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Ecotech Institute 2012 Clipbook

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An all-in-one document showcasing the top media placements and PR efforts for the year.

An all-in-one document showcasing the top media placements and PR efforts for the year.

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    Ecotech Institute 2012 Clipbook Ecotech Institute 2012 Clipbook Document Transcript

    • Ecotech Institute Media Presence 2012
    • Table of Contents January................................................................................................ February............................................................................................... March................................................................................................... April...................................................................................................... May....................................................................................................... June...................................................................................................... July........................................................................................................ August.................................................................................................. September............................................................................................ October................................................................................................. November............................................................................................. December............................................................................................. page 4 to 8 page 10 to 13 page 15 to 20 page 22 to 32 page 34 to 39 page 41 to 46 page 48 to 56 page 58 to 63 page 65 to 68 page 70 to 73 page 75 to 85 page 87 to 89
    • January 2012
    • page 4 January 3, 2012 People on the move The City of Denver named Judy Steele deputy director of the Department of Excise and Licenses and appointed Scott Martinez as deputy city attorney. Colorado Public Radio appointed Christie Cadwell, Carolyn Daniels and Bryant Reber to the board of directors. Andrew C. Elliott and Ashley Krause have been elected shareholders in the Denver office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons announced that Chad S. Caby has been named partner in the Denver office. Gary M. Jackson will be honored with the Colorado Bar Association’s highest honor, the Award of Merit, on Friday. Jackson is a founding member and former president of the Sam Cary Bar Association, an African- American legal association, as well as the Sam Cary Scholarship Endowment Fund, which provides scholarships to law students at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. The American Red Cross Mile High Chapter announced the addition of Libia Prada and Oliver Cunningham as bilingual volunteer instructors. Ecotech Institute has appointed a local board of advisers including: Jennifer Beach, Starfire Energy LLC; Tim Cahalin, Energy Central; Scott Charter, GGP Energy; Paul Czarnecki, Colorado Association of Manufacturing and Technology; Maury Dobbie, Colorado State University Center for the New Energy Economy; Greg Foster, Williams Production RMT; Jeff Hanko, Metal Finishing Systems and Advanced Industrial Technology; Roark Lanning, RES Americas; Vance Nixon, Clipper Windpower LLC; Justin Pentelute, Syndicated Solar Inc.; Matt Pevarnik, Alstom Power; and Marietta Silva, Veterans Green Jobs. Vista Gold Corp. named Frederick H. Earnest, president and chief operating officer as chief executive officer following the retirement of Michael B. Richings. Humane Society of Boulder Valley hired Allison Hartlage as a training and behavior coordinator. University of Colorado Boulder named Robert Boswell as vice chancellor for diversity, equity and community engagement.
    • page 5 January 21, 2012 A Look at Green Technology Predictions for 2012 Where will green technology take us in 2012? Ecotech Institute is keeping a close eye on that very big question. We are constantly monitoring cleantech industry growth and innovation, and looking for ways to align our environmental sustainability curriculum with employer and marketplace demands. Every day we read up on the latest research regarding solar power, wind energy, smart grid and other relevant industries. We want to make sure our students are up to speed when they graduate so their employers truly get the best, most knowledgeable employees. In 2011, cleantech venture investment had an incredible year. As a result of financial backing, we saw an infusion of green start-up companies, new jobs and a growing belief in the future of cleantech industries. However, the challenges of this relatively new space also came to light as some companies met very public criticism. As the president of Ecotech Institute, it’s my job to take a hard look at opportunities in cleantech now and into the future. Our career services team needs to accurately predict where Ecotech graduates will be able to make a living and make a difference in the world. Frankly, there is a lot of enthusiasm as we enter 2012 with a promising outlook about environmental sustainability’s growing role in the world. This is a very exciting year for Ecotech because we will graduate our first group of students in June. As we continue to prepare them for the workforce this year, we are collectively interested in what industry leaders are predicting. Here are some predictions of note: 1. According to a December 28, 2011 article by Michael Kanellos on www.greenbiz.com, “Renewables will start to win over the jobs argument.” He states, “The 2012 Presidential election will be only about one thing: jobs. In the energy and sustainability context, the debate boils down to whether you think more jobs can be created through pipelines and offshore drilling or through erecting solar farms and retrofitting buildings.” “But here is where renewables win: they don’t take years….Many fossil projects, meanwhile, are bogged down in land use hearings….If renewables get results quicker, they become the better solution.” My takeaway: Green jobs will continue to grow and companies need educated people to fill them. 2. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says this year is going to be a big year for wind power, both in the field and in policy. The association notes that unlike the volatile prices of fossil fuels, wind power has a fixed fuel cost of zero, making it a very appealing form of energy. However, Congress needs to act quickly to protect the future of wind energy in the U.S. If lawmakers do not extend the Production Tax Credit that is due to expire at the end of this year, taxes on wind will go up and jobs could go overseas.
    • page 6 My takeaway: Wind energy will continue to grow this year, however Congress needs to take action to make sure that growth continues in 2013 and beyond. Please contact your lawmakers to let them know the importance of extending the Production Tax Credit. 3. According to predictions from www.EnvironmentalLeader.com, solar innovation will serve as a perennial driver. “Investment into good old solar innovation and projects is still strong, and has remained so for years, while other clean technologies have risen and fallen in and out of investment fashion.” My takeaway: As money continues to be filtered into solar power innovation, we must keep a close eye on how these technologies will be built and maintained. 4. Jesse Berst with gigaom.com listed top predictions based on his takeaways from a webinar offered by renowned research firm IDC. He stated the following, “Smart buildings will become important to utilities. 25 states have energy efficiency standards or targets. Smart buildings can help meet such goals. The building energy analytics market will double between 2012 and 2015, jumping from $193 billion to $402 billion.” My takeaway: The growth of smart buildings requires savvy energy efficiency experts. 5. In “10 solar trends to watch for in 2012,” Ucilia Wang, another contributor to gigaom.com, discusses solar energy’s impact on the grid. The article states that, “The increase in solar energy generation has nudged utilities and electric grid regulators to give more thought and investment to the impact of solar in their mission to deliver electricity reliably.” “Since solar production can ebb and surge depending on the time of the day and the weather, new technologies and policies are cropping up to monitor solar energy production and minimize interruptions of power delivery.” My takeaway: The marketplace needs educated professionals who understand the interplay between solar technology and the current energy grid system. The green landscape will continue to shift and it is important to watch, learn and prepare future leaders. The excitement of clean technology innovation in 2012 and beyond ought to be celebrated by everyone who has a stake in making our world a better place to work, play and live.
    • page 7 January 27, 2012 Ecotech looks toward first class of green industry grads | Adam Goldstein
    • page 8 January 31, 2012 Aurora Daily Click A story about Ecotech’s growth in the number of students was featured on the local Aurora TV station. Full video not available. January 29, 2012 Ecotech Institute grows exponentially Ecotech Institute, where the focus is preparing students for careers in renewable energy and sustainability with hands on training, is celebrating a nearly 400 percent increase in student population over the last year. It kicked off the January quarter with 100 new students, bringing total enrollment to 473 students. This is quite an increase for a facility that took up temporary residence in an existing vacant building in June of 2010. In January 2011, Ecotech’s 119 students began attending school in its LEED gold-certified campus in Aurora, Colorado. Since then, the facility’s growth of offerings, faculty and student enrollment have continued exponentially. This June, the Institute will see its first graduating class of 39 students with 50 graduating students to follow in December. The most popular degrees are in Wind Energy Technology, Renewable Energy Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology. For more: see this article.
    • February 2012
    • page 10 February 1, 2012 Ecotech Institute to Sponsor Green Jobs Showcase Ecotech Institute, the first and only college entirely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in renewable energy and sustainability, today announced that it will be sponsoring the Green Jobs Showcase at the upcoming Green Schools National Conference. The second annual conference, to be held February 27-29 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, will bring together K-12 leaders and educators from around the country. Attendees will learn new ways to make schools and districts green and healthy centers of academic excellence. The conference is positioned as the centerpiece of a national movement sending a strong, clear message that green is the future of our schools. The conference features a landmark appearance by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on February 28 where he will discuss the newly established U. S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Program. The conference will be the most comprehensive resource for schools hoping to become a Green Ribbon School in 2012. The Green Jobs Showcase is an opportunity for 20-30 companies to illustrate their green practices, describe current and future careers, and explain why sustainability-focused education is important to industry. “Students learning in an environmentally focused culture will inevitably want to choose career paths that allow them to continue their commitment to helping the planet,” says Jim McGrath, director of the Green Schools National Network, conference sponsor. “This showcase will allow conferees to get a glimpse of the green jobs of the future, sought-after careers that will be critically important to our health and the health of the planet in the decades to come.” Green Jobs Showcase Date/Time: February 28, 2012 – 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm February 29, 2012 – 9:00 am – 1:00 pm Where: Colorado Convention Center Rooms 201-203-205-207 Cost: Green Jobs Showcase Only – No Charge
    • page 11 “Ecotech is passionate about supporting the education industry’s movement to embrace sustainability in its facilities, curriculum and shaping students’ view of the world,” adds Mike Seifert, president of Ecotech Institute. “We are pleased to play a role in building a bridge between schools and the marketplace.” Companies interested in participating in the Green Jobs Showcase can contact Kim Stromire at Kimberly. stromire@ecotechinstitute.com or 303-586-5290 Ext. 4647. Entries will be accepted until next week. To register as an attendee, please visit http://www.greenschoolsnationalconference.org/register_now.php. For general conference or registration questions, please e-mail greeninfo@nationalgreenschools.org or call 1- 800-280-6218 between 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Pacific Coast Time. Ecotech Institute, which is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, offers seven highly practical degree programs and one certificate program that provide graduates with skills valued by today’s alternative renewable energy employers. February 14, 2012 New EV iPhone App, LEDs, Airline Controversy News, & More (Clean Links) | Zachary Shahan Some more top cleantech news of the past couple weeks, to go along with the 60+ articles we’ve published. 1. Despite recent/upcoming solar feed-in tariff cuts, UK energy minister Greg Barker announced a ramp-up of the UK’s solar power ambitions last Thursday. Barker thinks the UK will have 4 million solar-powered homes by 2020. 2. LED startup Soraa has just unstealthed and is looking to take over the LED 2.0 market. We’ll see. Coverage on cnet and Greentech Media for more. 3. Vestas’ chairman, deputy chief executive, deputy chairman, and chief financial officer (CFO) have announced they’re stepping down from their positions at Vestas, following a rough 2011. 4. China has now banned its airlines from participating in the EU’s emissions reduction scheme, continuing a long controversy over this issue (which we’ve written about many times)—it did so on the even of a big China-EU summit last week. Additionally, the U.S. Congress is moving a bill forward that expresses formal opposition to the EU requirement that non-EU airlines operating on the continent participate in the carbon emissions scheme.
    • page 12 5. SunRidge Farms, an organic and natural foods company, celebrated its 30th birthday recently by expanding its use of solar energy. (Full disclosure: I’m primarily including this in the roundup because I love some of their products.) 6. Burbank Water & Power (BWP) and AHBE Landscape Architects recently unveiled California’s 1st sustainable utility campus, the EcoCampus. “Never before have so many different sustainable landscape technologies been integrated into a single industrial campus,” Ron Davis, BWP’s general manager, notes. It really is completely full of progressive, environmentally friendly technologies—check out the link above for more. 7. Ecotech Institute, reportedly “the first and only college entirely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in renewable energy and sustainability,” has grown its student population to about 400 in its first year. Hopefully, it won’t take long for it to hit another 400. 8. GreenCharge, a new green iPhone app, offers a cool platform for viewing your driving patterns, checking out your charging costs, and seeing your environmental brownie points. The video above has more. 9. Scottish Enterprise has gotten a £50-boost to advance renewable energy in the UK. “The UK Government confirmed that the UK-wide consortium bid from Ocean Energy Innovation, Carbon Trust and the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), has been selected to set up the £50 million Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult project, funded by the technology strategy board.” 10. easyJet, the largest airline in the UK, “will be the first airline to support the development and trial of the innovative new electric green taxiing system (EGTS),” the company noted last week. Approximately 4% of all the fuel easyJet uses is used when taxiing. It is partnering with Honeywell and Safran on this trial. 11. The small wind sector is also to get hit hard by UK feed-in tariff cuts, industry leaders recently announced. ”Household & business- scale wind turbines have been deployed in line with the Government’s predictions – if anything, deployment has not been as strong as we would have hoped because of the difficulty of securing planning permission for even small wind turbines,” RenewableUK’s Director of Policy, Dr Gordon Edge, said. ”The Government points to capital costs for some turbines coming down – but overall project costs have been rising across the technology sizes and manufacturers will face real dangers with the proposed cuts – we want to work with Government to ensure lower costs for consumers and protection for our UK-wide industry.”
    • page 13 12. Palo Alto, California looks like it’s going to have a feed-in tariff for solar in place soon. If Palo Alto’s City Council passes the feed-in-tariff pilot program, it will go into place on March 5, 2012. “It’s a pilot program for the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) – the first year is capped at 4 megawatts and meant for medium-sized commercial rooftops with a minimum size of 50 kilowatts per installation,” Greentech Media reports. “The FIT is applicable to solar only, although other renewable energy sources could be considered later on. The city will pay $0.14 per kilowatt- hour for 20-year contracts.” 13. Solar Junction, which develops high-efficiency multi-junction cells for the concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) market and holds a world record in that arena, has secured $19.2 million more and a new partner for ramped up manufacturing of its solar cells, which have an efficiency of 43.5%. February 28, 2012 Ecotech provides hands-on wind training | Barbara Vergetis Lundin The Ecotech Institute is bolstering its wind energy training and safety labs with cutting-edge equipment that prepares students for careers in the wind industry. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind is the fastest growing energy source in the world. The equipment will provide students with the necessary knowledge of safe, proper techniques when it comes to working with wind energy technology. The Ecotech Institute prepares America’s workforce for the renewable energy industry, in part by using the newest equipment for the most up-to-date training, as well as providing a realistic view of the functionality and programming of a large, commercial wind turbine. Ecotech takes a holistic approach to teaching, which includes hands-on labs, soft skills (communication, workplace etiquette), math and science basics, technology and more. In an effort to provide an array of real- life elements, the Wind Training Lab contains a generator trainer, fiber optic splicing kit, specialty tools, a Lab- Volt Wind Turbine Nacelle Trainer, Lab-Volt Wind Turbine Hub Trainer, several wind farm simulation software packages, a 25-foot climb and rescue tower, Miller Evolution Harnesses and Lanyards, Rescue Randy dummy, Miller Safe Escape Rescue Device, Lab-Volt cranes and a rigging trainer. Ecotech will also soon have a TorcUP torque and tensioning trainer. Featured in FierceEnergy newsletter; article originally from November 2011.
    • March 2012
    • page 15 March 1, 2012 Company Profile: Ecotech Institute | Russ Willcutt
    • page 16 March 6, 2012 Ecotech’s “Women in Renewable Energy” Club Mirrors Department of Labor Push to Get More Women Interested in Green Jobs Historically men have dominated green jobs, yet a new report is trying to shift the tides. The report recently released by the Department of Labor, “Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career,” highlights the fact that green jobs tend to be dominated by men, yet opportunities abound for women as well. It has been noticed as well by Ecotech Institute, the first and only college entirely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in renewable energy and sustainability. In fact, the school held its first “Women in Renewable Energy” (WIRE) meeting on February 16 to bring together women at the campus to share ideas, help each other with classwork and empower one another as they embark on a green career. Ecotech is seeing increasingly more women interested in the green revolution and it is a trend the Labor Department wants to see continue. The Labor Department states that according to The National Center for O*NET Development, several green occupations are “Bright Outlook” occupations, meaning they are expected to grow rapidly from 2008 – 2018, with a combined increase of 100,000 or more job openings. Some jobs designated as “Bright Outlook” are wind turbine service technicians, solar photovoltaic installers and recycling coordinators. The impetus for the report was in support of Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis’s vision of “Good Jobs for Everyone.” The downloadable green jobs guide is designed to help women learn about the opportunities available in the renewable energy space, which they may not have previously considered. According to the report synopsis, “The guide was created to help women at all stages of their careers — whether they are newly entering the workforce, transitioning to new careers, or returning to the workforce — identify and take advantage of opportunities in the clean energy economy.” “We are focused on making Ecotech a welcoming environment for women because we know they have a lot to offer in current and emerging green careers,” said Susan Pawlak, Ecotech’s Director of Career Services. “Our Women in Renewable Energy Club is just one way that Ecotech encourages women to make a mark in wind, solar, renewable energy and other industries alongside their male colleagues.” The club held elections on February 23 and the new leaders are tasked with growing the club’s membership and educating more women about careers in sustainability. Tiffany Burton, an Electrical Engineering Technology instructor, is the academic advisor; Suzanne Colton, Senior Recruiter for NextEra Energy Resources is the industry advisor; and Susan Pawlak, Ecotech’s Director of Career Services, is a general advisor. Ecotech’s curriculum is built to address both job-specific technical training and soft skills (e.g. communication, work ethic and teamwork), which employers demand, through comprehensive coursework and state-of-the- art labs. The Labor Department report parallels Ecotech’s vision for job training and is chock-full of applicable information that defines what a green career really is, explains why there is a growing need for trained professionals, and outlines what training is necessary.
    • page 17 With International Women’s Day (March 8th) fast approaching, it’s time to talk about women and the green energy labor market. A recent report released by the Department of Labor, entitled “Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career” highlights the fact that green jobs tend to be dominated by men. However, opportunities abound for women as well. Ecotech Institute, a pioneer college dedicated to renewable energy and sustainability, recently held a Women in Renewable Energy meeting on February 16 to bring together women at the campus to “share ideas, help each other with classwork and empower one another as they embark on a green career.” The institution says that an increasing number of women are interested in pursuing a career in green businesses. And the green market is a good place to be. The Labor Department states that according to The National Center for O*NET Development, several green occupations are “Bright Outlook” occupations, meaning they are expected to grow rapidly from 2008 – 2018, with a combined increase of 100,000 or more job openings. Some jobs designated as “Bright Outlook” are wind turbine service technicians, solar photovoltaic installers and recycling coordinators. The report was produced to support Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis’s vision of “Good Jobs for Everyone.” The downloadable green jobs guide is designed to help women learn about the opportunities available in the renewable energy space, which they may not have previously considered. March 6, 2012 The Green Revolution: Not Just For Men “We have dynamic, driven women in both leadership and student roles at Ecotech and they send an important message of encouragement that females have a promising future in renewable careers,” said Mike Seifert, president of Ecotech Institute. To read the full “Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career” report click here: http:// www.dol.gov/wb/Green_Jobs_Guide/GreenJobs%20Ch%201.pdf. Ecotech Institute, which is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, offers seven highly practical degree programs and one certificate program that provide graduates with skills valued by today’s alternative renewable energy employers. To learn more about Ecotech Institute, visit us online at www.ecotechinstitute.com/or call 877-326-5576. The next round of classes begins in April and applications are being accepted now. Financial assistance is available to those who qualify.
    • page 18 March 7, 2012 U.S. Department of Labor Tells Women It’s Time to Get Green Jobs For all the talk about “green jobs” being a driver of the economy, the fact these jobs are historically dominated by men has largely been omitted from the conversation. In its latest report, the U.S. Department of Labor looks to change that. In terms of employment opportunities, women have had fight continuously to be seen as equals in the workforce. And, although gender equality may seem antiquated by some, the fact is, on the whole, women are valued less than men in the labor market -- even in new economic industries such as renewable energy. However, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis holds a different vision for America, one in which the country creates good jobs for everyone. This vision was the driving force behind the Department’s investigatory research into green jobs and women. The report, entitled, Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career highlights several very promising opportunities in the cleantech sector for women. The report shows numerous green occupations which have been designated “Bright Outlook” jobs by the Department. A “Bright Outlook” occupation is one that is expected to grow rapidly -- increase by 100,000 openings or more -- between 2008 and 2018. Some of these positions include wind turbine service technicians and solar photovoltaic installers. Practical vocational development for the renewable energy industry is growing in leaps and bounds as student demand for these programs increases. One institution, the Ecotech Institute, has been established with the sole intention to train America’s workforce for careers in clean energy and sustainability. Ecotech, says it is seeing more women become interested in renewable energy careers. As Susan Pawlak, Ecotech’s Director of Career Services, says, “We are focused on making Ecotech a welcoming environment for women because we know they have a lot to offer in current and emerging green careers.”
    • page 19 March 12, 2012 The Wearing of Green | Kyle Crider What color should be seen Where our fathers’ homes have been But their own immortal Green? ~Author Unknown Regardless of how the term “green” strikes you in these days when both green washing and green bashing are popular, it seems both pro- and con- green folk set aside their differences and embrace the color around March 17. According to www.History.com, “St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, the saint’s religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years.” Today the celebrations extend far from Ireland—the largest taking place in North America—but range as far as Japan, Singapore and Russia. Green is, of course, a prominent feature of St. Patrick’s Day celebration garb and gear. The popular phrase embodied in this blog’s title refers to the long-standing practice of wearing a shamrock on one’s clothing, but today’s holiday celebrants’ affinity for green now extends far beyond the 3-lobed saintly symbol. The extension of green from shamrock to celebration is easy to understand. But how did green come to be associated with all things environmental? According to Wikipedia, the word green is closely related to the Old English verb growan, “to grow.” Common connotations of the word also include nature, grass, hope, youth, and spring. So you don’t have to ascribe to the theory of biophilia to see how green came to be associated with “tree huggers.” Like the saint whose name now graces a popular drinking holiday, environmentalists often are seen as being too uptight, legalistic, and downright un-fun. While I believe there are clear environmental warning messages that need to be imparted, carrot approaches work much better than sticks. So kick back and enjoy being green. This is a party for our mutual future on this planet, not a wake for eco-disaster. Here are few fun ideas: Try turning environmental goals into games. Lead a hike, canoe trip, or urban nature scavenger hunt. It’s hard to cultivate a true love for nature if you’ve only seen it on the Discovery Channel. Read a good green book—not a doom and gloom one, but one with practical solutions and real hope. I’m currently reading Reinventing Fire by Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Won’t you join the party? Oh, and be sure to wear something green. “Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!” (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)
    • page 20 March 19, 2012 Do You Think that Food Grows on Trees | Kyle Crider “The diligent farmer plants trees, of which he himself will never see the fruit.” ~Cicero The answer to the somewhat tongue-in-cheek question posed by this blog’s title should be yes… food does indeed grow on trees. It also grows on other perennial plants —and we should be growing more of these kinds of food plants, for our health and for the future of our planet. The Old Testament informs us that “All flesh is grass,” and if we are what we eat, our current agriculture certainly affirms that statement. Our top four food crops—sugar cane, corn, wheat, and rice—are all grasses. (Turf grass actually is our nation’s top irrigated crop, at more than 40 million acres, but as humans can’t eat turf grass, I am excluding it from this list.) Corn alone covers more than 70 million acres of the U.S., but corn is the “killer of continents.” The average acre of Iowa corn land, for example, loses more than a 5 tons of topsoil to wind and water erosion every year. Much of this erosion could be eliminated if we planted fruit- and nut-yielding tree crops, or even perennial versions of our favorite annual grain crops. Perennial grains also require less water, fertilizer, and herbicides. The use of perennials and tree crops is an important aspect of permaculture. In his book Introduction to Permaculture, author Bill Mollison says, “Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments. The word itself is a contraction not only of permanent and agriculture but also of permanent culture, as cultures cannot survive for long without a sustainable agricultural base and land use ethic.” Despite our current love of annual grains, humans evolved in trees long before we learned to walk upright on the plains. Fruits and nuts thus may be nature’s most appropriate and healthy food for us. Remember: The Garden of Eden was an orchard. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” ~Chinese Proverb March 22, 2012 Interview with Kyle Crider | Dave Ramsey Kyle Crider did an on-air interview for The Source’s radio show, “Experience Pros.” Full audio not available.
    • April 2012
    • page 22 As the “green” economy continues to expand, so do training programs for workers entering these fields. One of the newest educators, Ecotech Institute, Aurora, Colo., will see its first class of 40 green graduates prepare to enter the workforce in June. The two-year technical institute bills itself as the “first and only college entirely focused on preparing students for careers in renewable energy,” according to academic dean Glenn Wilson. A second campus location is planned for Austin, Tex., to open in 2013. “Other colleges offer wind, solar, and energy efficiency programs, but at Ecotech, that’s all we do,” explains Wilson. “We have state- of-the-art laboratories with the latest equipment so that our students receive valuable and realistic hands-on training in addition to textbook instruction.” What’s more, each degree program is designed based on input from actual employers who will be hiring graduates for renewable energy jobs. Wilson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management, has worked as a design engineer, engineering manager, and plant manager for Anheuser Busch over three decades. In those positions, much of his work involved energy efficiency, bio fuels, hydrogen cells, and some wind and solar applications. “Ecotech is now training the technicians I’ve been searching for and trying to train during the past 30 years of my career. Talented and educated engineering technicians are hard to come by in today’s workforce,” says Wilson. “These are the highly trained employees who work alongside engineers in keeping plants and equipment up and running.” Ecotech features small classes with hands-on, individualized instruction from teachers with backgrounds in energy management; flexible class schedules; and nine labs focusing on electricity, electronics, solar, wind, and safety applications. Each two-year program costs roughly $35,000, not including cost of living expenses. Financial aid is available, as well as support for military personnel with educational benefits. Degree programs include wind energy technology, solar energy technology, energy efficiency, renewable energy technology, electrical engineering technology, environmental technology, and a program for energy and environmental paralegals. Compared with a traditional four-year engineering degree track, the Ecotech programs take two years to complete and confer an associate’s degree rather than a bachelor’s degree. Technical courses are based on algebra, rather than calculus, and graduates are considered engineering technicians rather than engineers. April 1, 2012 Off to renewable energy college | Frances Richards
    • page 23 “Another difference is the training itself. The Ecotech instruction is much more hands-on and practical, rather than theoretical,” explains Wilson. For example, the solar energy technology program provides instruction on operating, troubleshooting, maintaining, and repairing photovoltaic equipment, including how to perform maintenance and repair or replace parts to correct problems. Coursework is geared towards preparing students to perform diagnostic analyses and meet industry standards. According to the Solar Foundation, the job outlook appears promising for solar technicians. Solar energy is now a $6 billion industry, up 300% from 2006, with a job base that expanded 6.8% in a recent 12-month period — nearly 10 times faster than the overall economy. Solar employers forecast their workforce to grow 24% during 2012, according to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2011, compiled with BW Research Partnership’s Green LMI Consulting division and Cornell University. California continues to be the leader in solar employment, with 25,575 workers. Other states in the top 10 are Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Texas, Oregon, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. The two-year wind energy program at Ecotech similarly provides practical, hands-on training and a promising job outlook. Courses include instruction on how to evaluate new turbines and their readiness for operation, as well as how to resolve early stage electrical and mechanical faults. Instruction is geared toward preparing students to operate, troubleshoot, maintain, and repair a wind turbine operation, including solving complicated mechanical and electrical problems on variable pitch, variable speed turbines. Through hands- on labs, students also learn to perform mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical component maintenance, and to repair and replace parts to correct problems. As far as employment prospects, wind is now the fastest growing energy source in the U.S., and a recent report by the DOE suggests that it could contribute 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data specific to wind energy jobs, the most recent figures from the American Solar Energy Society estimate 16,000 jobs in wind turbine construction and maintenance. These jobs were once limited to a few states that were early adopters of renewable energy, but wind farms now operate in 34 states. Most of these farms are owned by major utility companies that pay a wind energy company to install and maintain turbines. Because of this, many wind energy employees travel extensively as technicians specializing in turbine blade repair or electrical work. Beyond renewable energy, Ecotech also offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in energy efficiency. The program coursework is geared towards how to analyze energy usage for residential and commercial buildings; recommend sustainable energy solutions for high-consumption structures; and recognize and correct inefficient building energy systems. Energy efficiency is considered to be one of the hottest areas for job growth, according to Wilson. The field includes jobs related to building retrofits, the smart grid, home weatherization, lighting upgrades, and grid infrastructure. Emerging job titles include energy auditor, weatherization operations manager, green building architect, and retrofit architect. Students trained in energy efficiency could enter careers in construction, manufacturing, consulting, HVAC installing and servicing, control systems, and other sectors. The BLS does not provide salary or other data for this specialty, but according to the Clean Tech Job Trends 2010 report from research firm Clean Edge Inc., the smart grid and energy efficiency category is third only to solar power and biofuels/biomaterials as one of the hottest clean-tech job sectors in the U.S.
    • page 24 No longer dependent on field experience alone, wind energy technician training is being conducted at cutting-edge facilities such as the Ecotech Institute. As early as 10 years ago, training for wind technicians was informal at best. Learning in the field was a way of life, and just a handful of individuals were responsible for wind turbines from conception to maintenance. In fact, it was often Depending on the degree program and whether or not graduates are willing to relocate or travel, Wilson believes starting salaries could be anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 annually. Ecotech’s enrollment now stands at 500 students among the different programs, with 85 to 100 new students starting each quarter. Student demographics vary as well, ranging from high school graduates to displaced workers in their 40s and 50s needing to train for a new career. “I’ve been working as a lighting and sound technician, but really needed to find a career,” says solar technology student Arien Sorenson, a 20-something from New Jersey. “I saw some ads for Ecotech a couple of years ago and it seemed like a perfect fit for me.” Sorenson’s wife is a teacher and the family’s chief breadwinner for now. Working as a lighting and sound technician for Red Rocks Amphitheatre and other entertainment venues paid the bills, but was not an ideal career choice for the long term, says Sorenson, because of grueling hours and the seasonal nature of outdoor concerts. He will officially graduate as part of Ecotech’s first class in June, but has decided to continue for two more quarters to earn a wind energy degree as well. “Many of the core courses are the same among the programs, and I figure I will be that much more marketable if I have both the solar and wind degrees under my belt,” explains Sorenson, who hopes to eventually work for a wind company such as Vestas and live near the beach. “Getting back into the swing of school was challenging after 10 years out, but I was able to do it with the help of great teachers,” Sorenson continues. “The time has gone by very quickly and I’ve really enjoyed it.” Green training resources Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center, www.ateec.org Association for Energy Engineers, www.aeecenter.org Interstate Renewable Energy Council, www.irecusa.org Ecotech Institute, (877) 326-5576, www.ecotechinstitute.com April 1, 2012 The Evolution of Wind Training | Shawn Lamb
    • page 25 the same engineers who designed the turbines who would install, commission, and even service them. “On the job training literally started at zero,” according to Walter Christmas, a wind energy technology instructor at the Ecotech Institute. “The best hiring managers could do was find people with a technical aptitude and fill in the gaps of their knowledge and skills with ongoing training.” Having spent time at both Suzlon and Christmas Windpower Services, he has seen firsthand how the industry has changed over time. “Wind companies were extremely lucky if they could find one person with experience in electronics, mechanics, hydraulics, and programmable logic controllers who could also climb a 200-foot tower and work in extreme conditions of heat and cold,” he says. “Needless to say, not everybody is suited for a job as a wind turbine technician. Of course, this means that the supply/demand curves added up to really good wages for a lucky few who found their way toward a career in wind.” Responding to the need for trained technicians, some strategically located community colleges started grouping previously existing shop classes into a wind turbine technology concentration of study. In fact, turbine manufacturers were known to donate nacelles to be repeatedly torn apart, examined, and reassembled. But this approach wasn’t a fully functioning training process, and industry-trained instructors were often still missing from the educational experience. Five years ago training became more formalized, but it was still primarily conducted in-house by manufacturers or service companies such as the GE Energy Learning Center and Nordex USA, where I gained my passion for and knowledge of wind energy. From my time with these businesses I was able to see how people from a variety of backgrounds found a place in the wind industry, but with drastically different experience. It made an incredible impact on both the training approach and the time it took to achieve mastery. Employers’ Demands So the quandary businesses were stuck with was this: Do employers go with on the job training, which can be slow and costly, or do they seek employees who have gone through school programs, which may lack the hands-on training and industry insight that students need? It soon became apparent that a third option was necessary. As the wind industry continued to grow, the demand also increased for proper wind training. It became apparent that specific skill sets, courage, professionalism, and a dogged attention to the details were all necessary to complete the job role and a hybrid of classroom education and practical training was necessary to meet employer demand. Wind energy employers wanted then and continue to demand three things: hands-on, technical training; a deep understanding of theory that allows the ability to troubleshoot on the worksite; and soft skills such as communication and work ethic. This means that companies require employees to be trained through programs that embrace theoretical knowledge and practical training with a complete turbine system. In addition, prime job candidates understand advanced concepts such as variable frequency drives, IGBT frequency converters, fiber optics, programmable logic controllers, and remote SCADA control. Figure 1 “The ability to apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting is what separates a wrench-turning technician from a technician who can use training and deductive reasoning skills to diagnose the real issues plaguing a turbine,” Christmas says. Setting the Standard The wind energy training and safety labs at Ecotech Institute serve as a showpiece for the campus. The school’s parent company, Education Corporation of America, knew that Ecotech’s success would be contingent on state
    • page 26 of the art labs that focus on hands-on learning of the latest industry technology, while incorporating the critical component of safety training. Ecotech began classes in April 2010 at a temporary location while its permanent facility was built. The school was erected where a vacant building resided, transforming it into a LEED Gold-Certified campus with cutting- edge labs throughout. It opened in January 2011, and the wind labs were continuously upgraded through the end of the calendar year. “Our labs are a critical piece of the student experience and our narrow focus on renewable energy plays a key role in our success,” says Mike Seifert, president of Ecotech Institute, adding that the first class will graduate in June. “Pair top-notch technology with educators from industry, and we believe that we became the first institute to produce students who will be the best, most prepared employees in the renewable energy sector.” Ecotech’s recently completed wind energy and safety labs use a wide variety of real-life elements for complete training. The Wind Training Lab contains a double-fed induction generator trainer, fiber optic splicing kit, laser generator alignment lab, borescopes, composite blade repair kit, tap and die sets, bolt extractors, micrometers, torque wrenches, thermographic camera, high voltage tools, oil sampling kit, phase rotation meters, megaohm meter, FLUKE multimeters with insulation testers, a Lab-Volt Wind Turbine Nacelle Trainer, Lab-Volt Wind Turbine Hub Trainer, Lab-Volt Hydraulic Trainers, and several wind farm simulation software packages. The Wind Safety Lab includes a 25-foot climb and rescue tower, Miller Evolution harnesses and lanyards, a Rescue Randy dummy, a Miller Safe Escape rescue device, Lab-Volt cranes and a rigging trainer. Ecotech will soon have a HYTORC brand torque and tensioning trainer, as well. The integrated systems approach offered by Lab-Volt’s Wind Turbine Training Simulators provide a very realistic view of the functionality and programming of a large, commercial wind turbine. The nacelle and hub trainers were designed by Siemens for Lab-Volt and very closely simulate the operation states of the turbine, which is important in training the controllers and troubleshooting input and output faults. Figure 2 The nacelle is a focal part of Ecotech’s training, equipped with all of the systems of a utility-scale nacelle— yaw, pitch, hydraulics, PLCs, and the vibration, thermal, and environmental sensors that the big turbines use to operate efficiently. There are many mechanical and electrical aspects of the turbine that are important, but understanding how the turbine operates as an automated power plant is the most critical. Once a commissioner or service tech understands how the turbine controller “thinks,” they can troubleshoot it more effectively. I’m also passionate about the importance of being able to read and interpret electrical schematics, for not only connections, but for function and safety. “The fully operational PLC and SCADA system in our lab allows us to remotely troubleshoot, just like in the industry,” says Auston Van Slyke, another wind energy instructor at Ecotech and former Vestas commissioner. “The most important element is having the functional experience, which allows you to safely start climbing towers and fixing machines on your first day of work.” Ecotech can take someone with little to no electro-mechanical background and teach him or her the fundamentals of science, physics, math, electronics, electromagnetic theory, power generation, programming PLCs, project management, business, Microsoft Office, and the core skills required by the wind industry. It’s a complete package that many companies have waited a long time to find. However, expensive technology obviously doesn’t do the teaching itself. Proper curriculum building and industry-leading instructors round out the equation. “Instructors can create real faults in the system that students must diagnose and correct,” Christmas says. “This brings together all of the specialized training they’ve received in their earlier classes.”
    • page 27 Ecotech’s prominent board of advisors was instrumental in creating the curriculum, tapping their own knowledge and a variety of other industry leaders to match up coursework with what employers want in regards to training and daily job demands. Ecotech also recently created a local board of advisors, which allows program directors, like myself, to stay current with the latest industry trends and technologies, while staying agile in changing curriculum according to the newest trends. Represented companies include RES Americas, Alstom Power, NextEra, and Clipper Windpower. Looking Forward Wind energy companies are no longer in the position where they simply take eager employees and train them on the job. The wind energy workforce is quickly evolving and relies on targeted and thorough training provided by well-equipped and well-funded training programs. “Ecotech is training a new generation of technicians who are prepared on day one to assess the general health and efficiency of wind turbines,” says Christmas. “Every time a technician climbs a tower, there is an opportunity to recognize a developing problem with a turbine that can be effectively dealt with before it becomes a costly repair. When Ecotech students join the workforce after the school’s first graduation in June, they will set a new standard by incorporating this value-added approach into their daily work habits.” Ecotech Institute’s Wind Energy Technology track is a two-year associate’s degree program focused on the generation and transmission of energy using wind power. Designed with employer input, graduates will be prepared to enter the workforce as wind energy technicians. “Soon the manufacturing companies will be closing their own training departments and supporting the development of schools like ours,” Van Slyke predicts. As the Director of Career Services at Ecotech Institute, I have the opportunity to engage with students whose enthusiasm is contagious. They are looking to make positive change, proud of what they are accomplishing, and excited about the future. Our first graduates will receive their diplomas in June 2012 and, although we expect to have nearly 100 percent placement for all of our graduates, Congress needs to understand its role in the creation of future cleantech jobs. Congress is currently considering the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which needs an extension. If that extension doesn’t happen, the U.S. could potentially lose tens of thousands of wind energy jobs. In fact, a study by Navigant Consulting shows that wind energy jobs would be cut in half from 78,000 in 2012 to 41,000 in 2013 and investments would drop by nearly two-thirds. During a time when unemployment numbers take up the headlines, how can we even consider not extending the tax credit? Especially when there is so much forward momentum. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors today. In the last six years, the production of U.S. wind turbine components has grown 12-fold to more than 400 facilities in 43 states, according to the American Wind Energy Association. If the PTC is extended, almost 100,000 jobs will be added in just four years. April 1, 2012 Congressional Mandate | Susan Pawlak
    • page 28 The tax credit is so critical because it allows for renewable energy innovation. However, companies are already putting the brakes on new projects until they know, with clarity, if the tax credit will continue next year. A reliable, long-term tax policy is needed to help make sure our country is a renewable energy leader for years to come. Fossil fuels will eventually dry up, so we need to act now. We must continue to move the needle forward. We simply can’t leave this problem for the next generation. President Obama has often talked about his full support of renewable energy. In fact, during a recent stop in Colorado after his State of the Union address, the President talked about the importance of renewable energy and the jobs this industry creates. He made his remarks just miles from Ecotech Institute, which is the first and only college in the U.S. solely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in renewable energy and sustainability. Ecotech was founded because of the need to educate future employees who will lead our country away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. In just one year, Ecotech has grown from 119 students to 473. The students whom I have the pleasure of working with are passionate, dedicated and determined to help our country. We need to make sure politics don’t block the bright future we all see. Congress can’t let the tax credit expire and it needs to understand the implications. If the tax credit expires, jobs will be cut, the economy will suffer and much of the progress we’ve made will be erased. This isn’t a matter of Republicans vs. Democrats, but instead a matter of job creation and the U.S. leading the world in sustainability and innovation. Write your Congressional representatives today and urge them to understand all facets of the Production Tax Credit. It’s good for employment, renewable energy growth and, last but not least, our planet. April 2, 2012 Getting Green Done: Wind Energy Technology | Kyle Crider “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” ~ William Arthur Ward Wind power is the fastest growing source of electrical power in the world, according to the American Solar Energy Society. If you’re fascinated with renewable energy and a cleaner future, why wouldn’t you want to catch this breeze? Ecotech Institute’s Wind Energy Technology program is designed to prepare students for careers in renewable
    • page 29 energy. This two-year associate’s degree program is designed with employer input to prepare graduates with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of renewable energy while specializing in the generation and transmission of energy using wind power. Well maintained facilities, modern labs, and small class sizes give students the opportunity to apply theory to the real world. Graduates may pursue careers in the growing workforce as wind energy technicians. Our Wind Energy Technology program might be right for you if you… Love working outdoors. Want to help develop cleaner, more sustainable energy. Are interested in working on mechanical devices. Enjoy math and science. Like working with power tools to assemble, repair or install. So plug into Wind Energy Technology Training–and get green done! April 23, 2012 Our Urban Planet | Kyle Crider “A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.” ~Aristotle Sometime in 2008 our planet passed a major milestone. At that time, for the first time in our history, there were more people living in cities than in non-urbanized areas. Sometime around Halloween of last year, our planet passed another milestone—adding its seven billionth person. This means that more than 3.5 billion humans are now crowded into the world’s urban areas. As Scientific American pointed out in its September 2011 issue dedicated to cities, these milestones aren’t nearly as significant as the trend: “In the 20th century cities grew more than 10-fold, from 250 million people to 2.8 billion. In the coming decades, the U.N. predicts, the number of people living in cities will continue to rise. By 2050 the world population is expected to surpass nine billion and urban dwellers to surpass six billion. Two in three people born in the next 30 years will live in cities.” Cities are amazing things. They may grow, but they rarely die; often they outlast the empires or nations that gave birth to them.[i] Although we believe them to spring purely from human intent and design, they follow rules of nature that we are only beginning to understand.[ii] They take us to unprecedented heights of culture and learning, but they may be driving us insane.[iii] They may help save the planet[iv]… or destroy it.[v] One thing is certain: We must “green” our cities, both for the long-term health of our planet and, more immediately, for our own individual health. The first problem is that poorly-designed cities are making us fatter. [vi] The second problem is that, as many cities are currently designed, they deprive us of much-needed contact with nature. To address these problems, we must invite nature into our cities, harmonize with it, and
    • page 30 design with it rather than against it. Then we must maximize human contact with urban nature by encouraging walking and biking along corridors that incorporate healthy native waterways, vegetation, and wildlife. Here are just a few of the exciting possibilities for greening our cities… I encourage you to enter the following words in your favorite search engine for more details: biomimicry, green roofs, green walls, mixed-use development, rain gardens, urban farming, urban resilience, vertical farming, walkable cities, wildlife corridors. The best cities do not try to separate humans from nature. Likewise, the best cities do not try to separate humans from humans, based on artificial class or race distinctions. Diversification leads to exchange of ideas and innovation; homogeneity leads only to stagnation. “What is the city but the people?” ~William Shakespeare, Coriolanus
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    • page 32 April 26, 2012 Green Jobs Cross Many Industries
    • May 2012
    • page 34 May 4, 2012 VA Officials Visit Ecotech Institute for PTSD Training | Adam Goldstein A team from the local Department of Veterans Affairs visited Ecotech Institute last month to train faculty members on the long-term effects of post-traumatic stress disorder in students. According to Phil Meyers, a program director and professor at the trade school on East Mississippi Avenue and Interstate 225, the two-hour training session came as a result of requests from faculty members. Ecotech, a trade school focused entirely on renewable energy, sustainable design and “green” technology that opened in its present location in 2011, has seen an influx of military veterans in its brief history, Meyers said. While faculty members aren’t qualified to treat PTSD in their students, they wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the condition and its everyday effects. “What we wanted was some training to make it easier for our faculty and staff to understand some of the issues that military and civilians have … so that we could be more sensitive. We wanted (to) have ways of helping them succeed in their academic environment.” The training included basic information about PTSD as it relates to military service, Meyers said. The two-hour training included lectures, question-and-answer sessions and videos of a military unit serving in Afghanistan. “They tried to make it as realistic as possible,” said Meyers, a Vietnam veteran. “(We saw) fairly raw footage of what the combatants were subjected to. The idea of this seemed to be to try to give people who’ve never been in a war situation a little better idea of what people in a war are subjected to.” That kind of background information could help faculty members recognize PTSD triggers in a classroom and give them tools to help students, Meyers said. “For example, if a classroom gets really excited about a topic and lots of people are talking at the same time, some people find that very difficult to tolerate,” Meyers said. “I tell students it’s perfectly OK to get up and leave the classroom. Take a lap around the campus and let yourself calm down.”
    • page 35 May 14, 2012 Light Bulbs and the Internet | Kyle Crider “It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble; it’s what we know that ain’t so.” ~Will Rogers Some folks ought to know better. “WARNING: This newsletter contains GRAPHIC images” declares the lead story of the Salisbury, MD Fire Department’s April 2012 Training Newsletter. (The actual story title is “Energy- saving Bulb Dangers,” but this humble warning pales in comparison.) Over the course of the next two pages, we are treated to pictures of a horribly-disfigured human foot belonging to one “Mr. Smith” who allegedly dropped a compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb and then stepped “barefooted, into the broken glass and exposed mercury.” If you wish to view these graphic images (you have been warned!), there is a link to a PDF version here. Or you can view the images and a critical analysis of the mercury poisoning claim here. In short, there is no credible evidence that the graphic pictures have anything to do with mercury poisoning. In fact, we have no idea where the pictures were taken, or when, or what condition is actually depicted. It’s all just Internet hearsay. Let’s dig a little deeper… The Salisbury article concludes: “Mercury is a toxin, and should be treated with the utmost of care and respect. A CFL may look benign, and make you feel good about ‘going green,’ but once the poison is ‘out of its box’ and able to cause an exposure, it’s a brand new deal. Stay Safe folks!” Well, surely this is true… I mean, it’s an official local fire department publication! Or, as the old joke goes: “It must be true. I read it on the Internet!” When in doubt, always go to the most-credible authoritative source. Is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) credible enough? The article itself claims that the EPA recommends ventilating the room for a “MINIMUM of 15 minutes” if a CFL bulb is broken. So let’s go to the EPA, and specifically, to their CFL information page. The first link, “Precautions to take when a CFL breaks,” takes us to a page that advises: “Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment.” Hmmm… first indication of a problem. Already, the “facts” don’t quite jive. But let’s cut right to the chase. The EPA’s fact sheet (PDF), “Frequently Asked Questions—Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury” states that “CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 milligrams (mg). By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury –an amount equal to the mercury in 125 CFLs [emphasis mine].” If this amount of mercury truly is something to worry about, why aren’t fire departments waging a war on older thermometers? Don’t get me wrong: exposure to mercury can be dangerous and should be avoided. But we need to assess relative risk realistically, and not vilify energy-saving CFLs. Once upon a time, when I was very young, I actually ate one of those old-style thermometers—consuming, as we have seen, the equivalent mercury of 125 CFLs.
    • page 36 Aside from a propensity to rant about the need for critical thinking, I turned out all right. So if you break a CFL, there is no need to freak out. I don’t know whether the fear-mongering Salisbury article simply is an example of shoddy fact-checking or if this is yet another sad example of the politically-motivated war on efficient light bulbs. (Hey, did you hear the one about Obama banning incandescent light bulbs and forcing poisonous CFLs on folks? Never mind that it was George W. Bush who signed the actual legislation… it must be true. I read it on the Internet!) When in doubt, check it out. And it is best to doubt… even supposedly reputable sources can fall prey to Internet hearsay. “No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof.” ~Henry David Thoreau May 31, 2012 New Perspectives: Green roofs and climate change | Kyle Crider Last Friday, I saw life from a couple of new perspectives. One of them was from the roof of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)’s Hulsey Center. The other was from “The Big Switch,”a presentation by James Hrynyshyn, science blogger of “Class: M” blog fame. You’re probably wondering what I was doing on a roof at UAB, in the middle of the day, during yet another of the hottest springs on record. Along with Hrynyshyn and UAB Scientists and Engineers for America chapter president Desmond Villalba, I was touring Hulsey Center’s “green roof.” The tour was led by Robert Peters, Ph.D., professor of environmental engineering at UAB. “What is a green roof?” you might ask. Well, green roofs are green in the literal sense, thanks to the presence of live plants. They are also green in contemporary social contexts, in that they save money while being ecologically-friendly. At first consideration, green roofs may seem like a bad thing. I mean, in the past, stuff growing on your roof was an indication your roof had problems. But UAB roofing specialist Roger Brown designed the Hulsey Center roof with several layers under autoclave-aerated concrete, including a polypropolene-type liner, a Styrofoam- type insulation, and a plastic that looks like an egg carton. This roof can hold 6,000 gallons of water, and it is designed to catch the rainwater and delay its release to minimize the potential for flooding. The design has even captured the attention of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, which is interested in promoting green roofs throughout the state. Dr. Peters compared natural gas, water and electricity bills for the Hulsey Building four years prior to the green roof installation in July 2008 with those following the installation. The green roof has shaved between 20 and 25 percent off utility expenses, far exceeding UAB Facilities expectations! This brings me to James Hrynyshyn and his “Big Switch” talk. It turns out that green roofs are one of the many “big switches” we need to make in order to combat climate change.
    • page 37 U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu advocates them, estimating that we could save $735 million per year if 85% of our air-conditioned buildings had white or reflective roofs. We’ve certainly seen utility bill savings at Education Corporation of America, where we install Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) white membrane insulated roof systems at all of our campuses. Roofs, both white and green, help save the planet as well as money. This is because of something called the “heat island” effect. According to the UAB Reporter Archive, “heat island is a term describing the phenomenon in which urban and suburban temperatures are 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 6 degrees Celsius) hotter than nearby rural areas. Elevated temperatures alter communities by increasing peak energy demand, air- conditioning costs, air-pollution levels and heat-related illness and mortality.” Reflective and vegetated roofs cool their surroundings both directly and indirectly. In addition to direct cooling effects, such roofs reduce the need for fossil-fuel based power to run air conditioners, which in turn reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and thus lessens the impact of future global warming. So the next time you’re up on your roof, take a look around. Sometimes all we need to make a big switch is a little perspective. May 18, 2012 Ecotech Institute Announces Partnership with Veterans Green Jobs News of the Week: Education & Research Curriculum Ecotech Institute Announces Partnership with Veterans Green Jobs1. The institute, which focuses entirely on renewable energy and sustainability, has partnered with Veterans Green Jobs to enhance opportunities for military veterans in the green job sector. Sixty-seven students at the institute are military veterans or currently serving in the military. Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing Clarkson U Students Initiate Energy-Efficient Campus Solutions1. Student research, funded by the university’s sustainability fund, has concluded that the university could save up to $600,000 annually on energy bills by installing motion sensor-controlled lighting in its residence halls. The student group installed motion sensor lighting on one of the school’s older residence halls and recorded the difference in the amount of energy used. Their research was recently singled out by the New York State Pollution Prevention Initiative in a contest among teams from partner universities throughout New York. Mills College Students Launch Bike Co-Op2. A group of students have created the Spokes Folks Bike Co-Op, providing a community support system, bike-repair seminars and maintenance tools. The co-op aims to provide access to bicycles to those who do not own bikes. See also: AASHE Resource: Bicycle Share Programs on Campus (AASHE Member Resource)
    • page 38 ‘Can an MBA Change the World?’ Video Contest Winners Announced1. A group of five students at Dartmouth College’s (New Hampshire) Tuck School of Business have won the Global Business School Network’s 2012 MBA Challenge Video Contest, which asked the question “Can an MBA Change the World?” The winning video describes the application of the students’ business school skills to address the need for low-cost housing in Haiti. A team from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earned second place in the competition with a video about their work in Eastern Africa on sustainability-focused projects. U Louisville Students Install Recycled Solar Panels2. Members of the university’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Club are installing a small-scale solar energy project using recycled materials. Students purchased the solar cells from eBay and re- engineered the cell architecture to use a low-cost method. The panels will be used to power two fans that will ventilate a greenhouse. See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations Thomas More College Turns Green Spaces into Art3. The college’s new Sculpting Spaces project encourages the campus community to transform the campus’ green spaces into outdoor studios, laboratory classrooms and student galleries. Students and faculty are working to create artistic spaces while learning about landscape design and sustainability practices. “They won’t listen. Do you know why? Because they have certain fixed notions about the past. Any change would be blasphemy in their eyes, even if it were the truth. They don’t want the truth; they want their traditions.” ~Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky I’ll never forget the wonderful teacher I had for Honors English my first year in college. Like the other mentors in my life, he began to teach me by first challenging my assumptions. “How do you know what you think you know?” he asked. By this question he introduced me to the study of knowledge (epistemology), and in particular, the knowledge that may be imparted via books, both fiction and non-fiction. How do you know what you think you know? It seems to me that the older we grow, the less we question reality. The Talmud warns, “We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are.” We jokingly disparage others’ world views, asking, “What color is the sky in your little world?” But we rarely question the color of the sky in our own. Independent, verifiable proof is one of the benefits of science and scientific thought, as I have previously written. Other people may verify our claims of reality for themselves if we publish our data sets and our experiments are reproducible. But even if everyone accepts the validity of our data, we rarely agree on what we should do about it. Science can answer life’s “What?” questions, and even the “How?” and “When?” questions, but the “Why?” questions May 24, 2012 Applying Knowledge | Susan Pawlak
    • page 39 remain the subject of religion and philosophy, and the “What should we do about it?” questions, the subject of politics and public policy. “Ay, there’s the rub,” as Shakespeare might say. So we have two problems. To get things done, we first must agree on the facts. Then we have to agree what we should do with this information. In formal logic, this is an “A AND B” situation. Just getting to A is a problem, as humans appear to be “hard-wired” to view the world in certain ways, and to filter all incoming data according to these world views: “Your What does not fit within my Why philosophy.” We selectively accept the data that fits with our world view, and reject that which does not (“confirmation bias”).
    • June 2012
    • page 41 June 1, 2012 Looking for a high degree of success | Adam Goldstein The 42 students who receive their associate degrees from Ecotech Institute later this month will have plenty of people tracking their progress after they walk across the stage. It won’t just be proud family members and friends who will follow the professional paths of Ecotech’s first graduating class. The attention will go further than former Gov. Bill Ritter, who will deliver the commencement speech at the ceremony in Denver on June 21. Ecotech administrators and instructors, as well as officials from the school’s parent company, the Alabama-based Education Corporation of America, will keep a careful eye on the grads. The future of the trade school that’s focused entirely on renewable energy, sustainable design and “green” technology depends on their success; Ecotech’s accreditation is tied to the professional future of the first class. “The first thing we measure is how many of them have jobs in their field within 90 days of graduating. We want to ensure that as many (who) want jobs can have them,” said Glenn Wilson, Ecotech’s academic dean, adding that the data holds a sway with the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools. “We’re audited. When they did our last audit, we had no violations. Our next one is 2013.” Since Ecotech held its first classes in a temporary facility off East Iliff Avenue in late 2009 and later opened its 620,000-square-foot campus on South Abilene Street near East Mississippi Avenue and Interstate 225 in 2010, the school has drawn national media attention for its specialized, “green” focus. With the support of a national advertising campaign, the number of students at the school has grown steadily in the past two years, ballooning from an initial class of less than 100 to a current enrollment of about 500. Specifically, the school grew by about 400 percent in a single year. That growth has come along with a similar expansion in equipment and faculty. The school opened with a faculty of one program director and two instructors; now the school’s ranks comprise three program directors and 24 instructors. In 2011, the building itself earned its LEED certification. “One big change is that we’re around 500 students now. The size of the school has grown. We have all our labs built out. When we opened, we didn’t have all of our classes in place,” Wilson said, pointing to the addition late last year of new equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The new training tools included a Lab-Volt Wind Turbine Nacelle Trainer, a Lab-Volt Wind Turbine Hub Trainer and software programs designed to simulate the operation of a real wind-farm. “We are constantly talking to our local advisory boards. We’ve made adjustments and changes. We’ve added equipment, we’ve added better textbooks.”
    • page 42 But since Ecotech is a for-profit school, the real test of its durability lies in the economic success of its grads. Like other schools run by the ECA (including the Virginia College, Culinard: The Culinary Institute of Virginia and the Golf Academy of America), Ecotech’s credentials depend on results, a fact that hasn’t escaped administrators and owners. “With our first group of graduates in June, we can’t wait to see where they go,” EcoTech President Mike Seifert said in a statement earlier this year. “This is definitely going to be a big year for us.” So far, Ecotech officials aren’t concerned about the fate of the school’s first crop of graduates. According to administrators, the school has pumped plenty of resources into its Career Services Department, establishing early contacts with solar, wind and other renewable energy companies in Colorado and beyond. “Well over half are placed already, which is really exciting for us. Already, quite a few of them have good jobs,” Wilson said. “This first class has been very enthusiastic and very interested in the whole energy field.” June 6, 2012 Location, Location, Location | Kyle Crider “The three most important things about real estate are location, location, location.” ~Real Estate Axiom The interesting thing about the extension of the once-fixed Internet to mobile smart phones is how location- based everything is becoming. From real-time directions and trip tracking on Google Maps to checking in on Foursquare once we reach our destination, we have become creatures of Global Positioning System (GPS) habit. No wonder we feel lost without our smart phones these days. I was a GPS geek—well, actually, a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) geek—long before GPS-enabled smart phones were cool. In the Dark Ages before GPS phones, we were forced to calculate our geographic location with clunky units the size of large backpacks. Before Google Earth made GIS available to the masses inexpensively or at no charge, we toiled under complicated “vertical market” applications with expensive software licenses. (Before this, there was the realm of actual acetate overlays, but I will leave this manual epoch to those studying GIS prehistory.) The first terabyte-sized storage device I ever saw was used for storing GIS maps at the government agency where I once worked. There, I first saw the awesome power in tying real-world data to maps, which is a pretty good simple definition for GIS. If you can geo-reference data, you have a lever by which you can move the world. It is probably clear even to non-GIS users how maps tied to—and drawn from—databases can be used to save the planet in ways such as identifying ecologically-sensitive areas, species boundaries, and floodplains. But what does GIS have to do with green building (other than, perhaps, where not to site the building)? Quite a lot, it turns out. Especially if you include related fields such as Computer-Assisted Drafting (CAD —think Google Sketchup) and Building Information Modeling (BIM). Location-based tools not only help you
    • page 43 site your building; they help you build it virtually and even test its efficiency and performance using real-world environmental factors from your chosen location. But even the best-laid building plans can be sabotaged by mice and men. We’ve all heard horror stories of marvelous design and technology going out the window when people actually moved into a building and began ignoring, circumventing, or even sabotaging cleantech features. Well, it turns out that location-based technology can help with these problems, too. Today’s building monitors and software can keep track of where building occupants are and what they are doing, allowing building managers to better plan for, respond to, and intervene when necessary, to keep building efficiency goals on-track. (It also helps that we have learned that educating employees while simultaneously giving them more control over their workspace environment avoids the need for “Big Brother”-style controls.) Here are some recent exciting developments involving green buildings and location-based technologies: The Honest Buildings real estate network—dubbed “Facebook for buildings”—is releasing data on• more than 15,000 commercial and mixed-use buildings in the D.C. metro area in order to provide transparency and encourage competition for energy-efficient buildings. The Green Building Information Gateway has similar aims, but is nationwide and LEED-specific.• Esri’s GIS for Facilities Management page lists success stories and other links involving GIS technology• throughout the lifecycle of a facility for facilities managers. Finally, here is a short YouTube video example of Merging Facility Data with GIS and BIM.• Here at Education Corporation of America, we are actively engaging these technologies to manage our own facilities, from HVAC and lighting controls with night and weekend setbacks, through our first energy information system with public dashboard at Ecotech Institute. Are you utilizing some combination of GIS, CAD, and BIM to plan and manage your buildings? If so, we would like to share stories and hear what you have learned. June 19, 2012 The Best of Times | Kyle Crider “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” ~Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities This is a favorite quote of my mentor, a Harvard-trained physicist who went back to school to earn his Masters in Literature and History and his Ph.D. in Literature and Art. Dr. Edward Passerini could explain theoretical physics while expounding upon the virtues of Larry Gonick’s The Cartoon History of the Universe. Everything I ever needed to know about sustainability I first learned from “Ed.” It’s no wonder I’m a big believer in interdisciplinary education. I believe the “silos” that are so present in education, research, business, and culture are a major contributing factor to our current social and environmental problems. Interdisciplinary/ cross-cultural education helps break down silos and leads to more sustainable solutions. I can think of no field that is more fertile with cross-disciplinary research and practical application than the broad field of sustainability. Today’s green buildings borrow from nature’s designs (biomimicry) as well
    • page 44 as our own historic architecture. Their features rely on both cutting-edge physics research and time-honored practices passed down from “primitive” peoples. They are works of art as well as monuments to science. Some of them even sing. If I can boil the gist of this article down to a single kernel, it is this: Read. Read deeply, but more importantly, read broadly. Read non-fiction as well as fiction. It may not be economically or environmentally feasible to physically travel and experience the world’s countries and cultures, but we can read about them. I use the term “read” loosely – read books that are nothing but pictures, listen to audio books during your commute, watch TED talk videos, take free online classes, meet folks and learn from other countries and cultures via the wonders of Internet social networking. So by read, I mean learn, meet, experience, be surprised. Never lose your childhood sense of wonder, when every new thing invoked a “Why?” question. So—what are you reading now? I’m enjoying Reinventing Fire, by Amory Lovins and his team at Rocky Mountain Institute. (Now there’s a book to read—especially if you’re depressed over the current political silos and need some good news.) My latest audio book choice for my work commute is The Information by James Gleick. At home, I have a book of ghost stories by my bedside to ensure, er, pleasant dreams. I’m also taking Code Academy’s classes online—although I have to admit I’m way behind schedule on this one. Good thing it’s “learn at your own pace.” Weekly is just a suggestion. Speaking of classes, it’s never too late to go back to school. Me? I’m in a Ph.D. program at middle-age. I used to joke that I wanted my doctorate before I was retirement age, but the older I get, the less funny the joke is. So what’s the use of a Ph.D. this late in life? Well, I can tell you, it’s not because I’m interested in pursuing tenure at some Ivory Tower institution, or even because it will enhance my career path, long and twisted as that has been. I’m in an engineering program, but I don’t even want to be a licensed engineer. I’m here because I want to learn—and I want to change the world. It’s always the worst of times, so let’s make the best of it. “Education is all a matter of building bridges.” ~ Ralph Ellison June 19, 2012 Aurora Daily Click Ecotech’s inaugural graduation ceremony was featured on the local Aurora TV station. Full video available on CD at the back of the clipbook.
    • page 45 June 20, 2012 Clean Energy College Sees First Graduates | Kathleen Zipp Ecotech Institute, which says it’s the first and only college entirely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in clean technology and sustainability, will hold its first graduation on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Forty-two students will receive their associate’s degrees, which prepares them for a career in the clean technology industry. The graduates will receive degrees in the following areas: Wind Energy Technology, Solar Energy Technology, Renewable Energy Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology. Former Governor Bill Ritter, who currently serves as the Director of the Colorado State University Center for the New Energy Economy, will deliver the commencement speech at the graduation. “As Governor, I was proud when Ecotech Institute chose Colorado as the place to locate the country’s first private technical institute devoted solely to preparing the workforce for the clean energy economy,” said Bill Ritter, Former Colorado Governor and current Director of the Colorado State University Center for the New Energy Economy. “It is a privilege to play a role in Ecotech’s first commencement, and to see the efforts of the staff and faculty come to fruition.” Students in this first graduating class began classes in a temporary facility in June 2010 as Ecotech completed an overhaul of an existing vacant building. In January 2011, they moved to the current LEED gold-certified campus in Aurora, Colorado. Today, Ecotech has more than 500 students and continues to grow. “This initial group of students are visionaries, as they signed up for classes before they were able to see the beautiful campus and cutting-edge labs,” said Mike Seifert, president of Ecotech Institute. “Now, a variety of clean tech companies are offering them excellent positions and their forward-thinking commitment is paying off. We applaud each of them and look forward to watching their success.” At Ecotech all students develop soft skills (communication, workplace etiquette), and math and science basics and technology skills, but the educational emphasis is on hands-on, practical training. Ecotech’s prestigious national board of advisors, who all work in clean tech industries, helped design the school’s curriculum, providing coursework that reflects what the students will experience upon graduation. “Ecotech is producing well-prepared graduates that are highly sought in industries such as ours,” said Jesse Masters, Recruiter from M-I SWACO, a Schlumberger Company. “Its curriculum and practical labs offer complete training that makes new employees ready to hit the ground running. We were very impressed with the interviews we conducted with students from this graduating class and are excited to have several of these graduates join our team.” Ecotech’s campus is LEED-gold certified and supports a commitment to sustainable living. The school generates approximately 5-10 percent of its energy from on-site clean, renewable energy sources such as rooftop wind turbines, solar panels, integral thin solar technologies embedded into the glass of the building canopy, and solar trees.
    • page 46 June 20, 2012 Clean Energy College Sees First Graduates | Kathleen Zipp Ecotech Institute, which says it’s the first and only college entirely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in clean technology and sustainability, will hold its first graduation on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Forty-two students will receive their associate’s degrees, which prepares them for a career in the clean technology industry. The graduates will receive degrees in the following areas: Wind Energy Technology, Solar Energy Technology, Renewable Energy Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology. Former Governor Bill Ritter, who currently serves as the Director of the Colorado State University Center for the New Energy Economy, will deliver the commencement speech at the graduation. “As Governor, I was proud when Ecotech Institute chose Colorado as the place to locate the country’s first private technical institute devoted solely to preparing the workforce for the clean energy economy,” said Bill Ritter, Former Colorado Governor and current Director of the Colorado State University Center for the New Energy Economy. “It is a privilege to play a role in Ecotech’s first commencement, and to see the efforts of the staff and faculty come to fruition.” Students in this first graduating class began classes in a temporary facility in June 2010 as Ecotech completed an overhaul of an existing vacant building. In January 2011, they moved to the current LEED gold-certified campus in Aurora, Colorado. Today, Ecotech has more than 500 students and continues to grow. “This initial group of students are visionaries, as they signed up for classes before they were able to see the beautiful campus and cutting-edge labs,” said Mike Seifert, president of Ecotech Institute. “Now, a variety of clean tech companies are offering them excellent positions and their forward-thinking commitment is paying off. We applaud each of them and look forward to watching their success.” At Ecotech all students develop soft skills (communication, workplace etiquette), and math and science basics and technology skills, but the educational emphasis is on hands-on, practical training. Ecotech’s prestigious national board of advisors, who all work in clean tech industries, helped design the school’s curriculum, providing coursework that reflects what the students will experience upon graduation. “Ecotech is producing well-prepared graduates that are highly sought in industries such as ours,” said Jesse Masters, Recruiter from M-I SWACO, a Schlumberger Company. “Its curriculum and practical labs offer complete training that makes new employees ready to hit the ground running. We were very impressed with the interviews we conducted with students from this graduating class and are excited to have several of these graduates join our team.” Ecotech’s campus is LEED-gold certified and supports a commitment to sustainable living. The school generates approximately 5-10 percent of its energy from on-site clean, renewable energy sources such as rooftop wind turbines, solar panels, integral thin solar technologies embedded into the glass of the building canopy, and solar trees.
    • July 2012
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    • page 49 July 1, 2012 Launch Pad: Ecotech Institute
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    • page 51 July 3, 2012 Aurora Daily Click Ecotech’s inaugural graduation ceremony was featured on the local Aurora TV station. Full video available on CD at the back of the clipbook. July 4, 2012 Ecotech: It Means Jobs | Kyle Crider “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead Last week I had the honor and pleasure of attending the first graduation at our Ecotech Institute in Aurora (Denver), Colorado. Two years ago, 41 visionaries believed us when we told them the future was green with jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. Our future LEED Gold campus with its solar trees, wind turbines, and electric vehicle charger was still a year away when these students signed on. Last week, each graduate received a visionary award in addition to his or her diploma. This was our way of saying, “Thank you for trusting us in this shared vision.” We believe that trust has paid off. Employers including NextEra Energy Resources and M-I SWACO are interviewing our graduates and making job offers. Eight of our graduates have even been offered jobs on a wind project in Hawaii. How cool is that? We’re training the people who will be doing the real work of sustainability, installing solar panels and repairing wind turbines. There’s a new word for clean, green, hands- on jobs: Ecotech. Our students don’t just talk about sustainability—they build it. Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter delivered the commencement speech at last week’s graduation. Ritter, who currently works as the director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, “gets it” when it comes to Ecotech jobs. In his speech, Ritter emphasized not only how Ecotech jobs grew even during the recession, but also how important they are to saving the planet from the dangers of climate change. “You will change the world,” he advised the graduates. Ritter is echoing our own beliefs with those words. But more importantly, he is echoing the students’ own beliefs. They know they are going to change the world, or they would not have come to Ecotech Institute from all across the U.S.
    • page 52 But small groups have to grow in order to change the world, and Ecotech Institute is growing. Our current population of almost 500 students represents every state except Maine, South Carolina, and Utah. We also have multiple foreign countries represented at Ecotech. In anticipation of more growth, we are nearing completion of our second Ecotech Institute. Ecotech Institute is even changing us—Education Corporation of America (ECA). Planning for the first Ecotech led to me being hired as ECA’s first Manager of Environmental Operations. I was hired to help ECA “walk the Ecotech talk,” not only here at our Corporate headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama, but at each of our 35 locations across the U.S., including Virginia College, Culinard, and Golf Academy of America campuses. So even if you can’t attend one of our Ecotech Institutes, don’t worry. Ecotech training and jobs are coming to you. But what if you’re already an established working professional, who needs to learn more about Ecotech for today’s changing business world? We’ve got you covered there, too: We’re planning to offer a one-week Ecotech certificate training course suitable for everyone from Executives on down. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has to say about Ecotech jobs. “Solar panels don’t install themselves. Wind turbines don’t manufacture themselves. Homes and buildings don’t retrofit or weatherize themselves. In our industrial society, trees don’t even PLANT themselves, anymore. Real people must do all of that work.” ~Van Jones July 9, 2012 A Declaration of Independence | Kyle Crider “Independence? That’s middle-class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.” ~ George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion Perhaps, amidst all the fireworks and flag-waving of July 4, we actually gave some thought as to what it means to be independent. But, successful revolutions aside, I’d like to ask: Are we truly independent? In 1835, shortly after the newly independent United States of America won its hard-fought independence from Britain, a visitor from France toured the fledgling country and wrote down his observations. In this famous treatise, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, under the heading “Tyranny of the Majority,” wrote, “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” American founding father John Adams himself once said, “The Declaration of Independence I always considered as a theatrical show. Jefferson ran away with all the stage effect of that… and all the glory of it.” As much as we like to believe we’re independent, or at least aspire to this quality, the fact is, none of us are independent. “No man is an island,” proclaims both the title and opening line of John Donne’s famous poem, which ends with, “Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.” Survivalists may lay plans for surviving various doomsday scenarios, and environmentalists may go totally “off grid,” but the simple fact is we are still interconnected with one another and with nature. For example, our fossil fuel emissions create global warming and extreme weather events, which disrupt agriculture and inflict fires, floods, and droughts, even on those living off-grid in bunkers. “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust,” Matthew 5:45 reminds us.
    • page 53 If we forget just how connected we are to one another, we are downright oblivious to how totally dependent we are upon nature. From the air we breathe to the food, water, and natural resources for shelter that sustain and protect us, we are totally dependent upon our planet’s living shell, the “biosphere,” the very web of all life whose strands we are systematically disassembling with shocking rapidity. The more we learn about how life itself came to be on this planet, the more we realize that it is interdependence, not independence, which makes life possible. It was chemical cooperation, not competition, which built life from its humblest beginnings through today. Although we have come to surround Darwin with “survival of the fittest” mythology, Darwin himself said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change,” and “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” Thor Heyerdahl tells us that “Civilization grew in the beginning from the minute that we had communication— particularly communication by sea that enabled people to get inspiration and ideas from each other and to exchange basic raw materials.” Perhaps nowhere is our modern interdependence more obvious, to those taking the time to reflect, than the Internet and global satellite communications coverage. Marshall McLuhan once famously said, “The new electronic independence re-creates the world in the image of a global village.” Now that Independence Day is behind us, let’s sign a Declaration of Interdependence and learn what it means not just to be free, but to be a part of the Whole. “As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy even if I just got a good checkup at Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr. “There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.” ~ George Matthew Adams “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh July 12, 2012 Goals, Pride & Achievement | Kathleen Zipp The Vincennes University Dean’s List for Spring 2012 includes students from the Vincennes campus, Jasper campus, Aviation Technology Center in Indianapolis, military bases, and other extended sites. To qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must complete at least 12 credit hours and achieve a grade point index of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale. Below are the Wabash Valley honor students.
    • page 54 Cameron B. Maynard, Homeland Security and Public Safety, Brazil• Austin J. Sinders, Diesel Technology, Clay City• Clark P. Alderson, Diesel Technology, Rosedale• Michael C. Jackson, Graphic Design Occupational, Greencastle• Nicholas R. Pritchard, Aviation Maintenance Tech, Greencastle• Ashton L. Myers, General Studies/AD Nursing, Lewis• Brock A. Alli, Diesel Technology, Terre Haute• Allyssa K. Bennett, Education Elementary Concentration, Terre Haute• Jessica R. Chichester, Education Elementary Concentration, Terre Haute• Christopher M. Janssen, Physical Therapist Assistant, Terre Haute• Rachael D. Lance, Physical Therapist Assistant, Terre Haute• Jessica L. Larimer, Education Special Education Concentration, Terre Haute• Alexandra L. Scheiber, Education, Special Ed/Mild Intervention, Terre Haute• Shelby D. Stewart, Business Administration, Terre Haute• On June 21, Lawrence E. Smith, of Martinsville, Ill., received his degree from Ecotech Institute, the first and only college entirely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in clean technology and sustainability. Smith is part of the first graduating class at Ecotech Institute. All 42 students are receiving degrees that will provide business opportunities in a variety of industries focused on clean technology. Smith received his degree in wind energy technology, and plans to be a wind technician for Nextera after graduation. Students in this first graduating class began classes in a temporary facility in June 2010 as Ecotech completed an overhaul of an existing vacant building. In January 2011, they moved to the current LEED gold-certified campus in Aurora, Colo. Today, Ecotech has more than 500 students and continues to grow. “This first graduating class truly took a leap of faith and we are thankful that they had the vision to understand what Ecotech had to offer,” said Mike Seifert, president of Ecotech Institute. “They began classes in a temporary facility without having the ability to see the high-tech lab equipment they would eventually be using. We are incredibly proud of what they have accomplished and we can’t wait to see them all succeed.” All of Ecotech’s students develop soft skills (communication, workplace etiquette), and math and science basics and technology skills, but the educational emphasis is on hands-on, practical training in their chosen field. Ecotech’s national board of advisers, who all work in clean tech industries, helped design the school’s curriculum, providing coursework that reflects what students will experience upon graduation. Ecotech’s campus is LEED-gold certified and supports a commitment to sustainable living. The school generates approximately 5-10 percent of its energy from on-site clean, renewable energy sources such as rooftop wind turbines, solar panels, integral thin solar technologies embedded into the glass of the building canopy, and solar trees. Ecotech Institute, which is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, offers five highly practical associate degree programs that provide graduates with skills valued by today’s alternative renewable energy employers.
    • page 55 July 13, 2012 The Big Crunch | Kyle Crider “Only five times in Earth’s history has life been as threatened as it is now.” –Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation ecology, Duke University Quick, name an animal that has gone extinct. Most of us probably think of dinosaurs first; but science has absolved humans of all blame in that tragic event, as we weren’t even around yet. How about something that we’ve exterminated since our relatively recent appearance in our planet’s 4.5 billion years of evolution? Dodos? Passenger pigeons? Tasmanian tigers? Maybe even wooly mammoths? How about something quite recent—maybe Africa’s northern white rhinoceros or the Pinta Island giant tortoises? (Rest in peace, Lonesome George…) Closer to home, do you know we even wiped out America’s beautiful native parakeet, the Carolina parakeet? And these are just large or showy animals. Who weeps over the loss of an insect or a plant? Speaking of Lonesome George… I had the awesome opportunity to meet this last representative of his subspecies during a University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) class trip to the Galapagos Islands in 2006. Our class text for the trip was Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson’s “The Future of Life.” Wilson writes that “The extinctions ongoing worldwide promise to be at least as great as the mass extinction that occurred at the end of the age of dinosaurs.” Indeed, so massive is our erasing of the blackboard of life that we rank alongside meteors in the magnitude of our destruction... to five such world-killing events in our planet’s history, we are now adding a sixth, wrought entirely by human hands. In his book “Biophilia,” Wilson comments: “The worst thing that will probably happen—in fact is already well underway—is not energy depletion, economic collapse, conventional war, or the expansion of totalitarian governments. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired in a few generations. The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.” Biologist Paul Ehrlich warns us that forgiveness may be the least of our worries. “Few problems are less recognized, but more important than, the accelerating disappearance of the earth’s biological resources. In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it is perched.” For those of us in the sustainability movement, this gets to the heart of the question, namely, what are we trying to sustain? The answer, of course, is a livable planet—but a livable planet is no good without life. In breaking the strands of the web of life, we risk bringing the entire web down. The loss of even a single species can have devastating effects on ecosystems and the free services they provide, yet we are blithely eliminating entire ecosystems as we appropriate more and more of the planet’s resources for our own use. At 7 billion people, we consume approximately one quarter of the planet’s net primary productivity.
    • page 56 At this rate, can the planet possibly provide enough resources to sustain an estimated human population peak of around 10 billion in 2050? Even if so, what will be left for all the other species that once survived on these same resources? Can the biosphere of the planet—and by extension, humans—survive the coming “Big Crunch” in which expanding human population and consumption squeezes everything else? Paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey elaborates, “An evolutionary perspective of our place in the history of the earth reminds us that Homo sapiens has occupied the planet for the tiniest fraction of that planet’s four and a half thousand million years of existence. In many ways we are a biological accident, the product of countless propitious circumstances. As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long-extinct species, many of which thrived far longer than the human species is ever likely to do, we are reminded of our mortality as a species. There is no law that declares the human animal to be different, as seen in this broad biological perspective, from any other animal. There is no law that declares the human species to be immortal.” The sustainability movement needs to keep this in mind. We’re not merely building “greener” buildings; we’re trying to preserve life on this planet in all its diversity. We need to be measuring our economies in terms of heritage wealth, happiness, and quality of life, not gross measures of consumption and waste. We need to account for biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of our triple bottom lines. Above all, we must draw a line in the sand, not only to preserve what is left, but to start back-tracking and repairing (in so far as this is possible) the damage we have already done. To paraphrase Wilson, in a few million years, you may hardly notice the mess we’ve made. If I had my life to live over again I would not devote it to develop new industrial processes: I would try to add my humble efforts to use science to the betterment of the human race. I despair of the helter-skelter methods of our vaulted homo sapiens, misguided by his ignorance and his politicians. If we continue our ways, there is every possibility that the human race may follow the road of former living races of animals whose fossils proclaim that they were not fit to continue. Religion, laws and morals is not enough. We need more. Science can help us.” –Leo Hendrik Baekeland, letter to a friend (Jan. 14, 1934) I think those of us in the Sustainable Industries movement would agree with Baekeland’s prescient sentiment!
    • August 2012
    • page 58 August 1, 2012 Solar Power Jobs and the future | Kathleen Zipp I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking about the future lately. I’m in good company; our inaugural class of Ecotech Institute students just graduated with associate degrees in programs such as Solar Energy Technology and Wind Energy Technology. These visionaries are not only full of hopes and dreams about the future, they are getting actual job offers from cool places to work like Hawaii, Colorado and Texas. David Roberts at the environmental, non-profit organization Grist has also been thinking about the future, and asks: “Why do ‘experts’ always lowball clean-energy projections?” In terms of solar, for example, Roberts relates, “In 1996, the World Bank estimated 0.5 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics in China by 2020, but China reached almost double that mark — 900 megawatts — by 2010.” I think Roberts is spot-on with his points about dynamic and distributed systems. In his words: “When it comes to complex, parallel, loosely linked networks, the dynamics are more fluid and nonlinear changes more likely. They’re harder to quantify and predict, so we consistently underestimate them. This is something to keep in mind when pondering what today’s projections are going to look like in 2020.” Or even in 2050: Jorgen Randers, one of the authors of the original Limits to Growth, recently updated his forecast for the next 40 years and reported that nearly 40% renewable energy is possible by that time. Let us hope this is a low-ball estimate as well! A recent U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report suggests that 80 percent electricity from renewables is feasible by 2050—using only existing technology. In one of the most uplifting books I’ve recently read, Amory Lovins shows in Reinventing Fire how more than 90% renewable energy is not only possible but also practical by 2050. Going back to Roberts’ dynamic and distributed systems point, I believe that if we hope to achieve near-100% renewable energy by 2050 we must plan to do so in as decentralized a manner as possible. Large, centralized power generation facilities, regardless of their fuel source, have many disadvantages over smaller, distributed systems, including: Large-scale transmission infrastructure with accompanying large footprint, maintenance, and• environmental issues (ecosystem fragmentation, herbicides, etc.), Infrastructure breakdowns due to accidents, increasingly chaotic and extreme weather events, and acts• of terrorism, Power losses over long distances, and• The need for transformers to step down the voltage before it can be delivered to local consumers.•
    • page 59 Even if all of these issues can be addressed, there is the basic matter of total number of ongoing jobs created. Installing and maintaining solar panels on the roofs of homes and businesses nationwide creates many more permanent jobs than a few concentrated solar mega-plants—and leaves our deserts free for owls and tortoises. Speaking of jobs and decentralized systems, it seems I can’t visit an eco-oriented web site these days without getting an advertisement for a “Green MBA” program. This leads me to another distribution- related jobs question: Who are these Green MBAs supposed to manage? Who is training the folks who are actually going to be repairing the wind turbines and installing the solar panels on all those roofs? While we’re busy working on the next Ecotech Institute to help answer that question, a few of those Green MBAs might have to roll up their white sleeves and get their hands dirty. Above, I mentioned the cool jobs companies have offered our first Ecotech Institute graduates. Five of our 41 graduates were hired by a solar company in Hawaii where solar has passed grid parity, that is, solar is now cheaper than fossil fuels. Previously, this company toured our Aurora/Denver campus and was so impressed that they went back and created positions for our students. These new employees will be rotating through four different aspects of solar business: residential, commercial, system design and project management. Solar City hired other graduates and assigned them to an army base to help meet net zero energy goals. Some are even greening the fossil fuel industry by working on soil and drilling fluid recycling. In a recent blog post Ecotech: It Means Jobs, I talk about the overwhelming response to America’s first dedicated renewable energy technology school. Our current population of almost 500 students represents every state except Maine, South Carolina and Utah. In other words, this job market is so promising that we have hundreds of students crossing state borders to attend an accredited college for environmental training. At first, we thought almost all of our students would come from the Denver Metro area. But we rapidly realized there is interest from across the country and so we now advertise Ecotech Institute nationally. Let’s not low-ball our future in terms of solar energy jobs and other renewable energy careers. But we need more solar energy classes and solar energy schools to meet this growing demand for clean energy technology with zero fuel cost. As inspiration, here’s another Reinventing Fire quote: “…You can run a very prosperous U.S. economy, 2.6 times today, in 2050, with no oil, no coal, also no nuclear energy and a third less natural gas. It’s $5 trillion cheaper in net present value than business as usual. The transition requires no new inventions, no acts of Congress, and it’s led by business for profit.” ~Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute
    • page 60 August 13, 2012 Lessons Learned from Ecotech Education | Kyle Crider Since Ecotech Institute opened its doors in 2010, it has learned as much as it has taught about ecotech careers and energy efficient facilities, and graduated its first class last spring. “I was there when we cut the ribbon, well, when we announced that Ecotech Institute was coming to Aurora, Colorado…. When the Education Corporation of America saw this particular space as the space that would be part of the future of our country and then chose Colorado to be there, we were elated…. Many people asked us, ‘Ok, if you build this [clean economy] out where are the people that are gonna work in the industry, where are they going to come from?’ We think that the Ecotech Institute is one very important part of that.” ~Bill Ritter, Former Governor of Colorado and Director of the Colorado State Center for the New Energy Economy. If you build it, they will come, indeed. As far back as 2008, Education Corporation of America (ECA) identified a growing gap between the demand for cleantech jobs and the supply of trained cleantech workers. After nearly two years of market research involving potential students, potential employers, government leaders and industry leaders, ECA determined that there was a real need and opportunity to create a college focused on technical skills training in renewable energy and sustainability. ECA collaborated closely with industry leaders, other educational institutions, and environmental leaders to first define the needed skills and programs that would meet the needs of both potential students and employers. Then, we worked with the same groups to develop the curricula to meet both academic requirements and the emerging needs of the clean energy industry. The resulting Ecotech Institute is the first and only college entirely focused on preparing students for careers in renewable energy and sustainable design—the ecotech jobs of the new green economy. ECA invested approximately $10 million to transform an existing large-footprint building in Aurora, Colorado into a state-of-the-art LEED Gold campus featuring 30 classrooms, 12 state of the art computer and science labs (e.g. electrical, wiring, solar, wind safety, controls and environmental science), and studios, student and faculty lounges, a library, and a variety of other amenities. Ecotech Institute renewable energy features include: Eight small wind turbines mounted on the roof to generate up to 4.8 kilowatts of electricity• A vertical axis wind turbine to generate a total capacity of 4 kilowatts• Twelve polycrystalline rooftop photovoltaic solar panels with a system capacity of 2.8 kilowatts• Integral thin solar technologies embedded into the glass of the front building canopy with a capacity of• 9.4 kilowatts !
    • page 61 Two solar trees, each providing 16.9 kilowatts of electricity, which will generate over 50,000 kilowatt• hours per year of electricity Four electric car charging stations, capable of delivering a full vehicle charge in two to four hours• All told, the campus gets more than five percent of its peak load electricity from wind and solar sources and generates over 65,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Ecotech Institute launched classes in June of 2010 with seven associate’s degree programs and one certificate program, all designed to provide graduates with skills that are highly valued by today’s renewable energy employers. These classes initially were offered in a temporary location. The permanent facility opened in January of 2011. Our first students graduated in June of this year—hence the opening quote from commencement speaker Bill Ritter. We are very excited about employment prospects for these 41 Ecotech visionaries who signed on with us when we didn’t even have our main campus; five of them have actually accepted jobs on a solar project in Hawaii. No one has tried anything like Ecotech Institute before, so this has been a learning process for us. We were leading edge in many areas; bleeding edge in others. For example, despite extensive market research, two of our initial programs—Energy and Environmental Paralegal and Sustainable Interior Design—failed to attract students. An innovative, energy-saving “zero client” approach to computing is not currently planned for our next Ecotech campus due to, well, it being a little too innovative. Sometimes both hardware and users have to be given time to catch up with viable technology. Then there are lessons that can be learned only after operations begin, such as eco-friendly bamboo floors do not fare well in an area with lots of snow—and lots of anti-snow measures that get tracked into buildings and damage floors. We also learned lessons in Marketing. At first, we thought few folks would cross state lines to attend a two- year college, however innovative. We were pleasantly surprised to find out we were wrong. Our current population of almost 500 students represents every state except Maine, South Carolina, and Utah. We also have multiple countries represented at Ecotech. In anticipation of more growth, we are nearing completion of our second Ecotech Institute, which is scheduled to open next year in Austin, Texas. We are very excited about what the future holds, and we are learning and adapting all the time. On our immediate horizon is a new Power Utility Technician program that focuses on providing a solid grounding in, and a comprehensive understanding of, electric utility distribution systems, grid and smart grid. We also have something very exciting that we hope to unveil any day now; let’s just say that it is an online tool that should be of great help to those seeking cleantech jobs and green places to live. And, of course, we’re looking very forward to the next graduation at the Aurora-Denver campus this fall!
    • page 62 August 21, 2012 Ecotech grads making solar careers in Hawaii | Amanda H. Miller Myers Nguyen took a leap of faith two years ago when he decided to be part of the first class in a new solar and renewable energy college. And it has paid off. Nguyen was one of five students who graduated this spring from the Ecotech Institute, established in Denver in 2010 as the first fully-accredited school dedicated to educating a renewable energy workforce. Now he and four of his fellow graduates are working for Sunetric in Hawaii. Nguyen, 35, worked for 10 years as a massage therapist before he decided to go back to school. “I was ready for a change in career,” Nguyen writes in an email. “And I felt that taking part in something involving sustainability and caring for our environment was the next best thing to caring for people and making them feel better, except that caring for and promoting a healthier environment would offer a greater positive impact as well as being more rewarding and fulfilling.” He didn’t know he wanted to focus on solar until he’d taken a couple classes, he said. Ecotech Institute has a green campus in Denver and a growing reputation nationally for educating the solar and renewable energy employees who will make clean and renewable energy companies successful. Nguyen said he was impressed with the school. “Being the first institution of its kind, I felt they would have something better and more unique to offer than any other traditional college or university,” Nguyen writes. “Apparently they did. Without a doubt, every course was well worth our time and money in building our foundation, marketability and career opportunity.” At the same time, Nguyen said, it was a big risk to be the first and it took guts and faith. Nguyen and his classmates are working as installers and in various different specialties onsite in Hawaii. Nguyen is learning to use AutoCAD so he can do Computer Assisted Design work for Sunetric’s commercial team. “I can definitely see some room for advancements with my career from here,” Nguyen said. The next steps would be to become a lead CAD designer and trainer, then project manager and possibly senior project manager, he said. After that, he expects he’d have the opportunity to travel back to the mainland or even work globally.
    • page 63 August 29, 2012 Denver School Offering Technician Degree Related To Smart Grid Denver-based Ecotech Institute is now taking applications for its new two-year Power Utility Technician degree program focused on training power utility technicians. The program will launch in October. Ecotech says it designed the Power Utility Technician program to prepare graduates for careers in power generation, with specialization in power plant operations and maintenance. Students will receive hands-on training regarding electric utility distribution systems, grid and smart grid.
    • September 2012
    • page 65
    • page 66 September 1, 2012 Ecotech Institute Announces First Graduating Class
    • page 67 September 19, 2012 Ecotech Institute Installs New Wind Energy Training Systems Ecotech Institute, a college focused exclusively on preparing graduates for careers in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency, has installed new wind energy training systems at its Denver facility. The Lab-Volt Nacelle Training System serves to establish essential technical and troubleshooting skills for wind energy technicians participating in Ecotech’s two-year associate’s degree program. The system is a scaled-down replica of commercial wind turbine nacelles and consists of a complete drivetrain, including the main shaft, a gearbox with a transparent side cover, speed sensors, a hydraulic brake and an asynchronous generator. The Hydraulic Pitch Hub Trainer, also installed at Ecotech Institute, includes a proportional hydraulic cylinder and is an accurate representation of a wind turbine blade. Students use this machine to learn about hydraulic pitch control and hydraulic pitch control operation. September 26, 2012 Entering the Bright New World of Solar Energy: One of Ecotech’s First Grads Shares His Thoughts on a Career in Solar | Myers Nguyen If you would have told me just two years ago that I’d be living in Hawaii and working for a solar company, I would have thought you were crazy. However, that’s what I’m doing today and I couldn’t be happier. My previous career was in massage therapy, something I loved for 12 years. However, over time I became ready for a career change and felt that taking part in something involving sustainability and caring for our environment was the next best thing to caring for people. During the time that I worked as a massage therapist, I noticed that while I pursued my utmost passion in helping others through massage, I hadn’t achieved the significant goals that I had always longed for – those that would allow me to start my own family, consider myself successful and to be a genuinely happy individual.
    • page 68 I came across Ecotech Institute, which is the first and only school that solely concentrates on careers with a sustainable focus, such as wind and solar energy technology. At first I wasn’t sure what area I wanted to specialize in, but after taking a couple of solar classes I knew that I found a career path that I would love. In June 2012, I was one of 42 students to receive my degree as part of the very first graduating class at Ecotech. It was an incredibly exciting day and it’s an honor to be part of Ecotech’s first class. During my education, I acquired newfound knowledge, a unique set of skills and a confidence that I never really had before. I far exceeded my own expectations and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Shortly after graduation I had two job offers, including one from Sunetric in Hawaii. I was beyond excited; this was really happening. I decided to accept the offer from Sunetric, along with four other fellow graduates from Ecotech, and it’s been an exciting and enjoyable learning experience. For the first two weeks, I shadowed the service and monitoring crew, going to multiple residential sites, while exploring Hawaii at the same time. Let’s just say, it’s an amazing place to land your first job in the solar industry! After those first couple weeks, I’ve been training as a CAD Designer on the commercial side. I’m learning to use AutoCAD, so that I can do Computer Assisted Design for Sunetric. It’s encouraging that I see opportunities to grow and advance my career from here. I would love to become a lead CAD designer and trainer, working my way up to a project manager and possibly becoming a senior project manager. Eventually, I’d like to play a major role in my community by promoting and advocating for alternative energy, particularly solar, and by that time I’d like to be the head of a solar company or perhaps an innovative alternative energy design company. My new career in solar has also sparked an interest to live my work beyond my typical shift. In five years, I hope to have built my own net-zero home, I’d also like to own an all-electric vehicle that is charged strictly by solar energy, and I want to live a life that leaves a very minimal carbon footprint. My dreams look bright, and I believe the solar industry will continue to thrive in Hawaii, considering the expense of electricity here. Solar power is definitely well worth the investment, especially now while rebates are still appealing. As for the mainland U.S., utilities are still considered inexpensive, so switching to solar is a harder sell. I believe the transition to solar will likely grow at a slower pace until people are forced to make the investment. But we are all heading that way as our non-renewable resources dwindle away. I hoped this leap of faith would help me meet my goals and so far it’s meeting all my expectations. In fact, I’ve quickly discovered that caring for and promoting a healthier environment offers an even greater positive impact than what I was doing before, as well as a more rewarding and fulfilling career. This career path continues to challenge me and for the first time I’m proud of where I’m headed and look forward to making a lasting impact for years to come.
    • October 2012
    • page 70 October 4, 2012 Turbine Technicians Don’t Need to be Cowboys | Kyle Crider Wind energy technicians’ jobs don’t need to be glamorized. Green jobs are stars based on facts, not embellishment. If you’ve seen The Weather Channel’s Turbine Cowboys you may have a somewhat exaggerated view of the life of a typical wind turbine technician. Call it a “Reality TV” effect, akin to the “CSI Effect.” It’s not that Wind Energy Technology work is not exciting—at Ecotech Institute we happen to train wind energy technicians and we have a 20-foot climbing tower built right into our school – it’s just that we train our technicians, both male and female, how to be safe, not how to be cowboys. I’m teaching a graduate-level course in Information Management at a local university, and one of the things I’m trying to teach my students is that, while story- telling is important, it is important not to over-hype the information you’re trying to convey. Cold, hard facts that tell a good and true story should back up your message. Avoiding hype and other kinds of misinformation is crucial now that sustainability and green jobs have become politicized, from Agenda 21 conspiracy theory nonsense to the No More Solyndras Act. One doesn’t fight misinformation with more misinformation, however well-intentioned. Although the information may not be perfect, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a good place to start for information on an “overview” of green jobs. And what does the BLS have to say about green jobs here in the U.S.? Well, according to a September 28 news release, as of November 2011, “The utilities industry had 142,030 jobs in all-green establishments.” A recent report by the Personal Computing Industry Center (PCIC) found that the wind industry alone is generating a larger share of U.S. jobs now than the Apple iPod did in 2006. But with the Production Tax Credit (PTC) set to expire at the end of this year, and Congress generating a lot of wind but very little work, half of the estimated 75,000 jobs in the wind industry could be gone with the wind, according to the PCIC and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Somewhere between Turbine Cowboys and Agenda 21 conspiracies lies the truth about green jobs, a truth that says that one day humans must learn to power all industries the way the rest of the planet is powered—by the clean, renewable power of the sun (and sun-driven wind and water). Prehistoric solar energy, trapped in the carbon bonds of what we now call fossil fuels, was fine for a global economy kick-start. However, our remaining fossil fuel reserves are increasingly dirty, dangerous to extract, and located in environmentally-sensitive areas. Believing that we can achieve long-term energy independence or sustainability by pumping these
    • page 71 faster is like believing that your car will run forever if you only press harder on the gas pedal. Despite what the old song says, in a fossil fuel economy, if you ride like the wind you won’t be free again—you’ll be out of gas. But with wind (solar, etc.), we can both ride the wind and be free again. Not all of our Wind Energy Technology students will wind up climbing wind turbine towers for a living. Few of them will dangle from nacelles hundreds of feet above the ground “inspecting blades” (although The Weather Channel does make this look cool). But when real needs arise, you can bet that our students have been trained in proper safety harnessing and climbing technology—as well as in all the relevant engineering technology—to get the job done safely and correctly. They’ve even been trained in how to properly rig and lower an injured co-worker, so you may see one of them in a future episode, perhaps rescuing one of the cowboys who has done something cowboy-ish. This may not be a tall tale, but we think it is a story worth telling. October 10, 2012 And the Cleantech finalists are… The Colorado Cleantech Association has named 21 finalists for its third annual “Colorado Cleantech Industry Awards Celebration,” honoring leadership in advancing cleantech job creation, corporate growth, individual effort and technical innovation. Winners will be announced Oct. 22 at the Colorado Cleantech Awards Celebration. This year’s company finalists were selected based on their ability to impact the marketplace with innovative clean technologies, and recognizes successful fundraising efforts, ability to scale their technology and the company’s statewide job creation success. Individuals were selected for their commitment to expanding Colorado’s cleantech ecosystem and their devotion to the growth of their respective organizations. With the guidance of Deloitte, the finalists were selected by a group of industry peers consisting of entrepreneurial leaders, cleantech CEOs and former award recipients. “We greatly value the work these companies and individuals have undertaken and their passion towards positioning Colorado as one of the most advanced states in the nation for cleantech,” said Christine Shapard, executive director of CCIA. “During such a critical time in this election year, we believe the leadership awards will celebrate and exemplify Colorado’s commitment to cleantech and the state’s dedication to advancing clean technology on a larger scale nationally.” Here are the 2012 Colorado Cleantech Leadership Awards finalists: NATIONAL CLEANTECH LEADERSHIP AWARD 2012 Center for the New Energy Economy (Fort Collins) - http://cnee.colostate.edu/index.html Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory (Golden) - http://www.coloradocollaboratory.org/ Ecotech Institute (Aurora) - http://www.ecotechinstitute.com/ GOVERNOR’S AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN CLEANTECH LEADERSHIP 2012 Robert Fenwick-Smith, Aravaipa Ventures - http://www.aravaipaventures.com/ Doug Schatz, Ampt - http://www.ampt.com/
    • page 72 CLEANTECH CORPORATE CHAMPION 2012 Wells Fargo - https://www.wellsfargo.com/ CLEANTECH INVESTOR OF THE YEAR 9th Street Investments (Golden) - http://9thstreetinvestments.com/ Access Venture Partners (Westminster) - http://www.accessventurepartners.com/content/ Braemar Energy Ventures - http://www.braemarenergy.com/ New Enterprise Associates - http://www.nea.com/ HIGH IMPACT CLEANTECH COMPANY 2012 Albeo Technologies (Boulder) - http://www.albeotech.com/ Sundrop Fuels (Longmont) - http://www.sundropfuels.com/ BREAKOUT CLEANTECH COMPANY 2012 Boulder Wind Power (Boulder) - http://www.boulderwindpower.com/ Zeachem (Lakewood) - http://www.zeachem.com/ EMERGING CLEANTECH COMPANY 2012 Silver Bullet Water Treatment (Denver) - http://silverbulletcorp.com/ SkyFuel Inc. (Arvada) - http://www.skyfuel.com/ COLORADO CLEANTECH ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR Sandy Butterfield, Boulder Wind Power (Boulder)- http://www.boulderwindpower.com/ Hans Mueller, EcoVapor Recovery Systems (Centennial)- http://www.cleanlaunch.com/ CLEANTECH EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR Joel Butler, Solix BioSystems (Fort Collins) - http://www.solixbiofuels.com/ Mark Verheyen, TerraLUX - http://www.terralux.com/ LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR State Representative Brian Delgrosso - http://www.briandelgrosso.com October 16, 2012 People on the move Ecotech Institute named Zhanna Stavina as the school’s new director of admissions. Doc Popcorn appointed food industry veteran Garth Moore as chief operations officer, a newly created position. Ken Siegel, a member of Sherman & Howard’s commercial litigation practice group, was elected to the board of directors of Roundup River Ranch, a camp for kids with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Wouter van Kempen has been appointed president and chief operating officer of DCP Midstream LLC. Also, Bill Waldheim was appointed president of DCP Midstream GP LLC.
    • page 73 PetAid Colorado named Debrah Schnackenberg director of PetAid Disaster Services. Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP has added associates John Bowlin and Jim Henderson in the trial department and Hyland Coker, Catherine Reichel and Sam Seiberling in the firm’s finance & acquisitions department. Deloitte’s Denver office named Brian Fleming and Gregory McClure directors at Deloitte Tax LLP; Chetan Jain director, Deloitte Consulting LLP; and Sandra Lilja and Robert Ky Tangen directors of Deloitte & Touche LLP. Nicholas Barto was named managing director of the Catholic Health Initiatives Venture Capital Group. SE2 hired project manager Megan Cranston and associate Rachel Schiller. Sheridan Ross P.C. announced the addition of Brent R. Lindon as an associate. Jeanine Limone Draut has been named communications officer for The Colorado Trust. Attorney Gene A. Ciancio has been appointed to the Metropolitan Football Stadium District board, representing Adams County. Jordan Robbins joined HFF as a director in its Denver office. LinkSmart appointed Mike Stigliano as vice president of business development. The Denver Urban Renewal Authority hired Bryan Slekes as a redevelopment specialist. Wind Crest hired Winoka Clements as the director of human resources. David Gregory has been named to a newly created position as president and chief operating officer at Denver Management Advisors Inc. Wendy Macklin, professor and chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, is the recipient of a $587,653 grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, to support her research related to nerve repair due to damage caused by multiple sclerosis.
    • November 2012
    • page 75 November 1, 2012 Roundtable: State of the Nation ROUNDTABLE: THE STATE OF THE NATION www.peswind.com 19 CONTRIBUTORS PES: Welcome to the magazine. Before we head into the main subjects of the day, can you tell us a little about your organization and how it serves the industry? Vincent DeVito: Yes, thank you for the opportunity. I am a partner at the law firm of Bowditch & Dewey, LLP with an international energy practice based in Boston. I also spearhead the Institute for Energy and Sustainability based in Worcester, Massachusetts. The bulk of my corporate law work focuses on energy project development and I have had the opportunity to analyse such projects as Cape Wind and other developments across the United States from a business and legal perspective. At the Institute for Energy and Sustainability, we focus on the economic benefits of clean technology in Central Massachusetts. We have uniquely development and astonishing partnership with our academic institution, such as Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University, and Quinsigamond Community College, corporations, such as National grid, USA, and a full portfolio of local companies and non-government organization. In short, IES is central New England’s green business zone. It mission is to attract clean energy technology and renewable energy companies to the region. Each day, we build on the region’s assets and reputation as an incubator of innovation. Our priority is to create an environment for those seeking economic opportunity and advantage in this sector and to support the growth of jobs establishing a zone of world-class clean technology companies. Shawn Lamb: Ecotech Institute is the first and only school with the primary focus on clean energy technology. Our goal is to prepare students for direct entry into the job market and enhance their opportunities for growth and advancement. Our students receive an Associate of Applied Science degree. We teach the skills that industry leaders and employers have said are missing when they search for employees. Those skills combine solid theory with a significant amount of hands-on training. Combining those factors makes our graduates highly marketable. One of our keys to success is our commitment to the industries we serve. We work very closely with business and industry leaders to keep our curricula current and relevant to industry needs. We assist employers by providing qualified workers who are educated in the professional and technical skills they need. We are very customer oriented and recognize that our customers include our students, our employers, and our community. Rocky Sease: SOS Intl is a leading provider of training and consulting services to the power industry. We deliver a full suite of services across all areas of power utilities from generation to transmission to distribution. SOS offers classroom, online and custom courses, accompanied by sophisticated computer simulation – all designed using the latest systematic approach to training and adult learning theory. We incorporate the latest practices in Human Performance Improvement and Human Error Prevention in our training as we have for years. Our training focuses on taking a new utility employee and creating an experienced worker as quickly as possible. Our compliance consulting services help entities manage risk and ensure reliability for the bulk electric system. Our clients encompass the full range of power fuel sources from the traditional sources such as coal and gas to renewables such as wind, water and solar. Timothy Kemper: Reznick Group is a top 20 national accounting firm that includes an established renewable energy practice. We provide audit, tax consulting, capital markets, technical consulting and valuation services to the wind industry. Reznick has also been very involved in the 1603 grant program and has helped a number of wind developers qualify for the program. Edward W. Zaelke: I am Co-Chair of the Global Project Finance Practice at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Our group consists of about 40 lawyers worldwide. About 25 or so focus exclusively VINCENT DEVITO Corporate and Regulatory Attorney – International Practice – Bowditch & Dewey LLP. Board member of the Clean Energy Alliance SHAWN LAMB Ecotech’s Wind Energy Technology Program Director ROCKY SEASE CEO, SOS Intl TIMOTHY KEMPER CPA, Head of Renewable Energy Practice, Reznick Group EDWARD W. ZAELKE Co-Chair of the Global Project Finance Practice at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Mr. Zaelke is also a founding board member of the American Wind Energy Foundation and the Chair of the AWEA Conference and Education Committee TREY GOEDE Chief Executive Officer, Affinity Wind, LLC
    • page 76 PES: North America20 ROUNDTABLE: THE STATE OF THE NATION or almost exclusively on renewable energy. Years ago, I decided to immerse myself in the wind industry, not just the legal issues, but the financial, technology and policy issues as well. This has carried over to our entire group. We believe that, by becoming part of the industry on a broad scale, not just lawyers looking in, we understand our clients’ problems better and can help develop more creative solutions – beyond just legal solutions. Furthermore, through our understanding and knowledge of the market, we are in a better position to “help deals happen” through introduction of our clients and contacts and by becoming involved in the structuring of complicated financial transactions at an early stage. Trey Goede: Affinity Wind, LLC is a privately held wind energy development company, focused on utility scale projects throughout the Midwest (United States). Affinity formed a joint venture in 2011 with Suzlon Wind Energy for co-development purposes. PES: And what’s your on-the-ground assessment of the state of the sector at the moment? Shawn Lamb: Natural gas is cheap right now. We currently have more natural gas than we can use or store and the reduced cost certainly puts natural gas ahead of wind. The average consumer, in the current economic state, is more concerned about how much of their paycheck has to be allocated to electricity than whether that electricity comes from natural gas or wind. The state of the sector is directly impacted by the state of the economy. I believe that wind energy has three components. One is growth of new projects, one is completion of project in development, and the last is maintenance of the equipment we already have in service. Regardless of whether the PTC is extended or not, there will continue to be a need for maintenance of existing equipment and the projects already approved and in development will continue. That means there are still a lot of job opportunities in the field for our students. Rocky Sease: There are challenges to be addressed. One is the uncertainty surrounding the extension of the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit which expires at the end of 2012. Development has slowed substantially as potential investors and potential wind companies are slow to develop long-term plans due to this financial uncertainty. Another challenge is getting the power from the wind generation locations to the power grid. The best locations for wind generation – off-shore, mountains, desert – are not where a high need for power exists. Because of the effort, equipment and wires needed to get the power to the grid and to the end user, the price of wind-generated power is higher than that of the traditional fossil- based fuels. And there is the challenge of maintaining a skilled workforce due to the magnitude of retirements predicted in coming years. According to Gridwise Alliance, by 2015, approximately 50 per cent of the engineering workforce and 46 per cent of skilled technician positions will need to be replaced in the energy sector because of retirement or attrition. Timothy Kemper: I think it’s in a very precarious situation right now. With the expiration of the PTC and ITC at the end of 2012, very few wind projects will be started in 2013. After probably the best year for megawatts ends in 2012, we expect a significant decrease bordering on near standstill during 2013. Even the extension of the credits during a lame duck session after the first Tuesday in November 2012 will not prevent a significant decrease of completed projects in 2013. Edward W. Zaelke: This has been a very difficult year for the wind energy market in the U.S. In some ways it is more difficult than the slowdowns in 2001 and 2003 when the extension of the PTC was also uncertain. That is because today the domestic wind industry has so many more people who depend upon it for their livelihood. With the exception of those in the construction trades and some of the developers, most of the industry is at a standstill. There are few, if any, turbine orders being placed, limited M&A activity and very few financings happening. Fortunately, we are seeing that start to change a bit. It appears that, as we get closer to the election, companies are becoming more confident in an outcome that will allow the PTC to be extended. As a result we are seeing M&A activity start to pick up. That is often the first signs of an uptick in the industry. Trey Goede: These are trying times, make no mistake about it. Specifically in the United States, it is not widely known that the wind industry is on its way to losing half of its work force at a very critical time. Additionally, it is a little known fact that all forms of energy have been and continue to be subsidized, including coal, oil, gas, nuclear, etc. However, the wind energy Production Tax Credit, which has been available since the Energy Policy Act of 1992, is being left to expire at the end of this calendar year-2012. PES: Politically, wind power is a hot topic right now. Do you believe that there is substance behind the promises for growth? Vincent DeVito: Recently I was able to participate in two roundtables - one in New York, and the other in Washington, DC. In addition, there was a clear consensus: There is room for growth in all sectors of energy. Most notably, folks did not view the development of natural gas in the United States as a hindrance to renewable energy development. In fact, it is considered a nice component of domestic energy supply. Domestic supply also address the national security concerns raised by an over reliance on imported energy. While the boom bust cycle of the production tax credits and the investment tax credit is widely documented, it has not been sun-setted in an era when there was so many state and other federal incentives available. For instance, the federal government is pursuing a report of an environmental “Each day, we build on the region’s assets and reputation as an incubator of innovation. Our priority is to create an environment for those seeking economic opportunity and advantage in this sector and to support the growth of jobs establishing a zone of world-class clean technology companies” Vincent DeVito, Corporate and Regulatory Attorney – International Practice – Bowditch & Dewey LLP. Board member of the Clean Energy Alliance
    • page 77 www.peswind.com 21 ROUNDTABLE: THE STATE OF THE NATION assessment for commercial wind leases and site assessment activities on the Outer Continental Shelf off Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Further, in places like Massachusetts, the states are rolling out a significant increase in net metering opportunities, expanded renewable portfolio standards, and attempts to meet financing gaps by innovative state involvement via public-private partnerships. Shawn Lamb: I believe growth will continue, but maybe not at the same pace. Currently 29 states have renewable energy standards that commit to replacing fossil fuel energy with renewable energy, and there are more states that will implement standards in the future. The only way to meet those standards is to grow the industry with future projects or expansion of existing ones. You may see a current wind farm grow from 200 turbines to 500 turbines. I also see growth of research and development to make future turbines more efficient with greater output. Rocky Sease: I hope the substance is there. We need to utilize all forms of energy available to us in order to meet the vision of energy independence for the country. In the US, according to American Wind Energy Association statistics, wind generation now totals 49,802 MW of cumulative wind capacity through the end of the first half of 2012. There are over 10,300 MW currently under construction spanning 30 states plus Puerto Rico. In addition, many states and the District of Columbia have some type of renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements. All of this provides substantial momentum for the development of wind power but, as with any business, financial and regulatory uncertainty results in greater risk for wind power and slowing investment in the sector. Edward W. Zaelke: I refuse to let a sluggish 2012 change my bullish outlook for the growth of the wind energy industry in the U.S. Thirty years ago, when I decided to make this industry my career, I thought the fundamentals behind developing an energy economy based upon the extensive development of wind and solar resources were very strong. I may have been a bit ahead of my time with those thoughts. However, the fundamentals underlying the need for renewable energy have gotten even stronger since 1982. For example, we know a lot more about the impact of CO2 on climate change. Our country has also fought two wars in the Middle East and we continue to lose American lives today. In the end, however, it is going to be the cost of wind energy in relation to other means of producing energy, in addition to the environmental issues, jobs and energy security benefits, that will ultimately drive wind energy to the 20 to 30 per cent penetration level in the U.S. In many areas of the country wind is now cheaper than all other forms of generation, with the exception of natural gas, which is at historic lows. As the economy improves and we continue to see coal plants taken offline as they lose their cost advantage, I expect the growth curve of wind will again pick up. Trey Goede: Wind energy is extremely relevant—it is not going away. Wind is not THE solution to energy independence, but it certainly is PART of that solution. The “tried and true” three blade design turbines are becoming more efficient and less expensive, through worldwide deployments. As exciting, there are new turbine design manufacturers such as Sheerwind and FloDesign that have the opportunity to become the next generation of wind turbine generators at some point soon. PES: Do you believe that the industry has a positive attitude towards legislation? What more could be done to encourage this? Vincent DeVito: As a former regulator at the state and federal levels, I am very aware of the impact an uncertain regulatory environment can have on an industry. Particularly, the wind industry is venerable here because of the added controversy concerning siting. In addition to the plentiful uncertainty concerning federal incentives, wind developers consistently have to deal with complex local protocols. These local externalities become big internal in terms of construction schedules and financing diligence. There is little for the developer to do except patiently go through the public education and scoping process. Of which, the outcome is never fully know until the finale determination is made and survives an, at time, exhaustive appeal process. From my experience, the industry as a whole is somewhat suspect of legislation. In fact, I have current clients that are concerning that the federal 1603 program, albeit expired, could close even upon these that have met the begun construction safe harbour date. None of which is good for business. However, organizations such as the Clean Energy Alliance, of which IES is a member, are designed to help the industry and public become better aware and more adept at participating in the market in view of such dynamics. PES: In your opinion, do the world’s (many) wind associations offer a credible and coherent voice for the industry? Vincent DeVito: Associations have a significant role in bringing an industry together. They can help folks network. For instance, IES fully functions as a business to business networking center for those interested in the sector and wanting to participate in Central Massachusetts. In fact, both federal and state program offices use the associations to get their message out to the industry and even scope or launch particular programs. IES had worked with the remarkably progressive and effective Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to achieve significant results in greater Worcester. The purpose of which is to deliver the economic benefits of the technology economy to our region. Mostly, the organizations serve as ideas platforms. As a former government official, they made it easier to locate experts, noodle ideas, and simply develop deeper and meaningful partnerships. Overall, the associations can be tremendously effective in the national and “Our goal is to prepare students for direct entry into the job market and enhance their opportunities for growth and advancement. Our students receive an Associate of Applied Science degree. We teach the skills that industry leaders and employers have said are missing when they search for employees” Shawn Lamb, Ecotech’s Wind Energy Technology Program Director
    • page 78 PES: North America22 ROUNDTABLE: THE STATE OF THE NATION state capitol buildings. Member of both parties seek input from associations into their hearings and staff are very adept at going back to the best and brightest. It can be highly effective to invest in associations, such as the Clean Energy Alliance. Shawn Lamb: I don’t have much experience with the European Wind Energy Association, but I do know that the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has been an amazing voice for our entire industry. AWEA has really taken the reins on promoting wind energy. It is important that the United States get behind renewable energy. Timothy Kemper: Credible, yes, coherent, not as much. I do believe the industry has differing agendas from the various participants which creates confusion in the marketplace. What may be good for the manufacturers may not be good for IPPs. What is beneficial for the utilities may not be beneficial for the capital providers. It is natural to have differing agendas but it is confusing. Hopefully, the common goal of expanding the industry will create cooperation among the participants and no single stakeholder will drown out the rest. PES: What impact has the uncertainty surrounding the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) had upon the industry? Shawn Lamb: The uncertainty of the Production Tax Credit’s extension has caused many investors to wait, and hold on to their money. Since this lack of “new orders” has already cut into projected sales in 2013, many of the OEMs (Vestas, Suzlon, etc.) have scaled back production. This also affects the component manufacturers that feed these factories. Another important impact is that there are very few new projects on the books. This means fewer promotions within the service and operations side of the wind industry. For an industry that has seen massive growth in short periods, this almost seems like a contraction. Though they are not de- commissioning wind turbines, a lack of new turbines indicates a lack of expansion and promotion for technicians. Rocky Sease: Probably the biggest impact is the uncertainty injected into development projects in the sector. Investors are nervous as financial and regulatory uncertainty makes it more difficult to determine the value of an investment in wind power. Historically, in years when the tax credit was allowed to expire – 2000, 2002 and 2004 – new installations decreased, and we’re already seeing that trend for 2013. Unfortunately, that translates into lost jobs in both the sector and the manufacturing industry that supports wind power, and layoffs are already being announced. The presidential election is having an impact on Congress’s ability to act, so it is important to get through the election. A recent article at Bloomberg.com suggested that Congress develop a plan for phasing out the tax credit particularly since the wind sector is expected to eventually stand on its own. Edward W. Zaelke: The Production Tax Credit has now been in existence for 20 years. By any measure, it has been an incredibly successful policy. Over those 20 years I am guessing that the PTC may have reduced taxes on wind energy production by $20 to $30 billion. However, the taxes collected on other profits, manufacturing, employee wages, and land payments to farmers exceed that amount by a large margin. In addition it has taken an industry that was in its infancy and built it into a $20 billion per year piece of our economy with over 75,000 direct jobs in manufacturing and construction and probably 125,000 or so jobs when the indirect jobs are considered. That doesn’t even consider the benefits to family farms from royalty payments. The real benefit from the PTC, however, has come in the past 5 years or so. Given the success of the PTC, the industry began to believe that Congress would continue to renew it every couple of years, as Congress does with many tax credits. This caused an increase in investment in domestic production and research. As a result, the cost of producing a kilowatt hour of wind is down 50 per cent in some areas over what it was 5 years ago. The uncertainty created by this Congress over the PTC has dampened the momentum the industry has been experiencing and it will take some time to find that again. Trey Goede: I have worked in several regulated industries throughout my career, the last five being CEO of Affinity Wind in the energy space. I can honestly say that I have never been more discouraged by lawmakers and general politics related to the expiration of the Production Tax Credit. The short term extensions of this credit are problematic enough, but there is no reason why the PTC should not have been re-enacted with the Transportation or Tax Bills earlier this year. There is bipartisan support, and it should have been figured out. Energy clearly represents one of the most important industries for the foreseeable future worldwide, and the United States has taken a huge step backwards tied to this inaction. Sure the problem has affected my smaller wind energy development company, but it is much more far reaching and larger than just Affinity Wind. Larger developers have cancelled or postponed all 2013 projects and beyond, and some industry experts are forecasting a 90 per cent reduction in new wind developments next year compared to record installations in 2012. As a result, the many turbine manufacturers that have committed to the US market over the past five to seven years are reeling with oversupply and NO demand, so facilities are being shuttered and employees laid off. There are 5,000+ components in the nacelle of a wind turbine. In 2005, less than five per cent of those 5,000+ components were manufactured in the United States. Last year, over 60 per cent of those components WERE manufactured in the United States, with many companies targeting wind as a way to help offset current economic conditions. These companies stopped receiving orders as well over the last 10 months, again resulting in layoffs and “Probably the biggest impact is the uncertainty injected into development projects in the sector. Investors are nervous as financial and regulatory uncertainty makes it more difficult to determine the value of an investment in wind power” Rocky Sease, CEO, SOS Intl
    • page 79 www.peswind.com 23 ROUNDTABLE: THE STATE OF THE NATION shuttered facilities. Think of how many specialty manufacturers have to be affected. Lastly, I read the other day that the effects on wind energy research and development is not expected to be known immediately, but without federal policy support, I think it is clear that we will lose any competitive advantages to our foreign competition, specifically China. Company budgets for R&D and general government research support will not be made available. China has already surpassed the United States in every major ranking and indicator over the past two years. It is just unfathomable that this is being allowed to happen due to an election year, general politics, whatever! We are living in what is widely regarded as a recession, so why are we allowing wind energy job loss, and as important the loss of billions of dollars worth of direct and indirect benefit that comes from new wind development? Cancelling the availability of tax credits tied to those billions of dollars worth of investment and job creation? It just does not make sense. PES: Has your organization been affected by the wider economic situation in North America? What challenges have you faced? Shawn Lamb: One of our goals is to place every student into a job within their field of study, at a good rate of pay, so they can support themselves and their families and pay their bills. While we are currently seeing a good placement rate, the hourly rates for some jobs is not always what we hoped it would be. The high unemployment rate makes it easier for employers to pay lower rates with fewer benefits. Fortunately, our graduates are entering the workforce with much needed skills. We had one company hire seven of our first wind graduates. We were informed that all of those students are being promoted to the next technical level six months ahead of the normal promotion schedule. That says a lot about the calibre of student we are putting into the field and the skills they leave Ecotech with. Rocky Sease: We are fortunate in that our business is somewhat resistant to economic fluctuations. It’s not that we are unaffected – our growth has been slower than expected since the recession – but our core business is related to NERC regulations, so much of what we do is mandated to the electric energy industry. Of course, when the economy gets tight, clients look for ways to do things as inexpensively as possible. Utilities are less likely to outsource as much of their training and compliance consulting needs, so we find ourselves in a much tighter competitive situation. However, it is difficult for individual utilities to staff with the level of expertise that we bring to the table. So while we are not as sensitive to the economy as some sectors are, we are certainly not immune to it. Trey Goede: Energy demand has been much lower in the past 3 years, directly a result of economic conditions. With that comes lower energy prices as demonstrated by $2 natural gas. Lower wholesale power prices have forced the wind industry to sharpen its pencil, and by my account, it has done a very good job. At Affinity Wind, our overall “cost of wind power” or the price available to wholesale offtake companies, decreased substantially over the last three years, but not quite enough to match the general wholesale power price dip from existing coal plants or natural gas. If I were a utility with any sort of a renewable or sustainable energy plan, I would have been a long term buyer of wind energy for the last two years because some folks think the price for wind will be going up. It certainly will increase if the PTC does not get extended, so a long term price lock ahead of that time seems like a very good plan. PES: Do you believe it’s true that the financial markets are so weak that it’s almost impossible to raise the necessary funding for growth? Or is wind power ‘weathering the storm’? Shawn Lamb: I think larger companies who deal in wind are weathering the storm. Their financial situation doesn’t ride fully on the wind market and they have more latitude than smaller companies whose sole business is wind. There may be smaller companies who are bought out by larger corporations. Growth is relative to how big you already are. If a company depends largely on incentives and subsidies to stabilize their financial situation, that company will struggle to grow, and may even fold, when those incentives go away. It seems that smaller companies are the ones who rely heavily on incentives to survive. They may have put “all their eggs in one basket” so to speak and haven’t necessarily focused on building a business model to eliminate the need for incentives. A larger company, with more diverse products, can “weather the storm” when the market goes softer in an area. Timothy Kemper: From a perspective of raising capital for wind energy projects, 2012 may end up being the best year ever. There has been an abundance of both traditional bank financing as well as tax equity and private equity financing for projects. 2013 will be extremely challenging and we are starting to see the effects of a gradual shutdown as capital is moving out of the market into other renewable technologies. Clearly, with the benefit of strong PPAs supporting projects being built in 2012, any good project found financing and at very attractive rates. But as good as 2012 was, 2013 will be especially challenging. Not only are PPA prices exceptionally low but the expiration of the credits will remove a needed subsidy that competes against conventional energy sources. Edward W. Zaelke: Except for the period of the year or so after start of the U.S. financial crisis starting in late 2008, I don’t think the wind industry has suffered from a shortage of available debt or equity for good projects. What is clear is that the availability of debt from most European banks, which in the past have been willing to take some risk for a better return, is gone. Going forward, projects are likely to require more equity, with the debt that is available broken into “From a perspective of raising capital for wind energy projects, 2012 may end up being the best year ever. There has been an abundance of both traditional bank financing as well as tax equity and private equity financing for projects” Timothy Kemper, CPA, Head of Renewable Energy Practice, Reznick Group
    • page 80 PES: North America24 ROUNDTABLE: THE STATE OF THE NATION two pieces. There will be a very “safe” piece held by banks and institutional investors looking for a safe yield. In some cases there will also be a second piece held by a set of mezzanine lenders who may take more risk to fill small gaps in available equity. Tax equity will continue in relatively short supply. It will remain a significant cost for those developer or owners who cannot use the tax benefits themselves. Project equity continues to be a challenge. It may be filled to some degree by private equity funds who sponsor some of the larger independent developers. Private equity needed to support the smaller developers continues to be a difficult need to fill. Trey Goede: If you have a solid project, with a bankable power purchase agreement, financing is available. The bigger problem over the past two years has been securing a power purchase agreement. There were not enough utilities ready to enter into long term offtake agreements in my opinion given inexpensive “brown” power prices, and there is a very good chance that this disconnect will be felt by those same utilities in the near term. Many states have renewable portfolio standards requiring utilities to purchase clean energy, and most utilities have their own sustainable plans going forward in some capacity. The bottom line is that wind energy pricing has a very real chance of being higher next year, and beyond, especially if the PTC is not extended. The last two years represented historically the lowest wind energy prices, and the smart players in my opinion locked in that pricing for 20+ year terms. PES: What are the most common H&S considerations faced by the wind sector? Trey Goede: Despite the growth of the industry, planning is an increasing problem for farm operators. What can be done to address this problem? The biggest challenge related to planning is the “start and stop” mentality regarding federal support for wind. In the US, the short term PTC extensions of one to three years do not foster the ability for long term planning. For example, it is now September, and no PTC extension will even be considered until after the election. Wind energy is not something you can turn off and on like a hose. There are supply chain, lead time, permit, workforce, etc constraints that all need to be re-established or propped back up, and these things take time. In my opinion, we have lost 18-24 months of recent industry growth as a result of imminent PTC expiration. PES: You are able to change one piece of legislation (relating to your corner of the wind industry) tomorrow. Which would it be, and why? Shawn Lamb: If I could change one piece of legislation it would be to enact a mandated Renewable Energy Standard in every state. This would force each state to look at its own resources and make adjustments. Nevada would probably opt for solar, whereas Minnesota would opt for Wind. I think a RES of 20 per cent - 25 per cent is perfectly reasonable within the next 15 years. Timothy Kemper: Permanent extension of the PTC AND ITC. Certainty of legislative support along with extension of a crucial subsidy would bring capital back into the marketplace. A national renewable energy standard would be nice but based on the track record, the ITC/PTC really drives capital into the marketplace. Clearly, the majority of the country supports clean, renewable energy. The US system of subsidizing favorable industries with tax credits is a longstanding practice. Given a permanent extension of the credits, tax equity would consistently flow into the marketplace and drive development costs down. This would ensure the long term viability of the industry including the manufacturing participants. PES: Would you say that the industry has finally become a career destination for young people – or are we still recruiting mature employees from mature sectors? Shawn Lamb: The mature sectors are still beating the young folks out. Companies are hiring the best candidate and often they look for experience, reliability, and professionalism. Military backgrounds are a good fit for many of the technical skills companies are looking for in their hiring searches. The student demographic at our school leans more toward the mature side as well. The average age of our students is currently 31. We have a large veteran contingent and quite a few of our students come in with four-year degrees. We are considered a destination school and a large per centage of our students come from all over the United States, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere. However, we are seeing more students coming in out of high school. As young people look at the job market and the state of the environment, they see an opportunity to not only gain skills that can get them a job, but the ability to make a difference. Rocky Sease: Early on, when wind projects were first put into place, there was an effort to bring in skilled utility workers because their level of experience and ability enabled them to quickly get projects up and running. Now, as the sector has gotten more established and procedures have been put into place, the sector is more likely to hire younger, less experienced workers. Younger workers tend to be more open to opportunities presented by alternate energies such as wind. As happened previously when power marketing organizations were being established in the mid-to late-90s, the newer workers with less experience are often better able to develop revolutionary systems and processes that help the industry continue its forward progress. I think the industry is exciting – it’s just a matter of finding younger people who see the excitement in our industry. Timothy Kemper: The industry has become a magnet for younger talent. From colleges offering degrees in wind technology to the need to provide affordable renewable energy for future generations, the wind industry has become a prime career destination for the younger generation. Today’s college students are very conscious of the environment and want to be sure that we continue to protect it for future generations. “I speak often about the wind industry to law students and other people just starting their careers. I tell them that I have the best job in the world. I am doing challenging work in a new and changing area and the end result is a product that, over time, will improve the lives of all Americans and other people around the world” Edward W. Zaelke, Co-Chair of the Global Project Finance Practice at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Mr. Zaelke is also a founding board member of the American Wind Energy Foundation and the Chair of the AWEA Conference and Education Committee
    • page 81 www.peswind.com 25 ROUNDTABLE: THE STATE OF THE NATION This leads to a very strong interest in the wind industry. For our firm, the opportunity to do work on behalf of the renewable energy industry is one of its biggest attractions to college graduates. Edward W. Zaelke: I speak often about the wind industry to law students and other people just starting their careers. I tell them that I have the best job in the world. I am doing challenging work in a new and changing area and the end result is a product that, over time, will improve the lives of all Americans and other people around the world. In what other industry can you find this? Yes, as the industry has grown, it now has to fight with fossil fuel and other industries for a share of the country’s energy mix. However, if we can ever reach a point where we look 10 or 20 years ahead in making policies, rather than continuing to think short term, the need for this industry and the changes it will have on our country are very clear. Being part of that change is both challenging and exciting. Young people are listening. For several years now, we have been attracting some of the best and the brightest to all segments of our industry. I expect that to continue for years to come. Trey Goede: I also teach entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University as an Adjunct professor, so the success of our young people is near and dear to my heart. In 2009, only two people in my business school class of 29 had jobs heading into graduation. I want all my students to have jobs or the means to start a career someplace! Times are tough, and up until recently the wind industry was creating jobs. There are a lot of mature employees available in this down economy, so those people can help fill gaps of course. However, I am truly impressed with the number of universities nationwide that quickly established curriculum to address this demand over the past five to seven years for cleantech/renewable jobs. The PTC expiration will of course affect these universities, and more importantly the students graduating from these programs. I used to see thousands of wind energy jobs listed in the market, and today it is being described as “dead”. PES: Does wind technology research get enough funding? Shawn Lamb: After visiting the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Center, and getting an inside tour, I can say that there are many exciting things happening around R&D. I have also seen the emerging technologies coming out of Nordex and GE. I think that the DOE / NREL budget should be increased. Not for political reasons, but out of necessity for an alternative energy source that we will need going forward. The fact is that we are facing an energy crisis within the next 20 years. It is important that we use the last “cheap and easy” energy sources (such as oil and natural gas) to develop the next generation of energy infrastructure. This infrastructure will be renewable, and a prime component will be Wind Energy. PES: Where are the skills gaps in our sector right now? Shawn Lamb: Since we primarily train Wind Techs and Commissioners, it is important for them to understand power electronics, schematics, subsystems (such as pitch and converters), but most importantly, be able to troubleshoot complicated systems. We also emphasize soft skills such as professionalism, leadership, ownership, and pride in work. All of our degree programs at Ecotech have a solid foundation of electrical knowledge and hands-on training because of industry feedback that electrical training for industrial and energy applications was a big gap. That gap in electrical skills is true for all areas of manufacturing as well as the power industry. We have had companies tell us that basic knowledge of hand tools and how to use them, how to read blue prints and electrical schematics, and cranes and rigging are a few other skills that they have a hard time filling. Rocky Sease: The biggest challenge we see to employers in this sector and even the energy industry in general is that for all the good work educational institutions do, graduates coming into the power industry need additional training. There is still a transition that must occur for them to go from a recent grad to a contributing employee. The other side of that challenge is that many of the current employees in the industry are rapidly reaching retirement age. According to Gridwise Alliance, by 2015, approximately 50 per cent of the engineering workforce and 46 per cent of skilled technician positions will need to be replaced because of retirement or attrition. Compare that to our adult learning information that predicts it takes 10 years to become an expert in any field of endeavor and you can see the challenges facing the industry. We don’t have the luxury of waiting on the expertise level – we have to find a way to shorten the gap. That concern is a key initiative for our company as we continue to improve our training programs. PES: What do you think is the greatest challenge, or set of challenges, facing our industry today? Why do you think these issues are so important? Rocky Sease: I see two significant challenges facing the sector today. The first is the financial challenges that must be resolved. The sector must find a way to reduce the cost of a megawatt of power in order to be competitive with other forms of energy. The second challenge is the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the sector. Not only are we missing a coherent national energy policy, the companies face different regulations from different levels of government. City, state and federal governments provide different regulatory directions with states and cities varying on an individual basis. California is one of the states leading the way in legislating the amount of renewable energy its utilities must generate, but not all states are following their lead. Now that the cost of natural gas has bottomed out, some cities that previously supported wind energy projects are backing off from that support and asking public utility commissions to shut down projects. There is still a “not-in-my- “I am truly impressed with the number of universities nationwide that quickly established curriculum to address this demand over the past five to seven years for cleantech/renewable jobs” Trey Goede, Chief Executive Officer, Affinity Wind, LLC
    • page 82 backyard“ mentality as people support alternate energy in theory, but don’t want to see the generation structures on their horizon. Timothy Kemper: Clearly, the rapidly decreasing cost of natural gas has put a freeze on reasonable PPA prices - and that is good for the consumer. I think the requirement to have the same levelized cost of energy as traditional sources is unrealistic. Conventional sources have been subsidized for decades allowing their costs to decrease over time. The country needs a broad array of energy sources. Too much dependence on one source can have unforeseen consequences; Japan’s energy challenges after the tsunami-related nuclear tragedy is a case in point. Also, the industry needs to address the need for an efficient battery storage solution in order to provide for a constant stream of electricity. Being able to provide uninterrupted affordable energy 24 hours a day needs to be a goal. Transmission needs to be improved as well, enabling low cost production to be able to be delivered efficiently to higher cost markets. Edward W. Zaelke: The wind industry faces many very real and important challenges, so it is hard to focus on just one. However, the challenge that we have faced the longest is the lack of a true long term federal energy policy/ More importantly, a policy that gets us off of this two year cycle of the PTC and properly designs an energy mix for the country that helps create a long term clean and sustainable energy future for generations to come. There are a number of separate economic interests that are pulling and tugging at what that policy might be and, frankly, many interests that are quite satisfied with the status quo. I think that the status quo of an energy-non policy has already taken us down a path or irresponsibility to both our current population and future generations. Our greatest challenge as an industry may be finding and supporting the leadership the country needs in order to balance and, in some cases over-come, the various interests and secure the country’s energy future. PES: One of the conundrums of wind energy is that the wind doesn’t blow constantly. Are we doing enough to help balance shifting power production? Rocky Sease: Fortunately, there is a lot being done with the technology we currently have to help balance production. For instance, combining wind generation with hydro generation is a good way to smooth out the production peaks and valleys associated with a variable resource like wind. Water acts as a storage resource allowing a steadier stream of wind power. There is also a lot of research being done around different types of storage including compressed air and batteries to see if we can store energy in large enough quantities to be useful. These capabilities are still evolving, so we don’t know the answer yet. The other way we can help balance the production is through policies such as the recent FERC proposal to reform its rules for integrating the rapid growth of variable energy resources into the bulk electric system. According to a recent press release, the proposed rule would “reform the Open Access Transformation Tariffs (OATT) and the Large Generator Interconnection Agreements file by public utility transmission providers to require them to offer services that will allow for a more efficient integration of variable energy resources.” PES: We’re interested in the role of ancillary businesses (such as logistics, etc.) and how they impact upon the wind industry. Do you feel they could do more to drive future growth? Timothy Kemper: Clearly, any time you make the logistics more efficient, it will positively impact the business. Production and delivery being closely integrated has driven costs down recently. The closer the supply chain and development chain are tied together, the more efficiencies you can drive. PES would like to thank all our roundtable contributors. For more information, please visit their respective websites. Vincent DeVito, Corporate and Regulatory Attorney – International Practice – Bowditch & Dewey LLP. Board member of the Clean Energy Alliance: www.bowditch.com Shawn Lamb, Ecotech Institute’s Wind Energy Technology Program Director: www.ecotechinstitute.com Rocky Sease, CEO, SOS Intl: www.sosintl.com Timothy Kemper, CPA, Head of Renewable Energy Practice, Reznick Group: www.reznickgroup.com Edward W. Zaelke, Co-Chair of the Global Project Finance Practice at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Mr. Zaelke is also a founding board member of the American Wind Energy Foundation and the Chair of the AWEA Conference and Education Committee: www.akingump.com Trey Goede, Chief Executive Officer, Affinity Wind, LLC: www.affinitywind.com Opinion formers and idealists wanted! Would you like to sit on the next roundtable? We’re currently looking for contributors and would welcome applications. Please contact the editor, Simeon de la Torre, at sim@pes.eu.com for details. PES: North America26 ROUNDTABLE: THE STATE OF THE NATION
    • page 83 November 5, 2012 When did political science become an oxymoron? | Kyle Crider “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” ~Plato The November issue of Scientific American has a marvelous article, “Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy.” The article reminds us that our founding fathers were science enthusiasts and how science has been a preeminent force in American politics for two centuries, “Yet despite its history and today’s unprecedented riches from science, the U.S. has begun to slip off of its science foundation. Indeed, in this election cycle, some 236 years after Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, several major party contenders for political office took positions that can only be described as ‘antiscience’: against evolution, human- induced climate change, vaccines, stem cell research, and more.” The article goes on to say that, “Such positions could typically be dismissed as nothing more than election-year posturing except that they reflect an anti-intellectual conformity that is gaining strength in the U.S. at precisely the moment that most of the important opportunities for economic growth, and serious threats to the well- being of the nation, require a better grasp of scientific issues.” As an environmental scientist and public administrator currently employed by a for-profit education corporation, I couldn’t agree more. The Scientific American article describes the evolution of American science denialism and lists a number of contributing factors, from religious fundamentalism to postmodernism. To these, I would add one more: The undue influence of select powerful corporations—many tied to fossil fuels— on elections and policy. Satirist Ambrose Bierce, in his scathing-but-often-spot-on The Devil’s Dictionary (1911), defined politics as follows: “Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” Modern America is more plutocracy than democracy. The irony is that a few dominant corporations, acting purely in their own best interests, are sabotaging not only the U.S. economy but the very future of life on our planet. How ironic that these few businesses, so careful with their own business capital, are profiteering by depleting the irreplaceable shared natural capital of our planet. A few folks are getting rich on a “fire sale” enhanced by campaign-financed “scorched earth” policies that ultimately will leave all of us holding a smoking bag. In another article in the same issue, Scientific American proclaims that “Future Jobs Depend on a Science- Based Economy.” Again, as a trained policy analyst and manager at America’s first Ecotech Institute,
    • page 84 I couldn’t agree more. As the article relates, “A high-tech economy needs the best scientists and engineers, yet in science and math, U.S. students are middling. The Obama administration has had some success by tying grants for K–12 schools to Common Core math standards, but neither candidate has come out in support of the Next Generation Science Standards recommended by the National Research Council.” Surely we can find a little money amidst our military expenditures that exceed the next 14 countries’ combined military spending to fund this form of national security? In the words of Charles de Gaulle, “I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.” We need leaders who understand science, not politicians who scorn it. “Mankind will never see an end of trouble until... lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power... become lovers of wisdom.” ~Plato, The Republic “Truth is not determined by majority vote.” ~Doug Gwyn
    • page 85 November 23, 2012 Who’s Who in Energy
    • December 2012
    • page 87 December 5, 2012 Top Green Campus Initiatives in 2012 | Robyn Tellefsen What role can colleges and universities – and students – play in protecting the health of our planet? According to the National Wildlife Federation, the role of higher education in greening our world is an indispensable one. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF’s) Campus Ecology program just released 112 new case studies featuring the best green projects of 2012 from colleges and universities around the country. Published each year since 1989, the NWF Campus Ecology sustainability case study database also features 800 case studies from campuses across the United States spanning the last 23 years. The case studies come from 98 institutions in 28 states and 1 Canadian province, and span 17 categories, from Green Buildings to Waste Reduction. The database is searchable by topic, year, school, and state and includes information on each institution’s project goals, successes, challenges, funding strategies, and project leaders. The ultimate goal of the Campus Ecology program is to lead society to a clean, just, and economically sound energy future by empowering students and inspiring conservation stewardship on hundreds of campuses nationwide. When you search the database, you’ll find that colleges and universities are making a substantial investment in the sustainability of their campuses, communities, and their curriculum via the reduction of pollution, waste, and costs. Specifically, you can see how schools are tackling their energy and water consumption challenges and what their strategies are for protecting and restoring green space. This important work coincides with NWF’s efforts to educate the American public about the need to reduce carbon pollution, which is the major cause of climate change. Campus projects range from recycling and renewable energy installations to green jobs training programs and campus organic farms. Take a look at some of the top green campus initiatives of 2012: Claremont McKenna College (California) installed three food waste dehydrators to handle all food• waste, including bones and paper waste. The result is a sterile, fluffy brown residue that is taken to college gardens where it is mixed with compost to be used as a slow-release fertilizer. Ecotech Institute (Colorado) is the first and only college entirely focused on preparing students for• careers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable design. The student-led Solar Initiative at the University of South Florida funded a 15-kW solar panel system on• the Marshall Student Center and an additional 8.82-kW solar system on the MSC Amphitheatre.
    • page 88 Lincoln Land Community College (Illinois) is developing the Lincoln Land Green Model Home as a• state-of-the-art mini home that will be designed and built by students with the assistance of local professionals, business, organizations, and unions. The Center for Sustainability at Bridgewater State University (Massachusetts) hosted a “Top• Sustainability Chef” cooking competition in the spirit of famous cooking shows like “Top Chef” and “Iron Chef.” Students from Appalachian State University’s Renewable Energy Institute (North Carolina) designed,• installed, and funded a $45,000 project consisting of two photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. Eastern Mennonite University (Virginia) completed construction of a 100,000 gallon storm water• management cistern; the new system harvests water runoff draining from houses, buildings, roads, and parking lots across 15 acres of university property. Seattle University (Washington) students succeeded in getting the campus administration to stop selling• single-use, plastic, bottled water on campus. Currently, 661 college and university presidents have signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and 476 of those institutions have Climate Action Plans, committing to reducing carbon emissions and addressing sustainability at all levels of campus operations. It’s up to you to decide how a school’s commitment to sustainability (or lack thereof) will influence your college decision, and how involved you will get with green projects once you’re there. However you choose to participate, remember that every effort, big or small, makes a difference in our world.
    • page 89 The Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center’s $5 million hotel renovation is getting under way this month. The result will be a new restaurant and redesigned lobby and public spaces, as well as a high-tech check-in process. It’s all expected to be completed by February. Root25 Taphouse & Kitchen will be the property’s new signature restaurant. The gastro pub venue will feature historic recipes from Colorado pubs, bistros and watering holes, and will showcase Colorado craft beer such as Avery and O’Dell’s, as well as craft spirits from the region. Root25 Taphouse & Kitchen will offer several private dining spaces, accommodating groups of 10 to 30 people. Additionally, the Hyatt’s public spaces will be redesigned with wood and stonework details. Generally used for weddings, social galas, and corporate meetings and events, the renovated space will accommodate up to 800 guests. In the lobby, the redesign will capitalize on natural light and architectural details in the atrium foyer. New technology to expedite the check-in process will eliminate the need for a traditional front desk. Instead, hotel associates will check in guests via mobile devices including iPads. Honors The City of Aurora’s Business Recognition Awards Program to recognize organizations that have• contributed to the city’s economic vitality selected the following 2012 awardees: Walmart – 14000 E. Exposition Ave.• FastSigns – 1690 S. Abilene St., #103• Havana Business Improvement District• Ecotech Institute, which trains people for renewable-energy jobs• Aurora Chamber of Commerce• The University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine received the Outstanding Innovation Award by• an Academic Dental Institution as a part of the 2013 William J. Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation and Achievement. Only one dental school is selected each year for this honor. The school was recognized for the development of an interprofessional education (IPE) curriculum that prepares graduates for team-based practices. The City of Wheat Ridge was among 13 local governments and four individuals recognized for their• outstanding programmatic and personal contributions by the International City/County Management Association. Wheat Ridge won a Strategic Leadership and Governance Award, which recognizes innovative and successful local government programs. December 7, 2012 Briefcase Plus: DTC Hyatt launches renovation | Sharon Wright