Category Archives: Green

Norte Vista Academy Builds Careers

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sandra Stokley and published in The Press Enterprise on May 8, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise

When Wells Middle School student Yuly Quintero heard about Norte Vista High School’s newly minted Green Construction Academy, she knew it was where she wanted to be.

“It just seemed so cool to do things other girls don’t do,” she said.

Quintero, now 15 and a sophomore at the Riverside high school, said the academy has exceeded her expectations. She has designed and built miniature replicas of buildings and bridges, and learned how to use hand and power tools.

And on a recent Tuesday, Quintero and about 39 of her academy classmates were put through the paces by trained professionals during a daylong boot camp at the Electrical Apprenticeship Training Center in San Bernardino. They learned to use a defibrillator in a CPR class, fashioned metal conduits, ran wires and learned some of the “hair-raising” aspects of electrical safety.

Now wrapping up its third year at Norte Vista, the academy is a school within a school that blends academic and career technical education to engage students who lack motivation or are at risk of dropping out to help them prepare for careers in the building trades or college – or both. Programs like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation and intelligent growth pillars. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support programs that help improve our already outstanding quality of life.

“We’re reaching a student population that maybe we overlook,” said Gary Packler, the academy’s coordinator. “The academy is a way to connect them to school.”

MAKING CONNECTIONS

The program is funded by a California Department of Education grant with support from the Alvord Unified School District and business partners. It focuses on jobs in clean technology and renewable energy in industries such as solar energy and wind energy.

Other Inland schools with grants for Green Construction academies are: Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernardino and Desert Hot Springs High School in the Palm Springs Unified School District.

Norte Vista’s Green Academy started in 2012 with a freshman class of 30 students recruited from the district’s four middle schools.

Students in that initial class – who will be seniors in fall – and from subsequent years take four classes per day together and advance through the academy as a group.

“It creates a smaller learning environment,” Packler said. “It promotes a connection between teacher and students.”

Students take academic courses including English, mathematics and science. Mixed in are a freshman class of wood shop, and sophomore and junior construction technology courses.

Students also observe and work at a solar panel installation work site, Packler said.

APPRENTICE OPPORTUNITIES

On May 5, 40 academy students gathered at the San Bernardino apprenticeship center, where they got a taste of what to expect if they opted to try for a spot in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ apprenticeship program instead of going to college.

“It’s a very demanding program,” said Jim Rush, the Brotherhood’s business representative, who helped organize the boot camp.

Rush said applicants need a high school diploma or GED, must pass an exam that tests their math, reading and writing comprehension skills and be interviewed by the apprenticeship committee.

In the five-year training program, apprentices work five days a week with a contractor and attend school two nights a week.

The payoff can be substantial, Rush said. He earns about $100,000 per year.

Sophomore Johnny Conriquez, 16 said he heard about the Green Academy at Loma Vista Middle School and thought it would suit him for a couple of reasons.

“I like working with my hands,” he said. “And I like that we’re helping the environment.”

The academy has been so successful that participants have asked to help recruit at middle schools, Packler said.

“Some of these students would never have volunteered to go to middle school,” Packler said. “But they have developed so much confidence and social skills.”

To read the full article, click here.

LEED Certified Buildings And Sustainability Taking Forefront At UC Riverside Campus

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Mojgan Sherkat and published in UCR Today on April 23, 2015.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

These are not your father’s residence halls. Just in time for Earth Day, the latest housing addition at UC Riverside has recycled materials, all the latest water management, energy efficiency, and environmentally friendly features like
American-made cabinetry.

Glen Mor II celebrated its LEED Gold Certification Wednesday. What does LEED mean? Well, it stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is a certification program focused on sustainable buildings. Facilities receive points based on meeting environmentally friendly criteria. The first phase of Glen Mor, which opened in 2007, achieved the LEED Gold in December 2014. When well-maintained, the buildings will produce fewer waste products and are more energy efficient than they would otherwise be.

Glen Mor offers single-occupancy rooms in two- and four-bedroom apartment style floor plans. It is home to more than 1,300 residents (sophomores and up).

“It’s very impressive,” said Jean Weiss, a Riverside community member. “I love the multi-aspects of it all – the landscaping, parking structure, the market, it’s very scenic and at the same time conductive for the studious mindset,” she explained.

The certification was unveiled by Andy Plumley, assistant vice chancellor of UCR’s Housing, Dining, & Residential Services.

“Obtaining LEED Gold certification along with being the largest LEED Gold Group Property is quite a milestone for UCR,” said Plumley. “Housing, Dining & Residential Services is proud of the Glen Mor project and thankful for our dedicated campus partners (Architects & Engineers, Capital Program, Environmental Health & Safety, Transportation & Parking Services, Computing & Communications) who contributed greatly to help us reach this achievement.”

The public was given the opportunity to tour the new facility. Eric Shuler, Assistant Director of Facilities Management gave one of three tours around the new UCR Campus Apartment, highlighting the sustainable features, which include:

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today
  • Rock landscaping: to minimize water use.
  • Solar panels: used for heating the water and building.
  • Furniture: all made in the U.S. and out of sustainably harvested and manufactured wood.
  • Appliances: all Energy Star rated.
  • Irrigation: controlled system, when it rains the system will automatically shut-off.
  • Lighting: interior is automatically dimmed and brightened according to existing ambient light. Exterior is energy-saving LED.

Housing, Dining & Residential Services will continue to develop a robust energy and sustainability program for UCR.  The efforts will include:

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today
  1. Building level energy and sustainability improvements to meet or exceed LEED Gold standards, UCOP standards and State requirements.
  2. Pursue additional LEED EBOM Certifications.
  3. Pursue minimum of LEED Gold on all new building projects.
  4. Develop programs for residents to educate on how they may contribute to the sustainability of their living environment.

Housing, Dining & Residential Services ultimate sustainability goal is to provide an optimized, balanced, living and learning experience with the least amount of impact on the environment.

UC Riverside’s green initiative is an outstanding example of the Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. By constantly improving their infrastructure, UCR has established it’s self as a leader in sustainability. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riverside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

For the complete article, click here.

Arbor Day Celebration Set For May 9th

Photo Credit: Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful
Photo Credit: Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful

Adopt a Tree in honor or in memory of a loved one.

If you would like to participate and plant the tree with Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful (KRCB) volunteers, please contact Ronald Liu at rliu@riverside-chamber.com or (951) 683-7100 x212.

KRCB will present you with a certificate listing the type of tree and its location so you may visit the tree for years to come. Please click this link for more details.

This tree planting event is a partnership project between the City of Riverside Public Works Department and Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful.

Events like this not only help Riverside stay clean, but also creates a beautiful city for people to visit and live in. With our already outstanding landscape, year-round activities, and ample recreational options, Riverside has another reason for it to be a location of choice for people seeking a clean and beautiful place to live.

Have you signed up for the Great American Cleanup?

KRCB is recruiting volunteers for the Great American Cleanup (GAC) – a citywide cleanup throughout all 7 Council Wards.

 Date: Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Time and Place: From 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. volunteers work at their designated cleanup site.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. volunteers return supplies and reports to City Hall and enjoy a celebration lunch!

Be a Team Leader: KRCB is seeking individuals to lead GAC volunteers in a community cleanup! View page 2 of the flyer or contact Ronald for more details.

Contact: Ronald Liu at rliu@riverside-chamber.com or 951.682.7100 x 212 to confirm your participation in the:

  • Tuesday, May 5th – Team Leader Luncheon
    • 11:30am – 1:00pSaturday, May 9th – Great American Cleanup
    • 9:00am – 11:30am

 Click here to sign up for The Great American Cleanup

 Click here to sign up as a photographer at The Great American Cleanup

Click here to Adopt-A-Tree as part of our Arbor Day Celebration

CBU Earns Tree Campus USA Recognition

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News & Events on March 26, 2015.)

Photo Credit: CBU News & Events
Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

California Baptist University has earned a 2015 Tree Campus USA recognition.

Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. CBU received notification last week that it received the honor.

To earn the distinction, CBU had to meet the five standards required by Tree Campus USA: establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

Dr. Bonjun Koo, professor of environmental science, is on the CBU Tree Campus USA committee.

“California Baptist University is very proud to receive the 2015 Tree Campus USA recognition,” Koo said. “Our effort of conservation, sustainability and environmental stewardship is part of CBU’S core value. The passion of our students, faculty and staff is the reason for this achievement.” With the growing concern of climate change and pollution from fossil fuels, CBU is taking steps to reduce their foot print on the environment and promote the quality of life for all through intelligent growth of their campus.

Students, faculty and other volunteers planted 10 trees on campus last November as an early Arbor Day observance and to meet some of the required standards. There will be a spring Arbor Day celebration on March 28, when 15 trees will be planted. Anyone interested in helping will meet at the front of the campus near the flag poles at 9 a.m. Planting will take place from 9:15 a.m. to noon.

For the full article, click here.

Five UC Riverside Students Awarded $1,500 Sustainability Fellowships

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Kris Lovekin and published in UCR Today on March 24, 2015.)

Photo Credit: UCR
Photo Credit: UCR

What does replacing fluorescent light bulbs with LEDs have to do with solar-heated washing machines, energy audits, resin-hardened clothing or a color-coded map that illustrates air pollution? They’re all proposals from UC Riverside students to help the campus achieve the University of California’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2025.

The university received 38 proposals in less than three weeks for UC President Janet Neapolitan’s new Sustainability Student Fellowship/Internship Program, the most received by any UC campus, said UCR’s Director of Sustainability John Cook.

Napolitano’s office provided $7,500 to each of the UC’s 10 campuses in February to encourage students to get involved in the UC’s carbon neutrality and sustainability goals, which include getting each campus back to the same level of emissions it had in 1990. That’s a huge task for UC Riverside, Cook said, because the campus has grown from about 6,000 students in 1990 to more than 22,000 today, with expanded research programs and new schools of engineering and medicine that didn’t exist before.

“We have the biggest challenge of all the UCs, but we can figure it out,” Cook said. “We have the willpower and brainpower on campus to do it, and that’s what this fellowship does; it puts the brainpower and student engagement together, so we can all be a part of the solution and it’s not just something that happens at the physical plant somewhere. It’s the whole campus working together.”

The five winning proposals will each receive $1,500 to complete their projects by the end of 2015, said Matt Barth, UCR professor of electrical and chemical engineering and a member of the UC Global Climate Leadership Counsel. Barth and Cook helped choose the winning proposals along with UCR Professor of Geology Mary Droser, who sits on the education subcommittee of the UC Global Climate Leadership Counsel.

“I would definitely say all the applications were great,” said Barth. “We were extremely surprised to get so many applications with such a short turnaround period. This fellowship is giving students a chance to show off their ideas while helping us meet our sustainability goals, and they’ve given us some pretty good stuff.”

UCR’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2025 demonstrates what makes UCR and Riverside a catalyst for innovation. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

For the complete article, click here.

Glass Coating Improves Battery Performance

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon in UCR Today on March 2, 2015.)

Photo Credit: UCR
Photo Credit: UCR

Lithium-sulfur batteries have been a hot topic in battery research because of their ability to produce up to 10 times more energy than conventional batteries, which means they hold great promise for applications in energy-demanding electric vehicles.

However, there have been fundamental road blocks to commercializing these sulfur batteries. One of the main problems is the tendency for lithium and sulfur reaction products, called lithium polysulfides, to dissolve in the battery’s electrolyte and travel to the opposite electrode permanently. This causes the battery’s capacity to decrease over its lifetime.

Researchers in the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside have investigated a strategy to prevent this “polysulfide shuttling” phenomenon by creating nano-sized sulfur particles, and coating them in silica (SiO2), otherwise known as glass.

The work is outlined in a paper, “SiO2 – Coated Sulfur Particles as a Cathode Material for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries,” just published online in the journal Nanoscale. In addition, the researchers have been invited to submit their work for publication in the Graphene-based Energy Devices special themed issue in RSC Nanoscale.

Ph.D. students in Cengiz Ozkan’s and Mihri Ozkan’s research groups have been working on designing a cathode material in which silica cages “trap” polysulfides having a very thin shell of silica, and the particles’ polysulfide products now face a trapping barrier – a glass cage. The team used an organic precursor to construct the trapping barrier.

“Our biggest challenge was to optimize the process to deposit SiO2 – not too thick, not too thin, about the thickness of a virus”, Mihri Ozkan said.

A schematic illustration of the process to synthesize silica-coated sulfur particles. Photo Credit: UCR Today
A schematic illustration of the process to synthesize silica-coated sulfur particles. Photo Credit: UCR Today

Graduate students Brennan Campbell, Jeffrey Bell, Hamed Hosseini Bay, Zachary Favors, and Robert Ionescu found that silica-caged sulfur particles provided a substantially higher battery performance, but felt further improvement was necessary because of the challenge with the breakage of the SiO2 shell.

“We have decided to incorporate mildly reduced graphene oxide (mrGO), a close relative of graphene, as a conductive additive in cathode material design, to provide mechanical stability to the glass caged structures”, Cengiz Ozkan said.

The new generation cathode provided an even more dramatic improvement than the first design, since the team engineered both a polysulfide-trapping barrier and a flexible graphene oxide blanket that harnesses the sulfur and silica together during cycling.

“The design of the core-shell structure essentially builds in the functionality of polysulfide surface-adsorption from the silica shell, even if the shell breaks”, Brennan Campbell said. “Incorporation of mrGO serves the system well in holding the polysulfide traps in place. Sulfur is similar to oxygen in its reactivity and energy yet still comes with physical challenges, and our new cathode design allows sulfur to expand and contract, and be harnessed.”

This advancement in battery technology is an outstanding model of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  The students and staff at UC Riverside cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riveside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

The work was funded by the Winston Chung Global Energy Center at UC Riverside.

To read the full article, click here.

Novel Pretreatment Could Cut Biofuel Costs By 30 Percent Or More

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on February 23, 2015.)

Charles Wyman, the Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at UC Riverside. Photo Credit UCR Today
Charles Wyman, the Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at UC Riverside. Photo Credit UCR Today

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have invented a novel pretreatment technology that could cut the cost of biofuels production by about 30 percent or more by dramatically reducing the amount of enzymes needed to breakdown the raw materials that form biofuels.

As partners in the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC), the team from the Bourns College of Engineering Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) have shown that this new operation called Co-solvent Enhanced Lignocellulosic Fractionation (CELF) could eliminate about 90 percent of the enzymes needed for biological conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fuels compared to prior practice. This development could mean reducing enzyme costs from about $1 per gallon of ethanol to about 10 cents or less.

The BioEnergy Science Center is a U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center focused on enhancing science and technology to reduce the cost of biomass conversion through support by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the Department of Energy Office of Science..

“As recent months have shown, petroleum prices are inherently unstable and will likely return to high prices soon as expensive sources are taken off line,” said Professor Charles Wyman, the Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at UC Riverside. “We have created a transformative technology that has the potential to make biofuels an economic sustainable alternative to petroleum-based fuels.”

“These findings are very significant because they establish a new pretreatment process that can dramatically reduce enzyme loadings and costs, thereby improving the competitiveness for biological conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fuels,” said Wyman, who has focused on understanding and advancing biofuels technologies for more than 30 years. “Understanding the mechanisms responsible for achieving these intriguing results can also suggest even more powerful paths to improving the economics of converting non-edible biomass into sustainable fuels.”

This advancement in biofuels is an outstanding model of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  The students and staff at UC Riverside cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riveside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

For the full article, click here.

What’s For Lunch? More Often, It’s Fresh And California-Grown

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Dayna Straehley and published in The Press Enterprise on January 2, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise

On California Thursdays at Hillcrest High School, lunches made with fresh vegetables sell out first.

California Thursdays started Oct. 23, and is already a hit at schools such as Hillcrest. The center worked with school food service directors, farmers and produce distributors to develop recipes that students enjoy and can be made from scratch with fresh ingredients grown in-state.

They’re an alternative to frozen, processed, prepackaged meals shipped from out of state and reheated for schools, according to the center, a nonprofit dedicated to education for sustainable living and based in Berkley. Sometimes produce from California is shipped to Chicago and other distant locations for processing before it comes back to schools, the center said.

Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise

The California Thursdays entree features broccoli buds andcelery slices from Salinas, sliced red peppers from the Coachella Valley, sliced onions and matchstick carrots, rice grown in California and chicken. Food service workers put the vegetables on baking pans with a little water and into the oven. The cooked vegetables are then placed on top of the chicken and rice.

Although the full entree of only California-grown food is a weekly feature, Alvord Child Nutrition Services Director Eric Holliday said his department works with Sunrise Produce to include as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible to serve students every day.

The fruit also has fewer preservatives and the apples aren’t waxed like the ones in supermarkets, said Lisa Marquez, vice president of sales for Sunrise, which works with farmers and 75 to 80 school districts in Southern California.

Holliday said schools try to educate students about food and teach them where it comes from. Those education efforts encourage students to eat more fresh foods that may be unfamiliar initially.

Located in beautiful Southern California, Riverside has weather that is conducive to the production of year-round produce and excellent recreational opportunities.  Riverside is a location of choice for those that desire a healthy lifestyle.

To read the full article, click here.

Battle Of The Bugs: Good News For California Citrus Growers

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Iqbal Pittalwala and published in UCR Today on Dec, 9 2014.)

The first release of a new wasp drew a crowd, mostly people who are personally involved in raising wasps. Photo Credit: Michael Lewis
The first release of a new wasp drew a crowd, mostly people who are personally involved in raising wasps. Photo Credit: Michael Lewis

Toward the end of 2011, Mark Hoddle, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, first released into a citrus grove on campus a batch of Pakistani wasps that are natural enemies of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), the vector of a bacterium that causes Huanglongbing (HLB), a lethal citrus disease.

On Tuesday, Dec. 16, Hoddle, the director of UCR’s Center for Invasive Species Research, released the wasp Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis, a second species of ACP natural enemy, also from the Punjab region of Pakistan.  Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and others involved in rearing insects on and off campus helped release the tiny wasps from vials.

Photo Credit: Mike Lewis, CISR, UC Riverside
Photo Credit: Mike Lewis, CISR, UC Riverside

Successful biocontrol of citrus pests in California sometimes requires more than one species of natural enemy because citrus is grown in a variety of different habitats – hot desert areas like Coachella, cooler coastal zones like Ventura, and intermediate areas like Riverside/Redlands and northern San Diego County.

Hoddle’s lab has developed a release plan for Diaphorencyrtus. Initial releases will focus on parts of Southern California with ACP infestations in urban areas but whereTamarixia has not been released.

“This is because we want to minimize competition between these two wasp species in the initial establishment phase,” Hoddle explained. “Further, we will work closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture on identifying places to concentrate our release efforts.”

Hoddle’s plan is to gradually transition production of the new wasp over to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) then onto private insectaries interested in rearing this natural enemy. For the first 12-18 months, UCR and then later the CDFA will be leading the rearing and release program for this new ACP natural enemy.

Through commitment and dedication, UCR is always improving and making strides in becoming a green machine.  Exemplifying Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar, UCR values the cultivation and support of innovation within our community acting as a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

About ACP-HLB:

ACP-HLB is a serious threat to California’s annual $2 billion citrus industry. This insect-disease combination has cost Florida’s citrus industry $1.3 billion in losses, production costs have increased by 40 percent, and more than 6,000 jobs have been lost as citrus trees have died and the industry has contracted.

When ACP feeds on citrus leaves and stems, it damages the tree by injecting a toxin that causes leaves to twist and die. The more serious issue is that ACP spreads a bacterium that causes HLB. Trees with HLB have mottled leaves and small bitter fruit.  Trees die within about 8 years of infection. To date there is no known cure for HLB.

To read the complete article, click here.

Chemists Fabricate Novel Rewritable Paper

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Iqbal Pittalwala published in UCR Today on December 2, 2014)

Photo Credit: Yin Lab, UC Riverside
Photo Credit: Yin Lab, UC Riverside

Chemists at the University of California, Riverside have now fabricated rewritable paper in the lab, one that is based on the color switching property of commercial chemicals called redox dyes.  The dye forms the imaging layer of the paper.  Printing is achieved by using ultraviolet light to photobleach the dye, except the portions that constitute the text on the paper.  The new rewritable paper can be erased and written on more than 20 times with no significant loss in contrast or resolution.

“This rewritable paper does not require additional inks for printing, making it both economically and environmentally viable,” said Yadong Yin, a professor of chemistry, whose lab led the research. “It represents an attractive alternative to regular paper in meeting the increasing global needs for sustainability and environmental conservation.”

The rewritable paper is essentially rewritable media in the form of glass or plastic film to which letters and patterns can be repeatedly printed, retained for days, and then erased by simple heating.

The paper comes in three primary colors: blue, red and green, produced by using the commercial redox dyes methylene blue, neutral red and acid green, respectively.  Included in the dye are titania nanocrystals (these serve as catalysts) and the thickening agent hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC).  The combination of the dye, catalysts and HEC lends high reversibility and repeatability to the film.

Research like this is an example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The students and staff at UC Riverside cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riveside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, state, and the world to follow.  

Study results appear online in Nature Communications.

For the complete article, click here.