Henry County schools recognized for energy efficiency

epa-energy_star_logo-jpgOn Feb. 23, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) recognized the Henry County School District for earning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR certification in all of the district’s five school buildings. Certificates signed by Governor Matt Bevin and Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely were presented to school officials during the Feb. 23 meeting of the Henry County Board of Education.

Henry County became the 18th school district in Kentucky to have 100 percent of its schools certified ENERGY STAR. Schools recognized during the board meeting were: Campbellsburg Elementary, Eastern Elementary, New Castle Elementary, Henry County Middle and Henry County High.

Management of building operations and energy efficient geothermal heating and cooling systems, LED lighting and participation of student energy teams are credited for the schools earning the ENERGY STAR label.

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

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KY EXCEL now open for agriculture

Launched by the Department for Environmental Protection in 2006, KY EXCEL is a free, voluntary program open to any individual, organization, community or business that acts to improve Kentucky’s diverse and unique environment through environmental leadership. EXCEL members go above and beyond the state’s environmental requirements.

In the past year, the program has expanded to incorporate one of Kentucky’s largest sectors – agriculture.

KY EXCEL Farm is open to all individuals and entities that conduct production, agriculture, having land and farming crops or livestock, or is an advocacy group for farmers/agriculture. KY EXCEL Farm membership is renewed annually upon conducting at least one voluntary environmental project. The possibility for projects is extensive. kyexcel-farm-logo-jpg

Membership in KY EXCEL Farm is for one year and can be renewed each year. Begin by submitting an EXCEL Farm Application and a Project Proposal form, both of which are available on the Division of Compliance Assistance KY EXCEL Farm website. There you will also find resources such as EXCEL Farm project ideas, a Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Act Planning Tool and a Green Resources Checklist.

Also featured are two Farm Spotlight stories – one on Capstone Farms [PDF] in Henry County, the first member of the KY EXCEL Farm program, and one on the Thompson Ag Exchange [PDF] on a Hardin County farm.

David Neville of Henry County is a producer of Angus and Angus Cross cattle, which is not unusual in this part of the Commonwealth. What is different about Neville and his beef-producing Capstone Farms is that he uses 52 Kiko/Savannah cross goats for browsing brush control. Goats eat woody materials, some of which are harmful to cattle. Spraying chemicals to control toxic plants is expensive and harmful to the environment.

Neville went organic with Capstone Farms, which comprises 258 acres of grassland, by accident. He did soil testing to see what the land needed for cattle. He thought about the environmental and financial costs of pesticides to use around fence rows and decided there must be a better way. That’s when he decided to try goats in his fields. After three years of using no pesticides, Neville’s farms have been certified organic.

Farmers can use best management practices, be environmental leaders and have profitable operations at the same time. Vincent Thompson knows this. He lives and works on the Hardin County farm that his parents have owned since 1973. The farm is 160 acres, of which 40 acres are leased out to grow corn and grain. It is also the location of Thompson’s farm business, Thompson Ag Exchange and the Beck’s Hybrids seed dealership. Thompson sells and delivers corn, soybean, rye, wheat and red clover seeds to area farmers.

Thompson, who is the current district supervisor and chairperson for the Hardin County Conservation District Board of Directors, raises 35 Charolois and Angus beef cattle, including 18 calves. The farm is also home to several breeds of goats, such as Boer, Lamancha, Sannen and Myotonic, or Tennessee Fainting goats.

During his time on the farm, Thompson has seen farming techniques improve and searched for more ways to produce better beef cattle and meat goats, while introducing environmentally friendly practices. His latest project is to install three alternative water sources or waterers for his livestock and fencing around the ponds, creeks and sinkholes. Thompson learned that making small changes in water management and accessibility for livestock will yield improved results in animal health.

When Thompson attended a farm best management practices seminar in Radcliff, he heard about KY EXCEL Farm. He joined the program and made installing waterers for his cattle and goats his program project.

The KY EXCEL Farm program

KY EXCEL Farm members receive one-on-one assistance in identifying activities that can increase profits while minimizing excess nutrient releases, conserving water resources, reducing energy consumption and more.

Being a KY EXCEL Farm member can increase the marketability of your farm and products or advocacy group. In addition to a wealth of information and assistance available, all members have the opportunity to use the EXCEL Farm logo on their promotional materials and website. If you are one of the first 25 farm members, you will receive a commemorative sign to display emphasizing your devotion to promoting sustainable farm practices. Additionally, all KY EXCEL members receive 50 percent off of environmental and compliance stewardship trainings. See what trainings are currently available here.

If you are interested in becoming a KY EXCEL Farm member, learn more by visiting the Division of Compliance Assistance KY EXCEL Farm website.

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EPA Announces Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners

PA has announced the winners of the 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. Green Green-Chem-picchemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances. EPA’s efforts to speed the adoption of this revolutionary and diverse discipline have led to significant environmental benefits, innovation and a strengthened economy.

Read about the awards and learn more about Green Chemistry.

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Learn About Safer Choice – Same Program, New Label

News-jpeg-SaferChoiceLogoFinding cleaning and other products that are safer for you, your family, and the environment should be easy — that’s why we developed our new Safer Choice label. We all play a role in protecting our families’ health and the environment. Products with the Safer Choice label help consumers and commercial buyers identify and select products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance.

More than 2,000 products currently qualify to carry the Safer Choice label. Safer Choice products are available for your home at retail stores and for use in businesses like schools, hotels, offices, and sports venues.



View the Safer Choice webinar recording: Finding Safer Products with EPA’s Safer Choice Label ESRC-Logo120x120

This webinar session was provided by the Environmental Sustainability Resource Center (ESRC) for regional technical assistance providers (TAPs) and includes a facilitated exchange on how TAPs can be a conduit to promote Safer Choice and serve as a resource for program participants.



For the past 15 years EPA’s label for safer chemical products has been known as the Design for the Environment, or the “DfE,” label. We spent more than a year collecting ideas and discussing new label options with stakeholders, such as product manufacturers and environmental and health advocates. Then we took our ideas to consumers and asked what worked best for them. The result is the new Safer Choice label.

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EPA’s Annual Toxics Release Inventory Report

In 2014, 84 percent of the 25 billion pounds of toxic chemical waste managed at the nation’s industrial facilities was not released into the environment due to the use of preferred waste management practices like recycling, energy recovery and treatment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report. The remaining 16 percent was released to the air, water or placed in some type of land disposal. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm.

The 2014 TRI data show a 6 percent decrease in total disposal or other releases to the environment from 2013 to 2014. Notably, air releases from industrial facilities decreased by 4 percent during this period, mainly due to decreases from chemical manufacturing facilities and electric utilities. Air releases have decreased 55 percent since 2003.

“2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Toxics Release Inventory, a program that has given people unprecedented access to information about what toxic chemicals are being used and released in their neighborhoods, and what companies are doing to prevent pollution,” said Ann Dunkin, EPA’s Chief Information Officer. “TRI data continue to be an essential part of informed decision-making by citizens, communities, industries, and local governments.”

Access the 2014 TRI National Analysis, including local data and analyses.

Information on facility efforts to reduce toxic chemical releases is available at EPA’s website.

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P2 Impact at GreenBiz

In the most recent P2 Impact column on GreenBiz, Jean Ponzi, green resources manager at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s News-jpeg-GreenBizEarthWays Center, explains how businesses and event planners in St. Louis are seizing the business opportunities embedded in the trend toward zero waste.

Read Jean Ponzi’s article in GreenBiz about the city’s efforts.

P2 Impact is a collaboration between GreenBiz and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange. Each month, P2 practitioners write about topics related to pollution prevention and sustainability. The goal of the column is to tell the P2 story to GreenBiz’s business audience. View archives of P2 Impact columns. If you would like to write a column, contact Laura Barnes.

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Answering the Call2Recycle

Founded in 1994, Call2Recycle—North America’s first and largest battery stewardship program—is a non-profit organization that collects and recycles batteries at no cost for municipalities, businesses and consumers. 2014 commemorated Call2Recycle’s 20th anniversary in battery collection andCall-2-recycle-logo recycling. Since 1996, Call2Recycle has diverted more than 100 million pounds (45 million kilograms) of batteries and cellphones from the solid waste stream and established over 34,000 collection sites throughout the U.S. and Canada. It is the first program of its kind to receive the Responsible Recycling Practices Standard (R2) certification.

You can learn more about the organization and find local battery drop-off locations at the Call2Recycle website.

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Energy Cabinet Releases KY Energy Profile

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Department for Energy Development and Independence offer the Kentucky Energy Profile to provide an overview of energy consumption and production within the Commonwealth, to serve as an impartial point of reference for the general public, researchers, and policy makers, and to serve as a foundation for discussing Kentucky’s energy future.  View or download the KY Energy Reports.

The Cabinet also provides information about Kentucky’s coal production. View or download the Kentucky Quarterly Coal Reports.

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EPA Releases Sustainable Materials Strategic Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a strategic plan outlining its areas of focus for recycling, source reduction and environmentally minded materials usage over the next seven years.

The EPA document, which has been posted on the website of the National Recycling Coalition, covers the federal agency’s aspirations for sustainable materials management for fiscal years 2017 through 2022.

The concept of sustainable materials management (SMM), described by the EPA as “a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycles,” has in recent years taken a more central role in the EPA’s research and reporting on national waste management issues. This year, for instance, the agency changed the name of its annual report on recycling and disposal data to “Advancing Materials Management.”

The five-year strategic plan lays out four SMM objectives: decrease the overall amount of materials disposed, reduce materials’ environmental impacts (such as greenhouse gas emissions) throughout the material life cycles, increase socio-economic benefits, and increase SMM program capabilities at the state and local level.

The first focus area is characterized as the “built environment” and includes construction and demolition (C&D) materials as well as disaster debris and architectural planning. The second focus area is sustainable food management, a realm in which the agency has been particularly active of late. The third area outlined is sustainable packaging – in discussing this point, the report notes a number of anticipated outcomes by 2022.

The EPA’s Strategic Plan document is available to view or download as a pdf.

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