Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires

June 22, 2018 by  
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Over 15,000 plastic bottles were temporarily given a new lease on life as a glowing labyrinth in Vatican Square, one of Buenos Aires’ most celebrated public spaces. Designed by environmental art collective Luzinterruptus , the Plastic Waste Labyrinth calls attention to the staggering amount of waste generated everyday in a thought-provoking installation. Commissioned by the Department of Environmental and Public Areas of Buenos Aires City Government, Ciudad Verde, the immersive artwork was installed for one week and open 24 hours a day as part of Global Recycling Day. Previously installed in Madrid and Katowice, the Plastic Waste Labyrinth is a site-specific piece constructed from waste collected from the surrounding area. To show which beverage brands generate the highest amount of waste in Buenos Aires, the architects left the bottle labels on. More than 15,000 plastic bottles were collected from the city with the help of several urban recycling cooperatives. After the plastic bottles were cleaned and sorted into clear plastic bags , Luzinterruptus built a labyrinth that stretches over 650 feet in length and covers an area of 1,550 square feet. “We created an immersive labyrinthine piece where visitors would feel disoriented and anxiously look for an exit,” explained the arts collective. “This experience intended to beget a thought, a conversation, or perhaps an intention to improve our way to use or get rid of plastic. We want to take the opportunity here to bring attention to the uncontrolled use of bottled liquids which is causing great problems in poor countries while reservoirs are being privatized and bought by large corporations and their selfish interests, thus owning water, Earth’s most important resource and a fundamental right of all its inhabitants.” Related: Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for “plastic binge” awareness The labyrinth is illuminated with cool white LEDs that turn the labyrinth into a glowing space at night. At the end of the event, the Plastic Waste Labyrinth was dismantled and all the plastic was recycled. The bottles, cleaned and sorted by color, were sent back to the city’s recycling cooperatives, while the bags were returned to the manufacturing plant, where they would be melted. + Luzinterruptus Images via Luzinterruptus

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Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires

8 tiny homes built tough for off-grid living

June 22, 2018 by  
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Many people mistake tiny homes for delicate structures that provide a minimal amount of space for simple living. But these modern tiny homes are proving that they can be just as resilient as any traditional home twice their size. Check out eight tiny homes that are built to withstand brutal climates and rugged landscapes while still offering residents the sustainable option of  off-grid living . NestHouse offers charm and energy efficiency Designed by Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland , the beautiful NestHouse is a sustainable and energy-efficient tiny home. Hidden behind its endearing Scandinavian aesthetics, the home boasts impressive off-grid options like passive ventilation and solar. Related: This mini caravan with a telescopic roof is the stuff of off-grid dreams Payette Urban tiny home runs on solar power TruForm Tiny has made a name for itself by crafting made-to-order tiny homes, and the Payette Urban is one of our favorite models. The tiny home is as big on design and comfort as it is on energy efficiency. The house can utilize solar or wind power, offering residents more flexibility for their energy source. Father and son build tiny off-grid cabin in Wisconsin When Bill Yudchitz  and his son, Daniel, decided to bond over a tiny home project, they did not realize that the result would be so spectacular. The duo created a contemporary 325-square-foot home designed with minimal impact on the landscape. Installed with various sustainable technologies such as solar lanterns and a rainwater harvesting system, the light-filled home is a great example of tiny house design done right. $33K hOMe offers off-grid luxury on wheels It’s not often that a tiny home is considered luxurious, but this house is the exception. Built by Andrew and Gabriella Morrison , hOMe is a 221-square foot tiny house built to go off the grid with solar connections and a composting toilet . The structure can be mounted on a flat-deck trailer, allowing homeowners to tow and set up their homes virtually anywhere. Tiny flat-packed homes provide affordable housing Architect Alex Symes developed this flat-pack off-grid home as a solution to expensive city housing. Built with low environmental impact materials, Big World Homes are powered by solar energy and include rainwater harvesting systems. The homes can also increase in size with additional modules. World’s most active volcano harbors tiny off-grid home Located at the base of Mauna Loa volcano next to Kilauea, the tiny 450-square-foot Phoenix House — designed by ArtisTree — is a very cool Airbnb rental with some incredible eco-friendly features, such as solar power and a rainwater harvesting system. Built with recycled materials, the home is part of a local regenerative, off-grid community compound. Zero-energy retreat has a near-invisible footprint COULSON architects’ Disappear Retreat stands out for its ability to disappear from sight… and the grid. Built to Passive House Standards, the 83-square-foot mirrored home boasts a near-invisible footprint. According to the architects, the prefabricated retreat was strategically designed for “triple-zero living”: zero energy, zero waste and zero water. Old-fashioned caravan home is 100% self sustaining This hand-built caravan tiny home proves that sometimes state-of-the-art technology isn’t needed to get completely off the grid. Built by the father and son team known as The Unknown Craftsmen , the Old Time Caravan is crafted from reclaimed wood and relies on natural light to illuminate the interior. Images via © Jonathan Avery of  Tiny House Scotland ; TruForm Tiny ;  Revelations Architects/Builders ;  Tiny House Build ;  Big World Homes and Barton Taylor Photography; ArtisTree ;  COULSON architects and  The Unknown Craftsmen

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8 tiny homes built tough for off-grid living

Abandoned NYC warehouse is reinvented as LEED Gold-certified apartments

June 21, 2018 by  
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A new apartment complex infused with nature has taken root in New York City’s concrete jungle. Local design firm COOKFOX Architects completed 150 Charles Street, a residence that takes over the abandoned Whitehall warehouse on the Hudson River waterfront. Designed to blend in with the existing urban fabric, the modern building also boasts a low environmental footprint and LEED Gold certification. Located in the West Village, 150 Charles Street offers 91 residential units — including 10 individual three-story townhouses — on an approximately one-acre lot. Built to incorporate a pre-1960 warehouse , the building preserves the warehouse streetwall and the original material palette of concrete, brick and glass. Greenery is embedded throughout the building from the lush central courtyard to the cascading planted terraces and green rooftops that overlook waterfront views for a total of 30,000 square feet of landscaped space. Dirtworks, PC led 150 Charles Street’s landscape design. “Incorporating ideas of biophilia  — our inherent connection to the environment — access to nature throughout the building is related to themes of prospect (wide, open views) and refuge (safe and protected interior spaces),” COOKFOX Architects wrote. “150 Charles combines the best of the West Village townhouse garden view and the waterfront high-rise river view with cascading terraces designed as a ‘fifth façade.’” Related: Sneak a peek inside Pacific Park’s first greenery-enveloped residences in COOKFOX’s new video In addition to abundant greenery that features native and adaptive species, the apartment complex earned its LEED Gold certification with a variety of energy-efficient and resource-saving features. The team reduced construction waste and used locally sourced, recyclable and recycled building materials. The building is wrapped in a highly insulated envelope and fitted with smart building systems to optimize energy use. The units are equipped with Energy Star appliances. Rainwater is harvested and is reused as landscape irrigation. The outdoor air is also filtered for 95 percent particulates. + COOKFOX Architects Images by Frank Oudeman

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Abandoned NYC warehouse is reinvented as LEED Gold-certified apartments

6 tents perfect for camping this summer

June 18, 2018 by  
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Now that summer is here, it’s time to prepare for some  camping trips. But finding a great tent can be tricky. Are you an adventurer who needs a tent that will withstand all types of weather ? Are you looking to stay somewhere unconventional (like in the trees, or on a lake)? Or maybe you need something that can easily be packed away or recycled after use. If you’re on the hunt for a new tent, here are some of our favorite options that are perfect for your summer camping trip. 1. Alfheim by Nordisk Summer is the best time for camping and and enjoying nature. If you’re planning for longer than a day trip, you’re going to need a tent to protect you from the elements. The Alfheim by Nordisk is a teepee-inspired tent that requires only one person to set up. The Alfheim comes in two different sizes: 12.6 meters squared or 19.6 meters squared. The 19.6-square-meter tent also has an organic option. Other custom options include a ground sheet that zips in and mesh dividers to create separate sleeping spaces. 2. Shoal Tent by SmithFly There’s something magical about spending a camping trip next to the water , but with the Shoal Tent , you can camp right on the water . The tent sits on an inflatable raft that can easily be deflated and carried from campsite to campsite — or from lake to lake. The entire structure of the tent inflates along with the raft, making it very lightweight. The tent has an 8’ x 8’ footprint, so it is comfortable and roomy. 3. KarTent Have you ever been so tired after an event that you just can’t be bothered to break down your tent and take it home with you? It happens more often than you think — every year, thousands of festival-goers leave their tents behind. What if the tents were made of cardboard ? Hear us out. The KarTent is a tent made out of recycled cardboard , and once your journey is over, you can choose to either take it home or drop it into the nearest recycling bin. It’s big enough for two people and secures to the ground with recyclable pegs. For larger events, you can buy the tents in bulk; the company will set them up for you when you arrive and break them down once your event is over. 4. Sky-Pod If you want to sleep among the trees , you’re in luck — the Sky-Pod tent allows you to do just that. You can hang a Sky-Pod as high as four feet above the ground, which is ideal for enjoying life in the trees , but it is also a great safety measure if you’re camping in areas that are prone to flash floods. It also reduces your impact on the environment — you don’t have to worry about placing your tent on a game trail or crushing important flora under your tent’s floor. 5. Sierra Shack by Alite Pop-up tents are an easy way to get out of the weather no matter where you are, but they tend to be difficult to set up and awkward to sleep in. The Sierra Shack is a handy, budget-friendly pop-up tent  that unfolds instantly, has enough room for two people and can even be zipped with other Sierra Shacks to create a small chain of tents. Each tent has a built-in rainfly to keep you dry in case of overnight rain . Once you break it down, the tent weighs less than seven pounds, so you can easily carry it from one campsite to the next. 6.  Stingray Tree Tent by Tensile If you like sleeping in a hammock but don’t like getting caught in the rain, Tensile’s Stingray Tree Tent is the tent for you. The tent keeps you off the ground and provides an enclosed environment to protect you from weather, bugs and other outdoor unpleasantness. You can easily string the tent between any two stable items — trees, boulders or even vehicles. This tent has one major benefit over a standard hammock, though — it can hold up to three full-sized adults. In addition to these practical benefits, the company pledges to plant 18 trees for every tent purchased with its partners Arbor Day Foundation, Eden Projects and WeForest. As you can see, you don’t have to stick with a traditional canvas-and-poles tent during your summer camping trip. Hopefully, these tents inspire you to reconnect with nature and start exploring. Happy trails! Images via Anruf Advertising, Nordisk Smith (Alfheim); SmithFly (Fly Shoal Tent); KarTent (KarTent); Sky-Pod, Zak Bentley (Sky-Pod); Alite Designs (Sierra Shack); Taylor Burke, Justin Hartney and Sean Murphy (Stingray Tree Tent)

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6 tents perfect for camping this summer

Tiny home resort opens in idyllic forest setting in Wisconsin

June 15, 2018 by  
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Tucked into over 100 acres of lush forestscape, a tiny home village is making a name for itself as the first large-scale tiny home vacation resort in the Midwest. The Canoe Bay Escape Village , which is the brainchild of prolific tiny house builder ESCAPE , is comprised of various tiny homes nestled into a stunning natural backdrop of forest, lakes and wetlands. A popular vacation spot for decades, the Canoe Bay area is a no-brainer location for a resort village. Although the village will eventually include larger homes for rent, the tiny houses in the first phase of the village are located near Mallard and Lost Lakes. Visitors can explore the many hiking and biking trails that weave around the lakes and wetlands, spread out over 100 acres of beautiful forest. Related: Try out tiny house living in Oregon’s new micro-home resort in Mt. Hood The one- and two-bedroom tiny homes at the village are from the company’s popular Traveler series . Each house offers a spacious open floor plan with large windows that let in an abundance of natural light . Sleeping lofts have either a queen- or king-size bed, a bathroom, and a luxury kitchen installed with full-size appliances. Additionally, as with all of the company’s designs, the tiny houses are constructed with a number of sustainable features , such as high-quality insulation made out of recycled products, LED lighting and low-E windows. Solar power and off-grid features are also available to potential home buyers. According to the owner of Canoe Bay and ESCAPE Homes, Dan Dobrowolski, the inspiration behind the innovative resort village stems from giving people the option of trying out tiny home living in an idyllic setting on a short-term basis. Alternatively, the tiny houses are also available for long-term rental or purchase. + Canoe Bay ESCAPE Village Via Dwell Photography by ESCAPE RV/Steve Niedorf

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This LEED Gold wastewater treatment center is helping a community rethink poo

June 13, 2018 by  
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As anyone who’s been to a community meeting knows, the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) syndrome is often a frustrating roadblock. So when Vancouver-based firm PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication was approached to build a wastewater treatment center in the middle of a residential neighborhood in British Columbia, the project predictably ran up against some challenges. Fortunately, the architects turned widely held perceptions of the sewage treatment plant on their head with the design of the Sechelt Water Resource Centre, a stunning LEED Gold -certified facility with a built-in educational component that shows the public the fascinating lifecycle of its waste. The multimillion-dollar Sechelt Water Resource Centre replaces the Ebbtide Wastewater Treatment Plant, an aging facility that was noisy and infamous for its odors. The new treatment center not only contains its smells and sounds more effectively, but also discharges 10 times less solid waste into Trail Bay and is more cost-efficient to operate. Moreover, resources — including biosolids, heat and reclaimed water — that were once wasted are now reused for industry, parks and agriculture. “The LEED Gold-certified Sechelt Water Resource Centre (SWRC) rethinks traditional municipal wastewater treatment by creating a transparent space in the residential heart of Sechelt that engages the public in meaningful ways,” PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication said in a statement. “Instead of sequestering this essential service behind a locked chain-link fence, the facility reveals mechanical and biological systems that clean wastewater, encouraging the public to witness their role in the hydrological cycle. The current incarnation of flush toilet infrastructure — by way of magic, a sort of ‘disappearing’ by water — is no longer viable in our times.” Related: Bicycle highway in the Netherlands built using recycled toilet paper The wastewater treatment center tells the story of the water recycling process through the teaching facility, botanical garden and sewage treatment plant. The waste moves from primary treatment to a plant-based filtration system and finally through UV disinfection, after which the water is redirected to industry. The greenhouse , located in a striking glass structure with a roofline inspired by surrounding residential architecture, grows a variety of plants including tomatoes and roses fed by treated water. The office spaces are clad in charred cedar in reference to the carbon used in filtration, while the heavy equipment areas are sheathed in sulfur-yellow cement board. + PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication Images by Martin Tessler

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This LEED Gold wastewater treatment center is helping a community rethink poo

Earthling Survey: Why Do You Recycle?

June 13, 2018 by  
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Express your opinion and help drive environmental change. Every week, … The post Earthling Survey: Why Do You Recycle? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earthling Survey: Why Do You Recycle?

New study suggests that plastic waste may be transformed into usable energy

June 12, 2018 by  
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A new study from the Earth Engineering Center (EEC|CCNY) at the Grove School of Engineering of the City College of New York suggests that plastic waste can effectively be converted into usable fuel and energy rather than being dumped in a landfill or polluting the ocean. Researchers found that the addition of non-recycled plastics (NRPs) to a chemical recycling process known as gasification results in the production of crude oil -based fuel. It also reduces pollution, both plastic and emissions, in contrast to traditional methods of disposing of plastic waste, such as incineration or dumping. Plastic is a product derived from crude oil and, as such, contains significant latent energy that can be harnessed using the right technology and technique. “This study demonstrates that because carbon- and hydrogen -rich plastics have high energy content, there is tremendous potential to use technologies like gasification to convert these materials into fuels, chemicals and other products,” study co-author Marco J. Castaldi told Phys.org . As concerns rise over plastic pollution, scientists are looking to reframe plastic as a resource rather than waste . “Plastics have an end-of-life use that will be turning waste into energy, which is something we all need and use,” study co-author Demetra Tsiamis told Phys.org. Related: UN releases first “state of plastics” report on World Environment Day Gasification uses air or steam to heat plastic waste. This results in the creation of industrial gas mixtures called synthesis gas, or syngas. This syngas can either be converted into diesel and petrol or burned directly to generate electricity . This process is preferable to incineration of plastic waste because it allows for the storage of potentially usable energy that otherwise would be wasted through incineration. Gasification is also better for air quality, producing much lower levels of sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions. + Earth Engineering Center Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Students compete to design energy-efficient, battery-powered rail vehicles

June 7, 2018 by  
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Students in Sweden showed off creative designs for energy efficient , battery-powered rail vehicles at the Delsbo Electric competition in late May. One team set a new record, for the “lowest energy consumption per person-kilometer ever for a man-made engine driven vehicle.” According to an emailed statement, the winning vehicle could transport a person around 1,640 feet with the energy of a single Google search. Dalarna University students won the Delsbo Electric 2018 competition with the Eximus III, which transported six people from Delsbo to Fredriksfors and back on a track around two miles long. The average weight of the passengers was over 110 pounds, and the vehicle speed was more than six miles per hour. Eximus III’s energy consumption was 0.63 watt-hours (Wh) per person-kilometer, the lowest ever recorded for a man-made vehicle powered by an engine. Related: Swedish students design one of the world’s most energy-efficient rail-bound vehicles Students also competed for the HHK Innovation Award, given by experts from company Hudiksvalls Hydraulikkluster (HHK). Linköping University students nabbed that prize for Helios, which boasted a vehicle body and wheels comprised almost entirely of wood  and a windshield made from recycled plastic . Solar panels atop the roof provided clean power. Emil Fernlund, a member of the team, said in a video , “Our whole approach is based on sustainable design . We want to show that you can build energy efficiently and use renewable materials .” Chairman of the HHK Innovation Award jury and HHK Cluster Manager Paul Bogatir said in a statement, “Helios is a beautiful concept and it inspires the industry and the world to think about energy efficiency during the whole product life cycle — not just when the product is in use.” One team, from the Chalmers University of Technology , showed off a prototype for a Maglev train that could travel on existing tracks. While it’s not ready to be implemented yet, the students hope people will be able to ride it in a few years. + Delsbo Electric + Linköping University Images courtesy of Hudiksvalls Hydraulikkluster / Delsbo Electric

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Students compete to design energy-efficient, battery-powered rail vehicles

PittMoss: Recycled Soil Substitute Delivers Better Growth With One-Third the Water

June 7, 2018 by  
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PittMoss was a surprising discovery for me several weeks ago. … The post PittMoss: Recycled Soil Substitute Delivers Better Growth With One-Third the Water appeared first on Earth911.com.

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PittMoss: Recycled Soil Substitute Delivers Better Growth With One-Third the Water

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