Day: January 26, 2015

EcoPlanet Bamboo aims to make alternative timber big business

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

“People think bamboo is a joke,” said Troy Wiseman, chief executive and co-founder of EcoPlanet Bamboo.

But the strides his company has made in commercializing the quick-growing grass as a sustainable means of tackling deforestation and resource shortages show bamboo yet could become a serious business.

What price should we put on a better climate?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Last year, I wrote about the efforts of hundreds of businesses worldwide that support — yes, support — putting a price on carbon. Despite all the members of Congress who question or deny whether climate change is happening, the business community is far less skeptical. You only have to look at the list of companies that signed onto a World Bank statement in support of pricing carbon: It includes energy companies, airlines, utilities and pension funds.

This show of support makes it clear that the business community recognizes climate change is an economic threat, that it expects some kind of carbon pricing eventually to be implemented and is preparing for it well in advance.

The question now is: What kind of price are we talking about?

New York restaurants scramble for alternatives after city bans foam packaging

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Starting in July, single-use foam packaging will be banned in New York City. What are the alternatives – and what will a foam-free city look like?

Vehicle-mounted cameras see when buildings leak energy

Read the full story in Txchnologist.

Residents of Boston and Cambridge, Mass., may have noticed a black SUV prowling their neighborhoods over the last couple of years. Like the now familiar Google Street View car, this one zigzags through town with a camera rig mounted to its roof. But while Google’s vehicle operates in the day, the black truck rides through the midnight hours.

What the night owls who caught a glimpse of this machine witnessed was not some secret government surveillance program recording citizens as they slept. Instead, this project had a much more domestic focus—finding the invisible places on the outsides of homes and businesses where energy escaped.

A company called Essess spun off from research at MIT has been sending video camera- and sensor-laden vehicles to take high-quality thermal imagery of building envelopes from the street. These images show hotspots where heat—and money—is escaping from windows, poorly insulated roofs and basement ducts and piping. The vehicle-mounted system can capture thermal scans on both sides of the car at the same time at the rate of thousands of buildings per hour.

 

The new GHG Protocol: What you need to report now

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

As Google, IKEA, Mars, H&M, Swiss Re and dozens of other companies drive down their greenhouse gas emissions — amid increasing scrutiny from consumers, investors and regulators — the methods for actually tallying their emissions have been a step behind.

The need for sophisticated emissions accounting tools is especially pronounced because many companies procure electricity through a mix of arrangements that can include generating electricity on their own,  purchasing power from renewable energy producers and buying energy from local utilities. Adding yet another layer of complexity is the increasingly global nature of business, leaving companies with a patchwork of energy production relationships around the world.

To standardize greenhouse gas emissions accounting for all these arrangements, the World Resources Institute on Tuesday released an updated Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. The new GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance covers electricity purchases of various stripes.

Environmental Scientists Find Antibiotics, Bacteria, Resistance Genes in Feedlot Dust

Read the full story from Texas Tech.

After testing dust in the air near cattle feedlots in the Southern High Plains, researchers at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University found evidence of antibiotics, feedlot-derived bacteria and DNA sequences that encode for antibiotic resistance.

The study was published online in the National Institutes of Environmental Science’s peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Health Perspectives. The research was funded through a grant from Texas Tech’s College of Arts and Sciences. It is the first study documenting aerial transmission of antibiotic resistance from an open-air farm setting.

Biomimicry Global Design Challenge

The Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation are inviting professionals and students from across the world to participate in a Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. Using biomimicry as a tool, participants are invited to tap into nature-inspired solutions to help solve key food and agriculture issues like food waste, food packaging, agricultural pest management, food distribution, energy use, and more. Participants may be featured in high profile media, will have access to biomimicry experts and mentors, and can compete for cash prizes totaling $160,000, including the Ray C. Anderson Foundation $100,000 “Ray of Hope” Prize.

 

7 Interesting Global Renewable Energy Trends From NREL (Charts Galore!)

Read the full post at Clean Technica.

Accurately assessing renewable energy growth, especially compared to fossil fuels, is one of the biggest challenges facing our clean energy transition. After all, how can you measure progress without adequate benchmarks?

Industry tallies and analyst updates provide the quickest summaries, but they’re either piecemeal or criticized for being slanted. Government data is more reputable and comprehensive, but often lags behind – case in point the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) 2013 Renewable Energy Data Book.

Most of the trends highlighted in NREL’s data are already known, but still this is among the most comprehensive resources available and many of the charts within are incredible reference points. The full report is definitely worth reading, but since most people don’t have time to read through 135 pages, I’ve pulled a few of the most impressive statistics and charts for you.

Indiana Partners for Pollution Prevention 2015 Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show Call for Presentations

The Indiana Partners for Pollution Prevention (http://www.in.gov/idem/ppp/2329.htm ) invites submission of proposed presentations for the 18th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show [September 30, 2015; The Palms Banquet & Conference Center, Plainfield, Indiana].  The Annual Conference and Trade Show is attended by manufacturers, consultants, not-for-profits, government agencies, and vendors interested in promoting pollution prevention efforts in Indiana and beyond.  The agenda for the 2014 conference can be seen at http://www.in.gov/idem/ppp/2333.htm#20140917 .

The Executive Committee of Partners is seeking presentations from Indiana and national speakers on success stories, technologies, and strategies related to pollution prevention, manufacturing efficiency, advanced chemistry, resource conservation, sustainability, wastewater management, environmental stewardship, and related concepts.  Presentations that provide continuing education units (CEUs) for wastewater operator/apprentice, drinking water operator, legal, and professional engineer credits are also encouraged.  Proposed presentations should have a duration of 15, 25, or 50 minutes (including questions and discussion).

Submissions must be received by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on March 6, 2015 – per attached instructions.  If you have questions, please contact Steve Leeper at stephen.leeper@evonik.com or (765) 477-4302 and/or Maria Renner at MRenner@idem.IN.gov or (317) 234-5286.

Selection Criteria

Particular consideration will be given to presentations that discuss:

  • Pollution prevention, sustainability, and related concepts
  • Well-defined topic with focused objectives and/or learning related to manufacturing
  • Innovation
  • Success stories, new technologies, and best management practices
  • Economic analyses and life cycle assessments
  • Demonstrated protection of human health and the environment
  • Emergency Management Systems
  • Updates on existing and emerging regulations and government programs and their implications

Please note the definition of pollution prevention used by the Partners:

Pollution prevention (P2) means working at the source of pollutants to prevent them from being generated or to reduce the amount generated. It is using materials and energy more efficiently, and conserving natural resources, including water. It is following best management practices, and involving all employees in their implementation, to reduce and prevent pollution. Finally, P2 means also seeing the financial benefits of increased efficiency in the use of raw materials, energy, water or other resources.

Instructions for Submitting Proposals

You may submit more than one presentation idea.

All submissions must be received by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on March 6, 2015.

For each proposed presentation, please submit the requested information to Steve Leeper via email (stephen.leeper@evonik.com) or U.S. Mail to the address below.

Steve Leeper
Evonik Corporation Tippecanoe Laboratories
Mail Stop TL72
1650 Lilly Road
Lafayette, IN  47909-9201

Presenter(s):

Name(s) of Author(s):

Title(s) of Author(s):

Organization(s):

Address(es):

Phone Number(s):

Fax Number(s):

Email(s):

Biography for each author (Limit: 125 words – per author):

Presentation Title:

  1. Abstract (Limit: 200 words – to be printed in the conference materials and included on the conference web site, for accepted presentations):
  2. Intended Audience:
  3. Learning Objectives (i.e., knowledge and skills conveyed by your presentation):
  4. Previous presentation of this material, if any (When and Where):
  5. Audio Visual Needs (beyond microphones, screens, projectors, and laptop computers):
  6. Planned Duration (15, 25, or 50 minutes, including time for questions and discussion):

All submitters will be notified of the decisions of the Executive Committee by mid-April 2015.

The Executive Committee reserves the right to accept or reject proposed presentations based on fit with the 2015 conference.  Submission of a proposal does not guarantee participation in the conference program.

For accepted presentations, a draft presentation MUST be submitted to the Partners by June 1, 2015.

Draft presentations will be reviewed and comments provided – to provide presenters with insight into the conference audience and to ensure that presentations are strategically focused.

Final presentations MUST be received (PowerPoint and/or pdf) to Partners by September 1, 2015.

Please address any questions to Steve Leeper and/or Maria Renner (per contact information provided above).

New ISTC report available: Fate of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products in Irrigated Wastewater Effluent

TR- 052 Fate of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products in Irrigated Wastewater Effluent / Loftus, Lucy; Jin, Guang; Armstrong, Shalamar; Bierma, Thomas; Walker, Paul; Zheng, Wei; Kelly, Walt. — Champaign, IL : Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, 2015.

Abstract: The potential human and environmental health risks posed by pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have been identified as a research priority at both the federal and state level. It has been well documented that municipal wastewater treatment plants with surface discharge fail to remove many of these emerging contaminants; however, little research has been conducted to determine the capability of lagoon treatment systems to remove PPCPs or of organic-matter-rich clay loam soils to filter PPCPs and reduce surface water pollution. The objective of this study was to determine the fate and transport of selected pharmaceuticals in lagoon-treated wastewater effluent applied as cropland irrigation in Illinois. In this study, we were able to determine the presence of six of the seven priority PPCPs in lagoon-treated wastewater effluent; verify the absence of studied PPCPs in soil and well water prior to treatment; determine characteristics of cropland soil that may impact PPCP transport when wastewater irrigation begins; and conduct sorption isotherm studies to understand the sorption and desorption capabilities of field soils in Lexington, Illinois.

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