Friday, April 20, 2018

CORRECTED DATE: First Meeting Of PUC Combined Heat & Power Working Group May 30

The first meeting of the Public Utility Commission’s Combined Heat and Power Working Group meeting will be May 30 in Harrisburg.  (formal notice)
The PUC adopted a policy statement and formed the Working Group at its meeting on April 5 to engage with stakeholders and encourage the deployment of, and reduce barriers to, CHP initiatives in the Commonwealth.
CHP captures the waste heat energy this is typically lost through power generation, using it to provide heating and/or cooling for manufacturing and business.
“CHP offers a variety of benefits,” noted Chairman Gladys M. Brown in a supporting statement at the PUC public meeting,” First and foremost, CHP supports environmental stewardship through increased efficiency. Also, it provides economic benefits to its adopters through reductions in energy consumption. Further, it supports reliability and resiliency as a distributed energy resource.”
The meeting will be held in the Forest Room, Keystone Building, 400 North Street, Harrisburg starting at 1:00.  A call-in number will be published, Click Here.  
For more background, visit the PUC’s Combined Heat and Power webpage.  Questions should be directed to Joe Sherrick 717-787-5369 or send email to: josherrick@pa.gov.
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Pittsburgh 2030 District Reports $26.7M Energy, $3.9M Water Savings In 5th Annual Progress Report

The Green Building Alliance and its partners issued their 5th annual report on accomplishments of their Pittsburgh 2030 District initiative showing through 2017 participating buildings reduced energy costs by $26.7 million and water use by 164 million gallons resulting in $3.9 million in savings.
Overall, the 506 buildings in the Pittsburgh 2030, which are striving for a 50 percent reduction in energy and water use by 2030.  So far they have reduced energy use by 12 percent and water use by 14.5 percent from their baseline consumption levels.
The District’s peer-to-peer network laid the groundwork for regional collaboration. Through the newly launched District Affiliate program, the Pittsburgh 2030 District invites all property owners and managers in Western Pennsylvania to join the 2030 Challenge.
Six partners have already committed, including Hazelwood Green, Chatham University, Community College of Allegheny County, Hill House Association, Huth Technologies, and Oxford Development Company.
Chatham University’s director of sustainability, Dr. Mary Whitney, explains, “Even though Chatham is located outside the boundary of the original Pittsburgh 2030 District, the new District Affiliate program allows Chatham’s commitment and progress toward our carbon neutrality goals.”
Want to learn more and join this growing group?  Contact the Pittsburgh District 2030 by sending email to: Pittsburgh@2030Districts.org.
“Businesses from more than 25 different sectors are joining together to advocate for healthy places,” explains 2030 District Senior Director Angelica Ciranni. “By combining measurable goals with extensive resources and financial opportunities, the District Affiliate program leverages six years of progress, and provides an avenue for everyone to improve their impact.”
In addition to participation by District Affiliates, the official boundaries of the District are expanding yet again.
As one 2030 District with two boundaries in 2017, the addition of the commercial portion of Uptown between the Central Business District and Oakland boundaries creates one contiguous District.
This expansion adds a potential of 77 buildings and 1.1 million square feet eligible to participate as Property Partners.
Click Here for a copy of the report.
For more information, visit the Pittsburgh 2030 District webpage.  Click Here to sign up for their quarterly newsletter.
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Senate Committees Hold Hearing On Flooding, Emergency Response April 25

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committees will hold a joint hearing April 25 on flooding and emergency response.
The hearing will be held in Room 8E-B East Wing of the Capitol Building starting at 9:00.  Hearings are typically webcast on the Senate Environmental Committee webpage.
Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) serves as Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-787-3280 or sending email to: gyaw@pasen.gov.   Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7105 or sending email to: yudichak@pasenate.com.
Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) serves as Majority Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-787-6538 or by sending email to: rvulakovich@pasen.gov.  Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7683 or by sending email to: costa@pasenate.com.
NewsClips:

Lacawac Sanctuary Field Station & EE Center Spring Newsletter Now Available

The Spring newsletter is now available from the Lacawac Sanctuary Field Station and Environmental Education Center in Wayne County featuring articles on--
-- New STEAM Mentoring Education Program For Girls Launched
-- Climate Change Research At Lacawac
-- Lacawac Awards Moeller Research Grants
-- Gov. Wolf Announces Investment In Lacawac Sanctuary STEM Education Center
-- SEEDS To Install Solar Array At Lacawac
-- What’s Happening In Environmental Education At Lacawac
-- Workshops & Ecology Workshop Series
-- Upcoming Environmental Field Trips
-- Farm To Plate Dinner August 11
-- Lacawac Welcomes New Director Of Science & Research Dr. Beth Norman
-- In Memoriam: Lacawac Volunteer John Whitehouse
For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the Lacawac Sanctuary website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates (right panel). Follow on Twitter.  Like on Facebook.   Click Here to support their work.

Op-Ed: As Earth Week Approaches, We Celebrate Our Vibrant, Growing PA Sustainable Agriculture Community


"Whether it's chips, crickets or vegetables, Pennsylvanians are buying more organic food than ever." New data puts Pennsylvania second in the nation for total organic sales (California is first).
Our Executive Director, Hannah Smith-Brubaker, observes state policymakers taking note: “When I visit with legislators, I just can’t believe the change in literacy even from five years ago,” Smith-Brubaker said. “And it can’t just be the farmers. It’s that the consumers are prioritizing it.”
Thinking critically about market access while playing some mean harmonica.
We celebrate the expertise and talents of our vibrant sustainable ag community, which are captured in this short video from this year’s Farming for the Future Conference created by Joe Harrison from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.
For more than a decade, businesses band together to undergird PASA’s mission on Earth Week.
Eleven years ago, Four Seasons Produce of Ephrata, Lancaster County pioneered an important annual fundraising campaign for PASA by donating a portion of their produce sales during Earth Week to us.
Their campaign has raised $250,000 to date!
The following year, Lady Moon Farms significantly grew the campaign by also pledging a portion of their Earth Week sales to PASA. During the past decade, several other businesses have joined the charge.
Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms of Chester County is participating for its ninth year, and two years ago our friends at Kimberton Whole Foods led the ‘retailers charge’ by jumping aboard the program and contributing per case of organics as well.
The PASA community can support this program by shopping at Kimberton during Earth Week (April 15th - 21st), as well as the following natural food retailers, which are also partnering in the program: Weaver’s Way Cooperative, Harvest Market Natural Foods, and East End Food Coop.
“PASA is all of us speaking with one voice. Let’s all show our support during this special week allowing PASA's mission to continue to grow!” says Tom Beddard, owner of Lady Moon Farms. We deeply appreciate the generosity of these businesses and the value they place on building a more sustainable food system.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events to support sustainable farming operations, visit the PA Association For Sustainable Agriculture webpage.
Click Here to find Community Supported Agriculture farms near you courtesy of the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture.
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(Reprinted from the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture website.)

PUC Chairman Brown To Lead National Committee On Critical Infrastructure

Public Utility Commission Chairman Gladys M. Brown has been appointed to lead the Committee on Critical Infrastructure for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
The NARUC Committee on Critical Infrastructure is intended to provide a forum for state regulators to explore and analyze solutions to concerns about utility infrastructure security, reliability and resilience.
The committee also gives state regulators opportunities to share best practices and collaborate, often with federal counterparts. Committee chairs are appointed by the NARUC President for a one-year term and may be reappointed for a maximum of three consecutive terms.
“We are so pleased to welcome Chairman Brown to lead the Committee on Critical Infrastructure,” said NARUC President John Betkoski III. “She brings previous committee and taskforce experience and has the experience required to ensure that our state commissions have access to the tools they need to help ensure that utility critical infrastructures are secure and can recover quickly from natural or manmade disruptions to service.”
Under Chairman Brown’s leadership, the PUC has worked with utilities and other stakeholders to enhance the Commonwealth’s ability to safeguard against and respond to large-scale cyber and physical events.
The Commission also collaborated with Gov. Tom Wolf to host a first-ever statewide “Black Sky” exercise as a mechanism to enhance preparation and coordination for large-scale outages, which could be the result of natural disasters or manmade cyber or physical events.
PUC efforts are focused on fostering greater communication between utilities in different sectors; developing and promoting best practices for mid-size and smaller entities; and integrating other state agencies, emergency responders and non-government organizations (NGOs) in Black Sky planning.
“I am honored to chair the Committee on Critical Infrastructure and I thank President Betkoski and the NARUC Board for this appointment,” said Chairman Brown. “I am looking forward to working collectively with state commissions and utilities across the country to address the challenges and opportunities involving infrastructure security and resilience.”
Chairman Brown began her service as a PUC Commissioner in 2013 and was appointed Chairman in 2015. She was recently unanimously confirmed to serve a second 5-year term, through April 1, 2023, and continues to serve as chair of the Commission.
To learn more, visit NARUC’s Committee on Critical Infrastructure webpage.
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PSECU Reaffirms Commitment To Environmental Sustainability In Recognition Of Earth Day

In recognition of Earth Day, April 22, Pennsylvania’s largest credit union, PSECU, Friday reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability through an environmentally friendly business model, green headquarters facility, and support of conservation-focused community initiatives.
PSECU’s business philosophy focuses on providing products and services electronically, which not only reduces operational costs that can then be returned to members by means of low- and no-fee products and services, but also reduces the credit union’s environmental impact.
“PSECU provides a full array of convenient, electronically delivered services, so unlike other financial institutions, you won’t find a physical PSECU branch on every corner. We’re about giving members account access where it’s most convenient for them – in their living room, on vacation, or at the grocery store,” said PSECU President Greg Smith. “Our members love this model, and it has great benefits for the environment, too – just think of all of the construction materials saved by not building branch offices, paper documents that don’t need to be printed and handed out, and gasoline saved by eliminating frequent trips back and forth to the local branch.”
After outgrowing its old headquarters, PSECU took the opportunity to build a new one that truly embodied its commitment to sustainability.
Following five years of discussion and planning, in 2014, PSECU opened its new, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certified headquarters facility – built from 20 percent recycled components.
Click Here to view a video on the environmentally friendly aspects of the building.
The credit union’s 47-acre Susquehanna Township location also includes large spaces of natural habitat that require no irrigation systems and that encourage local biodiversity.
The new headquarters building resulted in 38.1 percent energy cost savings from the use of a natural gas-powered cogeneration heating and cooling system, incorporates water-conserving plumbing features, captures and treats 90 percent of stormwater runoff, and harnesses natural sunlight for 75 percent of its lighting needs.
It also includes a rooftop garden and nature walking path for employees to enjoy.
Supports Community Projects
Additionally, following the ‘people helping people’ credit union philosophy, PSECU strives to support the betterment of the communities it serves through financial education offerings, employee volunteerism, and corporate sponsorships and giving. These efforts include several eco-friendly ones.
“PSECU’s vision is to be recognized as our members’ trusted financial partner,” said Barb Bowker, PSECU Vice President of Marketing and Membership Development. “To us, that doesn’t only mean providing the highest quality products and services. It also means supporting projects and causes that are important to members and non-members alike – like caring for the environment we all share.”
These projects include--
-- April 21, PSECU will also be sponsoring the 2018 Mechanicsburg Earth Day Festival. Held annually in downtown Mechanicsburg, the one-day event includes live music, workshops, vendors, and children’s activities focused on environmental stewardship.
Specifically, PSECU will fund the event’s secure electronic recycling and paper shredding components, which begin at 9 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church located at 135 W. Simpson Street. Last year’s PSECU-sponsored paper shredding collection brought in between 2,500 and 2,700 pounds of paper for recycling, which saved approximately 13 trees.
-- May 1, PSECU will launch its second annual PSECU Gives Back campaign through which individuals vote to determine one of four nonprofit organizations to receive popular vote-based financial support from the credit union.
This year, one of the four highlighted options will be Pennsylvania Envirothon, an organization that combines in-class curriculum and outdoor training to help students to learn more about aquatic ecology, forestry, soil and land use, wildlife, and current environmental issues to better equip future generations to address complex natural resource concerns.
Additional information about PSECU Gives Back will be available on their Facebook page when the campaign opens.
-- Pennsylvania Recreation & Parks Society (PRPS), the principal statewide association providing professional development, leadership, advocacy, and resources for those working and volunteering in the parks and recreation field, is also a beneficiary of PSECU financial support. As an added benefit, PRPS Friend members are eligible for PSECU membership. Visit psecu.com/join to learn more.
“On behalf of PSECU and our more than 850 employees, it’s my honor to reaffirm our commitment to environmental sustainability,” said Smith. “Working together, we can make positive changes today that ensure a healthy planet can be shared with generations to come.”
(Photo: PSECU LEED Gold Certified headquarters building in Harrisburg.)
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