Thursday, February 25, 2010

Changes to Oregon's BETC

The Oregon Legislature, in an effort to address budget issues and to fine tune the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program, has made changes that local readers may want to know about.

The attorneys at Lane Powell have done an excellent job summarizing the changes including the new limits. You can read their summary here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chaos is the New Normal

Last night I attended the Illahee Lecture Series featuring Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. I wish I had time to comment on his lecture but this is busy season at TriLibrium so I'll be brief while providing you some interesting links.

Richard's main point was that there will be no return to normal. Global economic output as measured by GDP probably peaked in 2005/2006 and that we'll never again return to that level given the direct connection between energy and our economy. The solutions are varied and diverse but the key point is that a return to "normal" is impossible given limiting factors and the sooner we embrace this fact and transition to the new paradigm the better. A movement he mentioned and that I intend to explore further is called "Transition Towns."

I'd also like to point readers to Richard's publication "Searching for a Miracle: 'Net Energy' Limits & the Fate of Industrial Society." This report explores whether any combination of known energy sources can successfully supply society's energy needs up to the year 2100. I won't give away the answer but they explore the different solutions against 10 criteria. The report is available as a free PDF download.

I'd also like to point those interested in accounting and innovation to a recent blog post by Gifford Pinchot. Gifford discusses Intrapreneuring in Accounting and the need for innovative accountants to help provide the understanding, metrics, and systems for the economy of the future.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Sustainable Purchasing Decision Matrix

Last week we moved into new offices. Our new office naturally reflects the culture and values we are developing at TriLibrium. With our move, we’ve recently made a flurry of investment and purchasing decisions. I’d like to explain how we make our decisions.

The old purchasing paradigm was a two dimensional decision seeking to optimize the competing tradeoffs between price and quality. Given equal quality, one would simply shop for a better price or, given the same price, one would opt for higher quality.

With every purchase decision at TriLibrium, we introduce a third factor -- Triple bottom line performance (TBL). Accordingly, we look at price/quality/TBL performance and seek to optimize these sometimes competing factors.

TBL performance is enhanced by:

  • Supplier relationship
  • Supplier location
  • Materials
  • Environmental impacts
  • Life cycle assessment considerations
  • Social impacts
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle mentality

The first consideration was location. This single factor alone will have a huge impact on our footprint. We opted for a centrally located building with excellent public transit access.

Our desks were made out of doors reclaimed from the Heathman Hotel and repurposed for us by Endurawood. Our conference table was also made for us by Endurawood out of a technical material made from sunflower seed husks, recycled paper and natural resins.

We purchased two new employee desk chairs. One made locally and the other manufactured using cradle-to-cradle design.

We purchased numerous used items including our conference room white board, conference room chairs, refrigerator, filing cabinets, reception area chairs, and more.

Most of the subs and vendors we used were clients helping us re-circulate more money in the green and sustainable community.