The case for raising up women in climate tech

April 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

The case for raising up women in climate tech Shana Rappaport Thu, 04/15/2021 – 01:30 Four years ago this week, Project Drawdown released groundbreaking research on climate solutions that catalyzed the narrative that reversing global warming is possible. To celebrate that anniversary and underscore what’s needed now, I’m spotlighting 15 women-led ventures at the heart of the climate-tech movement. After all, one of the most surprising conclusions from our work — disclaimer, I served on Project Drawdown’s founding board of directors — is that empowering women and girls represents the most impactful tool for achieving a climate-safe future . Yes, you read that correctly. Among the 80 solutions  evaluated for their potential to reverse global warming, educating girls and ensuring women have access to family planning resources ranked No. 6 and 7, respectively. By empowering women and girls globally, Project Drawdown calculated that we could avoid 120 billion tons of emissions by 2050. That’s equivalent to roughly 10 years’ worth of China’s annual emissions as of 2014 — an amount that far surpasses the 90 billion ton avoidance potential of Drawdown’s top-ranked solution, refrigerant management . The reasons are clear: Educated and empowered women generate a cascade of positive outcomes for society and the planet. They marry later, have fewer and healthier children and, when they start to earn more, tend to reinvest that money into their families and communities — 90 percent of their earnings, as Project Drawdown explains , compared to 30 to 40 percent for men. They also are more equipped with the vital skills to adapt and be resilient to climate change when disaster strikes, and to influence how their communities mitigate against it. From classrooms to boardrooms It got me thinking: Could we boost the carbon drawdown potential of clean technologies even further by supporting more women-led startups in the burgeoning climate-tech ecosystem? After all, addressing the climate crisis is the entrepreneurial opportunity of this generation. Capital is finally starting to flow at a pace commensurate with the urgency and scale of the crisis (emphasis on finally and starting) . VC investment in climate tech is growing five times faster than overall VC, with a $60 billion increase in funding over the last seven years. The Biden-Harris administration has committed $35 billion to fund climate-tech breakthroughs and launched the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Climate ( ARPA-C ) to accelerate technologies that will get the U.S. economy to net-zero emissions by 2050. It would seem that climate tech’s moment has arrived. Unfortunately, the trend lines for women entrepreneurs aren’t as heartening — at least not yet.  In 2019, just 2.8 percent of VC funding went to women-led ventures — a meager all-time high that fell to 2.3 percent in 2020, according to Crunchbase figures . It makes sense, given that only about 12 percent of decision-makers at VC firms are women, and most still don’t have a single female partner. And yet, as a recent Harvard Business Review article put it, the business case for more women entrepreneurs is clear . Women founders generate more than twice as much per dollar invested than their male counterparts, exit one year earlier, staff up with 2.5 times more women and tend to start companies that focus more on making a positive contribution to society. Spotlighting climate-tech sheroes That’s why this week I’m spotlighting 15 female entrepreneurs who are rocking it in climate tech. The selection features three startups within each clean economy market we focus on at our annual VERGE event — carbon removal, energy, food systems, infrastructure (new this year) and mobility. I selected for a mix of hardware and software solutions; ideas that inspire me personally within each market; and ventures that connect to one or more of Project Drawdown’s most promising climate solutions. Carbon removal Etosha Cave, founder and CSO, Opus 12 ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution Sector — Engineered Sinks Opus 12 is addressing climate change by using carbon emissions to create products traditionally derived from fossil fuels. Under Cave’s fearless leadership, Opus 12 has forged partnerships with companies including NASA, SoCalGas and Shell to deliver products such as carbon negative plastics and jet fuel at scale. Molly Morse, founder and CEO, Mango Materials ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 47 — Bioplastics Mango Materials has developed a technology that transforms methane into biodegradable plastic pellets that can be implemented in any supply chain and eventually decompose on their own. This impressive team of three female founders, with a combination of backgrounds in engineering, science and innovation, is creating the next generation of sustainable materials to ensure a biodegradable future.  Jennifer Wagner, president, CarbonCure ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 36 — Alternative Cement Cement production is responsible for about 8 percent of the world’s carbon footprint, which CarbonCure is working to reduce by injecting recycled carbon dioxide into concrete and making it stronger and more affordable in the process. With about 300 concrete plants so far, it has partnered with well-known companies such as Stripe, Shopify and LinkedIn, and has investors including Amazon and Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures.  Energy Andrea Barber, co-founder and CEO, RatedPower ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 8 — Solar Farms “Engineering in minutes, not weeks” is how Barber describes what they’re working to facilitate at RatedPower. Its software is enabling the design and engineering of large-scale solar plants worldwide through a faster, automated and more accurate engineering process. Ugwem Eneyo, co-founder and CEO, SHYFT Power Solutions ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 77 — Grid Flexibility Growing up in the Niger Delta exposed Eneyo early in life to the realities of both grid failure and the ecological and social devastation caused by the oil and gas industry. Her work at SHYFT Power is leveraging the power of the internet of things (IoT) to connect and intelligently manage clean, distributed energy resources in markets that struggle with grid reliability and resiliency. Congrats are in order for closing a $3.8 million seed round last week. Steph Speirs, co-founder and CEO, Solstice ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 10 — Rooftop Solar Speirs and her team at Solstice are on a mission to bring affordable renewable energy to the 80 percent of Americans who cannot install rooftop solar. Their unique approach to community solar enrolls households and community organizations in shared solar farms through creative financing innovations that expand access to underserved Americans.  Food Jasmine Crowe, founder and CEO, Goodr ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 3 —  Reduce Food Waste “Hunger is not an issue of scarcity, it’s a matter of logistics,” says Crowe, as the underlying principle for Goodr’s work to help companies achieve their zero waste goals. By providing a platform that enables the collection of surplus food and donates it to nonprofits, Goodr is helping organizations lower their food waste footprint, track analytics to claim tax benefits and provide nutritious food to local communities in need. Lisa Dyson, founder and CEO, Air Protein ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 4 —  Plant-Rich Diet Dyson’s mission to address global food insecurity and sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050 led her to found Air Protein — which, you guessed it, is the world’s first air-based meat. By combining air, water and mineral nutrients, this revolutionary protein source is pioneering a new approach to feeding our growing population without the strain on natural resources.  Sara Menker, founder and CEO, Gro Intelligence ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution Sectors — Food, Ag and Land use   By harnessing the power of big data and artificial intelligence, Gro Intelligence is taking a different approach to solving climate change and global food insecurity simultaneously. Driven to “illuminate the interrelationships between everything happening on Earth,” Menker and her team are creating a comprehensive, holistic and timely picture of global agricultural trends and markets — enabling insights and predictive modeling at a scale never before possible. Infrastructure While these startups don’t correlate directly with Project Drawdown’s solution set, they do represent cutting-edge technologies enabling community resilience, smart city networks and circular material economies. Jessica Matthews, founder and CEO, Uncharted Power ( LinkedIn ) Recognized in 2016 for what was, at the time, the largest Series A round raised by a black female founder, Matthews’ work with Uncharted Power is fundamentally reshaping the ground beneath our feet — transforming it into an industrial IoT platform that enables the integrated deployment and management of critical infrastructure, from power grids and broadband to sidewalks and water pipes. Erin Rothman, founder and CEO, StormSensor ( LinkedIn ) Rothman is on a mission to mitigate climate risk through intelligent wastewater infrastructure. Working with cities and counties across the country, StormSensor’s technology is mitigating urban flooding, reducing vulnerabilities in coastal, wastewater and stormwater systems, and helping communities adapt to a changing climate — all at the same time. Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao, co-founders, Novoloop ( LinkedIn ) “Giving plastic trash new life” is what Wang and Yao are working to do with Novoloop, which transforms packaging waste into high-performance materials used in shoes, cars, homes and more. Their low-carbon manufacturing and advanced recycling system upgrades the most common plastic waste into performance materials worth up to 50 times more. Mobility Katya Akulinicheva, CFO, ZeroAvia ( Linkedin ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 43 — Aviation ZeroAvia is bringing hydrogen-electric power to aviation to enable zero-emission air travel at scale. After first serving as an adviser, Akulinicheva joined the ZeroAvia team to help take the company to new heights — and, like others on this list, it’s already amassed an impressive roster of investors, including Amazon, Shell, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and the Ecosystem Integrity Fund. Tiffany Chu, CEO and co-founder, Remix ( LinkedIn ) |  Drawdown Solution Sector — Transportation Born at a Code for America hackathon and starting as a grassroots project, Remix has become an essential planning tool for transportation agencies all over the world, serving more than 350 local governments in 22 countries by bringing datasets from disparate sources together into a unified view. Big congrats to Chu for her pioneering vision and leadership, as the transportation platform was recently acquired by Via for $100 million.  Kameale Terry and Evette Ellis, co-founders, ChargerHelp! ( Bios ) |  Drawdown Solution No. 26 — Electric Vehicles Utilities report that 30 percent of their EV charging stations are down at any point in time, and many don’t have a specialized workforce to fix them. Terry and Ellis co-founded ChargerHelp! to address that problem. Evette’s prior experience at the Department of Labor shaped the hiring and workforce development component of ChargerHelp!, through which it pays technicians a minimum of $30 per hour and provide shares in the company to ensure employees can afford an EV and participate in the clean economy it is working to create. At VERGE, we’re leaning in big to nurture and expand the rapidly growing climate-tech ecosystem , including elevating more ventures led by women and Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs.  On that note, I’m pleased to announce we recently hired Sherrie Totoki as director of startup programs to develop and lead a whole new era of initiatives at GreenBiz for climate-tech startups (thanks to Sherrie for helping curate this inspiring set of companies). You can expect to hear more from her in the coming months, and to see an increasing number of inspiring women entrepreneurs featured across our events and coverage.   Topics Innovation Social Justice Finance & Investing Climate Tech Women Diversity and Inclusion Featured Column On the VERGE Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

The rest is here:
The case for raising up women in climate tech

The time is right to rethink the grid

March 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on The time is right to rethink the grid

The time is right to rethink the grid Sarah Golden Fri, 03/26/2021 – 00:45 The grid faces twin challenges: It needs to become resilient and clean. Alone, either would be daunting. Together, with the right policy support, they might just be urgent enough to get something done.  This week, the Biden administration announced a major infrastructure package , with clean energy and updates to the U.S. electrical grid playing a central role .  The need for this transformation never has been more urgent. Today’s grid was largely built in the 1950s and 1960s with a 50-year life expectancy. America’s energy infrastructure scored a C-minus on the U.S. Society of Civil Engineers’ quadrennial report card.  And when the grid fails, it has real implications for health and safety. In the last six months, we’ve seen two examples of how fragile the grid can be, especially with climate change making weather more unpredictable. A heatwave in western states led to rolling blackouts last summer in California , and a cold snap in the southern states led to deadly power outages in Texas .  This is in the last 6 months in new earth weather pic.twitter.com/1vtDKZHm1I — CM Guatemalan Chkn Wings? (@cmrtyz) February 16, 2021 So it’s the perfect time for big ideas to reimagine the U.S. grid for the 21st century. Some of the brightest minds in decarbonization are thinking about this puzzle, with suggestions about how to design a power system that is resilient, affordable, clean and ready to meet the demands of society’s increasing demands on electricity. Here are three ideas. 1. Reimagine the U.S. power system by connecting the country The U.S. power system is primarily three separate regions that operate independently: One for the west (the Western Interconnection); one for the east (the Eastern Interconnection); and one for Texas (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas).  According to analysis by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) , connecting these separate components of the power grid is critical to reaching a higher level of renewable energy.  Strengthening the connections — known as seams — would be a meaningful addition to the process of transferring capacity for renewable energy across the country. If connected, the U.S. power system more easily could share clean energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed, allowing better ability to balance the grid and account for intermittency in renewable resources.  NREL crunched the numbers and found this also would be a darn good investment. According to NREL, for every $1 invested in interconnecting the grid, the U.S. would see $2.50 back in economic growth.  By focusing on the economic payout, this study focuses on the payback of this investment, rather than the cost — a valuable perspective for infrastructure investments across the clean energy sector.  2. Re-envision market design to accommodate renewable energy The U.S. current grid was designed for a 20th-century resource mix, where generation was centralized in large power plants — such as those powered by coal, nuclear and hydro resources. Today, energy generation is increasingly distributed from intermittent sources — particularly wind and solar. That trend will only continue to grow as we move deeper into the 21st century. Market design — the rules and regulations that govern the grid — need to catch up. With the right market design, the U.S. could decarbonize 90 percent of the power system reliably and affordably using today’s technologies, according to a new analysis by the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). REBA’s research, which compiles findings from dozens of other reports, offers recommendations that would put renewable energy on equal footing with incumbent energy sources. The point isn’t to give renewables a leg up as much as allow them to compete on their own value and merits. The report (which doesn’t shy away from the regulatory weeds) recommends market design that is open to distributed generation and energy markets that streamline the energy procurement process.  3. Reevaluate the value of conventional energy resources The falling cost of wind and solar means they are cheaper than incumbent energy resources on a levelized cost basis. We’ve known this to be true for several years . But a new report from RethinkX suggests that the value of conventional energy resources — including coal, natural gas, hydro and nuclear — is even less than we thought.  That’s because the economic calculations of conventional power plants assume they will be able to sell the same quality of electricity from now into 2040 and beyond. According to RethinkX, this fails to take into account the competitive pressure from solar and wind, which generate electricity at essentially zero cost once built. The result is overvalued resources that could be creating a global financial bubble. Renewables are already eating into the economic assumptions of power plants, with electricity demands falling short of the predicted demand for a decade. The figure below shows how coal has underperformed in the U.S. since 2010 and is set to decline further. (The RethinkX report has more figures on different energy resources in different regions.) As policymakers rethink the U.S. electric grid, we will have fresh opportunities to examine the value of incumbent energy resources — and think about which communities we want to design the future for.  Want more great analysis of the clean energy transition? Sign up for Energy Weekly , our free email newsletter. Topics Energy & Climate Infrastructure Electricity Grid Featured Column Power Points Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

Read more here:
The time is right to rethink the grid

Should You Go Solar? Solar Power Pros and Cons

March 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco

Comments Off on Should You Go Solar? Solar Power Pros and Cons

A growing number of home and business owners are using solar power. As the solar… The post Should You Go Solar? Solar Power Pros and Cons appeared first on Earth911.

Go here to read the rest:
Should You Go Solar? Solar Power Pros and Cons

Tesla is building a 100MW battery in Texas

March 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Tesla is building a 100MW battery in Texas

Under the guise of Gambit Energy Storage LLC, a secretive subsidiary of Tesla, a new, 100-megawatt battery is coming to Angleton, Texas. Angleton is located approximately 40 miles south of Houston and has a population of about 20,000. The project follows a massive winter storm that rendered the Texas power grid useless. The new battery is expected to work as a backup to the grid, as climate change has made it clear that relying on the grid may not be tenable for the future. The battery is expected to power up to 20,000 homes. When the project is complete, the residents of the town may no longer have to worry about power outages, even in the most extreme weather events. The project is slated to start operating in June 2021. Related: Tesla — the real environmental impact The Gambit project has drawn a lot of attention nationally, not because of its type but due to the secretive manner in which it is being conducted. The locals say that the workers on the site appear to be under strict instructions not to draw attention or respond to public questions. Reporters had to dig deep to link Gambit to Tesla. Elon Musk’s Telsa has been investing in energy quietly but rapidly. “Tesla’s energy storage business on a percentage basis is growing faster than their car business, and it’s only going to accelerate,” said Daniel Finn-Foley, head of energy storage at Wood MacKenzie Power and Renewables. “They are absolutely respected as a player, and they are competing aggressively on price.” In 2015, Tesla introduced its first Powerwall home batteries . Later, it expanded to larger grid offerings with the Megapack. The company has multiple battery projects, including a 100 megawatt project in South Australia, a 20 megawatt Southern California Edison Mira Loma substation just east of Los Angeles and an upcoming 182.5 megawatt system in the San Francisco Bay Area that is expected to begin operations in August 2021. These projects offer clear indications of Telsa’s fight for a space in the green energy market. Musk himself has been quoted saying that the energy business is bigger than the automotive industry, an indication that the company will focus more on clean energy in the future. + Gambit Energy Storage Park Via EcoWatch and Bloomberg Image via Tesla

Read the original post: 
Tesla is building a 100MW battery in Texas

Hacking solutions to ‘time-sensitive’ climate problems

March 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Hacking solutions to ‘time-sensitive’ climate problems

Hacking solutions to ‘time-sensitive’ climate problems Shana Rappaport Thu, 03/11/2021 – 01:03 For more essays and articles by Shana Rapport, sign up for VERGE Weekly , one of our free newsletters. Sanjana Paul is a 23-year-old scientist, electrical engineer and environmental activist on a mission.  Yes, she’s worked at NASA. But her mission isn’t to explore the outer edges of the solar system. Instead, it’s to harness the full power of technology and the ingenuity of young people to solve our most pressing environmental challenges — right here on Earth.  In addition to her former role as a junior atmospheric science software developer at NASA and her current work as a researcher at MIT, Sanjana is founder and executive director of Earth Hacks , an organization that hosts hackathons for college students to combat the climate crisis.  I caught up recently with her to talk about technology innovation, climate solutions and environmental justice. The following interview has been edited for clarity and length. Shana Rappaport: Before we get into Earth Hacks’ mission, let’s start with your own passion for innovation. What technologies are you personally most excited about or inventions are you most proud of? Sanjana Paul: That’s a great question, and not an easy one because the answer changes every few months. The technology landscape is evolving so rapidly and always reflective of the society that we live in.  I think I’ll have to stick with a classic and choose harnessing the photoelectric effect through solar panels. The trajectory we’re on of being a planet powered by the sun is such a powerful way to support a growing, thriving society. Rappaport: You also have some inventions of your own. Can you speak briefly to those?  Paul: I’ve been fortunate to work on a number of different hardware prototyping projects that I’m very proud of. One is what’s now the Sentinel Project at Conservation X Labs , which is a next-gen camera trap for wildlife conservation that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to assist wildlife conservationists. Another is a robot that I created with a partner of mine, FLOATIBOI , that captures marine plastic debris in coastal areas using visual identification. [Editor’s note: FLOATIBOI is short for Floating Long-term Oceanic Autonomous Trawler Incorporating Buoyant Object Identification.] Rappaport: You founded Earth Hacks in 2018 to leverage the power of the hackathon innovation model in direct service of climate education and solutions. Talk a little bit about what set you on this journey. Paul: I used to go to hackathons as a way to boost my coding skills and supplement what I was learning as an electrical engineering and physics student. But I’d go to these hackathons and find myself stunned because the problems that they presented seemed completely out of touch with the reality that we are living in. They seemed like things only third-year computer science majors would care about.  So, I started to wonder: If hackathons are a place where really smart people come to essentially give up their whole weekends to work on problems, why are we not presenting societally relevant problems? And why are we not presenting really time-sensitive problems, like climate change, which is the most time-sensitive issue we have ever faced as a species? I got a group of my friends together, and we decided to have environmental hackathons as a space to engage with environmental issues and actually start imagining what we can do about them. It all spiraled from there. We started out with one in Richmond, Virginia, and then started getting contacted by students across the country and eventually across the world. We formed an organization around it, and now we’re fortunate to have worked with people from every inhabited continent on the planet — on hackathons ranging from creating urban heat island maps to creating better tools for conservationists working with endangered species. Rappaport: The EarthHacks model is also working to ensure that great ideas don’t just get generated at these student-driven hackathons but are actually implemented. What are some of the real-world projects that have come out of them so far? Paul: That’s a great question, and before I dive into it, I just want to say that one amazing part of all this is that nothing is ever really lost at these hackathons. Even if no cool inventions or startups come out of them, we’re still fortunate that this is an educational opportunity — students still walk away learning about these issues and engaging with them more closely than they did before. That said, we’ve seen some really incredible projects come out, already being put to work in really interesting ways.  We collaborated with a startup called Urban Canopy and with scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab — working with satellite data from the International Space Station to create the world’s first public map of urban heat islands. We basically gave students data, said, “Pick a city, plot the land surface temperature and put it on a map.” This told us where urban heat is most concentrated, which we can hand over to city planners or researchers, and hopefully guide policy so that people have to deal less with extreme heat.  Another example is endangered species conservation. We worked with a bunch of nonprofit organizations who focus on vaquitas — a very endangered porpoise that lives in the Sea of Cortez. We were able to create technical tools for the conservation teams to better track the animals and some of the key issues surrounding them; and to engage law students to draft a white paper that is going to go public soon with real recommendations to lawmakers about how to deal with wildlife crime. We also created a public outreach campaign, because no one is going to do anything about endangered species if they don’t know about them.  Rappaport: Let’s talk about the intersection of tech, climate and social issues. What are your aspirations for how EarthHacks, and the tech industry more broadly, can work to advance environmental justice?  Paul: First, I just want to acknowledge that, for a long time, I think the environmental movement as a whole was really focused on environmental issues as somewhat abstract, as separate from us. Maybe they affect species in far-off places or natural landmarks whose beauty we marvel at but we’ve never seen in person.  But fundamentally, the climate crisis is about people, right? It’s about whether we’re going to have the ability to live happy, healthy lives. Because of that, the climate crisis is inherently tied into social justice and social crises. That’s why I think that taking a more complete view of climate is so critical. The single biggest thing that business leaders today can do to help young people with aspirations is to take drastic action on climate, so that we have the time and space to grow up and to be business leaders ourselves. Second, it’s the practical thing to do. If we ignore how social issues are a huge chunk of the climate problem, and how it’s actually playing out, we’re not going to be able to meaningfully solve either. For the tech industry, specifically, the movement for social, racial and gender equality needs to become integrated into all of the core actions that we take — not just an extra thing to do. Social equity needs to be included in decision-making processes and planning from the very start.  If we don’t work to address these issues now, we’re not going to be able to when we’re overwhelmed by changing temperatures and extreme storms. Even though these can be uncomfortable conversations, we need to expand the cultural window of where they happen and make sure that they happen everywhere all the time. Rappaport: You’re speaking to an audience of business leaders. What kind of support can the private sector provide to you and other young technologists committed to solving environmental challenges, either as corporate partners or as intergenerational allies? Paul: I love the phrase “intergenerational allies” — and I think that’s key. The single biggest thing that business leaders today can do to help young people with aspirations is to take drastic action on climate, so that we have the time and space to grow up and to be business leaders ourselves.  The other smaller step that everyone can take is, put simply, to engage. All of the students we work with at our hackathons are always looking for more opportunities. They’re looking for people to learn from, to come and speak at their events, to mentor them. They’re looking for places to work that are advancing sustainability. So, just engaging with us, reaching out and saying, “Hey, we’d like to support you in some way” — that’s hugely meaningful to us. There are so many different ways to get involved, but it’s always going to start with just reaching out. Pull Quote The single biggest thing that business leaders today can do to help young people with aspirations is to take drastic action on climate, so that we have the time and space to grow up and to be business leaders ourselves. Topics Innovation Featured Column On the VERGE Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off An Earth Hacks hackathon in 2019.

Continued here:
Hacking solutions to ‘time-sensitive’ climate problems

How 12 Emerging Leaders are embarking on sustainability career journeys

March 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on How 12 Emerging Leaders are embarking on sustainability career journeys

How 12 Emerging Leaders are embarking on sustainability career journeys Deonna Anderson Mon, 03/08/2021 – 01:40 In early February, more than 1,200 sustainability professionals gathered online for GreenBiz 21. And each day after the mainstage talks and panels, a few of my GreenBiz Group colleagues and I hopped onto Zoom to convene with 12 students and young professionals poised to become sustainability leaders of the future . From marketing to engineering, the GreenBiz 21 Emerging Leaders represent a variety of professions in the sustainability field. The program aims to elevate, cultivate and support the next generation of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) leaders in sustainable business. During the three-day event, they hopped into roundtable discussions, offered insights in the event chat and learned about the ever-changing sustainability field. “GreenBiz 21 reaffirmed that there are multiple paths when navigating a career in sustainable business,” said Anna Koskol, an Emerging Leader who serves as an environmental educator at Hudson River Park Trust in New York City. “It was reassuring to see people like me, from various backgrounds, working so passionately for a more sustainable world.” To learn more about the Emerging Leaders’ experience at GreenBiz 21, we asked them the following: At this point, how has attending GreenBiz 21 helped you learn about the sustainable business career path, from navigating to overcoming the barriers that exist for you and your peers? Was there anything particularly impactful that happened during your time at GreenBiz 21? What made you hopeful or inspired during GreenBiz 21? Below are the responses from 11 of the 12 Emerging Leaders, lightly edited for clarity and length, and presented in alphabetical order by last name. Kristina Chu  Senior Environmental Analyst, Gradient  GreenBiz 21 brought together so many different organizations and individuals sustainably transforming business, allowing me to see that everyone has a unique career path. I very much left feeling like I have the power to ensure my future career aligns with my values for sustainability and justice. Furthermore, I learned that I am not alone in my mission to create a greener, more equitable world. Attending conferences like GreenBiz 21 serve as perfect soil and ground to grow meaningful connections and partnerships! I was deeply moved by the keynote session ” Why Advancing Equity is Everyone’s Job ” with Jarami Bond, Michele Moore and Kimberly Lewis. [ Editor’s note: Jarami Bond is the chief storyteller at Bond Studio, a visual storytelling company, and senior advisor for the recently launched nonprofit GreenBiz.org . Michele Moore is the CEO of nonprofit Groundswell. And Kimberly Lewis is the CEO of Havenz Network. ] It was beautiful and empowering to see female leaders center friendship and solidarity in the movement towards equity. One phrase that has stuck with me in the past few weeks following the conference is: It is about the process, not the end goal.  I am inspired by my fellow Emerging Leaders. Our calls at the end of each conference day showed me that we stand in solidarity, and the future is bright. We hold such beautiful, collective power to think critically, show up with empathy and build towards liberation and justice. I am grateful and honored to be a part of this new community. Natalie Gray Systems Specialist, Omnidian GreenBiz 21 was a whirlwind event. For me, it reinforced the notion that all of us — whether sustainability specialists, Indigenous advocates, city employees, Emerging Leaders — are individuals using our circles of influence to affect the changes we believe will benefit life on Earth for generations to come. I’m happy to see these circles of influence increasing for many deserving thought leaders as a result of GreenBiz conferences and networks.  When I worked in the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation at the city of Seattle, I would often hear the phrase, “Nothing about them without them,” meaning not to work on a project without engaging the people it would impact directly. Too often, we explain our work in environmental sustainability “for the sake of our young people” or “for the next generation” or say “we have to get everyone on board to make it work” but then fail to engage with the young people and the “everyone” we claim we are working for.  Giving those most impacted the resources they need to do the work — people with the drive, the flexibility, the imagination to innovate — not only invests in the longevity of your company and life on Earth but reminds us that young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow, as we often say they are, but the leaders of today, too. Anna Koskol  Environmental Educator, Hudson River Park Trust GreenBiz 21 reaffirmed that there are multiple paths when navigating a career in sustainable business. Listening to the stories of GreenBiz 21’s speakers and my peers in the Emerging Leaders cohort, I learned about the interests, obstacles and motivations that led each of us to this point in our careers. It was reassuring to see people like me, from various backgrounds, working so passionately for a more sustainable world. GreenBiz 21 allowed me to experience firsthand the power of diverse representation in the sustainability field. I believe wholeheartedly that a key to preparing tomorrow’s leaders for a greener future, especially BIPOC youth, is to expose us to the fullest spectrum of [science, technology, engineering and math] careers and leaders. I look forward to sharing these stories and career opportunities with the youth interns that I mentor at Hudson River Park to help embolden them to be their wildest dreams. I was particularly interested in the discussions around plastic packaging and waste throughout the event. Plastic pollution is a problem greatly impacting the health of NYC waterways. Hudson River Park has therefore prioritized efforts to reduce plastic pollution through a program called Park Over Plastic that educates and empowers our park community to combat plastic pollution together. While leading Park Over Plastic, we have faced innovation gaps or times when there isn’t a viable replacement for some single-use plastics. At GreenBiz 21, I was encouraged by speakers discussing ideas for creating a circular economy and prioritizing a systems approach as a financially, environmentally and socially smart business model. Overall, I was most inspired by the organizers and members of the 2021 Emerging Leaders cohort. I am grateful to have met such passionate, supportive people, and I feel all the more prepared to be a change-maker in my community. Together we can do more! Jessica Levine Strategic Engagement Coordinator, The Recycling Partnership At GreenBiz 21, I learned that businesses are starting to focus more on people — both employees and the communities they serve. When considering strategic objectives, I learned that businesses are focusing on how they can be proactive rather than reactive. Businesses are either beginning to or refining their processes around investing their best resources to positively influence not just the economic impacts but social impacts of their business. Businesses are propelled to consider how their business objectives and performance impact not just their target audiences but all people.   In addition, businesses are recognizing that supporting their people (staff) can result in a diversity of thought that is much needed and desired innovation in all levels of business. My takeaway from this is that my perspective and voice matters, and it’s important that I speak up and out when inspired to because I can make a difference.  During the conference, I was also inspired by the fact that I was not the only young professional passionate about understanding the intersection of [diversity, equity and inclusion] and sustainability and taking action toward equitable systems change. I felt inspired and empowered to catalyze systems change in my sphere, knowing that I have the support of a community made up of passionate movers and shakers, trailblazers, allies, activists, advocates and community members. These industry stakeholders want to make change happen for good. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the GreenBiz 21 cohort of Emerging Leaders and look forward to pursuing continued growth and learning through the opportunity. Danii Mcletchie  Environmental Systems Engineer, Campbell’s Soup The speed networking sessions allowed me to meet so many different people who were tackling sustainability from their own angle. I was able to get great advice from people who have made strides in the career path that I’m currently in, and I know some of those connections will last for a lifetime. As I’m at the beginning of my sustainability journey, the best piece of advice I was given was to look for ways to make any job I do sustainable, rather than just looking for a job with “sustainability” in the title. These small words have completely changed my outlook on how I was approaching things and reminded me not to get caught up in buzzwords.  It was very inspiring to know that from emerging innovators to large corporations to young entrepreneurs, there were people from different walks of life, continuously working to create a positive sustainable impact so that humanity has a chance of surviving in a better way. Emerging Leaders meet with GreenBiz staff during GreenBiz 21 conference. Are you a student or early-career professional who is interested in the circular economy? Applications for the Circularity 21 Emerging Leaders program are open until May 17. Apply here . Camille Minns  Assistant for Climate & Energy, Ceres The sustainability and climate space has always been of interest to me, and I have no doubt that this is where I want to develop my career. This is a broad and dynamic field with numerous opportunities and approaches, and I’m proud to work in this area. I’m a staunch intersectional environmentalist , and I believe that companies should work to become the same. If they are to be considered sustainable, businesses must ask themselves, “What are we sustaining?” If it is not healthy communities and the planet, but instead the same systems and behaviors that have placed us in this precarious situation in the first place, then we’re on the wrong track. There may not be many people who identify as I do in this space, but that’s changing and therefore, I won’t stop learning, lending my voice and doing my part. I believe this [is] also the feeling of the cohort of authentic, brilliant Emerging Leaders I was fortunate to be a part of. This cohort is a microcosm of the young people out there asking the critical questions, innovating and disrupting spaces, and speaking up. The discussions we had, the passion and ideas are all inspiration and fuel to keep me going. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations on climate action and social justice, regenerative agriculture and the need to rethink plastics. The launch of GreenBiz.org , however, was one of the more impactful parts of this conference. I love any opportunity to see more BIPOC in the environmental and sustainability field, and spaces like this play a tremendous role in making that happen. Aayushi Mishra Scientist, EA Engineering There were quite a few impactful events that took place during the three-day conference. I met with dozens of interesting people, ranging from students to company CEOs. Regardless of the seniority of the individual, each individual had intelligent, articulate and thought-provoking questions and ideas. We kept extending our sessions to continue discussing ways to make systemic changes, and at the end of each conversation, one thing was clear — while the sustainability/ESG/CSR sector is booming, the people making up this subset are unique. We want to question every process that we have normalized and understand ways to make it more sustainable. Up until now, this was something I’d assumed would happen one day in the near future. Attending this conference proved that the “near future” is now. I feel hopeful about businesses embracing the concept of a circular economy. This was one of the key areas discussed throughout GreenBiz 21 — it was particularly interesting to see how many unique ideas people had during breakout sessions and in the one-on-one networking times. It was repeatedly emphasized that while recycling is an excellent way to combat waste management, simply stopping there isn’t enough — purchasing durable items and reusing them is a more sustainable way of living. One of the sessions I attended, Sewing Circular: Strategies in the Fashion Industry, discussed how people can transition away from “fast fashion” towards more resilient pieces of clothing that would last several times longer. GreenBiz 21 made me hopeful about our global society adapting and shifting from a linear to a more circular economy. Michaela Ritz Production Assistant, Gotham Greens Attending GreenBiz 21 as an Emerging Leader made clear to me that I would love to start my sustainability career doing on-the-ground fieldwork at a grassroots level, implementing the tenants of sustainability with members of a place-based community. In hearing from small groups and big companies, the common strand was the need to build relationships, foster respect and meet people where they are to value the knowledge they carry inside them. My impression is that starting at the foundation and building upon what is established is the best way to build trust and promote broader cooperation in our sustainability goals.  My fellow Emerging Leaders all share that desire, and it was encouraging to know I now have 11 other passionate and thought-provoking young professionals to call on; they have the drive and curiosity to build professional networks and living spaces we want to see exist in an ideal world. Listening to my peers revealed that barriers are only as limiting as we give them the power to be, because if I ever feel alone in an experience or setting, I know they have probably lived a similar experience and overcame it. We all are aware that learning from each other and honoring our differences is a great asset to be leveraged in solving challenges that seem overwhelming. GreenBiz 21 for me raised more questions than it offered answers, but that is the beauty of being invited into a forum where you can grow. Hearing Indigenous perspectives was a memorable and critical part of GreenBiz 21 for me. Beyond diversity and inclusion discussions, it was eye-opening to be confronted with how even our best intentions in achieving sustainability can be limited due to warped understandings and socially ingrained narratives. Colonialism, commercialization and co-option are still present in today’s sustainability structures, and I found it refreshingly honest to hear that brought to the fore. So many individuals, in grassroots orgs and major corporations alike, are well-intended to do good in the world but this can’t exist without introspection and paradigm shifts. Listening to Tara Houska, Sherri Mitchell and Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin afforded the opportunity to hear from those who have a historical legacy in this work, and GreenBiz 21 made those connections possible. [ Editor’s note: Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation) is the founder of Giniw Collective, an Indigenous women, 2-spirit led grassroots, frontline effort to protect the planet. Sherri Mitchell is the founding director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of Indigenous land and water rights and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. And Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin is president of the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, which has the mission to scale up regenerative agriculture supply chains. ] During the rapid networking sessions, I interacted with so many people from different parts of the world who were joining the conference at different times of the day, from home, work, in between commitments, and while supervising children. In this difficult time for society and our planet, I am reminded that there are plenty of dedicated, hopeful and talented people who are committing themselves to making sustainability a reality every day, even in the face of big setbacks and limited time. There is always a brighter horizon and something to look forward to.  Juliae Riva Student at University of Oregon, Planning, Public Policy & Management & General Social Sciences The GreenBiz 21 conference was a much-needed uplifting, motivating and inspirational three days. I loved having the opportunity to meet people from around the world, who are also passionate about finding solutions to climate change. Through speaking with my fellow Emerging Leaders, I learned that the sustainable business world is filled with the constant pursuit for new knowledge and information to guide our actions. From learning about plastic in oceans to tree equity and racial justice, my passion for sustainability deepened, and I was in awe of peoples’ pursuits. Being in a community where everyone has one common goal and passion was incredibly inspiring to me, especially given that everyone is taking different routes to tackle various problems. I am so appreciative that I was able to listen and learn, and have my eyes opened to the greater sustainability community. Everyone I met was kindhearted, welcoming and supportive — and it left a profound impact on me that I will carry with me as I graduate from college and start my sustainability career. Sydney Thomas Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability Reporting Fellow, DTE Energy I found the entirety of the GreenBiz 21 conference to be impactful, despite the challenges of a virtual environment it fostered connection and learning in a way I haven’t experienced this year. In particular, the networking platform, providing the opportunity to hear career advice and connect with leaders in sustainability, was wonderful. Most importantly, meeting the fellow Emerging Leaders was a rare opportunity to connect with other young professionals across the country during COVID-19. Additionally, I found the sessions on circular economy influential on my current work, reminding me to look at the entire value chain of operations. Considering how to reduce Scope 3 emissions, helping suppliers go on your sustainability journey, and how to reduce the impact of the life cycle of your products, while encouraging your consumers to uptake sustainable behavior change as well. Each and every keynote speech during the conference left me feeling inspired. The keynotes echoed the overwhelming demand from communities, consumers and even investors for sustainable, equitable change. There was a tremendous call to action, not just inspiring messages from all the keynotes, and most moving [call to action was] from Sherri Mitchell, Tara Houska and Dr. Katharine Wilkinson from the All We Can Save Project . [ Editor’s note: Katharine Wilkinson is co-founder and co-director of the All We Can Save Project .] I also felt hopeful by the repeated acknowledgment of privilege, not just by individuals, but corporations, including Microsoft. Learning about their ambitious emissions targets, not only to be net-zero but carbon negative by 2030, removing the carbon emissions they have generated since their start in 1970. As told by Vanessa Miler-Fels, [director for energy innovation and impact at] Microsoft, “Those who can afford to move faster, and go further, should do so.” I’m hopeful that other corporations will recognize their privilege and ability to set and accomplish increasingly ambitious targets. Coco Wang Digital Marketing Specialist at Changing Habits Solutions Attending GreenBiz 21 provided me an industry insider view into sustainability. Though business leaders often express the increasing demand for future leaders in sustainability, there exist many barriers for ambitious and passionate young professionals like my peers and I [when it comes to] understanding how we can best make a positive impact. Through roundtables and panel discussions, I learned the specific struggles in sustainable business; whether it is the climate knowledge gap or making sense of various reporting standards. Identifying these current issues allowed me to better understand my role in accelerating our path to sustainability. Additionally, my experience at GreenBiz 21 reaffirmed my passion for corporate governance, strategy, equity and youth leadership. Another take-away from GreenBiz 21 for me is a strong feeling of hope and inspiration. From my day-to-day work and social media feed, I can’t help but get frustrated and disappointed by how much our world is not doing what is necessary to save the planet. But that has changed after connecting with my peers and young leaders who share these frustrations and aspirations for a better world. There is a whole lot that young leaders can mutually learn, share and support in this emerging community, and I am inspired to lead our community to enact this potential. Putting Black and Indigenous people as well as youth in the forefront of this conference has also demonstrated the industry’s openness to learn and unlearn. Environmental issues are complex and sustainability is no-doubt difficult to navigate. But I am confident that, with our generation, our world is capable and prepared to tackle these issues head-on. Topics Careers GreenBiz 21 Emerging Leaders Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  fizkes  on Shutterstock.

Here is the original post:
How 12 Emerging Leaders are embarking on sustainability career journeys

Circular business model lessons from IKEA, REI and Eileen Fisher

February 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Circular business model lessons from IKEA, REI and Eileen Fisher

Circular business model lessons from IKEA, REI and Eileen Fisher Deonna Anderson Fri, 02/26/2021 – 00:30   Moving from a linear business model to a circular takes time, effort and trial and error. But it also has its hidden benefits. “It can help you with some operational efficiencies. It can also position you to be sort of a company of the future, and also, frankly, tackle the environmental challenges that we have of our consumption model,” said Tensie Whelan, director at New York University’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business, at the end of a conversation that she moderated about circular business models at GreenBiz 21 .  Whelan led a conversation with leaders at REI, IKEA and Eileen Fisher, each of which are embracing circular practices in some parts of their businesses. For REI, transitioning to a circular model seems inevitable so it’s doing the work now. “REI, as a company, we believe that this broader kind of shift to a more circular economy is something that the world is really going to have to do over the next 10 years,” said Ken Voeller, director of circular commerce and new business development at REI. “And it’s also a shift that’s going to take many forms. There’s resale, there’s rental, there’s designing products with circularity in mind. It’s not really like there’s a silver bullet.” I think resale is still quite innovative and continues to morph and change and [there’s] still quite a limited number of brands that are doing it. Here are four lessons about implementing and iterating circular business models from these retailers. 1. The nuts and bolts of resell sound simple on paper But they’re more complicated in action.  “There’s a lot to think about, as it relates to how do you want to build the infrastructure to support a more circular economy. And then how do you want to build the capability to support it,” Voeller said, noting that the effort aligns with the company’s broader business aspirations, including halving its carbon footprint by 2030. REI has been partnering with Trove (formerly Yerdle) to work out the kinks and operate its resell program in an effort to become more circular. “As we think about the things that we can do as a company to continue to grow revenue, without necessarily growing environmental impact, our circular businesses really hit that sweet spot of being able to do both of those things,” Voeller added. In order to make a circular economy work, a company needs a lot of partners. For REI, while Trove is one of those partners, in a sense, so are the customers that return items for the recommerce program. 2. Engaging customers before they step foot into a store IKEA, known for its flat-packed furniture, has launched buyback programs in select markets. Debuting on Black Friday 2020 , the program was temporarily launched in some countries where IKEA operates, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia. And IKEA U.S. is looking forward to launching such a program in the future, after it’s able to wade through state regulations. The program is part of the company’s journey to become more circular. Here’s what the process looks like for a customer interested in selling furniture back to IKEA: Complete an online form about the piece of furniture Receive an payment offer from IKEA Drop off furniture at the store Receive payment from IKEA in the form of a voucher IKEA will sell item in its bargain section “We wouldn’t be asking a customer to lug in a big bookcase that maybe they have sitting in their basement that they haven’t used, just to see if we’ll buy it back from them,” said Jenn Keesson, sustainability manager at IKEA U.S., during the GreenBiz 21 discussion. At the time of the Black Friday announcement, the company noted that any items it is unable to resell will be recycled. “It’s really an end of life solution. … I’m sure that all of us can think of an item in our house that we haven’t gotten rid of, but we’re still not using. So we were excited to be able to offer this solution to our customers in the U.S.,” Keesson said. 3. Presenting customers with all their options Since clothing company Eileen Fisher launched its takeback and resale program Renew in 2009, it has collected 1.5 million returned garments, according to Cynthia Power, director of Eileen Fisher Renew. “I think resale is still quite innovative and continues to morph and change and [there’s] still quite a limited number of brands that are doing it,” Power said. “It’s exciting to keep trying to figure out how to make it better and how to keep the most garments in use for as long as possible.” Since clothing company Eileen Fisher launched its resale program Renew in 2009, it has taken back 1.5 million garments. Photo by melissamn on Shutterstock. Eileen Fisher Renew has been experimenting with the larger main brand in some of its retail stores to display new products alongside used products, design samples and remanufactured products. “We’re really trying to give the customer a view into all the different life cycles of our clothes,” Power said. 4. A gateway for customers — new and old For both Eileen Fisher and REI, the recommerce work each company is doing seems to be getting the attention of people who’ve never shopped with them before. “We really see the renew program and resell in general as an opportunity to bring in a new customer who, whether it’s price point or environmental values, or whatever the customer likes, offers them a new way into the brand,” Power said. “We’ve definitely seen a significant percentage of new customers purchasing from Renew who haven’t necessarily purchased from the main line before.” A circular economy will not just be resale, and it will not just be rental. It will be resale, and rental and circular products designed from the ground up. Voeller of REI noted a similar trend at the outdoor recreation company and added that its resell program also offers an opportunity to develop a different type of relationship with existing customers. “We really view the supply side of our recommerce business as a really interesting retention tool to keep customers engaged with REI and continuing to turn to us for their outdoor purchases,” he said. “They’re able to say, ‘I’ve got this backpack that’s been in my closet for three years. I’ve used it twice. I really don’t need that. Why don’t I trade that into REI, and I’ll get credit to apply towards the thing that I really do want?’”  And while most of the conversations and strategies between these business leaders focused on resale, they know it’s not the only circular business model. Companies that want to be more circular likely will need and want to take multiple approaches to get there. “A circular economy will not just be resale, and it will not just be rental. It will be resale, and rental and circular products designed from the ground up,” Voeller said.    Pull Quote A circular economy will not just be resale, and it will not just be rental. It will be resale, and rental and circular products designed from the ground up. I think resale is still quite innovative and continues to morph and change and [there’s] still quite a limited number of brands that are doing it. Topics Circular Economy GreenBiz 21 Business Development Recommerce GreenBiz 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Ikea, REI and Eileen Fisher are banking on a circular model to propel them into the next era of commerce.//Images by  Graeme Dawes ,  Eric Glenn and  Helen89 on Shutterstock.

Original post:
Circular business model lessons from IKEA, REI and Eileen Fisher

Our grid isn’t ready for climate change

February 19, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Our grid isn’t ready for climate change

Our grid isn’t ready for climate change Sarah Golden Fri, 02/19/2021 – 01:30 Last summer, when 750,000 Californians experienced rolling blackouts as heatwaves overtook the west, some politicians in Texas took the opportunity to blame liberal policies to explain the outages.  California’s politicians did this, not the heat. https://t.co/wft1kFsHfX — Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) September 6, 2020 California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity. Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide. Hope you don’t like air conditioning! https://t.co/UkKBq9HkoK — Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 19, 2020 This week, as ice storms overtook Texas and plunged more than 4.4 million people into freezing darkness, some Californians on Twitter were gleefully dunking on those same Texas politicians for not keeping electricity flowing during their extreme weather events.  I get it. I understand the tribalism of politics. But at this moment, millions of Americans are freezing without power — with no end in sight. It is horrifying and beyond politics. Energy resilience, like climate change, is not partisan. It will affect every community and statehouse, regardless of who is in charge. The battle is not between liberal and conservative states. It is between those working towards a clean, affordable resilient energy future and the politicians and incumbent energy providers that politicize it.  The grid isn’t ready for climate change While the grid is designed to handle spikes in energy demand, reliability is dependent on the ability for operators to predict future supply and demand conditions.  The week’s cold snap affected both: Texans (with power) were cranking up their thermostats at the same time as gas-fired, coal and nuclear facilities were knocked offline amid the icy conditions.  Making matters worse, the Texas transmission lines weren’t up for the challenge. So, regardless of the energy source, grid disruptions will continue as long as we rely on a grid built for a 20th-century climate. “The situation in Texas could have happened anywhere,” said Mahesh Sudhakaran, chief digital officer for the energy, environment and utilities sector at IBM, in an email. “It exposed the importance of grid resiliency, which is something that impacts us all.” Is renewable energy to blame for the Texas power crisis?

View original post here:
Our grid isn’t ready for climate change

ZHA unveils solar-powered student residences for HKUST

February 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on ZHA unveils solar-powered student residences for HKUST

In response to an urgent demand for more student housing at its Clear Water Bay campus, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has tapped Zaha Hadid Architects and local architecture firm Leigh & Orange to design the university’s new residence halls that will house more than 1,500 students once complete in 2023. The student housing buildings also incorporate sustainable design features in line with the university’s pledge to transition the Clear Water Bay campus to carbon-neutral operations. In addition to implementing rooftop solar and high-performance insulation, the architects will optimize the residential facilities’ energy-efficient operations with digital design tools, including Building Information Modeling (BIM) and 3D simulations. Inspired by the university’s mission to solve pressing global issues with technology and innovation, the architects have harnessed the power of digital design tools to optimize the design across multiple site parameters, including terrain, solar radiation, sight lines and soil considerations. As a result, the new residences will be strategically integrated into a steep, sloping site with a hexagonal configuration that embraces the natural landscape. The digital tools will also ensure passive solar considerations, proper material selection and efficient construction strategies to minimize time and waste. Related: ZHA’s sculptural “urban oasis” in Hong Kong to be LEED Platinum The 35,500-square-meter HKUST residence halls will comprise three differing clusters that all include communal living areas and rooms that face open spaces. The “Y” cluster apartments will accommodate 27 students; the “V” cluster will house 36 students; and the “Linear” cluster will offer collective housing for 18 students. The residences will be connected via a rooftop walkway — the main circulation route connecting to the academic blocks in the north — that will include shaded gathering spaces and photovoltaic arrays . To protect against Hong Kong’s intense sunlight, the buildings will be wrapped in high-performance, prefabricated facade units fitted with double-glazed windows and external solar shading fins. + Zaha Hadid Architects + Leigh & Orange Images via Visual Brick

Here is the original post:
ZHA unveils solar-powered student residences for HKUST

Simple, sustainable Valentine’s Day ideas for spending time together

February 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Simple, sustainable Valentine’s Day ideas for spending time together

Love is present in the simplest acts. Valentine’s Day 2021 doesn’t have to be about gifts, and it will be more meaningful when it’s not. Plus, committing to spending time together saves you from worrying whether the diamonds were safely mined or the cocoa used in the box of chocolates was harvested ethically. The truth is, conscientious shopping can be time-consumptive and stressful. This Valentine’s Day, keep it simple instead. Dinner and dessert For the past year, the world has been in varying phases of lockdowns, making restaurant reservations unpredictable and somewhat unnerving. Instead of dining out this year, make a meal together. Share a family recipe , try a food neither of you have ever had before, or create a completely vegan dish . Related: Plants to give your loved one this Valentine’s Day If neither of you are kitchen-savvy, take a virtual cooking class. Share the experience of learning a new technique or focus on a specific ethnic cuisine. For dessert, set up a wine and chocolate pairing. Source some organic, fair-trade chocolate and match it with local or international wines made with organic grapes. If you’re not a wine-drinker, sample teas or coffees instead.  Movie day Cozy is the vibe for Valentine’s Day 2021, so cuddle up and enjoy a day of your favorite movies. Establish common ground in viewing preferences. You might be surprised to find your significant other loves documentaries about recycling or period pieces. Then again, maybe a comedy or action flick fits the bill. Round out the date with food and drink selections that are good for the body and the environment like a charcuterie tray of veggies, fruits and nuts. Board games Instead of flipping on the TV, interact over a game board. Will it be a competitive game of Battleship or Scrabble? Take the opportunity to teach and learn from each other. For example, introduce your partner to Backgammon or Chess. Even a basic deck of cards can offer entertainment for hours. Travel locally or virtually The pandemic has stymied most opportunities for casual travel, but Valentine’s Day offers a chance to make up for it. Use the day to sign up for a virtual tour of a museum, historical site or even a chocolate factory. Before or after your virtual experience, spend a few hours brainstorming and planning for your next real vacation. If you have a destination in mind, watch travel shows and online videos related to it. Create your ‘must-see’ list to work from when it’s time to book. If the weather is tolerable, spend the day outdoors. Head to the beach, hike in the mountains, go camping, visit an animal sanctuary or spend the day on the slopes, depending on the regulations in your area. At home, plan an early dinner on the patio followed by drinks by the campfire. It is winter, so if you encounter adverse weather, don’t let it ruin your day. Set up a tent indoors instead. Turn out the lights, light the candles, eliminate the electronics and take the time to enjoy each other’s company. DIY spa time You can make your own sugar scrub and face masks for the day of romance. Paint your partner’s toes or offer a massage. Share a bath, spend time in the sauna if you have one or soak in the hot tub. While a trip to a day spa means you don’t have to put forth any effort yourself, a DIY spa day at home offers a much more intimate and customizable experience. Dance While the majority of bars are closed and many restaurants have tight restrictions, it doesn’t mean you can’t don your dancing shoes. Put together a playlist of your favorite tunes coupled with some romantic ballads. Move the dining table out of the way or dance on top of it. It’s your date — have fun! Volunteer time Giving back to your community together is a meaningful way to strengthen your relationship. If regulations in your area allow it, find a volunteer opportunity and sign up. Head to the food bank or the soup kitchen. Work at the thrift shop or animal shelter. Sign up for a day at a Habitat for Humanity build site. If volunteer options are limited, collect donations instead. Put out a notice to the community, neighbors and/or friends, and organize a drive for diapers, coats, food or other causes close to your heart. Learn a new skill As individuals, you each have your own strengths. Love is about vulnerability, so be willing to try something new. Let your partner teach you a new skill or craft. Face the power tools or mountain bike or stovetop that intimidates you. Trust your partner to lead you into unchartered waters in learning how to throw an ax, make candles or take a spin with the pottery wheel. Have a virtual date If you can’t be together on Valentine’s Day or if you’re wading through the early days of getting to know each other, enjoy a virtual date instead. Set up a video call to share a glass of wine. Better yet, set a shared goal beforehand, such as video chatting while hiking with your pets or bird watching . However you choose to spend your holiday, the circumstances of 2021 might be the perfect opportunity for unique experiences that create long-lasting memories. Images via Adobe Stock

Read more here:
Simple, sustainable Valentine’s Day ideas for spending time together

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1690 access attempts in the last 7 days.