Environmental technology challenge issued - and accepted
by Carolyn Chase
coalition of officials from the United States and Mexico
have joined with business and environmental leaders in Chula Vista to launch
a national Environmental Technology Challenge. The City of Chula Vista is
a founding leader of the challenge along with the cities of Chicago; Baltimore;
Portland, OR and Orlando, FL.
Chula Vista Mayor Shirley Horton commented, "The
challenge will encourage companies to put better, faster, cheaper and safer
technologies to use. Challenge-takers, including users and providers of
innovative technologies, will play a vital role in enhancing the environmental
quality of our binational region."
Companies are being challenged to use cost-saving innovative
Businesses participating in the challenge locally include:
Sony Electronics Inc.; Honeywell; Rohr, Inc.; WaterLink Systems, Inc.; Ballard
Power Systems and Safety-Kleen Corporation.
- Reduce energy use in daily operations
- Conserve water, treat storm water, or improve wastewater treatment
- Recycle, use recycled products, and reduce consumption of paper and
- Reduce use of chemicals in daily operations
- ·Solve other problems related to environmental issues
Sony is "taking the challenge" by expanding
its solid waste recycling programs at its plants in San Diego and Tijuana.
"Our aggressive solid waste management program has already increased
the amount of trash we recycle," said Mark Small, Ph.D., director of
Corporate Environmental Affairs. "In taking the challenge, we're committing
to bettering our record this year by recycling more than 80 percent of the
trash we generate."
Honeywell is taking the challenge to save water and energy and is partnering
with WaterLink Systems, Inc. WaterLink has developed a computerized landscape
irrigation water systems that saves water and energy, reduces costs and
eliminates pollution caused in runoff.
Studies by the California Department of Water Resources
and the Metropolitan Water District have concluded that more than 40 percent
of urban water used in Southern California is consumed by landscape irrigation.
Other studies have shown that most landscapes are overwatered by a factor
of two or more! Reducing landscape overwatering is a real and effective
method available today to save water, energy cots and prevent pollution
caused by pesticide and fertilizer runoff, while still maintaining a healthy
landscape. Since 1992, WaterLink's water-based irrigation scheduling technology
and on-line services has saved more than 10.8 million gallons of water at
four commercial and office sites in Southern California, including one in
WaterLink is also issuing the challenge to local property
owners to do their part to save water and prevent pollution. WaterLink provides
a durable, cost effective technology and service with quick paybacks to
those who accept the challenge.
Among other environmental initiatives, the City of Chula
Vista is working with Ballard Power Systems from Vancouver, Canada. Ballard
is the world leader in the development of unique fuelcell power systems.
The Ballard Fuel Cell is a proprietary zero-emission engine that converts
natural gas, methanol or hydrogen fuel into electricity without combustion.
- Chula Vista will be using three zero-emission transit busses reducing
both air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions as part of their comprehensive
CO2 reduction plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Other Chula Vista
- BEST (Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow) Awards
for businesses that practice resource conservation in any of six areas:
energy efficiency, water conservation, waster reduction/recycling, clean
and efficient transportation/trip reduction, toxic use reduction and sustainable
- SmogBusters Alternative Fuel Rebate Program which offers financial
rebates to encourage alternative fuel vehicle use.
- Telecenters providing places to move the work to the worker instead
of the other way around. So far, the City has eliminated 954 vehicle miles
traveled per week, reducing freeway congestion, air pollution, fuel consumption,
as well as keeping local consumer dollars in the local area.
- Education. Chula Vista has established a nationally-recognized global
warming curriculum for elementary students focusing on local energy use
and the ways personal actions can contribute to global changes.
Borderline bottom line
Challenge companies are also sponsoring the Border Environmental
Commerce Alliance (BECA), a regional economic conversion and environmental
business support program. Founded with Department of Commerce support, BECA
has committed to promote the utilization of environmental management practices
and technologies by both United States and Mexico businesses. BECA hosts
the "Border Environmental Technology Resource Center" - a one-stop
center for technical assistance in environmental management, technology,
business development, marketing and cross-border trade. BECA also hosts
the Border Environmental Business Cluster, a business Incubator for environmental
entrepreneurs and synergistic atmosphere for 15 to 20 new environmental
BECA is located in 20,000 square feet of space donated
by Rohr, Inc. Having experienced work force reductions due to defense budget
cutbacks, Rohr sees environmental technology and innovation key to economic
By issuing a challenge to technology providers, Rohr
will create new opportunities for environmental entrepreneurs to solve key
problems. "We're looking for a solution that is both economical and
will have little or no impact on the environment," said Art Sellgren,
manager of Rohr Corporate Facility Resources.
Rohr seeks development of a process that will reduce
or eliminate the need to use certain chemicals that create a hazardous water
by-product in the manufacture of titanium aircraft parts. "Upon a successful
completion of a Challenge partnership, Rohr intends to donate a portion
of future economic savings from the use of the new technology to BECA programs
to encourage additional innovative environmental technologies," Art
Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,
the Environmental Technology Challenge is a two-year program to showcase
innovative environmental technologies. "Our aim is to see the challenge
issued in Chula Vista met across the country," said Barbara Cairns,
deputy director of the foundation.
The objective of the Challenge is to have at least 50
businesses and communities pledge to put specific environmental technologies
to use within the two-year project. The challenge will help foster the goals
of: Sustaining Our Environment, Driving Economic Advantage, and Community
According to Cairns, "Environmental technologies play a major role
in cleaning our environment and protecting public health. Appropriate technologies
reduce human exposure to toxic chemical; clean our soil, water and air.
"Innovative environmental technologies can reduce
costs, create jobs, increase exports and drive competitive advantage for
American business. There are currently more than 60,000 environmental technology
businesses in the United States employing more than 1 million workers.
"Environmental technology is a key building block
for sustainable development and building cleaner communities. From the remediation
of toxic dump sites to the greening of schools and public buildings, from
the improvement of air and water quality to eco-industrial parks and transportation
systems, environmental technologies can be job-creating, community-renewing
tools. Moreover, by fostering urban renewal rather than sprawl into open
spaces, we can simultaneously protect all aspects of our environment."