Month: June 2011

Fight over EPR in small Massachusetts city

Read the full story in Resource Recycling.

A trade organization representing paperboard packaging manufacturers is claiming a big victory by persuading the city council of a small Massachusetts city to vote down a resolution supporting extended producer responsibility legislation in the state. However, advocates of EPR are questioning the significance of the resolution’s failure and say that more dialogue on the issue is needed.

July webcasts from DOE EERE’s Technical Assistance Program

You can find the complete webcast schedule for this month below. Webcast details may change over the month, so please check the Solution Center webcasts page for the most up-to-date information. You can also find presentations from past Technical Assistance Program webcasts on the Solution Center webcasts page. The TAP Blog is also a good place to find information on webcasts, including a description of each webcast, as well as sign-up information.

Don’t see a webcast for a topic you’re interested in? Make a comment on our blog or send an email to Thanks!

ESPC: Investment-Grade Audit

Host: ICF International
Time: 1:30 3:00 EDT
Date: July 21, 2011
Description: This webcast describes the Investment Grade Audit (IGA) process, including the sequence of steps in an IGA, what to expect from ESCOs, and other project details. The presenter, Irina Bulkley-Hopkins, will outline and explain the details and differences in the definition of the IGA as compared to other energy audits commonly used in the field. This includes emphasis on the goals of what an IGA must accomplish, along with the questions that the facility owner must ask and the information that must be gathered before the IGA is conducted by an ESCO. Topics covered will include sources of information and data that need to be investigated before and during the IGA; components of and expectations from a high quality IGA (baseline, typical ECMs and how to select them, calculations of energy savings, etc.); what should be included in the IGA, and how to prevent potential shortcomings to watch for. Presenters will provide a sample list of issues that are traditionally not covered by an IGA and suggest the measures that help mitigate those issues.
Registration Link:

Furthering Your Local Governments’ Energy Efficiency Goals: Part 1 — Getting Support From Local Leaders

Host: ICF International and the National Association of State Energy Officials
Time: 2:00–3:30 EDT
Date: July 26, 2011
Description: This webcast will focus on useful and cost-effective strategies to engage local leaders in energy efficiency efforts. Chuck Clinton from NASEO and several grantee speakers will discuss these strategies, including developing a productive approach to addressing a county board or city council; demonstrating the impact of projects for job creation; measuring project cost savings and positive cash flow; highlighting green government benefits; and focusing on overall economic recovery and operational improvement. The webinar will provide examples of grantees that have successfully engaged local leaders and information on accessing additional support through nationwide stakeholder groups.
Registration Link:

Exploring Power-Purchase Agreements — The Basics Part 1

Host: Center for Climate Strategies
Time: 1:00–2:30 EDT
Date: July 27, 2011
Description: The first part of this webcast series will provide an introduction to power-purchase agreements (PPAs) as a way to leverage private capital to install large-scale solar energy. During the presentation, Darin Lowder, from Ballard Sphar, will discuss the resources required (personnel and funds), limitations to implementation, and benefits to the municipal PPA model. The webcast will feature two EECBG grantees that have implemented different sized PPAs and are saving energy and money on municipal energy generation.
Registration Link:

Part 1: Introduction to using Community-Wide Behavior Change Programs to Increase Energy Efficiency

Host: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Time: 3:00–4:15 EDT
Date: July 28, 2011
Description: Part 1 for 2. This webcast will discuss the impact and implementation of various programs that attempt to influence behavior change throughout the community by providing the end-user with information about their energy use. Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez (Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute) will present her team’s findings on feedback programs across the country, including:

  • Types of feedback programs
  • Potential impacts on total energy use by program type
  • Contextual factors to consider when developing a feedback program
  • Recommendations on developing an effective feedback program

Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) will delve into the details of their pilot feedback program in which they provide 40,000 residential customers with custom reports of their energy use. The reports are designed to help customers understand what actions they can take to reduce their energy use and the amount of annual savings that they could expect if they take the identified actions.
Registration Link:

Doubling Down on the Single Bottom Line

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

Daniel Altman and Jonathan Berman’s recent paper,The Single Bottom Line, caused a stir in sustainability circles last week, partially fueled by coverage in the New York Times.

The paper argues that focusing on profit—the single bottom line—is a more efficient and sustainable way to promote social benefit than emerging frameworks like the triple bottom line, corporate social responsibility, and Creating Shared Value.  Altman and Berman say the latter are organizational distractions whose claimed benefits are too idiosyncratic to support principled business practice.

Coca-Cola, Other Companies Move to Hybrid Trucks

Read the full story from Beverage World.

Santa with the refreshing bottle of Coke he traditionally holds in his hand enjoys a new ride this holiday season. Instead of hopping aboard a traditional diesel-powered tractor-trailer for deliveries, the Coca-Cola Santa is more likely to travel on one of the new hybrid electric trucks that the company has put into its increasingly fuel-efficient fleet.

This story is from December, but it’s relevant to me because I saw one making deliveries in the University of Illinois’ Campustown area while I was there for lunch today. I have to commend Coke on their marketing efforts with this too. It looked exactly like the truck that appears in the picture below (minus the snowflakes).

Balloting period for Green Seal Standards GS-52 & GS-53 Ends July 1

The Green Seal Draft Final Version 2 Standard for Specialty Cleaning Products for Household Use, GS-52 and the Draft Final Version 2 Standard for Specialty Cleaning Products for Industrial and Institutional Use, GS-53, are now available for your review, until Friday, July 1, 2011 at 8:00PM Eastern/5:00 PM Pacific.

The Draft Final Version 2 Standards and additional project information are available on the project website: – look under “Currently Open for Review”.

Please review the modifications to the Draft Final Version 1 Standards, which are indicated with red font in the Version 2 Standards. If you would like to provide an amended ballot (to the ballots submitted for the Draft Final Standards) or if you did not provide a completed ballot previously, please complete the ballots attached to express your opinion of the standards as a whole. If you do not submit an amended ballot, your original ballot will be recorded as final. Comments related to the modifications (the proposal at hand) are accepted, and encouraged. Comments provided are reviewed by Green Seal regardless of the vote provided prior to determining approval of the proposal.

The ballots must be submitted electronically to by July 1, 2011 at 8:00 PM Eastern/5:00 PM Pacific.

Chipotle Plans to Double Its Use of Local Produce

Read the full post at Good. Maybe this is why their food tastes so darned good.

While taco trucks will always be the first stop for authentic tortilla-bound meals, fast food chain Chipotle does a respectable job bringing consistently tasty burritos to the masses. What’s cool about Chipotle, as GOOD has noted before, is that it puts serving high-quality, fresh, and, more than ever, local food at the center of its business strategy. Just last week the chain announced plans to double the volume of locally grown produce served, from about 5 million pounds in 2010 to more than 10 million in 2011.

Green tech moves to the top of the class at Wharton

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

Green technology was the topic of discussion at one of the nation’s premier business schools this week when a forum at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School sought to determine whether the venture capital model would work to push the world toward sustainable energy solutions.

Infographic: revealing which forests store the most carbon

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

Forest trees are renowned for their ability to store large amounts of carbon dioxide in their trunk and roots. And for that very reason they’ve long been regarded as mother nature’s anti-dote for our carbon-emitting ways. That is until they’re chopped down or burned, causing all that pent up greenhouse gas to be released back into the atmosphere.

It’s been estimated that the loss of forests contribute 15 to 20 percent of global carbon emissions, and most of that contribution comes from tropical regions. So to help keep tabs on the rapidly growing deforestation problem, NASA has culled available data from its network of satellites to generate a map that depicts the amount and distribution of carbon stored in Earth’s tropical forests.

ZETA breaks ground on net-zero-energy community

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries Journal.

Modular building company ZETA Communities broke ground this week on a net-zero-energy community in Stockton, Calif., a Central Valley city hit hard by the economic downturn.

Can Cigarette Butts Be Recycled?

Read the full story at Miller-McCune.

Nearly two billion pounds of trash is thrown on the ground every year in the form of cigarette butts — 4.5 trillion cigarette butts, composed largely of filters made from cellulose acetate, a non-biodegradable plastic. But what if all these cigarette butts had a value? What if you could trade them in for cash? Would they then disappear from streets, beaches and parks?

Curtis Baffico, a San Diego stock trader who moonlights as an environmentalist, asked himself these questions and decided to create a recycling system to try to answer them. Baffico raises money on his website,, then pays out a “Butt Redemption Value” of $3/pound for whatever cigarette ends people collect and turn in at monthly collection events.

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