First climate-positive, net-zero city in the world

May 2, 2022 by  
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Nexgen sustainable city is a masterplan from URB for a city in Egypt . It will become the world’s first net-zero city producing more energy and food than it consumes. The new city is designed to provide food, energy and water for its own residents and become an eco-tourism destination. Nexgen will be located in the eastern district of Cairo on a 580 hectare plot. Nine thousand housing units will be available for 35,000 residents of all income levels. The building project itself will create 10,000 jobs in food tech, clean energy, water and waste. Therefore, creating a circular green economy for the city. Related: Rivendell net-zero energy house optimizes solar energy Furthermore, Nexgen hopes to become a tourism destination in its own right. Meaning, not just for the sake of touring the green technology systems of the city. There will be a five-star eco-resort, glamping facilities, an eco-tourism visitor center and a nature reserve for land conservation and biodiversity. Medical facilities also aim to attract visitors from outside the city. They will include an autism village, a rehabilitation and wellness center and various other clinics. Baharash Bagherian, founder and CEO of Nexgen creator URB, helped design other sustainable cities. He aims with this new project to address food insecurity, which affects one in every four global residents. Thereby, Nexgen will include multiple systems for producing food locally and sustainably for residents. Solar atmospheric water generators will produce clean drinking water from air. Additionally, they will also address water security in a dry region. “The creation of the next generation net-zero cities that provide food, energy and water as security is no longer a choice, it has become a necessity,” said Bagherian. “Nexgen is the next evolution in sustainable cities that provide innovative multi-functional solutions for social, economic and environmental challenges whilst setting the highest sustainability standards for building resilient and livable cities.” + URB Images via URB

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First climate-positive, net-zero city in the world

California Art House switches up the norms of entertaining

May 2, 2022 by  
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The Art House, designed by Buttrick Projects Architecture+Design, updated a classic 1920s California home into something thoroughly modern. Located in Palo Alto, California, the home adds three additional small structures on two adjacent parcels of land. It also keeps the original home where the owners raised four children. The new buildings hold an art collection, playroom and workspace to create a private courtyard. Additionally, large UV-filtering glass windows maximize natural light for the artwork. It keeps it from fading in the sun, while corrugated zinc scrim at the second level softens the daylight entering the home. The home features large, glass sliding doors that disappear into pockets to create indoor-outdoor living spaces. Related: This rammed earth tiny house has a green solar roof Furthermore, the largest and newest structure is the Art House. This is where the art is housed, which doubles as a space for entertaining guests. The owners purchased the lot next door to their original home when it came on the market a few years back. Also, it gave them more space to work with the renovation . There is now art storage and a studio in the rear of the property while the new and original houses sit up front. A pool and a small lawn connect the buildings in the backyard. Bedrooms in the houses face the street. Meanwhile, living room and kitchen are in back facing the courtyard, which creates maximum entertainment space in the private yard. In addition to the zinc facade on the second floor, cementitious panels are attached over metal “hat channels.” This is to reduce direct thermal transfer , thus reducing the need for air conditioning and helping to keep rain off the house. The new house mirrors the old house’s blocky vocabulary, connecting them visually even though they are not touching. Inside, curtains dampen reverb to make the space feel quieter. The homes have a “cool roof” with heat recovery ventilation. There is also dense-packed cellulose insulation and ample LED lighting inside. As a result, the home inverts the normal layout of houses by designing large open windows at the back for views of the private yard. It’s a house for entertainment, for appreciation of the artwork and for peaceful relaxation with family. + Buttrick Projects Photography by Joe Fletcher

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Copenhagen is one of the world’s greenest cities, here’s why

March 24, 2022 by  
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Copenhagen consistently ranks as one of the world’s most sustainable cities. What is Copenhagen doing right that the rest of the world can catch up on?  This beautiful European city is home to a multitude of eco-friendly architecture projects, renewable energy initiatives, urban gardens and more to green the city from the ground up. Here are a few of Copenhagen’s sustainable features. Related: C.F. Møller completes Carlsberg Central Office in Copenhagen Everyone bikes in Copenhagen Like other congested cities designed before the modern car, Copenhagen residents bike everywhere. The city has 700,000 bikes , more than one bike for every car in the city. Additionally, Copenhagen welcomes bicycle parking structures, bike-friendly design ( including this unique bike bridge ) and a culture that encourages people to get out and exercise instead of driving. Over 60% of Copenhagen residents bike rather than drive for their commute. Older European cities such as Copenhagen weren’t designed around cars anyway, so bikes are a convenient and practical way to commute on narrow streets. For those using public transit, the buses in Copenhagen are transitioning from diesel to electric . While you’re on the road, you can stay in any of Copenhagen’s many eco-friendly hotels, recycle your waste in a public vending machine for a deposit and eat organic foods at several city restaurants. Green architecture galore Copenhagen is greening its commercial buildings at an accelerating rate. This means green roofs, renewable energy, passive solar and more. Check out this green-roof timber construction called  Marmormolen , a prime example of Copenhagen’s green architecture at its best. Now, the city’s building codes even require new buildings to have green roofs. These rooftops often involve rainwater harvesting systems and help trap particulate pollution from city transit. Copenhagen’s parks and green space One-quarter of Copenhagen’s space is used for urban gardens and green space. Urban codes requiring green roofs for newly built buildings create even more space for gardens, trees and plants that promote biodiversity. The trees also provide fresh oxygen to offset the heat island effect of a paved cityscape. Additionally,  a former prison site  in Copenhagen is now being used as a mixed-use garden. Such projects show the city’s innovation in urban planning and creating a greener future. Copenhagen also has  floating island parks  and  climate-adaptive parks  that catch excess rainfall. You can even ski on top of the city’s waste-to-energy plant, where there is a permanent  ski slope  created by Bjarke Ingels Group. Copenhagen invests in renewable energy Denmark uses wind and solar energy to lower its carbon footprint, but it also uses biomass in its bid toward decarbonization. Project Holmene is another initiative toward a green energy future, in which nine man-made islands will house windmills and waste-to-energy plants. The project could generate over 300,000 MWh. That’s enough energy to power around 40,000 homes for an entire year. According to  Tomorrow City , “Today, more than 30% of Denmark’s energy requirements come from renewables, and it expects to reach 50% by 2030 and achieve energy independence by 2050. A considerable part of this energy sustainability is from biofuels and waste management.” Copenhagen also uses smart sensors to detect water usage and leak. Meanwhile, smart valves and pumps help minimize energy waste from municipal buildings. This city of canals has a sharp eye on water waste and minimizing its carbon footprint. Copenhagen, a model future city Copenhagen’s dedication to a sustainable future sets an example for cities around the world. Hopefully, more areas will soon adopt these climate mitigation and adaptation strategies and green their infrastructure and architecture. As Denmark’s greenest city, Copenhagen shows that renewable energy doesn’t mean a compromised quality of life. Clean energy and beautiful design go hand in hand. Via Tomorrow.City and The Sustainable Living Guide Images via Pixabay and Pexels

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Copenhagen is one of the world’s greenest cities, here’s why

Copenhagen is one of the world’s greenest cities, here’s why

March 24, 2022 by  
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Copenhagen consistently ranks as one of the world’s most sustainable cities. What is Copenhagen doing right that the rest of the world can catch up on?  This beautiful European city is home to a multitude of eco-friendly architecture projects, renewable energy initiatives, urban gardens and more to green the city from the ground up. Here are a few of Copenhagen’s sustainable features. Related: C.F. Møller completes Carlsberg Central Office in Copenhagen Everyone bikes in Copenhagen Like other congested cities designed before the modern car, Copenhagen residents bike everywhere. The city has 700,000 bikes , more than one bike for every car in the city. Additionally, Copenhagen welcomes bicycle parking structures, bike-friendly design ( including this unique bike bridge ) and a culture that encourages people to get out and exercise instead of driving. Over 60% of Copenhagen residents bike rather than drive for their commute. Older European cities such as Copenhagen weren’t designed around cars anyway, so bikes are a convenient and practical way to commute on narrow streets. For those using public transit, the buses in Copenhagen are transitioning from diesel to electric . While you’re on the road, you can stay in any of Copenhagen’s many eco-friendly hotels, recycle your waste in a public vending machine for a deposit and eat organic foods at several city restaurants. Green architecture galore Copenhagen is greening its commercial buildings at an accelerating rate. This means green roofs, renewable energy, passive solar and more. Check out this green-roof timber construction called  Marmormolen , a prime example of Copenhagen’s green architecture at its best. Now, the city’s building codes even require new buildings to have green roofs. These rooftops often involve rainwater harvesting systems and help trap particulate pollution from city transit. Copenhagen’s parks and green space One-quarter of Copenhagen’s space is used for urban gardens and green space. Urban codes requiring green roofs for newly built buildings create even more space for gardens, trees and plants that promote biodiversity. The trees also provide fresh oxygen to offset the heat island effect of a paved cityscape. Additionally,  a former prison site  in Copenhagen is now being used as a mixed-use garden. Such projects show the city’s innovation in urban planning and creating a greener future. Copenhagen also has  floating island parks  and  climate-adaptive parks  that catch excess rainfall. You can even ski on top of the city’s waste-to-energy plant, where there is a permanent  ski slope  created by Bjarke Ingels Group. Copenhagen invests in renewable energy Denmark uses wind and solar energy to lower its carbon footprint, but it also uses biomass in its bid toward decarbonization. Project Holmene is another initiative toward a green energy future, in which nine man-made islands will house windmills and waste-to-energy plants. The project could generate over 300,000 MWh. That’s enough energy to power around 40,000 homes for an entire year. According to  Tomorrow City , “Today, more than 30% of Denmark’s energy requirements come from renewables, and it expects to reach 50% by 2030 and achieve energy independence by 2050. A considerable part of this energy sustainability is from biofuels and waste management.” Copenhagen also uses smart sensors to detect water usage and leak. Meanwhile, smart valves and pumps help minimize energy waste from municipal buildings. This city of canals has a sharp eye on water waste and minimizing its carbon footprint. Copenhagen, a model future city Copenhagen’s dedication to a sustainable future sets an example for cities around the world. Hopefully, more areas will soon adopt these climate mitigation and adaptation strategies and green their infrastructure and architecture. As Denmark’s greenest city, Copenhagen shows that renewable energy doesn’t mean a compromised quality of life. Clean energy and beautiful design go hand in hand. Via Tomorrow.City and The Sustainable Living Guide Images via Pixabay and Pexels

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Copenhagen is one of the world’s greenest cities, here’s why

Energy efficient bamboo device in Vietnam is a cooling system

January 20, 2022 by  
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AREP, a multidisciplinary architecture agency, created a cooling system prototype based on the history, culture and original designs used by ancient civilizations. Called an adiabatic urban cooling system, the idea dates back centuries, yet is still perhaps the most natural solution for the challenges of cooling modern Vietnamese cities facing regular heat waves. The adiabatic urban cooling system relies on the copious amounts of water throughout Hanoi. At a local level, the system works to naturally cool the air through an evaporation process. It’s energy-efficient since there’s no energy required to implement the adiabatic principle.  Related: LEGO to build its first carbon neutral factory in Vietnam   It’s also a frugal solution to cool the cities and public areas without a need for energy production or the use of polluting refrigerants like those in air conditioning units. All that’s needed is fresh water and hot air — two things Vietnam has in natural abundance. The cultural relevance of the adiabatic technique goes beyond the system itself. It has a unique update that supports local artisans and incorporates another resource Vietnam has an abundance of — bamboo .  In addition to agriculture and fishing, Vietnam supports a bustling arts and crafts industry. Villages scattered throughout the region have developed specialization in bamboo, pottery, textile and even recycled beer glass techniques. For AREP’s prototype, the team met and worked with local families to develop a system that could be built by locals.  They initially experimented with glass, but found glass to be fragile and unsafe. In the end, they turned to bamboo for the main structure. The marriage of AREP’s modern take on an ancient process with traditional handicrafts in the region became a viable, low-tech and energy-efficient solution for cooling down the city’s outdoor spaces.  + AREP Images via AREP Vietnam

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Energy efficient bamboo device in Vietnam is a cooling system

Urban Sequoia is a blueprint for sustainable architecture

January 13, 2022 by  
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This past fall, COP26 opened the door for discussions about many  environmental  issues. However, few presentations addressed one elephant in the room — the fact that the construction industry contributes up to 40% of ongoing carbon release. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) used the COP26 platform to offer a sustainable architecture proposal that could reduce the impact of the built environment and implement systems that will result in a carbon-negative initiative. SOM’s prototype is a high-rise building meant to act as a model for high carbon-contributing cities. The concept takes its cues from the natural process of photosynthesis and forests sequestering and storing carbon . Urban Sequoia, as the model is called, stands to mirror these benefits by creating “forests” of buildings that could be part of a solution to the climate crisis. Related: Students design a house that revolutionizes urban design SOM’s concept isn’t delivered as a single and inflexible blueprint. Instead, the prototype incorporates a broad array of innovations and technology in a sustainable architecture design that can be built today.  With forecasts for continued urban growth,  green design  elements are more important than ever. SOM’s proposal takes action against the damaging aspects of the construction industry with buildings that not only reduce material emissions but actually absorb carbon.  Chris Cooper, SOM Partner, explained the strategy, saying, “We are quickly evolving beyond the idea of being carbon neutral. The time has passed to talk about neutrality. Our proposal for Urban Sequoia – and ultimately entire ‘forests’ of Sequoias – makes buildings, and therefore our cities, part of the solution by designing them to sequester carbon, effectively changing the course of climate change.” By transforming a building into an environmental solution, the prototype high rise can sequester as much as 1,000 tons of carbon per year, equivalent to 48,500 trees. This is achieved by streamlining materials for maximum efficiency with minimal resources and includes the use of biomaterials such as bio-bricks, hempcrete,  wood , and biocrete to replace concrete and steel. SOM’s proposal radically rethinks the traditional processes for design and construction in more ways than one. In addition to material selection, the construction blueprint incorporates carbon capture technologies, estimating it could reduce construction carbon emissions by 95%.  According to SOM, the prototype could absorb up to 400% more carbon than it would emit during construction . “This is a pathway to a more sustainable future that is accessible today. Imagine a world where a building helps to heal the planet,” said Kent Jackson, SOM Partner. “We developed our idea so that it could be applied and adapted to meet the needs of any city in the world, with the potential for positive impact at any building scale.”  In addition to the building model, SOM addresses aspects like replacing hardscaping with  plants  and even capturing carbon from streets. Collecting carbon isn’t the end of the process though. Once captured, carbon can be converted into a variety of products for roads and pipes.  “If the Urban Sequoia became the baseline for new buildings, we could realign our industry to become the driving force in the fight against climate change,” said Mina Hasman, Senior Associate Principal. “We envision a future in which the first Urban Sequoia will inspire the architecture of an entire neighborhood – feeding into the city ecosystem to capture and repurpose carbon to be used locally with surplus distributed more widely.”  + Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Images via © SOM | Miysis

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Collaborating for a Carbon Neutral Built Environment

January 13, 2022 by  
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Date/Time: January 13, 2022 (1-2PM ET / 10-11AM PT) Reducing emissions across all sectors is critical if we are to combat climate change. With the passage of the infrastructure bill and the urgent need to improve and expand our cities, it’s critical that we build in a way that is both resilient and sustainable.  Join us to learn about opportunities across the construction value chain to achieve carbon neutrality for the future built environment. The cement and concrete industry recently charted a path to carbon neutrality and there will be a focus on how others within the value chain can collaborate to help reach this goal.  Among the topics: What sustainable and resilient infrastructure looks like in the future. Collaboration opportunities to bring down emissions in the built environment. The PCA Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality and how a key sector of our economy can dramatically reduce emissions.  Near-term actions to reduce cement and concrete industry emissions. Speakers: Rick Bohan, Vice President, Sustainability at Portland Cement Association Gina Lotito, Corporate Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Strategy at GCC Nick Popoff, Vice President of Product Performance and Development at Votorantim Cimentos/St Marys Cement If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the webcast recording and resources, available to you on-demand after the live webcast.

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Collaborating for a Carbon Neutral Built Environment

Sustainable and affordable urban block coming to Amsterdam

November 10, 2021 by  
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Located in Amsterdam , Robin Wood will be the most sustainable yet affordable wooden urban block in the Netherlands. The block features mixed-use property, including residential and commercial units available. It will feature 165 dividable homes that will serve the private sector, medium and large families and office users. The modular city was designed by Marc Koehler Architects and ANA Architects to create sustainable blocks for the future. The futuristic aspects of the entire design rests in its location, materials used, CO2 emission control and energy efficiency. The project will be brought to life by two developers: Edwin Oostmeijer Project Development and MaMa Pioneers. Related: Meet The Line, a sustainable design that looks like a ship Traditionally, urban blocks are built with concrete. The Robin Wood block will not only feature modern high-rise buildings, but will be made entirely out of wood and other recyclable materials. Wood improves the quality of life since it does not introduce unknown contaminants into the environment. “Wood stores CO2 and offers a healthy living environment because it is breathable, moisture regulating and has excellent acoustic properties,” said Mark Koehler Architects in a press statement. “Robin Wood promotes intensive timber bio-based construction and CO2-neutral housing.” The entire block will be net-zero carbon emissions during the construction phase and after it is open. With such a huge bulk of wood to be used (in addition to other aspects of the construction that limit CO2 emissions) the structure will indirectly offset emissions from 39,149,254 kilometers of exhaust for a mid-range car , according to the calculations made by Mark Koehler Architects and the team behind the project. The other outstanding aspect of the development is the tiny indigenous forest included on the property. The tiny forest is rich with a variety of highly compact indigenous species, increasing local biodiversity and creating an ideal environment for outdoor activities. Furthermore, the development is enriched with common areas that are open to all residents, which will promote a more social urban block . Social interaction is a key part to building sustainable societies. “Social cohesion contributes to a more cohesive and inclusive urban environment ,” stated MaMa Pioneers. “With most modern urban spaces, people live outside the social scope. This limits accountability when it comes to caring for the environment.” Although most parts of the development are made out of wood, aluminum for the windows and door frames have been used. More interesting is the fact that the construction will be done offsite. Prefabricated wooden panels are brought on-site for assembly, reducing waste and cutting down waste that would result from onsite constructions. Robin Wood will be the first-of-its-kind block in the Netherlands, leading the way for many other cities across the world. The concept is proof that environmental matters can be considered together with economic and modern developments. It is scheduled to be completed in 2024. + Marc Koehler Architects Images via Marc Koehler Architects

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How Cities Can Transition to a Cleaner Energy Future

November 3, 2021 by  
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Date/Time: December 2, 2021 (1-2PM ET / 10-11AM PT) Cities and organizations are adopting ambitious sustainability goals to demonstrate their commitment to a cleaner energy future but may not necessarily know where to start when it comes to developing their energy roadmap and identifying the best steps to build momentum in their sustainability journey. This session will explore how cities, communities and organizations can work with an integrated energy provider to meet their sustainability goals, manage energy costs, build resilience and increase efficiencies. Participants will learn how the City of San Diego is making significant strides to create a more sustainable community by collaborating with Shell Energy to install eight renewable microgrids at police, fire and parks facilities. The project is one component of the city’s strategy to eliminate half of all greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. In this webcast, you’ll learn: How the City of San Diego engaged with Shell Energy to create a tailored solution to help meet its sustainability goals What renewable microgrids are and how they can help cities and organizations become more resilient, manage costs and advance decarbonization goals How working with an integrated supplier can help cities and organizations navigate the complexities of the energy transition Moderator: Heather Clancy, Vice President & Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group Speakers: Larry Jacobs, City Solutions Manager, Shell Energy Lindsey Hawes, Municipal Energy Program Manager, The City of San Diego If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the webcast recording and resources, available to you on-demand after the live webcast.

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How Cities Can Transition to a Cleaner Energy Future

Three California cities win $1M each to attain carbon neutrality

October 27, 2021 by  
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Three California cities have been awarded $1 million each to attain carbon neutrality by 2030. Under the Cool City Challenge, the cities of Los Angeles , Irvine and Petaluma won money and consulting support to execute their plans. The award comes after several months of a rigorous application process that involved over 40 cities. All the cities were required to submit plans that did not include carbon offsets. The Cool City Challenge organizers set the bar extremely high to ensure that wining cities had the capacity and tools to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. All participating cities were required to submit a cross-sector leadership team, 200 block leaders and 25 community partner organizations. Related: Petaluma becomes first US city to ban new gas stations Applicants were also tasked with enticing their city councils to pass resolutions that would make carbon neutrality possible by 2030. The three cities passed the challenge by submitting plans that had community backing and local partners and were in line with their respective city council resolutions. According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, the Cool City Challenge is “an exemplary how-to guide for local communities to make a significant impact on climate change. It demonstrates the untapped potential of citizens to engage in an effective and achievable way.” The Cool City Challenge is built around the innovative Behaviour and Social Change Work by David Gershon, the CEO of Empowerment Institute. Gershon, the author of Social Change 2.0, is known for offering solutions for reinventing our world. “These cities deeply inspired me with their dedication to such a rigorous application process, their out-of-the-box moonshot thinking, and the high-caliber leaders spanning the public, private and civic sectors they attracted to their moonshot teams,” said Gershon. According to Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, author of the City’s Carbon Neutral 2030 Legislation, humanity must face climate change and deal with it. “If we are to meet the greatest challenge ever faced by humankind — in time — we must look climate change square in the face, and do not what’s possible, but what’s necessary to keep our planet habitable and thriving,” said Koretz. The winning cities reflect California’s diversity, representing urban, suburban, north, south, coastal and inland areas. They also represent a variety of social and racial groups. Plans developed by the cities offer both bottom-up and top-down moonshot climate solutions in terms of policy, technology and market development. Via Los Angeles Daily News Lead image via Pixabay

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