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The World Awaits Your Green Business

Learn which industries the West Coast Green Conference recommends are ready
for your green idea.
By Bill Roth | November 25, 2008

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The West Coast Green Conference, recently held in San Jose, Calif., was a showcase of green
technology companies and the people who finance them. I came away from this conference with
three observations:

1. There's an explosion of new green products.

2. Business is booming.

3. Prices are getting competitive.

As the world yearns for fossil fuel price relief and ways to achieve lower greenhouse gas emissions,
over the next 10 years this revolution is estimated to grow into a trillion-dollar annual economy.
While much of the current focus is on energy, the fact is that carbon-based products are the
foundation of our current global economy. And that needs to change. Take cement, for example. It's
the third largest source of carbon dioxide emissions after energy and transportation, and it's a trillion-
dollar-a-year industry.
What I saw at the West Coast Green Conference was row after row of new solutions. Some saved
money and the environment through lower costs for materials. Others created benefits by reducing
energy consumption. And many products aren't yet lower in price than our traditional carbon-based
products, but they're cheaper than last year and expected to be price competitive in the coming
years.
Now is the time for entrepreneurs to look at starting a green business. Even in a down economy
consumers are looking for ways to save money. And going green is now the path for also saving
green.
So how to begin? First, start with what you know. Do you run a restaurant or construction company?
There's an explosion of new products in both of these market segments. If you're in roofing or are an
electrician, then the skills for installing roof-top solar are similar to those you use now. Solar energy's
cost is falling toward price competitiveness with utility-supplied electricity. And Congress has
extended the 30 percent investment tax credit until 2016 to those who buy and install a solar power
system; Congress also uncapped it for residential use, which previously had a $2,000 limit. If you
sell appliances, there's a flood of new energy-efficient products coming down the pipeline that will
also be "smart" by tracking utility companies' prices to determine the cheapest time to operate.
Maybe you've started looking at these products as a way to cut the cost of your business operations.
But have you considered starting a business around them? Take your existing business and turn it
into a test center for the green technologies that interest you. Get your data on how a product saves
or makes money, and then go back to the product's company and inquire about a business
relationship in which you could be a distributor or franchisee.

Maybe you have a green technology. It's a good time to raise money from venture capitalists for
green technologies. They're investing tens of billions of dollars and thirsting for the first green Google
or Microsoft-like company to evolve. They're looking for investments in energy production, energy
efficiency and smart metering appliances. They also recognize that many really good technologies
were developed in response to the 1974 OPEC oil embargo but never got to market. They're now
funding these "old" technologies, which are even more valuable now that we're experiencing higher
fuel costs and electric utilities are experiencing double-digit rate increases.
If you have a green product, the retail industry wants to go green. I heard one attendee at the
conference talk about a green fashion show in New York City. The clothing and furniture industries
are undergoing a design revolution as they explore sustainable materials and manufacturers.

Finally, one of the most heartwarming and yet hugely profitable stories I heard at the conference was
the commercial effort to bring sustainability to the "bottom of the pyramid". There are a billion people
in the world without access to clean water and people dying every day due to bad water. There's a
company called IDEO that's pioneering designs for solutions to provide the world's economically
disadvantaged with both affordable and clean water and energy.

What I took away from this conference was that if you are a person who has ideas or products that
could help the world's economically disadvantaged and our environment, then there are sources of
funding from investors, governments and nonprofits looking for your entrepreneurial solutions.

Bill is President of NCCT , a consulting firm that helps companies grow green revenue. His newest book, The Secret
Green Sauce , profiles best practices being used by successful green businesses. He has previously held roles as
senior vice president of PG&E Energy Services, president of Cleantech America (a solar power plant development
company) and COO of Texaco Ovonics Hydrogen Solutions (which launched the first hydrogen-fueled Prius).
The fatal flaw for green-tech companies
By Michael Kanellos
See all Perspectives

Related Stories

Hummers and muscle cars go green


April 9, 2007

Water wizards of the desert


August 10, 2006

Clear your mind. Now, create a mental picture around the words "energy
executive."

Then do the same around "Internet employee."


In the first example, a paunchy and nondescript image probably came to
mind: something like Dick Cheney before he became famous, an author of
management books, or that guy with the "Group 4" boarding pass who
hovers around the gate a half hour before the plane is ready to start
boarding.
The second example was probably hipness personified: the kind of people
who pay $125 to a stylist to make them look more confused and disheveled
than a finalist on Project Runway.
That quick test underscores a serious, but often unmentioned, problem with
the green-tech market. And that problem is this: it's often not going to be as
cool or lucrative as one might predict.
Why? Look at what they sell. Solar and wind companies sell equipment that
generate electricity--not exactly the sexy products that make good cocktail
conversation. And the electricity they produce functions in the same way as
electricity that comes from coal-burning power plants. The same goes
for new types of water filters or green cleaning products, which also perform
tasks that are old news. Biomass home heating systems? They're a dung fire
in disguise.
The majority of green companies, in short, sell commodities you need, but
don't desire. Your neighbors will come over to see your solar panels, but they
may only clamber up on the roof once to see them. And unless your kids
lodge a Frisbee atop the roof, you probably won't go up there either.
By contrast, the technology industry--or at least the fast-growing segments
that produce loyal customers and mint millionaire employees--has a knack
for exploiting the fetishistic tendencies of its customers. Apple CEO Steve
Jobs starts waving around a cell phone that can be operated with the swipe
of a finger, and legions of otherwise normal people camp out to get it.
Gamers hole up in empty conference rooms to play shoot-'em-up games for
48 hours straight with overclocked PCs cooled with closed chambers of
circulated mineral oil.
Four years ago, media executives and large segments of the public scoffed
at the notion that people wanted to watch home videos. YouTube now
influences the presidential race.
The more you drill down, the more you see that the acceptance and churn of
these products are divorced from any absolute need. If instant messaging
were eliminated tomorrow, civilization would be forced to revert to...to...e-
mail. You wouldn't exactly be spitting pigments around the outline of your
hand on a cave wall or sending messages by courier. People upgrade to new
electronics for many reasons, including aesthetics and "cool" factor. PCs,
game consoles, and cell phones typically go to the grinder way before they
stop functioning.
Forget planned obsolescence: this is junior high school with a credit card.
(This, in part, explains some of the wacky personalities you see in the
industry.)
Even biotech plays off this. Note how they switched from earnest speeches
from Bob Dole to sell erectile dysfunction drugs to pitching them as the
latest party drug.
Green technology does generate fervor among some individuals, but far
fewer. And to be honest, many aren't the kind of people you'd like to hang
out with anyway. Exhibit A: wearing hemp clothing or sustainable wearables
as a status symbol. Good luck trying to instill feelings of inadequacy in
someone else while wearing them.
But the picture isn't all bad. Hybrid cars are close to silent and have inspired
an army of home-grown tinkerers, similar to PC modders. All-electric sports
cars and luxury hybrids like the Fisker Karma seem to have already excited
status seekers in the U.S. and Europe. Modular, green homes tend to be far
more interesting than the average house.
There's also an undeniable chic right now around a lot of green conferences.
If you are single and can be overtly sensitive on command, you will probably
be able to successfully hit on a lot of people.
Still, for most consumers, the rewards will be abstract. I am doing my part to
reduce greenhouse gases (which will work as long as someone in China
doesn't offset it by buying a Hummer). So I can expect to enjoy lower power
bills.
But who talks about a 20 percent decline in their utility bills? The guy with
the Group 4 boarding pass. And not many people are rushing to sit next to
him on a six-hour flight.
Biography
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers
hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry
overseas. He has worked as an attorney, travel writer and sidewalk hawker
for a time share resort, among other occupations.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/The-fatal-flaw-for-green-tech-companies/2010-


13844_3-6229130.html#ixzz1Kou2wSOa
Intel Invests $10 Million in Green
Technology Companies
By Agam Shah, IDG News Jul 30, 2009 2:20 am
Intel has invested $10 million in five companies that develop technologies to reduce electricity bills
and greenhouse gas emissions in homes and data centers, the company said on Wednesday.

Intel Capital, the company's investment arm, has invested in companies that develop technology to
enable active monitoring of electricity usage. It has also invested in companies that enable better
demand and supply of energy to homes and data centers.

The investments were made by Intel as part of its Open Energy Initiative, which brings smart energy
technologies to consumers, enterprises and utilities. Intel has already invested up to $100 million in
the clean technology space, said Steve Eichenlaub, a managing director at Intel Capital, during an
event in San Francisco.

Intel has invested in U.S. companies including CPower, which focuses on smarter grids, Grid Net,
which focuses on technology going into smart meters, iControl, which focuses on home automation,
and Convey Computer, which enables on energy efficient high-performance computing. Intel Capital
has also invested in Irish company Powervation, which focuses on digital power control.

Intel is also partnering with utilities on smart grid pilots, Eichenlaub said.
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GREEN TECHNOLOGY
With rising energy costs and the threat of global warming, many businesses are now recognizing
the benefits of using green technology to reduce their carbon footprint and to minimize waste.
The Green Technology World community provides free resources pertinent to all businesses
interested in reducing their impact on the environment.

Here you’ll find green technology industry news, blogs, feature articles, videos and more. Use
these tools to educate yourself and stay current with what’s happening in green technology.
Top Green Companies 2010
By Eco Warrior Chick [13 more lists]
10 items7056 views 3

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MODIFIED: SEP 07 2010

2010's Top green companies: This is a list of top green companies that do what they can to limit their impact on our
environment by using green technologies. They are green companies- for adapting eco-friendly resources and
techniques. Mostly by using recycled products, bio degradable resources and simple strategies, these are ranked as
the best green companies 2010. With the success of these companies, we see more companies going green now
than before. Courtesy: www.forbes.com/2010/04/26/america-greenest-companies-business-energy-green-
companies_slide.html
BLOG VIEW

• TAGS:
• BUSINESS,
• COMPANIES,
• 2010,
• GREEN,
• JOBS
Rank

Name

Discussion

Industry

Founder(s)

Place Founded

1. 1

Intel Corporation
COMMENT
Semiconductor
Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore

2. 2
Kohl's
COMMENT
Retail, Department Stores

3. 3

Whole Foods Market


COMMENTS (1)
Austin

4. 4

Dell
COMMENT
Technology, Computer hardware, Computer
Michael S. Dell
Austin

5. 5

Johnson & Johnson


COMMENTS (1)
Pharmaceutical Preparations, Health care, Pharmaceutical company, Toiletries
Edward Mead Johnson, James Wood Johnson, Robert Wood Johnson I

6. 6
Cisco Systems
COMMENT
Optical Networks Equipment, Telecom Equipment Vendor
Sandy Lerner, Len Bosack
San Francisco

7. 7

Wal-Mart
COMMENT
Retail, Department Stores, Variety Stores
Sam Walton
Rogers

8. 8

Starbucks
COMMENT
Cafe / Coffee Shop, Retail, Tea, Coffee, Beverages, Entertainment, Restaurant
Howard Schultz
Pike Place Market

9. 9

BNY Mellon
COMMENT

10.10
Kimberly-Clark
COMMENT
Manufacturing, Uncoated Paper and Multiwall Bag Manufacturing, Packaging Paper and Plastics Film, Coated and
Laminated, Coated and Laminated Paper, NEC, Plastics, Foil, and Coated Paper Bags, Die-Cut Paper and Paperboard and
Cardboard, Converted Paper and Paperboard Products, NEC, Envelope Manufacturing, Paper, Sanitary Paper Products,
Stationery, Tablet, and Related Product Manufacturing
Neenah