Europe wants more cities to use data center waste heating

Read the full story at Techradar.

The EU – and Germany in particular – has caused some consternation in the data center industry with plans to reduce the continent’s environmental impact.

The union has set renewable energy targets across numerous industries to be achieved by 2035, which includes making the heating and cooling sectors carbon neutral by reusing waste heat from data centers to keep cities warm.

Germany wants to go a step further by introducing targets for energy reuse, and whilst data center firms are happy for their byproduct to be recycled, they are worried that it will place a financial burden upon them to achieve. 

US cities see ‘urban mining’ potential in building deconstruction

Read the full story from Reuters.

Construction, demolition debris is double municipal waste. Deconstruction saves 350,000 tons a year from landfill. City mandates bolster the growing sector.

Adaptable, creative workforce will be key to achieving full potential of federal climate funds

Read the full story from ACEEE.

Recent legislation has dedicated historic levels of funding to climate change mitigation through energy-efficient technologies, retrofits, and decarbonization. As a result, enormous changes are possible in our buildings—how we design, build, heat, cool, and use them.

But this can only happen with a qualified workforce: the buildings industry needs enough boots on the ground who know how to do the complex work of creating, operating, and maintaining these buildings and the equipment inside (and outside) them. Even today—with rising interest, demand, and incentives for heat pumps nationwide—we do not have enough qualified contractors who know how to size, install, and repair heat pumps and heat pump water heaters in American homes. This is a microcosm of a more significant problem and will impede our progress toward building decarbonization.

The size and capabilities of our workforce may be the single biggest obstacle to achieving the full potential of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Lego lays first bricks for $1B ‘carbon neutral’ toy factory in US

Read the full story from GreenBiz.

Lego Group has begun laying the first building blocks for its planned $1 billion “carbon-neutral” factory in the U.S., as the toy manufacturer steps up efforts towards meeting its global climate goals.

The Danish firm announced at construction work has officially started at the new facility in Chesterfield County near Richmond, Virginia, with work expected to be completed by 2025.

The 340-acre site is set to include on-site solar power generation comprising 35,000-40,000 ground-mount photovoltaic (PV) panels and 15,000-20,000 roof PV panels, altogether delivering a total electricity generation capacity of 30-35MW, it said.

Overall, Lego said the solar panels would be able to meet all of the factory’s power needs, generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 average U.S. homes.

In addition, Lego said it planned to use energy-efficient production equipment throughout the construction process, and also during operation of the facility, set to be the firm’s second in the U.S. once manufacturing begins.

Researchers develop carbon-negative concrete

Read the full story from Washington State University.

A viable formula for a carbon-negative, environmentally friendly concrete that is nearly as strong as regular concrete has been developed.  In a proof-of-concept work, the researchers infused regular cement with environmentally friendly biochar, a type of charcoal made from organic waste, that had been strengthened beforehand with concrete wastewater. The biochar was able to suck up to 23% of its weight in carbon dioxide from the air while still reaching a strength comparable to ordinary cement. The research could significantly reduce carbon emissions of the concrete industry, which is one of the most energy- and carbon-intensive of all manufacturing industries.

‘Talking’ concrete could help prevent traffic jams and cut carbon emissions

Read the full story from Purdue University.

An increasing number of U.S. interstates are set to try out an invention that could save millions of taxpayer dollars and significantly reduce traffic delays.

The invention, a sensor that allows concrete to ‘talk,’ decreases construction time and how often concrete pavement needs repairs while also improving the road’s sustainability and cutting its carbon footprint. Embedded directly into a concrete pour, the sensor sends engineers more precise and consistent data about the concrete’s strength and need for repair than is possible with currently used tools and methods.

The real-world costs of the digital race for bitcoin

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Bitcoin mines cash in on electricity — by devouring it, selling it, even turning it off — and they cause immense pollution. In many cases, the public pays a price.

This Danish school is made from straw and seaweed

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Behind the thick wooden walls of a small school in northern Denmark are two wholly uncommon materials: One is often burned to run the country’s district heating systems. The other usually rots away on the beach.

But at the Feldballe School in Rønde, Denmark, Henning Larsen Architects used these two materials—straw and a seaweed called eelgrass—to form the insulation and ventilation systems of a revolutionary kind of building. Designed specifically to reduce the amount of carbon emissions that result from the building’s construction and operable lifespan, the school is showing how biomaterials can help the construction industry hit environmental targets without sacrificing aesthetics.

Computer scientists say seagull algorithms could hide the secret to greener cloud computing

Read the full story from Fast Company.

We have engineered materials that are sturdier than ever, modeled after the oozing networks of the humble slime mold. And locomotive robots, propelled by the squishing trudge motions of an earthworm. And symmetric algorithms, which mimic the way shapes like snowflakes and sunflowers bloom spontaneously.

Now, a team of researchers from the United Kingdom, China, and Austria are looking to use the habits of seagulls to build better cloud computing systems.In a paper published in Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems, a journal from KeAi, which was founded in a partnership between Elsevier and China Science Publishing & Media, the researchers argue that using a “seagull optimization algorithm”—a so-called meta-heuristic algorithm that mimics the hunting and migration behavior of seagulls—can make cloud computing more energy efficient, cutting its power consumption by 5.5% and lightening its network traffic by 70%.

Climate bright spot: Building sector decarbonization is well underway

Read the full story from The Hill.

We are witnessing the remarkable transformation of the U.S. building sector with record emissions reductions that began in 2005.

In the U.S., from the Industrial Revolution (late 1700s) to 2005, as the buildings sector grew, so did sector energy consumption and CO2 emissions. This makes sense. We added about 3 billion to 5 billion square feet to our building stock each year, and as those buildings consumed energy to operate — electricity, natural gas, heating oil, etc. — energy consumption and emissions in the sector went up.

However, in 2005, something extraordinary happened; building operating energy and emissions decoupled from building sector growth:

  • Since 2005, the carbon intensity of the entire U.S. building stock (CO2 emissions per square foot of floor area) actually declined by 39.8 percent for residential and 43.7 percent for commercial buildings.
  • From 2005 to 2022, the U.S. added 62.5 billion square feet to its building stock — the equivalent to adding about six cities the size of Boston each year – but building sector operating ­energy consumption did not increase (down 3.5 percent) and CO2 emissions declined 28.4 percent.
  • From 2010 to 2022, residential and commercial building energy consumers saved approximately $530 billion total from 2010 projected energy costs. That means more money is being spent throughout the economy on clothing, food, education, travel, electronics, construction, equipment and housing.