Wednesday, February 29, 2012

But What Exactly Is Green Manufacturing?

When most people think of green manufacturing jobs, they think of multi-billion-dollar investments in plants making lithium-ion batteries for electric cars or photo-voltaic panels and wind turbines for smartening grids.

They fear, not without reason, that jobs in such plants will start in or migrate to the Far East. They certainly don't think of little well-drilling companies pushing a 6-inch-diameter pipe a few hundred feet into the ground.

When most think of geothermal heating, moreover, they imagine deep, penetrating probes tapping into super-heated subterranean faults in the earth's molten crust, capturing and channeling a kind of geyser. They don't think of a simple refrigerator.

My new cover piece for Inc. Magazine shows that we've been looking at manufacturing too narrowly and green too grandly; that in migrating its business to geothermal, which is no more complicated that the technology of your fridge, a little well-drilling company in New Hampshire, Capital Well, is teaching us to broaden what we mean by both green and manufacturing.

This is the first of the green technologies that promises to go truly mainstream and is arguably the most important. About half of household energy costs goes to heating and cooling—considerably more in very cold climates like New Hampshire. Geothermal will get to a mass market not only because its value to consumers is so obvious but also because so many small companies like Capital Well, distributed across the country, are equipped to deliver it.

Read the article here.