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Tuesday , 29 July 2014

Category Archives: Green Living

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Environment-friendly stories, latest technologies, news, tips and how tos.

Canada’s building industry a bright spot on dim energy scorecard

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When asked what makes a building green, most people, builders included, think of energy efficiency. In fact, energy efficiency is the most important factor cited by builders, especially builders of high-rise residential construction. A recent survey of builders in the US by McGraw Hill Construction found that 84 per cent of multi-family builders consider energy efficiency the biggest factor in green building. The survey also showed, however, that just over one in ten low-rise builders are actually building greener homes now than they did two years ago. A survey of builders, as of any other group, gives no more than a glimpse into the question at issue. Is there a way ... Read More »

Innovative BioSkin combats heat island effect

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Do parents today still shout at their kids in wintertime to “shut that door” with the words “Are you trying to heat the whole street?” or a variation thereof? (The line can be adapted for summertime air conditioning.) As we now know, there’s more to this than we ever thought. Heat created in buildings really does heat up the street outside. In big cities, with hundreds of large buildings standing close to one another, the combined result of all that escaping heat is known as the heat island effect. And it contributes to urban misery when summer temperatures soar. A Japanese architecture firm, Nikken Sekkei, has just won recognition for ... Read More »

World church body joins movement to divest of fossil fuels

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Churches and other groups have used their collective clout in the past to help effect social change through “stigmatization.” This is the process of showing strong public disapproval, even shaming, of a person or group or government, such as the South African government of the apartheid era. A sustained campaign of stigmatization can bring about far-reaching changes in social attitudes, as has happened with the tobacco industry and smoking. The power of stigmatization is being marshaled now to draw attention to climate change and the part that fossil fuels play in it. The World Council of Churches announced a few days ago that it was divesting of any stock holdings ... Read More »

Building green makes sense on so many levels

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If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it must be that more green space in the city is a good thing. The ecological, environmental, economic and cultural benefits of urban green space are too numerous to list here, but the most obvious social benefits bear repeating: parks and public green spaces, no matter how small, provide places for people to meet, play, rest, be silent or gregarious, think, take part in their community life and just enjoy. A recently completed seventeen-year study of 5.000 households in Britain found that living near green space in a city was good for people’s mental and physical health. Other studies have shown ... Read More »

Factory farming Japanese style: LED lights and lettuce

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Any agricultural system that can increase the productivity of the land 100-fold, reduce water consumption by 99 per cent and produce a superior crop, regardless of the weather, is definitely revolutionary. People have been growing plants and even food crops in greenhouses for a long time now, but a Japanese venture called Mirai has developed what could be the most productive indoor farm yet. The man who started it believes it is the real beginning of the industrialization of agriculture. Using LED lighting that was specially developed for the purpose by GE,  Japanese “plant physiologist” Shigeharu Shimamura is now doing industrial-scale farming in a former electronics factory. It is the ... Read More »

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