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Federal Sustainability and Green Government e-Newsletter #30

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Green Government Update March 25, 2011

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From the President
Federal grant to reduce waste produces results
From the CEIL Blog
This Week’s Top Stories
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From the President
Ann SeltzFrom Policy to Implementation. This week I attended a great roundtable hosted by the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME). The discussion focused on taking the Department of Defense’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan from policy to application and included representatives from both the public and private sector. A complete report of the meeting will be published in an upcoming issue of SAME’s The Military Engineer, but here are a few highlights.
  • Applying sustainability plan targets to individual installations will be as challenging as predicted.
  • Creating sustainable installations requires a master-planning approach but installations are more likely to operate on a project-by-project basis.
  • Acquisition and procurement professionals must be part of these discussions so they become knowledgeable about and comfortable with sustainable products, services and solutions.
  • The professionals at installations need to be given the right tools and mandates to allow them to make good green decisions.

Asked how the private sector might best help, the following list was given:

  • Develop private-public partnerships
  • Help get the cost of renewable energy low enough to be competitive.
  • Help the services reduce consumption.
  • Participate in working groups that pull together cross-disciplines, cross agency and private/public participants.
  • Help educate professionals at the installation level.

At CEIL, we’ll be searching for examples and experts to help provide some answers and you can be sure there will be sessions at GOVgreen 2011 to bring together professionals from procurement, installations management and master planning.

Ann Seltz
Ann Seltz

[email protected]

EPA funds reusable packaging project

Containers and packaging make up 31% of municipal solid waste, or about 77 million tons per year. EPA Region 9 provided a grant to StopWaste.org, Alameda County’s Waste Management Authority, to help companies integrate reusable packaging into their product supply chains. Reusable containers are totes and bins, reusable pallets and pallet/container rental systems. To date, 6 companies have implemented reusable packaging and 11 more are working towards making the change. One of the innovating companies, Ghirardelli Chocolate, estimates a savings of $1.95 million in packaging and disposal costs over a five year period. For more information, click here.

From the CEIL Blog
building rating logo
Green building policy clearinghouse on the web
From CEIL Blog – The good folks over at Sustainable Industries recently published an article about Buildingrating.org. Buildingrating.org is a clearinghouse for green building policies and measurement practices.

In just a few minutes on the site, we used the Policy Map tool to find out how Kansas implemented a law in 2007 that requires all residential single-family (and some types of multi-family) home builders to provide energy efficiency information to potential buyers. Similar to the Kansas law is a California rule that requires commercial buildings to get an Energy Star rating and disclose it to potential buyers or renters.

Support green initiatives and you support breakthrough research
From CEIL Blog We post a lot about the impressive renewable energy research that is going on at our national labs and universities. So it’s easy to think that the world of green begins and ends with energy research. But a recent GreenBiz.com article reminded us that supporting green projects is about more than reducing pollution and lowering our carbon footprint; it’s also about preserving the biodiversity that inspires new technologies that impact nearly every part of our lives.

Many of us know that the technology behind Velcro was found in nature long before it was found in stores. But we often forget that there are many other inventions (not to mention medicines) that can trace their origins to nature. Now, GreenBiz.com gives us a list of 10 new “designs and discoveries” inspired by nature. And who knows, one of these may become a common household product one day.

This week’s top stories
Featured news
Obama administration announces launch of i6 Green Challenge
The U.S. Department of Energy joined with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and its Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to announce the opening of the $12 million i6 Green Challenge, which will also be conducted in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The funding will support awards for six teams around the country with the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in support of a green innovation economy, increased U.S. competitiveness and new jobs. The Department of Energy will invest up to $2 million to support the $12 million multi-agency i6 Green Challenge, which will establish or expand Proof of Concept Centers across the U.S. In order to be eligible for DOE funding, applicants will be required to demonstrate innovation in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, or green building technology.

Read more….

Affordability of batteries key to harnessing wind and solar power
Future batteries used by the energy grid to store power from the wind and sun must be reliable, durable and safe, but affordability is really the key to widespread deployment, according to a new report published on March 4 in the journal Chemical Reviews. The report is one of the most comprehensive reviews of electrochemical energy storage to date.

In the report, researchers from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory say that successful electrochemical energy storage, or EES, systems will need to evolve — in some cases, considerably — if they are going to compete financially with the cost of natural gas production. And besides technical improvements, the systems will need to be built to last, using materials that are safe and durable so that batteries could operate more than 15 years and require very little maintenance over their lifetime.

The report provides a comprehensive review of four stationary storage systems — ones considered the most promising candidates for EES: vanadium redox flow, sodium-beta alumina membrane, lithium-ion and lead-carbon batteries.

Read more….

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