Day: September 26, 2012

Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities

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In the 2012 edition of Science and Engineering Indicators (Indicators), the National Science Board (Board) reported a substantial decline over the last decade in per student state appropriations at the Nation’s major public research universities. This policy companion report to Indicators 2012, Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities, highlights the importance of these universities to the local and national economies, rising public expectations for these institutions, and the challenges posed by recent trends in enrollment, revenue, and expenditures.

In the wake of increasing enrollment and costs and declining per student state appropriations, the Board is concerned with the continued ability of public research universities to provide affordable, quality education and training to a broad range of students, conduct the basic science and engineering research that leads to innovations, and perform their public service missions. In future editions of Indicators, the Board intends to expand the treatment of higher education institutions while providing greater depth of analysis specific to public research universities.

Stunning Reuse Ideas for Old Books and Maps

Read the full story at Earth911.

Have a few unreadable books in your bookshelf or out-of-date maps in your glove compartment? Before tossing them in the recycling bin, take a moment to realize their full potential. Old-school finds add a welcoming and one-of-a-kind flair to your home decor, and the antique look is way easier to achieve with real vintage treasures than new stuff made to “look old.” So, gather up your paper leftovers, hand-me-downs and thrift store finds, and check out these 10 creatively beautiful ways to reuse them.

The Supposed Decline of Green Energy

Read the full post from Harvard Business Review’s Blog Network.

Here’s a surprising new fact about energy in the United States: the percentage of our electricity coming from the greenest sources — that is, the non-hydroelectric renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass — has doubled in just four years to nearly 6 percent. (Thanks to climate uberblogger Joe Romm for uncovering this data from the Energy Information Agency).

This significant win for clean energy has gone mostly unnoticed in the press. If anything, the story has been the opposite: recent reports herald the decline of wind, and for a year the media has made a big deal out of the demise of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.

Given this negative drumbeat, it’s not surprising that the business world tends to perceive renewable energy as an altruistic, rather than fiscally prudent, investment. But this view is dead wrong. The renewable energy industry is growing very fast… and not because it’s a philanthropic effort.

Why green business should love government

Read the full story at Sustainable Industries.

By the time the next president takes the oath of office, the U.S. will be well into the winter season. The record floods, fires and droughts of summer 2012 will be gone, although many thousands — farmers, homeowners, and businesses — will still be dealing with the aftermath. Record heat waves will be only memories.

But others will be facing another annual threat, struggling to stay warm in drafty homes as fuel prices continue their inexorable trend upward. That’s because a critical government program, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), is threatened. The program weatherizes homes of low-income families and elderly and provides some assistance for buying heating fuel. It typically results in slashing gas bills by 25 percent and electric bills by 42 percent.

The program not only keeps families warm, it often keeps them together.

Making the Green Economy Go: Scaling Sustainable Energy For All

Read the full story at CSRWire.

It’s indisputable that a green economy must offer adequate numbers of good-quality jobs in order to have traction. At a time when the world needs to create 600 million jobs over the next decade, when some 200 million people confront unemployment and many others contend with insecure, dangerous, or low-paid work, sustainable and fulfilling livelihoods is a critically important goal. Thus, a focus on “green and decent jobs” has developed in recent years, which emphasizes employment that not only preserves and restores environmental quality, but also offers workers a secure income and a perspective for the future.

Energizing LEED Projects

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries.

Reducing the costs and environmental impacts of excessive energy use is the focus of owners, investors, occupants, policy makers, and many other stakeholders.

Sometimes, we are asked about where “the” energy data is for LEED projects. The truth is that energy data is complex and multi-faceted, and LEED has evolved to target key pieces of data for each stage in the lifecycle of a green building project. As a result, we have a growing ecosystem of energy information that is intimately related to market transformation opportunities available to various project types.

DOE to Hold Webinar on Building Codes on September 27, 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Technical Assistance Program will host a webinar on September 27, 2012 covering the topic of Building Codes: Baselines and Beyond.

Energy codes serve as a baseline of building efficiency that drive beyond-code programs to improve. Increased compliance rates and proper enforcement unlock opportunities for deeper energy savings, reduced costs, and higher building resale values, as well as opportunities to minimize the environmental impact of the buildings. This webinar will demonstrate how communities are pushing baselines forward and describe technical resources available through DOE and other stakeholders.

The webinar will be held on Thursday, September 27, 2012, from 11-12 p.m. Eastern. Please register in advance using the webinar registration form.

Speakers include Maureen Guttman, executive director of the Building Code Assistance Project; and Zaida Basora, assistant director of the Dallas Public Works Department.

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