Your Guide to Eco-Focused SXSW Panels

Those of you in Texas (and probably outside of Texas, too) know that South by Southwest 2013 is nearly upon us!  If you’re an Interactive, Gold or Platinum SXSW badge-holder interested in checking out some “green” panels, we’ve got the SXSW guide for you.

SXSW is hosting a slew of speakers who know more than just a thing or two about renewable energy, sustainability, and eco-design. If you’re interested in learning more, pick and choose your panels below:

  • Saturday, March 9th, 9:30-10:30AM
    You Suck, Cleantech: How Design Can Help
    Speaker: David Merkoski, Partner & Chief Designer, Greenstart
    Cleantech is dead -- investors have dropped out and entrepreneurs are more interested in making apps.  With 93% of the world’s fuel supply still coming from burning stuff we dig out of the ground, why aren’t “clean technologies” our chief concern? Merkoski has a plan to "bring sexy back" to cleantech by using design to fight climate change and blow apart our energy constraints. Join him for a look back at the mistakes made in the cleantech design track record, and leave with a vision of how we can design a cleaner world.
  • Saturday, March 9th, 11-12PM
    The Paradox of the Cloud
    Speaker: David Bellona, Designer, Twitter
    The promise of the “cloud” is that our environmental impact is lighter as we move from physical to digital products and documents. However, our production of digital content is increasing exponentially – Facebook alone handles 300 million photo uploads each day. To house the growing data, we are building vast data centers that depend on non-renewable energy resources. Learn about environmental effects of the cloud, the concept of digital carbon footprints, and tools for behavior change in the production and consumption of digital content.


  • Saturday, March 9th, 12:30-1:30PM
    Energy Efficient, Smartphone Powered Data Centers
    Speaker: Ian Ferguson, Director of Server Systems  & Ecosystem, ARM
    The rise of content- and social-driven businesses such as Facebook and Google is causing a shift in data center design; the new and different computing loads required by the always-on, always-connected lifestyle these companies enable require a better balance of performance, storage and networking loads on the back end to ensure a killer user experience. This session will explore how technologies originally developed for the mobile space are migrating into the data center and how highly optimized chip platforms are emerging to support these lighter loads.


  • Saturday, March 9th, 3:30-4:30PM
    Unlocking Energy Data: The Green Button
    Speaker: Justin Segall, Founder & EVP, Simple Energy; Nick Sinai, Senior Advisor, Exec Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy
    In early 2012, the White House challenged utilities across the country to develop a “Green Button” that provides detailed customer usage information available for download in a simple, standard format. Utilities answered the call: From charts to graphs to widespread energy-based social games, applications educated and motivated consumers to participate in improving energy efficiency. This session will recount how the administration leveraged the “power of the pulpit” and give a vision of the future of open energy data.


  • Monday, March 11th, 3:30-4:30PM
    SXSW ECO Meet Up
    Get together with sustainability professionals and other like-minded individuals to discuss solutions to the issues facing our economy, the environment, and civil society. Network, brainstorm, and discover how SXSW Eco is providing the creative platform to discuss solutions to these recognized challenges. Attend this Meet Up to better learn about the SXSW Eco conference's initiatives and to talk about ideas for SXSW Eco 2013.


  • Tuesday, March 12th, 3:30-4:30PM
    Breaking the Mold with Meaningful Design
    Presenters: Hosain Rahman, Founder & CEO, Jawbone; Tony Fadell, Founder & CEO, Nest; Scott Dadich, Editor in Chief, Wired
    Anyone can design a gadget that looks pretty, but when it comes down to building a successful product, it’s about much more than just looks. Companies like Jawbone and Nest are disrupting categories by putting purpose behind their unrivaled, extraordinary designs. Good design is both beautiful and meaningful—with the ultimate goal of creating technology that naturally fits into your life, rather than changing your life to fit the technology. They’ll discuss design best practices including the importance of combining hardware with software; the role of simplicity in design; and how to “break the mold” by challenging the traditional rules of design.


A few of us on the Green Mountain team will be in attendance at these and several other panels, so stay tuned for a post-fest panel recap!

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