A tale of two ‘living’ buildings in the Capitol

July 13, 2017 by  
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Measuring the intangible value of two Living Building Challenge and WELL Building certifications in Washington, D.C.

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A tale of two ‘living’ buildings in the Capitol

GM, Michelin put brakes on deforestation linked to rubber

July 13, 2017 by  
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Deforestation has accelerated in the rubber producing countries of Southeast Asia to feed global demand for tires. But Michelin and now General Motors have launched zero deforestation rubber procurement policies.

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GM, Michelin put brakes on deforestation linked to rubber

13-year-old Ohio girl taps traffic to generate renewable energy

July 10, 2017 by  
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We may be one step closer to tackling our energy crisis if this 8th grader has anything to say about it. 13-year-old Laalitya Acharya from Ohio came up with TraffEnerate, an invention that uses vehicular traffic to generate clean power . She’s a finalist in the 2017 Young Scientist Challenge , and stands to win $25,000. Acharya started researching cheap, easily renewable resources of energy, and came across a device she calls a piezo. She explains when stress is applied to a piezo, it generates electricity . She wanted to make it easy to utilize piezos, so she designed TraffEnerate to obtain power when cars drive over the devices. Her prototype incorporates 11 piezo sensors and a 3D-printed block so stress will be applied to all 11 piezos even if a car just barely passes over the corner of the prototype. Related: 13-year-old Maanasa Mendu invents groundbreaking clean energy device that costs just $5 Acharya also designed a reciprocating motion machine to test the prototype. Her robot consistently applied stress to the invention, seen in an oscilloscope reading. She hopes to implement TraffEnerate in the busiest intersections of her hometown of Mason, Ohio . Acharya said on the challenge website, “I wanted to change the world, that simple. On my family’s yearly trip to India, I saw children who have no power in their homes, huddling near dangerous fires. I wanted to change their position in life, to make it better by creating clean energy and electricity.” The 2017 Young Scientist Challenge is put on by Discovery Education and 3M . There are 10 finalists for this year’s challenge, with innovative projects such as a way to detect lead in water, treating Alzheimer’s with plant components, and cleaning up oil spills with pomegranate husks and orange peels. A winner will be chosen in October. + Young Scientist Lab Via Young Scientist Challenge and Rajesh Acharya Images via screenshot

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13-year-old Ohio girl taps traffic to generate renewable energy

Praying mantises hunt down and eat small birds, including hummingbirds

July 10, 2017 by  
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We know praying mantises are carnivorous – they’ve been documented consuming frogs, lizards, and snakes. But they also kill and consume small birds like hummingbirds , according to new research from zoologists in Switzerland and the United States. We expect birds to eat insects , not the other way around, so the reversal is startling – and humans may have had a role to play in the deaths of these hummingbirds. The zoologists gathered 147 cases of mantids capturing small birds. Praying mantises from 12 species and nine genera engaged in the behavior, which was found on every continent except Antarctica, in 13 countries. The insects weren’t too picky about the birds they ate either – 24 different species and 14 families of birds were among the prey. Related: 9 things you can do to help wild birds this summer But 70 percent of the cases in this research occurred in the United States. There, the insects have been employed as pest control – a practice which had unintended consequences. Several alien species of big praying mantises were released in North America decades ago for pest control, and now threaten small birds. They snare hummingbirds at hummingbird feeders, or in home gardens filled with plants the birds pollinate . These hummingbirds comprise the majority of the birds preyed upon by praying mantises. 78 percent of the birds captured were eaten, according to the researchers. 18 percent were liberated by humans. Only two percent escaped on their own. Scientist Martin Nyffeler of the University of Basel said in a statement, “Our study shows the threat mantises pose to some bird populations. Thus, great caution is advised when releasing mantises for pest control.” Nyffeler was the lead author on a paper recently published in The Wilson Journal of Ornithology , joined by zoologists from National University and Louisiana State University . Via TreeHugger and the University of Basel Images via Zoran Ožetski on Unsplash and Beckie on Flickr

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Praying mantises hunt down and eat small birds, including hummingbirds

Can we really solve the million-piece climate puzzle?

April 20, 2017 by  
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Too many of us are too focused on addressing narrow slices of the challenge, rather than the bigger picture.

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Can we really solve the million-piece climate puzzle?

Etsy hacked an app to track waste — one you can use, too

April 13, 2017 by  
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The only publicly tech company to be certified under the Living Building Challenge is open-sourcing the system it uses to measure what’s leaving its offices.

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Etsy hacked an app to track waste — one you can use, too

3 ways to embed sustainability in public-private partnerships

April 13, 2017 by  
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Sustainability considerations should be prominent in the design, development and operational phases of the PPP process.

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3 ways to embed sustainability in public-private partnerships

13-year-old Maanasa Mendu invents groundbreaking clean energy device that costs just $5

October 24, 2016 by  
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The future looks bright thanks to the next generation of scientists. Maanasa Mendu, a 13-year-old girl from Ohio , recently won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for creating a $5 energy harvesting device. Mendu’s innovative design, called HARVEST, converts sunlight, wind, and rain into renewable energy . Mendu has been named America’s Top Young Scientist and won $25,000.

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13-year-old Maanasa Mendu invents groundbreaking clean energy device that costs just $5

Rainforest Solutions Project saves over 12 million acres of forest, wins 2016 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

October 6, 2016 by  
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The Great Bear Rainforest is ” one of the largest old growth temperate rainforests on the planet .” The region is also home to around 18,000 to 20,000 First Nations peoples, whose spirituality and identities are linked to the rainforest, according to Rainforest Solutions Project . Spirit bears, or Kermode bears, also make their home in the rainforest, and it is the only place in the world where they live, according to the Save The Great Bear Rainforest Facebook page . Related: 6 world-changing finalists announced for the 2016 Buckminster Fuller Challenge The Rainforest Solutions Project team said in a statement, “The problems we faced are very common, although the ecosystems and First Nations cultures are unique. The process for the parties to move through conflict to collaboration required alliances and cross-cultural relationships, while holding firm to key principles. This helped us all navigate through complex issues to bring the art of the possible into being at a meaningful scale now and into the future.” According to the Buckminster Fuller Institute , the agreement the Rainforest Solutions Project team helped develop is “historically unprecendented” and is “one of the most extraordinary approaches to conservation , social justice, and indigenous rights in recent memory.” Fuller Challenge Review Committee member Bill Browning said in a statement, “Selecting the Rainforest Solutions Project as the 2016 Winner is a provocative point in the evolution of the Challenge, as design is being recognized as an integral part of business and society.” + Rainforest Solutions Project + Buckminster Fuller Institute Images via Save the Great Bear Rainforest Facebook ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) and Dogwood BC on Flickr ( 6 , 7 )

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Rainforest Solutions Project saves over 12 million acres of forest, wins 2016 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

Local Motors unveils plans for self-driving 3D-printed car with drone tech

September 9, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjhl3UgbWxI The contest was based on the Strati , a 3D-printed car produced by Local Motors that vaguely resembles a dune buggy. The competition challenged engineers to create new electronics features that would be suitable for a self-driving version of the 3D-printed vehicle. (In the video above, you can watch Imahara ride shotgun with Local Motors General Manager David Woessner in the Swim, another 3D-printed vehicle and the first model the car company aims to put through highway certification.) Related: Local Motors unveils world’s first 3D-printed car for mass production The winning design, FLY-MODE, has an appeal that is easy to understand. One of the most exciting aspects of a self-driving car is the possibility for activities that people can engage in while they’re being transported from Point A to Point B, since staring at the road will no longer be necessary. The FLY-MODE has a video screen, internet connectivity, and the ability to connect with an actual flying drone and view live drone footage during the ride, giving you the feeling they are flying instead of riding in a car. The contest winner scored a trip to the Local Motors microfactory in Phoenix, Arizona and will be invited to participate in the final build process and production video with Local Motors and Imahara. We can’t wait to see that! So, let’s run that back a bit: my favorite Mythbuster (sorry, Adam and Jamie), self-driving cars, 3D printing, crowdsourced engineering, and drone technology. Yep, sounds like a good time to me. + Mouser Electronics + Local Motors Images via Local Motors

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Local Motors unveils plans for self-driving 3D-printed car with drone tech

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