Leaders Share Biggest Sustainability Technology Hopes for 2016

By February 17, 2016 No Comments

Summary of article by Elaine Hsieh, Program Director and Senior Analyst of VERGE,, December 28, 2015

What’s your biggest hope for sustainability technology in 2016?

Kate Brandt, lead for sustainability, Google.  Biggest hope for sustainability in 2016 is the opportunity she sees for businesses like Google to make a difference through leading by example.  They plan to continue driving sustainability across operations by designing data centers to be as efficient as possible.  They are also working to create sustainable workplaces by developing tools like Portico, which will help with decisions about using healthier materials. Purchasing and investing in renewable energy in ways that can lead to change in how the industry works. And investing in solutions like Project Sunroof and a partnership with a startup named Aclima, to attach air-quality sensors to our Street View cars to measure for hazardous chemicals.

Tom Werner, CEO, SunPower.  He is confident that innovative technology will move sustainability one step closer to “default status” across industries. Similar to the years preceding the IT revolution, these past several years have been a prelude to major advances in sustainability that will fundamentally change how technology is designed, developed and delivered.

Michael Berkowitz, president, 100 Resilient Cities, Rockefeller Foundation.  Has hope that more technology will be created to help cities harness data and feedback from citizens to better understand their true challenges and opportunities. Urban solutions should ideally be created to solve multiple problems and create benefits in one single intervention. It’s cost-efficient, effective and a better way of doing business.

Stefan Heck, co-founder and CEO, Nauto.  Hopes that autonomy will “survive” the first bad experiences as Tesla’s autopilot upgrade deploys globally, as Google cars venture into limited “public/employee” service, and other manufacturers bring out similar autonomous features. There will be accidents, but he hopes that people focus on the overall benefits, not the outlier examples of crashes.

Robin Chase, co-founder, Veniam, Zipcar.  Hopes there will be more “platforms for participation” created that take the complexities and transactional hurdles out of climate-positive services, making them easy to adopt and ready to be scaled broadly.  Things like more smart transportation, more distributed energy, more smart homes, more efficiency.

Frank Pennisi, VP and general manager, Honeywell Connected Buildings.  One area that shows considerable promise for 2016 is the simple notion of introducing a common platform that can connect smart devices already present in buildings.  Adding ubiquitous wireless connectivity would allow the possibilities to grow.

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