The Eco-Innovation Challenge

The Eco-Innovation Challenge

Eco-innovation good practice 10

Eastgate shopping and office centre in Harare, Zimbabwe

Source: Ask Nature



Modelled on the self-cooling mounds built by termites, the

Eastgate shopping centre is ventilated, cooled and heated

entirely through natural means. The termite structures can

maintain the temperature inside the building to within one

degree of 31°C both day and night, even when external

temperatures vary between 3°C and 42°C. This passive

cooling system works by storing the heat generated by

machines and people during the day when the sun is

shining and venting it through chimneys at night when

temperatures outside drop. The Eastgate Centre thus uses

90% less energy for ventilation than a conventional building

of the same size. For more information on this building see

the biomimicry institute, Baird (2001), Gissen (2003) and

the EIO online repository of good practices.

happening in many economic sectors of emerging and developing countries, notably in the

form of so-called “frugal innovations” (see The Economist 2010a, b and Box 5.2) 16 .

A large number of good practice examples have been realized in developing and emerging

economies, in particular in the areas of construction, urban planning and transport17 . Urban

planning and sustainable transport solutions are also an area of great interest in many

developing countries which have to tackle rapid rates of urbanisation and strong population


At the product or systemic level eco-innovations have the power to contribute to social

objectives in emerging and developing economies, while significantly reducing the material

and energy use related to the provision of housing and transport services.

> Future Work Plan: Global

Future analysis will focus on emerging global opportunities for eco-innovators as well

as assessing eco-innovation activities in different countries within comparable groups

of economies (e.g. OECD, resource-exporting countries, emerging economies etc.). It

shall include performance over time and the linkages with aspects of burden shifting and

international trade. A step-up in activities of media monitoring and patent analysis to gain

more in-depth insight into what is happening and where it is happening is planned.

Annual Report 2010

16. For examples on frugal

innovations, see e.g. http://

17. For more examples

illustrating the great diversity

of eco-innovations around the

world, see Pauli (2010) and von

Weizsäcker et al. (2009).


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