MidAmerican makes big investment in wind energy


Photo by ali_pk, Flickr.
Photo by ali_pk, Flickr.

MidAmerican Energy will invest 1-point-9 billion dollars towards wind energy in Iowa.

This investment will add about 656 new wind turbines by 2016.

The new wind turbines could mean that about 39 percent of the energy used by MidAmerican Iowa customer would come from wind by 2016.

Read more here.

Tips for a “green” office


Photo by brianhendrix, Flickr.
Photo by brianhendrix, Flickr.

The Iowa Chamber of Commerce has released a list of tips for making offices more sustainable.

The suggestions include switching to LED light bulbs, using more natural light and sharing a recycling program with other nearby businesses.

Read more about these tips here.

Conservation Reserve Program in Iowa


Tom Vilsack announcing adding 400,000 acres to the CRP. Photo by USDAgov, Flickr.
Tom Vilsack announcing adding 400,000 acres to the CRP. Photo by USDAgov, Flickr.

Iowa Public Radio details the efforts of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Iowa.

The CRP is a program where farmers receive money to keep portions of their land out of production. This reduces runoff, prevents erosion and creates more habitats for migrating birds.

Read about CRP and its future here.

Iowa Flood Center and NASA work to improve flood forecasting


Photo by germuska, Flckr.
Photo by germuska, Flckr.

The Iowa Flood Center is working with NASA to improve flood forecasting.

NASA uses satellites to estimate rainfall. These estimates are being checked against ground data taken in northeastern Iowa through a partnership between NASA and the Iowa Flood Center.

The comparisons between the satellite and ground data will lead to better interpretations of the satellite data.

Read more here.

UI hosts Year-End Donation Drive


Photo by bluecinderella, Flickr.
Photo by bluecinderella, Flickr.

In order to reduce waste, the University of Iowa will host a Year-End Donation Drive.

At the donation drive, students living in Iowa Residence Halls will have the opportunity to donate items to Goodwill. The event takes place on May 15th at Quadrangle and Mayflower, and May 16 at Burge.

To see the full list of items that can be donated, click here.

UI study finds high concentrations of compounds in Chicago’s air


Photo by Mastery of Maps, Flickr.
Photo by Mastery of Maps, Flickr.

A study out of the University of Iowa finds high levels of the compounds D4 and D5 in Chicago’s air.

D4 and D5 are compounds found in many personal care products including deodorants, soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners.

The study found that concentrations of the compounds were 10 times higher in Chicago than West Branch, IA and four times higher than Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

There is no evidence that high concentrations of D5 pose health concerns to people. However, not much is currently understood about the compound.

D4 is toxic to wildlife, and caused tumors, reproductive problems and altered organ size in studies of lab animals.

Read more here.

Iowa Army National Guard recruits clean up state park


Photo by The National Guard, Flickr.
Photo by The National Guard, Flickr.

Polk City’s Big Creek State Park will receive some help from Iowa Army National Guard recruits.

On April 28th, more than 100 recruits will help pick up trash and debris around Big Creek.

Last year, 120 recruits pulled invasive species around Big Creek and resurfaced a trail at Ledges State Park.

Read more here.

Progress report of UI’s 2020 vision


sustainability-6

The Little Village has published a “progress report” of the University of Iowa’s 2020 vision.

The 2020 vision refers to a set of sustainability goals adopted by the university in 2010 that they hope to complete by the end of 2020.

The progress report covers the vision’s seven general goals: achieve net-negative energy growth; green the energy portfolio; decrease the production of waste; reduce the carbon impact of transportation; increase student opportunities to learn and practice principles of sustainability; support and grow interdisciplinary research in sustainability-focused areas; and develop partnerships to advance collaborative initiative, both academic and professional.

Read the progress report here.

Iowa City businesses help the environment through composting


Photo by Plan for Opportunity, Flickr.
Photo by Plan for Opportunity, Flickr.

Some Iowa City businesses are composting to reduce their impact on the environment.

The Bluebird Diner, New Pioneer Co-op and four Iowa City-area Hy-Vee stores all have composting programs.

Composting helps the environment by producing healthier soil and by keeping food waste out of landfills. As food decomposes in landfills, it releases the greenhouse gas methane.

Read more about the environmental efforts of Iowa City businesses here.