This will be the largest CLT affordable housing complex in the Netherlands

April 2, 2021 by  
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Rotterdam-based architecture office Powerhouse Company has unveiled designs for Valckensteyn, a circular and sustainable building expected to become the largest timber-built affordable housing complex in the Netherlands. Commissioned by housing corporation Woonstad Rotterdam, the pioneering, 12-story project will feature 11 stories built of cross-laminated timber without the use of adhesives to allow the building to be demounted and reassembled elsewhere as needed. Proposed for the post-war Rotterdam neighborhood of Pendrecht, the 40-meter-tall Valckensteyn will occupy the site of a residential complex that was demolished a decade ago. Due to Valckensteyn’s relatively lightweight timber build as compared to steel-and-concrete construction, the architects will be able to repurpose the old building’s foundations — a sustainable design decision that helps to significantly reduce the project’s carbon footprint . Related: Self-sufficient floating office building for GCA will take anchor in Rotterdam For stability, the affordable housing complex will comprise a concrete ground floor and core. The ground-floor lobby will be clad in travertine — a post-war material with strong ties to the neighborhood — and house a large, inviting space with what the architects hope will be “the most beautiful bicycle storage in Rotterdam.” Cross-laminated timber construction will be exposed in the above floors, where all 82 homes will enjoy connections to the outdoors via floor-to-ceiling windows and timber-clad, west-facing balconies. A lush landscaping plan designed by LAP Landscape & Urban Design will surround the building and stimulate biodiversity. The carpark will also integrate cement-free paving stones and water filtration systems to take on the appearance of a “green carpet.” “With project Valckensteyn, Woonstad set out the challenge to develop a responsible and sustainable housing supply for middle-income families,” said Robbert Groeneveld, senior project manager at Woonstad Rotterdam. “The desire of Woonstad for a wooden building has been developed into an integrated design where sustainability, housing comfort and nature inclusivity come together.” Construction on Valckensteyn is expected to start in January 2022. + Powerhouse Company Images via Powerhouse Company

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This will be the largest CLT affordable housing complex in the Netherlands

Princeton study shows possibility for a carbon-neutral US

December 21, 2020 by  
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It’s hard to imagine everybody making the necessary sacrifices for the U.S. to be carbon-neutral in 30 years, even if it does mean the difference between an inhabitable or uninhabitable planet. But an optimistic new study from Princeton claims that yes, it is possible. The 345-page Princeton University report , published last Tuesday, explains several ways that the U.S. could attain the goal of carbon-neutrality by 2050. The report’s six pillars are efficiency and electrification; clean electricity; zero-carbon fuels; carbon capture and storage; non-CO2 emissions; and enhanced land sinks. The keys to success are quick government action and money upfront. Related: New Zealand targets carbon neutrality by 2025 amidst climate emergency The clean electricity pillar relies on a dramatic increase in wind and solar power. This would provide many new jobs, and it would require a massive scaling up of production of turbines and photovoltaic systems. According to the study, we’d need up to 120 times as much capacity to produce the photovoltaics for solar power and 45 times our current capacity for wind turbines. Obviously, this is would require a huge commitment from the top. Individuals trading their Keurig for sun tea isn’t going to cut it. The efficiency and electrification approach focuses on improving our end-use energy productivity. This means more efficient lighting and heating in businesses and homes, such as expanded use of heat pumps. However, some researchers have posited that this approach could have a rebound effect, as people save money on energy costs only to spend it on some other goods or services that use energy and release emissions. This approach also requires widespread use of electric vehicles . The Princeton report also examines ideas like biogas or biomass collection and regenerating forests and other land sinks. What will all this take? Princeton estimates we can get to net-zero by 2050 with a $2.5 trillion investment, plus seriously committed and motivated leadership. But we need to start now. + Princeton University Via Grist Image via Angie Warren

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Sunderlands riverfront to house UKs first carbon-neutral community

November 5, 2020 by  
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Northern England’s post-industrial port city of Sunderland will soon welcome a major riverside regeneration as part of an eco-friendly masterplan designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects and Proctor & Matthews Architects . Developed for Sunderland City Council and developers Igloo Regeneration, the urban revitalization project will transform a 33.2-hectare site on both sides of the River Wear into the country’s first carbon-neutral urban quarter.  Designed to “reinvent the heart of Sunderland,” the masterplan design will include 1,000 new energy-efficient homes in four mixed-use residential neighborhoods for a population of 2,500. Each neighborhood will have a distinctive character and feature a mix of three housing types inspired by local and regional antecedents, from the iconic Sunderland cottage to the Wearside maisonettes. The masterplan also includes 1 million square feet of office space in a new central business district that’s expected to provide up to 10,000 new jobs. Related: PAU unveils carbon-neutral Sunnyside Yard masterplan in NYC The five urban districts — Vaux, Sheepfolds, Farringdon Row, Heart of the City and Ayre’s Quay — will be connected by a new Riverside Park that will be the main focal point of the development and account for approximately half of the project’s total site area. St. Mary’s Boulevard will also be upgraded to better connect the riverside to the city through the park, while new bridges will strengthen connections between the communities on both sides of the river. Cultural highlights will include the Culture House, a state-of-the-art library and community hub, as well as a new arts center, by Flanagan Lawrence, to be housed within a renovated 1907 fire station. “The masterplan aims to maximise the drama of ‘living on the edge’, with views of the river, the gorge and abundant green space,” the architects explained. “The restoration and re-invention of a built edge on the cliff tops overlooking the river will create a signature silhouette for the city.” Renewables and smart energy networks will be promoted throughout the masterplan to help achieve the project’s carbon-neutral status. + FaulknerBrowns Architects Images via FaulknerBrowns Architects

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University in Germany designs an alpine hut from reeds

October 28, 2020 by  
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A team of craftspeople and students from the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Building Material, Building Physics, Building Technology and Design have created an alpine hut designed from sustainable, renewable reed material. The project, SkinOver Reed, is meant to research the feasibility of the material as facade and roof cladding for use in high-altitude Alpine regions. Also known as thatch , reed is a carbon-neutral resource, known generationally for its rapid growth, short process chain, low-energy demand, low emissions and lack of pollutants. According to the designers, reed generates better water quality where it grows and helps to provide home to many different animals in the natural environment. It is harvested by cutting off the dead part of the plant, which is replaced by natural growth every year. Using the dead reed as cladding requires no need for any further treatment. At the end of its life, the construction material can be composted, closing the life cycle organically. Related: Prefab alpine shelter boasts phenomenal views and a small footprint The SkinOver Reed project was developed after two years of research, with reed chosen for the facade and roof to help generate a monolithic, three-dimensional design with a single material. The prototype thatched hut was built in Austria using local reed and wood with a foundation of stone from an existing building. The team researched examples of contemporary thatch architecture from France, Denmark and Sweden for inspiration and insight into building with reed. The first hut was completed in 2019, so the team spent summer 2020 monitoring, documenting and analyzing the effects of last winter’s cold weather on the reed. Long-term, they plan to implement both permanent and periodic measurements to monitor the hut’s aging process, hopefully inspiring other architects to see the favorability and quality of renewable materials like reed. The project has already garnered favorable attention, as it was shortlisted in the small building category for the Dezeen Awards 2020. + University of Stuttgart Via Dezeen Images via University of Stuttgart

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Japan aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050

October 27, 2020 by  
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Japan has a goal to achieve carbon-neutrality by the year 2050. Speaking in his first address to the Japanese parliament since taking office, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga promised that the government will be aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero over the next 30 years. Although Suga did not give an elaborate plan on how he intends to achieve this new objective, he said that it is possible to achieve carbon-neutrality without jeopardizing the economy. “Responding to climate change is no longer a constraint on economic growth,” Suga said. Related: Companies in Japan launch edible single-use bags to save Nara deer Japan is currently the world’s fifth-largest carbon dioxide emitter . Unfortunately, the country has been slow in responding to environmental needs. Today, Japan mainly relies on coal and fossil fuels to power its industries. But the prime minister is assuring the nation and the world that the government will be working toward renewable energy, with the aim of restructuring industrialization to align with clean power. “We need to change our thinking to the view that taking assertive measures against climate change will lead to changes in industrial structure and the economy that will bring about growth,” Suga said. In its most recent renewable energy plan, Japan had set to attain an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2060. The plan included a possibility of its power coming from nuclear energy, an option that is widely contested in the country. After a 2011 nuclear power accident in Fukushima, the Japanese public has remained opposed to nuclear energy. Today, most of the nuclear reactors in the country stand shut down, with only a few being revived. For Japan to achieve its new target, it is necessary that the country looks at other alternatives rather than nuclear energy. “Nearly 10 years on from Fukushima, we are still facing the disastrous consequences of nuclear power, and this radioactive legacy has made clear that nuclear energy has no place in a green, sustainable future,” said Sam Annesley, executive director for Greenpeace Japan. Further, Annesley said the country needs to target 50% renewable energy by 2030 to reach net-zero energy by 2050 and help prevent global warming above 1.5°C. Via The Guardian Image via Ryo Yoshitake

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Modular Tree-House School concept connects kids with nature

October 27, 2020 by  
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Could this be the school of the future? Designer Valentino Gareri has created a concept for the Tree-House School, a sustainable and modular educational building that highlights children’s relationship with nature. The treehouse design distributes classes and age groups through multiple levels, incorporating usable roof classroom space and combining indoor with outdoor educational activities. As more and more schools prepare to reopen, the importance of having ample opportunities for distance learning and access to fresh air has become paramount. The Tree-House School envisions a learning center that is not only suspended and immersed in nature but also includes all phases of the educational process from kindergarten to secondary school. Related: Rimbin concept offers a look into the future of infection-free playgrounds Additionally, as people continue to relocate from big cities to less-populated areas thanks to the flexibility of remote work, rural areas around the world are gaining more popularity. The proposed design includes a modular educational center containing multiple levels of schooling, with all spaces fitting into two rings that create two courtyards and additional accessible rooftops. Classrooms are located inside the main circle, all with easy connection to courtyards and outdoor landscapes to help increase the relationship with nature both physically and visibly. Each 55-square-meter module is made of cross-laminated timber and corresponds to 20-25 students per classroom connected by a central corridor. The Tree-House School is operable 24/7 and features a community center, a plaza, a café and a library available to the entire community . The modular design allows for future school expansions, different programming and even opportunities for multiple functions, like temporary residential units or medical centers for emergencies. The building’s faceted facade is created by alternating solid timber and glazed panels; the circular perimeter blocks direct sunlight with opaque panels and diffuses light through transparent ones. Sustainability and energy-efficient measures include rainwater collection systems, natural cross-ventilation, photovoltaic panels and wind energy devices. + Valentino Gareri Images via Valentino Gareri

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Modular Tree-House School concept connects kids with nature

Salesforce

September 30, 2020 by  
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Salesforce taylor flores Wed, 09/30/2020 – 08:03 Salesforce is the world’s #1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform. At Salesforce, we consider the environment to be a key stakeholder and we are committed to harnessing our culture of innovation to improve the state of the world. We leverage the power of our people and our products to reduce the impact that we and our customers have on the planet. Salesforce achieved net-zero greenhouse gas emissions globally and delivers customers a carbon neutral cloud. Learn more at  http://salesforce.com/sustainability

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China plans to go carbon-neutral by 2060

September 24, 2020 by  
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China, the world’s biggest source of carbon dioxide , is aiming for carbon-neutrality by 2060. President Xi Jinping announced this goal while speaking to the UN General Assembly by video. Xi took the assembly by surprise. Since world events and political tensions have stalled global climate negotiations, the general assembly had expected little progress on climate change until 2021. “We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060,” Xi said, according to the official translation. China is currently responsible for about 28% of the planet’s carbon emissions . Related: Google becomes retroactively carbon-neutral Xi and then U.S.-President Barack Obama came to a climate change understanding in 2014, which laid significant groundwork for the 2015 Paris Agreement. President Trump immediately backed out of the Paris Agreement upon taking office. Some experts believe that Xi is making an advantageous statement to the world at a time when the U.S. won’t address climate change. “Xi Jinping’s climate pledge at the UN, minutes after President Donald Trump’s speech, is clearly a bold and well calculated move,” said Li Shuo, a climate policy expert from Greenpeace Asia, according to BBC. “It demonstrates Xi’s consistent interest in leveraging the climate agenda for geopolitical purposes.” While many observers agree that Xi’s pronouncement is a significant step, lots of questions still remain to be answered, such as exactly what he means by carbon-neutrality and how China will get there. “Today’s announcement by President Xi Jinping that China intends to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 is big and important news — the closer to 2050 the better,” said former U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern. Richard Black, director of the U.K.-based think tank Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, is hopeful about Xi’s pronouncement. “China isn’t just the world’s biggest emitter but the biggest energy financier and biggest market, so its decisions play a major role in shaping how the rest of the world progresses with its transition away from the fossil fuels that cause climate change.” Via BBC Image via Ferdinand Feng

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China plans to go carbon-neutral by 2060

Carbon Neutral Universities in the United States

September 16, 2020 by  
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Fewer than 10 colleges and universities have achieved carbon neutrality … The post Carbon Neutral Universities in the United States appeared first on Earth 911.

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Carbon Neutral Universities in the United States

Going plastic neutral: Footprints, credits and offsets

September 14, 2020 by  
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Going plastic neutral: Footprints, credits and offsets What does it mean for companies to go “plastic neutral” and what will it take to scale, track and standardize effective plastic-offsetting infrastructure? From Norway to Microsoft, companies and countries alike have been making headlines with sweeping commitments to go carbon neutral. But what about going “plastic neutral”? Much like carbon neutrality, its plastics counterpart will require a significant reduction of outputs. But as companies work to shift supply chains and develop infrastructure to achieve ambitious plastics-reduction goals, offsets could offer a near-term approach to lightening a company’s plastic footprint. From tools to calculate plastic footprints, to a standardized system for plastics credits, to on-the-ground projects and partnerships with informal waste workers, several organizations are developing critical elements of an effective and impact-oriented plastic-offsetting system. Learn how these trailblazers are partnering to establish a market for plastic waste, and how your company can support their efforts while advancing your plastic reduction or neutrality goals. Speakers Kristin Hughes, Director, Global Plastic Action Partnership, Member of the Executive Commit, World Economic Forum Svanika Balasubramanian, Co-Founder & CEO, rePurpose Julianne Baroody, Director, Standards Development, Verra Nick McCulloch, Senior Manager, Sustainability, Rubicon Global Holly Secon Mon, 09/14/2020 – 11:23 Featured Off

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