The Hub Coming to San Francisco

| Tuesday April 14th, 2009 | 2 Comments

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As the economy takes a turn for the worse, it’s nice to know that some people are still thinking outside the box – or at least the office. Enter The Hub, a co-working outfit based in the UK, but with a decidedly global footprint. The idea behind co-working isn’t a radical one, or all that new: allow people from different companies to work together in the same space, and magical things will happen.
As it turns out, the end result is more magical than anyone ever imagined: stories abound of entrepreneurs working out of one of The Hub’s airy, open work spaces who quickly found themselves making strides with their businesses that they previously thought impossible. With the support of the great folks at Good Cap, there is no doubt that the San Francisco Hub will soon be serving up connections and success to Bay Area entrepreneurs, too.
For more information, please visit www.hubsf.net.

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Arch Rock Introduces Real-Time IP-based Energy Monitoring System

| Tuesday April 14th, 2009 | 0 Comments

lunapic-123969344385893%282%29.jpg Bay Area wireless sensor networking pioneer Arch Rock has come out with an IP-based wireless energy monitoring system that gives facilities managers detailed, real-time visibility into electric power consumption that hasn’t been possible before.
Combining Arch Rock’s PhyNet enterprise-scale wireless sensor network technology, specialized sensors that can be mounted on circuits and a Web-based Energy Visibility Portal, Energy Optimizer’s sensors gather data, which is processed and organized into “actionable” reports that enable users to see exactly when, where and how much power is being consumed at any given time. Because it’s IP-based, data from the sensor nodes can be sent directly to other nodes or any type of IP-based client device, be it a desktop, laptop, hand-held computer or mobile phone, according to the company.
“Energy Optimizer is the first solution to bring low-power wireless networking to the scene. Analyzed, correlated energy-usage data is available as soon as it’s recorded. Facilities managers see detailed breakdowns of energy consumption from mains to branch circuits on a minute-by-minute basis,” Arch Rock CEO Roland Acra stated in a media release. “They can use the data to realize rapid payback by implementing energy-reduction plans or boosting internal efficiency through departmental charge-back reporting.”

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Plant It Water: Growing Trees – and Consciousness

| Tuesday April 14th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Values-based companies are becoming more prevalent in our increasingly conscious marketplace, where the foundation is deeply rooted in a mission of giving back. By building with the end goal of making a difference in focus, all of the internal business practices, manufacturing – and even packaging – are developed in ways that not only give back, but protect and preserve the environment in the process. Plant It Water, a company devoted to providing consumers with an eco-friendly bottled water option, takes it one step further by keeping their eye on people and planet. In addition to taking steps to minimize their carbon footprint, and creating packaging solutions that have no negatve impact on the environment, for every carton purchased, a tree is planted, helping to replenish our land and natural resources.
Founded by Jane Goldberg, Plant It Water seeks to empower consumers to make a visible difference in the world through everyday purchases of bottled water. As a product that respects and enhances the environment, the goal is to grow awareness of the fact that people all over the world don’t have basic needs such as water, and by supporting Plant It Water, consumers are united in a cause that benefits everyone, cultivating sustainable change with roots as deep as the trees they plant.

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USAID Global Development Commons: Open Innovation for Government Panel

| Tuesday April 14th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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As the Obama Administration (pleasantly) surprises everyone by systematically turning everything on its head, one of the most exciting changes is actually stirring deep within the US Government itself. The rumblings began during the previous administration with the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Global Development Commons initiative, an interesting example of the cutting edge of international development and applied “web 2.0″ thinking.
The Obama team certainly hasn’t dropped the ball, as evidenced by a USAID panel to be held titled “Open Innovation for Government: Answering President Obama’s Call for More Open, Effective Public Service”. Hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a D.C.-based think tank, the panel features director-level panelists from across the Federal government including such agencies as NASA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, USAID’s Office of Development Partners, and the US Department of State.
The event is scheduled for April 14th from 3-5pm EST at CSIS headquarters: 1800 K Street NW, D.C. 20006. RSVPs can be sent to PCRProject@csis.org.
Finally, in the spirit of openness and the cutting edge, a live webcast and Q&A will be available through the Global Development Commons site here as well as the Commons Ustream channel here.

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Polyester Suit 2.0: Sears to Serve Up Soda Bottle Formal Wear

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Tuesday April 14th, 2009 | 9 Comments

sears_suit.jpgNext month, Sears will begin selling men’s suits made of fabric that is derived, in part, from plastic soda bottles. An Isreali contract clothing manufacturer, Bagir Group Ltd., is making the garments for Sears’ private label Covington Perfect brand. The fabric, dubbed Ecopet, contains recycled PET plastic blended with wool, viscose and cotton or with other synthetics, according to Reuters, and is produced by Teijin, a Japanese chemical company.
To weave enough of the fabric to produce one suit, Teijin says it uses 25 plastic soda bottles (2-liter size) but no additional oil. But what is most likely to really attract shoppers is the fabric’s feel, its price and its care label. According to the producer, the suits, which are styled in a classic look, don’t have the heavy, plasticy hand of the polyester suits of yore (read: leisure suits). And at $250 for a full suit, the line is competitively priced. But because it’s machine washable, there are additional savings over the life of the suit, compared to suits that must be dry-cleaned (a process without a great environmental profile).

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My Vision of Hospital Sustainability

| Tuesday April 14th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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I envision walking into a med-room, accessing low-toxin medications from a reusable dispenser, and carrying them in a reusable pill cup into a patient room. Our hospital policy strives to minimize pharmaceutical therapy, maximizing use of complimentary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture and guided imagery for symptomatic relief of conditions such as pain and anxiety.

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Visioning Your Sustainable Business Reality

| Tuesday April 14th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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This is the second in a series of posts about incorporating sustainability into your business model by sustainability expert Heather Gadonniex. Stay tuned for weekly, step-by-step tips on how you can Modernize Business Through Sustainable Strategy™.
Click here to read #1
In the last post, I covered a basic understanding of what sustainability means, why it is important and what changes are arising in the marketplace. Now it is time to determine how you want to integrate these concepts into your business. The first step in executing any sustainability initiative or program is to determine where you want to go by creating your sustainability vision and defining your goals. Just like any mission statement, your sustainability vision (also referred to as a sustainability mission or sustainability positioning statement) serves as a compass for your organization.
In this post, we will focus on sustainability visioning and creating a sustainability positioning statement for your organization. In next week’s post I will circle back around to goal creation. To create your sustainability vision, follow the following steps:

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Tropicana’s New Game Lets You Take Sweet, Juicy Aim at Rainforest Loggers

Steve Puma | Tuesday April 14th, 2009 | 3 Comments

Tropicana is attempting to put the squeeze on rainforest logging with its Rescue the Rainforest campaign and its recently-announced partnership with CoolEarth. To increase awareness of the problem, the company has launched a new flash game called Rainforest Rescue.
The game lets you save the rainforest by playing the role of some very enterprising monkeys who happen to have acquired medieval siege technology (i.e., a slingshot), and have begun bombarding the encroaching loggers with acid-based chemical weapons (i.e., Oranges).
Unfortunately for the monkeys, it appears that deforestation has left them with a deformity that causes one eye to be much bigger than the other, messing with their aim. That’s why they need your help. Luckily for you, the loggers are hell-bent on destruction. Like simple-minded storm troopers, they eagerly advance towards their sweet but sticky demise.
Prepare to be frustrated: Actually hitting the loggers is excruciatingly hard at first, but, after a few games gets much easier. Hint: use a shallow angle. All in all, it’s good, clean, juicy, logger-bopping fun!

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Making the Case for Sustainability in Tough Times: The Magic of Pilot Programs

| Monday April 13th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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In a down economy, everyone has to be ready to prove the value of their contribution. Heck, even in a good economy, it’s essential to demonstrate the return on our work. But for those of us working in sustainability, the challenge is doubly important: not only do we have to create sustainable change, we often have to show our clients (or supervisors, or colleagues, etc.) the financial return each step of the way. It’s hard work, but there’s a solid strategy that can help tip the scales in your favor: pilot programs.

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American Clean Energy and Security Act: What Business Leaders Need to Know

| Monday April 13th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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It’s been an exciting week as commentaries on the merits and shortcomings of the American Clean Energy and Security Act have taken place among the sustainability and business leadership communities. If enacted, this legislation could propel the US into an entirely new economy comprised of clean energy technologies & infrastructure, reduced greenhouse gas emissions across industries, and an innovative green jobs workforce.
If passed, this bill will certainly change the manners in which we do business and the costs of doing so. Forward thinking business leaders are staying ahead of the curve and preparing their businesses for the upcoming changes by closely following the development of this critical legislation.

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What’s More Exciting? A Day Skiing or Walk-In Freezer?

| Monday April 13th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Getting_Green_Done.jpg“More than individuals, businesses can influence policy because they carry huge weight with government. And businesses can get things done while waiting for policy change to take place.
–Auden Schendler, “Getting Green Done”
In terms of sustainability, Boulder, Colorado is turning into the pre-party, the party and the after-party. Juggling the numerous green-themed opportunities like research lectures, symposiums and guest speakers takes stamina and persistence with the seemingly endless schedule of events. A new friend of mine has just decided to make Boulder, Colorado, his permanent home and described the scene as a “24/7 Sustainability Conference.”
Just last week, the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado hosted an event with Auden Schendler, the Director of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company, who released his new book in March titled “Getting Green Done.” This book maintains the seriousness of the topic of sustainability but also injects a little humor as well as reality from the green euphoria that lacks practicability and scalability. Mr. Schendler describes sustainability as a war that calls upon businesses to fight in the trenches and on the front lines.

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Triple Pundit Takes A Ride in Ford’s New Electric Cars

Shannon Arvizu | Monday April 13th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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At Ford’s Drive Green Forum in New York City recently, Triple Pundit got a first-hand look at the company’s new electric vehicle offerings. I took the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the 2011 Ford all electric vehicle for a brief test drive. Both cars are part of Ford’s new electrification strategy for improving emissions and reducing oil consumption.
In terms of eco-performance and smart driver interaction experience, either of these vehicles could take the famed “Prius-Killler” title.
First, let’s look at fuel economy and energy usage. The Ford Fusion Hybrid gets 41 mpg in the city. Ford reports that this is “70 percent better than comparable non-hybrid models and 8 mpg better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid.”

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SEC Denies Chevron’s Latest Attempt to Silence its $27 Billion Liability

Jeff Siegel | Monday April 13th, 2009 | 2 Comments

chevron.jpgFrom 1964 to 1990, Texaco (which later merged with Chevron in 2001), drilled for that precious black gold in the Ecuadorian Amazon. During that time, 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater was dumped, and about 16 million gallons of crude was spilled. Hundreds of open pits, filled with toxic waste were also abandon in the forest. As a result of this “cost of doing business,” groundwater and soil became so contaminated, that locals began developing stomach and uterine cancer and birth defects.
In 1992, Texaco handed over the polluting operations to Petroecuador, and walked away from what had really turned into a massive environmental and public health crisis. Chevron did clean up about one percent of the mess, costing the company about $40 million. And here’s where it gets messy…

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Weekly Green Business Wrap-Up

| Saturday April 11th, 2009 | 0 Comments

FT.jpg$6.60 Solar Cooker Wins Financial Times Climate Change Contest The Kyoto Box won the Financial Times Climate Change Contest and $75,000 from Hewlett-Packard to get the idea into production. This alternative to firewood for cooking will slow deforestation, and reduce carbon emissions and indoor pollution throughout Africa. The box can boil 10 liters of water in two hours for cooking or for purifying.
groceries3.jpgSmelly Trash to Cash: SF Compost Success Story Green Biz has a great write up on San Francisco’s amazing compost pick up program. The food waste gets converted into high end nutrient rich soil, sold for a premium and turned into delicious farmers market produce. 3P covered the story a few months back, too
“Snackwell’s Effect” Comes to Energy Efficiency Just as these low fat cookies of the 90s gave consumers free reign to overindulge, so too are consumers using their CFLs as an excuse to leave the door open with the heat on.
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Moen: Showerheads You can Feel Good Standing Under
Moen, designer of primium plumbing fixtures, is taking the 3Rs to heart. All their showerheads are low flow as of January 2009, they’ve been engineered for re-use of the plumbing valves if components need to be replaced, and they recycle more than 90 percent of all the metals, scrap, returned product and the oils and solvents that are byproducts of the manufacturing process. Giving me an excuse for a longer shower… Maybe I’ll bring some cookies with me.
Utilities, Manufacturers, and Retailers Team Up to Promote Efficiency Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District will work with Best Buy, Sears, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Lenovo to develop and market TVs, desktop computers and monitors that meet or exceed Energy Star efficiency standards.
lightbulb1.jpg GE “Treasure Hunt” Reveals 3 Million in Wasted Energy Over one weekend in March, GE employees went on a hunt through their Wisconsin facility and identified $3 million dollars worth of energy savings opportunities. No news on whether any Easter eggs were discovered.

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Michelin: The Official Tire of Yellowstone Park?

| Saturday April 11th, 2009 | 3 Comments

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It seems somewhat counterintuitive that a national park has an official tire company–after all, aren’t parks supposed to be about enjoying nature on foot? But the reality is that some park are just too big to traverse on foot or on a bike. Hundreds of employees drive through the 3,500 square miles of Yellowstone National Park on a regular basis just to keep the place running.

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