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.