Episode 219: Water, workplaces and well-being

May 8, 2020 by  
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Episode 219: Water, workplaces and well-being Heather Clancy Fri, 05/08/2020 – 02:33 Week in Review Commentary on this week’s news highlights begins at 4:35. Why global engagement is essential to sustainable supply chains Sustainable infrastructure investments can aid the post-COVID recovery Two ways P&G is working toward its packaging goals Features Intel’s water world (16:25) In 2017, semiconductor and technology manufacturing giant Intel committed to restoring 100 percent of its global water use. This year on Earth Day, the company said it had reached a milestone of 1 billion gallons restored. Todd Brady, director of global public affairs and sustainability, discusses the projects that got it there.  Workplaces and well-being (31:15) Last week, three respected real estate companies — Cushman & Wakefield, Hines and Delos — announced an initiative intended to help companies begin the process of reconfiguring their offices to protect employees’ health as they return to work. Here to discuss the project is Paul Scialla, founder and CEO of Delos, which founded both the International Well Building Institute and the Well Building Standard. On the fringe … consumers (40:45) A highlight from our ” Seeing into the Future ” webcast, featuring sustainability marketing guru Suzanne Shelton. *This episode was sponsored by Villanova University.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere:  “Waiting for the Moment That Never Comes,” “Knowing the Truth,” “Southside,” “Start the Day,” “Thinking It Over,” “Curiosity” and “Introducing the Pre-Roll” Virtual Conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. Moving to a regenerative food supply. Pioneering companies, NGOs and policymakers will discuss tracking technologies, regenerative agriculture projects and new collaborations that could make food systems more sustainable. Sign up here for the session at 1 p.m. EDT May 12. In conversation with John Elkington. Don’t miss this one-on-one interview featuring GreenBiz Executive Editor Joel Makower and well-respected sustainability consultant John Elkington, who recently published his 20th book, “Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism.” Register for the live event at 1 p.m. EDT May 14. Circularity goes digital.  You don’t have to wait until August for three great discussions on the circular economy . We’ll debate “Reusable Packaging in the Age of Contagion,” “Can Recycled Plastic Survive Low Oil Prices” and “Repair, Resilience and Customer Engagement.” Register here for our half-day event starting at 1 p.m. EDT May 18. Scaling municipal fleets. Experts from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, ChargePoint, Smart City Columbus and the city of Oakland, California share tips at 1 p.m. EDT May 26.   This is climate tech. Join respected venture capitalists Nancy Pfund (DBL Partners), Andrew Beebe (Obvious Ventures) and Andrew Chung (1955 Capital) for a discussion at 1 p.m. EDT May 28 about compelling solutions and startups that address the climate crisis — and how big companies can play a role in scaling them. Resources Galore The State of Green Business 2020.  Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends for the year ahead  published here . Do we have a newsletter for you!  We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Topics Podcast Water Efficiency & Conservation COVID-19 Buildings COVID-19 Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 49:42 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 219: Water, workplaces and well-being

Now is a great time to optimize energy in buildings. You’d think.

May 8, 2020 by  
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Now is a great time to optimize energy in buildings. You’d think. Sarah Golden Fri, 05/08/2020 – 00:43 Despite being mostly empty, commercial real estate energy bills are mostly unchanged.  Commercial buildings in the United Kingdom have reduced energy consumption only by 16 percent on average during the pandemic, according to analysis from Carbon Intelligence . The worst-performing buildings are only achieving a 3 percent reduction, according to the analysis. Anecdotal evidence suggests similar numbers in the United States.  What a waste of time and money.  With occupancy so low and energy bills so high, there may never have been a more persuasive argument — or a better opportunity — to optimize buildings. You’d think.  The (missed) opportunity for capital upgrades  With buildings empty, service providers hungry for work and capital cheap, it seems a great time to bring buildings into the 21st century.  But as we’re still grasping the extent of the economic fallout, commercial real estate owners are cautious. “The financial smoke will have to clear before many people will put project capital at risk there,” explained Steve Gossett Jr., operating partner at Generate Capital, via email. “Most landlords are likely to husband cash rather than invest in their assets right now because they aren’t sure how functional the capital markets will be for real estate in the near future or how stable their tenants are.” In the short term, landlords are worried struggling companies will renegotiate leases or shift to a work-from-home model, requiring less office space writ large. The result: Commercial office spaces could become stranded assets, subject to write-downs and operating losses.  Being able to have this time to find these deeper problems and being able to address them will have long-term savings, even when the building becomes occupied again.   “In the past, before COVID, we’d say, ‘Oh, if you do these improvements you can increase your rental rates and you can have higher-quality tenants,’” said Marta Schantz, senior vice president of the Urban Land Institute’s Greenprint, an alliance of real estate owners and investors. “But now that case sounds tone-deaf to the market. If folks are worried about people even being able to pay their rent, they’re less focused on increasing rental rates and more on just getting rent.” To say the least, this is a missed opportunity. About half of all buildings were built before 1980 , and many are old, dumb and wasteful. The U.S. building stock accounts for about 40 percent of the emissions. And the technology exists to change that; buildings could be optimized and transformed to be a resource for the electric grid. Buildings could be cheaper to run, provide healthier spaces and become more resilient. What building owners can do now: tighten operations  As occupancy drops close to zero, some building operators have been surprised at how little change there has been in their energy consumption.  “In general, some clients probably have been surprised to find that parasitic loads were higher than expected,” said Kyle Goehring, executive vice president of clean energy solutions at JLL, in an email.  Simply reviewing systems and buildings presets can save energy and money, according to Schantz.  For example, facility managers could reduce the run time of HVAC systems (responsible for about 40 percent of energy consumption), turn off lights in unoccupied spaces (lighting is responsible for 20 percent of energy use) or unplug appliances that aren’t needed (which account for about 33 percent of buildings’ energy use). For more specific ideas, check out Schantz’s blog or GreenBiz’s coverage . Investment in critical infrastructure focused on digitization and efficiency will be absolutely key for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building resilience for the future. These ideas, which are of course important, sound like no-brainers. As the world is turned upside down, I’m craving a cataclysmic change, not energy efficiency 101.  But according to Schantz, the basics are revolutionary when facility managers never had time to examine operations in the before-time.  “I very much hope that as folks go through their buildings they will also find some red flags that they didn’t know existed,” she said. “Being able to have this time to find these deeper problems and being able to address them will have long-term savings, even when the building becomes occupied again.” The COVID-19 conundrum and financial solutions As people make sense of these crazy times, I often hear big ideas about how we could transform the future. As we emerge from this crisis, what type of world do we want to create? Simultaneously, it seems we’re also paralyzed by constantly constricting opportunities. The vanishing jobs, capital and resources are shifting mindsets to survival, not reinvention.  The good news is that the same financial mechanisms that allow building owners to upgrade without upfront costs are the same measures that would support broader economic development. This is especially true if the private sector partners with federal dollars to stretch capital further.  “Investment in critical infrastructure focused on digitization and efficiency will be absolutely key for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building resilience for the future,” wrote Kevin Self, senior vice president of strategy, business development and government relations at Schneider Electric, in an email.  Schneider Electric is one service organization providing financing structures to move along projects without upfront capital. These include energy-as-a-service and energy savings performance contracting.  “Not only does digitization support resilience and sustainability, it saves on cost,” wrote Self.  Schneider Electric is not the only organization offering financial solutions for energy upgrades. Service providers and startups have emerged in this space over the last 10 years, vying for companies’ potential energy savings. Other X-as-a-service organizations include Carbon Lighthouse , Sparkfund , Redaptive , Parity , Measurabl and Metrus .  While many of these service providers are likely working hard to navigate these turbulent months, the role they play will be more important than ever as we rebuild our future. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s newsletter Energy Weekly, running Thursdays. Subscribe  here . Pull Quote Being able to have this time to find these deeper problems and being able to address them will have long-term savings, even when the building becomes occupied again. Investment in critical infrastructure focused on digitization and efficiency will be absolutely key for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building resilience for the future. Topics Energy & Climate Buildings COVID-19 Energy Efficiency COVID-19 Featured Column Power Points Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Now is a great time to optimize energy in buildings. You’d think.

Ghost gear is haunting our oceans

January 31, 2019 by  
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Fishing gear isn’t just deadly when there’s a fisherman at the other end of the line. Lost and abandoned equipment continues to kill, rampaging beneath the ocean’s surface, tangling fish, drowning seabirds and smothering reefs. This ghost gear haunts common and endangered species indiscriminately. According to a UN Environment and FAO report , another 640,000 tons of ghost gear is added to the undersea dump each year. In Southeast India, workers at the Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute have formed a team of ghost-net busters to reverse this damage.  The Gulf of Mannar includes 560 square kilometers of islands and shallow coastal waters. Since being declared a marine park in 1986, the live coral reefs have shrunk from 110 to 80 square kilometers. Between climate change bleaching the coral and destructive fishing practices, the ghost-net busters face daunting challenges. They must manually remove nets, being careful not to further damage the coral. Related: California teen finds golf balls are a major source of plastic waste in our oceans “Through removal of ghost nets, we hope not only to help conserve corals but also to support the small-scale fishermen who depend mainly on the reef-associated fishery resources for their livelihoods,” said Patterson Edward, director of the research institute. Edward is part of a team of nine marine scientists and three support staff who survey, monitor and restore reefs in the Gulf of Mannar. Finding and retrieving ghost nets is one part of their work. The problem goes way beyond the gulf. Ghost nets “are killing megafauna in the Indian Ocean and are a transboundary problem, because nets from India find their way to other countries in the region such as the Maldives and kill many iconic species such as turtles, rays and sharks ,” said Gabriel Grimsditch, an expert in marine ecosystems at UN Environment. While aerial views of floating garbage patches are all too familiar, many people have yet to learn about ghost gear. “It’s not just plastic bags and bottles negatively impacting marine life and the blue economy; it’s estimated that by weight, ghost gear makes up between 46 to 70 percent of all macro plastics in our ocean,” said Grimsditch. + UN Environment and FAO Image via Shutterstock

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Ghost gear is haunting our oceans

Solar protective glass gives the iceberg-like Hercule home a mirrored finish

January 31, 2019 by  
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Modern, monolithic and minimalist , Hercule is a single-family home designed like an iceberg — the bulk of the building is hidden while the visible portion emerges out of the ground like the tip of an iceberg. Named after local hero John “Hercule” Gruen for its “robust strength,” the house located in Mondorf-les-bains in the south of Luxembourg is the recently completed work of local architecture practice 2001 . Embedded into the sloped terrain, the concrete dwelling further immerses itself into the landscape with a massive wall of solar reflective glass that mirrors the surroundings. Located on residual land between an old farmhouse and a suburban villa, the project site had a sloped terrain that the architects decided to turn into a design attribute rather than an obstacle. The natural context determined the layout of the home’s three floors, which step down the slope from west to east. Covering a built footprint of 446 square meters, the home appears deceptively compact from street level because of the spacious basement level. The main living spaces as well as the technical rooms are all located on the basement floor, which includes a two-car garage, a fitness and spa area, a wine cellar, storage and the open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area that open up to an enclosed outdoor courtyard through full-height glazed sliding doors. The dimensions of the open-plan living area — measuring 14 by 6 meters — is repeated on the two floors above ground that house the bedrooms and bathrooms. Related: Mirrored pavilion all but disappears into nature Minimalism is stressed throughout the design, with the main structural elements visible and enhanced through formwork and sanding.  Solar protective glass clads the east and west facades, which are oriented toward the street and the garden. To the south, a blind béton brut wall serves as a beam for the upper two floors to ensure a column-free living area below, while the north side is punctuated with garden-facing openings. + 2001 Photography by Maxime Delvaux via 2001

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Solar protective glass gives the iceberg-like Hercule home a mirrored finish

Switzerland rules lobsters must be stunned before they are boiled

January 11, 2018 by  
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Lobsters may not really scream when you boil them – they don’t possess vocal cords – but research shows they can feel pain, and Switzerland’s government decided to do something about the common culinary practice of boiling lobsters alive. According to the government order, the crustaceans “will now have to be stunned before they are put to death.” Lobsters in Switzerland now have to be stunned before chefs plunge them into hot water to cook them. The government banned the practice of boiling live lobsters amid concerns the creatures might be able to experience pain. Research from Queen’s University Belfast seems to back them up – a 2013 study on crabs discovered they’re likely to feel pain. Since then, researchers have called upon the food industry to reconsider the treatment of crabs and other live crustaceans like prawns and lobsters. Related: 132-year-old lobster returned to ocean after living in tank for 20 years Switzerland’s new rule is part of an overhaul of animal protection laws that goes into effect on March 1. Swiss public broadcaster RTS said the accepted stunning methods are electric shock or mechanical destruction of the creature’s brain. The government is also outlawing the practice of transporting live crustaceans like lobsters in icy water or on ice, saying they must “always be held in their natural environment.” Some people have contended crustaceans like lobsters can’t feel pain, since they only possess nociception, or “a reflex response to move away from a noxious stimulus,” according to Nature ‘s news blog . Animal behavior researcher Robert Elwood doesn’t agree. He said there’s strong evidence crustaceans do feel pain. Via The Guardian and Nature News Blog Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Switzerland rules lobsters must be stunned before they are boiled

Elon Musk wants to build a rocket that can fly you from New York to Shanghai in 30 minutes

September 29, 2017 by  
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Imagine being able to travel from New York to Shanghai in just 30 minutes. If Elon Musk succeeds with his newest plan, a trip of this kind will soon be possible. During Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. , the entrepreneur revealed his ambition to build the “BFR” – a rocket that could transport anyone anywhere on the planet within 60 minutes. Musk, who has long dreamed of founding a human colony on Mars , is willing to use his own personal assets to fund the futuristic technology. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); LIVE: Elon Musk reveals his latest plans for colonizing Mars. Posted by Bloomberg Technology on Thursday, September 28, 2017 “If we are going to places like Mars , why not Earth?” said Musk at the 68th International Astronautical Congress, which took place in Adelaide, Australia. Towards the end of Musk’s presentation, an animation played on the screen behind the tech entrepreneur, showing dozens of people getting on a high-speed ferry in New York, boarding the BRF on a platform in the water, then jetting to Shanghai in about 30 minutes. Musk wrote on Instagram: ”Fly to most places on Earth in under 30 mins and anywhere in under 60. Cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft . Forgot to mention that.” Reportedly, the BFR will contain 40 cabins capable of “ferrying” approximately 100 people at a time. The 46-year-old has admitted in the past that “the major fundamental flaw” in his plans is the financing aspect. With a net worth of approximately $21 billion, the entrepreneur isn’t averse to using his own personal assets to develop the technology. However, money for the BFR will also be raised via contracts with commercial satellite operators, who can use the BFR to carry satellites to orbit, as well as crew and cargo to the International Space Station . Related: Elon Musk sets tentative date for Tesla Semi truck unveiling Musk is also ambitious to send an unmanned “Red Dragon” spacecraft to the red planet in 2018. Though the initial plan has changed, the new goal has the craft landing on Mars in 2022, followed by crewed missions in 2024. Via Bloomberg Images via TEDx , Pixabay

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Modern timber-clad addition spruces up an old Austrian farmhouse

June 7, 2016 by  
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Designed in the Mühlviertel Bauernsacherl style, the original property was built in the local rural vernacular with a half-hip roof and white granite walls. Hammerschmid Pachl Seebacher Architekten’s renovation carefully preserves the building’s character while adding an L-shaped extension that’s both contemporary and complementary. The spruce-clad addition is topped with an asymmetric fibre-cement gabled roof. Related: Austrian S House is Elevated on Stilts so a Lush Garden Can Grow Below It The interior features mostly white-painted surfaces with exposed timber ceiling beams and floors for a clean and modern appearance. The client’s family of four live on one side of the house with three bedrooms on the upper level of the old building that connect to an open-plan communal area with the kitchen, dining room, and living area in the new wing. The client’s mother lives on the lower level of the farmhouse, which was converted into a self-contained apartment with access to a small winter garden. + Hammerschmid Pachl Seebacher Architekten Via Dezeen Images via Hammerschmid Pachl Seebacher Architekten

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Modern timber-clad addition spruces up an old Austrian farmhouse

Solar Impulse Pilots Hosting Reddit Ask Me Anything TODAY at 1PM EST

May 31, 2013 by  
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This amazing Solar Impulse airplane recently completed the second leg of its sun-powered journey across the United States , and today co-founders and pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg are hosting a Reddit Ask Me Anything at 1pm EST ! Head over to Reddit now to participate in the live conversation and learn more about this record-breaking project. + Solar Impulse Ask me Anything + Solar Impulse Coverage on Inhabitat Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: across america tour , alternative energy , ama , Andre Borschberg , ask me anything , bertrand piccard , green technology , green transportation , photovoltaics , reddit , renewable energy , solar impulse , solar plane , Solar Power , solar powered plane        

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Solar Impulse Pilots Hosting Reddit Ask Me Anything TODAY at 1PM EST

Marko Vuckovic’s Hydroponic Grass Lamp Lets Anyone Grow Plants Indoors

February 14, 2013 by  
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In an apartment or an office setting, a little greenery can turn a lifeless space into a relaxing oasis. Designer Marko Vu?kovi? ‘s Grass Lamp is a sleek hydroponic light fixture that blends modernist design with living plants. The grass is planted in a growing medium and fed with a mineral nutrient solution, while an overhead fixture provides light. Taking advantage of limited space, the lamp is a beautiful and creative way to add life to a room and purify the air. Read the rest of Marko Vuckovic’s Hydroponic Grass Lamp Lets Anyone Grow Plants Indoors Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bosch foundation , design and design award , grass lamp , hydroponic , kare , Light , marko vuckovic , polytechnic university of belgrade , saturn clock

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Check Out Architecture for Humanity’s Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! Today in San Francisco

November 13, 2012 by  
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Today Architecture for Humanity ‘s 3rd Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! conference is bringing San Francisco a schedule of panels and workshops that “bring together designers, architects, real estate professionals, manufacturers, academics, philanthropists, media and business leaders to address the challenges and lessons learned in humanitarian design.” Inhabitat is on the scene, and we’re looking forward to discussions on topics that include “Key Practices for Success in Disaster Reconstruction” (with input from former AIA President Clark Manus and Greensburg GreenTown founder Daniel Wallach ), “Eco-Development in Low Income Communities” and much more. The day will be rounded off by a Design Open Mic judged by Peter Exley . If you can’t make it there in person, fear not—the event will be streamed live! + Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: afh conference , Architecture for Humanity , cameron sinclair , design conference , design like you give a damn , disaster recovery , humanitarian design , kate storr , San Francisco , sustainable design

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