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World’s Largest Indoor Vertical Garden Comes to the Garden State

The AeroFarms facility is bringing millions of pounds of leafy greens, and dozens of green jobs, to Newark.

AerFarms anticipated corporate HQ.

The tri-state area may be in the middle of what some in the Yiddish speaking community call a “massive shvitz” (learn the word, it will come in handy), but that isn’t stopping Newark mayor Ras J. Baraka from going out and getting down and dirty with nature. Tomorrow Baraka, along with acting governor Guadagno, will break ground for the world’s largest indoor vertical farm at the AeroFarms Headquarters at 212 Rome Street.

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Can the Promise of No Electric Bills Sell Retirees on Green Living?

Rather than advertising energy-efficiency features, a leading home builder and solar installer are pitching the effect—no electric bill, ever.


An average American's greenhouse gas emissions begin to decrease around age 60. Retirees aren’t struck by a sudden commitment to the environment, but because they're not working full-time, they drive less. They might buy fewer clothes. They move into a smaller house. Now, two companies are betting that the promise of ditching electric bills for the rest of their lives will compel them to choose a net-zero energy house, too.

A partnership between Solar City, a leading solar installer, and Shea Homes, one of the country’s largest privately-owned home building companies, will install panels on homes in Shea’s communities targeted towards retirees. The houses are decked out with a whole slate of energy-efficiency features, but rather than selling those amenities, Shea is selling the effect, calling it "the no electric bill home." "Who doesn't want clean energy that's less expensive than buying from a utility?" says Walter Cuculic, Solar City’s national manager of home builder programs.

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Why Historic Buildings Are Greener Than LEED-Certified New Ones

For buildings of comparable size and use, old buildings are almost always the greenest buildings.


Buildings eat up a huge amount of energy—about two-fifths of the country’s total use—so to suppress their appetite for power, efficiency entrepreneurs are churning out a suite of nifty technologies, like automatically shading windows, smarter thermostats, and high-tech heating and cooling systems. But a new report from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Green Lab concludes that constructing new, energy-efficient buildings almost never saves as much energy as renovating old ones.

Renovated buildings outperformed new buildings on energy savings in every category: single-family homes, multifamily complexes, commercial offices, “urban village” mixed-use structures, and elementary schools. Though the conclusion may seem counterintuitive in an age of ambitious LEED standards in many new buildings, consider that it uses more energy and creates more impact to construct an entirely new building than to fix up one of the same size for the same purpose. The only exception to the lab’s finding was converting a warehouse to a multi-family dwelling, which required enough extra materials that creating a new building was the greener choice.

The report doesn’t take into account the costs associated with renovations and new construction, but green builders say fixer-uppers are often the more economical choice, too. “It costs less to take an existing building and renovate that to build a new one, at least on the projects I’ve worked on,” says Helen Kessler, a board member of the Illinois chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. She cautions, though, that these comparisons vary from building to building: “There’s always an “it depends” about this."

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To Heat a Greenhouse, Add Some Chickens

At Vermont’s Green Mountain College, students designed and built a chicken coop that helps heat the college farm's greenhouse.

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