Day: July 29, 2013

Registration now open for the 14th Biennial Governor’s Conference on the Management of the Illinois River System

Illinois-River-2013-impact Registration is now open for the 14th Biennial Governor’s Conference on the Illinois River system – Working Locally-Reaching Globally, which will be held in Peoria, IL from October 1-3, 2013.

The conference will host speakers from Federal, State and private organizations on new technology, environmental and economic health, and green thinking. The conference will take a new focus on the global impacts of the Illinois River and its inhabitants – aquatic life, wildlife, plants and YOU! The conference is coming this October 1-3 at Peoria’s Four Points by Sheraton.

Register online now at or by calling 217-244-7657.

How should we deal with increasing electronic waste? [audio]

Listen to the interview.

As new technology becomes more rapidly available, unwanted electronics are building up in America’s landfills.  Electronics or e-waste makes up  nearly 70% of toxic waste found in landfills. Jim Grandholm, founder of Michigan-based Green Earth Electronics Recycling, discusses how these items become e-waste and how they can be safely disposed of or donated.

Regional variations in the health, environmental, and climate benefits of wind and solar generation

Kyle Siler-Evans, Inês Lima Azevedo, M. Granger Morgan, and Jay Apt (2013). “Regional variations in the health, environmental, and climate benefits of wind and solar generation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online ahead of print.

Abstract: When wind or solar energy displace conventional generation, the reduction in emissions varies dramatically across the United States. Although the Southwest has the greatest solar resource, a solar panel in New Jersey displaces significantly more sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter than a panel in Arizona, resulting in 15 times more health and environmental benefits. A wind turbine in West Virginia displaces twice as much carbon dioxide as the same turbine in California. Depending on location, we estimate that the combined health, environmental, and climate benefits from wind or solar range from $10/MWh to $100/MWh, and the sites with the highest energy output do not yield the greatest social benefits in many cases. We estimate that the social benefits from existing wind farms are roughly 60% higher than the cost of the Production Tax Credit, an important federal subsidy for wind energy. However, that same investment could achieve greater health, environmental, and climate benefits if it were differentiated by region.

Q&A: Tiffani Williams, computer scientist, on creating an open source tree of life

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

The Open Tree of Life project culls years’ worth of segmented scientific research in an effort to create a current, open source version of our knowledge on thousands of plant and animal species. Tiffani Williams, a computer scientist at Texas A&M University who is working on the project, said the Open Tree of Life will eventually be a Wikipedia-like living document for scientists and the community to edit and use for research.

I spoke recently with Williams about the segmented nature of the tree of life, the challenges of the project and how an open tree of life could impact science in schools. Below are excerpts from our interview.

Method will open first U.S. manufacturing plant in Chicago

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Method, the eco-friendly cleaning supply company, is opening its first U.S. manufacturing plant, and residents of Chicago’s South Side can look out for the 150,000-square-foot, LEEDs-certified soap production facility next year.

The San Francisco-based company, which Belgian company Ecover acquired last year, will set up shop on the site of the old Ryerson steel mill as part of the Pullman Park redevelopment project. Pullman is a 174-acre mixed-use development that will need a zoning change for Method, as it initially had not planned for a factory as part of the project. The developer, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, is expected to apply for about $10 million in TIF subsidies, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Cool Controls for the Energy Efficient Lab

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

In the search for energy and financial savings, consumers have adjusted the thermostat, sealed cracks around doors and windows, and installed compact fluorescent light bulbs. Laboratory owners also can take advantage of technology options to reduce energy use and operating costs through renovations or retrofits to existing systems.

According to Laboratories for the 21st Century (Labs21), a joint effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a typical laboratory building consumes five to ten times more energy per square foot than a typical office building. HVAC systems consume about 70% of the energy; electrical and lighting make up the rest of the load.