U.S. EPA Region 1 offers webinar series on climate resilience for small business

U.S. EPA Region 1 is conducting a webinar series on climate change resilience for small businesses, especially those located in or near flood-prone areas that use hazardous chemicals.  This training takes a “source reduction first” approach to the training for these businesses. Participants will learn how to:

  • Assess pollution prevention/source reduction options
  • Use online maps to learn if they are in or near flood-prone areas
  • Comply with hazardous waste management regulations
  • Prepare a business continuity plan
  • Find out about how they can obtain energy audits and funding from the Massachusetts Small and Midsize Business Direct Install Program

Webinar 1: The Resilient Business: Strategies for Pollution Prevention & Financing Energy Efficiency

  • Session 1: Wednesday August 31, 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. EDT – Register
  • Session 2: Wednesday, September 14, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT – Register

Webinar 2: The Resilient Business: Strategies for Pollution Prevention & Reducing Flood Risk

  • Session 1: Wed. Sept. 21, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDTRegister
  • Session 2: Wed. Sept. 28, 11:00 a.m-12:30 p.m. EDT Register

For more information about the webinar series, contact: Roy Crystal, 617-918-1745, Crystal.Roy@epa.gov.

Sustainability leadership amid fear and pressure

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Many professionals and companies get fearful under attack and play it safe.x

Which leads to my first lesson learned: Don’t get sucked into fear and anger. It’s totally counter-productive. That’s what the other side wants. Why give it to them? I guarantee you will make bad decisions based on the madness factor. You need to stay optimistic, positively engage with your critics and be savvier than them.

People would buy green products – if only e-commerce showed them how

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Given the choice to go green when making purchases online, a lot of people would follow through, new research suggests. They just need companies to provide them with enough information to do so.

The new study, just out on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that Internet-based companies (which include the likes of Amazon and Airbnb) have the opportunity to slash their products’ carbon footprints by providing customers with environmentally friendly choices to cut down on greenhouse gases and other ills. The researchers tested the idea out using mock versions of four types of industries — online retail, video streaming, ride shares and housing shares — and found that consumers are willing to make climate-friendly selections when the options are available to them, whether it means purchasing carbon offsets or just choosing the product with the lowest carbon output.

Business lobby slams EPA for unfunded mandates

Read the full story in The Hill.

States are on the hook for implementing the majority of federal environmental regulations but receive little federal money to help them do that, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In a study released Wednesday, the Chamber found federal grants cover only about 28 percent of the funding states need to implement Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules. The study found grant assistance has declined 29 percent over the course of the decade even as the cost of implementing EPA rules has increased by more than one-third.

Women, There’s A Reason Why You’re Shivering In The Office

Read the full story from NPR.

He was probably about 40 years old, 155 pounds, white and wearing a suit. And he’s the reason why women are shivering at their desks in air-conditioned buildings.

At some point in the 1930s, someone defined “metabolic equivalents” — how much energy a body requires while sitting, walking and running. Almost a century later, the back-of-the-envelope calculations are considered a standard for many things, including air conditioning.

But using that metabolic equivalent could be unnecessarily ramping up energy bills during summertime, researchers say, and it’s time to plug in the right numbers so that air conditioning settings aren’t biased toward men, and fewer women are reaching for the sweater.

“Garbage in, garbage out,” says Boris Kingma, a biophysicist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and lead author of the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. “So, if you put in the wrong metabolic rate, you get an answer which is of course not valid.”

10 organizations leading the pack on healthy materials

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Our homes are fraught with carcinogens. Endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and a laundry list of other types of harmful chemicals are likely in every room of your house. These toxics are in the hygiene products in your medicine cabinet as well as in the materials that make up your bathroom.

If a consumer was posed with the choice between a product that contains toxics or a comparable nontoxic product, one would imagine that the consumer clearly would choose the latter.

Historically, chemical-free alternatives were not largely available, but recently, consumers are gaining ever-growing access to healthier options. Companies are learning that manufacturing healthy products is indeed marketable, cost-effective and smart business practice.

You can find healthier alternative products in standard retailers, ranging from household cleaners that contain innocuous ingredients such as baking soda to furniture free from halogenated flame retardant (HFRs) coatings.

Ingredient transparency gives consumers the option to make informed choices about the products they buy, and is on the upswing. Below is a list of 10 companies forging the demand for a healthy materials economy.

Building materials that tap into nature’s elegant, and harmless, designs

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Every year, about 15 billion tons of carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere from concrete production alone. As cities continue to grow (according to the U.N., world urban populations are expected to increase by 84 percent by 2050), the amount of polluting building materials being created will increase right along with them.

And it isn’t simply the materials that are causing problems.

A study and report titled “Buildings and Climate Change,” completed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), revealed (PDF) “over 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions take place during the operational phase of buildings, when energy is used for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, appliances, and other applications.” The main problem with a building’s lifetime of energy consumption is that the energy most likely is coming from a fossil fuel-powered plant.

How are we going to design buildings with harmless materials, both for our planet and the people occupying them? What can we use in our buildings to make sure their annual energy needs are kept to a bare minimum?