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crowd economy, environment, public transit, sharing economy
Comments Off on Transit Geek Images: Bike Sharing in Minneapolis

bikesharingHappened to be in the land of 10,000 Lakes (Minneapolis) recently and tried the bike sharing service near one of the MetroTransit stations.  Bike sharing really seems to be taking off in densely populated urban regions – especially in Europe.  I have tried bike sharing now in Washington, DC, Paris, Minneapolis, Montreal, Chicago, and New York.

 

Bike sharing has taken off exponentially in the United States after being introduced in some of the more progressive European urban areas.  In some ways this is amazing given the potential pitfalls of the service – from the unpredictability of the bicycle availability to the same “last mile” problems we face in public transportation with proximity of bicycle stations.  Weather in the US also heavily influences the usage patterns for bicycle sharing.

 

If you don’t think bicycle sharing is becoming big in the states, take a look at this cool data visualization that @chris_whong did on 5 days worth of bicycle trips in Washington, DC.  http://youtu.be/O_njHxFRj4o

 

Interestingly, the industry is so successful it is facing bankruptcies and problems similar to other emerging technologies like electric vehicles and renewables.  Some of the issues are related to supply chain issues, but others are simply the result of a new economic model following a hype cycle similar to that of other types of technologies.  Regardless, it seems that bicycle sharing is here to stay.

crowd economy, environment, sharing economy
Comments Off on 1% for the planet donation

logo_small_bluereversed  rxRj4qyU_400x400Today the ecology.IT team renewed our commitment to 1% for the Planet by donating 1% of our annual profit to member nonprofit ecotrust.org.  This organization’s mission is “to inspire fresh thinking that creates economic opportunity, social equity, and environmental wellbeing. Our goal is to foster a natural model of development that creates more resilient communities, economies, and ecosystems here and around the world.”

 

This organization views itself as a “social incubator,” by funding and fostering innovation and opportunity through technology and process changes like climate-smart mapping tools, FoodHub, and whole watershed restoration.  We are excited and pleased to be associated both with the 1% for the Planet initiative and to fund work through ecotrust.org.

environment, sustainability
Comments Off on ecology.IT commits 1% of sales to environmental causes

Today ecology.IT completed the process to become a member of 1% for the Planet.  This membership reflects our commitment to live what we teach as a company.  While technology companies cannot help but generate significant pollution as a result of our ever-growing need for power and equipment, we can commit to do our best to offset those demands.

 

Joining the 1% for the Planet organization demonstrates our belief that business can factor sustainability priorities into their operations, and where possible can commit resources toward long-term sustainability goals outside of their corporate sphere.  Programs like 1% for the Planet ensure that investments continue to be made in environmental stewardship – from projects that directly impact the planet to education programs that help foster an environmental focus in science and technology programs.

 

Ecology.IT believes in the need for both technology and sustainability, and we hope that our commitment to 1% for the Planet helps demonstrate that belief.

environment, solar, sustainability
Comments Off on ecology.IT signs APTA Sustainability Commitment

I am happy to say that as of today ecology.IT is an APTA Sustainability Commitment Signatory.  This is the first in a series of steps toward creating a sustainability plan for the consultancy.  As part of this commitment, we are implementing the following practices for the company:

 

  • We commit to be a paperless office whenever possible.
  • When we are required to print, we will use paper with 100% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Our website will always be 100% solar power driven.
  • ecology.IT will participate in community events to further sustainability initiatives at the local level.
  • ecology.IT will actively participate in the APTA Sustainability Committee
  • ecology.IT strives to be a zero-emission operation, and where this proves infeasible carbon offsets will be acquired

 

We look forward to creating our organization’s first Sustainability Report to APTA in June 2013.

I was honored to be invited to give two presentations this year at Oracle’s OpenWorld 2012. While they will be available through the OpenWorld content site, I thought I would just share them on slideshare for anyone interested. The content is somewhat repetitive from the Collaborate presentation earlier this year, but does incorporate some lessons since the project went live.  The second was our feature on the implementation of the Environmental Accounting and Reporting module in JD Edwards.

 

Please see Oracle’s website for the presentations.

environment, environmental accounting
Comments Off on Oracle Case Study Study Video Live

20121002-162641.jpgThe Oracle NCTD case study is live on their site. These videos always are cringe-inducing, but there is some good info about the project we completed while I was the CTO/CSO.

 

I believe strongly in the need for companies to track their sustainability information and key performance indicators in a manner that is auditable, verifiable, and yet cost-effective. This product helped my team archive that goal while I worked with the District.

environment, solar, sustainability
Comments Off on Electric Vehicle Charging Station Open

evWe completed our work with ECOtality this week and the new electric vehicle charging stations in Oceanside are now open.  The NC Times did an article about them today.

 

This was yet another overly-complicated project, proving to be far more challenging than we originally thought.  From permitting issues to politics, to fighting to sell the business case to allow these chargers to be free, this project seemed nearly doomed.

 

But fortunately for the San Diego EV community, they are now live and users can charge for free off of clean solar power.

 

Photo courtesy of the North County Times by photographer Hayne Palmour IV.

environment, sustainability
Comments Off on Preparation for Oracle Webinar on Environmental Accounting

This week I was fortunate to be invited to work with Jon Chorley and Rich Kroes from Oracle on a webinar discussing their new Environmental Accounting and Reporting modules for Oracle and JD Edwards. We selected this tool as the foundation of our internal emissions, waste generation, power generation, and water usage accounting processes. We discovered in filing our first Climate Registry baseline year assessment and our first American Pubic Transportation Association sustainability report that manually gathering this data is an intense and expensive process.

 

Thought I would share the slides I compiled for the webinar. We’ll be broadcasting next week, so I’ll post a link to that afterward.

 

alternative energy, environment, sustainability
Comments Off on Sustainability Case Study for Small-to-Medium Business

This week I was lucky to be able to participate in the American Public Transportation Association’s 2011 Sustainability Workshop.  This time the workshop really seemed to get its focus around sustainability initiatives that could work for every agency and business partner – not just the really large agencies.  It is always impressive to see what entities like New York MTA and San Francisco Muni can accomplish.  But this does not always translate well to the smaller guys.  And sustainability by its very nature will make greater progress if it is permeated through smaller agencies as well.

 

I started participating in this workshop just three short years ago.  In that time, the North County Transit District has gone from no sustainability initiatives, to a comprehensive portfolio of work – most of which has driven significant operating cost savings for the agency and lead to smarter decisions and business plans.

 

To me, sustainability is not a political movement.  It is not a badge of honor.  It is not a marketing campaign.  It is a means to ensure we can continue to deliver on our primary mandate as a company – to provide safe access for our community to their education, jobs, doctors, grocery stores…  It is a means to ensure that over the long run, NCTD can exist.  Good for the environment, good for our employees, and good for our community.

energy consumption, environment, solar, sustainability
Comments Off on SPRINTER Solar Goes Live

I am happy to say that after many challenges, we were able to turn on the SPRINTER solar system today.This system was funded by the ARRA Transit Investments in Greenhouse Gas Reductions (TIGGER) grant.  It is approximately 225 kw, and should offset almost 30% of the power needs for the facility – which is a good thing as the SPRINTER Maintenance facility draws more power than any other site at NCTD.

 

This project ran into many complications, not the least of which was the need to repair the facility roof.  We could have made the decision to compromise on the quantity of panels at the facility, but I think we made the right choice to go ahead and fix a facility that is a mission-critical site for the agency.

 

We also faced the significant challenge of putting panels in an area that is designated as a bioswale for retention of water and prevention of nonpoint source pollution runoff.  In order to protect that purpose, we  had to replace the irrigation system and all of the vegetation with something more suitable to the new environmental conditions.  The added benefit is that is allows us to cut our water consumption by over 25% at the site.

 

I want to say a big thank you to Dan Harding and Seth Worden at Transit America, and to Josh Beeson at Martifer Solar.