Green Building

Climate-Friendly Architecture Thanks to Natural Folding Mechanisms
November 30, 2017 01:41 PM - Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Active components on buildings such as blinds whose design was copied from naturally occurring solutions — that is the subject of the research conducted by a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the University of Freiburg, and the University of Stuttgart. The aim is to equip them with drive elements that can move without any electrical energy input. Serving as a model here are conifer pine cones, which utilize the varying swelling behaviors of their tissue to open when moist or close when dry.

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Are Bidets More Environmentally Friendly Than Toilet Paper?
May 31, 2017 07:23 AM - s.e. smith, Care2

While bidets remain unpopular in America, they’re a familiar fixture in bathrooms all over the world. And they raise an inevitable question: Is it better for the environment if you wipe, or should you wash instead?

The answer may surprise you — and could lead you to rethink your next bathroom remodel.

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SPOTLIGHT

Thousands of Homes Keep Flooding, Yet They Keep Being Rebuilt Again

Katherine Bagley, Yale Environment 360

The U.S. National Flood Insurance Program, which holds policies for more than 5 million homes, is $23 billion in debt after a string of natural disasters this century. As climate change further strains the program, analysts say it is time to shift its focus from rebuilding to mitigating risk.

More than 2,100 properties across the U.S. enrolled in the National Flood Insurance Program have flooded and been rebuilt more than 10 times since 1978, according to a new analysis of insurance data by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). One home in Batchelor, Louisiana has flooded 40 times over the past four decades, receiving $428,379 in insurance payments. More than 30,000 properties in the program, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have flooded multiple times over the years. Those homes, known as “severe repetitive loss properties,” make up just 0.6 percent of federal flood insurance policies. But they account for 10.6 percent of the program’s claims — totaling $5.5 billion in payments.

The new data illustrates the serious problems facing the nation’s flood insurance program. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which currently provides policies for more than 5 million American homes, is $23 billion in debt following a string of major natural disasters over the last decades, including as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

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