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Being Smarter about Being Green

As climate change has come to the forefront of political and social discussion, EMTM graduates have been using their considerable resources in both management expertise and new technologies to improve environmental stewardship and energy conservation in a host of different ways.

Building Cleaner
Working directly with the building industry, Brian Uher, MS, EMTM’07, has used his EMTM training in two companies he recently launched. Amicus is a capacity design consulting firm catering to residential and mixed-use developers looking for high-performance sustainability solutions. Access Green is a green auditing and verification business for residential and commercial properties.

With his EMTM degree, Uher found himself uniquely positioned to offer these services. “What I found in the sustainability industry was a complete lack of people who really understood how the financial world worked,” Uher says. “In the absence of an integrated approach you could make ‘green’ changes, but they wouldn’t really affect your bottom line. People are looking for significant savings and unless you can perform a rational analysis of the factors involved, it’s difficult to give people proper guidance to make changes.”

Uher is also in the process of launching a software tool to help residential builders assess their sustainability practices, a project for which he has relied on EMTM classmates’ guidance. Other current projects include solar energy feasibility studies, retrofitting a school system for energy efficiency and return on investment, and helping the developer of a 300-unit high rise make green choices that will positively impact the company’s bottom line.

Uher is optimistic about the attention and resources a new presidential administration will bring to the issues of climate change, though he believes the type of skills EMTM provides will be crucial to the long-term success of these green initiatives. “We’re seeing a sea change in terms of attitudes, but the real challenge will be not to squander the money and opportunity. This is the biggest emerging market since the dot-com boom. But you need to understand the business, marketing and operations side, as well as what new technologies are available in order to make it work.”

Sustainable Computing Solutions
As vice president of middleware for Freedom Open Source Solutions, Mikhail Malamud, EMTM‘10 works with clients in the healthcare, finance and energy industries to become more agile and flexible in their computing, and new solutions are helping them to reduce their costs as well as their carbon output. Recently the company has been promoting the use of cloud computing, a technology which allows companies to use a virtual data center, rather than maintaining their own costly and energy-inefficient hardware. “An average data center will consume over $1 million in energy but is only being utilized 10 or maybe 20 percent of the time.” In America alone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), data center demand for electricity is growing at 12% per year.

The per-use service model that Malamud advocates for allows companies to tap into “the cloud” only when they need it, minimizing energy costs and carbon impact. “You pay for what you need when you need it, so you’re not wasting electricity. You’re also not wasting hardware that depreciates quickly and contains harmful, non-recoverable materials,” Malamud says. Freedom is currently working with Linux developer Red Hat and Fortune 1000 customers to develop cloud computing solutions for their products and services.

As a current student, Malamud has found that EMTM has given him the ability to understand business solutions and customer needs, and to make sense of the innovation cycle — all of which help him provide better solutions for his clients. “Just recently I attended the energy workshop on campus and studied energy markets,” he says. “I’m now able to take that information and triangulate it for my clients. At the same time I have a better grasp on the process of innovation so I can distinguish between transitional technologies and determine which ones can give companies long term, substantial benefits. Most companies are trying to keep up, but as an EMTM student I am driving the innovation influencing how enterprise organizations will use technology to deliver competitive and sustainable value to their customers.”

Reducing Banking’s Environmental Impact
A senior managing consultant at IBM, Milen Petkov Tzvetanov EMTM’05 recently worked on an internally commissioned global study of industrial impacts on climate change. He was particularly focused on the relationship between the banking industry and climate change.

Tzvetanov’s team examined two levels of impact: both the industry’s direct use of energy and creation of carbon emissions through data centers and other operations, and its indirect impact in terms of providing credit to other businesses. “Banks are really the backbone of the economy, but they need to start to consider the operational risks of giving credit to companies in many other industries who are having an even greater impact on climate change,” Tzvetanov says.

Tzvetanov feels EMTM has prepared him for this work in honing his ability to gather and analyze large amounts of data. “When you’re talking about green business, you’re often talking about where technology and business merge and the program has helped me speak both languages. And we know we’ll only see more demand for green solutions in the future.”

Tzvetanov points out that the degree of interest in green initiatives in the banking industry varies widely around the world. In Europe, for instance, carbon capture and trade programs are well established practice with active participation of the region’s banks, whereas in Asia, such practices are in an early stage.

The challenge, going forward, will be making climate change a priority for industry initiatives amid an array of obstacles. “There’s a real impact there and the industry is going to have to respond in terms of corporate responsibility, looking for new technologies and looking for new investments. There’s certainly a market change in terms of energy costs, new regulations and opportunities. And right now the banks have the additional challenge of the financial crisis. So there is much work to be done.”

Greener Green Tea
As director of operations for Steaz beverages, Carlos Valdes EMTM’05 is instrumental in bringing fully organic, fair-trade and vegan certified drinks to the marketplace. While the drinks’ ingredients have always been virtuous from an environmental perspective, the company also works to offset its carbon output, and is aiming for a completely carbon neutral classification. Valdes has been personally responsible for improving packaging processes to include more post-consumer recycled materials.

As the company continues to grow its operations and distribution nationally, it maintains its commitment to the triple bottom line. Valdes sees Steaz’s products as part of a larger movement toward sustainable products. “As long as people are willing to support these products, and pay a slight premium for a more sustainable product, we will continue to see businesses like ours gaining momentum with a healthier way of doing things.”


“This is the biggest emerging market since the dot-com boom. But you need to understand the business, marketing and operations side, as well as what new technologies are available in order to make it work.”

Brian Uher, MS, EMTM‘07
Amicus
Access Green

“Just recently I attended the energy workshop on campus and studied energy markets. I’m now able to take that information and triangulate it for my clients. At the same time I have a better grasp on the process of innovation so I can distinguish between transitional technologies and determine which ones can give companies long term, substantial benefits. Most companies are trying to keep up, but as an EMTM student I am driving the innovation influencing how enterprise organizations will use technology to deliver competitive and sustainable value to their customers.”

Mikhail Malamud, EMTM‘10
Vice President of Middleware
Freedom Open Source Solutions

“When you’re talking about green business, you’re often talking about where technology and business merge and the program has helped me speak both languages. And we know we’ll only see more demand for green solutions in the future.”

Milen Petkov Tzvetanov, EMTM’05
Senior Managing Consultant
IBM

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