Sunday, September 21, 2008

Greening Your Office

Just ran across this useful site from Energy Star. Most of the tips are things you already know: use power strips, turn stuff off when not in use, etc. The most useful suggestion is starting a Green Team. It's missing a lot of other useful tips like: encouraging employees to carpool/bike/walk/take public transportation, ensure maintenance use eco-friendly cleaning products, etc. But that's probably because it's Energy Star and all they're concerned with is energy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Theme for Next Networking Event: Bring Your Creativity

I've been asked a few times what the theme will be for the next event. After a bit of thinking I decided that while it's great to have themes about particular industries and gets people thinking of new ideas, it would be really great if we could puts all of those great ideas together and create some value to share with everyone. As my emails note the primary intention of the events is to bring together a wide range of minds. That wide range of experience and knowledge can lead to a wonderfully wide range of ideas. So we will try something new: brainstorming.

Here's what I have in mind. While the regular interactive networking is going on, I will have poster boards or something for capturing ideas. We'll set a new topic each month to address and ask everyone to contribute some ideas. So for the first month we'll do something easy, "tips on how to make businesses more green." With two to three dozen diverse people we can easily come up with a list of 100 or more ideas.

This of course won't take away from the regular networking since the brainstorming will be mostly silent (like a silent auction). And since one of my areas of research expertise is creativity, especially in groups, I can take some time in a separate room to facilitate a more interactive brainstorming session if needed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Apple Improving

Since I've knocked Apple a bit in the past, it's only fair to report on positive moves they make. The latest Nano appears to be an improvement. The story over at says that they've eliminated PVC, mercury and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and are using arsenic-free glass. What it doesn't say is that you probably still can't replace batteries yourself or do any kind of low cost repair, essentially making them disposable products. At least they are more recyclable: "Jobs said the new Nano is also highly recyclable due to its aluminum and glass content."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Got a Great Green Idea?

There is a new contest being sponsored by the folks that run the X Prize. Submit a video to YouTube of your best/most creative/craziest green idea and maybe win $25,000.
Here are the basic rules:
1. Submit a 2 minute video to this group by October 31, 2008 explaining what you think should be the next Energy and Environment X PRIZE:
2. We'll post the three most viable ideas to on November 15.
3. The public will be given two weeks to vote for the winner on
The most creative, revolutionary idea and video will receive $25,000 and could become the next great X PRIZE!

Be sure that your video answers the following questions:

1. What is the Grand Challenge or world-wide problem that you are trying to solve?
2. What is the specific prize idea (goal, rules, judging criteria)?
3. How will this prize lead to benefits for humanity?
More information is available at YouTube.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Better Know a Lowcountry Green Business - Southeast BioDiesel

Southeast BioDiesel,, is a relatively new company to the area, launching in 2006 by Jim Thompson and Dean Schmelter. They are up in the Noisette area in North Charleston. You won't find their product widely available however, local retailers haven't bought into the idea...yet. There is one gas station in North Charleston, but I don't recall which one. Local shrimpers have been using their product and I understand that they really like how clean it burns compared to the noxious exhaust from petro-diesel.

Besides being a "clean tech" industry, what makes them green? Unlike many other biodiesel producers that use soybeans, SEBD uses rendered poultry fat - a waste product. On top of that their plant was built with plenty of environmental benefits - for example: a lot of reused/repurposed materials including the buidling itself and wise use/reuse of water and rain leading to having no sewege. In fact, the plant is really cool to check out. They seem to like giving tours (I've taken the tour twice), so get in touch with them if you want to see it. I should mention that I know so much about SEBD because Jim and Dean have been kind enough to speak to and work with my students on several occasions - they are true friends of the College.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Feature - Real Charleston Green Businesses

Over the past year I've come to know many green businesses in the area, and new ones keep popping up on my radar daily. In the past I've mentioned them here and there in posts, but now in the tradition of Stephen Colbert's "Better Know a District/Lobbyist" I will begin a new feature in which I will devote a weekly post entirely to one company. I'll begin with the companies that I know best or are "hot" right now for one reason or another. If you have a company and you would like me to feature it just let me know about it.