Tom Rand, green entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author, wants the debate on energy use to change. It's time to stop talking in terms of purely environmental or social costs of energy inefficiency, and start talking about what it costs the bottom line.
"Energy efficiency is about economic competitiveness," said Rand. "Germany and Japan are twice as efficient in using energy to produce money than we are. We waste half the energy we use. We could cut our energy use in half and still have the same lifestyle."
Rand is in Vancouver this weekend for the Clean Energy BC Conference from November 7th to 9th at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. He'll be talking about how businesses can reap huge benefits for themselves and the planet by using energy more efficiently. He describes some of these strategies in his new book, Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World.
Rand isn't just putting his money where his mouth is; he's making money. His latest venture is Planet Traveler, a hostel in Toronto that's been called "the world's greenest." Planet Traveler is fully heated and cooled with geothermal and solar panel technology, cutting its energy emissions by 75 per cent. Lighting is provided by LED lights. Even the heat from waste water is recycled. And all of this was accomplished with an investment of only five per cent of the hotel's capital.
"There's nothing radical about Planet Traveler. We took five or six existing technologies and put them to work in the same place," he said. "Efficiency is not a hippie thing. It's about economic competitiveness."
Rand will be giving a presentation called "Clean Power: Clean Vision – Why Now?" exploring the evolving green power industry, global trends, environmental impacts to energy policy and the link between energy and environment. To attend the Clean Energy BC Conference, visit the conference website here for info on registration, schedules, and speakers.