Central Park to undergo $150M LEED Gold-targeted redesign

September 25, 2019 by  
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To cap the Central Park Conservancy’s 40-year renewal of Central Park, the nonprofit has unveiled designs to update the park’s north end with a LEED Gold -targeted recreational facility, a new pool, skating rink and other amenities. The $150 million project also aims to repair the site’s damaged ecology and hydrology using environmentally responsible practices. The groundbreaking for the transformative project will take place in spring 2021 and construction is expected to reach completion in 2024. Designed with input from more than a year of extensive community engagement, the redesign for Central Park’s north end will replace the Lasker Rink and Pool that were built in 1966. The position of the rink and pool will also be changed; the facilities currently obstruct access between the Harlem Meer and the scenic Ravine to the south. In repositioning the pool and the rink building, the waterway will be reestablished and will once again flow overland through the Ravine into the Meer. To reconnect visitors to the water, a curvilinear boardwalk will be installed across a series of small islands and the new freshwater marsh. Related: Sustainable Central Park with energy-producing trees unveiled for Ho Chi Minh City In addition to improved biodiversity and landscape integration, the project will feature a new facility built into the topography of the site. The LEED Gold-seeking building will be built with locally sourced, natural materials of stone, wood and glass. Demolition debris will be recycled and reused on site wherever possible. Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass punctuated by slender wood columns will let in natural daylight to reduce reliance on artificial lighting and will create a seamless visual connection to the outdoor recreation areas. The roof will be landscaped to offer additional public gathering space and mitigate the urban heat island effect. “The fundamental premise of the design derives from the restoration’s leading objective: repairing the damaged ecology and hydrology of the site, a goal that filters through every aspect of the project’s commitment to sustainability and the highest standards of environmentally responsible construction practices,” reads the Central Park Conservancy press release. “By building into the slope to insulate the interior of the pool house, orienting the structure and its overhangs to shade the interior in summer and admit sunlight in winter and providing ‘ stack ventilation ‘ through the operable glass facade, the design’s passive climate control minimizes the use of energy for heating and cooling.” + Central Park Conservancy Images via Central Park Conservancy

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Central Park to undergo $150M LEED Gold-targeted redesign

Pacific heat wave threatens coral reefs in Hawaii and other regions

September 25, 2019 by  
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Researchers predict a major marine heat wave in the Pacific Ocean could prove disastrous to the fragile coral reefs along Hawaii’s Papa Bay and similar coastlines. Warmer water conditions often trigger coral bleaching, a condition that leaves coral reefs susceptible to mortality. Coral reefs play a very significant environmental and ecological role. As a habitat, for instance, they support many species in the marine environment. Coral reefs likewise serve as a protective barrier, buffering shorelines against deleterious wave action, especially during typhoon season, to minimize coastal damage and to prevent erosion. Healthy reefs contribute to local economies, particularly through tourism as well as commercial and recreational fishing. Related: ‘The Blob’ returns — marine heatwave settles over Pacific Unfortunately, when water is too warm, coral become stressed. They consequently expel the algae , or zooxanthellae, that live in their tissues. In doing so, coral turn white, a condition known as bleaching. Prolonged loss of the algae eventually leads to the coral’s demise. When coral reefs are compromised, the loss cascades, often causing far-reaching ecosystem repercussions. Back in 2015, a prominent marine heat wave eliminated half of the Papa Bay coastline’s coral reefs that surround Hawaii’s Big Island. This year, marine scientists associated with NOAA similarly predict that another round of very warm water will occur in the region once again. “In 2015, we hit temperatures that we’ve never recorded ever in Hawaii ,” NOAA oceanographer Jamison Gove said. “What is really important — or alarming, probably more appropriately — about this event is that we’ve been tracking above where we were this time in 2015.” Earlier this September, NOAA researchers warned of the Blob’s return. The Blob — the moniker coined by Washington state climatologist Nick Bond during the 2015 heat wave — describes the vast expanse of unusually warm water that occurred in the Pacific Ocean from 2014 to 2016. It adversely impacted coral reefs, causing global bleaching and diminished coastal fisheries’ yields throughout the Pacific. To date, this year’s Blob is reportedly the second-largest marine heat wave ever recorded in the past 40 years, just behind the 2014 – 2016 Blob. As a result, forecasts anticipate an even warmer October, which could critically undermine the coral that are still recovering from the first Blob. “Temperatures have been warm for quite a long time,” Gove continued.  “It’s not just how hot it is — it’s how long those ocean temperatures stay warm.” While scientists are not yet able to pinpoint the exact causes for ocean temperatures warming, it is believed human-influenced climate change is a salient factor. Restoration efforts are in the works. Research suggests coral can be conditioned to withstand future onslaught of warmer water. Both scientists and coral hobbyists are on a mission to breed “super corals” resilient enough to avoid bleaching. It is hoped the introduction of these “super corals” into the environment will fortify reefs to better evolve amidst global warming conditions. Via Associated Press Images via Terri Stewart and NOAA

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Pacific heat wave threatens coral reefs in Hawaii and other regions

Honda makes largest renewable energy purchase of any automaker

September 25, 2019 by  
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Multinational auto manufacturer Honda Motor Company, headquartered in Tokyo, recently made the largest renewable clean energy purchase by any car maker. The electricity will be utilized to offset emissions from its United States factories, thus enabling Honda to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent in its North American manufacturing plants. With widespread public debate and mounting regulatory pressures, automakers have no choice but to shift their business models to address the carbon dioxide reduction challenge. It is no wonder then that a growing number of automobile companies are turning to renewables, like wind and solar, to achieve sustainable returns. Related: Beautiful, solar-powered EV charging stations promise to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes According to Honda, it currently obtains about 21 percent of its North American operations’ power from low- or zero-emission power sources.  But it hopes to improve upon that, thanks to clinching the car industry’s largest renewable energy purchase. Honda’s new clean energy deal involves the purchase of wind power from an Oklahoma wind farm as well as sourcing energy from a Texas solar farm. Projections show that, with this clean energy purchase, Honda can annually offset 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equal to “100,000 U.S. households’ worth of CO2-emissions from household energy usage,” as described in Honda’s press release. Honda revealed, “Two Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs) will secure 320 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar power totaling over 1 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable electricity annually.” How do VPPAs operate? Honda explained that VPPAs are “a way for Honda to purchase renewable energy in locations where it is unable to purchase renewables from the local electric utility.” The automaker buys “electricity from a renewable energy supplier, but the clean energy does not go directly to Honda’s facilities; instead, it is sold into the electricity grid where the clean power is generated.” In effect, Honda’s ‘virtual purchase’ of that “renewable energy adds more clean energy into the nation’s grid,” which decreases fossil fuel dependency and any accompanying carbon dioxide emissions. Honda’s VPPA purchase essentially “de-carbonizes” the electricity grid. Analysts say VPPAs are becoming an ever-popular means for large corporations seeking to meet carbon dioxide emission reduction goals.  Tech giants, like Google and Microsoft, for instance, have historically purchased VPPAs as well. Business industry pundits forecast an uptick of VPPA procurements in the next couple of years as renewable energy policy intensifies. Aligned with its revitalized green mission, Honda’s long-term plans go far beyond clean energy purchases, as it continues its commitment to sustainability. The company similarly announced plans to electrify two-thirds of its manufactured vehicular fleet so that they are charged via renewable energy by 2030. + Honda Motor Company Image via Honda Motor Company

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Honda makes largest renewable energy purchase of any automaker

Infographic: 8 DIY Natural Repellents for Household Bugs

July 24, 2019 by  
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Summer is a time for hanging out by the pool, … The post Infographic: 8 DIY Natural Repellents for Household Bugs appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Infographic: 8 DIY Natural Repellents for Household Bugs

Solar-Powered smart home in LA can be remotely controlled with a phone

January 3, 2019 by  
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Los Angeles-based general contractor and real estate development firm LA Build Corp has recently completed a single-family custom home that combines luxury modern design with energy-saving smart home technologies. Located in West Hollywood’s Kilkea Drive, the contemporary dwelling is equipped with a full home automation system that allows the homeowners to control multiple aspects of the house—from the sound systems to the window shades—with a touch of a button on their smartphones. Set on a lot with a spacious backyard, the house on Kilkea Drive takes advantage of its large lot and southern California’s temperate weather with a design that emphasizes indoor/ outdoor living . The open-plan interior is coupled with operable walls of glass that not only flood the rooms with daylight but also provide unfettered views of the backyard that pull the outdoors in. The outdoor terrace appears as a seamless extension of the indoor living area and is a continuation of the home’s material palette and neutral color scheme. Natural materials including San Quentin black beach pebbles, Cedar, ipe, and Kebony Wood—sourced from Delta Millworks—are used inside and out for cohesion.   Building on the popularity of home automation, LA Build Corp installed a full home automation system that allows all parts of the home from the lighting and irrigation to the entertainment systems to be controlled remotely. The air conditioning system operates at 97% efficiency. Rooftop solar panels power the home and heating for the outdoor two-lane lap pool with a spa and a wading pool. Related: Geothermal-powered Halifax home uses automation for energy savings As mentioned in the project’s press release: “This home really epitomizes the Los Angeles lifestyle and celebrates the increase in popularity of home automation and efficiency. By incorporating details such as a living room fireplace with a glass back wall, large open windows, exterior landscaping in the interior, etc., LA Build Corp was able to take California’s year-round lifestyle and build a home that is suited for every season and current to today’s home building trends.” + LA Build Corp Images by Sky Photography LA

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Solar-Powered smart home in LA can be remotely controlled with a phone

Net-zero home brings sustainable design to a walkable Iowa City neighborhood

August 31, 2018 by  
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A 1960s home has been reborn into an eco-friendly abode with an impressive net-zero energy footprint. Designed by local architecture firm Neumann Monson , the Koser II is a single-family home that combines forward-thinking sustainable strategies within a contemporary envelope in a leafy and walkable Iowa City neighborhood. Powered by solar and geothermal energy, the home doesn’t sacrifice comfort or luxury in its pursuit of energy efficiency — it even includes a beautiful backyard pool. Covering an area of 2,850 square feet (including a 420-square-foot finished basement), the Koser II house is mainly spread out over a single level. To provide privacy, the street-facing facade is primarily clad in dark cedar planks and punctuated with few windows. A long slatted timber screen near the entrance also shields the home from views and frames an outdoor dining area. In contrast to its introverted exterior, the home’s interior is bright and airy with full-height glazing that lets in plenty of natural light and views. “The design bears the mark of the 1960s home that came before it,” the architecture firm explained. “Removing the existing house’s superstructure and incorporating its slab-on-grade foundation into the new construction makes the most of the predecessor’s limited potential. Additional foundations and a concrete collar support exterior walls of nine- and 10-foot pre-cut studs. Their height differential provides adequate slope to the 14-inch truss-joists spanning the 20-foot width. Operable windows extend to the ceiling plane, maximizing daylight penetration and encouraging cross-ventilation .” Related: After a makeover, this local “shack” becomes the envy of the neighborhood The renovated home also features foamed-in-place insulation and a continuous rigid insulation shell with R-24 walls and an R-40 roof. The light-filled interior is supplemented by LEDs at night and equipped with EnergyStar appliances. Radiant floor heating is complemented with a geothermal climate control system connected to an underground horizontally bored loop. A rain garden in the backyard mitigates stormwater runoff, while a 10.08kW solar array brings the home to zero-energy building performance. + Neumann Monson Images by Cameron Campbell Integrated Studio

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Net-zero home brings sustainable design to a walkable Iowa City neighborhood

This beautiful tiny home doubles as a tasty doughnut shop

August 31, 2018 by  
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Although we’ve seen a lot of tiny homes from Tiny Heirloom that make our design-loving hearts flutter, its latest masterpiece is making our mouths water. The prolific tiny home builders have just unveiled the ‘Kentucky Donut Shop’ — a compact structure that has been custom designed to let the owners of KY Son Eats bakery make and sell their doughnuts from one beautiful, sophisticated tiny house. The gorgeous tiny home and doughnut bakery was custom built for a couple who dreamed of selling their tasty products from a home on wheels. Tiny home design is challenging at any level, but the team at Tiny Heirloom went above and beyond to create a 275-square-foot space that would enable the owners to run a business without sacrificing the comforts of home. Related: Tiny Heirloom unveils ‘The Goose’ — a custom tiny home with stunning interiors From the outside, the tiny house looks like any other compact living space on wheels. Built on a 34-foot-long trailer, the exterior is clad in cedar siding, with the exception of the blue panels that frame the front door. On the interior, pine tongue and groove panels, engineered wood flooring and a beetle kill ceiling create a cabin-like aesthetic. The living area is flooded with natural light thanks to an abundance of windows. At the heart of the home is the professional-grade kitchen , which features stainless steel countertops and top-of-the-line appliances, such as a large baker’s oven, various sinks and a flat-top grill. There is also a microwave, deep fryer and large refrigerator. To avoid clutter and keep the shop organized, there is plenty of shelving space. As impressive as the spacious baker’s kitchen is, the designers didn’t sacrifice on the family’s main living areas when building the tiny home. Adjacent to the professional kitchen is the living room, which has a comfy couch and a small kitchenette, so the family can make a quick snack without having to use the larger kitchen. The home’s two bedrooms are located on sleeping lofts reached by two small ladders that can be stowed away when not in use. Now, the talented family can fully enjoy their time at home, even when they are hard at work. + KySon Eats Bakery + Tiny Heirloom Via New Atlas Images via Tiny Heirloom

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This beautiful tiny home doubles as a tasty doughnut shop

Ecocentric cantilevered home was designed to conform to the sloping Brazilian landscape

August 26, 2016 by  
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The architecture firm created a design that would require minimal, if any, grading of the land for building. To address the existing slope, the home was envisioned in multiple levels, with an elevated volume on concrete columns holding the main living space. The home’s overall footprint takes on a T-shape reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright that wraps around a serene pool and patio, which can be spotted from almost every room in the house. Related: CASA22 in Brazil is a light-filled interactive home for a family of 10 Steering clear of major land grading is not the only eco-friendly feature of this beautiful home. The residence has a rainwater collection system as well as natural ventilation and lighting throughout. It relies on solar energy for heat and was constructed with double exterior walls that contain air chambers, insulating the interior and regulating temperatures. Double-glazed windows offer another boost to the home’s energy efficiency. + Basso Engenharia Via Design Milk Images via Marcelo Donadussi

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Ecocentric cantilevered home was designed to conform to the sloping Brazilian landscape

Wild poolside oasis in Spain disguises offensive grey wall

June 29, 2016 by  
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The Spanish architect ’s challenge was deceptively simple on the surface: transform the private garden’s blighted view into a magical retreat. Prior to tapping Ocaña, the homeowners had struggled with a variety of approaches for softening the stark, grey wall, and abandoned each of those projects along the way. Plans for a living green wall had already been tossed aside, as the homeowner wouldn’t be satisfied with a wall of a different color. Something much more spectacular would have to come along in order to salvage the pool’s previous peaceful atmosphere. Once that mission was realized, and embraced, things got decidedly wild. Related: Gorgeous natural swimming pool uses no chlorine Ocaña’s proposal surmounts countless challenges with an out-of-the box approach to creating a new atmosphere around the pool area. As if in memoriam of the lost sunset view, the architect proposes an arrangement of round mirrors positioned at various heights and angles, in order to capture and reflect the sun at different times of the day. Behind the mirror array, diverse vegetation would create a soft, lush barrier to shield the offending grey wall. In order to pull off such an outlandish renovation, Ocaña’s design had to meet some difficult criteria. Because the concrete wall belongs not to the homeowners but to their neighbors, the new design had to stand independent from the wall, rather than rely on it as a building surface. Additionally, there were other considerations to accommodate, such as existing plants, the pool itself, and a stairway leading to the home’s basement. Hilariously, if those challenges were not enough, the entire structure also had to be modular because, in order to get it into the pool area in the first place, the elements had to be carried through a regular-sized door. So, the final design is comprised of 33 individual modules, which will be assembled to create a forked scaffolding that will also support a network of 60 nebulizers, which spray a mist of water into the air, creating ‘clouds.’ The forks allow the plants to overflow the scaffolding where they please, eventually hiding the bones of the structure and lending to the private microclimate created in this backyard oasis. + Manuel Ocaña Via Archdaily Images via Imagen Subliminal for Manuel Ocaña

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SXSW Eco Announces Winners of the 2014 Place by Design Competition

October 8, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of SXSW Eco Announces Winners of the 2014 Place by Design Competition Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: + pool , 2014 place by design , bcworkshop , Libros Libres , pavegen , Pavegen Systems , placemaking , sxsw , sxsw eco , sxsw eco place by design , Urban design

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