Arab Future Cities Summit Next Month

Smart Solutions For Sustainable Cities

The Middle East’s premier smart cities event will take place April 13 and 14, 2015 at the Ritz-Carlton in Doha, Qatar. In its 4th year running, the event will attract over 300 senior level executives to discuss progress, efficient management of resources, future developments and ways of making future cities more efficient and resilient in the Middle East.

green cities Qatar
Qatar is making sustainability a priority. It’s a leader in the region and the world.

The Middle East is at the forefront of developing Smart City Solutions to meet the rising demand for energy and resources from a large and growing urban population. The region’s transition from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy is further fueling the concept of smart cities.

Smart Cities enhance quality of life through integration of ICT within the infrastructure framework. Upon successful implementation, smart cities will not only boost commercial and capital investments but will be the best approach for reducing the tremendous strain on the present day infrastructure.

The Arab Future Cities Summit 2015 will showcase city development best practice strategies through presentations from some of the world’s leading experts and the innovative solutions that will integrate citizens, systems and services. There will be opportunities for networking along with knowledge sharing on the various sustainable technologies promoting smart city developments.

Connecting government authorities, developers, urban planners, investors, academics, and cutting-edge technologists, this event focuses on sustainable city development across the Middle East region and is a must-attend for key stakeholders committed to developing smarter cities.

Sustainable City News via

Jordan’s Mosques Go Solar

All 6,000 Mosques In Jordan Will Run On Solar Energy

As global oil prices continue to drastically fluctuate up and down over the years, the Kingdom of Jordan has announced that all of their mosques will soon run on solar energy, in an attempt to save money and promote sustainable development.

Jordan mosque solar power

Jordan is a country almost devoid of natural resources – most of the land is completely barren. The Jordanian economy is beset by insufficient supplies of water, oil and other resources, and to make things even worse, they import 96 percent of the energy they use.

Ahmad Abu Saa, of the Renewable Energy Department at the ministry stated “that photovoltaic solar systems for power generation will be installed at the Kingdom’s mosques under a project to be implemented in the course of this year.” The project will start by covering 120 mosques and tenders will be soon floated to install such systems at other mosques across the country, he added. It may not seem like much, but mosques actually use a lot of energy.

“Mosques use large amounts of electricity and the project will help to significantly reduce their electricity bills as around 300 days in the year are sunny,” Abu Saa noted. The funding is a pioneering move in the Middle East, and will hopefully pave the way for other countries. “Based on the funds that we secure, we will go ahead with the project. The more finance we get the faster the project will be implemented. Some of the mosques will get such systems this year,” he said.

Jordan seems to take a leading spot in the Middle East in terms of sustainable development. Resources have set a target to obtain 10 percent of energy from renewable resources by 2020. As of November 2014 Jordan had 10MW of installed capacity from renewable energy, and had over 15 renewable energy power plants in progress to be completed by the end of 2015, raising the installed capacity to 500MW, representing 14 percent

of the overall installed capacity.

Sustainable City News via

Rooftop Gardens Help Mexico City Fight Air Pollution

Plants Cleaning The Air, Sheltering Buildings

In a sheltered corner of one of the greatest megacities on Earth, there is a place where lizards careen around tree trunks, butterflies drink nectar from vermillion flowers and hummingbirds whisk the heavy air with their wings. Stand in the botanical gardens of the Bosque de Chapultepec (the Chapultepec forest) and listen carefully enough, and something remarkable happens: birdsong begins to pierce the groan of trucks and the screech of taxi horns from the long avenue that bisects the park.

mexico city rooftop garden
Mexico City’s rooftop gardens provide food and shelter, while absorbing CO2 from the air. City’s around the world are leading the green revolution for both efficiency and resiliency.

The gardens are home to one of a growing number of azoteas verdes – or green roofs – that are springing up around Mexico City as part of the metropolis’s efforts to purge its air of the pollution that has long been among its least-desired claims to fame.

The azotea verde atop the circular single-story offices of the botanical gardens, is planted with hardy stonecrop, which can withstand the Mexico City summer, but which also produces oxygen and serves as a filter to draw out the carbon dioxide and heavy metal particles in the air. As well as providing the park’s squirrels with an arena in which to practise their parkour, the roof help regulates the temperature of the offices below and soaks up rainwater to keep the building dry.

Last year, the city’s environment secretariat spent almost $1m (£595,000) on the azoteas verdes project, bringing the total area of green roofs in hospitals, schools and government buildings to 21,949 sq m. This year, the investment will rise by a third.

Mexico City’s environment secretary, Tanya Müller, says: “In a city like ours where urban development puts pressure on the space we have at ground level, we have to take advantage of our rooftops to create a green urban infrastructure.”

The green roofs do far more than simply purify the air: they reduce the “heat island effect”, teach children about nature and speed up the recuperation rates of hospital patients, she adds. A little way across town, not far from the city’s ancient heart, the Zócalo, sits the secretariat’s air-monitoring lab. It too has been given over to greenery and from its neatly planted roof, where dedicated staff congregate for lunchtime exercise classes, the haze that blankets the capital is plain to see. It smudges the outlines of distant towerblocks, as well as the mountains that enclose the city and its 21 million inhabitants.

But, as Müller is keen to point out, fighting air pollution demands rather more technological solutions than sowing seeds on rooftops. Her glass-and-steel office, which overlooks the Zócalo, feels like a curious hybrid of an internet startup office and an architectural practice. On the wall by her desk is an enormous screen with a live Twitter feed and electronic maps showing the temperature and ozone levels of Mexico City and the surrounding area. On a wet April afternoon, the ozone levels are creeping above the normal levels, but other pollutants are within the usual range.

“I have this dashboard on my smartphone and it’s the same dashboard as the department of air monitoring has and the mayor has,” Müller says. “We know how the air quality is every day and whether we have to take decisions.” Readings from the 29 air-monitoring stations in the city and the surrounding state of Mexico can trigger a variety of responses. If pollution levels are seriously high and remain so for 48 hours, the environment secretariat’s Hoy No Circula (No driving today) ban kicks in, and those cars with registration plates of a certain colour and two-digit code are not allowed on the roads. Anyone found driving when they shouldn’t be has their plates taken away and must pay what Müller describes as a very harsh fine of 20 days’ pay based on the Mexico City minimum wage. “Even though the measures aren’t very popular – we’re the first administration not to have suspended Hoy No Circula for any holiday – they are very responsible,” she adds proudly. Unsurprisingly, Müller, who cycles to work, is a big fan of pedal power. The two mountain bikes parked in a rack outside her office, up the stairs from the Diego Rivera murals that decorate the walls, suggest that her staff are too.

By expanding the city’s Metro system and investing in the Ecobici bike hire scheme – which is used for about 26,000 journeys a day – she hopes to wean people off their dependence on cars. “We still have a long way to go: although 80% of the population uses public transport, the city is still very car-orientated,” Müller says. “What we’re trying to do is make people conscious of how you use you car: it has to be in a much more rational and responsible manner.”

Other initiatives to improve the city’s air quality over the past two decades – such as moving refineries beyond its boundaries and introducing cleaner buses – appear to be paying off. Between 1990 and 2012, levels of ozone fell from 43 parts per billion to 27 parts per billion; sulphur dioxide from 55 parts per billion to five parts per billion, and carbon monoxide from 84 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.

Muller says air quality is her priority “because it has an impact on your health and that obviously has consequences for your quality of life”. She adds: “We’re working on air quality and climate change together, because whatever we do for air quality and emissions will have a positive effect on climate change. At the end of the day, we want a city that can offer better quality of life for its citizens.”

Mexico City’s efforts to clean up its act have not gone unnoticed; Müller recently met officials from Tehran who wanted to compare notes, while members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group have also shown interest in the city’s smartphone apps.

As Mexico begins to shrug off its smog and attendant grimy reputation, Müller believes its strategies could help cities further north. “What’s very interesting for us is what’s happening right now in Paris and London: we somehow have this perception that in these very developed, first-world European cities with great transport and infrastructure, you’ve overcome these issues of air quality,” she says.

“But we’re seeing that it’s not so. The origin and the problem is the same: it’s the use of private automobiles. People need to know that even if you have a great public transport system, if you do not rationalize private car use, you’re going to have problems.”


New York City LED’s Way With Greener Lighting

Big Apple Gets Greener

When many people think of New York City, beyond the crowds their image of the city is the lights. Soon, the night skyline will be much whiter because all 250,000 street lights are being switched to LEDs in the biggest retrofit project in the nation.

energy efficient buildings
Energy efficiency is one of the cornerstones to sustainable cities.

The switch-over is part of PlaNYC, the city’s climate change mitigation plan. PlaNYC requires the city to cut emissions from government operations 30% by 2017.

Started in 2009 as a pilot, the retrofit is now rolling out across NYC with a completion date of 2017. LEDs already light key corridors, such as FDR Drive – the highway along its east side – and paths that wind through Central Park. They even adorn the city’s bridges.

The $76.5 million project is expected to save $6 million a year in energy costs and $8 million a year on maintenance costs (LEDs last for up to 20 years).

It is the first project to receive funding from the city’s ACE Program (Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency Initiative). The $100 million competitive program launched this fall to expedite government projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions. It funds programs that can be quickly implemented on efficiency and clean heating. It awarded $10 million toward the lighting retrofit.

“Using LEDs for street lighting is more than just a bright idea, it’s a necessity for sustainable cities to operate more efficiently while also delivering clearer, better quality light for New Yorkers,” says Transportation Commissioner Sadik-Khan.

NYC was the first large American city to use LED traffic signals, converting lights at all 12,700 intersections – they now use  81% less energy.  Even the iconic ball that drops at New Year’s is filled with LEDs.

Boston and Los Angeles both recently finished their own city-wide lighting retrofits.

It’s estimated that the 35 million streetlights in the US consume about 1% of all electricity. If every city followed their lead, that would eliminate the need for 2.5 coal plants a year, notes former President Clinton.

Although clear, bright LEDs make city streets safer, not everyone likes their look. They are too bright they say, reminding them of floodlights. While there are soft light versions for use in homes, we wonder why they can’t be applied to  street lights.

Last year, the Department of Energy conducted a lifecycle analysis of LEDs and found while they have significantly lower environmental impact than incandescents, they only have a slight edge over compact fluorescents.


Can Dallas Lead Texas To Greener Pastures?

Sustainability Makes Business Sense In Texas

An updated set of standards in Dallas will ensure that city officials aren’t the only ones concerned with green building.

This month the city mandated that all residential and commercial projects must meet the minimum requirements of its Green Construction Code or be certifiable by organizations like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or Green Built Texas. Dallas established its green ordinance with the help of a task force five years ago, slowly rolling out additional layers—including energy, water and roof provisions—every so often for various structure types and sizes. The first phase began in 2009, while Phase 2 was initiated Oct. 1, though city council passed the ordinancelast fall.

texas sustainability
Energy conservation an emerging priority in Texas.


Dallas is among the first cities to enforce a green building code. California’s code kicks in Jan. 1, 2014, though some cities in the state, like San Francisco, have already enforced green codes.

Building permit seekers in Dallas now have to attend a six-hour training course and pass exams for both residential and commercial projects. Builders for either type of project also must provide documented experience in the design, construction, management or inspection of green projects.

Other requirements include a conflict-of-interest policy requiring a third party to review green building projects and compliance with LEED or the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).

Single family residential projects should meet the minimum requirements of International Code Council 700—the National Green Building Standard. Lots must be designed so that at least 70 percent of the built environment is permeable, according to an interpretation from Green Building Law Update. Projects must utilize drip irrigation for all “bedding areas” of landscaping.

The city first implemented a green building program a decade ago. There are about 144 LEED certified facilities in Dallas, according to the USGBC.

“The City of Dallas has a goal of being carbon neutral by 2030, and this is one big step towards that goal,” Meredith Hunt, sustainability manager at Dallas-based T Howard & Associates, wrote in a blog. “Cities across the U.S. are beginning to adopt the 2012 IgCC, as a whole or in parts … As a new code to follow, there may be a few hiccups in the beginning, but we believe this is a great step forward by the City of Dallas.”


Sustainability Incubator Formed For Smaller Cities

Resources For Sustainable Cities

While there are lots of incubators for startup companies to help them get their businesses off the ground, for the first time there’s an incubator that helps cities learn how to implement sustainability initiatives. Portland State University has selected the first “class” for its Urban Sustainability Accelerator, a year-long program designed specifically for smaller and mid-sized U.S. cities.

sustainability incubator
Sustainability incubator for greener cities.

“Today, good sustainability ideas are abundant but many of them remain nothing more than recommendations in a report or a goal statement in a plan. Our focus is on the implementation of the sustainability projects that urban areas have adopted and now want to implement,” they say.

Cities will receive technical assistance and also strategic advice on how to overcome various political and administrative challenges. The inaugural 2013-14 accelerator class includes these cities:

• Waco, Texas
• Wichita, Kan.
• Portland, Maine
• Louisville, Ky.
• Tucson, Ariz.
• Sacramento Council of Governments and member cities Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova, Calif.

The accelerator selects cities based on their desire to move forward on sustainability and their capacity to do so, based on the plans and policies in their regions.

“Over the last 40 years, people in our region — at Portland State, in government, the private sector, nonprofit organizations and community leaders — have acquired valuable expertise in many sustainability subjects,” says Robert Liberty, director of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator. “Today, as other cities aspire to greater sustainability they can both draw upon that expertise, and through our collaboration with them, contribute to that store of knowledge.”

Portland has a lot to offer based on its decades of sustainability leadership. Its Climate Action Plan is working — as of early 2012, greenhouse gas emissions were 6 percent below 1990 levels and down 26 percent per person, even with 26 percent population growth, for example. Over the same period, U.S. emissions rose 12 percent.

The same sensibility that makes Portland livable — trees, greenways, walkable neighborhoods, streetcars and solar — can help other cities achieve those results.

This month, teams from all participating cities are attending a three-day technical workshop that covers sustainable urban development, green building and transportation. Teams include elected officials, government staff, business and nonprofit leaders.

Among the issues the incubator will help cities with, moving their ideas from concept to reality, are:

• Creating active transportation networks and multi-modal, mixed use corridors
• Integrating land use and transportation planning to create sustainable communities
• Building green infrastructure and buildings, including low-income housing
• Urban redevelopment, residential and commercial infill and revitalization
• Waste reduction, recycling, composting
• Reducing or eliminating combined sewer overflows, such as separating storm water and sanitary sewer systems
• Protecting natural areas regionally
• Techniques for curbing urban sprawl, including urban growth boundaries and rural conservation zoning.

Here are examples of what the inaugural class wants help with:

• Louisville, Ky.: How to mitigate the heat island effect and sewer overflows through green infrastructure.

• Portland, Maine: Integrating new urban redevelopment with historic preservation, managing storm water through green infrastructure, increasing transportation choices, and addressing the challenge of sea level rise.

• Sacramento Council of Governments: Transit-oriented development as part of a regional strategy of urban infill and redevelopment.

• Wichita, Kan.: Redevelopment of a 9.5-acre site that can serve as a catalyst for sustainability elements of the downtown master plan, such as green streets, improvements to bike and pedestrian access and LEED-certified historic building redevelopment.


India Schedules Sustainability Summit

Sustainabilty stakeholders in India will convene in New Dehli next month to discuss green buildings and cities. Green Habitat Summit India 2013 is scheduled for August 20-21.

The Summit will focus on technologies, strategies, and financial mechanisms that can help the ULBs and states achieve sustainability goals – from building infrastructure and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to promoting a thriving green economy.

India's booming economy and population must address sustainability issues fast.
India’s booming economy and population must address sustainability issues fast.

The summit will bring in government agencies, entrepreneurs, private enterprises and the civil society to share their experience and deliberate on areas like sustainable buildings, energy efficiency, renewable energy, building materials, wastewater management, solid waste management, and waste-to-wealth initiatives and to chalk out a sustainable and green roadmap for habitats, including buildings, housing projects, townships and cities.

Green Habitat Summit India 2013 aims to identify green technologies and direct the ULBs and states towards sustainable and eco-friendly development.

Dr. Sukumar Devotta, Former Director, National environmental Engineering Research institute (NEERI) and convener of the event, said, “It is a compelling case for sustainable infrastructure projects to have a clear and well-structured road map. I hope that The Green Habitat Summit 2013 will bring together all stakeholders including leading think-tanks and practitioners and provide valuable insights, which can be put into action.”

Mr. Nesar Ahmed, Former President, Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), founder of Universal Knowledge Foundation (UKF) and Adviser with HexaGreen, said, “Measuring impacts on environmental, social, and economic aspects of our buildings and cities is only a first, albeit essential, step towards a sustainable future. We need to create financial framework to help sustain the urban future of India.”

Thought provoking issues that the summit will deliberate on:

  • Energy Efficient Buildings: What are all stakeholders up to?
  • Solid Waste Management: Enough or require more innovative ideas?
  • LEDs: Green vs. Price
  • Urban Design in 21st Century: Where have we been mistaken and what is the way forward?
  • Beyond BRTS & CNG: What do we need in Urban Transportation?
  • Green Building Materials: Breaking the barrier
  • Sustainable Water Management: Where are the gaps and how do we bridge them
  • LEED & GRIHA: Do they need to change?
  • Green Investing in India: Has it gone well over the years?
  • Getting environment clearance: Perception Vs. Reality

HexaGreen is an initiative by DevCom Media Pvt. Ltd. with a vision of bridging the information and communication gap in the environment sector through websites, events, and research. It provides a digest form of all important happenings, policy matters, and actions taken in the sector, trend reading of the future of the business and representation of the same in pithy to-the-point anecdotes culled out from worldwide sources with high degree of India-centricity, opinion and analysis from corporate executives and thought leaders offering insight and inspiration on trends and best practices and valuable resources to help increase the effectiveness of online browsing.

The details related to the summit can be obtained at


Lakshmishree Sinha, +91-98110-06805,

MGM Resorts Betting On Solar System

In Las Vegas, everything is on a grander scale, so it should come as no surprise the gambling capital of the world soon will be home to one of the world’s largest rooftop solar systems.

MGM Resorts knows a good bet when it sees one.
MGM Resorts knows a good bet when it sees one.

NRG Energy last week announced plans to install a 6.2 megawatt (MW) installation on top of the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center. At peak production, the array should produce enough electricity to meet around a fifth of the building’s energy demand, while reducing pressure on the grid at the hottest time of the day.

“The new 20,000-panel solar rooftop array at Mandalay Bay will effectively enable the resort to lock in a substantial component of its energy costs at a very competitive rate,” Tom Doyle, president and chief executive of NRG Solar, said in a statement.

“Our expectation is that other corporations will follow thought leaders like MGM Resorts to protect our planet.”

Once the project is completed, Mandalay Bay will buy the electricity generated through a power purchase agreement.

The system is the latest in a series of environmental measures taken by parent company MGM Resorts under its Green Advantage sustainability initiative.

Over the past five years, the company has reduced its energy intensity by more than 12 percent and has saved more than 2.5 billion gallons of water.

The news comes as U.S. developer SolarCity announced it has started fitting 3.4 MW of solar rooftop systems at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The project will see solar systems installed on more than 600 military homes as part of the company’s SolarStrong program to power 120,000 military residences.

Similar schemes are underway at bases in Texas, Hawaii, Los Angeles and Colorado, contributing to the Department of Defense’s target to meet a quarter of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2025.

In other solar industry news, the investment arm of insurance giant Aviva has acquired a 12.3 MW portfolio of residential solar systems built on 4,000 U.K. homes from Ecovision Renewable Energy Ltd.

Aviva Investors will collect revenue generated through the feed-in tariff subsidy scheme, while residents continue to save money on their electricity bills.

“This acquisition continues the expansion of our activities in the U.K. renewable sector and is in line with our strategy of investing in high quality infrastructure assets with attractive yields,” Ian Berry, fund manager of infrastructure and renewable energy at Aviva Investors, said in a statement.

“As institutions continue to look towards assets that offer secure and long-dated income streams in order to meet their liabilities, we believe infrastructure opportunities such as this offer the potential to meet these needs.”


Sports World Tackling Climate Change

By Allen Hershkowitz

As I listened to President Obama present his important plan to meaningfully reduce the carbon we spew into the atmosphere each day, (and stimulate new jobs in doing so), I was struck by how far along on this issue the sports industry already is.


According to Scott Jenkins, the Seattle Mariners VP for ballpark operations and chairman of the board of the Green Sports Alliance, a US-based association of more than 170 sports teams and venues from 15 leagues, “We are pleased today to see President Obama outline his plan to address climate change, expand clean and renewable energy and improve energy efficiency. Green Sports Alliance member teams and venues have been embracing conservation efforts and cleaner sources of energy not only because it is better for the environment, but it is also better for our bottom line. Since the health of the sports industry depends on a stable climate we appreciate his leadership on this critical issue. Sports venues throughout our nation have demonstrated that adopting smart environmental strategies is good for both the environment and for business.”

Every sports industry Jewel Event — the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup, the NBA Playoffs and Finals, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, Major League Soccer’s Championship Cup, every All Star Game, and the NCAA Final Four —  all now power their events with renewable energy and purchase carbon offsets to reduce their contribution to global warming.

In a market shift of historic proportions, the commissioners of every major professional sports league have all endorsed the need to act to address global climate disruption and other ecological issues.

According to David Stern, commissioner of the National Basketball Association, “Climate change is just about number one on [our agenda for] the future of the planet.” And in a letter sent to members of Congress in February of this year that seems to anticipate everything the president said in his climate speech, Kathleen Behrens, the executive VP of the National Basketball Association, wrote:

“Our league…accepts the conclusions of innumerable scientific experts and government agencies that climate change will only worsen if we do not effectively reduce the air pollutants that are driving it. The signs of extreme heat and extreme weather in recent years are unmistakable…Based on the advice of the world’s scientific community…the NBA agrees that our current regulatory system may need to be more creatively employed in order to provide the timely and effective response we need to address the challenge of combating climate change. We see no reason why our nation’s governmental leadership should not join with the efforts launched by the NBA and other businesses to promote effective standards and incentives designed to help our nation mobilize in time and at the scale needed to address the risks of climate change…The logical place to start is with standards to reduce the carbon pollution from electric power plants, the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution.”

The National Hockey League, along with Major League Baseball, has for years been measuring energy use at all of its venues and will soon begin the process of setting carbon reduction goals with each NHL venue. AEG, our nation’s largest operator of stadiums, arenas and theaters has a goal to reduce its carbon emissions from all operations by 20 percent by 2020.

NASCAR has incorporated recycling and non-fossil fuel use to reduce its carbon footprint, and a NASCAR track in Pennsylvania hosts the largest solar array of any sports facility in the United States.

Major League Baseball’s commissioner Alan H. (Bud) Selig has said, “The principles of sustainability and environmental stewardship are now integral to the culture of Major League Baseball…Sound environmental practices make sense in every way and protect out natural resources for future generations of baseball fans.”

For almost ten years, the commissioners of every professional sports league have been encouraging energy efficiency enhancements and the development of solar power. In 2010 all league commissioners circulated a guide to the development of on-site solar arrays to all 140 professional teams and the operators of their stadiums and arenas. (See the list of solar arrays at pro sports venues below, and view the Solar Guide for Stadiums and Arenas distributed by all commissioners here.)

In response to their commissioners’ encouragement, 18 pro-sports teams have already installed solar arrays at their venues to help reduce their emissions of carbon pollution, 38 teams have shifted to renewable energy for at least some of their operations, and almost 70 teams have adopted energy efficiency measures. Collectively all of these teams have saved millions of dollars annually by reducing their carbon emissions. And throughout collegiate sports, solar installation, greenhouse gas reducing composting and recycling programs and other cost-effective carbon reduction initiatives are so widespread that it’s impossible to list all of the impressive accomplishments taking place around campuses throughout the United States.

If there is one thing that President Obama’s climate speech reveals, it is that a cultural shift toward environmental awareness is taking place in the United States. As lessons from the sports industry reveal, we are changing the way we think about our relationship to the planet.

Given how important a stable climate is to professional sports teams, and how much work and investments the sports industry has made to work for it, it makes sense for the sports industry to fully support the urgent yet common-sense steps the President has laid out. It will be good for sports, good for business and good for our fans.

Solar arrays installed at pro sports venues

Major League Baseball

  1. Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians, 2007
  2. Coors Field, Colorado Rockies, 2007
  3. AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants, 2007
  4. Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox, 2008
  5. FedEx Field, Washington Red Skins, 2011
  6. Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2012
  7. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City Royals, 2012
  8. Busch Stadium, St Louis Cardinals, 2012
  9. Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners, 2012

National Basketball Association and National Hockey League

  1. STAPLES Center, LA Clippers/Lakers, 2008
  2. US Airways Arena, Phoenix Suns, 2009
  3. AT&T Center, Columbus Blue Jackets, 2009
  4. Oracle Arena, Golden State Warriors (training center), 2010
  5. Pepsi Center, Denver Nuggets, 2011
  6. Nationwide Arena, Columbus Blue Jackets,2012

National Football League

  1. CenturyLink Field, Seattle Seahawks/Sounders, 2011
  2. Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia Eagles, 2012
  3. Metlife Stadium, NY Giants, 2012

This post originally appeared on NRDC’s Switchboard.

Corporations Share Secrets On Energy Savings

Several corporate leaders, including Kohl’s, HEI Hotels and Resorts, Staples and Walgreens, have volunteered to reduce energy use 20 percent by 2020 as part of a challenge initiated by President Barack Obama. But that’s not the big deal.


The big deal is that they have agreed to publicly disclose how they’re doing it. Factories, data centers, stores and other large energy users often balk at revealing their energy efficiency strategies. After all, saving energy reduces the cost of doing business and gives them a competitive edge. By sharing details, they tip off the competition to better practices.

By not sharing details, however, they force others to reinvent the wheel — if they invent it at all — thus slowing U.S. progress in reaching national energy productivity goals aimed at bettering the economy.

“The real goal is to figure out who is leading in the space and how we can learn from their learning and replicate their activities in the marketplace quickly,” said Maria Vargas, director of the Better Buildings Challenge at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Vargas described the Obama strategy June 18-19 at the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships’ (NEEP) annual summit, an event that drew more than 300 people to Springfield, Mass.

“I have children, and they watch a show called ‘Mythbusters,'” she said. “So the way I think about the Better Business Challenge is as ‘barrier busters.'”

Some companies participating in the program have pursued energy efficiency for a decade or more, so can bust a lot of myths and offer substantial guidance. She relayed two examples where participants offered a useful strategy or technology.

Kohl’s was interested for years in pursuing energy efficiency, but the energy team could not convince the department store’s chief financial officer. It was largely a communications problem, as Vargas tells it.

“The CFO kept looking for different criteria than they had. They finally said, ‘This is crazy. We’re literally speaking different languages,'” she said.

Then, Kohl’s added someone from the CFO’s office to the energy team. That changed everything.

“All of a sudden, they move to the different country, and they are forced to speak the language,” she said.

As a result, Kohl’s is now “very much moving down an energy efficiency path and seeing tremendous savings across its portfolio,” she said.

Vargas also told the story of HEI Hotels & Resorts, owner of the Hilton, Marriott, Westin and other hotels. The company has developed an “easy, yet sophisticated” energy dashboard. “It was very proprietary,” she said.

Energy Looking Glass A snapshot of the Energy Looking Glass, HEI’s energy management tracking tool.

But after getting a direct request from Obama, Kohl’s CEO said, “‘The president asked me to share, and I’m going to share,'” Vargas said. “So they have.”

Ultimately, though, Vargas sees the federal program as a way to bolster innovation for communities, cities and states — the true launching pad for an energy-efficiency revolution.

“I firmly believe that all politics, all success, all life is local,” she said. “The Department of Energy can tell somebody what to do, and people will be like, ‘That’s nice, pass the muffins.'”

NEEP, host of the conference where Vargas spoke, works within one of the nation’s most active regions for energy efficiency. In keeping with the idea that it helps to get information about successful companies out there, NEEP announced several business leader awards. Videos or written profiles are available about the energy efficiency efforts of the 12 companies and organizations.

This year’s winners were American University, Atlas Box & Crating Company, Anheuser-Busch (New Hampshire and New York), Baystate Health, Boehringer Ingelheim, Boston College, Cape Cod Commercial Linen Service, Covidien, ESPN, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery.