The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Eisack Valley of Italy, an old “pair farmstead” structure partly built into the hillside years ago still remains. The new owner decided to turn this classic property into a proper home after living inside it for two years as it was, and chose Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten for the redesign. The partially underground extension is topped by a grassy green roof that serves as an homage to the old design as well as a minimal approach to interacting with the natural environment. A newer building was constructed to connect to the older structure, causing the entire house to extend from east to west, hidden within the mountain. Both buildings are linked using a natural stone staircase, and two long skylights serve as limited visible proof of the underground home. From the southern vantage point, a side of concrete and glass serves as a window, making the outer valley visible from inside. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina As would be expected in an underground dwelling, the interior decoration is made up of natural colors. Wooden planks line the walls, and the ceiling is primarily made from the same exposed concrete visible from the green roof . Furnishings also consist of shades of brown, and the home includes a clean-lined, minimalist kitchen. There are views of the Eisack Valley and Dolomites Mountains from both the living and sleeping rooms. Although the home is mostly underground, the architects managed to include high ceilings and open spaces within the home, adding a modern element. Occupants enjoy natural light throughout the house thanks to the large skylights . The architects hoped that this home would forge a connection between the old and new, adding a modern twist to the house while maintaining respect for the original historical property. Using eco-conscious materials  — such as natural stone, exposed concrete, steel and wood — that complement the surrounding mountainous region, the architects created an extraordinary home that has only increased in historic value. + Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten Via ArchDaily Photography by Oskar DaRiz via Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

5 new corporate climate initiatives revealed at GreenBiz 19

March 4, 2019 by  
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New products from SC Johnson and Iron Mountain, and renewables progress from GM and 3M. Plus, Land O’Lakes’ latest habitat conservation deal.

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5 new corporate climate initiatives revealed at GreenBiz 19

China closes Mount Everest base camp after overwhelming trash problem reports

February 22, 2019 by  
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China is taking steps to clean up Mount Everest amid growing concerns about trash accumulation. The base camp at the foot of the world’s tallest mountain is officially closed to tourists until further notice. The closure of the base camp comes after a surprising report from the Tibet Autonomous Region Sports Bureau, which claims it has picked up over 8 tons of trash from the site, including human waste and general garbage, last year alone. It is unclear when the base camp will open to tourists. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100 “[N]o unit or individuals are allowed entry into the core area of the Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve,” local officials posted in Tibet . Qomolangma is what Tibetans call Everest. The notices were originally posted last December, though the closure is only now getting attention from media outlets around the world. Climbers can still gain access to Everest via China but not without a special permit. The country plans to issue around 300 permits in 2019. Tourists can also visit Everest, they just cannot reach the mountain through China. Anyone can still reach the north face of Everest via the Rongbuk Monastery, which is located around a mile from the main base camp. Trash buildup around the base of Everest has become a major issue over the past few years. China and Nepal have both initiated programs to deal with removing trash from the site, including encouraging climbers to take their garbage with them when they leave base camp. China, for example, has started to fine climbers who do not come off the mountain with their waste, while Nepal charges $4,000 for a refundable garbage deposit. Despite the efforts to curb trash accumulation, only about 50 percent of climbers came off the mountain with the minimum trash requirement. Although the majority of climbers reach Everest by way of Nepal, 40,000 visitors made their way to the Chinese base camp in 2015. China has not announced when it plans to reopen its base camp on the foot of Mount Everest. Via EcoWatch Image via Shutterstock

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China closes Mount Everest base camp after overwhelming trash problem reports

Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina

February 1, 2019 by  
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Córdoba-based firm  Alarcia Ferrer Arquitectos has just unveiled a stunning, green-roofed vacation home in Argentina’s remote Calamuchita Valley. The rocky, sloped landscape drove the inspiration for Casa FM’s design, which is a massive concrete 3,444-square-foot structure with a rectangular shape that juts out over the mountain ledge, offering dreamy views of the valley below. The architects chose to use concrete as the primary building material mainly for its low maintenance properties. Using a simple rectangular shape, a concrete shell adds strength, flexibility and insulating properties to the structure. Its low stature and expansive green roof stretches out over the entirety of the home and also helps blend the structure into its natural surroundings. Related: A striking concrete home in Ontario targets minimal environment impact Casa FM is actually comprised of two autonomous houses, with the lower one-bedroom house embedded into the terrain and the second level housing two bedrooms. Connected via a stone staircase adjacent to the building, each of the two spaces was designed to offer guests an intimate relationship with the surrounding environment. The interior is clad in the same smooth concrete as the exterior. Rectangular skylights flood the living space with natural light , providing a sense of contrast with the concrete walls and flooring. Warm wood furnishings along with leather couches and woven rugs give the space a welcoming, cozy feel. Like most houses that were built around amazing landscape, the interior design of Casa FM was laid out strategically to make the most of its setting. All of the rooms lead toward the open-plan living room, which features one long floor-to-ceiling glass wall. From this main living area, an expansive open patio space offers spectacular, unobstructed views of the valley below and the surrounding mountain range. + Alarcia Ferrer Arquitectos Via Dwell Photography by Federico Cairoli and Federico Ferrer via Alarcia Ferrer Arquitectos

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Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina

5 ways to throw a zero-waste Super Bowl party

January 31, 2019 by  
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Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest party days of the year. For many people, that means a house full of friends and family as well as pizza boxes, chip bags, beer cans and football decorations. However, it is possible to have an epic Super Bowl party without a ton of waste . It just takes a little bit of planning to go green, and the planet will thank you for your zero-waste celebration. Tell your guests There is no need to keep your guests in the dark about your goal of having a zero-waste Super Bowl party. When you send out your e-vites, make it clear you are going green, and encourage guests to do their part by carpooling and bringing their own cups and reusable containers for leftovers. Related: How to start the journey to zero-waste living You can also ask some of your guests to bring a dish they made at home. You might be surprised how many people are willing to do their part. DIY decor Instead of using plastic decorations, you can make your own with fabric. At your local craft store, you should be able to find fabric in team colors, and you might be able to find some with team logos. Use the fabric to make table cloths, napkins and banners. When the game is over, you can use the DIY decorations as cleaning cloths. Also, you can light up the room with strings of LED lights that you can easily find in team colors. If you are really crafty, you can make decorations with newspaper clippings about the game. Carefully plan the menu The food is the biggest source of waste at a Super Bowl party, so if you are going green, this is the part that takes major planning. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest days of the year for pizza delivery and beer drinking, and both of those things can produce a ton of trash. So ditch the pizza delivery and beer cans, and instead, make your own pizzas and finger foods and order a keg. Related: 6 tasty vegetarian Super Bowl snacks that will fool carnivores Homemade pizza and finger foods (sliders, chips and dip, deli meats and cheeses, chicken wings, cookies, brownies) will remove the need for plastic utensils. Buying your ingredients at local farmer’s markets will also reduce your environmental footprint. A keg will remove the mountain of beer cans and bottles in your trash can. Just remember to use glassware or mason jars instead of plastic cups, or have your guests bring their own. If you have guests that aren’t beer drinkers, you could opt for a root beer keg or large containers of non-alcoholic drinks that you can find at big box stores like Costco. If you can’t imagine a Super Bowl party without pizza delivery, you need to compost those greasy cardboard boxes instead of throwing them in the trash or recycling . When it comes to the dishes, ditch the disposable plates and instead opt for reusable, stainless steel camping trays or recyclable dishes. Or use your real, everyday dishes. Serve your food in large, reusable containers so you can easily store leftovers and make clean up a lot easier. Another fun idea for the party is to provide reusable glass straws in team colors. Label trash, recycling and compost areas Use different containers for your trash, compostables  and recyclables and clearly label them, so your guests know exactly where everything goes. A large pot is a great option to collect food waste, reusable dishes can go in the sink, paper goes into the compost or recycling piles and any cloth materials will need to be laundered. Enjoy yourself Throwing a zero-waste Super Bowl party is a great goal, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. It is possible that some of your guests aren’t familiar with the concept of zero-waste, so be patient and answer their questions. Explaining what you are trying to do is a great way to spread the message. You are planting a seed among your friends and family. Even if your Super Bowl party isn’t completely free of waste, reducing the waste is a great first step. Related: The Super Bowl of DIY beer Last year, the Super Bowl itself aimed for a zero-waste event called Rush2Recycle . Even though it wasn’t perfect, it was a gigantic step in the right direction. The program successfully recovered 91 percent of the trash, with 63 tons of game day waste being recycled or donated for reuse and composting. Relax and have fun. Don’t worry about perfection. Taking these steps toward reducing your Super Bowl party waste is reason enough to celebrate and have a good time. Via ECOlunchbox Images via Manuel Hoster and Shutterstock

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Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

January 10, 2019 by  
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For many of us, a trip to the grocery store results in a ton of waste, thanks to the mountain of plastic bags and food packaging. But some stores are trying to change that by going zero-waste and selling in bulk. Precycle is a zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn that has opened for business, and it is avoiding all plastic by having its customers buy food from bulk containers. Katerina Bogatireva, the owner of Precycle , is from Latvia, and she said that in her home country,  food waste is not acceptable. Instead, she remembers bringing reusable containers into stores. “Things like that still exist in many countries,” Bogatireva said. Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger But when she moved to the United States, she quickly assimilated and used the plastic packaging she saw everywhere. Bogatireva said that you forget your values after a while, but as she got older, she started to reflect on her childhood. “I remember looking at my mother-in-law’s trashcan and thinking, ‘this is right,’” explained the store owner. This was when she decided to open her own zero-waste grocery store, but it took years for her dream to become a reality. At Precycle, they offer food from local farmers and distributors, so customers know where their food comes from. The store’s goal is to empower customers with information, so they can reduce their environmental impact. Bogatireva said that she will take it easy on new customers at first by offering paper bags. However, she hopes to encourage people to bring their own bags and would like to see that become the new normal. Bogatireva said that everyone has to make their own choices. Just one person making a change might seem like a “drop in the sea,” but this change has to start somewhere. Actually, it just has to make a comeback. Bogatireva continued by saying that this is an old idea, not something new. + Precycle Via Tree Hugger Image via Shutterstock

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Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

10 clean energy developments of 2018

January 10, 2019 by  
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Rocky Mountain Institute identifies major trends in clean energy from the last year.

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10 clean energy developments of 2018

Off-grid tiny home with beautiful undulating roof was almost entirely built with reclaimed materials

December 25, 2018 by  
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Founded by builder Greg Parham, the team at Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses is already well-known for their tiny home designs. But the Colorado-based company has really outdone themselves with their latest project. The San Juan tiny home on wheels is a gorgeous design with an eye-catching metal roof. More than just aesthetically pleasing, however, the solar-powered tiny home was almost entirely made out of reclaimed wood and built to go off-grid. Of course, the undulating roof made out of corrugated metal, is the first thing that catches the eye about the San Juan home. To line up with the curving roofline, the builders arranged reclaimed barn wood in the shape of a sunray, which also adds to the fluid nature of the exterior. On one end side of the tiny home, leftover cedar shake panels were layered in seven colors of blue with a large circular window in the middle. Related: This charming, solar-powered tiny home is handcrafted from reclaimed wood The entrance to the interior is through a fold-out deck with a set of beautiful French doors, which Parham and his team handmade. On top of the deck is an awning, which is made out of two 360 Watt solar panels . Both the deck and the awning can be easily folded down, flush with the exterior wall when the tiny home is on the road. Parham and his wife, Stephanie, built the tiny home for themselves so the interior space is designed around their needs. The interior is flooded with natural light thanks to an abundance of large windows. White-washed pine panels line the interior walls. The kitchen is fully-equipped and was built with a sliding table top that can be pulled out to create additional dining space. The bathroom is a stellar design, which features a Cerulean blue accent wall and a hand-laid penny floor. Although the tiny home has a loft, the couple wanted to have their bedroom on the first floor. To do so, they custom made an “elevator bed” that runs on a pulley system. This enables the bed to be raised to the ceiling when not in use, creating ample living space below. A wood-burning stove keeps the interior warm and cozy during the winter months. + Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses Via Tiny House Talk Photography via Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses

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Off-grid tiny home with beautiful undulating roof was almost entirely built with reclaimed materials

Kevin Hagen, VP of ESG strategy at Iron Mountain, on the digital transformation

November 6, 2018 by  
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Kevin Hagen, VP of ESG strategy at Iron Mountain, on the digital transformation

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Kevin Hagen, VP of ESG strategy at Iron Mountain, on the digital transformation

Kevin Hagen, VP of ESG strategy at Iron Mountain, on the digital transformation

November 6, 2018 by  
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Kevin Hagen, VP of ESG strategy at Iron Mountain, on the digital transformation

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