How many trees are needed to offset a city’s carbon emissions?

August 26, 2021 by  
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Trees are nature’s lungs. While we enjoy their beauty, shade and fruits of their existence, they are silently working to clean the air. The natural process of all plants taking in carbon and releasing oxygen not only gives us clean air to breathe but also stores carbon that otherwise contributes to global warming . Countries around the world are in a race to find solutions for these types of greenhouse gases, which are a result of human activities like driving cars and manufacturing goods. While the push for electric vehicles and renewable energy through  solar panels , wind power and hydroelectricity takes the spotlight, another part of the solution equation is growing all around us in the form of trees. Related: Three Americans’ lifetime emissions enough to kill one person The simple fact is, planting trees is an exceptional tool in the fight against climate change. With this in mind,  Compare The Market  has presented its most recent research on the number of trees capital cities around the world would need to plant annually to offset the carbon emissions they contribute to the atmosphere. The study is based on information available through the Global Carbon Atlas Global City Emissions dataset, which measures emissions levels. While major cities work to reverse, slow down and stop the creation of these carbon emissions, what is the estimated number of trees it would take to counterbalance them? Which countries are the highest contributors and which have the lowest  environmental  impact? According to the data, Asia has some work to do. Five of the ten top carbon-emitting capital cities are in Asia. Note that for comparative purposes, the dataset measures transport, industrial,  waste  and local power plants emissions within city boundaries. The report combined data to show the total amount of carbon produced alongside the number of trees it would take to offset it. For example, the five cities in Asia, which include Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul, release a combined 219,506,539 tCO2 annually. The cities would have to plant 43,901,308 trees each year to offset those emissions. Individually, Beijing would need to plant 15,020,976 trees, followed by Singapore with 9,366,336 and Hong Kong with 8,975,292. Tokyo needs a 5,522,200-plant offset and Seoul 5,016,504. Other cities in the top 10 were Istanbul, Lagos, Santiago, London and Mexico City.  An energy spokesperson at Compare The Market comments, “Becoming carbon neutral is an essential goal for countries around the world, and as pledges roll in to reach this target by 2050 and beyond, immediate action is needed. One way we have studied is to offset emissions by planting trees which is great for absorbing CO2, with added benefits of supporting the ecosystem and  wildlife .” The tree offset calculation is based on information sourced from Carbonify.com’s carbon dioxide emissions calculator. The estimates are based on the assumption that five  trees  planted can clean up each ton of carbon dioxide produced.  The study stated, “A tree planted in the humid tropics absorbs on average 50 pounds (22 kg) of carbon dioxide annually over 40 years – each tree will absorb 1 ton of CO2 over its lifetime; but as trees grow, they compete for resources and some may die or be destroyed – not all will achieve their full carbon sequestration potential.” On the other end of the data spectrum are the countries performing better in the battle of low carbon emissions. For these results, a few substitutions were made in the face of missing data. Toronto, Milan and Basel were substituted to include Canada, Italy and Switzerland in the study. Reykjavik, Iceland was the least carbon-emitting capital in the study with total emissions of 346,630 tCO2 per year. The city would still have some work to do, planting 69,326 trees annually to offset its footprint. Of all the cities in the study, Reykjavik was the only one to come in below the 500,000 tCO2-produced mark. Even though nearly 70,000 is still a lot of trees, it was also the only city to have an estimate below 100,000 trees per year to offset carbon emissions. New Zealand took second place for carbon control with annual emissions of 621,179 tCO2. For Wellington to neutralize this, it will have to plant 124,236 trees a year. Basel, Switzerland, had the third-lowest number to plant at 156,786 trees to offset its 783,932 tCO2 footprint. Every other city in the study came in at over 200,000 trees a year. The study provides one tool in an array of options to reduce carbon release. Planting trees alone isn’t a sustainable solution, but neither is focusing solely on renewable energy or  recycling . To achieve goals set by world leaders, it will take a combination of actions across a range of environmental fields.  “The number of trees required may seem very high in cities like Beijing which would need to plant over 15 million trees, but this is if we only used plant power alone. There are many other initiatives and technologies in place, like the government incentives, which present lots of opportunities to offset carbon emissions on a small and large scale,” the spokesman said. + Compare The Market Images via Pixabay

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How many trees are needed to offset a city’s carbon emissions?

Ken Soble Tower sets an example for high-rise sustainability

August 25, 2021 by  
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Vacant and in disrepair, the Ken Soble Tower in the city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada was a candidate for a sale or demolition. But, ERA Architects, known for retrofit architectural designs and integration of low-carbon systems, redesigned the building instead. Now the 18-story apartment building is the largest EnerPHit Passive House building in North America. Throughout the transition, ERA focused on creating a healthy living environment for the senior residents who want to age in place while simultaneously ensuring the health of the planet. Related: Traumhaus Funari transforms an old military site into affordable housing The 1967 building wore a white brick exterior, a look the ERA team kept in place by cladding with new stucco panels. Top to bottom, the building received a high-performance envelope. Triple-glazed windows allow in  natural light  and ventilation. Ultra-efficient interior and exterior insulation helps contribute to the overall airtight design. By also replacing the HVAC system, the building achieved a remarkable 94% reduction in carbon emissions and an 89% reduction in thermal energy demand intensity (TEDI).  The inside of each apartment received an update with a new kitchen, bathroom, flooring and lighting, with attention to  energy efficiency  along the way.  Graeme Stewart, Principal, ERA Architects says, “Ken Soble Tower is a true beacon on an international stage, showcasing how low carbon and low energy retrofits are not only sustainable, but also realize the best outcomes for residents’ health, safety and comfort within their homes.” While the Ken Soble Tower isn’t the first project of its type, the result stands as an example for many similar buildings. Inasmuch, it will be the basis for a two-year study to measure the effectiveness of the building, residents and surrounding environment, in regards to health, safety, economy and more. The results will be available as a teaching tool to offer real-world lessons in retrofit design. “Many aging, postwar apartment towers provide critical affordable housing for millions of Canadians, but increasingly face complex challenges that require repair. Our hope is that the Ken Soble Tower marks the beginning of a wave of deep retrofits across the country. As we look towards a post-pandemic recovery amid a climate -challenged world, there’s an urgency to apply this type of holistic thinking on a broader scale,” Stewart continued. + ERA Architects Images via Codrin Talaba and Doublespace Photography

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Viewfinder House combines great views with energy efficiency

August 18, 2021 by  
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In an initial meeting with Faulkner Architects, the client requested every room be oriented towards the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It took some out-of-the-box thinking, but somehow the design team managed to stay in the box while achieving that goal. Called Viewfinder House, this home is located in Truckee, CA, a launching point for myriad outdoor activities in every season. Even at 7,200 square feet with a pool, the design offers unique architecture and environmentally friendly features. The body of the home is made up of two rectangular boxes, with connections between the spaces via covered porches. The lower level is contoured to match the property line, but the upper level is rotated to take full advantage of Pacific Crest mountain views. Related: House Lhotka brings energy-efficient home design to the Czech Republic The team relied on steel for the base to hold up against deep winter snow, and an exterior rain screen of red cedar, which also shields the home from the street while allowing  natural light  to filter in.  Passive design elements create shade and promote  energy efficiency  throughout the home, starting with the roof overhang that protects the glass doors from weather and solar gain inside the home. High-efficiency boilers conserve energy and work in conjunction with effective radiantly heated floors. The back of the lower level takes advantage of earth sheltering to organically insulate the home, and natural ventilation is found through window and door placement. Faulkner Architects emphasized using enhanced-efficiency glazing and insulation for a tight construction envelope. According to a press release, these combined efforts help the building achieve a 14.5% improvement in efficiency, above the already strict California energy code.   Outdoors, the surrounding hillsides are covered in native  plants  and mature trees. The materials removed from the pool and house excavation were saved and used for the nearby terraced landscaping. + Faulkner Architects Photography by Paul Hamill

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Viewfinder House combines great views with energy efficiency

White House pushes oil amid code red climate crisis

August 16, 2021 by  
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President Joe  Biden , that supposed proponent of green infrastructure, surprised many environmentally conscious folks on Wednesday. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan issued a statement asking for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to pump more oil. Why? In a classic wish for instant gratification, Biden’s White House is choosing the short-term goal of keeping  gas  prices down over the long-term goal of an inhabitable planet. Related: It’s code red for Earth, says new UN study “Higher gasoline costs, if left unchecked, risk harming the ongoing global recovery,” Sullivan’s statement read, in part. “The price of crude  oil  has been higher than it was at the end of 2019, before the onset of the pandemic.” So, can you increase  fossil fuel  production while simultaneously cutting emissions? Uh, no. Expanding fossil fuel capacity is not part of any plan to reach net zero by 2050. We can’t have it both ways. But the problem is that it’s hard to focus on long-term planet goals when so many Americans are a few hundred bucks away from disaster. In May, the national average gas price increased to over three dollars per gallon for the first time since 2014. As gas prices rise, households have less  money  to spend on other useful things, like food and bills. Sarah Hunt, CEO of the Joseph Rainey Center for Public Policy, tweeted that Biden’s OPEC request is an example of the fact that “we are not going to choose a habitable planet tomorrow over quality of life today.” In another tweet, she said, “People want cheap  energy  more than they want clean energy. People don’t want cheap energy produced in their backyard.” Biden also managed to irritate conservatives, who want energy jobs in the  U.S.  rather than increasing reliance on overseas fossil fuels. According to Hunt, the only answer “is to innovate for better energy with fewer externalities.”  Via The Guardian , Huff Post Lead image via Pixabay

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A modern desert retreat for the eco-conscious cowboy

August 16, 2021 by  
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It’s the kind of thing movies are made of, but Hollywood isn’t the only one to get inspiration from this region of the vast and open Mojave Desert . Dubbed the Cowboy Modern Desert Eco-Retreat, this home pairs old west inspiration with modern eco-friendly features. Jeremy Levine Design was in charge of the project, a 1,200-square-foot family vacation home on a plot of protected desert between Joshua Tree National Park and Pioneertown, CA. The home includes two bedrooms, two baths, a great room with a kitchen, living and dining space, porches on three sides and a well-developed outdoor space where decks expand the living area and a path leads to a hot spa and cold cowboy tub. Related: Self-sufficient Sail House by David Hertz Architects looks like a ship The property came with limited access and no infrastructure, so Levine drew on his experience in  green design  to connect the indoor living space with expansive views and sustainable features. The Cowboy Modern Desert Eco-Retreat relies exclusively on locally reclaimed lumber for the interior and exterior wood surfaces. Steel, prefabricated offsite, was used to frame the home. Levine chose these materials in response to the area’s harsh weather conditions and a desire for quick, low-impact construction.  Copious large windows frame the Black Hills and Sawtooth Mountains in the distance while allowing in  natural light . Concrete floors and an open floor plan aid in keeping the home cool. The structure is situated to capture breezes as they are channeled through the canyon, and porch overhangs provide temperature control through shading. The orientation also minimizes solar heat gain.  During construction, the team took special care to avoid unnecessary grading for minimal site impact with respect to the fact that the project sits in a zone with Resource Conservation Protection. This not only minimized soil and plant disruption but required an inspection from a biologist to ensure no desert  tortoises or owls  would be affected by construction. All Joshua Trees were also preserved.  To further minimize the environmental footprint, the home uses a zero-waste system. All water from sinks, showers and washing is recycled and used for irrigation.  Solar panels  are scheduled to be installed soon. The interior design includes western-inspired leather, a fire table made from leftover construction materials and a vanity made from reclaimed lumber .  + Jeremy Levine Design Images via Lance Gerber and Tali Mackay

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This house by the lake erases the barrier between inside and outside

August 16, 2021 by  
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Designed to harmonize with the surrounding landscape , this home merges outdoor spaces with indoor living for a multi-generational family in a home known by architecture practice Atelier Starzak Strebicki as “Single family house by the lake.” Located in Poland , this home has a common space in the connected kitchen and dining room for gatherings of any size. Massive windows provide panoramic views of the outdoors, erasing the division between the spaces. The home also provides four bedrooms, one with a moving wall for ever-changing needs as the family grows. It includes three bathrooms, a utility room, media room, garage and more. Related: The Cantilever House combats a hot climate with sustainable design The design throughout the space keeps the eye pulling forwards. Steel columns support a unique concrete roof, and the walls are constructed from  brick . The ceiling seems to reflect the flooring for a cohesive feel throughout the space. From nearly every room, residents can access terraces, including those on the roof with a view of the lake and garden. Terraces accessible from the bedrooms are covered for shade.  In addition to connecting everyday life to nature, the design team focused on  energy efficiency  with a water-to-water heat pump that relies on underground heat, pulling from two boreholes extending up to 150 meters beneath the surface. The concrete roof and thick, well-insulated walls ensure comfortable temperature control throughout the space. The architectural team at Atelier Starzak Strebicki also included a  passive design  with carefully placed windows for natural light and heat reduction. The notable skylights were placed on the north side to avoid intense heat while still allowing natural light. All of the many windows are triple-glazed for maximum efficiency in all types of weather.  When the temperature drops, a fireplace in the living room warms the space. This couples with the coziness of the space’s  natural materials  such as walnut veneer, stone and old planks from the demolished platform that were used to finish the interior.  + Atelier Starzak Strebicki  Images via Danil Daneliuk

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This sustainable home has a roof that bends like a leaf

August 13, 2021 by  
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Architecture is more than creating a sound building. It’s a craft that couples personal style and visual appeal with goals for the space. In the case of the Garden House, a project located in Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica , it’s a family home that meets the challenges of immersing into the surrounding landscape while maintaining a low carbon footprint. Garden House is more than shelter, although it is built to provide shelter for everyday life and in the case of natural disasters. It’s an example of how a structure can sync with nature. To start, architects built the home on stilts for a  minimal site impact  and to allow for a green space on the ground floor. The design takes into account rising sea levels and the potential for future flooding.  Related: New apartments bring sustainable architecture to the Upper West Side Costa Rica is world-renowned for taking progressive action in the fight against climate change. With that in mind, the Garden House took the lead on creating an  energy-efficient  space through the use of high-efficiency double glass sliding doors and windows that allow in copious natural light while helping to moderate temperatures indoors. They also promote natural ventilation and eliminate the line between indoor and outdoor worlds. Also, the water from the AC is captured and reused, along with  rainwater harvesting  that is filtered and used for irrigation. Water shortages in Costa Rica and across the globe inspired the designers to use high-efficiency faucets and toilets. This eco-friendly water supply supports the many surrounding gardens, which double as a privacy barrier and natural shade. The design hopes to set an example for the potential of “food production wall systems,” where even small homes can provide their own food. While the design may start from the ground up, even the roof works in conjunction with the other sustainable elements. The architects say, “The roof bends like a leaf to provide proper shade for the house and water drainage slope while capturing the sun’s energy for the use of the Garden House.” This is done through the use of  solar panels . + LSD Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Andres Garcia Lachner

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House Lhotka brings energy-efficient home design to the Czech Republic

August 11, 2021 by  
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Sustainable construction is on the mind of builders, architects, engineers, residential homeowners and businesses around the world. A project by SOA architekti in collaboration with Richter Design reflects this mindset with  green design  elements and privacy in an open and well-lit home.  Located at Lhotka Prague 4 in the Czech Republic , House Lhotka is unique in the creation of a large home with an easily identifiable and functional central space. The house is purposely divided into four volumes with the dining room at the heart of it and a corridor that connects them all. Related: Minimalist House in Minohshinmachi focuses on nature Designers selected  natural materials  where possible with a reliance on wood and sand-lime bricks. These elements also work to connect the outdoors with the indoors, such as the wooden ceiling in the dining room that flows through to a terrace, garden and pool areas. Large windows and moveable glass partitions marry the central part of the home with the outdoor living space while inviting in copious  natural light  and ventilation. With attention to energy efficiency, heating is provided through a heat pump and a gas boiler for additional support. Radiant cooling is built into the ceiling to help control interior temperatures. Likewise, efficient underfloor heating makes the space more comfortable.  A statement by the development team explains, “Air exchange is provided by a pressure-controlled ventilation system with passive heat recuperation with high efficiency. The intensity of ventilation is controlled automatically using CO2. In the summertime, the system is used for night pre-cooling of the building operating at a higher intensity.” To keep all this in check, a smart system monitors activities and makes adjustments as needed.   From the northeast entrance, the central corridor leads to a garage and study with views of the  plants outside. The basement and second floor of the home provide plenty of space for the family with a master bedroom and three kid’s bedrooms.  For security, the home is mostly shielded from view from the street side, yet the large windows open the space up to the garden for a connection with the surrounding landscape without the need to hide from passersby. + SOA architekti Via ArchiScene Images via BoysPlayNice 

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House Lhotka brings energy-efficient home design to the Czech Republic

Do You Have Hazardous Waste in Your House?

August 9, 2021 by  
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If you’ve painted your house, refinished your floors, or switched your lightbulbs from CFLs to… The post Do You Have Hazardous Waste in Your House? appeared first on Earth911.

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Will Lagos be submerged by 2100?

August 4, 2021 by  
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In  Lagos , the rainy season signifies more than the inconvenience of getting your feet wet and trying to remember your umbrella. Instead, annual flooding means getting wet to at least your knees if you venture out. But even if you stay in, water might flood in and destroy your house. And it’s getting worse. Experts predict the city might be submerged by 2100. Peak flooding usually comes in September. But already in July this year, Lagos was suffering from flooding that endangered lives and property and impaired commerce. Typically,  flooding  costs Lagos 4 billion dollars per year. As Nigerian actress Kate Henshaw tweeted, “Every year!!!! Same same in Lagos!! Nothing is ever done about flooding but to tell citizens to move.” Lagos is partially on the mainland and partially on islands. The low-lying city suffers from a rising  ocean  coupled with poorly maintained drainage systems and rocketing population growth. More than 24 million people live in this city on the Atlantic coast. But scientific projections point to Lagos’ being uninhabitable by the end of the century. A 2012 study by the University of Plymouth in the U.K. predicted that a sea-level rise of three to nine feet “will have a catastrophic effect on the human activities” in Lagos and other Nigerian coastal settlements. Affluent Victoria Island is already in trouble. “There’s this problem of the river bank being washed away,” said Manzo Ezekiel, spokesperson for NEMA,  Nigeria’s  emergency management agency. “The increase in water level is eating into the land.” A new city called  Eko Atlantic  is being built on reclaimed land on Victoria Island.  Developers  plan to protect Eko Atlantic with an eight-kilometer-long wall made from concrete blocks. It will sort of be like a stationary ark built to withstand the coming floods. But instead of animals coming on two-by-two, some of Lagos’ richest people will likely take refuge behind what is being called the Great Wall of Lagos. The wall “has passed vigorous tests by the world-renowned Danish Hydraulic Research Centre,” according to Eko Atlantic’s website, and will allegedly endure “the most severe tidal surges forecast over the next 1,000 years.” Ezekiel worries that “reclaiming land from the sea will put pressure on other coastal areas.” The Eko Atlantic website says it expects a population of 300,000 residents plus 200,000 daily commuters — likely to include many service workers. Subtract 300,000 from Lagos’ total population, and you still have about 23.7 million people unprotected by the Great Wall and vulnerable to  tidal surges. Via CNN Lead image via Pixabay

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