California approves rule to require solar panels on new houses

December 12, 2018 by  
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The California Building Standards Commission has given its final approval to a new housing rule that is the first of its kind in the United States. Starting in 2020, the commission is requiring that all new homes built in the state include solar panels. “These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country,” said commissioner Kent Sasaki. “[It’s] the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels .” Related: California waters could open soon to offshore wind farms In addition to the solar panel requirement, the new standard also includes an incentive for homeowners to add a high-capacity battery to their electrical system to store the sun’s energy. The rule does have an exemption for homes that are built in locations that are often in the shade. California has a history of setting trends across the country, and this new rule is the next step in the state’s progressive environmental policy. The state has a goal of sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions and drawing all of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The California Energy Commission first endorsed the solar panel rule back in May as part of California’s Green Building Standards Code. This past week, the Building Standards Commission added the requirement with a unanimous vote. Drew Bohan, executive director of the energy commission, said that the homes built under the new rule should use about 50 percent less energy compared to previous standards. The new solar power requirement is for single-family homes and multi-family buildings up to three stories high. It will add about $10,000 to the upfront cost of a home, but the lower electricity bills should balance that out over time. Bohan said that over the course of a 30-year mortgage, a homeowner should save about $19,000. Homeowners will have the option of buying the panels outright, leasing them or taking part in a power purchase agreement with the home builder. Via NPR Image via Ulleo

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California approves rule to require solar panels on new houses

A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat

November 6, 2018 by  
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A new report on food shopping in the U.K. shows that one in eight Britons is now vegetarian or vegan, and another 21 percent identify as flexitarians. This means that about a third of U.K. consumers have deliberately reduced or eliminated meat from their diets, and it underlines a revolution in the eating habits of U.K. citizens. Vegetarians have a diet that eliminates meat, poultry and fish, while vegans eat a plant-based diet and completely avoid all animal products. Flexitarians eat a largely vegetable-based diet and just occasionally supplement it with meat . Related: Look out, meat industry — flexitarianism is on the rise The report comes from the supermarket chain Waitrose, which studied the food choices of Britons across all British supermarket chains. The study shows that people are thinking about how they can individually counter climate change , and avoiding meat and dairy products seems to be the single biggest way that you can reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Waitrose’s report comes from a poll of 2,000 adults who shop a variety of retailers, plus research of millions of transactions in stores and online. The report found the most likely age range to make the switch to veganism is 18 to 34. “It’s extremely encouraging to learn how many Britons are choosing to reduce their consumption of animal products,” Nick Palmer, the head of Compassion in World Farming U.K., told The Guardian . Palmer added that science shows the healthiest diet is plant-heavy, and when you eat less meat, fish, eggs and dairy, you can help animals , people and the planet. The Vegan Society claimed that the number of vegans in the U.K. has increased 400 percent in the last four years, from 150,000 to 600,000. Last May, Waitrose became the first U.K. supermarket to put dedicated vegan sections in its stores, plus it also launched a line of vegan and vegetarian ready-to-eat meals. Vegan dining has also gone mainstream in the U.K., with many chains increasing their non-meat and non-dairy options. Some restaurants have also created menus dedicated to vegans, as more and more people discover just how amazing vegan food can taste. + Waitrose Via The Guardian Image via Mittmac

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A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat

A couple builds a fairytale-like rental cabin near a volcano for $30K

November 6, 2018 by  
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When Caroline and Julien traveled across South America in their Volkswagen Kombi, the couple noticed a dearth of quality accommodations and decided to fill that hospitality gap by building a beautifully crafted rental cabin in Chile . After 19 months of construction, the couple realized their dream on the slopes of the Calbuco Volcano in Ensenada. Designed and constructed for an approximate cost of $30,000, the cozy, handcrafted home — dubbed Casa Nido — has been listed on Airbnb starting at $116 a night . Designing and building Casa Nido was a big adventure for the couple, given that they didn’t know anything about construction before starting. Yet all parts of the cabin , from the design and interior finishes to the electrical wiring and water systems, were carried out by the duo without any outside help. “We are offering tourists and travelers high quality, fully handmade accommodation, somewhere to relax and contemplate far away from consumer society,” said Caroline and Julien. “It is also the ideal place to rethink one’s priorities and experiment, for a given time, what is ‘going back to the essential.’” Inspired by images of fairytale cottages , Casa Nido spans two floors, with a ground floor of 290 square feet and a smaller second level of 129 square feet. The curved roof beam is constructed from plywood, and all the other timber materials are locally sourced, native species. For instance, Patagonian Cypress was used for the windows, doors and furnishings while Manio was used for the outside siding, interior lining and flooring. In addition to a bedroom that sleeps two, the cabin comes with a living room overlooking Calbuco Volcano vistas, a fully equipped kitchen that frames views of Osorno Volcano, a ground floor terrace and a wood-fired hot tub. Related: Award-winning glass cabin is nestled inside an Australian rainforest The cabin is powered by a photovoltaic solar system that provides enough electricity to meet daily needs, while the water is sourced from a nearby natural spring higher up in the valley. Wastewater is treated with a photo-purification system. The couple also plans to build a homemade biodigester to replace the use of gas cylinders for the cabin’s gas system. To wake up to volcano views at Casa Nido, check out the listing on Airbnb . + Casa Nido

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A couple builds a fairytale-like rental cabin near a volcano for $30K

Why 100 percent renewable energy pledges should cover internet infrastructure

October 11, 2018 by  
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Addressing the consumption implications of data centers, routers, servers and software coding techniques should be a hotter topic.

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Why 100 percent renewable energy pledges should cover internet infrastructure

Can cooperatives save America’s small farms?

October 11, 2018 by  
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Amid a nationwide rise in worker-owned businesses of all types, small farms across the country are foregoing traditional farm ownership and reaping the benefits of cooperative farming.

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Can cooperatives save America’s small farms?

New materials are powering the battery revolution

October 11, 2018 by  
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Research is finding better ways to make batteries both big and small.

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New materials are powering the battery revolution

Opportunities for plastics in a circular world

April 18, 2017 by  
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As world population increases, so does the consumption of resources as economies expand. Without arguing about whether some or all of these resources are finite, it is clear to many that to the extent we can recover material which has become waste after its initial use, the more likely we are to sustainably carry out those activities of consumption in the years to come.

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Opportunities for plastics in a circular world

IKEA exec declares the world has hit “peak home furnishings”

January 20, 2016 by  
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Steve Howard, IKEA’s head of sustainability, made a comment at a Guardian Sustainable Business debate recently that many found surprising, by implying that his own company’s business model is becoming increasingly outdated : “If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings.” But the news isn’t bad, Howard believes that this presents an opportunity for us to shift from consumption to recycling and re-using. Read the rest of IKEA exec declares the world has hit “peak home furnishings”

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IKEA exec declares the world has hit “peak home furnishings”

INFOGRAPHIC: Retail in Real Time Highlights Trends in Our Consumption-Driven Society

June 27, 2014 by  
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Did you know that $11 million is spent on US-made apparel every day? To help visualize that staggering number, Retale developed a real-time visualization of how and where Americans are spending their money. This ‘Retail in Real Time’ infographic breaks down spending into popular products such as coffee and e-books. The graphic starts counting after it’s opened on a web browser and offers interesting insights into our consumption-driven society. + Retail in Real Time The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: american consumer spending , american consumers , consumer spending , consumption driven society , infographic , reader submitted content , retail in real time , retale

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INFOGRAPHIC: Retail in Real Time Highlights Trends in Our Consumption-Driven Society

China Responsible for Almost Half of All Global Coal Consumption, Reports EIA

January 30, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock As over 30 million residents of Beijing experience record breaking levels of hazardous smog , the U.S. Energy Information Agency’s latest figures find that China currently accounts for almost half of all the global coal consumption ; totaling 325 million tons in 2011 alone.. The EIA ‘s report explains that coal consumption in China grew more than 9 percent in 2011, accounting for 87 percent of the global increase in coal use that year. Read the rest of China Responsible for Almost Half of All Global Coal Consumption, Reports EIA Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Beijing air pollution , China air pollution , China air quality , China carbon footprint , china coal , China fossil fuels , coal energy , coal pollution , environmental destruction , global coal consumption , greenhouse emissions , greenhouse gas emissions coal , U.S. Energy Information Agency

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China Responsible for Almost Half of All Global Coal Consumption, Reports EIA

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