Eco-sensitive community in northern India harvests rainwater

September 4, 2019 by  
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Near the Himalayas, a new eco-conscious residential development known as the Woodside has taken root in the mountains of Kasauli, a small town in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Indian architectural firm Morphogenesis used a site-sensitive approach to design the luxury development, which not only follows the contours of the landscape to minimize site disturbance but also makes use of passive solar conditions and rainwater harvesting systems to reduce energy and water usage. Envisioned as a nature retreat for city dwellers, the Woodside is perched on extremely steep terrain that includes level differences of approximately 100 meters within the site boundaries. The development’s 37 cottages and the internal roads were strategically placed to minimize cut and fill operations as well as to preserve the existing vegetation and body of water on site. Locally sourced natural materials, such as stone, timber and slate, were primarily used for construction. Related: Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape “The cottages are positioned on the slope in a manner that ensures unobstructed panoramic views of the scenic hills of the Shimla valley; the largest ones enjoy the farthest view,” the architects explained. The lush landscape is left mostly untouched save for agricultural uses. “This is achieved by maintaining a minimum height difference between the roof level of each cottage and the ground level of the preceding cottage uphill.” To minimize energy usage, the cottages, which come in four different types, all feature thick outer walls to provide a thermal mass to reduce reliance on air conditioning. The community’s rainwater harvesting systems also help reduce water use. The collected water is used for irrigation or is stored in a sump downhill for later use. + Morphogenesis Photography by Suryan & Dang via Morphogenesis

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Eco-sensitive community in northern India harvests rainwater

World’s largest solar plant at sea is installed at Maldives resort

September 4, 2019 by  
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There’s more than sunbathers and yachts floating near the resort Lux* South Ari Atoll in the Maldives. The five-star property, located on the beautiful island of Dhidhoofinolhu, called on SwimSol to provide its patented SolarSea system, the world’s largest solar power plant at sea, to help power the island resort. The SolarSea technology helps gather solar energy to power the island and can withstand the often brutal conditions caused by waves, storms and saltwater. Related: The largest solar farm apiary in the US opens for business “Innovation is key to achieving true sustainability , and we are happy to partner with Swimsol to work toward our goal of minimizing our ecological footprint,” said Jonas Amstad, general manager at Lux* South Ari Atoll. Solar energy is not a new concept to the resort , as it was already using a Swimsol rooftop system before deciding to go beyond its shores with 12 SolarSea platforms on the sea. The floating solar panels are not only saving money but reducing the resort’s carbon footprint . The property’s solar capacity increased by 40 percent and reached 678 kWp — enough to power all of the resort’s guest villas at peak times. Lux* South Ari Atoll is saving more than 260,000 liters of diesel annually, an amount that was once needed to produce the same amount of power via combustion engines. Guests can get involved, too, by viewing a live “solar tracker” available in the villas that shows the energy produced, diesel saved and carbon dioxide emissions saved. Visitors aren’t the only benefactors of solar at the resort; the floating solar platforms offer shelter to young fish. Because the platforms float, they are also able to stay well above the coral reefs and seabed dwellers. With the SolarSea system just off of the shore, Lux* South Ari Atoll can boast that it is now home to the largest solar plant at sea. The resort isn’t stopping there — it is already looking to increase its future solar capacity. + Swimsol Via The Island Chief Images via Swimsol

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World’s largest solar plant at sea is installed at Maldives resort

Ireland will plant 440 million trees in 20 years

September 4, 2019 by  
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Ireland is about to get a whole lot greener. The 84,431-square-kilometer country is determined to fight climate change by planting 440 million trees by 2040; 70 percent will be conifers and the remainder broad-leaf. The initiative is part of Ireland’s larger goal to become carbon-neutral by 2050. Ireland has the lowest forest cover of all European countries — about 11 percent compared to an average of more than 30 percent. Some say planting additional trees could be the answer, while others aren’t completely sold. Related: Scientists confirm tree planting is our best solution to climate change In June, the Irish government said it was going to start planting more trees in its fight against climate change and to reduce carbon emissions, but it never said how many trees it would plant. Now, the government has come up with a specific number. “The target for new forestation is approximately 22 million trees per year,” a spokesperson for the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment said . “Over the next 20 years, the target is to plant 440 million.” In order to make the tree planting initiative work, Ireland needs farmers to plant more trees on their properties. The problem is that this is not a popular idea among farmers . The government hopes to try to change these opinions by offering local meetings to garner support for reforestation. Other people in Ireland are also against planting more trees. For instance, Pádraic Fogarty of the Irish Wildlife Trust is not on board. “People are not good at planting trees, and trees do not like being planted. They prefer to plant themselves,” Fogarty told The Irish Independent . Rather than handing out around 94 million euros ($103 million) in forestry grants, the government should pay farmers to plant nothing and let their properties regrow on their own, Fogarty suggested. An earlier study explained that planting more than 500 billion trees was the “most effective” solution to combating climate change. Those opposed to the tree planting initiative say reforestation will not reduce greenhouse gases enough, and other ideas should be implemented. Planting trees is not a foreign concept when trying to address the climate crisis, as other countries have grabbed their shovels and dug in. For example, Ethiopia and Scotland have been successful in their efforts to plant more trees for reforestation and fight global warming . Via EcoWatch , The Irish Times and The Irish Independent Image via KML

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Ireland will plant 440 million trees in 20 years

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