Indeed Tower in Austin earns LEED Platinum for green features

September 10, 2021 by  
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A new office tower stands tall in Austin , and its sustainability features are breaking records. Indeed Tower, a recently completed AA office tower, earned 82 points toward a LEED v4 Core & Shell (CS) Platinum Certification. Awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, this certification makes Indeed Tower the second-largest LEED v4 CS project in the U.S. and the fifth-largest in the world, according to a press release. The building spans 730,000 square feet and rises to 36 stories tall. About 35,000 square feet of this project includes the adaptive reuse of the historic Claudia Taylor Johnson post office. Campbell Landscape Architecture and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects contributed to the project’s 17,000 square feet of urban green space. Developed by Trammell Crow Company and Principal Real Estate Investors and helmed by architecture firm Page, this massive project took four years to complete. Related: See how this Austin home enjoys green views without windows “Trammell Crow Company set out more than three years ago to develop an office tower that was designed for the future. Indeed Tower was designed to meet and exceed even the highest standards of sustainability and accommodate the needs of current and future office tenants that demand a modern and evolved workplace,” said Brad Maples, Principal of Trammell Crow Company’s Austin office. Indeed Tower’s sustainable features begin with incorporating open, green spaces. Open space covers 46% of the site with the help of terraces and the large urban plaza. These spaces include plenty of vegetation, 75% of which is native and 25% is drought-tolerant. Water concerns are addressed through on-site rainwater management, low flow plumbing fixtures and EnergyStar appliances. These features help the building save 1.5 million gallons of water annually. The reuse of the existing structure also helps the project reduce 20% of its embodied carbon . In addition to the tower’s LEED Platinum certification, the project also earned Austin Energy Green Building 4-Star certification. A Fitwel 1-Star certification is pending. + Indeed Tower Images courtesy of Albert Vecerka ESTO Photographics and Page

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Indeed Tower in Austin earns LEED Platinum for green features

Walk to work at this eco-friendly office tower in India

September 1, 2021 by  
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Commuting got you down? New Delhi-based architectural practice Design Forum International (DFI) takes traffic jams out of the morning routine with a plan for a “walk to work” office tower dubbed Amtron. Proposed for development in Bongora’s Tech City in Assam, India, the project blends pedestrian-friendly design with sustainability features. In an attempt to move away from what DFI describes as “the conventional closed work environment,” the design incorporates a landscaped plaza and co-working spaces to foster an open atmosphere. Meanwhile, drop-off and pick-up points at opposite ends of the building prevent traffic jams. This combination of easy movement and an open environment helps the tower achieve DFI’s pedestrian-friendly goal. Related: Live, work and shop at this green building in France Speaking on the inspiration behind this design, a statement from DFI explains, “In accordance with DFI’s ethos of people-first design , [Amtron] is an experience that promotes meaningful interactions and pauses that awes, inspires and stays in the memory of its users.” Sustainability features such as solar panels , rainwater harvesting and green terraces show that this project keeps the environment in mind. In addition to mutual shading and sun-tracking louvers that minimize heat gain and reduce the need for artificial air conditioning, solar-reflective glazing helps regulate temperature while still allowing in natural light. Solar panels on the roof help address the tower’s energy needs. To address water needs, harvested rainwater and recycled wastewater fuel a drip-irrigation system for the landscaping full of native, climate-adaptive vegetation. Green terraces on the facade round out Amtron’s sustainable features and help prevent the heat island effect. ??As for the project’s material palette, DFI wanted to balance the modern and traditional. A reinforced cement concrete (RCC) core supports the tower, while recycled wood panels used for roofing and ceilings help “infuse regional identity.” For the cladding, zinc and aluminum protect the structure from weathering. Amtron’s predicted completion time is 18-21 months after its mid-2021 targeted construction start date. + Design Forum International Images via Design Forum International

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Walk to work at this eco-friendly office tower in India

New LEED Platinum student housing supports net-zero goals

August 27, 2021 by  
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California State University Long Beach (CSULB) is setting the bar for campus buildings that serve the health of students and staff as well as the environment. The most recent student housing, completed by McCarthy Building Company in collaboration with architectural firm Gensler, earned LEED certification and contributes to the university’s goal to have the entire campus reach net-zero status by 2030. Students will move into Parkside North Housing, CSULB’s first new dormitory in 34 years, for the 2021-2022 school year. The four-story, 472-bed dormitory is only the third project in California to receive this level of sustainability (Living Building Challenge certified) and 23rd in the world. We can expect to see more in the future with the goals set by the California State University, which requires all new buildings and renovations to be at least LEED Silver certified. Related: ZHA unveils solar-powered student residences for HKUST McCarthy’s, named a top-20 green builder in the country, is well-versed in developments centered around  green design . The CSULB project incorporates the newest technologies to optimize energy efficiency, earning the building LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certifications.  The sustainable systems in the building have led to the CSU system’s first net-zero energy residential building. This means the building produces as much energy as it uses, achieved through  solar panels  on the roof. In addition, it reclaims rainwater for reuse. For materials selection, each item was vetted using the Red List, which identifies chemicals of concern. All materials were sourced within 500 miles of campus, in an area of the country with stringent building and manufacturing regulations.  The team also made changes to the Housing Administration Office, another building on campus . With the completion of these projects, CSULB has achieved a total of eight LEED certifications.   “We’re honored to provide the students at CSULB with a state-of-the-art residential facility, delivering a renewed sense of comfort on campus. As they embark on the upcoming school year, they should feel proud their campus is home to the third most sustainable building in the state of California and 23rd in the world!” said Nate Ray, McCarthy Southern California project director. “The Parkside North Housing residence hall will be a north star for campuses across the nation, and specifically within the Cal State System.” + McCarthy Builders Images via McCarthy Builders

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New LEED Platinum student housing supports net-zero goals

Unprecedented rainfall hits snowy summit in Greenland

August 23, 2021 by  
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On Greenland’s highest summit, snow is the norm. But on the weekend of August 14-15, it rained. A lot. Seven billion tons of water hit the ice sheet for the heaviest  rainfall  since researchers started keeping records in 1950. This means that Greenland is  heating  way, way too fast, according to senior research scientist Ted Scambos of the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center “What is going on is not simply a warm decade or two in a wandering climate pattern,” Scambos told CNN. “This is unprecedented.” Related: Greenland’s ice melt enough to cover Florida in water Over the weekend, temperatures at the  Greenland  summit climbed above freezing for the third time in the last 10 years. This resulted in an ice mass loss seven times higher than the daily mid-August average. “Increasing  weather  events including melting, high winds, and now rain, over the last 10 years have occurred outside the range of what is considered normal,” said Jennifer Mercer, program officer for the Office of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation, as reported by CNN. “And these seem to be occurring more and more.” And July wasn’t any better. Last month, in a single day, the Greenland  ice sheet  lost more than 8.5 billion tons of surface mass. That’s the third instance in the past decade deemed “extreme melting” by scientists. The culprit? You guessed it. Climate change. According to a recently published study in the journal  The Cryosphere , since the mid-1990s, our planet has lost 28 trillion tons of ice. Much of that came from the Greenland ice sheet and other parts of the  Arctic . The recent deluge will alter the properties of Greenland’s snow. The ice crust it will leave behind will eventually be buried in  snow , but will form a barrier preventing water from melting downward. Instead, there will be runoff at higher elevations. “We are crossing thresholds not seen in millennia, and frankly this is not going to change until we adjust what we’re doing to the  air ,” Scambos told CNN. Via CNN Lead image via Pixabay

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Unprecedented rainfall hits snowy summit in Greenland

How to Build the Carbon Removal Market We Need

August 9, 2021 by  
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How collaboration between companies, non-profits and policymakers can create an affordable and equitable supply of carbon removal credits. Speakers: Elizabeth Willmott | Carbon Program Manager | Microsoft Julio Friedmann | Senior Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy | Columbia University Shuchi Talati | Chief of Staff, Office of Fossil Energy | Department of Energy Tito Jankowski | Co-founder | Impossible Labs This session was held at GreenBiz Group’s VERGE Net Zero, July 27-28, 2021. Learn more about the event here: https://events.greenbiz.com/events/verge-net-zero/online/2021

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How to Build the Carbon Removal Market We Need

Can Oil, Gas and Other Carbon-Intensive Sectors Reach Net Zero?

August 9, 2021 by  
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What’s the path for oil, steel, cement and heavy transport? What role should offsets, asset sales and other mechanisms play in that process? Speakers: Ben Kowing | VP, Chief Technical Officer | SSAB Americas Eli Mitchell-Larson | Net-Zero Evangelist & Climate Researcher | University of Oxford Lamberto Eldering | Business Developer, Low Carbon Solutions | Equinor Rohini Sengupta | Senior Manager, Environmental Sustainability | United Airlines This session was held at GreenBiz Group’s VERGE Net Zero, July 27-28, 2021. Learn more about the event here: https://events.greenbiz.com/events/verge-net-zero/online/2021

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Can Oil, Gas and Other Carbon-Intensive Sectors Reach Net Zero?

French offices receive a green update with Benetti MOSS walls

July 28, 2021 by  
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Sometimes, the best ideas are inspired in the most unlikely of ways. That was certainly the case for the new green walls in Mustela’s offices. A water-cooler chat at the French offices of Mustela, a company specializing in products for babies, sparked an idea that fanned into a new and versatile office design that reflects nature in its composition. At the initial meeting, interior designer Luca Medici; CEO of Benetti Home Stivens Benetti; Rosanna Re of the Sales Division of Benetti Home; and Michela Muntean, business development strategist for Benetti Home, began discussing beauty, which quickly led to the topic of greenery as a symbol for wellness and serenity. Related: Customizable, natural lichen green walls require no maintenance The interior design of the Mustela office reflects the company’s long-standing focus on sustainability, so the concept naturally leant itself to vertical green walls, achieved with Benetti MOSS, a stabilized, natural and maintenance-free lichen. With experimentation, the team decided to use the MOSS wall for the kitchenette and break area. Then, MOSS was incorporated in the entrance through a striking surround for the company logo. Medici said, “It’s easy to use and to remove, place and shape for different intended uses.” In addition to aesthetic appeal, which will be a model for other Mustela offices worldwide, the product nurtures other senses besides sight. The feel is described as “pleasant,” and it releases a notable moss scent. “There is even the sound involved. In 2021, in fact, among its latest projects, Benetti Home has launched BenettiSOUND, a vertical garden in 100% natural, stabilized lichen with a high-tech sound system that allows the wall to sound, providing a total multi-sensorial experience,” Benetti Home explained. Muntean said that the employees have found the greenery to be “very inspiring and interesting,” and explained that there are endless applications for the product. “Talking about the concept of experiencing the product, it could be interesting to include more small user-friendly, green design elements or do-it-yourself objects to help people to experience greenery with simplicity and engagement,” Muntean continued. “Especially in your home, which becomes the center of our daily life, greenery can help to create a corner of wellbeing, a place where you can feel good. Even aseptic and sterile environments, such as hospitals and pharmacies, which greenery can make cozy and comfortable for patients and clients.” + Benetti Home Images via Benetti Home

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French offices receive a green update with Benetti MOSS walls

ACPV designs Building D, an office focused on employee health

July 14, 2021 by  
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A previously industrial area in the southern part of Milan has a long-term plan for renewed development. Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel (ACPV) is putting the finishing touches on a building in the area that not only honors sustainable practices but aims to create a uniquely healthy environment for employees, too. Dubbed Building D, the office building is the second to be completed in the Symbiosis business district in Milan , Italy. Investment real estate firm Covivio is the client behind the project and works under the mission to “Build sustainable relationships and wellbeing.” With this in mind, the design team at ACPV has redefined what the company’s workspaces look like. Related: A LEED Gold-targeted office will enhance worker wellbeing Encompassing 20,000 square meters, Building D features a four-story section with a roof garden and cantilevered design along with a nine-story volume that includes a rooftop outdoor space for employees to stroll or exercise. Inside, the building features flexible workspaces to accommodate the changing and varied needs of employees, including areas to collaborate and easily connect with remote workers. It also includes a kitchenette, gym and resting spaces that emphasize healthy lifestyles for employees. “As business increasingly moves online and a growing number of people choose to work remotely, the culture of work is changing fast and in various ways,” said architect Patricia Viel. “Building D addresses this shift by transforming the traditional office into an attractive and welcoming meeting place where people want to work precisely because they can find spaces and services they may need throughout the day.” Building D is being built to WELL core (Bronze minimum) certification and LEED core and shell Platinum certifications. This means it not only caters to high energy-efficiency standards but also places attention on air and water quality, water management, ergonomic design and even cleaning products used in the space. The project is part of a larger urban development plan with several structural elements that mirror the completed Fastweb Headquarters next door. Public pathways invite visitors into and between the buildings, both designed by ACPV. + ACPV Images via ACPV 

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Complaint alleges continued ‘war on science’ at the EPA

July 9, 2021 by  
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Several scientists working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have raised concerns over disregard for scientific data by the organization. Through Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), four EPA scientists have  filed a formal complaint  with the organization’s Office of the Inspector General requesting an investigation. The complaint states that high-level employees at the EPA regularly alter vital information or delete it entirely to give a sanitized impression of toxicity and pollution. The group has also written to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Environment asking lawmakers to investigate the trend. According to PEER, high-level EPA officials modify the language in reports to downplay the adverse effects of chemicals . Some of the words often omitted from reports include toxicity, neurotoxicity, mutagenic and carcinogenic, among others. Further, the complaint alleges that report conclusions are often altered to give a contrary impression to the scientific findings. Related: EPA finalizes rule to make efforts against climate change more difficult During former President Trump’s era, the EPA was also accused of altering scientific findings and exposing citizens to highly toxic substances. Some expected that this issue would improve with President Biden taking over. However, persistent problems are prompting whistleblowers to come out. “These alterations of risk assessments are not just artifacts of the Trump administration; they are continuing on a weekly basis,” said Kyla Bennett, science policy director at PEER and former EPA employee. The Toxic Substances Control Act mandates that the EPA evaluate the risk of existing chemicals and those to be imported. Failure by the agency to follow protocol and prevent the importation or distribution of toxic substances puts millions of Americans at risk. “The resulting Material Safety Data Sheets lack information vital to prevent harmful exposures, such as proper handling procedures, personal protection needed, accidental release measures, first aid, and firefighting measures,” said PEER. The four employees also say that managers at the agency have, in some instances, altered the levels of substances considered safe for consumption in reports. According to  The Hill , managers at the agency increased the recommended level of consumption for a certain chemical by 10,000 times. “All of these altered assessments need to be pulled back and corrected in order to protect both workers handling chemicals and the American public,” said Bennett. “EPA’s lack of accountability for scientific misconduct poses a direct danger to public health . Inside EPA, scientific integrity has become an oxymoron and a cure will require a complete overhaul.” Via Common Dreams Lead image via Pexels

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Complaint alleges continued ‘war on science’ at the EPA

California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection

July 5, 2021 by  
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The world is indeed lucky when our most brilliant minds choose to work for the common good, rather than chasing money or becoming master criminals. So Inhabitat wants to thank young Ryan Honary for his work on an early detection system for wildfires . Sickened by the losses people sustained in the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s deadliest wildfire, Honary turned his attention to how to mitigate future disasters. In 2019, Honary won the $10,000 grand prize in the Ignite Innovation Student Challenge for his Early Wildfire Detection Network submission, which provides app technology to firefighters. He was only in fifth grade at the time. Related: Rocky Mountains experience more severe and frequent wildfires Turning 14 years old and going into the eighth grade in the fall, Honary is busy working on SensoRy AI , the company he founded. With the help of his father, Hooman Honary, and a team of experts, the startup has already received a lot of attention. The Office of Naval Research awarded SensoRy AI a grant of nearly $1.6 million earlier this year. Honary talked to Inhabitat about how he managed to achieve more than most people do in their lives before even getting to middle school as well as his vision for using AI and other technology for helping people in the future. Inhabitat: Tell us a bit about your early interest and training in science and artificial intelligence. Honary: I was always interested in the applications of technology. Because of my dad’s background, I was exposed early on to programming, and I started creating my websites when I was in third grade. I learned Python and Javascript in a local after- school program called Ardent Academy. In parallel, I became very passionate about animals and the environment . I also became concerned as I saw how much the environment is under pressure because of a variety of issues. My science teachers at school encouraged me and provided many resources for me to study environmental issues. These issues became very personal when massive wildfires started hitting California on a pretty regular basis, ruining the air quality, destroying homes and unfortunately killing some people. I started thinking about how the power of technology can be used to solve many environmental problems such as wildfires. I had been reading about the predictive powers of AI . I reached out to and started learning about artificial intelligence from a family friend who was a PhD student at UCLA working on Machine Learning. Inhabitat: How did you research wildfires? Honary: I was shocked when I first heard about the Camp Fire of 2018 on the TV. From then, I started reading about wildfires all over the internet. Both from places such as National Geographic as well as CAL FIRE. I started researching why it is so hard to manage and extinguish these massive wildfires. More specifically, in order to capture data to train the Machine Learning models on my fire detectors, I captured real-world data from Google Earth about the Camp Fire of 2018 in Northern California. There is a tremendous amount of useful data available for free on Google Earth. It’s an awesome resource. Inhabitat: Could you give a basic explanation of how your system works? Honary: My system consists of a network of detectors: mini meteorological stations and fire detectors. My network consists of mesh networking, which means that all the nodes can communicate with each other. As a result, once a fire is detected by a fire detector, the information can be communicated from node-to-node until it reaches a mini meteorological station where it will then be sent to the app I created using Javascript. In order for the system to operate, the detectors must be 100-150 feet apart, so it would depend on the size of the area being monitored to know how many sensors would be needed. The sensors would be placed in rugged and fragile places. The sensors on the detector can track the fires and communicate that information in real-time to the mini meteorological station and then to the app. Also, machine learning can be used to predict where the fires are going to go. Inhabitat: What was it like to win the Ignite Innovation Student Challenge? Honary: When I first found out I won, I was shocked! I never thought that I could’ve won a national-level science competition, especially since I was a fifth-grader and it was a middle school competition! That win inspired me to continue working on my project and helped bring me where I am today. Inhabitat: What is your role in SensoRy AI now? Honary: I am leading the environmental part of my company. I am hoping to turn our platform into a real working product solving real-world environmental problems. As part of that, I have contacts with scientists from Forest Service and the EPA which provide me data and guidance, enabling me to conduct research. Inhabitat: What’s it like to be a kid working closely with the Office of Naval Research and other much older colleagues? Honary: I feel honored that a distinguished research group, such as the Office of Naval Research, has decided to offer our project a research grant. It is sometimes a little scary to work with older people, but I enjoy learning from their experience. I am hoping to attract more people from my generation to join our company. At the end of the day, the environment is going to be a big responsibility for my generation. Inhabitat: Tell us a little bit about your hope for future applications of the early detection technology. Honary: The early detection technology can be used in future applications such as methane gas leaks in refineries and oil plants and water contamination caused by mining or other human-based activities. In any scenario where an environmental disaster can start from a high-risk location, our early detection and growth prediction platform can be utilized to help preserve the environment. Inhabitat: What else should readers know about you and SensoRy AI? Honary: We are a group of technologists who are very passionate about leveraging technology and AI to solve environmental problems. We have access to sophisticated AI experts as well as research funding. We would love to help anyone who has an environmental problem and is looking for technology-based solutions. + SensoRy AI Images via SensoRy AI and NASA

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California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection

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