US Postal Service Planting Green Roofs

20120628202523ENPRNPRN US POSTAL SERVICE GREEN STAMP 90 1340915123MR 300x300 US Postal Service Planting Green RoofsThe U.S. Postal Service recently celebrated another example of environmental leadership as local officials announced a green roof atop the Colvin-Elmwood Post Office. The 11,300 square foot green roof will be built at no cost to the Postal Service through an innovative sustainability partnership with Onondaga County, NY. “The Postal Service continues to lead the way when it comes to making a positive impact on the environment,” said Chief Sustainability Officer, Thomas G. Day. “We’re pleased to be collaborating with the good people of Onondaga County on our second green roof, which will help the Postal Service conserve water and energy in the Syracuse metropolitan area.”

Working cooperatively with Onondaga County’s Save the Morgan Post Office Green Roof 300x199 US Postal Service Planting Green RoofsRain initiative, the Colvin-Elmwood Post Office’s roof was deemed structurally sound to support the additional weight of the soil, vegetation and other requirements of a green roof. The green roof will consist of a new membrane, layers of drainage sheet, mat, separation fabric, indigenous vegetation and a wind blanket. The green roof plan fits perfectly into the Postal Service’s commitment to create sustainable spaces and facilities wherever possible. The green roof also addresses practical concerns. The roof’s expected lifespan is up to 50 years, twice as long as the roof it will replace. It also will reduce the amount of contaminants in storm water runoff flowing into Syracuse’s municipal water system.

At more than 11,000 square feet, the Colvin-Elmwood green roof will be one of the largest in New York,” said Day. “The Colvin-Elmwood green roof will help us meet our goals to reduce energy usage 30 percent by 2015 and greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020.”The Colvin-Elmwood green roof is part of the Postal Service’s greener facilities strategy, which includes the use of environmentally friendly building components, renewable materials, energy-efficient lighting and HVAC, low volatile organic compound parts, low-water use fixtures and solar photovoltaic systems. In the last 12 months, the Postal Service also has expanded its recycling program in Central New York to include mixed paper and cardboard, resulting in nearly 1,055 tons of materials recycled in the past year. With more than 700 postal locations, including Post Office locations in Syracuse and Central New York, and with a recycling rate of 95 percent, District Manager, Edward F. Phelan, Jr., noted the Albany district is one of the Postal Service’s first Zero Waste districts.

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American Clean Energy Agenda

Ocean Waves 8 300x227 American Clean Energy AgendaFed up with the undue influence of the energy companies, utilities, lobbyists and other interests that are making it impossible for Washington to move forward decisively in achieving America’s clean energy future, 36 citizen organizations with more than 1.1 million combined members are joining forces to advance a nine-point “American Clean Energy Agenda” and to push for a serious renewable energy agenda no matter who is the next President or which party controls Congress.

As crafted by the groups, the new American Clean Energy Agenda calls for a number of bold steps, including: phasing out nuclear power, natural gas, coal and industrial biomass in favor of efficient use of renewable, non-polluting resources; opposition to a “clean energy standard” that includes coal, nuclear, oil, gas and unsustainable biomass; retooling federal “loan guarantees” to make smarter investments in renewable energy;  greater emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency programs; and avoiding a future in which Americans suffer the consequences of mountaintop mining for coal and fracking of shale gas that is then exported for use in other nations.

Organized by the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI) and the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the emergence of the new network of citizen-run organizations reflects a deep dissatisfaction among Americans about the iron grip maintained by the energy industry and its lobbyists in promoting the non-solution of an “all of the above” approach to energy that would preserve the worst options and dilute the focus on real solutions.

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Waves Of Change At Rio+20 Sustainability Conference

imagebig230 747 Waves Of Change At Rio+20 Sustainability Conference Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking yesterday at the Rio+20 Conference on waves 300x224 Waves Of Change At Rio+20 Sustainability Conference Sustainable Development outlined a series of actions he believes the global community must take over the next five years to build the future we want. In a speech to the General Assembly last September Mr. Ban presented five imperatives  or generational opportunities that must be addressed to ensure a better future for the world’s people. These are sustainable development; preventing and mitigating conflicts, human rights abuses and the impacts of natural disasters; building a safer and more secure world; supporting countries in transition; and working to engage the talents of women and young people. Today I want to share with you an action agenda for the coming five years, he told the Assembly as he returned to the rostrum to brief Member States on his vision for his second term.

A plan to help create a safer, more secure, more sustainable, more equitable future. A plan to build the future we want. A plan to make the most of the opportunities before us. A plan to help create a safer, more secure, more sustainable, more equitable future. A plan to build the future we want, he said. The action agenda presented today describes specific measures regarding each of the five imperatives, including an unprecedented campaign to wipe out five of the world’s major killers  malaria, polio, paediatric HIV infections, maternal and neonatal tetanus, and measles.

Mr. Ban also announced that the UN will work with Member States to make Antarctica a World Nature Preserve and that he will appoint a new special representative for youth. Among his other proposals is the convening of a first-of-its-kind World Humanitarian Summit to help share knowledge and establish common best practices, and the creation of a New UN Partnerships Facility to harness the full power of transformative partnerships across the world body. Waves of change are surging around us, he told the Assembly. If we navigate wisely, we can create a more secure and sustainable future for all. The United Nations is the ship to navigate these waters.

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Scientists Tap Into Underwater Solar Energy

full 1339546084underwater 300x200 Scientists Tap Into Underwater Solar EnergyScientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Electronics Science and Technology Division, dive into underwater photovoltaic research to develop high bandgap solar cells capable of producing sufficient power to operate electronic sensor systems at depths of 9 meters.Underwater autonomous systems and sensor platforms are severely limited by the lack of long endurance power sources. To date, these systems must rely on on-shore power, batteries or solar power supplied by an above water platform. Attempts to use photovoltaics have had limited success, primarily due to the lack of penetrating sunlight and the use of solar cells optimized more towards the unimpeded terrestrial solar spectrum.

“The use of autonomous systems to provide situational awareness and long-term environment monitoring underwater is increasing,” said Phillip Jenkins, head, NRL Imagers and Detectors Section. ”Although water absorbs sunlight, the technical challenge is to develop a solar cell that can efficiently convert these underwater photons to electricity.”Even though the absolute intensity of solar radiation is lower underwater, the spectral content is narrow and thus lends itself to high conversion efficiency if the solar cell is well matched to the wavelength range. Previous attempts to operate solar cells underwater have focused on crystalline silicon solar cells and more recently, amorphous silicon cells.High-quality gallium indium phosphide (GaInP) cells are well suited for underwater operation. GaInP cells have high quantum efficiency in wavelengths between 400 and 700 nanometers (visible light) and intrinsically low dark current, which is critical for high efficiency in lowlight conditions.

The filtered spectrum of the sun underwater is biased toward the blue/green portion of the spectrum and thus higher bandgap cells such as GaInP perform much better than conventional silicon cells, states Jenkins. Preliminary results at a maximum depth of 9.1 meters reveal output to be 7 watts per square meter of solar cells, sufficient to demonstrate there is useful solar power to be harvested at depths commonly found in nearshore littoral zones.The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy’s full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development.

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Viking River Cruises Organic And Solar

6a00d8341c565553ef0168e911d989970c 800wi 300x199 Viking River Cruises Organic And SolarThis year may mark the 15th anniversary for Viking River Cruises—and with the launch of six new ships in a single season, the most significant year in the company’s history—but the world’s leading river cruise line has plans to continue momentum in 2013 and beyond. Viking River Cruises today announced its complete 2013 cruise program, offering guests a broader selection of choices than any other river cruise line—from ships and staterooms to destinations and pace of exploration. Viking’s 2013 program introduces four inspiring new itineraries and two new land tour extensions, as well as the launch of an additional six Viking Longships and the complete refurbishment of its Russian fleet. In addition to the six state-of-the-art Viking Longships launching in 2012, Viking will continue expansion in 2013 with the launch of six additional Viking Longships—Viking Bragi, Viking Forseti Viking Rinda, Viking Skadi, Viking Tor and Viking Var. Designed by celebrated maritime architects Yran & Storbraaten—the team behind the Disney Dream and the Yachts of Seabourn—the new ships integrate patent-pending  technology and innovations such as diesel-electric hybrid engines, solar panels and onboard organic herb gardens.

“We take pride in the way we design experiences for our guests—from carefully-crafted itineraries that focus on the destination to excursion choices that allow travelers to set their own pace each day,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises. “By providing guests with the opportunity to tailor every aspect of their cruise, we ensure they have the most personal and unforgettable vacation possible.”

budapest view 240x180 tcm43 11672 Viking River Cruises Organic And SolarWith diverse and scenic cruise itineraries in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, China and Southeast Asia, Viking guests experience the heart of a destination along its waterways and during culturally rich shore excursions. And with the world’s largest fleet of river cruise ships, Viking offers guests the most stateroom choices—with the new Viking Longships featuring the largest suites sailing Europe’s waterways. With a vast network of contacts and an intimate understanding of each port city, Viking Concierges can reserve a table at the best restaurant, recommend specialty shops, order theater tickets and even arrange for a private guide and car service.

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Paddlemen In Plastics Gulf Stream Challenge

GrantFirst 300x182 Paddlemen In Plastics Gulf Stream Challenge rise above plastic2 779844 Paddlemen In Plastics Gulf Stream Challenge Watermen Bill Whiddon and Thaddeus Foote, will make the first ever attempt to stand-up paddle (SUP) across the Gulf Stream, from Bimini, Bahamas to Miami, to raise awareness for Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics campaign to reduce plastics in the ocean.

The Bimini-Miami Blue Water Challenge marks the launch of a grueling 17-hour, non-stop adventure taking paddle boarders 48 miles across the deep blue waters of the powerful Gulfstream current armed with only a board, a paddle, and their wits. The intrepid paddlers will endure one the earth’s most powerful oceanic currents, exposure to shifting weather conditions, extreme isolation, and all the risks of open ocean navigation in order to reach their destination. Whiddon & Foote will be the first to attempt to stand-up paddle across the Gulf Stream. The weather-dependent window is June 3 – 10, 2012. The athletes will depart Bimini and continuously paddle from 3:30 AM to approximately 5:30 PM. The crossing will start in Bimini, Bahamas and land on Miami Beach (approx. 3rd Street) where they will be celebrated by Surfrider Foundation volunteers

By completing this journey, Whiddon and Foote hope to raise awareness of the impacts that discarded plastics are having on the world’s marine environments. The Surfrider Foundation Miami Chapter is an official partner of the crossing and is fighting the proliferation of marine plastics through its Rise Above Plastics (R.A.P.) campaign. R.A.P. is aimed at increasing the rate of plastic recycling and reducing the release of waste into the oceans.

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