Passive House-certified development offers affordable housing in South Bronx

June 17, 2020 by  
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New York City-based Curtis + Ginsberg Architects has completed Park Avenue Green, the largest Passive House development in North America that is inspirational in more ways than one. Designed in collaboration with energy consultant Bright Tower, the building is an energy powerhouse and a new affordable housing community with 154 apartments for low- and extremely low-income households — including 35 units reserved for people who were formerly homeless — in the Melrose neighborhood of the South Bronx. An airtight envelope, energy-efficient appliances and a rooftop solar array have reduced the building’s energy consumption by about 70% of the code-required standards, earning the project certification by the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS). Completed in February 2019, Park Avenue Green has been crafted as a new neighborhood landmark with a 4,300-square-foot community facility on the ground floor. This facility currently houses affordable visual art studies and gallery space for Spaceworks, a nonprofit that provides low-cost spaces for artists. The ground floor also includes a bicycle room and community room for residents. Related: Are these zero-carbon domes the future of sustainable housing? To achieve the stringent energy standards set by PHIUS, the design team outfitted the building with a 34-kilowatt photovoltaic system , a cogeneration scheme, individual VRF heating and cooling units and efficient energy recovery units (ERV) in each apartment. Residents’ comfort and well-being are optimized thanks to these measures and abundant access to natural light that is let in through triple-glazed windows. Park Avenue Green also incorporates storm resiliency and other energy conservation strategies for long-term durability. “We are very excited to be part of the Park Avenue Green team, bringing the largest PHIUS Passive House Project to fruition creating much-needed affordable housing will the smallest possible carbon footprint,” said Mark Ginsberg, partner at Curtis + Ginsberg Architects. The $48.4 million Park Avenue Green project was developed by Omni New York, which also led the creation of the LEED Gold-certified Morris Avenue Apartments in the Bronx .  + Curtis + Ginsberg Architects Photography by John Bartelstone via Curtis + Ginsberg Architects

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Passive House-certified development offers affordable housing in South Bronx

New technology could harness energy from trees

June 17, 2020 by  
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A new technology that draws power from trees brings a new dimension to the sustainable energy conversation. New research shows that drawing energy from trees could help power future cities. By converting tree movements into energy, anemokinetics technology taps into the power available in nature. For a long time, the world has struggled to come up with sustainable energy sources. The high demand for energy compared to its limited sources has proved a tough puzzle to solve. Anemokinetics technology could be the answer to this ongoing clean energy issue. The concept of anemokinetics is based on the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. In other words, the energy we use is continuously available in nature in various forms. The problem is converting available energy from one form to another for specific purposes. According to a project published on  Behance , anemokinetics allows scientists to harness energy from trees via the oscillation of branches. The study first investigated tree branches’ range of movement. Research found that tree branch movements fluctuate depending on wind speed, tree height and tree type. Tree branch displacement occurs at a rate of between one and 25 cm every moment. Although further studies are still underway to determine the best way to tap this energy, scientists have already created a prototype electric circuit and conducted field testing. Research found that each branch movement cycle “generates a charge equal to 3.6 volts with a current of 0.1 amperes and a duration of 200 milliseconds.” These figures could spell a bright future for anemokinetics. The project also proposes using the generated energy for off-grid navigation. Although the study still needs investment and further research , the preliminary findings are promising. Anemokinetics technology has plenty of possible applications, including powering sensors to create an Internet of Forest. + Behance Images via Alexander Altenkov

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New technology could harness energy from trees

10 Minutes with Ryan Bennett

March 18, 2019 by  
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A new multi-stakeholder collaboration is trying to crack the code of sustainable chickens and eggs.

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10 Minutes with Ryan Bennett

How can business help people to take action on climate change?

March 18, 2019 by  
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As we are approaching a tipping point for the climate in the very near future, there needs to be a massive global mobilization to take action and reduce human impact on the climate.

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How can business help people to take action on climate change?

Scientists create protein-packed mats that fight pollution

March 19, 2018 by  
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Researchers have created a mat composed of active proteins that have the ability to absorb chemical pollution. In a study published in Science , scientists document how they successfully extracted an active protein from a cell without killing the former — a breakthrough that could pave the way to a new class of pollution-fighting technology. “We think we’ve cracked the code for interfacing natural and synthetic systems,” study author and professor at the University of California , Berkeley Ting Xu told Futurity . Previous attempts to remove proteins from their native environments without harming or killing them were marked by limited progress. The research team observed trends in sequences and surfaces before developing a synthetic polymer that is ideal for hosting proteins. “Proteins have very well-defined statistical pattern, so if you can mimic that pattern, then you can marry the synthetic and natural systems, which allows us to make these materials,” study first author  Brian Panganiban told Futurity . The team conducted advanced molecular simulations to ensure their polymer would effectively serve the protein’s needs. Related: Researchers shocked to discover protein that conducts electricity The experiment received funding from the United States Department of Defense, which is specifically interested in the technology’s bio-remediation potential against chemical pollution . The end result is capable of degrading insecticides and weaponized chemicals. Given its effectiveness, this bio-technology may soon be used in war zones and other contaminated areas to clean-up the mess that humanity has made. This technology can also be customized to meet the needs of a particular mess. Xu believes that his team’s approach could be used with other enzymes, which could someday lead to the creation of portable chemistry labs capable of responding effectively in the field to varied environmental challenges. Via Futurity Images via Deposit Photos , Christopher DelRe and Charley Huang/UC Berkeley

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Scientists create protein-packed mats that fight pollution

Scientists predict catastrophic loss of forest fauna and flora with existing CO2 emissions

March 19, 2018 by  
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If we don’t do something to slow down carbon emissions, we could lose up to half of all the plant and animal species in the world’s forests. A new report by the World Wildlife Federation shows that a temperature increase of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius would decimate the flora and fauna of vital ecosystems in Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Australia. Since scientists project that we are likely headed towards a rise of 3.2C, the implications could be disastrous. According to the study, a rise of 3.2C would kill off 60 percent of plant species and 50 percent of animal species in the Amazon . If countries get their act together and limit temperature rise to 2C, we will lose fewer species, but the devastation will still destroy 35 percent of species. Then there’s the grim forecast of a rise of 4.5C, which is what many experts believe we will hit if emissions remain unchanged. In that scenario, we could expect to lose more than 70 percent of reptiles and plants, and 60 percent of mammals and birds. Related: Scientists warn Amazon jungle faces “death spiral” The picture is just as dire in Africa and Australia, but with an additional impact to some species based on tension with human needs. According to the study, competition for resources in Africa, Bangladesh, Madagascar and the Caribbean could devastate animals, such as elephants , even more. “For the Amazon and Guianas, the WWF report is scary as hell. The loss of half or more of the region’s stunning plant diversity would be a biological blow of almost unimaginable severity,” said William Laurence, director at the Center for Tropical Environmental and Sustainable Science. “However, such computer models with all their assumptions and complexities are really ‘scientific cartoons’ giving us only a rough sketch of the future. But even if they’re only half right, these are very frightening cartoons indeed,” he continued. The study was published by the WWF, James Cook University and the University of East Anglia in the journal Climate Change . Via The Guardian Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Scientists predict catastrophic loss of forest fauna and flora with existing CO2 emissions

Code red aviation alert after Bogoslaf volcano erupts in Alaska

May 29, 2017 by  
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The highest aviation alert was issued on Saturday after a volcano on Alaska’s Bogoslof Island erupted. As a result of the code “red” alert, pilots were instructed to fly at least 35,000 ft., and possibly as high as 45,000 ft, above the volcano to prevent its fiery ash from melting parts of the plane . According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), the volcano that erupted is part of the Aleutian Island chain. Not long after a code “red” was issued, it was downgraded to a code “orange.” “We actually went to color code red this afternoon because of numerous lightning detections and increased seismic signals,” said Jeffrey Freymueller of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska. Flights transiting from Asia to North America were most affected. Freymueller added that lightning in the Aleutians is often caused by volcanic plumes. “The combination of lightning and seismic data allowed us to go to red within about half an hour of the start of the eruption,” he said. In total, the eruption lasted for approximately 50 minutes. Related: Iceland’s “Thor” volcano power plant can generate 10X more energy than oil or gas wells Because the eruption is very recent, “Bogoslof volcano remains at a heightened state of unrest and in an unpredictable condition,” says a report issued by the Observatory. It went on to say that “additional explosions producing high-altitude volcanic clouds could occur at any time.” This is the eighth documented eruption at Bogoslof , which reportedly began its sequence in December, 2016. The last occurred in 1992. Via CNN Images via Pixabay , Mapbox Screenshot

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Code red aviation alert after Bogoslaf volcano erupts in Alaska

Portable SolSource Sport solar stove heats up 5X faster than a charcoal grill

May 29, 2017 by  
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Imagine visiting your favorite local park with a portable stove that’s 100 percent powered by the sun and heats up five times faster than a charcoal grill. Meet the SolSource Sport. One Earth Designs is crowdfunding their latest compact solar cooker just in time for summer . The SolSource Sport focuses light onto cookware to get food sizzling and ready to eat super quickly. It can be used in places like national parks or apartment rooftops that don’t allow fires, because this solar cooker doesn’t need a flame to operate. With the versatile stove, you can grill, pan fry, boil, stir fry, or reheat meals. And you can use most of the cookware you already own instead of buying new pots or pans. The solar cooker gets up to grilling temperatures in a snappy five minutes, and reaches searing temperatures in 10 minutes. Related: SolSource Air: One Earth Designs Taps Google Glass Creator to Launch Portable, Affordable Solar Stove The SolSource Sport works in a variety of sun conditions – from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset, and in air temperatures between 30 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can even cook in the snow as long as the sun is shining. And since sunlight is the only fuel necessary, the SolSource Sport doesn’t produce any carbon emissions . The surface of the solar cooker stays cool to the touch, making it safe to use. The stove pops up and breaks down in around five minutes, and it can be stored inside a two-foot-long carrying bag. One Earth Designs has already raised nearly $75,000 out of an original goal of $20,000 on Kickstarter . You can snag one of these affordable little cookers for under $200 if you’re fast (retail price is $249). + One Earth Designs Images via One Earth Designs

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Portable SolSource Sport solar stove heats up 5X faster than a charcoal grill

Can freeze-dried fecal pills help people fight obesity?

January 14, 2016 by  
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We’re all full of bacteria, but some of us don’t have as much of the ‘good’ stuff as we should. This year, medical researchers will conduct a medical trial to determine whether orally ingesting capsules filled with freeze-dried fecal matter can help crack the code in the fight against obesity . Twenty obese patients will participate in a clinical trial in an effort to determine whether ‘healthy’ bacteria from donors can be implanted into a patient’s digestive system by ingesting the pills, and whether it will have a positive impact on their weight. Read the rest of Can freeze-dried fecal pills help people fight obesity?

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Can freeze-dried fecal pills help people fight obesity?

Scientists say that we are entering a new epoch thanks to human activity

January 14, 2016 by  
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New research indicates that the Earth has entered a new geological epoch , and it’s due to human activity. Scientists looked at the scale and rate of environmental changes in the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and wildlife-which other recent reports indicate is at an unprecedented high-and compared them to changes during previous time periods. In every category, the consequences of human activity reflect enough change to justify the official designation of a new geological epoch, researchers say. Read the rest of Scientists say that we are entering a new epoch thanks to human activity

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Scientists say that we are entering a new epoch thanks to human activity

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