It’s too bad y’all can’t read Times $elect, cause Tom Friedman (the Mustache of Understanding) is really waving the green flag for us. Last week was his broad call to arms — "green is the new red, white and blue" — and this week comes a narrow focus on a particular case: a Texas Instruments chip factory in Texas.

The challenge to the designers of the factory was explicit:

T.I. always wanted to keep its newest wafer factory near Dallas so it would be near its design center and ideas could flow back and forth. But China, Taiwan and Singapore were all tempting alternatives, offering low wages, subsidies and tax breaks. So the T.I. leadership laid down a challenge: T.I. could locate its new wafer factory in Richardson, if the T.I. design team and community leaders could find a way to build it for $180 million less than its last Dallas factory, erected in the late 1990’s. That would make its cost-per-wafer competitive with any overseas plant’s.

Say it with me: domestic jobs.

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The T.I. design team partnered with Amory Lovins (also not too shabby in the mustache department) and pulled it off:

"Green building is not necessarily about producing your own power with windmills and solar panels. It’s about addressing the consumption side with really creative design and engineering to eliminate waste and reduce energy usage – it’s the next industrial revolution," said Paul Westbrook, who oversees sustainable design for T.I. and helped turn T.I. leaders on to green building by taking them to his solar-powered home. "Green building added some cost, but over all we built a green building for 30 percent less per square foot than our previous conventional facility." This is expected to cut utility costs by 20 percent and water usage by 35 percent.

Say it with me: saving money.

And no column on these matters would be complete without a reference to the moon shot:

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In 1961, when President Kennedy called for putting a man on the moon, he didn’t know how – but his vision was so compelling, his expectations of the American people so high, that they drove the moon shot well after he died. The Bush-Cheney team should be inspiring our generation’s moon shot: energy independence. But so far all they’ve challenged Americans to do is accept a tax cut.

And finally, Tom, bring the macho coup de grace!

Energy guzzling is for defeatists. Real Americans – and real Texans – build green.


I’m ready to forgive Friedman all his credulous nonsense on flat-world globalization if he keeps this up. There isn’t a more high-profile media position in the print world than NYT columnist. It could make a real difference.

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