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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Nitrogen fertilizer risks cellulosic biofuel advantage
The application of surplus nitrogen fertilizer to cellulosic biofuels can reduce the climate benefit of the crop nearly two-fold, according to a study by US scientists. Source: EnvironmentalResearchWeb, 8/9/16

Cooling Down Chicago: How Green and Cool Roofs Could Impact Urban Climate
Newly published University of Notre Dame research found that the use of roofs with vegetation or reflective surfaces on top of Chicago's current infrastructure could reduce UHI by lowering roof temperatures by a range of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit). The study, part of a collaboration between Notre Dame and the City of Chicago, examined the efficacy of green or cool roofs using a regional climate model to simulate various real-world urban rooftop conditions. Source: University of Notre Dame, 6/1/16

Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Thriving, not just surviving: why business needs to go beyond doing less bad
The key to a flourishing new society is for everyone to change their ideas about success and shift from taking from to giving back to our community. Source: The Guardian, 8/8/16

Why Measuring Waste GHG Emissions Matters
Accounting for greenhouse gas emissions from waste isn't as straightforward as, say, measuring those from corporate fleets. But as stakeholders increasingly demand companies reduce their carbon footprint -- and firms seek zero-waste accreditation -- tracking and disclosing waste GHG emissions is key. Source: Environmental Leader, 8/9/16

Reducing Water Pollution with Microbes, Wood Chips
This article explains how woodchip bioreactors can help clean the water that flows out of tile drains on farms, which helps to reduce nitrogen pollution. Source: R&D Magazine, 8/9/16

Skokie introduces first environmental sustainability plan
Years in the making, Skokie's first five-year Environmental Sustainability Plan was recently released by the village's Sustainable Environmental Advisory Commission. Source: Chicago Tribune, 8/5/16

Monday, August 8, 2016
New Waste Tracking Feature Helps Building Managers Save Money and Support a Healthy Environment
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled today a waste and materials tracking feature in its Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which is a free benchmarking and tracking tool for commercial building owners and managers. Reducing waste and reusing materials more productively through sustainable materials management over their entire lifecycles conserves resources, helps communities remain economically competitive and supports a healthy environment. Source: U.S. EPA, 8/8/16

Six ways businesses view climate change
Stemming climate change cannot be accomplished without the involvement of the private sector. How do most businesses think about this task? Here are six prevalent mindsets. Source: GreenBiz, 8/8/16

BREEAM, a respected green building certification, migrates to U.S.
Why a leading LEED consulting firm is talking up the BREEAM -- Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology-- methodology. Source: GreenBiz, 8/8/16

Friday, August 5, 2016
Bedford rare earth recoverer set to launch project
A consortium of European investors is backing a Bedford rare earth metals company just ahead of its imminent completion of a pilot project to demonstrate the effectiveness of its technology. The method used by Ucore passes a solution containing rare earth metals from mine tailings through a chemical filter which traps the precious metals. The method is called SuperLig molecular recognition technology and was developed by Utah-based IBC Advanced Technologies. That company sold the exclusive global rights to this technology for rare earth metal separation, recycling and tailings processing applications to Ucore for U.S.-$2.9 million last year. Since then, the two companies have formed a joint venture, in which Ucore has controlling interest, to market this technology to the rare earth metals sector. And they've undertaken a pilot project to demonstrate how well it works. Source: The Chronicle Herald, 8/1/16

How increasing efficiency can stem climate change impacts on the energy-water nexus
ACEEE's first entry in their energy-water blog series outlined the ways climate change could fundamentally affect the energy-water nexus. In this post, they explore the roles of energy efficiency and water efficiency in moderating some of the adverse impacts of climate change that we covered in the prior post. Source: ACEEE, 8/5/16

Thursday, August 4, 2016
Project looks to lift recovery of precious metals from e-scrap
A trial program in Europe is exploring more efficient ways of recovering a range of raw materials from used electronics and appliances. The project will focus on recovering gold, platinum, antimony, cobalt, graphite and other elements from small appliances and household electronics. The Critical Raw Material Recovery project includes trial collection programs for e-scrap, including retailer take-back systems and drop-off collection bins at universities, businesses and other recycling events. In addition, the program will test five reprocessing and recovery techniques focused on recovering the metals. The effort is organized by U.K.-based Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), an organization that works with governments and the private sector to boost recycling. Source: Resource Recycling, 8/4/16

The Price Of Pork
Hundreds of hog confinements have been constructed across Illinois in recent years, using a factory-like system to grow millions of pigs and put inexpensive bacon on your plate. But a Tribune investigation finds all that cheap meat is coming at great cost to rural communities. Source: Chicago Tribune, 8/3/16

What would the Pokemon GO of sustainability look like?
Love it or hate it, Pokemon Go shows how digital technology can be an agent of behavior change -- getting people to do things they otherwise might not do. What would the "Pokemon Go of sustainability" look like? Source: GreenBiz, 8/2/16

America's real-time electricity use mapped
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the first-ever tool to measure nationwide electricity use in near-real time. Source: GCN, 8/2/16

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