Charles Ellis, managing director of clean tech start-up BlueSky Carbon, spoke of the company’s recent deal with The K Club, the fusion of cloud and clean energy and Ireland’s position in the global green economy.
The K Club
Five-star golf resort The K Club signed a deal to use BlueSky Carbon’s cloud-based environmental certification platform. It will help them further improve their green strategy and step closer to becoming one of Ireland’s most sustainable hotels.
Charles Ellis, managing director of BlueSky Carbon, saw the demand in attaining this certification in smaller businesses.
“We initially started off as an environmental consultancy and what we realised was that there were a lot of companies that found that they had to meet green tendering requirements – and a lot of that was based on the certification – but they didn’t really have the capital for full consultancy work,” said Ellis.
“So we put our heads together and we developed this online cloud-based environmental certification platform that we spent most of last year developing.
“We’re currently alpha testing it with the K Club and they will be our first beta test clients in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
By coming up with a cloud platform for these certifications, it makes it more accessible for companies of many sizes.
“Up to now it’s really been the focus of larger organisations which would be able to afford the consultancy fees to be able to implement these things but by having it as a cloud platform and allowing companies to do it in-house themselves, ultimately, it opens it up to a whole new market.”
The positives involving these certifications are manifold. Two clear ones include helping the environment and reducing costs.
“It essentially makes them into a leaner organisation by reducing waste so it’s not just energy usage – it’s solid waste and refuse. It also puts procedures in place for what your staff needs to do to minimise the waste in the organisation,” he said.
The certifications are being used by larger companies and governments as part of a green tendering platform, where they only qualify if they meet certain requirements.
Ellis also pointed out that employees tend to have a better attitude and are more committed to companies that they’re linked with, thanks to environmental awareness programs.
Ellis also found that cloud computing has had a big impact in IT management, particularly in helping a company’s green strategy.
“Cloud has really shaken up the IT industry, especially in terms of the data centres, and it’s also made people more aware of the effect that the IT industry, especially data centres, were having on energy usage and the amount of waste that was happening,” said Ellis.
The K Club has recently spent €100,000 on a virtualised IT system that includes a private cloud and a high-speed network in order to make them carbon neutral by 2020.
Ellis believes that because of the existence of such technology, there’s no need for hotels to have a dedicated server room.
“There are experts who will look after that for you and essentially what hotels should be focusing on is using the data that was stored on those servers and utilise the full benefit of that,” he said.
Ireland and global green tech
The importance of green technology has been underscored as an important part of our global economy, as seen in US President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union speech, where he pledged to invest heavily into clean energy for job creation.
Considering the global drive for green technology, what place can Ireland achieve within it?
Ellis recalled Green Party TD and former communications minister Eamon Ryan speaking at a conference, where he pointed out that while Ireland may not be able to surpass China or the US, it still has a strong role to play.
“Eamon Ryan used the analogy of the iPhone (in relation to green technology) and he said: ‘we’ll never be Apple, we’ll never build the iPhone. But we can certainly build apps to make the iPhone work better,’” said Ellis.
“And he said that if you take that from a green technology perspective, if China develops a technology, we’ll bring it to Ireland
“Say if China developed a new hydroelectric technology, Ireland could give it a test bed off the west coast.
“So that allows Irish researchers and engineers to try and figure out ways to make that existing technology work a bit better, be more adaptable to different types of usage and that’s where Ireland will thrive.”
“Being the first to market with this tech is only step one. The steps after that are where Ireland can really come into its own – and it has. The research culture, the education system in place are and the interest in the area,” said Ellis.