The Glen House is a sustainable retreat in the mountains of New Hampshire

April 24, 2019 by  
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Hikers have long flocked to Mt. Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire . Back in 1852, the original Glen House hotel opened to serve visitors who wanted to ascend the Northeast’s highest peak without roughing it. Today, the fifth and newest iteration of Glen House blends history, mountainous beauty and 21st century sustainability initiatives. “Each new hotel took advantage of whatever the latest in building theory and technology had to offer,” said Howie Wemyss, general manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road/Great Glen Outdoor Center, which owns the hotel. “In 1885 when the second Glen House was constructed, it had electric as well as gas lights, a telegraph and an elevator. The fourth Glen House, built in 1924, was winterized with insulation and central heat to take advantage of the growing winter sports of skiing, tobogganing and snowshoeing.” Related: 16th century building in Malta is now a charming eco hotel that reflects a long history Nowadays, the 68-room Glen House has progressed from the telegraph to new, cutting-edge technology and the aim to be as energy self-sufficient and carbon-neutral as possible. A geothermal system composed of 30 wells drilled 500-feet deep heats the Glen House in winter and cools it in the summer without the burning of fossil fuels. A hydro-generator provides for most of the electric needs of the Great Glen Lodge activities center, located across the street.  The same water system also irrigates the hotel’s flowers, shrubs, trees and grass and is used for snowmaking and fire safety. Other sustainability features include high-efficiency insulation, LED lighting throughout, Otis Gen2 models that regenerate energy as elevator cars descend and water fountains designed to fill reusable water bottles. The hotel’s outdoor lighting is dark-sky compliant, meaning fixtures point at the ground rather than up toward the sky. Glen House even provides wax paper bags in the bathroom to encourage guests to take home partially-used bars of soap. Visitors who want to climb the 6,288-foot Mt. Washington and then sleep in a bed instead of a tent can feel good about supporting Glen House. + Glen House Images via Glen House

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The Glen House is a sustainable retreat in the mountains of New Hampshire

Crucial animal protection laws for the sage grouse being eliminated by the White House

March 19, 2019 by  
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The White House is eliminating crucial animal protection laws for the sage grouse. The protections, originally put in place by President Barack Obama , are being rolled back to open millions of acres of land for gas and oil development. Conservationists warn the move could land the sage grouse back on the endangered species list. The Donald Trump administration’s new plan targets 8.7 million acres of Sagebrush Focal Areas, an important habitat for the sage grouse and hundreds of other wildlife. Since 2015, oil and gas companies have been unable to set up shop in these areas, which has boosted grouse populations. Related: Trump administration wants to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list Steve Holmer, vice president of the American Bird Conservancy, revealed that stripping away these protections has already cut down grouse populations in the Dakotas and Washington State. “These changes will put the grouse back on a path toward needing an Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing,” ABC President, Mike Parr, shared. “That’s exactly the outcome that the 2015 cooperative plans had sought to prevent.” Trump first proposed the plan back in December with the goal of opening the door for more gas and oil development on public land. Trump is justifying his new initiative by calling for a new age of “ energy dominance” in America, and his Interior Department head, David Bernhardt, is helping make it happen. Bernhardt is also looking to revise the Endangered Species Act, which was put in place back in 1973. Bernhard, who used to be an oil lobbyist, wants regulators to consider the economic effects of placing wildlife on the endangered list. This would ultimately make it easier to justify developing in endangered habitats that were previously off limits. With Trump’s new plan threatening sage grouse populations across the country, conservationists are doing their best to protect the beloved bird. This includes studying population numbers and learning how gas and oil development affects those statistics moving forward. Conservationists are also looking to put the sage grouse on the endangered species list, something that has not been possible because of the previous animal protection laws. Via New York Times Image via Shutterstock

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Walmart’s tiny home on wheels is embarking on a tour around the country

February 8, 2019 by  
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While Walmart may not be exactly synonymous with sophisticated home design now, that could all change if Allswell has anything to do with it. Walmart-owned Allswell is a bedding and mattress company that is using a stunning tiny home, designed by the creative team from Modern Tiny Living , to showcase its quality mattresses. Setting off across the country on February 8, the gorgeous tiny home on wheels will make its way from NYC to Seattle, stopping at various sleep-deprived cities along the way. The tiny home was custom-made by the experienced tiny home builders from Modern Tiny Living. At just 200 square feet, the home is quite compact. However, working closely with the Allswell team, the company was able to deliver truly stunning results that will not only be the perfect vessel to showcase the ultra-comfy, sleep-inducing merchandise but also to feature the best of tiny home design . Related: This gorgeous tiny home is perfect for entertaining guests A black and white facade with a quaint gabled roof over the front door gives the design a traditional yet modern appearance. On the interior, all-white shiplap runs up to the high cathedral ceiling. The two thick wooden beams that cross the ceiling, along with the hard wood flooring, contrast nicely with the white walls. The interior design throughout the home is bright and airy, with a neutral color pallet that is broken up by a gorgeous blue kitchen. The combination of bright blue cabinets with a large, white farm sink and shiny countertops adds a contemporary touch to the design. Adjacent to the kitchen space is the Allswell tiny home’s principle feature: a large mattress. The mattress is front and center in the bedroom, easily found thanks to the fun glass-paneled garage door. On the other side of the home is another mattress that pulls double-duty as a day bed. The home is outfitted with plenty of storage as well. Kicking off its  tiny home tour in a city that ironically never sleeps, Allswell is currently in Union Square as it prepares for its cross-country trek. The team plans to stop in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and will end in Seattle. + Allswell + Modern Tiny Living Via Forbes Images via Allswell

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Fast food industry under pressure to decrease its global footprint stat

February 8, 2019 by  
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Fast food is one of the most popular conveniences of modern society, but it comes at a huge risk to the environment. Amid growing concerns of agriculture and water risks, a group of global investors are putting pressure on the fast food industry to come up with a sustainable model to lower their footprint on the environment. The investors, who manage a combined $6.5 trillion, issued letters to six of the largest fast food chains in the United States. The letters asked the companies to explain their plan to reduce risks associated with meat and dairy products by the spring of 2019. The companies targeted include McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Chipotle Mexican Grills, Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut and KFC) and Wendy’s Co. There are over 80 investors who signed on to the initiative, which is also backed by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). The ICCR has a long track record of talking with fast food chains about environmental issues, such as water hazards and deforestation. Related: Prosecco production is destroying soil in some Italian vineyards “Every day around 84 million adults consume fast food in the U.S. alone, but the inconvenient truth of convenience food is that the environmental impacts of the sector’s meat and dairy products have hit unsustainable levels,” said Jeremy Coller, the head of Coller Capital, in a statement. One of the biggest issues with fast food restaurants is their dependency on agriculture, specifically the beef industry . With fast food continuing to rise in popularity, the demand for more beef has reached unsustainable levels. Not to mention, the severe impact the dairy industry has on the environment. To help combat the situation, the new initiative hopes to work with companies to reduce water waste and deforestation, as well as improve conditions in animal agriculture all across the board. Working together, companies in the fast food industry can improve the environment and help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions . It is unclear how the fast food companies have reacted to the letter. If they choose not to act and better the environment, experts predict the agricultural industry — which includes dairy and meat production — will account for around 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions within the next 30 years. Via Ceres Image via Shutterstock

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France is the first country to ban all 5 pesticides linked to bee deaths

February 8, 2019 by  
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In a decisive move, France has become the first country to ban all five of the top pesticides blamed for bee die-off around the world. The phenomenon dubbed “colony collapse disorder” has seen bees dying in record numbers, and scientists are pointing fingers as neonicotinoid pesticides as the primary suspect. The EU led the charge by banning three of the pesticides: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. However, France took it one step further by also banning thiacloprid and acetamiprid in all farming activities, including greenhouses. Related: Bee hive vandalism in Iowa kills tens of thousands of honeybees The neonicotinoids ( with a similar structure to nicotine ) were introduced in the 1990s and work by attacking the central nervous system of the insects. With the same chemical being dusted on plants that bees target, they also ingest it. Researchers report that neonicotinoids are responsible for a lower sperm count in bees, cutting reproduction rates. Other reports have shown how the chemicals interfere with memory and homing skills, resulting in bees flying away and not returning to the hive. The latest research suggests bees may find the toxic chemicals addictive, keeping them returning for more. The scientific link between pesticides and the declining health of bee populations has many concerned about the future of our food products. Plants, flowers and trees won’t grow without the pollination that bees provide, which means food won’t grow, either. Some farmers are reporting near total losses to their bee populations, which has a dire effect on the workings of the farm. While environmentalists and bee keepers are saluting the decision to ban these pesticides , some farmers are feeling disheartened by their ability to compete in the food production market without chemicals to protect them against invasive bugs and harmful insects. The farmers feel there is not enough evidence to support such a dramatic move. The elimination of these pesticides begs the question of what will replace them and what potential issues could arise from those solutions. In contrast to the landmark move by France, President Trump repealed an Obama-era policy that had banned the use of these pesticides near national wildlife refuges, once again allowing farmers to use them in otherwise protected regions with limited oversight. Via The Telegraph Image via Anna Reiff

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Amazon’s Christmas trees are hurting the environment

November 29, 2018 by  
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Earlier this year, Amazon announced it would be selling and shipping fresh, full-size Christmas trees this holiday season. But there is an environmental issue with the e-behemoth’s new plan — the shipping process will leave a giant carbon footprint. Back in September, Amazon said that it would be shipping 7-foot-tall live Douglas firs, Fraser Firs and Norfolk Island pines to customers’ front doorsteps, a process that is extremely eco-unfriendly. Char Miller, professor of environmental analysis and history at Pomona College said that Amazon’s new Christmas-Tree-in-a-Box program will bring some unwelcome surprises because of the fossil fuels required to get the tree from farm to front door. The long-haul trucking will result in a major carbon footprint, plus there could be more waste in landfills because of the box and packing materials required for a tree of this size. On the positive side, Amazon will most likely get the trees quickly from farm to home, and that means they could last longer. The company said that it will ship the trees within 10 days of cutting them down — maybe even sooner — and the trees will have no trouble surviving the trip. Amazon started selling the trees this month, with some qualifying for Prime free shipping, making the deal more enticing. Customers can also pre-order their trees and select their desired delivery dates. According to the Associated Press , last year the company only sold trees shorter than 3 feet, but it did have some other merchants selling bigger ones on its platform. Amazon decided to jump into the market itself, because the full-size trees are popular with customers. The Amazon holiday preview book revealed that the 7-foot Fraser fir option will come from North Carolina and costs $115. It also offers $50 wreaths and $25 red-leafed plants with a decorative candy cane. While the deals might be intriguing, don’t forget the impact of shipping and packaging this program has on the planet — plus, what better way to celebrate the season of giving than by supporting your local pick-your-own farms? Via AP and TreeHugger Images via Annie Spratt and Kieran White

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Crude oil spill off Newfoundland coast deemed impossible to clean up

November 27, 2018 by  
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The SeaRose FPSO — a floating production, storage and offloading vessel in the White Rose oil and gas field near Newfoundland’s coast — spilled an estimated 66,000 gallons (250,000 liters) of crude earlier this month, making it the largest oil spill in the province’s maritime history. To make matters worse, according to Canadian provincial regulators, the huge spill cannot be cleaned up. The operator responsible for the incident is Husky Energy, and the spill happened when the vessel “experienced a loss of pressure” in an oil flowline. Husky Energy had halted production the day before due to bad weather , and the spill occurred when the company was preparing to restart production. Related: This magnetic wand cleans up oil spills in a snap Three days after the spill, the regulators reportedly did not see any signs of an oil sheen on the water . According to Scott Tessier, chief executive of The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), the absence of a sheen means the oil has broken down so much that it has become impossible to clean up. EcoWatch reported that Husky Energy has shut-in and secured all of its wells , and the company has also halted production and drilling operations. C-NLOPB, which is the federal agency that regulates petroleum production, has launched a formal investigation into the spill, and will release its findings once they are available. The board noted that this recent spill shows that we cannot underestimate the risks in offshore oil activity. It also said that it had deployed four surveillance flights and an offshore support vessel to assess the extent of the spill and look for effects on wildlife . At the time of writing, 14 seabirds have been impacted by the spill. Via EcoWatch , The Canadian Press and The Guardian Image via Catmoz

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Girl Rescues River

October 30, 2018 by  
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Science is not strictly the domain of academics in white … The post Girl Rescues River appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Adorable prefab nursery in Greece mimics a tiny urban village

July 18, 2018 by  
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For design collective KLAB Architecture (Kinetic Lab of Architecture), one of the biggest challenges with public buildings in Greece is the lack of architect involvement in the construction process. To circumvent the problem, KLAB Architecture turned to prefabrication for its design of a public nursery in the Athens suburb of Glyfada. Drawing inspiration from a child’s archetypal drawing of a house, the modular gabled structures are clustered together to form the appearance of a tiny urban village. Organized around an open landscaped courtyard , the prefabricated nursery comprises a series of repeating modules of three differing sizes and shapes for visual interest. Each module was constructed in a factory and then transported via truck to the site for quick installation. The nursery follows a minimalist and modern aesthetic with its clean geometric lines and all-white exterior. Timber slatted pergolas provide shade and help mitigate solar gain; once they mature, planted shade trees will also help cool the buildings. Related: WeWork and BIG design innovative new school in NYC “We attempted to employ rather common materials and construction methods in order to create a more complicated structure with a small energy footprint,” KLAB Architecture said. “The exterior walls were constructed 10 centimeters thick, allowing us to maximize the available interior area, and were cladded, along with the roofs, with exterior wall insulation. Thus, by taking also into consideration the construction of wooden pergolas along the careful placement of the windows on the exterior walls, the building is sustainable providing comfort to the children.” Related: Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade The energy-efficient nursery is also filled with natural light and warm natural materials to create a healthy and welcoming environment for the children. In contrast to the white exterior, the interior features bright and colorful wall treatments and furnishings that inject life into the various classrooms. All classrooms are open on three sides to engage the outdoors. + KLAB Architecture Via ArchDaily Images by Mariana Bisti

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NET Power’s zero-emissions natural gas plant could change the game

June 4, 2018 by  
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Last week, NET Power officially began operations at its 50-megawatt, emissions-free  natural gas power plant in La Porte, Texas . If all goes well, the plant’s design could pave the way to a cleaner energy future. Instead of using air to drive a turbine and generate electricity, the plant uses heated carbon dioxide; the pure carbon dioxide emissions are then captured and stored rather than released into the atmosphere. Testing thus far has proven to be positive. “We’re still smiling,” lead designer and chemical engineer Rodney Allam told Nature . The goal is for NET Power’s technology to be as effective and affordable as conventional, emissions-producing natural gas production, but with added benefits for the environment and the company. Designed by Toshiba, the plant’s innovative turbine and carbon capture system is capable of storing carbon long-term or for use in other industrial applications. For example, nitrogen and argon captured in the process could be contained and transferred elsewhere. NET Power claims that its plant is so efficient that it will become profitable before it even starts to sell captured gases. Related: Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land “If the plant does everything they say, it’s hard to imagine why you would want to build a traditional power plant,” atmospheric scientist Daniel Cohan told Nature . “But there are still a lot of ifs ahead.” The major imminent challenge is refining the combustion process for oxygen and methane , which must contend with carbon dioxide, typically an inhibitor of combustion. The company is otherwise on track to deliver, with a 300-megawatt power plant potentially being built by 2021. The company’s plan is to achieve clean, profitable natural gas energy without the assistance of subsidies, which can be subject to the whims of changing governments in Congress and the White House.” We don’t like to rely on policy around here, we like to rely on science,” NET Power CEO Bill Brown told Nature . Via Nature Images via NetPower

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