The City of London will be powered with 100% renewable energy by October 2018

June 18, 2018 by  
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The City of London, the historic “Square Mile” central district of London , will soon switch to clean energy in a big way. Starting in October 2018, the City of London will source 100 percent of its power needs from renewable energy sources by installing solar panels on local buildings, investing in larger solar and wind projects and purchasing clean energy from the grid. Though no longer a square mile, closer now to 1.12 square miles, the City of London is a major financial center within the city and the world. Its green energy transformation sends a clear message that London intends to take strong action against climate change. In its plans to transform the neighborhood’s energy system, the City of London Corporation will partner with several sites throughout London, such as schools , social housing, markets and 11,000 acres of green space , at which renewable energy capacity will be installed. “Sourcing 100 percent renewable energy will make us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance, and running some of our buildings on zero carbon electricity,” Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee Catherine McGuinness said in a statement . “We are always looking at the environmental impact of our work and hope that we can be a beacon to other organisations to follow suit.” Related: London considers car-free days to fight air pollution The City of London is among the many municipalities around the world that are stepping up to fulfill the pledges made in the Paris Agreement , even when national governments are not doing enough. “By generating our own electricity and investing in renewables, we are doing our bit to help meet international and national energy targets,” McGuinness said. “This is a big step for the City Corporation and it demonstrates our commitment to making us a more socially and environmentally responsible business.” Via CleanTechnica Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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The City of London will be powered with 100% renewable energy by October 2018

Washington coal plant to be converted into solar farm

June 14, 2018 by  
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Situated next to what was once the largest coal pit in Washington state , the TransAlta coal plant near the city of Centralia is turning into a source of clean energy. While TransAlta’s 2011 agreement to shut down the coal plant by 2025 will go a long way towards Washington’s goal of reducing carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 – the emissions produced by the Centralia plant represent 10 percent of the state’s total emissions – TransAlta is going even further, converting 1,000 acres of the former mine area into a solar farm. The farm will compensate for the loss of 1,340 megawatts from the shutting of the coal plant and will be called Tono Solar, after the long-gone pioneer town of Tono that once existed at the site. TransAlta’s deal with Washington State to convert the former polluting plant into a clean-energy production site is a win-win for both parties involved. “This is a good-news story about moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewables,” NRDC senior attorney Noah Long told Ecowatch . The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 requires coal companies to clean up a former coal plant or mine after it is shut down. “By putting solar on the land, it maintains an industrial use. This good use of a brownfield brings the costs of reclamation down quite a bit.” Related: Trump’s nuclear bailout could cost consumers up to $17 billion each year The existing infrastructure at the site also eases the conversion process. “The location is good because it’s close to transmission lines,” TransAlta lead developer Ryan Schmidt said in a March 2018 presentation . “We know exactly what’s in the ground, because we put it there when we reclaimed the site.” While Tono Solar will produce only about 15 percent of the power once generated at the TransAlta coal plant, it is one of many renewable energy projects in the region that will serve Washington’s goals of reducing emissions and encouraging economic growth. The Centralia model of renewal could serve other communities around the United States as they attempt to rebuild after decades of industrial job decline. “There are lots of places in the Rust Belt of our country, not just coal mines,” Long said. Via Ecowatch Images via Robert Ashworth/Wikimedia

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Washington coal plant to be converted into solar farm

American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

June 14, 2018 by  
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Plastic is part of so many products in our day-to-day lives, from obvious ones like plastic bags to ones you may not often think about, like your plastic credit card. American Express plans to offer the first credit card ever made with ocean plastic in a collaboration with Parley for the Oceans . The company is also committing to reduce single-use plastics in its operations worldwide. We’re collaborating w/ @parleyxxx to combat marine plastic pollution. Learn abt our plans to introduce an Amex Card made primarily from plastics recovered from the ocean & our journey to reduce single-use plastic globally https://t.co/tAWsHPjWES #AmexLife #KeepItBlue #AmexParley pic.twitter.com/7WdNeGBz3H — American Express (@AmericanExpress) June 7, 2018 American Express’s ocean plastic card will be manufactured primarily with recovered plastic from coasts and the oceans and is intended to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution . In a press release , the company said the card is a prototype at the moment, but could be ready for the public in around 12 months. Related: Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic Parley’s Avoid, Intercept, Redesign (AIR) philosophy is also inspiring an American Express corporate pledge to “limit single-use plastics, intercept plastic waste and redesign existing materials and plastic products.” American Express provided six steps it will take, including phasing out single-use plastic straws and stirrers for Centurion airport lounges and major offices in about a month, and phasing out single-use plastics for the airport lounges by the end of 2018. It will also undertake annual company-run river and coastal clean-ups. American Express aims to lower virgin plastic in card products, and create what it described as a comprehensive waste reduction strategy to up recycling rates and cut single-use plastic in its operations by the end of 2018. Finally, the company will pursue a zero waste certification by 2025 for its New York City headquarters. “Every second breath we take is created by the oceans ,” Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch said in a statement . “Without them, we can’t exist. American Express is creating a symbol of change and inviting their network to shape a blue future, one based on creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation.” + American Express + Parley for the Oceans Image courtesy of American Express

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American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

Despite sustainability pledges, World Cup stadium built on rare wildlife habitat

June 14, 2018 by  
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Today, at 6 p.m. local time in Moscow , the 2018 World Cup will begin with a match between host country Russia and Saudi Arabia. This year’s tournament will be the first in which FIFA required that all stadiums be built and renovated with sustainability in mind. Despite this requirement, some stadiums, such as Kaliningrad, have been less than environmentally friendly. Kaliningrad Stadium was built on one of Kaliningrad’s last wetlands, a habitat for rare birds, on October Island. “It was a typical delta island, with peat and a wetland reed-bed. It was a little corner of heaven in the city, where birds lived,” local ecologist Alexandra Korolyova told ABC News . “Really, if Russia paid more attention to protecting the environment, it could potentially have become a reservation or national park within the city.” The fate of Kaliningrad’s wetlands was sealed in 2014 when much of the habitat was buried beneath more than a million tons of sand to prepare the grounds for the stadium . While Kaliningrad Stadium was constructed with green materials and features energy efficient ventilation and electrical systems, its impact is not ecologically sustainable, particularly considering how the wetlands once served as a natural cleaner of the nearby polluted river. “We’ve lost a lot, and I don’t see what we’ve gained,” said Korolyova. Related: Qatar unveils first-ever FIFA World Cup stadium to be built from shipping containers From the Russian state perspective, not much was lost at Kaliningrad. “Everything was done in accordance with best practice,” chairman of Russia’s World Cup organizing committee Arkady Dvorkovich told the Associated Press . “This place, in my view, was more like wasteland than a place with very good nature. Theoretically, of course, you can call any swamp a very beautiful and environmentally clean place, but it’s not really correct in relation to the city infrastructure and the cities .” Via EcoWatch , ABC News and Associated Press Images via Dmitry Rozhkov/Wikimedia and A. Savin/Wikimedia

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Despite sustainability pledges, World Cup stadium built on rare wildlife habitat

C.F. Mller unveils nature-filled urban space at Oslo Central Station

June 1, 2018 by  
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In collaboration with Kristin Jarmund Architects and Rodeo Architects , C.F. Møller Architects has unveiled designs for a new urban space—comprising a square, a hotel and a high-rise tower—at Oslo Central Station. Located in the heart of Oslo, the Biskop Gunnerus gate 14B project offers the opportunity to create a lasting impression on visitors and locals thanks to its high-traffic site and potential for effective urban connections. The design team earned the commission with their winning proposal—developed by Kristin Jarmund Architects and C.F. Møller Architects—in a pre-qualified architectural competition in 2009. In addition to improving site circulation, the Biskop Gunnerus gate 14B project proposal aims to catalyze urban development in central Oslo . KLP Eiendom, a Norwegian real estate management company, aspires to turn the proposal into “a pioneering international project when it comes to the environment and sustainability ,” according to a project statement. Porosity will be a guiding principle in the design as well. Currently, the site is entirely occupied by buildings. Under the new proposal, however, more than half of the area will be opened up for use as publicly accessible green space . The landscaped area will also help connect the redeveloped urban space to the green path along the river Akerselva. “The cohesive terrain eliminates level differences and establishes new connections, with an effective flow between Schweigaards gate, a bus terminal and Nylandsbroen,” wrote the architects. Related: Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food The site will feature two new buildings elevated on a shared base with a square. The building to the west will primarily house a hotel , while the building to east will mostly comprise offices . To break the buildings down to a more human scale, the architects have added and subtracted blocks from the mass to create opportunities for green terracing. The terraced rings will provide space for roof gardens and vantage points for overlooking the city. + C.F. Møller Architects Images via C.F. Møller Architects

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C.F. Mller unveils nature-filled urban space at Oslo Central Station

Henning Larsen Architects brings sustainable Scandinavian design to Minneapolis

May 30, 2018 by  
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Henning Larsen Architects and MSR Design  unveiled their competition-winning designs for Minneapolis’ New Public Service Building — a municipal building that will integrate the Scandinavian ethos with sustainable design. Located across from Minneapolis City Hall, the multi-purpose structure is envisioned as the city’s new face of public service and will offer healthy work spaces for city employees as well as public areas. The building is designed with the hopes of achieving  LEED Gold certification. Expected to include 250,000 to 300,000 square feet of interior space, the New Public Service Building will accommodate hundreds of employees. The project draws inspiration from the abundance of greenery and parks in Minneapolis by incorporating a public landscaped plaza. The green, open space will not only reinforce the new building’s connection to the adjacent City Hall but will also help activate the street level. To minimize energy demands, the architects used climatic simulations and analysis to determine the massing and orientation of the building. “It will truly be a building for everybody,” Henning Larsen Architects said in a statement . “As an urban gesture, the scheme invites the public into the building by placing extroverted and public functions towards Government Plaza. The design approach, influenced by our Scandinavian ethos, focuses on creating collaborative and innovative work spaces, integrated sustainability and highlighting daylight as a human right and contributor to a healthy workplace .” Related: The 2018 Super Bowl stadium in Minnesota offsets 100% of its energy The interior design of the seven to 10-story building encourages collaboration through open stair connections and shared spaces. An optimized facade system will help modulate the amount of natural light in the building, while indoor plants and a natural materials palette will promote employee well-being. Minneapolis’ New Public Service Building is slated for completion by the fall of 2020. + Henning Larsen Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Henning Larsen Architects

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Henning Larsen Architects brings sustainable Scandinavian design to Minneapolis

This whimsical retail store with a mesh wall is home to designer bags in Thailand

May 29, 2018 by  
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Bangkok-based firm  ASWA Architects  created a stunning retail studio for a popular bag brand in Thailand. TA.THA.TA bags are known for being functional and whimsical — a reputation that inspired the architects to create a similar feel for the new store. The front glass facade is covered with a white metal mesh shade system that, along with the extra-tall pitched roof, gives the structure a modern and ethereal atmosphere. The structure stands on a very narrow lot in the center of Bangkok, and the size of the lot forced the architects to utilize vertical space as much as possible. The site’s existing large tree helps provide shade . Inside, the studio is approximately 1,300 square feet and spans three floors. A welcoming retail store is located on the first floor. The second floor houses the design and assembly studio, while guests and employees can enjoy a third-floor lounge space with a mezzanine level. Related: Apple’s new Regent Street store is filled with daylight and living trees The brand’s identity greatly influenced the architectural concept and is noticeable throughout the space. Variations of metal mesh are in many areas, but a bespoke shade system marks the design. Made from white mesh, the screen acts as a double facade for the building’s all-glass front wall. This unique feature allows plenty of natural light to stream into the interior while also providing shade during the searing summer months. The interior design is functional and uncluttered, again a nod to the company’s brand. To add a touch of wellness, the architects added  greenery on every level. Bright drop lamps add extra lighting, and TA-THA-TA designed much of the furniture to leave a final mark of its identity on the structure. + ASWA Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Phuttipan Aswakool  

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This whimsical retail store with a mesh wall is home to designer bags in Thailand

3XN breaks ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building on Toronto’s waterfront

May 22, 2018 by  
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Toronto’s new buildings are quickly cementing the city’s status as an architectural icon, and its latest gorgeously green residential tower is no exception. The city has just broken ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building with multiple tiers of green roofs. Designed by Danish architecture firm  3XN , the residential building has multiple outdoor spaces integrated into the design to enhance the well-being of the residents. Looking to serve as an icon for the revitalized Bayside Toronto waterfront area, the multi-tiered design will house 174 residential units. Large balconies and terraces rise up in an “L” shape from the first floor, creating a strong connection to the outdoors. These spaces not only enable residents to enjoy fresh air and incredible views of the lake, but also illuminate the apartments’ interiors with natural light . Along with the private homes, the complex will include a community center, a basketball court, retail spaces, and plenty of restaurants and cafes. Related: Toronto’s waterfront to undergo major futuristic redesign thanks to Google’s Sidewalk Labs According to the architects, their vision of creating a “complex yet elegant sculptural form” inspired the final design of rising terraces. Like many of 3XN’s projects, Aquabella was based on Scandinavian design principles , which typically have a strong emphasis on providing outdoor spaces for healthy lifestyles. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Nielsen described his firm’s role in creating an architectural design that would foster a strong sense of community: “3XN is thrilled to be part of helping Toronto to reclaim its industrial waterfront and integrate it into the city. Inspired by the scale and intimacy of a family home, we envision this new project as a vertical neighborhood on the shores of Lake Ontario. The design puts people first, paying particular attention to the quality of views, space and lifestyle. The development will command extraordinary views of the water, neighboring parks, and the city skyline.” + 3XN Architects Images via 3XN Architects

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3XN breaks ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building on Toronto’s waterfront

Steven Holl Architects LEED Gold-seeking museum is a beacon for sustainability

May 22, 2018 by  
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Environmental design and contemporary art go hand-in-hand in Steven Holl Architects’ recently completed The Markel Center , the home of the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Located at the busiest intersection in Richmond, The Markel Center embodies VCU and the ICA’s commitment to sustainability with its LEED Gold-seeking design and energy-efficient technologies. Filled with natural light to reduce electricity demands, the museum draws energy from geothermal wells and features over 8,000 square feet of green roofs for extra insulation. Opened last month, VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art is free to the public and marks Richmond’s first art institution dedicated exclusively to exhibiting contemporary art . Sandwiched between VCU’s Monroe Park campus and the city’s art district, the ICA is a sculptural, 41,000-square-foot structure spread out across three floors and flooded with natural light from large glass walls, windows and skylights. The glass, which ranges in transparency from clear to opaque, filters out UV rays and, when backlit, gives the titanium-zinc-clad building a light, box-like appearance. The lobby, offices, cafe, bar, 240-seat auditorium , and concept shop, along with a 4,000-square-foot gallery, occupy the first floor and connect to the ICA’s central forum and outdoor garden, dubbed the “Thinking Field.” The second floor houses two forking galleries, an interactive “learning lab,” and a publicly accessible landscaped terrace . The top floor features a gallery with 33-foot-tall walls in addition to administrative suites and the boardroom. “We designed the ICA to be a flexible, forward-looking instrument that will both illuminate and serve as a catalyst for the transformative possibilities of contemporary art,” said architect Steven Holl. “Like many contemporary artists working today, the ICA’s design does not draw distinctions between the visual and performing arts. The fluidity of the design allows for experimentation and will encourage new ways to display and present art that will capitalize on the ingenuity and creativity apparent throughout the VCU campus.” Related: Steven Holl Architects unveils designs for geothermal-powered Angers Collectors Museum Clad in 100% recyclable titanium-zinc exterior paneling, the LEED Gold -seeking building draws energy from 43 geothermal wells for its radiant floor system. Native plants are used in the permeable landscape design as well as on the green roofs that cover three of the four gallery roofs. Nearly a third of materials used during construction were recyclable and nearly a quarter of the materials were regionally sourced. + Steven Holl Architects Images by Iwan Baan

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Trio of LEED Platinum-targeted glass skyscrapers revealed for Tel Aviv

May 8, 2018 by  
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Israel’s capital city of Tel Aviv will soon add extra shine to its skyline in the form of three glass skyscrapers for Landmark TLV, a mixed-use development that promises an “unparalleled work-live-play experience”. Designed by Israeli firm Yashar Architects , Landmark TLV will offer a design-forward and experiential office environment along with new residences, high-end retail, and public space in the heart of the city’s Central Business district. Filled with natural light and greenery, the trio of towers will feature an energy-saving climate system and is expected to attain LEED Platinum certification. Located next to the Sarona Complex, Landmark TLV will comprise nearly 1.8 million square feet of new offices, commercial space, and residential. An internal atrium will connect two of the 45-floor skyscrapers and offer panoramic views of the Tel Aviv skyline and Mediterranean Sea , while opening up the building to natural light and ventilation. Internal bridges connecting the two buildings will also be built on every tenth floor. Related: Incredible rooftop farm takes over Israel’s oldest mall to grow thousands of organic vegetables To mitigate traffic congestion in the towers, Landmark TLV will be built with the country’s first dual elevator bank for both the lower and upper floors and will be designed to face outward towards the atrium. “The design concept and layout of Landmark TLV takes advantage of the unique Mediterranean lighting and each area is spatially arranged to afford large communal spaces and breathtaking views from every vantage point,” says Avner Yashar of Yashar Architects. “Every worker is part of the city when they walk out of the elevator and into Landmark TLV’s sun-lit communal spaces.” The project, developed by Melisron Ltd. and Africa Properties, is set for completion and occupancy in 2022. + Yashar Architects

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Trio of LEED Platinum-targeted glass skyscrapers revealed for Tel Aviv

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