Table of Contents
- 1 Austin Goes Green
- 1.1 Green Tech Meets High Tech
- 1.2 Green Businesses in Austin
- 1.2.1 Green Building and Clean Technology
- 1.2.2 Pecan Street: The Smart Grid Community
- 1.2.3 Austin Goes Green with Green Building
- 1.2.4 Pecan Street in the Oil Patch of Texas
- 1.2.5 The Future of the Green Revolution
- 1.2.6 Continued Support of Governments and Venture Capitalists
- 1.2.7 Clean Tech is Good for the Environment and the Bottom Line
Austin Goes Green
Yes, Austin goes green! A progressive community, Austin, Texas is leading the way in green building and other environmentally friendly initiatives. Businesses, like web hosting providers, and city-wide sponsors lead the way in getting green. The capital of Texas, Austin leads the green revolution with help from Austin Energy, the local power source, the Environmental Defense Fund, the local university and the federal stimulus program, enacted in 2009, that provides loans, grants and other support to aid developers, builders and entrepreneurs go green and stay green through sound design practices that improve the air residents breathe.
Green Tech Meets High Tech
For more than 20 years, Austin has fostered leading edge business development with companies like Dell computers and Sematech. So, getting green isn’t a short-sighted objective of the community. In fact, green building and operational activity is right at home in the great state of Texas and has been for decades.
The high tech sector has drawn tens of thousands of engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs and other smart energy users to create an incubator for new business – especially high tech businesses that employ green tech to power up profits. Austin’s business community proves that green is not only good for the environment, it’s good for business.
Green Businesses in Austin
One example of the city’s environmentally friendly approach to commercial development is Green Host It – a web hosting company that employs Texas wind energy and water power to provide web-based businesses with green power to grow. Founded in 2009, Green Host It is one of the few green web hosting companies in the world. Instead of drawing power from traditional, Texas-based energy sources, Green Host It employs wind turbines to power its operations to fuel business growth and water power to cool the business’ giant servers that connect web-based businesses to web users.
“We fully support Austin’s approach to building and business development. In fact, our business model is based squarely on green technology to deliver the services our clients require to succeed on the Internet.” explained GHI exec during a recent interview.
Green web hosting is an example of how high tech businesses utilize green energy alternatives to change the landscape of the Austin community through the use of renewable energy resources. “Green web hosting is a core belief of Austin’s commercial sector, and Green Host It has integrated the latest in green tech into state-of-the-art web hosting services.”
Companies like Green Host It are changing the way business does business in Austin, enjoying tax incentives and establishing good corporate citizen practices that other growing businesses now turn to.
Green Building and Clean Technology
Clean tech, employed by Green Host It and other high tech companies, depends on local, state and federal policies, subsidies for renewable energy use and government mandates to improve energy efficiency through the use of green building practices and renewable energy resources. Despite the fact that web hosting companies draw huge amounts of power, Green Host It and other high tech companies have shrunk their carbon footprints in Austin. This creates the perfect combination of high tech and green technologies to expand the commercial base of the city without creating a negative impact on the local environment. With the integration of clean technology into all phases of commercial development, other cities are turning to Austin to provide the road map to business expansion without the negatives associated with commercial use of traditional energy sources. Choose web hosting Texas. Choose wind power.
Pecan Street: The Smart Grid Community
Call it an experiment, or a look into our future, the Pecan Street project demonstrates how communities can employ the latest in solar energy, smart home technology, electric vehicles and more efficient use of energy resources to create an innovative community based on the simple principle of “less is more” when it comes to energy consumption.
Located in Austin’s historic Mueller neighborhood, the Pecan Street program involves manufacturers, residential homes and clean energy businesses that focus on improving the quality of life for residents, employees and the entire Austin community.
Austin Goes Green with Green Building
An example? HelioVolt maintains a 12,000 square foot plant with neat rows or printing machines, chemical vats and ovens powered efficiently with a gleaming array of the latest in solar panel technology. The company is just one example of how the Austin business sector embraces the green building movement – a movement that uses thin solar panels that are more energy efficient than the thick, expensive photo-voltaic panels that were used just a few years back.
HelioVolt’s CEO, Jim Flanary, is a staunch advocate of the latest in solar tech, stating, “If you can do this really cheaply and really quickly, you’ve got a winner. We want to scale up as soon as we can.” The lessons learned from the Pecan Street smart grid program have been applied across the entire business sector of Austin, placing the big city with a small, college town feel, ahead of other green cities like San Francisco, California, Boulder, Colorado and Boston, Massachusetts.
Pecan Street in the Oil Patch of Texas
What makes the Pecan Street project even more impressive is that Texas is a part of the “oil patch” – a large region that produces millions of barrels of oil and other traditional fossil fuels, a region that relies on traditional energy resources for revenues, employment and power. Even so, Pecan Street has received financial support from the community’s local energy supplier, community licensing agencies and smart energy advocacy groups at all levels of government.
In fact, Austin is the home of numerous green businesses usually associated with politically liberal towns. However, the Austin, Texas business community has embraced green building practices as part of the city’s innovative, hip culture, making green practices not only smart but tech-savvy, as well.
The Future of the Green Revolution
The future of clean tech is evident today – right now – in Austin, thanks to visionary business leaders like Pecan Street’s Jim Flanary, Michael Dell and Green companies in the Texas Hill Country.
The Austin business community is ideally suited to make maximum use of the next major steps in going green, transforming the way we conduct business and manage metropolitan areas for the benefit of residents and the global environment. Austin is a leader in areas like green web hosting, digital development, smart car tech and other innovations that are good for business and good for the air we breathe.
However, Austin and its business partners still face numerous challenges including a shrinking pool of venture capital, the sometimes overwhelming costs of swapping clean tech for out-moded technologies that depend on fossil fuels, and the politics of oil, natural gas and other traditional energy resources. Budget cuts at the federal, state and city levels have pointed out the need for continued government and business support for the use of clean energy.
Continued Support of Governments and Venture Capitalists
HelioVolt’s founder, B.J. Stanbery, a native Texan, makes a strong case for the continued support of governments and venture capitalists. The development of more clean tech energy resources, strongly suggesting that the local economies of cities like Austin will continue to rely on new energy technology. This reliance expands within areas like the Pecan Street program.
“The manufacturing skills that workers have here [in Austin] are directly transferable to a thin-film solar company like us,” states Mr. Stanbery. “And the business culture is attractive here because people are used to taking risks in the energy space.”
The viability of clean tech is expanding within the oil patch that surrounds Pecan Street. Some companies such as Green Host It, Dell and the hundreds of other environmentally-conscious businesses participate in green energy. Some are now part of the fiscal infrastructure of Austin. The trend toward green will continue. Companies like Green Host It and Sematech, demonstrate that green business is good business. This green business growth proves that clean technology works.
In closing, Austin continues to lead the way in green tech initiatives. Smart business people take notice that clean tech is good for the environment. It is also good for the bottom line. Green business is an investment in the future of our cities and our economy. A company that utilizes green business provides a model for other metropolitan areas to follow.