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What Does Rising Inflation mean for Stock Investors?

Jan 16 2024 Published by admin under Uncategorized

With inflation on the rise in recent months, stock market investors have used the wisdom of the street to find hedges or protections in commodities, REITs, or real estate mutual funds, as well as stocks and mutual funds. But while those asset classes hedge against energy inflation, they do not hedge against underlying inflation, according to a new expert research report from Wharton and the University of Hong Kong titled “Getting to the Core: Inflation Risks Within and Between. asset classes. ”

“The main conclusion of our research is that what is known as core inflation needs to be analyzed separately, excluding food and energy,” said Wharton finance professor Nikolai Roussanov, who co-authored the paper with Xiang Fang and Yang Liu. assistant professors of finance at the University of Hong Kong. “Much of the discussion in the popular press about different asset classes as they relate to inflation tends to overlook this distinction.”

Core inflation tracks the prices of goods and services, including housing, household items and activities, clothing, transportation, healthcare, and recreation. Core inflation indices, along with food and energy inflation, make up the consumer price index or headline inflation. The consumer price index for urban consumers increased 5.4% (before seasonal adjustments) in June 2021, representing the largest 12-month increase in 13 years, according to the latest Labor Department report. Within that, core inflation increased 4.5%, the largest increase in 12 months since November 1991, and energy inflation increased 24.5%; the food index rose 2.4%.

“[The conventional wisdom that] commodity futures, for example, are a good defense against inflation because commodity prices will go up is not necessarily true,” Roussanov said. Commodity futures hedge against energy inflation, “but energy is not always the main component of inflation,” he added. “It so happened that for the last 20 years inflation has been generally moderate and energy, the most volatile part, really jumped. Many inflationary movements have been overshadowed by high energy prices, especially oil, which is the most powerful. ”

“Many inflationary movements have been overshadowed by high energy prices, and oil in particular is the most powerful.” – Nikolai Roussanov

Key Results

“We argue that looking at inflation into core and non-core components (with a particular focus on energy) is important because it sheds new light on the nature of inflation risks,” the article authors said. “First, core and energy inflation have very different statistical and economic properties. Second, the inflation hedging properties of conventional “real assets”, such as stocks, currencies, and commodity futures, are largely limited to energy inflation, while offering little protection against energy inflation. risk of underlying inflation. Third, core inflation carries a significantly negative price of risk, while the price of risk associated with energy inflation is in most cases indistinguishable from zero ”.

In their study, the authors examined returns in seven major asset classes between 1963 and 2019: US stocks, Treasury bills / bonds, agency bonds, corporate bonds, currencies, commodity futures, and REITs. Between 1963 (for stocks and treasury) and 1983 (for energy), the data had different assumptions.

These Were His Main Findings:

The conventional wisdom that stocks, currencies, and commodity futures are real assets is incomplete: they only hedge against energy inflation. A long position in none of these seven asset classes can hedge against underlying inflation.

The cost of hedging against inflation, or the price of these inflationary risks, of aggregate and energy inflation is indistinguishable from zero. However, underlying inflation carries a significant negative price risk. In other words, insuring your portfolio against underlying inflation is potentially costly due to loss of profitability.

Among commodities, precious metals, especially gold, are the most widely accepted assets for preserving value. Gold and platinum have positive core inflation betas (volatility and therefore risk) that are statistically indistinguishable from zero, and are highly hedged against energy inflation. These precious metal futures have relatively low returns and high volatility, so their ability to hedge against underlying inflation risk is far from assured.
New paradigms

The dynamics of inflation have also changed in the wake of the pandemic. “After Covid, underlying inflation or commodity prices have risen in much of the economy, not just in energy costs,” Roussanov said. Higher commodity prices are also driving up costs in other parts of the economy, he added. “Those two components of inflation, core inflation and energy inflation, often don’t mix. But if they do so and they both stand up, they will somehow reinforce each other. ”

Aside from commodities, most other asset classes do not offer “good protection” against core inflation, he added. Markets in general are reviewing assumptions about assets that have so far been considered decent hedges against inflation: cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, gold and other precious metals, and inflation-protected securities of Treasury bills, or TIPS, whose values are adjusted to the changes. in the consumer price index. Bitcoin prices, for example, have fallen steadily since their peak in March 2021.

“Now we can see that both stocks and bonds are moving in the same direction, which of course increases the risk to an investor’s portfolio.” – Nikolai Roussanov

The relationship between stocks and bonds will also change, according to Roussanov. “Over the past 20 years, [a mix of stocks and bonds] has proven to be a very strong portfolio, as stocks outperform in good times and bonds are more or less safe,” he said. And in bad times, the Fed lowers interest rates so bond yields fall, which is good for bond prices. So while stocks are falling, say in the Great Recession or even March 2020 with Covid, government bond prices actually spiked due to the Fed’s austerity measures, which compensated investors to some degree. point with this type of wallet. ”

“We may see a breakdown in this negative relationship between bonds and stocks,” Roussanov continued. “If we have an increase in inflation, it will be bad for stocks and bad for bonds at the same time.” That new comparison took place around February 2021, “when there were growing concerns about inflation, with bond yields rising and stock prices also starting to skyrocket,” he noted. “This is the paradigm that we may have to get used to. Now we can see that both stocks and bonds are moving in the same direction, which of course increases the risk to an investor’s portfolio. ”

Investor Options

So what are the reliable options for inflation hedging in the current scenario for investors? “Stay seated. There will be very little in that basket from what we have been able to find so far,” Roussanov said. “Some of the precious metals like gold and platinum seem to have some inflation hedging potential. But they are not very reliable. or very strong in the sense that they are quite volatile. ” He noted that while some market watchers see bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as an option, he and his co-authors refrain from recommending them because their relative flourishing does not provide enough historical data to draw conclusions; he also noted its recent flourishing. price volatility as negative.

However, TIPS is always an option for investors, according to Roussanov, “TIPS provides a reliable [option] for those looking to protect their portfolios against inflation; TIPS are the safe harbor. They are not particularly attractive, they have negative returns precisely because inflation expectations have risen. ”

“If [the current trend] in inflation is transitory and fairly mild, a well-balanced portfolio of some inflation-protected stocks and bonds should do quite well in the short to medium term.” – Nikolai Roussanov

Demand for TIPS has exploded and they generated a record $ 36.3 billion in new investment in the first half of 2021, according to another Wall Street Journal report, citing data from Morningstar. Adjusted for inflation, TIPS rates have remained below 1% for most of the last decade and have turned negative in recent years, with the offset being inflation protection for capital.

Of course, persistently high inflation isn’t necessarily set in stone, and much depends on how the Fed reacts to recent spikes. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in House testimony last week that recent inflation was uncomfortably above the level the central bank is targeting, the Wall Street Journal reported. In June, Powell had noted that he expected inflationary pressures to be transitory, as many goods and services experienced a one-time price increase after the economy reopened, such as air travel and hotel rates, or new and used cars.

“We will have to wait and see if the Fed’s view is correct that this increase in inflation is really transitory, and we will get back to where we were a few years ago,” Roussanov said. “It is certainly not a foregone conclusion that we will see a sustained rise in inflation. I wouldn’t expect anything like what people are worried about: the nightmare scenario of high inflation of the 1970s. I don’t see the conditions for that. ”

Those prospects offer investors hope. “If [the current trend] in inflation is transitory and fairly mild, a balanced portfolio with a balanced mix of inflation-protected stocks and bonds should do quite well in the short to medium term,” Roussanov said. .

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What is earned media and is it better than advertising?

Jan 16 2024 Published by admin under Uncategorized

This is also referred to as “organic” media. Earned media might include mentions in web articles, television interviews, and user-generated videos, for example. PR companies in Sri Lanka, Influencer marketing in Sri Lanka, digital marketing, and events are frequently used by brands to develop earned media strategy.

Earned media, as opposed to owned media, is promotion and coverage provided by third-party organizations or publications. Some brands will pitch news about a campaign they’re running to publications in the hopes of gaining earned media in the form of a news piece. Another approach for brands to get earned exposure is through awards.

Earned media coverage, gaining authority, and brand awareness from storied coverage in new channels can all help a developing brand. Some brands have full public relations teams dedicated to cultivating connections with the press in order to gain earned media coverage, while others have entire public relations teams dedicated to cultivating relationships with the press in order to gain earned media coverage.

If owned media sites are the destination, earned media is the mode of transportation that gets people there. What good is a website or social media platform if no one visits it or engages with it? Earned media has a role in this. Earned media is simply online word of mouth, and it takes the shape of ‘viral’ trends, mentions, shares, reposts, reviews, recommendations, and content picked up by third-party sites. A combination of excellent organic search engine rankings and content supplied by the brand is usually one of the most powerful driving forces of earned media.

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The Formal Dresses Market in Australia

Jan 16 2024 Published by admin under Uncategorized

When you think of dressing up as a competition, Australians are strong contenders for first position. Celebrating life is in the DNA of the laidback and fun people, and wearing beautiful dresses for the formal events of their lives is a common thing done. Formal frocks like wedding guest dresses, bridesmaid dresses, mother of the bride dresses and other dressy wear are flying off the shelves with each festive, wedding and party season. However, there presents a problem; there’s a dearth of options for women in Australia looking to dress up well. Retailers are focusing their efforts on casual and work clothing, rather than on the formal wear department. In this article we explore the problems of the formal dresses market in Australia, the rising force of change and the future of this niche but highly profitable market.

Despite Australian’s tendency to spend during party season, retailers are slow to rise to the demand. One reason is that retailers are mostly sluggish in responding to market forces as there is a lack of competition in the protected industry. Australia’s fashion industry is largely closed up with most stores locally owned. International brands face heavy taxes and difficulty in setting up business with an unsupportive framework to introduce them into the country. Complacency in existing local brands are instead, supported. Australian women end up with limited choices, outdated formal wear designs, and high prices.

In a world where department stores are giving way to online competition, Australia is facing the opposite; department stores are still the go-to for all clothing types here. One big reason for this is the unfamiliarity and mistrust of the local people with online shopping. Australian women are used to being able to feel and touch the clothing they are going to buy, rather than seeing it through images online. They are worried about clothing fit and have heard many a news article on the discrepancy between image and actual clothing purchased online. The media is largely unsupportive to online formal dresses stores and have created an image of bad quality and unaccurate advertising on clothing offered online. To counteract this trend, independent media should come up with countrasting information and to increase their reliability, offer videos of the clothing try ons to show that clothing bought online can also be satisfactory.

Newcomers like Scarlette Label and Formal Dresses AU have come on the scene to address this lack of stylish formal dresses. One look at these websites and it can be safely said that their options are much cheaper and looks much better than options in retail stores. These online stores are also trying to win customers used to shopping in stores their way. Some of these fashion labels offer free returns to reduce the worry of customers in being unable to fit their purchase. Also, they usually offer free shipping, reducing the cost of online shopping. They also usually offer first time order discounts in hopes of encouraging first time purchasers to try them out and to win them over. Statistics show that slowly, more women are shopping online for formal dresses, but the growth is still admittedly small.

One group of girls that have to constantly face this issue is year 10 students preparing for prom. Outdated designs don’t work for the new millenial generation. In a recent interview with students on the street, I’ve gathered that only 1 in 10 students are happy with the offerings available in stores. On asking them what their solutions are, most had no answers but increasingly, some are choosing to tailor make their clothing. The cost is high but at least they will be able to make something they like. One girl interviewed informed that she is thinking of making her own prom dress to her school event, as do her friends.

Women in Australia looking to dress up for cocktail events also have a hard time. Colleagues of mine and I myself find a dearth in options in retail stores. I recently tried my luck online and thankfully found myself a gorgeous option that fit well and was made of great quality. Friends were influenced by me to look for their cocktail dresses online and we managed to dress up for the company cocktail function well. I asked other women at the function to rate how difficult it was for them to dress up for the event and most of them gave me an answer of seven to ten over ten.

It is an uphill task for women in Australia looking for formal wear, but there is hope on the horizon with new entrants into the market. Australian women just have to learn to be open to the options and embrace them with positivity. Hopefully Australian fashion retailers will improve their market understanding and improve their formal dresses offering, for many a woman down are ready to spend on their next formal dress.

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Famous Hairstyles – Past and Present

Jul 02 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

There have always been those hairstyles that have become popular trends throughout every era in history. Most styles of today, in one way or another came from those famous looks of the past. Things change so much during the years and especially in any type of fashion. A number of fashionable trends start with the hottest celebrities at the moment since so many people look at them for the all important fashion do’s and don’ts.

This a list of 7 famous hairstyles of the past and present.

1. Bob / Finger Wave

The most popular and well-known style of the 1920′s was the Bob / Finger Wave. Such actresses as Zelda Fitzgerald and Colleen Moore introduced this style. This was also called “The Flapper”. To achieve this popular style the hair would be cropped from the chin to the ear and molded into waves.

2. Long Loose Curls

Soft curls falling or long, wavy natural looks were popular in the 1940′s. The curls from this time were quite loose, though they could be put up quite glamorously. Actresses such as, Veronica Lake and Lauren Bacall made this long, loose, and curly look most popular in this era.

3. The Bouffant / Beehive

The 1960′s Bouffant hairstyle was hugely popular. One reason being who wore this latest style. Jackie Kennedy, the first lady really defined this hairstyle. It wasn’t long and women all over the world were wearing this style. Later younger girls came up with a new version of the Bouffant, which was named the Beehive. Girls achieved this style by teasing their hair up with plenty of hairspray in a shape that mimicked a beehive.

4. Feathered Flip

We all remember the 1970′s and the Farah Fawcett hairstyle. Countless women just had to have this hairstyle. With this look, the hair would be parted and teased back, but still soft and flowing.

5. Perm

Perms had first been seen before the 1980s, but had not become well known until then. Women and men both were putting perms in their hair. This was done by a chemical process that adds curl to straight hair. One actress who wore this style beautifully in the 80′s was Julia Roberts.

6. The Rachel

Who can forget “The Rachel” style of the 1990′s? A certain character (Rachel) from the hit television series “Friends” started this hairstyle trend. This style spread like wildfire and women everywhere wanted it. This haircut is a layered, bouncy style with plenty of volume.

7. Layered Bob

There have been many haircuts that were really cute, but not many could be styled and worn in different ways. The Layered Bob is definitely a style that is versatile and easy to maintain. This cut works well on all facial shapes and hair textures, and also looks great straight as well as curly.

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Easy Christmas Presents With Scrapbook Materials

Jul 02 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

It may only be fall, but if you’re planning to make your own Christmas presents, now is the time to start! But don’t rush out to the craft store to load up on supplies; if you’ve got basic scrapbook supplies in your stash, you can create some gorgeous handmade gifts for your friends and family. Here are just a few of the quick Christmas gifts you can whip up with supplies you already have on hand:

1. Grandparents’ Mini-Album. Pull a handful of photos of your child and his or her grandparents, and put them together in a simple mini-album. Decorate chipboard covers, trim cardstock to fit, embellish, and punch holes. Add binder rings, and you’re done.

2. Decorated Frame. Choose a favorite photo, trim a spare piece of chipboard slightly larger than the photo, cut out an opening for your photo, and embellish the frame. You can paint it or cover it with patterned paper, add buttons and ribbons, and more. Let your imagination go wild!

3. Greeting Card Set. Take all your odds and ends of scrapbook supplies and create a set of 6 greeting cards. Remember to include a variety of occasions — birthday, thanks, thinking of you — and tie them up with a sassy ribbon. Done!

4. Fill-In Album. For a non-scrapper, one of the best presents you could give them is a blank scrapbook album. Create an album that’s ready for their photos (keep it standard size as the idea of “cropping photos” may be too advanced for them!). Embellish the pages and hand it over with instructions to add their own snapshots. (P.S. you might just convince them to give scrapbooking a try).

5. Banners. Banners and pennants are all the rage in the scrapbooking world! Decide on a sentiment or word to spell (“Merry Christmas,” “Joy,” or even the family’s name), cut out the appropriate number of flags for the banner, and decorate. You can spell the word with letter stickers or stamps, die-cut alphas, or hand-cut letters. Then embellish, string together with ribbon, and package it up nicely.

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Why We Love Video Presentations

Jul 02 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

People are likely to respond favorably to video-advertisements than printed ones. Platforms that can help you distribute your video-advertisement to potential consumers through the internet are more accessible these days. Web 2.0 enables consumers and producers interact effectively with each other on the net. Video advertisements are positive reinforcements to this.

If a photo is worth a thousand words, then imagine what a video is worth. The multimedia generation has emerged and images that move convey a message effectively than printed ones. People are more likely to respond to video-advertisements that present a quality product than read about it in print.

Videos leave a lasting impression. People are respond favorably to products that have video-advertisements and companies that put budget to create such. A company putting effort, attention and money to produce video-advertisements convey the message that they are a strong company. Tools are readily available to create videos nowadays.

Gone are the days when more effort is put to come up with one video-advertisement. Advances in technology have enabled even ordinary people to create a video advertisement easily.

Have you noticed how people are likely to watch a video presentation that highlights a company’s history than listen to a monologue about it?

Along with a business card, more businesses are likely to hand out CDs containing a video promoting their products. Adding your contact information in a video convey a sense of personality to your business.

Slogans and jingles can captivate the mind of potential consumers. Key phrases help identify your business and increase awareness about your product. Imagine how the phrase “Just Do It” raked millions of dollars for a particular sports brand.

Take advantage of what technology has provided you these days to increase your market share. Video advertising is a powerful tool to get the message across.

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A Helping Hand With Mothers’ Birthday Presents

Jul 02 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Children’s gifts are often loved by their moms. Presents are not the ultimate gift to most mothers. A child’s thoughtfulness is often the better gift. Mothers love the idea that their children remembered her birthday and thought it would be great to get her something special. Making your mom feeling extra special should be your focus and not relying on acknowledgment as an acceptable gift.

Making birthday cards is always seen as extra special. Homemade presents can take her back to the days when you went to school and brought cards home that you had fabricated at school. Never forget to mention “Happy Birthday” to her as well. If she sheds a tear, you will know you have done well.

You can’t go wrong with fresh flowers on her birthday. You should double check to ensure that she won’t have any allergic reactions to the gifted flowers. She will definitely feel special with these. Your mother is still a girl inside her no matter how old she is, and girls just love to receive flowers.

Taking away her cooking chores for the day may excite her. Don’t worry about preparing complicated dishes that require a team of souse chefs. You don’t even have to prepare whole meal as you could just prepare a special dessert. It is best to have her closest family and a few friends to celebrate this special with.

Getting your mother exactly what she wants is also another great option. Try to get something she has had her eye on, such as a new hand bag. Buying her something that she wouldn’t buy herself is not a smart idea. Spoil your mother because she deserves it for all of her hard work.

What about getting her passes to a local spa treatment center? Being pampered is something she has probably dreamed about for a long time. How about a massage or a fancy hair cut or trim? Your goal is to get her to relax from everyday tasks. Some gift certificates are a great idea for a mother who is busy and has a hard time sticking to a schedule.

The effort you put in to her gift will be noticed. Think about a few things that will excite her on her special day. Look in to your heat and feel out what she would like, you can’t go wrong with that.

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Travel For Free – Just Watch a 90-Minute Presentation

Jul 02 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could go on vacations for free?

Or maybe you could go to rich places and get the best treatment, food, and drinks!

You don’t need to think that this is a fantasy. It is completely possible. All the time, everywhere around the planet people are going on vacations for free. These vacations are provided for by advertising companies that want to sell you a timeshare or other products in exchange for your time.

These free trips can be yours only for attending 90-minute presentations once you arrive. Once you get to the resort you will attend these presentations in order to have free access to the hotel and free plane tickets. In exchange for all of this you will have to listen to a few hours of marketers trying to sell you all kinds of stuff, but you don’t have to buy anything.

They use this opportunity to sell you all kinds of things, and usually it works. They can usually know what you want by analyzing your salary, where you live, and your age. It’s actually quite easy to make these kinds of judgements for marketers.

There are hundreds of thousands of people who have done this already, and the funny thing is that they are looking for you to take their free vacations.

You can stay at 5-star hotels for free and eat amazing food while looking at amazing views.

Cancun, Mexico is a popular place for marketing companies to do this because it is cheap for them to rent the hotel rooms. When I say cheap, I mean $200 per night. A lot of the times the whole trip is all-inclusive. Cancun is probably the best place to go because it is so beautiful.

You can probably guess that since Cancun is so cheap for them that they really want to send you there. The way that they make money is that after sending you there if they sell you a timeshare it can be worth thousands of dollars to them in future fees. Plus you might actually want one.

Of course first you have to qualify to have the free vacation.

In order to get a free vacation you have to have a job. You have to also have a salary over $10,000 per year. Plus, you must live in Canada or the United States.

If you don’t qualify then you can be sure that they have other opportunities that they will suggest to you. Plus they will let you bring your whole family on the trip with you.

Bringing your whole family will be great as you won’t have to pay for their plane tickets either.

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How to Present With Confidence & Credibility

Jun 14 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

The Eyes Have It: Confidence, Credibility, Connection

Recently, when conducting training for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Leadership Development Program (LDP), we helped prepare participants for their “final” – a 45-minute briefing to the Brigadier General and his senor leadership team.

Upon being introduced to the 23 participants, I was impressed right from the start. Each and every one greeted me with a strong handshake while looking me straight in the eye. Holding my gaze for just those few moments communicated confidence, credibility and connection.

I know these are big words for such a simple gesture, and yet direct eye contact conveys that, and more. It says, “I am important – and so are you.”

This resonated with me for two reasons. First, coming from a military family, the participants demeanor made me feel immediately welcome. Second, it is this sense of engagement that every presenter wants to build among his or her audience.

As a presenter, using your eyes to engage your audience is critical to creating a sense of confidence, establishing credibility, and building rapport.

Make your next presentation an eye-opening experience
So, how can you use eye contact to elevate the effectiveness of your next presentation?

As a start, I often suggest that speakers arrive at least 30 minutes before audience members start to assemble. This allows you to greet your listeners as they gather, following the same protocol the LDP participants extended to me. This initial greeting with direct eye contact helps build rapport, which turns into support during your presentation.

Once you’re introduced – but before you say a word – stop, look out at your audience directly, and smile. This “pause and welcome” moment (as I call it) allows your audience to get settled, helps make a strong connection, and establishes your authority.

This may feel awkward at first, but compare it to how you greet a house guest when they enter your home. It’s not that different – you’re fostering a sense of hospitality that allows people to connect with you.

Managing meaningful eye contact
During your presentation, shoot for a minimum of 90% direct, continuous and roving eye contact. “Direct” is looking your listeners right in the eye, not over their heads or at the back wall. By “continuous and roving,” I mean scan the room – looking at people seated right and left, front and center, and in the back.

That may mean turning your head, panning you body, walking around the stage, or even out into your audience (depending on circumstances). You may find it helpful to pick out several friendly faces scattered around the room – those attendees you welcomed upon arrival – and direct your eye contact at them.

When your presentation is completed, you might be tempted retreat quickly. Please don’t – you’ll be doing yourself and your listeners a disservice. End your remarks by looking out, scanning the audience, and smiling.

Like putting a period at the end of a sentence, this gesture signals completion and allows your listeners to thank you with a round of applause. It also gives you a chance to take a breath, connect with your audience one last time – and bask in their applause for a job well done.

Remember, if you want “all eyes on you,” you need to be “all eyes.” By following these best practices for strong eye contact, you’ll be much better able to communicate that valuable sense of confidence, credibility, and connection to your own audience.

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Presenting – Alex Winch & the Beaches Solar Laundromat

Jun 13 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Over the last couple of years I have had the opportunity to interview many interesting personalities: tourism experts, authors, philanthropists, and enlightened entrepreneurs. For my article series about Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood, I have specifically been looking to interview business owners who have come up with socially and environmentally innovative business ideas.

Michael Prue, the Provincial Member of Parliament for the Beaches / East York, pointed me in the direction of Alex Winch, owner of the Beach Solar Laundromat. You might think – a laundromat, how can that be an interesting business? Well, read on and you will see that this business and its owner are definitely outside the norm.

Early this cold Thursday morning I met Alex at his premises on Queen Street East and got an introduction to this unusual business. When Alex bought the laundromat in 2002 it was outdated and dingy, so Alex got to work and replaced almost half the washers and dryers with new high-efficiency machines. He also put the place through a complete cosmetic overhaul and brightened it up considerably.
But where it gets really interesting is behind the scenes, where the entire operational process of the laundromat was redesigned. Alex always wanted to turn this business into a leading-edge environmentally sustainable business. So in October of 2002 he ordered eight solar panels which were commissioned in December of 2002. Alex had planned all along to use solar energy for heating the water needed in his laundry facility.

Alex explained that the eight solar panels on his building’s roof measure about 250 square feet and were installed by a company named Solcan, located in London, Ontario. The thermal panels include a layer of black copper with a four inch copper vane that contains a three/eighth’s inch copper tube with antifreeze flowing through it. This antifreeze consists of food-grade propylene glycol and transfers the heat energy from the roof through the entire system down to a heat exchanger in the basement. Even if there was a leak in the antifreeze conduits, this would not contaminate the water supply.

The anti-freeze has a freezing point of -25 degrees Celsius at which point the glycol gels, shutting down the solar water heating system since the glycol simply stops moving inside the tubes. In this case a natural gas backup boiler system kicks in and starts heating the water.

In the interest of making his business more environmentally sustainable, Alex has also replaced the lighting system and installed new high-efficiency fluorescent tubes that are under an aluminum reflector. The reflector essentially doubles the light output of the actual fluorescent tubes. Combined with high-efficiency electronic lighting ballasts, this measure alone has resulted in lighting energy savings of 72%. Alex adds that these energy-conservation measures are important since the lights in his business are on for 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.

One of the first things that Alex explained to me was an air handler above the door which draws warm moist air in from the Laundromat, runs it through coils and dehumidifies the air. The condensation is captured and gets transferred through a pipe system into a basement drain. The condensate water is not re-used in the laundromat out of concern for lint contamination of the water.

To illustrate the operation of his company’s solar water heating system, Alex took me into the basement where he showed me an assortment of water tanks, piping and sophisticated measuring equipment that calculates the actual energy output and natural gas displacement provided by this solar water heating system.
In the basement there are two different water heating systems: the solar heating system that works with a heat exchanger and a 200 gallon warm water storage tank, and a backup natural gas heating system that uses a natural gas boiler with a separate a 100 gallon hot water storage tank. The separate 100 gallon storage tank replaces two 200 gallon storage tanks that were previously used. The new natural gas boiler can heat 100 gallons of water in seven minutes, and this new smaller and more efficient system provides “just-in-time” water heating, and only heats water when needed. The additional benefit of this system is that it stores a much smaller quantity of hot water which significantly reduces energy losses from water storage.

The building’s brick chimney was knocked down to roof-level and now serves as a conduit for the pipes holding the glycol that circulates up to the solar panels on the roof. From the panels the heated glycol then travels back down to the basement, passes through a heat exchanger and heats the hot water for the laundry facilities. A second heat exchanger heats water that circulates through the radiators and provides the space heating for the building. An air conditioning system links three different air handlers in the building The water temperature for the laundry is 120 degrees Fahrenheit (about 55 degrees Celsius) which is just enough to dissolve laundry soap, resulting in no additional heat loss.

All the heating and cooling processes are controlled by thermostats, and a sophisticated measurement system calculates how much natural gas has been saved by using solar energy. This measurement system is connected to a website on the Internet (www.bslvideo.com) which provides live energy monitoring to anybody who is curious.

The website also provides a “live laundry cam” that allows customers of the Beach Solar Laundromat to see how busy the Laundromat is. Alex has installed a low-resolution camera to improve customer service so his clients can conveniently check from home when a good time for doing laundry would be. A second high-resolution camera, whose images are not publicly available, was installed for security purposes since the laundromat is not regularly staffed. Some of the clients were originally concerned about the cameras’ intrusion on their privacy, but once Alex explained that the low resolution cameras would not provide sufficiently clear pictures to identify them (or their dirty laundry), those concerns were alleviated.

Obviously Alex has a great connection to technology, and as he was trying to explain the intricate details of his solar heating system to me – a total novice to things such as heat exchangers and volumetric flow meters – I asked him if he was an engineer. He explained that he graduated in 1985 from engineering physics at Queens University. Four years later he added the designation of chartered financial analyst to his resume and set up his own company to sell research about Canadian stocks to US hedge funds. In 1990 he started his first hedge fund which was followed in 1993 by the opening of an office at 667 Park Avenue in New York City. Based on his success, he retired in 1995, an event he refers to as “Freedom 31″.

After that point he became a major shareholder in a casino company, volunteered as head of investor relations and became the Chairman of the Board. Alex was not happy with the way things were run at that company and demanded that various changes be made. When management did not respond to his concerns he left in 2002 and launched a hostile proxy fight threat, in other words he threatened to take over the company. Alex had talked to all the shareholders, and they were prepared to vote for change. Alex demanded that the President resign or he was going to “kick him out”.

Management initially ignored the threat, and three days later all of the management and the Board of Directors resigned and named him as the contact for the company. Alex explained that in a public company you cannot do that, officers cannot simply walk away from their responsibility. His lawyers advised him not to do anything. A few days later another discussion ensued with the management and Alex stated that he was not going to file the hostile proxy papers. Instead he wanted management to make the changes he had requested, otherwise he would sue them for willful damages.

The casino company’s management responded by issuing a statement rescinding their resignation and implementing the changes that Alex had demanded. Over the last few years the stock value has multiplied seven times, the company is profitable and Alex Winch is one of the largest shareholders.

At that time Alex was generally disenchanted with public capital markets, and decided to create his own small business. Living just five minutes away, he immediately looked at the laundromat when it became available for sale and concluded that it might be an opportunity for an interesting engineering project. And that’s how the story started.

Alex’ interesting business model for the laundromat also includes a wash and fold service that is offered by two local ladies from Monday to Friday between 1 and 7 pm. The “fluff and fold” service affords customers the convenience of simply dropping off their laundry and picking it up completely done later. Alex does not charge the two ladies for running their business out of his laundromat, but his business benefits from greater capacity utilization and load-shifting from the busy evening and weekend hours to less busy daytime hours, creating a win-win situation for his business, the wash and fold service providers and the customers. Alex Winch always strives to find solutions that will provide the greatest possible benefit to everyone concerned.

But Alex’s knowledge of renewable energy generation and innovative business models did not stop with the Beach Solar Laundromat: Alex combined his unique process of on-site energy generation and monitoring and turned it into a successful international commercial venture. Alex founded Mondial Energy, a company with global capabilities to install solar water heating equipment, complete with the requisite monitoring systems, that generates solar thermal energy at the customer’s site and charges for the solar heat energy generated, regardless of where they might be located.

The advantage to the customer is that they do not have to invest in the expensive up-front capital costs to get their solar water heating systems up and running. Instead, Mondial owns and operates the hardware to generate the energy, and it assumes the maintenance responsibility for the equipment. Customers are then billed at a fixed monthly rate, based on how much energy the equipment generates.
For customers the ability to lock in energy costs is an important factor in an environment of fluctuating and increasing energy prices. In addition, the price of the solar energy delivered is lower than the cost of a comparable amount of natural gas, making this an increasingly attractive alternative to conventional natural gas water heating. Last, but not least, energy production is completely green, free of greenhouse gases.

Today, Alex is involved in several large-scale sustainable energy retrofitting projects in Toronto: In November 2006, Mondial Energy commissioned a renewable thermal energy system for the domestic water needs at a 172 suite senior’s residence, operated by a local non-profit organization called Neighbourhood Link Homes. Mondial installed 60 flat plate solar panels which are expected to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 40.3 tonnes and will bill Neighbourhood Link monthly at affordable rates.

Solar energy generated by Mondial Energy will also provide water heating at Wood Green Community Housing Inc., a 170 unit social housing site on Queen Street East in Toronto. 108 solar panels will displace an estimated 32,000 cubic meters of gas, resulting in 53 tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions per year.

Alex explains that at the present time his system is most well-suited for commercial or multi-unit residential buildings. The economics for single-family private homes do not yet work so well, particularly since Canada offers very few incentives to switch away from conventional energy sources. As a result he focuses on medium to large size projects. Several substantial commercial projects are currently being negotiated, including a major hotel in Atlanta and a casino hotel in Reno. Mondial Energy is also bidding on a large-scale solar water heating project in Hawaii. Contacts throughout the United States have been very receptive to his unique way of on-site thermal energy generation. In a way, Alex explains, he has come full circle: he went from being involved with big corporations to becoming a small entrepreneur and is now back to dealing with big business.

For his innovative sustainable energy efforts Alex has received numerous awards, including the Bremen Partnership Award (the “Bremer Umweltpreis” – The Bremen Environmental Award) for providing high customer value, wide use in the community, sustainable use of water and solar energy and for providing additional value in terms of “social dimensions”.

Alex himself is so highly committed to sustainable energy that his company Mondial Energy has become a partner in creating the Annual Tourism Climate Change Awards. Two awards of $10,000, sponsored by Mondial, will be handed out in November 2007:

o A World Tourism Responsible Energy Award with a global focus

o A Mission Africa Responsible Energy Award focusing on Africa

The Judging Panel for the Award will include prominent figures from global organizations such as Maurice Strong from the Rio Earth Summit, Jose Maria Figueres (past-president of Costa Rica), as well as representatives of the National Geographic Society and the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization). With this award Alex has indicated his commitment to raising the profile of finding Climate Change Solutions for the tourism sector.

Alex demonstrates his commitment to sustainable living even in the selection of some of his personal accessories: he showed me his Citizen Eco-Drive Watch, a stylish looking timepiece whose face is a photovoltaic cell that powers the watch, eliminating the need for batteries. Alex said the watch will work for 270 days without exposure to light and Citizen’s marketing slogans often refer to this timepiece as “unstoppable”.

Unstoppable is a moniker that could equally be applied to Alex Winch – Alex will not stop until his mission to do his part in reducing greenhouse emissions is accomplished.

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