SpaceX launch, IKEA visit, and my contribution

Yesterday was a good day. 
SpaceX's Falcon 9 launched and returned beautifully. 
NTREG's sustainability field trip to IKEA I planned and lead went well.

Watching SpaceX's launch event live makes me giddy, every time. When they were developing Grasshopper (reusable rocket testing vehicle), I went to SXSW 2013 just to listen to Elon's keynote. He treated us by showing the first ever video footage...a rocket shot up, and stopped midair, then came down to land softly straight back on the launchpad intact.

I rarely miss their launch livestreams. They excite me. Watching them makes me glad and proud that I am alive here and now. I thank for all those super smart and dedicated people at SpaceX and NASA. Yes, I love rockets and SpaceX's mission, but there is really nothing I can contribute other than cheering and thanking.

On the other hand, there is something I can do to promote clean technology and sustainability. As a co-program chair at NTREG (North Texas Renewable Energy Group), I reach out to experts in the field and put together programs for our monthly meetings to educate the masses.

A few months ago, we had an energy storage expert as our speaker. Next month, we will welcome a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) finance specialist. Each meeting attracts roughly 50 to 70 participants, many of them are experts in the fields themselves, some are passionate about energy and others are just curious.

Yesterday, we visited with IKEA's sustainability team and toured their facility. Their Frisco store has 3,780 solar panels on top of their roof, which produce roughly 35% of their annual electricity usage. Their PV system had been installed several years after the store opened. However, IKEA is now committed to cover every roof of their new stores with solar PVs. They also own wind farms. Store's lightings are all LED. Along with many other energy efficient measures IKEA has been taking, they aim to be carbon neutral by 2020.

Becoming energy and resource efficient is great for business. They reduce cost, improve productivity and revenue.

In my household, I have been learning and implementing small scale energy efficient measures for years. Results have been good and I'm happy with them. But, one household makes just a tiny difference. I started to share the knowledge to my clients at the time. The effects were small. To make bigger impact, I started to work with groups like Plano Solar Advocates and NTREG. We made slightly bigger impact. But, it quickly dawned on me that the real big difference comes when businesses take on it either by changing their business practices and/or creating sustainable products we can use.

Many large corporations, including IKEA, have been aggressively working on this and have witnessed their bottom line improved. I will continue to volunteer when time/energy allows, however my top priority for this year is to improve my work and career. If any sustainability and efficiency improvement tasks can be incorporated into my role, that would be a great first step for me to start contributing in a larger scale.