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Daily Archives: January 24, 2012

The How-To’s of Energy Audits: Part 1

Read the full story at Healthcare Building Ideas.

In an effort to promote best practices in energy audits and to fill a void in available information on everything from how to hire an auditor to what to look for in an audit report, ASHRAE released updated guidance in late 2011.

Jim Kelsey, P.E. is a principal at kW Engineering and a principal author of “Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits, Second Edition” which was written in collaboration with a group of experienced energy auditors and ASHRAE members. He spoke with Jennifer Kovacs Silvis, Editor-in-Chief of Healthcare Building Ideas, about the updated version of the book and how its guidance can be applied to healthcare facilities.

In this first part of a two-part series, Kelsey explores the reasons behind the update to ASHRAE’s guide, why energy audits should be pursued, and how healthcare facilities should prepare for the process.

 

The Crunchie Awards and The Best of 2011 Sustainable Tech

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Voting for the 2011 Crunchies is underway, and sustainability-enabling tech companies have snagged nominations across the board. The Crunchies gave shout-outs to the sleek Nest learning thermostat, the money-saving platform Airbnb, and the inspiring charity: water. This is in addition to nominees in the “Best Clean Tech Startup” category (we like Array Power in this group).

For your consideration, below are companies chosen by the GreenOrder Tech Team that didn’t make the Crunchie list, but we’re touting as ones that are poised to spark sustainable innovations in 2012 and beyond.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Green business

 

The Coming Shift to ‘Climate Preparedness’

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

This article is part of a series of excerpts from the fifth annual State of Green Business Report, looking at trends in corporate sustainability. Download the free report from GreenBiz.com, and see all of our trends here.

Also, be sure to register for a free webcast taking place on Tuesday, February 7: The State of Green Business 2012 — The Good News and Bad is hosted by Joel Makower and dives in to all the findings of the report. Click here to register.

Last December, government officials, corporate executives and activists met in Durban, South Africa, for high-level climate talks. They went home with an agreement … to keep talking. Meanwhile, we’re emitting more carbon dioxide every year, and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are steadily rising. If CO2 levels were somehow to stabilize now — they won’t — the world will keep warming. The bottom line: Climate change is inevitable. The world needs to learn how to prepare for it.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Climate change, Green business

 

Small Firms Driving Minnesota’s Growing Green Economy

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

For Paul Aasen, Minnesota-based Tennant Company is a perfect example of a company that is helping to fuel the state’s growing green economy.

Tennant, a manufacturer of floor cleaning machines, decided to pursue a green product line several years ago, even though it carried a premium that was 10 percent to 20 percent higher than its competitors.

“Their market has grown from $17 million a few years ago to $96 million in the past year,” Aasen, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said last week during the State of Green Business Forum in Minneapolis.

Think about that, he implored the audience. “A market where you’re 20 percent less competitive and you’re now making more money,” he said. “So someone in that value chain has recognized the value — not the regulators — of the avoided cost or the value of going into that market.”

In a panel discussion Thursday, Aasen joined Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Effect Partners CEO and Founder Michael Martin to explore the burgeoning green economy in a state that is known for being one of the most civically engaged in the nation.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Green business

 

What Millennials Expect from Green Businesses

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

What happens when a Baby Boomer and a Millennial sit down for a chat about sustainability?

When the Boomer is GreenBiz Executive Editor Joel Makower and the Next Gen’er is actor and activist Cody Horn, the result is a fast-paced conversation that lends insight into what Millennials expect from business — and how their views differ from the generations before them.

The chairman and co-founder of GreenBiz Group and the winner of a 2005 Environmental Media Association Futures Award got together for their talk at the kickoff of the 2012 GreenBiz Forum series. I summarize some of their most lively exchanges below, but first a little context:

Makower came of age as the Vietnam War was at its height and the environmental movement celebrated the first Earth Day. The Civil Rights and Free Speech movements had brought people into the streets to demonstrate, and anti-war protests were doing the same.

Horn was born during the height of the Reagan Administration and at the dawn of the age of personal computing, just three years after a young company called Apple released a desktop computer called the Macintosh. Horn is part of the first generation to experience music, games, movies and other media with devices that were supercharged by IT and connected via the Internet.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Green business

 

Green Gamification Scores Points

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

This article is part of a series of excerpts from the fifth annual State of Green Business Report, looking at trends in corporate sustainability. Download the free report from GreenBiz.com, and see all of our trends here.

Also, be sure to register for a free webcast taking place on Tuesday, February 7: The State of Green Busines 2012 – The Good News and Bad is hosted by Joel Makower and dives in to all the findings of the report. Click here to register.

Making sustainability fun and accessible to the masses has long been a challenge for companies, government agencies, activist groups, and others. While the über-notion of “saving the planet” may be compelling, many of its constituent activities are easier said than done: reusing and recycling, turning off lights, buying greener products, driving less, and the like. That may partly explain why so many of us — both at home and in business — don’t engage in greener behaviors, even when we know exactly what to do.

That could change, thanks to gamification, an admittedly kludgy word that describes using something called “game mechanics” — points, badges, leaderboards, and other schemes — to make ordinary activities fun and rewarding. Games have long been a business tool for effecting behavior change — witness the decades-long success of frequent-flyer and other loyalty programs that reward customers for repeat business. In the past year or so, everyone from Samsung and Salesforce to Nike and the NHL have harnessed the power of games to incentivize and reward customers and employees.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Green business

 

Transforming a Traditional Business into a Cleantech Firm

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Cleantech companies needn’t be made from scratch, nor must they be born as startups.

If you can easily spot trends and know how to make the most of opportunities, you can transform an old-school business into a successful cleantech firm or add a new dimension to an on-going enterprise.

That’s the lesson Dan Lieberman brought to the GreenBiz Forum and traced the history of his family’s businesses to share a few pointers in a “One Great Idea” presentation.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Green business

 

Infographic: The energy-hungry house: Why and how energy use is so high today

View the infographic at Mother Nature Network.

The picture of U.S. energy usage has changed dramatically over the years. So where does all of that juice go?

 

Can We Engineer Our Way Out of Global Warming?

Read the full story in Environmental Protection.

Engineering our way out of global climate warming may not be as easy as simply reducing the incoming solar energy, according to a team of University of Bristol and Penn State climate scientists. Designing the approach to control both sea level rise and rates of surface air temperature changes requires abalancing act to accommodate the diverging needs of different locations.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Climate change, Research

 

Exploring Biogas, An Untapped Source of Clean Renewable Energy

Read the full story in Environmental Protection.

When most people think of clean technology and renewable energy, they think of the two industry stars: solar and wind power. In addition to their promise to replace fossil fuels, they’re iconic and aesthetically pleasing. But other clean technology solutions have the potential to shine and make equal, if not greater, contributions to our success in weaning off fossil fuels. One of the most promising of these solutions is biogas.

This article focuses on the untapped power of biogas. First, we’ll discusses why biogas is a real solution to our energy challenges today and why it’s on the verge of transitioning from proven, popular biowaste conversion technology in Europe to a star role in the North American renewable energy economy. The second part presents how companies like Harvest are poised to transform the national clean tech landscape.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Renewable energy

 
 
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