Search

Cleantech and more

Taking the temperature

Toronto-based Ecobee has morphed into a heavy hitter in the burgeoning home thermostat market.

Stuart Lombard had no obvious reason to leave his job as a venture capitalist in 2007. Times were good. As managing partner with J.L. Albright Venture Partners in Toronto, he worked out of a swank office on the 44th floor of Brookfield Place, at the time known as BCE Place. The firm was one of Canada’s most successful early-stage investors in Internet and software startups, many of which were acquired by the likes of General Electric and Cisco.

Lombard also had major street cred in the technology world. During the 1990s he co-founded what grew to become Toronto’s largest Internet service provider, and as chief executive of Isolation Systems, a maker of virtual private network products, he built a company that in 1998 was sold for $37 million and at one point was owned by Intel.

Continue Reading...

A changing of the guard at Corporate Knights

Same fight, new editor, and four reasons to hope.

Four is and has always been my favourite number. Some people think having a favourite number is silly, but the number “4” has meaning when it pops into my head. Sharp. Well balanced. A homonym to the word “for,” which to me represents positivity and agreement and progress.

Three’s company but four is a party. When I started developing my personal signature in high school math class, I even incorporated the number four into the scribble that is my last name. So perhaps it’s fitting that after four years of leading the small but resourceful editorial team at Corporate Knights – which by the way puts out four issues a year – it’s time for me to move along.

Continue Reading...

Can big oil transition to a low-carbon economy?

There are no easy or painless answers, but there will be casualties as the fossil fuel industry approaches its Kodak moment.

Please, PUT a global price on carbon.

That’s pretty much what six of Europe’s biggest oil and gas companies said in a joint letter sent in May to Christiana Figueres, the United Nations’ top climate bureaucrat.

“We stand ready to play our part,” Shell, BP, Total, Statoil, Eni and BG Group wrote, pointing to a number of actions they are already taking to limit emissions, from greater investment in lower-carbon natural gas and operational efficiency to supplying more renewable energy and exploring the use of carbon capture and storage.

Continue Reading...

Hotels, Airbnb battle for green cred

Whether for leisure or business, more travelers are seeking accommodations that mesh with sustainable values.

Shipping container, recycled concrete pipe, or treetop – take your pick. Yes, this is an article about sustainable hospitality, and yes, the three strange options above are all types of hotels. A Days Inn hotel in Sioux Lookout, Northern Ontario, boasts of being the largest hotel in North America constructed with old shipping containers – 120 of them to be exact.

In Sweden’s Lule River Valley, a venture called Treehotel offers rooms that are suspended up to six metres from the ground within a tall pine forest, while Tubohotel in Tepoztlán, Mexico, uses massive recycled concrete pipes as the housing for its 20 rooms, stacked in pyramids of three.

Continue Reading...

Is Ontario destined to become a relic of the auto industry?

Judging by the province’s record on EV innovation and manufacturing, the future of its auto sector looks bleak.

Ben Faiola drives his Michigan-made Chevy Volt into his garage, turns it off and just walks away. Usually, he’d have to do what nearly all electric vehicle owners must do to start their next trip on a fully charged battery: plug the car into a wall charger.

Not Faiola. He’s one of a handful of people in Canada who has installed a wireless EV charging system called Plugless, developed by Richmond, Virginia-based Evatran Group. The system just sits on the floor of Faiola’s garage. All he has to do is drive over it with the help of a wall-based unit that uses light signals to guide him in like an airplane on a runway.

Continue Reading...