Stone Road grows sustainable cannabis on a biodynamic farm

February 23, 2022 by  
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Stone Road is not just any cannabis grower — is a sustainable operation with unique products. You may have tried cannabis by now in one of its many forms, but have you tried sustainable cannabis grown on an off-grid biodynamic farm? What about cannabis made into sauce or sugar packaged in recyclable plastic-free wrapping? Yeah, Stone Road is all the way sustainable like that. Stone Road is a queer-run, California-based grower and producer of sustainably grown cannabis products for “a new age of conscious consumers.” Stone Road flower is sun-grown on a 57-acre, off-grid biodynamic farm in Nevada City, California . This isn’t just good for the planet, it also ensures that each joint is “potent, pure and hand-rolled with love.” Related: We need to talk about the environmental impact of marijuana The brand aims to keep cannabis affordable. Unlike many new cannabis websites that use THC and CBD to create edibles, Stone Road sells straight joints, loose flower and a few unique products like cannabis sauce and cannabis sugar. “Stone Road is reimagining what affordable cannabis products can look, taste and feel like for a new generation of smokers,” the company said in a press release. “All Stone Road packaging is 99% recyclable and made from 100% post-consumer recycled goods so you can feel good about feeling good.” In 2016, founder Lex Corwin created Stone Road to be a queer-led family brand that focuses on accessibility, affordability and style. Corwin worked as a co-manager of a cannabis boutique in Portland, Oregon , working in the medical and legal cannabis space in cultivation, manufacturing and distribution. Now, Stone Road is one of the fastest-growing cannabis companies in the California and Oklahoma markets, with products available in over 120 retail outlets in California and 55 in Oklahoma. A New York expansion is on the way, too. The farm is seven hours north of Los Angeles, operating with only a half-acre worth of greenhouses on a 57-acre parcel. This keeps most of the land rural. “All of our water is straight from an artesian well, 460-feet-deep, at the ideal 6.4ph, which allows us to water straight from the earth,” Stone Road states on its website. You can visit the farm from May to September if you call ahead. Stone Road is also working to develop a sugarcane-based biodegradable bioplastic to shrink-wrap their joint boxes. The company has been working to bring as much of the operation in-house as possible, including packaging. It’s sustainable farming on a level rarely seen. Elaborating on the brand’s farming processes, the Stone Road website explains, “We utilize living soil to create mini ecosystems in each bed where our ladies live. The soil is an amalgamation of living organisms that creates natural pest barriers and encourages healthy plant growth. We never treat our plants with synthetic products – even if they are organically occurring – instead opting to use nature’s intended resources — ladybugs, predator mites, and a medley of beneficial fungi.” + Stone Road Images via Stone Road

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Art foundation in Oregon is a green space for creating

December 7, 2021 by  
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Sandy Bodecker founded the N M Bodecker Foundation in 2017 to create a collaboration and presentation space for creatives and artists in Portland , Oregon . The warehouse in Portland is designed to look like a labyrinth that reminded Bodecker of the journey of discovery he loved in the creative realization process. Now, the building has evolved as a unique art space for the Pacific Northwest. The designer cited Gordon Matta Clark’s “Building Cuts” as inspiration for the design of the Bodecker Foundation. Materials include repurposed items from the remodel, as well as contemporary carpet, steel, exposed plywood and wood trusses with custom lighting. Related: This apple factory turned artist ranch is a budding community “The warehouses were cut into and modified, while retaining the memory of their historic boundaries ,” Bodecker said. “Peeling back the roof of one and slicing the other, the warehouses were remixed and fused together with a new central core building.” The warehouse space is 7,769 square feet on multiple stories. The interior includes living areas and informal performance spaces, a recording studio and even an indoor skate park . Outside, living roofs and nearly 2,000 square feet of yard space complete the sustainable aesthetic. A third of the site is reserved as green space outside to manage water runoff. Unfortunately, Bodecker passed in 2018, after which the foundation moved into the space fully and made the work and performance spaces available to artists . Bodecker loved the feeling of curiosity and discovery in creating art that takes you back to being a kid discovering the world. The Bodecker Foundation said, “The collage of activities intersect and overlap to inspire a passion for collection, making and playing.” The new programs available in this space build around this core idea. The main spaces remain open to each other on the ground floor to encourage collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas for artists, musicians, performance artists and skaters. The homier living spaces for the artist in residence programs are located on the second and third floors, overlooking the public space below. + Skylab Architecture and Bodecker Foundation Photography by Jeremy Bitterman

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100-year-old railway yard turned into a green space

November 24, 2021 by  
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Parco Romana is an urban-scale redevelopment project in Milan ’s Porta Romana district. The international team behind it includes OUTCOMIST, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, PLP Architecture, Carlo Ratti Associati and Arup. They have just won a competition with its design, beating out 46 other teams representing nearly 330 studios. The Parco Romana design reinterprets a 100-year-old railway yard. It pulls together an urban space that was split by the railyard, reconnecting surrounding neighborhoods with a mixed-use district . Related: Forest Pavilion blends nature with residential development Parco Romana will revolve around a central Great Park, which creates an accessible and multifunctional green space for the neighborhood. The Suspended Forest, a linear elevated greenway to be built on existing railway infrastructure, will feature hundreds of trees overhanging walking paths. A wetland and woodland integrated with community gardens will run alongside the tracks at ground level. The selected team is collaborating with Gross.Max, Nigel Dunnett Studio and LAND for landscape design , Systematica for mobility, Studio Zoppini and Aecom for Olympics Advisory, Artelia on technical advisory and Portland Design for brand and story development. A consortium, including COIMA, Covivio and Prada Holding will develop the park. At the western edge, a mixed-use residential district will temporarily house athletes for the Milan 2026 Winter Olympics . After the Olympics, it will be adapted into a permanent multi-generational residential community. This area also houses a major public plaza with spaces for outdoor exercise, food trucks, co-working and public events. “Parco Romana brings the latest thinking about the 15-minute city to Milan, aiming to provide everything needed for daily life within a short walk from the district’s living and working environments,” said Carlo Ratti Associati. “A focus on pedestrians and cycling minimizes reliance on automobiles and activates new paths to and through the site, forming corridors integrated with new public plazas that act as natural gathering places at the intersection of major pedestrian routes.” Parco Romana will build its community around the values of decarbonization, climate adaption, resilient communities, health and wellbeing, circular economy and biodiversity. The design will make full use of low-carbon construction and renewable energy . + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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Modular design helps UCLA’s Pritzker Hall earn LEED Platinum

November 17, 2021 by  
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There’s no better place to ensure a healthy physical and mental environment than at a university undergraduate program for psychology. So when UCLA received $30 million in funding from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, it used the money to renovate the former Franz Hall into the modern and now complete Pritzker Hall.  Pritzker Hall is an eight-story building for students and staff involved in the psychology program. Originally built in 1967 by notable architect Paul Revere Williams, the structure has recently been updated through a collaboration between CO Architects and Tangram Interiors for a vibrant, modern, efficient design that earned LEED Platinum certification for  energy efficiency  and sustainability. Related: Portland State University’s new hall qualifies for LEED gold The team decided to refurbish the building, saving as many usable parts as possible. However, the new design expanded the lobby for an open feel that funnels in abundant  natural light . Due to the height and location, the building was also upgraded with seismic safety improvements. This was achieved via consultation from the university’s engineering department to develop 40 purpose-built dampers that act as shock absorbers for the above-ground floors. Classrooms, spaces to collaborate and research areas were all modernized for ADA accessibility while keeping elements such as the original structural waffle slab on the second floor and  natural materials  such as damaged marble walls and terrazzo flooring that were worked around instead of destroyed.  Throughout the building, energy-efficient LED lighting supplements study and lecture areas. The team incorporated other thoughtful touches like the addition of drought-tolerant  plants  and interior design elements by Tangram, such as student-focused furniture selections. Many of the primary spaces were designed with a modular and flexible design to suit the need for growth and change as the program expands.   “UCLA Psychology students and faculty alike are humbled by the thoughtfully designed Pritzker Hall renovation project,” said Victoria Sork, Dean of Life Sciences. “CO Architects together with Tangram, were able to honor the building’s history while providing the needed cutting-edge facelift. From the collaborative spaces throughout to the newage research labs, the innovative furniture and overall execution of design gives our program renewed confidence as one of the top psychology departments in the United States.” According to a press release, “Pritzker Hall was awarded the Westside Urban Forum Merit Award in the public /institutional category. The project was recognized for its emphasis on collaboration between students and faculty, while elevating the program’s candor and highly sought after psychology programs.” + Tangram Interiors Images via Tangram Interiors

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Modular design helps UCLA’s Pritzker Hall earn LEED Platinum

Is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade destroying the environment?

November 17, 2021 by  
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Thanksgiving is a day full of family and national traditions. The turkey goes into the oven, family and friends gather and the football lineup is noted. And on televisions across the country, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade streams on the TV. An event that large takes copious planning and coordination, but while it brings an uplifting spirit to the holiday , does it do the same for the planet? Helium Balloons The massive balloons that adorn the parade are a major undertaking. They require nearly 100 handlers each to keep them under control, and they’re not part of the parade during windy days. While they need to be controlled, the balloons are kept afloat by a massive amount of helium. Helium is a completely non-renewable resource, so the natural supply is always on decline. In fact, some estimates say we’ll run out in the next 50 years. During a helium shortage, the parade was put on hold during World War II, missing 1942 to 1944.  Related: Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s to be fur-free by 2021 Recognizing helium is a limited resource, special consideration is given to the gas at the end of each parade. Yet, it’s questionable whether the organizer’s efforts to recapture and recycle the helium after the event is effective. Having said that, even at an extraordinary price tag, the amount of helium used equates to a small percentage of usage for a single day in the country.  As for the material of the balloons themselves, they’ve received an environmental upgrade from the original rubber to a polyurethane fabric that can be upcycled in a variety of ways. However, it’s unclear if this actually happens when a balloon is retired.  Of course, durability is an important factor too. As there are one or two new character balloons added each year, some of them have been in service for decades with no aspirations for retirement.  Environmental awareness has increased over the years and is witnessed in changes throughout the history of the event. For example, balloons used to be released into the air at the end of the parade — a practice that was squashed in the 1930s with consideration for the environment , pilots and the public.  The balloons weren’t always part of the parade. In fact, early on, live animals were borrowed from the local zoo to participate in the festivities. Lions, tigers, bears… Oh my! Really though, speaking strictly from an environmental standpoint, live animals were less impactful than balloons. Yet, they were uninvited from the party after a few years, likely due to safety concerns. Scared children, clean up and inconvenience to others in the parade were other likely contributors in the decision.   Transportation There’s an unavoidable consequence of gathering large groups of people together. After all, just transporting three million people into the area will leave a carbon footprint . Then there’s the trucks required to haul the floats. Fortunately, the warehouse where the floats are built is a short distance from the parade route, so transport emissions remain low there. Not only that, but the location Moonachie, New Jersey was specifically chosen in 2011 and has housed the floats and supplies for the past ten years in the state-of-the-art and LEED-certified facility. Interestingly, this location adds a restriction to the float design. As part of the route into New York City, the floats must be transported through the Lincoln Tunnel. Inasmuch, floats must be no larger than 8.5 feet wide. However, many floats are designed to collapse in order to fit the restriction.  To counterbalance the big trucks in the parade , there are plenty who travel pedestrian style, leaving zero-impact in their wake. For example, there are only twelve bands chosen for the honor each year, all of which walk the entire route.   Macy’s sustainability practices It’s no surprise the organization continues to evolve the parade in alignment with the needs of the planet. Reducing waste and being energy-efficient is engrained in the company mission. The transition has been gradual, but the updates are continual. For example, the company relies on solar energy for many stores and has upgraded to energy-efficient LED lighting throughout most locations.  In the store and through the mail, Macy’s also pays attention to waste , using 100% recycled paper for their shopping bags and minimizing packing materials in the standardized packing cartons that improve transport efficiency, using less trucks and ensuring trucks are full before heading out. Marketing materials are also nearly 100% recycled, and the company is moving to e-bills to cut back paper consumption.  To put it simply While the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is unquestionably integrated into the very fabric of the holiday, no event that large can be completely sustainable.  Overall, considering the number of people involved, the overall impact is miniscule. If you add in the efforts at a corporate level to streamline everyday operations, Macy’s is a company to put on the yes list for eco-conscious shopping. Knowing the effort it puts into maintaining low transport emissions, energy reduction and plastic-free packaging, Macy’s is clearly balancing business with the needs of the environment.  Via Better Homes & Gardens and Earth 911 Images via Unsplash

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Portland State University’s new hall qualifies for LEED gold

November 2, 2021 by  
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Portland State University (PSU) located in the heart of Portland, Oregon has a long history of providing innovation and education to the pacific northwest city. So when the campus discussed Fariborz Maseeh Hall, a building constructed in the 1960s, the choices were to demolish it or renovate it. PSU decided to leave the structure in place and hired Hacker’s design team to lead the transformation.  Fariborz Maseeh Hall, originally known as Neuberger Hall, is an academic hub on campus . The client requested the space not only be converted from the original dark, pragmatic Brutalist architecture into an open and bright space, but also that it be brought up to modern standards of accessibility.  Related: PSU’s LEED Platinum School of Business features regionally sourced timber To achieve this goal, the team at Hacker removed a large central area of the five-story building with a focus on creating a flexible, welcoming and engaging space. The flow of the interior space placed an emphasis on the user experience for students, faculty, community members and other visitors to campus. Opening the middle section of the building welcomed in copious natural light , while removing only a small portion of the massive 250,000 square foot area.   The second goal was to “prioritize life-cycle and life-safety upgrades to the building as a whole.” In addition to incorporating light into the space, the team created a seamless connection between the indoor work and gathering spaces to the outdoor experience . The pacific northwest is known as an outdoor destination, a moniker seen throughout the Fariborz Maseeh Hall renovation in its connection to the main nearby streets and nearby urban parklike settings. With safety and accessibility in mind, the building was equipped with handicap features and enhanced way finding. The decision to renovate instead of replace the building reduces embodied carbon emissions that come with new construction. Although originally constructed in two phases, the recent upgrade joins the interior spaces with a cohesive look, while keeping the dynamic exterior appeal preserved. The facades did receive an upgrade with the addition of energy-enhancing curtainwall systems. The combination of replacing all windows with modern, efficient products and draping the entire interior design with natural light, the building sees an estimated 25% reduction in energy consumption and qualifies for LEED gold certification. + Hacker  Photography by Pete Eckert 

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Will promises from world leaders at COP26 actually happen?

November 2, 2021 by  
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Leaders from around the world are meeting in Glasgow this week for a major summit on climate change. The 26th Conference of the Parties, or COP26 for short, includes almost every country in the world. In addition to world leaders, tens of thousands of government representatives, negotiators, businesspeople and concerned citizens have descended upon Scotland for twelve days of intense discussion. Here’s a little of what’s happened since COP26 started on Halloween. First of all, some important folks are missing. Many leaders of Pacific Island nations — those more directly affected by climate change because they’re likeliest to disappear — couldn’t overcome the economic barriers and pandemic restrictions to attend. Only the leaders of Fiji, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea and Palau managed to get to Glasgow. Related: Officials worry COP26 climate conference is at “high risk of failure” Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados , spoke about overseeing an island threatened by rising seas. He also voiced frustrations that the most powerful countries weren’t doing enough to stem climate change. “Those who need to make the decisions are kicking the can down the road, and they believe that they can, because they are not seeing us — they see themselves,” she said, as reported by CNN. “For them, they don’t reach that period of peril for another 15 to 20 years… there are a lot of us who are going to be affected before Shanghai and Miami.”  Many countries are making promises, some more specific than others. The Brazilian delegation explained how they plan to end all illegal deforestation by 2028. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison talked about how Australia will lower its emissions 35% by 2030, which is actually one of the weaker pledges among developed nations. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged that India will hit net zero emissions by 2070. This is quite a while away, but as he pointed out, India is not chiefly responsible for the problem. “I’m happy to report that a developing country like India, which is working to lift millions out of poverty and working on their ease of living, accounts for 17% of the world’s population but only 5% of the world’s carbon emissions,” Modi said Monday, as reported by CNN. “But it has not left any stone unturned in fulfilling its promise, and the whole world agrees that India is the only big economy that has delivered on the Paris Agreement in letter and spirit.” China is currently the leading carbon emitter. President Xi Jinping is not attending COP26 in person. But he made vague promises in a written address about how China will “rein in the irrational development of energy-intensive and high-emission projects.” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett discussed his plan for Israel to be a “climate innovation nation” and to phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The small desert country has already proven itself innovative in water management. Bennett encouraged entrepreneurs around the world to launch startups that would address climate solutions.  “We’re in this together,” Mottley of Barbados emphasized. “If you haven’t learned from the pandemic that all of us are suffering, then you will not learn from anything. We need to move together.” Via CNN Lead image via Pexels

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New study reveals tree disparities across the US

June 30, 2021 by  
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As anybody who has ever sat under a tree has noticed, these tall, leafy plants provide shade. But what about people who live in neighborhoods without a heat-blocking tree canopy? They’re going to be a lot hotter and could possibly face worse health outcomes. A new study is raising awareness of shade disparity. Trees aren’t evenly distributed through neighborhoods. Poorer areas of cities, especially those where communities of color live, are often tree-deprived. This new report concludes that people need to plant 30 million more trees in urban areas of the U.S. in order to achieve tree equity . Related: South Korea to plant 3 billion trees by 2050 Conservation organization American Forests recently released its first tally of tree equity scores, using a metric based on population density, existing tree cover, socioeconomic makeup and other relevant criteria. The study looked at 150,000 neighborhoods in 486 cities around the U.S. Current tree cover is about 10% short, the study concluded. Cities need to plant more than 31 million more trees to reach equity. “We need to make sure the trees go where the people are. Tree Equity Score steers us in the right direction, and now it’s up to all of us to go beyond business as usual and take bold action,” said Jad Daley, American Forests president and chief executive officer, as reported by The Guardian . The study proved that white people have tree privilege. Neighborhoods where the majority of residents are people of color averaged about one-third less tree canopy than predominately white neighborhoods. Very low-income areas, where more than 90% of people live in poverty , have 65% less tree canopy than the most affluent neighborhoods. Because trees remove fine particulates from air, they help people breathe more easily. From its research in Dallas, American Forests showed that heat-related deaths could drop 22% if the city planted more trees and added more reflective surfaces. According to the study, some of the country’s biggest cities really, really need more trees. These include Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Fresno, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose and New York City. + American Forests Via The Guardian Image via Jay Mantri

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Ekodome’s Geodesic Dome Kits turn into popup shelters or greenhouses

June 30, 2021 by  
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If you enjoyed building forts as a kid, you’re going to love the modular design of the Ekodome Geodesic Dome Kits, which provide options for a versatile dome with endless possibilities. The Geodesic Dome Kits are made by Ekodome, a company based in Brooklyn, New York City. The concept is simple with an aluminum frame that you put together, DIY-style. It’s made with high-quality, durable materials for a long lifecycle. Supplies include the aluminum hub and hub caps with EPDM seal on, aluminum struts and caps both equipped with TPE SEBS seals and stainless steel bolts and nuts. Related: Agrodomes are individual greenhouses for budding crops Once constructed, the geodesic dome can be used for a multitude of purposes such as a greenhouse, garden shed or glamping tent. You might want to employ it as a temporary work space, living quarters or a chicken coop. It would also work as an off-grid tiny home or disaster relief shelter. Each frame can be covered with your choice of material, ranging in thickness from 4mm to 10mm. This allows you the ability to adapt the unit for use as a greenhouse with plastic or as a shelter with fabric. You can form your own coverings using company templates or wait for the pre-cut panels, which are expected to be offered soon. The modular design allows you to connect units together via tunnels for the true Mars experience and also for protection from the elements here on Earth. The geodome concept isn’t new and has been used for tents and full-size homes with an understanding that the design is strong, light and efficient. However, these domes often have notable issues in regards to water resistance and reliable, protective cladding options. Ekodome has overcome those challenges using innovative technology to create strong seals throughout. The company now offer five geodome solutions. Ekodome explained, “The five different models at various sizes are named after the feelings they evoke at first sight: Seed, for being the smallest in size; Luna, for being able to connect to bigger sizes like a satellite; Terra, for being the most common size for greenhouses ; Stellar, for its stunning look and Cosmos, for its massive dimensions.” + Ekodome Images via Ekodome

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Ekodome’s Geodesic Dome Kits turn into popup shelters or greenhouses

Staggered volumes help make Portland’s Slate building an energy-efficient marvel

August 15, 2017 by  
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Portland, Oregon’s new mixed-use development , known as Slate, consists of a shifting stack of volumes that reflect the vibrancy and complexity of the neighborhood. The development, designed by Works Progress Architecture for co-developers Urban Development Partners and Beam Development , earned  LEED Gold certification as an energy-efficient complex that takes the curtain-wall system to the next level. The 10-story development has six floors of apartment units, up to four floors of co-working office spaces and around 7,800 square feet of retail space at street level. Its modular, rectangular shapes have a sculptural quality on the east and west elevations, while a flat, clean look dominates the north and south side of the building. Related: Oregon’s Largest Education Building Achieves LEED Platinum Certification The architects worked closely with the glazing contractor to create a unitized curtain-wall system. Dallas Glass installed Wausau Window and Wall Systems, which can be put in place in a fraction of the time needed to install field-glazed systems. Related: Cherokee Mixed-Use Lofts is a LEED Platinum Award Winning Design The facade was thermally improved to respond to the challenges of Portland ‘s climate. This thermal barrier is combined with solar-control, low-e, insulating glass to achieve a high performance for solar heat gain control, condensation resistance and high visible light transmittance. The system also facilitates optimal natural ventilation in order to reduce the reliance of HVAC systems. + Works Progress Architecture Photos by Joshua Jay Elliott , courtesy of Works Progress Architecture

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