Author: Laura B.

I'm the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Sustainability Information Curator, which is a fancy way of saying embedded librarian. I'm also Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. When not writing for Environmental News Bits, I'm an avid reader. Visit Laura's Reads to see what I'm currently reading.

Drought Hypocrisy: San Francisco Using Drinking Water To Heat City Hall, Other Buildings

Read the full story from KPIX.

The people who want us to use less water are part of a system that could be among the biggest water wasters in San Francisco. That system is in hot water, because of hot water.

“After the water is heated up, the condensated water is then discharged into the sewer system,” said Tyrone Jue of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “This is drinking water that is being used for the steam loop.”

Water is heated to make steam to heat City Hall and 170 other nearby buildings. Although City Hall reuses most of its portion, a quarter million gallons a day goes wasted. Good drinking water ends up in the sewer. It’s a system that is more than 80 years old.

Here’s how Method’s new Chicago factory went green—and how much it cost

Read the full story in Crain’s Chicago Business.

When a company builds its reputation on making “green” products, the first factory of its own had better be equally green.

That’s why Method Products, a maker of eco-friendly soaps and cleaning products, pursued the highest level of LEED certification—Platinum—from the U.S. Green Building Council for its Pullman plant.

How water offsets can fix the drought (and save energy)

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Everyone in California is aware of the record drought we find ourselves faced with.  However, most of the solutions being proposed will cost Californians significant amounts of money without significantly reducing water use.

One method to help save water in California that could provide more savings at less cost than many other measures: water offsets.

CDP’s supply chain program: Now $2 trillion plus in purchasing power

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the corporations engaging key suppliers on climate change through CDP’s Supply Chain program should feel extremely honored this year.

As the eighth year of the program kicks off, the members of CDP’s supply chain program have proven that collaboration works. In 2014 suppliers disclosing through CDP at the request of one or more of their customers specifically attributed projects totaling 3.5 million metric tons of CO2e to the direct engagement and encouragement of their key customers. This is almost equivalent to shutting a coal-fired power plant for a whole year.

The art and science of supply-chain transparency

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Let’s start with the basics: Almost everything we buy travels a long and winding road to reach us. From carpets to car parts, apples to Apples, the complexities of commerce are intricate.

If you want to visualize that last statement, peruse the website Sourcemap. It offers tools to help companies map their supply chains, tracking where things come from and where they go. The site features maps created by users, showing the routes traveled by the ingredients of such things as toothpaste, coffee, a hair dryer, Nike shoes or the glass used in mobile phones.

All this supply-chain tracking and tracing isn’t mere idle amusement. Increasingly, it’s table stakes for being in business.

All of which leads us to an event we’re producing this week: VERGE Salon London: Supply-Chain Transparency and Traceability. The one-day event April 28, hosted by PwC at its U.K. headquarters and livestreamed globally, focuses on how companies are addressing the environmental and social impacts of supply-chain partners, using technology to increase collaboration and ensure data integrity at every stage.

It’s About Time New York Solved Its Trash Problem

Read the full story in CityLab.

On Wednesday, which was also Earth Day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasioannounced a vision to overhaul the city’s garbage disposal and recycling program as a part of his 10-year “OneNYC” plan. He has two big goals: to reduce commercial waste disposal 90 percent by 2030, and to minimize the waste generated and sent out to far-away landfills. Given the city’s visible garbage problem, this plan is long overdue.