Global Mega-Cities Driving Sustainability, AI and IoT

Clean tech cities Bill Roth Earth 2017 Green Business CoachAt a recent Further With Ford event their futurist, Sheryl Connelly, talked about the growth of our world’s mega-cities. She used Beijing China as an example. Beijing has 20 million people living in its metropolitan area. A typical driving commute is 5 hours! They have one highway with 50 lanes. This 50 lane highway experienced a traffic jam that lasted for TWELVE DAYS!

Ford’s research confirms how mega-cities and urbanization are reshaping the 21st century:

What these mega-cities have in common is unsustainable levels of pollution, landfill waste and congestion. Their success will choke on this lack of sustainability. Recognizing this as opportunity, companies from Ford to Uber to Google are driving an urban technology revolution. Continue reading

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Promoting Workplace Wellness

The Boomer Generation Diet by Bill RothWorkplace wellness is now a business issue as health care costs soar. Healthcare costs are a $3 trillion annual expenditure. That is equal to over 17% of our country’s annual GDP. Health spending is growing at a 5+% annual rate.

All of us are impacted by these rising costs. About half of health expenditures are paid for by households and the federal government. The rest are paid by businesses, state/local governments and individuals. As a country, as individuals and as businesses we confront a health care cost crisis.

Personal choice drive health care costs higher

Personal choices are a major factor in driving up health care costs. I recently published the Boomer Generation Diet to highlight that we are in a national weight crisis. Our weight gain has resulted in a national obesity and diabetes epidemic. This epidemic is different from a flu epidemic. This weight crisis is tied to our personal choices on diet and exercise.

Work is also a contributor to our weight gain. Our work, commute and lives are increasingly being defined by stress and sitting.

The small business challenge is what to do?

Should a business get involved in work associates’ personal choices if they impact the company’s costs?

If stress, diet choices and sitting are driving health care costs higher then how should a business structure its work place? What are the boundaries for setting rules and offering incentives?

A well designed and implemented workplace wellness programs can be a tool for a business attempting to answer these questions. Continue reading

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How Ford Focus RS Smart Technology Impacts Sustainability

Earth 2017 Founder Bill Roth about to ride with Top Gear's Stig in the Ford Focus RS

Earth 2017 Founder Bill Roth about to ride with Top Gear’s Stig in the Ford Focus RS

Nothing better explains how smart tech will reshape our lives than the Ford Focus RS. This is a four cylinder car. But it is excitingly fast and outrageously fun to drive. It is also the safest car I have ever driven. Even with supercar levels of horsepower the EPA estimates a 25 MPG at highway speeds. What the RS demonstrates is how smart tech enables fun and sales. Smart tech’s commercial success path will also be how products contribute toward solving global warming.

Test driving the RS at Ford’s Dearborn proving grounds

Ford invited me to test drive the Focus RS at their Dearborn Michigan proving grounds. I welcomed the opportunity. Last year Ford invited me to San Francisco to test drive the Focus ST. The ST was the fastest Focus before Ford introduced this year’s SR. My San Francisco test drive of the ST was a blast. The ST is fast, agile and a fun ride.

The RS is the ST on steroids. Using smart tech Ford has created a 350 horsepower street legal rally sports car. The RS’ dynamic digital controls allow you to dial up four driving modes: fast, faster, fastest and RIDICULOUS! Continue reading

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Four Drivers Propelling Clean Tech’s Growth

DSC_0028PG&E is one of our nation’s largest electric utilities. It has recently proposed retiring its nuclear power plant that began commercial operations in 1985. PG&E’s stated reasons is that this plant “no longer fits the needed generation profile of the changing energy landscape.”

What is this new energy landscape? It is clean tech. The PG&E plan defines the technologies changing the energy landscape as a combination of renewable energy, energy efficiency, battery storage and grid changes. Continue reading

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Utilities Fighting Lower Electric Bill Zombie Apocalypse

Will Nevada be ground zero for a lower electric bill Zombie Apocalypse?

Will Nevada be ground zero for a lower electric bill Zombie Apocalypse?

Has this summer’s heat waves got you worrying about a high electric bill?

Your electric utility is worried too. But in a different way. Increasingly, clean technologies like solar, batteries and smart appliances are costing less due to global growth in manufacturing economies of scale plus technical innovations. Utilities fear an epidemic of customers investing in these technologies to reduce electric bills. To utilities this looks like a zombie apocalypse!

Disregard the potential of customer owned technologies reducing pollution. Forget about how these technologies could generate hundred of thousands of new jobs across America. To utilities the idea of customers owned technologies hooked up to “their” grid to lower electric bills is nothing less than a catastrophic infection.

The utility industry is using rules, regulations and legislation designed around what they call “revenue preservation” to destroy the economics of customer owned clean technology. To a utility, revenue preservation means they must be reimbursed for whatever decisions and investments they made that their regulators deem “used and useful.” What revenue preservation means to a consumer is a higher electric bill than what they could achieve if their own technology choices were successfully integrated into the grid. Continue reading

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Obesity Death Rate Now Approximates Smoking

The Boomer Generation Diet by Bill RothLinking Big Food’s health impacts to those of cigarettes is based on the Center For Disease Control’s (CDC) analysis of our national weight gain. Our national weigh crisis is now a health epidemic. It is literally killing us. 300,000 Americans will die this year from obesity. This death level is comparable to the death rate tied to smoking cigarettes.

Fingers of blame for this health crisis can be pointed at us for sitting too much and exercising too little. But fundamentally, what we eat is at the heart of our weight crisis. We are being sold, and we are buying, the equivalent of obesity cigarettes. Big Food (and sodas) are harming our health, threatening our children’s future and driving us toward medical cost bankruptcy.

The ideal solution is for the Big Food industry to immediately redesign their products around human health. Instead, Big Food is pursuing an incremental “do less harm” strategy that attempts to grow their sales while promising improvements like removal of artificial coloring or flavors. A classic example is how Wendy’s figured out how to include blue berries in a salad while aggressively promoting their Baconator hamburger. This raises the question of whether Big Food’s lack of meaningful actions (measured by improved human health) will force America to regulate Big Food like it does the cigarette industry? Continue reading

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What If Electric Cars Win

Bill Roth at 2016 NAIAS with all electric Chevy Bolt

Bill Roth at 2016 NAIAS with all electric Chevy Bolt

The U.S. last year bought a record 17 million gasoline powered cars and trucks. To most Americans the idea of driving an electric car is a “California thing.”

But this perception of electric cars will soon be tested. In 2017 both GM and Tesla will be selling all electric cars with a single charge 200 miles driving range and a less than $30,000 price after incentives.

These electric cars will also be cheaper to fuel than gasoline cars even at $2 per gallon gasoline. Refueling an electric car from the utility grid costs about 75 cents per gallon equivalent. An increasing number of homeowners are buying their own solar system and refueling their electric cars for “free.” Continue reading

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