By Jodi Summers
A recent British-Chinese study finds that if China improves energy efficiency and avails massive investment capital in renewable energies, the country will make a “full contribution” to global efforts to combat climate change, without sacrificing its economic growth.
The analysis, China’s Energy Transition: Pathways for Low Carbon Development, by Tao Wang and Jim Watson of the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, is one result of a research project on global decarbonization.
Although the United States continues to be the world’s leading economy recently, China is now second…and perhaps greener economy. China’s (accompanied by other Asian nations) effort to green is having a global impact on energy use and business development in several arenas:
1. IPOs: According to data collected at the Cleantech Group, in 2009 China accounted for almost three quarters of all cleantech initial public offering proceeds worldwide. The U.S., gobbled up much of the rest of the activity with 26%. As of September 2010, the three most impressive IPOs of the year were from Chinese companies.
2. M&As: The top region for cleantech mergers and acquisition activity in 2009 was Asia (35% of total), followed by Europe (31%) and North America (26%), notes the Cleantech research.
3. Solar: Photon International revealed that 7 of the 10 largest solar manufacturers in the world by production volume are Asian – #2 being China’s Suntech Power, which in 2009 surpassed even Japan’s Sharp, the longtime leader.
4. REEs: China holds a monopoly on actively mining rare earth elements (REEs). These raw materials are necessary for wind turbines and electric motors such as those used in
electric vehicles (such as the super-awesome Tesla) and hybrids like the Prius. Currently, China controls 97% of commercially available rare earth element supplies, and China has recently begun to reduce the amount it exports.
5. Stimulus Funding: The amount of stimulus funding China has allocated to clean technologies, including water, waste and other non-energy cleantech infrastructure, is 4 times that of the U.S. ($221 billion vs. $60 billion).
6. R&D: The amount of private Chinese research and development money has doubled in recent years. According to Lund University in Sweden, China could soon surpass the U.S. in R&D spending.
7. Speed: China is making decisions quickly, and isn’t encumbered by democratic process. In January, 2010, China announced intentions to build a 2 gigawatt concentrating solar thermal plant at a cost of $5 billion.
“In less time than it took the U.S. DOE to do stage 1 of an application review for a 92 MW project in New Mexico, China approved, signed and is ready to begin construction on a 20x bigger project,” observed Bill Gross of eSolar.
8. Nukes: Yes, nuclear energy is a clean technology. China is expecting to build some 50 new nuclear reactors by 2020 – half are said to already be under construction. The rest of the world is projected to build 15 nuclear energy plants in the next decade.
As green continues to gain momentum as a driving economic force, it will be interesting to see how China’s strength affects the balance of power on the planet.
Edited by Jodi Summers
An engineering school has published a list of what they consider to be the 50 greenest buildings in the world – and the Alamaden Tower in San Jose wins! A SoCal property came in fourth – the Robert Redford Building, home of the Natural Resources Defense Council 1314 2nd Street in Santa Monica comes in fourth. The school – Top Online Engineering Degree, does note that “Greenest is, of course, always a highly subjective and nebulous term.”
As there is no international green building code, http://toponlineengineeringdegree.com, they ask that you not consider this a definitive compilation of the latest and greatest in environmentally-friendly architecture, but rather a brief overview of some highlights instead.
1. Alamaden Tower
Location: San Jose, California, USA
Achieved platinum rating on Dec. 1, 2006
Adobe Systems is the first organization to have three platinum-rated buildings–including the Almaden Tower, pictured here–and it’s the only major corporation to have any buildings on the list. Since it started converting the buildings in 2001, Adobe has seen a 115% savings on its water and utility bills.
2. India Tower
Location: Mumbai, India
Once the construction team puts the final touches on India Tower and officially opens its doors in 2010, it will be considered amongst the tallest, greenest building in the country.
3. William J. Clinton Presidential Library
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
Although initially built up to LEED’s silver level certification standards, the combined forces and finances of Powers of Arkansas, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and The Leonardo Academy renovated it up to platinum.
4. Robert Redford Building
Location: Santa Monica, California
Home of the Natural Resources Defense Council
CNN states that at the Robert Redford Building toilets flush themselves with rainwater — except for the urinals, which use no water at all — the floors are made of bamboo and the carpets from hemp.
5. RIT’s University Services Center
Location: Rochester, New York, USA
Sustainability highlights from the University Services Center’s operation include:
•48.6 percent energy cost reduction over industry standards for heating and cooling efficiency
•43 percent reduction in water usage over national requirements for fixture performance
•35 percent of the building’s electricity is supplied from renewable sources, including on-site solar photovoltaic panels
•33 percent recycled content of materials used in facility’s operation
6. Philip Merrill Environmental Center
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, USA
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation makes its headquarters here and includes some interesting green features such as composting toilets, bioretention, and natural lighting – among others…
7. United States Green Building Council
Location: Washington, D.C., USA
Surely, you’d expect those who administer the certifications themselves strive for the highest possible level of achievement as a way of setting an example.
8. Tahoe Center
Location: Incline Village, Nevada, USA
Tahoe Center serves as one of only five platinum-certified science laboratories in the world, playing host to the University of California Davis Environmental Research department.
9. Cundall Sydney Office Fitout
Location: St. Leonard’s, New South Wales, Australia
Engineering firm Cundall obtained the first LEED-certified platinum honor for their office fitout as the first in the Southern hemisphere.
10. East and West Towers
Location: San Jose, California, USA
Another Adobe Systems venture, Forbes states that this building sports state of the art irrigation in perfect tune with nearby weather stations.
And there are 40 more to learn about…Get the whole list @ http://toponlineengineeringdegree.com/?page_id=122
THE GREENEST CITIES IN THE WORLD
Edited by Jodi Summers
We like lists, it means a lot of research has been done. Today’s dynamic list is from Reader’s Digest; they have come up with a list of world's greenest, most livable cities. To compile this list, they have an alyzed data from two top sources covering 141 nations. We’ll give you the top 26 greenest cities (as 26 happens to be San Francisco), the rest you can find @ http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/best-places-to-live-green/article45734.html
1. Stockholm, Sweden
2. Oslo, Norway
3. Munich, Germany
4. Paris, France
5. Frankfurt, Germany
6. Stuttgart, Germany
7. Lyon, France
8. Dusseldorf, Germany
9. Nantes, France
10. Copenhagen, Denmark
11. Geneva, Switzerland
12. Zurich, Switzerland
13. Glasgow, United Kingdom
14. Barcelona, Spain
15. New York, United States
16. Brussels, Belgium
17. Hamburg, Germany
18. Hong Kong, PR China
19. Newcastle, United Kingdom
20. Tokyo, Japan
21. Helsinki, Finland
22. Washington, D.C., United States
23. Chicago, United States
24. Vancouver, Canada
25. Dortmund, Germany
26. San Francisco, United States
More than $1Trillion Invested In Green Development
By Jodi Summers
Did you know that Toyota, Boeing and Samsung have each invested more than $4 billion in green technology? They’re part of a growing trend. Experts say that more than $1.248 trillion has been invested in green projects since 2007. Tallies are now available from the Global Climate Prosperity Scoreboard, which tracks private investment in companies growing the green economy globally.
This newly calculated number shows $1,248,740,645,993.00 in total investment in solar, wind, geothermal, ocean/hydro, energy efficiency and storage, and agriculture since 2007. The details indicate how investors and entrepreneurs are leading governments in promoting sustainable growth.
The scoreboard, posted by Ethical Markets Media and The Climate Prosperity Alliance
indicates which investments have been publicly announced and committed by major companies for 2010 and beyond. For example, the Egyptian company Desertec, is behind a 400 billion Euro plan to power Europe with sunlight from North Africa and the Middle East. If their project goes as planned, Desertec could supply 15 percent of Europe’s power needs by 2050.
“Private capital investment is now leading globally in promoting technological innovation and resource efficiency that will accelerate environmentally and socially sustainable industrial growth and economic development throughout the world,” noted Dr. Marc A. Weiss, Chairman and CEO of Global Urban Development and Chair of the Climate Prosperity Alliance.
The Climate Prosperity Alliance uses the Climate Solutions 2 computer model of Australia’s Climate Risk Party, concludes that if $1 trillion is invested every year for the next 10 years can assure the global transition to sustainable prosperity and job growth.
Check out the Global Climate Prosperity Scoreboard @ http://www.ethicalmarkets.com/wp-content/uploads/Global-Climate-Prosperity-Scoreboard.pdf
ALE PICKS THE TEN MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY COUNTRIES
Edited by Jodi Summers
Every year, Yale University releases an Environmental Performance Index (EPI), calculating national environmental factors such as a country’s environmental health, air pollution, water resources and productive natural resources. So let us present to you the most recent top 10 winning countries who can boast the title of the most eco-friendly nations in the world.
1 – Switzerland
Switzerland’s hard-line legislation on pollution makes it one of the world’s most eco-friendly nations. Switzerland’s strategy is to continue to foster cooperation between organizations and individuals. To make sure everyone is acutely aware of how precious the environment can be, Switzerland charges for their water and waste management services as well as establishing severe environmental taxes. Prevention is the third key tenet, shown by the 2006 development of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), to sustain natural resources and develop safety measures for natural hazards.
2 – Norway
Overcast Norway is the home of the world’s largest solar production plant, owned by REC Group. Norway has also taken emissions seriously, and is now planning on becoming carbon neutral by 2030, not 2050 as originally expected. The change in anticipated timing has been reduced because of what Norway has learned by funding green projects abroad and reducing at-home driving and flying.
3 – Sweden
Sweden’s mandate for a country free of fossil fuels by 2020 puts it as the third most eco-friendly country on the planet. Already, a majority of Sweden’s power is either nuclear or hydroelectric. Solutions for automobile and flight transport include ethanol and animal waste conversion. Additionally, Sweden is one of the world leaders working on harnessing the power of waves. At the University of Uppsala, Sweden is developing “wave power” which converts waves into 4x as much energy as solar power in the same amount of time, with no waste and no emissions.
4 – Finland
Finland is experiencing a remarkable recovery from industrialization, using initiatives to clean up water and air quality in industrial areas, and practicing land preservation. Bravo as Finland has managed to reverse deforestation. The country’s forests are now growing at a greater rate than they are being deforested, showing an environmental gain even with the annual timber harvest. Finland can also be attributed with starting the United Nation’s Environmental Program (UNEP) Task Force for Sustainable Building and Construction, which looks not only at the sustainability of the building, but of the resources and process used to construct it.
5 – Costa Rica
With 5% of the world’s biodiversity contained in one country, Costa Rica has always been on the forefront of environmental conservation. Did you know that a full quarter of the nation is devoted to park preservation? That helps the country score high on the EPI list. Couple their conservation efforts with the fact that Costa Rica uses hydroelectric power in 80% of the country, and add on their 5% gas tax which funds environmental programs, and Costa Rica comes in fifth.
6 – Austria
It’s very impressive that Austria’s environmental conservation measures are enforced by all levels of government, from federal to municipal authorities. For example, waste disposal is a highly regulated department encompassing everything from individual waste to corporate chemical, air and agricultural pesticide pollution. Water quality and forest preservation, are extremely high on Austria’s list of priorities, thus the quality level for Austria’s lakes and rivers is among the highest in the world. The development of Austria’s National Protective Forest Plan has also helped in keeping the nation’s natural beauty pristine.
7 – New Zealand
New Zealand‘s relatively small population in relation to land mass has helped preserve this nation’s natural resources. While automotive emissions and industrial pollutants are still problematic, New Zealand is working hard to develop restrictive legislation and alternative energy sources. The nation was host to the 2008 World Environment Day, and has developed the Environmental Risk Management Authority, which regulates the introduction of non-native species and environmental components so as not to threaten New Zealand’s pristine atmosphere.
8 – Latvia
The Baltics weigh in. By monitoring and reducing water pollution, Latvia’s salmon crop and freshwater bodies are all in the range of “good.” Taken steps toward improvement, Lativia has begun dismantling pollutive farms to reduce fertilizer and insecticide chemicals and allow room for the return of natural forests. Since obtaining freedom from the Soviet Union 1990, Lativa has decreased stationary pollution by 46% and wastewater by 44%, devoting a major portion of environmental funds to water treatment and energy conservation techniques.
9 – Colombia
Beating Costa Rica, Colombia is home to 10% of the world’s species, giving the country a wealth of ecological diversity. While Colombia has had problems in the past concerning deforestation, the detrimental effects of the coca trade, and political strife involving their natural oil deposits, these factors have served to motivate Colombia towards energy conservation and new, less politically tumultuous resources. Colombia has also begun programs for the cultivation of natural parks that support the growth of native medicinal plants with preserves such as the Orito Igni-Ande Medicinal Flora Sanctuary, a 10,626 hectare preserve.
10 – France
The French government is very aware of the problem of climate change. Their strict environmental protection measures are incorporated into the national Constitution and reviewed every year with the eventual goal of 54 million tons of saved C02 by 2010. France is one of the few in the Kyoto agreement to cut such a large amount of emissions so quickly. The country’s laws are comprehensive, covering every layer of production from supplier to producer to consumer. This has helped make France the number one producer of renewable energy sources in the EU, 78% of its energy being nuclear powered, which in turn has reduced nitrogen oxide and other hazardous emissions by 70%.
GLOBAL DEMOGRAPHICS ARE SHAPING REAL ESTATE TRENDS
Edited by Jodi Summers
Global Demographics: Shaping Real Estate’s Future offers recent research from the Urban Land Institute about the effect of global demographic change on real estate.
“Over the next 20 years, demographic megatrends — and their variations by continent — present the real estate industry with tremendous opportunity to not only grow, but to better serve the people real estate is designed for,” said David Jacobstein, senior advisor to co-sponsor Deloitte LLP ‘s Real Estate practice. “Mature economies — especially growing ones — offer attractive investment opportunities, but emerging markets require vast quantities of infrastructure, as well as residential, retail, office, and hotel properties to support their burgeoning populations.”
Findings from the report include:
The aging of the world’s population is arguably the single most dramatic demographic trend today, with three key trends emerging:
v In 2006, almost 500 million people worldwide were 65 and older.
v By 2030, individuals 65 and older are projected to increase to 1 billion — equaling one out of every eight people on earth.
v The most rapid increases in the 65-and-older population are occurring in developing countries, which will see a jump of 140 percent by 2030.
Real estate implications
v Retirement housing is the primary real estate beneficiary of global aging, with the U.S. senior housing industry set to benefit from the opportunity to produce new products.
v Rapid consolidation of senior housing operators will result in more professional and cost-effective management.
v Investor interest will continue to grow because economic cycles have little effect on dementia and nursing care facilities.
v There is increased demand for affordable senior housing and senior housing options in ethnic communities.
As of 2007, 3.3 billion people — half of the world’s population — live in urban areas. With that number expected to increase to 60 percent by 2030, five key trends are emerging:
v One billion people live in slums, with 90 percent of this population occurring in developing countries.
v At least 133 million city dwellers in the developing world lack durable housing.
v Twenty percent of urban dwellers in emerging nations are overcrowded, with more than three people per bedroom.
v Only two-thirds of the world’s urban population has access to tap water, with only 46 percent having access in their homes.
v More than 25 percent of the world’s urban population lacks adequate sanitation.
Real estate implications of these urbanization trends include:
v Investing in infrastructure — whether new or established — is essential to the viability of long-term commercial real estate projects. Privatization of infrastructure through public/private partnerships with investment funds are becoming increasingly important, with notable examples occurring in the United States, Spain and France.
v Better land use controls should be implemented to prevent high-density, informal communities from developing and reduce outward urban sprawl because both trends present difficulties to residents in terms of infrastructure, safety and lifestyle.
v There is increased demand for housing and retail as a result of a growing workforce.
v In stagnant or shrinking populations, new construction must be viewed as replacement properties — even if that entails older building demolition to maintain vacancy rates — as has occurred in continental Europe.
v Emerging markets can leap from traditional, organic models to contemporary multi-use projects and residential communities if ground level infrastructure is established.
v The lack of mortgage availability in the emerging market is the greatest limitation on new development.
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