October 2012 Newsletter
News from the CU Environmental Center, October 2012
Enjoy the monthly update from the CU Environmental Center.
Please let us know if you have ideas, input, feedback or news.nd the Local Food Shift: Transition Colorado, a Boulder-based non-profit dedicated to sustainable food practices, initiated localization efforts through the Local Food Shift campaign.
Sustainability Spotlight: SWEEP and the $20 Billion Bonanza
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. This is a high growth region where energy efficiency efforts have been lagging compared to some other regions, air pollution is a growing concern, and new power plants are planned including some new coal-fired power plants.
SWEEP focused initially on utility energy efficiency policy and programs along with the promotion of combined heat and power systems. Programs on buildings and transportation efficiency were subsequently added. In 2010, SWEEP initiated new programs to improve energy efficiency in the industrial sector, and provide technical assistance to states, counties and cities that received federal stimulus funding for energy efficiency projects. SWEEP collaborates with utilities, state agencies, local governments, environmental groups, universities, private businesses, and other energy specialists.
SWEEP was founded in 2001 by Howard Geller, who previously served as the Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in Washington, DC. Major funding for SWEEP has been generously provided by the Energy Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Edwards Mother Earth Foundation, Colorado Governor's Energy Office, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Anonymous.
On Oct. 9, SWEEP released a study entitles The $20 Billion Bonanza: Best Practice Utility Energy Efficiency Programs and Their Benefits for the Southwest. The report shows that every dollar invested in energy efficiency programs returns more than two dollars in savings on business and household utility bills in the southwest.
"By scaling up energy efficiency programs, utilities serving Colorado can avoid spending nearly seven billion dollars constructing and operating power plants," said Howard Geller, executive director of SWEEP and principal author of the report. "Helping households and businesses save energy is the lowest cost, cleanest and least risky resource available to utilities today. All utilities should implement Best Practice efficiency programs."
These programs would educate Colorado utility customers, offer technical assistance, and provide financial incentives. Geller said that 7,000 new jobs would be created in Colorado by 2020 if all utilities serving the state fully implement such programs and measures.
The report finds that it is feasible to achieve a 22% reduction in electricity consumption by the year 2020 from energy efficiency programs implemented 2010-2020. Reaching the target would save the equivalent of electricity used by 1.3 million typical households in Colorado and require an investment of $4.1 billion. The investment would be split between utilities and their customers and yield a resulting savings on energy purchases along with public health benefits of $8.9 billion-or a net savings of $4.8 billion for the state's ratepayers, the study concluded.
"Beyond the financial return, there are other major benefits of saving energy," said Geller. "One of the biggest is that utilities can retire older, dirtier power plants without compromising their ability to provide safe, dependable power to customers. Closing old plants improves public health by significantly reducing air pollution."
Other benefits he cited if utilities implement Best Practice efficiency programs:
- Avoid or close 7.5 large power plants in the region
- Reduce CO2 emissions from power plants equivalent to taking 1.1 million passenger vehicles off the road by 2020.
- Save 2.5 billion gallons of water per year by 2020 through less power plant operation
The report identifies the most effective utility energy efficiency programs across the country and analyzes the costs and benefits of implementing these programs in the southwestern states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The report includes descriptions of the programs, state-by-state analysis, and a roadmap that policymakers can follow to achieve the 22% energy savings goal and benefits by 2020.
"Policy reform is critical to realizing the $4.8 billion bonanza for Colorado," Geller said.
The report notes that utilities serving Colorado have made considerable progress in helping their customers save electricity. But it also urges further action-from adopting more robust energy savings goals or requirements to rewarding utilities for meeting or exceeding energy efficiency goals.
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project is a public policy organization that promotes greater energy efficiency in the southwest. The $20 Billion Bonanza study is available along with state-by-state findings atwww.20BillionBonanza.com. For more information, visit www.swenergy.org.
10th Annual Bioneers Conference
From Breakdown to Breakthrough: Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature
With the support of sponsors and partner groups, CU Environmental Center, Transition Colorado, Naropa University, Center for Resource Conservation, Restorative Leadership Institute and Woodbine Ecology Center are proud to bring Bioneers to Boulder for its tenth year.
Bioneers is the preeminent gathering of leading scientific innovators and environmental visionaries who offer practical solutions to the most pressing environmental and social issues of our time. Bioneers, in its 23rd year, uniquely and authentically connects the dots between environment, health, social justice and spirit. Bioneers is inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations. Boulder is one of 20 communities in North America with a Bioneers satellite forum. The 10th annual Colorado Bioneers creates community opportunities for sharing, learning and action, and brings together the region's progressive ideas, people and organizations.
The Colorado Bioneers companion event creates community opportunities for sharing, learning and action, and brings together the region's progressive ideas, people and organizations. The event features a broadcast of the national Bioneers plenaries and is locally enriched with: music and arts; networking, children's eco-activities; field trips, and sessions, workshops and keynotes addressing topics of regional importance and community solutions.
The 2012 national plenaries:
Greg Sarris - The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria: Making Home Once Again
Gretchen Daily - Harmonizing People and Nature: A New Business Model
Carol Jenkins - The Public Square is Empty (Aside from the Occasional Hanging)
Mike Brune - emPOWERed
Bill McKibben - The Climate Fight Gets Hotter
Fletcher Harper - Greening our Faiths: From Belief into Action for the Environment and Environmental Justice
Marina Silva - The Challenge of Sustainable Development: New Models
Gabor Maté, MD - Toxic Culture: How Materialistic Society Makes Us Ill
Sandra Steingraber - The Whole Fracking Enchilada
Ai-Jen Poo - A Caring, Sustainable Economy for the 21st Century
Ethan Nadelmann - Drug War, Drug Peace
Nikki Henderson -"Flavas" of a Whole Community: Ingredients for Food Access in Historically Under-Invested Communities
Paul Hawken - Regeneration, plus Brower Youth Awardees on Youth Leadership
Field trips, sessions, workshops and local plenaries will explore topics of regional importance, such as:
Local Food - Indigenous Knowledge - Sustainable Business - Biomimicry - Permaculture - Faith - Education - Climate and Energy - Aging
Communicating Climate Change
CIRES Building Room S274
One or the most visible signs of global climate change is the Arctic's quickly shrinking sea ice cover. While scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) have a long-standing interest in understanding ongoing and projected future changes in the Arctic sea ice cover and their environmental impacts, over the past five years we have taken a prominent role in communicating the science of climate change to the public.
International Coffee Hour with the Environmental Center
University Memorial Center, across from Baby Doe's in the UMC Grill
CU students, scholars, staff, and faculty are
welcome at International Coffee Hour! Please join the Environmental Center for International Coffee Hour this week. International Coffee Hour happens every week except during school holidays and summer. This week's program will introduce the Environmental Center, and highlight SCORE, Bioneers, Transportation and Recycling resources. Call 303-492-8057 or 303-492-8308 for more information.
EJ Discussion Series
This year, CU ASE will be hosting a monthly discussion series which will address some of the many facets of Environmental Justice. Each discussion will use a film clip, interview, article or radio series as a platform for the issue, as well as bring in more background information about how the issue relates to current local, regional, national and global events. Discussions will be informal, and no previous knowledge or academic experience in Environmental Justice is necessary.
All discussions will be held in the UMC 457, Dennis Small Cultural Center, 2:00-3:00
The Story of Away
The environmental community constantly discusses how consumerism impacts the environment; however, the social impacts are rarely brought up. Join us to learn how lifestyles and product choices impact people. Discover ways to chose the best products that have the least impact on the people and the land.
Navajo Generating Station
The energy generation station on Navajo lands in southern Colorado has dramatically impacted the people and the land. Come to learn about this area of our state and how we can contribute to the preservation of the culture and its home.
Ski Bus Tickets Available Now
The CU Ski Bus is a travel service for University of Colorado at Boulder students, faculty and staff. Tickets will only be available online on this website once tickets go on sale. There are a limited number of tickets available for each trip, and trips will often sell out far in advance. There will also be standby tickets available for purchase on the morning of each trip (even sold-out trips!)
Sustainable Practices Program
The Sustainable Practice Program offers individual classes and a Professional Certificate for people who are interested in sustainability training. Whether seeking to test the waters, additional training to supplement your skills, or a professional certificate, the Sustainability Practices Program can help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to make a difference in your personal life, your organization or your community.
The following courses are the latest and greatest in the Sustainable Practices Program:
ECSP 800: Zero Waste, Recycling and Waste Management
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Zero Waste is one of the fastest, cheapest and most effective strategies to protect our climate. But recycling gets too little credence in most sustainability plans. We'll explore how Zero Waste is more than just an empty trash can, how it underpins a new 21st century model of resource management, and why it should be the starting point for any sustainability plan. This course will cover the heart of Zero Waste-what is it, what are the benefits, who has adopted it and where it is working, and how a community or business can get there. We will provide a roadmap of the policies, programs and infrastructure necessary to build a Zero Waste community in ten years, and we'll also explore the roles of government officials and staff, business entrepreneurs and active, concerned citizens in driving community change.
ECSP 470: Creative Financing of Sustainability Initiatives
9 AM - 5:00 PM
Funding conservation and energy projects is challenging for most organizations. This course will address the issues and provide information on numerous mechanisms to creatively finance your energy efficiency or "green" projects. We will be discussing some common barriers to financing projects, methods for framing the discussions with accountants and CFOs, and common points to consider while negotiating the terms of the agreements. Students will leave with several applicable tools for finding and securing financing for their organizations and seeing them through completion. Format will be lecture/discussion with supplemental information provided by guest experts in specific areas. Topics include: Lifecycle costing, Performance Contracting, Power Purchase Agreements, Capital and Equipment Leasing, Financing, and utility, local, and federal incentives.
ECSP 400: Sustainable Business Practices
November 5 through December 4
This course will teach the fundamentals of business sustainability, including understanding basic sustainability terminology and frameworks.Students will also learn about the historical background and evolution of sustainability in business. Students will gain insight on the various areas that affect sustainability in business and learn practical examples of companies that have been successful implementing sustainability in their organizations. In order to be successful at implementation of sustainability, students will learn the components of building a business case along with understanding current consumer market and trends. An overview of sustainability claims, certifications and eco-labels will also be addressed. Students will be provided some key resources and tools for future use in their organizations.
ECSP 310: Understanding US Energy Landscape
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
The course begins with an examination traditional energy and how it evolved. We follow with an introduction to the leading modern sources of renewable energy. We will explore both types of energy from a regional, national and global perspective and discuss their strengths and weaknesses, economics, and current and emerging markets. We will consider national security, environmental, and job impacts, as well as governmental/policy incentives and disincentives around traditional energy and renewable energy.
We will explore how the landscape of energy is dramatically changing. The course will provide students with the tools and context to make informed decisions around traditional and renewable energy at the residential, business, local, and national levels.
To register for these courses and many more, visit http://sustainable.colorado.edu/.
"Place-based Education: Test Scores and Beyond Test Scores" with David Sobel
Professor and author David Sobel will speak on the topic of place-based education at the University of Colorado Boulder on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Eaton Humanities building, room 1B50. The event is free and open to the public, and a book signing and reception will follow.
"Place-based Education: Test Scores and Beyond Test Scores," will illustrate the benefits and implementation of "place-based education," an experiential approach to grade school academics rooted in local spaces and events. The educational method incorporates the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature and art of students' own community, town, neighborhood or schoolyard into daily lessons and projects.
"Through his leadership as an educator and through a series of books and articles, David Sobel has defined place-based education for our generation," says Professor Louise Chawla of the CU-Boulder's environmental design program. "[Sobel's] research shows that if we want an effective educational reform movement that excites and energizes students, in addition to raising their levels of achievement, place-based education deserves our most serious attention."
Sobel consults and presents across the nation, offering insight into child development and place-based education within schools, environmental organizations and the National Park Service. He and other proponents of place-based education believe that traditional grade-school education causes students to lose their "sense of place" by focusing too heavily or immediately on widespread national and global issues.
Place-based education encourages hands-on, project-based teaching methods that establish students' local communities as primary resources for learning and connects classrooms and communities through collective learning and problem solving. The approach also focuses on the environment and play-based, experiential learning as a crucial educational resource for children. Thus, students who learn through place-based education may explore national and global issues via community projects that require engagement with locals or the environment for the benefit of the community as a whole.
"All those free play experiences in the natural world - building forts and picking your own paths in the woods - are the basis for environmental values and behaviors in adulthood," Sobel says.
"If we don't have kids out doing that stuff, we are ensuring they will not be environmentally responsible when they get older."
Sobel is senior faculty in the Education Department at Antioch University New England in Keene, N.H. He has authored seven books and more than 60 articles for educators, parents, environmentalists and school administrators. After the presentation, Sobel will sign copies of his book, Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities.
The event is co-sponsored by CU-Boulder's School of Education; CU-Boulder's Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design; the CU Environmental Center; and Thorne Nature Experience. For more information visit http://ecenter.colorado.edu.
Green Office Program Recruiting
The CU Green Office Program is recruiting Department Eco-Leaders from all departments to help offices learn about sustainability and get certified!
CU-Boulder is pleased offer a campus sustainability program for faculty and staff. The educational program integrates many of CU's campus sustainability initiatives, including transportation, purchasing, recycling, and energy. The program has environmental and financial impacts with very little time commitment. The faculty/ staff campus sustainability program is coordinated by the CU Environmental Center and has two components: Department Eco-Leaders (Individuals) and the Green Office Certification (Departments).
Following completion of the 5 steps to certification, the scores from your self-assessment will be posted on the Environmental Center Website under the Green Office Program section. Certified offices and departments receive recognition on an annual press release and a certificate at the annual campus environmental awards ceremony. The Green Office logo will be available for posting on any appropriate printed materials and website.
Certified offices include:
Accounting & Business Services
Arts and Sciences (accounting)
Assistant VP UMS
Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences
Athletic Business Affairs
Baker Environ Res Academic program
Campus Energy Conservation
Center for the American West
Center for Multicultural Affairs
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Chemistry & Biochemistry
College of Arts & Sciences
College of Architecture and Planning
College of Music
Continuing Education - International English Center
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
CU Book Store
CU Conference Services
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Engineering and Applied Science
Environmental Health and Safety
Farrand Academic Program
Facilities Management Business Services
French and Italian
Herbst Academic Center
Housing & Dining Services
Humanities and the Arts, Center for
Human Resources -Employment Services
Institute for Behavior Genetics
Institute for Behavior Science
International Student & Scholar Services and Study Abroad Office
Kittridge Honors Program
Leeds Undergrad Student Services Office
Molecullar, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Office of International Education (OIE)
Office of the Registrar
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Parking and Transportation Services
Spanish & Portuguese
Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Student Legal Services
Student Organizations Finance Office
Technology Transfer Office
Transportation Services University Libraries
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Volunteer Resource Center
Wise Law Library
Women's Resource Center
Wardenburg Health Center
Bright Idea about Sustainability? Get Funded!
Join an idea revolution by applying for a Sustainable CU grant.
Sustainable CU is an Environmental Center grant fund promoting innovative, student-led sustainability projects on the CU campus. For the 2012-2013 school year,
Sustainable CU will offer support for small projects (up to $2500) and large-scale capital projects (amounts greater than $2500) through two separate applications. The program pays for infrastructure, contractor fees, consumables, equipment rentals, and similar expenses, but does not provide stipends to applicants. In previous years, we've supported projects ranging from the expansion of community gardens in Family Housing to the installation of solar panels on a roving biodiesel plant designed and managed by CU students.
Small-project deadlines are the first Monday of each month, beginning October 1st, 2012 and ending March 4th, 2013. Large projects are accepted twice yearly; the deadlines are November 5th, 2012 and February 4th, 2013. Approximately $175,000 is available for disbursement. Applications are available at ecenter.colorado.edu/greening-cu/sustainable-cu.
Ralphie's Green Stampede: Call for Volunteers
Ralphie needs your help to ensure that CU football games remain zero-waste events. If you would like to work as a zero-waste goalie and help compost after the game, join us! Volunteers for Ralphie's Green Stampede receive free game day tickets and a t-shirt.
Fun facts about Ralphie's Green Stampede:
* Virtually all public food and beverage services in Folsom Field have converted to recyclable or compostable materials and containers. Virtually all packaging within the stadium is refillable, recyclable or compostable. Campus officials have adopted campus-wide goals of recycling or composting at least 90 percent of all materials by 2020, and zero-waste goalies already divert 72-88% of waste from football games!
* There are no public trash containers -- only recycle and compost containers -- throughout the public areas of Folsom Field. Plant-based compostable bags are used to collect compostable materials.
* Recyclables and compostables are collected each week at about 25 zero-waste stations inside and around the stadium. Student volunteers monitor the stations and advise patrons of proper materials separation steps. ROTC units conduct recycling and compost removal during stadium cleanup.
* Any non-recyclable or non-compostable materials that are brought into Folsom Field by fans are deposited in the stadium's recycle containers and sorted post-game at the recycling processing facility on campus.
* The Folsom Field zero-waste and recycling efforts could reduce as much as 455 million BTU of energy, equivalent to the total yearly energy use of four U.S. households, according to the EPA, providing beneficial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions for all Coloradans.
* The Folsom Field zero-waste program is expected to be low cost initially and to save costs over time as price differences ease between compostable materials and disposables. Cost savings will result from reduced trash disposal costs.
* CU is a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment that commits the campus to an aggressive plan to eliminate carbon emissions from the campus in the coming decades. An interim goal of a 20 percent reduction in total greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2020 is currently being pursued. CU's most recent GHG inventory showed that emissions had essentially flattened since 2005.
* CU is supportive of Gov. Ritter's climate action plan that targets a 20 percent reduction by 2020 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050 in carbon emissions. The reductions by CU Athletics are another step along CU-Boulder's path toward carbon neutrality.
Tree Campus USA
Last week, CU hosted a tree planting event to promote and increase its commitment to building a healthy urban forest by planting trees on its campus. The event included the planting of 35 trees on campus with the help of students, faculty, staff and community volunteers.
The event proceeded without a hitch on the Sunny autumn morning. Students, Environmental Center staff and volunteers joined forces to add 35 gambel oak saplings to CU's diverse collection of trees.
The event was a component of the Tree Campus USA program, which is funded by Toyota and administered by the non-profit Arbor Day Foundation. A tree-planting celebration, hosted by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota in collaboration with AASHE, commemorated achievement.
"CU has worked towards carbon neutrality as a part of its sustainability mission for decades, and the three student-run buildings on campus - the UMC, Wardenburg Health Center and the Student Rec Center - achieved carbon neutrality earlier this year," said Natasha Goss, a CU student and chair of the campus environmental board. "An important part of that mission is caring for the trees and other plants on our beautiful, historic campus. We want CU to be even more beautiful in decades to come and are delighted to partner with the Arbor Day Foundation in working to achieve that goal."
Tree Campus USA recognizes the best practices in campus forestry throughout the United States. The goal of the program is to honor college campuses and leaders of their surrounding communities for promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship.