Monday, 25 June 2012 14:30
Hot Tips for a Cool Summer Save money, water, energy while protecting health and encouraging environmental learning
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released today a list of 15 tips for the summer season, which kicks off June 20th. Whether relaxing at home or off exploring the great outdoors there are many ways people can save money, cut energy costs and continue to protect the health of their families while still enjoying the summer.
Tips for a safe and enjoyable summer:
1. Energy Star savings for your home: The average home spends almost 20 percent of its utility bill on cooling. These cooling bills can be lowered by simply changing out incandescent light bulbs with EPA's Energy Star qualified lighting, which use less energy and produce approximately 75 percent less heat. Raising your thermostat by only two degrees and using your ceiling fan can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent too. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.es_at_home
2. Increase your gas mileage: Obey the speed limit; go easy on the breaks and avoid hard accelerations; reduce your time idling; and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. If you're not using your removable roof rack take it off to improve your fuel economy. http://www.fueleconomy.gov
3. Prevent skin cancer and be SunWise: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and is the most common cancer among 20 to 30-year-olds. Remember to practice safe sun habits. http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/actionsteps.html
4. Heading to the beach? Check the water: Americans take almost two billion trips to the beach every year. Beaches are a place to play, watch wildlife, fish, and swim. Learn more on how to plan a safe trip to the beach and check out state specific beach advisory and closing notifications. http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/beaches/whereyoulive_state.cfm
5. Take EPA's apps with you on your smartphone: The AirNow app gives location-specific current air quality information to use to protect your health when planning daily activities and the Ultraviolet (UV) Index app provides daily and hourly forecast of the UV radiation levels from the sun so you can better prevent overexposure to the sun. http://m.epa.gov/apps/index.html
6. Enjoy the outdoors and capture the State of the Environment: Almost 40 years ago, EPA's Documerica project captured thousands of images across the nation as EPA's work was just beginning. Now it's your chance to mark the progress and submit environmental photos to EPA's State of the Environment photo project. http://blog.epa.gov/epplocations/about/
7. Protect yourself with insect repellents: Mosquitoes and ticks can carry diseases but you can protect yourself by choosing the right repellent and using it correctly. Read the product label before using; apply just enough to cover exposed skin and clothing; and look for the protection time that meets your needs. Children can use the same repellents as adults unless there is a restriction on the label. http://epa.gov/pesticides/insect/safe.htm
8. Water wisely: A large percentage of water we use at home is used outdoors. As much as 30 percent of that outdoor water use can be wasted due to evaporation by watering in the middle of the day. Water in the morning when winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Look for the new WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controller that uses local weather data to determine whether your sprinkler system should turn on. http://www.epa.gov/watersense
9. Clean greener: If you're going to wash the car, deck, boat, or RV- be sure to look for the Design for the Environment (DfE) label to quickly identify and choose cleaning products that are safer for families and also help protect the environment. Look for the DfE label on grill cleaners as well. http://www.epa.gov/dfe
10. Improve your indoor air: About 90 percent of people's time is spent indoors. While inside this summer, make sure to free your house of mold, test your home for radon, check your carbon monoxide detector and ask those who smoke to go outdoors. http://www.epa.gov/iaq
11. Check into an Energy Star hotel: On average, America's 47,000 hotels spend more than $2,000 per available room each year on energy. Look for an Energy Star certified hotel--they perform in the top 25 percent of hotels nationwide, use an average of 35 percent less energy and emit an average of 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than peers. http://www.energystar.gov/buildinglist
12. Waste less and remember to recycle: Each year, Americans generate millions of tons of waste in homes and communities but it's easy to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Recycled items such as glass can be used in roadway asphalt (glassphalt) and recovered plastic can be used in carpeting and park benches. Learn what you can do to waste less. http://www.epa.gov/waste/wycd/summer.htm
13. Season firewood: Summer is a great time to season firewood in preparation for fall and winter. Remember to split firewood to the proper size for your wood stove or fireplace, but no larger than 6 inches in diameter; stack firewood to allow air to circulate around it; cover the top of the stack to protect it from the rain; and store your firewood for at least 6 months before using it. http://www.epa.gov/burnwise
14. Looking for a summer project and tired of the heat? Try composting: Composting can be a fun and educational summer project that saves landfill space, helps feed the soil and prevents methane, a potent greenhouse gas. http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/rrr/composting/basic.htm
15. Let summer inspire you and submit Six Words for the Planet: Keep the creativity flowing beyond the school year and into the summer by submitting a meaningful story or idea in just six words. http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2012/04/sixwords/
More local information from MyEnvironment: http://www.epa.gov/myenvironment/
More hot tips for a cool summer: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/hi-summer.htm
All year long you can Pick5 for the Environment: http://www.epa.gov/pick5/
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 08:57
Initiative Uses Dr. Seuss' the Lorax to Get Youth Excited in Energy Saving Efforts
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the launch of Team ENERGY STAR®, a new, exciting initiative from EPA's ENERGY STAR program developed to engage and educate American youth and their families about saving energy in the home.
Team ENERGY STAR empowers kids to help protect the climate through easy-to-implement, money-saving actions and provides them an outlet for sharing their passion for preserving our environment. And, with Dr. Seuss' the Lorax as the engaging theme for Team ENERGY STAR, kids can learn and have fun at the same time.
DoSomething.org, one of the largest organizations in the U.S. for teens and social change, and LG Electronics USA, have joined EPA in this effort by running their own Team ENERGY STAR Challenge. Kids are encouraged to share their energy-savings stories and are recognized by EPA and provided additional rewards from DoSomething.org and LG.
"Team ENERGY STAR is a great way to involve young people in two critical issues of our time - saving energy and protecting the climate," said Sarah Dunham, Director of EPA's Office of Atmospheric Programs. "Engaging our country's youth in making a difference today will make a big difference in securing a cleaner, more sustainable future."
"Besides rocking a sweet moustache, the Lorax is an outstanding protector of the environment - just like our young people," said DoSomething.org's Campaigns Manager, April Wright. We've seen over and over again that our teens really care about the environment, which is why we were more than excited to help support Team ENERGY STAR."
James Fishler, Senior Vice President, Marketing, LG Electronics USA, said, "Team ENERGY STAR is an innovative initiative that will help families find creative ways to save energy and money while helping to save the planet. LG is proud to join forces with DoSomething.org on this fun challenge in which kids can earn the chance to win cool LG products like smartphones, TVs and computer monitors."
Kids can join Team ENERGY STAR by visiting energystar.gov/team where they will get easy-to-download educational and interactive materials, such as a comprehensive Action Kit, the ENERGY STAR Home Check-Up, a Lorax activity booklet, and a Lorax moustache-making kit. Kids are also encouraged to come back and share their stories about protecting the environment by saving energy where they will be showcased on energystar.gov/changetheworld and throughout social media.
Team ENERGY STAR is part of the multi-year, EPA campaign, Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR, developed to engage Americans of all ages in saving energy, money and protecting the environment with ENERGY STAR. If every American household took part in the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR Pledge, we would: Save more than 126 billion kWh/yr of electricity, save $18 billion in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 20 million cars.
About ENERGY STARENERGY STAR is a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency helping us save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, ENERGY STAR has nearly 20,000 partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes, buildings and businesses and the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 65 product categories. In 2011 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 41 million cars -- all while saving $23 billion on their utility bills.
About DoSomething.org - We love teens. They are creative, active, wired...and frustrated that our world is so messed up. DoSomething.org harnesses that awesome energy and unleashes it on causes teens care about. Almost every week, we launch a new national campaign. The call to action is always something that has a real impact and doesn't require money, an adult, or a car. With a goal of 5 million active members by 2015, DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the US for teens and social change. Join us at www.DoSomething.org .
About LG Electronics USA - LG Electronics USA, Inc., based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics, Inc., a $49 billion global force and technology leader in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications. LG Electronics, a 2012 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year, sells a range of stylish and innovative home entertainment products, mobile phones, home appliances, commercial displays, air conditioning systems and solar energy solutions in the United States, all under LG's "Life's Good" marketing theme. For more information, please visit www.lg.com .
SOURCE LG Electronics USA
Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved
Monday, 18 June 2012 08:33
Source: SCOTT FALLON
STAFF WRITER The Record
As part of an attempt to track groundwater pollution in Garfield, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is assessing whether a plume of chromium contamination has spread across the Passaic River and into the city of Passaic.
EPA contractors have recently drilled two monitoring wells in Passaic's North Pulaski Park and will take samples within the next few weeks, said Rich Puvogel, an agency official investigating groundwater contamination in Garfield.
The park is a small sliver of open space just north of Monroe Street on the banks of the Passaic River. It is just across the river from the Garfield neighborhood where cancer-causing chromium has seeped from the groundwater into the basements of a firehouse, a senior housing complex and more than a dozen homes and businesses.
The EPA has no evidence the pollution spread to Passaic, officials said. It is testing in Passaic as a precaution.
Federal health officials have said that the 3,600 residents in the Garfield neighborhood — named a federal Superfund site last year — are at risk anytime their basement floods.
A study by the state health department did not find elevated rates of cancer in the neighborhood, though officials acknowledge that they were unable to track residents who had left this transient neighborhood. Drinking water remains unaffected.
Scientists have known for more than 25 years that chromium was migrating toward the Passaic River from the E.C. Electroplating plant on Clark Street, where three tons of the toxic metal spilled from a faulty tank in 1983.
Less than two years later, the state Department of Environmental Protection allowed E.C. to suspend cleanup efforts after only 30 percent of the chromium was recovered. At the time, state officials said the chromium did not pose a threat to public health.
The wells in Passaic are part of a large-scale effort to develop a map of the plume by the end of the year. The map is an essential component to the long-term cleanup of the site because it allows scientists to pinpoint areas where they can possibly pump the water to the surface for treatment. Mapping is a difficult task, since water can flow every which way through the smallest of spaces in bedrock.
The chromium-contaminated water could have made its way under the Passaic River through fractures deep in the bedrock, Puvogel said.
Of the 33 wells that EPA contractors drilled to assess the extent of the underground pollution, the two Passaic wells are the only ones outside of Garfield. The wells are close to each other and were drilled at different depths — 60 feet and 350 feet.
Nine wells have been drilled in the city just outside the Superfund site's boundaries of Van Winkle Avenue to the north, Monroe Street to the south, Sherman Place to the east and the Passaic River to the west.
High levels of hexavalent chromium were detected in some new wells south of Monroe Street. Since the high levels in that area were found more than 100 feet below ground, the EPA said it was too deep to be an immediate threat to residents.
The abandoned E.C. factory is scheduled to be torn down by year's end so workers can siphon out a pocket of chromium underneath the building. But the work to clean up the groundwater under the homes could be put off by years because of budget cuts, EPA officials said.
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 09:17
WASHINGTON - Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) signed an agreement to raise awareness of environmentally friendly products and solutions to address America's environmental challenges. Today's memorandum of understanding provides NASCAR with EPA technical assistance and environmental expertise, using EPA programs like Design for the Environment and the Economy, Energy and Environment (E3) framework, to help protect Americans' health and the environment.
"Because NASCAR is followed by millions of passionate fans and many businesses, it can be a powerful platform to raise environmental awareness, drive the adoption of safer products by more Americans, and support the growing green economy," said Jim Jones, EPA's acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). "The EPA and NASCAR partnership attests to the progress NASCAR has already made on environmental stewardship through greener fuel choices and multiple recycling initiatives for waste and automotive fluids, and highlights opportunities to further these efforts."
"This MOU is a great example of NASCAR's commitment to green innovation and our role as a leader in sustainability," said Steve Phelps, Chief Marketing Officer of NASCAR. "Even with the largest sustainability program in sports, NASCAR - along with our teams, tracks and partners - continues to create innovative platforms to help reduce the environmental impact of our sport."
One of the areas of focus for the partnership is promoting safer products that have earned EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) label. The Design for the Environment label helps consumers and businesses identify products that perform well, are cost-effective, and are safer for the environment. NASCAR can make a difference by using DfE products at racing events and conveying to fans that choosing DfE products is an easy choice they can make to protect the health of their families and the planet.
Another example is NASCAR's offer to encourage its suppliers to get an "E3 tuneup"-- to increase productivity, reduce the use of energy and materials, lessen environmental impacts and be better positioned to compete in the global marketplace. The E3 initiative - Economy, Energy and the Environment -- helps promote sustainable manufacturing and economic growth throughout the United States. E3 can help improve the profitability and competitiveness of these businesses, which can help create higher-paying skilled manufacturing jobs.
This MOU will pave the way for other opportunities and areas of focus for EPA and NASCAR such as sourcing more sustainable concessions at NASCAR events, expanding the use of safer chemical products, conserving water, reducing waste and promoting recycling. By working together to foster more sustainable behavior, addressing sustainability challenges and seizing on E3 opportunities, a greener NASCAR and NASCAR supplier network will have positive economic and environmental impacts that extend far beyond the racetrack.
For more information on EPA's pollution prevention programs, including the efforts with NASCAR, please visit: epa.gov/p2