Too many homes use dead dino juice for heat, and we need to get every home to stop burning the remains of extinct species if we’re going avert catastrophic climate change. The good news is that we can easily do this by getting rid of gas burning furnaces and replacing them with heat pumps. The video above explains how and why heat pumps are so efficient, the article below answers common questions about them.
In terms of cost, it may take a homeowner about a decade to recoup the price of a heat pump through savings from not using fossil fuels.
“But if you’re getting rebates…. it’s going to take a lot less of time to get your money back out of it,” Cheriex said.
Peter Sundberg, executive director of City Green, says those interested in installing a heat pump may end up on a wait list. In the interim, he says, homeowners can focus on upgrades to insulation and windows to make their home more energy efficient.
Hamburg’s transition from being seen as only an industrial port to a thriving cultural hub is well underway and part of that transition is to ensure the city can survive climate change. Since the city is located not far from the coast rising water and more sever storms will impact everyone who lives there, as a result flood mitigation and resilient building are required. These new developments embrace ecological design while also embracing the culture of the city.
Presented by its developers as a “model for the new European city on the waterfront”, HafenCity is built on an artificial sand terrace that places new buildings about 8 meters above the high tide line. The waterfront is also designed to be partially flooded, like the promenade designed byZaha Hadidin 2006 that runs above the dam on the city’s Niederhafen promenade.
Exceptions are some old buildings dating back to 1880. While remaining at their original lower level, they have been hardened to resist occasional flooding, with direct exits to the upper level and reinforced windows and other forms of waterproofing beneath.
Where you live matters. Who chooses in what type of building you can choose to live in matters too. Undoubtedly most people want to live in walkable communities, yet in many areas it’s actual illegal to build places that don’t rely on cars. Low density sprawl is bad for everything yet municipalities in North America continue to only permit single family dwellings. It’s time to let people choose in what type of building they want to live in instead of forcing only low density in new developments.
ZONING STUFF YOU CAN DO
1) Join the Climate Town Discord. Since there’s not a great/accessible database of everyone’s local zoning meetings (as far as we could find), we think it would be pretty slick to harness our community’s collective power to make it easier to get this information. We just created a channel called “#zoning” (https://discord.gg/cqRpTpeAH2), where you can drop by and tell us how your local zoning meeting smelled, or share a link that we missed to help other Climate Townies affect change in their community. (And in case you’re like me from a month ago and have no idea how to use Discord, here’s a helpful beginner’s guide – https://support.discord.com/hc/en-us/… to-Discord)
The future will use algae everywhere so architects are examining ways to incorporate these versatile eukaryotic organisms into the built environment. Architects are already engaged in designing buildings to support algae growth and incorporating third party algae systems on to a building. Now we’re seeing architects think of ways to design buildings that are designed around algae and incorporate algae into all aspects of the structure. Over at Architeizer they have put together some really groovy algae architecture mashups.
In order to achieve minimal environmental impact, the studio envisions a two-fold approach to sustainability. Their proposal not only introduces algae as a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions but also proposes a system that can be incorporated into existing buildings.
The concept is applied in a rethinking of the Marina City Towers in Chicago. The architects imagine retrofitting the famous towers with a synthetic closed loop that works at three levels, carbon sequestration from the air to feed the bioreactor, absorption by vegetal photosynthesis and energy saving through solar and wind energy creation. This bioreactor, placed as tubes at the top of the building and the parking lot below, will produce enough energy to satisfy all the building’s power needs.
They aren’t just for transporting a yummy beverage, beer cans can be used to create passive heating too. A simple contraption that you can make in your spare time can save you heating costs and help reduce your carbon footprint. A beer can heating system, like the one in the video above, is just a series of cans in a row painted black out in the sun under a casing. The dark cans heat up from the sun and move air through them using basic convection.
A DIY beer can heating system is perfect for a shed, garage, or even using it augment your home’s existing heating system.
The concept is relatively simple. The aluminum cans have both of their ends cut off and are fashioned into a series of long metal tubes, painted black. With a fan at one end, and some fins cut into the tubes slowing down the airflow, the metal is positioned in a way to get heated by the sun as the warm air is pulled into the building.
Thirteen years later, the same old beer cans are still chugging along, helping keep the space warm and heating bills low – about $300 annually, McLauchlin estimates.
“It’s -22 C right now and my furnace didn’t come on today,” he said over the phone in early December.