Low-impact summer retreat boasts solar panels and a green roof

March 9, 2020 by  
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Seattle-based firm Heliotrope Architects has just completed work on a gorgeous summer home located on Orcas Island, off the coast of Washington state. Not only does the North Beach house boast a stunning aesthetic, but it is low-impact and uses several sustainable features, such as solar power and a green roof , to enable the home to be almost completely self-sustaining. The stunning, 2,400-square-foot North Beach home is located on the island’s stunning waterfront, tucked between a natural forest of fir trees on one side and an open meadow on the other. Framed in wide steel columns, the single-story house sits quietly in the landscape, clad in walls of glass that open the residence up to amazing views. Related: Green-roofed beachfront home fully embraces its coastal surroundings The house features a contemporary but cozy interior design. White walls and wooden flooring run throughout the dwelling. Walls comprised of sliding glass doors bring in natural light while also enabling the homeowners to truly feel connected with the outdoors. Several outdoor spaces, such as an open-air deck with a large dining table, further embed the home into its surroundings and promote indoor-outdoor living. Intended to be a summer home used from May through October, the design uses several sustainable features to make it self-sustaining for those months. A solar array was installed above the adjacent vegetable garden shed in order to provide energy to the home, while solar collectors on the roof are used to heat hot water and provide hydronic heating. Additionally, a lush green roof was installed with a rain harvesting system that collects rainwater to be used for irrigation. According to the architects, these systems have been designed to “zero-out” electricity use over the course of a full year. + Heliotrope Architects Photography via Sean Airhart via Heliotrope Architects

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Low-impact summer retreat boasts solar panels and a green roof

LEED Platinum high-rise in Toronto promotes sustainable living

March 9, 2020 by  
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Aqualina at Bayside, a new multistory residence in Toronto, has just earned LEED Platinum certification — a first for a high-rise condo in Toronto and the second designation for a building of its kind in all of Canada. Developed by Hines Canada and Tridel, Aqualina was created as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the city’s waterfront with sustainable design. As the flagship condominium residence in the masterplanned Bayside Toronto Community, Aqualina is the first of four residential projects onsite and was completed in 2019. Designed as an example for sustainable residential living across Canada , Aqualina incorporates a range of energy-saving systems that result in energy efficiencies of 45% compared to the model national energy code. Energy-saving technologies include high-efficiency lighting throughout as well as a rooftop photovoltaic array that produces up to 30 kW of electricity and doubles as a shade structure for an outdoor barbecue area for residents. Aqualina also includes a NetZED suite specially engineered to produce as much electricity as it consumes. Related: Canada’s first net-zero carbon, mass-timber college building to rise in Toronto Most importantly, the building design encourages sustainable lifestyles. Aqualina is accessible by all forms of transportation and is connected to the Bayside Village community through an interactive laneway. A community garden located on the sixth-floor terrace offers residents the opportunity to grow their own produce while interacting with their neighbors. The surrounding community has also benefited from the construction, which emphasized local job generation and local material sourcing. In contrast to the site’s post-industrial origins, the redeveloped site makes human health a priority. In addition to the remediation of contaminated soils, the building is outfitted with low-VOC materials and finishes while the majority of waste materials were diverted from landfills and recycled wherever possible. Fresh air is continuously brought into the building through a high-efficiency Energy Recovery Ventilator. + Aqualina Images via Aqualina

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LEED Platinum high-rise in Toronto promotes sustainable living

Solar-powered home embraces tree canopy views in all directions

March 4, 2020 by  
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In the coastal township of Barwon Heads, Australian architecture firm Peter Winkler Architects has completed the Green Velvet House, a family’s solar-powered home that sensitively responds to the landscape in more ways than one. Positioned for passive solar design and to maximize views over the surrounding tree canopy, the sustainable dwelling was engineered to minimize impact on the existing terrain. In addition to walls of glass that let in natural light and ventilation, the home draws power from a rooftop solar array and minimizes its environmental footprint with rainwater collection tanks for irrigation and toilet-flushing. Nestled into an existing depression in the site, the Green Velvet House rises to a height of two stories with 580 square meters of living space. Its minimalist appearance — a facade of cement sheets and floor-to-ceiling glazing divided by exposed structural timbers — helps to reduce the building’s visual impact on the landscape. “In response to the program, we have minimized the building footprint by efficiently consolidating the form, rather than creating a sprawling building that overtakes the site,” the team explained. Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne To keep the focus on the outdoors, the solar-powered home is surrounded by walls of glass and terraces that invite the owners outdoors on multiple floors. The outdoor spaces and the interiors are protected from unwanted solar gain by generous eaves and horizontal screens. The main living areas and the guest bedroom are located on the ground floor, while the upper floor is reserved for the more private areas, including the master suite and two children’s bedrooms. Plywood walls and a sealed fiber-cement ceiling reference the exterior materials and lend a sense of warmth to the interiors. Recycled “Grey Ironbark” hardwood columns and beams are also featured throughout the building. For energy efficiency, the Colorbond tray deck roof is fitted with a 10.26 kW photovoltaic system . The aluminum sliding doors are also outfitted with double glazing, while the double-hung, sashless windows can be opened for natural ventilation. Three 5,000-liter water tanks were installed beneath the north deck to store rainwater for garden use and toilet-flushing, while other stormwater runoff is retained in bioswales. The home is also equipped with hydronic heating, wood-burning fireplaces and a Sanden heat pump with a 315-liter water tank. + Peter Winkler Architects Photography by Jack Lovel via Peter Winkler Architects

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Bruno Sarda on leadership and insights from CDP’s A list

February 20, 2020 by  
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2030 is a critical milestone for halting devastating climate change. With 10 years to halve global emissions, what are leading companies doing right now to fend off and prepare for the worst environmental consequences? In this talk, Bruno Sarda, president of CDP North America, shares exclusive insights from CDP’s latest data cycle, including key trends around the actions A-list companies are taking. From GreenBiz 20.

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Bruno Sarda on leadership and insights from CDP’s A list

China plans to phase out single-use plastics by 2025

January 21, 2020 by  
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As the world’s most populous country, with close to 1.5 billion denizens, China also produces the largest quantity of plastic . In fact, the University of Oxford-based publication Our World In Data (OWID) has documented China’s plastic production rate at 60 million tons per year. To mitigate the resulting plastic pollution , the Chinese government is set to enact a plastic ban, phasing out the production and use of several single-use plastic items by 2025, thanks to a detailed policy directive and timeline from the country’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Three avenues are currently available for plastic waste disposal: recycling , incinerating or discarding. Only an estimated 20% of global plastic waste is recycled, 25% incinerated and a whopping 55% is discarded, according to OWID. The more shocking statistic is that only 9% of 5.8 billion tons of plastic no longer in use has been recycled since 1950. Related: Ireland plans to ban single-use plastics Interestingly, of all the regions across the globe where mismanaged plastic is prevalent, East Asia and the Pacific alarmingly outrank all regions at 60%, followed distantly by South Asia at 11%, Sub-Saharan Africa at 8.9%, the Middle East and North Africa at 8.3%, Latin America and the Caribbean at 7.2%, Europe and Central Asia at 3.6% and North America at 0.9%. Discarded plastic accumulates in landfills, but some also enters the oceans, threatening marine life and ecosystems. OWID explained, “Mismanaged plastic waste eventually enters the ocean via inland waterways, wastewater outflows and transport by wind or tides.” Thus, China’s new initiative to curtail single-use plastic production might help substantially in solving the Pacific regions’, and by extension the planet’s, crisis with plastic waste. The plastic ban calls for several components, including a ban on China’s production and sale of plastic bags that are less than 0.025 mm thick; a ban on plastic bags in major cities before 20201, then all cities and towns by 2022 and all produce vendors by 2025; a ban on single-use straws in restaurants before 2021, and a reduction of single-use plastic items by 30% in restaurants by 2021; a phase-out of plastic packaging in China’s postal service; and a ban on single-use plastic items in hotels by 2025. Via BBC , EcoWatch and Our World In Data (OWID) Image via Lennard Kollossa

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JetBlue embarks on journey to offset all U.S. domestic flights

January 14, 2020 by  
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The move is becoming more common in Europe but is unprecedented among North American airlines.

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JetBlue embarks on journey to offset all U.S. domestic flights

BMW is the first carmaker to join responsible mining initiative

January 14, 2020 by  
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Carmakers are coming under increasing pressure to ensure the materials used for electric vehicle production are responsibly sourced.

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5 growing environmental nonprofits to support in 2020

January 8, 2020 by  
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With the new year already upon us, the need for efficient organizations battling the climate emergency is only growing. According to the Council of Nonprofits , 92% of public charities have an annual revenue of less than 1 million dollars. This year, consider donating to and volunteering with nonprofit organizations and charities that are transparent about how they use their funds and their time. Here are five fledgling nonprofits you may not have heard of yet, but that are already inspiring movements, pushing for legislation and combating climate change . The Foundation for Climate Restoration Probably best-known for its work with the United Nations Office for Partnerships and Earth Day Network, The Foundation for Climate Restoration (F4CR) is a nonprofit with a mission to restore the climate by 2050. The organization hopes to achieve its mission through initiatives that unite the public, policy-makers and businesses behind a common goal of reversing global warming. F4CR spotlights solutions that reduce carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere, restore ocean ecosystems and rebuild declining Arctic ice . According to the nonprofit, F4CR has already researched and supported solutions and technologies that, once at scale through funding and legislation, have the capacity to remove 1 trillion tons of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. To get involved, use this link to join the movement and receive updates about important working group moments, policy actions and meetings. Take the Climate Restoration Pledge and make a donation (one-time or monthly). Future Coalition Founded in June 2018, Future Coalition is the youth-led movement that mobilized 1 million people worldwide — led by the organization’s executive director, 20-year-old Katie Eder — to strike on September 20, 2019. The nonprofit is a national network and community organized for the younger generations who refuse to sit by while the future of the planet is in jeopardy. Future Coalition provides young people with the resources and support they need to make a difference in the battle against climate change. Related: Can’t make the climate strikes? Here are a few tips on how students can live sustainably On September 17, 2019, with support from the United Nations Office for Partnerships, F4CR, Earth Day Network and Future Coalition hosted the first Global Climate Restoration Forum at the UN Headquarters. “Young people understand that the climate crisis will require real leadership, as well as bold and innovative solutions,” Eder said. “We will not accept action that inadequately addresses the very real and existential crisis we’re facing. We need governments around the world to enact ambitious climate plans, and we need them to do it now.” Sign up for the Future Accelerator , which matches young people or youth-led organizations in need of pro bono campaign or support services with adult allies willing to contribute time and expertise to empower youth activists. Join the Future Coalition community Slack channel to share ideas and organize gatherings, or donate to the cause. Sunrise Movement Founded in April 2017, Sunrise Movement is focused on stopping climate change while creating jobs in the process. Coordinated by Sunrise, a political action nonprofit advocating political action on climate change, the youth-led movement is particularly focused on the Green New Deal. To show your support, you can host a 2020 launch party , search for a local hub in your neighborhood (if there isn’t one, start a chapter of your own) or donate . 5 Gyres 5 Gyres was founded by a couple who met on a sailing expedition to research pollution in the North Pacific Gyre. The organization’s goal is to empower action against the global epidemic of plastic pollution through science, education and action. 5 Gyres is a member of the Break Free From Plastic movement, and in 2017, it received special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Apply to become an ambassador to represent 5 Gyres at events and to promote and raise awareness of plastic pollution. Those interested can also donate or download the Trash Blitz app to track pollution in your area. Extinction Rebellion This global environmental movement founded in October 2018 is based in the U.K. but has recently expanded to the U.S. as well. Extinction Rebellion uses nonviolent civil disobedience to catalyze government action to avoid climate system collapse and loss of biodiversity . It has been organizing nonviolent protests against the government for inaction on the climate crisis since its founding, including the recent global climate hunger strikes in November 2019. Related: In a world first, the UK declares a climate emergency “We see that people are waking up and looking for ways to get involved and ways to create change,” said John Spies, a member of Extinction Rebellion NYC. “Extinction Rebellion provides that; people can join and take action. Extinction Rebellion’s mission, demands and means of creating change by using nonviolent direct action protesting is a proven way to create real change outside of the normal routes, such as voting.” Extinction Rebellion has groups all over the world, so check this map to find a local chapter near you. You can also donate legal fees to support members who’ve been arrested for peaceful protests or just general funds for training, actions and raising awareness. To get involved in the U.K., click here . To get involved in the U.S., click here . Images via Brian Yurasits , Foundation for Climate Restoration, Gabriel Civita Ramirez and Extinction Rebellion

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5 growing environmental nonprofits to support in 2020

5 growing environmental nonprofits to support in 2020

January 8, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

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With the new year already upon us, the need for efficient organizations battling the climate emergency is only growing. According to the Council of Nonprofits , 92% of public charities have an annual revenue of less than 1 million dollars. This year, consider donating to and volunteering with nonprofit organizations and charities that are transparent about how they use their funds and their time. Here are five fledgling nonprofits you may not have heard of yet, but that are already inspiring movements, pushing for legislation and combating climate change . The Foundation for Climate Restoration Probably best-known for its work with the United Nations Office for Partnerships and Earth Day Network, The Foundation for Climate Restoration (F4CR) is a nonprofit with a mission to restore the climate by 2050. The organization hopes to achieve its mission through initiatives that unite the public, policy-makers and businesses behind a common goal of reversing global warming. F4CR spotlights solutions that reduce carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere, restore ocean ecosystems and rebuild declining Arctic ice . According to the nonprofit, F4CR has already researched and supported solutions and technologies that, once at scale through funding and legislation, have the capacity to remove 1 trillion tons of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. To get involved, use this link to join the movement and receive updates about important working group moments, policy actions and meetings. Take the Climate Restoration Pledge and make a donation (one-time or monthly). Future Coalition Founded in June 2018, Future Coalition is the youth-led movement that mobilized 1 million people worldwide — led by the organization’s executive director, 20-year-old Katie Eder — to strike on September 20, 2019. The nonprofit is a national network and community organized for the younger generations who refuse to sit by while the future of the planet is in jeopardy. Future Coalition provides young people with the resources and support they need to make a difference in the battle against climate change. Related: Can’t make the climate strikes? Here are a few tips on how students can live sustainably On September 17, 2019, with support from the United Nations Office for Partnerships, F4CR, Earth Day Network and Future Coalition hosted the first Global Climate Restoration Forum at the UN Headquarters. “Young people understand that the climate crisis will require real leadership, as well as bold and innovative solutions,” Eder said. “We will not accept action that inadequately addresses the very real and existential crisis we’re facing. We need governments around the world to enact ambitious climate plans, and we need them to do it now.” Sign up for the Future Accelerator , which matches young people or youth-led organizations in need of pro bono campaign or support services with adult allies willing to contribute time and expertise to empower youth activists. Join the Future Coalition community Slack channel to share ideas and organize gatherings, or donate to the cause. Sunrise Movement Founded in April 2017, Sunrise Movement is focused on stopping climate change while creating jobs in the process. Coordinated by Sunrise, a political action nonprofit advocating political action on climate change, the youth-led movement is particularly focused on the Green New Deal. To show your support, you can host a 2020 launch party , search for a local hub in your neighborhood (if there isn’t one, start a chapter of your own) or donate . 5 Gyres 5 Gyres was founded by a couple who met on a sailing expedition to research pollution in the North Pacific Gyre. The organization’s goal is to empower action against the global epidemic of plastic pollution through science, education and action. 5 Gyres is a member of the Break Free From Plastic movement, and in 2017, it received special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Apply to become an ambassador to represent 5 Gyres at events and to promote and raise awareness of plastic pollution. Those interested can also donate or download the Trash Blitz app to track pollution in your area. Extinction Rebellion This global environmental movement founded in October 2018 is based in the U.K. but has recently expanded to the U.S. as well. Extinction Rebellion uses nonviolent civil disobedience to catalyze government action to avoid climate system collapse and loss of biodiversity . It has been organizing nonviolent protests against the government for inaction on the climate crisis since its founding, including the recent global climate hunger strikes in November 2019. Related: In a world first, the UK declares a climate emergency “We see that people are waking up and looking for ways to get involved and ways to create change,” said John Spies, a member of Extinction Rebellion NYC. “Extinction Rebellion provides that; people can join and take action. Extinction Rebellion’s mission, demands and means of creating change by using nonviolent direct action protesting is a proven way to create real change outside of the normal routes, such as voting.” Extinction Rebellion has groups all over the world, so check this map to find a local chapter near you. You can also donate legal fees to support members who’ve been arrested for peaceful protests or just general funds for training, actions and raising awareness. To get involved in the U.K., click here . To get involved in the U.S., click here . Images via Brian Yurasits , Foundation for Climate Restoration, Gabriel Civita Ramirez and Extinction Rebellion

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5 growing environmental nonprofits to support in 2020

Sustainably shop, eat and travel your way through Vancouver

December 30, 2019 by  
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Vancouver is Canada’s most temperate area, known for forests, sea, cosmopolitan entertainment, lots of rain and a high cost of living. The densely populated city in western Canada has more than 610,000 residents with a total of nearly 2.5 million in the metro area. Visitors can easily get around on bus, foot and bike share. Just be sure to pack an umbrella and a rain poncho! Here are the outdoor activities, vegan restaurants and eco-hotels to visit during your trip to Vancouver. Vancouver’s great outdoors Stanley Park is Vancouver’s most popular outdoor spot. Once the homeland for the native Squamish people, it has been a park since 1888. You can rent a bike and cruise around to see the gardens, totem poles and views of English Bay and Lions Gate Bridge. To learn more about Canada’s First Nations culture, contact Talaysay Tours and sign up for the Talking Trees tour to learn how the Squamish used local plants as food and medicine. Related: Vancouver Food Tour showcases the city’s vegan side The Capilano Suspension Bridge, built in 1889, is an engineering marvel — a 450-foot walking bridge over the Capilano River. Visitors also get high up in the canopy on a series of shorter, tree-to-tree bridges. For those who believe fitness never takes a vacation, there’s the Grouse Grind. Hikers climb 2,800 feet in 1.8 miles, then take the gondola back down Grouse Mountain. Both Capilano and Grouse Mountain are a short distance outside Vancouver, but free shuttle buses depart from Canada Place. Vancouver also offers splendid kayaking opportunities. Perhaps the best is at the Indian Arm fjord in the Deep Cove neighborhood. Rent a kayak from Deep Cove Kayak Centre or join a tour for additional company, security and/or information on history, geography and wildlife. You might see purple sea stars, moon jellyfish, 1,800-year-old petroglyphs, baby seals or even a cougar lounging on a rock. Looking to kick back and relax? Take a silent, zero-emissions cruise on a whale-friendly electric boat . Electric Harbour Tours offers public and private tours from Coal Harbour. Vancouver wellness Vancouver loves yoga . If you’re visiting in summer, check out the outdoor classes offered by the Mat Collective at Kitsilano Beach and pop-up locations. Do Peak Yoga atop Grouse Mountain on summer weekends, weather permitting. For a spa experience, visit Miraj Hammam , where you’ll open your pores in a steam room, then lie on a golden marble slab while an attendant exfoliates your body. Some of the most deluxe spas are at the big hotels, such as the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim and the giant, new spa at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver. Vegan restaurants in Vancouver The historic Naam restaurant has served vegan and vegetarian food 24 hours a day since 1968. Its versatile menu ranges from enchiladas to a crying tiger Thai stir fry to vegan chocolate carrot cake topped with hemp icing for dessert. For a modern take on vegan comfort food, MeeT has three locations serving burgers, fries and bowls around the city. The Acorn is Vancouver’s most upscale vegan restaurant, creating complex dishes that showcase seasonal vegetables . For dessert, Umaluma Dairy-Free Gelato serves inventive gelato flavors like blood orange jalapeño jelly and salted caramel seafoam. There’s even a dedicated plant-based pudding store, Vegan Pudding and Co. Getting around Vancouver If you’re already in the Northwest, consider taking the Amtrak or bus service to Vancouver, then getting around on foot and by public transportation . If you’re flying in, you might be able to take the SkyTrain to your hotel, depending where you’re staying. The SkyTrain light rail system serves downtown Vancouver and many suburbs. Walking is an ideal way to get around Vancouver . Check out the Walk Vancouver site for good sightseeing routes. Bright blue Mobi bikes are everywhere in Vancouver. If you want to try the local bike share , you’ll need to download an app and keep your eye on the time, so you don’t rack up overage charges. Rent a bike by the day at one of the shops near Stanley Park. TransLink is the public bus system that will take you around the Vancouver metro area. The SeaBus 385-passenger ferry crosses the Burrard Inlet, bringing you from downtown Vancouver to the North Shore. The West Coast Express commuter railway connects Vancouver to the scenic Fraser Valley. Eco-hotels in Vancouver Vancouver has many excellent hotels, but be prepared for sticker shock. Wellness-focused guests will appreciate the amenities at the Loden . The hotel’s garden terrace rooms on its second floor sanctuary include special tea, yoga props, a 30-minute infrared sauna treatment and access to an urban garden, reflection pond and waterfall. The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel partners with Hives for Humanity , a nonprofit that educates people about gardens and beehives . You can tour the hotel’s rooftop gardens and learn about the pollination corridor connecting the city’s green spaces. Even the Vancouver police department hosts four beehives. The Skwachàys Lodge is a First Nations-focused social enterprise hotel combining 18 uniquely decorated rooms, studio space for First Nations artists and a ground-floor art gallery. Visitors can book private sweat-lodge ceremonies. Travelers on a budget can stay in the tidy and colorful YWCA Hotel . Not only do you get a comfortable place to stay and access to excellent fitness facilities and exercise classes; some of your money goes toward services for women and children in need. Images by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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