The true cost of personal computers

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Computer, laptops and tablets continue to grow rapidly in the global marketplace. Is it sustainable? We calculated the environmental costs of computers compared to their purchase price.

How toxic is the iPhone 5?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Would you buy the iPhone 5 if you knew it was full of toxics? Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that, as Apple’s latest mobile phone got a clean bill of health from organizations that studied toxics in mobile phones.

IT managers may find the new study incredibly useful: It ranks 36 different phones released in the last five years based on the relative concentration and presence of toxic chemicals. Ten mobile phone manufacturers, including Apple, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, LG Electronics, Nokia and Samsung were included in the study, which was a joint effort between Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center and

Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Assn. Introduces Green Lodging Calculator

Read the full story at Green Lodging News. The calculator is available at

The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) announces the launch of the “Green Lodging Calculator,” an online tool to help lodging facilities, government programs, and technical assistance providers estimate the financial and environmental benefits from sustainable practices. Users answer a few simple questions about the lodging operations and sustainable practices, and the calculator provides estimates of the resulting environmental outcomes and cost savings.


WaterSense Partners of the Year Help Americans Save Water, Money on Utility Bills

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored five leading organizations as 2012 WaterSense Partners of the Year. WaterSense-labeled products manufactured by these organizations and more than 2,600 WaterSense partners nationwide have helped American businesses and households save 287 billion gallons of water and $4.7 billion in water and energy bills.

“WaterSense is proud to partner with these champions of water efficiency who share our mission to protect the future of our nation’s water supply,” said Nancy Stoner, EPA’s acting Assistant Administrator for Water. “The 2012 WaterSense Partners of the Year were exceptional in their efforts to support innovative approaches to help people and companies save water and money on utility bills nationwide.”

The WaterSense Partner of the Year awards program recognizes WaterSense partners who help advance the overall mission of WaterSense, increase awareness of the WaterSense brand in a measurable way, and demonstrate overall excellence in the water efficiency arena.

WaterSense recognized the following Partners of the Year for their water-saving initiatives:

Manufacturer Partners of the Year:
American Standard Brands earned a Manufacturer Partner of the Year Award for developing a WaterSense-labeled toilet model that can be installed without tools. American Standard also toured the country with an educational display that demonstrated how WaterSense-labeled faucets, toilets and showerheads work.

Kohler Co., now a three-time WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year, introduced its most water-efficient dual-flush toilet in 2011. Kohler also more than doubled the number of WaterSense-labeled showerheads it offers and supported and participated in the “Wasting Water Is Weird” consumer education campaign to promote water conservation.

Retailer Partner of the Year:
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. became a three-time WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year by supporting and participating in the “Wasting Water Is Weird” campaign to promote water conservation and training their sales associates on water savings and usability of WaterSense labeled products. Through their efforts, Lowe’s customers saved about 4 billion gallons of water in 2011 with WaterSense products.

Promotional Partner of the Year:
Colorado Springs Utilities was named the WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year for helping a local builder create the first WaterSense-labeled home in Colorado. The utility also encouraged commercial kitchens in the area to try pre-rinse spray valves that helped save more than 20 million gallons of water.

Builder Partner of the Year:
KB Home, now a two-time WaterSense Builder Partner of the Year, built nearly 100 WaterSense-labeled homes in 2011 and pushed the limits of sustainable building with a model home designed to achieve net-zero energy use and the highest levels of water and other resource efficiency.

The Partner of the Year awards were presented at the WaterSmart Innovations conference in Las Vegas, Nev. The Excellence Awards were also given at the conference to five organizations that contributed to program initiatives such as providing employee education, supporting WaterSense’s annual Fix-a-Leak Week public awareness campaign, and facilitating collaboration among stakeholders during 2011. WaterSense is a partnership program sponsored by EPA, and seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services.

Creating Sustainable Prosperity in the United States: The Need for Innovation and Leadership (Worldwatch Report #186)

Download the document for free. Hard copy: $12.95.

The United States finds itself at a critical juncture, as environmental degradation and resource depletion threaten the capacity of the U.S. economy to generate wealth for the indefinite future. The choice is not between the status quo and sustainability.  The choice is whether the United States builds sustainable prosperity through prudent choices now or declines into sustained impoverishment because it failed to steward its assets when it had the choice.

In a comparative analysis of sustainability, the United States ranks barely in the top third of nations.  Despite growing awareness of the need to build a sustainable national economy, U.S. output continues to be characterized by linear flows of materials, heavy dependence on fossil fuels, disregard for renewable resources, and resource use that is strongly connected to economic growth.

Creating a sustainable U.S. economy will require a thoughtful and strategic set of national, state, and local policies that essentially remake the economic playing field under a new set of principles:

  • Renewable resources cannot be consumed faster than they are regenerated.
  • Non-renewable resources must be reused or recycled to the greatest extent possible, creating a circular economy.
  • Ongoing development should focus less on ever-higher levels of consumption and more on increased quality of life.
  • A sense of fairness, especially around wealth distribution, is needed to generate social and economic stability across society.
  • Deceleration of population growth will make the creation of a sustainable economy far easier.