Archive for August, 2009

Clean energy and anti-offshore drilling rally

off shore drillingThe American Petroleum Institute, a lobbying front group for Big Oil and other energy industries, is orchestrating staged “grassroots rallies” to try and stop the Clean Energy and Climate Bill from passing the U.S. Senate. The press calls these rallies “astroturf”: manufactured grassroots. This Thursday, August 27th, join Sierra Club, 1Sky Florida, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and other environmental groups for a real grassroots rally outside Big Oil’s staged gathering.

WHEN & WHERE: Meet beforehand at 9:30 am at La Tropicana Café, 1822 East 7th Ave. for some for great cuban coffee! The “Energy Citizens’” event begins at 11:00 am at The RITZ YBOR theatre, and we will counter rally out front at 1503 East 7th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605 (there is a shady area where we’ll be).

WHY: Big Oil and Big Coal are not satisfied to simply lobby against progressive, clean energy policies, they have forged opposition letters and are staging “rallies” across the country, busing in paid employees to fill rooms, handing out t-shirts and signs, and calling supporters “Energy Citizens”. Although greedy Big Energy companies have sunk to a new low – manufacturing protests to pretend Americans are against creating clean energy jobs – we represent the real public interest and we support legislation which can bring 25,000 of these green jobs to Miami and 11,000 green jobs to Tampa while reducing global warming pollution and protecting our national security. A better alternative for Florida’s economy than drilling for oil right off our Gulf Coast beaches.

Join a real, citizen-based grassroots rally to expose the truth about these “rallies” to the press and our elected officials, and demonstrate support for a clean energy economy.

If you have any questions beforehand, please contact: Phil Compton, Sierra Club Regional Representative: 813-841-3601, or Andrea Cuccaro, 1Sky Florida Organizer, (786) 925-1151.



August 27, 2009 at 6:49 am Leave a comment

Add “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle” to the original three-R’s (reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic)

classroomThe Issue

During the school year, each student will create 240 pounds of waste.

  • The average family with school age children will spend $594.24 on back-to-school purchases this year!
  • During the school year, the average school throws away 38 tons of paper, the equivalent of 644 trees!
  • Each year, six billion pens are thrown away in the U.S.!
  • During the school year, each elementary school cafeteria creates 18,760 pounds of waste.
  • Schools use more than $6 billion in energy every year and about $1.5 billion (or enough to hire about 30,000 new teachers) is wasted due to inefficiency!

Be Part of the Solution
How do our children become more environmentally friendly?

  • Instead of buying lunch from the cafeteria, pack a healthy, organic waste-free lunch in a metal or PVC-free reusable lunch bag and a stainless steel water bottle!
  • Before shopping, take a careful inventory of what you already have, like pencils, notebooks, glue sticks, markers, paper, etc.
  • Help your child’s school start an edible garden on the campus.
  • If possible, carpool! You can cut your weekly fuel costs in half if you take turns driving (or better yet ride the school bus, 31% of students live less than a mile from home, so even better, walk or bike).
  • Buy used textbooks and sell back at the end of the year.
  • Almost half of the money spent on back to school shopping goes to buying clothes, why not try a flea market, yard sale or thrift store like SPC’s Dollars for Scholars Thrift Store?
  • Look for recycled pencils and refillable pens packed in recycled packaging.
  • Turn off your computer at night!  A computer left on 24 hours a day costs you between $115 and $160 in electricity annually!
  • Reduce word document margins to .75” and turn scrap paper into note pads.
  • Buy paper with the highest percentage of post-consumer recycled content possible, and processed chlorine free (PCF), like New Leaf Paper for printers, and Mead Recycled Notebooks for school.
  • Help your child’s school start a recycling program.
  • Print double sided and only what is necessary!

To learn more about sustainability at St Petersburg College, e-mail or visit


August 25, 2009 at 7:15 am Leave a comment

Progress Energy seeks to add ‘Smart Grid’ in Florida

SmartGridProgress Energy announced that it applied for $200 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) federal infrastructure funds for the development of an electric Smart Grid in the Carolinas and Florida.  The DOE grant would be shared equally between the two states.

A “Smart Grid” is a modernized digital electric transmission and distribution system that delivers detailed, real-time energy use information to customers.

Progress Energy is investing in Smart Grid because the electric grid of the future must engage with customers, and allow them to make better educated energy consumption decisions.

The state-of-the-art grid allows utility companies and consumers to monitor and adjust their electricity use, while providing increased flexibly to integrate new renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power, energy storage devices and electric vehicles.  It also helps minimize interruptions in electrical service during storms and other routine power outages.

To enhance the electricity delivery, Progress Energy is already investing in Smart Grid technology throughout it’s network of about 11,000 miles of electric transmission lines and 100,000 miles of distribution lines across 54,000 square miles in the Carolinas and Florida.

“Smart Grid will enhance power quality and service reliability while helping us secure the energy future for our customers,” said Bill Johnson, chairman, president and CEO of Progress Energy. “Our company is committed to a balanced solution strategy to meet the future energy needs of our customers at a time of rising energy costs and concerns about climate change. This balanced approach includes aggressive energy efficiency, investments in renewable and alternative energy, and state-of-the-art plants and facilities. The Smart Grid is a fundamental tool to help us meet these objectives.”

In pursuit of the DOE grant, Progress Energy has partnered with IBM and Telvent.  IBM is supplying optimization software and services for coordination and prioritization of advanced load shaping and efficiency.  Telvent is providing the Smart Grid with real-time data gathering capabilities and detailed grid reports.


August 19, 2009 at 6:48 am Leave a comment

Nissan LEAF: competition for the Chevy Volt


Nissan Leaf

By now many have heard about the Chevy Volt, expected to be the first mainstream plug-in offered to consumers.  The Volt claims a 230 MPG city driving efficiency; the LEAF (Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car), Nissan’s answer to the Volt expects to get 367 MPG, or about 60 percent better fuel efficiency.

The Volt is expected achieve fuel efficiencies four times greater than the Toyota Prius (48 mpg on the highway, 51 mpg in the city).  The Prius starts at $22,000 and is currently the most efficient vehicle sold in America.


Chevrolet Volt

It is unclear however, how both the Volt and LEAF derived the mileage rating, since the EPA, in association with the auto industry, is only now developing a rating system for plug-in hybrids.

Michelle Krebs of questions whether drivers can expect 230 mpg from the Volt since fuel efficiency also depends on driving style.

“Volt drivers who cruise sensibly on smooth roads without much cargo and who avoid exceeding 20 or 30 miles between charges might fill up only rarely.”  Said Krebs, “but for most people, it is not realistic to expect that kind of mileage in real-world driving”.

The LEAF will be marketed in the United States, Europe, and Japan, beginning in autumn 2010 and is expected to cost somewhere between $25,000 and $33,000.

The Chevy Volt is expected to sell for $40,000.  However, GM has said government tax credits of up to $7,500 and the savings on fuel could make it more affordable, especially at 230 mpg.

The Volt is a gasoline/electric hybrid and runs up to 40 miles on electric power before the gasoline engine must be started to recharge the battery while it operates.  The Volt has a total range of 300 miles and recharging should cost about 40 cents a day, at about 5 cents per kilowatt hour.  The Volt will have software allowing it to be programmed to charge during off-peak electrical use hours.

The LEAF runs only on a lithium ion battery and can travel at top speeds of 90 MPH for up to 100 miles before a recharge is necessary.  The battery can be charged to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes with a special quick charger.

Both vehicles can be recharged from a standard home outlet.


Tesla Roadster

Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co. and Daimler AG are developing plug-ins and electric cars, and Toyota Motor Corp. is working on a plug-in version of its gas-electric hybrid system.

Another option, the Tesla Roadster is a sports car with a range of 224 miles, and is priced at $100,000.  Tesla Motors is working on an electric family sedan that will be priced considerably less.


August 17, 2009 at 6:42 am Leave a comment

DeSoto County building nation’s largest solar facility

desotoThe town of Arcadia in DeSoto County is currently building the nation’s largest photovoltaic plant.

According to Florida Power & Light (FPL) the $173.5 million, 25 megawatt solar generating facility should be operating by the second quarter of 2010.

In February, FPL broke ground on its DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center: Florida’s first commercial solar energy facility.  The facility is projected to produce an average of 42,000 MWh of electricity annually.  This enough to meet the needs of over 3,000 homes or over 7,000 people; nearly 20% of DeSoto County.

Photovoltaic panels are mirror-like concave reflectors that gather heat from the sun’s rays.  The heat creates steam, that then produces electricity in existing turbines.  Because solar power can be generated only during the day, this project will not generate electricity during the evening.

Since solar facilities don’t burn fossil fuels, they produce no global warming causing “greenhouse gases”.

The plant is projected to prevent more than 575,000 tons of green house gases from entering the atmosphere.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this is equal to avoiding the emissions of more than 4,500 cars per year.

The generated electricity is projected to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 7 million MMBtu of natural gas, 266,000 barrels of residual oil, and 11,000 barrels of distillate oil over the life of the facility.

Additionally, FPL has proposed a solar thermal facility at an existing plant at 19050 S.R. 62, just outside Parrish.


August 14, 2009 at 7:33 am Leave a comment

We’re eco-friendly, and our pets should be too

dog noseThe Issue

We try so hard to make eco-minded decisions for ourselves that we forget about man’s (and woman’s) best friend!

  • Typical dogs produce 274 pounds of waste each year, and each pet litter bag take up to 100 years to biodegrade!
  • We wouldn’t eat low quality foods, so why should our pets?

Be Part of the Solution
Next time you go to your favorite pet store, look for eco-friendly items:

  • Biodegradable doggie waste bags or litter box liners!  Ask for Bio Bags made of 100% biodegradable and compostable corn!
  • Natural and organic food!  Try one of these safe, high quality brands available at many stores including online at
  • Organic pet treats!  Even Newman’s Own is getting into the Eco-pet craze.
  • Natural Shampoo!  Do you have a stinky dog?  Why not try a natural or organic shampoo.
  • Eco-friendly pet toys!  Look for toys made of Earth-safe dyes and recycled materials.
  • Holistic Veterinarian!  Treat your best friend to acupuncture or holistic Chinese Herbs.  Visit Dr. Greg Todd at Animal Hospital of Dunedin.  Your pet would do it for you!


August 10, 2009 at 7:01 am Leave a comment

St. Petersburg College and the USGBC Florida Gulf Coast Chapter announce strategic partnership

epp_logo_colorSt Petersburg College’s Corporate Training Office today announced a partnership with the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide a comprehensive sustainable building operations training course based on the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance rating system.

The course will be available August 17th.

According to the USGBC, LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M is the tool for the operation and maintenance of commercial and institutional buildings.  The certification system identifies and rewards best practices and describes ways for using less energy, water and natural resources; for improving indoor environment; and for uncovering operating inefficiencies.

“Partnering with a Florida chapter of the USGBC puts St. Petersburg College’s Corporate eTraining in the national spotlight,” said James Connolly, SPC’s Corporate Training Director.

The training course provides students the opportunity to increase a building’s operational efficiency while reducing its impact on the environment.

“Sustainable architecture helps illustrate the way in which humans should interact with our surroundings,” said Jason Green, SPC’s Sustainability Coordinator and registered architect. “This training program provides participants with the resources necessary to have an immediate, yet long-term positive impact.”

“St. Petersburg College has made sustainability a top priority in its planning for the future,” said Carl M. Kuttler Jr., SPC’s President. “Our intention is to provide our community with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve a more sustainable future.”

Josh Bomstein, president of the FGCC, said the collaboration will make the training available beyond the local area.

“We are excited by this great partnership with a leading educational institution in the Tampa Bay area,” he said. “The platform provided by St. Petersburg College for online education is second to none, and we’re happy to be able to provide our expertise in green design and construction for content.”

In further support of SPC’s commitment to becoming a leader in the environmental movement, the college recently announced two new degree programs: an Associate of Science in Environmental Science Technology, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainability Management, both available in the coming fall semester.

To learn more about SPC’s environmental course and program offerings, visit or


August 7, 2009 at 6:50 am Leave a comment

Older Posts

who we are:

Early in 2008, St. Petersburg College recognized its responsibility to model to our students, employees and community ways to minimize global warming emissions and provide the knowledge to our graduates to help achieve a more environmentally friendly future. Because of this, the College made sustainability (defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs) a top priority. As a result, the Office for Sustainability was established.

what we do:

Working alongside internal and external partners, the Office for Sustainability focuses on the following areas of environmental stewardship: educational programs and corporate training, energy and natural resource conservation, green buildings and facilities, carbon emissions, recycling and student activities.

learn more:

To learn more about The Office for Sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green, Sustainability Coordinator at

sustainable | SPC