Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

wEEkly update


Funding Wizard | Energy Standards Online Resource Center | Energy Code Ace

8th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum June 14-15
Mark your calendars for June 14th-15th. The annual SEEC Forum will be in Fresno with two pre-forum workshops on June 13th focusing on Energy Efficiency 101 and Zero Net Energy for Local Governments. Click here to find more information and register for the forum.

News and Opportunities

BART's New Sustainability Effort
Holly Gordon, BART's Sustainability Group Manager discusses the latest effort to make BART more sustainable.

Low-Income Renters Face Barriers to Clean Energy
Maria Stamas of NRDC reviews the SB 350 Barriers Study from the California Energy Commission.

2017 Linda Latham Scholarship
ACEEE has announced that they are accepting applications for the Linda Latham Scholarships to attend their 2017 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry in Denver, Colorado from August 15 -18, 2017.

There’s Vast Untapped Potential for Solar Rooftops in the US, Says Google
Greentech Media reviews Google's Project Sunroof since it's launch two years ago. The website now includes 60 million rooftops across the country.

Publications and Resources

Let's Talk Communities & Climate
ICLEI in collaboration with Path to Positive Communities and ecoAmerica have developed a guide to help local government and community leaders successfully communicate local climate change solutions to their communities.

Financing Energy Savings Through On-Bill Repayment
Recognizing the potential opportunities for affordable rental property owners, the California Housing Partnership Corporation reports on a pilot study of on-bill repayment (OBR) at five affordable rental home properties in the City of Santa Monica.

Rate Design Matters: The Intersection of Residential Rate Design and Energy Efficiency
ACEE explores the relationship between changes in residential rate design and energy efficiency, focusing on how recently proposed rate structures alter customer behavior through a review of recent pricing studies across the country.

New Edition of Blueprint
The California Energy Commission has released a new edition of Blueprint, their newsletter for energy efficiency and Title 24 Energy Standards.

Career Opportunities

Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer - Sacramento
The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District is currently offering a unique opportunity for an innovative, energetic leader to lead one of California’s premier Air Quality Management Districts. The final day to apply is Friday, March 31st.

Management Analyst - City of Palmdale
The City of Palmdale is seeking a Management Analyst that will support environmental and energy efficiency projects. The final date to apply is Thursday, March 30th.

Energy Technician - Redwood Coast Energy Authority
Redwood Coast Energy Authority has an immediate full time benefited position for an Energy Technician. The selected Energy Technician will support Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s Energy Watch partnership’s Regional Direct Install program.


SEEC Calendar 
Click the SEEC Calendar link to view all upcoming events.

3/30 Webinar: Risks and Rewards in the ZNE Marketplace
Explore and understand the developer and owner perspectives on investor value of zero and take a close look at income, cost, and risk.

3/30 Webinar - State of Advanced Energy: Markets, Trends, Jobs
Highlights from the fifth edition of AEE's annual report of the advanced energy industry, worldwide and in the United States, as well as the latest numbers of advanced energy jobs from the second national survey of energy employment by the Dept. of Energy.

4/20 Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo (Downey)
The U.S Green Building Council Los Angeles Chapter (USGBC-LA) Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo (MGBCE) is the longest running annual green building event in Southern California.

4/26-4/27 Green California Summit (Sacramento)
The Summit provides a forum where innovations in policy, technology and practice can be showcased and shared.

CivicSpark is now recruiting Project Partners for 2017-18
Over the past 3 years, CivicSpark, LGC's Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program has provided 130,000+ hrs of climate and water capacity-building support to over 100 public agencies. If you are a local government, State agency, or an NGO with a climate or water action project need, visit our website to learn more and apply to receive project support!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

wEEkly update


Funding Wizard | Energy Standards Online Resource Center | Energy Code Ace

8th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum June 14-15
Mark your calendars for June 14th-15th. The annual SEEC Forum will be in Fresno with two pre-forum workshops on June 13th focusing on Energy Efficiency 101 and Zero Net Energy for Local Governments. Click here to find more information and register for the forum.

News and Opportunities

Wet Winter Leads to Potential CAISO Spring Curtailment
The California ISO expects to curtail up to 8,000MW this Spring due to the overabundance of hydro generation.

Apply for a Public Fleet Rebate
The Public Fleet Pilot Project offers up to $15,000 in rebates for the purchase of new, eligible zero-emissions and plug-in hybrid light-duty vehicles by public agencies operating in California's most vulnerable and pollution-burdened areas.

Can California Go 100% Green?
Anne C. Mulkern digs into the details of latest push to use 100% renewable energy in the California grid.

California Vineyard Reaps Savings From Sustainability Efforts
A California vineyard participated in Southern California Edison's Savings by Design program saving money and becoming more energy efficient and sustainable.

What the Wall Street Journal got wrong about PACE
Jim Barrett Chief Economist for The American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy or ACEEE, challenges the Wall Street Journal on their opinion of PACE programs.

Cannabis Growers Now Eligible for Agriculture Electricity Rate
Once they have a permit from their local jurisdiction and if 70 percent or more of their annual energy usage is ag related cannabis growers can receive a reduced agriculture electricity rate from PG&E.

Publications and Resources

Smart Buildings: Using Smart Technology to Save Energy in Existing Buildings
A report from ACEEE reviews the smart technologies for commercial buildings and estimates how much energy they can save.

The Integrated Energy Network
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is developing action plans to support the future of an an integrated energy network focusing on efficiency, sustainability, connectivity, and customer choice and control.

Jobs and Investment Fact Sheet
At least 2.2 million people work in energy efficiency in the US according to the ACEEE Jobs and Investment Fact Sheet.

Career Opportunities

Management Analyst - City of Palmdale
The City of Palmdale is seeking a Management Analyst that will support environmental and energy efficiency projects. The final date to apply is Thursday, March 30th.

Energy Technician - Redwood Coast Energy Authority
Redwood Coast Energy Authority has an immediate full time benefited position for an Energy Technician. The selected Energy Technician will support Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s Energy Watch partnership’s Regional Direct Install program

Project Coordinator: Energize Fresno
The Local Government Commission has an immediate full-time position for a Project Coordinator to support the the Energy and Climate Change sector. In particular, they are looking for someone to support the Energize Fresno  projects.

SEEC Calendar 
Click the SEEC Calendar link to view all upcoming events.

3/23 Peer Exchange Call: Affecting Behavior Change: Energy Report Data Use
Peer Exchange call to discuss best practices for using data from home energy reports to encourage homeowners to change their behaviors and save more energy.

3/30 Webinar: Risks and Rewards in the ZNE Marketplace
Explore and understand the developer and owner perspectives on investor value of zero and take a close look at income, cost, and risk.

4/20 Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo (Downey)
The U.S Green Building Council Los Angeles Chapter (USGBC-LA) Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo (MGBCE) is the longest running annual green building event in Southern California.

4/26-4/27 Green California Summit (Sacramento)
The Summit provides a forum where innovations in policy, technology and practice can be showcased and shared.

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend!
CivicSpark is now recruiting Project Partners for 2017-18
Over the past 3 years, CivicSpark, LGC's Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program has provided 130,000+ hrs of climate and water capacity-building support to over 100 public agencies. If you are a local government, State agency, or an NGO with a climate or water action project need, visit our website to learn more and apply to receive project support!

The Magic of Sustainability at Disney

The Walt Disney Company has and always will be identified with the cute black eared mouse named aptly named Mickey Mouse. But what if Disney could have dual identifiers? One would be the adorable fun loving Mickey Mouse while the other would be sustainability. I know that may throw some of you readers for a loop, but anythings is possible!

The Disney Company over the last  three years has maneuvered itself into a spot where it can be identified as a sustainable tourism leader. Sustainable tourism is defined as, making a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people.  The Disney Company is working to make strides in climate and energy, ecosystem protection, water conservation as well as waste management. Many of the items listed here are not noticeable to the human eye when you step into a Disney park or a Disney resort, but are being completed in the back lot of the locations by what Disney calls imagineers. Imagineers stands for - combining imagination with engineering.

Thanks to imagineers Disney has paved its way to a 31 percent reduction in emissions from 2012 levels. The companies over arching goal is to reduce net emissions by 50 percent by the year 2020, and is currently on track to meet that target. Now let us dive into some of the items that are helping Disney reach its goal.

Climate & Energy

Disneyland park and resorts have been around since 1955 and have continued to morph throughout the decades. Each year the park continues to reach record breaking attendance with an average of 44,000 people entering its gates everyday. Many may be shocked that the park can hold so many people at one time, but thanks to its 85-acres that size crowd is manageable. With that acreage there are a lot of items that need maintaining that consume energy.

Thanks to the imagineers that were previously mentioned maintaining and lowering energy usage becomes a lot easier. Forward thinking on behalf of staff as well as updated technology is keeping Disney at the fore front of sustainability.

Many attractions within the park are ran on cleaner gas resources or reused resources. Such attractions as the Disneyland Railroad steam trains as well as the Mark Twain Riverboat use bio-diesel. That diesel comes from used cooking oil from Resorts that then fuel their steam boilers, which eliminates an average of 150,000 gallons of petroleum diesel per year. Other attractions like lot trams, sailing ships, Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island, Jungle Cruise boats and Main Street USA vehicles run on Cleaner-burning compressed natural gas (CNG). CNG is a readily available alternative to gasoline that's made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure.

On top of cleaner fuels and reused resources Disney also has attractions and rides that create NO EMISSIONS at all. Such rides as the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage submarines as well as the Disneyland Monorail. Thanks to technology and innovation subs can use magnetic coils to propel and the monorail runs completely on electricity. These rides eliminate the use of on average hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel each year.

Water Conservation

Here in California we know all too well about water conservation and recycling after going on year 4 of our historic drought. But Disney goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to conserving. Nearly all the water used at the Disneyland Resort is recycled! Disney has partnered with the Orange County Water District  to use their already made one of a kind groundwater replenishment system. With the system already created engineers just needed to create the infrastructure to divert the waste water to the system. In all the project took a period of a few years to build. Thanks to Disney sharing we are actually able to get a quick description of how it all works "Water is released into Orange County’s groundwater aquifer then clean water is drawn from the aquifer by local water agencies and distributed to end-users such as homes and businesses."

It is great to see this type of partnership taking place to make a difference. I bet you wouldn't have know this fun fact about Disney's water if it weren't for this blog posting.

Waste Management

I am sure when you think of waste management you think of disposal bins that are separated into trash, recycle and compost. Well let me tell you a little something... there is much more to the process than you would imagine. Management of waste consists of generation, prevention, characterization, monitoring, treatment, handling, reuse and residual disposition of solid wastes. After reading that explanation I am sure your saying to yourself...your right I had no idea that all of those items are covered under one umbrella. Disney wants to stress the importance of recycling and waste management that they partnered with Waste Management to put in an interactive exhibit named "Don't Waste It" in INNOVENTIONS  at Epcot. At this exhibit you learn of the latest in waste disposal as well as green approached to garbage handling.

Resorts at Disneyland have created a partnership with the Clean the World Foundation, Inc. for recycling of bathroom amenities. So far Resorts have donated more than 1,000 pounds of partially used guest room soaps and bottled amenities each month. And YES they do clean and sanitize the items before they are reused and re-purposed.  The recycled bath items are used to make hygiene items for others around the world that are in dyer need of such items.

Disney also recycles its mattresses and box springs from Resorts. These items are donated to a local LA non-profit for re-manufacturing. There are many in the community who cannot afford to purchase these items so they go to well deserving homes.

Let us also mention that Disney even gives back to pets. Staff members recycle food scraps from 60 restaurants that is converted into animal feed and can and bottle recycling goes to collect funds for Canine Companions for Independence. Disney makes sure to cover all of its bases when it comes to recycling and re-purposing.

Out of the Park

Now that I have covered what is done within Disney Parks and Resorts let us talk about the other projects they have going on elsewhere on other campuses. Many forget that there are other locations that create the Disney magic. One such one would be the Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. At this location they have been playing with energy efficiency projects that involve fuel cells. They have installed a 1 megawatt fuel cell that will supplement electricity for the entire campus.

International Efforts

I am sure many have seen the Shanghai Disney Resort that debuted in early June. With this new venture Disney adopted a number of new technologies and design elements to enable reduction of its environmental impact, including a leading new technology to supply the resort with heating, cooling and compressed air, which is anticipated to improve the estimated energy efficiency for resort operation by 300 percent and reduce greenhouse emissions generated from resort operations by 60 percent.

So, now that I have covered all of the sustainability efforts I hope that I persuaded you to associate sustainability with the name Disney and not just the cute mouse. If you happen to have ventured into the world of Disney recently and noticed some of these efforts, let us know!

Going Green at a Music Festival?

First off let me start with answering the question in this blogs heading...YES they can!! I am a trusted source since I have seen it first hand at this years Bottlerock.

Just this past Memorial Day weekend I attended the 3rd Annual Bottlerock Music Festival in Napa, CA. This annual festival boasts 30 wineries for wine tasting, 81 gourmet food vendors, 26 local breweries and about 25 performers per day. Some of the headliners of the festival in the past have been Outkast, No Doubt, Florence & the Time Machine as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The festival continues to grow year to year thanks to its evolving music line-up. Over the last four years attendance at Bottlerock has grown from a mere 30,000 to a whopping 120,000.  With growing attendance comes growing environmental issues. When you are talking about quadrupling your attendance you need to look at ways you can minimize your impact on the community and surrounding area.

Napa Valley and surrounding cities are very environmentally conscious when it comes to waste, trash and emissions. If you were to walk from restaurant to tasting room, depending on rathers, you would see how items are farm to table whether that be your wine or chicken sandwich. So why wouldn't a music festival follow suit?

When Bottlerock first originated  in 2013 the event planners were focused on having a successful music festival with environmental issues not top of mind. As the music festival has evolved over the years so has the thinking of environmental actions. The festival has tried to tackle waste, trash and emissions in every way possible. They have even gone so far as to create a "Green Team of Volunteers" for the three day weekend of festivities. These green team volunteers are there to help attendees dispose of items in their respective bins in case the illustrations on the bins, see picture to left, are not enough. A lot of people get hung up on what waste items go where. Having someone help guide you to the right bins helps to make sure items are disposed of correctly. Outside organizations such as Sustainable Napa County, Napa Recycling & Waste Services, and Napa Valley Expo joined forces to put a plan in place for the vendors of the event. The group put together guidelines for food and beverage vendors so that items used for eating and drinking were either reusable, recyclable or compostable. The main goal for this years event was to divert 65% of waste compare to the 2015 event so that 2/3 of materials created from the attendees of the event are either recycled or composted.

Just like any other large festival traffic is an issue at Bottlerock. Though many attendees are from  the Napa area a vast majority of attendees of the festival are out of towners, just like me. With that being said the festival promoters tried to cover all of the bases when it came to smooth sailing of traffic as well as curbing GHG emissions. On their website they cover opportunities for bus transportation, carpooling, ridesharing, bike parking as well as flying.

Bus transportation was offered for free for those within the Napa Valley area and if you resided within the surrounding 9 cities there were charter buses available for a low price. If you were to carpool with more than 4 people in a car you were automatically entered into a drawing to become VIP for the day. As for ridesharing, Uber and Lyft were lined up and ready to take riders. The ridesharing companies also offered discounts and coupons to those that entered in a Bottlerock discount code. As for bike parking it is as simple as it sounds. You would just ride your bike to the event and lock up your bike while security watched over them. Sadly I do not have the number of GHG emissions that were diverted by the actions of the festival promoters, but any little bit that was saved means it was a success.

With Bottlerock implementing sustainable measures into the foundation of the annual music festival and showing how easy it can be I have to ask will others follow suit? Sure Coachella does implement similar items into its annual festival but not to the same extent. Bottlerock is paving the way to sustainable music festivals that make humans and the earth happy.

Prepping for Baby

Listen up all you new parents and parents-to-be!

As I'm sure you've realized by now, there’s a lot that goes into getting ready for a newborn and so I am here to make stocking and creating an eco-friendly and toxic-free nursery a little easier for you.

Make sure the paints and stains you use are eco-friendly
and non-toxic, too! Photo source: KidSpace Stuff
Having a green nursery and natural baby products contribute to the health and wellness of your growing family; consumption, disposal and reuse of these products is far less harmful to your baby in both the short- and long-term. Plus, as eco-friendly products become increasingly available, you can decorate and stock your nursery with so many fun and colorful items! 

Most of us know about The Honest Company, the baby-care company dedicated to bringing parents effective yet safe and eco-friendly products. Even though I do not have little ones running around, I am a true believer in some of their natural products, namely the stain remover and multi-surface cleaner. They work and I don't feel like I've filled the air in my tiny apartment with chemicals.

Parents like Honest for so many reasons; diapers are made using plant-based materials without latex or fragrance additives, bottles are completely BPA- and BPS-free and are made with medical-grade silicone and swaddles are made with certified organic cotton. And if you care about waste diversion like I do, you’ll be glad to know that all items are shipped in recyclable packaging. Additionally, the company puts a portion of every purchase towards child development research, improved nutrition at childcare centers and education funds. What’s not to like about that?

While The Honest Company may currently be the best-known eco-friendly baby store, there are plenty of others! I’ve done a little digging for you, but if you find a different item you like, be sure to read all the information the website provides about where the materials come from and how the items are made. If this information isn’t easily disclosed or found, you may want to call the company or keep looking for something else. 

Fortunately, there is a lot of great stuff out there these days. Just see for yourself:

Spiral Bee Dress & Bodysuit Set: Color - Blossom
I want Burt's Bees Baby clothing for myself!
Photo Source: Burt's Bees Baby
Burt’s Bees launched Burt’s Bees Baby in 2012. We all know Burt's Bees as the natural skin-care company that started with the simplest idea: "what you put on your body should be made from the best nature has to offer". Given this, you can only assume that the baby collection meets the same standards. Besides the well-known washes, ointments and sun care, you can find an extensive collection of natural (pesticide- and chemical-free), 100% organic cotton, adorable clothing and other cloth items for babies and kids. They even make teethers purely out of cornstarch. How cool is that?

The Land of Nod, Crate&Barrel’s baby store, has a large collection of nursery chairs, ottomans and rugs that are made from recycled metals and other materials, sustainably grown wood and plant-based foam. The best part? Some of these items are quite chic! Just note that The Land of Nod does not solely sell these types of items; so find out as much as you can about the products before purchasing!

Last but certainly not least, Etsy is actually a great place to find non-toxic, eco-friendly nursery items. Some people have entire stores dedicated to things like wood items, toys, wool items, and more. Etsy is endless and if you’re unsure about an item, many store owners will list exact materials used in each item and take questions from potential customers.

What’s your favorite eco-friendly purchase for your newborn or nursery?

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

1.  The CEC adopted the AB 758 Action Plan 
Adopted on Wednesday, September 9, an important step to meeting state goals to double energy savings in existing buildings. It also establishes a new Local Government Energy Challenge, which will fund implementation of existing best practices and the development of new innovative energy reduction strategies. Click here for more information.

2.  The CEC released 3 funding opportunities
Opportunities aimed at addressing non-technical barriers in the successful path to clean technology commercialization (see list below). Learn more at The CEC is holding public pre-bid workshops on 9/15 in Oakland, 9/16 in Fresno, and 9/22 in Lynwood.

- Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development Initiative ($33M to support early development of promising new energy concepts)
- Regional Energy Innovation Cluster ($20M to 4 regions - SF Bay Area, Central Valley, LA, San Diego)
- Connecting Emerging Technologies and Strategies to Market Needs and Opportunities ($7M to undertake market assessment to optimize future EPIC investments).

3.  Local Government Commission seeks Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
The Coordinator facilitates a statewide focus both in gathering exemplary policies and practices, and tracking progress on a statewide level on government facility and community energy use, retrofits, and strategic plan metrics. Application deadline is October 2nd. Learn more at

4.  OPR seeks comments by October 12
Comments will be about the Preliminary Discussion Draft or Proposed Updates to the CEQA Guidelines. Comments may be submitted to

5.  Early-bird registration open for 2015 ACEEE Intelligent Efficiency Conference
Event will bring together people from the IT, telecom, energy efficiency, utility, solution provider, policy, and energy consumers sectors to share and learn how information and communications technology can improve the use of energy. Learn more and register at

6.  New Reports to check out:
- California's Manufacturing and Benefits of Energy Efficiency
- California Climate Policy to 2050: Pathways for Sustained Prosperity
- Achieving California's Greenhouse Gas Goals: A Focus on Transportation
- State & Regional Carbon Pricing & GHG Regulation under EPA's Clean Power Plan

7.  Click here to view a calendar of energy-related events.
The calendar is currently being developed and will be updated on a weekly basis. If you have any events you would like added to the calendar, please send details to

And that is all for this week!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

1.  Last chance...earn $$ for your city's sustainability efforts!
Don’t miss your chance…August 31st is the deadline to sign your city up for the CoolCalifornia Challenge! 
Energy Upgrade California® CoolCalifornia Challenge 2015 - 2016
Play your part to keep California golden…join now in our statewide competition engaging thousands of households in cities across California to save energy, conserve water, reduce their carbon footprints, and help build more vibrant and sustainable communities!
For more information, download the Program Overview and Frequently Asked Questions from the website, or email
2.  Sierra Business Council - Two Positions Available
Sierra Business Council has two job openings available.  The positions are the same, but one is located in Sonora and the other can be either in Truckee or the Auburn area.  Here is the link to get more information:
3.  Saving Energy in the Supply Chain
 Very good article about how to save energy through the supply chain.  To read the full article, go here:
4.  Local Government Water Policy Forum
You are invited to a Local Government Water Policy Forum
Tuesday,September 15, 2015 10am-2:30pm
StopWaste 1537 Webster Street, Oakland CA
Lunch provided
This forum is for local government staff working to implement or update their jurisdiction’s response to the drought in departments such as planning, building, facilities, maintenance, public works or landscapes.
The intent of the forum is to share information amongst local governments about what we are doing to address water conservation both in our own facilities and in policies affecting our communities. 
The forum will:
· Clarify new requirements of the State for MWELO and Cal Green
· Discuss barriers to implementation, and identify potential regional approaches that could support your jurisdiction
· Review example tools and policy case studies
A preliminary agenda is attached.
There is no fee to attend this workshop, but you must be a local government staff and reservations will be accepted on a first-come first served basis.
Please email with any questions.
Please register HERE to reserve a spot.
This event is hosted by StopWaste.

And that is all for this week! 

EV's Racing to the Finish Line

Imagine standing next to a race track waiting for the loud roar of an engine to fly past you…but when the cars come by all you get is silence. Well that means you’re a spectator at the new Formula E racing circuit.

Formula E racing was first introduced to the world back in 2014 and it took the racing world by storm! The racing circuit consists of about 20 to 25 pro drivers racing Electric vehicles. The vehicles used in Formula E look the same as those used in Formula One, but use many different materials. The bodies of the cars are composed of carbon fiber and aluminum while under the hood the cars house large batteries. With the cars being powered by battery they are limited on speed and range, which make this sport that much more entertaining for those watching.
In Formula E racing cars weigh more than traditional ones due to the weight of the batteries. The weight difference can be up to 350 pounds. With a heavier weight cars top out at speeds of 140 miles per hour and also have to race on treaded tires instead of the traditional racing slicks. Having race cars equipped with batteries seems to add a whole new dimension to racing as well. Drivers now have to keep in mind battery limits when trying to make the next pass to take the lead from their opponent. A normal race will last around one hour, while batteries only last around 25 to 30 minutes. So the race has created a halfway point to where drivers will all switch out the old cars for new fully charged ones. Oh and another fun fact about Formula E cars is that the batteries are charged using generators that run on emission-free glycerin. 

Besides shedding light on how EV’s can be cool and exciting Formula E also brings sustainability teachings to kids within the areas they race in. The racing series puts on a Formula E school series in which 10 teams of students are provided a kit to make a mini EV. Once the cars are built the teams of students race the mini EV’s around the same track as the Formula E cars. The overall goal of the EV school is teach students about sustainable engineering as well as energy efficiency. The racing series is able to put on these types of fun EV activities in part to Greenpower a UK based charity who promotes sustainable engineering to young people.

Take a peek at the action of Formula E in the video provided. Who knows you might just be the next to get hooked.

The Green Teams Part IV

I’ve been talking about energy efficiency in professional sports for a while now and I realize how little I knew about any of it until recently. I was aware of the NBA’s Green Week and the 49ers efficient new stadium, but I never would have guessed the extent of the industry’s green achievements unless I really wanted to look into it. So I guess it’s a good thing I was curious about this and have an outlet to share my exciting findings with the world!!

As you’ve all learned by now, the NRDC put together a massive report about all things good and green in the sports industry, but they’ve also played quite the hand in helping the various teams, leagues and venues they highlight in the report develop green websites, events and initiatives.

The NRDC, with the NHL, launched a green website, designed to advertise the League’s green events (such as developing community gardens), promote green living tips and announce NHL green contributions (like their donation of 1,600 trees in May 2013 to The Nature Conservancy). The NHL and NRDC have collaborated numerous times to ensure hockey fans around the country are aware of environmental issues and initiatives. 2010 Winter Classic spectators even attended a panel discussion about how going green can benefit the economy.

The NHL’s green initiatives are vast, impressive and encouraging. Tickets are printed on recycled paper; unsold food is given to the Rock and Wrap It Up! Initiative to fight poverty; free public transportation passes are available to ticket holders. The list goes on. As shown in the PSA below, hockey players need ice to play their game and the ice in this world is quickly disappearing. Let’s change that. Let’s keep hockey around. I know I’m not the only who wants that.

I can’t express how awesome I think it is that such a huge, energy-sucking, wasteful industry (before you get mad at me for saying that, think about it for a second) is making major moves to cut its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and landfills. Their accomplishments have been so great that they’re starting to rub off on college sports, too!

Photo Source: FaceBook
 NCAA’s March Madness now not only has a sustainability committee for the Final Four (pages 32-34), but eligible schools can compete in the Environmental March Madness Tournament, which compares and assesses environmental degree programs, green job and event opportunities and on- and off-campus efforts to build a sustainable surrounding community. A National Champion is selected after three rounds of judging: the Finest Four is picked from the Environmental Eight, which is picked from the Sustainable Sixteen. I got to see 2013's Environmental March Madness National Champion, the Ohio State Buckeyes, at LA’s Staples Center for both their Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight Games. Wichita State may have knocked OSU out of the basketball part of the competition, but the Shockers weren’t ready for the Buckeyes’ environmental domination!

This is great for NCAA basketball, but hopefully there will be more green efforts in college sports as a whole. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conducted a sustainability survey for NCAA athletic departments and while some responses are encouraging, others are not. There is definitely room for improvement, but the important thing is that environmentally responsible endeavors have begun. All in all, as both an energy efficiency enthusiast and a major sports fan, I feel great about where the sports industry is headed and what we will see in the near future.

“Greening” Your Travels

As we embark on spring break season our post on eco-friendly vacation amenities couldn't come at a better time. Many of us, such as myself, book their airfare and then look for the most reasonable hotel when planning a trip. We do not look into what eco-friendly amenities might be offered, since we are only worried about a safe hotel and a clean room. 

If you have traveled recently you may have noticed a note in the room stating that the hotel is saving water and resources by reusing towels and etc., but that’s not the eco-friendly standard that I am referring to. I am referring to the hotels that go out of their way to eliminate waste, charge electric cars, power down rooms and replant forests. Sure most of these items that I am talking about are not offered at your run of the mill hotels, but they are a reality.

In our day to day lives we try to make conscious changes to our life and or environment, but when we travel we throw caution to the wind. We don't think about how we lodge on vacation can change weather patterns and or affect the Ozone layer. [i] I know this may sound dramatic and doom and gloom, but it is the truth. When we stay at hotels we are offered plastic water bottles and we do not think twice about leaving on a light.

Water bottles have become a modern staple in most hotel rooms, since it is convenient. But, those convenient items have a pretty big environmental impact once they are discarded. Statistics show that more than 4 billion bottles end up in landfills and less than 20% of those are actually recycled. [ii] So to be more green hotels today are starting to offer aluminum water bottles that can be refilled at water stations and others are even offering “hydration stations” for their hotel guests.

When leaving hotel rooms we seem to forget and leave every possible light on. But, when we come back and notice we do not feel guilty, since we don’t pay the electric bill. It’s true we don’t pay the electric bill, but we do pay the price of generating that electricity. One hotel in Syracuse, New York cuts the flow of energy to guests’ rooms once they leave, but in case someone stays behind in the room the hotel leaves two outlets powered. This event is triggered by a key card energy management system. One such system is called ENTERgize. In the words of the company this system works by, “guests inserting their key card into the door lock to gain access to the room, once inside the room they perform an operation similar to entering the room by inserting their room key card into the illuminated Entergize Master Control Switch (MCS). As soon as the card is inserted and left in the master switch, the system automatically places itself in the “Occupied” mode. This causes the HVAC system to shift from economy to comfort settings and to promptly begin to heat or cool the room according to the guest’s desires.”[iii] 

Though this article highlights features that might seem too far-fetched for most chain hotels, but it is a growing trend. Next time you plan or take a trip keep your eyes peeled for eco-friendly amenities.

[i] “A Hotelier’s Take on Edo-Friendly Rooms,”Mar., 5, 2015,
[iii] “Patented Entergize Key Card Technology,” Mar., 5, 2015,

A LESSon in Greening Your Cleaning Routine

Burlap dress - see, I'm not that crazy.

Less is more. 

While I have yet to start wearing only burlap sacks, I have applied this rule to pretty much every area of my life, including my cleaning routine. Being ‘green’ to me often translates to using less. It means less chemicals in my food, makeup, shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, countertop cleaner, laundry, dish soap…you get the idea. Fewer chemicals in all of these items not only mean fewer chemicals in my body, but also fewer chemicals in the air from the products themselves and the processes to make them. Simpler, more natural solutions often also mean energy savings because they do not require complex production methods. 

While you may be apprehensive to make the switch when it comes to something like your deodorant (although, you really shouldn’t be scared – I live by THIS product), start by swapping out your cleaning products for a natural, safe, and healthy home environment. Contrary to popular belief, in order for your home to be squeaky clean it doesn’t have to smell like bleach and suffocate you.  A quick online search for natural cleaning products will reveal the ‘magic’ ingredient I like to use in all of my homemade concoctions: vinegar. In fact, I found a website completely dedicated to the many uses of it. I have used vinegar solutions to clean everything from my windows and counters to my skin. One of the best parts about vinegar? It’s CHEAP.

Something I recently learned is that you can also use it to clean your washing machine! Clean the cleaning machine? Absolutely. Think of it how you do the lint trap in your dryer. Regular maintenance of your machines will help with functionality and {energy} efficiency. Follow these cleaning instructions from one of my guilty pleasure websites - Apartment Therapy.

Photo sources:

Wellness Wednesday: Reducing Food Waste

I have mentioned waste and recycling in a previous post, but recently came across another article in the Fresno Bee talking specifically about food waste. UC Merced and several other colleges have received praise by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency for their efforts to reduce food waste and increase awareness on the topic.
Source: Schaumburg's Sustainable Future

Food waste is expensive, crowds landfills, and adds to greenhouse gas emissions.  UC Merced composts cafeteria waste and has switched to recyclable food containers as part of its goal to achieve zero net energy consumption by 2020.

Ways you can help reduce food waste:

  • When eating out, order an appetizer or two, choose from the children’s menu, or share an entrée with a friend. Portion sizes at restaurants are absolutely out of control! This tip not only will help with food waste, but likely the size of your waist. I usually gravitate towards the appetizers on a menu because they just sound better! If you still have leftovers, take them home and enjoy for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner or get creative and incorporate with other ingredients for a whole new meal.
  • Take inventory of your fridge and pantry before grocery shopping. How many times do you come home from the store and struggle to find room in the pantry or refrigerator shelves? Take a cue from those who live in big cities: shop more frequently and only for what you will use for a few days or up to one week. Sure it is a bit more effort but you are more likely to use all of your ingredients before they expire or rot. I like to challenge myself to become more creative in the kitchen by utilizing everything I have to the very last drop, so to speak. Soups and stews are a great way to utilize leftovers and produce that are on their last leg. Overly ripe fruit that has not yet spoiled can be cut up in small bits and then frozen for use in smoothies or frozen yogurt.
  • Similar to the tip above, never grocery shop while hungry! It’s amazing what ends up in your cart when your stomach is growling. It’s likely that these impulse purchases will lead to extra waste/waist.
  • If portion control is an issue for you, eat off of smaller plates/bowls. You are less likely to stuff yourself silly and/or throw the extra bits of food on your plate in the trash.

Wellness Wednesday: Spring has sprung!

Bulbs that needed relocating found a home in a pot. 
Hopefully they last! 
It’s been a while since I have updated everyone on my adventures in home ownership so I thought I would share what we have been up to as of late. When we first purchased our home back in October the yard was extremely overgrown. The past five months or so have been spent tearing down a rotted out structure and shed, ripping out overgrown and crowded shrubs and trees, and slowly gaining control of the plants we intend to keep. I recently fed our 20-plus rose bushes and relocated some of the never-ending supply of bulbs like daffodils, irises, hyacinth, surprise lilies and summer snowflakes. Spring has most definitely sprung and our yard will soon look like an Easter basket explosion – no complaints here since the tidying up process has prevented us from planting the flowers, fruits, and vegetables of our choosing. I like to call our yard ‘the secret garden’ because everywhere I look there’s a new plant I failed to see the time before. My most recent discovery were the three avocado trees (plus the shoots of a million other avocado trees at the base of the full-grown ones) and the two or three apricot trees. YUM! Those should hold me over until I can begin my raised edible garden. 

This beast of a plant took forever to get up!
An edible garden has me so excited that I often find myself smiling and wandering aimlessly at Gazebo Gardens. Like I said, it won’t be a while until that project gets off the ground but it is an important project to me. Health is my main priority (hence Wild Ginger Wellness) because if you don’t have your health you can’t enjoy life to the fullest. Good nutrition is the springboard for good health and one of my greatest passions is experimenting in the kitchen. I recently whipped up the most delicious arugula and kale pesto (to go atop my homemade pizza dough along with zucchini, tomato, and creamy goat cheese) and can only imagine how much more satisfying it will taste when the ingredients come from my own backyard. 

kale-argula pesto
Homegrown (or simply locally grown for those who do not have or do not want to have a green thumb) foods are not only more nutritious for you but they are also better for the environment. The farther a food has to travel the less nutrient dense it will be by the time it reaches you. Additionally, the farther a food has to travel the more petroleum (i.e. gasoline) that will be required to transport the food from the farm to the processing plant, packaging plant, grocery store, and finally your home. An incredible amount of energy and greenhouse gases are expended every single step of the way. The less effort and energy that is required to get food to your plate, the better for you, me and the environment. 

While my yard is only likely to produce a few ingredients here and there this coming spring and summer, I will take what I can get (and hopefully make loads of guacamole) and in the meantime I will look forward to what the future holds!

Growing a Greener Grass

The sorry state of my front and back lawn and the warmer temperatures have me researching the best ways to organically fertilize and grow grass so our house can look nice and tidy come spring and summertime. What kind of grass did you think I was talking about? I choose organic and to avoid pesticides for my health and the health of our environment. I found some tips here that I plan to implement.
Photo source:

What do you do around your garden to protect your health and air quality, save water, and save energy? We are all in this together and even the smallest of efforts add up!  

Evolution or revolution? Clean energy movement is expanding

The Great Recession left the economy in shambles and turned lives upside down, but it forced more people to  cut spending and energy and, in some ways, was a good thing, according to a survey of more than 2,800 consumers and business people by Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions.

The 2012 survey revealed people and businesses are more aware of the cost-cutting potential of energy efficiency, that younger adults have strong appetites for clean technology and that businesses are setting more aggressive energy goals - in large part because their customers demand it.

"Customers care, so companies do too," the report states.

Authors noted that near two-thirds of businesses surveyed said their customers want more environmentally considerate solutions, up from 49 percent only a year ago. Meanwhile, more than 75 percent of those businesses actively promote their green campaigns.

The surveys found that businesses continue to invest in energy efficiency even as finding capital becomes more challenging, and as a majority of them acknowledge it is hard to track available financial and tax incentives. The companies are motivated by the strong cost savings and competitive edge associated with energy efficiency, but public good - "it's the right thing to do" - also is a catalyst.

Employers also are becoming more interested in carbon emissions. Almost eight in 10 surveyed said cost of carbon should be factored into use of traditional energy sources, and 72 percent say they plan to acknowledge it on their balance sheets - up from 58 percent a year ago. However, they also overwhelmingly said it is difficult to measure carbon with any confidence.

One of the most surprising findings was that 61 percent of the consumers surveyed said the recession taught people to become more efficient and responsible. "...It reminds us what is important," the report quoted the respondents saying. Almost two-thirds said they would support a mandatory surcharge on their electric bills to support alternative energy intended to reduce pollution and to add American jobs.

Natural gas is gaining favor among consumers, although over half still want their utilities to invest in solar and wind power.

Here are links to a blog post about the survey and to the reports here and here.

The findings reflect what our nonprofit has noticed: the green movement is accelerating. Business, real estate developers and landlords, the military and even professional sports realize that going green is good for multiple reasons.

This story notes  the San Francisco 49ers are using low CO2 concrete in their new stadium because they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Meanwhile, the owners of the  iconic Empire State Building say their energy retrofits will save them $4.4 million per year - a 3-year payback. Now, that's a good investment! More here.

Some analysts describe an evolution ; others describe a revolution., Whatever it is, it is clear that clean energy and energy efficiency are gaining a higher profile.

Photo of Empire State Building by Eggo

Energy efficiency: Some states perform better than others

The top states for encouraging energy efficiency are Massachusetts at No. 1 and California at No. 2, according to a clean energy research organization.

Both have strategies and programs in place to enhance the clean energy mix of their energy production and encourage a shift to cost-saving measures and clean energy. Their efforts have been followed, mimicked and analyzed many times.

But the bottom performers? Not so much.

"There is plenty of room for improvement," say Michael Sciortino, Rachel Young and Steven Nadel in "Opportunity Knocks: Examining Low-Ranking States in the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard." They work for the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, a nonprofit research and policy analyst.

The worst 10 states in promoting energy efficiency in descending order, with the last being the worst, are: South Dakota, Alabama, Missouri, West Virginia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi, Wyoming and North Dakota. ACEEE ranks the states according to policies and programs that advance efficiencies in buildings, transportation and industry.

While many states have improved over the past several years, these have lagged. The study is meant to provide direction.

The study points out that those interviewed "dwelled on the rate impacts of programs and little else." It also says utilities fail to see the practice as a resource, perceiving it more as a "societal benefit" and arguing that programs cost too much and "do not align with the utility business model."

Energy efficiency is considered the low-hanging fruit of a move toward sustainability and clean energy. It cuts utility bills significantly and is being adopted increasingly by the private sector as a core business practice.

In essence, energy efficiency practices (which include replacing light bulbs and other electric users with more miserly units) save money. And while it can cost a bundle up front, the payback is often quite fast. Sometimes it's a matter of a few years or months.

Other measures that could improve the low-ranking states' standings include improving building codes. This would slow energy loss either through preventing heat loss in winter or by retaining air conditioning in the summer. The study shows that the benefits of improved building requirements on a new home, which amount to an average $896.16, pay for themselves in less than 10 months.

The study also reports reluctance on the part of local governments to "lead by example." It provides a number of routes governments can take, including leveraging federal funding and on-bill financing.

Not all governments around the San Joaquin Valley were overly enthusiastic about energy efficiency retrofits just two years ago. Now, however, it's a different story. Many are moving to the next phase of renewable energy.

Sustainability: America's emerging green movement

That sound you hear is the sustainability movement accelerating.  America is becoming a deeper shade of green.

 Businesses are expanding their sustainability efforts from board rooms to supply chains and now to energy providers. More companies are flexing their corporate muscle, and pressuring legislators to support efforts to boost use of clean energy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Their so-called "green teams" are moving outside corporate walls.

Mindy Lubber of the advocacy group Ceres writes in this Sustainable Business Blog of a new "business voice", which is also being transferred to employees. She quotes organic yogurt- maker Stonyfield Farm founder Gary Hirschberg as saying, "We reject the notion that climate and energy legislation is going to be costly. . . Climate action offers economic opportunity rather than economic penalty."

The same blog notes that Nike and 14 other heavy hitters asked Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit that has helped propel wind energy (more here).

More businesses are setting sustainability goals, and in some cases (Hello, Sony) exceeding them. They are raising their sustainability profiles in concert with the military, professional sports and the public, which, according to latest polls, is increasingly linking climate change to the recent wild weather, and is willing to pay more for clean energy.

Meanwhile, prices are dropping, and energy sources such as wind and solar make more sense economically. Solar energy is expected to reach parity with traditional sources of power within  a few years. In fact, there are those who contend it already is at parity in some places. See this.

Energy efficiency also is gaining a higher profile, as evidenced by this huge investment into a new lab at University of California, Santa Barbara, and by this announcement that the telecom industry plans to invest billions of dollars into a sustainable infrastructure by 2016.

Still, the U.S. is without a national energy plan, even as some nations - even those blessed with oil (read about Saudi Arabia here)- forge ahead with renewable energy programs because of dwindling resources. Even Mexico passed a climate-change bill.

But, the pressure to do more is building. The sustainability movement is still in infancy, but a great awakening is under way, says Sam Geil, founder of the International Green Industry Hall of Fame in Fresno, CA.

 "Because sustainability has such a strong economic component, all businesses and the general public are just now starting to understand the overall benefits," Geil says.

He notes the military's burgeoning green efforts. "The War in Iraq is a great example. Transporting fuel was a big challenge, and getting it to the field operations was becoming more and more hazardous. With the use of solar and alternative fuels, the military can actually offset the threats of attacks on the tankers carrying gasoline and diesel fuels."

And let's not forget tomorrow's leaders. Today's young people are growing up with a green tint and more of them, such as my 19-year-old daughter, are seeking out environmental careers. Universities are adding sustainability programs even as they cut back in other areas.

"Young people are growing up with a green mindset and understand the value of recycling, reusing, and rethinking," Geil said.  "The Green Movement is here to stay and growing every day."

Photo of soldiers using a solar blanket

Green businesses gain fame at Fresno event

Nine individuals or organizations with ties to the San Joaquin Valley are semifinalists for induction into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame during a ceremony and conference to be held May 10-11 at Fresno State University. Here's more in a press release from the university.

The VIP dinner will take place Thursday, May 10th from 5-9pm. Featuring live music by Tony Oliveira, wine pairing by Lange Twins Winery, gourmet Mediterranean dinner and dessert, special guest Alan Tratner, keynote speaker Shahram Javey, and a raffle/auction. Tickets available online through May 2nd – limited seating available, expected to sell out quickly!

The $75 Green Package ticket includes the Thursday, May 10th walking tour at CSU Fresno and the Friday, May 11th Ceremony and Conference;
o Walking tour 1-4pm, includes WET incubator, organic farm field and farm market, solar parking, and library. Tour begins and ends in front of the Satellite Student Union Center.
o Friday schedule:
 9:00AM–11:00AM: Registration/ Exhibitors open/ Continental Breakfast – Courtyard;
 11:00AM–1:00PM: Induction Ceremony  – Student Satellite Center;
 1:00PM–2:00PM: Mediterranean Style Lunch – Courtyard;
 1:00PM–3:00PM: Video Interviews with Inductees;
 2:00PM–5:00PM: Plenary Sessions – University Business Center

The Hall of Fame induction is the highlight of the conference. Eighteen semifinalists have been named, including these that have connections to the Valley. They are:

Electronic Recyclers International, a Fresno-based firm that is the nation's largest electronic waste recyclers

Glen Roberts of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Fresno and Bakersfield, who provides export business consulting in the clean energy field

GRID Alternatives, an Oakland nonprofit that installs solar panels on low-income households throughout California. The Fresno office has installed solar power systems on more than 300 homes in the Valley, all owned by low-income families

Kaiser Permanente Modesto, a health-maintenance organization that works to find environmentally friendly products, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and inform public policy to protect the health and safety of employees and members. Kaiser strives to build greener facilities, strives to purchases non-toxic materials and supports sustainable agriculture.

Real Goods Solar, which promotes adoption of renewable energy to reduce the human ecological footprint and has an office in Fresno

REC Solar, a San Luis Obispo-based company with an office in Fresno that specializes in grid-tied solar electric design and installation for commercial and residential customers

Taylor Teter, a Fresno architecture firm that incorporates sustainability into its designs

University of California Merced, where six buildings are LEED certified and students and faculty are leaders in solar-energy research

U.S. Green Building Council, which has a goal of making green buildings available to everyone within a generation.

                                            The remaining semifinalists are:

Alan Tratner, international director of FD3′s Green2Gold in Santa Barbara and president of the Inventors Workshop International and Entrepreneurs Workshop, director of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Center in California and former publisher of Lightbulb Journal and INVENT!.

Aquacue, a San Jose-based firm whose customers set a baseline, reduce waste and engage the community to reduce water bills and advance sustainability.

Climate Ride, a nonprofit based in Missoula, Mont. that organizes charitable bike rides to support sustainable solutions, bike advocacy and environmental causes

Coto Consulting, based in Orange County, provides environmental consulting services to private and public-sector clients

Ed Begley Jr.,an actor and environmental leader who is chair of the Environmental Media Association and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

Green Apple Horse Network, based in Marin County, helps the horse industry go green, and manages a directory of green products and services

H2 Purepower of Chandler, Ariz., which makes hydrogen generators for gasoline and diesel powered engines

Monterey Institute of International Studies, which has a student body from all over the world that is committed to environmental issues

Sunrun, a San Francisco-based company sthat offers solar leasing and power purchase agreements.

Rice hull walls, algae oil & portable solar win at P3 competition

An artificial wetland to treat household gray water, structural wall panels made of rice hulls and algae biofuel systems number are the projects selected to receive grant money in a recent competition between university and college teams across the country.

A total of 15 teams participating in the People, Prosperity and the Planet competition, also known as P3, split $1 million in grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The event was held at the 8th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The winners were selected from 45 teams. Their mission was to create innovative environmental solutions. Judging was provided by a panel of national experts who provided recommendations to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. EPA then selected the award-winning projects "from the most competitive pool of teams ever."

Many of the projects "have the potential to make significant impacts on our nation’s sustainable future and development of environmental technologies," says Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Research and Development, in a statement.

Each winning team will receive up to $90,000 to further develop the projects, "apply it to real world applications or move it to the marketplace." EPA officials say previous award winners have started successful businesses and are marketing the technologies domestically and internationally.

Winners of this year’s awards include:

Appalachian State University for developing an artificial wetland suitable for recycling of grey water from small businesses for immediate reuse.

Butte College for developing structural insulated panels for building construction using rice hulls, an abundant agricultural waste, as the primary raw material.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for designing a foldable solar power water purification system that can fit into a backpack for easy transport for use after a disaster affecting drinking ether supply.

Gonzaga University for developing a simple ventilation system for kitchens in rural dwellings using electrical power generated from thermoelectric cells driven by waste heat from cooking fires.

Oregon State University for raising awareness of pollution associated with the production and use of plastic mulch by farmers and testing alternative biodegradable mulch material.

Princeton University for developing, testing and deploying an electricity generation system that can be transported in a standard shipping container and rapidly set up in rural communities and post disaster areas.

Santa Clara University for developing a fuel cell capable of continuous sustainable energy supply to meet energy demands in rural communities in developing nations lacking reliable energy grids.

Southern Illinois University - Carbondale for developing methods to extract (recycle) metals from Coal Combustion Byproducts (CCB) to reduce mining and to produce a concrete with reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Engineering for studying ways to recover struvite, a slow release fertilizer, from digested animal manures and assesses its marketability.

Texas State University - San Marcos for converting rice husks, a byproducts of agriculture, into a starter material called lignocellulose for producing fabrics, biofuel and silica nanoparticles.

University of California, Riverside for designing a solar collector to heat ambient air for use in home appliances, such as clothes dryers and space heaters, to reduce home energy consumption.

University of Cincinnati for developing a pilot scale system to convert trap grease from restaurants, a waste set to landfill, to renewable biodiesel.

University of Connecticut for investigating ways to use local industrial byproducts such as steal slag and lime kiln dust to control erosion and to stabilize roads in Nicaragua.

University of Oklahoma, Norman for design, field-test, construct, instrument, analyze and document a habitat for humanity house built of compressed earth blocks, aka CEB.

Vanderbilt University for developing a biohyrid solar panel that substitutes a protein from spinach for rare metals (mined) and is capable of producing electricity.

Honorable mention winners include:

Christian Brothers University for developing technologies to improve energy efficiency in the building envelope of residencies in Memphis, Tenn., that focus on the thermal properties of materials, fire safety, material stability and cost.

Clarkson University for studying the feasibility of using waste heat and leachate from a solid waste management facility for energy to produce biodiesel from algae.

Drexel University for designing a pilot-scale reactor for local landfill that uses algae to produce biofuels from landfill leachate and gas.

Purdue University for designing, building and installing affordable ram pumps in Haiti to improve the availability of water for its citizens.

Rochester Institute of Technology for designing a hydrofoil system that harvests energy from a river while minimizing the harmful effects that dams create for river flow and sediments.

Santa Clara University for developing a high efficiency solar absorber/exchanger that can bring low cost energy to urbanites who have limited space for solar collectors.

Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville for evaluating the use of selenium-polluted plant waste materials harvested from phytoremediation sites to produce selenium-enriched edible mushrooms.

University of Texas at Austin for designing, constructing and testing vermicomposting (composting with worms) bins to improve public health in the Dominican Republic by reducing water contamination from organic waste.

University of California, Davis for designing and monitoring an affordable green roof technology that uses the shading from plant to cool roof surfaces and reduce peak electricity demand by up to 75 percent.

Missouri University of Science and Technology for developing a control system that opens and closes windows to maximize natural ventilation and save energy by sensing differencing in outdoor and indoor climate conditions.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for creating and implementing a point-of-view disinfectant for drinking water that is cheap, non-toxic and effective in reducing waterborne illness in developing nations.

Photo of Appalachian State University team.