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Thursday, June 30, 2011

USA Today Reports

Two stories in the USA Today caught our attention yesterday.  The first one: 

Future of federal solar programs in doubt

"WASHINGTON — The solar power industry is facing a double threat from a Congress that may turn off the flow of federal subsidies and take a pass on mandating renewable-energy standards that would increase demand.

The Republican-led House, focused on cutting spending and philosophically opposed to subsidizing solar power and clean energy, has targeted federal grant and loan guarantee programs to reduce or eliminate.
One is a U.S. Treasury grant program, set to expire at the end of this year, that solar companies say has kept them alive through the recession. The other is an Energy Department loan guarantee program, part of which would end Oct. 1, that has provided nearly $35 billion in loan guarantees for solar, wind, geothermal and other clean energy projects that have generated more than 68,000 U.S. jobs, according to the department.
Meanwhile, hopes for a national clean energy standard that could boost demand for solar power also are dimming in a Congress that doesn't support government mandates about what kind of energy Americans should use."

There is more...here is the link:  http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2011-06-28-solar-energy-congress_n.htm.  Bottom line:  We've known renewable energy has been dependant on state and federal credits and grants.  We did a show on that.  We looked at the economics of investing in solar/wind, caluclated some ROI's.  We need these state and federal programs to continue, or be replaced by something else on the private side, if we expect to move away from fossil fuels."

Next:  EPA approves E15 fuel label despite engine risk 

"The government has settled on a label for gas stations selling a blend of gasoline and ethanol called E15, which contains more ethanol -- grain alcohol -- than the E10 blend that's replaced pure gasoline at most stations.

The Environmental Protection Agency previously approved E15 -- 85% gasoline and 15% ethanol -- for use in vehicles back to 2001 models. The approved label is part of the EPA's final rule spelling out about how E15 can be sold and what standards it must meet.

E15 isn't available yet. EPA says sellers have to first register their blends with the agency to be sure they meet a number of standards. Probably nothing at stations until late this year, ethanol interests say.

EPA says tests show E15 won't harm 2001 and newer vehicles, which have hoses and gaskets and seals specially designed to resist corrosive ethanol. But using E15 fuel in older vehicles or in power equipment such as mowers, chainsaws and boats, can cause damage and now is literally a federal offense."

We just streamed live yesterday a show on biofuels (go to Arpin Broadcast Network to view it on demand).  There's so many aspects of the business side of green on this issue, many touched on by USA Today. Our view is that, with the controversy surrounding this issue, it is more motivation to look at EV's...electric cars.  Though, as Al Cerrone pointed out on his show, GM and other auto makers are progressing on all levels of alternative fuels and fuel efficiency. 

Obviously, the mix of ethanol will play a significant role, at least for awhile, in powering our cars.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interesting news in RI from National Grid

Our show this week with Nat from Newport Biodiesel will talk a lot about alternative fuels.  Good timing.  This just in from The Providence Journal:  

National Grid agrees to buy power from biogas facility planned for R.I. Central Landfill

Here is the linkhttp://www.projo.com/news/environment/content/ORBIT_BIOGAS_06-27-11_JVOQ15K_v28.43c8e.html

Some of the story:  

 "A developer is on the verge of tapping into a new source of renewable energy in Rhode Island with a plan to build a facility at the Central Landfill that would generate electricity using gas from decomposing food.

National Grid has agreed to buy power from Orbit Energy’s biogas facility for 9.5 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2013, the first year of operation. The price would increase 2 percent annually. The 15-year agreement was filed with the Public Utilities Commission late Wednesday and is awaiting approval.

 

 

 

Although National Grid is required to sign long-term contracts for renewable energy, it had already met its obligation under state law when it signed the agreement with the Raleigh, N.C.-based Orbit a month ago. Jennifer Brooks Hutchinson, senior counsel for National Grid, said the utility was attracted to Orbit’s proposal because of the relatively low price and its use of new technology"

We will do a show on this story.  Brings up many aspects of the business side of green, very much focused on the economics behind making biofuel development, and use of waste into energy, in RI and all other states.  Obviously, a wonderful benefit is removing waste from an overflowing landfill.

I know RI has worked on this for many years, only to be turned back by the costs of the plant and/or energy costs.  Our congratulations to National Grid and Orbit for making this work.

How is your state doing on alternative energy production?

Monday, June 27, 2011

IBM Shows what is possible in saving money

We focus on the business side of green.  IBM, if you can believe this, saved 30m in one year on energy savings.  Here's the link:  http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/06/27/ibm-saves-30m-in-energy-costs-in-one-year/.

First part of the story: 

"IBM saved $29.7 million in energy expenses and conserved 272,000 MWh of electricity in 2010, according to the company’s 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report.
The report says that in 2010, IBM’s energy conservation projects saved an amount equal to 5.7 percent of its total energy use, beating a corporate goal of 3.5 percent. Besides saving electricity costs and consumption, these projects avoided 352,000 million BTUs of fuel oil and natural gas and more than 139,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
Since 2008 IBM has saved over $50 million on electricity and conserved..."

What are you waiting for?  It is time to invest in green and save.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekend Edition/Welcome to our newest guest blogger--Patrick Beck

Watching a blog grow in audience and stature is very rewarding.  Renewable Now did 830 views in its first month, May, and is on target to be seen 3000 times this month.  Our show is setting a record weekly for viewers, and has views in these countries (these stats are coming right off the data collection systems of the companies hosting our blog and show, Google (Blogger) and Bright Cove):


United States
178
United Kingdom
14
Myanmar [Burma]
5
India
4
Germany
3
Canada
2
Malaysia
2
Netherlands
2
Romania
2
Australia
1


We'll keep updating as we go forward.  Exciting times.

Also, welcome to Patrick Beck of http://www.rifarmsandfood.com/ as our newest guest blogger, and future guest on the show.  Take a look at the site which is described there as " RI Farms & Food celebrates our state on a plate. Our monthly on-line community of farmers, harvesters, chefs and mindful eaters are driven by a passionate commitment to local, sustainable, affordable food. We care deeply about connecting our readers with great farm produce, humanely raised meats and fresh-caught fish from healthy nearby waters. We respect the land where we live, the animals we eat and the social fabric of the hard-working farm families and fishermen that bring the food to us."


Here's a bit from this week's blog: 


You’re probably not surprised to hear that truly great bacon is often described as the Magic Johnson of food. Like the charismatic leader of the great mid-80′s Los Angeles Lakers teams, bacon stands alone as a superstar with the ability to bring out the best in surrounding players.  A fearsome scoring threat with incredible vision and ball handling skills, Magic would dazzle the opponent while getting quality chances for the talented cast around him.  He could draw defenders and then find the open man for an uncontested basket."




Thank you, Patrick.  Welcome.  We look forward to running your material monthly.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chevy Volt Update

Here's interesting feedback from GM on the early success/feedback on the Electric Volt:

Thursday, 23 June 2011 08:19 Cristi Landy, Chevrolet Volt Marketing Director

When we launched the Volt at the end of 2010, we started in seven launch markets - California, Texas, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington DC. By starting in these markets, we could ensure a better customer experience for our Volt owners and pave the way for electrification of the automotive industry. Along the way, we’ve been constantly gathering feedback with our owners, learning what they like about their cars and how we can make them better.
  • 66 percent are completely satisfied with their vehicles – for comparison, the average for compact cars is around 45 percent. 86 percent of Volt buyers replaced a vehicle not made by General Motors. In fact, Jeffrey Kaffee, our first retail customer, turned in a Toyota Prius when he took delivery of his Volt.
  • Our owners are early tech adopters – the kind of people that want to be the first to have the latest technology. They’re willing to try new products and the read about technology advancements nearly every day. They’re also the people who others ask for advice about cars or electronics.
  • Our owners choose the Volt is because it reduces dependency on foreign oil, it is made in America (assembled at our Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant from parts from around the world), it has a range-extender to eliminate the worry of being stranded by a dead battery and it is technologically innovative.
  • Our owners have driven more than two million miles so far, withabout two-thirds of those miles being driven on electricity alone. They’re also going about 900 miles before needed to refuel with gasoline. Studies show that 78 percent of people commute less than 40 miles per day – which is what we expected and that’s why we designed the Volt to go 25-50 miles on electricity from the lithium-ion battery and then hundreds of additional miles using electricity from our gasoline-powered generator. You can do most, if not all, of your driving without using gas, but if you’d like to take a longer trip, you can do that without any issues.
Did you see our show with Al Cerrone on the Volt?  If not, take a look...it is on demand at Arpin Broadcast Network.  Be inspired.  It is time to plug in and drive down a clean highway.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Record audience yesterday/Solar laptop

Thank you to everyone who tuned in to our live stream of the premier of our newest show (which we do every Wed's at 10a and 4p, EST).  We set an audience record and expect that to continue each week.

Also, we should have announcements soon on new distribution channels (TV, radio, large Internet video channels, print partners).  We hope you enjoyed the show, and are catching up with past episodes on Arpin Broadcast Network as well.

Good news from Samsung: 

Samsung to Sell USA’s First Solar Laptop

Here's a link to the article:  http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/06/22/samsung-to-sell-usas-first-solar-laptop/

Here's part of the story: 

"The Samsung NC215S will have a 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, 1GB of memory, and will be powered by a 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N570 dual core processor. The solar cells are built into the lid."

What a convenient, inexpensive way to run your business or life anywhere, anytime.  We'll profile the new computer on a future show, as well as take a look at some of the most green electronics coming to the market.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Guest Blog by Mark Learn

Mark, thanks so much for sending this fantastic article in:  http://cleantechnica.com/2011/06/15/electric-vehicle-owners-to-get-cash-back-for-selling-power-to-the-electric-grid-in-denmark-10000/

Here's the start of the article: 
Denmark is going to be the first test market for Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology, it was announced yesterday. Electric Vehicle owners will be able sell back power from their EV batteries to the grid, with estimated compensation for EV owners of about $10,000 over the lifespan of the car.
Denmark has been chosen by the US company holding the V2G license because of the country’s smart grid advancements, especially the Danish grid’s ability to handle intermittent sources of energy such as wind (Denmark has nearly twice the amount of renewable energy on the grid than any other nation, percentage-wise — 34%).

This is a major element of the business side of green.  As other countries evolve into a smart grid, the use and distribution, the proper management of energy, will fuel great economic benefits.  This technology is coming very quickly to the rest of the world, and is one more reason we need to make the investment in electric vehicles.

We are filming four shows today, one of which will feature Joe Loberti, former APC guru, who will be talking about smart grids and companies that are making the components to harness and exploit all that energy.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekend Update/Terra Pass

Great reminder from Terra Pass:

"The Five R's of Event Sustainability
The following tips are provided by TerraPass partner Meet Green, which helps organizations improve their events by integrating sustainable decisions through the planning process.
Re-think: When was the last time you stood back and took a hard look at your event model? Rethinking is about taking stock of your event, the format you use and how participant needs are evolving. Could you improve services, expand your reach and cut carbon by exploring hybrid formats? One technology event has reduced their overall carbon emissions by 10,000 metric tons by segmenting their audiences for virtual or in-person participation. Sales and C-level attendees are invited to participate in person while technical experts receive session content online. Could your event and the planet benefit from doing the same?
Reduce: Cutting waste is not just about helping the environment, but the bottom line as well. Consider these examples: selecting venues and hotels within walking distance and a destination with good transit infrastructure saved one 40,000-person event $500,000 and 36,000 lbs of emissions over three years. For another small 400-person event the same decision translated into $3,000 in savings. Asking how you can reduce at the beginning of your planning process can help save in many ways.
Reuse: From signage to china service and carpet, reuse also pays. Generically branding and removing event dates from banner signage helped one organization improve signage reuse to 37% and saved $188,000 in a single year. Asking for bulk re-usable water stations can also save organizers $2.50 per attendee while cutting water consumption in half. Reuse of 1,000 square yards of tradeshow carpet can reduce greenhouse potential by 31,000 lbs of carbon dioxide.
Recycle: While many venues and hotels in the USA provide basic recycling, most planners don’t realize that the quality of these programs varies significantly. Few hotels extend recycling to guest rooms. 20-30% of landfill waste from events is often organic, which could be composted, making zero-waste a great goal, but one that is not yet widely achieved despite marketing claims. Buying recycled and asking deeper questions about venue recycling are steps planners can take to be better informed and improve event sustainability.
Responsibility: And lastly, but definitely not least, we need to recognize that there are impacts of events that are not possible to avoid. This is where the important step of offsetting comes in: it is your opportunity to be accountable for the carbon footprint that cannot be avoided through the methods above. Making an informed choice about your offset provider to select permanent, additional and verifiable projects that fit with your organization’s mandate is important."
Happy Father's Day, everyone.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Building Owners Expect Energy Price Spike, Target 12% Energy Reduction

Are you a building owner?  Do you own a home?  If so, take a look at this expected increase in energy costs you will face heating and cooling your facilities:  http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/06/16/building-owners-expect-energy-price-spike-target-12-energy-reduction/.



"Eighty percent of building owners expect double-digit energy price increases over the next year, which has prompted an average energy reduction target of 12 percent, according to Johnson Controls annual global energy efficiency indicator survey of nearly 4,000 building owners and operators around the world. Lighting and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and controls improvements are the most popular energy efficiency improvements.

The primary motivation for energy efficiency projects continued to be energy cost savings. Government incentives and enhanced public image were also important, ranking second and third in the survey. Greenhouse gas reduction, which ranked as the second highest motivator in 2010, ranked fourth in 2011.
Access to funding topped the list of barriers  to energy efficiency projects for respondents in the U.S./Canada (38%) and Europe (30%)."

We just had Bill Abbott from BioDetek on, and he gave us the numbers on his company's investment in reducing energy use and creating power with solar...that combination has allowed them to generate 50% of their electrical needs.  That is for a manufacturer of medical goods!!!!!.  That means, of course, they have reduced their energy costs by 50%, and that reduction, and return on investment, will get better with every increase in fuel.

Now is the time, as a business owner or property owner, to find ways to substantially reduce your energy costs and look at every possible renewable energy form (Did you know, by the way, Lenox now has a solar-powered AC unit?  We'll be doing a show on that soon) that would work best for your office or home.

Do it now before this new spike takes 12% more out of your pocket.  From the business side of green, it pays to cut energy use, waste and go green.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wonderful News on the local front

Great news in RI:  Subject: RI Senate Approves Renewable Energy Bills Package

This from Chris Kearns, Manager, Govt Relations here in the state:  "The RI Senate unanimously passed tonight the renewable energy package (net metering, interconnection standards, and distributed generation contracts legislation) that we have been working on for the last couple of months. There was no opposition to any of the bills on the Senate floor. The DG bill vote was 35-0. There are still a couple of minor procedural votes in the House, but the bottom line is that the bills have passed in both chambers.

I’ll be providing a summary of the bills passed over the next couple of days, but at the moment we should be happy that we got the following legislation passed this session:

·         Net Metering Changes
·         Distributed Generation Contracts
·         Statewide Interconnection Standards
·         Extension of the Renewable Energy Fund Program for 10 years
·         Establishing the RI Renewable Energy Board

2011 was finally the year for renewable energy development in RI!!"

We will get Chris on a show as soon as possible, maybe even the upcoming shows we will be filming on site at locations throughout the state. 

This bill, when completed,  will generate significant economic growth in this State.  There are many viable, pending projects that have been waiting for this legislative impetus.  We will closely follow the growth in revenue and jobs stimulated by this bill.

Congratulations to the State, the Governor, House and Senate and everyone who worked so diligently to near pass this bill.  You have done great work and should be proud.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The First Electric Motor Plant Owned by a Major U.S. Automaker

Great news on the EV side:  We will soon have our first EV plant producing clean-burning, electric cars.  What a milestone in the new, industrial revolution.

Here's the link on Environmental Leaderhttp://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/06/13/the-first-electric-motor-plant-owned-by-a-major-u-s-automaker/.

Part of the story: 

"General Motors has begun construction on its new $269.5 million electric motor manufacturing plant, which is the first for a major U.S. automaker. The plant is located in the GM Baltimore Operations Complex and scheduled to open in 2013. The new factory will produce 190 jobs, working to produce the next generation of electric and hybrid vehicles. The new facility will manufacturer components needed for vehicle electrification, in a complex that already manufactures two-mode hybrid and heavy duty transmissions.

The new construction GM will also contribute to its renewable energy portfolio. Currently General Motors claims that it 1.4% of the company’s energy needs come from renewable sources. This new construction will add to it. The factory will be equipped with a 1.23 megawatt solar array providing 9% of its annual energy and proving energy savings of $330,000 during the life of the project. GM has signed a 20-year power purchase contract with Constellation Energy who will build, own and operate the 1.23 MW solar system. The facility will be built with funding from GM, as well as state and federal funding. General Motors will be investing $129 million into the plant. They will be receiving $105 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, which selected GM for a $105 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the construction of U.S. manufacturing capabilities to produce electric motors and related electric drive components. Local and State funding will add another $10.5 million to the construction project"

Have you watched our recent show with Al Cerrone talking about GM, their many changes, improvements, and focus on delivering better gas mileage and efficiency on all models, but lead by the electric (with a back up, small gas engine for better range) Volt?  Clearly, with the help of some stimulus money, GM is investing in a bright future for EV's.

We will follow up Al's show with an interview with a GM official who can talk about this new plant.

Great news. Hopefully, you are all thinking about a future driving a hybrid or electric. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

More good news

Three great stories from EcoGeek.  We'll give you the highlights, and follow up with more on future shows:

1.http://www.ecogeek.org/solar-power/3518  "Researchers at Empa (the Swiss national research laboratory) have achieved a new record in thin-film solar cell efficiency. The flexible solar cells are made from copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), and these cells have achieved an energy conversion efficiency of 18.7 percent.


The previous record of 17.6 percent was achieved only a year previously (and by the same research group, too). This represents more than 6% improvement in the course of only a year. While that's not indicative of a larger trend, it is still a positive development."

2.   http://www.ecogeek.org/efficiency/3519:  "San Francisco Water, Power and Sewer is beginning a city-wide project late this year to replace 18,500 high-pressure sodium street light fixtures with LED fixtures.  The new fixtures will use 50 percent less energy than the existing street lights and will cost far less to maintain since they only have to be replaced every 15 - 20 years compared to the current bulbs that have to be replaced every four years.

The swapping out of the lighting fixtures is expected to take 30 minutes per street light with the whole project being completed in about 14 months.

The new lights have more benefits than just the energy and cost savings.  The lights will have smart controllers that let the city remotely monitor and adjust their light level and alert maintenance crews when the lights fail or are about to fail."

3. http://www.ecogeek.org/automobiles/3521: "As part of the Green Highway project where California, Oregon and Washington are partnering to turn Interstate 5 into the first alternative-fuel-friendly freeway in the U.S., AeroVironment is installing Level 3 EV quick chargers along the route in Southern Oregon.

For this first phase of the project, from the California state line to the Willamette Valley, 150 miles of the highway will have convenient access to EV chargers that can fully charge a battery in 30 minutes.  Eight interchanges will be picked based on common destinations, vehicle range and driving distances.  The chargers will be installed by the end of the fall.

The Green Highway will ultimately run from San Diego to Vancouver, B.C. and will feature not only EV charging and battery swap stations, but alternative fuel filling stations for bio diesel, compressed natural gas and hydrogen.  The project is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."



This new, industrial revolution, as we've been chronicling, has to multi-faceted and build a realistic infrastructure of change...such as I 5 adorned with car charging stations.  How quickly will the EVs follow?  Very. I think this kind of commitment on the part of the Western states will sway many people living in CA, OR and WA to go electric.

Cool way to travel up into Canada, too, hey?

All good news.  Let's see if we can quickly get reps on the show from all 3 states to talk in more detail about how quickly we will see the transformation of I 5.  Which, by the way, is a very busy, congested, snarled highway.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ford announces tripling electrified vehicle production/Weekend Edition

Great News from Ford:  "Ford announced yesterday it would raise its annual U.S. production capacity for “electrified” vehicles from 35,000 to over 100,000 by 2013."


This is exactly what we need in our fight to move to EV's and off of imported oils.  Here's a link to the story:  http://gm-volt.com/2011/06/10/ford-announces-new-hybrids-triple-u-s-electrified-vehicle-production/.

This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest challenges, but greatest potential, in the business side of green.  Our ability to move away from fossil fuel, with so much of coming from overseas, and use domestically produced, much cleaner energy to power our cars will dramatically, as in the new industrial revolution, bring money, jobs and prosperity back home.  Read the book, Jolt, before you buy your next car.

Here's some of the story:  "Citing increased demand this year for energy efficient vehicles precipitated by rising fuel prices, and its ability to respond quickly, Ford announced yesterday it would raise its annual U.S. production capacity for “electrified” vehicles from 35,000 to over 100,000 by 2013.


While the Focus EV is due later this year, the spotlight was also on four other hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Central among these will be Ford’s five-passenger C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid which for the first time were announced that they would be offered in North America. A seven-passenger ICE version slated for the U.S. however will not be offered.
The car has proven a hot seller overseas, and in a separate statement, Ford said it will increase C-Max production in Valencia, Spain to continue to fill strong European demand. Since its late 2010 launch, Ford said it has sold 70,000 units in Europe, and taken orders for 30,000 more."
We are going to continue to focus many shows and blogs on this live-changing, world-changing economic transformation.  Please be part of it.  



Friday, June 10, 2011

Green Manufacturing Practices help profits and planet.

This is a great article: 

Green Manufacturing Practices in America can Help Profits, will Help Planet:

It is very long, I will not copy and paste it all, but there's some fantastic information here;  http://news.thomasnet.com/companystory/Green-Manufacturing-Practices-help-profits-and-planet-597279.

"Here's a couple of excerpts:  More U.S. Firms Going Green, Yet Effort Must Grow
By Gerald Shankel, President and CEO
Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International

It's a perfect storm - but a positive one. Two strong forces today are converging in the U.S. manufacturing sector that can deliver a whirlwind of benefits for those companies - and the environment. First, at long last, American industrial executives are recognizing the importance of preserving and enhancing the use of our precious natural resources through green energy practices in a vast array of manufacturing applications. Second, it's now apparent to most manufacturers that this altruistic perspective, unlike many, can positively impact bottom lines and deliver cost-saving benefits short term and long term"

And how about this for the business side of green:  "The school's program, launched in early 2010, already has produced numerous real-life results. One example: Two students reviewed a local company's overhead doors and the efficiency of door heaters. They provided design solutions that involved differential steam control valves and proximity sensors to automatically operate the doors. An initial investment of $5,100 now generates annual energy savings of $28,400."
 
Is that a fantastic return on investment

If you have a similar story of green--investment in sustainability with good ROI--we want to hear it and profile the story.

Look for Renewable Now to start getting launched on radio (audio), TV and very big Internet TV sites.





Thursday, June 9, 2011

The grand tour: How bike tourism helps local economies/Part 2

I will finish this today, but I'd like to hear from an expert in the bike tourism side of the economy, and look at doing a show together.  I do know bike sales are booming, and it is an increasing part of the health/recreation industries.  However, I'd like to explore more of the financial side of the business.  Please contact us.


Part 2:  "Then there's unsupported touring. It's the same thing you might do with a car -- strap some basics to your rear rack and take off down the road to meet people, see sights, and gaze contemplatively at the road ahead.

You can take a bike trip for next to no money by camping and picnicking your way down scenic country roads, picking up supplies and souvenirs at the same places locals shop, finding your focus in grueling mountain climbs and your joy in the long descents. At the other end of the spectrum is what a friend calls "credit card bike camping": short hops between charming bed and breakfasts, stopping at every tucked-away restaurant and winery.

Either way, you're expanding your horizons under your own power and putting your money directly into small, local businesses rather than into your gas tank or the chain hotels off the freeway.

There's a resurgence of interest in this kind of touring, though few are embracing it as completely as Russ Roca and Laura Crawford, who a year and a half ago decided to sell all their possessions and take off across the country by bike without a set destination or plan. They financed the trip in part with speaking engagements at local bike shops, which have proven unexpectedly popular.

Roca and Crawford seem to be onto something. The rising price of gas and a growing disenchantment with cars, traffic, and the sedentary life mean have resulted in new interest in different types of vacations and adventures.

The hurdle, for local decision makers and business leaders who want to encourage bike tourism, is to avoid the pitfall of classifying bikes as purely recreational, a luxury alternative to the classic Sunday drive.

Welcoming bicycle tourists should go beyond a friendly attitude and amenities from business owners, though those two things certainly make a big difference.

The benefits of bike tourism aren't just for rural communities. In Portland, with its well-established bikeway network, a survey found that 78 percent of visitors said that the city's bicycle-friendly reputation played a role in their decision to travel here. Bikeshare systems can change a visitor's experience of a city.

Bike touring, when it's embraced at a policy level, breaks down the dichotomy between recreation and transportation. After all, bike-minded improvements in infrastructure and enforcement create healthier, more economically sound places not just to visit but to live.

Streets and roads where it feels comfortable to ride a bike are good for residents, tourists, and the economy."

We are filming 4 new shows on Monday.   Stay tuned at Arpin Broadcast Network (arpin.tv.com).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The grand tour: How bike tourism helps local economies

Great article I found through the Better World Club (which is a terrific alternative, by the way, to AAA, or a supplement.  Here's the link:  http://www.grist.org/biking/2011-06-06-the-grand-tour-how-bike-tourism-helps-local-economies.

I will run part of it today, the rest tomorrow, but feel free to use the above link to read it fully:

"This is the eighth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling.


Bike-friendly cities, off-road paths, and scenic country roads where cyclists can spin along in comfort aren't just good for the people who live in those places. They also attract tourists. And tourists mean money for the local economy.


Tourism is one of the U.S.'s largest industries and biggest employers, creating millions of jobs and bringing in hundreds of billions of dollars each year (not to mention the tax benefits).
Bicycle touring has long had an honored place in the tourism economy and culture. This doesn't go unrecognized: In Wisconsin, bike tourism is estimated to contribute $1.5 billion to the state's economy every year.



It's not just about paths or trails, though the measurable impacts these facilities have on local economies are a big deal. Bicycle transportation may not yet be mainstream in the U.S., but recreational bicycling is. More people ride bikes than ski, and more bikes than cars are bought here every year -- presumably for the purpose of family rides along the riverside trail and the like.

For communities looking to up the ante, in adventure or economic development, there are many enticing opportunities for bicycle touring beyond a short jaunt on the rail trail.
Take, as an example, RAGBRAI (that's the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), which calls itself "the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world." Now in its 39th year, the seven-day event follows a different route every year. Participants and spectators drop plenty of cash into small-town economies along the way -- buying pancakes, beer, massages, and souvenirs. The ride also has a longer-term economic impact that's harder to quantify -- in marketing the state's attractions and even in job creation.

Rides like RAGBRAI -- few are nearly as large, but every state boasts smaller supported tours --  introduce participants to the satisfaction and camaraderie of bicycle touring. And they are ambassadors of mutual goodwill, paving the way for acceptance in communities where a person on a bike on a rural road might otherwise be seen as an inconvenience.

Note this is the 8th in a series of articles that make you think seriously about the economics of biking.  Be a good show.

Did you watch today's world premier of our show with Al Cerrone talking about the Chevy Volt and other GM products?  Great show.  Will stream live again at 4p, EST. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Engaging employees in sustainability: Corp Green, a web-based green team tool

Very nice piece from Green Impact.com on "Are your employees engaged in thinking and acting in a manner that reflects your commitment to sustainability? "

Great question.  I think we all know we need buy in on every level to reshape our companies.  Conversely, companies can be incubators and educators of their employees on sustainable living.  Chicken and egg:  What comes first?

Here's an on line tool for starting the process.  More of the article: 

"Corp Green helps companies with a top-down commitment to sustainability educate, inspire and engage employees in strategic and positive ways. The new web-based tool harnesses the power of grassroots green teams and helps companies live their commitment to sustainability by embedding green champions throughout the organization.

Inspire new behaviors, save money and reduce your footprint!

Our solution:
  • Gives your green team new life
  • Increases employee participation and inspires action
  • Supports strategic goals with visible, tangible campaigns
  • Identifies the most promising ideas for going greener
  • Builds a more authentic green brand
Easily Launch New Green CampaignsCorp Green is a customized web-based tool that will easily allow you to grow your green team, launch targeted, branded initiatives that are visible and tangible, capture pledges and ideas, and report progress by location"

Here's the link:  http://greenimpact.com/blog/2010/11/23/corp-green-a-new-tool-for-engaging-employees-in-sustainability/.

Go try the tool and let us know how you like it.  Begin the sustainable process today.

Also, our newest show will be released later this week.  Go to Arpin Broadcast Network, arpin.tv.com. to watch and send us your comments.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Going Green with PR

Found this on a blog (CGB) and thought it did a great job of speaking to the "business side of green":  http://chrisguli.com/going-green-with-public-relations-for-company-initiatives.php.

Here's part of it:

"No matter how big a brand you have, or how many years you have been an industry leader, once your company’s reputation is in question about non-existent energy conservation programs or go green initiatives, you will experience negative repercussions which will reflect on sales and customer retention. Lowered public trust is the downfall of companies who don’t do anything about helping their brand become more conscious of how they use energy; and those that don’t even consider looking into green energy public relations tools to help them present a better picture of the initiatives done in response to the public’s clamour.

Critics, especially those groups of people who want to sabotage your business, can attack your company if there is no rigorous and well-maintained ecological sustainability. In fact, it is the most prevalent topic nowadays and many go under the media radar – how a company is doing in terms of preserving the environment by keeping things right on energy conservation. This issue particularly for a technology-centric company is easy to point out specifically the negative issues like the pollution damage that is incurred in the making of hardware parts, the smallest labor oversight, or just a general attack against electronic waste and overuse of energy.

Renewable energy is one of the hot topics nowadays, and many group of organizations have been debated this issue over time, not only on its usage for households but also in all businesses as well. Companies can be easily accused of not having enough recycling programs or promotion of proper waste management, and not only that, they’ll suffer even more if hit with the pressure of utilizing alternative energy.

Companies are urged by the public, the critics and most importantly the various regulatory boards to come up with a way to switch to renewable energy source. In this case, a company has a lot to do in terms of investing in this new energy, but the returns are greatly immeasurable. The benefits include a lower or at least a much stable cost of operations as well as reduced risk of pollutants. Once a company decides to do so, they may be able to recover the damage to their reputation by hiring environment PR to take over and promote the new facet of the company."

We have a great show releasing this week with Al Cerrone.  Be there..."you will be glad you did".

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kodak Hands Out Cash for Cameras/Weekend Edition

We thought everyone would like this on the "business side of green": http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/06/02/kodak-hands-out-cash-for-cameras/.

" Eastman Kodak has launched a recycling program that lets consumers trade used cameras, printers and digital picture frames for cash.
The Kodak Trade-In and Recycling Program also accepts accessories such as lenses and flashes, and takes all brands.
Consumers use the program website to provide information on the products they wish to recycle. They then receive an instant quote and a pre-paid shipping label.
If the trade-in is accepted, customers receive a check as well as a discount offer from the online Kodak Store. For products with no resale value, Kodak provides the website user with responsible recycling options.
The program’s fulfillment partner is Smash Direct, an online trade-in program provider.
“Our Trade-In and Recycling program is another example of Kodak’s ongoing commitment to sustainability in our operations, and to helping consumers be more sustainable in their own lives,” said Pradeep Jotwani, president of the consumer digital imaging group and chief marketing officer at Eastman Kodak. Kodak’s other sustainability commitments include Energy Star qualified printers and digital frames, recyclable ink cartridges and papers sourced according to sustainable forestry initiatives.
Since 2002, Kodak has reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 1.5 million tons, or 49 percent, closing in on its goal for a 50 percent reduction by the end of 2012.
Recently, Toshiba America Business Solutions announced that its recycling program for ink cartridges, toner bottles, drum units and similar items will start taking items of any make."
Kudos to Eastman Kodak and their reduction on GHG emissions and their progress on the 50% goal.  Nice job.