WaterSense H2Otel Challenge Recruiting Rally — Two weeks left

WaterSense needs help spreading the word about the H2Otel Challenge and is counting on its partners and industry stakeholders to reach out to hotels in their areas to tell them how to join and why they should implement water efficiency best management practices.

To incentivize WaterSense promotional partners (i.e., utilities, state/local governments, trade associations, or nonprofits) to recruit hotels to take the Challenge, WaterSense will hold a Recruiting Rally from February 1 to June 1, 2015. The promotional partner that recruits the most hotels to sign up for the Challenge during that time period will be rewarded with free technical assistance. After the winner is announced, WaterSense will host a free water efficiency workshop for the winning partner’s hotel stakeholders and conduct an onsite water assessment at one hotel of the partner’s choosing.

Any organization or individual can recruit hotels to sign up for WaterSense’s H2Otel Challenge, but only WaterSense promotional partners are eligible to earn the free workshop and water assessment. Most recruiting organizations can become WaterSense partners. Learn more about the Recruiting Rally by downloading this flier and learn how to become a WaterSense partner here.

WaterSense provides materials for partners and other organizations to recruit hotels to take the Challenge and promote their participation. Download a recruitment flier to help you get started. Once your organization commits to participating in the Rally below, you will receive ongoing tips and communications about recruiting hotels to join the Challenge. WaterSense partners can visit the partner website for more information on the H2Otel Challenge.

Elsevier announces Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

As the world’s population approaches 9 billion, the strain on the planet’s resources is steadily increasing.  This demand can only be met by improving production methods to reduce the use of chemicals and the amount of chemical waste.

To encourage researchers to come up with new solutions, Elsevier is holding its first Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. The winning project will receive a prize of €50,000 with €25,000 for the second place prize.

The Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge will open for proposals on 1 June. Participants are asked to submit proposals outlining innovative ideas that advance access to environmentally friendly and sustainable chemical processes or products that contribute to sustainability and are suitable for use in developing countries. The contest is open to individuals and organizations in both the not-for-profit and commercial sectors from all countries.

Projects will be reviewed according to the following criteria:

  • Be replicable, scalable, sustainable and set a benchmark for innovation
  • Have practical applicability
  • Reduce or eliminate the use or generation of one or more hazardous substances, or provide a more sustainable method for using resources
  • Contribute to sustainability
  • Be suitable for use in developing countries

Elsevier’s mission is to assist the research community in finding solutions that help solve today’s most pressing global challenges in health, environment or engineering. With the Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge, we want to stimulate research projects in this area and offer a platform for researchers to exchange ideas and collaboratively contribute to society.

AASHE Sustainability Awards Call for Applications

Applications for the Tenth Annual AASHE Sustainability Awards are now being accepted through June 11. During the past ten years, AASHE has recognized leaders from over 60 campuses from across the U.S. and Canada for outstanding ideas and initiatives that are furthering the higher education sustainability transformation.

Award winners will receive one complimentary AASHE 2015 Conference & Expo pass, one invitation to a special reception during the 2015 conference, an opportunity to present your winning submission at the 2015 conference and during the 2016 AASHE Award Winners Webinar Series, and featured in Sustainability: Journal of Record.

There are three categories of submissions.

  • The Campus Sustainability Case Study honors campus projects at AASHE member institutions that promote sustainability in any sector including operations, education, administration and engagement.
  • The Student Research on Campus Sustainability award seeks to honor students from AASHE member institutions who are advancing the higher education sustainability transformation with focused research of any length.
  • The Student Sustainability Leadership award honors student teams from AASHE member institutions who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting campus sustainability efforts.

Apply today for a chance to join this celebrated group and receive recognition and complimentary registration to the AASHE 2015 Conference & Expo. Awards will be presented during the opening ceremony on Oct. 25 in Minneapolis, Minn. Application deadline is June 11, 2015.

Sewer brewers: Oregon beer-makers challenged to use wastewater in recipes

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Some companies boast of making beer with spring water from majestic mountains.

They won’t be competing in the upcoming Pure Water Brew Challenge, in which an Oregon wastewater treatment operator has asked home brewers to make great-tasting beer from hops, barley, yeast and the key, not-so-secret ingredient: treated sewer water.

The point of the contest is not to find Portland’s next trendy craft beer. Rather, it’s an effort to get people talking about how a vital resource can be reused thanks to advanced water-filtration systems.

“Water Is” Photo Contest

The Illinois Water Resources Center’s (IWRC) “Water Is” photo contest recognizes Illinois photographers who have captured what water means for them, their communities, and the state. Winning images will be featured in IWRC materials promoting the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, a new state plan designed to improve local and regional water quality.

The contest is open to the public, including state employees. Professional photographers are welcome to submit entries under a separate category. All participants may submit a total of five images.

All entries must be original work. Previously-published material may be entered as long as the submission includes the date and name of the publication.

Entries must be submitted as high-resolution JPEG files no larger than 8 megabytes. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (cropping, color adjustment, etc.) will be disqualified.

Email your submissions to Eliana Brown at brown12@illinois.edu by May 21, 2015. Emails must also:

  • Explain what is happening in the photo
  • Identify the location and date the image was taken, including the name of the waterbody if appropriate
  • Identify the category of submission – amateur or professional

A panel of judges will select first place and honorable mention winners.

IWRC will have unrestricted use of all submitted photos and accompanying materials and has the right to use all entries in any future online and print materials. Photographers assume responsibility for obtaining consent from any persons appearing in their photograph prior to submission.

Energy Department Announces Winners of 2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition

The Energy Department announced winners of its second annual Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a collegiate competition engaging university students to design zero energy-ready homes. A zero energy-ready home is a high-performance home that is so energy efficient it can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption with renewable energy. This significantly reduces a home’s annual electricity costs while improving comfort, health, safety, and durability.

The awards recognize students who excel at integrating solid building science principles into designs for zero energy-ready homes including creative solutions to real-world problems. Criteria for recognition included adherence to the Department’s Zero Energy Ready Home program criteria, clear project plans, and overall competency in applying best practices from the Department’s Building America program. Top priorities for each entry are geared toward developing cost-effective, market-ready, zero energy-ready homes.

The competition is intended to inspire next-generation architects, engineers, and construction managers to apply the latest building science innovations in new and existing buildings. A major goal of the competition as it grows in popularity is to advance building science curriculum in university programs across the country. Competing undergraduate students, graduate students, and university faculty are at the forefront of a leadership movement to design truly sustainable homes.

This year’s competition featured 33 teams from 27 universities. Over the last several months, students were tasked with redesigning an existing floor plan or creating a new house design to meet the competition’s cost-effective, high-performance home energy requirements. The final portion of the competition concluded at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, April 18-19, as the students presented their innovative designs to a panel of national experts. These experts included leading high-performance home builders, building science professionals, building product manufacturer technical experts, and national laboratory research scientists.

Eighteen awards were given in five categories:

Grand Winner

  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grand Winner Finalists

  • Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
  • Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign–Team Illinois, Champaign, Illinois

Analysis Excellence

  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Ryerson University–Team DAS Haus, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

Design Excellence

  • Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania
  • Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas
  • Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science–Team Provenance Lane,  Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science–Team Øzone,  Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • University of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

Systems Integration Excellence

  • Illinois State University–Team Redbird Red, Normal, Illinois
  • Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania
  • Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science–Team Øzone,  Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

The Department also announced it will hold the 2016 Race to Zero Student Design Competition next April at NREL. View the list of winners or visit the program website to learn more about the competition.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) works with private industry, universities, and national laboratories to accelerate the development and facilitate deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Visit the Building Technologies Office website to learn more about broader efforts to help new and existing homes across the United States achieve cost-effective, energy-saving solutions.

Kenyan activist Phyllis Omido wins Goldman prize

Read the full story from the BBC.

Kenyan environmental activist Phyllis Omido has won the prestigious Goldman prize.

She is being recognised for her campaign against a battery smelting plant accused of damaging the health of a community in the city of Mombasa.

As an employee at the plant, she was inspired to act after her baby son was diagnosed with lead poisoning.

Read profiles of Omido and the other winners at http://www.goldmanprize.org/blog/introducing-the-2015-goldman-environmental-prize-winners/.