evanpic“The frog was wrong” — that’s what I saw on a giant billboard when driving toward New York’s Lincoln Tunnel last year. It turned out to be a Toyota advertisement, with fine print stating, “It is easy to be ‘green’ when you drive the new such-and-such…” I didn’t think much of the car, but the slogan is terrific.

That’s what we think here at ECN. So to help you green-ize your company’s operations and make Earth-friendlier products, we are kicking off our efficiency initiative with this issue.

e_arrows.jpgTo start, we created a special section at called The Efficiency Zone. It’s easy to find; just go to the homepage and you will see a big green box in the center. There we include energy news, products news, the occasional article or editorial, and a links library. We’re also bringing some of the online EZ highlights and articles into print, starting this month on page 34 with a look at the evolution of energy courses in academia. Beyond this month, from now on we’ll add a new logo to all energy-efficient products in the magazine, making it easy to find them even when you’re not looking.

“But wait, there’s more!” We aren’t just saying you should be into efficiency; we’re helping you learn how to be efficient. Check out this month’s Cover Story about extending battery life and the Semiconductor Highlight about decreasing power consumption; read our Leading Off department for products built with the environment in mind; scan our magazine for tips about relevant and hype-free sites in the commercial world; and look for some book reviews in the months to come. Editor-in-Chief Aimee Kalnoskas and I are reading The Clean-Tech Revolution by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder, both of They state that the combined market for biofuels, fuel cells, solar photovoltaics, and wind power was $55 billion in 2006 and will reach $226 billion by 2016. Gaining a few carbon credits is nice, but money talks. (Have any other good reads to suggest? Please email me.)

On a lighter note, efficiency should be a lifestyle, not just something you do 9-to-5. So you’ll look edgy and fashionable in one of our Efficiency Zone t-shirts. To win one, just send me your favorite tips for energy-saving electronic design, and we’ll pick a winner every week. Just consider me your energy advocate here at ECN.

What else? The nature-loving microchips in our eyes and eardrums are wide open to any other suggestions you may have for improved coverage of this hot topic. As designers, engineers, and resellers, what additional information do you need about efficiency to improve your own company’s operations and to make cleaner products? Tell me what and why, and we’ll try to oblige.

-Evan Koblentz, Online Editor