See how banana trees are recycled into vegan leather wallets in Micronesia

February 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Forget plastic and leather, your next wallet could be made from a more ethical and eco-friendly alternative—banana fiber. Kosrae, Micronesia-based startup Green Banana Paper tapped into banana tree waste, upcycling the unlikely material into stylish and sturdy vegan leather wallets. Green Banana Paper launched a Kickstarter to bring these eco friendly wallets to the global market and help improve the lives of local farmers. Bananas may be easy to eat, but the trees they grow on need a surprising amount of work. There are approximately 200,000 banana trees spread across the island and after harvesting, local farmers must cut down the plant every year to promote fruit production. The mass amounts of banana fiber waste are typically left on the ground to biodegrade, but Green Banana Paper saw an entrepreneurial opportunity with environmental and social benefits. Founded by New England native Matt Simpson, the social enterprise produces strong and water-resistant wallets with designs inspired by the coconut palms, ocean life, and people of Micronesia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSM_TYaT5Kg Related: Thai Building Facade Handmade From Natural Banana Fiber “Green Banana Paper wallets are not only ecofriendly; they are helping to provide a living wage to Kosraean families,” says the company. “Matt hopes to continue to scale up production, and get even more people on the island involved in this truly community-oriented business.” Green Banana Paper has launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for hiring more people and improving the quality of their products. Supporters of the project can also receive their own banana fiber wallet, which can be shipped around the world. + Green Banana Paper Kickstarter

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See how banana trees are recycled into vegan leather wallets in Micronesia

Rios $800 million Olympic Park sits nearly abandoned after 2016 games

February 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Last year, during the 2016 Summer Games , it would have been hard to imagine the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro sitting empty in the hot Brazilian sun. Sadly, this is what has become of the space today. Despite having been officially reopened in January as a public recreation area, the park is treated to only a few visitors and a longstanding bad reputation. The $800 million Olympic Park was constructed in the months prior to last year’s Summer Games in a process that displaced residents and enraged others. Clare Richardson of Vice visited residents of the old Vila Autódromo favela, a community that was forced to move, later granted new public housing in the area. The city’s promises have fallen short of the agreed upon vision of building playgrounds, a court for sports, and a community center, leaving people with plain housing in an asphalt jungle. Residents have even resorted to creating their own speed bumps out of stones and trash cans to keep nearby roads safe. Related: Japan wants to make 2020 Olympic medals from recycled smartphones Visitors to the area feel shortchanged, as well. Vital services that were available during the park’s grand opening event, such as running water and electricity, are no longer available. The typical two-hour journey from the center of the city greets commuters with a sad skatepark , playground, and the ghostly spectacles of towering arenas. Bigger events, like the Rock in Rio music festival, are planned, but the park has become an inconvenient eyesore for the rest of the year. “I’ve seen about 12 people here since I arrived five hours ago,” Vinicius Martini, a beer vendor at the park, told Vice. “And I haven’t sold any beer.” Via Vice Images via Clare Robinson

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Rios $800 million Olympic Park sits nearly abandoned after 2016 games

Inhabitat is giving away an organic Avocado Green Mattress

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

We spend one third of our lives sleeping, but how many of us have taken the time to learn what’s inside our mattresses? Studies have found that conventional mattresses contain toxic levels of volatile organic compounds that could be the source of many ailments, including chronic allergies, asthma, sleep problems, endocrine problems and even cancer. And once traditional mattresses bite the dust, their synthetic materials resist degradation, resulting in an enduring toxic legacy that would give anyone insomnia. If you’re looking for a new mattress and really want to rest assured, here’s your chance to win the best sleep of your life. We’re giving away your choice of an Avocado Green Mattress made from 100 percent natural latex harvested from tree-­tapped and sustainable sources, 100 percent natural Joma® New Zealand Wool, and certified organic cotton. This completely non­toxic, luxurious mattress, made with chemical-free, biodegradable, and compostable materials, is far better for both you and the planet. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN! Win your choice of an Avocado Green Mattress , Standard or Pillow-Top, in your preferred size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, or California King. a Rafflecopter giveaway Contest open only to residents of the continental U.S. Handmade in sunny California, the Avocado Green Mattress is all about luxury and transparency. Using 100 percent natural hydrated silica as a fire barrier, the Avocado isn’t filled with the dangerous flame retardants or petroleum­-based foams that traditional mattresses contain. Each mattress is made to order and hand-tufted without chemical adhesives, formaldehyde, heavy metals, or other toxic substances. Made with natural and organic materials, the Avocado’s eco-INSTITUT®-certified, chemical­-free design is surprisingly more durable than synthetic materials, nor does it come with that unpleasant, chemical odor most new mattresses carry. And the natural latex , natural Joma® New Zealand Wool and GOTS-­certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic and pesticide-free cotton make this mattress a healthy and sustainable choice. Wool and cotton also naturally regulate temperature and moisture wicking, giving the Avocado mattress superior insulating and cooling properties. Part of Avocado’s hybrid design includes a support layer filled with up to 1,303 ergonomic, individually ­pocketed support coils. This allows for cooler, more durable support than standard foam mattresses. Made from recycled steel, this support system is tuned to three strategically positioned comfort zones that provide incredible support to the hips, back and shoulders. There’s never any need to flip an Avocado mattress – just rotate it. The Standard Avocado Green Mattress is ideal for back and stomach sleepers, characterized by a gentle, yet perfectly firm feel. Its 11-inch-thick base delivers a balanced level of firmness, comfort and support to create a natural sleeping environment. If you want even more luxury, you can instantly upgrade to a plush European-­style feel when the mattress is topped with the optional Pillow­-Top. Its extra 2­-inch layer of 100 percent natural Dunlop latex rubber foam is perfect for side and back sleepers, athletes, and those in need of intense pressure relief. If you aren’t the lucky winner in this giveaway, don’t fret. The Avocado is relatively affordable for a luxury mattress, starting at $959. Each one comes with a risk-free 100-night sleep trial, 10-year warranty, free shipping and returns, and financing with rates as low as 0% APR. For an extra $99, the company will send someone over to set up your new bed for you. Enter above for your chance to win, and dream of sleep in the lap of luxury. + Avocado Green Mattress

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Inhabitat is giving away an organic Avocado Green Mattress

Futuristic canopy made of knitted textile solar panels wins 2017 Young Architects Program at MoMA

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Since 2000, New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) PS1 art gallery brings to life experimental outdoor installations every summer—and this year’s winning design is shaping up to be its most innovative project yet. Ithaca-based design practice Jenny Sabin Studio won the 2017 MoMA PS1’s Young Architecture Program competition with their proposal of a futuristic shelter made from robotically knitted textile solar panels. The project, called Lumen, is a “knitted light” structure that will immerse visitors in a cooling microclimate during the day and in an ethereal immersive environment at night that glows using energy collected from the sun. Now in its 18th edition, the Young Architects Program gives emerging architects and designers the chance to build a temporary outdoor installation in the MoMA PS1 courtyard in Long Island City. Proposals were required to provide shelter, seating, and water, while also addressing environmental issues that include sustainability and recycling. Jenny Sabin Studio’s winning Lumen will feature a robotically woven canopy made of recycled photoluminescent textiles that collect solar energy to produce light. Misting systems built into tubular structures called “fabric stalactites” will keep visitors cool during hot days. Related: First Ever Mushroom Tower Sprouts at MoMA PS1 in New York Initially developed for Nike, Lumen’s high-tech fabric canopy is a cross-disciplinary experiment that merges elements of architecture with biology, materials science, mathematics, and engineering. Jenny Sabin Studio writes: “The project is mathematically generated through form-finding simulations informed by the sun, site, materials, program, and the structural morphology of knitted cellular components. Resisting a biomimetic approach, Lumen employs an analogic design process where complex material behavior and processes are integrated with personal engagement and diverse programs. Lumen undertakes rigorous interdisciplinary experimentation to produce a multisensory environment that is full of delight, inspiring collective levity, play, and interaction as the structure and materials transform throughout the day and night.” Lumen will be open to the public at the MoMA PS1 courtyard on June 29, 2017 and will serve as the backdrop for Warm Up, the art gallery’s annual outdoor music series. + Jenny Sabin Studio Via Architectural Record Images via Jenny Sabin Studio

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Futuristic canopy made of knitted textile solar panels wins 2017 Young Architects Program at MoMA

China is building the world’s first migratory Bird Airport

February 17, 2017 by  
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Modern architecture has often been accused of encroaching on wildlife habitats – but McGregor Coxall just unveiled a new project that’s literally for the birds. The world’s first migratory “Bird Airport” is designed to convert a landfill in Lingang, China into a wetland bird sanctuary Every year, more than 50 million birds journey from the Antarctic along the East Asian-Australian Flyway (EAAF), but the route is increasingly threatened to due to coastal urbanization. Today, 1 in 5 globally endangered waterbirds fly this route as their population rapidly decreases. Related: 1.5 billion birds disappear from North America’s skies To address the problem, the Port of Tianjin called on international designers to create a wetland sanctuary for migrating birds. McGregor Coxall’s Bird Airport includes 60 hectares of wetland park, where birds will be able to stop, refuel, and breed on their way through the flyway. Renewable energy will be used to irrigate the wetlands with recycled waste water and harvested rain. Adrian McGregor, CEO and lead designer of McGregor Coxall explains the inspiration behind the project, “The earth’s bird flyways are a wonder of the natural world. The proposed Bird Airport will be a globally significant sanctuary for endangered migratory bird species whilst providing new green lungs for the city of Tianjin.” The city of Tianjin will enjoy many benefits from the new green infrastructure . The proposal calls for plenty of park space – including walking and cycling paths along a 7 km network of recreational urban forest trails. Construction on the bird airport is slated to begin late 2017, and the project will be completed in 2018. + McGregor Coxall

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China is building the world’s first migratory Bird Airport

Canoeing center wrapped in recycled materials resists winter flooding

February 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Portuguese multidisciplinary design studio ateliermob completed the Alvega Canoeing Center, a contemporary building that’s sustainably designed and ruggedly handsome. Located on the banks of Portugal’s Tagus River, the Alvega Canoeing Center is elevated to avoid the regular winter floods and to minimize soil degradation . Recycled black plastic profiles wrap around the canoeing center, which comprises three separate volumes, to give the structure a sense of cohesiveness and to allow natural light to pass through while providing privacy. Built to replace a former flood-damaged structure, the Alvega Canoeing Center was commissioned as part of a design competition that sought a sturdier and more sustainable design solution. The new building is the same size as the former structure but is raised on stilts and clad in black recycled plastic profiles . The plastic profiles were chosen for their ability to withstand the impact of objects that could be pushed against the building by rising floodwaters . Bright red recycled plastic profiles form the railing of the outdoor walkway and create a vivid contrast to the black facade. Related: 6 amphibious houses that float to escape flooding The 320-square-meter Alvega Canoeing Center comprises three volumes consisting of a cafeteria, boat storage area, and changing cabins , all supported on a raised concrete platform. “The proposed structure sought to improve the site, characterizing it as a renewed space for leisure and meeting for the local community, in addition to the associated nautical activities,” write the architects. “Thus, the impacts were minimized, significantly reducing soil impermeabilization and movement of land, and maintaining the vegetation characteristics, safeguarding the natural landscape.” Additional public amenities include the outdoor terrace, barbecue area, and staircase that can be used in a small amphitheater -like space. + ateliermob Via Archinect Images © Francisco Nogueira

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Canoeing center wrapped in recycled materials resists winter flooding

North Korea’s ‘Hotel of Doom’ is the world’s largest abandoned building

February 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

This pyramid-shaped building in North Korea was once a contender for the tallest hotel in the world – but construction was interrupted in 1989 and it became the world’s largest abandoned building instead. The notorious 105-story Ryugyong Hotel – frequently referred to as the “Hotel of Doom” – could come to life after all, as Egyptian company Orascom fired the project back up again in 2008. The structure, designed by Baikdoosan Architects & Engineers, first broke ground in 1987 in Pyongyang, North Korea. It was supposed to open in 1989, two years later after the frame was finished. Work stopped in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union (an ally and backer), and the hotel remained unfinished , looming over the North Korean capital. Related: Abandoned Floating McDonalds to Be Given New Life As a Marina in Canada In 2008, an Egyptian company took over the hotel and began adding exterior glass in the hope of finishing the project. Reports say that the interior has no plumbing or electricity, and it could require another $2 billion to finish. As of late construction on the hotel has stopped again, leaving the fate of the hotel unresolved. Photos via Wikimedia Commons

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North Korea’s ‘Hotel of Doom’ is the world’s largest abandoned building

Artists recycle hundreds of plastic bottles into a dynamic arch in Chiang Mai

February 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Plastic trash is a major problem in Thailand’s beautiful Chiang Mai , but a team of designers has found a way to creatively rethink waste in a positive light. Design collectives VINN PATARARIN and FAHPAV combined handcrafted design with 3D modeling to create Self-Ornamentalize, a temporary installation made from 850 recycled plastic bottles. The experimental pavilion was installed a part of Compeung, an artist-in-residence program hosted at Chiang Mai’s suburban village of DoiSakt. The multidisciplinary team of designers developed Self-Ornamentalize through their discovery that the traditions of local craftsmanship and use of natural materials were fading as the village modernized. Given the proliferation of plastic, the designers saw plastic as the “true local materials of this present day.” Thus, the designers chose plastic bottles as their primary building material. Related: Bottle Seedling House turns bamboo and plastic bottles into shelter for Vietnamese farmers The plastic bottles were broken down by hand to create a textile -like material. The designers used computer modeling to generate the installation’s curved form that measured nine by four meters in size. Self-Ornamentalize was installed on an elevated walkway in the large lake, a major landmark in the village, to maximize visibility. The designers write: “‘Self-Ornamentalize’ is an experiment in totally transformed the unawareness of locals’ identity through technology, materials and craftsmanship towards the wonder of self-discovery in post-modern era.” + VINN PATARARIN

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Artists recycle hundreds of plastic bottles into a dynamic arch in Chiang Mai

7 charming off-grid homes for a rent-free life

February 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Want to make rent and utility bills a thing of the past? We’ve rounded up seven off-grid homes that could be the answer to making your dreams a reality. Stylish and self-sufficient, these eco-friendly dwellings promise freedom from the grid. Many are even set atop wheels to let you move with your home to almost anywhere you desire. Keep reading to see seven charming homes that offer homeowners the chance to live off the grid and rent-free. WOHNWAGON Powered by solar energy and made from recycled materials, the WOHNWAGON is a beautiful mobile and modern home with a housing footprint so small it fits within the size of a standard parking lot. This larch-clad caravan was designed for homeowners who wish to travel the world and enjoy comfortable off-grid living thanks to energy-efficient features including a green roof , triple-glazed windows, graywater recycling, solar panels, highly efficient insulation and more. Developed for mass production, the WOHNWAGON starts at 40,000 Euros and can be individually customized. EcoCapsule For those who want a little off-grid place of their own with more of a futuristic edge, look no farther than the EcoCapsule . Now available for pre-orders, the tiny egg-shaped home that went viral in 2015 has been displayed around the world wowing visitors with its ability to produce all of its energy onsite with rooftop solar panels and a low-noise wind turbine that feed into a 10kWh battery. Developed by Nice Architects , the mobile home can be moved or dropped in place with a crane or helicopter, giving owners the freedom to live almost anywhere they please. POD-Idladla South Africa-based architect Clara da Cruz Almeida collaborated with local design firm Dokter+Misses to create POD-Idladla , an adorable flat-pack home with off-grid capabilities. Targeted at young adults, the tiny solar-powered was conceived as a customizable eco-friendly home at an affordable price. The modular design can also be expanded upon with additional pods to make multi-unit configurations that house up to 12 people. Moon Dragon If homes inspired by fantasy and fairytale are more your style, you’ll love Moon Dragon. Tiny house builder Abel Zimmerman Zyl of Zyl Vardos designed and built this tiny timber off-grid home that looks like it’d be right at home in Middle-Earth. Outfitted with a solar kit for off-grid living, the beautifully detailed mobile home boasts masterful craftsmanship as well as impressive an impressive suite of features, from a five-burner Range cooker with two ovens to a loft bedroom large enough for a queen-sized bed. KODA Lovers of travel and modern, minimalist house designs will feel right at home in KODA, a tiny prefabricated home created by Estonian design collective Kodasema . Designed with off-grid capabilities, KODA can be assembled on a variety of surfaces without the need for foundations or disassembled and prepped for relocation in as little as four hours. Fronted with large quadruple-glazed windows, the light-filled modular house can also be expanded with multiple units. Ark Shelter Designed as an escape from city life, the Ark Shelter was created to reconnect people with nature. The self-sufficient modular cabin is prefabricated from durable timber and placed on site atop raised, mobile foundations. Wind turbines, solar power, and rainwater collection allow the home to go off-grid . Walden Studio home Dutch design agency Walden Studio teamed up with carpenter Dimka Wentzel to design a tiny home that’s big on luxury and freedom. Equipped with all the systems needed for off-grid living, the contemporary mobile home is filled with natural light and natural materials like the cork floors and birch plywood paneling. The 17-square-meter home also contains plenty of multifunctional furniture to maximize its small footprint.

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7 charming off-grid homes for a rent-free life

The self-contained mobile prefab Coodo lets you live almost anywhere in the world

February 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

What if you could make your home anywhere in the world without sacrificing creature comforts? Meet Coodo , an eco-friendly mobile home that promises just that with its flexible and modern modular design. Created in Germany, Coodo can pop up almost anywhere in the world – from urban rooftops to remote beaches – and it can be easily relocated to give you the freedom to travel with the comforts of home. Designed by LTG Lofts to go GmbH and Co. KG, Coodo is a mobile prefabricated house that can be quickly and easily installed with minimal impact on the building site and environment. The company offers a variety of Coodo models ranging in sizes from 36 to 96 square meters and usage type, such as the saunacoodo and watercoodo, which functions as a houseboat . Depending on the model selected, loading and unloading can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. The Coodo is transported by flat bed truck and craned into place. All models boast a minimal and modern design that can be customized to the owner’s needs. In addition to the desire to provide freedom of travel to the homeowner, the company is also committed to minimizing the mobile home’s environmental impact. According to their website, all units consist of “low-pollutant, ecologically compatible, and mostly natural materials.” All condo houses are designed with passive house principles for energy efficiency and the company is currently developing off-grid units. Triple-glazed full-height windows and high-tech insulation wrap the rounded steel-framed modules and overlook an outdoor shaded deck built from recycled planking. A built-in micro-filtered ventilation and air moisture system ensures clean and dust-free indoor air. Almost all electrical devices will be connected to a wireless smart system so that they can be controlled remotely via smartphone. Related: Solar-powered Ecocapsule lets you live off-the-grid anywhere in the world “We want to lead by example by having a great impact on society and proving that high ecological and sustainable standards do not stand in opposition to equally high standards for design and comfort, but can work in harmony through innovation“, said Mark Dare Schmiedel, CEO of LTG. Prices are not listed on the website and are dependent on module type and interior options, which can be delivered as a shell, with basic interior, or fully equipped. + Coodo

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The self-contained mobile prefab Coodo lets you live almost anywhere in the world

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