Green tech reward program: Intel will recognize innovation that aids environmental cause

I've had the pleasure of interviewing Intel Chairman Craig Barrett three times in my varied career, so I can say with authority that he is passionate about the environment. And about education.

I've had the pleasure of interviewing Intel Chairman Craig Barrett three times in my varied career, so I can say with authority that he is passionate about the environment. And about education. Then again, this is not surprising from technologist who also happens to be a Montana ranch owner.

In any event, Barrett used his keynote address at the Intel Developer Forum last week to talk about something called the Inspire Empower Challenge, which will reward technological innovation as applied to education, health care, economic development or the environment. Technology is one of the most powerful ways to address some of these challenges, according to Barrett, who is also the chair of a United Nations program focused on bringing technology to the developing world. You can actually watch the video here at Intel's corporate social responsibility blog. This is a link for broader information about all of Intel's green tech and green business practice initiatives.

An example is the software and GPS technology that the United Parcel Service uses to cut back on mileage for their fleets (more than 3 million each month). Or the quest for better plastics that will result in less expensive solar cell technology, which was one of the projects that won a prize in the 2008 Intel Science Talent Search. Incidentally, the entries for the 2009 contest also are being excepted until sometime in November. Here are the rules.

With its latest contest, Intel will award four $100,000 prizes to ideas that use technology for philanthropic means. Here's more information about the rules and such. The registration deadline is Sept. 30, the submission deadline is Jan. 31 and the winners will be announced on April 8, 2009.

Incidentally, it might interest you to know that Intel has a bonus program internally that rewards employees for meeting certain eco-tech guidelines. Dave Stangis, director of corporate responsibility for Intel, says the bonuses are tied to helping certain products achieve various energy-efficiency guidelines. "They really are a goal to get employees to change their behavior," he says.

Undeniably a perk that would make me interested, and proud, to wear an Intel badge.

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