Month: May 2013

UMass Amherst finds new way to make p-xylene from biomass

Read the full story in Biomass Magazine.

Chemical engineering researchers Wei Fan, Paul Dauenhauer and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reported that they’ve discovered a new chemical process to make p-xylene, an important ingredient of common plastics, at 90 percent yield from lignocellulosic biomass, the highest yield achieved to date. Details are in the current issue of Green Chemistry.

University of Illinois to build $23 million biofuel research lab

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

The University of Illinois-Urbana will begin construction this fall on a new bioprocessing laboratory to research biomass-derived biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol.

10 things we learned about making your firm more energy efficient

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Last summer, EDF embedded nearly 100 EDF Climate Corps fellows in companies, cities and universities across the nation. EDF Climate Corps recruits and trains students from the nation’s top graduate programs to accelerate adoption of smart energy management practices in commercial America.

Here’s what our EDF fellows learned about saving energy and curbing emissions in 2012.

IEPA Annouces Spring Household Hazardous Waste Collections

The Illinois EPA has announced three locations for its 2013 HHW collection events.

June 1: Richton Park (Cook County)
Rich South High School
5000 Sauk Trail
Richton Park, Illinois

June 8: Morris (Grundy County)
Grundy County Building
1320 Union Street
Morris, Illinois

June 22: Galesburg (Knox County)
Galesburg High School
1135 Fremont Street
Galesburg, Illinois

One-day collections are open from 8 am to 3 pm on the above scheduled Saturdays. For more information, contact the IEPA’s Waste Reduction Unit at (217) 524-3300 or visit

Illinois Recycling Association Announces Award Recipients for Outstanding Recycling Programs

The Illinois Recycling Association has selected its award recipients for outstanding recycling programs throughout the state. The awardees will be honored at a luncheon at the Illinois Recycling Association’s annual conference, “Growing Green in ’13” being held on June 4 at noon at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

The outstanding business recycling program has been awarded to Jewel-Osco for their efforts in developing an extensive food-scrap composting program in more than 170 Jewel-Osco stores in the Chicago area.

The outstanding service provider has been awarded to Springfield Electric Supply (SES) of Springfield, Illinois, for their efforts in offering recycling services for certain types of bulbs and fixtures in response to the legislation mandates requiring the phase out of certain bulbs.

The outstanding community recycling program has been awarded to ShareFest New Lenox of New Lenox, Illinois, for their efforts in promoting sustainability through a free public event allowing attendees to recycle items such as household hazardous waste, electronics, Styrofoam, scrap metal, wood and more.

The outstanding government recycling program has been awarded to the City of Bloomington, Illinois, for their efforts in developing a new automated curbside recycling program and increasing recycling quantities citywide.

The outstanding non-profit recycling award has been awarded to Home Sweet Home Ministries of Bloomington, Illinois, for their efforts in reusing and reselling donated items including clothing, shoes, metal, electronics and books.

The outstanding special recycling program has been awarded to Go Green Carpet Recycling Chicago, Inc., of Northlake, Illinois, for their efforts in the collection and recycling of discarded carpet and carpet pad materials in the Chicago area.

Kaiser Permanente to Pursue Minimum of LEED Gold for all New Major Projects

Read the full story from Kaiser Permanente.

As part of its ongoing commitment to create healthy communities, Kaiser Permanente today announced it will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for new construction of hospitals, large medical offices and other major projects.

Apple hires former EPA head to boost its green cred

Read the full story from CNN/Fortune.

CEO Tim Cook announced on Tuesday that Lisa Jackson would soon head the tech giant’s environmental efforts.

‘Personal Climate Control,’ Lasers, and the Wild Future of Thermostats

Read the full story in Atlantic Cities.

Buildings are the largest consumer of energy in the United States, with residential and commercial properties together accounting for about 40 percent of the country’s energy use. Most of that, in turn, comes from all the effort it takes to heat and cool these places with a kind of ham-handed precision.

“We heat our homes during the day when nobody is there, and we heat our offices during the night when nobody is there,” says Carlo Ratti, the director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab. Even when people are there, we heat whole apartments just because someone is curled on a couch in the living room. And we cool whole office buildings to accommodate a couple of people in a conference room.

Perhaps you see where Ratti is heading with this: “Can we use technology,” he asks, “in order to put the energy where the people are?”

A Very Brief History of Why It’s So Hard to Get From Brooklyn to Queens

Read the full story in Atlantic Cities.

Ever try to get from Brooklyn to Queens, two of the most populated boroughs of New York City? Without a car, it’s nearly impossible, as most subway lines require one to go through Manhattan first.
I was recently at an event and speaking to a Brooklyn business leader who grew up in Queens. He told me he remembered going to Brooklyn frequently as a child, for shopping and even for high school. Every time I meet someone who grew up in Queens of a certain age, they will tell me that they remember going to Brooklyn all the time. For them, going “downtown” meant going to Brooklyn. So what happened? How did the two neighboring boroughs become disconnected?

The Rainbow Of Sustainability

Read the full story at Cleaning & Maintenance.

Establishing a color-coding system through symbolization is a simple way to practice resource reduction and promote sustainable operation.

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