Germany proposes a meat tax increase to improve animal welfare and curb climate change

August 8, 2019 by  
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German residents may soon find themselves paying more for steaks, pork chops and sausages. Across party lines, the country’s politicians have proposed raising the VAT, or value added tax, on meat to a standard rate of 19 percent. Presently, meat in Germany is taxed at a rate of 7 percent. Germany’s lawmakers have suggested using the additional funds raised by the meat tax increase to help animal welfare in the country following the increased scrutiny of the treatment of livestock in Germany. Related: Meat consumption must drop by 90% to avert a climate crisis “I am in favor of abolishing the VAT reduction for meat and earmarking it for more animal welfare,” said Friedrich Ostendorf, agricultural policy spokesperson for the Greens. The Social Democrats’ agricultural policy spokesperson Rainer Spieging said that “a meat tax, such as increasing the VAT to 19 percent, could be a way forward.” Agriculture spokesperson Albert Stegemann, of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said he was open to the idea of an added meat tax, but with one caveat. “Such a tax can be a constructive proposal,” Stegemann said. “However, the additional tax revenue should be used to support livestock farmers to help them restructure.” In general, some people believe consuming meat has become out of fashion, and it has become more scrutinized in the past 10 years with the emergence of meatless diets, including vegetarianism and veganism , both of which are followed worldwide. Scientists have also noted the meat industry is one of the highest emitters of carbon dioxide and contributes to climate change . As a result, many have asked for tougher measures to decrease meat consumption on a whole as part of a more holistic way to fight climate change. Via EcoWatch Image via Travel Junction

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Germany proposes a meat tax increase to improve animal welfare and curb climate change

MVRDV designs BREEAM excellent-seeking sustainable research lab for Amsterdam

July 25, 2019 by  
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A new facility for researching sustainable technologies and green business models is coming soon to the heart of Amsterdam Science Park. MVRDV recently unveiled designs for Matrix 1, an office and laboratory complex that will be home to the University of Amsterdam’s Sustainalab, a specialist research facility aimed at stimulating creative cooperation between academia, government, and businesses on sustainable solutions to environmental problems. Sustainability will also be woven into the design of the building, which will target BREEAM excellent certification and be powered with rooftop solar panels. Located on the east side of Amsterdam , Matrix 1 at Amsterdam Science Park will span 13,000 square meters. The SustainaLab will occupy a quarter of the building footprint. To open the new facility up to the existing buildings on campus, which include the six existing buildings of the Matrix Innovation Center as well as the University of Amsterdam’s Facility of Science, Mathematics and Computer Science buildings, the architects will clad a large portion of Matrix 1 in glass to ensure that the building will be “open and social.” The focal point of the building will be a spacious zigzagging staircase that’s fully visible from the outside. Prominently located at the entrance, the stairwell serves as the social heart of the building that stimulates interaction and “provides a balance in the building between the standardized laboratories and a playful, people-oriented architecture— an important consideration in a building where tech workers, who have high expectations for the quality of their office spaces, will share with science workers, for whom laboratories are unable to provide the same perks,” say the architects in a press release. “Matrix 1’s stairwell will thus allow scientific workers to feel pampered in the same way that has been normal in the tech sector.” Related: Amsterdam announces plan to ban all polluting cars by 2030 To meet BREEAM excellent standards, the six-story building will be optimized for flexibility and reusability. Office spaces can be easily transformed into laboratory spaces and vice versa. The building’s steel structure and concrete floors can also be dismantled for reuse in the future. In addition to solar panels, landscaping will top the roof to contribute to biodiversity and water buffering. + MVRDV Images by MVRDV

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Earth911 Quiz #66: The Social Cost of Carbon

July 11, 2019 by  
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The National Academies of Sciences recently released a comprehensive review … The post Earth911 Quiz #66: The Social Cost of Carbon appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #66: The Social Cost of Carbon

With dual sleeping lofts, this family-friendly tiny home proves that the more, the merrier

July 5, 2019 by  
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Although some people might be under the impression that tiny homes don’t have enough space for a family, one savvy, space-efficient design is proving otherwise. Designed and built by New Zealand-based Build Tiny , the Dance Tiny House was custom designed to be a durable family home that boasts beautiful and child-proof interiors. Clad in very practical gray vinyl siding, the tiny home on wheels is durable yet lightweight enough to be towed easily. Double-glazed aluminum windows and quality insulation allow for a tight thermal envelope, reducing energy costs as well as maintaining a comfortable interior temperature. Related: Keep your tiny home safe with these 9 security tips Inside, the space is bright and open with a minimalist interior design that manages to avoid clutter. All-white plywood walls and honey-toned wood flooring, along with an abundance of natural light, gives the home a fresh, modern feel. A compact, open-plan living room with a small sofa and chair make up the social area of the home. To the left of the entrance is the kitchen with full-sized appliances. Although small, the cooking area includes ample counter space thanks to an ingenious rolling butcher block extension. Most of the home’s furnishings, including the counters, feature curved edges to ensure optimal safety for little ones. The far end of the residence houses the bathroom, which has a shower and plenty of storage space. The home’s dual sleeping lofts are accessible via a staircase in the kitchen, with the steps pulling double duty as storage in the form of pull-out drawers and cubbies. At the top, the master bedroom has plenty of room for a queen-sized bed and also includes a full-height closet and built-in storage . Connected by a narrow hallway, the children’s room is located on the opposite side. With plenty of space for a single or double bed, there is also room for play or study. The entire loft is made child-proof thanks to a gate and a metal safety barrier. + Build Tiny Via Tiny House Talk Images via Build Tiny

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With dual sleeping lofts, this family-friendly tiny home proves that the more, the merrier

Shopping Your Environmental and Social Values

June 21, 2019 by  
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You may spend only a few seconds deciding among dozens … The post Shopping Your Environmental and Social Values appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Shopping Your Environmental and Social Values

The number with the power to halt the climate crisis

June 19, 2019 by  
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Wonky as it sounds, the social cost of carbon holds the key to crafting policies that avoid harm from greenhouse gas emissions.

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The number with the power to halt the climate crisis

Minimalist villa in Japan boasts dark timber exterior and bright white interior

June 11, 2019 by  
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Japanese firm, TAPO Architects have unveiled a beautiful timber house located in Sakura City in the Japanese prefecture of Chiba. Surrounded by peaceful forest, the Sakura Villa is a sophisticated minimalist design that features a simple mono-pitched roof with a charred timber exterior and bright white interior. Located on a small lot surrounded by forestscape, the villa was designed to blend in seamlessly with the landscape. To create a strong connection with the wooded surroundings, the 2,300 square-foot home is clad in a mix of charred timber siding and black standing seam metal sheeting. Related: Black timber Villa S makes more energy than it consumes The elongated volume of the structure is punctuated by a spacious glass and wood entranceway which is flanked by large windows on either side. The entrance to the home is through a central courtyard that leads to the living space through a set of sliding glass doors. Walking past the doors, the walkway leads to the outdoor patio space, creating an integral connection between the indoor and outdoor worlds. On the interior of the home, its jet black exterior facade is exchanged for an open-plan living area with all-white walls and exposed timber beams and columns. Almost entirely devoid of furnishings save for a long wooden dining table located opposite the kitchen, the space is minimalist, modern and fresh. Beyond the social areas found on the south side of the home, the private areas such as the bedrooms and bathrooms, are located on the north side. The sloped ceiling adds additional space on this side of the home, which was built out with two attic spaces accessible by ladders. This area is used for storage or playrooms for the family’s kids. + TAPO Via Design Boom Photography by Masayoshi Ishii via TAPO

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Minimalist villa in Japan boasts dark timber exterior and bright white interior

LOT-EK upcycles 140 shipping containers into an apartment complex in South Africa

November 27, 2018 by  
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A massive, modular residential building has risen in Johannesburg , South Africa with aims of revitalizing Maboneng Precinct, an area that’s recently undergone a dramatic transformation from a site of urban decay to a thriving enclave for creatives. Having extensive experience in cargotecture, New York- and Naples-based architectural design studio LOT-EK was tapped to design the mixed-use building, which was completed last year. Dubbed Drivelines Studio, the building comprises a total of 140 shipping containers and includes affordable housing as well as ground-floor retail. Located on a triangular site atop an existing single-story structure that used to house a car repair shop, Drivelines Studio includes seven floors with the top six levels comprising residential units, all of which are open-plan studios ranging in size from 300 square feet to 600 square feet and equipped with outdoor terraces with views of greenery below. The ground floor consists of retail along Albertina Sisulu Road, additional residential units in the rear and a private courtyard for residents with gardens and a pool. “Embracing the triangular geometry of the site, the building is conceived as a billboard where two separate volumes of residential units are hinged at the narrow east end of the lot, framing the social space of the open interior courtyard ,”  the firm explained in a project statement. “As in a billboard, the building outer facades are straight and flush with the lot line while the facades in the inner courtyard are articulated by the staircases, the elevator tower and the bridges connecting all levels, and by the open circulation paths activated by the units spillover onto their outdoor space.” Related: Repurposed shipping containers inject funky and unexpected color to a historic home renovation The upcycled shipping containers retain their original color and corrugated siding to reference their industrial past and to allude to the city’s reputation as the largest inland port in the world. The containers were stacked and cut on site with large diagonal cutouts for windows that give the building its distinctive, zigzagging facade pattern. + LOT-EK Photography by Dave Southwood via LOT-EK

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LOT-EK upcycles 140 shipping containers into an apartment complex in South Africa

A former Czech distillery is transformed into a vibrant co-working space

July 31, 2018 by  
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Czech architecture practice KOGAA Studio has transformed a former distillery into the Social Reactor, a new co-working space in the heart of Brno, Czech Republic. The redesign preserves the 19th-century building’s post-industrial charms while inserting a bright and modern aesthetic. The formerly vacant building now serves as an active gathering space with the power to regenerate a post-industrial area. Completed this year, the four-story property was originally part of a distillate factory founded by a Jewish family more than 200 years ago. The adaptive reuse project is accessed via an arched entryway that connects the street to a spacious outdoor entertaining space. This area, called The Yard, is complete with a pop-up bar integrated into a historic elevator — the cabin has been repurposed into a prep area, and the elevator shaft serves as the installation duct — and casual seating. The Yard also connects to a variety of indoor areas that include co-working spaces , offices, a dining area and a multipurpose events space. An upper floor houses a studio and workshop. “One of the latest and most impactive structural interventions was carried out at the second and third level of the building, where the central beam system was removed to create a double height hall and two balconies facing the central space,” the architects explained in a project statement. “The former is meant for presentations, lectures and workshops , while the upper balconies are dedicated to designers’ ateliers and offices. The new program is distributed across all three levels of the building, and the multiple functions are spread out across different spaces, creating a dynamic and challenging working environment.” Related: A former leather tannery is transformed into an apartment trio in Lisbon One of the most recent additions is a two-story timber volume — built from recycled materials and clad in polycarbonate and corrugated plastic — that houses a shared meeting room, kitchenette, library and extra co-working spaces. + KOGAA Studio Via ArchDaily Images © BoysPlayNice

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A former Czech distillery is transformed into a vibrant co-working space

BSR’s challenge to businesses: Hire 100,000 new impact workers by 2020

July 24, 2018 by  
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Creating jobs for economically and socially vulnerable people is crucial for supporting the SDGs, according to Business for Social Responsibility.

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BSR’s challenge to businesses: Hire 100,000 new impact workers by 2020

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