I just generated 20 minutes of green power. It took me less than five minutes. How did I do it? I added the Facebook application Green My Vino to my Facebook account and then sent one green power minute to 20 of my Facebook friends.
Green My Vino was launched earlier today by Village Green Energy. It allows Facebook users to give free online gifts worth one minute, five minutes, or ten minutes of renewable energy. Village Green will then purchase the equivalent amount of energy on behalf of the Facebook user.
Once Facebook users have gifted 10,000 minutes of solar and wind power to their friends, the first of four wineries who are already signed up for the program has committed to powering their entire operation with renewable energy. The first winery is Iron Horse Vineyards located in Somoma County.
Three other wineries have committed to the program, also. Girard Winery, Windsor Vineyards and Windsor Sonoma will all power their entire operations with renewable energy if enough green power minutes are gifted by Facebook users through the Green My Vino application.
There is an additional environmental benefit to this program. According to the press release,
In California, the electric companies are required to buy a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable generators – a policy known as a Renewable Portfolio Standard. “Village Green only purchases RECs from states like California, where the electric utilities are required to buy renewable power,” explained Village Green Co-Founder Mike Jackson. “When you purchase RECs from these states, you ensure that new renewable power gets built because the electric companies must replace your purchase by building more generators.”
This means that Facebook users actually have the power to force the electric companies to create more sustainable energy by simply adding the Green My Vino application to their Facebook account and gifting green power minutes to their friends. This isn’t a one time opportunity for Facebook users, either. The application says that users can send the free gifts to 20 friends once a day. It’s easy to see how the first 10,000 points could quickly add up.
In fact, if enough green power minutes are gifted and all four wineries go completely renewable with their energy, 1.2 million kWh of renewable energy certificates will be purchased from wind farms and solar arrays in California. That’s enough to power 500 California residents for one year. If the first four wineries are successful, Village Green Energy intends to encourage other wineries to join the program and go green.
This seems like a no-brianer to me. If you’ve got a Facebook account, add the My Green Vino application and send some free green power gifts to your friends. This is an easy opportunity to help spread the use of renewable, sustainable energy.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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Hi, this is Mike Jackson, CEO of Village Green sharing some thoughts.
On its face, Green My Vino is just a neat way to engage Facebook users in the efforts of a company to go green. But somewhat behind the scenes, the Green My Vino model directs far more money to the purchase of renewable energy per page view than would be possible with other Facebook application models.
Here are the numbers: If Facebook users pass 10,000 minutes to each other, then the first winery will convert their operations to renewable energy. Traditional Facebook applications make money through advertising revenue – so 10,000 minutes passed might result in, let’s say, 20,000 page views. This would generate $20-$100 through ordinary banner adds, and this money could be used to purchase renewable energy.
Instead, the wineries involved have made a commitment to do much more. At the 20,000 page view mark, Green My Vino will purchase $3,500 of renewable energy. While an app with traditional banner ads might purchase only 90 kWh of electricity – about what the typical American uses every week, Green My Vino will be purchasing 290,000 kWh – what the typical American uses every 64 years.
Are the wineries getting duped? No, the wineries are excited to be a part of the effort and see it as a cost effective way to spread their name and advance a cause they believe in, and Village Green has already received interest from a number of other companies. What’s going on?
A couple things. Green My Vino enables people to interact with a brand, rather than be subliminally exposed to it through banner ads. Village Green is focusing on brand interactions instead of page views. Furthermore, this interaction is mutually beneficial – the users help force businesses to use renewable energy and learn about current events in clean energy, while the organizations get noticed for taking a legitimately large step to green their business. And these aren’t monstrous organizations buying a token amount of green power, these are small businesses committing their entire operations.
What the businesses involved get as well is a toehold in Facebook. Social media networks are clearly the next step in online interactions and many companies have no idea how or lack the funds to get involved.
These smaller businesses get exposure on Facebook for a fraction of the cost of what they would pay otherwise, and because we at Village Green are a bunch of young environmentalists, we make them go green in order to get that exposure.
Providing these services to businesses provides a value far beyond banner ads, which directs much more money towards addressing environmental concerns.
Thanks for the additional information. I’ve already had a number of my Facebook friends accept the green minutes. As a Facebook user I’ve had a lot of applications sent my way by friends, and I’ve found a good deal of them to be fun but meaningless. Your application is very meaningful and I was glad to be able to help spread the word.
very interesting article. If it helps the environment then its all good.