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The 2019 Hurricane Season Is Here: Now What?

July 9, 2019

“[I]t is critical to learn from events such as Florence, to minimize the damages and streamline the response and recovery for the next storm…The growing economic and human costs of these events require that we not only change how we respond, but do so far more quickly than we have in the past.” This … Continued

What’s the deal with modular construction?

September 21, 2017

In May of this year, Marriott International announced that it would ramp up the use of modular construction in its hotels. Marriott said they anticipated signing on at least 50 hotels in 2017 alone that would be primarily modular, citing that this type of construction would enable them to generate r … Continued

What is the “Greenest” Building? Making a Case for Building Reuse and Historic Preservation

March 16, 2017

Carl Elefante, AIA, LEED AP, a prominent proponent of sustainable historic preservation, states, “The greenest building is the one that has already been built.”  Elefante’s declaration revolutionized the commonly-accepted theory that newer is better, both for society and for the environment. Elefant … Continued

Partnership Potential Between Water Utilities and Their Non-Residential Customers

May 26, 2015

What happens if your largest water customer moves out of town? What if you suddenly need to reduce usage drastically in your service area due to an emergency – which of your customers should you call first? How has water use changed over time for your ten largest customers, and what does that mean f … Continued

Local Government Strategies for Mitigating the Risks of Flooding

February 24, 2015

With six feet (and counting) of snow on the ground in Boston, the only thing that local officials should fear as much or more than more snow is a heat wave. If it doesn’t melt slowly, communities and homeowners will have to deal with significant flooding. In an area as developed as the Boston metro, … Continued

CDFI Profile: The Natural Capital Investment Fund

January 22, 2015

A previous blog post discussed the role of Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, in North Carolina. CDFIs are typically smaller financial institutions that engage in mission-driven lending intended to expand access to capital in low-wealth and underserved communities in order to fo … Continued

Unrequited Demand in a World of Fixed Infrastructure

August 26, 2014

It can be hard being a water utility when nobody needs you. Or worse yet, when you have to push people away. But the news seems rife with such stories of unrequited demand for service from water utilities that invested so much in the relationship, the infrastructure, now only to be left kind of empt … Continued

Change or Die: Why Big Electric Needs to Think Small

February 25, 2014

The business model of electric utilities has remained largely unchanged in nearly 100 years. Until now, this capital-intensive industry has primarily recovered revenues through the sale of energy units, or kilowatt-hours: a use more, pay more approach. Most electric utilities operate as state-regula … Continued

Can Environmental Regulation Promote Economic Development?

November 26, 2013

In response to pressure from the state’s new data centers, Duke Energy recently filed a pilot program with the North Carolina Utilities Commission requesting approval to directly sell renewable energy to “new” industrial customers in the state. This pilot program seems directly targeted to the new d … Continued

A New Tool for Assessing the Triple Bottom Line in Economic Development

June 4, 2013

The so called triple bottom line (TBL) in economic development calls for promoting growth in ways that are environmentally sustainable and that yield positive social returns.  (See Portland State University’s Initiative on Triple Bottom Line Development.)  The TBL framework takes into account the ec … Continued