Day: June 12, 2019

White House blocked intelligence agency’s written testimony calling climate change ‘possibly catastrophic’

Read the full story from the Washington Post.

Officials sought to excise the State Department’s comments on climate science because they did not mesh with the administration’s stance

A Look at How Governments are Tackling Food Waste (Part One)

Read the full story from Waste360.

Part one of a three-part series this week looks at how some governments large and small are dealing with food scraps.

100 Plastic Rivers project tracks the sources of plastic pollution from river to sea

Via the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

Plastic pollution has become recognized as a major environmental challenge, particularly in oceans. Recent evidence also shows that plastics are also present in freshwater ecosystems, including the Great Lakes. This not only affects human health and aquatic ecosystems, but also provides another pathway for plastics to enter marine environments.

A global initiative called the 100 Plastic Rivers Project investigates how plastics are transported and transformed in rivers and how they accumulate in river and estuary sediments, where they can leave a long-lasting pollution legacy. Researchers at the University of Birmingham lead the project.

Scientists at ISTC and at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) are participating in the 100 Plastic Rivers Project as part of a larger collaboration with the University of Birmingham.  One goal of the project is to collect water samples to test for microplastics from 100 different rivers from around the world. ISTC and ISWS researchers have collected water from two rivers in Central Illinois and are recruiting other U.S. researchers to join the project.

Researchers who are interested in collecting samples for the project can contact Dr. Holly Nel at the University of Birmingham.

Scoots is a Chicago startup that’s making shoes out of pineapples

Read the full story in the Chicago Business Journal.

The trick to lowering your carbon footprint might just be putting some pineapples on your feet.

That’s the idea behind Scoots Footwear, a new Chicago startup that’s creating shoes made from pineapple leaves, corn and cork. The startup, led by a group of MBA students at Northwestern’s Kellogg school, says its shoes are made from 90 percent organic, natural materials and designed for earth-conscious consumers.

As floods increase, cities like Detroit are looking to green stormwater infrastructure

Read the full story at Ensia.

With climate change bringing more intense storms, urban areas are looking for better ways to manage runoff.

Solar Industry Releases New Diversity and Inclusion Reports

Read the full story at Waste360.

The Solar Foundation and SEIA also released a diversity and inclusion best practices guide to help organizations build diversity and inclusion programs.

Emerging Opportunities: Controlled Environment Agriculture

Download the document.

This is the sixth in a series of technical briefs exploring emerging opportunities for energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings. This brief looks at indoor agriculture, also known as controlled environment agriculture (CEA). In CEA, a range of high-value crops including lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, microgreens, berries, and cannabis are grown in greenhouses, warehouses, and other enclosed structures. Production requires significant energy inputs for lighting, HVAC, and dehumidification. New technologies and tools have been developed to increase efficiency in these facilities, including customized lighting and space conditioning equipment, an energy-efficient horticultural lighting specification, and benchmarking tools. We explore these developments, present savings data, highlight efficiency program efforts, and present policy options for more efficient and cost-effective CEA facilities.

Helping cities make power grids safer, more reliable

Read the full story from the American Institute of Physics.

Solar power researchers have traditionally used the power measurements from single residential solar photovoltaic systems to estimate the power generated within a city. But one installation isn’t a good representation of all rooftops. Data from systems across a city is desperately needed to fully understand how this energy source can be integrated into the power grid. Engineers have provided a freely available quality-controlled and tuned dataset from 1,287 residential installations across Australia.

Antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed ‘safe’ levels, global study finds

Read the full story from the University of York.

Concentrations of antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed ‘safe’ levels by up to 300 times, the first ever global study has discovered.

‘Slothbot’ takes a leisurely approach to environmental monitoring

Read the full story from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

For environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, infrastructure maintenance and certain security applications, slow and energy efficient can be better than fast and always needing a recharge. That’s where “SlothBot” comes in.

Powered by a pair of photovoltaic panels and designed to linger in the forest canopy continuously for months, SlothBot moves only when it must to measure environmental changes – such as weather and chemical factors in the environment – that can be observed only with a long-term presence. The proof-of-concept hyper-efficient robot, described May 21 at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Montreal, may soon be hanging out among treetop cables in the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

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