Casa Numa is built out of 50-year-old coconut palm wood

October 15, 2021 by  
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At a first glance, you might not believe that Casa Numa is entirely built out of coconut palm wood over 50 years old. The 160 square meters of living space is a beauty to behold both inside and out. Casa Numa is located on Holbox Island, Quintana Roo, where it functions as a vacation rental. According to Susana López, the chief architect behind the project, the idea behind the building was to integrate sustainability and nature in a modern living space. López is an architect with a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Design and Development for the City from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. She is recognized for her exemplary work creating modern, sustainable designs. Related: This collapsible cooler is insulated with upcycled coconut fiber This project is built out of old coconut tree wood. At first glance, the striking front lattice of coconut palm wood stands out. You can’t ignore the beauty of the pattern amid a sunny, warm environment. This lattice offers privacy by obscuring the view into the home. The coconut palm wood used in the building is supported on sapote tree piles. All the materials are sustainably sourced from local jungles . Some may argue that such a design is wasteful for using too much wood, but it is important to note that all the wood used is over 50 years old. In other words, the designers used wood that would have otherwise ended up in flames, contributing to carbon emissions. Additionally, using locally sourced wood minimized the introduction of foreign materials to the island. The materials used in this project also benefit the home. Palm wood insulation minimizes heating needs and helps keep the house comfortable in both hot and cold conditions. The effectiveness of the materials also stands out in terms of the time needed for construction. Casa Numa’s structure was completed in only three months. Casa Numa shows how nature can provide everything we need to live a comfortable life. With efficient, local materials , this project creates a sustainable, original living space. + RED Arquitectos Photography by Miguel Calanchini

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Casa Numa is built out of 50-year-old coconut palm wood

Clark Street Composts sets example for Chicago and beyond

October 11, 2021 by  
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The natural world has a system for everything, including a natural waste cycle that turns dead  plants  and trees into food and soil for other living things. It’s called composting, and it’s a system as old as the planet itself. But modern garbage services have traditionally lumped all disposed of items together and hauled them to landfills. In a private-public collaboration, Chicago is tackling this issue by building a model for city-wide composting that can be developed anywhere.  The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) has partnered with WasteNot Compost in a project called Clark Street Composts. The initiative is a pilot program the organizers hope will spread to every neighborhood. The program launched in mid-September with a focus on high producers of compostable waste such as  restaurants , bars and other businesses. At the onset, the program has the support of 20 businesses with an interest in diverting compostable waste away from the dump and towards conversion into nutrient-rich soil. Related: The Australian government unveils plan to end plastic pollution Andersonville has a history of embracing environmental and social change in Chicago’s north side, as seen through the Andersonville Recycles program, which launched in 2009. WasteNot is also well-established as an industry leader in composting, earning Treehugger.com’s top rating for the best overall composting company in the U.S. However, even with these resources available, Chicago ranks last in the country in terms of  recycling  habits. According to a press release for Clark Street Composts, “food waste [is] estimated to make up over 50% of landfill contents, and 17% of greenhouse gasses produced in the U.S. are a product of food waste rotting in landfills,” so organizers are hoping to use the program to educate and encourage business owners in regards to composting.  The process works like most other curbside services. WasteNot Compost provides bins and carts for members and informs customers about what items can go into the bin. This includes fruit and vegetable waste, but also lesser-known compostables like cooked and raw  food , meat, dairy products, hair, pet fur, yard waste, compostable products from packaging companies and much more. Many of these items are not recommended for standard backyard composting because they can draw in unwanted animals, and temperatures often don’t get high enough to effectively break down materials as it does at an industrial level.  To provide information on the ins and outs of the program, WasteNot maintains an online membership where customers can find answers and support. The program also provides marketing materials for each business , so they can promote their environmental actions and help educate the public. ACC and WasteNot help promote the businesses to those looking to support environmentally-minded establishments.  The process offered by Clark Street Composts has a multi-tiered effect. Not only does it lower emissions in the landfill and divert the amount of  waste , but it also minimizes rodent problems in alleyways and smells in the city and at home. WasteNot operates a fleet of zero-emission electric trucks and offers a subscription service for both residents and businesses. It’s not a one-way street, though. Twice each year, WasteNot trucks haul nutrient-rich compost back to customers to enrich the soil.  40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez praised the new initiative, commenting, “I think Clark Street Composts is a shining example of a community and partner such as the Chamber showing leadership that puts our planet first. It creates a model the rest of the city should look to so that we can be not only forward-thinking, but forward-acting!” + WasteNot Photography by Jamie Kelter Davis

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Clark Street Composts sets example for Chicago and beyond

City of Telosa enlists Bjarke Ingels Group for urban utopia

September 21, 2021 by  
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A plan for the world’s most sustainable city has been designed and is expected to welcome its first residents by 2030. Proposed for construction in an undecided desert location in the United States, the city of Telosa is estimated to cost $400 billion and accommodate a population of 5 million. Planned to span 150,000 acres, the city’s design infuses eco-friendly construction with technology to create an urban environment based on the needs of its residents. Telosa will address inequitable aspects of current society, including poor or limited access to healthcare, education and housing. It seeks to eliminate the barriers that hinder growth to create a self-sustaining society. In fact, the name Telosa comes from the Greek word telos, a word coined by Aristotle to express “highest purpose,” encouraging citizens to reach their true potential. Related: Arplan envisions a new, green City Oasis for Latvia Marc Lore, an American billionaire, former Walmart CEO and well-known investor, envisioned this urban utopia. Lore is now focusing his efforts on developing Telosa to ensure a sustainable and equitable future for its residents, making it a model for other cities. He states that the three core values Telosa embodies are being open, fair and inclusive. He aims to combine the best components of pre-existing cities to make Telosa successful. These qualities include the diversity of New York, the cleanliness of Tokyo, and the social services of Stockholm , among others. Lore plans to focus the city on its citizens and allow it to be structured on the notion of what he calls “equitism,” an economic system where residents have shared land ownership. This has been inspired by the works of Henry George, an economist and social theorist that highlighted the flaws of capitalism, particularly regarding land ownership in the United States. Internationally renowned Bjarke Ingels Group ( BIG ) designed the master plan for Telosa. A 15-minute city model will allow residents to access public spaces including school, work and recreation within 15 minutes of their homes. Plant-covered buildings and open spaces encouraging gathering weave between the pedestrian-friendly streets. These parks feature endemic plant species and reservoirs that store the city’s water. Reaching for the sky, Telosa’s central skyscraper, known as the Equitism Tower, will also take advantage of sustainable systems. It will feature elevated water storage, a photovoltaic roof and aeroponic farms that cultivate plants without using soil by spraying their roots with nutrient solutions. Meanwhile, underground systems will transport goods and dispose of waste. + City of Telosa Via CNN Renderings by Bjarke Ingels Group

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City of Telosa enlists Bjarke Ingels Group for urban utopia

Growing a zero-emissions transportation network in Cincinnati

September 21, 2021 by  
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Servall Electric, a local residential, commercial and industrial contractor that is an early adopter of electric trucks from Workhorse, is helping the city install electric vehicle charging stations.

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Growing a zero-emissions transportation network in Cincinnati

This giant green wall is a show-stopper at Warsaw skyscraper

September 2, 2021 by  
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Generation Park Y tower by Stockholm -based project development and construction group Skanska features roughly 49 feet of a gorgeous green wall. Stretching to about 72 feet long, this green wall has more than 6,000 plants of several dozen species stretching up along a huge wall of green. You can find the Generation Park Y office building in Warsaw , where its glass facade lets in light for the flourishing greenery. According to Skanska, this tower is its largest office building yet in Poland. The Generation Park Y tower is an enormous office building. It’s also the greenest skyscraper in the city, currently in the process of LEED Platinum and Building without Barriers certifications. The green wall is a reminder of the tower’s commitment to sustainability. Standing 140 meters (about 450 feet) tall, Generation Park makes it home at Warsaw’s Daszy?ski Roundabout. Related: French offices receive a green update with Benetti MOSS walls The wall is mainly comprised of ferns, philodendrons, monsteras, peace lilies, laceleafs and aglaonemas. These plants purify the air and produce enough oxygen to provide breathable air for 150 people for 24 hours.The arrangement is crafted with a great deal of care. Every plant has its own place in the overall design. The plants are arranged in sections, and the entire design is completely automated so they receive the right amount of nutrients, light and water. Three rows of about 150 “feeding” lights provide for the thousands of plants. Together, the plants create a microclimate that Skanska labels the “ forest effect.” As Skanska said in a project statement, “These types of green solutions create a calming and relaxing effect, draw attention to nature , but also have a positive effect on acoustics, reducing noise levels.” Rafa? Stoparczyk, Skanska’s CEE commercial development business unit’s project manager, added, “At Skanska, we like to focus on unique and original solutions. The idea of ??such a huge wall filled with vegetation sounded like a challenge we wanted to take on. The final effect exceeded our wildest expectations. The wall makes an extraordinary impression both when we are inside the building and when looking from the outside.” + Skanska Images courtesy of Radoslaw NAWROCKI /dla SKANSKA POLSKA

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This giant green wall is a show-stopper at Warsaw skyscraper

Ariake Gymnastics Centre resembles a floating ship

September 2, 2021 by  
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The Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo Japan was designed for dual uses to provide for both a significant short-term competition and ongoing events. The architectural design, presented by Nikken Sekkei and Shimizu Corporation, relies heavily on  natural materials  for both a sustainable finish and a reflection of the area’s history.  Dubbed, “A Wooden Vessel Floating in the Bay Area,” the Ariake Gymnastics Centre was equipped with a layout meant to house a temporary international sports competition in response to a request by the client, The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. After the event, the spectator stands were made removable for easy conversion into a permanent exhibition hall. Related: ZHA designs sustainable expansion to China’s largest international exhibition center Nearly every surface is constructed from  wood  — a nod to the district that previously housed a log pond. Timber is used extensively throughout the building, including the roof frame structure, facade, spectator seats and exterior walls. Lightweight, durable and fireproof steel was used for the framing. The finished building looks like a floating wooden vessel from across the waterway.  The wood also caters to the acoustic and thermal needs of the arena and serves to achieve a light overall site impact in an area that may have poor soil conditions. Glued laminate timber has a high capacity for heat, making it fire resistant. The overall simple design honors the essence of traditional Japanese architecture.  The Ariake Gymnastics Centre is located along a canal, allowing for an expansive public space. Although surrounded by nearby residential condominiums , the arena puts a focus on a low design rather than competing with the height of other buildings in the vicinity.  Developers also emphasized taking advantage of outdoor space, with expansive boardwalks along the  water’s  edge. The entryway is kept outside the building instead of being included in the interior space. This allows for a smaller footprint from building materials as well as physical space.  + Nikken Sekkei Ltd. Via ArchDaily Images via Nikken Sekkei Ltd. 

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Ariake Gymnastics Centre resembles a floating ship

Louisiana dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida

August 31, 2021 by  
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Residents of Louisiana are stuck in the dark following destructive Hurricane Ida on Sunday. Officials are still counting losses and have said that it may take weeks before power is restored in some areas. The hurricane hit Louisiana with winds at speeds of 150 mph (240 km/h). Ida is now the fifth strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland. Officials have confirmed the death of one person. Further, about 1 million residents of Louisiana are in the dark following destroyed power supply systems. Related: Climate change doubles natural disaster costs in the US According to CNN, about 25,000 workers from across the country are currently fighting to restore power . The workers are expected to bring back normalcy in phases, but some areas may wait longer than others before power returns. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that although the hurricane was one of the strongest in history, protection measures helped reduce casualties and losses. “The systems we depended on to save lives and protect our city did just that and we are grateful, but there is so much more work to be done,” said Cantrell Hurricane Ida was initially predicted to be life-threatening, with some scientists even comparing it to Hurricane Katrina of 2005. Ida had a path similar to Katrina but did not cause as much destruction. Katrina claimed over 1,800 lives and properties worth billions. Some of the defense systems put in place after Katrina were effective in mitigating Ida’s effects. Governor John Bel Edwards said the systems “performed magnificently” in reducing the hurricane’s effect. Hurricane Ida gathered strength over the Gulf of Mexico , stopping up to 90% of the region’s oil production. Ida landed in New Orleans as a category four hurricane. A hurricane of this strength can destroy trees and buildings if there are no protection measures. As Hurricane Ida moved further inland, its winds speed dropped to 95 mph (153km/h), making it a category one hurricane. Even though the hurricane has downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves further inland, the National Hurricane Center has warned of potential flooding due to heavy rains. Residents of Mississippi , Alabama, and Florida have been asked to remain watchful. Mayor Cantrell has urged New Orleans residents who already evacuated to stay away from their homes until power returns. Via BBC and CNN Lead image via The National Guard

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Louisiana dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida

New Office of Climate Change and Health Equity announced

August 31, 2021 by  
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The U.S. Office of Climate Change and Health Equity will be charged with protecting vulnerable communities from climate-driven disasters. Responding to President Joe  Biden’s  executive order on climate change, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the new office Monday. “History will judge us for the actions we take today to protect our world and our health from  climate change ,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement released Monday. “The consequences for our inaction are real and worsening. We’ve always known that health is at the center of climate change, and now we’re going to double-down on a necessity: fighting climate change in order to help protect public health in our communities.” Related: Evacuations ordered as Caldor Fire moves toward Lake Tahoe OCCHE plans to play a pivotal role in protecting  health  both in the U.S. and abroad. Its mandate includes identifying communities that face disproportionate exposure to climate hazards and addressing their health disparities. The office will promote research on the public health benefits of climate actions and translate that research for the public. OCCHE will also lend its expertise to the White House and federal agencies working on climate change and health equity. With the Caldor Fire still raging in the west and Hurricane Ida’s trail of ruin in the east, help for those with few resources cannot come soon enough. “Climate change is turbo-charging the horrific  wildfires , extreme heat, and devastating floods that are killing people and making millions more sick from exposure to unhealthy smoke, mold and debilitating heat,” said National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy in a statement. “The new HHS Office of Climate Change and Health Equity is fulfilling President Biden’s vision to bring America’s world-class medical community into the fight against climate change—a fight for our health that ensures no community is left behind.” Via Department of Health and Human Services Lead image via Gage Skidmore

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New Office of Climate Change and Health Equity announced

Ken Soble Tower sets an example for high-rise sustainability

August 25, 2021 by  
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Vacant and in disrepair, the Ken Soble Tower in the city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada was a candidate for a sale or demolition. But, ERA Architects, known for retrofit architectural designs and integration of low-carbon systems, redesigned the building instead. Now the 18-story apartment building is the largest EnerPHit Passive House building in North America. Throughout the transition, ERA focused on creating a healthy living environment for the senior residents who want to age in place while simultaneously ensuring the health of the planet. Related: Traumhaus Funari transforms an old military site into affordable housing The 1967 building wore a white brick exterior, a look the ERA team kept in place by cladding with new stucco panels. Top to bottom, the building received a high-performance envelope. Triple-glazed windows allow in  natural light  and ventilation. Ultra-efficient interior and exterior insulation helps contribute to the overall airtight design. By also replacing the HVAC system, the building achieved a remarkable 94% reduction in carbon emissions and an 89% reduction in thermal energy demand intensity (TEDI).  The inside of each apartment received an update with a new kitchen, bathroom, flooring and lighting, with attention to  energy efficiency  along the way.  Graeme Stewart, Principal, ERA Architects says, “Ken Soble Tower is a true beacon on an international stage, showcasing how low carbon and low energy retrofits are not only sustainable, but also realize the best outcomes for residents’ health, safety and comfort within their homes.” While the Ken Soble Tower isn’t the first project of its type, the result stands as an example for many similar buildings. Inasmuch, it will be the basis for a two-year study to measure the effectiveness of the building, residents and surrounding environment, in regards to health, safety, economy and more. The results will be available as a teaching tool to offer real-world lessons in retrofit design. “Many aging, postwar apartment towers provide critical affordable housing for millions of Canadians, but increasingly face complex challenges that require repair. Our hope is that the Ken Soble Tower marks the beginning of a wave of deep retrofits across the country. As we look towards a post-pandemic recovery amid a climate -challenged world, there’s an urgency to apply this type of holistic thinking on a broader scale,” Stewart continued. + ERA Architects Images via Codrin Talaba and Doublespace Photography

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Ken Soble Tower sets an example for high-rise sustainability

Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor

August 25, 2021 by  
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In a city otherwise characterized by dense populations, high altitudes and metropolitan buildings, Chiapas 168 Building represents a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle. Located in the Roma district of Mexico City,  Mexico’s  largest and most populous city, this home has an exceptionally tropical feel to it thanks to bamboo wood materials and a grouping of terrace gardens on each level. The Mexico City oasis comes from the minds at Vertebral, a local architecture and  landscaping  studio that highlights designs to bring forested ambiance into the city. Rather than concentrating on the buildings themselves with landscaping as an afterthought, the company says they design gardens and build around them. Related: Aztec-inspired eco home sits lightly on the land in Mexico Chiapas 168 is made up of four residential apartments positioned adjacent to an ancient jacaranda tree, a subtropical plant native to south-central South America and brought to Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century. The building features steel planters that run along the balconies, disappearing between purple and jasmine flowers. The architects considered native organisms while designing the layout of the roof and terrace gardens to increase  biodiversity  within the city environment. The exterior of the building uses unpolished concrete and dark stained wood that is translated into the interior, invoking the design’s overall theme of integrating nature into the urban landscape. A core system of vertical circulations helps divide the apartment building’s communal areas from the private residences, connected by a stairwell made of bright pine wood. Unlike other apartment buildings where the stairwells are associated with dark, musty environments, the stairwell here is bathed in bright  natural light . A curtain of  bamboo  to the south protects the back garden from view while also filtering light and wind. Inside, wooden floor-to-ceiling shelving and paneled walls help create privacy without jeopardizing the apartment’s open planned layout in the communal area, complete with a kitchen, dining room and living room.   + Vertebral Via ArchDaily Images courtesy of Onnis Luke

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Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor

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