‘Red flag for COP26’: Most high-carbon companies shooting ‘wide of the mark’ for a 2C world

March 23, 2020 by  
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Investor-led Transitions Pathway Initiative warns four in five firms in carbon-intensive sectors currently fail Paris Agreement test.

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‘Red flag for COP26’: Most high-carbon companies shooting ‘wide of the mark’ for a 2C world

Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac: ‘Every day is a chance that will not come again’

March 7, 2020 by  
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As the U.N. negotiators behind the Paris Agreement, Figueres and Rivett-Carnac have done a lot of work together. We caught up with them about their latest collaboration, a book called “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis.”

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Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac: ‘Every day is a chance that will not come again’

These upcycled shipping containers make eco-friendly offices

January 2, 2020 by  
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Sustainable architecture focuses on low impact construction and natural or recycled materials. The new marketing suite for Goldman Westlink is just such a building.  Designed by A Work of Substance , the office space currently resides in Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun district, and was constructed from four shipping containers. The selection of shipping containers as the structure for the office was multi-faceted. They work as the perfect symbol for the client Goldman Westlink, which is a logistics company. In addition to representing the movement of goods, the shipping containers offer a sustainable option. They are recycled (or upcycled) , giving them a second life. Plus, the design is modular, allowing the company to break it apart and move it to another location. The construction and even a subsequent move will leave minimal impact on the land. Related: This prefab weekend retreat made from shipping containers can be ordered online Six interior spaces are born from four containers, all of which provide ample natural light and views of the surrounding scenery with massive windows. Timber accents soften the industrial feel of the metal and diffuse the building into the landscape. Stacking the containers allowed A Work of Substance to provide two stories of meeting and work space, along with an outdoor deck and sitting area. The long wooden board table and technology may resemble other office buildings, but the expansive views and minimalist design certainly do not. And while A Work of Substance prides itself on thinking outside the box, this is one box anyone would enjoy working in. A Work of Substance is an international design company with commissions spanning the globe, including Hong Kong, Niseko, Seoul, H?i An, Singapore, Bali, Flores, Paris, Megève Vancouver and Milan. As architects from A Work of Substance said, “At the very epicenter of hong kong’s design revolution, our 30-person shop uses design as a tool to rejuvenate culture and local neighbourhoods, creating works of substance that make hong kong a place people look to for inspiration. Ever daring and ever curious, we are constantly venturing into new projects and industries including the launch of our exclusive line of amenities, furniture and lighting. Throughout the evolution of substance we have developed strong partnerships with suppliers and deepened our knowledge of hong kong’s cultural landscape and its products.” + A Work of Substance Via Arch Daily Images via Dennis Lo

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These upcycled shipping containers make eco-friendly offices

Timber Woody office in France embraces Paris’ largest park

November 29, 2019 by  
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In a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of construction, French architecture firm Atelier du Pont has created an office for Santé publique France, the French public healthcare agency. The new office is built almost entirely from wood and is free of solvents and plastics . Nicknamed “Woody” after its timber build, the office is located on the eastern edge of Paris right next to the Bois de Vincennes, the largest public park in the city. The architecture responds to the neighboring landscape with its branching design that embraces the surroundings “like open, protective arms.” Inspired by the Bois de Vincennes, Woody features an all-natural material palette of timber, which is used for everything from the cross-laminated timber structural components and oak flooring to the shingled facades and wood furnishings. Large, furnished terraces jut out from the building to overlook beautiful views of the wooded park, while expansive walls of glass bring those views and natural light indoors. The connection to nature is also referenced in the shape of the building, which resembles a bundle of sticks placed on the ground. Related: Railway enclave in Paris is transformed into a solar-powered mixed-use eco-district “This design symbolizes the mission of this institution, which oversees the health of everyone who lives in France ,” the architects explained in a press release. “The aim is to be exemplary in terms of its impact on the environment and the health. The project has created a pleasant space that takes its users’ wellbeing fully into account.” To create a healthy work environment, the architects have emphasized natural daylighting and a connection to nature. The neutral color palette and unpainted timber lend a warm and tactile feel to the interior. In addition to the nearby park, occupants can enjoy the three gardens around the building, each organized around a theme of beneficial, healing or harmful plants. + Atelier du Pont Photography by Takuji Shimmura via Atelier du Pont

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Timber Woody office in France embraces Paris’ largest park

Prefab homes on stilts include solar panels, water collection systems and organic gardens

November 29, 2019 by  
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Bali-based architect Alexis Dornier has unveiled a beautiful, eco-friendly concept for a series of prefabricated homes that are elevated off the landscape by stilts. The Stilt Studios come in a variety of sizes, from one-story to multi-level, all raised above the ground to reduce the structures’ impact. Additionally, the prefab design , which can be easily disassembled and moved to new locations, includes a number of sustainable features, such as solar power and integrated rainwater collection systems. According to the architect, inspiration for the Stilt Studios came from a problematic housing issue common in Bali . “The reality here is that we often find leasehold plots with a limited amount of years,” explained the German architect, who currently resides in Bali. “This situation calls for us to tread lightly through prefab ‘PropTech’ structures that could be packed up and re-erected someplace else.” Related: Beautiful cedar home stands high on stilts to accommodate heavy snowfall in Japan Accordingly, the concept calls for prefab building system, which would allow the units to be installed by families who are in need of extra space. The homes could also be used as rental units for extra income. The structures would come in a number of sizes as well, depending on the owners’ needs. The homes would be made out of steel frameworks initially, but Dornier hopes to build additional models out of CLT paneling . Other sustainable features to the design are plentiful, with solar arrays on the roof to generate energy, large roof overhangs to reduce solar heat gain on the interior and a built-in rainwater harvesting system to reuse water. Wide, open doorways and large windows would also promote natural air ventilation. The concept envisions families growing their own organic food underneath the buildings. + Alexis Dornier Via Dezeen Images via Alexis Dornier

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Prefab homes on stilts include solar panels, water collection systems and organic gardens

This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change

November 7, 2019 by  
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Just in time for your conscious holiday shopping, Veldt, Inc. is unveiling its newest luxury smartwatch, the LUXTURE AARDE, designed with sustainability and wellness in mind. Possibly its most interesting feature, the Climate Action Reminder is a tool that shows how global warming has quickly increased temperatures compared to just 10 years ago along with other climate-related notifications. Aimed at giving the user the ideal level of alerts at the appropriate times, this luxury watch is not designed to bombard the wearer with too much information or to groom an over-reliance on technology. Unlike other modern smartwatches, the LUXTURE AARDE watch uses a combination of LED lights embedded into the watch face, vibrations and colors to convey messages rather than words, providing a less-intrusive, more subtle approach. Related: 14 apps to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle The watch comes with alerts connected to typical apps like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as well as notifications for emails and calls. It also includes the ability to connect up to three different calendars and customize up to five VIP contacts. Yellow lights around the perimeter of the analog indicate moon phases, and the Pomodoro timer reminds you to take breaks during your workday. Additionally, LUXTURE AARDE takes data from your smartphone to help track health indicators such as activity level and steps on the connecting app. The Veldt LUXTURE AARDE watch comes in three styles: rose gold-toned with the “Birch” strap, stainless steel with the “Stone” strap and black with the “Calf” strap. Wearers will enjoy a wireless charging dock and an estimated battery life of three days. The watch connects to Bluetooth and is water-resistant as well. The collection ranges from $650 to $1,150 depending on the watch style. Perhaps the most alluring feature of the Veldt LUXTURE AARDE watch is its Climate Action Reminder. Aimed at promoting the personal well-being of the wearer, the feature offers information on UV radiation exposure, ocean wave levels and weather. The Climate Action Reminder calculates the daily average temperatures of the specific countries under the Paris Agreement. It also compares the temperature of your current location against the temperature a decade ago. This original function created by VELDT developers is directed at bringing awareness to the impact of climate change , hopefully providing the wearer with daily reminders to do their part in protecting the planet. + Veldt Images via Veldt

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This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change

Global renewable energy is projected to rise by 50% in the next 5 years, IEA finds

October 22, 2019 by  
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The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently released its Renewables 2019 market forecast, detailing analysis on renewable energy and technologies. In the report, industry trends show that the world’s total renewable-based power capacity will grow by 50% in 5 years, increasing by 1.2 terawatts. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems shall account for 60% of that increase.   Established in 1974, under the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), the IEA is an intergovernmental organization that acts as a policy advisor to its 30 member countries on matters concerning reliable, affordable and clean energy . It was formed following the 1973 – 1974 oil crisis to help members respond to energy supply disruptions. Since then, the IEA’s mandate has expanded to include the promotion of sound energy policy and the fostering of multinational energy cooperation. Today, the IEA’s mission focuses on energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and worldwide engagement. Related:  Renewable energy surpasses fossil fuels in the UK Because of its eco-conscious stance for efficiency and for reduced impact on the environment , the IEA has been a strong proponent for renewable energy. Renewable energy, after all, helps in mitigating climate change and creating a more sustainable energy future. Solar , wind and hydropower projects have been rolling out at their fastest rate in recent years. And, they are projected to experience increased growth rates in years to come. “This is a pivotal time for renewable energy,” says Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “Technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind are at the heart of transformations taking place across the global energy system. Their increasing deployment is crucial for efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution and expand energy access.” Three major challenges face the renewable energy sector, which are “policy and regulatory uncertainty, high investment risks and system integration of wind and solar PV,” the IEA report states. “Important policy and tariff reforms are needed to ensure that distributed PV’s growth is sustainable .” Cost reductions coupled with government policy efforts can drive growth in the renewable energy market, all of which can be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The IEA’s forecast of the changing energy landscape means that utilities and infrastructure will likely need to adapt quickly, too. “Renewables are already the world’s second largest source of electricity ,” adds Birol. “But their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals.” Via Reuters Image via Oimheidi

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Global renewable energy is projected to rise by 50% in the next 5 years, IEA finds

Girl Scouts build bee hotels to help save wild bees

October 22, 2019 by  
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Wild bee populations in the United States face catastrophic collapse from climate change , habitat loss, shrinking food supply, disease and pesticide exposure. Of the 4,000 native U.S. wild bee species, 40 percent face extinction. To help save these vital pollinators, a Denver-based Girls Scouts day camp built miniature hotels to house and protect solitary wild bees. The sustainable endeavor was part of the Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey initiative, encouraging young girls to create positive environmental change. Making a wild bee B&B proved to be an exciting learning experience for many Girl Scouts. “There were times it was hard because there were so many girls and lots of ideas, but we worked together, and it was fun,” explained 11-year-old Imani, one of the girls who participated in the project. “We found a way to compromise and work together to make a fun bee hotel.” Related: Girl Scouts introduces 30 new badges with emphasis on the environment and STEM As solitary insects, wild bees house themselves in fallen timber, branches and bushes. But forest fires, urban sprawl and agricultural intensification have diminished their natural habitat. Consequently, the Girl Scouts were inspired to protect these important insects by building tiny homes or mini hotels for individual wild bees, much like birdhouses are fashioned for individual birds. Materials used for the bee hotels included repurposed cardboard boxes, paper straws and toilet paper rolls. According to the Entomological Society of America, campaigns to save the bees have included installation of bee hotels in efforts to save wild bee populations and aid in their conservation . If well maintained, these bee hotels can provide a safe sanctuary for wild bees. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a University of Maryland, College Park associate professor of entomology, added that every effort counts, and the Girl Scouts’ endeavors are meaningful. “What you’re seeing is that you need bees to survive, and so who better to be concerned than the people who are going to inherit the next generation?” he shared. “These efforts are really good because hopefully they set up a lifelong commitment to preserving biodiversity.” Those interested in getting involved with the Girl Scouts’ environmental initiatives can join or volunteer here . + Girl Scouts Via Grist Images via Girl Scouts and Maja Dumat

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Girl Scouts build bee hotels to help save wild bees

Old Paris railway site will transform into a carbon-neutral ecosystem neighborhood

September 23, 2019 by  
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An abundance of green will soon take over the heart of Paris with the transformation of the city’s old railway site, Ordener-Poissonniers, into a lush 3.7-hectare “ecosystem neighborhood.” The mixed-use masterplan will be spearheaded by Danish landscape architecture practice SLA and French architecture firm BIECHER ARCHITECTES , who won an international competition with the “Jardin Mécano” (“Mechanical Garden”) proposal for a sustainable urban development emphasizing bioclimatic design. In addition to the creation of large public parks, the neighborhood will include carbon-neutral architecture and renewable energy systems. Located in the 18th arrondissement, the new “ecosystem neighborhood” will pay homage to the former railway site by preserving its industrial heritage while injecting new functionality to the underused area. The mixed-use masterplan will include housing for 1,000 residents — half of which will be for social housing, 20 percent for intermediate and the remainder for private housing — as well as 13,800 square meters of office space, new school buildings, an industrial design incubator for SME, a nine-screen cinema complex, urban farming areas and plenty of restaurant and retail space. Related: Benjamin Fleury creates affordable, modern apartments with a low-energy footprint in Paris “The Ordener-Poissonniers project will act as a green generous gift to the city of Paris,” said Rasmus Astrup, partner in SLA. “In the transformation of the old post-industrial railway site, we have especially focused on the values and the qualities we want the new development to give back to the neighborhood. By combining the strong industrial character with innovative, nature-based designs and public ecosystem services, we create a new standard for nature in Paris — where nature is everywhere and where humans, plants and animals can live and flourish together.” To minimize the development’s environmental footprint in the long run, the buildings will be optimized for wind and solar conditions. Other sustainable features include photovoltaic panels mounted onto the roofs, planting plans that promote biodiversity and the use of natural materials and prefabricated low-carbon concrete floors. The project is slated for completion in 2024. + SLA + BIECHER ARCHITECTES Images via SLA

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Old Paris railway site will transform into a carbon-neutral ecosystem neighborhood

The ‘tipping point’ has arrived as temperatures rise in 70 US counties

August 16, 2019 by  
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The heat is on this summer as sweltering temperatures are felt throughout the U.S., all thanks to the “tipping point”— a warning once echoed in the 2015 Paris accord. The “tipping point,” a 2 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels that was forewarned in 2015, has arrived and hit the U.S. with extreme climate change , leaving 34 million people living in areas that are rapidly heating. Related: Climate change will push 120 million into poverty The fastest state to experience such extreme warming is Alaska , a state where summer temperatures generally range from 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, has seen a recent increase of heat waves and wildfires . Other areas of the Northeast, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, who was the first state to pass the 2 degree Celsius, have also seen climes beyond normal. According to the Washington Post, most regional increases were due to warmer winters rather than summer heat waves. Less snowfall and ice mean those areas aren’t as likely to reflect solar dispersion during the winter months, ultimately feeding into a warming period. Although scientists can’t figure out why the Northeast is warming so rapidly, some experts believe the 2-degree Celsius hotspots are a glimpse into our future. Aside from the higher than average regional temperatures, there are also other factors that pose a threat to U.S. communities such as cold, heat, flooding, drought and even rising sea-levels. Four of the top five cities with the “lowest degree of readiness” are in Southern California alone (Anaheim, San Bernardino, Santa Ana and Riverside) and have all reached between 1.8 degrees Celsius and 2.1 degrees Celsius of warming compared to pre-industrial levels. While it may be summer in the U.S., some communities have experienced a real climate crisis , signaling climate change needs to be addressed now. Via Grist, Washington Post Image via Isengardt

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The ‘tipping point’ has arrived as temperatures rise in 70 US counties

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