Architects envision a sustainable future for a Finnish island at risk of rising sea levels

June 13, 2019 by  
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In response to concerns that Luonnonmaa, an island on the Finnish West archipelago coast, could succumb to the destructive effects of climate change, Helsinki-based architectural firm Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects has unveiled a sustainable vision for the island in the year 2070. Named “Emerald Envisioning for Luonnonmaa 2070,” the futuristic vision calls for a utopian scheme where people and nature live in harmony within a sustainable community tapping into renewable energy sources , eco tourism and reforestation. Luonnonmaa makes up the majority of the land area for the city of Naantali; however, the island itself is sparsely populated. Traditionally used for farming , the island is renowned for its clean and idyllic Nordic landscapes. “The way of life on Luonnonmaa is challenged by climate catastrophe and biodiversity loss, just as it is in more population-concentrated locations on the planet,” the architects said. “The island is seemingly empty — or full of immaculate space — but a closer inspection reveals that most of the island area is defined by human activity and its ripple effects. A growing population on the island will need to provide more opportunity for nature, while they develop their way of life, means of transportation, work, as well as food and energy production.” The architects worked together with the City of Naantali’s public, politicians and planners as well as with a multidisciplinary group of local specialists and the Institute of Future Studies at the University of Turku to produce a creative solution to these challenges. The Emerald Envisioning for Luonnonmaa 2070 addresses such questions as “Can the future be both sustainable and desirable?” and “Could we build more to accommodate human needs, while (counter-intuitively) producing more opportunities for nature around us?” Related: Finland plans to complete its coal ban one year early The scheme also considers the future of farming for the island. Because the traditional farming industry is in decline, the proposal suggests more carbon-neutral methods of food production such as seaweed hubs and communal gardening. Meanwhile, the reduction of farmland will allow for the expansion and unification of forest areas to support the island’s unique biodiversity. To future-proof against sea level rise, housing will be built on pylons to mitigate flood concerns while social activity and communal development will be planned around waterways. A network of small-scale glamping units would also be installed to boost the island’s economy. + EETJ Images via EETJ

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Architects envision a sustainable future for a Finnish island at risk of rising sea levels

A massive urban vineyard will envelop a new research center in Milan

June 7, 2019 by  
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International design and innovation firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) has won first place in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group’s international competition with VITAE, a new research center in Milan that will be covered in a 650-foot-long urban vineyard. The vegetation is remarkable not only for its sheer size, but also for its use in a publicly accessible footpath that will link the street level to the rooftop. The building was developed for real estate group Convivio and was created in a team with the consortium Habitech as environmental experts. Once complete, VITAE will transform a formerly vacant, post-industrial lot in via Serio in the south of Milan into a mixed-use development that includes a farm-to-table restaurant, high-tech offices, facilities for the leading molecular and oncology research center ICOM, guest rooms for international researchers and more than 5,000 square meters of public space. Inspired by biophilic design, the architects created a vegetated pedestrian path with a vine-covered pergola that will ascend the side of the building and provide visitors the chance to see terraces and greenhouses for urban farming and hydroponic cultivation. This “green spiral” inspired the project’s name, VITAE, which means “life” in Latin and “vine” in Italian. “VITAE tries to address humankind’s innate ‘ biophilia ,’ as formulated by the great American biologist Edward O. Wilson,” said Saverio Panata, partner at CRA and project manager of VITAE. “We are talking about the natural tendency of our species to seek our happiness through immersion in nature. Thanks to new technologies, it is now possible to achieve this goal even in the heart of the city — this is particularly relevant in a building that is devoted to scientific research.” Related: CRA grows a sustainable pavilion out of mushrooms in just 6 weeks C40’s Reinventing Cities competition recognized VITAE as the winner for its promotion of carbon-neutral and resilient urban regeneration as well as for its adaptive reuse aspect. Construction on CRA’s project is slated to begin construction in late 2019. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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A massive urban vineyard will envelop a new research center in Milan

Earth911 Podcast, May 31, 2019: Salesforce Pioneers Carbon-Neutral Business

May 31, 2019 by  
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Listen to “Earth911 Podcast, May 31, 2019: Salesforce Pioneers Carbon-Neutral … The post Earth911 Podcast, May 31, 2019: Salesforce Pioneers Carbon-Neutral Business appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, May 31, 2019: Salesforce Pioneers Carbon-Neutral Business

Architect designs and builds his dream Passive House in New York

May 13, 2019 by  
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After three years of research and development, architect Wayne Turett of New York City-based architectural firm The Turett Collaborative has designed and built his long-awaited Passive House in the village of Greenport, New York. Built to the rigorous standards of the Passive House Institute, the airtight dwelling combines cutting-edge technologies with passive solar principles to minimize its energy footprint and meet Turett’s aspirations for a carbon-neutral design. Held as an example of energy-efficient construction that doesn’t compromise on appearance, the Greenport Passive House was designed to match the aesthetic of the surrounding vernacular with a contemporary twist. The two-story home features a historical barn exterior with ship-lapped gray cedar and cement, while the roof is made from aluminum. Inside, the modern house features clean lines and a light and neutral color palette. The open-plan layout and tall ceilings bring an urban, loft-like feel to the home. The three key aspects of the Greenport Passive House were an airtight envelope; superior insulation that includes triple-glazed windows to lock in heat and protect against cold drafts; and additions that block unwanted solar heat gain, such as roof overhangs. The all-electric home is heated and cooled with a duct mini-split system and is also equipped with an energy recovery ventilation system. As a result, Turett’s house, as with other Passive Houses, consumes approximately 90 percent less heating energy than existing buildings and 75 percent less energy than average new construction, according to his project’s press release. Related: This passive house in the Czech Republic uses technology to recycle heat Turett added, “Greenport is more than just an oasis for my family; it is a living model for clients and meant to inspire others, that despite costing a little more to build, the results of living in a Passive Home will more than pay for itself in energy savings and helping the environment .” + The Turett Collaborative Images via The Turett Collaborative

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Architect designs and builds his dream Passive House in New York

Carbon-neutral home in Australia conceals its energy efficiency with minimalist design

November 6, 2018 by  
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Perth-based firm  Whispering Smith  has unveiled a beautiful, concrete home that combines the best of brutalist architecture with sustainable materials. Built on a very compact infill lot outside of Perth, House A is an affordable and carbon-neutral  home that was built with concrete, reclaimed brick, solar power and an underground water collection system. The 753-square-foot home was strategically designed to make the maximum use out of limited building space. Where many architects would have taken a complicated route to create more out of less, the Whispering Smith team focused on creating a design that would use simple, sustainable materials to create a beautiful space with understated elegance. Related: This super-insulated concrete “cabin” hides a surprisingly cozy interior The home is clad in concrete made out of 65 percent slag, a byproduct of steel manufacturing. Along with the concrete walls, the home was built with reclaimed bricks , which were also incorporated into the surrounding landscape. Concealed from view, a water collection tank is underground and solar panels are installed on the roof. The home’s volume from a distance cuts a stoic figure, with light gray, gabled parapets reminiscent of a traditional barn but covered in concrete. Breaking up the concrete facade is the large,  charred timber entryway topped with a polycarbonate screen. The minimalism  continues throughout the interior, where an extremely neutral color palette was used to enhance the soft, natural light that illuminates the rooms. According to the architects, the interior design was meant to be “raw, but not without warmth, texture and flourish.” The firm further explained, “We made a conscious decision to choose materials that would age well, were simple to understand and construct and didn’t require cladding or extra finishes. We used limepaint, soap finish and linseed oil, because the interior materials were the largely the ‘finish’ themselves. The concrete will never need painting, [it] will only get better as it ages. At dusk, the concrete panels absorb the evening colors and the light and the house almost disappears into the sky, and there’s something really nice about that.” To maximize the compact floor plan, the interior rooms flow seamlessly from one space to another. The main living area is open and airy, with a built-in sofa and white-tiled bench. From this room, large doors slide open to an outdoor courtyard with plenty of space for dining, entertaining and relaxing. A wooden staircase leads up to the second floor, which houses the bedroom and en suite bathroom, the only room in the home with a door. + Whispering Smith Via Dwell Photography by Ben Hosking via Whispering Smith

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Carbon-neutral home in Australia conceals its energy efficiency with minimalist design

Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

September 14, 2018 by  
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The global, on-demand transportation service Gett is embarking on a new endeavor — implementing carbon-free and carbon-positive rides for all of its passengers. The company’s announcement features several initiatives to help accomplish this benchmark, and Gett’s success would make it the first major taxi app in the U.K. to attain a carbon-neutral status. With air quality continuously deteriorating to dangerous levels in several U.K. cities, the company is proud to become a first responder to the growing crisis. “Air quality is increasingly becoming more of an issue, not just in London, but across the U.K.,” Matteo de Renzi, CEO of Gett U.K., said. “By becoming carbon neutral, we’re incredibly proud to be helping cities achieve cleaner air and reduce pollution levels. By offsetting the CO2 our U.K. rides produce, we will positively impact multiple climate projects across the globe.” Related: Lyft is making all its rides carbon neutral In partnership with Carbon Clear, a global provider of energy and carbon sustainability solutions, Gett plans to ensure carbon neutrality by offsetting 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide — the amount of carbon dioxide emissions the company projects to release within the next 12 months — through various international programs. “The science tells us that carbon neutrality is necessary to protect the planet and sustain our livelihoods,” said Mark Chadwick, CEO of Carbon Clear. Together, the duo will be reducing pollution levels through a Wind Power Generation project in India that displaces the burning of fossil fuels. The team will also be supporting the Madre de Dios Project in Peru’s Amazon jungle to reduce deforestation. “The offsetting projects that Gett is supporting are subject to rigorous international standards to ensure they deliver the promised emissions reductions,” Chadwick said. “As well as this, these projects support sustainable development in international communities and have a tangible impact on people’s lives.” Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide Riders will also have the option to offer their own contribution of 20p ($0.26) to their Gett Green journeys if they wish, an action that will make each ride a carbon-positive experience on a long-term scale. The donations will be used to fund London schools that have been identified by the mayor’s school air quality audit program . This initiative is set on reducing emissions around London schools and mitigating youth exposure to heightened nitrogen dioxide levels. Gett will also continue to support electric and hybrid taxi conversions in cities such as Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The fully-certified electric taxis , made specifically to address growing pollution problems, are the first ever to be introduced on U.K.’s streets. Mindful to the core, Gett will not be adding extra vehicles to already-congested roads. Instead, the company wishes to continue its efforts in urban mobility improvement by reducing the amount of vehicles in circulation through its black car service gone green. + Gett + Carbon Clear Images via Gett

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Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

Hawaii sets the most ambitious goal of any US state by vowing to be carbon neutral by 2045

May 9, 2018 by  
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The legislature of Hawaii has approved two bills that together put the state on the path to becoming carbon neutral by 2045 – the most ambitious climate change goal of any state in the United States. Bille bill 1986 establishes a carbon-offset program, while House bill 2182 convenes a task force to determine the best course of action to achieve carbon neutrality within the next three decades. “This is the biggest step forward on climate change any state has yet taken,” said Hawaii representative Chris Lee in a statement . As an island nation, Hawaii is taking such strong action to combat climate change in part because it is particularly vulnerable to its impacts. In passing the bills, legislators cited a study which estimated that Hawaii would endure $19 billion worth of damage on private property and significantly more on public infrastructure as a result of rising sea levels. In addition to its recently passed climate change legislation, Hawaii was the first state to formally adopt the goals established under the Paris climate agreement after President Trump withdrew the United States from it. Related: Helsinki unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035 Prior to the passage of these bills, Rhode Island was the American state with the most ambitious climate change goal, which pledged to achieve an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. Hawaii now stands as one of the world’s most aggressive states in its fight against climate change, sharing the same carbon neutrality timeline as Sweden. For context, carbon neutrality is expected in Iceland by 2040, Norway by 2030, Costa Rica by 2021, and the Maldives by 2020. While these steps are important, they are not sufficient. More governments must make similarly aggressive pledges toward carbon neutrality if climate change is to be halted. Hawaii governor David Ige,  who has been supportive of sustainability initiatives in the past , is expected to sign the bills into law. Via Quartz Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Hawaii sets the most ambitious goal of any US state by vowing to be carbon neutral by 2045

Allianz is the latest insurer to bank on carbon neutrality

May 8, 2018 by  
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Changing regulations and cleaner technologies are leading the divestment from coal power plants and mines.

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Allianz is the latest insurer to bank on carbon neutrality

Lyft is making all their rides carbon neutral

April 19, 2018 by  
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If you use ride-sharing services but still worry about their impact on the environment, Lyft has got you covered. The company has just announced that it will invest millions of dollars to offset its carbon emissions. Co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green said in a blog post that the ridesharing company will become “one of the world’s largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets” as they make all their trips carbon neutral from now on. According to Zimmer and Green, while all cars will be cleanly powered at some point in the future, climate change isn’t waiting, so they’re taking action. Lyft is partnering with 3Degrees to offset carbon emissions from their rides around the world. Zimmer and Green said, “The stark reality is that transportation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. As a growing part of the transportation ecosystem, we are holding ourselves accountable to being part of the solution.” Related: VW unveils fully electric six-seater specifically for ridesharing Lyft rides will be carbon neutral due to “the direct funding of emission mitigation efforts, including the reduction of emissions in the automotive manufacturing process, renewable energy programs, forestry projects, and the capture of emissions from landfills.” These projects will be based in the United States. 3Degrees will oversee “the independent verification of all projects according to rigorous third-party standards” and ensure the company is “only supporting emission reductions that are new and would not have happened but for Lyft’s investment.” The company offered nearly 50 million rides last month. Green and Zimmer said they feel responsible for Lyft’s impact on the Earth, and they joined the We Are Still In movement spearheaded by former New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg to show support for the Paris Agreement . Lyft expects to offset more than one million metric tons of carbon in the first year — the equivalent of taking hundreds of thousands of vehicles off the streets or planting tens of millions of trees . The co-founders said this isn’t their full solution to the issue of climate change, but it is one step forward. + All Lyft Rides Are Now Carbon Neutral Images via Lyft

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Lyft is making all their rides carbon neutral

There’s a California fault far more dangerous than San Andreas – and it’s ready to go off

April 19, 2018 by  
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Everyone knows that California’s San Andreas fault is a ticking time bomb ready to erupt – but a new study shows that another fault right under the East Bay is far more dangerous. The Hayward fault could decimate major cities like Oakland and Berkeley, killing hundreds and destroying tens of thousands of homes. And according to scientists, “it’s just waiting to go off.” ? This week, scientists published a landmark study that detailed a 52-mile fault centered under Oakland, California. If the fault were to erupt – and it is only a matter of time until it does – the US Geological Survey estimates the toll would include at least 800 killed, 18,000 injured, 400,000 displaced and 52,000 homes destroyed. Most homes would be destroyed by the 400 fires scientists estimate would ignite, and the shattered water infrastructure would complicate firefighter’s efforts to put them out. Related: The mega-earthquake that will probably someday wipe Seattle off the map “This fault is what we sort of call a tectonic time bomb,” USGS earthquake geologist emeritus David Schwartz said. “It’s just waiting to go off.” There are certainly larger faults out there (like the San Andreas), but what makes the Hayward fault so deadly is that 2 million people live right on top of it. For reference, the 1906 quake that devastated San Francisco was centered off the coast and impacted a city of 400,000 residents. The Hayward fault is relatively active, with a major earthquake every 150 years or so (give or take 75 years). Its last major earthquake – a 6.8 – was 150 years ago this October. In 1989, the 6.9 Loma Prieta shook the Bay Area and caused about 60 deaths and $82 billion in damage. A similar quake on the Hayward fault today would be 10 times as bad, and even homes that stood during the Loma Prieta quake could be shattered. The bottom line is that the cities and citizens along the fault need to work to improve infrastructure, secure homes and make sure that they are prepared for the next big one. It’s easy to get complacent when it has been a while since the last earthquake , scientists say, but that’s when you have to be most prepared. Via LA Times Images via Jeff Pierre

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There’s a California fault far more dangerous than San Andreas – and it’s ready to go off

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