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Is Implementation of Renewable Energy Sustainable in the Current Environment?

12.14.12 / Katie Archard & Cathy Michalowicz

Sample Slide from Presentation

Last weekend the Monte Jade Science and Technology Association of New England (MJNE*) held their annual conference.  Each year, the organization selects a timely topic that aims to educate its members through speaker presentations, leading to a rich discussion where knowledge and experience flow freely.  This year the topic was: “Is implementation of renewable energy sustainable in the current environment?”

The Keynote speaker was Daniel Nocera, PhD, who introduced his novel “Artificial Leaf” invention.  His “Artificial Photosynthesis” concept can probably be more easily understood as solar-powered electrolysis.  Daniel has created an inexpensive, playing-card sized, coated-silicon sheet that when placed in water can split the hydrogen and oxygen atoms away from each other with the power of the sun.  His goal is to harvest these atoms as energy and use this technology to bring light and power to the world’s poorest communities.  Impressive, to say the least!

In light of the fact that buildings consume nearly half of all of the energy produced in the United States, we were invited to speak on: “Building Sustainably: A GREEN Approach to the Life Sciences.”  We gave a brief introduction on the green building goals to mitigate this energy consumption outlined via LEED and the AIA 2030 Commitment, and then discussed specific examples of how sustainable features were realized in three recently completed buildings ARC designed for Genzyme Corporation.

Our presentation can be viewed HERE

Michael Pulaski, PhD, LEED AP BD+C, a LEED consultant from Thorton Tomasetti/ Fore Solutions that ARC has worked with often, presented “The Next Generation of Green Buildings.”  Michael gave an exciting glimpse into where the technology of green building is going next.  Some examples that he highlighted include Living Buildings, lighter-than-air building materials known as thermoplastic ETFE used in the Eden Project, Passive House, Resilient Buildings, and the Declare program.

We were honored to be a part of a panel of knowledgeable speakers and learned a great deal about where the renewable/sustainable energy industry is going and how we can play a part in answering the question: “Is implementation of renewable energy sustainable in the current environment?” The answer is YES!  It is up to us to make it sustainable. The resources are available to us we just need to change our way of thinking and be willing to make the responsible choices.

Full list of presenters:

Bram ClaeysRenewable Energy in Massachusetts: Past and Future

Daniel Nocera, PhDThe Artificial Leaf

Patricia Granaham, ScD, JDClean Technologies: Has Development to Date Been Successful? Can New Technologies Be Protected?

Kathryn Archard, AIA, LEED AP BD+C and Cathy Michalowicz, LEED APBuilding Sustainably: A GREEN Approach to the Life Sciences”

Michael Pulaski, PhD, LEED AP BD+CThe Next Generation of Green Buildings

Nai Nan Ko, Jr.Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Leadership in the Automotive Industry

Jed KiangGlobal Green Cooperation: Taiwanese Manufacturers and the New England Solar Market

 

*MJNE is a non-profit organization comprised of science and technology professionals in the metro Boston area with a mission to network and share valuable experiences and insights in technology, business information exchange and socioeconomic issues of general concerns.  Been Wang, Principal at ARC, is a Director & Founding Member for this organization.

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