I was really impressed with this student organization at the University of Toronto, which was only formed last May. Students are driving the change; they are are asking better questions about sustainability, are bridging disciplinary boundaries, and are playing a larger role in creating a world that will subsist for generations to come.
Jean-Francois Bergoum from IBM said that innovation and environment are related: you can’t deal with either without running into the other. IBM has set a priority to use its technology to make the world greener. The more information you have, the better decisions you can make. Many of the world’s problems are information problems. Check out the Smarter Cities Challenge.
Graeme Stewart talked about urban building renewal. Toronto is a city of towers, and the biggest challenge of sustainability in North America is how to make the suburbs work. Sustainability is about how we consume. Eco-refurbishment of the city’s 2000 concrete towers built between 1945-1980 can reduce their collective environmental footprint by 60%. You also have to look at neighbourhoods as a whole. Zoning is a human-made problem. The simplest thing you can do for sustainability and livability in a neighbourhood is to add a fruit stand.
Jane Huang from Zenn motor company gave an overview of the future of electric cars. Electric cars provide high efficiency, no emissions, low operating costs, and low noise pollution -- the future looks bright. Tesla Roadster, 2011 Chevy Volt, 2011 Nissan Leaf, 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and BYD e6 are already generating a lot of buzz.
Trish Yee from Steamwhistle Brewery showed that going green makes a great business case. The Good Beer Folks have incredible corporate culture and vision. Their green intiatives include:
- all natural ingredients
- green bottles, green planet: 33% more glass means minimum 45 refills per bottle vs 12-15 refills for industry brown bottle
- painted label eliminates contaminants from paper, dye, glue, saves water and energy
- bio-cups made of corn resin, fully biogradeable and compostable
- 100% on green electricity (Bullfrog power), premium $25,000/year
- cleaner fuel for cleaner air, smart car/minis/hybrids, truck fleet use biofuel made from soya and recycled restaurant oil
- keeping cool: water drawn from below lake to cool plant
- energy efficient equipment
- energy efficient lighting
- waste diversion
- clean air commute