Day: October 25, 2011

In Nest Labs, finally an Apple of home energy

Read the full story at CNET.

The launch of Nest Labs and its sleek thermostat marks an important transition from green techthat only a scientist could love to something that everyday consumers may actually desire.

The company came out of stealth mode today, telling the story of how two consumer electronics mavens, including the “father of the iPod,” decided to take on the unlikely quest of making a better thermostat.

The product is just a programmable thermostat. But the genius of Nest Labs is that it decided to make the iPhone of thermostats–a device that looks cool and is smart enough to spare the owner the frustrations of unfriendly technology.

Scientists head to D.C. with mercury findings

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Scientists are in Washington D.C. today to present to federal lawmakers research suggesting the Great Lakes region has more problems with mercury than previously thought.

Their visit comes just weeks after the GOP-led House of Representative passed two bills that would handcuff the EPA from limiting mercury emissions.

As Echo reported, scientists reviewed research on mercury in the Great Lakes region and found despite overall decreases in the pollutant, concentrations are rising in some species and health risks are occurring at lower levels than expected.

The new report, published by the Biodiversity Research Institute in the academic journal Ecotoxicology and the journal Environmental Pollution, summarizes the findings of more than 170 scientists, researchers and resource managers.  The report is a collaboration of the Biodiversity Research Institute, the Great Lakes Commission and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

GM’s waste-free mantra gains more supporters

Read the full post at SmartPlanet.

The number of General Motors manufacturing plant facilities that have now managed to completely cut all waste-to-landfill activities has now reached 78, which is more than half of its worldwide total of 145. The automaker passed the halfway point in 2010 and expected to 10 more plants to its landfill-free total by the end of 2011.

Webinars: State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference

State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference will take place October 26-27,
2011, in Erie, PA.

Live webcasts of the plenary presentations will be available for those
unable to attend.  Please register in advance.

Webinar 1 – SOLEC 2011 – State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference
Wed, Oct 26, 2011 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
Registration Web Link:

Webinar 2 – SOLEC 2011 – State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference
Wed, Oct 26, 2011 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM EDT
Registration Web Link:

Webinar 3 – SOLEC 2011 – State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference
Thu, Oct 27, 2011 8:30 AM – 12:15 PM EDT
Registration Web Link:

Webinar: The ABCs of EPR and OCRRA – Recycling Efforts Unique to Municipalities

In the first installment of our “Lessons from the Experts” webinar series, Call2Recycle® and guests will discuss the shared responsibility for end-of-life product management and how that falls on the producer, but also on local governments and municipalities. In addition to discussing extended product responsibility (EPR) and recycling efforts unique to municipalities across the country, the webinar will spotlight the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, commonly referred to as OCRRA, and their recycling program for rechargeable batteries. OCRRA is a non-profit public benefit corporation that manages the solid waste for 33 of the 35 municipalities in Onondaga County, New York.

OCRRA manages the County’s solid waste through a broad spectrum of waste reduction and recycling efforts. Onondaga County’s households and commercial outlets are currently recycling better than 60% of the waste that once was buried in landfills, and that includes rechargeable batteries recycled through Call2Recycle.

Register for this webinar spotlighting the OCRRA rechargeable battery recycling program and learn more about EPR and how a municipality program has made battery recycling convenient for participants as well as saved time and money.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • More about EPR and recycling efforts specific to municipalities
  • How OCRRA utitilizes partnerships to make battery recycling easy
  • How the Call2Recycle program helps OCRRA save time and money

Join OCRRA and Call2Recycle for this webinar, Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 11am ET.

Register today.

Annual Review of Environment and Resources 2011 now available

Contents include:

Improving Societal Outcomes of Extreme Weather in a Changing Climate: An Integrated Perspective
Rebecca E. Morss, Olga V. Wilhelmi, Gerald A. Meehl, and Lisa Dilling

Ocean Circulations, Heat Budgets, and Future Commitment to Climate Change
David W. Pierce, Tim P. Barnett, and Peter J. Gleckler

Aerosol Impacts on Climate and Biogeochemistry
Natalie Mahowald, Daniel S. Ward, Silvia Kloster, Mark G. Flanner, Colette L. Heald, Nicholas G. Heavens, Peter G. Hess, Jean-Francois Lamarque, and Patrick Y. Chuang

State of the World’s Freshwater Ecosystems: Physical, Chemical, and Biological Changes
Stephen R. Carpenter, Emily H. Stanley, and M. Jake Vander Zanden

Coal Power Impacts, Technology, and Policy: Connecting the Dots
Ananth P. Chikkatur, Ankur Chaudhary, and Ambuj D. Sagar

Energy Poverty
Lakshman Guruswamy

Water and Energy Interactions
James E. McMahon and Sarah K. Price

Agroecology: A Review from a Global-Change Perspective
Thomas P. Tomich, Sonja Brodt, Howard Ferris, Ryan Galt, William R. Horwath, Ermias Kebreab, Johan H.J. Leveau, Daniel Liptzin, Mark Lubell, Pierre Merel, Richard Michelmore, Todd Rosenstock, Kate Scow, Johan Six, Neal Williams, and Louie Yang

Energy Intensity of Agriculture and Food Systems
Nathan Pelletier, Eric Audsley, Sonja Brodt, Tara Garnett, Patrik Henriksson, Alissa Kendall, Klaas Jan Kramer, David Murphy, Thomas Nemecek, and Max Troell

Transportation and the Environment
David Banister, Karen Anderton, David Bonilla, Moshe Givoni, and Tim Schwanen

Green Chemistry and Green Engineering: A Framework for Sustainable Technology Development
Martin J. Mulvihill, Evan S. Beach, Julie B. Zimmerman, and Paul T. Anastas

The Political Ecology of Land Degradation
Elina Andersson, Sara Brogaard, and Lennart Olsson

Agency, Capacity, and Resilience to Environmental Change: Lessons from Human Development, Well-Being, and Disasters
Katrina Brown and Elizabeth Westaway

Global Forest Transition: Prospects for an End to Deforestation
Patrick Meyfroidt and Eric F. Lambin

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
Arun Agrawal, Daniel Nepstad, and Ashwini Chhatre

Tourism and Environment
Ralf Buckley

Literature and Environment
Lawrence Buell, Ursula K. Heise, and Karen Thornber

Religion and Environment
Willis Jenkins and Christopher Key Chapple

Upcoming Illinois Biochar Group Fall Meeting at UI on Monday, Nov. 7

The Illinois Biochar Group (IBG) will meet on Monday, Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. – noon at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The agenda is available at IBG encourages research in the production and beneficial use of biochar. It also provides information through its website and meetings to inform and educate others about biochar and it potential for applications in agriculture, site remediation, and carbon sequestration as well as about bio-oils, which are produced in the pyrolysis process of making biochar. The meeting is open to anyone interested in attending. There will also be tours of ISTC facilities at 9:40 a.m. & 1:15 p.m. for those interested.

Happy Hallogreen!

Read the full post on the Energy Savers Blog.

With the fateful transition to cooler weather and Halloween just upon us, it is important to remember some key tips when preparing to have the most energy-efficient Halloween possible. From lighting, to pumpkin usage to heat insulation, there is something each of us can do to ensure minimal energy waste and maximum efficiency this October 31st. Here are a few ideas for a Happy Hallogreen:

New pulper brings campus closer to carbon-neutral dining

Read the full story from Oberlin College.

After several years of research and student input, a new machine that pulps and condenses food waste is being installed in the kitchen of Oberlin’s largest dining hall.

The pulper grinds and drains food waste in a self-contained system, resulting in a fine, textured material that will be used as compost at George Jones Memorial Farm. The system will collect all stages of food waste — from food prep to post-consumer scraps — and eventually will handle the corn-based, biodegradable utensils and plates that are in use at dining halls.

Park University Implements ‘Blue Cleaning’ Technology For Green Efforts

Read the news release.

Park University, in partnership with Aramark, a world leader in providing professional facility management services, is phasing in an environmentally friendly “Blue Cleaning” program to its custodial services. This innovative program uses electrically activated water in place of general purpose cleaning chemicals to safely clean most floors, carpets and hard surface areas.

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