Describes the winning entry in the recent Gowanus Lowline Competition. The winning entry, which is described encapsulates the kind of far sighted bio-mimetic and bio-symbiotic urban design our country needs. Reading this post is like reading a how to book on healing the earth; and in particular healing the brownfield urban wastelands, very often built over per-existing wetlands.
Bio-domes are a sustainable low cost water treatment technology that uses just one third the energy of traditional mechanical aeration systems and is also suitable for rural and other communities that currently rely on essentially unimproved treatment lagoons. They work by providing an optimal environment that promotes flourishing communities of beneficial bacterial biofilms that naturally process the dissolved and suspended pollutants in order to cleanse the water.
Many energy experts contend natural gas is the ideal fuel as the world makes the transition to renewable energy. But since much of that gas will come from underground shale, potentially at high environmental cost, it would be far better to skip the natural gas phase and move straight to massive deployment of solar and wind power.
Even as the climate science becomes more definitive, polls show that public concern in the United States about global warming has been declining. What will it take to rally Americans behind the need to take strong action on cutting carbon emissions?
Beginning February 1, 2010, an estimated 82,000 construction sites must comply with the EPA’s new regulation governing construction site discharge. The new regulation outlines stricter measures to reduce water pollution and the EPA expects compliance with the rule to reduce the amount of sediment and other pollutants discharged from construction sites by 4 billion pounds per year.
Anaerobic Digestion is one of the more promising biological technologies for sustainable waste management and has the potential to turn a large and worsening agro-headache into a growing opportunity for sustainable farming. It can extract useful biogas energy and high quality fertilizer from manure and other problematic agro waste products while also reducing the air and water pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases from a farming operation. Anaerobic Digestion harnesses natural living biological processes to maintain the natural carbon cycle and extract useful energy and fertilizer byproducts from what had been problematic waste streams. It is well suited for many types of farming operations and is an important sustainable farming practice.
UPDATE: Department of Agriculture announced a public/private partnership to help spread the use of anaerobic digester technology in dairy operations with the goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.
Green roofs, green walls, green parking lots, shade trees, the greening of urban spaces in general, the restoration of urban waterways, wetlands and the re-greening of brownfield areas; can all be thought of as different techniques to nurture a green living skin over regions of urban development. While there are many important differences between each of these separate techniques as well as their underlying technologies they all share a common overarching goal of bringing an analog of the natural living green skin that characterizes the natural landscape back into our urban areas. They all promote the restoration and re-integration of these heavily populated areas back into the surrounding natural environment.
Take even a passing glance at an aerial picture of any urbanized area and it is amazing how much of it is paved over to provide for the various highways, arterials, feeder roads, alleys, drive ways, parking lots and roadside parking spaces that our car clogged cities require. Look more closely and one quickly discovers that a significant portion of this paved over space devoted to the car and getting around is comprised of parking lots as well as the ubiquitous curbside parking strips so common in almost all urban settings. This two part series looks at the problems that parking lots, curbside parking strips and other non road paved areas exacerbate; it then goes on to illustrates various ways in which we can make these facilities greener and how doing so can improve the urban environment; lessen its impact on waterways and beautify the urban spaces all at the same time. Promoting the adoption of green parking lots and roadside parking strips is win-win scenario.
The Green (or Sustainable) Building: Part III – The Importance of Location, Orientation and Landscaping
For new projects where the building site is not already decided, an important green consideration is the selection of a location for the building that fits into the existing urban fabric, especially the existing mass transit network of the city. Prospective sites should also be selected based on how easily they can integrate into the existing electric, gas, water, and sewage utilities. Fitting into a city’s existing infrastructure so that a project has the smallest impact on the existing energy, water, sewage and road systems is the first point at which the green decision making process comes into play. In addition to siting a green building should be oriented and landscaped to make the most of its site ant to integrate into the urban fabric so that it organically fits into it and enhances its surroundings. Orientation and landscaping can have major impacts on a buildings water and energy efficiency as well as on its environmental impact.