Shanghai flying car tower to clean the air with a 50,000-plant vertical forest

December 22, 2017 by  
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Flying cars seem to be moving from the realm of science fiction to reality – and Richard’s Architecture + Design (RA+D) helmed by architect Richard Moreta Castillo has already designed a net-zero tower pioneering drone car infrastructure. The Smart Power Long tower, a condominium building planned for Shanghai , features landing pads for flying cars. The futuristic concept is super green, according to RA+D, and will feature a vertical forest in which 50,000 trees and shrubs could scrub the skies. Dubai started testing flying taxis earlier this year, and RA+D also pointed to Nevada officials seeking permission from the Federal Aviation Administration for flying passenger drones as evidence the futuristic vehicles could soon be soaring the skies. RA+D first came up with the drone car tower concept in 2015 with their Moscow Tower, and they said the Shanghai tower’s construction could occur faster than expected – between 2018 and 2020. Related: Futuristic power plant complex generates clean power through wind, solar and geothermal energy The condominium tower draws design inspiration from Chinese dragon art. Docking stations for drone cars wind up the exterior. The building could clean the air naturally, as plants take in carbon dioxide , and could also have 180 carbon dioxide extractors, according to RA+D. The air could then be expelled from the top in numbers corresponding with the hour, illuminated with an LED spotlight to create an appearance similar to fire, to create what RA+D described as the “first smoke and chromatic clock for the reference of the Shanghai community.” Clean technologies are also part of Smart Power Long’s design, such as a recycling water plant utilizing ultraviolet disinfection treatment. A vertical electrical power plant will draw on solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy. The multi-use building could also contain a convention center, water river biology laboratories, and residences. Smart Power Long is designed for Shanghai’s Pudong District with a budget of $600 million. + Richard’s Architecture + Design Images courtesy of Richard Moreta Castillo

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Shanghai flying car tower to clean the air with a 50,000-plant vertical forest

New York delivers huge blow to the fossil fuel industry

December 22, 2017 by  
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New York just sent a big message to the fossil fuel industry . The state is freezing all fossil fuel investments – and they are divesting almost $400 billion in pension funds from the industry, according to Grist . In a statement , Governor Andrew Cuomo said the New York Common Fund has nearly $1 billion invested just in ExxonMobil – but described such investments as increasingly risky “as both New York State and the world back away from the use of fossil fuel as a primary energy source.” Cuomo and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the divestment decision in separate proposals this week. They could divest billions from fossil fuel companies with the aim of de-carbonizing pension funds. It’s a big move – New York’s Common Fund is the third biggest in America and manages retirement assets for over one million New Yorkers. Related: The World Bank will stop funding oil and gas projects after 2019 Cuomo said in the statement, “New York has made incredible strides in securing a clean energy future for this state with our nation-leading clean energy standard, offshore wind development, and aggressive investment in the clean tech economy, yet the Common Fund remains heavily invested in the energy economy of the past. Moving the Common Fund away from fossil fuel investments will protect the retirement savings of New Yorkers.” This year, the Common Fund had holdings in over 50 oil and gas companies that have been listed among the top 100 most carbon-intensive on Earth, according to Cuomo’s statement. Neither proposal has yet given an end date for 100 percent divestment. Stringer said his office would bring a proposal to New York City pension fund trustees in coming weeks. Cuomo said he’d partner with New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to launch an advisory committee to design a de-carbonization road map. Via Grist , Governor Andrew Cuomo , and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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New York delivers huge blow to the fossil fuel industry

Whimsically windswept cabin-like kiosks are designed to soothe urban stress

December 22, 2017 by  
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A trio of tilted cabin-like kiosks is inviting visitors to escape the stresses of urban life in Mount Royal Park, the most frequented park in Montreal. Atelier Urban Face designed the three minimalist kiosks in the image of a hamlet to encourage congregation. Each building’s dramatically tilted shape is a playful expression of wind strength. Atelier Urban Face sought to create an artistic refuge that would complement the landscape. “They are not only respectful of the mountain, they participate, by their architecture in the poetry of the place,” says a description of the kiosks . “It’s an architectural achievement that does not alter the intrinsic qualities of the mountain, and has quality construction with undeniable potential for durability.” Related: Modern charred timber house juts out of Quebec’s forest landscape Set in a clearing, the steel-framed kiosks are tilted at varying degrees as if blown over by different gusts of wind. The first kiosk, tilted ten degrees, can accommodate up to 30 people. The second, inclined at 20 degrees, houses service equipment and a first-aid station. The final kiosk is the most dramatically tilted at 30 degrees and serves as the ticket office with additional storage space. The buildings’ simple gabled forms, glazed end walls , and dark zinc cladding help blend them into the environment. + Atelier Urban Face Images by Fany Ducharme and Sylvie Perrault

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Whimsically windswept cabin-like kiosks are designed to soothe urban stress

China’s ‘monumental’ new emissions trading scheme

December 21, 2017 by  
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The carbon market initially will cover China’s energy sector before expanding over the coming years.

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China’s ‘monumental’ new emissions trading scheme

How Indian companies use carbon pricing as a planning tool

December 21, 2017 by  
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Last month, at the fourth annual Climate Business Forum, hosted in New Delhi by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, there was a buzz in the air about business opportunities in clean solutions, as Indian government ministers, leading companies and investors presented their plans to scale up solar, green buildings and distributed energy storage using disruptive business models and innovative financing.

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How Indian companies use carbon pricing as a planning tool

All 16,000 of this Chinese megacity’s bus fleet will be electric by year’s end

December 18, 2017 by  
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Shenzhen , China – home to more than 11 million people – rolled out a pilot of electric buses all the way back in 2011. Despite being ahead of the electric curve, they had thousands of buses running on diesel until recently. But that will change by the end of 2017, when the megacity’s entire fleet of buses will be electrictrified . Shenzhen’s fleet includes 16,000 buses. They’re going completely electric – and will be the first city in the world to attain that goal, according to Fast Company . They had to install a network of thousands of charging stations and ports, and figure out how to handle the expense of replacing all those diesel buses. Related: Shenzhen, China Launches the World’s Largest Electric Vehicle Fleet Fast Company pointed out the scale of the transition makes it all the more remarkable. Shenzhen has more buses than the United States’ top five bus fleets combined: in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Jersey, and King County, Washington, where Seattle is located. The local and national governments played a role in the transition; both offered subsidies to bring the cost of electric buses in line with traditional ones. Falling lithium-ion battery costs have also helped. The buses are cheaper to operate and maintain than diesel-powered ones. Shenzhen-based automobile manufacturer BYD produced 80 percent of the new buses in the megacity. The company sells its cars in 50 countries, and even surpassed Tesla in 2016 as the biggest electric vehicle manufacturer in the world. The electric buses are one component of an effort to clean up the megacity’s air. Around 10 years ago, Shenzhen spent around half the days in a year covered in smog. That figure fell to 27 days in 2016. The electricity to power the buses isn’t completely clean yet; some comes from coal. Even so the buses are anticipated to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 48 percent compared against diesel ones. Shenzhen also aims to have all of its taxis be electric by 2020. Via Fast Company Images via BYD Company Ltd. on YouTube and Wikimedia Commons

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All 16,000 of this Chinese megacity’s bus fleet will be electric by year’s end

U.S. companies deconstruct China’s recycling import ban

December 14, 2017 by  
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Zero-waste organizations like GM and P&G see opportunity, not a materials migraine.

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U.S. companies deconstruct China’s recycling import ban

China Bans ‘Foreign Waste,’ causing recycling chaos in America

December 11, 2017 by  
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When you drop those bottles and plastic containers off to be recycled, do you know where they go? The United States exports around one third of its recycling , and almost half of that heads over to China . But China recently decided to ban the import of some solid garbage , saying foreign waste often has too many hazardous or dirty non-recyclable items. This means some waste collection and recycling companies may have to resort to taking items that could have been recycled to a landfill . In filings with the World Trade Organization this summer, China said it would ban 24 kinds of solid trash “to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health .” A July Waste360 article said the trash the country will ban includes “plastics waste from living sources, vanadium slag, unsorted waste paper , and waste textile materials.” The complete ban doesn’t go into effect until January 1, but some Chinese importers have not renewed licenses, according to NPR – and American recycling companies are already feeling the impacts. Related: We’ve made enough plastic trash to bury Manhattan under 2 miles of the stuff Rogue Waste Systems in Oregon gathers recycling via curbside bins, and manager Scott Fowler told NPR there are always non-recyclable items mixed in with recyclables. China used to sort through it. But now the items don’t have a place to go. Recycling bales are piling up in Rogue Waste’s warehouse, and employee parking spaces have been consumed by compressed cubes of junk mail, broken wine bottles, and food containers. The company said they had no choice but to take the recycling to a nearby landfill. NPR reported over a dozen companies in the state have asked regulators if they can send recyclables to landfills. Pioneer Recycling president Steve Frank said he’s moved materials to other countries, but “the rest of the world cannot make up that gap.” Via NPR Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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China Bans ‘Foreign Waste,’ causing recycling chaos in America

13 heirloom gifts that will stand the test of time

December 11, 2017 by  
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A gift that will stand the test of time is one that can be treasured by many people – not just the current recipient! Heirloom gifts such as cast iron cookware , pocketwatches , and rare books can literally last for generations if loved and cared for properly, so check out our list of gorgeous heirloom gift ideas that can suit anyone on your holiday list. HEIRLOOM GIFT IDEAS >

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13 heirloom gifts that will stand the test of time

Bamboo grove creates an oasis of calm atop a busy Chinese mall

December 8, 2017 by  
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A bamboo “forest” wraps around this unique oasis-like space hidden atop a Chinese shopping mall. Beijing-based V STUDIO designed the Bamboo Rooftop Room, a minimalist, all-white space for a client who wanted an intimate space for business and leisure purposes. Designed as a quiet refuge, the rooftop project stands in purposeful contrast to the bustling urban landscape. Located on the eastern end of the roof , the 220-square-meter Bamboo Rooftop Room consists of a glazed rectangular volume enclosed by a high wall for privacy. Set against a white backdrop, bamboo planted around the main volume gives inhabitants the illusion of being in a bamboo forest. Gaps between the wall and main volume are used as private courtyards and allow indirect natural light to reach the interior. Related: Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain To emphasize the project’s oasis-like character, the all-white interior is kept minimalist. Furnishings are made from timber and upholstered in fabrics of muted colors, while views of the bamboo grove can be enjoyed through full-height glazing from every room. The interior is split into meeting spaces of varying sizes with a kitchen and dining room at the core. A bedroom is located on the east side. + V STUDIO

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Bamboo grove creates an oasis of calm atop a busy Chinese mall

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