Day: July 19, 2011

DOE unveils new PSA on saving energy

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Ad Councilon Tuesday launched a national consumer education campaign urging Americans to save energy and money.

Created pro bono by Texas-based advertising agency GSD&M, the public service announcement uses destructive imagery to link wasted energy with wasted — well, everything else.

The DOE news release is here.

Here comes the affordable LED bulb

Read the full post at SmartPlanet.

More global signs have emerged indicating that the price of LED light bulbs could soon decline sharply and move closer to a level that mass-market consumers can afford.

Group buying initiatives make it easier (and cheaper) to buy solar

Read the full post at SmartPlanet.

Undeterred by the shifting climate in government funding support for renewable energy projects, two noteworthy initiatives have been launched in the past week seeking to bring solar power to a broader range of consumers and businesses.

Zero Landfill Is Not Zero Waste

Read the full opinion piece in Biocycle.

The Zero Waste movement is more than just a vision. It is a movement that is actually changing the world. To prove it, I recommend visiting and in the search box type “zero waste.” You will be amazed, as I was, at the tsunami of business activities over the last couple of years related to the idea of totally eliminating waste from our manufacturing, distribution and collection systems. However, a new problem is now emerging, and that is the idea that landfills are the sole villain here when in fact burning mixed waste is just as bad or worse.

Not using the landfill has got to be good news, right? Yes and no. The good news is that managing our discards as a resource is finally getting attention at the highest levels in the business sector from executives who can impact a large volume of materials. The business leader’s green impact comes from minimizing material purchase/consumption, product design and decisions about discard management systems.

The bad news is that some CEOs are learning that “zero waste to landfills” is Zero Waste, and it isn’t. The problem with having a singular focus on the landfill implies that making energy from waste by burning it is acceptable. Waste-to-Energy (WTE) is a disposal technology that destroys resources forever; it makes things “go away,” and doesn’t reduce waste or protect natural resources.

There are legitimate businesses making great strides toward Zero Waste, like Subaru with their 97 percent diversion. But companies that tout “Zero-Waste-to-landfill” and then burn half of their discards are greenwashing.

6 Tips for Making Sustainability Ratings More Meaningful

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In just a decade, the number of sustainability ratings has climbed from 21 in 2000 to 108 — and growing — today.

The indexes can help companies and consumers make better choices about what firms they do business with and invest in, what they buy, and who they hire.

But how can you tell which indexes to trust, how do you know they’re measuring the right things to come up with their ratings and how can the ratings process be made better?

Strategy firm SustainAbility sought to answer those questions by examining the nascent industry and producing a four-part report, “Rate the Raters,” which was published in installments during the past 15 months.

Hydrogen May be Key to Growth of High-Quality Graphene

Read the press release.

A new approach to growing graphene greatly reduces problems that have plagued researchers in the past and clears a path to the crystalline form of graphite’s use in sophisticated electronic devices of tomorrow.

Findings of researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrate that hydrogen rather than carbon dictates the graphene grain shape and size, according to a team led by ORNL’s Ivan Vlassiouk, a Eugene Wigner Fellow, and Sergei Smirnov, a professor of chemistry at New Mexico State University. This research is published in ACS Nano.

New Graphene Discovery Boosts Oil Exploration Efforts, Could Enable Self-Powered Microsensors

Read the press release.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to harvest energy from flowing water. This discovery aims to hasten the creation of self-powered microsensors for more accurate and cost-efficient oil exploration.

Led by Rensselaer Professor Nikhil Koratkar, the researchers investigated how the flow of water over surfaces coated with the nanomaterial graphene could generate small amounts of electricity. The research team demonstrated the creation of 85 nanowatts of power from a sheet of graphene measuring .03 millimeters by .015 millimeters.

Update on the Cooling Water Intake Structures Proposed Rule

In response to requests from stakeholders and to encourage additional public comment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the public comment period by 30 days for the cooling water intake structures proposed rule. This change will not affect EPA’s schedule for issuing a final rule by July 27, 2012.

This proposed rule, based on Section 316 (b) of the Clean Water Act, aims to protect billions of fish and other aquatic organisms drawn each year into cooling water systems at large power plants and factories.

The original 90-day public comment period was originally set to expire on July 19, 2011. EPA will publish a notice of this 30-day extension in the Federal Register.

More information:

Webinar: Nature is Alive with Green Chemistry

Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight
Register at
2011 Phone Seminar Series on Green Chemistry co-hosted by the Great Lakes Green Chemistry Network and Michigan Green Chemistry Clearinghouse.

A webinar on green chemistry co-presented by:

Bryony Schwan
Executive Director
The Biomimicry Institute

Mark Dorfman
Green Chemistry Naturalist
The Biomimicry Institute

Webinar: Engaging Hospital Leaders to Advance Sustainability: Connecting the Dots on Climate Change

August 4, 2011
12-1:30pm EDT
Register at

Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital will share their recent experience of
engaging hospital leaders to advance their sustainability program. Alex
Jaccaci, Associate VP of Organizational Improvement and Planning, will
share how the process of engaging leaders in discussions of climate
change provided a catalyst to increase leader commitment and
organizational action. The presentation will include an overview of
issues related to climate change and implications for hospitals.

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