Day: October 28, 2014

Energy Department’s New Residential Solution Center Shares Proven Strategies for Energy Efficiency Programs

The Energy Department today released a new resource, the Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center, to help illustrate proven methods for reducing energy waste and carbon emissions in U.S. homes. Adding to the legacy of the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, the Solution Center features insights on how to design, implement and evaluate efficiency programs to improve the energy efficiency of communities across the nation. DOE will host the first of two demonstration webinars on Thursday, Nov. 13 from 1 – 2 p.m. EST.

Now available online, the Solution Center – a one-stop shop for residential energy efficiency program administrators and home performance professionals – highlights proven strategies that Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners adopted to make energy efficiency more accessible to homes and businesses. During the past four years, the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program worked with communities across the country to develop sustainable energy efficiency programs. This commitment helped to facilitate more than 100,000 energy-saving upgrades in homes and buildings, saving families and businesses more than $730 million on utility bills.

The Solution Center is organized into a series of handbooks with step-by-step guidance for planning, operating and evaluating a residential energy efficiency program. The handbooks offer strategies for helping program administrators and home performance professionals bring home energy upgrades to consumers. Each one draws on the experiences of multiple programs and contains resources such as tools, calculators, publications, videos, presentations and program examples. Users can find information regarding business models, program designs, marketing & outreach, financing, contractor engagement, workforce development, and evaluation & data collection.

All content is based on qualitative and quantitative evidence and best practices from existing energy efficiency programs. It has been reviewed by third-party experts. The Department invites users to explore the Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center and suggest additional content or materials. Based on feedback from users, the Department will routinely make updates.


Program administrators, their partners, and home performance professionals are invited to register for demonstration webinars showcasing the new tool’s functionality and content. The overview will include a tour of the Solution Center, including how its resources can help in the design, implementation, and evaluation of residential energy efficiency programs. Register to attend:

Through the Better Buildings Initiative, companies and organizations across the country are partnering with the Energy Department and committing to improve the energy efficiency of our nation’s homes and buildings. Visit the Better Buildings Residential Program website to learn more about broader efforts to help homes across the United States achieve cost-effective, energy-saving solutions.

Want to Solve Climate Change? Tackle Inequality

Read the full story at Shareable.

Humanity’s central challenge in the 21st century is to meet the human rights of all people within the capacity of Earth’s life-support systems. In other words, we need to get into the doughnut: the safe and just sweet spot between social and planetary boundaries.

Green Guide for Universities

The ten universities that comprise the International Alliance of Research Universities released a new publication — the Green Guide for Universities — at the international conference Making Universities Sustainable Conference in Copenhagen last week. The guide, which addresses key areas of sustainability at universities, ranging from laboratory design to managerial and organizational aspects, makes it easier for universities around the world to become more sustainable.

Six things we learned about valuing nature

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota Institute for the Environment.

Should we put a price tag on nature? IonE resident fellow Steve Polasky, Regent’s Professor of Applied Economics, Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior, and Fesler-Lampert Chair in Ecological/Environmental Economics at the University of Minnesota, explored that Big Question at this week’s Frontiers in the Environment event. Following the talk, attendees participated in a lively Q&A session. Here are six things we learned:

Five things we learned about urban development

Read the full post from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

Frontiers in the Environment sat down with Patrick Hamilton, IonE resident fellow and director of the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Global Change Initiative, Wednesday for a lively panel discussion on urban development featuring Anne Hunt, the environmental policy director for the City of Saint Paul; Peter Frosch, director of strategic partnerships for Greater MSP; and Mike Greco, program director for the Resilient Communities Project at the University of Minnesota. Here are the five key things we learned:

Resilient community on the rise

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

Only one month into the fall semester there is already an unseasonable chill in the air. But things are heating up in classrooms across the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Duluth campuses as more than 200 students in dozens of classes begin work on an impressive array of projects with the City of Rosemount, this year’s Resilient Communities Project partner community.

RCP, an initiative of the Sustainability Faculty Network at the University of Minnesota, with funding and administrative support provided by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and the Institute on the Environment, organizes yearlong partnerships between the University and Minnesota communities. The partnership is bringing the expertise of hundreds of graduate students to sustainability-related projects identified by Rosemount city staff and community partners.

Today, Rosemount is a rapidly developing outer-ring suburb located 15 miles from the Twin Cities but the city has a long and rich history. Settled by Scottish and Irish immigrants in the early 1850s, Rosemount organized as a township in 1858 and was incorporated as a city in 1974. Rosemount has a land area of nearly 36 square miles and is home to a mix of industry, commerce, agriculture and residential development. With its population expected to double by 2040, Rosemount faces unique challenges and opportunities in the coming decades as it strives to become a more sustainable and resilient community.

This fall semester, RCP has matched 25 community-defined projects in Rosemount with more than 35 University courses. The projects are wide ranging and engage both undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplines. Here are a few highlights:

University of California Press Announces Plans to Roll Out Two Open Access Products

Read the full story from the University of California Press.

University of California Press is entering into the Open Access space with the launch of two new products: a mega journal focused on three core disciplines (life and biomedical sciences, ecology and environmental science, and social and behavioral sciences) and a monograph program designed to take advantage of rich, digital formats.

This move is part of University of California Press’s mission to bring progressive scholarship forward in ways that continue to meet the academic community’s needs for greater discoverability, accessibility, and audience reach. Rollout for both products is planned for 2015.

When it comes to food packaging, what we don’t know could hurt us

Read the full story from Ensia.

Recent analyses raise disturbing questions about the health and environmental effects of the stuff that encases our edibles.

Bruce Knight: Let’s sow seeds for sustainable farm technology

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Bruce Knight says he feels like spring has finally arrived for sustainable agriculture.

“For the first time in my life, agriculture is cool and sexy,” he says. “That’s something we’re not used to. We’re got to figure out how to make the most of that to solve one of the biggest challenges of our time, one that concerns us all: how to feed 9 billion people,” he says.

A third-generation rancher, Bruce Knight has been involved in policy-making for some three decades, including as the undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2006-2009.

“As a farmer, you have to take risks. There’s a season for each decision. You can’t take decisions outside of natural cycles,” he says. “I have found this approach to be very transferable to the political process,” he added, tongue-in-cheek.

In his view, the current natural cycle in policy making is marked by common-sense approaches to sustainability sprouting aplenty. And that is good news.

Webinar: Introduction to the State Electronics Challenge

November 18, 2014, 2-3 pm CST
Register at

Join Lynn Rubinstein from the State Electronics Challenge to learn how your organization can reduce its environmental footprint through improved management of electronic office equipment.

The State Electronics Challenge is a voluntary national program, open free of charge any state, tribal, regional, or local government agency, as well as any K-12 school or non-profit organization. The SEC promotes environmental stewardship of computers, monitors, and imaging equipment — from purchasing green office equipment through power management, paper use reduction, and responsible end-of-life management — resulting in measurable reductions in energy, greenhouse gases, solid and hazardous waste, and associated costs.

Attend this introductory webinar to learn how your organization can join the Challenge and benefit from the program’s proven free technical assistance, action plan, implementation tools, and environmental benefit calculations.

%d bloggers like this: