Day: May 29, 2012

Shareholders Ask Kraft Foods to Increase Recyling

Read the full story in Environmental Protection.

Shareholders asked Kraft Foods at the annual meeting to take responsibility for post-consumer packaging, which will divert millions of tons of recyclables from landfills. The proposal, filed by the shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, asked the nation’s largest food company to report on taking responsibility for post-consumer packaging, which will divert millions of tons of recyclables from landfills. Other social issue-focused proposals captured less than 10% support, demonstrating that Kraft shareholders consider EPR to be a priority issue.

Connections: Sharing Green Strategies

Read the full story from E.

Forget those “greenest cities” lists: green efforts are sprouting up everywhere. On, 15,000 communities of all sizes log their environmental initiatives in nine categories: building, energy, lifestyle, connections, water, land and conservation, food, transportation and recycling. By clicking on the “How Green is your Town?” icon and typing in a zip code, visitors can discover the environmental improvements happening in their corner of the US. Examples include a recreation center that just achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification; a newly launched class on how to become a master gardener; Iraq and Afghanistan veterans building a greenhouse; and an organic farm that’s willing to take compost material from nearby businesses and residences.

Ball State University Geothermal Conclave I

Ground-Source Geothermal Resources:  An Important Source of Renewable Energy 
September 24-26, 2012
L.A. Pittenger Student Center, Ball State University, Muncie, IN

Building on a successful first-gathering in November of 2011 and capitalizing on the availability of the newly-operational geothermal district heating and cooling system at Ball State University, we are launching the first in a series of annual Geothermal Conclaves, designed to bring together researchers, practitioners and students interested in the design, installation and operation of large-scale geothermal heating and cooling systems.

2012 Behavior Change for a Sustainable World Conference

Friday, August 3–Sunday, August 5, 2012
The Ohio Union at the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Early registration through June 18, 2012.

Save the dates now and plan to be part of this seminal gathering on how basic principles of behavior change can help in the fight to preserve our environment. As world-famous climatologist Lonnie Thompson noted in his paper in The Behavior Analyst (Fall, 2010), there is currently no engineering fix for climate change. For now, the only thing we can do is change human behavior.

The program will feature prominent figures in behavior analysis, environmental organizations, business, and government. Invited addresses and panels, research and project posters, and interactive brainstorming sessions will give conference attendees a unique opportunity to interact with people with diverse backgrounds who are interested in working on one of the greatest challenges to face civilization since the last ice age.

In addition to invited presentations by distinguished scholars, attendees will have the opportunity to review current research at a poster session. Questions regarding the sustainability conference should be directed to the ABAI office at (269) 492-9310 or via e-mail at

The Japanese Journal for Behavior Analysis posted an announcement for the conference in their latest issue. You can view the announcement here (in Japanese).

Tours of Sustainability Research Programs

Conference attendees can choose from a number of tours of sustainability research and development programs including the Byrd Polar Research Center, Center for Automotive Research, the Zero Waste Project at Ohio Stadium, and Blue Rock Station.

Boston University Celebrates More Than 1.5 Million Pounds of Surplus Property Provided to Charities

Read the full story from Boston University.

Aided by Boston University Sustainability, more than 1.5 million pounds of surplus furniture and equipment have been provided to charities since 2002 from BU. Last month, as part of its Earth Week observances, BU hosted IRN – The Institutional Recycling Network and Food For The Poor (FFTP), who have been partners with Boston University.

Soaking Up the Sun: Kent State’s First Renewable Energy Project

Read the full story from Kent State University.

Kent State University is in the process of installing 1,716 solar panels on the Kent State Field House located on the Kent Campus. The panels will cover almost one acre of roof area or nearly 0.5 megawatt of panel capacity. This installation is believed to be the largest roof mounted system among Ohio’s public universities.

The project, scheduled to be completed in early July, is the first renewable energy project for Kent State.

The solar panels will generate about 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is about one-third of the annual power used by both the university’s Field House and Dix Stadium – enough to power about 50 average homes. The project will eliminate an average of 779,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year, which is roughly equivalent to removing 70 cars from the road per year.

Engineering students help water district save on energy costs

Read the full story from the University of Illinois Chicago.

A team of engineering students are helping to save energy costs for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

College of Engineering dean Peter Nelson and chemical engineering professor Sohail Murad joined water commissioners and staff at the Kirie treatment plant May 7 for the formal dedication of two types of heat pumps.

Murad and his students handled the process design for the heat pump systems at the plant, near O’Hare International Airport. They are testing both open and closed loop pump systems using the stable-temperature waste water in aeration tanks.

NASCAR signs memorandum with EPA

Read the full story from NASCAR.

NASCAR and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that provides a framework to encourage greater environmental awareness and adoption of green products and solutions with NASCAR fans and the entire industry. The MOU is a voluntary partnership around education and awareness. The agreement denotes some core areas NASCAR and the EPA will collaborate on moving forward including the following programs: E3: Economy, Energy and Environment; and Design for the Environment (DfE) labeled consumer and commercial products.

5 Ways that Biochar is Different from Charcoal

Read the full post at Soil Reef Biochar.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, “Bio-what?

Biochar. Think biological + charcoal = biochar. Pretty simple.

Is biochar just charcoal? Can I just go buy myself some King’s briquettes and add those to my garden?

Short answer: NO. Emphatically no.

Biochar and charcoal are technically two different things. Here are 5 things that elucidate those important differences:

Blanket Is CO2 Absorber, Fertilizer and Kiln

Read the full story from Discovery News.

Hikers in some areas know them well, and so does anyone with intense yard work experience: the slash pile. A new high-tech blanket developed promises to transform these awkward plant scrap mountains into several useful green products.

Since the piles contain stumps and other woody chunks, sawmills and paper mills have little use for them. Hauling the material offsite to be processed into fuel would be cost-prohibitive. Usually the slash piles that are especially common in the Pacific Northwest are either left to rot or subject to controlled burning in order to prevent forest fires. Can you say “excess CO2 emissions?”

To prevent that, University of Washington chemical engineering professor Daniel Schwartz, along with students that included forestry resources PhD candidate Jenny Knoth, looked for a way to make fuel from slash piles without having to move them. They came up with what they’re calling a “pyrolysis blanket” that wraps around the pile, causing the waste to smolder into a charcoal-like substance.

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