July, 2017 – Volume 10, Issue 7
Kentucky dominates the 2017 ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings Top Small Cities list
Each year the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Program identifies the Top Cities Lists for large, mid-sized and small cities across the country to recognize metro areas that have the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the previous year and the significant effort that it represents in cutting energy bills and pollution through energy efficiency.
Six of the top ten cities that made the Small Cities List were from Kentucky. They were Bowling Green (2nd), Madisonville (3rd), Frankfort (5th), Bardstown (6th), London (7th) and Elizabethtown (9th). Additionally, Louisville and Lexington were ranked seventh and tenth respectively on the Mid-size Cities list.
So what has been going on that has Kentucky leading the way in ENERGY STAR certified buildings nationally?
There were a total of 154 ENERGY STAR certified buildings for the top ten Kentucky cities listed on the Mid-size and Small Cities Lists. When looking at the types of facilities on the lists over 80% of the certified buildings were K-12 school buildings. All but one facility of the 47 certified buildings for the six small Kentucky cities were K-12.
The school systems in Kentucky have been focused on energy efficiency for quite some time now. This can be attributed to programs that were initiated with a statewide focus on energy management for school districts by funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) back in 2010 and directed by the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence (DEDI).
At that time, two programs emerged from the funding effort. The Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center ramped up the Kentucky Energy Efficiency Program for Schools (KEEPS) to assist school districts across the state with implementing a systematic approach to energy management and identifying energy improvement opportunities at K-12 facilities. The Kentucky School Boards Association initiated the School Energy Managers Project (SEMP) in 2010 to help school districts comply with KRS 160.325 [PDF] enacted to reduce rising energy costs by putting professionally trained energy managers into schools.
KEEPS emphasized the ENERGY STAR framework using a seven step process while also encouraging school districts to become partners in the ENERGY STAR program and to seek ENERGY STAR certification for schools. This resulted in Kentucky achieving the highest percentage of school districts that were ENERGY STAR partners in the country at 70%.
KEEPS was discontinued when funding ended in April of 2012. However, the energy management tools that were developed, the training assets, including recorded webinars, along with the KEEPS Moving Forward e-newsletters and KEEPS Status Reports that memorialized the foundational success and outreach to all 174 Kentucky school districts remain available on the KPPC website.
The strong presence of Kentucky cities on the 2017 ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings top ten Small Cities List represents the continued success of these past and present Kentucky energy efficiency programs across the state.
Visit the KEEPS web page to find out more about the successful impact that KEEPS made and to access the valuable resources that can be used today.
Fort Campbell solar array project completed
From the KyEEC Webzine by Kenya Stump and Eileen Hardy – June 23, 2017
Friday, June 15th marked a monumental occasion for solar in the Commonwealth as the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) and Fort Campbell announced the completion of a five megawatt Solar Array Project at Fort Campbell—making it the largest non-utility solar array in Kentucky.
It is also the first of its kind, as the solar project covers approximately 20 acres on an abandoned landfill on Fort Campbell and a collaboration of multiple partnerships that have made the five-year renewable energy plan a reality.
“It’s an honor to finally cut the ribbon on this very important project,” said Colonel Rob Salome, Garrison Commander at Fort Campbell. “It’s amazing to think how much Fort Campbell has changed over the last couple of years, and how we’ve moved toward alternative energy sources such as this solar array. When we started this process, we were really looking for ways to refine our energy usage in efficient ways. Now, with the project completed, this array represents 10 percent of our total energy utilization. And that’s really huge to us.”
The renewable energy project is a result of a unique partnership of the United States Army, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE), Pennyrile Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (PRECC), BithEnergy, Inc. and EEC.
“It took a lot of folks to make this project happen – from both the state of Kentucky, our many industry partners and our great department of public works,” said Colonel Salome.
Installation on the solar array began in 2012 when Fort Campbell established a renewable energy plan, based on directives set forth in the American Renewable Energy Act requiring 25 percent of energy consumed by federal installations to be produced by renewable means by 2025.
The Kentucky EEC awarded a $3.1 million grant in December 2012 to help launch the project’s first phase. Phase one included a 1.9 megawatt portion of the solar array, executed through a 10-year utility energy services contract with PRECC. The contract allows the electric cooperative to use the grant funding to pay for the solar array’s interconnection infrastructure.
Fort Campbell received an additional $800,000 grant through the US DOE Federal Emergency Management Program to fund phase two. Funding is tied to a 27-year power purchase agreement.
The project is unique on several fronts. First, it demonstrates how the Army is able to leverage both a utility energy services contract and a power purchase agreement to develop the solar array. The project consists of more than 16,000 solar modules constructed on top of a closed 20 acre landfill – demonstrating how underutilized properties can be put into productive service again. For Fort Campbell, the completion of the five megawatt solar array represents becoming one step closer to being energy secure and meeting outlined mission goals.
“For Kentucky, this shows how energy and brownfield properties can work together to create value for our military installations,” said Rick Bender, Executive Advisor for the Energy and Environment Cabinet. “Energy Assurance is a strategic priority for Kentucky and this project exemplifies how partnerships make this goal a reality and benefits the Commonwealth.”
“We want to thank the state of Kentucky for the investment in us and trusting us to make good use of grant funds,” said Colonel Salome. “It is money well spent, a great return on.”
Since forming, the unique project collaborative has assembled more than $10 million to support the project, including funding from the EEC and the U.S. DOE. The Solar Array Project will generate enough energy to power 463 homes, while avoiding 4.7 million tons per year of CO2 emissions all while strengthening America’s economic, energy and environmental security.
“Everyone did a fantastic job, and this is just the beginning,” said Colonel Salome. “I know there are lots more things we want to do that we can partner on to really make ourselves as energy independent as possible.”
Fruit of the Loom, Inc. joins The Sustainability Consortium
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. , Jul. 17 /CSRwire/ – Fruit of the Loom, Inc., has recently joined The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) as part of its ongoing commitment to corporate social and environmental responsibility. TSC is a global, non-profit organization working to transform the consumer goods industry so that mainstream consumer goods bought each day, like Fruit of the Loom products, are more sustainable.
“Operating in a sustainable manner is extremely important to all of us at Fruit of the Loom,” said Tony Pelaski, Fruit of the Loom executive vice president and chief operating officer. “As a global organization, we have an obligation to constantly evaluate and improve our sustainability practices. Joining TSC will allow us to evolve and expand our current processes to remain a sustainable organization and leader in the apparel category.
Euan Murray, TSC chief executive states, “We are thrilled to welcome Fruit of the Loom to our very active textiles sector, where they will join other TSC members to improve the environmental, social, and economic performance of the textile value chain. Fruit of the Loom’s membership with TSC and leadership in the apparel industry will us help create more sustainable products for a more sustainable planet.”
As part of The Sustainability Consortium, Fruit of the Loom will have access to one of the world’s largest research databases, which translates sustainability science and data into business tools that can be used throughout a product’s supply chain and lifecycle. Other members of TSC include manufacturers, suppliers, services providers, NGOs, civil society organizations, governmental agencies and academics.
“Fruit of the Loom is committed to conducting business in a socially responsible fashion,” said Pelaski. “The tools available to TSC members will be an invaluable asset as we work toward making products that are not only better for consumers, but also better for the environment,” said Pelaski. “We are proud to be a member of TSC and look forward to learning more from this valuable partnership.”
Gov. Bevin makes appointment to Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center board
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 20, 2017) – Gov. Matt Bevin today made the following appointment to Kentucky Boards and Commissions:
Claude Jay Christensen has been appointed to the Center for Pollution Prevention Board of Directors.
Claude Jay Christensen, of Sadieville, is the mayor of Sadieville. He will represent local government and serve for a term expiring July 15, 2020.
The Center for Pollution Prevention Board of Directors facilitates and promotes the commercial implementation of pollution prevention technologies and procedures by providing technical and financial assistance, as available, to business and industry.
Governor’s Conference Award nomination deadline approaching
In the June addition of the SSP we shared with you about the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s call for nominations for the annual environmental awards to be presented at this year’s Governor’s Conference (#KYGOVCONF). There is still time to nominate a person or organization that has demonstrated exceptional environmental leadership for the Commonwealth. The nomination forms are available for the following categories:
The deadline for award nominations is August 1, 2017. Act now to recognize an environmental leader today!
PSC approves Duke Energy Kentucky solar power projects
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 10, 2017) – The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a proposal by Duke Energy Kentucky to build three small solar power facilities in its service territory in northern Kentucky.
In its application to the PSC, Duke Kentucky said the facilities would be used to develop experience with small-scale solar power in preparation for adding more renewable power sources in the next 10 years.
The PSC, in an order issued today, found that building and operating the solar facilities would have no adverse impact on the operations or financial condition of Duke Kentucky. The PSC noted that, by building the solar facilities now, Duke Kentucky is making use of a 30 percent federal tax credit and is taking advantage of current low prices for solar panels.
Duke Kentucky stated in its application that power from the solar arrays will supplement power produced from its fossil-fuel-fired power plants. The arrays will generate solar renewable energy certificates, which can be sold in Ohio, with a portion of the revenue flowing back to Duke Kentucky customers as a credit.
Duke Kentucky is a subsidiary of Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. Duke Kentucky serves about 139,000 electric customers in five counties in northern Kentucky. Duke Kentucky’s nearly 97,000 natural gas customers are not affected by this case.
The three solar facilities, with a combined maximum output of nearly seven megawatts (MW) will be located at two sites, one in Kenton County and the other in Grant County. Duke Kentucky has entered into agreements to purchase both sites.
Two arrays will be on property near Walton. Each will produce up to two MW of power. A 2.75-MW array will be built on a site near Crittenden in Grant County. Evergreen trees will be planted along the property borders to minimize the visual impact on neighbors, Duke Kentucky said in its application.
Duke Kentucky stated that it will host community meetings to discuss the projects and obtain input from neighbors and others living close to the sites.
Duke Kentucky estimates that the total cost of the three solar arrays will be $14.8 million, with an annual operating and maintenance cost of $132,000. There will be no immediate impact on rates, although Duke Kentucky said it will eventually seek to recover the costs from ratepayers.
To create a carbon-neutral restaurant, first you have to measure the footprint
One of the main promises of the farm-to-table movement is that it reduces food miles: Restrict the distance your ingredients travel on their path to plate, and you’ll spend less fuel on transportation and refrigeration, curbing carbon emissions which contribute to greenhouse gasses.
The problem is that’s tough to measure. Plus, it’s woefully incomplete: Pretty much anything caught, grown, or raised requires ingredients to become ingredients, which means factoring in emission from the creation and use of more behind-the-scenes inputs, everything from manufactured fertilizer for crops, to animal feed and fueled-up tractors. While lots of online calculators are available for restaurants to try to track their footprint and impact, most only cover surface level math for daily operations, things like kilowatt-hours of electricity to power a restaurant, or gas used per food-mile.
To solve those issues, Blue Star Integrative Studio, a green business and building evaluation firm, has created its own calculations to deeply track restaurant operation and supply chain emissions, and then compare the result to typical competitors within the same field. The company, which has done similar work for food product companies like Clif Bar, was commissioned to do that by Sustainable Restaurant Group in Portland Oregon, which has made their results available online in a novel way. Potential diners can not only see the restaurant’s emissions footprint but how it might compare to other similar-themed eateries they might choose.
From a practical standpoint, the hope is that customers will begin to value whether the eatery has below-average emissions into their mental math when choosing where to eat. “I think any restaurant can take on the challenge of climate impacts of their supply chain, when they actually need to for business reasons,” says David Jaber, Blue Star Integrative’s director of optimization. “If you look at any array of drivers or market developments in larger restaurants with the larger supply chain footprints, the time to tackle the challenge is now, if not already.”
Ford advances its use of sustainable materials
Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader of materials sustainability, Ford Motor Co., headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, began her keynote address at the 2017 Refocus Sustainability & Recycling Summit by listing a number of the uses the automaker has found for sustainable materials. “It looks like we’ve done a lot at Ford, but in actuality we’ve just started,” she added.
In 2000 Mielewski said she was given the responsibility of managing Ford’s plastics efforts, admitting that at the time she “hated” plastics and “wanted to do my part to make plastics better for the environment.”
This led Mielewski and her team to develop foam made from soy that is now used in the company’s seat cushions and backs and in most of its headrests in the North American market. The company’s soy foam journey started in the early 2000s. In 2003, Ford introduced the Model U concept vehicle that featured the soy foam cushions. To Mielewski’s surprise, she said, “The press didn’t beat us up too badly.”
What Mielewski said most people didn’t know is that Ford has a long history of using soy, with the Ford Rouge plant in Dearborn having grown soybeans to use in paint for its cars in the 1940s.
Ford’s journey to commercialize its use of soy foam in its vehicles began in 2004 when the United Soybean Board gave the company a $230,000 grant to assist in soy foam research and analysis over a three-year period. Ford implemented its soy foam commercially in the 2008 Mustang as oil prices spiked. Mielewski said the introduction was “very well-received.”
She said 31,251 soybeans are used in typical Ford vehicle for seat cushions and backs.
According to Ford’s “2015/16 Sustainability Report,” the use of this soy foam in its new vehicles reduces the company’s annual CO2 emissions by more than 20 million pounds.
Advances such as these are “not super easy,” Mielewski said. “People need to be persistent.” This is particularly true when oil prices are low as they are now. “When oil prices are low, we need to keep moving forward because we know oil prices will go up,” she said.
She said Ford’s Chairman Bill Ford is “incredibly supportive” of the company’s work in sustainable materials.
However, it’s not an easy task, Mielewski said, given the variety of materials used to manufacture vehicles. “I am so jealous of companies that have a bottle and a lid,” she said, adding that more than 1,000 different materials are used in a Ford vehicle.
Additionally, she said Ford cannot make compromises in terms of durability and longevity when it uses sustainable or “green” materials.
Competing for energy efficiency in the manufacturing industry
By Ryan Spies, Sustainability Manager at Saint-Gobain North America
The U.S. industrial sector has been a longtime heavy energy consumer, accounting for one-third of the energy usage in the country. What’s more, the U.S. industrial sector has an annual energy bill of about $200 billion. While both of these statistics may seem startling, at Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies and manufacturer of innovative material solutions, we believe these numbers present the opportunity for businesses to step up to the challenge to improve the energy efficiency of their manufacturing plants and facilities.
Already, more than 200 industrial partners representing close to 2,600 facilities in all 50 states have committed to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program to improve energy savings by 20 percent or more over the next 10 years. Our new president and CEO, Tom Kinisky, recently signed Saint-Gobain’s renewed pledge, allowing our company to further its energy-savings goals, increase the sustainability of our operations and reduce the overall carbon footprint of our manufacturing facilities.
While these pledges are nice to have, what’s most important is to consider the on-the-ground initiatives companies need to implement to help these goals become a reality. At Saint-Gobain, we believe a sense of competition among manufacturing plants and colleagues truly helps to move these goals forward. In 2016, our company’s Environmental, Health and Safety Department established the company’s Water, Waste and Energy (WWE) Program, which was recently recognized with a U.S. Department of Energy Better Practice Award. This program encourages more than 130 Saint-Gobain manufacturing sites to compete against each other to see which facility can best reduce its environmental impact by highlighting practical and effective solutions for increasing the sustainability of sites. At the end of the program, five sites are recognized with 20-pound championship-style belts and given the titles of “Waste Champion,” “Water Champion,” “Energy Champion,” “CO2 Champion” and “Overall Champion” to recognize their commitment to on-the-ground, effective energy-reduction solutions.
Through this program and by competing against their peers, Saint-Gobain manufacturing facilities across the country have been able to achieve substantial energy consumption reduction results. The program’s 2017 Energy Champion, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Bristol, Rhode Island, took a systems approach to energy management resulting in a 45 percent energy intensity reduction over the past two years. The 2016 and 2017 CO2 Champion, CertainTeed Roofing in Oxford, North Carolina, invigorated its commitment to reducing energy and carbon dioxide emissions by forming a special committee of 24 members focused on working directly to reduce the site’s emissions. Through the efforts to upgrade heating elements on three of its main production lines, the plant was able to achieve a substantial reduction in natural gas usage. In addition, this year’s Water Champion, Saint-Gobain Quartz in Riverport, Kentucky, implemented the use of a cooling tower to achieve water savings and sealed a well that had been in use for years. The well water withdrawal was reduced from 131 million gallons in 2012 to zero gallons in 2015 and 2016.
Based on these percentages and statistics, it is clear that a sense of competition helps to spur outside-the-box thinking and improvements that are able to result in an overall positive impact for the company and its facilities as well as the planet. Let’s use this learning to encourage our employees and colleagues to compete for the greater good of the planet.
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 and 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.
Currently on the GreenBiz website by Roland Cliff:
Why chemical engineers — not just economists — are key to a circular future
It will take hard science to close the loop on unnecessary waste.
Today’s professional chemical engineers accept responsibility for avoiding or abating pollution of the environment by the process industries.
But the profession, of which I am proud to be a part, should play a more fundamental role in sustainability. We need a complete rethink of the way we manage and use resources, including energy and land, as well as materials.
Chemical engineering must contribute to this change as a way of thinking, not just as a technological discipline. We can see this from the way chemical engineering has developed and how it continues to evolve.
Chemical engineering originated in the closing years of the 19th century with the work of George E Davis. Davis worked in Manchester’s early chemical industry. He delivered some of the first lectures on chemical engineering and published them in 1901 in his seminal work, “The Handbook of Chemical Engineering.”
Davis’ thinking impacted well beyond Manchester’s fledgling chemical industry and resulted in the emergence of a new field, encompassing both chemical processes and mechanical equipment. The discipline grew into a profession and by 1922 the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) had emerged, with a mission to advance the profession.
Chemical engineering is concerned with managing flows and transformations of materials and energy in industrial plants. It has become the engineering discipline of the process industries, which include chemicals, petrochemicals, plastics, water, energy, pharmaceuticals and food. Simply put, chemical engineers turn raw materials into products, whereas mechanical engineers turn products into devices and machines.
It is a general and systematic way of approaching problems based on integrating fundamental scientific principles. This includes thermodynamics — the branch of physical science that deals with laws governing the processes of the transformation of energy. Thermodynamics is essential because it defines what is possible. Few economists have any awareness of thermodynamics. One factor that has led to the degradation and contamination of our planet is that conventional economics does not recognise thermodynamic limits.
Chemical engineering is a key discipline contributing to industrial ecology. Industrial ecology is “the study of the flows of materials and energy in industrial and consumer activities, of the effects of these flows on the environment, and of the influences of economic, political, regulatory and social factors on the flow, use and transformation of resources.” Even the basic tools used in industrial ecology, including life cycle assessment and material flow accounting, are a combination of chemical engineering fundamentals.
Find the latest articles, videos and resources on the GreenBiz website.
Upcoming Training, Events and Conferences
- Making Cents of Energy – Summer Event
Join the Louisville Energy Alliance and LG&E for a FREE informational seminar. Come enjoy breakfast and learn about a wide range of subjects related to Louisville and energy sustainability, as well as possible strategies to save your business money.
July 26 – Spalding University’s Kosair College of Health and Natural Sciences, Room 113, Louisville, Kentucky
Please visit www.louisvilleenergyalliance.org/making-cents-of-energy to register for the event (required for breakfast), and see the agenda with all topics and speakers.
EPA ENERGY STAR webinars:
Portfolio Manager Series
- 101 – August 1 at 1 p.m. EDT – Attendees will learn how to: navigate the Portfolio Manager; add a property and enter details about it; enter energy and water consumption data; share properties; generate performance reports to assess progress; and respond to data requests.
- 201 – August 22 at 1 p.m. EDT – Learn more advanced functionalities such as: managing and tracking changes to your property uses over time; using spreadsheet templates to update property data; setting goals and targets to plan energy improvements for properties; generating and using custom reports; and using the Sustainable Buildings Checklist.
- 301 – August 29 at 1 p.m. EDT – 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.
View recorded ENERGY STAR webinars at any time.
- 2017 Sustainability Management Conference
Benchmark your sustainability program – learn benchmark leading practices, discover new solutions and hear hard-won accomplishments from your peers. Discover new innovative strategies companies are using to meet sustainability goals and how companies address sustainability trends.
August 1 – 2 – Chicago, IL
Find out more and how to register for this informative conference.
- APR Plastics Recycling Educational Webinar: Residential Bulky Rigid Plastics
Since 2009 the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) has conducted a survey to evaluate each state’s largest municipality’s residential plastics collection programs, and the growing trend continues to be: Recycling Rigid Plastics Beyond Bottles. The webinar will provide an overview of each of the toolkit’s resources which include: Success Stories, Market Information, Education, Flowcharts and Videos, Remanufacturing / Applications, and FAQs.
August 1 – Online
Register for this webinar.