For islands, Hurricane Irma is the climate change wakeup call

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Aruba’s prime minister hopes that other small islands will become living labs for rejecting fossil fuels for good.

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For islands, Hurricane Irma is the climate change wakeup call

Florida residents prohibited from using solar energy after Hurricane Irma

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Millions of Florida residents lost power after Hurricane Irma raged through the state. But homeowners with solar energy installations couldn’t use them during the outage – or they’d be breaking the law. State code requires people to connect their homes to the local electric grid – and when parts of it were damaged after the hurricane , even those homeowners with backup solar power were legally obliged to sit in the dark. Florida Power and Light (FPL), which is one of the state’s major suppliers of electricity, has lobbied against letting people power their own houses with solar panels, according to Miami New Times. On their website , FPL says, “Operating your renewable system without the bi-directional meter can result in an inaccurate meter reading causing your bill to increase.” Related: Garbage from Hurricane Irma will now help power Florida Up to 40 percent of Floridians lost power after the hurricane. Residents were angered because under FPL’s rules, if its system goes down, solar power systems must be shut down as well. According to Miami New Times, state rules say customers must install a switch so their solar systems can be disconnected from FPL’s systems. But residents can’t flip the switch to power panels during a disaster. FPL can even disconnect solar panels from the grid without warning homeowners. Under FPL’s net metering guidelines, “Renewable generator systems connected to the grid without batteries are not a standby power source during an FPL outage. The system must shut down when FPL’s grid shuts down in order to prevent dangerous back feed on FPL’s grid. This is required to protect FPL employees who may be working on the grid.” Miami New Times says people have criticized FPL for spending money on lobbying rather than on hurricane-proofing grids. The Energy and Policy Institute found a FPL lobbyist drafting anti-solar laws for Republican state representative Ray Rodrigues this April. FPL contributed $15,000 to Rodrigues’ campaign. According to the Miami New Times, the Sunshine State trails behind other states in solar adoption due to power company influence. Via International Business Times and Miami New Times Images via The National Guard on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Florida residents prohibited from using solar energy after Hurricane Irma

Google’s search for business value in circular cities

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

A new report explains how four technologies can help cities become hotbeds of the circular economy.

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Google’s search for business value in circular cities

5 challenges to scaling the circular economy

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

International import barriers and trust issues can create barriers — or opportunities — for increasing the use of recycled materials.

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5 challenges to scaling the circular economy

New forest resilience bond blazes a trail

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

A public-private partnership can address this burning problem.

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New forest resilience bond blazes a trail

UNStudio completes sustainable all-in-one urban hub in Hangzhou

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

UNStudio has completed a stunning new LEED Gold -certified project in China that we hope will be a model for mixed-use development for years to come. Described by the Dutch studio as “a sustainable urban hub for living, working, and leisure,” the enormous complex in Hangzhou is the latest Raffles City to be erected in China. Located in the city’s new central business district in Qianjiang New Town, this nearly 400,000-square-meter development is made iconic with its pair of 250-meter-tall interconnected towers—the largest single building completed by UNStudio. UNStudio designed Raffles City Hangzhou using its ongoing research into Superliving, a set of strategies to create sustainable, healthy cities with streamlined services and amenities to provide a higher quality of life. “Raffles City Hangzhou will be a point of confluence, a hub for business conduct and a new destination for visitors and residents alike; an ‘all-in-one’ destination for working, living and leisure in a highly sustainable environment,” said Ben van Berkel , the founder and principal architect at UNStudio. Located near and oriented for views of Hangzhou’s Qiantang River, the towers derive inspiration from the waterway with its organic form. A shimmering scale-like skin of aluminum tiles clad the building and are paired with an outer layer of rotated, vertical solar shading fins . Curvilinear shapes and undulating lines are echoed in the light-filled interior as well as the landscaped plaza and podium that connect the pair of sleek, sinuous towers. Related: UNStudio and Heerim unveil lush, garden-filled development for Seoul Conceived as a “lively vertical neighborhood and transit hub,” the sixty-story high-rises comprise residential units, Grade A offices, the Conrad hotel, and a rooftop helipad. The 116,000-square-meter six-story podium includes retail, restaurants, leisure facilities, parking, and access to the metro. “The building is designed with a carefully considered mix of programmes – like those found in a good city – that bring together a wide range of users,” wrote the firm. “Besides working and living at Raffles City, people can stay at the hotel, or pick up groceries, enjoy a meal, do exercise, watch a movie or even get married there, all in one interconnected environment.” + UNStudio Images © Hufton + Crow

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UNStudio completes sustainable all-in-one urban hub in Hangzhou

Why it’s time to reroute urban deliveries and logistics

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Plus, four ways cities can collaborate with the corporate sector to set the destination.

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Why it’s time to reroute urban deliveries and logistics

Here’s concrete evidence that 10 MPG is possible for North American fleets

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

With technology retrofits, it’s possible to squeeze even more fuel efficiency out of trucks already on the road.

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Here’s concrete evidence that 10 MPG is possible for North American fleets

3 ways nanomaterials can combat pollution

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Researchers are looking to tiny materials to clean up huge problems in air, water and land.

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3 ways nanomaterials can combat pollution

Gogoro revs up Smartscooter expansion with $300 million in new funding

September 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Get ready Gogoro fans—the firm’s innovative electric scooters could soon be coming to a city near you. The Smartscooter maker just nabbed $300 million in new funding with an impressive list of international backers. Four new high-profile partners joining their current investors include Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, Singapore-based Temasek, Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, and French energy giant ENGIE. A sign of growing global support in electric vehicles, this successful round of funding will go towards Gogoro’s technology development and expansion. Launched in Taiwan in 2015, Gogoro Smartscooter quickly rose to fame and was followed by expansions in Berlin and Paris in the form of electric scooter sharing programs . The major innovation lies with how the electric vehicle is powered—instead of plugging the scooter in for charging, Smartscooter owners swap out batteries at charging stations installed throughout the city. Often described as the “Tesla of electric scooters,” the innovative Smartscooter boasts over 100 million kilometers ridden by customers, including those on their new and improved Smartscooter 2. Related: Gogoro launches Smartscooter 2 with better handling, brighter headlights, and extra storage “One of the greatest challenges of our time is transitioning our cities to a smarter and more sustainable energy and transportation infrastructure,” said Horace Luke, co- founder and CEO of Gogoro. “Gogoro provides a new approach for cities to embrace sustainable energy through a smart connected infrastructure and battery swapping system that has demonstrated success across Taiwan and Berlin. New investments from leaders like Temasek and Generation combined with investments from visionary corporations like ENGIE and Sumitomo Corporation are a strong validation of Gogoro’s business and market success.” “This is a great sign that this sustainable technology of swappable batteries is something feasible that investors with high profiles around the world see as a viable solution,” added Luke in a conversation with Inhabitat. “It shows electric is here to stay and that it’s inevitable that electric will be the dominant player in the future.” The $300 million raised will be used for further development of technology and product, such as the use of big data collected from battery swapping to optimize the network and save energy. Gogoro also has plans to expand beyond its current three cities although they haven’t yet revealed which megacity they have their eye on next. + Gogoro

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Gogoro revs up Smartscooter expansion with $300 million in new funding

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