Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Guinness, Sierra Nevada Become First Two Breweries to Receive LEED Platinum Certification

Guinness and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. earned LEED Platinum Certification for
their new brewhouses which feature water and energy efficiency
systems that promote sustainability.

Earlier this year, Guinness and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. earned a LEED Platinum certification for their recent building projects. For Guinness, it became the first major brewery in the world to receive the distinction; for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., it was the first in the United States. The LEED Platinum certification is the highest distinction the U.S. Green Building Council awards to construction projects that focus on sustainability, energy and water efficiency, and environmental quality.

Guinness received the certification for its fourth brewhouse located in Dublin, Ireland. The building features an energy recovery system and a hybrid refrigeration system. Low-flow water fixtures are installed throughout the building with a rainwater capture system, low-energy HVAC systems and generous parking spices for bicycles and fuel-efficient vehicles. These features have allowed the brewhouse to cut thermal energy needs by 33% and water needs by 14% - a significant change for an industry that requires such copious amounts of energy and resources.

The international mammoth, famous for its dark stout and vintage charm, also launched an industry partnership called the U.S.. Glass Recycling Coalition which seeks to increase glass bottle recycling.

"From the conception phase, it was determined that environmental concerns would be considered in the design and build, and in the ultimate operation," Michael Wilson, global environmental sustainability director for Guinness, said in a recent press release.

Sierra Nevada's eco-friendly building includes almost 2,200 photovoltaic solar panels and uses microturbine technology to convert methane captured from an onsite wastewater treatment plant into electricity. The building also has a rainwater collection system and insulation designed to keep temperatures stable and maximize natural light. During construction of Sierra Nevada's new brewery, 81% of waste was diverted from landfills.

Sierra Nevada, an independently owned craft beer brewery, says sustainability has been important to their company from the beginning.

“He [Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.] didn’t have boatloads of capital to waste. He would sell bottles, and then go out and collect those bottles and refill them. Electricity and water were closely monitored," Cheri Chastain, sustainability manager of Sierra Nevada, said in a recent press release.

Both breweries plan to implement green construction for future projects. According to both sustainability directors, the consumer of the future cares more about environmental responsibility, and they aim to deliver those standards to their consumers.

For more information on LEED certification, visit Zack Academy's LEED homepage. For more information about the United States Green Building Council, visit their homepage.

Study Shows 3,000 Other U.S. Cities with Lead Poisoning Rates Worst than Flint

A Reuters investigation explores nearly 3,000 other cities with lead poisoning rates
worse than Flint- receiving even less attention or federal funding.


While cities such as Flint, Chicago, and Milwaukee were extensively covered these past years for lead poisoning crises, there are many more locales testing with even higher lead poisoning rates, yet receiving even less attention or funding. According to a Reuters investigation, nearly 3,000 American cities recently recorded lead poisoning rates at least double that of Flint's.

The cities, including Baltimore, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Tulsa and St. Joseph, all share a commonality of historic homes and industrial economies, where lead paint in homes and lead dust from industry cause a health hazard to families in the area.

“I believe that beyond the history of industry, our state has some of the oldest homes in the country,” Dr. Loren Robinson, Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, said in a recent press release.

In this study, Reuters collected data at the neighborhood level using zip code areas. Unlike the U.S. state disclosures, this data analysis was able to identify cities with outstanding lead poisoning rates. For example, the study found that while 5% of children in Flint, Michigan tested with high blood lead levels, a specific Flint zip code showed 11% testing high.

By identifying not only other suffering cities, but also the exact neighborhoods where there is a disproportionate occurrence of lead poisoning, this study can help officials focus their efforts.

“I hope this data spurs questions from the public to community leaders who can make changes,” Robert Walker, epidemiologist and co-chair of the CDC’s Lead Content Work Group, said in a recent press release.

Still, for these cities there is not much Federal assistance available; Congress recently allotted $170 million in aid to Flint - ten times higher than the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's yearly budget for lead poisoning assistance.

At the state level, many of the affected communities are in poor areas that receive little public funding. In South Bend, Indiana, 31% of children tested with blood level rates six times higher than Flint; it has only two nurses and one environmental inspector tackling lead poisoning prevention for the 265,000 residents.

While rates of lead poisoning have decreased over the years, it will take even more action to help the most at-risk. While Flint, Chicago and Milwaukee are all tragedies in their own right, they are not anomalies; this study shows lead poisoning is more pervasive than originally thought.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

City Bureau in Chicago Publishes Comprehensive "Living with Lead" Series

The "Living with Lead" series provides an equally informative 
and emotional look at lead poisoning in Chicago.
Photo: Jean Cochrane/ South Side Weekly

Last week, the City Bureau of Chicago published a momentous series on the city's lead crisis. The series - part photo essay, part news article and part community outreach - informs the public about the dangers of lead, its sources, and how to protect their families from lead poisoning. The series also includes candid interviews with lead poisoning victims, as well as the advocates pushing for stricter lead laws and more federal attention to this crisis.

The series begins with an introduction that provides an uncomplicated history of lead and the lead crisis in Chicago. This section also includes contact information for local lead testing outreaches and doctors specializing in lead poisoning. It contains infographics on the pervasiveness of lead throughout the city, and an unflinching, candid photo essay on the faces of lead poisoning.

In another section, "Where It Starts," the series provides more uncomplicated explanation - this time about the city's lead pipe water infrastructure and its contribution to lead toxicity. This section also spotlights the work of citizens taking action against lead poisoning; pushing for fairness and safety, their advocacy has seen some progress.

In "Paths to Contamination and Where We Live and Play," the series discusses various ways the public can be exposed to lead. Most frighteningly, sources of lead exposure include school water fountains, park water fountains and lead paint chips in homes. These sections also discusses how the city is trying to remediate lead exposure; yet they also note the pervasiveness of lead contaminated buildings in Chicago, and how difficult it can be for at-risk families to find safe housing.

The final section, "Where We Go From Here," covers the initiatives underway to prevent and treat lead poisoning among at-risk victims. In particular, the Illinois Department of Human Services is considering allowing all children with elevated blood lead levels - not just children who already display cognitive or physical disabilities - to be eligible for their Early Intervention program. The program provides free or low-cost therapy to affected children - the most represented demographic of lead poisoning.

Altogether, the Living with Lead series presents a comprehensive guide toward lead poisoning. The stories presented are equally informative and influential; in the face of such a negative and overwhelming problem, at least the community of Chicago is taking action to make their futures safer and brighter.

Zack Academy Partners with Leading Edge Safety to Offer OSHA Construction Training in Albany, New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL (December 20, 2016)
- Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national provider of career-oriented training and certification courses, announced today that it has partnered with Leading Edge Safety to expand its OSHA construction training offerings.

Based in Athol, NY, Leading Edge Safety offers accredited OSHA 10-Hour and 30-Hour construction training to regional and national clients. Leading Edge Safety’s next OSHA 10-Hour Construction Industry on December 30th in Albany, New York teaches OSHA regulations and standards as they apply to the construction industry and complies with the OSHA Outreach Program training requirements.

"Leading Edge Safety’s experience with OSHA construction safety training is vital to the Albany, New York area. This partnership further solidifies our nationwide presence in the construction safety community and adds another highly-qualified trainer to the Zack Academy Network," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Zach Academy, a great organization that is crucial to our success. We hope that we can positively impact Zach Academy and we believe that our strategic partnership is based on a shared set of values. We will continue to offer straightforward consultancy and advice to empower business owners and their workforce and find solutions that fit their budget needs,” added Mr. Peter Bratis Jr., President of Leading Edge Safety Inc.

About Leading Edge Safety:
Avoid costly accidents, violations, and fines at your workplace by training with Leading Edge Safety, Inc. As OSHA compliance specialists, we offer on-site and off-site OSHA 10-hour & 30-hour Outreach Training courses, as well as hundreds of custom training solutions to solve your safety challenges!

About Zack Academy: 
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.
Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Monday, December 19, 2016

Zack Academy Partners With ConTrax, LLC To Offer OSHA and Lead Renovator Courses in Oneonta, NY

Fort Lauderdale, FL (December 19, 2016) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a leading provider of career-oriented training and certification courses, announced today that it will include courses offered by ConTrax, LLC in its catalog of class listings.

ConTrax, LLC will offer Lead Renovator Initial and Lead Renovator Refresher courses in Oneonta, New York, just a short drive away from New York City. Under the RRP Rule, Lead Renovator courses are required for all contractors, painters, and landlords renovating, painting, or repairing pre-1978 homes or child occupied facilities. In the state of New York renovators must recertify every 5 years by attending an online or in-person refresher course. ConTrax, LLC’s next Lead Renovator Initial class is on January, 31st and its next Lead Renovator Refresher course is on February 21st.

“Once again, we have identified another high-quality provider we can add to our extensive listing of Lead RRP training partners,” said Zachary Rose, Founder and CEO of Zack Academy. “Located just a few hours north of New York City, ConTrax, LLC is in the perfect position to offer Lead Renovator training to students that commute into the five boroughs. We are excited to have ConTrax, LLC join the Zack Academy Network!”

About Zack Academy:
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

About ConTrax, LLC:
ConTrax, LLC provides the highest quality environmental safety and health training in New York State. Since 2003, it has serviced clients ranging from the largest governmental agencies and Fortune 500 firms to local small business and individuals. Contrax, LLC focuses on providing training that is custom fitted to the clients' needs. Its training faculty is comprised of the most experienced and qualified professionals in asbestos, lead and OSHA safety fields. No matter what your training and educational needs are, ConTrax, LLC can provide superior services and competitive prices.

Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Zack Academy Partners with Southwest Building Science Training Center to Offer BPI Certification and Weatherization Training in Arizona

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fort Lauderdale, FL (December 14, 2016) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a leading provider of career-oriented training and certification courses, announced today that it has partnered with Southwest Building Science Training Center (SWBSTC) to expand offerings of BPI certification and weatherization training.

Based in Phoenix, Arizona Southwest Building Science Training Center offers accredited BPI Building Analyst, BPI Quality Inspector, and Weatherization bootcamp training. SWBSTC’s next Weatherization Boot Camp on January 9th provides weatherization professionals with an introduction to energy principles, thermal performance, health and safety standards, auditing, pressure diagnostics, and field repair.

"Southwest Building Science Training Center’s highly specialized technical weatherization and energy efficiency training is a vital in the Phoenix area. This partnership bolsters our nationwide BPI certification and weatherization course offerings and adds another top-notch trainer to the Zack Academy Network," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About Southwest Building Science Training Center:
Established in 2004, the Southwest Building Science Training Center (SWBSTC), operated by FSL Home Improvement division, was created in partnership with the former Arizona Department of Commerce Energy Office (now the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy) to provide a highly specialized technical weatherization and energy efficiency continuing education training program to Arizona weatherization agency personnel.

About Zack Academy: Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

EPA Settles with Anaheim Home Improvement Firm for RRP Rule Violation

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Powerstar Home Energy Solutions for failing to comply with federal lead-based paint rules at several residential properties in Southern California. The company will pay a civil penalty of $11,429.

Powerstar has also agreed to spend about $34,000 to purchase equipment to test blood lead levels in children. Blood lead analyzers will be donated to ten community health clinics in San Bernardino and Orange counties. The analyzers measure lead in blood samples and give results in as little as three minutes, allowing immediate follow-up by health care providers. The clinics will receive enough kits to test 480 hundred and eighty children.

“Children are highly susceptible to lead-based paint and symptoms are not easily recognized,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This settlement will give hundreds of families the opportunity to have their children tested, giving parents the information they need to protect their loved ones.”

Powerstar Home Energy Solutions, a trade name of Smithlum & Friend, Inc., is headquartered in Anaheim and offers residential coatings and window replacements. In 2014, EPA found the company violated EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting rule by renovating five homes built before 1978 in the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Chino and Redlands without following practices required to reduce lead exposure. The company failed to:
  • Become certified by EPA to perform residential work;
  • Distribute the “Renovate Right” brochure to educate occupants about lead-safe work practices;
  • Keep complete records documenting whether the work followed lead-safe practices.
Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips. When companies fail to follow lead-safe practices, the resulting lead dust and chips can contaminate home surfaces. Contractors who disturb painted surfaces in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities must be trained and certified, provide educational materials to residents, and follow safe work practices. The U.S. banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978 but EPA estimates that more than 37 million older homes in the U.S. still have lead-based paint.

Though harmful at any age, lead exposure is most dangerous to children because their bodies absorb more lead, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to its damaging effects. Babies and young children can also be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths. The effects of lead exposure can include behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and diminished IQ.

Often lead poisoning occurs with no obvious symptoms, so it may go unrecognized. Parents or caregivers who think their child has been in contact with lead should notify their child's health care provider who can help decide whether a blood test is needed or recommend treatment.

EPA enforces the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and its Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule and the lead-based paint Disclosure Rule. The Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule protects residents and children from exposure to lead-based paint hazards from activities that can create hazardous lead dust when surfaces with lead-based paint are disturbed. The Disclosure Rule requires those who sell or rent housing built before 1978 to provide an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, include lead notification language in sales and rental forms, disclose any known lead-based paint hazards and provide reports to buyers or renters, allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers and maintain records certifying compliance with applicable federal requirements for three years.

Media Contact: Nahal Mogharabi, mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov, 213-244-1815

----

For more information on lead RRP training, visit our website.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Massachusetts Landlords Fined for Lead Housing Discrimination


The Massachusetts Fair Housing Center filed a discrimination claim against four rental
agencies in the area; the companies discouraged or refused rent to
families with children to avoid deleading their properties.

Four landlords and rental agents in Massachusetts will pay $13,000 in fines after settling a housing discrimination allegation with the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center (MFHC). The cases allege that the rental companies discouraged or refused homes containing lead paint to families with children.

Massachusetts state laws prohibits property managers from refusing to rent because of lead paint hazards, and if a family chooses to rent these contaminated properties, the property manager must comply with the deleading and abatement of all such lead hazards.

"That puts families in a position where they are discriminated against, or denied housing, or offered housing that is not safe," Ashley Grant, legal director for the Fair Housing Center, said in a recent press release.

According to Grant, testers from the MFCH posed as renters to investigate the companies. One of the companies, Valley Property Management of Amherst, told the testers that that the apartments could not be tested and deleaded in time for the family to move in, and also directed the testers away from certain potentially contaminated buildings.

Although all four companies have yet to make an official statement, they've agreed to pay fines. The proactive effort of MFCH is appreciated by her neighborhood, as most homes in the region tend to be older- thus built before the late 1970s ban on lead paint.

"What we want to do is create more lead safe properties," Grant said.

The money from the fines will be used to fund campaigns to inform families of their renter rights.

If you'd like to learn more about the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, visit their homepage. To get your lead certification, visit Zack Academy's lead webpage. Lead renovator classes for contractors, painters, and landlords are offered nationwide.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sues Access Funding for Scamming Lead Poisoning Victims

A financial counseling company was sued by a federal agency for targeting
cognitively impaired lead-poisoning victims; the victims sold their
structured settlements for significantly lower lump-sum payments.

A Maryland-based financial firm was sued last Monday after the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found evidence of a scheme to take advantage of lead poisoning victims who won court settlements.

The company, Access Funding, came under federal investigation last year for purchasing a large number of lead-paint settlements from awardees primarily in the Baltimore area. In exchange for their structured settlement checks, Access Funding sold them one-time lump-sum payments - often for much less than the value of their settlement. CFPB alleges that Access Funding exploited these individuals, as many awardees suffered from cognitive disabilities that limited their understanding of their settlement deals. The lawsuit further alleges that Access Funding preyed on impoverished communities in the Baltimore area.

"Many of these struggling consumers were victimized first by toxic lead, and second by a company that saw them little more than income streams to be courted and harvested," Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said in a recent press release.

Access Funding denies any wrongdoing. According to Access Funding chief executive Michael Borkowski, his organization provided legal financial counsel to consenting individuals.

"We're trying to bring better value to people," Michael Borkowski, Access Funding chief executive, said in a recent press release.

Still, CFPB counters these claims. Nearly all of the lead poisoning victims that Access Funding targeted were barely literate and had documented cognitive impairments. A multitude of Access Funding clients were also impoverished - often living in the same condemned homes they won settlement money against in the first place. They saw these one-time settlements as a quick way to get out of debt. And although these structured settlements are awarded in monthly payments to prevent financial negligence, awardees frequently opt for the lures of one-time settlements.

"They have no experience in managing money, are brain compromised, and history shows they'll likely run through a large cash settlement in a short time," Saul Kerpelman, lead-paint lawyer, said in a recent article.

In one case, an Access Funding client sold $146,00 in future payments for $18,300 upfront; in another case, a client sold a structured settlement of $663,000 for a one-time payment of $50,000. Altogether, a random sample of Access Funding's deals showed that the company purchased $6.9 million of future payments for around $1.7 million - about 33 cents to the dollar.

The lawsuit seeks to tighten structured settlement laws and encourage more oversight to prevent conflicts in interest.

To read more about CFPB's lawsuit against Access Funding, visit the agency's press release page. To learn more about lead work and become certified, visit Zack Academy's lead renovation FAQs.



Please also view a new interview with our Marketing Manager on the benefits of advanced vocational training for contractors.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks releases report on preventing childhood lead poisoning

The President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children released a new federal programs report to prevent childhood lead poisoning. In their report, the task force identifies nearly 60 initiatives currently or tentatively in action. Some of the federal programs include:
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which establishes and enforces lead-content limits in children's products 
  • Environmental Protection Agency's Lead-based Paint Program and Disclosure Program, which establishes lead safety protocols and certification for lead workers, and informs residents of potentially lead-contaminated homes 
  • Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water and Enforcement, which reduces lead in drinking water and repairs public water systems that might have lead contaminated pipes
One of the most promising aspects of the report is its emphasis on cooperation and coordination between federal agencies; an example being Department of Justice taking legal action at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Blood lead levels in children by income

Another promising aspect of the report is the acknowledgment of lead poisoning affecting children of low-income families more than others. According to the report, children living below the poverty line had the highest concentration of lead in their blood samples. One conclusion the report offers is that low-income families might live in older homes not up to current lead safety protocols - several federal initiatives are in the works to remediate and relocate this affected population.


Effects of lead poisoning at different blood lead levels

The report also reiterates the dangers of childhood lead exposure. Acute and high levels of lead exposure can lead to convulsions, abdominal pain, colic and even death, while small but long-term exposure can lead to behavioral and cognitive dysfunction, hearing loss, stunted growth and renal failure. Furthermore, the report notes that children are disproportionately exposed to lead; activities such as crawling and playing in lead contaminated soil or ingesting lead-contaminated particles all contribute.


Blood lead levels in children between 1976 and 2014

Blood lead levels have significantly decreased in children from when the EPA first began tracking it in the 1970s. Still, with recent crises such as Flint, Michigan and Madison, Wisconsin, it's clear that federal action is still needed to protect our children. This report brings hope for a continued downward trend in blood lead levels and the possibility of eradicating childhood lead poisoning once and for all.

To read more about the report, visit the President's Task Force on Environmental Health's website. To learn more about lead safety protocols and how you can become certified in lead work, visit Zack Academy's lead certification website.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

USGBC Announces New CEO, Mahesh Ramanujam


The U.S Green Building Council (USGBC) announced Mahesh Ramanujam as its new president and chief executive office this Wednesday, November 16, 2016. Ramanujam, formerly the chief operating office of USGBC, has been endorsed for his commitment to sustainability and his ability to bridge business with technology.

His focus includes five areas of growth: the vision for USGBC, providing resources to the community to help lead projects, shaping the culture of the green building movement to inclusive and innovating, making decisions that serve the USGBC community's interests and delivering on USBGC market transformation visions. In a press release addressed to the USBGC community, he explains the sources of inspiration for his goals as CEO.

"I love what I do, and I love knowing that we are working toward the greater good," Ramanujam said.

Ramanujam has a long list of credentials in the business and technology sector. Prior to his position as CEO of USGBC, Ramanujam served as COO; prior to that, Ramanujam served as the chief information officer. Mahesh Ramanujam was also the COO of Emergys Corp. and over a period of 11 years, he has led business transformations at companies such as IBM and Lenovo. He credits his upbringing for passion for sustainability and innovation.

"I grew up in India, where I learned to do more with less. I saw firsthand that communities can be transformed through meaningful investments and true sustainability," Ramanujam said.

With his passion for green building, Ramanujam seeks to propel USGBC and LEED associates. For those interested in being part of a dynamic global industry, Zack Academy offers LEED training nationwide - with many classes even conveniently available online.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Michigan Wins $119 Million for Lead Abatement Project

Extension of Michigan's lead abatement project begins January 1st; the state
was approved $119 million to remove lead hazards from at-risk
communities.

Lansing, Mich. (Nov. 14, 2016) The state of Michigan won approval to spend up to $119 million in federal funds to remove lead health violations from the homes of low-income residents. The project, the second waiver Michigan has received to spend additional money, will extend for an additional five years.

The abatement services will target homes with vulnerable residents such as households with pregnant women or members under the age of 19. The federal funding will be used to eliminate or permanently close off lead-based paint and lead dust sources, replace contaminated structures and test samples in surrounding soil. The funding will also cover replacement of exterior lead services lines that connect water mains to homes - fundamental in preventing lead from contaminating the local water supply. 

In communities such as Flint, where pervasive lead poisoning made international news, news of the approval is encouraging.

"Removing lead in homes, including pipes in homes, can greatly decrease the risk of future lead exposure and improve children's health," Dr. Nicole Lurie, director of the U.s Department of Health and Human Services outreach in Flint, said in a recent press release.

Other officials such as Michigan governor Rick Snyder called the waiver approval "great news."

The amendment takes effect this January; the state of Michigan will be identifying high-risk municipalities until then.

For more information about lead abatement certification, visit Zack Academy's lead certification webpage. For more information on the U.S Department of Health and Human Services outreach in Michigan, visit their official website.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Zack Academy Partners with M&E Services, LLC to Offer Lead Renovator Classes in Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fort Lauderdale, FL (November 9, 2016) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), the largest online marketplace to find Lead-Safe RRP Training, announced today that it has partnered with EPA Accredited Training Provider M&E Services, LLC to expand offerings of lead paint training in Texas and throughout the country.

Based in Arlington, TX, M&E Services, LLC offers accredited Lead Renovator Initial and Lead Renovator Refresher training. M&E Services’ popular Lead Renovator Certification Initial class covers lead safety training and the required certification exam for contractors doing work in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities.

"M&E Services is a vital lead paint safety trainer in the Texas area. This partnership bolsters our nationwide lead renovator course offerings and adds another exemplary trainer to the Zack Academy Network," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

Matthew Arnett, Training Manager and Principal Instructor for M&E Services, LLC commented, "We are proud to be in partnership with Zack Academy as an additional RRP Lead Initial and Refresher trainer in their vast national network. This partnership allows us to strengthen our presence in Texas, while we continue to expand our client base throughout all federal EPA RRP regulated states."

About Zack Academy: 
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

About M&E Services, LLC:
M&E Services, LLC is a Federal EPA Lead Paint Accredited Training Provider for both the initial and refresher lead-safe training courses. Offering courses in a classroom setting at a location best suited for our clients throughout the United States, we utilize interactive training methods and real-life examples to foster student interactions at all times. M&E Services, LLC will travel to any location that works best for our clients and within their time frame. M&E Services, LLC is also a federal EPA Certified Firm and is able to coordinate any regulatory RRP review and internal audit. The Principal Instructor is an EPA RRP Lead Paint Renovator as well as certified in five states that supersede the federal EPA.

Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

HUD Announced Settlement Between East Chicago Housing Authority and a Fair Housing Organization

Source: New York Times
In a recent blog post we discussed how nearly 1,000 residents were displaced in an East Chicago lead crisis. Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced an agreement between the East Chicago Housing Authority and a fair housing organization, which resolved multiple complaints of housing discrimination, which stemmed from displacement issues.

According to a HUD Press Release, "The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, on behalf of residents, alleged the East Chicago Housing Authority violated the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act with respect to the relocation of residents at West Calumet Housing Complex due to soil surrounding the complex being contaminated with lead and arsenic. The Shriver Center’s complaints alleged the housing authority engaged in discriminatory housing practices in its management of the relocation because residents were being moved into poor, segregated communities with similar or serious levels of environmental contaminations. The agreement resolves the complaints and serves as the foundation to ensure residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex are relocated in a coordinated manner to safe housing in areas of opportunity.

Terms of the agreement include relocation benefits; the full return of most security deposits; mobility and relocation counseling for households; enhanced mobility and relocation counseling for households with a member who has a disability and/or elevated blood lead levels; expedited assessments of proposed new units for households with residents with elevated blood lead levels, or those who currently have an impairment associated with lead poisoning; the creation of a housing mobility program to provide households with information about opportunity areas; higher rent subsidies to households as a need-based reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities and families with children with elevated blood lead levels; and on-site risk assessments to determine and report the existence, nature, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards in any potential new units. Read the agreement for the complete list of terms."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Home Efficiency without Wasting Electricity

Whether you are a homeowner or rent an apartment, we all pay for electricity. I bet you wouldn't mind if that monthly bill was a little bit smaller. If you are a homeowner, there are plenty of home improvements you can make that can help, but making small changes to your daily life can also make a big difference in your energy consumption. 

It’s the ripple effect. Your small household changes are the drop of water which starts the ripple. No, you are not going to save the world by being energy efficient, but a little goes a long way. There are many ways to do more with less. Being very organized does not mean that you are being energy efficient, but it could. Here are some ideas on how to work smarter, not harder, while saving energy along the way.

Pots and Pans


You should know how much food you are making and pick a pot or pan accordingly. Yes, this is going to include some organization on your part with regard to where you store your pots and pans. Try to arrange them via size and shape for easy recognition. If you are not making a large amount of food, use a different size pot or pan. Smaller pot and pans use less energy to heat up. Don’t pull that big frying pan out if you are only going to fry a few eggs for yourself. Opt for the small pan over the small burner to avoid using excess energy that's not helping cook your food.

Choose Energy Efficient Blinds
If bulking up your insulation is not your idea of a fun weekend event and you don't want to shell out the necessary funds to pay someone to do it professionally, you could try this. Use thermal shades on your windows instead of or over existing blinds. In the summer months, it will keep the room cold, blocking the sun's hot rays. During winter, it will keep the heat from escaping, retaining the heat. You will use less energy to cool and heat your house or apartment during all the seasons of the year. Saving you money while consuming less energy.

Landscape with a Plan
If you have a yard and decide to start planting trees and shrubbery, think about their location beyond what looks good where. Yes, that tree looks nice on the side yard, but if you plant it so it shades the air conditioner as well, you could be saving money on your electric bill. You could also plant trees on the East or West side of your house to block a lot of the direct sunlight. You might be able to save up to $250 a year on heat and air conditioning. Your yard can be beautiful and save you money, just by placing your plants in the right place.

Pay Attention to Your Pool. Having your own pool for family and friends to enjoy is great. But once you factor in the filters, heater, pumps, and so on, they can certainly be energy guzzlers. One great way to cut down on the amount of electricity your pool is using is to turn off your heater and throw a solar cover over your pool. That way your pool will be well-protected while using the sun’s rays to make the water an enjoyable and comfortable temperature.

Fill Up the Dishwasher
As a child I remember dreading the thought of dish duty. Now I am very thankful for the dishwasher, especially when I have company. When washing dishes, wait until you have enough dishes before running the dishwasher. You use much less water and energy when you wait for the dishwasher to have a full load. Also, the dishwashers made today are meant to blast off hard to clean plates, so don’t rinse them off and put them directly in the machine.

Conserving energy while also saving money helps people personally and saves the environment. No matter how small, we all have to do our part to help keep our surroundings beautiful. These small changes are the drop of water that starts the ripple effect in a calm pond. Be the Drop. Start the Change.

Image by Foto-Rabe via Pixabay


Paul Denikin runs a blog, called DadKnowsDIY.com where he writes about simple, eco-friendly home repair projects.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Proposed Amendment to Lead Paint Laws



We are calling on the Zack Academy community for help! Please contact your Senator and Representative and ask them to sign onto a letter from Senator Franken of Minnesota and Rep. Slaughter of Rochester, New York to the Int'l Code Council (ICC), which supports the National Center for Healthy Housing's (NCHH) code proposal regarding lead-based paint renovations.

As contractors, painters, landlords, and renovators, you are some of the most educated members of the community when it comes to the hazards of lead paint. In fact, since most of our readers are already certified Lead Renovators, NCHH's proposal would actually give you a leg up on competition! This proposal would simply require any contractor that seeks to obtain a building permit to conduct renovations in homes or child occupied facilities built prior to 1978 include the appropriate RRP certification as part of the permit application process to ensure that no hazardous levels of lead dust are left behind.

As you know, it is already a federal requirement that all contractors be lead-safe certified, yet many still are not certified. Since there is currently no requirement that a contractor provide proof of their RRP certification to the local municipality when seeking a renovation permit, it is easier to go un-certified, but this proposal would strengthen your bids as certified Lead Renovators, and make sure to keep your community safe.

Only two places in the United Sates have passed laws that require this proof: the City of Rochester and the State of Minnesota. Since 2011, when the Minnesota state legislature adopted this policy, the EPA has seen a 40% increase in contractors earning their lead safety certification.

The ICC met this past week in Kansas City, Missouri to discuss all proposed code changes and voting will open in two weeks for all Governmental Member Voting Representatives. Please make your voice be heard by calling your local Senator! If you have any questions about lead paint certifications or the laws in general, please call 646-564-3546.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

EPA Awards $270K for Environmental and Health Projects in New England Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - (Boston, Mass., Oct. 25, 2016) – EPA has awarded 12 grants across New England under its 2016 Healthy Communities Grant Program, totaling approximately $270,566, to fund community projects addressing environmental and public health issues. The projects will reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health, and improve the quality of life for communities and residents across New England.

The Healthy Communities Grant Program combines resources from several EPA programs to strategically address the environmental and public health issues burdening New England communities. Contributing programs include Assistance & Pollution Prevention; Asthma; Children’s Environmental Health and Clean, Green and Healthy Schools Initiative; Toxics; Urban Environmental Program; and Water Infrastructure (Stormwater, Wastewater, and Drinking Water). The program has competitively selected projects that will: assess, understand, and reduce environmental and human health risks; increase collaboration through community-based projects; build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environmental and human health problems; advance emergency preparedness and resilience; and achieve measurable environmental and human health benefits in communities across New England.

The projects that have been awarded funding must meet several criteria including: (1) location in /or directly benefit one or more of the EPA’s identified Target Investment Areas; and (2) identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the EPA’s identified Target Program Areas. In 2016, the Target Investment Areas included: Areas at Risk from Climate Change Impacts, Environmental Justice Areas of Potential Concern, Making a Visible Difference (MVD) Communities, and Sensitive Populations. Target Program Areas included: Clean, Green and Healthy Schools; Community and Water Infrastructure Resilience; Healthy Indoor Environments; Healthy Outdoor Environments; and Tribal Youth Environmental Programs.

“EPA is very proud to provide much-needed funding to so many deserving projects in communities throughout New England states,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Our Healthy Communities Grants make a real difference advancing local projects that result in a cleaner environment that benefits people’s lives.”

Some recipients of the grant include:

CONNECTICUT

Charter Oaks Communities was awarded $25,000 for their “Fairgate Farm Community Composting Initiative” project. The project seeks to expand the recently launched Fairgate Farm Community Composting Initiative to educate Stamford’s West Side residents and businesses about composting by providing one-on-one outreach, hands-on composting demonstrations, and educational resources about the benefits of composting to educate residents, community partners, and volunteers. Additionally, the project team will distribute 5 and 50 gallon containers for compost collection and manage weekly compost drop-offs at seven local organizations. Project partners include: City of Stamford; Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County; Connecticut Food Bank; Franklin Street Works; New Covenant Center; Schofield Manor; Shop Rite; and Starbucks.

The Center of Ecological Technology was awarded $20,000 for their “Don’t Waste Bridgeport” project. The project seeks to reduce the quantity of wasted food by working with target wasted food generators in Bridgeport including K-12 public/private schools, venues, grocers, healthcare facilities, colleges/universities, hospitality facilities, and food rescue/donation organizations to reduce, donate, and compost as much wasted food as possible with the ultimate goal of reducing environmental impacts and getting needed food to residents in need. Project partners include: Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport (CCGB); Betsy & Jessie Fink Foundation; Community Plates; and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

MAINE

Wabanaki Health Wellness was awarded $25,000 for their “WaYS to Healthy Communities” project. The project seeks meld science and traditional ecological knowledge into an interactive curriculum for grades 6-12 to develop awareness among tribal youth regarding environmental stewardship as it relates to healthy community ecosystems, land and water. Three key activities include providing seasonal “mini-earth” camps for students, hosting a week-long camp for high school students and providing mentor/mentee internships at the greenhouses on tribal lands throughout Maine. Project partners include the Aroostook Band of Micmacs; Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point and Indian Township; and the Penobscot Indian Nation.

For the full list of recipients, visit the EPA website. For more information about EPA New England’s Healthy Communities Grant Program and the funded projects, visit their official page.

Contact Information: David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov) 617-918-1017

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: October 23-29, 2016

Each year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Housing (HUD) join together to create the National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

According to the CDC, the theme for 2016's campaign is Lead Free Kids for a Healthy Future. The NLPPW Campaign aims to achieve two goals:
  1. Raise awareness to reduce childhood exposure to lead.
  2. Encourage implementation of local activities and events in target communities.
In order to better reach these goals, CDC/EPA/HUD have created a lead poisoning prevention toolkit, which provides state and local governments with key materials to distribute and educate their communities, including:
  • Icons
  • Posters
  • Social Media
  • Online Resources
  • Multimedia Outreach
  • Awareness Activities
  • Resources for Developing a Campaign
The downloadable lead poisoning prevention toolkit is fully customizable for six languages and is a great way to help educate your community. For more materials, such as an infographic, app, podcast and more, please visit the CDC's website.

Need to get your business or employees certified for lead renovations or removal? Please call 646-564-3546.

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 31st Marks LEED 2009 Project Registration Deadlines

Mark your calendar - October 31st, 2016 is the last day to register LEED projects
under LEED 2009 rating systems.

LEED Project Teams take note - the last day to register a LEED project under any LEED 2009 rating system is October 31st, 2016. After that date, the US Green Building Council will officially transition to LEED v4 rating systems for all new LEED projects. Specifically, the following rating systems will be phased out:
  • LEED for New Construction (and Italia New Construction) v2009 
  • LEED for Core and Shell v2009 
  • LEED for Schools v2009 
  • LEED for Retail: New Construction v2009 
  • LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors v2009 
  • LEED for Healthcare v2009 
  • LEED for Commercial Interiors v2009 
  • LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance v2009 
  • LEED for Neighborhood Development v2009 
  • LEED for Homes v2008 
  • LEED for Homes Midrise Pilot 
  • LEED India 2011 (New Construction and Core and Shell) 
If your project is unregistered but you want to use LEED 2009 rating system, you must visit LEED Online before October 31st to complete registration.

If your project has been registered but not yet certified, the sunset for LEED 2009 rating systems is June 31, 2021. Keep in mind that the October 31st deadline is for registration, and the 2021 deadline is for certification of those projects registered by the deadline.

If you miss the October 31st registration deadline for LEED 2009 rating systems, your project can still pursue LEED. Registration for LEED v4 rating systems is still open; the registration process is simple and there is no cost.

Whether following the 2009 or v4 rating systems, pursuing LEED certification for your project takes a stand for sustainability, efficiency and innovation. Visit the LEED website for more information.

Friday, October 21, 2016

EPA Fines Hammer and Inc. For Lead Paint Violations in Portland, Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - (Portland, Ore., Oct 17, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined a Portland, Oregon based remodeling firm, Hammer and Hand Inc., $69,398, for failing to comply with federal lead-based paint rules. EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule protects the public from lead-based paint health hazards during repair or remodeling activities in housing built before 1978. Hammer and Hand failed to follow lead-safe work practices while performing renovation work on two older homes in Portland last year.

According to Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10's Office of Compliance and Enforcement, “Making sure that lead-based paint is properly removed and handled helps protect people's health during repairs or renovations in older homes, particularly where children live. This case shows that EPA is serious about making sure companies that break the law are held accountable when they ignore the rules and put public health at risk.”

Hammer and Hand is a general contracting and remodeling firm with offices in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. In 2015, EPA inspectors found multiple violations during renovations the firm conducted at two older homes in Portland. Specifically, the firm failed to: determine if lead-based paint was present; perform on-the-job training on lead-safe work practices; post warning signs about lead-based paint renovation works and hazards; cover the ground with plastic sheeting to collect falling paint debris; contain paint chips and waste to prevent release of lead-contaminated dust and debris; and perform post-renovation cleaning.

The Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, which is a part of the Toxic Substances Control Act, is intended to ensure that owners and occupants of housing built before 1978 or any child-occupied facilities, receive information on lead-based paint hazards before renovations begin, and that workers performing renovations are properly trained, certified by EPA, and follow specific work practices to reduce the risk of lead-based paint exposure.

Lead-based paint was banned in 1978 but still remains in many homes and apartments across the country. Lead dust hazards can occur when lead-based paint deteriorates or is disturbed during renovation and remodeling activities. Lead exposure can cause a range of health problems, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death. Young children are at the greatest health risk because their bodies and nervous systems are still developing. A blood lead test is the only way to determine if a child has a high lead level. Parents who think their child has been in contact with lead dust or other sources of lead should contact their child's health care provider.

Renovation firms that are certified under the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule are encouraged to display EPA’s “Lead-Safe” logo on worker’s uniforms, signs, websites and other material. Consumers can protect themselves by looking for the logo before hiring a renovation firm. Consumers can learn more about the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule and hiring a certified firm by calling the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD or visiting www.epa.gov/lead.

Contact Information
Suzanne Skadowski (skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov)
206-553-2160

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in Workplace Safety

If you own a small business, chances are you have a lot on your mind. From hiring employees to managing clients to paying bills. One thing that probably isn’t on your mind is implementing office safety procedures. While no one would blame you for overlooking workplace safety, that doesn’t mean it is a good idea.

When you fail to put safety measures in place at your business, you run the risk of losing everything you have spent so many years to build. That’s because one on-the-job accident can end up costing you a tremendous amount of money.

So how can you keep your workplace safe when you know little to nothing about implementing safety procedures? Chances are you will probably need to enlist the help of a SAFETY CONSULTING firm. Such a firm will help make sure that you and your workers are protected in the case of an accident. While you may believe you cannot afford such an investment, here are some important reasons why you cannot afford NOT to:
  1. Even small injuries cost big money. According to the Department of Labor, if an employee breaks a bone on the job, the business owner can be looking at nearly $100,000 in direct and indirect costs.
  2. Insurance doesn’t cover everything. If you are counting on your insurance plan to pick up the tab, think again. Insurance carriers usually cover only a portion of the costs associated with on-the-job injuries.
  3. Worker compensation costs skyrocket after just one injury. Worker compensation insurance can be relatively affordable—until you have an accident. Just one claim can cause a huge spike in your premium.
  4. Injuries hurt more than an individual. A good reputation is something that takes years to build, but only seconds to destroy. When people are injured at your business because you didn’t do what was necessary to keep them safe, you can bet people are going to question your judgement.
Being a small business owner is exciting and can be very lucrative. However, it also brings with it a responsibility to keep your workers safe. And while it may be tough to shell out money for things like safety audits and training, it is well worth the money. Finally, studies repeatedly show that employees that feel safe at work are more productive than those who do not. This means that investing in worker safety will pay off in more ways than one!

This blog post comes courtesy of our partner, Proactive Safety, a safety training company with classes in 8 states.

EHS Courses in New York Offered by New Zack Academy Training Partner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 20, 2016) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a leading provider of career-oriented training and certification courses, announced today that it will include courses offered by Environmental Education Associates in its catalog of class listings.

Based in Buffalo, NY, Environmental Education Associates (EEA) offers accredited environmental and safety courses throughout New York, such as Lead Renovator Certification, Asbestos Certification and Mold Abatement Certification.

EEA's popular Lead Renovator Certification Initial class covers lead safety training and the required certification exam for contractors doing work in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities. Emphasis is placed on teaching standards recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Environmental Education Associates is a staple in the environmental and safety training community in New York. This partnership brings another exemplary trainer with a proven history and expands our asbestos, mold, and lead renovation course offerings," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About Zack Academy: 
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

About Environmental Education Associates, Inc:
Environmental Education Associates, Inc. (EEA) offers over fifty accredited environmental and safety training courses, in asbestos, lead, hazardous materials and mold. Each course accreditations are issued by a local, state or national government agency to meet regulatory requirements for personnel engaged in specific environmental investigation, management or clean-up activities. EEA also offers awareness or other required training that is based on agency regulations or guidance. EEA instructors are approved or individually accredited to provide training under our authority, or as approved by a specific agency.

Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Monday, October 17, 2016

Continuing Education to Renew Your BPI Certification

The Building Performance Institute (BPI) is a nationally recognized certification and accreditation body for home performance contractors. With a focus on energy efficiency and innovative technology, BPI is the nation's most widely recognized energy auditor. For contractors, inspectors, builders, architects and engineers, BPI certification can set them apart from other candidates and propel their career in the construction industry.

Want to become BPI certified but not sure where to start? 
The BPI Building Analyst Certification is one of the most widely-recognized residential energy auditor certifications, and is a prerequisite for most of the advanced BPI certifications. This program is offered both online and in-person, nationwide, and is perfect for those looking to gain a foothold in the energy efficient building market. A BPI building analyst provides comprehensive energy audits for residential properties using applied science to prioritize and implement energy solutions. Analysts focus on sustainable and energy efficient plans that save property owners money. The skills learned in this course can be applied to a wide range of jobs; contractors, builders and inspectors will easily have a new skill to market. Even non-professional property owners can benefit from certification - they can better understand energy use in their home.

For those who are already BPI Certified, Zack Academy offers many Continuing Education courses and packages listed below. BPI analysts are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years, or else take an additional re-certification exam!

These continuing education courses are fully approved by BPI and are conveniently provided online and help the following BPI professionals:
  • Building analyst professionals 
  • Envelope professionals 
  • Heating professionals 
  • Air conditioning professionals 
  • Manufactured housing professionals 
  • Multifamily building analysts/operators 


Course TitleContinuing Education Units
ASHRAE 62.2 COMBO - Assessment, Design and Installation Online Anytime8 BPI CEUs
ASHRAE 62.2 Mechanical Ventilation Design and Installation Online Anytime4 BPI CEUs
ASHRAE 62.2 Overview3.25 BPI CEUs
ASHRAE 62.2 Residential Ventilation Assessment Online Anytime4 BPI CEUs & 6 RESNET Rater PD Credits
BPI Building Analyst and Envelope Shell Combo10 BPI CEUs
BPI Building Science Principles Online Anytime12 BPI CEUs
BPI Building Shell and Envelope Professional16.0 AIA LUs & 5.0 GBCI Live Presentation Hours
BPI CEU - 30 CEU Package Online Anytime30 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 10 CEU Package A10 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 10 CEU Package B10 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 12 CEU Package A12 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 16 CEU Package A16 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 16 CEU Package B16 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 18 CEU Package A18 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 18 CEU Package B18 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 6 CEU Package6 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 8 CEU Package Option A8 BPI CEUs
BPI Continuing Education - 8 CEU Package Option B8 BPI CEUs
BPI Infiltration and Duct Leakage Professional (IDL) Training3 BPI CEUs
BPI Multi Family Building Analyst10 BPI CEUs
RESNET HERS Rater30 CE Hours & 5 GBCI Live Presentation Hours
Building Shell Retrofit Strategies Online Anytime2 BPI CEUs
Commercial Lighting Assessor Online Anytime6 BPI CEUs
Duct and Envelope Tightness (DET) Verification Training4 BPI CEUs & 8.5 AIA Units
Home Energy Score Assessor Online Anytime4 BPI CEUs
Infrared Inspection for Electro/Mechanical Systems12 BPI CEUs
Jobsite Safety for Weatherization Professionals Online Anytime4 BPI CEUs
Principles of Building Science Online Anytime3.5 BPI CEUs
RESNET EnergySmart Contractor Online Anytime4 BPI CEUs
RESNET HESP Online Anytime12 BPI CEUs
RESNET Home Energy Survey Professional (HESP) Training and Certification12 BPI CEUs
Utility Bill Analysis and Baseload Measures Online Anytime2 BPI CEUs


BPI certified workers are in high demand. They are frequently sought out by state and national programs - in fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have partnered with BPI to create some of their own certified courses. Maintaining or earning this certification can give anyone in the construction industry new skills to enhance their careers and get into green design. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call 646-564-3546.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

EPA's CREAT Online Tool Helps Communities Prepare for Climate Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - (Lenexa, Kan., September 29, 2016) - As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to strengthen America’s climate resilience, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released an updated online climate change risk assessment tool that assists users in designing adaptation plans based on the types of threats confronting their communities.EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT), is specifically designed for use by water, wastewater and storm utilities.

“Water utilities operate on the front lines of climate change and face the challenges of increased drought, flooding and sea level rise. EPA is working to strengthen America’s communities by providing climate preparedness tools like CREAT that local leaders can use to make smart decisions,” said Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water.

In its updated version, CREAT presents information in a series of intuitive modules, provides climate change projection data, and presents monetized risk results. CREAT’s climate projection map illustrates future climate scenarios including precipitation intensity for a 100-year storm or the number of days per year with temperatures above 100ºF. With this powerful information, utility owners and operators can better prepare for the impacts of climate change.

CREAT was built and updated in consultation with drinking water and wastewater utilities, water sector associations, climate science and risk assessment experts, and multiple federal partners. The tool has been used by a number of communities in their adaptation planning efforts. For example, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. used CREAT to better understand the vulnerability of its wastewater infrastructure and operations while the city of Houston, Texas used the tool to better understand the vulnerability of its surface water supplies.

Click the following links to see videos that show how CREAT has benefitted utilities such asCamden, N.J. and Faribault, Minn.

To access CREAT or to learn more about water sector climate readiness, visit EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative.

Contact InformationChris Whitley (whitley.christopher@epa.gov)
913-551-7394

Nearly 1,000 Residents Displaced in East Chicago Lead Crisis

More than 30 years after initial reports of lead exposure, an East Chicago public
housing complex has been condemned- leaving economically
disadvantaged families uncertain about their future.

Residents of an East Chicago, Indiana community are still struggling to find homes after their complex was abruptly condemned September 1st by Mayor Anthony Copeland. The West Calumet Housing Complex sits on land contaminated with lead and arsenic at levels 228 times higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems potentially hazardous to children. The public housing complex - with close to 1,000 residents - is facing the largest displacement of families East Chicago has seen in twenty years.

Compounding the immediate danger of toxic lead exposure is the financial burden placed on residents. Most West Calumet residents receive government rent assistance, or Section 8 vouchers, and thus cannot afford to simply pack up and move. The housing market in the area is already lacking, and many affordable options are in unsafe neighborhoods - a problem for the majority of West Calumet residents who either have children or are children.

"This is a crisis," Indiana state Senator Lonnie Randolph, said of the West Calumet Housing Complex. "These are people's lives. Some of them have been here for years."

The housing complex was built on top of an old copper smelter and next to a lead refinery plant in East Chicago during the late 1980s. Long time residents recall seeing piles of lead dust in the vacant industrial site next to the development well until 1992 when the EPA first recommended the site for cleanup through the Superfund National Priorities List. Yet, the project went through a series of agency exchanges and actual remediation work did not begin until 2009.

Yet with lead crises in other cities such as Flint, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin city and state officials have a new sense of urgency - and as such, East Chicago Mayor Copeland ordered an evacuation of West Calumet because he felt that the EPA's course of action wasn't enough.

"Life safety is No. 1," Copeland said. "You remove people from a hazardous situation and then you mitigate it."

So far, only 20 of 332 affected households have found new homes according to the Department of Housing and Development. Residents have been provided with tools to find adequate housing, but it's still difficult. Many tenants simply refuse to take Section 8 vouchers and that is legal under Indiana law. Moving costs and competition make it difficult for disadvantaged, displaced families to find somewhere good to live. For many, it is a choice between bad and worse; a choice not of their own, but brought upon them by neglect.