Day: April 25, 2013

Nike Accelerates 10 Materials Of The Future

Read the full story at FastCo.Design.

Leather. Nylon. EVA foam. Knit polyester yarn. These are the materials of shoes today. But Nike wants to get in at the ground floor of the textiles (and the companies making the textiles) of tomorrow. You see, about 60% of the environmental impact from a pair of Nike shoes is sunk into its materials. When you consider that such a figure must also account for production and shipment, you realize there’s a lot of fat to be trimmed.

So Nike, in a partnership with NASA, the U.S. State Department. and USAID, is launching a search for the minds creating undiscovered, sustainable textiles of the future. It’s the latest crusade generated by Nike’s fourth Launch Challenge (which have previously focused on innovation across topics like health and water). And over the next few months, the coalition will be paring down pitches to ten textile fabricators they believe could seriously impact widespread industry. Maybe they require less raw materials to create. Maybe they use less manufacturing resources, like water, to produce. The possibilities are completely up in the air, so long as chemists can dream them.

2013 Midwest Biochar Conference – Registration is open

Call for Posters

The Midwest Biochar Conference call for posters is open until May 15, 2013.  Preference will be given to those who are not giving an oral presentation and who can be at the conference in person.  Space is limited to 20 posters.

Vendors

Vendor registration is open to organizations and individuals associated with all aspects of biochar, including but not limited to, biomass producers, biochar producers, and cook stoves and pyrolysis unit manufacturers.  The cost for vendors is $50, which includes one 6’ table and 2 chairs. The deadline for vendor registration is June 1, 2013.

Conference Agenda

A draft conference agenda is now available on the website.

Registration

Conference registration is open and will end on June 5, 2013.  Please register early as space is limited.

Questions

Please contact Nancy Holm, Conference Co-coordinator, naholm@illinois.edu or 217-244-3330.

Indianapolis Building First Empty-Ballpark Apartments

Read the full story in Governing.

Some baseball fans like the sport so much they buy season tickets. But sports junkies in Indianapolis may be able to take their passion even further: Starting this summer, they’ll be able to live in a stadium.

In August, workers will complete the process of converting the historic minor league ballpark in Indianapolis into a high-end, 138-unit apartment complex dubbed Stadium Lofts. It’s believed to be the country’s first housing development located in a former ballpark.

Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON)

Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Core Science Analytics and Synthesis Program. BISON is an information system that allows users to access, explore, and download U.S. species occurrence data from participating data providers.

What information does BISON offer?

BISON offers and displays species occurrence data. The occurrences may be recorded observations; the locations of specimens; the original collection locations of living, fossil or preserved specimens; or literature-based reports. The descriptive terms used for records are as follows:

  • fossil = petrified evidence of a species occurrence in geological time
  • germplasm = living tissue from which new organisms can be grown
  • literature = assertion in a scientific publication of an occurrence
  • living = the organism is kept in captivity at the given location
  • observation = a record of a free-living species occurrence that does not produce a specimen or germplasm
  • specimen = the species or a part of it has been collected from this location and preserved in a formal collection
  • unknown = the type of record is obscure or not recorded

Why is species occurrence data important?

Most research on biological organisms in the wild can be thought of as the observations by a specific person (or instrument) of a particular species at a particular place and time. Regardless of the initial reason that the species was recorded somewhere, the knowledge that it was actually at a specific place at a specific time is extremely useful in many areas of science. For example, these occurrence records are instrumental in tracking the spread of invasive species, the decline of threatened species, and the movement of ranges in response to climate change or other environmental factors.

Occurrence data is used as baseline data for modeling and analysis, in ecological research, and in the management of natural resources. BISON’s data is all species occurrence data. At this time BISON does not include observations of the absence of species, because in order for those data to be useful, one needs to know and combine much more about the sampling methods in a statistically defensible way. We are working with the biodiversity community to identify specific sets of absence data that have well-documented and combinable sampling protocols.

Questions about BISON? E-mail the support team at Bison@usgs.gov.

How to Calculate and Reduce Your Business’s Carbon Footprint

Read the full story in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Few companies consider the full spectrum of their environmental impact, says Anant Sundaram, a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University who teaches a course on business and climate change. A carbon footprint analysis can create a more complete picture and provide a blueprint for reducing the load. While major corporations might hire an expert firm to conduct a customized and highly detailed evaluation, most small businesses use more affordable online survey tools. Bowman paid $400 for his Climate Registry analysis, which asked a series of questions about his business, facilities, miles driven, and types and quantities of energy use.

IIT wins EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, won first prize among small institutions in the Agency’s first Campus RainWorks Challenge. EPA created the challenge to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to develop innovative green infrastructure. The student team will receive a $2,500 cash award and IIT will receive $11,000 for faculty research on green infrastructure.

“EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge encourages the use of green infrastructure to manage stormwater — to improve water quality and to prevent the type of flooding caused by the heavy rains that hit Illinois last week,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman, who presented the award today at an Earth Day ceremony at IIT. “The concept and technical quality of the IIT team’s design is truly impressive.”

The IIT team designed a plan to redevelop a 1,200-foot section of Dearborn Street on the IIT campus. The plan incorporates green infrastructure design elements, including rain gardens that double as outdoor seating areas and permeable walkways. Once implemented, the project will reduce stormwater runoff by more than 70 percent and reduce water used for campus landscaping by 3 million gallons annually.

The project will serve as an ongoing stormwater management design and research site for IIT’s campus and the city at large. IIT’s team was composed of a faculty advisor and 14 graduate and undergraduate students from various disciplines including landscape architecture, business and engineering.

“This is a really great moment for the IIT Master of Landscape Architecture program, for the College of Architecture and for the University, because it brings focus and attention to an increasingly vital urban landscape infrastructure issue: a great design problem for design education,” said Mary Pat Mattson, Studio Assistant Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology. “The award gives us an opportunity to build on our ideas through further research and coursework. And we look forward to seeing how this impacts the campus landscape in very real ways.”

More than 30 expert judges from EPA, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Civil Engineers reviewed submissions from 218 teams. The winners were selected based on six criteria: analysis and planning, preservation or restoration of natural features, integrated water management, soil and vegetation management, value to campus, and likelihood of implementation.

Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of polluted stormwater degrade our nation’s rivers, lakes and aquatic habitats and contribute to downstream flooding.

The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure principles and design, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation. Green infrastructure filters and captures pollutants by passing stormwater through soils and retaining it on site. Green roofs, permeable surfaces and rain gardens are some of the most common types of green infrastructure.