Solar-powered multi-generational home offsets its energy consumption

June 5, 2018 by  
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Toronto-based architecture firm Williamson Williamson has completed a stunning home that embraces aging in place with a sustainably minded footprint. Located in the Ontario town of Hamilton, the House on Ancaster Creek comprises two distinct residences—one for the clients and the other for their elderly parents. The multigenerational home also reduces its energy demands with a 10KVa solar array, daylighting techniques, and low-energy fixtures throughout. Conceived as a high-density solution, the House on Ancaster Creek combines the functions of two separate homes into a single L-shaped entity. To accommodate any future mobility limitations, the architects placed the parents’ suite on the ground floor, where it’s joined with additional living spaces. Elder-friendly design considerations and features were also incorporated, such as the well-located drains and a master power switch that can immediately switch off any fixtures accidentally left on due to memory loss. The second floor master suite is accessed via a dramatic wood-clad spiral staircase that ascends from the first-floor living room located at the intersection of the two rectangular volumes. The main residence is positioned parallel to the creek and overlooks the views through floor-to-ceiling glazing. Full-height glazing is also used throughout the home to create a seamless connection with the outdoors. The material palette also reflects this connection: the ground floor of the home is clad in three-and-a-half-inch thick locally quarried Algonquin limestone while timber is used throughout. Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place Despite the abundance of glazing, the home manages to keep energy demands to a minimum thanks to a highly insulated envelope and a high-performance triple-pane wood-frame window system with an average Uw of .77. Radiant heating is also used to complement a high-efficiency furnace, while LEDs and low-energy fixtures are installed throughout. A 37-module 9.8 kW solar array is installed on two of the flat roofs to offset energy consumption. + Williamson Williamson Via ArchDaily Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc.

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Solar-powered multi-generational home offsets its energy consumption

Exit Interview: Paul Murray, Shaw Industries

April 16, 2018 by  
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A 30-year veteran of sustainability covers the ground on what it takes to be a leader.

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Exit Interview: Paul Murray, Shaw Industries

The ground under a West Texas oil patch is moving ‘at alarming rates’

March 23, 2018 by  
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Local residents, infrastructure, and oil and gas pipelines could be at risk from the ground heaving and sinking in West Texas after years of fossil fuel production, according to a new study from Southern Methodist University (SMU) scientists. In an SMU statement , research scientist Jin-Woo Kim said, “This region of Texas has been punctured like a pin cushion with oil wells and injection wells since the 1940s and our findings associate that activity with ground movement.” Two large sinkholes around Wink, Texas, may just be the start, according to Kim and SMU professor and geophysicist Zhong Lu. Scientific Reports published their research online earlier this month: Kim and Lu drew on radar satellite images revealing significant ground movement in an area of 4,000 square miles. One spot saw movement of up to 40 inches in two and a half years. Lu said the ground movement isn’t normal. Related: Massive sinkhole opens up in the middle of a Brazilian farming town Imagery and oil well production data from the Railroad Commission of Texas helped the researchers connect the ground movement to oil activity. Pressurized fluid injection into what SMU described as “geologically unstable rock formations” in the area is one of those activities; the scientists discovered ground movement corresponded with “nearby sequences of wastewater injection rates and volume and CO2 injection in nearby wells.” And, outside the 4,000 square mile area, more dangers may lurk. Kim said, “We’re fairly certain that when we look further, and we are, that we’ll find there’s ground movement even beyond that.” SMU said the region is vulnerable to human endeavors because of its geology , including shale formations and water-soluble salt and limestone formations. Lu said, “These hazards represent a danger to residents, roads, railroads, levees, dams, and oil and gas pipelines, as well as potential pollution of ground water . Proactive, continuous detailed monitoring from space is critical to secure the safety of people and property.” + Southern Methodist University + Science Reports Images via Nicolas Henderson on Flickr and Zhong Lu, Jin-Woo Kim, SMU

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The ground under a West Texas oil patch is moving ‘at alarming rates’

Scientists solve the mystery of Turkey’s deadly ‘Gate to Hell’

February 22, 2018 by  
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According to the ancient Romans, the Mediterranean is riddled with places where mortals can access the underworld. These “gates to hell” (or Plutoniums) are marked by stone structures, and some of them, like a cave in Hierapolis (now modern-day Turkey ) seem to have supernatural powers. Ancient Romans would bring animals into the mysterious haze inside the cave, where they would swiftly die. Now, scientists have answered the mystery of what is killing these animals and how humans could escape seemingly unscathed. According to the ancient Romans, humans would enter the grotto as part of a ritualistic sacrifice and leave unharmed, while animals would quickly die. The Greek geographer Strabo once said, “This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.” Some believed that the vapor was the breath of the hellhound Kerberos. Legend also has it that even birds flying by would drop out of the air. Related: Egyptians discover three sunken ships full of 2,000-year-old treasure Scientists have found that the cause of this deadly mist is actually carbon dioxide from a volcanic fissure in the earth underneath the cave. Concentrations of carbon dioxide are stronger towards the ground, which helps explain why animals were impacted more than humans. The time of day also impacts its concentration, with wind and sunlight dispersing the vapor. That means that nighttime, and particularly right before dawn, are the deadliest times to enter the cave. At dawn, concentrations are strong enough to kill a human within a minute. Researchers believe that priests participating in the rituals understood that the higher you were from the ground, the longer you could stand in the cave, making them to appear to have supernatural powers. They may have also adjusted the time that they entered the cave to coincide with lower concentrations. The cave was actually forgotten until just seven years ago, but the mystery around it has remained. Brave researchers, led by Hardy Pfanz at the University of Duisburg-Essen , wanted to understand the enigma, so they examined the grotto in detail. Pfanz’s method could be used to help solve the mysteries of other Plutoniums as well. Via IFL Science Images via Chris Parfitt and Carole Raddato

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Scientists solve the mystery of Turkey’s deadly ‘Gate to Hell’

In Denver, it took a village to build a microgrid

August 15, 2017 by  
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Fifteen contracts were involved in getting the grid-tied Pena Station off the ground.

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In Denver, it took a village to build a microgrid

Episode 81: Laying Hawaii’s roadmap for renewable electricity by 2045

June 23, 2017 by  
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In this week’s episode, the GreenBiz team reports on the ground from the VERGE Hawaii 2017 conference.

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Episode 81: Laying Hawaii’s roadmap for renewable electricity by 2045

3 barriers holding equitable cities back

June 23, 2017 by  
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The impacts of climate change and benefits of the transition to renewable power are far from evenly distributed, for now.

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3 barriers holding equitable cities back

This electric car charging tower can power up a fleet of EVs at the same time

April 17, 2017 by  
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One of the biggest hassles of owning an electric car is finding a charger when you’re on the go. Looking to address this issue on an urban scale, Ennead Lab just unveiled an EV charging tower that can simultaneously store and power up a fleet of electric cars at the same time. The project, which is slated for a new urban development in Shanghai, takes the form of a stacked parking garage with transparent walls and a supercharger on the ground floor for drivers in a hurry. Ennead Lab’s tower seeks to provide a simple solution for electric car drivers who need to recharge away from home. The Car Charging Tower provides EV owners with two options: a super charge (which typically takes 25 minutes), or a place to park and charge while they go out and enjoy the city around them. Related: Quebec may require EV charging stations for all homes The charging tower would accommodate multiple sized cars and use a standard charging system to maximize the number of cars being charged simultaneously while parked. For those in a hurry, various super charger stations would be located on the ground floor underneath a lightweight canopy. The tower itself would be clad in a reflective perforated metal – a feature that pays homage to the “chrome-filled aesthetic history of the automobile.” + Ennead Lab Images via Ennead Lab

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This electric car charging tower can power up a fleet of EVs at the same time

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is the first to land a rocket intact upon return from space

November 25, 2015 by  
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Amazon ‘s Jeff Bezos has achieved a world first this week — sending a rocket 62 miles (100 km) into space and landing it safely on the ground, upright, fully intact, and ready to be re-used. In the past, rockets have been treated as disposable, simply collected and thrown away after launching a spacecraft. Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin , hopes to significantly lower the cost of space travel and eventually take tourists into orbit. Read the rest of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is the first to land a rocket intact upon return from space

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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is the first to land a rocket intact upon return from space

Bernie Sanders’ climate bill would ban fossil fuel extraction on federal land

November 5, 2015 by  
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Bernie Sanders is taking on President Barack Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy . The Democratic presidential candidate and Independent Senator from Vermont on Wednesday co-introduced a climate bill , called the “Keep It In The Ground Act,” that would ban all new federal leases for oil, gas or coal extraction on public lands and waters and terminate leases that aren’t producing. The legislation would also prohibit  offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic. The Obama Administration has been criticized by environmental groups for previously approving offshore oil drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic, which they argue goes against the president’s pledge to take action against global warming. Last month the president reversed course and blocked new oil drilling in the Arctic. Read the rest of Bernie Sanders’ climate bill would ban fossil fuel extraction on federal land

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Bernie Sanders’ climate bill would ban fossil fuel extraction on federal land

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