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Western Kentucky University campus transforms

Western Kentucky University’s campus in Bowling Green has changed a lot over the past 10 years. The addition of more than 20 campus dining locations, a 14,0000-square-foot addition to the student fitness center and several other projects are some easily visible improvements.

But over those same 10 years perhaps the biggest improvement is something people see daily: WKU’s energy policy and infrastructure.

In 2015, the campus earned recognition as one of the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon schools for its sustainability efforts.

“We have been able to really reduce our energy consumption, starting in about 2008, from using about 15 kilowatts per hour per square foot,” said Bryan Russell, a former WKU student and current employee. “We’re now down to about 11 kilowatts per square foot in a building. At the same time we’ve actually increased our gross square footage of the university by 774,000 gross square feet.”

Russell said that’s kept WKU’s utility budget from growing at a rapid pace.

Read more about WKU’s s sustainability efforts in the Bowling Green Daily News.

 

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Bon Secours KY receives national environmental award

The Bon Secours Kentucky Health System (BSKHS) of Ashland, Kentucky, has been honored with the 2017 Emerald Award from Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in healthcare, according to the BSKHS website. The award is one of the Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor environmental achievements in the healthcare sector.

The Greenhealth Emerald Award recognizes healthcare facilities that are setting the standard in eliminating mercury, reducing and recycling waste, sustainable sourcing and other areas. Winning hospitals have demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability and shown leadership in the local community and in the healthcare sector.

“We are proud to be recognized with this honor, because sustainability is at the core of our healing mission and central to protecting the health of our patients, staff and community,” said BSKHS CEO Kevin Halter. “I’d like to thank our Green Team, led by Diana Williams, in helping us achieve this award. This honor demonstrates that Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (OLBH) and the Bon Secours Kentucky Health System continue our work while looking to a future where healthcare is focused on sustainability.”

The Practice Greenhealth awards will be presented May 18 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the conclusion of the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition.

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Solar panels give new bourbon distillery green edge

Solar Panels photoSHELBYVILLE – Kentucky’s bourbon distilling business grew with the opening of The Bulleit Distilling Co., a $115-million facility near Shelbyville.

Owned by spirits maker Diageo, the distillery can produce up to 1.8 million proof gallons of bourbon a year. It employs 30 people full-time.

What makes the distillery, which sits on 300 acres between Shelbyville and Hatton, stand out among Kentucky’s large distilling plants is its use of solar energy.

The facility features a solar array used to power its forklifts. The array produces about 40 megawatt hours per year. The energy can go directly into the Shelby County power grid. The industrial solar panel is a first for the North American Diageo distilleries and a first for Shelby County.

“If there is excess power, it will be back on the grid. So far, there hasn’t been any excess.” said Candi Waford, manager of member services of Shelby Energy Cooperative.

Other environmentally friendly aspects of the distillery include 100 acres of land surrounding the distillery that still retains its natural landscape. The distillery also uses water from the nearby natural Guist Creek Lake, stored in a pond near the plant, and uses corn grown in Shelby County.

“Environmental conservation is a top priority at the Bulleit Distilling Co.,” said Pauline Rooney, vice president, distillation, maturation and engineering for Diageo North America in an email.

Though there are no current plans to expand the solar array, it can be increased if needed, officials said.

Since 2011, distilleries and breweries have been sharing ideas about environmental issues through the Sustainable Spirits Initiative, formed by the Kentucky Distillers Association and the Division of Compliance Assistance of the state department for Environmental Protection.

Other energy-saving measures include Maker’s Mark providing a natural habitat for wildlife near its distillery in Loretto and the Jim Beam facility in Boston, in Nelson County, using an electric demand system to cut their electric bill.

Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, said the Bulleit distillery innovations are the latest in a pattern of environmentally conscious decisions.

Read the full article by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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Don’t miss the 2017 KAM Conference & Trade Show

SSP-jpeg-KAMlogoRegistration is open for the 2017 KAM Conference & Trade Show. The deadline to register is May 24. The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) is facilitating the conference, which will be held May 31 and June 1 at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Kentucky. The theme for this year’s conference is “Manufacturing Our Future.” The goal for the conference is for manufacturers to understand and leverage where they are now to influence manufacturing’s future. Trade show and sponsorship registrations must be received by close of business on May 10 to ensure inclusion in all event materials.

The conference offers a full agenda of relevant information from renowned speakers, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who will speak about his new position in Washington, D.C., and his perspectives about energy and the environment. The conference will have 11 sessions over two days, and will include an industry trade show.

Additionally, the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center (KPPC) will have a booth at the conference. KPPC helps Kentucky businesses and industries develop environmentally sustainable, cost-saving solutions for improved energy efficiency.

KAM invites manufacturers, suppliers, legislators, educators, policy makers, large energy consumers and key decision makers to join them at the conference for focused discussion on topics such as: The pipeline of qualified and skilled talent; reliable and affordable energy now and into the future; and cybersecurity, hacking and the Internet of Things (IoT).

KAM is focused on giving manufacturers practical, relevant information that can immediately be put into practice to see positive results right away. It is also committed to ensuring Kentucky has a manufacturing-friendly environment now and into the future.

Learn more about the 2017 KAM Conference & Trade Show and register to attend.

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Governor’s Conference on Energy & the Environment set for Oct. 19-20

SSP-jpeg-Gov-Conf-logoThe Energy and Environment Cabinet will hold its 41st yearly conference examining contemporary issues regarding energy and our environment. The conference will be held at the Lexington Convention Center in Lexington, Kentucky.

Last year’s conference was full of sessions covering corporate sustainability initiatives, renewable energy, energy efficiency, today’s utility landscape and environmental policies.

For more information please check the 2017 conference website periodically.

Links to last year’s presentations are featured on the conference website.

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Recycled Tire Asphalt Grant Funding available to counties

EEC LogoEnergy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles G. Snavely announced that grant funding will be made available to counties for projects that use recycled Kentucky waste tires in rubber-modified asphalt paving projects. This grant can be used to fund either chip seal or thin asphalt overlay pavement projects.

Counties may apply either for funding for up to 24,000 square yards of chip seal paving or up to 12,000 square yards of asphalt overlay paving. Counties may not apply for both options.

Successful applicants will be required to complete an equivalent project on a similar section of road using standard asphalt, at their own expense, in order to compare the performance of standard versus rubber-modified asphalt.

Rubber-modified asphalt involves amending standard asphalt with crumb rubber derived from recycled waste tires. Chip seal is a pavement surface treatment that combines one or more layers of liquid asphalt with one or more layers of fine aggregate, while an asphalt overlay consists of a thin layer of asphalt pavement applied over an existing asphalt surface. The thickness of an overlay for the purposes of this project should not exceed 1.5 inches.

Depending on the application, rubber-modified asphalt has numerous potential benefits including increased skid resistance, increased road life and noise reduction, in addition to providing a valuable end use for recycled waste tires. The objective of the grant is to determine if rubber-modified asphalt can provide superior performance to standard asphalt in certain applications.

Funding for this grant comes from the Kentucky Waste Tire Trust Fund, which receives $1 from every new tire sold in the Commonwealth. In addition to providing funding to promote the development of markets for recycled waste tires, the fund also supports waste tire collection events, tire pile clean-ups, and grants for counties to manage waste tires.

Grant applications must be submitted no later than June 5, and projects must be completed by Dec. 31. Grant applications packets will be sent by email to county judge-executives and solid waste coordinators.

Learn more about the cabinet’s waste tire programs.

View the full article for more information in the “Naturally Connected” blog by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

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Conservation, productivity go together

EEC LogoRICHMOND, KY — No one knows the importance of conservation better than those who directly depend on the soil for their livelihood.

Even as agriculture becomes increasingly competitive, farmers must focus on conservation as well as production.

Fortunately, those twin goals can be mutually supportive, Ballew Farms on Boonesboro Road is proof of that.

On March 21, Lonzo and Taffy Ballew of Ballew Farms were honored by the Madison County Conservation District as Outstanding Conservators of the Year.

Lonzo and his brother Leroy are the third generation of the Ballew family to work the farm now near Interstate 75 Exit 95.

While farming is a family tradition, the Ballews are innovators, according to Brandon Sears, Madison County Cooperative Extension Agent for Agriculture.

They are always looking to increase crop diversity, try new marketing methods and apply the most up-to-date production techniques, Sears said.

The Ballews also are conscientious about learning and employing best practices for conservation as recommended by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said Lisa Smith of the Madison County NRCS office.

Read the full article by the Richmond Register.

 

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Louisville recognized as solar-friendly city

Lou-city-seal-jpgLouisville has been awarded a gold designation by SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, for its commitment to adopting practices that make it faster and easier to use solar energy. This is the highest designation given by SolSmart, distinguishing Louisville as a national leader in advancing solar energy.

A SolSmart designation provides national recognition that Louisville is a solar-friendly city ready to attract solar industry investment and to generate economic development and local jobs from the solar industry. Louisville is the first city in Kentucky to receive a designation from SolSmart.

“We are thrilled to achieve Gold designation in the SolSmart program. Solar power has become very cost effective and our citizens are eager to harness the sun’s energy in their homes and businesses,” Maria Koetter, Director of the Louisville Metro Office of Sustainability, said. “Through participating in the SolSmart program, we now have a clear-cut process for permitting and installing solar panels.”

To achieve designation, cities take steps to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Examples of soft costs include planning and zoning, permitting, financing, customer acquisition, and installation labor. Soft costs now represent roughly two-thirds of the total price of an installed residential system. Reducing these costs leads to savings that are passed on to consumers.

Read the full article on the Louisville Metro Government website.

 

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New report: Progress made In reducing air pollution

On April 17, The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report, The Greatest Story Seldom Told: Profiles and Success Stories in Air Pollution Control [PDF]. Through the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism, state and local air quality agencies have made tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control, according to an AAPCA press release.

The AAPCA is a consensus-driven organization focused on assisting state and local air quality agencies and personnel with implementation and technical issues associated with the federal Clean Air Act. AAPCA members work collaboratively on behalf of states and the communities they protect to act as a conduit for and provide feedback to federal regulators on air quality rules that have significant impacts across the entire nation. AAPCA represents more than 40 state and local air agencies, and senior officials from 20 state environmental agencies currently sit on AAPCA’s Board of Directors. AAPCA is housed in Lexington, Kentucky as an affiliated association of the Council of State Governments (CSG).

Released ahead of Earth Day (April 22) and Air Quality Awareness Week (May 1-5), this publication catalogues these trends through publicly available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. It includes key metrics from concentrations of criteria pollutants like ground-level ozone and air releases of toxic chemicals to compliance/enforcement activity and operating permit renewals.

Where data sets allow state-to-state comparisons, the report highlights critical areas where the 20 states that serve on the AAPCA Board of Directors have provided leadership. Those states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“Air quality has improved dramatically, and ambient air monitoring data continues to reveal the downward trend of air pollutants. It is, perhaps, the greatest story seldom told, and one that is certainly worth telling,” said AAPCA President Sean Alteri, Director of the Kentucky Division for Air Quality. “This report demonstrates that this progress has been driven by the hard-working state and local agency members of our Association, and we look forward to working with our federal partners to continue this pattern.”

According to Vice President Stuart Spencer of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality: “AAPCA members, who have primary responsibility for air quality in parts of the country growing in population and economic activity, have demonstrated leadership across all key metrics of air quality success. The Greatest Story Seldom Told helps illustrate that, even under increasingly stringent national standards, these agencies are succeeding and innovating.”

Read more about the report and its findings at the AAPCA website.

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Energy efficiency celebrated at Earth Day Kentucky

SSP-jpeg-EarthDay KY logoEarth Day 2017 for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet took on an energy efficient theme as the Cabinet hosted the celebration of environmental awareness on April 19 at its LEED certified building, 300 Sower Boulevard in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Director of Communications John Mura welcomed employees gathered in the first-floor training space at 10:30 a.m., while more than two dozen exhibitors lined the hallway outside.

“As Kentuckians, we live in one of the most naturally beautiful and diverse places in the world,” Mura said. “Thanks to your efforts, Kentucky has made great progress in becoming a cleaner, healthier state.

“Did you know, for instance, that we’ve cleaned up more than 1,200 waste dumps across the Commonwealth in the past five years? Or removed pollutants from 130 miles of Kentucky streams and rivers? Or have seen the air get dramatically cleaner in places such as Louisville and Northern Kentucky where in the last 16 years, the state has cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 86 percent?”

Following Mura’s remarks, Amy Sohner, executive director of Bluegrass Greensource, a nonprofit environmental education organization serving Central Kentucky, spoke about taking personal responsibility for the environment.

“It is so important that we all get involved in not only Earth Day, or Earth Week, but make it Earth Day every day,” said Sohner. “We all need to change the way we think about our actions and thoughts that we each see how much everything we do impacts our environment.”

Haley McCoy, executive director of the Office of Legislative & Intergovernmental Affairs for the Cabinet, presented the student winners of the ‘Capture the Earth’ photo and video contest.

Read about all of the day’s activities and view the winning photos and video at the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s “Land, Air & Water” webzine.

 

 

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