Renewable energy is the cheapest source of electricity

October 28, 2020 by  
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A new report published by Rewiring America concludes that if everybody in the U.S. switched to solar, wind or other clean energy power, not only could the country reach zero emissions, but households would save an average of $1,050 to $2,585 annually on bills. This adds up to about $321 billion savings per year. The report, No Place Like Home: Fighting Climate Change (And Saving Money) by Electrifying America’s Households , found that more than 40% of U.S. energy-related carbon emissions come from normal household activities like cooking, bathing and commuting. The way forward, according to the report, is decarbonizing households through electrification. This means driving electric cars that we charge via our rooftop solar panels. Instead of powering appliances with natural gas, the report promotes electricity to power heat pumps, stoves and clothes dryers. Related: Japan aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050 “Too often we are told doing the right thing for the environment requires sacrifice and costs more,” Adam Zurofsky, executive director of Rewiring America , told The Guardian . “But no one is talking about the upside — we can actually make a better economy and save people money and a byproduct will be to cut emissions from residential buildings.” This optimistic attitude nicely coincides with an analysis recently released by financial giant Lazard. In Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis Version 14.0 , the firm concluded that wind and solar are the most affordable electricity sources. Building new solar plants is less expensive than keeping existing coal plants running. Of course, the upfront cost is the hitch for individual households. A larger-scale infrastructure will be necessary for all those solar panels, car chargers and batteries to work together. And it all has to happen pretty soon, before humans render the planet uninhabitable for their own species. That’s going to require government help. According to Zurofsky, “The federal government can make it dirt cheap for people to switch to renewables.” Now we have to make sure they do. Which reminds us, please vote. + Rewiring America Via Common Dreams , PV Magazine and The Guardian Image via Charlie Wilde

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Renewable energy is the cheapest source of electricity

Wind-powered cargo vessel promises sustainable ocean shipping

October 28, 2020 by  
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Oceanbird is a massive sailing cargo ship designed to reinvent sustainable ocean shipping and reduce transatlantic travel emissions by 90%. The Swedish collaborative project is still in its sea trials stage but is poised for full-scale production by late 2021 and deliveries by 2024. Conceptually, the wind-powered cargo vessel is designed for car and truck shipments and will have the capacity to carry up to 7,000 cars at a time. Wallenius Marine, the company responsible for Oceanbird (along with the Royal Institute of Technology, SSPA and the Swedish Transport Administration), believes in the future of zero-emissions shipping using wind as the main energy source. Oceanbird shows that major sustainable changes are possible in the maritime shipping industry, which currently  accounts for 90% of global freight. While seafaring began with sails, diesel engines have become the mainstay over the past 100 years, accomplishing faster crossings at the expense of the environment. The project brings together experts in both the private and public sectors. Related: Retractable solar sails to help power “world’s most eco-friendly cruise ship” This new ocean freighter will be 200 meters long by 40 meters wide with an average speed of 10 knots on a typical Atlantic journey. Its 80-meter-high sails are twice the height of the largest sailing ships on the seas today. The design features a combination theme where the hull and five rigs, specially designed for ocean sailing, work together as one. A transatlantic crossing will take about 12 days, compared to conventional vessels that take around eight days. The project is co-financed by the Swedish Transport Administration, while the Royal Institute of Technology is contributing expertise in aerodynamics, sailing mechanics and performance analysis. Similarly, SSPA is developing new testing methods, aerodynamic and hydrodynamic simulation and risk simulation. The learning gained from these experts will be used to develop sailing vessels in other capacities to further advance sustainable methods in various maritime industries. + Oceanbird Images via Oceanbird

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Wind-powered cargo vessel promises sustainable ocean shipping

Greenhouse-inspired home harvests rainwater for backyard garden

October 28, 2020 by  
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In the idyllic town of San Miniato in the region of Tuscany, Italy, local architecture firm  LDA.iMdA architetti associati  has completed a multifunctional home that takes inspiration from the structural technology in greenhouses. The client’s dream of growing a vegetable garden served as a major design influence for the contemporary dwelling, which features a gabled shape optimized for harvesting rainwater that can be reused for irrigating the expansive rear garden. The project, dubbed La casa nell’orto (or House in the Orchard), also incorporates eco-friendly materials such as prefabricated wood self-supporting panels and is elevated off the ground to  reduce the impact on the landscape .  Set on a long and skinny east-west plot, the House in the Orchard follows the shape of the site with its rectilinear volume that spans an area of 84 square meters. The main entrance, located on the west side of the plot, includes a short flight of steps leading up to the front door. The minimalist gabled shape, based on a child’s basic drawing of a house, was created with a lightweight frame — inspired by technology typically used for  greenhouses  — overlaid with an ecological polyolefin sheet selected for high solar reflectance. Like a greenhouse, the  gabled  volume emphasizes an indoor/outdoor connection and was constructed with large expanses of glazing. The operable glazing also promotes natural ventilation. The architects took a house-within-a-house design approach to the interior layout by inserting a smaller gabled structure that comprises the main living functions, including an  open-plan  living area, dining area and kitchen, as well as a bedroom, bathroom and storage space. An even smaller gabled volume set behind the main living structure serves as an indoor greenhouse.  Related: Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse “This project is part of the research we are investigating for: how the figurative synthesis of an architecture is often recurrent in the architect’s work, and how it can be an important element of investigation in finding answers or models for a contemporary fluid and dynamic society,” the architects explained in a press statement. The House in the Orchard was also designed with the intent of hosting events such as the StudiAperti 2019. + LDA.iMdA architetti associati Photography by MEDULLA studio

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Greenhouse-inspired home harvests rainwater for backyard garden

Coca-Cola rewards recycling in the UK with half-priced theme park tickets

July 26, 2018 by  
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Many theme-park visitors in the U.S. are familiar with using bottles or cans of soda they’ve purchased to score a discounted entry to their favorite attractions. Now, the U.K. is joining in with “reverse vending machines” to reward visitors instantly for recycling . Merlin , owner and operator of several U.K. resort theme parks, has teamed up with Coca-Cola to boost recycling and combat litter pollution in the U.K. As part of Coca-Cola’s rewards program, visitors may now deposit their finished 500 ml beverage containers into “reverse vending machines” and obtain 50 percent off vouchers in exchange for their environmental contribution. “We want to reward people for doing the right thing by recycling their bottles and hope to encourage some people who wouldn’t otherwise have done so,” Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola U.K. and Ireland,  told The Guardian . The machines are installed at four Merlin-operated attractions: Chessington World of Adventures, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and  LEGOLAND . But those who are rewarded with discounts can use their prizes at any of the 30 attractions operated by Merlin in the country. The promotion is planned to continue until mid-October, when most of the parks will shut down for the winter season. Related: This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste Of the 13 billion plastic bottles sold yearly in the U.K., only 7.5 billion are recycled, according to a report by the Guardian . This initiative is hoping to shift these statistics more favorably while also eliminating the 700,000 bottles that are littered daily. “All of our bottles can be recycled, and we want to get as many of them back as possible, so they can be turned into new bottles and not end up as litter,” Woods said. According to research by Coca-Cola, 64 percent of people in the U.K. would be more inclined to recycle more if they were instantly compensated for their actions. The move to encourage recycling at theme-parks comes after Co-op , the first retailer in the U.K. to launch deposit return trials with the reverse vending machines, reported positive feedback from its partnership with popular summer music festivals. This recycling movement will help tackle the stresses government officials face in light of growing land and marine pollution. + Coca-Cola Via  The Guardian and  BusinessGreen Image via Shutterstock

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Coca-Cola rewards recycling in the UK with half-priced theme park tickets

Thoughts on Lollapalooza: Concerts Getting Cleaner?

August 9, 2010 by  
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Photos by Jeff Kart So I spent the weekend at Lollapalooza, along with another 200,000 or so people, rocking out to headliners like Green Day, The Strokes and Lady Gaga. And I noticed something. For the most part, people were doing the right thing: Recycling their beer cans, using refillable water bottles, putting trash in its place

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Thoughts on Lollapalooza: Concerts Getting Cleaner?

DIY Balloons Glow to Show Air Quality

August 9, 2010 by  
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Image via Instructables The idea of showing air quality by emitting glowing colors is fairly old. In fact, in 2007, Pairs launched hot air balloons above the city that would show citizens the level of cleanliness of the air they were breathing in. Even air filters have started to sport glowing colors to indicate the level of pollutants in the air

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DIY Balloons Glow to Show Air Quality

New Yorkers! Drop Off Your Old Electronics Free on Saturday at Tekserve in NYC

January 13, 2010 by  
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Photo via Tekserve Tekserve is hosting a free e-waste drop off on Saturday, January 16th in New York City. The last event saw 23 tons of old electronics collected and kept out of landfill. Services like this are more important than ever now that NYC’s “Build It Green” recycling drop-off program was suspended and the city’s law to have manufacturers foot the bill for door-to-door collection has sparked up a lawsuit from the Consumer Electronics Association

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New Yorkers! Drop Off Your Old Electronics Free on Saturday at Tekserve in NYC

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