EU probes TV makers over energy efficiency test scores

Read the full story from the BBC.

The European Commission says it is “following up” two reports that raise concerns that software used in TVs may be skewing their energy rating scores.

One study indicates that some Samsung TVs nearly halve their power consumption when a standardised test is carried out.

Another accuses a different unnamed manufacturer of adjusting the brightness of its sets when they “recognise” the test film involved.

Samsung has denied any wrongdoing.

2015-16 LiveBIG: Illinois’ Sustainable-Electronics ‘Mission’

In “Mission: Impossible,” one of the recurring plot devices is the message that self-destructs in order to keep that information a secret. The University of Illinois has a different kind of mission: developing electronics that self-destruct for the sake of sustainability.

Webinar: Strategies and Tools for Purchasing Products with Safer Chemistries

Wed, Sep 30, 2015 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CDT
Register at

There are tens of thousands of chemicals in commerce in the United States, many of which may have a range of negative impacts on health, the environment, and the economy during their lifecycle. It should be a key part of any sustainable purchasing program to understand which of these chemicals could pose hazards in products and services procured, and how to find safer alternatives.

The Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, Responsible Purchasing Network, and Green Electronics Council have joined together to present this webinar on steps that public and private institutions can take to purchase products with safer chemistries.

The webinar will cover a new report from the sponsoring organizations on how six leading institutions have taken advanced steps to purchase products with safer chemistries, including how they are engaging with their staff, suppliers, and other stakeholders. The webinar will also identify key steps that can be taken by purchasers who are just starting to look at chemicals in the products they buy, as well as those who are more advanced in doing so, including understanding ecolabels.

New wearable technology can sense appliance use, help track carbon footprint

Read the full story from the University of Washington.

In today’s smart home, technologies can track how much energy a particular appliance like a refrigerator or television or hair dryer is gobbling up. What they don’t typically show is which person in the house actually flicked the switch.

A new wearable technology developed at the University of Washington called MagnifiSense can sense what devices and vehicles the user interacts with throughout the day, which can help track that individual’s carbon footprint, enable smart home applications or even assist with elder care.

In a study to be presented this week at the 2015 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing, MagnifiSense correctly classified 94 percent of users’ interactions with 12 common devices after a quick one-time calibration, including microwaves, blenders, remote controls, electric toothbrushes, laptops, light dimmers, and even cars and buses. Even without the calibration, MagnifiSense was still correct 83 percent of the time.

How She Leads: Kathleen Shaver, Cisco

Read the full interview at GreenBiz.

Kathleen Shaver started her undergraduate degree with the idea of working on Capitol Hill.

She has the public policy credentials to prove it, including a master’s degree in environmental health science from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies from American University.

“When I came out of school in the late ’80s, sustainability was just emerging as a concept,” she told GreenBiz. “It was pollution prevention and environmental compliance. I came up through the public health community, started out working in law firms, and I really kind of realized that I liked what I did more than what lawyers did.”

Since that time, Shaver has held roles in both the private and public sector, including director-level positions at AlliedSignal, Honeywell and Mattel, where she was instrumental in shaping the toymaker’s deforestation strategy. Two years ago, Shaver made the jump to Cisco as director of supply chain sustainability, risk management, compliance and security. Not a small job, yet she’s also taken on another important new role, as chairwoman of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition.

GreenBiz spoke with Shaver about making the leap to high tech, the two mentors who helped shape her thinking and why she’s excited about influencing Cisco employees who don’t have sustainability in their title. The discussion was edited for length and clarity.

EPA app targets mobile algae forecasting

Read the full post at Great Lakes Echo.

It might not be as addictive as Candy Crush, but a new EPA app could have big implications for water management and the people who drink, swim or fish within the Great Lakes.

The yet-unnamed app will detect blooms of cyanobacteria – a photosynthetic microbe often mistaken for algae and responsible for water quality headaches that particularly affect Lake Erie supplies.

Texas teenager creates $20 water purifier to tackle toxic e-waste pollution

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Consumer electronics, including computers and mobiles, are leaving a legacy of toxic waste in countries including China and India. Recycling factories across Asia are recovering e-waste exported from around the world, but discharging heavy metals and chemicals into local water supplies in the process.

How to safeguard drinking water for local residents is an ongoing battle, with existing solutions such as chlorination, distillation, boiling and high-tech filtration prohibitively expensive and often reliant on fossil fuels.

Now a new filtering device, invented by a US teenager, could provide a cheap and easy way to purify water.