PHOTOS: Sacramento Kings’ new LEED Platinum solar-powered arena

October 4, 2016 by  
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California’s capital city just completed the world’s most environmentally sustainable arena, and Inhabitat was in town to tour the LEED Platinum solar-powered home of the Kings NBA basketball franchise. The Golden 1 Credit Union Center is the first indoor sports venue to earn LEED Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the highest designation possible. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the first professional sports venue to be completely powered by solar energy is the 1.2 megawatt rooftop solar array that will provide 15 percent of the arena’s electricity with the rest coming from the 11 MW Rancho Seco solar farm located 40 miles from the arena. The Kings partnered with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) on the solar farm that combined with the rooftop solar array will cut nearly 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Kings President Chris Granger gave a tour of the arena’s sustainability features to journalists gathered in Sacramento for the Society of Environmental Journalists conference. He explained that the arena’s design is intended to be “uniquely Sacramento.” The Kings organization surveyed 20,000 people about what makes Sacramento unique. The city is known as America’s “Farm to Fork Capital” (the Farm to Fork Festival was taking place around the city during our tour) so 90 percent of the arena’s food is sourced from within 150 miles of the venue. Golden 1 Center Executive Chef Michael Tuohy told the reporters gathered that the arena’s kitchen is teaming up with a local group called California Safe Soil to recycle food waste  into liquid fertilizer. Related: Giant green pyramid rises in Paris – the AccorHotels Arena The arena features a unique heating and cooling system , called “displacement ventilation,” that utilizes passive climate controlled air. Five 40-foot tall airport-sized hangar doors can open and naturally cool the arena with Sacramento’s “Delta Breeze,” a wind coming from the southwest, off of The Delta of the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River, that at night can cool the city by as much as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. When 17,500 Kings fans take their seats they might feel cool air at their feet. That’s because there are strategically placed vents underneath the seats that efficiently cool the arena from the bottom up. The air conditioning unit’s location beneath the seating bowl avoids cool air from the top colliding with the warmer air created by the body heat of thousands of ticket holders, wasting energy. The $556.5 million arena also includes ultra low-flow plumbing that captures grey water to irrigate the plaza. According to the Kings, the water conservation efforts will result in a 45 percent reduction in use over what California code requires. There are also living wall gardens lining the exterior of the arena consisting of local plants and edibles that are watered via a drip irrigation system from water runoff collected from the roof. When asked, Granger estimated that around 15 percent of visitors will walk, bike or take public transit to games. There are five Sacramento Regional Transit light rail stations within walking distance of the arena, including the 7th and K Streets stop a block from the venue. The arena also offers bike valet and there are bicycle racks surrounding the building. Sacramento is considering starting up a bike sharing system with a pilot program scheduled to begin in the spring of 2017. In addition to environmental sustainability, Golden 1 Center is the most technologically advanced  sports arena in the world. Kings Chairman Vivek Ranadive has described the venue as “the Tesla of arenas.” High-tech features include smart turnstiles to speed up entry into the arena; a smartphone app to order food, request an Uber ride or find the shortest line for the restroom; a high-speed WiFi network with 1,000 access points; and the world’s largest indoor scoreboard and world’s first 4K Ultra HD video board. Spanning more than 84 feet, the total length of the video board will extend nearly the entire basketball court. + Golden 1 Center Photos by Josh Marks

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PHOTOS: Sacramento Kings’ new LEED Platinum solar-powered arena

Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane en route to Cuba

October 4, 2016 by  
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Late season hurricanes can be just as forceful as mid-summer storms, and Hurricane Matthew is no exception. The storm made landfall on Haiti’s southwestern coast early Tuesday morning as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145 mph. Haiti officials are bracing for the worst as high winds and storm surges threaten the impoverished nation, where homes are not typically built to withstand such an event. Still moving on its north-northwesterly path, Hurricane Matthew will continue to batter Haiti over the course of the day before heading toward the eastern coast of Cuba late this afternoon. Although many Atlantic hurricanes suffer a loss of energy when making landfall, Hurricane Matthew hasn’t slowed its pace, in part due to the small size of the islands it is traveling over. This is Haiti’s strongest hurricane in nearly a decade, and after a long reprieve, local officials are concerned that residents have become complacent about hurricane preparation. Rather than stocking up on essentials like food, bottled water, and batteries, some fear that many residents will be ill-equipped to handle the full extent of Hurricane Matthew’s visit to the struggling nation. So far, one Haitian fisherman has drowned in the storm surge, but no other major damage has been reported. Related: Earthquake-resistant orphanage is a welcoming ray of hope in Haiti The people of Haiti are still struggling to recover from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook the nation’s capital city of Port-au-Prince in 2010. That disaster killed 230,000 people and caused millions of dollars in damage to buildings and infrastructure. The island nation’s last major disaster was Hurricane Sandy in 2012 which did not make landfall in Haiti, but grazed it closely enough that the high winds and torrential rains killed 75 people and left $250 million in damages in its wake. The disaster kicked off a cholera outbreak that infected some 5,000 people in one of the nation’s largest public health emergencies in history. The National Hurricane Center in Miami is keeping a close eye on the powerful storm, which is on track to tickle Cuba’s eastern coast, which is sparsely populated. Hurricane Matthew is then expected to travel north over the Bahamas where the storm is predicted to lose some power and drop to a Category 3. The storm’s path then leads it northward off the east coast of Florida until potentially makes landfall in southern North Carolina this weekend. Via USA Today Images via National Hurricane Center

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Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane en route to Cuba

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