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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
All that glitters? 10 problems we need to tackle in the gold supply chain
The Guardian's panel of experts discussed how the gold industry could become more sustainable and transparent. Source: The Guardian, 1/27/15

Startup Looks to Computing to Heat Buildings
Ask any computer user and they'll all pretty much agree they don't want their machine running too hot. Whether a desktop, a laptop or a smartphone -- users try to keep things cool. The team at Project Exergy believes the opposite. They are working on a supercomputer that runs as hot as possible so that, according to this press release, it can store that heat and apply it to a home's space, water heating and air conditioning needs. In other words, almost all appliances and devices today have some sort of computer inside of them. Those computers all generate heat. Project Exergy's prototype is a centralized computer for the home that also heats the building it resides in. Source: Future Structure, 1/19/15

Telecoms, Data Center Trends Heighten Climate Risks, Vulnerability
Like water, energy and waste management, digital telecommunications and data centers have become utilities essential for modern societies to function sustainably. It is generally accepted that the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events -- and the onset of gradual, long-terms shifts in weather patterns and climate -- pose existential threats to critical information and communications technology (ICT) supply chains, as well as infrastructure. But a recent report from Riverside Technology and Acclimatise found that the business risks of climate change as they relate to telecommunications and data centers are poorly recognized -- particularly with respect to infrastructure and supply chains. Similarly, climate change resiliency and adaptation plans in this critical segment of the U.S. ICT sector are poorly developed, concluded the report, which was conducted on behalf of the federal government's General Services Administration (GSA). Source: Triple Pundit, 1/21/15

SGP Joins Esteemed Group of Members of Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council
By becoming a member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) has joined forces with leaders from government, industry, academia, standards organizations and NGOs to develop a groundbreaking guidance program for leadership in sustainable purchasing. Public and private sector organizations will use the program to guide trillions of dollars in collective purchasing towards goods and services that simultaneously meet the needs of their organization, society and the planet. As a member of the SPLC, SGP will play an instrumental role in solving the biggest obstacle to sustainable institutional purchasing: a lack of standardization in how sustainable purchasing is defined, guided, measured and rewarded. Source: Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, 1/22/15

Monday, January 26, 2015
The new GHG Protocol: What you need to report now
With Google, Apple, Mars and EDF Energy, the World Resources Institute developed this new standard for reporting emissions from purchased electricity. Source: GreenBiz, 1/21/15

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Net positive: 'It's the leading edge of sustainability, but we've not cracked it'
The net positive movement is growing but its advocates are still fighting to explain what they stand for -- and what they don't. Source: The Guardian, 1/22/15

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
EPA Launches Finance Center to Improve Community Water Infrastructure and Resiliency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center to help communities across the country improve their wastewater, drinking water and stormwater systems, particularly through innovative financing and by building resilience to climate change. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/16/15

New conversion process turns biomass 'waste' into lucrative chemical products
A new catalytic process is able to convert what was once considered biomass waste into lucrative chemical products that can be used in fragrances, flavorings or to create high-octane fuel for racecars and jets. Source: Purdue University, 12/17/15

Green Chemistry Student Awards Deadline Approaching
Are you a student looking to be recognized for your efforts in green chemistry research? If so, there are two awards administered by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute to look into. Source: American Chemical Society, 1/20/15

Panel: To Cut CO2 Emissions, Make It Profitable
To get power plants and other large polluters to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change, make it financially attractive to them. Source: FutureStructure, 1/19/15

Second Nature Launches New Video Series Featuring Network Leaders
Starting in January 2015, Second Nature will be rolling out a new video series titled Sustainability Sit-Downs. The series, which consists of twelve interviews, features sustainability leaders from higher education, as well as non-profit and private sector organizations that work closely with colleges and universities. Source: Second Nature, 12/14/14

Obama to Call for Laws Covering Data Hacking and Student Privacy
WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Monday called for federal legislation intended to force American companies to be more forthcoming when credit card data and other consumer information are lost in an online breach like the kind that hit Sony, Target and Home Depot last year. The Personal Data Notification and Protection Act would demand a single, national standard requiring companies to inform their customers within 30 days of discovering their data has been hacked. The president also proposed the Student Data Privacy Act, which would prohibit technology firms from profiting from information collected in schools as teachers adopt tablets, online services and Internet-connected software. And he will announce voluntary agreements by companies to safeguard home energy data and to provide easy access to credit scores as an "early warning system" for identity theft. Source: The New York Times, 1/11/15

Nulife Glass to Start E-Waste Glass Recycling Unit in Virginia
Nulife Glass will establish a $5.9 million electronic waste glass recycling operation in Bristol, Va. The Manchester, England-based Nulife provides a recycling service for all types of cathode ray tube (CRT) glass. The new operation will create 46 jobs, according to a news release from the office of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Nulife collects and separates the CRT televisions and computer monitors. The company opened its first North American facility in 2013 near Buffalo, N.Y., which can process more than 200 million pounds of CRT glass annually in furnaces that can melt the equivalent of 10 tons of TVs daily. Source: Waste 360, 1/12/15

Illinois LED pioneers receive Draper Prize
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A University of Illinois professor and two of his former students are among the five pioneers of LED technology honored with the 2015 Draper Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in engineering. Nick Holonyak Jr., a professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois and the inventor of the first visible-light LED, and Illinois alumni George Craford and Russell Dupuis, who studied under Holonyak, were among five innovators honored by the National Academy of Engineering, which administers the $500,000 prize sponsored by Draper Laboratory. Holonyak (pronounced huh-LON-yak) is credited with the development of the first practical light-emitting diode, or LED, in 1962. Source: University of Illinois News Bureau, 1/6/15

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Focusing on lasting legacy prompts environmental action
Prompting people to think about the legacy they want to leave for future generations can boost their desire and intention to take action on climate change, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Source: Science Daily, 1/8/15

Why Uncle Sam Should Support Stronger E-Waste Recycling Efforts
Scaling up recycling programs for electronic waste -- or, e-waste -- would protect more than just the environment. It could also protect the U.S. defense system from the potentially grave risks posed by failure-prone counterfeit electronic parts. Counterfeit parts have pervaded the U.S. defense supply chain, according to a report by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. Source: Forbes, 1/19/15

What Motivates People to Save Energy? Surprise--It's Not Money
When researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, asked participants at the beginning of an energy-use study what information would probably get them to cut their electricity consumption, the participants answered that it would be messages on how much money they were saving. They said environmental facts, such as how many trees it would take to absorb all the carbon dioxide their energy demand created, would be less persuasive. It turns out, though, that those reminded only that using less electricity would save them money didn't turn the lights off and the thermostat down, according to the study, which was published this week in the journal PNAS. But those participants who were told that saving energy would cut toxic air pollution curbed their electricity use an average of 8 percent. Households with children were even more motivated, slashing their use by 19 percent. Source: TakePart, 1/13/15

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