Rocky Mountain Institute's 25th Anniversary: Celebrating Solutions

The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the groundbreaking, seminal green "think and do tank" marked their 25th anniversary of thoughtful, passionate work to improve the state of the world this past weekend (oops! The event is August 9-10 -- stay tuned for more details and info as the event approaches) with a celebration and green event. "RMI 25: Celebrating Solutions" brought key business and public policy leaders for two days of discussion, collaboration, inspiration and celebration. "The issues that confronted RMI during its inaugural years are now in the forefront of today's debate on climate change," said RMI Chairman and Chief Scientist Amory Lovins. "After 25 years of challenging conventional thinking and leading the field in cutting edge research and consulting, RMI will host a celebration recognizing its past work while keeping our focus on the challenges in front of us." Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and best selling author, served as Master of Ceremonies; other luminaries in attendance included Ray Anderson (Interface, Inc.), Majora Carter (Sustainable South Bronx) and Paul Hawken (Natural Capitalism and Blessed Unrest).

In honor of the silver anniversary of one of TreeHugger's favorite organizations, we rounded up the best of our coverage of RMI; in chronological order, check out the publications, events, partnerships and other inspiring work we've peeked at over the years. Check out the (extensive!) list after the jump.

  • Winning the Oil Endgame was our first look at how U.S. business and military leaders can eliminate oil use in a few decades, led by businesses making profits instead of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Treasure America, a non-profit championed by RMI co-founder Hunter Lovins, is working to show that there is no need to dig dirty holes in a pristine wilderness to have a strong American economy (something RMI is smart to get behind).

  • RMI helped support The Climate Neutral Network, along with The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and the World Resources Institute, to keep an eye on their carbon offset process.

  • In our two-part interview (part one and part two), RMI co-founder L. Hunter Lovins dished on the relationship between economic and sustainable development, helping business growth and environmental protection work hand-in-hand, and gives advice for those of us out here out there working to create change, but frustrated by its slow pace.

  • Texas Instruments worked with RMI to create a new semiconductor fabrication plant, in Richardson, Texas, that requires 20 percent less energy per unit of production. The energy savings are expected to reach $4 million annually when the facility reaches full production.

  • Wal-Mart hired RMI as a consultant to work with the retail giant on efforts to double the fuel efficiency of its trucking fleet, and to cut energy use in its stores.

  • RMI assisted in authoring one of the US State Department's Economic Perspectives journal series, entitled Clean Energy Solutions, that, along with presenting some interesting ideas about a clean energy future, gives us a bit of hope that the federal government is getting closer to mandating action that will represent real change in the US's national energy policy.

  • EasyBeingGreen is just one operation (in Australia) that employs RMI's theory of negawatts; that is, energy utilities trading the energy they don’t generate to those who do.

  • Thanks to RMI's calculations, we determined that this clothes washer that uses 13 gallons per load will pay for itself pretty darn quickly because 85-90% of electricity used to wash clothes involves heating up the water.

  • In a truly inspiring video lecture, Amory Lovins details how it is possible to massively reduce our oil consumption with current technology, at a profit, while creating new jobs, without paying higher energy prices, and without drastic new regulations.

  • TreeHugger's Editor Michael Graham Richard gives RMI some love in his entry to our "2007 According To:..." series, specifically about RMI's extensive good work when it comes to increasing materials and energy efficiency.

  • RMI also co-authored the American Solar Energy Society's "Tackling Climate Change in the U.S" report, which notes, among other things, that "Getting serious about energy efficiency and harnessing existing renewable-energy technologies can cut annual U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 60 percent to 80 percent below today's ever-rising output of the heat-trapping gas..."

  • The Hexayurt, an emergency structure that's cheap, self-contained and easily packed for transportation, is based on the work of the good folks at RMI.

Congratulations to the Lovins' and everyone at the Rocky Mountain Institute for 25 years of outstanding work, and thanks for a quarter century of innovative, inspiring solutions for a greener future!

Tags: Amory Lovins | Renewable Energy