Opportunity abounds as Washington builds the modern electricity grid

The Horn Rapids Solar, Storage, and Training Project—which would be the largest solar installation in Washington, and one of a relative few anywhere with a significant amount of energy storage incorporated—embodies a long chain of public and private sector efforts that have positioned the state, and the broader Pacific Northwest, as a leader in the grid modernization and energy storage industries.

Grid modernization—a broader term for what is also...

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What city ants can teach us about species evolution and climate change

What city ants can teach us about species evolution and climate change

By Yair Haklai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Acorn ants are tiny. They’re not the ants you’d notice marching across your kitchen or swarming around sidewalk cracks, but the species is common across eastern North America. In particular, acorn ants live anywhere you find oak or hickory trees: both in forests and in the hearts of cities.

That’s why they’re so interesting to Sarah Diamond, a biology professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. ...

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Birds versus buildings: Rural structures pose greater relative threat than urban ones

Birds versus buildings: Rural structures pose greater relative threat than urban ones

CC0 Public Domain: Maxpixel:

About one billion birds are killed every year when they unwittingly fly into human-made objects such as buildings with reflective windows. Such collisions are the largest unintended human cause of bird deaths worldwide — and they are a serious concern for conservationists.

A new paper published in June in the journal Biological Conservation finds that, as one might suspect, smaller buildings cause fewer bird deaths than do bigger buildings. But the research...

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Lake Union building earns awards for energy savings

Lake Union building earns awards for energy savings

Wikimedia Commons: CC Public Domain: Leonardo.Stabile

Henbart LLC announced recently that a year-long study led by the University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab confirmed that upgrading to View® Dynamic Glass technology in the Lake Union Building significantly saved energy and improved the tenant experience. The report verified annual energy savings of 17.7 percent or 351,604 kWh – roughly $28,000 a year or enough electricity to power 33 homes. The Lake Union Building is a 45-year old building located at 1700 Westlake Avenue N. along...

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New Seattle seawall aims to improve waterfront salmon habitat

New Seattle seawall aims to improve waterfront salmon habitat

CC BY-SA 2.0: Flickr: HJ_west

Seattle’s new $410 million downtown waterfront is also acting as a huge science experiment.If you walk the area from Colman Dock to the Seattle Aquarium, you’d notice glass panels lining the sidewalk.“I thought it was just something to make the pier pretty,” said Emily Fuller, who visiting Seattle with her family.

The panels actually form a light-penetrating sidewalk to make the waterfront more fish-friendly, specifically salmon coming...

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Urban Scholar Highlight: Christopher Meek

Urban Scholar Highlight: Christopher Meek

​Christopher Meek

Christopher Meek is a faculty member in University of Washington’s Department of Architecture and a director in the Integrated Design Lab in the Center for Integrated Design, located in the Bullitt Center. He teaches during the school year and the rest of his time is focused on research on high-performance buildings. We sat down with him to learn more about his work.

Urban@UW: What are your current research interests...

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Urban lifestyles help to protect the Puget Sound ecosystem

Urban lifestyles help to protect the Puget Sound ecosystem

Moore Ruble Yudell: Labeled for reuse

As the state of Washington estimates that the Puget Sound area will grow by more than 1.5 million residents within the next two decades. That is expected to have profound effects on the environment as more and more people move to undeveloped areas. Christopher Dunagan with the Puget Sound Institute explains why urban lifestyles help to protect both rural and urban habitat.

Continue Reading at Encyclopedia of the Puget Sound

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USGS, partners launch a unified, West Coast-wide earthquake early warning system

USGS, partners launch a unified, West Coast-wide earthquake early warning system

​Wikimedia commons: Arg : CC BY-SA 2.0

The U.S. Geological Survey and university, public and private partners held an event April 10 at the University of Washington to introduce the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning program as a unified, West Coast-wide system. The event also introduced the first pilot uses of the earthquake early warning in Washington and Oregon.

The first Pacific Northwest pilot users of the system are Bothell, Wash.-based RH2 Engineering, which will use the alerts to...

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The creation of the Burke-Gilman Trail

The creation of the Burke-Gilman Trail

Image Credit: Matthew Rutledge/Flickr, CC BY-2.0.

On Sunday, Sept. 12, 1971, hundreds of people began marching toward Matthews Beach Park along the shores of Lake Washington north of Sand Point. Families, couples, adults and senior citizens converged on the park in two streams – one from the south, one from the north. They marched there that sunny late-summer afternoon along old railroad tracks, on a route that dated to the 1880s. The “hike-in” and rally was organized by UW professor emeritus...

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First UW Livable City Year project reports delivered to the City of Auburn

First UW Livable City Year project reports delivered to the City of Auburn

Image Credit: UW Livable City Year

Teams of University of Washington students have been working throughout this academic year on livability and sustainability projects in the City of Auburn. The yearlong Livable City Year partnership has given students a chance to work on real-world challenges identified by Auburn, while providing Auburn with tens of thousands of hours of study and student work.

Livable City Year connects UW faculty with projects based in Auburn, which are then incorporated into...

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How future superstorms could overwhelm today’s wastewater infrastructure

How future superstorms could overwhelm today’s wastewater infrastructure

Image Credit: Robert Lawton - CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The current Seattle rainstorm, and many like it this year, are overwhelming our city’s wastewater pipes, and some sewage may be dumping into the Puget Sound as we speak. But even in a normal year, King County dumps about 800 million gallons of raw sewage into its waterways. That’s because, when it rains too much in too short a time, “pipes start to flow too full,” School of Public Health professor...

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Julian Agyeman: A Brief Reading List

Julian Agyeman: A Brief Reading List

Urban@UW and Julian Agyeman

Julian Agyeman, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, will be delivering a talk at the University of Washington on February 28 at 7:30pm. Agyeman was originally trained as an ecologist and biogeographer before turning to critical urban studies and environmental social science. Agyeman’s scholarship challenges basic notions of sustainability through his concept of ‘just sustainabilities,’ which aims to enhance equity and justice for both humans and ecosystems, now...

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New wood technology may offer hope for struggling timber

New wood technology may offer hope for struggling timber

Pixabay, Stux, CC0 Public Domain

John Redfield watches with pride as his son moves a laser-guided precision saw the size of a semi-truck wheel into place over a massive panel of wood.

Redfield’s fingers are scarred from a lifetime of cutting wood and now, after decades of decline in the logging business, he has new hope that his son, too, can make a career shaping the timber felled in southern Oregon’s forests.

That...

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December Recap - TC3, Urban Environmental Justice, Tech, and other Highlights

December Recap - TC3, Urban Environmental Justice, Tech, and other Highlights

David de la Cruz & Wikimedia, Joe Mabel, CC-BY-SA-3.0

December concludes a complicated year. The past month has seen a variety of changes, new research, and reflections on life in Seattle, the tech world, urban environmental justice, and our campus.

Urban@UW and Climate Impacts Group collaborated on the Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change symposium. Urban@UW published a reflection on the event’s conversation as well as a sample of resources pulled from the event’s guest...

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Reflections on Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change

Reflections on Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change

​Photo by: David de la Cruz

​On November 7th and 8th Urban@UW, in collaboration with the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group (CIG), hosted a symposium to begin transdisciplinary conversation on the multifaceted dynamics and consequences of Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change (UEJ). Below are some reflections from this event, and a sample of the resources we’ll be sharing from our time together.

Urban environmental justice has been impacting cities...

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