Mercedes Benz presents a luxury electric car

November 15, 2019 by  
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Mercedes-Benz is an easily identifiable name that has always equated to superior design elements and an opulent driving experience. Those phrases aren’t typically associated with words like sustainability and electric car , but Mercedes-Benz recently revealed the Vision EQS concept car as an example of how luxury and sustainability can intertwine. The sleek, futuristic design of the Vision EQS show car had everyone talking at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt and the Tokyo Motor Show this year. The dazzling and innovative light systems, from the front bumper to the back, inside and out, highlight the attention to detail and Hollywood-esque glam. Inside, an ultra-streamlined design curves around the occupants from the dashboard to the trunk. Related: A couple turns a Mercedes Sprinter into a solar-powered home on wheels Integrated into the undeniable luxury and function are some nods toward a future of sustainable car engineering. For example, the crystal white DINAMICA microfiber interior is made from recycled PET bottles . The elegant design is trimmed out with native maple accents. Additionally, the roof liner comes from a high-quality textile created by mixing in recycled “ocean waste” plastic . Of course, material sourcing is only part of the sustainability equation. In the world of electric cars , companies seem to excel at efficiency, but lack in sports car performance and luxury. Mercedes-Benz is skewing that assumption with the Vision EQS, capable of 469 hp output and 0-60 acceleration in under 4.5 seconds. In addition to a sporty design, opulent touches and the driving experience one would expect from Mercedes-Benz, the Vision EQS show car offers an impressive range of up to 435 miles without a recharge. Assuming a charging performance of 350 kW, the show car recharges the battery to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes. Mercedes-Benz achieves this efficiency with systematic weight distribution. The balanced, sporty driving experience is powered with electric motors at the front and rear axles, but the battery is integrated into the center of the vehicle floor. Mercedes-Benz has a goal to provide a new, carbon-neutral car fleet in 20 years. In car manufacturing terms, that means a dramatic change in about three design cycles. The company believes that the need for transportation and the desire for the exceptional are timeless concepts that will launch the Vision EQS show car and other models into an era of climate-neutral mobility and emissions-free driving. While holding to the company values of producing a superior consumer experience, Mercedes-Benz hopes to awaken the sustainable focus in its customers by offering them an electric car they can drive with pride and without sacrifice. + Mercedes-Benz Images via Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes Benz presents a luxury electric car

Zaha Hadid Architects designs BREEAM-targeted terminal for electrified Rail Baltic

November 15, 2019 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has won a competition to design the new terminal for the Rail Baltic railway, a major continuous rail link in Northeastern Europe that will connect Tallin, Estonia to Warsaw, Poland, where it will then join the European high-speed rail that covers Western Europe. The Zaha Hadid Architects-designed terminal will be the starting point of the Rail Baltic Line to be located in Tallinn’s subdistrict of Ülemiste. Using modular construction and energy-efficient systems, the Ülemiste terminal will be designed to target BREEAM benchmarks and guidelines. Created in collaboration with Estonian architecture firm Esplan , the competition-winning design for the Ülemiste terminal will serve as a multi-modal transport hub for commuters, national and international rail passengers and passengers transferring from the nearby Tallinn airport. As the starting point for the electrified cross-Baltic railway, which spans 870 kilometers north to south down to the Lithuanian-Polish border, the 10-hectare railway terminal will be a visually striking landmark defined by Zaha Hadid Architects’ signature undulating lines and a futuristic appearance. Related: Estonia will soon offer free public transportation In addition to the smooth integration of bus, tram and rail lines that intersect at the terminus, the building will also double as a connecting public bridge used by the local community. The project will be built in phases using a modular structural system, and the structure will rely on natural light as the main source of light during the day. Construction on the Rail Baltic infrastructure begins this year and is slated for completion in 2026. “I have been constantly informed about the developments in the Ülemiste area and in light of the works presented to the public today,” said Taavi Aas, Estonia’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure. “I am more than convinced that the area is becoming one of the most attractive and, in terms of infrastructure, synergistic in Tallinn . A true multi-modal transport hub is emerging, with rail, bus and air traffic coming together there in the future.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects and negativ.com

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Zaha Hadid Architects designs BREEAM-targeted terminal for electrified Rail Baltic

Climate change is adversely affecting childrens health worldwide

November 15, 2019 by  
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Today’s children are facing climate crisis-related health issues, warns The Lancet ’s Countdown on Health and Climate Change, the annual research collaboratively conducted by 35 global institutions. Collated and published each year before the international negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), The Lancet ’s Countdown strongly emphasizes that tackling climate change would be a significant global health opportunity. Unless significant intervention takes place, global warming and climate change will negatively “shape the well-being of an entire generation.” The Lancet ’s Countdown was established to provide a monitoring system to track health indicators across five criteria and thereby assess the complex association between health and climate change. These five areas include (1) adaptation, planning and resilience for health, 2) climate change impacts, exposures and vulnerabilities, 3) finance and economics, 4) mitigation actions and 5) public and political engagement. Work began in 2015 and has since been annually tracked, with anthropogenic climate change threatening all the progress and gains made in public health for the past half-century. Moreover, since 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized that health issues attributed to climate change can be prevented or improved upon simply by mitigating the climate crisis . Related: Climate change is a public health issue amounting to billions in medical costs Climate change can no longer be ignored as a force multiplier threatening global public health. The direct impacts of climate change manifest as rising temperatures, heatwaves and frequent extreme weather events (blizzards, droughts , floods, storms and wildfires), all of which have far-reaching health and social consequences. Human activities have similarly been breaching environmental limits, instigating biodiversity loss, depletion of freshwater, ocean acidification, soil degradation and other irreversible processes. Health-related incidents flagged by The Lancet ’s report include increased risks of low birth weight and infant mortality for newborns. A warmer world affects food productivity, resulting in food and water shortages, population displacement and conflicts that leave children and youth vulnerable to health risks. Children, adolescents and young adults are likely to experience additional maladies that range from cardiovascular issues, asthma attacks, insect-borne diseases, malnutrition and exposure to extreme heat, weather vagaries and climate-driven catastrophes. If the current greenhouse gas emissions trajectory persists with business as usual, then children will face billions of dollars in healthcare costs. The purpose of The Lancet ‘s Countdown is to bring awareness to the interrelationship between public health and climate change, in hopes that a shift can take place to steer society away from business as usual. Ultimately, it is hoped that by engaging with policy makers and the health community, better responses to climate change will happen to improve public health and well-being for everyone, including the most vulnerable demographic — children. + The Lancet Via EurekAlert Image via Shutterstock

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Climate change is adversely affecting childrens health worldwide

Architects reveal winning design for Western Sydney Airport

November 6, 2019 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects and Sydney-based Cox Architecture have won the international design competition for the Western Sydney International Airport, a new travel hub that is slated to become the largest international gateway to Australia by 2060. Located in Sydney’s new western Parkland City region, the greenfield airport draws inspiration for its form and material palette from the unique local flora and nearby mountains. In addition to referencing the natural landscape, the architecture will emphasize energy efficiency through daylighting, natural ventilation and water recycling. Selected from a shortlist of five competitors narrowed down from 40 entries, Zaha Hadid Architects and Cox Architecture’s winning design mirrors the surrounding terrain with its wavy roof and gold-toned color palette. The Western Sydney International Airport — also known as the Nancy-Bird Walton Airport after the famous Australian aviatrix — aims to catalyze the city’s western expansion and cement Parkland City’s position as the third urban hub of Sydney . Related: Zaha Hadid Architects completes futuristic, energy-saving airport in Beijing Under the direction of Zaha Hadid Architects and Cox Architecture, who will jointly serve as Master Architect for the entire airport precinct, the project will be constructed in four phases. The initial phase will accommodate 10 million annual passengers and is slated for completion in 2026. The project will be completed in its entirety by 2060 and is expected to accommodate 82 million annual passengers. The architecture follows sustainable design and construction principles for an energy-efficient, modular build. “We are honored to have been selected for this amazing project,” said ZHA Project Director Cristiano Ceccato in a press statement. “The design is an evolution of Australian architecture past, present and future. It draws inspiration from both traditional architectural features such as the veranda as well as the natural beauty of the surrounding bushland.” + Zaha Hadid Architects + Cox Architecture Images via Zaha Hadid Architects

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Architects reveal winning design for Western Sydney Airport

Japan relaunches its whaling industry

July 2, 2019 by  
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Japan has officially relaunched its commercial whaling industry, sending the first vessels out to sea this month for the first time in 30 years. Animal rights and marine conservation defenders have condemned the relaunch of the whaling industry as a loss for whales and marine ecosystems, but the Japanese argue that it is a traditional part of their culture and that it will not negatively impact whale populations. The first vessel returned with a 26-foot-long minke whale, but the ships will also hunt Baird’s beaked, sei and Brydes whales. In total, the Japanese Fishing Agency will allow 227 whales to be slaughtered and sold legally to restaurants and markets. Related: Russia to release hundreds of illegally captured orcas and belugas from ‘whale jail’ According to Reuters, whales make up 0.1 percent of the total meat consumption in Japan , and the industry supports only about 300 jobs. Though it is seemingly insignificant as food stock, it does hold cultural importance for many Japanese who grew up eating whale. “It’s part of Japan’s food culture,” Sachiko Sakai, a taxi driver in Kushiro, Japan, told Reuters . “The world opposes killing whales, but you can say the same thing about many of the animals bred on land and killed for food.” Much of the momentum for the relaunch has been initiated by the prime minster, who received considerable election support from constituents from a whaling city. In 1986, Japan announced that it would allow whaling for scientific research, purportedly to quantify the populations and the impact of whaling. Many conservationists believed that commercial whaling continued under the guise of scientific exploration. Nicola Beynon of Humane Society International said, “The word ‘research’ may have been removed from the side of the factory ship, finally ending Japan’s charade of harpooning whales under the guise of science , but these magnificent creatures will still be slaughtered for no legitimate reason.” Via Reuters Image via Rob Oo

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Japan relaunches its whaling industry

This summer sneaker is completely biodegradable

July 2, 2019 by  
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Earlier this month, Native Shoes showed its true sustainability colors with the unveiling of 100 percent biodegradable, plant-based shoes that are completely free of animal products, not to mention stylish and perfect for wearing all summer long. The natural-tone sneaker is a culmination of plant materials including a midsole composed of 90 percent cork and 10 percent sisal backing. The outsole material is produced from natural lactae hevea through a 50-stage process that takes up to two weeks to complete. An organic linen sockliner with kenaf originating in Africa and corn felt make up the insole. Rather than the toxic glues that hold together most shoes, the Plant Shoe is held together with olive oil-soaked jute thread and natural, latex-based glue. For the main upper, the material is formed from otherwise discarded pineapple husks along with eucalyptus and organic cotton fibers. The laces are 100 percent organic cotton as well. Related: SAOLA offers sustainable sneakers sourced from algae and recycled plastic This plant-based and biodegradable design is in sharp, and much-needed, contrast to typical sneakers made from petroleum-based products, plastic , leather and other chemical-laden fabrics. Americans alone dump more than 300 million shoes into landfills every year, almost none of which will break down in a timely manner. Aimed at a completely sustainable model for shoe manufacturing, use and disposal, now and in the future, the Plant Shoe can be commercially composted at the end of its lifecycle. “The Plant Shoe was inspired by Native Shoes’ mission to become 100 percent lifecycle managed by 2023,” said Michael Belgue, creative director of Native Shoes. “The next step beyond our current recycling initiative was to create something that wouldn’t need to be reused or recycled but instead generates zero waste . Something that was born from the earth and could go back into it.” Although each component was scrutinized for the most sustainable options, the sneaker was designed to be stylish yet classic enough to outlast short-term trends. Unisex by design, Plant Shoes can be ordered directly from the company online or found at a brick and mortar location. They retail for $200 and are available in sizes 8-13 for men and 5-10 for women. Founded in 2009, Native Shoes is a footwear company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada with the goal of producing shoes that are light on you and the environment. Taking charge in the fight against post-consumer shoe waste, “Live Lightly” is the company motto and the Plant Shoe is here to prove Native Shoes’ dedication to that mindset. + Native Shoes Images via Native Shoes

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This summer sneaker is completely biodegradable

Climate change intensifies seaweed infestation in Caribbean Sea

July 2, 2019 by  
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Many consecutive years of sargassum — large brown seaweed — infestations have driven countries around the Caribbean Sea to consider declaring national emergencies. The smelly seaweed blankets beaches, turns the water brown and smothers coral reefs and marine life. Its rotten stench and unsightly appearance is causing many tourism-dependent communities and nations to lose revenue, and it is even causing a public health concern. “It produces an acid gas with a rotten egg smell [when it decomposes] that can be harmful to human health,” read a letter from the local government of Quitana Roo in Mexico, where a public emergency was declared. Mexico already spent $17 million USD trying to clear away the seaweed from popular beaches along the Riviera Maya, which contributes about 50 percent of the country’s tourism dollars. The government cleared more than 500,000 tons of the brown seaweed, with some hotels lamenting that they often have to have their staff clear the beach two or three times every day. Related: Woman arrested in Florida for stomping on sea turtle nest For nearly a decade, scientists have been concluding that the influx of seaweed is likely from fertilizers and raw sewage entering the Caribbean Sea via drains and watersheds. New research indicates that climate change is also playing a role. “Because of global climate change, we may have increased upwelling, increased air deposition or increased nutrient source from rivers, so all three may have increased the recent large amounts of sargassum,” said Chuanmin Hu, an oceanography professor at South Florida University. While small amounts of sargassum are natural and normal on beaches — and even provide habitat for crustaceans and other marine life — it is detrimental to nearshore ecosystems. Hatchling sea turtles , for example, cannot swim out to sea through the heavy seaweed, and many simply get stuck and die. Some agricultural communities are turning the seaweed into compost for crops; however, none are able to keep up with processing and clearing the massive quantities that periodically plague coastal areas. Via The Independent Image via Tam Warner Minton

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Architects envision sustainable bamboo mass housing for Malaysia

July 2, 2019 by  
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Overshadowed by steel, brick and concrete, bamboo is no longer a major material for everyday Malaysian construction. Yet Cyberjaya-based architectural firm Eleena Jamil Architect believes that the sustainable material should and can join the ranks of modern construction materials. To prove that bamboo is not only a sustainable building material but also a viable one for long-term construction projects, the architects have designed Bamboo Terrace Homes, an eco-friendly proposal for mass contemporary housing built predominately from locally harvested bamboo. Modeled after the typical 22-foot-wide terrace houses found across Malaysia, Eleena Jamil Architect proposed Bamboo Terrace Homes can be used in both urban and suburban areas. Although bamboo has historically been used in Malaysian architecture, the material fell by the wayside due to its low natural resistance to pests and rot when alternative materials, such as steel and brick, rose to prominence. However, the architects said that properly treated and preserved bamboo is strong and resilient enough to be used as a long-term building material. Related: Competition-winning Bamboo Stadium is a sustainable solution to Lagos’ former landfill In their proposal, treated bamboo forms the main structures save for the bathroom enclosures, which will be made of prefabricated lightweight concrete volumes to keep moisture away from the structural bamboo components. The structural bamboo frames would be prefabricated , mass-produced and flat-packed to reduce costs and environmental impact. Bamboo columns would be used to hold up the engineered bamboo floors and roofs, while the internal and external walls would be built from a lightweight bamboo composite board system. According to Eleena Jamil Architect, the Bamboo Terrace Homes would have lower construction costs and a small carbon footprint as compared to standard terrace homes without compromising quality of living. Each contemporary house would include an internal courtyard, balconies and an open-plan floor layout to enhance flexibility. Ample natural light and ventilation would be welcomed indoors through large glazed openings, while large overhangs and balconies reduce heat gain. The proposal is only in the conceptual phase; however, the firm hopes that the design will inspire developers and the local government to adopt bamboo as a sustainable building material. + Eleena Jamil Architect Image via Eleena Jamil Architect

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Architects envision sustainable bamboo mass housing for Malaysia

MAD unveils an energy-saving snowflake-shaped terminal for Harbin Airport

May 31, 2019 by  
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MAD Architects has unveiled a snowflake-shaped design for Terminal 3 of Harbin Taiping International Airport that draws inspiration from the region’s snowy landscape and boasts greater operational efficiency and energy savings as compared to typical terminal architecture . Located in the capital of China’s Heilongjiang Province, the Harbin Taping International Airport is one of the largest transportation hubs in Northeast Asia. The new Terminal 3 will greatly expand the airport’s capacity and cover an area of 3,300 hectares. As with almost all of MAD Architects’ work, the Harbin Taiping International Airport’s Terminal 3 design evokes a futuristic feel with sinuous lines and modern materials. The terminal will consist of ancillary airport facilities, including ground transportation hubs, a hotel, retail and parking lots. The ridges on the roof, which mimic snowdrifts and the gentle slopes of China’s Northern plains, serve as skylights that bathe the interior with natural light and warmth. Lush indoor gardens connect the building’s different levels and delineate major zones in the terminal. “Like a snowflake that has gently fallen onto the earth, it creates an architectural poetry that settles into its locale, while simultaneously expressing itself as a surreal, interstellar space of future air travel,” the architects explained. “While the massiveness of the terminal is inevitable, MAD’s design manages to establish an architectural program that is human-scale and provides a multi-sensory experience that is also efficient and energy saving . The scheme’s snowflake-shaped, five-finger departure corridors greatly shorten the time it takes for passengers to arrive at their gate, while also minimizing congestion and improving the overall efficiency of the airport apron.” Related: MAD brings a surreal sports campus that mimics a green, martian landscape to China Once complete, Terminal 3 will be seamlessly connected to Harbin City via the Ground Transportation Center hub that offers high-speed rail, municipal subway lines, airport buses and other urban transit together. MAD Architects’ focus on efficiency and energy saving is particularly important, given the forecasts for the new terminal: by 2030, Terminal 3 is expected to cater to 43 million passengers annually, with approximately 320,000 outgoing flights per year. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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MAD unveils an energy-saving snowflake-shaped terminal for Harbin Airport

India will surpass Paris Agreement pledges with renewable energy investment

May 20, 2019 by  
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The Indian government has embarked on many large scale renewable energy projects that are predicted to enable the world’s second most populous country to surpass its commitment to cut carbon emissions. According to a recently released report from Moody’s, 45 percent of all energy produced in India will be from non-fossil fuel sources by 2022. This is impressive, considering India only committed to 40 percent non-fossil fuel sources under the international Paris Agreement in 2015. Although coal remains the largest energy source, the aggressive additions of renewable sources will decrease coal’s overall contribution. Moody’s report, “Power Asia – Climate goals, declining costs of renewables signal decreasing reliance on coal power,” focuses on the role of investors in the energy industry as well as predictions for investments. Related: India plans to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022 “There is a realization that renewables are quicker, cleaner, cheaper and also strategically in India’s interest because of energy security; it just makes financial sense to invest in renewables,” Sameer Kwatra, from the Natural Resources Defense Council,  said . The Indian government has invested in large scale wind, power and solar projects, including tripling its solar power capacity in three years. Much of the increase in renewable energy has been due to decreased prices in renewable technology and interest from private investors. If battery production and storage capacity also increase, the report expects that renewable energy sector growth could spike. Similarly, banks and private investors are under increased pressure to withdraw investments in fossil fuel companies and pipeline projects. Despite the fact that investments in renewable energy have been higher than fossil fuel investments for three years in a row, the coal industry is still growing steadily alongside the renewable industry, with Indian populations using more electricity annually. India’s success is a considerable achievement for the entire world. After the U.S. and China, India is the largest contributor of greenhouse gases . Via CleanTechnica Image via DoshiJi

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