Day: June 3, 2013

10 reasons green leases create value for tenants and landlords

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Many corporate tenants have heard about green leases, and almost as many might wonder whether they should consider one. The answer, for a variety of reasons, is an overwhelming “Yes!” It is a real-estate opportunity that truly benefits everyone: tenants, landlords and not least, the environment.

Researchers Focus on Dairy’s Carbon Footprint

Read the full story from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas are attempting to help the U.S. dairy industry decrease its carbon footprint as concentrations of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere reach record levels.

In 2007, Americans consumed approximately 17.4 million metric tons of fluid milk – milk consumed as a drink or with cereal, rather than milk used in dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream. The dairy industry has set a goal of 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The U of A researchers’ “cradle-to-grave” life-cycle analysis of milk will provide guidance for producers, processors and others in the dairy supply chain and will help these stakeholders reduce their environmental impact while maintaining long-term viability.

Molecular switch for cheaper biofuel

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Biofuel is often obtained from starchy plants—but this places fuel production in competition with food production. At the Vienna Univ. of Technology, genetically modified mold fungi are created, which have the ability to break down long cellulose and xylan chains into smaller sugar molecules. This could make the production of biofuel a lot cheaper.

Walmart’s $81 Million Fine for Toxic Dumping Undermines Sustainability Promises

Read the full story at BrandChannel.

Walmart’s brand has taken a steady battering over the past year, and part of it is related to sustainability.

Last March, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance issued a report called “Walmart’s Greenwash” that said the leading retailer’s sustainability campaign “has done more to improve the company’s image than to help the environment.” According to the report, Walmart’s greenhouse gas emissions are increasing rapidly and its energy efficiency and renewable projects are “too modest” for the size and scale of the company’s operations.

Add to that Walmart’s latest environmental slap in the face: On May 28, the company pleaded guilty to dumping hazardous waste in California and Missouri, agreeing to pay more than $81 million in fines. In the greater scheme of things, the money is the least significant portion of the problem for Walmart. With $27.87 billion of operating profit last year, The Atlantic estimates that $81 million is little more than a single day’s worth of profit for the retailer.

The larger impact is on the credibility of Walmart’s sustainability initiative. According to the company’s sustainability website, Walmart has a “zero waste” goal. “Walmart has reduced waste in our US operations by more than 80 percent, returning more than $231 million to the business last year,” according to the site. “The reduction, which brings Walmart closer to our goal to create zero waste, has the potential to prevent 11.8 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.”

Better by Design: Evolving EPR fees call for better design choices.

Read the full story in Recycling Today.

Does establishing fees in EPR systems effect whether producers choose to manufacture their products using materials that have a smaller environmental impact?

Groundwater study reveals climate-model variability

Read the full story at Environmental Research Web.

A comprehensive study of renewable groundwater resources has highlighted the variability between different climate models. The research, which used five climate models to project future levels of groundwater recharge under four greenhouse-gas scenarios, found large discrepancies between the models.

New additions to CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

The Tracking Network has just released 60 new measures in some exciting new data additions related to community water, climate change, outdoor air toxics, asthma, and annual blood lead levels!  In addition, updated content includes new communication toolkits, infographics, blogger outreach tools, and a training page.

Searchable Data

You can search through these new data on the Tracking Network.

  • Air Toxics –4 measures of air toxics data in the Outdoor Air section include benzene and formaldehyde, major contributors to cancer risk nationwide.
  • Asthma –3 new measures from emergency department visits for asthma are now available.
  • Blood Lead Levels –4 new measures of blood lead level are now available on the Childhood Lead Poisoning Section.
  • Climate Change – 6 new measures for hospitalizations and emergency department visits from heat stress are now available.
  • Community Water –30 new measures and 6 new contaminant profiles are live in the Community Water section of the Tracking Network.  90% of the U.S. population gets its water from a community water source, and these data can help you understand how the most common contaminants affect different areas of the country.  Newly developed “point maps” show greater detail for yearly mean concentrations of all 9 water contaminants on the Tracking Network.

Communication Toolkits

You can now access new Communication Toolkits for carbon monoxide, heart health, and women’s health.  You can also find updated toolkits for birth defects, asthma, and climate change.

Blogger Resources

To address the expanding visibility and influence of blog sites, the Tracking Network added a Blogger Resources section.  Materials for bloggers include easy-to-use motion maps, infographics, informational videos, and social media connections.

New Training Page

The Tracking Network’s new Training page includes the Tracking in Action training with real-life examples, collaboration with www.mphprogramslist.com, and link to the New Features Demonstration Video highlighting new interactive features of the Tracking Program data search function.

The carbon footprint of your running shoes

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

A typical pair of running shoes comprises 65 discrete parts, requiring more than 360 processing steps to assemble. During its lifecycle, the pair will generate 30 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions — that’s like keeping a 100-watt light bulb on for a week.

But where does the majority of that footprint come from? The results will help shoe companies identify ways to improve designs and reduce shoes’ social and environmental impact. MIT News reports.

Guidelines and Application Forms for Illinois DCEO’s 2013-2014 Public Sector Standard and Custom Incentives are now available

Access Guidelines and Forms by clicking here.  The new, improved application forms have been re-designed in a fillable PDF document.
Important Tips:

  • Some standard measures are no longer listed. However, these may now qualify under the Custom Incentive Program.
  • DCEO will continue to improve the new form. Please continue to check the DCEO website for the most current version.