Mexico wants to run a tourist train through its Mayan heartland — should it?

August 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Big public works like the Maya Train demand careful planning. But the environmental and social repercussions could be disastrous.

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Mexico wants to run a tourist train through its Mayan heartland — should it?

MVRDV designs a Dutch office building covered in potted plants

August 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

MVRDV has unveiled designs for the Green Villa, a striking mixed-use building draped in greenery for the Dutch village of Sint-Michielsgestel. Created in collaboration with Van Boven Architecten , the four-story Green Villa will be located on the town’s southern edge and will use a grid “rack” system to host a wide variety of potted plants, bushes and trees, including the likes of forsythia, jasmine, pine and birch. The project will be a landmark project for the village and will promote sustainability with improved biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Located on a corner lot next to the Dommel River, the 1,400-square-meter Green Villa will house a new ground-floor office space for real estate developer and client, Stein, as well as five apartments on the three floors above in addition to underground parking. The building shape relates to the existing urban fabric with its adoption of the mansard roof shape used on the neighboring buildings. A new architectural typology is also put forth with the use of a strikingly lush facade that will help the structure blend in with the nearby river, fields and trees. Related: MVRDV designs BREEAM excellent-seeking sustainable research lab for Amsterdam “This design is a continuation of our research into ‘facade-less’ buildings and radical greening,” explained Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “The idea from the nineties of city parks as an oasis in the city is too limited. We need a radical ‘green dip’: as will be shown soon in a book by The Why Factory with the same title, we should also cover roofs and high-rise facades with greenery. Plants and trees can help us to offset CO2 emissions , cool our cities and promote biodiversity.” The Green Villa will be defined by a square grid four bays wide and three bays deep, in which modules for bedrooms and living spaces will slot inside. The facade will be made up of a “rack” of shelves of varying depths to support a “three-dimensional arboretum,” and each plant will have its own nameplate with additional information. The plants will be watered year-round with a sensor-controlled irrigation system that uses recycled rainwater . Construction is scheduled to start in 2020. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV designs a Dutch office building covered in potted plants

Smart procurement for smart cities

August 14, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

To make cities attractive for startups and innovation, they need to have better processes for testing technologies and solutions.

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Smart procurement for smart cities

Sephora’s safer ingredient announcement is more than skin deep — here’s why

August 14, 2019 by  
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The biggest specialty beauty retailer’s chemicals commitment is showing that natural beauty is going mainstream.

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Sephora’s safer ingredient announcement is more than skin deep — here’s why

With the world heating up, who needs an event such as Burning Man?

July 31, 2019 by  
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The ephemeral city in the desert is seeking to achieve carbon negativity, yet its impact as a cultural movement expands far beyond Black Rock.

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With the world heating up, who needs an event such as Burning Man?

What the unicorn IPO of The RealReal says about the circular economy for fashion

July 31, 2019 by  
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Transitioning away from extractive systems needs innovative business models, product life extension and success stories.

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What the unicorn IPO of The RealReal says about the circular economy for fashion

From Amsterdam to Zagreb, 3 steps to transition to a circular economy for cities

July 26, 2019 by  
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A new report on circular policies illuminates major opportunities for governments and people.

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From Amsterdam to Zagreb, 3 steps to transition to a circular economy for cities

Resource depletion is a serious problem, but ‘footprint’ estimates don’t tell us much about it

July 26, 2019 by  
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It’s almost Earth Overshoot Day — and we still are having difficulty measuring the full impact of our consumption.

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Resource depletion is a serious problem, but ‘footprint’ estimates don’t tell us much about it

How your diet contributes to nutrient pollution and dead zones in lakes and bays

July 26, 2019 by  
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Agricultural pollution is a broad-based issue — but addressing it is politically difficult. Here’s how to be most effective.

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How your diet contributes to nutrient pollution and dead zones in lakes and bays

City of Berkeley bans natural gas in new buildings and homes

July 23, 2019 by  
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The Californian city of Berkeley has become the first in the country to pass a ban on natural gas piping in new buildings, including private homes. Although it is considered cleaner than oil, natural gas is still a fossil fuel and contributes to global warming . New buildings in Berkeley, with few exceptions, will have to rely on electricity for heating water and kitchen appliances starting in January 2020. The natural gas ordinance was spearheaded by councilmember Kate Harrison, who told the San Francisco Chronicle , “It’s an enormous issue. We need to really tackle this. When we think about pollution and climate change issues, we tend to think about factories and cars, but all buildings are producing greenhouse gas .” Related: California is the first US state to require solar energy for new houses The legislation passed unanimously, but some critics outside of the city town halls and council meetings argue that electricity prices are higher than natural gas . The mandate will come at an expense to homeowners and renters in the Bay Area’s already stifling housing market. The ordinance also comes with funding for a two-year position for one staff member in the Office of Planning and Development who will oversee the implementation of the ban. David Hochschild, chairman of the California Energy Commission, reported that at least 50 other cities throughout the state of California are considering such a ban in hopes of addressing the contribution that buildings make to climate change and to encourage higher usage of electricity and renewable energy. Berkeley has a history of progressive bans, including becoming the first city in the country to ban smoking in restaurants and bars back in 1977. Earlier this year, the city banned single-use plastic utensils in restaurants (such as plastic forks). Restaurants and cafes throughout the city must use compostable utensils for takeaway meals and beverages. The city also passed an ordinance adding a 25 cents tax onto single-use cups, such as coffee cups. Via San Francisco Chronicle and NRDC Image via Pixabay

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City of Berkeley bans natural gas in new buildings and homes

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