March, 2020 – Volume 13, Issue 3
GreenBiz: What COVID-19 teaches us about resilience
TRI Reduction Successes and Case Studies
Building Sustainable Organizations: Making a Difference and Measuring Success
Ensuring Reliable Power & Water to Drive Sustainable Business Operations
Harnessing Digital Solutions to Improve Product Sustainability and Supply Chain Transparency
Efficiency and Renewables Finance for Small Business and Congregations
Discovering Energy Savings with Treasure Hunts
ENERGY STAR – Portfolio Manager Webinars
A message from KPPC’s Executive Director
Dear SSP Community,
Our thoughts are with you as we navigate these uncharted waters. There isn’t a reader who isn’t impacted by this global health emergency in some way. I wanted to let you know that KPPC is still operating under normal business hours, but staff are working remotely in accordance with guidelines established by the University of Louisville in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, travel has been suspended indefinitely.
Even though we are not able to conduct onsite visits, we are available to serve you via email, telephone, or web/video conferencing for any technical assistance needs you may have. In the meantime, we continue to work on projects, complete reports and plan for better ways to serve you in the future.
Direct staff phone numbers and email addresses are provided on our website at /about/staff/. If you are uncertain as to who to contact, please email email@example.com or call us at (502) 852-0965 and you will be directed to the appropriate person.
As the health and safety of all is the top priority for us, KPPC will continue to follow the guidance and restrictions recommended by UofL which can be found at https://louisville.edu/coronavirus. We look forward to providing you with continued professional services during these trying times and we appreciate your patience.
Executive Director, KPPC
EPA resources on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance. This website provides key EPA resources on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Information on Disinfectants
On January 29, 2020, EPA activated its Emerging Viral Pathogens Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides in response to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).
Drinking Water and Wastewater Information
EPA is providing information on drinking water and wastewater to provide clarity to the public. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low.
Social distancing-friendly activities to help you stay in touch with environmental issues
Science classrooms across the state may be empty for now, as we work together to limit the spread of COVID-19 — but the learning doesn’t have to stop.
Here are some ways you and your family can stay in touch with environmental issues and explore nature while still practicing healthy habits.
Like many organizations across the state, the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s operations have changed to promote the health of all Kentuckians while continuing to providing quality service, guidance and resources to the public.
For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus in Kentucky, please visit kycovid19.ky.gov.
1. Measure Your Home’s Energy Efficiency.
Take this opportunity while you’re at home to identify ways to improve energy efficiency and cut down on your energy bill. ENERGY STAR offers a free Home Advisor tool that generates custom recommendations based on information about your house, utility bills and appliances.
For kids, ENERGY STAR offers an interactive site where students can expand their environmental vocabulary, explore renewable and non-renewable energy resources and learn how small changes — like unplugging electronics when not in use — can make a big impact.
2. Take a Hike.
Hiking trails will remain open, allowing you and your family to get out of the house and get some fresh air. Just remember to adhere to the social distancing guidelines set forth by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
You can find our state nature preserves on the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet website.
3. Become a Citizen Scientist.
Learn about the flora and fauna in your own backyard. The app iNaturalist (and Seek by iNaturalist, aimed at younger nature enthusiasts), allows you to use your smartphone camera to identify species in the wild.
You can discuss your observations with the iNaturalist community and potentially contribute to scientific research. The Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves uses iNaturalist data to document the natural heritage of Kentucky.
4. Take a Virtual Field Trip to a Recycling Center.
What happens to the glass bottles, cardboard boxes and plastic milk jugs we recycle? Find out with a virtual field trip to a recycling center.
For a virtual field trip appropriate for pre-school students and kindergartners, check out PBS Learning Media’s Recycling Center Field Trip. For elementary students, check out the video “Follow that Bottle” from Scholastic News. For older kids and adults, check out SciFri’s short video, “The Big Sort: An Insider’s Tour of a Recycling Plant.”
5. Hunt a Big Tree.
Did you know that the Kentucky Division of Forestry has been compiling a list of the state’s largest trees in for more than 50 years? If you think you’ve got a winner on your property, you can nominate it using KDF’s guidelines.
Meanwhile, check out the award-winning trees already in Kentucky.
Need more family-friendly activities and resources? The North American Association for Environmental Education is compiling a list of resources for home-based and distance environmental education.
New NPPR web site now live
NPPR is a national forum that promotes the development, implementation, and evaluation of efforts to avoid, eliminate, or reduce waste generated to air, land, and water. NPPR exists as a volunteer organization.
The roundtable’s mission is focused on the principle that the sustainable and efficient use of energy, materials and resources is vital to the protection and enhancement of human health and the environment, and the conservation of natural resources.
NPPR considers that these efforts are integral to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production to promote environmentally responsible social and economic development.
Check out the new web site to find out more about the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable and how to become a member.
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 Sarah Golden:
What COVID-19 teaches us about resilience
It turns out our economic systems are more fragile than we thought.
As locations across the world implement “shelter-in-place” orders in an effort to flatten the coronavirus contagion curve, we’re getting a real-time lesson in how intertwined our transportation and distribution systems are. It’s staggering to see how efforts to curb the human toll of a pandemic are rippling across every sector and creating incalculable emotional and social impacts.
As we work to future-proof our economy, this pandemic may give rise to the power and value of local sourcing.
Learning the lesson of supply chains — again
While I knew vaguely how globally interconnected our economy was, I didn’t really think about it until parts started to break down. It took everything falling apart for me to understand how it fits together.
Nearly 75 percent of U.S. companies have seen supply chain disruptions, and an analysis of supply chains in early March shows that the world’s largest 1,000 companies or their suppliers have more than 12,000 facilities in quarantined areas of China, Italy and South Korea. (Of course, it’s hard to stay current in this news environment: Just two weeks later, the impacts are more far-reaching. I’m writing this from my home in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is now under orders to shelter in place.)
In a world where the only consumer-facing metric is the price of a good, it makes sense how this would happen. Companies look for the lowest price to source inputs and prioritize low costs over diversification. Efforts to drive down the cost of goods have put all of our supply eggs in one quarantined basket.
If you live in California and experienced planned power shutoffs last fall, this may sound familiar. Our aging grid and prolonged power outages had a multi-billion-dollar economic impact on the region, much of which would have been avoidable if utilities and regulators had properly analyzed the risk of wildfires.
While the specifics are different, the lesson is similar: When we rely on centralized supply and fragile distribution systems, we’re vulnerable to disruptions that may result in economic impacts not properly accounted for in the cost of supplies.
Local supply chains = resilience
It’s hard to put a value on resilience until you need it.
Companies reliant on single sourcing for upstream supplies are likely regretting not better analyzing the potential for disruption. It reflects a failure of risk management principles, according to the Harvard Business Review, showing businesses failed to monitor supply chains and understand potential disruptions.
Likewise, companies and municipalities are working to understand the cost of microgrids and back-up power supplies as California looks down the barrel of the next fire season. People smarter than me have asserted that when we look at the cost of resilience holistically, we can’t afford not to act. Yet deferred action is attractive. The upfront costs are right, and it requires no political or regulatory will.
The unprecedented response to coronavirus, however, may provide the best argument for local resilience we’ve had. For the first time, I feel connected to communities everywhere by the same common threat and solution. Perhaps there’s never been a better (or more bleak) argument for local resilience than the coronavirus.
Local supply chains = decarbonization
Supply chain disruptions also highlight the global sourcing for components that comprise consumer goods. As a friend once whimsically put it: If a string were to connect all items and materials in your house to their places of origin, the world would be covered in string.
At a time when we are increasingly considering the embedded carbon within our products, the corona-disruption brings to light the massive amount of transportation-related emissions that are invisible. It may be economically cheap to transport items across the globe, but it’s costly in greenhouse gas emissions.
“When COVID-19 comes around, disrupting that flow of goods around the world, we are faced with a reckoning that the ‘cheap’ goods may not be so cheap after all,” said Noah Goldstein, director of energy, sustainability and infrastructure at Navigant, in an email. “If there are no parts to put together, not being able to sell a product makes it infinitely expensive.”
In other words, the same strategies that keep a company’s operations financially resilient could make it more climate-friendly.
“Coronavirus is forcing us to look into supply chains, and it will be a good time to use that reflection as an opportunity,” Goldstein said. “An opportunity to look at local supply chains. An opportunity to evaluate the resilience in the supply chain. An opportunity to look at the embedded carbon in the supply chain.”
This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s newsletter Energy Weekly, running Thursdays. Subscribe here.
Find the latest articles, videos and resources on the GreenBiz website.
Upcoming Webinar Training and Events
- TRI Reduction Successes and Case Studies
This free pollution prevention webinar will highlight the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). TRI tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. U.S. facilities in different industry sectors must report annually how much of each chemical is released to the environment and/or managed through recycling, energy recovery and treatment.
March 26, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. EDT
Register for this TRI webinar.
- Building Sustainable Organizations: Making a Difference and Measuring Success
Pollution Prevention is one important strategic approach that can help an organization become more sustainable over time. On this webinar, we will hear from a range of organizations, public to private, all working to make a difference in the quest for sustainability, whether it be on a state/regional, corporate, business sector, and/or within specific facilities respectively. In each case, the presenters will identify challenges to progress and how to track success.
March 31, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Find out more and register for this Sustainable Organizations webinar.
- Ensuring Reliable Power & Water to Drive Sustainable Business Operations
When plant managers integrate schedule-based maintenance with data-driven condition-based practices, they can achieve new levels of operational reliability and efficiency. Asset Performance Management (APM) is an ideal solution to support meeting these objectives. Join this webinar to learn insights into how industrial operations utilize APM to address challenges within their asset-intensive infrastructures.
March 31, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. EDT
Register for this power and water sustainable business webinar.
- Harnessing Digital Solutions to Improve Product Sustainability and Supply Chain Transparency
Stakeholder influence continues to pressure organizations to improve sustainability measures within their operations and across the supply chain. In response, organizations are reaching upstream into their supply chain to better understand the entire value stream. Join this webinar to understand how digital transformation can enable an organization to address these complexities through cross-functional collaboration, process optimization, and a management systems approach.
April 21, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EDT
Find out more about this product sustainability and supply chain webinar.
EPA ENERGY STAR webinars:
- Efficiency and Renewables Finance for Small Business and Congregations
Financing energy efficiency and renewable energy equipment can be a challenge for small business owners and the decision-makers at worship facilities. While the saving per-square-foot can be comparable to that for larger organizations, a relatively smaller facility is often not attractive to product and service providers offering finance for higher volume jobs. This webinar will explain and answer questions about several practical, reliable and innovative finance solutions and strategies now available to small businesses and congregations.
April 7, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EDT
- Discovering Energy Savings with Treasure Hunts
During an Energy Treasure Hunt, groups of people walk around a building looking for opportunities to save energy. Treasure Hunts focus on quick fixes with a short payback period. Hundreds of organizations have used Energy Treasure Hunts to reduce their facilities’ energy use by up to 15 percent. During this webinar, you’ll hear from ENERGY STAR partners that have used Treasure Hunts as a way to improve day-to-day operations and engage building operators and employees in “discovering” treasure in their facilities.
April 29, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EDT
Portfolio Manager Series
- 101 – April 8, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. – 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 – April 14, 2020 at 1:00 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 – April 21, 2020 at 1:00 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.
To view these and other sustainability-related events, please visit the KPPC Events Calendar.