Day: September 25, 2012

10th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

Close Date: 12/11/2012
Read the full solicitation.

Summary:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of the P3-People, Prosperity and the Planet Award Program, is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. The P3 competition highlights the use of scientific principles in creating innovative projects focused on sustainability. The P3 Award program was developed to foster progress toward sustainability by achieving the mutual goals of economic prosperity, protection of the planet, and improved quality of life for its people– people, prosperity, and the planet – the three pillars of sustainability. The EPA offers the P3 competition in order to respond to the technical needs of the world while moving towards the goal of sustainability. Please see the P3 website  for more details about this program.

Tools to Assess Potential Water Contaminants

Read the full story from EPA’s Science Matters.

EPA researchers are developing high tech tools called “Dashboards” to help assess potential water contaminants.

Stormwater Calculator to Manage Rainfall Runoff

Read the full story from EPA’s Science Matters.

A new tool developed by EPA allows planners and property owners to assess how green infrastructure can be used to reduce rainwater runoff from development sites.

Eco-Health Relationship Browser

The EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program is pleased to announce the launch of the Eco-Health Relationship Browser, an easy-to-use new online tool from the SHC program.

The Eco-Health Relationship Browser illustrates the linkages between human health and ecosystem services—benefits supplied by nature. This interactive tool provides information about our nation’s ecosystems, the services they provide, and how those services, or their degradation and loss, may affect people and communities.

Ecosystems, such as wetlands and forests, provide a wide variety of goods and services, many of which we use every day. However, some of these services, such as air filtration, are not obvious and it therefore may be hard to understand the impact they have on our daily lives.

Scientific studies have documented the many tangible and intangible services and health benefits that are provided by our surrounding ecosystems. This tool is designed so that users can easily explore the services ecosystems provide and how those services affect human health and well-being. It is important to note that the studies summarized in this tool are by no means an exhaustive list. However, the inclusion of over 300 peer-reviewed papers makes this browser an exceptional compendium of current science on this topic.

If you have questions or comments please contact Laura Jackson at

Sustainability in higher education news roundup

I ran across several good stories about sustainability in colleges and universities today, so I decided to combine them in one post.

  • Student funding available for MSU sustainability projects
    Michigan State University’s Office of Campus Sustainability is now accepting applications for the Be Spartan Green Student Project Fund, a program that will provide financial support for students to explore solutions to sustainability challenges at MSU.
  • Center for Sustainable Packaging created at RIT
    Nearly a third of consumer waste is food packaging, and much of it cannot be recycled. But finding ways to reduce that waste and its impact on the economy and the environment is the focus of a new research center being established at RIT. The center will be a testing ground for new ideas and solutions for students, researchers, faculty and corporate partners that are interested in sustainable packaging. It will also educate the next generation of packaging professionals intent in bringing sustainable principles to manufacturers around the world.
  • U [of MN] receives $13M for 2 campus chemistry centers
    The University of Minnesota is now home to two new centers that could potentially reduce carbon emissions and make solar energy more efficient. The Department of Chemistry received $13.1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund the centers, which officially began research Saturday.
  • Shoemaker Green opens at Penn
    Shoemaker Green was designed as a pilot site for the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which will measure the performance of the landscape and serve as a test case for other campus landscape projects.
  • Two from the University of Michigan

The National Research Council’s 2012 Report on Water Reuse

A National Research Council committee recently completed a three-year study with the release of Water Ruse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of technical, economic, social, and regulatory issues associated with both potable and non-potable reuse, including an original analysis of the risk of two potable reuse scenarios compared to common water supplies.

In this webcast, four members of the authoring committee will provide an overview of the major findings and will be available to answer questions. Key topics will include:

  • Potential contribution of water reuse to the nation’s water supplies.
  • De facto reuse
  • The state of technology and quality assurance concepts.
  • The committee’s “risk exemplar”
  • Regulatory issues.
  • Research needs.

The webcast will also provide a sneak peak of several new derivative products, including a booklet and website to communicate the report’s findings. To access the full report, click here.

EPA Announces 12th Annual Clean Air Excellence Awards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today is presenting the 12th annual Clean Air Excellence Awards honoring 11 projects and companies from across the United States for their work on clean air initiatives. The awards recognize innovative programs that protect Americans’ health and the environment, educate the public, serve their communities and stimulate the economy.

“The 42-year history of the Clean Air Act is all about meeting challenges through commitment and innovation,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “The contributions of this year’s award winners are continuing the Clean Air Act’s progress in benefiting public health, our communities and the economy.”

From providing better access to electric vehicles and charging stations to creating a classroom toolkit promoting strategies to improve air quality to developing a real-time air monitoring notification system, award winners demonstrate a commitment to improving the air that we breathe. This year’s winners include:

Clean Air Technology

  • ReNew Air Scrubber Technology, Diversey Incorporated, Racine, WI.

Community Action

  • Frazier Courtyard Homes, Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, Dallas, Texas
  • Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Pilot Project, City and County of Greenville, S.C.
  • Free Zoo & Trolley Too!, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, Providence, R.I.

Education Outreach

  • Conservation and Climate Change Challenge, Broward County, Fla.
  • InnerTribal Beat, Spokane Tribal Air Quality Program and KYRS Community Radio, Spokane, Wash.

Regulation/Policy Innovations

  • Rapid Response Notification System, Maricopa County Air Quality Department, Maricopa County, Ariz.
  • GHG Emissions Reduction Projects, Frito-Lay, Incorporated-Beloit, Beloit, Wis.

Transportation Efficiency Innovations

  • Leadership in Reducing Ocean-going vessel Emissions, Maersk Line/Maersk Agency USA, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Climate Initiatives Program, Metropolitan Transportation Commission of San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco, Calif.

Gregg Cooke Visionary Program Award

  • SC Johnson Global Sustainability Program, SC Johnson, Racine, Wis.

The awards program, established in 2000 at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, annually recognizes entries that help reduce air pollution, provide a model for others to follow and offer innovative, sustainable outcomes. Entries are judged by EPA and the Clean Air Act Advisory committee, and winners are recognized with a certificate at an awards ceremony in Washington D.C.

More on this year’s award winners:

Free EPA Webinar Series “Materials Management through Sustainable Consumption”

Did you know that over 40 percent of the GHG emissions in the U.S. can be attributed to the life-cycle impacts associated with the manufacture, distribution, sale, use and disposal of the goods and food we consume?  Are you interested in identifying strategies for creating more sustainable patterns of consumption?  If so, please join us for EPA’s Materials Management through Sustainable Consumption Webinar Series starting on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 at 9:30am PT/12:30pm PT!  Participation is free so sign up!  To register for the series, click here   Please forward this invitation to others who may be interested in participating.

EPA’s Materials Management through Sustainable Consumption Webinar Series is designed to provide examples of communities around the US and internationally that are reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and creating more sustainable patterns of consumption. This webinar series focuses on helping regulators and environmental management experts share information about existing research, programs and practices.  It also shares perspectives from citizens and businesses.  This information supports communities seeking to reduce their GHG emissions, wastes and other environmental impacts through a focus on sustainable consumption, including source reduction.   Source reduction minimizes the quantity and toxicity of materials that later need to be disposed of, and is identified under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as a key strategy for achieving our long-term environmental goals. Source reduction also helps to reduce GHG emissions, which are regulated pollutants under the Clean Air Act.   This series is in follow-up to last year’s Consumption and the Environment Webinar Series.  For our webinars we invite guest speakers to share their views on sustainable consumption to get participants thinking and talking about new strategies for achieving our environmental goals.  Please note the opinions, ideas or data presented by non-EPA speakers in this series do not represent EPA policy or constitute endorsement by EPA.

In October, we will kick off the series discussing the key challenges and opportunities for sustainable consumption, nationally and internationally.  Speakers David Allaway, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Duke Castle, Natural Step and Castle Group will will explore the barriers to sustainable consumption and the multiple links between climate change and economic growth.  For more information and specific session descriptions, please visit EPA’s website through the following link

Other topics and dates in the series include:

Date Topic
Kick off:  Wednesday, October 10, 2012 Why Sustainable Consumption: Opportunities and Barriers
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Why Sustainable Consumption Part 2:  The business case for Sustainable Consumption
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 Public Attitudes regarding Sustainable Consumption
Tuesday, January 8, 2012 Measuring the Impacts of Consumption:  Case studies from Communities
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 International Perspectives from community leaders on Sustainable Consumption
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 US Policies that encourage Sustainable Consumption
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 Changing Choices:  Choosing to Consume Sustainably
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 Sustainable Consumption Campaigns:  Examples from US Communities
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Government Purchasing for Climate Protection
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 Strategic planning and Sustainable Consumption

To register for the series, click here  You only need to register once for the entire series.  For more information, please contact Viccy Salazar at  These webinars are jointly provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10 and the West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum.

3 missteps to avoid when setting the pace for sustainability

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Executing a successful program over the long-term requires a steady hand. Here’s how to set yourself up for success.

How Stop and Shop saved $100 million by paring food waste

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Cutting losses helps maximize profits — an age old business philosophy not news to any businessperson. So why is $47 billion worth of product going to waste in supermarkets alone? And what are some of the opportunities for retailers and other food businesses to reduce food losses? Let’s take a look at a few businesses that have found real gains through reducing the outrageous 40 percent of food that never gets eaten in the U.S. (see our recent issue paper on food waste here).

You manage what you measure. One of the key themes to note throughout these success stories is that businesses invested upfront in understanding their waste streams to achieve big savings. They often did this by using software that tracked purchases, sales and product losses with enough detail to inform specific and actionable changes.

%d bloggers like this: