January, 2016 – Volume 9, Issue 1
Louisville Sustainability Summit Materials Available Online
The 2015 Sustainability Summit, which was held in November 2015, was organized by the Louisville Sustainability Council. The summit attracted over 225 community members representing over 100 organizations who gathered to learn about the deep interconnections between the health of our air and human health, and how to begin to elevate short and long term efforts that collectively can improve air quality.
There are many contributing factors to the state of Louisville’s air quality, including its location in the Ohio River Valley, being a thoroughfare for commerce, electricity generation and consumption, local industrial manufacturing, the layout of the community and a culture of driving cars rather than using mass transit. The Sustainability Summit provided a unique opportunity for citizens, nonprofit organizations, businesses, schools and government agencies to participate in developing solutions that the community can implement together.
All event materials, presentations, breakout notes and worksheets are now available at the Summit’s website.
The “Closed Loop” Company
How the circular economy could end take-make-waste businesses
Under the mainstream radar, businesses are innovating a new industrial paradigm: the closed loop company.
The impetus? Our industrial economy is approaching a tipping point where the old “take-make-waste” business model will dead-end. A growing and urbanizing global population and resource scarcity already are forcing some businesses to rethink their products based on the assumption of infinite and cheap material inputs.
Looming resource shortages, rising and volatile commodity costs, technological advancements, extended producer responsibilities, landfill bans and changing customer preferences are driving a paradigm shift to the circular enterprise.
In a circular economy, business growth is decoupled from the use of scarce resources through new value propositions based on durability, renewability, reuse, upgrade-ability, repair, sharing and de-materialization.
“A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times,” according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
The making of multiple-use products
To future-proof their operations against resource constraints and government regulations, while also satisfying aspirational consumers, circular companies produce durable goods that enable multiple use.
Products and logistics chains are reconfigured for eventual disassembly, recycling and return. Expired products are harvested for components and materials for reuse or, preferably, upcycled into still higher quality products. Forward-looking companies create circular value chains for the benefit of their customers, society and the bottom line.
This sustainable manufacturing approach significantly reduces the energy, water, landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the company’s operations while lowering the carbon footprint of its customers’ products.
Learn more about how a Closed Loop Business works (pdf).
ACEEE Energy Efficiency Policy Database
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has developed a database to track state and local policies that relate to energy efficiency. Based on ACEEE criteria, Kentucky currently ranks number 29 out of the 50 states with a score of 14 out of 50 possible points.
ACEEE’s State and Local Policy Database includes comprehensive information on energy efficiency policies currently implemented at the state and local level. The ACEEE believes that policymakers, regulators, and citizens are increasingly recognizing that energy efficiency is a crucially important resource. States and localities are leading the way when it comes to implementing energy-efficient policies and programs.
The database tracks policy activity across multiple sectors, including government, utilities, transportation, buildings, combined heat and power and appliance standards. Take a look at the database map to learn more about the policies that encourage energy efficiency in each area.
The Solutions Project
All 50 states and 139 countries can shift to 100 percent wind, water and solar power by 2050, according to a new analysis from Stanford University.
The study projected that 142,000 construction jobs and 48,000 operation jobs would be created in Kentucky by a total switch to wind, water and solar.
When all costs are included, said Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson, wind now is the cheapest energy source in the United States – even without subsidies – and solar is nearly as cheap.
“By transitioning, we’d create 2 million more jobs, both construction and permanent operation jobs, than we would lose,” said Jacobson, director of the Stanford University Atmosphere/Energy Program.
USDA Funds Rural Energy Projects
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a round of funding, in the form of loans and grants, to more than 1100 rural renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide, which are aimed at helping small businesses and agricultural producers reduce both their energy use and costs. The funding will go to finance projects in every US state, as well as in the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific.
A total of $102 million in loan guarantees, and $71 million in grants, will be provided by the USDA through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
REAP was created as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, and due to the success of that initiative, Congress re-upped the program in the 2014 Farm Bill, along with a guarantee of at least $50 million in funding annually throughout the life of the five-year bill.
Building Owners Design to Earn the Energy Star
Do you know what Kroger, Kohl’s, and Hines all have in common? They are all Energy Star partners who asked their architects to design their buildings to achieve Designed to Earn the Energy Star, EPA’s recognition for meeting superior energy efficiency criteria for design projects.
This achievement sends a message to their potential customers and investors that these projects are intended to perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings. To date, more than 300 building owners are responsible for close to 700 commercial building projects that achieved “Designed to Earn the Energy Star.”
Energy costs for these projects are estimated to save an average of $120,000 annually. Nearly 20 percent of the projects have completed the cycle from design and construction to operations and received Energy Star certification.
You can join these owners by starting with Energy Star for your commercial new construction design projects.
See What’s New at ESRC
The Environmental Sustainability Resource Center (ESRC) is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx™), a national network of regional information centers. The objective of the ESRC is to provide technical environmental sustainability information and training to industrial service providers in EPA Regions 3 & 4. The primary service area for the ESRC is EPA Region 3 & 4. Region 3 includes Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, D.C., Delaware and Maryland. Region 4 includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. ESRC resources and staff are available to users in industry, consulting and universities. Please visit the ESRC website or call toll free (855) 531-3772 for more information.
GreenBiz – Sustainability News & Resources
GreenBiz advances the opportunities at the intersection of business, technology and sustainability. Through its websites, events, peer-to-peer network and research, GreenBiz promotes the potential to drive transformation and accelerate progress — within companies, industries and in the very nature of business. Since 1991, GreenBiz has chronicled and been a catalyst for thought leadership in aligning environmental responsibility with profitable business practices.
Find the latest articles, videos and resources on the GreenBiz website.
Upcoming Training, Events and Conferences
• EPA Webinar: Portfolio Manager 201
Take a deeper dive into the more advanced features of Portfolio Manager, such as managing changes in property uses over time, using spreadsheet templates to quickly upload data, setting goals and creating custom reports.
January 27 at 1:00 pm EDT – View more training opportunities and Register for the Webinar.
• EPA Webinar: Portfolio Manager 301
Learn about some advanced features including: using spreadsheet upload templates to update property data, setting goals and targets to plan energy improvements for properties, creating custom reports and using the Sustainable Buildings Checklist.
January 28 at 1:00 pm EDT – View more training opportunities and Register for the Webinar.
• Verifying the Energy Star Certification Application
Do you verify commercial building applications for ENERGY STAR certification? This webinar, based on the ENERGY STAR Guide for Licensed Professionals, covers the role of the licensed professional, as well as requirements for verifying commercial building applications for ENERGY STAR certification.
February 25 at 1:00 pm EST – Register for the Webinar
To view these and other sustainability-related events, please visit the KPPC Events Calendar.