Green Business: Empire State Bldg. Gets Green Makeover

Let’s just start calling NYC the Green Apple.

Move over all you shiny new LEED-certified buildings.

There’s a new retrofit in town proving that some things just get better with age.

Like an 81-year old Art Deco landmark.

Sixty-five hundred new windows later (all built on site, how’s that for a short supply chain?), and a whole lot of other upgrades, the Empire State Building is now a case study for successful green retrofitting.


Empire State Building Saves $2.4 Million in Energy Costs After Retrofit

One year after the large-scale retrofitting project was completed, the Empire State Building has surpassed expectations and saved $2.4 million in energy costs. The building saved an estimated 4,000 metric tons of carbon, the equivalent carbon offset of a 750-acre pine forest.

The series of efficiency measures were accomplished through a partnership of the Clinton Climate Initiative, the building owners and a group of organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute.

See that? Another multi-player partnership.

And what’s more, this project demonstrates ongoing potential for urban green retrofit projects.

According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, buildings are responsible for 40 percent of energy consumed in the U.S. In large cities like New York, commercial buildings make up 75 percent of energy used, meaning retrofit projects can have an even bigger impact. If every commercial building in New York City took on the upgrades that the Empire State Building has, carbon emissions would be reduced by 4 million tons – the equivalent of a typical coal-fired power plant.

Big fish make big waves. When large-scale properties like skyscrapers get greener, they reap huge cost, energy and carbon emission savings that benefit all of us.



Green Business: Turning Climate Change Into Cash

Entrepreneurs see opportunity where others see problems.

Here’s a fascinating multi-part review of a new book called Cold Cash, Cool Climate: Science-based Advice for Ecological Entrepreneurs.

The book offers inspiration and science-backed steps for making the world a better place while making money.


Cold Cash, Cool Climate: Science-based Advice for Ecological Entrepreneurs

For those who profess to acknowledge climate science but are nevertheless bearish on renewables because they claim wind and solar can’t replace fossil fuels in time to avert catastrophic climate change, Koomey offers informed optimism – and lays out a path for transition within the short and medium term.


Green Business: 4 Fresh Ways to Green Your Workplace

Don’t use styrofoam cups. Blah blah blah.

We’ve all heard the tired advice about photocopying on both sides and bringing our own mug to work.


But since most of us spend more of our waking hours at work than at home, it  does matter.

Here’s a fresh quartet of greener workplace ideas, and the links to put them into action.


4 Ways to Embed Sustainability at Work–and Challenge your Boss!

I don’t have to tell you that greening your workplace takes more than just a potted plant and a recycling drive.

Think more full-on Energy Audit. But all positive steps count.

Green Blueprint: Link Exec Pay to Sustainability

Tie compensation to performance.

Recompense to reward.



Intel, Xcel Energy, Alcoa Among US Companies Linking Exec Pay to Sustainability
Intel, Xcel Energy, Alcoa, ING, National Grid, Shell, and Suncor Energy are among the US companies tying executive compensation to sustainability performance, according to a report from The Conference Board.

The report, “Linking Executive Compensation to Sustainability Performance,” says shareholders are placing more value on corporate sustainability initiatives, and are becoming increasingly interested in linking such performance to executives’ compensation.

Green Business: Proving the Business Case to Wall St.

Follow the money.

Connect the dots.

Companies that think about how to be better today and are gearing up to be  ready for tomorrow are…more profitable.

That’s just good business.

This article presents evidence that Wall St. analysts are coming on board to Sustainability as a profitable business mindset.


Is Wall Street Beginning to ‘Get’ Sustainability?

Fortunately, however, evidence is emerging, not only that firms with highly visible and authentic CSR/sustainability programs actually perform better in financial terms than others (see Green Winners), but that analysts and bankers are slowly recognizing that these firms are deriving clear competitive advantage and tangible financial benefit from pursuing sustainability-based strategies.

… A rigorous academic study conducted by faculty members at the Harvard and London Business Schools. The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Investment Recommendations suggests that analysts have gone from believing a few years ago that a focus on CSR and sustainability was a net negative influence on financial performance to believing now that the reverse is true, and are factoring it into their investment recommendations accordingly.


Green Government: NJ Dump Gets New Life as Solar Farm

New Jersey’s newest solar farm is located on a 13-acre closed landfill in Kearny. From fallow to flourishing, the site is expected to power 500 homes.

A key success here in my mind–and hopefully a model for future development–is that this project required a lot of people with their own agendas and motivations to work together. It could not have been easy to coordinate this first-in-class project between a state-regulated public utility (PSE&G), a joint government/business  commission, private industry, and state government officials.

Via and Tom Johnson’s reporting:

New Jersey’s Newest Solar Farm Is a Real Dump

Large-scale solar project built on former landfill in Meadowlands produces enough power for up to 500 homes

Public Service Electric & Gas and others yesterday dedicated a new 3-megawatt solar farm on 13 acres of the former landfill, producing enough electricity to power up to 500 homes.

The $17.8 million solar farm project, a joint effort between PSE&G, the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission, and SunDurance Energy, an Edison-based solar developer, is the first solar project built on a state-owned landfill.

Mr. Johnson, thank you for an informative article and a headline that made me smile.

Green Business: Why We Don’t Buy Green and Why We Should

Green marketing is just marketing.

I am fascinated by what activates each of us to make meaningful lasting change in our lives.

And by the shopping choices we make to support those changes.

If green marketing can play a role in helping Americans make buying choices that are healthier for themselves, their families and the planet, I’m all in.

So, how’re we doing?

A new Ipsos survey on green shopping shows, no surprise, that people don’t buy things that cost more and might not work as well.


Big Surprise: Most People Don’t Buy Green Products If They Cost More

So then what’s behind these results? Writ old-school, let’s start with the customers’ objections:

7 Reasons Why We Don’t Shop Green

1. Cost: They cost more up-front

2. Perceived Effectiveness: They think green products don’t work as well

3. Fear of Change: Don’t want to try something new

4. Status: Attachment to a certain brand or product feature (scrubbing bubbles! mountain fresh scent!)

5. Short-term mindset/Small-view perspective: “What happens in my home/yard stays in my home. My actions don’t impact others or the environment.”

6. Irrational defiance: “I know that fast food is bad for me but it is my right to buy it when I want it.”

7. Absence of urgency: “There’s plenty of water coming out of my tap so there really isn’t a need to conserve.”

8. Impatience: “I want the bathroom spotless in 5 minutes.”


4 Reasons Why We Should Shop Green

1. Personal health and safety

2. Belief in a better tomorrow

3. Concern for our neighbors, near and far

4. Positive feedback from longer-term gratification


I believe that our dominant American culture values short-term quick results over better long-term outcomes.

I also believe we can change this conversation for the greener.

What are your reasons for shopping green, or not?


Green Business: Kraft Packaging Gets Greener

Lighter, more environmentally friendly packaging costs less to transport, creates less trash and eliminates harmful materials like BPA.


Kraft Shaves 1oz from Kenco Coffee Jar

Packaging firm PI has created a jar for coffee brand Kenco that uses 28 g (1 oz) less glass than its predecessor.

The redesigned jar will be used on Kenco’s pure soluble line and incorporates redesigned elements such as corner chamfers and the “regal” closure from the previous jar.

The jar and cap were modeled in 3D and have been designed to increase label size and shelf standout for the product line that features 100 percent sustainably sourced beans.

PI also tried to create a visual link between the primary pack and its refill to assist consumer understanding of usage, and promote the use of less environmentally-damaging refill packs.

Kenco is a subsidiary of Kraft UK, whose parent company Kraft Foods has been on something of a sustainable packaging drive recently.

In April, Sonoco created a jar for Kraft peanut brand Planters that weighs 84 percent less than its predecessor. The packaging replaces Planters’ 16oz. and 20oz. glass peanut jars. It is made of 100 percent recyclable, BPA-free plastic and requires 25 percent fewer trucks for transportation than the old jars, Planters says.

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