Day: May 15, 2019

Albertsons criticized for selling products that include harmful chemicals

Read the full story in the Idaho Statesman.

Environmental health groups are calling on Boise-based Albertsons to stop carrying items that contain a potentially harmful chemical.

The groups tested 10 items for signs of PFAS, which are used to make things resistant to grease or water. Waterproof fabrics and wax-coated paper can contain PFAS, for example. The groups found signs of these chemicals in cake plates, dental floss, bags of organic microwave popcorn and a take-out container from Albertsons and Safeway stores.

Science images can capture attention and pique curiosity in a way words alone can’t

Read the full story in The Conversation.

Were you recently gobsmacked when you saw the very first image of a black hole? I know I was.

Did I understand what I was seeing? Not exactly. I certainly needed an explanation, or two. But first and foremost, I stopped to look, as I bet many others did, too … and then, I began to ask questions.

Pictures like this of the universe are amazing and mysterious and spark curiosity. I am convinced that part of the keen interest in all things astronomical has to do with the images scientists share – like the black hole, and so many other Hubble telescope images, for example. Those popular images are welcoming and help make the science accessible.

I contend people are less afraid to ask questions when they see images. Most have taken pictures and can even speak a photographic “language.” You can take notice of color, for example, and wonder if it suggests meaning – why is that black hole orange? I bet you know how to ask questions about a photograph.

Basse Stittgen gives discarded eggs new life as bioplastic tableware

Read the full story at de zeen.

German designer Basse Stittgen aims to address the issue of global food waste and overconsumption with a series of tableware objects made solely from out-of-date eggs.

As part of his project, called How Do You Like Your Eggs?, Stittgen aims to explore the “extraordinary materiality” of commonplace items, such as waste food.

Solar PV and Energy Efficiency in Residential Building Codes

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Both energy efficiency and renewable energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve a home’s resilience during power outages. Cost effectiveness is another important consideration. Recent energy code changes have raised the question of whether renewable sources like rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can be substituted for energy efficiency measures like insulation and windows. But in the long run will it cost the homeowner more or less to make this substitution? This study compares the cost effectiveness of energy efficiency and an equivalent level of solar PV generation in the construction of new homes. We evaluate the net cost savings, amortized over 30 years, for cities in climate zones 2-6. In each city we find that homeowners would save money every month from energy efficiency measures whereas a solar PV system would actually cost them money.

Is Conference Room Air Making You Dumber?

Read the full story in the New York Times.

A small body of evidence suggests that when it comes to decision making, indoor air may matter more than we have realized.

A conversation with Dame Ellen MacArthur

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Dame Ellen MacArthur needs no introduction in the world of circularity. Having become the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe in 2005, she grew acutely aware of the finite nature of resources in a linear system, which she discusses in her iconic 2015 TED Talk that has been watched nearly 2 million times. She launched the Ellen Macarthur Foundation in 2010, and has been showing the way to a circular economy ever since.

I had the pleasure of speaking recently with MacArthur, an adviser to our Circularity 19 conference. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

Moving Ahead on Minnesota Clean Energy Legislation

Read the full story from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Minnesota legislature is considering important new legislation to move forward on clean energy and build on the progress the state has already made to reduce emissions and modernize its electricity system.

Let’s dig into the status of the bills and some key highlights.

Interview: ‘American farmers do take conservation seriously’

Read the full story from FoodBev Media.

Today’s politics have raised the prospect of radically different trade between the UK, the European continent and the US. At the same time, technologies that could help alleviate our global food gap – like genetic modification – are often misunderstood, misrepresented and disregarded.

American agriculture doesn’t have the best reputation outside North America, with scare stories of mutant crops and chlorinated chicken. And, with nearly 60% of Americans owning either an SUV or a pickup, there is a notion that the US cares less about sustainability than other parts of the developed world.

Current US policy is doing little to address that particular preconception. So, instead, we turned to David Green – once a farmer in his native Northern Ireland and now executive director of the US Sustainability Alliance based in Virginia – to discover how US agriculture stacks up and why the stereotype might be all wrong.

Emerging Opportunities: Residential Window Attachments

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This is the fourth in a series of technical briefs exploring emerging opportunities for energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings. This brief looks at residential window attachments, including storm windows, interior shades and blinds, and window films. These devices save energy by mitigating heat transfer during summer and winter. Two new platforms have been launched in the past year that may spur the use of attachments as energy efficiency measures: the ENERGY STAR Storm Windows program and the Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC) certification and label. We explore these ratings, present data on energy and cost savings, highlight efficiency program pilots, and make recommendations for full-fledged window attachment programs.

Walmart, Digimarc Automate Markdown Process for Packaged Fresh Food

Read the full story in Progressive Grocer.

Walmart Inc. is working with Digimarc Corp., the inventor of the Intuitive Computing Platform (ICP) featuring Digimarc Barcode, to improve the management of packaged fresh food. The solution promises to reduce fresh food waste and provide everyday lowest prices by automating the markdown process.

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