Who Is Zach?


Looking for a little background, eh?…

Of course, all of this is just the external, but take it for what it is:

I’m currently the director and editor of CleanTechnica.com (the #1 most-visited cleantech-focused site on the internet) and Planetsave.com (a leading all-around-green and science site).

You can find my work all over the internet, including on Scientific American, Reuters, TreeHugger, and most Important Media sites.

I have a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and sociology (from New College of Florida, the Honors College of Florida), and a master’s degree in city and regional planning (from UNC-Chapel Hill).

I have been blogging professionally since 2008. Before that, I was the executive director of a nonprofit organization promoting sustainable development and clean transportation in Charlottesville (Virginia). And before that, I was an urban research consultant, I worked in a couple of government positions (in city planning and environmental education), and I worked in natural foods stores (ranging from small co-op markets to corporate giant Whole Foods Market – mostly during high school and college).

For some of my most notable achievements, check out my Z&M Communications page.

I currently live in Wrocław (Poland), but have also lived in Groningen (the Netherlands), Sarasota & Bradenton (Florida), Chapel Hill & Carrboro (North Carolina), Sunnyvale (California), Ithaca (New York), and Charlottesville (Virginia). I’m originally from Sarasota, FL.

  • smithjim1961


    I really enjoy reading Cleantechnica. I’d rather focus on solutions than argue with climate change deniers.

    I wonder why there is very little discussion about methane leakage among environmentalists. Why is this topic not covered by Cleantechnica?

    • http://zacharyshahan.com Zachary Shahan

      hello, thanks for the note. are you referring to methane leakage from natural gas fracking and use? or something else?

  • smithjim1961

    I’m no expert but I’ve read that natural gas leakage occurs from fracking and from other leaks. Sometimes I see the local gas company trucks fixing leaks and I’ve smelled the odor of natural gas (or the stuff they put in natural gas to make leaks detectable) as I drove past.

    I first learned about natural gas leakage from NPR.



    Natural gas probably causes as much or more warming than coal. I’m concerned that this HUGE issue is being ignored by environmentalists.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com Zachary Shahan

      yeah, we’ve covered it a bit. we just don’t spend much time on natural gas, in general.

  • http://MrEnergyCzar.com/ MrEnergyCzar

    Great background Zach…. this field will become a greater issue in the coming years….


    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Definitely. Happy to now be in it.

  • Fay

    Hey Zach – Just launched a new iPad magazine which focuses on how we can make intentional choices that make a difference from sustainable living to voting. Would love you to check it out: http://www.deliberatelifemag.com

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thanks. Looks great. Unfort., i don’t have an iPad, but good luck! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/garry.gentry Garry Gentry

    Our local Technical College had a course in installing solar on homes/farms but lost the grant. I am in Southern GA and wondered if you are aware of any reputable on-line courses in that field.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ev-Yves/1047613834 Ev Yves

    Please visit evdomains.com and let me know if you are interested in jointly developing a name of your interest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sid.abma.1 Sid Abma

    Natural gas as stated at the World Energy Conference in Madagascar is becoming the worlds most important energy source. The drilling and transporting leakage is being dealt with by individual states and the EPA.
    Now America and the world has to learn that natural gas is an energy that can be consumed to near 100% energy efficiency. Cool exhaust into the atmosphere instead of hot. Greenhouse gas and CO2 reduction in big numbers, and this fuel can be combusted so efficiently that the Water can be recovered from the exhaust gases, and this distilled water is very usable.
    Check out the technology of Condensing Flue Gas Heat Recovery.
    Commercial buildings and industry and even the power plants can all be applying this technology.
    30 years of Proven operation.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Natural gas leaks are anything but simple to take care of, and certainly aren’t adequately addressed today.

      The GHG reductions are highly debatable still.

      As far as efficiency, I’m not sure where you’re coming up with that claim. Could you provide a link? That, again, seems incorrect.

  • Mike Diethelm

    Zachary, the last two posts I’ve read have had spelling errors. I was wondering why that would happen on such an important site. But the real kicker was the ‘fight back Obama on abortion rights’ ad. It was on your pro Obama story from today! I was really wondering if I was seeing things then. Can y’all not discriminate on ads or is that a cleantechnica.com desired ad. Do you agree that abortion is a bad thing or is that a sell out? It’s the first time I’ve wanted to leave your site and decrease your user hit count so that maybe an ad like that wouldn’t appear due to the numbers. Kinda want to fight back on that one. My disregards on that ‘choice’ as you would so elegantly write. As I rechecked my sanity on cleantechnica before posting this, I noticed lots of anti-Obama ads. Wow. Cutting off the hand that feeds us. No hard feelings… I reckon. Then again, maybe a reality check is what I’m implying.

  • Jesse Cardinal

    hello Zach, i would like to talk with you, how can i get in touch with you. Thanks Jesse

  • http://www.facebook.com/gus.escher Gus Escher

    Hi Zach -
    Great bio and nice post. We “agents of change” need many more like you !
    But why live in Poland? Come and join us here in New Jersey – the per
    capita solar zenith of the world. Best regards, Gus Escher (Princeton, NJ)

  • yuval Brandstetter

    Dear Zach
    Good article regarding the Blue car, and an answer concerning the issue of batt lease. Better Place incorporates the lease into the mileage charge so that you do not “feel” being taken for a ride during months in which you do not use the car as much. I pay about 15 cents a mile regardless of how many miles i actually travel. Having cut the price of transportation by about half i no longer get stingy about driving longer or taking an extra trip.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thanks. Interesting. Sounds like a nice approach!

  • ally leather

    this sucks

    • lewis townsend

      i know! i thought this was a porn site!

      • george trick

        try saveplanet.com

  • Mckenzie

    Hey Zach, as a fellow writer I enjoy your stories on a daily basis for some time now. Keep up the great work and write an article how your readers could support you. I’m sure many would listen. Also, have you ever written a small business solar or green startup article. I would be interested in passing such along as most of the news and press releases come from larger business models that you cover. Regards

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thanks a lot. I appreciate it. I don’t think I’ve written on that subject, actually. Maybe soon… :D

  • DanDevil
    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Hey. Thanks. We’ve covered solar-powered laptops a few times.

  • Jon Hillis

    Zach, I’m trying to promote green roof integrated PV in Washington, DC. We are a large installer of both green roofing and solar. Would appreciate a re-post. Thanks, Jon Hillis, Prospect Solar/Prospect Waterproofing . http://www.prospectsolar.com/blog/author/jon-hillis

  • AdiK

    Hi Zachary, would like to send yo an invite for a free trip to Israel for Top sustainability bloggers offered by Kinetis (www.kinetis.org.il) to learn about sustainability achievements here – how can I e-mail you an invite?

    Adi Kaplan

  • jedsled

    Zach, I ran across your article on CleanTechnica about the GM LED retrofit. I was intrigued due to its billing as the “largest”. Very interesting. If the facts in the write-up are complete, then that retrofit was not the largest. We’ve done bigger ones… :)

  • Dill Weed

    Why no story about Siemens?

  • JonathanRCole

    Hi Zach, Still waiting for a reply to the inquiry I sent through CleanTechnica about helping to promote SunPax, the PV with integrated battery storage and IT control. I thought this would be right up your alley. Take a look at http://lightontheearth.blogspot.com/p/shedding-light-on-solar.html

  • Ken

    Hey Zach,

    I’ve been following your articles for a while and really appreciate your approach. We often link your content over at Revolution-Green.com would love to chat sometime and coordinate some efforts if you’re interested. You can find our contact details over at the website. Until then, keep up the good work.


  • Emily

    I am looking for the source data behind the jobs graphic in this article: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/08/advantages-disadvantages-solar-power/. Can you help?

    • Emily Rochon

      Apparently not! In the future, it would be great if you could post links to source data so people working as renewable energy advocates can more readily translate graphics and review the numbers behind them.

  • tony parkinson

    Zach- is this site supported and funded by FPL? the gentlemen from NJ raises a good point . NJ has a solar radiation level of 4.69 with a target of 22% solar by 2020 while Florida’s radiation level is 18% higher at 5.5 ( in Key West) or 5.2 in Martin County with NO RPS at all.

    ..and folks in the administration who write and speak about solar but when challenged close their email accounts…. and then the 7/50 program which estimates that Florida Solar willstay at 1% of total energy delivery from now until 2021 ( which is when the 30 year PSC territorial agreements expire)…..

    Zach, I need some validation that you are on our side or on the FPL team. I know Buck, he is wonderfula nd I mean that – BUT he does NOT support what he says…. he is the most charming BS artist you will ever meet…
    PS we are offering 4 MW of solar power to a school district at $2.30 and FPL is trying to kill it !!! so, like I said what side are you on?

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Supported & funded by FPL? You have got to be kidding me! Take a look around the site. If you genuinely think this site is supported and funded by FPL, you must be lost.

      In other words: not in any way.

    • Rebecca Davis

      Tony, I work for a solar company, and book guests for a Green topics radio show….can you refer me to more information on this offer to the school district? Who are ‘we’? Are you working with a company, charitable organisation?

  • Alexis

    Hi, Zach.
    I’m developing an energy plan 2050 for Argentina and I need lots of help and feedback.
    Could you introduce me to the right people?
    All the best,

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Hey, will try to do so.

  • seao2

    Hi Zach. I’d like to introduce you to ‘Intervene’ my new eco-sci-fi novel.

    Intervene tells the story of Zem, the trillionaire spaceman on a mission to save the environment.

    Zem never sleeps and every week he spends $100 billion to restructure the global economy and make it sustainable.

    Standing in his way is an American oil man and a foxy redhead called Megan.

    Perhaps I could write an article about it for one of your journals?

    more here: http://www.guylane.com


    Guy Lane

  • Björn Ericsson

    Thank you for taking responsibilty for our planet with this website! The planet needs more People like you!

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thank You! :D

  • Chris Van Velden

    Zach- while I appreciate your promotion of the industry, how about taking on a more controversial topic: Lease vs. loan. In California, leasing companies are making a killing but if you look at the details of their offering, their customers aren’t even getting 1/2 of the wealth the panels generate in terms of avoided utility costs and, many of those leasing customers could use the tax credits themselves. Any decent installer can take the headache out of paperwork and with quality panels & inverters (or better yet Micro’s) maintenance is next to zero for 25 years. That and the fact that leasing locks the homeowner into a 20 year commitment and from what I’ve seen, leases actually encumber the home at resale, possibly bringing down the value of the home or forcing the homeowner to buy out the total remaining energy at sale of home. Take a chance, do the research. I’d be happy to help. chrisv@pwrlogix.com :)

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Hey, Chris. I’ve done so to a small extent: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/25/solar-loan-admirals-bank-vs-solar-lease/

      Getting into the nitty gritty of the finances is tricky since that’s going to vary from case to case unless you have broad data/research on the matter — I’ve ever seen anything on that.

      Will email you.

      • Matt

        Zac, I would like to take a shot at formatting some of the data charts to make thing a little clearer. I’m wondering if you could share your raw data for PV (installations/year, cost/year), wind(installations/year, cost/year). I’m really more interested in installations. World or country/region would work. Looking at your Solar/Wind fact pages I know you have the data extracted. Just trying to be a good engineer “do more work with less energy”. At one time there was contact link on this site, but it appears to have disappeared. could you mail at mattpeffly@gmail.com

  • Einar

    Hi Zach,

    I would like to contribute a piece to Cleantechnica, how do I do it? Do you have a mail address where I can send it?

    Regards, Einar

  • CaptD

    Suggestion: Please consider starting a searchable index listing of “Reply” comments for each of the Pro Nuclear talking points, that way others cannot only learn from the best in the renewable field, but also help populate ever more blogs with high quality Pro-Renewable comments that are not only current and factual but well written, which are sure to get noticed.

    There is a huge need for this as ever more bloggers are being paid by Big Nuclear, Big Coal and Big Oil to dump their messages online.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Hey, something like what you request would be better, but I did update the top of this post to list a lot of key pieces: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/27/many-redditors-obsessed-uncompetitive-nuclear-energy/

      • CaptD

        Thanks, as you can see it got dumped on by trolls and had to have its comments closed, which stifled the conversation!

        Please consider adding this to your To-Do list for 2014, if not you specifically then perhaps you would consider enabling a team of people that you or someone like bob_wallace pick from those that want to help populate such a reference listing.

        This would even the tables for all those that seek to spread the news that Nuclear cannot be tolerated because when it goes BAD we can get additional Trillion Dollar Eco-Disasters like Fukushima or worse.

        Consider this: http://www.turnerradionetwork.com/news/146-mjt

        I’m standing bye…

  • Doug Pearson

    I just saw this article about electric buses, and though you’d be interested:

    By the way, I was born is Sarasota, also.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Ha! What a small world it is. :D

      Yeah, I’ve had that story in the writer pool for a few days. No one picking it up… :(

  • bussdriver78

    Could you do some research into the battery storage market? I’ve seen info on the wholesale cost of battery tech going down; but for retail the costs are still high. If we want to buy enough batteries for a car or for a solar house we are stuck with high retail costs; somebody must be selling this stuff in bulk — but how much bulk makes you wholesale? I’m not talking just about lithium which seems to be below estimates; but cheap lead acid solar batteries or anything people interested in off grid solar. Perhaps somebody needs to make an online wholesaler business for this… A house needs so many batteries it’s got to be close to the minimum wholesale purchase quantity. I’ve not had too much luck looking around – lots of press releases but no way for normal people to buy – and the markup on these things is nuts (except as a replacement part for GM cars lithium is cheap for some reason.)

  • Michael Flaherty

    Zach, are you aware that the company ECycleBest.com is an absolute SCAM and they are not paying for the used phones, tablets, and laptops that consumers like me are sending them to “recycle”. They will not answer my e-mails and when calling their two customer service lines during normal business hours, they just ring and ring….. Did they actually interview you for their recently posted article/interview of you on 3/20/14 or is that just a scam as well??

    I’d love to know as want to expose them for what they are for ripping me off. Thanks, Mike

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan


      Hmm, i don’t really know anything about them, but they did interview me for that.

    • http://www.ecyclebest.com Alvier.M.


      I am so sorry for the unpleasant experience with our services and we would like to make it up to you.

      Please send me an email at alvier.marqueses@ecyclebest.com and I would personally coordinate your concerns with customer service and I will make sure they get in touch with you.

      We are a legitimate business and we certainly transact with our customers with the intent of giving them value for money and reliable customer service. Again, I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.

      Please get in touch as soon as you can.


      Customer Service is different from our Consumer Education and Marketing Division. I am with the former and I will get in touch with our Customer Service Manager to address this matter.

  • Robert Fahey

    New blog. You’ll find it very interesting ….


    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Awesome, thanks! Will add to my feed reader :D

  • TEG2

    Regarding this story:
    I don’t think he is eligible since he wasn’t born in the USA…