1. Bike Share Programs Roll Out

    Today’s college students don’t want the hassle of bike maintenance or the annoyance of a stolen bicycle on a rainy day. At the same time, university sustainability managers want to encourage students to commute to their classes without using a car.The answer?
  2. Portland's Bridge to the Future

    At first glance, the Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People spanning the Willamette River in Portland, Ore., looks like any other cable-stayed bridge in any other river city. But take a closer look and you might notice something different.Traversing this new bridge, which opened on Sept. 12, are light rail trains, streetcars, buses, people on bicycles and pedestrians. But, you won’t see a single private car or truck – because, on this bridge, they aren’t allowed.
  3. Solar Interest Remains High Despite Legislative Freeze

    Ohio farmers, businesses and others remain interested in solar energy, despite the impact of a legislative freeze in the state’s renewable portfolio standard.Ohio added 15 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity last year, according to a report released by Environment Ohio on Sept. 3. Ohio ranked 20th among all states and the District of Columbia for capacity installations in 2014.
  4. New Software Tool Improves Water Quality, Reduces Consumption

    FORT COLLINS, Colo. - With drought intensifying across western North America and a changing climate that means less water for growing populations, companies, organizations and communities are increasingly facing risks and uncertainties for their water resources.A team of five Fort Collins companies led by sustainability engineering and planning firm Brendle Group has spearheaded the groundbreaking Net Zero Water (NZW) Initiative and launched a first-of-its-kind building scale software toolkit to achieve water neutrality.
  5. Growing Sustainable Communities Conference Slated Oct. 6-7

    DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Organizers of the 8th annual Growing Sustainable Communities Conference in Dubuque on Oct. 6-7 have announced this year's programming line up.The event, presented by the City of Dubuque and Sustainable City Network, is described as two days of education, inspiration and collaboration on topics of interest to anyone who cares about the convergence of economic prosperity, ecological integrity and social/cultural vibrancy in community design and development.
  6. Striking a Balance: Urban Growth and Habitat Preservation

    More than 50 percent of Americans live in major towns and cities, and according to the World Health Organization, the majority of humans will be living in urban areas by 2017.As these communities continue to build into surrounding habitat, conservationists are concerned that nature will eventually strike back, whether through forest fires, flooding or other natural disasters.
  7. Gentrification Without Losing the Neighborhood

    Have you heard of “the Whole Foods effect?”In the real estate world it’s considered a phenomena whereby the arrival of a Whole Foods, an upscale grocery store featuring organic produce and products, can predict a neighborhood’s gentrification. The event supposedly signals a tipping point, leading to rising property values in the neighborhood and the addition of similarly upscale stores, boutiques and retail outlets nearby.
  8. Sustainable Procurement – More Than Buying Green

    Incorporating sustainable procurement policies at public and private institutions has been a growing trend in recent years. But while some organizations still define the practice strictly in ecologic terms, many are now incorporating the other two fundamental aspects of sustainability — economic viability and social equity — into their buying decisions.So, rather than simply purchasing "green" products that benefit the environment, proponents of sustainable procurement are increasingly shifting their business to environmentally friendly suppliers that also happen to treat their employees and subcontractors ethically.
  9. Forecasting the Next Pandemic

    Scientists believe they may soon be able to fight emerging diseases before they have a chance to spread into global pandemics. By merging big data with artificial intelligence, a recent study showed "machine learning" could pinpoint rodent species that harbor diseases and identify the geographic hotspots most vulnerable to new parasites and pathogens.The study, led by Barbara A. Han, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  10. Reusing Historic Buildings

    To some, the term “historic preservation” summons an image of old-timers sitting around a dusty museum basement, trying to find a way to save drafty old houses that remind everyone of the good ol’ days.In reality, “historic preservation” means finding ways to both honor the heritage of a place, and capitalize on its existing resources in order to revitalize a community.
  11. Hotel or Home-Share: Which is Greener?

    Long before there were hotels, there was room-sharing. Room- or home-sharing is the simple concept of renting out a space in your home to a stranger for a short period at a fixed price.It was a common practice in early America, when almost every community had a boarding house or home with a "room to let."
  12. Green Dorm Rooms Get Students on the Right Path

    As universities and colleges work to become more sustainable, administrators are looking for ways to educate – and encourage – their students to adopt “greener” lifestyles. Consider the thousands (upon thousands) of students on each campus across North America, and the impact of students adopting a more sustainable lifestyle is quite significant.Through environmental education and outreach, there is an “opportunity to facilitate generations of students in learning to lead sustainable lifestyles not only on campus, but for decades to come in their future communities,” said Jocelyn Breeland, communications director for Residential and Dining Enterprises at Stanford University.
  13. Power Up Anywhere with Solar Charging Stations

    Joe Kobus was on his way back from a Colorado whitewater rafting trip about a decade ago when he got the idea for his company, EnerFusion Inc. Flying standby, he ended up waiting in the Denver airport for the better part of a day and in search of a convenient, free way to charge his laptop.An engineer by trade, Kobus started thinking about solutions to his charging challenge. Today, his growing company employs more than a dozen people with the goal of ensuring fewer people find themselves stranded without outlets to charge their cell phones, computers, tablets and other electronics.
  14. Dubuque Comes Back in a Big Way

    In the 1980s, Dubuque, Iowa, was down and out, or so it seemed. The farm crisis that had swept across America’s grain belt hit Dubuque’s agriculture-based economy especially hard – at one time bringing the city’s unemployment rate to a nation-high 23 percent. Its Mississippi riverfront, arguably the community’s most precious asset, was a tangled mess of scrap yards, rusty oil tanks, shuttered factories and dilapidated warehouses.By the end of the decade, thousands of people (nearly 8 percent of its population) had left the city for greener pastures and, adding symbolic insult to injury, even the “little old lady from Dubuque” had passed on.
  15. Reducing Waste in the Operating Room

    Of all the waste a hospital generates, as much as 20 to 30 percent comes directly from the operating room.Surgical procedures sometimes result in hospitals discarding tools that have been opened but never used. What’s more, disposing of operating room waste isn’t a simple matter of throwing it in a dumpster bound for the landfill; state and federal laws require some materials to get special treatment that can cost 10 to 15 times as much as ordinary waste disposal.
  16. Get Low-Tech Efficiency with 'Passive House'

    Passive house is a construction concept that aims to create energy efficient, ecological, comfortable and affordable housing – basically a modern home using a minimal amount of energy. Rather than gaining energy efficiency through high-tech systems, passive houses rely on thicker insulation, high-performance windows and air-tight construction.For decades, the passive house concept has been written off as too risky, too complicated, too expensive and downright goofy. But with cities like New York City, releasing ambitious green initiatives that aim to reduce carbon emissions significantly by 2050, passive house is gaining traction as a pathway to net zero housing.
  17. Campus Farms Sustain Growth in Local Foods

    The local food movement has grown in recent years, and no less so than on college campuses, with community gardens and campus farms proliferating at schools of all sizes.College campus gardens are so mainstream that there are published rankings naming the best ones in publications like Best College Reviews and Modern Farmer. The schools themselves, keen for well-rounded students and aware of the competitive landscape of the college selection process, use their gardens and farms as recruitment tools not only for aspiring farmers, but also for those who care about sustainable food systems or volunteering in their spare time.
  18. Tallahassee Reports on 85 Sustainability Initiatives

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Last year was a banner year for the Tallahassee Department of Environmental Policy and Energy Resources. In the seventh edition of its Green Initiatives Annual Report, released last week, city officials touted their progress on more than 85 sustainability initiatives in 2014. Many have been financed in part by more than $1.29 million acquired in recent years from federal and state grants.“Sustainability is part of the culture of every department within the city, which can be seen through the breadth and scope of the initiatives in this report,” said EPER Director Cynthia Barber.
  19. Public Health + Urban Planning = Quality of Life

    That lifestyle and social behavior directly affect health is a widely accepted fact. Not only do poor nutrition and fitness choices account for nearly half of early deaths, but health also can be strongly influenced by the community in which an individual lives.In communities where people can easily walk and bike to work, school, stores, parks and restaurants, for example, an average of nearly a half hour per week is added to one’s lifespan. Sadly, communities without such amenities as parks and active lifestyle programs are often the poorest.
  20. Public Input and Careful Planning Aid TOD

    Residents of Denver’s West Colfax neighborhood can hop on the new W Line light rail extension and arrive at the city’s dazzling Union Station in less than 15 minutes - without the hassle (or expense) of parking. They don’t even have to leave the station if they don’t want to.There are stores to buy a book or flowers, eat some oysters or ice cream, or have a drink or two, because Union Station - which was once an abandoned rail yard - now serves not only as a transportation hub, but also a commercial one, right in the middle of downtown Denver. Visitors can even spend the night in a quality hotel on site.
  21. Rethinking 'Invasive' Species

    It’s generally accepted that invasive plants and animals are bad for biodiversity and should be eradicated. Many individuals, organizations and municipal leaders have enlisted in the battle against these non-native species - plants in particular.Millions of dollars, not to mention hours, are spent yanking, cutting or applying herbicides to certain species, while simultaneously nurturing others. However, without an understanding of their repercussions, these efforts can do more harm than good. Some experts in urban ecology warn that labeling plants as native or non-native, bad or good, and allowing those labels to direct policy, could be the wrong approach.
  22. Neighborhood Bars Provide a Sense of Community

    The neighborhood pub, a popular drinking establishment with reasonably priced cold beer that appeals to both millennials and retirees, is on the verge of a rebirth in many North American cities.It’s coming back as millennials ditch their cars and demand amenities of urban life that include shopping, restaurants and bars within walking distance of their high-density homes.
  23. Workplace Recycling Gets Boost from 'Little Trash'

    STAMFORD, Conn. -- Providing employees with a desk-side recycling bin and a smaller trash bin attached to it can serve as a success model for increasing recycling and reducing waste in the workplace.This recommendation, referred to as the “Little Trash” scenario, is one key insight coming out of a workplace recycling study released this week by Keep America Beautiful.
  24. California Agency Tests Water Recycling

    California’s drought is getting worse, prompting a new willingness across the state to try solutions that go beyond water rationing and desalinating ocean water.The prospect of recycling wastewater into potable, drinking quality water has raised some eyebrows among customers of the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, in San Diego’s east county, which is why education was a key component of the test facility’s launch on April 10.
  25. Students Learn Sustainability Through Life in 'The Domes'

    For more than 30 years, small groups of University of California-Davis students have had a unique student housing option – 14 small, igloo-like domes set on a 4-acre plot.What started out as an experience in energy conservation and an alternative to traditional housing continues to be a popular and affordable option for 26 students looking for a tight-knit community within a campus of more than 35,000 undergraduates. The Baggins End Innovative Housing community, commonly referred to as The Domes, is located on the UC Davis campus.
  26. Energy Audits Cut Costs and Reduce Emissions

    Tax season might not be the best time to talk about audits, but this kind of audit could save institutions a lot of money and help them reach their emission reduction goals, too.Experts say not enough building owners are taking advantage of energy audits.
  27. Solar Panels Keep Paying for Themselves

    Solar power’s fan base is growing.As the solar power industry continues to grow and develop, early adopters agree that installing the panels was a great decision, whether on top of a private home, university building or city aquarium.
  28. A Little Wastewater Change Produces a Lot of Savings

    Communities frequently begin energy efficiency projects with lighting or mechanical system upgrades in public buildings, or by looking at the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. However, one of the largest energy consuming operations in most cities is often a missed opportunity:Drinking water and wastewater treatment systems.
  29. Should Schools be 'Embedded' in Neighborhoods?

    When school facility planners determine where and how to place a new school building, they have at least two sets of factors to consider.One deals with the various state requirements for school building layout, athletic facility sizes and adequate parking. The other factors include whether it is possible to embed a new school into a neighborhood, creating a school that kids are able to walk to and that is able to serve the whole community.
  30. Crowdsourcing Connects the Dots

    Townhall meetings and public forums are as old as democracy itself, but the platforms and tools used to interact and engage with stakeholders today make that process more accessible than ever for civic institutions and the people they serve.Crowdsourcing, a term normally used to describe Silicon Valley start-ups and national advertising campaigns, is gaining ground as a viable method of public dialogue in both rural and urban communities. Crowdsourcing platforms, which range from public works phone apps to Facebook groups, make it easier than ever to report a pothole nuisance on a morning commute or give feedback on a proposed bike path in a neighborhood.
  31. Marin County Partners Launch App to Track Sustainability

    SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- A partnership of 16 jurisdictions in Marin County has launched a new interactive sustainability tracker illustrating progress being made by local governing bodies, residents and businesses toward reducing emissions and increasing sustainable practices.The Marin Sustainability Tracker includes 12 metrics gauging a community’s level of consumption and implementation of sustainability measures related to energy, waste, transportation, water and greenhouse gas reductions.
  32. How Parks Can Guide Regional Development

    Planned and designed properly, green infrastructure in municipal parks can spark and strategically guide urban growth, bring substantial benefits – including public health and community cohesion – and deliver higher quality environmental conditions.At a regional scale, green infrastructure is a tool to help manage growth, directing what might otherwise become costly and resource consumptive sprawl to positive, popularly-supported community development.
  33. Older Volunteer Workers a Boom, not a Bust

    Many communities across the country face the same sort of human service problems. Too many people with needs for things like better education and access to health care, but not enough resources to make those things happen.At the same time, a less visible set of needs surrounds skilled older adults, who are retired or have time to contribute but don’t know how to connect with individuals or organizations needing their help.
  34. College Rivalries Grow into Recycling Competition

    From beer cans crushed and tossed during tailgating to apple cores and potato skins thrown away in the cafeterias, university students create a lot of trash. But a national competition – RecycleMania – is working to increase recycling and composting on college campuses.The success of RecycleMania, now in its 15th year, hinges on the cooperation among the student bodies, the custodial staff and university facility managers at participating institutions.
  35. Winter Bike Commuting Racks Up Miles

    Biking is not just for summer commuting. As bicyclists – and the cities they live in – are discovering, getting around on two wheels works when there’s snow on the ground too.It just takes a little planning.
  36. Rails-to-Trails Project Spurs Local Economy

    When a community looks for economic and community development opportunities, the answer often lies in their own history.Many communities are using recreational opportunities as major placemaking initiatives and a focus on history and natural heritage has been at the forefront of those decisions.
  37. Biomass Project Provides Economic, Environmental Benefits

    Perseverance was the key for Sullivan County’s District Energy biomass project, but officials said it was more than worth the wait since the benefits have been immediate.Sullivan County, N.H. was interested in utilizing biomass for quite some time in order to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and carbon emissions.
  38. Concrete Ideas for Reducing Concrete Waste

    Civil engineering researchers, sustainable construction advocates and innovators in the zero-waste movement are on the hunt for the most effective and efficient ways to use and reuse concrete.The world is literally covered in concrete and with an annual production of 3 tons per person globally it is the second most consumed material on earth, after water. Its strength and durability are coveted by construction crews from New Zealand to Zimbabwe.
  39. Groups See Results from Process Improvement

    If you’ve ever wondered whether your work group could be more efficient, provide better customer service, produce a higher quality product, cut costs or generate more revenue, perhaps the place to start is an honest evaluation of the core processes that make your organization tick.Process improvement initiatives began years ago with private corporations in the manufacturing sector, such as Ford, Toyota and Bell Lab.

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