A Brief History of Biofuels

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Everything we burn or have ever burned for fuel originated as a living thing. It either started out as a plant, gathering energy from the sun and pulling carbon dioxide out of the air to store that energy, or else it was an animal that ate that plant (or ate the animal that ate that plant). In one sense, all fuel is biofuel, however, we generally reserve the “biofuel” designation for material that was recently living – to distinguish it from fossil fuel.

Environmental Claims: Summary of the Green Guides

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This summary of the Guides introduces how truth-in-advertising principles apply to green marketing and highlights terms often used in environmental ads.

Meijer stores pitching in excess to feed needy

Read the full story in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette.

A grocery item that isn’t quite perfect enough to be sold retail can still feed a hungry family. So two Meijer stores in Champaign-Urbana are now donating their excess food to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, and the foodbank is making several pickups a week.

Weatherization research facility opens, offers hands-on training

Read the full story in the Daily Illini.

The Indoor Climate Research and Training program, an organization focused on education about the importance of weatherization, opened its new training facility in the University’s Research Park on Tuesday.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon kicked off the event by cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

The program is part of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, which is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University. The facility, located at 2111 S. Oak St., Suite 106, is the only one in the state providing classrooms and training opportunities for the home performance industry, according to a news release.

Disney’s radical new paper policy to have major impact

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Back in 2010, the activist group Rainforest Action Network sent a bunch of children’s books to a lab for analysis. The group learned that the paper in most books — including those from The Walt Disney Co., which is the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and magazines, producing 50 million books and 30 million magazines a year — contained tropical hardwood pulp, likely from Indonesia. Many kids books are made in China, and China gets much of its paper from Indonesia, where rainforests are threatened by logging, mining and agriculture.

Not long after, RAN launched a campaign against Disney, which included protests at the company’s corporate headquarters in Burbank. The campaign ended today with a big victory, in the form of a Disney paper buying policy that RAN’s executive director, Rebecca Tarbotton, describes as second to none.

Number of federal LEED-certified projects surges

Read the full story at Federal Times.

The number of federal LEED-certified projects that have been completed surged from 544 in 2011 to 821 for just the first eight months of this year — a nearly 51 percent increase.


Benchmarking Drives 7 Percent Cut in Building Energy

Read the full story at GreenTechEnterprise.

Energy efficiency makes so much sense that it rarely finds champions in political circles.

But outside the Beltway, in cities and states across the U.S., energy benchmarking and disclosure laws for commercial buildings are driving efficiency gains that produce savings that are substantial enough that they should make people sit up and notice.

In the most recent report of data trends from Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which most buildings use to benchmark energy use, 35,000 buildings saved 7 percent over a three-year period.