Pono Home was founded in 2014 by Scott Cooney, who still serves as our CEO. This page provides an updated bio. You can also connect with Scott on LinkedIn.
Please direct any media inquiries, speaker and/or interview requests to Pono Home’s Public Relations specialist, Sanoe Garcia-Suguitan. You can reach Sanoe via email at Sanoe@ponohome.com.
Scott is a serial eco-entrepreneur who has started 5 mission driven companies (in four of these, Scott was the solo founder). Pono Home, where he currently serves as CEO, has grown from Scott’s living room to a downtown office and 12 employees across three business divisions. The company’s energy efficiency work has reduced more than 240 million gallons of water consumption and 15 million pounds of carbon pollution per year, and is saving its customers more than $2.5 million a year on their utility bills.
Scott developed Pono Home’s retrofit model and its supporting IT infrastructure, and then sold contracts to a diverse array of clients, including hotels, hostels, retirement communities, and property managers. Scott’s proposals won several RFPs from the world’s largest clean tech incubator (Elemental Excelerator), the County of Kauai, the Emerson Collective, Hawaii Energy, and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. Later, Scott led a team effort to develop Pono Home Essentials. Pono Home Essentials is a zero waste, organic, and locally made consumer packaged good line that now includes more than 30 products and has manufacturing in both Hawaii and the mainland US.
In addition to Pono Home, Scott’s other startups were CleanTechnica (2010), WiseGrasshopper (2009), the ReDirect Guide (2005), and Eco-Mowers (2004). CleanTechnica was recently acquired, and the ReDirect Guide and Eco-Mowers continued to run under new owners for several years after Cooney’s exit. As the saying goes, they can’t all be winners: WiseGrasshopper was a bust (never made a profit and Scott eventually shut it down). CleanTechnica, however, is now one of the world’s biggest sustainability education and multimedia companies, currently averaging 6.5 million monthly visitors on its blog, YouTube channel and podcasts.
Speaker, Author & Educator
Scott delivered his first Keynote address in 2010 at the Earth Day Fair in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and continues to speak to audiences about sustainable business, solutions to climate change, media matters, and zero waste issues.
He has spoken and given workshops at Google X, the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, Verge, Pacific Gas & Electric, and for many private clients.
Scott is a McGraw-Hill published author (Build a Green Small Business, 2009), and author of Pono Home’s sustainability book, Green Living Ideas. He has been contracted to write articles for publications such as Hawaii Business Magazine, Pacific Edge, TriplePundit, and more. Scott developed and taught the first sustainable business course for the University of Hawaii system, where he taught from 2012-2014 as an Adjunct Professor in the MBA program. He also developed an impact investment board game as part of the CleanTechnica media group.
Scott is a sustainability strategist with a deep understanding of sustainable business models, circular economy concepts, clean energy, and employee engagement.
In 2008-2009, Scott served as project manager at the sustainability consulting firm Saatchi & Saatchi S, managing projects for Johnson & Johnson, Procter and Gamble, Duke Energy, and a handful of smaller clients. In 2011-2012, he was contracted to put together educational materials for a company wide employee engagement program at Eastman Chemical to help Eastman, a plastics manufacturer, start thinking about its footprint, new products, and new services.
Scott has also helped dozens of eco-entrepreneurs work through their business model and refine their offerings. When he retires, he would like to be an impact investor and an advisor to help mission driven people find their calling and create beneficial results for people, planet and profit.
Scott worked as a survey research professional at the Virginia Tech Center for Survey Research for four years during and after college. He’s proficient in survey methodology, data analysis and key finding summaries. You can see some of Scott’s survey research methodology included in case studies on programs that Pono Home has run greening homes for a variety of customers.
Scott has been honored by several awards and recognitions:
- the 2019 Black Book of “Executives you should know” in the energy category, alongside Hawaiian Electric CEO Connie Lau, Hawaii Energy Executive Director Brian Kealoha and 13 other industry leaders.
- Scott helped develop a model for zero waste tourist goods and gave the winning pitch for the inaugural Climate Hackathon (Honolulu) in 2019.
- He received the SBA / Hawaii Business Magazine Green Business of the Year (2019) award for Pono Home.
- He was included in Blue Planet Foundation’s “We are 100” campaign featuring the 100 stories of do’ers helping Hawaii transition away from fossil fuels.
- He was chosen as the first Brand Ambassador for Espin e-Bikes in 2018.
- Scott was runner up in the Clean Tech entrepreneur of the year award from the Hawaii Venture Capital Association in 2017.
- His was featured on the cover of Pacific Edge’s 2014 issue on sustainable business in Hawaii.
- The University of Hawaii featured Scott in its “Alternative Transportation Heroes” series in 2014, recognizing his commitment to sustainable transportation as a 25+ year bike commuter (by the way, by his estimates, he’s now saved over $100,000 in post-tax income over that time by primarily choosing to bike).
- His Sustainability Unconference in 2013 was awarded the Sustainable Event of the Year by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
Walking the Talk, and Giving Back
Scott still enjoys rolling up his sleeves and doing whatever is necessary for his company, whether it includes cleaning the office or cleaning a customer’s dryer vent (see photo of the small animal of lint dust that often comes out of customer’s dryer vents).
Scott lives it and breathes it. He remodeled his home in Honolulu to be a working model of an urban ecovillage. His design and implementation included creation of functional and affordable living spaces to address some of the social challenges faced in cities like Honolulu where expensive housing is the norm. He added solar PV, rainwater catchment, a Tesla powerwall home battery, and of course, all the Pono Home style efficiency possible.
Scott’s permaculture development plan at the house started with a landscape overrun by weeds (mostly cane grass) and with no edible plants when he moved in in 2018. The house now features garden goodies of choice: lemon, lime, orange, banana, papaya, coconut, kale, ginger, beans, sweet potatoes, collards, chard, peppers, a dozen herbs, and his personal favorite, lilikoi.
Scott is also a proponent of family planning, often joking that the best $20 he ever spent was on his vasectomy. He loves to be uncle to friends’ kids, but he also loves the freedom to travel or go off grid for a week.
Live Pono: giving back
Scott’s mom, two aunts, and an uncle were K-12 teachers. He was bound to be an educator of some sort, but chose to teach sustainability through his business rather than choosing public service. To help those who do choose public service, Scott’s developed a way to do free home efficiency services for K-12 teachers (and farmers), at no profit to the company. Pono Home collects donations to its Live Pono program through a Patreon page, and uses 100% of those funds to green the homes of K-12 teachers and farmers on Oahu.