Today, I take a look at my hometown. I believe I can make a difference most in my own community. Impacting the lives of the people I associate with seems more within my grasp. That’s why when the city of Boston sponsors green economic development, I am personally excited. It means that my community is doing something for the environment and is spending their money on renewable alternatives.

          My favorite so far is the urban compost center that will be the first of its kind. It will capture heat from a compost heap made of local restaurant scraps and yard waste and turn it into energy. The co2 that burns off will contribute to a greenhouse full of plants located above the compost pile. They have made plans to install wind turbines on the roof of city hall and there are other initiatives as well.  Also Massachusetts based Evergreen Solar has announced it will double its size and add 350 jobs.

In the article they also cite that

“Besides Evergreen, the state recently attracted a wind blade research facility that will be built near the Tobin Bridge. In addition, Greatpoint Energy, a Cambridge company that specializes in coal and natural gas conversion technology, is building a pilot facility in Somerset, MA.”

          It seems like communities across the country are looking to be the leaders in renewable energy and green business practices. I have read the phrase “If we take advantage of the green movement, we can put (insert region) at the forefront of growth in this industry” or something like that by writers from Buffalo, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, and New Mexico. California and Oregon seem like they are already at the forefront. Hot weather desert states have the sun while the plains are looking towards corn and wind. Detroit has said they want to be at the forefront and think they have what it takes.

          I don’t want to get too historical but besides the analogies to the Industrial Revolution, I’ve also heard the “space race mentality” term being thrown around a bit too. All of these states, along with private corporations, are competing to be leaders and create a competitive advantage. This type of competition also speeds up the progression to a Green Collar Economy.

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I spend a lot of time here promoting the use of green practices right now. My opinion has usually been,

“Let start taking advantage of innovative technologies and reduce non renewable energy usage today.”

The environmental reasons and capitalist reasons are plenty. But today I read a statement by Wake Forest University that made me stop and think.

Adam Mayer, the founder of the Wake Forest American Energy Security chapter said,

“…absolutely solar, wind, geothermal, etc., but only as soon as they are economically feasible. Trying to be completely renewable now will put too much strain on the US economy and on US taxpayers. The trucker strike is a prime example of the fact that we need cheap fuel now.”

So I opened my mind and dropped these words in. It makes so much sense. There needs to be a bridge to the green economy. We can’t get by on fumes while we try to set up new infrastructure; we need to work with what we got.

The purpose of greencollareconomy.com is simply to promote the idea that “We need to do the things that will save us money. By converting to renewable energy we are building a new revenue stream and simultaneously preserving the environment.”

If it is not economically feasible to work green manufacturing into your process, be sure to be aware of the things that you can do. Grasp green and apply it where possible.

I don’t know if Sierra College is an engineering school but if not, adding a solar certification program to their curriculum is a bold move. The school is in California and the government initiatives there have been notoriously bold themselves, demanding 1 million households use solar. Is California at a greater benefit for using solar because they have sunshine most of the year? Massachusetts often has cloudy streaks, does that mean that the ROI is longer. Even if it took 15-17 years instead of 8-10 that’s a tough call, but it would still create your own personal energy source.

Where are the solar panels in Massachusetts? I would like to see a website with a solar spotter that can give me an overview of the solar density in a given area. Then, someone else would come out the general renewable energy usage map and we could really see the areas where renewable thrives. Is your community or business using alternative energy? Where are you?

          Enertech could give you 47 million reasons why waste to green renewable energy might be a good industry to be in. They take waste water sludge and convert it into energy, using a patented system called SlurryCarb.

          This is almost along the lines of Waste Management’s Landfill to Energy Projects or the few new livestock manure to energy projects. Then there’s the compost to energy project in Greentown.

 

          Even though society is moving toward sustainable practices and will greatly cut overall water usage, our population continues to grow rapidly. We will still create some waste, enough to allow Enertech, and other sludge to energy converters, to continue doing business.

          By converting waste to energy, renewable energy takes on a new meaning. We are able to conduct business (please shareholders) and grow our economy (build stronger communities). As opposed to cutting down on all our workloads (losing jobs) and turning into minimalists (lack enjoying luxury).

          At some point everyone will agree that we are literally throwing money away when we burn or dump landfills and it has been made possible by innovations in technology. Now these entrepreneurs, who predict high energy production, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, have the responsibility to prove that it can be done.

   

          If they do, they have won competitive advantage. Enertech already has a competitive advantage because of the SlurryCarb patent.

          Fibermark of Vermont has just announced they will use 100% vegetable oil in their manufacturing process according to a press release on Graphic Arts Online.

“Switching to used vegetable oil now allows the company to reduce its use of number six fuel oil and to significantly eliminate toxic sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions”

          While no financials appear on the Graphic Arts site, subsituting with used vegetable oil should reduce their energy costs. In addition, they add this progress to their long list of green certified accolades, including the complete reusal of their waste water sludge for land fill. Another company benefiting from reducing waste and capitalizing on new technology and high oil prices.

          Here at Green Collar Manufacturing, we like to be open to all kinds of reports. Sure, if you were browse our posts from the past month, most would be positive and in support of green business. So today, to prove that I do not just see the world through green colored glasses, I thought it would be best to pass on this Associated Press article from this morning, announcing that Advent Solar of New Mexico would be laying off 68 workers.

“We regret having to release so many good employees, but we just won’t need manufacturing until next year,”
said Chief Executive Officer Peter Green.

          It is important to note, however, that Advent handed down the layoffs to increase research on developing a larger solar cell and plans on rehiring solar manufacturers again next year.

          I guess what happens at Advent is yet to be seen and hopefully the laid off workers will be rewarded for their skills in the solar industry. As noted in previous posts, trained solar workers are high in demand in certain areas, plans to step up renewable energy production continue to develop.

          In fact just this month in New Mexico, according to Clean Technica.com,

“Schott, AG, broke ground on a facility that will manufacture solar PV cells and receivers…(creating) 350 jobs in the short term and 1,500 jobs when the plant is running to capacity. New Mexico has a Renewable Portfolio Standard, requiring that a portion of the state’s energy production must come from renewable sources.”

          So, despite this week’s cuts, solar manufacturing in New Mexico should get back to normal very soon.