Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria

September 22, 2017 by  
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When Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico last Saturday with 155mph winds, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed and the entire island was left in a total blackout. After a natural disaster such as this, residents would usually go about their lives and pick up the pieces along the way. Not this time. Due to the island’s poor infrastructure, economic woes and the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it could be months before millions of people have access to electricity again. It wasn’t hard for Hurricane Maria to wipe out the entire island’s electricity because the power grid has been in poor shape for years. Whereas most power plants are 18-years-old, those belonging to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) — the island’s sole power supplier to 1.5 million people — are 44 years old, on average.  In July of this year, PREPA filed for bankruptcy and called its own system “degraded and unsafe.” In a fiscal plan released this year, it added that “years of under-investment have led to severe degradation of infrastructure.” The electricity outage was also caused by Puerto Rico’s grim economic situation. The island has yet to emerge from a recession that has lasted over a decade. With an unemployment rate of 11 percent, the government entered into a process similar to bankruptcy protection earlier this May. TIME reports that its debt load is currently in excess of $70 billion. Related: Explosion of color takes over an abandoned Puerto Rican factory As a result of weakening infrastructure, financial problems and the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, restoring the island’s power will be a lengthy, tiresome process. Governor Russello told CNN , “It depends on the damage to the infrastructure. I’m afraid it’s probably going to be severe. If it is … we’re looking at months as opposed to weeks or days.” Hurricane Irma , which skirted the north part of the island earlier this month, is also to blame. At the time, over 1 million users in Puerto Rico lost power. The day before Maria slammed into the island, 70,000 people were still without power, reports CNBC . To solve this tragedy, Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon brought up the issue of electric supply with Brock Long, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). She said, “We were asking him to have more resources in terms of electrical teams that can help us out to solve the situation and recover the infrastructure of the power grid on the island,” she said. “That is going to be the main issue.” Rossello has also asked President Trump to declare Puerto Rico a disaster zone. On Monday, Trump made an emergency declaration for the island, which enabled FEMA to coordinate relief efforts. However, only a “major disaster” declaration would ensure the territory receives an increase in federal resources and programs for affected areas to recover. Vox reports that even if Congress agrees to provide extra relief, funds would only be of limited help in this situation. Via TIME , Vox, CNN, CNBC Images via ABC 7 Chicago ,  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria

Nouvelle AOM wins competition to give Paris’ Tour Montparnasse a massive green makeover

September 22, 2017 by  
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Nouvelle AOM has just been chosen to transform Paris’ historic Tour Montparnasse into beacon of sustainability for the City of Light. The winning design envisions a contemporary green makeover for the 40-year-old skyscraper – including a new transparent shell cladding and forests in the sky that will improve air quality in and around the tower. The 689-foot Tour Montparnasse was completed in 1973, and it was France’s tallest skyscraper until 2011. There is a lot of history (and controversy) behind the tower, so its redesign had to pay respect to its revered past while re-establish its position as a modern landmark in the city. Related: Holland’s first Vertical Forest to rise with 10,000 air-purifying plant s “This was a huge challenge, as the Tower isn’t like any other,” the jury explained. “Nouvelle AOM’s project perfectly captures the spirit of the 21st century, giving the Tower a multifaceted identity revolving around attractive, innovative new uses. The Tower will breathe new life into the Montparnasse neighbourhood.” The winning design, which beat out submissions from OMA, MAD and Studio Gang, was a collaboration between three Paris-based firms: Franklin Azzi Architecture , Chartier Dalix Architectes and Hardel et le Behan Architectes . The old opaque cladding will be replaced by a transparent facade that will “glow” at night. Multiple floors throughout the tower – including the large conservatory rooftop – will be planted with lush vegetated forests and hanging gardens that will improve air quality both within and outside the skyscraper. The architects explain that the design concept was inspired by the need to create a contemporary skyscraper that will become a beacon of the city’s commitment to sustainability . “When we took up the challenge of this exciting competition, our focus was on revealing the beauty of the Tour Montparnasse from the inside out. We achieved this by incorporating radically new uses and crafting a complete sustainable ‘green’ makeover of the facade. The aim is to make the Tower an icon of the 21st century energy revolution,” explains Nouvelle AOM. Construction on the €300 million project is expected to begin in 2019 and it’s slated for completion in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. + Nouvelle AOM Via Archdaily Images via Nouvelle AOM

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Nouvelle AOM wins competition to give Paris’ Tour Montparnasse a massive green makeover

World Bank’s Twose: Inclusive economy must bridge tech, jobs

September 22, 2015 by  
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How a hangover from the recession, entrenched global employment disparities and the looming specter of digitization affect unsustainable development.

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World Bank’s Twose: Inclusive economy must bridge tech, jobs

More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries!

October 30, 2013 by  
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Bicycle photo from Shutterstock The bicycle and the automobile were invented in Germany, so the European love affair with both modes of transportation goes back a long time. However last year bike sales actually overtook car sales in 23 of the 27 European Union member states. (New car registrations weren’t available for Cyprus and Malta, and car sales topped bike sales in Belgium and Luxembourg). In Italy, bikes outsold cars for the time since World War II, and in Spain bike sales topped the transportation charts for the first time ever. Read the rest of More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bicycles , bike sales , bike-friendly policies , car sales , cars , european union , italy , recession , romania        

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More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries!

LA’s Biggest Apartment Project Since the Recession Breaks Ground

June 4, 2012 by  
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The largest apartment building since the beginning of the Great Recession has broken ground in Los Angeles , promising to reinvigorate the Koreatown neighborhood. The Vermont is a two-tower, mixed-use behemoth that will contain 464 apartments and plenty of retail. Besides the size the other notable features, we really like is the green space wrapping through the project, adding some relief to the concrete jungle that is LA. Read the rest of LA’s Biggest Apartment Project Since the Recession Breaks Ground Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Koreatown , LA apartment , LA housing , LA retail , LA’s biggest apartment , urban density

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US Has a “Recessionary Hangover” According to Greenbiz 2012 Report

January 23, 2012 by  
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Greenbiz.com recently released their free, downloadable “State of Green Business 2012″ report and some of the statistics are quite surprising. The report begins by explaining the stalemate on green progress by saying that “…sustainable business is suffering a recessionary hangover.” The study goes on to look at 20 key indicators, such as organic agriculture, e-waste , and  toxic emissions, to determine whether US businesses are “swimming”, “sinking”, or “treading water”. With only 80% of the indicators getting a “Tread” or “Sink” rating, this is a big wake up call that most big companies are not doing their part to make progress towards a sustainable future. Read the rest of US Has a “Recessionary Hangover” According to Greenbiz 2012 Report Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: corporations , Eco , green , green business , green economics , green report , greenbiz , greenbiz report 2012 , ratings , recession , state of green business 2012 , state of the industry , statistics , Sustainable , united states

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US Has a “Recessionary Hangover” According to Greenbiz 2012 Report

Green Building Helps Developer Thrive Despite Great Recession

September 17, 2011 by  
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In the winter of 2008 as the economy became as cold as the weather, Jon Girod turned to green building as a survival strategy and found a formula that made his business thrive.

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Green Building Helps Developer Thrive Despite Great Recession

‘Sustainable,’ ‘Green,’ or ‘CSR’ – What’s in a Name?

September 16, 2011 by  
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A new GreenBiz survey found some consensus in how companies refer to their environmental activities.

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‘Sustainable,’ ‘Green,’ or ‘CSR’ – What’s in a Name?

Why Towns With Good Transit Options Are Recovering Faster From the Recession

September 3, 2011 by  
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Getting around by bus can be slow going in Las Vegas. Photo: time_anchor / Creative Commons . Cities and towns with good public-transit options offer more convenience for residents and are, of course, more environmentally friendly places to live. Now it also seems these places are the ones bouncing back quickest from the economic recession …. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Why Towns With Good Transit Options Are Recovering Faster From the Recession

Clean Solar Energy Offers Promising Small Business Opportunities

August 24, 2011 by  
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Our overall economy seems stuck in slow motion, particularly old industries like construction and real estate.  The recent stock market gyrations and pundit predictions of a double dip recession lead many to anxiously sit on the sidelines, uncertain what direction to take.  Others are taking control of their lives though and starting businesses in new areas that are prospering even as old fields flounder. Green industries like solar energy are an excellent option for many reasons. Even in the recession the solar industry has grown rapidly in the US, growing 67% in 2010 and continuing to grow rapidly in the first quarter of 2011, according to the recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association .  It’s hard to find growth like this in any other industry, and all indications are that the growth of solar will continue for many years to come. One reason solar has done well even in the recession is that solar makes financial sense, paying for itself over time.  The cost of photovoltaic solar panels has declined rapidly while the cost of power from utilities continues to rise about 6% a year, making solar an increasingly good deal.  In some areas such as Hawaii and California, solar power already costs less than electricity from the grid, reaching grid parity . Financing options such as solar leases or power purchase agreements help to remove the main objection many people have – seeing money come out of their pocket up front.  And a variety of incentives at the local, state, and federal government level continue to encourage the switch to solar, including recent spectacular growth of the solar industry in New Jersey. Starting a solar installer business is one business opportunity in the solar market, although this route requires significant technical expertise and resources to get started, and faces stiff competition from large solar installers in some areas. A new solar business opportunity is to start a sales business as a solar broker.  One key advantage of solar brokers is that they are independent of a specific product or installer, so they can work with the client to navigate the solar marketplace, looking a variety of option to find the best solution in each case.  The solar broker helps clients to get multiple bids from installers, making the solar sales process simpler, and helping residential or business client to save significant time and money . Prime Solar Network helps entrepreneurial sales pros to start their own solar sales business as a solar broker.  Broker license an exclusive sales territory with the company, and the company helps them to get their business started.  As a sales-based business, the startup time and cost for a solar broker business is much lower than to start a solar installer business.  Bringing brokers up to speed on solar fundamentals, Prime Solar also provides support for marketing, financing, back office support, web development, and other business basics needed to get started.  For those looking for a way to get into the growing solar industry, a solar broker business like this could provide a straightforward route to consider. With so much uncertainty in the economy, it’s good to see a field like solar energy that holds business opportunities destined for greater growth ahead.  The economy is unlikely to move back to where it used to be, but it will move forward with businesses like solar that more and more people from many backgrounds can be a part of. Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses” and “Starting Green” and the founder of Starting Up Green , helping businesses to start green and grow greener.  He can be reached at glenn.croston(at)startingupgreen(dot)com

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Clean Solar Energy Offers Promising Small Business Opportunities

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