The Ice Box Challenge shows effectiveness of passive house design

September 3, 2021 by  
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The Ice Box Challenge was a visual representation of the effectiveness of  passive house  design elements, presented as a collaborative effort from iPHA, Glasgow City Council, Passive House Institute, Edinburgh Napier University, Passivhaus Trust and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre. The display consisted of two small houses, placed side-by-side in Glasgow, Scotland’s city square. One house was built by standard Scottish building code, while the other implemented four of five passive house design elements. Each structure was filled with the same amount of ice, which was measured at the end of an established period. Related: Explore the Saltbox Passive House’s sweet sustainable design The results were undeniable, with the ice melting completely in the standard house within 11 days. Viewers could see the ice void days before the final measurements. In contrast, the passive house still had two large blocks of ice. In the end, the passive house still had 121kg of the original 917 kg of ice placed two weeks prior, even with unseasonably warm weather.  This demonstration highlights the effectiveness of energy-saving  passive design  elements since no active cooling systems were allowed. Passive design incorporates five standard elements to significantly reduce the need for mechanical heating and cooling. This not only reduces the use of limited environmental resources but saves money for the homeowner too.  For this challenge, the homes looked nearly identical from the outside, but the passive house relied on window glazing, insulation levels, airtightness and reduced thermal bridges for keeping out the summer heat and maintaining a cool and comfortable interior. Due to the nature of the competition, the passive house didn’t include the fifth element of passive design — a ventilation system with heat recovery — which adds to the  energy efficiency  of the construction.  The passive home standard is becoming increasingly more common in projects developed by the Glasgow City Council and local housing associations. Michelle Mundie from the Housing Investment Group at Glasgow City Council says, “Housing associations in Glasgow are looking at this very closely and what it means to new build programmes. For tenants it means more comfortable homes with lower running costs.” + Ice Box Challenge Images via © Passivhaus Trust, Kirsten Priebe

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The Ice Box Challenge shows effectiveness of passive house design

Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton

July 29, 2021 by  
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Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton Heather Clancy Thu, 07/29/2021 – 00:01 Green construction startup Nexii first caught my attention back in the spring when the Canadian company announced a partnership with actor and Pennsylvania native Michael Keaton. The initiative — the creation of a manufacturing plant for Nexii’s “sustainable concrete” alternative Nexiite — will bring at least 300 new jobs to a redeveloped brownfield site in the “Steel City” of Pittsburgh that thrived in the era of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. “I’ve always been interested in design and construction, but I only recently learned the game-changing impact the construction industry can have in improving the environment by adoption of innovative, lower-carbon techniques,” Keaton said when the relationship was announced in April. “For me, the opportunity to marry job creation with an environmentally sustainable business is incredibly exciting.” Keaton’s involvement isn’t just money; he’s participating in a venture called Trinity Sustainable Solutions, which also includes Nexii and commercial real estate developer Trinity Commercial Development, a specialist in redeveloping brownfield sites that has done work for companies including Walmart, Rite Aid, Goodwill and CSX Transportation. The new factory will be constructed using Nexii’s composite, a material manufactured off-site into lightweight panels and then assembled where it’s needed. The building components are modeled using 3D design software; it’s like creating pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that can be pieced together. The approach reduces construction waste and speeds development times, according to Nexii’s marketing materials. If star power doesn’t impress you as a sustainability practitioner or climate-tech evangelist, the flurry of deals and alliances that Nexii has forged since that time will definitely get your attention. In June, the company announced a pact with JLL Philadelphia that is intended to help increase the ranks of Nexii certified partners from among real estate companies, developers and other companies in the building sector. More recently, Nexii created a strategic alliance with building automation technologies company Honeywell. The deal sets up Honeywell as the exclusive tech supplier for new buildings constructed by Nexii. What’s particularly notable about this arrangement is that it’s intended to encourage the use of building management software in smaller structures: Close to 90 percent of the commercial buildings in the U.S. are less than 50,000 square feet in size and lack any sort of management system, according to Energy Star data.  Nexii has also engaged a well-respected adviser from the regenerative and net-zero buildings movement as its “impact architect”: Jason McLennan , co-author of the Living Building Challenge and a Buckminster Fuller Prize winner. Nexii is living proof that entrepreneurship is alive and well and thriving outside of Silicon Valley. Founded in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, by two brothers with deep roots in the construction industry, the Vancouver company so far has raised more than $52 million in venture backing. Three-time former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson (who made substantial updates to the city’s building codes during his tenure) is its executive vice president for strategy and partnerships, and Nexii’s board includes William McNabb, former chair and CEO of Vanguard, and Ronald Sugar, former CEO of Northrop Grumman who is also a board member at Apple and chair of Uber Technologies.  When I spoke with Robertson earlier this week, he told me that Nexii has a twofold mission: To dramatically reduce the embedded carbon associated with buildings — the sector is estimated to account for 39 percent of global emissions — while simultaneously bringing new employment opportunities to Rust Belt and Canadian industrial communities where there is a long history of manufacturing.  We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction. The Pittsburgh plant is an example of that, along with a sister facility in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and another in Louisville, Kentucky, that Nexii is planning in collaboration with Buffalo Construction, a company that has a presence in 49 states. Its specialty is restaurants, hospitality and multi-family residential structures, among other things. Nexii’s process isn’t just hypothetical. The material was used in the construction of a Starbucks drive-thru cafe in Vancouver; designed to help reduce carbon emissions by about 30 percent. Nexiite is used in the store’s wall and roof panels and assembled in just six days. More recently, the material was used to help build a Popeyes restaurant in British Columbia in less than two weeks. And it’s working with Marriott on its biggest project yet, a 172-room, 10-story Courtyard property. “We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction,” Robertson said.  Nexii isn’t the only startup espousing some element of prefabrication: Two other startups to watch are Factory OS , beneficiary of strategic investments by the likes of Autodesk and Citi; and Plant Prefab , which counts Amazon and Obvious Ventures among its backers.  Want more great insight on technologies and trends accelerating the clean economy? Subscribe to our free VERGE Weekly newsletter.  Pull Quote We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction. Topics Infrastructure Climate Tech Buildings Startups Carbon Removal Decarbonization Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A panel made of Nexiite is hoisted for transportation to a construction site. Courtesy of Nexii Close Authorship

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Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton

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

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

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

Kenyan activists are using human poop to make affordable cooking fuel

August 15, 2017 by  
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Resources are scarce in Kenya, and nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line , but they do have poop. Activists with Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company are providing clean fuel for local residents in the form of small balls of human feces. The group takes in truckloads of sewage from septic systems and pit latrines and transforms the waste into safe, economical briquettes that burn cleaner and longer than coal. And don’t worry: they are odor-free. Ordinarily, human feces can pose various health problems if left untreated or if disposed of improperly. Sometimes, it can even lead to cholera outbreaks or other sanitation -related diseases. However, because it is the most abundant and widely available human resource, Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company developed a method to turn it into an affordable, clean-burning fuel. To create the briquettes, the company slowly sun-dries the feces. Then, it treats it at a high temperature of 300 Celsius (572 Fahrenheit) in a kiln via a carbonizing process where sawdust is added to it. TreeHugger reports that the resulting product is then mixed with a small amount of molasses to act as a binder. It is then rolled into balls and dried. One kilo of the briquettes is said to cost just 50 cents USD — a very reasonable price for Kenyan citizens. John Irungu, the site manager at Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company, describes carbonization as “a process whereby we increase the carbon content of your materials.” He added, “In this case we are using the drum kiln whereby the sludge is fed, the drum has some holes at the bottom, these holes allow the oxygen to come in, in a controlled manner, that oxygen will only support combustion but to a certain level so that it doesn’t burn completely into ash. In this way, you are able to eliminate all the volatile matters, all the harmful gasses, and it is at this point that you ensure that your sludge doesn’t smell it is safe for handling when you are carrying out the other processes which is milling and briquette production.” Related: First-ever dog poop composting program in NYC comes to Brooklyn park It took some time to overcome the stigma that surrounds the use of human feces, but the company succeeded by informing residents that they could obtain a cleaner-burning cooking fuel for a fraction of the cost. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Turning poop into fuel These Kenyan entrepreneurs built thousands of special toilets to turn poop into sustainable fuel. Posted by Al Jazeera English on Saturday, July 15, 2017 Every month, Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company produces about two tons of the human waste briquettes. By the end of the year, the goal is to produce 10 tons per month. This will occur once additional de-watering and carbonization equipment is procured, as it will scale up and optimize the present production methods. The company is also invested in the construction of more than 6,000 toilets that can collect waste. Someday, the company will expand its offerings elsewhere in Kenya, Africa. + Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company Via TreeHugger Images via  Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company

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Kenyan activists are using human poop to make affordable cooking fuel

Interserve shows how to build green BHAGs

August 4, 2017 by  
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The outsourcing and construction services giant spins new resource use and carbon emissions targets without using industry initiatives as a pattern.

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Interserve shows how to build green BHAGs

Cancun’s coral reef receives a health insurance policy

August 4, 2017 by  
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Coastal hotels and tourism businesses will pay for a policy that protects them, and the coastal reef, from billions of dollars in economic losses.

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Cancun’s coral reef receives a health insurance policy

The blueprint to a low-carbon construction industry

June 7, 2017 by  
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How the construction industry can meet rising demand while navigating regulatory and financial risks and meeting climate commitments.

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The blueprint to a low-carbon construction industry

Hydrogen fuel finds a home in Hawaii

June 7, 2017 by  
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Hydrogen fuel cells are making a come back in the renewable energy field. And in Hawaii, we’ll soon see hydrogen fuel cells in cars, fleets and microgrids.

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Hydrogen fuel finds a home in Hawaii

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