The RBR blog reports on developments in the green business, alternative energy and sustainability sector. Many far-reaching elements combine to comprise the full spectrum of environmental and social responsibility – the triple-bottom-line. Articles reflect a range of topics from carbon footprints to ethical sourcing, to engaging employees in a culture of caring. Add your voice to the conversation through comments or guest blogging (contact me for more information).
RBR is posting this important notice to advise concerned citizens about a critical threat to the OC Great Park programs, including this year’s Solar Decathlon.
bout threats to the Orange County Great Park programs, notably this year’s hard-won Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon
There are only 2 short days left to register for the Orange County Sustainability Collaborative’s next Leadership Dialogue Event, which will offer in-depth examinations of:
- Essential concepts in waste management and materials recovery:
- Lifecycle 101
- Design and management of waste-management and materials-recovery programs
- Waste management programs and infrastructure in Orange County
- Innovative materials-recovery programs for food, e-waste and industrial equipment, and
- Ways to overcome the unique challenges of creating and running programs in complex organizations.
Following the presentations, attendees will have the opportunity to apply what they’ve just learned during facilitated round-table discussions. By the time you leave, you’ll be ready to start improving waste-management and materials-recovery efforts back at work or school.
THE PRESENTERS – The program’s expert presenters include:
. Ms. Marialyce Pedersen – Zero waste expert, author of “Backyard Composting” and “Keep It Off the Curb”, journalist, and adjunct faculty for the Golden West College’s Recycling and Resource Management program
. Ms. Antonia C. Graham – Irvine Valley College Adjunct Faculty Member and Public Works Analyst for the City of Placentia
. Ms. Stephanie Barger – Founder and Executive Director of the Earth Resource Foundation, Zero-Waste Expert, and Environmental Responsibility Educator, and
. Mr. Robert Parsley – Account Manager at ECS Refining Southern California, an e-StewardsT and R2T Certified E-Waste and Industrial Equipment Reverse Logistics Company.
REGISTRATION AND VENUE DETAILS – Tickets are still available and very reasonably priced. So, register today while there is time. Details are at:
Sprout Up, founded and run by college students in Goleta, inspires elementary-age school children from all walks of life to value the environment. Sprout Up has been selected as a nominee in the education and mentoring category in the 2012 American Giving Awards (AGAs) sponsored by Chase Community Giving.
2 Million in Chase Grants will be shared among five charities voted for by Facebook Users and Chase Customers. The AGAs will honor these organizations for their great philanthropic work through a star-studded event hosted by Joel McHale (NBC’s “Community” and “The Soup”).
Chase will grant a total of $2 million to the five charities with the most votes in their respective categories. Fans of Chase Community Giving can vote for their favorite charity on Facebook, and Chase online customers can vote on www.chase.com/chasegiving during the voting period, which runs from November 27 – December 4. Of the five top vote-getters from each category, the charity with the most votes will receive a $1 million grant, the runner-up will be granted $500,000, a third organization will receive a $250,000 grant and two will be given $125,000 grants.
The twenty-five participating charities will represent one of five categories recognizing the “building blocks” of communities.
Thanks to UCSB Environmental Sciences student Aaron Bucka for referring this information.
Great article by Christopher Gleadle in today’s Environmental Leader:
More and more organizations see the importance of sustainable business practices. They have recognized that there are very substantial financial benefits to be obtained by integrating sustainability thinking and practices into all their business processes. Once you take into account the wider, longer-term, and often hidden costs, the financial benefits of good, practical, sustainable, working practices are enormous. (read more here)
SCE announced plans to lay off over 700 workers at San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. Are they being disingenuous by stringing ratepayers along with ill-advised plans to re-open, and should ratepayers be reimbursed for the over $54 million they’ve been paying for a facility that’s been closed over 6 months?
Better Windows, Whole House Fans, Solar-Ready Roofs Considered
California officials unanimously approved amended energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings that officials are describing as the toughest in the nation. The Energy Commission’s 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards are 25 percent more efficient than previous standards for residential construction and 30 percent better for nonresidential construction. The Standards, which take effect on January 1, 2014, offer builders better windows, insulation, lighting, ventilation systems and other features that reduce energy consumption in homes and businesses.
Some improved measures in the Standards include:
- Solar-ready roofs to allow homeowners to add solar photovoltaic panels at a future date
- More efficient windows to allow increased sunlight, while decreasing heat gain
- Insulated hot water pipes, to save water and energy and reduce the time it takes to deliver hot water
- Whole house fans to cool homes and attics with evening air reducing the need for air conditioning load
- Air conditioner installation verification to insure efficient operation
- High performance windows, sensors and controls that allow buildings to use “daylighting”
- Efficient process equipment in supermarkets, computer data centers, commercial kitchens, laboratories, and parking garages
On average, the Standards will increase the cost of constructing a new home by $2,290 but will return more than $6,200 in energy savings over 30 years. Based on a 30-year mortgage, the standards will add approximately $11 per month for the average home, but save consumers $27 on on monthly heating, cooling, and lighting bills.
Two energy policy goals are driving the design of the current standards: The Loading Order, which directs that growing demand must be met first with cost-effective energy efficiency and next with renewable generation; and “Zero Net Energy” (ZNE) goals for new homes by 2020 and commercial buildings by 2030. The ZNE goal means that new buildings must use a combination of improved efficiency and distributed renewable generation to meet 100 percent of their annual energy need.monthly heating, cooling, and lighting bills.
Ever since I began studying sustainability, environmentalism, social responsibility, and all of the related topics related to the triple bottom line, I have been frustrated by a certain feeling of futility: so many people leading the charge, speaking on panels, waving green flags, touting initiatives, decrying environmental or social wrongs.
Even as he derides the “sustainability movement,” Jesse Baker clarifies the essence of what all of they should ultimately be attempting to accomplish. More importantly, he articulates how each of us can embody the key ideals and be empowered as individual agents of change.
GreenBiz.com has released the fifth annual edition of its State of Green Business report, one of the most comprehensive discussions and measurement of the environmental impacts of the emerging green economy. In addition to documenting corporate progress in improving their environmental performance, the report tracks larger trends that will affect corporate America in 2012.
This free, downloadable report measures 20 aspects of environmental performance, from carbon emissions to paper use and recycling, includes essays from industry experts.
There’s good and bad news in this year’s report; the good news is that companies continue to dedicate time, money and staff to setting and meeting ambitious environmental goals.
The bad news is that their research shows declining momentum on some of the indicators. Among the downgraded topics include investments in clean technology innovations, overall energy intensity, certifications of LEED buildings, and paper use and recycling.
How does your business rate? How can you implement ideas presented in this report to benefit from the efficiencies outlined?
It’s next to impossible to miss today’s biggest news if you go online at any point or see a newspaper; several of the web’s most prominent sites are “going dark” in protest of SOPA and PIPA, the proposed anti-online piracy legislation.
What is SOPA?
SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a bill that seeks to “crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that host pirated content,” according to a great report by CNN Money. These bills are supposedly aimed at websites – mainly overseas – known for their access to and promotion of illegal downloads of movies and other digital content. While many agree that restrictions on privacy are needed, there are complicated consequences that reach much farther. The proposed legislation would require U.S.-based search engines and other service provides to withhold or block services with sites that connect to these problematic sites, but many fear that the restrictions are the beginning of a slippery slope into censorship.
Sometimes, an idea is just so simple and good, it makes you slap your forehead and wonder why no one thought of it sooner. Professor Muhammad Yunus, the “father of microcredit”, spent years developing the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh with a financial concept that turned business lending on its head: lend self-selected groups of women up to $3,000 to get their small businesses off the ground.
The goal all along was to eradicate poverty, not to make a profit. Yet the loans perform positively, with repayment rates in excess of 99%. And this concept can work in any economy, and any culture, from its origins with 7.5 million Bangladesh borrowers to Grameen’s presence in 38 countries and over 100 million microcredit loans. Continue reading