Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in Paris, France

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Paris, the beautiful capital city of France commonly thought as one of the major global leaders within the clean technology industry, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainability. As not only the capital of a major European country, but as one of the most influential cities on the continent, Paris looks to lead the pack when it comes to clean technology. “The City of Lights,” as it is commonly referred to as, provides numerous avenues for the promotion of clean technologies, including engineers, researchers and research centers, exit markets, and early adopters of the technology. Paris is quickly becomes a global center for cleantech.

1 ) Paris-Orly Airport gets launching of new geothermal project. In 2008, Aeroports de Paris, the Paris-Orly Airport operator agreed to start a €11 million ($17.5 million) project to build a geothermal station to provide this airport with approximately one third of its heating needs. According the chairman and CEO of ADP, Pierre Graff said, “This is the first time that an airport in Europe is intending the massive use of renewable energy. This geothermal project should enable us to save around 3,600 tons of fossil fuel a year and reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 7,000 tons. It is an appropriate decision from an environment point of view as well as being economically sound.”

2 ) BP launches a clean fuels program in the Paris region. In 1999, BP Paris launched a new “Clean Fuels” program by introducing BP Diesel Ecology, a brand new ultra low sulphur diesel. BP Diesel Ecology reduces overall sulphur emissions by up to 90 percent on diesel vehicles and it decreases black smoke emissions by approximately 30 percent. It was marketed to commercial customers, such as transport companies and buses. BP France was the very first oil company in the country to put a “cleaner diesel” on the market.

3) Levi’s store gets LEED certified. At the Levi’s store in Passage du Havre in Paris, individuals will notice that it is a bit different than the others – that is because it is the first Levi’s store anywhere in the world to receive LEED certification. All the electricity comes from 100 percent renewable energy sources, the plumbing was created to decrease overall water use by 20 percent, and the flooring is made from wood that has been certified 100 percent by the Forest Stewardship Council.

4 ) Eiffel Tower decreases sparkling lights display to save energy. Since 2000, everyone knows that the Eiffel Tower twinkles for ten minutes every hour on the hour during the evening. However, in 2008, to reinforce the message to the city and the country about energy saving techniques and saving the environment, the Eiffel Tower cut the sparkling light display time in half. While the gesture was symbolic on some part since the small bulbs do not consumer all that much money, because it is an extremely recognizable monument Paris is hoping that other places in the city follow by example to decrease their energy consumption.

5 ) Green Innovation Center by Vincent Callebaut. To win recognition as one of the cleanest cities in the world, architect Vincent Callebaut created the prototype for an anti-smog building. The technology in this building was designed to help eliminate smog and increase cleaner air throughout Paris. The structure is covered in a number of solar photovoltaic panels, which would be used to create green energy. then, the titanium dioxide coating would work along with ultraviolet lights to break down smog and reduce it along with other forms of air pollution.

6 ) One of the greenest buildings in the world gets built in Paris. The Energy Plus Office Building in Paris is designed to consume only electricity that it is able to create for itself. It will be one of the first zero-energy buildings created and one of the greenest office buildings built anywhere on the planet. This building is heavily insulated to reduce energy use by 16 kilowatts per square meter. Rather than a standard air conditioner, the building will pump the cold water from the Siene River through the offices. The building will also have a very large solar array to provide a majority of energy needs.

7 ) INNOV’ECO. INNOV’ECO is a quarterly meeting of decision makers and business professionals in the clean technology sector throughout France. Located in Paris, over 300 professionals gather every three months to learn, discover, network, share, as well as co-develop new business opportunities throughout the cleantech sector. The INNOV’ECO initiative answers three primary directives – “The urgency to develop workable economic solutions at the local level in the face of rising global and non-negotiable climate, energy, and resource predicaments; the need to generate new wealth creation opportunities and stimulate the creation of local green collar jobs; [and]the need to fulfill the strategic aim of enhancing the attractiveness of French Regions and making it a breeding ground for the emergency of a sustainable green economy.”

8 ) EnR Renewable Energy Exhibition 2012 in Paris. In April of 2012, Paris will hold the annual EnR Renewable Energy Exhibition. Known as “Salon des energies renouvelables,” it is recognized as one of the most important events regarding renewable energy throughout France. It attracts a number leading experts and professionals in the clean technology industry as the exhibition covers a number of topics including energy efficiency, cleantech investments, sustainable building, carbon dioxide, solar thermal energy, wood energy, and photovoltaics.

9 ) Equinix Paris data centers to increase use of renewable energy by 50 percent. In 2011, Equinix, a global data services center provider made the announcement that is signed an agreement to increase its use of renewable energy in all three International Business Exchange data centers throughout Paris. “Equinix has a considerable need for power and uses state-of-the-art technology within our data centers to consume energy efficiently. Furthermore, we recognize it is important to adopt and promote the use of renewable energy,” said Michel Brignano, Managing Director of Equinix France. “Equinix is the first data center provider in France to make such a substantial commitment to the use of renewable power sources. Our customers are very positive about Equinix’s plans to use renewable energy as they are equally focused on reducing CO2 emissions. We are excited about this relationship between EDF and Equinix and are confident it will help support our growing business in the most sustainable way possible.”

10 ) Paris creates new electric car-sharing scheme. In September of 2011, Paris launched a brand new car-sharing project that is aimed at clearing boulevards congested with traffic, using electric vehicles. Known as the Autolib System, it is intended to build on top of the already in existence Velib bicycle renting service. The pilot project enables drivers to hire battery-operated cars for 30 minutes at a cost that is anywhere between four and eight Euros. These cars have a 250 kilometer range because needing a recharge.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He is also author of The 2012 Cleantech Directory. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com.

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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