Key Findings: How Facilities Managers are Prioritizing Energy & Sustainability Initiatives

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Facilities Managers are more focused than ever on sustainable resource management. As energy costs fluctuate and executive-level pressures to conserve and save mount, Facilities managers are stepping up to the challenges with an increased level of commitment and expertise.

The recent report, Facility Managers: Putting Energy & Sustainability Practices to Work derived from Ecova’s 2016 Energy and Sustainability Outlook Survey, offers insight into how Facility Managers are prioritizing energy, water, and waste efficiency initiatives in light of the forces at work in today’s market.

Revisions to Test Methods, Performance Specifications, and Testing Regulations for Air Emission Sources

From today’s Federal Register.

This action promulgates technical and editorial corrections and revisions to regulations related to source testing of emissions. We have made corrections and updates to testing provisions, and added newly approved alternatives to existing testing regulations. These revisions will improve the quality of data and provide flexibility in the use of approved alternative procedures. The revisions do not impose any new substantive requirements on source owners or operators.

From Grasslands to Forests, Nitrogen Impacts all Ecosystems

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

Can there be too much of a good thing?

That’s the case with nitrogen, an essential element for plant growth that, in overabundance, can also be potentially damaging. Nitrogen moves from the air to the land, soil, and water via a process called nitrogen deposition. Atmospheric nitrogen deposition has increased ten-fold or more since pre-industrial levels due to increased emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, fertilizer use, and other human activities.

Once nitrogen is emitted into the atmosphere, it can travel vast distances and deposit in the environment, making it a national as well as local problem. Elevated nitrogen deposition can increase leaf biomass in the canopy, shading ground-dwelling plants from the sun. Additionally, physical and chemical reactions that occur when nitrogen compounds are deposited can lead to more acidic soils. Both effects restrict plant growth and increase competition for limited resources, resulting in a loss of local biodiversity…

That’s why EPA researcher Chris Clark and a team of scientists from EPA, U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Colorado, and multiple other universities are exploring the effects of nitrogen deposition on herbaceous plants (those with non-woody stems such as grass) in a first-of-its-kind study focused on multiple ecosystems across the nation. The new research expands the focus to not only grasslands, but into habitats that have not received much attention, including the forest understory.

The study, recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, assesses how nitrogen deposition affects herbaceous plants at over 15,000 forest, woodland, shrubland, and grassland sites throughout the United States. The research addresses how physical, chemical, and climatic factors such as soil acidity, temperature, and precipitation can affect an area’s vulnerability to nitrogen deposition.

 

Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

From today’s Federal Register.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a new subpart that updates the Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills (Emission Guidelines). The EPA reviewed the landfills Emission Guidelines based on changes in the landfills industry since the Emission Guidelines were promulgated in 1996. The EPA’s review of the Emission Guidelines for municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills considered landfills that accepted waste after November 8, 1987, and commenced construction, reconstruction, or modification on or before July 17, 2014. Based on this review, the EPA has determined that it is appropriate to revise the Emission Guidelines to reflect changes to the population of landfills and the results of an analysis of the timing and methods for reducing emissions. This action will achieve additional reductions in emissions of landfill gas and its components, including methane, by lowering the emissions threshold at which a landfill must install controls. This action also incorporates new data and information received in response to an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and a proposed rulemaking and addresses other regulatory issues including surface emissions monitoring, wellhead monitoring, and the definition of landfill gas treatment system.

The revised Emission Guidelines, once implemented through revised state plans or a revised federal plan, will reduce emissions of landfill gas, which contains both nonmethane organic compounds and methane. Landfills are a significant source of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas pollutant. These avoided emissions will improve air quality and reduce the potential for public health and welfare effects associated with exposure to landfill gas emissions.

Standards of Performance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

From today’s Federal Register.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a new subpart that updates the Standards of Performance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. Under section 111 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA must review, and, if appropriate, revise standards of performance at least every 8 years. The EPA’s review of the standards for municipal solid waste landfills considered landfills that commence construction, reconstruction, or modification after July 17, 2014. The final standards also reflect changes to the population of landfills and an analysis of the timing and methods for reducing emissions. This action will achieve additional reductions in emissions of landfill gas and its components, including methane, by lowering the emissions threshold at which a landfill must install controls. This action also incorporates new data and information received in response to the proposed rulemaking and addresses other regulatory issues including surface emissions monitoring, wellhead monitoring, and the definition of landfill gas treatment system.

The new subpart will reduce emissions of landfill gas, which contains both nonmethane organic compounds and methane. Landfills are a significant source of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas pollutant. These avoided emissions will improve air quality and reduce the potential for public health and welfare effects associated with exposure to landfill gas emissions.

Going green is for girls — but branding can make men eco-friendly

Read the full story from the University of Notre Dame.

Studies show that men are not as environmentally friendly as women. Let’s face it, not too many “man caves” feature solar panels, recycle bins or posters of electric cars. It’s just not manly.

But could men be persuaded to go green? New research indicates the answer is yes — and it’s all about branding.

The study “Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption,” forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research by James Wilkie, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, provides evidence that shoppers who engage in green behaviors are stereotyped by others as more feminine and also see themselves as more feminine. In a series of seven studies, Wilkie and his co-authors manipulated small details about the products, attempting to change men’s attitudes and behaviors. They found that men are more open to purchasing environmental products if their masculinity gets a branding boost.

Why Environmental Managers, Investors Love Circular Economy Technologies

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Circular economy technologies and initiatives have seen growing interest from environmental managers and sustainability officers of late. A new report suggests these innovations, which reduce waste or convert waste to valuable new products, can also add investors to their list of fans.

Circular economy technologies received $668 million in funding from 2011 through the first quarter of 2016, Lux Research says. Of this total funding, material recycling captured a 69 percent share and accounted for 65 percent of the total 155 deals.

“Waste collection and sorting are experiencing disruptive changes due to the innovations based on software, data analytics, and robotics,” said Jerrold Wang, Lux Research analyst and lead author of the report titled, Observing Trends from VC Investment Activities to Material Recycling Fields.