A geometric double roof promotes natural cooling at this Tropical Chalet

November 23, 2020 by  
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After three years of design and construction, Singapore-based firm G8A Architecture & Urban Planning has completed the Tropical Chalet, a naturally cooled home with a beautiful and functional “double roof facade.” Located in the Vietnamese coastal region of Danang, the four-bedroom family villa takes advantage of its lakeside location with a porous brick moucharabieh facade that brings in cooling cross breezes and also gives the beautiful home its distinctive appearance. The predominate use of rough brick — which covers the roof, walls and a portion of the open-air interior — is also a nod to Danang’s historic use of baked brickwork that dates back to the fourth century. Set on a roughly rectangular plot facing a lake, the Tropical Chalet lives up to its name with an indoor/outdoor design approach. A lush garden and spacious, landscaped backyard surrounds the L-shaped home, which opens up to the outdoors on all sides. Operable glazing, a porous brick facade and a recessed gallery help bring in natural light and ventilation while protecting against unwanted solar gain and mercurial coastal weather conditions. Related: Lush living plants engulf the green-roofed Pure Spa in Vietnam “Materials were were chosen not only for their sturdiness and climate resistance, particularly bricks with their high insulation qualities,” the architects explained. “But also, their minimal and natural aesthetic, once again blending with the surrounding landscape. A strong presence of wood, textured concrete and rough brick highlight the organic nature of the concept.” The building’s undulating roof is also engineered for natural cooling with a shape informed by site conditions; the geometry of the roof has led to a folded waxed concrete ceiling below that hides the structural framework of the terracotta-lined roof. The 400-square-meter Tropical Chalet rises to a height of two stories and includes a floor that’s partly buried underground and opens up to a sunken sculpture garden. + G8A Architecture & Urban Planning Photography by Oki Hiroyuki via G8A Architecture & Urban Planning

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A geometric double roof promotes natural cooling at this Tropical Chalet

Flea treatments are poisoning Englands rivers

November 19, 2020 by  
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Insecticides used to kill fleas are proving to be way too effective. The chemicals are poisoning English  rivers and killing bugs they were never meant to encounter, according to a new University of Sussex  study . The environmental damage extends to the birds and fish who depend on the poisoned bugs for food. “Fipronil is one of the most commonly used flea products and recent studies have shown it degrades to compounds that are more toxic to most  insects  than fipronil itself,” said Rosemary Perkins, who led the study. “Our results are extremely concerning.” Related: Ace Hardware boosts efforts to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides The researchers identified fipronil in 99% of the samples they took from 20 rivers. In addition, they found a nerve agent called imidacloprid, which was temporarily banned in the EU in 2013 and then permanently so in 2018. This toxic pesticide ingredient is commonly used in farming in many parts of the world as well as being used for flea treatments. Dave Goulson, one of the University of Sussex researchers, was shocked by the findings. “I couldn’t quite believe the  pesticides  were so prevalent. Our rivers are routinely and chronically contaminated with both of these chemicals.” He warned that using imidacloprid to treat one medium-sized dog for fleas contains enough pesticides to kill 60 million bees. How are these pesticides moving from Fido to the Thames? Researchers found the highest pesticide concentration just downstream from water treatment plants, indicating that the urban areas were the culprits, not the farmers. They believe that when people bathe their pets, it flushes pesticides into sewers and then rivers. Dogs that swim in rivers could also be responsible. If you’ve ever taken your pet to a veterinarian, it’s likely that the vet advised flea treatments. According to the  American Kennel Club , the dangers of fleas go beyond itchy skin, with the top three possible consequences being flea allergy dermatitis, anemia and tapeworms. About 80% of the U.K.’s 11 million cats and 10 million dogs receive treatment, whether or not they have fleas. Some environmentalists are saying that the environmental damage of insecticides should be prioritized over the blanket use of flea remedies. NRDC has some good recommendations for minimizing the environmental impact of flea treatment, including choosing oral treatments over flea collars, dosing for the correct weight of your pet, grooming your pets and cleaning your yard and  garden  in ways that will preempt pests to begin with. Read the organization’s full advice  here . Via  The Guardian and  Garden Organic Image via Joshua Choate

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Flea treatments are poisoning Englands rivers

Modern, energy-efficient office harvests rainwater in Surat

November 13, 2020 by  
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New Delhi-based multidisciplinary firm Urbanscape Architects has recently completed the Sangini House, a mixed-use office space in the Gujarati city of Surat. Designed for flexibility, energy efficiency and user comfort, the eight-story office building breaks the urban mold with its rounded and partly perforated form, which is softened by lush plantings that drape over the balconies. The project also integrates high-performance energy, rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation systems as part of a goal to achieve the green ‘Platinum Rating’ from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). Commissioned by construction company the Sangini group, the Sagini House in Surat consists of two floors of commercial space and four floors of office space. A site-specific solar analysis informed the orientation and design of the building to maximize access to natural light while minimizing the effects of unwanted glare. As a result, the architects clad part of the building with a jali -inspired stone facade in Red Agra. The three-dimensional perforations let in light and provide shade, while giving the building an attractive, patterned look from afar. The front facade of the building projects outward with a series of sheltered and cantilevered outdoor balconies covered with greenery. Related: A modern home in India stays naturally cool without AC Inside, column-free office spaces make the most of the building’s access to natural light. Exposed concrete is used primarily for the walls and ceilings; however, reclaimed wood and other timbers are inserted to lend a sense of warmth. Other natural materials , such as stone and glass, are also deliberately left unpainted and exposed. “The architecture and design of Sangini House explores ways in which it can respond to the context and spirit of the heritage in which it stands,” the architects explained. “The office building for the Sangini group, a leading construction firm delivering technical excellence in building design, characterizes new strategies for a flexible, column-free office space that creates a new urban venture in the city’s dense business district.” + Urbanscape Architects Photography by Noughts and Crosses via Urbanscape Architects

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Modern, energy-efficient office harvests rainwater in Surat

3D-printed modular oasis stays naturally cool in Abu Dhabi

November 12, 2020 by  
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Italian firm Barberio Colella Architetti and architect Angelo Figliola have unveiled a futuristic vision for an urban oasis in Abu Dhabi that combines cutting-edge technology with low-tech systems to stay naturally cool in extreme climates. The conceptual project — dubbed Urban Dunes — uses locally sourced sand as the main building material, which would be 3D printed in stereotomic blocks of sandstone. In addition to providing passive cooling, the oasis would also pay homage to the region’s culture with intricate and elegant spaces that mimic the traditional architecture of Abu Dhabi. Designed to span 1,000 square meters, the Urban Dunes project features the tagline “rethinking local sustainable models.” The proposal “started from the deep awareness of the climatic context of Abu Dhabi’s and the Emirates’ traditional architecture, such as elegant vaulted spaces, vernacular shading devices and cold-water basins,” the architects explained in a press statement. As a result, Urban Dunes’ sculptural, sand dune-like form is integrated with iconic elements such as mashrabiya , vaulted spaces, water basins, fountains and palms. Related: Mixed-use complex aims to minimize heat gain with greenery in Saudi Arabia For adaptability, the architects have proposed a modular design to fit a variety of spatial settings. The basic module, a square, can be extended to create everything from an L-shaped layout to a courtyard. Each module would be made from 3D-printed blocks that stack together to create a vault with a thickness of 55 centimeters that, together with the heat-reflective cool pigments mixed into the sand, help protect against solar heat gain. The vaulted spaces below are also optimized for natural cooling with elegant mashrabiya, a type of perforated window screen to enable natural ventilation . The incoming airflow is cooled by the water basins placed around the interior as well as the two waterfall fountains and palm trees in the center. Earth pipes are laid underground to feed water to the fountains and basins. + Barberio Colella Architetti Images via Barberio Colella Architetti

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3D-printed modular oasis stays naturally cool in Abu Dhabi

The ‘order of planning’ determines transit priorities. What if we inverted it to prioritize people?

November 12, 2020 by  
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The ‘order of planning’ determines transit priorities. What if we inverted it to prioritize people? Alan Hoffman Thu, 11/12/2020 – 00:01 Are your transportation plans letting you down? Regions everywhere have adopted ambitious goals for their long-range plans, from climate change to land use to reductions in automotive dependency. Yet even with decades of spending on creating new transit and bicycle infrastructure, many cities still struggle to see the kinds of changes in their travel and growth patterns that point toward resilience and sustainability. COVID-19 has highlighted these issues, upending travel patterns and choices with what may be permanent reductions in office commuting, as well as big impacts on transit and shared ride services. At the same time, COVID-19 has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink our use of public space, much of which has been dedicated to automotive movement (roads) and storage (parking). Transportation planning can lead to better outcomes by focusing on three parallel strategies: Identify what solutions look like Invert the order of planning Update your computerized planning models 1. Identifying solutions Too often, transportation projects are pushed through with no clear sense of whether they will be able to solve the problems for which they are intended. Planners and politicians jump to efficiency and expansion before effectiveness can be established. Once planners learn how to produce a desired solution, then they can engage in value engineering by asking how they can achieve desired results more efficiently. A perfect example of this is Curitiba, Brazil, famed as one of the innovators of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Curitiba didn’t set out to develop a BRT system. What it did was identify, up-front, what its ideal transit network should look like. In its case, it was a subway (metro) system with five arms radiating out of downtown and a set of concentric ring routes surrounding the center. Curitiba’s “solution” to creating an effective transit network was based on five major corridors radiating from downtown and a set of concentric rings linking major transfer stations (“integration terminals”). Subways are incredibly expensive to build. So Curitiba’s leaders asked themselves how they could replicate the functionality of their ideal network as quickly as possible with available resources. They decided to create their ideal subway system on the surface, running extra-long buses along dedicated transitways in the centers of their major roads. Enclosed stations with level boarding were spaced every 500 meters (three to a mile). Major integration terminals, about every 1.2 to 1.9 miles apart, serve surface subway lines, an extensive regional express network, and local buses. They also feature government services, recreation centers, shops and eateries. This transit corridor in Curitiba features a dedicated center-running busway with auto traffic and parking relegated to the sides of the boulevard and to parallel roads. Besides moving passenger loads normally associated with rail systems, the strategy was tied to a land use plan that placed most of the region’s denser land uses within one block of surface subway lines. Use of transit for commuting rose from about 7 percent in the early 1970s to over 70 percent by the 2000s. As a look at the skyline of Curitba reveals, the city literally and conspicuously developed around its transit network. By restricting high densities to “surface subway” corridors, Curitiba literally grew around its transit system. Besides preserving more land for single-family homes, this strategy reduced the impacts of new growth substantially. 2. Invert the order of planning The order of planning reflects the priority assigned to different modes as solutions to your goals. It is fair to say that most regional strategies today embrace the importance of modes such as transit and bicycling, yet this is rarely reflected in the order of planning. Most cities begin or center their transportation planning by focusing on optimizing their automotive systems: expanding capacity; improving signaling; building new roads, often dictated by where road congestion is at its worst. The logic is impeccable: the auto is the primary mover of people, and too many new transit and bicycle projects have shifted only a relatively small number of trips, highlighting popular preferences. Once the automotive system is optimized, transit planning is then asked to fit around the automobile. In most places, transit either shares the right of way with cars or is delayed by traffic signals and cross traffic. In some cases, corridors are identified which could support rail or BRT infrastructure. Pedestrian circulation is then asked to fit around car traffic and transit. Finally, the bicycle is asked to fit around everything else. This bicycle lane along an 50 mph expressway in California puts cyclists at great risk from distracted drivers. The alternative is to engage in Advanced Urban Visioning, a process that identifies what optimized or ideal systems look like, much as Curitiba did decades ago. You get there by inverting the order of planning. You begin with transit, allowing an ideal network to emerge from a detailed analysis of urban form (how your region is laid out) and trip patterns. An optimized transit system focuses on three key dimensions: network structure (how you connect places); system performance (how long it takes to get from origins to destinations); and customer experience (essentially, what a person feels and perceives while moving through the system). The goal is to connect more people more directly to more likely destinations in less time, with an experience that makes them feel good about their choice of transit. The transit network at this point is still diagrammatic, a set of nodes and links more than a set of physical routes. Even so, it likely looks little like your current transit plan. This aerial of central San Diego shows many principal nodes of the zone and the likely connections between and among them. The rapid transit map, meanwhile, looks little like this network. Why does transit go first? To begin with, transit often requires heavy infrastructure, be it tracks, transitways, bus lanes, stations or garages. Stations, in particular, need to be located where they will do the most good; even short distances in the wrong direction can make a big difference in public uptake of transit. Second, transit otherwise takes up relatively little urban space when compared to the car. For example, two-lane busways in Australia move as many people during the peak hour as a 20-lane freeway would move. Third, transit, when well-matched to a region, significantly can shape how that city grows, as access to a useful transit network becomes highly valued. Transit, when well-matched to a region, significantly can shape how that city grows, as access to a useful transit network becomes highly valued. Getting from an idealized transit network to an actual plan happens through a staging plan that focuses on “colonizing” whatever existing road infrastructure is needed, and specifying new infrastructure where necessary to meet strategic goals. In practice, this means identifying locations where new transitways, surface or grade-separated (free of cross-traffic or pedestrian crossings), can meet performance and connectivity goals. Planners also need to devise routes that minimize travel time and transfers for core commuting trips. Transit at this stage is free to take space from the auto, where warranted, to meet performance goals subject to expected demand. Brisbane, Australia’s, Busway system includes many grade-separations (bridges and tunnels) so that buses can operate unimpeded by traffic. Once an optimized transit plan is identified, the next step in Advanced Urban Visioning is to develop an idealized bicycle network. Drawing on the lessons of the Netherlands, perhaps the global leader when it comes to effective bicycle infrastructure, this network is designed and optimized to provide a coherent, direct, safe, and easy-to-use set of separated bikeways designed to minimize conflicts with moving vehicles and pedestrians. This approach is a far cry from the piecemeal incrementalism of many cities. It also gives the bicycle priority over cars when allocating space in public rights of way. Amsterdam and other Dutch cities have some of the best-developed bicycle infrastructure in the world, providing cyclists with an extensive network of separated bike lanes. The third step in Advanced Urban Visioning is to use major transit nodes to create new “people space”: walking paths; public plazas; parklands; and open space trail networks. These may colonize land occupied with motor vehicles. These new spaces and parklands also may be used to organize transit-oriented development; the combination of optimized transit and bicycle networks; and park access can increase the value of such development. In this example, from a conceptual plan developed for San Diego, a strategic investment zone (SIZ), supporting high-density residential and commercial uses, wraps around a linear park and two proposed community parks. The proposed underground transit and surface parks together add significant value to the SIZ, some of which may be captured through an Infrastructure Finance District mechanism to help fund much of the project. Only after transit, bicycles and pedestrians are accommodated is it time to optimize the automotive realm. But something happens when these alternative modes are optimized to the point that they are easy, convenient and time-competitive with driving: large numbers of people shift from personal vehicles to these other travel modes. a result, the auto is no longer needed to move large numbers of people to denser nodes, and investments in roadways and parking shift to other projects. The power of Advanced Urban Visioning is that it gives you clear targets to aim at so that actual projects can stage their way to the ultimate vision, creating synergies that amplify the impacts of each successive stage. It turns the planning process into a strategic process, and helps avoid expensive projects that are appealing on one level but ultimately unable to deliver the results we need from our investments in infrastructure. San Diego Connected, a conceptual plan developed at the request of the Hillcrest business community, demonstrates Advanced Urban Visioning in action, combining bicycle, transit, pedestrian and automotive improvements that optimize their potential contribution to the region. Advanced Urban Visioning doesn’t conflict with government-required planning processes; it precedes them. For example, the AUV process may identify the need for specialized infrastructure in a corridor, while the Alternatives Analysis process can be used to determine the time-frame where such infrastructure becomes necessary given its role in a network. 3. Update your models For Advanced Urban Visioning to make its greatest contribution to regions, analysis tools need to measure and properly account for truly optimized systems. Most regional agencies maintain detailed regional travel models, computer simulations of how people get around and the tradeoffs they make when considering modes. Many of these models work against Advanced Urban Visioning. The models are designed generally to test responsiveness to modest or incremental changes in a transportation network, but they are much weaker at understanding consumer response to very different networks or systems. Regions can sharpen the ability of their models to project use of alternative modes by committing to a range of improvements: Incorporate market segmentation. Not all people share the same values. Market segmentation can help identify who is most likely to respond to different dimensions of service. Better understand walking. Some models include measures as of quality of the walking environment. For example, shopping mall developers have long known that the same customer who would balk at walking more than 492 feet to get from their parked car to a mall entrance will happily walk 1,312 feet once inside to get to their destination. Likewise, people are not willing to walk as far at the destination end of a trip as they are at the origin end, yet most models don’t account for this difference. Better measure walking distance. Not only do most models not account for differences in people’s disposition to walk to access transit, they don’t even bother to measure the actual distances. Better account for station environment and micro-location. We know from market research that many people are far more willing to use transit if it involves waiting at a well-designed station, as opposed to a more typical bus stop on the side of a busy road. Incorporate comparative door-to-door travel times. No model I am aware of includes comparative door-to-door travel time (alternative mode vs. driving), yet research continually has demonstrated the importance of overall trip time to potential users of competing modes. Conclusion Advanced Urban Visioning offers a powerful tool for regions that are serious about achieving a major transformation in their sustainability and resilience. By clarifying what optimal transportation networks look like for a region, it can give planners and the public a better idea of what is possible. It inverts the traditional order of planning, ensuring that each mode can make the greatest possible contribution toward achieving future goals. Pull Quote Transit, when well-matched to a region, significantly can shape how that city grows, as access to a useful transit network becomes highly valued. Topics Cities Transportation & Mobility Urban Planning Public Transit Meeting of the Minds Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off New York City subway Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet on Unsplash. Close Authorship

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The ‘order of planning’ determines transit priorities. What if we inverted it to prioritize people?

Carbontech is getting ready for its market moment

October 28, 2020 by  
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Carbontech is getting ready for its market moment Heather Clancy Wed, 10/28/2020 – 01:30 It may be a little early to start writing about trends for 2021, but I’m going to do it anyway. What’s on my mind? Carbontech, a category of climate tech I’d love to see break through next year. It’s the exciting idea that we can take something that could be considered waste, draw it out of the atmosphere and turn it into a source of revenue or economic growth. There are signs that give me optimism. This morning, digital payments company Stripe announced a plan to let its merchant customers divert a portion of their revenue to carbon removal projects. The move follows Stripe’s own pledge to put $1 million into four “high potential” projects earlier this year, and the two initiatives are related. The specific technologies that Stripe is funding are carbon-sequestering cement (CarbonCure), geologic storage (Charm Industrial), direct air capture (Climeworks) and ocean mineralization (Project Vesta). “Stripe’s climate initiative is a gift because it removes all barriers to positive action,” wrote Substack CEO Chris Best, a beta tester, in a statement. “This program makes it easy, and valuable, to do the right thing. We’re proud to be part of it.” All of the popular newsletter platform’s writers have the opportunity to participate. Makes me want to host my own personal blog there. Lest I forget, another well-known commerce player, Shopify, last month picked carbon removal and carbontech as a focus for its Sustainability Fund, which commits $5 million annually to climate-tech solutions. Some companies it is supporting are the same as Stripe (CarbonCure, Charm Industrial and Climeworks). It is also including ocean sequestration in the mix through its support of Planetary Hydrogen. And it is also letting merchants add options for offsetting that buyers can select during transactions.  Startups in this particular corner of the climate solutions area have not actually been supported in a commercial way. Rising corporate support of carbontech and carbon removal technologies writ large is one of the biggest reasons driving my optimism that the market is about to take a turn.  Last week, for example, Microsoft announced one of its most unusual investments yet, as it seeks to deliver on its pledge to become a “carbon negative” company. It plans to supply Alaska Airlines with sustainable aviation fuel for the three most popular routes flown by its employees between Seattle and Silicon Valley, via a partnership with SkyNRG, which produces it from waste oil and agricultural residue. That’s right: Microsoft is buying jet fuel.  MInd you, those jets will still need to use regular fuel in combo with the sustainable stuff, but the strategy will help Microsoft reduce emissions from those flights (it’s also working on an accounting standard for helping do this), and we all know the aviation sector will be really tough to decarbonize. This is a much needed commercial boost, optically speaking. A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft also joined the Northern Lights project in Norway, which is seeking to standardize methods for capturing carbon emissions at industrial facilities in Europe, turning them into a liquid and transporting it to a place where it’s pumped and stored under the ocean floor. The initiative — a collaboration of Norway’s government along with oil giants Equinor, Shell and Total — is moving into a commercial phase. The nature of Microsoft’s involvement isn’t entirely clear, but one thing being explored is how the software company’s analytics technology can help create blueprints for the techniques being used to capture CO2 (so they can be replicated elsewhere) and for creating new value chains for transporting and managing it.  Corporate interest is on the rise Carbontech is very much in the spotlight at this week’s VERGE 20 virtual event, in sessions dedicated to moonshots and emerging technologies. According to a comprehensive market report published this week by the Circular Carbon Network (CCN) and discussed during the conference, the pace of activity picked up dramatically in the past decade — of the roughly 330 innovators working on carbon removal or turning carbon into value, more than 65 percent of them were started after 2010. About 50 percent of the 107 companies that CCN tracks closely are already generating revenue. I’ll bet that’s more than you thought.  The investment dynamics are intriguing: CCN’s research uncovered 135 companies in this space that have raised $2.2 billion; its own Deal Hub tracker recovered deals worth $714 million in the past year, a significant pick up of activity, according to the organization’s report.  “What you are seeing is an accelerating pace of interest and activity,” said Nicholas Eisenberger, managing director at Pure Energy partners and co-founder of CCN, who spoke about this topic during a carbontech market update at VERGE 20. “This market is going to either be very large or ginormous.”  Here’s another big takeaway from my conversation last week with Eisenberger and his colleague Marcius Extavour, executive director of the NRG Cosia Carbon XPrize, one of the managing organizations for the CCN: Deals with corporate investors are increasingly attractive to carbontech entrepreneurs. And vice versa. CCN is tracking 61 multinational companies (as of this writing) involved in everything from research and development (the most common intersection) to buying and selling CO2 derivatives (buying it for food and beverages or selling carbon credits). Aside from Microsoft and the to-be-expected oil companies, others on the list include Amazon, Delta Air Lines, Interface, Lafarge, Nike and Starbucks. “This space is about climate, it’s also about a climate solution. It’s also an example of a climate solution that can support economic growth,” Extavour noted, pointing to the carbontech evolution. Hence, the corporate interest. The extent to which COVID-19 infrastructure investments and economic recovery plans are linked with climate action is also likely to increase corporate involvement, especially outside the U.S., where some investments already have been linked to these metrics, such as the bailout of Air France, Extavour added. How ginormous could the carbontech market get? According to nonprofit Carbon180, the total addressable market for products that could be affected is $6 trillion — with the biggest opportunities for using “waste CO2” found in transportation fuels and building materials. Captured carbon also could be a resource for food, fertilizers, polymers and chemicals. (Before you ask, very few innovators that CCN is tracking are focused on enhanced oil recovery applications.) Helping entrepreneurs commercialize carbontech more quickly is the mission of the new three-year Carbon to Value Initiative created this summer by the Urban Future Lab at New York University-Tandon, Greentown Labs and the Fraunhofer USA Technbridge (with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Consulate General of Canada in New York). Whew.  Lo and behold, C2V last week added the first corporate members to its leadership council with representatives from Johnson Matthey, W.L. Gore and Associates, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, NRG and Suez. (Extavour and Eisenberger are also on the council, as is Noah Deich, executive director of Carbon180.)  Pat Sapinsley, managing director of cleantech initiatives at NYU Tandon, said carbontech entrepreneurs haven’t benefited broadly from attention by the investment or mentorship communities that have shown up to support other climate-tech sectors such as energy or transportation. “Startups in this particular corner of the climate solutions area have not actually been supported in a commercial way,” she said. “They’ve been very well supported recently, by some really excellent NGOs, but we bring commercial chops to the table.” C2V is accepting applications for its first startup cohort (supported from May to November 2021) through Jan. 27. Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs, said there are four sorts of solutions types C2V hopes to catalyze: capture mechanisms; transformative process innovations; utilization methods that use CO2 as a feedstock fuels, building materials and so forth, and storage approaches (including those focused on important natural solutions such as sequestration). By mentoring carbontech entrepreneurs, C2V hopes to send a “market signal” for broader commercial and government support, Reichert said. “This is such a multidimensional problem that we need to tackle it from a multi-industry and multidisciplinary approach,” she said. By the way, there are still three days left of VERGE 20, with plenty of sessions about carbon solutions, including one of the most popular approaches — tree planting, conservation and cultivation initiatives. If you’re missing out, register here . Pull Quote Startups in this particular corner of the climate solutions area have not actually been supported in a commercial way. Topics Innovation Carbon Removal Carbon Capture Carbontech VERGE 20 Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The Climeworks plant in Hinwil, Switzerland.

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Carbontech is getting ready for its market moment

Design experiment examines safety of food grown in urban vertical gardens

October 23, 2020 by  
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Interior architecture firm Annvil has brought together a team of urban planners, designers, environmentalists and natural scientists to study the interaction between the urban environment and horticulture. The project, called G(U)ARDEN, is a vertical garden experience set in Latvia aimed at exploring the safety of growing food in urban gardens. Urban agriculture has already been proven to reduce air pollution, collect and use runoff, increase productivity of space and aid in urban cooling, but it is still lacking in substantial scientific research in the safety of these plants being used for food. The G(U)ARDEN project will measure the biochemical composition of vegetables and fruits grown in urban environments, especially in places with intense traffic and air pollution.  Related: Snøhetta to revitalize Midtown Manhattan with vibrant garden The primary urban vertical garden of this project is located in Riga, Latvia and is made up of local plants from the city’s horticulture centers and nurseries. Researchers chose to use endemic plants to inspire residents to grow and conserve locally as well as to encourage sustainable and effective urban environmental development discussions. “Today we live in a digital world where everything is instantaneous. In answer to that, we want to stimulate people’s interest in real life — interest in the physical world and in being close to nature,” said Anna Butele, author of project G(U)ARDEN and the founder of Annvil. “We can do that by creating even more green environments in the city — meeting places that bring together different groups of society. This way we can also bring attention to neglected environments in the city.” The pilot program has started with the team studying the garden’s vegetable and fruit harvest in a scientific laboratory. Crops are measured for the presence of heavy metals, while the air and water is measured for microbiological composition to help identify all possible risk factors associated with the impact of the urban environment on edible plants . The data obtained from the experiment will aid in continued projects to help create a series of urban gardens in Latvia’s largest cities next year. + Annvil Photography by Ingus Baj?rs via Annvil

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Green-roofed theater in Shenzhen raises the bar for civic architecture

October 15, 2020 by  
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When the Pingshan District government in Shenzhen, China tapped Beijing-based OPEN Architecture to design the district’s first theater, the architects knew immediately that they wanted to create something different from the high energy-consuming and monotonous theaters that have recently become the norm throughout China. After taking a critical look at the past development of theaters in the country, the architects worked closely with the client to propose a new program for the Pingshan Performing Arts Center that emphasized social inclusivity by serving as a new cultural hub with amenities for both theater-lovers and the general public. Integrated with a public promenade and series of publicly accessible gardens, the contemporary theater also boasts a restaurant, a cafe, social and educational programming and an expansive landscaped roof that helps mitigate the urban heat island effect. Completed over the course of four years, the Pingshan Performing Arts Center eschews the extravagant exteriors that have defined many modern theaters in China in favor of a climate-responsive facade wrapped in precision-engineered perforated aluminum V sections that protect the building from sub-tropical sun exposure while enhancing natural ventilation. Related: This museum is carved into the seaside sand dunes of China’s Gold Coast At the heart of the new performing arts center — nicknamed “drama box” — is a 1,200-seat grand theater wrapped in dark red-toned wood panels that are visible from both inside the building and atop the roof, where the fly gallery can be seen. The grand theater is flanked by a series of smaller functional spaces and a public promenade that links together a cafe, a black box theater, teaching spaces, rehearsal rooms, an informal outdoor theater and outdoor gardens on multiple levels. “In breaking away from the mono-function Cultural Landmark typology, the building not only becomes much more sustainable in daily operation, but also sets a new example of social inclusivity for civic buildings ,” the architects explained. “Serving as a new cultural hub, it also provides the non-theater-going public with an exceptional and unusual urban space.” + OPEN Architecture Photography by Zeng Tianpei and Jonathan Leijonhufvud via OPEN Architecture

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Green-roofed theater in Shenzhen raises the bar for civic architecture

Copyright Cloud HQ is inspired by traditional Guizhou stilt houses

October 6, 2020 by  
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Shanghai HuaDu Architecture & Urban Design Group (HDD) has completed the Chinese Culture (Publishing and Broadcasting) Data Industry (CCDI) project, the first national-level data center in China’s news, publishing and broadcasting industry. Located in Guiyang City’s Guizhou Shuanglong Airport Economic Zone in southwest China, the Copyright Cloud Headquarters serves as the country’s largest platform for copyright trading and the largest hub for broadcasting and television networks. In a nod to the importance of big data to the facility, the architects envisioned the contemporary building as an “information box” wrapped in an aluminum louvered facade that visually references big lines of code. The Copyright Cloud Headquarters serves as the first project launched in the CCDI Industrial Park and was built to create national-level databases on copyright information and digital content that has been monitored and tracked online. The building is divided into two main parts: the above-ground section with three floors and the underground section with two floors that are partly buried into the slope on the south side. Native plantings help blend the submerged sections of the building into the landscape.  Related: Green-roofed Czech Forestry Headquarters seeks symbiosis with the forest The architects also took inspiration from Guizhou’s traditional stilt houses for the design of the office building. Due to the sloped site, the architects installed two columns on the east side of the building to support the upper volumes. The raised volumes are likened to a “smart information box” suspended above the hilly landscape.  The architects explained, “Benefitting from the city’s geography, industrial policy and other advantages, the Copyright Cloud Headquarter endeavors to represent the concepts of intelligence, digitalization, and ecology with architectural design, and to create a vital, complex, open, and ecology-driven big data display platform to eventually safeguard the functioning of the modern and intelligent information network infrastructure.” The project was completed in 2018.  + HDD Photography by Zhang Yong via HDD

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Copyright Cloud HQ is inspired by traditional Guizhou stilt houses

Our COVID-19 response can make our cities more resilient to heat waves

October 6, 2020 by  
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Our COVID-19 response can make our cities more resilient to heat waves Roland Hunziker Tue, 10/06/2020 – 01:00 The COVID crisis has exposed our interdependencies and the insufficient preparation of our urban systems for coping with shocks. It also has highlighted the stress we put on the environment and in many places greatly increased inequality — including the response to heat. Now, with climate change, come scorching hot temperatures during the summer months which bring additional challenges to healthcare systems that already operate under great pressure due to the pandemic. On Aug. 16, California recorded what could be the hottest temperature ever on earth: 54.4 degrees Celsius, in the shade. COVID-19 wasn’t a bolt from the blue. Experts have long warned about the potential outbreak of a major pandemic, yet governments around the world were woefully unprepared for its catastrophic consequences. Let’s not make the same mistake with global warming. The dangers of anthropogenic climate change have been known for decades and with the vast amount of existing data, tools and guidelines, taking action should be seemingly straightforward. Yet extreme heat is progressively posing fatal danger for humanity, particularly for young children and elderly people. In fact, in Europe and the United States, more people die of heat waves than from all other natural disasters combined. And temperatures will continue to rise. Cities are particularly vulnerable to heat waves. Air pollution, tall buildings, building materials, lack of green spaces and wind all contribute to trapping heat from the sun, traffic and industry and result in the creation of Urban Heat Islands (UHI). Due to the UHI effect, cities on average record 2-4 degrees higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas. Moreover, many cities, particularly in the north, are ill-prepared for extreme heat with buildings primarily designed to keep the cold out and not the other way around. In the wake of COVID-19, when governments will provide massive stimulus funding to restart economies, it’s more important than ever to consider the long-term value creation of urban infrastructure investments. There is an urgent, global need for building urban resilience to heat and, as usual, business has a key role to play. Over the past months, it has become clear that resilience strategies for COVID-19 in cities could help us approach other threats as well. We have seen that in times of pandemics, we need almost the same things as we do during heat waves. We need spacious green and blue areas close to our homes where we can walk, exercise and rest — places where we can enhance our well-being while maintaining the necessary physical distance. We also need comfortable dwellings that are neither too hot nor too cold, as well as gardens and parks that are accessible to the whole community. In Sweco’s most recent Urban Insight report, “Building resilience: being young and getting old in a hotter Europe,” more solutions for how we can create sustainable, livable cities are proposed:  Architects, urban planners, building managers and developers need to implement and apply new guidelines and innovative design and technology solutions that minimize the impact of heat on buildings and their surroundings and better accommodate the needs of building users. Collaborative platforms should facilitate sharing of knowledge, data and best practices between industry, policymakers and academia to accelerate climate action and building resilience. This is crucial for enabling the connectivity, flexibility and resourcefulness needed for adaptation and quick recovery. We need to build resilience into both physical and social structures of our cities. Behavior change and effective communication can help in preparing for and mitigating risks. Organizations such as nursing homes or hospitals should be involved in designing livable and healthy cities of the future. Many cities are already taking action against increasingly frequent extreme heat events. In the slums of Delhi, roofs are coated with a sun and heat-reflective paint to reduce indoor temperatures and lower energy consumption. In Paris, streets and building walls are cooled down with water in the advent of heat waves and in Seoul, cooling shelters offer relief from sweltering weather for those who cannot afford air conditioning in their homes. WBCSD is actively transforming the built environment towards one that is resilient, net-zero emissions, circular, healthy and inclusive. Through our City-Business Climate Alliance, we have established several local partnerships between public and private actors for joint climate action. One of our key goals is to support these collaborations in designing and implementing adaptation measures and to build urban systems resilient to climate change. But we need to accelerate our efforts to cope with global population growth and rapid urbanization.  More stakeholders must engage, and we need to improve institutional and governance aspects of how cities, business and other stakeholders can work together to realize the vision of a sustainable built environment. To tackle these issues, WBCSD is developing a “blueprint” with a non-prescriptive collection of targets, mechanisms and principles that can channel investment toward sustainable projects in the future. The blueprint will reflect both the business case as well as the wider value of these investments, to align and compare the competing objectives that need to be managed with a holistic, long-term vision in mind. In the wake of COVID-19, when governments will provide massive stimulus funding to restart economies, it’s more important than ever to consider the long-term value creation of urban infrastructure investments. If we manage to take advantage of the momentum spurred by this global public health emergency to build back better, we can prepare our cities for a warmer future and create healthy living spaces where people and biodiversity can thrive. Pull Quote In the wake of COVID-19, when governments will provide massive stimulus funding to restart economies, it’s more important than ever to consider the long-term value creation of urban infrastructure investments. Contributors Mattias Goldmann Topics Cities COVID-19 Climate Change Smart Cities 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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Our COVID-19 response can make our cities more resilient to heat waves

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