Scotland to become first country to test 100% green hydrogen

December 4, 2020 by  
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The U.K. has moved one step closer towards its net-zero carbon target by unveiling a plan to test 100% green hydrogen for cooking and heating in 300 Scottish homes, making Scotland the first country to do so. Ofgem, the U.K.’s energy regulator, announced this plan on Monday. According to Ofgem, Scottish gas company SGN will be responsible for fitting houses with hydrogen heating systems. SGN plans to start fitting houses in Fife with free hydrogen systems that families will use over the next three to four years. The ambitious project is a trial begun by the U.K. government to monitor the viability of using carbon-free hydrogen generated through electrolysis. Ofgem funded the project with $24 million as part of an innovation competition aimed at finding new green energy sources. The group also chipped in $17 million for tests on using the available natural gas pipes to safely transport hydrogen gas over long distances. According to Antony Green, the head of the National Grid, the U.K. must embrace green alternatives such as this carbon-free hydrogen. “If we truly want to reach a net zero de-carbonized future, we need to replace methane with green alternatives like hydrogen,” Green said. “Sectors such as heat are difficult to de-carbonize, and the importance of the gas networks to the UK’s current energy supply means projects like this are crucial if we are to deliver low carbon energy, reliably and safely to all consumers.” While hydrogen is a safe gas, it comes with its fair share of challenges. For instance, electrolysis is only 80% effective. This means that the hydrogen generation process wastes about 20% of the energy used. Even so, the U.K. considers hydrogen a viable energy alternative for the 85% of the U.K. homes still using a gas furnace for heating. As the U.K. explores hydrogen-based energy, automobile and appliance industries are also testing this gas. For example, Toyota recently released news of the second generation Mirai, a car that runs on hydrogen. + Engadget Image via Pixabay

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Green design meets glamping in Queenslands Lamington National Park

December 4, 2020 by  
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Located in Lamington National Park in Queensland,  Australia , O’Reilly’s Campground is a community center and campsite that features what the designers call “architectural ecotourism.” Sustainable building practices include minimally invasive and lightweight construction, passive solar access, sustainably sourced materials and more. The campground is designed to include visitors who want an authentic camping experience but don’t have the equipment. There are glamping safari tents available as well as powered RV campsites and unpowered, standard campsites for traditional camping. The guests who stay in safari-style tents can rent kits with bed linens and firewood and even have food delivered from the adjoining O’Reilly Rainforest Retreat. The campsite follows universal design principles for easy access to people who have disabilities. Related: Get away from it all in gorgeous solar-powered glamping tents in Australia Designed by Aspect Architecture, a firm from Kingscliff in New South Wales, Australia, the project includes a camp kitchen, gathering spaces, a fire pit and amenities buildings. In order to protect the natural building site, the facilities were designed and constructed using sustainable practices. This included lightweight construction techniques to preserve the vegetation, sustainably sourced timber materials and onsite sewer treatment and rainwater collection systems. Passive solar design and cross ventilation help save natural resources. In order to stay connected to the environment, the skeletal structure of the campgrounds is reflective of a tree canopy, providing shelter while protecting views of the surrounding mountains. Situated inside of a  forest  clearing, the site is also designed so that guests can connect with each other and share stories around a communal campfire. O’Reilly’s Campground, previously known as the Green Mountain Campground, was historically a public campground operated by the Parks and Forests division of the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. Now, the Queensland government has partnered with O’Reilly to help run the facility in a unique public-private partnership. The family has considerable experience in Australian  eco tourism  as they helped pioneer the industry by hosting visitors in Lamington National Park in 1915. + Aspect Architecture Photography by Andy Macpherson via Aspect Architecture

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Green design meets glamping in Queenslands Lamington National Park

Green design meets glamping in Queenslands Lamington National Park

December 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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Located in Lamington National Park in Queensland,  Australia , O’Reilly’s Campground is a community center and campsite that features what the designers call “architectural ecotourism.” Sustainable building practices include minimally invasive and lightweight construction, passive solar access, sustainably sourced materials and more. The campground is designed to include visitors who want an authentic camping experience but don’t have the equipment. There are glamping safari tents available as well as powered RV campsites and unpowered, standard campsites for traditional camping. The guests who stay in safari-style tents can rent kits with bed linens and firewood and even have food delivered from the adjoining O’Reilly Rainforest Retreat. The campsite follows universal design principles for easy access to people who have disabilities. Related: Get away from it all in gorgeous solar-powered glamping tents in Australia Designed by Aspect Architecture, a firm from Kingscliff in New South Wales, Australia, the project includes a camp kitchen, gathering spaces, a fire pit and amenities buildings. In order to protect the natural building site, the facilities were designed and constructed using sustainable practices. This included lightweight construction techniques to preserve the vegetation, sustainably sourced timber materials and onsite sewer treatment and rainwater collection systems. Passive solar design and cross ventilation help save natural resources. In order to stay connected to the environment, the skeletal structure of the campgrounds is reflective of a tree canopy, providing shelter while protecting views of the surrounding mountains. Situated inside of a  forest  clearing, the site is also designed so that guests can connect with each other and share stories around a communal campfire. O’Reilly’s Campground, previously known as the Green Mountain Campground, was historically a public campground operated by the Parks and Forests division of the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. Now, the Queensland government has partnered with O’Reilly to help run the facility in a unique public-private partnership. The family has considerable experience in Australian  eco tourism  as they helped pioneer the industry by hosting visitors in Lamington National Park in 1915. + Aspect Architecture Photography by Andy Macpherson via Aspect Architecture

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Green design meets glamping in Queenslands Lamington National Park

The Philippines halts coal proposals to explore green energy

November 13, 2020 by  
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The Philippine government has halted the country’s coal exploration. While announcing this news, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that the government is seeking alternative, green energy sources as it steps away from coal power. The moratorium means that investors intending to pursue any projects related to coal power will have to look into alternatives. Currently, coal is the dominant source of energy in the Philippines , accounting for over 41% of the country’s total energy. With the world shifting gears towards clean energy, the Philippine government faces pressure to shift its energy policies and adopt cleaner energy. However, even the coal moratorium may not yield instant results, according to Cusi. With renewable energy sources such as hydropower and solar accounting for just 29% of the country’s energy and natural gas accounting for 13.5%, the Philippines could continue relying on coal for a long time. Still, the government now banks on the available energy to continue running its industries before exploring other sources for the future. “We see that we have enough supply for baseload power and we’re looking at a more flexible source like gas, geothermal , hydro and others,” Cusi said in a briefing. Further, the moratorium issued by the government does not affect existing coal-based projects or proposals already submitted. In other words, such projects will likely continue even though the government has stopped new applications. The Philippine government now intends to invest more in natural gas exploration. Although not a renewable source of energy, natural gas pollutes the environment significantly less than coal. The current state of coal power dominance in the Philippines has been instigated by a rush of coal power project approvals in recent years. As the government hits the brakes on coal use, experts anticipate other sources of power will take the number one spot in the coming years. Nevertheless, the country must maintain clear policies if it wishes to turn away from coal power for good. + Bangkok Post Image via Pixabay

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The Philippines halts coal proposals to explore green energy

IKEA to invest $220 million into becoming ‘climate positive’

December 2, 2019 by  
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The investment will be focused on two areas — green energy and reforestation.

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Customers expect sustainable options. How are you delivering?

December 2, 2019 by  
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Sponsored: How goods are packaged is driving consumer purchasing decisions.

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Customers expect sustainable options. How are you delivering?

Renewable energy surpasses coal for the first time in U.S. history

May 6, 2019 by  
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This April, for the first time in U.S. history, the renewable energy sector is expected to have generated more total electricity than coal. According to an initial report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, this achievement is partially because of increased investment and awareness, but might also be due to seasonal changes in electricity consumption. “Five years ago, this never would have been close to happening,” Dennis Wamstead, research analyst at IEEFA, said in the report. “The transition that’s going on in the electric sector in the United States has been phenomenal.” Americans demand more renewable energy According to the IEEFA report, there has been increased investment in the wind and solar field, making the technology less expensive and more widely accessible. Increased awareness about climate change and the role of carbon emissions has also led local governments, businesses and residents to demand renewable energy policies and services. Related: Coal prices continue to rise, becoming more costly than solar and wind alternatives Renewable energy sources include hydro, geothermal , solar, wind and biomass energy, although solar and wind are the two sectors that have seen the most rapid upsurge. In fact, even major power companies are turning to renewable energy. Power giant Xcel Energy shut down 25 percent of its coal plants and plans to deliver zero-carbon electricity by 2050. Coal still reigns in the summertime Although this record-breaking achievement is exciting, energy experts also said that it could be partially explained by seasonal electricity demands. Many companies temporarily shut down coal plants for seasonal maintenance in the springtime, when electricity demands are lowest. There is also an abundance of wind and hydro energy during that time. However, once people start turning on their air conditioners around June, electricity production is expected to be dominated by coal and natural gas again. Despite the current federal government’s attempts to boost the coal industry, coal consumption has been steadily declining. In 2016, natural gas surpassed coal as America’s biggest source of electricity, with coal contributing 27 percent of electricity and natural gas contributing 35 percent. Although it is cleaner than coal, natural gas is still a fossil fuel and therefore contributes to climate change. The report also predicts that renewable energy will outshine coal in May, and going forward will sporadically compete with coal on a monthly basis. However, coal and natural gas are expected to dominate annual consumption patterns for several more years. + IEEFA Via CNN Images via   Zak Zak and Jeff Hitchcock

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Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands

May 6, 2019 by  
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Delft-based architectural firm cepezed has completed the Netherlands’ first self-sufficient bus station in the southern city of Tilburg. Designed to generate all of its own energy, the new transit facility features a massive solar panel -topped awning that provides shade and gives the bus station its modern and sculptural appearance. The Tilburg bus station was completed as part of the large-scale revitalization of the city’s public transit hub and offers easy access to the neighboring train station and bicycle parking in the railway zone. The new bus station at the west side of the Tilburg train station was designed to prioritize user comfort and safety. To that end, the architects topped the structure with a spacious awning that not only fully covers the bus platforms but also part of the buses, so travelers can be protected from the rain while boarding and deboarding. The steel-framed awning is fitted with lights and covered with ETFE-foil so as to let in filtered sunlight during the day and illuminate the space at night. For inclusivity, the station is equipped with wheelchair-accessible ramps and handrails with braille signing. As a symbol of smart development, the station adopts a contemporary and minimalist design with highly efficient detailing. Built of steel plates and strips, the thin columns that support the large awning also contain water drainage and electric cabling. The S.O.S. button and intercom have also been integrated into one of the columns. In addition to the raised black concrete sitting edges, the architects included backed seating made with strip steel with heating. Related: Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments Solar panels spanning 2,691 square feet top the awning and power all of the bus station’s needs, from the lighting and digital information signs to the staff canteen and public transport service point. Certain solar-powered lights are triggered by energy-saving motion sensors integrated into the steel edge of the awning. For greater sustainability, the architects ensured the longevity of the structure with a low-maintenance material palette and minimized the edges and corners to reduce costs and resources for cleaning. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Architects revamp a 100-year-old warehouse into a dreamy off-grid refuge in Ibiza

May 6, 2019 by  
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Dutch design firm  The Nieuw has just given a breathtaking makeover to an abandoned warehouse sitting among the natural hills overlooking northern Ibiza. Working in collaboration with Ibiza Interiors , the architects gutted the interior of the 100-year-old warehouse before converting it into a solar-powered,  off-grid refuge with a vibrant contemporary design — complete with a yoga platform on the roof. Located in a remote hillside overlooking the island’s beautiful views, the 861-square-foot Campo Loft guesthouse was designed to blend in with the its picturesque Mediterranean setting. Using the landscape as inspiration for the design, the architects set out to create an “industrial open living space on the field,” which would take shape as a stunning two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow that runs completely on solar power. Related: Serene off-grid tiny home sits tucked away in a Hawaiian rainforest Despite the desire to turn the old workshop and storage warehouse into a modern guest home, the design team worked hard to retain any of the building’s original features. The original walls and parts of the roof were kept, while the large steel-framed windows and openings are new. Throughout the compact structure, traditional Ibizan building styles and materials were incorporated: concrete floors, mud-plastered stone walls and “sabina beams” made out of trees that grow on the island. From the outside, the home is a humble structure with an all-white facade that pays homage to the traditional, local style; however, the exterior conceals a stunningly contemporary interior design . At the heart of the home is a stone fireplace surrounded by glazed openings on either side. Modern furnishings were used sparsely, enhanced by large pieces of artwork. While the two bedrooms are tucked into the north side of the home, separated by a massive bathroom with a large soaking tub, the home’s social area is on the private terrace, which provides stunning views. Surrounded by fruit trees and a vegetable garden, the house even has a yoga platform on its roof for residents to get bendy while soaking up the sun. The design is also 100 percent self-sustaining. The main functions such as hot water, floor heating and electricity are all generated by solar power . Water from a private well is used for drinking and bathing. Additionally, the house has multiple passive features such as natural air ventilation and natural light to create a stable temperature year-round. + The Nieuw + Ibiza Interiors Via Dwell Photography by On A Hazy Morning via The Nieuw

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Architects revamp a 100-year-old warehouse into a dreamy off-grid refuge in Ibiza

Historic hotels in Spain switch to renewable energy in the new year

January 7, 2019 by  
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A state-owned chain of historic hotels in Spain is  going green in 2019  and setting an example for the rest of the country (and the world). The Paradores hotel brand — which includes grand hotels housed in ancient castles and monasteries — has announced that starting this year, all 97 of the chain’s properties will use electricity from renewable energy sources. “Paradores is a company that supports sustainable tourism in every sense of the word,” said company chair Óscar López Águeda. “What’s more, as a public company, we also want to set an example when it comes to investments that encourage energy saving and responsible consumption.” Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy The 90-year-old hotel chain signed a deal with Spanish utility giant Endesa to make sure that all electricity used in the hotels will come from green sources starting on January 1; however, the chain has no plans to stop using natural gas . Head of hotel communications Sonia Sánchez Plaza said that natural gas is less polluting compared to traditional sources the hotel has used in the past, but it is gradually eliminating its reliance on fuel oil. Sánchez Plaza added that the company has an ambitious plan to bring renewable energies like biomass, solar and geothermal into Paradores. Founded in 1928, Paradores has more than 10,000 rooms in its hotel chain, and it employs more than 4,000 staff members. Sánchez Plaza said that the company needs to protect the environment , because many properties are close to national parks and biosphere reserves. Environmental group Ecologists in Action has applauded Paradores’ decision and believes that others should follow in its footsteps. Group coordinator Paco Segura said that getting public bodies to switch to renewable sources of energy has a transformative effect. The Spanish government has a goal of switching the country’s entire electricity system to renewable sources by 2050, and it also wants to decarbonize the economy. Its draft climate change and energy transition law aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent from 1990 levels, and it also bans new licenses for fossil fuel drills, hydrocarbon exploitation and fracking wells. In October 2018, the government also struck a deal with the unions to shut down the majority of Spanish coal mines, and in return, the country will invest 250 million euros into mining regions over the next decade. Via The Guardian Image via Mr. Tickle and Paradores

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