Aisha Abdelhamid

Aisha Abdelhamid is a freelance lifestyle and environmental science writer currently living in Vancouver, BC. Her interests include environmental conservation, climate science, renewable energy, faith-based environmental activism, green building, sustainable economics, corporate social responsibility, creative lifestyles, and healthy living.
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Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge Was Spawned by Salmon

Spawned by the need to protect a seemingly insignificant patch of gravel, not many folks know that Redding’s iconic Sundial Bridge rose as a result of an eco-challenge surmountable only by architect Santiago Calatrava’s sensitive and innovative expertise. Abandoned since the long-gone days of mining in Redding, California, submerged quarry beds along the north shore of the Sacramento River have historically served as spawning grounds for Chinook salmon. Four endangered runs form a 300-mile upriver stretch ultimately guiding an annual…

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Masdar City Launches Phase 2 Master Plan

The fascinating cleantech evolution of Masdar City continues! Pushing the limits of urban design and community building, Masdar City is pressing forward in its pioneering quest for the highest quality of life with the lowest carbon footprint. Setting a new international precedent for sustainable urban planning, Boston-based CBT is presenting its award-winning Detailed Master Plan for Phase 2 of the “greenest city on Earth.” Recognizing its “leadership in design excellence, urban design and planning,” CBT’s detailed master plan (DMP) for…

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Masdar City: A Test Case for Sustainable Urban Living

Sweltering in the hot desert sun, Masdar City sits under a global microscope at the nexus of rising clean technology and the development of sustainable urban life in the glaring light of climate change. Conceived on a zero-moisture stretch of barren desert sand in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the zero-carbon, zero-waste settlement of Masdar City has diligently sustained itself through every struggle and step of progress. Masdar City: A Living, Striving Test Case for Earth’s Future As the warming effects of…

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Canada Tops Out World’s Tallest Wood-Frame Building

Celebrating the tallest wood-frame building of its kind anywhere in the world, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr recently attended the “topping out” ceremony of the Brock Commons Residence. The new University of British Columbia student housing tower rises 18 stories to reach a stunning 178.8 feet (53 meters) tall. Under construction at the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus, the CA$51.5 million mass timber structure is a hybrid system comprised of cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor slabs, glulam…

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Stylish Sustainability: Trondheim’s New Student Village

Meaning more than just focusing on the environment, sustainability also means creating a sense of place and belonging. Interpreting this philosophy brilliantly, MDH Arkitekter has nearly completed Moholt 50|50, an award-winning university student village in Trondheim, Norway. Envisioned as a community-focused commercial district featuring distinctive Scandinavian aesthetics, MDH Arkitekter’s minimalist approach and stylish use of natural materials is simply stunning. Trondheim’s Moholt 50|50 A miniature city in itself, the Moholt student village accommodates about 2200 students of the Norwegian University…

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Cellulose Insulation – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Made from consumer paper products, cellulose insulation typically contains about 85 percent recycled content. Using this green building material can effectively lower the carbon footprint of your home or business property. Essentially, this is because cellulose insulation is plant cell matter that is still storing the carbon sequestered when it was alive. Responsible management of the US forestry industry has led to a sustainable supply of planted trees, which are a highly renewable resource for both building and paper products. Combining…

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New Construction Materials… That Self-Repair?

Opening up a new field of design for construction technology, the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is envisioning futuristic materials that repair themselves. After recently launching the Engineered Living Materials (ELM) program, DARPA’s goal is to create a whole new class of construction materials. Imagine engineering living cellular systems into the structural features of traditional construction materials. The results might offer, for example, a driveway that eats oil spills; a chimney that cleans itself or heals…

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Brush & Wattle — The ABCs of Green Building Materials

The age-old construction techniques employed in traditional brush and wattle structures are time-tested and worthy of great respect. “Touching the Earth lightly,” these techniques are both low-impact on the natural environment and highly sustainable, employing the most natural and abundant of green building materials. Brush, referring to tree branches, twigs, leaves, and bark, has been used extensively throughout history and throughout the world by indigenous people to construct living quarters and animal shelters. Perhaps the most familiar brush structures in…

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Meet Einstein, a New IoT Solution for Smart Commercial Buildings

Artificial intelligence company Verdigris has just announced the debut of “Einstein,” a next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) smart energy management solution. This latest IoT energy management platform from Verdigris is designed to be “the easiest most-scalable connected sensor for complex enterprise facilities.” Using innovative smart sensor and metering technology, Einstein’s continuous stream of energy data is driving smarter, more responsive commercial building operations. → Related product: Commercial metal buildings Einstein Automates Energy Efficiency Verdigris CEO Mark Chung states, “Einstein makes it unbelievably…

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Bricks – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

In terms of sustainability and green building materials, brick is probably king. The process of making fired clay bricks has been around for over 5,000 years and just keeps getting greener. Today’s brick kilns use about 70 percent less energy to fire bricks than just 50 years ago. Brick is a term usually referring to red-colored, fired clay units composed of sand, lime, and soil containing clay or shale. Firing bricks in a kiln renders them one of the strongest…

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Blocks – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Blocks used for residential and commercial construction employ a wide variety of green building materials in their composition. The most popular and commonly used is the standard hollow concrete block, but there are many variations in shape, weight, and composition. Sand, cement, gravel, and water are the most commonly used elements in blocks, but there is a wide variety in the mix of materials used. This latest article in our series, the ABCs of Green Building Materials, explores the various…

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Urban SkyFarm Soaring With Sustainability

Revisiting an oldy-but-goody originally published on InspiredEconomist.com Inspired by the ecological system of giant trees, the Urban Skyfarm is a prototype vertical urban farm project. Designed to support local food production and distribution, it also improves environmental quality through water and air filtration and renewable energy production. Urban Skyfarm Places First in Concept Category First Place Winner in the 2013 Green Dot Awards Concept category, The Urban Skyfarm is a vertical farm design proposal for a site located in downtown…

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Bamboo – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Bamboo is a truly remarkable green building material. It’s twice as strong as concrete and slightly stronger than steel. It’s also a renewable resource that needs little energy to grow, prevents soil erosion, provides biomass, offers wildlife refuge, and produces a healthy food supply for both wildlife and humans. Offering significant remediation from the effects of climate change, bamboo produces more oxygen than other plants, and captures higher amounts of CO2. The first harvest can be taken in three to…

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An Eco-Lodge “Touching the Earth Lightly”

Originally published on EdenKeeper.org Constructed with an eagle’s loft in mind, a newly renovated eco-lodge in South Africa offers a bird’s-eye view from a well-feathered nest. Overlooking lush vistas of Kruger National Park wildlife refuge, the view is so vast you might easily be inspired to sing a hymn in praise of Creation. Singita Lebombo Eco-Lodge lets you sleep in an “eagle’s nest.” Credit: Singita.com Singita Lebombo Eco-Lodge Resort Singita Lebombo Eco-Lodge Resort resides within 33,000 acres of private game…

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Aluminum – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Used in a wide variety of ways in the building construction market, aluminum is a very versatile green building material, especially when it’s recycled. Everything from huge external building structures to delicate window blinds can be manufactured from this lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant metal. Doors, windows, and awnings are popular products made from this material, as well as parking canopies, warehouses, and other commercial outbuildings. Solar panels typically rely on low-weight aluminum framing components in solar installations on residential and commercial…

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The ABCs of Green Building Materials – Adobe (New Series!)

Green building materials are as diverse as Earth itself. Some of the most sustainable materials on the planet are modern inventions, and some are as old as the hills, like adobe. Familiarizing yourself with the best green building materials will help ensure your environmentally friendly projects enjoy sustainable success. Over the next several weeks, watch for new posts in GBE’s new series, “The ABCs of Green Building Materials.” If you have a project in mind highlighting any great green building…

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solar bus shelter SS35 by Team35

Top Prize Solar Bus Shelter Offers Rain Protection & More

The greatly-underestimated public bus shelter is the latest subject of a creative solar power makeover. When competition winners were announced on June 30, 2016, an innovative new set of designs entered the high-tech highway to solar-powered shelters. With solar-powered glow-in-the-dark lighting, the top prize-winning bus shelter offers way more than just protection from the rain. Promoting Climate Change Awareness Through Public Art The 2016 Design Competition for a Solar Powered Shelter was conducted by CoLLaboratoire, a Canadian non-profit organization based…

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Stress-Free Solar Panel Mounts for Tile Rooftops Shine at InterSolar

Launching the premier solar event in North America, Intersolar is spreading solar energy all over San Francisco this week from July 12 through 14. This is our continent’s most-attended solar event, with over 500 solar and energy innovations on exhibition. With so many great booths to explore, let’s just dive in and take a look at some cool new solar panel mounts that caught my eye. Quick Mount PV, a local manufacturer of solar panel mounts in Walnut Creek, is…

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