Minnesota to implement low- and zero-emission clean vehicle standards

September 27, 2019 by  
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In a move that would make both hybrid and electric car manufacturers see dollar signs, Minnesota announced a new proposal that will require auto manufacturers that sell within the state to deliver more hybrid cars and electric vehicles (EVs) to comply with its new low- and zero-emission initiative. The measure places the Gopher State alongside 13 other states that have implemented clean vehicle emissions standards. The standards will take a minimum of 18 months for roll-out, due to the rule-making process set by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).  Thus, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” is expected to see more hybrid and electric cars in sales lots starting around the 2023 model year. This roll-out will also allow time for the state to beef up its investments in more public electric-charging stations, while similarly brokering anticipated alternative energy deals with the likes of none other than Tesla, as the latter ramps up its nationwide plant acquisition plans. Related: This calculator tracks the carbon emissions of your travels Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety currently reports that residents of Minnesota, on average, prefer large pickup trucks, followed by SUVs. Broad capacity recreational vehicles ( RVs ) are also a Minnesota favorite. Minnesotan loyalty to pickup trucks, SUVs and RVs could make the shift to relatively compact EVs challenging. However, the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy does offer EV tax credits and incentives that Minnesotans and other U.S. denizens can take advantage of. For instance, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives a tax credit “for $2,500 to $7,500 per new EV purchased for use in the U.S.” The tax credit varies depending on the vehicle and its battery capacity, but the incentive is a way to shift more consumers to EVs. The tax credit is “available until 200,000 qualified EVs have been sold in the United States by each manufacturer, at which point the credit begins to phase out for that manufacturer. Currently, no manufacturers have been phased out yet.” You can learn more about the tax credit here . Via Consumer Reports Image via MN Administration

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Repurposed coffee grounds provide sustainable clothing pigment alternative

September 27, 2019 by  
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Scientists from Iowa State University (ISU) recently unveiled a natural alternative to synthetic clothing pigment. This natural alternative is sourced from brewed coffee grounds. The research team , spearheaded by ISU Assistant Professor Chunhui Xiang and graduate student Changhyun “Lyon” Nam, found a possible alternative via repurposed coffee grounds. Rather than adding to landfill density and single-use waste, brewed coffee grounds can instead be transformed into another high-value resource. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Brewed coffee grounds are feasible because 100 million Americans drink coffee daily, meaning there is an adequate supply of coffee grounds that can be upcycled and diverted away from landfills. Shades of brown can be extracted from the coffee grounds, then bound to various textiles and fabrics. Of course, there remain the quandaries of fading and of replicating consistent hues. While the use of pigment fixative helps to bind the color to the fabric and reduce fading, producing consistent hues that can match a template proves to be more complex. More research is required before repurposed coffee grounds can be ready for mass-production of pigments.  “One disadvantage is that it’s hard to measure the quantity needed to get the same color,” Xiang explained. “There may be a difference in the type of beans, or maybe the coffee was brewed twice. Creating an exact match is a challenge, especially for manufacturers.” However, Xiang asserted that hue consistency can be overcome by changing consumer attitudes. If consumers are able to reframe their interests so that they accept the uniqueness of colors rather than demand their consistency, then repurposed coffee grounds, as a sustainable source, can be a worthwhile commercial venture. Historically, textile hues were originally sourced from plants and minerals.  But industrialization forced the textile sector to turn to synthetics, because laboratories could produce them at cheaper cost. Over time, these synthetics have become less and less environmentally friendly. Because the textile industry utilizes upward of 2 million tons of chemicals for its synthetic pigments, there has been a growing movement in today’s society to find more sustainable sources, such as repurposed coffee grounds. + Taylor and Francis Online Via Phys.org Image via Couleur

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Repurposed coffee grounds provide sustainable clothing pigment alternative

Can cities and utilities work together to make impactful emissions reductions?

December 19, 2018 by  
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Just take a look at Minnesota.

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Can cities and utilities work together to make impactful emissions reductions?

Striking modern home celebrates natural materials for a timeless aesthetic

January 4, 2018 by  
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Minneapolis-based architecture firm Strand Design completed Theodore Wirth Ranch, a beautiful home designed to stand the test of time in both durability and style. Located on a hillside near downtown Minneapolis , the 4,500-square-foot residence was envisioned as a “modern ranch” in a semi-urban environment. A natural materials palette ties the building into the landscape, while careful craftsmanship gives the home a clean and contemporary appearance. Set next to a densely wooded park, the retreat-like Theodore Wirth Ranch was designed around entertainment. A 10-meter swimming pool sits at the heart of the property between the main residence and the sauna, pool house, and outdoor kitchen. The outdoor entertainment area and the south-facing indoor living area that’s wrapped in full-height glazing are optimized for large gatherings. A planted berm on the south edge of the property helps mitigate street noise and provide additional privacy. Related: Stunning home fuses modern Scandinavian design with the Minnesotan outdoors The cedar -clad home catches the eye with its striking cantilevered roof that helps shield the living spaces from summer solar gain . “Laboring over every material and line, this project is the result of rigorous design and planning with the clients,” wrote the architects. “With a constant requirement for precision, the joinery and timing of materials throughout the home create clean, harmonic spaces that carry one throughout the home. Celebrating a truth in materials, white walls highlight the wide variety of finishes including clear timber, sandstone, marble, cork, concrete, and steel.” + Strand Design Photos by Josh Grubbs

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Stunning home fuses modern Scandinavian design with the Minnesotan outdoors

November 1, 2017 by  
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Nature takes center stage in the Northern Lake Home, a gorgeous luxury home hidden away in the Minnesotan woods. Designed by Strand Design , this 4,800-square-foot vacation retreat frames views of the forest in every room through large windows that let in natural light and blur the line between indoors and out. Natural materials , including oak and cedar, strengthen the connection with the outdoors, and are complemented with a clean and minimal Scandinavian-inspired interior design. Built for a young Minnesotan couple, the Northern Lake Home combines the clients’ love for active lifestyle with modern Scandinavian design . The large residence is split into two main volumes—one for communal areas and the other for bedrooms—connected with a glass core with operable glazed walls that combine the dining and private lounge. Darkened cedar clads the facade to help the home blend into the forested landscape, but is contrasted by a bright and warm light-filled interior with rift-sawn white oak finishes. Large panes of glass frame the landscape as well as views of the lake through the embankment. Related: Deceptively small home in Denmark hides spacious living quarters at the forest edge “Splaying out to the lake beyond and nestled into a natural swale , the public spaces contour along the landscape blurring the distinction between its built and natural environments,” wrote the architects. Daylight bounces off the home’s white walls, giving the interior an even greater feeling of spaciousness. The minimalist, Scandinavian-design can be seen in the choice of furnishings that gives the rooms a strong and elegant character. + Strand Design Images by Chad Holder Photogaraphy

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Tesla-powered trolley spotted charging in Minnesota

October 26, 2017 by  
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Tesla vehicles are the only ones that can charge via a Supercharger , at least at this time. So the sight of what looked like a custom-built orange electric bus charging up at the Oakdale Supercharger station in Minnesota raised a few eyebrows. A battery monitor seemed to show the electric bus actually charging up. Tesla reportedly has talked with other carmakers about utilizing their charging network, but as of this point non-Teslas can’t partake of electricity at Supercharger stations. So the sight of an orange bus charging naturally drew interest. The bus had a Tesla logo on the front, and was equipped with a battery monitor that showed the vehicle drawing power from the Supercharger. Related: Tesla announces plan for world domination: includes trucks, buses, and solar power Electrek said the bus could be equipped with a Tesla powertrain. Internet user Ingineer commented on the Electrek article, saying they did electronics and integration for the bus. Ingineer said the bus is a 1968 Westcoaster “originally built as an EV, but with a 15 mph top speed and lead-acid batteries.” They said now the bus is equipped with a “Tesla pack and drive unit, and a 15,000BTU heat pump.” They said the bus belongs to Minneapolis craft brewery tour company Hoppy Trolley , which shared a picture of the orange bus on their Twitter and Facebook accounts a couple days ago, with the caption, “Teslafied trolley supercharged!” Ingineer said in a comment the orange bus won’t typically utilize Superchargers, and the pictures captured a test. In another comment, they said, “The drive mechanical was done by Concept Motorsports in Grass Valley, California. Tesla component installation, electrical, and software was done in at Ingineerix in Berkeley, California. The final mechanical and Tesla pack installation are being finished by PZ Global Auto in Lino Lakes.” They said the plan was for a large rooftop solar array to generate electricity to help power the trolley. Via Electrek Images via Hoppy Trolley on Twitter and screenshot

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Tesla-powered trolley spotted charging in Minnesota

Dunkirk, France offers free public transit to all

October 26, 2017 by  
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The small coastal city of Dunkirk in northern France is perhaps most famous, at the moment, for its portrayal in Christopher Nolan’s eponymous 2017 film, but it also deserves special attention for its decision to offer free public transit to all. In a move designed to reinforce economic fairness and establish Dunkirk as a sustainable, low-carbon community, Mayor Patrice Vergriete established the city’s inclusive transit policy, which will expand free public transit service to seven days a week starting in September 2018. The policy change, paid for with money that was originally allocated for the construction of a sports stadium, has been successful in increasing and diversifying ridership and could prove to be a powerful model for other cities looking to improve their quality of life and decrease their carbon footprint. When Vergriete first ran for mayor in 2014, he articulated his vision of a diverse, inclusive city that welcomes young people and families, supports the mobility of the elderly, and empowers people with limited economic means , according to CityLab . “I wanted to give back purchasing power to the families,” explained Vergriete on his initial motive. After launching free weekend services, ridership soared, up 30 percent on Saturday and 80 percent on Sunday. When free public transit is fully expanding to an all-week schedule, Dunkirk will be the largest city in France, though not the first, to offer this service. Related: Singapore is banning all new private vehicles from its roads Although the public transit services in Dunkirk may be free to riders, it is not a free ride for the local government, which must fund the service . Vergriete has observed that some are skeptical of the city’s ability to deliver these services without burdening taxpayers. “They think it’s like magic,” said Vergriete. “They think it’s not possible, that you are a liar. You cannot pay the salaries of the drivers, for the buses, with free transport.” In fact, only 10 percent of the public transit’s funding in Dunkirk was paid for with fares, a model that is similarly used in cities around the world , writes CityLab. Since rider fares are already such a small slice of the pie, “mayors should think about making it free,” said Vergriete. “It’s really a choice that we are making to charge.” In addition to support from the regional government’s general budget, the free transit service is primarily funded by a special transit tax on businesses, which was originally raised by Vergriete’s predecessor to pay for an expansion to a local sports arena. “It is a question of political priority ,” said Vergriete, whose administration chose to use that money set aside for a stadium to fund inclusive public transit instead. Via CityLab Images via  Vincent Desjardins/Flickr , Marco Chiesa/Flickr and Depositphotos

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LEO A DALY created a green-roof underground passage for the students of Minnesota State

March 10, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of LEO A DALY created a green-roof underground passage for the students of Minnesota State Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: green architecture , green roof , green-roofed architecture , LEO A DALY , LEO A DALY Minnesota U , Minnesota , Minnesota University , outdoor amphitheater , pedestrian link , sheltered passage , steel architecture , tunnel , underground architecture , underground pedestrian tunnel , underground tunnel

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LEO A DALY created a green-roof underground passage for the students of Minnesota State

Minnesota-Based Duo Builds a Three-Wheeled Hybrid Electric Vehicle That Gets 75 Miles Per Charge

January 20, 2014 by  
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Human Electric Vehicle is a three-wheeled , energy-efficient vehicle that is part car, part motorcycle and part kayak bike. It combines the pedal power of a bicycle with an electric engine and features a tablet computer that gives information on mileage and speed. Minnesota-based designer Lyon Smith and CEO Rich Kronfeld hope to perfect the vehicle and enable it to travel at the speed of up to 100 mph, between 50 and 75 miles per charge. Read the rest of Minnesota-Based Duo Builds a Three-Wheeled Hybrid Electric Vehicle That Gets 75 Miles Per Charge Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Battery powered vehicle , carbon fiber vehicle , electric vehicles , green transportation , Human Electric Vehicle , human-powered vehicles , hybrid vehicles , kayak bikes , kayak-like vehicle , Minnesota green transportation , Minnesota hybrid vehicles , pedal powered vehicles , solar panels vehicle , vehicle prototypes        

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Minnesota-Based Duo Builds a Three-Wheeled Hybrid Electric Vehicle That Gets 75 Miles Per Charge

Polyhedral Monoclinic House Boasts Eye-Catching Geometric Skylights in Tokyo

January 20, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Polyhedral Monoclinic House Boasts Eye-Catching Geometric Skylights in Tokyo Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: atelier tekuto , Daylighting , exposed concrete , monoclinic , polyhedral house , reinforced concrete , skylights , Tokyo        

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