Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reliance Industries to enter solar energy market

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), India's biggest listed firm, plans an investment of $25 billion over the next five years in solar energy acquisitions and greenfield projects for photovoltaic cells.
Reliance's recent investment in semiconductor fabrication plants is not for computer chips but mainly for solar panels.
RIL has submitted the proposal for setting up two units with a total investment of Rs 30,000 crore.
One unit will be for manufacture of semiconductor wafer fab with assembly, test, mark and packaging facility at an investment of Rs 18,000 crore. RIL is in talks with states of Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana to set up a unit.
Another solar project will be located in Jamnagar with an investment of about Rs11,000 crore.
Reliance is already experimenting with a pilot project in Maharashtra where it is electrifying 84 villages with solar power.
At the current pace of 20 per cent annual growth, experts expect India’s solar sector to emerge as the fourth largest generator of solar energy after Germany, Japan and China in the coming years.

Project Architect: UNICEF Child Friendly Schools

Volunteer Opportunities

Location: Ganta, Liberia
Type: Design Fellowship

Architecture for Humanity in partnership with UNICEF is seeking a project architect to assist in the design and construction of an innovative school program in post-conflict border areas of Western Africa. The program will involve building two prototype facilities, a primary school and a secondary school, that incorporate the guidelines of UNICEF's Child Friendly School approach. Each school will include innovative learning environments, but will incorporate alternative energy sources, water reclamation, basic services play spaces, and will serve as a model for sustainable development in the region.

The goal: to support peace building by designing world class schools that inspire a love of learning and create a sense of harmony between the school, the surrounding community and the environment. If successful, the program will be expanded to include similar schools in the border regions of Western Africa benefiting thousands of students and teachers.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Calera Corporation

calera corporation a start-up by a former Stanford professor Brent Constantz (a specialist in earth sciences) .It is one of the portfolio company of khosla ventures .They are into Sustainable, Renewable New Building Materials .
Calera Corporation is dedicated to reversing global warming and ocean acidification by trapping the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the built environment, proactively reducing the level of free carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Architectural firms Going Global

Western design firms are cashing in on international construction hotspots by opening foreign offices equipped to serve the local clientele.And thanks in part to the evolving globalization of economies and the advances in electronic communication,working overseas is more feasible for design professionals than ever before.

Of course, venturing beyond your familiar business circle to the global stage requires a somewhat intimidating investment. After all, hiring special consultants to educate you on the local practices, relocating and housing staff, and
maneuvering through government bureaucracy are not without steep price tags. However, the move can pay off for those willing to think beyond today’s dollars — and toward tomorrow’s euros, rupees and yen.

When we consider opening an [international] office, we know that the first few years will require more investment with less return,”Ray Hoover, AIA, Managing Principal of Atlanta-based Thompson,Ventulett, Stainback and Associates(TVS), a multi-disciplinary firm of more than 300 people. TVS has maintained an office in Dubai for the past four years and is now opening one in Shanghai, China.

wise companies aren’t just looking for profits — they’re also looking for growth and stability. By spreading offices across different countries, a firm diversifies its cash flow supply, says Cheryl Neumann,COO and Executive Vice President of Wilson Associates, a Dallas, Texasbased interior design firm.“When one market is up and one is down, we’ve got coverage,” she says.“There are times when not every office is going gangbusters, and the diversification helps us manage through.” Wilson Associates is well diversified, with offices in three major U.S. cities, as well as in Singapore,South Africa, China and India.

Leo A. Daly, a 1,200-person interiors,architecture and planning firm based in Omaha, Neb. “You can go to the hotspots and hope to do work, or you create relationships and let the clients tell you where they need you.”Dalluge’s firm takes the latter, more service-focused approach.Dalluge takes pride in noting that Leo A. Daly was one of the first design companies to venture into China, opening there in 1967. “We wanted to be an international company,”he says. It was part of the firm’s strategic plan.Neumann agrees that, first andforemost, having overseas offices is primarily about clients. “It gives our clients a perceived closeness,” she says. With that closeness comes a stronger designer/client relationship,and as any business-savvy designer will attest, it is relationships that continue feeding work to a hungry company.That said, one of the biggest pulls and payoffs to establishing foreign branches is the opportunity to createone-of-a-kind, world-class buildings that would probably never get built in a developed Western nation. In fact,many designers choose to become designers to test boundaries by creating.