- 12/04/2017MAD and Stefano Boeri propose crinkled towers and vertical forests for Milan's disused railway yardswww.dezeen.com MAD, Stefano Boeri Architetti, Mecanoo are among five architecture studios to unveil proposals to completely transform unused railways across...
- 02/04/2017The best parts of design have yet to come... :-)A Circular Runway Could Be The Obvious Answer To More Efficient Airports | Fast Companywww.fastcompany.com According to research it could revolutionize air...
- 16/03/2017Mesmerizing Blue Light Makes Tasmanian Waters Glow
Bioluminescent plankton are responsible for the beautiful but troubling bloom.
A blue glow lighting up the waters off the shores of Tasmania has captivated photographers and onlookers ― but it’s also a troubling example of how rising ocean temperatures have disrupted marine ecosystems.
A mass of Noctiluca scintillans, a type of plankton, produced the bioluminescent glow known as “sea sparkle” this week on the north coast of the island.
- 08/03/2017Hammond ignores solar tax hike concerns in spring budget, Ross Hoareinsights.hyperionsearch.co.uk Incredibly disappointing that the Government have stuck to their guns on massive tax hikes on companies and school who have installed...
- 05/03/2017Arup | Publications | Deadline 2020: How cities will get the job donepublications.arup.com Deadline 2020: How cities will get the job done provides an analysis of the contribution that the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) cities need to make to deliver the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5...
- 27/02/2017Trump to sign executive orders rolling back Obama’s climate protection policies
The environment could be the next victim of President Donald Trump’s executive orders. The Washington Post reported that according to individuals briefed on the measure, Trump is seeking to curtail some of President Barack Obama’s policies on water pollution, coal and the environment through upcoming executive orders. Signing such orders would signal the Trump administration will work to champion the fossil fuel industry, regardless of the economic growth the country could see through renewable energy.
- 21/02/2017Straw Bale Buildings Are Carbon Neutral
A study by the Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland finds that straw bale buildings are carbon neutral. Engineer Adrien Chaussinand conducted extensive testing of ECO-46, a straw bale building that houses the Department of Parks and Gardens in Lausanne.
People often mistake straw bales for hay bales. The two are not the same. Straw bales used in construction require a powerful baler that applies even compression. The bales are very dense and weigh about 20 lbs per cubic foot. They behave like wood and do not catch fire easily. The tallest straw bale building is located in France, where straw bales are permitted for construction of public buildings. The oldest straw bale building is 112 years old and is located in Nebraska.
Thanks to the study, we now have conclusive proof that a straw bale building is one of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly structures available.
- 16/02/2017This smog-fighting music academy will have an air purifier as effective as 33,000 trees. The Polish city of Krakow has some of the worst air pollution in the world. In hopes of improving the city’s air quality, FAAB Architektura proposed a smog-fighting music academy fitted with a German air purification system that they say works effectively as 33,000 city trees. The music academy was designed as part of a larger “Krakow Music City” masterplan that envisions a largely car-free and environmentally friendly development atop a former military base.
Located between Krakow and the Vistula River, the proposed masterplan is designed to blend into the natural landscape with its vernacular wooden lap panel cladding and use of energy-efficient technologies. Around 1,300 square meters of a Green City Solutions-developed air purification product would be embedded in the music academy’s moss-covered rooftops. The special moss culture converts air pollutants into biomass.
- 01/02/2017The end of air conditioning? Asia architects use green solutions to cool buildings.
Spend five minutes in humid Ho Chi Minh City and you'll probably be running for cover into the nearest air-conditioned refuge.
In the Vietnamese city -- and many developing subtropical countries across Asia, such as Indonesia and the Philippines -- air conditioning (AC) is increasingly being considered a necessity.
But one architecture firm is advocating a different way to keep cool.
T3 Architecture Asia, which has offices in Vietnam and France, specializes in back-to-basics "bioclimatic architecture", which it says could make energy-guzzling AC units redundant.
By harnessing the local topography, climate, and vegetation, as well as cleverly manipulating a building's orientation, the firm can naturally create a comfortable indoor climate.
"It is crucial for all new building designs in cities to encompass bioclimatic architectural features," Myles McCarthy, director of implementation at the Carbon Trust consultancy and research firm, tells CNN.
"As demands in Asian cities for buildings -- both domestic and commercial -- increases, and the need for higher density living continues to climb with urban populations, it will be crucial to ensure this growth does not drive energy and water consumptions higher."
- 01/02/20178 surprising uses for hemp that could make the world a greener place -
Hemp isn’t just for hackin’ the sack at Phish shows or making rope. This amazing plant, a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis grown specifically for industrial purposes, has a vast number of applications for a greener planet. Cultivated hemp grows quickly in a wide variety of climates and does not degrade the soil in which it is grown.
Comments01/02/2017 #7 Chas ✌️ Wyatt#5 Yes, @Claire L Cardwell, it is ironic that in the U.S. farmers in the mid-west were encouraged to grow hemp to help with the war effort during WWII. (rope, cloth, cordage, etc.). The U.S. Dept. of agriculture even put out a film titled "Hemp for Victory". That is why in states such as Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, it has become naturalized and grows on its own accord. Competing industries such as cotton (clothing), timber and oil (oil from hemp is a great lubricant) demonized it to put it out of business and make it illegal.01/02/2017 #5 Claire L Cardwell@Chas ✌️ Wyatt It's incredible how many uses that Hemp has, you can make plastic, houses, electrical wires, bio fuel and even an aeroplane has been built! I can only imagine that it's been banned because of the competition with big business and the fact that it belongs to the Cannabis family. I read once that you would have to smoke nearly a ton of hemp in ten minutes to feel a very slight effect....01/02/2017 #3 Chas ✌️ Wyatt@Claire L Cardwell, thank you. There is a company in Canada which produces fiberboard from hemp that is more durable than fiberboard that is produced from woodchips. Also, I seen a hundred-year-old bible that was printed on paper made from hemp pulp and the pages were still white, unlike paper made from wood pulp which yellows and deteriorates after a short period of time.
- 31/01/2017RENEWABLE ENERGY PROVIDES 99% OF ALL NEW U.S. ELECTRICAL GENERATING CAPACITY IN OCTOBER 2013 - Renewable sources now account for nearly 16% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water – 8.30%, wind – 5.21%, biomass – 1.32%, solar – 0.59%, and geothermal steam – 0.33%. * This is more than nuclear (9.22%) and oil (4.06%) combined.RENEWABLE ENERGY PROVIDES 99% OF ALL NEW U.S. ELECTRICAL GENERATING CAPACITY IN OCTOBER 2013 - Green Building Elementsgreenbuildingelements.com solar, biomass, and wind "units" provided 694 MW of new electrical generating capacity last month or 99.3% of all new...
- 30/01/2017At blinged-out Trump hotels, 'green' isn't part of the brand.
The website for President Trump's 52-story Manhattan luxury hotel boasts the best rooms money can buy.
The five-star, five-diamond hotel, where room prices start at $400 a night, offers nanny services and provides each guest with a personal Trump attache. Guests can relax at the Trump spa or dine at Jean Georges, a Michelin 3-star "sophisticated New French eatery."
But while Trump's showcase hotel checks every box in terms of luxury, it's a laggard in one area — how efficiently it uses energy. The 397,000-square-foot building on the southwestern corner of Central Park scored an 8 on a scale of 1 to 100, according to the city of New York's most recent energy benchmarking data.
- 30/01/2017Speaker explores ways to develop a more sustainable community. Building green represents a “mindset” that does not necessarily come with a premium, says a leading expert in the field.
Thomas Mueller, founding director, president and chief executive officer of the Canada Green Building Council, made these comments last week, as he was preparing to speak during the second edition of Saanich Talks organized by the District of Saanich.
Titled “A liveable urban future” and held at Uptown shopping centre, the event explored ideas to develop a sustainable community.
As head of the Canada Green Building Council responsible for programs and standards such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Mueller spoke about the role of green buildings in transitioning to more sustainable communities, bringing real-life examples from other communities.
- 29/01/2017Trump forces environment agency to delete all climate change references from its websitewww.independent.co.uk The Trump administration is forcing the Environmental Protection Agency to delete all of its pages on climate change. The move comes as part of a much broader crackdown on postings by all agencies who track the effects of global warming on the...
- 28/01/2017Futuristic green city design runs like a real rainforest in Malaysia. If money were no object, what would the ideal city of the future look like? Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) answered that question with a spectacular design for the Forest City, a proposed masterplan for a new city in Malaysia. This 20-square-kilometer green smart city would be built around a central rainforest and mimic the forest’s ecosystem by adopting a closed loop system that reuses all its resources and controls out-flow.
Winner of the second place prize in an international design competition, the Forest City was created for a 24-hectare site and judged on its efficiency of land use, sensitivity to the environment, and inclusion of a landmark building that embodied the notion of a forest city. “Skylines across the world look the same—usually a couple of iconic towers in the center surrounded by lots of lesser quality buildings, which all resemble each other,” said Chris Bosse, director of LAVA. “Here we have designed an inverse city skyline where the icon of the city is a public space, not an object/building. Our central space is a Rainforest Valley and demonstrates the equation: PEOPLE = CITY. From an object to a place.”
The proposed city for 700,000 people would be located on reclaimed land between Malaysia and Singapore and include office towers, residential areas, parks, hotels, shopping malls, and an international school. The city is organized around a central public space, the Rainforest Valley, which is surrounded by a waterfall and serves as a visual reminder of the city as a three-dimensional ecosystem. The valley extends like fingers in five directions to represent the five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—as well as the five pillars of sustainability.
- Producer27/01/2017Green Building and Sustainability by Jack LakenOur climate is changing. A shift in the number of wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, and heavy rainfalls has been attributed to climate change. These changes have had an impact on agriculture and wildlife, including the introduction of new...
Comments27/01/2017 #1 Claire L CardwellHow Green Buildings Could Save Our Cities. As we become a more urban society, the number of buildings will rise. Here's why that may be a good thing. As the world’s urban population expands, architects and planners are mapping out ways to make cities more sustainable. Cities produce a vast amount of emissions and waste, putting a strain on both human and ecological health. But our buildings themselves may hold a solution. High-density urban areas—especially those built using green methods in design and construction—can be more energy efficient and pollute less. New research is also revealing that green buildings can actually be good for our health too. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/urban-expeditions/green-buildings/benefits-of-green-buildings-human-health-economics-environment/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_tw20170125env-UEX&utm_campaign=Content&sf52499851=1
- 26/01/2017More than 400 Architecture Firms address Donald Trump on Climate Change in an Open Letter - Right before Donald Trump’s inauguration last Friday, more than four hundred American architecture firms—such as Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Lake Flato, and ZGF Architects LLP—signed an open letter addressed to the incoming president regarding climate change, writes Allison Meier of Hyperallergic. The campaign was organized by the Chicago-based organization Architects Advocate, which formed in September.
The letter asks that Trump, who has denied that climate change exists, commit himself to finding more sources of renewable energy, providing funding for renewable energy technologies, and honoring the Paris Climate Agreement. Right before leaving office, Barack Obama transferred $500 million to the Green Climate Fund. This subsidy goes toward the $3 billion Obama promised on behalf of the agreement—the US currently owes $2 billion more, according to The Guardian. It is now up to Trump as to whether or not the full agreement will be met.
In the letter, the architects state that they “are dedicated to creating healthy, productive, and safe communities for all” in a “way that is economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable.” Trump nominated Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has spoken out against the government regulating water and air pollution
- 24/01/2017Colorado man builds state’s most energy efficient house - Passive House is a globally-recognized building design technique that promises huge cuts in energy use for any kind of building in any climate. In a nutshell, the Passive House Design strategy relies on airtight buildings, super insulation, fresh air exchange and precise energy modeling. To read more go to:- http://inhabitat.com/colorado-man-single-handedly-builds-states-most-energy-efficient-house/
- 14/12/2016Google just announced that it will be fully powered by renewables before the end of 2017. The tech giant has been growing its solar and wind investments over the years, and is now making a final push to achieve 100 percent renewable energy through additional purchases. Google initially announced its 100-percent goal in 2012, and this week’s announcement confirms the company will hit the target next year. http://inhabitat.com/google-says-it-will-run-entirely-on-renewable-energy-by-next-year/
Comments14/12/2016 #2 Randy KehoThese wind farms are generating a lot of controversy in my neck of the woods, which is northern Illinois.
There's a large one that's been in operation for a few years that stretches for miles across some of the best farmland in the world. It's a very rural area.
They were able to get enough farmers to allow the turbines to be built in the middle of their fields to make it profitable. The independent farmers rent the land to the organization, partly due to the competition they face from "corporate" farming groups. Just like any other small business, it's getting more and more difficult to compete against the big boys.
However, entire communities are now banding together to oppose these large wind farms because they're beginning to encroach upon their city limits. They don't make much noise, just a continual "swoosh," but no one wants to look out their window are see a forest of these turbines.
One recently proposed wind farm has been turned away, forced to look elsewhere.
I used to have two of these turbines virtually in my backyard during the mid-80s. My yard bumped up against land owned by a community college. They were hoping to reduce their energy costs by becoming self-sufficient.
However, the area failed to generate enough wind to make it feasible, and, after 20 years of sitting dormant, they were sold and removed.
They were also not much more than prototypes, and were shutdown for maintenance and repair more often than they were in operation. It was like a science project.
- 12/12/2016Sweden’s famed ICEHOTEL, perhaps the “coolest” hotel in the world, has just unveiled a permanent luxury lodge made entirely of ice. The newly-designed ICEHOTEL 365 has all of the chilly charm of its sister hotel, but will be open 365 days a year thanks to state-of-the-art solar-powered cooling technology that will keep the structure frozen during summer months. http://inhabitat.com/swedens-new-icehotel-365-uses-solar-cooling-to-stay-open-all-year-round/
- 07/12/2016Non-profit organization OHorizons recently created an innovative BioSand Filter that can deliver clean water at 1/10th of the cost of traditional methods. The filter hinges upon an open-source Wood Mold that can be easily built by anyone using the construction manual, which is available for free online.
The team of technical, social, and commercial professionals at OHorizons creates simple, easily implemented, low-tech applications that empower communities without the need for external capital or expertise.When designing new products, they follow certain principles to ensure wide adoption. The design must be simple, low-cost, locally sourced, flexible to meet the needs of different communities, and open-source (available to the public, non-proprietary). As such, the Wood Mold is accessible by anyone via the open-source, online construction manual. Literacy, technical skills, or electricity is not required, though the user needs some way to acquire the blueprint. OHorizons collaborates with local organizations that are already active in local community development, including LEDARS Bangladesh, which supports the construction and distribution of the Wood Mold manual in that country. OHorizons also supports projects in Ecuador, Kenya, and Mali.
Over the past year and a half, over 400 people or organizations have downloaded the Wood Mold Construction Manual to create their own locally sourced BioSand filters. As a result of these distributed Wood Molds and the collaborative work to utilize them, 5,500 people have gained access to sustainable safe drinking water access in their homes in 2016. Based on their success so far, OHorizons has set the ambitious goal of providing 1 million people in Bangladesh with safe drinking water access, via the Wood Mold BioSand filters, by 2021.
- 06/12/2016Scientists blend photosynthesis and quantum physics to improve solar cells. Four physicists at the University of California, Riverside decided to blend photosynthesis and quantum physics to work towards greener solar cells. Plants effectively regulate energy flow from the sun, but since current affordable man-made solar cells hover around just 20 percent efficiency, the scientists decided to take cues from vegetation.
Current solar cells require feedback controllers and voltage converters to manage fluctuations in the amount of energy streaming from the sun, and end up wasting loads of energy. Their lack of efficiency is one hurdle standing in the way of mass adoption. But plants don’t need such hindering mechanisms. The UC Riverside team decided to reevaluate solar energy conversion in light of both photosynthesis’ efficiency and quantum physics principles.
The physicists created what UC Riverside calls a novel kind of quantum heat engine photocell, a device that assists in the sunshine-to-electricity conversion process. Their new photocell draws on two quantum mechanical photocell systems that absorb either one or two colors of light, allowing the photocell to alternate between absorbing light at high and low power. According to UC Riverside, this innovation could allow a photocell to “convert varying levels of solar power into a steady-state output.”
For UC Riverside assistant professor Nathan Gabor, who took part in the research, the journey to a better solar cell started in 2010 with the simple question, “Why are plants green?” He found out no one truly understands why, and decided to search for an answer. His quest, drawing on his physics background melded with deeper study into biology, may unlock the secrets to a more effective solar cell.
Comments06/12/2016 #2 Ken Boddie#1 Thanks for this interesting article, Claire. I'm still experiencing some of the ups and downs of the solar industry here in Oz and have worked my way through a few 'cowboy' installers. But it looks like the future is looking much better than my so called 'state of the art' investment for my own roof 5 years ago. My solar panels are doing well but it seems that they work most efficiently at low temperature. Daytime temperatures here in Queensland average in the upper twenties (Celsius) for most of the year and get up into the thirties in the summer, but when we get an occasional 10 degrees or less at night time, then the power spike when they start up at dawn can cause damage to the inverter. I'm now on my third inverter but have now hopefully found an installation/maintenance company with sustainable knowledge and performance to mqtch the sustainable energy concept. Looking forward to the high and low power absorption concept becoming commercial reality, although I can't pretend to understand the photosynthesis / quantum physics solar principles.
- 04/12/2016Turning roads green with solar powermoney.cnn.com The Netherlands tried it when they built the world's first solar bike path in 2014 and now France wants to move it into the fast lane. French Energy Minister SÃ©golÃ¨ne Royal is planning on building 1,000 kilometers of solar road over the next five...
- 03/12/2016Mushrooms are good for so much more than just eating. Ecovative, the company behind Mushroom Packaging, has teamed up with cement-growing company bioMASON to create classy furniture grown entirely from microorganisms and mushrooms. Living organisms are put to work to create the sustainable mushroom furniture in radically innovative processes. Ecovative and bioMASON’s furniture is grown – with mushrooms, microorganisms, and agricultural waste – and consumes far less energy than traditional furniture manufacturing. The pieces draw on Ecovative’s use of mycelium for the legs, and on bioMASON’s biocement, grown with a little help from bacteria, for the marble-like tabletops on the duo’s Tafl Table and King’s Table. The resulting furniture is toxin-free. To read more go to:- http://inhabitat.com/furniture-grown-from-bacteria-and-mushrooms-is-now-available-for-purchase/
Comments05/12/2016 #5 Lada 🏡 PrkicThe concept of cultivation the materials is revolutionary. The new building materials are made from yeast, bacteria, mould, mushrooms...... The possibilities for applications are endless, from architecture and construction to the ordinary, everyday objects. An appropriate article for the Interesting Engineering, Technology and Discoveries hive. :)03/12/2016 #2 Chas ✌️ Wyatt#1 @Claire L Cardwell, I actually find their original product and direction more interesting- using mycelium as packing material for shipping which is bio-degradable, as opposed to the petroleum products such as styrofoam and bubble wrap which stays in land-fills for years. I hope the company doesn't lose direction. I thought their original idea was brilliant.
Sustainable Design~ 100 buzzes
Sustainable design (also called environmental design, environmentally sustainable design, environmentally conscious design, etc.) is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability.