First carbon positive hotel in the US breaks ground

May 19, 2022 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

The first carbon positive hotel in the U.S. is currently under construction in Denver , Colorado . Designed by environmental steward Urban Villages, it is called Populus. It is expected to open in late 2023.  The 265-room hotel will offer everything visitors to the mile high city expect, including a rooftop restaurant and bar with 360 degrees views. Additionally, the green roof features native plants to help with temperature control inside the building. It also helps to filter air in gathering spaces and is a visual representation of the building’s overall green design.  Related: Miller Hull’s EMission Zero program offsets tons of carbon “We’ve created Populus to be a catalyst for change and to meet the increasing preference by today’s consumers to travel responsibly, experience places in an authentic way and connect more deeply with nature and each other,” said Jon Buerge, chief development officer and partner at Urban Villages. “An earth emergency demands that we strengthen our influence, and Populus is just the beginning.” Moreover, the carbon positive aspect of the venture comes through a collaborative effort between Urban Villages and Studio Gang, an architectural and urban design studio. Furthermore, a focus on low-impact material selections and system efficiency marks the sustainability groundwork within the aspen-tree inspired hotel. The overall plan focuses on reduction of embodied and operational carbon at every phase.  Specifically, the goal is achieved through the use of low-carbon concrete and high-recycled content materials. Structural efficiency was maximized across the 13-story structure, which requires less materials and minimizes construction waste. Also, window overhangs offer shading and energy efficiency. Varying sizes of windows throughout the building offer copious natural light and views of the Colorado landscape. Offsite, the company made an initial commitment to plant over 5,000 acres worth of trees to offset remaining operational carbon.  “To truly impact our earth, carbon neutral developments are no longer enough. Populus will be entirely carbon positive starting with its construction and continuing through to its ongoing operations while acting as a vibrant social center for locals and visitors,” said Grant McCargo, Urban Villages’ cofounder, chief executive officer, chief environmental officer and partner. Populus is targeting LEED Gold Certification.  + Urban Villages Images via Studio Gang and Ryan Dearth

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First carbon positive hotel in the US breaks ground

Reclaimed Laranjal House sits in an orange orchard

May 19, 2022 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Laranjal House by Alves Architects is located in a field of orange trees on the premises of the company Zircom, S.A. The house is part of an industrial installation created by the demolition company. The challenge from Zircom to the architects was to reuse materials used from the demolitions to build a modern space for staff lunch breaks. Zircom is exploring a circular economy for its demolition materials. The project deepened and explored new possibilities of using reused materials, such as even in the structural components. Related: Home in Vietnam is surrounded by a beautiful koi pond Furthermore, the shape of the building is defined by a set of trusses from the demolition of a building in Lisbon. The reddish color of these trusses becomes a feature of the structure. It maintains an open space in the center of the building that looks out through steel-case windows on the orange fields. As a result, it’s a lovely place to eat your lunch. It also gives Zircom the chance to explore various ways in which they might define new projects through use of reclaimed demolition materials. Additionally, modular wooden elements with metallic fasteners make up the ceiling and walls of the structure. Outside, there is an outer cork coating used as siding. Meanwhile, the interiors use a reclaimed wood planking . Also, Zircom will use the space for conferences and team meetings. As a result, it retains a simple feel, even though the finishes give it a relaxed, high-end look. Flexible-use furniture allowed the functional division of the space in two areas. First, there are tables for six people, for smaller groups and for brief work sessions. Second, there is the large communal table, for larger groups. Even the furniture , the outdoor decking and the steel was reclaimed for this project. The project was a collaboration between Zircom with Lisbonwood and Pedro Marques Alves located in Portugal . + Alves Arquitectos Images via Ana Barros

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Reclaimed Laranjal House sits in an orange orchard

This barn achieved LEED Platinum with its Zen design

May 13, 2022 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The Zen Barn by Christopher Simmonds Architect is a home in a historic Ottawa neighborhood. It achieved LEED Platinum for homes status while maximizing on a casual, modern style. The second story is cantilevered over the first story to shade it from the sun, while a recessed courtyard allows for large windows on the south for passive solar heating. All of this work is invisible, with a light, effortless and tranquil effect to the final home. “The linear composition of this contemporary home is interrupted by the vertical volumes of light wells, the stairs and the courtyard ,” the architect said. “The resulting interpenetration of views, light and space along the south side of the home creates strong indoor-outdoor connections. The building’s orientation allows passive solar exposure at the east, west and south sides during winter months.” Related: Barn in Canada blends traditional and modern styles White lacquer and stained ash cabinetry create a sense of ease and flow through the interconnected kitchen, living and dining areas. The inside is bright, clean as a warm and inviting family space. There are three levels to the home for a total of 2,300 square feet. However, the home retains a welcoming sense of intimacy through the use of warm woods in the kitchen, dining room and living room. The long and lean exterior is clad with reclaimed white oak barn boards and lets in maximum natural daylight. Paired with sharp angles and glass balconies, the Zen Barn is what both relaxing and formal living spaces can be. The home has a rain shower, floating vanities and an open staircase that allows for light to flow from every angle around the central axis of the home. The Zen Barn achieved an EnerGuide rating achieved of 82, 10 points higher than what is required by the Ontario Building Code. + Christopher Simmonds Architecture Photography by Peter Fritz

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This barn achieved LEED Platinum with its Zen design

Ovolo is the world’s first hotel group to go vegetarian

May 13, 2022 by  
Filed under Green

In October 2020, Ovolo Hotels announced its “Year of the Veg” campaign. All the hotel restaurants went vegetarian for a whole year. It was such a success the hotel group decided to continue with the mostly plant-based (plus some lacto-ovo) menus. Now Ovolo is the first hotel chain to go all veg. “It’s been a strategic move, but Ovolo prides itself on being an industry leader,” said Ovolo Group’s Founder and CEO Girish Jhunjhnuwala. “We believe that the world changes, therefore we continue to evolve — we want to ensure we are doing our bit to help preserve our environment, promote healthy eating and enhance the image of amazing vegetarian and plant-based dining.” Related: Hong Kong welcomes Veda, the first vegetarian restaurant inside upscale hotel Ovolo What’s for dinner? Since Ovolo’s founding in 2002, the company expanded to operate four hotels and three restaurants in Hong Kong , and eight hotels and seven restaurants across Australia. Ovolo’s restaurants are serving up a lot more than salads and bean burgers. As Ovolo says in its veg Pledge Playbook, “’Vegetarian’ isn’t a restaurant concept.” The hotel group brought in chef consultants like Ian Curly, Matthew Kenny, Roy Ner and Shannon Martinez to craft menus appealing to all sorts of diners. ZA ZA TA at Ovolo The Valley in Brisbane based its menu on the flavors of Tel Aviv, with dishes like cauliflower shawarma with curry leaf and green mango and black barley, cucumber and lime tabbouleh. In Melbourne , Lona Misa is Latin American. Monster Kitchen in Canberra has an Asian flair, with dishes like bush tomato tartare with wasabi and sesame, and a purple cauliflower steak with miso. The Alibi Bar & Kitchen in Woolloomooloo offers an eight-course chef’s tasting menu. While the restaurants are all veg, the hotel chain decided to leave some meat options on conference and event menus. Maybe there will be a “year of the veg conference” in 2023? Ovolo’s Vedge Pledge Playbook Ovolo’s Vedge Pledge Playbook is an especially interesting aspect of the hotel collection’s switch to meatless. This nine-page document is publicly available and advises other hotel chains how to go veg. It leads with top reasons to switch, such as treating the environment with love and respect, eating consciously to make the body and mind feel good and celebrating the rise of vegetarian cuisine. In line with its upbeat spin, the playbook doesn’t mention any dead animals. The next section talks about preparing for this switch to veg with both internal and external messaging. It mentions that Ovolo had an overwhelmingly positive response to transitioning to plant-based cuisine , but you have to be prepared to lose some customers. Also, some chefs. Guests should be prepared ahead of time so they’re not blindsided by the lack of steak. “Don’t focus on what’s no longer on the menu — keep the focus on your exciting new food,” the playbook said. And don’t just target vegetarians and vegans. “Plant-based food is for everyone. Reassure your guests that no matter what their dietary style, they are in for an amazing dining experience.” The “designing your menu” section stresses creativity. “Balance your menu with dishes that range from light to heavy, with a variety of textures, flavors and techniques, from smoking to fermentation to molecular techniques,” the playbook said. It also suggests some excellent ideas, such as serving a vegan high tea . Drinks can be veg, too The hotel group has also overhauled its bars to focus on vegan cocktails. Bartenders can substitute aquafaba for the egg whites traditionally used in drinks like pisco sours and gin fizzes. Some bars will add a seasonal focus. They also plan a strong non-alcoholic menu as part of a health -conscious direction. “Coming up with healthier, vegetarian-led beverage options has been a creative challenge that our team has really enjoyed,” said Andrea Gualdi, Ovolo’s newly appointed creative beverage director. “We have access to some incredibly progressive Australian producers, both in the alcoholic and non-alcoholic categories, and we’re proud to represent more of those producers across our new menus, with a strong focus on seasonality and local producers.” Vegans, be excited This is exciting news for vegetarians and vegans traveling in Australia and Hong Kong. And probably beyond, due to a ripple effect. As awareness of the links between animal consumption and the environment rise, and more people stretch Meatless Monday to the occasional Tuesday and Wednesday as well, we’re hoping they will be satisfied by a cauliflower steak. So far, Ovolo’s experiment has paid off. “Our move to vegetarian dining has been even more successful than we anticipated, and we now find ourselves part of a new wave of plant-based pioneers,” said Ian Curley, Ovolo Group’s creative partner. “The one big lesson we have learned from our bold experiment: never underestimate your guests. A key focus for us has been ensuring we are creating something that still appeals to everyone — from vegans to flexitarians, and those who are simply keen on expanding their palate.” + Ovolo Hotel Images via Ovolo Hotel

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Ovolo is the world’s first hotel group to go vegetarian

Asian woman-owned EQUO creates 100% plastic free utensils

May 13, 2022 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Vietnam-based sustainability company EQUO raised $1.3 million in seed funding to create sugarcane-based alternatives to single-use plastics . EQUO, founded in 2020 by Marina Tran-Vu, offers plastic-free and compostable products made of coffee, coconut and sugarcane. The difference with EQUO ? Creating sustainable products that are convenient and require no change in lifestyle to adopt an eco-friendly alternative. The startup was named one of nine winners of the UNOPS S3i Innovation Center Sweden Global Challenge. EQUO was also a top 18 finalist in the Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge by the UNDP. Related: Silvr offers smart alternative to single-use utensils EQUO products are available on Amazon , on their website and several retailers. The funds from the seed round raise will be used to expand the product line, develop the technical capabilities to scale the business quickly and to increase brand awareness. “The best way for us to make an impact is not to recycle or upcycle single-use plastic, but to stop its production altogether,” said Tran-Vu. “ EQUO will help do that by offering products made from alternative materials, but doing it in a fun and approachable way that gets consumers, businesses and big corporations to pay attention.” As a sole female founder, Tran-Vu is part of a small percentage of startups founded solely by women who received venture capital or private funding. “Our vision is to replace all single-use plastic on the planet. This isn’t just about the visible plastic we see in our environment , but also about the downstream effects of microplastics ,” said Tran-Vu. “We are excited about the new products we are delivering this year to show the world all the things we can do without single-use plastic and (in some cases) paper.” The company first launched into the market with drinking straws. Now, they announced a line of utensils made of coffee and wood, sugarcane food containers and compostable bags. + EQUO Images via EQUO When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commissions at no cost to you.

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Asian woman-owned EQUO creates 100% plastic free utensils

CANON headquarters features modular, energy-efficient design

May 10, 2022 by  
Filed under Green

The building for the new CANON Production Printing Netherlands headquarters focuses on energy efficient design and Canon’s Kyosei philosophy: living and working together for the common good. Designed by BroekBakema Architects and M+R interior Architecture, the HQ is equipped with sun-resistant facades. It also features a tight envelope with triple glazing.  Renewable energy is created through rooftop solar panels and energy savings are achieved through the use of LED lighting.  Related: UNStudio designs K-pop entertainment’s new HQ in Seoul Moreover, by relying on an efficient heat pump and heat and cold storage (ATES), the building earned a Breeam Excellent Design Certificate. The flow of the building was designed to be modular as needs of use potentially change in the future. There is even the opportunity to add entire floors in a green space known as Green Plazas. These areas are provided as gathering spaces and function to connect one floor to another. They bring the outdoors inside with copious plants for a garden environment.  Furthermore, large glass surfaces throughout the atrium area provide an abundance of natural light to work spaces. The interior space relies heavily on natural materials such as sustainably-sourced wood . Designers also relied on green design principles for the furniture. They extended the life of existing pieces by covering them with sustainable upholstery selections. The building includes sitting areas, a restaurant , meeting areas, a boardroom, conference center and auditorium that seats 170 people. It was a priority for the design team to merge the interior and exterior design of the building with the natural surroundings. They describe the building as a “Gesamtkunstwerk in which the applications of CANON’s printing technique have been translated into parts of the interior.” Signage throughout the site reminds visitors the project was designed to match CANON’s corporate identity. Also incorporated into an onsite forest walk are sculptures and art from CANON’s collection.   + BroekBakema architects and M+R interior architecture Images via Herman de Winter

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CANON headquarters features modular, energy-efficient design

10 world landmarks would look if air pollution worsens

May 10, 2022 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Housefresh completed a study that looks at the visual impact of worsening air pollution on the world’s top 10 landmarks. They warn us if we don’t reduce air pollution, we might lose some of the most beautiful places on Earth. From St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to the Eiffel Tower , here’s how the world’s destinations with the most incredible views will suffer if air pollution continues to increase. “We curated a list of the most beautiful city views around the world, pulling examples from articles from Insider, RTE and The Times,” Housefresh said. “The air pollution levels for each city with regards to PM2.5 concentration were sourced from  IQAir .” Related: Air pollution now directly affects 99% of the world The side-by-side images show how current views from each city will look if pollution levels reach that of Ghaziabad, India , the second most polluted city in the world, according to IQAir. At the time the study was collecting its data, Ghaziabad had a PM 2.5 level 18.2 times higher than the WHO annual air quality guidelines value, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 169. A good rating falls between 0-50 AQI. Data was collected in February 2022. Furthermore, Housefresh chose Ghaziabad because Hotan, China , the world’s most air polluted city, has the worst air mostly because of dust storms rather than man-made pollution. Housefresh took the images of these popular destinations and replicated visibility levels from Ghaziabad by sourcing images that “convey the smog levels experienced in Ghaziabad.” So, can we prevent the world from continuing down the road of the world’s most polluted places? “Ultimately, the effects of air pollution on our beloved views may be a gift in disguise,” the founders of the study said. “Poor air quality tends to go unnoticed day to day, and it takes events such as Beijing’s orange skies — or the unusually blue skies of lockdown life — to draw attention to the air we breathe.” By making this problem visible, Housefresh hopes to contribute to the conversation about how air quality directly impacts our health and quality of life. Seven million people die each year from air pollution related causes. And this is worsening with wildfires in the western U.S. and the Amazon. The World Health Organization recently reduced maximum safe levels of air pollution, reporting that polluted air is more dangerous than previously thought, and suggested that “almost 80% of deaths related to PM 2.5 could be avoided in the world if the current air pollution levels were reduced to those proposed in the updated guideline.” + Housefresh Images via Housefresh

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10 world landmarks would look if air pollution worsens

Senior home builds a social and eco-friendly community

May 9, 2022 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Located in West Los Angeles , the Howard and Irene Levine Senior Community is a mid-rise housing development for low-income seniors and homeless senior veterans. The apartments were designed by KFA Architecture for Mercy Housing of California . The project sits along Pico Boulevard and is well-knit into the neighborhood’s urban fabric. It is surrounded by cafes , clinics and markets, all of which are easily accessible for the residents. Related: LEED gold LGBT senior complex provides homes to the homeless Furthermore, the 48 residential units comprise of studios and one-bedroom apartments, which consider accessibility and mobility needs of the elderly. Corridors that lead to the living spaces are open, thus allowing light and breezes to brighten and cool the interiors. Each apartment features an entry door recessed in an alcove, providing each unit with a sense of identity and hominess. The two lower floors serve as parking for nearby businesses and synagogue. Meanwhile, the top three floors encompass the residential and recreational spaces for the senior community. Additionally, the building incorporates several terraces and courtyards to maximize spaces that would otherwise be underutilized. These spaces encourage various levels of interaction among the senior residents. On the third floor, residents have access to a large central courtyard . This courtyard faces the main street and features views of Hollywood Hills. Surrounding the courtyard are more shared spaces, including an exercise space, a community room and support and service offices run by New Directions for Veterans. On the higher levels, terraces create cozy nooks for smaller groups. This includes the roof deck, which has informal seating and large, brightly-colored planters that host the community garden. Alongside providing an environment to adaptable social needs, KFA has also incorporated sustainable strategies in the project. The housing complex features solar panels on the roof and uses greywater harvesting for irrigation. Therefore, through its extensive focus on environmental and social needs of residents, the project is currently aiming for a LEED Gold rating. + KFA Architecture Photography by Jim Simmons and Jonathan Ramirez

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Senior home builds a social and eco-friendly community

Seattle apartment is an imaginative response to urban growth

May 9, 2022 by  
Filed under Green

Seattle is expected to grow by another 70,000 residents in the next 20 years. A collaboration between The Miller Hull Partnership and Runberg Architecture Group resulted in a whimsical new style of apartment building. With cantilevered longitudinally placed balconies and a generous public green space in front, 8th and Republican is a different kind of urban residence aiming at a more pleasant and sustainable future. Seattle’s Republican Street is a commercial corridor while 8th Avenue is a busy residential street. As a result, the 8th and Republican development was designed to be mixed use to balance out public and private needs of inhabitants. The new building redevelops half a block of Seattle’s emerging South Lake Union neighborhood with 211 apartments . There will also be a neighborhood café and a photographic equipment room for a longstanding family camera retailer in the neighborhood. Related: Health and wellness come first at this apartment complex The geological and quarry forms inspired the shape of the building in the neighborhood . Installed stormwater infrastructure is visible from the sidewalk. An elevated public walkway called the Megastoop crosses a large rain garden through a stand of trees. The eight-story, post-tensioned concrete building stands behind this garden space. It aims to be more of a backdrop to the scenery than the main event. Furthermore, the café out front features an interactive water feature. The designers say that placing the building back from the street also allowed them to keep the façades simple. It avoids more expensive façade modulation usually required by the Design Review Board. On the other hand, the inside features a two-story lobby . Somethings included are gathering spaces and flexible workspaces for residents. Meanwhile, the roof has a sunset deck with city views. Type l post-tensioned concrete was chosen by the architects for its reduced structural depth. It allowed for the addition of an extra floor and 29 additional apartments in the building. Between concrete slabs, exterior non-bearing walls are framed in wood instead of light-gauge metal to reduce thermal bridging and the need for expensive exterior insulation. Long six by 10-feet balconies extend over the courtyard from a number of apartments, cantilevered to allow for additional expansive views of the green space. The design was awarded an AIA Seattle 2018 Honorable Mention. It’s a unique take on solving urban building challenges while also saving materials, money and conserving green space and biodiversity. + Miller Hull Images via Miller Hull

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Seattle apartment is an imaginative response to urban growth

Reimagine project revamps outdoor spaces in Baltimore

May 9, 2022 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The city of Baltimore , South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, Parks and People Foundation and James Corner Field Operations unveiled an urban renewal project. It will renovate more than 11 miles of shoreline along the Patapsco River in South Baltimore. Called the Middle Branch, the area traditionally was inaccessible to the predominantly minority communities nearby. Incorporating these previously segregated populations into the hub of river activity was at the core of the planning process. So much so, in fact, the planning team eliminated the term “masterplan,” deeming it a slave reference, and replaced it with the project name “Reimagine Middle Branch.” Related: 3D printing is behind plans for futuristic Sunflower Village The overall design plan features a connection to nature with new parks, playgrounds, fishing piers, wetlands (to improve flood resiliency) and pedestrian bridges. Planners are including a sports area with a baseball field called Black Sox Park, which is named for the Negro League Baseball team that used to play there. The park also takes advantage of other historically and culturally significant sites in the area through a connection with the African American Heritage Trail. Although a primary goal of the project is to increase equitability within the region, attention is equally given to public health and the environment . A press release outlined the three guiding principles of the project: “Protect and connect the shoreline; transform barriers into connections; and strengthen communities with parks and programs.” “Our work to ‘reimagine Middle Branch’ is a key component of our larger strategies to revamp and reinvigorate recreation opportunities and outdoor spaces throughout our city,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This is about providing clean, accessible and modern spaces that show our residents, particularly our young people, that they matter. That we care about them and are going to do everything in our power to give them the best quality-of-life possible.” The project has been in the works for many years and the public has repeatedly been invited to contribute to the conversation. There is hope of balancing the needs of the community with the goals of investors and other stakeholders.  “The plan integrates physical planning with economic development that prioritizes job creation, entrepreneurism and increasing the future earning potential of local residents,” said Brad Rogers, executive director at South Baltimore Gateway Partnership. “Alongside new public space amenities, we are equally focused on local workforce development and business incubation opportunities, such as green jobs involved in maintaining and monitoring the restored wetlands and pop-up markets for local vendors.” Funding for this work comes from a variety of sources. This includes casino local impact grant funds, managed by the City of Baltimore, and by South Baltimore Gateway Partnership. There is also a Maryland state capital grant and a mixture of grants secured for wetland construction and trail projects. Finally, there will be a new boathouse, fishing piers, playgrounds , gathering spaces, pedestrian and biking trails. It will connect several parks and other surrounding points of interest, skate park, wetland areas and a marketplace. In addition, traffic flow will be redesigned and slowed for safety throughout the area.  + James Corner Field Operations Images via James Corner Field Operations

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Reimagine project revamps outdoor spaces in Baltimore

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