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Sustainable Development Update
February 23, 2018

Sustainable Development Focus

Judge orders Trump administration to put energy efficiency standards into effect

Los Angeles Times - Feb 15 A federal judge in San Francisco ordered the Trump administration last Thursday to implement energy-use limits for portable air conditioners and other products — standards that were adopted during the last days of the Obama presidency. The U.S. Department of Energy was required to put the energy efficiency standards into effect after a 45-day period to identify any errors and did not have the authority to continue to assess them, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said. The ruling came in two lawsuits — one filed by California, New York, and other states and the other by environmental groups. The lawsuits over the energy standards are among a spate of legal actions challenging decisions by the Trump administration to roll back environmental protections. The states argued that the new standards would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save businesses and consumers billions of dollars, and conserve enough energy to power more than 19 million households for a year.

How Northrop Grumman will save 16 million gallons of water this year

The Beach Reporter - Feb 16 The aerospace company Northrop Grumman recently announced it will use 16 million gallons of reclaimed water this year to cool four buildings on its North Redondo Beach campus. The project was made possible by working with the West Basin Municipal Water District, which created the infrastructure to pipe reclaimed water from the Edward Little Water Recycling Facility in El Segundo. The facility takes effluent treated to secondary standards from the Hyperion Plant and disinfects 40 million gallons of water per day to produce five tiers of water quality in use at more than 200 sites. The water being used at Northrop is not clean enough to drink, but it was specifically engineered to meet the standards appropriate for its cooling towers that run the air conditioning.

Electricity-generating tinted windows reveal a sustainable future

The Mercury News - Feb 14 Researchers have developed a new type of tinted “smart window” that generates electricity when darkened. The windows “can be automatically converted into a solar cell to generate electricity for us,” said Peidong Yang, a chemistry professor at UC Berkeley and researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Berkeley Hills who heads the team responsible for the discovery. The new solar technology could potentially be used to power everything from electric vehicles to skyscrapers. Similar to solar panels currently in use, the windows would be able to generate electricity, send it to an inverter that changes that energy from a DC current to an AC current. That energy could then be used to power the building or car that house the windows.

710 Freeway in Southern California may dedicate a lane for electric vehicles — and charge them while they travel

Los Angeles Daily News - Feb 19 As part of a $6 billion widening of the 710 Freeway, a Metro committee is asking the transit agency to add a lane dedicated to electric vehicles — cars, buses, and trucks — which would use wireless power transmission pads placed in the roadway to recharge their batteries as they travel. While wireless charging is being used at transit yards, including in the Antelope Valley to power electric buses, the notion of a freeway lane embedded with devices that continuously recharge a moving vehicle’s battery pack would be a first in the United States. “I think the technology exists or is about to exist, so we can have both long-haul trucks as well as cars be zero-emission,” Janice Hahn, county supervisor and board member for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Monday. Hahn noted in a written statement that these so-called “rechargeable roadways” are under construction today in China, Israel, and Norway. By the time the 19-mile, 710 Freeway improvement project, stretching from Long Beach to the 60 Freeway in East Los Angeles, is complete in 2040, such technology will be commonplace, Hahn said.

Sustainability isn't just about constructing better buildings

Bisnow - Feb 19 Creating a better built environment does not, and experts argue cannot, rest solely on the shoulders of new buildings built to the highest sustainability standards. One of the biggest issues in sustainability is bringing the 5 million existing buildings in the U.S. to higher energy-efficiency standards, according to BREEAM USA CEO Barry Giles, who spoke during a recent Bisnow event. BREEAM has been working to register existing buildings into its program to collect data and find ways to address issues of climate change, especially with the slow rate of building new energy-efficient buildings. The U.S. builds 50,000 new buildings each year and would take 100 years to replace the 5 million existing buildings. “If we don’t work on the existing buildings, we’re never going to solve our problems with emissions,” Giles said. 

Orange County sets Guinness record for recycled water

The Orange County Register - Feb 18 The Orange County Sanitation and Water Districts are working hard to get rid of reclaimed water’s perception problem, “the yuck factor,”  as Denis Bilodeau, president of the water district calls it, of converting wastewater to a liquid that exceeds government standards for purity. For a decade, the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment System has been pumping reclaimed water into the ground basin. Over the weekend, to celebrate the groundwater system’s 10th anniversary, the districts partnered on a world record-setting endeavor. In 24 hours, more than 100 million gallons of wastewater was converted into potable — or suitable for drinking — water and pumped it into the groundwater basin. On Friday afternoon, officials stopped the 24-hour clock and looked at the numbers. A counter read 100,008,000 gallons of drinkable recycled water produced. That set the world record as judged by Guinness, which sent an adjudicator from New York to witness the event.

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