Johnson Controls Aims for LEED Platinum

| Monday May 26th, 2008 | 1 Comment

johnsoncontrols-logo.jpgAs I’ve remarked on numerous times in the past (links here), Johnson Controls remains one of the great unsung leaders in efficiency – having been making buildings more efficient since long before it became trendy.
Now, they’ve taken their expertise to their own operations with a complete gutting and renovation of their corporate headquarters with LEED platinum as the goal. (story here, requires sub). If succesful, the project would be the first multi-building LEED platinum facility in the world, and as far as I know, the first Fortune 500 headquarters to achieve any LEED rating (please correct me if I’m wrong on that).
The buildings will be powered by a combination of solar, geothermal and wind (no word on what percentage) and will feature everything from rainwater retention to personal energy settings in every office. However, it’s unlikely that its suburban location will result in many changes in employee commute patterns. Still, it’s a project worth watching and, likely, a model for all large corporations to learn from.

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Building Information Modeling – Strategies for Green Building Technologies

| Monday May 26th, 2008 | 2 Comments

bim4.jpgIn a previous post (link), I covered how BIM (Building Information Modeling) was changing the Architectural, Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry, and also provided insights on the market drivers that green technology vendors in this space should be aware of, to leverage BIM for growth. In this column I will cover some insights on growth strategies for the federal buildings sector, as well as general growth strategy insights from key thought leaders in the market.
BIM (Building Information Modeling) is not just the adoption of new technology, but also incorporates new collaborative workflow. There is more emphasis on collaborative design and planning in the beginning phases of a project, so that costs and risks in later stages like construction and operations (where most of the costs are incurred) may be managed and contained. Green tech vendors should be involved in these early planning stages, so that a realistic assessment of cost savings and improved environmental performance are identified. Also, they can add value to the optimization process (conducting ‚Äòwhat if’ scenarios), which may lead to additional savings and benefits that may not have been readily apparent.

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Hand Over Your Cooking Oils And Get A Reduced Busfare – Scottish Bus Network Goes Carbon Neutral

| Monday May 26th, 2008 | 0 Comments

buccleuch.jpgYou can get a reduction on your busfare in Scotland if you hand over your cooking oil to a recycling plant making biofuels. Stagecoach, Scotland’s largest transport company, booked so much success with this green scheme in the past six months, it’s now embarking on a drive to become completely carbon neutral by the end of this year.

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U.S. Oil Subsidies Need to Go

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Saturday May 24th, 2008 | 5 Comments

company-oil.gifIn February the House passed the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, or H.R. 5351, which would repeal the $18 billion in tax breaks for multinational oil companies. The bill would create tax breaks for producers of renewable energy, fuel, and electricity. The bill needs Senate approval.
During a speech while the House debated the bill, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) said, “We’re wrapped around the axle of oil because of these tax subsidies. It’s time to change course. We’re ready to launch a rocket of clean-energy innovation in this country, but opponents of these clean-energy investments are putting a hold on the countdown. We’re about two seconds away from having a burst of economic growth in this county. If they allow these tax breaks to expire, it’ll strangle the birth of new industries.”

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How Can Cities Attract Clean-Tech and Green Buildings?

Shannon Arvizu | Friday May 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

At this week’s GreenWest Expo (www.greenwestexpo.com), city representatives and industry players were on hand to discuss how each can mutually benefit each other. In this short video segment, four specific strategies are proposed to increase clean technology and green building development in urban centers.

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Climate Change and a ‚ÄòSocial Conscience’ for Business

| Friday May 23rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

world-444.jpgFor the last two days Australian business representatives, government and the non-profit sector have convened at the 9th annual National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development. The theme for this year’s forum was ‚ÄòRe-Calibrating the Risk from Climate Change: an urgent business task.’ Throughout the each day, invitees have participated in a range of workshops, covering topics such as the implementation of the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme to exploring ‚Äòsociocracy’ as a new method of governance.
One of the most interesting topics discussed at the conference related to social responsibility. At the opening presentation, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced funding for a key project that will assist businesses to operate in line with standards of corporate social resposibility. According to The Australian newspaper, the project is essentially

“aimed at helping business develop more of a social conscience.”

LINK HERE

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Tackling Climate Change As A Policymaker? Local Does It!

| Friday May 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

England’s Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock unveiled the UK government’s plans for the next two years for tackling climate change, stressing a local approach. She spoke at a conference about preparing for climate change organized by the Guardian newspaper. The UK government is one to watch because it has made impressive progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and is on track to achieve almost double its Kyoto target.

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HP introduces Eco Highlights Label and announces new company goals for sustainability

| Friday May 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

deskjet.jpgWhile there is a movement to avoid printing printing emails, and attachments can be read in PDF, resumes, photos and legal documents are often items that still require printing.
HP’s Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) continues to push the envelope with an announcement yesterday to reinforce their position as “a leader in environmental sustainability for the imaging and printing market.”
To underline HP’s longstanding commitment to eco-efficiency and to address the growing demand of consumers, SMBs and the enterprise for more changes, HP is announcing three initiatives to “green” the world, and most notably, they are introducing a deskjet printer, the HPD2545 made of up to 85% of recycled plastic gleaned from their “closed loop recycling program.”

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Bay Area Passes Carbon Tax – First of Its Kind in the U.S.

Thomas Schueneman | Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

Bay Area first in nation to propose a carbon taxOn Wednesday the Bay Area Air Quality Management District board of directors voted 15–1 to charge companies 4.4 cents per ton of carbon emitted. Set to go into effect on July 1st for the nine Bay Area counties, the carbon tax will be the first of it’s kind in the country.

Proponents admit that such a modest fee probably won’t create huge inflows of cash for local governments or force emitters to make significant reduction in emissions, but it “sends the right message”.

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Building Information Modeling and the Adoption of Green Technologies

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

bim.jpgThe terms ‚Äòcleantech’ or ‚Äògreen technologies’ have been applied to a wide array of processes, technologies, and services. Within this overall market space, there exist a number of specific target market segments such as transportation, energy development, and manufacturing, as examples. The buildings & facilities segment is a large target market segment for green technologies, given the size and projected growth around the world and opportunity to leverage a disruptive new technology & collaborative process called “Building Information Modeling”, or BIM.
The building & facility industry is undergoing radical change today, as owners are demanding more project visibility, improved risk management (scheduling & costs); and increased use of technologies that will allow for less waste, more efficient energy consumption, and ultimately lower costs over the lifecycle of the facility (from design and construction to operations).
What is Building Information Modeling (“BIM”)

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IBM’s offers software to green IT.

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

You might think updating hardware would be the best option for reducing energy consumption when it comes to computers, but software can play a large part as well. At IBM’s PULSE 08 conference, the company said it was pushing IT clients to adopt their energy-saving software. IBM’s Tivoli software, a systems management tool, is reported to manage power better and by extension lower carbon emissions and lower costs for the client. IBM’s WebSphere software is also reported to lower energy costs by using virtual applications. IBM also offers Rational Team Concert, software that enables collaboration on multi-site development.
Virtual collaboration should reduce the need for excessive travel. IBM is also offering “self-assessment tools” which would allow clients to set goals and monitor success. IBM says that reducing people’s need to travel, making software more efficient, and making applications virtual are the three main components to reducing the environmental impact of the IT world. With multitudes of servers using so much energy, the IT world is probably looking for software solutions.

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Creative Citizen Launches the Action-Based Green Wiki

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 2 Comments

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Creative Citizen recently launched their public beta after being in private beta since September 2007. The two founders, Argam DerHartunian and Scott Badenoch, believe that their service is a key piece to what has been missing in the environmental movement. The two created a wiki-platform to embrace and harness the fact that sustainability is amorphous at best and is truly comprised of endless moving targets. At the same time, they’ve given quantifiable metrics to “going green” that should work to shift people from confusion to action.
When you see that something like turning the water off while you brush your teeth can save thousands of gallons of water a year, you’re more likely to start turning that water off. The site works as a place to tabulate and compile the world’s environmental information by housing it in the form of Creative Solutions, or actions you can take to become green. Solutions can be either habits, products or services and Creative Citizen encourages all companies selling things that claim to be green to post a solution about their product or service. Argam says that this is particularly valuable for green companies looking to exhibit their products and services. “The technology we’ve developed optimizes each solution for high search engine rankings and allows green companies to gain the visibility they need across the web.” Signing up and posting solutions is completely free for anyone.

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3P SoundBite: Kandy Kidd of Real Estate Brokerage, Studley, Inc.

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

studley.jpg3P SoundBite emerged from our desire to show that entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in sustainability come from all different walks of life…they could be people you know, or they could even be you! Every Thursday, we bring you a new profile and a new perspective.
This week, we went to Green Drinks in Palo Alto, Calif. to find out what’s new with people in sustainability.
The concept of the “integrated triple bottom line” means that businesses need to change their approach and influence stakeholders, no matter which industry.
Kandy Kidd is a relative newcomer to the sustainability approach: she is now one of three real estate brokers for Studley, Inc. that holds a LEED Professional Accreditation status as of this year.

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Google Earth Now Allows You Look Into The Future And See The Planet Sink

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

brownzeit.jpg If you hadn’t cottoned on to the idea that the planet might be in trouble, you now can see for yourself on Google Earth. If you click on the link, you’ll land on a project by Google and the British government aimed at showing you and millions of internet users what the planet will look like if future predictions about melting ice caps come true.

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Radical Solution to Climate Change: Global Dimming through Sulphur

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 7 Comments

dimming.jpgTim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers and Australia’s best-known global warming expert, yesterday released a new climate forecast. Since his last major forecast in 2005, he has projected a direr outcome and in turn suggests consideration of radical solutions to the global warming phenomenon, including ‚Äòdimming’ through sulphur.
Professor Flannery spoke at a business and sustainability conference at Parliament House in Australia on Monday. He has brought to national media attention new science results that show how the world is more susceptible to and affected by greenhouse gas emissions; more so than has ever been considered previously. For Flannery, greenhouse gases that are present in the atmosphere today are already having too great an impact, regardless of changes made to emission levels in the future.

“The current burden of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is in fact more than sufficient to cause catastrophic climate change”

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