The generational divides on climate anxiety

September 2, 2021 by  
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Different generations suffer from different anxieties, and those anxieties influence economic models. While Baby Boomers worry about rising inflation draining their retirement funds while they’re still aboveground, Gen Z is terrified that  climate change  means there will soon be no safe air to breathe nor water to drink. Older Americans suffer from price growth, which is the fastest it’s been for more than a decade. In a  Bankrate.com  survey published Wednesday, three-quarters of Baby Boomers said inflation has negatively impacted their  finances . Contrast that with 54% of Millennials and Gen Zers. Related: Biden unveils $2 trillion infrastructure and green economy plan Meanwhile, 37% of Gen Z called climate change a “top concern,” according to a Pew  Research  Center study. A third of Millennials agreed, while only 29% of Baby Boomers were as worried. Gen Zers are likelier to push for a green economy, inflation be damned. In that scenario, climate-friendly ventures would be rewarded, and those contributing to global warming, penalized. A  carbon  tax and a shift toward domestic production would have environmental upsides but could add to inflation. A new mental  health  issue, eco-anxiety, may further drive the green economy. While there’s not yet an official clinical diagnosis or definition, a team of clinicians is working on it. “The symptoms of clinical anxiety are the same,” said Navjot Bhullar, a professor of psychology at the University of New England in Australia, as reported by Verywell. “There’s a sense of dread or doom and not being able to concentrate, with a physical side of heart palpitations.” Of course, Gen Z is hardly the first generation to suspect the world was about to end. People have been predicting apocalyptic disasters throughout recorded history. Ever since World War Two, people have lived in fear of atomic bombs ending life on Earth. Generations who attended school between the 1950s and 1980s may remember practicing duck and cover drills, and some suffered from a mental health condition called nuclear anxiety. The difference this time? Well, the world does seem in more peril than ever, and we see the pollution, suffering, death and devastation on social media 24/7. That’s enough to spur climate dread in any generation. The green  economy  isn’t perfect. But it might be all we have. Via Business Insider , VeryWell Lead image via Ittmust

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The generational divides on climate anxiety

It’s code red for Earth, says new UN study

August 10, 2021 by  
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Being an environmental website, Inhabitat, unfortunately, reports on many terrifying new studies. But in what’s probably the most terrifying of all recent terrifying new studies, the U.N. chief called the report by the  U.N.’s  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “code red for humanity.” In this first major review of  climate change  science since 2013, the results are clear. “It is a statement of fact, we cannot be any more certain; it is unequivocal and indisputable that humans are warming the planet,” said University of Reading Professor Ed Hawkins, one of the study authors, as reported by the BBC. Related: The 10 countries most and least threatened by climate change The other most urgent message? We’re not talking about an  emergency  in the distant future. Change must happen  now  if we have any chance to avert disaster. Global surface temperatures have risen more since the 1970s than they have in any other 50-year stretch in the past two millennia. Back in the good old climate days of  1850 , the global surface temperature was 1.09 degrees Celsius lower than it was between 2011 and 2020. And the last five years have been the hottest of all. Then there’s the melting sea ice, retreating glaciers and rising oceans. In the last 50 years, the sea level rise has sped up nearly three times as fast as it increased between 1901 and 1971. The report’s authors concluded that, again, human influence was very likely the cause of glaciers’ global retreat. We’re also responsible, at least in part, for the recent spate of heatwaves, floods and other extreme  weather  events. And,  scientists  say, we’ve set changes in motion that aren’t reversible, at least not in the foreseeable millennia. Even if we start behaving now, the oceans are still going to grow warmer and more acidic, and the glaciers will keep melting. “The consequences will continue to get worse for every bit of warming,” said Hawkins. “And for many of these consequences, there’s no going back.” The scientists prepared a series of models, none of them good. While nearly every country on the planet signed the  Paris agreement , which aims to contain the global rise in temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, preferably 1.5 degrees, the study authors don’t think we’ll make it. In fact, they think we’ll hit the 1.5C mark by 2040, if not sooner. “The new report’s best estimate is the middle of 2034, but the uncertainty is huge and ranges between now and never,” said study author Malte Meinshausen of the University of Melbourne in Australia, as reported by BBC. However, the report allowed a glimmer of hope alongside the huge dose of terror. Cut  emissions  in half by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 and we might survive. “The thought before was that we could get increasing temperatures even after net zero,” said Piers Forster from the University of Leeds, another study author. “But we now expect nature to be kind to us and if we are able to achieve net zero, we hopefully won’t get any further temperature increase; and if we are able to achieve net zero greenhouse gases, we should eventually be able to reverse some of that temperature increase and get some cooling.” Via BBC Lead image via Pexels

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It’s code red for Earth, says new UN study

Great Barrier Reef won’t be listed as an endangered site just yet

July 26, 2021 by  
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The Great Barrier Reef will not be listed as a world heritage site in danger after consideration by the World Heritage Committee. A proposal made by scientists at UNESCO earlier this year called on the committee to list the barrier reef as an endangered site, following degradation caused by climate change and human interference. During the 21-country World Heritage Committee meeting, it was decided that the reef will not be listed as endangered just yet, but the committee allowed room for future considerations. The decision came after intense lobbying against the listing by the Australian government. Before the World Heritage Committee meeting, Australia flew about a dozen ambassadors from Canberra to Cairns for a snorkeling trip on the reef. Further, Australia’s environment minister Sussan Ley made diplomatic trips to several destinations including Budapest, Madrid, Sarajevo, Oman, Paris and the Maldives.  Related: UNESCO wants the Great Barrier Reef listed as a World Heritage Site “in danger” Instead of listing the reef as a site in danger, the committee asked UNESCO to carry out a mission on the reef in the coming months and send a progress report for further consideration by February 2022. This decision has been interpreted by lobby groups for the listing as a positive result, even though what they wanted has not been attained.  The Australian government has pledged several times to care for the reef, an indication that the vast country was taking action against climate change. Even so, action has been limited. Today, Australia remains one of the leading producers of coal and gas. Initially, the country won support from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia , both members of the World Heritage Committee, to delay the listing until 2023. However, further debate among member countries led to the decision to have the matter considered again in next year’s meeting. “Our concern was always that Unesco had sought an immediate ‘in danger listing’ without appropriate consultation, without a site visit and without all the latest information, and it is clear that this process has concerned not only Australia but other nations as well,” said Ley. On UNESCO’s side, its members presented strong arguments, saying that the reef had already met all the criteria to be listed as an endangered site. Federal environment spokesperson Terri Butler said that the decision now gives the Australian government a reprieve and a chance to make conditions better for the reef . Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Meet one vertical farm venture helping the industry grow past greens

July 20, 2021 by  
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Meet one vertical farm venture helping the industry grow past greens Jesse Klein Tue, 07/20/2021 – 00:35 Vertical farming needs to get beyond the leafy green business — the ability to grow crops such as kale, microgreens and lettuce in urban or indoor settings won’t transform the entire agriculture system. The industry needs to cultivate a much wider array of produce to mark more than a niche impact. Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), a Scotland-based vertical farm manufacturer, has started inching into this territory alongside its capabilities in helping organizations with traditional leafy green vertical farming. Its system can grow potatoes, strawberries, broccoli and celery seedlings that can be used by farmers to propagate crops on traditional farmland. While this is just a small step into the next era of vertical farming, the practice is helping farmers cut down growing times and reduce waste, according to IGS.  For example, according to IGS, the market for soft fruits such as berries in the U.K. is equivalent to $636 million per annum, but 100 percent of seedlings have to be imported into the country and 35 percent are thrown away before planting due to pests, disease and quality, costing the sector $16.4 million per annum. Growing seedlings locally using vertical farms could help defray those costs and improve the sustainability of local food systems. “[The] vertical farm gives producers a greater level of control over the first stages of the plant’s life,” Freddie Reed, product manager at IGS, wrote in an email. “Typically these early stages would take place in a glasshouse, however conditions are much less controllable than in a vertical farm where growers have complete control over every environmental aspect. In a glasshouse, conditions are influenced by external weather conditions so it may be too hot or cold, speeding up or slowing up growth accordingly. This means that when growers come to plant out their crop, they are often not at an ideal stage and might be either too big or too small.” Each tray is about 62 square feet, and the company has grown as many as 50 different crops in a single tower.      Courtesy of Intelligent Growth Solutions Close Authorship IGS licenses its technology to growers and farmers. It builds the farm towers and offers maintenance and innovation support while it is in operation. The company has eight farms deployed in Scotland, Australia and France and recently announced one for Abu Dhabi for customers including Eden Towers , Vertegrow and Madar Farms . But IGS is at an inflection point in scaling, according to CEO David Farquhar. The company expects to have 70 farms in production or live in 2022 with a large focus on the Middle East, where about 20 entities have reached out to inquiry about licensing the IGS farm technology, he said.  “Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, [United Arab Emirates], Oman, Saudi [Arabia], Jordan as well,” Farquhar said. “They have huge areas of desert. So the simple fact is that if they want to do this efficiently, they need to do it close to the centers of population. It’s important that we help them to find the right sites.”  We can grow chilies in about a month. Basil normally takes about a month to grow; we do it in about 16 days. IGS doesn’t sell the produce itself; it’s a technology company and turnkey service for growers offering 24/7 maintenance support, data analytics and crop recipes. Farquhar wants farmers to focus on what they do best; farming, while his team focuses on what they do best — engineering and designing the best vertical farm. According to Farquhar, his company has put millions of dollars into research and development aimed at a completely automated farming tower with smart LED lighting, precise ventilation controls and trays that create microclimates to grow things rarely seen in a vertical farm portfolio.  “We found that IGS was more of an industrial scale developer in terms of the height of the towers and the level of automation,” said Christian Prokscha, CEO of Eden Towers, a vertical farming company based in Australia and one of the company’s customers. “We were looking for large-scale industrial stuff. IGS’s crop model was a lot more advanced than a lot of the other competitors we looked at.” [ Read more about food & agriculture . ] Eden Towers has five farms, in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and Jakarta. The IGS system is in its Australia farms, where it grows kale, arugula, lettuce and bok choy. The company sends the produce to independent grocers who market under the grocer name, not Eden.  IGS’s farms are between 19.6 and 42.6 feet in height, with a footprint of 450 square feet. Each tray is about 62 square feet, and the company has grown as many as 50 crops in a single tower.  The dynamic lighting, automated ventilation and temperature controls are IGS’s secret to its crop variety expansion. Each tower has 100,000 LED lights that provide more than just “dumb sunlight” — in Farquhar’s words. The specific wavelengths and colors are calibrated for specific crops to increase efficiency and growth speed. The ventilation is also meticulously controlled for humidity and airspeed, and a second ventilation system absorbs the oxygen and water that the plants breathe out to keep the climate consistent. With each of these factors, the temperature between the trays in the tower can be up to 42 degrees Fahrenheit different.  The farms are between six and 13 meters in height, with a footprint of 450 square feet. Courtesy of Intelligent Growth Solutions. Close Authorship “Broccoli normally takes six weeks,” Farquhar said. “Our system will do it in 11 days. Seed potatoes that normally take 18 months, our system will do it in 75 days — 2.5 months compared to traditional farming. We can grow chilies in about a month. Basil normally takes about a month to grow; we do it in about 16 days. These are huge gains.” Farquhar is very passionate about addressing food deserts with his innovations. An island off the coast of his home country of Scotland generates a lot of renewable wind and tidal power but can’t grow enough fresh produce. That makes it a perfect place for energy-intensive vertical farms, he said.  “[The produce] comes in on a passenger ferry once a week,” Farquhar said. “And it’s probably already a week old, because of the journey it’s had to make. It’s not the freshest. If we can give [the island] a vertical farm, they’re able to grow for themselves 12 months of the year.” Energy concerns are ripe in the vertical farm world. A recent study from The World Wildlife Fund showed that certain conventional agriculture practices have a lower climate change impact than controlled-environment agriculture such as vertical farms because of the high energy inputs needed. For vertical farms to be sustainable, they need to be as energy-efficient as possible and get most of their energy from renewable sources.   IGS has succeeded on the energy reduction part, probably because it has the added incentive of reduced costs. According to Farquhar, the precise automated controls have dramatically reduced its energy usage. And the way the LEDs use power is very efficient, he said.  According to Reed, the extra low-voltage, three-phase power dramatically reduces energy consumption of the LEDs. They are dynamically controlled, delivering only the light the plants need when they need it. This process reduces power requirements by up to 50 percent compared to greenhouse growing. “When we did the assessment [of IGS] and looked at the [lighting and growing technology], the way that [IGS] converts the input power to the LED power was quite efficient. And that brought down the cost quite significantly of actually growing the crops,” Prokscha said.  Many places IGSs plans to build its vertical farms don’t have access to renewable energy grids.  “I think that’s a whole industry challenge and not just an IGS challenge,” he said.  [Want more great analysis on sustainable food systems? Sign up for  Food Weekly , our free email newsletter.] Pull Quote We can grow chilies in about a month. Basil normally takes about a month to grow; we do it in about 16 days. Topics Food & Agriculture Farmers Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Intelligent Growth Solutions’ ligh controls can grow produce in half the time as traditional ag. Courtesy of Intelligent Growth Solutions Close Authorship

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Meet one vertical farm venture helping the industry grow past greens

Meet one vertical farm venture helping the industry grow past greens

July 20, 2021 by  
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Meet one vertical farm venture helping the industry grow past greens Jesse Klein Tue, 07/20/2021 – 00:35 Vertical farming needs to get beyond the leafy green business — the ability to grow crops such as kale, microgreens and lettuce in urban or indoor settings won’t transform the entire agriculture system. The industry needs to cultivate a much wider array of produce to mark more than a niche impact. Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), a Scotland-based vertical farm manufacturer, has started inching into this territory alongside its capabilities in helping organizations with traditional leafy green vertical farming. Its system can grow potatoes, strawberries, broccoli and celery seedlings that can be used by farmers to propagate crops on traditional farmland. While this is just a small step into the next era of vertical farming, the practice is helping farmers cut down growing times and reduce waste, according to IGS.  For example, according to IGS, the market for soft fruits such as berries in the U.K. is equivalent to $636 million per annum, but 100 percent of seedlings have to be imported into the country and 35 percent are thrown away before planting due to pests, disease and quality, costing the sector $16.4 million per annum. Growing seedlings locally using vertical farms could help defray those costs and improve the sustainability of local food systems. “[The] vertical farm gives producers a greater level of control over the first stages of the plant’s life,” Freddie Reed, product manager at IGS, wrote in an email. “Typically these early stages would take place in a glasshouse, however conditions are much less controllable than in a vertical farm where growers have complete control over every environmental aspect. In a glasshouse, conditions are influenced by external weather conditions so it may be too hot or cold, speeding up or slowing up growth accordingly. This means that when growers come to plant out their crop, they are often not at an ideal stage and might be either too big or too small.” Each tray is about 62 square feet, and the company has grown as many as 50 different crops in a single tower.      Courtesy of Intelligent Growth Solutions Close Authorship IGS licenses its technology to growers and farmers. It builds the farm towers and offers maintenance and innovation support while it is in operation. The company has eight farms deployed in Scotland, Australia and France and recently announced one for Abu Dhabi for customers including Eden Towers , Vertegrow and Madar Farms . But IGS is at an inflection point in scaling, according to CEO David Farquhar. The company expects to have 70 farms in production or live in 2022 with a large focus on the Middle East, where about 20 entities have reached out to inquiry about licensing the IGS farm technology, he said.  “Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, [United Arab Emirates], Oman, Saudi [Arabia], Jordan as well,” Farquhar said. “They have huge areas of desert. So the simple fact is that if they want to do this efficiently, they need to do it close to the centers of population. It’s important that we help them to find the right sites.”  We can grow chilies in about a month. Basil normally takes about a month to grow; we do it in about 16 days. IGS doesn’t sell the produce itself; it’s a technology company and turnkey service for growers offering 24/7 maintenance support, data analytics and crop recipes. Farquhar wants farmers to focus on what they do best; farming, while his team focuses on what they do best — engineering and designing the best vertical farm. According to Farquhar, his company has put millions of dollars into research and development aimed at a completely automated farming tower with smart LED lighting, precise ventilation controls and trays that create microclimates to grow things rarely seen in a vertical farm portfolio.  “We found that IGS was more of an industrial scale developer in terms of the height of the towers and the level of automation,” said Christian Prokscha, CEO of Eden Towers, a vertical farming company based in Australia and one of the company’s customers. “We were looking for large-scale industrial stuff. IGS’s crop model was a lot more advanced than a lot of the other competitors we looked at.” [ Read more about food & agriculture . ] Eden Towers has five farms, in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and Jakarta. The IGS system is in its Australia farms, where it grows kale, arugula, lettuce and bok choy. The company sends the produce to independent grocers who market under the grocer name, not Eden.  IGS’s farms are between 19.6 and 42.6 feet in height, with a footprint of 450 square feet. Each tray is about 62 square feet, and the company has grown as many as 50 crops in a single tower.  The dynamic lighting, automated ventilation and temperature controls are IGS’s secret to its crop variety expansion. Each tower has 100,000 LED lights that provide more than just “dumb sunlight” — in Farquhar’s words. The specific wavelengths and colors are calibrated for specific crops to increase efficiency and growth speed. The ventilation is also meticulously controlled for humidity and airspeed, and a second ventilation system absorbs the oxygen and water that the plants breathe out to keep the climate consistent. With each of these factors, the temperature between the trays in the tower can be up to 42 degrees Fahrenheit different.  The farms are between six and 13 meters in height, with a footprint of 450 square feet. Courtesy of Intelligent Growth Solutions. Close Authorship “Broccoli normally takes six weeks,” Farquhar said. “Our system will do it in 11 days. Seed potatoes that normally take 18 months, our system will do it in 75 days — 2.5 months compared to traditional farming. We can grow chilies in about a month. Basil normally takes about a month to grow; we do it in about 16 days. These are huge gains.” Farquhar is very passionate about addressing food deserts with his innovations. An island off the coast of his home country of Scotland generates a lot of renewable wind and tidal power but can’t grow enough fresh produce. That makes it a perfect place for energy-intensive vertical farms, he said.  “[The produce] comes in on a passenger ferry once a week,” Farquhar said. “And it’s probably already a week old, because of the journey it’s had to make. It’s not the freshest. If we can give [the island] a vertical farm, they’re able to grow for themselves 12 months of the year.” Energy concerns are ripe in the vertical farm world. A recent study from The World Wildlife Fund showed that certain conventional agriculture practices have a lower climate change impact than controlled-environment agriculture such as vertical farms because of the high energy inputs needed. For vertical farms to be sustainable, they need to be as energy-efficient as possible and get most of their energy from renewable sources.   IGS has succeeded on the energy reduction part, probably because it has the added incentive of reduced costs. According to Farquhar, the precise automated controls have dramatically reduced its energy usage. And the way the LEDs use power is very efficient, he said.  According to Reed, the extra low-voltage, three-phase power dramatically reduces energy consumption of the LEDs. They are dynamically controlled, delivering only the light the plants need when they need it. This process reduces power requirements by up to 50 percent compared to greenhouse growing. “When we did the assessment [of IGS] and looked at the [lighting and growing technology], the way that [IGS] converts the input power to the LED power was quite efficient. And that brought down the cost quite significantly of actually growing the crops,” Prokscha said.  Many places IGSs plans to build its vertical farms don’t have access to renewable energy grids.  “I think that’s a whole industry challenge and not just an IGS challenge,” he said.  [Want more great analysis on sustainable food systems? Sign up for  Food Weekly , our free email newsletter.] Pull Quote We can grow chilies in about a month. Basil normally takes about a month to grow; we do it in about 16 days. Topics Food & Agriculture Farmers Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Intelligent Growth Solutions’ ligh controls can grow produce in half the time as traditional ag. Courtesy of Intelligent Growth Solutions Close Authorship

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Meet one vertical farm venture helping the industry grow past greens

The Garden House is built like a renewable power station

July 5, 2021 by  
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This seemingly small, shingle-covered home in Melbourne, Australia may not look like a sustainable powerhouse, but in reality it is generating 100kwh of  energy  per day with a 26kwh Tesla battery. This number stands out compared to the 19kwh of energy the average Australian house uses per day. Known as the Garden House, the modern abode has an impressive set of sustainability features. In addition to its 17kW  solar panels  that face north, east and west to maximize solar output throughout the day, it also boasts a 15,000-liter rainwater tank stored under the garage for use in the toilets and to irrigate the garden. Related: Biophilic dome homes produce more energy than they consume The goal was to create a self-sustaining,  modern  home that didn’t feel big yet could accommodate a family of five. According to the clients, the architects were able to make this dream a reality. “Our home doesn’t feel too huge, it feels homely and cosy,” said the owners. “It’s like a little eco system, the more people the more sense it makes. It’s a multitasking house, doing four things at the same time. There’s logical space for it and it all works.” This was achieved by breaking up the bulk of the house into four smaller zones: an office, a kitchen/living room, a dining area and a kids’ area, each connected through mirrored glass links or bridges. Since the glass reflects its lush surroundings, the result is a cozy space that maintains a cohesive style. According to the designers, the clients wanted to keep as much of the plot’s existing greenery as possible, so they could enjoy the  garden  feel right when they moved in. The home also includes underfloor insulation, hydronic heating and double glazed windows with thermally broken aluminum frames. Such features allow the house to operate without gas or fossil fuels. For materials, the designers opted for  recycled  brick and 50% fly-ash content cement to lower emissions. The home has since won accolades from the Victorian Institute of Architects Awards. Austin Maynard Architects also dubbed the project its “most sustainable house so far.” + Austin Maynard Architects Via Dezeen Images via Austin Maynard Architects

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The Garden House is built like a renewable power station

The Garden House is built like a renewable power station

July 5, 2021 by  
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This seemingly small, shingle-covered home in Melbourne, Australia may not look like a sustainable powerhouse, but in reality it is generating 100kwh of  energy  per day with a 26kwh Tesla battery. This number stands out compared to the 19kwh of energy the average Australian house uses per day. Known as the Garden House, the modern abode has an impressive set of sustainability features. In addition to its 17kW  solar panels  that face north, east and west to maximize solar output throughout the day, it also boasts a 15,000-liter rainwater tank stored under the garage for use in the toilets and to irrigate the garden. Related: Biophilic dome homes produce more energy than they consume The goal was to create a self-sustaining,  modern  home that didn’t feel big yet could accommodate a family of five. According to the clients, the architects were able to make this dream a reality. “Our home doesn’t feel too huge, it feels homely and cosy,” said the owners. “It’s like a little eco system, the more people the more sense it makes. It’s a multitasking house, doing four things at the same time. There’s logical space for it and it all works.” This was achieved by breaking up the bulk of the house into four smaller zones: an office, a kitchen/living room, a dining area and a kids’ area, each connected through mirrored glass links or bridges. Since the glass reflects its lush surroundings, the result is a cozy space that maintains a cohesive style. According to the designers, the clients wanted to keep as much of the plot’s existing greenery as possible, so they could enjoy the  garden  feel right when they moved in. The home also includes underfloor insulation, hydronic heating and double glazed windows with thermally broken aluminum frames. Such features allow the house to operate without gas or fossil fuels. For materials, the designers opted for  recycled  brick and 50% fly-ash content cement to lower emissions. The home has since won accolades from the Victorian Institute of Architects Awards. Austin Maynard Architects also dubbed the project its “most sustainable house so far.” + Austin Maynard Architects Via Dezeen Images via Austin Maynard Architects

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The Garden House is built like a renewable power station

California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection

July 5, 2021 by  
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The world is indeed lucky when our most brilliant minds choose to work for the common good, rather than chasing money or becoming master criminals. So Inhabitat wants to thank young Ryan Honary for his work on an early detection system for wildfires . Sickened by the losses people sustained in the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s deadliest wildfire, Honary turned his attention to how to mitigate future disasters. In 2019, Honary won the $10,000 grand prize in the Ignite Innovation Student Challenge for his Early Wildfire Detection Network submission, which provides app technology to firefighters. He was only in fifth grade at the time. Related: Rocky Mountains experience more severe and frequent wildfires Turning 14 years old and going into the eighth grade in the fall, Honary is busy working on SensoRy AI , the company he founded. With the help of his father, Hooman Honary, and a team of experts, the startup has already received a lot of attention. The Office of Naval Research awarded SensoRy AI a grant of nearly $1.6 million earlier this year. Honary talked to Inhabitat about how he managed to achieve more than most people do in their lives before even getting to middle school as well as his vision for using AI and other technology for helping people in the future. Inhabitat: Tell us a bit about your early interest and training in science and artificial intelligence. Honary: I was always interested in the applications of technology. Because of my dad’s background, I was exposed early on to programming, and I started creating my websites when I was in third grade. I learned Python and Javascript in a local after- school program called Ardent Academy. In parallel, I became very passionate about animals and the environment . I also became concerned as I saw how much the environment is under pressure because of a variety of issues. My science teachers at school encouraged me and provided many resources for me to study environmental issues. These issues became very personal when massive wildfires started hitting California on a pretty regular basis, ruining the air quality, destroying homes and unfortunately killing some people. I started thinking about how the power of technology can be used to solve many environmental problems such as wildfires. I had been reading about the predictive powers of AI . I reached out to and started learning about artificial intelligence from a family friend who was a PhD student at UCLA working on Machine Learning. Inhabitat: How did you research wildfires? Honary: I was shocked when I first heard about the Camp Fire of 2018 on the TV. From then, I started reading about wildfires all over the internet. Both from places such as National Geographic as well as CAL FIRE. I started researching why it is so hard to manage and extinguish these massive wildfires. More specifically, in order to capture data to train the Machine Learning models on my fire detectors, I captured real-world data from Google Earth about the Camp Fire of 2018 in Northern California. There is a tremendous amount of useful data available for free on Google Earth. It’s an awesome resource. Inhabitat: Could you give a basic explanation of how your system works? Honary: My system consists of a network of detectors: mini meteorological stations and fire detectors. My network consists of mesh networking, which means that all the nodes can communicate with each other. As a result, once a fire is detected by a fire detector, the information can be communicated from node-to-node until it reaches a mini meteorological station where it will then be sent to the app I created using Javascript. In order for the system to operate, the detectors must be 100-150 feet apart, so it would depend on the size of the area being monitored to know how many sensors would be needed. The sensors would be placed in rugged and fragile places. The sensors on the detector can track the fires and communicate that information in real-time to the mini meteorological station and then to the app. Also, machine learning can be used to predict where the fires are going to go. Inhabitat: What was it like to win the Ignite Innovation Student Challenge? Honary: When I first found out I won, I was shocked! I never thought that I could’ve won a national-level science competition, especially since I was a fifth-grader and it was a middle school competition! That win inspired me to continue working on my project and helped bring me where I am today. Inhabitat: What is your role in SensoRy AI now? Honary: I am leading the environmental part of my company. I am hoping to turn our platform into a real working product solving real-world environmental problems. As part of that, I have contacts with scientists from Forest Service and the EPA which provide me data and guidance, enabling me to conduct research. Inhabitat: What’s it like to be a kid working closely with the Office of Naval Research and other much older colleagues? Honary: I feel honored that a distinguished research group, such as the Office of Naval Research, has decided to offer our project a research grant. It is sometimes a little scary to work with older people, but I enjoy learning from their experience. I am hoping to attract more people from my generation to join our company. At the end of the day, the environment is going to be a big responsibility for my generation. Inhabitat: Tell us a little bit about your hope for future applications of the early detection technology. Honary: The early detection technology can be used in future applications such as methane gas leaks in refineries and oil plants and water contamination caused by mining or other human-based activities. In any scenario where an environmental disaster can start from a high-risk location, our early detection and growth prediction platform can be utilized to help preserve the environment. Inhabitat: What else should readers know about you and SensoRy AI? Honary: We are a group of technologists who are very passionate about leveraging technology and AI to solve environmental problems. We have access to sophisticated AI experts as well as research funding. We would love to help anyone who has an environmental problem and is looking for technology-based solutions. + SensoRy AI Images via SensoRy AI and NASA

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California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection

The Toranomon-Azabudai Project puts health before business

July 2, 2021 by  
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The Toranomon-Azabudai Project, a collaboration between several design firms, is a modern urban village built with nature and humans at its core and business on the perimeter. This multipurpose development in the heart of Tokyo is filled with lush green spaces and gathering areas. With an open outdoor floor plan, the design includes offices, residences, a hotel , an international school, retail shops, restaurants and cultural facilities. It will provide space for work, learning, recreation, interaction and relaxation. Related: Winning designs unveiled for the sustainable redesign of Saratov The Toranomon-Azabudai Project is a revamp of a long, narrow area that previously was broken up by deteriorating houses and buildings. Overall, the city infrastructure was in need of an upgrade. The goal of the developers and local residents was to update the area and provide all the amenities of a big city while keeping a small village feel. Toranomon-Azabudai District Urban Redevelopment Association, in collaboration with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Heatherwick Studio, Sou Fujimoto Architects and developer Mori Building Co, among others, acknowledge a common vision of placing the landscaping and central square first, then working the three high-rise buildings in afterward. This is in direct contrast to most developments, where buildings take precedence. The philosophy honors the two pillars of green and wellness at every stage. Some buildings will feature green roofs , and the central square will be enrobed in trees, flowers and waterscapes. The entire neighborhood will be powered by 100% renewable energy sources, which will meet the targets stipulated in the RE100 international environmental initiative led by the U.K.’s Climate Group. Developers also plan to meet the criteria to earn WELL and LEED-ND certification . The project is working to set an example for solutions to modern concerns around carbon emissions, loss of biodiversity and lack of accessible healthcare.  Construction began on August 5, 2019 and has an anticipated completion date in March 2023. Once complete, it is expected to support 20,000 employees and 3,500 residents, plus welcome 25-35 million visitors per year. + Mori Building Co. Images via Mori Building Co.

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The Toranomon-Azabudai Project puts health before business

Tesla earns contract for world’s first solar, wind and storage project

October 20, 2017 by  
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Tesla has won its first contract with Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, to supply its Powerpack batteries for a project that combines solar power , wind power, and Tesla’s storage technology — the first of its kind in the world. The $160 million project is being managed by Windlab at the Kennedy Energy Park hybrid renewable energy site in North Queensland, Australia. Windlab recently announced that it has been granted funding by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and it has chosen Tesla, Vestas, and Quanta as its partners. The Tesla/Vestas project at Kennedy Energy Park will consist of 12 Vestas wind turbines , each with a height of 132 meters (433 feet), the tallest in Australia. Tesla’s battery storage technology is particularly helpful in places like Queensland, which boasts strong winds but only during certain times of the day. Tesla’s Powerpacks will allow the wind energy captured during the afternoon to be used throughout the day and night as needed. The project is expected to be completed in about a year and will be fully operational by the end of next year. When completed, the project is estimated to create 100 local jobs and will provide power for 35,000 Australian households. Related: Tesla is shipping hundreds of Powerwall battery systems to Puerto Rico “We believe Kennedy Energy Park will demonstrate how effectively wind, solar and storage can be combined to provide low cost, reliable and clean energy for Australia’s future,” said Roger Price, Executive Chairman and CEO of Windlab. “The broader adoption of projects like Kennedy can…ensure that Australia can more than meet its Paris Commitments while putting downward pressure on energy prices.” This most recent Powerpack news follows efforts by Tesla to bring its battery storage and micro-grid technology to the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in Australia, in what is expected to be the world’s largest battery installation. Via Electrek Images via Tesla and Depositphotos

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