Day: October 24, 2013

The Greening of America’s Libraries: LEEDing the Way

ACRL and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) announce the publication of The Greening of America’s Libraries: LEEDing the Way. Written by Mary M. Carr and Steven L. Carr, United States Green Building Council (USGBC) trained and certified accredited LEED- AP professionals and librarians, this digital publication introduces librarians and design professionals to the information, standards and tools necessary to construct or renovate a library in accordance with the USGBC’s LEED requirements and process.

A core principle of libraries is to be a presence in the communities they serve. That presence takes many forms, from historical images of a librarian riding the circuit on horseback, to a bookmobile, to the physical space of a library building. Today’s libraries use technology to extend the reach of resources and services. These sorts of changes, along with economic concerns, have necessitated a fresh look at physical library buildings, including making them more environmentally sound.

Building on Mary M. Carr’s recent book The Green Library Planner: What Every Librarian Needs to Know Before Starting to Build or Renovate, the goal of The Greening of America’s Libraries is to provide the information, tools and confidence a non-building or design professional needs to construct or renovate library spaces with an eye towards sustainability. Carr and Carr provide readers with point by point explanations of LEED requirements in all relevant categories along with examples of existing library building projects that illustrate specific LEED requirements. The handbook is an invaluable resource for anyone involved in library renovation projects along with the construction or lease of new library spaces.

The Greening of America’s Libraries: LEEDing the Way is available for purchase in a variety of e-book formats through the ALA Online Store and; and through EBSCO for library e-book collections.

EcoEngineers receives Iowa grant for waste-to-energy study

Read the full story in Biodiesel Magazine.

Known in biodiesel circles for its RIN Quality Assurance Plan, Des Moines, Iowa-based renewable energy consulting firm EcoEngineers has been awarded a grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to conduct a feasibility study of waste-to-energy projects in Iowa. The grant will allow EcoEngineers to evaluate the economic and technical feasibility of converting biogenic waste streams from Iowa’s agricultural, livestock and industrial operations and municipal solid waste into renewable natural gas (biogas).

Scientists identify key genes to increase plant leaf oil content

Read the full story in Biodiesel Magazine.

Scientists at the U.S. DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have identified the key genes required for oil production and accumulation in plant leaves and other vegetative plant tissues. Enhancing expression of these genes resulted in vastly increased oil content in leaves, the most abundant sources of plant biomass—a finding that could have important implications for increasing the energy content of plant-based foods and renewable biofuel feedstocks. The research is described in two new publications in The Plant Journal and Plant Cell.

USDA accepting applications for $181M in advanced biofuel funding

Read the full story in Biodiesel Magazine.

“Despite a time of significant budget uncertainty,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced availability of $181 million to develop commercial-scale biorefineries, or to retrofit existing facilities with the appropriate technology to develop advanced biofuels. “This financing will expand the number of commercial biorefineries in operation in the U.S. that are producing advanced biofuels from nonfood sources,” Vilsack said.

USDA used Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude Farm in Columbus, N.M., as an example of how this program supports development of advanced biofuels. In 2011, USDA provided Sapphire Energy a $54.5 million loan guarantee to build a refined alga oil commercial facility. In continuous operation since May 2012, the plant is producing renewable algal oil that can be further refined to replace petroleum-derived diesel and jet fuel. According to the company, more than 600 jobs were created throughout the first phase of construction at the facility, and 30 full-time employees currently operate the plant. The company expects to produce 100 barrels of refined algal oil per day by 2015, and to be at commercial-scale production by 2018. After receiving additional equity from private investors, Sapphire was able to repay the remaining balance on its USDA-backed loan earlier this year.

Applications for biorefinery assistance are due by Jan. 30. More information about how to apply is available in the Oct. 2 Federal Register announcement.

The Sustainability Movement on Campus: Forming a Library Action Plan for Engagement

The Sustainability Movement on Campus: Forming a Library Action Plan for Engagement

Instructor: Madeleine Charney
Dates: December 2-16, 2013
Credits: 0.75 CEUs
Price: $90
For more information:

This course focuses on the role of the academic librarian in the sustainability movement which is sweeping across U.S. campuses. A proliferation of sustainability courses, programs and related activities bears witness to a paradigm shift in our society. A trans-disciplinary area of study, sustainability stretches beyond environmental awareness to include issues of economic viability and social justice concerns. This comingling of subject areas offers limitless opportunities for collaboration and cross-pollination between librarians and the faculty, students, staff and administrators they support. Emphasis will be on the curriculum with a preliminary exploration of how facilities management and co-curricular activities tie into the teaching and learning of sustainability.

You will be guided through a practical process for becoming actively engaged in this paradigm shift on your campus. Sections will include: “Temperature Check” of Your Institution, Finding Your Allies, Library as Common Space, and Bridge Building Tools. Reading assignments, exercises and participation in a discussion forum will connect you to the community-inspired energy that drives the sustainability movement. The course will culminate in an action plan that matches the needs of your library and institution and suits your comfort level for professional involvement. The instructor will offer individual feedback as you reflect on your own values and the influence you, the library profession, and your institution offer to the shaping of our future leaders.

Participants are expected to spend 7.5 hours on the two-week course.

Madeleine Charney is the Sustainability Studies Librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2011 she presented at the national conference for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, “Getting Closer: The Librarian, the Curriculum and the Office of Sustainability.” This past year she co-facilitated a 4-part webinar series “Libraries for Sustainability.” She continues to work on her “elevator speech” to inspire others about sustainability as a transformative movement and an opportunity to rethink and rework how we interact on this planet. Interview with Madeleine Charney

Filthy-Minded Teenager: How a 19-year-old’s design for a floating recycling bin could help turn the ocean cleanup tide

Read the full story in On Earth.

While most other kids his age were thinking about how to sneak into R-rated movies, Boyan Slat, a Dutch teenager, was contemplating how to overcome some of the most vexing physical hurdles inherent in our ocean cleanup efforts. Specifically, Slat remembers wondering to himself: “What if there were a way to turn oceanic currents—which can make it so difficult to collect marine trash—from an obstacle into a solution?”

Now, at the ripe old age of 19, Slat may have come up with a plan for doing just that. His ingenious design for a marine garbage trap, should it ever be realized, has the potential to capture nearly one-third of the 7.25 million metric tons of plastic currently floating atop the surface of our oceans.