Monthly Archives: June 2012

Infographics Inspiration

We love infographics and good design at SIS…so we never miss an opportunity to share what we’re seeing in the market.  Here’s a very interesting look at your utility bill as an infographic that we found in a recent Fast Company piece.   Our friends at Plotwatt are kicking butt by giving you a real time energy bill that cleanly shows how you are using power.

Problem is…this infographic is for a $34 utility bill…at SIS we’re seeing utility bills in factories of over $50,000 and these facilities would greatly benefit from a utility bill like this.  We’ve seen the power of clean data and how it can help reduce energy consumption by thousands of dollars…now that makes an impact.

Our friends at NEST always do a great job explaining tech with their infographics…way to use a popsicle to make me hungry while I think about saving energy.

 

Going Green Earns Green, Hard Cash

As the presidential election rapidly approaches, there is a huge debate over the state of our economy, particularly in reference to government subsidies and job creation. The good news is that going green may be the key to staving off the American economic apocalypse, and just what this country needs to create jobs, and earn companies green hard cash.

As a recent infographic by created by the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass illustrates, green tech industries like smart grid, wind, solar, biomass, and building retrofits each create more jobs than coal and natural gas combined.

We recently heard a critique of the of this infographic that went as follows, ‘How many tax payers does it take to get a million dollars? If we assume the average tax payer earns $50,000 x 25% = $12,500…$1,000,000/$12,500=80 people. So it takes about 80 paying taxes to “create” 14 solar jobs in a start-up company that may fail.’

The problem with this argument is that it ignores the significant governmental subsidies traditional energy industries like coal and natural gas are already receiving. According to the Environmental Law Institute, over the 7 year study period, over $72.5B was invested in fossil fuel companies as a result of government subsidies. By comparison, only $29.5B in federal subsidies was invested in clean tech industries. (Source: http://www.eli.org/pdf/Energy_Subsidies_Black_Not_Green.pdf)

In other words, it takes 1/2 as much money to create 5x as many jobs in the green tech sector as compared to traditional fossil fuels.

SIS has known for a long time that going green can save companies green cash. In fact, we founded our business in North Carolina on this principle. Since our inception last year, we have already saved Nomaco $114K over a 6 month period by working with them to implement sustainability upgrades including more efficient lighting tech and peak shaving practices. By our critic’s logic that is 2 extra tax paying jobs, or in our case 3 full time jobs, and 6 part-time workers.

While we’ve known for a while that going green goes hand in hand with being fiscally responsible, it is great to see this knowledge shared an applied on a more national level.

Why you should be googling gasification right now

Technically speaking gasification is a “thermo-chemical process in which carbonaceous feedstocks such as coal, petro-coke, or biomass are converted into a gas consisting of hydrogen and carbon monoxide under oxygen depleted, high pressure high-heat, and/or steam conditions,” but the reality is it is a process by which almost any waste product can be turned into electricity or fuel.   You read that correctly, nearly any waste product.  That means that trash that gets sent to landfills (which catch fire often enough that there is a company called Landfill Fire Control Inc, hog waste that sits in lagoons and could potentially contaminate our water supply, sawdust from lumber mills, used tires, and almost anything else you can think of can be turned into diesel fuel.   The real question behind this alchemy that you should be asking yourself, assuming you believe the science, is this technology commercially viable and if so what could that mean for our economy?

The answer to the first part is yes, though not well known gasification has been around since the 1800’s and has been considered commercially viable as a refining process for over 50 years.  The answer to the second part is nearly immeasurable because in order to full take advantage of the available feedstock you would have to build small distributed gasification plants onsite.  That would mean that farmers would get paid for their animal waste, lumber mills for their saw dust, and landfills for their trash onsite.

Theoretically speaking we should never cap another landfill ever and neighborhoods should be able to pool their trash in order to produce their own electricity.

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