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The USDA and DOE have joined forces to the tune of $30 million over three to four years that will support research and development for advanced biofuels, bioenergy, and biobased products under the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI).

The DOE has announced EcoCAR 2: Plugging into the Future, a three-year collegiate engineering competition that is designed to reduce the environmental impact of an existing vehicle without compromising safety, performance, and consumer acceptability.

The EPA has announced the 2011 ENERGY STAR winners that have demonstrated leadership and commitment to protecting America’s health and environment through energy efficiency. 111 ENERGY STAR partners have been selected - manufacturers, retailers, public schools, real estate companies, home builders, and hospitals.


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced a May 2011 release for AIA Document D503-2011, Guide for Sustainable Projects, including Agreement Amendments and Supplementary Conditions (“Guide”).


A new study published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy shows that the addition of alumina nanoparticles can improve the performance and combustion of biofuel.  These nano-enhanced biofuels also come with the added benefit of producing fewer emissions.


New survey results from Staples Advantage, the B2B division of Staples, Inc., suggest that having a fully stocked office kitchen complete with food, coffee, and amenities can lead to more productive employees.


The DOE and the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) are signing a Memorandum of Understanding to promote collaboration on sustainable clean energy technologies, building on ties between the U.S. and Qatar.


The EPA has announced updated standards for lighting and light fixtures to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label.  The new standards will go into effect October 1, 2011, and will require ENERGY STAR label light fixtures to increase efficiency 30% above currently qualified fluorescent based fixtures.


Clanton & Associates has announced the results of a six-month study analyzing the value and energy savings of lighting control systems and technologies in standard commercial office retrofit projects.  The overall findings are significant, showing that wireless lighting control systems offer greater energy and cost savings compared to conventional localized and centralized lighting control system options.


A new polymer-based solar-thermal device is the first to generate power from both heat and visible sunlight, which could have significant cost reduction applications for both homes and facilities.


The EPA has updated rules that will make it easier for manufacturers to sell fuel conversion systems.  These conversion systems typically allow vehicles to run with alternative fuels, allowing energy security, fuel cost, and emissions needs to be dealt with sustainably with an eco-friendly focus.


‘Oak Flame 2011’ is an upcoming unusual fire safety experiment that will be conducted by researchers and students from Virginia Tech and Virginia Western Community College.


U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” challenge, designed to give start-up companies the opportunity to utilize and license revolutionary technology developed by national laboratories for $1000.

BUILDINGS is excited to be rolling out a new online exclusive – Ask BUILDINGS, where industry experts,  professionals, and anyone else can submit questions and queries to the BUILDINGS editorial staff! 

Global clean energy finance and investment grew 30% in 2010 to $243 billion, according to new research by The Pew Charitable Trusts.


The EPA has released an updated web data and mapping tool to assist the public.  The tool is designed to help with water quality comparisons as well as identify facilities that are violating the Clean Water Act.


A two-year energy audit of Hamilton schools (Canada) has identified energy conservation methods that could reduce energy costs by approximately $2.4 million annually.  This audit, conducted by faculty and students at McMaster University, could benefit and apply to other schools and facilities.


Scientists in Brazil have developed a way to use fibers from pineapples, bananas, and other plants in a new generation of automotive plastics that are stronger, lighter, and more “green” than plastics now in use.  The technology was described at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

  ASHRAE is studying the impact of non-western fashions, such as burqas or saris, and the effect on thermal comfort levels.
A Binghamton University computer scientist has received a National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program grant for $448,641 for development of green programming that could affect everything from smartphones to facility data centers.

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