Every home in this UK neighborhood is its own power plant

August 29, 2017 by  
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An experimental neighborhood in the U.K. is on a mission to show that smart design can make a big difference when it comes to energy efficiency . 16 homes in Neath, Wales will be outfitted with cutting-edge technology that enables them to generate and store enough clean energy for 100% of their electricity needs. The entire neighborhood will be connected to serve as one autonomous unit of clean energy production. The “buildings as power stations” program is a collaboration between Specific , a U.K. energy innovation center based at Swansea University in Wales and the Pobl Group , which provides social housing. The project will test the feasibility of replacing local power plants with autonomous energy-producing neighborhoods . Related: Amazing solar house generates enough energy to share with its neighbors The innovative project will scale existing clean energy technologies to create a large, cost-effective energy-producing community. The new development will have 16 homes, including two- and three-bedroom houses as well as one-bedroom apartments. The layout will maximize the amount of solar power that can be generated by solar roofs and collectors, which will be shared between the homes. Shared battery storage will hold excess electricity to be distributed in the homes or used for charging electric cars. Various technologies will make the homes ultra-efficient . For example, each building will be wrapped in a perforated steel skin that generates a pocket of hot air when heated by the sun. This air will be distributed through the homes for heat. Elfed Roberts, head of projects at Pobl Group, hailed the pilot as an affordable option for providing energy efficient housing to meet urban housing demands, “The project would enable us for the first time to demonstrate the benefits that the latest technologies can bring to affordable housing developments, and to drastically reduce fuel poverty and carbon emissions. We are aiming to achieve homes that feel homely and pleasant to live in, but that also generate most of their energy needs from the roof and wall coverings, thus dramatically reducing the bills for our tenants.” If the pilot program is successful, the next step is to build another 1,200 energy-positive houses in the Swansea Bay City Deal area. + Specific + Pobl Group Via Fast Company

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Every home in this UK neighborhood is its own power plant

Harvey forces National Weather Service to add new color to its rainfall map

August 29, 2017 by  
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By now everyone knows that Texas is still suffering from the aftermath of the potent Category 4 Hurricane Harvey that swept into the region over the weekend. After the natural disaster dumped more than 30 inches on the state and unleashed winds as strong as 130 mph, causing widespread destruction, weather forecasters at the National Weather Service (NWS) had no choice but to add another color to their rainfall map. Lavender now represents “unfathomable” amounts of rain. In some Texan cities, rainfall is predicted to exceed 50 inches. This is the heaviest rainfall to result from a landfalling tropical storm or hurricane on record in U.S. history, reports Mashable . The NWS warns that catastrophic flooding is likely to continue and recommends that residents of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana stay off the roads. #Harvey in perspective. So much rain has fallen, we've had to update the color charts on our graphics in order to effectively map it. pic.twitter.com/Su7x2K1uuz — NWS (@NWS) August 28, 2017 Experts claim that it is more than likely climate change exacerbated Hurricane Harvey. The Guardian reports that rising sea levels attributable to global warming likely caused the storm to surge half a foot higher than it would have been just a few decades ago. Warming ocean waters also play a role in the uptick of such fierce storms. Sea surface temperatures in the region have risen about 0.5 degrees Celsius (close to 1 degrees F) over the past decade; according to the Clausius-Clapeyron equation , there is a roughly 3 percent increase in average atmospheric moisture content for each 0.5 degrees C of warming. As a result of sea surface temperatures being warmer in the location where Harvey intensified, there was 3-5 percent more moisture in the atmosphere. This, too, intensified the storm. Related: Trump’s USDA staff told to use ‘weather extremes’ instead of ‘climate change’ Though scientists have warned that unsustainable habits would propel climate change and result in worsening  natural disasters , few have heeded the advice and implemented change. It isn’t too late for humanity to invest in renewable technologies and reduce the collective carbon footprint but there isn’t much time before a “tipping point” is reached. Learn more here . Via Mashable , The Guardian Images via Pixabay , National Weather Services

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Harvey forces National Weather Service to add new color to its rainfall map

Drone video offers sneak peek at BIGs LEGO House, set to open next month

August 29, 2017 by  
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After four years, the long-awaited LEGO House is set to open next month—and we can’t wait! Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group , this larger-than-life LEGO building is a treat for the eyes with its 21 interlocking LEGO-like parts and stunning keystone on top. Set to open to the public on September 28, the 130,000-square-foot building will offer free and paid “experiences” all centered around play and exploration in Billund, Denmark. LEGO’s drone video shot earlier this summer shows off the building near completion. The company recently carried out a “test visit” where LEGO employees and their families were invited to try out the building for the first time. Nicknamed ‘Home of the Brick,’ the museum is dedicate to LEGO-themed experiences in all aspects of the building including its many interactive exhibitions, three restaurants, conference space, store, and 22,000-square-foot public square . One of the biggest highlights is a 50-foot-tall, 20-ton “Tree of Creativity” made of over 6.3 million LEGO bricks. Related: BIG’s LEGO House tops out with opening date in September The Home of the Brick is expected to accommodate 250,000 visitors annually. To keep the center open to the community , the interior LEGO Square will be publicly accessible and select activities will be free to the public. Visitors with tickets can explore the four color-coded Experience Zones, each with larger-than-life interactive exhibits that embody the brand’s “Learning Through Play” philosophy. Advance tickets can be purchased on the LEGO House website . + LEGO House + BIG Via ArchDaily

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Drone video offers sneak peek at BIGs LEGO House, set to open next month

EDF Climate Corps still growing strong after 10 years

June 6, 2017 by  
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The Environmental Defense Fund has placed more than 800 fellows on corporate energy projects since its inception.

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EDF Climate Corps still growing strong after 10 years

9 fun things you can do during Earth Hour!

March 25, 2017 by  
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Today at 8:30 pm , WWF’s Earth Hour will begin. Started in 2007 , Earth Hour is a symbolic act to get us thinking about our planet and our impact on it. But more than that, it’s also part of a simple idea to start an environmental resolution — this is not only about one hour in the dark, it’s about creating a brighter future. Even though you’re switching off your lights and electronic appliances for the environment, you don’t have to sit twiddling your thumbs in the dark. There is still a lot you can do without using a watt of electricity. Earth Hour can be as fun as it is good for the planet, and if you’re looking for some entertaining ways to spend it you’re in luck because we’ve rounded up 9 fun activities that are sure to deliver a good time completely off-grid! Candlelight dinner via Shutterstock Have a candle-lit dinner using menus from celebrity chefs Celebrate the hour with your partner, friends or family and have a candlelit dinner with your own tasty dishes based on WWF’s Livewell principles, which has been created for healthy people and a planet with a brilliant future. Get inspired by celebrity chefs who support the Livewell principles . Board Game Pieces and Dices via Shutterstock Invite friends around for a quiz and board games by candlelight WWF’s Earth Hour is all about people coming together to celebrate our world. If you’ve decided to invite friends over, the Earth Hour team has created a fantastic Quiz to download to make the most of the night while the lights remain off. The night sky via Shutterstock Take a wildlife walk or go star-gazing Get closer to nature while doing something for your health and well-being by taking a night walk or going star-gazing. And if you don’t have a telescope, don’t worry. Just darkness, a blanket and hot drinks will be enough for a perfect star-gazing hour. San Antonio Texas River Walk at night via Shutterstock Go for a nightime city walk If you are a “city animal”, why not take a walk around town and see what has switched off in your city? In past years, many landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, the Tour Eiffel and Big Ben switched off their lights in honor of Earth Hour. This year is sure to find more participants, so be sure to check out what else is happening. Silhouette of biker at sunset via Shutterstock Go for a nighttime bike ride Cycling is not a trend, it’s part of a sustainable lifestyle. Everyday more people decide to leave their car at home and start cycling. And once you’ve started cycling, you can’t stop. So why not go for a ride during the hour? Yoga exercise via Shutterstock Try candle-lit yoga or exercise “Mens sana in corpore sano,” says the famous Latin quotation. WWF’s Earth Hour is a moment for appreciating the brilliant world we all share, and how we need to protect it. Use this time to pursue a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle. Playing the Guitar via Shutterstock Have an unplugged jam session at home Invite your friends over and unplug while you enjoy some in-house music. Children reading via Shutterstock Read a bed time story Light a candle to create a cozy atmosphere, and transform your favorite bedtime story into a fantastic journey of the imagination. Make a green energy resolution WWF has lots of resources to help you be green every day. Check out their resources for making a lifestyle change  and then plan with your family and friends how you will change things up even when it isn’t Earth Hour. + WWF EARTH HOUR 

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Tech entrepreneur renovates UK castle into a giant happy office space

January 20, 2017 by  
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When entrepreneur Chris Morling decided to renovate a historic castle into his company’s UK headquarters, he looked for a designer who would think out of the box, and well … that’s exactly what he got. Morling hired famed designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen who teamed up with Interaction to take on the massive task of transforming the “ugly, unfriendly and un-creative” interior into a dizzyingly vibrant office space with plenty of sustainable features for money.co.uk . https://youtu.be/KiSFafxBGpk Located in Cirencester, UK, the 10,000-square-foot Victorian Castle is now filled with a dizzying hodgepodge of colorful paints and quirky design features , from Rolling Stone-inspired toilets and suits of armour to a Star Wars-themed cinema and even an ice cave meeting room. Although certainly flashy, the office space is really geared to the comfort of the employees. There are plenty of distinct areas for team meetings or quiet nooks like the library for a little bit of solitude. Nature lovers can enjoy the large vertical garden wall in the reception area, which is equipped with automatic water release system. Related: Medieval Italian Castle Transformed into Modern Mountain Museum Mr. Morling told the Daily Mail that the inspiration behind the renovation was to make his employees happy, “It is about making this a wonderful place, a productive place to work,” he said. “What we have done is modeled all the design around the needs of the team. Some people want to stand while they work, some people to work alone. Ultimately it boils down to creating a space where you feel comfortable.” Thankfully though, this design isn’t purely in-your-face aesthetics. The castle was installed with a super-efficient high specification energy recovery system that provides fresh air ventilation into every single room in the castle, cutting down on the office’s energy needs. For further energy conservation , each room is equipped with passive infrared sensors that light up when people are in the room and turn off when they aren’t. + Money.co.uk + Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen + Interaction Via The Daily Mail Images courtesy of Interaction

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Tech entrepreneur renovates UK castle into a giant happy office space

World’s first robot-run farm to churn out 11 million heads of lettuce per year

February 2, 2016 by  
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A Japanese company is preparing to open the world’s first robot-controlled farm. Designed to produce 11 million heads of lettuce each year, the new farm is expecting to ship its first head of lettuce in Fall, 2017. Relying on lessons learned from their first farm in Kameoka, SPREAD says their new business model will cut labor costs by 50 percent. The company claims sustainability is at the heart of what they do, and that the new 47,300 square feet Vegetable Factory in Kansai Science City will also reduce construction costs by 25 percent and energy demand by 30 percent. Read the rest of World’s first robot-run farm to churn out 11 million heads of lettuce per year

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World’s first robot-run farm to churn out 11 million heads of lettuce per year

Christina Page of Yahoo! on Internet firms’ move to renewables

January 28, 2016 by  
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Tech companies like Yahoo! and its competitors are in a great position to push the envelope on moving corporate America to renewable energy.After all, notes Christina Page, global director of energy and sustainability strategy for Yahoo!, such companies are accustomed to moving very fast and defying the laws of physics in what can be done in a given amount of time.”The whole idea of exponential change happening with Internet companies,” makes them a natural a fit for driving exponential change on addressing climate change.

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15 trends conservationists should pay attention to — but aren’t

January 21, 2016 by  
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If artificial glaciers, islands and intelligence aren’t on your radar, maybe they should be.

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15 trends conservationists should pay attention to — but aren’t

3 new ways batteries can keep you going and going and going

September 21, 2015 by  
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Get ready for energy storage capabilities to disrupt the electricity grid.

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3 new ways batteries can keep you going and going and going

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