U.S. DOE Building Technologies Office Launches the Better Buildings Residential Network

On April 30, 2013, U.S. Department of Energy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Kathleen Hogan, announced the launch of the Better Buildings Residential Network at the ACI National Home Performance Conference and Leadership Summit in Denver, Colorado. The Better Buildings Residential Network connects energy efficiency programs and partners to share best practices and learn from each other to dramatically increase the number of American homes that are energy efficient.

Better Buildings Since 2010, the Building Technologies Office’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, its partners, and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Sponsors and their partners have leveraged over $1 billion in federal funding and local resources to build more energy efficient communities. These programs have saved Americans money, created jobs and lowered greenhouse gas emissions.

The Building Technologies Office is now expanding this network of residential energy efficiency programs and partners to new members. The new Better Buildings Residential Network is engaging energy efficiency programs, state and local governments, financial institutions, nonprofits, universities, utilities, and other organizations to accelerate the pace of upgrades in American homes.

Inaugural members of the Better Buildings Residential Network include: AFC First, Austin Energy, Boulder County, Clean Energy Durham, Clean Energy Works, CNT Energy, City & County of Denver, GTECH Strategies, LEAP (Local Energy Alliance Program), Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Michigan Saves, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Members benefit immediately by receiving access to monthly topical phone calls with their peers about residential energy efficiency strategies. Recent calls have discussed business partners and workforce development, driving demand, evaluation & data collection, financing, moderate- and low-income markets, program sustainability and revenue streams, along with other topics based on member requests. Additional member benefits include tools, templates, resources, and proven solutions shared by members, newsletter and other updates on residential energy efficiency trends, opportunities to be featured in U.S. Department of Energy materials and optional program benchmarking.

The Better Buildings Residential Network members provide the Building Technologies Office with an annual update of the number of residential energy efficiency upgrades completed in their sphere of influence, and share information about the benefits associated with completed upgrades. The data will be used by the Building Technologies Office and Better Buildings Residential Network members to run more effective programs, understand the impact of member efforts, and to promote the benefits of residential energy efficiency upgrades.

For more information, visit the Better Buildings Residential Network or email bbresidentialnetwork@ee.doe.gov.

Employee Engagement Drives Sustainability Strategy

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

Have you considered how employee engagement can drive your sustainability strategy and how you can also leverage sustainability initiatives to engage your employees and create a values-driven culture of collaboration and creativity?

While the majority of employees fall under the umbrella of not engaged (emotionally detached) and actively disengaged (negatively view the workplace), few companies even know how to engage their employees in social and environmental sustainability.

Wastewater Market Within Pulp, Paper Industry to Hit $1.56bn

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

The global market for water and wastewater treatment and equipment within the pulp and paper industry will grow from $983.9 million in 2012 to $1.569 billion in 2020, according to analysis from Frost & Sullivan.

The market is expected to experience a 6 percent compound annual growth rate as rising water prices and tightening environmental standards force the pulp and paper industry to install high-end equipment to treat wastewater and reduce consumption, Frost & Sullivan says.

CEO 360 Degree Perspective on the Global Pulp and Paper Water and Wastewater Treatment Market finds pulp and paper manufacturers are seeking out advanced water and wastewater treatment technologies that are easy to operate and maintain, and have an efficient energy rating.

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators Given to 11 US Teachers

The White House Council on Environmental Quality, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has announced the winners of the 2013 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. Eleven teachers from around the country are being recognized for their exceptional work as leaders in the field of environmental education in formal school settings. Award recipients and their local education agencies will receive commemorative certificates and monetary awards to help support and encourage their use of environmental education in their classrooms and schools.

“The men and woman who are receiving this prestigious award have taken innovative steps to educate students about environmental stewardship and civic responsibility, and their work is a critical part of creating a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Thanks to their creative approaches to environmental education, students are developing a greater connection to the world around them – a skill that will benefit young people throughout their careers as they pursue the green jobs of the 21st century. At EPA, we are grateful to know that such exceptional educators are in American classrooms today.”

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers and their local education agencies across the United States for excellence in integrating environmental education into their lessons and connecting students with their communities and the natural world.

This program recognizes and supports teachers from both rural and urban education settings who make use of experiential and environmental opportunities that utilize creativity and community engagement to help students develop a sense of civic responsibility and stewardship in ecosystems. This year’s winning teachers’ programs range from students’ participation in watershed stewardship and civic engagement in Virginia, to creating recycling programs for an entire school in Kansas, to land stewardship practices in Idaho. Many teachers have inspired and empowered their students to create spaces for “green” clubs and special environmental science projects that include whole communities and businesses that help to create learning opportunities that students may otherwise not experience. These teachers demonstrate exceptional skill integrating learning outside their classrooms and making use of real-world issues to help students connect with, and participate in the world around them.

“This award recognizes the outstanding educators in our classrooms who are taking innovative approaches to helping students understand the impact they can have on our physical world,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. “The teachers who have earned this award are inspiring our nation’s future leaders to be responsible stewards of our environment, and preparing them to excel in the 21st century economy.”

Recipients of the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators include:

  • Mary Marguerite Murphy, Camden Hills Regional High School, Rockport, Maine
  • Mary Breslin, George Washington Middle School, Alexandria, Va.
  • Carolyn Ruos Thomas, Wildwood Middle School, Shenandoah Junction, W. Va.
  • Jeanna Burroughs Goodson, Maiden High School, Maiden, N. C.
  • Mary Catherine Padgett, Ford Elementary School, Acworth, Ga.
  • Anne Wiszowaty, North Shore Community School, Duluth, Minn.
  • Mike Todd, Ames High School, Ames, Iowa
  • Dominick S. DeRosa, F.L.Schlagle High School, Kansas City, Kan.
  • Dominique Evans-Bye, Clark Magnet High School, La Crescenta, Calif.
  • Ralph Harrison, Science and Math Institute, Tacoma, Wash.
  • Lindsey Hoffman-Truxel, Barbara Morgan Elementary, McCall, Idaho

More information about the winners and this program: http://www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward

Can Sustainable Hospitals Help Bend the Health Care Cost Curve?

Download the document.

Abstract: As policymakers seek to rein in the nation’s escalating health care costs, one area deserving attention is the health system’s costly environmental footprint. This study examines data from selected hospitals that have implemented programs to reduce energy use and waste and achieve operating room supply efficiencies. After standardizing metrics
across the hospitals studied and generalizing results to hospitals nationwide, the analysis finds that savings achievable through these interventions could exceed $5.4 billion over five years and $15 billion over 10 years. Given the return on investment, the authors recommend
that all hospitals adopt such programs and, in cases where capital investments could be financially burdensome, that public funds be used to provide loans or grants, particularly to safety-net hospitals.

First Building in the World Covered in Algae

Read the full story at SustainableBusiness.com.

We’ve written about the future of buildings – that they are moving toward those that can adapt and breathe – and now we’re seeing the beginnings of that.

An apartment building in Hamburg, Germany is giving us a peek into the future – it is covered with algae.

Not that algae is hanging on the façade, it’s inside glass panels that also function as solar hot water collectors.

The 5-story Bio Intelligent Quotient (B.I.Q.) building, constructed to Passive House standards, gets all its energy from renewables. The addition of algae on the outside walls will be used to create biofuels to heat the building and also to provide shade and muffle street noise.

Starbucks, SABMiller take holistic approach to sustainability

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Food and beverage companies don’t have it easy. Climate change, rapid population growth and competition for dwindling natural resources all pose huge threats.

Yet the industry is making the least progress in tackling these issues and reducing its environmental impact, according to advisory firm KPMG. At the same time, the financial cost of these environmental changes continues to grow at a rapid pace, hitting $200 billion in 2010, more than any other sector.

But a growing number of large multinational agribusinesses and food companies, including Starbucks and SABMiller, are facing these sustainability risks head-on using a large-scale approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of water, food, energy and climate, according to a new report from Landscapes for People, Food and Nature initiative, a collaboration of nine of the world’s leading anti-hunger, conservation and development organizations.