Greenwashing – An Advertising Professional’s Insights

| Tuesday July 29th, 2008 | 6 Comments

greess.jpgA recent commentary in Adweek on “Green Advertising” warns that if new regulations are implemented by the Federal Trade Commission on “Environmental Advertising” it would negatively affect innovation in the advertising industry.
The author of the story, Ronald Urbach, writes that the FTC’sdecision to update its standard rules on ‘green’ marketing one year ahead of schedule are welcomed by professionals in the advertising industry so long as they don’t cut back on the sector’s competitiveness.
Urbach, who is the co-chair of the advertising, marketing and promotions department of law firm Davis & Gilbert, went on to mention ‘product packaging’ claims specifically. He uggested that new regulation in that sector (which happens to be among the easiest for companies to address) would hurt companies’ ability to communicate with consumers about packaging innovation, and might even stifle innovation itself.

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ClimatePULSE: Green Beijing?

| Monday July 28th, 2008 | 0 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgThis week we’ll take a quick look at one of the summer’s biggest events – the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Now less than two weeks away, the Olympics will bring approximately 10,500 athletes from over 200 nations to Beijing to compete in over 300 events (which take place at over 30 different venues). While the focus of the Games is, and should be, the athletic competition, it is interesting to consider the effects of such an event in terms of its impact on climate change.
The issue of climate change as it relates to the Olympic Games has been largely overshadowed by Beijing’s poor air quality. Understandably, Olympic organizers have had their hands full in an attempt to decrease local pollution and improve local air quality over the short-term, leaving little resources for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is unfortunate given the scale of GHG emissions associated with the Olympics.

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Closing the Efficiency Loop: Agilewaves and Crestron Partnership Integrates Resource Feedback and Control

| Monday July 28th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Agilewaves partners with Crestron Control Systems

Triple Pundit first looked at the Agilewaves Resource Monitor last month in my post Knowledge is Power – Conservation Through Information.

 To recap, the Resource Monitor works on the concept that efficiency is, as Agilewaves VP Collin Breakstone puts it, a resource. One that is available to us in abundance, right Crestron automation partners with Agilewaves Resource Monitorhere, right now, not merely a “sign of personal virtue” providing no basis for energy policy (we see the results of Mr. Cheney’s abysmal ideas on energy policy all around us). In our current energy economy, efficiency is as much a resource as a gallon of water, a barrel of oil, or a kilowatt of electricity.

The key to accessing the full potential of this resource is information. Research consistently shows that information feedback alone accounts for a nominal 10 to 15% reduction in energy consumption through behavioral change.

Resource monitor tracks all resource consumptionThe Resource Monitor provides that essential feedback link by providing real time information of residential or commercial building resource consumption. Users are able to set threshold limits in terms of dollars, gallons, kilowatts, or even carbon. The user monitors consumption using a touchscreen interface, secure web page, or phone. Once any thresholds are reached the Resource Monitor notifies the user via an email or text message alert. Based on the real time information and threshold alerts from the Resource Monitor users are able to identify modifications necessary to reduce resource consumption.

But how to take that 10 or 15% (or more) from feedback alone and drive it further? How to make even better use of that resource efficiency?

Agilewaves and Crestron are today announcing the answer to that question.

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Capturing All That Wasted Heat

| Sunday July 27th, 2008 | 1 Comment

cooling%20tower.jpg Tremendous amounts of energy are being wasted everyday in the US. Thermal power electric utilities typically vent 2/3 of potential energy capture into the atmosphere via cooling towers while gasoline engines have an efficiency of only 15%. What’s worse is that the regulatory rate structures that govern how much utilities can charge discourages utilities from attempting to capture and use it, as does, of all things, the Clean Air Act.
So points out Thomas Blakeslee, founder of the (http://www.clrlight.org) Clearlight Foundation, in an excellent article published this past week in Renewable Energy World, who advocates adopting a holistic, “industrial ecology” approach to energy resource management, and aggressively minded programs to encourage use of combined heat & power (CHP), co-generation, waste heat generation systems and solar thermal collectors in industry, buildings and homes to remedy the situation.

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Chinese Take 50% Of All Cars Off Beijing Roads To Improve Air Quality For Olympics

| Saturday July 26th, 2008 | 2 Comments

chinese.jpgScientists will study this for years to come; China has ordered 50% of all cars off the roads off Beijing to make sure air quality is okay for the upcoming Olympics. The measures might be perhaps the world’s most measurable traffic pollution reduction effort ever. What’s more, they’ve launched an airquality forecast tool online.

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Reducing Your Carbon Footprint? Why Not Eat Less!

| Saturday July 26th, 2008 | 2 Comments

foodproc.jpgBelieve it or not but academic research published in the highly reputable Springer journal Human Ecology suggests Americans eat less to combat global warming.
The researchers have a straightforward but compelling case; around 19 percent of all energy used in the US is taken up for the production/supply of food. Around half of this energy expenditure could be eliminated and one way to achieve this is by cutting down on food. This is not too big a sacrifice to make, the researchers say; Americans on average consume 3,747 colories a day; that’s a staggering 1,200-1,500 calories over recommended levels anyway.
The scientists’ outrageous suggestion that their fellow Americans eat less is the first and foremost recommendation of the peer reviewed study, which was published in last week in the journal.
Another recommendation they made is that a return to traditional farming also is of vital importance if US consumers are serious about changing their consumption patterns in order to reduce their carbon footprint. David Pimentel, who headed up the Cornell research team, said that this is necessary because the energy which is used in the food industry is 50% derived from fossil energy fuel use.

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The Gato del Sol III: 2400 Miles on Determination and Sunlight

| Friday July 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

The University of Kentucky goes 2400 miles in the Gato del Sol III - powered only by the sunA team of engineering students from the University of Kentucky, assisted by engineers and technicians from UPS, recently completed the 2008 North American Solar Challenge, a competition to design, build, and race solar-powered cars cross-country.

The race started on July 13th, in Plano, Texas and ran 2400 miles to the finish line on July 22nd in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The team’s entry, Gato del Sol III, didn’t finish in “first” place, but with a determined team along with key support and consultation from UPS, finishing is an achievement in itself. This is the kind of race where winning is simply running the course.

In fact, the team had yet to even start a race, let alone finish (hence the “III”), as each team is required to put its entry through a grueling qualifying and technical inspection before being allowed to enter the race. 

Just making the 2400 miles “without anything breaking” is the real victory, according to Matt Hatfield, the team’s project director.

And make it they did.

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Climate Change & the Supply Chain: From Theory to Practice

| Friday July 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

amartyasen-shipra1.jpg Retailers and consumer goods manufacturers are going to have to collaborate and work more closely with their supply chain partners if their climate change mitigation strategies are to be translated into effective action and if they are to realize the competitive benefits inherent in them, according to new research results from McKinsey & Co.
While responses from the more than 2,000 global executives McKinsey surveyed identify the environment, climate change included, as a top concern, these high-level concerns aren’t flowing down and having much of an impact when it comes to purchasing and supply chain management decisions and actions: While nearly half said that climate change is a somewhat or very important issue to consider, fewer than one-quarter reported that their companies always or frequently take climate change into consideration.
“They may be missing an opportunity. Our analysis suggests that for consumer goods makers, high-tech players, and other manufacturers, between 40 and 60 percent of a company’s carbon footprint resides upstream in its supply chain – from raw materials, transport, and packaging to the energy consumed in manufacturing processes. For retailers, the figure can be 80 percent,” McKinsey’s Chris Brickman and Drew Ungerman wrote in the July 2008 issue ofThe McKinsey Quarterly.

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Beyond Chipotle – Organic Food Offerings Continue to Grow and Thrive

| Friday July 25th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Organic fast food appears to be a viable business option and is growing fast as demonstrated by the chain, Organic To Go’s expansion from the West to the East, this month announcing its 5th caf√© and a catering business to be active in Washington D.C. It is a public company with more than 34 cafes in Seattle, Los Angeles (including at the airport – frequent flyers take note!), San Diego and Washington. While basically a penny stock (OTGO.OB) their second-quarter revenue increased about 56% to $6million over same quarter last year, and in a soft economy none the less.
Those growth numbers are supported by a recent poll from the National Restaurant Association which found that 68% of adults 18-24 say they are willing to pay more for food that was grown or raised in an organic or environmentally friendly way, compared with 48% of adults 65 and older.

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UK Government Officially Okays Wave Power Technology

| Friday July 25th, 2008 | 1 Comment

6b11.jpgWave power generation is relatively new in the world. In Europe, a Scottish company operates a few large scale projects off the Portuguese coast since 2007 and the UK government has just okayed a different type of wave power project to be moored on its coastal waters. There’s little activity in the US as yet on the wave power scene. So what are the advantages and what are considered challenges?
The new British project provides a few answers to these questions. Wave power is clean energy with great potential. In the US alone, it’s estimated that wave energy resources amount to 2,100 terawatt hours annually, which is half the US’ electricity consumption.

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National Wind Brings Unique Community Wind Development Model to the U.S. Midwest

| Thursday July 24th, 2008 | 2 Comments

National Wind helps communities participate in commercial scale wind projectsThe Great Plains of the U.S. – Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Kansas – have often been referred to as the “Middle East” of wind. Many large utilities and corporate titans are well aware of the resources just waiting to be exploited through the plains and mid-west.

Infamous oil wildcatter T. Boone Pickens recently spoke of the “absolute madness” of continuing to largely ignore this vast resource in our age of dwindling and ever more complex sources of oil. But many living in this wind corridor are farmers, ranchers, and members of small, rural communities, not a Pickens or some large developer. How can communities and independent landowners in this mid-western “wind tunnel” take advantage of both the renewable energy resource and business opportunities inherent in the region?

That’s what Erin Edholm, communications director for National Wind based in Minneapolis, discussed with me in a recent phone conversation. Specifically, the unique business model for wind development that National Wind brings to the table for community wind development.  

If you’re a landowner in a rural community, your options have usually been to secure a lease payment or production incentive payments for the one or two wind turbines that a large developer sites on your land. There is no opportunity for the landowner to share ownership in the wind project or have any influence in its management. 

Small community-owned wind projects consisting of one to five turbines are not uncommon, but for community-based commercial scale wind projects of at least 50 megawatts (30 or more turbines) the options have been few.

National Wind represents a new way of “doing wind”, one that can help bring the benefits of the new energy economy to rural communities landowners.

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Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars

| Thursday July 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Fighting Goliath: TExas Coal WarsI was contacted recently by Richard Matson of Snag Films, a new website in beta that allows users to view full-length documentary films for free.

Richard contacted me through my blog GlobalWarmingisReal, suggesting my readers there might be interested in the documentary film Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars.

 

Fighting Goliath follows the story of farmers, ranchers and Mayors fighting against the construction of 18 new coal-burning power plants in Texas. TXU Corp. withdrew eight of the 11 permit applications shortly before the case went to court, when it was announced that shareholders would sell the utility to private equity firms. The film was produced by the Redford Center at the Sundance Preserve and Alpheus Media, and directed by Mat Hames and George Sledge.

It occurs to me that readers of TriplePundit might find this documentary interesting as well. It’s a good example of the power of grassroots activism. Check it out!

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Lofty Goals set for PARC’s new Solar Panels

| Thursday July 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

parc2.jpgSolar power is all the rage these days when it comes to building green. And one group hoping to remain on the forefront of innovation is the Palo Alto Research Center or PARC, the storied research facility in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley.
In a recent display of “next generation” technology, PARC researchers’ unveiled new gadgets and gizmos boasting the latest technology poised to make a splash as they come to market over the next year or so.
One of the major “advancements” on display was a new way to collect and use solar energy. Instead of huge rows of solar panels now being used around the world, PARC has just begun to market a series of convex mirrors that focus sunlight onto small silicon chips. The physical space these solar cells require on a building is similar to conventional solar panels, said Nitin Parekh, a PARC director, “but they are 500 times more efficient than current solar panels.” The efficiency, combined with advances in manufacturing processes, also make the panels more cost-effective than current solar panels.

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L.A. Joins the Ban on Plastic Bags – In 2010

Shannon Arvizu | Thursday July 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

plasticresized.jpg L.A. is the latest city to pass an ordinance to ban plastic bags from retail shops. The City Council decided this week that shoppers in the municipality will bring their own bag for their goodies or pay a quarter for a paper or biodegradable bag. The city has cited the need to reduce cleanup costs and to reduce debris that collects in storm drains and the L.A. River. So, when does this pathbreaking decree take effect? July 1, 2010. Yes, that’s right. Two years from now. Why the two-year delay, L.A.?

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Sub Federal Efforts To Reduce Oil Dependency Begin To Take Off

| Wednesday July 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

tie.jpgVarious states and cities in North America are adopting legislation to target specific goals reducing their carbon footprints and they are ahead of the game compared to their federal counterparts. The projects highlight a display of creativity and appear feasible if only because they all have clear, measurable targets.
Authorities at sub federal level who are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint or draw up plans to account for peak oil generally are motivated by concerns for their citizens’ welfare. What if peak oil is here to stay? What kind of measures would be necessary to redress the economic imbalances that it causes? Should contingency plans be drawn up? Authorities around the US and Canada thus far have taken various types of action, ranging from conducting internal vulnerability studies, internal policy assessments, creating community vulnerability task forces, and implementing these task forces’ resolutions and ordinances.

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