Day: April 18, 2013

Simon Malls Develop ‘Plastic Room’ to Bale Plastic for Sale, Recycling

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

Properties owned by Indianapolis-based real estate company Simon Property Group Inc. have begun collecting and baling clear plastic packaging materials — such as individual plastic bags that contain the clothing that is delivered to the malls — for recycling.

Concord Mills in Concord, NC, is using a so-called “plastic room,” complete with hydraulic baler that compresses plastic such as garment bags and shrink wrap, to collect plastic for recycling, writes Plastics News. Two other Simon malls also have a plastic baling program.

Sustainable skateboards

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

A 13-year-old boy, beanie hat covering his shaggy hair, practices grinding his skateboard down a handrail in a busy urban neighborhood until a police officer chases him away.

Vivoni theorizes that skateboarders' love of their skate spots leads to a heightened  care of these environments. Photo: Kristen Oliver.

Skateboarders’ love of skate spots, like this one in Lansing, Michigan, leads to a heightened care of these environments. Photo: Kristen Oliver.

He may not sound like a typical environmentalist.

But skateboarders are agents of an alternative type of sustainability, according to a recent article published by the academic publishing company Taylor and Francis and written by Francisco Vivoni Gallart, visiting assistant professor of sociology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The original research article was published in a special issue of Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, which focused on children, young people and sustainability. Browse the table of contents of the full issue here.

Caesars Entertainment: Betting on Sustainability

Read the full story in the MIT Sloan Management Review.

Caesars Entertainment, the world’s most geographically diversified gaming company, has been earning a reputation as an environmental leader in the hospitality industry, receiving awards and certifications for sustainability leadership from, among others, the Sierra Club, the EPA, and the U.S. Green Building Council. In just five years, the company reduced its carbon footprint by nearly 10% and reduced its energy use per square foot by 20%. Gary Loveman, Chairman and CEO, and a former Harvard Business School professor, took an interest in sustainability during the depths of a global financial crisis. Although the program has breathed new life into the company’s business and boosted pride among employees, the next chapter is still being worked out.

Research advances in conversion of wastes and algae to crude oil

Read the full story in Biodiesel Magazine.

Yuanhui Zhang and Lance Schideman, both professors in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have combined their research efforts to develop an innovative system that uses swine manure to produce biocrude oil, grow algal biomass, capture carbon, purify wastewater and recycle nutrients.

Smart building strategy: Tackle behavior first, technology second

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

It’s no secret that technology changes behavior, and that’s likely to be just as true with buildings as it is with, say, mobile devices. But while we often think of the latest technology as a way to improve building functions, we usually fail to fully consider how technology might alter the way people use those buildings. In other words, we tend to overvalue the role of the technology and undervalue the resulting re-engineering of the operational processes. And those process changes, rather than the technology itself, actually can have the biggest impact on costs, effectiveness and efficiency.

To demonstrate the relationship between technology, behavior and performance, here are a few examples of smart devices that use automation technology to change, control and adapt behavior.

What it takes to change all the lights in New York City

Read the full story from GreenBiz.

Replacing all the streetlights in New York City is, undoubtedly, no small job. When the idea of using LED lights citywide came up, however, the city was up to the task. After completing thorough testing in 2009, a project to replace all of the city’s streetlights started to become a reality and NYC became a model for other cities to study and follow.

By 2019, when the project is completed, the city expects to see a 35 percent reduction in energy consumption for streetlights. We spoke with Margaret Newman, chief of staff for the NYC Department of Transportation, about the city’s streetlight replacement project and what benefits it is expecting to see in the coming years. Newman will be a presenter at VERGE Boston, May 14, 2013.

Reduce, reuse, recycle: green technologies and practices at work

Read the full report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fifty-seven percent of businesses in the United States used green technologies or practices to improve energy efficiency within their establishments in August 2011, and over half used green technologies and practices to reduce or eliminate the creation of waste materials as a result of operations. These are some of the results from the first BLS Green Technologies and Practices (GTP) survey, published in June 2012. However, the previously published GTP data offer only a partial look at the extent to which businesses used green technologies and practices. For example, the data do not reveal whether establishments typically used a single green technology or practice, or were more likely to adopt combinations of GTPs. To address these topics, this issue of Beyond the Numbers uses a special tabulation of GTP establishment reports to supplement the published survey data with additional information on businesses’ use of multiple GTPs.

Energy Information Administration launches state energy portal

Read the full post at CivSource.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has launched a new comprehensive, and interactive view of the U.S. government’s national and state energy data and information currently available to the public. Found at www.eia.gov/state, the state energy portal adds a unique visual dimension to each state’s energy resources and infrastructure.

The agency designed the new portal with a range of users in mind, including policy makers, energy analysts, and the general public, who want to locate and compare state energy data and rankings and customize their own maps and charts, using an assortment of interactive tools.

Texas School District Saves with Fluorescents

Read the full story in Energy Manager Today.

San Antonio’s Comal School District says it will save about $54,000 per year in energy with help from Acuity Brands lighting and controls solutions.

Kinder Ranch, an 87,300-sq-foot elementary school, is the first in the district to feature a high performance lighting solution.

Coal, Cattle Ranching ‘Most Environmentally Costly’ Businesses

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Coal-powered energy and cattle ranching are the two most environmentally expensive industries — and cost the economy more in environmental damage than they generate in revenue, according to a UN-backed report.

Natural Capital at Risk – The Top 100 Externalities of Business by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Business Coalition, estimates that the primary production — including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mining, oil and gas exploration, utilities — and primary processing — including cement, steel, pulp and paper, petrochemicals — sectors analyzed have externality costs totaling $7.3 trillion, which equates to 13 percent of global economic output in 2009.