Category: Green building

Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Biennial Report 2021

Download the document.

The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy 2021 Biennial Report is the third report
to provide the public with updates on the implementation of the Illinois Nutrient Loss
Reduction Strategy, released in 2015. The strategy continues to be guided by Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Agriculture, and University of
Illinois Extension, with input and feedback from the Policy Working Group and several other stakeholder groups and councils. This biennial report provides a 2019-20 overview of the efforts and investments made in reducing nutrient loss to Illinois waterways from source sectors: agriculture, point sources, and urban stormwater.

NUS researchers develop AI-powered tool to map sustainable roofs globally

Read the full story from the National University of Singapore.

As cities around the world continue to urbanise, there is a greater need to expand and optimise existing spaces. Cities have accelerated looking into how underutilised rooftop spaces might contribute to climate action, food production, and other purposes. Sustainable roofs, such as those with greenery and photovoltaic panels, can contribute to the roadmap for reducing the carbon footprint of cities but while studies have been done to gauge their potential, few track the actual performance of cities.

To tackle this, Dr Filip Biljecki, Presidential Young Professor from the Department of Architecture at the National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Design and Environment, and NUS Master of Architecture graduate Mr Abraham Noah Wu developed an automated tool that uses satellite images to track how rooftops around the world adopt solar panels and/or vegetation. Known as Roofpedia, it uses a fully convolutional neural network (deep learning) which allows researchers and policymakers to study how cities worldwide are greening their rooftops and using them for photovoltaic installations.

This is a research project under the NUS Urban Analytics Lab, a multidisciplinary research group at the NUS School of Design and Environment. Their research was published in the international journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

10 Years of Innovative Stormwater Solutions: The Campus RainWorks Challenge Brings the Next Generation of Environmentalists to the Table

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

In 2012, EPA’s Office of Water began the Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design competition open to undergraduate and graduate students at colleges and universities in the United States and its territories. The challenge requires multidisciplinary student teams specializing in engineering, landscape architecture, life sciences, and other disciplines to identify a stormwater management problem on campus or at a local elementary or high school. Student teams work with a faculty advisor to help design green infrastructure solutions. Students can compete in either of the challenge’s two competition categories, demonstration projects or master plan. Demonstration projects focus on site specific applications for green infrastructure. Master plan entries apply green infrastructure across a broader area of campus.

Since the inception of this challenge, more than 700 teams from 272 academic institutions across 48 states and Puerto Rico have participated. The challenge helps EPA engage the next generation of environmental professionals and showcases the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.

Hi-tech wooden flooring can turn footsteps into electricity

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Swiss scientists develop prototype ‘nanogenerator’ that produces renewable energy when trodden on.

Sustainability advocates ask: Why demolish when you can deconstruct?

Read the full story in the New York Times.

More cities are adopting deconstruction ordinances that require older homes to be taken down for salvageable parts, but they face challenges in trying to expand their efforts.

Good news: The most popular material on Earth is great for storing CO2

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Our Earth is heating up because of all the carbon dioxide in the air. But even if we can suck that much CO2 out of the atmosphere, there’s still a problem: What do we do with all of it once it’s recaptured?

The short answer is, put it into products. The longer answer is, put it into the right products. Specifically, concrete. This seemingly innocuous substance that holds up our buildings is actually the most used material of the modern era. More than 10 billion tons of concrete are produced each year. And luckily, scientists are showing that it’s our most promising place to stick all of that CO2, too.

The finding comes from new research out of the University of Michigan, which analyzed more than 20 separate CO2 utilization technologies. Of that pile, researchers found that only four technologies had a better than 50% chance of benefiting the environment. And the most promising two were in concrete.

ConTech Conversations: Nexii shines light on modular

Read the full story at Construction Dive.

Vice President Gregor Robertson spoke to Construction Dive about the construction technology company’s ambitious growth plans.

100 ways to make better use of urban rooftops, from parks to tiny homes

Read the full story at Fast Company.

On the rooftop of a hospital in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, patients can visit a small orchard filled with fruit trees. A neighboring art museum has a rooftop forest planted with birch trees that were raised to survive at a slightly higher altitude. Nearby, a nearly 4,000-foot-long building is topped with a park that has vegetable gardens, picnickers, and grazing sheep. On other roofs in the city, pilot projects are testing the potential of tiny homes.

The city is a pioneer in finding new uses for a part of urban space that’s often ignored. In a new book called Rooftop Catalogue, Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV and the organization behind an annual “rooftop day” festival in the city explore more potential ways to transform roofs and how the whole rooftop landscape could change.

Concrete Solutions Guide: Six Actions to Lower the Embodied Carbon of Concrete

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The Concrete Solutions Guide provides a user-friendly overview of proven and scalable solutions to reduce concrete’s contribution to climate change. This guide highlights six key opportunities to reduce embodied carbon in concrete products without compromising financial or material performance.

Most of the solutions described are market-ready—the result of decades of research and real-world trials. In addition to helping advance the environmental goals of concrete purchasers, these solutions offer opportunities for producers to reduce costs and establish a leadership role in a changing industry.

‘World’s worst invasive weed’ sold at many U.S. garden centers

Read the full story in Smithsonian Magazine.

Banned by federal and state regulators, many invasive plants are still being sold at garden centers, nurseries and online retailers nationwide.

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