The Underwater Pipeline That Could Break the Great Lakes

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

In 2010, a ruptured pipeline in Michigan caused the greatest inland oil spill in U.S. history. The company responsible owns other infrastructure in the state and many residents are worried it could someday soon contaminate this country’s greatest fresh water resource.

How might we fall in love with industrial waste? Create value from landfill-bound materials.

Read the full story from the Biomimicry Institute.

Sustainability is a journey and we have to start where we are today. How might we create real change within an industry? Embrace waste and all of its potential. This is an inside look into how our team is working to change industry from within a large manufacturing corporation by turning what we normally think of as waste into something better.

Energy Department Announces Partnership with CoStar Group, Inc. to Expand Visibility of Energy-Efficient Buildings in U.S. Real Estate Marketplace

As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to cut energy waste in the America’s buildings, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative today announced a partnership with CoStar Group, Inc., a provider of data and intelligence solutions to commercial real estate professionals, to expand the visibility of energy-efficient buildings in U.S. property markets and promote the benefits of energy efficiency for building owners and occupants.

As outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding, DOE and CoStar Group will jointly support the following initiatives:

  • Display building energy efficiency information in CoStar Group’s online property databases
  • Perform new, cutting-edge research to evaluate the impact of energy efficiency and sustainability on real estate valuation; building operating income and expenses; tenant health, comfort, and productivity; and other topics
  • Promote Better Buildings and the solutions of market-leading Better Buildings partners.

“Reducing wasted energy in our buildings is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy bills for Americans, make local communities more affordable, cut harmful pollution, and create new jobs,” said Dr. Kathleen Hogan, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency. “DOE’s partnership with CoStar Group will not only improve our understanding of the benefits of energy efficiency for building owners and occupants, but will also result in an historic expansion of the energy efficiency information available to commercial real estate consumers that will drive demand for energy efficiency improvements nationwide.”

CoStar Group will display energy-related information that is already being made publicly accessible by state and local governments that have adopted building energy transparency laws. It plans to begin displaying energy-related information for buildings in Chicago and Washington, D.C., this summer, followed by buildings in other applicable states and localities beginning this fall.

Energy-related information for approximately 60,000 U.S. commercial and multifamily buildings nationwide will become publicly accessible under state or local energy transparency laws over the next few years.

The building energy efficiency information that may be displayed in CoStar Group’s online property databases include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® score, whole-building source energy usage intensity, and annual greenhouse gas emissions, subject to the availability of the information. Additionally, CoStar Group and the EPA will continue to explore options to enable building owners and managers to voluntarily share their energy-related information with CoStar Group’s online property databases.

CoStar Group already identifies and promotes the benefits of more than 15,000 buildings that have achieved ENERGY STAR certification and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification in its online property databases and marketplaces. CoStar Group also operates more than 100 low-emission research vehicles that save an estimated 100,000 gallons of fuel each year.

DOE, through its Building Technologies Office (BTO), will contribute technical energy efficiency expertise to support the partnership initiatives. The partnership agreement has an initial term of 24 months.

Through Better Buildings, DOE aims to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20% more energy efficient over the next decade. Better Buildings includes the Better Buildings Challenge, a cornerstone of the President’s Climate Action Plan that works with corporate and public sector leaders across the country to save energy through commitments and investments. More than 310 organizations are partnering with the department to achieve 20% portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency over the next decade. Across the country, partners have shared energy data for more than 34,000 properties and are reporting energy savings of 20% or more at 5,500 properties, and 10% or more at 12,600 properties.

Learn more about Better Buildings Challenge partner results, showcase projects, and innovative solutions being shared with others at

Digging Up The Roots Of Modern Waste In Victorian-Era Rubbish

Read the full story at NPR.

Tom Licence has a Ph.D., and he’s a garbage man.

When you think of archaeology, you might think of Roman ruins, ancient Egypt or Indiana Jones. But Licence works in the field of “garbology.” While some may dig deep down to get to the good stuff — ancient tombs, residences, bones — Licence looks at the top layers, which, where he lives in England, are filled with Victorian-era garbage.

Studying what people threw away 150 years ago, Licence is getting to the bottom of an important issue: how much we throw away, and how to change that.

Webinar: Recycling & Waste Reduction in Campus Housing

Thu, Jun 23, 2016 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM CDT
Register at

If colleges and universities can be thought of as small cities, campus housing represents it’s own distinct “neighborhood.”

As semi-autonomous auxiliaries, housing departments can be a separate world from the rest of the campus, with unique administrative cultures and their own recycling and waste management challenges. They also offer a special, if challenging, opportunity to engage student residents to learn more about recycling and waste reduction.

This program will include a look at how Seattle University and Michigan State University manage the flow of waste materials in residence halls, apartments and other housing arrangements. The program will also include a discussion of how different schools structure their Eco-Rep and other recycling outreach efforts.

What Makes An Ecolabel Good?

Read the full story at Sourceable.

There are plenty of ecolabels (or ‘sustainability labels’) around on the market, but are some more trustworthy than others? And if so, how can buyers tell?

Inside the toxin-free hospital of the future

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Last week, hundreds of changemakers from hospitals, health systems and medical products or supplier companies gathered in Dallas to learn and compare notes at the 13th CleanMed Conference.

CleanMed is the nation’s largest conference focusing on health care sustainability. Every year, we connect the health care leaders working to accelerate our sector’s commitment to environmental sustainability and to spur a movement in regenerative health. These are people who have moved beyond protecting the environment and human health, to improving them.

The dirty eight: Great Lakes pollutants targeted by U.S. and Canada

Read the full story from Great Lakes Echo.

Canada and the U.S. recently announced they’ll develop and coordinate strategies to reduce exposure to eight contaminants they’ve designated as Chemicals of Mutual Concern in the Great Lakes.

The designation made Tuesday, May 31, under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement also requires the countries to develop where needed the water quality standards for the pollutants.

They are hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate  (PFOS), long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids (LC-PFCAs), mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs).

3 Technologies that Could Transform Water Management

Read the full story at Future Structure.

Water use can be more efficient, speakers at a symposium in California said May 23 — not just in terms of conservation, but in terms of doing more work for society.