Baker Hughes has officially moved into its new headquarters in Houston. Photo via bakerhughes.com

Houston-based Baker Hughes officially opened the doors to its new headquarters in the Energy Corridor last week.

At a celebration held Oct. 23, the energy service company unveiled its new space within Energy Center II at 575 N. Dairy Ashford. The move represents a consolidation of Baker Hughes' various offices in the Houston-area as the company decreases its corporate footprint by about 346,000-square-feet, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.

It is moving from its former headquarters in North Houston, near IAH. About 1,300 employees will work from the building, according to a statement from Baker Hughes.

“The opening of our new Houston headquarters is an important moment in our strategic transformation as we continue to take energy forward,” Lorenzo Simonelli, Baker Hughes chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Collaboration will be key to solving for the energy transition. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues, partners, customers and new neighbors in the Energy Corridor to solve the Energy Trilemma.”

Additionally, the company reported that the new space will aim to help the company reduce costs, cut emissions, create more flexible workspaces and strengthen relationships within the Energy Corridor.

The new HQ includes features such as

  • Tech- and food-free quiet zones
  • Hybrid experience rooms for enhanced online meetings
  • About 25 open collaboration spaces
  • About 40 meeting rooms, including hybrid meeting rooms and a creative thinking room
  • About 12 community spaces
  • Nursing mothers suites
  • Prayer and meditation rooms

In other HQ news, ExxonMobil officially changed its headquarters to Houston over the summer. A July 5 filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission showed a significant step toward the HQ move that Exxon originally announced in early 2022.

For the third time, the Baker Hughes Foundation has granted funding to One Tree Planted, totalling its impact to $1 million toward reforestation. Photo via onetreeplanted.org

Houston energy company triples down on funding to tree planting nonprofit with $1M total impact

reforestation station

Baker Hughes has doled out another grant for an organization that's growing a global impact.

The Baker Hughes Foundation announced its third grant to One Tree Planted, which is hoping to put 1 million new trees into the ecosystems of 17 countries. The foundation initially donated $250,000 to the organization in 2021 and followed up with a $350,000 grant in 2022. This most recent contribution, which was announced this week, did not disclose the monetary amount.

“This milestone speaks to our commitment to environmental sustainability, and I want to recognize the contributions of our employees, who last year came together across the world to plant trees in the areas where we work and live,” Baker Hughes Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Simonelli says in a news release. “I am grateful for their continued dedication to our sustainability goals and am inspired by what we and One Tree Planted can accomplish together.”

According to the company, Baker Hughes Foundation has contributed an impact of $1 million to One Tree Planted over the past three years. Its 2021 grant resulted in planting 268,000 trees, and in 2022, 350,000 trees were planted. With this latest grant, Baker Hughes adds 382,000 trees to that tally, targeting several areas where the company has a business presence, including the Andes region of South America; British Columbia, Canada; China; France; Germany; Scotland; and Texas, U.S.

“We all have a role to play in protecting the environment and combating climate change, and we admire the Baker Hughes Foundation’s continued dedication to being a force for good,” Matt Hill, founder of One Tree Planted, adds in the release. “With the Baker Hughes Foundation’s impressive commitment to giving back to the environment by planting 1 million trees to date, we are making a powerful impact for nature and communities in 17 countries around the world.”

Last month, the Baker Hughes Foundation doled out a $100,000 grant to the University of Houston Energy Transition Institute. The funding reportedly will work towards the ETI’s goals to support workforce development programs, and environmental justice research. The program addresses the impact of energy transition solutions in geographical areas most-affected by environmental impacts.

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Houston innovation leaders secure SBA funding to start equitability-focused energy lab

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A group of Houston's innovation and energy leaders teamed up to establish an initiative supporting equitability in the energy transition.

Impact Hub Houston, a nonprofit incubator and ecosystem builder, partnered with Energy Tech Nexus to establish the Equitable Energy Transition Alliance and Lab to accelerate startup pilots for underserved communities. The initiative announced that it's won the 2024 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, or GAFC, Stage One award.

"We are incredibly honored to be recognized by the SBA alongside our esteemed partners at Energy Tech Nexus," Grace Rodriguez, co-founder and executive director of Impact Hub Houston, says in a news release. "This award validates our shared commitment to building a robust innovation ecosystem in Houston, especially for solutions that advance the Sustainable Development Goals at the critical intersections of industry, innovation, sustainability, and reducing inequality."

The GAFC award, which honors and supports small business research and development, provides $50,000 prize to its winners. The Houston collaboration aligns with the program's theme area of Sustainability and Biotechnology.

“This award offers us a great opportunity to amplify the innovations of Houston’s clean energy and decarbonization pioneers,” adds Juliana Garaizar, founding partner of the Energy Tech Nexus. “By combining Impact Hub Houston’s entrepreneurial resources with Energy Tech Nexus’ deep industry expertise, we can create a truly transformative force for positive change.”

Per the release, Impact Hub Houston and Energy Tech Nexus will use the funding to recruit new partners, strengthen existing alliances, and host impactful events and programs to help sustainable startups access pilots, contracts, and capital to grow.

"SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage One winners join the SBA’s incredible network of entrepreneurial support organizations contributing to America’s innovative startup ecosystem, ensuring the next generation of science and technology-based innovations scale into thriving businesses," says U.S. SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman.

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

Texas-based Tesla gets China's initial approval of self-driving software

global greenlight

Shares of Tesla stock rallied Monday after the electric vehicle maker's CEO, Elon Musk, paid a surprise visit to Beijing over the weekend and reportedly won tentative approval for its driving software.

Musk met with a senior government official in the Chinese capital Sunday, just as the nation’s carmakers are showing off their latest electric vehicle models at the Beijing auto show.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Chinese officials told Tesla that Beijing has tentatively approved the automaker's plan to launch its “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD, software feature in the country.

Although it's called FSD, the software still requires human supervision. On Friday the U.S. government’s auto safety agency said it is investigating whether last year’s recall of Tesla’s Autopilot driving system did enough to make sure drivers pay attention to the road. Tesla has reported 20 more crashes involving Autopilot since the recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In afternoon trading, shares in Tesla Inc., which is based in Austin, Texas, surged to end Monday up more than 15% — its biggest one-day jump since February 2020. For the year to date, shares are still down 22%.

Tesla has been contending with its stock slide and slowing production. Last week, the company said its first-quarter net income plunged by more than half, but it touted a newer, cheaper car and a fully autonomous robotaxi as catalysts for future growth.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the news about the Chinese approval a “home run” for Tesla and maintained his “Outperform” rating on the stock.

“We note Tesla has stored all data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai since 2021 as required by regulators in Beijing,” Ives wrote in a note to investors. “If Musk is able to obtain approval from Beijing to transfer data collected in China abroad this would be pivotal around the acceleration of training its algorithms for its autonomous technology globally.”

Houston organization celebrates zero waste goal

earth day win

Discovery Green celebrated Earth Day with a major milestone this year — achieving it’s Zero Waste goal.

The nonprofit, along with Citizens’ Environmental Coalition and Houston Public Works, are announced that the 2024 Green Mountain Energy Earth Day, which generated more than 3,800 pounds of garbage, diverted the majority of that waste from landfills. "Zero Waste," as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, is successfully diverting at least 90 percent of waste from the landfill.

On Earth Day, Discovery Green composted 2,200 pounds of waste and recycled 1,300 pounds of trash.

“Part of Discovery Green Conservancy’s mission is to serve as a village green for our city and be a source of health and happiness for all. Our goal is to sustain an exceptional environment for nature and people,” Discover Green President Kathryn Lott says in a news release. “We are beyond thrilled to have achieved Zero Waste certification.”

The achievement was made possible by volunteers from the University of Houston – Downtown.

Steve Stelzer, president of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition’s board of directors, acknowledged how rare the achievement is in a public space in a major city like Houston.

“Discovery Green Conservancy stepped up and made a commitment to weigh, measure and record everything. They should be congratulated to have done this at this scale,” Stelzer adds. “The Conservancy said they were going to do it and they did. It’s an amazing accomplishment.”

The 2024 event included:

  • 31,000 visitors in attendance
  • 60 + exhibitors
  • 100 + volunteers
  • 12 artists
    • 9 chalk artists
    • Donkeeboy and Donkeemom
    • Mark Bradford
  • 25 Mark Bradford artworks made of scrap presented in partnership with Houston First
  • 4 short films shown
  • 3,836.7 pounds of waste collected during Green Mountain Energy Earth Day