UK’s first energy positive classroom produces 1.5x the energy it uses

June 29, 2018 by  
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After one year in operation, the numbers are in: the United Kingdom ‘s first energy-positive classroom is capable of producing 1.5 times the amount of energy it needs to operate. Known as the Active Classroom, the energy-producing classroom stands as a shining example of what is possible as the U.K. and other nations attempt to transform their energy systems in response to climate change. The building was designed by experts at SPECIFIC, a U.K. Innovation and Knowledge Center led by Swansea University, whose “research focuses on developing solar technologies and the processing techniques that take them from the lab to full-scale buildings,” according to its research director Dave Worsley . Currently, 40 percent of British energy is consumed by buildings. The Active Classroom incorporates several different technologies and design features to achieve its net positive energy status. The roof is curved and lined with laminated photovoltaic panels , while a thermal photovoltaic system is installed on the southern facing wall of the building, capable of producing heat and energy from its sun -exposed location. To store this energy, the classroom harnesses lithium ion batteries and a 2,000 liter water tank specifically for storing solar heat. Related: Magical new classroom reconnects children with nature in the UK The Active Classroom stands next to the Active Office, a similar structure built by SPECIFIC. “The Active Office and Classroom will be linked together and able to share energy with each other and electric vehicles , demonstrating how the concept could be applied in an energy-resilient solar-powered community,” Worsley said. These buildings are designed to be simple and quick to assemble, taking only about a week to set up. “It’s difficult to overstate the potential of developing a building that powers itself,” explained Innovate U.K. executive chair Ian Campbell . “The concept could genuinely revolutionize not only the construction sector but completely change how we create and use energy.” + SPECIFIC Via ScienceDaily Images via SPECIFIC

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UK’s first energy positive classroom produces 1.5x the energy it uses

Your macaroni and cheese could contain harmful industrial chemicals

July 14, 2017 by  
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Around 10 years ago, chemicals called phthalates were banned from children’s toys. But researchers recently detected them in food children (and all of us) commonly eat: macaroni and cheese. Phthalates can disrupt hormones and have been connected to birth defects, but were found in high amounts in the powdered cheese common in macaroni and cheese mixes. Researchers tested 30 cheese products and found phthalates in 29 of them; in powdered cheese, phthalate amounts were four times higher than in other cheese products. The potentially harmful chemicals are used in plastics or packaging ink, so while they’re not intentionally added to food, they can migrate into products via food processing equipment or packaging. Related: Glyphosate found in Cheerios, Kashi cookies, and other popular food items The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not banned phthalates in food. But according to the research summary , phthalates threaten the health of pregnant women and children. Researchers said there are multiple studies that connect prenatal exposure to the chemicals with with abnormal brain development. The New York Times said phthalates have been connected with behavior and learning issues in children. The researchers decided to test cheese after a 2014 scientific review said dairy products are “the greatest source of dietary exposure” to DEHP – which the researchers describe as the phthalate most widely restricted – for babies and women who could get pregnant. In this recent research, among all 30 products, DEHP was detected most commonly and in higher average concentrations than other phthalates. The researchers are calling on Kraft to take action; nine of the tested products were made by the company. The Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging, a group of nonprofit organizations, released the research summary on the website #KleanUpKraft in time for National Macaroni and Cheese Day today. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign director Mike Schade said in a statement, “The good news is that there are safer, affordable alternatives to phthalates. Kraft should identify and eliminate any phthalates in its cheese products by ensuring that safer alternatives are used in food processing and packaging materials throughout its supply chain.” + #KleanUpKraft Via The New York Times and the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging Images via Pixabay and Mike Mozart on Flickr

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Your macaroni and cheese could contain harmful industrial chemicals

Google Avoiding ‘Red List’ Building Materials

June 30, 2011 by  
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Last month, Google announced that it would no longer use any of the construction materials found on the Living Building Challenge’s “red list.” For a company that is opening new office space at a rate of 40,000 square feet (about 3,700 square meters) per week, that’s a lot of construction activity, and a lot of materials that are no longer being used for those projects. It’s also a leadership role from a company that wants to be environmentally positive. The red list (as opposed to the green list) is a list of construction materials that include components made from products such as mercury, asbestos, PVC, formaldehyde and lead

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Google Avoiding ‘Red List’ Building Materials

Coffee Processing Civet Family Splits in Three

September 30, 2010 by  
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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons No one likes to see a family pulled apart , but in this case the result is two new species: Scientists studying the genome of Paradoxurus hermaphroditus have decided that, in fact, the Asian palm civet is three distinct species…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Coffee Processing Civet Family Splits in Three

Schwarzenegger Blasts "Black Oil Hearts" of Prop 23 Backers

September 30, 2010 by  
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Say what you will about California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but despite being the onetime public face of the Hummer , he’s consistently come out on the side of good green policy for his state. And he may have just offered up his most vehement defense of any green law out there, criticizing the Texas oil company-led effort to pass Proposition 23, which would overturn California’s groundbreaking climate law.

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Schwarzenegger Blasts "Black Oil Hearts" of Prop 23 Backers

Lance Armstrong Tweets About His New Nissan LEAF

September 30, 2010 by  
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Image: Twitter screen grab Looks Pretty Sweet! Lance Armstrong, uber-cyclist, crime fighter , and electric car early-adopter , has just tweeted that his new Nissan LEAF electric car has arrived. He sent a pic (see below for a bigger version), and it looks good. A nice change from the blue paint that almost all LEAFs have had so far…

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Lance Armstrong Tweets About His New Nissan LEAF

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