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EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Week Ending December 11, 2009

PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL IMPROVES ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT THROUGH ENERGY STAR

The Joseph C. Ashkar Elementary School in Hughesville, East Lycoming, Pa. has been recognized by EPA as one of the top 25-percent most energy efficient school buildings nationwide and one of 11 (K-12) Pennsylvania schools to earn the 2009 Energy Star label.  Buildings rated 75 or more qualify for the energy star label.  Ashkar Elementary won a rating of 83 (up from 30 in 2002) mainly by converting to a more energy-efficient lighting system.  Energy Star labeled buildings use nearly 40 percent less energy than average buildings, and emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  To see how schools can become more energy-efficient, go to http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=k12_schools.bus_schoolsk12.

ENERGY STAR BUILDINGS MARK A DECADE OF SAVINGS; THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY IN D.C. EARNS NOTABLE MENTION

This year, EPA celebrated a decade of Energy Star buildings across America and released a publication relating the program's success and popularity in the marketplace.  The Energy Star rated buildings in the report include the National Geographic Society office in Washington, D.C. (earning the label in 2006, 2007, and 2008).  These buildings use less energy, are less expensive to operate, and cause fewer greenhouse gas emissions than non-labeled buildings.  Energy Star label buildings typically use 35 percent less energy and emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than average buildings.  To obtain the publication: http://www.energystar.gov/decade
To learn more about the Energy Star Commercial and Industrial Program: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=business.bus_index

GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMPS NOW QUALIFY FOR THE ENERGY STAR LABEL AND INSTALLERS CAN EARN A FEDERAL TAX CREDIT INCENTIVE

EPA announced that residential geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) now can qualify for the Energy Star label and homeowners who install geothermal heat pumps with the Energy Star label are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit as an incentive.  EPA's stringent new specifications will help protect the environment and reduce energy costs by being up to 45 percent more efficient than conventional pumps. Geothermal heat pumps use ground temperature air instead of outside air to provide heating, cooling and water heating and are among the most efficient technologies in the marketplace.    More information on the heat pumps: http://www.energystar.gov/ghp
More information on the tax credit: http://www.energystar.gov/taxcredits

NEWLY-BUILT WATERSENSE LABELED HOMES ARE MORE WATER EFFICIENT, EASIER TO MAINTAIN

By partnering with EPA's WaterSense program, home builders can provide new home owners with homes built and equipped to earn the new WaterSense label, meeting the program's criteria for water efficiency and performance.  By equipping the new home with WaterSense water-efficient labeled plumbing fixtures, combined with Energy Star qualified appliances, water-efficient landscaping, and a fast hot water delivery system, these newly-built qualified homes can reduce water usage by more than 10,000 gallons per year.  Home owners can save as much as $200 a year on utility bills, since WaterSense labeled new homes are built to be 20 percent more energy efficient than typical new homes.  For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/watersense/spaces/new_homes.html To see the WaterSense new homes specification video, go to http://www.epa.gov/multimedia/playercontents/video/watersense/index.html

EPA PROHIBITS USE OF OZONE DEPLETING REFRIGERANTS TO PROTECT THE EARTH FROM EXCESS RADIATION

EPA announced two final rules to reduce the use of refrigerants such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that can deplete the protective effects of the ozone layer.   A diminished ozone layer allows more radiation to penetrate the Earth, causing health effects such as skin cancer, cataracts, and weakened immune systems. The first rule prohibits use of specific HCFCs in the manufacture of new air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment beginning in 2010. The second rule prohibits sale, distribution, and importation of HFC containing appliances/components manufactured or imported after Jan. 1, 2010. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/rulesoverview.html

EPA ANALYSIS SHOWS DECREASE IN 2008 TOXIC CHEMICAL RELEASES

EPA released its annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) analysis of toxic chemicals used and released by utilities, refineries, chemical manufacturers, and other facilities across the nation, including 650 chemicals from more than 21,000 facilities.  The analysis found that total releases to air decreased 14 percent, and releases to surface water increased 3 percent. Total releases of persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals (PBT's) decreased by 2 percent. Dioxin disposal/releases decreased 77 percent, and lead releases decreased by 2 percent.  For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/tri  For information on a specific facility, go to www.epa.gov/enviro/html/tris/tris_query.html

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