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Redfin: Minneapolis, Chicago and Philadelphia are the Most Affordable Sustainable Cities

Betty Tűndik

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Photo by Gerd Altmann
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Redfin Used New “Sustainability Score” to Rate the 50 Biggest U.S. Cities by a Combination of Walkability, Bikeability and Access to Public Transit and Parks

Dense Housing is Green Housing, According to Redfin Chief Economist’s Analysis of Commute Times for Affordable Homes

MinneapolisChicago and Philadelphiaare the most affordable sustainable cities, according to Redfin (www.redfin.com), the tech-powered real estate brokerage.

In a new report, Redfin paired its own Walk ScoreⓇ, Transit ScoreⓇ and Bike ScoreⓇ data with ParkScore ratings from The Trust for Public Land to rank the 50 most populous U.S. cities according to a new “Sustainability Score.” Each of the four components is measured on a scale of one to 100, where 100 is the best rating and one is the worst. The overall Sustainability Score is an average of the four components.

San Francisco, with a Sustainability Score of 79.2, ranked highest among the biggest cities in the nation. New York was a close second with a score of 79.0, and Washington, D.C., ranked third with a Sustainability Score of 74.2. Fort Worth, Texas (25.3), Charlotte, North Carolina (27.5), and Arlington, Texas (29.3) had the lowest Sustainability Score ratings.

Sustainable cities tend to be more expensive to live in, with six of the top 10 having median home prices above $500,000Minneapolis (73.1), Chicago (72.7) and Philadelphia (67.9) are notable exceptions, ranking among the 10 most sustainable cities, but also having relatively affordable home prices below the national median of $295,100.

To further explore the relationship between housing affordability and environmental impact, Redfin’s chief economist, Daryl Fairweather, also examined the connection between housing density, commute times and carbon emissions.

“In many cities, the only places that middle- and low-income people can afford to live is on the outskirts, where residents have to drive farther to get to work, school and the grocery store, emitting more carbon into the atmosphere,” Fairweather said. “Cities need to build dense housing near jobs or mass-transit to allow residents to live a greener lifestyle, in order to significantly limit carbon emissions.”

To quantify the housing affordability crisis’s impact on the environment, Fairweather analyzed commute times in 54 major metro areas of homes for sale that would be affordable to a family earning the local median household income.

Twenty-two percent of homes that were listed for sale last year were both within a 30-minute drive to the local jobs center and affordable for a family making the local median income, down from 33 percent in 2013. Philadelphia has the shortest average commute time–just 19 minutes–from affordable homes for sale to its job center. Orange County, California, is close behind with a 20-minute average commute, followed by Fresno and Detroit, each with 21-minute average commutes from affordable homes for sale.

Los Angeles, where more than 85 percent of workers commute by car, has the longest average commute time–50 minutes–from affordable homes for sale to its job center. A family earning the local median household income of $67,780 would have to live as far as 65 miles away in Palmdale, where the commute time to downtown Los Angeles ranges from one to two hours during rush hour. A driver doing that commute would emit over 50 kg of carbon per day, while someone who lives in downtown Los Angeles would emit nearly no carbon walking or taking mass transit to work. That means every additional unit of housing built in downtown Los Angeles could prevent over 13,655 kg of carbon emissions each year. That’s more than enough carbon to cancel out 13 meat-eaters going vegan.

In the last five years, cities have become less dense and therefore less environmental friendly. Unless cities build more dense housing close to jobs or mass transit, the carbon impact from middle- and low-income workers having to commute long distances by car will continue to worsen.

To read Redfin’s Sustainability Score report, complete with the full ranking and methodology as well as an interactive map, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/blog/sustainability-score-by-city/.

To read Dr. Fairweather’s analysis of why dense housing is green housing and the complete ranking of metros by shortest average commute time from affordable homes for sale, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/blog/why-dense-housing-is-green/.

For Redfin’s tips on eight easy changes you can make to your home to make it more environmentally friendly, please visit:

https://www.redfin.com/blog/environmentally-friendly-home-features/.

 

SOURCE: Redfin

 

 

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Architecture & Design

Elegant Metsä Pavilion – Finnish Wooden Architecture in Tokyo

Betty Tűndik

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Metsä Group and Business Finland are joining forces in building a wooden Metsä pavilion to be used in Tokyo during the Olympic games. The pavilion will be built on the grounds of the Finnish Embassy in the centre of Tokyo, Japan.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The wooden Metsä Pavilion is to be used by Finnish athletes and companies during the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020. The building will be made entirely from Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) elements. This pavilion is an example of innovative architecture based on industrially manufactured wooden elements. The pavilion has been designed by world-renowned Finnish architect Pekka Helin from Helin & Co Architects. The pavilion will be built by Metsä Group in collaboration with Business Finland.

Pekka Helin describes the design process as an interesting and challenging project. The stylish pavilion will be made from industrially manufactured Kerto LVL elements. It must also be easy to dismantle to be relocated for assembly and use elsewhere. This affected the design of the connections between the elements, as well as their size and transport.

“The pavilion needed to be based on industrial products, instead of being a complicated, fancy structure,” Helin explains. “We needed to figure out how to create an elegant building from industrial elements.”

Japan has long traditions in timber construction, which served as an inspiration during the design process. The Metsä Pavilion is an example of unique, beautiful architecture based on industrial wooden elements.

“In Japan, the construction of buildings makes use of the natural flexibility of wood in case of earthquakes. This is combined with ancient Japanese aesthetics and minimalist sophistication. These qualities can also be found here in the north. This was my inspiration as I began to design the Metsä Pavilion,” says Helin.

The environmentally friendly Kerto LVL brings the benefits of wood to construction

Made from Metsä Wood’s lightweight and dimensionally stable Kerto LVL products, the wooden elements make it possible to build quickly in an environmentally friendly manner.

“It’s valuable in itself to design something permanent. Here this is combined with a new type of opportunity when wooden element buildings are made movable to meet a wider demand through reuse,” says Helin.

Engineered wood products, as construction materials, are durable and environmentally friendly. Kerto LVL is manufactured from a renewable raw material grown in sustainably managed Northern forests. In addition, wood as a building material is a long-term carbon store.

“The key benefits of wood construction include ecological aspects and sustainable development, which are critical these days,” Helin points out. “A large amount of carbon dioxide is stored quite permanently and is not released for a long time. In addition, wooden structures or timber construction do not cause any harmful emissions in residential or working environments.”

Fast, light and green construction with Kerto LVL

The Metsä Pavilion highlights the opportunities of wooden element construction on challenging urban sites. The challenge in the design of the pavilion was its location in the area of the Finnish Embassy in Tokyo. The building needed to be designed on top and around an existing garage on the embassy site.  In practice, prefabricated wooden elements were the only option.

“Limitations of this type really challenge your imagination,” Helin says with a laugh. “Metsä Wood has excellent expertise. They know which dimensions make sense with various elements and which parts can be connected or further processed. In addition, the components are optimised with production dimensions to ensure that the process is as ecological as possible, with no waste.”

Elements made from Kerto LVL products are lightweight and environmentally friendly, as well as speeding up construction. The industrially manufactured elements are shipped in containers to Japan, where the pavilion can be put together quickly on-site.

“You can create anything with Kerto LVL!” says Helin. “I have always emphasised that simple wooden structures are ideal for small-scale residential construction and, at the other end of the continuum, for large sports halls, office buildings, airports, day-care centres and schools.”

Element  designs are available at Open Source Wood

Metsä Wood’s Open Source Wood is a collaboration platform for architects and construction design professionals to share their wood construction innovations. The purpose of the initiative is to promote the sharing of knowledge and cooperation between professionals in wood construction. All of the elements used in the design of the Metsä Pavilion are free for download at Opensourcewood.com.

Watch a Talking Wood video with Pekka Helin on the design of the Metsä Pavilion.

 

SOURCE: Metsä Wood

 

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Agriculture

Yara and IBM join forces to transform the future of farming

Betty Tűndik

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The Digital Farming Platform, built incorporating world-class IBM technology, will allow Yara to create digital twins of the farmers’ fields and give farmers actionable insights to drive the improvements through advanced analytics, weather data and satellite images.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Yara and IBM will combine world-class agronomy and cutting-edge technology to develop the world’s leading global digital farming platform.

Yara International (OSE: YAR), a global leader in crop nutrition, and IBM (NYSE: IBM), today announced an agreement to build the world’s leading digital farming platform, providing holistic digital services and instant agronomic advice.

Yara and IBM Services will jointly innovate and commercialize digital agricultural solutions that will help increase global food production by drawing on the two companies’ complementary capabilities: Yara’s unrivalled agronomic knowledge, backed by more than 800 agronomists and a century of experience, and IBM’s digital platforms, services and expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics.

The Yara/IBM collaboration is centered around a joint vision to make a real difference in food production

“Our collaboration centers around a common goal to make a real difference in agriculture. To be able to responsibly feed a growing population, it is critical that farmers increase food production on existing farmland to avoid deforestation. Yara and IBM will develop digital solutions that empower professional and smallholder farmers to optimize farming practices to increase yields, crop quality and incomes in a sustainable way,” said Terje Knutsen, EVP Sales and Marketing in Yara.

The joint global digital farming platform will apply artificial intelligence, machine learning and in-field data to unlock new insights for farmers. The digital platform will have worldwide coverage and aspires to reach 100 million hectares of farmland – which is equivalent to twice the size of Spain or close to 7 percent of all arable land worldwide* including millions of smallholder farms.

Yara and IBM work together to deliver the world’s most comprehensive global digital farming platform.

 

“As demand for food rises along with the world’s population, the digital farming platform will play a key role in increasing global farming yields in a sustainable way. The collaboration is a perfect symbiosis of IBM’s capabilities in AI, big data management and blockchain technology and Yara’s agronomic knowledge, farmer-centric digital innovation, and proven track record in improving farming across the globe,” said Luq Niazi, IBM Global Managing Director Consumer Industries.

As a first step, Yara and IBM will establish joint innovation teams, collaborating at digital hubs in EuropeSingapore, the US and Brazil. The teams will work closely with IBM researchers to develop new capabilities, such as visual analytics and machine learning techniques for crop insights. The first services are planned for end 2019.

Advancing the digital frontier of farming

The Yara/IBM partnership will focus on all aspects of farm optimization. One specific area of collaboration will be weather data. The ability to respond optimally to weather conditions is critical for farming. By merging analytical insights from IBM’s Watson Studio, IBM PAIRS technology, The Weather Company and other services, with Yara’s unrivaled crop knowledge and modelling capabilities, the joint platform will not only provide hyperlocal weather forecasts but will in addition give real-time actionable recommendations, tailored to the specific needs of individual fields/crops.

Yara and IBM to deliver the world’s most comprehensive global digital farming platform.

As the joint digital farming platform expands, the teams will explore innovative business solutions to integrate the joint platform into the IBM Food Trust, IBM’s blockchain-enabled network of food chain players. This will allow for greater traceability and supply chain efficiency as well as ways to tackle food fraud, food waste and sustainability. It will firmly link the farm into the full food chain, creating a holistic approach to food production from farm to plate.

The contract was signed in April 2019.

*World Bank, FAO.

SOURCE: IBM

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Agriculture

MegaFood® Introduces Healthy Farm Standard to Encourage Sustainable Sourcing and Improve Soil Health

Betty Tűndik

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Photo Source: megafood.com/blog - LOOKING FOR ENERGY? TURN TO PLANTS - WE DO! - article by Erin Stokes, Naturopathic Doctor, MegaFood Medical Director
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Premium supplements brand strengthens supplier programs to continue its commitment to clean quality ingredients and support for a more resilient future

MegaFood®, an award-winning maker of premium vitamins and supplements crafted with real food and added nutrients, today announced it will introduce a comprehensive Healthy Farm Standard aimed at improving our agricultural system by building carbon rich soil and increasing the nutrient density of food.

At its core, MegaFood is out to change the world starting with food and in doing so, works with like-minded farmers who advocate for organic and regenerative farming. Farmers are often the interface between planet and people, and while they have the greatest opportunity to bring this change, they also carry much of the burden. This new open standard will help farmers track and improve outcomes and reach new goals to ultimately replenish our soil with the nutrients it needs so that we can replenish our bodies with the nutrients we need.

“At MegaFood we are proud to work with trusted farm partners who share our environmental and social responsibility values,” said Andy Dahlen, CEO at MegaFood. “Our new Healthy Farm Standard underscores our collective goals related to soil health, managing global climate change, and resource conservation. The new standard provides farmers with the support they need to drive change and, with MegaFood, lead this movement. We are excited to share this new program with our longstanding partners as well as invite new suppliers to our growing network.”

MegaFood’s new Healthy Farm Standard is structured to enable farmers and sourcing partners to move to more sustainable practices by evaluating their operations in key areas and support change to more sustainable practices through MegaFood funded incentive programs, workshops, and webinars that help encourage partners to reach these shared goals. The three key areas that farmers and sourcing partners will score their operations include:

  • Building the Soil—Consists of measuring soil health and soil nutrients along with insights on pest management practices.
  • Conserving Resources—Includes water conservation and water pollution, as well as the ability and intention to reduce fossil fuels and increase biodiversity.
  • Supporting Thriving Livelihoods—Addresses farm management, thriving workers, and nutritional access.

MegaFood is committed to improving lives through food. This new Healthy Farm Standard works to improve our agricultural system by building carbon rich soil and increasing the nutrient density of food.

“Farmers often hold the burden of new initiatives and at MegaFood we want to inspire and support change to ultimately revolutionize our farming system,” said Sara Newmark, VP of Social Impact at MegaFood. “That is why we are committed to supporting our farm partners and sourcing partners through this new program so they can, in turn, invest in a better future for all of us.”

The Healthy Farm Standard represents the company’s latest move to cultivate a community of suppliers and like-minded farmers that together advocate for regenerative farming. This standard is open source and is currently being piloted by MegaFood’s trusted farm partners. MegaFood encourages the public to understand the standard and welcomes all feedback, thus, supporting its vision of transforming “agri-culture” by empowering communities and revolutionizing food systems.

To learn more about MegaFood’s latest standards and requirements, visit megafood.com.

SOURCE: MegaFood

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