Recent blog posts
Sep 12

Posted on in Blue Planet Updates

Clicking for Cash

Blue Planet Foundation has partnered with Kokua Hawaii Foundation to earn some valuable dollars from the Chase Community Giving program. Chase is donating $5 million to nonprofit organizations across the country, and we would love to see some of it directed toward a better future for Hawaii. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Fundraising is an indispensable part of keeping nonprofits alive. It makes it possible for groups like ours to implement programs that support the nonprofit sector's universal mission of improving the world we live in. With this Chase campaign, instead of asking for your money, we're asking for your vote. The top 196 vote-getters will be awarded with a $10,000 contribution.

Each voter gets to cast two votes, so please vote for Hawaii! Click here to support Blue Planet Foundation, and click here to support Kokua Hawaii Foundation. Voting ends on Sep. 19. We'd appreciate your help, too, in passing these links forward—thank you for your valuable contribution!

Sep 05

There are about 50 spots left to participate in the Hawaii Energy Study. This EPA-funded program is a collaboration between Blue Planet, Kanu Hawaii, and Kupu designed to help Hawaii residents become knowledgeable about their home energy use so that they can reduce their household consumption and their electricity bills. Watch this short video to learn more:

If you're chosen as a program participant, a couple of Kupu's Youth Energy Assessment Hawaii (YEAH) team members will visit your home and conduct an energy assessment, identifying energy problems (for example, my freezer door didn't have a proper seal, so my icebox was working overtime to keep food cold) and opportunities to save energy (they found a few incandescent bulbs I had missed--like in my desk lamp). Participants will also receive a professionally installed TED in-home monitor that shows your real-time electricity usage, as well as a weatherization kit that includes a low-flow showerhead, LEDs, and smart power strips, among other energy-saving tools. These services/products are worth $1,000--a lot more, even, when you consider the amount of money you'll save on your electricity bill each month by reducing your energy consumption. Take advantage of this program. There's no catch! The EPA funded it to help Hawaii residents reduce their energy use.

To sign up, go to Deadline is Friday, Sep. 14. Pass it on! Big mahalos to Mike and Kehau Romero and Leslie Liang for sharing their stories.

Aug 27

On Aug. 25, the Hawaii chapter of the US Green Building Council--the organization responsible for establishing LEED building standards--held its Green Gala at Warehouse MR1.1 in Kaka‘ako, where elements of sustainable design were showcased and celebrated. That evening, they presented their 2012 honorees, naming Blue Planet Foundation as the recipient of the Community Award. The Community Award is given annually to an organization or company that has “demonstrated profound impact on their community through sustainability.”
“We’re grateful for the recognition and thank the USGBC for showing us what’s possible through green design of our built environment," said Blue Planet Executive Director Jeff Mikulina. “Blue Planet continues to encourage builders to incorporate radical energy efficiency into their building projects to align our long-term economic, environmental, and societal goals.”

The Green Gala celebrated the efforts of local designers, builders, and community leaders that are helping Hawai‘i become a recognized pioneer in sustainable design. The mission of the USGBC Hawaii is to create an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous quality of life for all in Hawai‘i through the transformation of the built environment and the way it is planned, designed, constructed and operated. They intend to create a positive impact on the region’s built environment by accelerating the adoption of green building practices, technologies, policies, and standards.

Congratulations to all the honorees, and mahalo to the US Green Building Council for encouraging Hawaii to become a leader of sustainable design!

Aug 15

Thanks to all the inspiring (and scary) superheroes who came to the rescue of Hawaii nonprofits at the Yelp Helps! event at the Hawaii Food Bank. Without the generous support from our volunteers, we wouldn't be able to reach as many communities with our programs.

Jul 31

On Aug. 11, Yelp Helps is throwing an "Everyday Heroes" bash to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism in Honolulu. The event takes place at the Hawaii Food Bank. Registered participants will be able to sample tasty eats, mini cocktails, and spa treats as they walk around and learn about the good work of 20 local nonprofits that rely heavily on the service and generosity of volunteers. The party is free if you RSVP. Here are the details:

Feel like you could save the world but haven't quite been able to take the leap? Well, you don't have to be able to fly like a rocket or walk through walls in order to do a heroic deed! Volunteering in the community makes a huge impact on the lives of those in need and Yelp is making the call to anyone who wants to take action and be transformed into an everyday hero through Yelp Helps!

You're invited to join us for the YELP HELPS "EVERYDAY HEROES" KICK-OFF PARTY which brings YOU together with stellar Honolulu non-profits in need of support and volunteers! Dress up in yelpy super hero attire and enjoy tasty bites from local restaurants, imbibe on delicious beverages, chillax with spa treats, experience musical entertainment, live performances and more! Enter our yelpiest super hero contest and visit our charitable friends for your chance to win roundtrip airfare courtesy of Alaska Air!

What's even better? This party is FREE (w/ confirmed RSVP) and a canned goods or $5 suggested donation to the Hawaii Foodbank!

Location: Hawaii Foodbank (2611 Kilihau Street)
Date: Saturday August 11, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Attire: Super hero themed costumes or yelpy party attire
Parking: Street parking or valet (More info to come)
Cost: Free w/ confirmed RSVP & a canned goods or $5 suggested donation to the Hawaii Foodbank


***YELP ELITES - Please RSVP via the Yelp Elite calendar at or you will not be on the early entry list.
_________________________ _________________________ ______________________

NO DAY OF AT THE DOOR ENTRY, you must RSVP in advance and received an EMAIL CONFIRMATION. We'll begin sending out email confirmations on Wednesday August 1st.
_________________________ _________________________ ______________________

The Hawaii Foodbank (http://www.hawaiifoodban…)

Alaska Air (
Star 101.9 (

Aloha Beer
Aloha Pops & Aloha Ice Cream Tricycle…
bambuTwo Cafe + Martini Lounge…
Hawaii Bitters http://www.hawaiibitters…
Hard Rock Cafe…
Hawaiian Cheesecakes…
Hokulani Bake Shop…
ING Direct Café…
Jamba Hawaii http://www.jambahawaii.c…
Kai Vodka
Mac 24/7…
Otto Cake…
Paul's Poppers…
Tiki's Grill & Bar…
Uncle Bo's Pupu Bar & Grill…
Via Gelato…

Face Art Beauty…
Lena's Fab Brow's…
Bliss Mobile Spa…

RAW Artists Honolulu http://www.rawartists.or…
Photo Ops Hawaii…
Mobile Gamer Guys…

The restaurant and beverage sponsors taking part in the soiree are sampling *bites and sips*, and most definitely not supplying a full-on feast. Please don't be "that guy" with the full plate while someone else walks away without even a nibble. It's tacky, yo.

Here's all the amazing non-profits you'll get to meet:
Aloha United Way & Society of Young Leaders
American Lung Association
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu
Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii
Blue Planet Foundation
Family Programs Hawaii
Family Promise of Hawaii
Hale Kipa, Inc.
Hawaii Foodbank
Hawaiian Humane Society
Honolulu Habitat for Humanity
IHS, The Institute for Human Services, Inc.
Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services
Lanakila Pacific
Life Foundation
Paepae o He`eia
RAW Artists Honolulu
Waikiki Aquarium

Jul 23

DBEDT recently updated their "Top 40" list of renewable energy projects that are currently underway or online. The largest is Kawailoa Wind, a 69 MW wind farm on the North Shore of O‘ahu that will produce enough energy to power 14,500 homes. On the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative website, you can also find Hawai‘i renewable energy projects mapped by island.

Jul 09
Four panels discussed hot topics at this year's Hawaii Clean Energy Day at the YWCA. The issues?

-- Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) – Transitional fuel or replacement to oil?
-- Undersea Cable - Will it work? Is it worth it?
-- Is locally sourced biofuels a reality?
-- Hawaii’s Energy Efficiency & Solar Industries: Rising or setting?

The event was hosted by the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum with support from Blue Planet Foundation, Hawaii Energy, Hawaiian Electric Company, DBEDT and Think Tech Hawaii. Thanks to all the speakers and attendees!

Photos of the event are posted here .
Jun 21
These girls rocked it, swapping more than 7,000 CFLs during the Big Island Bulb Blitz.

Jun 12
Ivory's editorial piece on the benefits of smart meters was published in Kaua‘i's The Garden Island newspaper on Monday. Explaining how the smart grid works can turn into a pretty in-depth conversation, but that doesn't mean it's hard to understand or that it's conspiratorial. For those who prefer simplicity, here's the 5-7-5 version.

Let them do their job

Smart meters do what?
Measure electricity?
Oh, that’s what they’re for.

Burning down the house

Smart meters cause fires?
No, poor wiring causes fires.
Power 101.

Why baseload is so big

It’s frickin’ hot out!
Everyone cranks the A/C.
Gotta have power.

Demand response, part one

Someone needs extra
Borrow from ova’ dea
No need burn more oil.

Demand response, part two

Clouds wen’ block the sun?
Then unplug things for a sec.
No need burn more oil.

Time-of-use rates: You choose

Cheap nights and weekends?
Rollover power minutes?

Jun 08

Posted on in Energy News
It's Aloha Friday and World Ocean Day today! Let's celebrate with lots of aloha for the ocean. The ocean provides us so much: food, medicine, therapy, recreation, scenery. Seawater also serves as a natural, abundant source of power, in the form of endless waves and changing tides, and also by way of the coldness of its deep water. Here's an editorial that appeared in yesterday's Star-Advertiser that talks about why sea water air conditioning is an ideal energy solution for Honolulu:

As we consider strategies for kicking Hawaii’s 5-million-gallon-per-day oil habit, our tendency is to focus on alternative sources of fuel and electricity. We look to clean, renewable energy sources to replace dirty fossil-fuel power. We also look for ways to reduce the amount we use — and waste — through efficiency and conservation.

What we often overlook is that fuel and electricity are means to an end. Electricity is not what we really want. What we really want is light when it’s dark, hot water for a shower and a comfortable temperature indoors.

What if we could cut out the middle man and put an abundant natural resource to work in place of electricity?

Seawater air conditioning is an energy solution that does just that.

Air conditioning is a voracious consumer of electricity. On Oahu, more than 20 percent of the electricity sold is used just to cool buildings. Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning (HSWAC) has proposed a solution for downtown that precludes the need to cool water with electricity, one that could save more than 70 million kilowatt hours of power annually.

Applying the same technology that has been cooling buildings in Toronto, Stockholm and Amsterdam, the Honolulu SWAC team has proposed a district cooling system that will serve the downtown vicinity by 2014.

This fall, it will begin installing a pipeline four miles offshore Kakaako that will pump seawater from a depth of 1,700 feet to an onshore cooling station. There, the 44-degree water will pass through a heat exchanger that transfers the seawater’s coldness to a pipeline of freshwater that circulates in a closed loop. The chilled freshwater connects to downtown buildings’ existing air conditioning infrastructure, providing natural AC that doesn’t require large, electricity-hungry chillers in each building.

The seawater, slightly warmer than when it left the ocean, returns home through a diffuser at 330 to 425 feet — deep enough that no coral ecosystems are affected. The underwater pipe actually becomes an artificial reef, providing substrate to new coral and shelter to fish.

The Honolulu district cooling system has a capacity equivalent to 25,000 tons of ice, enough to cool some 40 buildings. Currently, more than 18,000 tons have been reserved for customers, including the First Hawaiian Center, Hawaiian Electric Co., One Waterfront Towers and the Finance Factors buildings. Those who have signed on recognize the savings they’ll reap thanks to the stabilization of long-term energy costs.

Electricity is versatile, but it is difficult and costly to make and store. The genius behind SWAC technology is that the cold seawater can chill buildings 24/7, much like solar water heaters provide hot showers even after the sun has set. The project’s seawater system design engineer, Makai Ocean Engineering, also designed the deep water pipes off Keahole Point that have successfully provided cooling for the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in Kona.

The district cooling system will generate an estimated $200 million in construction spending, creating more than 900 new construction jobs. Besides lowering greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 75,000 tons per year, it also will save 260 million gallons of potable water and reduce wastewater discharge by 84 million gallons a year.

On World Ocean Day, observed Friday, we appreciate how much the ocean directly improves our lives in so many ways: food, medication, therapy, recreation, scenery. Let’s also recognize its enormous potential in helping to meet our energy needs.

While researchers continue to work on ways to harness wave power and ocean thermal power, buildings in downtown Honolulu should readily convert to seawater air conditioning, a renewable energy solution that is practical and proven.