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Green Living Enterprises cements eco-biz success as they open 7th Green Toronto Awards nominations

The City of Toronto and its partners at Green Living Enterprises announced a call for nominations last week for the 2011 Green Toronto Awards, which aim to inspire and recognize environmental success. The awards give $5,000 and bragging rights to those who are "leading the way to a greener Toronto" in 10 categories (Green Home, Green Business, Local Food, Community Projects, Energy Conservation, Environmental Awareness, Green Design, Leadership, Water Efficiency and Youth Leadership).

Behind the awards, of course, is Green Living Enterprises, an environmental marketing and branding company that has been leading the way to a greener Canada since 2005. The company's story begins well before that, of course. It grew out of the environmental publishing program of its parent company, Key Publishers, who launched the EnviroGuide in 1999 in response to growing awareness of the importance of green issues. According to the company, the success of the guide led to establishing Green Living Enterprises as its own company. At the same time the Green Toronto Awards were launched and the name of the guide was changed to the Green Living Guide.

In 2007, the company launched the Green Living Show in Toronto, which has become the largest consumer environmental event in the country. All the while, the company has served a growing list of clients with their environmental programs, billing itself as one-stop shopping for environmental programming. Green Living Enterprises now claims to be the largest green marketing and branding firm in Canada.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Annette Borger, Green Living Enterprises

Recurrent Energy sets up its first international office in Toronto

Recurrent Energy, a solar power developer that specializes in "distributed energy," headquartered in San Francisco, California, has announced that it will open its first international office in Toronto.

The company's distributed energy strategy of setting up smaller scale (2 MW to 20 MW) projects near areas of high electricity demand is, it says, quicker and more environmentally friendly. Its office in Toronto on King Street in the Financial District will serve as headquarters for the company's Canadian and Eastern US activities.

Company VP and Canadian Managing Director Divid Brochu says that the Toronto office's opening signals a "long-term commitment" to projects in Ontario linked to the provinces Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program. Earlier this year, Recurrent Energy was approved for "the most distributed solar power projects" under the FIT program -- projects for which it intends to invest $650 million and create hundreds of jobs. "We have been active in the province for several years and are now investing heavily in the region to bring many solar power plants online by 2013," Brochu says.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Sean Gibson on behalf of Recurrent Energy

Cavet Tech wins its 10th innovation award in seven months, growing rapidly

It was just in early may that Yonge Street reported on the launch of Cavet Technologies' lighting control system LumiSmart ILC. Then, weeks later, we reported that the company had already won an innovation award for the "Intelligent Lighting Controller" from the Canadian Advanced Technological Alliance Innovation Awards.

As the year comes to a close, the company has racked up nine more awards for the LumiSmart ILC, most recently the New Technology Award from the 2010 Ontario Regional Awards for New Technology presented by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) and the National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program.

Albert Behr, Cavet's president, says the company is "thrilled" to accept the award, and the slew of awards they've previously racked up. He adds that just months after launching, the company is now shipping to more than 30 countries across the world. "This thing is being installed everywhere," he says. "We're very proudly Canadian, but for sales Canada is a small part of the mix."

Behr notes that the product is manufactured at Celestica in Toronto, and that production there is going full-tilt. "We just officially launched -- as it had units ready for sale -- in November, and we've already got a run-rate most companies would kill for after two or three years."

The technology, designed and manufactured in Toronto, allows people to control their lighting automatically in a way that saves energy and money. It takes advantage of "adaptive lighting" by using sensors to increase or decrease lighting levels based on whether people are in a room or not. The company claims it can produce a 30 per cent power reduction instantly without the installation of any new lights or fixtures. Behr says this is a huge competitive advantage in a field in which most companies require installation of big infrastructural retrofits to conserve energy. He expects the company to grow exponentially in the next 12 months. "2010 was about commercializing the product. 2011 is really about harvesting sales from around the world."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Albert Behr, President, Cavet Technologies

Toronto-based company International Power is first to install FIT-compliant wind turbines

As November ended, the Toronto-based company International Power Canada marked a significant milestone in Ontario's innovative Feed-in-Tariff renewable energy program when it became the first company to install locally manufactured turbines. The company accepted delivery of the turbines at its Pointe-Aux-Roches Wind Project -- the first to go under construction in the FIT program -- noting that they were made by Vestas with Ontario steel processed by Essar Algoma Steel.

International Power Canada President Mike Crawley noted that the milestone represents a significant boost not just to the immediate economy, but to the long-term employment prospects for the province. "These jobs are important ... the region is poised to become a clean energy powerhouse. With additional projects expected under FIT, there will be jobs for many years to come."

International Power Canada is the Canadian subsidiary of International Power Plc, formed when the company purchased AIM PowerGen Corporation in 2009. The $117 million wind farm at Point-Aux-Roches is expected to be completed in 2011.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: David Timm, International Power Canada

SunEdison contracts Flextronics for solar panels, creates 100 GTA green jobs

Corktown-based SunEdison -- a fast-growing solar energy provider in Ontario -- has signed a contract with a local manufacturer to create green jobs supplying its projects in Ontario. The contract with Flextronics' Newmarket plant to supply solar photovoltaic panels will create 100 new jobs in the GTA beginning in the second quarter of 2011.

SunEdison President Carlos Domenech notes that that the agreement will allow the company to meet the requirements for local production in the province's Feed-in-Tariff program, but also says the move represents "a significant long-term investment in the Ontario solar market," a market he sees booming in the immediate future.

Jason Gray, VP and country manager for SunEdison, says that the initial initiative will produce 50 megawatts of annual panel capacity, but could scale up to 200 megawatts over time, so it has "the potential to create even more green jobs for the province."

The company notes that this contract follows an earlier launch of manufacturing of solar racking equipment at Samco Machinery in Scarborough.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Jason Gray, SunEdison

Toronto-based solar powerhouse SkyPower Ltd. secures $70 million in financing for new solar farms

Financial-District-based SkyPower Ltd. was among the pioneers of solar energy in Ontario. In 2009, they were partners in First Light I, the first utility-grade solar farm to become operational in Canada.

Now the company has announced that it has secured $70 million in financing from New York's Deutsche Bank for two new solar farms in the province, to be located in Stone Mills and Thunder Bay. "We are so proud to close financing on our fourth and fifth solar projects and to solidify the arrival of this new era of renewable energy in Ontario," said SkyPower president and CEO Kerry Adler, saying the company's local success was a tribute to how Ontario's green energy policy is working. "We look forward to the closing of financing on many more solar projects in the months ahead and helping provide a cleaner, brighter future for generations to come."

The two projects, scheduled for completion in mid-2011, are expected to generate 19 million kilowatt hours in their first year, enough to power 33,000 homes.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Hando Kang, SkyPower

Mississauga's Holcim, U of T and the province team up to test new enviro-friendly concrete

Portland-limestone cement (PLC) has been used in Europe for over 25 years, according Paul Ostrander, president of Mississauga-based cement manufacturer Holcim Canada, but it has never before been tested in Canada. This despite some strong sustainability points to recommend it: it generates lower greenhouse gas emissions in its manufacture than regular Portland Cement, and up to 10 per cent fewer carbon dioxide emissions.

So Holcim Canada has recently teamed up with researchers at the University of Toronto and the provincial Ministry of Transportation to run two trials on PLC in actual road projects. Video of the test is available to watch here.

According to U of T professor Doug Hooton, the testing has already shown a 33 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and there is no expected reduction in durability or effectiveness. The University of Toronto will be monitoring the trial sections over the next three years to evaluate its performance.

Holcim Canada currently employs 3,500 people in manufacturing products for the construction industry. In addition to it's Mississauga plant, it also owns a manufacturing facility in Joliette Quebec.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Junaina Saulat, Holcim Canada

Scarborough auto part manufacturer Samco goes solar, will create 60 jobs

Just last week, SunEdison VP Jason Gray told us that his company planned to create jobs in the GTA through contracting locally -- and already the proof of that statement is showing. At a media event last Friday, provincial minister of energy Brad Duguid toured the Scarborough plant of Samco Solar, where racking equipment to supply SunEdison's solar installations will be manufactured.

Since the 1970s, Samco has been in the auto parts manufacturing business. But as a result of a contract with SunEdison and, according to company VP David Pritchard, the provincial government's incentives to grow the renewable energy industry, the company has adapted its plant to manufacture solar equipment. "Ontario's commitment to adding new sources of renewable energy has helped stimulate our business and create manufacturing jobs," says Pritchard. "Working with a solar powerhouse like SunEdison has provided Samco with a significant opportunity for expansion."

The retooling is expected to create 60 jobs at the Scarborough plant -- a fact that Duguid called a "great success story" for the new sustainable economy in the province.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: David Pritchard, Samco; Office of Brad Duguid; Jason Gray, SunEdison

SunEdison grows from 2 to 35 employees in one year, sees more job creation on horizon

SunEdison, one of the world's largest solar energy service providers, has had a quiet presence in Toronto since 2007. But VP and Canada Country Manager Jason Gray says that business has really taken off since Ontario's Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program really started rolling last year. "We had two employees in Toronto, and we hired our third in November 2009." Gray says. "Since then we've grown to 35 employees."

The solar energy giant offers full-service operations, financing, installing and operating power plants. Gray says that the attractive pricing of Ontario's FIT program makes this a location that feeds a solar energy boom. "I travel quite a bit internationally, and Canada and especially Ontario are references that come up quite a bit," he says. "There's certainly an awareness out there that this location is growing as a solar energy leader."

In addition to its own hiring and growth (they are advertising nine open positions in Toronto now), Gray says that SunEdison's projects are creating local jobs through contractors. "We have three large-scale projects in development now that will employ about 150 people each in their construction," he says. Gray also points to SunEdison's deal with Samco Solar in Scarborough, officially launching this Friday, which will see the division of the local auto parts manufacturer produce racking equipment for SunEdison's Canadian projects.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Jason Gray, VP and Canada Country Manager, SunEdison

Innovative Waterfront soil remediation pilot led by DEC and Tetra Tech wins enviro award

The Toronto Port Lands -- the site of heavy industry on the waterfront since the 1800s -- represents one of the largest soil remediation projects in the world. And rather than "digging and dumping," the standard practice for such sites, Waterfront Toronto has opted to attempt a massive soil recycling project on the spot.

It has partnered with international environmental consulting giants DEC and Tetra Tech on the Port Lands Pilot Soil Recycling Facility to test the effectiveness (and environmental soundness) of reusing the soil rather than dumping it. If it is successful, Waterfront Toronto President and CEO John Campbell says it could "change the way impacted soil is managed in Ontario."

Last week, the project was recognized with a technological innovation award at the prestigious Canadian Urban Institute Brownie Awards.

"We are very proud and honoured that the Canadian Urban Institute acknowledged our pilot soil recycling facility with a Brownie," said Campbell in a statement. "Soil recycling is an opportunity to turn contaminated soil into a resource instead of a liability."

The pilot testing, which began in September, should conclude this month. After review and assessment, the decontamination process is expected to take place over the next 10 to 20 years.

Writer: Edward Keenan

Source: Tari Stork, Project Communications Manager, Waterfront Toronto

ClimateSpark puts $15 million in financing up for grabs for enviro companies

A contest from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund announced recently puts a $10,000 prize and up to $15 million in financing up for grabs for innovative business proposals to help solve global climate change.

"ClimateSpark is tapping business ingenuity and competitiveness to spark some creative climate change solutions that can also help companies turn a profit," says Julia Langer, executive director of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund.  "If you believe that a thousand minds are better than one, ClimateSpark offers the opportunity to put an idea in front of a diverse community that will work with businesses to refine and develop -- and then judge -- their ideas."

The contest runs in two phases. The first round, open until December 20, will select nine finalists, who will proceed to a second round in January. The winner will be announced at the ClimateSpark Summit in Toronto on February 2, 2011. All nine finalists will have the opportunity to present their project proposals to a panel of investors from firms that have $15 million to invest. Information is available at the contest website at www.climatespark.ca.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Julia Langer, Executive Director, Toronto Atmospheric Fund

Vive Nano anticipates explosive growth in India for innovative nano clean tech

In January of this year, Yonge Street's Piali Roy wrote about Discovery District-based startup Vive Nano, a nanotechnology firm specializing in clean technology, especially crop protection and water and soil sanitation. At the time, company executives said they expected India to be an important market for them.

Since then, things have been rolling along smoothly for the company. Last month, it was recognized in the Canada's Top 10 Competition as among the best companies to invest in in the country. The recognition might well lead to significant capital, as previous companies on the list have secured over $600 million in financing, according to contest organizers. All winners participate in a series of investment forums in the U.S., where they are connected with American venture capitalists.

About a month earlier, Vive Nano announced that its pilot plant had started producing nanoparticles for sale in large volume.

And Vive Nano advisor Hari Venkatacharya noted recently in the Globe and Mail that the company's India strategy is beginning to pay off, as it has now signed two Indian partners to help develop two of its technologies -- a coating to make solar panels more efficient and a next-generation water treatment technology. Vankatacharya writes that for the company, "tremendous growth is anticipated in the next two to three years."

Founded in 2005 as a U of T spinoff, Vive Nano currently operates two labs in Toronto and employs a staff of 18. Fittingly for a company with global ambitions, two-thirds of the staff are immigrants to Canada.

Writer: Edward Keean
Sources: Hari Venkatacharya (via Globe and Mail); Vanessa Caldwell, MaRS blog; Flavio Campagnaro, Vive Nano 

Preparing for 2011 production, innovators Morgan Solar score industry superstar Asif Ansari as CEO

In February, Yonge Street reporter Piali Roy heralded 2010 as a big year for Morgan Solar, noting that the energy startup has scored over $5 million in seed funding and was preparing to produce its potentially game-changing solar energy product, Sun Simba. Now, the company has annouced that solar industry superstar Asif Ansari, formerly head of eSolar in California, will become its CEO.

MaRS cleantech lead and industry expert Tom Rand calls Ansari's relocation to Toronto "the biggest brain gain for Ontario in the cleantech sector I've seen. Ansari has enjoyed a string of successes, including eSolar, and he didn't come to Morgan to fail. The quality of Morgan's management team, with these sorts of additions, demonstrates their ability to go global on a major scale."

In an announcement, Ansari says his decision to take the job and move to Toronto was motivated by his impression that the company will transform the industry. "Morgan Solar has done something I wasn't sure was possible -- they have cracked the code for CPV  optics, substantially lowering its costs to where it can now deliver a value proposition significantly better than PV," he said. "Morgan was able to see the problem in a whole new way, starting with inventing a new optical concentrator to replace conventional Fresnel lens architectures. The potential of this technology is massive."

Currently, Ansari is focussed on securing second-round financing as Morgan Solar prepares for large-scale production in 2011.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Nicolas Morgan, VP Business Development, Morgan Solar Inc.

Edithvale, T.O.'s first new community centre in five years opens, $14.75M innovative green design

In 1984, the Edithvale Community Centre opened in a disused Willowdale Public School. Now, more than a quarter century later, it has finally grown up into a new, innovative $14.75 million building of its own. The new centre -- the first community centre opened in the city of Toronto since 2005 -- was officially opened this past weekend. The bill for its two-year construction was funded by levees on developers of condominiums in the area.

The new building features an innovative green design that includes low off-gassing building materials, an efficient ventilation system and motion sensitive light fixtures, in addition to a green roof. To serve the community, the facility includes a gymnasium, a banquet hall, lounges, a demonstration kitchen, fitness facilities and an elevated track. The U-shaped structure was constructed around a 50-year-old tree at the centre of the site.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation

New $30.6 million park Sherbourne Common brings innovative green features to TO

A new park opened on the Toronto Waterfront this week will not only serve its neighbourhood as a public space; it also features an innovative underground UV treatment facility that will collect and treat stormwater from the surrounding area. The treated water will flow out through three "art features" in the park to form a river flowing back into Lake Ontario.

The design of the $30.6 million Sherbourne Common park has already won architectural awards. At the opening of the park, Councillor Pam McConnell was joined by provincial Minister of Innovation Glen Murray and federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. All three politicians lauded the park, noting both the park's likely future as a destination on the waterfront and the jobs its construction has created.

In addition to green space and the innovative urban river, the park features a pond that will allow public skating during winter and an area for concerts and public gatherings. Waterfront Toronto Chair Mark Wilson noted it was the largest of three new parks opened on the waterfront in the past two months. "Today we are opening another must-see park on Toronto's waterfront," Wilson said. "By combining required municipal infrastructure with excellence in design, architecture and public art, Sherbourne Common offers a new model for city-builders nationwide and a fabulous year-round destination."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Samantha Gileno, Waterfront Toronto
189 sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All
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