Leveraging the ocean’s carbon removal potential

November 11, 2020 by  
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Leveraging the ocean’s carbon removal potential Katie Lebling Wed, 11/11/2020 – 00:30 To meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius 2.7 degrees F), greenhouse gas emissions must reach net-zero by mid-century. Achieving this not only will require reducing existing emissions, but also removing carbon dioxide already in the air. How much carbon to remove from the atmosphere will depend on emissions in the coming years, but estimates point to around 10 billion-20 billion tons of CO 2 per year through 2100, globally. This is a tremendous amount, considering that the United States emitted 5.4 billion tons of CO 2 in 2018. As the need for climate action becomes more urgent, the ocean is gaining attention as a potential part of the solution . Approaches such as investing in offshore energy production, conserving coastal ecosystems and increasing consumption of sustainable ocean-based protein offer opportunities to reduce emissions. In addition to these opportunities, a range of ocean-based carbon removal approaches could help capture and store billions of tons of carbon. Importantly, these approaches would not increase ocean acidification. The ocean absorbs just under one-third of anthropogenic CO 2 emissions, which is contributing to a rise in ocean acidification and making it more difficult for organisms such as oysters and corals to build shells. The ocean absorbs just under one-third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, contributing to a rise in ocean acidification. A few options for increasing the ocean’s capacity to store carbon also may provide co-benefits, such as increasing biodiversity and reducing acidification. However, many approaches remain contentious due to uncertainties around potential ecological impacts, governance and other risks. If research efforts increase to improve understanding in these areas, a combination of approaches could help address the global climate crisis. Ocean-based ways to remove CO 2 from the atmosphere Proposed methods for increasing the ocean’s ability to remove and store carbon dioxide — including biological, chemical and electrochemical concepts — vary in technical maturity, permanence, public acceptance and risk. Note: This graphic represents the general types of proposed approaches, but may not reflect every proposal. 1. Biological approaches Biological approaches, which leverage the power of photosynthesis to capture CO 2 , offer a few approaches for carbon removal. Ecosystem restoration Restoring coastal blue carbon ecosystems , including salt marshes, mangroves and seagrasses, can increase the amount of carbon stored in coastal sediments. Globally, the carbon removal potential of coastal blue carbon ecosystem restoration is around a few hundred million tons of CO 2 per year by 2050, which is relatively small compared to the need. However, ample co-benefits — such as reducing coastal erosion and flooding, improving water quality and supporting livelihoods and tourism — make it worth pursuing. Restoring coastal blue carbon ecosystems, including salt marshes such as this one, can help store carbon in addition to other restoration benefits. Photo by Bre Smith/Unsplash Large-scale seaweed cultivation Another proposed approach is large-scale seaweed cultivation , as seaweed captures carbon through photosynthesis. While there is evidence that wild seaweed already contributes to carbon removal, there is potential to cultivate and harvest seaweed for use in a range of products, including food (human and animal), fuel and fertilizer. The full extent of carbon removal potential from these applications is uncertain, as many of these products would return carbon within the seaweed to the environment during consumption. Yet, these applications could lower emission intensity compared to conventional production processes. Seaweed cultivation also can provide an economic return that could support near-term industry growth. One interesting application is adding certain seaweeds to feed for ruminant farm animals, which significantly could reduce their methane emissions. Methane has especially high climate warming potential, and methane emissions from ruminants contribute roughly 120 MtCO1e per year in the United States. Emerging research shows that certain types of red seaweeds can reduce ruminant emissions by more than 50 percent, although more research is necessary to show consistent long-term reductions and understand whether large-scale cultivation efforts are successful. In addition to reducing emissions, seaweed cultivation also may reduce ocean acidification. In some places, this application is already in use for shellfish aquaculture to reduce acidification and improve shellfish growth. Understanding potential ecosystem risks is critical to implementing this approach at scale. Potential risks include changes to water movement patterns; changes to light, nutrient and oxygen availability; altered pH levels; impacts from manmade structures for growing; and impacts of monoculture cultivation, which can affect existing marine flora and fauna. Continued small-scale pilot testing is necessary to understand these ecosystem impacts and bring down costs for cultivation, harvesting and transport. Iron fertilization A more controversial and divisive idea is iron fertilization , which involves adding trace amounts of iron to certain parts of the ocean, spurring phytoplankton growth. The phytoplankton would take in atmospheric CO 2 as they grow, with a portion expected to eventually sink to the ocean floor, resulting in permanent storage of that carbon in ocean sediments About a dozen experiments indicate varying levels of carbon sequestration efficacy, but the approach remains compelling to some due to its low cost. Although iron fertilization theoretically could store large amounts of carbon for a comparatively low cost, it also could cause significant negative ecological impacts, such as toxic algal blooms that can reduce oxygen levels, block sunlight and harm sea life. Additionally, researchers are hesitant to pursue this method due to a fraught history, including one experiment that potentially violated international law. Iron fertilization, which involves adding trace amounts of iron to certain parts of the ocean, spurring phytoplankton growth. Because of the relatively low cost, there is also the risk of a single actor’s conducting large-scale fertilization and potentially causing large-scale ecological damage. Given that this method remains contentious, a critical first step is creating a clear international governance structure to continue research. Iron fertilization continues to face scientific uncertainties about its efficacy and ecosystem impacts that, if pursued, would require at-sea testing to resolve. 2. Chemical approaches Chemical approaches, namely alkalinity enhancement, involve adding different types of minerals to the ocean to react with dissolved carbon dioxide and turn it into dissolved bicarbonates. As dissolved carbon dioxide converts into dissolved bicarbonates, the concentration of dissolved CO 2 lowers relative to the air, allowing the ocean to absorb more CO 2 from the air at the ocean-air boundary. Although mineral sources are abundant, accessing them would require significant energy to extract, grind down and transport. While alkalinity enhancement is in use at small scales to improve water quality for calcifying creatures such as oysters and other shellfish, large scale applications would require pilot testing to understand ecosystem impacts. Additional research also will help map accessible and suitable sources of alkalinity and determine how to most effectively apply it. 3. Electrochemical approaches A handful of electrochemical concepts also store carbon as dissolved bicarbonate. Unlike chemical approaches, electrochemical approaches do so by running electric currents through seawater. Variations of electrochemical approaches also could produce valuable hydrogen or concentrated CO 2 for industrial use or storage. Scaling up this approach would depend on the availability of low-carbon energy sources in suitable locations. Additional research will help map such sources and analyze potential benefits, such as hydrogen production. Governance and social considerations of ocean-based carbon removal Ensuring appropriate governance frameworks — both national and international — for ocean-based carbon removal approaches will be a critical pre-condition before many are ready to scale. International legal frameworks for the ocean, such as the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and the London Convention and Protocol, predate the concept of ocean carbon dioxide removal. As a result, these frameworks are retroactively applied to these approaches, leading to differing interpretations and a lack of clarity in some cases. Some legal scholars suggest amending existing legal instruments to more directly govern ocean carbon removal, including carbon removal in ongoing negotiations for new international agreements or shifting governance to another international body entirely. Robust environmental safeguards, including transparent monitoring and reporting, also must be in place. Lastly, ocean carbon removal approaches should not move forward without first considering the impacts on local communities and indigenous populations. Community acceptance of potential pilot testing and impacts on coastal communities also must be a pre-condition to moving forward at scale. Climate action must include the ocean As the world seeks effective tools for the climate action toolbox, employing approaches on land and at sea would prevent over-reliance on any one approach and spread the carbon removal burden over larger systems. However, before any large-scale application, ocean-based carbon removal approaches require continued research to better understand their effectiveness, cost, capacity and ancillary impacts. Such research will ensure a strong scientific foundation from which to pursue these concepts, while minimizing unintended impacts on ocean ecosystems. If understood and effectively developed and implemented, ocean-based carbon removal approaches could prove valuable to reaching net-zero and avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Pull Quote The ocean absorbs just under one-third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, contributing to a rise in ocean acidification. Iron fertilization, which involves adding trace amounts of iron to certain parts of the ocean, spurring phytoplankton growth. Contributors Eliza Northrop Topics Oceans & Fisheries Carbon Removal World Resources Institute Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz collage via Unsplash Close Authorship

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Leveraging the ocean’s carbon removal potential

Smelly but smart: ships to use ammonia as "zero-carbon" fuel

November 10, 2020 by  
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While the world rushes against time to curb carbon emissions from cars, trains and airplanes, another area of transport raises concerns. Today, almost  90% of all goods traded globally are transported by water . As massive fuel guzzlers compared to other transportation methods, ships exacerbate the emissions problem. To deal with the issue of carbon pollution by ships, several companies and organizations are exploring ammonia as a possible solution.  In 2008, the International Maritime Organization(IMO) set a target of halving its emissions by 2050. To accomplish this, IMO intends to use ammonia as a fossil fuel alternative. Ammonia makes a great alternative since it does not contain carbon; the pungent-smelling gas can burn within an engine and power it without emitting carbon dioxide. Due to ammonia’s ability to provide clean energy, several companies are now testing the gas as an alternative fuel. A German company, Man Energy Solutions, has announced plans to install an ammonia-ready engine on a ship. According to the company, the first model will be dual, allowing the ship to run on traditional gas with an ammonia option. Meanwhile, Eidesvik, a Norway-based company, plans to invest in ammonia-powered ships. By 2023, the company will install ammonia-powered cells on all its ships. Similar to batteries, these cells will generate energy to power the ship’s motor. Though ammonia is less energy-rich than many other marine fuels, it proves more energy-dense than hydrogen . Hydrogen, another zero-emission gas, has been used to power cars, trains and planes. While cheaper to produce than ammonia, hydrogen presents handling difficulties due to its -253 degrees Celcius storage temperature. “Ammonia sits very nicely in the middle,” Dr. Tristan Smith of University College London said. “It’s not too expensive to store and not too expensive to produce.”  If the shipping industry adopts ammonia as a fuel source, there is still more work required to keep it clean. Ammonia produces nitrogen oxides, which can be toxic. Fortunately, there is a technology that can purify the oxides before they are released.  + BBC Image via Pexels

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Smelly but smart: ships to use ammonia as "zero-carbon" fuel

Biodegradable mushroom packaging makes Seedlip gifts special

November 10, 2020 by  
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In an effort to help reduce food packaging waste, non-alcoholic spirit company Seedlip is introducing a  Mycelium Gift Pack  wrapped in  biodegradable  mushroom packaging. Mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, creates a durable and sustainable packaging alternative for the upcoming holiday season. This fully bio-contributing material is also biodegradable, recyclable and compostable. The gift set includes a full-sized bottle of Seedlip Spice 94 (an aromatic non-alcoholic spirit), a highball glass made from 100% recycled material and a thyme seeded neck tag. The tag includes instructions to plant and grow your own herbs using the biodegradable  mushroom  box as a planter. Seedlip has partnered with the Magical Mushroom Company, a U.K.-based production plant specializing in manufacturing mycelium-based packaging and insulation, to bring the project to life. Presale for the set began on October 22 and is available now on  Seedlip’s website .  Related: Entrepreneur sells mushroom suits that decompose your body after death “We are committed to celebrating and protecting the natural world and our mushroom-based gift set progresses both our support of sustainable packaging as well as championing nature’s ability to solve society’s challenges,” said Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip. “Mushrooms are nature’s recycling system and we’re very proud to be working with them.” Seedlip Spice 94, featured in the gift set, is an aromatic blend of Jamaican allspice berries, grapefruit, lemon and cardamom that gets its earthy bitterness from oak and cascarilla tree barks. Seedlip offers  beverage  recipes on its website that incorporate the non-alcoholic spirit. The mycelium used to make the gift box paper plays a critical role in  nature  by breaking down debris on the forest floor. Seedlip’s packaging can mimic this process as a compostable material in your compost bin. This helps make mycelium a great alternative to plastic packaging. According to Seedlip, the Magical Mushroom packaging is just as strong as conventional  plastic  foams but doesn’t contribute to landfill or ocean pollution. + Seedlip Images via Seedlip

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Biodegradable mushroom packaging makes Seedlip gifts special

Hothouse installation grows tropical plants in the middle of London

October 26, 2020 by  
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London-based architecture practice Studio Weave has filled a greenhouse with tropical plants in London to highlight the reality of climate change. Known as Hothouse, the large-scale installation project is located at International Quarter London, a business development built in a subdivision of Stratford and close to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The design is inspired by a Victorian glasshouse, and at 7 meters tall, the installation is held up using a galvanized steel frame and cables. The structure provides a controlled environment specifically for cultivating warm-weather plants that are unsuitable to the U.K.’s climate. It is reminiscent of the 20-mile stretch of land across the Lee Valley corridor, which once housed more than 1,300 acres of greenhouse in the 1930s. These greenhouses of the past famously facilitated the production of ornamental flowers and tropical crops like grapes and cucumbers that wouldn’t normally grow in the region. Related: Student designs inflatable bamboo greenhouses for sustainable farming Poised to be on display for at least a year, the new Hothouse will be expertly regulated to help these same types of plants thrive once again. Working with garden designer Tom Massey, the architects at Studio Weave developed a cultivation plan to include plants from all over the world: guava, orange, squash, chia, avocado, pomegranate, quinoa, mango, sweet potato, lemon, sugarcane, chickpea, loquat and pineapple. It’s not just about growing tropical crops; the Hothouse is also designed to highlight the rapidly changing climate . The project serves as a warning to the idea that, should global warming continue to accelerate as some scientists predict, the U.K.’s climate could potentially become warm enough to grow these tropical plants outside by 2050. “Amid the strangeness of the COVID era of the last few months, reduced human activity has produced what feels like a profound shift in the environment, progressing a much-needed dialogue that will hopefully translate into sustained action and change,” said Je Ahn, founder of Studio Weave. “We hope this little hot house acts as a continual reminder of our fragile relationship with nature, while allowing us to rediscover the simple and enriching pleasure of looking after beautiful plants.” + Studio Weave Via Dezeen Images via Studio Weave

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Hothouse installation grows tropical plants in the middle of London

Beautiful Washington bridge with lace-like metal walls shimmers at night

October 26, 2020 by  
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When Seattle-based LMN Architects and KPFF Consulting Engineers were tapped to design the Grand Avenue Park Bridge in Everett, Washington, the team worked to not only meet functional demands but to also achieve aesthetic appeal. The newly completed bridge, which took three years of construction, is now an iconic community asset that connects the elevated Grand Avenue Park with the city’s growing waterfront district — bringing along with it a series of new civic spaces . In a nod to the traditional railroad trusses common across the Pacific Northwest, the architects designed the bridge with weathering steel and brilliant, aluminum guardrails with bespoke perforation that creates a shimmering effect when illuminated at night. Completed in August 2020, the 257-foot-long asymmetrical Grand Avenue Park Bridge provides city residents with a new connection to the growing waterfront district, which had long suffered a disconnect due to a five-lane highway, BNSF railroad tracks and a steep slope of 80 feet. The design team mitigated the challenging grade changes by weaving together pedestrian ramps and stairs into the bridge — much of the bridge structure is tucked below Grand Avenue Park to preserve views from the elevated park — and anchoring the structure with a vertical concrete tower and utility core on the waterfront side. The bridge also carries major utilities across its span. Related: LAVA designs a cyclist bridge to make Heidelberg bike-friendly “As designers, we found these circumstances the perfect opportunity to create a place where the accessible features would define the experience,” said LMN Partner Stephen Van Dyck, AIA in a press statement. “In its design, the Grand Avenue Park Bridge is also a destination. The bridge’s paths, stairs and spaces create a variety of views beyond and within that make it a place of discovery.” The exposed and raw structural elements that are constructed of weathering steel are contrasted with lace-like aluminum guardrails. The 400 aluminum panels were perforated with a CNC Waterjet using a computer script that automated the layout, numbering and cut file production to ensure each aluminum panel is unique and responsive to the geometry of the bridge while fulfilling varying guardrail requirements. The varied density of perforations were also engineered to enhance reflectivity of the lights integrated at the top of the rail while minimizing glare and light pollution.  + LMN Architects Photography by Adam Hunter via LMN Architects

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Beautiful Washington bridge with lace-like metal walls shimmers at night

HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century

October 13, 2020 by  
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HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century Cecilia Keating Tue, 10/13/2020 – 00:46 HSBC has become the latest bank to commit to achieving net-zero financed emissions, announcing Monday that it intends to align its portfolio of investments and debt financing with global climate targets by mid-century. The bank, currently Europe’s second largest financier of fossil fuels, has committed to reaching net-zero across its supply chain and operations by 2030, before reaching net-zero across its customer portfolio 20 years later. The pledge does not include any firm commitments to phasing out support of fossil fuel companies, but confirms the bank’s plans to channel between $75 billion and $1 trillion of financing and investment over the next 10 years to support its customers’ transition towards net zero emissions. In an open letter to its clients, HSBC CEO Noel Quinn said the bank had been motivated to ramp up its environmental ambition by customer concern about climate change. “We know this is an issue that many of our 40 million customers care deeply about, particularly in our retail and private banking businesses,” Quinn wrote . “They care as citizens, consumers and business owners. We are committed to developing products that allow them to invest or participate in efforts to bring about a more sustainable global economy.” While the pledge provides limited detail on the measures it will take to slash the carbon emissions of its portfolio or operations, the bank said it would establish “clear, measurable pathways” to net-zero using the Paris Agreement’s Capital Transition Assessment Tool (PACTA). We know this is an issue that many of our 40 million customers care deeply about, particularly in our retail and private banking businesses. HSBC said it would “apply a climate lens” to all its financing decisions and disclose its climate risk in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). It also said it would work with the broader finance sector to create a standard to measure financed emissions and support a functioning carbon offset market. Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford sustainable finance program and COP26 strategy adviser for finance, hailed the announcement as a “big deal,” noting that HSBC faced particular challenges due to its being more exposed to emerging markets than many of its peers. Elsewhere, the news elicited a more lukewarm response, with a number of environmental campaigners slamming the commitment as “empty” due to its lack of a phaseout timeline for its support of fossil-fuel companies and businesses responsible for deforestation. “HSBC’s net-zero commitment is a bit like saying you’ll give up smoking by 2050, but continuing to buy a pack a week or even smoking more,” said Becky Jarvis, coordinator of campaign group network Fund Our Future UK. “Any further financing of oil, gas and coal expansion today is utterly at odds with a net-zero commitment by 2050. That’s just science, not finance.” Adam McGibbon, energy finance campaigner at Market Forces, said the proposals represented “zero ambition, not net-zero ambition.” “If you want to know what HSBC’s stance on climate change really is, look at what they fund, not their fluffy marketing,” he added. “This is a bank that owns stakes in companies seeking to build enough coal power plants to emit carbon emissions equivalent to 37 years of the UK’s annual emissions.” HSBC, which provided $87 billion in financing to top fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement and nearly $8 billion in loans and underwriting to 29 companies developing coal plants between 2017 and Q3 2019, has faced growing pressure from shareholders to cease financing companies heavily dependent on fossil fuels. In May, 24 percent of shareholders voted in favor for an independent resolution that called for clear phaseout targets and in 2019 a group of investors, including Schroders, EdenTree and Hermes EOS, wrote a letter to the bank’s then-CEO urging him to end support of companies dependent on coal mining or coal power. This week’s announcement is the latest in a growing wave of pledges from across the financial sector from banks and investment firms looking to fully decarbonize not just their operations but also their portfolios. In the past month alone, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase have made similar pledges, while earlier this year Barclays and Natwest promised to move their investment activities into line with the Paris Agreement. Pull Quote We know this is an issue that many of our 40 million customers care deeply about, particularly in our retail and private banking businesses. Topics Finance & Investing Corporate Strategy Net-Zero BusinessGreen 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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HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century

ASOS launches first circular fashion collection

September 28, 2020 by  
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This fall, online retailer ASOS is launching its first collection of circular fashions . A collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion , the 29 women’s, men’s and unisex styles aim to prove that eco-friendly clothing can also be chic. Circular design refers to a constant recycling loop, with no materials ending up in the landfill. Instead of waste, ASOS aims to create an endless series of new fashions. According to ASOS, each style from the autumn collection meets at least two of these three goals: designing out waste and pollution; keeping products and materials in use; and regenerating natural systems. Related: The Redress Design Award is making sustainable fashion an industry standard To create the new Fall 2020 collection, ASOS designers put together a set of goals. First was to attain a zero-waste collection, or at least to minimize waste. When possible, they chose materials that were already at least partially recycled, yet still durable. The designers also aimed for versatility, so that each garment could be styled in multiple ways. The collection also makes use of upcycling , or turning something old into something new. Using one recyclable material for the entire product, called a mono-material approach, means that at the end of each garment’s life, it will be easier to recycle. The fashions were also created with eventual ease of disassembly in mind. Some of the new collection’s items include oversized dresses, pants, blouses, shoes and denim. Black, white and lavender are some of the line’s recurring colors. The new line is a direct response to ASOS’ promise at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2018 to train its designers in circular design by 2020. In the last two years, ASOS has started a training program in conjunction with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, which is part of London College of Fashion, to educate all ASOS designers on sustainable fashion principles. + ASOS Image via ASOS

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The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

September 28, 2020 by  
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Back in July, Inhabitat introduced readers to the Solo New York brand, a sustainable fashion company making bags out of recycled plastic water bottles. Since then, we have had the opportunity to use the popular Re:vive Mini Backpack ourselves, testing it out on more than a few outdoor adventures. With the environmental tolls of fast fashion becoming more and more apparent, sustainability has certainly become a buzzword in the textile and fashion industries. Solo New York’s recycled fabric production starts with discarded plastic bottles. Through an environmentally friendly process, the plastic bottles are finely shredded and re-spun into durable and lightweight recycled PET polyester yarn. According to Solo New York, this recycled material reduces energy use by 50%, water use by 20% and air pollution by 60%. Related: Each purchase of this bag made from recycled plastic helps plant trees The Re:vive Mini Backpack is just the right size for a day trip. We took one on a hike down to McClures Beach in Point Reyes, California in the height of summer. Despite its seemingly small size, it easily held a small beach towel, a large water bottle, keys, wallet, sunglasses and a tube of sunscreen with room to spare. The short fabric key clip built into the top of the bag helped keep us from digging around in the bottom for keys (always a plus), and the bag itself was so lightweight that it was easy to forget it was even on. When a sandwich mishap produced a small stain on the outside of the backpack , a simple dose of spot-cleaning made it good as new — a great characteristic if you plan on using the backpack in your everyday life. Another feature we noticed was the versatility of the design; the heathered gray material on the outside and the subtle black camo on the inside are just as appropriate for a big city subway or the office as they are for exploring a national park. Apart from aiding our fight against plastic pollution, this backpack also proved itself as a great conversation starter. Once people found out that it was made from recycled plastic bottles , most couldn’t believe that the fabric could be so soft and similar to other popular textiles like cotton or polyester. The sturdiness of the plastic fiber is apparent in its durability as well, so it is easy to tell that the bags are designed to last a long time. The mini backpack measures 14″ x 9″ x 4″ and weighs only 0.57 pounds. Priced at $24.99, it is affordable, too. Along with the aforementioned key clip, there are also adjustable shoulder straps and a front zippered pocket to hold more quick-grab items like cellphones and wallets. According to the company, the first run of the Re:cycled Collection was responsible for recycling more than 90,000 plastic bottles, and the line is still continuing to expand with new bags. As of September 2020, the collection features four backpack versions priced from $24.99 to $64.99, a laptop sleeve, two carry-on-size luggage pieces, a briefcase, a tote and a duffel. Solo New York was founded by John Ax, who arrived to the U.S. in 1940 with his family. They only had $100 and the clothes on their backs. As a skilled craftsman, he began rounding up leather pieces and scraps that were destined for the trash from local tanneries to turn into sellable goods. His small company, which eventually became known as the United States Luggage Company, thrived for decades before rebranding as Solo New York. Today, the company has already set solid, transparent goals to become even more sustainable in the future. The goal is to eliminate plastic from all packaging by the end of 2020. Hang tags are already printed on 100% recycled and biodegradable material with a recycled cotton string and a completely biodegradable clasp. The Solo New York headquarters on Long Island takes advantage of New York’s average of 224 sunny days per year with 1,400 rooftop solar panels (producing enough energy to power 87 homes). Plus, the company has a zero-tolerance plastic water bottle policy for its employees, instead offering filtered smart fountains and water dispensers throughout its locations. Solo New York has also partnered with the United States National Forest Foundation, pledging to help aid in reforestation by planting one tree per every bag purchased from the Re:cycled collection. Customers also have the option of taking the “Green Pledge” and promising to say no to plastic bottles for the following 30 days. For every pledge signed, Solo NY will plant a second tree. Overall, we think any of the bags from this sustainable collection would be a great gift option for the Earth-lover in your life, especially for the upcoming holiday season. Even for someone who hasn’t found their stride in sustainability quite yet, the gift of a Re:cycled Collection bag or backpack is sure to be pretty eye-opening as to how far recycling can really go. Even better, if more people pivot to eco-friendly bags, that means we can help cut down on the number of plastic items being manufactured and distributed globally, leading to fewer toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere, less resources spent and less waste produced overall. + Solo New York Images via Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Solo New York. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

Old industrial building is now an energy-efficient complex in London

September 21, 2020 by  
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International practice Make Architects has transformed a 1950s industrial building into the Asta House, a mixed-use development comprising commercial offices, luxury and affordable residences, retail spaces and a new pocket park in London’s Fitzrovia. Developed for Derwent London, the adaptive reuse project was sustainably designed to retain as much of the original facade and structure as possible while injecting the building with a new, contemporary aesthetic. Make Architects also reduced the project’s long-term carbon footprint by installing triple glazing, additional insulation, operable windows and solar hot water heating panels to preheat domestic hot water for the entire building. Located on a corner site between Whitfield Street and Chitty Street, the Asta House features 36 design-led residences that include one- to three-bedroom apartments, 10 social apartments and four intermediate apartments. The architects also added two additional stories — carefully stepped back from the facade to preserve the building’s architectural integrity — to house a pair of penthouse apartments. By setting back the penthouses, the architects created space for extensive private decks. The other apartments in the building share a courtyard terrace backing Charlotte Mews, and all residents will have access to Poets Park, a 240-square-meter pocket park with a small cafe. Related: The origami-like monocoque pavilion in London is shaped by its environment The Asta House’s contemporary interiors feature a restrained material and color palette and are flooded with natural light from large windows. Contrast is created with black detailing against white backgrounds and the juxtaposition of rougher tactile elements with smooth surfaces. Built-in furniture helps achieve a streamlined appearance.  “The modern, yet intimate scale and design of this project aims to appeal to those who want a character-rich home in this bohemian area,” said architect Kunwook Kang. “Externally the project is completely respectful of its location, chiming with surrounding colours and massing. Internally our choice of materials was key. We’ve created smooth, consistent interiors that make the most of original features and crafted new ones to provide not only functional, efficient homes, but also spaces that delight.”  + Make Architects Images via Jack Hobhouse and Make Architects

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Old coffee roastery to be reborn as a net-zero carbon office in London

August 20, 2020 by  
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The local planning council for London’s Vauxhall district has recently given the green light for an adaptive reuse scheme to transform a disused Costa Coffee roastery into a six-story, net-zero carbon office development. Designed by British architectural design firm Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios), the project — named Paradise — will replace a neglected site with 60,000 square feet of work and maker space housed within a landmark cross-laminated timber structure. The sustainably minded building will follow WELL standards, passive design principles and quality place-making values to benefit both the local and citywide community. Located on Old Paradise Street, the Paradise project aims to catalyze job creation in Lambeth and attract creative industries in this part of London. The timber-framed office development will feature a flexible, open-plan layout with tall ceilings and large windows that not only maximize natural light and ventilation but also frame views of the passing trains and the neighboring Old Paradise Gardens. In a nod to the site’s location as a “key link” in the “green chain” that joins Waterloo to Vauxhall, the architects plan to wrap the building in a green, extruded terracotta facade that takes cues from the former Royal Doulton Headquarters. Related: Gensler upcycles an old warehouse into creative offices in Austin “Paradise was born of a collective approach to sustainable design, humanistic values and quality place-making, but also the desire to make a healthy and innovative workplace that people would love to use,” said Alex Whitbread, partner at FCBStudios. “Paradise is designed to be part of its local and citywide community and to make a responsible contribution globally. With this scheme receiving planning permission, we hope it will set the standard for office design that is net-carbon-zero and has the wellbeing of the user at the fore. We are looking forward to bringing it to fruition.” Bywater Properties has proposed allocating up to 13% of the total floor area for non-office use, such as light industrial and maker spaces, 68% of which will be made affordable with priority given to local businesses. The adaptive reuse proposal is also on target for almost 60 years of a negative carbon footprint. + Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Images via Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

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