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Kerry Freek previously served as the founding editor of Water Canada, and is the co-author of Flood Forecast: Climate Risk and Resiliency in Canada.

Healthier buildings

By Kerry Freek
Building healthier structures for their occupants is a cornerstone of green building design, but isn't talked about much.

Green buildings are attractive to owners for a few reasons. They’re great for reducing one’s carbon footprint and improving public relations, but they also offer savings in the medium to long term.

Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment, says the ability to calculate these savings – made evident with lower energy bills, for instance – and understand the return on investment has driven “green” uptake for the past two decades.

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Shallow waters

Can a changing climate hamper hydropower’s role in the shift to a low-carbon future?

In a world struggling to meet a growing demand for energy while also managing carbon emissions, hydropower is a source of hope. Though massive dams and reservoirs can take decades and billions of dollars to construct, not to mention have a negative impact on fragile ecosystems, generating hydroelectricity is relatively clean and low cost when compared with other energy sources. It’s also a very flexible form of electricity production – unlike most fossil fuels and renewables, it can be ramped up and dispatched quickly.

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An oasis in the desert

By Kerry Freek
Do Middle Eastern politics prevent Israel, a global hotbed for water technology innovation, from helping its neighbours?

Over nearly four decades, for better or for worse, Israel has worked to make the Zionist dreams of founding father David Ben-Gurion come true. That includes making the desert bloom, literally. In Israel, you can’t pass a crop – let alone a cactus – that isn’t connected to a drip irrigation system.

World-famous for pioneering these systems in the 1970s, the company Netafim recently won the prestigious 2013 Stockholm Industry Water Award, proving that where need is great, entrepreneurs flourish.

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A clear need for water

By Kerry Freek
New technologies are making it easier and less expensive to clean, manage, protect and waste less of the life-giving liquid.

Natural resources, agriculture and manufacturing. Many of North America’s strongest industries are also its most water intensive. Increased awareness around risks – water scarcity, for example – brings fear into the heart of many a manufacturer. But where they see failure, David Henderson sees opportunity.

“We get a dual benefit by investing in water innovation,” says the managing director of water investment firm XPV Capital. “It will increase the productivity of our key sectors and, at the same time, create a whole new generation of companies that can export their water solutions around the world.”

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