Colorado State University students, faculty dig into trash

Read the full story in the Coloradoan.

Colorado State University students, staff and faculty got together Wednesday, March 6, 2013, to dig through a day’s worth of trash gathered in the university’s dorms and dining halls and separate items to recycle, compost and throw away.

Students Promote Sustainability in Theatre

Read the full story from Knox College.

From sets to costumes to paperwork, the Knox College production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle is shining a spotlight on reducing waste and promoting sustainability — in theatrical production as well as the larger community.

Repertory Theatre Term 2013
Students in Repertory Theatre Term with tote bags they made from recycled t-shirts.

A long-standing commitment to thrift means that Knox College theatre was already practicing much of what it’s preaching in The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Lumber and hardware are reused for years. Costumes are assembled from pieces of other people’s cast-offs.

This year, students raised the emphasis on sustainability to a new level by methodically examining every aspect of the production, down to paperwork.

Appalachian begins “zero waste” commitment

Read the full story from Appalachian State University.

A “zero waste” commitment has begun at Appalachian State University with the goal of diverting 90 percent of all waste from landfill disposal by 2022. The university currently diverts 40 percent of its waste annually from a landfill by recycling, reducing and composting.


Energy Department Announces Winners of Student Competition to Promote Energy Efficient Buildings

The Energy Department announced today the winners of the second annual Better Buildings Case Competition, which challenges university teams to develop and present real-world business and technical solutions to cut energy waste and improve the efficiency commercial buildings across the country. The winners included the Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, and Yale University. The Better Buildings Case Competition supports President Obama’s goal of cutting energy waste from homes and businesses in half over the next two decades, as announced in the State of the Union address.

This year, 14 university teams analyzed case studies focusing on a range of challenges faced by private-sector organizations and state and local governments who are looking to improve the energy efficiency of their operations. The case studies consisted of real scenarios, background information, and data provided by organizations that included partners in the Better Buildings Challenge program—a broad public-private partnership working to make America’s commercial and industrial buildings 20% more efficient by 2020.

Drawing together skills and experience in engineering, real estate, finance, and urban planning, the competition provides the next generation of entrepreneurs and policymakers with an opportunity to tackle real-world problems and identify creative solutions that can be used as models for other businesses and organizations across the marketplace. This annual competition also helps launch students’ careers in clean energy and energy efficiency. Previous case partners have recruited competing students for internships or full-time positions.

This year, student teams competed to find the best solutions to energy efficiency challenges presented in real-world case studies for the City of Fort Worth, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub, the U.S. General Services Administration, and the “Everything Store,” representative of several retail stores including Kohl’s, Staples, and Target. On Friday afternoon, these teams presented their ideas and written proposals to a panel of commercial real estate and energy experts at the White House. Read more information on the specific case studies.

The following university teams won their respective competitions:

City of Fort Worth Case Study: Students developed strategies to help the City of Fort Worth and local utilities and industry work together to achieve the Better Building Challenge goal to make commercial and industrial buildings 20% more energy efficient by 2020.

  • Best Proposal—Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Most Innovative—Carnegie Mellon University

Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB) Hub Case Study: Students examined strategies for the EEB Hub to help Montgomery County, Pennsylvania complete a renovation that achieves significant energy savings in a publicly-owned, multitenant office building.

  • Best Proposal—Yale University
  • Most Innovative—University of California-Santa Barbara

“Everything Store” Case Study: Students recommended criteria for selecting among potential options to increase cooling efficiency in big box retail stores by upgrading rooftop unit technology.

  • Best Proposal—Carnegie Mellon University
  • Most Innovative—Massachusetts Institute of Technology

U.S. General Services Administration Case Study: Students proposed strategies for energy metering and measurement to meet federal savings goals in government buildings across the United States.

  • Best Proposal—Yale University
  • Most Innovative—University of Chicago

Does recycling cause you to consume more?

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

A lot of eco-minded people will avoid purchasing items that they know will end up in the garbage. But do they also react in the opposite way by consuming more when they know that something will be recycled? That seems to be the indication from a study published recently in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

The research was conducted by Jesse Catlin, an assistant professor at Washington State University Tri-Cities, and Yitong Wang, an assistant professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. They conducted two experiments to find out how much paper people used if they had the option to recycle their waste. The studies were partially funded by the project was funded in part by the Newkirk Center for Science and Society, which focuses on issues such as health and the environment as they related to community and quality of life.

The engagement challenge: Can pledges change behavior?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

It’s a challenge for many sustainability executives – getting employees to move from thinking about environmental sustainability issues to taking action. It’s the same for our nation’s mayors as well as they seek to challenge their residents to conserve water and energy, and protect local ecosystems. That’s why we’ve evaluated recent research that studied the results from hundreds of environmental campaigns and experiments to determine what makes a campaign successful. We’re leveraging these insights as we get set to launch the 2013 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

The challenge offers insight into how to successfully engage people when it comes to environmental issues. It turns out that it also offers a ready-made platform to engage your employees to support these efforts and help their communities as well.

DOE helps manufacturers find millions in hidden energy savings

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Manufacturing plants are ripe for energy improvements, but company efforts can stall without a proper analysis of facilities to figure out where best to focus.

For the last few years, the U.S. Department of Energy has helped numerous U.S. companies analyze and reduce their energy use through its Better Buildings, Better Plants program.