5 challenges and opportunities in using green financing for cities

May 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Environmental impact investing to improve cities: pay for results, not process.

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5 challenges and opportunities in using green financing for cities

5 challenges and opportunities in using green financing for cities

May 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Environmental impact investing to improve cities: pay for results, not process.

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5 challenges and opportunities in using green financing for cities

What’s in store for the future of energy markets, day to day?

May 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

New research examining variable scenarios can provide a foundation for renewable decisions.

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What’s in store for the future of energy markets, day to day?

What’s in store for the future of energy markets, day to day?

May 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

New research examining variable scenarios can provide a foundation for renewable decisions.

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What’s in store for the future of energy markets, day to day?

This modern vacation home embraces indoor-outdoor living in Ontario

May 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The boundary between indoors and out are blurred to beautiful effect in the Bear Stand Residence, a family retreat located approximately three hours northeast of Toronto, Ontario. Designed by Bohlin Grauman Miller in association with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson , the 3,300-square-foot holiday home is wrapped in glazing and natural materials in order to feel like an airy extension of the surrounding forest. Sitting along the shores of Contau Lake, the Bear Stand serves as an escape from city life for residents Sharon Leece and Joe Migrath. The couple lives and work in Shanghai but sought a forested retreat that they could share with their young daughter as well as family and friends. When in Shanghai, the family also offers the house as a vacation rental. “We wanted to build a West Coast-style property, as we love the open, airy, inside-outside connectivity of the modernist design approach there,” Leece said. “We felt the land was the perfect place to envision an authentic cabin aesthetic, visually connected with the environment.” Before Bohlin Cywinski Jackson principal Robert Miller started the design process, he joined the clients in a multi-day camping trip on the property to get a feel of the land. The time he spent with the couple was critical to shaping the vision for the house, which is designed to embrace the surrounding lake and forest at every turn. Related: The net-zero Frick Environmental Center is officially one of the world’s greenest buildings In addition to the master suite, the Bear Stand can accommodate a minimum of 12 guests in three guest suites, a bunk room with four beds and a den. The two-story home is oriented on an east-west axis to parallel the lake and an adjacent granite rock-face that rises up to the south. A double-height living room and dining area forms the heart of the home, while nearly all of the bedrooms — save for one guest bedroom — are located upstairs. The material palette echoes the wooded environment, from the black fiber-cement panels and stained cedar siding to the indoor fir windows and walnut flooring. Large windows open the home up to the outdoors. The house also includes a private sauna, ofuro soaking tub, hot tub and a screened porch. The American Institute of Architects  recently recognized the home’s excellence with a 2018 Housing Award. + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Images by Nic Lehoux

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This modern vacation home embraces indoor-outdoor living in Ontario

Shipping container village for startups pops up in Amsterdam

May 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

In a bid to create affordable office space in Amsterdam , Dutch architect Julius Taminiau has upcycled a series of shipping containers into Startup Village, a temporary cargotecture hub for fledgling companies. Located in Amsterdam Science Park, the container buildings are stacked and painted in a variety of colors to create a space that can adapt to different needs. In addition to offices, the Startup Village offers space for events and gatherings ranging from networking parties to outdoor cinema nights. Architect Julius Taminiau was inspired to experiment with cargotecture during his time at London-based Carl Turner Architects , where he worked on Pop Brixton, a project that transformed a derelict space into a shipping container community. After moving to the Netherlands and opening his own firm—Julius Taminiau Architects—Taminiau decided to create a low-cost office space for startups in Amsterdam Science Park. The architect arranged the upcycled containers around a large communal square conducive to events and designed the hallways and circulation to take place outside the containers in order to encourage interaction between different startups. Since the project is meant to be temporary, Startup Village was constructed with recyclable materials and an easily removable concrete tile foundation. The 155-square-foot containers are completely insulated, airtight, and heated with low-energy, infrared heating. Windows installed on both sides of each container can be opened for cross-ventilation. Taminiau collaborated with Green Art Solutions to install green roofs and other greenery on-site. Related: Repurposed shipping containers make a bold statement at the National Theater Company of Korea “The ‘low-cost’ ‘low-energy’ ‘circular’ upcycled shipping containers provide some sort of ‘free’ atmosphere where young startups feel soon at home and provide the means to develop, innovate, grow and professionalise,” explains Julius Taminiau Architects. “Should a startup need more space they can move within the Startup Village but also within the campus area of Science Park.” The Startup Village also plans to add larger containers in the future for scale-ups. + Julius Taminiau Architects Via Dezeen Images via Julius Taminiau Architects

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Shipping container village for startups pops up in Amsterdam

This striking concrete home uses mesh walls to connect with nature

May 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

When it comes to home design, architects around the world are forgoing the conventional for the experimental – all in the name of passive design . For a brilliant example, look no further than Ma of Wind, a unique concrete home from Japanese firm  Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects  with north and south facades made out of steel mesh. Over time, the mesh will be covered with plants to help shade the interior during the hot summer months. Located on Japan’s Okinawa Island, the Ma of Wind home is a daring attempt to bring outdoor elements into the interior as much as possible. Using the island’s traditional vernacular for inspiration, the architects explain that the design concept was “characterized by a respect towards the natural environment, and maintaining harmony between man and nature.” Related: A Minimalist Steel “Green Box” Home that Puts Nature First in Vietnam The structure is made out of a reinforced concrete shell chosen for its resilience against typhoons, a fairly common occurrence in the area. Additionally, the home uses several passive design features to cool the interior during the hot and humid summer months. The open walls on either side of the home open the space to optimal ventilation and natural lighting on the interior. Additionally, extra-large eaves were placed over the terraces to provide extra shade during the summer months. Without a doubt, however, the home’s most striking feature is its steel mesh facade . The architects hung two mesh walls on the north and south facades of the home; these walls will serve as trellises for climbing plants over the years, providing a natural shade system for the building. During the winter when some of the plants lose their leaves, daylight will stream through the interior. “Depending on the season, vegetation engulfs the house, fusing architecture with nature,” the studio explained. The architects based the interior layout on that of traditional Japanese homes . An open living space and kitchen make up the heart of the house, which is flanked by large terraces on either side. The bedrooms are laid out perpendicular to the main living area and have sliding glass doors that open up the rooms to the exterior. The home creates as much of a connection with the island’s natural climate as possible, no matter how harsh. “Sun, wind, water, and the unique climatic features of Okinawa Island together modeled the design as a space exposed to the prevailing winds, looking to south and north for enhancing natural ventilation,” the architects said. + Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects Via Dezeen Images via Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects

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This striking concrete home uses mesh walls to connect with nature

MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center

May 24, 2018 by  
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Albania’s controversial Tirana Pyramid—a former monument to the country’s communist leader—will finally be repurposed after years of decay. MVRDV  has officially unveiled designs to transform the pyramidal structure into a large green technology education center. The pyramid will be opened up to the surroundings and filled with natural light and greenery, ultimately making the interior more welcoming to the public. Set in the center of the city, the Tirana Pyramid originally served as a museum honoring the legacy of Enver Hoxha, the long-time leader of communist Albania. Following the collapse of Communism in 1991, the concrete communist monument was repurposed for a variety of uses, from a nightclub to a NATO base, during the Kosovo War. In recent years, developers have called for the Tirana Pyramid’s demolition, which stirred controversy among its architects and the greater populace, many of whom had developed an attachment to the monument despite its increasingly decrepit and vandalized appearance. Rather than demolish the unique structure, MVRDV aims to preserve the silhouette while making the 127,000-square-foot building more accessible. “Though in the past, there were plans to transform this monumental building into a national theatre, this never materialised which left this fantastic building in ruin for more than a decade,” says Winy Maas , co-founder of MVRDV. “It is a symbol for many Albanians. For the older generation, it is a memory to the cultural events during communist times, for the recent generation it became the place to celebrate the new era. We will open it up to its surroundings as a structure in the park, that can be populated by people, trees, and containers for co-working. We will make the beams accessible and safe so that we can all climb to the top and celebrate the structure, with views of the city of Tirana. We create an inhabited monument.” Related: BIG unveils designs for bow tie-shaped National Theater of Albania In addition to natural light , the architects will introduce greenery to the building atrium. The team will also make the facade roof—a popular hangout spot for young people—officially available to all visitors, populating it with pavilions and other pop-up structures conducive to temporary events and sightseeing. The project is slated for completion in 2019. + MVRDV Renderings by MVRDV, Exterior image by Gent Onuzi and Wikimedia

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MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center

Curvaceous pair of towers mimics Malaysia’s dramatic topography

May 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

International design firm SPARK Architects  recently completed a pair of condominium towers with rippling facades that pay homage to the dramatic surrounding landscape on Malaysia’s Penang Island. Located at Jalan Bukit Gambier near the state’s UNESCO-designated capital of George Town, the Arte S twin residential towers stand in sculptural contrast to its more staid neighbors. Designed to embrace the tropical environment, the units are optimized for natural light, views and cross-ventilation without the need for air conditioning. Commissioned by Malaysian property developer Nusmetro, the Arte S residential development includes 460 apartments. The taller of the two towers soars to a height of 590 feet, making the buildings the island’s tallest “twin tower” development. The apartments are designed to be flexible with large open spaces free of columns and beams. All the common areas are naturally ventilated and filled with natural light . The architects drew inspiration from the existing site, from the undulating verdant hills of Bukit Gambier to the waters of the Penang Strait. The curvilinear forms found in nature are echoed in the towers’ balconies, terraces and pools. To achieve the twisted appearance, a waveform brise-soleil is subtly rotated at each elliptical floor plate. “The mountain landscape has been interpreted as a series of layered flat surfaces that resemble steps, a graduated terracing of the building podium and its twisting towers is the signature of the Arte S project,” the architects explained. Related: Colorful bamboo pavilion champions sustainable design in Kuala Lumpur The taller tower sits closer to a mountain to the west and rises to a height of 50 stories, overlooking spectacular views of the ocean. The shorter 32-story tower sits atop a layered podium. Both towers step back at the upper levels to create three-story penthouses . The taller tower also includes a sky garden on the 35th floor with “resident club” pods that accommodate events. + SPARK Architects Via ArchDaily Images via SPARK Architects

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Curvaceous pair of towers mimics Malaysia’s dramatic topography

Higher CO2 levels may lead to decreased nutrients in rice

May 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

According to new research from an international team of scientists, the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may cause a decrease in the nutritional value of  rice . Published in the journal Science Advances , the study concludes that rice contains lower levels of four essential B vitamins when grown under atmospheric conditions similar to those expected by the end of the 21st century. This aligns with similar studies that found that higher levels of carbon dioxide can result in reduced amounts of protein, iron and zinc in rice. The scientists conducted the study using 18 common strains of rice grown in fields in China and Japan. For the first time, research reveals that vitamins B1, B2, B5 and B9, all of which are important to the body’s ability to turn food into energy, decrease in rice as carbon dioxide levels increased. “This is an underappreciated risk of burning of fossil fuels and deforestation,” study co-author and director of the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment Kristie Ebi said in a statement . The adverse effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide reflect the unanticipated consequences of climate change. “People say more CO2 is plant food, and it is. But how plants respond to that sudden increase in food will impact human health as well, from nutritional deficits, to ethno-pharmacology, to seasonal pollen allergies — in ways that we don’t yet understand,” study co-author Lewis Ziska said. Related: Chinese scientists created a type of rice that can grow in saltwater The conclusion that rice will become less nutritional as climate change continues carries significant consequences for more than two billion people who depend on the grain as their primary food source. “Rice has been a dietary staple for thousands of years for many populations in Asia and is the fastest growing food staple in Africa,” Ebi said. “Reductions in the nutritional quality of rice could affect maternal and child health for millions of people.” Via University of Washington School of Public Health Images via University of Washington School of Public Health and  Depositphotos

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Higher CO2 levels may lead to decreased nutrients in rice

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