How to build a zero-carbon skyscraper

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Wooden skyscrapers help sequester a lot of carbon, but they run into problems when they get too tall. This concept design minimizes the footprint but still gets to 105 stories. A typical skyscraper has a massive carbon footprint, both embedded in the production of materials such as concrete and steel and from the energy used to keep it running. But if this new, conceptual 105-story skyscraper is built, it could operate with essentially no carbon footprint at all. Read Full Story

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How Sweetgreen plans to cut its carbon footprint in half in the next 6 years

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To get its emissions down, the salad chain had to do exhausting research on every supplier—and create new salads with ingredients that sequester more carbon. With a menu focused on plants, the salad chain Sweetgreen automatically has a lower carbon footprint than a typical fast-food chain serving millions of burgers. But the company now plans to go a step further, setting the goal of cutting its carbon footprint in half in the next six years. The rest of its emissions will be offset, making the company carbon neutral. Read Full Story

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Old buildings are inefficient: This prefab kit makes it easy to retrofit them

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The footprint of our built environment needs to shrink. This solution means it could happen faster. Buildings have a giant carbon footprint: Generating the power needed to run lights, heat, and air conditioning is responsible for more global emissions than the entire transportation sector. New buildings perform better, but most of the buildings that will exist in 2050—when humanity’s carbon footprint needs to shrink to zero—already exist now. That means that each of those buildings will have to be renovated to become more efficient. Read Full Story

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Why this Scottish brewery just bought a forest

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How Brewdog brewery is radically reducing its footprint. At its brewery in Scotland, the craft brewer BrewDog runs on wind power and gas made from malted barley, part of a strategy to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible. But the company, which also owns a chain of pubs, wanted to go farther. That’s why it now owns a forest. Read Full Story

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Brands are starting to add carbon labels to their packaging

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Several companies are now offering consumers a way to see the full footprint of the product they’re using—but an accurate measurement can be hard. On one side of a package from the indie beauty brand Cocokind, there’s a long list of sustainability facts laid out like a nutrition label. The product inside has a carbon footprint of 24.52 grams per use, it explains. It’s a carbon label, and the brand is one of several companies to begin using them. Read Full Story

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This burger doesn’t require land or fresh water to produce: It’s made with kelp

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Kelp farms are enormous carbon sinks, so kelp jerky company Akua is looking for ways to get people to eat more seaweed. In an effort to lower the carbon footprint of your diet, maybe you’ve swapped out a beef burger for one made from plants. But growing crops like peas and potatoes can still be resource-intensive, requiring lots of land, fresh water, and fertilizer, the abundant use of which is degrading our soil and polluting the water and air. Instead of looking to replace meat with plants, food startup Akua is looking to the ocean with the launch of its kelp burger. Read Full Story

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Are clothes about to get more expensive?

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The fashion industry is mulling big changes that could impact everything from its carbon footprint to how much things cost. Have you ever thought about how weird it is that department stores start displaying swimwear in March and winter coats in August? For decades, brands have sold clothes months before they’re in season, which doesn’t line up with consumers’ actual needs and contributes to the industry’s tremendous waste. Read Full Story

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This browser extension shows you the carbon footprint of your Amazon purchases

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How many kilograms of glacial ice did that delivery cost you? When you shop on Amazon, you might look around the site for the best price, or read a product’s reviews to see if it’s really worth buying. With a new browser extension called Neutral, you can also check the carbon footprint of that item and weigh whether that purchase is worth the environmental cost. Read Full Story

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Unilever is investing $1.1 billion in a new climate fund—and hopes to reach net zero emissions by 2039

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The goal is to hit the benchmarks set by the Paris Climate Agreement far earlier than the 2050 deadline. Unilever, one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world, had a carbon footprint equivalent to about 60 million metric tons of CO2 in 2019. But by 2039, the company plans to shrink the carbon footprint of its products to net zero, 11 years before the deadline set by the Paris Climate Agreement. Read Full Story

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Microsoft and Skanska are using this free tool to dramatically cut their carbon

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Developed in-house at Skanska, the tool can be used to calculate the embodied carbon of key materials that account for upward of 70% of a building’s global carbon emissions. The environmental impact of buildings is huge . Buildings and the production of the materials that are used to construct them account for 11% of global carbon emissions . These emissions, known as embodied carbon, are in every steel beam, concrete foundation, and two-by-four used in construction, and they’ve taken their environmental toll long before anyone sets foot inside the completed structure. Embodied carbon represents the biggest contribution to a building’s carbon footprint over its life span and the next big environmental challenge for the building industry . Read Full Story

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