How Bloomberg, Cox, Gap Inc., Salesforce and Workday combined clout to buy clean power

January 17, 2019 by  
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The deal, facilitated by LevelTen Energy and BayWa, came together after about a year of negotiations.

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How Bloomberg, Cox, Gap Inc., Salesforce and Workday combined clout to buy clean power

Solar-powered glass cafe overlooks a green lung in Jerusalem

January 9, 2019 by  
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Sacher Park, the largest public park in the center of Jerusalem , Israel, has recently gained a new cafe that embraces its green surroundings with walls of glass and an environmentally sensitive design. Israeli design studio Yaniv Pardo Architects created the Sacher Park Cafe, a coffee shop that’s powered entirely with solar energy. Completed in September 2018, the coffee shop is the first phase of a larger scheme to revitalize Sacher Park. Spanning an area of 250 square meters, the Sacher Park Cafe was developed as part of the Jerusalem Development Authority’s ‘Design Competition of the Jerusalem Open Space and Governmental Area’, which Yaniv Pardo Architects won in 2008. “Our project does not deal with planning a defined structure,” the architects explain. “It aims to study, expose and understand the issues of planning in the Sacker Park site, focusing on the question of what kind of intervention would be suitable for this site in order to turn it into a lively point in city life. The open space defined by this project creates a landscape system that allows the masses, locals and tourists, to enjoy its beauty.” Built with walls of glass and slim white pillars that support a thin curvaceous roof, the coffee shop and promenade draw inspiration from Jerusalem’s wadis and the park’s natural topography. Pockets of greenery punctuate the interior of the café. Nestled into the hill next to the coffee shop is an open-air amphitheater for public events. Related: “Floating” forest of bamboo pops up in Jerusalem The project was also created to follow green building principles. All the energy required for operating the coffee shop is drawn from renewable solar energy. The coffee shop, promenade and amphitheater are all part of a larger vision to rebrand Sacher Park as a “modern and active urban space.” + Yaniv Pardo Architects Photography by Amit Gosher via Yaniv Pardo Architects

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Solar-powered glass cafe overlooks a green lung in Jerusalem

Historic hotels in Spain switch to renewable energy in the new year

January 7, 2019 by  
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A state-owned chain of historic hotels in Spain is  going green in 2019  and setting an example for the rest of the country (and the world). The Paradores hotel brand — which includes grand hotels housed in ancient castles and monasteries — has announced that starting this year, all 97 of the chain’s properties will use electricity from renewable energy sources. “Paradores is a company that supports sustainable tourism in every sense of the word,” said company chair Óscar López Águeda. “What’s more, as a public company, we also want to set an example when it comes to investments that encourage energy saving and responsible consumption.” Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy The 90-year-old hotel chain signed a deal with Spanish utility giant Endesa to make sure that all electricity used in the hotels will come from green sources starting on January 1; however, the chain has no plans to stop using natural gas . Head of hotel communications Sonia Sánchez Plaza said that natural gas is less polluting compared to traditional sources the hotel has used in the past, but it is gradually eliminating its reliance on fuel oil. Sánchez Plaza added that the company has an ambitious plan to bring renewable energies like biomass, solar and geothermal into Paradores. Founded in 1928, Paradores has more than 10,000 rooms in its hotel chain, and it employs more than 4,000 staff members. Sánchez Plaza said that the company needs to protect the environment , because many properties are close to national parks and biosphere reserves. Environmental group Ecologists in Action has applauded Paradores’ decision and believes that others should follow in its footsteps. Group coordinator Paco Segura said that getting public bodies to switch to renewable sources of energy has a transformative effect. The Spanish government has a goal of switching the country’s entire electricity system to renewable sources by 2050, and it also wants to decarbonize the economy. Its draft climate change and energy transition law aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent from 1990 levels, and it also bans new licenses for fossil fuel drills, hydrocarbon exploitation and fracking wells. In October 2018, the government also struck a deal with the unions to shut down the majority of Spanish coal mines, and in return, the country will invest 250 million euros into mining regions over the next decade. Via The Guardian Image via Mr. Tickle and Paradores

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Historic hotels in Spain switch to renewable energy in the new year

9 sustainable living tips to take from our grandparents

January 7, 2019 by  
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Our grandparents and great-grandparents lived in a simpler time, and we aren’t just talking about technology . During the Great Depression, many rural areas didn’t have running water or electricity, and things like proper refrigeration, freezers and air conditioning were a luxury. What’s more, big-box chains and massive supermarkets didn’t exist, and you didn’t have the option of throwing a pre-packaged meal into a microwave or hitting a drive-thru for lunch. Many modern conveniences are great, and in many ways, living in 2019 is much more enjoyable than 1935. But there are a lot of things we can learn from older generations to help live a more sustainable life. Here are some things our grandparents and great-grandparents did to live a simpler life that was a lot more eco-friendly. Make meals from scratch For the first time in American history, people are eating at restaurants more than they are cooking at home . In 2016, sales in restaurants passed grocery sales, meaning that people are spending more on eating out than eating in. Cooking from scratch is starting to become a skill that fewer and fewer of us know how to do, and that is resulting in people not knowing where their food comes from or how it was prepared. Related: 10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas Not only is cooking a survival skill that everyone should have, but preparing food at home makes you more self-sufficient, and it leads to a healthier diet. Plus, it saves your family a ton of cash, and it is much more environmentally friendly. You will use less packaging when you buy fresh ingredients, and when you skip the restaurant, you can reduce your food waste . If it breaks, fix it We admit that things are made differently than they used to be. With the strategy of planned obsolescence , products aren’t designed to last as long and can break rather easily. From fashion to cars to appliances to electronics, things break, go out of style and become obsolete faster than ever. This can lead to spending money on the newest gadgets and trends, even though we could easily fix what is broken or alter what we have to fit our needs. Our grandparents knew how to mend their clothes and fix broken items, or at least knew where to go to get things fixed. Instead of tossing things out the moment they aren’t perfect, take the time to fix or mend them. Bring your lunch Remember when having a sweet lunchbox was an important part of your life? I loved my old-school metal Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox when I was in first grade, and I didn’t even realize that I was eco-friendly while being stylish. Instead of hitting a vending machine or drive-thru for lunch, avoid the single-use plastic packaging and pack your own sandwich and sides at home, or brown-bag last night’s leftovers. For our grandparents, eating out was a special occasion, not something you do every day. Plant a garden Now this is one popular trend that is rooted in the past. Buying local or growing food in your own garden was a staple of life for our grandparents and great-grandparents. Growing veggies and herbs is something you can easily do, no matter if you live in a rural or urban area, and it is friendly to the environment and your wallet. Related: How to grow a lush garden in your tiny kitchen windowsill Shop smart Those who lived through the Great Depression knew what it meant to be smart with their purchases. If they couldn’t afford it, they didn’t buy it, and they never bought more than they needed. Buying in bulk and using up everything that you buy is a much more sustainable way to live. Buy less and use it all. Go to the store with a specific plan, and reduce those impulse buys. Downsize Less stuff means less worry, and that is what minimalism is all about. That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of every modern convenience, but saying no to some things will help reduce your waste and make life tidier. Huge homes, closets full of clothes you don’t wear and cupboards full of food you won’t eat were foreign concepts to our grandparents. Those things would just give you more things to pay for, service and clean. You don’t have to downsize absolutely every aspect of your life, but simply getting rid of excess clutter can make a big difference in your quality of life and environmental impact. Use a clothesline One of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to give your dryer a rest and hang up your clothes to dry. This option will keep your clothes from shrinking, and your sheets, blankets, shirts and tees will smell clean and fresh. Start sewing During the Great Depression, nearly every household had at least one person that knew how to full-out sew . But now, it’s hard to find people that even know how to sew a button. Get the most out of your clothes and shoes by learning how to patch a hole, replace a zipper or fix a hem. We aren’t saying you have to make all of your own clothes, but knowing how to fix basic problems can lead to more a sustainable lifestyle with less waste. Related: How to sew buttons onto pants and shirts Rethink disposables Ziploc bags didn’t show up until the 1960s, so our grandparents and great-grandparents would store things in jars. After they were done using them, they would wash and reuse. Instead of using single-use plastics to store food or pack your lunch, use containers that you can use over and over again to help reduce waste. Images via Oldmermaid ,  Bruno Glätsch , Maxmann , Priscilla Du Preez , Maria Michelle , Monika P , Monicore and Shutterstock

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9 sustainable living tips to take from our grandparents

The Biggest Sustainability Trend for 2019 Will Be …

January 3, 2019 by  
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Well, readers, let me start out by saying I was … The post The Biggest Sustainability Trend for 2019 Will Be … appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The Biggest Sustainability Trend for 2019 Will Be …

Summing Up the Biggest Green News Stories of 2018

December 28, 2018 by  
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What a year 2018 turned out to be for the … The post Summing Up the Biggest Green News Stories of 2018 appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Summing Up the Biggest Green News Stories of 2018

Utilities are accelerating microgrid investments in innovative and strategic ways

December 26, 2018 by  
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In particular, keep tabs on several programs from Duke Energy.

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Utilities are accelerating microgrid investments in innovative and strategic ways

Major utility company Xcel Energy commits to go carbon-free by 2050

December 13, 2018 by  
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A major utility company is making history. Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility company, has pledged to go completely carbon-free by 2050. The company serves eight states, and its ambitious new carbon reduction goal far exceeds its current target of a 60 percent reduction in Colorado by 2026. “Our biggest energy source in a few short years is going to be renewable energy . We’re going to absolutely integrate as much of that as we can into the grid,” said Xcel CEO Ben Fowke. The company said that it will be 80 percent carbon-free by 2030 before reaching the goal of 100 percent carbon reduction in 2050. These changes should mean more solar and wind energy  along with a reduction of coal. Fowke said that there will also be other technologies needed to meet the 100 percent carbon goal, including battery storage technology and maybe even carbon sequestration. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Xcel serves 3.6 million people in Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. For years, those customers have been demanding that the company make some changes. The utility company said that it really does listen to its customers, and with citizens of cities all over Colorado deciding that they want 100 percent renewable energy, Xcel decided it would be in its best interest to give the customers what they have asked for. Xcel’s commitment is the latest in announcements by large utility companies regarding huge new carbon reduction goals. Indiana’s NIPSCO sped up the retirement of multiple coal plants in favor of renewable energy, and Midwestern Utility MidAmerican announced that it would reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2020. With companies turning away from fossil fuels in favor of renewables like wind and solar, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects America’s coal consumption to soon be at its lowest level in four decades. Via CPR Image via Laura Lee Dooley

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Major utility company Xcel Energy commits to go carbon-free by 2050

Green-roofed eco resort on Easter Island designed to blend into the landscape

December 13, 2018 by  
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Easter Island is world-renowned for its monolithic Moai statues and incredible natural beauty. Now, visitors to the unique Polynesian island can enjoy a responsible stay in one-of-a-kind beautiful eco-resort , the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa . Located in the village of Hangaroa, the sustainable solar-powered retreat was designed to provide a luxurious stay for guests without harming the surrounding natural landscape. Circular buildings covered with lush green roofs and natural wood throughout the hotel reflect the textures of the island. According to the hotel description, the inspiration for the design was based on a village concept, where small singular buildings can be reached via a short walk along stone paths. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability was driven by the owners’ desire to support responsible tourism to the increasingly popular island destination, “The vocation of the Schiess family, is to create tourism experiences that support the social development of the environment in which they operate, care for the environment and leave a legacy.” Related: Eco-resort in Tulum features luxury beach huts made of natural materials The eco hotel design was meant to offer all of comforts of a luxury hotel, while reducing its impact on the environment. Additionally, the hotel has a number of passive and active energy-saving features . Each of the structures within the hotel compound run on highly efficient electrical equipment, a solar lighting system and a self-sustaining water irrigation system. Additionally, all of the detergents and cleaning products used in the daily upkeep of the hotel are non-toxic. The interior design schemed used the local vernacular as inspiration, namely the island’s most prominent geographical features. Small round buildings mimic the rolling hills that lead out to the sea, while lush green roofs blend the buildings into the environment. Natural light floods the interior community spaces, providing a strong connection with the surrounding nature. + Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa Images via Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa

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Green-roofed eco resort on Easter Island designed to blend into the landscape

What utilities can teach us about fighting climate change

December 13, 2018 by  
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Even a $400 billion industry can move when the money is right and the need for climate action is clear.

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What utilities can teach us about fighting climate change

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