipment.

The State Electronics Challenge helps public agencies, schools, colleges and universities implement sustainability and stewardship in their operations. The Challenge helps organizations that join the program—known as Partners—to buy green office equipment, use it efficiently and recycle it responsibly. Partners get access to implementation tools, support and technical assistance, and receive an annual sustainability report that documents the impacts of the program on specific sustainability indicators.

To learn more about the Electronics Challenge, register for an introductory webinar: March 14, 3 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m./1 p.m. Central/Noon Pacific.

To register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3635301347725787392

For more information, contact info@stateelectronicschallenge.net or visit the website at http://www.stateelectronicschallenge.net.

Resilient design: the foundation of climate adaption

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries.

For those working in the field of sustainability, we understand inherently that our future is being challenged daily by climate change and environmental degradation. Every new broken temperature record, raging forest fire, or violent storm mock our efforts to mitigate the severe effects of our rapidly changing world. As cities, states, and organizations shift their focus from various mitigation efforts to resiliency efforts, many activists have become even more disheartened, interpreting this as an official loss for the climate change movement.

Alex Wilson, one of the most respected leaders in the field of climate resilience, says quite the opposite. According to this long-time green building activist, founder, and entrepreneur, resilience and mitigation go hand in hand. In other words, if we prepare our built environment to withstand uncertain climate futures, we will create an inherently sustainable system that requires drastically fewer resources.

Walgreens plans first net-zero retail store in U.S.

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

Retail stores, like Walgreens, brand themselves as one-stop shops for all your needs. Now, a new Walgreens store will also have all the energy-making technology to meet its energy needs.

The plan is for the new store to produce more energy than it consumes, making it a net-zero energy store — the company calls the store the first net-zero energy retail store in the United States.

Located in the northern Chicago suburb, Evanston, Ill., the new store will have 800 rooftop solar panels, two wind turbines, and will drill 550-feet below the store to tap into geothermal energy. The store also aims to reduce its overall energy use by using LED lighting and daylight harvesting, in addition to using energy efficient building materials and carbon dioxide refrigerant. The building is estimated to use 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year but produce 256,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, on site.

Indianapolis Aims to Have 1st All-Green Fleet

Read the full story in Governing.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is trying to accomplish something that hasn’t been done before in a major city: He’s trying to convert the city’s entire vehicle fleet to run on alternative fuels, and he wants to do it by 2025.

Greening a city’s fleet is by no means a new idea. It may even sound like something that’s been done before. Cities from Seattle to Ann Arbor, Mich., to Boston all have programs to green their fleets. But unlike Seattle, Ann Arbor, Boston and other cities, Indianapolis plans to green every vehicle in its fleet.

The plan works like this: The first step is moving about 500 city-owned sedans to plug-in or hybrid vehicles. A newly signed executive order requires the city to make that switch as older vehicles are phased out. Next, the city will move heavy fleet vehicles — like fire engines and garbage trucks — to compressed natural gas. And the final step — and possibly the trickiest one — is the conversion of its police vehicles.