Tag Archives: EPA

Navajo Settlement

Tribal lands in Arizona get $19.5M for improvements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $19.5 million in funding to invest in Arizona tribes for environmental programs, water infrastructure development, community education and capacity building.  The announcement was made at the 22nd Annual Regional Tribal Conference in Sacramento, Calif.

“The federal government is committed to protecting human health and the environment in Indian Country,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This funding will help conserve precious water resources, create jobs, and improve the quality of life on tribal lands.”

This year, Arizona tribes will use $16.8 million for a wide variety of water quality projects including watershed protection and restoration, water and energy efficiency, wastewater reclamation, and treatment systems.  The funds also support drinking water infrastructure, plant operator training, and technical assistance.

This year Ariz. tribes will an additional $2.7 million to continue tribal environmental programs, cleanup open dumps, conduct small construction projects, targeted community outreach, and community education – the cornerstone of tribal environmental programs.

For example, this year, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona will develop a community education video on appropriate solid waste management and the Gila River Indian Community will clean up five illegal dumpsites on tribal lands, as well as to install educational and deterrent signage at areas frequently abused by dumpers.

These funds are critical in building the capacity of tribes to carry out environmental work.  Because most tribes in the Pacific Southwest have small governments, one goal of the funding is to assist tribes in developing their ability to establish environmental protection programs and make informed decisions about issues that impact the health of their people and the quality of their environment.  The funds are used to develop environmental and public health ordinances, and coordinate with adjacent jurisdictions.

The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region is home to 148 tribal nations with half of Indian Country nationwide concentrated in three states; Indian Country in California, Arizona and Nevada is about equal to area of the six New England states combined.

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).

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.

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.

Meritage Homes

Meritage Homes earns Energy Star Honor

Meritage Homes earns Energy Star Honor

Meritage Homes has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year — Sustained Excellence Award. The award recognizes ongoing leadership across the Energy Star program, including energy-efficient products, services, new homes, and buildings in the commercial, industrial, and public sectors.

An innovator in production homebuilding, Meritage was recognized for its continued leadership in protecting the environment. Meritage received the EPA’s 2012 Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award, the 2011 Energy Star Builder of the Year award and the 2010 Department of Energy’s Building America Partner award. Meritage’s accomplishments in earning these awards include being the first 100% Energy Star production builder; offering the first fully EPA-certified home for Energy Star, Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense; and the first Net Zero Energy production builder in the U.S.

“Meritage has redefined the way homes can and should be built, setting a new standard in production homebuilding,” said Steve Hilton, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Through our work with customers, engineers and Energy Star, we’ve continually advanced our initiatives by giving specific consideration to all features, systems, materials and construction methods to bring homeowners unparalleled energy efficiency and both short- and long-term savings.”

With a variety of homes across the southern and western states, Meritage Homes integrates advanced technologies into their design and building from the ground up. Together, these technologies can save homeowners, on average, 50 percent on their home energy use, compared to standard homes. With optional upgrades, Meritage offers cost effective Net Zero Energy throughout its markets. In 2012, with more than 4,000 home sale closings, the company reduced homeowners’ utility bills by more than $3.5 million every year. These homes eliminate nearly 30 million kWh of electrical demand every year — the equivalent of a 60 watt light bulb being lit for 57,000 years or the emissions from over 4,000 cars.

“EPA is recognizing Meritage Homes for earning EPA’s highest Energy Star award – the 2013 Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award,” said Bob Perciasepe, acting administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Meritage leads the field with their commitment to energy efficiency and demonstrates how all Americans can save energy, save money, and create a healthier environment.”

With every home it builds, the company is focused on creating value and improving family lifestyles through dozens of features that work  together to provide improved home function. The results are homes that are quieter, cleaner, healthier, and have reduced pollution, allergens and dust in the indoor air. The energy-efficient features save money without sacrificing lifestyle or compromising design.

Meritage Homes is the only large national homebuilder to earn the EPA’s Energy Star seal of approval on every home it has built since 2009. These homes meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the EPA and be at least 20 percent more energy-efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC). A third-party certified home energy rater must perform an independent audit and verification to ensure that a home meets Energy Star guidelines.

Meritage will be honored at an awards ceremony on March 26 in Washington, D.C., with other award winners selected from the nearly 20,000 organizations that participate in the Energy Star program.

145162589

EPA rule puts Arizona plants on track to upgrade

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had outlined a final plan for upgrades at three Arizona coal-fired power plants.

The agency on Friday followed through with a proposal to partially reject Arizona’s air quality plan. It came up with one of its own to control nitrogen oxide emissions that impair visibility at 18 national parks and wilderness areas.

Instead of low nitrogen-oxide burners, the EPA says the Cholla, Coronado and Apache generating stations must install selective catalytic reduction technology that will keep 22,700 tons of nitrogen oxide per year out of the air.

The state Department of Environmental Quality was quick to denounce the EPA’s decision, saying Arizona has a right to control pollutants within its borders. The department says visibility improvements from more than $500 million in upgrades will be imperceptible.

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.

Cut Energy Cost With Energy Star Program, Other Upgrades

Cut Energy Costs With Energy Star Program, Other Upgrades

In an economy where every dollar counts, mortgage payments are not the only major bills on the minds of homeowners. Utility expenses also take a painful bite out of the household budget. For now, the solution to cutting energy cost is right inside the home.

The Energy Star program, created in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, suggests some tips that should be adopted by the homeowner looking to cut excessive energy usage. In addition to these tips, homeowners can also make use of some common sense upgrades that have proven to work well.

Change your air filter

The Energy Star program recommends changing your air filter regularly — at least once every three months. Air filters block dust, mold and other airborne particles from entering the home through the duct. When the air filters are clogged and filthy, your HVAC system will be forced to work a lot harder than it’s suppose to, which would then increase your energy cost.

While you are at it, you might want to tune up parts of your HVAC system to enhance performance. Doing this once or twice a year is good enough. An expert should be called to help unless you know everything about your system. To ensure your system is up to par, look for and fix loose electrical connections, apply lubricants to squeaky moving parts, and remove trapped dirt in the blower compartment. Fine-tuning your HVAC system makes a significant difference, but that’s not all.

Properly seal your ducts

The Energy Star program also recommends seeing to it that your ducts are always properly sealed. Ducts act as tunnels through which the warm or cold air travels to reach your rooms. They are known to be energy wasters when in bad shape. You can improve energy efficiency by as much as 20 percent if you fix your defective ducts. One simple way to test them is to find out if there are rooms in your home with vents in them that just don’t get warm or cold enough compared to other rooms. If that’s your situation, it’s likely you have defective ducts that need repair.

Replace incandescent light bulbs

You can top up Energy Star’s recommendations by simply adding some common sense energy-saver tips that have also proven to be very effective. One of them is simply replacing incandescent light bulbs in your home with energy-saver bulbs. This effort not only saves you money, but it also helps the environment. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a not-for-profit science organization, reported that if every U.S. household replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an energy saver bulb, it would help prevent 90 billions pounds of harmful gas emissions from power plants (coal and the like).

Energy-saver bulbs are often priced slightly higher than regular bulbs in stores, but the difference can quickly be recouped within one- to two-months’ use. If you happen to go shopping for a couple of them, look out for bulbs with the Energy Star logo.

Upgrade old home appliances

Upgrading your old home appliances to newer versions can also seriously help cut costs. If you’ve been to retail stores that carry appliances, you may have noticed most of them are decorated with energy-saving stickers. The most popular one is that of Energy Star. Some appliances like the wall-mountable AC’s are also equipped with programmable features that can be set to conserve energy while in use. The prices of appliances continue to fall most likely due to competition from various brands. This might be the right time to start replacing your old, energy-guzzling home appliances.

Insulate your walls

Lastly, unless you have already done so, insulating the walls of your home is one smart way of reducing energy cost. For those who are building new homes from the scratch, it’s highly recommended that you add wall insulation from the outset. One other factor that forces your HVAC system to work a bit harder is when hot or cold air leaks in and out of your walls. Besides, if you are thinking of placing your home on the market, full-home insulation is one of several positives for pitching your home value. Maybe your current budget is not good enough for a full home insulation. You can still do a little bit by looking for areas in the house that are not usually covered with dry wall, such as the attic, basement and garage. By simply applying spray foam or rolled fiberglass to relevant areas, you will notice some difference in heating behavior at home. If you are not the handy type in remodeling, utilize the services of an expert.

Try implementing these energy saving tips mentioned, then sit back and watch your energy bill go down. Moreover, you would also be contributing to the reduction of harmful gas emissions into the atmosphere.

For more information about the Energy Star program, visit energystar.gov.

algae-sourced omega-3s

AlgaeBio Hails Endorsement Of Algae-Sourced Omega-3s

The YOU Docs, an influential duo consisting of Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen, have endorsed algae-sourced omega-3 fatty acids in their syndicated newspaper column in recent months. It’s a recommendation that Dr. Mark Edwards, vice president of corporate development and marketing at Algae Biosciences Incorporated, has greeted with enthusiasm.

AlgaeBio will soon begin commercial production of its ultra-pure omega-3 fatty acid oils, sourced from marine algae and grown in abundant Arizona sunlight, at its production facilities in the high desert plains near Holbrook.

“The YOU Docs reflect the substantial recent medical research supporting the critical antioxidants found in omega-3 fatty acids,” says Dr. Edwards. “And as mainstream doctors recognize and recommend the substantial human and ecological health benefits from algae omega-3s, consumers will begin to shift from fish-based to vegetarian-based omega-3s.”

Dr. Oz, who hosts The Dr. Oz Show on television sets across the United States, is vice-chairman of cardiovascular services at New York-based Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Surgery. Dr. Roizen, meanwhile, is chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

Back in February, the YOU Docs wrote in their column: “We YOU Docs choose algae-based omega-3 supplements . . . we like them because they avoid potential toxins such as mercury and PCBs that can be in fish-derived oils. They also deliver plenty of DHA — one form of omega-3 that readily converts into the other, called EPA.”

Just last week, the YOU Docs supported that stance in another syndicated column on omega-3s, writing: “Missing out on these good fats, also found in salmon, trout, and the fish-free algal oil capsules we prefer, shrinks your brain and boosts dementia risk. . . . You can get DHA from fish oil. But if you don’t like fish oil or are a strict vegetarian, pop what we pop: algal-oil capsules. Algae-based DHA omega-3 supplements get their fats from the same place fish do: microscopic algae.”

AlgaeBio and Global Health Trax of Vista, Calif., have in place a sales and distribution contract that gives GHT exclusive rights to purchase and distribute AlgaeBio’s ultra-pure, omega-3 fatty acid oils to the nutraceutical, food additive, and animal feed markets. AlgaeBio is soon expected to complete a $5-million, first-phase expansion process at its production facilities, and begin large-scale commercial production of its highly regarded algal oils.

The initial output of AlgaeBio’s algal oils — which will be packaged for consumers by GHT as AlgaeBio Omega-3 Origins, and made available in both adult and child dosage — will contain equal parts of the long-chain essential fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) at a blended ratio of 40 per cent.

Dr. Edwards points out that the absence of residual toxins and heavy metals is just one reason to choose algae-sourced omega-3s — there’s also the sustainability issue.

“Fish populations are plummeting globally, and scientific consensus recommends a 50 per cent reduction in the catch of small fish, which are currently the primary source of fish oil,” says Dr. Edwards. “Fish do not synthesize omega-3s. They get their omega-3s from their algae diet. Algal omega-3s enable humans to consume healthier omega-3s while preserving dwindling fish populations.”

For more information on AlgaeBio and Algae-Sourced Omega-3s, visit AlgaeBio’s website at algaebio.com.

Banner Estrella Mtn

Banner Estrella Recognized As An Energy Star Facility By EPA

Banner Estrella Medical Center is the first and only hospital in Maricopa County to be labeled an ENERGY STAR® certified building by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

There are just four hospitals in Arizona and 150 hospitals nationwide have the EPA-certified ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the ENERGY STAR certification, including office buildings, K-12 schools and retail stores.

“We are excited to see that the dedication of our Facilities Department, and our relationship with our utility company, Salt River Project (SRP), has resulted in this honor from the federal government,” said Deb Krmpotic, Chief Executive Officer of Banner Estrella.

The hospital’s Facilities Department worked with SRP over a 12-month period to track key metrics in ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager™, such as energy intensity and costs, water use and carbon emissions, to reach the required benchmarks for the ENERGY STAR label. The benchmarks take into account the number of staffed beds and workers and the types of services offered at the hospital to compare it with like facilities. Commercial buildings that earn the EPA’s ENERGY STAR label must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect.

One of the major contributing factors to achieving this recognition was the energy savings the hospital realized as a result of its participation in the SRP Retrocommissioning Solutions program. This program enhances existing systems through a tuneup, rather than relying on major equipment replacement. SRP collaborated with Banner Estrella’s Facilities Department to evaluate the chiller plant, HVAC fans, air handlers and reheat components and get them back to running in tiptop shape. As a result of the findings, the hospital saved more than $100,000 in energy costs the first year.

“Banner Estrella is a leader in the health care industry when it comes to energy efficiency. We look forward to many more successful projects with Banner Estrella, as well as other Banner Health facilities, in the future. It’s wonderful to see the hospital recognized on a national level,” said Debbie Kimberly, Director of Customer Programs & Marketing at SRP.

Launched in 1992 by the EPA, ENERGY STAR is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks ENERGY STAR’s 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from ENERGY STAR, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 60 kinds of products and more than 1.3 million new homes.

For more information on Banner Estrella Medical Center, visit Banner Estrella’s website at bannerhealth.com.

energy star - recycling symbol

Banner Estrella Medical Center Recognized As An Energy Star Facility By EPA

Banner Estrella Medical Center is the first and only hospital in Maricopa County to be labeled an Energy Star certified building by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Currently, only four hospitals in Arizona and 150 hospitals nationwide have the EPA-certified Energy Star label. Energy Star certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star certification, including office buildings, K-12 schools and retail stores.

“We are excited to see that the dedication of our Facilities Department, and our relationship with our utility company, Salt River Project (SRP), has resulted in this honor from the federal government,” said Deb Krmpotic, Chief Executive Officer of Banner Estrella.

The hospital’s Facilities Department worked with SRP over a 12-month period to track key metrics in Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager™, such as energy intensity and costs, water use and carbon emissions, to reach the required benchmarks for the Energy Star label. The benchmarks take into account the number of staffed beds and workers and the types of services offered at the hospital to compare it with like facilities. Commercial buildings that earn the EPA’s Energy Star label must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect.

One of the major contributing factors to achieving this recognition was the energy savings the hospital realized as a result of its participation in the SRP Retrocommissioning Solutions program. This program enhances existing systems through a tuneup, rather than relying on major equipment replacement. SRP collaborated with Banner Estrella’s Facilities Department to evaluate the chiller plant, HVAC fans, air handlers and reheat components and get them back to running in tiptop shape. As a result of the findings, the hospital saved more than $100,000 in energy costs the first year.

“Banner Estrella is a leader in the health care industry when it comes to energy efficiency. We look forward to many more successful projects with Banner Estrella, as well as other Banner Health facilities, in the future. It’s wonderful to see the hospital recognized on a national level,” said Debbie Kimberly, Director of Customer Programs & Marketing at SRP.

Launched in 1992 by the EPA, Energy Star is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks Energy Star’s 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from Energy Star, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 kinds of products and more than 1.3 million new homes.

For more information on the EPA’s Energy Star Program, visit Energy Star’s website at energystar.gov.

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 Quality

A Better Environment: Improving Air Quality And Our Health

Did you know 13 million deaths could be prevented every year by making our environment healthier? The fact is, public health is intricately connected to our environment regardless of where we live. This link between health and the environment has increasingly become a focal point for the medical community, policymakers and the general public. Some of the foremost factors are air pollution and exposure to pests and chemicals, which can have a significant impact on not only our health but also our quality of life.

The EPA considers indoor air quality one of the top five environmental risks to public health. It is a serious health issue for people who work inside, and furthermore, Americans spend 90 percent of their lives indoors.

Air quality is closely linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of hospitalization in adults, and it can also contribute to asthma and cardiovascular diseases.

Did you know the main reason for school absenteeism is asthma? It accounts for more than 12.8 million missed school days in a single academic year, and every day, nearly 40,000 people miss school or work due to this chronic disease.

The annual cost of asthma is estimated at nearly $18 billion in direct and indirect costs, such as hospitalizations and lost earnings, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation. Household pests also contribute to health problems with German cockroaches and dust mites a key risk factor for asthma development and exacerbation of asthma symptoms.

Green building emphasizes ventilation and non-toxic, low-emitting materials that create healthier and more comfortable living and working environments. The built environment has also recently been recognized as an important potential contributor to reduced levels of physical activity. An important element of sustainable design is the preservation of natural environments that afford a variety of recreation and exercise opportunities. Green buildings also seek to facilitate alternatives to driving, such as bicycling and public transport, which eases local traffic while encouraging personal health and fitness.

An interactive panel of local healthcare experts discuss the impact of the environment on our health at Valley Forward’s Quarterly Luncheon on Tuesday, April 3 at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.

Dawn Gouge, Ph.D., entomologist specialist at University of Arizona, will talk about how public health is affected by pests and pesticides, including the rising bed bug crisis our nation is facing. In addition, Fred Karnas, Ph.D., president and CEO of St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, will spotlight health impacts in relation to the built environment and what constitutes livable, walkable communities. The program will be moderated by Bob England, M.D., director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Join us for this enlightening perspective on how our health is impacted by where we live, work and play — and how we can improve our environment, including improving air quality and reducing exposure to pests and chemicals. Visit valleyforward.org for more information.

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.