Experimental design-build festival takes over Californian desert

July 16, 2019 by  
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For the second year in a row, design lab Space Saloon has just wrapped up an exciting avant-garde art festival deep in the Southern Californian desert. Aimed to foster innovative design-build and hands-on education, the art festival , named Fieldworks, is an experimental outdoor campus where young artists can learn new techniques and showcase their groundbreaking designs. This year’s festival took place within the expansive desert landscape in the San Bernardino mountains between Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and Los Angeles. According to Space Saloon, the desert was the perfect place to host the open-air campus thanks to the wide open landscape that offers virtually no physical limits. Related: A magical field of solar-powered lights takes over a California landscape Like the first year’s event, Landing , Fieldworks was a week-long program where teams of students and designers live and work together, collaborating on site-specific installations that seek to question the relation between art and the environment. Led by Office Kovacs + Kyle May, Architect and MILLIØNS (Zeina Koreitem and John May), Fieldworks allowed students to attend various workshops that focus on subjects that differ from traditional techniques and processes in an attempt to broaden the students’ artistic horizons . The workshops showcase a range of experimental material, from coding exercises and sound mapping to performances and interactive installations. Using these workshops as guidance, the students developed new art projects, which could include any number of formats, including performances, videos, interactive coded programs, sound installations or immersive objects. One of the standout designs from this year’s event is DOTS, a pink and white framework with various connected platforms that could be used for an almost infinite number of interventions, especially as a flexible, temporary shelter . Another innovative project is Gymnasium 1, an outdoor communal bathing facility made completely out of hempcrete that aims to show that the carbon-negative material can be used in place of traditional concrete construction. The student projects from Fieldworks will be exhibited in Los Angeles in the fall. + Space Saloon Via Archdaily Images via Space Saloon

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Experimental design-build festival takes over Californian desert

Can mass timber reform construction’s carbon footprint?

July 11, 2019 by  
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A new technique for building wooden mid- and high-rise buildings may unlock a critical strategy for reducing the construction industry’s massive carbon footprint. Although forestry, construction and climate experts disagree on the extent of its benefits, mass timber is a promising substitute for concrete and steel, materials that contribute 5 percent of global carbon emissions each. Buildings in general are responsible for 40 percent of all emissions and architects are calling this new green building technique “the next great disruption to the construction industry.” What is mass timber? In order to be considered ‘mass timber,’ buildings must use wood products (typically engineered panels) as the primary load-bearing structure. More than just wood-framed houses, mass timber is a more extensive building style that can be used for mid- and high-rise buildings. Builders can use a variety of woods, often from small trees, to create a strong structure where the wood grain is stacked perpendicularly to further fortify the building. Because of its versatility in terms of wood types, mass timber projects can be sourced sustainably by capitalizing on small and diseased trees that are cleared to manage forests and prevent wildfires. It also means that sourcing can be localized to further reduce carbon emissions during transportation. Although deforestation is a major concern around the world, forests in the United States are sustainably managed . A collaboration between the mass timber and sustainable forestry industries has the potential to support this budding construction industry niche with profound implications for fighting climate change. The benefits of mass timber The primary benefit of using wood instead of concrete and steel is the reduction in carbon emissions. Since concrete and steel emit greenhouse gases during production and transportation, it is believed that using locally sourced wood will reduce the overall carbon footprint of the building’s construction. In addition to a lower emission profile, wooden panels, posts and beams also sequester carbon . The wooden panels are lighter and stronger than steel and potentially could be made to be fireproof. Wooden interiors are naturally warming, so they also encourage energy efficiency and reduce heating bills. With rising popularity, especially in Europe and the northwestern U.S., the wooden interiors are also increasingly sought after as an aesthetically pleasing and trendy look. “Say the typical steel and concrete building has an emissions profile of 2,000 metric tons of CO2; with mass timber, you can easily invert so you are sequestering 2,000 tons of CO2,” architect Andrew Ruff said. “Instead of adding to climate change, you are mitigating climate change . That’s the goal.” Related: NYC passes landmark bill to cut carbon emissions of big buildings by 80% Furthermore, the construction process has multiple benefits when compared to traditional concrete and steel. For example, the construction process itself is quicker and quieter (making for happy neighbors during construction!), and the materials are less sensitive to weather fluctuations during building. “Mass timber is the future,” said Russ Vaagen , a fourth generation lumberman in Washington. “It has a lighter carbon footprint ; is at least 25 percent faster to build with and requires 75 percent fewer workers on the active deck; comes from forests that are renewable and that, in many cases, need thinning to reduce the danger of wildfire and disease; holds great promise as affordable housing; and even increases homeowners’ health and well-being, according to several studies of wood’s biophilic attributes.” Is mass timber just a passing trend? Not everyone is sold on mass timber’s benefits, or at least the extent to which this technique can impact climate change. Its trendiness has re-opened sawmills in Oregon and sent loggers back to work, but is it really all that it is cracked up to be? “We want to debunk the myth that mass timber is in any way, shape or form related to some kind of environmental benefit,” said John Talberth, president of the Center for Sustainable Economy in Portland. Related: 5 key benefits of green buildings on the environment and your lifestyle Most researchers agree that there is simply not enough data to make such large claims about the benefits of mass timber — nor enough data to prove it false. For example, the carbon sequestration calculations need to take into account the transportation, manufacturing and logging of all wood materials when making comparisons to concrete and steel emissions. According to a recent paper on forestry and climate mitigation, the forest product industry is Oregon’s No. 1 contributor of carbon emissions, so it is not exactly a clean industry. Furthermore, the wooden beams would need to be reused beyond the predicted life of the building itself in order for the carbon sequestration benefits to be realized, because the decomposition of wood also emits carbon dioxide . Mark Wishnie of The Nature Conservancy explained, “To really understand the potential impact of the increased use of mass timber on climate, we need to conduct a much more detailed set of analyses.” Living up to sustainability promises Forestry experts contend that the rapid growth in popularity of the mass timber industry must be married with sustainable forestry initiatives, such as certification standards, to ensure that the harvest, manufacturing and transportation processes are environmentally friendly, transparent and included in more accurate cost-benefit analyses. Major environmental advocates, including the Audubon Society and Sierra Club, wrote a letter of concern to government representatives in Oregon, expressing doubts and recommending more cautious support. The letter also explicitly endorsed the need for certification standards. The letter said, “Without such a requirement, the city may be encouraging the already rampant clear-cutting of Oregon’s forests … In fact, because it can utilize smaller material than traditional timber construction, it may provide a perverse incentive to shorten logging rotations and more aggressively clear-cut.” Via Yale Environment 360 Images via Shutterstock

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France announces eco tax on plane tickets

July 11, 2019 by  
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The French government announced that it will roll out a tax on all international flights departing from France starting in 2020. The small tax will generate a predicted $200 million USD in revenue every year that the government will invest into cleaner transportation technology and infrastructure. Depending on the cost of the flight, the tax could cost anywhere from $1.70 to $20 USD per ticket. The eco tax will not apply to domestic flights within France nor flights arriving in the country from international origins. It will also exclude flights traveling to overseas territories still under French rule. A spokesperson from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) dismissed the utility of the tax, stating, “National taxes will do nothing to assist the aviation industry in its sustainability efforts.” Instead, the spokesperson, Anthony Concil, recommended national governments should help airline corporations invest in cleaner fuels and more advanced technology . In fact, shares in AirFrance, Ryan Air and EasyJet all went down after the announcement was made. Related: Airplanes’ contrail clouds are more harmful than their carbon emissions On the other side of the coin, environmental activists are somewhat content that the announcement is at least a step in the right direction and a nod to the role the transportation industry will have to play. According to Andrew Murphy from Brussels-based Transport and Environment, “This alone won’t do much, but at least it’s a recognition by the French government that more is required.” Germany, Italy and England already have similar eco taxes. In England, the additional fee can be up to $214 USD, and it generates a total of $3.7 billion USD annually. Other European countries are also looking to reverse a longstanding tax break for airline fuel that effectively subsidizes the industry’s use of fossil fuels and misses a significant opportunity for government tax revenue. Via AP News Image via BriYYZ

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14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

July 11, 2019 by  
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So you’ve made the choice to start living more sustainably. That’s great! Figuring out how to start can be daunting, but luckily technology is here to help. These handy resources can fit in your pocket and serve as a reminder to continue your journey towards a more sustainable, greener life— whether you’re an experienced advocate for sustainability or just starting out. Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping Forest Forest lets you combine mindfulness, productivity and focus with real-life tree planting. By not checking your phone for a designated amount of time, the app lets you grow virtual trees , which can then be exchanged for actual trees planted throughout five African countries by Trees for the Future . Tap Plastic bottles are one of the greatest sources of plastic pollution in our oceans, and switching to a reusable water bottle is a simple way to reduce waste. Tap accesses your location and lets you find water refill stations nearby so you can fill up without creating any plastic garbage . HowGood HowGood has a database of 200,000 food product ratings to help users make more sustainable choices. With each product rated by growing guidelines, processing practices and company conduct, this app is a great tool for users who want to be more mindful about what they eat by choosing food that is ethically produced and environmentally friendly with minimal processing.  JouleBug JouleBug combines the best parts of sustainable living with social interaction and saving money on your utility bill. The app allows users to competitively track and score their sustainable habits and share them with friends. JouleBug also includes suggestions and tips for small changes that can help you live a more sustainable lifestyle .  ThredUp Making sure that less of your used clothes end up in a landfill by offering them up to other consumers first is a no-brainer. ThredUp is an online consignment store where you can take pictures of your clothes and sell them through the app. Related: Your guide to eco-friendly toothpastes OfferUp A simple way to buy and sell used items, OfferUp lets users find a new home for their unwanted items instead of the trash can. It only takes a few minutes to snap a photo of your item, post it on the app and connect with potential buyers. You can securely message through the app and check people’s profiles and transaction history as well.  PaperKarma Not only is junk mail super annoying, it’s wasteful and bad for the environment. With PaperKarma you can stop the actual physical junk mail that shows up in your mailbox and forces you to throw away good paper for no reason. Within the app, you simply snap a photo of your junk mail and received an unsubscribed notification about 24 hours later. Olio We throw away billions of pounds of food away every year in the United States— equal to 30-40 percent of our food supply. With Olio, users can connect with neighbors and local businesses to share food. Whether you’ve bought too much of something, prepared too much dinner or purged your fridge before vacation , making sure precious food doesn’t go to waste is easier than you think. DoneGood DoneGood helps you find ethical brands with ease through both an app on your phone and an extension for your internet browser. As you search and shop for products, DoneGood will create pop-up suggestions for alternatives offered by ethical stores. You can also align suggestions based on your personal passions. DoneGood selects their businesses based on things like eco-friendly , non-toxic, cruelty-free, organic, diversity and giving back.  No Waste Track and reduce your food waste with No Waste, an interactive organizational app that lets you make an inventory of the items in your fridge, freezer and pantry. You’ll be able to sort and search for food by category or expiration date to ensure that nothing goes to waste and share your lists with friends or family.  Oroeco Oroeco puts a carbon value on everything from what you buy to the food you eat and even to the appliances you use at home. The app has partnered with UC Berkeley’s CoolClimate research group to compare their users’ carbon values with their neighbors and friends, while providing them with personalized tips to help reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. The app also works with Impact Carbon , a non-profit that helps underdeveloped countries access energy-efficient appliances.  Sustainability Aware In order to ensure a brighter future for the earth, teaching our children about green living and sustainability will be paramount. That’s where Sustainability Aware comes it. A series of educational apps designed for children that teach about the environment and human impact, all in a fun, engaging way. Each app is made for a specific grade level and age group. iRecycle Proper recycling is a simple concept, but isn’t always simple to execute. The iRecycle app finds the closest opportunity to recycle based on your location. Whether you are looking for a recycling center near your home or find yourself walking down the street with an empty water bottle, iRecycle can help.  SDGs in Action Keep up to date on worldwide sustainable development news and learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with this app. The SDGs are basically a world to-do list to address poverty, climate change and inequality by the year 2030. Users can personalize the app to receive notifications about specific goals and find nearby events to help show support. Screenshots via Inhabitat. Image via picjumbo.com

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14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

Earth911 Quiz #66: The Social Cost of Carbon

July 11, 2019 by  
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The National Academies of Sciences recently released a comprehensive review … The post Earth911 Quiz #66: The Social Cost of Carbon appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #66: The Social Cost of Carbon

The World Surf League is pledging to eliminate single-use plastics and become carbon-neutral by the end of 2019

June 27, 2019 by  
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The World Surf League (WSL)  is known for being the authority for all things surfing, famous for showcasing the most talented professional surfers to the rest of the world. Now, they’ve decided to use that powerful platform to set an example for sports organizations everywhere by committing to substantial environmental initiatives. Earlier in June, the WSL announced a series of pledges that will apply to all WSL Championship Tour and Big Wave Tour events. They include becoming carbon neutral globally by the end of 2019, eliminating single-serve plastics by the end of 2019 and leaving each place better than they found it. The WSL runs more than 230 global surfing events each year. Considering the WSL’s millions of passionate fans, and the organization’s plan to hold competitions throughout Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Tahiti, France, Portugal, California and Hawaii in 2019 alone, these public commitments are bound to inspire others to address critical issues about the state of our environment. Related: Kin Travel is offering unique vacation ideas that benefit destinations through conservation and sustainability Along with the announcement came an expansion of the WSL’s already-active ocean conservation efforts by their launch of a global campaign to “ Stop Trashing Waves ” with its non-profit arm, WSL PURE (“Protecting Understanding and Respecting the Environment”). WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt spoke of breaking new ground in the world of sports when it comes to the “urgent battle against climate change and ocean pollution,” saying, “We believe it’s our responsibility to be ‘all in’ with our efforts to protect the ocean and beaches amid the devastating climate crisis we all face. We invite everyone who cares about the ocean to join us.” So how does the WSL plan on carrying out these goals? For starters, the organization is offsetting its carbon footprint by investing in REDD+ and VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) certified carbon offset projects. These projects are focused on restoring and protecting natural and renewable energy ecosystems based in each of the WSL’s operating regions. The WSL will also be making an effort to limit non-essential travel and implement policies to reduce carbon emissions within its offices. 11-time WSL Champion and surfing legend, Kelly Slater, spoke of the announcement with enthusiasm. “I think it’s a great stance and an important message to send to people around the world. The ocean is vital to everyone, for food, for oxygen and especially to us surfers. I think everyone should make it their priority to care about this issue and make changes in their lives to help.” + World Surf League Images via World Surf League

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The World Surf League is pledging to eliminate single-use plastics and become carbon-neutral by the end of 2019

Vegan and lab-grown meats predicted to take over meat market in 20 years

June 13, 2019 by  
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A new report claims that artificial but sustainable meats will take over the meat market by 2040. The study , conducted by global firm AT Kearney, contends that alternative meats will constitute 60 percent of the global meat market in the next 20 years, due to growing concern about the ethics and environmental impacts of the meat industry. Vegan meat production and sales have skyrocketed since their recent introduction to the market. Sustainable meats made from plant sources significantly reduce the carbon emissions associated with livestock and avoid all concerns about animal welfare. Vegan food corporations have received more than $1 billion in investments, including major corporations like Beyond Meat, Just Food and Impossible Foods. Conventional meat companies have even invested in this emerging market. Other companies are currently experimenting with growing meat in lab cultures, circumventing the need to raise and slaughter animals altogether. According to the report, while there are no such products ready for sale yet, people are expected to quickly adopt these products, despite initial distrust, because the taste and texture is so similar to real meat that they could outshine the vegan options. Around the world, people are increasingly adopting vegan and vegetarian lifestyles or consuming less meat in attempts to be more environmentally friendly. According to the report, “The large-scale livestock industry is viewed by many as an unnecessary evil. With the advantages of novel vegan meat replacements and cultured meat over conventionally produced meat, it is only a matter of time before they capture a substantial market share.” Related: Leaked footage shows brutal animal abuse at Fair Oaks dairy farm The conventional meat industry is worth over a trillion dollars globally, and it is difficult to believe it will be overshadowed by the sustainable lab or vegan meat industry, despite a billion dollars in investments. Still, the report is inspiring for the planet as more and more people take interest in decreasing their meat consumption in favor of more sustainable options. + AT Kearney Via The Guardian Image via Rustic Vegan

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TREDJE NATUR proposes angled timber housing that meets UNs sustainability goals

June 13, 2019 by  
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Copenhagen-based architectural firm TREDJE NATUR has unveiled an urban housing proposal that ticks all the right boxes for beautiful and sustainable design. Created to follow the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals — a blueprint of 17 goals ranging from affordable and clean energy to responsible consumption and production — TREDJE NATUR’s proposed mixed-use development is estimated to save 30 to 50 percent of carbon emissions compared to conventional housing construction. Named “New Angle” after the timber townhouses’ sharply pitched rooflines, the site-specific housing development emphasizes safe and low-carbon community living, biodiversity, flexibility and protection from the elements and traffic noise. Created as part of a feasibility study for the Copenhagen Metropolitan Area, New Angle comprises nearly 130,000 square feet of housing and a little over 160,000 square feet of office space. The development has been proposed for a commercial site sandwiched between two different motorways and a ring road. TREDJE NATUR’s design is a direct response to the site conditions, particularly the noise nuisances from surrounding traffic. The layout and shape of the houses create an inward-looking development that ensures optimized daylighting for all residents, ample green space and protection from traffic noise. Set on a parking plinth, the townhouses are arranged in an L-shaped ring with steeply sloped roofs angled toward the central common green space that can be used for urban gardening and recreation. The angle of the roof profiles not only shields residents from traffic noise, but also allows for integrated solar panels with maximum performance and rainwater collection systems. The renderings show the housing would be built primarily from timber with a strong emphasis on the outdoors and neighborly connection. Related: World’s first upcycled high-rise is proposed for Copenhagen “The CO2 savings happen through the building design, choice of materials, systematic solutions, focus on climate and biodiversity and overall by creating a framework for a strong community and a sustainable lifestyle,” explained the architects, who said the design is a more sustainable alternative to the conventional multistory building. “Apart from significant CO2 savings, calculations also show that the project is economically sustainable and can be constructed with low establishment costs compared to similar housing units.” + TREDJE NATUR Images via TREDJE NATUR

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TREDJE NATUR proposes angled timber housing that meets UNs sustainability goals

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

UK-based company is making home delivery as green as possible with e-cargo bikes

May 28, 2019 by  
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Electric Assisted Vehicles Limited unveiled its new e-cargo bike designed to reduce the carbon footprint of urban home deliveries. The Project 1 eCargo bicycle, nicknamed P1, has a range of 7-20 miles depending on battery size, making it a great addition to any courier or food delivery service with little to no carbon emissions. At just under 6.5 feet in length and 3.4 feet in width, the quadricycle can easily wind its way through streets and roads without causing added congestion. A stable platform allows for the transportation of 330 lbs of cargo. The P1 is peddled and steered like a regular bicycle and a thumb switch makes the vehicle accelerate to 6 mph. A turn crank operated by pedal adds the extra electrical assistance necessary to tackle longer journeys, all with zero carbon emissions . The bikes are compatible with charging stations, as well as can be charged offsite due to the removable batteries. Related: Meet ‘Blade’, the world’s first 3D-printed hypercar “We’ve created a vehicle with Project 1 that will lead on to an entire range of mobility solution vehicles. All highly functional, exceptionally environmentally aware, easy and great fun to use. Also, they have to be very cool to look at which is another crucial cultural point,” says Nigel Gordon-Stewart, managing director of EAV. The company is working to make the P1 completely weather resistant so the vehicle can be usable year-round, regardless of bad weather. EAV is also considering ways to add more passengers and make the vehicle rentable with an app. Businesses can rest assured that the modular chassis design allows for the customization of the P1 whether it needs to be extended, shortened or widened. DPD, the UK’s leading parcel delivery company, worked alongside EAV to help develop the quadricycle. DPD’s CEO commented on the partnership, saying, “Our aim is to be the most responsible city centre delivery company, which means neutralising our carbon footprint and developing smarter, cleaner and more sustainable parcel delivery services. Not only does the P1 look amazing, it is also incredibly smart, flexible and future-proofed. As a result, the P1 is perfect for UK city centres and we are really looking forward to adding it to our rapidly expanding zero emission fleet in July.” + EAV Images via EAV

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