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Incentivize 'GreenWorking'

February 5, 2009

It is gratifying to see many countries, such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. plan to spend money on expanding their broadband networks.
 
The Canadian Parliament passed that country's 2009 budget on Tuesday with C$225 million to be spent over three years to develop and implement a strategy on extending broadband coverage to unserved rural and remote communities. 

Public assistance is needed, says the government, which is controlled by the Conservative party led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, because companies cannot turn a profit on the investments needed to reach out to these individuals and businesses owing to density and distance from major hubs.

Only with broadband can consumers and businesses effectively access information, goods and services, and yes work i.e. telework via the information highway by riding on the equivalent of paved roads to and from their homes, storefronts, and factories as compared with the dirt tracks of dial-up and plank roads of satellite.

Yet it would be nice for governments also to offer tax incentives, either tax deductions to corporations or grants-in-lieu of taxes to nonprofits, to nudge these organizations to provide teleworking i.e. 'GreenWorking'. The Telework Coalition has called for just that, pointing that there are parking and transit deductions but none for telework.

One of the factors holding telework back has been less-than-competent managers who are unable to supervise others without seeing them Victorian-style.









Green Jobs?

January 19, 2009

In an exchange on contact center employment, Group Publisher Rich Tehrani expressed skepticism about the numbers of new American jobs, estimated by some sources at 5+ million that going green will produce.

No one has explained to him why the U.S. will make better green products than the Chinese or Japanese if the U.S. can't make better cars, etc.

Why EVs (etc.) are NG

January 15, 2009

I have long been skeptical about electric or other alternative-fueled vehicles as truly green technologies because they all consume vast amounts of life-giving open space to transport comparatively few people and goods, drives more sprawl, which does likewise, and incurs air-killing construction and upkeep and requires hydrocarbon-based paving materials.

Peter Foster, a columnist in Canada's National Post, along with associated commentators have come up with a few more points to consider, in his column Wednesday subtitled 'Today's alternative vehicles are all profit graveyards or subsidy pits'.

Mr. Foster correctly pointed out one of the fallacies behind assuming that people will buy electric vehicles (EVs) and that is it isn't the average amount of driving per day that matters but the farthest that one usually wants to go.

"Apparently, Americans on average drive their cars less than 35 miles a day, but to suggest that this supports the viability of short-range electric cars is like suggesting that a five-foot tall person should be in no trouble if forced to spend alternate one hour periods in water six feet deep and two feet deep.

Comparing (green) apples-to-apples

December 19, 2008

It would be very helpful for technology buyers interested in buying green and in doing so saving money if there could be a series of objectively researched-and-well publicized energy/environmental footprint data and costs for these solutions. If such documentation exists please forward that to me.

Yes, it is true, that the suppliers are providing case histories showing such data. A case in point is Netezza, which makes data warehousing appliances. The firm demonstrated that its product at 3 terabytes (TB) enabled a customer, the UK's Orange, to cut power demand by 2/3rds, from 25kW/hour to 7kW/hour and sliced cooling requirements by 72 percent compared with and from the incumbent Informix/Sun/EMC 1.5 TB configuration.

Green Means Green

December 16, 2008


Companies are finally getting it that corporate green projects--once seen by many environmentalist skeptics as PR 'greenwash' to be rinsed off at the earliest so-called 'bottom line' excuse--are worth while even during tough economic times. 

The reason is simple: taking steps like reducing energy consumption cuts costs.


Forrester's largest-ever survey of corporate green IT activities and interest has found that even in the face of the recession twice as many companies are accelerating their green IT initiatives compared to firms that are scaling back green projects. Of the companies surveyed in the report 'Market Overview: A Slowing Economy Won't Slow Down Corporate Green IT Initiatives' nearly half say they will accelerate or maintain their green IT projects. The main reason: saving money.

Subaru: the truly green automaker

November 25, 2008

It is rare that I mention green and cars in a positive light given the huge amount of emissions private vehicles produce--and the planet-damaging sprawl the overplanning for them engenders--but in the case I will make the rare exception and praise.

That goes to Japanese-owned carmaker Subaru. Not because it is a leader in bleeding-edge technology like hybrids, or that it makes tiny gas-miserly vehicles like its larger competitors, though its vehicles are very fuel efficient through using advanced proven technology.

Instead Subaru gets the accolade because they have built a low-environmental-footprint plant in Indiana that it is proudly advertising on TV that is a far cry from the creaking and wheezing factories belonging to the dying Big 3.

Goodbye, GM, Chrysler, Hello Green Alternatives

November 17, 2008

I live in a part of North America that is dependent on the auto industry and I am seeing it break down around me. 

Every day it seems the local media has a story on another layoff, if not of the Big 3 but of the many hundreds of firms that supply them. Every day it appears that one more factory has a For Sale or For Lease sign up. Every day one more track in the local railroad yard is taken up by a string of empty auto-rack railcars.

So I am not without sympathy to the families, indeed neighbors who are being hurt by what is happening in that industry.

America voted 'green'

November 11, 2008

Last Tuesday a majority of Americans 'voted green'. They voted for, and the Electoral College is duty-bound to select Senator Barack Obama as President, whose platform contained an extensive list of green energy and employment initiatives, along with funding for Amtrak and mass transit along with highway improvements. 

President-Elect Obama appears to be strong believer in technology, and has promised to place resources in R&D and in rural broadband. There is every reason to believe that of all the policy stances produced that he will deliver on this one, because technology delivered for him. He and his team successfully used advanced communications and marketing technology to create, mobilize, and bring on home one of the most successful grassroots-based election campaigns in modern times.

President-Elect Obama wants action on climate change but he also is seeking energy security, which according to an editorial in The (Toronto) Star may mean accepting Canada's 'dirty oil' from the Alberta tar sands in exchange for Canada adopting his tougher emissions policies.



(One wonders just how 'filthy' Alberta tar sands-derived oil really is: from source to refinery compared to shipping 'cleaner' crude from the Middle East on diesel-burning and pollutant-spewing tankers.

Going Green To L-A...To ITEXPO West

September 10, 2008


The headline above sounds like an oxymoron, given that Los Angeles has for 60 years come to represent everything brown and ugly as opposed green and bright in the environment. For "L-A" was the first city--and far from the last--to buy into the 1930s urbanist vision of dispersed sprawling communities linked by car-occupied freeways, popularized at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City.   The car and the wide, fast roads to accommodate it represented individual freedom, the escape from dirty, fetid cities into fresh countryside and wide open spaces, once the province of farmers and the elite. Unfortunately like most visions it overlooked the consequences, like smog, which began to be inflicted by cars on Los Angeles as early as the late 1940s, and traffic congestion that has proven to be impossible to build out of.   There is a plaque in the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, (also known as Union Station used by Amtrak and the Metrolink commuter rail that discusses the deliberate freewayization of Los Angeles that destroyed what was the world's greatest mass transit network, the  Pacific Electric interurbans or 'Red Cars'. This figured as a subplot in the hit animated/real action comedy film 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?'  The city also had an extensive narrow gauge urban streetcar system, which shared tracks with the Red Cars with inside rails for the trolleys.   Since the early 1990s "L-A" has been pouring money if by fits and starts into returning the 'Red Cars' now known as light rail transit or LRT, plus in subways, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit that have proven popular especially with high gas prices.

SoundBite's Sensible 'Coupons On Demand'

August 18, 2008

SoundBite Communications has a 'greensmart' solution that saves trees, which convert CO2 to oxygen among other life-providing benefits, which is reminding consumers or businesses of coupons or other rewards they are entitled to by receiving the coupon or reminder through e-mail, text messages or an automated phone call. 

By simply showing the text message, the reward could be activated at their next purchase. If someone doesn't want the promotional offer, they simply delete it. It doesn't get any easier than that, and all while reducing the consumption of paper.

Those savings are significant. According to SoundBite's PR, one tree can make almost 17 reams of paper, with a significant portion of it ending up as direct mail or bills.



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