Is Algae Biodiesel the Next Big Fuel?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday September 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

algae-micro.jpgThis month algae as a fuel source made the news several times. Last week, Sapphire Energy announced it received $100 million to help reach its goal of making commercial amounts of algae fuel in three to five years. Investors included Bill Gates investment company, Cascade Investment, LLC. In June Sapphire received $50 million from investors.
At the beginning of the month, Arizona State University (ASU) announced its partnership with Heliae Development, LLC and Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) to develop a kerosene-based jet fuel derived from algae. Last year ASU researched using algae as jet fuel, in conjunction with UOP, a Honeywell company.
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/03/15-algae-biofuels-energy.php http://asunews.asu.edu/20080811_algaefuel

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Get Ready for West Coast Green

| Tuesday September 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Get ready! We’re gearing up for West Coast Green, the residential green building expo–happening on September 25 to 27–and we’ll be posting live on various keynotes, seminars and exhibits throughout the event.
This year’s West Coast Green coordinators promise that this year’s lineup will be even better than last year. Green building and a model home made up of shipping crates won’t be the only highlights of the show. There will be something for everybody for everyone to talk about. Seminars run the gamut from green building and design to business and innovation.
If you’re there, come by and say hello at the West Coast Green media lounge or introduce yourself if you see us at one of the seminars.
Curious to know who else is going to be there? Check out the schedule here.
Also, if you regret not having signed up earlier, or you just found out that former Vice President Al Gore will be speaking on Saturday, it’s still not too late to register!
You can register here or register at the door.
Hope to see you there!

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McCain, Obama advisors square off at Carbon Disclosure Forum

| Monday September 22nd, 2008 | 2 Comments

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John McCain and Barrack Obama’s energy policy advisers squared off today, offering attendees and live Web cast viewers their respective presidential candidates’ views on national renewable energy and climate change policy, and how the next president and Congress can best address the current economic and energy crises while also paving a longer term path towards a more sustainable, economically and environmentally viable future.
The candidates’ energy policy advisers took up the issue of national energy and climate change strategy at the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Global Forum in New York City, during which the CDP released its Flagship Global and S&P 500 2008 surveys of carbon emissions disclosure and management policies among the world’s largest corporations
While both advisors acknowledged sharing much common ground when it comes to the government playing a central role in the development of a “portfolio” of clean, renewable energy resources, promoting energy conservation and adoption of clean technology, they also drew attention to significant differences in their approaches and overarching strategies.

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Most Sustainable Cities in the US: SustainLane’s Annual Ranking is Out!

| Monday September 22nd, 2008 | 5 Comments

logo_233px.gifSustainLane’s rasison d’etre has always been elusive, but one thing they’ve done consistently well, and improved upon year after year has been their various city rankings – including the sought after award of “most sustainable city in the US”. This year they’ve outdone themselves with a lot more in-depth reporting, more explanation of how the rankings were derived, and a nifty new look and feel for their website to boot.
Making such a list is no simple, objective process, and should always be taken with a grain of salt, but perhaps the most useful aspect to the rankings is the friendly competition it fosters among cities: Businesses can brag that they’ve played a roll in making their city a green leader, cities can send officials and business leaders to leading cities to learn how to do things better, and the local papers can tout pride in their readers, or in the case of a poorly performing city, might even evoke change.
This year’s winner, for the second year running, is Portland, Oregon. But there’s a lot of great info on the runners up and a lengthly list of who did well, and who dropped the ball.
See the full list after the jump…

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Green Challenge Showcase: Naomi Pearson

3p Contributor | Monday September 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

Net Impact, a group of future and current leaders who use business to create positive change invited student and professional members to compete in the annual Net Impact Green Challenge. The task: to use their business skills to reduce their organization’s environmental footprint. Graphic Designer Naomi Pearson set out to create a Green Audit for Environmental Graphic Designers. Here is her story:
The following is a breakdown of the steps I took to implement a Green Audit for Environmental Graphic Designers. The steps are organized to illustrate the process, progression, and impact of the effort as specified by Net Impact’s Green Challenge Criteria.

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As an Environmental Graphic Designer and Manager of Sustainable Design, I began this project by looking for a way to distill the sustainable design research and information I had been gathering. My goal was to create an easy to use checklist guide for graphic designers based on the life cycle analysis of projects such as wayfinding signage, exhibits, information kiosks, and large scale super graphics.
By breaking down and simplifying the life cycle stages of projects, I was able to plug in the many different bits and pieces of information I’d collected. I plugged in information such as materials with recyclable content, low VOC (volatile organic compound) production processes, and by-product waste practices. Following are examples of checklist considerations: eco-conscious disposal of vapors, chemicals, scraps, maximize sheet material dimensions (minimizing scrap waste) and product shipment with minimal, eco – friendly packaging.

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Will the Greening of Newark Rejuvenate the Local Economy?

Tori Okner | Sunday September 21st, 2008 | 0 Comments

Newark.jpgWhile the current financial crisis has stoked worries about our economic future, the need for an innovative approach to economic growth is taking root in places like Newark, New Jersey.
In a city where 40% of the men are unemployed and 31% of children live in poverty, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, asserts that sustainable economic development offers a wealth of opportunity. Mayor Booker’s effort to make Newark a “showcase of sustainable development” was solidified by the Green Futures Summit, a two-day event focused on initiatives to green the community and bolster the city’s lagging economy.
The Apollo Alliance, the City of Newark, and the Clinton Global Initiative hosted the Green Futures Summit to spur dialogue around the creation of Newark’s sustainability roadmap. Agenda items included economic development, workforce development, green building, open space, and community and youth initiatives.

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Hobbits’ home discovered in Wales

| Friday September 19th, 2008 | 3 Comments

hobbitshomewales.jpg After getting over the natural beauty and comfort of the Welsh woodlands home pictured here, the first thought I had was that it looked like the kind of place where the Bagginses, that world famous family of hobbits immortalized by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, would live.
Just as Tolkien’s novels and recent films based on his work have influenced millions upon millions of people around the world, so too I believe that the message embodied in this home, as well as the commitment and work of its owner-builders, deserves as wide an audience as possible, particularly in today’s fast-changing world.
As cracks and fissures appear in the foundation of a globalized economic system and evidence of potentially sharp, severe climate change continues to mount, counter-trends antithetical to globalization and societies built around mass market industrialization and commercialization, such as organic farming, low impact building and architecture, localized self-sufficiency and appropriate technology, have been rejuvenated.

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Green Challenge Showcase: Pulse Staging & Events

3p Contributor | Friday September 19th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Net Impact, a group of future and current leaders who use business to create positive change invited student and professional members to compete in the annual Net Impact Green Challenge. The task: to use their business skills to reduce their organization’s environmental footprint. Midori Connolly of Pulse Staging and Events, did just that. Here’s her story:
artmusthmb.jpgCan a simple, mother-to-two, small business owner have a notable “net impact”? Can she catalyze change for an entire industry simply by acting on her beliefs? Apparently, it’s possible.
When I first saw the invitation to enter the Green Challenge from Net Impact, I admit – I was deeply intimidated! After reading the impressive results from prior winners, I was unsure if I could compete. However, as I considered the concept of the Challenge more, I realized that there was no reason why I shouldn’t try. Even with the knowledge that I’d be facing some of the corporate “heavyweights” whose numbers would likely inspire more gasps of excitement than my project, I was willing to give it a shot. Knowing the grassroots meets big business, open-minded nature of Net Impact, I felt that I could share my journey of greening a highly non-green audio visual staging industry and receive a fair evaluation of my efforts.
My Green Challenge experience was unique in many ways. You see, I didn’t know when the realization would hit that I had to change an industry’s shameful, wasteful ways. I absolutely didn’t know implementing that change would be at the outset of a surprise pregnancy! Besides pregnancy, I also had the unique position of operating without the support of a team or even my industry. I faced friendly razzing and muffled laughter from colleagues who saw my attempt to create a set of guidelines for greening A/V staging as a creative marketing scheme.
Perhaps it’s the fact that my name means “Green” in Japanese, but I didn’t see anything funny or creative about what was happening. Witnessing crews throwing away handfuls of batteries, freezing my way through ballrooms excessively cooled to 64 degrees to mitigate the heat of incandescent stage lights…not funny. Not tolerable. So, after a year of quietly doing what I could to green the events we were involved with, I set out on my journey.

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Introducing Tom Szaky, CEO TerraCycle: Becoming Aware

Tom Szaky | Friday September 19th, 2008 | 6 Comments

tom-shot.jpgThis is the first post of our latest addition to the 3p team of writer-visionaries — Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, named by Inc. Magazine as the “Coolest Startup in America — The ultimate growth company, built on garbage, run by a kid, loved by investors.” 3p interviewed Tom in August and he will be writing regularly on his experiences as a social entrepreneur and visions for business and technology that leave the world better off right here on TriplePundit.
Everyone experiences those formative “A-ha!” moments when a scene or image strikes us in a profound way. Many spend their lives building beliefs and passions stemming from that very moment. My life’s dream, to champion the triple bottom line business model and eco-capitalism, was inspired by very two similar moments in my formative years. My family left Hungary as political refugees in eighties and after a brief stop in Holland, settled down in Toronto. It was in this environmental progressive city that my first moment occurred. Wandering, as children do, through my family’s apartment building I found a stack of old televisions ready to be thrown away. In Hungary, a TV of any kind was a luxury, so I was taken a back that these perfectly fine TV sets were being discarded simply because they were outdated. I found the wastefulness of this image staggering, that people would freely discard goods or materials that must still have value seemed unfathomable.
The second occurred years later when I moved to America to attend Princeton University. One night my freshman year, as I walked to my dorm, I saw large tubs of cafeteria food being discarded in dumpsters. I thought of all the energy, work, money and raw materials that went into making and cooking that food and how all of that was going to waste. It really shook me! It seemed environmentally harmful, socially careless and incredibly economically wasteful (how much of my tuition went to buying and cooking food that was thrown away!) It was that moment that I knew that garbage was my key to making a difference in my world and that instantly inspired me to find ways to work with waste. Only months later I was digging through the very same dumpsters for food waste to feed to my worms and TerraCycle was born.

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Weekly Green Business Wrap-Up

| Friday September 19th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Kraft Turns Cheese Waste into EnergyKraft Turns Cheese Waste into Energy
Everybody loves cheese. And here’s one more reason: Natural gas purchases for two Kraft plants in New York will soon by reduced by one third through a process that produces energy from used whey. The company will also reduce costs and carbon emissions by avoiding the need to haul the waste away.

GM Unveils Chevy VoltGM Gives a Sneak Peak at the Chevy Volt
An “extended range electric vehicle”, the Volt’s lithium-ion battery provides a top range of 40 miles before a small gas engine kicks in to extend its range to an estimated 360 miles. Top speed is 120 miles per hour. You can’t get one yet – hopefully by 2010 – but you can let GM know you’re waiting and interested.

New Bosch Rexroth Website Drives Sustainable ManufacturingNew Bosch Rexroth Website Drives Sustainable Manufacturing
Bosch Rexroth has launched a website to help drive sustainable manufacturing in the machine automation industry. The company plans to use the website to communicate initiatives aimed at improving the environment and green manufacturing. The site will also highlight products Bosch Rexroth has developed that utilize alternative energy sources.

Employers paying for low carbon commutesDriving a Low Carbon Commute
The Portland, Oregon law firm where Barnes Ellis has worked since 1963 has helped him break a bad habit. Ellis now uses mass transit for his ten mile commute instead of driving. It’s free for Ellis; for the law firm, Stoel Rives, it’s a wise investment in employee retention and productivity. Oh, and it’s great for the environment. Stoel Rives is just one of a growing number of companies realizing what a great idea this is. It’s the triple bottom line, before you even get to work.

Kettle Foods LEED Gold Plant Sees 20% in Energy SavingsKettle Foods LEED Gold Plant Sees 20% in Energy Savings
Last October Kettle foods opened a LEED Gold certified manufacturing plant. In its first year of operation, the plant has reduced energy consumption 20%, reflecting a $110,000 savings in natural gas and $51,000 in electricity. Water reclamation has captured and reused 3.4 million gallons of water, saving the company another $34,000. Every month 2,300 gallons of waste oil is recycled and converted to biodiesel to power the company’s fleet of “BioBeetles”. I’ll stop here, I’m hungry for a bag of chips.

World Business Council for Sustainable DevelopmentUnited States, China, and Australia Discuss Energy Cooperation
The president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Bjorn Stigson, addressed a high level meeting of representatives from the U.S., China, and Australia on Thursday to discuss how best to cooperate on issues of energy security and cutting carbon emissions. Stigson said that world energy systems are on an increasingly unsustainable path. He called for a “global energy revolution”, saying that the next ten years are critical.

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The Benefits of Organic, Fair Trade Tea for Indian Workers

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday September 19th, 2008 | 0 Comments

darjeelingtea.gifIn 1841 a Scottish surgeon, Dr. Campbell planted the first tea garden in the Darjeeling region of Northern India. For a century, the tea industry in India thrived, and Darjeeling tea was prized. After independence in 1947 the tea gardens fell into disarray under the Indian government’s policy of “rapid industrialization.” However, it is now thriving again thanks to organic farming methods and fair trade sales.
On the Makaibari estate the descendants of the Nepalese immigrants brought to India in the 19th century work in a tea garden that is India’s first organic certified tea plantation. Makaibari is one of the oldest tea gardens in India. Owned and managed by Rajah Banerjee, a fourth generation owner, it is has been 100 percent organic and biodynamic since 1991.

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Paving the Path to a Green Recovery: House Passes Key Bill

| Thursday September 18th, 2008 | 1 Comment

capitolhill.jpg By a vote of 236 to 189 Democrats in the House of Representatives have successfully led an effort to pass “The Comprehensive American Energy Security & Consumer Protection Act,” a bill that’s touted as providing federal incentives that will lower costs to consumers, foster development of clean, renewable energy sources, expand domestic energy supply and promote greater energy efficiency and conservation.
Key features of the Act include a 15% Renewable Electricity Standard, extension of investment tax credits for wind, solar, biofuels and other renewable energy resources, as well as incentives for green building and home energy efficiency and conservation and expanding offshore drilling but protecting sensitive areas such as Georges Bank. The Bill also calls for establishing a Strategic Renewable Energy Reserve, funding for which would come from ending some subsidies and tax breaks for Big Oil.

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Green VC Money Meets Clean Tech at GoingGreen

| Thursday September 18th, 2008 | 0 Comments

There’s nothing like Green to attract Green. In this case, the just concluded AlwaysOn Going Green 2008 Conference attracted a slew of VC and Biz Dev money looking to invest their portfolios in green tech. The summit as a whole brought together serious money looking for innovative ideas but to say that all the ideas and companies behind them offered true green innovation and philosophies would be somewhat akin to out-and-out greenwashing.
Early conference sessions including the solar breakthrough panel discussed various solar advances such as the Mono-crystalline silicon solar cells yet dialogue seemed rather low key and needed a jolt.
The “abundant clean green water” session got a little splashier and brought out honest panel responses such as “The water industry is dysfunctional. Like a train wreck.” To us it seemed appropriate with the water price gouging, privatization of water companies and the like that the panel compared the water policies of many companies to Pyongyang economics.

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ClimatePULSE: Take a Life-Cycle Perspective

| Thursday September 18th, 2008 | 2 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgConsumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of their purchases. “Green” products line the shelves in just about every type of store for customers to purchase and carry home in their re-usable shopping bag. While the shift to more environmentally conscious shopping is great, it is important for consumers to consider the steps required to manufacture and dispose of products as well – this is called a life cycle assessment.

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NYC Taxi Owners Sue to Stop Hybrid Cabs

| Thursday September 18th, 2008 | 7 Comments

hybridtaxi.jpg The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade has filed a suit to block a measure to go into effect on October 1st that would mandate all new taxis to have a fuel efficiency of at least 25 miles per gallon. According to the press release put out by the group, the suit is based on the findings of a report by C. Bruce Gambardella, who previously consulted for the City of New York and several automakers. The report “exposes the risks and dangers of riding in New York City’s hybrid yellow taxicabs.”
Hybrid taxis in New York have been consistently making news for the past few years, notably with the announcement last year by the mayor’s office that all of the city’s taxis would be hybrids by 2012. Not to mention the mini-fleet of Ford Escape hybrids that entered operation in 2005, donated by Yahoo!.
GreenBiz reports that hybrids currently make up 11% of New York’s taxi fleet. Yet, both in terms of policy as well as safety, the taxicab board argues that the city is making a tragic mistake with the new mandate.

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