It’s been awhile since I have written, but I am moving from San Francisco to Portland, the most sustainability conscious U.S. city, and I needed to take a vacation AND get everything moved. By the second week in October I should be settled in. More about that in my next post.
First the good news.
I wanted to bring to your attention a fact taken from a New York Times article entitled, An Investment Bet: Going Small and Green. It’s about some financial pros who were booted, catapulted, or escaped out of the ruins of our financial system and have started, albiet early in the game, a boutique investment bank, the “first to focus solely on alternative-energy and clean-technology companies.”
The first investment bank focused solely on alternative energy!
And the bad news.
The article calls on some sobering news as to the state of what they call the green industry:
“In the first quarter of 2009, new financial investment in the sustainable energy sector fell 53 percent, to $13.3 billion, from the comparable period in 2008, the lowest level of quarterly investment in three years, according to a report from the United Nations Environment Program and New Energy Finance, a research company.”
Often times in a conversation it takes just one example to communicate a meaning of a word or concept. In the case of environmental sustainability such an example is the retrofit of the Sears Tower in Chicago. As detailed in today’s New York Times article, the Tower is “4.5 million square feet of office and retail space, 16,000 windows and 104 elevators.” Environmental sustainability is a crucial initiative in terms of buildings, especially existing buildings, because buildings are among the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that retrofitting buildings to be environmentally sustainable makes sound business sense with the energy savings being “equal to 150,000 barrels of oil a year.” These savings are expected to help redeem some of the project’s cost, which is to be financed through private equity investment, grants, debt financing and government funds.
There are plans to open a first-floor center to educate the public about the redesign, and the developers offer the Towers as a model for other aging skyscrapers around the world.
Illustration by Rose Cassano, EarthSayers.tv, the voices of sustainability
McKinsey Quarterly article
Electrifying cars: How three industries will evolve
My friend and alternative energy colleague, Paul Steinbroner of Energy.tv, has been documenting the electric car industry for years, knows EVERYBODY, and is in the process of raising funds for a major alternative energy documentary staring plug-in pioneer, Dr. Andy Frank. Here’s what McKinsey says about plug-ins:
“are projected to offer a lower cost of ownership than vehicles with improved internal-combustion engines, but only if fuel prices and taxes cooperate.”
Hope to get some comments on the McKinsey story.
Survey results by CoreNet Global and Jones Lang LaSalle, November 10, 2008 as reported in The Earth Times.
Of the more than 400 Corporate Real Estate Executives (CREs) surveyed, 69 percent said sustainability is a critical business issue for their real estate departments. When CoreNet and Jones Lang LaSalle asked the same question in 2007, 47 percent said it was a critical issue. Furthermore, 40 percent this year rated energy and sustainability as a “major factor” in their companies’ location decisions, with an additional 36 percent calling it a “tie-breaker” between locations that are otherwise competitive.
Companies are increase their focus on Energy and Sustainability to reduce costs.