California is about to be the first US state to require solar power on new homes

May 7, 2018 by  
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California is taking a huge step forward in clean energy this week, as the state is expected to require solar energy for just about all new homes, The Orange County Register reported . The California Energy Commission is slated to vote this Wednesday on new standards mandating almost all new houses be equipped with solar panels , beginning in 2020, and it’s expected they’ll approve the move. The Golden State “is about to take a quantum leap in energy standards,” according to California Building Industry Association technical director Bob Raymer. If approved, the solar mandate would cover all houses, apartments, and condominiums as high as three stories obtaining building permits after January 1, 2020, according to The Orange County Register. There could be alternatives or exceptions allowed for structures shaded by other buildings or trees, or if a roof is too small to allow for solar panels. The new provisions would offer compliance credits for builders who install batteries like Tesla’s Powerwall , allowing them to cut the size of solar systems. Homes won’t need to reach true net zero status under these standards, according to The Orange County Register. Related: San Francisco approves measure to require solar panels on new buildings Compared against a 2006 code, these new standards would add around $25,000 to $30,000 to construction costs, according to Meritage Homes ‘ vice president of environmental affairs C.R. Herro speaking to The Orange County Register. $14,000 to $16,000 of that would go to solar; $10,000 to $15,000 would go to increased insulation and appliances, windows, heating, and lighting that is more efficient . Herro said the $25,000 to $30,000 would lead to $50,000 to $60,000 in reduced operating costs during the home solar power system’s 25-year lifespan. Homebuilder and former Orange County Building Industry Association president Bill Watt told The Orange County Register the added costs could mean home prices are too high for many buyers, saying, “We’re not building enough housing already. Why not just pause for a little while, focus on the affordability and housing issues , then circle back?” Sierra Club California director Kathryn Phillips told The Orange County Register, “The technology is developing so fast, we think the timeline was a bit slow.” Via The Orange County Register Images via Pixabay and U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit

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California is about to be the first US state to require solar power on new homes

7-year-old California boy saves 10K for college with his own recycling company

January 10, 2017 by  
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A 7-year-old boy from California has demonstrated it’s never too early to start recycling . When he was three, Ryan Hickman ventured to a local recycling center in Orange County with his father. The experience moved him to such an extent he declared his intentions to start collecting recyclables from his neighbors the following day. Thus started Ryan’s Recycling Company , through which Ryan has recycled around 200,000 bottles and cans, saving thousands of dollars in the process. Ryan asked his parents if he could give their neighbors empty plastic bags to fill with cans and bottles. The neighbors were happy to cooperate with him – as were friends, his parents’ co-workers, and family members. Roughly four years later, Ryan has recycled 49,000 pounds of trash from customers throughout Orange County. His website reports he spends “part of every week” sorting through and cleaning the plastic or glass bottles and aluminum cans he then totes to the recycling center with the help of his family. Ryan has saved around $10,000 for college (although his website warns he might actually tell you he’s saving up for his own garbage truck), and $1,624 for charity. Related: How two amazing teenage girls convinced Bali to ban plastic bags Ryan told The Capistrano Dispatch people should recycle to make a few extra dollars and “because it helps the world” as birds might eat discarded trash and “get sick or die.” Ryan’s efforts ensure all that trash stays out of the landfill and the oceans , and he’s become a Youth Ambassador for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center . He also offers t-shirts for $13, and all proceeds go to the center. Ryan’s mother Andrea told The Capistrano Dispatch, “He’s very passionate about it, and he likes to get everybody else passionate about it as well. I think he’s rubbed off on all of us now. You find yourself walking past a can on the ground and needing to pick it up instead of walking away and leaving it there.” If you live in Orange County, you can pitch in too. Schedule a pickup or learn more about recycling on Ryan’s website . + Ryan’s Recycling Company Via One Green Planet and The Capistrano Dispatch Images via Ryan’s Recycling Company

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7-year-old California boy saves 10K for college with his own recycling company

Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California

December 7, 2016 by  
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Locals strolling Huntington Beach recently in Southern California came across a weird sight: thousands of gelatinous pink sea creatures had appeared on the sand. People described the creatures as squishy, almost like jellyfish , and bewildered National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, according to NBC Los Angeles . The appearance of the unusual creatures sparked social media speculation. Ryan Rustan, a local, posted that the creatures were like little water balloons that popped underfoot. Beachgoer Don Coursey posted on the Huntington Beach Community Forum on Facebook that the creatures burrowed in the sand. Related: Octopuses are taking over the oceans, and no one knows why Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lieutenant Claude Panis said the creatures might have washed up due to El Niño , and that there were also more stingrays closer to the shore than normal at this point in the year. He told The Orange County Register, “There’s all kinds of weird things happening. It’s just strange.” Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lieutenant Eric Dieterman said people had seen the creatures in the past, but there hadn’t been so many before. So, what are they? California State University, Long Beach professor Christopher G. Lowe told KTLA the university’s expert on invertebrates said the creatures are sea cucumbers. University of California, Irvine associate professor Matt Bracken said the creatures are pelagic tunicates, also known as sea salps. He told The Orange County Register, “These marine invertebrates look sort of like jellyfish, but they are actually more closely related to vertebrates (e.g., humans) than to other invertebrates. They occasionally bloom off the California coast.” Via the Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register Images via Don Coursey on Facebook and Ryan Rustan on Facebook

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Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California

America’s first urban ‘agrihood’ feeds 2,000 households for free

December 7, 2016 by  
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When you think of Detroit , ‘ sustainable ‘ and ‘ agriculture ‘ may not be the first two words that come to mind. But a new urban agrihood debuted by The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) might change your mind. The three-acre development boasts a two-acre garden , a fruit orchard with 200 trees, and a sensory garden for kids. If you need a refresher on the definition of agrihood, MUFI describes it as an alternative neighborhood growth model. An agrihood centers around urban agriculture, and MUFI offers fresh, local produce to around 2,000 households for free. Related: Amazing farm-to-table, eco friendly housing development in California is a locavore’s paradise In a statement, MUFI co-founder and president Tyson Gersh said, “Over the last four years, we’ve grown from an urban garden that provides fresh produce for our residents to a diverse, agricultural campus that has helped sustain the neighborhood, attracted new residents and area investment.” Through urban agriculture , MUFI aims to solve problems Detroit residents face such as nutritional illiteracy and food insecurity. Now in the works at the agrihood is a 3,200 square foot Community Resource Center . Once a vacant building, the center will become a colorful headquarters and education center. As MUFI is a non-profit operated by volunteers, they’ll receive a little help to restore the building from chemistry company BASF and global community Sustainable Brands . Near the center, a health food cafe will sprout on empty land. MUFI describes the agrihood as America’s first sustainable urban agrihood. There are other agrihoods around the United States, such as this one Inhabitat covered earlier in 2016 in Davis, California. But the California agrihood is expensive; many people couldn’t afford to live there. The Michigan agrihood is far more accessible. MUFI isn’t stopping with the community center. They’re also working on a shipping container home, and plan to restore another vacant home to house interns. A fire-damaged house near the agrihood will be deconstructed, but the basement will be turned into a water harvesting cistern to irrigate the farm. + The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative Images via The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative ( 1 , 2 )

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America’s first urban ‘agrihood’ feeds 2,000 households for free

Cedar Rapids turns tragedy into triumph with new LEED Platinum public library

December 7, 2016 by  
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Tragedy struck Cedar Rapids, Iowa in June 2008, when a devastating flood swept the city and destroyed hundreds of homes, businesses, and several prominent public structures, including the public library. In the wake of the unprecedented natural disaster, the community and local studio OPN Architects joined together to rebuild the library. The new Cedar Rapids Public Library was reborn as a vibrant, multipurpose center that’s earned numerous architecture awards and LEED Platinum certification. Completed in 2003, the new Cedar Rapids Public Library is located a couple blocks from the original site and overlooks Greene Square Park. OPN’s meetings with the community guided the 95,000-square-foot library design, which, according to the architects, was “driven by the desire to embrace openness, transparency and foster public engagement with and within the space.” The building features large expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass to engage the streetscape and to overlook views of the park and cityscape. Large windows and a two-story central atrium allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building and reduce dependence on artificial lighting. The library spaces are organized around the central atrium in a hub-and-spoke system in which the cafe and coffee shop are located in the Service Core Zone, while the children’s, young adult, and adult fiction areas branch out from the hub. Clear sight lines and open vertical circulation help users navigate their way to their destinations. The second floor includes adult non-fiction collections, a conference space, offices, and a 200-seat auditorium facing the park that spans both the second and third floors. A breakout lobby for the auditorium sits on the third floor, which provides access to the 24,000-square-foot green roof . Related: Boxy new library by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects designed to regenerate Halifax The Cedar Rapids Public Library achieved LEED Platinum certification thanks to its lowered energy footprint, which exceeds the Iowa Energy Code by 55% and uses energy at a rate of 37 ktbu per square foot—a significant savings compared to the pre-flood library’s rate of 100 kbtu per square foot. The exterior glazing that covers over a third of the building envelope is insulating with low-E coating. The building also includes a pump & re-inject geothermal HVAC system, daylight sensors, LEDs, and thermally broken aluminum framing. The accessible green roof harvests rainwater for irrigation, and combined with pervious paving, helps retain 90% of normal annual rainfall and 100% of all rainfall up to one inch in a 24-hour period on site. + OPN Architects Via ArchDaily Images via OPN Architects , by Main Street Studio – Wayne Johnson

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Cedar Rapids turns tragedy into triumph with new LEED Platinum public library

Costa Mesa Waldorf School is Made From 32 Recycled Shipping Containers

September 30, 2014 by  
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Waldorf Schools and shipping container buildings are two of our favorite things here at Inhabitat – and this amazing project combines them both! The Waldorf School of Orange County recently unveiled a set of new buildings made from 32 shipping containers . It took 99 days to build the 4 free-standing buildings which provide 10,000 square meters of new classroom space, administrative offices, a science lab, a library, a student lounge and an auditorium. Read the rest of Costa Mesa Waldorf School is Made From 32 Recycled Shipping Containers Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco friendly school , Orange County prefab school , prefab architecture , Prefab Schools , reused building materials , shipping containers , upcycled containers , Waldorf School

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Costa Mesa Waldorf School is Made From 32 Recycled Shipping Containers

Upcycled Shipping Containers are Reborn as Colorful Schoolrooms

August 22, 2014 by  
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Shipping containers are commonly seen on the backs of trucks all over the world, but few of us are accustomed to seeing them in our schools ! You can find them for sale in Perth, New York, London, Cape Town, and just about any other major town or city throughout the world, and their durability makes them ideal for long-term building projects. From North America to Africa and Europe, people are recycling and repurposing these containers  to combat the lack of free space in schools, creating much-needed classrooms for their students. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the best ones around so far. Read the rest of Upcycled Shipping Containers are Reborn as Colorful Schoolrooms Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: orange county , REALM , school , school room , schoolrooms , shipping container , shipping container school , shipping container schools , South Africa , Vissershok , Waldorf , Waldorf Orange County , Waldorf School

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Upcycled Shipping Containers are Reborn as Colorful Schoolrooms

Solar Decathlon Teams Visit Orange County, California in Preparation for 2013 Competition

January 14, 2013 by  
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Sunny Southern California is set to break out the photovoltaic panels as the U.S. Department of Energy prepares to host the 2013 Solar Decathlon in Orange County, CA. This marks the first time in history that the event will be held outside of Washington, D.C. Twenty collegiate teams will design and build solar-powered homes at the Orange County Great Park from October 3-13 – and each project will be striving to score the highest marks in efficiency, consumer appeal and architectural excellence. In preparation for the event, representatives from the 20 teams visited Orange County this week to take part in workshops and briefings for the competition. Read the rest of Solar Decathlon Teams Visit Orange County, California in Preparation for 2013 Competition Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , biannual , DOE , irvine , National Renewable Energy Laboratory , orange county , orange county great park , solar , Solar Decathlon , U. S. Department of Energy , Washington DC

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Solar Decathlon Teams Visit Orange County, California in Preparation for 2013 Competition

Solar Decathlon Teams Visit Orange County, California in Preparation for 2013 Competition

January 14, 2013 by  
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Sunny Southern California is set to break out the photovoltaic panels as the U.S. Department of Energy prepares to host the 2013 Solar Decathlon in Orange County, CA. This marks the first time in history that the event will be held outside of Washington, D.C. Twenty collegiate teams will design and build solar-powered homes at the Orange County Great Park from October 3-13 – and each project will be striving to score the highest marks in efficiency, consumer appeal and architectural excellence. In preparation for the event, representatives from the 20 teams visited Orange County this week to take part in workshops and briefings for the competition. Read the rest of Solar Decathlon Teams Visit Orange County, California in Preparation for 2013 Competition Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , biannual , DOE , irvine , National Renewable Energy Laboratory , orange county , orange county great park , solar , Solar Decathlon , U. S. Department of Energy , Washington DC

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Solar Decathlon Teams Visit Orange County, California in Preparation for 2013 Competition

Solar Decathlon Teams Visit Orange County, California in Preparation for 2013 Competition

January 14, 2013 by  
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Sunny Southern California is set to break out the photovoltaic panels as the U.S. Department of Energy prepares to host the 2013 Solar Decathlon in Orange County, CA. This marks the first time in history that the event will be held outside of Washington, D.C. Twenty collegiate teams will design and build solar-powered homes at the Orange County Great Park from October 3-13 – and each project will be striving to score the highest marks in efficiency, consumer appeal and architectural excellence. In preparation for the event, representatives from the 20 teams visited Orange County this week to take part in workshops and briefings for the competition. Read the rest of Solar Decathlon Teams Visit Orange County, California in Preparation for 2013 Competition Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , biannual , DOE , irvine , National Renewable Energy Laboratory , orange county , orange county great park , solar , Solar Decathlon , U. S. Department of Energy , Washington DC

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