In September, the X Prize Foundation announced a contest to come up with the next, green-themed X Prize. The challenge was to make a 2 minute YouTube video which focuses on a specific green goal which, if met, would be rewarded with a $10 million X Prize. The maker of the winning video would receive $25,000 of his/her own, granted by Prize Capital – a company dedicated to supporting green startups and causes.
The contest has been narrowed down to the following three finalists:
Last Thursday was the California Clean Tech Open in which 6 winners were each given an entrepreneur’s dream package: a crash course in how to run a business, raise money and market a product… oh yeah, and $100,000 – half of it cash, half of it in useful services such as legal, accounting, etc.
Let’s meet the winners:
Over the Moon Diapers (Category: Air, Water & Waste)
“Safe, easy, diapering with the lowest environmental footprint possible.” So far, there doesn’t seem to be much information about what makes these diapers truly superior to their competitors. We’ll keep you posted on that one.
Viridis Earth (Category: Energy Efficiency)
Viridis has invented a way to retrofit air conditioners (they seem to be targeting the large residential or small commercial level) so that they run on 20% less energy. They predict that their device will cost about $350 and save its owner about that much each year. They also estimate that there is roughly a $15 billion market for their product.
BottleStone (Category: Green Building)
BottleStone manufactures a material made out of 80% recycled glass, meant to replicate stone. It is strong, moldable, and colorful. More importantly, BottleStone uses glass waste that requires no special cleaning, recycles all its water, generates no carbon dioxide, can be recycled at the end of its life and contains less embodied energy than its concrete counterpart. Right now, it is being used mostly for countertops, though the company would like to use it in more large-scale applications.
Focal Point Energy (Category: Renewables)
Focal Point designs solar hot water and steam generators for industries which require high volumes of hot water and steam, such as milk pasteurization. Their generator is cheap, light and easy to mount onto an industrial rooftop and connect with a traditional boiler.
Power Assure (Category: Smart Power)
PowerAssure offers a variety of services and tools that help data centers use energy more efficiently, reducing energy consumption by up to 80%, saving millions of dollars for their clients.
ElectraDrive (Category: Transportation)
ElectraDrive converts existing cars into electric vehicles. Their website claims a range of 20-40 miles on their electric engine, and a fuel economy of 150 mpg. A typical ElectraCar conversion will cost $20,000 – by their estimates of car maintenance cost, it will pay itself off in 6 years.
Via CNET Clean Tech
Now that America's election is over, some great stories from the campaign trail are beginning to leak out. Aides who didn't want to harm their candidates' reputations have loosened their tongues a bit, and so we're hearing some truly revealing leaks from inside of campaigns for the first time in months: For instance, it appears that Sarah Palin only learned recently that Africa is a continent.
We're also getting a glimpse into how President Elect Obama (!!!!!!) really thinks we're going to address the global environmental crisis. Newsweek reports that Obama was caught by a live mic saying about the debates, "I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."
As we've previously noted, we agree--with the sentiment and the profanity. We've got to change more than our f---ing light bulbs.
I hear a lot about how geeks adversely impact the environment. With our power-sucking computers, toxic game consoles, and general disinterest in the outdoors. But I'm here, today, to tell you that that's bunk. Geeks are greener than the average American, and it's time to point out why.
So we're starting a new series entitled "Why Geeks are Greener." And this is our first installment.
Video games, if you pay attention to the traditional green establishment, are the anti-christ. Not only do they gobble up power, they keep our kids from being at one with nature. And if kids can't be at one with nature, why will the protect it!?
Well folks, I'm here today to tell you that gaming is good for the environment. Whether you are right now experiencing shock, cynicism or relief, you'll want to read the following list of why games are green.
- Children don't need boyscouts to care about global warming. I will fully admit to have been affected greatly in my experiences in the outdoors. But saying that caring about the environment is dependent on experiencing nature is like saying that caring about sex is dependent upon talking to girls. Just because you haven't experienced it doesn't mean you don't want to do all you can to protect your chances at having a healthy future with it. Protecting nature isn't about loving nature anymore, it's about liking the idea of life continuing on the planet.
- Gaming isn't that power intensive. Depending on what kind of system you have, your console might draw as much power as a CFL, or an incandescent lightbulb. Yes, the Wii is far more efficient than the XBox 360, but even the 360 only pulls a maximum of 150 watts. It's just not that much power, especially because neither pull much power at all when they're off. And the act of gaming itself, it turns out, is quite good for the environment.
- Gaming keeps you out of the environment, and thus protects it. If every gamer decided to be a skier, air travel rates would skyrocket, new ski mountains would be developed, and millions more people would all fly or drive thousands of miles per summer to get to their favorite destination. Instead, their favorite destination is the living room.
From there, we gamers get to have intense experiences and hang out with our friends who might live half the world away with only a tiny impact on the environment. It's a non-physical realm that allows for pseudo-physical experiences. And while traditional greens call that a replacement of the real world, I call it a protection of the real world.
- Games are economic drivers with very little physical presence. I'd guess that your average copy of Halo 3 contains about $2 of raw materials. But when it hit stores it was worth $60. Where does all that money go? Well, into the pockets of the thousands of people who worked to create it. Actors, programmers, modelers, QA testers, musicians, artists, and BFG designers.
So you get to employ thousands of people to produce a product that has a tiny environmental impact. And as the internet gets faster, the physical media is being eliminated from the process entirely.
- Computer gaming requires nothing physical at all. At various times throughout the day, my computer goes through a transition from workstation to gaming console. The result is that I don't need a gaming console at all, and I get to play games that I have never owned physical copies of. Aside from the 100 watts of power it pulls from the wall (far less carbon intensive than, say, a drive down to the nearest soccer pitch) I can play Fifa 08 with my wife.
I'm not getting any fitter, that's for certain, but the cost to the environment is virtually nonexistent.
There are, of course, ungreen things about gaming too. If you do it on a 42 inch plasma-screen HDTV, for example, you're going overboard. And running out to buy the new console as soon as it comes out isn't a very green policy, especially since Super Mario Bros. remains as fun today as it was in 1987. And the NES, I'll add, is a very green machine.
But be secure in knowing that your ultra-green friends who drive into the wilderness to have their experiences have no right to scoff at the ways in which you have your experiences.