Infographic: Create an Indoor Fragrant Herb Garden

January 19, 2021 by  
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A fragrant herb garden is a great addition to any … The post Infographic: Create an Indoor Fragrant Herb Garden appeared first on Earth 911.

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Infographic: Create an Indoor Fragrant Herb Garden

A micro-house offers a formerly homeless resident both privacy and connection

January 15, 2021 by  
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Austin-based Mckinney York Architects has completed its second micro-house for the Community First! Village , a program by Mobile Loaves & Fishes to uplift people experiencing chronic homelessness in Austin with affordable, sustainable tiny homes. As with the firm’s first project for the community, Mckinney York Architects teamed up with Bailey Eliot Construction to design, underwrite and build a permanent new home for a Community First! resident. Located 20 minutes east of downtown Austin , the two-phased Community First! Village is a transformative residential program with 51 acres of affordable, permanent housing and community for residents who were formerly homeless. The first phase of the program kicked off with Tiny Victories 1.0, a 2014 design competition hosted by AIA Austin and Mobile Loaves & Fishes that invited firms to design minimalist and sustainable one-person shelters no larger than 200 square feet. In fall 2018, the program moved forward with Phase II by adding 24 more acres of development for a total of over 500 tiny homes along with new amenities such as community gardens, outdoor kitchens and a welcome center. Related: Community First! provides affordable, permanent micro-housing Building on its experience with Phase 1 Tiny Victories, Mckinney York Architects began the Tiny Victories 2.0 project by speaking with current and future Community First! Village residents to determine design needs. The firm was assigned to design a custom tiny home for a “Seed Neighbor,” a woman who lived in Phase 1 of the development and would be “transplanted” to Phase II. In working closely with the client, the architects crafted a home that respected her desires for privacy without compromising a sense of community. For example, instead of large windows, the architects installed a screened porch in the front corner of the home that can be opened up to the neighborhood or closed off when more solitude is desired. The tiny house is topped with a butterfly roof that harvests rainwater for irrigating the garden, and the cozy interior is lined with knotty pine paneling. + Mckinney York Architects Photography by Leonid Fermansky via Mckinney York Architects

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Families turn old police station into sustainable co-housing

January 1, 2021 by  
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Belgian design firm  Polygoon Architectuur  and Jouri De Pelecijn Architect have brought to life the dream of four local families: a sustainable collaborative housing project that maintains sufficient privacy while providing shared functions. Dubbed Living Apart Together, the four-unit co-housing development is located within a former police station in  Antwerp . The adaptive reuse project emphasizes sustainable design by integrating energy-efficient systems, renewable materials and a green roof. Located within cycling distance of the city center, the Living Apart Together project features shared bicycle storage as well as  car-sharing . As a result, the area along the street side that was originally dedicated to paved parking spaces has now been transformed into a front garden with lush greenery for the benefit of both the inhabitants and the surrounding neighborhood.  The architecture studio converted the former Antwerp police station into four equal-sized family units that are segmented with an extra dividing wall that bisects the original middle bay. Since the environmentally friendly design was a construction goal from the very beginning, the architects took care to preserve the building’s internal arrangement as well as the  brickwork  architecture seen on the front facade. Though each dwelling is roughly the same size, each unit features a slightly different structure; the outer units, for example, include an extra extension on the first floor.  Related: Zaha Hadid Architects turn an old fire station into a sparkling port headquarters for Antwerp In addition to reusing existing materials, the architects crafted the co-housing project with a materials palette comprised mainly of renewable resources such as wood and cellulose. The multi-family residence also includes a  green roof  and rainwater harvesting systems, as well as solar water heaters to reduce the property’s environmental footprint. Garage boxes that were located in the original courtyard have also been demolished to create a spacious common garden viewable from the residents’ dining rooms, adding “a breath of fresh air in busy Deurne.” + Polygoon Architectuur Images © Frederik Beyens, Jessy van der Werff and Stijn Bollaert

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Families turn old police station into sustainable co-housing

Welcoming Winter Wildlife

December 31, 2020 by  
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Watching butterflies and birds or spotting a rabbit contribute as … The post Welcoming Winter Wildlife appeared first on Earth 911.

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Bangkoks Mega Park reimagines mega-malls as green community hubs

December 18, 2020 by  
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Thai architecture firm Architectkidd has flipped the script on the typical Southeast Asian shopping mall with its completion of Mega Park, a nature-focused retail connection in Bangkok. Designed to connect the Megabangna shopping mall with a future mixed-use development, Mega Park was created to give the closed-off mega-mall a more “extroverted” character by encouraging visitors to go outdoors to enjoy a richly programmed public park that features a nature walk, a tree top walk and even an amphitheater. Mega Park’s white galvanized steel column structure can also double as a “green scaffold” for supporting vertical vegetation. Completed in 2019, the Mega Park is the newest large-scale addition to the Megabangna, the first low-rise super regional mall in Southeast Asia that was completed over a decade ago. Mega Park connects to the shopping mall with a steel elevated pathway inspired by the local footbridges and pedestrian pathways found across Bangkok . The galvanized steel columns, which measure 20 centimeters by 20 centimeters, are spaced a meter apart to provide sufficient support for the walkways, canopies and programming while allowing for generous views toward the lush, landscaped grounds. Related: Asia’s largest organic rooftop farm can grow 20 tons of food annually Universal design ramps are integrated throughout the park for a seamless transition between the skywalk and ground-level circulation. The ground-level circulation takes the shape of a winding red path that weaves through a variety of garden spaces planted with native tropical species, such as ironwood. Perennial plants provide food and habitat for local pollinators as well. “It has been over 10 years since the original shopping center was built housing the first IKEA in Thailand ,” the architects said. “Since then the retail and urban environment in South East Asia have evolved significantly. Architectkidd’s design brings a vision of change to the shopping center model as well as an opportunity to experiment with new approaches that combine the commercial with community and the public.”  + Architectkidd Photography by WWorkspace, Ketsiree Wongwan and Panoramic Studio via Architectkidd

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Nestlé digs deeper into regenerative ag, puts $3.6B behind net-zero plan

December 7, 2020 by  
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Nestlé digs deeper into regenerative ag, puts $3.6B behind net-zero plan Heather Clancy Mon, 12/07/2020 – 02:00 The world’s largest food company, Nestlé, last week said it plans to spend roughly $3.6 billion over the next five years to meet its net-zero by 2050 aspirations. But CEO Mark Schneider took pains to position this investment as one that will be “earnings-neutral.” Speaking during a virtual media briefing detailing its ambitious new climate plan — which includes an interim goal of halving its baseline of 92 million metric tons in annual greenhouse gas emission by 2030 — Schneider said many of its investments would be offset by operational and structural efficiencies. Nestlé will discuss its climate-related progress and investments on an ongoing basis, with the long-term view in mind. Schneider noted that at least 50 percent of the company’s shareholders have owned their positions for more than four years. “It’s not only about the next quarter, it’s about what’s happening down the road,” he said. That said, “all of this should never be an excuse for a short-term miss.” Currently, some of Nestlé’s managers have incentives aligned to meeting climate actions as part of their compensation. Moving forward, the entire executive team will have part of their pay tied to these metrics to ensure that “they have teeth,” Schneider said. Media Source Courtesy of Media Authorship GreenBiz Close Authorship Almost one-third of the money that Nestlé intends to invest will be dedicated to cultivating regenerative agricultural practices that improve soil health and reduce dependence on synthetic fertilizer across 500,000-plus farms from which Nestlé sources ingredients. Nestle intends to pay those farmers, as well as 150,000 other ingredient suppliers, a premium for adopting these techniques in a verifiable way. “Our actions will boost demand,” Schneider said during the briefing. “We will create the market for these ingredients.” The remaining money will be used to support the company’s goal of planting 20 million trees per year over the next decade in areas where it sources its ingredients and in completing the company’s transition to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025. Nestlé has pledged that its sources of “key” commodities, including palm and soy, will be deforestation-free by 2022. (It’s at 90 percent currently.) During the briefing, Schneider and several other executives underscored the weight of consumers’ increasing expectation that brands work to reduce the carbon footprint of their products. In the short term, this might be a differentiator but over time “all companies and brands are heading in this direction,” said Nestlé global CMO Aude Gandon. That said, Nestlé is aggressively expanding its plant-based product portfolio — it has 300 scientists working on dairy alternatives alone — with brands such as Garden Gourmet (burger and sausage alternatives), Sweet Earth Foods (burritos and breakfast sandwiches) and Sensational Vuna (its first fish alternative).  Here are three other noteworthy components of Nestlé’s evolving strategy, formulated to support the company’s commitment to the United Nations “Business Ambition for 1.5 Degrees C” pledge in September 2019: A plan to switch the company’s entire global vehicle fleet to “lower emission options” by 2022. A deeper commitment to biodiversity, through a multicropping initiative and the use of more grain varieties (such as spelt and oats) in its recipes. A pledge to pay more for recycled “food grade” plastic in order to help stimulate demand. (It actually made this commitment back in January to source up to 2 million tons by 2025, and allocated $2.24 billion to support those intentions.)  Cornell economics and management professor Chris Barrett predicted that Nestlé’s new strategy — as well as moves announced earlier this year by Unilever — would have a ripple effect among suppliers and competitors across the food system. “The actions of big firms carry disproportionate importance,” Barrett said in a statement. “Their multi-billion-dollar investments are significant in their own right. But those actions especially matter because market leaders compel other firms to follow suit. The contractual terms they set for their suppliers and the expectations they raise among consumers will impact other food manufacturers, retailers and restaurant chains.” Topics Food & Agriculture Food Systems Regenerative Agriculture Renewable Energy Procurement Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Pictures of a recipes made with the Sensational Burger from Garden Gourmet. Courtesy of Nestlé Close Authorship

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Nestlé digs deeper into regenerative ag, puts $3.6B behind net-zero plan

Intergenerational living community in France upholds passive design principles

November 12, 2020 by  
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Supported by Studio Losa Architects and the Centre Communal d’Action Sociale (CCAS) of Clermont-Ferrand, one of France’s largest social action community centers, Clos des Vignes, is an intergenerational and inclusive village made with passive design principles. The ambitious project incorporates 40 units within eight buildings and a multifunctional hall in the city of Clermont-Ferrand in central France . The community serves as a home for independent seniors, people who receive public assistance and people with disabilities. Following studies conducted by the CCAS of Clermont-Ferrand aimed at discovering optimal housing designs for seniors to supplement assisted living facilities, a need was found for promoting home support while preserving social life. Additionally, the study found that older communities must prioritize self-reliance and support among the residents to protect quality of life, all while limiting building energy consumption to reach a passive level. Related: This nature-filled community is a smart housing solution for Singapore’s aging population Of the 40 units, half are one-bedrooms and half are two-bedrooms. Thirty of the units are reserved for seniors while the remaining 10 are intended for students or young couples. Views of the region’s famous Puy de Dôme volcano and Monts du Livradois-Forez nature preserve serve as an inspiration for new lifestyles and renewed physical and mental energy for the village inhabitants. All of the units and public garden spaces are accessible to those with reduced mobility. The housing complex also incorporates smart home management with automation of certain amenities and tablets linked to provide direct access to a CCAS platform for car, services and group activities. The design features vegetable gardens and walking paths, with 4,000 square meters of grounds open to the public in the day and closed at nightfall to be enjoyed exclusively by residents. Ground coverings are chosen for high resistance outside while low-maintenance and high-performing interior insulation regulates the thermal and acoustic environment of the interior. Solar panels produce energy for water and space heating to add to passive house design principles, and the structures utilize a combination of steel and concrete in construction. + Studio LOSA Photography by Nicolas Grosmond via aR. Communication

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Briiv air purifier uses renewable materials to naturally clean indoor air

October 29, 2020 by  
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U.K.-based Briiv has claimed to have created the world’s most sustainable air purifier . The design features a natural, compostable air filter made from the micro-structures of renewable materials , giving it the purifying power of 3,043 medium-sized houseplants. The air purifier requires almost no maintenance, so busy or traveling owners don’t have to worry about watering or trimming like regular houseplants. Everyday, tiny particles and harmful gases are released into our homes through things like cooking, lighting fireplaces, using cleaning products and playing with pets. These pollutants are linked to increased risk of respiratory conditions, poor cognitive function and sleep disruption. Briiv uses the power of plants to filter harmful pollutants out naturally without the use of plastic filters. Related: Sead Pod offers grassroots solution to air pollution and global warming The innovative, four-layered filter is made using a combination of sustainably sourced dried moss, natural coconut husk fiber, activated charcoal and wool. Astino wool is the same chosen by NASA for its spacecraft air filtration for its natural ability to remove harmful bacteria and particles while fighting off airborne viruses. The 100% natural filter removes harmful toxins, animal dander, VOCs, mold spores and fine particles from an average-sized living room in about 30 minutes. It is completely plastic-free and meant to return to the earth at the end of its life, degrading into the soil of your garden or in your compost pile within a matter of months. With the look of a high-tech miniature terrarium, this minimalist device is aesthetically pleasing enough to fit pretty much anywhere, from apartment shelves to office desks and everywhere in between. The filter can even be connected to smart home devices through Alexa and Google integration, so you can control it remotely. Briiv also comes with a user-friendly app to automatically track your filter usage, so you don’t have to guess about when it’s time to change it. The project is now live on Indiegogo after a successful run on Kickstarter. + Briiv Via Yanko Design Images via Briiv

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Briiv air purifier uses renewable materials to naturally clean indoor air

Climate measures to watch for on the ballot

October 29, 2020 by  
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Based on the final presidential debate and the conversations that have been going in the media, this year’s presidential elections will be largely influenced by climate change . While the presidential candidates alone may not give you a clear picture of where the nation stands on clean energy and climate change, keeping your eyes on local ballot measures will. From Alaska’s oil tax to Denver’s climate tax, these measures will show us what the American people think about climate change. Unfortunately, the measures representing climate issues have fallen short this year, owing to the strain caused by the pandemic. For example, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo pulled a $3 billion emissions bond off the ballot, saying that it is not the right time. “The financial situation is unstable. I don’t think it would be financially prudent to do it at this time.” Cuomo told reporters. Related: Biden vs Trump on environmental issues and climate change Even though some critical measures have been left off of ballots in 2020, there are still several that stand out and are worth keeping an eye on. In Alaska, Measure 1 on the ballot could quadruple the taxes collected from oil companies if passed. In Denver, Colorado, Measure 2A seeks to raise local sales taxes and redirect the funds to greenhouse gas reduction programs. Similar to Denver, Long Beach, California has introduced Measure US, which would increase the tax on local oil production with the aim of raising $1.6 million annually. The money would be channeled to youth programs and a climate action plan . California has other climate-related measures on the ballot, including Berkeley’s Measure HH, which targets a 2.5% gas and electricity utility tax increase. The money would go toward combating carbon emissions . Another, Measure DD in Albany, California, also proposes an increase in electricity and gas utility taxes, with the funds going toward reducing pollution. Other issues showing up on ballots include the Columbus, Ohio Issue 1 and the Nevada Question 6. Issue 1 would “establish an Electric Aggregation Program, which would allow the city to aggregate the retail electrical load of customers within the city’s boundaries, and allowing customers to opt-out of the program.” On the other hand, Question 6 asks voters whether the state should provide half their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The outcome of these issues will be vital in indicating the thoughts of Americans about climate change and defining our collective response to the climate crisis. Keep an eye out for the results on these proposed measures, and if you haven’t already — vote! Via Grist Image via Tiffany Tertipes

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This luxurious home is a pollutant-free paradise and it’s for sale

October 1, 2020 by  
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Located in Norwalk, Connecticut, this recently listed pollutant-free home at 88 Old Saugatuck Road has been void of chemicals, insecticides and pesticides for more than 26 years. The house has been rebuilt to 100% green standards by the seller, an award-winning LEED AP interior designer specializing in sustainable luxury, green consulting and holistic homes. The house at 88 Old Saugatuck Road isn’t just an energy-efficient, green home built with non-toxic materials and finishes — it is also a stunning example of a residence with clean air . The indoor air is refreshed every 20 minutes with a specialized heat recovery ventilation system that exchanges indoor air with fresh outdoor air. The system filters out allergens like dust, pollen, mold, mites, dander and VOCs all while recovering up to 80% of the heating and cooling energy. There is even a whole house central vacuum system designed to prevent dust from going back into the air while vacuuming. Related: IKEA’s new air purifying curtain will decrease indoor pollutants Thoughtfully constructed with fewer natural resources to minimize its environmental impact , the house also has custom, FSC-certified solid rock maple cabinetry throughout. The cabinetry is free from interior particleboard and formaldehyde-based finishes. Additionally, the walls and trim are painted with no-VOC, water-based latex paint. During the remodel, when a wall was taken out between the original kitchen and living room, the design team reused the appliances in a lower-level catering kitchen rather than purchasing them new. The garage has a charging station for electric vehicles as well as an automatic air filtration system that activates for 20 minutes each time the car pulls in to filter harmful fumes. To reduce electromagnetic fields, there is metal-clad cable electric wiring used instead of non-metallic sheathing. For landscaping, the property’s 1.15 acres are planted with trees and pines to help filter out any car fumes from the street and organic, perennial gardens to promote less maintenance. A driveway storm drain filters pollutants before runoff can enter local waterways, and a five-ring meditation walkway can be found in the back garden . The 4,094-square-foot, single-family home has three bedrooms, three full baths and a two-car garage. + Coldwell Banker Images via Coldwell Banker

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