This minimalist, solar-powered home stands strong against earthquakes

January 14, 2020 by  
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Located in the Swiss municipality of Grimisuat in the district of Sion, House ROFR was created with the future in mind. The modern, solar-powered home is situated on a hilly slope with the help of a protective and stabilizing wall along a surrounding orchard. In addition to its impressive green design features, the house also frames breathtaking views of its mountainous setting. The area here in the canton of Valais is known for its seismic activity. The Swiss Seismological Service has recorded about 270 earthquakes per year over the past 10 years, making it the most quake-prone region in the country. This, of course, has influenced the design decisions made by architects completing projects in the potentially hazardous part of Switzerland — and House ROFR is no exception. The entire structure of the building is made of strong concrete. Related: Experimental prefab home eschews fossil fuels in Geneva Per the client’s request, the 200-square-meter flat roof was equipped with as many solar modules as possible. Excess energy from the solar panels is stored in batteries, supplying both the house and electric cars with electricity. The home also uses geothermal heating to keep the interiors warm when the temperatures drop. The design provides for plenty of functional spaces with luxurious additions, such as a wine cave and cheese cellar on the ground floor along with a laundry room, changing room and bathroom. There are two areas making up the property — a larger, 220-square-meter house with the entire living space distributed on the upper floor as well as a smaller, two-level flat. The upper floor holds a patio terrace, the kitchen, a large fireplace and a concrete corridor connecting the different rooms. Occupants must go through the open garage to enter the house, though it is separated from the landscaped garden by larch wooden slats for added aesthetics. Rather than building a traditional garage, the designer wanted to give the owner the opportunity to turn the garage into an additional living area in the future. + Ralph Germann Architectes Photography by Lionel Henriod via Ralph Germann Architectes

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This minimalist, solar-powered home stands strong against earthquakes

Wearable garden vest is nourished by wearer’s own urine

January 14, 2020 by  
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Are you looking to spruce up your wardrobe this spring? Well, we’ve got the season’s eco-fashion garment for you — a wearable garden vest that thrives on your urine. Created by designer Aroussiak Gabrielian , the lush “garden cloak” concept was inspired as a potential solution to crop scarcity around the globe. With the potential to grow up to 40 crops, the green vest is irrigated by urine filtered through reverse osmosis. According to Gabrielian, the living garments are supposed to reconnect the food producer and consumer in order to foster a more self-reliant and resilient food production system .”The habitats are essentially cloaks of plant life that are intended to provide sustenance to the wearer, as well as flourish as expanding ecosystems that attract and integrate other animal and insect life,” Gabrielian said. Related: New biofabricated clothing made from algae goes through photosynthesis just like plants Recently unveiled at the Rome Sustainable Food Project, each cloak is an individual microhabitat made up of several layers. The multi-layered system is made up of moisture-retention felt and a drip and capillary irrigation layer, followed by the sprouting plant system . The living ecosystem layer is made up of plants, including herbs, greens, fruits, vegetables, legumes and fungi, that require sun and water as inputs. Another layer is made up of pollinators , which are essential to creating a fully sustainable crop output. The garden vests are outfitted with an integral system that recycles human waste, primarily urine. Collected via a built-in catheter, urine is stored, filtered and used to irrigate the plants. An innovative osmosis system, originally developed by NASA, converts urine into water by draining it through a semi-permeable membrane that filters out salt and ammonia. Working with a team made up of microgreens researcher Grant Calderwood, fashion designer Irene Tortora, Chris Behr from the Rome Sustainable Food Project and collaborator Alison Hirsh, Gabrielian’s  innovative project was made possible thanks to funding from the American Academy in Rome. Additionally, the grow lights were donated by PHILIPS. + Aroussiak Gabrielian Images via Aroussiak Gabrielian

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Wearable garden vest is nourished by wearer’s own urine

Quorn introduces carbon footprint labeling

January 14, 2020 by  
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In a trailblazing move, Quorn, the meatless food manufacturer headquartered in the U.K., is now leveraging carbon labeling on more than half its product line. Carbon labeling delineates where greenhouse gas emissions are associated with production, manufacture, distribution and transport of a particular consumer product as it is brought to market. The carbon label serves to inform consumers of an item’s environmental impact and carbon footprint. By reading carbon labels, consumers may be motivated to make better and more sustainable choices. Quorn’s pioneering carbon footprint data is certified by the Carbon Trust. Why is carbon labeling important? Any increase in a product’s carbon footprint has environmental repercussions — like climbing temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and increasing frequency of extreme weather as well as species vulnerability and threats to biodiversity. Carbon labeling provides a rating system that scores the environmentally friendly and socially responsible characteristics of a product, so consumers can make better choices that ultimately lead to smaller carbon footprints. Related: Alliance of more than 11,000 scientists warns that our planet faces a climate emergency Quorn’s products are considered healthier and more sustainable. Why? The company does not utilize any livestock. As its website explains, a nutritious soil fungus ferments to produce mycoprotein. Mycoprotein is high in protein and fiber, while being low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Interestingly, mycoprotein’s carbon footprint is 90% lower than beef’s. “For over 30 years, we have been proudly delivering Healthy Protein for a Healthy Planet,” a spokesperson for Quorn said. “Quorn is proven to provide significant health and environmental benefits, and today we’re delighted we can offer carbon footprint data to our customers. This is about giving people the information needed to make informed decisions about the food they eat and the effect it has on our planet’s climate — in the same way that nutrition information is clearly labeled to help inform decisions on health — and we’re asking other brands to get on board with us.” The labels will appear on some products, including the mince, crispy nuggets, sausages, fishless fillets, ultimate burgers and wonder grains, starting in June 2020, with the entire line of products featuring the new labels starting in 2021. + Quorn Via The Guardian Image via Quorn

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Quorn introduces carbon footprint labeling

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