The World’s Waste-to-Energy Market: an overview

The World’s Waste-to-Energy Market: an overview


Rapid economic expansion, urbanization, and population growth have increased the use of (materially intensive) resources and, as a result, the amount of trash released into the environment. Globally speaking, there is a lack of a comprehensive strategy for waste and resource management that addresses the entire value chain of product design, raw material extraction, manufacture, consumption, recycling, and trash treatment.

Also, hundreds of millions of tonnes of municipal solid waste still wind up in landfills, despite the recent growth of the world’s waste-to-energy (WTE) industry. At least 1.3 tonnes more carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere for every tonne of waste that is landfilled. This article gives a general overview of the WTE sector and examines current developments in the US that have reduced mercury and dioxin emissions. In order to advance WTE technology, the recently founded Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council seeks to bring together international academic and industrial expertise


Over 600 waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities burn roughly 130 million tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) yearly. The MSW produced by the world’s WTE industry has increased by more than 16 million tonnes since 1995. There are WTE facilities in 35 countries, including big ones like China and tiny ones like Bermuda.

Combustible material landfilling must be phased out within a decade, per a European Union directive[1]. It is unclear, nevertheless, whether all the member nations will contribute the necessary money. Some, like Greece, have no WTE capacity at all, while others, like Singapore, have very little. Table 2.[2] displays the installed capacity and per-person use of WTE for disposing of municipal solid waste in the EU as of the present. For instance, the quantity of WTE used per capita in Japan is 314 kg, in Singapore, it is 252 kg, and in the US, it is 105 kg. China is one of the more recent entrants to WTE, with seven units currently in operation and a potential annual capacity of 1.6 million metric tonnes.

The present condition of the world WTE market

The European waste-to-energy (WTE) industry produced over 40 million tonnes of energy per year in 2002. The Brescia WTE facility in Italy is a good example of cogeneration of thermal and electric energies. It provides at least as much energy as is needed for district heating during the cold winter months.[3]

WTE capacity from the US accounts for around 23% of the global total, and 66% of it is concentrated in seven states along the East Coast.[4] (See Table 1).

Table 1: Major users of WTE in the US

StateNumber of PlantsCapacity (short US tons/day)
New York1011,100
New Jersey56,200

Table 2. Reported WTE capacity in Europe[5]

CountryTonnes/year (in 1999)Kilograms/capitaThermal energy (gigajoules)Electric energy (gigajoules)
Total reported40,484,000154.5 (average)109,550,00040,761,000

The Present Condition of WTE Technology

Mass burning is the most popular WTE method since it is straightforward and has a minimum initial investment.

The annual installed capacity of the most popular grate technology, created by Martin GmbH (Munich, Germany), is around 59 million metric tonnes. One of the newest WTE facilities in Europe is the Martin grate at the Brescia (Italy) facility. A schematic representation of its mass-burn combustion chamber is shown in Figure 1. 32 million tonnes are burned as part of the Von Roll mass-burning operation in Zurich, Switzerland. The combined estimated capacity of all other mass-burning and refuse-derived fuel (RDF) processes is more than 40 million tonnes.

Waste-to-Energy mass-burn combustion chamber schematic diagram

The Advantages of WTE for the Environment

  • Landfill Gaseous Emissions:

Some environmental groups in the US still oppose new WTE facilities on principle. Landfills, the only other option for disposing of MSW, have much worse environmental effects. At least 1.3 tonnes more carbon dioxide are released for every tonne of waste that is landfilled. Biogas from landfills typically comprises 46% carbon dioxide and 54% methane.[6] A tonne of landfilled MSW has a maximum methane production potential of 62 standard m3 of CH4.[7] 8 billion Nm3 of landfill gas were captured annually in the US in 2012.

  • Mercury Emissions from landfills:

The majority of the mercury in MSW is in metallic form (fluorescent lamps, thermometers, etc.). At landfill temperatures (40°C), its vapour pressure is 0.007 mm Hg as opposed to 5.67mm Hg for water. A mercury droplet of the same size will evaporate in four weeks if an exposed water droplet evaporates in an hour.

The Next Generation of WTE Processes

A Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility has three times the capital and operating expenses of a coal-fired power station that produces the same amount of electricity. Oxygen enrichment, used in the metallurgical industry, and flue gas recirculation are two ways to increase the turbulence and transport rates in the WTE chamber. The Brescia WTE facility has already used the latter to great success. Martin GmbH[8] is now constructing two “next generation” plants in Arnoldstein, Austria, and Sendai, Japan. Syncom-Plus uses an infrared camera to monitor the temperature of the bed on the grate. It has a complex control system to assure complete combustion and create bottom ash that is nearly fused.

The WTE Research and Technology Council (WTERT)

Waste-to-energy (WTE) is increasingly important to the US economy. There are currently no industrial or governmental research centres dedicated to advancing WTE technology. The WTE Research and Technology Council’s purpose is to promote waste-to-energy technologies’ economic and environmental performance. Creating connections between academic teams working on various WTE technology issues is one of the goals. The Council was formed with the assistance of Columbia University’s Earth Institute (WTERT). The image below is a view of the WTE plant in Brescia, Lombardy – Italy[9]

WTERT is currently supported by its founders, the US EPA, the Municipal Waste Management Association of the US Conference of Mayors, the Solid Wastes Processing Division of ASME International, and other groups. The interactive database “SOFOS,” which offers information on technical papers and studies linked to the integrated management of solid wastes, is one of the services offered by WTERT.

The Earth Engineering Centre, Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and Department of Civil Engineering from Columbia University, USA; the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Temple University in the United States; the Marine Sciences Research Centre at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the United States; Department of Applied Earth Sciences at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands; The United Kingdom’s Sheffield University Waste Incineration Centre (SUWIC), are now taking part in the WTERT University Consortium. WTERT invites additional universities that share the Council’s objectives to join this alliance.


Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facilities burn about 130 million tonnes of municipal trash annually. 47 new WTE plants have begun construction since 2001 or are currently under construction. WTE expansion in the US has been hampered by environmental opposition that ignores the significant decrease in gas emissions made by the US WTE industry because of the adoption of the US EPA regulations for Maximum Available Control Technology and by the fact that current legislation does not acknowledge the significant environmental benefits of WTE, in terms of energy generation, environmental quality, and reduction of greenhouse gases. Significant improvements in WTE technology have been made in recent years, including the utilization of flue gas recirculation and the construction of new plants that will utilise oxygen enrichment of the main air. This group brings together universities that are interested in waste management. The Council was established because of the significance of WTE in the international drive for sustainable development. The Council began its operations by compiling a list of the available research resources as well as the global WTE market. Enhancing the economic and environmental performance of technologies that can be utilized to recover materials and energy from solid wastes is the Council’s overarching objective.

[1] European Union, Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste, the landfill of waste,

Official Journal of the European Official Journal of the European Communities Communities, pp. L182/1-19 (July 1999).

[2] International Solid Wastes Association, Energy from Waste, State-of-the Art Report,

[3] Bonomo, A., WTE Advances: “The Experience of Brescia WTE Advances: The Experience of Brescia” (April 2003), Keynote presentation at the 11th North American Waste-to-Energy Conference, Tampa FL.

[4] Nickolas J. Themelis in Waste Management World (, 2003-2004. Review Issue, July-August 2003, p. 40-47

[5] International Solid Wastes Association, Energy from Waste, State-of-the-Art Report,

[6] Themelis, N.J. and H.Y. Kim, “Material and Energy Balances in a Large-scale Aerobic Bioconversion

Cell”, Waste Management and Research, 2002, 20:234-242.

[7] Franklin Associates, “The role of recycling in integrated waste: The role of recycling in integrated waste management in the US”, Rep. management in the US, Rep. EPA/530-R-96-001 EPA/530-R-96-001, USEPA, Munic. Industrial Waste Division, Washington, DC. 1995.

[8] Martin GmbH,

[9] Waste to energy plant in Brescia, Lombardy – Italy Stock Photo – Alamy

A Visit to South African Green Buildings

A Visit to South African Green Buildings


Renewable development has evolved into a typical understanding of the idealistic approach for human long-term development due to the acceleration of the depletion of global energy supplies and the worsening of the climate crisis. The construction industry’s buzzword has been “green building.” Urban construction is moving quickly, and green building is urgently needed. In recent years, green buildings have emerged as a crucial element in the quest for improved durability through increased reliance on renewable energy sources. Several nations have established their own green building councils and guidelines as a general outcome of contributing to the development of green building fundamental concepts. The building industry is responsible for several harmful environmental issues worldwide, and South Africa is no different. To address these issues, which continuously endanger the wellbeing and existence of both people and the natural world, sustainability principles have been introduced. As a sustainable idea, “green building” seeks to address socio-economic challenges as well as environmental ones in the created environment. This short paper assesses the benefits and drivers of implementing green building projects in South Africa. The paper also seeks to highlight a structure that must undoubtedly meet several requirements to be labelled as green, but what are these requirements? What attributes distinguish a green building? It further demonstrates how we can better comprehend how the Green Building Index (G-B-I) rating tool works to lessen a building’s carbon footprint by outlining the six requirements that make a building green. The paper also explains some reasons why green buildings aren’t just good for the planet, as well as how green buildings can help fight climate change. Data were obtained and analysed from books, publications, articles, and reports.


A “green” building is one that minimizes or eliminates harmful effects on our climate and natural environment during design, construction, or operation. It can also have positive effects. Green structures protect priceless natural resources and raise our standard of living. The green building strategy, also referred to as sustainable building encourages ecologically friendly and resource-conserving techniques that endure the entire life of a project.

A network of high-quality natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features, built and managed to provide a variety of ecosystem services and safeguard biodiversity in both rural and urban settings, can be widely referred to as “green infrastructure.” In addition to improving community safety and quality of life, green infrastructure is efficient and cost-effective. The goal of green infrastructure, which is a physical structure that allows people to benefit from nature, is to improve nature’s capacity to provide a variety of essential ecosystem goods and services, such as clean water and air.

The nation’s economy is primarily supported by the construction industry, which plays a vital part in that. It is common knowledge that the building sector requires important inputs and outputs.

Providing pertinent structures like schools, hospitals, and other important facilities, which are employed to create commodities and services for the populace, helps to shape the socioeconomics of the residents.[1] But both the people inside and the building itself are affected by the building’s location, materials utilized, and construction methods[2]. The industry has a negative impact on the environment, the economy, and society despite the beneficial inputs and output activities. The building industry uses around 40% of the energy consumed worldwide and emits 30% of greenhouse gases annually, according to the United Nations Environment Programme[3]. Cement and steel are overused in the construction business.

The extensive resource use of developing nations like South Africa results in air and water pollution, land degradation, excessive energy consumption, and the extinction of the wildlife habitat[4]. The concept of green building was developed by professionals in the construction industry to address the need for environmental compliance and attempt to mitigate the consequences of global warming by creating environmentally-friendly infrastructure[5].

Environmental, economic, and social sustainability are the three pillars that make up sustainable development. A crucial tactic for reducing adverse effects and enhancing the sustainability of the construction sector is green building[6]. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency[7], green building is the practice of designing buildings and implementing procedures that are resource- and environmentally conscious throughout a facility’s life cycle. Green construction can lessen carbon dioxide emissions, energy use, water and air pollution, excessive raw material consumption, and other harmful effects on the environment. Implementing and constructing more green structures in developing nations like Ghana and South Africa saves money because they will eventually have a less carbon footprint. The recent construction of infrastructure has given special attention to the green building idea to promote healthy, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly practices[8]. Due to urbanization and rising energy consumption, it has become essential for the construction sector to implement the green building idea. This study aims to evaluate the advantages and motivators of putting green building initiatives into practice in South Africa.

  1. What are Sustainability Construction and Green Building?

Sustainability is a term used to describe actions taken with the intention of achieving eco-friendliness[9]. The building sector can harm the environment by producing trash, using too many natural resources, polluting the air and water, and causing other environmental harm[10]. It involves the overuse of raw materials, which degrades the land and pollutes the atmosphere.

Green buildings are planned, constructed, and operated to increase productivity and the health and well-being of occupants[11].

2. Benefits of Green Buildings Projects

According to the United Nations Environment Programme[12], the world’s population is expected to expand from 7 billion to 9 billion people by the year 2050. The environment will be strained because of tremendous air and water pollution brought on by population growth. Additionally, it overtaxes the ecosystem by increasing the demand for water, energy, and natural resources. The advantages of green construction are numerous and include the sustainability facets of the economics, environment, and society[13],[14]. Researchers suggested that green construction outperforms conventional building from the building life cycle perspective, and they found several advantages associated with green architecture. Reduced water and energy use, lower maintenance and operating expenses enhanced health and increased production efficiency all have financial advantages that outweigh the additional construction costs needed to satisfy green design standards by a factor of ten.

Additionally, it is asserted that using green building practices results in energy savings of around 30%. Furthermore, Yudelson J, (2010)[15] claims that green buildings utilize between 30 and 50 percent less water and energy than traditional structures. According to a study by Madew R, (2006)[16], energy and water consumption in buildings is reduced by about 60% in green buildings, which greatly lowers operating expenses. He continued by mentioning that green buildings have higher market values of 10% and higher rental rates that vary from 5% to 10%. There are six green buildings using from 25 percent to 75 percent less energy and code-compliant buildings in the United States[17]. Adding to this, Ries R., and Ors., (2006)[18] found that green manufacturing facility by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Buildings (LEED) green rating system reduces energy by 30 percent and increases the productivity of the employees by 25 percent. Like in developed countries, developing countries can benefit greatly from green buildings.

3. Drivers of Green Building

Green building techniques have been steadily used in recent years to reduce the detrimental effects of the construction industry on the environment, the economy, and society. A better and more thorough comprehension of the factors influencing the implementation of green building technologies is required to promote their wide adoption. According to a study by Love[19], the need to improve occupant health and well-being, enhance multidisciplinary collaboration, raise awareness of non-renewable resources, lower total life cycle costs, market research and landmark development, and draw in high-end customers and rental returns are the driving forces behind a green building in Australia. Energy conservation, resource conservation, and waste reduction are the major forces of sustainable construction, according to Manoliadis and Ors., (2006)[20]. Additionally, Zhang X. and Ors., (2011)[21] revealed that the most significant driving factors of green building in the Chinese built environment sector are developing unique green products, reducing construction costs, gaining a competitive advantage, committing to corporate social responsibility, and lowering maintenance costs. According to Serpell[22], in Chile, corporate image, cost containment, and market differentiation are the main forces behind green building. According to Bond[23], the factors that influence sustainable development in New Zealand’s commercial real estate include ecological consequences, tenant demand, financial benefits, corporate social responsibility, and individual beliefs. Based on earlier studies into sustainability, Falkenbach[24] divided the forces behind green buildings into external, corporate, and property-level forces.

i. External Green Building Drivers

The drives that are established by organizations like the United Nations (UN), governments, trade unions, organizations, and businesses engaged in green construction are referred to as external drivers. In recent years, numerous governments have increased their involvement in the creation of green buildings. As a part of encouraging green building technology and energy efficiency, governments also created legislation and policies that provide incentives[25]. In many nations, the green construction phenomenon is spreading, and it is anticipated to expand and incorporate additional regulatory requirements[26]. The necessity to lower the energy consumption of the traditional structures led Europe to be the first region to develop legislation that mandates energy efficiency and comfort upgrades of the buildings[27]. The effectiveness of governmental laws and policies in fostering and advancing knowledge of green building has been demonstrated[28]. The United Nations (UN) has endorsed the Kyoto Protocol, an international policy that calls on all state parties to agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions internationally[29], one of the laws influencing the development and use of green buildings.

ii. Corporate-Level Green Building Drivers

One corporate-level driver that was mentioned by Falkenbach H. and Ors. (2010),[30] is image benefit. One approach to give the property a competitive edge is through uniqueness. In order to succeed in their respective industries, corporations must build a solid reputation. According to Andelin[31], a firm’s corporate image represents its ideals and determines how marketable the company and its goods are. According to Zhang and Ors.,[32] a company’s dedication to green building can be a positive reflection on the organization and developing a positive reputation and being more competitive demands one to adopt a smart green business plan. The business image, culture, and vision are the three main motivators for adopting green construction methods. Investment in green building and achieving high standards for social and environmental performance that draw customers and enhance organizational culture are key drivers for organizations to adopt green building.[33],[34]. A positive public image was found to be the most important factor for construction enterprises to consider when thinking about green practices, according to a study conducted in South Africa[35] A business can improve its reputation by demonstrating its commitment to social responsibility.

iii. Property-Level Green Building Drivers

Due to the advantages green buildings provide, such as reduced environmental impact and higher occupancy costs, stakeholders including tenants are requesting them.

By lowering expenses, raising revenue, and lowering capitalization rates, according to Reed[36], stakeholders can maximize the capital value of the structures. The green building market is driven by the ability of green buildings to lower building operations and maintenance expenses.

4. Criteria that make a building green & reduce its carbon footprint

Reducing a building’s carbon footprint is the goal of the Green Building Index (G-B-I) assessment system. It lists the six criteria that a building must meet to be considered green in Malaysia. What are the criteria that a building must meet in order to be designated as green?

To begin with, a building must maximize its orientation to harvest as much natural light as possible, minimize solar heat gain, and employ renewable energy in building services. The air quality, acoustics, visual comforts, and thermal comforts must all be considered by architects to create a high-quality indoor environment. Also, having good parks and landscaping with greenery and plants fosters a healthy atmosphere. In addition, living close to public transportation encourages individuals to use this type of transportation rather than purchasing their own automobile. Furthermore, reusing and recycling existing materials can help you avoid making new ones, which lowers carbon emissions.

The building needs to be reviewed for a time of at least every three years to maintain its G-B-I certification reason being that a building is given a rating of Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum depending on its score (out of 100).

Future construction will be characterized by green architecture, as everyone aspires to do their part to protect the environment. An environment that is greener and healthier for everyone is a result of more green buildings, which also means a more sustainable lifestyle with lower carbon emissions. Having a green home is a great place to start if we want to make a difference without having to travel far.

5. Why green buildings are beneficial to society as a whole?

The advantages of green buildings for energy savings are now generally acknowledged. According to a study, green buildings can lower city temperatures by up to 2°C. People living in frigid climates may benefit from green buildings since they provide the same advantages as spending time in nature. With plants covering the roof, an uninsulated structure can save money by using up to 5% less energy for heating in the winter. Even in relatively chilly places like Toronto or New York, planting 50% of the roof would help to lower the area’s summertime temperature by around 1°C.

Also, for improved air quality­, indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental threats to human health, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For instance, in downtown Toronto, a 20% increase in the surface area of green walls and rooftops could significantly reduce indoor air pollution.

Faster recoveries are another advantage of green building. It reveals that hospitals with green infrastructures, like an ornamental green wall, have shorter average hospital stays, quicker recovery times and lower rates of secondary infections. Plants also improve acoustics, aesthetics, and air quality, as well as energise the medical professionals who work there.

Another added advantage of green building is lower emissions. This reveals that a green-certified building emits 62% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the typical Australian building due to the addition of green walls, roofs, and other low-energy interventions. Plants on building roofs and courtyards, as well as permeable outdoor surfaces like soil, rock wool, and vermiculite minimize echoes.

6. How green buildings can help fight climate change

2016 and 2020 were the warmest years since records began, according to NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Buildings produce close to 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. By building sustainably, we can increase the resilience of our homes and communities while reducing the contribution that buildings make to climate change.

Green buildings generate less greenhouse gas:

A structure’s planning, design, construction, operations, and end-of-life recycling or renewal, while considering energy, water, indoor environmental quality, material choice, and location, are all included in a green building. Green communities and buildings encourage the establishment and preservation of vegetated land areas and roofs, as well as the reduction of trash sent to landfills. High-performing green structures, in particular LEED-certified structures, offer the means to lessen the effects of buildings and occupants on the climate.

Buildings constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards produce fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than buildings constructed conventionally, according to a study. The credits that promote compact construction and connectivity to amenities and transit help reduce the GHGs related to transportation. The energy—and GHGs—needed to remove, treat, and pump the water from the source to the building are saved when a building uses less water. Additionally, the amount of fuel used to transport materials to and from the structure is reduced.

Beyond what energy efficiency alone does, each of these methods greatly lowers the carbon footprint of buildings and their occupants. Further reductions can be achieved by giving residents feedback through systems like Arc, which displays a building’s environmental efforts and performance. Green construction can contribute to the fight against global warming. Discover more about LEED and the green buildings in your area by looking through the LEED project database.


According to this paper’s findings, the top five advantages of implementing green building projects include better indoor air quality, ecosystem protection, increased energy efficiency, improved health and well-being of occupants, and reduced CO2 emissions. The most important factors influencing the adoption of green building projects are the expansion of financing options, the expansion of the market for green goods and materials, the provision of economic incentives, education and training about green building technologies, and the affordability of green building materials. The results of this study will aid in raising awareness and promoting the adoption and execution of green building initiatives, which could address the serious environmental problems brought on by the operations of the construction sector.

[1] Ofori, G., 2012. Developing the Construction Industry in Ghana: the case for a central agency. A concept paper prepared for improving the construction industry in Ghana. National University of Singapore, 3-18.

[2] Choi, C., 2009. Removing market barriers to green development: principles and action projects to promote widespread adoption of green development practices. Journal of Sustainable Real Estate, 1(1), 107-138.

[3] UNEP, 2011. Towards a green economy: Pathways to sustainable development and poverty eradication. Nairobi, Kenya: UNEP.

[4] See footnote 1 and 5 below.

[5] Gunnell, K., Du Plessis, C. and Gibberd, J., 2009. Green building in South Africa: emerging trends. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT).

[6] Shen, L., Yan, H., Fan, H., Wu, Y. and Zhang, Y., 2017. An integrated system of text mining technique and case-based reasoning (TM-CBR) for supporting green building design. Building and Environment, 124, 388-401.

[7] USEPA, 2016. Definition of Green Building (Mar. 28, 2017).

[8] Darko, A. and Chan, A.P., 2016. Critical analysis of green building research trend in construction journals. Habitat International, 57, 53-63.

[9] De Schrijver, R.E.M. (2009). Green public procurement. The Netherlands: Amersfoort. Developer’s perspective in China. J. Manag. Eng. 31(3).

[10] Aigbavboa, C., Ohiomah, I. and Zwane, T., 2017. Sustainable Construction Practices: “A Lazy View” of Construction Professionals in the South Africa Construction Industry. Energy Procedia, 105, 3003-3010.

[11] MacNaughton, P., Spengler, J., Vallarino, J., Santanam, S., Satish, U. and Allen, J., 2016. Environmental perceptions and health before and after relocation to a green building. Building and environment, 104, 138-144.

[12] See footnote 3

[13] Ibid

[14] Ibrahim, M., El-Zaart, A. and Adams, C., 2018. Smart sustainable cities roadmap: Readiness for transformation towards urban sustainability. Sustainable cities and society, 37, 530-540.

[15] Yudelson, J., 2010. The business case for green buildings. In Sustainable investment and places–Best practices in Europe (88-91). Union Investment Real Estate AG Hamburg.

[16] Madew, R., 2006. The Dollars and Sense of Green Buildings, A report for the Green Building Council of Australia. Green Building Council of Australia.

[17] Torcellini, P., Pless, S., Deru, M., Griffith, B., Long, N. and Judkoff, R., 2006. Lessons learned from case studies of six high-performance buildings (No. NREL/TP-550-37542). National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States).

[18] Ries, R., Bilec, M.M., Gokhan, N.M. and Needy, K.L., 2006. The economic benefits of green buildings: a comprehensive case study. The Engineering Economist, 51(3), 259- 295.

[19] Love, P.E., Niedzweicki, M., Bullen, P.A. and Edwards, D.J., 2011. Achieving the green building council of Australia’s world leadership rating in an office building in Perth. Journal of construction engineering and management, 138(5), 652-660.

[20] Manoliadis, O., Tsolas, I. and Nakou, A., 2006. Sustainable construction and drivers of change in Greece: a Delphi study. Construction Management and Economics, 24(2), 113- 120.

[21] Zhang, X., Platten, A. and Shen, L., 2011. Green property development practice in China: costs and barriers. Building and environment, 46(11), 2153-2160.

[22] Serpell, A., Kort, J. and Vera, S., 2013. Awareness, actions, drivers and barriers of sustainable construction in Chile. Technological and Economic Development of Economy, 19(2),.272-288.

[23] Bond, S. and Perrett, G., 2012. The key drivers and barriers to the sustainable development of commercial property in New Zealand. Journal of sustainable real estate, 4(1), 48-77.

[24] Falkenbach, H., Lindholm, A.L. and Schleich, H., 2010. Review articles: environmental sustainability: drivers for the real estate investor. Journal of Real Estate Literature, 18(2), 201-223.

[25] DuBose, J.R., Bosch, S.J. and Pearce, A.R., 2007. Analysis of state-wide green building policies. Journal of Green Building, 2(2), 161-177.

[26] Andelin, M., Sarasoja, A.L., Ventovuori, T. and Junnila, S., 2015. Breaking the circle of blame for sustainable buildings–evidence from Nordic countries. Journal of corporate real estate, 17(1), 26-45.

[27] Allouhi, A., El Fouih, Y., Kousksou, T., Jamil, A., Zeraouli, Y. and Mourad, Y., 2015. Energy consumption and efficiency in buildings: current status and future trends. Journal of Cleaner production, 109, 118-130.

[28] Arif, M., Bendi, D., Toma-Sabbagh, T. and Sutrisna, M., 2012. Construction waste management in India: an exploratory study. Construction Innovation, 12(2), 133-155.

[29] Parnell, P., 2005, April. Sustainability: what’s the fuss all about? In RICS annual conference.

[30] Falkenbach, H., Lindholm, A.L. and Schleich, H., 2010. Review articles: environmental sustainability: drivers for the real estate investor. Journal of Real Estate Literature, 18(2), 201-223.

[31] Andelin, M., Sarasoja, A.L., Ventovuori, T. and Junnila, S., 2015. Breaking the circle of the blame for sustainable buildings–evidence from Nordic countries. Journal of corporate real estate, 17(1), 26-45.

[32] See footnote 21 supra.

[33] Gou, Z., Lau, S.S.Y. and Prasad, D., 2013. Market readiness and policy implications for green buildings: case study from Hong Kong. Journal of Green Building, 8(2), 162-173.

[34] Hwang, B.G., Zhao, X. and Tan, L.L.G., 2015. Green building projects: Schedule performance, influential factors and solutions. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 22(3), 327-346.

[35] Windapo, A.O. and Goulding, J.S., 2015. Understanding the gap between green building practice and legislation requirements in South Africa. Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, 4(1), 67-96.

[36] Reed, R.G. and Wilkinson, S.J., 2005. The increasing importance of sustainability for building ownership. Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 7(4), 339-350.

Urban Law Day Roundtable Discussion: Law and the New Urban Agenda and the Current Crisis

Urban Law Day Roundtable Discussion: Law and the New Urban Agenda and the Current Crisis

Join the Roundtable Discussion on October 6th at 2:30pm!

The panel will discuss the connection between urban law issues and the most recents developments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The roundtable will forsee the participation of Christian Iaione, professor of urban law and policy, land use, smart cities, law & policy of innovation & sustainability at Luiss University and Elena de Nictolis, co-teacher of urban law and policy and law and governance of innovation and sustainability at Luiss University and a research fellow with LabGov.City.

Both contributed as co-author of chapter 4 of the book Law and the New Urban Agenda, where they provided insights about urban co-governance and the right to the City gained from the work on international committees for innovation, urban policy and economics.

The event is free, registration is required and may be completed by the following link: Participants will receive Zoom details once registration is completed.

Resilient transportation in a pandemic: can coronavirus push for more sustainable mobility?

Resilient transportation in a pandemic: can coronavirus push for more sustainable mobility?

The question of how we will inhabit cities after COVID-19 has popped amongst most urban planners, as we all question urban dynamics and see the pandemic as an opportunity to reshape not only the way we inhabit cities, but also how we move in them.

Since the first images from an isolated Wuhan to the photos of empty streets in New York, the media have shared powerful images that invite urban enthusiasts to question the use of street space generally dominated by cars.

The disruption of our everyday lives brought a perfect momentum for urbanists to push forward a sustainable mobility agenda as many people worked from home, micro-mobility became the only type of mobility for many, and even the World Health Organisation encouraged people to consider riding bikes and walking whenever feasible.

Technical guidance for mobility published by the World Health Organisation

Since public transportation and cab services are still considered risky spaces for infection, local governments decided to pedestrianise streets and broaden bike lanes in cities such as New York, Berlin, Milan, Bogota, Barcelona, Mexico City, Paris, Vienna, Sydney and Brussels.

Planners and local governments have described it as a moment for mobility to change, an approach that is still to be tested once the social distancing restrictions are lifted, and the use of walking and biking is tested versus motorised transportation such as motorbikes and cars.

Car affluence dropped to almost 40% in most major cities; some cities adopted temporary measures implementing pop-up bike lanes while others fast-tracked bike paths scheduled in the pre-corona city planning.

Percentage of city movement in comparison to usual in the European cities of Paris, Milan and Berlin during February and March 2020. Source: City Mapper Mobility Index.

City mobility adapting to a health crisis

One of the most relevant examples of city mobility adapted to the health crisis is Paris. The region plans to invest 300 million euros in building 650 kilometres of pop-up and pre-planned cycleway infrastructure. In an overnight operation street workers blocked traffic and painted bike icons turning streets into safe streets for biking.

Coronavirus lockdown and the decrease in car traffic accelerated the implementation of the “Plan Vélo” which is part of major Anne Hidalgo’s promise to turn every street in Paris cycle-friendly by 2024.

Berlin introduced 20 kilometres of pop-up bike lanes, as Berlin Roads and Parks Department official Felix Weisbrich called this a “pandemic-resilient infrastructure.” As the pandemic has accelerated the discussions in districts and municipal parliaments, public officials can push for urban infrastructure to be implemented ata faster speed than what the bouroucratic procedure would usually take.

Pop-up bike lane in Kottbusser Damm, Berlin. Source: author

The city of Milan implemented the “Strade Aperte” plan which contemplated the transformation of 35 kilometres of city streets into either pedestrian or cyclists roads. The Italian government issued bike-friendly traffic rules and promised people in bigger cities to provide a subsidy of up to 60 per cent of the price for the purchase of bicycles and e-scooters, up to a maximum of 500 euros.

Brussels planned to build a total of 40 kilometers of new cycle lanes. While the British government announced an emergency plan of 250 million pounds to set up pop-up bike lanes, safer junctions and cycle-only corridors.

Finally, Bogotá is one of the cities with the largest pop-up cycling lanes expansion during the pandemic crisis as the city implemented 80km of temporary in-street bikeways to supplement 550 km existing bike paths.

The pop-up infrastructure like removable tape and mobile signs not only makes it easier for people riding bikes to keep self-distancing, but it also encourages people who would not cycle regularly to explore new ways of transportation in a more comfortable space.

What about cars?

The adaptation to COVID-19 is not always sustainable and resilient. The sanitary measures present a risk as cars represent a tool for isolated mobility. Car-centric cities may continue to be so as car use increases.

As there is a higher demand for activities to restart under social distancing conditions, many cities in Europe started embracing drive-in culture not only for food but also for churches, cinemas and even concerts. 

Examples of drive-in entertainment alternatives take place in the outskirts of cities as it is the case in Lithuania and Denmark. German car cinemas became popular near Cologne, and the city of Schüttorf close to the border of Germany and the Netherlands hosted a party in a drive-in club where the performer invited people to “honk if they were having a good time”.

In the United States, famous for its drive-in culture,  a strip club continued operation under  this new modality that would allow people to keep distance as the attendees stayed inside their cars.

While drive-ins help entertainment industries to cope with the closures imposed by the sanitary restrictions, there is a risk, especially in the suburbs, to develop an even more motorised culture and a lifestyle that is more dependable on cars. 

What can urban planning learn from past epidemics?

One of the first examples of a city adapting to an epidemic is the cholera outbreak mapped by John Snow which encouraged cities to establish higher hygiene standards and prompted the relevance of statistical data in city planning.

However, more recent outbreaks like the case of SARS epidemic that affected cities in China, South East Asia and Canada highlighted the vulnerability of dense cities to become arenas for a fast spread of the virus. Although the use of public transportation was reduced in cities like Taipei, -the daily ridership of public transportation decreased to 50% during the peak of the 2003 SARS period–  there is no significant evidence of a shift toward sustainable transportation. The SARS epidemic provided more examples of social control and exceptionalism than examples of sustainable transportation.

In the case of Covid-19, even if urbanists hope for the outbreak to be a significant opportunity to design more sustainable cities in the “new normality”, and car sales have drastically dropped, there is hope in the car industry for sales to rise once the distance regulations are eased since people will opt for a car to comply with social distancing rules.

In Korea and China the fears of contracting the Coronavirus have already shown an increase in the sales of cars and in the United States, according to the IBM study  on Consumer Behavior Alterations, “More than 20 percent of respondents who regularly used buses, subways or trains now said they no longer would, and another 28 percent said they will likely use public transportation less often.”.

In addition, they claim that “more than 17 percent of people surveyed said that they intend to use their personal vehicle more as a result of COVID-19, with approximately 1 in 4 saying they will use it as their exclusive mode of transportation going forward.” .   

In this matter, public transportation might be the most affected in terms of revenue, New York City metro system reported its worst financial crisis as their ridership decreased by 90%, while London Underground put one quarter of its staff in furlough as it has only been used at a 5% of its capacity for the past months.  Even after the social distancing measures are eased, public transport might be considered more hazardous than other means of transportation and be the most affected financially.

Can city mobility restart in a resilient way?

After the biggest part of the crisis has passed and we will inhabit cities with eased sanitary restrictions is still uncertain whether mobility patterns will be affected in a permanent way. Further data will show if the coronavirus pandemic did encourage the creation of instruments for the implementations of sustainable mobility or it  perpetuated a car centered approach.

So far, at a medium-term, the relevance of longer-trips has been questioned, and work from home acquired significance as an alternative to commutes. Trips are expected to be carried out mostly by walking, cycling and driving a personal car and the investment in cycling infrastructure will remain as a long-term outcome of this pandemic.

A woman biking through Schillingbrücke in Berlin. Source: author.

The learning outcomes of this experience can also have a long-term impact as they will be documented in guidelines and the experience will set a precedent for critical and resilient responses for local governments.  For instance, the guide for temporary bike lanes titled “Making a safe space for cycling in 10 days”, developed by the consultancy Mobicon, delineates what should the first relevant action should include to keep safe distance while boosting more sustainable commutes.

The restoration of activities in dense cities might not bring an automatic radical change in mobility behaviour and policy but, despite the circumstances, life under social distancing became an actual experimental period that many urbanists have dreamed of and many citizens had not experimented before.

The relevant question now is whether we will be able to maintain partially closed streets and broader bike lanes after lockdown restrictions are lifted once cities get through this moment, hoping for planners, public officials and citizens to recognise the perks of having more room and infrastructure for alternative mobility.

A new Luiss graduate program in the social sciences of Digital Innovation & Sustainability

A new Luiss graduate program in the social sciences of Digital Innovation & Sustainability

We live in an era of great and rapid changes. Many of these changes are positive, many others are not. We live in an era in which climate change is not an incoming threat, but rather a critical issue that is showing its full negative impact in these days. The effects are all there to see and probably, as some scientist are arguing, the Coronavirus outbreak is somehow connected to the disruption of local ecosystems. Climate change will have (and is actually having) irreversible effects on behalf of the world economy and structure. Moreover, it is estimated that global warming will reduce real GDP per capita by 7.22% by 2100. 

Source: Burke, Hsiang, and Miguel (2015); authors’ calculations.

Note: Country-level estimates for GCP per capita in 2100. Figure assumes RCP 8.5, which corresponds to roughly 3.2°C to 5.4°C of warming. GCP loss is associated with the warming from a baseline of 1980-2010 average temperatures. As explained in Burke, Hsiang, and Miguel (2015), estimates include growth-rate effects over the period through 2100.

But luckily there are not only negative effects. It is expected that the society and the economic system will change, and so it will the job market. It is estimated that 75 million jobs may be lost as companies shift to more automation. But where is the positive aspect of this shift? A change in the job market not only means loss of some employees, but also around 133 million new jobs that may emerge by 2022 (World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report”). As far as climate change and global warming are concerned, it is estimated that green economy will create 24 million new jobs (ILO-UN, World Employment and Social Outlook 2018). 

The question now is: are we ready to face all these challenges and changes?

Luiss university, responds to these shift launching a Master’s Degree in Law, Digital Innovation and Sustainability (LDIS), an English-language graduate course in the social sciences (law, management, finance and policy) of digitalization and sustainability, created to prepare students to incoming changes and to train the next generation to face the above mentioned challenges. 

The LDIS Master’s Degree program creates job opportunities by forging professional figures equipped with the right tools to address digital transformation and ecological transition, promoting employment opportunities and traineeship as Innovation Managers or Sustainability Managers with strong risk management and legal analysis skills. Here you can find an article on how lawyer CEOs might influence firm decision making more broadly — and whether they differ from CEOs without a law degree. The study shows that Firms run by CEOs with legal expertise were associated with much less corporate litigation. Compared with the average company, lawyer-run firms experienced 16% to 74% less litigation, depending on the litigation type.

Credits to Luiss

These are professionals who work for large organizations in the coordination of integrated business units who manage digital or social innovation processes with transdisciplinary abilities in system thinking, lateral thinking and risk management. However, the course content not only drives attention to the management background, but also to the legal skills promoting the role of legal innovation designers and risk managers, in other words, experts in the legal design and coding of new rules/norms of human coexistence in a phase of digital, technological, ecological and social transition who contribute to define risk management strategies and risk analysis using legal design thinking and lateral thinking. 

The Master’s Degree is designed to properly fit and adapt to student’s interests and career aspirations by granting the opportunity to select two possible Majors: one in Sustainability, through core courses in Management of Circular Economy, Green and Sustainable Finance, Regulatory innovation, and one in Digitalization with core courses in Management of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Fintech, and Data Protection Law. In addition, the Master’s course foresees some Electives & Activities for all majors, more precisely three elective courses, a final project work (e.g. thesis, proof of concept, start-up creation and acceleration, new business unit, new financial investment, ets.), an internship at a large private or public organization and three Labs & Skills. 

During the second year, the Lab&Skills will be centered on 4 different areas of interest: Science &  Technology, Economics & Business, Society & Policy, Legal, and promote soft skills activities in computer programming, legal coding, legal clinics, negotiation, legal public speaking and legal writing, due diligence automation, fundraising Lab (Eu Projects & Project Management) legal entrepreneurship, legal design thinking, and data lab (Database & Empirical Research). Additionally, in order to train both theory and practice, the course aims to promote “engagement activities” with the support of corporate and institutional partners, internship agreements and international cooperation agreements (i.e. student exchanges, double & dual degrees). As it can be evident, the course not only aims to lay down theoretical basis, but above all, combines theoretical insights with practical activities so to acquire the synthesis of the “practical theory” and create jobs during the training.

Credits to Luiss

Here you can find the international Faculty members of the LDIS Master’s Degree: Shelia Foster (Georgetown University), Séverine Dussolier (SciencesPo University), Helen Eenmaa (the University of Tartu), Sofia Ranchordas (University of Groningen), Daniel Armanios (Carnegie Mellon University), Giorgio Ventre (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II).

Here you can find the list of the Steering Committee of the LDIS Master’s Degree: Helèna Ravasini (Huawei), Benedetta Gillio (Arpinge e, Caterina Strippoli (ENEL Group), Andrea Buonomini (Ratp DEv), Enrico Salvatori (Qualcomm); Marco Tulliani (Cybertech).

If you wish to learn more you can visit this webpage and join us on Friday, April 3rd at 3:30 PM for the online presentation of the Master’s Degree in Law, Digital Innovation and Sustainability through a Webex meeting available at this link. You will be able to pose questions to Caterina Strippoli, Head of Intellectual Property of ENEL Group, and Christian Iaione, Director of the MSc in Law, Digital Innovation and Sustainability.

For further clarifications you can also email and or fill in the inquiry form available at this link.

Una nuova laurea magistrale Luiss nelle scienze sociali dell’Innovazione Digitale e Sostenibilità

Viviamo in un’era di grandi e veloci cambiamenti, molti dei quali sono positivi, molti altri no. Il cambiamento climatico non è più una questione di futuro, è il presente. E i suoi effetti sono sotto gli occhi di tutti. L’ultimo in ordine cronologico, come sta affermando parte della comunità scientifica, sarebbe la sempre più frequente diffusione di epidemie o pandemie come quella del Covid-19 a cui stiamo assistendo in questi giorni e che risulta essere in qualche modo collegata alla distruzione degli ecosistemi locali. Il climate change avrà (e in parte sta già avendo) effetti sulla struttura della società e dell’economia globale. Si stima che il riscaldamento globale produrrà una riduzione generale del PIL di 7,22 punti percentuali entro il 2100.

Source: Burke, Hsiang, and Miguel (2015); authors’ calculations.

Note: Country-level estimates for GCP per capita in 2100. Figure assumes RCP 8.5, which corresponds to roughly 3.2°C to 5.4°C of warming. GCP loss is associated with the warming from a baseline of 1980-2010 average temperatures. As explained in Burke, Hsiang, and Miguel (2015), estimates include growth-rate effects over the period through 2100.

Ma fortunatamente i cambiamenti non saranno esclusivamente negativi. L’economia e la società in cui viviamo cambieranno, e così di pari passo anche il mercato del lavoro muterà. Si stima che all’incirca 75 milioni di professioni andranno perse con il passaggio delle industrie a una maggiore automazione. Dov’è la buona notizia? 133 milioni di nuove professioni potrebbero emergere entro il 2022 (World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report”). Per quanto concerne il cambiamento climatico si stima invece che l’economia green genererà 24 milioni di nuovi lavori (ILO-UN, World Employment and Social Outlook 2018).

La domanda che ci poniamo è: siamo pronti ad affrontare queste sfide questi cambiamenti? L’Università Luiss Guido Carli risponde a tali cambiamenti lanciando una Laurea Magistrale in Innovazione Digitale e Sostenibilità (LDIS), un corso di laurea in lingua inglese nelle scienze sociali (legge, economia e politica) della digitalizzazione e della sostenibilità, creato per preparare gli studenti ai cambiamenti prossimi e nella formazione di una nuova classe dirigente, che si faccia trovare pronta per affrontare le sfide sopra citate.  Al giorno d’oggi, è il mercato stesso che richiede un corso di laurea come LDIS.

Il programma di laurea magistrale LDIS crea opportunità di lavoro forgiando figure professionali dotate degli strumenti giusti per affrontare la trasformazione digitale e la transizione ecologica, promuovendo opportunità di lavoro e tirocinio come responsabili dell’innovazione o responsabili della sostenibilità con forti capacità di gestione del rischio e analisi giuridica. Qui puoi trovare un articolo su come i CEO degli avvocati potrebbero influenzare il processo decisionale in maniera più ampia e se differiscono dai CEO senza una laurea in legge. Lo studio mostra che le aziende gestite da amministratori delegati con esperienza legale erano associate a controversie societarie molto meno. Rispetto alla società media, le aziende gestite da avvocati hanno registrato un contenzioso dal 16% al 74% in meno, a seconda del tipo di controversia.

Si tratta di professionisti che lavorano per grandi organizzazioni nel coordinamento di unità aziendali integrate che gestiscono processi di innovazione digitale o sociale con capacità transdisciplinari nel pensiero di sistema, nel pensiero laterale e nella gestione dei rischi. Tuttavia, il contenuto del corso non solo attira l’attenzione sul background manageriale, ma anche sulle capacità legali che promuovono il ruolo dei progettisti dell’innovazione legale e dei gestori del rischio, in altre parole, esperti nella progettazione giuridica e nella codifica di nuove regole / norme di convivenza umana in una fase di transizione digitale, tecnologica, ecologica e sociale che contribuiscono a definire strategie di gestione del rischio e analisi del rischio utilizzando il pensiero del design legale e il pensiero laterale.

Credits to Luiss

Il Master è progettato per adattarsi e adattarsi correttamente agli interessi degli studenti e alle aspirazioni di carriera, offrendo l’opportunità di selezionare due possibili majors: uno in Sostenibilità, attraverso corsi in Gestione dell’Economia Circolare, Finanza Green e Sostenibile, Innovazione Normativa e uno in Digitalizzazione con corsi in Gestione dell’innovazione e dell’Imprenditorialità, Fintech e Legge sulla Protezione dei Dati. Inoltre, il Master prevede alcuni corsi elettivi e attività per tutte le major, più precisamente tre corsi opzionali, un progetto finale (ad esempio tesi, proof of concept, creazione e accelerazione di start-up, nuova unità aziendale, nuovi investimenti finanziari, ecc. ), uno stage presso una grande organizzazione privata o pubblica e tre Labs & Skills.

Durante il secondo anno, il Lab & Skills sarà incentrato su 4 diverse aree di interesse: Scienza e Tecnologia, Economia e Commercio, Società e Politica, Legale, e promuoverà attività di soft skills in programmazione informatica, codifica legale, cliniche legali, negoziazione, legale pubblico parlare e scrivere legalmente, automazione della due diligence, raccolta fondi Lab (Eu Projects & Project Management) imprenditoria legale, pensiero di progettazione legale e data lab (Database & Empirical Research). Inoltre, al fine di formare sia la teoria che la pratica, il corso mira a promuovere le “attività di coinvolgimento” con il supporto di partner aziendali e istituzionali, accordi di tirocinio e accordi di cooperazione internazionale (ovvero scambi di studenti, doppia e doppia laurea). Come può essere evidente, il corso mira non solo a stabilire le basi teoriche, ma soprattutto, combina approfondimenti teorici con attività pratiche in modo da acquisire la sintesi della “teoria pratica” e creare posti di lavoro durante la formazione.

Credits to Luiss

Qui puoi trovare la lista dei membri Internazionali della Facoltà di LDIS: Shelia Foster (Georgetown University), Séverine Dussolier (SciencesPo University), Helen Eenmaa (the University of Tartu), Sofia Ranchordas (University of Groningen), Daniel Armanios (Carnegie Mellon University), Giorgio Ventre (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II).

Qui puoi trovare la lista del Comitato d’indirizzo della Facoltà LDIS: Helèna Ravasini (Huawei), Benedetta Gillio (Arpinge e, Caterina Strippoli (ENEL Group), Andrea Buonomini (Ratp DEv), Enrico Salvatori (Qualcomm); Marco Tulliani (Cybertech).

Se desideri saperne di più, puoi visitare questa webpage e unirti a noi venerdì 3 aprile alle 15:30 per la presentazione online del Master in Giurisprudenza, innovazione digitale e sostenibilità attraverso una riunione Webex disponibile a questo link. Potrai porre delle domande a Caterina Strippoli, head od Intellectual Property of ENEL Group, e Christian Iaione, Direttore del Master in Law, Digital Innovation and Sustainability.

Per ulteriori chiarimenti puoi scrivere una mail a e o compilare il modulo disponibile in italiano tramite questo link.