As sustainable business enters the mainstream, there is a growing need for a skilled labor force that can meet the needs of socially and environmentally focused firms. The rate of growth for jobs with “environmental compliance” as a keyword has increased by 24 percent since 2010, while jobs focusing on “energy efficiency” have grown by 500 percent since 2009, according to data from job search engine SimplyHired.com, compiled by Coyne College.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE -
Upgrading facilities to be LEED-certified, reducing carbon emissions, using recycled or compostable foodservice products, and diverting waste from landfills are common ways that sporting events are going green. However, especially with large events, much of the impact is contributed by the fans.
American Modular Systems (AMS) has started production on River Vine Vineyards, a new Gen7 Concept Home to be sited on a 50-acre working vineyard along the banks of the Mokelumne River Watershed in Lodi Wine Country.Designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, AMS claims River Vine will be one of most advanced, high-end prefabricated residences ever constructed — a state-of-the-art smart home that will take sustainable prefabricated design and construction to the next level.
TiE Silicon Valley, a not for profit organization dedicated to "fostering entrepreneurship in the Bay Area and globally," has announced an upcoming hackathon event focused on tackling three real-world issues within the “smart city” space: smart parking, waste disposal management and water access management.The event will begin in January 2016 and will last for two weeks. Winners will be invited to attend TiECon 2016, TiE's largest annual conference, and will also have an opportunity to win prizes and publicity.
Google, along with thinkstep, architecture and engineering tech company Flux and nonprofit Healthy Building Network (HBN), last week launched a new collaborative open data initiative to combine health and environmental impact data on building materials that empowers the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry to achieve greater sustainability.
THE NEXT ECONOMY -
DIY retailer Kingfisher and Swedish housewares giant IKEA both recently told edie of the potential to incorporate elements of the sharing economy and servitization, in what they see as a "natural progression" of their business models.
Solar combined with energy storage systems (solar+storage) can help protect vulnerable populations during power outages in multifamily affordable housing and provide an economic return to building owners, according to a new report by nonprofit Clean Energy Group.
Tesla “Powerpack” battery systems will be used to power part of 24 office buildings in California, according to a recent announcement, as reported by Edie.Real estate firm The Irvine Company, which has properties throughout California, will install Tesla battery systems the size of five parking spaces. It is expected that these will reduce peak grid energy consumption across the company's entire portfolio by 25 percent.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE -
Starbucks UK has announced it is going beyond government recommendations for the National Living Wage and will be the first private company to implement housing and homelessness charity Shelter’s Tenancy Deposit Loan Scheme, to help its employees manage the cost of living.“There are now 11 million private renters in England, and as housing costs keep rising, more and more people are struggling to scrape together the deposit needed to rent a home," said Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb.
Leading scientists and urban planning experts will gather at BASF’s Creator Space™ Science Symposium on November 10 and 11, 2015, in Shanghai, China to share the latest insights into the area of sustainable urban living. The symposium is part of the worldwide Creator Space™ program for the 150th anniversary year of BASF.
PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION -
Iluméxico, a Mexican social enterprise focused on solar power, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to bring its Solar Home Systems to 50,000 off-the-grid rural homes — approximately 300,000 people — by 2020.This commitment includes the creation of 180 new jobs, of which 90 will be designated for women and 70 will be based in rural communities.The company said it plans to increase its “ILU Centros” support network from 5 to 50 locations nationwide and strengthen alliances with both public and private institutions. Anticipating up to 70 percent growth within the next five years, Iluméxico also plans to expand its business into two new Latin American countries by 2020.
Imagine living in a luxurious circular skyscraper, with a breathtaking view and without electricity bills on the table. As futuristic as that my seem, it may not be too far off, according to Lennart Graaff, director of Windwheel Corporation.The Netherlands-based consortium of companies BLOC, DoepelStrijkers and Meysters has plans to construct what it calls the “Dutch Windwheel,” a double-ring rotating edifice that is powered by the wind energy it generates.
CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING -
This week, researchers at George Washington University (GWU) unveiled a new method to convert carbon dioxide into nanoscale carbon fibers that may serve as valuable future building materials (think: aircrafts, fitness equipment and sports cars), as well as another potential weapon against climate change.The new technology captures airborne carbon dioxide and employs an electrochemical process to convert it to carbon nanofibers and oxygen. The method is more efficient and potentially significantly cheaper than existing methods, according to Stuart Licht, a professor of chemistry at GWU.
Google is testing a new online tool to help homeowners explore whether they should go solar, according to a recent blog post by the search giant.Now available in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno and the Boston area, Project Sunroof utilizes the same high-resolution aerial mapping used by Google Earth to help homeowners calculate their roof’s solar energy potential, right from their laptop or smartphone.
The University of Minnesota has received a $12 million dollar award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to bring together a network of scientists, industry leaders and policy partners committed to building better cities of the future, according to a recent announcement.The network will connect across nine research universities, major metropolitan cities in the U.S. and India, as well as infrastructure firms and policy groups. The project includes 25 faculty members across the nine universities, and will involve more than 40 graduate students conducting research in cross-university interdisciplinary teams.
The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge last year achieved concrete results in cities in Australia, Ireland, Mexico and the United States, according to the company’s 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report.This included improving infrastructure and its effectiveness, integrating municipally-owned solar energy into the existing power grid, planning for economic development and reversing neighborhood decline while increasing tax revenue.The report details how the company’s technology and talent are transforming governments, institutions, communities and the quality of life for people around the world.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE -
MCI, a leading agency in the global meetings, events and association and congress industries, used its sixth sustainability report, Building Possibilities, to assess the performance of MCI’s client-focused activities in addition to its own internal sustainability strategy.
MARKETING AND COMMS -
More than 60 percent of large buildings qualify as “green,” compared to less than 5 percent of small buildings, according to a new study by CBRE Group and Maastricht University.The 2015 Green Building Adoption Index, a joint project of CBRE and Maastricht, concludes this may afford owners of small buildings an opportunity to differentiate themselves by implementing energy-efficient practices.The report defines “green” as an office building holding either an EPA ENERGY STAR label, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) full-building LEED certification or both. in the study, “large” buildings are those greater than 500,000 square feet, while “small” buildings are less than 100,000 square feet.
As previously functioning urban areas fall into disrepair, urban blight increasingly is afflicting cities across the United States. Characterized by high local unemployment and crime, political disenfranchisement and depopulation, in some of these areas the endless blocks of abandoned buildings seems like scenes out of a post-apocalyptic movie.