Waterless Toilets, Flood-Resistant Homes and 8 More Sustainable Innovations in Buildings and Cities
Buildings consume more than 40 percent of the world’s available energy, so it's no wonder they are a big focus of the Sustainia100, the newly released list of the 100 most sustainable projects and businesses in the world.
In the U.S. alone, scaling energy efficiency retrofits for buildings constitute a $279 billion investment opportunity, while the energy savings over the span of a decade could amount to more than $1 trillion. Clearly, Scandinavian think tank Sustainia and its committee of advisors needed to prioritize sustainable solutions at buildings all over the planet, along with innovative programs in cities to complement the more efficient structures they house.
Within the entire Sustainia100, there are 12 technologies that represent a wide array of smart technologies that increase the efficiency of buildings in terms of heating, cooling, lighting and water usage. Here are the 20 solutions and businesses that constitute the Buildings and Cities categories:
- EcoNation: Mirror-enhanced skylight with no upfront costs
- Advantix Systems: Salt water air conditioners save energy in humid climates
- Haileybury Youth Trust: Alternative soil blocks for affordable construction
- View: Dynamic windows dim glass and save energy
- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: Daylight and natural ventilation in high-rise construction
- Snøhetta, Skanska, ZERO, Sapa, Hydro, Asplan Viak, and Entra Eiendom: Refurbishing to create energy-positive buildings
- Xella Baustoffe: Insulating building blocks from recyclable materials
- Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais and Partners in Health: Solar hospital safeguarding against power outage
- Practical Action: Flood-resistant housing in areas impacted by climate change
- Skanska and MetLife Stadium Co.
- Wecyclers: Providing incentives for recycling in low-income communities
- City and County of San Francisco Department of the Environment: Mobilizing behavior change for a zero-waste city
- Philips: Energy savings finance the switch to LED lighting in Washington D.C.
- Göteborg Energi, Lidköping Biogas, and Municipality of Lidköping: City drives innovation for liquefied biogas
- x-runner Venture: Waterless toilets for slums
- Biomatrix Water Solutions: Floating ecosystems for river restoration and water quality
- Power Plus Communications and partners: Communication platform for integrating renewable energy
- Smart Parking and Westminster City Council: Citywide parking sensors for lowering congestion
- National Asphalt Pavement Association: Porous asphalt for stormwater management
- City of Melbourne: Public-private partnership for citywide retrofitting
Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.
During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
By Matthew Savoca
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.
The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Andrea Germanos
Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.