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Sustainable businesses and eco-ideas for  today's consumer lifestyle
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World's Largest 3D Printer Builds Mud Houses for Low-Income Ecosystems

World's Largest 3D Printer Builds Mud Houses for Low-Income Ecosystems | Green Commerce | Scoop.it
The world’s largest delta 3D printer - standing at 12 meters tall - is no longer just a research project but it is now the reality of dream.
Jamee Lyn Devlin's insight:

Advances in 3D printing over the last few years, from titanium medical implantsto food production, have been undeniably both impressive and boundless. Rapidly produced, cost-effective homes, including some designed to withstand harsh climates and earthquakes and others built from eco-friendly materials, are still largely in the experimental phase, however no one can deny that 3D printed housing is well on its way to changing the face of construction as we know it.


But homes made of mud? While the idea of clay-mud homes might bring to mind something resembling the chunky, grass and bug-filled mudpies we made as kids, the Italian 3D printer manufacturer WASP, an acronym for World's Advanced Saving Project, who envisioned these cost-effective homes for low-income populaces are by no means unimaginative in their concept designs for living spaces.


While several adaptations of 3D printed homes using cement and other more eco-conscious materials have proven concepts, producing homes in record timing and often far below the cost of current housing construction, the cost of the materials and machinery used to build them would still put a strain on geographical locations struggling with overpopulation and socio-economic pressure. WASP plans to construct 3D printed homes in third world countries using the soil available as print material, and they have developed the world’s largest 3D printer, aptly named Big Delta, to do the job.


Big Delta is approximately 12 meters high and consumes only 1.5 kilowatts, enabling it to operate with a single solar panel for regions with no electrical grid. According to a United Nations estimate, approximately 4 billion people on the planet will live with under $3000 per year by 2030. With most of them unable to use more than 10% of that income on housing, that leaves a great deal of the human population homeless. WASP aims to create sustainable, long-term solutions to solve that problem using whatever is naturally available from region to region. In short, they want to solve the global housing crisis.


 To meet demand, the UN estimates that, over the next 15 years there will be an average daily requirement of 100,000 new housing units. Furthermore, along with this impelling necessity, the growing population will need to fulfill its alimentary needs even in areas of the planet that are affected by extreme climates or that are subjected to socio-economic stresses.


What about durability? Can a modern day house comprised of a mixture of local dirt and water truly stand up to elements of nature?

“In the province of Alessandria, in Northern Italy, there are entire buildings that were made of clay over the past centuries and are still habitable. Ait Ben Haddou, a city that is a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been entirely built using raw dirt in the Marroccan inland. When we went to visit it, the guide told us about the minimal maintenance requirements of clay buildings," says a representative of WASP. Furthermore, the company maintains that a 3D printed clay home could easily have all the comforts of a common cement house.


Where do they obtain the funding for such an operation? Directly from sales on their smaller 3D printers. Big Delta, which can print not only clay, but also cement, sawdust, lime-based mixtures and polystyrene, will also be available for purchase in order to fund further housing projects.


While WASP has yet to complete a full-scale 3D clay home, they are well on their way and hope to have solid prototypes soon. For a company that could make a very decent living simply marketing the well-reputed 3D printers they already manufacture, their example of a corporation making a philanthropic contribution to resolving a large-scale global calamity is inspiring to find. One can only hope to see more of it.

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I'll buy my Tesla directly from the showroom, and I'll get a Lyft there - A look at some of today's most powerful business model disruptions

I'll buy my Tesla directly from the showroom, and I'll get a Lyft there - A look at some of today's most powerful business model disruptions | Green Commerce | Scoop.it
The shared economy promises to herald a new way of doing business, but comes with big hurdles for the risk-takers - Rich Duprey - Consumer Goods
Jamee Lyn Devlin's insight:

At this point, many of us have had the opportunity to rent a location on AirBnb, or hitch a ride with Uber, but how many of us will be skipping the dealership and ordering our next car directly from the manufacturer this year?


Tesla is just one of the corporate innovators of today who have chosen to challenge the status quo - by eliminating their dealerships...and not without repercussions. Several US states including New Jersey, Texas and Arizona have passed laws to outright ban the direct-to-consumer business model Tesla offers due to the power dealership lobbies wield in these states, according to an article by The Guardian earlier this year.


While Tesla only sold about 22,000 vehicles last year, their new model has dealerships bending over backwards to discredit them. Why? Well, let's be honest - how many consumers actually enjoy going to a car dealership?


The reputation of the dealership model is one of frustration, extra expenses and general mistrust. Tesla's innovative business model simply cuts out the middle man, and all the profits they traditionally make in the process. It also takes into account the consumer-centric era in which their customers now operate and how they choose to research and buy most anything today, high-end luxury vehicles included. If Tesla sets the precedent for a dealer-less vehicle sales model, it could be a landslide for others to follow suit, essentially putting dealerships out of business entirely.


In today's fast-paced, connected, information available society, retailers everywhere - car dealerships included - must now face the fact that consumers no longer need (or even want) to hear  the pitch about the product. Research from eMarketer shows that while 59% will do research on their own device while in-store, and 24% may use an automated kiosk, only 17% will actually seek the assistance of an employee. In fact, most retailers will admit that the consumer very often arrives more informed about a product than the salesperson, cleanly depleting any faith a customer might have had in the dealership in the first place.


While Tesla's price tag will likely keep the majority of buyers out of the showrooms, it's business model may spread to others. And while dealerships continue to spend time, effort and money on doing battle in the regulation zone, today's millennial generation will continue to strut its independence to support these new business models. They'll collaborate work presentations on a workshare site, start their businesses on Kickstarter, take Uber to their AirBnb rental and order their cars online from Tesla. Lyft, AirBnb and Tesla may bear the initial brunt of tradition's malcontent, but I agree that these models will nonetheless become more prevalent as the consumer exercises their power to support them in the market.


Or as Guardian journalist Travis McKnight so bluntly put it, "Let my generation spend our money as we see fit — or we won't spend it at all."


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What it Takes to Launch Uber in a New City

What it Takes to Launch Uber in a New City | Green Commerce | Scoop.it
We spoke to three companies at different stages in their lives but all focused on conquering the world, a city at a time.
Jamee Lyn Devlin's insight:

Most companies expand country to country. Uber expands city to city. So how does one choose where to expand an "urban logistics platform"?


App downloads, of course.


Uber lets people from all over the world sign up and try to request rides with their app, so if a city crops up with a large number of requests and no Uber, they know to look into it.


And what do they do to get more locals interested once a city has been decided? A special request delivery campaign offering everything from ice cream to kittens.


Kittens?


That's right. Citizens of San Francisco, New York City and Seattle were able to order 15 minutes of kitten play time as an Uber promo on National Cat Day. The kittens were adoptable, and the $20 fee it cost to play with them, whether or not they went home with the requester, was donated to local shelters.


Check out more of how Uber, Hailo and Citymapper decide on unique offerings and diversification city to city in this article by The Next Web.


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How much can Uber hurt Hertz?

How much can Uber hurt Hertz? | Green Commerce | Scoop.it
Can Uber's Car-Sharing Service Run Over Hertz and Avis?
Motley Fool
The "sharing economy" has a new star, and it's called Uber Technologies.
Jamee Lyn Devlin's insight:

Last year Hertz stated that their financial reports for the last 3 years may have contained up to $46.3 million in accounting errors (oops), putting them farther behind than expected in what were deemed reasonable growth years. Add to that the recent upsurge in community sharing companies such as Zipcar, Lyft and Uber, and Hertz is likely beginning to feel a little pressure.


Consumers are adamant about their new love for sharing, encompassing everyone from moms on the go to business people to celebrities like Edward Norton (see Uber blog). It puts us all on a happily even keel, and it doesn't appear to be a short-lived trend. Avis has already gotten on board with their recent $500 million acquisition of ZipCar.


With Uber now valued at over $18 billion, will Hertz step up and purchase their current rival?


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Wearables for shopping, shaping up, and...social good? Thanks to UNICEF, Yes.

Wearables for shopping, shaping up, and...social good? Thanks to UNICEF, Yes. | Green Commerce | Scoop.it
Could wearables be the next mobile revolution? Join us to develop innovative, affordable solutions to make wearables and sensor technology a game-changer for women and children across the world.
Jamee Lyn Devlin's insight:

In a market that categorizes wearables as devices for personal connectivity, convenience and consumerism, UNICEF offers a refreshing look at a generation designing wearables for social responsibility.

 

With a predicted revenue of $22 billion by 2020, the wearables market is expected to expand beyond the use of individual consumers in developed countries to the general workforce, medical industries, and emerging markets in the realm of sustainability, social responsibility and low-resource locations. To that end, UNICEF's Wearables for Good competition is a  "challenge to design wearable and sensor technology that serves people in resource constrained environments." 


"UNICEF, frog, and ARM have joined forces to apply their expertise in global development, power-efficient technologies and creative design thinking to create a community of practice that can address some of the biggest challenges facing children in the hardest to reach areas." 


Parameters for the challenge required the entries be cost-effective for en masse low income distribution, rugged and durable, operable on low power over a long period of time, and scalable to multiple ecosystems. 

 

Submissions for the competition numbered over 250 from 46 countries. The finalists were chosen last month, and include teams from all over the world, some of which are cooperating internationally. Concepts include everything from monitoring children at risk of malaria, to water purification, to alert systems deterring domestic and child abuse. My personal favorite? A device designed to alert medical professionals to vaccination status in small children in India. The team has gone so far as to design the wearable with their target consumers - the children's parents - so that it resembles a symbol traditionally worn by children believed to protect them from evil. 

 

The winners for this year's challenge will be announced next month. Whatever the outcome of the competition, the hope of UNICEF, and my own as well, is that the growing markets of today's wearable technologies will expand to include not only personal data tracking of a good run, a good night's sleep or a good diet, but also impact society at large in all markets for the benefit of social good. 

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ForCommonCause.org has reignited my faith in crowdfunding

ForCommonCause.org has reignited my faith in crowdfunding | Green Commerce | Scoop.it
For Common Cause is a giving and volunteering site where everyone can donate skills, equipment or money directly to people building livelihoods and financial independence
Jamee Lyn Devlin's insight:

There are more than 500 crowdfunding sites online at the moment.


Admittedly an original advocate of Kickstarter and Indiegogo for entrepreneurial spirits looking to try their hand at owning and operating a business, Watsi for those who would rather donate to a real person with a true story than wonder what might have become of their money via a charity organization, and Cause.com for bolstering social innovation and community fundraising campaigns,  I have to admit I have overlooked several smaller crowdfunding websites that do just as much as the big guys, some with perhaps a more accessible and realistic spin on the purpose.


For Common Cause is a crowdfunding site that allows those who peruse its projects to donate money just like any other, that's true. What sets it apart from others is that it also allows donations of used goods for equipment, and perhaps more importantly, time. Your time and expertise, as a matter of fact.


For Common Cause features business-minded men and women who may not have had the means given most of us to take the entrepreneurial leap. Some have been homeless or had debilitating diseases that kept them from rising above the poverty line. Others were kids in the social welfare system who have reached the age of 18 and can no longer be given to foster care families for support.


Such is the case of Melissa, who is hoping to fund a fleet of food trucks offering her Caribbean cuisine called Swagga Ragga Street Food (I'd donate just for the name). Having been in the foster care system from the age of 12, she was forced into independent living when she came of age. She now hopes to receive not only funding, but also mentoring, in order to get her business off the ground. She also hopes to employ other young people who can no longer stay in the foster care system.


While you can still donate money at other crowdfunding sites (and I have), who's to say whether those who manage the project will know what to do with that money once they have it? At For Common Cause, creating an online mentoring program is an outstanding idea, one which I truly hope spreads to others. As a mentor, you can view others who are donating a skillset to your sponsored business, and you can even hope to get some of their products in return.


Personally, I don't know anything about operating a food truck, but I do have a background in marketing that may help Melissa when she gets her business rolling. I hope she gives me a call.

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10 noteworthy sustainable businesses to watch for - The Guardian

10 noteworthy sustainable businesses to watch for - The Guardian | Green Commerce | Scoop.it
10 leading sustainability innovations
The Guardian
A study released today profiles 100 leading sustainability innovations. We showcase the top 10, featuring carbon-neutral plastic, e-waste recycling kiosks and an ethical smartphone.
Jamee Lyn Devlin's insight:

While not necessarily new companies, these notable ten businesses are finally starting to see some revenue and recognition.


With so much focus on new giants like Uber and Airbnb, some green businesses end up on the shadows. In this post, the Guardian sheds a little light on some worthwhile sustainable commerce.



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Jamee Lyn Devlin's curator insight, June 17, 2014 7:48 AM

While not necessarily new companies, these notable ten businesses are finally starting to see some revenue and recognition.


With so much focus on new giants like Uber and Airbnb, some green businesses end up on the shadows. In this post, the Guardian sheds a little light on some worthwhile sustainable commerce.