Archive for the 'Renewable/Alternative Energy' Category

Overview of P2 GHG & Cost Savings Calculators

Friday, June 5th, 2009 by

It’s the final day of the GLRPPR/Region 7 Conference in Indianapolis, IN. On the agenda for this afternoon is a webinar presented by Natalie Hummel of the U.S. EPA providing an overview of two new measurement tools developed by U.S. EPA Headquarters. The GHG Calculator is designed to assist P2 managers, staff and grantees in calculating greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from established conversion factors in the following categories:

  • Electricity Conservation (GHG reductions from electricity conversation or reduced use of energy)
  • Green Energy (GHG reductions from switching to greener or renewable energy sources)
  • Fuel Substitution (GHG reductions from reduced fuel use, substitution to greener fuels)
  • Greening Chemistry (GHG reductions from reduced use of GWP chemicals)
  • Water Conservation (GHG reductions from reduced water use)
  • Materials Management (GHG reductions from green manufacturing processes and waste management scenarios)
  • Cross Reference to other applicable tools (A reference table that provides end users an overview of applicable GHG tools and models)

The P2 Results Database, a web-based tool, designed to collect and quantify P2 progress related to air, water, waste and energy reductions from non-profits, local, state, and federal entities plays a significant role in demonstrating P2 benefits on a regional and national level. A critical part of the P2 Results Database is documenting cost savings that result from government, businesses and facilities implementing P2 activities. This database uses a P2 cost calculator to quantify cost savings based on established methodologies and sound research. Over the last several months, the Pollution Prevention Program worked to update and redesign the tool to enhance functionality and better document cost benefits over time. Today’s webinar will also provide an overview of the cost calculator tool.

If you were unable to attend this week’s conference and/or the webinar provided today, or if you would like to recommend the webinar to your colleagues, the Western Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Network (WSPPN) will be providing a similar webinar on June 18, 2009. See the GLRPPR calendar entry for the WSPPN webinar for details and a link to the event registration page.

For more useful calculators and links to your regional module of the P2 Results Data System, see the GLRPPR P2 Measurement & Calculators Sector Resource.

Spotlight: Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 by

Continuing our focus on Indiana P2 programs, the Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI), based at Purdue University, provides technical assistance, outreach, education, planning services and research to facilitate the adoption of pollution prevention/clean manufacturing strategies by Indiana manufacturing facilities.

CMTI offers assistance in all manufacturing sectors, but has special expertise in plastics (including fiber reinforced plastic), wood products, metal finishing, metal and plastic coatings, foundries and motor vehicle parts manufacturing.

CMTI co-founded (in 1996), and continues to manage, the Coating Applications Research Laboratory (CARL) on the Purdue campus. The lab allows manufacturers to test state-of-the-art coating and curing technologies under the guidance of CMTI engineers expert in their application. CMTI also offers ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) services businesses and government entities. Training and energy efficiency assessments are also provided by CMTI.

Check out the CMTI web site for an archive of Technology Transfer/Pollution Prevention Case Studies. You can also browse the CMTI Clearinghouse Bibliography online.

February 2009 Site of the Month: Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Sunday, February 1st, 2009 by

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change was established in 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization. The Center’s mission is to provide credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. Extensive information is available on the Center’s web site and organized into section on Global Warming Basics, Science & Impacts, Technology Solutions, and Economics. Information is also organized by policy level, including International, U.S. Federal, U.S. States & Regions and Business. The home page features links to hot topics, facts & figures, an overview of what’s new, and brief summaries of Pew Center initiatives. An e-mail newsletter and RSS feed are also available to help you keep up-to-date with new developments.

Michigan Renewable Energy Package Signed Into Law

Thursday, October 9th, 2008 by

On October 6, 2008, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan signed a bipartisan renewable energy package that will reportedly “create jobs, diversify Michigan’s economy, and save customers money on their electric bills by ensuring that the bulk of Michigan’s future energy needs are produced from renewable energy resources and energy efficiency savings.”

The three-bill package includes a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that mandates 10 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2015, regulatory reform that protects Michigan ratepayers and allows utility companies to build new electricity generation in Michigan, and a requirement that utilities meet an additional 5.5 percent of Michigan’s annual electricity demands through energy efficiency by 2015. The package also includes an income tax credit to offset a portion of ratepayers’ investments in renewable energy for Michigan and a “net metering” law that allows customers to sell renewable electricity they produce at their homes or businesses to their utility companies.

Read the full press release here. See the Michigan Office of the Governor web site to listen to a podcast by Governor Granholm regarding the passing of this legislation.

Registration Open for Biofuels and Sustainability Conference

Friday, September 5th, 2008 by

Registration is now open for the Biofuels and Sustainability Conference to be held at the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, IL on October 21-22. This event will provide a forum for researchers, policy makers, students, activists and industry leaders to share and gain perspectives regarding the entire life-cycle of the biofuels industry–from feedstock development through fuel consumption. Diverse constituencies will be able to network and develop future directions and strategies regarding this important and complex topic and examine innovations that can improve the sustainability of the biofuels industry.

See the conference website for a detailed description of the event, a list of speakers, and registration information.

Remember that if you have events related to sustainability and pollution prevention that you would like to promote to the region, you can suggest them for the GLRPPR Calendar by sending them to Wayne Duke. Events posted to the GLRPPR Calendar also appear in relevant Sector Resources and are featured on the RSS feeds for those Sector Resources.

September 2008 Site of the Month: US Business Council for Sustainable Development

Monday, September 1st, 2008 by

The United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) is a non-profit association of businesses whose purpose is to deliver highly focused, collaborative projects that help its members and partners demonstrate leadership in the United States on sustainable development and realize business value. US BCSD leverages member participation and partner support to serve five platforms of activity — By-product Synergy, Ecosystem Services, Value and Supply Chain, Energy and Climate Change, and Water Resource Management. In addition to information on each of these activity areas, the US BCSD web site includes member/partner profiles, information on joining the council, and a list of upcoming events.

P2 Go Bragh: Emerald Isle

Monday, March 17th, 2008 by

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! For those of us of Irish descent (and those who pretend to be Irish, if just for today), I thought it would be appropriate to spend some time considering environmental initiatives in Ireland. Here are a few examples of green activities on the Emerald Isle:

  • Wind Power: According to Sustainable Energy Ireland, “wind energy provides electricity to the equivalent of 40 million European citizens, and wind farms in Ireland supply enough clean green power to support over 146,000 users.” Their web site provides an interactive map of existing wind farms in Ireland (as of April 2007). A recent post on the Green Tech Blog (“Ireland: Where Wind Power is King” by Michael Kanellos) discusses the great potential for further wind farm development on the island, both on and offshore.
  • Cultivate Living and Learning Centre: The Cultivate Centre in Dublin serves as a hub for environmental activities and ideas. Their web site provides a green map of Dublin; environmental workshop listing; a directory of schools, businesses and other organizations in Ireland that are teaching or training and have principles of sustainability rooted in their mission and strategies; information on energy issues and climate change; and a host of other resources. The themes addressed in their educational programs include green building, permaculture and organic gardening, renewable energy, energy conservation, and rethinking urban design and planning.
  • Cleaner Greener Production Programme (CGPP): This program of Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency encourages Irish business and industry to produce goods and services in more environmentally friendly ways. That agency defines “Cleaner Greener Production” as “the application of integrated preventive environmental strategies to processes, products and services to increase overall efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the environment, for example: (1) Production processes: conserving raw materials and energy, eliminating toxic raw materials and reducing the quantity and toxicity of all emissions and wastes (2) Products: reducing negative impacts along the life cycle of a product, from raw materials extraction to its ultimate disposal (3) Services: encouraging and supporting the development of higher environmental performance in the service sector, by incorporating environmental concerns into designing and delivering services.”

CGPP logo

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.

The face of green energy — "Porcupine Hills" near Burbank, WA

Sunday, February 24th, 2008 by

Birds landing at McNary wildlife refuge near Burbank, WA, originally uploaded by Scott Butner.

The area around my home poses an interesting dichotomy — the world’s most polluted, most expensive environmental clean-up (the Hanford site) and huge expanses of relatively clean wind power, sitting within eyesight of one another.

This is a shot looking south towards the Stateline Wind Farm project, near the alliteratively named town of Walla Walla, Washington. The view is from the McNary Wildlife Refuge, a very popular stopping point for waterfowl every winter. Every evening, tens of thousands of migratory waterfowl come to roost in the fields and ponds here, making a heckuva racket — actually a lot louder than the windmills, in many cases.

You’ll be seeing a lot of windmills in the P2 Picture Post of the week, partly because I’m fascinated by them, and partly because they are so common around here that it’s hard to avoid them.

By the way, these are not actually CALLED the Porcupine Hills — at least not to my knowledge.  I just happen to think they look like porcupines with all the wind towers sticking off the ridge lines.

SB

P2 for Winter Recreation

Monday, December 31st, 2007 by

For those of us who live in the Great Lakes Region, it’s the time of year when snow and ice set the scene. Visions of a winter wonderland may be inspiring you to participate in any number of wintry recreational activities, including skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling, etc. Before you join in any reindeer games, however, you may want to take a moment to consider how P2 applies. Here are some resources to help you out.