[Post author: Peggy Currid]
Energy & Materials Flow & Cost Tracker (EMFACT)
NEWMOA and the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) have developed a materials use and profitability software tool, called Energy & Materials Flow & Cost Tracker (EMFACT) and recently made it available online free for download. Please check it out. We are currently seeking opportunities to conduct training workshops on EMFACT for small and medium-sized manufacturers, regulatory program staff, and/or technical assistance providers and consultants. This training could be in the form of a webinar, a half day or full day in-person workshop, or an in-person presentation at a conference or workshop. Please send an email to Terri Goldberg if you are interested in exploring such opportunities. NEWMOA has funding to support this training.
Here’s more on what EMFACT is –
EMFACT is designed to be used within small and medium-sized companies for systematically tracking materials and energy use; releases, discharges, and wastes; and associated costs in ways that can create value for their business. The tool can provide a comprehensive picture of resource use and its relation to production and planning that will help improve both business and environmental performance. We have been hearing from users that EMFACT™ can provide critical support for pollution prevention efforts within firms and for technical assistance providers and consultants that are working with firms.
EMFACT’s benefits to its users are:
- Easy navigation and data management
- Connecting material inputs and all outputs, including products, wastes, and other environmental releases to estimate mass balances and flows
- Effective tracking of all material inputs, including chemicals, commodities, and fuels, and their associated costs
- Effective tracking of all wastes, wastewater discharges, and air emissions
- Automated reminders and notices about upcoming reporting and other deadlines
- Automated reports on materials use efficiency and environmental releases
- Easy transfer of data to spreadsheets for further analysis and reports
EMFACT was funded by a grant from the U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development.
Download EMFACT for Free at: http://www.newmoa.org/prevention/emfact/.
For many years, the GLRPPR home page and subsequently the GLRPPR Blog have featured a “site of the month.” This feature was invented as a way of highlighting sites from organizations within the Great Lakes region and beyond which GLRPPR members might find particularly interesting or useful. This feature was created before there were RSS feeds for each Sector Resource on the GLRPPR web site, and before there was an RSS feed devoted to all new additions to the GLRPPR Sector Resources in general.
Upon recent consideration, GLRPPR staff members have decided to retire the “site of the month” and instead do more to highlight a variety of resources as they are added to the GLRPPR web site. Watch in the near future for blog posts highlighting recent additions to the web site or describing resources on the site that you may have overlooked. We’ll also be featuring themes for blogs posts to better foster the sharing of information on specific topics and networking among organizations in the region. More information on themes will be posted soon. Since the LINK newsletter was recently folded into the GLRPPR Blog, we’re hoping that you’ll come to use the blog as a source of information in the same way as you did the newsletter. If you have suggestions for resources or information that you would like to share with other members via the blog, please send your suggestions to our blog coordinator Wayne Duke.
Note that the “site of the month” category will remain on the blog as an archive of the sites that were so featured. The posts describing these sites are of course also cross referenced in appropriate topical categories (i.e. a post about a site related to agriculture would also be found in that category as well). An older list of sites of the month featured on the GLRPPR web site prior to there being a related blog category can also be found at http://www.glrppr.org/news/site_of_the_month.cfm.
The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices. The information on the site is meant to be applied to sites both with and without buildings, including, but not limited to:
- Open spaces such as local, state and national parks, conservation easements and buffer zones and transportation rights-of-way.
- Sites with buildings including industrial, retail and office parks, military complexes, airports, botanical gardens, streetscapes and plazas, residential and commercial developments and public and private campuses.
The Initiative site provides a copy of the report Sustainable Sites Initiative Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks – Draft 2008, which focuses on measuring how a site can protect, restore and regenerate ecosystem services – benefits provided by natural ecosystems such as cleaning air and water, climate regulation and human health benefits. This report contains over 50 draft prerequisites and credits that cover all stages of the site development process from site selection to landscape maintenance.
Case studies, dates for upcoming presentations on sustainable sites, and information on the Initiative’s areas of focus (Why Sustainable Sites?; Hydrology; Soils; Vegetation; Materials; and Human Health & Well-being) are also provided.
As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, you’ll probably see, hear about, or maybe even drink beer that’s been tinted green. But if you’re more interested in networking with other folks who share your concern for the environment than in gimmicks, skip the green grog and check out the Green Drinks International web site to see if regular Green Drinks events are held in your area. According to the web site, “Every month people who work in the environmental field meet up at informal sessions known as Green Drinks. We have a lively mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government and business. Come along and you’ll be made welcome. Just say, “are you green?” and we will look after you and introduce you to whoever is there. It’s a great way of catching up with people you know and also for making new contacts. Everyone invites someone else along, so there’s always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organising network.” The events are locally organized and typically take place at bars, restaurants, coffee houses, cafes, etc.–anywhere where people can meet and share ideas. Some gatherings include a speaker or theme to help stimulate discussion, but remain largely informal. Events vary from city to city, but all follow the Green Drinks Code.
Green Drinks events are currently held in 448 cities around the world, including many in the Great Lakes region. Chicago, for example, has a very popular Green Drinks gathering that averages “at least 75 people at each event.” Just use the “Find City” function on the Green Drinks web site to determine if an existing gathering is taking place near you, and to get more details. Browse the “News” and “Stories” sections of the site to get updates on Green Drinks gatherings around the world and to read newspaper and magazine articles describing local groups to help you get a feel for what these informal events are like and what participants get out of them. And if there’s not a gathering in your area, you can learn how to start one.
These gatherings are decentralized, allowing each participating city to “do its own thing,” ensuring that the events suit the needs and interests of the local community. Each city can even come up with its own logo if desired, like the ones featured in this post.
As budgets get tighter and travel to out-of-state events becomes more and more difficult to justify, programs like Green Drinks can help environmental professionals feel less isolated by providing face-to-face networking opportunities at home. Plus, you never know what new opportunities or information you might find in your own backyard.
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.
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) provides resources for various industries on its web site. The section of the MnTAP site focused on Metal Finishing provides pollution prevention ideas with pages on cleaning, paint pretreatment, and plating. Links are also provided to training and professional associations, as well as links to relevant regulatory information.
Be sure to explore MnTAP’s A to Z Waste Topics as well, which is a list of common waste materials that provides links to fact sheets, reference lists and other information. A link to this list is provided on the main Metal Finishing page, as well as on all the other industry sections of MnTAP’s site.
It’s holiday time again, which means you’re probably going to buy at least one gift for someone, as well as items for celebrations and holiday meals. You may wish to consult Consumer Reports Greener Choices web site, which provides information to help choose more environmentally friendly products. Articles and “green ratings” are available for the following product categories: Appliances, Cars, Electronics, Food & Beverages, and Home & Garden. Within these sections, you’ll find links to articles, information on conservation of resources (such as energy, water, fuel, etc.), resources for shopping greener, and information on recycling and disposal. The “Hot Topics & Solutions” section of the site includes the Eco-labels Center (which helps you interpret what product labels really mean), the Electronics Recycling Center, the Global Warming Solutions Center, and sections on Energy, Water, and Waste.
The “Toolkit” section includes calculators to help save energy, water, and money, as well as a Toxics Search tool to find out whether there’s a potential for exposure while using a particular product, and how that can affect your health. The “Community” section of the site includes links to Consumers Union campaigns, forums and resources for further information, as well as blogs on cars, food safety, green homes, and safety.
Travel Green Wisconsin is a voluntary program that reviews, certifies and recognizes tourism businesses and organizations that have made a commitment to reducing their environmental impact. Specifically, the program encourages participants to evaluate their operations, set goals and take specific actions towards environmental, social, and economic sustainability. The program is also designed to educate travelers to Wisconsin about sustainable tourism practices. It promotes smart business practices, giving the state’s tourism-related businesses and organizations a significant point of differentiation from their competitors, and supports the state’s overall tourism brand. Examples of the types of businesses that can participate include: accommodations, attractions, restaurants, shops, resorts, convention, centers, golf courses, campgrounds, marinas, tour operators/leaders, events/festivals, chambers and CVBs.
Travel Green Wisconsin actually has two separate web sites. The organization’s consumer web site provides lists of certified businesses in the above and related categories, certified events, a map of the certified business locations, FAQs, and future goals. The organization also has an industry site that details how to participate in the program and the benefits, as well as discussion forums.
October is Energy Awareness Month, so we turn to a trusted source for information on industrial energy efficiency for the site of the month. The Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) leads national efforts to improve industrial energy efficiency and environmental performance. ITP is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and contributes to its efforts by partnering with U.S. industry in a coordinated program of research and development, validation, and dissemination of energy efficiency technologies and operating practices. In the Industrial Technology R&D section of the site, learn more about cost-shared support to R&D partnerships addressing key energy intensive industries (aluminum, chemical, forest products, glass, metal casting, mining, petroleum refining and steel) which account for a full 75% of industrial energy consumption and represent the largest opportunity to increase energy efficiency in the industrial sector. The Crosscutting Technologies section of the site deals with key technologies widely used in the energy intensive industries and improving efficiency in these processes. The Best Practices section includes information on plant assessments (such as the Save Energy Now program), software tools, training and publications.
Note that applications are currently being accepted for the Save Energy Now Assessments. Only manufacturing facilities in the United States and territories are eligible for a Save Energy Now energy assessment. To be considered for an assessment, applicants must complete and submit the online application form. All assessments will be completed by December 31, 2008. Applications will be selected based on overall energy consumption.
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.