Archive for the 'Green Building' Category

P2 Go Bragh: A Different Shade of Green Beer

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 by

The first installment in this series concerns something other than Irish heritage that, for better or worse, has become inextricably linked to the celebration of the holiday in the U.S.: beer. Although this alcoholic beverage is sometimes dyed green for the sake of St. Patrick’s Day parties, the following resources relate to beer and brewing practices that are green in the sense of their environmental impacts.

As is the trend with most organic foods and beverages, organic beer is becoming more and more widely available as even big box retailers climb aboard the “green products are good for public relations, profits and the environment” train. Co-op America offers an overview of organic beer and wine as well as the rationale for choosing locally produced beers whenever possible (to reduce negative effects of long distance shipping, among other reasons). You can also search their National Green Pages under “Wine/Beer” for examples of breweries that produce organic beer. There is also a North American Organic Brewers Festival, scheduled this year for June 27-29 in Portland, Oregon. The festival web site lists the participating breweries and the beers they’re presenting.

For those of you, like my husband, who enjoy brewing your own beer at home, you might find the Seven Bridges Cooperative an interesting resource. Based in California, Seven Bridges provides certified organic ingredients for home brewing, such as organically grown hops and grains.

Interestingly, organic beer became the topic of controversy last year, as the USDA added to the list of non-organic ingredients that may compose 5% of a product by weight and still allow that product to bear the label “organic.” Hops were on the list, and while critical to the production of beer, they do make up less than 5% of the finished product by weight. The Organic Consumers Association was outraged by what it termed the “Budweiser Exception” that could allow big brewing companies to mass produce “organic” beers without using organically grown hops; the controversy was covered by MSNBC. Anheuser-Busch has since switched to using 100% organic hops. See the USDA’s web site for more information on organic food standards and labels.

Turning to waste reduction and efficiency in the brewing process, regardless of the use of organic ingredients, the March/April 2007 edition of In Business magazine featured a profile of Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake, California, which recycles or reuses 98% of its residuals, with a goal toward generating zero waste. The April 2007 edition of eco-structure Magazine included a look at the sustainable practices of New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. Among other things, the company purchases wind energy to power 100% of its brewery’s operations, the packaging hall was designed with energy efficiency in mind, and the brewhouse features a closed-loop heating system. For more information about New Belgium’s sustainability initiatives, see their web site.

For an example of sustainable initiatives at a brewery within the Great Lakes region, check out Michigan DEQ’s case study on the Leopold Bros. of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Goose Island Brewery in Chicago, Illinois is also a founding member of the Chicago Waste to Profit Network. An article from the October 2000 edition of Conscious Choice discusses several organic beers, including Goose Island’s organic beer production and partnering with Panorama Brewing Company to produce Wolaver’s Organic Ales regionally. Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was the first brewery in that state and the first business in Milwaukee to receive the Travel Green Wisconsin certification from the state’s Department of Tourism. Check out the brewery’s web site detailing what they’ve done to reduce their environmental and social impact and earn this recognition.

For more resources related to P2 for breweries, check out the GLRPPR Food Processing Sector Resource. I’ll be adding a “Beverage Manufacturing” subcategory in the near future to make finding resources related to brewing and other beverage production within this Sector Resource easier.

Technical Reviewers Needed for Two New GLRPPR Topic Hubs

Friday, November 9th, 2007 by

P2Rx LogoGLRPPR has developed two new school-related Topic Hubs as part of the P2Rx Topic Hub project. Before any Topic Hub is published, topical experts review its narrative portions for accuracy and completeness.

“Energy Efficient Schools and Students” describes energy efficient practices and research available to schools and introduces resources that support changes in operations, maintenance, and behavior. Numerous ways exist to reduce escalating energy costs and this Topic Hub assembles guidelines and comprehensive energy programs, identifies educational efforts and case studies, and provides examples of best practices for schools.

“Sustainable School Design” addresses many areas, including: indoor air quality; energy consumption and options; construction materials; education materials; water use; waste management; transportation; community interaction; landscaping and the building envelope. It draws upon the myriad resources available to school administrators, school boards, and community planners with the hope that these tools will guide the design of more optimally sustainable schools. The Topic Hub deals with the big issues of construction and retrofitting, siting and commissioning, and actual design of new and remodeled schools. Pollution prevention opportunities and alternative technologies that include lighting, acoustics, air quality, and well-being needs for students and school staff for a healthy and safe learning environment, are presented.

If you’re interested in reading the narrative portions of these hubs and providing some voluntary feedback, please contact Joy Scrogum or Bob Iverson. We’re looking for 2-4 experts to evaluate each of these new hubs; one person may evaluate both hubs if they desire. If you are selected to review the hubs, we’ll contact you with a link to the information you’ll need to read and further instructions. Your name will be included in the “Acknowledgments” section of the final published Topic Hub as a “Technical Reviewer.” See the Acknowledgments section of the Pollution Prevention for Arts Education Topic Hub for an example.

Our greatest asset is the technical expertise of our members and their willingness to share their knowledge with colleagues throughout the region. We appreciate your input and look forward to working with those selected to review these new resources.

Check It Out: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007 by

Don’t let the name fool you–this useful database includes information on state, local utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy. Established in 1995 (and originally named the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy), DSIRE is an ongoing project of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Power Technologies and managed by the North Carolina Solar Center. In addition to renewable energy incentives, DSIRE has recently expanded to include state and federal incentives for energy efficiency upgrades, purchases of energy efficient products or systems and construction of new energy efficient buildings. Even if you’re already familiar with DSIRE, be sure to check the site regularly, especially the “New/Updated Incentives” list to see what new opportunities are available, and to keep on top of changes to existing incentive programs.DSIRE logo

NY: Guidelines for Energy Efficient School Buildings & Green Schools Summit

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007 by

The State Education Department (SED) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) have announced new guidelines to encourage the use of energy efficient design when building and renovating schools. These voluntary guidelines, known as the “Collaborative for High Performance Schools” (NY-CHPS), were created through a joint effort of SED and NYSERDA. NY-CHPS will help schools develop and maintain learning environments that contribute to improved academic achievement while reducing operating costs and protecting and conserving our natural resources. Read the full NYSERDA press release here.

The guidelines are available online to download in PDF format.

Note that NYSERDA, in cooperation with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), will be hosting a Green Schools Summit on October 15, 2007 at Farmingdale State University of New York. Visit the summit web site to register and view the agenda. Sessions will cover the NY-CHPS, as well as reducing exposures to toxic substances/green cleaning, working with LIPA to green your school, alternative fuels and emission reduction efforts for school buses, and teacher/student energy and environmental initiatives from NYSERDA and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

WasteCap Wisconsin June 2007 Bulletin Available

Friday, June 15th, 2007 by

Ok, so end-of-pipe recycling is not technically considered pollution prevention in the strictest sense of the term; it is often argued that only in-process recycling counts. But folks interested in P2 also tend to be interested in diverting waste from landfills, especially if that waste can be turned into an asset and put to further use, at the source or otherwise. Plus, many P2 professionals are becoming more and more interested in the concepts of product stewardship and extender producer responsibility, which include thinking about how to reuse and recycle materials once they’ve served their original purpose. Information on recycling and recycled-content products is also of interest in matters of environmentally preferable purchasing and green building. So, beneficial reuse is part of my personal sense of the intention of pollution prevention, and yes, I am going to talk about end-of-pipe recycling in this P2 blog. Gasp if you must, and direct all criticisms to me (Joy).

WasteCap Wisconsin LogoIf you’re interested in beneficial reuse in general, and specifically in construction and demolition debris recycling, electronics recycling, and organic material recycling (composting, food donation, scraps for animal feed, etc.), check out WasteCap Wisconsin’s web site. They offer case studies, publications, training opportunities, and other resources on these issues. They also produce a monthly e-mail bulletin chock full of case studies, resources, news, information on recycling technologies, legislation, events, and profiles of member organizations. The June 2007 issue is available online, and archived issues are available all the way back to 2005. Information on signing up for the bulletin is available on the WasteCap Wisconsin home page.

Grants Available for P2 Projects at Michigan Public Parks

Monday, March 5th, 2007 by

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has announced the availability of applications for the 2007 Community Pollution Prevention (P2) Grants Program. The goal of this program is to institute P2 practices and waste reductions at public parks, and offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn about P2 and environmentally sustainable practices while observing day-to-day operations at those parks. A total of $250,000 in grant funds are available and applications are due April 30, 2007. Examples of eligible activities include: development of a park-wide P2 program; recycling projects; implementation of education outreach programs to train park staff and visitors about P2; the disposal of solid and hazardous waste, pesticides, and fertilizers located on park property; replacement of hazardous cleaning products through the purchase of environmentally friendly products; the purchase and installation of water saving fixtures and landscaping; the purchase of energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling, and maintenance equipment; and green demolition and construction projects.

Be sure to check the GLRPPR Funding Opportunities page regularly for additional notices of grants available throughout the region. Relevant funding opportunities also appear in corresponding Sector/Subject Resources on the GLRPPR web site.