Dharma Rain Zen Center
Dharma Rain Zen Center is a A 14-acre former landfill restoration project in NE Portland with a co-housing effort focused on community.
We are involved in the Living Building Challenge, a green building certification program that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment. Although the Householder Refuge buildings will not be built to meet the full standard, they are being informed by the discussion for other aspects of the development.
We are restoring much of the land to native wildlife habitat
We are rehabilitating a brownfield site into a thriving community and intact ecosystem
We are partnering with a variety of educational institutions in order to use our property for their ecology studies and sustainable agriculture programs
Green Grove Cohousing Community a unique concept in Forest Grove
In conjunction with National Cohousing Day, the Green Grove Cohousing Community is planning an open house April 29 to showcase their new community concept.
The Taylors are in the process of converting their home of 22 years into what they envision as a "common house." Their new house is under construction just up the driveway, with a second new house being built next door for another couple. Eventually, they hope to have nine homes built on their five acres to constitute what they have named the Green Grove Cohousing Community.
PDX Metro Recycling
"You know the Styrofoam many of your gifts come packaged in? Don't throw it away and for heaven's sake don't put it in your curbside recycling bin.
Bring it to this awesome event"
Priority Plant and Animal Species in Oregon Forests
Free field guide, PDF download
Forest wanderer? This field guide describes the "specific habitat requirements of selected species found in forested habitats across all eco-regions in Oregon. It provides teachers and students a way to learn more about wildlife species and the forest habitats they use and helps landowners and land managers determine what species to include in their management plans."
China bans Plastic waste imports
What does this mean for Portland recycling?
excerpt from NPR
Like many Portland residents, Satish and Arlene Palshikar are serious recyclers. Their house is coated with recycled bluish-white paint. They recycle their rainwater, compost their food waste and carefully separate the paper and plastic they toss out. But recently, after loading up their Prius and driving to a sorting facility, they got a shock.
"The fellow said we don't take plastic anymore," Satish says. "It should go in the trash."
The facility had been shipping its plastic to China, but suddenly that was no longer possible.
"It just keeps coming and coming and coming," says Rogue employee Laura Leebrick. In the warehouse, she is dwarfed by stacks of orphaned recycling bales. Outside, employee parking spaces have been taken over by compressed cubes of sour cream containers, broken wine bottles and junk mail.
And what are recyclables with nowhere to go?
"Right now, by definition, that material out there is garbage," she says. "It has no value. There is no demand for it in the marketplace. It's garbage."
For now, Rogue Waste says it has no choice but to take all of this recycling to the local landfill. More than a dozen Oregon companies have asked regulators whether they can send recyclable materials to landfills, and that number may grow if they can't find someplace else that wants them.
At Pioneer Recycling in Portland, owner Steve Frank is shopping for new buyers outside of China.
"I've personally moved material to different countries in an effort to keep material flowing," he says.
Without Chinese buyers, Frank says U.S. recycling companies are playing a game of musical chairs, and the music stops when China's ban on waste imports fully kicks in.
"The rest of the world cannot make up that gap," he said. "That's where we have what I call a bit of chaos going on."
August is the first month of the "Beekeeping" Year
What you need to know -- info from an ORSBA beekeeper
August 12, 2017
Thanks to Mike Standing, a local ORSBA beekeeper, for sharing this info.
"As temps are on the increase, honey bees will swarm. Honey bees live in colonies. A swarm is a natural way that honey bees reproduce a new colony. When their current colony or home gets too small for them, they leave in a swarm to find a new place. What’s left in the old home is a brand new Queen and some younger workers to take care of the colony. The bees that left are now homeless! They are on the hunt for a new home. Sometimes they know where they are going. Most often they don’t quite know where their new home will be. While searching for their new home, sometimes they will land someplace to rest and regroup.
The kinds of places they might land could be a branch from a tree, an overhang from a house, a streetlight, the side of a building, basically anywhere! When the honey bees left their old home, they stocked up all the honey they could carry in their honey sacs. They need this honey to help them get started in their new home. When the Bees are in this state they are non-aggressive! To fear them is only natural. It can be scary to look up and see a cloud of bees flying overhead... but do not worry. This is not a frenzy of bees on the war path out to attack everyone and everything in its path!
The same goes if you are out for a walk and come upon a honey bee swarm that has landed someplace like a low hanging tree branch. Keep your distance; remember they are just resting until they can find a new home. Take all the pics you want, but don’t harass them! That’s a real good way to get stung!
So what do you do if you come across a swarm? If you are in a highly populated area, the best thing to do is contact a local beekeeper by City to come and rescue the swarm."
Natural Water Treatment in Western Washington County
Fernhill Wetlands engineered from the water channel to the ground, up
The restoration of Fernhill Wetlands has been a collaborative effort among the City of Forest Grove, Clean Water Services, and various engineering and design firms... built from the the water channel, up.
When Clean Water Services (CWS), an Oregon utility, wanted to restore three former sewage lagoons associated with the Forest Grove Wastewater Treatment facility, they turned to Biohabitats to lead the design team. Though the ponds were occasionally visited for wildlife viewing, they held untapped ecological and recreational potential. Biohabitats’ design transformed the lagoons into a rich, 90-acre mosaic of riparian wetlands that provide natural wastewater treatment while also enhancing ecological function and recreational and educational opportunities along the Tualatin River floodplain.
The restoration first involved draining the lagoons, drying more than 200,000 cubic yards of soil, and moving the soil to create precise contours and depths. Control structures were strategically placed to encourage the growth and establishment of 750,000 native wetland plants and 3.5 billion seeds that were planted for water quality and habitat. 180 logs and snags were anchored into place to provide wildlife habitat.
The diverse habitats created by the restoration include open water, mudflat, emergent marsh, scrub-shrub, and upland areas that support wildlife. The enhanced habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds, has helped make the wetlands an important stopover site in the Pacific Flyway. Birds and wildlife have taken to the site, and human visitors are flocking to enjoy trail improvements, new outdoor classroom areas and views of the emerging wetlands.
In terms of water quality, the wetlands reduce the temperature of the treated wastewater flowing into the Tualatin River, and serve to regenerate the complex systems of life and nutrients that exist in healthy waters. The treatment facility will treat 5-18 million gallons per day throughout the year. The project accommodates diurnal and seasonal variation in wetland system giving flexibility to provide important ecosystem functions. Wetland hydraulic control structures provide the CWS with the ability to manipulate water levels in the wetland cells to more closely mimic typical seasonal variations.
By creating a wetland system that provides benefits in water quality, wildlife habitat, recreation, and education, CWS and Biohabitats are making a long-term investment in the health and resilience of the Tualatin River.
This city is being designed to scrub the air of pollution
Liuzhou Forest City
China's approach to reversing climate change is firm and innovative.
Covering an area of approximately 175 hectares along the Liuzhou River, Forest City will have offices, houses, hotels, hospitals, and schools that will be entirely covered by a total of 40,000 trees and close to a million plants, including over 100 species. It will be connected to the main city of Liuzhou by a rail line with electrical train cars.
This will also be the first urban settlement in China that will be able to "generate its own renewable energy, increase biodiversity, and effectively reduce urban air pollution—which is a major challenge for present-day China."
Barberry and Ticks
You might not want this deceptively attractive plant in your yard if you have dogs or cats.
A study by University of Connecticut shows that areas with the presence of Berberis thunbergii are more likely to have Lyme disease-carrying ticks:
Williams recites the numbers. ”When we measure the presence of ticks carrying the Lyme spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi) we find 120 infected ticks where Barberry is not contained, 40 ticks per acre where Barberry is contained, and only 10 infected ticks where there is no Barberry.”
Climate change is real.
Economical tax savings from ecological home improvements
Use Energy Saver's reference list below to see if you are eligible for qualifying credits when filing IRS Tax Form 5695 with your taxes. Bonus points for having your receipts and manufacturer's certification statement on hand! Home Efficiency Improvements
First-time claimers of the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit can get as much as $500 back for qualifying installations in 2016. Follow the links below to review specific requirements for each product. Remember that to claim the credit, all products must have been placed in service by December 31, 2016.
Building Envelope Improvements
Heating, Cooling and Water-Heating Equipment
Home Renewable Energy Systems
Thanks to the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, you can get a tax credit of 30 percent for the cost of adding these renewable energy technologies to your house:
Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement Into electricity -- all at once
Extracting energy from multiple sources could help power wearable technology.
A perovskite solid-solution that exhibits tunable bandgaps in the visible light energy range is showing promising material for light absorption and conversion applications,(solar energy harvesting and light sensing).
Such a common ABO3–type perovskite structure, most widely used for ferroelectrics and piezoelectrics, enables the same solid-solution material to be used for the simultaneous harvesting or sensing of solar, kinetic, and thermal energies.
These results are considered to be a significant improvement compared to those of other compositions which could be used for the same applications. The results pave the way for the development of hybrid energy harvesters/sensors, which can convert multiple energy sources into electrical energy simultaneously in the same material.
Biofuel-producing algae can now be farmed 10x faster than before
New process moderates temperature of grow environment
When the microalgae is first seeded, it’s kept at 15 degrees celsius, which makes it a solution. When it’s heated by just 7 degrees, it becomes a gelatinous mixture in which microalgae grows in clusters 10x larger than in the regular medium. Finally, it’s cooled again for harvesting, at which point it turns back into a solution, which can be separated using gravity.
See also: the study put out by Syracuse University
Reclaimed concrete a house does make
Cement that generates Light
Carlos Rubio Ávalos of the UMSNH of Morelia, developed a cement with the capacity to absorb and irradiate light energy,
The researcher claimed that the applications are very broad, and those which stand out most are for the architectural market: facades, swimming pools, bathrooms, kitchens, parking lots, etc. It would also be useful in road safety and road signs, in the energy sector, such as oil platforms, and anywhere you want to illuminate or mark spaces that don’t have access to electricity since it doesn’t require an electrical distribution system and is recharged only with light. The durability of light-emitting cement is estimated to be greater than 100 years thanks to its inorganic nature, and its material components are easily recyclable.
Maybe it takes a forest to raise a tree
"Why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and sometimes even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same as for human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tree canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach the forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer.
Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping around for as long as possible."
Fungus (like mushrooms) can be used in soils to feed on and clean up toxic chemicals / various neurotoxins.
From a press release by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research:
Because there is often a lot of traffic on the 'fungal highway’, the bacteria may come into close contact with one another, exchanging genetic material in the process. "It’s similar to the transmission of cold germs on a packed train," explains environmental microbiologist Dr. Lukas Y. Wick. "But unlike a cold, the new genes are usually an asset to the soil bacteria. They enable them to adapt better to different environmental conditions." Depending on the genes they receive through horizontal gene transfer, they may be able to adapt to new environmental conditions or access food sources which they were previously unable to exploit. For example, this might include the pollutants toluene or benzene contained in oil and gasoline, which to bacteria with the right genetic makeup are not only not harmful but actually very tasty food. So the passing on of this ability to other bacterial groups can be very advantageous in terms of the degradation of soil pollutants.
Image courtesy of: http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/the-petroleum-problem.html
Nanotechnology scientists are working on a sodium-oxygen, seawater battery
a promising alternative to Lithium
Research into battery improvements has traditionally focused on Lithium as a necessary component. As a 2015 Nature report states:
"... Rechargeable metal–oxygen batteries are very attractive owing to their reliance on molecular oxygen, which forms oxides on discharge that decompose reversibly on charge. Much focus has been directed at aprotic Li–O2 cells, but the aprotic Na–O2 system is of equal interest because of its better reversibility."
Indeed, the other problem with Lithium is that as a rare earth element, it can be increasingly expensive. It also has a relatively small window when it comes to operational safety.
Which brings us to nanotechnology-based options that use seawater as the catholyte — where "catholyte" is a fancy way of saying an cathode + electrolyte combined.
From a recent release of the ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces publication:
"In batteries, the electrolyte is the component that allows an electrical charge to flow between the cathode and anode. A constant flow of seawater into and out of the battery provides the sodium ions and water responsible for producing a charge. The reactions have been sluggish, however, so the researchers wanted to find a way to speed them up."
And the scientists briefly summarize their method:
"We applied porous cobalt manganese oxide (CMO) nanocubes as the cathode electrocatalyst in rechargeable seawater batteries, which are a hybrid-type Na–air battery with an open-structured cathode and a seawater catholyte. The porous CMO nanocubes were synthesized by the pyrolysis of a Prussian blue analogue, Mn3[Co(CN)6]2·nH2O, during air-annealing, which generated numerous pores between the final spinel-type CMO nanoparticles. The porous CMO electrocatalyst improved the redox reactions, such as the oxygen evolution/reduction reactions, at the cathode in the seawater batteries. "
This is a recycled house.
Look at what you can do when you deconstruct and reconstruct.
Intended to inspire home owners and designers to think outside the box, this LEED Platinum home is a deconstruction and reconstruction of an existing house, with ''80% of its materials being recycled/reused''.
Eco-sustainable features include geothermal and photovoltaic systems, solar hot water and advanced heat-recovery technologies, all contributing to the reduction of energy consumption by 70%. Rainwater recycling provides for irrigation of the native plantings in the yard and rooftop garden. by
Designed by Coates Design, a Seattle architecture firm: http://coatesdesign.com/
How to transfer title in an FSBO
Architect sustainability into a Hospital.
Hypersolar is a company working on creating a feasible hydrogen generator using nothing more than sunlight and any source of water...
Imagine a generator that you can have in your back yard that runs NOT on dangerous gas cans of diesel, but on water... even dirty, gutter water! Even stale pond water! The prototype shown in the video uses water from the Salton Sea, which is known to be full of hazardous agricultural runoff.
Here they have a working "prototype" with some expensive materials as part of the cells. They believe they can manufacture these less expensively.
Watch the video and read why I think this company is the real thing.
Things that make me believe this company is not out to scam anybody:
-- Its founder is a dedicated scientist, with published academic research.
-- Company now has a Highly-competent CTO
-- It has an academic on board as a scientific advisor.
-- It has an ongoing research agreement / relationship with the University of Iowa
-- Continuous improvement in bringing down the cost of doing this on a large scale.
This is a small team, and is currently a small-cap stock. However, we NEED these little ventures, because that is where breakthroughs happen. I have full confidence in the ability of the team to deliver value to its investors.
Hypersolar IS a public company, and if you believe in the future of innovations like this, you can invest in HYSR at Tradeking. New investors, please sign up with this link: http://bit.ly/2dAQrUy
Portland to participate in Whitehouse's Smart Cities Initiative
80 million investment to build smarter cities. There are some endeavors that are simply too much for any one city to take on by itself.
NIST’s Global City Teams Challenge is establishing multi-team super-clusters to take on grand challenges too big for any single city team to tackle. Examples include multi-city resilience to large-scale natural disasters, intelligent transportation systems that work in any city, and regional air quality improvements through coordinated local action. This initiative brings together groups of communities formed around lead cities—Portland, Oregon; Atlanta, Georgia; Newport News, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; Bellevue, Washington; Kansas City, Kansas; and Kansas City, Missouri—to work with NIST and its collaborators, including DOT, DHS Science and Technology Directorate, NSF, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the International Trade Administration, the Economic Development Administration, IBM, AT&T, CH2M, Verizon, Qualcomm Intelligent Solutions, Intel, US Ignite, and Urban-X, to develop ‘blueprints’ for shared solutions that will be collaboratively implemented in multiple cities and communities.
NIST is announcing $350,000 in four new grants enabling 11 cities and communities to work together on innovative smart city solutions. The Replicable Smart City Technologies grants to teams of communities led by Newport News, Virginia; Bellevue, Washington; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Portland, Oregon focus on the development and deployment of inter-operable technologies to address important public concerns regarding air pollution, flood prediction, rapid emergency response, and improved citizen services through inter-operable smart city solutions that can be implemented by communities of all types and sizes.
Electrical hazards in homes in the Northwest are rampant, due to a specific company's product .... these are especially common in Oregon and Washington.
Federal Pacific Electric breaker box.
"According to a report, some Federal Pacific Electric panels failed to operate properly nearly 60% of the time in the event of a power surge. The homeowner had no way of knowing that too many electrical devices were plugged into one room. The devices required more electricity than the circuit could provide. “The wiring got hot enough to fry an egg,” the electrician reported. Normally, the circuit breakers should trip to cut off the electricity and prevent a fire. The Federal Pacific Electric breakers did not operate properly, resulting in two circuit breakers and a bus bar being burned."
WASHINGTON — The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced $37 million in funding for 16 innovative new projects as part of a new ARPA-E program: Integration and Optimization of Novel Ion-Conducting Solids (IONICS). IONICS project teams are paving the way for technologies that overcome the limitations of current battery and fuel cell products."
On Netflix! A documentary about a river resource brought to the brink of destruction, its slow reclamation, and a peace made between people.
"A River Between Us tells the story of the oldest and most bitterly disputed water war in the West today. The film's primary focus is the struggle for justice on the Klamath River, where forty years of bad blood between the local farmers, ranchers, Native Tribes, members of the Tea Party, state politicians and federal government have created one of this country's worst environmental crises. Most importantly, as part of the largest restoration project in American history, A River Between Us provides the solution to ending this generations-old conflict: in order to save a river, you must first heal a people."
Pest control without synthetic chemicals
12-15 drops of Peppermint oil, 8-10 drops of Eucalyptus oil dropped into 0.5 oz dish soap diluted in 12 oz water spray bottle.
Fragrant and strong! The soap + oils will help the scents remain in humidity and weather.
Repels (low concentration of essential oils) or kills (in higher concentrations): Fleas, Ticks, Wasps, Spiders, Mites, Chewing Lice, Earwigs, Millipedes, Dust mites!
Essential Oils can be obtained in quantity online, pretty easily:
The Federal Aviation Administration is funding research to make this costly conductive concrete more affordable.
This special concrete mix, studded with electricity-conducting ingredients, could help airports and other places run on time during inclement weather.
"Potholes often originate from the liberal use of salt or de-icing chemicals that can corrode concrete and contaminate groundwater over time, Tuan said, making the conductive concrete an appealing alternative with lower operating and maintenance costs. The power required to thermally de-ice the Roca Spur Bridge during a three-day storm typically costs about $250 -- several times less than a truckload of chemicals, he said."
Battling climate change with a partnership between public and private investment in discovering and developing breakthrough technologies is the aptly-named Breakthrough Energy Coalition
While we'll never get people to stop burning wood to make fires for heat and light, and cooking -- we probably can help our planet out by finding better ways to stay warm, have light, and cook food.
And let's not forget about powering our beloved electronics!
"The existing system of basic research, clean energy investment, regulatory frameworks, and subsidies fails to sufficiently mobilize investment in truly transformative energy solutions for the future. We can’t wait for the system to change through normal cycles."
Harvesting Water from Air
Researchers in Bangalore, India have come up with a machine that can harvest the moisture from the air -- it works best in environments with 65 - 75 percent humidity.