What’s behind state efforts to kill EV incentive?

April 17, 2017 by  
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Why states such as Utah, Georgia, Oregon and Colorado are parking consumer incentives for purchasing electric vehicles.

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What’s behind state efforts to kill EV incentive?

A new standard for net-zero leases in Boulder

April 11, 2017 by  
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The Rocky Mountain Institute is among the new tenants at an ambitious new development in the Colorado city.

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A new standard for net-zero leases in Boulder

What is a city? The SDGs depend on an answer

April 11, 2017 by  
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This month, policymakers are meeting to universally define a “city”, which will help the global sustainability community reach the U.N. global goals.

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What is a city? The SDGs depend on an answer

Colorado appeals court sides with teenagers fighting oil and gas industry

March 27, 2017 by  
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Teenagers fighting environmental destruction at the hands of the oil and gas industry in Colorado just celebrated a victory. Last week the Colorado Court of Appeals sided with teenage activist and Earth Guardians director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez , who filed suit, and reversed a lower court ruling so the state could have to prioritize environmental protection before the interests of the fossil fuel industry . Back in 2013 Martinez and other teenagers approached the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), a state organization that according to their website is charged with promoting responsible development of fossil fuel resources in Colorado “in a manner consistent with the protection of public health , safety, and welfare, including the environment and wildlife resources.” But apparently the kids didn’t think they were doing such a great job with that mission – and they weren’t alone. According to The Denver Post, COGCC officials for over 10 years have interpreted their mission to balance fossil fuel industry interests against public health. Since the commission’s formation, over 50,000 oil wells have been drilled. Related: 16-year-old activist demands US gov end fossil fuel use by 2026 The kids asked the organization to not issue any new drilling permits “unless the best available science demonstrates, and an independent third party organization confirms, that drilling can occur in a manner that does not cumulatively, with other actions, impair Colorado’s atmosphere, water, wildlife, and land resources, does not adversely impact human health, and does not contribute to climate change .” COGCC refused after holding a hearing. The teenagers appealed, with the support of over a dozen advocacy groups. But the Denver District Court backed the COGCC. So the teenagers appealed again, and last week a three-judge appeals court panel sided with the teenagers. The fight isn’t over. The COGCC doesn’t have to now implement the teenagers’ rule. Instead the ruling means the organization illegally rejected the rule, and the case returns to district court. Via Business Insider and The Denver Post Images via Xiuhtezcatl Martinez on Facebook and Teja Jonnalagadda on Facebook

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Colorado appeals court sides with teenagers fighting oil and gas industry

Circular home boasts 360-degree views so owners can watch their dogs

March 27, 2017 by  
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The biggest motivation behind this circular home’s 360-degree views isn’t the beautiful landscape—it’s the homeowners’ dogs. Dutch architecture firm 123DV designed 360 Villa, a contemporary dwelling in the Netherlands that shows how architecture can be inclusive of humans and animals. Commissioned by a couple who own a pair of beautiful Alaskan Malamutes, the custom home is wrapped in glazing to allow the couple to stay in constant contact with their dogs both in and outside the home. Surrounded by a sloped lawn, the 85-square-meter 360 Villa offers ample space for the homeowners’ two Alaskan Malamutes to play and release their high energy. To give the dogs space and the constant contact they need with their owners, 123DV designed the home with a circular plan and wrapped it in a “continuous window” to provide visual contact between the dogs and couple. The roof extends over the edge of the home to create a wraparound canopy that provides shelter from the rain and sun. Related: This house has a special staircase designed just for dogs To preserve privacy, the architects built up the land into a hill on the street-facing side of the villa so that the owners can see their dogs without needing a full-height window . Despite the small footprint, the 360 Villa feels spacious thanks to the large windows and the open floor plan. The open-plan kitchen, dining room, and living area take up around two-thirds of the interior and open to an outdoor deck. The bedroom and bathroom can be closed off from the living room by sliding doors. A large circular skylight in the middle of the home lets in additional natural light. + 123DV Via ArchDaily Images © Hannah Anthonysz

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Circular home boasts 360-degree views so owners can watch their dogs

Trump administration could open door to geoengineering

March 27, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump’s main stance on climate change is usually denial, but if he does take action it could be with the controversial approach of geoengineering . Large-scale climate engineering didn’t receive much support under President Barack Obama, but now environmental organizations are saying in the new administration interest may be building for solar geoengineering, or spraying sulphate particles in the air with the hope of reflecting the sun’s radiation back into outer space to lower Earth’s temperature. Harvard University scientists David Keith and Frank Keutsch, who started the largest solar geoengineering research program in the world, may find support in the new administration. The two engineers hope to test spraying in 2018 in Arizona via a high-altitude balloon to obtain information of the practice’s impacts at a large scale. At a geoengineering forum last week, Keith seemed to indicate now might be the time to carry the research forward, saying he is ready for field testing. A briefing paper for the form stated the context for talking about solar geoengineering research “has changed substantially since we planned and funded this forum nearly one year ago.” Related: US Congress could fund geoengineering research for the first time Rex Tillerson , current Secretary of State, might also support geoengineering. The Guardian reported ExxonMobil scientists worked on geoengineering techniques like carbon dioxide removal while Tillerson was CEO, and at a 2015 ExxonMobil shareholder meeting Tillerson said “plan B has always been grounded in our beliefs around the continued evolution of technology and engineered solutions.” And one of the Trump Environmental Protection Agency transition architects, David Schnare, has lobbied American lawmakers and testified to the Senate in support of the controversial approach to climate change. Silvia Riberio of watchdog organization ETC Group told The Guardian, “Clearly parts of the Trump administration are very willing to open the door to reckless schemes like David Keith’s, and may well have quietly given the nod to open-air experiments. Worryingly, geoengineering may emerge as this administration’s preferred approach to global warming . In their view, building a big beautiful wall of sulphate in the sky could be a perfect excuse to allow uncontrolled fossil fuel extraction. We need to be focusing on radical emissions cuts, not dangerous and unjust technofixes.” Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Trump administration could open door to geoengineering

New super-thin film acts like "air conditioner" for buildings

February 13, 2017 by  
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Engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a thin, artificially structured “metamaterial” that can cool objects without the use of water or energy. The film works to lower the temperature of the surface beneath it through a process known as “passive cooling,” meaning that it vents the object’s heat through thermal radiation while bouncing off any incoming solar energy that may negate those losses. As described last week in the journal Science , the glass-polymer hybrid material could provide an “eco-friendly means of supplementary cooling” for thermoelectric power plants, which require colossal amounts of water and electricity to keep their machinery chugging along at optimum temperatures. The film measures a lithe 50 micrometers thick, or just slightly more substantial than the aluminum foil you’d find in your kitchen. And, much like foil, researchers say it can be easily and economically manufactured by the roll for large-scale residential and commercial applications. “We feel that this low-cost manufacturing process will be transformative for real-world applications of this radiative cooling technology,” Xiaobo Yin, an assistant professor who co-directed the research, said in a statement. Buildings and power plants aren’t the only structures that could benefit, Yin said. The material could keep solar panels from overheating, allowing them to not only work longer, but harder, as well. Related: 3D-printed “Cool Brick” cools a room using only water “Just by applying this material to the surface of a solar panel, we can cool the panel and recover an additional one to two percent of solar efficiency,” said Yin. “That makes a big difference at scale.” Yin and his cohorts have applied for a patent as a prelude to exploring potential commercial applications. They also plan to create a 200-square-meter “cooling farm” prototype in Boulder sometime this year. “The key advantage of this technology is that it works 24/7 with no electricity or water usage,” said Ronggui Yang, a professor of mechanical engineering and a co-author of the paper. “We’re excited about the opportunity to explore potential uses in the power industry, aerospace, agriculture and more.” + University of Colorado Boulder Photo by Chris Eason

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New super-thin film acts like "air conditioner" for buildings

Green-roofed Corsica home blends right into its spectacular seaside setting

February 13, 2017 by  
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The green-roofed H2 Cape House by architect Vincent Coste looks like an ideal place to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun. The sprawling residence blends into the unique seaside setting of Corsica without disturbing the existing vegetation or nearby granite rocks. Merging the interior and exterior into a single, flowing space, the house offers a variety of ambiances. Its expansive single-story design makes way for several outdoor areas, including a central terrace , two swimming pools and access to a private beach and port for boats. Related: Coastal Solar-Powered Villa F Prefab Soaks Up the Sun in Greece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOhVBFzZZiM The extensive use of glass maximizes views of the surroundings, while red cedar siding adds warmth to the entire building. A large boulder seems to support one of the many cantilevering surfaces and overhangs of the building, contrasting the skinny facade. + Vincent Coste Via Uncrate Photos by Florent Joliot

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Green-roofed Corsica home blends right into its spectacular seaside setting

7 new micro-cabins in Colorado provide superior insulation in extreme weather

December 28, 2016 by  
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These seven rustic cabins designed and built by students at the University of Colorado Denver function as base camp for a non-profit focused on wilderness education. Clad in hot-rolled steel, the COBS Year-Round Micro Cabins blend with the surrounding pine forest and remain comfortable even in extremely cold weather. https://youtu.be/HwwYRDhGRxc The structures were built by 28 students as part of a design-build program called the Colorado Building Workshop . Organized by the architecture school at the University of Colorado Denver, the workshop produced 14 similar structures in 2015. Related: Modern low-maintenance cabin is a seamless extension of the Puget Sound landscape The cabins, each offering around 200 square feet of interior space and 100 square feet of deck, are elevated and supported by metal columns with concrete footings. Sheets of hot-rolled steel, which form low-maintenance rainscreens , envelop structurally insulated panels (SIPs) used for the walls and flat roofs, providing a high degree of thermal insulation . Birch plywood line the interior walls to create a warm, cozy atmosphere. All the electrical appliances, including lighting, heating and refrigerators within each structure are powered by a single electrical circuit. + Colorado Building Workshop + University of Colorado Denver Via Dezeen Photos by Jesse Kuroiwa

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7 new micro-cabins in Colorado provide superior insulation in extreme weather

7 new micro-cabins in Colorado provide superior insulation in extreme weather

December 28, 2016 by  
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These seven rustic cabins designed and built by students at the University of Colorado Denver function as base camp for a non-profit focused on wilderness education. Clad in hot-rolled steel, the COBS Year-Round Micro Cabins blend with the surrounding pine forest and remain comfortable even in extremely cold weather. https://youtu.be/HwwYRDhGRxc The structures were built by 28 students as part of a design-build program called the Colorado Building Workshop . Organized by the architecture school at the University of Colorado Denver, the workshop produced 14 similar structures in 2015. Related: Modern low-maintenance cabin is a seamless extension of the Puget Sound landscape The cabins, each offering around 200 square feet of interior space and 100 square feet of deck, are elevated and supported by metal columns with concrete footings. Sheets of hot-rolled steel, which form low-maintenance rainscreens , envelop structurally insulated panels (SIPs) used for the walls and flat roofs, providing a high degree of thermal insulation . Birch plywood line the interior walls to create a warm, cozy atmosphere. All the electrical appliances, including lighting, heating and refrigerators within each structure are powered by a single electrical circuit. + Colorado Building Workshop + University of Colorado Denver Via Dezeen Photos by Jesse Kuroiwa

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7 new micro-cabins in Colorado provide superior insulation in extreme weather

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