Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sustainability can be this simple

Andrew Winston, co-author of the fantastic book Green to Gold, started the day this morning at Sustainable Brands 2008 with a quick update on green marketing and innovations across various industries. What struck me most from his comments were the innovations that were neither complicated nor still in development.

Two quick examples:

If you watch UPS trucks and vans delivering packages around your area, you will notice they no longer make left-hand turns. UPS trucks now only make right-hand turns, even if it takes a little longer to get there.

Why? Left-hand turns mean sitting at red lights far more often, which means idling, which means wasting gas. By only taking right-hand turns, UPS is cutting their gas consumption (and gas budget) significantly.

In Minneapolis, a handful of office buildings as well as the Xcel Energy Center (where the Minnesota Timberwolves play) have started cleaning their floors with just tap water.

No traditional cleaning products, no chemicals. Just tap water.

They’re doing this by ionizing the water to separate the acid from the base, then applying it to the floor in two separate parts. As the two re-form on the floor back into tap water, the re-ionization process picks up the dirt. Early reports from facilities managers say that the tap water approach is actually doing a better job of cleaning floors than the chemicals and other cleaning supplies they’d been using before.

According to Winston, ionizing water has been used to clean wounds in hospitals for several years. Someone recently thought that technology might work on the hospital floor, thus an innovation was born.


aditya said...

Great post. The second example u gave about using water as a floor cleaning agent could be called a form of creative emulation ie learning from an already existing innovation and applying it to your field. I would like to get your views on my blog on innovation (

Anonymous said...

consider the amount of energy required to ionize water... energy from burning a fossil fuel. no detergents, no chemicals, but more energy. maybe ionization is still a better method... a cost-benefit analysis could be performed. but i submit this challenge - don't take it superficially that it IS better just because it sounds so. this is only one example of the many that will be shown to you in this "green" age of thought