Archive for the 'Green Government' Category

Bike Sharing: The Future of Sustainable Transportation

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 by

Throughout the city of Chicago, Divvy bicycle-sharing has become increasingly more prevalent since its launch in late June of 2013. This Chicago Department of Transportation program promotes sustainable public transportation by offering 3,000 bicycles at 300 stations located in many neighborhoods across the city. This fall, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced a state investment of $3 million to the program, which will provide an additional 70 stations and 700 bicycles through out Evanston, Oak Park, and Chicago. Combined with additional contributions from Evanston, Oak Park, and Chicago, totaling an additional $750,000 to the program, 175 docking stations and 1750 bikes will be added to the program by Spring 2015. Although Divvy has already been a huge success, expanding the program outside the city limits, to Oak Park and Evanston, takes more cars off the roads while simultaneously providing a larger group of people with sustainable means of transportation around the city and its surrounding areas.

Chicago is by far not the first city to introduce bike sharing. Many cities around the world, including Minneapolis, Washington DC, and London, have begun to introduce and expand similar programs. The increasing popularity and demand of such bike sharing programs could contribute greatly to decreases in traffic and carbon emissions, while increasing residents’ desires for a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.

More information about the program, pricing, and riding tips for newcomers can all be found on the Divvy website. With these recent plans for additions to the program, Divvy has begun to relocate several current stations to minimize distance from one station to another, so current Divvy riders may need to check for updates in order to find their relocated station.

Upcoming Climate and Energy Webcasts for State and Local Governments

Friday, September 7th, 2012 by

EPA Webcasts

September 5, 2:00-3:00 PM (EDT) – School Siting
Sponsored by EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities and the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Program, this webcast will discuss EPA’s voluntary school siting guidelines, which can help local school districts and community members evaluate environmental factors to make the best possible school siting decisions. The webcast will focus on how the location of a school affects how students get to it, and how school siting and design influence traffic congestion, air pollution, school transportation budgets, and children’s health and obesity. Presenter Tina Torma is deputy director of EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities.

September 19, 1:00-2:00 PM (EDT) – Addressing Barriers to Renewable Energy Procurement
Using clean energy is a key component of many organizations’ sustainability goals. However, the process of procuring clean energy at a meaningful scale has proven to be difficult for corporations. In this webcast sponsored by EPA’s Green Power Partnership, learn about common challenges, including market access, deal terms, and risk management requirements that organizations have encountered when trying to source clean energy for facilities or power portfolios. You’ll also learn how to overcome these barriers in a meaningful and cost-effective way. Speakers include Blaine Collison, program director, U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership; Charles Esdaile, co-founder and managing partner, Altenex; and Chris Hayes, co-founder and managing partner, Altenex.

ENERGY STAR Webcasts

ENERGY STAR offers free online training to help you improve the energy performance of your organization. To register for any of these trainings or to see other upcoming ENERGY STAR trainings, visit the ENERGY STAR Trainings page.

September 6, 2:00-3:15 PM (EDT) – Financing Energy Efficient Upgrades with ENERGY STAR
Learn how public sector organizations are improving energy efficiency with innovative solutions to financial barriers. Attendees will learn about financing projects in the public and private sectors, the basics of performance contracting, and how EPA’s tools and resources can help you make the decision to improve your facilities now or later.

September 13, 2:00-3:15 PM (EDT) – Benchmarking Water/Wastewater Treatment Facilities in Portfolio Manager
Learn how to track the progress of energy efficiency efforts and compare the energy use of wastewater treatment plants with that of other peer facilities across the country. Attendees will learn how to measure and track energy use and carbon dioxide emission reductions in wastewater treatment plants to establish baseline energy use, prioritize investments, set goals, and track improvements over time.

September 18, 2:00-3:00 PM (EDT) – The Basics of Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager
Learn the basics of benchmarking using Portfolio Manager, EPA’s ENERGY STAR measurement and tracking tool. Portfolio Manager enables you to track the progress of energy and water efficiency efforts and compare the energy use of your buildings with that of similar buildings nationwide. Regardless of whether you are looking to benchmark a K-12 school, fire station, courthouse, retail store, supermarket, or office, this session will show you how easy it is to get started by providing an introduction to ENERGY STAR and walking you through setting up a building in Portfolio Manager. You will learn how to use Portfolio Manager to establish energy and water use baselines, track energy and water use and greenhouse gas emission reductions over time, and assess your building’s energy performance.

DOE & NREL Webcasts

September 5, 3:00-4:00 PM (EDT) – Regulatory Strategies for Driving the Distributed Solar Market
Join the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Program, in coordination with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for the Solar Technical Assistance Team summer webinar series for state policymakers and staff. Targeting regulators and staff, this webinar will provide an overview of policy and program actions that stakeholders can implement to support solar markets. The presentations will include examples of different regulatory actions that have been successful.

September 18, 3:00-4:15 PM (EDT) – Tapping into Wind in Urban Environments
This webinar will provide information and lessons learned on urban wind turbine projects in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Hull, Massachusetts. The A to Z basics in constructing a wind turbine in an urban environment will be covered, along with the lessons learned. The City of Milwaukee found that information and transparency were two key items that helped win over local officials and the public when planning its 100-kilowatt urban wind project. Learn more about the project from the City of Milwaukee and Northern Power. In 1997, members of the community of Hull, Massachusetts, founded Citizen Advocates for Renewable Energy to develop a wind project to offset the community’s electricity use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The first wind turbine was completed in late 2001 and the second one was completed in 2006. This presentation will discuss the two projects and the challenges and successes that the community experienced in developing them.

National Highway Institute Webcast

September 25, 1:00-2:30 PM (EDT) – Transportation and Health
This Federal Highway Administration’s Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program webinar will discuss planning research initiatives planned or underway that are related to transportation and health.

Federal government sustainability

Friday, October 15th, 2010 by

On October 9, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. The purpose of the order was “to establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas emissions a priority for Federal agencies.” The order also required:

The Executive Order also set a number of energy, water, and waste reduction targets for agencies to meet, including:

  • 30% reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use by 2020;
  • 26% improvement in water efficiency by 2020;
  • 50% recycling and waste diversion by 2015;
  • 95% of all applicable contracts will meet sustainability requirements;
  • Implementation of the 2030 net-zero-energy building requirement.

So, how much progress have federal government agencies made in on these goals since the order was signed? Quite a bit, actually.

Federal agency strategic sustainability performance plans are available for perusal on the White House Council for Environmental Quality web site. The White House also launched the GreenGov Challenge, which generated more than 5,000 ideas and 165,000 votes from 14,000 federal employees. The GreenGov Environmental Challenge Final Report is available here.

For more information on federal government environmental efforts, check out FedCenter.org, particularly the Sustainability section.