SSP September 2019

September, 2019 – Volume 12, Issue 9

UK CAER, LG&E and KU to develop system to improve power plant efficiency

Hemp manufacturing plant opens in Murray, Kentucky

The indoor farmer who wants to remake Appalachia’s agriculture


EPA calls for nominations for 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

ANGEL’S ENVY® calls on fans to help meet increased goal of planting 30,000 white oak trees

Arcadis announces pro bono projects to help communities in Kentucky and New York

Transport packaging cuts CO2 emissions

GreenBiz: How Kohler turned production ‘waste’ into a new tile line

Upcoming Training, Events and Conferences

The 2019 Best Practices Expo & Conference

North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Conference

Verge 19 Conference and Expo

Saving Water in Restrooms with WaterSense

Success Stories on Holding ENERGY STAR Competitions

Minimizing Water Use in Mechanical/HVAC Systems

ENERGY STAR – Portfolio Manager Webinars

SSP banner image

UK CAER, LG&E and KU to develop system to improve power plant efficiency

LEXINGTON — The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) has received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy to improve efficiency and reliability at existing and future coal-fired power plants.

UK Center for Applied Energy ResearchWorking alongside industry partners at Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities (LG&E and KU) Company and Black Dragon Double Boiler, CAER researchers will be testing a self-cleaning, air preheater system that will improve load flexibility and increase thermal efficiency at power plants.

The project seeks to develop a simple device that can be added to regenerative air preheaters that are widely deployed in coal-fired plants. If successful, the UK-led project would allow utility companies to safely lower the minimum baseload in coal-fired units while improving boiler efficiency by 2-3%. Additionally, the newly designed system will enhance efficiencies in the deNOx operation, leading to better operating outcomes and reduced down time to clean air preheaters for the power plants.

“We’re proud to join with UK CAER in making this pilot study possible,” said Jeff Fraley, general manager of LG&E and KU’s E.W. Brown Generating Station, where the pilot will take place. “The successful development of this technology will provide a real, sustained benefit not just for our company’s remaining coal-fired facilities, but one that other utilities with similar units could take advantage of as well.”

“We are excited to partner with LG&E and KU and Black Dragon Double Boiler on this project,” said Kunlei Liu, principal investigator for this project, associate director for research at CAER and associate professor in UK’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Helping to create solutions to industry challenges is a trademark of UK CAER, and this project is another example of our land-grant mission.”

“Projects of this nature are truly applied energy research and extremely gratifying to see through,” said Heather Nikolic, co-principal investigator for this project and research program manager at CAER.

The duration of the project is three years.

Read the full article to find out more about the technical background of the project on the Richmond Register website.

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Hemp manufacturing plant opens in Murray, Kentucky

The $5.8 million facility, HempWood Manufacturing, is expected to bring 25 jobs to the area.

MURRAY, Ky. (KFVS) – A hemp manufacturing plant opened in Murray on Monday, August 26.

The project was announced in March when Fibonacci leased a 15,000 square-foot facility in Murray for its automated HempWood manufacturing operation. The plant will produce sustainable wood made from hemp fiber and soy-based adhesives.

According to Governor Matt Bevin’s Office, company leaders chose Murray because of a relationship with Murray State University, which established a Center for Agricultural Hemp the same month.

Currently, the company contracts with West Kentucky growers for 2,000 tons of hemp stalks and plans to purchase 20 percent more next year.

“On the heels of the recent plant closure, it is wonderful to see this announcement,” Murray Mayor Bob Rogers said. “This product is innovative, sustainable and should have good prospects for growth. We are proud to have them in our area.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority on February preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program.

In addition, Fibonacci can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network.

Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.

Read the original article to learn more about the performance-based agreement on the KFVS12 website.
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The indoor farmer who wants to remake Appalachia’s agriculture

A startup called AppHarvest is building a 60-acre greenhouse in an economically distressed part of Kentucky.

By Leigh Kamping-Carder
Wall Street Journal

Jonathan Webb’s farm doesn’t look like much: tawny soil stretching to a line of trees, a trailer with a few makeshift desks. But if Mr. Webb gets his way, by mid-2020, the Morehead, Ky., property will house a 60-acre greenhouse—the first in a series of multi-acre, technology-augmented indoor farms meant to bring jobs to Appalachia and fresh-picked tomatoes to surrounding states.

“If we had 500 acres of supply tomorrow, we could sell all of that supply to U.S. grocers,” said Mr. Webb, 34, who wears a uniform of dark jeans, a light denim shirt, round glasses and a Kentucky ball cap. “We cannot build fast enough or grow fast enough to meet the demand of grocers or consumers.”

Mr. Webb’s vision is to turn economically distressed eastern Kentucky into the high-tech agriculture capital of the country. He has no prior experience in farming, but he has managed to attract $97 million in project financing and a list of noteworthy partners. Ultimately, he plans to spend $1 billion to $2 billion on greenhouses—even if it takes a decade or two.

His startup, AppHarvest, is one of a growing number of technology-focused agricultural companies seeking to solve the problems of the U.S. food system—among them opaque supply chains, labor shortages, food waste, health and safety issues, higher import costs and an increasingly unpredictable climate—by growing food indoors.

Compared with traditional farms, indoor farms offset weather-related risks, reduce food waste, use drastically less water and produce more consistent crops. A modern, acre-size greenhouse can yield the same amount of produce as 40 to 50 acres of soil, said Viraj Puri, co-founder and chief executive of Gotham Greens, which distributes leafy greens and herbs from its 180,000 square feet of rooftop greenhouses in Brooklyn and Chicago. Produce grown indoors also appeals to changing consumer preferences, as more Americans seek to reduce sugar and processed foods in their diets, eat more locally grown, chemical-free produce, and track the origins of their food, said Fernando Martins, a Bain & Co. partner who specializes in agriculture, food and sustainability.

A handful of startups, including Plenty Unlimited Inc., AeroFarms LLC and Bowery Farming, have converted urban warehouses into vertical farms, where plants grow hydroponically in vertical rows. These companies use advanced technology, including energy-efficient LEDs, sensors, robots and software, to cultivate produce for maximum yield and flavor. Meanwhile, Boston-based Freight Farms sells a 320-square-foot shipping-container farm to schools and corporate campuses; the latest version yields four to eight tons of produce a year.

Read the full article to learn more about the AppHarvest greenhouse endeavor underway in eastern Kentucky on the Wall Street Journal website.

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EPA calls for nominations for 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

WASHINGTON (September 18, 2019) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for companies or institutions that have developed a new process or product that helps protect public health and the environment.

“The Green Chemistry Challenge is an opportunity for EPA to recognize the latest and greatest in green chemistry innovations in chemical design, manufacture, and use,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “Innovations in green chemistry are an important component of pollution prevention efforts and keeping American businesses competitive in markets around the world. These innovations can turn waste materials into marketable commodities, reduce costs through material efficiency, and open new markets for products and services.”

Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce both the generation and use of chemicals that are hazardous to the environment and people’s health. Nominations for innovative technologies featuring the design of greener chemicals and products, greener chemical syntheses and reactions, or greener chemical processes are due to the agency by December 31, 2019. EPA anticipates giving awards to outstanding green chemistry technologies in five categories next June.

Since the inception of the awards more than two decades ago, EPA has received more than 1600 nominations and presented awards to 118 technologies, which reduced the use or generation of hundreds of millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals and saved billions of gallons of water and trillions of BTUs in energy.

An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute will formally judge the 2020 nominations and make recommendations to EPA for the 2020 winners.

More information on past award winners and how to submit entries can be found at:

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ANGEL’S ENVY® calls on fans to help meet increased goal of planting 30,000 white oak trees

In celebration of National Bourbon Heritage Month, ANGEL’S ENVY will plant one white oak tree for each photo of an ANGEL’S ENVY drink or bottle posted on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter that is accompanied by the hashtag #ToastTheTrees

ANGEL’S ENVY®, the Louisville-based craft distiller that produces small batch, finished whiskeys, today announced its goal of planting 30,000 new white oak trees through its annual “Toast the Trees” initiative, hosted in honor of National Bourbon Heritage Month each September. As part of “Toast the Trees,” ANGEL’S ENVY pledges to plant one white oak tree for every photo of an ANGEL’S ENVY drink or bottle posted throughout the month of September on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) using the hashtag #ToastTheTrees. ANGEL’S ENVY has increased its goal by 10,000 hashtags this year to further secure the white oak population and, in turn, the future of distilling for generations to come.

“White oak sustainability is incredibly important to the Angel’s Envy family, and we’re proud to call some attention to the cause across the bourbon community through our ‘Toast the Trees’ initiative,” said Wes Henderson, ANGEL’S ENVY Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer. “After seeing our fans rise to the occasion to help us not just hit, but exceed our target of planting 20,000 trees in 2018, we’re excited to raise our goal this year by another 10,000 and continue to do our part to support a healthy white oak population and, in turn, the future growth of bourbon.”

Bourbon must legally be aged in new oak barrels, and the white oak tree is the most common type harvested for North American cooperages. Each white oak tree yields between one and three barrels and takes about 70 years to mature. ANGEL’S ENVY launched “Toast the Trees” in 2014 in an effort to raise awareness for the increased need for a healthy and secure white oak tree population, particularly as bourbon’s popularity continues to grow both in the U.S. and internationally.

In 2018, ANGEL’S ENVY’s “Toast the Trees” initiative garnered 20,724 hashtags that resulted in 20,724 new white oak trees planted in spring 2019. Since the program’s inception, ANGEL’S ENVY has planted nearly 45,000 new white oak trees throughout eastern Kentucky and the surrounding Appalachian areas with the Arbor Day Foundation and Green Forests Work.

“We are thrilled by our continued partnership with Angel’s Envy,” said Dan Lambe, President, Arbor Day Foundation. “We salute Angel’s Envy’s commitment to responsible forestry and educating America on the importance of tree planting.”

Trees from this year’s “Toast the Trees” program will be planted in spring 2020.

Read the full announcement on the PRNews website to learn more about ANGEL’S ENVY, the Arbor Day Foundation and Green Forests Work.

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Arcadis announces pro bono projects to help communities in Kentucky and New York

Projects focus on local partnerships and sustainable, people-centric solutions

Arcadis (ARCAD.NX), the leading global design and consultancy organization for natural and built assets, today announced the launch of two pro bono projects: one in Louisville, Kentucky, and the other in Syracuse, New York. These will be the third and fourth projects in Arcadis’ Pro Bono Program, which provides the expertise of Arcadis employees at no cost to community-led development projects that demonstrate the potential of improving the quality of life for others.

Transforming warehouses into a vibrant community hub in Louisville

Once a thriving community known as “Harlem of the South,” Louisville’s historic Russell neighborhood today has one of the highest poverty rates in the city. Due to its prime location west of downtown, private investment and gentrification has the strong potential to create displacement of existing residents. With seed funding from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust and fiscal sponsorship from the Community Foundation of Louisville, Louisville Metro Government and Cities United launched a new initiative, Russell: A Place of Promise, focused on avoiding displacement of existing residents and leveraging new investments to build community wealth and ownership opportunities for them.

One of the key elements of the initiative is to transform a former cigar manufacturing facility located on an abandoned five-acre property known as the Madison Street Warehouses into a vibrant community hub offering safe housing, business and job opportunities, much-needed banking and food choices, and positive entertainment options for residents and visitors. Arcadis will use laser-scanning to develop a 3D rendering of the warehouses and will provide environmental engineering support to help Russell: A Place of Promise plan and budget for this major undertaking.

“We have worked in Louisville for decades, but with the recent opening of an Arcadis office here, this is a great opportunity to continue building our investment in the area,” said Shawn Cecil, Arcadis project manager. “We are thrilled to contribute to this program that tests community empowerment concepts and will positively impact the Russell neighborhood and hopefully other cities in the future.”

Read more about a field house project in Syracuse and the Pro Bono Program on the YaHoo! Finance website.

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Transport packaging cuts CO2 emissions

Reusable sleeve packs provide a number of sustainability benefits and protect loads during transport.

By Sara Pearson Specter · September 2019

Offered as an alternative to traditional bulk paperboard containers as well as molded-foam and injection-molded plastic containers, DS Smith Plastics’ AkyPak reusable sleeve packs provide a number of sustainability benefits for companies seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, says John C. McCurdy, vice president of commercial development.

“The sleeve panels are extruded from polypropylene plastic, making them far more durable than paperboard as they can withstand wet conditions if left outdoors,” McCurdy adds. DS Smith partners with other manufacturers to pair the sleeve pack sidewalls with a reusable plastic pallet and top cap made of thermoformed high-density polyethylene. The sleeves can be easily modified with different-sized access doors, or two can be used in a nesting C-shape to allow workers to remove one side to reach the contents. All three components are reusable for at least seven years, cutting down on expenses associated with replacing containers.

“I’ve seen some systems last as long as 20 years,” McCurdy adds, adding that all three components can be recycled at the end of their useful life. “They’re heavy duty, but at the same time significantly lighter than alternative bulk containers, with a total container weight of 20 pounds compared to 100 pounds or more for other units, That weight reduction cuts transportation costs as well as carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, further enhancing a company’s sustainability.”

The sleeve packs also collapse to a more compact height than bulk containers with foldable sidewalls, McCurdy adds. “When empty, the sidewalls can be removed, folded flat and stored between the lid and the pallet. This creates a higher return ratio—meaning more of them can be placed into a trailer—when compared to bulk containers.

That reduces the number of truck trips needed between supplier and manufacturer, again cutting emissions, he says. “We recently supplied the AkyPak 4You reusable sleeve pack customized for an automotive supplier, who determined that the system eliminated more than 300 truck trips and approximately 690,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually,” McCurdy says.

Read the original post on the Modern Materials Handling website.

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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 Heather Clancy:

How Kohler turned production ‘waste’ into a new tile line

A half-dozen years ago, inspired by a biomimicry presentation during an annual company innovation retreat, tile and fixtures manufacturer Kohler created its WasteLAB. The idea: Experiment with nonhazardous vitreous and cast iron byproducts from the company’s production facilities, and assess their worth as materials that could be reused in other ways.

This spring, the WasteLAB introduced its first product based on these circular economy principles: a new ceramic line, the Ann Sacks Crackle Collection.

The “body” of the tiles is made from otherwise landfill-bound pottery cull — broken pieces, if you will — from the toilet-making process. (The exact content of recycled materials isn’t disclosed, but the company says it’s “almost 100 percent.”) The scraps are pressed into powder and then molded into the appropriate shape. The amber and mahogany hues are derived from iron slag, and the glazes are made from enamel powders and leftover glaze collected during the processing of toilets, bathtubs and sinks.

Theresa Millard, project manager for sustainability and stewardship with the Kohler WasteLAB, said the performance of the Crackle Collection is the same as tiles made entirely of new materials, which was a major consideration for the design team. Indeed, the products are tested to the same commercial standards as any other Kohler product, Millard said.

“Nature doesn’t have waste,” she said. “We spent a lot of time questioning why something is good one moment and the next moment it’s trash.”

DeeDee Gundberg, director of product development and design for Ann Sacks, said the tiles are marketed alongside sister offerings, with the sales team sharing the origin story. The rich colors made possible by the slag, along with the definition of its crackled surface, have resonated with early customers, Gundberg said.

“The response has been incredible,” she wrote in response to questions submitted by GreenBiz. “Sometimes a client falls in love with the tile because it’s the perfect color for their space, and as soon as they hear the story behind the tile, they develop a deeper emotional connection.”

Read the full article on the GreenBiz website to find out more about why this was not an overnight success.

Find the latest articles, videos and resources on the GreenBiz website.

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Upcoming Training, Events and Conferences

  • The 2019 Best Practices Expo & Conference
    The BEST PRACTICES 2019 conference is designed to educate and provide tools to the people who make industrial utility projects happen at a factory. Factory personnel (General Managers, Production Managers, Energy Managers, Plant Engineers, Maintenance Managers) will convene here to identify Key Performance Indicators, learn to measure them and identify projects to reduce kW and H2O consumption per unit of product produced.
    October 13-16, 2019 – Nashville, TN
    Find out more and register for this conference.
  • North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Conference
    With more than 1,000 formal and nonformal environmental educators from more than thirty countries, this conference is one of the largest gatherings of environmental educators in the world. This year’s conference focuses on educating for a more just and sustainable future, building on the three interwoven pillars of sustainability—social equity, shared prosperity, and environmental integrity.
    October 16-19, 2019 – Lexington, KY
    Find out more and register for this NAAEE conference.
  • Verge 19 Conference and Expo
    The VERGE 19 conference and expo is the platform for companies, cities and communities accelerating the clean economy. Join more than 3,000 leaders — from the private and public sectors, utilities, solution providers, NGOs and startups — to explore scalable, cross-cutting solutions and to advance the most dynamic and influential markets driving a sustainable future.
    October 22-24, 2019 – Oakland, CA
    Find out how to register for this conference.



  • Saving Water in Restrooms with WaterSense
    Water use in restrooms and laundries can account for nearly 40 percent of water use within a facility. Join us to learn about water-efficient operation and maintenance practices and retrofit and replacements options that can help reduce water and energy use in public and private bathrooms and commercial laundries.
    September 25, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Success Stories on Holding ENERGY STAR Competitions
    Food Lion will share how they encouraged sister brands to start developing energy management programs and helped them manage energy, as well as highlights from their inaugural Battle of the Buildings competition which resulted in a 10% energy reduction for the winning store.
    October 17, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Minimizing Water Use in Mechanical/HVAC Systems
    Facilities with extensive heating and cooling requirements can still be water-efficient. Optimizing your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system efficiency will help save your facility water, energy, and money. EPA’s WaterSense program will teach you how to reduce water waste in cooling towers and steam boilers, optimize chilled water systems, and address equipment that uses single-pass cooling water.
    October 23, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Portfolio Manager Series

  • 101 – October 1, 2019 at 1 p.m. ET – 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 – October 15, 2019 at 1 p.m. ET – 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 – October 29, 2019 at 1 p.m. ET – 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 these plus more ENERGY STAR training opportunities and register today.


Ca.jpg-icon-SSPTo view these and other sustainability-related events, please visit the KPPC Events Calendar.

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