Global warming could push air conditioning demand up 59%

August 21, 2020 by  
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An analysis done by Climate Central shows that demand for air conditioning in the U.S. will increase by 59% by the year 2050. According to the study, there has been a continued rise in demand for air conditioners in the U.S. and other parts of the world because of global warming. The study shows that continued greenhouse gas emissions are leading to unpredictable weather patterns in most regions. Regions that were traditionally colder are warming up, and those that are warm are getting hotter. These changes are forcing more people to use air conditioners to regulate home temperatures. The study was based on data collected from 242 U.S. cities. The data tracks down air conditioning usage via a measure known as cooling-degree days (CDD). Cooling-degree days simply refers to the difference between the accepted temperature for human comfort and the daily average temperature. The human body is expected to feel comfortable at 65°F. Any temperature below or above 65°F can lead to discomfort, hence the demand for air conditioning. If a region experiences a daily average temperature of 80°F, the CDD for that location would be 15. Related: Global warming expected to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius Analysts behind the study have revealed that 96% of the cities in the U.S. have experienced an increase in CDD between 1970 and 2019. Some of the states that have been widely affected by high CDD include Texas, Nevada and Arizona. Higher temperatures are pushing more people to purchase air conditioners. Today, many people use some form of air conditioning to control the temperatures in their homes and offices. Sean Sublette, a meteorologist at Climate Central, said that the average person uses air conditioning to deal with higher temperatures without thinking about climate change , which is only made worse by increased reliance on air conditioners. “When our air conditioning is powered by electricity generated through fossil fuels, heat-trapping CO2 is released,” Climate Central explained. “Air conditioners emit heat back outside and can add to the heat island effect in urban areas. And if old air conditioners are not disposed of properly, they can leak chemicals that are themselves harmful heat-trapping gases.” + Climate Central Via Yale Environment 360 Image via TrioSolution1

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Global warming could push air conditioning demand up 59%

Florida to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes

August 21, 2020 by  
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It sounds like the premise for a 1950s horror movie: release 750 million genetically altered mosquitoes in the Florida Keys and see what happens. But Florida and the federal government have approved this plan for 2021 and 2022. “What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks, now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. Related: Rare blue bee spotted in Florida The GMO mosquito, named OX5034, is a modified version of Aedes aegypti developed by the biotech company Oxitec . This species carries dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever. The new-and-improved mosquito produces female offspring that die while still in the larval stage. For mosquitoes, females feed on blood and males on nectar. So, female babies born to OX5034s will die before they mature enough to bite humans and spread disease . The EPA approved the pilot project for the Florida Keys in May to test whether the OX5034 approach will work better than controlling Aedes aegypti by spraying insecticide. The project just received final approval by local authorities — often over the protests of residents worried about the implications of modifying mosquitoes. Some Floridians have called OX5034 a “Robo-Frankenstein” mosquito and a “superbug” and worry that it will endanger the birds , insects and mammals that eat mosquitoes. While dengue fever is uncommon in the U.S., local outbreaks occasionally occur. Hawaii, Florida and Texas have suffered the most cases. Outbreaks in the Florida Keys in 2009 and 2010 strapped the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which budgets upward of $1 million per year — a tenth of its funding — to fight Aedes aegypti . This species accounts for only 1% of the area’s mosquito population. Harris County, Texas, also plans to release OX5034 in 2021. Both Florida and Texas officials are basing their decisions on field tests Oxitec conducted in Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands. In a trial area of Brazil, OX513A, a predecessor to OX5034, reduced the Aedes aegypti population by 95%. Via CNN Image via Hans Braxmeier

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HIVE Project proposes biophilic, self-sufficient homes of the future

August 21, 2020 by  
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As part of RIBA’s The Home of 2030 design competition, Gianluca Santosuosso Design has created The HIVE Project, a honeycomb-inspired modular solution for lower carbon and low-energy housing. Developed for scalability, the prefabricated timber-framed hexagonal structures would offer residents a great degree of flexibility in customizing their homes throughout different stages of life. The honeycomb-inspired homes are also designed for energy self-sufficiency via renewable energy sources and would be integrated with a water recycling strategy that sustainably handles wastewater as well. The HIVE Project — short for ‘Human-Inclusive & Vertical Ecosystem’ — is a scheme for a circular economy that includes residences as well as shared facilities and onsite food- and energy-generating systems. This “Socio-Eco-System” promotes social cohesion and nature regeneration by incorporating the needs of not only humans, but also the existing site and local flora and fauna. For instance, the ideal starting site for the HIVE Project would be a brownfield that would be rehabilitated and enriched as the community grows. Related: Green-roofed Hive home opens and closes with the sun The hexagonal modules would be prefabricated offsite, where they would be bound together with a mix of locally sourced industrial hemp and natural binder that also provides strong insulation properties. As the community expands, more modules can be quickly added with minimal site impact. At the end of the solar-powered building’s lifecycle, the biodegradable construction materials can be easily disposed of while the remaining elements can be reused for new construction. “HIVE combines the properties of the honeycomb with the shape of the archetypal house and creates a new hybrid type of living space able to merge nature’s efficiency with the ingenuity of humans,” the architects explained. “We intend to provide the HIVE with a wide spectrum of co-owned and shared facilities that will empower individuals, families and communities to be self-sufficient while allowing local authorities and administration to limit the need for public investments. … Using these ‘Kits-of-Parts’, every single plot development will be unique and diverse.” + Gianluca Santosuosso Design Images via Gianluca Santosuosso Design

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HIVE Project proposes biophilic, self-sufficient homes of the future

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