Day: April 18, 2011

Sustainability “How-To Guide” Series

Facility managers continue to show a strong interest in sustainability and the implementation of energy saving techniques. The IFMA Foundation, with support from IFMA’s Sustainability Committee, is producing a series of white papers to respond to this need for information.

The objective of these guides is to provide data and information associated with a wide range of sustainability topics. Readers will view examples of successfully implemented sustainable practices and will learn to develop a business case and ROI analysis for sustainability.

The series consists of ten guides so far. They are:

Something fishy: Greenpeace updates seafood scorecard

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

It’s getting warmer, which means more of us will be dragging out the barbecue and more of us will be visiting the seafood counter in our local grocery store for some fresh fish steaks. Greenpeace wants to give you pause before you fire up the grill. The environmental advocacy group has updated its “Carting Away the Oceans” report and Supermarket Seafood Sustainability Scorecard, with Safeway (including Von’s) claiming the top spot.

EPA Awards P3 Grants to College Teams for Environmental Innovation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded grants today to six college teams across the country who participated in the 7th annual EPA People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) award competition held at the National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The P3 award competition and National Sustainable Design Expo were a part of the 2011 EPA Earth Day celebration event April 16-17. Since 2004, the P3 annual competition has provided a platform for teams to showcase their sustainable projects designed to protect the environment, encourage economic growth, and use natural resources more efficiently. These projects provide innovative, cutting-edge sustainable solutions to worldwide environmental problems.

“EPA’s P3 Award winners are the environmental and economic future of our nation,” said Paul T. Anastas, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development.  “Their sustainable innovations, from agriculture to architecture to energy production, keep our nation competitive and protect our health and the environment.”

After an initial peer review process, this year winners were selected from 55 competing teams following two days of judging by a panel of national experts convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Each P3 award-winning team receives a grant of up to up to $75,000 to further develop the design, implement it in the field, or move it to the marketplace.

Winners of this year’s awards include:

  • University of Massachusetts-Lowell for novel greener routes to halogen-free flame retardant material
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for solar powered water collection, containment and self regulating distribution system
  • Purdue University for development of community power from sustainable small hydro power systems
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Oglala Lakota College for use of bone char for the removal of arsenic and uranium from groundwater at the Pine Ridge Reservation
  • Drexel University for lightweight green roof systems
  • Stanford University for innovative university-school partnerships for renewable energy projects and education

For more information on the P3 Award competition: http://www.epa.gov/p3/2011winners

More information on EPA’s 2011 Earth Day: www.EPA.gov/earthday

Five Reasons Carbon Markets Won’t Work for Agriculture

Via Docuticker.

Five Reasons Carbon Markets Won’t Work for Agriculture
Source: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

From the report:

Carbon markets are viewed as the primary source of climate financing. The experience to date demands a reevaluation of their ability to exact real, sustainable change, particularly in relation to agriculture. Here are five reasons why poorly designed and regulated carbon markets should not be part of a global climate treaty.

Obama meets with young climate activists after they stand up to him

Read the full story from Grist.

Youth climate leaders in town for the Power Shift conference got some powerful evidence that their public frustration with President Obama is getting noticed in the Oval Office: Halfway through a meeting at the White House between leaders of the youth Energy Action Coalition and senior White House staff, the president walked into the room, sat down, and engaged in a substantive discussion and debate with the young leaders.

“I hear you’re angry with me,” Obama reportedly said as he walked into the Roosevelt Room, according to participants.

U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy Announce Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative

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

To support President Obama’s goal of reducing America’s oil imports by one-third by 2025, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE) today jointly announced up to $30 million over three to four years that will support research and development in advanced biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products. The projects funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) will help create a diverse group of economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products. Advanced biofuels produced from these projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 50% compared to fossil fuels and will play an important role in diversifying America’s energy portfolio.

Study Documents PBDE Flame Retardant Levels in Children

Read the full story from Environmental Health Perspectives.

A group of 264 Mexican-American children living in California had higher levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants in their blood serum than 283 counterparts living in Mexico, according to research published online April 15 ahead of print in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).

The Heat Is On: NIST Zeroes In On Energy Consumption of Ice Makers

Read the full story from NIST.

In tests of four different types of new refrigerators, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers found that ice makers increased rated energy consumption by 12 to 20 percent. About three-fourths of that additional energy cost is due to the electric heaters used to release the ice bits from the molds.

ACI Unveils Cleaning Product Industry Sustainability Report

Read the full story from the American Cleaning Institute.

The first-ever sustainability report for the U.S. cleaning products industry – released by the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI, formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) – showcases aggregated environmental metrics data from producers and suppliers of cleaning products and snapshots of the industry’s social and environmental sustainability programs and activities.

ACI’s 2011 Sustainability Report is available at www.cleaninginstitute.org.

EPA Solicits Public Comment on Permit to Reduce Stormwater Discharges from Construction Sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing for public comment a draft permit that will help improve our nation’s waterways by regulating the discharge of stormwater from construction sites. Stormwater discharges during construction activities can contain sediment and pollutants that harm aquatic ecosystems, increase drinking water treatment costs and pollute waters that people use for fishing, swimming and other recreational activities.

The proposed Construction General Permit (CGP) includes a number of enhanced protections, including enhanced provisions to protect impaired and sensitive waters. Some of the significant proposed permit modifications include new requirements for:

  • Eligibility for emergency-related construction
  • Required use of the electronic notice of intent process
  • Sediment and erosion controls
  • Natural buffers or alternative controls
  • Soil stabilization
  • Pollution prevention
  • Site inspections
  • Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans
  • Permit termination

Many of the new permit requirements implement new effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards for the construction and development industry that became effective on February 1, 2010. These requirements include a suite of erosion and sediment controls and pollution prevention measures that apply to all permitted construction sites.

The permit will be effective in areas where EPA is the permitting authority, including four states (Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Mexico); Washington, D.C.; most territories; and most Indian country lands.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the draft permit. EPA anticipates that it will issue the final construction general permit by January 31, 2012.

The current permit is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2011; however, EPA is proposing to extend the current permit until January 31, 2012 to provide sufficient time to finalize the new permit.

More information on the proposed construction general permit: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/cgp.cfm

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