The field of 14 startups participating in the America’s Next Top Energy Innovator challenge has been narrowed down to the three winners.  Americans chose the top innovators by casting nearly half a million votes online from January to February, with an expert panel conducting a separate review on the potential economic and societal contributions from the startup companies.


The EPA has recognized two DoD facilities with the Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) award for utilizing CHP technology to generate clean, efficient, and reliable thermal energy.  The U.S. Army Garrison Fort Bragg, NC, and the U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, CA, were both presented with the award.


Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed a hybrid solar cell that could increase the maximum efficiency of solar panels by 25% or more.  The research detailing these potential energy gains was published today in Nano Letters.


The U.S Department of Labor has released a comprehensive guide to assist women in finding and keeping green jobs.  Why Green is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career launched today and is available in its entirety for free in both PDF and HTML form on the Department of Labor website at http://www.dol.gov/wb/Green_Jobs_Guide/.


Green electricity technology may be getting a significant boost from another green source: Plants.  Barry D. Bruce, professor of biochemistry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is adding new meaning to the term “power plant.”  Bruce and a team of researchers have developed a system that utilizes the photosynthetic process to produce inexpensive and efficient green energy.


In the facility manager’s ideal world, every building would be built like a fortress to withstand any emergency.  In reality, construction costs can be significant and engineers “build to code.”   Meeting minimal safety codes can result in situations that provide minimum comfort and protection when disaster strikes.


Electric vehicle owners and enthusiasts can now utilize GreenCharge on their iOS devices.  GreenChagre allows users to view battery data in real time and calculate and share the monetary benefits gleaned from electric vehicle usage.  GreenCharge launches today on all applicable iOS platforms.


Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, are developing a low-cost smart paint that can detect faults at the microscopic level in structures such as wind turbines, mines, and bridges before any damage occur.

Disaster stories in construction abound: unfinished homes and buildings, blown budgets, lawsuits and contractors fleeing the state. True story: a potential client came to me after receiving an anonymous packet on their front doorstep after they had hired a contractor, containing 200 pages of his nefarious crimes: his restraining orders, lawsuits and judgments

While many industry veterans continue to ride out the recession, Caterpillar Inc. has posted a record increase in sales and revenues for 2011 – Their largest percentage increase in any year since 1947.  Caterpillar has stated a figure of $60.138 billion, an increase of 41% from $42.588 billion in 2010.  How did they do it?  The percentage increase was largely driven by demand for products and services outside the United States.

As facility managers and building owners plunge into the New Year, green and sustainable trends can be analyzed to help lay out an effective plan for 2012.  Even if you’re not planning sustainable redesigns or developments for your properties this year, it can be valuable to keep up with the green world.

In the south, there may not be months of ice and snow, but there is still a transitional period from winter to spring. Turf and other plant material are coming out of the shorter, cooler days and need attention. Check out these tips to maintain your facility’s landscape during these months.


Before you know it, spring will be here, and the best way to get a jump on spring landscape maintenance is to start planning now. Check out these tips for your facility or building on two important landscape maintenance components: mulching and pruning.


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), coordinator of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, is supporting an interoperable smart grid for the United States. Ranking among the Obama Administration's top priorities for the nation, the smart grid is a planned nationwide network that integrates information and communication technologies, enabling two-way flows of energy and communications to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably, and securely.


Thirty-six people are being recognized by ASHRAE for their contributions to the Society and the building industry at the Society’s 2012 Winter Conference held Jan. 21-25.


The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the first step toward manufacturing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the United States.  Through the draft Funding Opportunity Announcement announced today, the Department will establish cost-shared agreements with private industry to support the design and licensing of SMRs.


 The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) today released its 2011 list of top 10 states for LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita, based on the U.S. 2010 Census information. The District of Columbia leads the nation, with more than 31 square feet of LEED-certified space per person in 2011, with Colorado being the leading state, with 2.74 square feet per person in 2011.


Earth Advantage Institute has announced its annual prediction of 10 green building trends to watch for 2012.  Utilizing information and discussion with policymakers, builders, developers, architects, real estate brokers, appraisers, lenders, and homeowners these predictions are an interesting top level view of a continually developing field.  While many of these trends deal with homeowners, facility managers and building owners may be able to pull relevant takeaways from shifts in the green game.


The GO Group is converting all or part of their airport shuttle fleets to alternative fuel.  Serving San Fransciso International, Seattle-Tacoma International, Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Puerto Rico's Luis Munoz Marin International, these fleets are moving to compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane.


Comprehensive greenhouse gas data reported directly from large facilities across the United States is now available through the EPA’s GHG Reporting Program.  The data available from 2010 features information from facilities in nine industry groups, with over 6,700 facilities included.