Business & Technology

he's redefining green

Matt Golden

Art: Nat Damm Matt Golden President, Founder, and Chief Building Scientist, Recurve Sausalito, Calif. Matt Golden, 35, has become a golden boy of the nascent energy-efficiency industry. He started Recurve—formerly called Sustainable Spaces—back in 2004 before retrofit was hip. While Recurve works on a software-driven solution to scale up the energy-efficiency business from mom-and-pop shops to a sustainable industry, Golden spends much of his time in Washington lobbying for Home Star and other legislation to fund energy-efficiency work and create thousands of jobs. Read more about Golden in a Grist article on Home Star and a Grist article on Sustainable …

he's redefining green

Cisco DeVries

Art: Nat Damm Cisco DeVries President, Renewable Funding Oakland, Calif. Sure, you’d love to have solar panels on your roof, but where would you get tens of thousands of dollars to install them? Cisco Devries, 36, has come up with an innovative answer: Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new type of financing program that lets private property owners pay for energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects over 10 to 20 years via an addition to their property tax bill, instead of coming up with the cash up front; the financing comes via municipal bonds, and if an owner sells the …

he's redefining green

Jim Cochran

Art: Nat Damm Jim Cochran Farmer, Swanton Berry Farm Davenport, Calif. Despite what many consumers may think, organic rules don’t ensure fair treatment of workers—and tight profit margins mean that working conditions and pay on organic farms are too often no different from those in conventional operations. But Jim Cochran, 62, who launched California’s first organic strawberry farm in 1987, refused to accept the established norms. In 1998, he became the first organic grower to sign a contract with the United Farm Workers union—and he approached them. Then, in 2005, Cochran rolled out what might be the nation’s first stock-ownership …

She's redefining green

Leslie Christian

Art: Nat Damm Leslie Christian Founder, Upstream 21 and Portfolio 21 Seattle, Wash. “Small companies are critical to the future of our communities,” says Leslie Christian, 62—so she helped concoct an innovative way to support them. Upstream 21, whose board she chairs, is a Portland, Ore.-based regional holding company that acquires and supports small, locally focused, privately held companies in the Pacific Northwest—currently, three forest products companies that are embracing sustainable practices. Right from the drafting of its foundational document, Upstream 21 aimed to break away from business as usual: “Our corporate charter specifically states that the best interests of …

She's redefining green

Valerie Casey

Art by Nat Damm. Original photo by Brian Smale. Valerie Casey Founder, Designers Accord Oakland, Calif. Designer Valerie Casey, 37, wants to green not just her own projects but her entire industry. She started the Designers Accord—aka the “Kyoto Treaty of Design”—in 2007 to encourage the creative community to integrate the principles of sustainability into all design practice and to share knowledge with each other. So far, she estimates, more than 600 design firms, 30 corporations, and dozens of colleges and universities from more than 100 countries have ratified the accord. It all started in 2007 with a manifesto Casey …

He's redefining green

Robert Cialdini

Art: Nat Damm Robert Cialdini Psychologist Tempe, Ariz. Robert Cialdini, 64, until recently a psychology and marketing professor at Arizona State University, wrote Influence, the classic book on persuasion. Lately he’s been researching the best ways to persuade people to save energy. In 2007, he coauthored a study [PDF] that found that giving people info about neighborhood energy-use norms (combined with smiley faces) led to large home energy savings. His research inspired the creation of the company Opower, which sells software that utilities can use to make smarter bills and inspire energy efficiency. Cialdini now serves as chief scientist for …

He's redefining green

Ambrose Carroll

Art: Nat Damm Ambrose Carroll Pastor, Renewal Worship Center Denver, Colo. The Renewal Worship Center, founded in April 2009 by Rev. Ambrose Carroll, 40, is one of the first churches in the U.S. to have started up with an explicitly environmental emphasis; it also has a mission to reach out to all different kinds of people, including struggling African Americans in the inner city. Its nonprofit arm, RENEWAL, focuses on green-job training and placement in the northeastern Denver area. Carroll is also coordinator of Denver’s Green Jobs Interfaith Coalition and has collaborated with other Denver clergy to call for strong …

actual earth day news (!)

Hey, look: Denver has a bike-sharing program

Courtesy B-cycleDenver today launches the nation’s largest bike-sharing program, distributing 500 bicycles at 50 stations around the city for citizens to use wherever they find them. The B-cycle program mirrors bike-sharing networks in Paris and Montreal, and it’ll be followed soon by networks in Boston and Minneapolis. Oh, and Mexico City too, which is launching a 1,114-bike program. The hope is that people can leave their car at home, take light rail or a bus into the city, and use the bikes to zip around. Participants can sign up at denver.bcycle.com, where they pay membership and usage fees. A 24-hour …

he's redefining green

Chandrasekhar “Spike” Narayan

Art: Nat Damm Chandrasekhar “Spike” Narayan Leader of Science and Technology Organization, IBM’s Almaden Research Center Silicon Valley, Calif. Spike Narayan and his team at IBM’s Almaden Research Center work on bleeding-edge technologies that are at the nexus of efforts to create a sustainable world—endlessly recyclable plastics, lithium-air batteries that could dramatically extend the range of electric cars, and infrastructure for smart cities. Given Narayan and the Almaden Research Center’s proximity to Silicon Valley venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, expect to see some of these technologies hit the market in the coming years.

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