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Blog Archive: February 2010

New construction around the Cleantech Open office

Posted by Katie Payer at 1:00 PM, 02/20/2010

Last week the Cleantech Open office saw some serious construction outside.

The street was blocked off, jackhammers were going all day, and cones were everywhere! It turns out that the our very own California Special Projects Chair, Jeremy Walker, had negotiated his way into Comcast so they could install a hi-speed line for us. All the construction was for the Cleantech Open!

Now that the construction is over, come visit our office, bring your laptop, and hang out for awhile. We’d love to have you join us for a few hours in our office to enjoy the new internet.

The Cleantech Open Staff


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Art Rosenfeld: The Genius of Energy Efficiency

Posted by Tim Cox at 9:03 PM, 02/22/2010

By Uma Subramaniam, Marketing Chair, Cleantech Open

Art Rosenfeld at Berkeley

I had the privilege of chatting with Art Rosenfeld a few days ago. Now, I don't say this lightly. It truly was a privilege, and I have no qualms in boasting about it to all who care to listen. And, believe me, it is gratifying to see the awe-struck expressions.

Being somewhat new to the world of clean and green, I did not know who Art Rosenfeld was. We were at a meeting to discuss the Cleantech Open's National Launch, and somebody said that we were very fortunate to have secured Art as a speaker. "Who's that?" I asked. Well, I think most of the eyebrows around the table disappeared into their respective hairlines (almost). Now for those of you who don't know, Art is a Legend. A pioneer in the energy conservation movement, he has been one of California's Energy Commissioners since 2000 and is famously credited with the Rosenfeld Effect.

While waiting for an introduction to Art, I poked around the Web, trying to understand his background and personality. Dubbed the "godfather of energy efficiency," Art is an incredible driving force. I was humbled and moved to learn that the world and California, in particular, owe so much to Art's untiring efforts to save energy. I won't go into the details, but I encourage you to click on many of the links in this blog and applaud Art's contributions.

Art has a strikingly simple message when it comes to saving energy. Renewables are half the story-they cost money. Efficiency is the other half of the story-it saves you money. It's as simple as painting your roofs white if you live in a warm climate. Take the cool folks of Bermuda or Santorini, Greece. Amazingly beautiful places, where the roofs are flat and painted white.

That's really smart, because having a white roof delays global warming-it doesn't reflect the sunlight and consequently heat the earth. In addition, if you have air-conditioning, then having a white roof saves 10-20% of your A/C costs. Best of all, a white roof doesn't cost anymore than a dark roof. Yet again taking the lead, since 2005, California has required all flat roofs (mostly commercial and industrial) must be white. I can think of many areas in the U.S. where white roofs would make a world of difference-literally. For the past week, I've been looking at roofs with a new eye, and wondering why on earth we didn't go for flat white roofs a long time ago.

Art is big believer in long-term research. He recognizes that going from research to commercialization is a long and tedious process. But, he says, there is a lot of money available from DOE and ARPA research programs, and he encourages early stage ventures to go after these sources. If you do get funding from these programs, you have the benefit of guidance from professional managers who know the field very well. Now, I think that's terrific advice for Cleantech Open's community of entrepreneurs.

"So, you're speaking at our National Launch," I said. "What do you have to say to our contestants and alumni?"

"Work on things which are relatively simple. If you're going to solve a problem, first do it with efficiency, and then move on to supply-side development."

Art gave a terrific example of a housing builder in Sacramento who had to bring down the cooling load by 20%. So, the builder resorted to energy efficient improvements like windows, insulation, meters, etc., and spent around $3,000 per home for a 40% improvement. To get an additional 40% improvement, the builder resorted to photovoltaics, which before incentives cost around $20,000. You get the picture? Energy efficiency is just that-efficient.

Do you know what I'm really pleased about? This "gentle giant" is receiving special recognition at the National Launch on February 26 - please attend if you can to hear more from Art himself.

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Cleantech Open and Ignite Clean Energy Agree To Combine

Posted by Katie Payer at 3:30 PM, 02/25/2010

We've been working diligently over the past few months to make a partnership with the Cleantech Open and Boston's Ignite Clean Energy a reality.  This partnership will create the world's largest cleantech business competition, anchored in the two leading hubs of cleantech innovation in the United States, and offering coast-to-coast coverage to attract contestants, funding, and sponsors.

Clark Waterfall, chairman of the 2008 and 2009 ICE competitions, had this to say about the move: "The Ignite Clean Energy Competition has grown exponentially in the past several years due to the overwhelming demand to build on the cleantech industry in New England and throughout the nation. We were in search of opportunities that would allow our continued growth while offering the same competitive level of resources and expertise to our contestants. Joining with the Cleantech Open does exactly that and we are excited to be a part of an impressive national team."

For his part, Cleantech Open Executive Director Rex Northen sees the partnership as an opportunity to rejoin with the organization that created the original blueprint for the Cleantech Open. "The Cleantech Open has grown over the past few years from its roots in California to a network of regional competitions and training programs with operations in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis - and now, Boston. The Ignite Clean Energy Competition provided the model that the Cleantech Open followed to help invigorate our cleantech industry nationally," said Northen. "Joining with ICE unites the two largest cleantech business competitions, ensures the highest quality entrepreneurial training and mentorship from coast to coast, and will graduate contestants that will become competitive cleantech entrepreneurs in a ferocious global marketplace."

ICE, widely recognized as the first cleantech competition of its kind, celebrated its fifth year in November 2009. Beginning in 2004 with less than 30 teams, the competition grew to 83 contestants in 2009 and expanded to include more than a dozen team building and kick off events throughout the East Coast of the US. The Cleantech Open is the largest cleantech competition in the country and the world, holding annual regional competitions throughout the nation and the first Global Cleantech Ideas competition held in 2009. Together, the two competitions attracted entries from 361 companies in 2009 and distributed over 1 million in cash and prizes. Additionally, both organizations have helped cleantech companies raise over $220 million in venture capital, secure over $15 million in research funding, and tens of millions in public grants and loans.


Read more about this great new parnership in the press release, which can be found here.

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