Inferno rages through North California, killing at least 10 people

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Inferno rages through North California, killing at least 10 people

For the past several days, 15 ferocious wildfires have been burning across at least 119,032 acres throughout Northern California . The inferno has claimed the lives of at least 10 people, a number that is expected to grow, and has torched over 1,500 homes and businesses. The scenic Wine Country counties of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino have been particularly hard hit. After igniting on Sunday night, the fires multiplied quickly due to the pervasive dry conditions in the area and strong winds of up to 50 MPH. In response to the raging flames consuming all in its path, 20,000 people were evacuated, many without much notice, into safer areas. In Sonoma County , the city of Santa Rosa, with a population of 125,000, has suffered serious damage. Seven of the 10 casualties from the wildfires have occurred in Santa Rosa. “That number’s going to change,” said Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano. Given the ongoing search and rescue operation, “it’s just logical,” he said, that more people trapped by the fire will be found. Local landmarks destroyed by the fires include The Fountaingrove Inn and Round Barn, and sections of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. “I’m lucky,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey. “My house is fine. My family is fine. My city is not.” Related: Over 82,000 people evacuated as wildfire engulfs Southern California While Santa Rosa may have endured the most casualties so far, the most powerful fires are burning in Napa County. “I have friends fighting off fires with hoses in the hills, said Alison Crowe, winemaker for Garnet Vineyards & Picket Fence Vineyards in Napa Valley. “Thankfully a lot of my friends got out last night.” Although Crowe has not been ordered to evacuate her home in downtown Napa and the main route out of town remains open, she and her neighbors are concerned. “It’s scary,” Crowe said. “We feel surrounded.” Via CNN Images via US Department of Agriculture and Glenn Beltz

See original here: 
Inferno rages through North California, killing at least 10 people

This prefab concrete house harvests rainwater with food-growing vertical gardens

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on This prefab concrete house harvests rainwater with food-growing vertical gardens

Students from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri  designed this beautiful solar-powered home completely out of prefabricated concrete. Built to showcase the viability of building with concrete , the spectacular design includes a series of gutters on the exterior that serve as a large-scale hydroponic growing system that can produce food all year round. According to the team, the design of the Crete House is meant to be a reminder that concrete continues to be a viable and sustainable building material that makes for a beautiful alternative to wood constructions. Thanks an ultra-strong envelope comprised of four inches of standard concrete, five inches of insulation, and one inch of Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC), the home is incredibly resilient against fire, moisture, mold, insects, seismic activity, and extreme weather. Related: 8 amazing homes that are 100% powered by the sun The design focuses on providing the ultimate in self-sufficiency – including energy generation, water reuse, and food production. Solar panels provide sufficient energy to the home, and a water-to-water heat pump provides hot water for domestic use as well as water for the home’s radiant heating and cooling system installed in the floor and ceiling. The precast insulated concrete panels of the home are factory-manufactured, but assembled on-site, reducing travel time and energy. In addition to the home’s structure, the concrete panels were used to create a series of large L-shaped gutters that extend out and away from the house. The shape of the gutters was strategic in creating an innovative system of water collection that directs to vegetated channels built into the vertical gutters that extend out into horizontal planters on the ground level. This all-in-one hydroponic system, complete with drip emitters, integrates a home garden system into the design, allowing occupants to grow their own food all year round. + Crete House + Solar Decathlon Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat

More:
This prefab concrete house harvests rainwater with food-growing vertical gardens

Planet Vision — Changing Sustainability Behavior at Scale

October 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Planet Vision — Changing Sustainability Behavior at Scale

The renowned earth systems scientist and executive director of the California Academy of Sciences presents an eye-opening talk on his vision for transforming behavior to accelerate sustainability at scale.

View original here:
Planet Vision — Changing Sustainability Behavior at Scale

Red State, Blue State: Cross Party Lessons from Energy Commissioners

October 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Red State, Blue State: Cross Party Lessons from Energy Commissioners

Two very different perspectives  an energy commissioner in Georgia (red state) and the head of the energy commission in California (blue state) discuss their lessons learned as their respective states (and local communities) transition to a cleaner energy future.

Here is the original post:
Red State, Blue State: Cross Party Lessons from Energy Commissioners

California may ban gas and diesel-powered cars by 2030

September 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on California may ban gas and diesel-powered cars by 2030

Following in the footsteps of France, the UK, and Scotland, the state of California is now considering passing a ban on the sale of new gas and diesel-powered vehicles. The initiative, which is supported by the state’s Air Resources Board, is being considered to curb carbon emissions and, as a result, help to prevent climate change from worsening. During an interview with Bloomberg last week, Mary Nichols, the chairman of the California Air Resources Board, confirmed the rumors. She said that after learning China is considering a similar ban, it became a matter of “when” the state would adopt similar measures, not “if.” Nichols said, “I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’ The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California .” The southwestern state already set the goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent of the 1990 levels by 2050. As Elektrek reports, that would require replacing virtually all combustion engines with sustainable alternatives by the year 2040. However, there’s no policy mandating gas and diesel-powered cars be phased out, which is why the state is considering the ban. Related: China announces plan to ban sales of fossil fuel cars and shift focus to EVs So far, no specific timeline has been set. According to Nichols, however, 2030 is not “out of the question.” She said, “There are people who believe, including who work for me, that you could stop all sales of new internal- combustion cars by 2030. Some people say 2035, some people say 2040. It’s awfully hard to predict any of that with precision, but it doesn’t appear to be out of the question.” There are presently more than 300,000 electric vehicles on California roads today. And every year, the state adds approximately 2 million more. If a ban was to be enforced, not only would the automotive industry take a hit, a new standard would be presented for other US states to uphold. Via Elektrek Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia Commons

Go here to read the rest: 
California may ban gas and diesel-powered cars by 2030

Starburst shipping container home to rise in the California desert

September 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Starburst shipping container home to rise in the California desert

Don’t rub your eyes—this incredible shipping container home is not a mirage. London-based designer James Whitaker is bringing his crystalline cargotecture vision to life with the Joshua Tree Residence in a rocky California desert. Arranged in a spectacular starburst fashion, the sculptural house will be powered by solar energy and optimized for protection against the desert’s harsh elements. If the Joshua Tree Residence looks familiar, you may be remembering James Whitaker’s previous unrealized work, Hechingen Studio , proposed as an office in Germany. Whitaker earned the opportunity to bring his crystalline cargotecture vision to reality when the client, a film producer who lives in Los Angeles, saw a rendering of Hechingen Studio on a trip to Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. The client, who owns a 90-acre property near the park, commissioned Whitaker to design a similar structure as a holiday dwelling for him and his wife. “With a background in nurturing creative projects to fruition, [the client] is, in many ways, the dream client!” said Whitaker, according to Dezeen. Related: James Whitaker designs funky light-filled office space out of shipping containers The Joshua Tree Residence may look eccentric, but its sculptural appearance isn’t out of place for the California desert , where L.A. wealthy often commission unusual-looking homes. The 2,153-square-foot cargotecture home will be elevated on concrete columns over a sloped site and surrounded by a rocky landscape with loose boulders. The home’s shipping container elements will be painted bright white and extended in all directions. ”Each container is orientated to maximise views across the landscape, or to use the topography to provide privacy, depending on their individual use,” added Whitaker. The modern and minimalist interior will features angular, white-painted surfaces with simple plywood furnishings and bright red Misfits seating by Ron Arad . + James Whitaker Via Dezeen Images via James Whitaker

See the rest here:
Starburst shipping container home to rise in the California desert

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for wave-inspired Melbourne apartment tower

September 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for wave-inspired Melbourne apartment tower

Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled designs for the Mayfair Residential Tower, a luxury mixed-use building in Melbourne with spectacular views. Clad in a wave-inspired façade with sculptural bespoke interiors, the 19-story Mayfair draws inspiration from Australia’s landscapes and seascapes. The AUD$330million project will comprise 158 apartments, ranging from 70 square meters to 556 square meters, that will be stacked above ground-floor double-height civic spaces housing a restaurant cafe. Located along a major spine of Melbourne on St. Kilda Road, Mayfair Residential Tower will occupy prime location with enviable views of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Port Phillip Bay, Albert Park, and the skyline of the Central Business District. Zaha Hadid Architects optimized surrounding views by designing large balconies for each apartment as well as floor-to-ceiling glazing . The generous use of glazing and emphasis on outdoor living and views blur the line between building and city, exterior and interior. As with many of Zaha Hadid Architects’ iconic projects, Mayfair features a computational parametric design with complex and eye-catching architectural geometries. In addition to its sculpted effect, the building’s facade was built with an optimizing algorithm to minimize the number of different facade panels required to keep the design within budget. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects designs ecological residential complex for Mexico’s Riviera Maya “Taking its cues from the fluidity within Australia’s landscapes and seascapes, the façade’s composition has evolved from a system of simple wave formations that is further developed to generate variables of the same design language,” wrote the architects. “Using algorithms to determine these variables enables the façade to adapt to the wide variety of different apartment layouts and also adapt to the irregular site.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by VA, MrPStudios, and mir

View post:
Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for wave-inspired Melbourne apartment tower

Carpet Recycling in California Hits a Snag

September 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on Carpet Recycling in California Hits a Snag

When you think of recycling, the first image that probably … The post Carpet Recycling in California Hits a Snag appeared first on Earth911.com.

Here is the original:
Carpet Recycling in California Hits a Snag

Trump’s DOE invests $62 million in concentrated solar power

September 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Trump’s DOE invests $62 million in concentrated solar power

President Donald Trump doesn’t usually mention solar power , unless it’s talk of covering his beloved border wall in solar panels . But his Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a huge investment in concentrated solar power (CSP). Recently, the solar industry  reached the 2020 SunShot Initiative utility-scale solar cost goal, so the DOE is now looking into new priorities for investment. The DOE recently issued a press release stating they’ll invest up to $82 million in research: $62 million for CSP and $20 million in power electronics technologies, focusing on new technologies now that the average price for utility-scale solar is now six cents per kilowatt-hour. The MIT Technology Review suggested DOE officials think CSP could enhance grid stability more in the long term since CSP plants can store some power as heat, allowing them to keep producing electricity when there’s no sunshine. Related: Dubai to build the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant But the energy CSP plants generate has been costlier than photovoltaics . And according to the MIT Technology Review, some people are suspicious the DOE may move to weaken support for photovoltaics. The Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposal slashed funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by almost 70 percent. That’s the same office that manages the SunShot Initiative. The DOE also announced a $50 million funding opportunity for large-scale pilot fossil fuel projects in late August. But CSP’s ability to store power is a strong advantage. Energy policy researcher David Victor of the University of California, San Diego did say investing in CSP makes sense, telling MIT Technology Review, “My general impression is that we have relatively over-invested in photovoltaics and under-invested in [concentrated solar].” Dan Reicher, executive director at Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, told MIT Technology Review, “[Concentrated solar power] today hasn’t been able to compete with photovoltaics, but there are some promising research areas. Given the climate challenge, we need to put eggs in many, many zero-carbon baskets.” Via MIT Technology Review and the Department of Energy Images via Bureau of Land Management on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

The rest is here: 
Trump’s DOE invests $62 million in concentrated solar power

Startup is developing kelp farms in the open ocean to make carbon-neutral biofuel

September 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Startup is developing kelp farms in the open ocean to make carbon-neutral biofuel

Could a robotic kelp farm offer an alternative fuel for cars or jets? The founders behind Marine BioEnergy hope so. The startup will soon begin testing a prototype of their kelp elevator, a farm that can move up and down in the water with the help of drones to optimize access to sunlight and nutrients, near Catalina Island in California . They think biofuel made from the kelp could be cost-competitive with fossil fuels . Marine BioEnergy’s new kelp elevator grows seaweed on a long tube, and if tests go well, they hope to start farming in the open ocean between Hawaii and California. They’re working with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory , which has developed a way to transform kelp into biocrude. The kelp fuel should be carbon neutral since kelp absorbs around the same amount of carbon dioxide as would be emitted when the fuel is burned. Related: Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel In 2015, the United States Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) gave a grant to Marine BioEnergy, which was started by wife and husband team Cindy and and Brian Wilcox, who works a day job in space robotics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Marine BioEnergy has also been working with the University of Southern California’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies on a proof-of-concept study. Kelp could provide a better biofuel: it has little cellulose or lignin, fibers that are hard to process. Grown in the ocean, kelp also wouldn’t require pesticides or irrigation as plants on land might. In optimal conditions, it can grow over a foot a day. And the kelp elevator could help the seaweed reach those conditions, even in the open ocean. Kelp grows best in shallow coastal waters, where it can anchor to the ocean floor and receive sunlight. But to scale up kelp production, Marine BioEnergy would need the space of the open ocean. Their robotic elevator could help kelp receive the sunlight, from near the ocean’s surface, and nutrients, from deeper waters, to thrive. Drones could also keep the kelp elevator avoid storms and stay out of the way of ships, and when the seaweed is ready, tow it to a ship. The team is trying to determine whether it might be more economical to make the biocrude right on the ship since a processing center could fit on a container ship powered by the fuel. + Marine BioEnergy Via Fast Company Images via USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies Facebook

More here: 
Startup is developing kelp farms in the open ocean to make carbon-neutral biofuel

« Previous PageNext Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1049 access attempts in the last 7 days.