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

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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.