Green Laundry Lounge bridges sustainability and community

March 24, 2022 by  
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Located near Greenville, South Carolina, Green Laundry Lounge (GLL) is a first-of-its-kind multi-use space. It integrates two main components, a laundromat and a café. Founder Jay Desai envisioned a space that reinvented the typical laundromat concept with an added twist of sustainability and community. The center serves as a space for people to do their laundry while spending quality time with family and friends. The laundry lounge’s spatial layout allows for flexibility and maximizes sustainable design. GLL’s spaces encourage various interactions and activities. These spaces range from the gathering areas such as the patio to the more introverted spaces like the iPad station. In line with GLL’s eco-friendly ethos, several building components feature repurposed materials. These include reclaimed wood walls and furniture made from recycled materials. Additionally, the space has tall ceilings to maximize natural light and limit the use of artificial lighting. Related: These detergents are eco-friendly, cruelty and waste free GLL’s selection of laundry equipment supports its goal to remain environmentally friendly. The laundromat utilizes ultra-high-efficiency Electrolux equipment with EcoPower technology. The machines have cascade-like water flows, maximizing washing while minimizing water usage and cycle time. They can also wash or dry up to nine loads of laundry at once. The machines’ incredible efficiency slashes the time, electricity, water, and carbon footprint involved in the laundry all at once. Alongside the incredibly efficient machines, GLL also uses environmentally-friendly detergents and cleaning processes. Its cleaning products contain no harsh chemicals and are locally sourced from  Nood Clean . Additionally, GLL offers wet-cleaning services that recycle water as an alternative to dry cleaning. Wet cleaning uses eco-friendly, water-soluble products to gently launder clothing. Since the process lacks harsh cleansing solvents, wet-cleaning laundry products are better for the environment and help fabrics retain their vibrant colors. These intentional decisions balance cleaning solutions with preventing harm to the surrounding ecology. The café at GLL also features sustainably sourced food and beverages with an Indian twist. Desai partnered with the nearby Oak Hill Café and Farm to source ingredients and create the menu. This menu includes a range of pastries, salads, bowls and sandwiches, most of which incorporate flavorful Indian spices. Similarly, beverages are also locally-sourced and served in cups made of 100% recycled materials. The café offers various local beers, canned wines and coffee from Due South Coffee Roasters. Desai’s family’s masala chai is also a big hit. Green Laundry Lounge’s sustainable strategies all work to limit negative environmental impacts and support local community members. The space transcends the typical typology of a laundromat and transforms it into a flexible environment that allows for balance between mundane chores and community interactions. + Green Laundry Lounge Via Off the Grid Greenville Photography by Jay Desai

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Green Laundry Lounge bridges sustainability and community

Carbon credits a fraud, Australian whistleblower says

March 24, 2022 by  
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According to a whistleblower, the Australian government has wasted over $1 billion of taxpayer money on the carbon credits system. Professor Andrew Macintosh, former head of the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee, spent years working on the integrity of Australia’s carbon credit system. Macintosh now says the system is a fraud that wastes taxpayer money without any significant environmental impact. Macintosh claims the growing carbon market offers no value to the environment or taxpayers. The professor’s new academic papers further discredit the system. His research shows that the carbon credits represent no real cuts in greenhouse missions. Related: Australia fails to monitor its threatened wildlife species “What is occurring is a fraud on the environment, a fraud on taxpayers and a fraud on unwitting consumers,” Macintosh said. “People are getting credits for not clearing forests that were never going to be cleared, they are getting credits for growing trees that are already there, they are getting credits for growing forests in places that will never sustain permanent forests and they are getting credits for operating electricity generators at large landfills that would have operated anyway.” Macintosh’s papers also question the growing number of private companies that trade carbon emissions . With the private carbon market estimated at $150 million last year, Macintosh suggest the trade mostly benefits business proprietors. Of more concern is the carbon offset program’s application to regrowing native forests in cleared areas. This is the most popular carbon credit method in Australia, where individuals are paid to grow trees on deforested native forest land. Over the years, landowners have signed deals worth over $1.5 billion for the reforestation program. Macintosh argues that money is wasted since many forests would have regrown without human interference. Alongside colleagues, Macintosh analyzed over 119 human-induced regeneration projects in Queensland and South Wales. The team found that the government issued 17.5 million carbon credits to these projects. Ideally, each credit should represent one metric ton of carbon dioxide absorbed by growing trees. However, the researchers observed that the forest barely increased despite the investment. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Carbon credits a fraud, Australian whistleblower says

Sustainable design guides the eco-conscious Trellis House

March 24, 2022 by  
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Trellis House in Washington D.C. goes above and beyond to deliver on climate promises to residents of this new eco-friendly apartment building. What’s better than a new LEED Platinum mixed-income apartment building? A LEED Platinum development that reduces the environmental effects of the previous on-site development. Trellis House not only delivers sustainable design and healthy indoor living spaces but also reduces the heat island effect and consumes 21% less energy than the site’s previous building. Trellis House is a multi-family mid-rise apartment building project in Washington, D.C., developed by Rise Real Estate to address community needs on all levels. It is mixed-income, mixed-use and sits just across the street from Howard University. The building’s design reduces the heat island effect from the site’s previous development by introducing a green roof and non-absorptive hardscape materials. Voluntary remediation to remove underground storage tanks and contaminated soil from the prior development also improves the site’s health and safety. Related: ODA’s vibrant new complex transforms a conventional DC block The dense, pedestrian-friendly project offers easy access to transportation, employment and recreation areas. The building even includes a yoga studio, fitness center, pool, pet spa, hydroponic garden and electric vehicle charging stations. Bicycle storage for residents encourages sustainable transportation. The project even saves 21% more energy than the baseline building and uses 30% less water. Alongside high-efficiency equipment and appliances in the building, ventilation systems deliver outside air for a healthy indoor environment for residents. Further, construction favored recycled , locally sourced and low-emitting materials. This smart design combines environmentally friendly and wellness-focused features for a high-end and healthy living space. Trellis House’s sustainable design even won the project a National Association of Home Builders’ 2019 Best in American Living Silver Award. Judges praised the development for its “unexpected” details and embracing “the history and context of the neighborhood while delivering the first multifamily midrise LEED Platinum -certified project in the Washington D.C. market.” + Trellis House D.C. Photography by Joel Lassiter

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Sustainable design guides the eco-conscious Trellis House

How not to be a loser in the next viral cheetah video

March 24, 2022 by  
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In a recent popular YouTube video, more than a dozen impala bounce across the screen. Then, a cheetah flies out of the bushes, cutting off an impala. The cheetah chases the impala until it falls beside… a red BMW?! The video has many wildlife enthusiasts upset. It was made near an entry point to  South Africa’s  Kruger Park and shows people standing outside of, perched on or hanging out of at least 20 cars. Their chatter, cameras and human smell disturbed the cheetah, who retreated off the road and stood looking around for a full minute, unsure what to do. Eventually, it decided to brave the human presence, dashing among them long enough to drag the impala off the road, then exit stage left. Related: You can now explore all 19 of South Africa’s National Parks on Google Maps “It is quite sad to see that many visitors breaking the rules,” said Sarah Oxley, project administrator for Latest Sightings, which posts  wildlife  videos from Kruger National Park, as reported by HuffPost. “Because the sighting happened near Crocodile Bridge, a popular entry point into the park, the traffic built up really quickly and that is why there are so many people at the sighting.” According to the Kruger Park website, “Kruger Park cheetahs have helped show that the carnivore can successfully  hunt  in wooded areas, not just on open grassland plains.” This video proves they can also hunt on roads with people and parked cars on either side. But they shouldn’t have to. Kruger Park is a stronghold for this amazing spotted cat , which can run up to 60 miles an hour. Some estimates put the South African cheetah population at fewer than 1,000. In case you saw the video and are thinking of buying a ticket to South Africa, renting a red BMW and getting close to some cheetah/impala action, let’s quickly go over the  rules of Kruger Park . You are supposed to be quiet. Stay in the car, keep your windows up and your doors locked, as baboons have learned to open car doors and might want to hop in with you. “Leaving your car is forbidden and is punishable by a fine,” according to the park website. Even if you have a flat tire, you’re supposed to call park administration to send a breakdown service rather than step out of your car. Don’t be the next disrespectful loser caught in a viral cheetah video. Via HuffPost Lead image via Pixabay

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How not to be a loser in the next viral cheetah video

Magic Johnson Park is the first off-leash dog park in South LA

February 18, 2022 by  
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The Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park in Los Angeles has already won six awards for its sustainable design. Now it’s moving onto its Phase 1B, becoming the first off-leash dog park in South L.A. The Magic Johnson Park was winner of the following awards in 2021: American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC-CA): Honor Award American Society of Civil Engineers — Los Angeles (ASCE): Sustainable Engineering Project of the Year American Society of Landscape Architects — Southern California Chapter: Quality of Life Award of Excellence, Honor Award for Parks and Recreation Los Angeles Business Council (LABC): Architectural Award for Civic Southern California Development Forum (SCDF): Honor Award in the Civic category United States Green Building Council — Los Angeles (USGBC-LA): Water, Equity and Environmental Justice, and Project of the Year   Related: LA’s Magic Johnson Park now features a stormwater recycling system “The continuing efforts of the renovation at Magic Johnson Park further transforms this park for the community, allowing for greater access to nature and advancing sustainability efforts as a model for urban parks ,” said Wendy Chan, MIG Senior Landscape Architect. “We hope the opening of Phase 1B brings more of the community out to enjoy its new amenities, especially during a time when access to the outdoors is as important as ever.” Now, the new park is being called the gold standard in sustainable park design. It offers a hub for the community and demonstrates how urban environments can be models of water conservation. The park surrounds a lake that has viewing stations with educational signs about wildlife, as well as a playground area, walking trails and many green planted spaces. This next phase of the park will include: .75 miles of walking trails, an off-leash dog park, California native habitat gardens, a natural outdoor amphitheater, a .25-mile fitness loop with exercise equipment and even a community lawn. Furthermore, the park diverts and captures stormwater runoff from the community’s 375-acre watershed. It is part of the overall Compton Creek Watershed. The stormwater is treated through natural bio-filtration via mitigated wetlands surrounding one of the park’s two lakes. Additionally, the treated water is stored in both lakes and reused for park irrigation. This park was designed to create a model for other parks to integrate water sustainability design while educating the public about water conservation. + AHBE | MIG Images via AHBE | MIG

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Magic Johnson Park is the first off-leash dog park in South LA

LEED Gold Walden Pond Visitor Center honors Thoreau’s legacy

February 7, 2022 by  
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The Thoreau Society honors the author’s legacy with the sustainable, LEED Gold Walden Pond Visitor Center in Massachusetts. This eco-friendly building pays homage to naturalist Thoreau, who wrote “Walden,” a famous text in which he journaled his observations of the local environment at Walden Pond. The Walden Pond Visitor Center has an exceptionally small carbon footprint, just the way Thoreau would have wanted. A solar canopy in the parking lot helps power the building. The center sits nestled behind trees and is an all-electric, net-zero building that implements Passive House principles. The building systems operate without fossil fuels. Triple-pane windows and extra insulation keep the heat in during winter. In warmer weather, windows, ceiling fans, and clerestories offer natural ventilation and light, reducing the need for air conditioning and artificial lighting. Related: LEED Gold HEC Montreal will house AI research The walls and floors of the visitor center are made from local maple, ash, and red oak. Water-efficient plumbing fixtures and low/no-VOC paints and finishes were used throughout. Solar hot water and Variable Refrigerant Flow heat pump systems power the building. Outside, an electric charging station allows visitors to charge their vehicles. Ken Bassett, chair of the Walden Pond Advisory Board, helped lead the visitor center project. Bassett brought together the Thoreau Society, the Walden Woods Project, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The DCR hired Maryann Thompson Architects of Watertown, landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., of Cambridge, and ObjectIDEA of Salem. Together, these teams helped The Walden Pond Visitor Center reach LEED Gold. The Thoreau Society won a public bid to manage the Shop at Walden Pond. “The store is an important outreach component of the Society’s Mission to stimulate interest in and foster education about Thoreau’s life, works, and legacy,” the Thoreau Society said in a statement. “As part of the Society’s commitment to the preservation of Thoreau Country, 10% of the net sales proceeds from the store will directly benefit Walden Pond State Reservation.” + The Tho r eau Society Images by Iwan Baan

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Protecting wildlife could prevent pandemics and save money

February 7, 2022 by  
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An analysis in  Science Advances  has established that protecting wildlife could help prevent pandemics and save money. The report suggests that global leaders and policymakers should change their approach to zoonotic viruses to prevent the widescale damages caused by pandemics . Each year, an average of 3 million people die from zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are those that pass from wildlife to humans. The recent analysis shows that stopping wildlife destruction that leads to human-animal contact could cost less than dealing with zoonotic diseases. Researchers say that preventing nature destruction could cost the world about $20 billion a year, which is just 10% of the economic damage caused by the diseases. Related: Rilu the snow leopard has passed away due to COVID The paper criticizes governments and policymakers that only focus on handling the outbreak instead of prevention. “That premise is one of the greatest pieces of folly of modern times,” said the study’s lead author Professor Aaron Bernstein of the Center for Climate , Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University. To address this problem, the paper has a three-point proposal. Among the proposed actions are global surveillance of viruses in wildlife, stringent control of hunting and wildlife trade and stopping deforestation. The researchers say these measures would not only help prevent zoonotic viruses but also fight the biodiversity and climate crises. Bernstein says that the world should learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and correct how issues are handled moving forward.  “Our salvation comes cheap [because] prevention is much cheaper than cures,” Bernstein said. “If Covid-19 taught us anything, it is that we absolutely cannot rely on post-spillover strategies alone to protect us. Spending only five cents on the dollar can help prevent the next tsunami of lives lost to pandemics by stopping the wave from ever emerging, instead of paying trillions to pick up the pieces.” The analysis doesn’t just focus on COVID-19. Additional zoonotic diseases cited in the analysis include multiple bird flu outbreaks, Ebola, and Zika, among others. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Seoul green city has food within a 10-minute walk anywhere

November 15, 2021 by  
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Hyundai Development Company hired UNStudio in 2019 to design a green, mixed-used neighborhood in Seoul, Korea , a 10-minute city for the new digital economy. That means mixed-use spaces, green energy and digital packages for residents who are expected to live, work and play in the 504,000 square meter neighborhood. Project H1’s added technology lifestyle package is designed to go beyond traditional smart city models to serve residents in ways that free up time for leisure. Digital infrastructure also can manage energy production and consumption, communal spaces and local food production. Will it work? The plan is to create all desired amenities from a larger city, including food within a 10-minute walk of anyone’s home within the development. “For the H1 masterplan, we have aimed to create the ultimate contemporary 10-minute city , where the daily life experience of the residents is the top priority,” said Ben van Berkel of UNStudio who helped head the project. “We do this through the inclusion of a rich density of uplifting, curated on-site experiences that provide an extensive range of options for how they can spend their living, working and leisure time, thereby also saving them the time needed to travel elsewhere in the city — because with time that is saved, more time is created.” The plan proposes to achieve these goals through System Design, which focuses on flexibility, adaptability and arranging components of a neighborhood according to varying needs. “We have taken an approach of ‘flexible urban density.’ This enables the multi-functional use of public space and employs mixed-use organizational models to ensure that the residents can meet, connect and socialize, both in planned and spontaneous scenarios,” added Berkel. “The components of the masterplan not only encourage the creation of strong community bonds, the proposed digital service packages also create an unprecedented level of convenience for the residents.” + UNStudio Images via WAX & Virgin Lemon

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Biophilic Belgian Pavilion features futuristic sustainable design

November 12, 2021 by  
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The theme of Expo 2020 Dubai is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” In line with this, the Belgian Pavilion, called The Green Arch, seeks to be exemplary in the realm of sustainable development. The architects, Vincent Callebaut Architectures and Assar Architects, have used futuristic design through greenery, solid timber construction and passive energy to showcase how developments in architecture will give rise to environmentally-friendly cities. Located in the “Mobility District” of the Expo site, the building serves several purposes. By organizing the main exhibits on higher floors, the ground level is left open for use by the public and features delectable Belgian gastronomy. The pavilion also maximizes the prevailing west-east winds of Dubai and creates a well-ventilated covered space with 3D-printed white concrete street furniture. Related: WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion The Green Arch is also a “bridge-building” that links the Mobility and Sustainability districts at Expo 2020. The pavilion is formed of two pillars and a vault with double curvature, also known as a hyperbolic paraboloid. The paraboloid that envelopes the project is made of 5.5 linear kilometers of spruce cross-laminated timber ( CLT ) and forms a giant mashrabiya, an intricate perforated screen that controls sunlight and filters in cool breezes, taking a modern approach to Middle Eastern vernacular latticework. The pavilion is powered by renewable energy and uses a large photovoltaic canopy to produce electricity and heat water for the building. The playfully cantilevering balconies and extensive rooftop not only provide views to other parts of the Expo site but also house over 2,500 plants, shrubs and trees, which are drip-irrigated and create the pavilion’s refreshing microclimate through evapotranspiration. Through educational scenography, visitors embark on an immersive experience through the country in 2050, encompassing the theme of a technologically advanced and eco-friendly Belgium in the decades to come. A futuristic escalator is designed to simulate the experience of a space-time tunnel, casting the guests to the future and into the exhibits that showcase how the nation’s three regions, Brussels , Flanders and Wallonia, are working towards a smarter, greener future. Upon the completion of the Expo 2020 event, the pavilion will not be destroyed. “The building will not be doomed to destruction,” said Pierre-Yves Dermagne, the Belgian Federal Minister for the Economy. “Everything has been done so that it can be rebuilt , I hope, in Belgium.” + Vincent Callebaut Architectures and Assar Architects Images courtesy of Nizar Bredan, Greg O’Leary, and Vincent Callebaut

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Scotland’s plastic ban may fail due to UK’s internal strife

November 12, 2021 by  
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The Scottish government has announced it will ban the sale of plastic straws, cutlery and polystyrene food packaging next year. This is part of a larger plan to reduce plastic waste and cut pollution. The ban will include all polystyrene food packaging containers and their lids, as well as balloon sticks, plates, coffee stirrers and other single-use plastics. Although the Scottish government has pledged to enact the ban on June 1, doubts abound due to its entanglement in U.K. climate policies. The ban itself is parallel to a similar ban planned across the U.K. Individual countries within the union have expressed their doubts about the ban’s effectiveness, prompting the move for individual policies. Related: Innovative biomaterials to help the world replace plastic The U.K. is accused of being slow to enact key climate decisions. In 2020, England banned plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers, but the ban has yet to begin. The U.K. is still consulting on the matter, in a process that seems to be taking a lifetime. Due to such delays, the Scottish government is worried the ban could be undermined by the U.K. market’s internal rules. Under U.K. market rules, all the countries in the union have to wait for a harmonized move on climate matters, since they share the same market and customers. According to Lorna Slater, a Scottish Green Party Minister, the climate disaster is an emergency and should be addressed fast. Slater says there is no time to waste since the oceans and landfills are already overwhelmed by plastic waste. “Every year, hundreds of millions of pieces of single-use plastic are wasted in this country,” Slater said. “They litter our coasts, pollute our oceans and contribute to the climate emergency. That has to end and this ban will be another step forward in the fight against plastic waste and throwaway culture.” Slater has expressed her fears over the matter, saying that if the ban is implemented in Scotland alone, it might be sidestepped by people shopping in England. The minister has written to other ministers to see whether the U.K. could consider allowing Scotland to make independent policies on the matter.  The U.K. and its four member states have been criticized for being reluctant to implement these bans. Already,  the E.U. and its 27 member states  have banned single-use plastics. The U.K. is now under pressure to speed up its process to avoid littering the region. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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