This cozy cottage sits on stilts made out of recycled gas pipes

January 31, 2017 by  
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This year-round cottage on stilts in Canada , designed for a couple and their son, floats above a lakeside site prone to flooding  and freeze-thaw weathering. Architecture firm DIN Projects designed the cottage as a vertical wood platform structure that overlooks Lake Winnipeg on stilts made out of recycled gas pipes. The owners obtained the cottage lot through the provincial cottage lot lottery system. The site has Lake Winnipeg frontage, but the regulations limit how close to the water the owner can build. The site was problematic due to flooding and the porous nature of the shallow layer of overburden. This is why the architects opted for stilts made from recycled gas pipes , with foundations drilled into the subterranean bedrock. Related: Casa Quebrada is a tiny treehouse-like haven immersed in the Chilean forest The house has three floors connected with a stair that winds around each floor plate. The wooden frame, studs and plywood sheathing are left exposed in the interior. Internal ducting helps provide fresh air and distributes it vertically. The main heating source is a cast iron stove in the center of the cottage. + DIN Projects Via Archdaily

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This cozy cottage sits on stilts made out of recycled gas pipes

Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days

January 31, 2017 by  
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For months President Donald Trump has blustered about yanking the United States out of the Paris climate agreement ; now Myron Ebell , who led the Environmental Protection Agency transition team, said the new president could pull America out of the historic, hard-fought deal within days. Ebell, a climate change denier, said he expects Trump will be “very assiduous in keeping his promises, despite all of the flack he is going to get from his opponents.” Speaking at a London briefing, Ebell said Trump could pull out of the Paris agreement “by executive order tomorrow, or he could wait and do it as part of a larger package. There are multiple ways and I have no idea of the timing.” He also claimed the United States will “clearly change its course on climate policy ” and that Trump is “pretty clear that the problem or the crisis has been overblown and overstated.” Related: Majority of Americans support Paris climate deal as Trump reconsiders pulling out Two weeks after his election, Trump indicated he had an “open mind” about the Paris agreement. He also said there was “some connectivity” when asked about the relationship between climate change and humans. But he hasn’t yet come out in support of the Paris agreement, or taken a stronger stance on climate change. The president’s Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson said America might be better off staying in the agreement at his confirmation hearing: “I think it’s 190 countries have signed on. We’re better served by being at that table than by leaving that table.” Will Trump listen to his cabinet pick? Ebell doesn’t seem to think so. He said of Trump, “His mandate is pretty clear, and he knows who he got it from. If Rex Tillerson disagrees with the President, who is going to win that debate? Well I don’t know but the President was elected and Rex Tillerson was appointed by the President, so I would guess that the President would be the odds-on favorite to win any disagreement over climate policy.” Via The Independent Images via Jim Mattis on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days

Beautiful beechwood envelope filters light into modern Italian BIO winery

January 31, 2017 by  
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Inspired by the agricultural architecture of the country’s Veneto region, design studio MADE Associati Architetti restored an existing building in Italy and designed new facilities for a modern winery focused on organic production. The new BIO Winery in Treviso is housed in a continuous, horizontal volume clad in beechwood . The new winery enlarges an existing single-story building, introducing a new volume alongside it to create a compact campus. The main circulation route, visible through the glass connections between the buildings, provides views of the different stages of production and leads to the tasting and meeting rooms. Related: Extraordinary Red Hill rammed-earth residence’s funky funnel shape helps direct light The architects enveloped the existing structure and addition with a skin made from vertical wooden planks. Locally-sourced beechwood has been used as cladding material that dominates both the interior and exterior of the building. The use of this endemic, sustainably harvested species promotes natural products and helps protect the region’s biodiversity. + MADE Associati Architetti Via Archdaily Photos by Francesco Galifi , Adriano Marangon

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Beautiful beechwood envelope filters light into modern Italian BIO winery

Malia Obama attends Dakota Access Pipeline protest

January 31, 2017 by  
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Her father may have left the Oval Office, but 18-year-old Malia Obama’s work has just begun. The former First Daughter attended a Dakota Access Pipeline protest at the Sundance Film Festival to show solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. She joined protesters the same day President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum to start moving forward with the contested oil pipeline . Malia is planning to attend Harvard University this fall after a gap year, and reportedly obtained an internship with producer Harvey Weinstein recently. But she took the time to join an event expressing support for the Standing Rock Sioux, as it appears the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline won’t be ending anytime soon. Related: Trump signs executive actions to reinstate Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline In his last press conference, President Barack Obama said he didn’t think his daughters would pursue careers in politics , but did indicate they might be involved in social issues. He said, “I think that they have, in part through osmosis, in part through dinnertime conversations, appreciated the fact that this is a big, complicated country, and democracy is messy and it doesn’t always work exactly the way you might want…But if you’re engaged and you’re involved, then there are a lot more good people than bad in this country, and there’s a core decency to this country, and that they got to be a part of lifting that up. And I expect they will be. And in that sense, they are representative of this generation that makes me really optimistic.” Author Joshua Kendall, who’s written about presidents parenting, told The Christian Science Monitor First Children have spoken out on issues in the past, and Malia “is firmly in that tradition.” President Jimmy Carter’s daughter Amy participated in marches and was once arrested at an anti-Central Intelligence Agency demonstration. President Gerald Ford’s son Michael said Richard Nixon should confess his role in Watergate before his father pardoned Nixon. Via Grist and The Christian Science Monitor Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Malia Obama attends Dakota Access Pipeline protest

Wheelchair-friendly tiny house proves universal design can be cool

January 31, 2017 by  
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In a perfect world, architecture would be accessible for everyone, but sadly, people with disabilities or mobility issues are often limited to the physical barriers found in typical constructions. Vermont-based firm LineSync Architecture wants to change that with a new brand of accessible architecture, starting with their wheelchair-friendly tiny house , the Wheel Pad. https://youtu.be/EzE7irfnCbY The Wheel Pad is a prototype home for those who need more long-term adaptability from a home design . The 200-square-feet residence was designed in consultation with home health nurses, physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Related: This $10k tiny house can be built with a hex key in less than a day The Wheel Pad was designed with a number of features geared to a wide range of needs, such as fixtures installed at lower heights, double swing doors, and a Hoyer lift that slides on a ceiling track to provide mobility assistance . Like most tiny homes, the space is compact, however, large windows give the interior a nice, airy feel. The home is also built on a mobile chassis base , which means it can be parked without a permit in most places around the US, allowing the inhabitants total freedom to travel. According to the architects, the design has a wide range of possible uses, “With Wheel Pad, we will change the way our injured soldiers and civilians come home from rehab. Wheel Pad is “disruptive” in the best sense of the word. It seems everyone has a use for Wheel Pad including: spinal cord injuries, people newly using wheelchairs or prosthetics, elderly veterans and civilians, hospice care, children with disabilities.” + LineSync Architecture Via Treehugger Video via Chibi Moku Photographs by Carolyn Bates

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Wheelchair-friendly tiny house proves universal design can be cool

World’s most powerful wind turbine breaks 24-hour record for energy generation

January 31, 2017 by  
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Anyone who still thinks wind power is just a load of hot air obviously hasn’t been paying attention. Witness the V164 , a prototype wind turbine that Denmark’s MHI Vestas Offshore tested at Østerild over December. With a rated power of 9 megawatts under optimum conditions, the V164 set a new energy-generation record by a single wind turbine by producing a staggering 216,000 kilowatt-hours over a 24-hour period. The V164 is no glorified windmill. Standing nearly 722 feet tall, the V164 boasts with a sweep area of 227,377 square feet—or larger than the London Eye. Its 262-foot-long blades, the equivalent of nine London double-decker buses, weigh 77,160 pounds apiece. The platform is part of MH Vestas Offshore’s “continued commitment to deliver affordable offshore wind power,” Torben Hvid Larsen, the firm’s chief technical officer, said in a statement. Related: The World’s Most Powerful Wind Turbine Has Blades That Are Over 24 Stories Tall “We are committed to delivering turbine technology that is in line with the development of our industry, based on our 20-plus years of offshore experience,” he said. “Reliability remains a key enabler, and our approach to developing our existing platform supports this strategy.” With the new record secured, the prototype is now ready to go to market. Built with the unforgiving North Sea environment in mind, V164 has an operational life span of about 25 years, after which 80 percent of it can be recycled. “We believe that our wind turbine will play an integral part in enabling the offshore industry to continue to drive down the cost of energy,” Larsen added. + MHI Vestas Offshore Via New Atlas

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World’s most powerful wind turbine breaks 24-hour record for energy generation

Space-saving furniture transforms to make the most of a Hong Kong micro-apartment

January 31, 2017 by  
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Hong Kong’s astronomical housing prices and tiny living spaces have made multifunctional furniture a necessity for many of the city’s homes. Local firm Design Eight Five Two maximizes the footprint of one such micro-apartment with the addition of space-saving furniture. The Kowloon Bay apartment, called Flat 27A, was completely redesigned and customized for the owner, a photographer, and his cat. Flat 27A was formerly subdivided into five rooms, two of which were used as bedrooms. Design Eight Five Two knocked down most of the internal walls to create a single bedroom and a large open-plan living area with sliding doors to delineate the private quarters from the communal area. Custom-made hidden storage minimizes clutter and conceals the owner’s extensive library as well as a variety of objects, from camera equipment to a coffee machine. The cat’s bed is even hidden away behind a hole carved in a cabinet of a storage unit. Related: Tiny transforming home in Hong Kong makes 309 square feet feel huge “Flat 27A was an opportunity to bring a kind of subtle magic to our client’s home,” write the architects. “A powerful sense of pleasure and comfort that would set it apart – for its simplicity, ease, and efficiency.” With the removal of the internal walls, the apartment has a more spacious feel and has greater access to natural light . In addition to hidden storage and sliding partitions , the architects added a custom-built dining table that folds out to accommodate ten people. + Design Eight Five Two Via Dezeen Images by Hazel Yuen Fun

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Space-saving furniture transforms to make the most of a Hong Kong micro-apartment

Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of

January 31, 2017 by  
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Scott Pruitt should send a shiver down your spine, even if your idea of environmentalism is reusing the same cup for your soda refill. At his confirmation hearing for head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a week and a half ago, Pruitt was unable to name even a single EPA regulation he supported. It showed a breathtaking, if perhaps unsurprising, amount of contempt for not only one of the nation’s most vital offices but also the very post he aspires to hold. During his tenure attorney general of oil- and gas-fueled Oklahoma, Pruitt sued the agency 14 times for anti-pollution regulations that he said were “inconsistent with its constitutional and statutory authority.” Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group , said that Pruitt could be the “most hostile EPA administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history.” When Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee asked Pruitt to name “one Clean Air Act regulation—not a voluntary or grant program—on the books today” that he approved of, Pruitt hedged. “I firmly believe that the EPA plays an important role, especially as it relates to cross-state air and water pollution, but EPA must do so within the bounds of its legal authority as provided by Congress,” he said. “Regulations that are not on solid legal foundation and that cannot survive judicial review will not result in environmental protections.” While Pruitt disagreed with President Donald Trump’s assertion that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese government, he stopped short of declaring that human activity was to blame. “I do not believe that climate change is a hoax,” Pruitt told Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) at the hearing. Later, when pressed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to explain his position, Pruitt demurred by calling the issue “subject to continuing debate and dialogue.” In response to a query about whether “removing lead from gasoline was an important and successful EPA rulemaking,” Pruitt tersely said that he had “not evaluated this issue.” Lead cast a particularly large shadow at the hearing. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) asked Pruitt if he believed there was any safe level of lead in the human body, particularly for children and adolescents. “That’s something I have not reviewed nor know about,” Pruitt replied. “I would be very concerned about any level of lead going into the drinking water or obviously human consumption, but I’ve not looked at the scientific research on that.” Related: Trump’s EPA pick put industries before federal environmental policies According to EPA there is “no safe level of exposure to lead,” although an extremely small amount is allowed in pipes and plumbing fixtures. Equally alarming, Pruitt dodged senators’ questions about his ties with energy companies and other potential conflicts of interest by directing them to file open-records requests not once but 18 times. “Pruitt’s directive to senators to file Oklahoma open records requests is the political equivalent of saying ‘go pound sand,'” John Walke, Clean Air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council , said on Thursday. Suffice to say, none of this went down well with the committee. In a follow-up letter , Sanders, Markey, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) took Pruitt to task for what they dubbed his “troubling evasions.” In addition to calling out Pruitt’s murky public reporting of any political and legal conflicts of interest he may have as EPA administrator, not to mention his history of undermining environmental protections, the senators also condemned his “erroneous statements concerning well-established science.” “You did not know there is a safe level of lead in the human body,” they said. “You refused to repudiate statements you made that question the health impacts of mercury pollution. You refused to acknowledge that carbon pollution from human activities is widely recognized as the largest drive of climate change. These statements raise significant questions about whether instead of embracing science, you will be embracing ‘alternative facts.'” Perhaps most tellingly of all, Charles and David Koch , a.k.a. the Koch Brothers , are backing Pruitt’s power grab. Prognosis? Good for polluters, bad for everyone else.

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Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of

Ikea flat-pack refugee shelters awarded Design of the Year

January 31, 2017 by  
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IKEA’s flat-pack refugee structure, the Better Shelter , has been awarded Design of the Year by London’s respected Design Museum . Developed in collaboration with the United Nations, the modular, solar-powered housing units have just 68 components, making them easily assembled in just a matter of hours. Since production started in 2015, thousands of Better Shelters have been installed in countries around the world to help with the ongoing refugee crisis . https://youtu.be/Ect-FwtK-84 The 17.5-square-meter shelters, which can sleep a family of five, are made out of galvanized steel frames with recyclable polymer plastic walls and lockable doors. A singular rooftop solar panel charges the indoor LED lamp and a USB port capable of charging mobile phones. Since production started on the shelters in 2015, thousands of units have been delivered to countries around the world to be used as homes, medical facilities, food distribution points, and offices. Related: IKEA’s Modular Better Shelter Housing Unit is a solar-powered emergency home for refugees The Better Shelter took home both the Architecture award and the 2017 Beazly Design Grand Prize this year. Presented by London’s Design Museum , the awards recognize “design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year.” + Better Shelter + Beazly Design of the Year Via CNN Images via Better Shelter

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Ikea flat-pack refugee shelters awarded Design of the Year

7 Seed-Starting Tips for Smarter Indoor Gardening

January 31, 2017 by  
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Spring is just around the corner. I repeat, spring is just around the corner. Can you believe that winter is already almost over? Do you know what that means? It means we’ll get more sunshine (and maybe even some more rain) and it will be time to…

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7 Seed-Starting Tips for Smarter Indoor Gardening

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