Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, Business and Science News Summarized

October 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco

The Earth911 team combs news and research for interesting ideas … The post Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, Business and Science News Summarized appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, Business and Science News Summarized

Montana Heritage Center renovation will celebrate the states history and geology

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A multimillion dollar expansion and renovation project is underway in Helena, Montana for the Montana Historical Society. Led by 80-year-old architecture firm Cushing Terrell, the Montana Heritage Center renovation project includes a 66,0000-square-foot expansion and the renovation of almost 67,000 square feet of existing space. The project will focus on the local land, with expansions appearing to emerge from the earth to reference the Lewis Overthrust, a geophysical event that helped define the state’s landscape with a collision of tectonic plates that drove one plate over another. The expansion project, to be completed in 2024, is 10 years in the making and will cost $52.7 million, nearly doubling the size of the existing 1952 Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building. Inside, the building will preserve the stories of Montana’s people as a repository for historic collections and resources. When it is completed, the center will serve as a place of learning and discovery for local residents and visitors alike. Related: LEED Platinum Stockman Bank harvests rainwater and solar power in Missoula Designers are pursuing USGBC LEED and IWBI WELL certifications in an effort to highlight sustainable architecture. Continuing to pay homage to the existing structure’s history, the design uses the space between two buildings to connect the old with the new via a dynamic entryway. “The vision for who we can be in the future really has also been built into this process, bringing together diverse voices from across our state from east and west, north and south, our tribal nations, men and women, young and old — it will be reflected right here,” said Montana Governor Steve Bullock. “Those voices will shape its architecture and landscaping the way that our mountains and our plains and those winding rivers have shaped each and every one of us. This building design also looks to the future by incorporating sustainable features that will showcase the ingenuity and the values that make Montana such a special place.” For exterior landscaping , the design includes features and plants that mimic the Montana plains, grasslands, foothills, forests and mountain landscapes on a smaller scale, with a trail linking all of the ecosystems together. Thanks to this design, visitors to the center will have an opportunity to experience and feel connected to the diverse Montana backdrop as well as those who have lived within the state’s borders for generations. + Cushing Terrell Images via Cushing Terrell

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Montana Heritage Center renovation will celebrate the states history and geology

Companies in Japan launch edible single-use bags to save Nara deer

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Local companies in Nara, Japan have developed single-use bags made from milk cartons and rice bran that are safe if ingested by the city’s iconic deer. In 2019, multiple deer accidentally swallowed trash , namely plastic bags, that were littered by tourists. Several of the deer died, including one that had consumed nearly 9 pounds of waste. This prompted concerned entities to create a safer alternative to plastic packaging that can be digested without harm to the deer. The newly developed bags have been instrumental in saving the lives of the hundreds of deer that roam Nara. The bags are safe for deer, because the milk cartons and rice bran used to make these bags contain easy-to-digest ingredients. While there has been a decline in tourists and their plastic waste during the pandemic, the single-use bags still stand as a positive change to continue into the future. Related: Climate change is killing reindeer in the Arctic Tourists in Nara can purchase treats to feed the deer, and signs are posted warning visitors to only feed the deer approved treats that do not come in plastic packaging. Still, many tourists left behind waste that was consumed by the animals . After hearing of the deer that died from ingesting plastic , Hidetoshi Matsukawa, a local businessman, reached out to other firms with the interest of creating bags and packaging that would be safe in the event that they were eaten by the deer. “We made the paper with the deer in mind,” Matsukawa said. “ Tourism in Nara is supported by deer so we will protect them and promote the bags as a brand for the local economy.” The efforts to market the bags as a safe option for visitors to the city have been fruitful. About 35,000 bags have already been sold to local businesses and Nara’s tourism bureau. Since 1957, Japan has deemed the deer in Nara as national treasures that are protected by law, as they are considered divine messengers in the area. Via The Guardian Image via Matazel

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Companies in Japan launch edible single-use bags to save Nara deer

Renewable energy to power 2024 Olympic aquatic center

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

The architectural team of VenhoevenCS and Ateliers 2/3/4/ have revealed plans for a timber aquatic center in Paris, which will use a smart energy system to provide 90% of needed energy from recovered or  renewable energy  sources for the 2024 Olympics. The complex will also include a vast pedestrian bridge connecting it to the existing Stade de France. As the only new building constructed for the 2024 games, the timber aquatic center will remain useful well after the  Olympic  games end, with further opportunities for residents to learn swimming, practice sports, relax and build community. The idea is to provide healthy living incentives for the local people, as well as promote sustainability and biodiversity with abundant vegetation surrounding the structure. The proposal includes plans to create room for over 100 trees onsite to improve air quality, stimulate biodiversity and create new ecological connections. Related: Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones According to the designers, the complex’s  solar roof  will be one of France’s largest solar farms and will cover 25% of all required electricity consumption, equivalent to 200 homes. With water preservation paramount for utility cost and environmental conservation, the building includes an efficient water consumption system to reuse 50% of the old water when freshwater is needed. The center also utilizes  upcycled furniture  in its design. All of the furniture inside restaurants, bars and entrances uses wood waste from the construction site or demolition sites, and the chairs are fashioned from 100% recycled plastic collected from a nearby school. The main structure is made of  wood , with a suspended roof shape that will minimize the need for air conditioning and make it more efficient to heat. The interior Olympic arena tribunes on three sides and contains room for 5,000 spectators to congregate around a massive modular pool for swimming, diving and water polo competitions. All other events will occur inside temporary venues or existing structures. + VenhoevenCS Via Dezeen Design: VenhoevenCS & Ateliers 2/3/4/ Images: Proloog

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Renewable energy to power 2024 Olympic aquatic center

Earth911 Inspiration: Nature Has the Power

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco

Today’s inspiration is another quote from Helen Keller’s 1933 article, … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Nature Has the Power appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Nature Has the Power

Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy Heather Clancy Fri, 10/23/2020 – 02:00 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (7:25). Microsoft, Tiffany help carve out new responsible mining standard Green 2.0: Corporate advocacy and the environmental movement’s racial justice reckoning How big-time investors think about deforestation: Q&A with investment manager Lauren Compere Features 5 questions with renewable fuels company Neste (20:40)   Jeremy Baines took on his role as president of Neste U.S. a little more than a year ago. He joins us to answer five questions about the organization’s strategy. The clean energy voting bloc (27:50)   GreenBiz senior energy analyst Sarah Golden offers an inside view to Clean Energy for Biden, which is raising visibility for the economic potential of clean energy industries ahead of the presidential election.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere: “More On That Later,” “Night Caves,” “New Day,” “Curiosity” and “Sad Marimba Planet” *This episode was sponsored by WestRock and MCE, and features VERGE 20 sponsor Neste. Resources galore Lessons in resilience from the produce industry. Subject matter experts from Kwik Lok, Walmart and Second Harvest Food Bank join us at 1 p.m. EST Nov. 10 to discuss responding to disruption and how to balance food safety and security to minimize food waste. Behavior change and the circular economy. How innovation and new business models alter people’s relationship with waste. Join the discussion at 8 p.m. EST Nov. 12.  Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Sarah Golden Topics Podcast Renewable Energy Supply Chain Policy & Politics Mining Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 37:26 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy

Parsing Panera’s plan to nudge consumers toward low-carbon meals

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Parsing Panera’s plan to nudge consumers toward low-carbon meals Jim Giles Fri, 10/23/2020 – 01:00 Something changed recently in America’s fast-casual restaurants. It involved only a single company, but it could herald the start of a fundamental shift in the choices that diners make. I’ll get to what happened in a minute, but first take a step back and consider the information available when you buy food. At the grocery store, you’re bombarded with labels: organic and its new extension, regenerative organic; various competing fair trade standards; certifications relating to animal health and so on. Notice that these widely used labels tell you nothing about the climate change impact of your choices. If you’re eating out, you might find calorie information on menus and, typically at more boutique restaurants, notes on where ingredients were sourced from. Again, you’re unlikely to see anything relating to climate. This matters, because the greenhouse gas emissions generated by different kinds of food vary widely. Here’s a useful summary, courtesy of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan: The reluctance of brands to use climate labels may be partly because it isn’t clear what consumers would do with emissions information. In 2007, for instance, PepsiCo added a label to its Walkers potato chips noting that each bag generated 80 grams of carbon dioxide . A few years later, the label was gone. “With consumers not having enough points of comparison to make the label a useful tool at the time, it was discontinued,” a PepsiCo spokesperson told me. There’s been little progress since, but 2020 looks to be the year when things started to change. In June, Unilever announced ambitious plans to attach carbon labels to its products . Now restaurants are acting, too. The change I referred to earlier is happening at Panera Bread, where many menu items now have a “Cool Food” badge attached to them.  The label, developed by the World Resources Institute , indicates that the emissions generated by the item are in line with the institute’s recommended dietary carbon footprint. This is 38 percent smaller than the U.S. average, a cut that WRI research has found is needed by 2030 to help avoid the worst impacts of climate change. There are two reasons why I think this could be the start of something meaningful. First, the Panera Bread brand isn’t built around environmental values, as you might expect from an early mover in this space. Panera and the WRI seem to have recognized this by making it easy for consumers to make low-carbon choices. Contrast that with the Walkers experiment: PepsiCo deserves credit for being ahead of its time, but the information consumers saw on the chips — 80 grams of carbon dioxide — wasn’t meaningful to anyone aside from climate experts. (For experts and anyone else who wants more details on what qualifies as a Cool Food Meal, Panera has provided a breakdown of emissions associated with each menu item .) It’s also critical that Panera is not going it alone. The badge is based on extensive WRI research and builds on work that the institute has been doing with foodservice operators. The hope is that other restaurants will adopt the badge, making it easier for people to find climate-friendly options whenever they eat out. One quick aside before sign off. I described Panera as an early adopter, but the first mover here might be the Just Salad chain, which introduced carbon labels last month . After I mentioned the Panera announcement a couple of weeks back, Just Salad emailed to argue that items on its menu generate less carbon than comparable offerings at Panera. I’d like to dig into this in the future, but for now, I’ll just note that it’s awesome to see chains competing on carbon.  Topics Food & Agriculture Food & Agriculture Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Quality HD Close Authorship

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Parsing Panera’s plan to nudge consumers toward low-carbon meals

Pennsylvania scientists develop 100% leather waste fiber made from scraps

October 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

After five years and $3 million worth of research and development, two Pennsylvania scientists have developed a proprietary process to create a brand new, 100% leather waste fiber. The company, Sustainable Composites, is turning leather scraps into a new product called Enspire Leather to replicate the look, feel, performance and even smell of traditional tanned hide at a significantly lower financial and environmental cost. According to Sustainable Composites, producing ordinary leather typically wastes 25-60% of product in the tanning process because of the defects and limited dimensions of hide. Because of this, an estimated 3.5 billion pounds of leather scraps end up on the cutting room floor and eventually in incinerators or landfills each year. Instead, Enspire Leather reclaims those discarded scraps, grinds them up and presses them into sheets to process the material into a new fiber. The resulting fabric has the same pliability, durability, sew-ability, fold properties and abrasion- and stain-resistance as traditional leather. Related: Oliver Co. makes vegan leather wallets from apple waste and wood The material is then made into uniform rolls of 54 inches that are free from defects to help maximize yield and reduce cost. From a business standpoint, product manufacturers for items like furniture, footwear and handbags gain 40-60% material cost reductions. Footwear manufacturing company Timberland has already taken advantage of the new leather alternative for select products as part of its commitment to environmentally responsible development. Although the new material is made from scraps, Sustainable Composites can ensure a wide range of design options for color, texture, thickness and finish thanks to its unique composition and forming procedures. Because Enspire Leather is made using recycled materials , it reduces the amount of trash produced from more conventional methods. The patented process offers an exciting update to the leather product industry, combining the traditional art of leather-working with the contemporary technology of a new age. + Sustainable Composites LLC Images via Sustainable Composites LLC

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Pennsylvania scientists develop 100% leather waste fiber made from scraps

Missing Pieces of Decarbonization Puzzle Realized

October 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Missing Pieces of Decarbonization Puzzle Realized Date/Time: November 19, 2020 (1-2PM ET / 10-11AM PT) The process to decarbonize power systems is complicated. Grid operators are tasked with balancing affordability and reliability as more renewable energy comes online. Utilities must find the right mix of energy resources to decarbonize while planning for extreme weather events. Meanwhile, the imperative to increase renewable energy and take bold action on climate change grows more intense by the day.  In this webcast, experts will discuss how to assess the economic, scientific, and political nexus to find the optimal path to decarbonize the electricity sector. Join us to learn about the missing pieces of the decarbonization puzzle and how 100% renewable power can practically, affordably and quickly become a reality. Moderator: Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz Speakers: Jussi Heikkinen, Director, Growth & Development, Americas, Wärtsilä Bruce Nilles, Executive Director, Climate Imperative If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast. taylor flores Thu, 10/22/2020 – 11:29 Sarah Golden Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair GreenBiz Group @sbgolden Jussi Heikkinen Director, Growth & Development, Americas Wärtsilä Bruce Nilles Executive Director Climate Imperative @brucenilles gbz_webcast_date Thu, 11/19/2020 – 10:00 – Thu, 11/19/2020 – 11:00

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Missing Pieces of Decarbonization Puzzle Realized

World’s largest solar power plant to supply energy to Australia and Singapore

October 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The world’s largest solar power plant has been proposed for Australia . To be located at a current cattle station halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin, the solar farm’s location has been strategically selected to meet both logistical and engineering needs. Once the project is successfully completed, the solar power plant will be visible from space. The magnitude of the power plant is so huge that it is expected to generate enough power to supply a fifth of Singapore’s power needs. According to Sun Cable, the company spearheading the project, construction is expected to begin in 2023 on a 12,000-hectare area in Newcastle Waters. Sun Cable CEO David Griffin said that the project has been submitted to the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority for approval. Energy production is slated to begin in 2026 and the exportation of power would start in 2027. The project is expected to generate 10 gigawatts of power once operational. Related: New solar farm in Indiana boosts local pollinators According to Griffin, the team chose the cattle station for the project site due to its strategic positioning. “It’s on the Adelaide to Darwin rail corridor, which is brilliant for our logistics given the enormous amount of material we’ll have to transport to the site,” Griffin explained. “It’s a bit of a balancing act too, because it’s far south enough to get away from the main patch affected by the wet season, so it’s a steady solar resource throughout the year. There’s plenty of sun and not many clouds.” Upon successful completion, the solar farm will supply power to the Northern Territory, where some remote communities currently rely on electricity from diesel generators. This is both expensive and harmful to the environment. The $20 billion project is also expected to generate about 1,500 jobs directly and about 10,000 jobs indirectly during its construction, plus 350 permanent jobs. The new solar power plant will help Australia in its efforts to cut down greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, the country contributes about 1.4% of the total emissions globally. + Sun Cable Via The Guardian and EcoWatch Image via Sanel Selava

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World’s largest solar power plant to supply energy to Australia and Singapore

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