First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

February 24, 2020 by  
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Move over steel and concrete — a pioneering cross-laminated timber (CLT) project that’s set to break ground in Boston could spearhead a greater adoption of mass timber across the country. Local startup  Generate Architecture + Technologies  has teamed up with progressive developer Placetailor to lead the project — the city’s first-ever CLT Cellular Passive House Demonstration Project — and provide live/work spaces in Lower Roxbury. Developed with the startup’s Model-C system for prefabricated kit-of-parts construction, the building will forgo conventional concrete and steel materials in favor of carbon-sequestering engineered wood products. Expected to break ground in June of 2020, the CLT Passive House demonstration project will comprise five floors with 14 residential units as well as innovative and affordable co-working spaces for the local community on the ground floor. In addition to introducing low-carbon, mixed-use  programming to the neighborhood, the project will be a working prototype for Generate’s Model-C, “a replicable system for housing delivery methods designed to address climate and community.”  The Model-C system is not only designed to function at net-zero carbon levels, but is also Passive House certified and built to the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development “Zero Emissions Standards,” which were developed with Placetailor. As a result, the demonstration project is expected to have a significantly reduced carbon footprint as compared to traditional construction. The  CLT  rooftop canopy is also engineered to make it easy to mount solar panels. Modular units, like the bathrooms, can be prefabricated offsite and then plugged into the building to reduce construction time and waste.  Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Thanks to  prefabrication  methods and the reduction of interior framing, the Model-C prototype is expected to completed by the end of 2020 and will be available for tours at the Industrial Wood-Based Construction (IWBC) conference in Boston on November 4. Generate is also exploring the possibility of applying the Model-C system to projects that range from six to 18 stories across the U.S. + Generate Images by Forbes Massie Studio

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First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

Designer Dana Cohen creates unique, recycled fabric garments

February 24, 2020 by  
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It’s no secret that the United States wastes millions of tons of textiles every year. From fast fashion to unsustainable production to consumers simply choosing to throw out clothes instead of donating them, the environmental costs of fabric waste is starting to add up — and fast. A 2015 graduate of the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Dana Cohen is choosing ecological design methods and making waves in the sustainable fashion industry. Cohen’s first award-winning collection, Worn Again, was developed in 2015 using recycled materials. By taking discarded fabrics and shredding them into smaller monochromatic fibers, Cohen was able to create new felted textiles out of scraps that would usually be taken to the landfill. After the process was complete, the designer was left with a completely unique knit boasting a combination of colors and patterns produced by the different original fabrics. Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think The process to create these eco-textiles combines machinery and hand work to help give each piece a one-of-a-kind look. The felting process also leaves the material extremely soft and durable. The Worn Again collection won both the Fini Leitersdorf Excellence Award for Creativity and Originality in Fashion and the Rozen Award for Design and Sustainable Technologies in 2015. In 2018, Cohen revealed the City Growth collection, which was featured in Tel Aviv Fashion Week and Vietnam International Fashion Week that same year. The collection was inspired by global urban development and the diminution of agriculture by city growth, something Cohen had seen first-hand as the daughter of a farmer. Unsurprisingly, the collection went on to also earn awards, including the Israeli Lottery Company Fashion Design Award, the “Mifal Hapais.” In 2019, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem displayed the City Grown collection as part of an exhibition on fashion statements. The designer’s mission is to help people feel good inside and out by providing exclusive and beautiful garments that have a positive impact on society while still maintaining style. Cohen’s inspirational designs prove that recycled products can be just as fashionable (if not more) than traditional clothing items. + Dana Cohen Photography by Rafi Deloya, Rotem Lebel and Ron Kedmi via Dana Cohen

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Designer Dana Cohen creates unique, recycled fabric garments

New BU academic tower will be 100% free from fossil fuels

January 29, 2020 by  
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To advance a Climate Action Plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2040, Boston University has recently broken ground on the Center for Computing & Data Sciences, a 19-floor complex expected to become the “University’s and Boston’s biggest and most sustainable, energy-efficient building” once built. Toronto-based firm KPMB Architects led the design of the 345,000-square-foot project, which will house BU’s mathematics, statistics and computer science departments under one roof. The tower, which will be the tallest building on campus , will feature a suite of energy-saving and energy-generating technologies, including geothermal wells, state-of-the-art shading systems and triple-glazed windows. Located at the heart of the campus, the Center for Computing & Data Sciences will be the university’s first major teaching center in half a century and is slated for completion in 2022. Key to the design of the tower is the “vertical campus” concept that encourages a sense of community over 19 floors. In addition to maximizing transparency and accessibility, the architects have strategically configured the building to house the most-trafficked areas — such as the classrooms, learning labs and functional spaces — on the lower levels, while the upper floors contain the university departments. The rooftop hosts quiet lunch and meeting spaces optimized for concentration. Collaborative spaces will be woven throughout, including expansive whiteboard walls and a series of terraced platforms for small-group interactions. Related: The new Center for Student Services is a sustainable gateway for Boston University “The new Center for Computing & Data Sciences building makes a dynamic urban place that is a crossroads and a beacon for Boston University’s central campus,” the architects explained in a project statement. “The design maximizes opportunities for mixing, interaction and interconnectivity. The building serves as a platform for innovation formatted as a vertical campus. Every element is integrated to establish Data Sciences as Boston University’s new iconic heart.” To meet net-zero energy standards, the Center will depend on a ground-source heat exchange system with 31 1,500-foot-deep geothermal wells for heating and cooling. Energy loss will be minimized with external sun shading devices, triple-glazed windows, enhanced heating and ventilation systems and LED lighting . The tower will also be built 5 feet above the city for Boston’s suggested level for sea level rise. + KPMB Architects Images via KPMB Architects

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New BU academic tower will be 100% free from fossil fuels

Designer stylishly revamps a geodesic dome

September 2, 2019 by  
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After more than 15 years styling vacation homes in Massachusetts’ Berkshires, Jess Cooney and her design team have become specialists in combining clean-line elegance with a space where kids, house guests and dogs can play, relax and have fun. But taking on a geodesic dome in the tiny Berkshires town of Becket was a new challenge for Jess Cooney Interiors — a challenge that the team overcame with much success. “This was the first we worked on,” Cooney told Inhabitat. “We liked the challenge of making the space really efficient while working with all the angles in the space.” Finding flat areas in the geodesic dome home for vanities and appliances proved especially tricky. Related: Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs The 2,567-square-foot lakefront cabin was built in the 1980s and is owned by a Boston couple. A central spiral staircase connects the main level, basement and loft. Buckminster Fuller developed the geodesic dome in 1954, seeking to enclose maximum space with minimal internal supports. During the 1960s and ‘70s, dome popularity grew. Cooney faced the challenge of making what looked like a futuristic design in midcentury appear elegant and modern today. When the Boston couple bought the geodesic dome , it was crying out for a makeover. Dark wood paneling, dated finishes and old heating and electrical systems were dragging it down. Plus, old wall-to-wall carpeting wasn’t friendly to the sandy feet of guests. The team got to work stripping finishes and carpeting. Walnut flooring is a key improvement. “The lower level has wood plank flooring that are tiles in place of wood flooring that work really well for people coming in and out of the lake,” Cooney said. The design team added radiant heat and new treads on the staircase. Cooney also saw the importance of balancing open space for family time with more private areas. The designer said the most interesting aspects of the project were “the windows and the different materials we brought in with bamboo , oak and the high level sheetrock we put in place of the old wood paneling on the ceiling.” Instead of dark paneling, the dome’s interior is now a stunning white, which makes the most of the vaulted ceiling and the large, striking triangular windows. Daylight fills the main living area, and views of the surrounding trees are a blink away. Cooney chose calming colors throughout most of the geodesic dome , such as a silvery velvet sofa and blue armchairs. Guests can relax around a fireplace complete with a floating oak mantel. “The kitchen was the most challenging for us,” Cooney said. “But by creating a pantry in the back, we were able to make the whole space work well.” The family can choose between eating in the larger main dining space, or a more intimate eating area with a circular table. Local, third-generation cabinet maker Erik Schutz custom-built both the dining table and the kitchen table. Upstairs is the light-filled master bedroom, illuminated by a hexagonal skylight and side windows. A slate bed frame by Old Bones Co enhances the clean, modern look. The guest bedroom incorporates concrete nightstands by Fourhands with a woven chair from Orient Express. The bathroom is the biggest splash of color, with gorgeous teal tiles made all the more eye-catching because most of the design is so neutral. The basement offers additional living space, with comfy chairs and ottomans. Cooney also fit in an office and mudroom. Now, the owners are adding an outdoor deck and new landscaping to truly make the most of the home, inside and out. + Jess Cooney Interiors Via Dezeen Photography by Lisa Vollmer Photography via Jess Cooney Interiors

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Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil

September 19, 2018 by  
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While they are chock-full of nutrients, greens such as spinach, kale, chard and romaine typically do not make for good leftovers. Luckily, there are plenty of uses for this tasty produce — even if it is soggy and nearly bad — that won’t make you feel like you’ve wasted money or contributed to the growing food waste crisis. Here are 11 different ways you can use leftover greens before they spoil. Sautéed Greens Certain types of greens, like arugula, kale , chard and spinach, are ideal for adding to a stir-fry or sautéing. Add these greens with shallots, peppers and garlic, and sauté them with a bit of olive oil. If you are making a traditional stir-fry, the ribs of romaine and iceberg lettuce are great for adding a crispy element to the dish. Kale Pesto Who knew kale could be incorporated into a spaghetti dish? Start by making a pesto with kale with a food processor. Then, boil some spaghetti noodles and combine them with the pesto. Add a few sun-dried tomatoes to the mix and top everything off with some goat or vegan cheese. Once you have mastered making kale pesto, you can use it in a number of different dishes, including raviolis and fish, such as tilapia. Lettuce Soup It might not sound good, but leftover greens actually make a great soup . You can make a delicious soup out of an assortment of leftover greens, including Boston, romaine, butter, Bibb and iceberg lettuces. You can also play with a variety of spices, like thyme, garlic and tarragon, until you find a flavor combination you like. Add in potato for a heartier meal. Lettuce Cups and Wraps You can put just about anything that you would put on a sandwich in a lettuce wrap, and it will taste good. If you are looking for something new, try wrapping a mixture of rice, spicy peppers and other veggies and proteins of your choice. Like wraps, lettuce cups are a great way to use leftover greens before they spoil. Romaine lettuce and iceberg are better for cups, because they have large leaves and are a little sturdier than their counterparts. There is an assortment of lettuce cup recipes on the internet, but our favorite combines pine nuts, tofu (or chicken, if you prefer) and peppers to create a tasty treat. Green Smoothies One of the quickest ways to use leftover greens is to incorporate them into a smoothie. Greens make excellent smoothies that are both tasty and nutritious. Add a bit of fruit plus ginger for extra flavor. You can also try your hand at making a detox smoothie. For this drink, use leftover kale, apples, ginger and lemon. Start by slicing six apples. Juice three of them, and add the juice to your blender. Then toss in the chopped kale, lemon and ginger. Once everything is mixed in, add the rest of the apple slices and blend. One tip for this recipe is to use apples that are crisp, which will help give the smoothie a good consistency. But if you are trying to use up nearly-expired apples, those will work fine, too. Mac & Cheese Leftover kale actually makes great mac and cheese and can help infuse nutrients into the dish. Just cook the dish as you normally would (we recommend homemade, not boxed!), and combine the chopped kale at the very end as you are mixing everything together. Place in the oven to soften the kale and you are good to go. If you prefer spinach, it also makes a great addition to this classic comfort dish . Rice With Greens Mixing rice, including fried rice, with greens is a great way to make a traditional dish healthier. Start by cooking the rice as you normally would. Mix in a cup or more of chopped greens and your preferred spices. Cook until the kale is soft and serve hot. Coleslaw Leftover greens are great for making a quick coleslaw. Hardier greens, such as kale, mustard, chard or turnip tops, are more ideal for coleslaw, because they generally stay fresher longer. If you notice some yellowing leaves, simply cut off these portions and cut the rest into small strips. Add a vinaigrette to the mixture and the result is a fresh slaw that is sure to please. Grilled Lettuce Grilling lettuce is a great way to use it up before it wilts away. Start by cutting lettuce into wedges and coat with olive oil, salt and garlic. The sugars in the lettuce, especially if you use iceberg or romaine, will caramelize in the cooking process. Once the greens are fully cooked, sprinkle them with some cheese of your choice and enjoy. Spinach Yogurt Dip Spinach and kale can be combined to create an amazing yogurt dip. Gather Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, kale, spinach, green onions, red pepper, carrots, garlic and some paprika. The key to this dish is to make sure all of the ingredients are finely chopped so that they combine well with the yogurt. You can also add artichoke hearts or water chestnuts for a little more variety. Serve this dish with veggies or chips. Braised Lettuce Did you know that you can braise lettuce? Well, you can, and it is pretty delicious to boot. You can try different recipes with this dish, but braising lettuce in coconut milk and then adding some ginger, black pepper and garlic makes for an amazing appetizer. To braise lettuce, start by chopping it up and sauté it until the leaves are slightly brown. Then add some vegetable broth and bring everything to a boil. Cover and heat for around 15 minutes to finish the braise. Images via Chiara Conti , Tim Sackton , Alice Pasqual , Stu Spivack , Vegan Feast Catering , Kimberly Nanney , Jodi Michelle , Zachary Collier , Gloria Cabada-Leman and Shutterstock

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Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil

New study finds food waste will increase to 66 tons per second if left unchecked

August 21, 2018 by  
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A new analysis from Boston Consulting Group (BCG)  has found that global food waste will increase by more than 30% by 2030 if no action is taken. The figures themselves are even more alarming: a total of 2.1 billion tons of food is projected to be thrown away or, in the case of perishables, lost; this amount equates to a colossal 66 tons per second. Related: Dairy farmers’ excess milk gets a second life feeding the hungry Currently, about 1.6 billion tons of food goes to waste each year, which represents $1.2 trillion worth of food and accounts for 8% of yearly global green house emissions. And, while food loss awareness is on the rise, global attempts to deal with the issue are not. According to Shalini Unnikrishnan, a partner and managing director of BCG, attempts to deal with food waste are “fragmented, limited and ultimately insufficient given the magnitude of the problem,” In fact, the probelm will only get words as countries continue to industrialize. “As population grows rapidly in certain industrializing parts of the world, like in Asia, consumption is growing very rapidly,” Unnikrishnan observed. Related: The Agraloop turns food waste into sustainable clothing fibers One possible solution, according to BCG, is the creation of an ecolabel, such as those found on fair trade products. This ecolabel would let consumers know which companies have committed to reducing waste and make it easier to buy responsibly. However, “The scale of the problem is one that will continue to grow while we’re developing our solutions,” Unnikrishnan said. The UN hopes to halve food waste by 2030, but if governments, companies and consumers don’t make significant changes in the way they approach food – and work together to do it – there is little chance of this happening. According to Unnikrishnan, “It’s not an easy problem, no single country, no single entity can solve the entire problem on their own.” + Boston Consulting Group Via The Guardian

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New study finds food waste will increase to 66 tons per second if left unchecked

Spectacular town hall doubles as a bridge in Denmarks Faroe Islands

August 21, 2018 by  
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When Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects was tapped to design the Town Hall in Eysturkommuna, the firm knew that there would be no point in trying to compete with the sublime Faroe Islands setting. Sculpted by wind and volcanic forces, the lush Nordic landscape instead provided inspiration for the building, which doubles as a bridge over a river and appears as a green-roofed extension of its surroundings. Blurring the line between nature and building, the Town Hall pays homage to traditional Faroese architecture with a new contemporary twist. Located in the village of Norðragøta, the Town Hall in Eysturkommuna is a subtle addition to the lush landscape that was created to help revive the local community. With an area of 750 square meters, the building is remarkably small for a town hall , yet what the structure lacks in size it makes up for in dramatic views. Doubling as a bridge, the angular building unites what used to be two separated municipalities and is partly wrapped in full-height glazing to frame stunning vistas of mountains and water. A circular mirror-lined glazed opening was also inserted into the floor to allow views of the rushing river below. “A central theme in traditional Faroese architecture is the blurred line between nature and building, the fact that the spectator has difficulties distinguishing where the landscape ends and the building begins,” explains Ósbjørn Jacobsen, Partner at Henning Larsen. “The primary conceptual idea behind the design of the town hall is driven by the notion of this fleeting line between landscape and building. I believe that could be one way to approach modern Faroese architecture.” Related: Danish architects deck out Viborg town hall with green roofs and solar panels The public is not only invited to enjoy the interior of the Town Hall, but they are also welcome to use the terraces and green roof for picnics or to even swim in the river. To heighten the building’s connection with the site, artist Jens Ladekarl Thomsen created an exterior sound and light installation that draws from the sounds and structure of the local neighborhoods and nature and “lets passersby believe the ‘house speaks’ of its surroundings.” + Henning Larsen Architects Images by Nic Lehoux

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Australia takes stand on single-use plastic bags

July 2, 2018 by  
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Single-use plastic bags are going out of style in Australia, but shoppers aren’t thrilled by the reduction. Two major retailers, Big W and Coles, have officially ended the use of plastic shopping bags from their stores. The move effectively outlaws their use in nearly every Australian state. After Tasmania and South Australia started by installing a plastic bag ban, national retailers voluntarily began relying on them in stores. On June 20, 2018, Woolworths stopped offering single-use bags, instead charging shoppers 11 cents for reusable plastic totes starting July 9. After sharp customer backlash, the totes will be free until July 8. Related: Billions of pieces of plastic trash are sickening the world’s coral reefs The other two retail chains pulled the plastic shopping bags off their shelves July 1. To quell community outrage, Coles brought on more staff to ensure check-out lines moved quickly as a result of the shift. As a nation, Australia is reducing its reliance on one-use plastic products to combat ocean pollution . According to the United Nations’ Environment Program , the world produces over 300 million tons of plastic annually. Approximately 2.6 percent – eight million tons and as many as 5 trillion plastic bags – end up in the ocean, where they can poison marine life. Without reducing single-use plastic production, the UN estimates plastics could outnumber ocean fish in just over 30 years. While the move is environmentally conscious , it isn’t popular with shoppers. According to Australian labor union SDA, around 43 percent of retail workers said they suffered “abuse” from shoppers because of the change. At least one was reportedly assaulted, leading the union to start a public service announcement campaign to educate the public about plastic pollution. In the United States, the National Conference of State Legislatures shows only two states have instituted single-use plastic bag bans for shoppers: California and Hawaii . Six major cities, including Austin, Boston, Chicago and Seattle, have all banned single-use bags, while four states and at least six cities charge fees to shoppers who opt for plastic bags. Via NPR and Reuters

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Eco-friendly Community Rowing Boathouse boasts a stunning kinetic facade

June 27, 2018 by  
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Cambridge-based Anmahian Winton Architects has designed a new eco-friendly home for the largest public rowing organization in the United States—the Community Rowing Boathouse in Boston, Massachusetts. Created to offer rowing opportunities at all skill levels, the modern community landmark comprises two buildings that cater to underserved populations, such as Boston public middle school students, the physically disabled and veterans. To lower energy demands and reduce the rowing boathouse’s environmental footprint, Anmahian Winton Architects optimized the buildings for natural lighting and ventilation and also installed stormwater reuse systems and geothermal wells. Located on the south side of the Charles River in the Boston neighborhood of Brighton, the Community Rowing Boathouse’s site had long been used as a staging area for heavy construction equipment. Instead of simply plopping a building on site, Anmahian Winton Architects considered the surrounding environment in their design and sought to remediate the land and restore habitat in the process. Thus, the design process included improving soil permeability and the implementation of stormwater and rainwater harvesting and reuse. The larger building’s appearance was also created in response to the environment and features a kinetic facade that changes shape with the movement of the sun and users’ movements around the structure while mimicking the rhythmic patterns of rowing and the river. Related: Boston outlines its plans to adapt to rising sea levels “CRI’s design expands the traditional vocabulary of rowing facilities on the river, reflecting the proportions and cladding of regional precedents, such as New England’s iconic tobacco barns and covered bridges, and anchoring this new building to its surroundings,” explains Anmahian Winton Architects. “The main building’s pre-fabricated kinetic cladding system of large-scale, hand-operated panels facilitated fabrication and expedited installation on a compressed construction schedule. These operable vents eliminate the need for mechanical cooling and ventilation of the 300-foot long boat storage bays, providing functionality and energy efficiency. Glass shingles sheath the sculling pavilion to protect, ventilate and display smaller boats to the adjacent parkway.” + Anmahian Winton Architects Images by Jane Messinger

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Eco-friendly Community Rowing Boathouse boasts a stunning kinetic facade

Boston just officially banned single-use plastic bags

December 20, 2017 by  
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Boston just became Massachusetts’ 60th town to pass a ban on plastic bags . Mayor Martin Walsh recently signed the measure, which will go into effect next December – and a statewide ban is pending before the legislature. 357 million single-use plastic bags will be used in Boston this year, according to Metro . Councilor Matt O’Malley, lead sponsor of the measure, said 20 tons of plastic bags are tossed into Boston’s single-stream recycling every single month – and workers must spend hours every day extracting bags from equipment. Related: Kenya introduces world’s harshest law on plastic bags That’s to say nothing of the environmental impact of plastic bags. O’Malley told Metro, “Plastic bags are only used for an average of 12 minutes, but their impact on the city’s streets and drains is permanent. They end up in streets, storm gutters, trees, and tangled in our wildlife and marine ecosystem .” These environmental arguments helped sway the mayor, who said he signed it for benefits such as cutting down litter . When the ban takes effect, shoppers will need to pay five cents for aarger paper bags or thicker, compostable plastic bags – or use reusable bags . Stores will collect the money to help offset the cost of the bags, which are more expensive. But not everyone is happy with the plastic bag ban. Critics of the measure said it was basically a tax on the poor. Local Deborah Branting told the Boston Globe she’s been stockpiling plastic bags, describing the ban as “an unnecessary inconvenience for people who are financially less fortunate.” American Progressive Bag Alliance executive director Matt Seaholm said in a statement the ban “incentivizes the use of products that can be worse for the environment than 100 percent recyclable, highly reused plastic retail bags.” O’Malley said he will work with all stakeholders to carry out the ban and “ensure that every Bostonian has access to reusable bags.” Via TreeHugger , the Boston Globe , and Metro Images via Depositphotos and votsek on Flickr

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