Can a controversial desalination plant ease California’s drought?

May 12, 2022 by  
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Spurred on by the western megadrought , the California Coastal Commission is expected to vote this week on a controversial $1.4 billion desalination plant near Huntington State Beach. Proponents say it could help the drinking water shortage. Skeptics claim marine life will pay the price. Poseidon Water paints a rosy picture. “The proposed seawater desalination facility will provide 50 million gallons of water per day (50 MGD) to Orange County residents while using existing infrastructure to reduce construction costs – a major factor in making water affordable. The 100% carbon-neutral facility will ensure there is sufficient high-quality water to meet demands and protect Southern California against the public health, security and economic consequences of water shortages,” reads its website. Related: Commercial fishing waste causes growing concern Most people in Orange County currently depend on local groundwater, and water from the Sacramento Delta and the Colorado River. On the surface, it might seem like a no-brainer to tap into the gazillion gallons of salty water just offshore. However, for every 106m gallons of seawater the desalination plant sucks in each day, it will produce 50m gallons of potable water. The rest will be a salty concentrate that will be returned to the ocean. And even though that 106m gallons will enter the plant through a screen with 1 millimeter mesh, plankton and fish larvae will perish and perhaps throw off the marine ecosystem . The plant would sit in Superfund central, a partially remediated site in an industrial area boasting a wastewater treatment farm and a former oil tank farm and dump. Nearby disadvantaged communities say they’re already inhaling enough contaminants, thank you very much. If Poseidon Water prevails, the company could start building as soon as next spring, and have the plant operating three years later. It would be the 13th desalinization plant in California , and one of the biggest in the US. When asked for comment, Poseidon, god of the sea , brandished his trident in the direction of Huntington Beach and thundered something about unauthorized use of his name. Via The Guardian , KTLA Lead image via Pexels

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Can a controversial desalination plant ease California’s drought?

This is the first passive house dormitory in Canada

May 12, 2022 by  
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UBCO Skeena Residence complex has 220 bedrooms , a beautiful Commons area and sustainability features throughout. Its integrated design process is energy efficiency and fits practical living needs. It was designed by Architecture + Communication Inc., landscape architect WSP and consultants in specialized fields. Notably, it is the first passive house dormitory in all of Canada. It’s only the second in North America. Related: Amsterdam apartments are tic-tac-toed in wildlife habitat The Skeena Residence is part of UBCO’s Living Laboratory initiative. The Skeena Residence has a monitoring system that gathers information about energy use and occupant comfort. All 220 students will complete a survey at the end of the year to provide even more data about low energy living. Moreover, student housing requires a lot of electricity. Students use hair dryers, computers, refrigerators and all sorts of small appliances. The desert environment of the region creates a lot of humidity . That’s why the building’s construction focused on airtightness, insulation and moisture control. The air circulation is renewed every three hours through mechanical systems to prevent mold. On the other hand, triple-glazed windows prevent energy loss. There’s also an eight-inch thick blanket of mineral wool insulation around the building. The roof is also super-insulated to minimize heat loss. Floor finishes and low-VOC paint were used throughout the building. Meanwhile, low-flow plumbing fixtures help conserve water on the site. The landscaping is full of native and adapted plants to reduce the irrigation needs on the property. Rainwater management provides water for the landscaping areas. What’s cool is that the building does not need fossil fuels for heating, cooling or hot water. The building isn’t even connected to the campus district heating system. It has its own stand-alone electric system and heat pumps that provide heating and cooling. Furthermore, the mechanical systems are located within the thermal envelope . Everything is also highly insulated to minimize thermal bridging and damage caused by condensation. Lastly, the building is 80% constructed with wood framing, with some concrete used on the ground floor. + PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication Photography by Andrew Latreille

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This is the first passive house dormitory in Canada

New seawall designs could help marine life thrive

April 19, 2022 by  
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Researchers at the University of Miami (UM) are working on technology to make seawalls more durable, resilient and ecologically beneficial. The new seawall designs emphasize habitat development for corals and mangroves. The researchers have already tested several materials and designs that they are now bringing to the sea in Miami. In contrast to traditional designs, the new seawall cap is not interlaced with steel. Glass fiber bars will replace the steel as a stronger, lighter and less corrosive choice. Steel’s tendency to rust will no longer be an issue in the new design. Related: Art installation raises concerns on the rising sea level “Reinforcement with fiber polymers would completely take that problem away,” said UM associate professor Esber Andiroglu, one of the innovators in seawall design . A switch from steel to glass fiber is just the beginning. Concrete, which has always been a primary material in most seawalls, significantly contributes to carbon emissions . Researchers say it is time to move away from the traditional concrete seawalls for more eco-friendly options. “ Concrete is pretty much the most used material in the world,” said Prannoy Suraneni, an assistant professor at UM. While some solutions could make concrete more durable, Suraneni explained that tackling resilience and environmental issues is more challenging. Researchers have found that switching from traditional smooth walls to rugged ones could help improve the ecological benefits of the structures. Apparently, research shows that marine life prefers textured surfaces to smooth ones. Different concrete chemical compositions could also encourage marine life. According to researchers, the pilot projects will also feature an antishock system to protect marine life. All sea walls being built will have a high pile of rocks at the bottom to protect creatures from waves that hit the walls. “Think of it as an airbag. It dissipates the energy by allowing the water inside,” said Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos, an assistant professor at UM’s college of engineering. Via Tampa Bay Times Lead image via Pexels

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Health and wellness come first at this apartment complex

April 19, 2022 by  
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A building represents architectural elements, tradition, culture, nature, function or any number of other things. But in an era of sustainable focus, the industry is beginning to focus on land management, better use of resources, energy-efficiency , green spaces and more. Since housing shortages abound in most areas, new construction gives builders the opportunity to highlight health and wellness for residents, but also the planet. This balance was the goal of Oppenheim Architecture in the design of a new apartment tower in South Florida, dubbed Metropica. The location is the site of a former mall parking lot. The combination of using an established development and choosing to build high instead of wide resulted in a minimal-site-impact during construction.  Related: 3D printing is behind plans for futuristic Sunflower Village Furthermore, embracing nature inside and around the building was a primary goal for the Oppenheim Architecture team. Green spaces within reach of the apartments invite residents to embrace the outdoors through plants .  “The concept of the façade was set forth for gardens to be grown by the individual residences ,” explained Founder and Principal Chad Oppenheim. “The outdoor spaces are an opportunity for people to grow their own food , flowers and connect to nature.” Health and wellness was another primary focus for the team. In addition to landscaped terraces and a pool , the building is equipped with wellness-related amenities like a state-of-the-art fitness center. There is also classic luxury amenities such as a club room with a lounge, screening room and 24 hours concierge service.  A press release for the project stated: “Residences in the lushly landscaped ONE Metropica Residences are marked by stunning features, including floor-to-ceiling impact glass windows, imported porcelain tile throughout, smart home technologies, designer plumbing fixtures by Hansgrohe and a choice between two elegant finish palettes: nature and minimal .”  Therefore, Metropica is transforming a traditionally suburban area into a pedestrian-friendly development. There is a direct connection to open spaces and the surrounding Everglades ecosystem .  In collaboration with the globally-acclaimed YOO Design Group for interior design and the creative team of Metropica Development, LLC, ONE Metropica Residences are actually phase one of a 65-acre master planned community in Sunrise, Florida. The high-rise stands 28 stories high and provides 263 residences. Apartments range in size from 961 to 2,022 square feet. They are available for purchase now and at least 75% of the units are sold.  When completed, Metropica will encompass approximately four million square feet. There will be many amenities, including restaurants , retail shopping and entertainment for residents and visitors to enjoy.  “We are extremely proud to be delivering our first residential building to the market,” said Bernard Werner, president of Metropica Development, LLC. “Our buyers have embraced our vision for this extraordinary community and its three key pillars: nature, wellness and happiness.”  + Oppenheim Architecture  Images via Oppenheim Architecture and Robin Hill

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Health and wellness come first at this apartment complex

A zero-carbon home in Portugal has a stunning pool

April 5, 2022 by  
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Kerimov Architects created a zero-carbon dream home on a hill in Portugal . The home is called Casa de Cabo and it is a 1,250 square-meters house. The house boasts broad, horizontal lines. Wide overhangs shade beautiful and private interiors, extending toward the horizon. Casa de Cabo was built with peaceful privacy in mind. Thereby, all the views are to the back of the house . The house fits into the surrounding environment and rooms are fit into an underground floor. The basement floor has an atrium structure where rooms are interspersed with internal basement gardens. Related: First ceramic geodesic dome in the world is affordable On the main floor, the living areas are attached via a bridge . It looks out a spacious backyard pool shaded by generous pergolas and overhangs. Additionally, the living room and office looks out to the ocean horizon. Also, priority was given to the views the residents have of the landscape . The subtle footprint is mimicked in the eco-friendly materials used to build the house. Locally-produced concrete, glass and wood helped achieve zero-carbon emissions. The concrete walls extend beyond the line of the façade. It continues to the roof’s emphasis on horizontal lines. As a result, it provides a grounded feel to the space. The walls continue into the interior and provide a connection between the interior and exterior of the home . Lastly, the glazed rear was harder to achieve than it may appear. Local regulations limit glass to no more than 50% of the façade. The architects say that despite the limitation, they managed to achieve “maximum lightness and semi-permeability of the architecture and set panoramic viewpoints.” The light appearance of the thin roof, made of local timber, also met the architects’ principles of stability and sustainability . + Kerimov Architects Images via Kerimov Architects

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A zero-carbon home in Portugal has a stunning pool

SeaWeed Naturals harnesses the magic of seaweed and CBD

April 1, 2022 by  
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Only one botanical brand pairs the ocean expertise of the Cousteaus with sustainable practices. SeaWeed Naturals products combine the bounty of the sea with the abundance of the land for botanicals that reduce signs of aging, relieve arthritis pains and more. Together with Ashlan and Philippe Cousteau, SeaWeed Naturals has created a line of products containing cannabis oil, seaweed , algae and kelp. The company describes itself as “the first   premium wellness impact brand to fuse the benefits of marine botanicals with the healing properties of cannabis.” Related: Surprising ways seaweed benefits the environment Seaweed is a naturally rich source of vitamin C, amino acids, antioxidants and collagen. That’s why it’s known as a superfood. Some studies even suggest that seaweed can improve skin, bone, joint and brain health . Further, this powerful material can also help restore oceans. SeaWeed Naturals focuses on restoratively farmed seaweed, algae and kelp. Seaweed restores oceans by absorbing CO2 and promoting a healthy marine ecosystem. It also protects shorelines, elevates pH and provides oxygen, which helps reduce the effects of ocean acidification and de-oxygenation. By working with responsible seaweed farms in Maine, SeaWeed Naturals supports the creation of healthy habitats for ocean life and sustainable incomes for fishers. “There has never been more urgency for companies to establish themselves as tools for positive change. We founded SeaWeed Naturals with the promise that every intention, every decision from packaging to ingredient sourcing to the charities we support would contribute to leaving this planet better than we found it. As an impact brand, we hope to set a new standard across the industry and lead a new category of wellness companies grounded in radical transparency and regenerative climate change efforts,” said SeaWeed Naturals cofounder Ashlan Cousteau. A featured product from SeaWeed Naturals is the Comfort Body Oil, a CBD oil formula designed to relieve pain. The formula also contains coconut, seaweed, Omega-3 and antioxidants. Not into oils? Try one of the brand’s two Body Comfort Balm formulations. Choose the 1:3 formula for more CBD, or the 3:1 formula for more THC. Both balms contain shea butter and seaweed with hints of lavender and lemon. It’s designed to soothe sore muscles, bruises, itchiness, skin inflammation and other ailments. The product line also includes oils, balms, edible gummies, tinctures and more. Each item features sustainably sourced ingredients that give back to Earth’s oceans . + SeaWeed Naturals Images via SeaWeed Naturals

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SeaWeed Naturals harnesses the magic of seaweed and CBD

Fresco Motors unveils futuristic energy-positive campus

March 29, 2022 by  
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Norwegian electric vehicle maker Fresco Motors announced plans for their energy-positive corporate campus. Fresco Campus will be powered by solar and wind. It hopes to become one of the world’s most energy-positive facilities. However, Fresco Motors is still considering locations for their new facility. The company will locate the campus in any country that meets the following criteria: A country located by the ocean , train tracks and airports for easy global shipping. An already existing workforce that can build and maintain the facility. Available resources to build the facility out of. Related: Fresco XL rivals Tesla as an all-purpose electric vehicle Additionally, Jakob Kirsebom Lanto, CFO and member of the board of Fresco, believes many companies promote sustainability. Despite that, many companies then outsource work to unethical companies. For Lanto, it’s about being the change for the planet , but also for workers. “…I might be projecting my own values here, but I firmly believe that most people would much more enjoy creating exciting products in a healthy work-life environment , rather than doing so for a soulless corporation while being in a concrete jungle,” he said. Furthermore, Espen Kvalvik, CEO and chairman of the board of Fresco, agrees that it’s a rare thing that a company really stands for something more than making money . The campus is a chance to create something more out of a company facility. “It includes everything that can be found in a healthy city, which is everything from office spaces, subterranean production facilities, malls , apartment buildings, lovely parks, et cetera,” Kvalvik said. “It’s time to revolutionize the work-life experience.” Moreover, it is a frank departure from most companies’ priorities — putting shareholder profits above any benefit to employees or the planet. There are a number of recent manufacturing headquarter projects that follow similar values. Some these include: sustainably built and run, human-centered design and with an eye for wellness . “It’s time to rethink the way we both work and live,” said Adrian Kristofer Locklindh, COO and member of the board of Fresco. Through the Fresco Campus, they aim to achieve a balance between work and a healthy lifestyle . Ultimately, the goal is to employ thousands of people while operating the facilities in a sustainable manner. + Fresco Motors Images via Fresco Motors

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Fresco Motors unveils futuristic energy-positive campus

Ocean management is not yet sustainable — these 4 key tactics could change that

March 23, 2022 by  
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15 world leaders are developing and implementing Sustainable Ocean Plans. Here’s what they need to focus on.

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Ocean management is not yet sustainable — these 4 key tactics could change that

These detergents are eco-friendly, cruelty and waste free

March 17, 2022 by  
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SaltyLama laundry strips just launched in the U.S., creating an eco-friendly way to do your laundry. Their detergents are gentle on clothes, cruelty-free and reduce waste with fully compostable packaging. We’re hearing more and more about how plastic waste is an epidemic on our planet. Millions of tons of plastics end up in the ocean every year, and the problem is getting worse. Every year in the U.S., up to 68% of laundry detergent jugs are not recycled after use and 700 million laundry detergent jugs are thrown away. Related: Laundry detergent sheets from Frey are 100% plastic free By removing the plastic detergent bottle, SaltyLama, a startup out of Luxembourg, created an eco-friendly laundry alternative that also saves space. Laundry strips are water soluble sheets that look just like dryer sheets used for clothes softening. In this case, these laundry strips are also vegan friendly. Additionally, the lighter weight and smaller size of the packaging reduces transport loads and carbon emissions during delivery. Furthermore, SaltyLama laundry strips come in three scents: fresh scent, baby blossom and fragrance-free. One package lasts up to 34 loads of laundry. We love the fragrance-free option. Many people who are eco-conscious consumers are also careful about the chemicals they use in their home and on their skin. Why is it possible to save this much space and waste ? Laundry detergent is mostly water weight. If you take the plastic and the water waste out of the equation, all you’re left with is gentle detergent and a compostable box. You can buy a box at Amazon . + SaltyLama Images via SaltyLama When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commissions at no cost to you.

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These detergents are eco-friendly, cruelty and waste free

California ocean spill indicates a worrying pollution trend

March 2, 2022 by  
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On Feb. 21, officials closed beaches along the Southern California coast after untreated sewage leaked into the waters. The spill endangers both the local environment and community. This California ocean spill is the region’s second major incident of the year, hinting at a troubling trend. Beaches closed after the spill leaked an estimated 50,000 gallons of raw sewage into the water. Officials said that beaches will remain closed to the public until tests show that bacterial levels are within the required levels.  Related: LA County beaches close after massive sewage spill The spill has affected both recreational and economic activities, pushing fishers, surfers, swimmers and more out of the area. Further, fish and wildlife in the region will likely suffer heavily due to the contamination. The spill’s full impact on the area’s biodiversity is not yet known. Officials said the spill started after a blocked sewer line began leaking at a restaurant in Newport Bay, California. As a result, gallons of untreated sewage poured into the water . Sewage spills in Southern California have become increasingly common. In the last year, the region has witnessed several significant sewage and oil spills. Besides the latest incident, additional spills include the  Dominguez Channel  and  El Segundo Beach  sewage leaks and an oil spill along  Huntington Beach . Estimates claim that the Carson city spill poured over 8 million gallons of raw sewage into the water. The flow continued for several days before it was contained. Many hoped that this major spill would be an eye-opener for the state’s sewer managers. The latest spill seems to dash these hopes. All three spills significantly affected the ecosystem and human life. The Dominguez Channel spill canceled plans for the area’s annual Polar Bear Swim. Meanwhile, the Huntington Beach spill destroyed local wildlife habitats. Unless officials work to prevent such spills, further incidents and ecosystem damage will likely continue. Via HuffPost Lead image via Pixabay

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California ocean spill indicates a worrying pollution trend

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