Environmental Science & Technology Honors Best Papers

In 2010, over 1,400 papers appeared in Environmental Science & Technology, so the journal’s editors had their work cut out to choose the most significant. The April 1 issue contains the journal’s top picks and runner-up articles in four categories: science, technology, policy, and feature. The journal highlights a total of 12 articles.

The winners are:

Science: High-Throughput Identification of Microbial Transformation Products of Organic Micropollutants

Technology: Unique Ability of BiOBr To Decarboxylate D-Glu and D-MeAsp in the Photocatalytic Degradation of Microcystin-LR in Water

Policy: End-User Preferences for and Performance of Competing POU Water Treatment Technologies among the Rural Poor of Kenya

Feature: The Plight of the Bees

More information on the winning papers and runners-up is available through videos and Perspectives.

Gas prices could be boost for car-share industry

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Interest in car-sharing spiked when gas prices hit the $4 mark after the beginning of the year, according to the CEO of I-Go, a non-profit hybrid car-sharing service with rental rates starting at $6.75 per hour, plus 40 cents per mile. Sharon Feigon, who helped launch the service in 2002 in Chicago before becoming its CEO in 2005, said she saw a similar pattern in 2008 when gas prices reached a peak.

New from the GAO

Recovery Act: Preliminary Observations on the Use of Funds for Clean and Drinking Water Projects, by David C. Trimble, acting director, natural resources and environment, before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  GAO-11-642T, May 4.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11642thigh.pdf

Green Jobs Training: A Catalog of Training Opportunities for Green Infrastructure Technologies

Via the RFF Library Blog.

US EPA, Office of Wastewater Management (dated Sept. 2010)

[From Introduction] …The U.S. EPA and Green Infrastructure partners are working to identify needs, develop capacity for particular technological skills, and encourage and facilitate new training and certification programs related to the management of wet weather using green infrastructure.

This catalog is intended to provide a central gateway to a wide variety of training opportunities, including opportunities offered by colleges and universities, nonprofits, trade organizations, state certification programs, training grants, and more. One page fact sheets provide an overview to each program and links to additional information. As we become aware of additional training opportunities, we will include them in future catalog editions. Note that inclusion in this catalog does not convey EPA endorsement of the quality or content of the program.

Green Infrastructure Case Studies: Municipal Policies for Managing Stormwater with Green Infrastructure

Via the RFF Library Blog.

US EPA, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds

[Background] This report presents the common trends in how 12 local governments developed and implemented stormwater policies to support green infrastructure. The local policies examined in this paper include interagency cooperation, enforcement and management issues and integration with state and federal regulations. While a strong motivation for these policies and programs is innovation in stormwater management, many communities are moving past the era of single objective spending and investing in runoff reduction and stormwater management strategies that have multiple benefits… Not only do these case studies include success stories for building a comprehensive green infrastructure program, but they also provide insight into the barriers and failures these communities experienced while trying to create a stormwater  management system that includes more green infrastructure approaches.

GreenChill Partnership Reaches All 50 States

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) GreenChill partnership now has 7,000 partner stores located in all 50 states. From regional grocers like Stater Bros. in southern California, and small health food stores like Down-to-Earth, to nationally-recognized names like Whole Foods and the newest partner Target Corporation, the partnership now represents 20 percent of the supermarket industry. GreenChill’s food retailers are reducing pollution from commercial refrigeration, decreasing their impact on the ozone layer and protecting people’s health. Protecting the ozone layer protects people from too much ultraviolet radiation, which can lead to skin cancer and cataracts.

“GreenChill is a great example of how businesses and government can work together to protect people’s health and the environment,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “GreenChill capitalizes on industry’s drive for innovation by providing a forum for technology advances and financial savings.”

EPA estimates that GreenChill partners’ refrigerant emissions are 50 percent lower than the industry average. If every supermarket in the nation reduced their emissions to the average GreenChill store rate of 12 percent, the industry would save more than $100 million in refrigerant costs alone annually, while saving the equivalent of 22 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and 240 tons of ozone-depleting substances every year. The greenhouse gas pollution from an average store’s refrigerant leaks is often higher than the greenhouse gas pollution from an average store’s annual total electricity consumption.

EPA launched the GreenChill program in 2007, as a way to partner with food retailers to reduce refrigerant emissions, greenhouse gas pollution and decrease their overall impact on the ozone layer. The partnership works with food retailers to transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants, reduce the amount of refrigerant used in stores, and eliminate harmful refrigerant leaks.

More information on EPA’s GreenChill Partnership: http://www.epa.gov/greenchill

Are ultra-sustainable ‘Living Buildings’ coming to the city?

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

Buildings that meet the Living Building Challenge requirements are at the peak of sustainability.

This green-building certification process is much more rigorous than even a LEED-Platinum building. That’s one of the reasons why there are only three buildings that have met the certification requirements. The process requires, among other things, that buildings not use a list of unhealthy building materials — lead, mercury, PVC, and others — and also generate their own energy and collect their own water on-site.

These buildings are miles ahead of their green-building competition. But that’s also part of the problem, they’re so far away, writes Jonathan Hiskes in Sustainable Industries.

The hot and cold of LED lighting

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

When it comes to the future of lighting, LEDs are hot, largely for environmental reasons. It’s hard to deny the green appeal of a bulb that cuts electricity consumption by around 80 percent and that purportedly lasts 25 years, minimizing materials, manufacturing and shipping.

But a leading international group of lighting and architectural designers who gathered in Milan recently reminded us of one major hurdle: when it comes to light quality, LEDs still have a long way to go to emulate the warmth provided by the good old incandescent bulb, compared to which, they are cold.

EPRI publishes basic consumer guide about EVs

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has published a basic consumer guide that addresses questions about electric vehicle technology and performance. With a variety of electric and hybrid technologies now available commercially, potential buyers are looking to understand which options might best match their needs.

Paper addresses methods for quantitative biodiesel measurements

Read the full story in Biodiesel Magazine.

Wilks Enterprise Inc. recently published a white paper that demonstrates how lower resolution infrared spectroscopy can provide higher performance for quantitative biodiesel measurements.