Articles

Global Happiness and Wellbeing Policy Report 2019

15 Feb 2019

Global Council for Happiness and Wellbeing (GCHW) is a global network of leading happiness and well-being scientists and key practitioners in fields and sectors spanning psychology, economics, education, health, urban planning, civil society, business, and government. The GHC identifies the best available evidence-based happiness and well-being policies to encourage their adoption and advancement at the local, national, and international levels. The work of the Council is complementary to the annual World Happiness Report and related research on the theory, measurement, and advancement of happiness and well-being.

Why are happiness and well-being being given so much more attention by governments around the world? Why are nations around the world signing up to the UAE’s Global Happiness and Well-being Coalition? After all, the pursuit of happiness is as old as politics itself. Yet three things are bringing happiness and well-being to the top of the global policy agenda.

 

First, more and more nations are learning that economic growth alone is not enough to produce happiness. Second, as psychological science has demonstrated, happiness and well-being can now be measured and studied with rigor. Third, there are new and effective public policies for raising societal well-being. This Global Happiness and Wellbeing Policy Report is based on the idea that the “pursuit of happiness” should no longer be left to the individual or the marketplace alone. Happiness and well-being should be of paramount concern for all of society, engaging governments, companies, schools, healthcare systems, and other sectors of society. 

Check the details in the full report.

Happy  Cities Summit 2019

12 Feb 2019

During the next three days, from February 13 to 15, Happy Cities Summit 2019 will take place in Amaravati, India.

The Happy Cities Summit aims to "take advantage of the success and momentum of the inaugural summit to establish Amaravati at the forefront of the discourse on urban innovation with a focus on the happiness of citizens".

Through "a greater focus on quality, actionable results and continued participation", the Happy Cities Summit 2019 is presented with the intention that the stakeholders of the city (administrators, citizens and the private sector) can answer the question: "What is a happy city?"

After the success of the inaugural Happy Cities Summit in Amaravati in April 2018, this year the event is repeated with even higher expectations.

Each year, more than 1,500 delegates from more than 15 countries attended the summit, including leaders from eminent cities and urban experts. In addition, the summit achieved several key results, including the launch of the "Happy Cities Declaration" framework.

Ecosis representative shall be sharing and discussing how to build a happy community through civic innovation.

See more details on the official website of the Summit.

World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report

06 Dec 2018

The international market for green construction projects has grown significantly in the last 10 years and demand for green building activity is poised to grow in the next three years, according to a new report and industry survey published today by Dodge Data & Analytics. The World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report indicates an increase in the percentage of industry respondents who expect to do the majority (more than 60%) of their projects green – jumping from 27% in 2018 to almost half (47%) by 2021.

Findings from the report illustrate the growing green building movement as organisations across the construction industry continue to shift towards more sustainable products and practices. Business benefits include 8% operating cost savings in the first year and increased building asset values of 7%, that are clearly influencing all those who do green building to deepen their engagement with green. In addition to the business benefits reported, social impacts are also increasing in their influence on the respondents as a major reason to build green. The top impact cited is improved occupant health and well-being.

The report, based on a global survey of more than 2,000 industry participants including architects, engineers, contractors, owners, specialists/consultants and investors from 86 countries, aims to analyse the level of green activity, the impact of green building practices on business operations, the triggers most likely to spur further green market growth and the challenges that may impede it. A total of 45 Green Building Councils (GBCs) across the world participated in the research.  Nineteen countries in particular are featured in the report, spanning six continents and substantial growth in the percentage doing the majority of their projects green is expected in each.

There is an increased emphasis on social impacts in this study, including increased worker productivity, creating a sense of community and supporting the domestic economy. “The study, supported by our GBCs in five regions, demonstrates that green building is seen by industry as a key business benefit; and that around the world green building is considered to have an impact beyond significant environmental benefits, such as increased employee productivity and satisfaction,” says Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council.

World Green Building Council participated as a premier research partner in the study produced by Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with United Technologies, with major support by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Autodesk, additional support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Published 13 November 2018 by Dodge Data & Analytics.

 

For more information on the general findings, see the full report.

Sharing Cities: Activating the urban commons

30 Nov 2018

 

Cities are a key driver of the most urgent challenges societies face today including inequality, racism, social isolation, and climate change. Not to mention that billions of city dwellers are often unable to meet their basic needs for food, water, and housing.

 

Amidst this crisis lies tremendous opportunity for people to address these challenges together. Communities, organizations, and local governments are increasingly responding to challenges by reviving a basic human practice: sharing. By sharing their labour, space, goods, and more, people are overcoming scarcity by building and maintaining vital common resources. They show that sharing can lead everyone to have more, together.

 

Check out the compendium – Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons

 

Green roofs to reduce the effects of climate change

10 November 2017

Researchers from the Higher Technical School of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Seville have published a study in which they indicate that it would be necessary to have between 207 and 740 hectares of green roofs, depending on the scenario that is contemplated, to reduce the effects of climate change in relation to the maximum temperature rises of between 1.5 and 6 ºC that are estimated by the end of the century. This would require between 11 and 40% of the buildings in the city.

In this project, published in the review Building and Environment, they have used Landsat 7 ETM+ and Sentinel-2 satellite images to obtain the normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and ground temperature. Given the inverse relationship observed between their values, it has been possible to determine the additional area of vegetation needed (in this case of green roofs) necessary to reduce the temperature by the same amount as it is predicted to rise in different climate change models for Seville.

"To mitigate the effects of climate change, we can talk about two types of options: to attack it at its origin, by eliminating or reducing the human factors that contribute to it (such as, reducing emissions, controlling pollution, etc.) or developing strategies that allow for its effects to be reduced, such as, in the case that concerns us, increasing green areas in cities, using, for example, the tops of buildings as green roofs," states the University of Seville researcher, Luis Pérez Urrestarazu.

The installation of these gardens would provide better insulation for the buildings, which would mean, on one hand, an energy saving for their owners, and, on the other, if there were sufficient green roofs, an improvement in environmental conditions, contributing to a reducing pollution and cushioning the higher temperatures.

"To fight against climate change, this is without doubt a necessary strategy at a global level. However, local measures can be established that contribute to this global strategy and which can help to reduce the local effects that might be produced in one's own city," adds Pérez.

Check the source here.

World GBC announces Advancing Net Zero Global project

Jun 2016

Advancing Net Zero is WorldGBC’s global project which aims to ensure that all buildings are “net zero” carbon by 2050.

 

The project will see participating Green Building Councils launch national zero carbon certification programmes (either stand alone programmes or additions to existing rating tools), create specialised net zero training for green building professionals, and support the development of net zero demonstration projects in their countries.

Advancing Net Zero originated from the first Buildings Day at COP21 in 2015, where three Green Building Councils committed to introduce net zero emissions certification as part of WorldGBC’s COP21 Commitment.

Inspired by these initial leaders, seven other Green Building Councils have made the same commitment, and together, have agreed to collaborate and support each other’s efforts to create a common framework to guide other Green Building Councils in the future, and to report to WorldGBC on the number of net zero emissions buildings in their countries.

Get more information, here.
 

Guide for Construction of Houses

01 Mar 2013

 

Ecosis participated in the drafting of a ‘GUIDE FOR CONSTRUCTION OF HOUSES’ for the Government of Mauritius. 
One of the working documents 'SUSTAINABILITY PRINCIPLES' can be found here:

Ecosis Resources

 

10 Principles for Making High-Density Cities Better

15 Feb 2013

 

Support sustainable, pleasant living and getting the right city density are major problems for future communities. 

 

A high city density can bring problems like noise, traffic and pedestrian congestion, local hotspots of runoff and air pollution, and loss of contact with nature. 

  

The Urban Land Institute has come up with 10 Principles to make high density places as sustainable and hospitable as possible:

 

 

1. Plan for long-term growth and renewal –“A highly dense city usually does not have much choice but to make efficient use of every square inch of its scarce land.  Yet city planners need to do this in a way that does not make the city feel cramped and unlivable.”

 

2. Embrace diversity, foster inclusiveness – “There is a need to ensure that diversity is not divisive, particularly in densely populated cities where people live in close proximity to one another.”

 

3. Draw nature closer to people – “Blending nature into the city helps soften the hard edges of a highly built up cityscape and provides the city dwellers pockets of respite from the bustle of urban life.”  The report cites Singapore, whose Centre for Livable Cities co-sponsored the report, as a dense city that has adopted “a strategy of pervasive greenery” and “transform[ed] its parks and water bodies into lifestyle spaces for community activities . . . Nearly half of Singapore is now under green cover, which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also improves the air quality and mitigates heat from the tropical sun.”

 

4. Develop affordable, mixed-use neighborhoods – “The ease of living in a compact neighborhood that is relatively self-contained can add to the pleasure of city living.  With density, it becomes more cost effective to provide common amenities.”

 

5. Make public spaces work harder – Often, parcels of land that adjoin or surround the city’s infrastructure are dormant, empty spaces . . . The idea is to make all space, including infrastructural spaces, serve multiple uses and users.”

 

6. Prioritize green transport and building options – “An overall reduction in energy consumption and dependence adds to city sustainability.”

 

7. Relieve density with variety and add green boundaries – “A high-density city need not be all about closely packed high-rise buildings. Singapore intersperses high-rise with low-rise buildings, creating a skyline with more character and reducing the sense of being in a crowded space.”

8. Activate spaces for greater safety – “Having a sense of safety and security is an important quality-of-life factor.”  Cities should improve visual access to public spaces to maintain “eyes on the street” and help keep neighborhoods safe.

 

9. Promote innovative and non-conventional solutions –“As a city gets more populated and built up, it starts facing constraints on land and resources, and has to often look at non-traditional solutions to get around the challenges.  To ensure sufficient water, Singapore developed reclaimed water under the brand name NEWater-to drinking and industrial standards.”

 

10. Forge “3P” (people, public, private) partnerships – “With land parcels in close proximity to one another, the effects of development in one area are likely to be felt quickly and acutely in neighboring sites.  The city government and all stakeholders need to work together to ensure they are not taking actions that would reduce the quality of life for others.”  

 

Source: Switchboard – Natural Recourses Defense Council Staff Blog

Ecosis

30 Nov 2012

 

Click on the link below to read more about the first-ever ecologically conscious apartment complex in Mauritius and other projects .

Ecosis' Projects

 

Green Building Rating System

13 Jun 2012

 

Since 2008, many projects have been initiated under the National Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). The introduction of a rating system for green buildings is part of the National Action Plan.

Consultants were appointed to develop a policy and guidelines on sustainable buildings and construction, as well as to propose a building rating system for Mauritius.

The project was funded by the EU, which delivered a rating tool, named Brilliant Pearl Mauritius Green Building Rating System. Several of existing rating systems for green buildings were analyzed to define the structure of the Brilliant Pearl. The tool is specific to the island and provides standards for green buildings.

The Brilliant Pearl Green Building Rating System recognizes and rewards sustainability efforts through a system of points. The weighting of different criteria groups reflects the priority of each group.

The implementation of the rating system occurs step-by-step. While the private sector is encouraged to certify its buildings, during the first two years, the Brilliant Pearl Green Building Rating System will be mandatory for public buildings only.

Are Green Buildings Safer?

05 Mar 2012
 

Everyone knows that green buildings use less energy to operate. And studies show they’re healthier for occupants, which makes for happier residents and more productive workers.

 

But safer and more durable? Seems so. A study released this week suggests that greener construction can advance building resiliency.

 

Green buildings are generally designed and built more carefully, with better materials and tighter finishes. It turns out that efficiency-focused features may also help green buildings and their occupants ride out long-term climate shifts - such as droughts or heat waves – and even give an edge in short-term disasters, by staying dry in floods and well sealed during high winds.

 

The report, produced jointly by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, outlines ways to extend the inherent resiliency of green buildings. Titled "Green Building and Climate Resilience: Understanding Impacts and Preparing for Changing Conditions," it sets out adaptive strategies that green building pros can deploy. It follows that, like higher efficiency and health benefits, improved durability could boost the market appeal of green structures.

 

The enhanced quality of a newly built green home or office can be a visceral experience. Doors and windows shut tightly, with an audible “thunk," like an insulated fridge door. These tight seals are a huge plus for energy insulation: little heat leaks out during the winter, while cool stays in during the summer.

 

Better sealed, less drafty buildings are a big plus in wind storms too. When tornadoes or hurricanes rake a community, some of the most costly, serious damage is done when wind and water infiltrate a building, sending water deep into hidden cavities. A small opening -- whether a missing shingle or a poorly sealed window --can set off a domino effect of damage. 

 

This analysis reminded me of how devastating the impacts of poorly sealed, shoddy construction can be. In 1993, The Miami Herald won a Pulitzer Prize for a Hurricane Andrew-related investigative series, which revealed that some homebuilders had systematically ignored building code to save money. On roofs, for instance, a builder used fewer nails than required by code to attach shingles to plywood or to connect roof beams to walls. The cheat saved pennies but cost billions. During Hurricane Andrew, the builders’ homes were disproportionately devastated when the roofs gave way, leaking disastrously or lifting off completely.

 

Water is another realm where green design can both protect buildings and enhance the environment. Permeable surfaces that let rain water soak into urban surfaces can dramatically lower the incidence of flash flooding, or overflowing from the storm water system when heavy rains overwhelm sewer systems. In drought-stricken areas, green buildings can capture rainfall, conserve fresh water and reuse grey water.

 

"In the wake of last year's disaster activity, with tornadoes across the southwest, flooding from Hurricane Irene and even an earthquake on the East Coast, it is important that we develop and enforce safe and sustainable building codes to make our communities more resilient, and to protect lives and property in times of disaster," Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said at the National Leadership Speaker Series on resiliency and national security this week.

 

He called on leaders from major corporations, government, academia, the scientific community and civil society to help advance green building as a complementary strategy to address pre- and post-emergency-management situations, ultimately forging more resilient communities, he said at the event.

 

Today’s building codes are designed to meet specific regional weather conditions, including the hottest summer days, the coldest winter nights, the highest wind speeds and the risk of floods. "Climate change has the potential to undermine some of these assumptions and potentially increase risks to people and property," Chris Pyke, vice president at USBGC said in a statement. "There are practical steps we can take to understand and prepare for the consequences of changing environmental conditions and reduce potential impacts."

 

You can download a free copy of the report at USGBC. The main body of analysis is only about 40 pages long; the report also includes another 200 pages of reference work on the impacts of climate change in different US region.

 

(source: http://m.greenbiz.com)

World Green Building Council - Africa Regional Report

07 Nov 2011

 

In 2008, the Prime Minister of Mauritius announced his vision of making Mauritius a Sustainable Island – “Maurice Ile Durable” (MID). The main objective of the MID concept was to make Mauritius a world model of sustainable development, particularly in the context of SIDS (Small Island Developing States). While the initial thrust was to minimize dependency on fossil fuels through increased utilization of renewable energy and a more efficient use of energy in general, the concept soon widened to include all aspects of the economic model, society and the environment that are considered to be pivotal in the quest for a sustainable Mauritius.

It was a social project and is essentially a vision that seeks to transform the environmental, economic and social landscape of the country. The government now intends to have a concrete MID Policy, a clear ten-year MID Strategy and a detailed MID Action Plan to pave the way for the sustainable development of Mauritius. In order to achieve this objective, the government has constituted working groups to research the 5Es of MID, namely Energy, Environment, Education, Employment and Equity.

Mauritius has a predicted economic growth of 4% in 2011. While green building is not the key sustainability, priority, it is understood by all that the challenge is to reduce consumption of transport energy, decrease dependency on fossil fuels and to find the right mix of renewable energy options.

The new codes and regulations will bring in new business opportunities. There has already been an expansion in professions such as energy auditors, as energy audits will now be compulsory. Code compliance also will create energy assessors. New performance or prescriptive requirements equates to new product lines, or even new way of building.

The Green Building Council Mauritius, represented by Ecosis, is working on several of the government projects as well as the National Energy Research Group. Ecosis drafted the new regulations and codes for Energy Efficiency in buildings and has been involved in the working groups on the 5 E’s of the MID.