Innovation District & Boston's Cleantech Industry


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Innovation District & Boston's Cleantech Industry

  1. 1. 46 GREEN ENERGY Greentech Boston GREENTECH  
  2. 2. APRIL/MAY 2011 The American Business Journal 47 STATE FOCUS: MASSACHUSETTSBOSTON 046
  3. 3. 48 GREEN ENERGY Greentech Boston  
  4. 4. APRIL/MAY 2011 The American Business Journal 49  
  5. 5. 50 GREEN ENERGY Greentech BostonBOSTON IS CONSISTENTLY voted one of the clean- the New England area provides a great testest and greenest cities in the U.S. and America environment, highly supportive to the causeis a global leader of the cleantech industry, so through its green comes as little surprise that Boston is at the “By focusing on policy that creates marketforefront of green policy initiatives. This ‘hub of conditions that are favorable to clean energyinnovation’, as the district is commonly referred to companies it gives us a leg up when it comes toin the press, is intended to combine the resources attracting and retaining companies that have aavailable in the region and attract business from cleantech focus.” These include such things asthe booming U.S. cleantech (or greentech) sector. Galen Nelson is the Greentech Business at the city level, or the stringent green buildingManager with the Boston Redevelopment Au- requirements for both public buildings and thethority, an economic development agency pro- private sector. There are also requirements thatmoting business in different areas of the city. housing must be built with roofs that have theAs the go-to for all things clean, green, and ability to easily incorporate solar power and solarenergy, he is able to provide us with some valu- thermal systems in the information about the Innovation District.“We are promoting a couple of behaviors thatare attractive to cleantech companies and one of them is this idea of a living lab”. The idea is that cleantech companies often need a test market for prototypes of new innovations, and 
  6. 6. APRIL/MAY 2011 The American Business Journal 51 Boston is clearly on to something, as the designers and green building design and engi-cleantech industry has somehow resisted reces- neering shops, the variety of business continuession during a sharp downturn. “I’ve seen jobs to grow. There is also an array of cleantech ven-created and I’ve seen companies land here. SoI am very positive and very encouraged by whatwe have seen over the last couple of years.”  Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino has frequent- ly spoken about the cleantech sector being the key to drive the economy out of recession. Touted as one of the greenest municipal leaders across the U.S., many of Boston’s innovative policies are attrib-uted to the mayor’s true belief in green policy. “We Keep an eye out for a future issue of ABJalso have leadership in the White House that is very where we highlight some of the major players insupportive of clean energy,” says Nelson, attribut- the U.S. cleantech industry. AB ing the support from all levels of government to thecontinual stability of cleantech. WWW.GREENTECHBOSTON.ORG The cleantech (or greentech) sector in Bos-ton covers a wide range of green business. Fromgreen energy and renewable energy systemcomponent manufacturers, to climate changeadaptation consulting groups, to green product
  7. 7. 52 AB EXC
  9. 9. 54  
  10. 10. 55 
  11. 11. 56 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Jim HuntABJ: CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR DUTIES We have a strong university presence, as well asAS CHIEF OF ENVIRONMENT? JIM HUNT: My role is to serve as the mayor’s world. Boston is recognized as the hub for theselead advisor on all environmental issues, sustain- things. We want to catch those innovations thatability issues, and issues facing the city. I have are being developed at Harvard and MIT and thedirect oversight of several agencies facing the City University of Massachusetts and help supportof Boston from parks planning to building permits. those entrepreneurs and grow their companies so that we can have a shared innovation. WeABJ: WHAT IS THE INNOVATION DISTRICT? want to help those companies grow and stay JH: The city under Mayor Menino’s leadership here in Boston to help economic development and present opportunities for all Bostonians.and development on the South Boston water-front area. This is an area that was previously all ABJ: WHAT INITIATIVES ARE IN PLACE TO BUILDbrown and junkyards that was cleaned up when ON THIS?the project was being developed in the 1990s. JH: It is not just about companies investing inIn the last year basically a new vision for this this area, it is about the City of Boston support-area, which continues to grow, is in creating and ing these companies, by supporting innovationrebranding an Innovation District—an area that and by helping these companies grow and bringbuilds on Boston’s innovation and clean energy their products to market. This innovation districtleadership and many of the assets down the is not only home to these companies, but wesouth Boston waterfront. The vision of this Inno- want these companies to test out their productsvation District is to build on Boston’s leadership here. Whether it is new rooftop technology orin the innovation economy.ABJ: WHY IS BOSTON AN IDEAL PLACE FOR A buildings, the vision is that this is an area forCLEANTECH COMPANY? shared innovation. Shared innovation for the pri- JH: We are locating entrepreneurs and start- vate sector, as well as this shared innovation withup companies with some existing leaders in their the city and hopefully a shared innovation that will touch all Bostonians by making our communityand the entire biotech and cleantech sector. greener, healthier, and more prosperous as well.
  12. 12. APRIL/MAY 2011 The American Business Journal 57   ABJ: WHAT OTHER FACTORS CONTRIBUTE TO  know that we have to address broader issues suchBOSTON BEING RATED ONE OF THE GREENEST as climate change.CITIES IN AMERICA? JH: ABJ: WHAT ARE THE GOALS FOR THE FUTUREhad a vision of creating a cleaner, healthier Bos- FOR BOSTON IN REGARD TO ITS SUSTAINABILITYton. Being recognized as one of the greenest cit- POLICIES?ies in the U.S. has to do with our policies. Boston JH: This year the city adopted a new goal in regard to greenhouse gas emissions. We com-the U.S. LEED building councils standards into mitted to a 25 percent reduction over the nextour zoning. Now you see other cities following 10 years by 2020. So for all of those reasons,suit. We just adopted a new stretch energy code. Boston continues to be recognized as one of theIn addition to our green building code, that keeps greenest cities in the United States. So what isBoston on the leading edge of clean develop- important to us, there is obviously a moral com- mitment to do our part and to address issues such as climate change, protecting our city forABJ: WHAT OTHER POLICIES CONTRIBUTE TO future generations. One of Boston’s hallmarksBOSTON BEING GREEN? is that we connect our cutting-edge energy poli- JH: We are one of the inaugural solar cities cies to job creation and economic development.of America named in 2007 and since that time We are helping Boston grow as a greener andwe’ve seen the installed capacity of solar increase more prosperous place. Green the next frontierover 500 percent in the last three years. We are of Boston‘s future. AB pushing this agenda even further because, beingrecognized as one of the greenest cities, we all WWW.CITYOFBOSTON.GOV