How Plant-based Diets Directly Impact Climate Change

January 14, 2022 by  
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Climate change is making big headlines in recent months. From Colorado’s wildfires to Canada’s forests… The post How Plant-based Diets Directly Impact Climate Change appeared first on Earth911.

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How Plant-based Diets Directly Impact Climate Change

Planning Your Raised Garden

January 14, 2022 by  
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Raised beds have many advantages. Unlike planters, which are containers, raised beds are open on… The post Planning Your Raised Garden appeared first on Earth911.

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Planning Your Raised Garden

Mountain modern ski getaway features energy efficient design

November 3, 2021 by  
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An emergency room doctor in Denver, Colorado started with the goal of creating a ski getaway. With the location and the focus on outdoor activities, the design team at Somrak Concept + Structure expanded that idea by taking inspiration from the surrounding mountains in the positioning, layout, interior design and material selections for the home.  To create a fluid oneness with the outdoors, the home offers views from nearly every angle of every room. Many of the rooms create a natural frame around Mount Crested Butte on the horizon. Related: Colorado’s Electric Pass Lodge will be powered entirely by renewable energy “Inspiration for this design and all of our designs comes from the beautiful valley in which we live,” said Kate Somrak, co-owner of Somrak Concept + Structure. “Crested Butte is truly a slice of paradise . The mountains that surround the homes we build inspire us to bring the outdoors in through big-picture windows that capture the majestic beauty of the surrounding landscape and large floor-to-ceiling doors that open out to exterior living spaces.” Throughout the home, the team chose peaceful, neutral colors in order to allow the views to demand attention. Organic, natural materials throughout the home creates an atmosphere of serenity in a space intended to offer an escape to the stresses of daily life. The choice of American Clay for the upstairs wall exemplifies the focus on environmentally-friendly materials. Somrak described it as “a natural earth plaster product [that] offers a non-toxic alternative for residential interior wall coverings.” It also naturally absorbs moisture, making it a solid choice for bathrooms.  The selection of natural limestone for the fireplace makes a visual statement inside the home and reflects the connection to the surrounding landscape . Natural quartzite countertops further emphasize a focus on durable, long-lasting materials, which were a central theme throughout the project.  “We encourage the use of organic , natural materials that subconsciously invoke a sense of calm,” Somrak said. “It’s important to us to use natural materials whenever possible and build sustainably with high-quality techniques to ensure that what we are building will serve many generations to come. We believe that we are not just builders, we are creating spaces that relax , fulfill and become part of the memories our clients create while spending time together in their homes.” The open and flowing space was passively designed to adopt natural light throughout. Each bedroom is equipped with its own deck for a quick transfer into the outdoors.   For areas that needed a bit more illumination in a stylistic fashion, the Somrak team partnered with Sonneman lighting to bring the “mountain modern” vibe. They placed a striking Cantina LED Pendant six-light chandelier over the dining room table and two dynamic Cantina LED Pendant lights over the kitchen island. “I often use Sonneman lighting in our projects because of its understated elegance and beautiful simplicity that make a bold statement to round out our designs ,” said Ben Somrak, president of Somrak Concept + Structure.  “The number one goal is quality and ensuring that what we build will last for generations to come,” said Kate Somrak. “We pride ourselves on building tight, efficient homes that are energy efficient and sustainable for the long-term of home ownership.” + Somrak Concept + Structure  Images via Somrak Concept + Structure 

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Mountain modern ski getaway features energy efficient design

Could desalination play a role in the future of the Colorado River?

September 1, 2021 by  
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As Colorado River supply dwindles, the U.S. and Mexico are looking to Israel and Jordan for ideas on how to help quench their own shared border.

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Could desalination play a role in the future of the Colorado River?

The Colorado River Basin: What’s wrong and what’s needed to make it right

August 26, 2021 by  
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If we don’t fix what is broken for the Colorado River, we will feel the bite of climate change and resultant economic, business, social and ecosystem impacts at a scale exceeding the American dust bowl of the 1930s.

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The Colorado River Basin: What’s wrong and what’s needed to make it right

US can’t meet climate goals while spending billions on gas infrastructure

August 26, 2021 by  
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Our fossil fuel infrastructure is failing, but instead of maintaining it, the U.S. should be dismantling it.

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US can’t meet climate goals while spending billions on gas infrastructure

11 Steps to Encourage Water Conservation in Your Community

August 16, 2021 by  
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In 2009, the Cherry Creek 3 townhome community in Colorado used 37 million gallons of water…. The post 11 Steps to Encourage Water Conservation in Your Community appeared first on Earth911.

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11 Steps to Encourage Water Conservation in Your Community

Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

October 27, 2017 by  
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In November, voters in Denver, Colorado will go to the polls to approve or disapprove a new ballot initiative that would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet and some older buildings to include a green roof . The roofs would have to be covered with trees, vegetables or other plants that add aesthetic value and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Although the idea of green roofs is broadly popular, the mandate to require them is somewhat controversial. Nonetheless, supporters are optimistic that voters will ultimately approve the bold and beautiful policy to add even more green to the Mile High City. Denver’s proposed green roof mandate takes cues from Toronto , which implemented the policy seven years ago, becoming the first city in North America to require green roofs. Although San Francisco recently adopted a mandate for green roofs on new buildings, Denver would be the first to transform rooftops on existing buildings through the mandate. Supporters see real environmental and economic benefits from such a broad adoption of green roofs. A new study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation estimated that the adopted initiative would create 57.5 million square feet of green roofs by 2033 and generate $1.85 billion in energy cost savings and other benefits over the next 40 years. “We have all these flat roofs with all this space, and we’re not doing anything with them,” said Brandon Rietheimer, the initiative’s campaign manager, according to the Denver Post . “Why aren’t we putting solar or green vegetation up there? … We hear all the time that Denver is an environmentally friendly city, yet we rank 11th for air quality and third for heat islands.” Related: Denver food desert raises $50K for first community-owned grocery store Although the idea may be appealing, it still faces a mountain of opposition before it becomes law. “I think it would be great if we all had green roofs,” said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman. “They’re so lovely. But the mandate is what worries me. … If you have so much support for it, then why wouldn’t the market just take care of it?” Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has come out against the measure, stating that it was “not the right approach” for the city. Despite heavy opposition, the initiative may prove endearing to the Denver electorate, particularly in an off-year election . Political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “I think the risk to the opposition is that it’s under the radar and it just looks good, looks cutting-edge, feels good and that no one digs into it”. Via The Denver Post Images via Denver Green Roof Initiative

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Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

VW is building an electric race car to set a new speed record

October 20, 2017 by  
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Buckle your seat belt!  Volkswagen , on a mission to become a top producer of electric vehicles, is proving itself by developing an electric race car which will be entered in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb  in 2018. If the company is successful, the race will mark the first time in 31 years VW has competed in the hill climb. The race will take place in Colorado Spring, Colorado , and will be held on June 24, 2018. According to The Verge , the hill climb has been held annually since 1916 in the Rocky Mountains . Though the track is just 12.4 miles long, ascending it is no easy feat. In under 13 miles, vehicles will climb 4,700 feet to the summit 14,000 feet above sea level. Dr. Frank Welsch, the VW board member responsible for the development, said, “The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies.” Related: The Netherlands’ sun-powered Nuna9 race car wins the World Solar Challenge Last year,  e0 PP100 , which was driven by Rhys Millen, set the record for the fastest modified electric vehicle. The electric race car completed the run in eight minutes and 57.118 seconds. At the same time, a Tesla Model S set another record for a production car, with a time of 11 minutes and 48.264 seconds. Reportedly, electric cars have become quite popular at Pikes Peak over the past few years, as the thin air at a higher altitude makes it hard for internal-combustion engines to develop power. The new race car is presently being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in Germany . According to Welsch, data obtained from the Pikes Peak race will be incorporated into electric vehicles that are sold by all VW brands. The infamous Microbus (which is coming back as an EV in 2022 ) will be but one vehicle improved upon using the lessons learned from the race. + Volkswagen Via The Verge Images via Volkswagen

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VW is building an electric race car to set a new speed record

70-mile wide group of butterflies shows up on radar, confuses weather scientists

October 6, 2017 by  
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“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a flock of migrating butterflies!” After spotting a colored mass flitting over Denver and nearby counties, weather scientists at the National Weather Service supposed the phenomenon was just a group of birds. With the help of social media users, however, they later realized that the group of loosely spaced insects with big wings comprised thousands of butterflies. It turns out, there are so many butterflies migrating across central U.S., they showed up on the radar . Look at what's flying into Denver! Radar from last hour showing what we believe to be birds. Any bird experts know what kind? #ornithology pic.twitter.com/EAqzdMwpFU — NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) October 3, 2017 Weather scientists at the Boulder meteorology office posted the images to social media with the caption, “Look at what’s flying into Denver! Radar from last hour showing what we believe to be birds. Any bird experts know what kind?” After confirming that avians “rarely produce such a coherent radar signature” and taking into account social media users’ answers, the Boulder meteorology office realized they were actually butterflies. Related: 8 Ways that you can help save monarch butterflies “Migrating butterflies in high quantities explains it,” the group posted afterward. The Denverite reports that it is presently migration season for the painted lady butterfly. Orange-and-black in color, the butterflies are making their way from north to south, in time with the changing seasons. According to The Prairie Ecologies , thousands of the painted ladies butterflies travel between the southwest part of the United States/northern Mexico and the central U.S. every year. Because butterflies migrate with the wind, they were able to cover an area about 70-miles-wide. Birds, on the other hand, fly straight toward their destination. This was a big clue in differentiating the mass of flying objects. Said Sarah Garrett, a lepidopterist at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado , people as far away as North and South Dakota have spotted the butterflies , whose populations typically surge when flowers are abundant. Scientists believe the painted lady butterflies migrate to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico in the fall. Using radio tracking , studies have shown they also travel south from Europe to Africa in the fall, and return in the spring. Via Denverite Images via National Weather Service ,  Pixabay

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70-mile wide group of butterflies shows up on radar, confuses weather scientists

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