Cover installs its first prefab dwelling for the masses in L.A.

October 12, 2017 by  
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Thoughtful prefabricated design for the masses just moved one big step closer to reality. Tech company Cover just completed and installed its first computer-designed dwelling—and it’s begun taking pre-orders worldwide and delivering in Los Angeles. Cover, which describes their work as “doing for homes what Tesla is doing for the car,” uses proprietary computer algorithms to design beautiful custom spaces crafted to meet the user’s needs and optimized to meet rigorous Passive House standards. Cover is setting out to revolutionize the building industry with its streamlined process that combines precision-made prefabricated panels with proprietary technology. Cover’s computer algorithms create high-quality floor plans customized to the client’s needs as well as property and zoning constraints in as little as three days. The custom-designed units can be built to sizes ranging from 100 to 1,200 square feet and can be used as standalone homes with full kitchens and bathrooms. Energy efficiency is a big component of Cover’s units. Each modular unique dwelling will be built in Cover’s Los Angeles factory to rigorous Passive House standards and boast 80% more energy efficiency than the average home. Floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors let in ample natural light, while the low-slope roof is optimized for photovoltaics . Radiant heating and cooling provide consistent and comfortable temperatures inside the airtight building envelope. Its steel structure is 100% recyclable. Related: Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes “Unlike other prefab companies and builders, Cover is a technology company first, armed with a team of full-time software engineers, designers, manufacturing engineers, and architects who have developed technology that streamlines the entire process of designing, buying, permitting, manufacturing and assembling Cover units,” said Alexis Rivas, Co-Founder and CEO of Cover. “We focus on the quality of the spaces and the little details – like the way light reflects off surfaces, how a door handle feels or the framing of the view – to transform the living experience for our customers and ensure a more efficient, smarter, and thoughtful way of living.” The first Cover unit is a 320-square-foot space that will be used as a music studio and office. Cover plans to produce 150 units per year in its Los Angeles factory. + Cover

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Cover installs its first prefab dwelling for the masses in L.A.

Elon Musk says first segment of LA tunnel complete

June 30, 2017 by  
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If you ever want to take on a crazy project and see results in under a year, call Elon Musk . He’s already making progress on his stuck-in-traffic daydream of tunnels beneath Los Angeles . This week he tweeted The Boring Company’s tunnel boring machine, cheekily named Godot, completed the first tunnel portion. According to Musk, we’re “no longer waiting for Godot.” Musk seems to be having a lot of fun with his side project he somehow fits into his free time. And he’s making strides towards the dream of clearing out Los Angeles’ notorious congestion by moving vehicles underground. The Boring Company’s new machine has started operating and already finished the first segment of a tunnel. Related: Elon Musk says LA mayor is open to The Boring Company’s traffic tunnels No longer waiting for Godot. It has begun boring and just completed the first segment of tunnel in LA. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2017 Godot is around 400 feet long, with a diameter of 26 feet, and weighs 1,200 tons. Musk hinted on Twitter they still hope the machine will bore faster in the future. He said they have a long way to go before they beat Gary, a snail from SpongeBob SquarePants whom Musk referenced in April in a TED talk , saying “Victory is beating the snail.” The project started near the SpaceX parking lot in Hawthorne. And according to Electrek, it appears this first segment simply connects the parking lot to the company’s buildings. But Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has indicated his interest in Musk’s venture – he name-dropped the tech entrepreneur in an ABC7 interview and Musk said they’d had promising conversations. Electrek also quoted Musk as saying the full length of the first tunnel “will run from LAX to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Sherman Oaks. Future tunnels will cover all of greater LA.” It seems this pipe dream might become reality after all. + The Boring Company Via The Verge and Electrek Images via The Boring Company

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Elon Musk says first segment of LA tunnel complete

Elon Musk’s Boring Company video envisions underground LA as a crazy slot car race

May 1, 2017 by  
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Boldness has never been a problem for Elon Musk , who decided to improve the experience of driving through Los Angeles – while the rest of us just honk our horns. After tweeting in December that the city’s notorious traffic was driving him nuts, he immediately set up The Boring Company to dig underground tunnels for relief from the congestion above ground. Now the company has released a YouTube video envisioning exactly what that system might look like. Check it out after the jump. Forget freeway on-ramps. In the future imagined by The Boring Company, cars simply drive onto a sled-like device on a city street that lowers them into the tunnel network. The sleds then connect to a track and shoot the cars under Los Angeles at speeds of 124 miles per hour, according to the video. A supercomputer could direct car movement to potentially eliminate accidents. Related: Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month There’s no mention of what travel times could look like via the futuristic underground tunnels in the video, but a Gizmodo article threw out the estimate of Compton to Malibu in a few minutes; right now that journey takes around an hour, at best. Musk recently spoke more about The Boring Company at TED2017, in addition to Tesla and SpaceX . The interviewer, TED Head Curator Chris Anderson, asked how much of the entrepreneur’s time the project takes up, and Musk estimated just two or three percent. “This is basically interns and people doing it part time…we bought some secondhand machinery…it’s kind of puttering along but it’s making good progress,” he said in the talk. Anderson joked The Boring Company is “what an Elon Musk hobby looks like.” One can imagine all sorts of regulatory hurdles his hobby company would have to jump before they could build the vast tunnel network envisioned in the video, but if anyone can do it, it’s probably Musk. If you want to learn more, settle in over a lunch break; Musk’s TED talk is 40 minutes long and can be watched here . + The Boring Company Via Gizmodo Images via screenshot

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company video envisions underground LA as a crazy slot car race

Why Paris 2024 promises record sustainability wins

February 17, 2017 by  
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First, the city must win the 2024 Olympics sweepstakes against Budapest and Los Angeles.

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Why Paris 2024 promises record sustainability wins

How to choose a living tree to replant after Christmas

December 8, 2016 by  
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It takes about 10 years for a Christmas tree to reach maturity, and it’s a shame to kill a tree just so it can prop up ornaments and lights for a couple of weeks. Even though many cities do an admirable job of recycling trees (or ‘treecycling’) after the holidays are over, it’s always a bit depressing to see hundreds of dried-up, tinsel-covered trees out on the curb in early January. So instead of heading out to a tree farm, you might consider bringing a live, potted tree into your home this winter. After the holidays are over, you can plant the tree in the ground again (or you can get someone else to plant it), so it can get back to sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere. Purchase a Tree from a Nursery Nurseries in most parts of the country sell young pines and fir trees, and the best way to find a tree is to call around to local nurseries and ask what’s in stock. Living trees are much heavier than cut trees (a typical 5-foot tree is about 150 pounds), so you’ll probably want to choose a slightly smaller tree than normal. Transporting a living tree is a bit trickier than a cut tree, because you’ll need to treat it more delicately. The Original Living Christmas Tree Company in Portland suggests standing it up in the trunk of a car, so that the crown is sticking out behind. Locate a Tree Rental Service If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a home for your tree after the holidays are over, a tree rental service might be a better option. Although tree rental services have been around for a few years in several cities, they aren’t available everywhere. Currently most of the live tree rental services in the country are located in California, Oregon and Washington. The Original Living Christmas Tree Company, which has been renting potted trees since 1992, is one of the oldest rental services in the country, and it offers eight different varieties for rent. In San Diego, dancing, singing elves from the Adopt A Christmas Tree company will deliver a potted tree to your front door. In most places, potted tree rentals will run from $75 to $100, but the prices vary widely. The Adopt-a-Stream Foundation in Everett, Washington, for example, offers tree rentals for just $20. In Los Angeles, prices at the Living Christmas Co. range from $25 for a tiny 2-foot allepo pine tree to more than $250 for a stately 9-foot Turkish fir. Choose a Tree that Grows Naturally in Your Region It’s important when choosing a Christmas tree to select one that grows naturally in your region so that once it’s replanted it will survive — hopefully — for many years to come. In the Pacific Northwest, Douglas fir is a good option. If you live south of the Mason-Dixon Line, you might consider Virginia pine or Eastern red cedar. And in the Northeast, a variety of pines and firs like Balsam fir, Fraser fir and white pine grow naturally. But who says all Christmas trees need to be conifers? In San Francisco, Friends of the Urban Forest and SF Environment offer non-traditional Christmas trees, like southern magnolia and small leaf tristania, which are planted on city streets after the Holidays. How To Care for a Live Tree Live trees should be treated with a bit more tenderness than a typical cut tree, because you want to make sure that it survives when it’s replanted. But you don’t need to have a green thumb to keep it alive. Just make sure it gets enough water (but not too much), and don’t leave it indoors too long. The longer you leave a tree inside the more acclimated it will become to the warm temperature. If you keep it indoors too long, it might not be hearty enough to plant outside. It’s best to keep the room that the tree is in as cool as possible, and if possible, use small LED lights and minimal ornaments so that you don’t put too much added stress on the tree. What To Do When Christmas is Over Once Christmas is over, rental services come to retrieve their trees. Some services rent the same trees every year, so in theory, if you like the tree you had last year, you could get it again this year (though it’ll be slightly taller). Others plant them after one use. If you purchase a tree from a nursery, you’ll have to deal with it yourself. There are a few options for live tree owners: you can donate the tree to a local parks department, church or school, or you can keep it an plant it yourself. If you live in a very cold climate, you’ll probably have to keep the tree in a pot until the ground thaws a bit  — just be sure to keep it outside and properly watered! Lead image (modified) © Louisa de Miranda and Flickr user Wonderlane

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UPS rolls out first e-bike delivery in the United States

December 8, 2016 by  
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The United Parcel Service (UPS) recently announced their first e-bike delivery program in the United States. Continuing wide-ranging sustainability efforts, the company chose Portland , Oregon to host their environmentally-conscious program. 109 years ago, UPS got its start delivering messages and packages via bicycle . Although the company eventually steered towards delivery by automobiles and airplanes, bikes may now be making a comeback, according to UPS Senior Vice President for Global Engineering and Sustainability Mark Wallace. On November 21, UPS’s special electronically-powered tricycle started making deliveries in Portland, a city the company chose because they already deliver via bicycle there seasonally. Related: This solar-powered e-bike has a top speed of 30 mph Portland mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement, “Portland, like all cities, is looking for ways to fight urban congestion and pollution. It’s great when a company like UPS brings us a unique solution that will help us combat climate change and protect the environment.” UPS’ e-bike could allow the company to ramp up sustainable delivery, as they can carry more, travel further, and navigate hills easier than traditional bikes. Deliverers can either pedal the bike or allow the electric motor powered by a battery to do the work. According to UPS, the e-bike is most energy-efficient when a human is pedaling and relying on battery power at the same time. UPS tested e-bike delivery service in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, where they evaluated both bicycle and on-foot delivery methods. The successful experiment saw emissions reduced and traffic eased, according to UPS, and in 2015 it was announced the program would continue for two more years. UPS will now assess the e-bike’s design and reliability, and how well the bike fits into Portland. Should the pioneering pilot project work, the company hopes to deploy more e-bikes, possibly as soon as 2017. + United Parcel Service Images courtesy of United Parcel Service

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UPS rolls out first e-bike delivery in the United States

Low-carbon aviation fuel soars onward

November 10, 2016 by  
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You may be surprised to learn that air travel is already efficient. In fact, a flight between New York and Los Angeles achieves the equivalent of about 80 miles per gallon per passenger.Airplane manufacturers, such as Boeing and Airbus, prioritized reducing fuel consumption because jet fuel is the No. 1 expense for airlines, and they have achieved great success in doing so. 

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Low-carbon aviation fuel soars onward

How does a city like Los Angeles buy tech?

November 9, 2016 by  
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Mark Anthony Thomas, Director of the Mayor’s Operations Innovation Team for the City of Los Angeles (or the “O-Team”) sat down with GreenBiz Studio at VERGE 16. 

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How does a city like Los Angeles buy tech?

MAD offers up two design proposals for Lucas Museum: one for SF, one for LA

October 28, 2016 by  
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MAD principal architect Ma Yansong worked on the two designs for the Lucas Museum at the same time and while they have some common features, the two proposals are also very different. The design for San Francisco seats the museum on Treasure Island, an artificial island in San Francisco Bay which is a former military site that now holds a host of tourist activities. The proposed design is for a fluid, tapered structure that is elevated from street level, creating a pedestrian space underneath the museum. This would integrate the museum into the waterfront without robbing the public of precious surface spaces. In protecting the public space, MAD’s museum design meshes with architecture firm SOM ’s master plan for Treasure Island. Related: MAD Architects announce a design overhaul for controversial George Lucas Museum in Chicago The second design is for Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where the Lucas Museum would neighbor the Natural History Museum and Coliseum. The LA version of the proposed museum protects public spaces in much the same way the San Francisco design seeks to do, but also creates additional public space in the form of rooftop terraces featuring living trees and other plants. The museum would sit on a sprawling green lawn, where visitors could enjoy nature or host a picnic in conjunction with their art appreciation. An underground parking garage with space for around 1,800 vehicles is also incorporated into the LA design. Each design proposal offers around 100,000 square feet of gallery space, which is a third of the size of the since-abandoned Chicago proposal after it was scaled down  to 300,000 square feet. Reportedly, Lucas will decide on the proposed museum’s location within the next four months, but there’s no word on whether he’ll accept the design created for that city. It’s entirely possible we will see another round of design revisions in the early part of 2017, much like the Chicago project endured several updates. In the meantime, art lovers can take a sneak peek at the Lucas Museum’s collection, thanks to this special feature compiled by the San Francisco Chronicle. + Lucas Museum of Narrative Art + MAD Architects Via Dezeen Images via MAD Architects

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MAD offers up two design proposals for Lucas Museum: one for SF, one for LA

LA’s Everytable cafe provides low-income residents a healthy alternative to McDonalds

August 9, 2016 by  
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Food deserts and the often exorbitant prices of healthy fare leave low income and working families with few options to feed their families. Everytable is a grab-and-go cafe opening up in downtown and South Los Angeles that will break that mold and offer healthy food with fresh ingredients at an affordable price. Founders Sam Polk and David Foster also run Groceryships , a nonprofit which offers cooking classes and fresh produce gift cards, yet kept getting feedback from families who are often too busy to cook. Instead of families having to rely on the golden arches, the team decided to start a grab-and-go cafe that would reflect fast food ’s pricing, but not its offerings. Related: LA guerrilla gardener Ron Finley turns food deserts into oases Everytable’s prices in South Los Angeles will range from $3-$4, while the downtown spot will cost around $8 for a meal. Each cafe is designed to be profitable on its own, but those who can afford higher prices downtown can dine knowing they are supporting cheaper prices for people in areas who can’t. The food, which includes dishes from Cajun blackened fish to kid’s spaghetti squash with turkey-quinoa meatballs, is prepared at a central kitchen, cutting costs for the cafes. The plan is to have 10 to 20 restaurants open by the year 2017 and then to expand Everytable to other cities. Polk told Fast Company , “We really started digging into this problem of food deserts, and we believe we’ve created a model that has the potential to bring healthy food to every neighborhood in the country. We’re excited to do that as quickly as we can.” +Everytable Via  Fast Company Images via  Everytable

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LA’s Everytable cafe provides low-income residents a healthy alternative to McDonalds

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