Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
Fisherville, Ontario, Canada
Tel. 416 410-0432, Fax: 416 362-5231
Vol. 17, No. 2, July 25, 2012
This is the honoured reader edition of the Gallon Environment Letter and is distributed at no charge: send a note with Add GL or Delete GL in the subject line to Subscribers receive a more complete edition without subscription reminders and with extensive links to further information following almost every article. Organizational subscriptions are $184 plus HST/GST and provide additional benefits detailed on the web site. Individual subscriptions are only $30 (personal emails/funds only please) including HST. If you would like to subscribe please visit If you feel you should be receiving the paid subscriber edition or have other subscriber questions please contact us also at This current free edition is posted on the web site about a week or so after its issue at Back free editions from January 2009 are also available there.

This issue we are highlighting some of the business activities that took place at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. While governments made little progress the business community seemed to think it would be making great green progress. We will leave it readers to decide whether it did.

We highlight some of the conclusions of the Business Action for Sustainable Development Business Day, many of which are quite interesting in the context of the business community in Canada today, and look in depth at the Ecosystem Services session. The concept of Ecosystem Services seems to be gaining a significant agenda in the international business community and in international governmental organizations. The challenge for governments of providing technology transfer to developing countries while intellectual property rights to the technologies are owned by the private sector is one that Gallon Environment Letter has addressed before. We are pleased to see that a law professor is now addressing the conundrum in a useful way. We also provide a list of some of the other corporate initiatives that were announced or discussed at Rio+20.

Our editorial in this issue consists of a link to another publication, Rolling Stone Magazine. Perhaps not where one would expect to find a thoughtful and relevant piece on climate change and the "real enemy" but we thought it so interesting that we wanted all our readers, and not just those who subscribe to Rolling Stone, to see it. It is a long piece so we provide a link but we very much encourage you to follow the link and read McKibben's words for yourself.

We have five Letters to the Editor, one from our friend Will Amos at EcoJustice telling us (and our readers) about a new Environmental Hansard that EcoJustice is launching. We think this will be very useful for keeping up with the environmentally sound (and silly) things that our federal parliamentarians say in the House of Commons. The second letter is about a new technology. We do not usually allow Gallon Letter to be used for product and service promotion, though we are thinking about doing so more formally (business speak meaning 'for a fee') but this one seemed to be of sufficiently broad interest and sufficiently eco-sensible that we decided to run it. The third letter is about keeping cool without air conditioning in this summer heat, something that even Gallon Letter's editor is very much trying to do. GallonLetter's offices are in a former farmhouse in which air conditioning is available but we try not to use the aC unless it is absolutely essential. Believe it or not, so far this hot summer we have managed to keep the AC turned off, though some of our IT equipment seems to be affected just as much as the humans involved and periodically shuts down without warning. The two other letters are equally interesting - read on to find what they are all about.

The Washington-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy issued its first scorecard ranking 12 of the world's largest economies based on 27 metrics to measure how efficiently these economies use energy. The results, which we bring you, are not too surprising! Also in the realm of energy efficiency we discuss the Prebound effect, something which governments planning energy efficiency programs almost certainly do not consider, and a Congressional Research Service report on the oil sands and the Keystone XL pipeline, a report that gives more credit to the NGO position than one SH seems capable of doing. Our corporate sustainability awards issue missed a few - we tell you of one - and we will update our listings in a comprehensive way early in the new year. A recent Globe Scan survey indicated that only 38% of respondents, mostly professional sustainable development types, like GallonLetter's editor, believed that CSR reporting was honestly communicated. We will be addressing this issue in GallonLetter early in the Fall.

Next issue we will be revisiting and updating some of our coverage of the local food scene. In the meantime we welcome your letters to the editor, send to, and invite your comments. We hope you enjoy this issue of Gallon Environment Letter.


Bill McKibben is one of the most recognized, if not always welcomed, American environmental writers of our time. In this month's issue of Rolling Stone magazine an opinion piece by McKibben is entitled Global Warming's Terrifying New Math: Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is. It is a long piece but, in our opinion, well worth reading, not because GallonLetter agrees with every sentence but because the article neatly summarizes a series of political paradigms, and one in particular, that might soon have implications for OECD governments and our western lifestyle.

We recommend to our readers:



On 19 June 2012, Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD2012) convened a high-level platform for interaction between business leaders, civil society and policy-makers, under the theme “Achieving Scale”. The Business Day dialogues focussed on scaling up business-driven solutions to achieve global sustainability, defined as 9 billion people living well and within the limits of the planet by 2050. They featured participation from a broad group of companies, representing a diverse range of sectors and geographies; major international business associations, a diverse range of NGOs, and government decision makers.

More than 800 leaders met throughout the Business Day, during interactive workshops and plenary sessions, to develop recommendations for the framework necessary to move forward on sustainability solutions. Discussions centred on sector-specific advances and thematic challenges that must be overcome to achieve results.

The participants were able to draw from a variety of resources, including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Vision 2050 and Changing Pace reports, the ICC’s Green Economy Roadmap, and the 10 principles from the UN Global Compact, that lay the foundation for a common understanding of the challenges we face, and a set of policy recommendations designed to spark dialogue between the business community and governments.

The BASD Business Day was able to achieve recommendations and conclusions on four primary themes:
1) Business is the delivery mechanism for sustainable development solutions
2) While progress towards a sustainable planet is being made, the results so far are not nearly enough to achieve the results we need
3) There are technical solutions already available, but the implementation needs to be scaled up
4) There needs to be a coordinated effort by government, civil society and business to create a sense of urgency, necessary to create the conditions for change.
Specifically, the BASD event was able to solidify support for the main theme that business and government collaboration is the quickest and most efficient way to achieve a Green Economy.

The following is a selection from the many sessions, high level lunches, keynote speeches and panel sessions.

Opening Plenary

Sometimes when business makes recommendations, GallonLetter has observed that the onus for achieving sustainability is anywhere but on business e.g. government should provide incentives, deregulate or whatever before business can do anything. While there was certainly some of that at this conference, the opening plenary of Business Day was a refreshing change even if we don't know yet if the talk will be walked. Peter Bakker, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, said that although progress has been made since the first Rio summit in 1992, poverty is still pervasive, environmental damage severe and carbon emissions increasing. All companies need to scale up sustainability strategies, transform best practices to standards, and find new solutions. Among the key conclusions and recommendations of this session:

When the sessions got into specifics, some of the panels, such as agriculture, were so dominated by very large corporations that it wasn't clear that the key conclusions were not mostly for corporate self interest. For example, a recommendation that farmers need incentives and support in the market place to adopt farming practices and technologies sounds a lot like promoting the interest of the chemical company leveraging its own products into the marketplace without much regard for sustainability. On the other hand, if implemented properly, the recommendation could be effective in the right direction.

Chemical Industry

On a chemical industry panel, one of the key conclusion was "The chemical industry has a responsibility to collaborate more closely with the supply chain to build trust, and increase public confidence, that chemicals are managed safely throughout the lifecycle." In this case we wonder whether the emphasis is on trust and public relations rather than on the managing chemicals safely. And of course, there is the fact that some chemicals cannot be managed safely and consideration should be not to produce the chemical at all.

Another conclusion was "Multi-stakeholder frameworks, such as the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, provide the most effective mechanism for promoting sound chemicals management internationally." SAICM was adopted at the International Conference on Chemicals Management held in 2006 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. One of the key features is the GHS or Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. Canada is one of 67 countries listed as participating in implementing the GHS by the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe.

Oil and Gas Industry

One of the key conclusions from the oil and gas session was "It was recognized that doing this with scale can only be achieved through partnerships between governments, consumers, communities, NGOs, business and industries around the world." Given that in Canada, the oil industry with the assistance of the government through programs such as "Ethical Oil" are attacking environmental groups, this panel offered a more viable approach.

Power (Utilities)

This session included a key conclusion that "CO2 subsidy should be disbanded. A real Carbon Price needs to be established." Canada's federal government is cutting or threatening to cut funding from those who propose carbon pricing. The ruling Conservatives have launched an attack ad even though there is no election in the offing for some years against Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair with an accusation that he is "dangerous": one of the reasons given is that he wants a carbon tax which would raise the price of gas.


Key conclusions on SMEs included recognition of the crucial role of SMEs in the value chain, ability to contribute what are initially niche green technologies and collaborators for job creation and in overcoming poverty. They need assistance to improve their capacity to build a green economy. Critical are financing and specific schemes such as micro-financing. The banking sector needs to develop capacity to finance and assess risks for SMEs.

Consumer Goods: Ecosystem Services/Natural Capital

Key conclusions and recommendations included:
Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Among the conclusions:
Green Economy

The International Energy Agency estimates that a 17% or USD 46 trillion increase in energy investment needed to achieve a low-carbon system between 2010 and 2050 would lead to fuel savings worth USD 112 trillion. OECD in 2011 estimated that potential commercial opportunities in environmental sustainability in natural resources alone would be worth between $2.1 to $6.3 trillion dollars by 2050.

A green economy requires the three dimensions (economic, social and environmental) of sustainable development to work together to mutually strengthen each other.

Among the key conclusions are:

Policy Frameworks for Sustainable Development

Among the key conclusions and recommendations are:

Water (Cross-sector)

One of the key conclusions and recommendation is to use already available technology for water and sanitation to reuse water. 80% of water is currently discharged without treatment. Treatment of this water is key to addressing water scarcity.

Sustainable Consumption

Companies play an important role in influencing consumer choice. Companies should build business models on value creation not resource consumption.

Amongst the key conclusions and recommendations are:
Business Schools

Business education is largely based on an agenda set in the 1950s. Management education should "contribute to a world worth living in." Among the key conclusions and recommendations for business schools are to:
Closing Plenary: Ideas to Scale up

Among the ideas to scale up are:

At the sectoral level: this is the best level for bottom up development of best practices some of which are worth sharing with other sectors.

At the cross sectoral level: Optimization of sustainability requires a value chain approach and the development of a sustainable transport system (local, national and regions) and intermodal mobility.

At government level: Subsidy of fossil fuels should stop immediately; and Cities are the most promising platform for implementation between business and government.

At the company level: Charge externalities to end consumers; and Ensure SMEs are involved through supply chains.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


As part of the Ecosystem Services session at the Business Day at Rio+20, a new report by Corporate Eco Forum and The Nature Conservancy, arising from the Clinton Global Initiative held in September 2011, was a fulfilment of a promise "to bring new company commitments to invest in natural capital to Rio+20, to provide real tangible examples and an actionable framework to catalyse and demonstrate the material importance of natural capital. Leading multi-national companies are developing systems to assess the most crucial natural services they depend on, and developing systems to invest in the protection and restoration of natural capital."

Twenty four companies have committed to "safeguard well-functioning ecosystems is a business imperative, not a matter of philanthropy." The document outlining their commitments says, "In the face of government inertia, the private sector holds the key to safeguarding its own future interests. ...Most of the world's ecosystems critical to business success are collapsing - multiplying business risks."

Examples of risks are:
The report includes a framework for action which are intended to prioritize ecosystems within business strategy. The benefits are 1. reduce risk 2. cut costs 3. enhance brand and 4. fuel growth.

One of the elements of the framework is Putting a price on nature's value. In the last GallonLetter, we mentioned PUMA's environmental accounting. PUMA is one of the 24 companies which include Weyerhaeuser, Veolia Water, Microsoft, Patagonia, General Motors, HanesBrand, and Air Products.

Example: Clorox

One of the commitments is by The Clorox Company for water reduction, recapture and restoration. Half of the company's sales are of products containing water. Freshwater is fundamental to the company which says it is adopting ambitious water reduction and protection goals. About 10% of water consumed will be reduced by concentrating product formulas and improving manufacturing practices. Current water treatment infrastructure will be improved.

Currently about 500 million gallons of water are used annually in products and processing. Best practices will be standardized in all manufacturing with new process to recapture and reuse materials in manufacturing rather than send them to the waste stream. A new bleach product for the US marketplace will be 33% concentrated requiring ½ cup per use rather than 3/4 cup reducing water use by 50 million gallons of water per year. Clorox also makes the green works (TM) series of products which contain no bleach.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


The text for Rio+20 calls for, as have earlier international agreements, the development and transfer of environmentally sound technologies and know-how to developing countries on favourable terms. This text is "glossing over the deep and continuing divides between the developed North (and emerging economies) and the developing South over intellectual property rights" writes Joseph Sarnoff, Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago on the IP Osgoode (a website of the Intellectual Property Law & Technology Program, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. Toronto, Ontario). While tech transfer for mitigation and adaptation measures in regard to climate change are unlikely, eight of the largest multilateral developments have said that they will provide US$ 175 billion for sustainable transportation to developing countries. This money is likely to involve significant private and public intellectual property rights, creating conflict between patent owners and recipients about the licensing costs.

Sarnoff says that there hasn't been enough analysis of the best way for government to fund innovation although various models exist:
Sarnoff concludes, "Which method is best is now a question of critical importance, both to cost-effectiveness of the massive forthcoming investments and their success in addressing the forthcoming problems."

GallonLetter notes that the IP Osgoode website is worth reading for its wide range of information. Copyrights and patents cross disciplinary sectors such as biotechnology, the Internet and of course, environmental technology and know-how.


The multitude of corporate environmental initiatives announced at Rio+20 includes:

- the NASDAQ, Brazil BM&FBovespa, Johannesburg, Istanbul and Egyptian stock exchanges have joined together in a project to promote “long-term sustainable investment and improved environmental, social and corporate governance disclosure and performance among companies listed on their exchanges”. There will be no immediate impact on NASDAQ listed companies.

- PepsiCo International and Nestlé participated on a panel discussing corporate participation in the UN Human Right to Water and Sanitation initiative.

- IKEA and Grupo Arcor, a global confectionary company with 20,000 employees, participated in a discussion of the ways in which business decisions can maximize the positive impacts and minimize the negative impacts of corporate sustainability on children and how businesses can best implement children's rights.

- Procter & Gamble's Director of Global Sustainability discussed his company's approach to sustainability in the context of the recent US Government commitment to sustainable public procurement in an Executive Order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, and through other programs.
- China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) announced that it had signed on to "Caring for Climate", the UN Global Compact and UN Environment Programme initiative aimed at advancing the role of business in addressing climate change.

- Coca-Cola İçecek A.Ş. the bottler of Coca-Cola in Turkey, made a presentation on how it engages employees in reducing loss of biodiversity and contributing to nature conservation.

- Donbass Fuel and Energy Company, a large privately-held vertically integrated energy company (coal, electricity generation, renewables, distribution) made a presentation on sustainability as a key element of business planning in Ukraine.

- BMW Group announced private-public collaboration as a platform for improved urban mobility services.

- the UN Global Compact, the Global Reporting Initiative, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs announced a public-private partnership to build awareness, capacity and training on corporate sustainability management and reporting in key markets in South Asia, Latin America and Africa.

- the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) announced the start of the public comment period for the draft G4 reporting framework. GRI expects that the new G4 framework can help governments, stock exchanges and listing authorities create smart regulation for sustainability reporting.

- Coca-Cola spoke on a business anti-corruption panel and Anglo-American Nickel spoke on gender equality

- Viyellatex, a Bangladeshi textile company, highlighted its corporate sustainability initiative.

- the CEO of Schneider Electric presented his Company's sustainability initiative "Preserving Amazon Forest throughout energy access" in partnership with Sustainable Amazonas Foundation.

- Premier Jean Charest, Province of Quebec, spoke on Clean Revolution in Action.

- the UN Global Compact launched a Quick Self-Assessment and Learning Tool, half a dozen questions for companies to benchmark their supply chain practices on such topics as vision and objectives and engaging with suppliers.

- The Cement Sustainability Initiative, a global effort by 24 leading cement producers and a sector project of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, released a Sectoral Market Mechanism brochure to support reductions of greenhouse gas emissions at a national or regional level. While a global climate agreement is needed, the CSI suggests that considerable reductions can be achieved at the regional or country level. Consistent measurement, reporting and verification is needed which can later be upscaled to the global level.

- NIKE, Inc., committed to reduce water use by 15% in specified manufacturing operations by 2015 and achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals for all products by 2020.


Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada's Export Credit Agency, has issued its eighth
Annual Report on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Beginning in June 2012, EDC will begin applying the 2012 International Finance Corporation IFC Performance Standards to all new transactions. The IFC adopted the Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability in 2006 as a guide to clients on operating projects to avoid, mitigate, manage or offset their environmental and social impacts.

The eight IFC Performance Standards are: Social and Environmental Assessment and Management Systems; Labour and Working Conditions; Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention; Community Health Safety and Security; Land Acquisition & Involuntary Resettlement; Biodiversity and Sustainable Management of Living Resources; Indigenous Peoples; Cultural Heritage. The standards do not apply to nuclear or hydro.

Among the changes the EDC mentions to the standards are:
The EDC is implementing the standards which came into effect January 2012 beginning June 2012 for new projects.

GallonLetter notes that the standards also provide within limits requirements to address both direct and indirect project impacts on ecosystem services, for example services on which the Affected Communities' livelihoods are dependent. Livelihoods may include activities to make a living such as  " wage-based income, agriculture, fishing, foraging, other natural resource-based livelihoods, petty trade, and bartering." Critics of the standard especially charge that human rights protection is still relatively weak and there are too many "if possible", effects should be "minimized", "where appropriate", "reasonable enquiries", and other terminology that the critics say result in implementation which is less protective than the standards suggest. It is very difficult to write standards for a range of projects: if the standards are too prescriptive than the rules become silly as the client has to jump through hoops that don't benefit anybody but if there are what might be considered loopholes, then there will inevitably be those who take advantage of vague wording to harm both the "Affected Communities" and the environment.

Canada. Export Development Canada. Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2011.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Bill Rees, now Emeritus Professor at the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning, and his former doctoral student Mathis Wackernagel, were awarded the Blue Planet Award at the Rio+20 UN Conference for developing the concept of the ecological footprint to account for the Earth's carrying capacity. They had hoped that it would become a measure as important as GDP, a goal not yet achieved. The Blue Planet Award, launched in 1992, is given by Japan's Asahi Glass Foundation. Past recipients have included former Norwegian Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and Canadian Maurice Strong.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


            Subject: EnviroHansard                  

Dear Friends,

I’m excited to announce that the lawyers and law students from the Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Ottawa have created a new tool to help you stay informed about environmental debates in the House of Commons.

The Ecojustice Environmental Hansard is an easy-to-use website that collects, organizes and distills federal political dialogue on our environment. With entries searchable by date, Member of Parliament, topic or text content, the Ecojustice Environmental Hansard makes Parliamentary debate accessible and transparent to the Canadian public, researchers and environmental community. The website is non-partisan and a useful tool for anyone interested in sustainability and the environment.

Please take the time to visit the Environmental Hansard website and let us know what you think. We’ve already loaded it with information from the last four months, so you can easily look up recent issues of debate.

Best regards,

William Amos, M.A., LL.B/B.C.L.
Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic
University of Ottawa

Ecojustice uses the law to protect and restore the environment in Canada.
To learn more about the Ecojustice Clinic, see our promotional video at:

GallonLetter notes that Will tells us he has been working on this idea for some time and has finally put it into action.

Of course, Parliament is not in session now except for some committee work but previous weekly summaries have headings such as NDP MP says “the Conservative attacks on science and research are never-ending”, Petition: Funding of Environmental Programs, Questions on the order table...Hydraulic Fracturing or fracking, Bill S-8 An Act respecting the safety of drinking water on First Nation lands: passed in the Senate and Committee announcements. There is also a list by topic:
The Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic is an innovation in that it is a partnership between Ecojustice, a charity and the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, providing a clinic where students can earn credit while assisting Ecojustice lawyers and scientists to provide strategic advice and pro bono legal counsel to groups across Canada.
            Subject: Drain Water Heat Recovery


I am sending you the following press release because I am confident Gallon Environment Letter followers will be very interested.

Power-Pipe Drain Water Heat Recovery technology reduces residential, multi-residential, and commercial water heating by 25% to 40% - water heating is recognized as the second largest use of energy in most the announcement below is quite significant.


Walter Urban
VP Marketing
RenewABILITY Energy Inc
walter /// -replace ///


Canadian Green Technology - Power-Pipe® now eligible for Energy Savings Certificates in France!

Kitchener, Ontario: June 28, 2012 RenewABILITY Energy Inc (REI), manufacturer of the Power-Pipe® Drain Water Heat Recovery (DWHR) systems and Solénove Énergie, distributor of the Power-Pipe® in France, are pleased to announce that Power-Pipe® energy savings are now eligible for Energy Savings Certificates in France.

“After more than 2 years of effort, by French ministerial decree in the Gazette of the French Republic the document: Drain Water Heat Recovery for the Production of Domestic Hot Water has been officially published,” (see attached) noted Jean Pierre Finet co-manager of Solénove Énergie (Power-Pipe® Exclusive Distributor in France).

“The Power-Pipe® uses outgoing warm drain water to pre-heat incoming cold fresh water, so it takes much less purchased energy to meet hot water energy demands. By using the Power-Pipe®, Builders and Developers have been able to get credit toward compliance under the French Building Energy Code for the past 2 years. Once again, the Government of France has given a nod to the Power-Pipe®. This new approval paves the way for financial incentive and income tax credit programs which are delivered by a variety of public and private agencies, which include the Government of France, Regions of France, and French Utilities.

Water heating is usually the second largest energy demand in homes and multi-residential buildings and is a huge cost for many commercial and industrial businesses. The Power-Pipe® is usually very cost-effective and can be retrofit in many residences, commercial buildings and industrial processes around the world,” commented Gerald Van Decker, CEO & Founder of Kitchener, Ontario based RenewABILITY Energy Inc.

About RenewABILITY Energy Inc:
Founded in 2000, RenewABILITY Energy Inc. developed and manufactures the Power-Pipe® Drain Water Heat Recovery system in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. The patented and patent pending Power-Pipe® systems are sold across Canada, the United States and Europe.
About Solénove Énergie:
Founded in 2009, Solénove Énergie is the Exclusive Distributor of Power-Pipe® Drain Water Heat Recovery systems in France. For more details please visit

About Certificates of Energy Savings:
To raise awareness among all sectors of civil society and encourage a sense of responsibility, French lawmakers have recently introduced a new tool: energy savings certificates. Each certificate is a unique and traceable commodity which verifies that a certain level of energy savings has been achieved. Holding a certificate assures a property right over the energy savings and guarantees that the benefit of these savings has not been accounted for elsewhere.

GallonLetter like Natural Resource Canada doesn't endorse the services or goods of any supplier and accepts no liability but NRCan's Office of Energy Efficiency has a list of drain-water heat recovery systems (DWHR) eligible for the EcoEnergy Retrofit program for homes ending March 31, 2012. The systems were tested by an independent testing facility approved by NRCAN. Three manufacturers including the Power-Pipe®) maker were on the list:
Two categories of models are listed, one with an efficiency from 30-41.9% and another with efficiency of 42%. The Power-Pipe systems are available in stores such as Home Depot and Sears.

Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Office of Energy Efficiency. Drain-Water Heat Recovery Systems Eligible for ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes.
Subject: It's Getting Hot in Here, So... Take a Look at Tips from Leading Ecologist Inside!

Dear Mr. Isaacs,

I realize my subject line doesn't quite have the same ring to it [link to a Youtube video not included by GallonLetter] , but if you're anything like me this summer's heat has taken it's toll. Last week, much of the US battled a stifling heat wave. In fact, this week's 'high eighties' almost feels cold in comparison. But we all know Mother Nature almost certainly has more in store for us these next few months...

In the brief article below, leading ecologist Steve Apfelbaum reveals how his family copes with summer's high temps. -- in a 165 year old farm house without AC. Please take a look at the adjustments they've made to their home and behaviour.

Stay cool,
Lauren Covello
lauren.covello ////

By Steve Apfelbaum

A little over a week ago, my wife and I had occasion to take a road trip across our home state of Wisconsin. We were struck by the barren main streets. It seemed entire towns were deserted. No people walked the sidewalks. No cars were staging for parking spaces or driving the roadways. As we passed through each town it felt like a post-apocalyptic movie; it appeared as if human life had been eradicated from the earth.

After the several hours of driving, we decided to stop at a well-known fast food chain for a famous custard and cold water. We were surprised to find this particular parking lot packed with cars. When we stepped inside, we learned the restaurant-goers were self-medicating against the summer's first heat wave with generous servings of ice cream.

My wife and I began chatting with the other patrons. Conversations centred on how to keep cool against the stifling heat. Several jaws dropped when we explained that we don't have air conditioning in our 165 year old home. We explained that we have made adjustments to the house and to our behaviour to ensure it stays cool and comfortable inside. Later it occurred to me that many Americans would benefit from the same advice.

On a Daily Basis

We close (almost all of) our windows and doors, and pull insulated curtains down early in the morning, before the day heats up.

We leave an upstairs skylight and one downstairs window open. Both are located on the cooler north side of the house. This creates a draw like a chimney in winter. The windows encourage the hot air to rise out of the house upstairs and draw in cooler air from outside downstairs or, in our case, from our much cooler basement.
At night, if it's cool enough outside, we open up the doors and windows to quickly cool the house down. This process is like operating the house as a living organism - one that breathes at night and hibernates by day.
If it's ever warmer than we're comfortable with, we turn on ceiling fans to move the air in our bedroom and living room. Moving air feels better than still, particularly when the still air is stiflingly warm.

Long-term Solutions

We have super insulated the house, which keeps it warmer in the winter, of course, but also cooler in the summer. We have R150 in the attic and R70 or more in the walls. This protects us from both weather extremes.
We replaced older windows with high efficiency double pane windows. We insisted that our installers caulked particularly well to ensure leakage around the windows wouldn't occur.

Finally, we installed pleated insulated sun curtains on all of our windows. These curtains have a reflective white fabric that faces the windows and keeps heat from the house.

Of course our system isn't perfect, but typically our house stays very comfortable - in the seventies most days unless we have several weeks straight of extremely hot weather with nighttime temperatures that don't drop. And though most people won't be able to make the jump to life without air conditioning, many of the adjustments above can be used in addition to AC. In fact, many of these tips will not only lower your home's temperature, but also your energy bill, as well.

Steven Apfelbaum is the founder of Applied Ecological Services, Inc., a full service environmental consulting and ecological restoration company with ten offices in the United States and two abroad. Apfelbaum is co-author of the Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land series, which provides practical step-by-step instructions on restoration ecology and the care of native plants. He is also the author of the award-winning memoir, Nature's Second Chance, which recounts the thirty-year restoration of his family's dairy farm near Juda, Wisconsin. Both are available at
GallonLetter has been receiving and enjoying promotional messages from publicist Lauren Covello (Cherry Hill, NJ) for a while. We don't mind self-promotion  if we also get some humour and worthwhile information. When we wrote about Gordon McBean and co-authors submission about the effects of climate change on extreme weather and hot days (those with temperatures over 30 deg C or 86 deg F) we didn't expect to experience quite so many hot days this year (see ONTARIO: CLIMATE ADAPTATION STRATEGY 2011 Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 11, April 16, 2012). We too have used no air conditioning despite far too many days with temperature not only over 30 deg C but over 35 deg C or 95 deg F. We have been doing similar things as outlined in the above article. Cooking in a batch for several days in the cooler evenings reduces the amount of heat generated by stove and dishwashing during the heat of the day. Shade trees or vines make a difference too. We have an air conditioner and used to set a threshold on the programmable thermostat to an indoor temperature of 29 deg C for turning it on; that usually meant three to five days in August. That threshold this year would mean the air conditioner is on most days before August even starts. There are times when we think maybe it is time to turn it on but we've managed to survive so far without suffering unduly. Some people might find it difficult.

            Subject: Sustainability Applied 2012 – October 17-18, 2012 – Toronto, on

Dear Editor,

The Bloom Centre for Sustainability (BLOOM) is presenting Sustainability Applied 2012 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, October 17-18, 2012. Over 300 leaders, decision-makers, and doers from across Canada and around the world will participate in hands-on workshops and interactive discussions to explore best practices and market opportunities, showcase new products and services, and celebrate outstanding accomplishments in sustainability.

We are currently working with key stakeholder partners in Ontario, across Canada and internationally to promote this event and the early bird registration deadline of July 31, 2012.

We believe this event could be of interest to Gallon Environment Letter's network.

Thanks and best regards,

Mishba Bholat
The Bloom Centre for Sustainability
2070 Hadwen Rd, Suite 101A, Mississauga, ON L5K 2C9
        Subject: How We Kicked Nuclear out of Alberta

Hello Friends and Foes,

I've just released my new book: "How We Kicked Nuclear Out Of Alberta". Some of you will see your names in it for the good work you did to get rid of the nuclear menace. Others will see their names because they were part of the nuclear menace.

You can read the Introduction on the two links below. This is the Facebook page for the book.

This is the link to the website to purchase the book

Take Care,
Pat McNamara 


The Washington-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy issued its first scorecard ranking 12 of the world's largest economies based on 27 metrices to measure how efficiently these economies use energy. These represent 78% of the world's gross domestic product, 63% of the energy consumption and 62% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions (C02 equivalents). The countries are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. ACEEE has previously compiled similar rankings for US states.

The UK ranks the best in energy efficiency as number 1. The US is ranked as 9th. Canada ranks #11 just ahead of Russia. On a scale of 100 possible points in 27 categories, the nations were ranked by ACEEE as follows: (1) the United Kingdom; (2) Germany; (3) Italy; (4) Japan; (5) France; (6) the European Union, Australia, and China (3-way tie); (9) the U.S.; (10) Brazil; (11) Canada; and (12) Russia.

In the four categories used, Canada ranks as follows:
National efforts: 8
Industry: 11
Buildings: 10
Transportation: 11

The authors say that this is a first crack at defining metrics to reach this ranking and these metrics may need to be refined.

Canada at 5.69 tonnes of oil equivalent per person has the highest final consumption of oil per capita. The US has 4.73, Russia 2.98 and China 1.07.

For the National Efforts metric, there is a total of 25 possible points with submetrics getting a possible number of points, in total adding to 25. Canada gets 12 out of 25 maxing out on Tax Credits and Loan Program (3 points out of 3) and Mandatory Energy Savings Goals (2 out of 2). This National Efforts is the only metric for which Canada gets at least one or two points in all the submetrics while some countries get 0 on a number of efforts such as energy efficiency R & D (Canada gets 1 out of 3 points) and Energy Efficiency Spending (Canada gets 1 out of 5 points). The highest scorers in this National Efforts metric are Japan and UK tying at 18 followed by Australia. China gets 10 points and the US 11.

Canada gets 9 out of 28 for building compared to China with 23, the highest score. The US gets a score or 17 as does the UK. This metric measures energy use in residential and commercial buildings, building codes, building labelling, appliance and equipment standards and labelling.

Canada scores 9 out of 24 (the same as China) for industry which includes submetrics on industry energy intensity, industrial electricity generated by combined heating and power CHP, investment in manufacturing R &D, voluntary agreements, mandate for plant energy manager and mandatory energy audits. The US scored 14 points and the UK 18 points as totals in this metric.

In transportation, Canada scored 7 out of 23 with submetrics including vehicle miles travelled per capita, fuel economy, energy intensity of freight and freight transport per dollar of GDP. Canada scored 0 in three submetrics: passenger vehicle fuel economy, use of public transit and investment in rail transit. China scored a total of 14 points, the US just 5 and the UK 14.

In total scores out of 100, Canada scored 37 points and Russia 36. Mostly Russia scored nearly the same or higher than Canada except in National Efforts where it scored only 6 out of 25 points.

One of the key points of the report is that saving energy increases competitive advantage because instead of wasting energy, countries save money and resources which they can then use to compete in the global economy.

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Human behaviour may mean that technical fixes do not always produce the predicted energy savings benefits. The rebound effect has been discussed before: for example when people don't have to pay so much for their total home heating bill that they crank up the temperature so that more energy is used than expected in a greener building.

An article in Building Research & Information discusses a concept called the Prebound Effect in which the technical approach which Germany has adopted to mandate extremely high thermal standards may result in less energy saving than the technology should achieve. In homes which are poorly insulated, the measured consumption of energy for space heating is less than expected, "in general, the worse a home is, thermally, the more economically the occupants tend to behave with respect to their space heating. As retrofits cannot save energy that is not actually being consumed, this phenomenon is labelled the "prebound' effect , where less energy is consumed than expected and has implications for the economic viability of thermal retrofits."

The authors suggest that the rules mean that home occupants who save energy are economically penalized by having to install expensive retrofits that underperform and are too expensive for the energy saved because their behaviour is already achieving energy savings. They suggest that policy makers consider lateral thinking away from extreme retrofits to a mix of modest retrofit measures and targeted behaviour campaigns, a mix which could increase the savings of both energy and money.

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A report by the Congressional Research Service on Oil Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline gives background on some of the environmental concerns. For GallonLetter, it feels good to read how the stated concerns of environmental groups and other members of civil society is discussed with respect and as much evidence as might be available; in some cases, government agencies may refute the concerns but the authors don't automatically assume that the agency explanation is correct and in some cases certainly the concerns of the environmental groups is judged to be correct based on the evidence. There may be more information here than the average person would need to know but one section of particular interest to us is the consideration of environmental impacts outside the United States.

Consideration of Environmental Impacts Outside of the United States

Under the National Environmental Protection Act, the Department of State is "not required to identify or analyse environmental impacts that occur within another sovereign nation that result from actions approved by that sovereign nation." Other policies such as the Executive Order 12114 “Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions,” requires federal agencies "to prepare an analysis of significant impacts from a federal action abroad." Since Canada approves of the Keystone XL pipeline, even this EO doesn't require the federal agencies to review the impacts outside the US.

Though not required, as a matter of policy, the DOS includes information in the final Environmental Impact Statement of the environmental analysis conducted by the Canadian government. And DOS has considered in past pipeline projects impacts on broader policy such strategy on climate change and US goals such as reducing use of fossil fuels. In the January 2012 decision to deny the initial Presidential Permit application by TransCanada, the DOS did not cite these issues. The authors say though that "The degree to which environmental impacts abroad may have influenced that initial permit denial is unclear. In processing TransCanada’s 2012 permit application, it may be assumed that DOS will consider environmental impacts abroad as it did for the 2008 permit application."

Concerns from opponents of the pipeline are considered to be a factor in whether environmental impacts abroad are considered, probably especially in relation to climate change as illustrated by a quote, “If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate …. Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era [emphasis added] (James Hansen, “Game Over for the Climate,” New York Times, Op-Ed, May 9, 2012).

            CO2 Emissions: Lifecycle

When only the production side of oil sands oil is considered (the Wheels to Tank lifecycle), greenhouse gas emissions are 80% higher for oil from oil sands than the 2005 average production emissions for imported fuels to the US (18gCO2e/MJ). As well as the mining, oil sands are compositionally deficient in hydrogen, and have a higher carbon, sulfur, and heavy metal content than lighter crude oil types on average, and need more processing to meet fuel standards. But since most of the CO2 emissions are at the combustion end, the average increase from well to wheel is 14% to 20% higher than the average of all transportation fuels sold or distributed in the US.

            Slow Reclamation

Data from 2010 shows that only about 8% of the total disturbed area has been permanently reclaimed. Of the permanently reclaimed land, 2% has been certified to meet Alberta requirements for a total of 0.16% of the total disturbed area. Many are sceptical about any significant reclamation within a reasonable time frame. A 2012 study from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined data before and after reclamation for a number of oil sands mining sites and found that wetlands were not replaced resulting in a “dramatic loss of carbon storage and sequestration potential."

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The following award did not make it to our list of corporate sustainability awards (see Gallon Environment Letter. Vol. 16 No. 10 February 28, 2012)

Green Corporate Citizen Award
offered by Waste and Recycling News magazine
deadline for nominations 27 July 2012
open to both US and Canadian companies
awarded at the Corporate Recycling and Waste Conference, September 10 - 12, 2012, in Orlando, FL
three categories: companies under $10 million, between $10 and $100 million, over $100 million in annual revenue
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Surveys by Toronto-based GlobeScan indicate high interest in ten countries including Canada over a decade about corporate responsibility (72% of respondents in 2012 expressed interest in corporate CSR initiatives) but only 38% believed that CSR reporting was honestly communicated. The GlobeScan press release said there are no easy answers to closing the gap in credibility but factors might include more openness about the challenges companies face, more third party appraisal of CSR initiatives and use of social media.

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Letters of three scientists from the Department of Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, British Columbia) were published in both the journal Nature and Science regarding Canada's budget bill legislation gutting science and evidence. In the Nature article, Brett Favaro, Isabelle Côté and John Reynolds criticized the steady dismantling of environmental protection by the Conservative Party government continuing with the day Bill C-38 a mammoth bill supposedly a budget bill passed: "It was a dark day for environmental science and policy in Canada on 29 June." Axing research facilities of global significance such as the Experimental Lakes Area (see also BIRTH CONTROL FATAL FOR FISH Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 14, No. 5, June 10, 2009), the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory in the high Arctic, firing of personnel in science departments as Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada and Parks Canada, indeed most of the people responsible for habitat monitoring and management. The letter ends, "The new legislative framework marginalizes science in environmental management and could do irreparable harm to the environment and the economy it supports. Such tactics match Canada's intransigence on climate change: the same bill made it the first country to pull out of the Kyoto Agreement."

Reynolds and his co-authors have done research on aquatic biodiversity, including large-scale field studies of salmon and their ecosystems including assessing vulnerability to extinction.. He holds the Tom Buell BC Leadership Chair in Salmon Conservation and Management at Simon Fraser University. This research chair is funded through a partnership between the British Columbia Leading Edge Endowment, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, and numerous private and corporate donors. Tom Buell, former CEO of Weldwood of Canada, was an outdoors man concerned about the future of the Pacific salmon stock.

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