Oct 26, 2016

Via @FastCompany 2 MINUTE READ The World's Largest Purchasers Are Asking Suppliers To Reveal Total Environmental Impact

FASTCOMPANY: With an annual budget of close to $500 billion, when the U.S. Department of Defense changes how it decides what products to buy, manufacturers listen. The department is testing a new system that would require suppliers to report the total environmental effects of each product throughout its lifecycle—from water use in manufacturing to the carbon footprint of how it's used.

It's one of several major government agencies and corporations that are starting to consider sustainability as part of the "total cost of ownership" of the products they buy. In a new report, the nonprofit CDP reports that 77% of the world's largest companies now engage with suppliers on climate change strategies.

"The largest companies in the world are definitely seeing this opportunity and beginning to act on this opportunity," says Dexter Galvin, the head of CDP's supply chain program.

When new procurement policies focus on sustainability, it pushes suppliers to innovate. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, for example, designed new servers based on the guidance from the Department of Defense. Depending on the task, the servers can use as much as 90% less energy during use; they're also much smaller, using just 10% of the space of a normal server.

If all servers around the world were replaced with the same type of extreme low-energy equipment, CDP calculated that it could cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 100 million tons (roughly the same amount as taking 20 million cars off the road for a year). It could also save customers as much as $12 billion on energy bills.

Another DOD supplier, Lockheed Martin, came up with a new service program for satellites that can extend their life by several years. It eliminates the impacts of making replacement satellites, and again, saves money—an estimated $2.4 billion over a decade.

When cutting carbon costs involves selling fewer products, manufacturers are also starting focus on different business models. "A good example would be Rolls-Royce, who have moved to longer-term relationships with their customers," says Galvin. "It's much more around servicing the product that they're producing rather than selling more and more kit."

For huge corporations like Walmart, much of the carbon footprint of the products it sells come from manufacturing or consumer use; pressure on suppliers can help drive those emissions down. To date, by asking more than 1,000 suppliers to report on carbon emissions, the company has helped eliminate 28.2 million metric tons of CO2.

A 2015 executive order from the White House, which asked agencies to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40% over the next decade compared to 2008 levels, will save taxpayers an estimated $18 billion.

Green Lunchroom Challenge Webinar Oct. 13: Waste Reduction with SCARCE

Join the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) Thursday, October 13 for a Green Lunchroom Challenge Webinar, "Waste Reduction with SCARCE." The webinar will be broadcast from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM Central, and will be recorded and posted to the Challenge web site for later viewing. Register online at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6855430088212534276.

School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE), is an environmental education and assistance organization based in DuPage County, IL. Kay McKeen, SCARCE Founder and Executive Director, and Erin Kennedy, Environmental Educator and LEED GA, will discuss resources and guidance available from SCARCE to help your school or district achieve food waste reduction and diversion goals.

Coordinated by ISTC with funding from US EPA Region 5, the Green Lunchroom Challenge is a voluntary pledge program for schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations. By registering, participants are accepting the challenge to reduce and prevent food waste in their facilities. The Challenge involves suggested activities that range in complexity and commitment, to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget and available community resources. Participants are not required to complete activities, but with each activity that is completed successfully, they earn points and can be recognized as having achieved different levels of accomplishment. Learn more, and register your school or district, at www.greenlunchroom.org.

Treasury and Commerce Department Ease Trade Barriers with Cuba

​(Paint.org)​ The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) have amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), respectively. OFAC and BIS made these amendments in support of the process of normalizing bilateral relations with Cuba.

The changes, which implement the new policy direction toward Cuba that President Obama announced in December 2014, took effect Oct. 17 and are intended to further engage and empower the Cuban people and promote political, social, and economic reform in Cuba by easing sanctions related to, among others, scientific collaboration, humanitarian activities, trade and commerce, and travel.

A fact sheet on the amendments is available here.

OSHA Updates Safety and Health Programs Recommended Practices

​(paint.org) On Oct.18, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released updated guidelines for safety and health programs recommended practices. The recommendations — which are advisory only and do not create any new legal obligations or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations — update OSHA's 1989 guidelines to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues.

The recommendations feature a new, easier-to-use format and should be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized businesses. They also include a section on multi-employer workplaces and a greater emphasis on continuous improvement, as well as supporting tools and resources.

The OSHA recommendations feature seven core elements for a safety and health program: management leadership; worker participation; hazard identification and assessment; hazard prevention and control; education and training; program evaluation and improvement; and communication and coordination for host employers, contractors, and staffing agencies.

OSHA's best practices are not prescriptive; they are built around a core set of business processes that can be implemented to suit a particular workplace in any industry. OSHA says it has witnessed their successful implementation in manufacturing, construction, health care, technology, retail, services, higher education, and government.

The OSHA guidelines follow key principles such as worker participation in finding solutions, and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards.

"Since OSHA's original guidelines were published more than 25 years ago, employers and employees have gained a lot of experience in how to use safety and health programs to systematically prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable."

The recommended practices for safety and health programs may be downloaded here.

OSHA Proposes Revision of Lockout/Tagout Standard

(paint.org) On Oct. 4, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a proposed rule (81 FR 68504) in an effort to remove or revise what the agency believes are outdated, duplicative, or unnecessary requirements in the regulations. One component that might be of concern for ACA members is the revision of the lockout/tagout standard. Currently, the lockout/tagout rule requires employers to have safety systems in place to prevent workers from being injured by machinery that starts operating without warning.

OSHA is seeking to remove or revise outdated, duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent requirements in its safety and health standards in response to President Obama's Executive Order 13563, ''Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review. The current review, the fourth in this ongoing effort, is called Standards Improvement Project-Phase IV (SIP–IV). The goal of the proposed rulemaking is to reduce regulatory burden while maintaining or enhancing employees' safety and health. SIP–IV focuses primarily on OSHA's construction standards. OSHA is accepting comments on its proposal through Dec. 5, 2016.

Currently, 29 CFR § 1910.147 states that the lockout/tagout "standard covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization." OSHA is proposing to remove the phrase "unexpected" from the regulations, reasoning that it takes away from the original intention of the rule, which is that "a de-energized machine or piece or equipmentcannot be restarted unless the worker servicing it personally removes the lockout or tagout device he or she has applied" (81 FR 68506).  Additionally, OSHA believes it would harmonize the general industry lockout/tagout standard with the agency's shipyard lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1915.89).

The proposal is a response to two conflicting appeals court and review board decisions from the mid-1990s.  First, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) rejected the argument that the lockout/tagout rule does not apply when employees are given some sort of warning and thus the re-energization is not necessarily unexpected (Sec. of Labor v. Gen. Motors Corp., OSHRC, No. 91-2973, 4/26/95).  However, the following year, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected OSHA's interpretation of "unexpected", stating that the lockout/tagout rule did not apply where a startup procedure for the machine provided some sort of warning or alert for the worker that was servicing it decision (Reich v. Gen. Motors Corp., 89 F.3d 313, 17 OSHC 1673 (6th Cir. 1996)).

With the proposed revision of the rule, OSHA hopes to clear up the confusion, and revert back to what it believes is the original understanding of the standard; that is, all equipment servicing activities in which there are energization, start up, or stored energy hazards.  However, concerns have been raised as to the effectiveness of automated alerts and controls, especially as technology becomes more advanced. Many parties believe that by ignoring the GMC Delco decision, OSHA ignores the effectiveness of automated controls in making workers aware of potential re-energization.

Fukushima decommissioning costs soar to at least $24bn

Cleanup costs of the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant over the next three decades will be far more than TEPCO previously estimated. An expert panel is now considering ways to avoid increasing the "public burden."

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has estimated that it will cost around 80-billion yen ($770 million) annually to clean up the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. But a new study released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry says that the cost to complete a 30-year decommissioning process is likely to cost far more than the two trillion yen ($19 billion) initially estimated by TEPCO, Kyodo News reported.

The ministry said that decommissioning costs will continue to run at several hundred billion yen a year, totalling at least 2.5 trillion yen ($24 billion).

"The panel is considering ways in which TEPCO can secure funds while avoiding an increase in public burden," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference. "It is still discussing the issue."

The nuclear plant operator did not comment on the government projection, as the company is still trying to work out the total cleanup cost figures.

"It is difficult to calculate the entire cost for the decommissioning," TEPCO spokesman Shinichi Nakakuki said, as quoted by Japan Today.

The two-trillion-yen figure previously estimated by TEPCO factored in expenses for removing nuclear debris based on the cleanup effort of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear incident in the US. That estimate also included the costs and equipment needed to keep the reactors at Fukushima stable, the spokesman stressed.

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake struck northeastern Japan at 2:46pm local time, unleashing a deadly tsunami. At the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the tsunami caused a cooling system failure resulting in a nuclear meltdown and release of radioactive materials.

Five years after the disaster, TEPCO faces massive liabilities as it decommissions the facility, compensates tens of thousands of evacuees, and pays for decontamination of the area.

The firm has cut its costs and raised prices, but its long-term sustainability remains in doubt. To cope with the financial pressure, TEPCO was forced to seek government assistance in July.

Read full at:

Oct 19, 2016

MUST HAVE! 19th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference Keynote Presentations

Keynote Presentations from the 19th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference
Sustainability Presentations (Track A)
Success Story Presentations (Track B)
Water Presentations (Track C)

The State of the Birds United States of America...Indicators of Our Nation’s Environmental Health

The United States is blessed with diverse landscapes, a wealth of natural resources, and spectacular wildlife, including more than 800 bird species...

In the past 200 years, however, the U.S. human population has skyrocketed from about 8 million to 300 million. As we have harvested energy and food, grown industries, and built cities, we have often failed to consider the consequences to nature. During our history, we have lost a part of our natural heritage—and degraded and depleted the resources upon which our quality of life depends. We have lost more than half of our nation's original wetlands, 98% of our tallgrass prairie, and virtually all virgin forests east of the Rockies. Since the birth of our nation, four American bird species have gone extinct, including the Passenger Pigeon, once the world's most abundant bird. At least 10 more species are possibly extinct.

Birds are bellwethers of our natural and cultural health as a nation— they are indicators of the integrity of the environments that provide us with clean air and water, fertile soils, abundant wildlife, and the natural resources on which our economic development depends. In the past 40 years, major public, private, and government initiatives have made strides for conservation. Has it been enough? How are birds faring?

In an unprecedented partnership, government wildlife agencies and conservation groups have come together to produce this first comprehensive analysis of the state of our nation's birds. The results are sobering: bird populations in many habitats are declining—a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems. Where we have been negligent too long, such as in Hawaii, we are on the verge of losing entire suites of unique and beautiful birds and native plant communities.

At the same time, we see heartening evidence that birds can respond quickly and positively to conservation action. Many waterfowl species have undergone significant increases in the past 40 years, a testament to coordinated conservation efforts in wetlands. Through focused conservation efforts, we have brought magnificent Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles back from the brink of extinction.

We ask you to join us in continuing to reverse the damage to our nation's habitats and protect our remaining natural landscapes—the foundation upon which our precious resources, our wildlife, and the lives of our children depend. Cooperative conservation efforts among the government, conservation organizations, and ordinary citizens—private landowners, hunters, and bird watchers—really are making a difference​

Bob Ford, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Paul Schmidt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Miyoko Chu, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Let's forget global warming...but one question for our next president

Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016: A Starting Point for Workplace Safety

Every October, the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff.

One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, our inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.

More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline.

Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements

It's no coincidence that falls are among the leading causes of worker deaths, particularly in construction, and our top 10 list features lack of fall protection as well as ladder and scaffold safety issues. We know how to protect workers from falls, and have an ongoing campaign to inform employers and workers about these measures. Employers must take these issues seriously.

We also see far too many workers killed or gruesomely injured when machinery starts up suddenly while being repaired, or hands and fingers are exposed to moving parts. Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are often the culprit here. Proper lockout/tagout procedures ensure that machines are powered off and can't be turned on while someone is working on them. And installing guards to keep hands, feet and other appendages away from moving machinery prevents amputations and worse.

Respiratory protection is essential for preventing long term and sometimes fatal health problems associated with breathing in asbestos, silica or a host of other toxic substances. But we can see from our list of violations that not nearly enough employers are providing this needed protection and training.

The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts, and high number of violations for powered industrial trucksafety, tell us that many workers are not being properly trained to safely drive these kinds of potentially hazardous equipment.

Rounding out the top 10 list are violations related to electrical safety, an area where the dangers are well-known.

Our list of top violations is far from comprehensive. OSHA regulations cover a wide range of hazards, all of which imperil worker health and safety. And we urge employers to go beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale. To help them, we have released new recommendations for creating a safety and health program at their workplaces...

Read full from Thomas Galassi the director of enforcement programs for OSHA.

OSHA reaches out to grain-handling industry in response to recent tragedies and near disasters

Grain silo engulfment

Since January, grain-handling facilities in Nebraska and Kansas have had four preventable incidents that resulted in two deaths. In March, a superintendent at a grain-handling site in Prosser, Neb., suffered fatal injuries caused by an operating auger as he drew grain from a bin. In May, a maintenance worker in West Point, Neb., died from injuries suffered when a wall of corn product in a grain bin collapsed and engulfed him. Other incidents also involved workers becoming trapped in a grain bin or injured by augers, including the amputation of a worker's leg in Ellsworth, Kan.

OSHA urges industry employers and workers to implement safety and health programs to avoid similar tragedies. OSHA officials spoke at several grain and feed association meetings in Nebraska and Kansas on the most common hazards in the grain industry, which include engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, "struck by," combustible dust explosions and electrocution. For more information, see the news release.

Top 10 citations of FY 2016 are a place to start for workplace safety

OSHA today released its preliminary list of the10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from about 32,000 workplace inspections. Top hazards include lack of adequate fall protection, unsafe scaffolds, hazard communications problems, and lack of machine guarding. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that, by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces. Our list is far from comprehensive, but if all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, OSHA believes the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline. For the full list and more information, see the blog.

OSHA releases recommendations for creating a Safety and Health Plan

Recommended Practices for Safety and health Programs

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels today released a set of Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs to help employers establish a methodical approach to improving safety at their workplaces. The recommendations update OSHA's 1989 guidelines to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues. Key principles include: leadership from the top to send a message that safety and health is critical to business operations; worker participation in finding solutions; and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards. "We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable," said Dr. Michaels, who released the document at the National Safety Council Congress in Anaheim, Calif. In his remarks, he asked business groups and safety and health professionals to help spread the word through a campaign that encourages creation of a safety and health program using OSHA's recommendations or others.

EPA is Soliciting Nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

EPA is calling for nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  Nominations for companies and institutions that have developed innovative processes or products that are safer for the environment and good for business are due to the Agency by December 31, 2016.  EPA anticipates recognizing the winners at a ceremony in June 2017. Additional information on the program, past winners, and how to submit a nomination can be found at: www.epa.gov/greenchemistry.

Oct 18, 2016

EPA acts on fast-tracking requirements for five PBT chemicals via @jjkeller

Agency will propose limitations on use of substances after identifying variables

EPA is taking steps to carry out requirements in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act and to reduce exposure to certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals.

The five chemicals to receive expedited action are:

  • Decabromodiphenyl ethers (DecaBDE), used as a flame retardant in textiles, plastics and polyurethane foam;
  • Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), used in the manufacture of rubber compounds and lubricants and as a solvent;
  • Pentachlorothio-phenol (PCTP), used as an agent to make rubber more pliable in industrial uses;
  • Tris (4-isopropylphenyl) phosphate, used as a flame retardant in consumer products and other industrial uses; and
  • 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol, used as a fuel, oil, gasoline or lubricant additive.

The statutory deadline for EPA to propose action is June 22, 2019.

Read full at: https://www.jjkeller.com/learn/news/102016/EPA-acts-on-fast-tracking-requirements-for-five-PBT-chemicals

Very Bad Sign...Consumer Price Index - all items rose, largest 12-month increase

​What your next president will be blamed for over the next 2 years....
  • The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3%
  • Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.5%!
  • Increases in the shelter and gasoline indexes were the main causes of the rise
  • The gasoline index rose 5.8% in September
  • The shelter index increased largest increase since May.
  • The energy index increased 2.9%, its largest advance since April. 

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1% in September
Along with the shelter index, the indexes for medical care, motor vehicle insurance, and personal care all increased in September, as did the indexes for education, alcoholic beverages, airline fares, and tobacco.

The all items index rose 1.5% for the 12 months ending September, its largest 12-month increase since October 2014. 
The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2% for the 12 months ending September. 

​Read full report here:​

Week Three of National Cyber Security Awareness Month

In partnership with DHS, the National Cyber Security Alliance has released information on recognizing cyber crime and how to protect yourself online. Recommendations include deleting suspicious communications, being wary of "too good to be true" offers, and using strong authentication. The #CyberAware Tip of the Week is to keep a clean machinemake sure the security software on all your electronic devices is updated.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the Stop.Think.Connect. Phishing Tip Card and the US-CERT Tip Understanding Patches for additional information. Visit the US-CERT website for articles on Week 1 and Week 2 of the campaign.

Oct 14, 2016

Upcoming FREE Webinar - EPA "Toolkit" of Green Infrastructure Modeling Software

EPA's Office of Research and Development is hosting a webinar on its "toolkit" of five models and tools for planning, designing and evaluating green infrastructure.


DATE: Wednesday, October 26th

TIME: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

REGISTER: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3640117239990097666


During the webinar you will learn from EPA researchers about these tools:


·         GIWIZ, the Green Infrastructure Wizard. Presented by Dr. Marilyn Tenbrink 

·         VELMA, the Visualizing Ecosystems for Land Management Assessment Model. Presented by Dr. Bob McKane 

·         SWC, the National Stormwater Calculator. Presented by Jason Berner

·         SWMM, the Storm Water Management Model. Presented by Dr. Michael Tryby

·         WMOST, the Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool. Presented by Dr. Naomi Detenbeck 


This short video gives you a brief overview of each model, webinar homework if you will. J


(Ctrl + Click to open video)


And you can visit ORD's Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit site for more information.

Oct 6, 2016

Free Webinar Empowering remote communities with renewables using Hybrid Microgrids 19th October 2016 at 4pm UK time

Hybrid Microgrids: Towards sustainable and affordable energy access-for-all in Southeast Asia
19th October 2016 at 4pm UK time

Renewable energy deployment in off-grid systems is growing steadily in both developed and developing countries, due to declining costs and technological improvements.

At the same time, the market for off-grid renewable energy systems is expected to increase through the hybridisation of existing diesel grids with wind, solar PV, biomass gasification and small hydropower, especially on islands and in rural areas. Off-grid renewable energy systems are needed to connect the vast numbers of people still currently with no source of electricity, but are also appropriate for grid extension and are particularly relevant for island states, where inhabitants rely on diesel generators and spend a considerable percentage of gross domestic product on the import of fuels. Renewables are a cost-effective alternative.

This webinar will illustrate the technical and operational approaches currently being deployed by Schneider Electric, Engie and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for island microgrids, as well as focusing on evolving business models.

Register here:

Oct 5, 2016

H.R. 5460, First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides grants to help state, local, and tribal governments develop their capacity to prevent, prepare for, and respond to acts of terrorism. Under current law, equipment purchased using such grants must meet voluntary standards, developed by FEMA in coordination with appropriate federal agencies, the National Advisory Council, and private entities. Requests to use grants to purchase equipment that does not meet such standards, or for which no such standards exist, are subject to further review and approval by FEMA.

H.R. 5460 would require FEMA to implement a uniform process for reviewing applications for grants intended to support purchases of innovative equipment that does not meet or exceed current applicable standards or for which no voluntary standards exist. The bill also would require the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security to assess and report on FEMA's implementation of the new review process.

Read on at:

Amazon Announces a New 253-Megawatt Wind Farm in West Texas

On September 15, Amazon announced the "Amazon Wind Farm Texas," a new 253-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Scurry County, Texas, that according to the company will generate 1,000,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind energy annually—enough energy to power almost 90,000 U.S. homes. Amazon Wind Farm Texas will include more than 100 turbines, each with a rotor diameter twice as long as the wingspan of a Boeing 747. Scheduled to open in late 2017, Amazon Wind Farm Texas will be the company's largest renewable energy project to date.

Amazon previously announced wind and solar farms in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia that deliver energy to the electrical grids supplying both current and future Amazon Web Services Cloud data centers. The five projects together will generate more than 2.6 million MWh of renewable energy each year, enough to power more than 240,000 U.S. homes. Amazon contracted with Lincoln Clean Energy (LCE), which will construct, own,and operate the new wind farm. Amazon will purchase about 90% of the power generated by the wind farm. LCE is a developer of wind and solar projects across the United States. 

See the Amazon news release.

Energy Department Launches up to $30 Million Effort to Improve Solar Module Materials

The Energy Department on September 15 announced a new Energy Materials Network (EMN) consortium, the Durable Module Materials (DuraMat) National Lab Consortium, led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). DuraMat is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of new, high-performance materials for photovoltaic (PV) modules to lower the cost of electricity generated by solar power, while increasing their useful lifetime in the field.

The Energy Department's SunShot Initiative will provide DuraMat with an estimated $30 million over five years. Leveraging these funds, DuraMat will utilize the expertise and capabilities of the national laboratories to develop innovative new materials for module components. The consortium will support materials-improvement projects in partnership with industry and academia to further optimize reliability and energy harvest of low-cost PV modules. Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will join NREL as collaborators in the consortium.

In February, EERE announced the launch of EMN, an initiative crafted to give U.S. entrepreneurs and manufacturers a competitive edge in the global race for clean energy. EMN focuses on tackling the design, testing, and production of advanced materials. By strengthening and facilitating industry access to the unique scientific and technical advanced materials innovation resources available at the Energy Department's national laboratories, the network will help industry bring these materials to market more quickly. See the Energy Department news release.

Energy Department’s Better Buildings, Better Plants Program Saves $3 Billion

On September 23, the Energy Department announced that 12 partners in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program have met their energy or water savings goals this year. Plus, 30 new partners have joined the program—representing significant growth for the program to accelerate progress in energy and water savings. With these new members, Better Plants partners now represent more than 11% of the manufacturing sector's total energy footprint, with more than 2,500 facilities across the United States. So far, partners have reported cumulative energy savings of 600 trillion Btu, and nearly 35 million metric tons of avoided climate-changing carbon emissions.

Since President Obama launched the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program five years ago, partners have saved more than $3 billion in cumulative energy costs.The Better Buildings, Better Plants Program is part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, launched in 2011. The program's goal is to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20% more energy efficient within the first 10 years after each partner. 

See the Energy Department news release.

Manufacturers in U.S. Energy Department’s Better Plants Program Save More Than $2 Billion in Energy Costs; Program Expands to Help America’s Water Systems

WASHINGTON D.C.— Today, as the U.S. Department of Energy prepares to kick off October's National Energy Action Month, the department announced that manufacturers in its Better Buildings, Better Plants Program (Better Plants) have racked up an estimated $2.4 billion in cumulative energy cost savings over the last five years. Across America, manufacturers spend more than $200 billion each year to power their plants. As part of the Obama Administration's efforts to double energy productivity, American manufacturers and water and wastewater treatment agencies made a voluntary commitment to improve energy intensity by about 25 percent over ten years, or an equally ambitious level for their sector, through the Better Plants Program. Today, the department also announced that nine partners have met their energy efficiency targets this year.

Over the last year, 21 new industrial partners joined the Better Plants program, including 12 water and wastewater treatment agencies — part of a strategic expansion to increase energy efficiency across the nation's water infrastructure. Close to 160 industrial organizations representing more than 2,400 facilities are partnering with the Energy Department through Better Plants. Together, these partners consume about 2.2 quadrillion BTUs of energy, which is approximately 11.4 percent of the U.S. manufacturing sector's total use, or about the same as the state of Tennessee's annual energy consumption.

"When companies save energy, they also save money and reduce harmful carbon pollution," said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. "This is especially true in the manufacturing sector, where energy costs are often a significant contributor to total operating costs. Manufacturers participating in the Better Plants program, including our new partners in the water and wastewater treatment sector, are leading the way in showing how energy efficiency is a smart business strategy, as well as a smart conservation strategy that will help to protect our environment for future generations."

Read full at: http://energy.gov/articles/manufacturers-us-energy-department-s-better-plants-program-save-more-2-billion-energy-costs

The U.S.Has lost control of the internet....

ICANN, in a statement on Saturday, said that the transition will result in "no change or difference" in user experience.

The move raised political hackles in the United States. The leading voice against allowing the transition was Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). His argument is that ceding control of IANA gives foreign governments, including repressive regimes, power over what content is allowed on the internet through control of the creation of websites, according to The Washington Post. The story encapsulates ICANN's response, which was that the United States never had any control over content on the internet. The story links to the organization's full four-page response.

It's obviously a political season. The basic outlines of a story in which the U.S. is surrendering control of something to the international community, no matter what the nuances, was too good to pass by. Last Wednesday, attorneys general from Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada filed an emergency request to halt the move. On Friday, Judge George Hanks, Jr., who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, denied the request. The move went forward the next day.

Separately, InfoWorld reported yesterday that ICANN is beefing up internet security by transitioning to a technology called Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSec), which is a way to eliminate attacks in which crackers can hijack internet requests to, and point users toward, other, likely malicious, sites. The story says that the transition is long and carries a slight risk of problems that could temporarily affect internet performance.

Read full at: