ReRev: Communicating Renewable Energy Technology to Spur Change


This writer is the king of the webinars:  very good at signing up for them, and then getting sidetracked and forgetting about them.  Sorry.  But Wednesday I made a point of attending the presentation “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” that PR Newswire hosted.  The talk offered a lucid perspective of a company that is emerging in the green tech space, along with a firm that is responsible for promoting such firms.

Hudson Harr is the President of ReRev, which retrofits gym equipment into providers of alternative energy.  ReNewComm, led by its Principal Peter Kelly, provides public relations and advertising services to cleantech and renewable energy companies.  One has a new technology; the other helps entrepreneurs.

Fitness centers are a paradox of modern living.  Since few of us farm or do work involving physical labor, many of us drive to the local health club, exercise, and then drive back home or to work.  It is a routine that would make our ancestors scratch their heads and wonder why they were so worried about continuing the family name.  But seriously, health clubs are the Hummers of goods and services—many of us exercise during peak hours, using electronic equipment to spike that heartbeat rate, which in turns creates the need for more air conditioning . . . and the cycle continues.  Never mind the ancillary effects such as the driving with our air conditioners on, laundry, and foam yoga pads ending up in landfill.

ReRev counters those effects by delivering the kinetic energy generated from fitness equipment into a central processing unit that in turn creates utility grade electricity.  If that does not motivate you to toil on the elliptical machine more, I do not know what will.  Right now the firm figures that the power generated at the gym is enough to power a house for a year—a small step, but a creative one nonetheless.  Most clients split the cost of the system, which runs about US$14,000, with a local utility.  Harr’s company has found a niche in university gyms, where students become human hamsters that contribute to the local grid.

ReNewComm tasks itself with spreading the message of firms in ReRev’s space.  Peter Kelley, who runs the firm out of College Park, MD, offered some food for thought as to how a firm can get its message out in an era where we are inundated by social media and other forms of messaging.  Some ideas Kelley suggested included:

  • Cut the trite descriptions.  According to Kelley, the more someone touts his or her widget as something cutting-edge, game-changing, or state-of-the-art . . . the less likely it actually is.  So parse the thesaurus for some good works and phrases—because the terms meaningful, significant, substantial, and unique have been lobbed into more articles at an exponential rate over the past several years.
  • Focus on the human element.  The reality is that most people, whether they admit it or not, latch onto human interest stories.  No, you don’t have to dumb down to the level of Anna Nicole Smith—but Kelley discussed a case study involving articles about a biofuel company from earlier in the decade.  A headline discussing a scientist’s discovery of a microbe in her backyard received heaps of attention—bylines like “New Microbe Launches Biofuel Product” do not quite resonate.
  • Simplicity reigns.  This does not mean simplistic.  But craft a message that creates awareness, promotes knowledge, and makes your message easy for others to understand rather than making it easy for you to transmit.

The 45-minute webinar is available for replay if you have a PR Newswire ID and password.

Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010. He has lived across the U.S., as well as in South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Uruguay. Some of Leon's work can also be found in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. You can follow him on Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).

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