Day: August 16, 2011

Biodiesel achieves 5-to-1 return of renewable energy

Read the full story in High Plains Journal.

According to the National Biodiesel Board, a new study shows production continues to be energy-efficient in making biodiesel for diesel vehicles and home heating, demonstrating its long-term sustainability.

Newly published research from the University of Idaho and U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that for every unit of fossil energy needed to produce biodiesel, the return is 5.54 units of renewable energy. This energy-in, energy-out ratio is called “energy balance” or “fossil energy ratio.”…

Biodiesel is a diverse fuel made from a wide variety of agricultural byproducts and co-products. For more information on biodiesel, visit To see a copy of the University of Idaho/USDA study, visit

Imparting Energy Smarts to Young Consumers

Read the full post at NYT Green.

While some members of Congress lament the prospect of switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, one California nonprofit, Zilowatt, is spreading the energy conservation message at a grass-roots level. The group, whose motto is “Start Small,” wants to change energy habits by teaching consumers in grades K to 12 that the best light bulb is one that’s turned off.

Zilowatt, based in Palo Alto, has worked with a handful of school districts in the San Francisco Bay Area and will supply interactive educational kits to the Palo Alto schools this fall for an outreach program sponsored by the city’s utility department. The hope is the kids will bring these conservation habits home and educate their parents.

Their Mission: To Build a Better Toilet

Read the full story in the New York Times.

No wonder they are called conveniences. Flush toilets swirl human waste down the drain quickly and neatly. But the convenience comes with a rising price for all that follows the flush — a cost that is often paid by municipal water and sewage treatment systems.

Now some groups are rethinking the venerable technology of the flush toilet, particularly for regions that lack such systems or for places where waste water treatment plants, many of them aging, are overburdened by the demands of fast-growing populations.

Climate Change an Extra Burden for Native Americans, Study Says

Read the full post at NYT Green.

Because tribal lands are particularly prone to drought, flooding, wildfires and other weather extremes, American Indian tribes suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change, a new study from the National Wildlife Federation and other groups reported Wednesday.

Military housing: It’s red, white and green

Read the full post by Marc Gunther.

Unless you serve in the military, you have probably never heard of Lend Lease. A global, publicly-traded property development and management firm headquartered in Australia, Lend Lease is best known in the U.S. as a provider of military housing, on big Army and Navy bases including Fort Drum in upstate New York, Fort Hood in Texas and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Lend Lease and its military partners together are developing some of the “greenest” communities in the U.S., including two of the two largest solar-powered communities in the nation, at Island Palm Communities in Hawaii and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tuscon; New York State’s largest energy-efficient community development at Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes and Saddlestone Ranch, the largest LEED Silver-certified community in Texas at Fort Hood.

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