Designing a Climate-Positive Future with Zero-Energy Districts

September 23, 2019  |  By Victor Olgyay RMI The environmental impact of buildings is clear. Over the last 30 years the green building industry has emerged in full regalia, with products, rating systems, building science, and architectural élan. Our design and technology have jumped from making buildings perform “better than code” to “zero-energy” or even “net-positive-energy” construction. Today’s high-performance buildings have a …

About 24 percent of employed people worked at least part of the time at home last year. 30 percent of home shoppers worked at home 1 to 4 days a week; 13 percent worked at home full time.

By Lisa Prevost, NYTimes, Sept. 20, 2019, How Telecommuting Has Changed Real Estate As wireless technology changes how and where people do their jobs, giving many the freedom to work remotely at least part of the time, so too is it changing their thinking about real estate. Remote workers still represent a minority of the work force. According to the Bureau of …

Curbed, Sept 2019 But before any new infrastructure can be designed, we have to reframe what infrastructure actually means in America’s consciousness. “Right now the term ‘infrastructure’ as used by politicians is problematic,” says Vishaan Chakrabarti, an architect, incoming dean at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and author A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America. In the …

30% more local businesses than previously and a significant increase in the numbers of people making journeys on foot or cycling with Barcelona superblocks + lives saved

By Stephen Burgen in The Guardian 10 Sept 2019 Barcelona could save hundreds of lives and cut air pollution by a quarter if it fully implements its radical superblocks scheme to reduce traffic, a new report claims. A study carried out by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health calculates that the city could prevent 667 premature deaths every year if it created all 503 …

What is equitable and cost-effective investment in transportation? How is that changing?

Moving forward, MassDOT plans to target certain bottlenecks while taking a more active role in managing how the roads operate, clearing crashes more quickly, and working to improve people’s travel options throughout the state. New construction and technological solutions will help, but the agency will also evaluate smart pricing strategies in the most congested areas. Rail, bus, and other commuter …

The air conditioning trap

Excerpt from The Guardian, Aug 29, 2019 by Stephen Buranyi air conditioners are almost uniquely power-hungry appliances: a small unit cooling a single room, on average, consumes more power than running four fridges, while a central unit cooling an average house uses more power than 15. “Last year in Beijing, during a heatwave, 50% of the power capacity was going …

Six Reasons Why Berkeley’s Ban on New Natural Gas Is a Great Idea

by Gideon Weissman, Monday, August 19, 2019 Natural GasElectrificationGlobal WarmingFrackingClean Energy Last month the city of Berkeley, California, banned natural gas infrastructure from new buildings.[1] The most obvious reason for the ordinance is enough to justify it on its own: Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and burning it contributes to global warming. But by getting off gas, Berkeley is doing a whole …

Burlington’s Climate Emergency Declaration Calls for Shift to Naturalized Gardens instead of Mowed Lawns and GHG-emitting Tools

By Doreen Nicoll, Rabble.CA.August 18, 2019 | RESIST! On April 23, Burlington City Council unanimously passed Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan’s motion to declare a climate emergency. “By declaring a climate emergency, Burlington City Council is recognizing the magnitude of the challenge we face in combatting climate change,” Nisan said in a press release. “But it is only one step. Through the declaration, we …

Prefab affordable housing for backyards

Excerpt from Quartz, Aug 2019 Seattle-based startup Node sees an urban future for housing built in a factory. Node wants to be the Ikea of the home industry. The modular homes it is making can be flat-packed—the ultra-efficient technique popularized by the Swedish retailer—and then assembled in a matter of days on site. Shingles fasten into place. Walls snap together in metal …

Big Shifts Are Critical This Next Year: 12 Charts Explain Where We Are Today in Climate Action, and Where We Need to Be in 2020

Making the shifts below is the more efficient and least expensive way to tackle global warming — big shifts are critical this next year. Recent research from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate found that bold climate action – in line with the Paris Agreement and the Mission 2020 milestones – could deliver at least $26 trillion in economic benefits …