Editor’s Note: See Mayor Gavin Newsom’s post on this announcement at CleanTechnica.com.
San Francisco is well on its way to reaching the lofty goal of a 75% recycling rate by 2010. Today Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office announced that the city has attained the title of US recycling king by keeping 72% of ALLrecyclable material out of landfills.
And we’re not talking simply cans and bottles here either; in 2006 Mayor Newsom instituted a Mandatory Construction and Demolition Debris Recovery Ordinance, which means that 72% number includes all waste generated on construction sites too.
“By requiring builders to recycle debris from construction projects, we were able to divert tens of thousands of new tons of material away from the landfill,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “Clearly, mandatory recycling measures pay off; if we’re going to reach a recycling rate of 75 percent in 2010 and zero waste by 2020, we need to make sure that residents and businesses are taking full advantage of our composting and recycling programs.”
The San Francisco Department of the Environment said that in 2007 the city generated 2,100,943 tons of waste, of which only 617,833 tons went to landfills. This represents the city’s lowest tonnage sent to landfills in over 30 years.
Although 72% is an impressive number, the city sees an opportunity to go even higher.
“If we captured everything going to landfill that could have been recycled or composted, we’d have a 90% recycling rate” said San Franciso Department of the Environment Director Jared Blumenfeld. “The Board of Supervisors will soon be considering an ordinance that will require residents and businesses to sign up and use the recycling and composting programs, which we need to make our goals.”
Image Credit: Rick’s Flickr photostream under a Creative Commons License.
Whenever I see my friend James D’Addio, the architectural photographer, I ask him about which new green buildings he’s been shooting. Not surprisingly, in a city with dedicated green building blogs and the NYC Department of Design & Construction’s award-winning programs, NYC may be the greenest city in the United States. Here two projects in NYC that exemplify where green building is going.
It seems like if a building is going up, its just as likely as not to be green. McGraw-Hill research tells us that 53% of building professionals expect to be dedicated to green on over 60% of their projects in the next five years. It seems like there is ample opportunity for innovation in the building industries despite a downturn in overall building. I guess NYC is as good a place as any to lead the charge.
Norman Foster’s Hearst Tower, which sits atop a 1928 landmark building in Manhattan is engineered to use 25% less energy than required by code and boasts the world’s largest “air conditioner.” The two-story, stepped waterfall is also a huge radiant cooling system that along with other measures saves 1.7 million gallons of water every year. Other interesting facts about the building include:
90% of the structural steel used came from recycled materials
More than 80% of the orginal structure was recycled for future use
26% less energy was used during construction
Light sensors and controls throughout the building
It has a 14,000 gallon water reclamation system in the basement
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The idea of a car that drives itself
has been kicking around for a while — especially as an automated urban people-mover
— and that’s exactly what designer Kubik Petr’s robo-taxi is designed for. Looking a little bit like a Segway with a chassis, it seats two, is powered by electric motors and has space for luggage. While that low passenger limit is a concern, ideally there’d be a lot of these things on the streets and several could come to ferry large groups around, with passengers selecting where they want to go by way of a touchscreen in the cabin.
Of course, a design like this — as awesome as it is — sets off a few red flags. It doesn’t look like it’d do well in a crash, for one, and its low clearance wouldn’t accommodate anything but the most well-cared for, pristine street. And do we really have the infrastructure for something like this? Maybe if a city was built from the ground up for it — either way this wouldn’t be good news for cabbies
Some time in the sparkling green future, the global food giant Archer Daniels Midland might have a hand in developing the world’s first compostable car. And we might have to thank the Belgians for that, too. Sounds far-fetched, right? Not when you throw in the U.S. military and a small Massachusetts company that specializes in bioplastics.
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Even in a Greencentric city like Berkeley, locals and Bay Area visitors would be Green with envy when they see the just opened David Brower Center. It feels healthy just to walk through the Green down-to-the-bones building which combines advanced technology along with simple recycled materials.
When entering for their housewarming party we had a difficult time not noticing the soaring concrete walls which made us think more dot com than gallery. The fact that in creating a building with an oh- so-feathery carbon footprint (when compared to most structures) Principal Architect, Daniel Solomon included up to 70 percent slagin those walls.
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For the moment, the price at the pump is reasonable. A spike in demand or a terrorist disruption, however, will quickly remind us that we are desperately dependent on oil as we continue to consume 140 billion gallons of gasoline per year. Even in these recessionary times of moderate demand, we are running out of easy to extract oil from dessert sands. We are turning to sources of unconventional oil, such as tar sands in Canada, to produce oil with ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
For a while, corn ethanol was viewed by some as a step in the right direction. Now we are like the character in a Woody Allen comedy who explains, “I used to be a heroin addict; now I’m a methadone addict.” At a time when a billion people go hungry, many as a result of disappearing water on this heating planet, fuel from food is not the answer.
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||May 7, Singapore
Work is underway on a rather large project for downtown Singapore by Foster and Partners in May 2009. The project named Beach Road will occupy an entire city block and is located between the Marina Centre and the Civic District of the city. The project, which is the work of world renowned company and will create what will be known as an eco-quarter in the city which is in keeping with Singapore’s desire to become a ‘city in a garden’…more
||May 6, Vancouver
The ‘Harvest Green Project’ by Romses Architects was a winning entry in a recent competition held by the city of vancouver ‘the 2030 challenge’ to address climate change plans and to guide greener and denser development, reducing carbon emissions for the future. The concept of ‘harvest’ is explored in the project through the vertical farming of vegetables, herbs, fruits, fish, egg laying chickens, and a boutique goat and sheep dairy facility…more
Brisbane building tops green-star rating
Queensland Business Review, Australia
South Brisbane’s 154 Melbourne office precinct will receive the coveted five-star ‘Green Star‘ rating upon its completion in June. It is among only seven Queensland buildings to receive the five-star rating for office design from the Green Building ..
Displaying average composition of a desktop computer, average CO2 emissions from component manufacturing, life-cycle stages, inputs and greenhouse gas emissions.