Day: July 3, 2018

In North Carolina, New Pollution Allegations Add to Residents’ Woes Over Factory Farms

Read the full story in Civil Eats.

State regulators are examining major flaws reported by some hog farms. Meanwhile, legislators passed new laws restricting the right to speak up about harm caused by CAFO waste.

 

Handwashing and House Cleaning May Protect Against Unhealthy Chemicals

Read the full story from Columbia University.

Washing your hands and cleaning your house frequently may help to lower your contact with common flame-retardant chemicals, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study is the first to assess whether house cleaning and handwashing can effectively lower exposure to flame retardants. Results appear in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Behind the Headline: Allisa Song

Read the full story from ProPublica.

Research scientist Allisa Song didn’t just get outraged when she read ProPublica’s story on medical waste. She organized a dream team of fellow scientists and engineers to invent a solution.

This Mine Threatens America’s Largest Wild Salmon Run

Read the full story in Mother Jones.

Both the mining camp and the salmon camp are wondering where EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stands.

Climate change is a top spiritual priority for these religious leaders

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

At a time when some political leaders have become more cautious about — or have outright rejected — policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, several major faith leaders are making environmental care a top spiritual priority.

The Recycling Game Is Rigged Against You

Read the full story from Bloomberg.

Even if you put everything into the right blue bins, a lot of plastics will end up in landfills and the ocean. Consumers can’t solve this problem.

 

Where the US stands on federal food waste policy

Read the full story in WasteDive.

While it may have been overshadowed by recycling commodity issues, and other big shifts in federal environmental policy, food waste is still on the agenda in Washington, D.C. and gaining momentum.

That has been one of the key messages so far at this year’s U.S. Food Waste Summit — hosted by the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic (HFLPC) and ReFED in Cambridge, Massachusetts — among participants from business, government, philanthropic organizations and other sectors. Some of the more than 350 attendees even traveled internationally, with a wait list and livestream available for overflow.

Much of the work that’s happening is being driven by the private sector, or state and local government, but activity is also ongoing nationally. One June 26 panel discussion highlighted some of the key areas to watch for the rest of 2018.

 

At Last, the Shipping Industry Begins Cleaning Up Its Dirty Fuels

Read the full story at e360.

By 2020, the global shipping fleet will be required to slash the noxious emissions from thick, sulfur-laden “bunker” fuel, a move that is expected to sharply reduce air pollution and prevent millions of cases of childhood asthma and other respiratory ailments.

 

Energy Department Recognizes American Guitar Manufacturer for Achieving Energy Productivity Goals

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized the energy productivity achievements of C.F. Martin & Co. ® (Martin Guitar), a Nazareth, Pennsylvania-based guitar manufacturer and a partner in DOE’s Better Plants Challenge. As a partner in DOE’s Better Plants Challenge, Martin Guitar committed to improving its energy performance across all of their U.S. operations by 25% within 10 years while sharing their strategies and results. Martin Guitar, founded in 1833 and continuously family owned and operated for six generations, achieved this energy efficiency milestone only two years after joining the program.

“Manufacturing competitiveness is a key goal of this Administration,” said Daniel Simmons, principal deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at DOE. “Through the DOE’s Better Plants program, manufacturers like C.F. Martin are using energy more productively, creating jobs, and driving economic growth.”

To improve its energy performance, Martin Guitar upgraded its aging distributed HVAC Systems with a state of the art Central Hot/Chilled Water Plant. The heart of the central plant is three water-cooled centrifugal chillers (each with a capacity of 500 tons) and three high-efficiency condensing boilers (each with a capacity of 1,000,000 btus). The company invested more than $8 million in the central plant, modular piping and 18 custom air handlers as well as a plate and frame heat exchanger installed as a waterside economizer.

Starting in November of 2016, the new system’s performance was measured by monitoring electrical and gas consumption. Ultimately, the project exceeded Martin Guitar’s expectations, cutting electricity use by 46% and natural gas consumption by 20%. These savings translated into a 27% improvement in energy intensity at the Nazareth plant and more than $500,000 in reduced annual energy costs.

Additional benefits from the project included $150,000 in reduced annual maintenance costs, greater system reliability, and perhaps most importantly for a guitar manufacturer, accurate temperature and humidity control. Martin Guitar was recently recognized by DOE as a Better Plants Goal Achiever in the 2018 Better Buildings Challenge Progress Report.

Nearly 200 manufacturers are now participating in the Better Plants program across the country. To date, these partners have saved $4.2 billion in cumulative energy costs. Through Better Plants, DOE provides partners with a broad range of no-cost tools, trainings, and resources to help partners overcome barriers and identify opportunities to save energy and improve competitiveness.

The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) conducts research and development to advance affordable and reliable energy that promotes U.S. economic growth and energy security. EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) supports early-stage research to enhance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and improve domestic industrial competitiveness.

Let it rain! New coatings make natural fabrics waterproof

Read the full story from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Fabrics that resist water are essential for everything from rainwear to military tents, but conventional water-repellent coatings have been shown to persist in the environment and accumulate in our bodies, and so are likely to be phased out for safety reasons. That leaves a big gap to be filled if researchers can find safe substitutes.

Now, a team at MIT has come up with a promising solution: a coating that not only adds water-repellency to natural fabrics such as cotton and silk, but is also more effective than the existing coatings. The new findings are described in the journal Advanced Functional Materials in a paper by MIT professors Kripa Varanasi and Karen Gleason, former MIT postdoc Dan Soto, and two others.

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