Webinar on May 14: Green Chemistry Education: Not Just for Chemists Anymore

Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 3 pm CDT
Register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/746615865

Speaker: Julie Haack, Coordinator Green Product Design Network, Assistant Department Head and Senior Instructor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oregon
Students on campuses around the world are expressing a strong interest in sustainability, and are often frustrated by the lack of knowledge and intellectual tools available to facilitate decision-making and innovation in this area. At the same time, employers are seeking employees with greater familiarity with sustainable innovation. Educators realize that sustainable chemical innovation is complex and requires a broad and sophisticated mix of approaches and educational strategies. Green chemistry offers an important set of design principles that successfully fuels sustainable innovation.
To date, green chemistry education has been targeted at chemistry courses, in particular organic and general chemistry labs (1-4). At the University of Oregon, we have been exploring the integration of green chemistry across the university curriculum as a way to drive innovation by clarifying the connections between societal needs and chemical solutions. As the audience for green chemistry expands beyond the traditional chemistry curriculum, educators will be challenged to design innovative educational materials that meet the growing demand for knowledge and intellectual tools to address sustainable development. During this presentation I will describe what we have learned from infusing green chemistry into the general science curriculum for non-science majors and into professional courses including product design, architecture and journalism and communications (5). I will describe the exciting opportunities and challenges associated with this work and also highlight some of the emerging design strategies that are proving catalytic in developing new educational materials to meet the emerging demand.

Smart Location Mapping

EPA has developed two data products that consistently measure the built environment and transit accessibility of neighborhoods across metropolitan regions and across the United States. Each of these products summarize the characteristics of census block groups. Users can download data, browse the data in interactive maps, or access the data through web services.

  • The Smart Location Database summarizes more than 90 different indicators associated with the built environment and location efficiency. Indicators include density of development, diversity of land use, street network design, and accessibility to destinations as well as various demographic and employment statistics. Most attributes are available for all U.S. block groups.
  • Access to Jobs and Workers Via Transit Tool provides indicators of accessibility to destinations by public transit. Indicators summarize jobs accessible by transit as well as workers, households, and population that can access the block group via transit. Coverage is limited to metropolitan regions served by transit agencies that share their service data.

For more information about EPA’s smart location mapping projects, please contact Ted Cochin (202-566-2181, cochin.ted@epa.gov).

Renewable Energy on Institutional Property Webinar Series

Government and institutional facility managers are being tasked with alternative energy reduction mandates for environmental, security and financial reasons.

The Security and Sustainability Forum’s free webinar series centers on successful case studies and guidance for designing and implementing renewable energy technology and energy efficiency programs on military bases, national parks, government buildings, college campuses, medical complexes, prisons and other institutional property to meet government and institutional energy utilization program goals.

Registration is open for the entire series as they continue to finalize the panelists. Visit http://securityandsustainabilityforum.org/renewableenergyseries for updates.

June 2nd  1:15 to 2:15 PM ET  Renewable Energy Policy – The State of Renewable Energy.   Led by Peter Saundry, Executive Director of the National Council on Science and the Environment, the series opens with a one hour session to examine the state of renewable in the United States and across the Globe.


June 26th  1:15 to 2:45 PM ET-  Webinar #1 – The US Federal Agency Market: Meeting Energy Reduction and Renewable Energy Mandates: This introductory session will feature government leaders from DOD and other federal agencies who will address regulatory and procurement challenges industry and agency stakeholders need to consider when developing facility energy plans

July 10th  Webinar #2 – Renewable Energy Technology Applicability:  This session will provide an overview of technology applications, cost competitiveness of alternatives and their feasibility for government and campus environments. Seasoned industry and government officials will provide guidance on what is working and what is not working.

July 24th   Webinar #3 – The Effective Marriage of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in an ESCO Contract for Municipalities, and Educational and Hospital Campuses:  The value of Energy Services Company (ESCO) contracts have been well documented after 30+ years of deployments. Until recently, renewable energy has been too expensive with long paybacks which did not line up with traditional energy conservation measures. However, the recent reduction in cost combined with technological performance advancements makes renewable energy, such as solar PV, desirable in ESCO contracts. Our panel, comprised of industry, finance and government leaders, will break down an actual case study and provide insight on the advantages and pitfalls.

August 7th  1:15 to 3:45 PM ET-   Webinar #4 – The Intersection of the Microgrid, Renewable Energy, and Storage:  Microgrids save money and increase resiliency and reliability; but how do you achieve a successful, economic deployment and do it using private capital? Our case study is led by industry and academic leaders who have successfully deployed area-wide microgrids.

August 21st 1:15 to 3:45 PM ET-   Webinar #5 – Public Private Partnerships (PPP)Using private capital to own and operate systems on government and institutional property is an attractive model for cash-strapped entities that want the benefits of lowering energy use and reducing costs without any upfront capital. Our panel of finance and procurement experts breaks down both a recent successful PPP and a project that did not achieve financing.

September 4th 1:15 to 3:45 PM ET-    Webinar #6 – The Leading Edge of New Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies Coming to the MarketLeadership from DOE and other research centers will provide the latest information on where renewable energy technology is headed and the implications for profitable deployment.  

September 18th 1:15 to 3:45 PM ET-  Webinar #7 – Developing the RFP:  Energy efficiency and renewable energy contracting is a new art for many government and institutional entities. Whether a direct purchase or in a third-party owned and operated public private partnership, procuring these highly valuable cost reduction systems requires new ways to navigate legal, regulatory and functional challenges. Our panel of contract and finance experts from federal and state agencies, finance organizations and higher education discuss their RFP process to provide insight into what has worked well and provisions to avoid.

Webinar: Designing Employee Engagement Programs that Impact a Company’s Triple Bottom Line

Designing Employee Engagement Programs that Impact a Company’s Triple Bottom Line
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 1-2 pm CDT
Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/752485802

This webinar is part of the popular P2Rx Behavior Change Webinar Series to help pollution prevention technical assistance providers initiate, implement, and measure behavioral change resulting from their programs and initiatives.

BAE Systems is a $14.4 billion multinational corporation that reduced its total utility costs by 48% over a three year period with a utility cost takeout (UCT) energy efficiency program.  This would not have been possible without first enrolling BAE’s 43,000 employees across the globe in its sustainability plan.

Morgan Rooney, Sustainability Communications Specialist for BAE Systems was responsible for initiating and running the employee engagement program to support BAE Sustainability goals.  Morgan will share her strategies and successes for getting employees to buy into a corporate sustainability mandate for the long haul and how this affected and continues to affect BAE’s triple bottom line.

Webinar attendees will learn education tactics, how to set up a task force or green team, employee challenges, and awards and recognition programs that work towards initiating and sustaining behavior change for large communities.

Deadline extended for 2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp applications

The Prairie Research Institute is pleased to announce the 2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp. This STEM experience is a week-long day camp where students have the opportunity to spend one day at each of the five divisions of the Institute working side-by-side with scientists to gain hands-on experience in the lab and field in geology, archaeology, sustainable technology, water science, and environmental/biological science. The camp will be held July 21-25, 2014, and will feature:

  • making biofuel from corn and plastic waste and using that to power a go-cart;
  • sampling lake water and determining water quality;
  • studying insect fossils;
  • examining ancient artifacts; and
  • creating 3D geologic maps from core samples.

This year’s camp will be limited to 24 students in the State of Illinois who are either a rising junior, senior, or recent high school graduate who are interested in learning more about science and engineering occupations. Cost is $250 per participant. The application deadline has been extended to May 31, 2014.

The Prairie Research Institute is the home of the State Scientific Surveys (Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeology Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

If you have any questions related to the Institute’s camp, please contact Elizabeth Luber at 217-333-7403 or eluber2@illinois.edu.

Can Annie Leonard help Greenpeace reach beyond diehard greenies?

Read the full story at Grist.

On Tuesday, Greenpeace USA announced that Annie Leonard, the force behind The Story of Stuff Project, will take the reins as the organization’s new executive director.

Leonard first made a name for herself in 2007 with the release of her 20-minute web video The Story of Stuff, a clever animated explanation of where our stuff comes from and where it goes after we throw it away. It quickly went viral, and that led to more explainer videos, a bestselling book, and a successful nonprofit. So she has plenty of experience engaging audiences on topics that might seem mundane or off-putting, but in fact have far-reaching and large-scale consequences. (For example: where your iPhone comes from, and where it goes to die when you spill beer on it. Whoops!)

We got to talk to Leonard about how her work with The Story of Stuff Project has prepared her to take on new challenges at Greenpeace. First and foremost: helping more people realize that they are environmentalists – whether or not they identify with the dirty word itself – and they need to fight for change accordingly.

Environmental Justice: Where Are We Now?

Read the full post from U.S. EPA.

At the end of March, I was very pleased to participate in an Environmental Justice Conference at Harvard Law School to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12898 on EJ, and to dialogue with stakeholders across all backgrounds about the future for EJ.

Environmental justice is critical to EPA’s mission: to protect human health and the environment.  Unfortunately many low-income communities and communities of color continue to bear a disproportionate burden of environmental pollution and its health effects which create barriers to opportunity and a need for greater access to the benefits that healthy communities provide.

Solvent Substitution Strategies for Finishers

Read the full story in Products Finishing.

Along with a desire to reduce flammability, enhance worker health and safety, and reduce costs, the solvent selection process has become increasingly complex. In-house evaluation of alternative solvents can be aided by understanding: 1) the Hansen solubility parameters of surfaces, soils and solvents; 2) solvent selection to fit within an EHS profile; and 3) solvent blending to maximize performance.

Wetlands Mapper

The Wetlands Mapper integrates digital map data with other resource information to produce timely and relevant management and decision support tools. It allows users to:

  • View wetlands information using a map interface
  • Print a snapshot or download map data

Napkins in Food Waste: Biofuel Potential?

Read the full story at the Sustainable City Network.

An Iowa State University researcher has found an unexpected source of fiber in food waste that increases its potential for making renewable fuel: napkins.

Funded by a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Stephanie Jung explored fermentation of the sugars, starches and fibers in food waste to make bioethanol. An associate professor of food science and nutrition, Jung works to make food processing technologies more sustainable by reducing the amount of energy used or waste produced, adding value to the production cycle by collecting food byproducts, and converting food waste into bioethanol.