Archive for the ‘Green’ Category:

Solar Recharge

April 15th, 2008

My last backpacking trip to Sykes was great, but my GPS watch ran out of juice after a second full-day of use. Sigh. I figure if I ever do any multi-day backpacking trips and want to record the GPS waypoints the whole time, i’m gonna need a way to recharge. Plus I like being green, so I looked into a solar panel charging device.

My goals for a device, most important ones first:

  • Recharge my Garmin Forerunner 305
  • Recharge my 5G iPod
  • Recharge my iPhone
  • Can’t break easily
  • Lightweight, small
  • Under $100
  • Bonus: works with AC outlet and DC car cigarette lighter
  • Bonus: work like my current iPhone AC to USB charger
  • Bonus: minimal attachments

This roll-up solar charger looked cool – It can recharge a laptop – but was too big and expensive. Solio was pretty popular on the ol’ google search results, and they have 2 models that met my goals – the Solio Classic and the Solio Hybrid 1000. Looking at the tech specs, the classic has a bigger battery and more juice, but the 1000 is a bit more rugged, as this guy suggested. The H1000 doesn’t charge as well as the other Solio products, but I liked that it was the most durable and cheapest. We have a winner that meets all my goals. Watch video. I paid $74 including shipping/taxes at thenerds, and it arrived 2 days after I ordered it. I confirmed it worked as expected with my GPS watch, iPhone, and iPod. Hurray.

Power Consumption

March 6th, 2008

How much electricity do you use? I mean, how much do all your various gadgets and appliances use? I recently came across this blog on kill-a-watt, where he measures how much power various devices use, like his HDTV, lamp, blow dryer, etc.  Since I’m into saving the planet and I like to geek out – I figured I should investigate.  I now have 3 (buy a new kill-a-watt), I i figure i should do the same.

First off, let’s ballpark how much power we use. PG&E (electric company for SF) shows how much power (Kilowatt/hours) is used per day, on average, with every monthly bill. Our “Kwh per day” in september was 7.5, in December it was 18.9 (bad electric heating). And it comes out to about 12 cents per Kwh, so thats about $1 to $3 per day in electricity. As a side note, half of that money goes to getting the power to your house (transmission and distribution) – makes locally installed solar panels seem quite attractive. To the numbers …
Now here’s some standard stuff, in kwh used, averaged over (x) number of hours.

Here’s some Geek stuff

Understanding Green Business

March 5th, 2008

“Understanding Green Business” was my goal last fall. As i mentioned in Green Abort, it was a project that involved (a) me learning about green, and (b) creating a little web site to share what i learned. As I said, I aborted it, because I realized I’m just too new to the space to say something significant in a website. And being the efficient perfectionist I am, I don’t want to waste time doing what others have already. However, there a few things I learned which I will share with you now.

One of the first things i researched was schools and getting a Green MBA. I realized MBA programs fall in 2 categories – these new green-to-the-core schools, and those from standard schools that integrate “social and environmental stewardship”. For the first, there’s basically 3 – Presidio MBA, Bainbridge MBA, Dominican University of California MBA. These schools are fairly new, so its hard to track how good they are in the traditional sense (practical business knowledge), but they do have a green and sustainability focus built into every class. This is in contrast to the second group of MBA programs, which generally have just a few classes in things like sustainability and green business. Most MBA programs reside in this second group. Instead of listing these (I will say Stanford is number one), I will bow to Beyond Grey Pinstripes ‘Top 100 (way awesome). They do a more thorough job then I could ever do, a must read if you are considering a MBA. After I bit of uncertainty on whether i should goto MBA, I decided to wait.

Around this point I came to differentiate between the Green Movement and Green Business. I volunteered at the Green Festival in San Francisco (November 10, 2007) where I was surrounded by the Green Movement. I’ll define the Green Movement as more grass roots and consumer driven – people buying because “it is green” – organic and/or sustainably produced goods (food, coffee, hybrid cars, etc). Green Business is more business first, green second – about operating a business in a green way, applying standard business practices but always aware of the green impact. These consumers or clients may not even know about the green-ness. For example, a restaurant may recycle their water and buy organic, but you may just go there cuz the food tastes good. These groups do overlap in some areas, but not always. What’s important is that Green Businesses should be able to be competitive with non-green businesses, preferably better in ways besides just “Being Green.” Here I concluded I’m interested in only green business. Maybe I *should* get a green MBA?

The rest of what I learned, and I am still learning, is that there are tons of green sites out there – news/blogs, portals, social networking, business related, etc. I could try to categorize them, but being the thorough guy I am, I wouldn’t want to list a few guys and miss an important one. That said, I will say that all people interested in green business should check out these

That’s it. If you’re really bored, you can check out the unfinished green business site

Green Abort

March 5th, 2008

This here is an update on one of my winter projects – “Understanding Green Business”. In short, its an attempt to by me to paint a picture of the current green landscape fueled by my interest in a green career. My plan was to put together a mini website with information I’ve learned over the last few months about green mba’s, non-profits, events, and other things. However, I realize that I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg and am definitely not qualified to paint any kind of accurate picture. Instead, i will summarize what i’ve learned in my green business blog post. This post i’m going to give a little more on why i’m aborting my original plan.

First I’ll go into a little background. In 2006 I quit my job in order to try new things, travel, spend time with family, and possibly switch careers. In 2007 I spent 6 months traveling around the world, returning to San Francisco in August, with a desire to make a difference. My trip reinforced that the world still needs alot of work, and i’m educated and living in a wealthy part of the world (read: lots of resources), why not apply myself to something that makes a difference?

Green Business seemed like a logical choice – its growing in popularity and lines up with some of my values like sustainability, social equity, and harmony with our environment. But what does it mean to be green? Do I need a degree? what jobs are out there? what can i do to help? What types of people, organizations, and events are in this space? These are not easy questions, and at this point i’ve come to realize that it is not a good time for me to jump into that. When it comes to careers, financials, and my life long-term .. I’m quite conservative. It’s totally different when it comes to fun, but i digress. Basically I concluded it’s better for me to gradually try new things – first get a job where my experience and skills help, learn new skillz, then slowly green myself.

On that note .. I am now considering jobs. Let the games begin.