Governing the second deep transition towards a circular economy: How rules emerge, align and diffuse

Florian Kern, Helen Sharp, Samyra Hachmann (2020). “Governing the second deep transition towards a circular economy: How rules emerge, align and diffuse.” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 37, 171-186.

Abstract: The recently developed Deep Transitions framework has so far been mainly used to explore the first deep transition towards industrial modernity. This paper looks at a potential second deep transition towards a circular economy, which is hoped to lead to a more sustainable global economic system. Our focus is on exploring the role of the EU in developing and diffusing this emerging set of rules. We draw on ideas from the international relations literature to explain why and how the EU adopted the idea of a circular economy, helped formulate it into a set of rules and how it promoted its international diffusion. The paper concludes with lessons about the case and critical reflections about the Deep Transitions framework. In particular, we argue for taking a more actor-based approach when researching the unfolding second deep transition.

Ford Motor Company: Dearborn campus uses a digital twin tool for energy plant management

Read the full case study from U.S. DOE’s Better Buildings Program.

A digital twin is the virtual representation of a physical object or system across its life cycle. Ford uses digital twin technology to accurately detect energy losses, pinpoint areas where energy can be conserved, and improve the overall performance of production lines. At Ford’s Dearborn Research and Engineering Campus Central Energy Plant (CEP), the digital twin helps operators and engineers manage energy and operational risks by monitoring the CEP’s energy systems, including the combined heat and power (CHP) system, heat recovery chillers, electric centrifugal chillers, thermal energy storage, and other equipment. The digital twin model pairs a virtual representation of the CEP’s mechanical systems with real-time data to enable learning, reasoning, and dynamic recalibrating for improved decision making. Real-time data is collected via connected internet of things (IoT) devices, a network of sensors that exchange data with the model. Using the digital twin, the CEP team can drive operational excellence by monitoring operations across the major energy-consuming equipment.

Small, local brands are on shoppers’ minds, Instacart report finds

Read the full story at Grocery Dive.

Almost one-quarter (23%) of Americans sought out local, small-scale food retailers this year and 14% of shoppers have researched women- or minority-owned establishments,according to Instacart’s “New Year, New Cart” 2021 grocery trends report published Thursday

The report, which compiled results from a survey of 2,050 adults in the U.S. by The Harris Poll, as well as Instacart purchasing data, found that shoppers ordering groceries during the workday is up 32%, sales for alcohol-free spirits is up 195% and sales of items marketed as “Keto” are up 72% from 2019.

Instacart’s findings indicate that consumers are making shifts in their shopping habits as a result of the pandemic and the protests this year focused on racial injustice.

Webinar: Smart Tools for Smart Labs

Tue, Mar 2, 2021 2-3 pm CST
Register here.

A Smart Labs Program provides a proven approach to help enhance laboratory performance, mitigate safety and health risks, reduce energy, and improve ventilation. This webinar will share helpful publicly available tools for putting together a team, assessing laboratory functions, and optimizing operation. Attendees will also hear a case study from a university that successfully implemented a Smart Labs Program. Learn from Better Buildings Smart Labs partners experiences crossing the finish line, and what they expect is next for laboratory efficiency.

Keurig Dr Pepper achieves target to make all K-Cup pods recyclable

Read the full story at FoodBev Media.

Keurig Dr Pepper has announced that 100% of its K-Cup coffee pods that it produces are now recyclable and made from polypropylene plastic.

The achievement comes after the company committed to increase and improve the recovery and recycling of polypropylene plastic in the US over the next five years, through a $10 million investment in The Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition.

Renewable Energy Policies in a Time of Transition: Heating and Cooling

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This heating and cooling report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), highlights the benefits, identifies investment barriers, as well as the policies to drive faster uptake of renewable heating and cooling worldwide. Renewable Energy Policies in a Time of Transition: Heating and Cooling describes five possible transformation pathways, encompassing renewables-based electrification, renewable gases, sustainable biomass, and direct uses of solar thermal and geothermal heat.

Kilroy Realty Corporation boosts engagement with Green Janitor Education program

Read the full case study from U.S. DOE’s Better Buildings Program.

Kilroy Realty Corporation sought to find ways to engage janitorial staff in helping the company reduce energy and water consumption and increase recycling rates across its 13.2 million-square-foot commercial real estate portfolio. The solution was to participate in a Green Janitor Education Program, a joint effort by the U.S. Green Building Council Los Angeles Chapter, the Building Owners & Managers Association of Greater Los Angeles, Building Skills Partnership, and the Service Employees International Union. The program offers trainings to help janitorial staff understand the science behind green cleaning, how to identify energy and water waste in a building, and how they can play a part in improving building sustainability.

Wastewater Energy Management Toolkit

The Wastewater Energy Management Toolkit is a collection of resources that enables water resource recovery facilities to learn and benefit from the work of DOE’s Better Buildings Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFt) Accelerator. Toolkit resources support best practices and innovative approaches successfully used by wastewater facilities to establish and implement energy management and planning.

Oregon hybrid project springs into action

Read the full story at Renews.

Portland General Electric (PGE) has started commercial power generation at the Wheatridge hybrid facility in Eastern Oregon, with the 300MW wind component coming online.

The project will also feature 50MW of solar and 30MW battery storage, both of which will be operational by the end of next year.

Wheatridge is a joint project of PGE and a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources.

Climate Resilience: DOD Coordinates with Communities, but Needs to Assess the Performance of Related Grant Programs

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What GAO Found

Department of Defense (DOD) domestic installations report extensive and varied use of community infrastructure and support services—such as roads, bridges, electricity, water, and medical facilities—that are vulnerable to disruptions from climate change and extreme weather. For example, 62 of the 63 installations (98 percent) that responded to GAO’s survey report relying on communities for electricity, access roads or bridges, and telecommunications.

DOD installations also report taking a range of actions to coordinate with organizations—including public utilities, county governments, and state agencies—to limit installation exposure to the effects of climate change and extreme weather.

Department of Defense's Climate Change and Extreme Weather Coordination Efforts with Communities
Department of Defense’s Climate Change and Extreme Weather Coordination Efforts with Communities

Note: CUP studies result in recommendations that address threats to installation readiness; MIR studies identify risks to infrastructure outside an installation; and DCIP provides construction funds to communities to address, among other things, deficiencies in community infrastructure that support military installation resilience.

DOD administers three grant programs that support community coordination with local installations on climate change and extreme weather—the longstanding Compatible Use Plan (CUP), and the Military Installation Resilience (MIR) and Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot (DCIP) programs established in fiscal year 2020. DOD and community officials emphasized the value of these grant programs as a means of facilitating and funding coordination with surrounding communities, including through joint land use studies and community infrastructure development. In fiscal year 2020, about $67 million was awarded under the three grant programs.

While DOD monitors the status of individual CUP grant expenditures and deliverables—and plans to similarly monitor its MIR and DCIP grants—it is unable to determine the effectiveness of the grant programs. Specifically, DOD has not developed performance measures to benchmark and to track overall program performance. Without establishing performance measures for these grant programs, DOD and Congress are limited in determining whether desired outcomes are being achieved and whether current and future investments in the grant programs are delivering their intended value.

Why GAO Did This Study

DOD manages a domestic real-estate portfolio with an estimated replacement value of nearly $930 billion. DOD has acknowledged climate change and extreme weather as threats to its installations, operations, and readiness; and has noted the importance of coordinating with state and local governments to improve climate change preparedness and resilience.

GAO was asked to review DOD’s efforts to coordinate with communities surrounding its installations to limit the exposure to climate change and extreme weather. This report assesses the extent to which DOD (1) reports using the physical infrastructure and support services of communities surrounding domestic installations, and the vulnerabilities to such infrastructure and services from climate change and extreme weather, and (2) coordinates with such communities to limit installation exposure to the effects of climate change and extreme weather, and is able to determine the effectiveness of related community coordination grants. GAO surveyed 65 domestic military installations, reviewed documents related to climate resilience, and interviewed DOD and community officials.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is making three recommendations related to developing performance measures for DOD’s community grant programs. DOD concurred with all three recommendations.