Careers in Wind Farm Development: Meteorological Tower Services

Sarah Lozanova | Tuesday November 24th, 2009 | 1 Comment

met towerThis is the third article in a seven part series on careers in wind farm development. The first and second parts can be viewed here.

Wind energy data is collected and analyzed to determine the wind resources of a given site. This involves erecting a meteorological tower with anemometers, wind vanes, a data logger, and a device to transmit the collected information, such as a cellular modem. A standard tower is 198 feet, and instruments are typically placed at various heights at a designated orientation.

wind farm developmentMeteorological tower installation and maintenance is not an easy task- technicians must work under extreme conditions and stay mentally sharp. Jason Vidas, owner of Pioneer WindWorks seeks employees who are physically fit, able to work in all weather conditions, and stay mentally strong during long, physical days. Attention to detail is essential, as instruments need to be placed and documented with high accuracy to ensure quality data. A background in engineering, computer and math skills, and technical abilities are desirable.

The data collected from meteorological towers is the foundation for the energy and financial analysis of the potential wind farm. As the industry advances, so does the necessity to gather accurate information.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Green Car Rally: The Rookie Chevy Volt Versus the Veteran Toyota Prius

| Tuesday November 24th, 2009 | 15 Comments

volt_priusGeneral Motors has been inundated in recent years with nothing but bad news. After filing for bankruptcy and receiving a controversial government bailout, the ailing car maker is trying to revolutionize the auto industry and breathe life back into its deflated sails with the introduction of the Chevy Volt. Considered to be an “extended-range electric vehicle” or E-REV, the Volt is set to go on sale late next year and is unlike today’s hybrids. A lithium-ion battery powers the Volt for the first 40 miles of a trip and then the gas engine kicks in to create more electricity to keep the car rolling. If recharged every 40 miles, the Volt’s owner may never need to go to the pump again. The Volt is slated to receive a 230 mpg rating (through a bit of creative math), which is impressive, but we wanted to know how it stacks up against the current hybrid front runner, the Toyota Prius.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Eight Biggest Myths About Sustainability in Business

| Tuesday November 24th, 2009 | 1 Comment


Vijay Kanal of
Kanal Consulting just posted a piece on GreenBiz.com titled The Eight Biggest Myths about Sustainability in Business.

He kicks the piece off by saying, “Sustainability should be considered not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because it makes business sense. If an initiative cannot be justified from a strategic, financial, operational, marketing, or employee recruitment/retention perspective, don’t do it. But we have found that in almost every corner of an organization there is a fundamental business reason for being more sustainable.”

For each of the eight myths identified he presents details from companies in the green trenches, such as HP, P&G and Numi Tea, to counter the misrepresentations.

The short piece is a great overview of the business case for going green.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Postal Service Releases First Sustainability Report

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Tuesday November 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

chrysler-uspsThe US Postal Service is in financial dire straits. It lost $3.8 billion in its most recent fiscal year, ending September 30th, and its available coffers are dangerously low. And then there’s the agency’s business model, which many argue is antiquated and unsustainable. But, according to its recently-released (and debut) sustainability report, the post office is making some strides in terms of its environmental sustainability—strides that may take the edge off some its financial woes.

The USPS set the stage for its sustainability work through an audit  of the greenhouse gas emissions that it and its contractors release.

The sustainability report focuses on two main areas: energy reduction and recycling. In terms of energy reduction, overall energy consumption was down in 2008 due both to policy changes inside the agency—such as refiguring truck routes to save on fuel—and reduction in the number of mail it delivered. (In 2007, it delivered 212 billion pieces of mail. That dropped in 203 billion in 2008.)

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Goldman Sachs $500 Million PR Campaign

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday November 24th, 2009 | 1 Comment

255px-30hudson

As you probably know by now, last week Goldman Sachs announced its program to help small businesses. The bank said it will spend $500 million to help small businesses. The timing is very interesting. A little over a week before, Goldman’s CEO, Lloyd C. Blankfein said the bank was “doing God’s work.” Two days before Goldman Sachs made its announcement about the program, protestors gathered outside of the bank’s Washington office.

The protesters delivered a letter demanding the bank use its bonus money to help people. Andy Stern, SEIU president said to the approximately 200 protesters, “Today we call on Goldman Sachs to take all of the $23 billion we earned for them and put it aside in a pool for people…who lost their homes… And that $23 billion — if you can believe it — would save every single American next year from losing their home.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Carbon Offsets: Angels Or Devils?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday November 24th, 2009 | 5 Comments

180px-Turbine_aalborg

In George Monbiot’s book, Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning, he compares buying and selling carbon offsets to “pushing the food around on your plate to create the impression that you have eaten.” Responsible Travel might agree with Monbiot’s statement. Last month the company canceled its carbon offset program saying that it was not helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“The carbon offset has become this magic pill, a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card,” said Justin Francis, the managing director of Responsible Travel. “It’s seductive to the consumer who says, ‘It’s $4 and I’m carbon-neutral, so I can fly all I want.'”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

A Quick Interview With Nick Corcodilos of Ask The Headhunter

| Tuesday November 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

nick-corcoI had a chance to do a quick email interview with Nick Corcodilos, author of the Ask a Headhunter Blog and a frequent contributor to Fast Company. My questions for Nick concern the rise of so-called “green” recruiting firms and other folks capitalizing on the rise of green jobs – are they for real? or just jumping on a trend?

Jen Boynton: I’m concerned by the idea that “green search firms are a racket playing on a theme,” I’d assumed that they were just new firms targeting my demographic but I see from reading your book that a headhunter doesn’t need to know how to do a job to find a good candidate- he just needs to be a great networker. However, given that sustainability is a completely new field with a new set of parameters is their any use at all for search firms that specialize in environmental jobs?

Nick Corcodilos: I’m sorry to say that I keep finding more opportunistic use of “green” than legitimate use in marketing. I think this will change, but I fear the term “green” is lost already. It’s an empty slogan that sells product for many companies — but too often seems to have little to do with environmentalism. I’m sure there are some search firms that are trying to really be green… but what’s the point? A good search firm that handles all sorts of positions can create a “green” area within its practice. The challenge that “green” search firms face is… doing search properly to begin with. If I were looking for a green job, I’d try to hook up with the best search firms, period, and emphasize what I’m looking for.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

EPA and GHGs: Ready, Set, Report

Bill DiBenedetto | Monday November 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

SmokeStacks (1)GHGIn the grand scheme of things, if neither next month’s Copenhagen summit on climate change or pending U.S. legislation on the same topic fails to establish firm, enforceable consensus on carbon reductions, accounting and reporting, it may not matter very much.

That’s because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already done most of the heavy lifting, at least on the monitoring and reporting end. It issued binding rules in September that require companies to report their CO2 emissions, whether or not Copenhagen is a success or U.S. legislation gets to the president’s desk.

It’s estimated there are some 10,000 facilities and suppliers subject to the EPA rule. They produce about 85 percent of GHGs emitted in the U.S.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

A Marketing Challenge for the Electric Utility Industry

Bill Roth | Monday November 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

nielsen logo“Ninety-five point six percent of households are willing to change their energy consumption behavior to save money on their energy costs.” — Jonathan Drost, Nielsen Account Executive-Utilities

Drost shared with me this finding from the 2009 Nielsen Energy Audit (pdf), during a phone interview late last month. “This survey strongly suggests the timing is right for utilities to engage their customers with green marketing initiatives,” he said. “The survey points to utility customers being driven by the desire to lower their costs and to have increased control of their energy costs.”

This survey also identifies a glaring challenge confronting utilities. “Eighty percent of households agree the price they pay for their home energy is too high,” he said. However, the electric utility industry is projecting 3 to 4 percent annual rate increases. Electric utilities join the healthcare industry as uniquely increasing prices to consumers during these recessionary times.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Household Products Need Ingredients Listed On Labels

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday November 23rd, 2009 | 7 Comments

150px-Cometcleanser

Lurking under our bathroom and kitchen sinks are harmful chemicals. “Many chemicals contained in household products have been shown to produce harmful health effects,” Senator Al Franken said in his introduction of the Household Products Labeling Act.

The current law requires that product labels only list “immediately hazardous ingredients,” but do not require labeling for ingredients that may be harmful over time. The bill Franken introduced into the Senate this summer would require manufacturers to list ingredients in household cleaners and other common products. The ingredients required to be listed include fragrances, dyes, and preservatives.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Why Rich Countries Must Lead On Climate Change

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday November 23rd, 2009 | 1 Comment

230px-Global_Warming_Map

“A much better use should have been made of the economic stimulus packages,” said Mohan Munasinghe, vice chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Speaking at the National Climate Seminar hosted by the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, Munasinghe mentioned that South Korea devoted 80 percent of its stimulus package to clean tech. The South Korean stimulus package was worth $85 billion. In July, South Korea announced it will invest $85 billion more in clean tech. In contrast, the U.S. devoted $60 billion of its $787 stimulus package to clean tech.

Munashinge pointed out that the poorest countries are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but they are the ones who had the least to do with the problem. “Developing countries are pressing for more of a voice,” he said. “We have the knowledge to protect the most vulnerable, but the political will is lacking… High emitting countries should take the lead, but that leadership is so far lacking.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Open Hands Farm: Another Farm Visit, Another Labor Lesson

3p Contributor | Monday November 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

OPEN-HANDS-FARMSThis is the fifth post in a series on the business of sustainable agriculture by the folks at Bon Appétit Management, a company that provides café and catering services to corporations, colleges and universities. To read past posts, click here.

By Dayna Burtness

Farms never cease to amaze me. Besides my grandparents’ corn and soybean farm, the first farm I ever visited was a tiny place nestled in the woods of northern Minnesota when I was 18. Goats with strange golden eyes wandered up to the fence, hoop houses sheltered mysterious vines, and every square foot was either full of growing things in every shade of green or tools jury-rigged with duct tape and wire. From the moment I arrived I was hooked on the scrappy energy of the place.

Now I’m 24 and have visited plenty of farm operations large and small, but I still get that same buzz when I spot a chicken coop made from salvaged wood and spare parts. Part of my fellowship for Bon Appétit Management Company is to survey local farms in our supply chain about their farming and labor practices, so after spending two weeks visiting farms in southern Minnesota and the Maryland-Pennsylvania area I had plenty to be buzzed about.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Smart Grid: Revolution or Revolt?

Bill Roth | Monday November 23rd, 2009 | 1 Comment

In the mid-1990’s, while serving as the General Marketing Manager for Georgia Power, I had the honor of managing the team of exceptionally bright people that designed an industry-pioneering meter-linked, integrated real time pricing/demand side management program. Today, I understand this legacy system now bills $2 billion annually on the Southern Company system, a utility recognized for its high customer satisfaction.

A key factor in the success of this campaign was an outreach program that identified barriers to implementation across the fullest range of stakeholders. This process was used to create a systems-thinking model that allowed all participants to exercise their point of view to assess its implications for impacting their goals and the expectations of all other stakeholders. This was both a learning and reconciliation process that enabled pricing, program and information system design, and acceptance of the designs by the consumer.

I highlight this experience as a reference point for reporting on the GreenBeat 2009 Smart Grid Conference and my perception that the smart grid is now entering turbulent waters created not by the technology, but by the marketing of the technology.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

D-Day for Climate: Engage Students with Senators Now

3p Contributor | Monday November 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

earth-444By Eban Goodstein, Director of The Bard Center for Environmental Policy

Harry Reid made it clear last week. Sometime next spring, a decade of sweeping grassroots education and national activism will culminate in strong federal clean energy legislation, laying a policy foundation that will be vital for stabilizing the climate.

Or it won’t.

The coming few months represent an extraordinary moment in human history. Should the US fail to pass significant climate legislation, the impact will be felt not only by our children and grandchildren, but by the next thousand generations of human beings to follow. In the coming decade, there will be no big second bite at the policy apple, no final last chance to set the country on a clean energy course. And the climate will not wait on our denial for another decade.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Al Gore Receives Global Humanitarian Award in Silicon Valley

Dev Crews | Sunday November 22nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

HumanitarianGoreNobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore received the 2009 James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award last Thursday evening for his successful efforts to raise awareness about climate change. The award was inspired by Applied Materials Chairman Emeritus James Morgan’s belief that technology can be a tool to turn ideas into solutions for a better world. It has been given to individuals whose vision and leadership help to build a just, humane and sustainable world. Former recipients include Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the microfinance pioneer, Bill Gates and Intel philanthropist Gordon Moore.

Gore’s most recent book “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” is a powerful and inspiring call to action. “Despite the many challenges to solving the climate crisis, there is hope, and the opportunities are everywhere  –especially in the form of increasingly powerful technological tools,” Gore said.

At a black-tie gala, attended by 1,500 Silicon Valley business executives, industry and political leaders, Gore accepted the award with an impassioned speech.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »