Green roofs are great! They help alleviate a lot of issues that arise in urban living while making cities more beautiful. There is growing interest in making sure that urban green roofs take off and it looks like it is working.
While other countries like Germany have been using green roofs since the 1980’s, North America has been playing catch up. Toronto, however, is a city enamoured with renewable energy and sustainability. Ryerson’s engineering building on Church St., the new Forensic Services and Coroner’s Complex and Toronto City Hall are all notable examples of green roof early adopters.
A pioneer in North America, the city requires all new builds with a minimum gross floor area of 2,000m2 to include a portion of vegetation on roof surfaces. It also offers a grant of up to $75/square metre to offset the cost of green-roof installation. Similar incentive programs are being instated in Washington DC, NYC and Chicago, but Toronto is the first to actually mandate builders to include a vegetated roof â€“ or face a hefty fine.
And with good reason. Green roofs divert waste, help manage storm water, moderate ‘urban heat island’ effects and improve air quality. They also reduce noise and can save significant amounts of money. In a warehouse complex, for example, the evaporation characteristics of a green roof can lower the inside temperature from between three to five degrees celsius.
New York, like other large cities, has a lot of impermeable services which means that when it rains there is little to contain the water. By using green infrastructure of soil, broken stone, shrubs, trees, etc. the bioswales can capture a lot of water. This green infrastructure is good for water management and obviously benefits the local environments through cleaner air and more pleasant views.
The Big Appleâ€™s pretty new bioswales, built into city sidewalks much like standard tree pits and more modest in size than their suburban brethren, will join about 250 of these aesthetically pleasing drainage ditches that have already popped up around the city as part of the cityâ€™s stormwater management-focusedÂ Green Infrastructure Program.
Â The price tag attached to this aggressive â€” and much needed â€”Â onslaught of vegetated swales is $46 million.
While that might seem like a hefty wad of cash for the city to dedicate to curbside rain gardens, itâ€™s nothing compared to the costs associated with upgrading New Yorkâ€™s aging combined sewage system (a system that handlesÂ bothÂ
storm runoff and domestic sewage) and cleaning up after perfectly foulÂ combined sewage overflow
Â (CSO) events that strike following heavy rainstorms (and, of course,Â hurricanes
Thanks to Shealyn!
Just when you think there couldn’t be more reasons to live in and build walkable communities another one pops up. We already know that walkable communities are safer, more environmentally healthy, and better for everyone’s health. We can now add to that
list that walkable places are good for keeping of mental issues that occur later in life!
The work builds on Wattsâ€™ long attention and study of health behaviors, prevention strategies, and bio-behavioral processes associated with cognitive decline and dementia as the University of Kansas (KU). â€œIâ€™ve always been interested in why people choose to engage in healthy behaviors or not,â€ Amber Watts said. â€œI had been very focused around issues of the individual until I met and started working with architects who study how the physical world around us influences our choices. I found that fascinating, and I wanted to incorporate that into my work about health behaviors.â€
This is supportive information for green city planners and city infrastructure layouts. More green planning in neighborhoods so that people will be able to make healthful choices is something we are lacking in much of the US. Good ambiance, sidewalks, and mixing of uses in a neighborhood can go a long way.
The Large Hadron Collider run by CERN is making huge insights into the fundamental workings of the universe. Already it has found evidence the Higgs-Boson and other groovy particles in physics.
Now CERN is setting all that data that’s been collected free to use! Now you can use research generated by one of the most complex machines humanity has ever created.
â€œData from the LHC program are among the most precious assets of the LHC experiments, that today we start sharing openly with the world,â€ says CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. â€œWe hope these open data will support and inspire the global research community, including students and citizen scientists.â€
The LHC collaborations will continue to release collision data over the coming years.
The first high-level and analyzable collision data openly released come from the CMS experiment and were originally collected in 2010 during the first LHC run. Open source software to read and analyze the data is also available, together with the corresponding documentation. The CMS collaboration is committed to releasing its data three years after collection, after they have been thoroughly studied by the collaboration.
WWF-Canada wants to get car drivers off their addiction to oil by getting consumers to buy electric cars instead of gas-powered ones. To encourage this switch in car-depender living they have former Toronto mayor David Miller going on ‘dates’ with people in EV cars to discuss what they are doing to improve the environment.
Forty-two percent of Canadians believe electric vehicles are, or will be shortly, a real and practical alternative to gas-powered cars, according to WWF-Canadaâ€™s newly released EV National Status Update 2014 report.
EVs are much more efficient than conventional cars and if the electricity that powers them comes from renewable sourcesâ€”as it does across much of the countryâ€”the benefits are even greater. For example, we can curb climate change since cars are the biggest culprit to emitting greenhouse gases.
In these three light-hearted and comedic videos, David is shown driving around Toronto in a BMW EV with different notables – comedian Mark McKinney, celebrity chef SuSur Lee and television host Jessi Cruikshank. While driving, David educates both his co-star and viewers about the environmental benefits of EVs and why they are a great transportation option for Canadians.