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:
- Coal Tar-Based Asphalt Sealcoats – A Health and Environmental Hazard
- Keeping Coal Tar Out of School Yards
- Avoiding High Costs from Stormwater Sediment Contaminated by Coal Tar-Based Sealcoats
- Avoiding Coal Tar-Based Asphalt Sealcoats
- Choosing a Coal Tar-Free Sealcoat
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
EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities is seeking letters of interest from state capital cities interested in receiving design assistance to create a clear and implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate smart growth strategies and green infrastructure systems. Letters of interest are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on September 23, 2013.
Design assistance is provided through the Greening America’s Capitals program, administered by EPA. EPA conducts the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Fourteen state capitals plus the District of Columbia have received assistance from the Greening America’s Capitals program to date; up to 5 capital cities will be selected in 2013.
EPA is providing this design assistance to help state capitals create stronger neighborhoods that protect the environment. EPA will fund a team of designers to visit the successful applicants’ capital cities for up to three days to produce schematic designs and illustrations intended to catalyze or complement a larger planning process for a neighborhood. In the past, the EPA team has provided sustainable design techniques for streets, parks, waterfronts, and town squares. This assistance will help the selected state capitals envision ways to clean up and reuse vacant lands, provide more housing and transportation choices, reduce infrastructure and energy costs, and build civic pride in neighborhoods and the city as a whole. The design team and EPA, HUD, and DOT staff will also assist the city staff in developing specific implementation strategies.
I have an article in the most recent issue of Library Hi Tech entitled “Green Buildings as Sustainability Education Tools.” In it, I provide an overview of green building technologies and practices and illustrate how public libraries can use them as tools to teach their communities about sustainability and foster behavior change.
The full citation for the article is: Barnes, Laura L. (2012). “Green Buildings as Sustainability Education Tools.” Library Hi Tech 30(3), 397-407. (Online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/07378831211266546). I’ve also deposited a version of this article at http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34138 for those who don’t subscribe to the journal.
Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of green building technologies and practices and illustrate how public libraries can use them as tools to teach their communities about sustainability and foster behavior change.
Design/methodology/approach – Through literature searches, case studies analysis, and individual phone and e-mail interviews, the author identified ways that public libraries can use their buildings to demonstrate green technologies and practices and show their patrons how to apply them at home, at work, and in the community.
Findings – Education is a component of LEED certification. Many LEED certified libraries publicize a list of the green technologies used in their building projects. Some sponsor programs related to the green building and include permanent displays in the library to explain how the technology works. The Fayetteville Public Library went beyond these basic techniques to not only improve the sustainability of their operations but also become a community test bed for a renewable energy project.
Originality/value – This paper sheds light on how building projects can be used not only to educate the public about green technologies and practices, but also inspire others to begin using similar techniques at home, at work, and in the community.
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.
- Register for the webcast: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/580038538
- Learn more about this topic: Resource Conservation and Recovery: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs
October 22, 2012, 2:00–3:00 pm (EDT) – EPA FY13 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant Guidelines
All potential EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant applicants are invited to this webinar, which will walk through the FY13 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant Guidelines, discuss eligibility and ranking criteria, and answer any questions potential applicants may have
- Webinar link (no preregistration required; log in as “Guest” when the webinar starts).
- Call-in for audio: (866) 299-3188. Participant passcode: 202 566 2773
October 22, 2012, 11:00am–12:00 pm (EDT) – Mayor Bill Finch (Bridgeport, Connecticut) Speaks on Government Support for Environmental Justice and the BGreen 2020 Plan
Join Mayor Bill Finch of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities for a webinar on how the city of Bridgeport is working to become “New England’s greenest city.” An EPA Environmental Justice Showcase Community, Bridgeport was featured in the Partnership’s 2012 Accomplishments Report and recent Partnership video.
Mayor Finch will discuss Bridgeport’s BGreen 2020 plan for a sustainable Bridgeport and how Bridgeport accessed support from state and federal agencies to help improve the quality of life for city residents. Officials from HUD, DOT, and EPA will discuss how the Partnership (which helps communities improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and protect the environment) has been working to assist environmental justice communities.
- Webinar link (no preregistration required; log in as “Guest” when the webinar starts.
- Call-in for audio: (888) 850-4523. Participant passcode: 719661.Note that this conference has a maximum audio capacity of 299 callers. Please share phone lines if possible.
October 25, 2012, 1:00–2:30 pm (EDT) – Saving Energy through Solar Water Heating Technologies in Higher Education Buildings
This webinar, hosted by EPA’s Energy Supply and Industry Branch, will showcase solar thermal technology applications in higher education facilities that reduce water heating costs for cleaning, showering, and laundering. Two university professionals will discuss the economic, energy, and social motivations that led them to consider a solar water heating system, how they handled perceived and real risks or barriers to project development, as well as the financial and energy savings each institution has experienced. A technical expert will also provide an overview of the common solar thermal technologies in higher education that reduce water heating costs.
- Preregistration (required).
October 30, 2012, 1:00–2:00 pm (EDT) – Combined Heat and Power In the Mid-Atlantic: How Small-Scale CHP Systems Can Boost Energy Efficiency and Save Money
EPA Region 3 will host a webinar on small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) application in the Mid-Atlantic. The webinar will provide a forum for attendees to learn about small-scale CHP systems their economic, environmental, and efficiency benefits—particularly for hotel, college/university, and office buildings. Examples of current CHP applications in downtown Philadelphia will be profiled to highlight the CHP process. The webinar will include a presentation and case studies by Philadelphia Gas Works, the nation’s largest municipally owned natural gas utility, serving more than 500,000 customers.
- Preregistration (required). Note that participation is limited to the first 50 registrants.
October 4, 3:00-4:00 PM (EDT) – Free Technical Assistance Available through EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program
EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program provides short-term, targeted technical assistance to help communities implement smart growth development approaches, such as creating a green streets strategy, linking land use to water quality, or conducting a parking audit. Participants will learn about the types of assistance available from EPA and its four grantees, and how to apply. This webinar is being held in response to requests for a repeat of the webinar that was held on Sept. 21; the content will be essentially the same.
October 11, 2:00-3:30 PM (EDT) – Estimating the Health Impacts of Climate Change and Clean Energy Programs
State and local climate change and clean energy policies can improve air quality, reduce negative impacts on human health, and save lives. This webinar will cover three EPA tools that state and local governments can use to estimate and communicate the health and related economic benefits of actions that reduce air emissions:
- Diesel Emissions Quantifier (DEQ)
- CO-Benefit Risk Assessment (COBRA) screening model
- Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program (BenMAP)
Audience: Recommended for state and local air quality, energy, public health, sustainability, and transportation planning staff.
October 11, 1:00-2:30 PM (EDT) – Solar Energy for Water and Wastewater Utilities: Step-by-Step Project Implementation and Funding Approaches
EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management hosts this webinar on helping water utilities understand how they can use solar energy to increase their energy efficiency. The first part of this webinar will detail the process of implementing solar energy projects at water or wastewater utilities, the various types of solar technologies available, and where they can be used most appropriately. The webinar will also highlight innovative funding approaches, including those with no up-front capital requirements, that result in long-term energy cost savings and stability. Finally, this webinar will present the case study of a successful solar installation at a small wastewater utility in Grafton, Massachusetts.
ENERGY STAR Webcasts
ENERGY STAR offers free online training to help you improve the energy performance of your organization. To register for any of these trainings or to see other upcoming ENERGY STAR trainings, visit the ENERGY STAR Trainings page.
October 3, 1:00-2:00 PM (EDT) – Top Communication Strategies to Build Support for Your Energy Program
This month’s ENERGY STAR National Building Competition webinar will explore how ENERGY STAR partners are building top-down and bottom-up support for energy initiatives through effective communications. Key strategies include sharing energy goals and data; bringing together internal teams to exchange expertise and lessons learned; communicating through reports, creative materials, and events; and engaging occupants to take an active role and interest in saving energy through competitions and other initiatives.
October 16, 12:00-1:00 PM (EDT) – Beyond the Basics of Benchmarking: Advanced Features of Portfolio Manager
So you’ve benchmarked your building, now what? This session builds on the Basics of Benchmarking, highlighting more features you can use in EPA’s Portfolio Manager to help you understand your building’s energy performance, set goals, and share and report data.
In this session you will learn about:
- Strategies for keeping your data up-to-date and accurate;
- Metrics to use to assess your building’s energy performance; and
- How to use Portfolio Manager to demonstrate energy efficiency improvements with the goal setting, reporting, and sharing features.
Additionally, there will be time during the session to get your specific questions answered.
October 18, 1:00-2:00 PM (EDT) – How to Apply for ENERGY STAR Certification
You’ve benchmarked your building in EPA’s Portfolio Manager, you’ve worked hard to improve its energy efficiency to get the building’s score up to a 75, and now you want to get EPA recognition for this accomplishment. The ENERGY STAR Certification will distinguish your building as a superior energy performer.
October 24, 2:00-3:00 PM (EDT) – How to Launch an ENERGY STAR Energy Efficiency Competition
Time and time again, leading ENERGY STAR partners have found that a spirit of healthy competition and the opportunity for recognition are among the best drivers for participation in organization- or community-wide energy management. Any organization can run a competition, including trade associations, commercial businesses, manufacturing companies, local and state governments, schools, congregations, and more. Join ENERGY STAR for this hour-long presentation to learn about (1) the many benefits of energy efficiency competitions; (2) the basic steps you can take to plan and launch an energy efficiency competition; (3) common barriers and possible solutions; and (4) the resources made available by ENERGY STAR that can help you in this process, including the ENERGY STAR Guide to Energy Efficiency Competitions.
October 30, 2:00-3:15 PM (EDT) – Financing Energy Efficient Upgrades with ENERGY STAR
Learn how public sector organizations are improving energy efficiency with innovative solutions to financial barriers. Attendees will learn about financing projects in the public and private sectors, the basics of performance contracting, and how EPA’s tools and resources can help you make the decision to improve your facilities now or later.
NALGEP (National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals)
October 3, 2:00-3:15 PM (EDT) – EPA’s Brownfields Area-wide Pilot Program: Lessons Learned and New Funding Opportunity
EPA’s Brownfields Area-wide Pilot Program is helping 23 pilot communities respond to local brownfields challenges, particularly where multiple brownfield sites are in close proximity; connected by infrastructure; and limit the overall economic, environmental, and social prosperity of their surroundings. The webinar, sponsored by NALGEP and the Brownfield Communities Network, will discuss lessons learned from the program, share pilot examples, and preview plans for the upcoming RFP for the next round of pilot grants.
ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)
October 11, 4:00-5:00 PM (EDT) – Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) and Home Energy Retrofit Programs
The ACEEE webinar will be co-hosted by staff from the One Change Foundation, who will be on hand to discuss details of their High Five philosophy for mounting CBSM campaigns in support of home energy retrofits. High Five is one of the approaches discussed in the recent ACEEE white paper,Reaching the “High-Hanging Fruit” through Behavior Change: How Community-Based Social Marketing Puts Energy Savings within Reach. This white paper, the first in a forthcoming series on social and behavioral insights and their application for energy efficiency programs, will be available for download on Wednesday, October 10, 2012.
From the State and Local Archives
Climate Change Adaptation for State and Local Governments
- Part One: Climate Impacts and Risk Communication
- Part Two: Adaptation Planning and Implementation
- Part Three: Federal Resources and Support for Climate Change Adaptation
Guest post from the Model Forest Policy Program about a funding opportunity for communities in the Great Lakes states.
According to NOAA, July was the hottest month in 118 years of U.S. records. Hurricanes, drought, wildfires, flooding, and tornadoes – 2011 was truly the year of extreme weather, with the United States suffering more weather-related disasters than ever before. Climate Solutions University (CSU) programs offer North American (primarily U.S.) communities the opportunity to assess and respond to climate-related risks that may be threatening their watershed resources, budgets, and resident well-being. Through the development of forest, water, economic, and climate vulnerability assessments, participating communities can move forward with solutions that are urgently needed for local resilience.
The Model Forest Policy Program (MFPP), a leader in climate adaptation training, engages communities to develop climate action plans based on their regional landscapes. Now soliciting applications for the 2013 Climate Solutions University (CSU), MFPP invites up to two Great Lakes communities to join our Great Lakes regional network that is currently working on a range of solutions such as watershed restoration and shoreline protection solutions to combat climate impacts in the region. This year marks the fourth session of CSU, where 19 communities across the nation have generated outcomes such as reduced risk of flood disaster and protective public policy.
Applications can be downloaded here. Some communities may also be eligible to receive a scholarship of $10,000 in addition to consulting services valued at $50,000. Please submit your application by 5pm on Friday, September 28th. This deadline can be extended upon request. For more information contact Community Coordinator, Jeff Morris, email@example.com, (530) 355-9880.
The Fourth of July approaches. For those of us in the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes region, thoughts of Independence Day fireworks displays, parades and outdoor parties beckon from the weekend. While preparing for the festivities, you may want to consider how pollution prevention (P2) relates and include a little green with your red, white and blue. Continue reading “Red, White, Blue & Green: Independence Day P2”