New affordable housing in Silicon Valley boasts net-zero emissions

March 16, 2020 by  
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In one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets, a new multifamily community has sprung up to provide 66 affordable rental apartments in Silicon Valley. Named Edwina Benner Plaza after the first female mayor of California, the affordable housing project designed by Caifornia-based architecture firm David Baker Architects also boasts net-zero emissions for operations thanks to the use of all-renewable community utilities and rooftop solar panels. Located in the city of Sunnyvale next to Highway 237, Edwina Benner Plaza occupies an underutilized site where a single-story commercial building once stood. The 110,612-square-foot affordable housing project was strategically oriented and arranged to shield the residential areas and common spaces away from traffic noise and pollution. The massing strategy also helps to encourage an active and healthy community life by placing the shared areas — such as activity rooms, laundry, service programs and an after-school center — around a central outdoor play space.  Related: The Union Flats is a LEED Platinum-certified housing community To further promote an environment for healthy living, Edwina Benner Plaza offers diverse supportive services such as an after-school program, adult education and mediation support. The 66 affordable rental units, which comprise one-, two- and three-bedroom units, are made available to families earning up to 60% of the area median income as well as to individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Onsite case management reserves 13 apartment units for formerly homeless individuals and 10 units for those at risk of homelessness. Solar panels cover the building’s roof and power the common loads of the residents. Each residential wing is also served by a custom, high-efficiency central heat pump. “An all-electric building, Edwina Benner Plaza is among the first affordable housing projects in the nation to have zero operating emissions,” the architects added. The project has earned a Platinum certification under the GreenPoint rating system. + David Baker Architects Photography by Bruce Damonte via David Baker Architects

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New affordable housing in Silicon Valley boasts net-zero emissions

Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats

March 16, 2020 by  
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The worldwide outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) prompted many to purchase face masks for protection. Unfortunately, these protective masks have been harming the environment. Why is that? The masks are made of the plastic polypropylene, which is not easily biodegradable. No surprise then that the accumulation of discarded face masks litters the environment and poses serious risks to the equilibrium of  habitats  and the health of wildlife, especially marine organisms. Environmental groups are now sounding the alarm on how cast-off coronavirus masks are escalating the  litter  and plastic pollution predicaments. Related:  The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch “We only have had masks for the last six to eight weeks, in a massive volume…we are now seeing the effect on the environment,” explained Gary Stokes, founder of Oceans Asia, a marine  conservation  organization. Stokes elaborated with the example of the Soko Islands off Hong Kong. On one 100-meter stretch of beach, Stokes discovered 70 masks, then an additional 30 the following week.  Hong Kong’s dense population means that its citizens have struggled with plastic waste.  Single-use plastic  makes matters more challenging. What’s more, Hong Kong does not effectively  recycle  all its waste. Instead, roughly 70% of its garbage ends up in landfills. That 70% is equivalent to approximately 6 million tons of refuse. Conservationists have been attempting to remove these masks from the environment through beach clean-ups. “Nobody wants to go to the forest and find masks littered everywhere or used masks on the beaches . It is unhygienic and dangerous,” added Laurence McCook, head of Oceans Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund in Hong Kong. Jerome Adams, the United States Surgeon General, has also  advised people to stop purchasing medical face masks , as they are ineffective at preventing COVID-19. Scaling back public purchasing of the masks would not only keep more masks available for medical professionals, but could also reduce the amount being discarded and its impact on the environment. Via Reuters Images via Pixabay

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Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats

Google is working on wireless charging for its driverless cars

February 8, 2016 by  
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Several automakers are floating plans to add wireless induction charging capability to electric cars, but Google may be among the first to actually release the technology. A new report reveals the company is currently in the process of installing wireless charging systems at its headquarters, which will be used for its own fleet of self-driving cars . Read the rest of Google is working on wireless charging for its driverless cars

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Google is working on wireless charging for its driverless cars

The Happy Egg Company brings cleaner, greener, more humane eggs to a supermarket near you

February 8, 2016 by  
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With the start of a new year comes the usual slew of feel-better resolutions, but if you are committed to altering your shopping habits for better health, or to create a better and more sustainable world, one of your first considerations should be the egg aisle. There is a big difference between standard eggs and organic, free range eggs – not only for your health, but for the health of our environment as well. Picking out eggs might seem daunting given the overwhelming variety available at most grocery stores, but there’s really only one rule: ignore the confusing labeling and do your research before hitting the grocery store, so you can rest assured that you’re purchasing true free-range eggs from a farm that treats its chickens well. Once you know a little more about the various farms and brands, making the switch to more humane, better tasting eggs is a no-brainer. Read the rest of The Happy Egg Company brings cleaner, greener, more humane eggs to a supermarket near you

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The Happy Egg Company brings cleaner, greener, more humane eggs to a supermarket near you

Climate change washes away partisanship for SC coastal tourism

August 27, 2013 by  
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Small business owners along the S.C. coast will be among the first to experience climate change. That's why they're asking the public for help.

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Climate change washes away partisanship for SC coastal tourism

Maldives Mandates At Least 60% Its Electricity Must Be From Solar Power By 2020

September 22, 2011 by  
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photo: Christian Steen / CC BY Being among the world’s lowest-lying nations and therefore among the first to most acutely feel the effects of climate change, the Maldives has been in the forefront of climate activism and making as quick a transition as possible to renewable energy. The latest announcement, made in in New York City during Cli… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Maldives Mandates At Least 60% Its Electricity Must Be From Solar Power By 2020

In China, Gated Organic Farms Feed The Rich & Powerful Only

September 22, 2011 by  
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Produce vendor. Image credit: Flickr , babasteve LA Times has a report about how organic produce is sold in China, providing a glimpse into what life might eventually be like, here in the USA, if House Republicans fully codify their Libertarian beliefs (which assumes they would put an end to funding USDA Organic registration). As thin… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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In China, Gated Organic Farms Feed The Rich & Powerful Only

The Coral Gardener’s Innovative Idea for Restoring Reefs in Fiji (Video)

March 7, 2011 by  
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Photo by petersbar via Flickr Creative Commons The first ever San Francisco Green Film Festival launched this past weekend and while the crowd was as small as one might expect for a brand new niche film event, the quality of the films presented were of the highest caliber. Among the first I got to watch was The Coral Gardener, a 10-minute film about a truly amazing man named Austin Bowden-Kerby. Dr

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The Coral Gardener’s Innovative Idea for Restoring Reefs in Fiji (Video)

Thames Eel Population Mysteriously Drops a Staggering 98% In 5 Years

January 25, 2010 by  
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Photo via Wikipedia creative commons Eels were among the first species to recolonize the Thames river after it was cleaned up in the 1960s and 70s. But scientists are sounding an alarm that the populations have crashed over the last five years, and they aren’t sure what the problem is. ..

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Thames Eel Population Mysteriously Drops a Staggering 98% In 5 Years

It’s a Done Deal: Tesla, DOE Finalize Loan for $465 Million

January 23, 2010 by  
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Back in June, Tesla Motors announced a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy . That deal is now official…every tax paying American is now an investor in Tesla.

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It’s a Done Deal: Tesla, DOE Finalize Loan for $465 Million

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