Building Transparency brings carbon-cutting tools to construction

October 22, 2021 by  
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The conversation in environmental circles continuously loops back to the construction industry, with widely accepted estimates that building materials and carbon release from existing structures contribute 40% of global emissions. Building Transparency, a nonprofit dedicated to driving awareness around the effects of embodied emissions and supporting action to limit them, has developed a free tool anyone can use to achieve carbon reduction goals. Building Transparency’s premier service is called the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3). It’s sponsored by big companies such as Microsoft, Skanska, Amazon, Salesforce and Interface, which are working toward their own net-zero and carbon-negative goals. In all, around 50 organizations have signed on to help launch the project. Related: World Green Building Council fights for zero carbon The approach to carbon reduction strategies at every level, from residential homes to multi-building developments, is to start with low carbon-emitting building materials and minimize construction  waste . Through this process, businesses can make a dramatic impact by reducing the carbon footprint of their facilities, office buildings, manufacturing plants and retail stores. EC3 makes the process easier by helping companies set goals and reduce carbon through material selection and system evaluation.  EPDs, environmental product declarations, measure the environmental impact of a product throughout its lifecycle. Building Transparency has collected information on tens of thousands of digitized EPDs to include in the database. The nearly 17,000 users of the free tool can easily pull up this information, allowing architects, owners,  green building  certification programs, policymakers, designers and building decision-makers a condensed and reliable comparison of their material options.  “Building Transparency’s core mission is to provide the open access data and tools necessary to enable broad and swift action across the building industry in addressing embodied carbon’s role in climate change ,” the company states on its website. Building Transparency feels the EC3 tool is a contribution that will support the building and construction sector in their critical responsibility to lower carbon emissions. While there is a lot of chatter about creating a  minimal site impact  and focusing on energy efficiency, embodied carbon leaves a massive footprint, and it’s a relatively new topic to the conversation. Measuring this effect means measuring emissions produced by the sourcing and manufacturing of materials, supply chain, transport, installation, use and end-of-life disposal. That’s a lot to consider, and sifting through the information is a daunting task. The EC3 tool not only puts all that information in one area, making the decision-making process easier, but also provides transparency in an industry being held accountable for its responsibility to the  environment  and the population.  In addition to building and maintaining the EC3 database, Building Transparency provides education and the needed resources for decision-makers to take action with the information they acquire. With the EC3 tool in place, builders can quickly and reliably develop and implement plans for low carbon-emitting materials at every phase of projects.  As the company says, “Building designers, construction companies and material suppliers can directly measure, compare and reduce the embodied carbon in specific new buildings. For architects and engineers, the tool provides a simple way to assess the total embodied carbon of their projects and identify opportunities for improvement based on their specification choices.”  The material information goes beyond concrete, steel,  wood , glass, aluminum and insulation used in construction to interior design elements such as carpet, gypsum wallboard and ceiling tiles to identify low-carbon solutions. In addition to the EC3 and openEPD resources, Building Transparency has developed an app called Tally®, which according to the company is, “the first Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) app fully integrated into Autodesk® Revit®. The tool quantifies and analyzes carbon locked in building materials.” Tally, originally developed by KieranTimberlake, was adopted by Building Transparency earlier this year to make the app more accessible to the entire building and construction industry. Tally adds up the environmental impacts of material selections in real-time, which can sway the project toward carbon-conserving choices during pivotal points in the design process. Tally and EC3 work in conjunction, with the information generated in Tally importing directly into EC3. This puts these tools in one location to again support the goal of making planet-friendly decisions easier throughout the construction planning and building process. It works by allowing users to create a material profile that is then evaluated for its effect on land, air, and  water  systems. The user can create different material combinations and compare one design plan against another until they reach the optimal reduction in environmental impact.  The company reports, “Tally offers a full spectrum of information at great speed and accuracy, as the materials list automatically updates throughout the design phase in real-time. The app generates clear and transparent data graphics, facilitating vital communication regarding design choices between various groups within a project team. This practice ensures that the intent of the Tally LCA is carried through to the completed project, empowering choices to, for instance, to reduce embodied carbon and bringing carbon accountability to the building material supply chain.” + Building Transparency  Images via Building Transparency 

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The Washington Alley Project seeks to revitalize D.C.

October 22, 2021 by  
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The Washington Alley Project seeks to transform D.C.’s alleys for modern urban living. In Washington, D.C. , there are 82,397 single-family residential properties with alley frontage. If the Washington Alley model was applied to all of these spaces, it could house 187,900 new residents. Mark Lawrence is the principal and co-founder of EL Studio, the company behind this ambitious project. Lawrence and co-creator Elizabeth Emerson started the Washington Alley Project to show how cities can adapt and change without sacrificing their architectural history, a major concern for many urban centers across the country. EL Studio has organized Alley Hops, self-guided walks in city alleys, which feature viewfinders that show the potential of various alley areas. Images might show a basketball court, mural, performing stage, seating areas, sculptures and even gardens . These images illustrate the project’s vision for transforming the city’s alleys. Related: ODA’s vibrant new complex transforms a conventional DC block The Alley Hops were designed to show that D.C. is full of unused spaces, places that could be teeming with life and activity. Alley Hop participants provide feedback about how they think alley spaces can and should be used and what they’d like to see. Using the Alley Hops, EL Studio did an extensive survey of the alleys and designed ways to turn these spaces into vibrant living and community spaces. There are 3,217 alleys in Washington, D.C. alone. Together, they take up 246 linear miles. That’s a lot of potential space that is largely going unused. Imagine a space full of options instead. Modular dog parks made with Astroturf could create areas for pets to play. Market stalls could offer space for farmers and artisans to display their goods. Safety lights could brighten up the shadowy areas. Rubber surfaces in bright colors could create play areas for children. And perhaps best of all, new housing in these underused areas could provide homes for people. It’s a vision for the future that is already beginning to come true. Prather’s Alley in D.C. will be the project’s starting ground. The improvement plan for the alley will see the addition of safe zones cut off from traffic and resting places for residents and patrons who come to the many nearby businesses. + Washington Alley Project Images courtesy of Liz Gorman and EL Studio

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Mining in Minnesota halts as government considers 20-year ban

October 22, 2021 by  
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The Biden administration is considering a U.S. Forest Service application requesting a 20-year mining ban on national forest land in Minnesota. The agency wants over 200,000 acres of land south of the Boundary Waters in Minnesota to be exempt from all proposed mining activities. If the application is successful, the ban would stop Chilean mining company Antofagasta’s Twin Metals Minnesota subsidiary from constructing a $1.7 billion underground copper-nickel mine in the area.  The Interior Department announced that it will carry out a two-year review to determine the potential impacts of mining on natural and cultural resources in the area. During this period, all mining activities will be halted. If the department is convinced that mining is detrimental to nature , it may recommend a permanent ban on all proposed mining activities. Related: Largest nature reserve in Jordan threatened by copper mining “A place like the Boundary Waters should be enjoyed by and protected for everyone, not only today but for future generations,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement. “Today the Biden Administration is taking an important and sensible step to ensure that we have all the science and the public input necessary to make informed decisions about how mining activities may impact this special place.” Antofagasta has mining leases on the land that date back to 1966. Operating as Twin Metals Minnesota, Antofagasta has been trying to mine the land for years. Its activities in Minnesota have been a cause for national debate. During President Barack Obama’s tenure, the subsidiary’s leases were revoked due to concerns about mining’s effect on nature. However, the revocation order was abandoned by the Trump administration, and the company was allowed to proceed with its plans for 2019. This push and pull has been caused by personal and collective political interests. Some reports show that the Trump family has ties to Andrónico Luksic, the Chilean billionaire behind Antofagasta. Democrats and environmental groups have applauded the recent announcement, saying that it is a positive step for the environment. Becky Rom, national chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, said, “You don’t allow America’s most toxic industry next to America’s most popular Wilderness. The Boundary Waters is a paradise of woods and water . It is an ecological marvel, a world-class outdoor destination, and an economic engine for hundreds of businesses and many thousands of people. This is a great first step on the pathway to permanent protection.” Via HuffPost Lead image via Pixabay

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Try these hauntingly delicious vegan treats for Halloween

October 21, 2021 by  
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When we see seasonal treats at the grocery store, we remember our childhood memories of munching our way through the holidays. Scouring for vegan options, we might flip the bag over to read the label, then put it back when we find it doesn’t measure up. Instead of scrutinizing every ingredient, make your own deliciously ghoulish treats at home instead. It gives you the power to know what’s in the  recipe  and earns you some bonus parenting points too.  Candy corn This ubiquitous Halloween classic is easier than you think to make at home. With a few ingredient swaps, you can make it vegan too.  This recipe from Cheeky Kitchen at Tablespoon  gives you all the pointers you’ll need. The sweetness comes from brown rice syrup and powdered sugar, while the thickness is created by tapioca flour. Use your favorite food coloring for the candy corn effect.  Another candy corn option by  Chocolate Covered Katie  uses cashew butter as the base.  Related: Enjoy these delicious hot vegan Starbucks drinks this fall Peppermint patties If you pick up your candy at the store, you can find sweet, fruity favorites to meet vegan needs. Popular choices include Airheads, Blowpops, Bottlecaps, Dots, Dum-Dums, Fruit Roll-ups and licorice. But these options are missing a crucial ingredient — chocolate.  To recreate the classics in a vegan way, look to dairy-free chocolate in powder and other forms. For example, this  Healthy New York Peppermint Patties recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie  combines coconut oil with cocoa powder and other ingredients to make a chocolate top and bottom. The filing comes from coconut butter infused with peppermint extract and has earned rave reviews so far.  DIY Crunch bars If you’re inspired by the ever-popular Crunch bar, make a few substitutions from the store-bought version to bring them to the party. This  Mini Crunch Bars with Peanut Butter Shell Drizzle recipe  by Oh She Glows pairs coconut oil and cocoa powder with some other flavors to coat the rice crisp cereal of your choice. The optional drizzle (your favorite nut butter thinned with some sweetener and coconut oil) adds the classic partnership of peanut butter with chocolate. Fudge Sometimes you just want chocolate served with more chocolate. Not only does fudge cater to the craving, but it’s easy to decorate for any occasion , including Halloween. When your fudge is ready, simply adorn squares with googly eyes, apply a jack-o’-lantern face in icing or cut the pieces into ghostly shapes. This  No Cook Fudge recipe by Cookie and Kate  is not only vegan but also includes instructions on how to make your own coconut butter and peanut butter if you desire.  For a variation on the standard flavor, try this  Pumpkin Spice Fudge by Seitan Beats Your Meat . This recipe enhances the chocolate with traditional  plant-based  spices like cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.  Chocolate bark The best thing about chocolate bark is you can use the recipe for nearly every occasion. Crunchy chocolate can be topped with any number of things, all of which can create a holiday vibe. For example, break up some candy canes for a Christmas topping and use dried cranberries on Valentine’s Day.  For Halloween, use this  Easy Chocolate Bark recipe by Cookie and Kate  and use her suggestion to replace the chocolate with a quality dairy-free option. Then top with dried apricots, candied oranges or bits of orange candy. Truffles These little bonbons allow for creativity in spades. Top them with orange sprinkles for a simple option, or add homemade candy corn to each one. The great thing about truffles is they can be a base for any of your favorite flavors. Try these  Pumpkin Peanut Butter Truffles from One Green Planet , which are a ball of sweet peanut buttery goodness infused with pumpkin pie spice and topped with a coconut oil and cocoa powder coating.  Also on One Green Planet, you can find this  Raw Chocolate Coconut Balls  recipe made from, you guessed it, coconut. A touch of coarse salt and a bit of maple syrup round out the flavors. Monster Eyeballs The recipe is  Nightmare-Worthy Bloody Coconut Raspberry Monster Eyeballs , and the result is indeed delightfully terrifying. The same decorating technique can be transferred over to some of the truffle ideas above, so be creative with both your flavors and your toppings.  Caramel Apples No Halloween season should go by without a crunchy, gooey caramel apple in the mix. Whether you prefer a sour apple to contrast the sweet topping or like to layer sweet on sweet for a less bitter option, caramel apples are fun to make, fun to decorate and a delight to eat. Check out this  vegan version from Wendy Irene at One Green Planet  that relies on vegan butter and almond milk rounded out with cane sugar and organic corn syrup. Happy Halloween. May your sweet tooth be hauntingly pacified.  Via Bustle Images via Pexels and Pixabay 

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Nearly 42,000 potential PFAS sources found in new study

October 14, 2021 by  
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There are nearly 42,000 potential sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the United States, according to a  new study  published in the American Water Works Association Water Science journal. Several studies conducted in recent years have shown that most parts of the U.S. are contaminated with PFAS .  Early this year, a different study done by Lancaster University found high levels of PFAS in melting Arctic ice. The findings left more questions than answers, with researchers unable to tell the exact source of the forever chemicals. Related: Ice melt releases ‘forever chemicals’ into Arctic Ocean In the latest study, researchers found that everyone in the U.S. is likely to be exposed to PFAS. According to lead author and Environmental Working Group (EWG) senior scientist David Andrews, it is time the EPA starts regulating the use of PFAS. He notes that communities living downstream from industrial areas are the most exposed to the contaminants. The new study conducted by EWG scientists established that the primary sources of PFAS are solid waste landfills, oil refineries, wastewater treatment plants and electroplaters. The scientists reviewed data from the EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online database. “The results from states like Michigan show there is a wide variety of sources of PFAS in surface water ,” Andrews said in the EWG press release. “Many landfills and industrial sites release PFAS at detectable concentrations that may exceed state limits or health guidelines for PFAS in water.” Currently, this no limit for PFAS contamination in water. According to the study, the EPA is currently working on setting up rules to control the contamination levels in rivers . Several states have set their own limits. “For example, state guidelines for exposure to PFOA have decreased approximately three orders of magnitude from 7000 ng/L [nanograms per liter], set by Minnesota in 2002, to 8 ng/L, set by Michigan in 2020,” the study authors wrote. Via EcoWatch Lead image via Pexels

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8 boxes that explore the effects of habitat destruction on birds

October 13, 2021 by  
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A Montreal-based firm, KANVA, developed a thought-provoking display for the Canada Pavilion at World Expo 2020 Dubai. Called TRACES, it’s an interactive and eye-opening look into the effects of climate change on wildlife . In their recent showcase, the team used migratory birds as the subject for the project, which was commissioned by Global Affairs Canada and produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). “The concept for TRACES began with the location of the Canada Pavilion in the sustainability section of the Expo grounds, and with the main exhibition being inspired by Canadian landscapes and natural diversity,” said Rami Bebawi, a KANVA partner and lead architect of the TRACES project. “We wanted to create something that would emphasize the threats that climate change and global warming pose to those same landscapes and, more specifically, to the species that inhabit them.” Related: WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion The exhibit is made up of eight boxes that walk visitors through a progression of understanding and appreciation for the plight of birds experiencing a rapid decline of suitable habitats. The title TRACES represents what may be left of their existence without attention to protecting their existence. “They are simply erased from memory and our collective amnesia allows us to persist in their destruction ,” said Olga Karpova, architect and senior project lead at KANVA. “TRACES reinterprets that cycle by fossilizing the species to ensure that it is not forgotten.” Each of the box displays measures eight feet length, 8 feet width and 8 feet depth. They contain objects for reflection. The Jewel box focuses on fossilized birds on a pedestal, accentuated by lighting that offers an ominous setting. The Nearness box features a wall of migrating birds against a backdrop of filtered light. The Memorial box appeals to the emotions with a tomb of fallen birds. The Forgotten box represents waste stacked in cubes that has been thoughtlessly discarded. The Seat box places visitors at an old school desk where they can reflect on their personal responsibility towards sustainable actions. Opening the desk reveals a 3D-printed bird struggling from the effects caused by ocean spills. The Gathering box highlights collective responsibility, empowering group-think problem-solving with birds emerging into flight. Sounds around the table devolve from notably distressed birds to soothing nature sounds as discussions around the table offer hope. The Sanctuary box offers insight to a human-free world where birds thrive. Finally, the eighth box, labeled The Awareness, consists of four chairs facing each other from the corners. Intense sounds set a tone for concern and an empty bird cage hangs from the ceiling.   + KANVA   Photography by Gerry O’Leary

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Best vegan Halloween cocktails for any pumpkin bash

October 8, 2021 by  
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It’s that haunted time of year again. Whether you’re hosting a boo-tiful event (see what we did there?) or are simply looking to challenge yourself in the mixology realm, don’t be spooked by coming up with ghoulish drinks to serve.  The Display Start by setting the chilling mood with the right decorations that also double as ingredients. While creating displays for the table, windows and front door, why not add some haunting messages to the bar? You can create bottle labels at home, order online or pick up at a craft supply store. These fun labels stick right over the existing bottle label, turning your rum into “poison” and your sparkling water into “elixir.”  Related: This distillery helps you make delicious, carbon-negative cocktails Ingredients and Supplies When selecting ingredients for hot or cold drinks, keep your vegan guests in mind by skipping cream-based liqueurs. Most distilled spirit is naturally vegan. Use fruit and vegetable juices and tonic or sparkling water as mixers. Fresh is best, so get the juicer out to squeeze grapefruit, limes, and oranges . You can also pick up bottle pomegranate and cranberry juices at the store. If you want a creamy result, source some coconut or almond milk. When a sweet touch is needed, rely on plant-based agave, a simple syrup made from unprocessed sugar or other sweetener of choice.  For the best presentation, keep a lookout for skull-shaped glasses and an ice mold that forms skulls , skeletons, brains, or ghosts. Test tubes make another delightfully creepy shot-sized serving vessel. Hopped Daiquiri This one comes to us from our friends at Greenbar Distillery who produce USDA-certified organic spirits and a concoction that will fit the mood of the season from the first falling leaf through Thanksgiving dinner. See the Hopped Daiquiri recipe here .  Hot Toddy The hot toddy is more of a technique than a specific recipe. It’s traditionally defined as a combination of hot water , liquor, a sweetener, herbs and spices. Most commonly, hot toddies are made using bourbon, brandy or whiskey, but dark rum is another good choice .  1 cup hot water 1.5 ounces dark liquor .5 ounces fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of honey, to taste You can spice it up with a cinnamon stick , cardamom or star anise if you like.  Prickly Apparition Grab the shaker for a pretty spooky cocktail that includes prickly pear. The flavor can be found in brandy, gin and vodka .  1 ounces prickly pear liqueur 1 ounces vodka (you can use .5 ounces vodka and .5 ounces Triple Sec) 2 ounces fresh-squeezed lemon juice 1 ounces agave or sugar simple Put all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake until it is too cold to hold. Run a lemon rind around the ring of a cocktail glass and dip it in extra fine sugar. Then strain the apparition into the glass. Spooky Halloween Blackberry Grape Punch This versatile recipe can be served to the kids or the adults. In essence, it’s nothing more than fruit and club soda, but the technique makes a beautiful and flavorful drink for everyone to enjoy. For adults, use a different type of glass and add one shot of vodka or white rum. Find the recipe from At the Corner of Happy and Harried here . Pomegranate Ghost Pomegranate juice can be combined with a variety of flavors for a tasty treat. Here’s a simple and quick drink to shake up: 1 ounces lemon vodka .5 ounces triple sec 2 ounces pomegranate juice .5 to 1 ounces simple, depending on taste Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Warm Cranberry Cider There’s nothing cozier than slippers, a warm blanket and a hot beverage in your hands. Of course, you can go with traditional hot cocoa or a cup of herbal tea, but there’s something about cider that is distinctively fall. Buy fresh-pressed apple cider at the farmer’s market or pick up a jug at the store. At home , warm it with your favorite spices such as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Stir cranberry juice into the mix. Use a combination of ¾ cup of cranberry juice for each one cup of apple cider. For garnish, drop a few cranberries into the hot mug and include a cinnamon stick for aroma and flair. Add one shot of white rum, brandy or vodka if desired. Poison Apple Remember: autumn is about more than gourds and pumpkins. It’s also apple season. Bring the flavor home with this recipe from the DIY Network . Ghastly Margarita For this spin on a classic, make your own infused simple sugar by boiling peppers into the simple syrup. Slice two jalapeno peppers into rings or in half down the middle. Include the seeds for the best flavor. Combine one cup of turbinado, demerara or other unprocessed sugar with ½ cup of water and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peppers and lightly simmer for around five minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep until cool. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and put into a bottle.  1 ounces fresh lime juice 1 ounces Triple Sec .5 to 1 ounces jalapeno simple, depending on taste 2 ounces tequila Mix all ingredients in a shaker. Rim the glass with a turmeric sugar mixture for some extra zest. Shake well and pour over ice. Images via Pexels

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Mini greenhouse grows endless possibilities

October 8, 2021 by  
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Have you ever wanted your own greenhouse ? Maybe you’ve thought about growing an exotic plant like a delicate bonsai or a breathtaking orchid. And maybe you’ve learned that having a greenhouse to grow exotic plants in is a lot of work. Until now. Meet the Plantee, a plug-and-play greenhouse that makes it easy for you to grow even the most exotic plants at home. Put it on a counter and start growing something inside your home. The gadget will control the light, watering, air temperature , airflow and soil moisture to keep your plant healthy and beautiful. It truly does all of the work. Meanwhile, you can check the display and the step-by-step growing guide to look at the real-time data monitoring to see how your plant is doing. Related: Technicolor greenhouse in Tokyo puts on a pulsating light show when plants are touched The Plantee is designed with recyclable anodized aluminum and hardened PMMA glass. All materials used to make Plantee are non-toxic and recyclable. Packaging is also optimized to be small, but durable to create a small carbon footprint. It is made of all paper-based and covered in single-color water-soluble ink. Any type of soil , fertilizer and materials you want to use to grow your plants can be put in the Plantee. This mini greenhouse measures 50 by 45 by 60 centimeters (1’8″ x 1’6″ x 2′). Use it to grow anything you want. All you have to do is enter a new plant profile into the system and the greenhouse will help you grow it. The sensors will detect soil moisture and the internal water pump will water the plant as needed. Meanwhile, the smart intensity technology adjusts the lighting based on what the plant needs. Use the adjustable hose to put the water flow right where you want it. The internal water tank holds enough water to last for weeks. You’ll be notified when it needs a refill. Add an external water tank and your plant will have water for months. Even the temperature and airflow are regulated and monitored. The Plantee can create a tropical environment , if needed, so you can grow a huge variety of plants that were off-limits before. There’s an internal growing volume of 18 gallons, enough room for many types of plants. The plant isn’t trapped in there, either. The Plantee is built for easy access, all you have to do is lift the cover. You can grow: dwarf tomatoes, baby carrots, mini pumpkins , chili peppers, strawberries, herbs , succulents and hothouse flowers. When the greenhouse does all the work, it’s easy. Plantee launched on Kickstarter with a set funding goal, which exceeded within hours of its appearance on the funding website. Plantee’s development plans are going full speed ahead. Soon, this mini greenhouse will be ready to live in your house. + Plantee Innovations Photography by Charlie Jilek

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Michigan plans to build the first EV charging road in U.S.

October 6, 2021 by  
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Last month, State Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that the state of Michigan has announced an ambitious plan to build the country’s first wireless electric vehicle charging road. It will help the state meet its net-zero target by 2050, according to Whitmer. The one-mile stretch will be built in Metro Detroit at a proposed cost of $1.9 million if the plan is implemented. In a press release sent to media houses, Whitmer said that Michigan was the first state to build paved roads in the country. The state is also on course to be the first to build roads for the future. Related: The City One is a compact, community-focused electric car “Michigan was home to the first mile of paved road, and now we’re paving the way for the roads of tomorrow,” Whitmer said, “with innovative infrastructure that will support the economy and the environment.”  The world’s first electric car charging road was built in Sweden in 2018 at the cost of $2.4 million. These types of roads work on the concept of magnetic induction. As a car drives on the road, the battery is charged by pads built under the road through magnetic induction. The road does not give the car full charge but helps provide additional power to sustain the vehicle until the next charging point. While in Michigan the idea behind electric car charging roads is still in its infancy, the Michigan Department of Transportation has already started accepting proposals for the project. When one is accepted, there will be a clearer picture of how the road will look like. The project has received both praises and criticism, with some players in the industry terming it as “unviable” and “a waste of resources.” Chris Mi, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department at San Diego State University, said in an interview that the project is unrealistic on a large scale. For the road to be usable, cars have to be built with a receiver capable of receiving electromagnetic induction power . It would make electric cars unaffordable for most people. Additionally, weather is another major issue, according to Mi.  “Michigan in the winter gets potholes all over the place, which means any of the wireless transmission systems you buried down in the road will be damaged in a couple of years,” he said. Critiques also argue that for a state-ranked 36th in terms of transport infrastructure, building such a road is not a priority. The money might be of more value if directed to other transport facilities such as commuter train systems. Via Grist Lead image via Pexels

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El Perdido honors its environment and the local culture

October 6, 2021 by  
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Estudio ALA recently completed a small development in Baja California Sur with an overarching goal of reintroducing local culture into the architecture , building process and visitor experience. The project is called El Perdido, and it’s a collection of hut-like accommodations that make up a desert tourism destination. Rather than importing most materials and ignoring the environment, El Perdido pays special attention to local tradition and the project’s impact. Related: Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor El Perdido is located in the small agricultural town of El Pescadero, which is rich in plantations of basil, chili, tomatoes and strawberries. To honor these historical roots while minimizing the need for resources like water, the design team left the surrounding landscape natural, with expansive low natural shrubs and  plants . Near the entrance, a grove of palo blanco trees provide natural shading, too. The huts were developed with attention to the natural climate of the region, providing guest comfort through  passive design  for effective heating and cooling. “Temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, and solar incidence on the site were taken into consideration to employ strategies of passive cooling during the summer and passive heating in the winter,” the team said. The site was also equipped with its own water treatment plant and a saltwater pool with saline chlorinators to reduce chemical use and improve  water  efficiency.  The accommodations are built with earthen walls, and  wood  is the primary support material for each structure. The palm roofs add to the authentic appeal and overall nod to Baja California Sur’s heritage. Materials were sourced regionally, minimizing the need for lengthy transport, and local artisans were hired for the build.   The campus includes a main guest house, which includes a living area, dining room, kitchen bar for visitors, multipurpose area, store with local products, and reception. This is a gathering area and main hub of the property. Also on site is a  restaurant  and bar. Walkways lead throughout the campus to the lodgings and a sunken courtyard with low walls made from natural materials. In the courtyard, visitors can find a fountain and chapel. A stroll further along the walkway leads to an observatory with expansive ocean views.  At the center of the property is a shared pool in a courtyard that connects to the villas and main house. Each villa was designed to maximize efficiency and invite a marriage between the indoors and outdoors. + Estudio ALA  Via ArchDaily Images via Iwan Baan 

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