Foundations of the Circular Economy

September 4, 2020 by  
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Foundations of the Circular Economy What are the basic building blocks of the circular economy, and how can they help drive opportunity and innovation across roles and sectors?   This session addresses the basics of the circular economy, from theory to action, from guiding principles to case studies spanning products, business models and system-level innovations. Much of the work in the circular economy to date has centered on deep analysis of the broader economic opportunity. This session translates the theory into practical opportunities for colleagues working in various functions within an organization and value chain.   Speakers Joe Murphy, Network Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation Michelle Tulac, New York City, Activation Manager, Ellen MacArthur Foundation   This session was held at GreenBiz Group’s Circularity 20, August 25-27, 2020. Learn more about the event here: https://events.greenbiz.com/events/circularity/online/2020   Watch our other must-see talks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDIkTxibMLM&list=PLyVZcHL_zmn6pie1MKrS3qJuXrLpTvgx9   OUR LINKS Website: https://www.greenbiz.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenbiz   LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/greenbiz-group   Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/greenbiz_group   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenBiz Holly Secon Fri, 09/04/2020 – 16:57 Featured Off

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Foundations of the Circular Economy

Prefabricated, luxury eco-pod sits high in the Swiss Alps

September 2, 2020 by  
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With sweeping views of the Rhône Valley just south of Lake Geneva, the Zen Suite is the latest addition to the Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel. Designed by Montalba Architects, the minimalist-meets-luxurious pod immerses guests in the Dents-du-Midi mountain range of Switzerland. A creative combination of natural materials and sustainable construction, the hotel’s series of pods is aimed at creating spiritual harmony with the surrounding alpine ecosystem. The architects minimized environmental impact by raising the pods on platforms and leaving the surroundings mostly untouched. The eco-pods are positioned on elevated, stadium-style deck platforms along the side of the mountain, giving guests private and unobstructed views of the stunning landscape from almost every angle. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment The Zen Suite’s central circle is surrounded by curved wooden walls that are finished with fine details and tatami floor mats. The entire pod measures about 150 square feet, with an additional 220 square feet provided by the connected terrace. The platform, pod and bath box are all prefabricated elements of the structure. Hidden closets and storage compartments add to the contemporary feel of the space. In the simple bedroom, a sunken bed faces the front of the pod to make the most of the views. The wooden bathroom is constructed locally to minimize waste and transportation. The bathroom also utilizes an Ozone system to filter water without the use of harmful chemicals. A bathtub centers the distinct, circular design. The zen concept found throughout the design is inspired by the Wu Xing movement, which states that all things are connected and made up of energy. The five elements connected to the Chinese philosophy are represented through earth, water, wood, metal and fire. Each corner and space of the Zen Suite is meant to revolve around simple human ritual and self-reflection based on this theory, resulting in a transformative experience. Prices range from 650 to 1,250 Swiss Francs ($670 to $1,287) per night. +Montalba Architects Via An Interior Magazine Photography by Delphine Burtin via Montalba Architects

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Prefabricated, luxury eco-pod sits high in the Swiss Alps

Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers

July 14, 2020 by  
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Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers Marsha Willard Tue, 07/14/2020 – 01:30 Businesses are reaping the environmental and social benefits of providing electric vehicle charging for employees. That’s according to research published last week by Presidio Graduate School (PGS) and ChargePoint, providers of the world’s largest EV charging network. Last fall, a research team from PGS conducted a study on workplace electric vehicle charging practices. In addition to a review of the current literature, the team interviewed sustainability leaders in 24 organizations across the United States. The findings reveal that while still most common in Europe and in U.S. coastal states, the speed of EV adoption makes creating the charging infrastructure an imperative for both the public and private sector. Leading organizations have made a solid business case for providing workplace charging and other EV related employee incentives or benefits. Below are some key findings of the study: Employers recognize that demand for charging will only grow; in many cities such as Portland and San Francisco EV charging in workplace parking lots is already both an expectation of employees and a city mandate. Business plays an important role in facilitating EV adoption; providing EV charging to employees is increasingly easy to justify to corporate executives.  Providing charging at the workplace increases employee satisfaction and makes it easier to attract and retain workers. Supporting EV commuting and investing in EV fleets help organizations meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets.  Employers are worried less about upfront costs and are thinking long-term about strategies to optimize their investment.  Key strategies to maximize benefit To get the most out of the investment in workplace charging stations, the corporation and other organizations participating in this research study focused on these four key implementation strategies: 1. Assure availability What the study participants learned is that while you may not see a lot of EVs in your parking lots now, they are coming and they catch on faster once workplace chargers become available. Bank of America, for example, saw a 50 percent increase in the number of EV commuters in just one year after installing chargers, reinforcing the theory that EV adoption is mostly hindered by a concern about being able to charge away from home. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Once available, chargers become an important amenity to employees. Study participants reported not only increased satisfaction with the workplace, but ncreasingly, an expectation that chargers be available making them part of nearly all our participating organizations’ recruiting and retention packages. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Some progressive cities such as Salt Lake City and Duluth, Minnesota  are beginning to mandate chargers in all new construction. The required number varies from 1 to 5 percent of spaces depending on the jurisdiction. Forward-thinking businesses, such as those in our study, believe these requirements are conservative and plan to expand the number of available chargers. LinkedIn, for example, which covers about 10 percent of parking spaces with EV chargers, is building toward a target of 20 percent. 2. Allow dynamic pricing Most study participants saw value in providing free charging for employees. What they have learned is that it not only builds employee satisfaction, but also encourages EV adoption. While there is a strong commitment to providing free charging, an increasing number of organizations are opting to charge fees for lingering at the stations. In an effort to optimize the use of the charging stations, it is common to assess a fee after a car has been parked at a charger for more than four hours. This is made possible by using “smart” chargers — chargers connected to a network that allows managers to not only tailor fee structures but to send alerts to users as well as monitor usage and capture greenhouse gas-related data.  3. Optimize energy management Study participants understood that the expected increase in demand for workplace charging will require more attention to power management. In addition to meeting the extra demand without over-tapping their capacity, they also want to assure the most efficient use of the charging infrastructure. Power management features available on some chargers enable site managers to maximize the number of charging ports before having to upgrade existing wiring or panels. These systems also enable management to assure that charging EVs never exceed the maximum aggregate electrical load, thus avoiding potential peak load charges. These systems also enable managers to control when and how much energy is being tapped to maximize consumption during those times of the day when renewable power is most plentiful. Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. 4. Source from renewable power Most study participants power their chargers with lines from their existing building panels, so the electricity comes from the same generation source as their buildings. This is the most cost-effective method for powering the chargers, but it links the carbon impact to the generation source provided by the region’s utility. If the local utility is powered mostly by coal generation plants, the carbon savings may be negligible.  Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. Amazon, for example, plans to increase its renewable energy usage from 40 percent to 100 percent by 2030 . Bank of America already sources 91percent of its energy from renewable sources and will be rolling out on-site solar generation at more than 60 of its locations in the next two years. A number of the research participants already have invested in their own on-site generation, and 55 percent report that they are looking to add or expand this capability in the future. When self-generation is not feasible, organizations have increasing opportunities to source renewable energy through their utilities.  Electrification of vehicle fleets will markedly reduce greenhouse gasses. Employers have much to gain and much to offer in this transition. Offering on-site, electric vehicle charging not only will contribute to the infrastructure needed to speed this transition, but also benefit companies that offer this amenity.  To hear a fuller story from one of our study participants, visit the recording with Erik Hansen of Workday. Pull Quote Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Topics Transportation & Mobility Infrastructure Electric Vehicles ChargePoint Collective Insight Thinking in Systems Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Herr Loeffler Close Authorship

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Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers

Scientists aim to use lasers to turn light into matter

March 20, 2018 by  
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Scientists at Imperial College London are attempting to use powerful lasers turn light into matter, potentially proving the 84-year-old theory known as the Breit-Wheeler process . According to this theory, it is technically possible to turn light into matter by smashing two photons to create a positron and an electron. While previous efforts to achieve this feat have required added high-energy particles, the Imperial scientists believe they have discovered a method that does not need additional energy to function. “This would be a pure demonstration of Einstein’s famous equation that relates energy and mass: E=mc2, which tells us how much energy is produced when matter is turned to energy,” explained Imperial Professor Steven Rose . “What we are doing is the same but backwards: turning photon energy into mass, i.e. m=E/c2.” The Imperial team’s system centers around two lasers , which create two different kinds of photons to be smashed. One photon has the energy equivalent to ten thousand times that produced by visible light, while the other has that of one billion times that of visible light. Both lasers are aimed at two small targets in the target chamber, where the charged particles are deflected and documented. The team will be observing the particles bouncing from the collision to see if they were successful in creating matter from light . Related: New quantum tunneling application captures electricity from Earth’s heat If the scientists successfully convert light into matter , they will have proven an old theory once thought impossible to confirm while offering a glimpse into the earliest moments of our universe. “When Gregory Breit and John Wheeler first proposed the mechanism in 1934, they used the then new theory of the interaction between light and matter known as quantum electrodynamics (QED),” explained study co-leader Dr. Stuart Mangles. “Whereas every other fundamental prediction of QED has since been demonstrated experimentally, the ‘two-photon Breit-Wheeler process’ has never been seen. If we can demonstrate it now, we would be recreating a process that was important in the first 100 seconds of the universe and that is also seen in gamma ray bursts, which are the biggest explosions in the universe and one of physics ‘ greatest unsolved mysteries.” Via Phys.org Images via Imperial College London

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Scientists aim to use lasers to turn light into matter

New research shows the universe may be one giant hologram

February 1, 2017 by  
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It turns out we may all be living in an infinitely large Holo-deck. That’s basically the conclusion a group of researchers reached after analyzing what is thought to be the first-ever observed evidence that the universe could in fact be a gigantic holographic projection . Phys.org reports that a team of theoretical physicists and astrophysicists from the U.K., Canada and Italy made the discovery while researching irregularities in the “cosmic microwave background,” or the “afterglow” of the Big Bang. In the course of that research, which involved using the theory of cosmic inflation, they found substantial evidence to support a holographic explanation of the universe, which actually holds as much weight as the traditional explanations for these irregularities. As Phys.org notes, the idea of a holographic universe first emerged in the 1990s, and involves the theory in which all the information that makes up our 3D reality (including time) is contained in a two-dimensional surface, on its boundaries. Scientists from Canada’s Perimeter Institute and University of Waterloo , the U.K’s University of Southampton and Italy’s University of Salento jointly made this most-recent discovery using advanced telescopes and sensing equipment that can detect data hidden in the microwaves left over from the Big Bang. As Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton, Kostas Skenderis explains: “Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions (and your perception of time) in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field. The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded.” It’s essentially like watching a 3D movie in a theater, when the images appear to have depth, along with width and height, but they are ultimately still coming from a two-dimensional screen. Related: “Largest-ever” new map of universe shows 1.2 million galaxies “Holography is a huge leap forward in the way we think about the structure and creation of the universe.,” adds Skenderis. “Einstein’s theory of general relativity explains almost everything large scale in the universe very well, but starts to unravel when examining its origins and mechanisms at quantum level. Scientists have been working for decades to combine Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum theory. Some believe the concept of a holographic universe has the potential to reconcile the two. I hope our research takes us another step towards this.” Via Phys.org Images via NASA and University of Southampton

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New research shows the universe may be one giant hologram

Elon Musk guest stars in an amazing episode of The Big Bang Theory

November 20, 2015 by  
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Elon Musk  is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and generally a man of great mystery, but last night he did something most billionaire businessmen just don’t do. He guest starred in an episode of The Big Bang Theory , appearing as himself. We won’t give away any plot spoilers, but we can tell you that nerds and Teslaholics everywhere must have been glued to their TV screens when Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) met his hero while serving the homeless. In the episode entitled “The Platonic Permutation,” Wolowitz finds himself washing dishes in a soup kitchen alongside the famous serial entrepreneur. Read the rest of Elon Musk guest stars in an amazing episode of The Big Bang Theory

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Elon Musk guest stars in an amazing episode of The Big Bang Theory

Scientists uncover causes of the Earth’s mysterious subsonic hum

April 22, 2015 by  
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Our whole planet emits good vibrations. No, it’s not a free love hippie manifesto from the sixties, but cold, hard science from a discovery in the 1990s by scientists that showed the planet constantly vibrates at very low frequencies. Researchers believe they’ve finally determined the cause of the vibration–it’s ocean waves. According to livescience , the theory that waves cause the Earth’s hum isn’t new. Until recently, science couldn’t completely account for the range of vibrations found on earthquake sensors, but a new study from the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea creates a model that accounts for all the various microseismic signals–an important step for turning the planet’s mysterious sounds into an understandable signal. Why is the hum important? Having a better understanding of the earth’s hum could eventually help scientists create better maps of the Earths’ interior. Things that make you go hmmm. Via livescience Image via Shutterstock Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: earth’s low frequency hum , earth’s mysterious hum explained , scientists uncover cause of earth’s mysterious hum , seismology earth’s hum , why does the earth hum

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Scientists uncover causes of the Earth’s mysterious subsonic hum

Scientists discover microorganism that hasn’t evolved for over 2 billion years

February 4, 2015 by  
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Scientists have discovered a type of deep-sea microorganism that seems to be the exception to the rule of evolution. An international team of researchers say the organism does not appear to have evolved over more than 2 billion years. Even so, the scientists who discovered this anomalous being argue that the organism’s lack of evolution actually still supports the theory of evolution. Read the rest of Scientists discover microorganism that hasn’t evolved for over 2 billion years Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2 billion year old bacteria , ancient fossils , charles darwin , darwinism , evolution , lack of evolution , microorganisms , sulfur bacteria , theory of evolution

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Scientists discover microorganism that hasn’t evolved for over 2 billion years

Studies Show Lead Poisoning May Increase Criminal Behavior

February 6, 2014 by  
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Image via Shutterstock When crime rates dropped sharply and unexpectedly across the United States during the 1990s, many were left baffled at the precipitous plunge. Though city officials may be quick to credit police efforts, there’s another theory gaining momentum. According to Lauren Wolf’s new article for Chemical and Engineering News , studies show that lead exposure may have caused spikes in criminal activity. The toxic substance was banned and regulated in the 1970s, which could account for the drop in violent crime. Read the rest of Studies Show Lead Poisoning May Increase Criminal Behavior Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 1990s crime rate , Chemical and Engineering News , criminal behavior , EPA lead ban , lead ban , lead exposure , lead poisoning , lead-based paint , lead-induced crime , violent crime        

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Studies Show Lead Poisoning May Increase Criminal Behavior

Studies Show Lead Poisoning May Increase Criminal Behavior

February 6, 2014 by  
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Image via Shutterstock When crime rates dropped sharply and unexpectedly across the United States during the 1990s, many were left baffled at the precipitous plunge. Though city officials may be quick to credit police efforts, there’s another theory gaining momentum. According to Lauren Wolf’s new article for Chemical and Engineering News , studies show that lead exposure may have caused spikes in criminal activity. The toxic substance was banned and regulated in the 1970s, which could account for the drop in violent crime. Read the rest of Studies Show Lead Poisoning May Increase Criminal Behavior Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 1990s crime rate , Chemical and Engineering News , criminal behavior , EPA lead ban , lead ban , lead exposure , lead poisoning , lead-based paint , lead-induced crime , violent crime        

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