Michigan adopts most robust lead water rules in US

June 15, 2018 by  
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In the wake of the Flint crisis, Michigan is adopting new lead water rules — the strictest in the U.S., according to Reuters . Lead service lines will have to be replaced, and the lead concentrations allowed in drinking water will be lower than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s standard. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Michigan Senior Policy Advocate Cyndi Roper said in a statement , “There is no safe level of lead in drinking water, so despite some troubling loopholes, these rules set an example other states and the Environmental Protection Agency could follow to address an issue plaguing water systems across the country.” More than 18 million Americans received water through systems with lead violations in 2015, the NRDC said . Lead contamination of drinking water still troubles people across the U.S., and Michigan is taking some action. Their new Lead and Copper Rule, as laid out in a statement from Governor Rick Snyder, lowers the level of allowable lead to 12 parts per billion (ppb) in 2025. The EPA’s Lead Action Level is 15 ppb . Related: Flint activist and stay-at-home mom wins the Goldman Environmental Prize All public water systems will be required to replace lead service lines at a rate averaging 5 percent a year starting in 2021 during a 20-year period. The rules also require a second sample collection at locations that obtain water from lead service lines and the creation of a statewide water system advisory council. All public water systems will have to conduct asset inventory under the new rules as well. “The new Michigan Lead and Copper Rule is the most stringent in the world when applied to cities with lead pipes, yet it strikes a reasonable balance between cost and benefit,” Virginia Tech University engineering professor Marc Edwards said in the governor’s statement. “It provides the EPA  with a good exemplar to follow, if they ever begin to wage their long-promised war on lead in water.” + Office of Governor Rick Snyder + Natural Resources Defense Council (1 , 2) Via Reuters Images via Depositphotos (1 , 2)

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Michigan adopts most robust lead water rules in US

TransCanada natural gas pipeline explodes in West Virginia

June 8, 2018 by  
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An explosion rocked a TransCanada pipeline in Moundsville, West Virginia and the surrounding community yesterday. Locals said it felt like a tornado and sounded like a freight train, and they could see flames from around 20 miles away, EcoWatch reported. TransCanada said in a statement they do not yet know the cause of the explosion. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Early alarm this morningOn trebble run on fish creek Posted by Ruby Mason on Thursday, June 7, 2018 A natural gas pipeline exploded in West Virginia’s Marshall County, located right in the midst of the huge Utica and Marcellus shale formations, Reuters said . No employees were at the site when the pipeline ruptured around 4:15 a.m. EST, and the fire was at least a mile away from the closest home, Marshall County director of emergency management Tom Hart told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . BREAKING: More pictures from a viewer of the explosion. Viewers are calling in and telling us it felt like a tornado hit their house when this happened @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/akYwSgED7j — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 Related: The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought The pipeline, called Leach XPress, was placed into service at the start of this year . At that time, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling referred to it as “truly a best-in-class pipeline” and said the company looked forward “to many years to safe, reliable and efficient operation on behalf of our customers.” @MarshallCoWVOEM sent me this picture. This is the site of the pipeline rupture as it was burning off @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/VINnMiq44G — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 TransCanada said after the event, which they referred to as the Nixon Ridge Pipeline Incident, “emergency response procedures were enacted and the segment of impacted pipeline was isolated. The fire was fully extinguished by approximately 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. There were no injuries involved with this incident.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said officials from the U.S. Forestry Service and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection were on the site. This picture sent to me from a viewer in Short Creek, WV. Perspective: this is 20 MILES or more away, over a half hour drive! @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/yAmFJUnKmO — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 Hart told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette other companies were on the scene too — some operate pipelines just a few hundred feet away from the ruptured pipeline. He said some of those companies turned off the flow in their own pipelines, and that natural gas well operators shut down wells close by. This is drone footage from @MarshallCoWVOEM Director Tom Hart says this is at the end of Nixon Ridge near Fish Creek. The explosion left a crater. The DEP estimates 10 acres are affected @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/QXTOsWBvNg — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 The event could impact around 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of gas service — Reuters reported that one billion cubic feet of gas could power around five million American homes. Via EcoWatch , the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  and Reuters Image via Depositphotos

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TransCanada natural gas pipeline explodes in West Virginia

Video: NASA tests its supersonic parachute for the first time

November 20, 2017 by  
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NASA has performed the first test of its supersonic parachute as part of its Mars 2020 mission. This essential component will allow the Mars-bound spacecraft to slow down as its enters the planet’s atmosphere whilst traveling at speeds of over 12,000 MPH. “It is quite a ride,” said Ian Clark, the test’s technical lead from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “The imagery of our first parachute inflation is almost as breathtaking to behold as it is scientifically significant. For the first time, we get to see what it would look like to be in a spacecraft hurtling towards the Red Planet , unfurling its parachute.” Take a look at the video after the jump. The first test of this parachute was conducted with the Black Brant IX sounding rocket, which launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on October 4, 2017. After the rocket reached 26 miles in altitude and a speed 1.8 times that of sound, its parachute was deployed successfully. The rocket landed off the coast of Virginia shortly after. “Everything went according to plan or better than planned,” said Clark. “We not only proved that we could get our payload to the correct altitude and velocity conditions to best mimic a parachute deployment in the Martian atmosphere, but as an added bonus, we got to see our parachute in action as well.” Related: The world’s first space nation is now officially in orbit The Mars 2020 mission aims to search for signs of life on Mars by investigating evidence on location through the use of a remote rover and by gathering drilled rock samples to be studied upon their return to Earth. As indicated by its name, the mission aims to launch in 2020 and will require new technology , such as the supersonic parachute, to complete the ambitious undertaking. Although this marked the first parachute test for the Mars 2020 mission, the parachute itself has been used before for Mars exploration. In 2012, a parachute with the same design was used to land NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory on the planet itself. Future tests will incorporate a strengthened parachute, which may be used in the Mars 2020 mission. Via NASA / NBC News Images via NASA

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Video: NASA tests its supersonic parachute for the first time

High school students are building tiny homes to give to flood survivors

February 20, 2017 by  
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In West Virginia, students that would normally be constructing birdhouses or bookshelves are instead contributing their labor and newly acquired skills to help give those who lost everything a new start. Last year, historic floods devastated the state, destroying over 5000 homes and killing over 20 people. So students from across the state have gathered together to build compact, energy efficient tiny homes for victims of the flooding. West Virginia has struggled to provide adequate housing for those thousands made homeless by the storm. So high school students attending 12 vocational schools throughout the state are demonstrating that they may have a promising solution. The participating vocational schools, such as Carver Career and Technical Education Center in Charleston, traditionally teach practices such as carpentry and plumbing.  A new, first of-its-kind partnership between the West Virginia Department of Education and the Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment initiative enables students to access hands-on learning to design and build homes for local flood survivors from concept to completion. Each unique  tiny house i s just 500 square feet. Related: Studio H launches Kickstarter Campaign to Build a Shipping Container Classroom at Berkeley’s REALM Charter school 15 homes have been built so far, thanks to funding from the state’s Board of Education and regional community supporters. All of the homes are unique and some are designed to be portable.  Unlike trailers that are supplied by FEMA in post-disaster zones , each of the tiny homes will have individual design accents. Each home includes a bathroom, kitchen, living room and laundry room.  The ground-breaking program has potential to be scaled to serve communities in other post-disaster zones. + WV Public Broadcasting Via NPR Photos Courtesy of West Virginia Department of Education  

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High school students are building tiny homes to give to flood survivors

Green makeover transforms cedar-clad Virginia house into a lifelong retreat

January 26, 2017 by  
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A few easy steps has transformed a normal Virginia home into a charming, lifelong retreat. A couple approaching retirement commissioned Thrive Architecture to renovate their Hickory House into an accessible home that uses less energy than it did before. The architects expanded the existing space to include a living room, bedroom, bathroom, dressing room and laundry, all organized on a single story. The main sitting area offers views of the surrounding forest. Related: Gorgeous cedar-clad house boasts stunning mountain views in Canada Three types locally-sourced hardwoods were used for the interior, including Hickory. This choice of materials complements the exterior cladding, dominated by ship-lapped oiled cedar . To make the house more energy efficient, the team added air-tight spray foam insulation, LED lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures. + Thrive Architecture Photos by Ansel Olson

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Green makeover transforms cedar-clad Virginia house into a lifelong retreat

Villagers in India knit sweaters to protect rescued elephants from the cold

January 26, 2017 by  
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The rescued elephants at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center in India get a second chance at life after being abused and exploited by their former owners and handlers. Along with finally having the freedom to take walks, bathe and play in water pools, and scratch themselves up against trees, several of the sanctuary’s elephants recently received a new winter wardrobe: giant sweaters lovingly hand-knit by the villagers of Mathura. As the nighttime temperatures dipped to freezing levels last year, the center’s staff issued a call to local women to help provide a little extra warmth to the giant pachyderms. The villagers responded enthusiastically, coming together to knit and crochet the brightly colored sweaters . The elephants quickly took to their new attire and, judging from the photos, seem pretty intrigued by the knitting process itself. In addition to looking cheerful and festive, the sweaters help protect the vulnerable animals from the cold and stave off their arthritic symptoms. Related: Cindy Chinn carves a tiny family of elephants into pencil tips The only downside to this giant knitting project is the length of time to make one sweater: each one takes about four weeks to complete. As a result, only three of the 20 elephants at the sanctuary have been fully outfitted so far, while the rest have been given blankets. Since the elephants suffered years of neglect and mistreatment, they are especially susceptible to infections and illnesses, so staying covered up in the poncho/sweater/long john combos is essential for keeping them healthy. The center is hoping for more volunteers to continue knitting in order to outfit every elephant with his or her own sweater by next winter. Considering that Wildlife SOS plans to rescue another 50 elephants this year , that’s a pretty tall order. If you want to get involved , including  volunteering on-site with the organization and preparing food or helping to bathe these gentle giants or donating funds, click here . Via Booooooom , Daily Mail , and My Modern Met All images © Roger Allen

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Frank Lloyd Wright beach house listed on Airbnb for under $150 per night

October 18, 2016 by  
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The 3,000-square-foot house located on Crystal Lake in Virginia Beach is the only Wright House with direct boating accessibility to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. For 23 years it has been home to the Cooke family, Maude, Andrew and their three children. In 1983, Daniel and Jane Duhl purchased the property. Their restoration of i received an award for preservation from the AIA of Hampton Roads. The restoration was informed by passive solar design and included the introduction of floor heating, indirect lighting and a new air conditioning system that protects the house from heat and humidity. Related: Life-sized replica of van Gogh’s The Bedroom to rent on Airbnb for $10 a night In its present state, the home features four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a spa, sauna and an exercise room. Surrounded by camellias, giant azaleas, dogwoods, magnolias and cherry trees, it takes advantage of the natural dune to provid a high degree of privacy. At lakeside are two docks; one floating dock for launching small boats and a larger one that can accommodate two significantly-sized yachts. + Frank Lloyd Wright Beach House Via Archinect

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Frank Lloyd Wright beach house listed on Airbnb for under $150 per night

Incredibly preserved 1950s Time Capsule House in Dallas could be yours

September 29, 2016 by  
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Originally designed by renowned architect Gordon Nichols in 1954 and restored by its current owner, graphic designer Carlos Cardoza in 1994, the four-bedroom house features an open-plan layout , original cabinetry, a retro swimming pool and vaulted ceilings. Related: Award-winning renovation slashes mid-century home’s carbon footprint by 80% It is located at 11016 Pinocchio Drive, one among several roads in Dallas named after Disney characters and part of a post-war development project built in the 1950s by the National Association of Home Builders. Cardoza restored the house and embraced bubblegum colors, sci-fi shapes and technicolor textiles as some of the trademarks of the era. Thanks to his efforts, the house looks as if it hasn’t aged a day. Via My Modern Met Photos via Virginia Cook Realtors

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Incredibly preserved 1950s Time Capsule House in Dallas could be yours

Incredible net-zero energy Brock Environmental Center turns rainwater into drinking water

July 14, 2016 by  
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? Located on the banks of the Lynnhaven River in Virginia Beach, the 10,500-square-foot Brock Environmental Center was created to engage and educate the public about the environment and ways they can help save the Chesapeake Bay from further environmental degradation. Per the requirements of the Living Building Challenge, the building produces more energy than it uses over the course of 12 consecutive months using clean energy technologies, such as solar panels , residential wind turbines, and geothermal wells. The Brock Center also meets a myriad of other stringent criteria for water use, location, health, materials, equity, and beauty. ? Elevated 14 feet above sea level to cope with flooding and reinforced to withstand 120-mile-per-hour hurricane winds, the energy-efficient Brock Center produces around 83 percent more energy than it uses, as well as 80 percent less energy and 90 percent less water than a typical building of its size. Its 168 rooftop solar panels generate 60 percent of the building’s energy needs, while two 10-kilowatt wind turbines produce the remaining 40 percent. The building’s utility bill is only $17.19 per month—the minimum fee to keep the building tied to the grid—and the remaining energy is returned to the Dominion Virginia Power grid, which will issue a refund check back to the center. Related: One of the world’s greenest buildings 14 feet above sea level prepares for climate change ? “The Brock Center’s performance pushed the boundaries on what is possible. Regenerative, net-positive design is more than an aspiration, it has been achieved,” said SmithGroupJJR project manager and design architect Greg Mella, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C. Thanks to an advanced drinking water system, the Brock Center turns its harvested rainwater into potable water used for drinking and hand-washing. Gray water is reused as irrigation, while waterless, composting toilets are used in the bathrooms. A Living Building Challenge Dashboard offers a real-time gauge of the building’s energy and water use, as well as energy generation. ? Related: CBF’s Brock Environmental Center Will Soon Be the Most Sustainable Building in Virginia ? The above-mentioned elements are only a handful of the Brock Environmental Center’s best eco-friendly features. The education center, which opened in January 2015, is open to the public for tours and also serves as the hub for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Hampton Road office, with space for an 80-seat conference room, meeting rooms, and exhibit display areas. + SmithGroupJJR + Chesapeake Bay Foundation Images via SmithGroupJJR

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Incredible net-zero energy Brock Environmental Center turns rainwater into drinking water

Stunning parametrically-designed office canopy filters golden light – like trees

July 14, 2016 by  
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The large light sculpture comprises 1,500 pyramid-shaped panels suspended from the ceiling to filter golden light like tree leaves. It covers the entire atrium space , which once functioned as the central courtyard of the mid 20th century building. Related: View this mesmerizing LED art installation from a distance to reveal its delightful surprise [VIDEO] The panels were programmed using low-level artificial intelligence to create daily light scenarios that give people a sense of time and showcase the company’s innovative, people-centric lighting technology. The panel surface reflects natural light coming into the interior through side windows and skylights and creates different light scenarios through the day and calendar year. Additionally, 500 panels use self-emitting LED lights with an integrated sound absorption and acoustic ceiling system. Depending on the time of day and orientation, the installation creates special environments for different work situations-from concentration, to interaction and relaxation. + LAVA + INBO + JHK Photos by Jonathan Andrew

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Stunning parametrically-designed office canopy filters golden light – like trees

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