Green Building

May 10th, 2011

My Plan to Make A Building More Profitable and Use 75% Less Energy from Day 1


Inspiration is funny sometimes. You never know when you’re going to take something you’ve glanced by in the past and combine it with an experience you’ve had in the present to form a new idea.

About two years ago, I watched this video.

I didn’t think much of it. I like how Tom framed the issue, his argument, the use of existing technologies and the tone of practicality he used when speaking. I always liked the idea of reducing a buildings energy use by 75%, the amount the world needs to reduce it’s carbon emissions to side step mass casualty, because it is more profitable for the building owner to do so.

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March 30th, 2011

Carbon Offsets: An Unearthed Treasure or Pain in the Asset?


It’s like driving a car, attempting to follow a complicated map with no straightforward directions: so frustrating! Then along comes the modern day GPS system that is easy to use; you enter data and it spits out your destination. Easy as pie.

This is the analogy that Tom Kineshanko gave, when describing his company’s carbon offset identification and monetization software platform, a tool called OffsetID. Habitat Carbon Assets, founded two years ago in Vancouver, British Columbia, is on a mission to help Cleantech sellers benefit from carbon offset revenue from the sale of their technology.

Like all of his life’s work– Kineshanko is also involved with several other clean energy nonprofits– Habitat’s overall mission is to decrease carbon emissions quickly, by encouraging more and more businesses to transition over to clean energy fuel.

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September 27th, 2010

The Ups And Downs of Renewable Energy in Connecticut


“What’s the latest cleantech news from Connecticut?”

This past week I asked that question to a lot of smart people on my trip to Connecticut.  I attended three events in three days: 1) a Solar Connecticut member meeting, 2) a Solar PV certification training, and 3) a Geothermal heat pump certification course.  Here’s what I heard:

  • Last year a comprehensive energy bill passed the state house and senate, only to be vetoed by Governor Jody Rell because her advisers told her it would cost too much.  The bill would have been a huge win for the solar industry, so the group is watching to see who the new Governor is.  The group resolved to pass something in the coming year.

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August 12th, 2010

Home Energy Efficiency: The Bitter Taste of Low Hanging Fruit


I love running a business for contractors and building practitioners because I’m awed by what they do.  It’s like magic to me.  Have you ever tried to do a home improvement project for yourself?  Unless you have the training and experience, it takes forever – you’ve got to be really motivated.  It turns out the ‘low hanging fruit’ of energy efficiency is much the same story.

Inspired by the eloquent presenters at the GLD Cleantech Kingpins event on July 22nd, I decided to implement some much-needed energy efficiency measures on my own house.   First I invited my neighbor, a BPI certified auditor, to come over with his blower door and duct blaster to find the issues.  We discovered my house has a decent envelope but leaky ducts.  So air sealing and insulating the ductwork was job #1.  Seemed simple enough. + Continue Reading

June 4th, 2010

The Green Jobs Bubble: Why the Coming Backlash Is a Good Thing


There’s going to be a Green Jobs backlash.  There…I said it. The manufacturing plant that closed up the road can’t be re-tooled over the course of eighteen months to magically employ the same number of people doing mythical ‘green’ things.  Promising this to a community or a person that has been laid off is a recipe for disappointment and resentment and I expect some of those unrealistic promises will come back to bite people who made big promises.  That’s the bad news – take some time to mourn the loss if you need it.

Once we get over that fact, we can move on to the good news: companies are hiring and there are more opportunities in renewables and energy efficiency than ever.  The Great Recession that we’re either emerging from or still buried in has caused an subtle paradigm shift in employment in the construction industry that is not that complicated to understand once you see it.  Consumer preferences are changing but companies are risk adverse, so there’s more contract work, lots of temporary positions, and entrepreneurship is a necessary option sometimes.  The opportunities are there, they just aren’t packaged with a corner office and a pension.

I know many people who have gotten green jobs and there will be many, many more in the months and years ahead.  So lets not let the inevitable Green Jobs backlash distract us from the exciting changes that are slowly but surely taking place.