Microsoft pledges to be carbon neutral starting this summer

Microsoft is joining a growing number of tech companies that want to do something about their growing carbon emissions due to power hungry data centers and office buildings. The software giant on Tuesday announced a plan to become carbon neutral by fiscal year 2013 (this July).

Bay Area cities using coworking to cut carbon, boost growth

A newly announced partnership between mobile working app LiquidSpace and three Bay Area cities is another example of local communities leveraging the idea of coworking to keep commuters closer to home, boosting economic development in the area and cutting carbon emissions.

Is Reading on Your iPad More Green Than Paper Books?

Many people use the iPad to replace a physical library of paper books, mostly because it’s very convenient to do so. But is it also better for the environment? A recent report considers the ecological effects of e-books in general, and specifically addresses the iPad’s impact.

Roundup: Create Collections of Useful Things to Share Online

576695_license_wall_5One of the great features of social networking is how easy it is to share information with large groups of people. In this post, I’m going to share some ways that you can create bundles or collections of useful stuff that you can share with others, which can save you and your organization a great deal of time and effort. It can also be a lots of fun to discover some interesting and informative collections that others have taken the time to build for you.
RSS Feed Bundles
Google (s goog) has unveiled a slick way to create what they call “bundles” of RSS feeds. These are actually just collections of related RSS feeds that you pick. For example, here’s a bundle that I created in a couple of minutes which aggregates all of the sites from the GigaOM Network: Read More about Roundup: Create Collections of Useful Things to Share Online

CalCEF Still Seeking Funds, Calls Raising Cash ‘a Struggle’

Many investors are seeing fund raising slow down, and the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund is no exception. The fund, which in October said it had raised $9.3 million toward its goal of $20 million, is still working to raise the rest of the money. Representatives said it has raised “about half” of the cash so far.

The angel fund is a for-profit venture that the Clean Energy Fund, a nonprofit founded with $30 million from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company bankruptcy, launched last April. Susan Preston, the angel fund’s general manager, said the fund raising is taking longer than expected because of the recession. “We’re working very hard at it, but it’s a struggle right now, no question about it,” she said. “We’re talking to lots of people all over the place, and everyone is saying, ‘We’re sorry, we agree with what you’re doing, but we just don’t have money right now.'”
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Dell’s Carbon Neutral Goal Is a Mere Fraction of Emissions for Its Products

Dell (s aapl) recently made it clear in a blog post that it thinks rival Apple’s (s appl) green laptop claims have a lot of holes. Well, the Texas-based computer maker, which has been making one of the most substantial efforts in the computing world to produce more eco-products and neutralize its carbon footprint, also has a few questions to answer when it comes to the validity of its green efforts.

This morning the Wall Street Journal’s Jeffrey Ball has a really interesting investigative piece that claims Dell is actually only neutralizing about 5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that go into making its products. That small figure will surprise many who listened to Dell announce recently that it had reached its carbon-neutral goal a good five months ahead of schedule.

And while it’s difficult to know how much Dell could boost that percentage, the WSJ article also points out that Dell is largely relying on renewable energy credits to offset its carbon footprint, which can be highly controversial. It was no secret that Dell was using renewable energy credits as part of its carbon-neutral plan, along with energy efficiency, but we are unsettled to hear that the company “is claiming carbon neutrality mostly by purchasing environmental credits,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
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Energy Data Aggregator AMEE’s Investor List Grows

Determining energy consumption and carbon emissions is all about data, data, data — how to organize it and what to do with it. And companies using software and web tools to deal with such energy-related data are increasingly gaining the support of investors. Among them is AMEE, which stands for Avoiding Mass Extinctions Engine, a British startup that’s aggregating the world’s energy and carbon data in order to determine the carbon footprint of just about anything. It was previously disclosed in a regulatory filing that AMEE had raised $1 million from O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures in a Series A round (seed funding arm of the media company), but the startup announced today the participation of two additional investors: Union Square Ventures and The Accelerator Group.

AMEE was launched by Gavin Starks in 2007 and has managed to work with customers like the UK government, Morgan Stanley, Google, Radiohead, and Sun. AMEE provides the data engine for web-based carbon services and footprints — see Google’s UK Carbon Footprint Project. We’re not sure of the total amount raised from all three investors in the Series A, but Starks tells us it’s in the seven-figure (GBP) range. The financing will be used to grow AMEE’s data sets and customers.

Software, web services and IT tools will be crucial to ushering in an era in which energy consumption and carbon emission data is calculated for everything from a company’s supply chain to your the small daily actions of individuals. AMEE’s goal is to add accuracy and transparency to that process. AMEE founder Starks will also be giving a talk at our Green:Net conference on March 24th in San Francisco. Come check out his thoughts on how everyone and everything will have a carbon ID!

Was YouTube Live a Success? That Depends

youtube-live After much talk about experimenting with live streaming video, YouTube dipped its toe in the water on the weekend, with a much-hyped event (at least in blogosphere terms) called YouTube Live, featuring some of the “cewebrities” that have emerged on YouTube over the past year or two — including Tay “Chocolate Rain” Zonday, LisaNova and Chad Vader, as well as a few big-name entertainment-industry stars like Katy Perry and Will.i.am. The show had the feel of an awards show, although it was one featuring stars most people probably wouldn’t recognize. So was it a success for YouTube? That depends a lot on your perspective. Read More about Was YouTube Live a Success? That Depends

Android to Include Carbon Footprint Calculator Ecorio

Google and T-Mobile unveiled the G1 today, the first phone powered by Android, Google’s own mobile operating system. The G1 is launching on Oct. 22, along with its market for third party applications, the Android Market Place (similar to Apple’s App Store.) And lucky for us, one of the featured applications is Ecorio, a carbon footprint calculator.

The application, which tracks your travels and calculates your travel carbon footprint, was built by the five-man, Toronto-based Ecorio team with $300,000 in prize and development money from Google. But beyond simply recording data, it encourages you to take action in three ways — reduce, inspire and offset (“RIO”) — offering up alternatives to driving, ways to share energy-saving tips with other users and a quick and easy way to purchase carbon offsets. Read More about Android to Include Carbon Footprint Calculator Ecorio

My 10 “Un-Tips” for Starting-Up Right

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I recently read Alex Iskold’s great piece 36 Startup Tips and began thinking that had I read this a year ago, maybe my own startup experience would have been smoother. (I’m a co-founder of Makemesustainable.com.) It is a daunting task to incubate and eventually launch a company. Most of us founders start down this road because of a passion for our subject matter, in addition to any skill set we might (or might not) possess. But the vast majority of us won’t have the resources we need when we need them, no matter how successful we have been in the past. (And if you think you’re different, or doing everything right, be very wary.)

So, I put together this list of 10 “Un-Tips” because although plenty of people are willing to talk about what they did right, very few are willing to talk about what they did wrong. Read More about My 10 “Un-Tips” for Starting-Up Right