The TH Interview: Tomer DeVito of Green Power Generators
Tomer Devito, pictured here with business partner Alton Butler to his left, is a man on a mission to change Hollywood. After learning about the obscene levels of pollution created by the film business, he founded Green Power Generators, a company providing biodiesel-powered generators to the entertainment industry. But GP Generator’s work did not end with switching fuels, the company has also put considerable time into developing equipment and fuels that burn as cleanly and efficiently as possible. This approach seems to be paying off, with major contracts coming in from studios and TV networks alike. In this interview, we ask Tomer about the challenges involved in greening such an energy intensive industry, and we learn more about GP Generator’s efforts to maximize their sustainability credentials. For more from Tomer, check out his appearance on Treehugger Radio too.
TreeHugger: The entertainment industry is obviously a resource intensive business, yet a lot of people were surprised at figures showing just how much pollution Hollywood generates. Are the movers and shakers waking up to this not-so-glamorous reality, and is there the will to do something about it?
Tomer DeVito: I can tell you that the movers and shakers are well aware of the reality, but not all are actually ready to spend the time and money to do something just yet. There are companies like Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox that have taken major steps to lessen their impact on the environment and have received very positive press for doing so. I think the promotional benefits of going green are a major incentive for studios, and frankly who cares, as long as it’s happening?TH: You've recently scored some big contracts with the likes of Fox and Grays Anatomy - what's in it for these players, aside from cleaner air on set?
TD: Well I think that cleaner air on set is quite substantial. Companies can also take pride in the knowledge that they have helped to encourage others to move towards a greener industry. TH: Your company has gone beyond merely sourcing alternative fuels, to redesigning generators for cleaner, more efficient operation. How have you gone about this, and what kind of results have you achieved?
TD: With the help of our very bright engineers, we have sourced companies that specialize in exhaust and filtration systems. Because of the corrosive nature of Bio-fuel, we used all synthetic hosing and stainless steal fittings. We ran emissions test last month and have succeeded in reducing CO emissions by 70% and NOx by 40%.
TH: There are no magic bullets, and biodiesel itself has been associated with a number of environmental problems, especially to do with unsustainable feedstocks. What moves are GP Generators making to ensure sustainability further up the supply chain?
TD: Like the rest of the environmental community, we are well versed on the problems associated with bio-diesel. We selected a company that we believe is at the fore front of researching all methods of reducing energy consumption throughout the process. Because we have a large fleet of generators and vehicles we had to choose a company that could supply the need reliably, quickly and efficiently. We hope to be using vegetable oil in our generators within the next 6-8 months.
TH: The environmental woes of the entertainment business don't end with generator usage. Are there plans for GP Generators to expand into other sustainable products and services for the industry?
TD: Yes. My partner owns a production rental company that leases motor-homes to the industry. We plan to convert the entire fleet (15 units) to bio-diesel within the next 6 months. We are also working with production companies like RSA Films to help promote recycling of water bottles, cans, paper products and set materials.
TH: What are the biggest moves that the industry could take to encourage a cleaner, more sustainable future for us all?
TD: Well according the UCLA study released last year, the reason that the film industry ranks so poorly on the environmental report card is mainly due to the emissions that are created on set. If the studios make it a mandate that all productions use vendors that are "green" and take recycling seriously, it will not be long before measurable changes are made. ::GP Generators::