“Dr. IM” Brings You Healthcare, Via Texts and PayPal

| Friday January 22nd, 2010 | 0 Comments

ban-startup-friday

Image Source: BrooklynPaper.com

Dubbed “Dr. IM,” Jay Parkinson is re-imagining healthcare with a 21st century toolkit. Up until recently, Parkinson had no office, no secretary, and for all intents and purposes, did not fit the image of the doctor. That’s because he is not the typical doctor.

Parkinson started Hello Health with partner, Nat Findlay, in a coffee shop in New York City in late 2007 because he was disillusioned by the traditional healthcare system. Through Hello Health, patients can connect with Dr. Parkinson via social networks, video chat, or even by text message. He doesn’t work directly with insurance companies; clients pay for consultations via PayPal.

His quality and standards of care are considered on par with other home-visiting, or “concierge,” doctors. Yet, Parkinson’s Web 2.0 version speaks to a new generation—a generation that values the interconnectedness of community—offering a new way of keeping people well.

Now, Hello Health has expanded beyond Parkinson. It is a growing community, a team of doctors, staff members, and even patients working together to redefine what it means to be healthy in this day and age. Check out the video below of Parkinson from a recent PopTech conference.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Fair Trade Sports Looks to Play in Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly Game

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Friday January 22nd, 2010 | 5 Comments

ban-startup-friday

Some fair trade products, such as coffee or handicrafts, have become very common—and in fact, consumers have come to expect fair trade choices when shopping in the grocery store or certain kinds of shops. But when was the last time you watched a soccer game and wondered if the rubber in the ball was sourced from sustainably managed rubber tree forests? Or whether the uniforms were made by fairly-paid adults (and not impoverished children)? As the fair trade movement evolves, it is extending to evermore product categories—as evidenced by Fair Trade Sports.

Fair Trade Sports founder Scott James says that his company makes the first-ever line of sports balls that are certified green and certified fair trade (more on what that means later). The company, which is based on lovely Bainbridge Island in the Puget Sound, plans to donate all after-tax profits—once it starts making profits—to charities focused on kids (following the Newman’s Own business model). Until then, it plans to donate $1000 each year to Boys & Girls Club of America and Room to Read.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

DOE Annouces Award of $37 Million To Solid State Lighting Projects

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday January 22nd, 2010 | 0 Comments

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the award last week of over $37 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for solid-state lighting projects. Solid-state lighting uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) instead of incandescent bulbs. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), it has the potential to be ten times more energy efficient than incandescent lighting. Lighting accounts for 24 percent of all electricity generation, and solid-state lighting could reduce that by one-third by 2030.

The 17 projects chosen to receive ARRA funds include core technology research, product development and domestic manufacturing of solid-state lighting. This is the sixth round of DOE funds for solid-state lighting research and product development, and the first time for manufacturing. The DOE began funding solid-state lighting projects in 2000.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Swiss Bank UBS Introduces Code of Ethics and Conduct

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday January 22nd, 2010 | 0 Comments

Recently Swiss bank UBS, the world’s largest private bank, announced it had introduced a new employee code of ethics and conduct. All of its 69,000 employees are required to read the code, pass a test, and sign it. “There are no exceptions,” explained the bank’s CEO, Oswald Gruebel, and Chairman Kaspar Villiger, in the preface to the code.

“Ignorance of the code, applicable laws and regulations, UBS policies or good business practices is not an acceptable justification for violation of the principles set out in the code,” they said.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Spot Pet Treats: A Greener Way to Reward Fido

| Friday January 22nd, 2010 | 0 Comments

It is tough being a socially responsible doggie owner.  Between the necessary poo-bags, toys, food and treats, I know my personal footprint went up after I got my pooch.

But Spot Pet Care has come out with a new product, Spot Pet Treats, that makes it a bit easier to be a greener pet owner. According to its web site, the treats are “made from livestock humanely raised on sustainable US ranches.”

I had the opportunity to speak with founder Caroline Shin. She has always wanted to work with animals and after starting other successful businesses, she recently opened  Spot Pet Care, a pet groomer/store in Mill Valley, California. I’ve taken my dog there to be groomed, but never realized the store has installed state-of-the art equipment to minimize water used during baths.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Getting More Green: Funding for Clean Tech

3p Contributor | Thursday January 21st, 2010 | 4 Comments

By Charles Shereda

This is not likely to be the first you’ve heard this, but if you’re a modern-day Rip Van Winkle and just woke up from a nap you began in 1999, you’d better brace yourself – maybe grab a cup of coffee.  The news?  It was tough going for entrepreneurs looking for funding in 2009.  Really tough, in fact.  With just 43 IPOs in 2008 and 63 in 2009, down from 272 in 2007 and 486 in 1999, the Initial Public Offering is now a long shot exit strategy for new ventures.  That fact, along with the general economic malaise and continued tightening of credit markets, is giving VCs pause before diving into new ventures.  The days of $300 million pets.com investments are over.

Clean tech investment took its share of bruises in the downturn, but as Ira Ehrenpreis, the Conference Chair for the Clean Tech Investor Summit said in his opening remarks to a filled hall in Palm Springs on Wednesday, we should not be viewing clean tech “through the myopic lens of our current concerns.”  Instead, he said, clean tech is about the next 100 years.  It is the focal point for solving the world’s energy problems, for providing clean air and a stable atmosphere, and for lifting most of the population of the planet out of poverty.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Meltdown Over Himalayan Glacier Melt

Bill DiBenedetto | Thursday January 21st, 2010 | 4 Comments

A funny thing happened on the way to the great Himalayan glacier meltdown. It turns out that that yes, the glaciers are receding at an alarming clip as a result of global warming, but reports of their demise by 2035 apparently were greatly exaggerated.

In an interview earlier this week with Agence France-Presse, a glaciologist who contributed to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) four-volume Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, described the mistake in the report as huge and said he had notified his colleagues of it in late 2006, months before its publication.

The controversy focuses on a brief reference in the second volume of the massive report that said the probability of glaciers in the Himalayas “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high.”

The loss of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 would take two or three times the highest expected rate of global warming, explained Georg Kaser of the Geography Institute at Austria’s University of Innsbruck.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Solar-Power Innovations Helping Haiti

Jace Shoemaker-Galloway | Thursday January 21st, 2010 | 12 Comments

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th, caused not only a tremendous loss of life, but considerable damage to the nation’s infrastructure.  As people around the world watch the heart-wrenching images coming out of the earthquake ravaged nation, donations are pouring in.

But getting aid into Haiti has been a slow-going process, especially when the lines of communication are interrupted.  Communication is critical in getting humanitarian aid, services and information into the disaster area.

But despite the overwhelming obstacles and destruction, Haiti does have one bright spot – the sun. Besides food, water, shelter and medical supplies, solar-powered devices are also being distributed – many of which will have long lasting benefits beyond the immediate crisis.  Solar lighting, water purification systems, mobile phones, laptops and even Audio Bibles powered by the sun, are all being donated.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Carbon Credit Deal Between South Africa’s Nedbank and Wildlife Works

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday January 21st, 2010 | 1 Comment

Nedbank Group, one of South Africa’s largest banks, and the U.S.-based  Wildlife Works Inc. (WWI), an apparel company that assists conservation efforts in Kenya, signed a multi-million dollar agreement on a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) project in Kenya. Nedbank will acquire Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) through WWI to offset its carbon footprint.

The goal of WWI’s REDD project in Kenya is to avoid deforestation of the Kasigau Corridor in the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary. The project is validated by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), and awarded gold level approval under the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance’s (CCBA) forestry protection standard.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Did Cap and Trade kill Coakley?

| Wednesday January 20th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Scott Brown, the new Senator from Massachusetts who was elected last night, made the greenhouse gas cap and trade bill a key plank in his campaign.   As Democrats in the US try to figure out what happened, a number of people are asking whether the push for a cap and trade bill (which was positioned as a giant tax by Brown) is a strategic mistake by Democrats.

Here’s a short video of Scott Brown talking about the cap and trade bill forwarded to me by Jesse Jenkins.

Here’s another one where Brown focuses on cap and trade as a jobs killer as he tours a brewery.

Here’s the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters for Martha Coakley, which speaks about how Coakley’s election connects to the COP15 event that was happening at the time and how she’s been a strong advocate of environmental regulation.  But right now, do people want regulations or jobs?

Clearly it wasn’t just Coakley’s support of cap and trade that doomed her campaign.  A lackluster vision, a stubborn refusal to debate Brown, numerous gaffes and the momentum in the country all worked against her candidacy.

But the question Democrats should be asking right now is about their national strategy for climate change.  The question is not whether there should be a carbon cap, but what is the best sequence of legislative steps to respond to climate change.   As I’ve advocated with my colleagues since co-founding the Apollo Alliance five years ago, innovation, investment and job creation remain the best framework for promoting a robust response to the climate change threat.   As the Breakthrough Institute has convincingly argued, it’s more important to make clean energy cheap than to make fossil fuels expensive. In a period with a stagnant economy and high unemployment, it’s more effective to advocate for investment in job-creating energy infrastructure and R&D.

The carbon cap, while critically important, should not be the key element of the legislation that’s being proposed right now.  The carbon cap is a necessary part of the “rules of the game”, but what’s essential is that the US and other countries invest now in lowering the cost of clean energy so that countries can scale up their energy production to meet rising demand.   How should this change the Democrats’ strategy?  Promote a large job-creating clean energy investment as part of the stimulus.  Pass that now.  Then move on to passing a carbon cap.  With the momentum heading against any climate change bill, it’s critical that we kickstart the innovation required to build a clean energy economy now, even if it takes a little while to get the rules past that will guarantee success.

Here’s an excerpt of recommendations  from the Breakthrough Institute’s policy paper “Pathway to a Clean and Prosperous American Energy Economy.”

Create a 21st Century Energy Technology Deployment Fund to invest $30 billion annually to accelerate the deployment of promising clean energy technologies, achieve economies of scale to drive down costs, and harness America’s vast renewable energy reserves.  The primary focus of this strategy should be to drive down real production costs by providing increased and consistent demand for early-stage clean energy technologies that accelerates economies of scale, learning curves, and reductions in the real, unsubsidized costs of each technology. Targeted incentives can make clean energy technology profitable and catalyze American businesses and entrepreneurs.”

It’s not time to be despondent, nor is it time to jump off the cliff for one legislative climate change response.  It’s time to react to events at hand and seize the clean energy victories we can. In the end it will be financing, infrastructure, and radical innovations in clean energy that will bring  prices down.  Making fossil fuels expensive through a complicated cap and trade system is one way of  incenting change .  Investing in clean energy directly is another way.  And it’s the right path to pursue right now.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

The Power of Story in Sustainable Building

CCA LiveE | Wednesday January 20th, 2010 | 4 Comments

by Mike Funk

As a child, one of my favorite nighttime stories was Virginia Lee Burton’s classic, The Little House. The book follows the life of a tiny house in the countryside that gradually gets swallowed up by an encroaching nearby city. All the things the little house loves about its life in the country-the birds, the grass, the sun and the moon-disappear once the sidewalks and skyscrapers take over. In the end, a passer by recognizes the little house and transports it back to the country where it lives happily ever after.

Every home has a story. But who gets to tell this story? Is the story documented and, more importantly, how is it told? What was once a tale of four walls and a roof has evolved into a complex system of purposefully integrated components designed to minimize impact and maximize efficiency. The true power of homes’ story lies in its ability to successfully transfer knowledge to future residents. The rationale behind south facing windows, how the energy meter works, and why the greywater system is more efficient than a traditional sprinkler system may be perfectly clear to the architect or original owner, but unless the story resonates with the new occupants, these advancements will rest idle and eventually work against the home.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Nominations Are In, Pick the TOP Sustainable CEO

Bill Roth | Wednesday January 20th, 2010 | 41 Comments

Ed Note: Voting is now closed. We’ll tally things up and have a wrap up post for you mid-day Monday.

Earlier this month, we ran a post in which we asked you to nominate the CEOs who are doing the most to advance principals of sustainability in their companies.
And nominate you did–we received more than 50 nominations via comments to the post and many more through Twitter and other means. The men and women you suggested represent a great breadth of organizations, from huge companies to small firms that are pioneers in sustainability, to early stage entrepreneurial enterprises. The shear number of nominees is encouraging, and they’re all examples of how leadership is advancing the business of sustainability. I consider these nominations to be proof that a Green Economic Revolution is occurring, and that it is building a path for the restoration of our jobs, economy and environment.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Project H: Design for Healthy, Happy People and Habitats

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Wednesday January 20th, 2010 | 7 Comments

Project H Design is a collective of designers who believe in the power of good design to change the world. Founded last year by architect and designer (and former Inhabitat.com managing editor) Emily Pilloton, the non-profit will kick off it its Design Revolution Road Show in February. During this tour, the crew will haul an Airstream trailer carrying an exhibit that features 40 different products aimed at addressing specific–and often humanitarian–issues, such as the need to easily transport and purify water, or the need for effective, low-cost eyeglasses.

The tour will hit 12 US states and 25 high schools and university design programs and was sprung from Pilloton’s book, Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People, which was published late last year.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

DotUI Combines Social Media and Energy Management

Steve Puma | Wednesday January 20th, 2010 | 2 Comments

dotui.jpgThe Cleantech Group announced Wednesday that San Francisco-based startup DotUI has developed a unique way to influence consumer energy usage behavior, by combining real-time energy management software and hardware with digital picture frames and a “fun” interface.

I first encountered DotUI and its Founder/CEO, Ishak Kang, at the Green:NET 2009 Conference, where Kang presented his vision of user interfaces–which are independent of their respective devices, following the user as he or she moved from one device to another. The presumption is that much useful technology goes unused because the user interfaces are difficult to learn. At the time, I wasn’t completely sure how this vision would translate into a viable product in the cleantech market, but it sure sounded interesting.

The company’s first offering, called the Nudgee, includes a wireless touch-screen digital picture frame device, which displays real-time energy usage data collected from “a universal gateway and electrical sub-meter. Gas, water, and air quality meters are optional.”

According to the article: “the company…is taking a fun approach, allowing users to see how much energy is being consumed, with updated images and content from friends and family, and utilizing social networking sites such as Facebook, instead of a dashboard approach other companies are pursuing.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Dubai: Curse of the Skyscraper

| Wednesday January 20th, 2010 | 0 Comments

There has always been a significant amount of prestige and pride associated with creating the world’s tallest building as skyscrapers represent a spectacular display of money, power and hubris. Given the sneaky tricks used by architects to add a couple of inches to the top, it can be somewhat difficult to assess which building truly deserves to be labeled the tallest in the world. The completion of the Burj Dubai, however, has made that decision a lot easier. Finished in December 2009, it took the title of “world’s tallest building” by the mere fact that it is really big.

Standing at 2,717 feet tall, it is more than 1,000 feet taller than its nearest competitor, the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan. Its success, though, is not as sweet as many had hoped given the fact that its arrival coincides with a debt crisis in Dubai. Its property market has crumbled and this once booming city is now in the midst of a cold, economic winter.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »