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Sustainability : Innovation + Job News

189 Sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All

Toronto office design company Teknion wins innovation award for new LED lighting system

Toronto-based office furniture design firm Teknion won the "Best in Show" Innovation Award at the IIDEX/NeoCon Canada design conference last week. The company presented its LED lighting system Conflux to the conference, which is Canada's largest design expo.

The Conflux system includes task lighting, floor lamps, desk lamps and undercabinet lighting, and introduces innovations, according to the company, with its flat-panel structure and body heat occupancy sensor. The quality of the light produced is said to be similar to daylight, with little shadow or glare.

The body heat sensor is particularly innovative: to save energy (in the already energy efficient LED lights), the lights contain an infared sensor that automatically detects if someone is present and shuts the light off at intervals if the room is empty. The Conflux system also acts as a power source for electronic devices, reducing clutter on desks.

Designer Carl Gustav Magnusson said that he wanted "refined lines and precise details ... to act as an anecdote to the visual clutter of busy work areas and elevate the aesthetics of LED lighting."

Interior Designers of Canada President David Hanson, in announcing the awards, said that the products featured had been thoroughly tested and would be "sure winners" in the marketplace.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: IIDEX/NeoCon; Mark Harris, Media Relations, Teknion Corporation

Evergreen Brickworks opens green innovation hub -- Canada's first Community Environmental Centre

At the official opening of the Evergreen Brickworks on September 25, Mayor David Miller remarked, "our city has a reputation around the world as being a place of progress and excellence when it comes to environmental matters." The event he was there to mark should further that reputation, as the Brickworks officially set up shop as a sustainable innovation hub.

Billed as "Canada's first community environmental centre," the Evergreen Brickworks will act as both a proving ground for urban sustainable technologies and a gathering place for exploration, education and innovation on topics such as the green economy, ecology, transportation, water, energy and waste management. The facility in the Don Valley, just down the hill from Rosedale, has been under design and construction for eight years -- and has so far raised $46.5 million -- and is situated on the former site of the Don Valley Brickworks. The construction included the renaturalization of its grounds and the revitalization of on-site heritage buildings. Throughout the process, it has also become the site of the city's most popular farmers market.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Matthew Church, Evergreen

New "Project Eve" consortium will drive electric car innovation to ensure "our fair share of jobs"

A group of 11 Canadian companies, including four from the GTA, announced last week that they'd form a consortium named Project Eve to drive innovation to help build the local electric mobility industry. "If Canada is to get its fair share of the new jobs that will come from electric mobility, interested local companies must advance and improve their technologies," said Al Cormier of Electric Mobility Canada. "This consortium is a step in the right direction.

The partner companies will share information and research in order to better develop components of electric vehicles and make them work better together. The companies include Toronto's Toronto Electric and NMA, Vaughan's Vecture and Markham's arcx. Also on the local front, the Electrical and Engineering Department of U of T is one of the academic institutions allied with Project Eve.

"We are confident that by working together we can advance the market goals of our members," says Steve Dalls, CEO of Toronto Electric and a Project Eve co-founder, noting that the "Canadian fleet environment" represents a substantial target for the group. "Our Fleet Program in particular represents a good opportunity for Canadian fleet managers to introduce electric vehicles into their daily activities and to learn about electric mobility directly from the people who make the technologies."

The open consortium are discussing adding more participants.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: John Scott, Director, Project Eve

Dutch experts talk two-wheeled transport at ThinkBike Workshops in Toronto

As the ongoing municipal election campaign has demonstrated, building a bike-friendly city is not without controversy, and it's not easy. But the Netherlands has managed the job pretty successfully. "The bicycle is the most popular form of transportation for the 16 million people who live in the Netherlands," Dutch Consul General to Toronto Hans Horbach recently said in a statement. He noted that there are more bikes than people in his country, "resulting in less traffic, less pollution and a healthier population."

Visiting experts from the Netherlands were in town this week to share lessons from the most successful cycling country in the world with Toronto transportation planners, engineers and cyclists. During the two-day ThinkBike event held September 20 and 21 at the El Mocambo nightclub, experts shared best practices information about Dutch cycling infrastructre, and surveyed the downtown core and the Sherbourne Street corridor to suggest improvements for increasing bike use. According to organizers, the workshops included topics such as "bike safety, communting by bike, biking to school, bike parking, bikes and public transport, law enforcement," among others.

According to the City of Toronto, this is the first city to host such an event, though the example will soon be followed in Chicago and other North American cities.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Steve Johnston, Senior Communications Coordinator, City of Toronto

Brampton launches Zum, its first bus rapid transit service, expansion contunues through 2021

Environmentally friendly Xcelsior hybrid buses began zooming through the streets of Brampton this week with the launch of Zum, the city's first Bus Rapid Transit service at the new Brampton Transit Bramalea Terminal. Service along Queen Street in downtown Brampton to York University began this week, with further lines being constructed right through until 2021.

"Zum will not only bring jobs to our city through the construction, operation and maintenance of the service, but it will also make it easier for our citizens to get to their jobs, their schools, and their other commitments within Brampton and throughout the GTA," said Brampton mayor Susan Fennell in a speech at the groundbreaking ceremony. In addition to job creation, she noted the environmental benefits and the improvement to the quality of life of residents in her rapidly growing city.

The $285 million cost of the rapid transit construction is being shared equally by the provincial, federal and Brampton city governments.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Ian Newman, Office of the Mayor of Brampton

Vital people awards gives $5,000 leadership legs-up to non-profit superstars

Applications are now open for Toronto's most innovative and passionate non-profit leaders to receive $5,000 grants to further their pursuit of leadership and management skills. The Toronto Community Foundation's Vital People grants aim to support people who are the driving force behind community organizing in the city.

"Every year the Toronto Community Foundation publishes the Vital Signs report, which diagnoses the issues that most need to be addressed in Toronto, and then most of the rest of our time is spent addressing those issues" says Toronto Community Foundation President and CEO Rahul K. Bhardwaj. "These grants go to the people behind those programs that really make a contribution."

The grants, Bhardwaj says, are used for a variety of purposes to further professional development, from leadership and management training to attending international conferences.

Applications are being accepted for this year's Vital People grants until September 29.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Rahul K. Bhardwaj, President and CEO, Toronto Community Foundation

$7 million in funding for new Ryerson Urban Energy Centre will drive green innovation

Last week, Ryerson University announced the Centre for Urban Energy (CUE), which university President Sheldon Levy called one of his schools "most significant research and commercialization initiatives." The centre will be a research and demonstration centre for sustainable, innovative technologies to provide for cities' energy needs.

The CUE will bring together academics and industry professionals from various disciplines to study problems and attempt to commercialize solutions. "The Centre for Urban Energy will be anchored by the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Science but will be a university-wide Centre drawing on a variety of experts across many academic disciplines," said Alan Shepard, Ryerson's provost and VP Academic. "We will also be reaching out and collaborating with other academic institutions in Ontario, across Canada and around the world."

The areas of focus for the centre almost all deal with sustainability, including areas such as reducing carbon footprints, alternative fuel sources, hybrid and electric vehicles and conservation. Initial funding for the project totalling $7 million is being provided by Toronto Hydro, Hydro One and the Ontario Power Authority.

"We're proud to partner with Ryerson on this unique initiative to forward the agenda for the next generation of electricity research and technologies in Toronto," said Anthony Haines, President and CEO of Toronto Hydro.

Colin Andersen, CEO of the Ontario Power Authority, said that the research is key to both the enviromental and industrial future of the province. "Innovation is how Ontario will remain a leader in conservation and clean energy, helping to provide Ontarians with cleaner air, high quality jobs and a vibrant economy," he said. "We know that visionary new energy technologies will play a significant role in our success, and the Centre for Urban Energy will help deliver them."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Suelan Toye, Ryerson University

New round of Sustainable Development Funding will add to existing $487 Million in tech grants

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has announced another round of funding is available in its program to invest in cleantech development and demonstration. As Kevin Downing of MaRS notes, SDTC's Clean Tech program has been one of the few sources of funding for startups in the sector, filling a wide gap in funding for companies at the development and demonstration stage.

"SDTC is helping companies commercialize their new technologies, creating jobs and increasing the competitiveness and efficiency of the Canadian economy" said SDTC President and CEO Vicky J. Sharpe in the announcement. Pointing to the previous 17 rounds of funding, she noted, "SDTC investment of $478 million, combined with an active portfolio support strategy, has catalyzed an additional $2.4 billion in follow-on funding into some of the most promising high-growth Canadian companies." Currently 195 companies have received investment through the program, including more than 30 in the Greater Toronto Area. Sharpe went on to say that investment in sustainable technologies are pivotal to the country's economic future, and will make our traditional resource and manufacturing industries continue to be viable.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Patrice Breton Director of Communications, Sustainable Development Technology Canada; Kevin Downing, MaRS

Tech services company Project X announces partnership for global growth

Leaside-based boutique tech advisory firm Project X has announced a partnership with business intelligence software provider Microstrategy that should help the company grow its global business base.

"By working closely with MicroStrategy, we're bringing robust business intelligence technology to our clients of all sizes," said Project X President Stephen Hayward "With our rapid results methodology and the MicroStrategy business intelligence technology, we can deploy business intelligence projects big or small."

Hayward founded Project X in 2005 with Graham Boundy, and has since grown to provide a broad range of business intelligence, data warehousing and other technological and business consulting services.

Last week the company introduced its latest product, a carbon footprint application that allows companies to visualize their carbon data to better analyze their sustainability plans. Hayward says the software represents Project X's core mission. "We turn business intelligence into visuals so that critical information can be translated and actioned by our customers' stakeholders."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Heather Kenney, Project X

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Carbon Economy Summit this month will show business the way to sustainability

On September 21, the first annual Carbon Economy Summit will bring together industry, political and media leaders to discuss the future of sustainable business. The event at the Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place is geared to finance and accounting executives looking for information about compliance and for ideas about growth opportunities in the low-carbon future.

The event is being organized by Rogers publications Canadian Manufacturing.com and Canadian Investment Review, and features a diverse group of speakers, including MaRS cleantech lead Tom Rand, renewable power investment banker Sasha Jacob of Jacob Securities and journalist and author of Climate Wars Gwynne Dyer.

Tickets to the day-long event are $675 (though an early bird discount is still available) and are available here.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Lisa Wichmann, editorial director, Rogers Media

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

New Siemens blade factory for wind turbines will employ 300

Siemens Canada, the 905-based subsidiary of the global energy and engineering company, will build Ontario's first wind turbine blade factory in order to service a contract with Samsung CT and Pattern Energy. The agreement calls for Siemens to supply up to 600 MW of wind turbine energy, providing enough clean electricity, the company says, to power more than 240,000 homes under the Ontario government's FIT program.

A representative of the company said by phone that the location of the planned factory has not yet been finalized, but the company already has a large footprint in the GTA, with its headquarters in Burlington and plants and offices located in Ajax, Markham, Mississauga, Scarborough, Brampton and Toronto. The new factory is expected to employ 300 people directly (in "green collar" jobs) and will create an additional 600 construction and indirect jobs.

In a statement, Siemens Canada Senior VP Bill Smith said that the blade factory is an example of how the Ontario FIT program will create a green energy industry in the province, which he called "one of the world's most progressive jurisdictions," and added, "our blade factory will enable the Ontario market." 

The agreement with Samsung follows that company's blockbuster agreement with the Ontario government to develop 2,000 MW of wind power over the next six years. The government hope is FIT program will create 50,000 jobs in the clean energy sector and build a renewable energy industry hub in the province.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Susan Willemsen of the Siren Group, on behalf of Siemens Canada

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Parc Downsview Park appoints new President and CEO to oversee self-financing development

Parc Downsview Park needed someone at the helm with a background in business, according to the park's board chair David Soknaki, and that's what the innovative experiment in sustainable development will get from new President and CEO William Bryck. Bryck comes immediately from a post at Queen's University, prior to which he was an executive with private-sector firms including Markborough Properties and CB Richard Ellis Management Services.

The park, on the site of a former military base in North Toronto, is Canada's only national urban park. Sprawling over 572 acres, it has a unique mandate from the federal government to be self-financing, and is being developed as an experimental and environmentally friendly "Tree City" design created by Bruce Mau and Rem Koolhaus. In addition to allowing a naturalized park to "grow," along the lines of New York's famed Freshkills Park, the site has taken on tenants in a recreational and museum hub and will incorporate residential and commercial development on the site.

In a statement about his appointment, Bryck said, "this is more than an alteration of the landscape, but promises to become a tangible representation of life and living in the imminent future -- an inspiring prototype to be reveled the world over."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Lisa Hastings-Beck, Director, Public Affairs and Communications, Park Downsview Park

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Federal cash to 4 GTA clean tech innovators, including $5 million to Electrovaya for plug-in car

Four Toronto-area companies will be receiving a slice of $40 million in funding for the development of sustainable technologies, Sustainable Development Technology Canada announced earlier this month.

Among the recipients is Electrovaya, a Mississauga company that is developing batteries and battery systems for plug-in electric vehicles. Its project to develop a plug-in battery for use in hybrid vehicles, intended to be used in a test fleet of Chrysler pick-up trucks, received $5 million. In a release, Electrovaya CEO Sankar DasGupta noted that the battery is made using an innovative zero-emissions process.

Other Toronto-area companies receiving funds are: 3XR Inc, for an energy-efficient process to strip ammonia from wastewater to make fertilizer; InvoDane Engineering, for a gas pipeline inspection technology; and Lakeshore EMPC Two L.P., for an on-site treatment of brownfields contaminated by chlorinated organic solvents.

The projects were among 18 across the country to receive a total of $40 million in funding (a full list of projects is available here). The SDTC is an arms-length federal agency operating with a grant of $1.05 billion to fund innovative green technologies. In announcing the projects, SDTC Chairman Juergen Puetter noted that the companies funded "create jobs, provide Canada a technological edge and contribute to improving the quality of Canada's air, water and soil."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Patrice Breton, Director, Communications, SDTC; Electrovaya Inc.

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Provincial grant of just under $400K will train 4,700 trades people for green building jobs

A grant from the Trillium Foundation announced earlier this month will help the Greater Toronto Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council train an estimated 4,700 building professionals in green building technologies.

The funding of $393,100 is part of the Ontario provincial government foundation's Future Fund, created with the mildly vague mandate to "invest in Ontario's future," and the CGBC was one of four 2010 recipients of grants totaling $2 million.

In a vignette on the Trillium Foundation's website, CGBC Greater Toronto Chapter Executive Director Lyle Shipley says, "Buildings have been constructed pretty much in the same way for the last 40 years. We will be offering primer courses in integrated building design that will lead to a reduction in construction waste, less time lost (to deliver a greener building), fewer cost overruns and change orders." The techniques taught will include increasing capacity in energy and water conservation and efficiency.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Angela Kooij, Senior Communications Officer, Trillium Foundation

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Local innovation, self-sustaining ePole, uses wind and solar, impresses Queen

When the Village of Downers Grove, near Chicago, sought a cost estimate for 25 lampposts for the new subdivision of Prentiss Creek, they were quoted a price around $3 million. Instead of going ahead with it, they found an innovative, environmentally friendly solution from North York company Efston Science -- self-powering hybrid solar-and-wind-fueled streetlights that did not require digging trenches to bury power lines and would cost nothing to operate once they were installed. As a bonus, they would lower the carbon footprint of the village -- and all for a comparatively low cost of $282,500.

The ePole was developed by Efston Science a year ago, according to company owner Nick Efston, and is manufactured in the GTA in partnership with a pole maker in Burlington and a wind turbine company in Mississauga. The poles use a small wind turbine and a small solar panel in conjunction, and can store electricity for days at a time. According to Efsotn, the ePole business supports roughly a dozen jobs in the area.

Efston says that the Chicago-area project was the first major contract for the company -- and now that there's a precedent, he expects orders to start picking up. "We're now being spec-ed into a lot of projects. People are more responsive now that there's a working example to look at," he says. Among those impressed, reportedly, is the Queen, who viewed a pilot installation ePole at Woodbine racetrack on her recent visit.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Nick Efston, owner, Efston Science

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].
189 Sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All
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