Day: May 8, 2012

[Your Name] on a Scientist’s Body

Read the full post at Percolator.

You’ve probably heard of Kickstarter, which allows would-be documentarians, video-game designers, and atheist cobblers to solicit money for their projects. A new company, called Petri Dish, gives that tool to scientists who want to finance their research projects. It’s already received significant attention considering that it has been around only since March and has raised tens of thousands of dollars.

Energy Department Announces Guide for 50% More Energy Efficient Hospitals

The Energy Department today announced the release of the final installment in a series of four 50% Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDGs). This latest guide will help architects, engineers, and contractors design and build highly efficient hospital buildings, helping to save energy and cut facility operational costs. The 50% AEDG series provides a practical approach for designers and builders of large hospitals, and other major commercial building types, to achieve 50% energy savings compared to the building energy code used in many parts of the nation. These commercial building guides support President Obama’s goal to reduce energy use in commercial buildings 20% by 2020.

The Advanced Energy Design Guide for 50% energy savings in large hospitals is now available for download.

Beyond helping builders achieve efficiency exceeding the current energy code, the AEDGs also provide climate-specific recommendations to incorporate today’s off-the-shelf energy efficient building products. These recommendations help designers and builders choose advanced building envelope assemblies, highly efficient heating and cooling systems, and incorporate other energy-saving measures such as daylighting and associated control systems. Additionally, efficiency measures found in the guides can be used in the development of future commercial building energy codes.

The 50% Advanced Energy Design Guide series is developed through a partnership with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), American Institute of Architects (AIA), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). The Large Hospital guide is the final installment in the current 50% series, and follows the guides for Small and Medium Office Buildings and K-12 Schools which were released in 2011, and the guide for Medium Retail Buildings released in January of this year.

Energy Department Announces Finalists for National University Geothermal Energy Competition

Underscoring President Obama’s commitments to keep college affordable, expand opportunities for American families nationwide, and further education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), the U.S. Energy Department announced today that eight university teams have been selected to compete in the 2012 National Geothermal Student Competition. This student competition challenges teams at universities across the country to conduct cutting-edge research in geology, geoscience, chemical and bio-molecular energy, and engineering that could lead to breakthroughs in geothermal energy development. By promoting STEM education for university students, this competition will help train the next generation of energy leaders to keep America competitive in the global race for clean energy technologies and deploy all available sources of American energy.

Through the National Geothermal Student Competition, student teams will analyze the economic feasibility of developing clean, renewable geothermal energy in Snake River Plain, Idaho. A 2006 study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified Snake River Valley as one of six potential areas in the United States for near-term geothermal development. The region has geothermal resources with temperatures higher than 200°C at a depth of less than three miles, optimal conditions for energy development.

Three geothermal industry experts selected the winning proposals from a pool of national candidates. The Department is awarding $10,000 in technical assistance to each student team to carry out their selected proposals. The student team finalists are:

  • Boise State University
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Cornell University Energy Institute
  • Cornell University Sustainable Design
  • Idaho State University
  • Southern Methodist University Geothermal Laboratory
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Texas, Austin

The competition, managed by DOE’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), will culminate in October when three teams present their findings at the annual meeting of the Geothermal Resources Council in Reno, Nevada.

Find a summary of all eight student team proposals.

Campus Conservation Nationals 2012 Schools Lauded for Leadership in Reducing Consumption

NWF’s Campus Ecology Program, Lucid, U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC) and Alliance to Save Energy have announced the winners of Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) 2012, a nationwide electricity and water use reduction competition among colleges and universities. It is the first nationwide electricity and water reduction competition on college campuses.

Between February 6 and April 23, 2012, students across the country competed to achieve the greatest reductions in their residence halls’ electricity consumption over a three-week period of their choosing. In all, nearly 250,000 students in 1,300 residences at 100 colleges and universities entered, saving more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of energy–equivalent to more than 2.6 million pounds of CO2 and over $150,000 in energy savings, equal to removing 151 US homes from the grid for a year. These results outpaced the original Campus Conservation Nationals goal of one gigawatt-hour of electricity saved. Students also saved more than 1.5 million gallons of water—about 10,300 hours of shower time.

Top five schools in average percent reduction in electricity usage:

  • Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven, CT)
  • Western Technical College (La Crosse, WI)
  • Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH)
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
  • Hofstra University (Hempstead and Uniondale, NY)

Top five schools in average percent reduction in water usage:

  • Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
  • Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)
  • Taylor University (Upland, IN)
  • University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)

“It’s great to see college students stepping up as energy conservation leaders. They’re laying the foundation for a cleaner, smarter and more efficient nation,” said Kevin Coyle, NWF’s Vice President of Education and Training. “As President Obama said in his Earth Day message, change won’t come from Washington alone—it will come from Americans across the country. Our colleges and universities have always been a living laboratory for innovation and progress.”

How Campus Conservation Happens

Participating schools were able to compete ‘against’ buildings on their own campus, or against a select group of peer institutions, with savings from all participants accumulating to reach a national challenge goal of one gigawatt-hour (since surpassed). Students organized peers through direct action in their residence halls, and extensively utilized social media to motivate and encourage sustainable behaviors. “By making commitments to turn off unused electronics, take shorter showers, use the stairs instead of the elevator and other simple tactics, students across the country demonstrated the power of occupants’ individual action in changing how buildings consume electricity and water,” said Jen Fournelle, NWF’s Campus Program Coordinator.

Organizers at some schools created videos to encourage student participation and to celebrate the success of their competition. You can find these videos at NWF’s Chill Out page. NWF’s Chill Out program recognizes campuses, students, faculty and staff dedicated to making a difference in reducing global warming pollution.

Schools that participated in CCN used Lucid’s Building Dashboard, which allowed users to compare energy performance and track the leading schools and buildings in the national standings.

With generous support from United Technologies Corp, Sloan, Sterling Planet and Constellation Energy, CCN is an opportunity to organize students and staff to make immediate and lasting impacts on a school’s carbon emissions and campus culture. It offers valuable educational opportunities, such as enabling students to put conservation fundamentals into practice, as well as environmental and economic benefits. Above all, CCN is designed to empower the future generation of energy and environmental leaders, and foster a culture of conservation within campus communities. To learn more about the competition, join the network or follow leading schools, visit

Related Resources

ES&T Congratulates The 2011 Best Papers Winners

In 2011, ES&T published 1500 papers on a wide range of topics. But which papers were the top papers—the best of the year? View the articles below and read Editor-in-Chief Jerald Schnoor’s comments on Top Papers of 2011: Recognizing our Finest.


Top Paper

Atlas, Ronald M.; Hazen, Terry C. Oil Biodegradation and Bioremediation: A Tale of the Two Worst Spills in U.S. History. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (16), 6709–6715 (DOI: 10.1021/es2013227).

First Runner-Up

McCarty, Perry L.; Bae, Jaeho; Kim, Jeonghwan. Domestic Wastewater Treatment as a Net Energy Producer–Can This be Achieved? Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (17), 7100–7106 (DOI: 10.1021/es2014264).

Second Runner-Up

McKone, T. E.; Nazaroff, W. W.; Berck, P.; Auffhammer, M.; Lipman, T.; Torn, M. S.; Masanet, E.; Lobscheid, A.; Santero, N.; Mishra, U.; Barrett, A.; Bomberg, M.; Fingerman, K.; Scown, C.; Strogen, B.; Horvath, A. Grand Challenges for Life-Cycle Assessment of Biofuels. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (5), 1751–1756 (DOI: 10.1021/es103579c).


Top Paper

Stapleton, Heather M.; Klosterhaus, Susan; Keller, Alex; Ferguson, P. Lee; van Bergen, Saskia; Cooper, Ellen; Webster, Thomas F.; Blum, Arlene. Identification of Flame Retardants in Polyurethane Foam Collected from Baby Products. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (12), 5323–5331 (DOI: 10.1021/es2007462).

First Runner-Up

Müller, Claudia E.; De Silva, Amila O.; Small, Jeff; Williamson, Mary; Wang, Xiaowa; Morris, Adam; Katz, Sharon; Gamberg, Mary; Muir, Derek C. G. Biomagnification of Perfluorinated Compounds in a Remote Terrestrial Food Chain: Lichen–Caribou–Wolf. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (20), 8665–8673 (DOI: 10.1021/es201353v).

Second Runner-Up

Judy, Jonathan D.; Unrine, Jason M.; Bertsch, Paul M. Evidence for Biomagnification of Gold Nanoparticles within a Terrestrial Food Chain. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (2), 776–781 (DOI: 10.1021/es103031a).

Third Runner-Up

Browne, Mark Anthony; Crump, Phillip; Niven, Stewart J.; Teuten, Emma; Tonkin, Andrew; Galloway, Tamara; Thompson, Richard. Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Worldwide: Sources and Sinks. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (21), 9175–9179 (DOI: 10.1021/es201811s).


Top Paper

Cates, Ezra L.; Cho, Min; Kim, Jae-Hong. Converting Visible Light into UVC: Microbial Inactivation by Pr3+-Activated Upconversion Materials. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (8), 3680–3686 (DOI: 10.1021/es200196c).

First Runner-Up

Agus, Eva; Lim, Mong Hoo; Zhang, Lifeng; Sedlak, David L. Odorous Compounds in Municipal Wastewater Effluent and Potable Water Reuse Systems. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (21), 9347–9355 (DOI: 10.1021/es202594z).

Second Runner-Up

Freeman, John L.; Bañuelos, Gary S. Selection of Salt and Boron Tolerant Selenium Hyperaccumulator Stanleya pinnata Genotypes and Characterization of Se Phytoremediation from Agricultural Drainage Sediments. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (22), 9703–9710 (DOI: 10.1021/es201600f).


Top Paper

Wäger, Patrick A.; Schluep, Mathias; Müller, Esther; Gloor, Rolf. RoHS regulated Substances in Mixed Plastics from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2012, 46 (2), 628–635 (DOI: 10.1021/es202518n).

First Runner-Up

Breivik, Knut; Gioia, Rosalinda; Chakraborty, Paromita; Zhang, Gan; Jones, Kevin C. Are Reductions in Industrial Organic Contaminants Emissions in Rich Countries Achieved Partly by Export of Toxic Wastes? Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (21), 9154–9160 (DOI: 10.1021/es202320c).

Second Runner-Up

Levis, James W.; Barlaz, Morton A. Is Biodegradability a Desirable Attribute for Discarded Solid Waste? Perspectives from a National Landfill Greenhouse Gas Inventory Model. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (13), 5470–5476 (DOI: 10.1021/es200721s).

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