Sense: Monitoring Your Home Energy Consumption

May 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

I’ve always been curious about energy consumption in my home. … The post Sense: Monitoring Your Home Energy Consumption appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Sense: Monitoring Your Home Energy Consumption

How the Navajo got their day in the sun

May 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

How the Navajo got their day in the sun Danny Kennedy Thu, 05/28/2020 – 02:00 In late March, during the early hours of the COVID-19 crisis, just as New Yorkers were realizing how many might die, a small solar development company closed a $4 million financing deal. “Closing” is never easy, but getting a half-dozen high-net-worth individuals, family offices and foundations to pony up as the world’s finance markets crashed around them was a triumph.  Getting the deal done was impressive in its own right, given that private equity had all but frozen in the weeks before and most venture-backed startups were running on fumes, telling their angel investors and anyone who’d listen that they had three months’ financial runway, or less. It seems even more important now, given the terrible toll COVID-19 is having right where the solar is planned: the Navajo Nation. A young team saddled with ambition and support from their tribal government, this largely native-owned company, Navajo Power , was getting ready to build a major solar project in one of the poorest communities in America.  “We are working hard to create jobs and build resilient infrastructure for our Nation and for the greater western region,” explained Brett Isaac, founder and CEO. “Navajo has perhaps the highest unemployment in the country at 65 percent — that’s pre-COVID. It is clearly going up, due to the virus. We need to put people back to work in creating the clean energy future. Developing some of the biggest projects in the world and maximizing the benefits for our communities can provide the resources needed to fund a wave of local infrastructure and community economic development initiatives. Clean energy can be our bridge.” A company to watch, and learn from Navajo Power was co-founded by Isaac and his old friend Dan Rosen, a college dropout from New Jersey. Rosen was adopted by Navajo artist Shonto Begay in his teens and went on to start one of the U.S.’s largest solar loan business, Mosaic. These two and their partners are leading the charge for the Navajo Nation’s just transition, from coal dependence to clean energy superpower. This movement one day will be studied in colleges around the world; justice can be done. Such drama around Navajo is justified. This is the largest indigenous community in the United States, with 250,000 people and a land base the size of West Virginia. There is a sordid history of “divide and conquer,” involving everyone from Kit Carson to the Sierra Club. The wealth of energy resources on Navajo land invited exploitation throughout the 20th century. Uranium was mined there. And coal. Lots of coal. Mined and burned to provide power for Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tucson and Phoenix.  The wealth of energy resources on Navajo land invited exploitation throughout the 20th century. Uranium was mined there. And coal. Lots of coal. Despite hosting centuries of extraction and decades of power generation, in 2020, more than 15,000 families on Navajo land lack electricity or running water. And surprise, surprise: the local community saw only a pittance for the years that King Coal ravaged its ancestral homeland. According to one local leader of the governing “chapter” responsible for running services, his entire community of 1,200 people received about $250,000 per year in royalties from the coal mining operation on their land. This community spent 50 years suffering from the toxic emissions spewing out of the coal-burning 1.2 gigawatt Navajo Generating Station nearby. This plant powered Los Angeles and points west — but not their own towns and settlements. All they got was the pollution, and almost enough money to pay for the salary of one public health worker and overhead. An utter disgrace. By contrast, Navajo Power’s solar projects will pay millions of dollars upfront and fair market value per year for the life of the project, while ensuring that the local community is compensated in addition to the central government. The solar plant will sit on the ground, leave resources in the ground, burn nothing and can be removed afterwards. The chapter can invest the revenue generated by this plant in public health, workforce development, job creation efforts such as ecotourism and high-value agriculture. Business unusual Solar is a strategy that will uplift this community. But unlike the similar promise of coal, solar power will not desecrate the Navajo’s sacred land, pollute their skies or poison their children. And the Navajo Power deal ensures this power will be owned and controlled by Navajo, not outsiders.  It was not only a coup to pull off any investment of this magnitude in the midst of the COVID crisis — there’s more business unusual in the deal. Baked into the financial structure is an expected rate of return for the investors. If and when this rate is achieved, any further returns will be distributed to the communities hosting the solar projects on their land. This financing design, with a “mission delta” built-in between the concessionary rate that investors are taking and a more market rate, will become an innovative benchmark for similarly well-intentioned companies in the future. Additional covenants include 10 percent of company ownership being held in a Turquoise Share, which funds community benefits in the event of profit distributions or sale of the company. Eighty percent of the profits must go toward solar projects or community investments. And executive compensation is capped relative to the lowest-paid employee.  Morgan Simon, CEO of the Candide Group, explained, “Navajo Power is creating a new kind of economic development model for communities through leveraging the revenues of utility-scale clean energy development. That’s what drew us to their work and why we led this investment.” This model is a stark contrast to the hundreds of years of exploitative fossil-fuel ventures that have taken place on the territories of native peoples.  Navajo Power, as you probably can tell, is not a typical company. It is a registered Public Benefit Corporation; a company with a core goal of public benefits on par with profit maximization. And for the power sector, it is innovative from woe to go. It is mostly owned by Navajo and committed, by its mission and business model, to maximize benefits for the community partners hosting the solar projects on their land. The company provides culturally appropriate technical assistance to communities as they go through the development process.  The backstory The political and historical context surrounding this momentous deal is worth understanding. During Donald Trump’s reign, U.S. coal plants have closed faster than during the Obama administration. We can thank the markets for coal’s loss of steam; wind in the Midwest and solar in the Southwest can produce cheaper electricity. This phenomenon has reached the reservation. After decades of hosting some of the nation’s largest coal mines and coal-fired power plants, including the Navajo Generating Station, San Juan, Cholla and the Four Corners Plant, these plants are finished. The first to fall, Navajo Generating Station, closed in November after a last-ditch effort by the Trump administration to “save it” with subsidies. Early this year, the San Juan plant on the New Mexico side of Navajo announced it will shutter within three years. Cholla will stop one of three units this year and the rest by 2025. And Arizona Public Service, which operates Four Corners, recently announced it is moving up the retirement of that facility to 2031. Given the increasing loss-making economics, my bet is 2031 is a longshot. The Navajo entrepreneurs saw the vacuum left by falling coal plants as an opportunity for themselves, their reservation and the broader United States. The key insight is that the coal operations built on their land give the Navajo exceptional access to regional energy markets through the high-voltage transmission lines connecting them to major electrical demand centers across the West.  Based on research, Navajo Nation has the potential for more than 10 GW of solar power — more than a one-to-one replacement for every lost megawatt of coal power — plus at least one gigawatt of wind. Their high altitude, blue skies and dry land base is ideal for hosting solar farms. It also could prove an ideal location for hosting long-duration batteries for grid services that provide reliability and resilience. Research and development on solutions such as hydrogen gas from electrolysis powered by inexpensive solar is another potential product of this endeavor. The Navajo are riding the perfect storm: better economics; natural and unnatural competitive advantages; and the disruption of energy technologies to position this previously overlooked community at the center of the U.S. energy future. A change of heart In March 2019, Navajo Power organized an Energy Roundtable that involved Navajo leadership and some big hitters in energy from the American West. These included David Hochschild, chair of the California Energy Commission, and Angelina Galiteva, a member of the Board of Governors of the California Independent System Operator, which runs the California electricity grid. California is the fifth-largest economy in the world. So, when the governor’s energy czar and manager of the grid were present at the roundtable, people listened. And they both had the same message: We won’t buy dirty power from Navajo. The previous year, California passed SB100, a law that requires the Golden State to be 100 percent powered with renewable electricity by 2045. California is a huge market, a kind of nation-state unto itself, with a distinct grid and an increasingly wealthy population of 40 million. When California adopted the 100 percent standard, other states followed suit. This included New Mexico, which has a long history with the neighboring Navajo Nation dating to colonial times. These energy players surrounded the nation — both figuratively and geographically — with 100 percent clean energy commitments. The conversation at the roundtable was focused on how none of these states wanted to buy coal-fired power for much longer. After 50 years of being forced by various means to allow coal extraction and combustion on its territory, the Navajo leadership was told that the world is going in a new direction. For the Resource Committee that was gathered, including Vice President Myron Lizer, this was news. But it was heard. It was hard to ignore Navajo’s biggest customer of coal power for last half century saying, “We won’t be allowed, by law, to buy it any longer.”  Showdown at the summit Galiteva had run procurement for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power earlier in her career, so she knew all about contracting with Navajo power producers. She was well-versed on the transmission systems that carried electricity across the high desert and Sierras into the L.A. basin. There’s an interconnect at Glendale, just east of the city, a point in the grid where high-voltage transmission cables connect and the juice from big power plants is broken up before being distributed through the massive urban sprawl that is Los Angeles. Galiteva agreed that Navajo could take advantage of that transmission capacity — a huge multibillion-dollar sunk cost — to sell solar power for the next century. The Navajo’s competitive advantage of using transmission lines paid for by the coal industry to connect clean energy generation on their land to the big cities might be fleeting. Other carrots were offered in the room for the Navajo leadership to consider shifting from coal to solar. One came in the form of an energy procurement manager from Apple; the most valuable company in history at that time that recently had committed to 100 percent clean energy. While he could not commit to a specific contract with Navajo on the company’s behalf, he did indicate Apple’s interest in new sources of clean power. In the last few years, data centers such as those run by Apple, Google and Facebook have emerged as core business for energy generators with direct electricity contracts. If the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, a group of several dozen large corporations, were a country, it would be in the top 10 in terms of energy consumption and commitment to 100 percent clean energy purchasing. The signal was clear for the folks in the room — the times were a-changing and the Navajo needed to get with the program. The Navajo’s competitive advantage of using transmission lines paid for by the coal industry to connect clean energy generation on their land to the big cities might be fleeting. Developers elsewhere across the West are proposing massive wind and solar farms with transmission. These were big decisions and directional choices proposed to the committee at the summit. None of which had an easy solution because, at the same time the summit was happening, on the Arizona side of the reservation, lobbyists in Window Rock were trying to convince the president to use sovereign wealth funds to bail out the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. The owners and major off-takers had proposed to shut it down that summer, which would mean hundreds of jobs going off the reservation — a place with few good, consistent employment opportunities.  At the time of the Navajo Power Summit, the nation was under considerable pressure to buy out the owners of the Navajo Generating Station to keep it going — even if It meant funding a loss-making enterprise. Various excuses and initiatives were announced to justify the nation’s digging into a hard-won, rainy-day fund it maintains from fines settled by the federal government for damage caused by uranium mine tailings on their land. The new president, Jonathan Nez, elected in November 2018, was looking down the barrel of 700 jobs going away at NGS and seriously considered spending $300 million to keep the coal power plant running. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis advised Nez that this may keep the plant going for a couple of years, but nothing could turn the tide against coal in the West with all neighboring states committing to 100 percent renewables in the foreseeable future. In other words, it would be buying a white elephant. In an act of bold political leadership, Nez decided against bailing out the coal plant. The nation broadened its vision. It saw that building large-scale solar farms with companies such as Navajo Power would tap the existing transmission lines to big cities and address the thousands of families on the reservation who do not have electricity. In a proclamation made in April 2019, called the Navajo Háyoo?káá? , the parties created “a new economic vision for the Navajo People, through healing the land, fostering clean energy development and providing leadership for the energy market.” This is “a big move for the nation,” said Nez. The plan is based on four principles:  1. A diverse energy portfolio, creating workforce development and job creation opportunities for the Navajo people.  2. Restoration of land and water after decades of uranium and coal mining.  3. Rural electrification of homes that lack access to electricity. 4. Utility-scale renewable energy development to supply Navajo Nation and the western United States.  The Navajo Sunrise Proclamation says, “Through the Diné teaching of ‘T’áá hwó’ ajít’éego’ and for the many who have called upon our Nation’s leaders to transition away from our overdependence on fossil fuels, the Navajo Nation will strive for a balanced energy portfolio and will pursue and prioritize clean renewable energy development for the long-term benefit of the Navajo People and our communities.” The benefits of such investments will go beyond jobs and revenue for the Navajo. There is a sense of pride in picking the path rather than having it foisted upon them, as coal power was 50 years ago. Self-determination is a big issue for indigenous peoples the world over. Overcoming the colonial domination that energy development has created is a major triumphsof the Navajo Sunrise Proclamation. It brings hope, not just to this sovereign nation, but to people everywhere that just transitions can be made. Pull Quote The wealth of energy resources on Navajo land invited exploitation throughout the 20th century. Uranium was mined there. And coal. Lots of coal. The Navajo’s competitive advantage of using transmission lines paid for by the coal industry to connect clean energy generation on their land to the big cities might be fleeting. Topics Renewable Energy Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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How the Navajo got their day in the sun

Migrating monarch butterflies get the right-of-way in new agreement

May 22, 2020 by  
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A new nationwide right-of-way agreement aims to protect migrating monarch butterflies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) signed the agreement, which involves more than 45 transportation and energy companies and many private landowners in creating protected corridors across the country. These promised lands are mostly along roadsides and utility corridors. The agreement allows participants to dedicate parts of their land as monarch conservation management areas. In exchange, the USFW assures landowners that they won’t have to take additional conservation measures on the rest of their land if the monarch butterfly later is listed as endangered. This change in status could happen as soon as December 2020, when the USFWS plans to decide whether the monarch meets criteria for being listed as an endangered species . Related: What’s causing the decline in monarch butterfly populations? “Some companies wanted to wait to see how the listing would play out,” Iris Caldwell, a program manager at the Energy Resources Center at UIC and part of the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group , told Mongabay . “But if you are following what’s happening with the butterflies , you know we really can’t wait. We need to be creating habitat on a variety of different landscapes, as much as we can.” The working group included 200 energy, transportation, government and nonprofits who tried to determine a win-win solution for butterflies and landowners. “How can you incentivize a regulated entity or a utility to do this voluntary proactive work,” Caldwell asked, “and still give them kind of the flexibility and the certainty that they need and be able to, in fact, invest in that work without kind of a fear of repercussion?” Under the new agreement, landowners may alter some of their practices, including timing mowing to avoid times when monarch larvae are developing, not using herbicides on the conservation corridors, replanting if the land is disturbed by construction and planting more beneficial native plants the butterflies will enjoy. UIC’s role will be to coordinate efforts between all partners and to be an intermediary between the USFWS and landowners. Monarchs are one of the most popular and recognizable butterflies on Earth, with their bright orange wings, black lines and white dots. Every year, millions of these butterflies migrate from the northern and eastern U.S. and Canada to spend winter in southern California and Mexico. Monarch butterflies are native to North and South America, although they’re no longer found south of Mexico. They’ve followed milkweed to expand their range as far as Portugal, Spain, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. In the continental U.S., they fall into two categories: western monarchs — which are found west of the Rockies and spend winter in southern California — and eastern monarchs, whose breeding grounds are Canada and the Great Plains and who migrate to Mexico in the winter. Both populations have plummeted more than 80% in the last 10 years. Via Mongabay and National Geographic Image via Jessica Bolser / USFWS

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Migrating monarch butterflies get the right-of-way in new agreement

LEED-seeking apartments house formerly homeless families in San Francisco

May 22, 2020 by  
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David Baker Architects has completed 222 Taylor, an affordable housing complex in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Designed with more than 100 affordable housing units for low-income households and families and individuals who formerly experienced homelessness, the development is a champion of humanitarian architecture. The project also embodies sustainable principles, including high-density living and energy-efficient design. The nine-story mid-rise building is on track to achieve LEED for Homes Mid-Rise and EnergyStar Multifamily High-Rise certifications.  Located in the heart of San Francisco, 222 Taylor replaces a surface parking lot with a mixed-use building comprising ground-level retail as well as studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units on the upper floors. Of the building’s 113 affordable homes , approximately one-fourth of them are permanently reserved for families who previously experienced homelessness. Because the building sits just two blocks from the BART & Muni Station and the Market Street corridor, no parking is provided; instead, the development offers 114 secure bicycle parking spaces. Related: The Union Flats is a LEED Platinum-certified housing community David Baker Architects designed 222 Taylor to respond to its site context in both appearance — the variegated brick facade references the local masonry — and orientation, which is informed by solar studies to maximize access to natural light. Ample glazing along the ground level also activates the street edge to build a connection with the neighborhood. The project cultivates a sense of community with the design of a flexible central courtyard , complete with ample seating and play zones. The courtyard serves as a hub to the bike parking room, laundry, community room and shared kitchen. Walls in the airy entry lobby are decorated with super-graphics made from enlarged watercolors by a local artist. The building will eventually be topped with a roof farm for additional outdoor community space. + David Baker Architects Photography by Bruce Damonte via David Baker Architects

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LEED-seeking apartments house formerly homeless families in San Francisco

Episode 221: Mapping biodiversity, repair and the circular economy

May 22, 2020 by  
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Episode 221: Mapping biodiversity, repair and the circular economy Heather Clancy Fri, 05/22/2020 – 01:21 Week in Review Commentary on this week’s news highlights begins at 4:35. AB InBev VP: Our quest for “agile” sustainable development continues L et’s get together: Intel’s 2030 commitments include “shared” climate and social goals How coronavirus will affect 4 key environmental issues Features Esri and the science of corporate biodiversity (20:45) The sophistication of environmental monitoring tools continues to grow, with satellites, sensors and artificial intelligence all playing a role. We chat about potential business applications with Dawn Wright, chief scientist of geographic information systems software leader Esri.  Highlights from Circularity 20 Digital (32:45) Due to the pandemic, this week’s Circularity conference was postponed until August — when it will be held as a primarily virtual event . (Registration details here.) Here are some highlights from this week’s precursor, which featured an interview on the viability of reusable packaging, and two panel sessions — one on the future of recycled plastics in an age of cheap oil and one on the role of repair in circular economy strategies. TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky on what goes into a life cycle assessment for reusable packaging Dell Senior Vice President Ed Boyd on how designing for repair can dovetail with a broader circular economy strategy *This episode was sponsored by WestRock.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere and admiralbob77:  “Southside” and “Curiosity” (Lee Rosevere); “Two Guitars,” “Sax, Guitar and Organ at the Club” and “Confederation Line” (admiralbob77) Virtual Conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. Scaling municipal fleets. Experts from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, ChargePoint, Smart City Columbus and the city of Oakland, California share tips at 1 p.m. EDT May 26.   This is climate tech. Join respected venture capitalists Nancy Pfund (DBL Partners), Andrew Beebe (Obvious Ventures) and Andrew Chung (1955 Capital) for a discussion at 1 p.m. EDT May 28 about compelling solutions and startups that address the climate crisis — and how big companies can play a role in scaling them. The future of risk assessment. Ideas for building a supply chain resilient to both short-term disruptions such as the pandemic and long-term risks such as climate change. Register here for the session at 1 p.m. EDT June 16. Resources galore State of the Profession. Our sixth report examining the evolving role of corporate sustainability leaders. Download it here . The State of Green Business 2020. Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends published here . Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Topics Podcast Circular Economy Circularity 20 Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 42:41 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 221: Mapping biodiversity, repair and the circular economy

Now is the best time to build a home you never want to leave

May 19, 2020 by  
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Whether you are still sheltering in place or your area’s lockdowns are just lifting after months indoors, right now is the perfect time to contemplate what you like about your home and what you’d like to change. Thankfully, Deltec Homes makes it easy to plan your future legacy home. This North Carolina-based builder is known for producing distinctive, resilient round houses and was also featured on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. Now, it can make your own dreams come true by offering extensive support, from planning to payment, in the home-building process. Many people are taking advantage of Deltec Homes’ tools to remotely design their eco-friendly dream homes. A small deposit gives you access to Deltec Homes’ full resources, including a wealth of experience building houses around the world and start-to-finish support for designing and building a new, sustainable home. Related: Building homes that fight against climate change How to design a home you never want to leave If you’ve never designed your own house — and many people haven’t — you might wonder how on earth you do this remotely, without an architect sitting by your side. Deltec Homes clearly explains its 360 collection of round homes and its Renew collection, which is designed to make it easy to reach net-zero energy goals. The company will work with you every step of the way to create a home better than you could ever imagine. The round houses in the 360 collection are incredibly fun to customize. Now that you have been spending more time at home than ever, you’re probably thinking a lot more about how you want your space to work for you. How many bedrooms do you need? Would you like designated space for a home office? Do you want flexible spaces that can serve as a study room during the day and a child’s playroom or craft room in the evenings? Perhaps you would love a deck, where the family can get together for a breath of fresh air. Do you want your home to embrace biophilic design? Renew has three basic designs: Balsam, a contemporary take on a mountain cabin; Solar Farmhouse, which is a modern farmhouse with solar capabilities; and Ridgeline, the most modern looking of the three. Each of these options allows you to customize features such as windows, siding, air ventilation and porches to make your home as comfortable and eco-friendly as possible. Thankfully, the Deltec Way strives for each home to be a sanctuary that seamlessly blurs the line between indoors and outdoors; think large, beautiful windows and uninterrupted sight lines. At every step, Deltec Homes will help you and your home embrace nature and sustainability — it is just the Deltec Way. Once you decide on your exact floor plan, Deltec Homes prefabricates your house in its factory, then ships it to the building site. Your own builder takes it from there, assembling and finishing your dream home. Deltec Homes has more than 5,000 homes in every state in the U.S. as well as over 30 countries and five continents, so no matter where you choose to call home, you are joining thousands of other people who love their unique Deltec homes. What’s more, Deltec Homes isn’t just helping you build your next house — it helps you build your legacy home. These high-quality, resilient homes are built to last and actually reduce the total cost of ownership over time. Deltec Homes are often comparable to custom homes, but they are built to last much longer by following stringent, precise standards to significantly reduce your energy costs and total ownership costs. Saving energy and designing legacy homes isn’t just good for you — it’s great for the planet and future generations, too. Deltec Homes embraces sustainability and resilient design — it’s the Deltec Way Deltec Homes prides itself on following the Deltec Way, which means connecting customers to nature and our planet while also protecting them from the elements. The planet will thank you for buying a net-zero energy home, which is one of many green design options offered by Deltec Homes. The company’s homes aren’t just sustainable — Deltec Homes embraces this green philosophy in its own factory, which runs on 100% renewable energy and diverts about 80% of its construction waste away from the landfill. In addition to connecting homeowners with nature and the planet, the Deltec Way also emphasizes connecting our homes with the planet. From using only the best materials to working with nature, rather than against it, Deltec Homes ensures each house can withstand extreme weather while also embracing all of the beauty Earth has to offer. Deltec Homes implements a unique, 360-degree design to ensure that wind diverts around the home. This prevents wind pressure from building up on a traditionally flat side of the home — this wind pressure typically leads to damage such as collapsed walls. The added benefit of the 360-degree design is the light-filled, panoramic views of nature that can include dreamy sunrise-to-sunset views. Of course, the round layout is just part of the equation to Deltec Homes’ hurricane-resistant designs. The company uses a comprehensive approach to make its homes more resilient , including special attention to engineering, construction and materials. This approach has resulted in a 99.9% survival rate for these hurricane-resistant homes. In fact, there have been Deltec Homes that have withstood some of the most devastating hurricanes of our time, including Hurricanes Dorian, Michael, Katrina, Harvey, Hugo, Irma, and Sandy. Deltec Homes is actually considered “the original green builder” and has been working on creating high-quality homes since 1968. Along the way, it recognized the need for sustainability to be central to its core mission — Deltec Homes are designed to stringent sustainability standards. Last year, one of its homes even won a Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home housing innovation award . These homes have been designed to stand the test of time and look good doing it. Luckily, these experts are ready to give you a helping hand in designing and building a sustainable legacy home for your family. Deltec Homes offers financial peace of mind Despite the pandemic, right now is a smart time to start planning the house of your dreams, thanks to Deltec’s homeowners assurance plan. Deltec Homes is offering financial peace of mind through its new refund flexibility policy. Any deposit placed in the first half of 2020 is fully refundable if the homebuyer loses their job or has a COVID-19-related health issue during this time. Deltec Homes is honoring those on the front lines of the pandemic by extending its usual 7% military discount to all healthcare and other essential workers who place a design deposit by June 30. Whether homebuyers are working in a hospital, delivering packages or keeping the electric grid or public transportation systems in operation, Deltec Homes recognizes these essential workers. These difficult times have also prompted Deltec Homes to increase its customer service support by extending hours and offering more remote consultations. If spending more time at home has made you yearn for a house that is designed exactly the way you want it, there’s no better time than right now to contact Deltec Homes . + Deltec Homes Images via Deltec Homes

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Now is the best time to build a home you never want to leave

Pittsburghs MuseumLab for children achieves LEED Gold

May 14, 2020 by  
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MuseumLab, one of Pittsburgh’s most creative and innovative youth learning spaces, has earned LEED Gold a year after the project was completed in the recently renovated 1890 Carnegie Library, which is located in the city’s North Side neighborhood. Santa Monica-based Koning Eizenberg Architecture led the design of the energy-efficient adaptive reuse project that now serves as a beacon for sustainability, historic preservation and community investment. Part interactive museum and part learning lab, the MuseumLab was developed by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, which received LEED Silver in 2006, to offer a variety of innovative activities for kids aged 10 and above for experimenting with art and technology. The new space hosts three labs: the Studio Lab for art; the Make Lab that comprises woodworking and metalworking equipment as well as CNC routers and laser cutters; and the Tech Lab that teaches children coding, augmented reality and video game design. The MuseumLab also has program and rental spaces, commissioned artworks, unique camps, workshops and after-school activities. Related: The net-zero Frick Environmental Center is officially one of the world’s greenest buildings In renovating the 130-year-old Carnegie Library, the architects sought to preserve and expose as much of the original 1890 archways, columns and mosaic floors as possible while bolstering the building’s energy efficiency. As a result, deteriorated plaster was sensitively rehabilitated with thermal plaster patching rather than demolished altogether. Windows were reinstated to bring greater amounts of natural light to the interiors to highlight the many historic details and new contemporary art brought into the space. “The work of innovative building projects like MuseumLab is a fundamental driving force in transforming the way our buildings are built, designed and operated,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of U.S. Green Building Council. “Buildings that achieve LEED certification are lowering carbon emissions , reducing operating costs and conserving resources while prioritizing sustainable practices and human health. Because of MuseumLab, we are increasing the number of green buildings and getting closer to USGBC’s goal to outpace conventional buildings, while being environmentally and socially responsible and improving quality of life for generations to come.” + Koning Eizenberg Architecture Photography by Erik Staudenmaier via Koning Eizenberg Architecture

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Pittsburghs MuseumLab for children achieves LEED Gold

5 Clever Ways To Maximize Natural Light in Your Kitchen

May 13, 2020 by  
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The kitchen often gets more use than any other room … The post 5 Clever Ways To Maximize Natural Light in Your Kitchen appeared first on Earth911.com.

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5 Clever Ways To Maximize Natural Light in Your Kitchen

Maven Moment: Recycling Day

May 13, 2020 by  
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I remember my mother’s reaction when recycling became mandatory in … The post Maven Moment: Recycling Day appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: Recycling Day

Greenhouse gas emissions expected to hit record decline

May 5, 2020 by  
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While your home energy bill may have increased while you shelter in place, the planet’s overall energy use has taken a significant downturn. According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) first quarter report, global carbon emissions could be down by 8% this year, the biggest drop the agency has ever seen. In the first quarter of 2020, global energy demand decreased by 3.8%, thanks in large part to lockdowns in Europe and North America. The report collected data for 30 countries from January 1 through April 14. The analysis concluded that countries in full lockdown averaged a 25% weekly decline in energy demand, while countries in partial lockdown averaged 18%. While your own energy bill probably won’t reflect this trend, reductions in energy use by industrial and commercial concerns far outweigh upticks in residential demand. “For weeks, the shape of demand resembled that of a prolonged Sunday,” the report said. In short, the longer and more stringent the lockdown, the better for Earth’s atmosphere. Related: 6 ways to save energy while sheltering in place “This is a historic shock to the entire energy world. Amid today’s unparalleled health and economic crises, the plunge in demand for nearly all major fuels is staggering, especially for coal, oil and gas. Only renewables are holding up during the previously unheard-of slump in electricity use,” Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, said in a press release. “It is still too early to determine the longer-term impacts, but the energy industry that emerges from this crisis will be significantly different from the one that came before.” Global coal demand fell by nearly 8% compared with 2019’s first quarter. Analysts attributed this to a mild winter, the growth in renewable energy sources and the pandemic’s hard hit on China’s coal-based economy. Oil demand was also down, falling nearly 5%. The extreme aviation slowdown accounted for much of the oil decline, paired with global road transport activity dropping by half. “Resulting from premature deaths and economic trauma around the world, the historic decline in global emissions is absolutely nothing to cheer,” Birol said. “And if the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis is anything to go by, we are likely to soon see a sharp rebound in emissions as economic conditions improve. But governments can learn from that experience by putting clean energy technologies — renewables, efficiency, batteries, hydrogen and carbon capture — at the heart of their plans for economic recovery. Investing in those areas can create jobs, make economies more competitive and steer the world towards a more resilient and cleaner energy future.” + International Energy Agency Image via Marcin Jozwiak

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Greenhouse gas emissions expected to hit record decline

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