U.S. Green Building Council Approves Sustainability Studies Courses Offered by UC Berkeley Extension

UC Berkeley Extension recently announced its new designation as a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Education Provider. USGBC sets the standards for the green building industry in the United States and abroad through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System certification program. UC Berkeley Extension is the first continuing education program at the University of California, and one of the few public continuing education programs in the country, to offer USGBC-approved course credits.

With the Obama administration’s budget proposal this week for $2.4 billion in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs—and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ prediction of a 30 percent growth over the next decade in top green jobs such as mechanical engineer, environmental engineer, environmental educator, and landscape architect—the demand is growing among professionals for more green industry education.

The UC Berkeley Extension sustainability courses approved by USGBC are designed to meet that growing demand. They include advanced courses in solar, sustainable construction, renewable energy, transportation, clean technology, and sustainability leadership and management. All USGBC-approved courses are rigorously peer-reviewed and approved for credit toward LEED Professional Credentialing Maintenance.

UC Berkeley Extension’s Sustainability Studies program includes more than 60 courses for professionals in emerging green industries. The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability in a broad range of important areas including green building design and construction, LEED, solar and renewable energy, climate change and land use planning, and clean technologies. This spring, UC Berkeley Extension offers several new sustainability studies courses, as well as two new specialized programs of study: Leadership in Sustainability and Environmental Management and Solar Energy and Green Building.

[SOURCE: PRnewswire]

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Wetlands restored after long term acid runoff

Australian scientists have announced the world’s first successful large-scale restoration of a coastal wetland being devastated by acid runoff.

The acid crisis at East Trinity began in the 1970s, when developers drained and cleared 800 hectares of tidal wetland to grow sugarcane. This dried out underlying acid sulfate soils causing them to release slugs of acid whenever they were soaked by rain, leading to fish kills and loss of wetlands which alarmed local residents.

A dramatic improvement in environmental conditions has been achieved by researchers working on the trial Hills Creek catchment at the East Trinity site near Cairns in Queensland, using a combination of natural tidal action and strategic treatment with lime.

Mangrove and wetlands are returning, birdlife is flocking to the area and fish abound in creeks that once ran so acid that nothing could survive in them.  Having first demonstrated success in the trial catchment, remediation is underway on the remainder of the site.

[SOURCE: CRCCARE -World-first clean-up of acid wetlands]

Continue reading Wetlands restored after long term acid runoff

Calls for Collaboration between professions

Susan Szenasy posted on Metropolis an article titled “United We Stand” in which she recalls some government officials giving encouragement at a recent NeoCon East annual trade show that there is “a new day for government design”. Szeasy goes on to talk about the importance to design of the recent $5.5 billion allocation to General Services Administration and the Department of Defense’s $7.4 billion reconfiguration funding.

However the point I found most interesting in Szenasy’s article was the GSA signing of a new accord with AIA, ASLA, IIDA; in which they have pledged to collaborate to achieve design excellence. I find this encouraging that professional associations have come together.

Currently, there is change occurring not just in the short-term with the Global Financial Crisis, but it seems more and more that sustainability, the environment, and climate change is becoming more important to the world. I feel that we need to move forward with new ideas and be armed with new tools especially in the area of urban design where cities are shrinking in the USA, new eco-towns are being built in the UK and new mega-cities are being designed and constructed in China, India, and Africa. Now is the best time to seek out other disciplines for collaboration not just for the networking and possible work opportunities but for the greater good of the profession. As Landscape Architects I know we often seek collaboration with other disciplines whether they are internal or external of our companies, however I think that as we head towards a new decade we should make more of a commitment to further collaborate with other professions to improve your knowledge and their knowledge so that together we can create a better future.

By Damian Holmes

Read the full article that inspired this post at the [SOURCE: Metropolis – United We Stand]

Construction begins on world’s longest cross-sea bridge

Shanghai Daily reports

CONSTRUCTION of the worlds longest cross-sea bridge linking Chinas southern economic hub of Guangdong Province to Hong Kong and Macau began yesterday, a project expected to strengthen economic ties.Starting from Lantau Island off the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Y-shaped Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will have a total length of almost 50 kilometers(31 miles), of which about 35km(21 miles) will be built over the sea, making it the longest of its kind, according to Zhu Yongling, an official in charge of the projects construction.

The bridge is going to cost 73 billion yuan ($10.3billion USD)

read more at the SOURCE:  Shanghai Daily – Sea bridge goes long way to link key zones

4 rivers project facing opposition from green groups

South Korea has recently had a ground breaking for a large scale remaking of the four major rivers known as the Han, Nakdong, Yeongsan and Geum. The project includes dredging of the rivers and construction of dikes, reservoirs and hydro-dams whilst creating parks, bikeways, and water recreation areas. This is a major undertaking by South Korea and its President Lee Myung-bak, Lee has a successful track record with rehabilitating rivers as it was during his term as Mayor of Seoul that the successful rehabilitation of 5.8km Cheonggyecheon River occurred.

The Four Rivers Project is expected to cost $19.2 billion USD and is expected to increase the water quality and flood control of the rivers which are somewhat polluted. 400 green groups have filed suit against the project to halt its progress based on environmental grounds including disruption to the ecosystem. The political opposition have joined with the green groups in opposing the project, however the government has countered that thorough environmental studies show minimal distrubance will occur and project will bring great economic benefits to the region.

SOURCES: The Chosun Ilbo – 4-Rivers Project Passes Nat’l Assembly Committee
Arirang – Groundbreaking Ceremony for 4 River Restoration Project Held
New York Times – River Project Fuels Competing Claims of Green

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The Chosun Ilbo – Historic Village to Be Spared in 4-Rivers Project
The Chosun Ilbo – Compensation under 4-Rivers Project to Start Next Month

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