We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Fluorescent Ruby Red Roofs Stay as Cool as White

Read the full story from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Elementary school science teaches us that in the sun, dark colors get hot while white stays cool. Now new research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found an exception: Scientists have determined that certain dark pigments can stay just as cool as white by using fluorescence, the re-emission of absorbed light.

The researchers tested this concept by coloring cool roof coatings with ruby red (aluminum oxide doped with chromium). Led by Berkeley Lab scientist Paul Berdahl, they first found that white paint overlaid with a layer of ruby crystals stayed as cool as a commercial white coating. Next, they synthesized ruby pigment to mix into coatings. Their results were published recently in the journal Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells, in an article titled “Fluorescent cooling of objects exposed to sunlight—The ruby example.”

American Society of Landscape Architects releases Resilient Design Guide

Read the guide.

Working with nature — instead of in opposition to it — helps communities become more resilient and come back stronger after disruptive natural events. Long-term resilience is about continuously bouncing back and regenerating. It’s about learning how to cope with the ever-changing “new normal.”

As events become more frequent and intense due to climate change, communities must adapt and redevelop to reduce risks and improve ecological and human health. It’s also time to stop putting communities and infrastructure in high-risk places. And we need to reduce sprawl, which further exacerbates the risks.

Resilient landscape planning and design offers a way forward for communities. We can now use multi-layered systems of protection, with diverse, scalable elements, any one of which can fail safely in the event of a catastrophe.

Many communities have attempted to find a single solution to disasters through heavy-handed infrastructure projects: walls to keep out water, power plants to cool cities. But working with nature to create multi-layered defenses provides several co-benefits.

For example, constructed coastal buffers, made of reefs and sand, can also provide wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities; urban forests made up of diverse species clean the air while reducing the urban heat island effect; and green infrastructure designed to control flooding also provides needed community space and creates jobs.

The goal of resilient landscape planning and design is to retrofit our communities to recover more quickly from extreme events, now and in the future. In an era when disasters can cause traditional, built systems to fail, adaptive, multi-layered systems can maintain their vital functions and are often the more cost-effective and practical solutions.

In an age of rising waters and temperatures and diminishing budgets, the best defenses are adaptive, like nature.

This guide is organized around disruptive events that communities now experience: drought, extreme heat, fire, flooding, landslides, and, importantly, biodiversity loss, which subverts our ability to work with nature.

The guide includes numerous case studies and resources demonstrating multi-benefit systems as well as the small-scale solutions that fit within those. The guide also explains landscape architects’ role in the planning and design teams helping to make communities more resilient.

Improving building efficiency: A tale of 4 cities

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

One-third of the world’s energy-related emissions come from buildings. So perhaps it’s no surprise that more than 80 national climate plans submitted ahead of COP21 in Paris included commitments to improve building efficiency.

A year later, the discussion continues with Human Settlements Day today at COP22 in Marrakech. The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (Global ABC) released a report (PDF) taking stock of the opportunity to reduce emissions from buildings, and laid out a roadmap for national governments attending the climate talks.

One of the key recommendations is to support building efficiency action by cities. WRI leads the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), a public-private collaboration of 30 organizations working with 23 cities to help them advance building efficiency. In doing so, they also reduce pollution, boost resiliency to heat waves and other climate events, improve infrastructure and more. Here’s a look at four cities where BEA partners are working.

This sustainable new tech will make you see windows in a whole new light

Read the full story from The Guardian.

The smart building tech industry is quickly expanding as more businesses and commercial spaces start paying attention to environmental concerns.

Replacing grass with water-wise landscapes may harm water quality

Read the full story at EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

In many water-starved cities, homeowners are being encouraged to replace their lawns to conserve water. But how does this affect soil concentrations of nutrients such as nitrates? Now a team from the US has examined what happens to converted lawns in real homes.

Survey on Energy and Water Efficiency of Stadiums and Arenas

The Green Sports Alliance (Alliance), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® program, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (Institute) are working together to better understand the characteristics of stadiums and arenas and their energy and water impacts. As part of that effort, the Institute has prepared a survey with extensive industry feedback and specific guidance from EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Program. The findings from this survey will help identify opportunities to reduce energy and water use, save money, and potentially develop an ENERGY STAR® score and certification for stadiums and arenas.

In order to answer this survey completely, you may need to have information that is not readily available. Please review the survey questions at http://www.nibs.org/resource/resmgr/projects/Energy_Water_Survey.pdf to assure you have the necessary information before beginning. Additionally, you will need to submit energy and water data, which will be necessary to help develop an ENERGY STAR® score for stadiums and arenas. Please click on the link (http://www.nibs.org/resource/resmgr/projects/Energy_Water_Report_Instruct.pdf) to review instructions and options for uploading your energy and water data. Upon submitting your responses, you will have the opportunity to return to the survey questions to update or clarify your answers by a link provided.

For more information and to complete the survey, click here. If you have questions regarding the survey, please contact Ryan Colker at the National Institute of Building Sciences (rcolker@nibs.org, 202-289-7800 x133).


Arup trials ‘living wall’ scaffolding

Read the full story in The Construction Index.

Arup has unveiled a ‘living wall’ of scaffolding on a project in Mayfair, which it says has the potential to reduce air pollution by up to 20%.

The ‘Living Wall Lite’ covers 80 sq m of scaffolding on the Grade I-listed St Mark’s Building and comprises a mixture of grasses, flowers and strawberries.