Novion: preparing our cities for a green future

Wednesday May 24, 2023

Climate change is expected to put a tremendous strain on our infrastructure due in part to a rise in flooding from increasingly intense and more frequent storms. We urgently need to focus on adaptation; preparing our cities and growing the resiliency of our infrastructure to prevent climate-related damage from severe weather events. 

Although still a relatively new solution, green infrastructure opportunities — like rain gardens and green roofs, filtration ponds, and permeable pavements — are becoming a more and more popular option for cities around the world to increase climate resilience, reduce flooding, and lessen the strain put on traditional infrastructure.

However, one of the major barriers cities face when looking to adopt green infrastructure, in addition to a lengthy procurement process and lack of resources to source market-ready solutions, is a lack of measured performance data. Thankfully, Novion is looking to change the game, helping cities manage their green infrastructure assets through utilizing data, sensor technologies, and business intelligence.

“What we’ve been able to do with the cities is monitor several of their green infrastructure sites and provide them with real-time performance insights that will be useful for design, operations, capital planning, and more,” said Novion CEO Refayet Siam.

Novion’s Climate Intelligence Platform helps cities and organizations manage and monitor their green infrastructure, and make informed decisions around optimization, maintenance, capital planning, and policy making. By giving municipalities the option to have an easy, all-in-one management tool, Novion is accelerating the adoption of green infrastructure by giving municipalities access to the data they need to measure its impact.

Indoor waterfall surrounded by greenery
The HSBC Rain Vortex is a notable example of green infrastructure in Singapore.

Commercial demonstrations, or ‘pilot’ projects, remain one of the biggest challenges facing cleantech ventures entering the market. Novion was able to successfully overcome this through the Foresight-supported and  Vancouver Economic Commission-led Project Green Light challenge platform. Novion secured an initial partnership with the City of Vancouver, and has since worked with the City of New Westminster as well.

“These pilots are the first steps in understanding and establishing the best practices within this industry that we hope will be beneficial to other cities as well,” Siam said.

A member of Foresight’s Earth Tech 2023 Cohort, Siam and his team are working hard to turn Novion into the go-to place for municipalities to find green infrastructure management tools.

“The climate crisis is real and we’re already seeing flood warnings and other adverse weather events across the globe. We’re one of the first to help cities manage their green infrastructure. Our goal is to become the company that will help the most cities with flooding,” said Siam.

As Novion continues to develop, Siam and his team are finding more and more positive benefits of green infrastructure. Not only does it have positive effects on the climate, but it creates skilled jobs for the people who will need to construct and maintain these assets. The implementation of green infrastructure also improves property values, while offering savings for municipalities which can divert funds from upgrading the capacity of stormwater drains. 

For cities looking to save money, increase climate resilience, and provide functional green spaces for residents, Novion’s solution just may be the perfect fit. 

Earth Tech is a six-month accelerator delivered in partnership between SI Canada and Foresight Canada that supports the commercialization of companies led by committed teams driven by environmental impact. The program supports early-stage companies to validate their solutions and business models, advance their technologies, raise funding, and create meaningful impact. 

Earth Tech is made possible with the generous support of the RBC Foundation, Peter Gilgan Foundation, and Bullfrog Power. 

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