Day: March 16, 2021

Budweiser is turning all beer ‘green’ on St Patrick’s Day with renewable energy certificates

Read the full story at The Drinks Business.

Forgoing the typical St Patrick’s Day frivolities as many bars and venues remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, Budweiser has instead decided to shed light on altogether more serious pursuits this year.

As part of its campaign for St Patrick’s Day, the brand has pledged “enough Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to cover the estimated electricity used to brew beer in the U.S. in one day,” according to a press release.

Transition Opportunities for Prairie State Energy Campus

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The 1,600 MW Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in Illinois. It is also less than 10 years old, making it one of the newest coal plants in the country.

Using publicly available information, RMI evaluated historic economics of PSEC and analyzed future scenarios to determine how continued PSEC operations will compare to market and clean energy solutions in 2029.

The analysis finds that over the past four years, the plant cost $20 million more per year to operate than short-term market energy and capacity purchases. When the cost of servicing PSEC’s debt is considered, the plant cost an average of between $390 million and $470 million more than buying from the market.

The report analyzed future plant economics compared with market and clean energy alternatives and concluded that plant net economics are likely to deteriorate prior to 2030.

The RMI analysis suggests that at the very least, 2030 closure of PSEC (as has been proposed in the Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act) will not result in any significant rate increases to PSEC owners. In fact, 2030-mandated closure may help extricate the many plant owners from an asset which is currently expensive and may become highly uneconomic in the coming years.

Job announcement: TURI Director & Research Professor

The Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), a world-renowned research, practice, and education institute located at UMass Lowell, is looking for a Director and experienced researcher to provide strategic, organizational, and fiscal leadership to the Institute. The successful candidate will split their time between Institute Director responsibilities and research and scholarship activities. Research leadership and grant funding are an important component of this position. Applicants will be considered for Research Professor status as part of the interview process. The TURI Director is expected to support half of their salary through external funding.

The Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute’s main responsibility is to implement the Commonwealth’s Toxics Use Reduction Act. The Institute assists companies, environmental health and safety professionals, communities, and governments in Massachusetts and beyond in their toxics use reduction, pollution prevention, and safer chemistry efforts through education and training, research, grants, laboratory services, and information and technical support for companies and communities.

TURI Director: The TURI Director provides strategic, organizational, and fiscal leadership for the Institute in collaboration with designated TURI Affiliated Faculty and TURI staff managers. Responsibilities include strategic and organizational planning, oversight of staff, ensuring stable funding for the Institute over time, representing the Institute within the University and externally to policymakers, business, and the public, and engaging with TURA partner agencies.

Research Professor: The TURI director will pursue scholarly activity that advances knowledge in a field directly related to TURI’s mission and will serve as a Research Professor in the Department of Public Health. Appropriate fields include toxics use reduction/pollution prevention, safer chemicals and materials, occupational health, environmental health or other related fields.

For more information and to apply, visit the UMass Lowell jobs website.

NRCS Practice Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction and Carbon Sequestration

This table ranks Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Practices Standards by their greenhouse gas reduction and carbon sequestration benefits. It also briefly summarizes the beneficial attributes of the standards

DC led the nation in green building in 2020

Read the full story at WTOP News.

If D.C. were a state, it would have topped all states in 2020 for LEED-certified green building, based on square feet per capita.

How to Achieve Energy Efficiency in Colder Climates

Read the full story at Building Enclosure.

During the winter, especially in colder climates, it can be a challenge to achieve energy efficiency. It takes a combination of intentional design, building envelope maintenance and effective materials to minimize heat loss in commercial buildings.

Fortunately, builders and architects have developed some tried and true techniques to promote energy efficiency in frigid climates. Here are some ideas for accomplishing this timely task.

Green Leases: The Starting Point for Building Improvement

Read the full story from Blue and Green Tomorrow.

For most businesses, buildings account for a significant proportion of the carbon and energy used. The World Green Building Council estimates that construction and buildings account for 39% of the global carbon footprint. If you understand the role of buildings in climate change, then you can appreciate the need for solutions to lower their carbon footprint.

In addition to the activities within the building that consume energy and water and generate waste, businesses will need to increasingly consider the emissions from staff commuting and from the use of materials in fit-out, alteration and refurbishment. They may also need to consider the need for retrofitting buildings to lower their carbon footprints. A net-zero plan is also likely to consider embedded carbon within the building’s structure and the business’ share of that over the total lifetime of the building.

But businesses face two intertwined issues when developing their strategy to reduce emissions from buildings.

Volumetric Water Benefit Accounting (VWBA): A Practical Guide to Implementing Water Replenishment Targets

Download the document.

The objective of the guide is to assist practitioners with the application of the Volumetric Water Benefit Accounting (VWBA) method during the implementation of activities to meet corporate and/or site water replenishment targets.

This guide is not intended as a stand-alone document, but rather, as a practical resource to facilitate the application of VWBA methods. Practitioners should use the information provided here only after having read and understood the content outlined in “Volumetric Water Benefit Accounting (VWBA): A Method for Implementing and Valuing Water Stewardship Activities” (Reig et al. 2019).

“A Crisis Within a Crisis Within a Crisis”

Read the full story at Slate.

Last week, our producer Davis Land headed out from his neighborhood in Houston to talk with people trying to restore their homes after a devastating winter storm knocked out power for so many Texans. It was nearly 80 degrees—a huge change from a couple of weeks back, when many Texans were shivering under coats and blankets, waiting out a deep freeze and a utility shutdown. But after the cold let up, what was left behind was a mess of plumbing—burst pipes and sagging walls full of leaking water. There simply aren’t enough hands to do the work.

Land spoke with one woman, Shonza Branch, who still didn’t have running water to shower or do laundry. Her burst pipes were just the latest problem for her home, which is still damaged from Hurricane Harvey, nearly four years ago. “We had wind and rain damage and we went to FEMA, and FEMA only gave us so much. And I appealed till they told me I couldn’t appeal no more,” Branch said. “So the wall in my bathroom, I have a piece of tape over the light switch because when we cut it on, it would shoot electricity. And then the water ran down that wall, and there’s mold in the wall—it’s still in there. My towel racks and stuff fell off the wall because the wall was so soft and rotted.”

For someone like Branch, February’s cold snap has become another layer of damage, another natural disaster blocking her way back to some kind of normalcy. On Monday’s episode of What Next, I spoke with Amal Ahmad from the Texas Observer about what the slow slog of recovery is beginning to look like in Texas, where many of those most affected by last month’s weather are still getting back on their feet after the last climate disaster. Our conversation has been edited and condense for clarity.

Climate Change & Water: Why Valuing Rivers Is Critical to Adaptation

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While freshwater is a major conduit through which climate impacts are felt, it can also play a central role in climate adaptation and resilience-building for people, economies and nature. Managing water carefully through nature-based solutions is a crucial element in tackling the most serious global climate risks.

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