Green and healthy buildings are an integral part of green cities

May 21, 2018 by  
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Here’s how city planners, architects and building operators can make a difference.

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Green and healthy buildings are an integral part of green cities

Report Report: Carbon accounting, SDG roadmaps, 4th wave environmentalism

May 17, 2018 by  
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The latest crop of research and insights for sustainable business professionals.

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Report Report: Carbon accounting, SDG roadmaps, 4th wave environmentalism

‘Game changing’ graphene-reinforced concrete is stronger and better for the planet

May 3, 2018 by  
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Add concrete to the list of things graphene can improve. Scientists at the University of Exeter ‘s Center for Graphene Science developed a new technique to incorporate graphene in concrete production with the help of nanoengineering technology — and the resulting material was not only over twice as strong as concretes we have today, but “drastically reduced the carbon footprint of conventional concrete production methods.” Is there anything graphene can’t do? It can boost both the strength and durability of concrete. The resulting University of Exeter composite material is four times as water resistant as existing concretes, and, according to professor Monica Craciun , “by including graphene we can reduce the amount of materials required to make concrete by around 50 percent — leading to a significant reduction of 446 kilograms per tonne of the carbon emissions .” Related: MIT just discovered a way to mass produce graphene in long rolls The research, published in late April in the journal Advanced Functional Materials , pioneers a novel, low cost technique that is, according to the university, compatible with requirements for modern, large-scale manufacturing. The composite material can be utilized right on building sites. Craciun described the new green concrete as an absolute game-changer. She said its strength, durability, and water resistance make it “uniquely suitable for construction in areas which require maintenance work and are difficult to be accessed.” Lead author Dimitar Dimov, a PhD student at the university, described the research as a first but crucial step “in the right direction to make a more sustainable construction industry for the future.” He said in the statement, “Finding greener ways to build is a crucial step forward in reducing carbon emissions around the world and so help protect our environment as much as possible.” + University of Exeter + Advanced Functional Materials Images via Depositphotos and Derek Torsani on Unsplash

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‘Game changing’ graphene-reinforced concrete is stronger and better for the planet

New 3D-printed house can be built in less than a day for just $4,000

March 13, 2018 by  
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One billion people on Earth lack access to adequate housing — but that could change if ICON and New Story are successful. They’ve found a way to 3D-print 600 to 800-square-foot houses for $4,000 in under one day — and they recently unveiled “the first permitted, 3D-printed home in America.” Austin , Texas can now claim the United States’ first permitted 3D-printed house. To build the house, ICON developed a mobile 3D printer called the Vulcan, which is designed to operate in conditions where power isn’t reliable and potable water isn’t readily available – like rural El Salvador or Haiti. Related: The world’s largest Delta 3D printer creates nearly zero-cost homes out of mud 3D-printing offers several advantages over traditional building methods, ICON co-founder Jason Ballard said in a statement: “With 3D-printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste , but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability . This isn’t 10 percent better, it’s 10 times better.” New Story utilizes locally sourced materials for dwellings today, and they plan to do the same with 3D-printed houses, which will be comprised of a mortar. The charity works with local workers, and they say that traditional building methods provide around four jobs for each house. They did say the printer will probably lower that number “but local labor will still be required for aspects of communities.” How long will the homes last? New Story said “as long or longer than standard Concrete Masonry Unit built homes.” They plan to keep homes simple to minimize maintenance costs. New Story said that they’ll print the first community in El Salvador , with other locations to follow after. They’re currently raising money to fund 100 homes and the next phase of research and development – you can donate to the initiative on their website . The first family could move into their 3D-printed house in the second or third quarter of 2019. + New Story + ICON Images via New Story

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New 3D-printed house can be built in less than a day for just $4,000

"The only way to see Iceland" with adorable mini Mink Campers

March 13, 2018 by  
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Photographs of Icelanic landscapes tend to incite serious wanderlust — add a tiny camper to the scene and you’ve got the makings of a swoon-worthy outdoors adventure. Local company Mink Campers is offering their little trailers for rent, saying they’re “the only way to see Iceland,” and from the pictures, we just might agree. Ever wanted to explore Iceland? Mink Campers allows you to get out there in nature without completely waving goodbye to the 21st century. Their two-person campers, rented with a 4×4 vehicle, allow you to sleep under the stars while also enjoying electricity, WiFi, USB charging, and a Bose sound system. Related: Off-grid camping just got so much better with these solar-powered teardrop trailers The Mink Camper, which is around nine-feet by five-feet by six-feet, has a queen mattress inside. A Webasto heating system provides warmth while campers gaze at the sky through a roof skylight. Round side windows also let in light, while LED lighting brightens up the camper when it’s dark. Scandinavian linen, a blanket, pillows, and a duvet will keep explorers cozy. Two adults can snuggle in — or around four kids, as seen in the Instagram picture below. Kids are brutally honest critics and by the look on these faces we need not say more..#kids #campingwithkids #summer #campinglife #minkcampers #hastens #bose #roadtripiceland #campinginstyle #campinginiceland #wanderlust #adventurecamping #travel #travelblog #travelphoto #iceland #roadtrip #exploring #lovecamping #outdoorlife #outside #enjoylife #hästens A post shared by Mink Campers (@minkcampers) on Feb 2, 2018 at 5:02pm PST What about breakfast the next morning? There’s an open air kitchen around the back of the trailer, equipped with a gas stove, illuminated ice chest, kitchen tools, and a table and chairs. During summer 2017, people could rent the camper with a 4×4 Dacia Duster supplied by Avis . The camper cost 119 Euros, around $146, per day, with the Duster costing 150 Euros, around $185, a day, bringing the total, which Mink Campers said included cleaning and value-added tax, to 269 Euros, or around $331. Mink Campers recommended people rest at dedicated camping sites, which they said cost around $10 to $15 per person and often offer showers and toilets. They included warnings for adventurers who might not be familiar with driving in the country as weather can change rapidly. Beyond watching out for gravel roads, single-lane bridges, and blind hills, drivers also need to keep an eye out for another potential hazard: “numerous sheep roaming freely.” You can find out more information on the Mink Campers website or check out additional images on the company’s Instagram page . + Mink Campers Images courtesy of Mink Campers

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"The only way to see Iceland" with adorable mini Mink Campers

Recycling Mysteries: Brick

November 6, 2017 by  
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The Three Little Pigs will be the first to tell … The post Recycling Mysteries: Brick appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Recycling Mysteries: Brick

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  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

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

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