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Sustainability In The News

September 19, 2010

Sustainability: A Top Priority

WASHINGTON — According to a report recently released by Living Cities, a collaboration of 21 of the world''s leading foundations and institutions, four out of five cities in America rank sustainability among their top priorities, according to the Environmental Leader.

Findings for The Green Survey: What America''s Biggest Cities Are Doing About Climate Change are based on interviews with environmental officials from 40 of America''s largest metropolitan areas, the story stated.

Key findings of the survey include: America''s cities are diligently working to lower their carbon footprint; more than half of all big cities are either currently creating a sustainability plan or have finished one within the past year; and more than two-thirds of cities say that state or federal governments have little or no impact on their sustainability initiatives, the story noted.

Nearly all of the cities cited in the survey have plans to reduce their carbon emissions by 10 to 20 percent in the next decade, the story added.

According to the story, one in three cities have collaborated with area colleges to create green job training programs, and one in six cities reported that they have programs that place trainees in green jobs.

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Measuring America''s Carbon Footprint

WASHINGTON — In an effort to discover ways to curb emissions and increase environmental responsibility, 21 U.S. cities have agreed to measure their carbon footprints with a system developed by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), not-for-profit organization that holds the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world, according to Reuters.

Each of the cities will gather emissions data from private and municipal buildings, including schools, government and public works facilities, which will allow them to benchmark their success against other cities, the story stated.

The participating cities will submit their initial data to the CDP by October 31, and the results will be published in a January 2010 report, the story noted.

Paul Dickinson, chief executive of the CDP, said: "The process should really lead to the beginnings of a fundamental restructuring of how cities consume energy."

According to the story, a handful of additional cities are expected to submit data and participate in the program that Dickinson hopes will be expanded to incorporate smaller cities across the U.S. and other nations.

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Penn State University Joins Sustainability Partnerships Program

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA — On Earth Day, Penn State University became the first to join the Environmental Protection Agency''s (EPA) Sustainability Partnerships Program (SPP), according to Penn State Live.

Penn State University currently recycles at a rate of 53 percent, buys 20 percent of their electricity through green energy programs, composts food waste and is home to at least five student environmental organizations, but they feel the SPP can help them further their sustainability efforts, the story stated.

Wayne Naylor, deputy director of the EPA''s Land and Chemicals Division, said: "In the past 50 years we have consumed more of the Earth''s resources than in all of previous history. As a society, we need to shift how we view and manage waste. It is no longer enough to simply reduce, reuse and recycle, we must also rethink the resources we use and how we use them. The Sustainability Partnerships Program helps organizations examine what they traditionally considered to be waste and see it as valuable materials with a lifecycle of reuse. We are pleased that Penn State is joining with the EPA because the university is not only working to reduce its own carbon footprint, the University also is educating the next generation of environmentally-aware citizens. Penn State is setting the tone and leading by example."

The university''s initial focus will be on reducing energy consumption and waste generation at stadium and athletic events and in campus residence halls, the story noted.

SPP partners receive technical support from the EPA to accomplish their desired goals and are assigned a sustainability account manager who serves as a single point-of-contact with the EPA to provide support, direction and assistance for the partners to meet their sustainability goals, the story added.

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Philadelphia Strives To Be America''s Most Sustainable City

PHILADELPHIA — The City of Philadelphia ranks in the top 10 of the nation''s 50 largest cities in four sustainable categories and in the top 20 in six other categories, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Greenworks Philadelphia, a comprehensive framework to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the U.S. by 2015, was recently unveiled and has sustainability goals in five key areas: Energy; environment; equity; economy; and engagement, the story stated.

Philadelphia''s best example of sustainability in practice is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified Comcast Center that incorporates sustainable aspects from low-flow fixtures and energy-efficient glass that save water and reduce heating and cooling costs to its location atop a subway station that reduces carbon emissions from people traveling to the building in commuter vehicles, the story noted.

Small steps to making Philadelphia and other cities more sustainable include things like collecting rainwater to water your lawn or garden or better insulating your house; it saves you money, helps lessen the load on the sewer system and power grid and helps the planet, the story added.

According to the story, sustainability boils down to the "triple bottom line" for any company or program: Its impact on people; its impact on the planet; and its profitability.

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