Greenbuild: The world’s biggest green building expo is coming to Boston

July 18, 2017 by  
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The world’s biggest conference dedicated to green building is coming to Boston this November – and you won’t want to miss it. The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo will convene sustainable building experts, professionals and leaders for mind-blowing exhibits, learning activities, a Net Zero zone, and pavilions packed with the latest in green building technology. If you are passionate about green living, then clear your calendar for November 8 – 10 and get ready for an amazing experience. This year, Greenbuild will feature education, workshops, tours, awards, and an expo hall that is not to be missed. Inhabitat regularly attends the conference, so we know first-hand how great it can be. Check out our coverage from past years to get a glimpse into what you can expect – we’ve rounded up some of our favorite innovations here , here and here . Greenbuild has a reputation for stellar education sessions, where you can learn about a huge range of topics – from passive and net zero building to tips from developers who are changing the face of the industry. Workshops qualify for continuing education credits and toward LEED certification hours. Summit topics will include Communities and Affordable Homes, The Water Summit and the International Summit. Greenbuild’s tours are always highly anticipated, and this year’s lineup promises to be exceptional. Attendees will be able to visit four net positive and passive house buildings that are breaking the mold, MIT to learn about its green building innovations, and some of Boston’s groundbreaking green spaces. Early registration ends September 7, so head over to Greenbuild to nab your spot now. + Greenbuild Expo Save

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Greenbuild: The world’s biggest green building expo is coming to Boston

World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

June 5, 2017 by  
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Could a new urban vacation trend take the trees out of treehouses ? The world’s first “cranehouse” has opened in Bristol and it’s every bit as spectacular as their conventional trunk-supported counterparts. Designed by vacation specialists Canopy & Stars , the tiny structure is hoisted by a cargo crane 26 feet over Bristol Harbor. What’s more, the low-impact wooden structure is completely carbon neutral, and it was built using sustainable materials . The “hanging basket” is a collaboration between Canopy & Stars and DIY company, B&Q, who decorated the space with a chic collection of sustainable furnishings. Touches of nature are found throughout the space, including walls inlaid with tree branches, a watering can shower, and a bed made out of a reclaimed tree trunk . Industrial hints such as copper finials, polished concrete, and natural vegetable-fiber mats complete the rustic, yet sophisticated interior design. Related: 9 treehouses you can actually rent for an off-the-ground getaway Along with a “living painting” by local artist Anthony Garrett, the design focused on creating a similar “multi-sensory experience” one might experience in a true treehouse. Scents of woodlands such as lavender, sage, and bark waft through the interior. Wild flowers are planted in recycled wooden crates on the exterior of the house and various pollinators were planted on the roof to attract bees and butterflies. Guests at Crane 29 will be able to enjoy the beautiful off-grid retreat by spending their time swinging in the indoor hammock and taking in the spectacular panoramic views of the harbor. Reservations, which run £185 a night, include a gourmet breakfast basket delivered to the house in the morning. Tom Dixon, managing director of Canopy & Stars, explains that the project was a labor of love for the company, “It’s taken three years of planning and design, and only three weeks of building, but we got there. What started as a dream has now become a reality,” said “We hope people enjoy their stays in this amazing building and wake up to the great outdoors feeling they are truly part of this pocket of nature in the city – a real natural high.” Crane 29 will only be opened to guests for just 100 days, but all of the profits from the rental space will be donated to the environmental organization, Friends of the Earth . + Canopy & Stars Via Telegraph Images via Canopy & Stars

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World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

New zero-energy districts: A mile high and growing

January 4, 2017 by  
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Colorado takes the cake for upcoming net zero energy districts to watch in 2017 and beyond.

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New zero-energy districts: A mile high and growing

Zero-energy timber and steel home is buried into a natural dune

December 27, 2016 by  
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VVKH architecten designed Villa Meijendel in Doornweg, the Netherlands to a client’s custom specifications – but they also had a big helping hand from nature. Clad in timber charred Shou Sugi Ban timber, Villa Meijendel is a site-specific home that is half-buried in a high dune and largely sculpted by the forest landscape. Solar panels, heat pumps, and the high thermal mass of the building’s concrete structure helps the home produce as much energy as it consumes. The Villa Meijendel comprises three levels, two of which are partially built into the dune . The ground level contains a garage and technical room. The building’s unusual form was dictated by local regulations that only allowed a small and compact building volume on the relatively narrow lot located on the edge of the Meijendel nature reserve . The first level of the home includes two bedrooms, a master bedroom, wellness room, entrance, and office, while the topmost level includes a large living room and kitchen. Related: Prefab Dutch ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ House Features a Low-Maintenance Charred Timber Facade The home is modern and minimalist with unpolished concrete, steel, charred wood , unfinished wood, and anodized aluminum. Split levels in the house create a variety of views inside the home and out towards the landscapes through the large expanses of glazing. “Every detail, such as the door handle or stairs, is precisely thought through and designed,” write the architects. “Villa Meijendel is a fascinating artefact, a sort of wooden forest hut fully integrated in the landscape and with a strong connection between the interior spaces and immediate surroundings. Trees, light and dunes have sculpted this remarkable house.” + VVKH architecten Via ArchDaily Images via VVKH architecten

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Zero-energy timber and steel home is buried into a natural dune

Net-zero Silicon Valley office prioritizes water conservation in drought-stricken California

December 2, 2016 by  
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A Silicon Valley office building that produces all the energy it needs on-site is a leading example of smarter, water-efficient architecture in drought-stricken California. The net-zero energy building, called Hanover Page Mill, was designed by Form4 Architecture to use significantly less water than comparable buildings thanks to low-flow fixtures, water-efficient irrigation systems, and native drought-tolerant plantings. Completed this year, the LEED Platinum-certified building was just awarded the LEAF Award in the Best Sustainable Development category. While the majority of corporate Silicon Valley office buildings are glass-clad behemoths, Hanover Page Mill bucks the trend with a more opaque facade that’s distinctly Californian with an earthy color palette. The building achieves net-zero energy on an annual basis with superior insulation, natural lighting, low-flow fixtures, and photovoltaic panels that provide all of the building’s electric energy use, including the energy used by the 15 on-site electric car chargers. The office uses 40% less water for toilet flushing when compared to similarly sized buildings, and 55% less potable water is needed for its drought-tolerant landscaping. Related: World’s largest green roof unveiled in the heart of Silicon Valley Hanover Page Mill is arranged around a C-shaped layout with two aboveground floors overtop an underground 118-space parking lot. A grand, south-facing square courtyard forms the focal point of the site’s central axis. “The project is the result of an exceptional design that blends form with function,” says Hanover Page Mill Associates’ James Gaither, Jr., a former ecologist for The Nature Conservancy . “We believe that designing toward sustainability and occupant health and comfort are the most valuable building attributes in today’s market, and will become essential in the future.” + Form4 Architecture Images by Craig Cozart Photography

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Net-zero Silicon Valley office prioritizes water conservation in drought-stricken California

Chic net-zero energy home in Arizona takes the edge off life in the desert

July 7, 2016 by  
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The Loma Linda 2 single-family home mimics its neighbor with the same rusted-metal gates, which keep direct sunlight at bay for those enjoying a day outside on the stylish patio. A four-foot overhang keeps the southern exposure cool, while the east and west exposures are limited. Using biomimicry , the artfully designed, one-inch thick steel siding prevents the sun from heating the walls. EPS insulation along the metal edges and cellulose in the 12-inch thick walls themselves help to keep the home airtight. The architects boast 90 percent energy savings over traditional homes with these features. Related: This Canadian passive house factory was built from its own prefab wood panels An air filtration system expertly pulls stale and moist air from the home, especially where it accumulates most, in the kitchen and bathroom. Bringing in filtered air from outside means the residents can enjoy a comfortable in-home environment 75 percent of the year, without using any heating or cooling elements. The sight of the space alone is enticing, as the indoor and outdoor flow together. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a pleasant, zero-water courtyard. The modern appliances and clean lines of the interior appeal to any urbanite’s senses and create a space for updated living. + VALI Homes Images via VALI Homes

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Chic net-zero energy home in Arizona takes the edge off life in the desert

Elephants may be doomed to extinction with EU opposition to global ivory ban

July 7, 2016 by  
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Once the existing global embargo on ivory sales expires in 2017, elephants may be doomed to extinction, according to a statement by officials from 29 African states. The European Union published a position paper on July 1 that outlines its opposition to a proposed global ban on the ivory trade , preferring instead to allow individual nations to manage their own elephant populations. Because of the complex international network of ivory trafficking, wildlife officials feel strongly that elephant populations will suffer in the absence of a comprehensive ban. The African Elephant Coalition (AEC)–a coalition of 29 African states–predicts a mass extinction within 25 years, in the absence of strong global protection against ivory hunters . They are demanding elephants be given an ‘Annex I’ listing which would make all international ivory trading illegal. By opposing the listing, which will be voted on at the Convention on International Trade in International Species (Cites) conference in Johannesburg this September, the EU is endangering tens of thousands of elephants a year, according to the coalition. Related: China announces one-year ban on ivory imports Despite the embargo currently in place, elephants are still in grave danger on the African continent. An estimated 20,000 elephants were killed by poachers in 2014, and Tanzania and Mozambique lost more than half their elephant populations between 2009 and 2015. Elephants population in east and central Africa are suffering a similar fate. The EU makes up a majority voter block at Cites, with 28 seats, so its position is crucial to the outcome of the proposed global ban. “We need a balanced position,” an unnamed EU member told the Guardian. “We admit that the domestic trade in ivory should be banned in those situations where it can facilitate illegal trade but don’t fully agree with the inclusion of the African elephant in ‘Annex I’ in those four countries. We would encourage the African countries to have a dialogue about this.” That dialogue has been ongoing for years, as wildlife officials across the continent struggle to stamp out poachers and protect elephant populations. However, without international support, the AEC feels that Africa’s elephants don’t stand a chance in the long term. Via The Guardian Images via Shutterstock ( 1 , 2 )

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Elephants may be doomed to extinction with EU opposition to global ivory ban

Black Barn is a self-sustaining, off-grid version of historical English architecture

July 7, 2016 by  
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The yet-completed home will feature a bevy of green elements. Charring timber , an ancient Japanese technique, is used to preserve the wood without chemicals. The dramatic line of the roof draws the eyes to its unique angle, which hovers above the wild meadows on a concrete foundation. Locally-sourced timber, aggregate, and flint will be used in the construction, paying homage to the natural landscape. Related: Author builds tiny solar-powered off grid cabin for under $2,000! The home will be equipped with a solar array, bio-diesel generator, and battery storage. On-site sewage treatment and water accessed through a borehole mean the home is completely off the grid . An orchard of fruit trees and vegetable gardens reduce the family’s food footprint in the 300 square meter home. Heating and cooling are simplified with the heavily insulated walls and roof, as well as a widely overhanging gable over the balcony. A southern-located concrete slab absorbs heat during the day and disperses it throughout the space as the indoors become cooler. The barn is a perfect home for a family who loves the countryside , history and architecture as much as living in an environmentally conscious manner. +Studio Bark Via ArchDaily Images via Studio Bark

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6 important steps we need to take to slow down climate change

June 28, 2016 by  
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While there is a scientific consensus that global warming is real and that it is caused by human activity, whether or not climate change can be slowed down or even reversed is hotly (no pun intended) debated in the scientific community. Some climate experts such as Guy McPherson say that near-term human extinction is inevitable while other climate scientists like Michael Mann believe that it isn’t too late to save human civilization from climate catastrophe. So what actions would we need to take in order to restore a safe and stable climate? We need to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible. But that won’t be enough to reverse global warming. We must also draw down excess atmospheric CO2 by increasing natural carbon sinks. Here are six important steps we need to take to slow down climate change. Image via Wikimedia 1. RESTORE ECOSYSTEMS According to Biodiversity for a Livable Climate , “a focus on fossil fuel emissions reduction as the primary solution to reversing climate change is misguided and futile.” The organization argues that atmospheric CO2 concentrations that have exceeded 400 parts per million in Antarctica for the first time in four million years “will not decline without a significant rise in the carbon sequestration mechanisms of the biosphere.” Restoring soils, grasslands, wetlands, forests, coastal and ocean ecosystems can sequester gigatons of atmospheric carbon and cool the biosphere. Related: Leonardo DiCaprio Pledges $7 Million Towards Ocean Conservation Projects Image via Wikipedia 2. PROMOTE REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE According to Dr. Rattan Lal, a soil scientist at Ohio State University, a two percent increase in carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100 percent of greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. Industrial agriculture , or factory farming, is a major contributor to global warming, emitting six billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2011, or about 13 percent of total global emissions, according to the World Resources Institute. Transitioning from factory farming to carbon farming could play an important role in reversing global warming. Organically managed soils can remove carbon from the atmosphere and safely store the carbon in soil organic matter. Related: Soil Erosion Could Cause Food Crisis, Expert Warns Image via Wikimedia 3. ACHIEVE NET ZERO GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS Many countries, cities, companies and organizations around the world are committing to carbon neutrality in the coming decades. Vatican City has already achieved net zero greenhouse gas emissions by installing solar panels and Bhutan impressively has gone beyond carbon neutral to become carbon negative . Countries pledging carbon neutrality include Costa Rica, Iceland, Maldives, New Zealand, Norway, Tuvalu, Sweden and the Canadian province of British Columbia. Our transportation sector is moving toward zero emissions technology. The era of affordable electric vehicles is about to begin with the introduction of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3. And air travel could eventually become emissions-free with the Solar Impulse 2’s around-the-world flight powered entirely by solar energy demonstrating that a zero emissions future in aviation is possible. Related: Norway moves up zero emissions target to 2030 Image via Wikipedia 4. MAKE THE SWITCH TO 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES In addition to pledging to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, places around the world are working on scaling up renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind power, geothermal, hydropower, wave power, tidal power, biofuels and biomass to replace polluting fossil fuels from the production of oil, coal and gas. The Solutions Project , started by Mark Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere and Energy Program at Stanford University, demonstrates how all 50 states can transition to 100 percent renewables by 2030 through a combination of wind, water and solar. Jacobson is currently mapping out a 139-country plan to power the world with clean, renewable energy. Places that have already achieved 100 percent renewable energy include the U.S. cities of Aspen and Burlington, the countries of Iceland and Norway and the Canadian province of Quebec. Cities pledging to shift to 100 percent renewable energy include San Diego, San Francisco, Vancouver, Copenhagen, Munich and Sydney. Related: San Diego to become largest U.S. city to run on 100% renewable energy Image via Wikimedia 5. IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY Energy efficiency investments have enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the International Energy Agency’s  Energy Efficiency Market Report 2015 , energy efficiency improvements since 1990 prevented more than 870 million tons of carbon emissions in 2014 and 10 billion tons over the last 25 years. The International Energy Agency says that energy efficiency is “the most effective tool to reduce energy sector carbon emissions, accounting for more than 40 percent of the required reductions to limit global warming to 2 degrees centigrade.” Examples of energy efficiency include LED lighting, natural lighting, ENERGY STAR-certified appliances, passive solar heating and turbochargers in cars and airplanes. Image via Pexels 6. SWITCH TO A PLANT-BASED DIET A new study  by Oxford University researchers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that transitioning to vegetarian diets could cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions 63 percent by 2050 and that switching to vegan diets could reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent. Currently, the food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions and a recent report from think tank Chatham House found that eating less meat and adopting a plant-based diet is crucial to meeting the climate targets set forth in the Paris agreement and avoiding dangerous global warming. Lead image via Wikimedia

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Could this venture-backed zero energy house revolutionize the home building industry?

March 30, 2016 by  
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