Archive for the 'Publications' Category

Call for submissions: Michigan Journal of Sustainability Special Edition on Climate Adaptation in the United States

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 by

The Michigan Journal of Sustainability is seeking high-quality work for inclusion in a special edition of our online, open-access, peer-reviewed Journal focused on strategies being taken, research underway, or promising practices to help different sectors and scales of society prepare for and build resilience to climate change. This Journal emphasizes the translation of academic sustainability research into formats that are useful and usable to practitioners and policy makers. As such, we invite abstracts that bridge the science-policy divide as it pertains to helping society adapt to existing and projected future impacts from disasters, climate variability, and long-term climate change. This special edition of our Journal is slated for release online in early 2015.

For this special edition, the Michigan Journal of Sustainability will accept timely, innovative, and informative articles translating scholarly research on efforts to prepare society and social-ecological systems more broadly, for climate change. Due to the crosscutting nature of the climate adaptation field, we strongly encourage articles that explore multi-disciplinary collaborations and articles that attempt to bridge sectoral or disciplinary divides.

Manuscripts for consideration in this special issue are due November 3, 2014 and should be submitted online at http://sustainability.umich.edu/webforms/mjs-submission.

View the complete call for papers at http://sustainability.umich.edu/mjs/submissions/.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency publishes green chemistry case studies

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 by

This post originally appeared on Environmental News Bits.

For the last several years, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, through a U.S. EPA grant, has funded projects in the state that promote the use of green chemistry in industry and encourage the teaching of green chemistry and design principles in Minnesota’s colleges and universities. The case studies from these projects were recently published on the MPCA web site. Details of the project and links to the associated case studies are included below.

Green Chemistry and Design Demonstration Project

Background

Demonstration projects tested whether grants of around $50,000 can provide threshold funding to businesses to undertake green chemistry and design changes to their products, or to the components of products they deliver to customers or supply chains.

Grants co-funded basic chemistry research, moved research or development already in progress closer to completion, or adapted off-the-shelf green chemistry technology. Actual implementation of product changes through retooled production were the ideal end-result, but product design or redesign and testing with a commitment to carry the new design through to production sufficed.

Funds were awarded in the form of a grant to a company that controlled the design of a product or component and committed to a green chemistry and design improvement of such a product or component. Internal teams and external partnerships were vital and could include the company designing the product or component, their customer(s), their production supply chain, and either internal or third-party (external) technical resource providers such as consultants, graduate research students, labs or testing facilities, mentoring companies, or others.

Demonstration projects were designed to support the research and development side of the product design process. Grant funds could not be used for purchasing the equipment necessary to produce the newly designed or redesigned product. Equipment purchases could be made through state low-interest loan programs, either MPCA environmental loans or those available through other state agencies.

More information is available at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/topics/preventing-waste-and-pollution/p2-pollution-prevention/reducing-toxicity/green-chemistry-and-design/green-chemistry-and-design-demonstration-project.html.

Case Studies

Green Chemistry and Design College Curriculum Grant Projects

Background

The MPCA has been exploring the most effective means for state government to promote wider use of Green Chemistry and Design. The MPCA has pursued this exploration as part of its 22-year-old Pollution Prevention program, to arrive at both life-cycle environmental improvement and a more profitable and sustainable economy.

The MPCA is researching and evaluating a number of mechanisms for supporting broader use of Green Chemistry:

  • Grants to Minnesota companies in various sectors to pursue Green Chemistry, Engineering and Design improvements in products;
  • Improved multi-stakeholder networks to facilitate awareness and information exchange (including the Minnesota Green Chemistry Forum, annual Minnesota Green Chemistry conferences, and the Environmental Initiative’s Chemicals Policy stakeholder process);
  • Integration of Green Chemistry information and best practices into existing State-funded assistance services;
  • Broadening markets for Green Chemistry and overall greener products through State purchasing, facilitation of greener private-sector supply chains, and use of existing or new tax incentives;
  • High-level State Green Chemistry initiatives and policy proposals;
  • Grants and networking to strengthen Green Chemistry education.

Learning from this exploration of potential state government programs supporting Green Chemistry will be reported to the Governor and Minnesota Legislature periodically to inform future policy decisions.

These grants supported the development of Green Chemistry and Design curricula at more post-secondary institutions in Minnesota and strengthen the Minnesota and national network of post-secondary faculty teaching aspects of Green Chemistry and Design. More information is available at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/topics/preventing-waste-and-pollution/p2-pollution-prevention/reducing-toxicity/green-chemistry-and-design/green-chemistry-and-design-college-curriculum-grant-projects.html.

Case Studies

 

Seventh National ACEEE Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource: Report to U.S. Department of Energy

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 by

This report summarizes the content and themes of the ACEEE Seventh National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource, held in Nashville, Tennessee from September 22 to 24, 2013, per the agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy.  The successful conference demonstrated the progress of energy efficiency as a resource in the Southeast and leading regions of the country.  Speakers and sessions examined progress and energy savings achievements, and how programs in the field are evolving past previous limits towards greater savings and participation. Challenges and policy issues arising after a decade of growth were addressed in-depth.

See also the presentations available on the conference web site.

Documents Recently Added to Sector Resources

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 by

These publications were recently added to GLRPPR’s Sector Resources. This list is continuously updated on the web, fed to GLRPPR’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, and is available as an RSS feed.

  • Building America Energy Renovations: A Business Case for Home Performance Contracting
    This research report gives an overview of the needs and opportunities that exist in the U.S. home performance contracting industry. The report discusses industry trends, market drivers, different business models, and points of entry for existing and new businesses hoping to enter the home performance contracting industry. Case studies of eight companies who successfully entered the industry are provided, including business metrics, start-up costs, and marketing approaches.
  • Virtual Energy Forum
    A free conference that brings together stakeholders in the energy industry with potential customers, policy makers, and investors. The event, which meets twice a year and features live video presentations, real-time Q & A and a virtual exhibit floor, answers the need many senior executives have today–to better understand how to implement renewable and cost-saving energy-efficient practices in business.
  • Sustainable Materials Management – Making Better Use of Resources
    Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) is increasingly recognised as a policy approach that can make a key contribution to green growth and the challenges that are posed by sustained global economic and demographic growth. One of the key challenges of the SMM approach is to effectively address the environmental impacts that can occur along the life-cycle of materials, which frequently extends across borders and involves a multitude of different economic actors. This book outlines a series of policy principles for SMM, examines how to set and use targets for SMM, and explores various policy instruments for SMM. In addition it provides examples of policy action plans from the UK and the Netherlands, before presenting a series of conclusions and recommendations.
  • The Guide to Safer Chemicals
    A hands-on-guide that charts pathways to safer chemicals in products and supply chains for brand name companies, product manufacturers, architects and designers, retailers, and health care organizations. The Guide: marks pathways to safer chemicals in products and supply chains; sets relative benchmarks for each of the four BizNGO Principles for Safer Chemicals; specifies actions for each benchmark; presents examples of business practices for each benchmark; and illustrates how downstream users are getting started and advancing on their paths to safer chemicals. Users of The Guide will learn how to: measure internal performance, identify areas of improvement, and track progress to safer chemicals; benchmark performance in comparison to other organizations; and communicate to the public their organization’s performance in moving to safer chemicals based on an independent metric.
  • Principles for Safer Chemicals
    Demand for products made from greener chemicals is growing rapidly. Consumers, investors and governments want chemicals that have low to no toxicity and degrade into innocuous substances in the environment. Leading businesses are seeking to capture these emerging market opportunities by redesigning their products and catalyzing change in their supply chains. To advance an economy where the production and use of chemicals are healthy for humans, as well as for our global environment and its non-human inhabitants, responsible companies and their supply chains should adopt and implement these four guiding principles for chemicals policy.
  • Forward Progress in Reducing Oily-Wastewater: A Forward Osmosis, Small-scale Pilot at a Metal Fabricator
    Forward osmosis is the natural diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane from a solution of a lower solute concentration to a solution with a higher solute concentration. Taking advantage of this natural process, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) research staff successfully reduced volumes of three (3) common water-based industrial process waste streams at a small metal fabricator. Instead of conventional energy-intensive alternatives, researchers employed fledgling forward osmosis technology, using chemistry instead of energy to remove water from common process fluids.
  • Northwest Product Stewardship Council
    The Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC) is a coalition of government organizations in Washington and Oregon that operates as an unincorporated association of members. The content of this website includes product stewardship activities in the states of Oregon and Washington. They also track the product stewardship activities in California and British Columbia, Canada.
  • US State-level Chemicals Policy Database
    Includes state level legislation related to chemicals and chemical management. Search by state, region, status (e.g., enacted, proposed, and failed), policy category (e.g., pollution prevention, single chemical restriction, etc.), chemical, and product type (e.g., children’s products, cleaning products, etc.).
  • AASHE Academic Commons
    AASHE’s Academic Commons aggregates educating for sustainability materials from across the sustainability community.
  • Biochar as a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy: Does It Measure Up?
    This report evaluates the potential of biochar as a climate change solution and reviews the scientific literature to assess current data on biochar’s long-term stability in the environment.

Documents Recently Added to Sector Resources

Monday, November 19th, 2012 by

These publications were recently added to GLRPPR’s Sector Resources. This list is continuously updated on the web, fed to GLRPPR’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, and is available as an RSS feed.

  • Petroleum and Emission Reduction Planning Tool
    This planning tool helps your vehicle fleet reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Create a comprehensive plan for your fleet by using several savings methods. If your fleet includes multiple vehicle types, add more vehicles to each method.
  • Trivalent Chromium Plating Conversion Case Study: Independent Plating, Worcester, Massachusetts
    Traditionally, metal finishing relies on the use of a number of toxic chemicals to achieve the performance requirements of its customers. Independent Plating recently converted a nickel plating line to accommodate a new technology that substitutes trivalent chromium for hexavalent chromium, a Higher Hazard Substance. This case study documents the company’s decision-making process and the business case for making the change.
  • Sustainable Architecture Resources
    This guide provides information about frequently used reference resources and journals related to sustainable architecture and building. Additionally, helpful tips are located around this guide on how to go about searching for green architecture sources in the library catalog and databases.
  • The Perennial Question 2012: Farmers’ Choices and the Biofuel Future
    The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) is a strategic response to concerns under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 about petroleum fuel supplies and environmental sustainability (EPA 2012). RFS2 regulations mandate specific amounts of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel. Analyses of the shifts in land use, crop management, and crop marketing implied by RFS2 typically either neglect or simplify farmers’ choices, whether due to the investigative questions asked, the modeling frameworks used, or the suppositions made in those analyses. Much remains unexplored and, therefore, unknown about the bases for farmers’ actual decisions to dedicate their land, labor, and resources to the production of perennials. This report aims to start narrowing the gap between science and practice by exploring the bases for a subset of farmers’ choices, specifically those surrounding decisions to engage in perennial planting, management and marketing. We do not assume the processes that farmers’ use to make decisions mimic the calculus of scientific optimization. Rather, we suggest farmers’ behavior patterns, decision-making processes, and decision contexts are important variables that are worthy of investigation and of incorporating into to the scientific and policy-analysis mix. Information about farmers’ choices can provide new depth to scientific analyses that are driven by such policies as RFS2. Perhaps most importantly, a better understanding of the bases for farmers’ choices can provide information important for analyzing and developing a full range of effective policies and interventions.
  • Air Leakage Testing and Air Sealing in Existing Multifamily Units
    Envelope air sealing was included in the retrofit of a 244 unit low-rise multifamily housing complex in Durham, N.C. Pre- and post-retrofit enclosure leakage tests were conducted on 51 units and detailed diagnostics were performed on 16. On average, total leakage was reduced by nearly half, from 19.7 ACH50 to 9.4 ACH50. Costs for air sealing were $0.31 per square foot of conditioned floor area, lower than estimates found in the National Residential Efficiency Measures Database (NREMD) and other sources, perhaps due in part to the large-scale production nature of the project. Modeling with BEopt software — using an estimate of 85% of the envelope air leakage going to the outside (based on guarded tests performed at the site) –calculated a space conditioning energy cost savings of 15% to 21% due to the air sealing retrofit. Important air leakage locations identified included plumbing and electrical penetrations, dropped ceilings/soffits, windows, ducts and wall-to-floor intersections. Previous repair activity had created significant leakage locations as well. Specifications and a pictorial guide were developed for contractors performing the work.
  • Winchester/Camberley Homes New Construction Test House Design, Construction, and Short-Term Testing in a Mixed-Humid Climate
    The NAHB Research Center partnered with production builder Winchester/Camberley Homes to build a DOE Building America New Construction Test House (NCTH). This single family, detached house, located in the mixed-humid climate zone of Silver Spring, MD, was completed in June 2011. The primary goal for this house was to improve energy efficiency by 30% over the Building America B10 benchmark by developing and implementing an optimized energy solutions package design that could be cost effectively and reliably constructed on a production basis using quality management practices. The intent of this report is to outline the features of this house, discuss the implementation of the energy efficient design, and report on short-term testing results. During the interactive design process of this project, numerous iterations of the framing, air sealing, insulation, and space conditioning systems were evaluated for energy performance, cost, and practical implementation. The final design featured numerous advanced framing techniques, high levels of insulation, and the HVAC system entirely within conditioned space. Short-term testing confirmed a very tight thermal envelope and efficient and effective heating and cooling. In addition, relevant heating, cooling, humidity, energy, and wall cavity moisture data will be collected and presented in a future long-term report.
  • Greenbuilt Retrofit Test House Final Report
    The Greenbuilt house, is an all-electric, 1980′s era home in the eastern Sacramento suburb of Fair Oaks that was retrofit by Greenbuilt Construction as part of Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) Energy Efficient Remodel Demonstration (EERD) Program. The project was a joint effort between the design-build team at Greenbuilt Construction, led by Jim Bayless, SMUD and their project manager Mike Keesee, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The goal of the Energy Efficient Remodel Demonstration program is to work with local builders to renovate homes with cost-effective energy efficient retrofit measures. The homes remodeled under the EERD program are intended to showcase energy efficient retrofit options for homeowners and other builders. The Greenbuilt house is one of five EERD projects that NREL has supported. NREL’s main role in these projects is to provide energy analysis and to monitor the home’s performance after the retrofit to verify that the energy consumption is in line with the modeling predictions. NREL also performed detailed monitoring on the more innovative equipment included in these remodels, such as an add-on heat pump water heater.\
  • National Bioeconomy Blueprint
    The Bioeconomy Blueprint will guide Federal agencies–in coordination with one another and in partnership with private-sector entities–to enhance economic growth and job creation, improve the health of all Americans, and move toward a clean-energy future through scientific discovery and technological innovation.
  • Energy and Water Linkage: Challenge to a Sustainable Future
    Needs for affordable and clean energy, for water in adequate quantity and quality, and for food security will increasingly be the central challenges for humanity: these needs are strongly linked. In some regions, the increasing demands for water in support of energy development and use pose challenges to its availability for food and other human needs and for important ecological systems. It is critically important that planning and investment in energy and water infrastructure and associated policies take into account the deep interaction between water and energy. A systems approach based on specific regional circumstances and long-term planning is essential. Viewing each factor separately will lead to inefficiencies, added stress on water availability for food production and for critical ecosystems, and a higher risk of major failures or shortages in energy supply. In almost all regions of the world, innovative ways of achieving higher efficiency in use of energy and water will be the key factors that determine whether these linked challenges can be met.
  • The Power of Curiosity: How Linking Inquisitiveness to Innovation Could Help to Address Our Energy Challenges
    Almost every country in the world will face massive energy challenges over the next few decades. In the UK we are already faced with an energy ‘trilemma’ — three important goals that are pulling us in different directions. We need to aggressively reduce carbon emissions, while ensuring that a varied energy supply can reliably meet our energy needs, and we need to achieve this without exacerbating fuel poverty, by keeping energy bills at affordable levels. In this context, we need fresh insight into energy supply, demand, and efficiency. The challenge is that innovative solutions will need to engage with the complex interplay of technology and behaviour, suggesting that the traditionally technology-led energy sector needs to become more curious about the foibles of human nature, and customers need to become more curious about their interaction with the energy technologies they rely on every day. Unfortunately, most people are not particularly interested in their relationship to ‘energy’ as such, and a variety of attitude surveys suggest growing levels of ‘green fatigue’. We may think about the issue of ‘energy’ when we notice our gas and electricity bills are getting higher, but our curiosity is rarely piqued while turning up the heating or leaving the lights on. Perhaps if we better understand the nature of curiosity in general, we might find ways to cultivate curiosity about our shared energy needs, both in the energy industry and the population at large. If we can do that, it may help us spur the kinds of social and technical innovation that are now political, economic and ecological imperatives.

The Power of Curiosity: How Linking Inquisitiveness to Innovation Could Help to Address Our Energy Challenges

Thursday, November 15th, 2012 by

Download the document.

Almost every country in the world will face massive energy challenges over the next few decades. In the UK we are already faced with an energy ‘trilemma’ – three important goals that are pulling us in different directions. We need to aggressively reduce carbon emissions, while ensuring that a varied energy supply can reliably meet our energy needs, and we need to achieve this without exacerbating fuel poverty, by keeping energy bills at affordable levels.

In this context, we need fresh insight into energy supply, demand, and efficiency. The challenge is that innovative solutions will need to engage with the complex interplay of technology and behaviour, suggesting that the traditionally technology-led energy sector needs to become more curious about the foibles of human nature, and customers need to become more curious about their interaction with the energy technologies they rely on every day.

Unfortunately, most people are not particularly interested in their relationship to ‘energy’ as such, and a variety of attitude surveys suggest growing levels of ‘green fatigue’. We may think about the issue of ‘energy’ when we notice our gas and electricity bills are getting higher, but our curiosity is rarely piqued while turning up the heating or leaving the lights on.

Perhaps if we better understand the nature of curiosity in general, we might find ways to cultivate curiosity about our shared energy needs, both in the energy industry and the population at large. If we can do that, it may help us spur the kinds of social and technical innovation that are now political, economic and ecological imperatives.

EPA Webcast: Resource Conservation and Recovery Strategies for GHG Reductions – Nov. 15, 2:30-4:00 PM (EST)

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 by

U.S. EPA Local Climate and Energy Program Webcast
Resource Conservation and Recovery Strategies for Greenhouse Gas Reductions
November 15, 2:30-4:00 PM (EST)

The extraction, production, use, and disposal of goods and materials are responsible for an estimated 42 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This webcast will demonstrate how local governments can work with residents, private companies, and other groups to cost-effectively reduce these emissions through resource conservation and recovery strategies that reduce waste generation and divert waste from landfills. Join us to hear how Alameda County, California, and Kansas City, Missouri, are successfully implementing innovative resource conservation and recovery strategies to reduce GHG emissions, waste disposal costs, and related energy use. Also learn about EPA tools and resources available to help you design and implement resource conservation and recovery programs that are right for your community.

Documents Recently Added to Sector Resources

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 by

These publications were recently added to GLRPPR’s Sector Resources. This list is continuously updated on the web, fed to GLRPPR’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, and is available as an RSS feed.

  • Inherently Safer Technology Gaps Analysis Study
    This project consisted of an analysis of the current state of knowledge for improving safety regarding toxic industrial chemicals, including an examination of current and state-of-the-art techniques and technologies capable of increasing safety and security This project consisted of an analysis of the current state of knowledge for improving safety regarding toxic industrial chemicals, including an examination of current and state-of-the-art techniques and technologies capable of increasing safety and security in production, transportation, storage, and use of hazardous chemicals. The primary goal was to improve national security through improved safety by providing a foundation for a comprehensive evaluation of the current state of knowledge surrounding the source and production methods of the “Release – Toxic” chemicals in DHS CFATS Appendix A list of chemicals of interest. Additionally, this project assisted in the data gathering and development of the CSAC IST Metrics. This involved an in-depth effort to understand specific chemical processes followed by a conceptual effort to redefine the Chemical Release Reduction Modifier that was included in the original Index. involved an in-depth effort to understand specific chemical processes followed by a conceptual effort to redefine the Chemical Release Reduction Modifier that was included in the original Index.
  • Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs)
    Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) allow Federal agencies to conduct energy projects with limited to no up-front capital costs, minimizing the need for Congressional appropriations. An ESPC is a working relationship between a Federal agency and an energy service company (ESCO). The ESCO conducts a comprehensive energy audit for the Federal facility and identifies improvements to save energy. In consultation with the Federal agency, the ESCO designs and constructs a project that meets the agency’s needs and arranges the necessary funding. The ESCO guarantees the improvements will generate energy cost savings sufficient to pay for the project over the term of the contract. After the contract ends,all additional cost savings accrue to the agency. Contract terms of up to 25 years are allowed.
  • Water Scarcity: A Dive into Global Reporting Trends
    In this edition of KPMG’s Sustainable Insight we explore how the world’s major businesses are setting out their approaches to water scarcity via their key communication vehicles on corporate responsibility (CR) and sustainability. We investigate what they are reporting on and — sometimes more importantly — what they are not reporting on, and we draw out significant variances between sectors and geographic regions. Water scarcity has risen to the top of the corporate agenda over the past few years. In the face of dire predictions about dwindling supplies, a growing number of businesses are taking measures to become better stewards of this vital resource. The results suggest that while most companies are at least paying lip service to the issue in their reports, far fewer are presenting a convincing picture of a thorough and robust response to the challenge. You will also understand what best practice looks like; how — and why — they should improve their company’s response to water scarcity; and how they can communicate that response more effectively to their stakeholders. We conclude with ten key questions designed to help you develop and communicate strategic responses to the water scarcity challenge.
  • CARMA – Carbon Monitoring for Action
    CARMA is a database containing information about the carbon emissions of over 60,000 power plants and 20,000 power companies worldwide.
  • Implementing Agricultural Conservation Practices: Barriers and Incentives
    This publication is one in a multi-volume set developed by the Water Quality Information Center at the National Agricultural Library in support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). The bibliography is a guide to recent literature examining agricultural producers’ views of conservation programs and practices. It provides people working in the area of agriculture and the environment with a guide to information resources that focus on the psychological and socioeconomic factors that influence agricultural producers’ behavior with regard to environmental issues.
  • Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions: Technical Report to the U.S. Department of Energy in Support of the National Climate Assessment
    This report provides a framework to characterize and understand the important elements of climate and energy-water-land (EWL) system interactions. It identifies many of the important issues, discusses our understanding of those issues, and presents a long-term research program research needs to address the priority scientific challenges and gaps in our understanding. Much of the discussion is organized around two discrete case studies with the broad themes of (1) extreme events and (2) regional intercomparisons. These case studies help demonstrate unique ways in which energy-water-land interactions can occur and be influenced by climate.
  • On carbon footprints and growing energy use
    Could fractional reductions in the carbon footprint of a growing organization lead to a corresponding real reduction in atmospheric CO{sub 2} emissions in the next ten years? Curtis M. Oldenburg, head of the Geologic Carbon Sequestration Program of LBNL’s Earth Sciences Division, considers his own organization’s carbon footprint and answers this critical question? In addressing the problem of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change, it is essential that we understand which activities are producing GHGs and the scale of emission for each activity, so that reduction efforts can be efficiently targeted. The GHG emissions to the atmosphere of an individual or group are referred to as the ‘carbon footprint’. This terminology is entirely appropriate, because 85% of the global marketed energy supply comes from carbon-rich fossil fuel sources whose combustion produces CO{sub 2}, the main GHG causing global climate change. Furthermore, the direct relation between CO2 emissions and fossil fuels as they are used today makes energy consumption a useful proxy for carbon footprint. It would seem to be a simple matter to reduce energy consumption across the board, both individually and collectively, to help reduce our carbon footprints and therefore solve the energy-climate crisis. But just how much can we reduce carbon footprints when broader forces, such as growth in energy use, cause the total footprint to simultaneously expand? In this feature, I present a calculation of the carbon footprint of the Earth Sciences Division (ESD), the division in which I work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and discuss the potential for reducing this carbon footprint. It will be apparent that in terms of potential future carbon footprint reductions under projections of expected growth, ESD may be thought of as a microcosm of the situation of the world as a whole, in which alternatives to the business-as-usual use of fossil fuels are needed if absolute GHG emission reductions are to be achieved. Originally published in: Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, 1(1).
  • Hot for Warm Water Cooling
    Liquid cooling is key to reducing energy consumption for this generation of supercomputers and remains on the roadmap for the foreseeable future. This is because the heat capacity of liquids is orders of magnitude larger than that of air and once heat has been transferred to a liquid, it can be removed from the data center efficiently. The transition from air to liquid cooling is an inflection point providing an opportunity to work collectively to set guidelines for facilitating the energy efficiency of liquid-cooled High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities and systems. The vision is to use non-compressor-based cooling, to facilitate heat re-use, and thereby build solutions that are more energy-efficient, less carbon intensive and more cost effective than their air-cooled predecessors. The Energy Efficient HPC Working Group is developing guidelines for warmer liquid-cooling temperatures in order to standardize facility and HPC equipment, and provide more opportunity for reuse of waste heat. This report describes the development of those guidelines.
  • The Value of Energy Performance and Green Attributes in Buildings: A Review of Existing Literature and Recommendations for Future Research
    Labels, certifications, and rating systems for energy efficiency performance and “green” attributes of buildings have been available in the U.S. for over 10 years, and used extensively in the European Union and Australia for longer. Such certifications and ratings can make energy efficiency more visible, and could help spur demand for energy efficiency if these designations are shown to have a positive impact on sales or rental prices. This policy brief discusses the findings and methodologies from recent studies on this topic, and suggests recommendations for future research. Although there have been just a handful of studies within the last 10 years that have investigated these effects, a few key findings emerge: To maximize sales price impact, label or rating information must be disclosed early and visibly in the sales process; The approach to evaluating energy efficiency labels (e.g., ENERGY STAR) and general “green” certifications (e.g., LEED or GreenPoint Rated) may need to be different, depending on the type, vintage and market penetration of the label; Collaborative efforts to promote label adoption and build a large dataset of labeled buildings will be required to produce reliable study results.
  • Our Impending Energy, Climate, and Economic-Development Crisis
    Slides for talk presented at Conference: Renesan Institute for Lifelong Learning ; 2012-09-14 – 2012-11-14 ; Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States.

Documents Recently Added to Sector Resources

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by

These publications were recently added to GLRPPR’s Sector Resources. This list is continuously updated on the web, fed to GLRPPR’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, and is available as an RSS feed.

Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill
Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste where it accounts for almost 25 percent of U.S. methane emissions. Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables. Increasing the efficiency of our food system is a triple-bottom-line solution that requires collaborative efforts by businesses, governments and consumers. The U.S. government should conduct a comprehensive study of losses in our food system and set national goals for waste reduction; businesses should seize opportunities to streamline their own operations, reduce food losses and save money; and consumers can waste less food by shopping wisely, knowing when food goes bad, buying produce that is perfectly edible even if it’s less cosmetically attractive, cooking only the amount of food they need, and eating their leftovers.

The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels
This report challenges the underlying notion of the Clean Energy Standard: that “clean” can be measured by a single emission rate, ignoring land and water impacts and ignoring a technology’s full life cycle. This report analyses six fuels used to generate electricity — biomass, coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar (photovoltaic and concentrating solar power), and wind (both onshore and offshore). Water impacts, climate change impacts, air pollution impacts, planning and cost risk, subsidies and tax incentives, land impacts, and other impacts are all considered.

Great Lakes PAH reduction
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is engaged in a project funded by U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through 2014 to promote phase-out of coal tar-based pavement sealcoat (CTS) in order to reduce environmental loading of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Tools and strategies used in Minnesota will be disseminated to partner states in the Great Lakes Basin and beyond.

Sustainable Industries’ 2011 Green Office Guide
Learn strategies for creating a Green Team, a Sustainability Plan, and tools for tracking your progress. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Find out how to audit your current office operations, set goals and measure your success. Also learn how “green leases” can help your company save money. Ensure your purchasing decisions have the least impact on the environment and human health, while promoting social justice. Other sections include: Paper; Printing; Office Supplies; Technology; Vehicles; Furnishings; Cleaning Supplies; Food; Carbon Offsets & Green Power; Meetings; Event Planning.

Sustainable Energy Guide
A company’s physical location is probably the most resource intensive part of business operations. This Sustainable Energy Handbook aims to address energy use in facilities and transportation.

Eco-Health Relationship Browser
The Eco-Health Relationship Browser illustrates the linkages between human health and ecosystem services–benefits supplied by Nature. This interactive tool provides information about our nation’s ecosystems, the services they provide, and how those services, or their degradation and loss, may affect people.

Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater
Expanding water reuse–the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation–could significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. Water Reuse presents a portfolio of treatment options available to mitigate water quality issues in reclaimed water along with new analysis suggesting that the risk of exposure to certain microbial and chemical contaminants from drinking reclaimed water does not appear to be any higher than the risk experienced in at least some current drinking water treatment systems, and may be orders of magnitude lower. This report recommends adjustments to the federal regulatory framework that could enhance public health protection for both planned and unplanned (or de facto) reuse and increase public confidence in water reuse. PDF download available at no charge. Print copy: $64.

Medical Waste: Product Stewardship — Extended Producer Responsiblity
Resource conservation has become an important issue internationally, especially in communities suffering from economic difficulty. Resource conservation is dependent on markets, locations willing to accept used materials and reprocess them to put them back on the market, or turn the materials into something else for resale.

Meaningful Impact: Challenges and Opportunities in Industrial Energy Efficiency Program Evaluation
Impact evaluation of industrial energy efficiency programs is a necessary activity to ensure public funds are used in a responsible manner. However, some stakeholders believe the manner in which industrial programs are currently evaluated for their impacts does not accurately reflect the reality of how customers use industrial energy efficiency programs. Others believe the metrics sought in evaluation are not meaningful and alternatives could be considered.

This report is based on interviews and surveys of program administrators, evaluators, and regulators. It discusses how industrial energy efficiency program evaluation is conducted and the types of data and metrics derived by evaluators. It discusses six issues in-depth that were of particular interest to respondents. They are:

  • The development of a facility’s baseline
  • The timing of evaluation activities
  • The measurement of net savings and the use of net-to-gross ratios
  • The measurement of free riders and their associated savings
  • The measurement of spillover effect
  • The measurement of non-energy benefits

Stakeholders believe many of the above components of evaluation are insufficiently or inaccurately conducted. This report explains these concerns about each issue and suggests best practices and suggested directions for improvement where available and applicable.

EPA’s DfE Standard for Safer Products (DfE Standard)
This document establishes minimum requirements for identifying cleaning products that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s DfE Safer Product Labeling Program (also know as the Formulator Program) criteria.

Documents Recently Added to Sector Resources

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 by

These publications were recently added to GLRPPR’s Sector Resources. This list is continuously updated on the web, fed to GLRPPR’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, and is available as an RSS feed.

Green Hotel Pilot Project Final Report
In the spring of 2009 and in conjunction with the New York State Governor’s Green Hospitality & Tourism Partnership (the Partnership), NYS Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) initiated a pilot test of a green certification program for the NYS hotel industry, using the Audubon International Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program as the third party certifier. To this end, the “Green Hotel Pilot Project” was created. The project’s goal was to test a program aimed at assisting lodging properties in reducing their environmental footprint and improving their competiveness while saving operating costs and increasing revenue by attracting environmentally conscious tourists. In addition to the participants demonstrating the certification process, they would increase the population of green certified hotels and be featured in green tourism marketing.

New York State Printing Industry Report: Positioning Industry for the Future: Energy, Environment, Sustainability
The Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in collaboration with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), RadTech-The UV & EB Technology Association, and the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) set out to understand the state of the New York State commercial printing industry and to what extent industry has faced or is currently facing challenges associated with energy, environment and sustainability.

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