Cleantech needs sustainable business cases, not hype

1 12 2009

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Enjoy an Oprah moment with Vinod Khosla, perennial venture developer and powerhouse venture capitalist. While he wants the environmentally sustainable outcomes alternative energy and transportation systems are offering, he is very disappointed with the current status of business cases and the direction cleantech hype is currently pointing. Read the rest of this entry »


New Energy Markets Set for Long Term Boom

4 09 2008

Two new articles piqued my interest today for their bullishness on cleantech, renewable energy, and alternative fuels.  In the first, Michael Butler of Cascadia Capital lends a macroscopic overview of the economic opportunity for new energy technology from an excerpt of an upcoming book Financing the Future and the Next Wave of 21st Century Innovation. Butler brings organization and a seasoned investor’s perspective to the cleantech sector – breaking down the separate needs and opportunities of the solar, wind, bio-energy, energy storage, clean water, energy efficiency, green building, and smart grid sub-sectors.

Private Equity HUB – Energy Markets Confront the Post-Petroleum Era

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The Cost Of Cutting Emissions | BusinessWeek

19 03 2008

Have you ever wished the whole world would just buy hybrid cars and be done with this global warming thing? It turns out that the price premium for hybrids also includes an enormous opportunity cost in regards to cutting emissions – far more effective alternatives exist that would also provide a much more enticing financial case as well.

Cost of Cutting Emissions

Charts by Laurel Daunis-Allen

The March 10, 2008 edition of BusinessWeek included this clever graph depicting the range of emissions-cutting activities spanning the financial range from money-saving initiatives like updating residential lighting systems to money-chugging activities like hybridizing automobiles. While the magnitude of the bars indicates the net cost (or savings) of each initiative, the width suggests the relative quantity of greenhouse gases each activity could conserve.

This relative analysis points out, among other things, that improving automobile fuel economy standards is a much more cost-effective and emissions-effective means of reducing greenhouse gases than car hybridization. This data should be an essential reference for any company’s corporate social responsibility plan, and person’s own reference for greener living, and any government’s pursuit of effective business and environmental policy.

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Greenopolis: social networking for the eco set

20 02 2008

Social networking sites are carving out unique niches of special-interest groups and responding to the backlash against advertising that has slowed the use of Facebook and MySpace. Case in point:

This beta-stage, lifestyle-oriented web community is designed for members to share tips on living greener and earn recognition for both participation in the web community and for greeer lifestyle choices. Minimal advertising is offset by corporate sponsorship from a somewhat surprising list of partners – you won’t find Patagonia, but you will find Waste Management for example.

An interesting concept employed by the site is is reward points – like frequent flier miles for social networking. The more you participate in the site, the more points you earn. Evidently, Greenopolis plans to connect these points to a commerce center where members can purchase eco-friendly products discounted by points. So the points aren’t redeemable for cash but they do generate real dollar value for site members.

Greenopolis home page

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An American Self-portrait | The art of Chris Jordan

1 02 2008

Chris Jordan presents an evocative series of wall-sized prints that beautifully convey a tragic story. See more of this and other series at

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TED | Talks | William McDonough: The wisdom of designing Cradle to Cradle (video)

31 01 2008

I live just across town from William McDonough, but this is as close as I’ve seen him. He’s the creator and advocate of Cradle to Cradle design – a design methodology which he describes in application to product design, material selection, and even urban planning in China.

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Beyond Green

5 01 2008

When a hotel executive asked me recently what I would do to communicate the hotel’s sustainability initiatives to current and future customers, I proposed that the hotel explicitly abandon trying to advertise and promote its actual green activities to focus more on the emotional goodwill of sustainability through story telling and interactive displays – allowing guests to touch and feel (with hands and heart) the ways the world could be a better place. Read the rest of this entry »