After spending $1 billion on renewable energy projects in the last few years, Google is no stranger to reducing their carbon footprint.
The skier’s delight rarely falls in the realm of green renewable eco-friendly holidays, but many resorts are trying to change that image. Some resorts are increasing their recycling, while others are working to have a less strenuous impact on Mother Nature. This means eco-friendly, sustainable and an awareness of how to use natural resources efficiently (more…)
You are a good green company. You have dutifully installed a solar array on your facility, and use the energy it produces to power your manufacturing process.
In 2010 NASA launched its N+3 initiative which awarded four major airlines extensive funds to research, design and develop more environmentally friendly aircraft. Lockheed Martin, MIT, GE Aviation and Boeing have been charged with the challenge to create a commercial plane that would expend 75% less emissions and consume 70% less fuel. Not a (more…)
Building with adobe is a timeless tradition that dates back millennia. But in Santa Fe, the material has enjoyed a resurgence thanks to growing awareness of adobe’s unparalleled cost-effectiveness in home construction. Adobe (or mud brick) homes are hardly a recent innovation, with many of the world’s earliest civilizations constructing entire cities out of this easily (more…)
A reader sent me this article on the metrics we need to determine how “green” certain of our actions are. Specifically, how do we measure our success at contributing to the “triple bottom line,” where investments pay returns financially, socially, and environmentally?
Yes, it would be terrific, for example, if a business had (more…)
We all produce heat. In winter we need more, summer, we want the opposite. Every day in all seasons, facilities managers work to ensure those who inhabit their office, condos and shopping centers are comfortable. Making us comfortable takes a whole lot of energy-and with that the price of a large carbon footprint.
“Fenix Energy has pioneered a new approach to installing renewable energy in urban centers that shaves months off new construction timelines.” says a Vancouver-based cleantech firm.  This is big news.
Like other renewable energy projects, existing infrastructure can act as an inhibitor to technologies such as geo-exchange. But with the right solution and commitment, geo-exchange can take on a greater role in greening buildings.
According to the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition, geo-exchange is a term used to describe “an alternative to traditional oil- gas- or coal-fired heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.”  The technology is also known as geothermal heat pump systems. Since the ground has both heating and cooling properties, through technology we can harness it to heat and cool buildings, instead of using fossil fuels. “This heat ‘exchange’ between the ground and the building is accomplished by using standard pump and compressor technology.” 
Aside from reducing the carbon emissions associated with fossil fuels, geo-exchange saves a whole lot of money. The only caveat is that a geo-exchange system is installed prior to a building’s construction stage, because it requires a horizontal drilling underground. That is about to change with the Fenix Energy approach.
What’s different about the Fenix Energy method?
By drilling vertically, there is minimal disruption to existing surroundings. Recently a completed project at the soon-to-be headquarters of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) set a new precedent in construction methodology. Fenix Energy completed the installation of a geo-exchange system after the building’s first three floors were in place. “Unlike a conventional geo-exchange installation, this unique approach allowed for trades such as plumbing, electrical and glazing to be on-site, working in parallel with the drilling process.” 
Saving time and money for a construction project can sometimes determine whether or not an alternative energy solution is implemented. “Fenix Energy’s new approach shortens overall project timelines from two to four months, improving cash flow for the builder and providing a competitive advantage in the green building market,” reads a news release for the ETFO project. 
The new ETFO headquarters, located in Toronto, will include office, classroom and meeting space. The design firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), and construction firm Bird Construction are integral to the implementation of this sort of innovative project. Taking a collaborative approach to the design and construction of buildings is paramount because it can lead to ‘outside the box’ thinking. Buildings have a long lifespan so the decisions we make today, affect the future – specifically, how much energy we use and how clean the energy source is.
Why does this technology matter?
With buildings as one of the largest sources of global GHGs, clean technologies can provide some of the solution. However, the answer to our environmental problems is hardly an issue of technology only. Firms such as Fenix Energy, among many other companies, provide the tools to reduce our collective environmental footprint. It is up to decision makers and businesses to see the opportunity and invest for the long-term.
 Canadian GeoExchange Coalition: What is GeoExchange?
According to a 2011 survey conducted by The Princeton Review, 65% of students surveyed said they “would value having more information about a college’s commitment to the environment”, and 24% said a college’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend a school. (more…)
Making headlines with its plea to consumers to buy less, Patagonia has certainly emerged as a company to watch for its brand marketing savvy and sustainable business practices. By inviting consumers to play a vital role in the company’s environmental impact, Patagonia is proving that a brand’s value proposition must include a social benefit factor to win in today’s (more…)