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Smart Cities v. Big Utilities (or "Is Ontario all that?")

Posted on February 12, 2009
Sometimes the internet is a mess. Other days it throws up pieces of information that seem to fit together almost too perfectly. For the second time this month, Ontario's work to encourage renewables and transition towards a smart grid has attracted praise from south of the border. The New York Times' Green Inc. reported in glowing terms on the success of Ontario's feed in tariff. I've also written positively about Ontario's efforts. But there are some questions that need to be asked: Like why cap the program for example? Both the CBC and have taken critical [...]

Infrastructure Stimulus: An Economic Hot Topic

Posted on February 3, 2009
Written by Mario Iacobacci
Mario Iacobacci is Director of Research and  Director of the Centre for Transportation Infrastructure at the Conference Board of Canada. The federal government has responded to the widespread calls for infrastructure spending by announcing a historic $12 billion in new spending for 2009-10 into public infrastructure-roads, bridges, post-secondary facilities as well as infrastructure for First Nation communities. But will these initiatives provide stimulus in the short term and improve economic performance in the long-term? There is real concern that [...]

It's Budget Day...

Posted on January 27, 2009
As National Post columnist James Cowan put it this  morning, "The Conservatives love infrastructure: What the #!%*?" Reports abound this week thanks to strategic information leaks that Minister Flaherty will announce $7 billion in funding for infrastructure over the next two years--that includes university repairs, construction and sustainable energy. He may have also mentioned something about "shovels in the ground." Getting those shovels in the ground is a whole lot easier said than done. Funding isn't all a project needs to get started. Minister [...]

Smart Grids... in Texas!

Posted on December 10, 2008
The New York Times' Green Inc. blog has a piece up on Austin Energy's plans to put in place a smart energy grid in the City of Austin and parts of the surrounding counties. Work begins with plans to have smart-meters capable of calculating time-of use pricing (and I assume feed-in rates for onsite generated electricity) installed in every home by the end of next year. The gradual (or perhapse rapid if economic stimulous money kicks in) roll out of smart electricty grids could be the start of a new energy culture. The article provides a good summary of [...]

The ReNew Canada Party

Posted on December 5, 2008
Thank you to everyone who came to our annual ReNew Canada party. This year it was held at the Roundhouse Gallery at the Steam Whistle Brewery on November 27. [...]

On the Web

Posted on November 24, 2008
Hi everybody, There are a couple of articles we think you'll really enjoy. First is Storm Cunningham on reWealth, Renewal and Restoration by Mallika Naguran — this is a great article about ReNew columnist Storm Cunningham's newest novel. I saw someone reading a copy of ReWealth! on the subway a couple weeks ago, it's great to see people engaged with positive redevelopment strategies. And the second one is What happens to the environment industry in a downturn? by Alex Gill — From the ONEIA blog, a good article about the role the environment industry [...]

LEED for Neighbourhoods (ND): Open For Comments

Posted on November 19, 2008
The new LEED Neighbourhood (ND) rating system that has been in pilot since 2007 was posted for comment yesterday. There have been many critics of the LEED rating system, but the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) ability to respond constructively has helped it to continued to play a transformative role in the construction and realestate markets. Early versions of LEED applied only to individual buildings. Ignoring issues like land-use, density, and transportation produced uncomfortable contradictions. You could build a new building on a flood plain at [...]

PSAB Webinar

Posted on November 11, 2008
On October 2nd 2008, R.V. Anderson Associates Limited, in cooperation with TCA Consulting Limited, and media partner ReNew Canada Magazine, hosted a webinar addressing  key issues for the planning and implementation of PSAB 3150 requirements both for the January 1st 2009 reports, and beyond. Using two perspectives — engineering and accounting — this webinar outlines PSAB requirements in relation to broader asset management principles, and provides tips and tricks on how to navigate the planning and implementation process. It uses real-life [...]

"Perpetual" Pavement Helps Hamilton Meet Sustainability Goals

Posted on October 23, 2008
Written by Gary Moore, Ludomir Uzarowski and Karen Clarke-Whistler
By concentrating on a vital part of its road network, a new approach to paving is helping the City of Hamilton meet its sustainability priorities. The eight-kilometre, four-lane Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP) connects the Highway 403 corridor at the top of the Niagara Escarpment to the Queen Elizabeth Way along the Lake Ontario shore. As a transportation link for truck transports as well as other vehicles, the RHVP is an important part of helping keep Hamilton competitive as a manufacturing hub. When it was developed, one of the priorities was to limit [...]

Election 2008: Cities in the Parties' Platforms

Posted on October 9, 2008
Canadians concerned about our cities were doubtless disappointed by the Leaders Debate last week, and won't get much satisfaction from the long awaited Conservative platform that came out yesterday. It's not as if the Conservatives didn't have enough time to prepare: we've known about the seriousness of the infrastructure deficit since well before the last election, and during that campaign Harper was often accused of having a bias against cities. The fact that the new Conservative platform gives over more space to a photo of people standing in front of a [...]
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