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Make a Difference for National Parks

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fibrex GroupAfter the retail frenzy that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you may have a bit of a retail hangover. The cure for that slightly sick feeling could be the great feeling you get from helping others, and that's what Giving Tuesday is all about. Claire Costello, national philanthropic practice executive with U.S. Trust, answers key questions about the event, held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Q: What is Giving Tuesday?

A: Giving Tuesday is a globally celebrated day of giving back. The holiday has gained massive influence thanks to the power of social media, with #GivingTuesday serving as a call-to-action for people around the world to donate money, time and talent to the causes they care most about. The day is also intended to signify the kickoff to the charitable giving season surrounding the holidays and annual year-end giving — though, for many, giving starts even earlier or is a year-round activity.

Tomorrow you can double your donation to the National Park Foundation. #GivingTuesday is the perfect day to share your passion. Especially since a long time donor and friend to the National Park Foundation will be matching every gift up to $50,000! It’s only happening on November 29, so please give and show your support for the National Park Service and their mission.

*Select info from www.usatoday.com and www.nationalparks.com

Celebrate 'Blue Friday' with a consumer cleanup initiative

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Instead of encouraging the traditional Black Friday shopping on Nov. 25, retailer United By Blue will be celebrating a nationwide cleanup initiative dubbed "Blue Friday" that encourages consumers to take action against waste and litter.

The company — which has a mission of removing one pound of waste from the ocean for every product sold — has already sold out of its free "Blue Friday Cleanup Kit" including gloves and trash bags. A downloadable guide gives advice on safe collection, recycling separation and location selection for anyone else who wants to participate.

United by Blue will also be providing some cleanup supplies at its Philadelphia and New York brick-and-mortar stores. The company intends to encourage consumers to organize their own local cleanup efforts and share them on social media using #BlueMovement.

*Original article and image posted by Waste Dive

America Recycles Day Discount from the Fibrex Group

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

In honor of America Recycles Day on November 15, Fibrex Group is supporting the movement that the entire country should recycle more. Americans recycle just 35% of our waste and we need YOU to help us change that.

Think for a moment about all the trash you produce in a day. If you’re like the average American, you generate 4.4 pounds of trash in just one 24 hour period. Instead of all that trash going into a landfill, help us ensure that more of it gets recycled and given a new life.

Check out www.fibrexgroup.com for the most attractive & economical recycling solutions for your office, university, dorm room, school, home, or apartment building. Our vast line of products can accommodate any recycling program of any size. We are also offering a 15% discount off our entire line of products! (Exceptions apply. See below**). Just mention our America Recycles Day promotion when you call or make on online request.

Work. Play. Recycle.

**15% discount does not apply to the Steora Solar Bench or Play Mart product lines**

Applies to new quotes & orders only. Offer expires 11/30/16

Watch Leonardo DiCaprio's Climate Change Documentary For Free

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Not All Superheroes Wear Capes

When he's not making the most iconic films of our time or making love to the world's most beautiful women, Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio is attempting to save the world. As a consistent activist for our planet's environment, the acclaimed actor has used his leverage, intelligence, and booming voice for good in this world. Traveling around the planet to the places where climate change is felt the most, Leonardo DiCaprio makes a desperate case to viewers in "Before the Flood" begging the world to pay attention and wise up.

“Climate change is the most critical and urgent problem facing our world today, and it must be a top issue for voters this Election Day,” the actors told The Hollywood Reporter. “We need leaders not only in the United States, but across the globe, who believe in the science of climate change and who have the courage to take a stand for our planet.”

Watch DiCaprio's "Before the Flood" for free here.

**Original POSTED BY BRANDON BARRETT · OCTOBER 31, 2016

HTTPS://WWW.WORLDCLASSNEWYORK.COM/BLOGS/NEWS/WATCH-LEONARDO-DICAPRIOS-CLIMATE-CHANGE-DOCUMENTARY-FOR-FREE 

America Recycles Day - How Can YOU Get Involved?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 01, 2016

America Recycles Day (ARD) has been the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States since 1997. Every year on and around Nov. 15, thousands of local event organizers mobilize throughout their community to educate millions of people about recycling within their communities.

One of the biggest barriers to recycling is knowing what items can (can cannot) be recycled.

This year, the National Recycling Coalition is working with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) to promote and spread awareness of what can be recycled, and how to recycle it correctly, in celebration of America Recycles Day. We invite you to plan your own ARD event by taking advantage of the wide variety of tools and resources KAB offers to make event planning easy and successful. Once planned, register your event here - this allows your event to become part of the national network of America Recycles Day events!

"America Recycles Day provides the encouragement and 'know how' to make recycling a common practice every day of the year," said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. "We invite you to host an event in your community -  invite your family and friends from work, school, your neighbor to participate in America Recycles Day and to take the #BeRecycled Pledge in a collective national effort to improve recycling in our country."

Events can be scheduled at any time during the fall leading into the official America Recycles Day celebration on Tuesday, November 15.

Additionally, as part of the campaign, we encourage you to live a recycled lifestyle by taking the #BeRecycled Pledge, which is a promise to actively choose to live a recycled lifestyle by committing to "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle." in all aspects of daily life. This includes:

  • Recycling at home, work/school and on-the-go;
  • Buying products made with recycled content; and
  • Educating and encouraging friends, family and neighbors to take the #BeRecycled Pledge. 

Steora Solar Smart Bench Chosen as a Finalist in ODU’s Lion’s Lair Competition

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Steora Solar Smart Bench presented by the Fibrex Group has been chosen as a finalist in the Old Dominion University’s Lions’s Lair Innovation Competition! Sponsored by the Strome Entreprenerial Center at ODU, this competition is seeking to find the most innovative and exciting ideas to social, cultural, or environmental problems. The panel of judges narrowed the select finalists down from a large group of applicants. Product pitches will take place on Friday, November 4, 2016 in ODU’s Webb Center in front of a panel of independent professionals involved in entrepreneurship.

The Steora Smart Bench unique design provides self-sustaining green solar energy to power a large suite of applications such as cell phone charging, WiFi Hot Spot Internet Connection, area LED lighting, sensor data gathering capabilities and temperature control. Yes, it even has a built-in cooling fan system to keep the seating area below 80⁰F on hot days!

Because mobile technology is such an essential aspect of modern life, properties want to support and attract the mobile generation by providing more charging device options than ever before. Make your public spaces smarter and greener with the Steora Smart Bench.

The Fibrex Group is excited to present the Steora Solar Smart Bench to a panel of experts next week. Stay tuned for final results!

Top Green Tips for A Green Halloween

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Halloween skip the disposable plastic decorations and heavily packaged (and unhealthy) candy. Celebrating Halloween can be more fun, cheaper, and healthier for you and the environment if you follow these simple tips for a green Halloween. They’ll save you money, too.

1. Re-use costumes. Tap into the treasures hidden in your closet or attic to pull together a fun, no-cost costume (it won’t take any longer than going to the mall, and will be a lot cheaper). Trade costumes with friends and family if you don’t want to wear last year’s get-up. Shop for accessories at yard sales or resale stores. Use your imagination but don’t obsess. The point is to have fun, not be fashionable!

2. Trick and treat.  In lieu of junk food, hand out pencils made from recycled paper, erasers, nickels or dimes – be creative!. My husband used to live in the same neighborhood as baseball legend Casey Stengel – he gave out silver dollars. My neighbor started doling out small cups of apple cider when she realized how much kids love a drink when they’re running around like banshees. NatureMoms offers lots of great links to organic lollipops and other fun and healthy treats.

3. Reverse trick and treating. Global Exchange and other charities encourage kids to help educate adults about Fair Trade cocoa by handing Fair Trade chocolates back as they trick or treat. The chocolates are attached to a card explaining why Fair Trade offers an alternative to child labor, low wages for farmers and a healthier environment.

4. Have a party. If you opt to celebrate at home in lieu of trick or treating, put out bowls of snacks rather than serve up individual throwaway treat bags. Offer popcorn, hummus and pita chips, carrots and dips, fresh apple cider, bat-shaped cookies and muffins. Kids will enjoy painting pumpkins, decorating cupcakes, reading scary stories, bobbing for apples, and going on “flashlight hunts” in the yard (if the party’s after dark) for hidden Halloween surprises. Send electronic invitations to avoid wasting paper and postage.

5. Decorate with Nature. A trip to your yard or the farmers market will provide everything you need to dress up your house for Halloween: leaves and branches, hay bales, gourds, pumpkins, mums, dried flowers.

6. Light up the night. If you string lights (especially to keep walkways safe for kids), use strands of LEDs, which you can get at any hardware store these days. They use much less energy than conventional holiday twinklers. Illuminate carved pumpkins with candles from beeswax or soy . Decorate windows and glass door panes with washable crayons or chalk. If kids need flashlights to get around in the dark, try one of the many flashlights that can be recharged with solar energy.

7. Turn it over to the kids. Forget the store-bought hanging witches and skeletons. Have your kids make hand print spiders for the walls and windows. Recycle egg cartons into bats. Carve and paint pumpkins.

8. Try a new bag. The best option for candy collectors is last year’s bag; a pillowcase; or a reusable shopping bag with handles.

9. Save for next year. When Halloween is over, pack up costumes, treat bags, lights, and decorations in one big box or bag. Store everything in an easy-to-find place so next year, you don’t have to start completely from scratch.

10. Get even more ideas. Between Green Halloween and the Green Moms Carnival, you’ll find everything you need to know to make your spooky night as eco as possible.

*Original posted by: http://www.biggreenpurse.com/top-ten-eco-tips/top-ten-green-cheap-halloween/

IoT isn’t just a connection, it’s a conversation

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The immense hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by businesses, as IDC’s latest research revealed that 31% of companies surveyed have already deployed IoT, with another 43% looking to deploy within the next 12 months. However, a recent study from the IoT Institute shows that only 25% of businesses feel that they have a clear IoT strategy.

What this data suggests is that businesses continue to rush into the IoT fray, but that many are doing so without asking the fundamental question of “Why?”

To predict the IoT future, it helps to look to the past

Without an answer to that critical question, it’s hard to develop a clear business strategy around IoT. Are you pursuing IoT in order to increase efficiency and reduce costs? To introduce new revenue models? Or to deliver new services that enhance your customers’ experiences? Once you know what business outcomes you’re trying to accomplish, the business case for IoT is much easier to define.

The industry has been talking a lot about “digital transformation” over the past couple of years, focusing on the efforts companies are undertaking to transform the way they do business based on new connected technologies. And IoT plays a key role in enabling this transformation for today’s businesses. So by identifying the clear business outcomes and goals you want to achieve with IoT, your roadmap to digital transformation becomes much clearer.

When it comes to defining an IoT strategy, though, too often companies focus solely on how they are going to connect their assets or products. There seems to be a belief that if you connect them, the benefits will roll in.

But IoT isn’t just about connecting things – it’s about engaging in a conversation.

This is what’s most exciting about IoT (and what enables a true shift in the way you do business and make money) – the ability to have a constant conversation with the customers and end-users that utilize those assets and products. And do it in on a massively scalable level.

Always-on means always engaged

IoT provides the always-on connectivity needed to establish an ongoing services relationship with your customers. But this connectivity is merely a means to an end, enabling you to learn and understand how customers are using those products, to learn about the environment in which those products operate, and ultimately use those learnings to find new ways to deliver value.

A packaged food distributor can use a connected vending machine to understand the buying patterns of their customers and ensure that the right snacks are stocked at appropriate times to maximize their sales. A heavy machinery manufacturer can offer a “zero downtime” service that analyzes machine performance and makes sure 3rd party suppliers have parts on hand just in time for replacement. That manufacturer can monetize both the value added service as well as the partner relationship, again by constantly listening to their end users.

So, what best practices should you keep in mind as you bridge the gap from merely connecting devices to achieving business outcomes through a real-time conversation with customers?

1. Think about scale

As you plan your IoT business it’s important to select IoT solutions and business partners that will enable you to scale your connected services over time. Start by selecting a networking strategy that has global reach so that you can quickly and cost-effectively expand your IoT services into new countries as customer demand dictates. In many cases, using the mobile network is an obvious choice. It is ubiquitous, reliable, secure and increasingly cost-effective. Simultaneously, selecting an IoT connectivity management platform that is widely deployed and deeply integrated into the mobile networks worldwide ensures your IoT service is ready for global deployment and scale.

2. Embrace the cloud

Cloud-based IoT platforms will give you the flexibility and efficiency to get to market quickly with your IoT services. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model of such platforms means your connected services can be agile, benefitting from rapid cycles of innovation and the on-demand scale of cloud-based implementations.

3. Automate, automate, automate

IoT and digital transformation is nothing if not characterized by business process automation. Managing connected devices should not get in the way of figuring out how to deliver value out of the conversation. A properly designed IoT platform lets you do just that. Whether it is provisioning the connected services, diagnosing service performance or managing ongoing costs, an IoT platform can automate away many of those tasks, freeing you up to manage your core business. In short, let connectivity work for you – not the other way around – as you uncover new sources of revenue.

Starting that IoT conversation

It’s important to remember that IoT is not solely about things being connected, it’s about the services you can enable through that connectivity. And those services provide the foundation for an ongoing conversation and relationship with your customers that enables you to continuously adapt and better meet their needs over time.

For this reason, companies that focus first on the tactics of connecting their products – instead of the services they plan to deliver and the ongoing conversation those services enable with their customers – often end up having to refine their strategy later on. Instead, begin by identifying the services that you want to deliver to your customers to enhance their experiences, then invest in an IoT strategy that lets you focus on that always-on conversation.

*Originally posted 10/5/16 by Sanjay Khatri in PLATFORMS

White House Commitment: Smart Cities Council Challenge Grants

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 03, 2016

American Cities: Plan now to apply for a 2017 grant

How to apply

The call for entries will open October 31, 2016 and cities must submit an application no later than December 31, 2016. Winners will be selected and announced by January 31, 2017.

The application will be available on this page starting October 31st, 2016. For more information or to register your interest, email Chief Scientist Dr. Stuart Cowan,GrantApplication@SmartCitiesCouncil.com.

About the grant

As part of the White House smart cities initiative, the Smart Cities Council commits to award five (5) Smart Cities Council Challenge Grants to help five American cities apply smart technologies to improve urban livability, workability and sustainability. For each of the five winning cities, the Council will deliver a tailored one-day Readiness Program during the 2017 calendar year. And members of the Council will deliver additional benefits to each of the five cities, as described below.

The Readiness Program menu

For each winning city, the Council will deliver a one-day smart cities workshop. Participants from the city will include approximately 100 government leaders, private sector and academic experts, and other key local stakeholders. The Council will custom design each workshop to the special needs of that city.

The Readiness Program provides a significant in-kind contribution of professional services; access to best practices from some of the world’s top smart city practitioners; access to the expertise of leading smart cities technology providers in a vendor-neutral setting; the opportunity to learn from peer cities; and international visibility on the Council’s website and newsletter.

Additional grants and benefits

In addition to the Readiness Program winning cities will also receive these additional benefits from Council Partners and Advisors:

  • Ameresco will consult with each of the five cities on optimizing smart street lighting as part of an overall smart city strategy.
  • AT&T will provide a donation of up to 25 AT&T IoT Starter Kits at no cost to each of the selected cities.
  • CH2M and Qualcomm will partner to host a one-day follow-on workshop for each city to develop a work plan for development and deployment of a Smart Cities Council ecosystem.
  • Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) will provide each winning city with a one-year Premier membership and online access to all of its research and materials.
  • Dow Building & Construction will provide consultation on optimizing building design as a part of a smart city ecosystem.
  • IDC’s Government Insights Smart Cities Strategies research advisory service will provide each city a Smart City maturity benchmark.
  • Sensus will provide each winning city a hosted smart city communication network free of charge for one year.
  • Telit will provide each city free access to the Telit IoT platform, which provides comprehensive functions for connecting devices, managing devices and integrating the data.
  • TM Forum will provide its expertise and its Smart City Maturity and Benchmark model free of charge to help the cities quickly assess their strengths and weaknesses and to set clear goals for transformation.
  • Transdev will provide each selected city with up to three days of free consultation and technical assistance to look at ways of providing new and more efficient mobility options.

Criteria for selection

Cities will fill out a grant application to be considered. Winners will be selected according to the following criteria.

  • Population greater than 100,000 (may combine with neighboring cities to reach population threshold)
  • Demonstrate commitment by including a cover letter from the mayor or city manager affirming the city’s official entry
  • Demonstrate capacity by briefly listing existing smart city practices, policies, programs, and planning efforts and by providing a liaison to assist with the event
  • Demonstrate a commitment to widespread stakeholder engagement by sharing a list of the leadership and organizations they propose to invite.
  • Agree to the Smart City Principles espoused by the Smart Cities Council, which call for an inclusive, equitable, “people-first” approach
  • Propose at least three theme areas that represent city priorities.
  • Propose at least one theme area for discussion that applies smart technologies to help vulnerable or marginalized people or neighborhoods
  • Agree to allow the Council to publish high-level summaries of their event on the Council’s website
  • Supply a venue suitable for plenary sessions of at least 100 plus at least four break-out spaces
  • Located in the United States

Register your interest

For more information or to register your interest, email Chief Scientist Dr. Stuart Cowan, GrantApplication@SmartCitiesCouncil.com

Original info posted here 9/26/16: http://smartcitiescouncil.com/article/white-house-commitment-smart-cities-council-challenge-grants

Sacramento Kings Boast World's First LEED Platinum Indoor Sports Arena

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Sacramento Kings announced Thursday that the new $557 million Golden 1 Center is now the world's first LEED Platinum-certified indoor sports venue, as well as the first professional sports facility powered entirely by solar energy, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The arena features reused construction materials from the site's former structures, 36% recycled material, 90% locally sourced food and drinks for concessions, and recycled athletic shoes for court surfaces.

The Golden 1 Center's first scheduled events are two Paul McCartney concerts in October, but the main arena and practice facility will not be 100% complete until 2017.

LEED Platinum-certified projects must earn United States Green Building Council (USGBC) points in energy management, water efficiency, environmental quality, transportation and materials. The AECOM-designed Golden 1 Center earned the highest points total for any sports venue in the world, therefore putting it into the category of the top 3% of all certified buildings.

According to the Golden 1 Center, developers conducted a 13-month environmental study of the arena site and determined that choosing the downtown location would shorten travel times to events, thereby cutting air emissions by 24% and reducing travel-related greenhouse gas emissions per attendee by 36% by 2020. Arena officials estimate that the facility's site location choice will keep nearly 2,000 tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere.

The USGBC said that green sports venues teach fans and visitors about green building and drum up support for sustainability efforts. There have been an increasing number of LEED-certified sports facilities — now at least 30 — as teams and owners realize the environmental and economic benefits, according to the organization. Currently, the University of North Texas is chasing LEED Platinum status, as is the Atlanta Falcons organization for its new $1.5 billion Mercedes Benz stadium. The USGBC said the Falcons will have the first LEED Platinum NFL stadium ever once it's complete.

The Kings arena ended up costing approximately $80 million more than originally estimated, which the owners attributed to design changes and the addition of a $30 million practice facility. General contractor Turner Construction drew attention to the project last year through its use of weekly drone flights to monitor project progress, and Turner and the Kings also made the way they sourced labor a priority when hiring local low-income, homeless, veteran, ex-offender and former foster child employees as part of their Community Workforce Pipeline initiative.

Recommended Reading

Sacramento Bee: Golden 1 Center the ‘greenest’ arena in U.S.
USGBC: Sustainable Stadiums
Golden1Center.com: Sacramento Kings New Arena Is First Indoor Sports Venue to Earn LEED Platinum Designation

By Kim Slowey | Waste Dive|September 26, 2016