iCAST helps communities use their local resources for their own benefit. iCAST projects foster economic viability, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility – and a new vision for the future of the communities it serves.
iCAST partners with government, NGOs, universities, businesses, and other organizations to assist in the community development process. iCAST focuses on developing sustainable solutions to the infrastructure and economic development needs of underserved communities. iCAST projects are designed to encourage self-sufficiency and social justice based on the development, application, and commercialization of appropriate and sustainable technologies.
iCAST offers a unique service learning model for university students to receive credit for working on these real-world projects. Through participation in service learning projects, students enhance technical and business skills while learning valuable lessons in teamwork, communications and ethics that helps create a more valuable workforce for the future.
Summary of Services
ICAST primarily works in the energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE), sustainable agriculture, and resource utilization arenas where its business accelerators focus on:
(a) Building local capacity through education and training of students and entrepreneurs. For example, in Tunisia, ICAST has partnered with local vocational colleges – ISETs (Institutes Superieurs des Etudes Technologiques) in Sidi Bouzid, Tataouine, and Médenine – to train faculty, students, and local entrepreneurs on EERE technologies in the agriculture, small commercial, and industrial sectors. ICAST encourages self-sufficiency by building local capacity to meet local community needs.
(b) Providing technical assistance (TA) to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Typical iCAST technical assistance helps with identification of challenges to growth; development of formalized plans to address those challenges; identification, selection, and securing of financing options and necessary talent for plan implementation; and tracking of results. For example, in Tunisia, our business accelerators are providing appropriate technology solutions to local farmers for improving their water quality through desalination, reducing water consumption through drip-irrigation, and saving on energy costs through high-efficiency pumps and solar PV. ICAST utilizes the relationships from its capacity building program to develop a database of local technical and business experts and financing sources that allow it to scale its technical assistance operations within a region.
(c) Implementing Projects. Building local capacity and providing technical assistance yields naught if it does not help scale businesses and create new jobs, so ICAST collaborates with entrepreneurs to launch and grow project opportunities that have the potential to scale. For example, in 2008, ICAST spun off a solar PV developer (Main Street Power Company) that has installed over $150M of PV globally in its first three years of operation. And in 2010 ICAST launched an energy service program (www.ResourceSmart.org) that provides turn-key energy efficiency retrofits to small commercial, agricultural, and multi-family facilities. ICAST is currently in the process of scaling the “ResourceSmart” program globally.
Through this three-step approach, ICAST has successfully delivered global technical and financial assistance, built local capacity, and created jobs for nearly ten years. ICAST has achieved meaningful results through successful program implementations that have contributed to the creation of sustainable communities that thrive as a result of new revenues and cost savings, increased job opportunities, better environment, and improved health. iCAST activities have resulted in over $200M of economic activity, reduced Carbon emissions by thousands of tons and created over 500 new jobs.
iCAST (International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado. iCAST started as an initiative at the Engineering School at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2002, iCAST registered as an independent organization and later moved to the Colorado School of Mines campus. iCAST moved to its Lakewood offices in 2007.
From its inception in 2002, iCAST has worked to provide a triple bottom line impact, bringing about sustainable solutions for underserved communities. Using its service learning model as the keystone for all projects, students and others entering an innovative workforce were responsible for the execution of projects conceptualized, monitored and evaluated by iCAST staff engineers, professors, and executive leaders. iCAST focuses on assisting rural communities and low income families by providing assessment of resources, technology development and implementation, and identifying sustainable solutions.
Since 2002, iCAST has sprouted several programs, including social venture development, which has allowed several start ups to bring technologies and innovative business practices to the market. For several years, the organization focused on technology development, sustainable business solutions, and projects focused on innovative energy related programs.