Tag Archives: environmental protection agency

Cholla

APS proposes compromise for Cholla Power Plant

The coal-fired Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City, Ariz., will close its 260-megawatt Unit 2 by April 2016 and stop burning coal at the other APS-owned units (1 and 3) by the mid-2020s if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves a compromise proposal offered by APS, the plant’s owner. APS also will ask the Arizona Corporation Commission to approve the plan.

APS made the proposal with the understanding that it would not be required to install expensive emission control equipment on the units to comply with current rules under the agency’s Regional Haze program. The environmental benefits of this proposal are greater in the long term than the benefits that would have resulted from adding the emissions control equipment.

“This proposal provides the best outcome, allowing Cholla to continue to operate, while meeting environmental requirements,” said David Hansen, APS Vice President of Fossil Generation. “This solution balances several needs — supporting the local economy the best way possible; the need to provide reliable, low-cost generation resources for customers; and complying with federal rules and regulations.”

In 2010, APS was notified that Unit 2 needed to upgrade its scrubbers and add a super-sized sophisticated air filter called a “baghouse” to meet the new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. In 2012, the EPA published a federal implementation plan, which overrides certain parts of Arizona’s plan to deal with regional haze. The federal plan requires Cholla Unit’s 2 and 3 to add expensive Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.

“When the EPA issued its final rules to manage regional haze, we told the agency that the cost of adding SCRs along with the other technologies required to meet the mercury rules placed the unit at risk of being uneconomic to operate,” said Hansen. “We are clearly aware of the potential impact closing Unit 2 may have on the neighboring communities and arrived at this decision only after carefully weighing the options.”

By closing Unit 2, mercury emissions are anticipated to decline by 51 percent, particulates by 34 percent, nitrogen oxides by 32 percent, and carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide by 23 percent. There would be additional environmental benefits after units 1 and 3 stop burning coal. APS intends to continue working closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on environmental issues.

According to Hansen, there were three alternative approaches – investing hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment, converting the entire plant to natural gas by 2016, or closing the plant.

If EPA approves the APS compromise, it will save more than $350 million in potential costs that otherwise would be passed along to customers for emission control upgrades.

Potential job losses will likely be mitigated through normal attrition and retirements. Today the plant has 249 employees with an annual payroll of $29 million. It pays approximately $15 million in state, local and federal taxes annually.

The unit has been in service since 1978.

APS has been closing older, less reliable units and replacing them with newer, cleaner and more efficient sources of energy. This includes closing three units at the Four Corners Power Plant in Farmington, N.M., and two units at the Ocotillo Power Plant in Tempe, Ariz.

From an accounting perspective, APS intends to reclassify the remaining book value as a regulatory asset.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves nearly 1.2 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).

ngs-closeup-stacks

EPA ruling may close Navajo Generating Station by 2044

The largest coal-fired power plant in the West will produce one-third less energy by 2020 and is on track to cease operations in 2044 under a proposal that the federal government adopted to cut haze-causing emissions of nitrogen oxide at places like the Grand Canyon.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that the owners of the Navajo Generating Station could either shut down one of the plant’s 750-megawatt units or reduce power generation by an equal amount by 2020. The owners would have until 2030 to install pollution controls that would cut nitrogen-oxide emissions by 80 percent.

EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld in San Francisco said a final decision didn’t come easily and required flexibility. Along with meeting energy demands in the West, the 2,250-megawatt plant powers a series of canals that deliver water to Phoenix and Tucson, fuels the economies of the Navajo and Hopi Tribes, and helps fulfill American Indian water-rights settlements with the federal government.

“This is so complex and integrated into the fabric of Arizona,” Blumenfeld said.

The final rule comes five years after the EPA gave notice that it was considering pollution controls for the plant. The agency later released a proposal that would have required the upgrades by 2023.

A group made up of the plant’s operator, tribal and federal officials, a canal system known as the Central Arizona Project and environmental groups said they could do better and came up with their own proposal, which was adopted by the EPA.

Reducing power generation by one-third should come easily because the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and NV Energy have announced their intention to cut ties with the coal plant by 2019. Together, they own almost one-third of the plant near Page, run by the Salt River Project, one of Arizona’s largest utility companies. None of the other owners would lose any power generation as a result.

“On the whole, while we’re increasing our costs associated with the plant, the plant itself is still valuable enough to our customers and Arizona for us to continue,” Salt River Project spokesman Scott Harelson said.

Conservation groups not part of drafting the alternative proposal had urged the EPA to reject it. They said that the best choice EPA could make was to require the plant’s owners to install selective catalytic reduction — similar to catalytic converters on an automobile — by 2018.

The EPA received about 77,000 comments on the alternative proposal.

The final rule means the Navajo Nation ultimately will see less revenue from coal that feeds the power plant. But the executive director of the tribe’s Environmental Protection Agency, Stephen Etsitty, said it provides a better chance of the power plant continuing operations.

“Of course it’s not perfect,” he said. “It’s an indication that EPA is really open to the recommendations of local stakeholders. To me, that’s a good move in the right direction.”

Steve Michel of the environmental group Western Resource Advocates said he would have liked to see faster action to improve air quality. But the group agreed to participate in drafting the alternative proposal because it felt a better outcome would be achieved through negotiation, Michel said.

He’s looking forward to the rule having a positive impact on air quality at the Grand Canyon and other pristine areas in the West.

“You need these kinds of national programs because they can look at this comprehensively, rather than one facility at a time,” he said. “If we do this across the West, it will have a meaningful benefit.”

The EPA’s rule goes into effect 60 days after it’s published in the federal register, which is expected to happen within two to three weeks.

Camelback at 24th, Hines

EPA Recognizes Hines with 2014 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award

Hines, the international real estate firm, announced today that it has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the 2014 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award in recognition of continued leadership in protecting the environment through energy efficiency.  Hines will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2014.

This is the tenth time Hines has been recognized by the EPA and the seventh time Hines has received the Sustained Excellence Award.

Hines’ portfolio of ENERGY STAR buildings consists of 185 facilities and more than 60 million square feet. With an average performance rating of 82.4, the portfolio is 39.7 percent more energy efficient than the national average.   This translates into estimated annual greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to removing more than 45,987 automobiles from the road for one year.

Across the U.S., top companies and organizations are leading the way toward a more energy-efficient future through participation in ENERGY STAR.  Through 2013, with help from ENERGY STAR, American families and businesses have saved $297 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Hines is honored to receive this award,” said Hines President and CEO Jeffrey C. Hines.  “We use ENERGY STAR in tandem with Hines’ proprietary building management tools to support our engineering efforts to maximize performance, minimize risk and preserve long-term value.”

Hines Global Sustainability Officer Gary Holtzer added, “Our participation in the ENERGY STAR program is an important aspect of the firm’s sustainability program.  ENERGY STAR signals lower expenses for our tenants, higher returns for our investors, partners and clients, and a better environment for everyone.”

The 2014 Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Awards are given to a variety of organizations to recognize their contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through superior energy efficiency. These winners have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by setting and achieving aggressive goals, and employing innovative energy efficiency approaches. These awards recognize ongoing leadership across the ENERGY STAR program, including energy-efficient products, services, new homes, and buildings in the commercial, industrial, and public sectors. Award winners are selected from the 16,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program.

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Four Peaks Brewery Bringing Local Life to Tempe Oktoberfest

image001Tempe’s own Four Peaks Brewery takes front stage as title sponsor of the 41st Annual Oktoberfest October 11-13. Four Peaks Brewery and their award-winning beers and ales will help the Tempe Sister Cities organization to attract record crowds to Tempe Beach Park where music, food and great beer make for an event that you won’t want to miss.

Oktoberfest is a signature event in the city of Tempe that draws more than 150,000 attendees each year.

Look for Four Peaks Brewery to debut their new Oktoberfest Lager, a German influenced full-flavor lager that will pair well with the traditional Oktoberfest foods such as bratwurst, schnitzel and pretzels. On Friday, October 11 Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell will kick off the festivities by ceremoniously tapping the first cask of Four Peaks Oktoberfest Lager.

In addition to the Oktoberfest Lager, Four Peaks Brewery will also serve the rest of their award winning lineup, including their Bavarian Hefeweizen as well as their crowd-pleasing Sunbru, 8th Street Ale, Kilt Lifter, Hop Knot, Peach Ale and Oatmeal Stout.

“Four Peaks is excited to support Tempe Sister Cities and one of the longest standing events in all of Arizona,” states co-owner Jim Scussel. “Our focus remains on Arizona, our customers and events which benefit worthy causes. We’re very excited about the partnership and potential it offers for both Four Peaks and our hometown.”

Oktoberfest attracts a wide range of attendees thanks to the great weather and many varied events. Children’s activities, live bands and a 5K fun run help to draw people from around the valley. Four Peaks Brewery will bring a true local flavor to the many beer tents while patrons celebrate the annual Bavarian ritual on the shores of Tempe Town Lake.

Admission to Oktoberfest is free. For more information go to tempeoktoberfest.com 

About Four Peaks Brewery
 
Four Peaks is an award-winning local brewing company that has been crafting a quality selection of staple and seasonal beers since 1996. They have received acknowledgement and praise for not only their ales, but also for their perfectly paired pub food offerings. There are 3 valley locations, and their craft beer can also be found at select establishments and supermarkets throughout the state of Arizona.
 
For more information, contact Greg Ross at greg@fourpeaks.com or visit www.fourpeaks.com

Fulton Home building

EPA recognizes Fulton for energy efficient construction

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has honored Fulton Homes for its commitment to providing homebuyers with ENERGY STAR certified homes by presenting the Tempe-based homebuilder with the 2013 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award. The honor recognizes a builder that promotes energy efficient construction and helps to protect the environment through partnership with ENERGY STAR.

“Not only does Fulton Homes provide a top quality home, but we make sure they are environmentally friendly and efficient,” said Fulton Homes CEO Doug Fulton. “Fulton Homes is dedicated to preserving the environment through the focused attention we give in our construction process. Receiving an ENERGY STAR award is testimony for the care and attention we put in to every Fulton Home.”

ENERGY STAR, an EPA voluntary program, helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. Homes that earn the ENERGY STAR label have undergone a long process of inspections, testing, and verification to meet strict U.S. requirements.

energy.bill

Coalition Formed to Combat Proposed EPA Regulations

A group of Arizona business leaders and politicians announced that they have created a coalition to address proposed regulations on the Navajo Generating Station.

The Arizona Coalition for Water, Energy and Jobs said in a press conference on Tuesday that regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if implemented, will have an adverse effect on the Arizona economy by “significantly increasing water prices.”

The proposed regulations, which are a part of the EPA’s “regional haze program,” would require the generating station to install pollution control technology, intended to reduce haze and increase visibility over the Grand Canyon.

“This (the regulations) will not improve enjoyment of the Grand Canyon, but will increase the cost of business,” Sid Wilson, chairman of the coalition said.

Wilson, who came out of a four-year retirement from the Central Arizona Water Conservation District to chair the coalition, said during the conference that implementing the necessary emissions control technology, which are proposed to be complied with by Aug. 6, “could cost up to $1 billion.”

“At risk are 3,400 jobs each year,” said Karrin Taylor, board chair of Valley Partnership.

“If these jobs disappear, they would be very difficult to replace,” said Kelly Norton, president of the Arizona Mining Association, noting that an increase in water prices would have a “cascading effect on the economy.”

Taylor also said that the regulations would stagnate business development in Arizona.

“One of the most important considerations for developing businesses is power and water rates,” she said.  “If we double or triple the cost of water, we immediately remove an important attribute of business development.”

She said that Arizona has “always had a competitive advantage” due to its ability to offer low rates on water and power, and noted “the Navajo Generating Station is at the heart of that system.”

“We can’t put at risk such an important economic tool for a rule that will deliver no benefit,” she said.

House Speaker Andy Tobin said during the conference that the coalition is rallying both locally and in Washington for support on the issue.

“I am asking the President of the United States to protect Arizona from these regulations,” he said.

David Martin, president of the Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors, said during the conference that the proposed regulations would produce results “similar to what happened at the Mohave Power Station,” which was forced to be shut down in 2005 after facing similar government intervention.

“We are not going to let special interests force us into the same corner,” he said.

Coalition members also said that the benefits of the regulations, which they cite as being based on “flawed technical analysis,” do not exceed the costs.

“The EPA has yet to thoughtfully approach the cost/benefit analysis required under law,” Martin said.  “If the costs of this rule exceed the benefits, and they clearly do, there would be no required retrofit.”

Power Outage Map

State challenges pollution control upgrades

The Arizona Corporation Commission is criticizing recent actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the state’s power plants.

The commission voted Tuesday to file an amicus brief in federal appeals court supporting the state’s challenge to pollution control upgrades at three coal-fired power plants.

The EPA partially approved Arizona’s air quality plan for the Cholla, Coronado and Apache generating stations. But the agency set its own limits for nitrogen oxide emissions and gave the plants’ operators five years to comply.

The commission says the EPA’s decision doesn’t strike the right balance of environmental stewardship and protection of Arizona’s economy.

The commission says it also will weigh in against a proposal for pollution control upgrades at the Navajo Generating Station. Public comments are due Aug. 5.

recycling

ASU joins EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge

Arizona State University adds a composting program and joins the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge. The EPA’s voluntary program kicks off Nov. 15, 2012 in celebration of America Recycles Day. According to the EPA, food is the single largest material sent to landfills and accounts for 25 percent of all waste sent to landfills.

“This year, ASU sent 6,778 tons of waste to the landfill and 25% of that total tonnage was meal scraps,” said Nick Brown, director of university sustainability practices at ASU. “In celebration of the EPA Food Recovery Challenge kick-off, we are introducing ‘back-of-the-house’ composting at two dining halls on the Tempe campus.”

Food-service workers at the Hassayampa and Barrett, The Honors College dining halls are using “Green Bins” to compost the following:

•    All food (including dairy and meat products)
•    All paper food-service items (including boats, clamshells, napkins and cups)

The food-service workers collect the compostable items at both Tempe campus dining halls, and no action from diners currently is required.

“Composting at both the Barrett and Hassayampa dining halls enable the facilities to essentially become zero waste because all items handled there can either be composted or recycled,” Brown said.

ASU will expand its composting efforts through its Green Bin program beginning in January 2013. Students, faculty and staff will be able to put all food scraps and all paper food-service items in Green Bins placed throughout ASU’s four campuses. The Green Bin program will support ASU’s Zero Waste by 2015 goal, which aims to reduce all waste destined for the landfill by 90%. Learn more about the ASU Green Bin program at: https://cfo.asu.edu/compost.

ASU joins nearly 60 colleges and universities across the country in the Food Recovery Challenge to limit the 34 million tons of food wasted each year by reducing unnecessary consumption, increase charity donations and composting. By participating in the three-year challenge, the academic institutions pledge to reduce food waste by five percent in one year. Read more about the EPA Food Recovery Challenge at: http://www.epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge.

5 Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades

It’s Easy Being (and Saving) Green: 5 Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades

Central Arizona Supply offers energy-efficient, cost-saving solutions for your home with these five eco-friendly home upgrades.


With homeowners becoming more eco-minded when upgrading their homes, questions of cost and energy savings are big factors in deciding what to upgrade around the house.

“You don’t have to radically change your lifestyle to incorporate eco-friendly upgrades into your home,” says Jeremy Smith of Central Arizona Supply, the Valley’s largest supplier of waterware, lighting and hardware. “A few simple changes done in conjunction with one another can have a significant impact not only on your wallet, but also increase your comfort, reduce waste and pollution and help save natural resources.”

Central Arizona Supply suggests five eco-friendly home upgrades that offer the biggest bang for your buck, giving “going green” a whole new meaning.

Top 5 Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades:

Install a tankless water heater (estimated cost: $800-$2,000)

Many homeowners are discovering that tankless water heaters can meet their needs for an endless hot water supply. Compact and efficient, tankless water heaters do not store hot water, as traditional heaters do, but instead heat water on demand. Up to 80 percent of a traditional heater’s energy is used reheating the stored water, so a tankless heater can result in significant energy savings. Tankless heaters also conserve space and will last 20 years or more, compared to 10-15 years for a traditional heater.

Replace your showerhead (estimated cost: $50-$250)

By replacing your showerhead, you can save up to 2,300 gallons of water annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your shower. Technology has come a long way within the past year and brands like Grohe, Jaclo and Brizo have created mist systems and air-infused showerheads that give the perception of more water and high pressure.

Add an aerator to your faucet (estimated cost: $2-$10)

You can save another 500 gallons of water annually simply by replacing a standard aerator. Low-flow aerators cut water and energy usage while maintaining adequate water pressure.

Opt for an extreme low-flow toilet (estimated cost: $150-$500)

Don’t flush potential savings down the drain. The EPA estimates that a family of four who replaces older toilets with WaterSense-labeled models will, on average, save more than $90 annually on their water bill and $2,000 over the toilet’s lifetime. Toilets account for the majority of a home’s water usage — between 30 and 50 percent of daily water consumption. All toilets manufactured and sold in the U.S. are now required to use 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush. Older models use between three and five gallons. Niagara brand toilets use only 0.8 gallons of water per flush and pay for themselves in two years.

Switch to CFLs in your light fixtures (estimated Cost: $2.50-$10)

By far, the easiest way to go green and save money is to switch out your light bulbs. CFLs, or compact fluorescent bulbs, use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. You can save more than $65 annually. Now that’s a bright idea!

For more information about going green and the eco-friendly home upgrades discussed, call Central Arizona Supply at (480) 834-5817  or visit centralazsupply.com.

solar projects

ASU’s Solar Projects Earn Climate Impact Recognition

Arizona State University (ASU) has been recognized for its cutting-edge work in promoting environmental sustainability through it’s solar projects by the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), an agreement between nearly 700 colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action.

The university earned the distinction in large part because of its commitment to rely on solar power to fuel its energy needs. ASU has 57 solar photovoltaic projects with the capacity to generate more than 15 megawatts across four campuses. Combined, they enable the university to reduce carbon emissions by 16,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is roughly the same as the annual emissions of 1,500 homes or 3,000 passenger vehicles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The solar projects, which comprise the largest, single university solar installation in the country, now account for approximately 30 percent of the university’s peak daytime power needs. ASU’s reliance on renewable energy reduces the university’s costs and helps it build community ties with solar business partners.

The ACUPCC acknowledged ASU’s efforts as part of its Celebrating Sustainability series, which identifies signatories that exemplify the initiative’s mission to re-stabilize Earth’s climate through education, research and community engagement. Celebrating Sustainability is formally recognizing a different institution every business day in April leading up to Earth Day on April 22.

“Arizona State University is located in one of the sunniest parts of the country, so its focus on solar power is practical and proving effective,” said Dr. Anthony D. Cortese, president of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the ACUPCC. “ASU is putting its vocal advocacy of sustainability on display for students and community members to see. It is extremely important for today’s students to not only learn about sustainability in the classroom, but to also see it put into practice on their campuses. We applaud ASU for being responsible to its students and its community.”

“We are generating a sizeable portion of our power needs from renewable sources because in the long term, it helps keep energy costs down,” explained Ray Jensen, associate vice president of university business services and university sustainability operations officer at ASU. “We monitor our solar projects in real time to ensure they are functioning efficiently. As an environmentally conscious university, it is important that we lead by example.”

Find out more about ASU’s solar projects at sustainability.asu.edu/practice/.

Air pollution

Air Pollution In Arizona: Hayden Seeks Long Awaited Relief

Air pollution is a national problem. Imagine leaving your house every morning and having to wear a face mask and gloves, worrying that the air you breathe and everything you touch is toxic. That is an example of the extreme, but it if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t regulate and control where factories are built and what they are dispersing into the ecosystem near towns and cities, wearing a face mask and gloves may become the norm.

National Air Pollution Problems

Lead and arsenic are being released into the air in Laureldale, Pa. by Exide, a company that recycles car batteries. Exide was recently cited with 161 violations and fined $436,000, but did that change its practices?

Residents are still complaining because of the smell, but it’s the unseen hazards that are putting this community at risk.

The EPA says toxic air has dropped by 40 percent when compared to 20 years ago, but there is still an issue with companies violating regulations. The EPA has a watch list of Clean Air Act violators and as recently as this summer the list capped at around 400 companies across the United States.

Poisoned Places: Toxics in the Air, on the Ground

Air Pollution in Hayden, Arizona

When it comes to companies being careless about toxic emissions, small Arizona towns are being affected by bad air. Residents of Hayden, Ariz. are are concerned about the health risks that come with living in Hayden and are afraid to let their children play outside.

One resident relocated after Asarco bought her home and demolished it after it was determined to be severely contaminated with chemicals emitted by the copper mining and smelting company.

The EPA tested the soil in Hayden and found that lead and arsenic contaminated dozens of family yards close to the smelting operations. The company was required to clean it up, but according to Hayden residents, ASARCO covered the contaminated soil with landscaping rocks.

The air pollution condition for the residents in Hayden, Ariz. is a catch-22. The community was created by the mining company and many residents in the community work for ASARCO. They don’t want to lose the jobs the company provides, they just want ASARCO to clean up its act.

License to Pollute: An Arizona Town’s Long Struggle With Hazardous Air

Tap Insulation Being installed

Pest Control Insulation Systems – Pest Control with Home Insulation

Pests, as well as high energy bills, can be a big problem for some homeowners. However, a company called Pest Control Insulation Systems (PCIS) has introduced a new way to battle both issues, while at the same time saving energy and money.

Bill Turk, president and CEO of PCIS, founded the successful company in the late 1990s. After envisioning a product that would not only reduce energy costs but control pests, Thermal Acoustic Pest Control (TAP) Insulation was patented.

Bill Turk, president & CEO of TAP Insulation, pest controlTAP Insulation, made from recycled paper and natural borates, reduces home energy bills and noises and even eliminates common household pests.

This specialized insulation is blown-in and put on top of previous insulation in homes. For pest control, borates are used, which are mineral salts mined from the earth. Although mineral salt has minimal effect on humans and pets, it is extremely toxic and deadly for insects.

When TAP Insulation is installed in a home, less energy is used to cool or heat a home. The ability for heat to transfer through walls and attics is reduced, which means cooler homes during those hot summer months and warmer homes during winter. Thus, cooling and heating bills are lowered.

The insulated walls and attics reduce noise as well. With a thicker padding, outside noises and inside noises, such as running appliances, are lessened.

TAP Insulation is also the only pest-eliminating product labeled by the Environmental Protection Agency that bears the Energy Star label that also lowers energy costs.

This insulation isn’t just beneficial to homeowners because of the positive ways it saves money and reduces pests, but it is also a green and sustainable product.TAP Insulation, pest control

When looking at the product as a whole, it is very green and environmentally friendly. It is made from recycled paper, provides no post-installation waste, reduces a home’s carbon footprint by saving energy, and the cellulose insulation takes less energy to make than regular insulation.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce energy bills, eliminate pests, or reduce household noises, TAP Insulation might be a good choice for you.

For more information about Pest Control Insulation Systems, visit www.tapinsulation.com.

Feature Big Green 2011

Speaker: Diane Brossart ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Diane Brossart, Valley Forward

Diane Brossart, Valley Forward, BIG Green Conference 2011 SpeakerDiane Brossart has a longtime connection with Valley Forward Association, having first joined the non-profit public interest organization 20 years ago. Brossart served on the Valley Forward Board of Directors for several years and was named President of the association in 1991. As President, Brossart oversees a staff of four and manages a host of committees, which focus on such issues as land use planning and desert preservation, transportation and air quality, water concerns and environmental education.Under Brossart’s leadership, Valley Forward has received widespread recognition for its role in addressing environmental and quality of life issues in the Valley. Awards include an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9; Award of Distinction from the Western Mountain Region of the American Institute of Architects; and first-place honors from the City of Phoenix Mayor’s Environmental Awards Program.

Brossart also received the Phoenix Award from the Public Relations Society of America’s Phoenix Chapter in 2008, in addition to the 2009 Champion of Sustainability Award through the Phoenix Business Journal’s Green Pioneers program. She is also involved as a member of several civic organizations, including the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Valley Partnership, Friends of the West Valley Recreation Corridor and Phoenix Community Alliance.

Prior to her work with Valley Forward, Brossart was Vice President of one of the Valley’s largest public relations agencies, serving as a marketing consultant to Valley Forward and several commercial accounts. Brossart received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Wayne State University in 1979 and began her professional career as a reporter for a daily newspaper in metropolitan Detroit.


Topic: Sustainable & How You Can Be Part of the Solution: How people & organizations can personally get involved in the green movement.

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Room 158

BIG Green Conference 2011


BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th 2011
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.



Sponsors:

Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary

On Dec. 2, 1970, the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was founded. Since the inception of the agency, the world has changed. Today, the green movement is stronger than ever, and our focus on bettering the environment is unwavering.

The EPA has also grown with the changing times. You can view the agency’s history on an interactive timeline featured on its website. Some noted achievements include the increase of recycling by American families and businesses. In 1980, only about 10 percent of trash was recycled, increasing to more than 33 percent in 2008. The agency has also helped create high-wage jobs for more than 3,300 Americans and through the passage of the Clean Air Act, helped Americans live better, healthier lives.

It’s safe to say that the work of the EPA has been fundamental in the shaping our country’s policies and practices regarding the protection and conservation of the environment. Happy anniversary and here’s to many more years of success!

Greenpeace International Urges Facebook To Use Green Data Centers

Greenpeace International Urges Facebook To Use Green Data Centers

Facebook is often under some kind of scrutiny in the news. Lately, this has been because of ongoing privacy complaints against the social-networking giant.

But the latest issue with Facebook isn’t about privacy, it’s about energy. An article in the NY Times highlights the issue. Greenpeace International, an environmental campaigner, contends that Facebook’s latest data center (under construction) in Prineville, Oregon, isn’t good for the environment. The data center is powered by PacifiCorp, a company that gets 58 percent of its energy from burning coal.

For a site that has more than 500 million members, Facebook’s reliance on data centers is obvious. But is this coming at a price? In the article, Lisa Rhodes, vice president of marketing and sales at Verne Global, a data center company based in Iceland, stated that “according to the Environmental Protection Agency, data centers now account for 1.5 percent of all electricity consumption in the U.S. and by 2020, carbon emissions will have quadrupled to 680 million tons per year, which will account for more than the aviation industry.”

Greenpeace is urging Facebook to switch to a more environmentally friendly source of energy. Other technology giants such as Google, Yahoo, Toshiba and Hewlett Packard have already taken steps to toward becoming greener. Google invested $38 million in wind farms and Yahoo cut 40 percent of carbon intensity of its data centers by 2014.

Yet, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is fighting back against these allegations. In a Facebook message to a Greenpeace supporter he writes: “Some of the old data centers we rent use coal, but most are already green.” He also added: “The newer ones we’re building from scratch in Oregon use hydro power from dams. We’re moving in the right direction.” Facebook representatives also added that Facebook rents data center space that is shared with other companies, making it impossible to decide what energy it’s powered with. However, the company did say that they’re moving toward larger, customized data centers with a focus on energy efficiency.

So what do you think? I doubt the thought of energy  efficiency crosses our minds as we log onto Facebook. But it’s good to hear that there are groups out there committed to implementing the type of change we need for a greener future and that companies are taking responsibility and responding to it.

www.facebook.com
www.nytimes.com

www.greenpeace.org

Sustainable Living - AZRE Magazine September/October 2010

Six Ways The Valley's Redefining Sustainable Living

The Sustainable Six: Redefining Sustainable Living in the Valley

It’s been a little more than a year since representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation announced they were teaming up to bolster community and economic development nationwide.

Like a band of caped crusaders, members of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (now the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities) pledged to help create greener, more sustainable communities through six guiding “livability principles” used to coordinate federal transportation, environmental protection and housing investments at their respective agencies.

At the time, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said, “It’s important that the separate agencies working to improve livability in our neighborhoods are all pointed in the same direction. We’re leading the way toward communities that are cleaner, healthier, more affordable and great destinations for businesses and jobs.”

Indeed, that sentiment, and the pot of federal money the Obama Administration has made available — including $1.5B in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants and $100M released in June for regional integrated planning initiatives — is proof the suburban landscape is changing.

While there is still much work to do, several Valley municipalities, along with organizations such as the Arizona State University Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the newly formed Livable Communities Coalition, are taking steps toward improving the livability of communities statewide, as defined by these guidelines. Here’s a look at the six principles and how Metro Phoenix stacks up:

1. Provide more transportation choices

While the Valley still has miles to go before we wean ourselves from our auto addiction, light-rail construction is a step in the right direction. Next, stop chasing federal highway dollars and, instead, use light rail as the bait to snare funding to create additional transportation options.

2. Promote equitable, affordable housing

This principle aims to broaden the spectrum and expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.

3. Enhance economic competitiveness

In a January Arizona Republic editorial, ASU President Michael Crow outlined an economic-competitiveness strategy designed to “address long-term priorities, not just the current cycle.” Among other tactics, he called for an aggressive, coordinated strategy to tap out-of-state investment funding from a variety of sources for research, infrastructure and health and welfare. “Not competing to get the tax dollars we send to Washington each year simply makes no sense,” he wrote.

4. Support existing communities

Conventional financing and zoning code issues have become the bane of transit-oriented, mixed-use development and redevelopment efforts Valleywide. However, many municipalities are working to honor historic neighborhoods and update building and zoning codes to encourage adaptive reuse and infill projects. That action will contribute to community revitalization.

5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment

Regional planning and interconnectivity are more important than ever. Valley cities must think regionally, especially if they hope to snare federal dollars.

6. Value communities and neighborhoods

Valley cities such as Phoenix, Scottsdale and Chandler were beginning to create more livable, walkable communities before the housing market crashed. Now more than ever, development at the people scale, rather than large, single-use tracts, is needed to promote a sense of community.

Livability ranks high on the wish lists of companies looking to relocate. As the federal tide shifts in favor of sustainable living, we need to change with it. Even a place known for its Wild West sensibilities and love of private property rights can learn to adapt.

For more information about the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities and sustainable living, visit portal.hud.gov.

AZRE Magazine September/October 2010

Oil Rigs supply our addiction to oil

Eating Organic, Kicking Our Oil Addiction, Solar Forestation And More

With so much going on in the green industry it’s hard to focus on just one topic. I’ve gathered stories about eating organic, kicking our oil addiction, solar forestation and more.

Cross-country road trip to conserve water
In an effort to educate the public about water conservancy, the Environmental Protection Agency is launching an educational cross-country road trip called “We’re for Water”.  The trip kicked off Wednesday, July 14, in Los Angeles and will end in New York on August 3.  National monuments including the world’s largest toilet are on the itinerary and contestants will be Tweeting and posting on Facebook their experiences along the way.

Is “solar forestation” the new trend in green living?
Mounting solar panels to the roofs of parking lot stalls in order to take advantage of the sun seems like an easy and productive idea.  However, much more planning goes into the carrying out of this idea than most people think.  One idea is to have solar panels that rotate to capture the sun’s rays or panels that are angled a certain direction.  An architect calls this “solar forestation”.

Kick your oil addiction
This blog, which comes in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, details several ways the average person can kick their oil addiction.  But it’s not as easy as the patch or the gum.  Our oil addiction is engrained into our everyday lives in a way that’s going to be tough to kick.  Some of the solutions are no-brainers like walk and bike more, another solution is buying local.  Either way, if we want to kick our addiction to oil, it starts with us.

Easy way to eat organic, join an organic food club
This article is one piece in a 52-part series about ways for Arizonans to go green.  The list of organic food clubs is a little lacking but the idea is good.  Here’s another resource for finding organic food near you. www.organicstorelocator.com/all-arizona

The new superhero – No Impact Man
In a United States where oil seems to be on everyone’s mind, Colin Beavan – who usually goes by his alias No Impact Man – blogs about his choice to live greener and in an op-ed piece for the New York Daily News explains why all Americans are part of the problem.  However, Beavan has a tiny problem with the way the Daily News portrayed his opinions.  This post and the Daily News article will show you why Beavan thinks we’re all in this together.

Green News Roundup- Helping The Environment From The B Side

What do “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, “Pink Cadillac” by Bruce Springsteen and “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart all have in common? These classic tunes all came from the B-side.

When an artist released a single, there were two sides: the A-side, the assumed hit, and the B-side, the filler track(s). And even though the songs mentioned above were found on the B-side, they went from obscurity to stardom.

So how can the B-side help the environment? Well, using the other side of paper can make a huge difference. Especially since the average office worker in the U.S. uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website. 

By using only one side of paper, we are never giving the B-side a chance. And if others had overlooked the other side, it’s possible that we would never have heard “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers or “Don’t Worry Baby” by the Beach Boys on the radio or at all for that matter.

So “B”-fore you use another sheet, get “Into the Groove” (Madonna) and write or print on the B-side. It is not only better for the environment, it will save your company money on both sides of the waste equation (buy less and dispose of less), but it will also save ink and energy. Who’s to say the next big hit for your company won’t come from an idea on the B-side?

So tell your staff that it’s time to discover the B-Side!” Besides saving money, it will have the office supply store singing “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (a Hank Williams B-side hit).

Source: http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/materials/paper/faqs.htm


When an artist released a single, there were two sides: the A-side, the assumed hit, and the B-side, the filler track(s). And even though the songs mentioned above were found on the B-side, they went from obscurity to stardom.

So how can the B-side help the environment? Well, using the other side of paper can make a huge difference. Especially since the average office worker in the U.S. uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website. 

By using only one side of paper, we are never giving the B-side a chance. And if others had overlooked the other side, it’s possible that we would never have heard “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers or “Don’t Worry Baby” by the Beach Boys on the radio or at all for that matter.

So “B”-fore you use another sheet, get “Into the Groove” (Madonna) and write or print on the B-side. It is not only better for the environment, it will save your company money on both sides of the waste equation (buy less and dispose of less), but it will also save ink and energy. Who’s to say the next big hit for your company won’t come from an idea on the B-side?

So tell your staff that it’s time to discover the B-Side!” Besides saving money, it will have the office supply store singing “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (a Hank Williams B-side hit).

Source: http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/materials/paper/faqs.htm


Green News Roundup- Biogas Powered Data Centers

Green News Roundup – Greenhouse Gases, Biogas-Powered Data Centers & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about greenhouse gases, biogas-powered data centers and more. Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

One Moos and One Hums, but They Could Help Power Google
“Information technology and manure have a symbiotic relationship,” said Chandrakant D. Patel, director of H.P.’s sustainable information technology laboratory. If these words are come as a surprise to you, you’re not the only one! According to this New York Times piece “with the right skills, a dairy farmer can rent out land and power to technology companies and recoup an investment in the waste-to-fuels systems within two years.”
It seems to be the perfect solution for all parties involved, companies need places to build and power their large computing center and “dairy farmers have increasingly been looking to deal with their vast collections of smelly cow waste by turning it into something called biogas.”

If You Build It…
In this piece in the New York Times Green Blog, it’s revealed that actor Kevin Costner “has been overseeing the construction of oil separation machines to prepare for the possibility of another disaster of the magnitude of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.”
Costner is most famous for his acting roles, but he is also an environmental activist and fisherman. He purchased the nascent technology from the government in 1995 and even put $24 million of his own money to develop the technology for the private sector. This week it was revealed that BP’s chief operating officer, Dough Suttles, stated that the company had approved six of Ocean Therapy’s machines for testing. The centrifuge processing technology essentially acts like a giant vacuum, that sucks oil from water, separates it and sends it back into the water 99.9 percent purified.

National Academy of Sciences urges strong action to cut greenhouse gases
This week, the National Academy of Sciences called for big changes in the actions to cut greenhouse gases. They called for “taxes on carbon emissions, a cap-and-trade program for such emissions or some other strong action to curb runaway global warming.”

These actions would increase the cost of using coal and petroleum, but the Academy argues that this is necessary as we continue to battle the negative impacts from climate change. The three reports, totaling more than 860 pages provide some broad outlines for the U.S. to respond to this ever-increasing threat.

EPA: BP Must Use Less Toxic Dispersant
The latest updates on the BP Oil Spill are available on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website. On Thursday, May 20th, the EPA issued a directive requring BP to “identify and use a less toxic and more effective dispersant from the list of EPA authorized dispersants.” Dispersants are a chemical that is used to break up the oil so that the oil beads are more easily degraded.

BP Oil Spill

Green News Roundup – Oil Spill In The Gulf Of Mexico, Eco Style

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about green job growth, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, eco style and more. Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com.

Green Jobs Slowly Ticking Upward
According to the NY Times Green Blog the green economy is growing, albeit slowly. Though green services and businesses accounted for 1 to 2 percent of the private business economy in 2007, there are many signs pointing to the number being on the rise.

Eco Style
Being “green” is becoming quite stylish. Art of Board, a design company based in Hannover, PA, has transformed discarded skateboard materials into a variety of unique design elements including household accessories, wall tiles and more.

BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico
The devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has captured the attention of the nation and the world. The Environmental Protection Agency has set up a special website to track progress and containment of the spill. A 100-ton containment structure will be placed over a blown-out oil well; the plan is to contain the biggest leak with the structure. Visit the site to get the most up-to-date information.

Sopping Up An Oil Slick With Castaway Hair
In order to protect coastlines from the approaching oil slick, containment booms are typically used to sop up the oil. However, an alternative source for the booms is something you probably wouldn’t think of — hair.

60-foot Vessel Sets Sail On an 11,000-mile Voyage
Sure sailing from the San Francisco Bay to Sydney, Australia isn’t that unusual. However, doing so on a boat made from recycled plastic bottles is! The aptly named “Plastiki” set sail on March 20. The goal of the voyage is to “call attention to environmental issues like bottled water and plastic waste.”  Solar panels and windmills power the vessel, and the crew stays in touch via Skype, Twitter, blogs and video updates. Life on a boat made from 12,000 reclaimed plastic bottles isn’t easy, but the crew is determined to finish their journey in a sustainable fashion.

40th Anniversary of Earth Day

40th Anniversary Of Earth Day – Then & Now

As April 22nd draws near, sustainability-minded folks around the world are preparing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the event. It’s hard to imagine that before Senator Gaylord Nelson created the event as a way to “force this issue onto the national agenda” there was no real concentrated efforts to do anything for the environment.

A lot has changed since 1970, when President Richard Nixon and Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency — the Environmental Protection Agency — in response to the growing public demand for increased environmental awareness. Now, sustainability and being “green” is a hot topic across the globe and Earth Day is a worldwide movement.

The Environmental Protection Agency also has evolved greatly since its inception and is doing its part to raise awareness about the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The agency has numerous incentives and programs that you can learn more about on their website www.epa.gov/earthday/. The Pick5 initiative lists simple things you can do to help the environment. Just click on a category, for example “Waste” and a list of tips pop open to show you what you can do to help! An interactive map lets you see what Earth Day activities will be going on in your area and much, much more.

This Earth Day, as we reflect on the history of this worldwide event, lets join together to create a successful future of continued environmental awareness.

Chevy Volt electric car, GM

GM Electrifies Drivers With The Chevrolet Volt

General Motors announced today that its newest vehicle, the rechargeable electric Chevrolet Volt, should get 230 miles per gallon in city driving. Highway mileage estimates have not yet been released.

Although the claims must first be verified by the Environmental Protection Agency, if they are true, they would beat out the current model of green driving, the Toyota Prius.

GM is marketing the Volt as an extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV). Unlike a traditional electric car, where a small electric motor powers the car when it’s moving slowly and the gasoline motor kicks in when the car accelerates, the Volt is a bit different. The Volt’s power comes from a high-voltage battery pack made from lithium-ion technology that is capable of storing enough energy to drive the car up to 40 miles in normal conditions. What to do when your battery is low? Simply plug it in just like you would any other appliance. A full charge takes three or six hours through a 110 or 220-volt wall outlet.

In addition, the Volt will still have a small internal combustion engine to produce electricity when the stored power is low, providing the driver with a total range of 300 miles. Think of this as a generator that kicks in, in the event you drive more than 40 miles. Some areas of the car are still being tested and refined, but the Volt is scheduled for release in late 2010.

The first-generation Volt is expected to cost almost $40,000, but hopefully the price will drop with future models. Alas, as I’ve said before, sometimes being green costs more from the get-go — but the long-term effects are most definitely worth it!

Consumers are much more conscious about the environment and many want to reflect that through the vehicles they drive. If the Volt can live up to its claims, it will be a great step forward and hopefully other automakers will follow suit.

www.chevrolet.com