LEED v 4, a “quantum leap” for green building

11/20/2013 § 3 Comments

By:  Kayleen Glaser, LEED Tools, Processes, and University Standards Intern

Today is a special day for green building nerds everywhere because it marks the kickoff of the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, a gathering which will bring together more than 30,000 architects, builders, facility managers, educators and green innovators from all over the world.  Even more excitingly, today the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) premieres the newest LEED rating system, LEED v 4.

First, for those unfamiliar with LEED, let me give you a quick run-down:  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a framework the US Green Building Council developed in 1998 to help building owners identify and implement green building solutions.  LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based, national certification system aimed at producing high-performance, sustainable buildings.  It is a point-based rating system and offers four progressive certification levels:  certified, silver, gold, and platinum.  Until LEED v 4, LEED buildings were evaluated on and earned credits in five main credit categories:  (1) Sustainable Sites; (2) Water Efficiency; (3) Energy and Atmosphere; (4) Materials and Resources; and (5) Indoor Environmental Quality.   Every few years, the USGBC premieres a new rating system to reflect market changes and innovations in the green building industry.   « Read the rest of this entry »

How Does Climate Change Impact Endangered Species?

11/20/2013 § 1 Comment

By Christopher Round

We all know the story about how polar bears could go extinct since their habitat is melting from global warming, but most people don’t realize that inherently this is what is happening to species worldwide. You see, most species have a specific niche carved out in their ecosystem. Some species don’t have a very specialized niche, like how deer will eat just about any plant they can fit in their mouth. Other species can be extremely specialized, such as insects that only pollinate one or two flowers. By changing the temperature a few degrees, it impacts the conditions that are most favorable for different species. While changing your thermostat a few degrees in your might not feel like much of a change, for species around the world such warming will have serious impacts.

Take for instance reptiles. The determination of whether most reptiles will be male or female is based on temperature. As climate change makes the earth warmer, there could species of reptiles wiped out due to imbalances in the number of males and females. This actually particularly dangerous to sea turtles, who historically lay their eggs in the same places generation after generation. Changes in temperatures will change the distribution of species as well.

Many species will just shift where they live to cope with changing temperatures. Some species however won’t be able to do that. Species that live on islands or at specific altitudes in mountain ranges could eventually become trapped. Even species on the mainland continents could run across barriers preventing migration. Species like the Florida Key Deer may no longer have a habitat, and the entire species would have to be literally moved onto the mainland.

So how does climate change impact endangered species? It really depends on what species we are talking about, as some may simply migrate to new habitats. Others however could be trapped, with either their habitat going underwater or their desired ecosystem disappearing and out of their reach. Some are worse off, as the temperature changes will happen too quickly for them to adapt. This all means that conservation biologists in the 21st century have their work cut out for them.

The Sycamore Land Trust

11/19/2013 § 1 Comment

By Sarah Baulac, Education and Research Intern

This morning I had the opportunity to listen to Christian Freitag, Executive Director of the Sycamore Land Trust, talk about his career and the non-profit in my Law and Public Affairs class.

The Sycamore Land Trust is a non-profit based right here in Bloomington (cool!). Their main mission is to conserve land in Southern Indiana. The organization began in 1990 and has since acquired over 8,000 acres. « Read the rest of this entry »

Free Clothes!!

11/17/2013 § 2 Comments

By Heather Oslund, Hoosier to Hoosier Coordinator

Where you ask? At a clothing swap!


We all have those super cute outfits that just don’t quite fit right anymore or never did because sweet Aunt Nellie can’t quite tell the difference between a 6 and a 16. We can always take them to Goodwill or donate to Hoosier to Hoosier in the spring but when they’re just so darn cute, it’s sometimes easier to part with them if you know they’re going to a good home, like to a friend!

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Stay Social

11/11/2013 § 3 Comments

By: Audrey Brinkers, Campus Garden Coordination Intern

David Sutton, a professor of anthropology at Southern Illinois University, spoke to my class about food culture on a small island in Greece, discussing the way the people of the island use food as a means of remembering.  Sutton showed us a video he had taken of a boisterous woman demonstrating how to cook octopus, and while her booming voice filled my ears, my eyes were fixated on the motions of her hands.  This woman sliced the octopus while it was in her hand, attacking it gracefully into long, slender shreds.  She peeled a tomato while cupping it in her palm, slicing off chunks for the meal.  The fish and other vegetables she cut similarly–in the midst of her busy kitchen, no cutting board was in sight.


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Nobel Prize for Sustainability?

11/06/2013 § 1 Comment

By: Andrew Carty, Greek Life Sustainability Intern


Is there a Nobel Prize for Sustainable Development? As of yet, one does not exist.

Or does it? Katerva, a UK-based nonprofit, promotes global sustainability by identifying, evaluating, and accelerating innovations across the world through its annual Katerva Awards.

“If the Nobel Society had an award for sustainability, it would resemble the Katerva Awards, a new international prize for the most promising ideas and efforts to advance the planet toward sustainability.” 

Reuters 2011

Katerva boasts a global network of over 1200 experts in the field of sustainability. These “Katerva Spotters” identify nominees for the annual Katerva Awards based upon “…products, services, policy initiatives, very category targeted non-profit initiatives, unique structural solutions (joint ventures, etc).” Nominations may fall into the following 10 categories: Behavioral Change, Economy, Ecosystem Conservation, Energy and Power, Food Security, Gender Equality, Human Development, Materials & Resources, Transportation and Urban Design.

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Myth Busters: Recycling

11/04/2013 § 4 Comments

By: Liz Essman, No Waste Coordinator

Look for this updated IU recycling packer.

Look for this updated IU recycling packer.

Many recycling opportunities exist on the IU campus and in the city of Bloomington.  While the decision to recycle comes easy to some Hoosiers, the fact remains that recycling can seem confusing and complicated even to the experienced.  Ask those around you how to properly dispose of a plastic bottle, for example, and you get an array of strange and often contradictory answers.  Travel to another town and you hear different responses altogether.  To add to all these rules of recycling, bins can differ in color, shape, and size.  With these inconsistencies in mind, I give to you a list of Bloomington recycling guidelines to bust some of these wives tales and bring closure to the recycling myths on campus.

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