How My Green Lab is cleaning up R&D

January 19, 2021 by  
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How My Green Lab is cleaning up R&D Elsa Wenzel Tue, 01/19/2021 – 00:30 Solutions to the world’s biggest problems, including climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, are studied in research laboratories across the globe. But as sterile as those labs may appear, they have a dirty secret: immense carbon footprints. Labs burn through five to 10 times more energy per square foot than offices, an impact that may be magnified tenfold for clean rooms and other specialized facilities. For instance, 44 percent of the energy use of Harvard University is derived from its laboratories, which take up less than a quarter of campus space. Labs also send massive amounts of water down the drain and discard possibly billions of pounds of single-use plastics every year. A unifying force is needed that creates standards and fosters a space for strategies and best practices, according to James Connelly. That’s what he wants to deliver as the new CEO of My Green Lab, which works with life sciences leaders including AstraZeneca and Agilent. “It’s sort of a surprising fact how much energy and water and materials that laboratory spaces consume,” Connelly said. “It’s been ignored by the green building world a little bit because it’s difficult to address. So the unique aspect of what My Green Lab does is, it was created by scientists, for scientists to help work on behavior change and a transformation of how the labs are actually operated and how science and research is performed.” We’re seeing an acceleration of interest and excitement about sustainability through the pandemic, an overall awakening of the life science industry to sustainability. At universities and corporations alike, addressing emissions and waste in labs can significantly drive down costs and further sustainability commitments. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if half of America’s labs shaved off 30 percent of their energy use, the total savings would be equivalent to the annual energy use of 840,000 homes.  “My Green Lab is a brilliant project because it reaches out to change behavior and mindset of scientists in the lab,” said Pernilla Sörme, risk management lead in global safety, health and environment at AstraZeneca, which expanded Green Lab Certification to seven sites across its global portfolio. The nonprofit is the first consolidated effort to educate researchers about sustainability in laboratory operations. Its Green Lab Certification already has labeled more than 400 labs. Last year, the Colorado Department of Agriculture became the first government lab to reach “green,” the highest of five levels. If that sounds similar to green building standards, such as LEED, that’s by design: My Green Lab is gunning to become the leading sustainability advocacy group in the life sciences, globally. Connelly comes to the growing organization by way of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), which he helped expand into the world’s leading proponent of regenerative, healthy and equitable building design —  managing its Green Building Challenge and Living Product Challenge before serving as VP of projects and strategic growth. Projects and progress My Green Lab’s 15 partners and sponsors include biotech giant Genentech, MilliporeSigma and USA Scientific. The nonprofit also has teamed up with the EPA to bring the Department of Energy’s Energy Star label to ultra-low temperature freezers used for COVID-19 vaccines, applied first to equipment sold by Stirling Ultracold, another sponsor of My Green Lab. My Green Lab also runs the ACT “eco-nutrition” label for lab equipment. (ACT stands for Accountability, Consistency, and Transparency). It was created to help procurement officials and scientists with purchasing. The organization is working directly with manufacturers, including scientific instruments maker Thermo Fisher, to set benchmarks on products and packaging design. The label rates the sustainability of products consumed in laboratories including beakers, pipettes, bottles and equipment such as autoclaves and chemicals. The ratings represent data from the GreenScreen safer chemicals benchmark as well as details on packaging and product handling at the end of life. Last April, diagnostics equipment leader Agilent signed up as a My Green Lab sponsor and also to have its instruments certified for ACT. “We chose to work with My Green Lab because, like them, we understand the importance of building a more sustainable scientific industry,” said Darlene Solomon, Agilent’s chief technology officer and senior vice president. “In many cases, product developments in support of sustainability also reduce laboratory risk. As we see the importance and value that our customers place on sustainability growing, the ACT instrument labels from My Green Lab will play a major role in helping those customers to make more informed, sustainable decisions for their analytical laboratory.” The number of standalone lab-greening efforts has grown since Harvard-trained neuroscientist Allison Paradise created My Green Lab in 2013, from about 10 to 90 groups that engage tens of thousands of scientists around the world. “We’re seeing an acceleration of interest and excitement about sustainability through the pandemic, and that represents the general overall awakening and awareness of the life science industry to sustainability that My Green Lab is really helping to catalyze,” Connelly said. “It’s important because it’s a growth industry that’s going to be incredibly important to our future as a society, and to managing things like COVID or in the future other diseases that may come down the pipeline.” My Green Lab is a brilliant project because it reaches out to change behavior and mindset of scientists in the lab. Through certification and education programs, My Green Lab enlists scientists and facilities professionals to clean up the carbon impact of labs. Lately, the group has been publicizing ways to green the cold chain for COVID-19 vaccines , which require sub-North-Pole temperatures. Its Laboratory Freezer Challenge, entering its fifth year, has gotten professionals from hundreds of labs to reduce the energy consumption of their deep freezers. Higher efficiency energy systems in the green building industry don’t address the “guts” inside a lab that really drive energy consumption, Connelly noted. “That’s something I’m really excited about, to dive in deeply and see how quickly we can make an impact on these types of operations in buildings that have such a dramatic impact on climate change.” And because the higher-level sustainability goals of many organizations still haven’t moved down into their R&D labs, that means plenty of low-hanging fruit for scientists and their colleagues to pluck.  Noted energy hogs inside labs include ultra-low temperature freezers — which can eat up as much energy as a house — and chemical fume hoods for ventilation. The University of Glasgow’s Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation blames 42 percent of its energy consumption on centrifuges alone. In many cases, product developments in support of sustainability also reduce laboratory risk. As for the overuse of single-use plastics, the University of Exeter estimated that academic researchers produced plastic waste equivalent to 5.7 million two-liter soda bottles each year.  Thankfully, Connelly has seen more companies thinking through how to change the supply chain of plastics, produce them in a more sustainable way, figure out ways to reuse or recycle them in laboratories, and change the way lab professionals manage plastics. “There’s a ton of innovation happening,” he said. Based on case studies, My Green Lab estimates that participants in its Green Lab Certification can achieve reductions of 30 percent in energy use, 50 percent in water use and 10 percent in waste. AstraZeneca AstraZeneca was one of the first pharmaceutical companies to pursue Green Lab Certification at multiple sites, starting about two years ago. The company already had achieved LEED certifications in America and ISO 14 001 certification in Europe, and its R&D site leaders found a global strategy to steer sustainability in My Green Lab. Reducing waste and energy in its labs aids AstraZeneca’s sustainability targets, issued a year ago, of zero carbon emissions by 2025 and negative carbon emissions by 2030 across its value chain. That includes moving toward 100 percent renewables and a fully electric fleet. The Green Lab Certification has created a framework and a new way of working that becomes second-nature for AstraZeneca’s scientists, Sörme said. “You start thinking, do I actually need to use a high-grade solvent or can I use a low-grade solvent that’s more environmentally friendly?” And scientists can share ideas across the global sites, which is driving innovation in product development as well as employee engagement. “We also have a lot of fun activities,” she said. “For instance, we got our scientists in the U.K., because they love doing research, to do a bit of an inventory. They did ‘a day in the lab’ to find out how much they used plastic-wise. That’s the state we want to be at when people come up with ideas on their own and want to share that.” Each AstraZeneca lab site has a green team with scientists, facility managers, health and safety managers and procurement professionals. A survey kicks off the Green Lab Certification process, reaching out to every scientist, not just key leaders. There’s a lot of best-practice sharing on novel ideas, such as for recycling lab gloves and reducing water use, Sörme noted. A lab in Boston might share solutions for a site in Cambridge, U.K., to adapt locally. Quick-win practices have included changing freezer filters annually and installing LED lights. AstraZeneca in 2019 credited Green Lab with helping it reach a 97 percent recycling rate of biological waste at a facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and sparking the recycling of tens of thousands of plastic centrifuge tubes and serological pipets in Cambridge. The company is exploring how to raise the temperature of ultra-low temperature freezers from minus-80 to minus-70 degrees Celsius to achieve significant energy savings. In a separate effort, AstraZeneca was a winner in the 2020 Freezer Challenge run by My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories. Systemic issues My Green Lab’s intention to address systemic issues by creating an ecosystem of programs echoes the approach taken by the ILFI, which was initially considered aspirational by many in the mainstream building establishment yet has been embraced by the likes of Microsoft and Google and making headway in Asia and Europe. Connelly hopes to see a similar growth trajectory at My Green Lab, which has an ambassador program and accreditation program in development. It’s worth noting that ILFI was an early advocate of identifying social equity as a root cause behind environmental problems, releasing its JUST Label behind building products in 2014, following its Declare Program in 2012 targeting “red list” chemicals of concern in building products. “We want to start driving equity into our program and elevating it to the same position as efficiency and waste reduction and water reduction,” Connelly said of My Green Lab. Pull Quote We’re seeing an acceleration of interest and excitement about sustainability through the pandemic, an overall awakening of the life science industry to sustainability. My Green Lab is a brilliant project because it reaches out to change behavior and mindset of scientists in the lab. In many cases, product developments in support of sustainability also reduce laboratory risk. Topics Chemicals & Toxics Eco-Design COVID-19 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off My Green Lab is helping scientists address the massive energy costs of running high-tech labs. Shutterstock Choksawatdikorn Close Authorship

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The European bison population is no longer vulnerable

January 14, 2021 by  
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The European bison’s population has increased sufficiently for it to be removed from IUCN’s list of vulnerable species. Thanks to long-term conservation work, the population has increased to more than 6,200, up from a 2003 figure of only 1,800. Rather than vulnerable, the European bison is now classified as “almost threatened.” Romania is the place to be if you’re a bison — or somebody who wants to see them roaming free. The largest populations are in Vân?tori Neam? Natural Park, ?arcu Mountains and F?g?r? Mountains. The Tarcu herd of over 65 bison was developed by WWF Romania and Rewilding Europe. Related: Cow escapes pen to live wild with a herd of bison in Poland The 5-year LIFE Bison project started in 2016 and is set to end March 30, 2021. Its mission is to create a viable population of bison in Romania that would breed in the wild, promoting biodiversity . The project also aims to use bison as an ecotourism draw that will help local communities. The LIFE Bison project is co-funded by the LIFE Programme, the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action that was created in 1992. “The bison calves born in the wild and the support of local communities are good signs that bison belong to these ancestral lands, but let’s not forget that the species is still threatened by various challenges, from habitat loss to ambiguity in legislative processes,” said Marina Drug?, LIFE Bison project manager, WWF-Romania, in a press release. “That is why we believe that only by working together can we ensure the progress made in the last 70 years will not decline, but that we will witness a change for the better.” The European bison hit a low point early in the 20th century, when it only survived in captivity. The reintroduction of the bison into the wild began in the 1950s. So far, Russia, Poland and Belarus have the largest subpopulations. But the species will still rely on conservation measures for the foreseeable future. + LIFEBison Photography by Daniel Mîrlea/Rewilding Europe via WWF

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CRAs Playscraper stacks 8 tennis courts into a 300-foot-tall skyscraper

January 4, 2021 by  
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Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) and Italo Rota have unveiled designs for the Playscraper, a Jenga-like skyscraper that stacks together eight tennis courts for a total of 60,000 square feet of playing space. Developed for RCS Sport, one of Europe’s leading sport and media companies, the 300-foot-tall Tennis Tower is designed to be built with the B-Core slab structure, a lightweight stainless-steel sandwich structure developed by Broad Sustainable Building that takes inspiration from the outer shell of a spacecraft and has been used in prefabricated projects. The Playscraper would also incorporate electronic facades to broadcast sports matches and other digital content. Developed with no proposed location, the conceptual design for the Playscraper — a Tennis Tower would consist of eight sandwich structures stacked on top of one another to house a total of eight stand-alone tennis courts. Full-height glazing would cap the narrow sides of each rectangular volume to provide panoramic views of the surroundings and to let in ample natural light. Digital facades clad the two long sides to function as massive TV screens for streaming sports matches so that those in the surrounding areas can watch live matches from below. Related: Energy-efficient greenhouses surround the new French Open tennis court “This project would not just create a new icon for sports lovers,” said architect and engineer Carlo Ratti, founder of CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab. “It also experiments with a new type of public space , extending vertically instead of horizontally. The tower is easy to install and dismantle and can be easily moved. This flexible approach fits the circular nature of today’s sports competitions, which move from location to location throughout the year.” The Playscraper’s use of unconventional materials and forms builds on CRA’s recent portfolio of works that include a mycelium Circular Garden installation at Milan Design Week 2019 and the new MEET Digital Arts Center in Milan that features a digitally fabricated laser-cut “vertical plaza” at its heart. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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CRAs Playscraper stacks 8 tennis courts into a 300-foot-tall skyscraper

Adidas and H&M join project to scale circular fashion and recycled fibers

December 11, 2020 by  
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Adidas and H&M join project to scale circular fashion and recycled fibers Michael Holder Fri, 12/11/2020 – 00:05 Adidas and H&M Group are among a host of fashion and textile firms to have teamed up for an EU-funded sustainable fashion project announced in late November, which aims to develop a circular economy for clothing that would result in old garments and fibers being recycled into new items for major high street brands. Over three years, the New Cotton Project will see textile waste collected and sorted via consumer apparel take-back programs, then regenerated into cellulose-based textile fibers by Finnish biotechnology specialist Infinited Fiber Company, the 12 project partners confirmed. The resulting fiber will be used to create different types of fabrics for clothing that are designed, manufactured and sold by global sportswear brand Adidas and retail companies in the H&M Group, they explained. The “world first” project is being led by Infinited Fiber Company, alongside a consortium of 11 other companies and organizations spanning the entire supply chain, including manufacturers Inovafil, Tekstina and Kipas, which will use old garments to produce yarns, woven fabrics and denim, respectively. The New Cotton Project was a direct response to major and growing environmental problems in the textile industry relating to the production of raw materials such as cotton, viscose and fossil-based fibers such as polyester. Textile recycling specialist Frankenhuis, meanwhile, has been tasked with sorting and pre-processing the textile waste, and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk) aims to develop a technical solution for the continuous processing of textile waste fibers for pre-treatment, they said. In addition, Revolve Waste has been appointed to collect and manage data on textile waste to estimate feedstock availability across Europe, while RISE — Sweden’s state-owned research institute — has been brought on board to conduct sustainability analyses and manage eco-labelling for garments created through the project. Finally, sustainable fashion platform Fashion for Good has been tasked with leading stakeholder co-operation and communications efforts, with branding support from Finland’s Aalto University and Infinited Fiber Company. Petri Alava, co-founder and CEO of Infinited Fiber Company, said the New Cotton Project was a direct response to major and growing environmental problems in the textile industry relating to the production of raw materials such as cotton, viscose and fossil-based fibers such as polyester. By developing a system to replace some need for virgin fiber and materials, he said the project was “breaking new ground when it comes to making circularity in the textile industry a reality.” “The enthusiasm and commitment with which the entire consortium has come together to work towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for fashion is truly inspiring,” he added. Pull Quote The New Cotton Project was a direct response to major and growing environmental problems in the textile industry relating to the production of raw materials such as cotton, viscose and fossil-based fibers such as polyester. Topics Circular Economy Supply Chain Fashion Textile Waste European Union BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  MikeDotta  on Shutterstock.

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Upstart Hazel finds cachet for innovative sachets that extend produce shelf life

November 25, 2020 by  
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Upstart Hazel finds cachet for innovative sachets that extend produce shelf life Jesse Klein Wed, 11/25/2020 – 01:30 In 2017, Hazel Technologies was a plucky young startup with enough scientific success to raise $800,000 in seed funding and score a $600,000 development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In late 2020, the company is finding early commercial success in its mission to decrease food waste through its innovative packaging. Hazel creates packaging inserts, or satchels, that release ethylene inhibitors and other natural chemicals to slow down the ripening process of many fruits and vegetables. In the past three years, the company has expanded its product line from inserts for tropical fruits such as guava, starfruit and avocado to specialized ones for berries, grapes, plums, broccoli and others. Now, Hazel is in the process of developing commercial pilots in the meat and other protein aisles. Hazel CEO Aidan Mouat said the technology is flexible enough to be optimized for a specific customer’s crop and location while also powerful enough to delay ripening by five to 10 days for many fruits and vegetables.  “We have one production line in which we make the necessary technical adjustments on a crop-by-crop and sometimes even on a country-by-country basis to achieve the end result that we’re aiming for,” Mouat said. “In a way, we’re trying to standardize the shelf life using a single unifying technology platform.”  If you tell any retailer, ‘Hey, I can give you two to three days of added time to sell through fruits,’ that’s a game-changer. The key is Hazel’s time-release technology, according to the company. Hazel’s satchels contain 1-methylocyclopronene (MPC) inhibitors to slow down ripening. But in many fruits such as avocados, the ethylene receptors are replaced every 24 hours, so a one-shot application doesn’t work. The packets treat the fruit over time to continually put the receptors to sleep and slow down ripening.   Hazel said its technology’s ease of use sets it apart from approaches offered other competitors. While coating technologies such as those made by Apeel Sciences have to be applied to each fruit, Hazel’s customers simply toss the baggies in the boxes with the produce, noted the company’s early customers.  “The customer shouldn’t have to interact with the technology,” said Patrick Cortes, senior director of business development at Mission Produce, one of Hazel’s clients. “If they do, we’ve lost. Educating the consumer on interacting with a technology that’s extending shelf life is going to be pushing water up the hill.” Hazel’s new products are breaking barriers in new categories. Grapes, which don’t ripen once picked, weren’t thought to be affected by MPC inhibitors. But Hazel’s customer Oppy, a grower/shipper of berries, grapes, apples and pears from Chile and Peru, saw a profound effect on an often overlooked but important area: the grape’s stems. “The stems arrive much greener and hydrated. Much less dry. And we also see less shrivel on the grapes themselves,” said Garland Perkins, senior manager of insights and innovation at Oppy . “If [a retailer] sees grapes that look like they have a dry stem, they’re going to reject them.” Those rejections usually end up in the trash. Hazel also helped Oppy with the Italian Gold Kiwi. Shipped the traditional way, the fruit was arriving with very low pressure — indicating a riper fruit, meaning the retailer had to sell the fruit quickly. According to Perkins, after applying Hazel, the fruits started coming in with higher pressures, giving grocery stores more flexibility about how long to keep them on their shelves.  “A lot of times with sustainability, it needs to make sense from a business perspective,” she said. “In a lot of cases, no one can make sustainable efforts that aren’t also very good on the bottom line.” Hazel promises an improved product and customer experience, fewer rejections from retailers, a higher-quality product that can be priced higher and less waste along the way. But if less produce is going bad and more is lasting longer, there’s an inherent dichotomy at play for suppliers that could eat into their profits. The longer their fruit lasts, the less consumers and retailers need to buy. “There’s an old adage in produce that one of the best sales tools you have is the dumpster,” Cortes said. “That’s an archaic way of looking at it. Because while that’s the easy way, I think the better way is to give customers a better and more positive experience. That’s going to drive more demand.” And decrease food waste.  Mission Produce consistently has been able to extend the shelf life of a ripe fruit by two to three days with Hazel, Cortes said. Bill Purewal, founder of PureFresh, and Christopher Gonzalez, vice president of sales at WP Produce, also report extended shelf lives of their produce by 20 to 30 percent after using Hazel. The extensions have allowed both companies to ship to farther away destinations such as the East Coast, and allowing some operations to think about shipping to Europe and Asia. I think the industry became very critically aware that it needs more technologies like ours, not just that are sustainable and enhance shelf life but are operationally flexible … “If you tell any retailer, ‘Hey, I can give you two to three days of added time to sell through fruits,’ that’s a game-changer,” Cortes said. 2020 wasn’t a normal year for anyone, especially retailers. Growers and shippers such as PureFresh needed innovative ways to help adjust to the massive changes in demand caused by the pandemic.  “We were worried we would pack all this fruit and it [would] not be able to go anywhere,” Purewal said. “It would just sit in our cold storage because we didn’t know what the demand was going to be lighter.”  At the start of the pandemic, fruit was moving very slowly through the supply chain, he said. So Purewal decided to spend a little more money on a technology such as Hazel to elongate shelf life and protect the fruit against the pandemic’s supply-chain disruption.   That investment also has long-term implications. Mouat insists climate change was a much bigger threat to the produce industry than the pandemic this year. According to him, for example, the U.S. plum crop was one-tenth the volume compared to last year due to warmer temperatures and wildfires.  “We’re here to help,” he said. “I think the industry became very critically aware that it needs more technologies like ours, not just that are sustainable and enhance shelf life but are operationally flexible, because trying to constrain operations to fit certain types of packing motifs or certain types of distribution motifs is going to become more challenging as things continue to change.” Pull Quote If you tell any retailer, ‘Hey, I can give you two to three days of added time to sell through fruits,’ that’s a game-changer. I think the industry became very critically aware that it needs more technologies like ours, not just that are sustainable and enhance shelf life but are operationally flexible … Topics Food & Agriculture Food Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Hazel’s small packages release natural chemicals to slow the ripening process of many fruits./ Courtesy of Hazel

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Upstart Hazel finds cachet for innovative sachets that extend produce shelf life

Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

November 17, 2020 by  
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The Gare Maritime railway station in Brussels has seen a huge transformation. The building, formerly one of Europe’s largest railway stations for goods, has been renovated into a new city district shopping and event development made of cross-laminated timber. Reimagined as a multi-purpose public space for companies and events, the building is covered entirely in  wood  and highlights sustainable architectural practices such as solar energy and rainwater collection systems. According to the architects at Neutelings Riedijk, the structure is the largest  cross-laminated timber  project in Europe. Architects added a series of 12 new building volumes to accommodate a new program of 45,000 square meters. Along with the existing halls, roofs and side aisles, the new design creates a structure that mimics a small city with streets and parks. Related: Sweden’s tallest timber building could save 550 tons of CO2 The choice of wood came down to sustainability and weight, as a concrete construction would have been five times heavier. Cross-laminated timber with a facade finishing in oak offered the perfect solution to create a prefabricated and dry construction method with shorter building time. As a result, the design features demountable connections and modular wooden building elements to promote sustainability. The central space is reserved for public events and contains a green walking boulevard on both sides. Routes measure 16 meters wide, giving pedestrians plenty of room to enjoy the spacious inner garden complete with a hundred trees. Overall, the space includes a total of 10 gardens based on four themes: woodland, flowers, grass and fragrance. As Brussels enjoys a Mediterranean climate, designers chose plants that adapt to the specific growing conditions. The Gare Maritime also remains completely energy neutral and fossil-free thanks to glass facades and solar cells, with a total area of 17,000 square meters of roof space dedicated to  solar panels . The building uses geothermal energy and a rainwater collection system to water the massive gardens. + Neutelings Riedijk Architects Via ArchDaily Photo: Filip Dujardin/Sarah Blee/Tim Fisher | © Neutelings Riedijk Architects

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How the digital wave is contributing to the rise of sustainable fisheries

November 12, 2020 by  
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How the digital wave is contributing to the rise of sustainable fisheries Myisha Majumder Thu, 11/12/2020 – 02:03 World fish consumption has almost doubled between the 1960s and now, and some estimates suggest fish contributes to at least 50 percent of total animal protein intake in developing nations. Despite higher demand for seafood and fish, world reserves have not kept up, and aquaculture is becoming more common as a result. Aquaculture uses techniques of breeding marine species in all types of water environments as a means to supplement seafood demand. The practice comes with many advantages, including reducing the dependence on wild-caught species, but also raises environmental concerns, which some industry experts are trying to address with up-and-coming technologies such as analytics, blockchain, artificial intelligence and the internet of things. Jennifer Kemmerly, vice president of global ocean initiatives at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, said a focus on sustainability is necessary in the field, as 3 billion people rely on seafood, and 60 million people rely on the seafood industry for their livelihood. But this demand comes with noticeable problems, Kemmerly observed during a breakout session during VERGE 20 in late October. “There’s a lot of overfishing, or depleted fish stocks on the wild side of capture fisheries. There is illegality and mismanagement traceability back to the source of where the seafood is coming from, even whether it is farmed or wild… There are environmental issues and concerns that need to be dealt with,” she said. Kristina Furnes, global communications manager for Grieg Seafood, an international seafood company in Norway, British Columbia and Shetland specializing in fresh Atlantic salmon, said fish farming is complex. “It actually takes between 2.5 to three years to farm salmon, [which is] quite a long production period compared to, for example, chicken, which maybe takes like one or two months,” she said. Part of this farming process occurs in freshwater facilities on land and the other part occurs at sea. The process becomes even more complex with the introduction of sustainable practices, as fisheries strive to reduce impact on nature and improve fish welfare. “We have to cut carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, and we have to find new ways to think more in line with the circular economy,” Furnes said. Data and digital technologies can play a big role in helping out the process, said Furnes and her fellow VERGE 20 panelists. At Grieg Seafood, data analytics are being used to reduce the company’s feed conversion ratio, typically the amount of feed given over the amount of weight gained by the livestock, she said. One operational center can support all the different farms in that region, and with them, decision-making support as we call it, so we don’t think that digital tools will ever replace the fantastic guys on the farm. Although technological advances can assist in making fishery practices more sustainable, Furnes emphasized the importance of long histories of fishing communities. She believes that well-established farmers who have “grown up with the ocean” have had the experience-based learning crucial for decision-making. Furnes does not see technology as a way to replace humans in the process, but rather to assist, through the creation of operational centers in the Grieg Seafood infrastructure. “One operational center can support all the different farms in that region, and with them, decision-making support as we call it, so we don’t think that digital tools will ever replace the fantastic guys on the farm. But the idea is that it will help them to make better decisions,” she said. Among the sources of information Grieg uses to inform decisions include sensors and cameras to gather environmental data and monitor equipment on the farms. Another area where data analytics can be used to help fisheries is through early detection of potential damages. Furnes offered the example of harmful algae blooms that can damage the salmon by decreasing levels of oxygen. In Grieg Seafood’s British Columbia center, the company uses machine learning models to predict the probability of algae blooms. If the model warns of such an event, the company puts into place protective barriers through use of upwelling systems, which is simply taking water from further down in the ocean and increasing the overall height. Blockchain also could play a role in supporting the sustainable evolution of aquaculture, said Espen Braathe, head of blockchain transparency efforts in Europe for IBM, who believes IBM’s preexisting blockchain network for the food market in Europe can be implemented in some way. Braathe said data analytics about the condition of fish farms is appealing to consumers as well. “We expect information to be at our fingertips and we expect to have the truth about food… You want to feel good about you know the food that we eat, and we want to make sure it’s healthy right for us as well,” he said. In Braathe’s opinion, consumers are looking for the connection that once ago existed between the consumer and the farmer. It is possible to recreate this relationship through digital connections, he said. Although it is clear that usage of data can benefit the sustainability of fisheries, the industry will need to overcome certain barriers, according to the panelists. “The data is there, it resides in silos, but the quality of the data is not always to the point where you can actually use it [for analytics],” Braathe said. Furnes echoed this statement, and said some sort of streamlining across the industry and within individual companies is necessary to efficiently use the large amounts of data gathered. “There is a need for a standard in the industry on how you actually collect data… Ensuring that you actually have quality data that you are collecting that you can actually use for something and compare is really big,” she said. Adopting such practices hopefully will come with time, as global consumption of seafood likely will continue to rise and have an impact on the surrounding climate and environment. Kemmerly sees great potential in the role of technology in the solutions. “The challenges are not insurmountable. Technology has proven it can play a powerful role in enabling the sustainability and improved management of both fisheries and aquaculture,” she said. Pull Quote One operational center can support all the different farms in that region, and with them, decision-making support as we call it, so we don’t think that digital tools will ever replace the fantastic guys on the farm. Topics Oceans & Fisheries VERGE 20 Digitalization 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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Kamp C hits a milestone with largest 3D-printer for concrete

November 2, 2020 by  
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Belgium-based provincial Centre for Sustainability and Innovation in construction, Kamp C, recently used Europe’s largest 3D concrete printer to complete an impressive accomplishment. The company created the world’s first two-story house to be  3D-printed  in one piece, a 90-square meter dwelling measuring eight meters tall (the average size of terraced houses in the region). “What makes this house so unique, is that we printed it with a fixed 3D concrete printer,” Emiel Ascione, the project manager at Kamp C, said in a press release. “Other houses that were printed around the world only have one floor. In many cases, the components were printed in a factory and were assembled on-site. We, however, printed the entire building envelope in one piece on-site.” Related: Czech Republic’s first 3D-printed floating home will take just 48 hours to build The project’s goal is to raise interest in 3D concrete printing as a building technique in the Belgian construction industry. The industry, like many others, continues to face environmental challenges from material and energy consumption, producing the need for reduced  CO2 emissions  and waste streams despite the growing demand for high-quality, affordable housing. This first house serves as a test that researchers will monitor for solidity over time. In the future, the company hopes to get printing time down from three weeks to just under two days. Kamp C’s printed home is three times sturdier than those built with conventional quick build bricks, according to the company’s project manager. The printing technology saved an estimated 60% on material, time and budget, requiring less wire-mesh reinforcement than similar projects. Highlighting the principle of  circular architecture , the design accommodates multipurpose options from use as a house, meeting space, office or exhibition space. The model home includes an overhang with heavily curved walls and features  low-energy  capabilities with floor and ceiling heating, solar panels in the facade and a heat pump. Future designs will include a green roof. + Kamp C Via Apartment Therapy    Images © Kamp C

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Kamp C hits a milestone with largest 3D-printer for concrete

The environmental impact of used car exports

October 30, 2020 by  
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Environmentalists usually promote reuse . But sometimes reusing does more harm than good. Such is the case with many of the used vehicles exported to poorer countries, according to a new report released by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). According to the report, between 2015 and 2018, 14 million secondhand light-duty vehicles were exported around the world. Light duty vehicles include sedans, SUVs and minibuses. Many of these came from the U.S., Japan and Europe, and 80% wound up in low- and middle-income countries. Africa received the majority of these used vehicles. Related: No new gas-powered cars by 2035, California governor says Unfortunately, many of these cars are poorly made or in bad shape. As they spew emissions from Addis Ababa to Dhaka, they make it even harder for economically stressed countries to mitigate climate change effects. The answer? More regulations about exactly which cars are worthy of staying on the road, and which should drive (or be towed) straight to the junkyard. “Cleaning up the global vehicle fleet is a priority to meet global and local air quality and climate targets,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP’s executive director. “The lack of effective standards and regulation is resulting in the dumping of old, polluting and unsafe vehicles. Developed countries must stop exporting vehicles that fail environment and safety inspections and are no longer considered roadworthy in their own countries, while importing countries should introduce stronger quality standards.” The report studied 146 countries, concluding that two-thirds had weak or very weak policies about importing used vehicles. However, countries that imposed stricter regulations scored better imports. For example, because Morocco only accepts vehicles that meet European emission standards and are less than five years old, it gets some of the best used cars. In addition to the 40% of used vehicles bound for Africa, 24% went to Eastern Europe, 15% to Asia-Pacific, 12% to the Middle East and 9% to Latin America. Vehicles are responsible for nearly a quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions globally. + UNEP Image via Shilin Wang

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The environmental impact of used car exports

Architects propose a massive forest park to be the Green Lungs of Hanoi

October 30, 2020 by  
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Air pollution has become a major problem in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, that was ranked the seventh capital city with the highest average annual PM 2.5 concentration by the 2019 World Air Report. In a bid to improve air quality while encouraging healthier lifestyles, local architecture firm ODDO Architects has embarked on an ambitious project to transform the tail end of the city’s Banana Island into a 26-hectare subtropical alluvial forest with recreational activities. Dubbed the Green Lungs of Hanoi, the proposed design is based on a 15-year plan for developing a lush canopy with mature trees measuring 8 to 15 meters tall. Located close to the city center, Banana Island is a 7-kilometer-long island that is largely undeveloped and unoccupied. According to the architects’ site study, the island suffers from inefficient land use, lack of management and illegal land usage that’s tied to poor living conditions for families who live there without access to clean water or electricity. With “Green Lungs of Hanoi,” the architects want to turn the island into a welcoming green space for the public with forest trails, pedestrian bridges and recreational activities that emphasize connections with nature. Related: Fruit trees grow on the roofs of this rammed earth home in Hanoi To realize their vision that they’ve developed over the past 1.5 years, the architects plan to work closely with the local government and community to recruit a team of volunteers of all ages to plant native trees and oversee long-term maintenance. The project also aims to raise awareness of the region’s endangered bird species, which have dwindled in recent years. In addition to providing an attractive green respite for Hanoi citizens, the architects hope to create a biodiverse habitat to increase local fauna populations. “The alluvial soil on the island also poses an issue regarding flooding and landslides due to its softness,” the architects noted of one of the project challenges. “However with semi-aquatic tree species like the one Green Lungs proposes, the land surrounding the river will be reinforced and become much stronger: preventing landslides from occurring. The location of Banana Island is extremely favorable for a green space. With its large area, and central location, it acts as Hanoi’s Lungs — purifying the air quality but also reviving an ecosystem, attracting new biodiversity and becoming a valuable and rich alluvial forest amidst the city.” + ODDO Architects Images via ODDO Architects

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Architects propose a massive forest park to be the Green Lungs of Hanoi

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