Wildfire is an increasingly serious issue in California, with fires growing bigger and becoming more frequent and destructive. Fifteen of the 20 largest fires in the state’s history have occurred since 2000 and tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed. According to Verisk’s 2019 Wildfire Risk Analysis 4.5 million U.S. homes were identified at high or extreme risk of wildfire, with more than 2 million in California alone. People are looking for safe, durable houses that Read more…

The Four Core Issues to Tackle for Resilient Design (And the Programs That Can Help)

The Eddy, in Boston, Massachusetts, obtained an insurance quote ten times lower than that of a comparable conventional building because of the site-specific resilience features it incorporates. Image: Stantec Hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires, and other disasters have drawn attention to resilient design mostly by showing us what not to do in the built environment. We’ve come a long way in a short time, and today we’re on the cusp of having metrics and rating systems that clearly define what Read more…

Post Earthquake, Microgrids Supplied Power to Empty Schools

Ten microgrid systems installed in schools in Puerto Rico were put to the test recently after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake caused massive power outages. The systems survived and successfully powered critical loads in each school, according to Rocky Mountain Institute, which championed the installations along with Save the Children and the Kinesis Foundation, after Hurricane Maria. However, other issues stood in the way of taking full advantage of the back-up power—at least in the short Read more…

At this new net-zero energy McDonald’s, on-site solar provides 100% of the power

At a new McDonald’s restaurant that just opened at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida (with COVID-19 protection measures in place), solar panels covering the roof—and solar glass panels throughout the building—are designed to generate enough energy that the restaurant can run on 100% renewable power. Running fully on renewable power, or reaching a goal of “net zero” energy use, “is still sort of at the technological edge for buildings,” says Carol Ross Barney, principal Read more…

What’s the Difference Between Frugality and Minimalism?

A post in which we examine the differences (and similarities) between two terms. “Frugality” and “minimalism” are two words that appear frequently in Treehugger articles. But they tend to be confused in many corners of the Internet, and even used interchangeably, so I thought it might be helpful to take a closer look at what each one means. What Is Frugality? Frugality refers to a conserving of one’s resources, usually financial, though it can also Read more…

Rising from the Rubble

As Hurricane Irma bares down on Florida after devastating the Caribbean and the wake of the devastation left in Texas by Harvey and the earthquake in Mexico our prayers go out to those in the midst of  the storms and chaos.  Losing everything can be devastating and we in no way want to trivialize the experience of those who have survived these major events, however, we do want to take this tragedy and turn it Read more…