Posts Tagged ‘green’

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Green Build Road Show – Moving on to Denver

November 5, 2009

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Thomas Moore is Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy. Mr. Moore has previously served as the U.S. Commercial Service’s Deputy Director General, overseeing 2,000 employees in more than 80 countries.

After two successful days in Pittsburgh, the U.S. Commercial Service’s Green Build Road Show landed in an unseasonably sunny and warm Denver, Colorado, for another two-day program touting the unparalleled export opportunities in Europe’s green build and renewable energy sectors.

During the morning program, an audience member posed an interesting question:  Did we have any optimism that the United States would follow and match Europe’s current lead in the domestic deployment of these technologies?  As it turned out, the questioner had arrived late and missed most of the morning presentations.  Otherwise, he would have known that he was addressing a roomful of green entrepreneurs with strong confidence in an inevitable low-carbon future.

The Road Show had touched down in exactly the right place:  Denver is a hotbed of green technology development.  While the Road Show was conceived to educate U.S. companies on the European green build market, it has also been an eye-opening learning experience for the U.S. Commercial Service’s European officers and industry specialists.  We have found exactly what we were looking for:  A rich vein of new and innovative products and specialized expertise that should find an attentive market in Europe.

Pam Reichert, the State of Colorado’s Director of International Trade, opened the program with a description of Colorado’s strong commitment to what they have creatively coined the “New Energy Economy.”   “We’ve become a template for the rest of the nation for creating jobs, diversifying our energy portfolio, increasing energy security, and reducing our carbon footprint,” she said, citing the State’s success in attracting European investment in green technologies and in exporting nearly $2 billion last year to Europe.

The morning program featured presentations by two Colorado entrepreneurs who epitomize this success and should serve as encouraging role models – and mentors – for others to follow.

Dan Kigar, CEO of The Colorado Yurt Company, described his experiences in exporting 25 tent-like yurts for a major cultural exhibition in Paris.  Dan plans to conquer the world with his tent structures based upon the famous design of Genghis Khan, updated to the 21st century and pushing the envelope in use of sustainable technologies and recycled products.  He also cautioned exporters to beware of “bumps in the road” such as EU standards conformity issues, and he thanked the Commercial Service in France for helping him overcome these obstacles when they arose.

Mark Chen, Marketing Director for Abound Solar, discussed his company’s success selling thin-film solar photovoltaic modules in Germany, the world’s largest solar market with 50 percent annual growth in recent years.  Mark elicited laughs from the audience when he compared the bureaucratic paperwork required by Germany for a solar installation – two pages – versus the tabletop full of paper required by California.  But he did caution companies that they would face difficulties, albeit surmountable, in dealing with the European Union’s regulatory regimes for chemicals and electronic products.  (FYI:  The Commercial Service can help!)

The keynote speaker at lunch was David Hiller, Executive Director of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, a joint venture of four premier public research universities in partnership with the private sector, and an important element in the infrastructure that has attracted foreign investment to Colorado.  David highlighted the strong public support and commitment among Coloradans for clean energy solutions.

Will this public commitment be replicated nationally, as one audience member wondered?  We had a room full of people betting their sweat and financial equity that it would!  On a personal note, it was wonderful to renew acquaintances with our top-notch U.S. Commercial Service colleagues in the Denver Export Assistance Center.  Kudos for a fantastic job organizing this event!

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From Inside a Greenbuild Enivronment, Day Two of the Greenbuild Road Show!

November 4, 2009

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Slyvia Mohr is the Standards Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union.  She has been with the Mission since 1986 and been a part of the U.S. Commercial Service since 1991.

Day Two of the Greenbuild roadshow:  another sunny day in Pittsburgh, which we were able to appreciate from inside a perfect greenbuild environment – Carnegie Mellon’s Intelligent Workspace – the greenbuild state-of-the-art home of the Faculty of Architecture, with special shading, ventilation system and lighting.  At the invitation of Professor Volker Hartkopf, Director of the Center, the Commercial Service team participated in a greenbuilding conference attended by approximately 35 representatives from government, academia, industry, and service providers.

A series of presentations from selected speakers, among others, Kevin Kampschroer from the General Services Administration, and William Sanders from the Environmental Protection Agency, set the scene for a lively discussion on how the U.S. and EU can work together to speed up the process in addressing climate change.   It was interesting to hear that participants felt a need for government to set green building target – it struck as me as so European!

We heard that promoting awareness of the benefits of green building to the general public – especially the incentives to stimulate going green and enabling green technologies – is key to making the program a success.    While ambitious energy performance targets now have to be met, and preferably exceeded, for public buildings, it is often a challenge to balance budget realities and green build opportunities.

Our own mission – to reach out to U.S. greenbuild firms who are new to exporting – was expressed most eloquently by George Ruffner, the Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Germany: “Where are you?!” asked George, adding, “We in the Commercial Service are ready to help American companies succeed in European markets, but we need your help to find those companies and encourage them to export.”    After highlighting the individual markets in Europe, we left the participants with some food for thought for future projects, outreach, and more…  Hopefully, it is the beginning of more to come!

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A Great Start to the Green Build Road Show!

November 3, 2009

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Daniel Harris has been a Foreign Service Officer for over 25 years serving at posts in Europe, South America, Africa, and Washington, DC, most recently as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Operations, U.S. Commercial Service.  He currently serves as the chief of the Commercial Section and the senior representative of the U.S. Department of Commerce in the U.S. Mission to France.

What a great start to a two-week Road Show!  The U.S. Commercial Service has kicked off its “Green Build Road Show” on the 31st Floor of a Pittsburgh skyscraper.  Thanks to the beautiful fall weather my colleagues and I have been treated to an expansive view over a city that has become famous for re-inventing itself from a gritty rust-belt town to a leader in green technology.  We’re here because the Commercial Service office in Pittsburgh has recruited an audience of 40 people from 35 companies plus four Pittsburgh associations to hear about the European sustainable construction sector.

Senior Commercial Officers from Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Nordics presented market research that outlined market drivers, best prospects and key issues in each of these five big markets.   Recognizing that regulatory requirements can scare off American companies, a Commercial Specialist from the U.S. Mission to the European Union outlined the EU system and explained how the Commercial Service can help companies navigate their products through the regulatory process.

Why bring such a high powered team across the Atlantic for two weeks to talk about green building?  Because sustainable construction in Europe is one of the best growth markets to come along for years!  With strong public support, EU governments have committed to ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions – even putting money behind this campaign in the form of tax credits, subsidies and other incentives.  Changes in building codes, taxes on carbon and other measures will change behavior and building practices.  American companies with competitive services, technologies and products are well-positioned to successfully export to this sophisticated market.

What I liked best about the day:  Most of the companies we met were new to the Commercial Service, which is just what I’d hoped – we want to reach beyond our existing clients and describe the huge opportunities in Europe to green companies who have not yet tried exporting.   I loved watching my CS colleagues bound up to the podium like race horses from the starting gate, happy to offer new opportunities and fresh perspectives on their markets.  An added bonus for our audience was the presentation by Professor Volker Hartkopf, who wowed us with his hard-hitting analysis of energy use in the United States.  The bad news is that we waste a huge amount of energy; the good news is that we can dramatically reduce energy consumption and expand renewables through technologies that already exist.  We’ll learn more about that on Tuesday when we visit his institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

It was a great start to a two-week trip that will take us to five cities and introduce us to dozens, maybe hundreds, of new clients in the green space.  Stay tuned as we share insights along the way – or join us if we’ll stop at a city near you, or perhaps at our final stop at the Green Build Conference and Expo in Phoenix.  We hope we’ll meet you along the way!

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Waste Expo Highlight the Latest Waste Management and Recyling Technologies

June 18, 2009

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Vidya Kori has been with the International Trade Administration for 5 years.  She currently serves as a Project Officer in the United States and Foreign Commercial Service’s International Buyer Program.

I am writing from the bustling International Business Center located at Waste Expo 2009, North America’s largest trade show serving the solid waste and recycling industries.  Here in Las Vegas Nevada, over 500 exhibitors are showcasing the latest equipment and technologies the industry has to offer.  There are also 40 conference sessions and training workshops led by industry experts on current topics such as Green Management and Technology, Recycling, Energy, and Landfill Operations.  The International Trade Administration’s (ITA) own Marc Lemmond (a trade specialist from ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, a part of the Manufacturing and Services unit) was one of the speakers at a seminar titled E-Waste:  New Laws, New Programs.  Although this seminar took place on the pre-exhibition day, well over 100 people were in attendance at this seminar, even with 3 other concurrent sessions going on!  Marc enlightened the audience on the international drivers for electronics recycling.  The seminar focused on the fact that discarded electronics should be considered a recyclable commodity, not waste – for this reason, the recycling community prefers the term “e-scrap” to e-waste.  The falling cost of electronics, transition to digital TV, and new technologies such as LED are making discarded electronics the fastest growing segment of the municipal waste stream.  U.S. and international regulations are reinforcing market opportunities for shredding, sorting, and treatment technologies for electronics recycling.  The session was very popular and well-received!

As a participant in the International Buyer Program (IBP), Waste Expo was promoted by United States and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) around the world resulting in USFCS Specialists recruiting and leading buyer delegations here to meet U.S. exhibitors from Vietnam, Romania, Japan, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon.  It’s been great to see so many international buyer delegates meeting with U.S. companies here in the International Business Center!  The show also features a U.S. Export Pavilion with representatives from within the Department of Commerce (Census and Commercial Service) and Export Import Bank.  “I’ve been to several trade shows over the past few years and there seems to be a higher percentage of U.S. manufactured goods and services in this industry than in the other shows,” stated Kelly Kemp from Export Import Bank.

It is only the first day of the 2.5 half day exhibition and so many important introductions and meetings have taken place.  I’m excited to see what the next two days have to offer and commend all the Commerce and government representatives at the show for all their hard work on making this show a great success!  For other shows participating in the IBP, you should check out www.export.gov/IBP.

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