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earth energy Group inquires why PCBs banned in 1979 are in most Schools, Hospitals and Offices

eeS Group encourages you to also read the related articles below.  Knowledge prepares us to make wise decisions for ourselves, those around us and our Children / Future Leaders

News Release
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
New England Regional Office
September 12, 2012

Contact: EPA Public Affairs, (617) 918-1010

EPA Settlement with UMASS Amherst Resolves PCB Violations and Requires Cleanup of PCB Contamination at a Building on Campus

(Boston—September 12, 2012) EPA and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMASS) have reached a settlement that will resolve violations of federal polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) regulations at the Lederle Graduate Research Center.

After completing a $4 million dollar caulk decontamination project in 2009, UMASS discovered that the window glazing at the Lederle Graduate Research Center was contaminated with high levels of PCBs.  Further sampling of the window glazing revealed PCBs at concentrations of 50 ppm or greater , which are levels not authorized for use under the PCB regulations.. The long-term remedy called for in this settlement requires replacing and disposing of all 900 PCB-contaminated windows currently installed at the Research Center, at a cost of about $3 million dollars. The long-term project is expected to take fifteen years, and will allow UMASS to plan for and incorporate this capital expense into other building upgrade projects.

To reduce the likelihood of unsafe exposure to PCBs while the long-term project is taking place, EPA has approved an interim plan to encapsulate the contaminated window glazing.  The settlement also requires a comprehensive long-term monitoring and reporting plan. That plan requires UMASS to take annual surface wipe and air samples, address any exceedances of cleanup levels, and report results.  The cost of implementing the interim measures is about $560,000. The settlement agreement also includes a $75,000 civil penalty that will be waived if both the long term remediation plan and interim encapsulation plan are completed.

With limited exceptions, PCBs are no longer manufactured, but may be present in products and materials produced before the 1979 PCB ban. These compounds are persistent in the environment. PCBs have been demonstrated to cause cancer, as well as a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.   Some buildings built or renovated between 1950 and the late 1970’s still contain PCBs.  Although the PCB regulations allow certain uses of PCBs to continue, they do not permit the continued use of PCBs in caulk or window glazing if the PCBs are present in concentrations of 50 ppm or greater.  If identified, these materials must be removed. EPA enforces the PCB regulations through the Toxic Substances Control Act.
To learn more about PCBs visit: http://www.epa.gov/pcbs.

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earth energy Group commends Electrical Safety – What OSHA Will Ask

REPOST by our valued Associate and Author Ralph Carito, Total Environmental & Safety.

When it comes to OSHA standards, they can be technical and confusing, especially electrical standards. Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what OSHA inspectors are trained to ask and look for during an electrical inspection?

A good starting point is to understand OSHA’s approach to electrical safety. OSHA’s goals are to ensure that employers identify electrical hazards, both potential and actual, and have sound procedures in place to eliminate the hazards, such as Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout) procedures, working with live circuits procedures, energized work permit procedures, and employee training programs. A more recent area of emphasis for OSHA is arc flash safety, which means employers must analyze their workplace for shock and arc flash hazards and establish safe protection boundaries and define required personal protective equipment (PPE).

For electrical safety in the workplace, OSHA relies on expert consensus bodies such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and its standards published in NFPA 70E. To ensure that employers are following OSHA standards and NFPA guidelines, OSHA trains its inspectors and compliance officers to ask specific questions during an inspection. Below are some typical questions asked during an electrical safety inspection:

Do you have a facility description and/or diagram of the electrical circuits and equipment?

OSHA expects employers to know their workplaces. If an employer cannot provide a written description or drawing of the electrical circuits and equipment, then the inspector will most likely assume that the employer has not assessed the facility for electrical hazards.

Do you have a detailed job procedure for performing electrical work, and have employees been trained on your procedures and applicable OSHA standards?

OSHA wants employers to make electrical safety part of the company culture and regular work process. The only way this happens is if detailed user-friendly procedures have been developed and implemented, and employees have been trained. I’m not saying this is all it will take, but, these are the first steps.

Several NFPA 70E annexes offer guidelines for the development of electrical safety procedures. For example, Annex E covers electrical safety programs, Annex F covers hazard risk evaluation procedures, Annex I covers job briefing checklists, and Annex J covers energized work permits.

Do any employees work on live electrical circuits? If so, can you justify why equipment couldn’t be de-energized or the job deferred until the next scheduled outage?

OSHA says that energized electrical circuits that an employee may be exposed to must be de-energized before the employee works on them, unless the employer can demonstrate that de-energizing introduces additional or increased hazards, or is not feasible due to equipment design or operational limitations, in which case, other safety precautions must be utilized to protect the worker. Therefore, never work on live circuits unless it is absolutely necessary. If you do allow work to be done on live circuits the reason shouldn’t be simply because turning off the power is inconvenient or will interrupt production. Nor should workers use the excuse that they didn’t have the authority to shut off power.

It’s important to note, that NFPA 70E requires an Electrical Hazard Analysis be completed before work is performed on live equipment operating at 50 volts and higher, as discussed in the next question.

Do you need and have you done an Electrical Hazard Analysis, Shock Hazard Analysis, and Arc Flash Hazard Analysis?

As mentioned earlier, when it comes to electrical safety, OSHA refers to NFPA 70E, which requires employers to conduct an Electrical Hazard Assessment consisting of a Shock Hazard Analysis and an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis before work is performed on live equipment operating at 50 volts and higher.

These requirements may be fairly complex, as they involve calculating the potential fault current at each circuit and piece of equipment and understanding the characteristics of the overcurrent protective devices. Complex or not, in the eyes of OSHA, these assessments are essential to reducing the number of arc flash-related deaths and injuries that occur each year.

Did you establish flash protection boundaries?

NFPA 70E has established Shock and Flash Boundaries to reduce the risk of injury to workers due to shock and arc flash hazards. There are four (4) distinct boundaries; limited approach boundary, restricted approach boundary, prohibited approach boundary, and flash protection boundary. The boundaries are determined based on information gathered during the above-referenced hazard analyses, and have different requirements for each. Each boundary is based on the voltage of the energized circuit and/or equipment.

It is important to note that circuits and equipment are considered live when checking for voltage, even if checking to ensure that circuits and equipment have been properly de-energized and, therefore, boundary requirements apply.

Understanding the hazard and the use of appropriate PPE are key to preventing electrical related injuries. OSHA requires employees who work in areas where there are potential electrical hazards to be provided with electrical PPE that is appropriate for the tasks being performed. Of course, the employee must also be made to ware the PPE.

This is no small undertaking, first the employer must facilitate the workers’ understanding of the PPE required for each specific task. Second, employers must select the appropriate PPE to be worn for each potential hazard. Third, the employer must train workers in safety procedures and practices, and in particular, how to match the PPE to the type and magnitude of the electrical hazard. And finally, employers must determine, through regular supervision and inspections conducted annually, that each employee is complying with the employers’ safety procedures and applicable OSHA standards.

Ralph Carito, Total Environmental & Safety, LLC


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earth energy Solutions Group congratulates Georgia Force for movement to Change the World

Although we are seeing a relatively steady growth of businesses, organizations and individuals taking ‘energy efficiency’ seriously, seeing the Georgia Force take it to the next level is very rewarding and a sign of the times (exposing the benefits to very large groups of people, no fear of educating them to save money).

Watching the Georgia Force walk their talk through action is honorable and makes it easier for other groups to follow suit.  Encourage others to do so today; don’t wait… CSea

earth energy Solutions Group, proud Partner of the EPA’s Energy Star Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2012

EPA and the Georgia Force Encourage Metro Atlanta to Take the Change the World with ENERGY STAR®“Pledge

Contact Information: EPA: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov
Georgia Force: Corey Remillard, (770) 609-1312, cremillard@georgiaforce.com

ATLANTA — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the Georgia Force, collected Change the World with ENERGY STAR® pledges at the Georgia Force Arena Football game in the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth GA.  The Georgia Force pledge drive urged attendees to make a change with ENERGY STAR® by challenging them to take simple steps to save energy, which can help save money and protect the climate.

As part of the event, EPA Regional Administrator, Gwen Keyes Fleming was designated the honorary captain of the team and performed the coin toss on the field at this televised game (126 Charter, 248 Comcast and MeTV)..  EPA staffed Change the World tables in the concourse and took pledges.  At halftime a drawing from the pledges determined the winner of a signed football.

“In recognition of the 20th Anniversary of ENERGY STAR®, we want the metro area to know that saving energy not only helps save money and the environment, but it can also be a lot of fun,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator, Gwen Keyes Fleming. “We’re excited to broadcast this important message as a service to our community.”

About ENERGY STAR

Launched in 1992 by EPA, ENERGY STAR is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks ENERGY STAR’s 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from ENERGY STAR, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. To date, more than 1.3 million new homes and nearly 16,500 buildings across all 50 states have earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification. The ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 63 different kinds of products with more than 5 billion sold over the past 20 years. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

Americans can take the “Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR” pledge. The pledge is a way for individuals to commit to taking action on energy efficiency in their homes and daily activities such as switching to more efficient lighting, choosing ENERGY STAR products, sealing and insulating homes, and using power management features on home computers and monitors.  For more information on the pledge: http://www.energystar.gov/changetheworld

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earth energy Group does building benchmarking and more to save you money

Responsible Steps Achieve Reduced Energy Spend

earth energy Solutions GROUP is doing the ‘grunt’ work most small businesses do not have the time or resources to devote; specifically related to the facilities within your organizations. We use Energy Star Portfolio Manager which is free to all businesses in the US (Canada by next year)

However, we are finding that ~6,000 buildings are Energy Star quality of the billions of office space in the US.  Many that have come to us for assistance simply do not know the alternatives available to them and don’t really want to figure it out themselves.

Compare the cost to take on the Portfolio Manager in-house vs. outsourcing to experienced Energy Specifiers, like earth energy Solutions GROUP or another highly skilled ESCO.  Regardless, you have a choice and need to act upon it urgently to mitigate rising energy spend.

  • Obtain Reliable Accurate Data from every Utility
  • Recover any billing errors and future savings from Utilities
  • Bid out Energy Efficiency Solutions, equipment and services
  • Guaranteed Energy Savings
  • Financing options, rebates and incentives
  • CO2 Reduction, improved Carbon Footprint
  • Extended Energy Management, Proper, Safe Recycling

energy efficiency reduced energy spend


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earth energy Group congratulates Washington State School Teachers graded A+ for Environmental Excellence

Great Teachers bring positive environmental resultsWhite House Grades Washington State School Teachers “A+” for Environmental Excellence

Contact: Mark MacIntyre, EPA/Seattle, 206-553-7302, macintyre.mark@epa.gov; Sally Hanft, EPA Region 10 PIAEE Coordinator, Seattle, 206-553-1207, hanft.sally@epa.gov

(Seattle, WA- June 20, 2012) Mike Town, a Redmond High School teacher, is one of 18 teachers selected nationwide to receive the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. Mr. Town and Susan Milan, a South Whidbey Elementary School teacher from Langley, Washington (honorable mention winner), will be recognized tonight at E3 Washington’s “Summer Evening Celebration” at McKinstry Innovation Center (210 South Hudson St) in Seattle.

Mr. Town and Ms. Milan were selected for “their demonstrated excellence in preparing classes with an environmental focus that reflected real-life community challenges and created a powerful bond between their students and the natural world.”

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes and supports urban and rural educators who use experiential environmental opportunities to help students develop a sense of civic responsibility and stewardship in ecosystems. The prestigious award is bestowed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Mr.. Town and Ms. Milan get ‘gold stars’ for preparing future generations of environmental stewards,” said Kate Kelly, Director of EPA’s Office of Ecosystems, Tribal and Public Affairs in Seattle. “In addition to being inspiring leaders, these educators have made learning about the environment interesting and fun.”

Nationally, this year’s winning teachers’ programs ranged from field studies in watershed and wetland science in New England to the study of clean energy sources in Colorado and ocean and climate science in Texas, forest ecology and trout studies in the Pacific Northwest and water resource management projects in the desert.

For more about the other winners: http://www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward/winners.html

More information about this program: http://www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward

For more about E3 Washington: http://www.e3washington.org/


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earth energy Group congratulates Lizanne Cox and 19 other Teachers

News Release
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
New England Regional Office
June 1, 2012

Contact: EPA Public Affairs, (617) 918-1010

Environmental Education Award Presented to New Haven Teacher

(New Haven, Conn. – June 1, 2012) – EPA presented Lizanne Cox, an English teacher at Common Ground Charter High School, with a “Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators.”

Common Ground High School is a charter school in New Haven, Conn. founded in 1998 with ecology as its organizing theme. Liz Cox arrived at the school in 1999 as an English teacher and quickly demonstrated that the local environment can be a powerful context for challenging, authentic, meaningful learning.

Ms. Cox is one of only 20 teachers nationwide who has been selected to receive this prestigious Presidential award.  Along with the award recognition, Ms. Cox is receiving $2,000 to advance her professional development in environmental education. To further support the award winning teachers, each teacher’s school will also receive a $2,000 award to fund environmental education activities and programs that support the teacher.

Since 1999, Ms. Cox has been an integral member of the Common Ground charter school’s teaching staff and has helped develop environmentally-themed courses which are at the heart of school’s curriculum. She has brought exceptional knowledge and passion to issues including food security, food banks, urban farms – and used these topics to help her students understand the many interconnected issues surrounding our environment and their lives.

Ms. Cox’s courses have connected the places and issues that are most relevant to low-income city kids of color. At the same time, Ms. Cox is adept at mixing place-based, hands-on learning with the highest academic standards. Every day, her classroom work proves that urban environmental education can be as rigorous as anything taught in any school in the country.  Her courses have become core parts of the school’s curriculum. Ms. Cox’s work has also created dramatic student achievement educational results. Over the last several years, Ms. Cox has taken on increasingly important roles at the Common Ground charter school, including Dean of Student Affairs and now as School Director.

“EPA is very pleased to present this exceptional teacher with recognition for her decades of hard work and innovation in helping young people gain the skills and knowledge to make a lasting difference in their lives and community,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

More information on how EPA supports environmental education:  http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/

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Resemble the best of the best in reduced energy spend through eeS Group

What would your business do with a sudden 10% reduction in their energy bill?  How about a 30% reduction?

EnergyStar_2012_Best_Practices_Award

CLICK the link above to view the Awards Presentation and see the practical ways your business can join the elite by reducing their energy spend to support their own sustainability while defending the environment.

ENTER a comment below if you wish to be considered as eligible for the Earth Month special free energy analysis of your business.

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