Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vu1 and Sustainable Practices

We were prepared to be a presenter at the MIT Enterprise Forum "Sustainability for Start-ups" scheduled for April 29th in Seattle.  The Forum has been postponed but I felt it would be beneficial to share the comments we had prepared for this event.  


Vu1 was created on the premise that American innovation can provide solutions in sustainable products that can result in products that not only are good for the environment but are superior in everyway to the incumbent technologies that we need to eliminate.

Sustainable products don’t have to be more expensive, slower, bigger, unsafe, or poorer performing than the products they are replacing.

Our goal is to do what other energy efficient technology have failed to do - produce a highly energy efficient “light without compromise” with the warm incandescent glow of the Edison light bulb we have known for 150 years that is non-toxic to the environment (unlike Compact Florescent Light), affordable (unlike LEDs), with all of the basic attributes consumers have come to expect from their lighting.  (instant on, dimmable, trash bin disposable, long lasting in a standard shape and size).

Our goal is to do this in a process that hopefully will give Vu1 the best carbon and environmental footprint in the general illumination lighting industry. 

To accomplish this we have focused on product design, materials, manufacturing processes, packaging and distribution.

Key environmental initiatives - 

·        Create a product that is “trash bin” disposable
o   Contains no toxic materials
o   Can be recycled when and if municipalities have the ability to process clean electronics.
o   No mercury (the Achilles Heel of CFL bulbs)
o   Exceed very strict ROHS standards regarding hazardous materials.

·        A primary material in our product is glass
o   We have determined that recycled CRT glass has characteristics that are very complimentary to our technology.  We are currently looking into using CRT waste glass as a key raw material

·        The predominant high energy usage steps in our process (working with glass components and drying phosphor coatings) is done using natural gas versus electricity.

·        We are zealous about our water process.  Not only do we comply with all European Union regulations regarding waste water cleanness – we can brag that the water coming out of our plant is cleaner than the municipal water coming in.  

·        We are committed to the providing environmentally friendly packaging.  All Vu1 products will be packaged in recyclable paper.  We are currently looking for and doing the financial analysis of acquiring  recycled paper to produce our packaging.  We find it inexcusable that a majority of “energy efficient” lighting products are sold in plastic clam shell packaging.

·        Vu1 products don’t weigh 3 lbs as do some of the better LED products.  Vu1 products meet the ANSI standard in size for the products we are producing.  The “carbon cost” of transportation for our products should be equal to or less than - comparable CFL products and significantly less the LED products.