Jun 22, 11
With its exposed plywood floors, sub-basement “dungeon” workspace, and clean energy prototypes strewn over two floors, GreenTown Labs, the newest addition to the Innovation District’s growing cleantech cluster is crackling with energy, optimism, product development, and talent. The space conjures up decade-old images of Boston’s dot.com start ups – the interiors and appointments a shade closer to ReadyMade than Dwell - but the young faces, collaborative vibe, and innovative products are everywhere, and the smattering of older suits (okay, I was wearing one too) circulating through the crowd at last night’s ribbon cutting prove that Boston’s business class is taking notice. (Boston law firm Hinckley, Allen & Snyder is GreenTown Lab’s legal sponsor and a key supporter.)
If there were a biofuel shuttle between MIT and the Innovation District, GreenTown Labs would be the first stop. Structured as a non-profit, built on strategic partnerships and considerable bootstrapping, GTL essentially serves as affordable housing for cleantech entrepreneurs who can’t pay the lease rates in Kendall Square but appreciate the Innovation District’s proximity to the mothership, Boston’s venture community, and the District’s sustainability and living lab constructs. The founding members who made the leap across the river have been joined by other incubator occupants including wind and solar power developers, a home energy management system venture, various energy efficiency start ups, and a green trade association, among others.
Boston Mayor Menino said it best before he cut the ribbon: “there are a lot of great companies in Boston, but your companies are growing” and he added, “you know, one of the companies here might become the next big company, the one that everyone recognizes around the kitchen table.”
We all look forward to watching GreenTown Labs, and its member companies grow and thrive in Boston’s Innovation District.
Apr 05, 11
Boston’s growing Cleantech Cluster in the Innovation District is explored in the latest issue of the American Business Journal. The article (begins on page 46) describes how the core principles of the Innovation District – shared innovation, “living lab”, and environmental leadership – create optimal conditions for cleantech company growth and development. But our work goes beyond promoting principles. We’re working with developers to help them create affordable, shared office and lab space for venture backed companies, identifying beta testing sites - on public and privately owned buildings – for promising cleantech products and services, surveying cleantech CEOs on sector policy priorities, exploring a district scale sustainable grid project in the heart of the Innovation District, and more.
Contact me if you’re interested in learning more about the cleantech companies located in the Innovation District, or if you’re looking to relocate or expand your business there.
Rising gasoline prices are painful, but GM, Nissan, Toyota, and other electric vehicle manufacturers must be celebrating the timing. EVs face market penetration challenges however, and consumer skepticism may be the smallest obstacle. States and cities have only recently begun to roll out EV charging infrastructure and electric utilities must ensure that grids are ready to handle the increased loads that EVs will create.
GreenTech has been working with a cross agency team here at City Hall to address these and other EV market adoption challenges. Charging infrastructure – public and private, renewable energy integration, permitting, EV awareness, and smart grid integration are all key issues that are on our radar.
We’ve mapped Toyota Prius owners (by planning district) as a proxy for EV adoption. (The East Boston figure – 171 – is inflated due to EVs at dealerships and Logan Airport. The private ownership number is closer to 130.)
Drop me a line if you plan to purchase an EV.