Green Art

Here’s an interesting art exhibition held last year using a variation of aquaponics or worm tea as the nutrient to feed the plants.  Some people call it Vermi-aquaponics and its a simpler way to feed your plants without fish.

The worms in a conventional compost heap create a worm tea, a type liquid nutrient concentrate that plants love.

Its a much easier method to grow your fresh lettuce and herbs without the problems of supplying enough oxygen and aeration to keep the fish happy.

This art piece created from a rainbow of plastic utensils and a bathtub by US artist Amy Youngs last year, certainly has a fresh imaginative look that demonstrates the fun of DIY aquaponics – or should that be called vermiponics?

The theme of the exhibition was called The New Agronomists:

“An art installation that transforms waste into a colorful indoor water feature that grows edible plants. Waste streams of uneaten food, old tea-bags, newspapers already read and throw-away plastic household objects are interrupted and turned into lettuce, basil, wheatgrass and herbs.”

“The plants live in plastic containers sourced from thrift stores and they are fed by nutrient-rich water recycling throughout the system. All nutrients come from food and paper waste that is transformed by composting worms within the system.”

Worm tea is used by a small pump in the bathtub to feed the plants. You can view more photos from the exhibition here.

Another way to run this system is through Foliar feeding. It’s when you feed a plant through its leaves. If you could spray the worm tea automatically onto the leaves of the plant, the nutrients could be absorbed in a more direct way.

You could also use any excess compost worms as fish food.

Julia Stiles & Green Mind

Julia Stiles

Julia Stiles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actress Julia Stiles has designed the first all-green and eco-friendlyclothing line. Here she shows off some of her collection.

Regaling in red carpet premieres or night outs has led everyone to attach praiseworthy dresses and suits with designer labels and celebrities adorned in pricy outfits. Trussing in the catwalk in thousand dollar outfits is the hilt of over the top consumerism. Such evolving style has taken out the great wide world into a bunch of followers parading into high fashion. No amount of chunky baubles or hints of brightly colored jumpsuits or dolly laced up shorts can come up with the great clothing ideas such as the likes of Julia’s eco friendly clothing style.

Ignoring the capacity to trust our instincts has given us a reality check with Julia Stiles styles concept. This green living persona has captured an audience of liberal, youthful and adamantly inglorious clothing that is supposedly quirky and sometimes outlandishly funny. If it was not for obvious reasons the rest of the world may run amiss on the way we actually spend on things. We do not have an exact idea on why we go green. It is a controversial move that specifically works on recycling and consuming without the added expense as basis.

The actual and onerous assumptions we make can be based on the fact that we spend more than we use. Our day to day living can actually be keen and be a good example with converting old materials into reusable items. However it may also converge into conserving our natural resources and making our own savvy ways of contributing to society.


Letting go of insecurities is what Julia Stiles’ styles permits. We can let our inhibited and preoccupied versions of ourselves out the window and revisit the practical anonymity of contributing to society. Living green means being in the know of going back to basics. This idea can ultimately shoot up through the roof turning the world upside down. But the mere fact is making a difference out of quirkiness or any amount of frivolity lands a mark in the world we live in.

Six Sigma Method for evaluating Energy Conservation Portfolio (Catherine Ethier)


0Six Sigma is often promoted as framework for organizational excellence. The Six Sigma concept started around 1987 at Motorola manufacturing division, where millions of parts were made using the same standardized process repeatedly. Eventually Six Sigma evolved as a concept and currently is applied to other non-manufacturing processes. Today Six Sigma Methodology and tools are successfully used in many fields such as Services, Medical, Insurance, Call Centers, Government and Utilities. The following article presents a practical application of Sigma Levels to managing Energy Conservation Program Portfolio.


What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma [6σ] is a methodology that improves any existing business process by constantly re-evaluating and optimizing the business processes or the program as a whole, while striving to achieve a virtually error free process running at the yield of 99.9997% or 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Six Sigma Methodology can be applied to Energy Conservation in Utilities Industry for evaluating the overall program performance in order to put in place measures that will increase its overall benefits.

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What is Sigma [σ] Level ? It is a statistical term that measures how much a process varies from its target and can be used as measure of assessing the process performance.The opportunities for error are predefined customer specifications in order to satisfy the customer who wants a defect free product. DPMO is a measurable number that stands for Defects per Million opportunities for error. DPMO is calculated using the following equation:

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In process improvement efforts, the process capability index (Cpk) is a statistical measure used to identify the ability of selected process to produce output within the specification limits. The following formula is used to calculate Cpk:

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The following is the minimum recommended Process Capability index based on the type of process being examined:

Existing Process                   Cpk = 1.33

New Process                      Cpk =1.50

Existing critical parameter            Cpk=1.50

New critical parameter               Cpk=1.67

Six Sigma quality process            Cpk=2.00


A capable process normally falls between 4 to 5 Sigma Level. Some industries have standardized required Process Capability and demand capable processed to be put in place in order to produce quality product.

 Calculating the Sigma level for Energy Conservation Program Portfolio 

The Energy Conservation Program Portfolio (ECPP) Management can be viewed as a process managing a program portfolio that includes a number “Energy Conservation Projects” as its process output or product. Conservation Projects are different in nature, size, complexity, intended real users, and degrees of opportunities that must go right. Therefore, it appears very difficult or impossible to apply the simple concept of Sigma level in the case of the overall Program Portfolio management . The question is how to determine the set of standardized measures and specifications, or in other words the things that must go right in order to satisfy the program anticipated outcome. However, if we assume that the basic intent of the Energy Conservation Program Management is improving its processes and reducing the variation, then we can follow simple steps to apply Six Sigma Process Metrics that can be used as a performance assessment tool for the overall program capability performance. We can further use Plan–Do-Check-Act (PDCA) technique to drive process improvement for this process.

 Define: Define the process. The Energy Conservation Program Portfolio Management (ECPPM) Office is responsible for the management of energy conservation projects which may include initiative from simple energy efficient lighting replacement to very complex retrofits of large heavy equipment. Projects must be evaluated based on performance and financing in order to determine the overall program portfolio capability and benefits. The ECPPM Office has to ensure also that managed processes are repeatable and reproducible and at the end to meet their objectives.

Identify the Opportunities for Error. In order to be successful, an Energy Conservation Project as any project must satisfy “the vicious triangle” of Time, Cost, and Scope. In other words this means that a project is considered satisfactory completed when it is completed On-time, On-budget, and agreed Scope (or within the regulatory schedule requirements). Therefore, for our calculation of Sigma level, we can use these three values as measurable opportunities for error.

Identify the Tolerance Target. The target of the selected measures of opportunities for error must be defined in order to allow identifying defects. It is very unlikely that projects can be completed exactly on their defined target or exactly on-time, on budget, and on-scope. Therefore, realistically the Program Management Office will be satisfied if the projects are completed within a pre-established tolerance for each of these opportunities for error. So, for example, a target for the “On-Time” measure can be defined as “a project is satisfactory when it is completed within +/- 10% of its initial agreed time”. It is important to select a tolerance target that can be achieved and that is below the current process performance level.

Define the Defect. According to Taguchi, who is known as the father of Quality Engineering in Japan, any deviation from the target results in cost to society. Thus, for our purpose whether a process is producing below or above the target should be irrelevant to calculating Sigma level because at this phase of the process improvement we are only concerned with the variation. Therefore, the defect for our purpose is defined as “any measure above the target”. The measure then is calculated as follows:

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Measure: Set up a Spreadsheet in Excel:

Set up a spreadsheet in Excel to capture the result of project performance and determine process Sigma calculations. Suppose we can start with 10 projects as shown in figure 1.

0 (3)Figure 1- Sample Spreadsheet

Fill out the spreadsheet. Identify the projects and populate the spreadsheet. Suppose we have 10 projects that we have completed. We fill in the Planned and Actual values for each of the three Opportunities of Error. Observe the Process Sigma level of our process (figure 2)

0 (4)Figure 2: Sample ECPPM Process Sigma Level


In this example, the current Process Sigma is 1.58 (Cpk 0.52) or 466,667 DPMO which is a long way from 6σ level of 3.4 defects per million opportunities. For conversion you can use the table on Figure 3 or various calculators.

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Figure 3: Sigma Level Conversion Table

Analyse: Monitor the Process. As it can be seen at the start of this process the process Sigma is low; Management should put various plans in place to improve the process.

Improve and Control: Reduce the Tolerance Target. Once the desired level of Sigma is achieved, reduce the target tolerance and continue monitoring and improving the process. Process sigma is 2.78 (Cpk = 0.92)

0 (7)Figure 4: Sample ECPPM Process Sigma Level


Six Sigma principles can be applied to most processes. This article provided a methodology for evaluation of the performance of an Energy Conservation Program Portfolio. Time, Budget, and Scope were selected as opportunities for error and target tolerance as a means of identifying defect was defined. Process Sigma is a way to benchmark and track the overall program optimization.

I will be happy to hear more about your performance evaluations of project portfolios and other analytic. Sample excel spreadsheet is available upon request.


Energy Conservation Business Plan

Executive Summary

Green Power Consultancy is a start-up organization in Burlington, VT that offers designs and advice to architects and consumers regarding environmentally sensitive buildings as well as energy consumption recommendations. Green Power has identified three keys to its success. The first is the need to only offer solutions which are based on market demand. The second is to ensure that all of its offerings are based on economic justifications; the solution should make sense beyond the environmental considerations because it has long-term economic value.

Green Power will be targeting architects and individual consumers. Green Power will work closely with several architects providing them the ability to offer environmental solutions to their customers. This group is growing at 7% and there are 23 potential customers in the area. The second customer group is individual consumers; an environmentally conscious group that have sought out a service provider to help them implement their personal ethics into the design of their new or existing structure.

Green Power is an environmental energy consultancy that offers a wide range of services: advice regarding passive heating, grey water usage recommendations, renewable energy considerations and employee transportation options.

Green Power will be led by the seasoned management team of Dan and Sue Lang. Dan received a degree in environmental studies, business, and a Masters in architecture. Dan has several years of work experience within the industry. The second part of the team is Sue Lang. Sue has an MBA and work experience with the Bonneville Power Administration in their renewable energy department. Through a combination of excellent education and good work experience, Green Power’s management team will be able to successfully execute on its business plan.

Green Power has conservatively forecasted sales of $202,343 for year two, rising to $238,402 for year three. Net profit will be reached in the second year. Through a combination of a proven business model, a strong management team, and this comprehensive energy business plan to guide the organization, Green Power will be long lasting, profitable business.


It is Green Power Consultancy’s mission to provide the finest green energy solutions for new constructions as well as existing building owners/lessors. Through careful analysis, attentive customer support, and cost effective solutions, Green Power will become a stable business serving the Burlington community.

Keys to Success

Green Power has identified several keys to success that will be instrumental in creating a sustainable business.  If these keys are followed, the likelihood of success will significantly increase.

  1. Offer solutions that are demanded by customers.
  2. Ensure all of the solutions have economic considerations built into the respective models.
  3. Only provide 100% customer satisfaction.  All customers must have their expectations exceeded.


Green Power has identified three objectives that it will pursue for the long-term success of the business:

  • Proven cost-benefit analysis environmental approaches to structure building, maintenance and energy consumption.
  • Become the premier environmental energy consultancy in the state within five years.
  • Reach profitability within three years.

Energy Management Consultant

Corporations and homeowners combined spend billions of dollars annually on energy to light, heat and air-condition their homes and buildings. Imagine how much healthier the environment would be, as well how much money each of us could save every year, if we could all reduce our energy consumption by a mere 10 percent? The aforementioned is the focus of this incredible business opportunity. Working as an energy management consultant from a homebased office you can teach homeowners and business owners practical and useful energy management tips about reducing consumption and waste. Successfully activating this business will require a great deal of research, planning and perhaps training. However, with energy cost continuing to soar, the need to take care of the environment and save money is becoming a major concern for most people. This type of venture should have a very favorable future.

The Market

People who want to learn how to save money on their monthly utility bills

5 Green Businesses You Can Start at Home

If anything’s hot in today’s economy, it’s saving money, including a broad range of green businesses helping people save energy, water and other resources. For those seeking flexible hours and low startup costs, these five green businesses to start at home may be the best way to join the green business wave:

  1. Green Irene Eco-Consultant
    Founded by PJ Stafford and Rosamaria Caballero Stafford, Green Irene trains people from all walks of life to earn part-time income as eco-consultants. Green Irene has more than 150 eco-consultants in 35 states that take pride in being a force for positive change in their communities. As part of the $99 Green Home Makeover, a trained eco-consultant walks through a person’s home with the homeowner and proposes specific changes and products that can save energy, water and money. Green Irene has screened an array of green products, helping customers and consultants avoid the confusion of sorting through these on their own. Calculators show the return on many purchases, such as $7,000 (over seven years) for a $133 two-bathroom water conservation kit. Eco-consultants also offer a green office makeover for offices of two to ten people ($250) and 11 to 50 people ($450).

    Using a direct sales model, Green Irene is like the Avon of green, a business model that provides flexible hours, low costs and the ability to work out of your own home. The $450 startup cost includes a large collection of products sold by Green Irene, customized marketing materials, hours of online training and ongoing support to build business. While becoming an eco-consultant requires commitment and energy, it doesn’t require extensive prior knowledge.

    Startup cost: $450
    For more information:

  2. Zola Goods Home Party Coordinator
    Founded by Beth Remmes, Zola Goods enables people to work from their homes arranging Tupperware-like parties but for green products.

    “There are many people who are interested in the environmental movement, but don’t really know where to start or how they can make a difference,” Remmes says.

    Zola coordinators educate people about eco-friendly products and help bridge the gap between hearing the information and taking action. Zola uses a single-level direct sales model and there are no recruiting or sales requirements. The startup cost for a coordinator is only $149 for a kit containing green products that can be used daily and for demonstrations at parties. Coordinators are often moms seeking income and flexible hours, and people who want to get involved in the green business revolution without turning their lives upside down.

    “The only requirement is that someone wants to make a positive difference,” Remmes says.

    Coordinators inspire others to help make the world a better place and often become a hub for green information in their communities.

    Startup cost: $149 for a startup kit
    For more information:

  3. Green Internet Store
    Though running an internet store out of your home allows you to reach a broad market with lower startup costs than a physical storefront, it can still take a great deal of time, energy and money to get started. You need to get your website ready for e-commerce, create a billing system, market your site, ship products and track deliveries. Another solution for eco-entrepreneurs is to work with a pre-packaged internet eco-store created by OnlyGreen4Me. OnlyGreen4Me delivers a turnkey online eco-store with more than 6,600 green products, and it takes care of inventory, shipping, billing and collection. OnlyGreen4Me provides a way to hit the ground running with a store months earlier than doing it all on your own. There is a $2,500 setup fee, which includes the first-year hosting and maintenance fees.

    Startup cost: $2,500 for initial setup fee
    For more information:

  4. Energy Efficiency Auditing–Pro Energy Consultants
    We waste billions of dollars worth of energy in the United States, but this problem is finally getting the attention it deserves. Pro Energy Consultants, created by Mark Canella, Kris Simonich and Derek Sola, is selling franchises across the U.S. for entrepreneurs to build their own businesses as energy auditors. Canella has run his energy auditing business in Cleveland for 13 years, and is now using this as the foundation of the franchise business. To help homeowners, Consultants use specific technology such as an infrared camera that lets homeowners see where their homes are losing energy.

    “The visit includes consulting–listening and talking with the homeowner–and the technical component–the audit,” Simonich says.

    To purchase a franchise, you need to go through a qualification process to meet the founders and start what will be a long-term partnership. Franchisees receive a territory, sign the agreement, go through training, pay the initial franchise fee and are ready to get started.

    Initial franchise fee: $29,900
    For more information:

  5. Making Gold Out of Garbage
    We throw away mountains of garbage every day, but much of this garbage can be converted into new products and given another life. TerraCycle may provide a model for the kind of business others can build by making useful things out of what would otherwise be garbage.

    “Garbage is one of the few things we pay people to take away from us,” says Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle. The company started packaging worm poop fertilizer in used plastic soda bottles, and today it’s working with big companies like Target. Target disposable bags are transformed into reusable shopping totes, juice pouches are made into lunch boxes, and granola bags into shower curtains. If they do it, they can show you how, too. This business can start out small at home in your garage, but there’s plenty of room for growth.

    Startup costs: $100s to $1,000s for overhead costs
    For more information:
    See examples at

    Getting involved can be more than donating to a charity or starting a nonprofit. With these double bottom-line business models, you can endorse your environmental activism while making money to be self-sufficient.

Market Characterization

Determining the size of the opportunity for energy efficiency and identifying where it exists – customer sectors, end uses and geography – provides us with guidance in the design and delivery of conservation strategies, initiatives and programs.

Technical Reference Guides

These guides were published by CEATI (the Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation) with the OPA contributing funding.
  • This guidebook addresses typical compressed air systems common to most small and medium manufacturing facilities.
  • This primer explains what demand response is, how businesses can benefit from participation, and various participation strategies.
  • This guide provides an overview of the major types of electric motors available today, including advanced motor technologies.
  • The Electrotechnologies Energy Efficiency Guide provides brief descriptions, characteristics, and advantages and disadvantages of various industrial processes used in small- to medium-size industrial plants.
  • This guide is aimed at new construction and renovation projects. It outlines key technologies, methods and systems to make the house more energy efficient.
  • This guide highlights basic considerations for determining the energy and demand savings arising from an energy efficiency project.
  • This guidebook is intended to provide the fundamental information required to make informed and educated decisions about the use and energy efficient operation of fan and blower systems.
  • The guide explains how a heat pump works, important considerations in buying a heat pump, its components and operating cycles,  efficiency definitions, performance standards used by industry, and what influences energy savings.
  • The Power Quality Reference Guide is written to be a useful and practical guide to assist end-use customers and covers material from concepts to solving power quality issues.
  • This guide is aimed at helping you implement energy efficiency methods and practices involving pumping systems at your location. It will also help you to make informed decisions about operating, maintaining or modifying your existing pump system.
  • This guide is aimed at helping you implement energy efficiency methods and practices involving refrigeration systems at your location. The main emphasis is on small to medium systems that operate with refrigerants other than ammonia.
  • This guide has been developed as an overview of Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) technology to assist in the effective understanding, selection, application, and operation of VFDs. In this guide, the word “drive” refers to the electronic VFD.