Friday, January 31, 2014

Mold and Asbestos Threaten Schools Nationwide

Mold and asbestos found in Hinsdale Middle School after a pipe broke.
Hinsdale Middle School in Illinois (Source)
This past week, mold remediation workers continued to remove mold from Hinsdale Middle School in Illinois. Although the school district planned to have the middle school reopen on February 3rd, asbestos has recently been found inside, delaying the students' return to school. Students and teachers may be relocated to National Louis University by next week, and although air sampling tests showed that there was very little asbestos in the school, the tiny fibers are incredibly hazardous with long-term exposure.

Due to extremely cold weather in Illinois, pipes in the school froze and burst, leading to water damage and mold. Parents and students are excited to return to their local middle school, as the young students have been attending half days at Clarendon Middle School.

Hinsdale Middle School isn't the only school that has suffered as a result of cold weather. Green Farms Elementary School in Westport, Connecticut, suffered water damage and mold when a fire sprinkler burst due to freezing temperatures earlier this month. According to WestportNews, Elio Longo, the school district's business manager, reported that no asbestos was found although mold and lead were found on school grounds and in the hallways.

In Orange, Connecticut, Peck Place School, closed down after a broken pipe flooded the school, revealing insulation and an even bigger problem--asbestos. According to NBC Connecticut, the flooding caused floor tiles to pop; the adhesive used for the tiles contains asbestos, requiring abatement.

Last week, a Dekalb County school in Atlanta, Georgia closed down to remove toxic black mold from the bathrooms after students became ill. After testing, inspectors found enough mold in the ceilings and tiles to call for immediate remediation. Globe Academy, a charter school in Atlanta, closed schools down late last week to keep students and families safe from the hazard.

Schools are supposed to be safe environments for children and their families. Environmental hazards are real threats and must be removed immediately to prevent children from becoming infected by these toxic materials. However, leaking or broken pipes can cause flooding and give rise to the growth of mold. In many cases, after mold was discovered, other dangerous materials, such as lead and asbestos were also found, calling for immediate abatement.

So how risky is it? Mold exposure can lead to irritation of the eyes, skin, and even serious infections in the lungs. Asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma and lung cancer. Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning as their brains are still developing, and long-term exposure has been linked to shorter lives, lower IQs, and even sociopathic behavior.

How can you help with these problems? Report incidences of hazardous materials, such as asbestos and mold, to your local or state environmental or health department. Additionally, register for a webinar to increase your awareness of these toxic materials or become certified to remove them.

GreenEDU offers a variety of online courses as well as in-person training for asbestos, mold, and lead certification.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

5 Tips to Stay Green and Save Green This Winter

How can you save energy and money this winter? Although the nation has experienced negative 40 degree temperatures in Chicago and freezing weather in Florida this winter, you can still be energy efficient and cut your bills while staying warm. Check out these cost-saving tips and make your home a little greener this winter.

Lower your energy bill by letting in sunlight through the window.
Source: http://www.nrdc.org/
  1. Take Advantage of the Sun- Energy.gov recommends opening up your blinds and curtains during the daytime to let in natural light. Not only will you be saving on electricity bills, but you'll be obtaining natural warmth from the sun. Make sure to close your curtains at night to prevent chills from the cold windows.
  2. Cover Your Windows- Covering drafty windows with plastic wrap or clear tape can reduce chill and help you save on your heating costs. For the long term, invest in window coverings or insulating drapes to improve your energy efficiency.
  3. Use Your Ceiling Fan- Although this seems counterintuitive, ceiling fans have two settings, one that blows air forward, and one backwards. Set your fan to blow in reverse during winter, causing cold air to be drawn upward and warm air pushed down and towards the walls. Decrease your thermostat and turn on your ceiling fan for an energy-saving combination. 
    Reduce your water heating cost by taking shorter showers.
    Source: http://wakeup-world.com/

  4. Cut Your Water Heating Costs- Save money by lowering the temperature on your water heater. According to energy.gov, water heating can account for 14-25% of total energy consumed in a home. Additionally, shortening your shower time will reduce both energy and your heating bills. Consumerenergycenter.org reports that showers account for 2/3 of your total water heating costs. Cutting your showers in half can reduce your water heating bills up to 33%.
    Lower your thermostat in the winter time to save money and reduce your heating bill.
    Source: http://blogs.plos.org/
  5. Lower Your Thermostat- Although you want to stay warm and toasty, reducing your thermostat by just 1 degree can reduce your heating bills by up to 5%.Consumerenergycenter.org recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees and compensating by wearing a warm sweater while indoors.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Dangers of Asbestos (Infographic)

Asbestos is mineral made up of tiny fibers, used often in commercial construction and manufacturing between the 1950's and 1970's. Manufacturers used asbestos for its strength, resistance to damage, and affordability; however, despite its versatility and strength, asbestos poses a number of health problems. Commercials detailing asbestos-related health problems, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer have been increasing, as clients can obtain compensation if long-term exposure to asbestos was someone else's fault.

Despite the major attention asbestos has been attracting since the late 1990's, what exactly is asbestos, and how much do you really know about the health risks associated with the building material? Blackwater Law has created a user-friendly infographic detailing the facts and history of asbestos. Check out the infographic below and for more information and asbestos compensation claims, visit Blackwater Law's website by clicking here.
  
Asbestos Claims
Infographic[Original source of asbestos compensation claims information: Blackwater Law]

So, how can you help with this eliminating this hazardous material? Become certified to work with asbestos by registering for a training course! We offer a variety of asbestos-training courses nationwide: http://www.asbestostraining.biz/


Monday, January 27, 2014

Greenpeace Releases Map Showing Impact of Coal on Health in China

Greenpeace recently released an interactive map demonstrating the impact of coal plant emissions in China. Harmful coal emissions may have contributed to about 257,000 premature deaths according to the analysis. Air pollution levels were so high that school children were required to stay indoors and miss school in late 2013. Research by organizations such as the World Health Organization suggest air pollution can have detrimental effects on citizens, leading to diseases such as lung cancer and aggravating those with asthma. These toxic emissions can even severely impact one's cardiovascular health and lead to premature death.

Greenpeace mapped estimated coal emissions in China below. Users can zoom in and out and observe the massive impact of these coal plants on China. Each red bubble is a coal plant, and the size of the bubble corresponds to the severity of the health impact it poses.

This interactive map allows users to zoom in on particular regions and cities and even click on individual bubbles to obtain more information on the gases emitted from the plants. Darker bubbles indicate multiple coal plants.

Greenpeace reports: "According to a breakdown of the figures, the most severe health risks caused by coal power plants are in: Henan province, with an estimated 31,400 premature deaths; Shandong province with 29,800 premature deaths; Inner Mongolia with 27,400 premature deaths; Shanxi province with 26,100 premature deaths; and Jiangsu province with 24,200 premature deaths."

According to Treehugger, China is predicted to become a world leader in solar energy and decrease its oil and coal consumption throughout the next decade. Last September, China released its Airborne Pollution Action Plan, planning to decrease air pollution nationwide.

For more information, check out Greenpeace's article here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BPI Announces Certification Extension and Fast-Track Renewal Options for Building Analysts

For Immediate Release from the Building Performance Institute, Inc.
Malta, NY - BPI's standards and credentials work for the industry and its customers because of the constant collaboration between BPI and practitioners in the field. In response to industry feedback regarding our Building Analyst (BA) certification upgrade announcement of last November, BPI is adapting criteria requirements, allowing BA professionals more time and flexibility to upgrade their certification.

Last November 13th, BPI announced we would update the BA certification exams and fast track renewal criteria on February 1st to verify that Building Analysts have command of the latest best practices in whole house energy audits. New topics covered include the principles of using computer software to model the energy upgrade potential of a home, and developing a scope of work for customers. Existing topics updated in the written and field exams include assessing whole-building ventilation, measuring airflow, combustion safety and testing/data collection.

The new requirements announced today include:
Certification Renewal ExtensionAll eligible Building Analysts whose certifications expired on or after November 13th, 2013 will have until April 13, 2014 to apply for BA certification renewal - BA only. (If written or field exams are required for renewal, they must be taken between 2/1/14 and 4/13/2014.) After April 13th, all individuals who wish to renew must do so before their certification expires. You do not need to update your certification until it is up for renewal.

Fast Track Renewal CriteriaAll renewal candidates seeking to waive the BA written exam must earn 30 CEUs over a 3-year certification period. You may verify your software modeling and work scope development knowledge in one of two ways:
  • Earn CEUs -Earn six of your 30 CEUs by attending training specific to software modeling and work scope development. This six CEU policy is a one-time requirement for renewal candidates in this category; OR
  • Prove experience - Provide a signed letter on company letterhead from current and/or past employers documenting work experience in software modeling/work scope development. For the applicant's convenience, a standard template letter is included with the Application for BPI Certification Renewal. 
BPI is making these changes to allow BA professionals more time to acquire software modeling and work scope development training or work experience, and to give training organizations time to develop curricula, classes, webinars and other modules on the same.

For complete information on the BA upgrade click here. To waive written or field exams, renewal candidates must complete anApplication for BPI Certification Renewal

About BPIBPI is the nation's premier building performance credentialing, quality assurance and standards setting organization. BPI develops technical standards using an open, transparent, consensus-based process built on sound building science. BPI is approved by the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) as an accredited developer of American National Standards and as a certifying body for personnel credentials. For more information on BPI, visit www.bpi.org.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Florida OSHA and HAZWOPER Training Company Joins GreenEDU Partner Network

Orlando, FL -- Green Education Services (GreenEDU) announced a new partnership with Unified Commission of Safety and Environmental Services (UCSES) to bring greater access to occupational safety training courses in Florida. UCSES specializes in occupational, environmental, and industrial hygiene training, and can also provide custom training solutions to fit the needs of its clients.

"We are excited to work with UCSES," commented GreenEDU CEO Zachary Rose. "They have established themselves in the Orlando area as the premier source for OSHA and occupational safety education, and we look forward to helping UCSES connect with local professionals who need this training."

GreenEDU will be featuring a number of courses for UCSES on its event marketplace, including OSHA training such as 10-hour Construction and 30-hour Construction Industry courses; Fall Protection and Confined Space Competent Person training; Forklift Operator Certification; Traffic Control; Bloodborne Pathogen; and Trenching and Shoring training. HAZWOPER refresher classes will also be available.

About Unified Commission of Safety and Environmental Services (UCSES)
UCSES is a premier provider of safety and environmental training classes headquartered in Orlando, Florida. With over 50 years of combined safety and environmental experience we are among the few safety training providers that offer quality discounted safety training without the additional cost of membership. Each of our instructors are seasoned OSHA Certified professionals and have hands-on working experience in the topics they teach.

About Green Education Services (GreenEDU)
Green Education Services (wwww.GreenEDU.com) connects building design and construction industry professionals to world-class training. Our extensive education network includes training in over 400 cities in the US and internationally, in addition to online courses, providing students access to convenient, quality, and affordable training by top-notch local instructors.