Day: August 27, 2015

Food Wastage Footprint 2

This video from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations explains the full economic, environmental and social costs of food loss and waste.

NASA Study Quantifies Plants’ Role in Mitigating Urban Heat Island Effect

Via e360 Digest.

The presence or scarcity of vegetation is an essential factor in determining how much urban areas heat up, according to a NASA study. Using data from multiple satellites, the researchers found that areas covered in part by impervious surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, and steel had an average summer temperature 3.4 degrees F higher than nearby rural areas.

The highest U.S. urban temperatures compared to surrounding areas were along the Interstate-95 corridor from Boston to Washington and around Atlanta and the I-85 corridor in the Southeast. In desert cities such as Phoenix, the urban area was actually cooler because irrigated lawns and trees provide cooling that dry, rocky areas do not, the researchers explain.

The urban heat island effect, as the phenomenon is known, occurs primarily during the day, when impervious surfaces in cities absorb more sunlight than surrounding vegetated areas. Plants naturally lower surrounding surface temperatures by releasing water back into the atmosphere during photosynthesis. An increase of just 1.8 degrees F can raise energy demands for air conditioning from 5 to 20 percent in the United States, according the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here are some new tools to support local energy efficiency

Read the full post from ACEEE.

Each step of a home improvement project requires the right tool. If you are planning to put up a new set of cabinets, for example, the first step requires measuring tape, assembly of the cabinets may require a drill, and then, finally, a hammer would be needed to actually mount them. A variety of tools—the right tools—are needed to complete the task.

This logic is no different when applied to the planning, design, and implementation of energy efficiency policies. Tools can provide localities with the know-how to advance energy efficiency throughout their communities. Policymakers, for example, can be tasked with assessing what energy efficiency policies make the most sense for their community, or with identifying which local stakeholders they should engage. The extent to which communities are equipped to readily answer those questions will vary; yet, all communities stand to benefit from learning about effective policies and strategies being implemented across the country. With the addition of some new resources, ACEEE hopes to expand communities’ toolboxes and provide the tools that help them achieve lasting energy savings.

Apple, Microsoft, Motorola wring new revenue out of e-waste

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

What do Apple, Microsoft and Motorola have in common?

All of these high-profile technology companies are harvesting new revenue out of discarded and end-of-life gadgets, rather than looking at them just as liabilities that require responsible recycling. What’s more, all three are among the roughly 100 organizations using Hong Kong’s Li Tong Group (aka LTG) to get the job done.

Webinar: Tribes Fostering Sustainable Behavior – Toolkit for Community Based Social Marketing

Thursday, September 3, 2015
11:00 am – 12:30 pm Central time
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4401787418327265538

Before you develop another brochure…
Before you distribute another flier…
Before you conduct your next environmental outreach initiative…

Use Community-Based Social Marketing strategies to foster sustainable behavior!

Community-based social marketing (CBSM) is an alternative approach to encouraging environmentally sustainable behaviors, by effectively combining marketing tools with community engagement techniques.

This webinar will discuss:

  • An overview of Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM).
  • A tribal demonstration of CBSM conducted by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota. By using the CBSM methodology, Fond du Lac successfully increased the recycling rate by 41% at its Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
  • A draft Tribal Community-Based Social Marketing Toolkit, developed by Fond du Lac in collaboration with U.S. EPA Region 5 and Tetra Tech. We are seeking tribes’ and other stakeholder input on this draft CBSM toolkit; you are encouraged to provide feedback during the webinar.

Speakers

  • Shannon Judd, Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Stacey Durley, Project Manager, Tetra Tech

University of Florida Extension (Sarasota) hiring three environmental eductors

The University of Florida is hiring three Sarasota-based environmental educators.

  • Water Resources
    The position is responsible for developing an educational and outreach program related to water resources in Sarasota County, including audience identification, an understanding and integration of current outreach efforts, and identification of gaps. The extension program’s objectives are to teach about awareness of water resources, water conservation, and substitution of potable water with reclaimed water in landscape irrigation systems. A primary goal of this position is to achieve desired behavior change among various target audiences that maintains the health of Sarasota County’s water resources.
  • Waste Reduction
    The position is responsible for developing an education and outreach program related to solid waste in Sarasota County. The extension program’s objective is to teach decision makers and the general public about issues and problems associated with solid waste management, including laws and voluntarily actions that address these issues. A primary goal of this position is to achieve desired behavior change among various target audiences that increases landfill diversion rates. The position will support the diversion goals set by the state of Florida and the local goals under development for Sarasota County’s new Solid Waste Master Plan.
  • Chemicals in the Environment
    The position is responsible for developing an education program related to chemicals in the environment in Sarasota County. The objective is to teach decision makers and the general public about chemicals in our environment with an emphasis on pollution in general and Integrated Pest Management in particular. A primary goal of this position is to achieve desired behavior change among various target audiences that maintains or improves environmental and human health relative to chemicals in the environment.

Small amount of warming has ‘significant’ regional impact

Read the full story from EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

A global average temperature rise of just 0.3 °C will “significantly” change regional average temperatures, according to a study by US scientists. The study, which also reveals that a rise of at least 2.5 °C is needed to affect regional precipitation significantly, shows the consequences of even small deviations from climate-change targets.

How the circular economy is taking off in the US

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Laptops made of plastic from old laptops. Aluminium car body parts made from old cars. Chemicals leased out, recovered, and leased again. These are just a few examples of how the circular economy, once seen as a Scandinavian speciality, is starting to spin in the United States.

Energy Department Announces $10 Million to Advance Efficient, Environmentally-Friendly Highway Transportation Technologies

The Energy Department announced today $10 million for eight incubator projects to develop innovative solutions for efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicle technologies that will help reduce petroleum use in the United States. The funding will go toward projects that pursue breakthrough approaches to providing Americans with greater freedom of mobility and energy security, while lowering costs and reducing environmental impacts.

Through the incubator activity, the Energy Department supports innovative technologies and solutions that have the potential to help meet program goals but are not substantially represented in the current research portfolio. These projects bring a more diverse group of stakeholders and participants to address technical challenges in the vehicle research priorities. Eventually, successfully demonstrated technologies or approaches from the incubator activity may impact existing long-term technology plans and roadmaps.

Some awardees include:

  • Silatronix of Madison, Wisconsin will receive $1.3 million to develop advanced stable electrolytes for current and future high voltage (>5V) battery systems for automotive applications.
  • Polymer Plus of Valley View, Ohio will receive $1.4 million to develop multilayered film capacitors for advanced power electronics and electric motors for electric traction drives.
  • Intermolecular Inc., of San Jose, California will receive $2.5 million to develop a new family of lightweight high strength alloys for vehicle applications.
  • State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook University of Stony Brook, New York will receive $1.0 million to eliminate the need for two fuels to achieve the efficiency and emissions improvements of the reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) advanced combustion by using a single fuel with onboard fuel reformation.

Read the full list of awardees.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. The Vehicle Technologies Office funds research and development for energy efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicle technologies. To learn more about the office, please visit the Vehicle Technologies Office website.

[Naperville] Council OKs switch to LED lights citywide

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Naperville is keeping the lights on, and spending less to do so.

A final $1 million outlay approved last week to convert the city’s conventional high pressure sodium streetlights to more energy-efficient light emitting diode fixtures will save money and wrap the project up ahead of schedule, staff said.

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