New from the GAO: Energy efficiency, wind energy

Energy Efficiency: Better Coordination among Federal Programs Needed to Allocate Testing Resources. GAO-13-135, March 28.
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Wind Energy: Additional Actions Could Help Ensure Effective Use of Federal Financial Support. GAO-13-136, March 11.
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Manufactured Homes: State-Based Replacement Programs May Provide Benefits, but Energy Savings Do Not Fully Offset Costs. GAO-13-373, March 28.
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Can Fungi Replace Plastics? Maybe, Say Researchers

Read the full story from Union College.

Fungi, with the exception of shitake and certain other mushrooms, tend to be something we associate with moldy bread or dank-smelling mildew. But they really deserve more respect. Fungi have fantastic capabilities and can be grown, under certain circumstances, in almost any shape and be totally biodegradable. And, if this weren’t enough, they might have the potential to replace plastics one day. The secret is in the mycelia.

Trees Used to Create Recyclable, Efficient Solar Cell

Read the full story from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Solar cells are just like leaves, capturing the sunlight and turning it into energy. It’s fitting that they can now be made partially from trees.

Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University researchers have developed efficient solar cells using natural substrates derived from plants such as trees. Just as importantly, by fabricating them on cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates, the solar cells can be quickly recycled in water at the end of their lifecycle.

The technology is published in the journal Scientific Reports, the latest open-access journal from the Nature Publishing Group.

Dream Team: Why Why building an all-star green team should be part of your business strategy

Read the full story at Sustainable Industries.

The concept of teamwork may seem like a very small issue in the shadow of a larger business sustainability pursuit. However, sustainability teams and the expanded definitions of teamwork are proving to be far more powerful than most business leaders might have originally thought.

To most people working in a traditional business setting, teamwork means working well with coworkers on a defined task or project. However, today’s high-performance team activities are expanding stakeholder cooperation and communication through the entire value chain. Discussed in some detail in the article, Making Star Teams Out of Star Players, the author provides insights from leading business sustainability organizations. The post focuses on best practices on identifying and developing next generation skills.

ISTC now accepting applications for 2013 Illinois Governor ‘s Sustainability Awards

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is now accepting applications for the 2013 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards.

The deadline for applications is May 31, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.  Applications will only be accepted electronically.  Details and application information can be found on our website.

The award ceremony will be held this fall in Peoria, and once again ISTC will also host the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact Awards Program in conjunction with the Governor’s Sustainability Awards program.

For more information, contact:

Debra Jacobson, Regional Operations Manager
Email Address:
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
Prairie Research Institute
University of Illinois
1010 Jorie Boulevard, Suite 338
Oak Brook, IL  60523

DEQ seeks nominations for 2013 Michigan Green Chemistry Governor’s Awards

The DEQ has opened nominations for the fifth annual Michigan Green Chemistry Governor’s Awards.

The Governor’s Awards recognize advances that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacturing, or use. The awards acknowledge efforts to design, implement, and promote safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes, and products.

Awards are open to individuals, groups, and organizations, both non-profit and for profit. The program was established by the Michigan Green Chemistry Roundtable to celebrate innovations using green chemistry in Michigan. Thirteen winners have been presented with an award in the first four years of the program.

Entries must be sent no later than July 19. The awards will be presented at the 2013 Michigan Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference: “Designing a Sustainable Michigan,” which is scheduled October 23-24 at Grand Valley State University.

To find a one page guidance document and a copy of the nomination packet, or more information on the Michigan Green Chemistry Program, visit the DEQ Web site at, or call the DEQ Environmental Assistance Center at 800‑662-9278.