Mahlum's new Portland, Ore., office has been named the city's first project to achieve Petal certification in the International Living Future Institute's Living Building Challenge. This particular credential requires meeting stringent material transparency guidelines. As part of the effort to attain Petal certification, Mahlum vetted approximately 350 products for Red List compliance, diverted 94% of construction waste from landfills, sourced salvaged materials, and completed a 50-year life cycle assessment to achieve net-zero embodied carbon emissions. Located in a historic 1930s structure once occupied by the Custom Stamping and Manufacturing Co., Mahlum's office covers 7,500 square feet and hosts 50 employees. [Mahlum]

Rotterdam, Netherlands–based Shift Architecture Urbanism has published a design research project that allows local outdoor markets to operate, while respecting social distancing standards required to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The firm proposes dividing large markets into micromarkets that are opened throughout the week and organized by a 16-square grid that aligns with only three vendors. Each block can be occupied by only one person at a time, ensuring appropriate distance between customers. Only six people are permitted into the shopping area at a time to allow for movement. Shift recommends that vendors sell prepackaged parcels to limit time spent purchasing individual items. "The realization of the micromarket is easy and fast," Shift writes in a project description. "It only needs standard products for traffic and crowd control that each municipality has in stock. Finally, the assignment of the different stalls over specific places of the city should be coordinated by the municipalities in cooperation with the market managers of the existing markets." [Shift Architecture Urbanism]

A team led by researchers at MIT is developing a system to use Bluetooth signals from individual devices to track potential COVID-19 infections. The system enables users to upload "chirps" from their device to an online database anonymously, which other users can access to see if they have been exposed to a COVID-19-positive patient. “I keep track of what I’ve broadcasted, and you keep track of what you’ve heard, and this will allow us to tell if someone was in close proximity to an infected person,” said Ron Rivest, MIT Institute professor and principal investigator of the project, in a press release. “But for these broadcasts, we’re using cryptographic techniques to generate random, rotating numbers that are not just anonymous, but pseudonymous, constantly changing their ‘ID,’ and that can’t be traced back to an individual.” [MIT]

Researchers at Umeå University in Sweden have created stable, water-based graphene dispersions, paving the way for inks for printing, protective coatings, and conductive paints that utilize graphene, which is valued for its strong, flexible, and conductive properties. "What we get in the end is a thin film of conductive electrode material with rather high surface area, good conductivity, and excellent performance in storage of electricity in supercapacitors,” said associate professor of physics Alexandr Talyzin in a press release. [Umeå University]

Budapest, Hungary–based sustainable building materials company Platio has launched what it calls the first solar pavers for residential applications. The company's photovoltaic tiles can be walked on and even bear the weight of a car. According to Platio, a 20-square-meter (215-square-foot) unit of interlocking Plation Solar Pavers, which are made of recycled plastic, can generate almost all the annual energy required for an average household. [Platio]