Tackling sustainability in sporting events

February 19, 2020 by  
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At the recent Super Bowl, the NFL focused on sustainability more than in past years with its Ocean to Everglades (O2E) initiative throughout South Florida. Efforts included education on invasive species, beach cleanups, food recovery and recycling initiatives. These conservation efforts are part of a larger trend internationally to shrink the carbon footprints of major sporting events. “Sports is one of the few avenues which can unite people of all different races, creeds and social status,” Matt Jozwiak said in an interview with Inhabitat. Jozwiak was a chef at swanky New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park before founding Rethink Food NYC . His organization feeds 2,000 New Yorkers a day by repurposing leftovers from restaurants and food companies in the tri-state area. Jozwiak is a big proponent of more sustainable sporting events. “The industry literally has the power to make drastic sustainability changes. When a sporting team comes out in favor of a cause, people listen.” He acknowledges there may be growing pains when adopting unfamiliar behaviors. “But eventually, fans will go along with the new changes.” Sporting events step up to sustainability Fans traveling to one European Cup match can generate almost 5,600 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the World Economic Forum. But now, many sports are taking a closer look at how to be more responsible. Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games are a leading example of organizers prioritizing sustainability in their planning. For example, builders will use locally sourced wood to construct the athletes’ village, and hydrogen fuel cells will power the event vehicles. Organizers plan to generate solar power onsite and recycle 99 percent of everything used during the event. With the exception of drinking water, they’ll use recycled rainwater for all Olympic water needs. Paris is hoping to be even more sustainable during its turn to host the 2024 Olympic Games. Related: Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones Some European cities have given their football (soccer to Americans) stadiums an eco-makeover by installing seats made from recycled plastic. In Amsterdam, fans bought the old seats as souvenirs. The stadium in Pontedera, Italy boasts seats made using plastic from local waste. Meanwhile, in England, the Forest Green Rovers have won the title of world’s greenest football club by powering its grounds with solar, recycling water and serving an entirely vegan menu to players and fans. At the 2019 Helsinki International Horse Show, 135 tons of horse manure powered the electricity. A company called Fortum HorsePower enlists 4,300 Finnish horses to generate energy for electrical grids. Stadium food waste Jozwiak takes a special interest in food wasted inside stadiums. He’s found that stadiums are among the hardest places from which to rescue food, because they tend to only have games periodically and throw the food away afterward. Much of that food quickly spoils or gets soggy and unappetizing, like hamburger buns and pretzels. Stadiums should rely on freezers more, Jozwiak said. “Instead of purchasing food all the time, bulk purchase and immediately freezing can cut down a lot on the waste for sporting arenas. Proper refrigeration strategies can expand the lifecycle of food and reduce food waste.”  He also recommended a fire sale strategy for avoiding waste. “Implement a plan where spectators can purchase the remaining food to take home,” he advised. “A lot of food ends up in landfills . So if sporting arenas can provide the options for the fans to either buy or provide for free the remaining food, it would cut down on waste drastically.” One by one, stadium directors of operations need to craft individual action plans to become more sustainable, Joswiak suggested. In addition to avoiding food waste, he recommended conserving water and offering healthier food options with more vegetables and less meat . Stadiums should only contract with vendors who can manage recycling. New buildings should work to be LEED-certified. Joswiak suggested hosting a climate-related event for fans to explain and support all of these green changes. If fans could be convinced to bring their own reusable utensils, that would be great, too. Eco-travel to sporting events Of course, while the football match or the golf tournament is the main event, fans and players still have to travel to the game and may require overnight housing. According to Solar Impulse, 5 million people converged on Russia in 2018 to watch the FIFA World Cup. Their travel and accommodations generated about 85% of greenhouse gas emissions from this event, totaling about 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Related: Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center is open to the public 24/7 Some major governing bodies in sports are embracing carbon offset projects around the world to atone for their contribution to emissions. FIFA managed to offset 1.1 million tons of carbon emissions since the 2014 World Cup . The governing body for European football is promising to offset fan-generated emissions for the EURO 2020 competition. It has also collaborated with the 12 host cities to offer free public transportation to fans with tickets on the days of the matches. This should cut down on emissions and road congestion. Via World Economic Forum and Solar Impulse Images via Shutterstock

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Tackling sustainability in sporting events

Can protecting land promote employment?

October 4, 2019 by  
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In New England, the answer is yes.

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Can protecting land promote employment?

Episode 191: DuPont melds innovation and tech, climate conundrum for shipping, steel

October 4, 2019 by  
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Featured this week: Alexa Dembek, the chief technology and sustainability officer for DuPont, and Ned Harvey, managing director at Rocky Mountain Institute.

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Episode 191: DuPont melds innovation and tech, climate conundrum for shipping, steel

Contemporary barn-inspired home adheres to passive house principles

July 31, 2019 by  
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Delivering a modern twist to local historic building practices, London-based architectural practice Bureau de Change has recently completed a new home that takes inspiration from traditional farm structures in the Cotswolds, a rural area of south central England. A pair of timber chicken sheds, nearly 100 feet long each, was used as the starting point of the design for the Long House. In addition to respecting the local rural vernacular, the thoughtfully crafted home also follows passive house principles to reduce energy use without sacrificing comfort year-round. Located near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, England, the Long House spans approximately 5,400 square feet across three gabled volumes that have been given two different exterior treatments. The single-story volume to the front is built from stone, while the volume in the rear—split into two parts—is sheathed in natural larch that will gain a natural patina over time. The contrast adds visual richness and the materials selected will naturally develop a patina over time to blend the buildings into the surroundings. “The front barn has been built in dry stone wall by a local craftsman, chosen not only for its local relevance but for its inherent qualities of mass and muscularity,” explains Bureau de Change Architects co-founder Katerina Dionysopoulou. “This facade is monolithic, with fewer openings to produce a heavier, solid volume at the front. As a counterpoint, the taller barn in the back is clad in lighter-weight natural larch which has been charred to a deep leathery black at each window recess. This charring has then been brushed away to gently blend it into the natural larch—creating an ombre effect which emphasizes the rhythmic push and pull of the window indentations.” Related: British farmer plants heart-shaped meadow in honor of his late wife Inside, the front volume hides an inner courtyard that’s hidden behind the elevation and serves as a light-filled focal point for the home. To meet passive house principles , the architects constructed the building with an insulated concrete formwork system to create an airtight thermal envelope. Openings are limited on the south-facing facade and triple-pane glass was installed to minimize unwanted heat gain and loss. Air quality is maintained with a heat recovery ventilation system. + Bureau de Change Images by Gilbert McCarragher

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Doctors orders: 2 hours in nature boosts mental health, study says

June 17, 2019 by  
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According to British researchers, only two hours of sitting in nature per week could have measurable benefits on mental health. This is the first study to examine exactly how long people should spend in the natural environment to feel a positive impact. The researchers believe that with further confirmation, the two hour threshold could be added to similar health recommendations, such as five fruits and vegetables per day or 150 minutes of exercise per week. The study was published in Scientific Reports and used data from Natural England , the largest data set on the topic. The researchers analyzed more than 20,000 people in England to assess their physical activity from the previous week, their general health and their level of satisfaction with life. Their findings showed that people who had spent at least two hours in nature indicated a significant shift away from dissatisfaction — just 14 percent felt their health was poor after spending time in nature compared to 25 percent of other participants who did not spend time in nature but reported poor health. The researchers did not notice any significant changes among those who had spent more than two hours outside and therefore reached the conclusion that two hours is the recommended duration. Related: How forest bathing can profoundly improve your health and well-being “It’s fascinating to see this link between exposure to nature and better health and well-being,” said professor Helen Stokes-Lampard from the Royal College of General Practitioners. “This research makes a strong case for people to get out and about in more natural environments.” The findings held true across the diverse study participants, irrelevant of wealth, disabilities, illness or urban location. The findings also revealed that the nature benefits are not necessarily tied to physical exercise , and that there is a benefit to spending time in nature, even if it is just sitting on a park bench. + Scientific Reports Via The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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Doctors orders: 2 hours in nature boosts mental health, study says

Tiny house in Tokyo funnels light indoors with a curved roof

June 17, 2019 by  
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After spending a decade commuting to teach at Tokyo’s Waseda University and Art Architecture School, architect Takeshi Hosaka and his wife decided to leave their tiny house in Yokohama for Tokyo, where they would build an even tinier house. Dubbed the Love2 House —the predecessor in Yokohama was called Love House—the micro-home spans just 334 square feet and is topped with a funnel-like roof to bring daylight deep inside the home. The tiny home features a minimalist and industrial aesthetic defined by its reinforced concrete structure, galvanized aluminum panel cladding, and timber accents. Takeshi Hosaka and his wife have long admired tiny homes found across history, from an Edo-period 100-square-foot home for a family of four to Le Corbusier’s 181-square-foot vacation home Cabanon. The couple followed tiny house principles preaching minimalism and a closeness with nature in designing their first micro-home, Love House, and their current home, Love2 House. The tenets for an ideal life in ancient Roman villas—study bath, drama, music and epicurism—also influenced the design of the house, which includes space for a bath, plenty of space for record storage, an old-fashioned earthen pot rice cooker and a library for books. Related: Ultra-Compact “Near House” is a Small Space Marvel in Japan Love2 House’s sculptural funnel-shaped roof was created in response to a solar study that showed that the site would be cast in shadow for three months in winter. Inspired by Scandinavian architectural solutions, Hosaka created a curved rooftop with skylights that funnel in light in winter. The open interior and the use of short concrete wall dividers let light and natural ventilation pass through all parts of the home, which is divided into three primary zones: a dining area, a kitchen area and the bedroom. “When we keep the window facing on the street fully opened, people who walk on the street feel free to talk to me,” says Takeshi Hosaka in a project statement. “It’s like a long-time friend, and children put their hands on the floor and look inside. We even pat strolling dogs from [the] dining [room]. The front street has flower bed so we enjoy it as our garden. In this house we feel the town very close. We are really surprised how pleasant to communicate with the town is!” + Takeshi Hosaka, Photography by Koji Fujii Nacasa and Partners

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Tiny house in Tokyo funnels light indoors with a curved roof

English tree planting challenge will help plant 130,000 trees

May 21, 2019 by  
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This week, England announced a plan to plant at least 130,000 trees in cities and towns throughout the country as part of the Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund. The challenge, endorsed and announced by environment secretary Michael Gove, allows individuals, municipalities, nonprofits and non-governmental organizations to access trees and maintenance funding as long as they can prove they have funding to continue to maintain the trees after a three-year funding period. “We need trees lining our streets, not only to green and shade them but to ensure we remain connected to the wonders of the natural world, which is why we must go further and faster to increase planting rates,” said secretary Michael Gove . Related: Labor party launches solar panel program for 1.75m homes Trees have remarkable benefits for the environment and for people living in urban areas. Although 130,000 trees won’t stop climate change , evidence suggests that a mature tree can absorb and store up to  22 kg of carbon every year and produce enough oxygen to sustain two people. Every 10 percent of forest cover in urban areas reduces ozone gas by 3 to 7 percent. In addition to the benefits to air quality , urban trees provide a habitat for birds, squirrels and other species. Tree-lined streets are considered aesthetically pleasing and mentally calming and have even been linked to a reduction in violent and petty crimes, as well as an increase in property values of between 5 to 15 percent. The English Forestry Commission is a U.K. government agency with a mission to increase the value of forests for people and the environment. Forestry Commission chair Sir Harry Studholme said of the tree planting challenge, “This will allow us to plant more trees much closer to where people live and work and where the benefits of trees make the most difference.” Via The Guardian Image via Mary Salazar

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English tree planting challenge will help plant 130,000 trees

Brasserie 2050 restaurant pops up as a prototype for sustainable food service

May 21, 2019 by  
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As the push toward sustainable lifestyles continues to spread from individual purchasing decisions to the overarching responsibility of big business, one restaurant is making a big statement by providing meals from a circular environment of zero food and material waste . The Brasserie 2050 restaurant in the Netherlands temporarily opened its doors last fall as a restaurant and food storage pavilion designed by temporary-structure specialists Overtreders W for an event called the Lowlands Festival. The goal was to highlight the need for sustainable food production, and they achieved this goal by setting up a food barn made from recycled and borrowed materials that could be disassembled and moved at the end of the festival with no damage to the materials and no waste. Related: An urban farm and restaurant fluorishes in Utrecht’s “circular” pavilion With forecasts estimating the world will have 10 billion people to feed by 2050, Brasserie 2050 is a testament to how we can achieve that goal. Not only is the design of the structure a sustainable model, but the catering company The Food Line Up created a zero-waste menu to feed the masses in attendance of the festival. Creative use of kitchen scraps culminated into baked bread from potato peelings, steak tartare with half the meat and pesto sourced from kitchen leftovers. The food pavilion made use of the entire barn-shaped space by using standard pallet racks as the primary structural component. A corrugated plastic roof completed the gabled look. Even the tables were constructed from recycled plastic with the reuse and zero-waste cycle in mind. The space was efficiently filled from top to bottom, with suspended herb boxes and wheat, corn, garlic and onions dangling from the ceiling above diner’s heads. Of course, this also provided natural decor for the restaurant . To keep the structure from blowing away, bags of grain weighed down the sides. The structure and the menu served as a model of efficient and sustainable practices designed to lead us toward more eco-friendly food services for the future. + Overtreders W Via ArchDaily Photography by Jorn van Eck via Overtreders W

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Brasserie 2050 restaurant pops up as a prototype for sustainable food service

Invasive longhorned tick could spread disease across the U.S.

December 17, 2018 by  
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The Asian longhorned tick used to be a species only found in China, Japan, Korea and southeastern Russia, plus parts of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. But last year, an established population was found in New Jersey, and since then, the ticks have been found in eight other states. Because the tick is parthenogenetic — which means the females can reproduce without needing male DNA — it is possible that it will soon occupy large parts of the Pacific Northwest and the eastern U.S. “There is a good chance for this tick to become widely distributed in North America,” said Ilia Rochlin, a researcher at the Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology. “Mosquito control has been very successful in this country, but we are losing the battle with tick-borne diseases.” Related: Winter ticks are responsible for New England’s moose massacres The Asian longhorned tick’s ability to clone makes it possible for them to cause “massive” infestations of hosts, and Rochlin said that researchers have already seen large numbers on livestock and dogs. He added that the ticks can bite humans, pets, farm animals and wildlife . The Journal of Medical Entomology published new research about the tick last week, and even though the tick can cause infectious disease, there have not been any reported illnesses in animals or humans in the U.S. One of the diseases the Asian longhorned tick can transmit is a hemorrhagic illness called thrombocytopenia syndrome. According to the CDC , the illness recently emerged in China, South Korea and Japan. The syndrome causes severe fever, nausea, diarrhea and muscle pain. Most patients must be hospitalized, and almost a third of infected people have died. The tick can also carry other illnesses like Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. Rochlin said that all of these illnesses can lead to severe disabilities. Asian longhorned ticks can spread quickly in favorable habitats. If you add that to their aggressive biting behavior and potential for carrying pathogens, Rochlin said the tick is a significant public health concern. + Journal of Medical Entromology Via CNN Image via James Gathany / CDC

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Invasive longhorned tick could spread disease across the U.S.

Slide down a fire pole in this classic fire truck converted into a quirky hotel

October 26, 2018 by  
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For those who have ever wanted to slide down a real fire pole, the Red Rescue Retreat is the hotel for you. The retreat is an old fire truck that has been converted into a tiny vacation home . Located on a peaceful lot in Lake District National Park in England, the renovated fire truck offers guests a tranquil, relaxing getaway while they enjoy the fire truck-themed elements, including a real fire pole and fire-truck style beds. Tucked into a quiet, green corner of a working farm, the Red Rescue Retreat is a great place to visit with the family. Guests to the fun hotel can enjoy strolling around the farm or hiking to the magnificent Blencathra fells, one of the most beautiful areas in the Northern Lakes. The tiny vacation rental with a big personality sleeps four, with a master bedroom and two twin fire truck-themed beds for the kiddies. There are even a few child-sized firefighter costumes in the closet. Related: Couple transforms a fire truck into a cozy camper for traveling Europe The compact space is actually quite comfortable. The interior features a spacious living area that comes with a smart television and a cozy sofa that pulls out into a double bed. Large bean bags make for a fun movie night. Guests can also prepare their own meals in the fully-equipped kitchen. Large sliding glass doors lead to an open-air patio with plenty of space for dining, reading or just enjoying the scenery. As an extra bonus, there is even an wood-lined sauna. The master bedroom, equipped with a king-sized bed, is located on the upper level and reached by ladder. Of course, you can take the ladder down to the first floor, but sliding down the fire pole, which is surrounded by a lockable gate for safety, will be the first option for those staying at this very unique hotel . + Holiday Cottages Via Apartment Therapy Images via Holiday Cottages

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Slide down a fire pole in this classic fire truck converted into a quirky hotel

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