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Published on October 14th, 2019 | by Winter Wilson


Green Business, Energy Efficiency, Apocaloptimist, & Tesla — CleanTech Talk with Scott Cooney

October 14th, 2019 by  

In this episode of our CleanTech Talk podcast interview series, Zach Shahan sits down with Scott Cooney, primary owner of Important Media, the company holding CleanTechnica, and the founder and CEO of Pono Home, to discuss Scott’s newest pursuit: Apocaloptimist, a podcast series to inspire and engage people in hope for the future by highlighting innovative solutions to challenges around the world. You can listen to the full conversation in the embedded player below. Below that embedded SoundCloud player is a brief summary of the topics covered, but tune into the podcast to follow the full discussion.

You can subscribe and listen to CleanTech Talk on: AnchorApple Podcasts/iTunesBreakerGoogle PodcastsOvercastPocketPodbeanRadio PublicSoundCloudSpotifyStitcher, or via the embedded SoundCloud player above.

Scott Cooney is an “ideas man and eco-preneur,” according to Zach. Before founding Pono Home, Scott was CEO of Important Media, and helped to build CleanTechnica into the platform it is today. Scott and Zach reminisced a bit about CleanTechnica, the team, and their vision for the company, and highlighted some exciting progress they have made over the past few years.

Pono Home, Scott’s current company, started in 2014 when he saw a need for light retrofitting to improve energy efficiency in homes. But Scott quickly ran up against a challenge: even if people want to make their homes energy efficient, there will always be a million reasons to not take that step. So, how do you convince people to make a change? Scott decided that Pono Home would be able to offer a comprehensive home retrofit at an inexpensive price, building trust with the customer and promising a payback period averaging three months. Since its start, Pono Home has retrofitted over 10,000 homes across Hawaii, saving around 150 million gallons of water a year, 12 million pounds of CO2, and $2.2 million. The monetary savings, Scott noted, are especially important for people within a low income bracket, which Pono Home focuses on. Ultimately, with an entire economy built on convenience, Scott explained that energy efficiency cannot be any different. Entrepreneurs, he explained, need to tap into that market.

Scott defines himself as one of those entrepreneurs, though he is not one for headlines. In fact, he found that there were many more “ecopreneurs” like himself making an impact in the world, but rarely do those stories of smaller yet important impact get covered.

The impetus for Apocaloptimist came from a desire to tell those stories, at the same time subverting the tendency toward overwhelming climate change anxiety in our society. With so many global challenges and devastating news headlines, Scott found there was a need for inspiring stories of the millions of people around the world working on solutions that are building a better and more hopeful future.

The podcast aims to discuss current events that include game-changing new technology, social movements, and other ideas that people can learn from and use in their own change-making endeavors. Scott also plans to highlight a different interview each episode, bringing in individuals like energy efficiency entrepreneurs who are making an impact within their sphere of influence. Scott explained that there are millions of people working on important problems that simply do not make headlines. Those are the people he wants to shine the spotlight on.

In fact, there are opportunities for anyone to get involved with Scott’s new podcast. You can visit the website Apocaloptimist.net for more information.

To hear more on these topics, in addition to short asides on politics, hope for the future of clean technology, and Scott and Zach’s admiration of Tesla, listen to the show! 

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About the Author

Winter Wilson is a Cutler Scholar and undergraduate student double majoring in Environmental Studies and Journalism at Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College, with a minor in French. Her academic interests include environmental communication, technology and social innovation, especially as they relate to international climate change mitigation and adaptation. Though Winter attends school in her hometown of Athens, Ohio, she takes advantage of her breaks to explore the world beyond. She spent her most recent break undertaking self-driven research on climate change and environmental justice in Southeast Asia. This year, she will be completing her dual thesis and supplementary documentary series on climate change communication. Winter is excited to contribute to and work with the team at CleanTechnica as a Summer Editorial Intern.

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