Check Out GLRPPR’s Sustainable School Design Topic Hub

The Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) has developed a Topic Hub on Sustainable School Design that addresses many areas, including: indoor air quality; energy consumption and options; construction materials; education materials; water use; waste management; transportation; community interaction; landscaping and the building envelope. It draws upon the myriad resources available to school administrators, school boards, and community planners with the hope that these tools will guide the design of more optimally sustainable schools. The Topic Hub deals with the big issues of construction and retrofitting, siting and commissioning, and actual design of new and remodeled schools. Pollution prevention opportunities and alternative technologies that include lighting, acoustics, air quality, and well-being needs for students and school staff for a healthy and safe learning environment, are presented. Case studies and a glossary of terms are also provided, as well as a “Curricula” section that focuses on teacher training, classroom curricula for grades K-12, college and graduate level programs, community outreach, student-led community projects, and administrator education related to sustainable development and building design.

New resources are continuously added to the Hub’s “Complete List of Links.” If you would like to suggest links for the hub or have other comments, please contact Joy Scrogum.

See the main Topic Hub menu on the GLRPPR web site for other Hubs maintained by GLRPPR and other Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) centers.

Pollution Prevention Internship Programs

Check out the new U.S. EPA web page listing information on pollution prevention (P2) internship programs throughout the country. Internships allow college students the chance to gain valuable career experience. Internship programs listed include those at government agencies, non-profits, universities and even businesses (such as Greenmaker Building Supply in Chicago, IL).

Thanks to Beth Anderson of U.S. EPA for sharing the link to this page. She noted that the information on the page was compiled by an intern named Lauren, appropriately enough, so thanks to Lauren too!

Documents recently added to GLRPPR sector resources

Below are some of the recent additions to GLRPPR’s sector resources. These updates are also available as an RSS feed.

  • BuildItSolar: The Renewable Energy Site for Do-It-Yourselfers
    Fri, 20 Jun 2008 15:27:08 GMT
    Build It Solar includes plans, tools and information to do renewable energy and conservation projects. Includes links to The Half Project, one family’s program to cut their energy use, energy costs, and CO2 emissions in half. Excellent resource for DIY solar information.
  • Guidelines for Avoiding Wood from Endangered Forests
    Fri, 20 Jun 2008 14:44:25 GMT
    This document includes examples of key high-demand tree species extracted from endangered forests. The document also includes examples of more environmentally sound alternative materials and their sources.
  • Drive Green
    Thu, 19 Jun 2008 19:51:06 GMT
    Compilation of articles, video, and blog entries from Popular Mechanics about energy-efficient driving and alternative fuel vehicles. Includes features on new technologies, test drives of new vehicles, analysis, tips, and related material.
  • Online News Hour: Alternative Fuels
    Thu, 19 Jun 2008 19:49:58 GMT
    News and features about alternative automotive fuels such as ethanol, natural gas, hydrogen, electric, and biodiesel. Includes reports, case studies, classroom materials, and interactive features such as “How Does Your Car Stack Up?” that considers carbon dioxide output and fuel costs.
  • Edmunds Green Car Guide
    Thu, 19 Jun 2008 16:54:40 GMT
    This buying guide features articles on fuel-efficient cars, alternative fuels and new technologies (such as biodiesel, electric, and compressed natural gas), hybrid vehicles, improving gas mileage (covering “hypermilers,” who try to beat the EPA average fuel economy ratings), and oil and gas prices. From Edmunds, producers of consumer automotive information.
  • Doing Well by Doing Good? Green Office Buildings
    Thu, 19 Jun 2008 14:59:25 GMT
    This paper provides the first credible evidence on the economic value of the certification of “green buildings” in the commercial sector — value derived from impersonal market transactions rather than engineering estimates. We match publicly available information on the addresses of Energy-Star and LEED-rated office buildings to a commercial data source detailing the characteristics of U.S. office buildings and their rental rates. We analyze the micro data on 694 certified green buildings and on 7489 other office buildings located within a quarter mile of the certified buildings. We find systematic evidence that rents for green offices are about two percent higher than rents for comparable buildings located nearby. Effective rents, i.e., rents adjusted for the occupancy levels in office buildings, are about six percent higher in green buildings than in comparable office buildings nearby. At prevailing capitalization rates, conversion of the average non-green building to an equivalent green building would add more than $5 million in market value. These results are robust to the statistical models employed.
  • Truckers – Clean Diesel Grants and Loans
    Thu, 19 Jun 2008 14:41:30 GMT
    This page is designed for truck owners seeking information about loans and grants for eligible clean diesel projects under the National Clean Diesel Campaign.
  • Drinking Water Treatability Database
    Wed, 18 Jun 2008 19:51:06 GMT
    The Drinking Water Treatability Database (TDB) presents referenced information on the control of contaminants in drinking water. It allows drinking water utilities, first responders to spills or emergencies, treatment process designers, research organizations, academicians, regulators and others to access referenced information gathered from thousands of literature sources and assembled on one site. It includes more than 25 treatment processes used by drinking water utilities. The literature includes bench-, pilot-, and full-scale studies of surface waters, ground waters and laboratory waters. The literature includes peer-reviewed journals and conferences, other conferences and symposia, research reports, theses, and dissertations.
  • Adapting to Climate Change: A Business Approach
    Wed, 18 Jun 2008 16:17:43 GMT
    This report outlines a sensible business approach to analyzing and adapting to the physical risks of climate change. It focuses on a critical first step in assessing these climate impacts: understanding the potential risks to business and the importance of taking action to mitigate those risks. Not all businesses need to take action now; this paper develops a qualitative screening process to assess whether a business is likely to be vulnerable to the physical risks associated with climate change, and whether a more detailed risk assessment is warranted.
  • Do Your Part! for Climate Friendly Parks
    Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:56:27 GMT
    Do Your Part! for Climate Friendly Parks is the first interactive online program in the country that provides national park visitors and supporters with the tools to understand and reduce their carbon footprints and thereby help to protect our national parks from global warming. Do Your Part! is sponsored by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) in support of the National Park Service’s Climate Friendly Parks program. Do Your Part!’s interactive mapping feature lets you explore park goals and the progress park stakeholders are making towards those goals. Its carbon calculator provides the tools you need to understand your current carbon footprint and then set goals to reduce your impact. Its tracking tool displays progress in real time towards park and related group goals.

Tech Tip: Google Guide and my favorite Google tricks

Developed by Nancy Blachman, Google Guide is a comprehensive resource for getting the most out of web search using Google. Although most of the information here is also available through Google’s Help Center (, the tutorial format is unique. I also like the links to Google cheat sheets for advanced search and the calculator. They are based on Google’s own cheat sheet, which is also available in the Help Center.

Although I realize that most people (except for search geeks like me) probably won’t ever use most of the features that Google has to offer, there are a couple of features that I use often and find very helpful. They are:


The query [define:] will provide a definition of the words you enter after it, gathered from various online sources. The definition will be for the entire phrase entered (i.e., it will include all the words in the exact order you typed them).  See the results of define:biomimicry for an example.


If you include [site:] in your query, Google will restrict the results to those websites in the given domain. See the results of biodiesel for an example.

What’s your favorite Google search trick? Share in the comments.

RSS in Plain English

[Post authored by Tyler Rubach]

As the web developer and resident “geek” of our office, I’m asked a lot questions regarding technologies that are shaping the web. One of the most common questions I get is “What’s so cool about RSS anyhow?”. While I fancy myself as someone who can speak technology in “Plain English”, the folks at Common Craft have created a video demonstrating simply and effectively why RSS is such a great tool. Check it out below!

Now that you’re an expert on consuming RSS feeds, here are the RSS feeds that GLRPPR offers:

If any of you have any additional tips or tricks with regard to RSS feeds, please leave a comment.

June 2008 Site of the Month: Illinois Green Cleaning Schools Act

This portion of Illinois Lt. Governor Pat Quinn’s web site provides information on the Illinois Green Cleaning Schools Act, which was enacted on August 13, 2007. Illinois schools began to be required to purchase and use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies on May 9, 2008, with the provision that they may deplete their existing supplies of cleaning products as of that date. The site includes a link to the text of the act, and the guidelines and specifications created by the Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council for use by schools. Contact information is provided for questions regarding the act and guidelines, as well as a list of qualified supplies, an application for alternative qualification, an exemption notification form for schools, fact sheets on the act, and benefits of green cleaning. Links to alternative qualification standards (EcoLogo and GreenSeal) and other resources are provided, as well as a form for schools to submit their own stories regarding the implementation of green cleaning programs.