LEED Platinum-certified Half Moon Bay Library targets net-zero energy

May 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

At three times the size of its predecessor with a recently minted LEED Platinum certification, California’s Half Moon Bay Library is an impressive community resource in more ways than one. Designed by Berkeley-based firm Noll & Tam Architects , the $18.2 million library serves a diverse and growing coastal region that includes Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County and 10 other unincorporated communities along the coast as well. Flexibility, energy efficiency and emphases on nature and the community drove the design of the new regional library that has won multiple awards, including the 2019 AIA/ALA Library Building Award. Completed in 2018, the 22,000-square-foot Half Moon Library minimizes its visual impact with its low-profile massing that includes two single-story rectangular volumes along the street and a larger, second-story volume tucked behind. Minimizing the building’s presence in the neighborhood was part of the architects’ strategy to draw greater attention to views of the ocean, which is located just a short walk away. A low-maintenance natural material palette — including reclaimed wood , patinated copper and rough stone — takes inspiration from the coastal landscape and helps draw the outdoors in. Related: Charles Library boasts one of Pennsylvania’s largest green roofs As a result of extensive community workshops, the Half Moon Library is highly flexible. Three-quarters of the stacks are on wheels so that the layout of the room can be easily changed over time to accommodate a variety of events. In addition to multipurpose spaces, the library also includes a 122-seat community room, adult reading area, children’s area, quiet reading area, teen room, maker space and support areas. Sustainability is at the heart of the project, which is designed to achieve net-zero energy . The high-performance building envelope draws power from rooftop solar panels, while thoughtful site orientation and implementation of passive principles for natural ventilation and lighting reduces energy demand. The Half Moon Library also features bioswales , recycled materials, low-water fixtures, high-performance HVAC systems and drought-tolerant plantings. + Noll & Tam Architects Photography by Anthony Lindsey via Noll & Tam Architects

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LEED Platinum-certified Half Moon Bay Library targets net-zero energy

Designers propose sustainable housing in response to COVID-19 lifestyle changes

May 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

For those lucky enough to keep their jobs during the global pandemic, a large portion have been working from home — a privilege that could become a permanent way of life for many. In response to how COVID-19 continues to reshape our lives, Paris-based architecture firm Studio BELEM has proposed Aula Modula, a conceptual live/work urban housing scheme that emphasizes flexibility, community and sustainability. In addition to providing individual workspaces for work-from-home setups, Aula Modula would also offer plenty of green spaces as a means of bringing nature back to the city. Envisioned for a post- COVID-19 world, Aula Modula combines elements of high-density urban living with greater access to nature. According to Studio BELEM, the concept is an evolution of traditional western architectural and urban planning models that have been unchanged for years and fail to take into account diminishing greenery in cities, rising commute times and the conveniences afforded by the internet. Related: Architects design COVID-19 mobile testing labs for underserved communities “Aula Modula chooses to free itself from the standards and codes of traditional housing,” the architects explained in a project statement. “The Aula Modula brings back a natural environment to the city, promoting new commonly shared spaces and social interactions between its residents.” In addition to providing individual home offices to each apartment, the live/work complex includes communal access to a central courtyard and terraces to promote a sense of community — both social and professional — between residents and workers. The architects propose to construct the development primarily from timber to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. Aula Modula is also envisioned with green roofs irrigated with recycled and treated wastewater, a series of terraced vegetable gardens and a communal greenhouse warmed with recovered thermal energy from the building. The apartments would sit atop a mix of retail and recreational services, such as a grocery store, craft brewery and yoga studio. + Studio Belem Images by Studio Belem

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Designers propose sustainable housing in response to COVID-19 lifestyle changes

Biofueling the Future

May 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

The field of energy development has been constantly expanding, improving … The post Biofueling the Future appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Biofueling the Future

Biofueling the Future

May 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

The field of energy development has been constantly expanding, improving … The post Biofueling the Future appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Biofueling the Future

We Earthlings: Modernize Your Toilet To Save Water

May 26, 2020 by  
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If all toilets in the United States were upgraded to … The post We Earthlings: Modernize Your Toilet To Save Water appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: Modernize Your Toilet To Save Water

We Earthlings: Modernize Your Toilet To Save Water

May 26, 2020 by  
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If all toilets in the United States were upgraded to … The post We Earthlings: Modernize Your Toilet To Save Water appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: Modernize Your Toilet To Save Water

Geothermal-powered dorm minimizes its carbon footprint in Quebec

May 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Near Sherbrooke, Quebec, Montreal-based ARCHITEM Wolff Shapiro Kuskowski has recently completed the Mitchell Family House, a new and energy-efficient student housing complex for the Bishop’s College School. Built to house 270 students from 37 countries, the brick-clad dorm complements the century-old private boarding school’s existing architecture while raising the bar for sustainable design with its emphasis on energy efficiency. In addition to an airtight envelope, the residence taps into the campus’ central geothermal system and integrates sustainable stormwater management systems.  Completed in fall 2019, the Mitchell Family House is the campus’ eighth student residence and the first to combine housing and academic functions under one roof. The V-shaped building is organized into two wings that converge at a common central core. Nearly 300 students — between the ages of 12 and 17 — are housed within 18 two-person rooms on the upper floors. The two-story apartments that bookend the wings accommodate the “house parents” and their families. All rooms connect to central living spaces with a lounge and dining/kitchen area as well as study nooks on the mezzanine level.  Related: LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses California’s coastal climate Shared common areas are also abundant on the lower level, which is dedicated to academic activities. The entire floor opens up to an outdoor agora that embraces views of the surrounding forest and nearby river. Nature is brought indoors through tall, triple-glazed windows and the use of timber for interior surfaces. The exterior brick-and-concrete facade — sculptural precast concrete was used as a visual nod to the stone used on the campus heritage buildings — pay homage to the campus’ architectural vocabulary.  Because a major design goal was to minimize the building’s carbon footprint , the architects installed highly efficient mechanical systems, such as a heat recovery system, and prefabricated wall panels insulated from the outside to reduce energy loss. The residence is connected to the campus’ central geothermal system that has since been expanded with four new wells. In addition to implementing a stormwater management plan, landscape architects oversaw a “renaturalization” process to return native plantings to the site as soon as the building was completed. + ARCHITEM Wolff Shapiro Kuskowski Photography by Adrien Williams and Maxime Brouillet via ARCHITEM Wolff Shapiro Kuskowski

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Geothermal-powered dorm minimizes its carbon footprint in Quebec

Adapting to Climate Change

May 25, 2020 by  
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This article is the fourth of five in a series … The post Adapting to Climate Change appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Adapting to Climate Change

How to make vegetable broth with scraps to reduce food waste

May 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Food waste is a major dilemma in today’s world, and throwing out even vegetable scraps contributes to the problem. Not to mention that throwing out unwanted food is also a huge waste of money. Here’s one small way to do your part —  make your own  vegetable (or meat) broths and stocks from scratch. It’s surprisingly easy to make broth and relies on bits and pieces of  veggies , meats and even odds and ends like cheese rinds, all of which would otherwise be thrown in the landfill. Plus, you’ll save money and create a much more flavorful broth than you can find at the store. Each time, the broth will taste slightly different, too, depending on the combination of scraps you have on hand. Get ready to make flavorful, comforting recipes with this tutorial on how to make your own broth to reduce  food waste . Related: Your guide to preserving, storing and canning food The first step is to find a large, freezer-safe container to store your scraps until you build up enough to produce a rich broth. Of course, much of the internet will say to throw it in a  plastic  resealable bag, but here at Inhabitat, we strongly encourage finding a glass jar or silicone resealable bag instead. The hardest part of the process is remembering to save those stems and peelings for the broth. If you are accustomed to tossing unwanted bits, like pepper stems or onion skins, straight into the garbage can or  compost bin , it will take a conscious effort to train your brain and hands to grab up those scraps and throw them into the freezer container. The freezer will preserve the scraps until you are ready to make a broth. Another good candidate for your scrap container? Veggies that are on their last leg at the end of the week. If you didn’t finish those carrots and celery, chop them into smaller pieces, and toss them in the freezer.  Wilting herbs , cheese rinds and meat bones are also fair game, depending on your dietary needs and what you have available. After a few weeks (or less depending on how many people are in your home!), you will be left with a full container packed with flavorful bits and pieces. It’s time to get cooking! Break out a stockpot and  start sauteing  those frozen vegetable scraps with oil and salt. Cook for just a few minutes before adding several cups of water (about 10 cups should do, but add more if you have more scraps and a larger stockpot). Then, simmer away! Simmer those scraps in water for 30 minutes to an hour; then be sure to let it cool slightly. Don’t forget to taste the broth — add more herbs, salt or even nutritional yeast if it needs a flavor boost. Next, remove the vegetable bits for composting. Strain the broth into another pot to make sure all of the scraps have been removed. Once the broth has completely cooled, pour it into airtight containers — glass jars work well — and store in the freezer for up to a month. Then, anytime you want to make an easy soup for dinner (we recommend these  vegan slow cooker soup  recipes) or even more complex, brothy meals, you can grab your own flavorful, zero-waste broth as the base. Images via Monika Schröder , Hebi. B , Rita E. and Snow Pea & Bok Choi

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How to make vegetable broth with scraps to reduce food waste

Migrating monarch butterflies get the right-of-way in new agreement

May 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A new nationwide right-of-way agreement aims to protect migrating monarch butterflies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) signed the agreement, which involves more than 45 transportation and energy companies and many private landowners in creating protected corridors across the country. These promised lands are mostly along roadsides and utility corridors. The agreement allows participants to dedicate parts of their land as monarch conservation management areas. In exchange, the USFW assures landowners that they won’t have to take additional conservation measures on the rest of their land if the monarch butterfly later is listed as endangered. This change in status could happen as soon as December 2020, when the USFWS plans to decide whether the monarch meets criteria for being listed as an endangered species . Related: What’s causing the decline in monarch butterfly populations? “Some companies wanted to wait to see how the listing would play out,” Iris Caldwell, a program manager at the Energy Resources Center at UIC and part of the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group , told Mongabay . “But if you are following what’s happening with the butterflies , you know we really can’t wait. We need to be creating habitat on a variety of different landscapes, as much as we can.” The working group included 200 energy, transportation, government and nonprofits who tried to determine a win-win solution for butterflies and landowners. “How can you incentivize a regulated entity or a utility to do this voluntary proactive work,” Caldwell asked, “and still give them kind of the flexibility and the certainty that they need and be able to, in fact, invest in that work without kind of a fear of repercussion?” Under the new agreement, landowners may alter some of their practices, including timing mowing to avoid times when monarch larvae are developing, not using herbicides on the conservation corridors, replanting if the land is disturbed by construction and planting more beneficial native plants the butterflies will enjoy. UIC’s role will be to coordinate efforts between all partners and to be an intermediary between the USFWS and landowners. Monarchs are one of the most popular and recognizable butterflies on Earth, with their bright orange wings, black lines and white dots. Every year, millions of these butterflies migrate from the northern and eastern U.S. and Canada to spend winter in southern California and Mexico. Monarch butterflies are native to North and South America, although they’re no longer found south of Mexico. They’ve followed milkweed to expand their range as far as Portugal, Spain, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. In the continental U.S., they fall into two categories: western monarchs — which are found west of the Rockies and spend winter in southern California — and eastern monarchs, whose breeding grounds are Canada and the Great Plains and who migrate to Mexico in the winter. Both populations have plummeted more than 80% in the last 10 years. Via Mongabay and National Geographic Image via Jessica Bolser / USFWS

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Migrating monarch butterflies get the right-of-way in new agreement

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