CALIFORNIA’S NEW $1 BILLION DESALINATION PLANT PRODUCES 50 MILLIONS GALLONS OF WATER A DAY...

Dec 17, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   by Cat DiStasio   INHABITAT After 20 years of planning, the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant began operations on Monday, churning out 50 million gallons of drinkable water each day. The plant takes in 100 million gallons of seawater a day from the adjacent Agua Hedionda Lagoon and puts it through a multiphasic process to remove particulates and impurities before using reverse osmosis to create fresh drinking water. The concentrated brine leftover is then diluted with seawater and piped back out to sea. The massive $1 billion public-private project was designed with energy efficiency in mind, but some critics continue to oppose the plant for its yet unknown environmental impact. The largest desalination project in the Western Hemisphere is a partnership between Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority, and was...

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OBAMA JUST RELEASED THE BIGGEST ENERGY EFFICIENCY RULE IN U.S. HISTORY...

Dec 17, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   by Cat DiStasio   INHABITAT The new rules (PDF), according to the Energy Department’s announcement, “will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date.” Over the course of the lifetime of the new rules, the Department estimates an energy savings of 15 quadrillion BTUs or “quads” for short. In 2012, the U.S. consumed about 75 quads of energy, so this savings represents a hefty percentage, which makes this the biggest energy saving ruling in U.S. history, and will leave one heck of a mark in President Obama’s legacy. A new set of energy efficiency rules—the biggest ever released by the United States government—was rolled out today. The energy-saving measures target commercial air conditioners and furnaces, which are responsible for consuming vast amounts of the nation’s energy. By tightening up...

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HEMP-BASED INSULATION MAKES A COMEBACK IN BELGIUM...

Oct 29, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Hempcrete is actually quite similar to concrete, but is carbon negative, waterproof, fireproof, insulates well, and is completely recyclable, making it an optimal green building material. Architect Nikolaas Martens, one of the two co-founders of Martens Van Caimere Architecten, told Dezeen that hempcrete’s sustainable qualities make it an easy choice for home renovations. Related: Nation’s First Hemp House Makes A Healthy Statement “In our projects we try finding solutions to lower the building costs,” he told Dezeen. “In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Belgians were building houses that were badly or not insulated. So renovating these houses in a sustainable way tends to be expensive. Hempcrete combines the insulation and finishing in one layer, reducing building costs.” “Plus,” he continued, “it is durable and sustainable, because it is made from a waste product.”...

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TINY, PREFAB, PLUG-AND-PLAY HOUSING COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU...

Oct 19, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] David FriedlanderLIFE EDITED When we last caught up with Professor Jeff Wilson he was living in dumpster. The reason he was holing up in such an unlikely structure wasn’t merely for shock value (though that was part of it). He was trying to see how minimal a home could be while still achieving a high level of comfort and function. What he found was that 33 sq ft (the size of the dumpster) was too damn small. “At the end of the day, I was still peeing in a bottle,” he told me. But he knew that with the right design, he could make something that was still very small, yet more capable than the his trash bin home. This conceit is informing his latest endeavor. Wilson and his partner Taylor Wilson (no relation)...

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THE MOST — AND LEAST — ENERGY EFFICIENT STATES...

Oct 12, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Cutting energy costs cuts environmental costs as well. New York City. (Photo: Flickr) Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.   Energy bills are one of American consumers’ top household expenses, says personal finance network Wallethub, costing a family on average about $2,000 a year—half of which goes directly to heating and cooling expenses. But energy consumption isn’t just a hit on individuals’ wallets: The fuel used to produce that energy can have a big impact on the environment—especially if it’s coming from coal-fired power plants. So making homes more energy-efficient—whether through updated appliances, insulation, or solar-panel installation—can be a double whammy both financially and environmentally. In a McKinsey & Company report, the consulting firm found that if the U.S. invested an estimated $520 billion on energy-efficiency measures...

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SOLAR-POWERED DURA HOME IS A 100 per cent self-sufficient shelter build for disaster zones...

Oct 6, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Architecture by Lucy Wang  INHABITAT Is your city well prepared for a natural disaster? After Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City, architects vowed to build smarter towards greater resiliency. One urban approach is the DURAhome, a modular net-zero structure that mitigates disaster damage with energy-efficient and adaptable design. Developed by the New York City College of Technology, the solar-powered DURAhome fits into a typical 25-by-100-foot New York City lot and can be quickly stacked to create a space-saving multistory dwelling in times of unexpected disasters. The New York City College of Technology (NYCCT) developed the DURAhome—Diverse, Urban, Resilient, and Adaptable—for the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon that’ll kick off this Thursday, October 8. Designed to symbolize the diversity of New York City and the NYCCT team members, the modular timber house...

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LOW ENERGY HOUSE IN BOHEMIAN COUNTRYSIDE...

Sep 22, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   DESIGNBOOM  bohemian countryside all images courtesy of ASGK design       located on a piece of land in the countryside of czech republic, prague-based studio ASGK design has built a compact and comfortable timber refuge for a family surrounded by a peaceful setting of natural flora, woodland and water. the neighboring village buildings were taking into account of the realized design of ‘house zilvar’. the roof displays two variations of pitches and heights, while the façade is punctuated with a range of square-shaped windows – ranging from being operable, hidden or placed behind the façade to subtly let light permeate into the interior. the weekend retreat is based on a land near a small village in east bohemia       the space is divided into organized programs with an open-plan...

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HOW A CENTURY-OLD TECHNOLOGY COULD SAVE THE WORLD...

Aug 16, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page THINK PROGRESS   In the basement garage of a high-end apartment building in the middle of New York City, a few electricians are quietly installing a century-old product that is now poised to revolutionize an industry — and maybe lead the United States into a carbon-neutral future. Taking up about two parking spaces is a wall of boxes. They are simple lead-acid batteries, similar to what keeps the lights on in your car. But these batteries are linked together, connected to the building’s electricity system, and monitored in real time by a Washington-state based company, Demand Energy. Demand’s installation at the Paramount Building in midtown Manhattan is going to lower the building electricity bills and reduce its carbon footprint, even while it doesn’t reduce a single watt of use. Every...

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WHAT’S REALLY INSIDE THE SENATE’S NEW BILL TO ‘MODERNIZE’ THE ENERGY SYSTEM...

Aug 1, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Ryan Koronowski CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock   On Thursday afternoon, the Senate’s energy committee sent the first wide-ranging energy bill in over six years to the senate floor, but not before weighing it down with an array of provisions that ensure opposition from many environmentalist groups. The bill, as well as any amendments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell consents to, could receive votes after the August summer recess. The main piece of legislation, the “Energy Policy and Modernization Act of 2015,” does not directly address wind and solar energy, sources that comprise the epitome of “modern” energy — over half of new generating capacity came from wind and solar in the first half of 2015. The bill instead focuses on fossil fuels and infrastructure: natural gas pipeline permitting, authorizing the main federal...

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CLIMATE HOPE CITY – THE IDEAL GREEN CITY...

Jun 22, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Climate Hope City: The Guardian unveils the ideal green city in Minecraft by Michelle Kennedy Hogan, INHABITAT Lush rooftop gardens and multi-story farms growing fruits and vegetables; hydrogen-powered boats sailing down crystal-clear rivers and canals; “strange, sail-shaped constructions that suck CO2 out of the air” – it’s all part of Climate Hope City, a place that lives only in the world of Minecraft. Commissioned for The Guardian by editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger and senior staff, the zero-carbon Minecraft city seeks to show that it’s possible to build a sustainable future using existing technologies. “We carry on flogging a load of dead horses, in exactly the same way, with exactly the same whip,” wrote columnist and environmentalist George Monbiot. “We have to constantly be reinventing our storytelling capacity.” The project was overseen by Adam Clarke,...

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Plug n Play is a modular classroom that can be modified to suit local conditions...

May 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] INHABITAT by chaukorstudio, Chakour Studios is aiming to provide creative and comfortable spaces for children where they can learn and play using modular design that offers flexibility and ease. Depending on where the pod is used, the user can plug in various materials based on local functional requirements, climate, cost and regional availability.  Called Plug n Play, the very first building will be situated within the grounds of Tsast Altai school in the west of Mongolia, where the module will be designed to take advantage of local conditions and materials. Once completed, the space will host 100 pupils in an environmentally-friendly space that can withstand the extreme Mongolian climate. Pre-engineered metal pipes and fittings are used to provide framework to the module, providing modularity and flexibility, and additional panels can be installed as needed. Wood-wool floor panels are used to...

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WHICH TECH COMPANIES ARE THE GREENEST?...

May 20, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Here’s how Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft stack up. —By Ben Adler   VIA MOTHER JONES 1 Leo Copello/iStock This article originally appeared in Grist and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. “It’s not easy being green” is a tired cliché, but it’s still particularly true if you are a giant technology company. Even Apple, Facebook, and Google—the best of the bunch, according to a new report from Greenpeace—will have to put in serious additional effort to fully shift to clean energy, especially in terms of lobbying at the state and local level. And the industry laggards, which include Amazon and eBay, have that much further to go. Here’s how Greenpeace categorizes the tech giants: Greenpeace Energy efficiency in traditional appliances keeps improving, but our demand for energy is boosted...

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The U.S. Govt. Must Commit to Net-Zero Energy Buildings...

May 10, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Fssil-fuel-generated electricity is no longer a necessity for every building. By Greg Dotson, Erin Auel / Center for American Progress   VIA ALTERNET Photo Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory Research Support Facility Commercial and residential buildings in the United States account for 39 percent of the nation’s carbon pollution through the consumption of fossil-fuel-generated electricity, natural gas, home heating oil, and propane. Therefore, to achieve deep carbon-pollution reductions, the nation’s buildings must become cleaner and more efficient. Fortunately, the technology exists today to eliminate the use of these fossil fuels in U.S. homes and workplaces. By adopting high energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy generation, buildings across the United States are demonstrating that fossil-fuel-generated electricity is no longer a necessity for every building. These buildings—called net-zero energy buildings—can be found in residential neighborhoods,...

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Ikea imagines a refrigerator-free kitchen for 2025...

May 5, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] IKEA Designs the Ultra-Efficient Kitchen of the Future X by Charley Cameron, INHABITAT From bio-refrigerators that cool food with gel to zero-energy clay alternatives, we see a lot of designs that look to make one of the home’s most energy-hungry appliances more efficient. But in Ikea’s Concept Kitchen 2025 installation at the Milan Design Fair, the Swedish furniture giant goes one step further, and suggests that 10 years from now we might forgo fridges entirely in favor of a “modern pantry” that keeps food cool using a combination of smart technology and traditional methods, with an open display to cut down on waste. The Concept Kitchen 2025 is the result of a collaboration between Ikea, design firm IDEO, and students from Lund University and Eindhoven University of Technology. The overall project seeks to explore...

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Building Permits: What to Know About Green Building and Energy Codes...

Apr 5, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] In Part 4 of our series examining the residential permit process, we review typical green building and energy code requirements Matt Clawson Houzz contributor. Home builder, project consultant, and writer. Loves… More  Environmentally sensitive home designs and construction methods have been valued for generations. My own father considered naming his fledgling construction company Here Comes the Sun in hopes of focusing on solar energy back in 1977. But the degree to which local jurisdictions are incorporating these principles into code is a new phenomenon, and the specific requirements are continuing to adapt and improve with the passage of time. Energy and green building codes exist, to varying degrees, in every U.S. building jurisdiction. Just as the main purpose of traditional building code is to ensure homeowner safety, green building and energy codes protect...

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DP architects constructs zero energy building at BCA academy...

Mar 22, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   all images courtesy of DP architects     the success of DP architects‘ ‘zero energy building’ at BCA academy in spearheading environmentally sustainable design had tremendous implications on the way electricity is used in singapore for specific types of structures. this goal aims to demonstrate the feasibility of architectural projects with minimal dependence on limited resources such as fossil fuels, concurrently creating a product resilient to climate change and user comfort. low-emissivity glass and solar film coatings to reduce solar heat gain       a building management system functions as an active feedback instrument, monitoring real-time continuous data streams to maintain user comfort and minimize power usage. this was then supplemented by intelligent active mechanisms that help the project produce all of its energy needs by means of solar power and passive...

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5 great reasons to build a geodesic dome home...

Mar 17, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Michelle Kennedy Hogan, INHABITAT   Dome homes. They’re kind of weird looking and they don’t exactly fit into those perfect little neighborhoods you see when walking around a cute downtown area or a clean-cut suburban gated community. But Buckminster Fuller saw the potential is those triangles: With the goal of creating a structure analogous to nature’s own designs, Fuller began to experiment with geometry in the late 1940s. In 1951, he patented the geodesic dome, and while you may not see a lot of on a normal city street, geodesic domes are known to be the most efficient building system available. So, why should you want a dome home anyway? Fuller, a philosopher, mathematician, engineer, historian, and poet, is known for popularizing the geodesic dome in architectural projects. One of his ambitions was to do more with less, knowing that eventually a...

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TESLA CO-FOUNDER WANTS TO RE-INVENT THE …….. GARBAGE TRUCK?...

Feb 26, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Brian Indrelunas By Liz Core  GRIST A co-founder of Tesla wants to clean up our roadways by electrifying big ol’ gas-guzzling automobiles — and when cleaning up the streets, where better to start than with garbage trucks? Ian Wright, one of Tesla’s three co-founders, left the fledgling company after one year to launch his own startup, Wrightspeed, which manufactures electric power units (or, for the EV nerds out there, range-extended electric powertrains) for large trucks and delivery vehicles. It was his way of saying, “Hey, maybe we could lower carbon emissions more if we fixed the vehicles doing the most damage.” Smart guy. But, sigh, the trucks aren’t completely clean — and not just because they’re typically full of garbage. The powertrain technology generates some electricity from braking, but it also relies on an internal natural gas generator (like the kind you keep...

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KEEPING UP WITH THE NEW IMPROVED JONESES...

Feb 14, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander Architecture  LIFE EDITED Many, if not most, of our habits are influenced–if not outright dictated–by a desire to keep up with our peers. We choose the homes we do, we consume the stuff we do, we have the careers we do and make many other choices in response to how others in our worlds are living. This is the underlying notion behind the expression “keeping up with the Joneses.” If Mr Jones gets a new luxury sedan, we are far more likely to try and keep up–or one-up–his purchase with our own sedan. But what if the Joneses were folks who used a meager amounts of energy? What if they lived in modest, super-efficient homes and used few newly-made products? What if the Joneses were exemplars of responsible, sensible and sustainable living?...

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Elon Musk Is Right: Hydrogen Is ‘An Incredibly Dumb’ Car Fuel...

Feb 12, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CEO Elon Musk speaks at 2009 unveiling of Tesla Model S all-electric car. CREDIT: AP Cars that use hydrogen as fuel have been in the news a lot recently. Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained at length why hydrogen fuel cell cars “are extremely silly” and why “hydrogen is an incredibly dumb” alternative fuel. Musk also said, “there’s no need for us to have this debate. I’ve said my peace on this, it will be super obvious as time goes by.” Indeed, it is super obvious already, as I’ve written many times — see my 2014 series, “Tesla Trumps Toyota,” which explains why hydrogen cars can’t compete with pure electric cars. A key reason Musk calls hydrogen “incredibly dumb” — its untenably inefficient use of carbon-free power...

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There Are Crazy Conspiracy Theories About Light Bulbs, and Then There Are Some Real Dangers...

Feb 1, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] There Are Crazy Conspiracy Theories About Light Bulbs, and Then There Are Some Real Dangers LEDs are very energy efficient, but they also contain many toxic metals. By Cliff Weathers / AlterNet The light-bulb aisle has never been more confusing. Gone are traditional incandescent bulbs, replaced by Halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and a variety of expensive light-emitting diode (LED) lights. And while these greener choices come with their unique trade-offs, they’re not necessarily the unsatisfactory alternatives their detractors claim them to be. Critics, especially right-wing commentators, like to scream that President Obama banned incandescent light bulbs in the United States, although there is no such ban and Obama wasn’t even in office when legislation was signed to create new energy regulations. At the start of 2014, stricter standards kicked in as...

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50 WAYS YOUR HOME COULD HELP SAVE THE EARTH...

Jan 28, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Let’s face it: Reducing your home’s negative impact on the planet will likely require a huge amount of work. But solar panels and temperature-regulating walls aren’t the only ways to help your household adopt more eco-friendly practices. There are a ton of easy — and fun — ways to conserve energy. Luckily for us, UK-based magazine Good To Be Home has some clever ideas on other ways to do...

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USE THESE GREEN GADGETS TO HELP SAVE WATER, ENERGY AND MONEY IN YOUR HOME...

Jan 28, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] The Huffington Post  |  By Katherine Boehrer Saving energy and water can be difficult, but now there are plenty of gadgets on the market that aim to make the process easier for you. From smart light bulbs to thermostats that learn your habits to motion-sensing power strips, being green has become part of the home automation craze sweeping the nation. Here are some of the cool options available, including budget options that will help conserve without breaking the bank. Lightbulbs There’s a lot of room for improvement over the traditional light bulb, but by far the best energy-saving innovations are in LED light bulbs. Not only do LED bulbs use up to 80 percent less energy compared to traditional incandescents, they last up to 25 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of...

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SOCIAL CONSCIENCE IS KEY TO CUTTING HOUSEHOLD ENERGY...

Jan 25, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford, Climate News Network   VIA TRUTHDIG     Campus buildings at the University of California, Los Angeles. Photo by Downtowngal via Wikimedia Commons This Creative Commons-licensed piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—Altruism is alive and well and living in California. An extended experiment involving more than 100 households suggests that people are more likely to reduce energy use if they believe it is good for the environment rather than good for their pockets. Those who tuned into the messages about public good saved, on average, 8% on their fuel bills, while households with children reduced their energy use by 19%. But people who were repeatedly reminded that they were using more power than an economy-conscious neighbour altered their consumption hardly at all. Environmental economist Magali Delmas and research...

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3 U.S. CITIES THAT INSPIRE ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY...

Jan 21, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] As the field of energy-efficient technology grows exponentially year after year, there is no shortage of inspiration of programs to adopt in your company or hometown. The following three eco-savvy cities are clear examples that if you implement smart technology, people will use it. San Francisco Long-hailed as a mecca for the environmental movement as well as the home base of some of the biggest technology companies in the world, it’s no wonder that San Francisco tops the list of U.S. cities using technology to minimize its carbon footprint. The city is so committed to reaching its goal of creating zero waste by 2020, that they created a smartphone app, Recology, which provides recycling and trash collection schedules. The city also has a website, WhatBin.com, which helps San Franciscans learn what items are...

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Tweaking Thermostats In Boston Would Save Energy Equivalent To 17,000 Fewer Cars On The Road...

Dec 10, 2014 Posted by

[Translate] by Katie Valentine CLIMATE PROGRESS Turning thermostats in Boston buildings up one degree in the summer and down one degree in the winter would save millions of dollars per year and result in significant energy savings, according to a new report. The report, published by Retroficiency, a company aimed at helping buildings across the U.S. increase their energy efficiency, looked at more than 16,800 commercial buildings in Boston, a city with a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The report looked at a couple different ways Boston could save energy in its buildings, and charted the energy and monetary savings of each one. If buildings turned up their thermostat one degree in the summer and down one degree in the winter, they...

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POD-Indawo Offers a Compact Sustainable Living Concept for Young South African Professionals...

Nov 17, 2014 Posted by

[Translate] ARCHITECTURE   INHABITAT by Nicole Jewell, South African architect Clara da Cruz Almeida and designers Dokter + Misses have just launched a new and sustainable pod living system, the POD-Indawo. The locally designed and manufactured “nano-pod home” provides environmentally responsible urban living solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s South African residents, especially young...

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In Joint Steps on Emissions, China and U.S. Set Aside ‘You First’ Approach on Global Warming...

Nov 12, 2014 Posted by

[Translate]   By Andrew C. Revkin   NEWYORK TIMES, DOT   Photo President Obama with President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing on Tuesday during a conference of Pacific Rim economies.Credit Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Updates below, 12:42 p.m. | After years of “you first” rhetoric on addressing the unrelenting buildup of climate-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, China and the United States, the world’s biggest emitters, agreed in Beijing on Wednesday to intensify domestic steps and international partnerships to rein in their contributions to global warming. Click here for the news coverage in The Times. With recent new commitments from Europe, this means that countries responsible for more than half of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions are accelerating their emissions cutting plans, according to a White House official who spoke only on...

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Micropower’s Quiet Takeover

Nov 6, 2014 Posted by

[Translate] Rocky Mountain Institute Authors Amory B. Lovins Chief Scientist Titiaan Palazzi Special Aide OCS Small-scale, low-carbon generation now produces one-quarter of world electricity In a cover story and article 14 years ago about the emergent disruption of utilities, The Economist’s Vijay Vaitheeswaran coined the umbrella term “micropower” to mean sources of electricity that are relatively small, modular, mass-producible, quick-to-deploy, and hence rapidly scalable—the opposite of cathedral-like power plants that cost billions of dollars and take about a decade to license and build. His term combined two kinds of micropower: renewables other than big hydroelectric dams, and cogeneration of electricity together with useful heat in factories or buildings (also known as combined-heat-and-power, or CHP). Besides being cost-competitive and rapidly scalable, why does micropower matter? First, as explained below, its operation releases little or no...

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