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Sustainability In The News

September 19, 2010
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The U.S. Postal Services Releases Sustainability Report

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service recently released its 2009 Sustainability Report in which Postmaster General John E. Potter credited postal employees for the agency''s environmental achievements, according to a press release.

In 2009, U.S. Postal Service employees reduced the amount of municipal solid waste generated by 7 percent compared to the year before and increased the amount of recycled or reused electronics by 73 percent in the same timeframe, the release stated.

Potter said: "Quite simply, we want to be the best — best neighbor, best business partner and the best place to work when it comes to sustainable practices. As the first federal agency to publicly report its greenhouse gas emissions, we''ve established an invaluable baseline to guide us as we work to scale back these emissions by 20 percent by 2020."

The U.S. Postal Service has set aggressive goals to reduce energy use 30 percent by 2015, petroleum fuel use 20 percent by 2015 and greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, the release noted.

According to the release, the agency reduced its total facility and vehicle energy use 9 percent as it increased its alternative fuel use 26 percent in 2009.

The U.S. Postal Service has won more than 75 environmental awards, including 40 White House Closing the Circle awards, 10 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WasteWise Partner of the Year awards, the Climate Action Champion award, the Direct Marketing Association Green Echo Award and the Postal Technology International Environmental Achievement of the Year Award for 2009, the release added.

Click here to read the complete release.

New Tool To Assist In Efficiency Auditing

NEW YORK — CodeGreen Solutions, a sustainability consulting company, recently unveiled its new online software tool, ProAct, at a launch event at the Museum of Arts & Design, according to a press release.

The new software, which tracks sustainability and operational performance in existing buildings, will be instrumental in helping building owners comply with mandatory energy and water efficiency reporting required by the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, the release stated.

According to the release, The new laws, which recently passed in New York City, require all buildings over 50,000 square feet to report energy and water efficiency benchmarks by May 1, 2011.

Other requirements of the laws, including energy audits and commissioning of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, can be avoided if buildings earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification; however, the certification is not required, the release noted.

Chris Cayten, managing director of CodeGreen, said: "ProAct should be the first step for any building owner serious about saving energy and improving the sustainability of their building. The ProAct process gives building owners an initial energy benchmark and sustainability assessment that are used to develop energy and environmental targets."

ProAct is a flexible online management tool for tracking on-going sustainable building operations such as energy and water use, recycling rates, recycled paper purchases, cleaning products and maintenance schedules by tracking more than 25 independent metrics, the release added.

Click here to read the complete release.

Wal-Mart Chooses Sustainability For Cost Savings

BENTONVILLE, AR — Wal-Mart Stores Inc.''s efforts in recent years to adopt renewable energy and supply chain sustainability initiatives is more about the bottom line than it is about the company''s image, according to the Environmental Leader.

Recently, Wal-Mart called for the reduction of 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2015 with help from its suppliers, which translates into 150 percent of the retailer''s estimated global carbon footprint growth over the next five years, the story stated.

Wal-Mart Chairman Lee Scott said: "What Wal-Mart has done is approach this from a business standpoint and not from a point of altruism. If we, as a company, focus on waste, we can make Wal-Mart a better company and, at the same time, become a better citizen."

The retail giant has been researching ways to build new stores more efficiently and how to retrofit existing locations to make them more energy efficient, which will add to their sustainable initiatives, the story noted.

According to Scott, more efficient packaging standards for some toys has resulted in 215 fewer containers shipped per year and loading trucks more efficiently is helping cut the company''s fuel bill by 38 percent.

Despite saying that image has not been an overriding factor, Scott did say that part of the strategy has been reaching out to those aged 25-35 years who tend to be more eco-conscious, the story added.

Click here to read the complete article.

College To Offer Master''s Degree In Sustainability

MAHWAH, NJ— Ramapo College will soon be offering a new master''s degree in sustainable studies to ready individuals seeking to handle corporate sustainability issues, according to The Record.

The program will extend its focus beyond climate change and will provide students with the skills to weigh and analyze the financial, environmental, societal and generational costs associated with sustainable initiatives, the release stated.

Ashwani Vasishth, an environmental studies professor and director of the new sustainability program, said: "Our students will be living in a fundamentally different world in 10 years, where the basis on which they will have to make decisions will be very different."

The two-year program begins in the fall 2010 semester and each class will be limited to 20 students who will take all of the program''s foundation courses together at, the release noted.

According to the release, the program will include summer internships and the second year will include a lecture series and project.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education lists on its website only 15 academic institutions nationwide that offer master''s degree programs in sustainability studies, the release added.

Click here to read the complete release.

Target Field Called ''Greenest In The Nation''

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Field, the new stadium for Major League Baseball''s (MLB) Minnesota Twins, recently received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at the Silver level, making it the greenest stadium in the nation, according to WCCO-TV.

It was decided before construction began that Target Field would be as green as possible, as evidenced by the decision to turn a former brownfield into a LEED-certified park, the story stated.

According to the story, almost all construction materials were recycled, including the wood floor in the Town Ball Tavern, which is reclaimed from the original Minneapolis Lakers'' basketball court and low-flow restroom fixtures that will save nearly six million gallons of water a year over their conventional counterparts.

Target Field is also equipped with an underground filtration system, which captures rainwater on the field, cleans it and re-uses it for watering the grass and for cleaning lower levels, the story noted.

Minnesota Twins Owner Jim Pohlad said: "It really isn''t about money or what you can do. It''s really about putting imagination and effort into figuring out what we can do to make any new project more sustainable and green."

The LEED certification added an extra $2 million to the construction project but, as was intended from the beginning, those additional costs will be recouped with the water and energy savings realized, the story added.

Click here to read the complete article.

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