Honorable John D. Dingell Speaks at the Growing with a Greening Economy Forum

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NSF and Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Provided Insights on New Green Initiatives to Help Boost Michigan's Economy - Click here to view photos that capture the highlights from the forum.

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We are extremely honored to host such a remarkable group of Michigan leaders

NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to protecting and improving public health, hosted a special forum on April 14, 2009, to provide insights into how green policy, practices, and technology can advance businesses in Michigan. The Growing with a Greening Economy Forum was co-hosted by the Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (SMSBF) and NSF International at NSF's headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Featured speakers included The Honorable John D. Dingell, Representative of Michigan's 15th Congressional District and Chairman Emeritus of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Congressman Dingell provided federal perspectives on green policy and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which could help put millions of Americans back to work. For states such as Michigan, this legislation will provide funding for healthcare, education, job training and extend unemployment benefits, as well as funds to rebuild the State's public infrastructure. Over 130 attendees participated in the forum.

"Michigan is at the forefront of green technology," said Congressman Dingell. "We have innovative, highly-trained workers that can leverage their manufacturing skills to contribute to the emerging green economy. Environmental performance and economic performance go hand-in-hand, and by utilizing renewable resources and employing green practices, we can all help build a sustainable economy."

Keynote speaker Glen S. LeRoy, AIA, FAICP, Dean, College of Architecture and Design, Lawrence Technological University, started off the forum by discussing how a proactive response to climate change may better position Michigan for sustainable economic development over the next several decades. The forum also featured three interactive panel discussions, providing perspectives on green policy, business practices and the increased acceptance and adoption of green technology by academic and environmental groups.

The first panel included federal, state and local representatives that discussed green policy, the green jobs initiative, and what the government is doing to promote green technologies. Panelists included Chris Kolb, President of the Michigan Environmental Council; Rebekah Warren, Michigan State Representative (D), Dist. 53; Jamie Scripps, Assistant Deputy Director of the Bureau of Energy Systems for the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. Dan Jacobs, Principal for A3C Collaborative Architecture, served as Moderator.

The second panel included representatives from companies that make, use, and invest in green technologies. They discussed the benefits and challenges of going green and integrating sustainable business strategies. Panel participants included Patricia Beattie, Ph.D., Director of Chemical Risk Management, Environmental Services for General Motors Corporation; Rick Plewa, Senior Vice President of Sustainability for Comerica; and Gary Yezbick, Vice President, Innovation & Sustainability for Masco Corporation. Bill Stough, CEO for the Sustainable Research Group served as moderator.

According to Yezbick, "Buildings are responsible for 38 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions and 14 percent of potable water usage in the United States. Masco Corporation developed the Environments for Living program to meet the growing demand for homes that offer energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and durability benefits. Today, Environments for Living is the leading, national turn-key program designed to assist builders in constructing and marketing homes using the principles of building science. You need three things - right products, installed right and an integrated whole house systems approach - to improve the comfort of the home, reduce energy and water costs, and reduce the impact on the environment."

The final panel presented on the transfer of new and developing technologies and the implementation process, highlighting education, research and outreach strategies that support green job creation, strengthen communities, and build collaborations with the business sector. Panelists included Richard Chylla, Director of Engineering Tech Transfer and Associate Director of Licensing for the College of Engineering at University of Michigan; Yi Lu Murphey, Ph.D., Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Michigan-Dearborn; Roshani Dantas, Program Manager, Green Jobs Training Program, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice; and Donald D. Carpenter, Ph.D., LEED AP, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Lawrence Technological University. Kate Pepin, Director of Facilities Planning at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, served as moderator.

The goal of the interactive discussions was to increase the dialogue across governmental, industry, and educational arenas to unveil the entrepreneurial opportunities that collaboration among these three key areas can provide. In addition to learning more about NSF's and the SMSBF's sustainability efforts, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions following each panel's discussion.

"We are extremely honored to host such a remarkable group of Michigan leaders," said Kevan P. Lawlor, NSF International President and CEO. "Our goal with this event was to help position Michigan businesses for success by providing viewpoints from academic, political and industry representatives that focused on solutions and opportunities that the green economy offers."

An electronic media kit is also provided online that includes speaker presentations and biographies, the forum agenda and information on NSF's sustainability services.

For more information regarding the forum, please contact Greta Houlahan at houlahan(at)nsf.org or 734.913.5723.

About NSF International: NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization, helps protect you by certifying products and writing standards for food, water and consumer goods (http://www.nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting public health and safety worldwide. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. Additional services include safety audits for the food and water industries, management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations, organic certification provided by Quality Assurance International and education through the NSF Center for Public Health Education.

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