Montreal building melds design with sustainable technology

April 22, 2022 by  
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The Ilot Balmoral is a 13-story mixed-use office building commissioned by the Societe d’Habitation de Montreal (SHDM). It lights up the Quartier des Spectacles in Downtown Montreal’s creative district as one of the final major developments in the area. “We proposed four visions of what an office building specifically designed for a cultural economy could look like, and Ilot Balmoral was selected to echo the very vibrant, dynamic nature of the district,” said Architect Claude Provencher, founding partner at Provencher Roy. “The Quartier des Spectacles is a cultural center of activity that is now almost complete in its revitalization and transformation of the urban fabric surrounding Place des Arts.” Related: LEED Gold HEC Montreal will house AI research Furthermore, Provencher Roy is an award-winning Canadian architecture firm. They focus on all forms of the built environment , integrating interior and exterior design with sustainable technology . From the outside, Ilot Balmoral is an almost perfect cube. It is wrapped in glass covered in a white frit pattern that controls thermal heat gain. The façade of the building doubles as a screen that can have images projected onto it. Additionally, the glass allows natural daylight into the structure. These components helped the building meet LEED Gold sustainability standards. Inside, the large red atrium curves diagonally through the center of the cube, creating an interior alleyway. This was to serve the site’s previous pedestrian flow, which moves between the Place des Arts metro station and Place des Festivals. The diagonal cut through the center of the building is marked on the outside by a red external fold visible against the smooth glass exterior. As a result, Ilot Balmoral looks to be a neighborhood unto itself, with interior passageways and a cohesive design that is simple and lovely at the same time. Moreover, the National Film Board of Canada agreed to be the building’s core tenant in order to modernize their facilities. Provencher Roy redesigned four floors of Ilot Balmoral to meet the technical requirements of the new tenant, including editing rooms and the latest in film equipment. Meanwhile, the main stairway lights the way to the Film Board’s offices. Also, pedestrian bridges connect the building’s interior offices with stunning views of the surrounding city. One side of the interior space is taller than the other, which features a green rooftop space for outdoor events. The building is a candidate for Gold LEED-NC Certification. + Provencher Roy Photography by Stéphane Brügger

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Montreal building melds design with sustainable technology

Rice Love gives rice to families in need with each purchase

April 22, 2022 by  
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Rice Love strives to help end world hunger, increase education about poverty and recycle readily-available materials into beautiful and usable statement pieces.  Rice Love makes bags , backpacks, clothing and accessories. For each purchase, the company delivers one kilo (2.2 pounds) of rice to a family in India, the primary food in the country.  Related: This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials The company was born out of a passion to do good for people and the environment . Founders Coney and Corbin came from strikingly different backgrounds, yet found a common desire after meeting in 2013. Coney was born into an extremely poor family in an area of India with few opportunities. After his father managed to send him to America for school, Coney felt an unquestionable draw to help his native countrymen upon his return to India.  On the other hand, Corbin was born in California . After some travel and work with the poor in South America, he ended up in Hawaii. From his home on the islands, he is passionate about helping those less fortunate. Now living in separate parts of the world, Coney and Corbin run their business on a global level. Meanwhile, each purchase provides a positive impact for families and workers in India.  Furthermore, the company organizes trips that include tours of India. There is an opportunity to meet the families and deliver the rice personally. Even without catching a flight, customers can connect with the families who benefit from their purchase. Each bag is adorned with an identifying tag. Thereby, customers enter the tag number on the website to see pictures and find out more about the family who received the rice. Providing this staple allows families in India to divert money away from food for things like medical care or education. In addition, Rice Love prioritizes Fair Trade material selections and employee treatment. For the bags, they buy burlap rice bags locally from India. The material is then recycled into unique handmade bags, each different from the next. The bags in the Recycled Collection are made from plant-based fibers, biodegradable and eco-friendly. “We have given over 50,000 kilos of rice,” Rice Love said. “There are an equal number of wanderers wearing our bags and sharing our story around the world . Our goal is to give 1 million kilos of rice by the end of 2024. We invite you to join the movement. Buy a bag. Feed a family.” + Rice Love  Images via Rice Love

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Rice Love gives rice to families in need with each purchase

Why you should become the ultimate decision maker

April 18, 2022 by  
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What happens inside large and small companies when sustainability changers come to the office.

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Why you should become the ultimate decision maker

Companies: Are you ready for your close-up on climate pollcy?

April 18, 2022 by  
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Statements about policy positions matter, but much more important is for companies to advocate vigorously and persistently for bold climate policy

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Companies: Are you ready for your close-up on climate pollcy?

Sustainable Agriculture Programs Driving Carbon Markets

April 18, 2022 by  
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Global food security and climate change are interconnected challenges. The results are in from over 540,000-acre North American sustainable agriculture pilot programs – and the experts on the ground, from Nutrien Ag Solutions, have a message to share.  Sustainable and productive agriculture requires whole-acre solutions and carbon markets play a role in the future of agriculture. This isn’t new, but it’s critical in feeding the world’s growing population with the same amount or even less resources.  However, the carbon market and protocols for agricultural systems remain immature and need to continue to evolve following a science-based and practical approach to scale the industry’s positive global impact. The pilot programs, working directly with growers, revealed challenges and opportunities in a complex web of where we are at and where we need to get to.  The path forward isn’t paved, it’s cultivated in collaboration, innovation and investment.   

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Sustainable Agriculture Programs Driving Carbon Markets

How climate change is disrupting the global supply chain

April 18, 2022 by  
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Extreme weather, from floods to wildfires, is increasingly hammering ports, highways and factories worldwide.

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How climate change is disrupting the global supply chain

Sustainability is a top priority at this Texas office

April 8, 2022 by  
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View, a leading creator of smart building technologies, announced its Smart Windows were installed at Uplands II. It is a 124,081-square-feet health and wellness office building in Austin, Texas . The recently completed Uplands II property, developed by Drawbridge Realty, is located on a 48-acre site and is the second building in the Uplands Corporate Center in Austin. The property was designed for a post- COVID office environment with tenant health and wellness and building sustainability as the top priorities. View Smart Windows are fitted throughout the Uplands II building to provide a healthier environment . They also increase energy efficiency and maximize natural light. As a result, they enhance the building’s panoramic views of the renowned Texas Hill Country and Austin’s business district. Related: AirBird alerts users to open windows when CO2 is too high “View Smart Windows are a differentiating amenity that increase natural light and block heat during Austin’s 300 days of sunshine while reducing the building’s energy usage and carbon footprint, ” said Mike Embree, senior vice president of asset management with Drawbridge Realty. Smart windows use artificial intelligence to automatically adjust in response to the sun . They optimize natural light and views of the outdoors while minimizing heat and glare. Buildings with View Smart Windows consume up to 20% less energy for lighting and HVAC. A recent Evolv study found that employees working next to View Smart Windows slept 37 minutes longer each night. Not only that, they performed 42% better on cognitive tests and were significantly more productive. It also showed that 77% were less likely to report feeling depressed. The tech-equipped Uplands II property will also feature View Immersive Displays. It transform windows into transparent, digital and interactive surfaces for video conferencing and content creation. The windows can also be used for advertising or video display. The Uplands II building is LEED and RESET Air Standard Certified and WELL compliant. There are also additional health-related features such as touchless check-in, hand sanitizer stations and single-use work areas. The property also features outdoor lounges with Wi-Fi, walking/running trails, a fitness center, food truck area and EV charging stations. With the focus on wellness and healthier buildings post-COVID, expect to see more technology features with the purpose of a healthier environment. + View Images via View, Levy Dykema, Austin, Texas

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Sustainability is a top priority at this Texas office

These beautiful textiles are an earthy breath of fresh air

April 8, 2022 by  
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KUFRI hand weaves and hand prints textiles with earthy hues and a sustainable story. The KUFRI mission is to champion the craft of handloom weaving. They pass on a traditional art and culture that provides employment to women and aging weavers. The brand also promotes a conscious, beautiful life at home through these domestic products. KUFRI textiles are made into wallpapers, pillows and furniture upholstery. It’s a breath of fresh air in a market saturated with bright colors and plastic-based fabrics . All KUFRI products are designed in Dallas by first-generation immigrant Mili Suleman, founder and creative director of the company, then hand woven and hand dyed in India by skilled artisans. Related: With California Design Den bedding your conscience can rest easy Furthermore, hand weaving is done on traditional wooden looms. It starts by having the threads dyed in small batches by hand. Then, they are all washed by hand the traditional way. Some fabrics are printed by wood block print with dyes while others are woven from thread dyed in traditional methods. You can see more about the process and the people behind the company in this video by KUFRI . Suleman wanted to preserve the art of weaving in India by presenting it in a new way to the world. That is the product she has come up with: unique, raw, peaceful prints and designs that go with pretty much any décor. “To me, a home ought to bring deep comforts, and that begins with natural, imperfectly perfect textures that feel beautiful,” Suleman said. “Using my textiles for upholstery, pillows , bedding and kitchen will allow you to indulge in and enjoy the simpler pleasures of a wabi-sabi life.” Therefore, KUFRI’s weaving method is extremely low in energy consumption . It requires no electricity, modern machines, computers — really anything but human labor and the facilities to house the looms. The company also makes upholstered accessory furniture such as benches, with a unique modern Indian flare. The brand works to bring together local designers for round tables on social impact, heritage and commerce. + KUFRI Images via KUFRI

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These beautiful textiles are an earthy breath of fresh air

Recycled nylon clothing from prAna keeps you comfortable

April 8, 2022 by  
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PrAna is a clothing company deeply committed to the  environment  and ensuring safe and fair working conditions. Its newest release in the ReZion collection is a story of the company’s continued progression toward comfortable and Earth-friendly recycled nylon clothing. Released in January, the ReZion line is a new version of an old favorite that relies on Stretch Zion fabric. The ReZion collection gives that original lineup a sustainability boost with eco-friendly recycled nylon stretch performance fabric. Rather than using virgin materials that further tax the planet, the ReZion line incorporates nylon from sources like carpets and fishing lines into the mix. As a lab-made and synthetic material, nylon takes painfully long to break down in the landfill. By diverting these materials from the landfill and recycling them into something durable and comfortable, prAna short-circuits fast fashion and reduces  waste  at the same time.  In addition to conscientious material selection, the ReZion collection includes thoughtful design elements like dual-entry zipper-secured cargo pockets, mesh-lined pockets, security pockets, adjustable waistbands, ventilated inseams and reinforced back pockets. ReZion pants and shorts come in an assortment of colors, fits and lengths. The collection includes the Men’s Stretch Zion II pant, which comes in a regular or slim cut. The Men’s Stretch Zion II Shorts come in three inseam lengths and eight color options. Similarly, the Men’s Brion II lineup comes in two-leg cuts and a shorts option. The Women’s Halle II pants are available in regular or straight leg, and the Women’s Halle II Shorts offer two lengths and four color options. There are also plus-size options. The Halle Jogger II comes in four color selections and a wide range of sizes.  All products in the ReZion line offer UPF 50+ protection and are treated with a durable, PFAS-free  water  repellent. The collection is made from bluesign® approved materials, which ensures no harmful substances are used at any point in the supply chain. It also certifies that textiles are safe for the environment, workers and customers.  PrAna takes pride in advocating for corporate responsibility regarding environmental protection. For the past 12 years, the company has been committed to cleaning up its packaging and eliminating plastic. To this end, it relies on roll-packing clothing secured with  natural materials  like raffia ties. Some products are packed in Vela FSC-certified paper bags when packaging can’t be avoided. PrAna also relies on recycled paper for all clothing tags, and they are attached using organic cotton string or cotton thread instead of plastic. The company even uses recyclable paper tape to seal orders. All shipments are sent in recycled content kraft paper mailers or corrugated boxes. Packaging is just one area where prAna puts effort into analyzing the most responsible choices along the supply chain. It also abides by the 5 Freedoms Act for humane treatment of  animals , which is why it doesn’t use alpaca, angora, conventional silk, conventional cashmere, mohair, rabbit or yak. PrAna also works with the Renewal Workshop, a repair shop for clothing that allows textiles to stay in circulation longer rather than being treated as waste. Additionally, as a founding member of the OIA Climate Action Corps, prAna has set emission -reduction goals and monitors its progress toward that goal annually.  Product review of the women’s Halle Short II  With some prior exposure to prAna products, when they offered to send a sample pair of shorts, I enthusiastically accepted. In fairness, I probably came in with a bias because I own a few second-hand prAna products already and appreciate the quality and feel of these pre-loved items.  I received the Halle Short II quickly, and as promised, all packaging was  plastic-free . The recycled paper tag proudly highlights the company’s sustainability movement and pledge to provide a refund or exchange if not completely satisfied with the product. Vegetable-based ink is used on the tag, and it was attached over a belt loop without the need for plastic or metal pins. The tag also carries a sticker advertising that the product was made in a Fair Trade Certified factory.  The Halle Short II I received is the 7-inch inseam length in the Shoreline bluish-green color. Honestly, I’ll need a little help from my fashionista daughter to find the best top to match this color, but it is a wonderful break from my standard black, navy, or taupe options. I also find the Earthbound and Camo options fun and representative of the brand.  The shorts themselves are incredibly flexible and comfortable. If I were a rock climber, these would provide the range of motion needed. As it is, I look forward to wearing them while backpacking this summer since they don’t ride up or dig in anywhere. The length is also great, so I don’t have to worry about coverage. Seams, button attachment and zipper quality all rank high. The front pockets are generous and mesh-lined. The back pockets snap for secure storage if needed. The material is lightweight and breathable but feels durable at the same time. In “short,” I’m extremely happy with these shorts. Happy hiking! + prAna Images via prAna and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat

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Recycled nylon clothing from prAna keeps you comfortable

Italian headquarters blends industrial with nature

April 4, 2022 by  
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The new Furla Headquarters in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Florence demonstrates industrial modern architecture can blend right into nature. The project explores one theme above others: integration of industrial architecture into the rustic Italian landscape in order to rethink the quality of a workspace.  “Architecture and nature are perfectly blended along all directions to create a unique element where the design and the Chianti landscape (defined by hills, heritage , and agricultural areas) communicate harmoniously,” the designers said. Related: Check out the first LEED Platinum V4 Building in Italy Moreover, the Furla factory covers 42,000 square meters of soil and 18,300 square meters of built space. It is comprised of three main spaces. One is used for offices and two for labs and logistics. These are designed to be harmoniously integrated into the surrounding landscape, without much contrast. Therefore, this is defined by the driveway, terraces and Piazza Furla as distinct areas around the buildings. Meanwhile, patios and green roofs look out from the buildings over a wooded area. This allows nature to “[cross] the boundaries between inside and outside,” designers explained. “The main entrance recalls the archetype of Tuscan villa access: a linear row of cypresses welcoming visitors and showing the way through,” they said. “This rhythm is replicated on the façade of the buildings with sunscreen filtering blades.” Furthermore, the interiors were designed for layout flexibility. Rows of offices are interspersed with green patios and meeting spaces to congregate. For this purpose, best practices were followed for energy use in the space as well. We love the stepped terraces of the green roof and the use of solar on the roof in spaces where it’s not walkable. This results in a usable and pleasant place to relax while also restoring a bit of habitat for biodiversity on site. We look forward to the greening of more company headquarters and industrial spaces like this one. We would expect nothing less from industrial and landscape design house GEZA Architettura. Their work values both sustainability, beauty and the human experience of the spaces we inhabit. GEZA also works with clients like Bosch and Faber Industries in the industrial space to rethink the future of the places where we work. + GEZA Architettura Photography by Fernando Guerra

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Italian headquarters blends industrial with nature

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