Day: September 24, 2012

Energy Department Announces Webinar on High-Efficiency Lighting Technologies in Parking Facilities

The Energy Department today announced a new webinar designed to support the new Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign, which the Department serves as a technical advisor. The industry-led LEEP Campaign helps commercial building owners and managers to implement energy efficient lighting solutions in their parking facilities, offering technical and financial advice to participating organizations that will help them save money by saving energy. Organized by the Building Owners and Managers Association International, the Green Parking Council, and the International Facility Management Association, LEEP aims to support energy efficient lighting upgrades on 100 million square feet of parking facility space by February 2014.

Most parking lots, facilities, and garages are illuminated by older high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting technology without any energy-saving controls. When installed correctly, state-of-the-art energy efficient lighting technologies can last two to five times longer than traditional outdoor lights. These lighting systems also pay for themselves quickly by cutting energy costs up to 70% and maintenance costs up to 90% compared to the older lighting technologies they are replacing.

The Energy Department and LEEP Campaign organizers will host a webinar on Thursday, September 27 to introduce the campaign, share strategies that businesses have used to implement high-efficiency lighting technologies, and answer questions from participants. The webinar will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Register for the webinar.

Building owners and managers who join the LEEP Campaign will have access to technical guidance including the Department’s Commercial Building Energy Alliance LED Site (Parking Lot) Lighting Specifications and Commercial Building Energy Alliance High-Efficiency Parking Structure Lighting Specifications. Additionally, the campaign leverages the Department’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to help participants find financial incentives to improve lighting efficiency. Campaign participants are encouraged to use these tools and resources to evaluate their facility portfolios and identify feasible and cost-effective options for applying high-efficiency lighting technologies.

Campaign participants that achieve notable energy savings will receive recognition from LEEP and will be profiled on the campaign’s website. The deadline for submitting project information to the campaign is November 29, 2013. Results and recognition will be announced by LEEP in February 2014. Recognition categories include:

  • Highest absolute savings at a single site: retrofit
  • Highest absolute savings at a single site: new construction
  • Highest percentage savings at a single site: retrofit
  • Highest percentage savings at a single site: new construction
  • Best use of controls
  • Largest number of sites upgrades
  • Largest portfolio-wide energy savings
  • Largest percentage of sites upgraded.

Interested participants are encouraged to register for the September 27 webinar. Organizations that do not directly own or manage parking lots or structures are eligible to join the campaign as supporting partners. Read additional information about the LEEP Campaign.

Biochar is an investment in soil

Read the full story in the Iowa State Daily.

While no meteorologist or agronomist can accurately predict which years will be “dry years,” scientists and farmers can now take steps to protect themselves against plant dehydration during a drought. Biochar, a substance known for its ability to retain water and enrich soil fertility, is on the mind of researchers at Iowa State.

EPA Honors Organizations for Supporting Green Power

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented its 12th annual Green Power Leadership Awards to 24 Green Power Partners and three suppliers for their achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable electricity market. For most municipalities, electricity usage is the single-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. By using green power, communities and businesses can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create local jobs, and improve public health.

“Our 2012 Green Power Leadership Award winners have not only demonstrated commendable civic leadership in their efforts to use renewable energy sources, they’ve also helped to reduce our carbon footprint and cut back on pollution – all while supporting America’s growing renewable energy industry,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Thanks to their commitment — and the commitment of all of our Green Power Partners — our country is one step closer to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”

“Green power” is electricity generated from renewable resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas and low-impact hydro, and produces no net increase of greenhouse gas emissions. From purchasing 100-percent green power to installing large-scale solar panel arrays, the award winners help demonstrate that green power makes sense not only for Americans’ health and environment but for business’ bottom lines.

The 2012 Green Power Leadership Award winners are listed below in the following categories:

  • First-ever Sustained Excellence in Green Power: Intel Corporation, Kohl’s Department Stores, Staples, and Whole Foods Market
  • Green Power Partner of the Year: City of Austin, Texas; Hilton Worldwide; Microsoft Corporation; and the University of Oklahoma
  • Green Power Community of the Year: Beaverton, Ore. and Oak Park, Ill.
  • Green Power Purchasing: American University; Bloomberg L.P.; City of Philadelphia, Pa.; Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Kettle Foods; Lockheed Martin; McDonald’s USA, LLC; MOM’s Organic Market; NYSE Euronext; Quinnipiac University; TD Bank; and The North Face
  • On-site Generation: Coca-Cola Refreshments and Zotos International, Inc.
  • Green Power Supplier of the Year: Renewable Choice Energy and Sterling Planet
  • Innovative Green Power Program of the Year: Wellesley Municipal Light Plant

The 24 award-winning partners were chosen from more than 1,300 partner organizations. Utilities, renewable energy project developers and other green power suppliers were eligible to apply for the Supplier of the Year and Program of the Year awards.

EPA also announced the winners of the second annual Green Power Community Challenge, a national competition between communities to use renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the Green Power Community of the Year award, Oak Park, Ill. also won the community challenge for achieving the highest green power percentage of total electricity use at 92 percent. Washington, D.C. also won the challenge for a second year in a row for using the most green power annually with more than one billion kilowatt-hours (kWh).

EPA, through the Green Power Partnership, works with partner organizations, over half of which are small businesses and nonprofit organizations, to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Partners are voluntarily using more than 23 billion kWh of green power annually. Through their use of green power, these organizations are avoiding carbon pollution equal to that created by the electricity use of more than two million average American homes each year.

Taxpayers, ratepayers will fund California solar plants

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

A new breed of prospectors — banks, insurers, utility companies — are receiving billions in subsidies while taxpayer and ratepayers are paying most of the costs. Critics say it’s a rip-off.

Power, Pollution and the Internet

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Helping to process the staggering amount of Internet activity that occurs, data centers waste vast amounts of energy, belying the information industry’s image of environmental friendliness.

PNEAC Announces 2012 “Environmental Publication of the Year”

The Printers’ National Environmental Assistance Center (PNEAC) announced last week the winner of its 2012 Environmental Publication of the Year Award. And the winner is…Doreen Monteleone, Ph.D., who was chosen for her four-part series, “Calculating Your Facility’s Carbon Footprint,” that ran August through November 2011 in Flexo magazine. Dr. Monteleone is Director of Environmental, Health, Safety, and Special Projects at the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA).

About the award:

The PNEAC Publication of the Year Award seeks to honor the best and most significant journal article, fact sheet, report or book that helps printers improve the environmental performance of their processes and products.

Said Deb Jacobson, Director of PNEAC and Technical Assistance Program Manager at the University of Illinois Sustainable Technology Center:

“PNEAC is extremely pleased to recognize the excellent contribution that Dr. Monteleone and Flexo magazine have made to advance the practice of green, sustainable practices within the printing industry. Judges were impressed with how the winning series of articles provided such practical helpful advice to printers who want to determine the carbon footprint of their operation, and use that objective information to measurably improve the environmental sustainability of their operations.”

PNEAC’s Publication of the Year award will be presented at a press conference at Graph Expo on Monday, October 8, 2012, 11:45 a.m.

PNEAC, founded in 1995, serves as a partnership between the printing industry, government, and university technical assistance providers. The PNEAC mission is to assist regulatory agencies and technical assistance providers by delivering current, reliable environmental compliance and pollution prevention information to printers, publishers and packagers. The University of Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, which directs PNEAC with funding from EPA’s National Compliance Assistance Centers Program, is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

It’s a Critical Time for the Clean Water Act

Read the full story in Governing.

As the federal law approaches its 40th anniversary, there is still a lot of debate over what bodies of water the act protects.

Medical waste: Product Stewardship, Extended Producer Responsiblity

The article “Medical Waste: Product stewardship, extend producer responsibility” by Alice Jacobsohn, who oversees NSWMA’s Healthcare Waste Institute, recently was published in AMH by Bay Publishing (Medical) LLP in Dorset, UK. You can download a copy of this article here. [via Environmentalists Everyday]

Meaningful Impact: Challenges and Opportunities in Industrial Energy Efficiency Program Evaluation

Download the report.

Impact evaluation of industrial energy efficiency programs is a necessary activity to ensure public funds are used in a responsible manner. However, some stakeholders believe the manner in which industrial programs are currently evaluated for their impacts does not accurately reflect the reality of how customers use industrial energy efficiency programs. Others believe the metrics sought in evaluation are not meaningful and alternatives could be considered.

This report is based on interviews and surveys of program administrators, evaluators, and regulators. It discusses how industrial energy efficiency program evaluation is conducted and the types of data and metrics derived by evaluators. It discusses six issues in-depth that were of particular interest to respondents. They are:

  • The development of a facility’s baseline
  • The timing of evaluation activities
  • The measurement of net savings and the use of net-to-gross ratios
  • The measurement of free riders and their associated savings
  • The measurement of spillover effect
  • The measurement of non-energy benefits

Stakeholders believe many of the above components of evaluation are insufficiently or inaccurately conducted. This report explains these concerns about each issue and suggests best practices and suggested directions for improvement where available and applicable.

5 ways to double your odds of inspiring culture change

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

It is often said that existing technology is sufficient to foster sustainable business and society. But all the technology in the world won’t help us reduce resource and energy consumption if we don’t directly confront the innate human aversion to change. A major external force (a.k.a. the proverbial burning platform) is often required for people to change. Yet, sustainability requires companies— organized groups of humans — to proactively change. How do we do it?

Luckily, there is a discipline focused on inspiring change that is now being applied in the area of sustainability. Organizational change management is the process of shepherding an organization or larger collection of people through a planned change process — providing a roadmap to plan, initiate and stabilize change. This process integrates corporate strategy and employee engagement. When businesses lack a well-planned change management process the chance of successful change is 1 in 3, but doubles to 2 in 3 when a company engages in an effective change management process, according to a 2012 study by the Project Management Institute and a 2008 study by McKinsey.

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