This insane giant traffic roundabout in England will make your head spin

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Europe’s many traffic roundabouts are complicated enough – but this head-spinning, multi-directional traffic intersection in the UK is enough to make you walk to your destination. Located in Swindon, the famed Magic Roundabout is actually five mini roundabouts placed around a larger central, counterclockwise roundabout. Designed by engineer Frank Blackmore of the British Transport and Road Research Laboratory, the intersection was built in 1972 as an innovative attempt at controlling traffic flow in the area . When the complicated layout was unveiled, the mini roundabouts weren’t even marked in order to leave room for reconfiguration after further studies were conducted. At the time, a police officer was stationed at each circle to direct traffic. Related: LA’s most dangerous intersection made safer with innovative crosswalk “scramble” Today, although locals surely have a handle on its complicated rules, driving the 7-circle roundabout still requires nerves of steel. Once inside the vehicular labyrinth , traffic flows counterclockwise around the outer roundabout, while interior traffic flows in a clockwise manner around the five mini roundabouts, which all lead to various exists located on the outer loop. Forty-five years after its inauguration, the intersection has become more and more famous, or infamous. In 2007, BBC News published a survey that named the Magic Roundabout as one of the “ 10 Scariest Junctions in the United Kingdom “. However, despite its harrowing appearance, the roundabout has an excellent safety record, mainly due to the slow traffic pace required once inside the crazy intersection. Via Boing Boing Images via Wikipedia and Wired

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This insane giant traffic roundabout in England will make your head spin

This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

April 21, 2017 by  
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From beneath this traditional thatched roof in the Netherlands emerges a stunning glass greenhouse. Lochem-based Maas Architecten conceived the Modern Countryside Villa as two contrasting volumes: an opaque, timber-clad space, and a transparent glass structure that lets the outside in. The Modern Countryside Villa, located on the edge of the town of Berlicum in North Brabant, has an H-shaped plan with contrasting wings that house different amenities. The timber-clad volume accommodates a garage and storage space , while a greenhouse-like structure protruding out from underneath the thatched roof functions as a studio space. The second wing houses the main living areas. The wooden volume in front of the living area houses a kitchen, pantry and toilet, while the master bedroom has direct access to the sheltered courtyard with a swimming pool and terrace. Related: DAPstockholm’s Energy-Efficient Villa Midgard is Nestled Into the Swedish Countryside The transparent parts of the house are sheltered by a grove of trees that lines the plot towards the nearby road. Large glazed surfaces provide an abundance of natural light and expansive views of the picturesque surroundings. + Maas Architecten Via Dezeen Photos by Edith Verhoeven Save

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This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

April 20, 2017 by  
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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t the only place where plastic pollution is gathering in the world’s oceans . An international team of scientists from 12 institutions in eight countries recently discovered a new garbage patch in the Greenland and Barents seas north of Norway. Between 100 and 1,200 tons of plastic have concentrated there, threatening wildlife already grappling with climate change . The Tara Expeditions Foundation dragged for plastic in the Arctic Ocean to find the new Arctic garbage patch. They visited 42 sites, and found over a third of the locations didn’t have any plastic. But then they found plastic amassing in Arctic waters above Norway. The garbage patch is smaller than the Pacific or Mediterranean garbage patches, but researchers hadn’t anticipated finding so much trash in that part of the Arctic, previously considered to be quite pristine. Related: World’s first ocean trash recon mission is complete – and the results are way worse than we thought Andrés Cózar of the University of Cádiz in Spain told The Verge, “We did not expect to find high concentrations of plastic there, so far from the populated regions and the large sources of plastic pollution.” He’s the lead author on a study published online yesterday in the journal Science Advances . So where’s all the trash coming from? Europe and America’s East Coast are likely at fault. Study co-author Erik van Sebille, who during the research was with Imperial College London and now works for the Netherlands’ Utrecht University , told The Verge, “If a plastic bottle or a plastic bag gets into the Atlantic from Europe or the East Coast of the U.S., that has a very good chance of ending up in the Arctic. The problem with plastic specifically being in the Arctic is that it’s going to get into the food chain of animals that are very much under threat already, that are struggling to survive in a changing climate.” Via The Verge Images © Anna Deniaud/Tara Expeditions Foundation

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New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

Scotland’s latest wind farm will help fund 500 new affordable homes

April 20, 2017 by  
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Scotland’s Berwickshire Housing Association wants to capture the wind to boost their mission. By launching a new wind farm in the Scottish Borders, and selling the power to the National Grid, the charitable organization hopes to generate enough revenue to build 500 affordable homes over the next 25 years. Dubbed Fishermen Three, the 7.5-megawatt project at Hoprigshiels in Cockburnspath is a joint effort between BHA and the equally philanthropic Community Energy Scotland . The latter’s share of the revenue will enable it to help communities across Scotland leverage their own renewable energy initiatives. “The idea for the wind farm came when BHA realized that we had to be innovative in order to solve the dilemma of how to keep building new homes for social rental, which are so badly needed in this area, at a time when funding for new housing through traditional channels was in decline,” Helen Forsyth, chief executive of BHA, said in a statement. “The wind farm will provide BHA with a reliable, predictable, low-maintenance source of income that will allow us to build a steady stream of new affordable homes at a time when services are all too often being cut.” Related: 6 reasons the clean energy revolution doesn’t need Trump’s blessing Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of CES, said that the United Kingdom’s energy system is shifting, but with changes come fresh opportunities. “We want to make sure that communities are at the forefront of the opportunities that this will create for new low-carbon energy developments,” he added. Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, agrees that renewables are the way of the future. He said, “Locally owned renewables in areas such as the Borders have the potential to help drive social, economic and environmental change at a local level.” Via the Guardian Photos by Unsplash

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Scotland’s latest wind farm will help fund 500 new affordable homes

Unique Earth Day Traditions to Start as a Family

April 20, 2017 by  
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When it comes to celebrating Earth Day on April 22, there is no shortage of ways environmentally conscious people choose to honor this day. (Check out the coolest 2017 events around the country here.) When you’re trying to raise young…

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Unique Earth Day Traditions to Start as a Family

Huge "light cannons" funnel daylight deep within this ultra green eco city in China

April 20, 2017 by  
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Giant “light cannons” funnel natural light deep within this new high-tech “eco city” in China. NBBJ designed the Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Center as an incubator for innovative technology and environmental companies. To strengthen the project’s sustainability, the design team included green roofs , water retention systems, natural ventilation , responsive facades and geothermal conditioning. The Nanjing Eco-Tech Park includes an exhibition hall, research offices and residential buildings. The Exhibition Center welcomes visitors a they approach the island from downtown Nanjing. The peaks on the building’s roof each have an oculus that funnels natural light inside the structure. The complex consists of eight, pentagon-shaped office buildings with large interior courtyards. Related: Amazon’s biosphere domes are slowly taking shape in Seattle The architects conducted light studies to come up with optimal daylighting and shading strategies for different times of the day and year. Light gets diffused by the cone geometry of the light cannons, while the overhangs function as passive solar shading devices. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof The Exhibition Center is the first structure to be built on the island, and it has received the MIPIM Asia Best Chinese Futura Project Bronze Award. + NBBJ Via World Architecture News Lead photo by Paul Dingman

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Huge "light cannons" funnel daylight deep within this ultra green eco city in China

Conservation group names America’s most endangered river

April 20, 2017 by  
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The Lower Colorado River is one of the United States’ most vital waterways. Besides providing drinking water to 30 million Americans in cities such as San Diego, Las Vegas, and Tucson, the river also irrigates about 90 percent of the country’s winter-vegetable supply. But it’s in danger of being tapped out, according to American Rivers , an environmental group named it the most “most endangered” river in the nation. The reason is a simple case of demand outpacing supply. Coupled with the trend of intensifying droughts, the Lower Colorado is being depleted faster than it can replenish itself. “The Lower Colorado is the lifeblood of the region and grows food for Americans nationwide, but the river is at a breaking point,” said Matt Rice, Colorado Basin director for American Rivers. “It is critical that the Trump administration and Congress support and fund innovative water management solutions.” Related: The EPA just spilled 1 million gallons of mustard-colored mine waste into a Colorado river Proposed federal cuts , plus Trump’s determination to roll back environmental regulations set by his predecessor, offer no recourse. “Americans must speak up and let their elected officials know that healthy rivers are essential to our families, our communities and our future,” Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, said. “We must take care of the rivers that take care of us” Other rivers under similar duress include California’s Bear River, Washington’s South Fork Skykomish River, and Alabama’s Mobile Bay Basin. Via U.S.A. Today Photos by Denny Armstrong and Sharon Mollerus

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Conservation group names America’s most endangered river

Times Square now has double the public space

April 20, 2017 by  
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The most visited destination in the United States now has double the public space—an amazing feat unimaginable just ten years ago. When New York City temporarily closed part of Broadway Street at Times Square to traffic and created a pedestrian plaza in 2009, many dismissed the experiment as foolish. But the removal of cars in favor of public space proved an incredible success and with the pilot project turned permanent, Times Square was forever reinvented. Today, the city announced the official completion of their reconstruction project: a 2.5-acre permanent pedestrian-only public plaza on Broadway designed by architecture firm Snøhetta. With an average of 45 million visitors each year—many of who look up at the billboards instead of the path in front—Times Square is notorious for its pedestrian traffic. Before the addition of pedestrian plazas, the exposure to vehicular traffic, slow-moving pedestrians , and small sidewalks made visiting Times Square an unpleasant, polluted, and sometimes unsafe experience. However, with the re-direction of vehicular traffic and the return of public space to pedestrians, Times Square dramatically transformed into a welcoming civic space. Pedestrian injuries decreased by 40 percent and crime in the overall area decreased by 20 percent. Air pollution has even fallen by as much as 60 percent. This week marks the official opening of the completed Times Square reconstruction project, designed by Snøhetta and completed in 2016. Together with the NYC Department of Transportation , Department of Design and Construction, and the Times Square Alliance, the architecture firm carved 2.5 acres of pedestrian space out of a project site known as the “Bowtie” in the heart of the Times Square Theater District, bounded by Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets. The first phase of the pedestrian street opened to the public in spring 2014. An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers and visitors agreed that the plaza has enhanced Times Square and made it a more pleasant place. Related: Snøhetta Selected to Design A New Car-Free Times Square “Conceived as a project whose success would be measured not only by its new aesthetic but also the long-term physical, psychological and economic benefits on its community, the reinvention of Times Square stands as a model for how the design of our urban landscapes can improve health and well-being of its users while providing an important stage for public gathering,” said Craig Dykers, Architect and Founding Partner of Snøhetta. The Bowtie is designed to accommodate multiple speeds of pedestrian circulation—330,000 people move through Times Square on average every day—using subtle design cues. Street furniture and other design elements also create a welcoming space to linger. Conceived as “an outdoor room right in the heart of Manhattan,” the plaza includes ten fifty-foot-long granite benches plugged into the city’s power grid and connected to 400-amp, 200-amp, and 20-amp power sources. The reconstruction project also allowed for major overhaul of outdated infrastructure, including the sewer lines below. + Snøhetta Images © Michael Grimm

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Times Square now has double the public space

Europes tallest modular tower snaps together in north London

April 20, 2017 by  
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The last module has slotted into place on Europe’s tallest modular tower. Designed by multidisciplinary practice HTA Design LLP , the record-breaking Apex House is a new student housing development that rises to the height of 29 stories in the Wembley Regeneration Area. Completed in just 12 months, the modular high-rise makes use of highly advanced prefabrication techniques and boasts energy-saving systems to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent. Developed by Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems , the Apex House comprises 679 modules with over 580 rooms that’ll be ready for students to move into this fall. The modules were prefabricated in Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems’ factory 60 miles away in Bedford with all the furniture, windows, electric wiring, and plumbing installed before they were transported to the site. The modules were stacked to a height of 90 meters in just 13 weeks. Related: Apartment Tour: Inside the world’s tallest modular building “Modular construction provides a much faster alternative to traditional construction without compromising on the quality of the building, or the versatility of the design,” said Christy Hayes, chief executive officer at Tide Construction, according to WAN . “Modular produces 80% less waste, requires fewer onsite workers and provides certainty of cost and time. Apex House is a shining example of what modular construction can bring to UK property, whether its hotels, residential apartments, build to rent or student accommodation .” The Apex House is the second tallest modular building in the world. + HTA Design LLP + Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems Via WAN Images via http://www.visionmodular.com , photos by Richard Southall

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Europes tallest modular tower snaps together in north London

Solar Impulse co-founder aims to make electric aviation a reality with new company

April 19, 2017 by  
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Electric high-speed trains have been zipping passengers across Europe and Asia for decades. Now the era of affordable electric cars is beginning with the introduction of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3. But what about aviation? Could the friendly skies one day join electric trains and cars as an alternative to fossil-fueled transportation, which is polluting the air and contributing to climate change?  Solar Impulse ’s co-founder André Borschberg is aiming to make electric propulsion in the aviation industry a reality with a new company he co-founded, H55 . “Electric air transport will undoubtedly disrupt the aviation industry,” said Borschberg. “15 years ago, when I started with Solar Impulse, electric propulsion was anecdotal. Today it is a major development path of every large aeronautical organisation as well as attracting many start-ups and new players. What is science fiction today will be the reality of tomorrow.” Related: Solar Impulse successfully completes solar-powered flight around the world The Switzerland-based venture will focus on the entire propulsion chain — from the energy source to thrust and power to pilot interface and control systems. H55 has already successfully completed more than 50 hours of flight testing with its electric demonstrator aircraft, aEro1. Borschberg piloted eight of the 17 legs of Solar Impulse 2’s around-the-world flight, including flying for five days and five nights non-stop over the Pacific Ocean — the longest flight ever recorded in a single-pilot airplane. Solar Impulse 2 departed Abu Dhabi in March 2015, returning there in July 2016 after flying around the world (including a nine-month delay for technical repairs). + H55 Images via H55

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Solar Impulse co-founder aims to make electric aviation a reality with new company

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