Architects design COVID-19 mobile testing labs for underserved communities

May 21, 2020 by  
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Perkins and Will’s New York studio has teamed up with Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and multidisciplinary design group Arup to create a proposal for retrofitting defunct school buses into mobile COVID-19 testing labs as a means of improving testing in underserved communities. Informed by the newly approved Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test, the design concept would outfit school buses with ID NOW rapid-testing instruments as well as sanitation infrastructure such as plexiglass shields, negative air pressure systems and gravity-based hand washing sinks. All elements of the mobile testing lab would be sourced off the shelf from vendors for easy replicability.  The health and economic ramifications of the pandemic have disproportionately affected lower-income and underserved populations. In an attempt to make testing more accessible, the interdisciplinary design team has created an open-source mobile testing lab to serve vulnerable and isolated groups. To follow social distancing guidelines, patients would be encouraged to make appointments through a mobile app; however, smartphone access would not be a prerequisite for access. Related: Studio Precht designs a fingerprint-like park for social distancing For safety, the public would not be allowed onto the bus ; a canopy and protective barrier would be installed on the side of the bus, and samples would be taken from behind a protective barrier. Samples would then be labeled and brought into the lab environment on the bus via a pass-through box. Each lab would host two technicians who analyze the samples with the ID NOW rapid-testing instruments, record and upload results to the federal government’s official database and then discard test samples and expended materials in biohazard waste bags for safe disposal. Results would either be verbally communicated or transmitted via the smartphone app to the individual. “We aim to bring together intuitive technology and service design into a unique mobile care space,” said Paul McConnell, Arup’s director of digital experience design. “Through rapid prototyping, we can better learn and refine how we get people through the process and give communities the confidence to return to normal.” The retrofitted buses would draw electricity from generators mounted on the roof. Perkins and Will is presently looking for more project partners to expand on the design concept. + Perkins and Will Images via Perkins and Will

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Architects design COVID-19 mobile testing labs for underserved communities

Poland Spring pledges 100% recycled bottles by 2022

June 5, 2019 by  
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This week, Nestlé Waters North America promised that its Poland Spring brand would start using 100 percent recycled bottles by 2022. The announcement is part of Nestlé’s larger pledge to increase recycled bottle use and has the potential to significantly boost the recycled plastic industry. According to the $247 billion corporation, 25 percent of all its water products will use the recycled bottles by 2021, and 50 percent will use recycled bottles by 2050. The Poland Spring brand has a huge market share in the U.S. and will amount to a significant amount of recycled bottles used annually. Related: New report reveals 70 million metric tons of plastic burned worldwide each year “We spent a lot of time designing these bottles to ensure that they move efficiently and effectively through the recycling value web. We want the bottle back,” said chief sustainability officer David Tulauskas. Tulauskas also noted that because of discrepancies in recycling programs and compliance in different cities across the country, the recycled bottle program has been difficult to streamline and roll out. Cities with stricter recycling policies actually make the process more complex, because the recycled plastic buyer must rely on consumers taking the proper measures to clean the plastic and place it in the proper recycling stream. The buying power of Poland Spring will boost the confidence and dependability of recycled plastic producers. Without secured buyers, these facilities do not have the motivation nor reliable cash flow to increase production. Poland Spring’s interest and investment in the industry has the potential to increase the amount of food-grade, high-quality PET plastic produced, which is the type of plastic needed for bottles. “They need confidence that we’re going to buy from them for the long term to make sure that it’s worthwhile for them to make the investment,” Tulauskas explained to CNN . Last year, Americans used 50 billion plastic water bottles and only recycled 23 percent of them. That means that approximately $1 billion in recyclable plastic is wasted every year when it could be re-routed back to companies to quench the thirst for plastic next year. + Nestlé Via The Hill and CNN Image via Mike Mozart

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Poland Spring pledges 100% recycled bottles by 2022

Earliest human air pollution detected in glaciers

June 5, 2019 by  
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Researchers in Peru have discovered some of the earliest evidence of air pollution , and their report reveals new information about the extent that carbon emissions accelerate the melting of glaciers. The report, released by the National Institute of Research on Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems (INAIGEM) in Peru, also indicates that black carbon emissions in particular have a direct impact on the rate at which glaciers melt. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100 According to Jesús Gómez López, the Director of Glaciers Research at INAIGEM, “There are different sources of black carbon that can deposit on glaciers, some are wildfires, burning of agricultural waste and the emissions from vehicle fleets. Studies show that the concentration of black carbon is greater in glaciers close to large cities.” The 1,200-year-old Quelccaya Ice Cap contained small traces of lead and mercury believed to be pollution from silver mines during the early Spanish invasion. Climate change and air pollution can often be tied to colonialism and the exploitation of indigenous populations and lands. Metal working and mining by the Incas had “most likely only a local impact on the environment surrounding their mining operations. In contrast, the mining … activities performed by the Spanish had an impact on the atmosphere of the entire South America continent,” said Paolo Gabrielli, a researcher from Ohio State who contributed to the first paper on the discovery. Although the age of the pollution is impressive, researchers are quick to point out that all glaciers contain human-caused pollution at this point. “Today, there are no glaciers on Earth where atmospheric deposition of anthropogenic origin cannot be detected,” said a report from Ohio State University. Researchers also suggest that emissions from fires, transportation and industry should be curtailed in order to reduce glacial melt and trap carbon in place. They also note that while air pollution is hundreds of years old, today’s level of air pollution is unprecedented. Via UN Environment Images via Cassie Matias

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Earliest human air pollution detected in glaciers

Leaf power: How a ‘hero product’ drives Nissan’s reputation

June 13, 2013 by  
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A company innovates, builds brand value, and garners the confidence to innovate some more. It happens all the time in companies, but rarely in green.

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Leaf power: How a ‘hero product’ drives Nissan’s reputation

New report calls for ‘extended leadership’ on sustainability

June 13, 2013 by  
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Six paths to broadening leadership beyond your company, reshaping business and society as a whole.

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New report calls for ‘extended leadership’ on sustainability

Cleantech Survives a Crisis of Confidence

January 27, 2012 by  
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Despite widespread beliefs that clean technologies are struggling under political and technological burdens, the reality is that green is growing and holds more promise than ever.

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Cleantech Survives a Crisis of Confidence

The Bottom-Line Brand Benefits to Changing Consumer Behavior

September 25, 2011 by  
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Susan Hunt Stevens, the head of Practically Green, talks about how her consumer-focused website uses gamification and a points system based on LEED to give people the confidence to change to greener behaviors.

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The Bottom-Line Brand Benefits to Changing Consumer Behavior

A 6-Ingredient Recipe for Sustainability

September 24, 2011 by  
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There’s no simple way to get companies up to speed on sustainability, but these six ideas can give any company the skills to get started.

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A 6-Ingredient Recipe for Sustainability

Radical Confidence: Follow the Evidence that Points to a Greener Future

July 28, 2011 by  
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I have the radical confidence to believe in a positive future, one in which our better instincts enable us to interpret the evidence presented by the laws of the planet so that all life on Earth can prosper.

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Radical Confidence: Follow the Evidence that Points to a Greener Future

Radical Confidence: Thinking Differently to Create a Greener Planet

July 21, 2011 by  
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It’s sort of cute how people in the world of finance consider themselves. Compared to the diamond-hard certainty of chemistry, biology and physics, the so-called "reality" of economics is about as substantial as tissue paper.  

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Radical Confidence: Thinking Differently to Create a Greener Planet

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