Ethical garment factory becomes the first Passive House building in South Asia

October 2, 2018 by  
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Passive House certification — one of the leading green standards for ultra-low energy architecture — has finally touched down in South Asia with the completion of the Star Innovation Center near Colombo, Sri Lanka. New York City-based Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture completed the solar-powered product development facility that saw the renovation of an obsolete building into only one of two certified Passive House factory buildings in the world. Thanks to an airtight envelope and rigorous engineering, the Star Innovation Center is expected to consume 25 percent less energy as compared to a conventionally “efficient” modern industrial building. The high-performance Passive House (Passivhaus) standards began in cooler, Northern European climates, yet Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture has proved that those green guidelines can also be applied to tropical monsoon climates with high humidity and warm temperatures year-round. At the Star Innovation Center, natural cooling is a primary concern. As such, the building systems were engineered to maintain working environments with low humidity, access to abundant natural light , filtered fresh air and nearly constant temperatures of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, the renovated building is meant to serve as a global model for the entire garment industry in not only sustainability measures but also worker comfort. Billed as a “model for future sweatshop-free commercial buildings,” the Star Innovation Center features a cheerful facade of colorful windscreens with spacious, open-plan rooms and plenty of connections to the outdoors. Energy efficiency has also helped secure lower operational costs for the client. Related: Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit “By choosing to renovate an obsolete building to Passive House standards, the project dramatically reduces the waste, carbon emissions and fossil fuels typically required for demolition and new construction, and promotes the client’s commitment to maintain high standards in social, environmental, ethical and safety compliance,” the firm’s project statement said. “By promoting the project’s goals and inspiring the local building industry, JPDA has sought to establish a clear path to both reducing global carbon emissions and putting an end to worker ‘sweatshop’ conditions.” + Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture Images via Ganidu Balasuriya and Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

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Ethical garment factory becomes the first Passive House building in South Asia

This sustainable home in Chile is designed as an ‘unplugged’ retreat for a family of six

October 2, 2018 by  
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From luxury retreats to minimalist cabins, more and more people are looking for places where they can truly go off the grid. For one family of six, a remote area almost 200 miles from Santiago, Chile was chosen as the perfect place for them to disconnect. Working with architect Mauricio LLaumett of Nüform Studio , the family’s self-sufficient new home is completely “unplugged” thanks to solar energy, passive features and an independent water system connected to a nearby river. Located on an isolated landscape of Huentelauquén, the timber and glass home sits on a rocky field covered in cacti that extends to the ocean. When the family approached Llaumett about their desire to create a vacation home on the challenging topography, they requested a design that would respect the natural landscape. The next request was that the home be 100 percent off-grid, generating its own energy in order to be a self-sufficient structure that the family could use for generations to come. “The most important thing is that the house is totally ‘unplugged,’” LLaumett explained. Related: Minimalist cabin in the Chilean mountains lets climbers escape the daily grind The home’s electricity is generated by rooftop solar panels , while an innovative system collects water from a nearby river. The water is stored in two elevated containers that work with gravity to release water on demand. Additionally, a water waste system was built into the design so that excess water from the shower and the kitchen can be used to irrigate the interior garden. The home was built on a slanted concrete foundation with a shape that mimics the natural slope of the landscape. Dark pine siding  on the exterior blends the home into its surroundings. A wall of sliding glass doors opens up to a large, stepped wooden deck where the family enjoys panoramic views of the sea in the distance. On the interior, the layout was strategically designed to connect the off-grid home to its surroundings. The front glazed facade opens up completely to create a seamless passage between the interior and the exterior. As for the home’s furnishings, many of them were made from  locally sourced wood and handcrafted by local artisans. Even the family built some of the furniture, including the master bed frame and dining room table. + Nüform Studio Via Dwell Photography by Aryeh Kornfeld K. via Nüform Studio

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This sustainable home in Chile is designed as an ‘unplugged’ retreat for a family of six

1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh

August 30, 2017 by  
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Monsoon rains have drenched India , Bangladesh , and Nepal in what some people are saying is the worst flooding disaster to hit the area in years. South Asia often battles flooding during monsoon season, which runs from around June to September, but authorities say the disaster has been worse this year. At least 1,200 people have died, and millions of people have been left homeless after the deluge. Floods have washed away tens of thousands of houses and led to landslides in Nepal, Bangladesh, and India. Electric towers and roads have been damaged, while farmland has filled with water. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said floods have impacted over 7.4 million people in Bangladesh, where over 697,000 homes have been demolished. Related: World is failing to prepare for increasing natural disasters, UN expert says In the state of Bihar in India, 17.1 million people have been impacted, with 514 killed. Disaster management official Anirudh Kumar of Patna, Bihar’s capital, said 2017’s farming has collapsed due to the waters, which will cause more unemployment in the area. In Uttar Pradesh, 2.5 million have been affected and 109 have died. Thousands of people in the country have sought shelter in relief camps. And landslides in Nepal have killed over 100 people, according to IFRC. According to international aid agencies, flooding has cut off thousands of villages, where people are suffering without clean water or food for days. In Mumbai , India, public transportation was halted and people were left stranded because of the floods. In some places, people waded through water up to their waists. Rescue missions were thwarted because of the rains; Mumbai joint police commissioner Amitesh Kumar said, “Even we are stranded.” The city is vulnerable to storms since buildings have been constructed on coastal areas and flood plains, and waterways and storm drains are often blocked by plastic garbage . Via The Independent and The Guardian Images via screenshot and screenshot

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1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh

Sixth mass extinction on Earth is driven by industrial farming, says leading academic

August 30, 2017 by  
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Earth is presently experiencing its sixth “mass extinction,” and humans are largely to blame, says a leading academic. In his new book The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, Professor Patel of the University of Texas explains how mass deforestation to clear grounds to grow mono-crops, the creation of large dead zones in the sea caused by run-off of fertilizers, and the trend of over-fishing are a detriment to the world and are driving the destruction of our planet. “The footprint of global agriculture is vast. Industrial agriculture is absolutely responsible for driving deforestation, absolutely responsible for pushing industrial monoculture , and that means it is responsible for species loss,” said Patel. “We’re losing species we have never heard of, those we’ve yet to put a name to and industrial agriculture is very much at the spear-tip of that.” In an interview with The Independent , Patel pointed to the largest-ever “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico . The region has too little oxygen for marine life as a result of vast amounts of fertilizers washing from farms in mainland US into the ocean. “That dead zone isn’t an accident. It’s a requirement of industrial agriculture to get rid of the sh*t and the run-off elsewhere because you cannot make industrial agriculture workable unless you kick the costs somewhere else,” he said. “The story of industrial agriculture is all about externalising costs and exploiting nature.” Mono-crops, such as soy and corn, are big offenders in Patel’s book. Not only does the farming practice result in a loss of diversity , it eliminates habitats of potentially endangered species, including elephants, jaguars, and penguins.“Extinction is about the elimination of diversity. What happens in Brazil and other places is you get green deserts — monocultures of soy and nothing else,” he said. Evidence of this can be found in Sumatra, where forests are being decimated to make way for palm plantations and industrial meat factories. In the oceans, anchovies and sardines and being overfished . Rather than being consumed by humans, however, they are ground up and added to feed for salmon, pigs, and chickens. For animals that feed on them, such as penguins, this spells trouble as their food source is declining. The Professor is urging consumers to “think on a bigger scale.” Said Patel, “‘As a consumer’ you are only allowing yourself a range of action. ‘As a consumer ’ you can buy something that’s local and sustainable, that’s labelled as organic or fair trade.” He added, “But ‘as a consumer’, you don’t get to do a whole lot of good. As a citizen, as a decent person, you can demand more from your government, from one’s employer, from yourself. Related: The sixth mass extinction is killing off wildlife 100 times faster than “normal” The activist urges people to be aware of their power “as part of a society where we can change things.” He said, “We have this power to change things in the future. What we have to do is make that change.” The answer is not vegetarianism , he said (though it will surely help). Rather, it’s time humanity switch to a world in which resources were shared and looked after. Patel urges a shift in mentality, as well, as people’s “images of consumption that are entirely unsustainable .” Professor Patel will be a keynote speaker at the Extinction and Livestock Conference in London in October. The event is organized by groups such as Compassion in World Farming and WWF and is being held to raise awareness about the rapid rate of species loss which could ultimately lead to the sixth mass extinction of life. Via The Independent Images via Pixabay

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Sixth mass extinction on Earth is driven by industrial farming, says leading academic

Cattle are the World’s Top Greenhouse Gas Emitters Among Livestock, Study Finds

December 17, 2013 by  
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If you hope to dramatically reduce your greenhouse gas footprint, you need look no farther than your dinner plate. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that cattle are the top emitters of greenhouse gasses among livestock. The research, backed by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) found that among small ruminants, poultry, and pigs, cattle were responsible for more than three-quarters of emissions. Read the rest of Cattle are the World’s Top Greenhouse Gas Emitters Among Livestock, Study Finds Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bbc news , cattle , china , Climate Change , commonwealth scientific and industrial research organization , diet , global warming , greenhouse gas emissions , international livestock research institute , Latin America , livestock , north america , poultry , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , ruminants , south asia , sub-saharan africa , un world health organization        

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Cattle are the World’s Top Greenhouse Gas Emitters Among Livestock, Study Finds

Air Pollution Worsened by Climate Change Could Kill 100,000 People Every Year

September 13, 2013 by  
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Image via Shutterstock . A study published this month in the journal Climatic Change asserts that 100,000 adults could lose their lives annually as a result of air pollution made worse by global warming . Researchers used atmospheric modeling to run an advanced global simulation that predicts global temperatures will rise 2.7 degrees Celsius and precipitation will increase 6 percent. These factors would influence the amount of pollutants in the air and make air pollution a more potent killer. Read the rest of Air Pollution Worsened by Climate Change Could Kill 100,000 People Every Year Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: air pollution , Climate Change , climatic change , dr. yuanyuan fang , east asia , geophysical fluid dynamics laboratory atmospheric model , global warming , greenhouse gas emissions , mortality , north america , ozone inhalation , respiratory disease , south asia , united states , warming aerosols , world heatlh organization        

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Air Pollution Worsened by Climate Change Could Kill 100,000 People Every Year

Study Says Over 2 Million Deaths Worldwide are Due to Air Pollution

July 15, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock Poor air quality isn’t just a nuisance — it can actually kill you. A new study conducted by researchers at the  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  estimates that 2 million people lose their lives each year as a result of bad air. The main culprit responsible for heart disease, respiratory problems, and cancer seems to be the amount of particulate matter released as a result of human activity. The study also linked 470,000 deaths annually to ozone that forms when chemicals from factories mingle and react with one another. Read the rest of Study Says Over 2 Million Deaths Worldwide are Due to Air Pollution Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: air pollution , atmosphere , Beijing , Climate Change , death , east asia , ozone , particulate , Singapore , south asia , university of north carolina at chapel hill        

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Report Shows Persistent Organic Pollutants are Accumulating in the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas

April 12, 2013 by  
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The Roof of the World has long been associated with notions of adventure, beauty, and the majesty of some of the tallest mountains on earth. However research has shown that amidst the stunning landscape of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas lie dangerous, toxic chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). As carbon-based compounds, they are highly resistant to degradation and they find their was into the ecosystem through electronic waste , burning fossil fuels, pesticides, herbicides, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Other chemicals found lurking in the environment include DDT and Agent Orange – substances which can cause cancer, neurological disorders, birth defects, and reproductive damage. Read the rest of Report Shows Persistent Organic Pollutants are Accumulating in the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Africa , agent orange , Beijing , china , ddt , dehradun , east rongbuk glacier , Europe , hch , himalayas , India , institute of tibetan plateau research , mount everest , pah , peristent organic pollutants , POP , south asia , third pole environment workshop , tibetan plateau , wang xiaoping , xu baiqing        

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Report Shows Persistent Organic Pollutants are Accumulating in the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas

MoMA Demolishing American Folk Art Museum Building After Just 12 Years

April 12, 2013 by  
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In today’s sad news, NYC’s Museum of Modern Art has announced that it is planning to demolish its American Folk Art Museum building . The structure , designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, has only been in existence for 12 years. The decision came after MoMA decided that the building would not fit in with the aesthetic of their plans for expansion. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: American Folk Art Museum , Architecture , Design , Lincoln Square , moma , MoMA demolition , MoMA expansion , new york city , News , NYC , Tod Williams & Billie Tsien , West 53rd Street        

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MoMA Demolishing American Folk Art Museum Building After Just 12 Years

Horse Poop Could Be the Key to Commercial Biofuel Production

April 12, 2013 by  
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Horse photo from Shutterstock Scientists just discovered a key ingredient that could help propel the production of biofuel: horse poop . Converting corn stalks and grass to biofuel requires removing lignin and breaking down cellulose, which is a complicated and expensive process. But thanks to an enzyme that lives in fungi in horse manure, scientists were able to drastically reduce costs, inching biofuel closer to becoming a viable and cost-effective energy source. Read the rest of Horse Poop Could Be the Key to Commercial Biofuel Production Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative energy , biofuels , commercial production of biofuels , eco design , green design , horse manure fuel , horse poop biofuel , Poo Power! , sustainable design        

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