Toyota Takes the LEED in Texas

Toyota Headquarters Campus Achieves LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council, The Largest Commercial LEED Platinum Project in The State Of Texas, To Date

Plano, Texas (Sept. 22, 2017) – Everything is bigger in Texas. Everything, that is, except Toyota’s environmental footprint. 

Toyota Motor North America’s (TMNA) headquarters campus in Plano, Texas has officially achieved LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Jonathan Kraatz, executive director, USGBC Texas Chapter, presented the prized Platinum plaque to Jim Lentz, TMNA president and chief executive officer, today at the new campus. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Toyota’s new campus is the largest commercial LEED Platinum project in the state of Texas, to date.

“At Toyota, we have a longstanding commitment to sustainability and preserving our natural resources,” said Lentz. “With the installation of greenspaces, thousands of solar panels, a massive rain water capture system, and natural light wells, we have designed our new headquarters to reflect the local habitat and enhance its biodiversity. Recognition as a LEED Platinum facility is a testament of our efforts to become a model for energy efficiency and sustainability, and speaks to our challenge to ourselves to create a net positive impact on the planet by 2050.”

“USGBC is proud to award LEED Platinum to Toyota, for their thoughtfulness in their campus energy planning and space design as well as the overall net positive impact on the community and environment,” said Kraatz. “Our mission at USGBC has challenged organizations to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Toyota’s new Texas campus is a great example of what can be accomplished with the right leadership.”

The state-of-the-art, 100-acre campus boasts a Platinum-sized list of sustainability aspects, from renewable energy to drought resistant landscaping:  

Renewable Energy

Largest onsite corporate solar installation among non-utility companies in Texas

8.79-Megawatt solar power system, designed and installed by SunPower Corp.

Produces up to 33 percent of daily electric needs for headquarters campus

Reduces annual carbon dioxide emissions by 7,198 metric tons

Creates enough energy to power 1,200 average US homes for a year

Installation of high efficiency lighting and building envelopes to reduce energy usage on campus

Specialized rooftop design teeming with plant life to manage rainwater, reduce heat and further insulate the buildings

Flexible energy contract to preserve and resell excess power generation back to the grid

Grid energy offset by Texas wind farm renewable energy credits

Repurposed Rainwater

State-of-the-art rainwater capture system will provide up to three months of water supply for irrigation use

Cistern water storage with a capacity to hold 400,000 gallons of harvested rain water

Estimated to save more than 11 million gallons of potable (drinking) water annually

Excess drain water will be collected and repurposed for sanitary facility use


More than 99 percent of the construction waste was recycled

Construction waste was sorted offsite at North Texas’ first Construction and Demolition waste processing facility

Sustainable Landscaping

Exterior landscaping features drought-tolerant, North Texas indigenous plants like savannah, oaklands and wildflower meadows

Campus landscape will provide a natural habitat for endangered pollinators and monarch butterflies

Approximately 1,300 trees planted onsite by Toyota

More than 80 mature trees saved or relocated onsite, including a 100-year-old oak tree

Landscaping will be managed without expensive mowing, fertilizers, chemicals or artificial irrigation

Historic wetlands on the northeast corner of the campus were preserved to protect its natural state

Professionals who led this project include a host of Dallas-based firms: KDC Real Estate Development & Investments to develop and build the campus, architect Corgan Associates to design the campus, and Austin Commercial to manage the construction.

In late 2015, Toyota Motor Corporation announced the 2050 Toyota Environmental Challenge, a set of ambitious environmental goals to reach beyond net zero, and create a net positive impact on the planet. To learn more, please visit


How Data Centers are Using Renewable Energy to Lessen their Carbon Footprint

Data storage is big business in today’s world. In fact, there’s a good chance all your photos, videos, documents and files are stored somewhere in the cloud. Moreover, setting up automated backups and syncing across all our devices is so effortless that we forget where this information really lives: huge data centers spread around the world. And these data centers consume a lot of energy.

So how do some of the biggest energy consumers lower their carbon footprint? That’s easy: through renewable energy sources and other innovative means to keep those servers cool. These are how today’s data centers are preparing for tomorrow’s world of energy.

Small Business

While one mega data center may have a large carbon footprint, its use of technology and systems pales in comparison to all the servers used by small businesses across the country. As you might imagine, small-to-medium-sized companies don’t have access to the same energy-efficient technology that major corporations employ — and those on-site server rooms take up a lot of space and plenty of energy needs.

How Data Centers are Using Renewable Energy to Lessen their Carbon Footprint
Of course, the cloud isn’t just for smartphones and PC and laptop backups. Small businesses are opting out of using local storage and instead are adopting enterprise-level cloud-based services like those sold by Mozy. Removing server rooms from small-to-medium-sized companies — and instead turning to cloud-based technology — allows data to be accessed anywhere, anytime.

Dell’s Liquid Cooling

Anyone who has ever assembled their own PC knows there are two ways to cool a CPU — by using a heatsink and fan, or a liquid pump and radiator. The latter means is more expensive upfront, but reduces heat much easier and faster. Likewise, data centers produce a lot of heat, which takes even more energy to cool.

That’s why companies like Dell are creating innovative ways to cool servers using liquid technology. Liquid-cooled data centers usually use ground or city water from central pumps, which can use a lot of energy to distribute. But Dell’s cooling technology, which is used at data centers owned by eBay, store water in towers above the servers and let gravity do most of the work to bring it into the server racks. In the end, there’s no central pump to contend with and much less power is required.

Apple’s Green Initiative

iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage system and the home to almost every uploaded photo, video and backup by iPhone users, now runs on 100 percent renewable energy. This is no easy feat, and Apple goes into great detail about how it reached that pinnacle in its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report.

You may not know that most of Apple’s data centers operate in rural areas, where huge wind and solar farms power 100 percent of their energy needs. But because Apple relies on using so much of this land, the company has made it a point to create more renewable energy sources.

Next Steps

Major players like Google, Apple, Dell and Amazon have all committed to “going green” with Big Data. Indeed, these corporations certainly have the resources to build large solar and wind farms, but the next step in truly eliminating their carbon footprint is to improve efficiency — both in cooling and the servers themselves.

The Intel Xeon, a chip commonly used in servers, consumes more energy than CPUs in your standard PC. But Intel has made efforts to reduce the required wattage with each generation of processor it develops. Reducing energy dependency by five or 10 watts may not seem like much, but multiply that by hundreds or even thousands of servers and it adds up. Small increments like these can save enterprise-level companies millions of dollars on their utility bills.

Nearly 10 years ago, we talked in gigabytes, while today we talk in terabytes. And in the near future, we’ll be talking in petabytes. Big Data is growing exponentially, and it’s up to the big players as well as small-business owners to create new ways to power these data centers without increasing their carbon footprint.

Solar Power Lights Up Amazon Communities Fighting Dirty Energy

September 19, 2017 — Three indigenous communities on the front lines of the Amazon rainforest’s most emblematic rights and resources struggles now have solar energy generation capacity and internet hubs thanks to a partnership between Amazon Watch and Empowered By Light.

While Trump administration denies the impacts of climate change on the disastrous weather events in recent weeks, indigenous communities in the Amazon are leading us toward a brighter future as they embrace clean energy while defending the living forest, as demonstrated in the new video released today by Amazon Watch and Credo Mobile.

“These communities are true climate leaders,” said Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director at Amazon Watch. “Lighting the way for our climate and our forests, these indigenous earth defenders know that the solution to climate change must include stopping the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.”

Solar micro-systems and radio communications infrastructure now power five Sápara communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon as they resist oil drilling on their lands; two Munduruku communities in the Brazilian Amazon as they demand legal recognition and protection for their territory; and four U’wa communities in the Colombian cloud forests as they defend their sacred sites. More installations are planned for late 2017 and 2018.

The astoundingly biodiversity of the Amazon is home to hundreds of distinct indigenous peoples whose futures are threatened by this resurgent wave of resource exploitation, often living in remote areas where they are vulnerable to violent repression. The solar power and communications systems being installed are critical for these communities to assure their safety and communicate their stories as they defend their traditional practices and territories. In the past, protecting themselves and their territories has meant using polluting and unreliable diesel and kerosene generators, with fuel being brought in from the outside at significant expense.

Photo credit: Amazon Watch

The solar and communications equipment allow these remote communities to communicate internally to improve their safety and engage in cross-community dialogue; tell their own story to the broader world directly through new communications technology and training, subsequently further increasing their visibility and safety; and have access to reliable, clean energy for other community needs without relying on dirty energy sources like kerosene or diesel.

“We hope the introduction of clean, renewable solar power will not only help these communities protect the Amazon rainforest, which is critical for climate stability, but that it will demonstrate to their governments that similar remote or off-grid communities can leapfrog fossil fuels,” said Moira Hanes, co-founder of Empowered by Light.

Collaborative project planning, along with maintenance and communications trainings, are integral parts of all of these projects in order to maximize both system longevity and impact. These projects, all of which were specifically requested by the communities, provide critical external and internal communications capacity, thereby allowing communities to increase both their personal safety and visibility for their emblematic campaigns.

For more information:

Amazon Watch:
Empowered By Light:

Protect Our Winters Heads to Washington D.C. with Professional Athletes and Outdoor Industry Leaders to Discuss Bipartisan Climate Solutions

BOULDER, CO— On September 13, 2017, Protect Our Winters (POW) will convene in Washington D.C. with professional athletes and outdoor industry leaders to discuss bipartisan solutions to climate change. Athletes in attendance will include: Founder of Protect Our Winters and Jones Snowboards, Jeremy Jones, Olympians Gretchen Bleiler, Alex Deibold, and Kaitlyn Farrington; skiers Julian Carr, Angel Collinson, Hadley Hammer, and Michelle Parker; snowboarders Josh Dirksen and Forrest Shearer; fly fisherman Hilary Hutcheson; climber Matt Segal; and Polar explorer Eric Larsen. In addition, representatives from Aspen Skiing Company, Burton, Fishpond, Keen, Orvis, and the California Ski Industry Association will be in attendance. 

Throughout the day attendees will meet with the following offices: Congressman McClintock (R, CA-04), Congresswoman Mia Love (R, UT-04), Congressman Tipton (R, CO-03), Congressman Walden (R, OR-02), Congressman Welch (D, VT At Large), Senator Daines (R-MT), Senator Gardener (R-CO), and Senator Murkowski (R-AK). 

“For Burton Snowboards, warming winters are a business bottom line issue. We are excited to head to Washington with Protect Our Winters to meet with lawmakers to discuss how we can address climate change’s impacts on the $887 billion-dollar outdoor recreation economy,” said Donna Carpenter, CEO of Burton Snowboards.

Protect Our Winters Heads to Washington D.C. with Professional Athletes and Outdoor Industry Leaders to Discuss Bipartisan Climate Solutions
In addition to one-on-one meetings with members of Congress, the group is excited to attend a hearing held by the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus on climate change’s impacts on tourism and outdoor recreation. The Caucus is a group of U.S. Representatives with a mission to educate members on economically viable options to reduce climate risk and to explore bipartisan policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate. Membership is kept even between Democrats and Republicans; the Caucus currently boasts 52 members. Pro fisher Hilary Hutcheson, Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, and VP of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company Auden Schendler will testify at this hearing.

“As a professional snowboarder, it’s true that my idea of a good time isn’t necessarily putting on a suit and heading to Capitol Hill, but I am energized by the rapid growth of the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus,” said Jeremy Jones, Founder of Protect Our Winters and Jones Snowboards. “We look forward to meeting with the Caucus and talking solutions.”

Source: Protect Our Winters

Governor Rosselló urges citizens to pay attention to the trajectory of Hurricane Irma

(September 3, 2017 – Caguas) Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, asked the public to be aware of the trajectory of Hurricane Irma, a system that may be passing through the local area at noon on Wednesday.
The director of the National Meteorological Service (SNM, per its Spanish acronym), Roberto García, reported that the island is likely to be experiencing tropical storm winds and between four and eight inches of rain. However, forecasts could vary and category 1 hurricane winds could be experienced, especially on the North and East coasts, including the islands of Culebra and Vieques.

Given this, the Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management (AEMEAD, per its Spanish acronym) is tasked with coordinating the work of the interagency group that is monitoring the trajectory of the tropical system.
The director of AEMEAD, Abner Gómez, informed that the phone line 787 724-0124 will be available to provide information related to the shelters and orientation due to the passage of the atmospheric system.

The governor informed that as part of the contingency preparations, the secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Family Affairs, Glorimar Andújar, advanced the payment of the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN, per its Spanich acronym) to 160 thousand beneficiaries, for a total of $65 million. In addition, 5.4 million pounds of contingency food was identified for this population and its distribution, which is authorized by the federal government.

The Puerto Rico Housing secretary, Fernando Gil, reported that there are 456 shelters prepared in the entire island with capacity for 62,100 people and the list of shelters was updated after the closure of some schools.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), Ricardo Ramos, said that the main transmission lines have been inspected or “patrolled” and that the trimming of trees in critical areas is being worked on.
Ramos said that “the Emergency Plan is activated and all operational areas will report to work tomorrow.”

The secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA, per its Spanish acronym), Tania Vázquez, activated the flood control plan in the different pumping stations.

During the meeting today—the third for this group since the formation of the atmospheric system—the secretary of State, Luis Rivera Marín; the chief of staff, William Villafañe; the secretary of Public Affairs and Public Policy, Ramón Rosario; the secretary of the Department of Public Safety, Héctor Pesquera; the superintendent of the Police, Michelle Hernández; and the deputy director of the Port Authority, Nelson Pérez, were present.

FEMA Caribbean Area Division Director, Alejandro De La Campa, also attended the meeting.