Utility giant aims to build America’s biggest wind farm paid for by customers

March 30, 2018 by  
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One of the United States’ biggest electric utilities, American Electric Power (AEP) is planning to build a two-gigawatt wind farm – and they want consumers to pay for it. Bloomberg reports that the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection project could serve people in four states. People in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana could get power from AEP’s massive wind farm sprawling over 300,000 acres in the Oklahoma Panhandle. But Bloomberg said there’s a battle mounting over the project: AEP hopes to obtain up-front guarantees from regulators that consumers will foot the bill. Utilities have used the financial model of putting costs and a profit into customers’ bills to construct coal, nuclear, or natural gas power plants. But according to Bloomberg, AEP is pushing the limits by requesting permission to employ the strategy from regulators in four states. Related: Conservative billionaire to build America’s largest wind farm Critics say consumers could be saddled with the bill should the project fall apart. An Oklahoma administrative law judge advised regulators in February to reject the request. Bloomberg New Energy Finance wind power analyst Alex Morgan said that the industry — hoping to grow with the model — could take a hit if AEP fails. If they are unsuccessful, she said the next step might be smaller projects. The Wind Catcher website states that farm “is expected to bring approximately $300 million to local communities in property taxes over the life of the project and provide a cost savings of $7 billion over 25 years for customers. The project will support approximately 4,000 direct and 4,400 indirect jobs annually during construction and 80 permanent jobs once operational.” Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy scored approval in 2016 to recover costs on a $3.6 billion wind project, according to Bloomberg. It could be as large as two gigawatts, making it around the size of Wind Catcher. The difference is that a group of small wind farms on several sites comprises the MidAmerican Energy project, whereas AEP’s project is one huge wind farm. + Wind Catcher Energy Connection Via Bloomberg Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Utility giant aims to build America’s biggest wind farm paid for by customers

Intuits new green-roofed campus is an indoor/outdoor dream office

March 30, 2018 by  
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Intuit’s new Marine Way Building (MWB) in Mountain View , California, aims to become an antidote to the trend of building insular campuses across Silicon Valley. To achieve this goal,  WRNS Studio and Clive Wilkinson Architects joined forces and designed a human-centered, urban-minded workplace that connects to both nature and the public realm. The development comprises two new office buildings and two new parking structures as major additions to Intuit’s existing campus, originally developed in the 1980s as a suburban office park. It offers 185,400 square feet of office spaces distributed across four floors. The large floor plates, which accommodate a variety of places for people to collaborate, concentrate, socialize, and reflect, are organized into human-scaled neighborhoods and connected by clear circulation. The building also features a café, living rooms, bike facilities, showers, and terraces that spin off of the main atrium, which opens onto the campus’s main internal street. Offering expansive views of the bay and an indoor/outdoor workplace experience, large terraces also help knit the campus together. Related: Google and BIG unveil plans for green-roofed tech campus in Sunnyvale The project targets LEED Platinum , thanks to its design strategies that enhance resource efficiency, expand the natural habitat, ensure good indoor environmental quality, reduce water consumption and waste, and enable the expanded use of transit options. This is aided by the building’s  green roofs , themselves part of a comprehensive landscape plan that includes naturalized wetland bio-filtration areas and natural planted areas to help sustain local salt marsh and grassland biome species. + WRNS Studio + Clive Wilkinson Architects Photos by Jeremy Bittermann

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Intuits new green-roofed campus is an indoor/outdoor dream office

7 ways to navigate the complicated new climate disclosure maze

March 22, 2018 by  
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It’s been almost a year since the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) released voluntary guidelines designed to help companies, investors, banks and insurers better understand and react to the complex climate risks affecting financial markets.

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7 ways to navigate the complicated new climate disclosure maze

Morgan Stanley finds ‘record levels’ of ESG investors

August 18, 2017 by  
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A new survey by the financial firm finds that an ‘overwhelming majority’ of active investors are interested in sustainable investing.

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Morgan Stanley finds ‘record levels’ of ESG investors

The three ‘trip factors’ of climate risk

June 1, 2017 by  
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Companies need to spend more time thinking about how climate and environment are going to affect the financial performance of the company, says Lucy Nottingham, director of Marsh & McLennan’s global risk center.

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Nonprofit teaches communities how to build homes out of straw, clay and soil

May 31, 2017 by  
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Emily Niehaus was working as a loan officer when she see realized that there was a need for affordable, sustainable housing options in her community. So she founded Community Rebuilds – a nonprofit that teaches people to build affordable homes out of “dirt cheap” materials like clay , straw and soil . Interns participate in a 5-month program, completing two homes from foundation to finish using sustainable living principles. Community Rebuilds started in Moab, UT as a way to ease the financial strains of people living in the community. Since then, the project has spread to southwestern Colorado and the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. The initiative has constructed 25 homes in four communities with the goal of expanding knowledge about valuable natural building skills across the US. Homes are built out of natural materials like straw, soil and clay using passive design techniques. They are equipped with green tech like solar arrays and sustainable features like adobe floors, earthen plasters and greywater systems. Related: Navajo mum gets new lease on life with this solar-powered home The first home was built in 2010, and since then the internship has evolved to include 16 people over a five-month term. Interns build two homes from the ground up. In exchange for their labor they get housing, food and an invaluable education in sustainable building. + Community Rebuilds  

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Nonprofit teaches communities how to build homes out of straw, clay and soil

3 ways to help your board get wiser about sustainability

May 4, 2017 by  
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Corporate directors are under more pressure than ever to understand the financial and operational risks that climate change poses. Here’s how your company can take action.

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More big investors are taking action on climate risks

May 3, 2017 by  
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In a reversal from a year ago, data shows that the financial industry is far more attuned to carbon footprints, stranded assets and climate impact risks — but the U.S. lags.

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More big investors are taking action on climate risks

Floating bridge transforms a crumbling historic Boston bridge into a moving event space

October 5, 2016 by  
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Originally built in 1908, the Northern Avenue Bridge spans Fort Point Channel, connecting the financial district with a blossoming tech center. The bridge was designed to pivot on a concrete drum to allow boats to pass, an engineering innovation that made the bridge an icon of its era. The bridge is currently closed to the public, due to its poor condition. PLA now proposes transforming the historic structure into a floating bridge that would crisscross the harbor. The proposal envisions tethering the bridge at the pier at Spectacle Island during the summer, and in the fall and spring, the floating bridge could dock in the Charlestown Navy Yard. The floating bridge could also serve as additional event space square footage during festival seasons. Related: Paul Lukez Architecture and team are designing a self-sustaining resilient coastal community near Boston PLA has confirmed with a structural engineer that the existing bridge, although not suitable for use in its current state, could be refurbished as part of the adaptive reuse project. A floating version of the bridge could be towed or motor-propelled, and the proposal includes the installation of solar panels wrapping its upper members to create a canopy while generating renewable energy. As is the case with so many PLA projects, this proposal was produced by an interdisciplinary team of designers, architects, and engineers assembled specifically for this project. In addition to Lukez himself, other contributors include Tania Bronsoiler, Josh McDonald, Matt Uminski, Andrew Luy, Darquin Fortuna, and structural engineer Jennifer McClain of RSE Associates, Inc . Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh, along with the Boston Society of Architects/AIA (BSA), hosted a design competition earlier in the year, calling for ideas to repurpose the existing bridge. The winning design suggests turning the bridge into a permanent botanical garden and greenhouse for pedestrian travel only. Other proposals include transforming the bridge into a hotel, an underground tunnel with a glass roof, and an updated take on the original rotating bridge design. + Paul Lukez Architecture Images via Paul Lukez Architecture except existing bridge photo by Peter Vanderwarker

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Floating bridge transforms a crumbling historic Boston bridge into a moving event space

Rehabilitated Longroiva’s Hotel & Thermal Spa blends into the countryside of northeast Portugal

October 5, 2016 by  
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The thermal baths are located in Mêda, a municipality in northeast Portugal, and go back to Roman times. Built in the late 19th century, the existing Thermal Spa was rehabilitated to accommodate 17 rooms and various common areas where guests can meet and socialize. A walkway connects the existing building to the addition, which comprises five room modules built along the slope, with several gathering spaces in between them. Related: Thermal Pool Wrapped With a Living Wall Service areas and 10 new bungalows are located above the rooms. By combining traditional references and modern architecture, the development establishes a dialogue with its natural surroundings while providing its guests with a contemporary facility. + Rebelo de Andrade Via Archdaily Photos by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

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Rehabilitated Longroiva’s Hotel & Thermal Spa blends into the countryside of northeast Portugal

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