Tech & The District » sustainability Tech the way we see it: insights and musings on technology PR, policy and the District, from H&K’s D.C. Tech Team. Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:06:44 +0000 en hourly 1 William McDonough at Fortune Green: “Zero Emissions not Enough” Fri, 16 Apr 2010 20:00:55 +0000 Andrew Cuneo LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA – “Being less bad doesn’t mean you’re being good. It means you’re being bad, just less so.”  – William McDonough


On the final day of the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference, author and world-renowned architect Bill McDonough had many in the audience pondering whether what their respective companies were doing in the sustainability space was good, or just less bad. Speaking to a packed room at the Ritz-Carlton, McDonough pointed out the importance of being good – doing things that proactively benefit the environment, instead of simply slowing down the polluting.


“If our goal is to wipe out the lower end of the food chain…we’re doing a great job.”


McDonough helps many companies, including Ford Motor Company, discover ways to improve their surrounding environment. A black & white photograph of Ford’s River Rouge factory in Dearborn, MI, which McDonough playfully labeled as already being in color, showed elements Ford already put into play. With the help of McDonough’s team, Ford built a “green roof” by planting grass. In doing so, Ford created an ecosystem on its own and made not just less of a negative impact, but a very positive one.


His message was received by all in the audience. For me, I use the golf analogy. Some courses ask you to replace your divot by walking up the fairway, picking up the dead grass and popping it back into its original spot.  Using this analogy, McDonough is suggesting replacing the divot with new grass seed.


From a technology standpoint, it’s about creating laptops, TVs, mobile devices that have less of an impact when recycled. By removing the toxic lead material from each appliance and reusing those materials, coupled with creating technology that can actually benefit the environment when recycled, we not only replace our divot, but we do so with grass seed. 


McDonough captured this in one final quote:  “We don’t want zero emissions, we want positive emissions.”


Sounds like the right strategy to me.


* Hill & Knowlton works with Ford Motor Company

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A Federal Wager in Clean Tech Wed, 24 Mar 2010 16:05:08 +0000 Andrew Cuneo While the rest of the economy attempts to find its footing, there is an industry that continues to take big steps – clean energy development.


CleanEdge, a research firm which specializes in clean technology, released its annual Clean Energy Trends report last week and found that amidst the chaos of the current recession, 2009 proved to be a very successful year in the clean technology and energy production. Recent numbers from the report reveal three spaces – solar photovoltaics (PV), wind power, and biofuels – which successfully jumped a combined 11.4 percent in revenue from 2008 numbers. This will certainly grow.  In fact, CleanEdge predicts that by 2019, the clean energy production industry will be a $325.9 billion business.


Climate change has been at or near the top of Washington’s agenda over the last year. And the expectation is that this will remain a priority in the months ahead. That said, steps are already being taken that can lead us down a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly path.


President Barack Obama has issued the challenge to the federal government to reduce carbon emissions by 28 percent by 2020. A likely result of this challenge is the investment in more clean technologies aimed at reducing the nation’s environmental footprint.  Expect to see renewable energy solutions such as solar and wind power at the top, and likely more use of nuclear power, natural gas and perhaps even clean coal as well.


The Recovery Act put forth by the current administration issued $5.4 billion in funding to small companies, including 26 that reside in the clean-tech space. The Department of Energy recently released a report highlighting where, within the clean tech market, the money was distributed. A vast array of clean energy efforts, such as wind, solar and biofuels, were aided by the Act.  In addition to energy sources, critical new infrastructure like Smart Grid, advanced batteries, energy storage, energy efficiency tools and even companies working to clean our transportation industry, were also funded. 


This is an exciting time to be in the clean tech and clean energy space. We’re going to see more innovation leading to a cleaner, brighter future for the U.S. and the world. Clean technology, perhaps once considered a “nice to have” has turned into a lucrative AND essential sector for us moving forward. 


What do you see as being the next new clean technology innovation?


Hill & Knowlton works with several members of the clean technology and clean energy industries including TRIRIGA, Better Place, America’s Natural Gas Alliance and NEI.

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