Daily Archives: March 8, 2012

EPA Encourages Americans to Save Water During Fix a Leak Week

American households waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water each year due to leaky pipes, toilets, showerheads and other fixtures, but fixing leaks can be easy and inexpensive. During the 4th annual Fix a Leak Week, March 12-18, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program is educating Americans about the importance of fixing leaks around the home, which will save water and nearly 10 percent on utility bills.

WaterSense’s 2011 Manufacturer Partner of the Year Delta Faucet Company, in partnership with EPA, GreenPlumbers USA, United Way, Ronald McDonald House, and various local water utilities and governments, will fix leaks in more than 1,000 low-income households and community facilities in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle. Delta will fix leaky toilets and faucets, and install WaterSense-labeled showerheads in each location, and estimates that these actions will save millions of gallons of water this year alone.

“Across the country, household leaks add up to more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually. The amount we’re losing could supply Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami for a full year,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We’re not just losing water, we’re also losing the money our communities put into keeping our water clean and healthy. That’s why Fix a Leak Week is so important, and why we encourage everyone to take a few simple steps that can add up to have a significant positive impact.”

The average American home leaks more than 10,000 gallons of water per year, which is equivalent to the water needed to wash 280 loads of laundry, take more than 600 showers or meet the average family’s water needs for a month.

Finding and fixing leaks around the home is as easy as check, twist and replace:

  • Check for leaks. Toilet leaks can be found by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank and seeing if color appears in the bowl before you flush. Don’t forget to also check irrigation systems and spigots.
  • Twist and tighten pipe connections. To save even more water without a noticeable difference in flow, twist on a WaterSense labeled faucet aerator or showerhead.
  • Replace the fixture if necessary. Look for the WaterSense label when replacing plumbing fixtures, which are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by EPA, seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services. Since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save 125 billion gallons of water and more than $2 billion in water and energy bills. Consumers can find WaterSense-labeled products at thousands of retail locations across the country.

More information about finding and fixing leaks:

More information on WaterSense or to find a retailer in your area that carries WaterSense-labeled products:

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Green lifestyle, Water


Students Taking Part in DOE ‘Biggest Energy Loser Challenge’

Read the full story from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Lessons about energy efficiency are hitting home through an online middle school pilot curriculum developed for students in Louisiana, Hawaii and Japan.

The Biggest Energy Loser Challenge, created through a partnership among the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Southern University, focuses on energy forms, usage and consumption. Student tasks include conducting a home energy audit in which they calculated the amount of electricity consumed by everything from clothes washers and dryers to personal computers, light bulbs and televisions.

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Energy efficiency, K-12


Nanotrees Harvest the Sun’s Energy to Turn Water Into Hydrogen Fuel

Read the full story from the University of California San Diego.

University of California, San Diego electrical engineers are building a forest of tiny nanowire trees in order to cleanly capture solar energy without using fossil fuels and harvest it for hydrogen fuel generation. Reporting in the journal Nanoscale, the team said nanowires, which are made from abundant natural materials like silicon and zinc oxide, also offer a cheap way to deliver hydrogen fuel on a mass scale.

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Energy, Nanotechnology, Research


Efficiency programmes must get delivery right

Read the full column from Reuters.

Efficiency upgrades of commercial buildings offer quicker paybacks than homes meaning diverging challenges for government programmes aimed at overcoming homeowner and business indifference to saving energy.

The challenge boils down to encouraging businesses to carry out upgrades that may deliver bigger returns than at first glance, while convincing homeowners suspicious of benefits from costly outlays.

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Energy efficiency, Green building


Free Lean and Environment Webinar: Value Stream Mapping and Prioritizing Projects

This month’s lean and environment workgroup will focus on specific tools and techniques used to combine lean and environment.  The free Webinar will be held Tue, March 20, at 2:00 EST.

Kurt Middelkoop, of the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Centers will give specific tools and techniques used to incorporate the three E’s of Energy Economy and Environment in your value stream to reduce operating costs and environmental footprint.  You will be given a tools to help you walk your floor and identify new wastes that you might not have noticed with standard lean methodology.  These simple methods will help make your value stream map a useful visual tool that can help you to prepare an effective action plan that focuses on priorities.


Date:  Tue., March 20, 2012
Time:  3:00 pm EST, 2:00 pm CST, 1:00 p.m. MST, 12:00 pm PST

Join as Attendee:


Webinar: Technology Goes Wild: New Tools for Connecting Classrooms with Nature

EE Week is partnering with National Geographic Education and Project Noah to bring educators the information and tools they need to take technology outside, engaging students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning in their own schoolyard or local public land.

Join us on Wednesday, March 14 at 7:00 p.m. EST for tips on taking technology outside. Register for EE Week to participate in this free educator webinar. Participation info will be sent to EE Week 2012 registrants via email.

Individuals who register for EE Week 2012 and participate in this and/or our upcoming March 28 webinar – Field Investigations and STEM – will be entered into a drawing to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 16 GB.*

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in K-12, Meetings & webinars


Webinar: Product Stewardship: Theory and Facts Will it Increase Recycling?

Wed, Mar 14, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT
Register at

Product stewardship – the idea that manufacturers should be “responsible” for reducing the lifecycle social and environmental impacts of their products – aims to increase recycling while also establishing a new way to fund recycling programs. Thirty-two states currently have passed over 70 product stewardship laws on 9 product categories, including electronics, paint, carpet, and mercury-containing products. More than 30 European countries and four Canadian provinces have laws on packaging stewardship, a hot topic in the U.S.

In this program, Chaz Miller of NSWMA and Scott Cassel of the Product Stewardship Institute will discuss the results of current laws and their impact on the recycling industry, as well as recently released policies on product stewardship by each organization.

The session will include time for Q&A. The FREE Webinar is being presented by EIA’s FILA for NSWMA and WASTEC members.


The Efficiency Boom: Cashing In on the Savings from Appliance Standards

Download the report.

Appliance, equipment, and lighting standards have been a cornerstone of U.S. energy policy since Congress enacted the first standards in the 1980s. They have significantly reduced U.S. energy consumption, providing large economic benefits for consumers and businesses. Taking into account products sold from the inception of each national standard through 2035, existing standards will net consumers and businesses more than $1.1 trillion in savings cumulatively. Over the same period, cumulative energy savings will reach more than 200 quads, an amount equal to about two years of total U.S. energy consumption.

This report evaluates potential new or updated standards for 34 product categories that could be adopted within the next four years. Due to federal preemption, many of these standards may only be adopted at the national level, but others may be adopted at the state level first. This substantial set of new and updated standards has the potential to generate enormous additional energy and economic savings.

For individual consumers, the benefits of standards have been very large and will grow as new and revised standards take effect. Based on a combination of existing and new standards, a typical household replacing its major appliances every 15 years will save over 180 MWh of electricity and over 200,000 gallons of water between 1995 and 2040 simply by purchasing products that comply with minimum standards. Total bill savings over this 45-year period exceed $30,000, or about enough to cover nearly two years of mortgage payments for an average U.S. household.


Will Walmart meet its sustainability goals?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Walmart got plenty of attention in 2010 when it said it would cut 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain by 2015. The goal joined a spate of sustainability targets set as early as 2005, including Walmart’s aim to get 100 percent of energy from renewable sources and reduce greenhouse gases at its stores by 20 percent by 2012.

So, two years later, how is it doing with that? Not well, if you believe a report the Institute for Local Self-Reliance released Wednesday.

The report — called “Walmart’s Greenwash” and penned by Stacy Mitchell, who previously also wrote a series of articles on the subject for Grist — claims that only 2 percent of Walmart’s energy came from renewable sources last year. At Walmart’s current pace, it would take 300 years to reach its goal of 100 percent renewable energy, Mitchell alleges. And while Walmart has reduced the energy use of its stores built before 2005 by an average of 10 percent, eliminating some 1.5 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide annually, its new stores have outweighed those measures, adding at least 3.5 million metric tons of yearly CO2 output, according to the report.

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Green business, Publications


Revving up sustainable transportation with research alliances

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, global carbon dioxide emissions from transportation increased 45 percent from 1990 to 2007. By 2030, transportation emissions will increase by approximately another 40 percent. Road emissions dominate transportation sector emissions, with light-duty vehicles accounting for the bulk of emissions globally.

Both our transportation technology and our approach to how we get door-to-door are in urgent need of innovation, and this means that multiple, diverse stakeholders must come together to advance knowledge and develop solutions.

Enabling sustainable transportation requires a holistic approach. It’s not just addressing the modes of transportation we use to travel; it’s the behavioral, economic and policy framework that comprises our transportation system.

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Transportation


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