13th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

Solicitation Opening Date: October 06, 2015
Solicitation Closing Date: December 08, 2015, 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time

Read the full RFA at http://www2.epa.gov/research-grants/13th-annual-p3-awards-national-student-design-competition-sustainability-focusing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the posting of the Request for Applications, P3-People, Prosperity and the Planet Award Program, with the goal to research, develop and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. This college student design competition highlights the use of scientific principles in creating innovative projects focused on sustainability. The P3 Award program was developed to foster progress toward the three pillars of sustainability by achieving the mutual goals of improved quality of life, economic prosperity and protection of the planet – people, prosperity, and the planet. The EPA offers the P3 competition in order to respond to the technical needs of the world while moving towards the goal of sustainability.

This year’s P3 RFA includes the following research topics:

  • Energy;
  • Water;
  • Built Environment; and
  • Materials and Chemicals.

Supporting the development of sustainable methods is in line with the Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) Research Program. EPA’s SHC Research Program provides useful science and tools for decision makers at all levels to help communities advance sustainability as well as achieve regulatory compliance. SHC is collaborating with partners to conduct research that will result in science-based knowledge to guide decisions that will better sustain a healthy society and environment in America’s communities. The research is intended for decision-makers at the federal, regional, state and community levels.

Water Connection Charges: A Tool for Encouraging Water-Efficient Growth

Download the document.

As many U.S. communities are struggling to support growing populations with limited water resources, very few of them are utilizing water connection charges to increase water-savvy residential development projects in their communities. So concludes a new report by Western Resource Advocates, Ceres, and the University of North Carolina’s Environmental Finance Center evaluating water connection charges used by 800 public water utilities in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina and Utah.

This first-of-its-kind report entitled Water Connection Charges: A Tool for Encouraging Water-Efficient Growth found that 93% of the fee structures in the Southeastern states and 62% of the fee structures in the Western states used uniform water connection charges for single-family homes that took no account of key factors in influencing the design of a home’s water footprint. As a result, owners of new homes are typically paying the same amount.

The Food-Energy-Water Nexus Conference: 16th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment

January 19-12, 2016
Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Washington DC National AirportFor more information: http://foodenergywaternexus.org/

Addressing the interconnected systems involving food, water and energy is critical to achieving solutions to one of the most pressing issues facing our planet. The conference will address how to provide food, energy and water for a population of 9 billion by mid-century without overwhelming our environment. Join over 1,000 leaders in science, technology, government, business, civil society, and education to create strategies and initiatives that move policy into practice and transform ideas into action.

EDF’s Kate Zerrenner on the Energy-Water Nexus

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center has an interview with the EDF’s Kate Zerrenner about the relationship between energy, water, and climate change. Zerrenner will be a speaker at the upcoming Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards Ceremony in Chicago.

Toolset Helps Identify Key Water-Conservation Options

Read the full post from the Agricultural Research Service.

A free downloadable toolset geared towards helping conservation planners, landowners and researchers better manage runoff, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, while also supporting agricultural production is available. The new software toolset was developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS)—USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency.

Excess nutrients from watershed runoff, from sources that include farming, affect the ecological quality of aquatic environments. These excess nutrients can promote algal blooms in surface waters, and later the water’s oxygen may be consumed as bacteria feed on the algae. When oxygen depletion reaches levels where water no longer supports aquatic animals, the condition is called “hypoxia.”

The computer-based toolset, which was organized and led by ARS soil scientist Mark D. Tomer, is described in two papers that appear in the May-June 2015 issue of Journal of Environmental Quality. Tomer is with the ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa.

EPA sets limit for toxic pollutants released into waterways

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday imposed new standards for mercury, lead and other toxic pollutants that are discharged into the nation’s rivers and streams from steam electric power plants.

Adding More Plastic to Our Oceans Could Clean Them Up

Read the full story in Wired.

Chemist Abby Knight has created plastic microbeads that grab onto toxic metal in contaminated groundwater. She douses the balls in a dye to see how much metal they’ve absorbed.