Ten Building Trends that Could Change America

Part of WTTW’s program/interactive web site Ten Buildings That Changed America includes a section on Ten Building Trends That Could Change America. Several of these, including adaptive reuse, recycled building materials, energy efficiency, and architecture as public health, will be of interest to the green building community.

If you’re doing something with one of these technologies or have examples of specific projects, leave me a note in the comments.

Bad for you, bad for business: Can framing climate change as a public health concern win over deniers?

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries.

The Guardian published an article that ties climate change to real health concerns. As the article points out, as a society, we are much more inclined to take preventative action when it directly impacts our own health and well-being. By casting environmental concerns in the terms of public health — something done to great effect in the 1970s during the passage of the Clean Air Act — it’s possible to shift the climate change conversation toward issues that impact people’s daily lives

Innovation in spectroscopy could improve greenhouse gas detection

Read the full story at R&D Magazine.

Detecting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could soon become far easier with the help of an innovative technique developed by a team at NIST, where scientists have overcome an issue preventing the effective use of lasers to rapidly scan samples.

The team, which recently published its findings in Nature Photonics, says the technique also could work for other jobs that require gas detection, including the search for hidden explosives and monitoring chemical processes in industry and the environment.

Research paper cited: G.-W. Truong, K.O. Douglass, S.E. Maxwell, R.D. van Zee, D.F. Plusquellic, J.T. Hodges and D.A. Long. Frequency-agile, rapid scanning spectroscopy. Nature Photonics, DOI: 10.1038/NPHOTON.2013.98, April 28, 2013.

Abstract: Challenging applications in trace gas measurements require low uncertainty and high acquisition rates1, 2, 3, 4. Many cavity-enhanced spectroscopies exhibit significant sensitivity and potential5, 6, but their scanning rates are limited by reliance on either mechanical or thermal frequency tuning7. Here, we present frequency-agile, rapid scanning spectroscopy (FARS) in which a high-bandwidth electro-optic modulator steps a selected laser sideband to successive optical cavity modes. This approach involves no mechanical motion and allows for a scanning rate of 8 kHz per cavity mode, a rate that is limited only by the cavity response time itself. Unlike rapidly frequency-swept techniques8, 9, 10, 11, FARS does not reduce the measurement duty cycle, degrade the spectrum’s frequency axis or require an unusual cavity configuration. FARS allows for a sensitivity of ~2 × 10−12 cm−1 Hz−1/2 and a tuning range exceeding 70 GHz. This technique shows promise for fast and sensitive trace gas measurements and studies of chemical kinetics.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Removes Phosphorus From Lawn Maintenance Products

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

Scotts Miracle-Gro today said it has achieved its goal of removing phosphorus from its Turf Builder brand lawn food maintenance products.

The company first made this pledge two years ago on World Water Day as a partial solution to nutrient runoff that can lead to excessive algae growth in waterways. The 2011 phosphorus-free announcement expanded on an earlier commitment — to halve phosphorus content in lawn foods — Scotts made to stakeholders in 2006.

The company says it used more than 10 thousand tons of phosphorus to produce Turf Builder brand lawn food products in 2003.