This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

research_recap_250It’s March! Spring is right around the corner, though you wouldn’t know it from the snow on the ground here in Washington DC. Here’s something to read while you wait for it to get a bit warmer out.

Funding Small Businesses to Develop Environmental Technologies
This week EPA announced eight contracts to small businesses to develop innovative technologies to protect the environment through EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. The Agency is one of eleven federal agencies that participate in the program, established by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982.

The Advance of Lucid and the Building Dashboard
One of our SBIR recipients is Lucid. The company got its start as a student team competing in EPA’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) grant competition. In 2005, the team won a P3 grant for their prototype, the Building Dashboard, which tracks how much energy and water is being used in a building and provides visual insights that can influence occupants to change their habits. Read their success story in the blog From Oberlin to Oakland: The Advance of Lucid and BuildingOS.

Furniture Giant Considers Switch to Green Packaging
Another SBIR company made big news when the furniture giant Ikea announced that it is considering replacing polystyrene packing with a biodegradable, fungus-based, green alternative produced by Ecovative, a growing small business  that in large part got its start from an EPA SBIR contract. Ecovative’s innovative process of utilizing mycelium, the vegetative growth stage of fungi, to commercialize custom molded protective packaging is proving that the development of sustainable products can spark economic growth. Read more in the article Ikea considers deal with Green Island-based Ecovative Design.

Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting
Attending the Society of Toxicology annual meeting this year? So are we! Advances in EPA’s toxicology research will be featured at sessions, symposia, workshops, platform discussions, informational sessions, poster sessions, and at EPA’s booth in the ToxExpo exhibit hall. Find more information on EPA’s Society of Toxicology page.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a student contractor and writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

 

 

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Saving Energy and Money: Go Team Go!

By Lek Kadeli

Portrait of Lek KadeliSpirited competition between local schools is a time honored tradition. From the football and soccer teams to the debate club, nothing beats taking on your arch rival to spark school spirit, get the neighbors talking, and build community pride.

That spirit of competition has helped schools here in the District of Columbia save more than 76,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, thanks to Lucid—an EPA-supported small business started by previous winners of the agency’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) award.

The schools vied to see which could most dramatically reduce their energy consumption as part of the three-week “Sprint to Savings” competition. The DC Green Schools Challenge set up the competition to help schools conserve energy and save money while “engaging students in real-world learning opportunities.” It is managed by the the District of Columbia, Department of General Service (www.dgs.dc.gov).

To monitor their progress and take action, students used Lucid’s “Building Dashboard,” a software program that monitors a building’s energy and water consumption in real time and presents that information in easy-to-understand graphic displays on computer screens or other devices.

Students were able to use Building Dashboard installed at their schools to gauge their progress in 15-minute intervals and help the school take corrective action, such as switching lights off when not needed, shutting down unused computers and monitors, and turning the heat down after hours. A District-wide leader board helped them keep an eye on the competition.

Interactive Building Dashboard

Interactive Building Dashboard

The idea for a data monitoring display system begin when the now principal partners of Lucid Technology were students at Oberlin College. In 2005, their prototype won an EPA P3 Award. The P3 program is an annual student design competition that supports undergraduate and graduate student teams to research and design innovative, sustainable methods and products that solve complex environmental problems. Since then, there’s been no looking back!

Today, we are thrilled to announce that Lucid is among 20 other small businesses—including two other former P3 winners—selected to receive funding as part of the EPA’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. The program was designed to support small businesses in the commercialization as well as the research and development of technologies that encourage sustainability, protect human health and the environment, and foster a healthy future. Environmental Fuel Research, LLC, and SimpleWater, LLC are the other two former P3 winning teams.

Thanks to Lucid, Environmental Fuel Research, LLC, SimpleWater, LLC and the other innovative small businesses we are supporting today, winning ideas are bringing products to the marketplace that protect our environment while sparking economic growth. I’ll bet that even arch rivals can agree that’s a win for everyone.

About the Author: Lek Kadeli is the Acting Assistant Administrator in the Agency’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.