Celebrating Earth Day — even during quarantine

April 13, 2021 by  
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Celebrating Earth Day — even during quarantine Deven Patten Tue, 04/13/2021 – 00:05 This Earth Day, you might be thinking, “Hey, there’s a pandemic. Let’s sit this one out.” Probably no one would blame you. But journey back with me to last year, at the beginning of COVID-19, when the roads were clear and the air was pristine. If you were like me, it might have been the very first time you saw your city not wrapped in smog. That vision of what our earth could be inspired me, and if it inspired you, too, then don’t sit this one out: Make this Earth Day a chance to level up your commitment to our gorgeous planet. Without access to office recycle bins and other on-site programs, this is a perfect time to foster new habits with your employees that they can use at home. Here are a few tips to make this Earth Day engaging and transformational and instill lasting habits with your employees, even if life looks a bit different right now: Educate As many employees are accustomed to living their work lives online, this is the perfect time to develop trainings and virtual events around sustainability. At Young Living, we have developed several internal trainings to help educate employees about how to properly sort and recycle materials common in neighborhood recycling programs. These interactive trainings helped to define what is collected in mixed waste, metal, glass and organic recycling bins and where employees should place different materials. These trainings also help employees to understand that “wish-cycling” — throwing items in the recycle bin when unsure and hoping they will be recycled — is actually very harmful to the recycling process. You’ll likely find your employees will welcome a break from thinking about calendars and tasks to hear ways they can incorporate the values of Earth Day every day. These virtual events should be fun and light-hearted and useful. Even something like a virtual training on how to repair clothing and other items around the house to increase their longevity is useful. Reuse Encourage employees to adopt reusables into their lifestyles and boost morale while doing so with fun rewards such as branded gifts — from water bottles to shopping bags. Providing employees with a sustainable gift is a fun way to get employees more involved while at home. Some departments at Young Living have adopted reusable notebooks that allow the user to transform their notes into a PDF and erase the page once it is full. You can consider holding sustainability-themed contests, such as who can recycle the most soda cans or which family can throw away the least amount of waste during a week or who’s found the most creative way to reuse a non-recycling item. We also have contactless recycling at our headquarters, so employees can drop off even hard-to-recycle items such as batteries. Move Your employees can’t meet together in person, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of this day. Encourage them to get out and enjoy nature or try something new and start a compost bin. Give them gift cards to a local nursery to plant native plants that help pollinators or start a plogging (picking up litter while jogging) Slack channel where your employees can show off their cleanup adventures. At Young Living, we also give employees one floating PTO day per year to use on a day of their choosing for performing service in their communities. We encourage employees to find activities that restore the environment or help to protect it. Employees have performed a variety of services, including planting trees in parks, communities and other areas of the state, cleaning up trails and parks, removing invasive species and other restoration projects.  We’ve created a Global Stewards team internally to engage and brainstorm with passionate employees on topics of sustainability. The team is open to any that are interested and is used as a platform to proof ideas, look for new opportunities, survey opinions and share information. If your C-suite is still hesitant about making a concerted effort to become greener, real change isn’t likely to occur. Change has to begin at the top. If you have to, map initiatives back to the bottom line. Incorporating environmental sustainability projects makes sense from every angle, from cost to risk mitigation to reducing turnover and increasing loyalty. If your C-suite doesn’t know where to start, there are many organizations that can help. Utah, for example, has a Sustainability Business Coalition, where many competing businesses join together to work toward a common goal. That short experience I had at the beginning of the pandemic seeing what our environment could be like really changed me. I want clean air. I want to see the mountains not covered in smog. I want insects and cooler temperatures and healthier food. If companies take the lead, that could become a reality. Amid the tragic circumstances, this time away from normalcy is a gift in that it has given us a chance to reevaluate ourselves and reimagine the possibility of a future with a clean earth. Topics Corporate Strategy Employee Engagement Earth Day Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Young Living employees volunteer at one of the company’s lavender farms prior to the pandemic.

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Celebrating Earth Day — even during quarantine

Brooklyn Home Company designs passive townhouse with raw wood elements

April 7, 2021 by  
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New York-based collective The Brooklyn Home Company has designed a passive townhouse in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. The townhouse, which was designed using Passive House principles, features four floors, a rooftop patio and a basement. The designers incorporated natural wood and soft tones into multiple aspects of the home to go along with the eco-friendly theme. There are beautiful hardwood floors and raw wooden furniture throughout, but the real heart of the home is realized in a gorgeous wooden staircase with raw wood banisters. The rooftop provides a functional sitting area surrounded by greenery and wooden walls. Related: New apartments bring sustainable architecture to the Upper West Side The passive design boosts energy-efficiency and soundproofing while an ERV filtering system provides the home with better indoor air quality, according to the company. The system is constantly extracting air toxins and stale air and releasing fresh, filtered air, all while regulating humidity levels. This consistent air circulating and humidity moderating not only improves air quality but also reduces the chance for airborne viruses to spread as it prevents mold growth and dryness in the air. Mold and air dryness are some of the most common causes for the spread of viruses in the wintertime and also factor into issues like allergies and dry skin. Passive House principals require airtight insulation, which keeps the home’s carbon footprint low and reduces heating and cooling bills. The Brooklyn Home Company also used triple-pane European windows to keep outside noise from getting into the townhouse. The company’s architectural manager is a Certified Passive House Designer, and The Brooklyn Home Company also teams up with New York City Passive House consultant and educator Bldtyp to oversee home builds. The company hopes that the cognitive and health benefits that better air quality bring into a house will inspire more homeowners to invest in the science and craftsmanship behind Passive House design . + The Brooklyn Home Company Photography by Matthew Williams via DADA Goldberg

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Brooklyn Home Company designs passive townhouse with raw wood elements

Green-roofed Czech cabin is built with recyclable hempcrete

April 5, 2021 by  
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After living as a modern nomad for years, Ond?ej Koní?ek finally decided to settle down by realizing his dream cabin on a 20,000-square-meter wooded property in southeast Czech Republic. Fueled by his love for the nature, Koní?ek tapped Czech architecture firm Ateliér Lina Bellovi?ová to design House LO, an eco-friendly, green-roofed home that not only embraces landscape views but is also built with hempcrete — a bio-composite building material seldom used in the country. When architect Lina Koní?ek Bellovi?ová was asked by Koní?ek to build with hempcrete — a composite of hemp hurds and lime with insulating properties typically used to construct non-weight-bearing infill walls — she knew it would be a challenge. The architect had never seen it used as a building material in the Czech Republic. “First struggles evolved in a valuable experience and fascination with its features and its history,” said Bellovi?ova, who used hempcrete for House LO’s walls. “Building with hempcrete is easy and allows the builder to build their house on their own.”  Related: “Cannabis walls” add warmth to this eco-friendly home in Israel In addition to ease of construction, hempcrete also has carbon-sequestering and insulation benefits; it can be recycled and is resistant to pests, fire and mold. The architect topped the home with a green roof for additional insulation. Completed over the course of a year, the timber-framed cabin features a simple, modern design to blend in with the landscape. The single-story dwelling includes a concrete basement that houses technical equipment, storage, a lounge and a special chamber where the client develops his photographs. The ground floor above is a light-filled space centered on an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen flanked by two bedrooms and a bathroom. A large terrace that is sheltered by deep roof overhangs wraps around the entire cabin and can be accessed by sliding glass doors that bookend the main living space. + Ateliér Lina Bellovi?ová Images by BoysPlayNice

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Green-roofed Czech cabin is built with recyclable hempcrete

Florida cracks down on reptile pet trade

March 23, 2021 by  
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Florida’s warm temperatures and lush flora help new residents thrive — but some of those transplants are eating the very ecosystem that’s sustaining them. And we’re not talking about New Yorkers. No, certain newbies of the herpetological kind have become reptiles non grata, and Florida is saying “no more.” Last month, the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission unanimously decided to ban possession and breeding of a list of 16 nonnative  invasive species . “We have to put our foot down,” said chairman Rodney Barreto. “The time has come to take a bold stand against these real threats to our  environment .” Related: UK plans to reduce grey squirrel population via contraceptives The charges against these bad guests? Green iguanas disturb private moments by crawling out of toilets, Nile monitors scarf burrowing owls and Argentine tegu lizards feast on  turtle  eggs. Most notorious of all, Burmese pythons have been decimating the Everglades’ small mammal population since about 1979. These reptiles are escapees of the pet trade, which is huge in Florida. The hot temperatures are ideal for breeding reptiles. Reptile breeders are livid about the new ban. Many will have to move out of state or find a new trade. The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers has claimed that the ban is a betrayal of their attempt to try to come up with a compromise that would have still allowed pythons, green iguanas, green anacondas, Nile monitors and tegus to be bred and owned in Florida. Breeders blame Governor DeSantis, who is trying to rid the Everglades of pythons. While the newly banned reptiles have their fans, these aren’t your cute little bearded dragons. Tegus are considered smart, able to recognize their owners and even affectionate, but not everybody is equipped to have a four-foot lizard in the house. Nile monitors are very beautiful lizards but known for aggressive temperaments, powerful bites and lashing tails. And at 20 to 30 feet long and up to 550 pounds, few people are suited to bring home a green anaconda. As  Reptile Magazine  puts it, “Captive-bred anacondas can make calm, tractable pets when raised properly, but they do get large, and their strength should be respected.”  The new rules will be phased in over the coming months, with a total ban on commercial breeding of iguanas, tegus and certain snakes in effect as of June 2024. Pet owners can keep their existing pets , as long as outdoor enclosures meet new standards to safely contain herpetological Houdinis. But when their anacondas and Nile monitors pass away, people will have to replace them with something Florida deems reasonable. Maybe a cat or dog. Via Washington Post , Miami Herald Lead image via Pixabay

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Florida cracks down on reptile pet trade

Scientists raise alarm over the resurgence of murder hornets

March 23, 2021 by  
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Scientists and state agencies are concerned about the resurgence of the murder hornet, a giant flying insect known for its dangerous sting and ability to destroy an entire bee colony in just hours. Experts are warning the public that this invasive species’ hibernation is coming to an end, and scientists need help eradicating them before they become a bigger problem. The murder hornet starts building its nests in spring , but the activity comes with a trail of destruction. In the past two years, the bug has been spotted in the state of Washington and British Columbia. Related: Invasive “murder hornets” arrive in US, threaten honeybees “This is not a species we want to tolerate here in the United States. We may not get them all, but we will get as many as we can.” said Sven-Erik Spichiger, managing entomologist with the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Scientists are now calling on members of the public for help. The Washington State Department of Agriculture has published a  statement  encouraging residents to put out orange juice- or brown sugar-based traps. “Washington’s plans remain similar to last year’s response, including a strong emphasis on public outreach , reporting, and trapping in addition to the agency’s trapping,” the department said. “[The department] will continue to use orange juice and rice cooking wine in traps while citizen scientists will have the option of using either the orange juice or a brown sugar-based bait.” Last year, citizen trappings and reports were instrumental in containing the hornets. Almost half of the confirmed reports of murder hornets in Washington were from members of the public. The agency says that it will still be relying on the community this year as part of its broad approach to eradicate this invasive species . The so-called murder hornets, scientifically known as Vespa mandarinia , are killer insects that account for dozens of deaths every year in Asia. However, their biggest threat is not to humans but to bees. One hornet can kill one bee in just 14 seconds. + Washington State Department of Agriculture Via EcoWatch Image via Yasunori Koide

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Scientists raise alarm over the resurgence of murder hornets

Orchard House honors the past while building a brighter future

March 11, 2021 by  
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Many buildings are designed to fit into the natural world around them. Orchard House was built to pay homage to it. Designed by  Seattle -based architecture firm Fivedot, the house resides on the site of a former orchard. In fact, the heritage trees of the orchard are still in the property’s rear yard. Located in the Greenlake area of Seattle, Orchard House includes 3,320 square feet of amazing design. Stacked volumes create different  indoor and outdoor  spaces, and different overhangs and intersections give the home various areas of interest. The home builds a connection to the outside world through large windows everywhere and big doors that lead to the outdoors. It’s a great blend of manmade and natural beauty and a perfect way to honor the 1900s-era orchard that once sat onsite. The sustainable design includes three large water cisterns arranged in front of the house to block street noise. These cisterns catch rainwater from the roof so that it can be used in the home’s plumbing. Orchard House also sits against a backdrop of  trees  and landscaping, a building made with a variety of natural, sustainable, local and  reclaimed materials  that blend in beautifully with the surrounding world. Additionally, the large windows provide natural light and  passive cooling . In the bathroom, the vanity is made from a large, live-edged slab milled from a tree that was removed during the construction of the local courthouse. Throughout the interior, polished concrete floors lead to sliding doors made from surplus doors that came from a local  salvage  yard. For a final unique touch, tucked among the property’s existing trees is a rain garden that creates the border for the rear patio. The green design from  Fivedot  exemplifies the studio’s commitment to sustainable architecture. For more designs from Fivedot, you can check out the studio’s Instagram  @fivedotarch . + Fivedot Images via Fivedot

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Orchard House honors the past while building a brighter future

Flexible prefab cabin wins Volume Zeros 2020 Tiny House competition

March 8, 2021 by  
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Mumbai-based architecture competition platform Volume Zero has announced the winners of the 2020 Tiny House Architecture Competition, a call for entries that celebrate sustainability and individuality through innovative design. A jury of international architects — including jurors from U.S.-based Desai Chia Architecture and Norway’s Saunders Architecture — awarded three flexible tiny house concepts with $4,000 in total prize money and also selected 10 entries as honorable mentions.  Spanish designer Jorge Cobo won first place in the competition with his entry, A Forest for Rest, a flexible prefab cabin with a tubular steel frame that can be suspended from trees or set on light foundations. Lined with timber slats, the 19.3-square-meter tiny house fits an open-plan living space with a separated bathroom on the ground floor along with an adaptable sleeping space that accommodates up to three people on the upper floor. The prefabricated and customizable home can also be equipped with a variety of sustainable technologies, from solar panels and rainwater reuse systems to green roofs and a ground-coupled heat exchanger. Related: The top 7 amazing tiny homes we’ve seen this year French duo Dylan Morel and Dorian Bernard took second place with the Ecottage, a charming, gabled, prefab tiny home designed to operate off of the grid . Topped with solar panels and equipped with a domestic rainwater harvesting system, the adaptable unit was created to operate independently in both urban and rural settings. Plywood was selected as the main construction material for its carbon-sequestering benefits, low cost and availability. The multifunctional interior includes a ground-floor living space and a mezzanine sleeping area. American designer Tak Ying Chan won third place with Off the Walls, a concept for sheltering people experiencing homelessness in New York City’s Bushwick neighborhood. Designed with recycled materials and a painted timber structural frame, the low-cost build integrates multifunctional furnishings to make the most of its small footprint. The modular, shed-roofed units can also be decorated with street art and murals. + 2020 Tiny House Architecture Competition Images via Volume Zero

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Flexible prefab cabin wins Volume Zeros 2020 Tiny House competition

Modern, barn-inspired home ages gracefully in a wild Pozna meadow

March 1, 2021 by  
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After finding the perfect plot of land 30 minutes outside of Pozna?’s historic city center, Carolina reached out to Polish architecture studio PL.architekci to realize her dream home — a Hollywood Western-inspired abode where she could fulfill her passions for horseback riding and raising cacti. To that end, the architects crafted a handsome residence that resembles the traditional, rural vernacular and features a streamlined, modern appearance to complement the surrounding landscape. Designed to connect with nature in multiple ways, the Poz_7 House is built primarily of timber and wrapped in low-maintenance, untreated larch that will naturally develop a silvery patina over time to match the hue of the nearby trees. Completed over the course of three years, the Poz_7 House is a gabled , single-story residence of roughly 270 square meters — occupying less than 3% of the total site. “[We] managed to fit such a building into the landscape by not competing with the surrounding environment and by letting the architecture complement the environment,” the architects noted. “Thanks to that the house is not like a monument in the middle of a field.” Related: Contemporary Polish home is clad almost entirely in cedar planks While the home’s external cladding is made of untreated larch , the building structure is constructed of Siberian larch, a material chosen for its durability. Following modernist principles, the architects eschewed embellishments and unnecessary ornamental designs in favor of a clean and minimalist look. A timber palette continues to the interior, where ash lines multiple surfaces, including the floors. The architects also celebrate wood by exposing the timber roof trusses and topping the kitchen island with an untreated plank. Glazing on all four sides lets in natural light and frames views of the landscape to create a constant connection with the outdoors. Although the client initially sought a south-facing living room, the architects instead oriented the living space toward the northeast to face the site’s most beautiful view: a wild meadow dotted with trees and bisected by a small river. + PL.architekci Photography by Tom Kurek via PL.architekci

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Modern, barn-inspired home ages gracefully in a wild Pozna meadow

Casa Colorada merges luxury and sustainability

February 16, 2021 by  
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Homes like the incredible Casa Colorada prove that smart design can blend high-end style with sustainability. The home is named for the clay and red soil of the mountain where it is built in touristy Valle de Bravo, which is about 87 miles from Mexico City. Overlooking a lake and a forest of oak and pine trees, Casa Colorada is surrounded by winding rivers and breathtaking views. Once Once Arquitectura faced several challenges to create this luxury home. The terrain is elongated and has steep slopes, and the team wanted to preserve all trees on the property. As such, columns were built to allow the trees to remain undisturbed, and the front terrace has many gaps to provide room for trees and branches. It’s an innovative design that strongly conveys how architects can approach preserving nature. Related: Half-buried home in Brazil is crafted from rammed earth The house has a breezy, open floor plan that includes a large dining room, a kitchen and a living room all surrounded by windows that share the stunning views. The dining room opens up to a terrace and an interior patio. This patio area catches the sunlight in the morning. In the afternoon, it becomes a shady space to enjoy nature. Sliding doors connect the living room and dining room to the outside. The kitchen has its own bar area with a terrace of its own. The materials for Casa Colorada were carefully chosen. The walls are plastered with cement and sand, and the floors are paneled with mud. The roofs are made with planks of local wood and beams as well as clay tiles. The efficient windows are made with double glass to prevent energy loss. A passive design and naturally insulating materials keep this house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Casa Colorada is luxurious, but it is also clear that it was made with sustainability in mind. + Once Once Arquitectura Photography by Camila Cossio via v2com

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Casa Colorada merges luxury and sustainability

Old military buildings converted into living spaces at The Hinge

February 15, 2021 by  
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In the spirit of making what’s old new again, Dutch architect Niels Olivier led a team to transform a disheveled military compound into modern, functional spaces. Located in Arnhem, The Netherlands , the project known as The Hinge, or De Scharnier, included a master plan drawn up by MVRDV and Buro Harro. Two interconnected buildings formerly housed a theater on one side and a restaurant on the other. Following the conversion, the same structure now houses a living space, workshop and office for a well-known artist and his family. Related: A clever, garden-filled facelift revives a derelict building in Denmark The buildings on the site date back to the 1960s and 70s and were in bad disrepair. Yet, rather than demolish them and build from the ground up, it was important to Olivier from a sustainability perspective to  salvage  as much of the original structures as possible.  On this topic, Olivier told Inhabitat, “My passion is to bring new life to outdated, abandoned buildings. Make something out of what is considered to be nothing! A fast route to sustainability is to re-use as much as possible, this should in particular count for the re-use of the main structure of buildings, saving tons of concrete, wood and steel.” Some portions were just too dilapidated to save, such as the entire facade, which fell apart and was replaced with aluminum frames and wooden cladding. During the same portion of the project, a large folding door was added to accommodate the transport of large art pieces or a van if needed. In another space, formerly a kitchen, office and technical room, the construction of a few walls and the removal of others created two apartments and an artist’s office. In addition to using natural materials and employing methods to salvage the original architecture, the team incorporated  energy-saving  systems into the plan. Pellet heating provides comfort for the entire complex. Additional energy needs are met using solar panels placed on the roof. Although there is a pool on-site, it is unheated for the sake of energy savings and is filtered using a natural system that includes  plants  and gravel. According to a press release, this makes the house “almost energy neutral.” + Niels Olivier Architect Via ArchDaily   Images via Arne Olivier Fotografie

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Old military buildings converted into living spaces at The Hinge

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