This solar-powered car concept is anything but Humble

May 11, 2021 by  
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Electric vehicles are here to stay. New and existing companies are proving their innovation capabilities with improved range, more features and overall better design elements while reducing the environmental impact. EV start-up Humble Motors aims to address all these goals with its solar-powered cars. The Humble One, a concept SUV recently released by the California-based company, proves the point with over 80 square feet of photovoltaic cells built into the roof. There are also electricity-generating sidelites and a fairly mainstream regenerative braking system that adds to the energy production. The vehicle even has solar array wings that can fold out to gather energy while parked. Related: Do we really need to mine the deep seas to power EVs?  The Humble One is a completely electric car concept, so it has no motor. While it has many features found in other EVs, the goal of the Humble Motors team is to build a future of off-grid vehicles. According to founder Dima Steesy, “range anxiety” led to the idea of a solar-powered car. “Because of the lengthy time required to charge and the fact that people in LA love to charge their Tesla while running errands like grocery shopping or sitting down for lunch, the few charge stations I could find within 15 miles all had long wait lines,” Steesy explained. “This prompted me to begin looking into a tonneau or something similar that could cover my roof when I wasn’t driving to extend the battery’s range. That search started me down the rabbit hole of realizing that a fully solar-powered car would be preferable to a solar roof aftermarket car part. I found a group of similarly minded people who felt called to our mission of creating more sustainable and self-sufficient electric vehicles and this is how Humble got its start.” The company repeatedly points out that Humble One is a concept, not a prototype, so all specs are best estimates. The team hypothesizes that the solar aspects of the vehicle will add 10-60 miles of additional charge per day, depending on where it’s being driven. Currently, that can make a huge difference in whether a charging station is in range or not. The vehicle is expected to achieve a range of 500 miles with the internal battery. All this innovation doesn’t mean abandoning style and performance, though. With a light estimated 4,000-pound weight, Humble One could go from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, draw up to 1020 hp and top out at 155 mph, all while comfortably seating four people. The predicted starting price is $109,000, excluding taxes and add-on fees. Manufacturing is set to begin in 2024 with deliveries beginning in 2025. + Humble Motors Images via Humble Motors

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This solar-powered car concept is anything but Humble

New York prohibits single-use mini toiletry bottles in hotels

May 11, 2021 by  
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Hotels in New York state will no longer be allowed to use plastic toiletry bottles smaller than 12 ounces starting January 1, 2024. This is as a result of a new law that was passed by the state. Bills S543 and A5082, which were led by State Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblymember Steve Englebright, ban the use of such bottles in hotels in a bid to reduce plastic pollution. The law comes into effect at a time when our oceans continue to be flooded with plastic. Photos of marine life , including sharks and sea turtles, stuck in plastic waste have raised uproar from members of the public. Today, about 10 million tons of plastic waste end up in the world’s oceans. Related: Golden State bans hotel mini-toiletries in effort to minimize waste The new law means that hotels will be required to switch to larger, refillable dispensers . Consequently, this will lead to a reduction in the number of plastic bottles, and the amount of unused liquids, that are discarded. “Reducing single-use plastics is vital in the fight against the climate crisis — plastic is a major source of carbon emissions and a financial anchor to the fossil fuel industry,” said Eric A. Goldstein, senior attorney and New York City Environment Director at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “This new law tackles the ever-growing problem associated with plastic waste and will prevent tens of millions of plastic bottles from becoming a waste burden in New York every year.” New York becomes the second U.S. state to pass such a law. In 2019, California passed a ban on single-use plastic toiletry bottles, effective 2023. The New York ban takes effect at the start of 2024 for hotels with more than 50 rooms, and smaller hotels will be required to implement the ban starting in 2025. With the plastic pollution crisis growing around the world, several major hotel chains have already taken matters into their own hands. Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain with over 7,000 properties, committed to ending its use of mini toiletry bottles. The move by Marriott hotels alone is estimated to save around 500 million small bottles from going to landfills or ending up in oceans each year. This is an equivalent of 1.7 million pounds of plastic waste, according to the company’s estimates. Similar commitments have also been made by the InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt and Walt Disney Co. Via VegNews Image via Q. K.

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New York prohibits single-use mini toiletry bottles in hotels

BLM approves solar farm construction in California desert

May 5, 2021 by  
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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has given approval for a 350-megawatt solar power plant to be constructed on public land in California. The Crimson Solar Project , which will have the capacity to power over 87,500 homes, received its final approval from BLM this week after a long wait. Sonoran West Solar Holdings, LLC, the company that will be undertaking the project, had applied for permission to build the solar farm on a 2,000-acre piece of land even before the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) came into place. DRECP was created by BLM, the state of California and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in collaboration with Indigenous communities and other organizations, to designate land for renewable energy projects. The Crimson Solar Project falls within the regions that have been set aside for this purpose outlined in DRECP. Related: Biden pushes to expand offshore wind energy “The time for a clean energy future is now. We must make bold investments that will tackle climate change and create good-paying American jobs,” said Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior. “Projects like this can help to make America a global leader in the clean energy economy through the acceleration of responsible renewable energy development on public lands.” The approved facility will include a photovoltaic farm and energy storage system developed and owned by Sonoran West Solar Holdings. The project will not only help propel the state into a clean energy future but will also provide economic value. It is expected to generate 650 temporary jobs during construction, 10 permanent jobs post-construction and 40 temporary jobs in operation and maintenance. BLM manages over 245 million acres of land for the American people. Such lands are needed to make way for proper investment into green energy , according to Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Laura Daniel-Davis. “America’s public lands provide a tremendous opportunity to realize the potential of renewable energy,” Daniel-Davis said. “BLM is committed to engaging in an inclusive and equitable process in pursuit of a clean energy economy.” + Bureau of Land Management Image via Barney Elo

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BLM approves solar farm construction in California desert

A solar-ready holiday home disappears into a Czech forest

April 13, 2021 by  
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When Czech architecture firm NEW HOW Architects was asked to design a holiday home in the Ore Mountains, it decided to craft a nature-inspired residence that would go against the trend of white-plaster houses in the area. Rather than design a house that stands out in the landscape, the architects opted for a darker facade so that the retreat — dubbed Weekend House Nové Hamry — would look “as if it has been swallowed up by the forest.” In addition to reducing the visual impact on the surroundings, the architects also aimed to minimize the structure’s environmental footprint. They installed connection points for solar panels and vertical wind turbines to help Weekend House Nové Hamry achieve energy self-sufficiency in the future. Completed this year, the Weekend House Nové Hamry takes inspiration from the surrounding spruce trees for its color palette and vertical form. “The design is based on the local nature and color, in which you can find all shades of gray,” the architects explained. “You can see gray in the shades of trees, in granite and basalt rocks, and even in the dark green needles and trunks of the local spruces, which are so typical of the forests of the Ore Mountains.” Related: This timber home weaves around pine trees for reduced site impact As a result, the architects wrapped the roof and most of the facade in durable, anthracite-colored aluminum cladding, which the firm said resembles oiled black wood. To manage heavy snow loads in winter, the angular home is topped with a steeply sloped roof. The architects likened the tall and asymmetrical form to a lookout tower and, inspired by that visual similarity, turned the topmost floor into a refuge with a studio, library and a square window that frames views of the treetops and sky. The sleeping areas, which accommodate up to 10 people, are located on the floor below. The ground floor is reserved for the living area, dining room and kitchen, all of which are arranged around a central wood-burning stove. Unlike the dark facade, the interiors are lined with light-toned timber and OSB panels. The load-bearing structure is constructed from cross-laminated timber panels. Although Weekend House Nové Hamry is currently used as a creative retreat, the clients plan to inhabit the home year-round in the future and will eventually power it entirely with wind and solar energy. + NEW HOW Architects Photography by Petr Polák via NEW HOW Architects

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No waste, no carbon, no wonder this net-zero home breaks the mold

March 29, 2021 by  
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When the Baboolals looked around their North Carolina community, they saw what many people see in their local areas: cookie-cutter houses that consume excess energy. A desire to break free from this mold is how their journey to create a net-zero house began. Working with architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, the Baboolals outlined a few essentials for the home. First, the net-zero home needed to be well-insulated, air-tight and energy-efficient. To reach a net-zero energy bill, the home needed a system to produce as much energy as it consumes. Achieving these net-zero goals meant creating a house with an air-tight building envelope to prevent energy loss. Additionally, a photovoltaic array on the roof generates solar power and is covered with a white cool-roof membrane. The windows are also triple-glazed and protected with deep roof overhangs. With these net-zero goals in mind, the family also wanted a functional home that suited everyone — parents, pets and children included. An open, airy and inviting central public zone meets the need for a functional family area. The gathering space includes a gourmet kitchen, deck access across the back of the house, and dining and living areas. The house also incorporates a study/music room, laundry room, pantry and two-car garage. Meanwhile, the north wall’s glass doors make it easy to marry the outside world with the home’s interior. But everyone needs their privacy sometimes. That’s why the home includes a private zone for the parents. The kids also enjoy their own separate bedroom suites and a playroom. The design naturally flows together, allowing one space to lead into the next. This is exemplified by the sleek deck that leads one from inside the house to the beautiful outdoors . Seamless design and net-zero strategies combine to make the Baboolal home both beautiful and energy-efficient . This modern house gives everyone the spaces they need while remaining sustainable and carbon-free. + Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA Photography via © Tzu Chen Photography

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No waste, no carbon, no wonder this net-zero home breaks the mold

Bald eagle population bounces back from brink of extinction

March 29, 2021 by  
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The once shrinking population of bald eagles has quadrupled over the past 12 years, according to a new survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The study has found that there are over 316,000 bald eagles in the lower 48 states of the U.S., with over 70,000 breeding pairs . According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there were approximately 500 breeding pairs of bald eagles in the U.S. in the late 1960s. However, the story changed with the discovery that DDT, often found in insecticides , was affecting wildlife, effectively leading to its ban in 1972. In 1973, the federal government signed the Endangered Species Act, which led to the protections of various species, including the bald eagle. Related: Critically endangered regent honeyeaters are losing their song Since then, the population has been growing gradually, and the bird was removed from the endangered species list in 2007. Following a recent survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has discovered that the number of bald eagles has more than quadrupled since 2009 when they were last counted. Speaking to the press, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that this turnaround is historic. “The bald eagle has always been considered a sacred species to American Indian people, and similarly it’s sacred to our nation as America’s national symbol,” Haaland said. This success story proves that conservation measures work. Although the birds were hunted, killed and poisoned for years, the population has grown thanks to focused conservation efforts. While the report might seem like a good indication for the future of wildlife in the U.S., the reality on the ground is quite different. A recent study by Cornell Lab of Ornithology has established that the overall population of birds in the U.S. has dropped by about one-third in the past 50 years. A different report by the National Audubon Society has established that about two-thirds of North American birds are at an increased risk of extinction, primarily because of climate change. “By stabilizing carbon emissions and holding warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, nearly 150 species would no longer be vulnerable to extinction from climate change ,” the report noted. + U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Via NPR Image via Jan Temmel

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Tidal turbines power electric vehicles on Scotland’s Yell Island

March 29, 2021 by  
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As countries around the world increasingly embrace electric vehicles , charging is top of mind. In Scotland, the island of Yell is powering its EVs with tidal energy. Nova Innovation has built an underwater network of revolving tidal turbines anchored to the ocean floor. You can’t see them from above, and they’re designed to pose no navigational hazards. One thing is for sure about Yell — there’s plenty of ocean around it, so this is a predicable power source for the island’s grid. Related: Scotland to become first country to test 100% green hydrogen At 83 square miles, Yell is the second largest of Scotland’s Shetland Islands. Sheep outnumber the 966 inhabitants by about 10 to one. The underwater turbines have already been powering houses and businesses on Yell for the last five years. “We now have the reality of tidal powered cars , which demonstrates the huge steps forward we are making in tackling the climate emergency and achieving net-zero by working in harmony with our natural environment,” said Simon Forrest, Nova Innovation’s CEO. Scotland has long been a global renewable energy leader. The blustery country has harnessed enough wind to power a country twice its size. Its first tidal energy farm launched in 2016, and by 2020, it had more underwater turbines than any other country. The new tidal turbine charging station is a first. Forrest says this technology can be deployed around the world. Because traditional combustion engines in vehicles produce about one-fifth of U.K. carbon emissions, underwater turbines could be key in meeting emission reduction goals. More tidal turbines could be coming soon, as the Scottish government has banned the sale of new cars powered solely by diesel or gas by 2032. Marine scientists are still assessing the effects on wildlife . According to Andrea Copping with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, animals colliding with the turbines could be bruised but probably not killed. Compared to other coastal energy endeavors, such as offshore oil drilling, the threat from underwater turbines seems low. Via EcoWatch and Hakai Magazine Image via Leo Roomets

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Tidal turbines power electric vehicles on Scotland’s Yell Island

Should You Go Solar? Solar Power Pros and Cons

March 25, 2021 by  
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A growing number of home and business owners are using solar power. As the solar… The post Should You Go Solar? Solar Power Pros and Cons appeared first on Earth911.

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Eco-sensitive architecture helps lift a rural Chinese village out of poverty

March 23, 2021 by  
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In the misty tea terraces of southwest China, Hangzhou-based architecture practice gad · line+ studio has recently completed an eco-sensitive redevelopment project to help a rural village attract tourism revenue. Commissioned by major Chinese property developer Sunac and the Youcheng Foundation of the State Council Poverty Alleviation Office, the “targeted poverty alleviation” project included 2,400 square meters of renovation, new construction and landscape beautification to transform Guizhou’s rural Longtang village into a cultural destination with guesthouses, a new theater and other amenities. Prefabricated construction, locally sourced natural materials and solar panels were used to reduce the project’s environmental footprint. Home to the Miao community, the traditional Chinese village of Longtang has suffered from depopulation and decline due to a lack of job opportunities. To sustainably revitalize the village and celebrate the local culture, the architects renovated 750 square meters of existing architecture and added 1,650 square meters of new construction to attract tourists.  Related: Site-sensitive Woodhouse Hotel promotes agricultural tourism in Guizhou The renovation of the village’s traditional stilt buildings was a key part of the project. Locals who were increasingly renovating their structures with modern and cost-effective materials such as cement and brick had been inadvertently eroding their village’s history. As a result, the architects created a series of reconstruction demonstration projects to show villagers how locally sourced and low-cost materials can be used with space-optimizing layouts to beautifully improve the buildings. The architects also installed solar panels on the sloped roofs. To develop a tourism revenue stream, the architects built eight new hillside-embedded guesthouses that mimic the traditional Miao stilt architecture along with the Mountain House, a prefabricated , public-facing building with a panoramic roof terrace, an outdoor theater and an infinity pool. Like the guesthouses, the Mountain House appears to “float” above the landscape, but it does feature a more contemporary aesthetic. “The public building of Mountain House breaks through the traditional rural building styles, trying to create a refined and pure modern sense to dialogue with the mountains,” the architects explained. “The building is naturally divided into two L-shaped volumes according to the height differences with the mountain.” + gad · line+ studio Photography by Arch-Exist Photography via gad · line+ studio

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Lazzarini Design releases conceptual Pagurus, an amphibious catamaran

February 17, 2021 by  
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Lazzarini Design calls it the Pagurus or the Crabmaran, and this amphibious catamaran concept is both futuristic and exciting. If you’re in the market for an ultra-luxurious, multipurpose adventure vehicle, this might be for you. Its 82 feet of length matches the long-standing yacht standards for opulence and function, with copious additional features that include solar and water power and the amphibious capability to function on land or in the water. Related: Isaac Burrough unveils solar-powered luxury yacht concept Lazzarini Design of Rome and Dubai is known for finding inspiration in nature, and Pagurus is no exception with its crab-like body. Within that framework, each hull provides a separate living space with up to three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. It can host up to eight passengers and four additional crew members. The two areas are connected through a bridge tower deck station, while a bridge steel structure stiffens and reinforces the design. Capable of sailing across the ocean propelled by 890 HP engines at speeds up to 24 knots, Pagurus is supplemented by the energy created by water friction and solar power , both of which can recharge the batteries while the vehicle is in motion. In full electric mode, the vessel can pull five knots for a duration of six to seven hours. This billionaire’s toy can even transport massive loads, including an electric automobile or off-road vehicle, which would be lifted onboard using a crane. Remarkably, Pagurus doesn’t skip a beat when the road ahead is land rather than waves , with the ability to move on sand or mud terrains up to 30kmh. If this is what your ideal future looks like, Pagurus can be built on demand from a starting price of 6,580,000 euros ranging up to 24,000,000 euros for the Crabmaran version (about $8-29 million). Then again, you might want to consider one of the other six nature-inspired designs by the company, including the previously released Avanguardia the Swan or Prodigium the Shark. + Lazzarini Design Studio Via Yanko Design Images via Lazzarini Design Studio

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