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In This Issue
Planning for Waste and Recycling at the Design and Construction Phase
Solar Thermal Gains Momentum
Did you Know?
Improve Environmental Performance, Reduce Costs

With over 20 years of experience, Great Forest is a leader in sustainability consulting, providing project management expertise to clients nationwide. Services include:

Learn How to Cut Waste Removal Costs by 20% to 50% 

Great Forest is a proud supporter of the nonprofit Blacksmith Institute, which works to clean up life-threatening pollution problems in low and middle income countries.
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Recyclemania Turns Corporate?   

Environmental Leader recently published an article about Great Forest's innovative approach to office recycling --  adapting college campus competitions like Recyclemania for use in corporate locations. 


"Corporate executives are not freshmen but we realized  
we could achieve similar success if we could replicate the same competitive spirit in offices," says Amy Marpman, director of recycling services at Great Forest. "Our corporate version offers the same motivation, but achieves it in slightly different ways."

To date, Great Forest has piloted the corporate challenge model at a number of office buildings and all have shown positive results. Read our ten steps to an effective office recycling challenge.  
-- The Great Forest Team

Planning for Waste and Recycling at the Design and Construction Phase 


Commercial office buildings require an efficient and logistically sound waste and recycling system, yet few development teams plan for it early in the building design and construction process.
As a result, new or newly developed buildings are often faced with limited options when it is time to implement a waste and recycling storage system, and many end up incurring higher costs than necessary. Great Forest has been working to remedy the situation and a few of our clients are starting to see the benefits of being proactive. The new National Cancer Institute in Rockville, MD, is one of them.  


Over the past few months, Great Forest has been working closely with the building's development team on the logistics necessary to install a comprehensive, cost-effective waste and recycling system. This includes calculating the amount of space needed and working out optimal locations to position and store bins and other equipment. 


"It has been very helpful to have Great Forest educate our development team on the most viable options at this vital point in the building process, when changes can still be made," says Misti Hensley, operations manager for JBG Companies, which owns and manages the facility. "As a result, we are now able to make informed decisions about the final building plan knowing all options available for our future waste and recycling needs."


"We are often asked to provide advice after the planning and construction phases are complete," says David Troust, V.P. of business development at Great Forest. "So if the space is not built with a proper understanding of waste and recycling requirements, it may mean that the building has to work with a system that is not as streamlined or as cost-effective as it could have been if we had input into the building development process."


Hensley adds: "By bringing together our sustainability and development teams, we are ensuring that the work we do now will make an important difference for our operations in the future. We already see the cost-savings and will be requesting input for all future development projects."

Solar Thermal Gains Momentum  


There are many reasons to be optimistic about solar power these days, especially solar thermal technology, which uses collectors to capture the heat from the sun to produce hot water.  
Solar thermal in the United States has lagged behind other parts of the world, but new policies and incentives are changing that. New Hampshire and New York now offer financial incentives for solar thermal power, in addition to existing (and growing) incentives for photovoltaic power. 
The state of New Hampshire is the first state to add thermal energy to its renewable energy incentive scheme, enabling solar thermal, geothermal and biomass to fully benefit from the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) incentives. Other states are considering expanding their RPS to include thermal, reports the website
In New York, solar thermal incentives are part of a larger statewide effort to push all solar technologies. "The good news is that New York's era of solar neglect may soon be coming to an end," wrote Elisa Wood in a recent article. "Policymakers, as well as the electric industry, are pressing forward with new ways to build a market and attract large photovoltaic projects." In New York Governor Cuomo's 2012 annual state-of-the-state address in January, he launched the NY-Sun Initiative. Its goal: to quadruple solar power in the state by 2013.


Great Forest's Director of Energy Services Sheila Sweeney notes that "solar thermal can be a great option for mixed-use and hospitality sites looking to meet their cost savings targets without relying solely on traditional fuels." For instance, a well-designed solar thermal installation can help the site save 40-80% of its energy devoted to heating domestic water. This is savings calculated after capturing incentives, which in NY are designed to cover about 20% of the installed cost. Sheila adds, "Even in winter, the water is pre-heated and the backup system is spared some of its workload. The system extends its useful life in this way, and the financial benefits persist in any energy market."

In other parts of the world, solar thermal is the norm. In 1980, Israel became the first country in the world to require solar thermal systems and solar panel installation in new construction. In Israel today, 85% of households use solar thermal. Spain and Australia adopted mandatory regulation for solar thermal systems for new construction in 2006.



  • New York's solar incentives are offered through NYSERDA, the state's energy development agency.  
  • Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun Initiative 

Did You Know... The U.S. Disposes of over $11.4 Billion in Packaging (Most of Which Could Be Recycled)   


A new report by the non-profit As You Sow finds that responsibility for post-consumer packaging is emerging as an important public policy issue in the U.S. The report, entitled Unfinished Business: The Case for Extended Producer Responsibility for Post-Consumer Packaging, estimates the market value of landfilled packaging at $11.4 billion in 2010.


Packaging comprises more than 40% of the solid waste stream, and most of these materials are recyclable. For instance, only 12.1% of plastic packaging is recycled in the U.S., in part because municipal recycling programs are not capable of handling diverse plastic packaging materials. Responsibility for end-of-life packaging management should be shifted from municipalities and taxpayers to the producers, urges the report, and cites examples of companies starting to manage their own packaging waste such as Starbucks and Stonyfield Yogurt.  


At least 47 countries currently have extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations in place for packaging materials, and EPR is already common in the U.S. for obsolete electronics. An estimated 65 million computers and 130 million mobile phones are discarded in the U.S. annually. In response, 23 states have adopted EPR laws and technology companies like Apple, Dell, and HP are assuming financial responsibility for selected waste electronics. 



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