Investors are failing African entrepreneurs — it’s time for a change

February 25, 2021 by  
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Investors are failing African entrepreneurs — it’s time for a change Salma Okonkwo Thu, 02/25/2021 – 00:10 Despite the global economic slowdown caused by COVID-19, the case for investing in Africa is stronger than ever. Africa will remain a competitive investment destination for decades to come because of its improving relative risk profiles, regional integration and strong economic fundamentals. However, many challenges remain for local founders despite the record -breaking fundraising year African startups had in 2019. This is especially the case when it comes to women-led companies. The energy sector will be critical for Africa’s post-COVID economic recovery and will be one of the most attractive investment sectors in 2021. Stakeholders ranging from the African Development Bank to large-scale private funds recognize the need cost-efficient industrial energy access as well as universal household electricity. To expand the impact of their investments in the energy sector, development finance institutions (DFIs) and private investors should pay more attention to empowering African-led energy firms by adjusting their risk analyses and to closing gaps for off-grid solar project financing. Representation of local African founders, and female founders, remains a challenge in the African startup funding space. While it is a positive sign that African companies are attracting international investors’ attention, only 20 percent of private investment into African startups and companies came from Africa-based investors during the last five years. Further, eight of the top 10 African startups that attracted the most capital in 2019 were led by foreigners. These figures get more concerning when considering the number of women-led or co-founded startups in Africa. Although 25 percent of all sub-Saharan African women are engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity, women-led startups receive a fraction of the investments compared with their man-led counterparts. This year’s projected drop in funding for African startups is a perfect opportunity for the investment community to reflect on these trends and make changes for the coming surge of financing needed for the post-COVID recovery. The economic recoveries of African economies are underway , and investors can take advantage of strong positive economic trends that existed pre-COVID to invest in strategic sectors such as energy. Investing in African markets always has been associated with risk , but now the COVID-19 pandemic has made safe markets risky, and traditionally risky markets look attractive. Off-grid solar projects in Africa consistently have outraised their competitors in other countries, making Africa the leading global destination for off-grid solar investment. From China to the U.S ., geopolitical crises already were stressing major economies, and COVID accelerated this trend. Now, investors are increasingly looking elsewhere for stable returns and reassessing their risk profiles. Compared to traditional markets, Africa is young , connected , entrepreneurial and poised for immense growth through regional integration via the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which will create the world’s largest free trade area. Renewable energy is a priority sector for Africa’s post-COVID recovery because small and midsize enterprises need reliable and clean energy to get back to business and continue growing. Over $200 million in funding last year went to energy sector startups. Off-grid solar projects in Africa consistently have outraised their competitors in other countries, making Africa the leading global destination for off-grid solar investment. The importance of off-grid and mini-grid projects will only grow as they are the most cost-effective way to bring hundreds of millions of Africans without electricity online and reinforce power supplies for businesses. DFIs and investors should prioritize supporting African-led renewable energy companies to achieve stable returns, close the energy access gap and elevate African founders. Despite expanding programs for solar energy financing, outdated risk analyses keep critical funding out of the hands of African entrepreneurs. Some of the largest off-grid solar companies in Africa are co-founded and backed by Western CEOs and investors. Thinking that local African firms with market expertise cannot deliver the same returns with the same, if not better, risk profiles are outdated. More developed economies do not have a monopoly on talent either. African talent, combined with recruited international talent, can result in world-class teams to lead companies capitalizing on the African solar opportunity. Africa’s off-grid solar sector represents a $24 billion annual opportunity, and the continent faces a significant energy gap. DFIs can serve as bridges between the private sector and governments by expanding credit enhancement services to hedge against project risk. These institutions already have several tools at their disposal to help investors hedge against risk, including credit and political risk guarantees, and serving as lenders of record for project financing to secure favorable loans using their preferred credit status. Promoting technology transfer and local content is a stated priority of DFIs. The best way to accomplish these objectives is by supporting African companies in securing investment. The golden age of African investment is just beginning. However, real developmental impact in critical sectors such as solar energy cannot occur without local empowerment and African firms taking a leading role. Investors are running out of excuses: African companies can be competitive, profitable and world-class when given the support they merit from capital markets and DFIs. Pull Quote Off-grid solar projects in Africa consistently have outraised their competitors in other countries, making Africa the leading global destination for off-grid solar investment. Topics Renewable Energy Africa Entrepreneurship Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Solar panels in the African country of Zimbabwe. Photo by Shutterstock/Sebastian Noethlichs

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Investors are failing African entrepreneurs — it’s time for a change

Bill Gates wants you to step up on climate

February 16, 2021 by  
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Bill Gates wants you to step up on climate Elsa Wenzel Tue, 02/16/2021 – 00:00 When you’re one of the world’s richest people, it’s hard not to make a global impact. Fortunately for the climate cause, Bill Gates for the last half-decade has invested considerably toward innovations to push the planet toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. “Getting to zero is one of the most difficult challenges people have ever taken on,” he said in a keynote address broadcast at the GreenBiz 21 virtual event Tuesday. “We’re going to have to change the way we make and consume basically everything, and we’re going to have to do it many times faster than energy transitions have happened in the past.” Weaning the world from its annual release of 51 billion tons of planet-changing emissions is the subject of Gates’ latest book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” being released this month. “It’s going to take significant investment and bold innovation,” he told the GreenBiz virtual crowd. “So we cannot only invent new solutions but commercialize them and then scale them up quickly.” What does it mean for you? It means thinking about climate breakthroughs across every area of your business. To that end, Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Coalition, launched in 2015 with its billion-dollar venture arm a year later, has backed some 30 startups in a variety of low-carbon plays, including in greener metal, energy storage and even cultured breastmilk. In January, the star-studded fund — with the likes of Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Jack Ma onboard — said it will double to $2 billion and target 40 more emissions-slashing startups. As one of the world’s foremost techno-optimists, Gates was central to the improbable advances of the personal computer and the recent rollout of COVID-19 vaccines . In his view of a global climate revolution being bigger than the moon landing or eradicating smallpox, cooperation from the business world is pivotal. “It’s about the future we leave for our grandchildren, it’s about the future success of your business,” Gates said in the GreenBiz 21 address. “To meet this challenge, we need your business to join in, and you can be the champion inside your business to create these breakthroughs. Make no mistake, the challenge ahead of us is unprecedented. But I believe we can come up with a plan to overcome it.” What does that mean for your company? Here are clues, gleaned from Gates’ GreenBiz 21 address and other recent statements. Eliminate the green premium Fantastic innovations alone can’t lead to zero emissions unless they reach mass affordability. So Gates seeks to rally people behind wiping out the “green premium,” the high cost of sustainable products and services over polluting ones. Electric vehicles are driving in this direction, marked last month by General Motors’ disclosure that it will stop selling internal combustion passenger cars by 2035; and solar energy is already cheaper than burning coal in many places. Yet a long path is ahead before the green premium disappears across other systems, notably for steel, cement, air travel and buildings. Gates recently noted, for instance, the Swiss firm Climeworks ‘ success with direct-air carbon capture to improve cement-making, but its processes are 10 times more expensive than needed to erase the green premium of traditional cement-making. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition names five “grand challenges” representing an outsize share of the global emissions pie: manufacturing; electricity; agriculture; transportation; and buildings. Elevate the developing world Gates has shared on his podcast how a personal urgency about the climate crisis built over time as he flew to developing nations for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s global health and poverty-reduction efforts. As he landed over bustling Lagos, Nigeria, the ubiquitous nighttime fires illuminated to him the need to address how 1 billion people live without electric power . It’s the duty of the developed world not only to develop innovations but also to fine-tune them in such a way that they become affordable to the poorer regions of the world, the philanthropist has said. “We need to be at the point where we can call up India and say, ‘Hey, we have green cement now; don’t use the dirty stuff,'” Gates said in a December episode of the podcast “Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions.” Support climate-smart policies Gates recently praised President Joe Biden for re-joining the Paris Agreement: “Now the United States can build on that step by adopting a concrete plan that checks several boxes at once: eliminating emissions while adapting to the warming that is already happening, spurring innovative industries, creating jobs for the post-pandemic recovery, and ensuring that everyone benefits from the transition to a green economy,” he wrote on the Gates Notes blog recently. In December, Gates called for the U.S. to create a National Institutes of Energy Innovation to centralize efforts that are spread out across the National Aeronautics and Space Agency as well as the Energy, Defense and Transportation departments. When it comes to research, clean energy only receives about a quarter of the federal funding as medicine does. Gates would like that to change, too.  Think about climate breakthroughs across every area of your business, and invest in clean energy research and development that aligns with your goals As already mentioned, manufacturing, electricity, agriculture, transportation and buildings are the five major areas Gates repeatedly has identified as needing rapid innovation now. They represent the major sources of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.  There are opportunities in most of these categories for every company to reduce emissions from the top office to the farthest reaches of a supply chain. The Google X “moonshot factory” tinkers with renewable energy and more. Nestlé’s labs cook up plant-based proteins. It’s up to each business to customize and commit to the opportunities for innovation. Support accelerators and incubators by being willing to pilot and demonstrate new technology Breakthrough Energy Ventures, for one, seeks to invest in “neglected areas and enterprises we believe are critical to explore,” according to its website. In addition: “We will only invest in technologies with the potential, at scale, to reduce greenhouse gases by at least half a gigaton every year, about 1 percent of global emissions.” In that spirit: Back innovations that go big. Set a target to become net-zero enterprise, reimagining procurement and supply chains Microsoft, which Gates co-founded, is a best-in-class example. Thirteen months ago, the tech giant set forth the goal of net-zero emissions by 2030 . The icing on that cake: removing by 2050 the equivalent of all emissions it has released. As the tech giant reported last month , so far it has purchased the removal of 1.3 million metric tons of CO2 from 26 projects around the world, representing diverse solutions. Companies hoping to reach a meaningful net-zero commitment should proceed with caution and make sure to invest in significant and measurable improvements, not relying heavily on hard-to-verify, potentially low-quality offsets. Develop innovative financial vehicles to scale green technologies “Because energy research can take years — even decades — to come to fruition, companies need patient investors who are willing to work with them over the long term,” Gates wrote in 2018 . Beyond traditional venture capital, creative tools to accelerate sustainability are gaining hold, including green bonds and special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACS . (There’s a whole new GreenBiz event in April for the emerging green finance space .) “Most of all, it’s going to take courage to see beyond the way things have been done for decades, to identify new opportunities and to build creative partnerships to take advantage of them,” Gates told the GreenBiz 21 audience.  Illustration of the green premium. Pull Quote What does it mean for you? It means thinking about climate breakthroughs across every area of your business. Topics Leadership Cleantech Finance & Investing GreenBiz 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Bill Gates addressing GreenBiz 21

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Earth911 Podcast: Thinking Through Post-Growth Living With Philosopher Kate Soper

November 1, 2020 by  
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Arguments against embracing sustainable choices often suggest life will be … The post Earth911 Podcast: Thinking Through Post-Growth Living With Philosopher Kate Soper appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Podcast: Thinking Through Post-Growth Living With Philosopher Kate Soper

Episode 225: Lyft’s electrifying declaration, please open the windows

June 19, 2020 by  
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Episode 225: Lyft’s electrifying declaration, please open the windows Heather Clancy Fri, 06/19/2020 – 02:30 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (4:27). To make offices safe during COVID-19, buildings need a breath of fresh air Unilever unveils climate and nature fund worth more than $1 billion How Perdue, Smithfield and Silver Fern Farms are reducing packaging waste The unmasking of Corporate America Features Moving from analysis to action on circular food (29:10) Emma Chow, project lead on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Food initiative, chats about the role menus play in counteracting food waste and sharing practical steps for addressing the “brittleness” of the existing food system. ESG and the earnings call (39:40) Most companies don’t directly address environmental, social and governance concerns on their quarterly earnings calls. That needs to change. Tensie Whelan, director of the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, offers tips for how companies can buck that trend most effectively.  Lyft drives toward electric vehicles (49:30) Ride-hailing service Lyft has committed to electrifying all of its cars by 2030. GreenBiz Senior Writer Katie Fehrenbacher has the scoop. *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere:  “4th Avenue Walkup,” “Arcade Montage,” “I’m Going for a Coffee,”  “Here’s the Thing” and “As I Was Saying” Happy 20th anniversary , GreenBiz.com! Virtual conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. Supply chains and circularity. Join us at 1 p.m. EDT June 23 for a discussion of how companies such as Interface are getting suppliers to buy into circular models for manufacturing, distribution and beyond.  Fleet of clean fleet . Real-life lessons for trucking’s future. Sign up for the conversation at 1 p.m. EDT July 2. In conversation with former Unilever CEO Paul Polman . One of the most influential voices in sustainability joins Executive Editor Joel Makower at 1 p.m. EDT July 16 for a one-on-one conversation about redesigning business and commerce in the post-pandemic era to better address sustainability and social challenges. Resources galore State of the Profession. Our sixth report examining the evolving role of corporate sustainability leaders. Download it here . The State of Green Business 2020. Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends published here . Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Katie Fehrenbacher Deonna Anderson Topics Podcast Transportation & Mobility Food & Agriculture Circular Economy Electric Vehicles Supply Chain Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 56:15 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 225: Lyft’s electrifying declaration, please open the windows

Episode 219: Water, workplaces and well-being

May 8, 2020 by  
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Episode 219: Water, workplaces and well-being Heather Clancy Fri, 05/08/2020 – 02:33 Week in Review Commentary on this week’s news highlights begins at 4:35. Why global engagement is essential to sustainable supply chains Sustainable infrastructure investments can aid the post-COVID recovery Two ways P&G is working toward its packaging goals Features Intel’s water world (16:25) In 2017, semiconductor and technology manufacturing giant Intel committed to restoring 100 percent of its global water use. This year on Earth Day, the company said it had reached a milestone of 1 billion gallons restored. Todd Brady, director of global public affairs and sustainability, discusses the projects that got it there.  Workplaces and well-being (31:15) Last week, three respected real estate companies — Cushman & Wakefield, Hines and Delos — announced an initiative intended to help companies begin the process of reconfiguring their offices to protect employees’ health as they return to work. Here to discuss the project is Paul Scialla, founder and CEO of Delos, which founded both the International Well Building Institute and the Well Building Standard. On the fringe … consumers (40:45) A highlight from our ” Seeing into the Future ” webcast, featuring sustainability marketing guru Suzanne Shelton. *This episode was sponsored by Villanova University.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere:  “Waiting for the Moment That Never Comes,” “Knowing the Truth,” “Southside,” “Start the Day,” “Thinking It Over,” “Curiosity” and “Introducing the Pre-Roll” Virtual Conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. Moving to a regenerative food supply. Pioneering companies, NGOs and policymakers will discuss tracking technologies, regenerative agriculture projects and new collaborations that could make food systems more sustainable. Sign up here for the session at 1 p.m. EDT May 12. In conversation with John Elkington. Don’t miss this one-on-one interview featuring GreenBiz Executive Editor Joel Makower and well-respected sustainability consultant John Elkington, who recently published his 20th book, “Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism.” Register for the live event at 1 p.m. EDT May 14. Circularity goes digital.  You don’t have to wait until August for three great discussions on the circular economy . We’ll debate “Reusable Packaging in the Age of Contagion,” “Can Recycled Plastic Survive Low Oil Prices” and “Repair, Resilience and Customer Engagement.” Register here for our half-day event starting at 1 p.m. EDT May 18. Scaling municipal fleets. Experts from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, ChargePoint, Smart City Columbus and the city of Oakland, California share tips at 1 p.m. EDT May 26.   This is climate tech. Join respected venture capitalists Nancy Pfund (DBL Partners), Andrew Beebe (Obvious Ventures) and Andrew Chung (1955 Capital) for a discussion at 1 p.m. EDT May 28 about compelling solutions and startups that address the climate crisis — and how big companies can play a role in scaling them. Resources Galore The State of Green Business 2020.  Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends for the year ahead  published here . Do we have a newsletter for you!  We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Topics Podcast Water Efficiency & Conservation COVID-19 Buildings COVID-19 Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 49:42 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 219: Water, workplaces and well-being

Sustainable infrastructure investments can aid the post-COVID recovery

May 5, 2020 by  
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Sustainable infrastructure investments can aid the post-COVID recovery Katherine Davisson Tue, 05/05/2020 – 04:23 The economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing governments around the world to come up with policies for stimulating the global economy. Many are considering a tried-and-true method to boost economies in the short term and provide wide societal benefits in the long term: infrastructure investment. Countries around the globe are set to launch the biggest round of infrastructure investment since the post-2008 financial crisis stimulus measures. It’s easy to see why: Demand is enormous. The world is on-trend to face a  $15 trillion gap between the infrastructure investment needed and the amount provided by 2040 . On the supply side, when 1 percent of GDP is invested in infrastructure,  economic output increases by about 0.4 percent in the same year and by 1.5 percent four years later . Building in a new world Before the shovels hit the dirt, it’s worth understanding how the world of 2020 is different from the world of 2008. The infrastructure sector, long a laggard in embracing innovation, has worked hard to close the technological gap with other industries, and disruptors have transformed the way we design, build and manage infrastructure systems. Attitudes toward the importance of addressing the climate crisis also have changed. For example, since 2008, the percentage of U.S. adults who say dealing with global climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress  has risen 14 points . The ongoing coronavirus crisis has amplified the growing calls for resilient and adaptable infrastructure that effectively can operate during moments of crisis. Given this big opportunity, it is imperative that when the nations of the world look to embark on infrastructure investment programs, they strive to provide infrastructure that is sustainable, technologically advanced and resilient. It is the financially, environmentally and socially responsible thing to do for the world. The economic benefits Economically, the case for technologically advanced, resilient and sustainable infrastructure is clear. Low and middle-income countries alone could see  a net benefit of $4.2 trillion  from investing in infrastructure that prioritizes future-focused resiliency. That’s a $4 return for every $1 spent. Low and middle-income countries alone could see a net benefit of $4.2 trillion from investing in infrastructure that prioritizes future-focused resiliency. That’s a $4 return for every $1 spent. Integrating new technologies during the design, construction and operational phase of an infrastructure asset can significantly lower the cost while improving the functionality. Artificial intelligence (AI), advanced data analytics, fintech, cloud computing, 5G, new materials, renewable energy technology and 3D printing are just a few innovations changing the global infrastructure landscape. When used, they can decrease project cost, compress construction time, reduce community disruption, minimize environmental harm and increase safety. The benefits of using technology to plan, build and operate sustainable infrastructure systems have won over many decisionmakers, including in the United Kingdom, which is planning to implement a  national digital twin program  to connect all aspects of its infrastructure system onto one secure network. Digital twins are computer models that combine AI, data analytics and machine learning to produce a digital version of a physical object. They help optimize the planning and operation of infrastructure by providing valuable insights in near-real-time. The U.K. expects the program to produce $8.70 billion in value a year from cost savings and efficiency gains from more sustainable management of the country’s infrastructure. The environmental benefits Dividends for the environment are also apparent. In energy infrastructure, long a major source of global carbon emissions, renewable technologies have made enormous strides. Wind and solar power are the  most cost-effective modes of power generation  across more than two-thirds of the world, including in the United States, China, Brazil and India. But building infrastructure that encourages environmental stewardship isn’t merely limited to the green energy space. Infrastructure’s burgeoning technological revolution ensures that all aspects of infrastructure have the ability to contribute to ecological preservation. The fast-growing Port of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast found itself in dire need of a solution for accommodating ever-growing container ships. In past years, the operators likely would have simply dredged the seafloor, an expensive and environmentally damaging exercise. They instead chose to  use cloud-computing technology  that assesses currents, tidal levels, wind patterns and other data to provide forecasts that allow the port to guide larger ships into the harbor depending on environmental conditions. In use since 2017, this program has allowed the port to increase capacity without dredging, allowing for even larger ships to access the port, all while improving operational safety, planning ability, sustainability and future-readiness. The societal benefits Not to be forgotten are the benefits for our societies of building advanced, sustainable and resilient infrastructure. We must create social infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, that use the latest innovations and techniques that can withstand the evolving challenges of our times, from natural disasters to pandemics. For example,  Nantucket Cottage Hospital , a small island hospital off the U.S. East Coast, is using the latest in technological and sustainability advances to create a medical facility that is adaptable to a variety of potential challenges in the coming years. This infrastructure revolution will not happen on its own. Although innovation has flourished, the sector lags behind others in technological sophistication. By focusing on environmental contingency planning, proper material use, emergency access to utility services and space adaptability, the hospital is protected against natural disasters and more long-term changes in environment and patients surges — crucial on an island whose population swells from 11,000 to 50,000 in the summertime. Similarly, the developers of the  Michael Tippet School  in the London borough of Lambeth set sustainable innovation and resilience as guiding principles. The project managers chose  laminated timber-an increasingly popular building component  as a primary construction material. Laminated timber is not only environmentally friendly compared to more carbon-intensive options such as concrete and steel, but it also can be assembled quickly and onsite, saving time and money. The result was an airy, adaptable space that easily could adjust to the changing requirements of this special needs school. The backbone of the economy This infrastructure revolution will not happen on its own. Although innovation has flourished, the sector lags behind others in technological sophistication. Existing innovations need to be more widely embraced, and new innovations need more nurturing — both areas where better cooperation with governments could yield positive results. Community engagement also needs to be increased. Working with local stakeholders to deliver updates and providing opportunities to receive community feedback at all stages of an infrastructure project greatly will increase the chances of success. Projects also should focus on adaptability and replicability. Finding and disseminating successful models can eliminate trial and error periods that cost time and money. It is often said the infrastructure is the backbone of the economy. We must ensure that that backbone is prepared to carry the weight of the future. Committing to using this opportunity to build advanced and resilient and sustainable will do just that. This article originally was published by the World Economic Forum. Pull Quote Low and middle-income countries alone could see a net benefit of $4.2 trillion from investing in infrastructure that prioritizes future-focused resiliency. That’s a $4 return for every $1 spent. This infrastructure revolution will not happen on its own. Although innovation has flourished, the sector lags behind others in technological sophistication. Contributors Joseph Losavio Topics Infrastructure COVID-19 Article Source World Economic Forum Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The fast-growing Port of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast is using cloud-computing technology  that assesses currents, tidal levels, wind patterns and other data to help guide larger ships into the harbor depending on environmental conditions.

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Sustainable infrastructure investments can aid the post-COVID recovery

Magical rainbow swamp goes viral

November 30, 2018 by  
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Earlier this week, Brent Rossen posted a photo on Reddit that his girlfriend took of a rainbow swamp, and within 24 hours the photo received more than 120,000 upvotes. The couple was enjoying a walk at First Landing State Park in Virginia when they came upon the unusual phenomenon. “Me and my girlfriend were walking in the woods the other week and saw a rainbow pool for the first time,” Rossen wrote in his post. Related: Magical artworks place lamps, books and chairs in the middle of nature So how does this happen? Jeff Ripple, a former Florida swamp walk leader, told the BBC that the rainbow effect occurs because of the natural oils released by decaying vegetation. The decomposing leaves in the water release tannic acid and a thin film forms on top of pooled water in swamps and marshes. When the sunlight hits it at a certain angle, you can see the gorgeous colors. However, if you look at the water in a shadow, it appears to be normal swamp water. But, on a sunny day, you can see the rainbow when you look at it from an angle. The water also needs to be still for a long period of time for the rainbows to appear. Ripple says that any movement from sheet flow, wind disturbances, or current will “destroy the fragile rainbow film.” This phenomenon reportedly happens at various swamps and marshes along the Eastern seaboard. Retired engineer Michael Hussey posted a pic on Facebook of a rainbow pool in Tallahassee, Florida. Swamp walk leader Sandra Friend has also blogged about her experience with rainbow swamps, and Annie from Not Just Abroad has also posted about a rainbow swamp in Caw Caw County Park in Charleston, South Carolina. Hussey says that he sees this happen every three to four years, and it is “beautiful to see.” Thomas Thornton, facility manager at Caw Caw swamp, says that it must be the result of some kind of perfect storm, and it seems like you have to be lucky to see it in person. Via BBC Images via Shutterstock

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What’s the Post-China Ban Future for Materials Recycling Facilities?

October 26, 2018 by  
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What’s the Post-China Ban Future for Materials Recycling Facilities?

BIGs massive Lanescraper building may become Australias tallest tower

August 10, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled designs for the Lanescraper, a supertall building proposal that has been shortlisted for Melbourne’s Beulah Tower competition. Envisioned with a footprint of over 2.5 million square feet, the Lanescraper aims to serve as a bustling mixed-use destination housed in what could be the tallest tower in Australia. The $2 billion project would see a dramatic redevelopment of the post-industrial Southbank neighborhood, so-named after its location south of the Yarra River. Selected as one of six shortlisted designs, the Lanescraper reinterprets the concept of Melbourne’s laneways and block neighborhoods into a giant “vertical block” made up of a series of stacked and staggered volumes with laneway-inspired gaps in between. Rising to a height of nearly 1,200 feet, the Lanescraper will feature a mixed-use program with car parking, food and retail, interactive/discovery spaces and the BMW Experience Center at its lowest levels. Stacked above will be the entertainment and cultural options in addition to office and commercial space, childcare facilities and a hotel. The bulk of the building will be reserved for residential use, which occupies the uppermost levels. The design is developed around the idea of two cores—one large and one smaller—which lends itself to an optimized walking layout and circulation. The stacked and staggered boxes also help break down the mass of the building to a more human scale. The design was created in collaboration with Fender Katsalidis , ARUP, Jan Gehl, GTA Consultants, bloomimages, and Brick Visual. Related: BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper “The stacked blocks between the cores extend upwards and interlock to provide connectivity and structural rigidity, appearing as a zipper of diverse programmatic functions that step back respectfully from Southbank Boulevard and Power Street,” explains Bjarke Ingels Group. “In doing so, the tower tapers inwards and negotiates the space between the surrounding buildings, minimizing vis-à-vis at the top and overshadowing of the public realm below. An evolution of the skyscraper beyond the proverbial ‘village-in-the-sky’ to a tower uniquely Melburnian: the LANESCRAPER.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Images via BIG

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An old bungalow is transformed into an award-winning home with a modern extension

July 18, 2018 by  
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Los Angeles-based Edward Ogosta Architecture has breathed new life into a 70-year-old bungalow by adding a modern extension fitted with massive windows. Named the Rear Window House, the Culver City home spans 1,450 square feet and was commissioned by clients who sought extra space for their growing family. The new addition respects the local architecture — predominately low-slung bungalows from the post-war era — and maintains the 3:12 roof slope shared by the existing house and surrounding residences. Wrapped in asphalt roofing shingles, the Rear Window House extension consists of a master suite along with a new laundry room, closet and library. The volume juts out toward the backyard and embraces the landscape with extruded aluminum window frames and a covered back porch with a concrete platform. The house’s axial path to the backyard was formed with the careful positioning of the addition, which was placed parallel to the existing garage. “Influenced by the California minimalism practiced by the Light and Space movement of the 1960s, Ogosta sought to create moments of clarity that conjure a serene, meditative experience,” said the firm in a project statement. “Through a careful sequencing of new spaces and strategically located apertures, Rear Window House opens itself up to become deeply integrated with the rear garden.” Related: Culver City Eco House fights back after being decimated by landslide The interiors of the existing home were updated to match that of the new addition. Inside, the architects added bleached oak floors and white walls to achieve a clean and minimalist aesthetic. The large windows pour an abundance of natural light inside; the most striking use of glazing can be seen in the master suite where a window wall offers the homeowners a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience. The Rear Window House, completed in 2016, received a 2018 AIA National Small Projects Award . + Edward Ogosta Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Steve King

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An old bungalow is transformed into an award-winning home with a modern extension

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