Where to donate your used stuff in Champaign-Urbana

There are many non-profit organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area that accept donations all year. My ISTC colleague Joy Scrogum compiled a list several months ago and I’ve added to it. If there are any I missed, let me know in the comments.

Updated August 19, 2015 to the Champaign-Urbana Theater Company’s donation policies. Continue reading Where to donate your used stuff in Champaign-Urbana

The Shockingly Short Payback of Energy Modeling

Read the full story from U.S. DOE.

Energy modeling is often used to evaluate energy conservation measure (ECM) payback, calculating the operational energy savings that accrue after an initial capital investment. Energy modeling itself can also be viewed as an ECM, with an upfront cost during design that leads to operational savings. Given that viewpoint, it is interesting to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of modeling. As a rule of thumb, an ECM is considered cost-effective or attractive if its payback is shorter than three years. What is the typical payback of modeling?

The Road to Zero: DOE’s Next-Generation Heating and Cooling R&D Strategy

Read the full story from DOE.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) is supporting the Administration’s efforts to phase down the use and emissions of highly potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). BTO has created a multi-pronged strategy, outlined below, to develop, demonstrate, and deploy low- to zero- global warming potential (GWP) HVAC, water heating, and refrigeration technologies. This strategy supports the United States’ amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs globally. BTO’s vision is that non-vapor compression systems—a revolutionary new class of technologies that don’t use refrigerants and can approach zero-GWP—become dominant in some end uses.

Portland schools tried to change how they teach climate change — and ignited a firestorm

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

This winter, a small group of advocates, teachers, parents and students began meeting each week at a church in Portland, Ore., to figure out how their schools could do a better job of preparing the next generation to fight climate change.

Together, they wrote a resolution that, with some changes, was unanimously adopted by the Portland Public School Board on May 17. The district, the board resolved, “will abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.”

But a few days after the vote, the story took on a life of its own, mostly outside Portland: Some websites called the move a “ban” on specific books, while another claimed that the district would scan its libraries and remove all books that weren’t up to snuff. One of the advocates fielded emails calling him an “idiot” and a “d-bag.”

Rural Iowa Food Waste Reduction Project

This project, funded by the Rural Utilities Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, has allowed the Iowa Waste Reduction Center to provide free on-site, hands-on technical assistance to Iowa food waste generators in select rural counties of Iowa. Multiple types of assistance has been made available to entities in the selected counties.

Project publications include:

A Warming World Means Less Water, With Economic Consequences

Read the full story from NPR.

We often associate climate change with too much water — the melting ice caps triggering a rise in sea levels. Now a new World Bank report says we also need to think about too little water — the potable sort.

High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy examines the future effects of diminishing water supplies on the world. “Water-related climate risks cascade through food, energy, urban, and environmental systems,” researchers write. “Growing populations, rising incomes, and expanding cities will converge upon a world where the demand for water rises exponentially, while supply becomes more erratic and uncertain.”

How Congress got to yes on toxic chemical reform

Read the full story in The Hill.

Lobbyists, senators and congressional aides can recall the moment when the debate changed.

After years of slogging away at an overhaul of the nation’s toxic chemical laws, the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) in 2013 finally found a partner: Sen. David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana.