Refrigerant Management and Building Envelope

Every refrigerator and air conditioner contains chemical refrigerants that absorb and release heat to enable chilling. Refrigerants, specifically CFCs and HCFCs, were once culprits in depleting the ozone layer. Thanks to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, they have been phased out. HFCs, the primary replacement, spare the ozone layer, but have 1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

In October 2016, officials from more than 170 countries met in Kigali, Rwanda, to negotiate a deal to address this problem. Through an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the world will phase out HFCs—starting with high-income countries in 2019, then some low-income countries in 2024 and others in 2028. Substitutes are already on the market, including natural refrigerants such as propane and ammonium. [Source: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/materials/refrigerant-management ]

A building envelope is comprised of the components that make up the shell of the building. The components separate the exterior from the interior of the building, and are designed to meet or exceed the needs of the specific application. The building envelope may also be described as what separates the interior areas that are temperature controlled (conditioned) space from exterior unheated (unconditioned) space. To break it down any area that is heated or air conditioned is considered a conditioned area where as any area that isn’t would be considered an unconditioned area. The building envelope must be designed with regard to climate, ventilation, and energy consumption within the building.

The many functions of the building envelope can be separated into three categories:

  • Support (to resist and transfer mechanical loads)
  • Control (the flow of matter and energy of all types)
  • Finish (to meet human desires on the inside and outside)

The control function is at the core of good performance, and in practice focuses, in order of importance, on rain, air, heat, and vapor control. [Source: https://www.reichelinsulation.com/Understanding-The-Building-Envelope.html ]

Coral Fragmentation Method

Dr. David Vaughan of the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida has found a way to make coral grow 40 times faster than coral currently does in the wild.

The Good News Network describes his accidental breakthrough:

“He had been trying to remove a coral from the bottom of a tank when it broke into a dozen pieces. To his shock, all of the pieces regrew to the same size in just three short weeks, as opposed to the three years it had taken to grow the original coral.”

It typically takes coral 25 to 75 years to reach sexual maturity. Instead, through a process of ‘breaking up’ the coral, Doctor Vaughan has seen the timeline shrink to three years and seen results that will lead him to share the information with conservationists all around the world, with the hopes of planting 100,000 pieces of coral around the Florida Reef Tract by 2019 and millions more around the world in the years to come.

At worst, the method led by Vaughan is something that will buy conservationists more time. At best: this is the beginning of a solution. A former intern of Vaughn’s commented on Reddit, adding a very useful note to indicate that Vaughan “has been essentially adjusting the coral frag[ments] to more acidic and warm water to better prepare them for our changing climate.” This appears to be what makes the process Vaughan describes unique, as the process of fragmenting coral to encourage growth has been around since at least the 1960s. “This is now a new discovery that can give real hope for our coral reefs that has never been there before,” Vaughan said to BBC One. “We tried [this process] with all the other species of corals in the Florida Keys and it works for them all.”

Visit the original article here: https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/fast-growing-coral-discovery-could-revitalize-oceans

Carbon Capture by RMIT University

The cost-effective method could revolutionize how we remove carbon from the atmosphere, particularly in regard to climate change.

A team of scientists used liquid metal and a liquid electrolyte to convert gaseous CO2 into a solid, coal-like substance.

Compared to current methods, the new approach could prove to be a more efficient and scalable way to remove carbon from the atmosphere and safely store it.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the global community must remove 100 billion to 1 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by mid-century in order to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Scientists have created a method to convert carbon dioxide back into solid coal, a breakthrough that could change the ways carbon is removed from the atmosphere and permanently stored.

It’s one of several recently developed negative emissions techniques that seek to make carbon capture and storage cheaper, safer and more efficient. This particular method was developed by a research team led by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and it uses a liquid metal electrocatalyst, containing nanoparticles of the rare-earth metal cerium, to convert the greenhouse gas into a stable, coal-like solid.

“While we can’t literally turn back time, turning carbon dioxide back into coal and burying it back in the ground is a bit like rewinding the emissions clock,” study co-author Dr. Torben Daeneke told The Independent. “To date, CO2 has only been converted into a solid at extremely high temperatures, making it industrially unviable.”

Original article on BigThink here!

Climate Crisis is a Health Crisis

The Climate Crisis is a Health Crisis (Graphic from The Climate Reality Project)

The world’s leading scientists agree we must slash emissions by 2030 and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C to avert a truly dangerous future. Carbon pollution poisons our air, water, and soil, threatening our health.

When we protect our planet, we protect ourselves. The Climate Reality Project is calling on the world’s leaders to ACT NOW.

Visit their website @ Climaterealityproject.org

Pure Ocean Fund

Pure Ocean Fund, based out of Marseille, France is a foundation that finances innovative applied research projects to help better understand and protect fragile marine ecosystems.

***The Pure Ocean Fund’s 1st mission is to support these innovative projects concerning the conservation of marine biodiversity through an annual call for projects.

***The 2nd mission of the Pure Ocean Fund is to promote exchanges between seafood industry players, scientific experts, researchers and defenders of the oceans via the annual Pure Ocean Summit and other conferences.

***The 3rd mission of the Pure Ocean Fund is the organization of public sporting events – Pure Ocean Races-to draw attention to threatened marine ecosystems.

If you are interested in getting into communication with them visit @pureoceanfun (https://www.pure-ocean.org/en/) or reach out to Pure Ocean Fund’s communication contact @lerner.stephanie on IG.

24 Hours of Reality 2018

🌍🌎🌏 Join #24HoursofReality till 9pm EST today December 4th for the live broadcast online at https://www.24hoursofreality.org and become a citizen producer at climatereality.org! 🌍🌎🌏

Bakeys Edible Cutlery

Narayana Peesapaty created edible spoons in Hyderabad, India, because he is fed up with plastic waste.

India is in the region of South Asia where it is culturally common to eat traditional meals with your hands, even among the wealthy who can trace the practice back to Ayurvedic teaching—and yet every year Indians use 120 billion pieces of plastic cutlery. Maybe investing in silver cutlery would stop them over-indulging in plastic.

Waste production is particularly problematic in large cities whose economic development precedes waste management infrastructure. China is an example of one of the world’s most densely populated regions that has come to create the world’s largest economy, though their record-breaking growth amounts to unprecedented pollution.

The individual efforts that CapitaLand encourages is something that the earth demands from all of us now. Statistics from the World Economic Forum cite that global plastic production has grown from 15 million tons in 1964 to 311 million tons in 2014- a number that is expected to triple by 2050, unless some sort of radical change takes place.

Peesapaty’s utensils should hasten that change. He began his business, Bakeys, in 2011, though it is gaining larger attention today because the business is crowd-funding with The Better India video to make money for investment in chopsticks and forks.

The edible cutlery is a bio-degradable option that has a shelf life of three years and decomposes within four-five days if not used. They even come in three different flavors to suit the food that they are served with: plain, sweet, or spicy.

Full original article written by Mica Kelmachter “India’s Edible Cutlery Points The Way For A Zero-Waste Future” as seen on Forbes.

Mutant Enzyme that Eats Plastic Bottles

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident as posted in the Guardian recently on April 16th! The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.

The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.

The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. “What actually turned out was we improved the enzyme, which was a bit of a shock,” said Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research. “It’s great and a real finding.”

The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be speeded up even further and become a viable large-scale process.

“What we are hoping to do is use this enzyme to turn this plastic back into its original components, so we can literally recycle it back to plastic,” said McGeehan. “It means we won’t need to dig up any more oil and, fundamentally, it should reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.”

About 1m plastic bottles are sold each minute around the globe and, with just 14% recycled, many end up in the oceans where they have polluted even the remotest parts, harming marine life and potentially people who eat seafood. “It is incredibly resistant to degradation. Some of those images are horrific,” said McGeehan. “It is one of these wonder materials that has been made a little bit too well.”

Original link here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/scientists-accidentally-create-mutant-enzyme-that-eats-plastic-bottles

Drawdown EcoChallenge

The Drawdown EcoChallenge is a fun and social way to learn about and take action on the 100 climate solutions featured in the seminal work of Paul Hawken “Drawdown.”

From April 4-25, individuals and teams from around the world will take part in simple daily activities to reduce their carbon footprints and delve into the world’s most substantive solutions to global warming. At the end of the Challenge, the teams with the most points will win great prizes, including copies of Drawdown and a one-hour video session with Paul Hawken!

The EcoChallenges are broken down into these sections (with an added note of current participants):

LAND USE (1260)

ELECTRICITY GENERATION (1751)

FOOD (3156)

WOMEN AND GIRLS (1392)

BUILDINGS AND CITIES (1598)

TRANSPORT (1814)

MATERIALS (2094)

Executive Director of Drawdown, Hawken states “All of life is comprised of self-organizing systems and the Drawdown EcoChallenge is exactly that—people coming together to share, learn, support, imagine, and innovate for a better world. We are honored to be a part of this significant and brilliant initiative.”

Visit http://www.drawdown.org/ecochallenge for more information!

The Ocean Cleanup Project: What It Is and What You Can Do

Although we may already be familiar with Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Project, and perhaps even the recent advancements in phase two, we can now ask how to get involved in a variety of ways. In his recently posted article on Business Connect World, John Hawthorne brings together the vision behind the international Ocean Cleanup Project. Here is an excerpt:

So, what’s the next step you can take to help the Ocean Cleanup Project, or just to help clean up our waterways, bodies of water, and expanses of fresh and saltwater? While it may seem unlikely, small efforts by individuals can make go a long way toward decreasing the garbage in our oceans.

When speaking specifically about the Ocean Cleanup Project, there are a few specific ways to help this foundation inch their way toward success.

  • First, you can simply help fund the cleanup. The foundation needs help bridging the gap between their first-system and the full-scale development of the plans they have to clean up the Pacific Garbage Patch. The foundation states that any amount helps to further their mission, so donating is certainly a great way to get involved.
  • Second, you can volunteer your time, skills, and efforts to the cause. According to their site, there are plenty of career, as well as volunteer, opportunities to work with the foundation.

Speaking generally, though, you can help reduce the amount of garbage in the ocean and contribute to solving the trash problem by making small dedicated efforts.

  • Recycle
  • Support bans
  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics
  • Avoid microbeads in cosmetic products
  • Back organizations that work to fight pollution and encourage ocean cleanup

Visit John Hawthorne’s FULL original article with a new video here: https://businessconnectworld.com/2018/02/21/the-ocean-cleanup-project/

CEF FFT:  The environmental impact we have affects not only the living creatures inhabiting of bodies of water and land, but even the health of us human beings unto ourselves.

Thanks for the share John!