Cleantech Parasites

It dawned on me today, that after buying green ecommerce store 8 months ago, we put up links to the site on, and included special coupons for all our Cleantech Blog readers and members in the monthly emailings.  Here I thought people who were making a living off cleantech might *gasp* care about walking the walk and might appreciate it.

I think saw a total of 3 coupon downloads out of that, and two were spam.  Worse, I’ve gotten more than that many personal comments asking why I’d clutter up the cleantech site with blog columns about green products.  On Saturdays no less, when the weekend traffic falls off 75%.  For the record we pulled those columns a few months ago

Fine save your money or buy somewhere else, but that rate is so abysmally low, it made me wonder if the entire of my audience is completely hypocritic.  And yes, it’s the web.  And yes, I DO pay attention.   I can see what pages y’all click on, and where you comment, I moderate every single one. And several times a week I read every Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIN comment, and systematically delete and block anyone I find that spams, no appeals.  When I ignore you, it’s because you’re being annoying, I mean err, “that comment does not meet our unpublished comment policy or is not conducive to the health of the and community”.

So I’m pretty sure this group likes to read and talk and b*%&h about cleantech and a greener better world.  But do you actually care?


Do you actually think about cleantech, green products, and energy or water use when you’re not at work?

How many of you actually have a solar system?

How many of your light bulbs are now CFLs or LEDs?

How many have done an energy audit?

What green/ecofriendly versions of a product have you actually bought?

Do you know what makes that product green?

Do you actually recycle/compost?  Do you do the minimum required, or make an extra effort? At your home?  At your office?  Do you even know?

Do you have a clue what your energy bill is?  How many kW hours you use per square foot?  How that compares to the average? – For the record, when I asked a number of people that question at the last Cleantech Forum, I got a bunch of very polite laughs.


Or, and please excuse the language, are you just a cleantech parasite sucking off the teat of the government subsidies in cleantech?  Warren Buffett literally eats the food from the restaurants he owns, right?  Do you even bother to turn your lights off? 😉  What’s the phrase?  Oh yeah, “the choice is yours”.

2 replies
  1. karendrew
    karendrew says:

    Most of the coupon mom see coupons in our newspapers but it can be difficult to find coupons for exact product, for instance I always use printable coupons or "Printapons" search online to find your coupons

  2. johnmuir
    johnmuir says:

    Neal, stop whining. Maybe you made a crappy investment. It happens, that's why they call it "Risk Capital".

    Yes, I have a 4 kW PV system on my roof connected to a smart meter. I've replaced every possible light bulb with a CFCL or an LED and continue to do so as more and more replacements for things like low-voltage halogens become available. We had 12 VDC task lighting before most people had any idea what it was.

    We recycle, we compost, and we pay the local recycling center to take the old computers and printers and TVs and hard stuff.

    We didn't just have an energy audit, we spent real money on new furnaces, A/C units, water heaters, high-technology windows and glass and insulation to implement the recommendations. Comfort is vastly better and the improvements mean that we only run the A/C a few days a year, a fraction of what we did before. I reduced the heat loss of my house by 4X and our energy use by more and I'm not done. My latest focus is the "electrical vampires".

    We've switched to biodegradable soaps and cleansers, most locally made. I did look for biodegradable sunscreen on for my upcoming trip to Mexico but bought it somewhere else.

    I track my energy bill monthly, and know exactly how we're doing. On a per SF basis it's fantastic, but our house is too big so merely better than average on a per-person basis. But, I live 5 miles from work and my wife lives 2, so we drive a fraction of the average annual miles of an American. I used to work in Los Angeles, and I sure don't miss the small expensive houses and long commutes.

    I stopped using social media as a waste of time and electricity. I still buy a lot of stuff on the internet as it's faster and more convenient that driving to the store, but what a crappy business model. Big net, but unrelenting margin pressure and near-zero customer loyalty. I feel for those guys, but happy to let their investors subsidize my lifestyle.

    We also track our water usage like a hawk, and installed a very water-efficient sprinkler system. All of our toilets have been replaced with low flow units, as have the showerheads, dishwasher and washing machine. We put in a water filter, bought a Sodastream, and quit buying bottled water. Our recycling bin is now half as full.

    We buy as much of our food from local sources as possible, including some grown on vacant lots in our neighborhood that we can walk to pick up.

    I'm driving a Plug-In Prius on loan from Toyota and hate to give it back, but the truth is, I live so close to work that it wouldn't actually a be great investment for me. I've cut my business travel by 4X and moved as much of our international activities to email, webcasts, Skype and local offices as possible. I own a bunch of bicycles, but I confess I rarely ride them to work, I ride them for fun.

    OK, I know I'm an early adopter of this stuff, but I also know that if everybody did what I'm doing, it still wouldn't be enough. And if everybody did it as fast as I'm doing it, it still wouldn't be fast enough. None of that means that this is automatically an opportunity for VC investment. Get over it, some trains aren't for you to ride.

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