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As Coastal Flooding Worsens, Some Cities Help Residents Relocate

When the tide gets exceptionally high in Charleston, South Carolina, coastal streets start to run with seawater. Some yards become ponds, and residents pull on rain boots. The city also gets a lot of rain. After homes in one low-lying neighborhood flooded three times in four years, the city offered to buy out 32 flood-prone town homes and turn the land back into open space that can be used for managing future floodwater. It’s a strategy coastal cities from Virginia to California are contemplating more often as tidal flooding increases with sea level rise. Cities all along the U.S. coasts…

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Current Obsessions: Full-On Summer

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DOE Light Bulb Delays Waste $300 Million a Month

The Department of Energy has taken the long awaited first step toward implementing the statutorily required phaseout of inefficient incandescent light bulbs. The phaseout was due to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 but was rolled back due to illegal actions taken by the Trump administration. Each month of additional delay results in the ongoing sales of inefficient incandescent light bulbs costing consumers nearly $300 million in lost utility bill savings over the bulbs’ lifetime and result in another 800,000 tons of easily avoided carbon emissions, according to a recent analysis by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). In…

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The Curator’s Apartment: A Design-Led Holiday Retreat in Bath

The Curator’s Apartment is a pared-back, art-filled holiday rental in the center of Bath that doubles as an artistic retreat. It is the first design-led rental created by Tina Liu, who—after a decade-long career in the City—is now a property developer intent on creating individually crafted spaces for passing travelers seeking ease and authenticity. Above: A view of Walcot Street. Tina lived and studied in Bath as a teenager and has been captivated by its elegance ever since. The light-filled apartment is situated on Walcot Street—a historic road lined with independent shops and antique emporiums. Taking this setting as inspiration,…

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Kindred House, a New, Creative Coastal Retreat in Margate, England

Kindred House, on England’s southeast coast, is Margate’s newest guest house and a place that has been inspired by the shore along which it sits. In fact, when I asked the owner, Natasha Lawless, to share some images of the project, she responded with a selection of elemental landscapes and details from her surroundings: a close-up of the erosion holes in a slab of chalk, graphic rock formations, a piercing sunset, and a thick carpet of seaweed. Above: The Rie Room, one of two restored rooms in Kindred House. “The concept of Kindred House is an idea I have had…

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Rental Efficiency Standards Are a Win for Equity and Climate

COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturn have turned the existing housing crisis from bad to worse. Renters in more than 8 million homes are behind on payments, and as they struggle to make ends meet, utility bills further burden tenants. Compounding this problem is a lack of energy efficiency in rental homes, which is both an equity and environmental crisis. On May 10, the City of Burlington, Vermont, took a step that will help renters to both lower their costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Burlington City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that sets minimum energy efficiency standards for…

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