Green Development Continues to Make Local, Global Strides

The devastating effects of economic turmoil are making the rounds across the world, but the commitment to sustainable development continues to evolve on both a global and local level. Despite funding challenges, investment in eco-friendly building today for financial savings and environmental protection tomorrow is not being brushed aside. Many are tackling the problem from the ground up, like Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Axion International Holdings Inc. and New York City’s Ecological Development L.L.C., who have just entered into an agreement to work together. Axion designs and develops eco-friendly structural building products from 100 percent recycled plastics, while ecological engages in environmental land development, master planning and green retrofitting. Lindsay Napor (pictured), executive vice president of Ecological, told CPN that the new partnership involves Ecological “both incorporating Axion products into our projects and advising Axion on the best way to incorporate their products into green building markets.” In addition to being green to the core, Axion’s structural products are billed as being sturdier than traditional building products like concrete, steel and wood, with a substantially longer lifespan, as well as significant design flexibility. The up-cycled infrastructure construction items are widely used by railroads and the U.S. Military. “It’s the first widely available recycled structural product that’s usable for green development,” Napor said. The use of green products, she added, is on the way to becoming de rigeur. “There’s really no reason not to incorporate them into a project.” Eventually, it will go beyond good green decision, to a purely financial decision that this is just a better investment.” And Ecological is keen on tracking financials. The company utilizes a cutting-edge software technology to provide clients with auditable trails on the returns they’re getting on carbon activities and other sustainable activities, including now, the use of Axion materials. “Having auditable trails will become paramount for all organizations within a next few years,” Napor noted, “especially if you want to participate in the carbon markets that are coming.” While Axion and Ecological join forces to take structural materials the green route across the country, the Paris-based Metropolis organization is partnering with San Jose, Calif.-headquartered networking leader Cisco on the pursuit of developing sustainable cities around the world. Metropolis, an association involving 106 of the largest cities in the world–including Barcelona, Johannesburg and São Paulo–has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Cisco to assist with the implementation of its “Vision 2030″ sustainable cities program. As per terms of the deal, Cisco will provide Metropolis with direction in the development of a long-term vision for the creation of sustainable cities enabled by networked technologies, as well as guidance on building a collaborative digital operating platform with member cities for the exchange of innovation. Additionally, Metropolis and Cisco will jointly establish an Urban Leadership Academy to provide training and programs that demonstrate how cities of the future can incorporate technology as a tool to foster sustainable growth, from clean public transportation to intelligent urban development. Cisco’s collaboration with Metropolis dovetails with Cisco’s relationship with Connected Urban Development, a public-private partnership involving such metropolitan locales as San Francisco that creates replicable technology solutions to further sustainable development practices.