Eco-minded Melbourne brewery breaks the mold for sustainable beer production

August 29, 2018 by  
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One innovative Melbourne-based brewery is going the distance when it comes to eco-friendly beer production. Located in the heart of Melbourne’s Docklands district, the design of the newly-opened Urban Alley Brewery incorporates a sustainable end-to-end production cycle to create its frothy cold brew without harming the environment. The innovative system includes a number of eco-friendly practices, such as an on site bio-waste plant and biodegradable can holders. Melbourne’s bustling Docklands district is a growing area with a vibrant dining and entertainment scene. However, behind the swanky new restaurants and bars is a strong emphasis on community-focused initiatives. Adding to this sense of local pride is Urban Alley Brewery, which is partnering with a local distillery to sustainably produce its tasty beer selections. Related: This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool The beer distilling process is quite complicated, requiring a rapid heating and cooling process that typically uses 3,000 times more gas than the average home. By connecting its innovative installations with the neighboring distillery, Urban Alley can exchange water at the desired temperature from the brewery to the distillery and vice versa, significantly reducing gas emissions. In addition to minimizing emissions, the brewery’s most innovative sustainable feature is its on-site bio-waste plant . This large installation enables the brewery to break down virtually any waste resulting from the production system to be repurposed as fertilizer. This process also creates natural gas, which is used to power the brewery. The brewery’s wastewater is also sent to an on-site water treatment plant for reuse. Another item on the brewery’s list of eco-mindfulness is the company’s use of  biodegradable six pack rings, which are manufactured using grain remnants. The rings not only provide a great alternative to plastic, but can be safely eaten by marine life. While many breweryies around the world are finally eschewing plastic rings for biodegradable versions, currently Urban Alley Brewery is the only brewery in Australia to implement its use. + Urban Alley Brewery Images via Urban Alley Brewery

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Eco-minded Melbourne brewery breaks the mold for sustainable beer production

Oil rig explodes in the middle of Lake Pontchartrain, injuring several near New Orleans

October 16, 2017 by  
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An oil rig on Lake Pontchartrain exploded on Sunday night in Kenner, Louisiana , home of the Louis Armstrong International Airport and only a few miles from New Orleans . Authorities began receiving calls about the explosion around 7:18 PM on Sunday; although no official explanation has been offered, authorities on the scene believe the explosion was caused by flammable cleaning chemicals on the oil rig’s surface. At least seven people were injured in the blast and, according to initial reporting, one person is missing. Many of the injuries were serious and authorities expected more to be reported in the near future. Lake Pontchartrain is a brackish body of water that is about 12-14 feet deep, though some shipping channels are dredged deeper, and covers 630 square miles to the north of New Orleans. The exploding rig in the Lake is owned by Clovelly Oil Co., which uses the structure for transferring oil . It is possible that oil is still leaking into Lake Pontchartrain, though this will not affect local drinking water, which is sourced from the Mississippi River. Local residents report having their homes rattled when the explosion occurred. “My house actually shook,” said Andrew Love, who lives in the area. “At first I thought it was a sonic boom or something, I had no idea what was happening.” No damage to homes has yet been reported. Related: New NASA study reveals just how fast New Orleans is sinking George Branigan was sitting at home with his wife and stepdaughter when the explosion happened. “We heard something blow up and it sounded like it was in my backyard ,” Branigan said. After going outside to investigate, Branigan heard what sounded to him to be small pebbles, likely debris from the explosion, falling on his home. Branigan was still watching the flames from his porch several hours after the explosion. Via the New Orleans Advocate and San Francisco Gate Images via  City of Kenner Government

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Oil rig explodes in the middle of Lake Pontchartrain, injuring several near New Orleans

This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool

June 21, 2017 by  
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Abita Brewing Company has been a tastemaker since 1986, both in terms of craft beer – you’ve probably sipped their Purple Haze – and in sustainability . Before Heinekin opened a carbon neutral brewery or Sierra Nevada installed a Tesla Powerpack system , Abita invested in clean tech because they felt it was the right thing to do. Inhabitat visited brewery headquarters in Abita Springs, Louisiana and spoke with President David Blossman and Director of Brewing Operations Jaime Jurado about the decision to go green well before other breweries in the United States. Abita was the first brewery in North America to put in an energy-efficient Merlin Brewhouse – or the vessels in which beer is brewed – back in 2001. Craft beer wasn’t as big back then – Blossman said business was “sideways at best” but Abita took a chance and installed the expensive brewhouse because they figured craft beer would eventually take off. Related: San Diego brewery unveils beer made from 100% recycled wastewater Jurado said, “Dave made decisions on renewable tech long before anyone else did.” One such decision was the installation of a rooftop solar array atop their bottling facility. Every year the solar panels generate around 116,180 kilowatt-hours (kWh), avoiding around 81.3 tons of carbon dioxide. 25 percent of the bottling plant’s roof is covered in the photovoltaics, which provide around five to seven percent of all the electricity Abita consumes. A wastewater treatment plant behind the brewery provides more power. The plant treats all the brewery wastewater, and bacteria anaerobically produce biogas , which comprises 17 percent of the natural gas the brewery uses. Although the Merlin brewhouse was forward-thinking when Abita first installed it, they recently put in the Krones EquiTherm brewhouse, which is even more energy- and water-efficient. It was the first one installed in the United States, and also allows for more flexibility in the types of beer Abita can brew. Heat from the brewhouse is recovered and reused; Jurado said, “We use a lot of heat but we recover a majority of the heat so we net out saving energy .” Breweries also use carbon dioxide (CO2) in their process, and it has to be heated to stay in a gas state. Meanwhile, warm water used in the packaging process needs to be cooled, so Abita came up with a system to accomplish both tasks and reduce electricity costs by around $6,000 a year. With the energy recovery system, they can use CO2 in a non-contact way to turn it into gas and cool the water. Even beyond the brewing process, Abita considers the environment . Jurado said, “Our bottle is not the industry standard bottle, which is called the long neck. You see them in Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser, Shiner products. Dave uses the heritage bottle which uses 11 percent less glass and 11 percent less energy.” The squatter bottle isn’t as noticeable on the shelf, but as Jurado said, “11 percent spoke a language.” The recyclable bottle requires less paper for labels and is still the standard 12 ounces. Plus more cases of beer inside heritage bottles fit on trucks. But the most sustainable packaging is stainless steel kegs, according to Jurado, which can be refilled over and over. Larger breweries only have around nine percent of sales in kegs, but they comprise 30 percent of Abita’s sales. Blossman told Inhabitat, “If you’re going to do something, you want to use less natural resources whether that be in natural gas or grain or water – they’re all important.” As many breweries do, Abita gives their spent grain – or the grain leftover after the brewing process – to farmers for feed. But the brewery is located close to dairy farmers so their spent grain doesn’t even have to travel that far. Abita Brewing Company fits right in to the town of Abita Springs, Louisiana, which recently became the first in the state and 24th American city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. In St. Tammany Parish, where Abita is located, there are currently only three electric vehicle charging stations, but Abita Springs will soon have the fourth, sponsored by the brewery. The brewery has also given back in the form of charity beers, such as the Save Our Shore pilsner they brewed following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. They raised over $600,000 that went towards restoring coastal wetland habitats and helping struggling fishermen and their families. If you want to find out more about green brewing at Abita, check out their website . + Abita Brewing Company Images courtesy Abita Brewing Company and via Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat

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This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool

Madison, Wisconsin commits to 100% renewable energy

March 23, 2017 by  
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Madison just became the first city in Wisconsin and the largest city in the Midwest to commit to 100 percent clean energy in just the latest example of how President Donald Trump can’t stop the renewables revolution. The state capital and college town is the 25th US city to commit to the transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy following Tuesday’s city council vote. The vote allocated $250,000 to develop a plan by January 18, 2018 for city operations to achieve goals of 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, including electricity, heating and transportation. “Madison’s historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy shows that we are determined to lead the way in moving beyond fossil fuels that threaten our health and environment,” Madison Common Council Alder Zach Wood said in a statement. “The benefits of a transition to 100 percent clean energy are many. These goals will drive a clean energy economy that creates local jobs, provides affordable and sustainable electricity, and results in cleaner air and water. I am proud to be a part of this council that has made the historic commitment that will lead our community to a more sustainable future.” Related: San Diego to become largest U.S. city to run on 100% renewable energy Abita Springs, Louisiana also voted on Tuesday to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. The Sierra Club said that Madison and Abita Springs both committing to 100 percent clean energy demonstrates that there is bipartisan support across the country for a renewable energy future because liberal Madison voted for Hillary Clinton while conservative voters in Abita Springs went for Donald Trump. “Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy is a practical decision we’re making for our environment, our economy, and for what our constituents want in Abita Springs,” Greg Lemons, mayor of Abita Springs, said in a statement. “Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense. By establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal, we have an opportunity to use solar power that we can control in our community, for our community. Clean energy is a way that we can save money for Abita Springs both today and in the future.” Other American cities that have made the 100 percent renewable energy pledge include Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; the California cities of San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose; Rochester, Minnesota; St. Petersburg, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; East Hampton, New York; Greensburg, Kansas; and Georgetown, Texas. Via Sierra Club Image 1 , 2 via Good Free Photos

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Unprecedented Louisiana flooding forced tens of thousands to evacuate

August 15, 2016 by  
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Over the weekend, heavy rains across the southern United States caused severe flooding in Louisiana , putting tens of thousands of local residents in danger. Creeks and rivers near Baton Rouge overflowed, and water rushed into streets and homes faster than many people anticipated. Officials say over 20,000 residents have been rescued so far from the north and east parts of the cities, stretching west past Lafayette. So far, at least six people have been killed by the floodwaters. Of those who have perished in the floods to date, three were motorists drowned when their cars were swept away after many major roadways were overtaken by water. The floods left many other drivers stranded, but state officials report that all surviving motorists were rescued from the roads by Sunday evening. The flooding has destroyed thousands of homes and displaced at least 10,000 local residents so far. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards requested an emergency declaration, which President Barack Obama granted on Sunday, allowing the state to tap into federal funds for continued recovery and relief efforts. Related: 26-acre Louisiana sinkhole swallows whole trees in 30 seconds (VIDEO) The storms that spurred the flooding have dispersed, but officials say that does not mean the worst is over. As tributaries and backwaters continue to fill, fed by already swollen rivers upstream, more flooding is expected. How severe or widespread the flooding will be is anyone’s guess. “The simple fact of the matter here is we’re breaking records,” the governor told reporters on Sunday. “And any time you break a record, the National Weather Service cannot tell you what you can expect in the way of the floodwaters: how wide they’re going to be and how deep they’re going to be.” Although southern Louisiana caught the brunt of flooding from the weekend storms, the National Weather Service has a ‘flash flood threat’ warning in effect across the south and midwest, stretching from Texas to the Ohio River valley. That alert will continue through Wednesday, as more rains are expected across the region. + How to help Louisiana flood victims Via New York Times and NOLA.com Images via Wikipedia and Red Cross Mid-South

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Gloomy office transformed into a light-filled BREEAM Excellent building

August 15, 2016 by  
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Built in the 1970s, the original A.S.R. headquarters was a mostly opaque behemoth considered one of the largest office buildings from its time. The architects were tasked with bringing the building up to current building standards and regulations, but rather than start from scratch they preserved select building elements and recycled 98% of the demolition waste. The most notable change to the building is the installation of large glass facades that give the headquarters a new sense of transparency and openness. Related: BREEAM Excellent Library of Birmingham to be Europe’s Largest Public Cultural Space Most impressively, the headquarters was renovated to BREEAM Excellent sustainability standards. The slanted glass facades bring daylight deep into the building, improve natural ventilation, and reduce dependence on artificial lighting. Vertical green walls clad parts of the exterior, while the addition of winter gardens with mature trees bring fresh air and nature to the building interior and exterior. There’s also a greater diversity of workspaces, from open offices to intimate meeting rooms. A total of 2,800 flexible workspaces cater to the firm’s 4,000 employees. There’s also a new underground meeting center, restaurant, and coffee bar. + Team V Architectuur Via ArchDaily Images © Jannes Linders

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Gloomy office transformed into a light-filled BREEAM Excellent building

America’s largest community of climate change refugees receive federal funds for relocation

March 17, 2016 by  
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The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians have lived on the Isle of Jean Charles 100 miles south of New Orleans for almost 200 years – but the small island has been steadily disappearing over the past half century. After decades of erosion and an approximate 8 inch sea level rise , only 2% of the tribe’s land remains livable, and the community has shrunk to 25% of its former population. As the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw abandon their home, they become the largest American community to have been resettled due to climate change . Read the rest of America’s largest community of climate change refugees receive federal funds for relocation

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America’s largest community of climate change refugees receive federal funds for relocation

Stunning solar Butterfly House masters resource conservation in California

March 17, 2016 by  
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Stunning solar Butterfly House masters resource conservation in California

VIDEO: Massive Louisiana sinkhole swallows whole trees and shows no signs of stopping

March 12, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. On August 2, 2012, a salt dome operated by the petrochemical company Texas Brine collapsed near Bayou Corne , Louisiana, creating a sinkhole that forced the entire town to evacuate. Since then it has expanded to over 26 acres as of 2014, and is estimated to be 750 feet deep. The still-growing sinkhole is showing no signs of stopping and no one knows when it will stop expanding, making it one of the largest ongoing disasters in the US. Read the rest of VIDEO: Massive Louisiana sinkhole swallows whole trees and shows no signs of stopping Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: assumption parish , bayou corne , environmental destruction , evacuation , louisiana , louisiana sinkhole , mining , salt dome collapse , sinkhole , texas brine

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Congressmen introduce bill to enact U.S-wide ban on microbeads

March 12, 2015 by  
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Two congressmen have introduced a bipartisan bill that, if passed, could see a nationwide ban on the use of microbeads in soaps and cosmetics. The tiny balls of exfoliating plastic—commonly found in facial scrubs and the like—are recognized as a highly problematic source of pollution, soaking up chemicals such as flame retardants and carrying them through waterways and into the food chain . Read the rest of Congressmen introduce bill to enact U.S-wide ban on microbeads Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ban on microbeads , banning microbeads , bipartisan , congress , face scrub , fish poison , Food Chain , frank pallone , fred upton , Health , microbeads , Microplastic , pollution from cosmetics , water pollution

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