November 25, 2016

Boycott against ING over Dakota pipeline rallies Dutch Facebook users

Filed under: Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 1:19 pm

ing-boycott-facebookOver the past few days, stuck among the daily river of memes, one stood out because friends were making a commitment: they were going to cancel their account with Dutch consumer bank ING over the bank’s investments in the controversial Dakota pipeline.

Frances Ro started talking to ING on their Facebook page and made a very simple demand: “Show me that you’re on the right side of history. Prove that you won’t let large interests stand in the way of a livable planet. Let’s say that we’ll find a solution before 1 January. If not, I’ll be your ex-customer from that day on.”

Ro’s problems with ING’s investment are that the Dakota pipeline allegedly endangers the drinking water of millions of people and destroys territory that is culturally significant to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. According to her, ING has invested 250 million USD in the project.

ING ummed and ahed in response, suggesting they were hoping the controversy would go away by itself: “We have confidence in the proper administration of justice and the careful consideration of the case by the US government.”

The bank seems to have found itself in a perfect storm. Together with ABN Amro and Rabobank it is one of the big three consumer banks in the Netherlands. Lately, savings banks like ASN and Triodos (who claim to only invest in sustainable projects) have branched out into the payment business and new banks like Knab (owned by insurer Aegon) have also been nipping at their feet. Consumers have stayed loyal so far to to the banks that lured them in during their childhood, until now they’ve found a reason to switch to more modern banks. The joint banks even have a service that should make switching banks as easy as possible.

So far Ro’s plea got shared well over a 1,000 times, with several people reporting they’ve already abandoned ING.

(Illustration: screenshot of Ro’s Facebook post)

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November 12, 2016

World’s most sustainable uni building in Eindhoven

Filed under: Architecture,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:08 pm

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The main building of the Eindhoven University of Technology plans to have “the most sustainable university building in the world” and it will be called ‘Atlas’. Once it is entirely renovated in the summer of 2018, the building’s previous gas connection will have been replaced by a geothermal system which will work with solar panels to provide energy to supply most of the building’s power.

The building will also feature smart LED lighting, controllable by users by way of an app, as well as a triple-glazed curtain wall paired with interior sun blinds, and a ‘night flush’ system that will side windows outwards during summer nights in order to cool the building and purify the air.

(Link: www.archdaily.com, Image by www.tue.nl)

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October 26, 2016

Dutch firm unveils new clear air filter

Filed under: Dutch first,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 6:30 am

At the two-day Offshore Energy 2016 Exhibition & Conference in Amsterdam this week, the Dutch Envinity Group from Den Helder, North Holland unveiled what they called “the world’s first giant outside air vacuum cleaner”, a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic fine particles from the atmosphere around the machine.

The system is said to be able to suck in air from a 300-metre radius and from up to seven kilometres upwards. It can treat about 800,000 cubic metres of air an hour, filtering out 100 percent of fine particles and 95 percent percent of ultra-fine particles, the company said, referring to tests carried out by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) on its prototype.

Fine particles are caused by burning wood and other fuels as well as industrial combustion, adversely affecting our health, according to the European Environment Agency. As well, about 90 percent of EU residents are exposed to levels of such particles, which can cause cancer.

On a much smaller scale, there’s also the smaller air-purifying system called the ‘Smog Free Tower’ that was installed in Beijing last month by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde.

(Link: phys.org, Photo of a particulate polluted Shanghai sky by Wikimedia Commons user Saperaud, some rights reserved)

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September 16, 2016

In Rotterdam parking spots turn into parks for a day

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 2:13 pm

Today Rotterdam is celebrating Park(ing) Day, which sounds like a lot of pun fun. The city of Rotterdam is letting people take over a parking spot for free and camp out on it, as if it were a park. And to sweeten the deal, the rules of a park apply to the parking spot.

Park(ing)Day is part of Happy Streets, yet another let’s-use-English-rather-than-Dutch named event (where ‘happy’ often sounds like ‘hippie’ when some Dutch people pronounce it) lasting the entire weekend in order to promote ‘sustainable mobility and a better use of public spaces’.

The city will also feature yet another let’s-give-it-an-English-name-to sound-cool event called Walk’in Rotterdam, where people can take a stroll along various uncommon parts of the city with a knowledgeable guide who I bet will tell their stories in the country’s main language.

And Sunday is another why-use-Dutch-go-for-English event called Open Streets when streets will be car-free and feature other merriment.

Yes, this is a picture of Amsterdam.

(Link: www.ad.nl)

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July 19, 2016

One step closer to slave-free chocolate

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 5:35 pm

We wrote to you ages ago about famous Dutch chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely trying very hard to produce 100% slave-free chocolate, and now they are one step closer thanks to a collaboration with French-Belgian chocolate company Callebaut.

Callebaut will install a cacao butter tank with fully traceable cacao beans just for Tony’s Chocolonely, which they say is a milestone in chocolate production. This improvement means that as of November 2016 the chocolate bars of this Amsterdam-based company will only be made from traceable cacao beans.

Read more about it because it is a very cool story and check out the video. And if anyone has any limited edition with the pop sugar in it that they don’t want for some reason, hit me up.

(Link: nieuws.nl)

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July 15, 2016

World’s biggest green façade on Venlo building

Filed under: Architecture,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:49 pm

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Rotterdam architectural firm Kraaijvanger has built the new city hall in Venlo, which claims to have the greenest façade in the world measuring two thousand square metres.

A greenhouse above the building purifies the air and can deliver heat to the entire building. The green façade purifies air from the nearby road and railway. According to Kraaijvanger, tests in labs of the Eindhoven University of Technology have proven that the façade filters 30% of nitrogen and carbon dioxide from the air.

As well, the building has applied many sustainable techniques such as using the parking garage to either warm up the air or cool it down, depending on the weather. It also catches and filters rainwater before flowing back into the Maas river and makes optimal use of daylight.

Venlo’s new city hall is entirely energy neutral and has been built following the cradle-to-cradle design concept.

(Link: www.binnenlandsbestuur.nl, Photo: Kraaijvanger)

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July 8, 2016

Dutch students set world record with solar-powered boat

Filed under: Dutch first,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 3:03 pm

Solar-Boat

This week, the Delft University of Technology’s Solar Boat Team has set a world record of 50.5 kilometres per hour on Day 5 of the Dutch Solar Challenge in Drachten, Friesland. There wasn’t any previous record, making this a sweet victory for the students.

This world record will also be added to the Guinness World Records as the first record ever set for a solar-powered boat. Second place in the challenge was 42 kilometres per hour set by a team from Leeuwarden, Friesland and 30,3 kilometres per hour was clocked by a team from Slochteren, Groningen.

The Delft team also won ook the innovation award thanks to the technology it used, which included two hydrofoils placed one behind another instead of next to each other, which had the boat ‘skating over the water’.

(Link: tweakers.net, photo: www.solarboatteam.nl)

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June 27, 2016

One step closer to cleaning up the oceans

Filed under: Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:42 pm

Boyan Slat, the young Dutch inventor who came up with an inventive way of cleaning up the oceans, has recently unveiled the prototype of his ‘ambitious sea-cleaning device’ in Scheveningen, South Holland.

“Why move through the ocean if the ocean can move through you?” Slat asked at a press conference during the unveiling. He plans to use a 100-kilometre long V-shaped barrier made up of large, rubber pillow-shaped buoys floating on the ocean surface that trail a three-metre long curtain from its arms into the water.

Slat hopes to fully roll out the system in 2020, which could capture up to 3,000 cubic metres of plastic soup. Find out more at The Ocean Clean Up.

(Link: phys.org, Photo: screenshot of Tedx presentation)

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June 17, 2016

Denim tents set up at Oerol festival

Filed under: Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

denim-tent

For Oerol, a cultural festival on the island of Terschelling held annually in June, the very first BlueCAMP jeans tents will be set up, although they are not yet available for purchase. The tents are said to be water-resistant, can breathe, and are made from 25% old denim, with the hopes of that percentage going up in the future. Their ground sheets are made of Recuppasta, a sustainable plastic made from old bits of tarpaulin.

The entire complicated process of recycling people’s old denim is done in the Netherlands and Belgium. Apparently, the average Dutch person has six pairs of jeans in their wardrobe, and earlier this year we told you about the country’s denim obssession, which means collecting old denim in the lowlands at festivals sounds like a plan.

(Link and photo: www.bright.nl)

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May 1, 2016

Inventor of bike sharing explains why his plan never caught on in Amsterdam

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 4:59 pm

white-bikes-hoge-veluwe-ellywaAlthough bike share systems are increasingly popular all over the world, they have failed to catch on in Amsterdam, the city where bike sharing was invented.

British newspaper The Guardian asked the inventor of bike sharing, Luud Schimmelpennink, about the reason behind this lack of popularity.

In the mid-1960s members of the Provo movement were asking all kinds of questions of the Dutch establishment (the name Provo stands for provocation) and they were not liking the answers they were getting. Young engineer Luud Schimmelpennink was tackling the question of personal transport. In 1965 he proposed and implemented an alternative to the “gaudy and filthy motor car”, the white bicycle.

Schimmelpennink envisioned bikes that weren’t locked and that would be left wherever their riders needed to be. Provo painted 20 bicycles white and left them in the city, but these bikes were promptly impounded by the police.

“The first Witte Fietsenplan was just a symbolic thing,” Schimmelpennink told the Guardian last week. “We painted a few bikes white, that was all. Things got more serious when I became a member of the Amsterdam city council two years later.”

“My idea was that the municipality of Amsterdam would distribute 10,000 white bikes over the city, for everyone to use. I made serious calculations. It turned out that a white bicycle – per person, per kilometre – would cost the municipality only 10% of what it contributed to public transport per person per kilometre.”

The council soundly rejected his plan and told him that they saw a great future for the private motor car. This inspired Schimmelpennink to work on his White Car Plan instead – still using clean(ish) energy.

There is a phrase in Dutch – de wet van de remmende voorsprong, meaning ‘the law of the handicap of a head start’. The fact that Amsterdam was the first to experiment with bike sharing perhaps helps explain why it is late in its implementation. Or perhaps Amsterdam doesn’t need a bike share scheme, because everybody either owns a bike or can readily rent one from OV Fiets or the many bike shops in the city.

Schimmelpennink’s vision wasn’t wasted though, as he inspired other cities throughout the world to implement their own bike sharing schemes. And even his own plan got implemented, just not in Amsterdam. The Hoge Veluwe nature reserve has bikes that have been painted white and that are free to use. The program started in 1974 with 50 bikes and exists to this day. It currently consists of 1,800 bicycles.

(Photo of white bicycles in Hoge Veluwe by Ellywa, some rights reserved)

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