Day: September 13, 2012

Two on food waste from Marketplace Sustainability

Spilled and spoiled: Exploring two worlds of food waste
An alarming amount of the food we produce is never eaten. It’s a huge waste of land, water, labor, fuel and other resources. How to limit the losses? That depends on where we live.

Spilled and spoiled: In the U.S., consumers are the food wasters
Where food is cheap and plentiful, consumers are the biggest wasters — whether at home, in restaurants or at school. But how much of this waste is preventable?

H&M moves away from some water-proofing chemicals

Read the full story at Marketplace Sustainability.

Chances are you have a water-proof raincoat or stain-resistant khakis. There are all kinds of high-tech fabrics that promise to keep us drier and cleaner. But retail giant H&M says it’s going to stop using some of them because all that high performance, well, it comes from chemicals. The kind that don’t go away.

How to Start a Tool Library in Your Community

Read the full story at Shareable.

Tool libraries, which have been around since at least the 1970s, offer communities a way to share resources that would otherwise spend the vast majority of the time sitting in drawers and garages. They make screwdrivers, saws, drain snakes, drills, chisels, and whatever else one might need for building and repair projects available to patrons either for free or for a small fee. By providing access to tools, these libraries help to build resilient communities, they empower their users, they lessen neighborhoods’ ecological footprints and they help to beautify areas.

Handily illustrating the benefits of access over ownership, tool lending is an idea that is quickly spreading. A directory of tool libraries now lists almost 50 around the world and there are more in the works. In August, the Center for a New American Dream, in keeping with its efforts to “change social norms around consumption and consumerism,” offered a free webinar entitled How to Start a Tool Library in Your Community. Over 200 people participated live and the webinar is now available online.

50% Advanced Energy Design Guides: Preprint

Download the document.

This paper presents the process, methodology, and assumptions for the development of the 50% Energy Savings Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDGs), a design guidance document that provides specific recommendations for achieving 50% energy savings above the requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004 in four building types: (1) Small to medium office buildings, (2) K-12 school buildings, (3) Medium to big box retail buildings, (4) Large hospital buildings.

Pyrolysis Oil Stabilization: Hot-Gas Filtration; Cooperative Research and Development Final Report

Download the document.

The hypothesis that was tested in this task was that separation of char, with its associated mineral matter from pyrolysis vapors before condensation, will lead to improved oil quality and stability with respect to storage and transportation. The metric used to evaluate stability in this case was a 10-fold reduction in the rate of increase of viscosity as determined by ASTM D445 (the accelerated aging test). The primary unit operation that was investigated for this purpose was hot-gas filtration. A custom-built heated candle filter system was fabricated by the Pall Corporation and furnished to NREL for this test campaign. This system consisted of a candle filter element in a containment vessel surrounded by heating elements on the external surface of the vessel. The filter element and housing were interfaced to NREL?s existing 0.5 MTD pyrolysis Process Development Unit (PDU). For these tests the pyrolysis reactor of the PDU was operated in the entrained-flow mode. The HGF test stand was installed on a slipstream from the PDU so that both hot-gas filtered oil and bio-oil that was not hot-gas filtered could be collected for purposes of comparison. Two filter elements from Pall were tested: (1) porous stainless steel (PSS) sintered metal powder; (2) sintered ceramic powder. An extremely sophisticated bio-oil condensation and collection system was designed and fabricated at NREL and interfaced to the filter unit.

U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis

Download the document.

This report presents the state-level results of a spatial analysis effort calculating energy technical potential, reported in square kilometers of available land, megawatts of capacity, and gigawatt-hours of generation, for six different renewable technologies. For this analysis, the system specific power density (or equivalent), efficiency (capacity factor), and land-use constraints were identified for each technology using independent research, published research, and professional contacts. This report also presents technical potential findings from previous reports.

2012 Great Lakes Quality Technical Conference

2012 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)
Quality Technical Conference
December 4 – 6, 2012; Chicago, IL
This year’s theme:
Quality We Can See!

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning the third annual GLRI Quality Technical Conference (December 4‐6, 2012) designed to bring together GLRI collaborators to 1) share accomplishments and challenges encountered when implementing projects aimed at removing beneficial use impairments around the Great Lakes basin; 2) collaborate on quality and technical practices that improve project results; and 3) create an open forum for communication and coordination. The theme of the 2012 conference is “Quality We Can See!” as demonstrated through the results of projects, cooperation, use of innovative tools and techniques, best practices, quality system developments, and more.
Current technical sessions include:

  1. Achieving beneficial use impairment restoration targets
  2. Understanding the quality aspects of habitat restoration and invasive species control projects
  3. Conducting field and laboratory audits
  4. Evaluating the importance of the Graded Approach
  5. Assessing the challenges with integrating data sets focused on use impairment assessments
  6. Implementing quality programs and understanding the “Stages of Quality”

The “Call for Abstracts” will be circulated next month. We welcome ideas for sessions and presentations that reflect the breadth and range of projects supporting the GLRI. For more information on the conference or to submit an idea for a technical session, please contact Louis Blume at (312) 353‐2317 or (copy Molly Middlebrook Amos of CSC at

5 sustainable synagogues

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

There are just over 5 million Jews in the U.S., and close to half of them belong to a synagogue. As the center of spiritual life in Jewish communities, synagogues have taken the lead in practicing and preaching the bible’s dictum to “Love thy neighbor” by preserving resources and sustaining the Earth. Tikkun olam, repair of the world, is another concept in Judaism that inspired these synagogues to make drastic changes to God’s home on Earth.

Saving Money and Reducing Risk: How Energy Efficiency Enhances the Benefits of the Natural Gas Boom

Download the document.

The recent boom in shale gas production and the subsequent decrease in the price of natural gas have put natural gas front and center in the national energy discussion. This abundant source of domestic fuel presents a great opportunity for the United States to increase our energy independence and reduce carbon emissions. The current low prices are likely to result in greater overall consumption of natural gas by the power, industry, transportation, and export sectors, which could expose our economy to renewed price volatility and potentially lead to premature depletion of our natural gas reserves.

Changes in the natural gas market represent challenges and opportunities for energy efficiency measures. Electric and natural gas efficiency help reduce consumption of natural gas. Some natural gas efficiency measures on the margin are not cost-effective with natural gas prices at $2 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) but the price of natural gas is already increasing and is projected to level out between $4 and $7 per MMBtu.  Electric efficiency measures are only marginally affected by the price of natural gas and the majority of measures are still economical. In addition, reducing natural gas consumption helps keep prices stable while still meeting energy demands. Efficiency also reduces pollution, creates jobs, bolsters economic activity, lowers customer utility bills, and extends the available supply of natural gas.

Beyond Big Dams: Turning to Grass Roots Solutions on Water

Read the full story at Yale 360.

Mega-dams and massive government-run irrigation projects are not the key to meeting world’s water needs, a growing number of experts now say. For developing nations, the answer may lie in small-scale measures such as inexpensive water pumps and other readily available equipment.


%d bloggers like this: