What would a carbon tax look like for Hawaii?

August 6, 2018 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: Energy leaders and policy makers discuss the potential of a carbon tax.

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What would a carbon tax look like for Hawaii?

6 actions that businesses can take across the plastics value chain

August 6, 2018 by  
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What can your business do to solve the plastic waste puzzle?

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6 actions that businesses can take across the plastics value chain

Rural Americans’ struggles against factory farm pollution find traction in court

August 6, 2018 by  
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Industrial farms have negatively impacted surrounding communities for decades, but new litigation might be changing that.

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Rural Americans’ struggles against factory farm pollution find traction in court

Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

August 1, 2018 by  
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Retrofitting an old house into a Passive House is a challenging feat to say the least, but when done right, it can be amazing. When Bo and Itzy decided to turn their old Victorian home in Brooklyn into a passive home, they took on the ambitious project with help from NYC-based firm  ZH Architects . The result is  powerhouse of energy-efficiency, redesigned and revamped for healthy living. Although the number of new passive home projects continues to grow, retrofitting old structures to fit Passive House requirements is still a massive undertaking rife with complications. In an interview with the architects, Bo explained that one of the biggest hurdles of their home renovation was making the space airtight. Related: The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs “Most passive houses have been either newly built or brownstone/townhouse conversions,” Bo said. “It’s a lot easier to get this right when dealing with a rectangular box or only two exposed walls with a flat roof. With an old Victorian home like ours, there are nooks and crannies everywhere. The hardest part is really getting the house airtight, so you need to work both from the inside and the out taking great care that you don’t have any air infiltration or gaps. We used an Intello vapor barrier on the inside of the attic and a Zip System on the exterior.” The home currently has an air tightness of about 0.29 ACH (air changes per hour) which, according to the architects, is a world record for a retro-fit building. Insulation was a big factor in creating an energy-efficient living space. The architects wrapped the home in extra layers of thick, eco-friendly insulation and installed high-performance windows to create a sealed envelope. Despite New York’s bitterly cold winters and severe summer heat, the interior will sustain a comfortable temperature throughout the year. To complement this level of comfort, the interior design is light and airy, with white walls and hardwood flooring to create an inviting space. For Bo and Itzy, having a passive home was not only about monetary and energy savings , but also to focus on creating a healthy living atmosphere. Along with the home’s many efficient features, the renovation avoided all VOC paints and harmful chemicals. Instead of using polyurethane for the flooring, they went with a natural Scandinavian lye treatment which includes using a natural mixture of oil and soap. The home was also installed with Energy Star-rated appliances, solar roof tiles  and LED lighting . Of course, the process did mean making quite a few tough decisions about the home’s original features. For Itzy, the idea of getting rid of the large chimney was daunting, but by doing so, they were able to create an extra room in the attic. As another perk, they were able to install a wine cellar in the basement that uses an innovative concept for cooling. The heat pump water heater in the basement, which draws in warm air and blows out cool air, was redesigned to blow that cooler air into the wine cellar to keep the bottles cool. With this Passive House project complete, the residents and the architects hope to inspire others to take the time to retrofit old buildings for energy efficiency. + ZH Architects Images via ZH Architects

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Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

A big day for Bloom Energy and distributed energy

July 25, 2018 by  
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Bloom Energy’s CEO and founder says the IPO opens up the next chapter.

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A big day for Bloom Energy and distributed energy

Snhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change

July 13, 2018 by  
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Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and real estate developer MIRIS have unveiled designs for ‘ The Spark ,’ an urban data center that reuses excess heat to power cities. Framed as a “solution to the global climate crisis ,” the prototype is designed to power cities with up to 18,000 people. The city of Os, located south of Norway’s second largest city, Bergen, will be the first municipality to test the concept as part of a plan to become the world’s first-ever energy positive city. Created in collaboration with Skanska, Asplan Viak and Nokia, The Spark was born from a study that examined the energy footprint of data centers and how they could be redesigned for energy efficiency . According to their research, they found that 40 percent of the total energy consumption in the world could be attributed to buildings, while data centers alone account for approximately two percent of total energy consumption. As digitalization continues to rise, so will demand for more data centers. Although data centers have traditionally been located in remote locations, The Spark would be placed in the middle of a city so that recaptured excess heat could be used to power nearby buildings, which would also be solar-powered to feed energy back to the center and thus slash overall energy consumption by up to 40 percent. “We have developed a cyclical energy concept,” explains Elin Vatn of Snøhetta. “By cyclical, we mean that the heat generated from the data center is looped through the city before it is brought back to the center. This system allows us to heat the buildings in the city, but also to cool down the center towards the end of the cycle. This way we can maximize the utilization from beginning to end.” Related: Snøhetta unveils plans for world’s first “energy-positive” hotel in the Arctic Circle The Spark will be tested in a pilot project in Lyseparken, Os as part of a sustainable business park that will generate at least 4,000 new jobs with thousands of households in the surrounding area. If the pilot is successful, Lyseparken is expected to be the first-ever energy-positive city in the world. The Spark data center would be constructed following the Powerhouse standard—a set of guidelines for plus-energy buildings—and include low-embodied materials like wood instead of concrete. + Snøhetta + Spark City Images © Plompmozes

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Snhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change

Geothermal-powered Forest House showcases sustainable features in Maryland

July 13, 2018 by  
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Set on the edge of a forest conservation area in central Maryland , the Forest House is a contemporary home integrated with a wide variety of energy-efficient features. Local design firm Gardner Architects LLC designed the spacious home that responds to passive solar principles and rises to the height of the tree canopy to capture surrounding views. The sustainable technologies include geothermal energy, rooftop solar panels and rain gardens, as well as low-tech solutions like stack ventilation. Commissioned by clients who wanted a spacious home yet desired a sustainable footprint, the Forest House spans 25,000 square feet across three levels. By building upwards on the 0.6-acre wooded property, Gardner Architects sought to create a compact building footprint that would minimize site disturbance . The Forest House embraces the outdoors with covered balconies, a large roof deck that overlooks the forest, and ample low-U value glazing that wraps around the south side to maximize solar gain in winter. The upper level is cantilevered over the glazed south facade to provide shade from the harsh summer sun. The home was constructed with framing panelized off-site in a factory to reduce material waste as well as onsite construction time. The energy-efficient building envelope is bolstered with rigid insulation on the exterior to prevent thermal bridging. In addition to natural daylighting that’s brought in through the skylights and other glazed openings, the openings were carefully placed in concert with an open stair tower so as to promote stack ventilation that brings in cooling breezes. Related: 13 energy-efficient modules make up this prefab modern home in Maryland The Forest House is powered with a ballasted solar array that sits atop the roof deck. A ground source heat pump provides heating and cooling. To further reduce energy needs, the house is equipped with central DC-powered low voltage LEDs that can be controlled remotely. The project was completed in 2016. + Gardner Architects LLC Images by John Cole

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Geothermal-powered Forest House showcases sustainable features in Maryland

Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun

July 12, 2018 by  
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San Antonio’s idyllic Confluence Park just became a little greener and more scenic, thanks to a collaboration between firms Lake Flato and Matsys Design with the support of landscape architect Rialto Studio . The riverfront park now boasts sweeping sculptural pavilions that provide shade from the fierce Texas sun as well as an elegant method for collecting rainwater. Confluence Park is located where the San Pedro Creek merges into the San Antonio River. Covering just over three acres, the public park now features a main pavilion , three smaller pavilions and a classroom. Flowing water and confluence served as strong influences these new structures, which imitate the sculptural atmosphere of the surrounding landscape. The team strategically designed these additions for minimal site impact . The focal point of the park is the main pavilion. This structure is constructed from 22 concrete pieces resembling petals, which were made on site and lifted into place. The pieces form giant archways that are illuminated at night with subtle accent lighting that merges seamlessly into the swooping petal formations. The main pavilion as well as the smaller pavilions are both beautiful and functional. The petal shapes help to funnel rainwater that is collected in the park’s catchment system. This system serves as the park’s main water source. In addition to collecting water, the pavilions provide a cool respite from the fierce summer heat that often plagues southern Texas . The Estella Avery Education Center stands near the main pavilion. This structure generates 100 percent of the energy it uses through solar panels while offering a space for the city’s residents to learn more about the San Antonio River watershed and surrounding environment. The green roof that tops the classroom is planted with native grasses and allows for passive heating and cooling through thermal mass. Thanks to the new classroom and pavilions, Confluence Park now offers more opportunities for park-goers to learn and explore the local environment . “Confluence Park is a living laboratory that allows visitors to gain a greater understanding of the ecotypes of the South Texas region and the function of the San Antonio River watershed,” Lake Flato architects said. “Throughout the park, visitors learn through observation, engagement and active participation.” + Lake Flato + Matsys + Rialto Studio Via Dezeen Images via Casey Dunn

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Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun

Sustainable Ideas From a Net-Zero Home

July 12, 2018 by  
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The boldly modern Genesee Park Net-Zero Home stands out from … The post Sustainable Ideas From a Net-Zero Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Sustainable Ideas From a Net-Zero Home

Why IBM obsesses over energy efficiency

July 12, 2018 by  
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Plus, perspective on why the cloud software giant doesn’t use unbundled renewable energy certificates.

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Why IBM obsesses over energy efficiency

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