WASTECON gets greener

The Solid Waste Association of North America has joined the Chicago Climate Exchange to help offset greenhouse gas emissions created during its WASTECON 2007 show in Reno. SWANA purchased credits from the Lancaster County (Pa.) Solid Waste Authority's landfill gas projects. According to executive director and CEO John Skinner, SWANA plans to buy offset credits for all of its events this year as well.

Tools to fight terror

The National Rural Transit Assistance Program has released The Threat and Vulnerability Toolbox, an interactive DVD to help transit managers assess threats and hazards, and develop emergency response plans. It is designed to help managers identify essential assets, assess risks, develop plans to reduce the likelihood and impact of risks, and establish protocols for managing critical incidents. The DVD is available through state DOT offices.

Avoid underground utility disasters

According to the Common Ground Alliance—an organization geared toward promoting safety of underground utilities—a utility is damaged once every 60 seconds. To that end, the group offers its Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT), a free online method to help prevent damage and injury from underground utility incidents. To learn more or access the Web-based software, visit www.cga-dirt.com.

Illinois sets a safe precedent


Thanks to a near-unanimous vote, Illinois streets soon will be safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

The state's House and Senate overwhelmingly voted to adopt a “complete streets” law, which requires the Illinois DOT to include safe areas for walkers and bike riders in all new projects in urban areas beginning Aug. 1.

“In the past, the state was prompted by death or injury to correct unsafe conditions on a given project,” says Randy Neufeld, chief strategy officer for the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. “This law requires projects to be built correctly the first time, which will save taxpayers money and protect people.”

The vote, which overrides Gov. Rod Blagojevich's veto, makes the Land of Lincoln the first state to adopt a complete-streets law since the movement first took hold in 2003.

San Francisco to get greener

Buildings & Facilities

If Mayor Gavin Newsom gets his way, San Francisco will start LEEDing the way in cities with green building requirements.

In December, Newsom put forth an ordinance that would require commercial and large residential projects to attain LEED certification, giving San Francisco the most stringent green building requirements in the nation.

“It's time to tackle global warming and climate change on all fronts,” he says. “By proposing these strict green-building standards, we're saying enough is enough.”

If approved, the ordinance will require new projects of more than 25,000 square feet (or 75 feet high) to meet base-level LEED requirements. Large commercial projects would be required to attain LEED Silver certification in 2009, and Gold certification starting in 2010.

While the changes potentially add to the cost of new projects, Newsom says the requirements would reap the following benefits between now and 2012:

  • Saving 100 million gallons of drinking water
  • Reducing waste- and stormwater by 90 million gallons
  • Cutting construction and demolition waste by 700 million pounds.

The ordinance is based on recommendations of a yearlong, 10-member task force, which included engineers, architects, construction contractors, and property developers.