Bacteria Key in Solar Power Breakthrough

The deep sea is taking a page from the eco-friendly intern book it would seem! Scientists are currently studying green sulfur bacteria, an eco-conscious source for modern power and technology. Green sulfur bacteria, which live nearly a mile under the ocean’s surface, use minute amounts of solar power efficiently. So efficiently that in some cases these bacteria are able to convert 100% of the solar power they absorb into electricity.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge are researching the bacteria’s light harvesting proteins to see what advances they could offer the field of solar energy. The green sulfur bacteria is able to move electrons through their system of photosynthesis until harvest without losing energy along the way, unlike other known organisms that engage in photosynthesis. Unraveling the mystery could be groundbreaking in clean energy, opening the door to the most efficient solar panels possible. Currently, “innovative” panels are able to convert approximately 28% of solar power into electricity and are much more expensive than the standard panels.

So, what’s next for these little buggers? After saving the planet and developing energy to efficiently power our homes, where will their next mission begin? Perhaps, and this is only speculation, they may make their way to powering our smartphones, tablets and more. Solar power is already being adopted into city infrastructure goals on streetlights, parking meters, and more, why not make solar power mobile and make the battery a back-up?

That step is further down the line, but maybe not as far away as we think. After all, as all eco-friendly interns at this digital marketing agency know, technology and eco-awareness go hand in hand.

LEDs For Retail Lighting

Lighting makes a big difference to your customers and to how well your products are displayed, and every good retailer knows that things are more likely to sell if they’re well-displayed. LED accent lighting is a smart choice for displaying your product.

LED accent lighting is cost-effective; it may have a larger initial cost, but it will pay for itself. Other lightbulbs output most of their energy as heat; up to 90% for conventional bulbs, and 80% for CFLs. LEDs remain much cooler and are more efficient; most of the energy output of an LED is light instead of heat. Because LEDs use much less energy and are more energy-efficient, you will also see a savings on your energy bills.

LED accent lighting also retains its efficiency at a wide range of temperatures, making it ideal for use in freezer case displays and outdoors. And because they are dimmable and more controllable than fluorescent lighting, you can set them on timers and sensors that activate when a customer walks by, saving energy and creating an ambience. LEDs also are much cooler than halogen or fluorescent bulbs, avoiding problems if your customer happens to come in contact with the bulb itself when reaching for a product.

LED accent lighting is more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient than traditional fluorescent lighting, and emits a more pleasing, “purer” light, which makes your products and displays look better to your customers.

We’re Eco Friendly and Going Green

Two years ago, I thought recycling was for scrubs and hippies. Then I moved to Ann Arbor and started school.  Between them both, I had no chance. Ann Arbor recently implemented sustainability framework containing sixteen goals to make the city more eco friendly, while the University of Michigan has an extremely active campaign to become an eco friendly and sustainable campus.

The university’s PlanetBlue campaign includes new solar powered, hybrid buses and vehicles and a recycling program in The Big House, which is the largest of any stadium in the country. President Mary Sue Coleman approved a $14 million dollar budget in 2011, to make the University of Michigan campus more sustainable and eco friendly by 2025.

A new academic minor in sustainability has been approved in the Program in the Environment Department. New ways to help the environment are being developed daily and more and more campus groups are banding together to make our campus and city more sustainable and eco friendly.

Although I’ve learned a lot of eco friendly habits from my peers, my short time as an Ingenex intern has really emphasized the importance of being diligent in changing some of my continuing ‘bad’ habits. I’ve learned multiple eco friendly tips, the importance of green roofing and how the continuing transition to digital marketing saves paper and resources. So next time you get ready to throw away a plastic water bottle or print a seventeen page article that you won’t read for class anyway, think about what you are doing to the environment. After all, Earth is the only home we have. Why not save it?

Facebook and Twitter Additction OK

In high school and early years of college my Facebook addiction appeared to distract me from what many others thought I “should” be focusing on. As I got older my Facebook addiction led to a fascination with Twitter and other forms of social media. Suddenly I was studying social media and digital public relations strategies in school. Within three years my degree in public relations went from cool to awesome. I was taking innovative journalism classes tailored to social media strategies and search engine optimization and all things digital. Was this too good to be true? Can I really make a career out of this?

Photo: DirJournal.com

It turns out you can. And there is quite the demand for digital agencies and social media strategist as the digital revolution continues to grow according to The Detroit News article, Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs. There is real value in social and digital and more and more people are recognizing that. The job market is fierce and there is good news for college students. According to The Detroit News Article. “By 2018 a million new jobs expected to be created.”  I don’t know if fate or luck or destiny brought me to my current internship in the digital marketing field, but the future is looking nice for me and for the digital agency.

The Detroit News: Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs

A Taste of Ann Arbor – Seva

It’s restaurant week here in Ann Arbor! That means gourmet food at phenomenal prices. Megan and Lauren are both on vacation, so Eric Rodriguez (our Client Services Manager) and I decided to take on A Taste of Ann Arbor.

Seva is nestled into the heart of downtown on E. Liberty St. As a fully vegetarian restaurant, Seva takes pride in creating new, tasty, and organic dishes. Eric chose the Burrito con Elote stuffed with butternut squash, corn, beans, and cheese (which can be modified into a Vegan dish) while I munched on a Quinoa-Spinach Salad. Both were served by friendly staff that smiled as they passed and never let our water glasses go dry. 

Seva offers as many organic and local products as possible. In keeping with the eco-friendly theme, the restaurant offers biodegradable items, such as little paper cups of salsa and guacamole instead of plastic. If you are looking for a natural pep, try one of their juiced drinks. I decided to order a Ginger Shot. The ingredients are simple: ginger, which is known for its healing properties.

The vegetarian hot spot offers reasonable prices, but during Ann Arbor’s Restaurant Week, Eric and I enjoyed our entrees for $12 and found a new place to frequent.

ECO-VERTISING!

More and more corporations are starting to combine their advertising efforts with the trend to go eco-friendly, a relationship known to some as eco-advertising or eco-vertising.  This relationship allows corporations to benefit from advertising about their attitude and interventions in regard to eco-friendly business. 

Despite the message the eco-friendly ads these corporations are sending  many are forgetting that the means through which they are sending them are far from eco-friendly.  Using mass print media such as magazines or newspapers, fliers or billboards all of which require paper, printing, transportation, and numerouse other un-natural and environmentally deterring resources to create.  The big question is, is it the profit margin of this new niche market they are trying to capitalize on or are they really hoping to make a difference? 

Although some corporations unfortunately might be making the choice for the wrong reasons there are many out there that are leading the way in eco-vertising. 

For starters Toyota known today for being one of the leaders in Hybrid cars took their eco-friendly outreach to a whole new level when introducing their 3rd generation Prius at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.  Instead of handing out glossy brochures inside large plastic bags to be carried around the show by as many people as they can get their hands on, they chose to continue to make positive changes by handing out paper cards in the shape of their new car with seeds embedded in them.  When placed in soil and given water and light the seeds in these cards provided beautiful flowers for their audience to remember them by all summer long.  Stepping out of the box and into an eco-friendly mindset Toyota not only lead the way with their eco-friendly car but also stood as one of the eco-vertising leaders at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show!

So how many other ways can a company eco-vertise? 

Curb, a natural media company based in London, UK has answered this question with their unique eco-vertising concepts.  Clean advertising and snow tagging are two out of the many I found interesting in their bag of tricks.

 eco-vertising_clean-ad4eco-vertising_snowtagging2

  • Clean advertising: laser cut stencils are put on surfaces like a pavement and the surface is then cleaned to let the message shine through the dirt and grime.
  • Snow tagging: company logos/messages are branded into the snow for a winter advertising.

Despite the out of the box thinking and unique eco-vertising techniques being developed there are other ways to go green which can start sooner than you think.  One niche that I personally have become a big fan of that is growing exponentially is the use of digital media as a platform for advertising.  It requires nothing but the power of technology that is already on the desktops and palms of your target audience.  Digital media eliminates the need for most (or at least some to start with) print material and provides mass outreach like never before, best of all this method of going green saves you some green at the same time!

Derek Mehraban (CEO, Ingenex Digital Marketing) continues to develop the digital media presence for individuals and businesses so they can eco-vertise to reach their audience.  Mehraban is not only focused on providing an eco-friendly service but like Toyota, he supports this green initiative through other parts of his company.  In Mehraban’s case it is not an eco-friendly pamphlet but a unique eco-friendly internship program that helps interns like myself reduce the carbon footprint on the world.  

Deepti Dewan Chowdhry

Hunting the Eco-Bounty

In the interest of eco-friendliness (naturally), I bring you this update from an unlit bedroom with the power of my laptop’s battery.

So much of what we hear lately is about going green. As a Michigan State student (and lifelong fan), I’ve been yelling “Go Green!” as long as I can remember. Fortunately, the agricultural history of America’s first land-grand institution backs that phrase up, and with the help of the estate of Nick Drake, combined for a beautiful ad for the university and a reminder of who’s been going green from the start.

So what does it take to “Go Green?” My boss, Derek, recently let me know about a really great piece from trendwatching.com, a site that gives some great insights into trends across all industries — in other words, a goldmine for entrepreneurs. The article, Eco-Bounty, is part of their monthly trend briefing, a detailed profile of whoever or whatever is making the most buzz.

The key bit of information the article provides for marketers, entrepreneurs, and anyone else feeling the eco-friendly movement starting to gain speed is laid out in a very simple way: being green isn’t just nice to Mother Earth — it’s where the money is. Want green? Be green.

Eco-consciousness is becoming a status symbol. Excess is out and cheap is chic (you have to wonder if Steve and Barry are wishing they’d not overextended themselves to the point of bankruptcy last year — I can imagine Starbury Shoes are probably looking pretty good to a lot of families right now). From solar-powered boats to grass-covered roofs, there are a lot of ways that individuals and businesses can make themselves stand out in a way to showcase their brand as trendsetting, young, and conservational all at once. Greenwashing is already becoming a concern for eco-conscious consumers, so companies who want to claim their eco-friendliness had better be prepared to back it up.

With a recession in full-swing, there’s no better time than the present to start thinking about conserving, whether you’re a college student trying to stretch out that food budget for the week, or a CEO looking to save on energy costs — making an investment in green now will keep you from going in the red later.

Nate Erickson

Digital Marketing Internship Summer 2009

Ingenex Digital Marketing is looking for 5 or so quality interns for Summer 2009 Eco-Friendly Digital Marketing Internship. This internship is a combination of networking, real life experience, face time in a professional office, and training on digital media. It rocks! And it won’t take too much of your time.

You come to Ann Arbor once a week to work for 2.5 hours. You learn about all forms of digital media. You work for real clients and non-profits. And you do the rest from the comfort of your apartment, library or coffee shop. It’s a low emission, kind internship for people who want to grow in the digital space.

If you have the goods – apply to this post. We will accept applications through April 15. The next class of interns will begin May 18. Please apply to the internship in a variety of ways. Make a comment on this blog post with why you feel your a good candidate. Connect w/ me on Linkedin and ask for an intersnhip. Be creative online and get our attention. It may just pay off for you.

This Could be You!

Also, if you’re not looking for an internship consider taking the New Media Drivers License course at Michigan State University. It will rock your world.

Eco-Friendly or just good marketing?

Is Apple the most Eco-Friendly company? At least, and according to a survey from Enviromental Leader, Apple is considered the most Eco-Friendly company for most consumers, closely followed by HP and Microsoft. But is this perception based on real facts, or is only due to Apple marketing strategy?

According to Greenpeace’s last “Guide to Greener Electronics”, in a 1 to 10 scale Apple’s score is only 4.1, ranking 13th on the list, far behind from the highest score company, the Finnish company Nokia.

Apple was just an example and it is a company that is currently improving in being more eco-friendly. Actually the last Ipod Nano is the most eco-friendly mp3 player that Apple had ever produced, reducing some of its more contaminant components like the batteries.

So how much of ecofriendlyness is real and how much is just pure marketing? Nowadays many products and companies claim to be “green”, but many times that is only a way of attracting the consumer and means nothing. In fact, about two thirds (66%) of the US citizens that participated in the Environmental Leader survey were willing to pay a certain premium (up to 5%) for a green product.

It is proven that in todays world eco-friendly and green products sell. However, if you care about this matter, do some research before buying a new laptop or a new cellphone. Maybe you will change your mind.

Lights Off In The Skyscrapers

According to a New York Times article published on Saturday, the nighttime dimming of skyscraper lights is finally starting to become widespread and noticeable. The article says that lights were more often dimmed during World War II and the energy shortage of the 1970s, but otherwise it’s normal for buildings to have way too many lights on at night.

Timers, motion sensors, and light dimmers are all being used to reduce the energy waste associated with superfluous lighting. These projects are easier in modern times because the cost of the technology has dropped significantly. One interesting point is that landlords have an easier time renting space if their building has been approved for environmental efficiency. However, if tenants have to pay for electrical bills themselves, they are more likely to install efficient lighting devices.

MSU’s EJ Magazine published an article by Amanda Peterka entitled “Blackout!” in their Fall 2006 issue that covered the same topic. Both articles mention groups like New York City Audubon and International Dark-Sky Association (IDSA), which have been highly instrumental in bringing about large-scale changes in huge American cities like New York and Chicago. According to Peterka, the IDSA certified Flagstaff, Arizona as the first International Dark Sky City in 2001. New York City was given a 9 on the IDSA’s 9-point scale of light pollution (i.e. wasted/unnecessary light and sky glow).

To me this seems like a no brainer. There is absolutely no reason to keep these skyscrapers lit up at night. All unused and extra light should be turned off. Savings will come in electric bills and carbon emisssions. It’s not a complete solution, but — as with most environental action these days — it’s a step in the right direction.