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News & Views Curation

July 31, 2007

Through The Grist Mill 2

How would President Edwards face the climate change challenge? Get the interview

Decoupling Power

This one's for wonks. Read the NYS Public Service Commission order for proposals to decouple utility rates from electricity and gas consumption. Sexy, no, significant, yes. Just click

Apollo's New "New Deal"

At a NYS Apollo Alliance Energy Summit, a call for a national energy transition rang out. New! Now!

Obrigado, Brasil!

Seeing climate impacts at home, Brazil considers curbing carbon emissions. Look into it

Capital Climate Options

Delve into the latest Washington climate developments. Your choice

The Green Manufacturing Scene

The Cost of Going Green
In a May, 2007 article in Industry Week, Jonathan Katz reported that U.S. manufacturers are shouldering almost two-thirds of the expense of complying with new green regulations, at an average cost of $4,850 per employee.

The risks of going green can create challenges but they can also be rewarding. Companies that seize the initiative and implement new processes or develop green products will quickly gain competitive advantage while controlling their costs. Manufacturing industry expert, Nabil Nasr, Director of the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology recommends a strategy of embracing green technology as a marketing advantage and warns against simply “chasing compliance.”

The Economic Advantages of Going Green
Market development strengthens the economy and delivering new green products to new green markets is no exception. Job creation fosters economic growth and an investment in green manufacturing is therefore an investment in our economy. Right now, New York City, government is funding a series of initiatives to support the growth of an environmentally friendly building industry and economic development organizations are helping local firms to adapt to an emerging business opportunity. Spec It Green: The Contractor’s Advantage is a series of workshops designed specifically for building professionals sponsored by the New York City Council and hosted by two economic development groups, the Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation (ITAC) and the New York Industrial Retention Network (NYIRN). The series has helped local contractors better understand and manage sustainability issues. It has also created a community of small manufacturers who are sharing their knowledge and experience as they pioneer new manufacturing techniques. Some have developed new green products together and others have worked together to become suppliers or distributors of these new products.

Because going green affects everything — the development of products, processes and materials — it can be very challenging for small companies. At the same time, market changes are creating unprecedented opportunity. Companies that know they need to adapt quickly and are able to seek help to support their efforts, can develop innovative green products and dramatically increase business.

One example of an early green adaptor is Visual Graphic Systems, a manufacturer of architectural and food service signage. The company’s CEO, Joyce Healy, had been exposed to green manufacturing at a breakfast presentation a year ago. At about the same time, some progressive clients started asking questions about environmentally friendly products. In order to change the thinking and product approach of the staff, Joyce asked ITAC to create and deliver a series of workshops in the plant. ITAC, with Jacquie Ottman, principal organizer of Design Green the Eco-Design Educational Initiative and author of Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation, jointly trained 20 VGS staffers, from sales reps to the paint and printing plant supervisors, in two four-hour sessions with homework in between.

One homework assignment was to determine the environmental impact of one of the company’s products and report back on it the following week. This exercise gave attendees a better sense of the impact they could have on the environment and generated lots of enthusiasm. Subsequently, VGS implemented a recycling program that increased their recycling rate to a dramatic 80% in a single month! They have also started their own sustainable materials “library,” making information about green materials readily available to their designers; and, they have begun to improve the way they package products for shipping, reducing their amount of material waste.

Several custom projects for large clients are now underway and the design team has already developed a new brochure to market a green product line. “Going green made sense environmentally but it also made sense economically,” says Healy. “It’s a great bonus to create a competitive advantage while doing the right thing.”

Resources for Local Manufacturers
Many resources—both government and private—are available to companies who want to reduce their environmental footprint and/or develop green processes or product lines. Too often, however, companies in need of these resources aren’t aware that they exist or don’t know how to access them. Navigating through this complex maze of loans, grants, tax incentives, research partnerships and access to product analysis and testing isn’t easy. What small companies need is a way in.

These local businesses need special matchmakers, connecting them to the resources they require to become more environmentally friendly or to respond to other market changes. Economic development organizations with an eye on green growth can provide access to this information and can also act as advocates for small businesses because they are intimately involved with these companies and their markets. Whether a company needs material testing, process improvement, waste management, recycling assistance or product planning—whether it needs to identify new markets, purchase machinery or solve a technical problem, assistance is available. Often, this help is government subsidized or provided at very reasonable rates by organizations that exist to ensure that small businesses survive and thrive.

Sara Garretson is the President of Industrial and Technical Assistance Corporation (ITAC), serving small business in NYC since 1987.

Solar Solutions

Take one California desert, add Israeli solar technology. Stir well. Plug in

July 30, 2007

Through the Grist Mill

How would President Obama face the climate change challenge? Get the interview

The Minnesota Model

See our future in the Minnesota affordable, high performance housing vision. Sustain that [2.4MB]

July 28, 2007

I'll Vote For ....!

"What will happen when the canvas bag-toting, hybrid car-driving, "green" credit-card-wielding (GE just announced a card with carbon footprint-reducing rewards) consumer goes to the polls?" What!

July 27, 2007

Hot Times At Heathrow

BAA, Britain's largest airport operator seeks to derail a climate protest at Heathrow. That's inconvenient

BOMA Beefs Up High Performance

BOMA, the trade organization of NYC's biggest real estate, announces a seven point plan to save energy and slash greenhouse gases. Go BO!

Keeping Up With Congress

The 110th Congress has a number of climate bills in circulation. Compare and contrast


Despite Senate action on fuel efficiency standards, the auto industry is banking on the House to block new legislation. Wake up

July 26, 2007

O No! Ozone

Scietists find that ground-level ozone, which comes from buring fossil fuel, damages the power of plants to absorb CO2. Watch out

High-Performance Low-Cost Housing

It may not be easy being green and affordable, but it's starting to catch on. Look into it

How Cool Is That!

Modern skyscrapers save energy by using ice to keep cool. Chill

July 25, 2007

Electric Tide

On vacation at the beach? Look at an overlooked source of clean power. Wave

July 24, 2007

Platinum Green in Queens

Hoping for the highest LEED rating, the Queens Botanic Gardens leads the way. Tour it

Forests Save The Day!

Since forests "sink" so much carbon, they're on the front line of climate control efforts. Go Maine

Stormy Weather

Scientists find shifts in rainfall patterns caused by climate change. Read more

July 23, 2007

New Urban Climate Research Website

Half the world's people now live in cities. So, now's the time to tour a new web site dedicated to cities and climate change research. Learn more

Put Your Other Best Foot Forward

Check out this energy-active site for all kinds of energy ideas. Step up

EU Green Tax Talk

England and France want the EU to cut consumption taxes on climate-friendly products. Stay tuned(Restricted access)

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Thinking about shrinking your carbon footprint? Check out this information-packed New York State energy assistance site. Click

July 20, 2007

Change The Corporate Climate

Effective corporate action on energy efficient building demands both leadership and the right organization. Create demand

July 19, 2007

Congestion Bulletin!!!

Albany leaders strike a congestion pricing deal for NYC. But will Washington buy it? Stay tuned

Here To Stay

What will sustainability trends means for valuing properties and portfolios? Invest some time

The Funny Pages

Follow the adventures of Phin, the Flex-Fuel superhero. Episode 1

Pollution Prevention

A revolution in industrial processes must be at the forefront of combating climate change. No excuses

Thinking Out Loud

Follow this comment thread about a high performance building slide show. Listen up

July 18, 2007

Low Flow For The Po

Italian food production is at risk due to decreased rain and snow to sustain this vital river. Read on

Carbon News

Keep up with the latest carbon developments at the state and federal levels. It's a snap

US Beats Europe On New Renewables

If renewable energy is an essential climate change tool, why is Europe lagging? Priceless!(Restricted access)

Who's Who

Finally, you can find out who sat on VP Cheney's 2001 Energy Policy Task Force. No surprises

July 16, 2007

The Answer's In The Ice

The potential threat of sea-level rise depends on the behavior of polar ice-sheets, but they're a mystery. Find out more

Mind The Gap

A draft US petroleum industry report finds that global oil demand is outstripping supply and enhanced energy efficiency is part of the answer. WSJ (subscribers only)

Smarter Products Mean Good Green Jobs

Improved PV would mean competitive products and good job growth at home, but the financial backing isn't there. .01% is no solution

Congestion Pricing-Deep Debate

A congestion pricing advocate spurs serious responses. Think hard

July 14, 2007

London Looks At Itself

Once every four years, London reports on the state of it's environment. A big step toward evidence-based policy. Cheers

Call For Carbon Tax

Read the Detroit Free Press editorial that supports a carbon tax. 50 cents/gallon

July 13, 2007

Farming In The Hudson

Built in NYC and launched in May, the Science Barge project practices sustainable urban farming and welcomes research partners. Hoe-Hoe!

Straws In The Wind

A new straw poll finds presidential-hopeful John Edwards the climate warrior winner. Surprised?

India: Current Carbon Facts

The world's second largest nation looks at its carbon footprint. It's big

China's Carbon Struggle

Although China's central bank plans easier credit for environmentally-friendly projects, the world's fastest growing economy isn't making the grade on cutting energy use. Look into it

How Green Is Brown?

How will the environmental profile of the new UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown measure up with Tony Blair's? Work in progress

Just For Fun

Enjoy this gem of a video about NYC's greatest liqud asset - it's H2O. Drink up

July 12, 2007

Who Gets What

The operation and rationale for allocating carbon emissions allowances stirs up debate. Join in

Solar? Sure!

Japan's Sunshine solar program is a winner. Take note

No Regrets

How much we should invest now to minimize climate change and consider the cost of delay? Think hard

July 11, 2007

There Goes The Sun

Science debunks claims that the sun or cosmic rays cause climate change. Case closed

Florida To Cap Carbon

Joining a parade of states, Florida will lead the southeast with its carbon cap and trade program. Follow this

Split Greens

Environmentalists are divided over a Senate climate change proposal that has some labor and business support. The latest

July 10, 2007

The 33 Megawatt Solution

Trying to avoid summertime system overloads, Con Ed is looking for serious energy-saving customers. That's chill

Sticker Shock For Power Plants

In an era of booming global energy demand, construction costs are soaring for everything from concrete to copper and its jolting the industry. Plug in

Your Mother Should Know

The "greatest generation" of the 1940's ate locally-grown produce, got cash for trash and carpooled. Study up

Running Toward Empty

The International Energy Agency issues a bleak assessment of global supply and demand for oil. Crunch [Subscription required]

Tunnel Visions

Mayor may reconsider his view on a cross-harbor rail freight tunnel. Less truckin'?

July 09, 2007

Power Merger

KeySpan and National Grid move one step closer to an $11.8 billion merger. Rate that

From High Tech to Green Tech

A potent mix of government rules and greenbacks could make California the next green tech giant. Go! Go!

The Carbon tax Debate Heats Up

Fearing that carbon taxes would impose "radical changes in lifestyles" while conceding that a "tax shock" is a powerful motivator, the editorial pages weigh in. Take note

July 07, 2007

More & Less

153 global companies pledge to fight climate change by increasing energy efficiency and reducing the carbon in their products, processes and services. Here's why

The Ampere Strikes Back

What a title! By 2020, nearly half of your home's electricity will be gobbled up by electronic gadgets. Stop slurping

July 06, 2007

Havana Highlights

Representatives from thirty countries gathered in Havana Cuba to consider climate change and other top environmental challenges. Hola

The Big Squeeze

Extracting oil from coal, sand or shale has a big carbon footprint. Feel pressed?

Denver Nixes Green Home Improvments

Saying that now is not the time, Denver's mayor rejects a call for homeowners to make green upgrades before selling their real estate. If not now, when?

It's A Hot Comodity

The London-based ETS carbon market is starting to hit its stride. Read up

Congestion Pricing-The Global VIew

Think globally, act locally is the take away message of this NYC congestion pricing advocate. Now's the time

July 05, 2007

Aim Higher

Germany aims to get 45% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030. Plug in

Control Yourself

Multinational firms starting to seek global regulations and getting the benefits. Who's in control?

July 04, 2007

How To End Run Harry & Louise

Economists knows that carbon must be priced right to fight climate change. But polls show that US voters are senstive to energy costs. Here's a forward path. Invest strategically

Why Chemistry is Central To Energy

Chemistry can make better biofuels by understanding how to re-engineer photosynthesis. Brain power!

In Case You Missed It

Last year, William Nordhaus delved deeply into the Kyoto Protocol's conceptual problems and concluded that price-type instruments are needed to combat climate change. Catch up

July 03, 2007

Getting To Yes

Greening gains clout in top corporate management. Hail to the chiefs

Canada Should Price Carbon

Whether by cap & trade or taxes, a Canadian government panel urges action now to slash emissions. Cost it out

Decongestion Remedy

Price the streets-use programmable parking meters-solve congestion. Greenwood letter-to-the-editor

Changed Climate Or WIndow Dressing?

Global bank HSBC hires Sir Nichloas Stern as special climate change advisor to strategize on emerging markets. Read more

July 02, 2007

What's The Score?

New York ranked seventh for energy efficiency in the nation based on the eight part ACEEE scorecard. While the Empire State did well overall, it came in fifteenth for utility spending on energy efficiency and its building codes didn't shine. It adds up

Fighting Pollution & Poverty

By voting for the Green Jobs Act of 2007, a House committee supports both the future of green, clean work and the Apollo Alliance agenda. Read more

Waltzing Around

Here's the summary of Albany's environmental legislative dance card. Small steps

Old King Coal

The American coal industry feels the climate heat and retaliates. Dig in

Dutch Greens Bank On It

Bank customers in Holland seek changes in the nation's financial climate. Look at the numbers