Sunday, June 05, 2011

Smarter Cities, Sustainable Buildings and Other Green Things

Last week I attended the 2011 Heartland GreenUp, and for the sake of reporting it, and for those unable to attend I thought I would share some of the insights I took away.

Harris M. Warsaw from IBM was the keynote and had several interesting statistics and notes about the Smarter Planet - The Green Message:
  • $40 billion lost to inefficient supply chains
  • The Port of Jersey has 100,000 empty ISO shipping containers. Maybe Google is ramping up for their floating data centers in the Atlantic. :)
  • In the Smarter Cities initiative, IBM defines smarter as instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent.
  • 80% of CEO's view sustainability as impacting brand value
  • 82% of executives expect some form of climate change regulations in the next 5 years.
  • Dubuque, Iowa is a pilot city for applying all of the IBM Smarter City initiatives. Last month IBM had a press release about how they combined analytics, cloud computing and community engagement for the City of Dubuque.
  • Talking to the increase in monitoring and measurement devices around energy - Harris stated that people that have data are 8 times more likely to take action on problems that are uncovered.
  • 24 Iowa companies are partnering with IBM to build software and integration around the Dubuque smarter cities project.
If it wasn't for my passion for technology, I think I would have been an architect. So - one of the sessions I highlighted before attending the conference was with Kevin Nordmeyer, who is the Director of the Iowa Energy Center - formerly with RDG Architects. Kevin had some very insightful comments about IEC projects and overall building design and sustainability. Here are some notes/links from his talk:
  • Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) - Flowchart of Energy Use in the U.S.
  • The Iowa Energy Resource Station - doing work for LLNL and researching energy performance in buildings with real-time, real-life systems.
  • BECON - a focal point for developing value-add products from Iowa's biomass resources. BECON stands for Biomass Energy CONversion facility.
  • Numerous software and tools at the Department of Energy web site.
Jurij Paraszczak - Leader of the Research Smarter Cities program at IBM. Jurij talked a lot about the case studies they have been a part of in the smarter cities projects. With the massive amounts of data collected during these projects, analytics plays a major role in making sense of the data being researched. Speaking to smarter analytics, he described them as either prescriptive, predictive, or descriptive.

Andrew Winston was the final talk and presented a nice summary of his research, case studies and echoed many of the themes of the day.
  • - find green and socially responsible products - or see how the ones you use regularly rate.
  • An interesting case on how 'culture matters' in sustainability -- BestBuy ranks 1000 stores for efficiency; this engages individual store managers to compete so their store isn't listed as #1000.
  • Waste Management now produces more energy than solar.
  • Reduced environmental impact meets cleaning - Minnesota company Tennant and their floor cleaner that uses just water (no chemicals)

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