Central Library’s green roof takes root

Read the full story at OnMilwaukee.com

In May 2011, we visited the Milwaukee Public Library’s recently installed green roof, which boasted not only a couple rows of solar panels, but 33,000 square feet of rainwater capturing and temperature moderating plants.

Back then, the plants were in but they were little more than seedlings, so the roof didn’t look very green. This week, I stopped in to check on the progress.

Three years later, the roof is a lush carpet of ground covering plants, especially a variety of sedums as well as chives and some grasses. It’s mostly green — though the green refers to its eco-friendliness as much as the color of the vegetation — but there are some reds, yellows and an attractive rust hue, too.

Green roofs can reduce urban heat island effect

Read the full story at EnvironmmentalResearchWeb.

Several cities in the US are encouraging the use of green or cool roofs on buildings in an attempt to reduce the urban heat island effect. But assessing the effectiveness of this policy has been challenging. Most models look at the effect of a green or cool roof on one building but up-scaling this to a city or metropolitan area is difficult due to different urban landscapes and their effect on atmosphere exchanges.

Now researchers from Princeton University in the US have developed a new urban canopy model (UCM) that they claim is ideal for city-scale investigations into the mitigation of urban heat island effects. Dan Li and his colleagues tested their model on the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area during a four-day heatwave and found that a reduction of surface temperature of 1 °C could be achieved if 30% of all roofs in the area were green or cool roofs.

2014 National Climate Assessment

The U.S. Global Change Research Program has released the 2014 National Climate Assessment. The report provides an in-depth look at climate change impacts on the U.S. It details the multitude of ways climate change is already affecting and will increasingly affect the lives of Americans. Downloads of the report are available here. The download section includes broadcast quality graphics.

Carbon Dioxide ‘Sponge’ Could Ease Transition to Cleaner Energy

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

A sponge-like plastic that sops up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) might ease our transition away from polluting fossil fuels and toward new energy sources, such as hydrogen. The material — a relative of the plastics used in food containers — could play a role in President Obama’s plan to cut CO2 emissions 30 percent by 2030, and could also be integrated into power plant smokestacks in the future.

The report on the material is one of nearly 12,000 presentations at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, taking place here through Thursday.

This Brilliant Cycling App Is Helping A City Plan New Bike Paths

Read the full story in Fast Company.

By capturing and processing data from cyclists in the German city of Wiesbaden, the city is putting paths where they’re actually needed.


Webinar: Planting the Seeds for Sustainable Chemistry

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 1-2 pm CDT
Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/705583810

What can be done to incorporate green chemistry in to all parts of the industry? Join us to learn about the Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientist and Engineers (NESSE) and how they are working to build a community of confident and able early-career sustainable scientists; connected across disciplines, sharing knowledge and resources, forging collaborations, and finding solutions towards making research and its outcomes greener and more sustainable.


Architectural researcher to tell global conferees how ‘living roofs’ help build better cities

Read the full story from Virginia Tech University.

Hot town, summer in the city — it’s nothing new, but ways to handle the heat, humidity, and stormwater haven’t changed much since the invention of the sewer system.

One solution offered by architectural researchers is known as a “green roof” — a roof covered in living, growing plants to soften the effects of heat, flooding, noise, and stormwater runoff.

Elizabeth J. Grant, an assistant professor of architecture and design at Virginia Tech, will present ways for architects to determine the most effective depths of green roofing for stormwater control on Thursday at the International Conference on Building Envelope Systems and Technologies — also known as ICBEST — in Aachen, Germany.

Collaborative Research Uses Camelina to Build Better Biofuel

Read the full story from Kansas State University.

A Kansas State University biochemist is improving biofuels with a promising crop: Camelina sativa. The research may help boost rural economies and provide farmers with a value-added product.

Timothy Durrett, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, is part of collaborative team that has received a four-year $1.5 million joint U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy grant. The project, led by Colorado State University, was one of 10 projects funded this year as part of the federal Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy research program.

Illinois coal plant owners say they’ve done their part

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Owners of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants in Illinois told regulators Monday that they should look to other generators to reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

Fiscal Policy to Address Energy’s Environmental Impacts

Read the full story at IMF Survey.

  • Countries should reflect health, environmental costs of fuel use in energy prices
  • Setting appropriate charges on energy use could allow other taxes to be cut
  • Reforms can be initiated by finance ministers, need not await global action