💰 Billionaire builders

Investment in green tech, a new pipeline and Richmond's Night Market reimagined

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Good morning! 🌠 Did you see it? Stargazers across Canada were treated to a dazzling display last week as a geomagnetic storm lit up skies with the Northern Lights. Here’s what crews working on the Dawson Creek and District Hospital saw.

⏰ Today’s read: 4 minutes

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Economy: Month over month, the total value of building permits in Canada decreased 11.7% to $10.5 billion in March. Construction intentions in the non-residential component declined 16.7% to $4.0 billion, while the residential sector decreased by 8.3% to $6.5 billion. Declines were observed in all components except for the commercial component.


Billionaires are backing green construction

Microsoft founder Bill Gates fills a pot hole.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who boasts a net worth of around $129 billion USD was filling potholes last month while visiting his start-up firm Modern Hydrogen. The company produces low-emission asphalt for road paving and repairs.

Building wealth: It isn’t Gates’ first foray into green construction. He and Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Sir Richard Branson helped finance Halifax-based CarbonCure’s growth in the green construction market. 

It’s part of a larger trend where the world’s wealthiest people are turning their attention to construction to solve big problems like climate change. Global green technology investments reached a record $755 billion in 2021, a 25% rise from the previous year. In the first half of 2023 alone, new investment in renewable energy hit an all-time high of $358 billion.

Other billionaire investments in construction:

  • Amazon's Alexa Fund, a venture capital fund backed by Bezos, invested in construction tech startups like Dusty Robotics (developing robots for construction layout) and Canvas (a construction software platform).

  • Saudi billionaire Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal invested in construction tech companies like Cemex Ventures, Apis Cor (3D construction printing), and SeedCrete (sustainable concrete technology).

  • Elon Musk's The Boring Company is developing new tunneling technology to build underground transportation systems more efficiently and at lower costs.

Bang for your buck: The buildings and construction sector is easily the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, accounting for 37% of global emissions. Chipping away at that would have a massive global impact. adopting energy-saving design, construction methods, and operations could reduce emissions from the construction industry's value chain by nearly 25% by 2035.


The week's headlines

🔥 ATCO is embarking on its largest energy project ever—a $2-billion natural gas pipeline in Alberta. The Yellowhead Mainline project will expand the capacity and enhance the efficiency of the province’s natural gas network, connecting natural gas producers to key markets and delivering energy for Alberta’s growing population. 

🚗 Port Colborne, Ont. is expected to be the site of Canada's first-ever lithium ion battery separator plant. The project is part of Honda Canada's $15-billion investment to establish a Canadian electric vehicle supply chain. Experts believe officials will make the announcement today. The project is a partnership between Asahi Kasei and Honda Canada. 

🚧 Calgary is embarking on $800-million worth of construction work this season. The funds will go towards parks, streets, public transit and City recreation and operational facilities. Some of the biggest projects includes adding ice rinks at Glenmore Twin Arena, expanding the Calgary Composting Facility and rehabilitating nearly 400 lane km of roadway.

🚆The Federal Court of Appeal has allowed work to proceed on a massive rail-and-truck hub in the Greater Toronto Area while it reviews an appeal of a lower court ruling that had stopped construction. The $250-million would double CN's existing line of tracks in the area and construct a terminal for containers to be transferred between transport trucks and freight cars.


Night Market transformation

Richmond’s Night Market could be completely reimagined in the coming years. Plans are in the works to redevelop the site into the International Plaza at Duck Island. Jingon International Development is proposing a 100% non-residential development with a range of commercial uses that integrate into the nearby casino and help create an entertainment hub.


Steps taken toward Expo lands redevelopment

Ground breaks on Indigenous-led housing project on Vancouver Island

RFQ issued for new Ontario Science Centre

Midtown station development in Calgary moves forward

🏗 That’s just a taste of what happened this week. Unlock our FULL project update list, Project Pulse, by referring this newsletter twice (make sure to use your unique link at the bottom of the newsletter.)

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PHOTOS: 🧑‍🎨Sculptors recreate Centre Block architecture by hand

LIST: 🤝 8 construction charities helping others

READ: 🔥 One person’s trash is another’s energy

WATCH: ✍🏼 Architecture students reimagine LeBreton Flats

VIDEO: ⚒️ Why you should never break down your bid for a customer


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Here’s to a great rest of the week!