Spain launches plan for 100% renewable electricity by 2050

November 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Spain launches plan for 100% renewable electricity by 2050

Spain’s social democratic government has launched an ambitious plan to change the country’s electricity system by 2050. In an effort to completely decarbonize its economy, Spain will be transferring its entire electricity system to renewable sources over the next 30 years with a goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent compared to 1990 levels. This plan is part of Spain’s draft climate change and energy transition law, and the government is committing to installing a minimum of 3,000 megawatts of wind and solar power capacity each year for the next 10 years. The European nation is banning new licenses for fossil fuel drills, hydrocarbon exploitation and fracking wells. It is also committing one-fifth of the state budget to measures that will curb climate change. Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UN’s framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), said the draft law is “an excellent example of the Paris agreement . It sets a long-term goal, provides incentives on scaling up emissions technologies and cares about a good transition for the workforce.” According to The Guardian , there will be “just transition” contracts drawn up that will shut down most Spanish coal mines in return for early retirement packages, training for clean energy jobs and environmental restoration. The government will partly finance these deals via auction returns from the sale of emissions rights. The Spanish government has also scrapped a controversial “sun tax” that stopped the country’s booming renewable energy sector. The new law will also mandate a 35 percent electricity share for green energy by 2030. SolarPower Europe chief executive James Watson said that this law should be “a wake-up call to the rest of the world.” Within 11 years, energy efficiency will improve by 35 percent, and government and public sector authorities will be leasing buildings that nearly reach zero-energy. Spain has its sights on going carbon neutral, and it is leading the charge in the battle against climate change . Via The Guardian Image via Ian Mackenzie

The rest is here:
Spain launches plan for 100% renewable electricity by 2050

Save money and energy this winter with these 7 sustainable home heating systems

November 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Save money and energy this winter with these 7 sustainable home heating systems

When winter comes, utility expenses can destroy your budget, and most traditional heating methods are also bad for the environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of sustainable types of home heating systems that can also save you money in the long run. From solar power to hydronic systems, here are seven different types of sustainable heating available for your home. Geothermal Systems Geothermal heating is both eco-friendly and efficient. These systems work by using temperatures deep underground to heat your home. Temperatures are much warmer in the earth than outside, which means less energy is used to heat the air. Not only does this result in an efficient heating system, but it also lowers the monthly utility bill. The one downside to geothermal heating , however, is upfront cost. This type of heating is expensive to install, but it does pay for itself the long run. On average, it takes around eight years to pay it off. In addition to helping lower energy costs, geothermal systems also increase the value of your home, which is another consideration when calculating the investment. Solar Power Solar power is easily one of the best ways to power a home. Although the initial investment can be significant, you are basically getting free energy for the rest of the home’s life. The same is true with solar heating, which generally comes in two formats: hydronic collectors and air systems. Hydronic collectors heat liquid to warm up the house, while air systems work more like traditional HVAC systems. If you have forced air already installed, then a solar air heater is the best option. The opposite is true if your house features a radiant heater. Choosing a solar heating system that fits into your home’s current HVAC system can save you a lot of money in upfront costs. Pellet Heating Pellet stoves are set up similarly to their wood counterparts, only they burn pellets instead of wood. The pellets are created from a mixture of waste products and switch grass, both of which are friendly to the environment . These pellets are also affordable to purchase, especially when compared to wood. A typical budget for pellets is around $600 a year. You also do not have to worry about stacking, chopping or storing wood, as the pellets can be placed in a basement or garage with no issues. Apart from saving money on the fuel source, pellet stoves are easy to install and budget-friendly. The average cost to install a pellet stove system is around $2,500, depending on the size of the home and how the HVAC system is laid out. For houses that are larger than 1,500 square feet, two pellet stoves will likely be necessary for adequate heating. This might appear like a significant investment, but the money you save on pellets will pay for the additional units over time. Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home Wood Burners Wood burners are one of the most popular methods of sustainable heating. While wood burners have received a bad reputation over the years, new models are more efficient and more eco-friendly than their predecessors. Even better, new wood burners are powerful enough to heat entire homes. You can even find some wood burners that can handle sawdust pellets, which are not too different from what pellet stoves burn. The one downside to wood burners is that you have to install an extensive system to properly ventilate the burner. This includes installing pipes and a chimney that vents to the outside. When the cold months come, of course, you also have to determine how you are going to chop and store your wood. It is usually recommended to keep the wood away from the house as pests are attracted to wood piles, which means you will have to go outside whenever you need more fuel. Masonry Heating Masonry heaters exist somewhere between wood burners and pellet stoves. These heaters work by trapping heat in a chamber of bricks and then distributing warm air over the next 24 hours. Masonry heaters burn wood but generate less pollution than traditional wood burners, because they do not burn as fast. This also makes them more efficient, as they are better at trapping heat, and you do not have to purchase as much wood each year. Like wood burners, masonry heating systems require a bit of an investment to get up and running. A typical setup can be as low as $2,000 or as high as $5,000, depending on the size of the home and the layout. Hydronic Heat Systems Hydronic heating works by running hot water in pipes under the floor, through base boards or via radiators that are distributed throughout the home. These systems usually feature a boiler that heats up the water — using geothermal or solar power — and a pump that sends the hot water throughout the house. At some point, the water runs through a heat exchanger, which transfers the energy into a usable form. With hydronic heating systems, there are three ways in which the heat is converted: radiation, conduction and convection. Each system has its pros and cons, and picking the right one depends on your home’s layout. Wind Power Wind power has been around for a long time, but many people do not know that you can also use wind to create heat — and you do not need a massive windmill to get the job done. These systems work in conjunction with a water heater, with the wind providing energy to run the heater. The catch with wind power is that you need to live in an area that gets a good amount of air flow to turn the turbine. You also have to set up your house like a hydronic system to pump the hot water through, which might add extra costs if your home features a traditional forced-air system. No matter how you choose to sustainably heat your home, be sure to consult with professionals when making your decision. This winter, you’ll be able to get warm and cozy knowing you are doing your part for the environment. Via Do It Yourself and Freshome Images via Mark Johnson , Vela Creations and Shutterstock

Continued here:
Save money and energy this winter with these 7 sustainable home heating systems

KOGAA creates an energy self-sufficient City Cell in response to climate change

November 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on KOGAA creates an energy self-sufficient City Cell in response to climate change

Galvanized by the growing debate on climate change , Brno-based KOGAA Architectural Studio and NEXT Institute Research Platform have teamed up to create the City Cell Prototype (CCP), a pop-up installation that serves as a testing ground for ways cities can combat climate extremes. Completed this year, the temporary pavilion of nearly 300 square feet is presently located at Malinovsky Square in Brno, Czech Republic’s second-largest city. Built of timber and powered by solar energy, the City Cell Prototype is a multifunctional design that includes rainwater reuse, urban greenery, human shelter and educational opportunities. The City Cell Prototype is primarily constructed from pre-dried KVH timber, a material that has the added benefit of not requiring any additional protective coatings. Elevated off the ground on footings, the wooden structure is centered on a tree set inside a “biofilter.” To make the pavilion look inviting to the public, KOGAA inserted low-slung seating and made the all-timber envelope as transparent as possible using slatted wood screens and two entrances. In addition to the tree, planters have been installed on both ends of the structure, with one wall comprising rows of street-facing planters. Despite the pavilion’s minimalist appearance, the structure features multiple systems that work together to ensure energy self-sufficiency. The sloped roofs, which are made from a translucent material to let light through, are angled to channel rainwater into the centrally located biofilter, where the runoff is then filtered through settling and phyto-processes. Once filtered, the rainwater is stored in tanks and then pumped up to a drip irrigation system connected to the pavilion’s planters. The water pump is powered by solar energy harvested from photovoltaic panels mounted to the roof; solar power also provides electricity for the LED lighting system. Related: An experimental greenhouse pops up at a busy Copenhagen intersection “Together with the vertical greenery, the biofilter allows water retention and evaporation, allowing the surrounding microclimate to cool down,” the architects explained. “Its shape develops from the need to provide shading, collect water and the intent to create a spatial communication between the new object and the existing square, also achieved through the two-sided openness.” After the testing period, the CCP could be included in more permanent projects. + KOGAA Architectural Studio Images via Boys Play Nice

More: 
KOGAA creates an energy self-sufficient City Cell in response to climate change

4 things you need to know about smart thermostats

November 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on 4 things you need to know about smart thermostats

Stuart Lombard has a mission: to reduce people’s carbon footprints while saving money. He found that heating and cooling made up the bulk of utility costs and searched to find a better way to monitor a home’s energy usage. He founded ecobee in 2007. The company developed a smart thermostat that allegedly saves people up to 23 percent a year on their heating and cooling bills. Some energy companies also offer rebates on smart thermostats, saving homeowners even more money. ecobee offers a few different products; the ecobee4, a smart Wi-Fi thermostat with room sensors, currently retails for $249. But even better than saving money, smart thermostats can help you do your part in reducing energy consumption and protecting the environment. Here are four things to know about smart thermostats. Reduces your carbon footprint Riding a bike to work instead of driving a car and installing solar panels are all positive steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint, but there are easier things you can do as well that will have little impact on your day-to-day life. Things like closing your curtains at night can have a positive impact on your heating and cooling bills and the environment. Lombard said, “There are some other great things like looking at your home and eliminating drafts, doing weather stripping, caulking, those are easy DIY projects for a lot of people.” Heating and cooling make up 40 to 70 percent of a home’s energy use, according to ecobee. In addition to making small changes yourself, a smart thermostat can greatly reduce this. Saves money Smart thermostats like the ecobee save you money in the long run. Lombard added, “The exciting thing about thermostats is from a consumer value proposition … it pays for itself in about a year.” Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home Works with other technology A major trend right now is connecting all devices in your home. ecobee smart thermostats offer remote access from devices like your phone through an app. The ecobee4 works with Alexa — you can simply give Alexa a command to control your thermostat. Earlier models, like the ecobee3 lite, were Wi-Fi connected but did not have voice technology . Makes decisions for you The word “smart” is often thrown around to describe technological advancements. Generally speaking, smart technology is connected to the internet, which allows you to connect to a different device from your phone. The technology can use algorithms and other data to make decisions. Lombard said, “Our smart thermostats use weather to make smarter heater and cooling decisions.” The ecobee uses wireless room sensors to measure hot and cold spots in houses. It can also sense if someone is home or not and heat or cool the house accordingly. Because smart technology is connected to the internet, you can get frequent software updates, meaning devices work for longer periods of time. Whether you are looking to save some money each month on your utility bills or you want to do your part in saving the planet, investing in a smart thermostat is a good bet. + ecobee

View original post here: 
4 things you need to know about smart thermostats

Meat consumption must drop by 90% to avert a climate crisis

October 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Meat consumption must drop by 90% to avert a climate crisis

While the meat industry’s negative impacts on the environment have proved troublesome for some time, an assembly of scientists from various European research institutes have released a thorough analysis of the Earth’s food system that shows if farming practices and food trends continue unchecked, the planet’s capabilities of feeding the global population will be decimated within the coming decades, and global warming will not be able to stay under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Greenhouse gas emissions, land and water consumption, deforestation , biodiversity loss and aquatic dead zones are the central burdens of agriculture evaluated by experts. However, this year’s research study determined a new problem — food supply — to be the most concerning of all. With a booming population that is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, the environmental damages are enough that widespread food insecurity is knocking on our door. Related: Look out, meat industry – flexitarianism is on the rise “It is pretty shocking,” said Marco Springmann, lead researcher from the University of Oxford. “We are really risking the sustainability of the whole system.” The team examined precise data from every country to assemble the most comprehensive assessment of food production and global environment to date. Their diagnosis? Surviving within environmental limits requires a drastic reduction in meat consumption. “Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,” explained Professor Johan Rockström from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today.” While the problem requires multi-dimensional confrontation from technological , governmental and social standpoints, the experts are encouraging dietary changes on an individual level. The study recommends an astounding 90 percent reduction in meat consumption and a 60 percent cut in milk consumption for people in countries such as the U.S. and U.K., as well as the adoption of more sustainable farming practices, in order to keep temperature rise under control. “There is no magic bullet, but dietary and technological [farming] change are the two essential things, and hopefully they can be complemented by reduction in food loss and waste,” Springmann said. Calling it the “flexitarian” diet, the researchers recommended a surge in bean , pulse, nut and seed consumption to replace the standard meat intake. Taking the average world citizen, the diet stresses a 75 percent cut in beef, a 90 percent cut in pork and a 50 percent cut in egg consumption to halve livestock emissions and help the planet return to sustainable levels. “Ultimately, we live on a finite planet, with finite resources,” said University of Leeds professor Tim Benton on the study, in which he did not take part. “It is a fiction to imagine there is a technological solution allowing us to produce as much food as we might ever want, allowing us to overeat and throw food away.” + Nature Via The Guardian Images via Andrik Langfield and Deryn Macey

View post:
Meat consumption must drop by 90% to avert a climate crisis

This tiny shipping container home adapts to your needs

October 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on This tiny shipping container home adapts to your needs

The tiny-living movement is thriving for a variety of reasons. An emphasis on minimalism, financial benefits and location freedom top the list. Many people who consider investing in a tiny home worry about size constraints, but the Calico tiny home by Katz Box offers a solution to that concern by offering a shipping container structure that adapts to its residents’ needs. Sustainability drives the Ohio-based Katz Box company with the goal of lowering the environmental impact of housing through reclaimed and recycled shipping containers. On the manufacturing end, the team is also committed to focusing on processing that minimizes waste. Related: Old shipping container repurposed as a 40-foot-tall parking booth In addition to creating an eco-friendly option through upcycling , the Calico design highlights a modular blueprint, meaning that each section of the interior is customizable to suit a variety of functions. An option for commercial or individual needs, the Calico provides a universal model to suit an endless array of demands, yet is completely tailored for a personal touch. The adaptable components don’t stop with the interior modular variations. In fact, this home can grow or shrink with the needs of the family. When more space is required, an additional shipping container or two can be added, making for a thoughtful and completely scalable design. Similarly, when the kids move out and it’s time to minimize, the added shipping containers can be removed. Mobility is another feature of the Calico, which can be relocated with ease. Appealing for the individual who moves often, it’s also an option for retail locations or temporary housing and offices, such as those on construction sites. Katz Box, the passion project company born from the sustainable mindset of owner Tobias Katz, is a relatively new option in the tiny-living movement. Founded in 2017, the objectives of Katz Box are many, including the goals of universal design elements and an accessible price point. Katz Box also aims to employ ultra-efficient building practices such as renewable energy and water conservation. + Katz Box Images via Tobias Katz

More:
This tiny shipping container home adapts to your needs

Dunkin’ Donuts unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds

October 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Dunkin’ Donuts unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds

Now this is one sweet tiny home! Dunkin’ Donuts has long claimed that ¨America Runs on Dunkin’,” but now, the company has created a gorgeous tiny home that is truly fueled with coffee. Recently unveiled at NYC’s Madison Square Park, the 275-square-foot “ Home That Runs on Dunkin’ ” is powered entirely by an eco-friendly biofuel created out of recycled coffee grounds. The tiny home project was a collaboration between Dunkin’ Donuts and builder  New Frontier Tiny Home . The custom-made home was built on a trailer with wheels for easy transport. The design was inspired by the doughnut company’s dark, rich coffee and bright orange and pink logo. Related: This beautiful tiny home doubles as a tasty doughnut shop The house is clad in dark, black-stained cedar, inspired by the color of a cup of coffee. On the corners of the home, weathered steel panels add an industrial touch. Although compact, the interior of the tiny home is warm and cozy — just like a cup of Joe. There is a master bedroom with a king-sized bed, a spa-like bathroom, a chef’s kitchen with high-end appliances and an elevated dining area with an extra-large window that brings in natural light. From the living room, a garage door wall opens up to an open-air cedar porch. The interior design, spearheaded by actress Olivia Wilde, is fresh and modern. Reclaimed wood siding and shiplap add a warm touch to the living space. The home’s furnishings, many of which were also made out of reclaimed materials, are multifunctional to add space. Throughout the house, the company’s iconic pink and orange logo colors can be found. Of course, the most spectacular aspect to the beautiful tiny home is its clean energy , which is produced out of recycled coffee grounds. Developed by Blue Marble Biomaterials , a sustainable biochemical company, the home runs on biofuel converted out of approximately 65,000 pounds of used coffee grounds. To create the biofuel, excess oils in the coffee grounds are extracted and then mixed with alcohol to undergo a chemical reaction known as transesterification. This process produces a biodiesel that burns efficiently. Once the biodiesel is washed and refined, it is ready to be used as fuel through the use of a standard biofuel generator. According to the project description, 170 pounds of recycled coffee grounds produce about one gallon of fuel. The Dunkin’ Donuts tiny home is an excellent example of how to reuse waste , and it also shows the importance of creating a sustainable energy system for homes of the future. Your morning cup of coffee now powers you and your home! + Dunkin’ at Home Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Cindy Ord / Getty Images for Dunkin’ Donuts

Read more here:
Dunkin’ Donuts unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds

Sculptural Haus B uses passive solar principles to surpass Germanys energy standards

October 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Sculptural Haus B uses passive solar principles to surpass Germanys energy standards

Completed over the span of four years, Haus B is a passive solar home that is a contemporary departure from the housing norm of the 1960s suburban neighborhood in which it resides. Located in Dreieich, Germany, the 320-square-meter house was designed by Düsseldorf-based design studio One Fine Day (Office for Architectural Design) in collaboration with Ulrike Thies, who acted as the construction supervisor. Most impressively, the single-family residence was designed and built to surpass the requirements of the latest German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) with its strict adherence to passive solar principles along with highly energy-efficient materials and renewable energy systems. Since the property is surrounded by a mix of traditional, small-scale housing types and a “somewhat reckless” style of architecture that has emerged since the 1990s, the architects wanted to be careful to create a sensitive, site-specific design. “Haus B finds itself in an apparently homogeneous, yet, at least architecturally, also quite ambiguous neighborhood,” the design firm noted. “Here it has to balance the needs of contemporary living and aesthetics with the cultural and formal implications of a grown context that is typical for many suburban settlements throughout the region.” To that end, the architects let the site inform the design of the home’s elongated volume, from its low-slung form that complements the low heights of the neighboring houses to its muted exterior color palette of off-whites and dark grays. But the firm was unafraid to introduce more modern and sculptural elements to the home, which can be seen in the slightly deformed roofline and the interior, which features an open-plan layout with curved walls and double height spaces. Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne Following passive solar principles, Haus B has been oriented toward the south and southwest to maximize solar exposure during wintertime, while roof overhangs and adjustable canvas blinds block unwanted solar gain during summer. All the exterior wall and roof surfaces feature up to 20-centimeter-thick insulation layers and windows are double-glazed. Heating and hot water are powered by a solar-powered heat pump. + One Fine Day Images via Roland Borgmann

Original post:
Sculptural Haus B uses passive solar principles to surpass Germanys energy standards

A tiny, rustic, off-grid cabin sits on vast 300 acres in Australia

October 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Comments Off on A tiny, rustic, off-grid cabin sits on vast 300 acres in Australia

When clients tasked Melbourne-based firm MRTN Architects with designing a new home for their whopping 300 acres of natural landscape, the architects could have created a massive structure. Instead, the design team, inspired by the local vernacular, chose to implement a modern take on a simple shed. The 500-square-foot Nulla Vale House and adjacent shed, both of which are 100 percent off-grid , were designed to foster a strong harmony with nature. Located in Victoria, Australia, the home is set on an idyllic and rather remote area of untouched landscape. When the architects were contacted by the clients, the main request was that they design a structure that could be incorporated into another “more permanent home” that may be built on the same site in the future. Other than that, the clients also requested something that would stand out among the landscape from a distance. While exploring the area, the architects saw a lot of old sheds tucked into the rolling hills and decided to use these traditional forms as inspiration for the new home. “Nostalgia for this connection between land and building was the guiding principle for the Nulla Vale House and Shed,” the team explained. Related: Off-grid rainforest cabin built from scratch has minimal site impact The home and the adjacent shed are 100 percent off the grid and installed with water, sewer and electrical systems that not only support the existing buildings, but are capable of supporting any future buildings as well. The shed, which is covered with solar panels , is used for storage and houses the main PV battery. In addition to its energy efficiency, various recycled or repurposed materials such as salvaged brick were used in the home’s construction. Radial sawn timber was used to frame the home, which was then topped with a roof made from galvanized sheeting. The roof’s deep eaves shield the interior from the hot summer sun and optimize solar gains in the winter as part of a passive, energy-efficient strategy. The rustic aesthetic of the exterior continues throughout the interior living space. The salvaged brick walls were left unfinished, and wooden beams run the length of the vaulted ceiling. Even the insulation in the ceiling was left intentionally exposed in order to reflect the light from the concealed LED fixtures , which were installed in the beams. The main living room and small kitchen sit at the heart of the home. Farther back, there is a simple bedroom and bathroom. Throughout the space, there are various windows that flood the home with natural light. + MRTN Architects Via Dwell Photography by Peter Bennetts via MRTN Architects

Read more: 
A tiny, rustic, off-grid cabin sits on vast 300 acres in Australia

This sustainable home in Chile is designed as an ‘unplugged’ retreat for a family of six

October 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on This sustainable home in Chile is designed as an ‘unplugged’ retreat for a family of six

From luxury retreats to minimalist cabins, more and more people are looking for places where they can truly go off the grid. For one family of six, a remote area almost 200 miles from Santiago, Chile was chosen as the perfect place for them to disconnect. Working with architect Mauricio LLaumett of Nüform Studio , the family’s self-sufficient new home is completely “unplugged” thanks to solar energy, passive features and an independent water system connected to a nearby river. Located on an isolated landscape of Huentelauquén, the timber and glass home sits on a rocky field covered in cacti that extends to the ocean. When the family approached Llaumett about their desire to create a vacation home on the challenging topography, they requested a design that would respect the natural landscape. The next request was that the home be 100 percent off-grid, generating its own energy in order to be a self-sufficient structure that the family could use for generations to come. “The most important thing is that the house is totally ‘unplugged,’” LLaumett explained. Related: Minimalist cabin in the Chilean mountains lets climbers escape the daily grind The home’s electricity is generated by rooftop solar panels , while an innovative system collects water from a nearby river. The water is stored in two elevated containers that work with gravity to release water on demand. Additionally, a water waste system was built into the design so that excess water from the shower and the kitchen can be used to irrigate the interior garden. The home was built on a slanted concrete foundation with a shape that mimics the natural slope of the landscape. Dark pine siding  on the exterior blends the home into its surroundings. A wall of sliding glass doors opens up to a large, stepped wooden deck where the family enjoys panoramic views of the sea in the distance. On the interior, the layout was strategically designed to connect the off-grid home to its surroundings. The front glazed facade opens up completely to create a seamless passage between the interior and the exterior. As for the home’s furnishings, many of them were made from  locally sourced wood and handcrafted by local artisans. Even the family built some of the furniture, including the master bed frame and dining room table. + Nüform Studio Via Dwell Photography by Aryeh Kornfeld K. via Nüform Studio

Read the rest here:
This sustainable home in Chile is designed as an ‘unplugged’ retreat for a family of six

« Previous PageNext Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1084 access attempts in the last 7 days.