Making It Less Costly to Become Sustainable

Read the full post at Environmental Leader.

Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” and that certainly applies to facilities as they transfer to greener and more sustainable operating strategies. Planning can be a challenge. Unless building owners and managers are willing or able to pay consultants hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to help with the process, it simply never gets done, and facilities continue to operate in their customary, less environmentally responsible manner.

I have nothing against for-hire consultants; they have helped countless facilities adopt healthier, more sustainable operating practices. It’s just that their price tags can keep many locations from jumping on the green bandwagon, even though they might want to. Fortunately, web-based technologies are being introduced—some at no charge—that help building owners and managers specifically with the planning stages. These technologies can help many more facilities become more environmentally responsible and sustainable in the future.

[Naperville] Council OKs switch to LED lights citywide

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Naperville is keeping the lights on, and spending less to do so.

A final $1 million outlay approved last week to convert the city’s conventional high pressure sodium streetlights to more energy-efficient light emitting diode fixtures will save money and wrap the project up ahead of schedule, staff said.

Green buildings sprouting in China cities

Read the full post at CitiSignals.

Policies designed to wean China from fossil fuels are finally paying off. Jean Chua reports for Eco-Business.com that China is emerging as a global leader on green buildings. These environmentally-friendly structures feature an array of energy-saving technologies. They include solar panels, efficient “smart appliances” and the latest innovations in insulation, the article says.

DOE Publishes GATEWAY Report on Successful LED Wall Washer Retrofit

Download the report.

The U.S. Department of Energy has released a report on a GATEWAY demonstration, in which maintenance and energy costs were significantly reduced while retaining the quality of light when LED modules replaced 87 halogen lamps in existing wall washers at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The project began with mockups in the spring of 2014, with final installation completed in March 2015. The primary goals were to maintain the visual appearance of the space while reducing maintenance costs, with energy savings considered an additional benefit.

The American Lawn Is Now The Largest Single ‘Crop’ In The U.S.

Read the full story in the Huffington Post.

Americans’ lawns now cover an area three times larger than any irrigated crop in the U.S.

According to a new study from NASA scientists in collaboration with researchers in the Mountain West, there is now an estimated total of 163,812 square kilometers, or more than 63,000 square miles, of lawn in America — about the size of Texas.

New research may enhance display and LED lighting technology

Read the full story from the University of Illinois College of Engineering.

Recently, quantum dots (QDs)—nano-sized semiconductor particles that produce bright, sharp, color light—have moved from the research lab into commercial products like high-end TVs, e-readers, laptops, and even some LED lighting. However, QDs are expensive to make so there’s a push to improve their performance and efficiency, while lowering their fabrication costs.

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has recently produced some promising results toward that goal, developing a new method to extract more efficient and polarized light from quantum dots (QDs) over a large-scale area. Their method, which combines QD and photonic crystal technology, could lead to brighter and more efficient mobile phone, tablet, and computer displays, as well as enhanced LED lighting.