This dad built a backyard coffee shop with repurposed materials

July 28, 2020 by  
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When Julianna Astrid posted about the DIY coffee shop that her dad, Ed, built in his  backyard , her social media blew up with supportive comments. The impressive backyard cafe uses only repurposed construction materials, combined with various pieces from swap meets, antique stores and thrift stores. Ed works full time as a contractor in Orange County and took unused  building materials  from past projects to build the structure. He finished the job in just three months, working on the weekends and after his regular work hours to complete the passion project. Related: San Francisco superdad builds homemade roller coaster in his backyard As daughter Julianna explained to  Newsweek , “My dad is a contractor and has been on so many job sites where he has to throw old materials away to make room for the new remodels ; but he saved some of the ‘trash’ from numerous jobs and repurposed it to create his coffee shop; these things included materials to build the structure, the coffee shops doors and the front window!” The mini coffee shop, or “La Vida” as Ed has named it, serves as a place to relax and enjoy a brew with friends and family. The design features a painted wooden exterior and interior, a bar area under one of the glass windows and a dedicated outside patio with string lights and seating. A cute pastry case and a mini-fridge filled with cold  coffee  beverages fill out the space. From the chalk menu board to the cozy chess table in the corner, you’d never know that you were in someone’s private backyard rather than an actual cafe. Julianna originally posted about La Vida on her TikTok in March before  tweeting  about it in June. Since then, the Twitter post has received over 37,000 retweets and 302,000 likes. According to Julianna, her dad has always loved coffee and building, so this project came naturally for the hardworking contractor. The space is still a work in progress, with Ed keeping an eye out for different types of coffee beans from around the world and unique pieces from second-hand stores to stock his shop. In the future, he plans on making  YouTube  videos teaching people to build things for their homes. + ELS Builds Via Twitter Images via Julianna Astrid

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How Black environmentalists are organizing to save the planet from injustice

June 26, 2020 by  
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How Black environmentalists are organizing to save the planet from injustice Rachel Ramirez Fri, 06/26/2020 – 00:30 This story originally appeared in Grist;  and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalistic collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story . “I can’t breathe.” These were among the final words that George Floyd and Eric Garner gasped before their deaths at the hands of white police officers. That plea has become part of the current rallying cry for racial justice and an end to police brutality in the United States. But for Black people living near industrial facilities, the phrase has an additional layer of meaning: a reminder of their disproportionate pollution burden. “While many in power seemed surprised that COVID-19 is killing twice as many Black Americans, those of us in the environmental justice movement know that the health impacts of cumulative and disproportionate levels of pollution in our communities have created underlying health conditions that contribute to our higher COVID-19 mortality rates,” said Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said at a virtual press conference in mid-June. Shepard is part of the National Black Environmental Justice Network (NBEJN) , a national coalition of Black environmental justice groups and grassroots activists founded in 1991. Although the network took a hiatus in 2006 after executive director Damu Smith died , the network just announced that it’s making a comeback against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed calls to fight racial injustice. We see these environmental rollbacks as not just fast-tracking project permits, but as a fast-track to the emergency room and cemeteries. The network’s mission sends a clear message: Environmental injustice is not a single issue. Rather, it’s a constellation of issues including discrimination in housing, jobs and healthcare. It’s impossible to untangle Black communities’ current risks from America’s long history of racist policies and practices. Discriminatory policies such as banks’ government-sanctioned refusal to approve home loans and insurance for people in communities of color, also known as redlining, forced Black families into neighborhoods more likely to be exposed to industrial pollution and extreme heat . Now these same communities face a surge in unemployment and poverty rates as a result of the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic, and they also are  disproportionately dying from the novel coronavirus as a result of a lack of health insurance, unequal access to test sites and higher workplace exposure via employment in essential services. As if that weren’t enough, a recent Harvard study also found a link between air pollution and death from COVID-19. Given the systemic conditions that disproportionately expose Black people to the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other worsening crises, NBEJN members — including the network’s co-chairs, environmental justice pioneers Robert Bullard and Beverly Wright — say they are looking to bring in Black lawyers, engineers, leaders and other experts to join forces to help create an equitable green stimulus package, take on the fossil fuel industry and fight the Trump administration’s seemingly endless orders to weaken environmental protections . “We see these environmental rollbacks as not just fast-tracking project permits, but as a fast-track to the emergency room and cemeteries,” said Bullard, an author and professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University. “The NBEJN is about dismantling systemic racism, and we’re talking about turning the dominant paradigm on its head.” Network leaders say COVID-19 recovery legislation could be an opportunity for lawmakers to pass a robust green stimulus package that would focus on environmental justice. Such a green stimulus package, the coalition said, needs to address core issues of systemic racism by, for example, providing green jobs to communities of color. NBEJN is needed today to fight these conversing threats and underlying conditions that are denying Black people the right to breathe and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness enjoyed by white America. “Green stimulus packages often only look at protecting the world, but not protecting people like us,” said Wright, executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. “Any stimulus package dealing with transportation to housing or whatever they’re talking about doing will have to include us and need to be viewed with equity and justice lenses.” Even if an equitable green stimulus package makes it through Congress and the White House, there still will be a lot more work to be done. Bullard said that even if the Democratic party wins the presidential election or takes control of the Senate, it will take time to reverse Trump-era environmental policy damages, including the country’s withdrawal from the 2016 Paris Agreement. Even then, he added, policymakers will need to take additional steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions and center frontline communities. And NBEJN leaders say the network will stick around to make sure those steps are taken. “Racism is baked into America’s DNA,” Bullard said. “NBEJN is needed today to fight these conversing threats and underlying conditions that are denying Black people the right to breathe and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness enjoyed by white America.” Pull Quote We see these environmental rollbacks as not just fast-tracking project permits, but as a fast-track to the emergency room and cemeteries. NBEJN is needed today to fight these conversing threats and underlying conditions that are denying Black people the right to breathe and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness enjoyed by white America. Topics COVID-19 Policy & Politics Environmental Justice Equity & Inclusion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Tverdokhlib Close Authorship

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Whether pandemic or climate crisis, you better get your data right

June 25, 2020 by  
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Whether pandemic or climate crisis, you better get your data right Paolo Natali Thu, 06/25/2020 – 00:30 According to polls, it was  mid-March  when most of us in the United States understood the severity of COVID-19. At the same time, we collectively were searching for data to drive lifesaving decision-making. Close all business and keep people inside homes? Or allow some degree of freedom? What would be the exact growth curve of virus cases, and most important, how could we flatten it? By early April, a consensus had emerged around the role of accurate data, even if it could not help contain a first wave of infections. This lesson on the importance of actionable data did not go unnoticed for those of us working on industrial decarbonization. With growing consensus on the gravity of the climate crisis, countries and companies are adopting carbon reduction targets. If we are to learn from the pandemic, there’s one critical element for any effort to have a chance of success. Less catchy than a target reopening date, and perhaps more like an immunologist telling you to get tested: Do we have the right data to act upon? Pressure is growing to take action The question is relevant because there is mounting pressure to take action against the climate crisis. Pressure to make emissions visible has been around for a while: Consumers want to know how much carbon is embodied in the products they buy. Investors are concerned about the viability of long-term assets in high emissions sectors at risk of being hit by negative policy or market developments. For example,  one chocolate bar  could emit as much as 7 kilograms of CO2, equivalent to driving 30 miles in a non-electric car. Alternately, if the cacao is grown alongside agroforestry or reforestation, the same bar could have zero or even negative emissions via the trees removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If consumers knew the difference, would they pay a premium for the climate-smart chocolate? A company’s financial accounts are used to make reasonable decisions about how that company will do in the future. Alas, to date the same isn’t true of carbon performance. This year, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company, made thundering news in his  annual letter to investors , touting, “The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance.” Since then, the asset manager  backed two proposals  at the annual general meetings of both Chevron and Exxon, related to the manner these companies conduct themselves in relation to Paris Agreement targets. Earlier in the year in Australia, investors at both Woodside Petroleum and Santos passed annual general meetings motions to  adopt a “Scope 3 ” (indirect emissions) reduction target. This trend of shareholder and consumer scrutiny has strengthened in recent months, and most S&P 500 companies — in fact, 70 percent of them — already make climate-related disclosures to the reporting platform CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). Translating demands into dollars Yet, to date, there is no way to exactly translate these demands for action into dollar figures. You walk around trade conferences (or, more likely these days, Zoom workshops) and everyone is asking: What’s the premium that a consumer is willing to pay for low-carbon products? Is a bank really willing to decline loans for an investment that fails to fulfill certain sustainability standards, for example as pledged by the 11 global banks that signed the  Poseidon Principles  for shipping finance in 2019? If the European Union agrees on a border price for carbon, what should it be? All of this pricing talk begs the question: How can we have such discussions without clear metrics that everyone can stand by? A company’s financial accounts are used to make reasonable decisions about how that company will do in the future. Alas, to date the same isn’t true of carbon performance. For a start, while financial accounts are reported via one of two standards — U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) — a variety of methods can be used for carbon accounting (CDP accepts 64 of them). While financials make the performance of a chemicals company comparable to an iron ore miner, the carbon accounting metrics differ in a way that is difficult to reconcile. This becomes a problem for an automotive company, which needs to combine the performance of both to make an accurate declaration about the carbon content of a product that has over 30,000 parts. It is also a challenge for a fund manager who needs to combine stocks of different sectors, and has a fiduciary duty to use financially material metrics to do so; or for a commercial banker who lends money to different asset classes, and needs to determine the amount of “climate risk” involved in each investment decision. From the perspective of the climate crisis, we still haven’t figured out how to attribute the right price to something nobody can see, such as the amount of noxious gases emitted by a factory in a land far, far away. Remember the core of the coronavirus debate: The number of confirmed cases are better known than the total number of cases. This uncertainty generates debatable data, upon which it is difficult to make decisions that will have an enormous impact on the destiny of societies. From the perspective of the climate crisis, we still haven’t figured out how to attribute the right price to something nobody can see, such as the amount of noxious gases emitted by a factory in a land far, far away. And if the cost of those gases to a community and ecosystem isn’t clearly visible, conversely, how can we measure good interventions so that investors feel confident to put their money toward them? This is particularly ironic because market demand for product sustainability creates a win-win situation for everyone involved: make a plan to increase product sustainability, shape the world to be a better place. In most cases, low-carbon technologies are either readily available, such as in the case of low-carbon electricity and carbon-neutral concrete, or less than a decade away, such as hydrogen-based trucking. But if it’s so easy, why isn’t it happening? And most importantly, what needs to happen? Harmonizing the efforts The current ecosystem of reporting is built on bottom-up efforts that are not harmonized. The previously mentioned CDP has a large database of disclosures. The Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has a widely adopted set of metrics that companies use to report (including to CDP). The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board has — you guessed it — standards solid enough to guarantee “financial materiality,” that is, to allow the analyst in the above example to “buy with confidence” when making investment decisions based on sustainability. The Science-Based Targets Initiative promises to take all this to the next level and link carbon disclosures to the trajectories that companies need to undertake in order to comply with the Paris Agreement. Companies that need to report emissions lament that this is too complex or that it doesn’t allow apples-to-apples comparisons due to discrepancies in the way different methods prescribe calculations. Investors lament that they can’t base financial decisions on current metrics, because they aren’t reliable or standardized. Consumers still have to see eco-labels that are truly credible. It is imperative that emissions accounting shifts from a notion of disclosures (a still image of current emissions) to climate alignment, a forward look into a company’s future emissions. As confusing as it sounds, the good news is that between existing methods, standards and platforms, the elements of a functional system do exist. Despite the gloomy portrait that we often read in the news, of a humankind sleepwalking toward climate disaster due to a selfish inability to act together, this ecosystem actually represents a wonderful testament to the ability of society to recognize a challenge and address it. The importance of climate alignment A few years ago, the Smart Freight Center introduced the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) Framework, creating a common guidance for logistics companies to report in a unified manner. The GLEC Framework is a guidance that specifies how disclosures need to be made in each of the existing methodologies and platforms. Once a company discloses according to the GLEC Framework, analysts will be able to compare a disclosure made for different purposes using different methods, and trace back what it actually means. It is urgent that this expand to supply chains at large. It is also imperative that the emissions accounting focus shifts from a notion of disclosures (a still image of current emissions) to climate alignment, a forward look into a company’s future emissions. With unified and simplified standards, companies will be able to be easily ranked based on their actual and projected contribution to meeting the Paris Agreement, thus keeping climate change at bay. Why do this? To reap the benefits of being in sync with what stakeholders request more and ever louder. This is only wise, considering that not even a global pandemic and looming economic recession has silenced these requests. According to a recent Deloitte  report , 600 global C-suite executives remain firmly committed to a low-carbon transition. They are perhaps finding opportunity in shifting from risk and need clear data to make their decisions. Pull Quote A company’s financial accounts are used to make reasonable decisions about how that company will do in the future. Alas, to date the same isn’t true of carbon performance. From the perspective of the climate crisis, we still haven’t figured out how to attribute the right price to something nobody can see, such as the amount of noxious gases emitted by a factory in a land far, far away. It is imperative that emissions accounting shifts from a notion of disclosures (a still image of current emissions) to climate alignment, a forward look into a company’s future emissions. Contributors Charles Cannon Topics Energy & Climate COVID-19 Data Collective Insight Rocky Mountain Institute Rocky Mountain Institute Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Multipurpose Cleaners That Are Doing It Right

June 23, 2020 by  
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I’ve been on something of a rampage when it comes … The post Multipurpose Cleaners That Are Doing It Right appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Multipurpose Cleaners That Are Doing It Right

This clothing tech company is 3D-printing garments to help reduce waste

June 8, 2020 by  
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Did you know that 85% of textiles ends up in landfills? While plenty of environmental data exists to focus on what happens to clothing at the end of its life, Copenhagen-based Son of a Tailor wants to bring awareness to the fact that textile waste is abundant at the manufacturing stage, too. At the manufacturing level, a large amount of usable material is wasted due to fabric cut-offs during production and mass-produced clothing that often goes unsold. Now, a fashion-meets-tech company is doing its part to end that unsustainable cycle. Son of a Tailor has been around since 2014, already known for creating custom, made-to-order T-shirts, and now it is aiming to eliminate waste even further with the world’s first 3D-knitted pullover sweater. Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think Customers input individual measurements, such as height and weight, and a custom size is created through an algorithm on the website. For the T-shirts and polos, each individual garment pattern is fitted like puzzle pieces to minimize waste, then cut with a laser and sewn together. Unlike most mass-produced clothing, each Son of a Tailor shirt is constructed by the same person from start to finish. Going a step further, the new pullovers are created using an advanced, 3D-knitting machine. Each pullover is constructed in one whole piece, reducing the amount of cut-off waste from 20% to less than 1%. Son of a Tailor exclusively uses 100% extra-long staple cotton grown in California and superfine Merino wool from Australia. Both materials are tested for allergens and harmful substances and are knitted in Europe. There is no warehouse or store full of unsold clothing. Garments are only made if they are needed, meaning the company goes against the norm of fast fashion . Nothing ends up in the trash if it is unsold or goes out of style. A T-shirt will cost between $48-$64, and a pullover is between $117-$156, depending on the custom fit. The long cotton fibers and high-quality, durable wool make the products less prone to wear and tear, so the fabric stays soft and bright even after multiple washes. The company also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee and will remake an item for customers who are unhappy with the garment fit. + Son of a Tailor Images via Son of a Tailor

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Olli Ella releases capsule wardrobe made with organic cotton

March 31, 2020 by  
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The fashion industry and sustainability are often at odds, but more and more earth-conscious products are hitting the market. One company, Olli Ella, is solely focused on creating long-lasting, versatile and ethically made clothing, with a capsule wardrobe for every body type. Olli Ella is embracing the slow fashion trend with only four collections a year. The first collection came as part of the initial 2019 release of the WARES line and sold out within 48 hours, proving that consumers understand the importance of conscientious clothing purchases. Earlier this month, Olli Ella followed that success with the launch of ARROYO, its third apparel collection, with every piece made from 100% organic cotton in a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) factory in India. Related: Good Clothing releases capsule collection made from hemp and organic cotton The newest collection features 10 items, including dresses, bloomers, a jumpsuit and a top. Material off-cuts are used for headbands and hair scrunchies, which are also part of the collection. Every piece is designed to meet the changing needs of women. Clever, plant-based buttons made from corn husks allow flexibility during body changes, such as pregnancy; every item is also breastfeeding-friendly. Most pieces are reversible, effectively creating two items of clothing in one and adding to the versatility of the collection, which is intended to be built upon with each new release. “I wanted to create an apparel collection for women — for mothers in particular — that makes them feel beautiful, comfortable, stylish and can be worn everywhere from around the house, to the office, to dinner — and if you’re anything like me — sometimes to bed,” said Chloe Brookman, co-founder and director of Olli Ella. “It’s so incredible to see how quickly our customers ‘got it’ — just reinforcing for me how much a fashionable but livable collection of pieces that are wearable, washable, and effortless was really needed. One dress will see women through all stages of life — from maternity and breastfeeding to everyday living.” Olli Ella is committed to supporting the employment of women, with 75% of employees at the chosen factory being women. The ARROYO and other collections can be found online and at 2,000 stores worldwide. + Olli Ella Images via Olli Ella

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LastTissue offers a handkerchief for the modern world

March 11, 2020 by  
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LastObject, the company that brought you the  reusable  cotton swab LastSwab , is now offering consumers a more sustainable option when it comes to blowing their noses. The  Kickstarter  for the “modern handkerchief” LastTissue ends on March 12, 2020, and has already eclipsed its goal by over $700,000. The starter kit comes with three cases and 18 reusable tissues for $39 on Kickstarter. “It’s like if a handkerchief and a tissue pack had a baby,” said the company. The main storage case is made of  silicone , with an upper chamber to stuff the used tissues inside, room to store six organic cotton tissues and a lower slot to pull the clean tissues out. There is a barrier between the used and new tissues to maintain cleanliness and the kit comes with a specially marked tissue to place at the top of the pack to easily indicate when you’ve reached the last one. After washing, the tissues can be packed back into the silicone case for  reuse . Related: “Family cloths” reusable toilet wipes: gross or great? As for why the LastTissue is better than traditional tissues, the team at LastObject cites the  environmentally-damaging  aspects of the paper industry. According to the company, the paper/pulp industry is the third-largest industrial emitter of global warming gasses. What’s more, about 8,000,000 trees are cut down to make facial tissues each year for the United States alone. Each pack is designed to last for at least 2,800 wipes, saving the same number of paper tissues as well as the  plastic  packaging that they come in. The LastTissue tissues are made using organic cotton fabric, making it softer than traditional handkerchiefs and friendlier for your face.  The silicone cases come in different colors, each one representing a species that is endangered due to deforestation , Raccoon Blue, Dragonfly Turquoise, Fox Peach, Palm Green, Redwood Red and Bat Black. + Last Tissue

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Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

January 23, 2020 by  
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The Sun Rain Room is an extension and restoration of a two-story Grade-II listed townhouse designed and constructed by Tonkin Liu. Partnering with local craftspeople to complete the project, the London-based architecture firm was able to create an extension of the existing structure through a landscape that feeds off of the sun and rain . The house, which was built as a home and studio for the owner, features a green roof , garden room and reflecting pool that are all designed to uniquely celebrate nature. The garden room on the ground floor is encased in a wall of curved glass that works as both a living space for occupants and as a meeting area for the owner’s professional studio. The covered outdoor area connected to the garden room contains a studio workshop, kitchen, potting shed, recycling bay and a store. Another wall of sliding mirrors conceals the planter for a collection of small trees that grow through the green roof overhead. The neighboring open patio covers a basement refurbished with a new bedroom, two bathrooms and a utility area. The courtyard garden’s perimeter walls support a roof made of plywood cut to allow the most possible light into the site. Between the patio (which frames the terrace) and the house sits an etched glass staircase to bridge the two spaces. The true meaning of “Sun Rain Room” comes to play with the 110-millimeter structural shell roof that is perforated with coffered skylights made to mimic raindrops that land onto the pool . This creates an ethereal, organic environment inside the home. To make the townhouse more sustainable, heat loss from the ground floor is decreased through double-glazed, double-laminated glass with low-e coatings. Waterproof concrete was used in the construction of the basement, which removed the need for a backup waterproofing system. What’s more, the light-well from the plywood roof around the courtyard has improved the affecting passive ventilation strategy for the home. The green roof not only contributes to sustainable drainage, but is also planted with local trees and plants that suit the natural habitat to improve the site’s biodiversity . The reflecting pool is filled naturally with harvested rainwater, also used to irrigate the green roof. + Tonkin Liu Images via Alex Peacock, Greg Storrar, Tonkin Liu, and Alexander James Photography

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Passive House principles inspire this sustainable home

January 13, 2020 by  
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Australian architecture firm  POLYstudio has recently completed A House for All Seasons, a contemporary family home with an emphasis on energy efficiency. Designed for a young family, the sustainable new dwelling has a flexible layout to accommodate the clients’ evolving needs within a relatively compact footprint. The project’s adherence to the principles of the Passive House standard along with native, drought -tolerant landscaping helps reduce the home’s carbon footprint. Located in an inner-city  Melbourne  neighborhood, A House for All Seasons is defined by a contemporary aesthetic that’s respectful of its heritage streetscape context. Spanning two floors across 230 square meters, the home breaks up its monolithic massing with a dynamic facade constructed with a varied material palette ranging from brick to metal cladding. In contrast to its cool-toned exterior, the inside of the home exudes warmth thanks to timber accents and select pops of color that punctuate the minimalist interior.  “The design and planning of the house continues our exploration of spatial organisation that is legible but flexible and layered, incorporating devices such as partition curtains and permeable screening to create spaces that are intimate but also bleed into adjoining spaces,” Daniel Wolkenberg, founder of POLYstudio, noted. “The use of polished concrete, blackbutt plywood and a mix of feature colours contributes to a warm and engaging interior.” Related: A Melbourne worker’s cottage gets revamped into a solar-powered family home Informed by  passive solar  design principles, the home provides year-round thermal comfort with minimal dependence on mechanical heating and cooling. Carefully selected durable materials, low-flow fixtures, and drought-tolerant vegetation contribute to the sustainability of the home. The home’s compact footprint allows for lawn space and an outdoor patio in the backyard that seamlessly connects with the open-plan living area, kitchen, and dining area indoors. The first floor comprises three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a playroom, study and an outdoor balcony. + POLYstudio Images by Tatjana Plitt

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Your eco-friendly travel guide for New York City

January 9, 2020 by  
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It’s easy to get caught up in New York’s frenetic energy. If you’re there as a tourist, the checklist of must-see attractions is exciting, but long and tiring: Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Broadway shows, amazing museums. If you’re there for business, it’s easy to go from hotel to conference room to bar, repeat. But there are plenty of opportunities to find some beauty and tranquility within NYC’s nonstop style. Take some time to get outside, do something healthy, and take a few deep breaths. NYC outdoors Yes, there is nature within New York City’s urban jungle. The most obvious place to get outside is Manhattan’s massive, iconic Central Park. Within this 843-acre green space, you can visit the formal Conservatory Garden, pay your respects at the Strawberry Fields John Lennon memorial, rent a boat and paddle around the lake, and check out the Literary Walk, which is lined by statues of authors. For a very New York walk, stroll the 1.45-mile High Line. Manhattan’s elevated linear park, created from an old New York Central Railroad spur, has attracted a constant stream of locals and tourists since opening in 2009. Come as you are; you’ll see jogging shorts, haute couture, and everything in between. The 250-acre New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is gorgeous in every season. Peacefully wander through water lilies, lilacs and roses, or take advantage of the ambitious schedule of programming. The NYBG is on a serious sustainability mission, providing research to support government policy and protecting the world’s flora and biodiversity . Manhattan Kayak Company offers guided expeditions on the Hudson River, including its popular Skyline and NY After Dark tours. They also have many excursions for more experienced paddlers. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse has a free kayaking program during the summer. You’ll need to stay within a supervised area to participate. On Sundays, you can join them for kayak polo. Only the bravest visiting cyclists will want to take on Manhattan. But NYC has 300 miles of bike trails. Study this map and see if a bike rental might fit into your New York City plans. Wellness in NYC You can find any type of yoga you like in New York. But if you want to try something new and different, you’re in luck. Are cats your cup of tea ? You can enjoy both cats and tea during a Yoga & Kitties session at Meow Parlour . Like to let it all hang out? Bold & Naked might be the yoga class for you. If you want to get even bolder, one-on-one tantric yogassage is also available. During summer, consider joining a yoga class in a park or on a rooftop farm at sunset in the Brooklyn Navy Yard . Two of NYC’s most popular water therapy options are the old-fashioned Russian & Turkish Baths , serving New Yorkers since 1892, and the modern Great Jones Spa . At the Russian & Turkish Baths, you can get a platza oak leaf treatment, which involves being beaten with a broom made from fresh oak leaves dripping with olive oil soap. At Great Jones, the water circuit atmosphere is peaceful if a bit sterile. NYC appeals to spiritual seekers across the spectrum. Stop into Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, opened in 1879, for a few minutes of quiet or prayer. Visit the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art on Staten Island for tai chi, meditation, and a look at one of the biggest collections of Himalayan artifacts in the US. Join devotees of The Path for a nondenominational meditation, followed by relaxing in the Montauk Salt Cave. Or experience the power of spending time with ancient art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dining out in NYC Just as you might want to try an unusual yoga class while visiting NYC, this is a chance to eat vegan food that’s hard to find elsewhere. For example, vegans are out of luck in your average dim sum restaurant. But at Bodhi Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant in Chinatown, vegans can safely grab anything off the dim sum cart. When’s the last time you had gluten-free veg shark fin congee? Vegan star Beyond Sushi has six locations, including in the Chelsea Market food hall, ironically situated in the Meatpacking District. Their sushi rolls are creative and ambitious. For example, the smoky jack contains black rice, pickled cabbage, mango, hickory-smoked jackfruit , watercress, mint, dehydrated olives and tomato guajillo sauce. Cinnamon Snail , in Pennsy Food Hall right by Madison Square Garden, specializes in “vegan kosher food made by a gaggle of wild ponies who live in a magical tree.” Start the day here by raiding their case of vegan donuts and baked goods, or get a hearty serving of mac ‘n’ cheese at lunch or dinner. For dessert, try some matcha cream crunch or lemon ginger cream pie at Rawsome Treats . Founder, head chef and Muay Thai fighter Watt Sriboonruang makes everything raw, vegan and gluten-free . Public transit While a Pew Research Center survey found that about 88 percent of Americans own cars, only about 22 percent of Manhattan households are auto owners. This is good news for tourists, as it means lots of public transportation. Trains serve all three of NYC’s airports , connecting to buses and the subway system to get you wherever you want to go. That said, NY public transit can be overwhelming, and New Yorkers tend to move fast. If you’re unfamiliar with public transit, New Yorker Minh Nguyen kindly put together this website for newbies. Commuter rail lines serve outlying areas. You can also ferry around town. NYC Ferry operates six routes spanning more than 60 nautical miles of waterways, and service is still growing. You can even charge your phone and get a snack while cruising. CitiBike offers a bike share program if you’re planning on short rides. Or hire a pedicab and take a rest while somebody else does the work . Eco-hotels The Benjamin Hotel was one of New York’s first hotel to focus on both sustainability and luxury, partnering with students from the New York Institute of Technology to help them revamp and earn a Green Key Eco-Rating. The hotel’s wellness offerings include the Rest & Renew program that helps guests improve their sleep . The Element New York Times Square West incorporated recycled material into its furnishings, such as carpets made from recycled plastic bottles. This Marriott hotel features loaner bikes for guests and a free breakfast bar with fresh fruit. For budget travelers who value a hotel’s gym over in-room amenities, consider staying at one of NYC’s YMCAs . Your room will resemble a monk’s cell, but you’ll wake up in a huge gym with spin class, weights and a pool. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat and New York Botanical Garden

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Your eco-friendly travel guide for New York City

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