The 2015 World Green Energy Symposium held in Washington DC at the University of District of Columbia on Thursday, March 12 was the place to be for discovering cutting-edge green technology, sustainability programs and innovative environmental policy. Many powerful presentations and workshops were held to discuss energy, green technology, environmental policy and economic sustainability.
The event offered expertise from many market segments. From government to industry schools of thought and students, to community activists, answers to solve some of today’s most pressing concerns came from every corner of the gathering. The event also recognized current and former WGES Nova Award Honorees, who answered the call of bringing public policy and technology together to solve environmental and economic challenges.
“We want to thank you all for coming today in attending this year’s WGES,” said Professor Robert Gallagher, Executive Chair of the World Green Energy Symposium as he welcomed all guests to the well-attended event, “You will find opportunities galore from industry to government, from schools of thought to community activist, you will not be disappointed by the options of answers you can gather from today’s offerings.”
Four-time Emmy Winner, former Broadcast Journalist Jan Fox was the event’s emcee and opened the event at 9:00 am introducing special guest and speakers to the podium.
Professor Gallagher first recognized all of the past World Green Energy Symposium NOVA Award Honorees for their contributions to advancements in solving problems associated with environmental and energy issues. Then Gallagher took a moment to recognize this, year’s recipient, Dr. Sabine O’Hara, Dean of College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (CAUSE) of the University of DC.
“We are honored to add another member to class of NOVA Award Winners. The Current Class includes the City of Washington DC, City of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Dow Chemical, and Extreme Energy Solutions, among others who have demonstrated making steps and development of policies and technologies that lead us to protecting our environment and natural resources, while providing sustainable choices,”
“We are honored to present Dr. Sabine O’Hare and CAUSE with this year’s NOVA Award for their efforts in becoming a sustainable land grant site, being totally sustainable, including their construction of this campus,” Gallagher professed.
“We are honored to accept this award. This is not just my award, but a reflection of all of our staff, students, board, alumni, suppliers, and the rest of the individuals who supported our vision for our school,” Dr. O’Hare added, “The city supported our goals, which provided us the opportunity to be the only 100% sustainable University in the District.”
Tribute was paid in accommodations by a number of special guests who included Mr. James Lyons, President of University of DC, who welcomed attendees to the campus and to the event. He was followed by Margaret Singleton, Vice President of DC Chamber of Commerce; Tommy Wells, Acting Director, District Department of the Environment, Government of the District of Columbia; and then Dr. O’Hare wrapped up the morning session showcasing the series of steps CAUSE took to develop their sustainable campus.
The mid-day panel represented opportunities within federal government and presented case studies; steps and initiatives that government has taken to become even more-green, thus saving taxpayer money in the meantime. Panel was led by Mr. Kevin Kampschroer, from GSA who shared the agency’s green building practices; which including the usage of energy efficiency tech, LEED construction practices, and maximizing space.
Ms. Kristine Kingery presented what the Army is doing to become more environmentally friendly in managing its assets and bases around the world. Ms. Jo Anne Hill, with the US Department of Commerce, provided a discussion referencing contract opportunities available for Minority Owned Business Enterprises in the area of sustainability and environmental initiatives by the federal government. The session was concluded by Mr. Landon Van Dyke, from the Department of State, who shared the vision and ongoing practices by the Department of State in greening US Embassies around the world.
The afternoon full of workshops; discussions and question and answer sessions from a number of interests: new technology, transportation solutions, the use of big data to monitor energy usage and energy conservation, understanding public private partnerships were just part of the plethora of sessions one could choose from.
Two of the workshops that stood out were the discussion lead by Samuel K. Burlum, CEO of Extreme Energy Solutions, who presented a case study and examples about here and now available technology that could lower harmful toxic emissions from vehicles, including advancements made in this technology sector, and the importance of embracing the retrofit technology market. Burlum shared his vision of public policy measures that would allow for green technology to blossom. His compelling presentation on emissions reduction and environmental policy can be seen online.
Another well attended workshop provided insight on deploying sustainable technology to the continent of Africa. Panel, moderated by Ron Uba, Department of Commerce-MBDA; led by Mr. Ken Johnson, provided information referencing emerging economies within developing nations. Mr. Johnson discussed examples of countries within Africa who were struggling to meet the demands of water, energy, power, food supply, and alternatives currently being investigated to meet these needs.
Attendees were excited and optimistic as the evening came to a close, all leaving with valuable information and contacts from the historic event.
“There is still much work to be done in this field of practice,” Burlum contributed, “the areas of environmental protection, green technology, alternative energy, sustainability, and policy making that drives the markets to evolve are still very much in their infancy. If you compare this industry to the early days of the .com boom or the early days of the information age, you can see the ‘green industry’ is following those same trends,”
“There are other drivers to the movement of environmental sustainability, which I believe one of them is generational. There are far more X, Y, and Millennial generation individuals who were cultured with a sense of environmental regard for the planet than the previous generations.”
“These generations who grew up with recycling in the classroom; earth day celebrations; they were the generations who have embraced most of the green technology we have today; so it is no surprise that we are seeing large growth in this area.”
“As they exercise their purchasing power, and combine that with their life style habits, you get a demanding market segment who wants more organic and green choices. It’s a trend companies like ours welcome in the near future,” mentioned Burlum.