The Collider brings a collision of ideas to help businesses navigate climate change

The Collider will be located this fall on the fourth floor of the Wells Fargo building at 1 Haywood St. Photo by Pat Barcas

For a business to succeed long term, it has to tackle challenges from a number of factors — supply and demand, market trends, technology and workforce changes, just to name a few. But here’s one you maybe didn’t think of: climate change.

The Collider, a new business venture opening in Asheville, will calculate climate change data and present trend predictions as an asset for businesses. The group will mine the massive data stores at the National Climatic Data Center, located right across the street from The Collider office on the fourth floor of the Wells Fargo building downtown. Located in Asheville since 1993, the NCDC is billed as the world’s largest active archive of weather data with 150 years of climate information available.

Renovation is underway at the Collider. The space was purchased in 2012 by real estate investor Claire Callen. The building is planned to be renamed the Callen Center.
Renovation is underway at the Collider. The space was purchased in 2012 by real estate investor Claire Callen. The building is planned to be renamed the Callen Center.

 

The data collected by NCDC, though a huge resource, remains largely untapped by businesses planning for what future climate patterns may bring. Will a particular region be mired in drought in a decade or face punishing rainstorms? Will it be snowier than normal or experience a warming trend? The projects and businesses that can benefit from long-term climate data are limitless, from construction of a new building to farming, shipping routes, landscape design, water systems, health care and disaster management.

Robin Cape, project accelerator at The Collider, says the consultant nonprofit group is not in it for the politics of climate change. The goal is to observe facts and create an indispensable business model.

Robin Cape holds the cool job title of project accelerator.
Robin Cape holds the cool job title of project accelerator.

“It’s a frank discussion,” Cape says. “When people see climate change discussed in a noncharged environment, they realize it can impact assets. The first step is asking, ‘What does climate change have to do with me?’ Then ask, ‘What are your exact needs?’”

Even small climate factors can radiate out and greatly impact how a building is constructed, the budget of an area’s firefighting unit or how irrigation and water systems are built. The Collider is all about helping businesses become more efficient at predicting and adapting to future climates — and potentially saving millions of dollars.

The space is appropriate, with a good view of weather, business, and the NCDC.
The space is appropriate, with a good view of weather, business, and the NCDC.

The venture, a private-public partnership, plans to open this fall and will house an 11,000-square-foot workspace that has room for 100 employees. The group also plans to hold educational outreach sessions for students and citizens.

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About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at pbarcas@gmail.com. Follow me @pbarcas

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4 thoughts on “The Collider brings a collision of ideas to help businesses navigate climate change

  1. James

    I think climate change is God’s personal blessing to us here in Western North Carolina (after all, He is responsible for climate change, not us). Right now, the climate has changed from the harshness of winter to a glorious spring. Daffodils are popping up out of the ground, the temperatures are great and soon we’ll see flowers coming forth on the trees. We’ll enjoy this for a few months and then the climate will change into summer. It will then be warm enough to lay out in the sun or take a weekend or longer to the beach. Summer is also a great time for seniors with arthritis. But, summer also has it’s downsides and many of us don’t like the extended heat nor the mosquitoes. Not to fret though because the climate will change again in September to the prettiest season of all in these mountains – autumn! Thanks to this stage of climate change, we have beautiful colors painting our mountains that bring in lots of tourist dollars to help our economy. I love autumn but I also like winter – the mosquitoes are all dead and like the autumn leaves, the mountains look beautiful coated in snow. And so God’s natural climate change will bring us a few months of winter and just when we’re really tired of it, He’ll change the climate again back into Spring.

    • Jack

      I don’t think you understand how the climate works, James. Or what it is.

      • James

        Au contraire. I understand exactly what climate change is and how it works. Climate change is an act of God, period. God determines the seasons and when they change. Sometimes, the summers are extra hot and sometimes there are droughts. Other times, the winters are extremely cold with lots of snow and ice. In the secular world of Asheville culture, climate change is the new phrase for what used to be “global warming.” So-called “global warming” turned out to be a total lie from crazy Al Bore when the winters after his stupid movie became extremely cold with record snowfalls. Rather than admit a mistake/lie, Al Bore and his spin crew changed the terminology to “climate change”. In this ridiculous spin which too many people are too brainwashed to see through, so-called man-made global warming is now responsible for these ultra-cold winters and thus “climate change” is the new term du jour. The whole thing is ridiculous and those who propagate this nonsense should be embarrassed. If you look back over the course of history, there have been seasons of extreme weather patterns. In the 1930s, we had warm winters and dust bowls. Fast forward to the 1970s and it was sub-zero winters and record snowfalls. Several years ago in Asheville, there was very little snow and it didn’t get very cold. This winter there was a week when it didn’t get out of the teens and ice was seen floating in the French Broad River. This whole “climate change/global warming” nonsense is well, nonsense.

        • N

          You’re confusing climate with weather. They are not the same thing.

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