Building use – Replicare C Mon, 26 Sep 2022 07:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Building use – Replicare C 32 32 Biohm – UKGBC – UK Green Building Council Mon, 26 Sep 2022 07:00:00 +0000

Harry Darkly, Chief Operating Officer at Biohm, talks to UKGBC about what they do and what innovation means to them.

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September 26, 2022

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What is your elevator pitch?

Biohm is a research and development-driven company that creates regenerative, high-performance materials and products for the built environment. We allow nature to lead innovation with the goal of revolutionizing the construction industry to create a healthier and more regenerative built environment. We place natural systems at the heart of our inspiration, in other words biomimetics. This combines circular economy philosophies with human-led design and future technology. The idea is to create a step change in building technologies and materials as well as manufacturing methods – leading the whole sector towards a more circular future. We have developed manufacturing processes that harness the power of nature to transform production by creating low-energy, carbon-negative, or at worst carbon-neutral, closed-loop systems. We couple this with our biotech technologies in manufacturing to capture hard-to-reuse organic waste and excess synthetic resources, waste from the construction, agriculture and food sectors. This is what is then bio-manufactured into our products.

Based on these principles, we have developed an organic insulation panel from Mycelium (the root structure of fungi). Current tests show it outperforms many synthetic alternatives, and we can do this at a competitive price because we don’t rely on any manufacturing, but rather natural processes to grow materials. The most important factor in the types of buildings that Mycelium products can be implemented is related to its fire resistance. It is a natural material and the best it can achieve is a Class B fire rating which limits it to a certain building height. We have also developed an organic waste biocompound we call Org that uses organic by-products such as food waste to create natural, regenerative materials to save on semi-structural wood and leaf materials. plastic, such as MDF and plywood. .

These larger scale construction materials are currently going through the testing and accreditation process which is a very lengthy process in the construction industry. As we go through this process, we have used our ability to offer services to industry to help them focus on creating circular systems with their waste streams and help them decarbonize their operations. We also manufacture bespoke interior items such as lampshades and acoustic panels to market certain aspects of technology that are established and do not require the testing that building materials must undergo.

Who is your target audience?

It’s a mix of different companies. We have worked extensively with land management companies, the largest in the UK. Similarly, real estate developers, those who do large real estate projects, are also very enthusiastic and understand the certification process and EPDs and are ready to think a little more about their procurement. We have a lot of contact with individual buyers. This is a very wide range between multinational construction companies and national property developers, small-scale property developers and individual owners.

How did your start-up get to where it is today?

The initial idea came from our founder Ehab. Seven years ago, he conducted a research project on waste streams in the construction sector, from materials delivered to site to demolition. In line with many other studies, he discovered many wastes that cannot be reused or that people are unwilling to reuse. This led him to investigate how waste can generally be reduced in construction during the first phase of a building’s life. He developed a building system called Triagomy designed to fit together without any fasteners or fasteners. It can be disassembled at the beginning of its life so that it can be moved, reconfigured or (at the end of its life) be removed/reassembled elsewhere if the parts are still viable. One of the biggest questions in our testing is what was this system going to be made of? It was then that we turned to biomaterials. Ideally, at the end of their life, we would like these materials to be used in products higher in the hierarchy or, at worst, to be naturally composted. We are developing rigid panels that we want to transform into a plant-based concrete material to be part of this system, as well as the Mycelium insulation. We started with a building system and then refocused our efforts on what the building blocks of a regenerative building system look like.

We just had our first round of funding. We’ve been in a few programs and a number of accelerators: people who have helped us focus on our materials, how we actually run a business like ours, as well as programs that have really brought us into the circular economy, particularly in and around London (eg Re:London a few years ago). The programs helped develop strategy around bringing products to market. It was more business oriented. One of the programs was really looking at our business function and how to operate in that space, how the parties work, more about defining our business model and our proposition to investors. When you’re a start-up, you’re pretty naive about that.

What does innovation mean to you?

Innovation is about understanding the system in which you operate. It’s not necessarily about creating a different product, but about creating a product that really solves all the problems with its production, its use and its end of life, so that you’re not just sending materials to the world without worrying about what happens to them. Innovation, in this sense, is about creating something regenerative. As exciting as new things are, you really have to move beyond sustainability with everything we do. Personally, I don’t find the idea of ​​sustainability particularly inspiring. It’s just a matter of saying, “Let’s not make it worse.” It’s not exactly a call to action. Doing regenerative processes, making things better than they are today, that’s where it all has to be.

How hungry is the built environment for innovation?

It’s a mixed picture. We spoke to organizations where this is at the forefront of what they want to accomplish on their journey over the next few years. We also spoke to organizations that struggle with innovation in general, but with new technologies in particular. There’s a lot of will there, especially from individuals in businesses. More generally, adoption is a bit slow. I don’t think companies think it’s not important, but a lot of them are very large organizations that are taking a long time to recover for a whole host of reasons. In general, there is certainly an acknowledgment that things need to change, but it is a bit mixed as to how this change is achieved.

What needs to change to further encourage innovation?

Standards need to evolve as quickly as the world around them. It’s definitely something we’ve been through, the standards for what we do aren’t necessarily there yet. Without this, the industry is not certain to need new materials. The two must walk hand in hand into the future. The will is there, but the system needs to catch up a bit. Fluidity with standards and the organizations that set them is important, to be more aware that new materials are on the horizon and their role in adapting them. Without this hosting, there will never be the kind of membership needed to make a real difference. Construction is very heavily regulated, which means everything is very slow.

What are the biggest challenges you have had to face as a start-up?

Its many facets. Some of the things we’ve experienced are a lack of understanding of what biomaterials are and what they mean. The glacial pace of change within the sector is another challenge. Although not something we have experienced, there may be the challenge of industry-wide skills shortages. Funding has never really been an issue for us. We’ve been incredibly lucky with our investors, but it’s certainly something that others have faced, especially with more traditional forms of venture capital funding – understanding biomaterials is a severe anathema to them. The interplay between the immediate goals of any venture capitalist is profit or the possibility of selling the business at some point. Doing things for our own benefit doesn’t really fit the long-term view of the climate emergency, which can mean that short-term profit isn’t really a reality.

What is your advice for new innovators and start-ups in the built environment?

Tenacity, you will get there. It’s a long walk and you have to be prepared for it. Spending as much time as possible to understand how the system works as it is complex beyond my initial imagination. It’s a challenge, understanding what you need to do, especially in certification as a start-up, sometimes overwhelming. I would suggest reaching out to organizations willing to help, people like the BBA who are returning to their original purpose of bringing exciting new innovative materials to market rather than just serving the innovation of the bigger company. Contact organizations like this as soon as possible. That’s how we did a lot of our market research. Other startups that develop their product and then consider certifying it can often run into all sorts of surprises that they weren’t aware of.

What’s next for your business?

It’s about manufacturing on a large scale. Have our products accredited. We have a number of exciting partners that we’ve had conversations with about developing this. Once we get accreditation, we need to get the funding to build full-scale production facilities.



Drones that use 3D printing for building construction and repair Fri, 23 Sep 2022 22:01:10 +0000

A team of researchers from Imperial College London and Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have developed a special type of drone who uses collective construction methods and is able to construct and repair buildings. These so-called BuilDrones use 3D printing in flight and were inspired by the way bees and wasps function in swarms in nature. The new system called Aerial Additive Manufacturing (Aerial-AM) uses multiple drones and once, which will work together in a fleet from a single plane.

In recent years, additive manufacturing has become increasingly popular in the construction industry. Since the construction of the first 3D printed houses just a few years ago, the number of new projects involving AM technologies has steadily increased. As more companies discover the benefits of AM, technologies are also advancing rapidly as scientists and engineers seek to maximize the technology’s potential. A recent example of this is an impressive new approach to 3D printing, which was developed as part of a collaborative project between IImperial College London and Empa. The team created special drones (BuildDrones), which are able to work autonomously and build or repair houses, replacing human labor, and therefore saving time, costs and minimizing the risk of work-related injuries.

In the future, drones could also be used for construction in space (photo credits: Yusuf Furkan KAYA, Aerial Robotics Laboratory, Imperial College London / Empa)

How Antenna-AM and BuildDrone work

The newly developed drones consist of two different types of flying robots, BuildDrones and ScanDrones. The BuilDrones drop building materials during the flight, while the ScanDrones are able to monitor and measure the production of the BuilDrones and inform their next manufacturing steps. As mentioned earlier, the operation of drones can best be compared to bees or wasps building a hive or a nest. Although the drones operate autonomously in flight, they are monitored by a human controller who is able to monitor their movements and intervene if necessary, ensuring build quality. On top of that, the Aerial-AM technology uses a 3D printing and trajectory planning framework, which allows the drones to adapt to the changing geometry of the structure as construction proceeds.

In order to test the drones, the team developed four cementitious mixes that they can work with. The end result showed that the drones were able to assess printed geometry in real time and adapt their behavior while printing with an accuracy of five millimeters. Professor Mirko Kovac from Imperial’s Department of Aeronautics and Empa’s Center for Robotics Materials and Technology, who led the project, explained: “We have proven the concept that drones can operate autonomously and in tandem to construct and repair buildings, at least in the lab. This scalable solution could facilitate construction and repair in hard-to-reach areas, such as high-rise buildings. We believe that our fleet of drones could help reduce construction costs and risks in the future, compared to traditional manual methods. »

Apart from the already mentioned Saving time and money, the technology would also allow the construction and repair of buildings in high or hard-to-reach places, which would revolutionize the way buildings are constructed today. For more on drones, you can read the original press release HERE.

What do you think of the possibility of using drones in the construction sector? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

*Cover photo credits: Imperial College London

‘World’s first’ hydrogen project raises questions about its role in powering future homes | Hydrogen energy Tue, 20 Sep 2022 15:29:00 +0000

OOn the north shore of the Firth of Forth, the royal blue waters lap against the weathered walls of Methil Docks. The docks were once a hub for coal exports but, since the late 1970s, they have not dealt with the black stuff. Today, the city on Scotland’s east coast is flirting with another era of the energy industry, but it doesn’t seem to be going as planned.

In what has been dubbed a “world’s first project”, called H100, around 300 homes in Methil and neighboring Buckhaven in Levenmouth were to be supplied with “green hydrogen” gas from next year. Customers are offered free hydrogen-ready boilers and cookers under the program, which is expected to last at least four years.

In the £32million project, National Grid will for the first time use something other than natural gas in its distribution network in what will supposedly be the world’s first 100% hydrogen network for consumers. H100 hopes to address the need for alternative energy sources to gas, especially as heating accounts for around 37% of all UK carbon emissions.

However, the project has been hit by delays – including in the construction of a flagship ‘demonstration facility’. Some are now openly questioning whether this is a worthwhile endeavor and whether hydrogen will play a significant role in powering the homes of the future.

Green hydrogen is produced by separating water using electricity from renewable energy, with minimal emissions. According to plans, an existing 7-megawatt, 200-meter-tall offshore wind turbine would be used to power an electrolyser at nearby Fife Energy Park before hydrogen is stored and transported to homes through a newly laid pipe network .

Graph showing the difference between grey, blue and green hydrogen.

Households were to be connected during 2023, with the project continuing until the end of March 2027, theoretically saving more than 2,650 tonnes of CO2 In the process. It is envisaged that a second phase could extend it to 1,000 households. Six huge tanks will store five tons of hydrogen, enough for about five days at peak.

The project is managed by gas distributor SGN and funded by a group of parties including regulator Ofgem, the Scottish government and distribution companies Cadent, Northern Gas Networks and Wales and West Utilities. Ofgem is the biggest backer, contributing £18m after H100 won funds through its annual Network Innovation Competition, with the Scottish Government providing almost £7m. Appliance suppliers, including Baxi and Bosch, are also involved.

Households, who will stay with their current energy supplier, will receive free appliances and maintenance and will not pay more than the equivalent price of gas. The pilot is intended to test public interest and acceptance of hydrogen devices, safety issues and home supply logistics.

A gleaming demonstration building was planned as the centerpiece of the project – a mock-up similar to a show home in a new-build housing estate. It was supposed to be finished in early February but is still in its infancy, according to local sources.

Recruitment for the program was due to begin in late 2021, with campaigning beginning in earnest in March. However, it is understood that the leaflets were not distributed to the public until May and that the properties are expected to be signed by September 22. It is estimated that around a third of local households would need to participate to reach the 300 house target, although Ofgem says between 180 and 250 houses would be a sufficient sample size. The first hydrogen production and storage system should be operational by Christmas.

SGN declines to comment on exact timelines and registrations, but H100 project manager Craig McCafferty says, “Working across the constraints of the global supply chain, SGN is committed to delivering hydrogen to customers in soon as possible. Construction will continue through 2022 and 2023 with commissioning activities and hydrogen for early customers to follow thereafter. Sources close to the project insist recruitment is on track.

Ofgem warned that “a delay in the start of this project would have a significant impact on the evidence base of a transition of the energy system to hydrogen as a means of decarbonising heat and industry”.

There are also concerns that the choice of location could give unrepresentative national results, as the community is one of the most deprived areas in Scotland. Professor Alastair Lewis, from the National Center for Atmospheric Science at the University of York, said: “There is a problem that is not envisaged that we could end up with wealthier people with houses powered by pumps heat and solar panels because they have the space, while in low income areas with less space they are heated with fuel like hydrogen which has the potential to create pollution.

In the long term, UK distribution companies are considering blending small amounts of hydrogen with natural gas. However, Lewis says the potential for nitrogen oxide emissions must be considered before boilers using a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas are widely adopted in the UK.

Critics of the project provide a microcosm of the long-running debate over the place of hydrogen in the energy transition. Proponents say hydrogen is an essential piece of the puzzle, not least to help make heavy industry greener. Critics say it is too expensive and that the focus should instead be on increasing the production of other forms of energy, such as wind and solar. Short-term cost concerns have been partly resolved by the fact that wholesale gas prices have increased this year. This week, specialist ITM Power said the price increases had underlined the benefits of switching to green hydrogen production.

Alex Lee, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, says: “Keeping our homes and buildings warm is a major contributor to climate pollution, but people need real financial help and expertise to make the necessary changes.

He adds: ‘Rather than wasting millions supporting these industrial projects like H100, which are inefficient and expensive, the Scottish Government should instead invest in electrification of heating and ensure homes are built or upgraded to standard. the highest.

“By embracing heat pumps and building heat networks, ministers can help reduce fuel poverty as well as reduce climate emissions from our homes.”

Mark Ruskell, MSP for Central Scotland and Fife, said: “I’m really skeptical. It is very difficult to obtain enough hydrogen to heat a large number of homes – this is much more the case in industrial sectors, which are difficult to decarbonise. It is an interesting project but it should not define the direction of energy policy.

In November 2020, the Prime Minister set a target of reaching five gigawatts of hydrogen capacity and creating a “hydrogen city” by 2030. Last year, in the government’s strategy on the hydrogen, this target was increased to 10 gigawatts on the same date, but did not detail an important role for hydrogen in home heating. The British government must decide in 2026 if it plans to use hydrogen for heating homes. Those working on the Fife Pilot will need to act quickly if this program is to make a meaningful contribution to this conversation.

Developers file plans for $11million multi-story building on unassuming Ballarat side street Sat, 17 Sep 2022 22:57:50 +0000

Plans have been filed with the City of Ballarat to construct a six-storey mixed-use building on a small one-way street dominated by loading docks and parking lots.

The $11 million project is the type of development the council has encouraged in the city centre, bringing more residents to the CBD and making better use of prime real estate.

Project architect Alan Morton said a lot of work had been done to ensure the building would blend in with the surrounding mix of heritage-listed buildings.

“There’s a lot of red brick in this locality, some blue stone too, so we’re really borrowing from that existing materiality and saying ‘yes, we’re going brick,'” he said.

The site is at the foot of a small hill. Mr Morton said this helped design the building so that it does not dominate the city skyline.

“The idea is that it fits in with the existing neighbors, especially the old YMCA building, but also with what’s going on around that neighborhood,” he said.

“It remains at the same level as the two-story terraces along Camp Street as they now exist.”

The development site is one of several car parks dominating the center of Ballarat.(ABC Ballarat: Patrick Laverick)

Associate Professor Andrew Butt of RMIT’s Center for Urban Research said developing underused plots of land in the city center would bring housing closer to established transport links and services.

‘New development in South and West Ballarat also comes with costs, which are car dependency and waiting for services to be provided over several years,’ he said.

“Here you have a ready-made environment for people – things like transport services and retail.”

Mr Butt said developers could learn from poorly executed urban renewal to ensure large-scale projects like this get support from locals.

“We had a period in Melbourne where high levels of growth and high levels of housing demand – particularly for flats – resulted in poorer examples and probably disappointing examples of some prime locations,” a- he declared.

“If the time is right where people want to do this kind of development, we have to understand that these are buildings that will be around for a few generations, and we need them done right.”

More help for residents concerned about planning lapses Fri, 16 Sep 2022 15:21:03 +0000

Residents concerned about possible planning failures in their neighborhood will soon have access to updated advice, information and practical help.

New city application plan

We are releasing our new local planning application plan for the city later this month. The plan aims to help residents find information about potential planning failures as well as guidance on when and how to request an investigation.

The plan also defines the board’s powers and procedures, including actions that can be taken to resolve issues, possible outcomes, and what the enforcement team can and cannot do.

Councilors approved the plan at a meeting of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee on September 15.

Investigate complaints

As the local planning authority, we have a duty to investigate complaints, determine whether planning failures have occurred and, if so, take enforcement action.

Council Planning Enforcement Officers investigate:

  • planning control failures
  • unauthorized work on listed buildings
  • unauthorized advertisements
  • messy grounds and poorly maintained buildings

When making decisions, officers are guided by the National Planning Practice Guidance as well as the local enforcement plan.

Hundreds of requests

Every year, our administrators receive hundreds of complaints about potential planning failures and requests for investigation.

However, many of them are not planning or at a stage where they could take action. These include:

  • work that has not started
  • rumors that work will take place
  • legal disputes unrelated to a planning violation, including party wall issues, land ownership and boundary disputes
  • high hedges
  • work on trees not associated with a planning violation

Officers use both case law and appeal decisions to help decide if development has taken place and if planning permission is required.

No failure to plan

A large proportion of the cases reviewed by officers result in a decision that there is no failure to plan. For instance:

  • the work does not require a building permit / consent
  • the building permit and other necessary authorizations have been granted by law
  • the work does not deviate from the approved plans
  • development is immune to action
  • the building permit granted does not control the progress of the construction. Major developments, in general, are subject to conditions requiring Construction Environmental Management Plans (CEMPS) to be agreed before work begins.

In many cases planning permission is not required as national rules classify the works as permitted development.

In cases where development has taken place and planning permission is required, or where planning permission is granted and conditions are not met, officers should determine whether enforcement action is required. justified.

If not, no further action will be taken.

Reduce complaints

By providing clear advice and guidance under the new enforcement plan, including information on how to check whether planning permission or classified planning permission has been granted or is required, and the circumstances in what action will be taken, officers hope to reduce the number of such requests.

This will free up more time to prioritize requests and resolve scheduling violations that cause damage.

Developer tips

The enforcement plan also gives residents information on how their requests will be handled and prioritized, as well as what steps they can take to resolve issues themselves. There is also advice for residents and developers who may have committed a planning breach on what they should do to fix the problem.

Many cases are resolved through negotiation or an agreement to perform repair work.

Avoid disputes

Councilor Martin Osborne, Co-Chair of the TECC Committee said:

“Whether it’s minor changes to our home or a major development, planning applications and building regulations directly affect the lives of so many residents and business owners.

“It is natural that new building activity can cause neighbors concern, and this new policy aims to help owners and developers avoid conflicts and understand what council officers can and cannot do.

“Decisions taken by officers are made within the framework of national laws, rules and guidelines. Like all local authorities, we are often bound by national policy and regulations within which we must operate.

“We hope this new policy will help to avoid many other common misunderstandings and make clear how we will act in the event of major breaches of planning regulations.”

WA incentive scheme for councils to use more recycled road materials Wed, 14 Sep 2022 21:15:14 +0000

The Western Australian government is offering local councils a share of $350,000 to use more materials recycled from construction sites in their roads.

Roads to Reuse (RTR) was developed in 2019 to encourage the use of more recycled building and construction materials for state roads.

The new program provides a payment of $5 per tonne of product used by local governments and sourced from accredited suppliers. Payments are capped at $35,000 per grant and issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

Environment Minister Reece Whitby told Wednesday’s waste and recycling conference that the initiative was tapping into an under-reviewed pathway for resource recovery.

“Recycling construction and demolition waste is a priority for the McGowan government and can play an important role in meeting the state’s material recovery goals.c

“Using recycled products can be very cost effective, while saving time, labor and water during construction, in addition to significant environmental benefits,” Whitby said.

So far, RTR has seen over 100,000 tonnes of recovered construction waste used in the Kwinana Highway Widening Project, Leach Highway and Tonkin Gap projects.

After a pilot program in 2019-20 found recycled construction and demolition waste to be an economically viable material for road construction, three suppliers were accredited to supply waste under the incentive scheme. However, with all facilities located in the greater metropolis of Perth, Perth councils are likely to reap most of the material and economic benefits of the program.

The WA government has offered to support other construction and demolition recycling centers with the cost of accreditation into the scheme, including sampling and testing costs to ensure an acceptable level of contamination.

Construction and demolition waste is a priority in the 2030 waste avoidance and resource recovery strategy, which sets a target to increase material recovery to 80% by 2030.


New technology could boost plastics recycling in Australia

112-year-old downtown church demolished Tue, 13 Sep 2022 02:13:00 +0000 No decision has been made on the future use of the now vacant space next to the Anglican Cathedral

The parish hall next to St. Luke’s Anglican Cathedral on Albert Street East was reduced to rubble.

“It’s ongoing right now,” says James McShane, dean of the Diocese of Algoma and rector of St. Luke’s Cathedral.

“Demolition began on Saturday. Work will conclude with clearing debris and leveling the property, cleaning it properly over the next few days.”

McShane says there was no heritage designation on the property.

“The parish hall was quite a visionary design of its time. It served the church very well for many decades.”

“But society changed. The building’s suitability for potential uses just didn’t match.”

The original cathedral building on the site was consecrated as a parish church in 1870 by the Rt. Rev. Alexander Neil Bethune, Bishop of Toronto.

The parish hall was added at the additional cost of $8,000 in 1910.

Diocesan synods (large governance gatherings of clergy and lay non-clergy) were held in the parish hall until about 1970, when events grew too large for the building.

“As well as the Synod, events such as Sunday School, Junior and Girls Auxiliary, Anglican Youth Association, Women’s Auxiliary and more were held in the hall,” a statement read. history of the structure prepared for the Algoma University Diocesan Archives fonds.

“Of course, there have been necessary repairs, redecorations and renovations over the years, including replacing heating mechanisms, building additional storage space, repairing the roof, rebuilding entrance, interior modifications to kitchen, dining room, etc., redecoration of bathrooms, new exterior doors, etc.,” the document states.

“The cost of maintaining an older building can be very high,” McShane said.

“The leadership of the diocese and the cathedral has given much thought to the location of the building over the years.”

“A lot of studies have been done, but the building could not be maintained and continue to serve the church well in these changing times.”

“It went into decline over the years. It just got to a point where it was no longer sustainable.”

“The requirements for access have changed over the years. Its functionality in the life of the church, versus the costs of operation, maintenance and preservation, just didn’t line up,” McShane continued. .

“The building was aging and deteriorating. It had the potential to be a significant liability, especially since it was unused and unmaintained. It was the right time to demolish the building.”

Air conditioning technology is outdated. These are AC options for a warmer future. Sat, 10 Sep 2022 15:31:46 +0000

This week, Californians got a reminder of one of the most vexing paradoxes of global warming. With temperatures well above 110 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas Tuesday night, hundreds of thousands of state residents received text alerts warning them that the power grid, under the weight of millions of air conditioning units, was about to collapse. Save energy now, warn text or deal with power outages.

Consumers saved, and the state’s power grid emerged relatively unscathed from a day of record heat. Yet, as temperatures rise around the world, more and more people will need to install air conditioners. But As currently sold, air conditioners can actually make global warming worse: on hot days, they suck tons of electricity from the grid, and their chemical refrigerants can accelerate global warming.

This is why researchers and start-ups are in hopes of creating new state-of-the-art air conditioning units. AC technology has seen only “incremental improvements over the past 100 years,” said Ankit Kalanki, director of Third Derivative, a climate technology accelerator co-founded by energy think tank RMI. “There hasn’t been a sea change in innovation.”

The good news is that companies are racing to develop more efficient air conditioners. The question is whether they will be ready in time.

Current ACs won’t cut it

Over the next few decades, global demand for air conditioning is expected to soar. According to the International Energy Agency, the number of air conditioning units in buildings worldwide is expected to reach 5.6 billion by 2050, compared to only around 2 billion units today.

But unless air conditioning is improved, all of these air conditioners are going to put unprecedented strain on the power grid. Air conditioners and electric fans already account for around 10% of electricity consumption worldwide. On extremely hot days, air conditioning efficiency decreases, as the units have to work harder to move heat from indoors to outdoors. During a heat wave, millions of people come home and turn on their air conditioners at the same time, somewhere between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. When this happens, air conditioning can account for 60-70% of electrical demand, and rattle the grids like those in California.

Meanwhile, the key component of modern air conditioners – the chemicals known as refrigerants – have been the bane of the atmosphere for decades. Air conditioners work by exposing a liquid refrigerant, a low-boiling chemical, to warm indoor air. This heat causes the refrigerant to evaporate into gas, cooling the air. A compressor then turns the refrigerant into liquid and repeats the process.

The problem is that refrigerants can leak from air conditioners, both during use and, more often, when air conditioners are thrown away. Early ACs were largely made with chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which were responsible for one of the first truly global climate concerns: the hole in the ozone layer. CFCs were phased out by the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international treaty aimed at combating the depletion of the ozone hole, and eventually replaced by hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

But HFCs have their own problem: they are greenhouse gases that, in the short term, are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. An amendment to the Montreal Protocol calls for a dramatic reduction in HFCs by the mid-2040s; meanwhile, however, they still contribute to global warming.

There are many ways to make existing AC technology more efficient. Some newer air conditioning units use different refrigerants, such as one known as R-32, which has less global warming potential than other hydrofluorocarbons and also requires less energy to compress, thus saving air. ‘electricity. Other units use a technology known as “variable speed compressors”, which allows the unit to operate under different parameters. The compressor can speed up if it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit and stuffy, or slow down if it’s only 85 degrees. This can help save on electricity and utility bills.

And more advanced models are just around the corner. Kalanki was one of the leaders of an RMI initiative known as the Global Cooling Prize, which rewarded manufacturers capable of producing affordable AC prototypes that would be at least five times better for the climate than existing models. Two companies received the award in tandem: Gree Electric Appliances and Daikin Industries. Both used traditional vapor compression technology, but with improved refrigerants and clever designs that could change parameters in response to outside temperatures.

Other companies, start-ups and researchers are investigating whether they can ditch vapor compression altogether. A startup called Blue Frontier uses a liquid that sucks moisture out of the air and stores it in a reservoir to control the temperature. According to the company, this approach could save up to 60% of the electricity needed to run an air conditioner year-round. And a group of researchers from Harvard University have developed a prototype air conditioner they call coldSNAP. The prototype uses no refrigerant, but uses a special coating on a ceramic frame to evaporate water to cool the interior space without adding moisture to the air. “Because we don’t have the vapor compression system and the power to try to release and compress the refrigerants, the power consumption of those systems is much, much lower,” said Jonathan Grinham, l one of the project’s researchers.

What to look for when buying

Some of these newer designs can take years to hit the market, and when they do, they can still be more expensive than conventional ACs. But until then, says Kalanki, there are still plenty of options for buying a more efficient AC unit. “There are technologies that are two to three times more efficient than the most common ACs on the market today,” Kalanki said. “The challenge is that adoption is very low.” Most consumers, he argues, only look at the price displayed on an air conditioning unit and ignore the fact that buying a more expensive unit upfront could save them money in the long run.

He recommends buyers consider three things when considering an air conditioning unit: the type of refrigerant used, the efficiency rating, and whether or not the unit has a variable-speed compressor. These metrics can tell consumers if their unit is likely to cost them thousands of dollars in utility bills and if it will unduly aggravate the problem of climate change.

Ultimately, he added, the government needs to set higher performance standards for air conditioners so that everything The air conditioners on the market – not just the high end ones – are efficient and safe for the planet. “There are regulations in place to fix the floor of air conditioners,” he said. “But that floor is a bit too low.”

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]]> The one [Simple] Method used by AI implementers to achieve success Sun, 04 Sep 2022 13:39:42 +0000

Who do you blame when AI projects fail? Technology? Your machine learning and data science team? Sellers? The data? You can definitely blame the wrong problem solving with the AI ​​or applying the AI ​​when you don’t need it at all. But what happens when you have an application very well adapted to AI and the project always fails? Sometimes it comes down to a simple approach: don’t delay.

At a recent Enterprise Data & AI event, a presenter said his AI projects take an average of 18-24 months to go from concept to production. It’s just way too long. There are many reasons why AI projects fail and a common reason is that your project is taking too long to go into production. AI projects shouldn’t take 18 or 24 months to go from pilot to production. Proponents of best-practice agile methodologies will tell you that it’s the old-fashioned “waterfall” way of doing things that’s ripe for all sorts of problems.

Yet despite the desire to be “agile” with short, iterative sprints of AI projects, organizations often struggle to get their AI projects off the ground. They just don’t know how to do short, iterative AI projects. Indeed, many organizations run their AI projects as if they were research-like “proofs of concept.” When companies start with a proof of concept (POC) project, rather than a pilot project, it sets them up for failure. Proofs of concepts often lead to failures because they are not intended to solve a real-world problem, but rather focus on testing an idea using idealistic or simplistic data in a non-real environment. As a result, these organizations are working with data that is not representative of real-world data, with users who are not heavily invested in the project and potentially not working in systems where the model will actually live. Those who succeed with AI projects have simple advice: ditch the proof of concept.

AI pilots vs proof of concepts

A proof of concept is a project that is a trial or test to illustrate if something is even possible and to prove that your technology works. Proofs of concepts (POCs) are run in very specific, controlled, and constrained environments rather than real-world environments and data. This is largely how AI was developed in research environments. Coincidentally, many AI project owners, data scientists, ML engineers and others come out of this research environment that they are very comfortable and familiar with.

The problem with these POCs is that they don’t actually prove whether the specific AI solution will work in production. Rather, they will only do so if it will work in those limited circumstances. Your technology may work great in your POC, but break down when put into production with real-world scenarios. Also, if you are running a proof of concept, you may have to start over and run a pilot, which will cause your project to run much longer than expected, which could lead to staffing, resource and budget issues. . Andrew Ng encountered this exact problem when he tried to apply his POC approach to medical imaging diagnosis to a real environment.

Proof-of-concept failures exposed

POCs fail for a variety of reasons. The AI ​​solution may have only been trained on good quality data that does not exist in the real world. Indeed, this is the reason cited by Andrew Ng for the failure of their medical imaging AI solution that did not work outside the well-maintained data boundaries of Stanford hospitals. These POC AI solutions could also fail because the model has not seen how real users, as opposed to well-trained people, will interact with it. Or, there is a problem with the real world environment. Therefore, organizations that only run projects as a POC will not have a chance to understand these issues until you get too far along.

Another example of POC failure involves autonomous vehicles (AVs). AVs often work very well in controlled environments. There are no distractions, no kids or animals running in the road, good weather and other common issues that drivers face. The AV works very well in this hyper-controlled environment. In many real-world scenarios, VAs don’t know how to handle many specific real-world issues. There’s a reason we don’t see Level 5 autonomous vehicles on the road. They only work in these very controlled environments and do not function as a driver that can be scaled.

Another example of failed AI POC systems is Softbank’s Pepper robot. Pepper, now abandoned as an AI project, was a collaborative robot intended to interact with customers in places such as museums, grocery stores and tourist areas. The robot performed very well in test environments, but when deployed in the real world, it ran into issues. When deployed in a UK supermarket, which had much higher caps than the US supermarkets where it was tested, Pepper struggled to understand customers. It turns out that it also scared the customers. Not everyone was thrilled that a robot approached them while shopping. Because Pepper was not actually tested in a pilot, these issues were never properly discovered and resolved, resulting in the removal of the entire release. If only they had run a pilot where they first deployed the robot to one or two locations in a live environment, they would have realized these issues before committing time, money and resources to a failed project. .

Build Pilots Against Proofs of Concept

Unlike a POC, a “pilot” project focuses on building a small, real-world test project, using real-world data in a controlled, limited environment. The idea is that you will test a real world problem, with real world data, on a real world system with users who may not have created the model. That way, if the pilot works, you can focus on scaling the project rather than applying a POC to an entirely different environment. Therefore, a successful pilot project will save an organization time, money and other resources. And if it doesn’t work, you quickly find out what the real-world problems are and work to fix those problems so your model works. Much like a pilot guiding an aircraft to its final destination, a pilot project guides your AI solutions to a destination that is production. Why spend potentially millions on a project that may not work in the real world when you can spend that money and time on a pilot that then only needs to be scaled up to a level of production ? Successful AI projects don’t start with a proof of concept, they start with pilots.

It’s much better to run a very small pilot, solving a very small problem that can be scaled up with a high chance of success than trying to solve a big problem with a proof of concept that might fail. This pilot-driven, iterative small success approach is the cornerstone of best-practice AI methodologies such as CRISP-DM or CPMAI that aim to provide guidance on how to develop small pilots using short iterative steps to get quick results. Focusing on the highly iterative, real-world AI driver will base your project on this simple method that many AI implementers see with great success.

Smoking materials are the most likely cause of the Lynn fire Thu, 01 Sep 2022 14:21:59 +0000

LYNNThe most likely cause of yesterday’s fire on Allerton Street was improper disposal of smoking materials, said Lynn Fire Chief Stephen L. Archer and the state Fire Marshal, Peter J. Ostroskey.

“This fire started on the exterior of the building and grew significantly before smoke alarms inside detected it,” Chief Archer said. “It’s a scenario we see all too often when cigarettes and other materials are unsafely thrown down outdoor stairways, porches and balconies. If you smoke, or have guests who do, please use a deep, sturdy ashtray with water or sand and put it out, every time.

The Lynn Fire Department responded to the scene just after 5.20pm last night to find heavy smoke and flames in the two-family home. The fire quickly rose to a second alarm and firefighters reported low water pressure, which hampered the response. The building suffered catastrophic damage before firefighters brought the blaze under control. Nine people were moved and two were treated for minor injuries.

“Improper disposal of smoking materials is a leading cause of fatal fires in Massachusetts and across the country,” said state fire marshal Ostroskey. “Fortunately, this fire only caused minor injuries, but nine people lost their homes. If it had happened a few hours later, the tragedy could have been devastating.

Chief Archer and State Fire Marshal Ostroskey reminded residents that most of Massachusetts remains in a critically dry state, which means outdoor fires will start, grow and spread more easily.

“It is important that all members of the community exercise caution and common sense with any open flame outdoors, including smoking materials,” said Chief Archer. “Dry grass, mulch and debris can ignite easily in these conditions.”

The fire was investigated jointly by the Lynn Fire Department and the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the Office of the Fire Marshal of the State. This investigation determined that the fire started at the left rear of the building and then spread upwards along the exterior of the structure and into the attic.