Green Tech Companies in Boulder Area

Boulder, Colorado leads the way in high tech startup companies according to a recently released study from the New Engine/Kaufmann Foundation. Three of these tech companies based in the Boulder area provide energy saving services that most organizations could benefit from immediately.

tendril  Tendril offers smart energy technologies for both energy providers and consumers. Businesses may monitor and control energy usage in a variety of ways using Tendril’s efficient Cloud based technology. It is much easier to conserve and reduce energy when a company has more control and knowledge.

green garageGreen Garage services vehicles so that businesses and consumers save money and decrease their environmental impact. They go beyond traditional auto maintenance by offering technologies including nitrogen tire fills and silicon based windshield wipers. With a fleet maintenance program and employee discount offers, Green Garage offers businesses with vehicle fleets a real eco-friendly and money saving alternative.

Boulder Hybrid Conversions  converts Prius automobiles into plug-in electric hybrids, boulder hybrid conversionswhich curtails gas consumption. Colorado taxpayers get a generous tax rebate that increases the financial attractiveness of this innovative conservation technique. Eco-officiency converted their Prius hybrid to add a 10kw battery pack and was thrilled with the service of Boulder Hybrid as well as the reduced visits to the gas station.

For more information on how we help you navigate and implement energy conservation options contact us.

PedalSmart Bike Ambassadors Program in Boulder – Free Training on Biking to Work

PedalSmart_LOGO_WEBPedalSmart is a Boulder, Colorado based program used to encourage commuting to work via bicycle. PedalSmart Bike Ambassadors come to your place of business and give interested employees all the information and training they need to promote and inspire success. This is fully funded so the employer pays nothing. This program is sponsored by Community Cycles which has been promoting cycling in Boulder since 2006.

There are several benefits to having your employees bike to work:

  • Easier parking. No bike racks? Community Cycles can provide them at a very low cost.
  • Healthier employees means less sick time.
  • When biking, workers tend to arrive on time and in a good mood.
  • By promoting a bike-to-work program, you can apply to be part of the Bicycle Friendly Business program that presents awards and national recognition to businesses.
  • Earn prizes–As part of the program, your employees are given tools they can use to track their mileage. By keeping a record of how much they ride, they become eligible for prizes.

The City of Boulder provides excellent bike path maps and route finders. Would you like assistance integrating this and other alternative transportation programs into your entire sustainability plan? Contact us.

Alternative Transportation Options in Downtown Denver

Not only is driving a large impact on climate change it also can be costly with gas and parking, especially if you are traveling to the downtown Denver area. In Denver, we are fortunate there are alternative transportation  options available. Options include the light rail, bus, bike and airport shuttles. In addition to these mass transit options there are public charging stations for the growing number of electric and hybrid vehicles in the area as well as car sharing programs.

Light Rail

The light rail system in Denver goes from Denver light railthe suburbs into downtown with 36 stops along the way. Most of the track follows the I-25 and is a great way to beat the traffic into work or to the big game. Many of the stops have free parking and fares are less than the cost of parking downtown. The bus system also connects at many of the light rail stops. Visit RTD Denver’s website for schedules.

Bus

The bus lines in Denver are extensive. In addition to the metropolitan service in the city of Denver the Regional Transportation District expands service into suburbs. Business travelers who need to fly to Denver International Airport can take one of the many commuter shuttles directly to the airport.

b CycleBike

Denver has hundreds of miles of dedicated bike trails available for riders. These trails improve safety by providing a lane for bikes to travel that is away from traffic. Denver also has a pilot program for sharing bikes. The B-Cycle program provides over 500 bikes at 40 different sharing stations. This unique option allows anyone with a credit card to borrow a bike from one station and return it to any station they choose. No round trip is required.

For those who don’t want to pedal themselves around there are Pedi-Cabs available in the downtown area. Pedi-Cabs are a combination of a bicycle and cart which allows passengers to sit back while someone else does the work. These human powered vehicles are widely used in downtown Denver as a great option to get around the downtown area.

MallRide

The 16th street shuttle is actually an alternative fuel vehicle that runs up and down the 16 block core of downtown. Called Mallride this vehicle is a hybrid that will quickly transport you to the hotel, shop or restaurant of your choice.

Car Sharing

eGo CarShare is a local based car sharing program that provides access to a network of energy-efficient vehicles throughout downtown Denver (and Boulder) area. It is a pay as you drive system that allows members to pay per trip without the commitment of owning a car. Vehicles are conveniently stationed, often near transit and bicycle facilities and are accessible to members with valid reservations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Electric Vehiclesplug in

Alternative transportation doesn’t have to mean mass transit. A growing number of consumers are purchasing hybrid and all electric vehicles. Denver is also growing their infrastructure with public plug in locations. Luckily there is an app, Car Stations, available that gives the location of plug in stations in the Denver area.

For more information on alternative transportation options, please contact us.

Cities Encouraging Electric Vehicle Use

electric vehicleEvery business should consider adding electric vehicles to their existing fleet. Colorado based Project FEVER, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, assists Colorado businesses in making the transition to using electric vehicles. Denvercleancities.org explains Project FEVER:

“Project FEVER (Fostering Electric Vehicle Expansion in the Rockies) will create a readiness and implementation plan to increase electric vehicle (EV) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) adoption across the state of Colorado. Through a collaborative research and analysis process, the project will identify market barriers to EV penetration and develop strategies to overcome these barriers in the transportation and utility sectors”

electric_ride_logoThe project spawned a campaign called Electric Ride Colorado that educates residents and businesses about electric vehicles. Its’ website suggests the Ford Transit electric vehicle for business fleets that require short routes. Taking advantage of this resource is a great way for businesses to make that first step toward moving to an all-electric fleet.

The city of Indianapolis is also taking strides to encourage electric vehicle use. It recently announced it plans to become the first city to use only electric and hybrid electric vehicles for its’ fleet. Mayor Greg Ballard is quoted in the Grand Junction Free Press  as stating, “Taxpayers could save $12,000 over the 10-year lifespan of each new electric and plug-in hybrid”. The same article explains how the city is also urging automakers to make a plug-in hybrid police car.

According to a recent article by the New York Daily News, global electric vehicle sales expected to increase by 3.8 million in 2020. Contact us to learn more about greening up your automobile fleet and learn how we can help with your sustainability plan.

Supporting Bike To Work Programs

If your company is looking for ways to foster employee engagement on sustainability practices — and your employees care about saving money, the environment and their own health — you’d be hard pressed to find a better way than supporting a bike to work program. Often employers — and employees — don’t know where to start. Here’s a few ways you can seed interest and launch a successful bicycle commuting program at your business.

Survey Says! Get the best information you can about your employees’ current commuting habits; take a survey and collect data such as how far away they live, who already commutes by bicycle, and who might like to try it out. For those that are already commuting by bike, ask what facilities and support they want to see you implement.

Get Started Training. Some employees might find the notion of biking to work daunting, not knowing what equipment they need, how to dress, even what routes they could take to stay safe. Plan a workshop session for your staff that features veteran bicycle commuters, either from your own company or the local bike shop. Focus on gear, safety, and route-finding (don’t forget Google Maps’ bicycle directions feature!).  Community Cycles, based in Boulder, offers some great information and training for businesses.

Give Bikes a Home. Bicycle commuters of all stripes want to know there’s a place to safely store their wheels during work. If you can handle the minimal space requirement, there’s nothing better than just bringing the bike into the office — it’ll take up about the same space as a couple of chairs against the wall. Alternately designing secure spaces — a room devoted to bicycle storage, or even individual bike lockers — will go a long way toward reassuring employees you support their green commute.

Support the Appearance. If your employees live nearby, they’ll probably barely break a sweat biking to work. But for the rest of them, the need for a professional appearance at work is a major perceived roadblock to bicycle commuting. Providing showers and lockers is the best way to go, but you can also work with what you have — an empty office can become a dressing area, hooks on the backs of doors or spare closets can hold several days’ worth of clean clothes. Make the initial effort, and wait for the response and add amenities as needed.

For more ideas on bicycle commuting and other workplace sustainability practices, please feel free to contact us.

Green Ideas to Green Your Business

Long gone are the days when a recycling bin or a catchy slogan sent the message to your employees that your company cared about the environment. You’ve talked the talk about your business’ sustainability practices, now it’s time to implement. Here’s a couple of quick ideas for you to green your business operations;

Encourage Carpooling. Carpooling is as old as commuting itself, but it’s also an exceptionally straightforward way to cut down on carbon emissions. Each participant in a carpool completely takes that person’s tailpipe emissions out of the air that day, and reduces the need for parking. But don’t just tell employees you value carpooling, show them — help them with ride-share matching, and incentivize carpooling with reduced-cost (or free) parking in better spaces. And consider programs such as prize drawings to reward your carpoolers; discounts, swag, or even cash.

Ban the Bottle. Sure, everyone knows most plastic water bottles are recyclable. But “recycle” comes after “reduce” and “reuse.” Many businesses — and some municipalities — are retrofitting their old drinking fountains to include bottle-filling stations, eliminating the need for countless bottles to even be manufactured. These fixtures are available from most of the major drinking fountain suppliers, and deliver cool, clean water into a user-supplied reusable cup or bottle.

Support Bike to Work. According to the League of American Bicyclists, the number of people biking to work in the last few years has gone from impressive to staggering — up 75% in New York City, 110% in San Francisco and 144% in Portland since the last census. Don’t stop at putting a bike rack out front; consider setting aside safe indoor spaces for cyclists to store bikes easily, and make sure you have facilities in place (or nearby) so employees can “freshen up” in plenty of time to start work.

For more ideas on sustainability in the workplace, feel free to contact us.

Considering Purchasing an Electric Vehicle?

With gas prices higher and the increased environmental awareness, electric vehicles (EV’s) are becoming a hot ticket item! It seems if you don’t have an EV in your car line-up then you aren’t hitting a car market trend in car buying. With more cars on the market and new technologies to consider it is hard to know which car to choose.

Here are a few resources to use if you are considering purchasing a new electric vehicle;

Which is greener—converting my Prius to all electric or buying a new electric vehicle?

It actually is greener to convert your Prius or other hybrid you might own to increase the battery capacity and electric usage. Although the new electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, are well –made cars, it is actually more sustainable to convert the car you have rather than purchasing a new one. The other factor to consider is that Prius cars wear better than normal vehicles. So you might also consider purchasing a used Prius and getting it converted to all electric.

All electric Prius conversions are becoming more popular especially in Colorado with aggressive tax rebates. The State of Colorado is now offering an incentive to convert your Prius to plug-in through a refundable tax credit of 85% of the cost with a maximum credit of $6,000.  This is only good through the end of 2011 and might be extended through 2012.

Recommended Prius Conversion Vendors in Colorado:

For Denver residents try Green Gears.

For Boulder residents try Boulder Hybrid Conversions.

PlugShare: An iphone App to find electric vehicle charging stations

Plugshare is a new iphone app that helps you find Electric Vehicle or “EV” charging stations around the country.This free application was designed by electric vehicle software start up Xatori.It provides not only listing of public charging stations but also private network of EV enthusiasts who are willing to share their outlets (usually for a small fee of .15 cents per hour). Since one of the biggest barriers to new electric vehicles is getting the availability of EV stations while in route. This new application is a great addition to the growing industry of EV technology.

To learn more about electric vehicles go the U.S. Department of Energy’s site on EV’s.

Company Cars and Fuel Efficient Driving

Many companies have a company car, truck or even fleet.  One way to protect the environment and lower costs is to develop and implement car or fleet policies.

UPS is a prime example of this with the ‘left turn’ campaign. UPS designed its routes to reduce miles and make ‘no left turns’ (this waiting loses time and wastes gas). UPS saved $3 million annually implementing this policy. UPS also installed logistics technologies that have cut 1.1 billion miles off of delivery routes, which prevented 1.9 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. Learn more in this NY Times article.

Xerox reassigned deliveries to avoid sending big trucks when small ones would do. This ‘rightsizing’ initiative along with other adjustments to routes cut 21 million miles from Xerox distribution system.

Did you know that quick acceleration and excessive braking can reduce fuel economy by up to 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent other side roads? Increasing highway speed from 55mph to 75mph can raise fuel consumption as much as 20%. Educate drivers on these driving tips and establish incentives to help them drive more cost effectively.
Learn more eco driving tips from EcoDriving USA. A great quick read for employees is the article by Planet Green called, 10 Eco Driving Tips.