One of the principle concepts of sustainable development is to avoid devouring unspoiled landscape and find ways to make our existing infrastructure more efficient and affordable. To avoid the continued decline of natural habitat and ecosystem services it is becoming increasingly necessary to take a fresh look at the homes we have already built and try to make them more affordable and attractive to first time home buyers. A new report, issued by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, finds that the weak economy coupled with an increase in government programs to support home renovation and first time homebuyers have made sustainable re-development the most promising growth sector in the housing market.… Read the rest
Archive | June, 2010
2010 State of the Nations Housing Report: Crash in new home development provides opportunity for existing home efficiency upgrades.
by Beth Gray
The growing concern over climate change has led many companies to consider how to alter their own practices in order to mitigate their carbon emissions.Â Several large corporations have taken significant steps toward assessing and taking steps to lessen their environmental impact.Â Walmart, for example, has a very well-developed sustainability initiative and has a page on their corporate website devoted to tracking how the company is doing in its attempt to have a less negative impact on the environment.Â General Electric also has a sustainability initiative and publishes an annual sustainability report to track the companyâ€™s progress in achieving a greener future.Â Nearly 700 institutions of higher education (including American Public University System) have also pledged to assess their carbon footprints through signing the American College and University Presidentâ€™s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and take dramatic measures toward eventually achieving carbon neutrality.Â
by Beth Gray
Written by educators for educators, 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Sustainability is an invaluable resource for anyone teaching sustainability.Â In his forward to the work, David W. Orr, Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College, notes that colleges and universities must equip young people â€œwith the analytical skills and wherewithal to become change agents beyond the years of formal education.â€Â Anthony Cortese, President of Second Nature, also provides a forward in which he notes â€œWe are the first generation capable of determining the habitability of the planet for humans and other species.â€Â Cortese continues by quoting Albert Einstein who said, â€œâ€™We canâ€™t solve todayâ€™s problems at the same level of thinking at which they were created.â€™â€Â For all of these reasons, 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Sustainability is a resource that can help college and university educators to engage their students in gaining a full and thorough understanding of the current state of the environment and what must happen in order to improve the quality of life within it for generations to come.… Read the rest
I would like to open this weeks post with a note of gratitude to the APUS administration for allowing me to represent our institution at last weekends Green Remediation Conference at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The Conference was a great success. Dr. Carol Pollio and I were proud to present a well done poster presentation on our project in CharlesTown, along with an impressive collection of projects from students gathered from around the country. Present at the event were scholars, professionals and agency representatives from across the country.… Read the rest
by Ashley Adams
On June 13, 25 people made up of Charles Town, WV residents, including Mayor Peggy Smith, and American Public University Systems (APUS) employees came together to participate in a town-wide cleanup. The group divided up and walked the 42 square blocks resulting in 16 bags of gathered trash. The City of Charles Town and APUS partnered to make this a success and hope to continue Community Cleanup events in the future.Â It is the goal of this partnership that these kinds of events will lead into recycling and other citywide green programs.… Read the rest
by Jennifer Lefebvre
I recently read a great quick-reference guide called the green book by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen.Â It is filled with hundreds of little ideas that we all can do to make significant, positive impacts on our planetâ€™s health.Â For this article, Iâ€™d like to highlight one of the sections I thought was interesting and informative:Â How to green your home, one room at a time.
Composting.Â Place fruits and vegetable scraps, as well as coffee grounds in a container or composter and add them to your garden.Â These items are food for your plants, they help to recycle valuable nutrients, and save space in the landfills.Â You can also save water by not running your garbage disposal, just by composting the items you would normally send down the drain.Â The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that yard trimmings and food scraps constitute 26 percent of the United States municipal solid waste in the landfills.Â For additional information on composting please see the recent American Public University System (APUS) Sustainability blog article by Allison Knox on Composting in the Workplace and at Home.… Read the rest
Today marks the beginning of the Green Remediation Conference at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The conference is providing professionals from around the country a terrific opportunity to discuss the state of green remediation strategies and technologies and their role in shaping future development. Camera in hand, I will be there to learn all I can about the latest and greatest in green remediation and bring it back for the APUS community. But APUS isn’t just a spectator at this conference.… Read the rest
APUS Finds a Creative Method for Dealing with Parking Difficulties in Historic Downtown Charles Town, West Virginia
by Elizabeth Gray
In 2003 when American Public University System (APUS) moved to Charles Town, West Virginia from its original home of Manassas, Virginia (where the university system continues to maintain its student services and marketing offices), the systemâ€™s leadership was cognizant of the historic nature of their new home.Â As the institution has grown in student population and added additional employees, adequate parking for employees commuting to work became an ongoing problem.Â APUS currently owns eight structures in the downtown area of the city and leases six additional buildings and space in three others.Â Several of these buildings do not have their own parking lots and this has forced employees to contend with other downtown businesses and residences for parking on the street.… Read the rest
by Allison G. S. Knox
Recently, I attended the Smart and Sustainable Campuses Summit at the University of Maryland College Park.Â It was an enlightening experience as I learned much about the challenges universities are facing with their commitment to change college and university campuses into a sustainable environment.
At first the concept is a daunting one.Â How do American colleges and universities plan to change their campus lifestyle to that of a sustainable campus â€“ one that reuses and recycles most, if not all, of its resources?Â Â As I learned at the conference though, there are many ways and means to change the lifestyle of a college campus â€“ and it is essential to do so not only to help the environment but also to save much money that can be used instead for educational purposes.… Read the rest
by Jennifer Tussing
With the onset of beautiful weather, we immediately think of multiple things: warm weather, flowers blooming, cook outs, and of courseâ€¦spring cleaning!Â With that in mind, many of us have heard the saying: reduce, reuse, recycle. The definition is: Reduce the amount and toxicity of the trash you throw away and reuse containers and products, then recycle as much as possible and buy products with recycled content. These elements combined will significantly lessen the amount of waste in our landfills and spring cleaning is the perfect setting to incorporate the 3 Râ€™s into our lives.Â
- Composting in the Work Place and at Home March 3, 2010
- Adopt-A-Highway March 29, 2010
- Reverse Vending Machines – The Future of Recycling August 24, 2011
- SS Credit 4.1- 4.4: Alternative Transportation January 22, 2010
- SS Credit 6.2: Stormwater Design—Quality Control March 2, 2010
- A Sustainable Yard June 11, 2013
- ACUPCC Releases 2012 Annual Report May 31, 2013
- Exploring the Psychology of Behavior Change May 20, 2013
- Hydro-Fracturing News May 8, 2013
- Hazardous Waste Management and Liability May 3, 2013
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