Category Archives: Articles

Why I like Sun Microsystems

Just found this article about Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy of which Sun Microsystems is member as is Starbucks and Levis.  Essentially it is a business lobby that wants to be included in the Obama administration’s discussion on climate change. Sun, according to this article (BICEP want to flex on climat change) wants to see a national energy efficiency goals for all utilities.

Yes, Sun has struggled for many years but the savings Sun has afforded cities by keeping its employees off the roads at critical rush-hour times has never been fully recognized nor acknowledged.  There’s still a way to go but with Sun’s strategy for green data centers and the way they continue to innovate, Sun is destined to emerge as a key player in this new, green economy.

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Boulder Trailer Wrap Gets Into Dwell

There is a micro-write-up about the Boulder Trailer Wrap in this month's Dwell. The whole concept behind the Boulder project is to provide affordable housing and renovate often times leaky and old trailers making them more energy efficient.  I walk by this one all the time and I don't know that anyone has actually moved into it. It's in a pretty good location, right near the bike path and about a 10 minute walk to down-town.

I remember speaking with someone from CU about the project and I can't quite remember how successful it has been in Boulder. It's a great idea but I wonder how feasible it would be without donated labor and materials.   

Environmental Jobs Surpass IT Jobs

I have thought and maybe said a few time that the impact of new environmental jobs will surpass those of  IT.  But I think it goes beyond that idea of numbers to suggest that the greening of our industries and lives will have a much greater impact on our daily lives than the internet. I also think the reach of this environmental trend could not have been as successful without IT; it's almost like we needed the maturing  presence of the Web to both fully realize the scope of the environmental issues we face and to have the powerful tools we will need to address the problem.

First off, I think Thomas Friedman is a great writer and thinker and I look forward to reading his op-ed pieces every Wed. and Sunday. He is a bit of a downer but then he is probably witness to more than I sitting here in Boulder, Colorado.  Nevertheless, here is quote from his most recent piece – And then there was one:

Because renewable energy technologies — what I call “E.T.” — are
going to constitute the next great global industry. They will rival and
probably surpass “I.T.” — information technology. The country that
spawns the most E.T. companies will enjoy more economic power,
strategic advantage and rising standards of living. We need to make
sure that is America. Big oil and OPEC want to make sure it is not.

I couldn't agree more…

Update on the SmartGrid City

This is a bit of old news (from the Daily Camera) but the University of Colorado’s chancellor now has a smarthouse as they are the first to be hooked up to Xcel energy’s new smart grid. Xcel's smart grid monitors how much power their house is drawing, which is something the standard grid can't do. The article goes over what the smart grid can do, which is really pretty cool. I didn't realize you'll be able to change the temparture of individual rooms with it but maybe I didn't fully understand.

What was also interesting from the article are the posts in response. People are concerned that this promotes consumption over conservation, issues or privacy and, of course, cost. There are probably lots of issues some known, others unforseen and unimagined that will bubble to the surface but that is an issue for any new technology.

I wonder if we'll see (at some point) competitions between neighborhoods, schools, cities or counties on who can consume less. Or if renewables like solar will be included in the development of smart grids? And will this virtual idea of smart grids extend to another idea like the virtual neighborhood, where I join a virtual zip code of like-minded people all striving to be net-zero. And how will the definiton of off-the-grid change?  

Denver Green Energy

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Great article in the November issue of 5280; the article is called "Re-Energized" and provides a concise review of the different energy resources Colorado produces from coal to wind to natural gas. The only piece of information I am not quite certain about is the assertion that wind energy is not viable for an average home due to cost. We have gone 100% wind energy and have not seen a big increase in our monthly bill.  There is a surcharge amount, which I will check on but I don’t think it’s much more than a Mocha Frappucino with whip.

Building Green – Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design programme (LEED)

Unbelievable. An article in the Economist mentions both Austin and San Antonio as having their own green-building rating system. I can understand Austin but San Antonio. I am stunned and I am also kind of pleased that an area of environmental need, which I believed to be critical to controlling our carbon emissions is turning into a "craze, with American business competing with each other to be greener".  So, stunned and pleased.

It’s always a warm-fuzzy to hear about the home town doing good.

Function and Abstinence

Been out on vakay and just returned…

The title of this entry "Function and Abstinence" sounds like a page from a high school sex ed class but it is actually a great phrase I read while reading Green Posturing.  I was on the on the psfk.com site reading about the direction in which the green trend is moving and thought the author summed up a very valid and probably less-sexy view of living an eco-responsible life. Consuming less and better utilizing the items we buy. What’s the point of buying organic-cotton blue jeans, if the energy to make them exceeded the amount used to make a regular pair of jeans. And what’s the point of buying the jeans anyway until I have lost that weight. (Oh, side note)

The blog entry points to a New Yorker article called Greener Postures and reviews some of the ways the hip and trendy are showcasing their green credentials. One of the examples is an oil-drum coffee table, followed by a hand-cranking washing machine bucket. Now the article suggests that maybe this hype and the flow of cash is not so bad but I am more inclined to agree with the blogger, who I think is Piers Fawkes. Of course, I think this whole idea of consuming less and using the items we buy great, so long as what we have purchased is actually well-made and can stand up to the rigors of being used and used a lot.

While I am on the subject of green consumption, a new fair-trade boutique is coming to Boulder. Called Momentum,  according to their Web site they strive to promote local artisans and fair trade practices.  The shop is not open yet but here is a pic of the front of their store Img_03731