LED Lighting, Smart Grid Tech Take Root in California

| Friday July 3rd, 2009 | 3 Comments


With some $4.5 billion in Federal grants spurring project development and investment, LED streetlights and smart grid technology are being combined and systems rolled out in a growing number of California cities.
Creator of the LonWorks open platform standard for smart grid and building/facilities energy management systems and products, San Jose-based Echelon Corp. is at the forefront of this wave of infrastructural change. The emerging market leader is involved in smart grid LED street lighting projects in Palo Alto, San Francisco, San Jose, as well as others in the US and abroad.

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PureSense: Irrigation Technology to Live Through Drought

| Friday July 3rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

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I grew up in Southern California during the beginning of the worst multi-year drought in California’s history. We sang “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down” at summer camp. My mother timed my showers and started screaming at the four-minute mark. We cringed at the sight of our azure swimming pool. We thought it couldn’t get any worse.

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World Centric Compostable-Ware for a Greener 4th of July

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday July 3rd, 2009 | 1 Comment

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Asolo cupThe 4th of July celebrations are almost upon us. The 4th of July weekend is a good time to re-think what products we use. Before you break out the disposable plates and plastic flatware, consider a few facts about our country’s solid waste.
The U.S. produces 70 percent of the world’s solid waste, and 80 percent of U.S. products are used once and then thrown away. Paper is 37 percent of all the waste in the U.S., and paper waste in landfills emits methane. Landfills are the largest source of methane emissions (32 percent), which has a warming effect 23 times greater than carbon dioxide.
Compostable products are better alternatives to plastic disposables. Founded in 2004, World Centric sells compostable products made from renewable sources. The company’s website pointedly states that “every action has an impact on the well-being of our planet.”
Compostables, according to World Centric, “provide eco-friendly alternatives to everyday consumption choices, which can help minimize social & economic inequalities, reduce the impact of our consumption on the environment and help create a better and sustainable world.”

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How to Stay Cool in a Crumbling Economy

| Friday July 3rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

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coolhaus ice cream

Sometimes you can eat your words, and they taste good. LA’s Coolhaus has taken the staid category of the ice cream truck and brought it inventively into our time.
Using local and organic ingredients whenever possible, these ice cream sandwiches, all centered around an architectural theme, come in both “prefab” (generally offered) flavors, like Mies Vanilla Rohe, Mintimalism, and Frank Behry, and can be custom designed on request, either on the spot or as an ongoing exclusive flavor, like Renzo Pie-Ano launching soon at Wurstkuche.
Coolhaus is an example of what the founders call “Farchitecture” – the exploration of the intersection of food and architecture, using disciplines not typically associated with each other to enhance the execution.

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First Solar-Powered Car Carrier Shines in Long Beach

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday July 3rd, 2009 | 3 Comments

Long%20Beach%20Solar%20Ship.jpg While ocean ship operators were digesting news of a pending major rule from the Environmental Protection Agency on vessel air emissions, another vision of the future occurred at the Port of Long Beach, CA.
A Toyota car carrier partially powered by solar energy docked at the port. The Auriga Leader is the first such green-technology-equipped car carrier to ply the high seas and it’s about time.
The vessel is outfitted with 328 solar panels that can generate up to 40 kilowatts, decreasing demand on the ship’s diesel-powered auxiliary engines for electricity, thus cutting down pollution, the port says.

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How Wimbledon Uses Mass Appeal for Philanthropy

| Friday July 3rd, 2009 | 0 Comments


Photo Source: Fotosports / R. Parker
As hoards of tennis fans queued in line for hours today, hoping to get a glimpse of Andy Roddick or Roger Federer on Centre Court, the organizers of the world’s premiere tennis event offered a concession to those unlucky enough not to get in this morning: Resales.
While Wimbledon has been praised for not over-commercializing this year’s tournament, the reselling of tickets, at first mention, may seem like an attempt to institutionalize scalping. As original ticket holders exit the grounds, they have the option to make unwanted tickets available for other fans (either by depositing the actual tickets at select kiosks throughout the grounds, or if they want to keep them as a souvenir, having the barcodes scanned upon leaving so that new tickets may be generated).
There is one big and important difference between this system, however, and the guys that stand outside stadium gates at baseball or football games. Beyond the fact that prices aren’t ridiculously inflated, all proceeds Wimbledon generates from ticket resales are donated to charity.

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Organic Odor Eraser from Poo-Pourri

| Friday July 3rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

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PooPourri.jpgAt last, an organic way to eliminate odors before taking a crap. I’m so sick of all those harsh chemicals I usually use to spray the toilet before going number two. Oh no, wait a minute, I never spray the toilet with anything, because, frankly, pooping is about as natural as you can get.
But that doesn’t stop Poo-Pourri from coming out with a new all new organic bathroom spray, aptly named: “Nature’s Call.”

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Big Oil’s Knocking on the Renewable Door

Nick Hodge | Thursday July 2nd, 2009 | 2 Comments

While attending the Renewable Energy Finance Forum Wall Street last week, I was almost surprised to see an entire discussion dedicated to how Big Oil plans on entering the cleantech business.

The talk was led by Don Paul, Executive Director of the University of Southern California Energy Institute.

In his former life, Mr. Paul was the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Chevron. He knows a thing or two about the oil business. And his presentation was right to the point.

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Energy Efficiency: Can You Save Money Without Spending Money?

| Thursday July 2nd, 2009 | 11 Comments


In today’s economy, energy efficiency is a top priority for both public and private institutions. It promises to reduce energy expenditures, lower GHG emissions, and – of course! – to save a pile of money. While there’s been talk of energy efficiency since the 1970s, excitement has grown recently due to oil price fluctuations and energy efficiency funding in the federal stimulus plan. So, does this mean that we can finally save money from energy efficiency – without having to spend more cash first?

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Bodum Coffee: “Make Taste, Not Waste”

| Thursday July 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

bodum%20logo2.jpg “In itself, there is sustainability in good design,” said Thomas Perez in a recent interview, the accent of the Danish-born president of BODUM USA adding a poetic flare to the sentiment. And by the majority of international critics, the Swiss-based BODUM’s coffee presses are just that: products of good design.

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For many of us, coffee is ritual. Whether it is to sit at a cafe with friends or simply jolt ourselves into consciousness in the morning, there is no doubt that in many of our lives, coffee plays an important if not frequent role. Launching its “Make Taste, Not Waste” campaign earlier this year, the BODUM French Press system has led the industry as one of the “greenest” methods for brewing coffee, according to the company.
And while the company’s greenness may have been an afterthought as opposed to triple bottom line thinking, the BODUM presses follow the thinking that some of the most eco-friendly products aren’t necessarily those that are the latest technological advancements, but are simple, time-tested goods based on quality and value.

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Zimbabwe: Why Credible 3rd Party Certification Still Matters

3p Contributor | Thursday July 2nd, 2009 | 2 Comments


Think your “Conflict Free” diamond is conflict free? Think again.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), the well-known initiative attempting to “stem” the trade and sale of conflict diamonds, has been dealt several recent, serious blows to its credibility. Between new revelations of violence in Zimbabwe’s diamond fields, increasing evidence of diamond smuggling and fraud in Venezuela, Lebanon, and Guinea, and the recent condemnatory departure of one of KPCS’s founders, Ian Smillie, it is clear that the KPCS leaves a lot of room for improvement and innovation.

Last Friday, Human Rights Watch released a damning report accusing KPCS member state Zimbabwe of “engaging in the forced labor of children and adults” and “torturing and beating local villagers on the diamond fields of Marange district in eastern Zimbabwe.” HRW reports that the military, still controlled by the country’s former ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), “killed more than 200 people in a violent takeover of the diamond fields in late 2008.”

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Better Living Through Chemistry: Dow Boosts Algae Biofuel

Bill DiBenedetto | Thursday July 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment

Photo Source: Carlos Aviles / jpgmag.com
When Dow Chemical Co. decides to get into the algae biofuel business, it’s a sure sign that algae as a go-to alternative and renewable energy source has entered the big leagues.
Dow this week said it is hooking up with Algenol Biofuels Inc. to construct and operate a pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery that will convert CO2 into ethanol. The planned location covers 24 acres at a Dow site in Freeport, Texas. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

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GE, Waste Management and Google: Fortune 500 Companies Working With Renewables

Sarah Lozanova | Thursday July 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment

Many people have the misconception that the renewable energy field is comprised largely of little start-ups. In reality, many of the heavy hitters in the industry are large, established companies, such as General Electric, Google, and Waste Management.
Let’s examine the niches these organizations occupy in the emerging green energy economy.
General Electric:
2008 Revenue: $176.6 billion
GE’s energy division is a global leader in power generation technologies and the nation’s biggest provider of power plant turbines. With $29.3 billion in revenue last year, the firm is involved in many different types of energy, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind and biogas. GE has about 50 percent of the US wind turbine market share, totaling more than 12,000 MW of installed capacity.

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Why Is Walmart Endorsing Employer Mandated Healthcare?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday July 2nd, 2009 | 29 Comments

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Walmart and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) sent a joint letter to President Obama on Tuesday telling him they endorse requiring large companies to provide health insurance for employees. My first response after reading an article in the New York Times about the Walmart/SEIU letter is not printable. However, I will give you the PG version: What the heck?!
I am not surprised that Walmart teamed up with SEIU because in 2007 Walmart and SEIU took part in a campaigned called “Better Health Care Together.” The goal of the campaign was to extend healthcare coverage to all Americans by 2012. I am surprised that Walmart is endorsing an employer mandate.

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Allison Parris: Philanthrofashionable Business

| Thursday July 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

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allisonparris-fall-2009-16.jpgAllison Parris is not the typical company I profile in my Philanthropy in Five series. I actually read about them in a fashion magazine, and fell in love with one of their cocktail dresses. So, I fully admit that my initial interest was fueled purely by vanity. But as I dug deeper, I found that their appeal is much more than skin deep.
Their company was built on a commitment to social and environmental responsibility, and it drives every facet of their business from design through production. I think this is important ground to cover as many define for-profit philanthropy as simply donating proceeds to a charitable cause. But philanthropy encompasses so much more than just writing a check. It is a mindset and culture that permeates the company, and is one that Allison Parris exemplifies beautifully. Unlike many companies whose internal practices are in direct opposition to their philanthropic endeavors, Allison Parris serves up sustainable style that proves corporate responsibility is a must-have piece in a company’s wardrobe.

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