14 spectacular lamps unveiled at the London Design Festival

October 6, 2017 by  
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Lighting designers are constantly pushing the envelope with new materials, technologies and applications – and this year’s London Design Festival was awash in innovative designs. From an air-purifying algae chandelier to a lamp powered by melting ice and a series of pendant lights made from mushrooms , read on for our favorite finds from this year’s shows. Exhale Chandelier by Julian Melchiorri When is a chandelier more than just a chandelier? When it’s literally alive! Julian Melchiorri ‘s ‘Exhale’ chandelier is filled with algae that absorb CO2 and release fresh oxygen into any interior space. It’s also incredibly beautiful, with delicate green ‘leaves’ that optimize sun exposure to help the algae grow. Frost Light by EDHV Studio EDHV Studio’s Frost Light is powered by melting ice! A chunk of ice is set on a block of solid aluminum, and as it melts it generates enough electricity to power a small LED for 3 hours. Reflection Room by Flynn Talbot Flynn Talbot’s Reflection Room is mind blowing. One side of the mirrored hallway is bathed in orange light, while the other is lit in blue. Where the two sides meet, a gradient of color is born. Fuchsia Lamps by Macmaster Design Macmaster Design ‘s new Fuchsia lamps look like hanging, flowers in bloom – and they’re made from FSC-certified black walnut and white oak. Voronoi III Lamp by Tala Tala just launched their largest sculptural light yet at the London Design Festival. The Voronoi III is inspired by patterns found in treetops, and its LED filament is modeled after the Fibonacci sequence. Tree Lights by Tamasine Osher Tamasine Osher ‘s gorgeous hand-turned Tree Lights are made of salvaged wood harvested from naturally fallen trees. The delicate patterns are caused by naturally occurring fungus that develops over a span of 2-3 years. I.Rain Helene Chandelier by Blackbody and Haviland Blackbody teamed up with Haviland to unveil a spectacular chandelier made from 145 OLED lights. Each light is nested within a porcelain cup embellished with “Matignon” white with gold patterns. Morphe Lamp by Crea-Re These beautiful lamps by Crea-Re look almost like colored stone – but they’re made from paper mâché! Maria Fiter crafts each lamp using recycled newspaper, natural pigments, and ecologically certified water-based glue. Lungplant by Tim van Cromvoirt Tim van Cromvoirt ‘s luminous Lungplant slowly expands and exhales like a living creature. He designed the lamp to reduce stress and create a meditative environment that encourages you to become aware of the tempo of your own breathing. Thea Kuta Lamp by Elisa Bortolussi These Thea Kuta lamps emerged out of Elisa Bortolussi’s desire to use yarn as an alternative tool for painting. The lamps are handmade from 100% wool, and their precise geometry and depth of color is dazzling. Mycelium + Timber Lamps by Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova These lamps are made of mushrooms! Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova found a way to pair mushroom mycelium with freshly cut wood waste to create a collection of sustainable furnishings. Stacked Glassware Lamps by New Citizen Design These beautiful pendant lights from New Citizen Design appear to be sculpted from glass – until a closer look reveals that they’re made of cups, bowls and plates! Designers Mayan Pesach and Sander Wassink salvage old glassware and combine it in unexpected ways – and each piece is unique. Panam Panama lamp by Lea Baert Lea Baert’s Panam Panama project transforms old fan grills into stunning lamps. Baert worked with communities of Panamanian craftspeople to develop the design using locally-sourced fibers. Upon returning to France, she updated the project with materials sourced locally in Paris. Atlas Light by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio Ladies & Gentlemen teamed up with Seattle-based artist and glass designer John Hogan to create the Atlas Light. This handcrafted lamp consists of an iridescent glass sphere flecked with gold leaf and set on a brass base. + London Design Week

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14 spectacular lamps unveiled at the London Design Festival

Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

October 6, 2017 by  
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The homes of the future will be smart, responsive, and even save us money. University of Maryland students let us take a peek into what the future may hold with reACT, a smart sustainable home that rethinks architecture as living organisms. Created as a “kit of parts,” this modular solar-powered dwelling is likened to a home-building kit that can be easily shipped out and readily adapted to different needs and environments. Most impressively, reACT —short for Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology—is self-sufficient and generates clean energy, recycles waste, self-regulates its building systems, and even produces clean water and grows nutrient-rich foods. UMD students designed and built reACT for a married couple living in Denver, Colorado, who are also members of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. The solar-powered home draws inspiration from the clients’ Native American roots to demonstrate how reACT’s innovative building system with off-grid capabilities can be customized to unique occupant needs. Thus, the reACT prototype incorporates Native American influences such as materials, patterns, and even ancestral farming practices, which can be found in the hydroponic garden, exterior vegetable garden, and movable living walls. The modular design allows the homeowners to expand or contract the house as needed. “Team Maryland created Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology to showcase how a sustainable future is more than just designing a better built home; it is a lifestyle system that incorporates a home with its surrounding environment, interacts with its occupants, and strives to give back more than it takes,” wrote the students. “This lifestyle system is supported by regeneratively mindful innovations that can be seen and explored throughout reACT communications. A modular ‘kit-of-parts’ home is the base of reACT as a lifestyle system. The ability to customize a home to adapt to the occupant’s unique needs is complimented by the technologies and innovations that increase energy efficiency , power generation, comfort, self-reliance, and overall enhance sustainable living.” Related: University of Maryland’s WaterShed Solar Decathlon House Takes First Place In Architecture! The modular reACT home is designed around a central courtyard with an operable glass roof and wall panels to bring light into the interior and serve as a solar heat collector. A solar electric photovoltaic array harnesses renewable energy and stores it in an on-site battery. Residents will have the option to sell energy back to the grid. The reACT home also produces clean water through rainwater and gray water collection and treatment systems. Indoor gardening creates the home’s green core where nutrient-rich foods are grown using organic waste gathered from the composting toilet. Self-regulating building systems, achieved through automation, program the home to become more energy efficient over time as the virtual house technology learns from its environment and the occupants’ lifestyles. The reACT home is the University of Maryland’s submission to this year’s Solar Decathlon competition. Once the competition is over, reACT will be shipped back to Maryland and installed next to Maryland’s Solar Decathlon 2007 second-place house in a sustainability park for further research and development. + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

Transformable solar building changes shape to teach people how to live sustainably

October 5, 2017 by  
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How do you persuade people to adopt sustainable lifestyles? A team of Swiss architecture students believes in the power of demonstration—and they’ve designed and built the eco-friendly NeighborHub to prove their point. Conceived as a collaborative community space, the NeighborHub is a transformable, shared space that demonstrates innovative solutions, from renewable energy and water management to biodiversity and sustainable mobility. The NeighborHub is a community space that provides innovation solutions to the challenges of climate change and resource depletion. The building explores seven themes—renewable energy, water management, waste management, mobility, food, material choices, and biodiversity—within a transformable shell built of laminated veneer lumber. “The house is divided into two main spaces,” said the Swiss Team. “The center of the NeighborHub, the core, is a thermally controlled space. It is surrounded by the extended skin which is controlled by passive strategies.” The modular, prefabricated building envelope can adapt to different needs, from a private bedroom to a bicycle repair shop, and even expand its footprint to the outdoors thanks to movable walls and transforming furniture. The NeighborHub’s movable facade is clad in active solar panels and solar thermal panels on the east, south, and west sides. An edible garden grows atop the rainwater-harvesting roof. Two vertical greenhouses are installed to show off space-saving year-round farming techniques such as aquaponics . A zero-water “dry” toilet recycles waste and produces compost that can be used as fertilizer. The rainwater collected from the roof is treated with an on-site phytopurication system and reused for non-potable uses, such as laundry and irrigation. Related: Hurricane-resistant SURE HOUSE wins the 2015 Solar Decathlon The NeighborHub was designed and constructed by the Swiss Team, comprising students from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (HEIA-FR), the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD) and the University of Fribourg (UNIFR). The Swiss Team’s solar prototype was developed for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon , an academic competition that challenges student teams to design and build full-size solar-powered homes; this year’s contest is held near Denver, Colorado. Following the competition, the NeighborHub will be brought back to the blueFactory in Fribourg, Switzerland for further research and development. + Solar Decathlon Images © Mike Chino

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Transformable solar building changes shape to teach people how to live sustainably

Students build a low-cost yet high-quality sustainable home from recycled materials

October 4, 2017 by  
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Affordable and sustainable housing is possible—and Studio 804’s many projects are proof. Working together with University of Kansas architecture students, Studio 804 produced their latest design/build project, called 1330 Brook Street, in a working-class neighborhood in the city of Lawrence. As with their previous projects, the energy-efficient home is designed with LEED standards in mind and makes use of passive solar strategies to save on energy. The three-bedroom, two-bath home is located on an undesirable urban infill site in the East Lawrence community. Although the 1,300-square-foot home is decidedly contemporary , the architects were careful to integrate the dwelling into the existing neighborhood fabric. The handsome yet understated home is clad in insulated metal panels salvaged from a scrapped tennis center project in town. The cedar boards used for the roof overhangs were reclaimed from railroad bridge trestles. “As we design toward LEED Platinum standards, we are integrating passive strategies for lighting and sun shading,” wrote Studio 804. “With an exterior screening system and concrete floor for thermal mass, the southwest glazing allows optimal temperatures year round. We are also selecting materials based on a desire for longevity and ease of maintenance, including the re-purposed metal panel cladding system and insulated glass units for the southwest glazing.” Related: Kansas University students build net-zero home with LEED Platinum and Passive House certification The ADA-compliant home features a flexible open-plan interior—save for the fixed kitchen—with plenty of built-in storage space to give the homeowner control over the use and layout of the space. The light-filled home also opens out to a small “outdoor room” on the south side, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. A rooftop array of 16 solar panels provide up to 4.8 kilowatt-hours of power—expected to meet the home’s energy demands—while low-flow fixtures and LEDs help reduce energy needs as well. + Studio 804 Via Dezeen

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Students build a low-cost yet high-quality sustainable home from recycled materials

Bicycle highway in the Netherlands built using recycled toilet paper

October 3, 2017 by  
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People in the Netherlands use an estimated 180,000 tons of toilet paper every year. Because this amounts to a lot of trees, last Fall the Dutch province of Friesland repurposed the product to make a bicycle highway . The stretch of roadway, about 0.6-miles-long, connects the Frisian capital of Leeuwarden to the town of Stiens. It is the first bicycle lane in the world to be paved with toilet paper — but few can tell the difference. In the Netherlands , roads are typically paved with blacktop. Specifically, open-graded asphalt friction course (OGFC) is used because it is porous and water permeable. “When roads get wet, [they get] slippery, so we use this asphalt because it takes water away from the road surface quicker,” said Ernst Worrell, Professor of energy, resources, and technological change at Utrecht University. The country sees an annual rainfall of 27 to 35 inches per year, so this safety measure is important. While the method is effective, it isn’t the only way to build safe asphalt-type roads, as the province of Friesland recently proved. Last fall, a bicycle highway was built using tertiary cellulose extracted from waste streams. CirTec and KNN Cellulose developed the technology for extracting and cleaning the cellulose fibers. The process entailed sifting paper fibers out of wastewater with a 0.35-millimeter industrial sieve. The fibers were then run through a series of machines, which cleaned, sterilized, bleached and dried them. This produced a fluffy, grayish material. According to Chris Reijken, wastewater treatment advisor at Waternet, “If you look at it, you would not expect it to have originated from wastewater.” Technically, the uses for the reclaimed cellulose are endless. The product could be used in building insulation, biofuel , textiles, pulp and paper, filters — and more. But due to sanitization concerns, it cannot legally be used in products that come into direct contact with people. Related: London Unveils $1.51 Billion Bicycle Master Plan With 15-Mile Bike Highway As a result, the recycled toilet paper was used to construct a bike highway. And so far, officials are reportedly pleased with the investment said to have held up well so far. The success of the project resulted in the same mixture being used to reinforce a dyke on the West Frisian Island of Ameland and to repave a parking lot of a children’s petting zoo in Groningen. CityLab says the city of Amsterdam is now interested in using cellulose from wastewater in its roadways. “It’s a strange idea for people that there’s [toilet paper] in the road,” says Michiel Schrier, provincial governor of Friesland. “But when they cycle on it or feel it, they can see that it’s normal asphalt.” It’s still too early to say whether products from recycled toilet paper will become mainstream, but, in the Netherlands, at least, they’re off to a good start. To repair all roadways in the Netherlands, 15,000 tons of fiber would be needed. From toilet paper alone, this wouldn’t be possible. But using tertiary cellulose from other waste sources, such as diapers and beverage cartons, two million tons could be created. Greener roads are just around the bend. Via CityLab Images via Pixabay , KNN Cellulose

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Bicycle highway in the Netherlands built using recycled toilet paper

Bloombergs new London HQ rated worlds most sustainable office

October 3, 2017 by  
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Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London scored a 98.5% against the latest BREEAM sustainability rating scheme—making it the world’s most sustainable office building, as designed. Certified BREEAM Outstanding with its design-stage score, the Foster + Partners -designed project uses 73% less water and 35% less energy than a typical office building. Innovative energy saving technologies are visibly integrated into the building, from the beautiful and multifunctional petal-leaf ceiling panels to the façade’s bronze solar shading fins. From design development to construction, sustainability played a key role in the Bloomberg European HQ project. A 95% recycling rate of demolition and construction waste was achieved during the six-year construction process thanks to the reuse of existing structural foundations and a unique waste management system that tracked waste production. The new London building is one of Bloomberg’s 34 LEED or BREEAM -certified projects globally. The most eye-catching energy-saving feature of the new office headquarters is the approximately 4,000 integrated ceiling panels that combine heating, cooling, lighting, and acoustic functions. Half a million LED lights are embedded into the bespoke ceiling panels and use 40% less energy than a typical fluorescent office lighting system. The ceiling panels’ metal petals also use elevated chilled water temperatures to reduce energy use in a first-of-its-kind integrated cooling system. Related: Peek inside Bloomberg’s sustainable new headquarters in London An on-site Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generation center supplies heat and power in a single, efficient system that’s estimated to save 500 to 700 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Rooftop solar also provides additional power. To cool the building naturally, the facade is equipped with 117 operable large bronze fins that open and close for natural ventilation. Smart sensing controls automatically adjust airflow depending on occupancy. Rainwater from the roof, cooling tower blow-off water, and gray water are captured, treated, and recycled to flush toilets. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners

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Bloombergs new London HQ rated worlds most sustainable office

Coca-Cola increased its plastic bottle production by a billion in 2016

October 2, 2017 by  
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Coca-Cola increased its global production of single-use, throwaway plastic bottles by one billion in 2016, according to Greenpeace . Although the beverage behemoth does not publicly disclose its production numbers, an analysis by Greenpeace suggests a massive increase in output of plastic, which often ends up in landfills, water ways, or in large islands of trash floating in the ocean. The world’s largest soft drinks company contributes more than its fair share to a global plastic problem. It is estimated that by 2021, the global production of plastic bottles will reach half a trillion per year. Although there is a massive number of plastic bottles in circulation and being produced each year, only a small number of them are recycled. Less than half of the bottles purchased in 2016 were then returned for recycling while only 7 percent of the collected bottles were reused to create new bottles. Where do these non-recycled bottles go? Most often, they are deposited in landfills or the ocean. Between 5 million and 13 million tons of plastic seeps into seawater, where it is then ingested by birds , fish and other aquatic wildlife. According to research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic, by weight, in the ocean than fish. Related: Coca Cola’s bright red Berlin HQ is actually pretty green, thanks to energy-saving design Although Coca-Cola’s plastic bottle production increase poses a problem for the planet’s health, the global beverage corporation is taking some steps to clean up its act. In July 2017, Coca-Cola European Partners announced its goal of increasing the amount of recycled plastic in each of its bottles to 50 percent by 2020. However, this goal is viewed by critics as insufficient, particularly considering that bottles could be made out of 100 percent plastic. “Coca-Cola talks the talk on sustainability but the astonishing rate at which it is pumping out single-use plastic bottles is still growing,” said Louise Edge, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace. “We have calculated it produced over 110bn throwaway plastic bottles every year – an astounding 3,400 a second – while refusing to take responsibility for its role in the plastic pollution crisis facing our oceans .” Via The Guardian Images via Greenpeace

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Coca-Cola increased its plastic bottle production by a billion in 2016

10 Things in Your Bedroom You Can Reuse or Recycle

September 29, 2017 by  
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Your bedroom may not be a space where you keep a recycling bin, but many common bedroom items can be recycled. We’ve put together a list explaining how to reuse or recycle 10 items in your bedroom you shouldn’t throw away. The post 10 Things in…

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10 Things in Your Bedroom You Can Reuse or Recycle

Former Tesla executives to produce battery "with significantly lower carbon footprint"

September 28, 2017 by  
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Tesla is attempting to shake up the car and energy industries with their battery -producing Gigafactory – and two past employees hope to bring the revolution to Europe. Former Tesla executives Peter Carlsson and Paolo Cerruti aim to build Europe’s biggest lithium-ion battery factory with startup Northvolt in Sweden . Carlsson said, “We will produce a battery with significantly lower carbon footprint than the current supply chains.” The $4.5 billion Northvolt factory in Sweden will pump out batteries for electric cars , ships, trucks, and snowmobiles. They’ll source materials like nickel and graphite from Swedish deposits, and cobalt from a Finland refiner. They’ll power the factory with renewable energy from Sweden’s hydropower dams. They’ll reuse waste heat and recycle old batteries. Northvolt just this week announced a “wide-ranging supply and technology partnership” with company ABB . Related: Tesla executives start mysterious new recycling company Northvolt batteries will have an almost zero carbon footprint, according to Carlsson. He said, “Right now the flow of batteries to Europe would mainly come from Asia. If you take the [ coal -powered] energy grids of China or Japan, both of their carbon footprints are pretty high. When you accumulate that into a battery pack for a vehicle, that’s a significant footprint.” Northvolt will be able to differentiate themselves using hydropower. They’ll also create their own anode and cathode chemical mixes rather than purchasing them from Asian or European manufacturers. Is Northvolt making a run for Tesla’s business? According to Wired, Carlsson said he’s not competing with old boss Elon Musk . He said, “Tesla is a very challenging culture, but it’s also a very rewarding culture. There’s one thing that nobody can take away from Elon; he has always put his mission above everyone else. Hopefully we can spread that kind of culture also within Northvolt.” The 32 gigawatt hour plant could begin production in 2020. + Northvolt Via Wired Images via Northvolt

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Former Tesla executives to produce battery "with significantly lower carbon footprint"

The world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant just popped up in the middle of London

September 28, 2017 by  
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The mobile recycling factory of the future just landed in the 19th century courtyard of the historic Somerset House in Central London. Trashpresso is a giant solar-powered recycling plant that transforms discarded plastic bottles into architectural tiles. The machine is the brainchild of Pentatonic , a furniture and design company based in Berlin and London committed to using only post-consumer waste in their products – from chairs made from “felted” plastic to glassware made from smartphone screens. Trashpresso is the world’s first off-grid, industrial grade recycling solution designed to be mobile and functional in isolated locations where traditional recycling plants aren’t a feasible option. “Our non-negotiable commitment to the consumer is that we make our products using single materials. That means no toxic additives and no hybridized materials which are prohibitive of recyclability,” explains co-founder Johann Bodecker. Trashpresso made its global debut this week at the Design Frontiers exhibition during the London Design Festival . Visitors to Design Frontiers were invited to contribute their trash and watch the Trashpresso process from start to finish – from the sorting of plastic bottles to the compression of shredded PET into solid hexagonal tiles. Enormous black spheres made of recycled plastic were also installed in the courtyard, lending an imposing presence to the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court. Throughout the week, the black spheres were gradually covered in the architectural tiles created by Trashpresso, with the public taking part in the installation. Large spheres made of metal mesh contained more plastic bottles, calling attention to the ongoing problem of tons of plastic a year entering our oceans. Starbucks UK recently announced a partnership with Pentatonic to turn their coffee shop waste into furniture, with their Starbucks Bean Chair reinterpreted with upcycled textiles and a frame made from plastic bottles and plastic cups. The Trashpresso machine debuting at Design Frontiers boasts upgraded engineering designed for global transportation. An earlier version of Trashpresso was previewed in Shanghai for World Earth Day by Pentatonic collaborator and investor Miniwiz , which is based in Taiwan and specializes in upcycling. Trashpresso was the featured installation at Design Frontiers, a new exhibition featuring more than 30 designers showcasing projects and products pushing the frontiers of innovation and material use. + Pentatonic + Design Frontiers + London Design Festival Coverage

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The world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant just popped up in the middle of London

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