Monday, March 22, 2010

Product positioning if you made a cleantech widget

In the last post, I used a system diagram to look at a picture of sustainability leverage points from the perspective of the owner. That can be turned around and used to look at the picture from the perspective of a cleantech vendor. Let's say someone like Redwood Systems who makes an LED lighting + sensor system that allows feedback to a building automation system.

Key messages can be tailored to the exact circumstances and interests of the building owner but two main themes seem to stand out around energy usage and environmental quality.

Reduced energy usage:
  • drives down operating costs 
    • Direct savings from the lower energy consumption of the lighting fixtures.
    • Indirect savings from the improved efficiency with which the fixtures, HVAC and process equipment can be operated based on feedback that the fine grained sensor network provides.
  • helps the planet and, thereby, your operating risks / costs
    • Reduced energy usage lowers the company's carbon footprint, reducing its impact on the environment.
    • A reduced carbon footprint, in addition to helping reduce the potential business continuity costs and impacts of climate change, also helps reduce potential liability for carbon tax or cap & trade costs.
Better control of environmental quality:
  • improves productivity and profits
    • Fine grained feedback control over the workspace allows for a more pleasant and, therefore, productive workplace. Even small increases in productivity provide large leverage when weighed against total payroll costs, especially for highly paid, specialized workers.
  • improves worker retention
    •  Deployed as part of a larger program for improved retention, having a comfortable workspace with a customizable, controllable environment decreases costs of turnover both in lost productivity and in direct training.