Posts in Environment

Sustainable Building Materials

June 21st, 2018 Posted by Environment, Green Construction No Comment yet

What does it take for architecture to be sustainable? It’s not just vehicles that contribute to pollution; buildings consume 20-50% of physical resources and produce emissions long after construction. Sustainable architecture includes both the use of resources in construction and their environmental impact.

Benefits of Sustainable Materials

  • Longevity: Sustainability is meant to make things last. Therefore, sustainable building materials are not only environmentally friendly, but also long-lasting.
  • Energy saving: Sustainable manufacturing involves using fewer resources to create building materials, which saves energy. Additionally, many sustainable materials are also energy efficient.
  • Waste reduction: Many sustainable materials use reclaimed, recycled, or long-lasting materials.

Green Building Materials

  • Solar tiles: Regular roof shingles exist to protect your home from the elements, but don’t do anything with any of the energy they absorb. Solar tiles do both: they protect your home while converting solar energy into power for your home.
  • Sustainable concrete: Concrete is responsible for 7-10% of global CO2 emissions. Sustainable concrete can include recycled materials that would otherwise have gone to waste. Similarly, grasscrete involves laying concrete with space for plant life, which reduces the material need as well as improving stormwater absorption and drainage capabilities. Hempcrete is another sustainable concrete alternative; it is a concrete-like material made with hemp fibers.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo may be lightweight, but when it comes to durability, it’s actually a strong replacement for many heavier materials. It’s fast-growing, which makes it a great renewable resource that’s environmentally friendly.
  • Wood: You can’t go wrong with wood: it’s been a reliable building material for centuries! When people properly manage forest and wood production, they provide a sustainable renewable material that is less energy-intensive to process other building materials.
  • Mycelium: Mycelium combines biology, design, and computing to create a unique building material composed of mushroom bricks. This material is strong, durable, and water-resistant.

These are only a few of the many amazing sustainable materials available out there. So, who’s ready to build a sustainable future?

At CREED LA, our mission is to ensure that the construction industry in Los Angeles has a highly trained and professional work force that supports projects that have positive impacts for the community. Sustainable building materials are part of that mission! Drop us a line online or by calling (877) 810-7473.

The Keys to Urban Density: Urban Design and Green Space

March 23rd, 2018 Posted by Environment, Green Construction, Los Angeles Construction Projects No Comment yet

A couple weeks ago we talked about the case for urban density and combating urban sprawl. This week, we want to touch on urban density again and focus on its many benefits as well as how to implement it successfully.

Urban density serves to bring people together by providing dense, walkable areas and central access to affordable housing and amenities. Most of all, urban density strives to create healthy cities for the people who live in them, and that involves a great deal of change.

Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Benefits of Urban Density

Previously, we discussed the economic and environmental benefits of urban density, including housing affordability and the reduction of urban sprawl. However, these benefits only touch the surface of what urban density can provide for cities. Density can improve people’s health through access to care and support networks and cardiovascular improvement through walking. When people don’t need cars to get around, traffic congestion decreases, as does vehicle pollution. What’s more, density can actually be fun: closer knit communities have more access to leisure activities and establishments such as restaurants, theatres, shopping, and more.

However, cities can only reap these benefits if they implement urban density successfully.

Urban Design

In order to get urban density right, cities need a plan, and they need to think of the people first. This is where urban design comes in. In an ideal situation, buildings, infrastructure, and services can operate symbiotically and rather than invading our space, they add to it. Well-connected cities that do urban density the right way provide an environment where it’s easy for citizens to walk or cycle, access services, and live healthier lives. Hiring experienced urban planners and architects can help cities achieve their urban design goals.

Urban Green Spaces

When people envision urban density, futuristic landscapes filled with skyscrapers often come to mind. However, green space has a place in cities, as well. Higher-density development can present challenges, so it’s important to include green space in the planning stages of urban design. Urban greening is a public health issue: people are healthier when they’re closer to nature. Therefore, cities need to include nature in their urban density development. From street trees and community gardens to green walls and roofs, there are many ways to greenify a city center.

Who’s ready to build our tomorrow?

Adaptive Reuse and the Benefits of Repurposing Old Spaces

February 26th, 2018 Posted by Environment, Green Construction No Comment yet

Every city started somewhere. While it’s likely that many of the original buildings in most cities have been lost, chances are there are a number of hidden gems just waiting to be revived. Every building has a story, and repurposing these spaces helps to ensure that story remains, even if the purpose for the space has changed. 

Instead of demolishing old buildings in favor of new construction, adaptive reuse gives them new life and purpose.

What is Adaptive Reuse?

The act of repurposing old buildings that have outlived their intended purposes and reviving them for new uses is known as adaptive reuse. The intent is to preserve the historic features of the building while making it current. Old and even neglected schools, factories, hotels, and more can find new life through adaptive reuse and repurposing. Adaptive reuse also presents an opportunity for designers to use their creativity by using an existing shell for a new interior.

So, what’s the value of reusing older buildings instead of just demolishing them and building new ones?

  • Material Recycling: Today’s building materials are often made for convenience and fast production. Older materials such as old brick and lumber can be stronger as well as more beautiful than today’s materials. Why recreate a rustic look when you have one to begin with?
  • Culture and Historic Preservation: Old architecture preserves a valuable slice of history, and that’s worth maintaining. Buildings that qualify as being “historic” can also legally be protected from demolition, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be adapted for reuse.

Examples of Adaptive Reuse

Around the world, there are many buildings that benefit from revitalization efforts. Some of these adaptive reuse projects are radical, like Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, South Africa and Alila Yangshuo Hotel in Guangxi, China. Others are as simple as factories or firehouses reimagined as hotels and districts, like the Foundation Hotel in Detroit and the Seaholm District in Austin, Texas. Australia is seeing a lot of adaptive reuse as well, as evidenced in projects like the Pump House Point and the Gantry Multi-housing Complex.

When we build things to last, we can benefit from them for years to come.

3 Ways to Design Cities for People Instead of Vehicles

February 19th, 2018 Posted by Environment, Los Angeles Construction Projects No Comment yet

Cities draw people together. They provide opportunities for connections, careers, lifestyles, families, and more.

So why are so many of them designed for cars?

“If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.” – Fred Kent

Nowadays, many cities are trapped in a cycle: rapid growth increases the need for more roads, which increases the need for more cars, and repeat. While the original goal of highways was to improve mobility, evidence shows that rush hour traffic is neither relaxing nor efficient. Mobility is at the heart of most cities, but at what point is that no longer beneficial?

Some cities are taking action and creating sustainable spaces that put people first. These are some of the ways they’re succeeding.

Placemaking

Streets are where people come together and live their lives—conversations, errands, purchases, and more happen on the streets. Imagine how valuable these interactions could be without vehicles to interrupt them. Traffic and road capacity are the results of deliberate choices made to shape communities. Instead of accommodating only vehicles, these choices can accommodate everyone: pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. The Metrocable in Medellin is one example of how city choices can improve streets as places.

Increasing Parks and Public Spaces

Consider this: a city that provides a pleasant environment for its children and elderly is a city that would work for everyone. In Bogotá, Colombia, Mayor Enrique Peñalosa decided the city needed to focus on how it could improve life for the 70% of people who did not own cars, instead of the 30% who did. Under his leadership, the city saw 1,200 new or renovated parks, new bicycle paths and pedestrian streets, and 100,000 new planted trees. As a result, the city was able to reduce rush hour traffic by 40% and increase a sense of civic pride among the residents.

Implementing Car-Free Zones

Many cities around the world have started implementing car-free zones in their central districts. In Amsterdam, half of the traffic in the city is actually via bicycles. In the International Business District in Songdo, South Korea, driving is optional because the district was designed to eliminate the need for cars: this is one of the best ways to begin the journey towards a people-designed city.

So, let’s get started!

Green Bridges: Connecting Us to a Sustainable Future

February 9th, 2018 Posted by Environment, Green Construction No Comment yet

Around the world, cities are beginning to reconnect with nature by including green, sustainable design into their architecture. It’s more important than ever to incorporate green practices into everything we do, and especially into what we build. Structures created today will have an impact on the future, so why not make it a good one?

There are many ways to incorporate green and sustainable architecture into cities, and green bridges are one of them. These are just some of the great ways that cities are already including green bridges into their designs.

Garden Bridges

Garden bridges are green in the most literal sense of the word. While New York’s High Line is the most popular example, there are many other cities worldwide that are exploring the possibilities of garden bridges and linear parks. Both Sydney and Seoul have adopted the idea and built similar garden bridges. Garden bridges are an excellent way to repurpose old infrastructure such as rail lines into something beautiful and sustainable. Not only are they beautiful, but they also serve as an effective stormwater management tool, much in the same way that green roofs do.

Wildlife Bridges

Sustainable design considers wildlife. Most architecture isn’t designed with wildlife in mind, and many animals have a hard time adapting to cities. Wildlife bridges provide a means for animals to travel safely without ending up on roads and highways, endangering themselves and the people driving. Luckily, thanks to innovations like the new Seoul green bridge and other ingenious overpasses around the world, including the 41 structures in Banff National Park, the Ecoduct in the Netherlands, and the crab crossing at Christmas Island National Park, Australia, wildlife and people can coexist.

Sustainable Materials and Design

Nothing lasts forever, and that’s why it’s so important to choose materials wisely and to design with sustainability in mind. Sustainable design focuses on the long-term impact of structures on the environment and the wellbeing of humans and wildlife now and into the future. When designing a sustainable, green bridge project, it’s important to consider the environmental impacts, the benefits for society, the impact on the economy, and how the structure will last into the future. Some of the most impressive and innovative green bridges in the world incorporate solar power, suspended walkways, and wind-turbines. In Indonesia, they’re even exploring bamboo as a construction material!

Green bridges can connect us to a sustainable future. Imagine the impact they could have if more cities designed and implemented them!

Sustainability and the Future of the Construction Industry

January 23rd, 2018 Posted by Environment, Green Construction No Comment yet

The construction industry is expected to start 2018 with a 3% growth to reach $765 billion in the United States, according to a report released by Dodge Data & Analytics. Such impressive numbers indicate how much this industry has a heavy impact on our lives. Thanks to international efforts, though, it has changed for better over the last decades.

The changes we refer to aren’t just the adoption of technologies like digitization and drones. Yes, it’s true that these improvements are transforming this sector, but environmental responsibility is another equally important factor—and it’s often overlooked. Gone are the days when large companies could hide their mistakes for a long time, like the devastating Hinkley groundwater contamination case involving PG&E in the 1950s. Today, people are far more aware of the consequences of harming the environment.

It’s within this context that green buildings are starting to become mainstream. Is it enough to compensate for the damage we cause? Probably not. We still have a long way to go, but each step on the road for a sustainable world is progress and should be celebrated.

Environmental Responsibility

Not long ago, it was common that companies would design buildings without assessing the risks to the environment. Obviously, this was a terrible idea because they were responsible for many issues. For example, construction generates hundreds of tons of waste every year, especially due to demolition. What’s worse: less than 30% of the debris is recycled, even though 90% of it is recyclable.

This reveals why the industry needs to see environmental responsibility as a requirement, rather than an enemy of the modern economy. Luckily, the increased importance on sustainability is expected to be an engineering trend in 2018 thanks to its creation of financial benefits. Indicators have shown that green buildings can reduce costs with water use, energy, and waste generation, which makes them very appealing overall.

Promoting Green Buildings

One of the greatest advances in the evolution of the construction industry was the creation of building certifications and ratings. Though LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most famous, there are several other organizations promoting highly sustainable construction practices as well.

Here’s how PwC describes the current changes in the construction sector: “In an industry sometimes characterised as focused on the immediate short-term challenges of demanding clients and complex project delivery, we find companies are investing in long-term innovation that they expect will unlock significant efficiency, cost reduction and revenue gains”.

In addition to lowering costs and protecting the environment, green buildings can make their occupants feel happier. They provide better indoor environmental quality, more exposure to natural light, and contact with healthier materials and products.

Making the difference

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

How Urban Planning and Construction Create Access to Jobs and Opportunities

January 19th, 2018 Posted by City Planners in Los Angeles, Environment No Comment yet

As our population grows, our cities rise to meet the growing needs of more and more people. Cities need urban planning and construction services to grow, which in turn creates jobs in those fields. What’s more, a well-designed city provides access to amenities, housing, and transport which in turn provide opportunities for those living there.

City Growth and Housing

With an ever-growing population, there is always a need for housing. The National Association of Home Builders estimates that building a single-family home generates 2.97 full-time jobs, especially for construction workers. However, houses can’t just go up wherever people please; in order to create cohesive neighborhoods and communities, urban planners are required. A diversified housing approach is ideal to create opportunities for lower, median, and high-income families alike, and housing that provides proximity to workplaces should be considered.

Transportation

The infrastructure of a city is directly related to its accessibility. Transportation is a valuable asset, and investing in urban planning and construction of transportation assets not only creates jobs, but also improves people’s access to jobs and opportunities within the city. Investing in roads, bridges, and other public works is a cost-effective way to create jobs: according to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, one billion dollars spent on public works created 19,975 jobs.

Planning for the Future

The world is changing, and we have to be ready to change with it. Around the world, urban planning and construction will have to plan for changes related to climate change, severe weather, and the rapid urbanization of the planet. As people move and cities expand, cities will need to accommodate and provide access to the amenities that they need, including (but not limited to) jobs, transit, schools, and retail. Cities are expanding and changing in response to the need for greener infrastructure and a growing population, and these needs create job opportunities for people in many fields.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA online or at (877) 810-7473.

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977

When Mining Stops, Reclamation Begins

April 28th, 2017 Posted by Environment, Environmental News No Comment yet

Nobody denies the tremendous benefits that natural resources has had for the economic growth of the United States. What few people acknowledge, however, is the tremendous environmental damage inflicted as a result of this quest for growth. Among the most obvious type of damage is the physical carnage left behind as a result of large-scale surface mining operations.

Yet, thanks to an act of Congress, when mining stops, reclamation begins.

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 led to the creation of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). Reclamation projects at both the federal and state level seek to ultimately restore mined lands to natural or economically usable states. Emphasis is placed on correcting serious problems pertaining to public health and safety in addition to aesthetic restoration. This is done in an effort to help both ecosystems & citizens impacted by such detrimental, albeit necessary, operations find closure.

The Coalition for Responsible Equitable Economic Development (CREED LA) proudly supports environmentally-responsible construction projects throughout Los Angeles that not only have a positive impact on the local community, but support LA’s working families as well.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA at (877) 810-7473.

los angeles recycle program benefits communities

Why Recycling Programs Have A Positive Influence On LA Communities

April 21st, 2017 Posted by Environment, Environmental News No Comment yet

Community Benefits of Recycling

Recycling has a positive impact that extends beyond the environment and into multiple direct social and economic effects that positively influence our communities. According to the National Recycling Coalition, recycling is an industry poised at fast paced growth creating 1.1 million jobs and resulting in $236 billion in annual gross sales. Additionally, according to IBIS World, recycling facilities are expected grow at a rate of 5.7% per year. These fiscal impacts can be seen through community benefits such as increased jobs, reduced product costs, and improved local and state tax revenues, among others.

Within local communities, recycling programs have become a vital component not only for environmental awareness, but also for quality of life impact. Corporations and small businesses alike have instituted waste reduction programs and recycling programs that improve employee morale, result in more efficient operations, and reduce overhead costs.

Recycling’s benefits also extend into the home when the entire family gets involved in local recycling initiatives that might include a pay-to-recycle program which compensates families and individuals for recycling brought to designated state facilities.

In particular, Los Angeles is proudly leading the way as an example of successful recycling programs. According the the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, Los Angeles is diverting 75% or more of its waste from landfills. The city has also instituted a plastic bag ban which has won praise nationwide.

The Coalition for Responsible Equitable Economic Development (CREED LA) proudly supports environmentally-responsible construction projects throughout Los Angeles that not only have a positive impact on the local community, but support LA’s working families as well.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA at (877) 810-7473.

cool roof, urban heat island effect

New Technologies Allow For A Cool Roof Coating

April 6th, 2017 Posted by Environment, Environmental News, Green Construction No Comment yet

Keeping Cool Just Got Easier & Better Looking!

Typically, the aesthetics of products designed to improve energy efficiency have failed to ignite the passion of their intended audience. However, doing right for the environment just got easier, and a whole lot better looking, thanks to the efforts of researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL).

They’ve developed a new “cool roof” that features a chromium-doped aluminum oxide coating that performs as well as traditional white roofs at reflecting sunlight away from the structure and reducing solar heat gain as a result. The key difference is that LBNL’s roof is pigmented an aesthetically pleasing ruby red. Researchers achieved this by incorporating fluorescence into the pigments, allowing darker colors to be utilized while maintaining the same reflective properties as lighter colors.

This advancement has tremendous ramifications for the industry as public awareness to a building’s heat load and its impact on the urban heat island effect increases each year.

The Coalition for Responsible Equitable Economic Development (CREED LA) proudly supports environmentally-responsible construction projects throughout Los Angeles that not only have a positive impact on the local community, but support LA’s working families as well.

CREED LA fights to ensure that developers pay fair wages to all the hard working construction professionals throughout the industry while simultaneously providing them with quality health care, continued training, and trustworthy retirement plans. To learn more about how our non-profit organization supports those building a better, greener world for us all, contact CREED LA at (877) 810-7473.

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