Most Clicked SmartBrief on Sustainability Stories


1. Self-healing concrete an emerging technology

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 26, 2015

Researchers are using skin as a model and trying to develop concrete that can repair itself. The process could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and delays during construction. Researchers at the University of Cambridge are developing a microcapsule that can deliver "first aid" to concrete. University of Cardiff researchers are developing a different self-healing process. PhysOrg.com (03/24)


2. BP joins corporate exodus from ALEC

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 24, 2015

BP has given up its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative legislation mill and lobbying group that opposes initiatives to address climate change. While BP says its exit was due to economic factors, a slew of other firms -- including Yahoo, Facebook, Occidental Petroleum and Northrop Grumman -- have also quit ALEC in recent months amid concerns over its stance on environmental and other issues. Guardian (London), The (03/23) National Journal (03/23)


3. Report: 100% of Costa Rica's electricity comes from renewable sources

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 24, 2015

Costa Rica has been acquiring 100% of its total energy needs from renewable sources, including wind, for at least 75 days, according to a recent report. The Dutch-owned island of Bonaire, off of Venezuela, is also looking to achieve 100% renewable energy operation in the near future. Quartz (03/23)


4. Data could be the answer to grocers' food wastage

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 26, 2015

Washington state startup WISErg has raised $11 million in venture funding to support its development of a data-based approach to reducing food waste in the retail sector. WISErg says its data tools could reduce waste by about 10%, putting a dent in the 10 pounds of food that grocers currently waste for every $1,000 of revenue. Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model), The (03/24)


5. "Passive" construction could help NYC reduce energy use

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 27, 2015

New York City developers are beginning to embrace "passive house" construction standards, which are designed to maintain comfortable temperatures without powered heating or cooling systems. Passive-standard homes use a quarter as much energy overall, potentially allowing New York to dramatically reduce building-related energy use. "If everybody starts doing this, the effect on the environment will be just so significant," said Michael Ingui of Baxt Ingui Architects. New York Times (tiered subscription model), The (03/27)


6. Give Wal-Mart's green marketing efforts a chance

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 24, 2015

Wal-Mart's Sustainability Leaders eco-label isn't perfect, but it's a worthy attempt to get suppliers to take sustainability seriously, writes Joel Makower. "It's a noble effort that just might make a difference -- something that, to date, green marketing simply has failed to do," he writes. GreenBiz.com (03/23)


7. The case against fossil-fuel divestment

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 25, 2015

Divesting from fossil fuels might sound like a good idea, but it's actually a strategy that could backfire, writes Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. It's better to maintain investments in fossil-fuel companies and leverage that ownership stake to encourage responsible business practices, he argues. "Our responsibility is not to heed the catchiest slogan, but to make the most difference," he writes. Guardian (London), The (03/25)


8. Flexible solar panels provide renewable energy anywhere

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 24, 2015

Solar Cloth Co. manufactures lightweight and flexible solar panels that users can fit onto many types of structures, including domes, as well as roofs that cannot support traditional solar panels. The company uses thin film photovoltaics, a product lightweight enough to work on plastics. The panels weigh 80% less than traditional glass solar panels but produce 15% less power and cost twice as much. Guardian (London), The (03/22)


9. 5 ways to save Europe's forests

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 25, 2015

The EU needs to get serious about protecting its woodlands, European forestry researchers write. Better planning is needed to ensure forests' resilience, to encourage carbon sequestration and to adapt to the growing demand for biomass as an energy source. "Europe's forestry community needs to implement a sustainable management strategy to secure its woodlands, and their ecosystem services, for future generations," they write. Nature (free content) (03/25)


10. Opinion: It's time to get real about the cost of fossil fuels

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 24, 2015

The Interior Department should start factoring the social cost of carbon emissions into the pricing it uses to calculate royalties due from coal mined on public land, write former government officials David Hayes and James Stock. "The greenhouse gas burden from coal taken from government lands can no longer be ignored," they argue. New York Times (tiered subscription model), The (03/24)




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