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

How to find energy-efficient commercial space

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In 2014 and 2015, RMI published a series of Deep Retrofit Value Guides for commercial building owners and occupants and real estate investors. RMI developed these to provide real estate decision makers a comprehensive methodology to make the full suite of benefits that energy-efficient buildings deliver beyond energy cost savings more tangible by tying them to dollar values and real estate metrics.

These guides show that a sustainable office space can save about $6.18 per square foot from employee recruiting, health insurance and productivity-derived cost saving — and offer a process by which decision makers can conduct a detailed assessment for building spaces they are considering.

Now, IMT and RMI are arming the industry with a new set of tools that enable tenants to more effectively seek out and secure high-performance spaces that are in line with the tenant’s organizational goals, objectives and budgets.

The Green Lease Questionnaire and Calculator — both launching in September on IMT’s website — can be used by tenants in the early stages of “house hunting” to implement green leases that save companies money on energy, and to better assess general overhead costs related to healthcare issues (due to poor indoor air quality, for example) or worker productivity loss.

Why Environmental Managers, Investors Love Circular Economy Technologies

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Circular economy technologies and initiatives have seen growing interest from environmental managers and sustainability officers of late. A new report suggests these innovations, which reduce waste or convert waste to valuable new products, can also add investors to their list of fans.

Circular economy technologies received $668 million in funding from 2011 through the first quarter of 2016, Lux Research says. Of this total funding, material recycling captured a 69 percent share and accounted for 65 percent of the total 155 deals.

“Waste collection and sorting are experiencing disruptive changes due to the innovations based on software, data analytics, and robotics,” said Jerrold Wang, Lux Research analyst and lead author of the report titled, Observing Trends from VC Investment Activities to Material Recycling Fields.

New method developed for producing some metals

Read the full story from MIT.

The MIT researchers were trying to develop a new battery, but it didn’t work out that way. Instead, thanks to an unexpected finding in their lab tests, what they discovered was a whole new way of producing the metal antimony — and potentially a new way of smelting other metals, as well.

The discovery could lead to metal-production systems that are much less expensive and that virtually eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with most traditional metal smelting. Although antimony itself is not a widely used metal, the same principles may also be applied to producing much more abundant and economically important metals such as copper and nickel, the researchers say.

The surprising finding is reported this week in the journal Nature Communications, in a paper by Donald Sadoway, the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry; postdoc Huayi Yin; and visiting scholar Brice Chung.

Obama creates the largest protected place on the planet, off Hawaii

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

President Obama created the largest protected area on the planet Friday, by expanding a national marine monument off the coast of his native Hawaii to encompass 582,578 square miles of land and sea.

Engineering Students and Alumni Recognized for Distinguished Achievement in Helping Businesses Save Energy and Money

Read the full story from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Have you ever wondered how American small manufacturers stay competitive in today’s global economy? Maybe not, but since 1976 the US Department of Energy has been supporting teams of experts who each day develop the resources needed and provide engineering technical support to these businesses. These teams provide recommendations to help manufacturers operate at the highest level of energy efficiency and productivity.

These experts are members of the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program that is administered through the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy. Led by engineering faculty, students at the selected IACs perform on-site assessments at small- and medium-sized manufacturing business partners, and have directly assisted more than 17,000 businesses, saving 6.1M metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 481 MBtu saved in energy consumption.

Recently AMO announced this year’s recipients of the third annual IAC Outstanding Student and Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes students and alumni who have made a significant impact through their work in energy efficiency and outstanding accomplishments in promoting the practices and principles of energy engineering. Nominations were submitted for students and alumni. Though recognized for different achievements, one characteristic all awardees share is an exceptional ability as engineers and having advanced energy efficiency in the often hard to engage small and medium-sized manufacturing community.

Gowanus Recycling Center Seeks Artist-in-Residence to Turn Junk Into Art

Read the full story at DNAInfo.

One person’s trash is another’s treasure, and a neighborhood recycling center is looking for someone to prove it.

The Lower East Side Ecology Center is seeking applications for an artist-in-residence to set up shop at its Gowanus e-waste warehouse at 469 President St., near Nevins Street.

The position is unpaid, but artists get a 200-square-foot work space inside the warehouse and free use of any materials brought there for recycling.

In return, the artist is expected to create a product that can be sold at the warehouse and host workshops to teach the public how to reuse discarded electronics.

New Publication: Managing Climate Change Refugia to Protect Wildlife

Read the full story from the Northeast Climate Science Center.

NE CSC’s Research Ecologist Toni Lyn Morelli and colleagues have a new paper describing how scientists and natural resource managers are working together to understand how safe havens from climate change might be identified and conserved to protect species and cultural traditions.