Saturday, October 27, 2007

The New American Trend

With over consumption reaching epidemic proportions many Americans have been going on Low Carb Diets. This trend has expanded into the energy sector where Americans are already going on Low Carbon Diets. Thus, “The New American Trend” is becoming the consummate consumer.

Plug in and Spark Up a Conversation.

Knowledge is power: Wield it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Energy Independence

Energy Independence = Environmental Sustainability. It's that simple.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chevrolet Volt - The Future of Green Transportation

On October 18, 2007, Spark Plug (Veterans Energy Solutions’s Blog) was invited by General Motors (GM) to an exclusive event for online media unveiling the Chevrolet Volt concept car in Cocowalk (Coconut Grove). We were pleased with this new clean (green) technology car that will help VES achieve its mission of Energy Independence.

Previously, “The Big Three” gambled on big, gas-guzzling SUVs when gas prices were low, which ultimately put them on the path to be overtaken by Toyota. In 2004, Toyota surpassed Ford to become the number 2 automaker. GM had been the world’s number 1 automaker since 1931, until the first quarter of 2007 ( Toyota took the legitimate claim to the title of the “World’s Largest Automaker” because of their work in increasing fuel economy standards. This was a major strategic blunder by GM!

Since then, GM has turned things around and has put out a number of Flex Fuel and Hybrid vehicles, one of which VES owns. VES bought GM’s 2007 Saturn Vue Hybrid. This, as does everything VES does, has some strategic implications behind it. In Florida, transportation is ranked number one in fuel consumption by end use sector (

1. Transportation – 33%
2. Residential – 30%
3. Commercial – 24%
4. Industrial – 13%

VES has chosen to attack the top two end uses and GM just became a partner in helping us achieve our mission of Energy Independence.

After touring the Volt and taking a few photos, we had dinner with the Senior Creative Designer from GM’s Advanced Technology Studio Team Mathieu Boimare at the Jaguar Restaurant. We carried on further discussions over wine and fine dinning. I was impressed by the wonderful buzz surrounding the Volt and by how receptive Mathieu was to our suggestions and how helpful he was in explaining how the design and concept came about. The Chevrolet Volt is an electric car ahead of its time. Its posh design and green technology puts it in a class of its own. It’s just too bad we could not take it for a spin. The Volt is slated to come out in 2010.
For more on the Volt go here. For more pictures of the Volt go here.
VES will keep you updated on all new clean (green) technologies that will help reduce the top energy end uses in the State of Florida. Look for another post after the South Florida International (Miami) Auto Show at the Miami Beach Convention Center on November 9th-18th. We would like to thank Mathieu Boimare, Gloria Huang and the rest of the GM team that made this event possible. And remember, every little bit counts. Thanks GM!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Green is back as the Greenback Payback (???)

I have had the privilege of speaking with many folks in the local community about becoming energy independent. Most times, we would cover the range of issues that contemporary media make relevant by virtue of their reporting. But going beyond that takes them to an uncharted territory.

Nevertheless, the conversations almost always gravitate to becoming “Green” in general. Unsurprisingly, many ask what the payback is to make an investment in “Going Green.” So, it would seem that the incentive for “Going Green” is getting “Green” back – that is the Greenback (as our Dollar is affectionately called). This can be a misnomer as “Going Green” can cost more than the Green you get back (think Greenback). The reason is tied to simple nuances in the variations of the definition of terms we use to discuss this phenomenon. I would be asked: “Does it make economic sense?”, “Is it financially feasible?”, etc. Both questions to the untrained eye mean the same thing. But does it? I will answer that in a later post – stay tuned! ;-)

Getting back to the point of the post.

I was recently helping an uncle of mine move into his newly purchased home where we talked about energy independence and the notion of paybacks. I gave the example that if my home lacked proper insulation, it could create a problem where the resistance to heat is low enough that the air conditioner would come on frequently to cool down the home. This frequent running of the AC translates to higher energy usage and finally a higher electric energy bill.

After discussing the benefits of diminishing this problem we talked about a recent remodel job he did to the bathroom of his recently purchased home. So, I wittingly asked: What kind of payback do you expect?

He returned a blank stare and asked: “Payback?! I have a bathroom that I can proudly use and entertain guests without shame. I remodeled it because it needed to get done, not because of any payback.”

I wonder if his point would be well taken.

Knowledge is power: Wield it.

Electric Car: The Chevy Volt by GM

The Chevy Volt in Miami - an invitation from GM is what the subject line said. Surprised, we opened it. And the opening line said:

"Because of your work with Spark Plug and your interest in energy issues, General Motors would like to invite you to an exclusive event featuring the Chevrolet Volt concept car on Thursday, October 18th at CocoWalk."

What is the Volt?

The Chevrolet Volt concept is a plug-in electric vehicle that will drive up to 40 miles without ever using a drop of gasoline -- which according to government data, would be enough to handle approximately two-thirds of American commuters' daily drives. The first vehicle in GM's "E-Flex" family, the Volt will be powered by an electric motor, which draws its energy from on-board batteries. The batteries, in turn, will be re-charged by a small internal combustion engine that will run on gas, diesel or ethanol. When not in use, the batteries will be re-charged by simply plugging the Volt into an electric outlet. You can find out more at:

On the evening of Oct. 18th, GM will host an exclusive event for online media, such as Spark Plug, that will include a walk-around of the Volt with Bob Boniface, GM Design Director E-Flex Systems. This will be followed by a group dinner, during which Spark Plug will have a chance to discuss the design, technology and engineering of the vehicle. A post will follow this event.

The Volt Miami Tour Schedule:

Thursday 10/18:

7am to 10am: Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach (1775 Collins Ave.)

5pm to 11pm: CocoWalk in Coconut Grove (30115 Grand Ave., in front of the Gap Store)

6:30pm to 9pm: Online media dinner with Mathieu Boimare

Friday 10/19:

7am to 3pm: Government Center in Downtown Miami (111 NW First St., outside under metro rail)

6pm to 11pm: Sunset Place (South Miami, 5701 Sunset Dr. in front of Dan Marino restaurant)

Saturday 10/20:

9am to 10pm: Sawgrass Outlet (Sunrise, Oasis Location 2608 Sawgrass Mills Cir.- in front of Gameworks)

Monday 10/22:

8am to 5pm: Florida International University (South Miami, 11200 SW 8th St -- front of Graham University Center)

Tuesday 10/23:

10am to 9pm: Dolphin Mall (Doral, 11401 NW 12th Street, in front of the Texas de Brazil restaurant)

A Green Surprise

On October 12, 2007, Kevin and I were pleasantly surprised to see AmericanWay Magazine ( dedicated a whole issue to going Green. They dubbed it the Green Issue and touched on many aspects of going green. Naturally, we held on to a copy to make sure it was properly recycled ;-).

FPL taking a bold step to the future

I had the recent experience of interacting with a representative of FPL that reassured me of a good relationship in the making. It is easy to forget that a seemingly faceless giant such as FPL is made up of people in our community that share the same sentiments as we do about our community and its future. I saw a nicer, gentler side to the giant.

I would like to commend FPL for the good work they do in our community. Working on such projects as Habitat for Humanity also adds value to our community.

I am a firm believer in: Praise in public, reprimand in private. ;-)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Green Flamingos

On Saturday, October 6th, we had the opportunity to present what we have been researching and developing over the past two years. The 2nd Green Flamingos, put on by Carl Hildebrand, was held at the Zeitgeist Showroom, 3886 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami, FL.

Green Flamingos is a conversation event where five presentations of five minutes about five new ideas for sustainability spark the exchange of ideas in one of the liveliest exchanges of information about green ideas in Miami. Green enthusiasts and the general public came to learn what their peers in the green movement are thinking, doing and talking about.

Our presentation was short and to the point. It demonstrated our knowledge of the industry and technology as well as our passion for Energy Independence. Our products and services were the most technical, yet our presentation had the least technical information. We presented that way to keep it simple.

Most folks identifyed with the growing frustrations felt at home, on the road and at the work place. Moreover, they are disenchanted about the lack of action taken. The time for talk and half measures is over! Veterans Energy Solutions ( execute on its Vision: to become one of the economic engines to drive us to energy independence. Every little bit counts. Help us accomplish the mission.