5 things to know about California’s gas car sales ban

September 30, 2020 by  
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5 things to know about California’s gas car sales ban Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 09/30/2020 – 00:00 Last week — as historic wildfires ravaged the forests of California — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a history-making executive order: The state will ban the sales of new gas-powered cars within the next 15 years.  It’s a huge move, and the strategy will provide a significant boost to the market for zero-emission vehicles. About 2 million new vehicles are sold in California each year. Essentially, starting in 2035 all of these would have to be electric. The order is equal parts inspiring and jarring for a state that’s built major parts of its economy, as well housing and business development, around the internal combustion engine vehicle. But transportation emissions are the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California, and they’ve been rising in recent years; state leadership needed to take aggressive measures now to reverse this trend.  Vehicle emissions also cause air pollution, so eliminating fossil fuel vehicles will clean up the state’s air (learn more about this topic in a webinar I’m running Thursday with City of Oakland, the California Air Resources Board and fuel company Neste).  The order is equal parts inspiring and jarring for a state that’s built major parts of its economy, as well housing and business development, around the internal combustion engine vehicle. Here are five things you should know about California’s historic executive order: The movement around gas car bans is growing: While California is the first state in America to set such a goal, countries and cities in Europe, as well as China , are taking similar measures. The United Kingdom is poised to move its fossil fuel-vehicle ban from 2040 to 2030, one of the most aggressive in the world and just 10 years from now. Many European cities are tackling transportation decarbonization and air pollution by banning the driving of fossil fuel-powered cars within city centers. The Southern California city of Santa Monica recently became one of the first American cities to ban deliveries with fossil fuel vehicles.  Even in California, the idea of banning new gas car sales in the state has been volleyed around the state legislature for a couple years. Assembly member Phil Ting first introduced a bill in 2018 that sought to achieve the new gas car ban by 2040, but it failed to get support (as did a subsequent bill with a more detailed plan). If you’re wondering why Newsom opted for an executive order: This idea hasn’t been able to make it to light in bill form in California. These movements are messy, and California’s will be, too: Because phasing out fossil fuel vehicles is such a new concept for many, expect a variety of fits and starts — and legal wrangling — around this order and these types of measures in general. A prime example is Madrid, which implemented a fossil fuel-free car zone in 2018. The ban led to protests, followed by a halt of the ban, followed by a reinstatement of the ban after data showed that the ban led to significantly less traffic and cleaner air in Madrid’s city center. California’s order will face legal challenges from the auto industry, and also potentially from the federal level, if the Trump administration is elected again in November. A lot rests on the shoulders of the California Air Resources Board, which is responsible for creating and implementing a plan.  No one is coming for your old gas car: The executive order says that Californians still will be able to continue to drive already-owned gas cars and buy used gas cars after 2035. New cars are on average kept for 10 or 11 years, so it likely will be another decade after 2035 before the gas cars bought up until 2035 will be phased out.  A big question in my mind is how will Californian consumer car buying habits react to this? Will they try to buy gas cars within the next decade to get one in before the ban? Will the ban make them start to see electric as inevitable and thus make the switch sooner? Could you buy a new gas car in, say, Southern Oregon and drive it down into California after 2035? We’re all going to be learning. This is an electric vehicle boost: California tries to shape its policies to be technology-agnostic. That’s why it says “zero-emission vehicles,” which can include EVs, but also fuel cell cars and anything else that can achieve zero emissions.  However, electric vehicles will be the real winner out of this order. EVs have been becoming increasingly cost-effective and convenient, thanks to dropping battery costs and greater availability of EV chargers. Other competing technologies, such as fuel cells, can’t compete as EVs start to scale. This will require a big infrastructure buildout: Expect to see a serious scaling up of charging infrastructure related to helping consumers charge electric vehicles at homes (multi-family included), businesses, stores, gas stations and more. If the state is mandating that its residents can only buy electric cars, it better make sure that everyone has access to convenient and equitable charging options.  Making sure that this order doesn’t disproportionately disadvantage low-income communities that are already paying more than their share for transportation will be key to making sure the order is implemented smoothly and fairly.  Pull Quote The order is equal parts inspiring and jarring for a state that’s built major parts of its economy, as well housing and business development, around the internal combustion engine vehicle. Topics Transportation & Mobility Zero Emissions Electric Vehicles Featured Column Driving Change 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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White, latticed exoskeleton wraps a LEED Platinum office in Madrid

December 23, 2019 by  
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On the side of a large roundabout in Madrid, Spanish architecture firm Rafael de La-Hoz has realized the eye-catching Oxxeo project, a five-story office building with a LEED Platinum Core & Shell certification . The energy-efficient building makes the most of its wedge-shaped plot with an asymmetrical, three-sided design, of which the geometry is emphasized with the building’s three large-scale, lattice facades with a white, rhomboidal pattern. In addition to creating greater visual interest for Oxxeo, the sculptural facade also helps mitigate unwanted solar gain. Spanning an area of 14,299 square meters, the Oxxeo office building was created with efficiency in mind, from the efficient use of energy to the smart use of space. The building’s double facade includes a glass curtain wall that floods the interior with natural light and reduces reliance on artificial lighting, while the latticed exoskeleton provides solar shading . For flexibility in the floor plan, the architects located supporting pillars inside the vertical core and in the chamfered corners to maximize the seemingly pillar-free office space. Related: This is one of the only LEED Gold-certified hotels in Spain “This building has no other concept idea than the one shown in its own construction,” Rafael de La-Hoz explained in a project statement. “This way, it is the structure, or rather the construction of its structure, or the details of the facade, or the knots and joints which generate its architectural form, or the concept.” The intersecting points for the rhomboidal lattice are spaced out at every 8.1 meters and serve as the supporting elements for the perimeters of the slabs. The corners of each rhomboid are curved to soften the facade’s appearance. The minimalist exterior is matched by a clean interior design. The building is also topped with a green roof . + Rafael de La-Hoz arquitectos Photography by Alfonso Quiroga and David Frutos via Rafael de La-Hoz arquitectos

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White, latticed exoskeleton wraps a LEED Platinum office in Madrid

The energy sector’s carbon emissions are rising, not falling — can COP25 turn it around?

December 10, 2019 by  
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This year’s United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP25) opened in Madrid against a backdrop of mounting urgency. In the last 12 months, the U.N.’s climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has issued two special reports raising stark warnings of the risks climate change poses to food security and the oceans. 

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The energy sector’s carbon emissions are rising, not falling — can COP25 turn it around?

This is one of the only LEED Gold-certified hotels in Spain

November 20, 2019 by  
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Opened in March 2018 and located in Madrid, Spain, the VP Plaza España Design hotel is committed to sustainability efforts in both its design and daily practices. The hotel implements recycling and solid waste management programs and even continuous education on sustainable operation practices for the staff as well as incentives for guests to reduce their environmental impact. The hotel is one of the few in its country to earn LEED Gold certification as a mark of excellence from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 5-star hotel was able to secure the coveted certification with its high scores in sustainable setting, design, water and energy use efficiency and use of quality materials and resources. Related: LEED Gold eco hotel in the Wine Country was built using reclaimed wood The hotel has implemented several measures to reduce energy consumption. These include thermal enclosures and installations, a lighting and energy system with motion detectors to save energy when the lights aren’t in use, daylight sensors to measure and adjust electric lighting and window sensors that open and close window shades depending on the daylight. In terms of water efficiency, the hotel has selected plants for its outdoor landscaping that require less irrigation. Systems throughout the property monitor water consumption and bathrooms while using high-efficiency fixtures and fittings, such as dual-flush toilets and low-flow showers. These environmental initiatives have reduced water consumption by nearly 33 percent. The building monitors outdoor air ventilation levels, and intelligent controls are utilized for lighting and thermal systems. To further support high air quality inside the hotel, the design team used low-VOC paints. Additionally, the hotel sourced building materials locally, including the furniture and artwork, with wood sourced from responsibly managed forests . This focus on materials supports local economic growth while minimizing the environmental footprint. The general manager of VP Plaza España Design, Francisco Garcia de Oro, has high hopes that the hotel can become an example for sustainability throughout Spain . “For us, being environmentally responsible is not an option but an obligation. We hope to continue to raise the bar in sustainable tourism and will continue to seek ways to improve our operation every day.” + VP Plaza España Design Images via VP Plaza España Design

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This is one of the only LEED Gold-certified hotels in Spain

Bioclimatic design creates a highly efficient and healthy home in Spain

November 20, 2019 by  
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Spain’s Rías Baixas area is a picturesque part of the country. Now, in this idyllic region sits a highly energy-efficient home designed by local firm ARKKE . The architects incorporated several bioclimatic features into the design, taking advantage of the local climate and landscape to help reduce the building’s energy use. The Small Bioclimatic House is a compact, two-bedroom home that sits elevated on a steep hill side overlooking the Ría de Arousa, the largest estuary in Galicia. The area is known for its picturesque landscape dotted with quaint fishing villages, so the architects wanted to create an energy-efficient home that harmonizes with the surroundings and complements the existing vernacular. Related: Brazilian timber home uses bioclimatic principles to reduce its environmental footprint The home is just over 900 square feet and is surrounded by natural landscaping. According to the architects, the layout and size of the house was inspired by the limited building space as well as the stunning views. The firm explained, “The essential premise of the commission was to design a small, highly efficient and healthy house capable of making the most of a very narrow plot but with delicious views of the Arosa estuary.” The architects created a simple, one-story design with two bedrooms, a living room, an open kitchen and a bathroom. The front wall is comprised of floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to a front deck; this helps the family to enjoy optimal natural light as well as unobstructed views year-round. To create a strong thermal envelope for the home, the architects chose to build with CLT . The porch extends laterally, forming eaves that shade the interiors from direct solar radiation, again reducing the home’s energy use. Additionally, the entire envelope has been insulated with a unique exterior insulation system (SATE) to withstand both the region’s frigid winters and the searing summer months. + ARKKE Via ArchDaily Images via ARKKE

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Bioclimatic design creates a highly efficient and healthy home in Spain

Boa Mistura turns 52 fishing boats into art to bring awareness to the plight of the parrotfish

April 16, 2019 by  
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Inspired by the natural design and shapes of the tropical parrotfish, these previously-rusty old boats now don bright new exteriors. The venture was another in a long line of community projects aimed to create “art as a tool for change” organized by the Madrid-based art collective Boa Mistura . The Pepillo Salcedo village in the Dominican Republic has limited access to electricity and running water, and fishing is an essential facet of the economy and life. Boa Mistura, known for inspiring neighborhoods with its artwork, incorporated the community into the endeavor. With the help of local fishermen and their families, 52 fishing boats were sanded down, removed of mollusks, repaired with fiberglass and painted with primer to prepare them for their colorful transformations. The fishermen of Pepillo Salcedo took to the project enthusiastically, some paddling for hours to reach Los Coquitos Beach, where their boats were to be painted. Related: Old fisherman’s shack is reimagined as a dreamy eco retreat The utilization of the parrotfish conception was a mindful decision, as the animal holds a special significance in the tropical Caribbean region. The parrotfish feed off algae that collect onto the coral reefs , contributing to the cleanliness and therefore survival of the vital coral. What’s more, when the parrotfish eat the algae, it allows for the coral polyps (the soft, tiny organisms that help to form the structure of reefs) to become more resilient to other stressors, such as pollution or global warming. The fish feeds off of the coral itself as well, which is then turned into sand through the parrotfish’s digestive system and the animal’s tough teeth — some of the strongest teeth in the ocean , according to scientists. It is a fragile balance and relationship that benefits both the fish and the reef. A single parrotfish can produce hundreds of pounds worth of white sand in a single year, which means a substantial portion of the Caribbean beaches is made of parrotfish poop. Though the parrotfish is a protected species, intense illegal fishing has caused a devastating deterioration in both the fish population and the delicate harmony of the ecosystem. Needless to say, if the parrotfish numbers continue to decline, the region’s iconic white sand beaches and the colorful coral reefs will be in big trouble . The entire project took about four weeks, and now the 52 yolas (the local term for these traditional fishing boats) that cruise the Bay of Manzanillo serve as a reminder for the respect and mindfulness required for the survival of the Caribbean parrotfish, white sand beaches and coral reefs. + Boa Mistura Images via Boa Mistura

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Boa Mistura turns 52 fishing boats into art to bring awareness to the plight of the parrotfish

Spectacular aerial sculpture hovers above a Madrid plaza

February 20, 2018 by  
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A symphony of color has taken to the air above Plaza Mayor. The instantly recognizable aerial sculpture is the work of none other than American artist Janet Echelman , who the City of Madrid commissioned to help celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Plaza Mayor. Titled 1.78 Madrid, the sculpture “explores the cycle of time” and the far-reaching effects of natural phenomenon and the built environment on our lives. Unveiled February 9 this year, 1.78 Madrid was displayed for a 10-day celebratory event that concluded yesterday. Highly engineered colorful fibers 15 times stronger than steel by weight were braided, knotted, and spliced together to create a dynamic form that constantly changes in the wind and provides a soft counterpoint to Plaza Mayor’s hard edges. At night, the sculpture was illuminated with colored lights. 1.78 Madrid is the latest addition to Echelman’s Earth Time Series that began in 2010 with works exhibited across the world. According to project statement on Echelman’s website, the number “1.78” within the title “refers to the number of microseconds that the day was shortened when a single physical event shifted the earth’s mass, thus speeding up the planet’s rotation of one day,” however it’s not clear what specific event the “1.78” alludes to. In Echelman’s previous works titled “1.8,” the number was a reference to how the 2011 Tohoku earthquake shortened the length of the day by 1.8 microseconds. Regardless, the cycles of time and causality are explored in all her works. Related: Janet Echelman’s dazzling aerial sculpture maps the devastating power of an earthquake “The artwork reminds us of our complex interconnectedness with larger cycles of time and the systems of our physical world,” continues the project statement. “The sculpture’s materials embody this. When any one element in the sculpture’s network moves, every other element is affected. Our surroundings affect how we feel and how we experience our lives – we are responsible for the way our cities look and function.” + Janet Echelman Images via Janet Echelman , by João Ferrand

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Spectacular aerial sculpture hovers above a Madrid plaza

World’s first 3D-printed pedestrian bridge pops up in Madrid

January 23, 2017 by  
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Behold, the world’s first 3D-printed pedestrian bridge. Inaugurated December 14 in the park of Castilla-La Mancha in Alcobendas, just south of Madrid in Spain, the 40-foot-long is made up of eight parts, each one comprising layers of fused concrete powder micro-reinforced with thermoplastic polypropylene. The bridge is the brainchild of the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia , a Barcelona-based research and education center that worked with a contingent of architects, mechanical and structural engineers, and municipal representatives to bring the design to life. Besides Acciona , the firm that performed most of the heavy lifting, both literally and figuratively, the institute’s most notable collaborator was Enrico Dini , the so-called “man who prints houses.” Dini developed D-Shape , a massive 3D printer that’s the first—and perhaps only—of its kind to bind sand into layer after layer of solid rock. With the Alcobendas bridge marking a civil-engineering first, the IAAC is hailing the construction as a “milestone for the construction sector at international level.” Related: 3-D Printer Creates Entire Buildings From Solid Rock But the designers didn’t neglect to tip a hat to the ur-architect: nature. The IAAC leveraged parametric modeling to not only reflect the “complexities of nature’s forms” but also optimize the distribution of raw materials. “The computational design also allows to maximize the structural performance, being able to dispose the material only where it is needed, with total freedom of forms, maintaining the porosity thanks to the application of generative algorithms and challenging the traditional techniques of construction,” the institute said. The result? Less waste, greater stability, and one heck of a conversation piece. + Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

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World’s first 3D-printed pedestrian bridge pops up in Madrid

Four major cities pledge to ban diesel cars by 2025

December 2, 2016 by  
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Air pollution plagues many large cities , and now four major metropolises are taking a stand. At the C40 Mayors Summit ending today in Mexico City, Paris, Madrid, Mexico City, and Athens pledged to ban diesel cars by 2025. They also urged car manufacturers to take action, saying they will provide incentives for their residents to walk, bike, or drive alternatively-fueled cars. Air pollution leads to three million deaths every single year, with most fatalities occurring in cities, according to the World Health Organization. As diesel cars pump out contaminating fumes, the four cities decided to remove those vehicles from their cities. In addition to carbon dioxide, cars emit nitrogen dioxide and tiny particles, worsening air quality especially in congested urban areas. Related: 6 brilliant smog-eating designs ridding cities of air pollution According to The Guardian, it’s not precisely clear if the pledge will include a total ban, or if it will simply ban cars from some areas of the cities, and if so, exactly which areas. But such a move could be especially beneficial for Mexico City, which just this year banned over one million cars in an air pollution crisis. Mexico City mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said in a statement , “It is no secret that in Mexico City we grapple with the twin problems of air pollution and traffic.” Public transportation , like the subway and bus system, will be expanded, according to the mayor, as will bicycling infrastructure. Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis indicated he wants to take his city even one step further by removing every car from Athens’ center. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo challenged the car industry to take pollution as seriously as the four cities. “Today, we…stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes – particularly for our most vulnerable citizens,” she said. “Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us.” Via The Guardian Images via Mike Norton on Flickr and Pixabay

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Four major cities pledge to ban diesel cars by 2025

Foster + Partners to transform historic Madrid building into solar-powered Prado Museum addition

November 25, 2016 by  
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Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura’s design beat out a shortlist of eight other proposals by practices including OMA and David Chipperfield Architects . The renovation of the Hall of Realms will create additional display space for permanent and temporary exhibitions at the Prado Museum. As one of the few surviving structures from the former 17th century Buen Retiro Palace, the Hall of Realms holds special historic significance in the city. The Hall of Realms’s magnificent and intricate interiors will be restored , while the facade will be delicately opened to let in natural light and views. These openings will transform the historic building into a more permeable, public-facing structure with connections to the new civic plaza and terrace cafes. In addition to solar panels, the new roof will be cantilevered to protect the southern facade from intense sunlight. Related: Beautifully restored 135-year-old building revives one of Delhi’s oldest markets “On behalf of the team that I led at Foster + Partners in collaboration with Rubio Arquitectura, I would like to say how honoured we are to contribute to this next phase of the expansion of the Prado – one of the truly great museums of the world,” said Lord Foster. “The Hall of Realms, built by Crescenzi and Carbonel in the 1630’s, is one of the very few remains of the former palace and predates the Museum which was conceived in 1819. Two centuries later the transformation and expansion of this historic hall will add significant new galleries and related public spaces to the Prado. It will also create, as a setting, a new urban focus for the city of Madrid.” The renovation project will be completed in time for the museum’s 200th anniversary celebrations in 2019. + Foster + Partners + Rubio Arquitectura Images via Foster + Partners

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