Insulation Facts

Boosting attic insulation gives you the most value for your dollar. Shoot for a rating well above the recommended minimum of R-22. Seven inches of fiberglass or rock wool insulation and 6 inches of cellulose insulation are equal to an R-value of 22. While you’re at it, insulate your hot water heater. Precut “blankets” are available at home improvement stores and are easy to install on electric heaters.

Adding insulation can cost up to $1,800, and could reduce your heating and cooling bills by more than $100 a year. Water-tank insulation wraps cost between $10 and $20, reduce heat loss by 25 to 45 percent and will save you about $23 a year. To save even more, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, to between 115 and 120 degrees. This can reduce your water-heating expense by another 3 percent.

The Latest in Biomass Energy

Recent Bioenergy advancements include:

* converting wastes such as restaurant grease to high-quality diesel fuels
* diesel blending stocks that can operate at low temperatures
* techniques for combustion of difficult, high ash, low melting point agricultural residues
* a “Super-7” set of guidelines for improving industrial boiler efficiency and reducing emissions
* anaerobic digestion processes for the pulp and paper industry
* testing of microturbines and Stirling engines with liquid and gaseous biofuels

Why You Should Green Up Your Meetings

The following activities associated with meetings and conferences are major sources of waste and pollution.

* Marketing of Event and Registration—Paper waste associated with direct mailings among organizers, speakers, attendees, and venues.
* Travel to the Event—Greenhouse gases and other pollutants released via planes, trains, buses, and automobiles.
* Hotel Stays—Water usage associated with laundering; indoor air quality issues associated with building materials and cleaning products; paper, plastic, and material waste associated with single-use toiletries.
* Food Services—Waste from disposable coffee cups, plates, napkins, and plastic-ware; disposal of extra food; non-sustainable farming practices.
* Exhibition Halls—Landfill disposal of carpet; greenhouse gas emissions from shipping; waste from excess information materials and giveaways.
* Local Transportation—Greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants released from taxis or rental cars.
Bringing people together for meetings, often for multiple days at a time, can create a “host” of environmental impacts—from the smog and greenhouse gas emissions associated with air and ground travel to the paper, plastic, and food waste associated with feeding attendees.

* Did you know that in Fiscal Year 2000, the federal government spent more than $9 billion on travel for mission-related business around the world?
* Did you know that 93,000 federal employees are traveling on any given business day to 8,000 locations across the country?
* Did you know that federal travelers use 24 million room nights of hotel space in the United States annually?
* Did you know that an average hotel purchases more products in a week than 100 families purchase in an entire year?