Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Advertisement for Myself

"Groundsourcing" the Carbon Problem
HCSF Clean Tech Thought Leader Series

Ground, Ice & Water - a networking event and panel discussion on the positive power of "Negatherms" and the role that ground source heat pumps (GSHP) and allied thermal transfer techniques like ice storage and water-gridding can play to significantly reduce energy demand throughout the built environment.

Where: University Club, 800 Powell Street, San Francisco
When: Thursday, August 6th, 2009
6:30-7:00 pm - Dinner
7:00-8:30 pm - Talk and Q&A
Who: Energy innovators focused on new solutions to the age-old problem of providing heating, cooling and hot water.
What: a networking event and panel discussion on the positive power of "Negatherms" and the role that ground source heat pumps (GSHP) and allied thermal transfer techniques like ice storage and water-gridding can play to significantly reduce energy demand throughout the built environment.

  • I will kick off by doing a brief primer on energy efficiency, green building, heat pump mechanics and novel drilling techniques.
  • Dan Bernstein of Gaia Geothermal has a lot of macro and micro data about carbon, cost, energy and water savings from heat-pump based demand reduction plus some examples of larger pond loop projects.
  • David Kaneda of Integrated Design Associates will present "whole building" EE/RE concepts using his design lab as a starting point.
  • Ed Lohrenz, the "Ice Man" of GeoExergy will talk about his ice storage system projects. (*Ed is based in Manitoba and in Taiwan right now; he is a maybe on being in SF in person...Dan and I may cover some of his (n)ice presentation)
  • Finally, a report on groundbreaking water gridding concepts through the SCWA GeoExchange Energy Efficiency Project from Cordell Stillman.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Despite Global Economic Meltdown, Consumers Have Increased Appetite for Green

2009 Cohn & Wolfe Green Brands Global Survey Reveals Consumers in Brazil, China, and India are Most Eager to Embrace Green Products and Corporate Actions

NEW YORK – July 21, 2009 – A newly released survey, conducted in seven countries -- the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Brazil, India, Germany and France -- indicates that while many environmental beliefs and behaviors are shared across different consumer cultures, others vary widely. Generally, consumers in the US, UK, Germany and France tend to align in their attitudes, while consumers in Brazil, India, and China have divergent views, and are particularly inclined to seek green products and to favor companies they consider green.

The research, conducted by WPP agencies (NASDAQ: WPPGY) Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates and Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB) as well as independent strategy consulting firm Esty Environmental Partners, also identifies some critical trends on which consumers are in global agreement.

Consumers from all seven countries believe that green products cost more than comparable non-green products, and also indicate they plan to spend more money on green products in the coming year. China, India and Brazil showed significant support for additional spend: 73 percent of Chinese consumers say they will spend more, 78 percent of Indians say they’ll spend more, and 73 percent of Brazilians plan to increase their green spend. The percentage of respondents who indicate willingness to spend 30 percent or more on green ranges from 8 percent (UK) to 38 percent (Brazil).

“With the global climate change discussion focused on what the major new economic powerhouses like China, India, and Brazil are willing to do to control their emissions, those three countries stood out in our polling as more interested in buying from environmentally friendly companies and more willing to spend more on green products,” said Scott Siff, executive vice president of PSB. “From a political perspective, this turns the assumptions about those countries on their heads, and from a business perspective it says the market for green branding and green products may be even bigger than generally thought.”

The study finds similar global agreement when consumers are asked about how important it is that companies be “green.” At least 77 percent of consumers in all countries say it’s somewhat or very important; in India and China the numbers are significantly higher: 87 and 98 percent, respectively, say that corporate reputation is an important purchase consideration. Consumers from all seven countries also agreed that the most important step a company can take to demonstrate its “green-ness” is to reduce the amount of toxic or other dangerous substances in its products and business processes.


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Geothermal Most Efficient Renewable Energy Sources - Study News via Suzanne Nolan

As the U.S. Congress debates an energy and climate bill, government organizations and corporations are assessing renewable energy alternatives. Which are the most efficient and improving the fastest? According to a new study from NYU's Stern school of Business, geothermal and wind energy are more efficient, and are yielding greater returns on the R&D invested in them, than most other renewable energy alternatives.

NYU Stern Professor Melissa Schilling, an expert in strategic management and technology and innovation management, finds that the cost of generating electricity with geothermal or wind energy is a fraction of the cost of solar energy. More important, the performance of both is improving much more per dollar of R&D invested in them than solar technologies. This is the first study to explore the trajectory of performance improvement of renewable energy alternatives.

Schilling examined data on government R&D investment and technological improvement and found taht geothermal energy is the most efficient renewable energy alternative and is improving the fastest. Wind energy is second.

In addition, fossil fuel technologies are no longer improving (in terms of efficiency) much--if at all. These technologies have likely reached their performance limits, though the government still spends far more on them.

According to stern, geothermal energy could become cheaper than fossil fuels with R&D spending of as little as $3.3 billion.

Both geothermal and wind energy technologies have been underfunded by national governments relative to funding for solar technologies, and government funding of fossil fuel technologies might be excessive given their diminishing performance, the report concludes.

The full paper was recently published in Energy Policy and is available as a PDF at the link below.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Inaugural CAC Advocacy Day a Big Success

Katie Johnson, USGBC-NCC

The USGBC California Advocacy Coalition (CAC) conducted its first ever Advocacy Day in Sacramento on July 8th. Members of the newly-formed CAC gathered in the state’s capitol to introduce California’s eight USGBC Chapters to 38 state lawmakers and their staff. Nearly 40 USGBC volunteers from all corners of the state joined forces to highlight how green building legislation, education and regulation are integral for ensuring a healthy environment and economy in California. They were joined by USGBC National Advocacy staff. USGBC-NCC Director Elizabeth Echols affirmed that the day was an overall success. “We exceeded our expectations for the CAC’s first Advocacy Day and laid the groundwork to take our statewide advocacy efforts to the next level.”

Immediately following a day of lobbying, the CAC hosted a reception honoring Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg for his leadership on SB 375—Redesigning Communities to Reduce Greenhouse Gases. SB 375 lays out a smart growth strategy in order to reach California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals set forth in the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). USGBC CAC members were joined by a dozen State policymakers and their staff including guest of honor, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Senator Fran Pavley (author of AB 32), Senator Loni Hancock, Senator Mark Leno, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, Assemblymember Paul Fong and Assemblymember Norma Torres.

Dennis Murphy, NCC Advocacy Committee Chair and newly named California Advocacy Coalition Chair, was very encouraged. “During the last meeting of the day, the staffer we were meeting with commented that she couldn’t believe that this was our first time out. Today we introduced ourselves and let people know that the united chapters of the California USGBC will be a key policy resource moving forward. Elizabeth Echols, Justin Malan, Dan Geiger and NCC staff did a tremendous job putting this together. Now it will be incumbent on us to continue to build on this success.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

T. Boone Pickens to Sell Off 667 Wind Turbines

From Triple Pundit

As part of the first phase to build a 4,000 MW wind farm in the Texas panhandle, Pickens ordered 667 turbines from GE. These turbines are to be ready in 2010 and 2011, but the wind farm was called off due to funding and transmission problems. Now that's a boondoggle.

The economy and the wind energy market were very different just over a year ago when this order was placed. The wind industry was booming and a massive 8,900 MW of wind energy capacity was installed in 2008 in North America—this represents 40% of all total new capacity. Steel prices were sky high and demand greatly exceeded turbine supply. Prices soared and it was difficult to buy small quantities of turbines.