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Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Grand Challenges for Engineering: Imperatives, Prospects, and Priorities

Monday, May 2nd, 2016
 Wesley Harris

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
Robert Socolow observed that the 14 Grand Challenges fall into four categories. The first is sustainability—maintaining air and water quality, protecting freshwater quantity, preventing sea level rise, keeping forests and other ecosystems in good condition, and minimizing artificially triggered climate change. Next is personal and community health, because, he pointed out, “as individuals we can live fulfilling lives only if we are healthy.” But, he added, “people have a record of being dangerous to each other,” hence the third category, vulnerability and security.

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How Arizona DOT Mitigates its Impact on Wildlife

Monday, May 2nd, 2016
How Arizona DOT Mitigates its Impact on Wildlife

Wildlife crossings are not only for the safety of wildlife. ADOT wants to keep the driving public safe as well. A wildlife strike can be fatal and cause significant property damage. In this video, we focus on the Sonoran Desert Tortoise-and ADOT’s first-ever multi-agency Candidate Conservation Agreement.

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GOOD Magazine: What Would it Take to Power the United States with Solar Energy?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016
GOOD Magazine: What Would it Take to Power the United States with Solar Energy?

We calculated the land area needed to supply the entire United States with solar power.

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Analytic Research Foundations for the Next-Generation Electric Grid

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
FIGURE 1.2 U.S. transmission grid.

NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Mathematical modeling and control of the electric grid has been an active area of research for decades. However, in 1996 a major outage that affected 11 Western states and 2 Canadian provinces—coupled with emerging concerns that computers would malfunction after December 31, 1999—increased awareness of a lack of complete understanding of the overall system and its frailties. For several decades the Electric Power Research Institute funded a program of research to develop tools for recognizing early signs of instability and means to counter them. That research was largely of a mathematical nature.

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The State of the Air 2016

Monday, April 25th, 2016
Figure 1: Air pollution emissions have dropped steadily since 1970 thanks to the Clean Air Act

AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION
The “State of the Air 2016” found continued improvement in air quality in 2012–2014, showing lower levels of year-round particle pollution and ozone. Still, more than half of all Americans—166 million people—live in counties where they are exposed to unhealthful levels of these pollutants.

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Infographic: It Ain’t Easy Bein’ GREEN

Friday, April 22nd, 2016
Infographic: Who

The good news is that 79% of Americans agree that they consider themselves an environmentally conscious person, and only 6% strongly disagree with that statement. But as it turns out, it ain’t easy bein’ green. Only 26% of Americans say that they actually consider the environment in their daily actions beyond recycling and turning off the lights. Moreover, people have widely varying opinions on what’s the best way to reduce their home’s carbon footprint. When they do agree, it’s not always on the highest impact methods.

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Consumer Impacts of California’s Low-Carbon Transportation Policies

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
Consumer Impacts of California’s Low Carbon Transportation Policies by 2030

CONSUMERS UNION
California is a global leader in developing and implementing clean transportation policies. The State’s regulatory approach is multifold, using various policy instruments to improve the efficiency of vehicles, reduce the carbon intensity of fuels, and increase options for mobility. These policies are a mix of market-based approaches, direct regulation approaches, and planning opportunities. These policies will have impacts on the pricing of consumer goods such as automobiles and fuels– both of which represent a significant share of consumer expenditures.

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ESIF: Making Smart Homes a Reality

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
ESIF: Making Smart Homes a Reality

Watch how NREL researchers are using the unique capabilities of the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) to develop technologies that will help the “smart” homes and buildings of the future perform efficiently and communicate effectively with the electricity grid while enhancing occupants’ comfort and convenience.

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Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
Figure 1: Number of Complete Streets policies nationwide, 2005–2015

SMART GROWTH AMERICA
In 2015, communities passed a total of 82 Complete Streets policies. These laws, resolutions, agency policies, and planning and design documents establish a process for selecting, funding, planning, designing, and building transportation projects that allow safe access for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel.

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We Have the Power: 100% Renewable Energy for a Clean, Thriving America

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
Figure ES-1: Comparison of Renewable Energy Technical Potential and Current Consumption (Data: NREL)

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA
Our transition to a clean energy system has already begun. But, with the need to reduce the pollution that causes global warming growing more urgent every day, we need to step up the pace. To maximize the benefits of moving to 100 percent renewable energy, leaders at all levels must act to accelerate our progress. America’s energy policy should facilitate mass deployment of clean energy solutions, support research and development of new clean energy technologies, and keep much of our coal, oil and gas reserves in the ground.

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