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Women learning how to integrate circuit boards for solar lights at Barefoot College in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Photograph: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images Tens of millions of new jobs can be created around the world in the next two decades if green policies are put in place to switch the high-carbon economy to low-carbon, the UN has said. Between 15m and 60m additional jobs are likely, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) . These are net gains in employment for the world economy, taking into account any job losses in high-carbon industries that fail to transform.
By David Derbyshire Last updated at 10:15 PM on 11th June 2008 You've heard of the factory chicken. Now meet the factory vegetable. Grown in their millions in trays of nutrient-enriched water inside a heated, artificially-lit greenhouse large enough to house ten football pitches, they are as far as you can get from 'natural' home-grown food. But this week, workers are putting the finishing touches to Britain's largest hydroponic greenhouse - an astonishing construction in white steel and glass. Massive: 'Thanet Earth' will cover 91 hectares of land in Kent.
Jason McClennan is the CEO of the International Living Future Institute , the organization that runs the Living Building Challenge--a green building standard that goes far beyond LEED and perhaps every other performance standard for the built environment (the first Living Buildings were certified in 2010). The recently revised standard consists of seven "petals"--or performance areas--for buildings: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity, and beauty. Within those performance areas are a number of imperatives, including healthy air, appropriate sourcing, urban agriculture, net zero water and energy, and social justice. I spoke to McLennan about the future of living buildings at the recent Living Future Unconference .
GP in Wales
Water is everywhere, but there’s hardly a drop to drink. The vast majority of the Earth’s surface is either arid or salty ocean. Only 2.5% of our planet’s water resources are fresh, and just a tiny tiny fraction (0.007%) of that is available for direct human use. Yet one of the largest sources of water is around us every day: the air. Even our deserts are awash in moist air. Israel’s Negev hits an annual average relative humidity of 64%.
The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development has created an air-conditioned greenhouse which uses alternative energies to reduce the costs of energy while also improving the energy efficiency and increasing crop yields. The greenhouse uses a biomass boiler and thermodynamic solar panels to reach an optimum temperature for crop growth without using fuels derived from petroleum oil or gas. The boiler uses wood and other organic waste as fuel, along with thermodynamic panels to air condition the greenhouses used for intensive crop cultivation. By doing this, the Basque Institute has managed to reduce the costs while producing seasonal crops to be harvested throughout the year. The Institute seeks to find an alternative to the usual diesel or heating oil boilers, which emit a high amount of CO2 into the atmosphere and are costly to the farmer due to the high price of petroleum oil-derived fuels.