Extreme heat leads to extreme behavior in humans

August 26, 2021 by  
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Many individuals have personally experienced that when folks are uncomfortable warm, they are correspondingly cranky. And many studies have found a correlation between rising temperatures and violence. But as we experience more extreme  heat  episodes around the world, scientists are finding that heat may not only increase our aggression but also reduce our coping mechanisms and lower our cognitive abilities. And who is likeliest to be affected by extreme heat? Lower-income individuals and countries with no way to cool off. “The physiological effects of heat may be universal, but the way it manifests … is highly  unequal ,” said economist R. Jisung Park of UCLA, as reported by Science News. Related: Gradient offers cooling and heating with a lower energy footprint Park analyzed test scores of nearly a million New York City students who took a combined 4.5 million exams between 1999 and 2011. Students took tests in rooms in their home schools with temperatures ranging from 59 to almost 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Park concluded that if the temperature was about 90 degrees or higher, students were 10% less likely to pass their test than if the exam day temperature had been a balmy 75. Park also did a nationwide review of 21 million PSAT scores, examining data from weather stations and digging up info on schools’ air conditioning systems. The verdict? The air conditioning gap of  schools  in lower-income neighborhoods could account for between 3-7% of the PSAT’s notorious racial achievement gap. Things are even worse on hot days outside the classroom. Violent crime can rise 12% in Los Angeles on 95 degree days compared to when the temperature is 65 to 70 degrees. But this, too, is uneven. “Beverly Hills doesn’t have much violent crime on any of those days,” said environmental economist Matthew Kahn of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, as reported by Science News. “But in the poorest communities in  Los Angeles , you see a larger correlation between heat and violence.” So, does fairness mean everybody should have air conditioning? Uh, maybe not. In 2018, AC and other cooling equipment hogged about 17% of the globe’s total  electricity  demand. And as emerging economies install more AC units, we’re going to be even farther from hitting those Paris agreement targets. Instead of more fossil fuel-powered AC, cooling through green energy could be a strong solution. Via Science News Lead image Pexels

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Extreme heat leads to extreme behavior in humans

This prefab home expansion in Ecuador enjoys gorgeous views

August 26, 2021 by  
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The province of Pichincha in the northern Sierra region of  Ecuador  wraps around the slopes of a dormant stratovolcano. Although its capital and largest city is Quito, one of the most visited destinations in the entire country, Pichincha also boasts some spectacularly secluded forested landscapes in the highland areas of the Andes Mountains. It was here that architects at RAMA Estudio were tasked with a modular home expansion for a largely nomadic family that decided to stay put in their home during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Whereas the family could previously get away with smaller spaces due to keeping their stays short and sporadic in the house (which totaled just 65 square meters) pre-COVID, the challenge came in creating a larger space once they decided to move in permanently. The clients requested expanding the existing home to include social areas and independent bedrooms for each of their children, all to be completed within three months. RAMA Estudio responded with an industrially  prefabricated  piece that could subtly sit on the ground, attaching itself to the existing structure. Related: Stunning family home in Ecuador offers serenity in an increasingly noisy world As the home is positioned over a slope overlooking the valley, care was taken to understand the natural environment and refrain from disturbing the soil or degrading the vegetation. Additionally, no construction waste was created that wasn’t reused for other projects or within the site itself. For example, all material that could be reused from the facade demolition was sorted to improve the ground in areas surrounding the building. The project features a system of metal channels that work as the structure for the floor and roof, both of which are thermally  insulated  and allow for vegetation to grow, similar to a green roof. Hanging plants overflow from the rooftop to complement the floor-to-ceiling windows, helping the building camouflage into its naturally vegetated surroundings. Regular modules built with  plywood  panels run from each end to create storage, decorative surfaces and screens toward the bedrooms. There are separate modules for the stove and television, including one for the kitchen that contains other appliances and cabinets. + RAMA Estudio Via ArchDaily Images courtesy of Jag Studio

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This prefab home expansion in Ecuador enjoys gorgeous views

Advice for scaling nature-based carbon removal programs

August 24, 2021 by  
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Sponsored: Carbon removal is an important and immediate part of the many actions companies are taking to reach the aims of the Paris Agreement.

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Advice for scaling nature-based carbon removal programs

China’s new emissions trading has transformational potential

August 24, 2021 by  
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China’s sheer population size means it is already the largest absolute emitter.

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China’s new emissions trading has transformational potential

Garden City brings a breath of fresh air to urban Paris

August 6, 2021 by  
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The future of Paris will be focused on a greener, healthier future for the environment. Part of this plan focuses on the Bois de Vincennes, the city’s largest public park. It sits on the Lac des Minimes. The project, Garden City of the Crescent Moon, seeks to showcase what the design of the future can look like. How can environmentally-friendly concerns be integrated into urban design ? Garden City seeks to provide the answers to that question. Related: Experimental, ecological home is inspired by a tree in France Urban agriculture is a big part of the design. This is a method of using space to create growing areas for herbs , spices and vegetables. Urban agriculture not only improves soil quality but also reduces air pollution. Most importantly of all, it produces food. By providing spaces for farming and gardening within urban areas, the plan also provides opportunities for economic benefits. Produce, spices and other products harvested from these mini urban farms can become a source of supplemental income. Roof terraces and small urban greenhouses create space for urban agriculture and create a unique look. The design also includes spaces for housing, offices, sports facilities and areas for cultural activities. The distinct silhouette of the project overall is made to resemble the shape of canyons. The Garden City design follows the natural bend of the Lac des Minimes and its natural islands . In the Garden City, all yards, roofs and public spaces will be used for growing and livestock. In fact, cattle breeding and dairy production areas will be right in town at the heart of the action. Meanwhile, everyone will have the chance and the space to grow all sorts of commodities, including corn, beans and herbs. This design shows how urban environments can become more eco-friendly and self-sustaining in the future. How can urban agriculture spaces like this impact society, climate and health? This project can serve as a case study to help answer these questions. The plan is a design created by architecture firm Rescubika. The firm describes Garden City as “created by man for man” and says it will improve the urban landscape by “adapting it to our new way of living in the city.” Via DesignBoom Images via RESCUBIKA Creations

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Garden City brings a breath of fresh air to urban Paris

The Gulf Stream may be near collapse

August 6, 2021 by  
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The  ocean  current commonly known as the Gulf Stream is hurtling towards a terrifying tipping point, according to scientists in an article published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Its collapse could threaten civilization as we know it. The strong current, which scientists call the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), has been compared to a conveyor belt bringing warm surface water from the Gulf of Mexico north into the  Atlantic Ocean . It simultaneously sends cold, deep, low-salinity water southwards. Related: Ice melt releases ‘forever chemicals’ into Arctic Ocean “The study method cannot give us an exact timing of a possible collapse, but the analysis presents evidence that the AMOC has already lost stability, which I take as a warning that we might be closer to an AMOC tipping than we think,” said Levke Caesar, a postdoctoral researcher at Maynooth University in  Ireland . Caesar was not involved in the research. The AMOC influences the climate of the east coast of North America and the coasts of northwestern Africa and western Europe. If it failed, sea levels would rise on the U.S.’ Atlantic coast, threatening cities. This could also decimate the world’s food supply, as it would affect rainfall from South America to  India  and West Africa. Additionally, the Antarctic ice sheets and the Amazon rainforest would be in even more trouble than they already are. Niklas Boers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in  Germany  was surprised by what he found in his recently published research. “The signs of destabilisation being visible already is something that I wouldn’t have expected and that I find scary,” he said, as reported by The Guardian. “It’s something you just can’t [allow to] happen.” As the title of Boers’s paper states, “Observation-based early-warning signals for a collapse of the AMOC.” Boers analyzed ice-core data from the last 100,000 years and discovered that the AMOC has a fast, strong state and a slow, weak state. For millennia, AMOC moved fast. But as global temperatures rise, the AMOC could suddenly go sluggish. This might happen in 10 years. Or maybe 50. Nobody knows, because how much CO2 is necessary to destroy AMOC is unknown.  “So the only thing to do is keep  emissions  as low as possible,” said Boers. “The likelihood of this extremely high-impact event happening increases with every gram of CO2 that we put into the atmosphere.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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The Gulf Stream may be near collapse

La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

July 16, 2021 by  
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The story of la Poste du Louvre is both historic and modern. Originally built as a post office (la Poste) on du Louvre street in a central area of Paris , France, the building is now undergoing a transformation into a multipurpose space that has earned several environmental certifications.  It’s an example of honoring a classic building, constructed from 1888 to 1898 following the design by Julien Guadet. La Poste du Louvre has long served as a post office in a changing industry that has resulted in endless renovations over the century-and-a-half of its history. Updates took place during the 1960s through the 1980s, with intensive reconstruction following a fire in 1975. But the building, under the ownership of la Poste du Louvre’s real estate subsidiary Poste Immo, is receiving a comprehensive and modern conversion guided by architect Dominique Perrault, whose vision includes a hotel, restaurant , shops, offices and social housing. Plus, the post office remains intact. Related: Ranch Dressing house sets example for modernization with minimal impact Perrault placed a special focus on going beyond the outlined criteria required to earn certifications related to sustainable architecture. As a result, the building achieves triple certification from NF HQE Rénovation (Excellent level), LEED Core & Shell Gold and BREEAM (Very Good level).  While working to keep the framework of the original building, secondary structures were built inside for additional support. In this way, the new design kept the building’s original stone and metal as well as original decorative elements like painted ceilings and heritage clocks. Even in keeping with the existing architecture, the space received extensive upgrades in regards to thermal insulation. Updates to air treatment systems and controllable facades keep interior temperatures at a comfortable level with high energy-efficiency . Long-term living spaces feature strategically placed windows to maximize views and natural lighting. Furthermore, the roof is equipped with solar panels to supplement energy usage. The roof doubles as a garden with a selection of plants. The building is equipped to recover rainwater , which will be reused for cleaning and watering the plants. Even the basement is upgraded, with the bottom two levels of the building equipped for parking, including charging ports for electric or hybrid vehicles. La Poste du Louvre is expected to open to the public in 2022. + Dominique Perrault Architecture Photography by Michel Denance via Dominique Perrault Architecture

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La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

July 16, 2021 by  
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The story of la Poste du Louvre is both historic and modern. Originally built as a post office (la Poste) on du Louvre street in a central area of Paris , France, the building is now undergoing a transformation into a multipurpose space that has earned several environmental certifications.  It’s an example of honoring a classic building, constructed from 1888 to 1898 following the design by Julien Guadet. La Poste du Louvre has long served as a post office in a changing industry that has resulted in endless renovations over the century-and-a-half of its history. Updates took place during the 1960s through the 1980s, with intensive reconstruction following a fire in 1975. But the building, under the ownership of la Poste du Louvre’s real estate subsidiary Poste Immo, is receiving a comprehensive and modern conversion guided by architect Dominique Perrault, whose vision includes a hotel, restaurant , shops, offices and social housing. Plus, the post office remains intact. Related: Ranch Dressing house sets example for modernization with minimal impact Perrault placed a special focus on going beyond the outlined criteria required to earn certifications related to sustainable architecture. As a result, the building achieves triple certification from NF HQE Rénovation (Excellent level), LEED Core & Shell Gold and BREEAM (Very Good level).  While working to keep the framework of the original building, secondary structures were built inside for additional support. In this way, the new design kept the building’s original stone and metal as well as original decorative elements like painted ceilings and heritage clocks. Even in keeping with the existing architecture, the space received extensive upgrades in regards to thermal insulation. Updates to air treatment systems and controllable facades keep interior temperatures at a comfortable level with high energy-efficiency . Long-term living spaces feature strategically placed windows to maximize views and natural lighting. Furthermore, the roof is equipped with solar panels to supplement energy usage. The roof doubles as a garden with a selection of plants. The building is equipped to recover rainwater , which will be reused for cleaning and watering the plants. Even the basement is upgraded, with the bottom two levels of the building equipped for parking, including charging ports for electric or hybrid vehicles. La Poste du Louvre is expected to open to the public in 2022. + Dominique Perrault Architecture Photography by Michel Denance via Dominique Perrault Architecture

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La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

KADA’s sustainable clothing line is designed to empower women

July 15, 2021 by  
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“Sustainability is our north star,” said KADA, a clothing company leading the charge in corporate responsibility and change within the notoriously wasteful fashion industry. The company’s products are designed by women, for women with a commitment to conservation . KADA is a Boston-based company, and every decision it makes revolves around waste reduction. The manufacturing process starts, in part, by collecting other manufacturers’ waste in the form of salvaged fabrics. From there, fabric selection relies mainly on Cupro, a silk-like material made from recycled cotton manufacturing waste. Cupro is biodegradable and made in a closed-loop factory that continuously recycles water and required chemicals. Related: Luxury vegan silk startup sets high bar for sustainable fashion KADA also strives to work with mills and factories that honor the sustainable mindset. One such factory is well-known for its innovative production of organic materials while recycling 100% of textile waste and using a greenhouse gas-capturing system. During the design process, owner Kassia Davis and the team work to minimize the number of seams in each piece, which in turn minimizes waste offcuts. They then develop prototypes that are tested (with real women) to ensure proper fit, feel and function. This is to avoid mass-production of product lines that may be ill-received and discarded.  The final clothing designs are intended to be multifunctional capsule pieces that cater to both casual and dressy occasions. The debut collection from KADA includes the Cami Bralette, Classic Cami, Cami Midi Dress, Classic Tee, Tee Maxi Dress, Tee Mini Dress and the Pant. The goal is to focus on high-quality production with durable fabrics to keep consumers loving and wearing the items in their wardrobe rather than discarding and replacing them. The staple pieces are designed for all body types in alignment with one of the company’s goals to empower women. “My mission with KADA is to make clothing that is inclusive and can be worn by all women. We’re celebrating the concept of evolution — inward, outward, and systemic — and setting a new standard for sustainable production along the way,” Davis said. “Behind the KADA brand is a team of incredibly talented women who all want to build pieces that every one of us can feel comfortable and confident wearing. These inspiring, empowering pieces are designed to help you meet the moment — no matter where life takes you.” KADA is partnering with GreenPrint to become the first sustainably made clothing brand in Massachusetts. + KADA Images via KADA

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Airbnb’s swanky new San Francisco office has a sky boat, a castle and 16 international "neighborhoods"

November 3, 2017 by  
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Airbnb may offer thousands of luxury lodgings around the world, but employees won’t want to leave the rental sharing company’s swanky new San Francisco headquarters. Located at 999 Brannan Street,  Airbnb’s own Environments Team and WRNS Studio  designed 150,000 square feet of healthy, light-filled working space with plenty of whimsical flare like a sky boat, a castle and themed floors that represent the company’s international presence. The design of 999 Brannan – just mere steps from its existing San Fran headquarters – began by removing every non-structural element in the corner lot building, essentially creating a massive blank canvas. By scrapping the interior walls and hallways, the focus was put on flooding the interior space with as much natural light as possible. The huge atrium is a light-filled space with a curvaceous stairwell that winds up through the levels. A long mezzanine leads to the various offices as well as think spaces and conference rooms. Related: Airbnb’s brand new Paris office is a loft-like space that feels like home For design guidance, the teams concentrated on the company ethos of “Belong Anywhere” as well as the company’s new feature, Airbnb Trips, which offers users custom travel experiences designed and led by locals around the world. To highlight the new service and the company’s world-wide presence, international design elements were used on every floor. For example, each cafe has been styled according to a different city, such as Buenos Aires, Kyoto, Jaipur, and Amsterdam. The building’s work spaces are divided into 16 “neighborhoods” that house up to 50 employees who spend their days working at the sitting or standing desks , brainstorming at the communal tables, or enjoying down time in one of the many cozy lounges. Aaron Taylor Harvey, Airbnb Environments Executive Creative Director, explains that the design was based on providing employees with a comfortable working environment , “we wanted to bring the same bespoke nuance to this very large space that we brought to the first small office we designed in Portland. We want it to feel like a custom home to every inhabitant.” + WRNS Studio + Airbnb

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Airbnb’s swanky new San Francisco office has a sky boat, a castle and 16 international "neighborhoods"

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