EPA: Fiat Chrysler used software to cheat on vehicle emissions

January 12, 2017 by  
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Today, the EPA accused Fiat Chrysler of cheating emissions standards in over 100,000 of their vehicles, echoing the scandal that has been rocking Volkswagen . According to the EPA, the company installed software on SUVs and trucks made in 2014, 2015 and 2016 that allowed them to evade standards, allowing poisonous nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. While the current administration has shown it is willing to pursue Clean Air Act violators, the incoming administration could choose not to continue the investigation. The Italian automaker is accused of installing 8 different programs aimed at giving a false emissions picture. If those programs qualify as “defeat devices,” Fiat Chrysler could face a fine of up to $44,539 per vehicle if found guilty of violations of the Clean Air Act. Related: Volkswagen to pay $4.3 billion to US following emissions scandal Fiat Chrysler stated that it had offered to develop software fixes to help ease the problem and that they intend to plead their case to the incoming Trump administration . The company did not disclose the issue, rather, the EPA discovered during testing that the vehicles appeared to be within standards at a moderate speed, but at higher speeds or on longer trips, the emissions violated air quality standards. “FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a notice of violation with respect to the emissions control technology employed in the company’s 2014-16 model year light duty 3.0-liter diesel engines. FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements,” Fiat Chrysler said in a statement. via USA Today images via Petr Magera

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EPA: Fiat Chrysler used software to cheat on vehicle emissions

6 amphibious houses that float to escape flooding

January 12, 2017 by  
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Building in a flood zone sounds like asking for trouble, but that doesn’t have to be the case if you use the right construction techniques. The most basic strategy to avoid rising waters is to raise the buildings above the flood level, but we’re more impressed by the houses that actually float off the ground when waters rush in. While this type of automated flood defense isn’t as common as elevated homes , we may see it pop up in more houses as flooding threatens to become a regular occurrence around the world. To take a closer look at these adaptive structures, we’ve rounded up six amphibious houses that float above the floodwaters—keep reading to see them all. Amphibious House by Baca Architects Baca Architects designed the Amphibious House, a flood-resistant home that enjoys gorgeous waterfront views without risk of water damage. Sited on the coveted banks of the River Thames in Buckinghamshire’s town of Marlow, the luxury home, which is described as the UK’s first amphibious house, rests on separated foundations that let the structure float upwards on extended guideposts when the River Thames overflows. The buoyant home has a 2.5-meter-high floodwater clearance. FLOAT House by Morphosis The LEED Platinum -certified FLOAT House is one of our favorite amphibious homes due to its small environmental footprint. Designed by Morphosis for Brad Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, the net-zero 945-square-foot home offers a solution for floodwater-prone regions around the globe. The house is built on a prefabricated chassis made of polystyrene foam coated in glass fiber-reinforced concrete that’s lightweight enough to serve as a raft when floodwaters buoy the home up. Bamboo homes by H&P Architects Amphibious homes can also be affordable, as evidenced in H&P Architects’ designs for these bamboo homes in Southeast Asia. Made from locally-sourced bamboo , the thatched homes are built on platforms constructed from reused oil drums anchored in place. The recycled oil drums serve as a float and allow floodwater to buoy the home upwards. Maasbommel’s Amphibious Homes by Waterstudio and Dura Vermeer It should come as no surprise that the Netherlands is home to amphibious architecture given their low-lying landscapes. Dutch firms Waterstudio and Dura Vermeer completed a famous example of amphibious housing in Maasbommel, an area near the Maas River. Though the homes there sit on the river bottom, the architecture is engineered so that the house and foundation will float upwards in the event of a flood. Electrical and sewer lines are kept intact thanks to flexible pipes. Amphibious Container by Green Container International Aid When heavy monsoon rains caused major flooding in Pakistan in 2010, approximately one-fifth of the country’s total land area was affected and 20 million people were directly affected. In a bid to provide relief, Green Container International Aid designed the Amphibious Container, an emergency shelter made from reclaimed shipping containers , shipping pallets, and inner tire tubes that can break away from the ground and float in case of flooding. The Greenhouse That Grows Legs by Between Art and Technology Studio While the above amphibious house examples explore buoyancy, Between Art and Technology (BAT) Studio decided to take a different approach in their design of a flood-resistant structure. Instead of letting the waters push the structure up, the Greenhouse That Grows Legs uses a hydraulic lifting system that can raise the building 800 millimeters off the ground. The homeowners can move the building via remote control .

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6 amphibious houses that float to escape flooding

Volkswagen to pay $4.3 billion to US following emissions scandal

January 11, 2017 by  
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The long legal saga over Volkswagen ’s attempts to cheat US emissions tests seems to finally be reaching an end. Not only has one of the company’s major executives been arrested , but the company has negotiated a $4.3 billion draft settlement with the US Justice Department as part of a civil and criminal settlement. The company also plans to plead guilty to criminal misconduct. The amount of the settlement still needs the approval of a judge before it’s finalized. While it’s far short of the $15 billion settlement previously reported in October, it appears that President Barack Obama is trying to rush the final settlement through before he leaves office. With incoming President Donald Trump’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge the existence of climate change or the human health impacts of air pollution, it’s probably for the best that the suit is resolved as soon as possible. Related: VW forced to recall nearly 500,000 cars for circumventing smog emission standards The scandal began in 2015, when the company admitted to installing software in diesel vehicles intended to cheat emissions tests. In early 2016, the Justice Department accused the automaker of purposely violating the Clean Air Act and filed suit against the company. Hundreds of thousands of cars in the US were affected, and as many as 11 million worldwide might have similar software installed. Over the next two years, VW will be required to buy back or fix “dirty” US vehicles. There are still a number of unresolved lawsuits from US investors and 20 separate US states, as well. More individual executives may still end up facing charges, a Justice Department source stated to Reuters on Tuesday. The previous CEO of the company, Martin Winterkorn, was forced to resign as a result of the scandal in 2015. Via Reuters Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Volkswagen to pay $4.3 billion to US following emissions scandal

Beijing creates new environmental police force to crack down on smog

January 11, 2017 by  
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Notoriously smoggy Beijing has created a new police force specifically to crack down on air pollution. The environmental police squad is one of several new plans announced by Beijing’s acting major, Cai Qi to deal with the city’s massive pollution problem . Other measures on Cai’s list include: cutting coal use by 30 percent in 2017, shutting down 500 polluting factories, upgrading 2,500 facilities, phasing out 300,000 older vehicles and getting cleaner gas and diesel to stations as soon as Feb. 15. “Though we have made some progresses, air pollution in winter is still very serious,” Cai told media on Saturday. “That’s why the government must strengthen environmental protection and step up supervision and accountability in 2017. “Open-air barbecues, garbage incineration, biomass burning, dust from roads – these acts of non-compliance with regulations are actually the result of lax supervision and weak law enforcement.” While air pollution is a constant problem in China , it tends to get worse in the winter and often goes beyond WHO safety guidelines. It is so bad it causes school and business closures, flight cancellations, and driving bans. Just one day before making the announcement, the government announced city schools and kindergartens would be equipped with air purifiers. Related: Pollution in China prompts Beijing exodus Strict anti-pollution laws that came into effect in 2014 have taken somewhat of a bite out of the problem, but according to the Christian Science Monitor , an economic slowdown in 2016 dampened the enthusiasm a bit – as the Chinese government supported polluting industries to help drive economic growth. Via Christian Science Monitor Images via Yinan Chen and McKay Savage , Wikimedia Commons

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Beijing creates new environmental police force to crack down on smog

Carnival to Cut Pollution From More Cruise Ships

May 23, 2014 by  
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Carnival said Thursday it was spending about $400 million to clean up the air pollution from the massive diesel engines it uses to power more than 70 cruise ships. The company said it had decided to invest more…

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Carnival to Cut Pollution From More Cruise Ships

Standing up to Goliath: March Against Monsanto

May 23, 2014 by  
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So, if you are keeping score: it’s Justin: 1, Monsanto: 0. A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article where I not only compared the mega-corporation to Nazis, but I also called them evil geniuses who: “took a break from counting their money to poison…

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Standing up to Goliath: March Against Monsanto

Paris Gets Tough on Pollution as Friday’s Air Quality Rated Worse than Beijing

March 17, 2014 by  
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Paris photo from Shutterstock A cloud of smog has enveloped Paris – and on Friday air pollution levels were actually worse than notoriously smoggy Beijing . The French capital is taking emergency measures to reduce air pollution – over the weekend the city made public transportation, bike sharing and electric car sharing free, and starting Monday private cars and motorcycles with even registration numbers will be banned. 700 police officers are stationed at checkpoints issuing $31 (€22) fines for violators. Electric vehicles, hybrids and cars carrying at least three people are exempt. Read the rest of Paris Gets Tough on Pollution as Friday’s Air Quality Rated Worse than Beijing Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: air pollution , Air QUality Index , banning cars , Beijing , belgium , diesel engines , Diesel Fuel , fine particulates , france , free public transportation , germany , Paris , smog , smog belt        

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Paris Gets Tough on Pollution as Friday’s Air Quality Rated Worse than Beijing

Kolelinia Lab’s Halfbike Proves Less Can Be More When it Comes to Urban Mobility

March 17, 2014 by  
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In most cases, waking up to find half a bike in your garage would throw a wrench in your morning commute. But that’s not the case with the Halfbike , a new vehicle by Kolelinia Lab . Technically a tricycle, Halfbike combines the motions of cycling and running to provide a remarkably quick and enjoyable mode of transportation. If you don’t like the feeling of being hunched over traditional road bike’s handlebars, and if the aesthetics of the Segway cramp your style, Halfbike could be the perfect medium. And unlike other crazy bike concepts , it’s actually for sale! Read the rest of Kolelinia Lab’s Halfbike Proves Less Can Be More When it Comes to Urban Mobility Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: futuristic bike , Halfbike , kolelinia , personal transportation vehicle , public transportation , unique bikes , urban commuting , urban mobility , urban tricycle        

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Kolelinia Lab’s Halfbike Proves Less Can Be More When it Comes to Urban Mobility

Art Barn: A Connecticut Live/Work Space Completely Wrapped in a Beautiful Living Wall

March 17, 2014 by  
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Can’t you just smell the fresh, crisp air surrounding this beautiful leaf-clad home in Greenwich, CT? Called the Art Barn , this multi-functional space is an art gallery, a studio and a residence all in one. Aside from its striking green appeal, the home’s living screen also keeps it cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. Check out our full gallery for more pics of this naturally insulated home . READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , art barn , art gallery , art studio , connecticut , ct , eco design , green architecture , Green Building , green design , green home , green screen , greenwich , living facade , living screen , robert young architects , Robert Young Architecture , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , vegetated facade        

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Art Barn: A Connecticut Live/Work Space Completely Wrapped in a Beautiful Living Wall

Helicopters Could Become More Fuel-Efficient Thanks to Diesel Engines

February 25, 2010 by  
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EC120B Helicopter. Photo: Eurocopter Don’t Forget to Make Them Biodiesel-Compatible! Most helicopters are powered by turbines.

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