Colleges Turn Waste into Useful Products

Read the full story in Renewable Energy Focus (free registration required).

Lyn Corum profiles a number of innovative projects that are at the heart of sustainable development, including a subtropical rain forest that thrives on CO2 and waste heat on a college campus.

Online course: Pollution Prevention: Applied Engineering and Sustainable Business Practices

The University of Missouri’s Pollution Prevention program has developed an online course,  CV 4285 Pollution Prevention: Applied Engineering and Sustainable Business Practices, that teaches the fundamentals of pollution prevention. The course, which provides comprehensive P2 internship preparation, can serve as an excellent companion to P2 intern training, or as a stand-alone course for students who want to learn P2 skills that will better prepare them for new sustainable business models.  The course teaches industrial and commercial energy audits, waste assessments, water audits, full cost accounting and greenhouse gas calculations.

Course content

  • Waste elimination
  • Industrial efficiency
  • Water efficiency, reuse and sustainable stormwater practices
  • Calculating full costs and environmental impacts
  • Quality assurances for data collection
  • Successful technical report writing
  • Measuring result

CV 4285 Pollution Prevention: Applied Engineering and Sustainable Business Practices is an accredited 3 hour engineering elective that can be completed completely on-line during the fall or spring semester.

Students from all over the country can register through MU Direct. For more information visit, or contact or 573-882-5011.

3 new corporate renewable energy projects

Read the full story at Smart Planet.

Often, when large companies talk about renewable energy investments, they are really talking about investing in renewable energy certificates. So, I always notice when an organization actually takes the plunge and puts renewable technology at one of its sites.

For example, AT&T last week said it will add to its existing 3 megawatts of renewable energy commitment by bringing 5 megawatts online by the end of 2011.

With that in mind, here are three new projects that I’ve heard about in the last several weeks.

Energy Ecosystem of the Future Hinges on Many Sources

Read the full story in Government Technology.

Imagine driving on a road paved not with asphalt but with glass. And within this glass are photovoltaic cells that transform sunlight into electricity and send it directly to the homes lining the street. That’s the aim of an Idaho-based company called Solar Roadways. And before you dismiss the notion as impossible, you might be astonished to know that the company has federal funding and is currently leading the GE Ecomagination Powering Your Home Challenge, a program that promotes energy innovation.

Amazon’s Purchasing Data Finds U.S. Consumers Going Green

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

It can be difficult to wade through all the competing claims and find some hard data on the larger environmental movement in the United States. But if cross-category purchases of green products from the nation’s largest online retailer have anything to say about it, then Amazon may be capable of providing that larger picture of how America is going green.

Henkel’s 20-Year View of Sustainability Reporting

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

I got a PR pitch recently about a multinational company’s just-published sustainability report. Nothing new there; I get those dozens of times a year. They’re sometimes interesting, though only rarely newsworthy.

This one was for the Henkel, the German-based maker of brands and technologies for laundry and home care products, cosmetics and toiletries, and adhesives. Henkel’s report seemed solid — the company’s sustainability performance was outpacing its targets, etc. No big deal. I prepared to move on to the next thing.

But one thing jumped out: This was Henkel’s 20th annual report. That puts the company at the head of the class. Only a handful of firms have issued such reports annually for 20 years.

Biomass & Energy Crops IV Call for Papers Extended to May 1

On September 21, 22, and 23, 2011, the University of Illinois, the
Energy Biosciences Institute, and the Association of Applied
Biologists (AAB) are jointly sponsoring Biomass and Energy Crops IV.
This international meeting that will held in Champaign, IL, at the
I-Hotel and will offer up-to-date information on various aspects of
bioenergy research and production with the intention of bringing
together academics, government officials, industry representatives,
and end users.  There will be 11 sessions, each beginning with a
keynote address presented by a regarded expert followed by shorter
talks.  We will host a reception Wednesday evening where posters can
be viewed, a tour of the U. of I. Energy Farm on Thursday afternoon,
and a closing banquet Friday evening.

This call for papers offers an excellent opportunity for faculty,
postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, government officials,
industry representatives, and end users to present research to a
global audience.  The new deadline for submissions is 1 MAY 2011.
Additional information is available at the AAB web site.

Energy Star Challenge for Industry Saves Power, Money, and Prevents Harmful Emissions

One year ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenged the manufacturing industry to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities by 10 percent or more within five years. Since that time, 240 manufacturing sites have responded to the Energy Star Challenge for Industry and 34 sites have improved their energy efficiency by 10 percent or more. These energy efficiency improvements prevent harmful greenhouse gas emissions and protect the health of Americans.

“Energy efficiency is a wise investment,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.  “EPA and Energy Star are there to help companies protect public health and the environment by reducing emissions, and save money by saving energy.”

Both small and large manufacturing facilities have met the milestone and have prevented nearly 119,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, demonstrating that efficiency opportunities exist across all sectors of industry including aerospace, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and motor vehicle manufacturing.  Many of these sites also report that savings were achieved at low cost by strengthening energy management practices and improving operations with help from EPA’s Energy Star program.

Under the challenge, manufacturing sites establish an energy intensity baseline, set a 10 percent energy efficiency improvement goal, implement energy efficiency projects, track energy use and verify their savings. Hundreds of industrial companies across nearly a dozen manufacturing industries are working with EPA’s Energy Star program to develop strong energy management programs, earn the Energy Star for their facilities and achieve breakthrough improvements in energy efficiency.

The U.S. manufacturing industry is responsible for nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and spends nearly $100 billion annually on energy. If the energy efficiency of industrial facilities improved by 10 percent, EPA estimates businesses would save nearly $10 billion and prevent greenhouse gases emissions equal to the annual emissions of approximately 12 million vehicles.

Energy Star was started by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by EPA. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved approximately $18 billion on their energy bills while preventing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 33 million vehicles.

For a complete list of manufacturing sites:

Best Practices Guide for Energy-Efficient Data Center Design

Download the document.

This guide provides an overview of best practices for energy-efficient data center design which spans the categories of Information Technology (IT) systems and their environmental conditions, data center air management, cooling and electrical systems, on-site generation, and heat recovery. IT system energy efficiency and environmental conditions are presented first because measures taken in these areas have a cascading effect of secondary energy savings for the mechanical and electrical systems. This guide concludes with a section on metrics and benchmarking values by which a data center and its systems energy efficiency can be evaluated. No design guide can offer ‘the most energy-efficient’ data center design but the guidelines that follow offer suggestions that provide efficiency benefits for a wide variety of data center scenarios.

Consumers Struggle Over Convenience vs. Green

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Consumers are about evenly split between favoring convenient packaging over environmentally-friendly packaging, an issue that will only get more muddled without a clearer understanding of what green packaging really is, says Thomson Reuters.

“There are many labels saying that packaging is green, but not much guidance on whether these labels actually certify a real improvement,” says the information company’s intellectual properties business in its “Convenience v Conscience” report. “Consumers need real assurance that they are spending their money for real improvements that not only are green, but also preserve and protect food just as well or better than the old options.”