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How Will Current Politics Affect Facility Management?

BY JUSTIN FEIT –

Changes are underway with the new administration – how will they impact you?

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President Trump’s agenda places several programs that have helped FMs in danger of being eliminated. Their survival depends heavily on the ability or willingness to push some key parts of his agenda through Congress.

After the unprecedented electoral victory of Donald Trump, the political climate in the U.S. has been in a state of flux. As the president fills in cabinet and department positions, enacts his agenda and navigates the tumultuous waters of the current political climate, the commercial building industry awaits Washington’s concrete actions and their wide-ranging impacts.

With Republicans holding both houses of Congress and the White House, budget cuts, tax cuts and deregulation are likely on the way. While some of these actions might help businesses, these actions will also have consequences for the buildings industry in the coming weeks, months and years. How will the current political situation affect you?

Information Sharing for Energy Efficiency

Michigan State University had a plan to boost its energy efficiency across the board but was in need of more information and strategies to enact changes across its portfolio of academic buildings, science facilities, parking ramps and athletic facilities. The Department of Energy’s voluntary energy program, the Better Buildings Challenge, provided these vital resources, even though it did not offer any financial incentives.

“We have saved close to $10 million over the past few years by installing energy-efficient measures across campus. We have reduced the energy footprint by 13% in the 20 million square feet included in the program,” says Lynda Boomer, Director of Planning Design and Construction at MSU.

Learning from similar universities that had undergone comparable projects, MSU found success in its energy-saving initiative. The information sharing partnership of the Better Buildings Challenge helped MSU enact HVAC upgrades, chiller replacements and insulation improvements for optimal efficiency.

Through the Better Buildings Challenge, partners commit to improve the energy use of their building portfolios by at least 20% within 10 years and lead the way in a network for peer-to-peer collaboration,” says Maria Vargas, Director of the Better Buildings Challenge. “By showing how energy efficiency has been successfully adopted – and the barriers addressed and overcome – these partners are examples for others across a myriad of building types and locations.”

Since joining the initiative, MSU has been able to achieve considerable savings in its facilities, and the program has been successful across the board in reducing energy usage in buildings.

“MSU became aware of the Better Buildings Challenge and Alliance through involvement in the International Institute for Safe Laboratories (I2SL). We had just completed the energy transition plan and were already on the path to reducing energy use on campus and becoming more efficient, so it was a good fit to join the Better Buildings Challenge,” says Boomer. “While they did not provide any financial aid, the program gave MSU an opportunity to network with other universities and suppliers that could provide ideas and opportunities for energy saving projects.”

In practice, the Better Buildings Challenge has been successful in helping participants reach that 20% goal. “Partners have saved 240 trillion BTUs in energy consumption, $1.9 billion in cost savings, 15 million tons in avoided carbon emissions, $8.6 billion in funds extended by financial allies partnering with DOE and 4 billion gallons in water savings,” says Vargas.

Initiatives that the voluntary Better Buildings Challenge has started include the Financing Navigator to help people find financing options, greater focus and research on data center energy use, water efficiency pledges that save both water and energy, and the SWAP, a reality TV-inspired web series in which property managers from two organizations look for savings opportunities in each other’s buildings.

The voluntary nature of the project allows organizations to earn recognition and share energy information with other participants, which can provide the spark for worthwhile changes. However, the future of the Better Buildings Challenge is in jeopardy due to a recent executive order and the future federal budget.

The Trump Trajectory

President Trump has targeted several Obama-era policies that directly relate to the buildings industry through executive actions and legislative proposals. One needs to look no further than the Better Buildings Challenge, which former President Obama introduced in his 2011 State of the Union address as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In his 2013 Climate Action Plan, Obama’s agenda included expanding the Better Buildings Challenge.

However, the Trump administration has taken aim at Obama’s Climate Action Plan with the Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, identifying goals of striking down energy-related regulations that executive departments have mandated in the past. This executive order could threaten the future of the Better Buildings Challenge, although it is not yet clear how or to what extent.

Executive orders have some historical precedent of being more symbolic, guiding the vision and overall policy of a presidency. Whether or not this particular executive order will on its own largely impact Obama’s Climate Action Plan is unclear at this point. But what an executive order may or may not be able to accomplish can be done so through legislation.

The budget proposal Trump will expand and hopes to usher through Congress provides more concrete plans for cuts within several departments that house energy efficiency programs. While this budget proposal will undoubtedly undergo major changes to placate the many factions of the House, the original budget presented provides insight into the trajectory this administration would like to follow as far as federal funding goes.

Two of the most important departments to look at with the budget proposal are the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, both of which would face cuts in 2018.

The DOE’s proposed cuts seem small compared to other departments with 6% or $1.7 billion in cuts having been proposed to its 2017 allocation. However, under this prospective budget, the National Nuclear Security Administration would receive a $1.4 billion boost, meaning cuts to other programs in the department – ones that might impact building operators – compound under this budget.
One of the hardest-hit agencies under the proposed budget cuts is the EPA; the agency’s overall budget would shrink by 31% or $2.6 billion. Stating a desire to cut back on regulations that hinder businesses, the president set his sights on cutting one particular program in the EPA: ENERGY STAR.

 

HOW THE HECK DO YOU SELL TO STARBUCKS?

0a799000d67844ffa039b5cf8e71466b       I have  been working with a start-up company now for about a year and a half.

Eco-Distribution, Inc.   Among our other offerings we have a line of truly Green Cleaning products that work better than their caustic counterparts, and are just as economical.

We have been successful in winning evaluations, and been escalated to corporate procurement in several very large and notable companies, and the orders are coming in.  There is one enigma, I truly could use some help with.  We have demonstrated these cleaning products to several local Starbucks, and the managers all get very excited.  I just talked to a regional manager in California and she agreed that they absolutely fit the Ethical, Sustainable, and Green goals of the Starbucks corporation.

She then told me that I had to go to Corporate, and there were no names she could give me to help.  I spent an hour on their website, and found all sorts of documents on Corporate Responsibility, Vendor Practices, Shipping Procedures… you get the idea.  Nothing on how to become a vendor.

starbucks

 

I tried customer service, and was on hold for a half hour to be told to call Corporate.  I called Corporate and was referred back to the customer service number.   Has anyone out there any knowledge of what the process REALLY is.  I mean, they have to buy cleaning materials from somewhere?   This stuff is a perfect fit, its new technology, and I know they can’t make it for themselves in China.

Help!!!!!

 

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Mount Everest avalanche leaves at least 12 Nepalese climbers dead

Three others injured and seven missing after avalanche caught work party as they prepared route for fee-paying western climbers
Everest base camp, with Buddhist prayer flags in the foreground

Everest base camp, with Buddhist prayer flags in the foreground. Police officials said the group was 25-strong and only three had so far been rescued from the mountain. Photograph: Laurence Tan/Reuters

An avalanche on Mount Everest early on Friday has killed at least 12 local climbers and left several others injured in what is likely to prove one of the most lethal accidents in recent history on the world’s highest peak.

Officials said 12 bodies had so far been recovered and ferried to base camp, while a further three injured climbers were being taken to Kathmandu. As many as four climbers are still thought to be missing.

An injured survivor told his relatives that the path up the mountain was unstable just before the avalanche. As soon as the avalanche hit, rescuers and climbers rushed to help.

Reports suggest a massive avalanche low on the 29,000ft (8,848m) mountain caught a work party of local sherpas as they prepared the classic South Col route – followed by the peak’s first ascensionists in 1953 – for fee-paying western climbers.

Sherpa guides had gone early in the morning to fix the ropes which will guide and safeguard hundreds of climbers, when the avalanche hit them. Reports said the accident had occurred between base camp and Camp 1 in the chaotic and extremely dangerous ice fall. The ice fall is composed of a steep glacier which fractures as it slides over cliffs, forming massive crevasses, and sherpas have to find and maintain a new route through every year.

Tourism ministry spokesman Mohan Krishna Sapkota said the climbers were all Nepalese and were preparing the route to the summit ahead of the summer climbing season which kicks off later this month.

“The sherpa guides were carrying up equipment and other necessities for climbers, when the disaster happened,” Sapkota said.

Base camp is currently crowded as peak climbing season on Everest approaches. A weather window in May allows the greatest chance of success on the mountain.

In recent years there has been growing controversy over the pay, conditions and safety of the local men hired for the risky job of securing the route on the mountain to allow largely western climbers on commercial expeditions charging up to $50,000 (£30,000) to reach the upper slopes of the mountain in relative security.

The Kathmandu-based climbing company Himalayan Climbing GuidesNepal confirmed that two of its guides were among the dead and four were missing.

“Six climbing guides from our company were taking up tents and supplies … two have been found dead and rescue teams are searching for the remaining four,” manager Umid Bhandari told AFP.

Eight people died on Everest last year, including one of the best-known and experienced local sherpa guides who was killed in the ice fall.

The accident will once again raise fears that the mountain is too crowded. Nepalese authorities have introduced a series of measures to reduce the number of climbers on the peak.

Last year more than 500 climbers reached the summit of Everest. On 19 May around 150 climbed the last 915m to the peak within hours of each other, causing lengthy delays as mountaineers queued to descend or ascend harder sections.

Officials have cut mountaineering fees for many other peaks while requiring each climber scaling Everest to bring back 8kg (17.6lbs) of rubbish in an attempt to clean up the “roof of the world”.

Last year officials floated the idea of installing a ladder on the famous Hillary Step, a crucial stretch of technical climbing at nearly 8,840m (29,000ft) on Everest, named after its first climber, Sir Edmund Hillary.

Though such innovations are anathema to many purist climbers, some sherpas welcome them. Entire communities in the otherwise poor Khumbu region of Nepal depend on the mountaineering industry for their livelihoods.

Relations between international climbers and sherpa guides working on the mountain are not always good. Authorities have also stationed soldiers and police at Everest base camp following a brawl between commercial climbers and Nepalese guides last year.

 

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Forget Surfing or Eating Fish for the Next 6000 Years! Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco

By DNA | December 26, 2013

 

This shocking video was taken December 23rd 2013 with a quality Geiger Counter at Pacifica State Beach (Surfers Beach), California.

Location:

http://bit.ly/1g26Zjm

Geiger Counter used:

http://www.geigercounters.com/Inspector.htm

Background radiation is 30 CPM. Near the ocean it’s 150 CPM. The fine mist coming from the ocean waves seems to be what makes the Geiger Counter jump.

Fukushima radiation disaster info:

http://www.rense.com

Massive starfish deaths on West Coast:

http://www.naturalnews.com/

We all must come to the realization that swimming in the Pacific Ocean (let alone eating anything out of it) is a thing in the past. And it’s only going to get worse, as it’s unstoppable. This is by far the worst man-made disaster in human history, and our garbage media and government say nothing.

RELATED :

Fukushima is here: ‘ALL Bluefin Tuna Caught In California Are Radioactive’

 

 

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A Tribute to Grampa Rasmussen, Determination, and Survival

DELIKATESSE FOR LUTEFISKELSKERELutefisk History:

Lutefisk (pronounced LEWD-uh-fisk) is dried cod that has been soaked in a lye solution for several days to rehydrate it. It is rinsed with cold water to remove the lye, then boiled or baked, and then served with butter, salt, and pepper.

The finished lutefisk usually is the consistency of Jello. It is also called lyefish, and in the United States, Norwegian-Americans traditionally serve it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In many Norwegian homes, lutefisk takes the place of the Christmas turkey. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, you can find lutefisk in local food stores and even at some restaurants. It is a food that you either love or hate, and, as some people say, “Once a year is probably enough!”

During the fall in Wisconsin, people watch their local newspapers for announcements of lutefisk suppers, which are usually held in Norwegian churches. Usually every Norwegian church will host at least one lutefisk supper between October and the end of the year. The dinners have become so popular that lovers of this special cod dish drive great distances, and these are not just people of Scandinavian descent.

The history of lutefisk dates back to the Vikings. On one occasion, according to one legend, plundering Vikings burned down a fishing village, including the wooden racks with drying cod. the returning villagers poured water on the racks to put out the fire. Ashes covered the dried fish, and then it rained. the fish buried in the ashes in the ashes thus became soaked in a lye slush. Later the villagers were surprised to see that the dried fish had changed to what looked like fresh fish. They rinsed the fish in water to remove the lye and make it edible, and then boiled it. The story is that one particularly brave villager tasted the fish and declared it “not bad.”

Norwegian-Americans believe that lutefisk was brought by their ancestors on the ships when they came to America, and that it was all they had to eat. Today the fish is celebrated in ethnic and religious celebrations and is linked with hardship and courage.

 

 

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How much blood is there on your ring finger?

Blood Diamond Infographic
Reasons to Care Where Your Diamond Comes From provided by Brilliant Earth.

 

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For 67 years the US has pursued its own interests at the expense of global justice – no wonder people are sceptical now

Obama‘s rogue state tramples over every law it demands others uphold

by  –

US fire white phosphorous at Taliban

US troops fire a white phosphorous mortar towards a Taliban position on 3 April 2009 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Photograph: John Moore/Getty

You could almost pity these people. For 67 years successive US governments have resisted calls to reform the UN security council. They’ve defended a system which grants five nations a veto over world affairs, reducing all others to impotent spectators. They have abused the powers and trust with which they have been vested. They have collaborated with the other four permanent members (the UK, Russia, China and France) in a colonial carve-up, through which these nations can pursue their own corrupt interests at the expense of peace and global justice.

Eighty-three times the US has exercised its veto. On 42 of these occasions it has done so to prevent Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians being censured. On the last occasion, 130 nations supported the resolution but Barack Obama spiked it. Though veto powers have been used less often since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the US has exercised them 14 times in the interim (in 13 cases to shield Israel), while Russia has used them nine times. Increasingly the permanent members have used the threat of a veto to prevent a resolution being discussed. They have bullied the rest of the world into silence.

Through this tyrannical dispensation – created at a time when other nations were either broken or voiceless – the great warmongers of the past 60 years remain responsible for global peace. The biggest weapons traders are tasked with global disarmament. Those who trample international law control the administration of justice.

But now, as the veto powers of two permanent members (Russia and China) obstruct its attempt to pour petrol on another Middle Eastern fire, the US suddenly decides that the system is illegitimate. Obama says: “If we end up using the UN security council not as a means of enforcing international norms and international law, but rather as a barrier … then I think people rightly are going to be pretty skeptical about the system.” Well, yes.

Never have Obama or his predecessors attempted a serious reform of this system. Never have they sought to replace a corrupt global oligarchy with a democratic body. Never do they lament this injustice – until they object to the outcome. The same goes for every aspect of global governance.

Obama warned last week that Syria’s use of poisoned gas “threatens to unravel the international norm against chemical weapons embraced by 189 nations“. Unravelling the international norm is the US president’s job.

In 1997 the US agreed to decommission the 31,000 tonnes of sarinVX,mustard gas and other agents it possessed within 10 years. In 2007 it requested the maximum extension of the deadline permitted by the Chemical Weapons Convention – five years. Again it failed to keep its promise, and in 2012 it claimed they would be gone by 2021. Russia yesterday urged Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control. Perhaps it should press the US to do the same.

In 1998 the Clinton administration pushed a law through Congress which forbade international weapons inspectors from taking samples of chemicals in the US and allowed the president to refuse unannounced inspections. In 2002 the Bush government forced the sacking of José Maurício Bustani, the director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He had committed two unforgiveable crimes: seeking a rigorous inspection of US facilities; and pressing Saddam Hussein to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, to help prevent the war George Bush was itching to wage.

The US used millions of gallons of chemical weapons in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It also used them during its destruction of Falluja in 2004,then lied about it. The Reagan government helped Saddam Hussein to wage war with Iran in the 1980s while aware that he was using nerve and mustard gas. (The Bush administration then cited this deployment as an excuse to attack Iraq, 15 years later).

Smallpox has been eliminated from the human population, but two nations – the US and Russia – insist on keeping the pathogen in cold storage. They claim their purpose is to develop defences against possible biological weapons attack, but most experts in the field consider this to be nonsense. While raising concerns about each other’s possession of the disease, they have worked together to bludgeon the other members of the World Health Organisation, which have pressed them to destroy their stocks.

In 2001 the New York Times reported that, without either Congressional oversight or a declaration to the Biological Weapons Convention, “the Pentagon has built a germ factory that could make enough lethal microbes to wipe out entire cities“. The Pentagon claimed the purpose was defensive but, developed in contravention of international law, it didn’t look good. The Bush government also sought to destroy the Biological Weapons Convention as an effective instrument by scuttling negotiations over the verification protocol required to make it work.

Looming over all this is the great unmentionable: the cover the US provides for Israel’s weapons of mass destruction. It’s not just that Israel – which refuses to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention – has used white phosphorus as a weapon in Gaza (when deployed against people, phosphorus meets the convention’s definition of “any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm”).

 

It’s also that, as the Washington Post points out: “Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile results from a never-acknowledged gentleman’s agreement in the Middle East that as long as Israel had nuclear weapons, Syria’s pursuit of chemical weapons would not attract much public acknowledgement or criticism.” Israel has developed its nuclear arsenal in defiance of the non-proliferation treaty, and the US supports it in defiance of its own law, which forbids the disbursement of aid to a country with unauthorised weapons of mass destruction.

As for the norms of international law, let’s remind ourselves where the US stands. It remains outside the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, after declaring its citizens immune from prosecution. The crime of aggression it committed in Iraq – defined by the Nuremberg tribunal as “the supreme international crime” – goes not just unpunished but also unmentioned by anyone in government. The same applies to most of the subsidiary war crimes US troops committed during the invasion and occupation. Guantánamo Bay raises a finger to any notions of justice between nations.

None of this is to exonerate Bashar al-Assad’s government – or its opponents – of a long series of hideous crimes, including the use of chemical weapons. Nor is it to suggest that there is an easy answer to the horrors in Syria.

But Obama’s failure to be honest about his nation’s record of destroying international norms and undermining international law, his myth-making about the role of the US in world affairs, and his one-sided interventions in the Middle East, all render the crisis in Syria even harder to resolve. Until there is some candour about past crimes and current injustices, until there is an effort to address the inequalities over which the US presides, everything it attempts – even if it doesn’t involve guns and bombs – will stoke the cynicism and anger the president says he wants to quench.

During his first inauguration speech Barack Obama promised to “set aside childish things”. We all knew what he meant. He hasn’t done it.

 

 

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