Archive for the 'Technical assistance' Category

WaterSense H2Otel Challenge Webinars

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 by

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially launched the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge one month ago to help hotels assess, change, and track their water use using best management practices. Interested hotels can dive right in and take the pledge today, and any organization can help spread the word and recruit hotels.

As part of the H2Otel Challenge, WaterSense is offering a series of technical training webinars that begin this week. To learn more about the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge, review specific water best management practices, and hear from professionals who are using water more efficiently, register now:

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

 

U.S. EPA Region 5 hosts one-day green chemistry/green engineering training

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 by

On December 9, U.S. EPA Region 5 held a one-day training session that provided an introduction to green chemistry and engineering basics for pollution prevention technical assistance providers. The event was also broadcast as a webinar.

Speakers and topics included:

Online modules are also being developed using this training material. They will be available in early 2014. Training materials are available from the following links:

Agenda and Overview

Presentation Slides

Module Resources

Pictured (L-R): Jeri-Lyn Garl, USEPA Region 5; Kathy Davey, USEPA HQ; Laura Barnes; Dan Marsch; Laura Babcock, MNTAP; Daniel Tietelbaum, USEPA HQ; Christine Anderson, USEPA Region 5

Pictured (L-R): Jerri-Anne Garl, USEPA Region 5; Kathy Davey, USEPA HQ; Laura Barnes, GLRPPR; Dan Marsch, ISTC; Laura Babcock, MNTAP; Daniel Teitelbaum, USEPA HQ; Christine Anderson, USEPA Region 5

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:

 

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.

Webinar archive and presentation slides available for Using the TRI P2 Data Tool

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by

The webinar archive is available for viewing at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/280645215. If you view the archive, please fill out the webinar evaluation at https://illinois.edu/sb/sec/2218068. Your feedback helps us improve to better meet your information needs. The evaluation form will be available until August 1, 2013.

The slides from the webinar are available for download at http://hdl.handle.net/2142/44849.

TRI.NET, a downloadable application that allows you to select, sort, and filter TRI data, is available at http://www.epa.gov/tri/tridotnet/. This tool allows you combine TRI with other data sources, display your results on a map, and export your results into other applications for further analysis.

Links to TRI P2 materials, as well as many other resources useful to P2 practitioners, are available on GLRPPR’s Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide. The guide is continuously updated to bring you the tools to help you do your job better.

If you have questions or or comments about the TRI’s P2 data tools, you can contact Daniel Teitelbaum directly at Teitelbaum.daniel@epa.gov or call him at (202) 566-0964.

TRI P2 Tool and Tipsheet

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 by

I’m sharing this at the request of David Sarokin of EPA’s P2 program. I’ve also added the links to the Statistics and Data Sets tab (http://uiuc.libguides.com/p2/stats) on the Pollution Prevention 101 resource guide, which is available at http://uiuc.libguides.com/p2.

EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program would like to make you aware of a new pollution prevention search tool and ask for your help in sharing a TRI P2 Tip-sheet with any TRI reporting facilities you may work with. Note that all resources described below can be found at www.epa.gov/tri/p2.

TRI Pollution Prevention Search

TRI recently launched a new web tool to highlight reported P2 practices that reduce the use and environmental impact of toxic chemicals. This TRI Pollution Prevention Search displays TRI information collected under the Pollution Prevention Act in an integrated, easy-to-use fashion. The key strength of this tool is that it combines standardized, quantitative environmental metrics with qualitative information on the organizations and activities that have demonstrated environmental improvements (as described in the TRI P2 Fact Sheet).

P2 Reporting Tipsheet

If you’ve worked with one of the 20,000+ facilities that meet the TRI reporting criteria and helped them to reduce their toxic chemical pollution, then the optional P2 section of their TRI report is an opportunity to share these efforts! We encourage you to share the P2 Reporting Tipsheet with relevant facilities in advance of the July 1st TRI reporting deadline, along with any details you suggest including on their TRI report. If you wish you may include details about what was accomplished and who provided assistance in the writeable “notes” section on the front of the tip sheet.

Reporting this information through TRI is win-win-win for the facility, the TAP, and the public, as it publicly highlights organizations and companies who promote and implement P2 while also enabling EPA data users to learn about effective P2 practices and available resources. For more information, feel free to contact Daniel Teitelbaum of the TRI Program at Teitelbaum.daniel@epa.gov.

GLRPPR, Michigan RETAP, Bloom Centre for Sustainability featured in January 2013 issue of P2 Press

Monday, February 4th, 2013 by

Three pollution programs from the Great Lakes region were featured in the January 2013 issue P2 Press, published by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

The GLRPPR update focused on the organization’s leadership change, as well as recent webinars and other services. The Michigan RETAP update detailed three awards won by the program in 2012, as well as improvements made, and other program successes. The article about the Bloom Centre discusses a partnership between the Centre and the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters to deliver a Cleaner and Greener Manufacturing Program.