Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design

August 9, 2017 by  
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NALU boutique hotel in Costa Rica is a sustainable jungle retreat for exercise and relaxation. Merging sustainability with local craftsmanship, architecture firm Studio Saxe designed a series of pavilions scattered amongst the trees, offering each occupant an extra sense of privacy. The hotel is located in Nosara, a burgeoning tourist destination for health, wellness and surfing. The owners, Nomel and Mariya Libid, wanted the design of the new building to reflect this attitude by offering several tranquil spaces for various types of recreation and exercise. Dense jungle completely surrounds the individual pavilion homes. The architects determined optimal positions for each of the structures by conducting extensive analyses of wind and sun patterns. Related: 8 gorgeous green hotels to add to your bucket list The timber roofs made of recycled Teak planks protrude over each pavilion to create shade from the intense equatorial sun. Corridors lit from the pergola roofs frame views of the lush surroundings and connect separate rooms. “Our project Nalu represents the power of simple, low-key, modern tropical architecture ,” says architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe. “It has quickly become a town favorite, which shows that there is a real desire to occupy spaces that bring people closer to nature, while addressing the needs of contemporary life,” he adds. + Studio Saxe Photos by Andres Garcia Lachner

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Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design

Breathtaking bamboo building withstands earthquakes and boasts a zero-carbon footprint

August 9, 2017 by  
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Thailand’s eco-friendly Panyaden International School has added a stunning new sports hall to its campus that’s built entirely of bamboo and stays naturally cool year-round in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Designed by Chiangmai Life Construction , the Bamboo Sports Hall features a modern organic design that draws inspiration from the lotus flower. The large multipurpose facility was built to withstand local natural forces including high-speed winds and earthquakes, and boasts a zero-carbon footprint. Completed this year, the Bamboo Sports Hall features a lotus-like organic shape in a nod to Panyaden International School’s use of Buddhist values in its academic curriculum. Its undulating shape also reflects the surrounding hilly topography. The 782-square-meter open-air building is supported with a series of arches and topped with three petal-like round roofs lifted up at the edges to let in natural ventilation and indirect light. The multipurpose facility can accommodate 300 students and includes futsal, basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts, as well as a stage that can be lifted automatically, and storage room for sports and drama equipment. Viewing balconies flank the sporting area and stage. Related: Chiangmai Life Construction creates homes using rammed earth, bamboo and recycled wood Bamboo was selected as the primary building material to maintain Panyaden’s “Green School” mission of a low carbon footprint and to blend in with the school’s existing earth-and-bamboo buildings. “Panyaden’s Sports Hall’s carbon footprint is zero,” write the architects. “The bamboo used absorbed carbon to a much higher extent than the carbon emitted during treatment, transport and construction.” The large openings for natural ventilation, insulation, and use of bamboo help create a comfortable indoor climate year-round. No toxic chemicals were used to treat the bamboo, which has an expected lifespan of at least 50 years. The exposed prefabricated bamboo trusses span over 17 meters. “Here we show how bamboo can create a space that is 15 meters wide and high without any steel reinforcements,” wrote the architects. “From the outside it looks like it has grown there or transformed from one of the rolling hills in the background to become a human artifice. As in fact the Panyaden International School Sports Hall is a combination of careful artistic design, beautiful detailed handicraft and major construction.” + Chiangmai Life Construction Via ArchDaily Images © Alberto Cosi, Markus Roselieb, Chiangmai Life Construction

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Breathtaking bamboo building withstands earthquakes and boasts a zero-carbon footprint

10 Things in Your Kitchen You Didn’t Know You Could Reuse or Recycle

August 8, 2017 by  
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You’re most likely familiar with how to recycle lots of basics in your kitchen: plastic bottles, glass jars, aluminum cans and the like. Go beyond the norm, take a look and find out how to make your kitchen greener with this list of recyclables…

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10 Things in Your Kitchen You Didn’t Know You Could Reuse or Recycle

Stunning treehouse retreat in Rwanda sets a new standard for ecotourism

August 8, 2017 by  
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Rwanda’s unbelievable Bisate Lodge is a stunning example of how to build in a natural landscape without causing harm. Constructed into an eroded volcanic cone, the pod-like villas, which were designed by Johannesburg-based architect Nick Plewman , are surrounded by lush forest with views of the volcanic landscape. The lodge is part of an effort to honor the local culture while restoring the indigenous forest. Designed to pay homage to the Rwandan culture and natural landscape, the eco-retreat is located near the Volcanoes National Park Headquarters and is part of a pioneering onsite indigenous reforestation project. Only six thatched-roof villas are located on the expansive 103-acre resort, which was built into a natural cavernous space in an overgrown volcanic cone. Related: 7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa Wanting to create an authentic Rwandan style, the resort’s overall design was inspired by indigenous tradition. Much of the interior design includes an abundance of colorful prints and varying textures that were chosen to represent the local style. In fact, Teta Isibo, local fashion entrepreneur and founder of Inzuki Designs and one of Africa’s 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs for 2017 collaborated on the design process. Various sustainable features – such as chandeliers made of recycled glass and volcanic stone fireplaces – are found throughout the eco retreat. Local touches such as the traditional ibyansi milk jug motif are used throughout the space, and cow hides were used as rugs to represent the rural life in local villages. Additionally, items made from the traditional art process called Imigongo , where cow dung is mixed with soils of different colors and painted into geometric shapes, are also found in the interior. Operated by sustainable ecotourism operator, Wilderness Safaris, construction of the Bisante Lodge was an ecological process throughout. According to the COO Grant Woodrow, the company put strategic care into building something that would enhance the area rather than harm it, “We wanted to ensure that our brand of responsible ecotourism made a real difference to both rural Rwandan people and biodiversity conservation.” Reservations for this amazing eco lodge can be made through Thousand Hills Africa. + Nick Plewman + Wilderness Safaris Via Dwell

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Stunning treehouse retreat in Rwanda sets a new standard for ecotourism

Costa Rica aims to become the first country to ban all single-use plastics

August 7, 2017 by  
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Costa Rica is taking a stand against the plastic waste flooding our oceans and clogging up our landfills: the country is poised to become the first in the world to eliminate all single-use plastics . This isn’t just a ban on plastic bags or water bottles. Using a multi-prong approach, Costa Rica will eliminate plastic forks, lids and even coffee stirrers. And as if that wasn’t a lofty enough goal, they plan to do this by 2021. Plastic is one of the most dramatic problems that the environment is facing. There is so much plastic trash in the ocean that it is difficult to even comprehend, and we are constantly discovering more . By 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. In Costa Rica, 4,000 tons of solid waste is produced every day, and 20 percent of that never makes it to a recycle center or landfill, ending up in the Costa Rican rivers, beaches and forests. Related: Costa Rica ran almost entirely on renewables in 2016 Costa Rica has taken environmental protection seriously. The country plans to be carbon neutral by 2021, in part by ditching fossil fuels . They are also dedicated to restoring their forests and protecting wildlife .  In order to move away from single-use plastic, the country will utilize both public and private sectors to accomplish five actions. The country will offer incentives and issue requirements for suppliers, in addition to investing in research and development and other initiatives that will move it closer to its goals. It will also replace single-use products with innovations like cellulose acetate-based materials. Via Costa Rica News Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Costa Rica aims to become the first country to ban all single-use plastics

The Laws on Plastic Bags: To Ban or Tax?

August 4, 2017 by  
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When it comes to single-use plastic bags, the disposal issue is becoming less about whether they are recycled and more about what some cities are doing to reduce their existence in the first place. If you live in a city near a body of water, it’s…

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The Laws on Plastic Bags: To Ban or Tax?

Artist carves an intricate forest into an old delivery van

August 3, 2017 by  
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Artist Dan Rawling s likes to give old metal scraps a new lease on life by carving them into forest-themed art works. His most recent work, Nature Delivers, is a massive forest landscape carved into the entire body of an old delivery truck. Rawlings uses an arsenal of tools to create his detailed pieces such as a hand held plasma torch, files, grinders, scalpels, welders, etching chemicals, etc. The results are intricate, hand-crafted scenes that are spectacular on their own, however, the works take on a life of their own when illuminated, where viewers can really appreciate the amazing details of the metal sculptures . Related: Artist transforms scrap metal into incredible lifelike sculptures The artist works on everything from old signs, rusty tools, and even empty water tanks . In 2014, the artist carved an 18-foot-high grain silo into a beautiful illuminated piece that was on display in London’s Battersea Park. His most recent work, Nature Delivers, saw the artist painstakingly cut an entire forest backdrop into of the body of an old delivery van. The work was commissioned for the Lost Eden festival, but unfortunately, was set on fire earlier this year. According to the artist, his work is meant to take people back to a simpler time in life, “I try to create images that remind people of the moments when everything seems possible and free,” says Rawlings, “times when climbing a tree, or sitting admiring the way its branches twist and curl means nothing, but means everything.” + Dan Rawlings Via This is Colossal Images via Dan Rawlings Facebook

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Artist carves an intricate forest into an old delivery van

Score one of 4 solar-powered Voltaic Converter backpacks in Inhabitats Back to School Contest

August 1, 2017 by  
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With summer coming to a close, it’s back-to-school time for many students – but it doesn’t have to be a drag. We’ve teamed up with Voltaic to give four lucky readers an amazing solar backpack for their return to the studious life! Voltaic’s newly launched Converter backpack charges your phone and other USB devices using built-in solar panels , so you’ll never run out of juice between classes – and a single hour in the sun provides three hours of smartphone use. We’re giving away four backpacks over four weeks of August, so enter today! a Rafflecopter giveaway Voltaic is constantly reinventing itself with some of the coolest solar products out there, and this new backpack ranks high on their list of innovations. At a relatively low price point of $129, the Converter backpack is a great deal for what you’re getting. With a battery in your backpack, and a 5-watt solar panel that can fully charge a smartphone after three hours in the sun, you’ll never run out of juice again. The battery can also be charged via the grid, and the backpack is packed with even more useful features beyond its solar capability. Made of recycled PET , the Converter is large enough to accommodate a 15″ laptop and comes with a couple of extra pockets – including plenty of storage for all your cables and adapters. It’s waterproof, lightweight and UV resistant, and high-density padding in the shoulder straps and back make it super comfortable to wear – even for a day trip in the great outdoors. We’ll be announcing our winners in our newsletter on 8/11, 8/18, 8/25, and 9/1, so sign up now for your chance to take one of these beauties home! That said, we’re only shipping to US addresses, so please keep that in mind when you enter. Good luck! + Voltaic

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Score one of 4 solar-powered Voltaic Converter backpacks in Inhabitats Back to School Contest

Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

August 1, 2017 by  
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Don’t toss your bagel wrapper in the trash just yet; scientists at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland say they have discovered a way to turn used aluminum foil into a catalyst to create cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels . Working with engineers from the university, Ahmed Osman, an early career researcher at the school of chemistry and chemical engineering, has developed a technique that extracts 100 percent pure single crystals of aluminum salts from contaminated foil, without creating harmful emissions or waste. The salts can be used to kickstart the preparation of alumina catalyst, which can then be used to produce dimethyl ether, a nontoxic, clean-burning fuel that is typically manufactured from plant-based biomass. This process has a couple of distinct advantages, Osman said. Current methods of creating this type of alumina involves bauxite ore, the mining of which causes appreciable environmental damage in countries such as West Africa, the West Indies, and Australia. Related: Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel There’s also the abundance of aluminum foil packaging waste. Because grease in used foil can muck up recycling equipment, nearly 20,000 tons of the stuff—enough to reach the moon and back—is either landfilled or incinerated in the United Kingdom alone. Osman plans to fine-tune his research so he can explore opportunities for commercialization, whether for biofuel production or the use of the modified alumina catalyst in the catalytic converters of natural-gas vehicles. “This breakthrough is significant as not only is the alumina more pure than its commercial counterpart, it could also reduce the amount of aluminum foil going to landfill while also sidestepping the environmental damage associated with mining bauxite,” Osman said in a statement . + Queen’s University Belfast Via New Atlas Photo by blikss/Flickr

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Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

How Car Battery Recycling Could Be Even Better

August 1, 2017 by  
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Which items in the waste stream are the most commonly recycled? Ten percent of plastic, 28 percent of glass, 49 percent of aluminum cans and 55 percent of paper is recycled. But the recycling award for the product with the highest recycling rate…

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How Car Battery Recycling Could Be Even Better

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