Archive for September, 2013

Calculating Scope 3 Emissions: One University’s Experience

Monday, September 23rd, 2013 by

Today’s post is by guest author Mary Whitney, University Sustainability Coordinator for Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA. It was originally offered as a response to an inquiry on GRNSCH-L, a mailing list for college and university sustainability professionals, about how to compile data for Scope 3 emissions for faculty and staff commuting distances and frequency. You can contact Mary at MWhitney At chatham.edu.

Accounting for Scope 3 requires a lot of figuring out what are your institutional  “indicators” that can give you a sound figure, even if it is imperfect. I always try to build in assumptions that would result in over-estimating carbon burden.

Over the last 5 years I’ve refined our commuting report and would be glad to share what we’ve developed. I still have to figure out how to account for Prius vs. Hummer issues yet though, so I’d be glad of advice on that!

When we’ve compared it to surveys, it is MORE reliable. We used to have to set up the survey, then all the reminders trying to get enough responses, etc. It was a real pain and took too much time, and it wasn’t even very accurate. Then we switched to having people put in their miles when they filled out the parking permit form, but it was wildly inaccurate – people were  just guessing.

Here’s what we have worked out since:

In order to park a car on campus you have to have a permit, and so we get a list of all permit holders from the transportation office. I have the make/model and the zipcode for each person. I correlate that with a report from HR that tells me if they’re faculty or staff, 12-month or 9-month, full or part time, and another from the registrar with students full or part time.

We then assume that full time is every day, 5 days a week. This is often NOT the case, but this way we won’t undercount trips. Part-time is considered to be 3 days a week, although again, it is often less. This assumes you’re here for a MWF schedule, even though many people are only doing T/TH. I can’t tell, but again, the assumption is that it’s more trips, not less. Faculty and students are counted for 36 weeks, staff work 49.

In cases where someone is part-time but attends every day, I would undercount, but so far I haven’t found many. It would be technically possible, I suppose, to cross-tab that with more registrar data, but that would be too burdensome, and I’ve made the decision not to do that. I figure that that possibility will be evened out by the person that is counted as full-time but does one marathon day of classes, 9-9pm. So afar I’ve found one of each of those extremes, so it seems a fair way to calculate.

Then I use a site that lets me set a radius from a zipcode. I saved a list of all zipcodes in various radii from the campus. We do every mile up to 25 miles, then jump to 30, then up to 50. I calculated them at www.freemaptools.com/find-zip-codes-inside-radius.htm.

We tested the zipcode radius with many people’s real mileage, and it was surprisingly (and happily) very close!  As a way to get a good number without putting a mileage recorder on their car, it works well. We always include the summer campers, using registration data from the camp. I assume that kids living over 50 miles are actually staying with Grandma nearby, calculated at 5 miles away, and we assume that anyone living less than 1/2 mile is driving, although in reality most of the people that live that close walk to camp each day, as we discovered! Again, overestimating so we don’t underestimate.

Then I have a spreadsheet calculate the whole mess. For example, Zipcode 11111 is 6 miles away, Jane Doe lives in 11111 , works full-time as staff on a 12-month contract. 6×2 for each day, x5 days a week, x 49 weeks = 2940 miles per year. Believe it or not, it is actually simple once you get the basic spreadsheet set up. The zipcode distances auto-populate, and so does a code for FT, PT, etc.

I do a similar thing with students and faculty who do not have parking permits, with the assumption that they are taking the bus, unless they are on the bike commuter list that get the tax credit.

If someone is getting dropped off by car and never has a permit, I cannot account for that, but they are at least captured somewhat in the bus calculations. There are also people who I KNOW walk to campus every day, but I calculate them as at least bus commuters, figuring it helps even out and reduce undercounting carbon impact. Not perfect, but everyone gets counted somewhere a little.

 

Avoid hazards of coal tar asphalt sealcoats

Friday, September 20th, 2013 by

Most of us are familiar with the odor and deep black appearance of freshly sealcoated asphalt. Sealcoats are used to improve the appearance and prolong the life of driveways and parking lots.Some sealcoat products contain coal tar, a byproduct of coke manufacturing, which is a health and environmental hazard. A new series of fact sheets produced by the UW-Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center discusses the toxicity, health and environmental hazards of coal tar and suggests ways to reduce risk.

Topics covered by the fact sheets include:

Following the lead of Dane County and the State of Washington, Minnesota recently enacted a ban on the sale and use of coal tar-based asphalt sealcoats that will take effect in January 2014, bringing the entire state in line with bans already in place in 28 Minnesota counties.

To learn more about UW-Extension’s work to enhance Wisconsin’s environment and economy, visit the Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center on the web at http://www4.uwm.edu/shwec/index.cfm

A Brief Guide to LibGuides (and how this relates to P2 Week)

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by

p2 libguideLibGuides is a web 2.0 platform that libraries use to create topical guides to help their users find information. It combines the best features of social networks, wikis, and blogs into one package. Librarians can incorporate RSS feeds, video, web links, bibliographic citations, search boxes, and other finding aids.

LibGuides also allows librarians to create polls and allows users to comment on specific resources and tools within each guide. Users can also sign up to receive e-mail alerts when new content is published, either for particular topics/keywords or for a specific librarian.

Five of GLRPPR’s topic hubs have been repackaged as LibGuides. They are:

In addition to the repackaged topic hubs, I have developed a number of other guides on various sustainability topics, including the Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide (pictured at the end of the post), which is a compilation of tools and resources useful for P2 technical assistance providers, particularly those who are new to the field.

Other sustainability LibGuides include:

 

P2 Pathways is now P2 Impact

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 by

P2 ImpactAs part of Pollution Prevention Week 2013, the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) announces that it has changed the name of its popular GreenBiz Column to P2 Impact. The name change reflects a content refocus towards a mainstream business audience. The column gives insights into greening of business processes, operation or technologies; and case studies and best business practices with respect to P2 and sustainability.

Our first author for the newly branded column is Richard Yoder, PE, SFP. Rick is the founder of the Pollution Prevention Regional Information Center (P2RIC), which operates from the Nebraska Business Development Center and serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. His article discusses a national survey that identifies the sectors, jobs and counties reporting higher rates of pro-environmental activities. See greenbiz.com/business/engage/enterprise-blogs/p2-pathways.

This year’s P2 Week theme is P2 at the Crossroads. P2 Week is the time when businesses, environmental groups and citizens can join forces for a common cause. By sharing information about pollution prevention (P2), businesses become more competitive, realize cost savings, and improve the environment.

Celebrate P2 Week by learning from P2 Pioneers

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 by

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 noon – 1:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8720411790387065856

This webinar, designed specifically for P2 Week 2013, will bring together a sampling of the pioneers in the pollution prevention field to discuss the development and progression of pollution prevention in policies, industries, and other institutions. This webinar will review the evolution of our field from waste minimization to pollution prevention to sustainability. It will include a discussion on the use of tools such as P2 and energy efficiency assessments, the emergence of voluntary programs, the growth of networks and partnerships, the stabilization and expansion of performance metrics, and the skill sets needed to carry out these programs.

Presenters:
Cam Metcalf, Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, University of Louisville
Cindy McComas, University of Minnesota
Gary Hunt, North Carolina State University

Cam Metcalf is a national leader in pollution prevention and energy efficiency technical assistance, training and applied research with a career that spans more than 30 years. He joined KPPC – Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center – as Executive Director in 1995.

Cindy McComas is a co-project manager for the Safer Chemistry Challenge Program, a program of the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota teaching a fall course on pollution prevention and energy efficiency. Cindy served as Director of the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota from 1985 through 2010.

Gary Hunt is a founding member of the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable and former Director of the North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance. He started as the program’s first technical staff member in 1985 and then became Director of the program for 21 years. He was also Director of P2Rx’s Southeast Waste Reduction Resource Center serving EPA Regions 3 and 4.

Happy P2 Week!

Monday, September 16th, 2013 by

2013-p2-week-posterPollution Prevention (P2) Week, held during the third week of September each year, highlights the efforts of organizations across the country in making pollution prevention a cornerstone of sustainability. The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have information about events occurring throughout the country.

Within the region, the 16th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show will be held next week on September 25-26, 2013, in Plainfield, Indiana. The event combines Indiana’s annual Partners in Pollution Prevention Conference with NPPR’s annual conference. The agenda includes workshops, panels, and presentations from national and local speakers regarding pollution prevention, sustainability, and environmental stewardship. The conference will provide excellent networking and learning opportunities.

In conjunction with this conference, GLRPPR will he holding a half-day meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 24. The meeting will follow an unconference format. Attendees propose and vote on topics of discussion, then join the groups that interest them. We will have two hour-long sessions. Depending on the number of topics suggested and attendee wishes, we may repeat topics in both sessions. Submit your suggestions for discussion topics here. Register for the meeting at http://www.glrppr.org/annual2013/index.cfm. There is a $15 charge to attend the meeting, which will cover room and refreshment costs.

If you’re looking for things you can do to be more sustainable, check out Michigan DEQ’s P2 Week guide. It includes practical pollution prevention tips for individuals and organizations.

What are you doing to celebrate P2 Week? Share your activities in the comments.

Greening America’s Capitals: EPA Seeking Letters of Interest by September 23

Friday, September 13th, 2013 by

EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities is seeking letters of interest from state capital cities interested in receiving design assistance to create a clear and implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate smart growth strategies and green infrastructure systems. Letters of interest are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on September 23, 2013.  

Design assistance is provided through the Greening America’s Capitals program, administered by EPA. EPA conducts the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Fourteen state capitals plus the District of Columbia have received assistance from the Greening America’s Capitals program to date; up to 5 capital cities will be selected in 2013.

EPA is providing this design assistance to help state capitals create stronger neighborhoods that protect the environment. EPA will fund a team of designers to visit the successful applicants’ capital cities for up to three days to produce schematic designs and illustrations intended to catalyze or complement a larger planning process for a neighborhood. In the past, the EPA team has provided sustainable design techniques for streets, parks, waterfronts, and town squares. This assistance will help the selected state capitals envision ways to clean up and reuse vacant lands, provide more housing and transportation choices, reduce infrastructure and energy costs, and build civic pride in neighborhoods and the city as a whole. The design team and EPA, HUD, and DOT staff will also assist the city staff in developing specific implementation strategies.

The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable Announces the 2013 MVP2 Award Winners

Monday, September 9th, 2013 by

The 2013 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention (MVP2) awards presented by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) celebrate the successes of innovators in the areas of pollution prevention and sustainability. The MVP2 awards are presented annually during National Pollution Prevention (P2) Week. Since P2 Week became a national event in 1995, NPPR has been advancing pollution prevention awareness by encouraging and promoting widespread participation during this week.

The 2013 MVP2 recipients represent a broad range of backgrounds including academia, industries, non- profits and individuals that have demonstrated significant accomplishments in pollution prevention. Together, these programs and projects reduced hazardous materials by 757,000 pounds, non-hazardous materials by 7.8 million pounds, water use by 484 million gallons, air emissions by 137 million pounds, and energy use by 484 million kWh. These prestigious awards will be presented at a ceremony in Washington, DC on September 18, 2013.

Awards are presented in four categories. This year’s winners for the Projects/Programs Award were:

  • Associated Air Center
  • Denyo
  • Liberty Bottleworks
  • IBM Vermont
  • Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
  • Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center
  • Norchem
  • Owens Corning
  • SABIC, and
  • Toyota of West Virginia.

Honorable Mentions went to:

  • Community Closet
  • Watson Furniture
  • StandardAero
  • The Green Building
  • Toyota of West Virginia, and
  • Washing Systems.

Rick Bossingham with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management took home the award for P2 Champion. Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Scott Butner, formerly with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a volunteer member of the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, and Donna Walden of the Western Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Network.

Jeffrey Burke, Executive Director of NPPR, stated, “These organizations have clearly demonstrated that pollution prevention is beneficial to both the environment and the economy. They are being recognized for their leadership and commitment to promoting a sustainable future”. The MVP2 awards demonstrate how organizations can become more competitive, form partnerships, realize cost savings and enhance environmental quality all at the same time.

For more information on the MVP2 Awards and NPPR, visit www.p2.org.