According to a study reported by LOHAS journal, running the air conditioning at low setting in the morning, then turning up the thermostat in the afternoon can result in a 30% better efficiency, and still not compromise comfort because the actual mass of the building has been cooled and will stay that way for quite some time, even at the higher thermostat setting. The method would also take pressure off peak energy demand periods which typicall occur in the afternoons.
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News
Last Wednesday I was in New York for the ICI-nyc party. A hip gathering of environmentally minded folks who also happen to be leaders in fashion, design, media and other societally influential outlets. The event was masterminded by Josh Dorfman of Vivavi and Summer Rayne Oakes, aka ‘the green fairy’ as a statement countering “the burlap sack theory” – namely that, in the words of Dorfman, “ecologically sound products have to suck”.
It was an awesome party, with some great press coverage. The whole thing represents an interesting trend in the environmental movement, and in my opinion, it’s a good thing. It’s more than just a “branding” of environmental thinking as hip – it’s a bit of a reality check – a statement that says, you don’t have to really “give up” the basic things that are fun and social, like parties and fashion, in order to actively participate in a “greener” society.
I think the implications for business are twofold – one, a new set of successful entrepreneurs is exploding out of this movement who will be respected and emulated around the globe, and two, with a ‘fashionable edge’ – even if it’s understood only superficially by many people – environmental demands by customers of all business will continue to increase.
(more photos on fiftyrx3’s site – this photo from Grist because I was too busy running around to take any)
Many individuals interested in supporting sustainably minded and CSR-focused companies want to put their money in Socially Responsible Investment Funds, knows as SRI Funds, but wonder about the percentage of return on their money versus more traditional investment or mutual funds. Well, wonder no more because Business Ethics Magazine has just come out with 2005’s top performing SRI funds. Good stuff.
Now go out and put some of your money into them so they can become more mainstream!
I’m amazed Amory Lovins doesn’t get more press. Having heard him speak on a number of occasions the depth to which this man has thought about our fossil-feul based economy is unprecidented, and the optimistic solutions he and the Rocky Mountain Institute have come up with are enough to delight even the most jaded doomsayer. (That said, he does have critics).
Nonetheless, check out this article in Discover Magazine. Mr. Lovins has outlined what seems to be a reasonable (and profitable) plan to elimite fossil fuels from the economy in less than 35 years while the economy itself continues to chug along, like the energizer bunny.
The Competitive Advantage has an interesting short piece on CSR which states basically what we’ve been saying all along – that companies that do not address some interpretation of social/environmental responsibility will ultimately be at a competitive disadvantage.
The article also exposes a debate – how much of this can be expected voluntarily, and how much will require additional regulation? Although 1/3 of companies in the article are addressing the issue in some manner (however superficially) a mere 1% are actually bringning in third-party ‘auditors’ to validate their own claims. The expectation, therefore, is that increasing regulation is not only needed, but inevitable.
If you’re in New York, drop by Libation on the Lower East Side for a smashing affair tonight called ICInyc. It’s “a roving celebration of front line visionaries blending fashion, design, media and the arts with the modest task of saving the planet”. More info on Treehugger. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and a template for events to follow. I’ll be there representing Triple Pundit and Treehugger, so get in touch if you want to meet up.
Everyone loves Clif Bar, and recognizes them as one of the more admirable companies out there by just about any measure related to the integrated bottom line. But there’s one problem that Clif bar has never been able to solve – packaging. In order to keep Clif Bars fresh, the packaging has to be made out of material that is generally not recyclable nor compostable.
A little start up called Matisse & Jack’s seems to have an solution for those people seeking a better packaging solution for their energy bars: They sell the mix to bake them yourself at home. Not only is it better from a sustainability concept, but you can tailor the recipe to your taste, have a bunch of fun, and know exactly what you put into it. Check it out!
The Gap’s upscale Forth & Towne brand will offset its energy comsumption by purchasing renewables equivalent to 50% of its needs. The new, 5-store chain with purchase “Green tags” from a variety of sources “In this case, the certificates support a wind farm in Minnesota. But that’s not all. A portion of the proceeds from the farm will also support orphanages in Bangladesh and Southeast Asia.”
So far, this is The Gap’s first foray into renewable energy. We’ll see if it expands across the company!
(source – Gap internal doc I can’t link to)
By turning down the thermostat a little bit during the winter, you can save a lot on energy costs and reduce various emissions. It also gets colder inside. Japan for Sustainability reports that some firms are considering doing just that – while encouraging employees to wear warmer fashions.
At first glance, I’m picturing thousands of cubicle workers shivering at their desks, but the temperature reduction is actually not that enormous. Still, it makes me wonder if better insulation and green building techniques might accomplish the same thing while keeping people toasty.
The Washington Post reported Friday that 6 former heads of the EPA are speaking out against the lack of environmental leadership coming from the Bush administration. What’s particularily interesting is that 5 or the 6 are Republicans.
To me this is more evidence of a turning point toward greater awareness of environmental issues in general, and in particular, global warming and the role we may be playing in it. It’s satisfying to see republicans take a more proactive stance in, at the very least, talking about it. Will their words result in better leadership at the top?
Ever wonder exactly what happens to your tax dollars? This fantastic graphical chart (Click here for the full size view) gives a proportionally displayed breakdown of pretty much everything the US government spent money on in 2004. Not suprisingly, the department of defense gobbles up the lion’s share. It’s an interesting and rather illuminating picture!
America’s largest drugstore chain, Walgreen’s Corporation has taken a HUGE step this week in partnering with a Denver-based clean energy solutions company, ImaginIt Inc., to install solar electric systems in approx. 115 stores and distribution centers in California and New Jersey. The solar roof tiles will enable each Walgreen’s facility to generate between 20% and 50% of its own electricity on site. Read about it in GreenBiz.
Is it me or is clean energy, sustainable business, and CSR starting to become main stream?
Green Biz’s Gil Friend has a great primer called “The Nuts and Bolts of Carbon Trading” which is worth having a look at. It lays out the concepts and systems behind emissions trading, and offers some examples and critiques on the current schemes. Also pointed out is thie great Wikipedia entry – which states “Emissions trading is an administrative approach used to reduce the cost of pollution control by providing economic incentives for achieving emissions reductions.” Read on.
Renewable Energy Access just put out a pretty interesting report on the future of “ocean energy” – that combination of often forgotten ways of generating electricity that includes wave and tidal power. Despite the obvious enormity of the ocean’s energy, it’s been very difficult to capture economically. However, according to the report, 2006 is likely to be a landmark year in terms of new technologies and developments that may make it economically feasable in the very near future.
One can’t forget, however, that real energy progress is more likely to be made by a combination of “green” generation techniques and a more widespread adoption of efficiency as a priority. Continuing to be gluttons in one way or another will still have negative consequences.
(Story via The Future is Green)
Johnson Controls, one of the foremost makers of building interiors and mechanical & efficiency systems for buildings, has embraced an interesting growth opportunity where few major companies have trodden Specifically, with their “MetroMarkets” program, they aim to stimulate the troubled economies of American inner cities by spurring the construction of housing, schools, community & jobs centers, especially in hurricane ravaged New Orleans (article here).
The company obviously benefits by being the lead contractor on construction projects, but by championing projects the company benefits the local community as well. By recognizing and responding to the severe lack of basic infrastructure in blighted cities, a long term investment in the health of the community is made, and that’s a profit motive for all.