Articles With "Green Business" Tag

IceCycle: Innovation in Thermal Energy Storage


Guest post contributed and co-authored by Mark Glover, CEO of Trinity Thermal Systems, and David Anderson, COO of Trinity Thermal Systems.  Mark and David are joint founders, inventors, and pioneers in green energy storage technology.

The Current Energy Situation
Storage is an integral part of every man-made system we have.  We have food in our pantries, fuel in our car gas tanks, and water in our water towers to meet our needs on demand.  Man’s greatest machine is our mass network of electricity and grid, but it does NOT have storage built in.  Which means, it is not only how much, but when we use electricity that is important.  Electrical supply and demand must perfectly balance every minute of every day; standby electric capacity must exist to instantly ramp up to the highest possible peak demand at a moments notice, with reserve capacity of ten to fifteen percent in case demand is under estimated or mechanical breakdown occurs.  If we fail to meet even a moment of this growing demand, we have blackouts or brownouts that paralyze our business economy and threaten the health of our families.

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Green Key Real Estate Expands into Second Office (Marin County)

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Here on Jetson Green, I’ve talked about EcoBroker, but I’ve been waiting to talk about Green Key Real Estate.  I’ve been waiting to see how the market would respond to their services and today’s announcement makes it clear that Green Key Real Estate his hitting all the right market buttons (even in today’s erratic real estate market).  Green Key just announced the opening of a second office in Marin County, managed by the husband/wife duo of Cam + Pam Andrews.  This Green Key Marin team is committed to helping buyers and sellers reach their financial objectives without sacrificing environmental responsibility and social equity. 

When the first Green Key office (San Francisco) opened, it drew quite the splash in the blogging world.  Green Key is a residential brokerage firm committed to environmental responsibility and social equity.  Green Key’s certified by San Francisco Green business + EcoBroker.  It’s also building a database of green properties in their locale; recycling and composting office waste; minimizing paper use with technology; donating a portion of profits to green building organizations; and maintaining a reservoir of knowledge in the industry to help inquisitive purchasers and sellers.  Really, I think Green Key Real Estate is smartly executing on a well developed, eco-friendly business plan.  Via E-wire

Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Gold Connecting Old + New (Seattle)

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I came across an interesting statistic (which will be obsolete in no time) about LEED certified office buildings.  There are about 669 LEED certified office buildings, and of that number, only 38 are remodels.  Why?  When you have a building that’s occupied, how are you going do a green renovation without losing rents?  Here’s one way.  The former Union Bank of California Center, the 41-story, 34-year-old building owned by Beacon Capital Partners, is looking to be one of the few LEED-Existing Building (EB) certified structure in the United States.  Because most of the leases are due to expire over the next five years, the company will be able to renovate as space opens up.  They’ll shift tenants around until the building is complete.   

This is about a $36 million remodel job.  Green amenities will include the following:  shaved columns for added light; automated artificial lights; recycled and recyclable carpet; no- or low-VOC paints; recycled metal in ceilings; new insulation in walls that were uninsulated; new high-efficiency heating and cooling systems; water-efficient bathroom fixtures; and runoff water landscaping. 

Additionally, BCP started construction next door on a new, 24-story, 126-unit green condo tower at Fifth Avenue and Madison Street.  The new building will be complete in 2008.  BCP officials said they are seeking LEED Gold for both buildings.  I must say that will be a powerful juxtaposition of the old and new:  both environmental leaders in their own way (EB + NC).  Via Seattle Post-Intelligencer + Emporis.

LEED Gold David L. Lawrence Convention Center: The Three Rs in 2006

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The David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLLCC) was conceived from a design competition in 1999, which was won by Rafael Vinoly Architects, P.C..  After a few years of construction and phased openings, the large structure was completed in September 2003.  After receiving LEED Gold certification, the Pittsburgh structure became the world’s first green convention center.  What’s interesting, however, is that the DLLCC just released some statistics from 2006 detailing the building’s operating performance. 

In their press release, the DLLCC explained its green performance within the framework of the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle): 

  • Reduce – utilizing the natural ventilation system for 58 days, roughly 33% of Exhibit Hall’s event days, eliminated the need for artificial heating and cooling;
  • Reuse – reclaimed more than 4.75 million gallons of water via the water treatment facility and reused about 1,500 wooden pallets;
  • Recycle – recycled 65,480 pounds of paper and cardboard (equivalent of 557 trees + 229,000 gallons of water) and 1,720 pounds of glass, plastic, and aluminum. 

General Manager of DLLCC, Mark Leahy explains, "These practices and results are reinforcing the community’s belief that greening has a short and long-term positive impact on Pittsburgh and the region."  Exactly.  Yet another example of positive economics and green buildings. 

Eco-Advantage: Green to Gold–the Business Case

Green_to_gold_1 One of my goals for the new year is to flaunt the business case for sustainability.  When you add that to the fact that I’ve seen several blogs talk about reading 1 book/month (as a New Year’s Resolution), you get a nasty combination: my resolution + your resolution = reading Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Building Competitive Advantage.  As a caveat, however, I haven’t read the book yet, I’ve only thumbed through the pages and table of contents.  (I couldn’t get it before Christmas because that’s when you shop for other people, but now, the copies are all gone and I’m waiting).  The book was written by Dan Esty + Andrew Winston and is getting considerable attention in business circles.  The authors also have a blog called Eco-Advantage that I’ve been reading since November or so.  It’s good.  But here’s the gist, if you need a book to read, give it a shot. 

Fiona Harvey of Financial Times recommended Green to Gold in her list of books designed "to help the entrepreneur take advantage of [the green trend]."  I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether this is a trend.  Here’s what she said: "The business reader may have more luck with Green to Gold, a manual on how to turn your company into an eco-success, catching the current wave of consumer and government interest in saving the world from environmental catastrophe."  There you go, what’s your review??

Jetson Green 2007: Flaunt the Business Case for Green Real Estate

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When I say "green real estate," I’m referring to all aspects of the real estate business.  That includes the following jobs:  developer, owner, third-party manager, agent, broker, investor, architect, contractor, sub-contractor, etc.  There is a business case for the greening of real estate, but here are some preliminary considerations. 

First, "green building" is not only about energy and water efficiency.  It must be remembered that "green building" includes the concepts of indoor air quality and environmental impact.  These three concepts can overlap, but they are distinct.  Each concept can bring profitability in different ways.  Lloyd Alter blogged about this concept (specifically on "ethical design") today on TreeHugger. 

Second, "greenwashing" is a pejorative term for companies that are trying to realize value from sustainability when their products, processes, or services do not deserve the green emphasis.  It’s free loading.  It’s disingenuous.  It’s deceptive.  And it’s counter-productive.  To make matters worse, public opinion will draw the line between greenwashing and green marketing, so companies must tread water honestly. 

It’s my personal goal for 2007 to flaunt the business case for sustainable real estate.  Here are a couple good examples from 2006. 

  • Ex 1: Adobe created value by greening their existing building. 
  • Ex 2: Ecobroker provides a way for agents to differentiate themselves in a competitive market. 
  • Ex 3: New Resource Bank is a case study in efficient market positioning as a niche bank. 

The opportunities exist for companies that want to make a difference and still remain committed to profitability; Jetson Green will remain committed to exposing and documenting those cases. 

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