Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center blends into the landscape

September 25, 2020 by  
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Prague-based architecture firm Petr Janda / brainwork studio has won an international competition with its design of the Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center, a proposed center that would service the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve located southeast of central Abu Dhabi. Dubbed “To See and Not to be Seen,” the winning proposal blends in with the landscape with an organically shaped building made of a pink concrete material that mimics rock formations in the Arabian desert . To mitigate the region’s intense heat, the proposed visitor center would feature liquid coolant integrated into both the inner and outer building shells as well as lichens that cover the surface of the building to significantly reduce operational costs. Organized by the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency in partnership with Bee Breeders, the Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center competition sought building designs that could accommodate a wide range of programming — including an information center, cafe, terrace, souvenir shop, display area for specimens, training center, bathrooms and a car park — and complement the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. The reserve is a 5,000-square-kilometer protected area that is home to around 260 species of birds and other wildlife. Every autumn through spring, the reserve welcomes 4,000 pink flamingos. Related: Touring restored wetlands at a Wisconsin nature conservancy The architects’ winning proposal envisions a visitor center with a circular floor plan that eschews the traditional layout of individual rooms boxed in by orthogonal walls. Instead, the barrier-free interior emphasizes the building’s dynamic rounded shape with curved walls throughout the three floors, from the basement level to the roof, where a “pink lake” biotope is located. The unusual design encourages visitors to explore the building much like they would the reserve. “The main idea is to connect the visitor centre with the reserve’s nature at all levels of the project,” the architects explained. “To create an autonomous environment with the distinct genius loci. Using material and shape mimicry, the building organically connects its appearance with the environment of the reserve. It looks very old and, at the same time, contemporary or even futuristic. It works with the natural connection between the organic and inorganic components of nature, which permeates not only the technical part of the building (cooling and condensation system) but also all exhibition and didactic strategies (living parts of the facades, water elements and indoor life organisms).” The jury has praised the project for its site-sensitive design; however, it did note that the complexity of the building may prove to be prohibitively expensive to build in its current form. + Petr Janda / brainwork studio Images via Petr Janda / brainwork studio

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Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center blends into the landscape

Go off the grid with a Tesla-powered adventure vehicle by Ready.Set.Van.

July 14, 2020 by  
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After finishing an ambitious, 8-month-long renovation project of a 38-foot school bus for Burning Man, the designers at Ready.Set.Van. realized they had something special on their hands. Fast forward to 2020, and the company has launched a wide range of comfortable and functional off-grid vans that are customizable to any type of adventure. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/ready-set-van-2-889×592.jpg" alt="van with side door open parked in a forest" class="wp-image-2274822" Ready.Set.Van. recently revealed its line of converted van models built using Ram Promaster commercial cargo vans. By harnessing the power of Tesla batteries to increase the comfort of off-grid living, the New Jersey-based company has certainly raised the bar for van life . Related: Custom camper van lets nomads immerse themselves in infinite adventures <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/ready-set-van-3-889×592.jpg" alt="van parked beside a river with view of van interior with white kitchen with wood counters" class="wp-image-2274821" Thanks to Tesla battery modules, each van layout comes with a highly efficient electricity system that allows you to live off of the grid without the need for an electrical outlet or generator. The company’s 840 AH battery system is designed to take up 57% less space and weigh 140 pounds less than an equally sized 12V lithium battery. That means 12-15 hours worth of battery life along with alternator charging and solar panels . <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/ready-set-van-4-889×661.jpg" alt="On the left, white storage drawers in a van. On the right, bike stored in a van." class="wp-image-2274820" The standard “Basecamper” layout starts at $33,750, not including the van itself, with deluxe bathroom “Plus” models starting at $42,250. The base model has enough storage space for at least two downhill mountain bikes in its gear-storage garage below the bed. Ready.Set.Van. has fit up to two bikes, two inflatable stand up paddle boards, two single-wheel skateboards and more inside the garage in the past. The $45,750 “Wanderer” model features a transforming layout complete with a Murphy bed that converts a portion of the van into a dining area with room for up to six people. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/ready-set-van-5-889×667.jpg" alt="van with wood flooring and white lofted bed" class="wp-image-2274818" Kitchens include commercial-induction cooktops, 80L fridges and stainless sinks, while the rest of the interiors contain a wealth of convenient storage and seating. Clients can also choose additional features such as air conditioning, heating, awnings, roof racks and indoor showers. Buyers can also choose to create a completely custom conversion build. + Ready.Set.Van. Images via Ready.Set.Van .

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Go off the grid with a Tesla-powered adventure vehicle by Ready.Set.Van.

The Denali XL is a spacious, rustic tiny home on wheels

June 18, 2020 by  
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Offered by Alabama-based Timbercraft Tiny Homes, the spacious and rustic Denali XL tiny home is based on the popular, smaller Denali model. Denali XL features 399 square feet of floor space, not including the 65-square-foot loft above the bathroom. The company has stretched the standard Denali from 37 feet long to 42 feet long on a wide trailer with wheels to help get this luxurious tiny home from point A to point B. Tall ceilings and window-filled walls give this house an airy feel. Powered skylights  in the living room open automatically via timers or rain sensors, or manually with a wall switch. Thoughtfully-designed shiplap walls, stained wood ceilings, hardwood floors and Sierra Pacific wood-clad windows fill the space. Related: This tiny home on wheels features white shiplap walls In the kitchen, a 24-inch four-burner gas range with a full oven makes it easy to cook an entire meal. The kitchen also features a summit refrigerator with a roomy freezer on the bottom, a trash compactor and dishwasher. Quartz countertops and under-cabinet lighting add a touch of class, and a farm sink with spray nozzle faucet adds to the functional, rustic-chic style of the entire home. Kitchen cabinets are built in-house at Timbercraft and include soft close hinges and a wide range of options for colors and finish. The house is heated and cooled with two internal 9,000 BTU mini-split units located in both the kitchen and bedroom. Spray foam  insulation  adds to the heating and cooling efficiency. The bathroom is located behind a sliding stained wood door, complete with a luxurious steam shower with subway tile and sealed glass, an incinerating toilet and a ventilation fan that controls the humidity inside. Additionally, a hidden compartment in the bathroom stores a washer-dryer combo. A loft-style bedroom sits atop a set of storage stairs. The bedroom includes space for a king bed and storage underneath, additional controlled skylights above the bed and a large walk-in closet. The model shown here also has a secondary loft for another bedroom above the living room. + Timbercraft Tiny Homes Images via Timbercraft Tiny Homes

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The Denali XL is a spacious, rustic tiny home on wheels

Pioneering Waste-Reusing Plastic Roads

July 16, 2015 by  
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A new way of building roads with recycled plastic is being developed by Dutch company KWS Infra . As a resident of Michigan, where the combination of hard northern winters and a legislature that refuses to do its job have led to a statewide condition with many roads in embarrassingly bad shape , this hits close to home. The plastic roads are claimed to offer a number of advantages that make this a potentially revolutionary technology. The proposed system is going to use “100% recycled materials” according to the company. If plastic-based roads can serve to make a use for more plastic waste and keep it from entering waste streams, that could be a huge benefit all by itself. The premanufactured road sections are modular, and would be built in a factory and then shipped to the work site where they could be installed faster than conventionally-built roads can be completed. The plastic road modules are also better able to be installed over sand or poor soil (which is a frequent issue in the Netherlands). The modular units can also contain chases for electrical wireways or other infrastructure to be incorporated. As with other premanufactured systems and components, there can be better quality control of manufacturing as opposed to work done in the field. The modular road sections are also lighter in weight, meaning less impact on roads and less transportation energy to deliver materials. The plastic road could be more durable and longer lasting than conventional paving, and is resistant to a wide range of temperatures (although it might not be suitable for use in far northerly regions). “Plastic Road is also virtually maintenance free. It is resistant to corrosion and weathering. So it can easily to temperatures from -40 to +80 degrees Celsius and it is much more resistant to chemical attack. We estimate that the life span of roads can be tripled.” ( article translated via Google Translate ) Having a material that won’t develop potholes could be a huge advantage if the plastic road is able to deliver that.  Presumably the modular panels have some structural strength which gives them the ability to span over poor soils, and that might also help in resisting damage from frost heave.  Having panels that can be more quickly replaced could also lead to less road blockage and delay during construction (and less idling vehicles is yet another environmental side benefit that could come from these roads). Other interesting technologies, like solar roadways , might dovetail with the modular construction of plastic roads, enabling both systems to be adopted more readily by combining the benefits of both in a single system.  The open chases of the plastic roads could also make it fairly easy for the solar panels to be prewired in the factory, and only need to make connections between modules in order to connect the system. The list of potential features the plastic roads offer is impressive. The company is now looking for a partner and a location for a demonstration pilot program to test these roads and see how well they perform in real-world conditions. via: Construction Data Building Blocks Blog

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Pioneering Waste-Reusing Plastic Roads

INFOGRAPHIC: Jumpstart your green thumb with these DIY garden projects for spring

March 9, 2015 by  
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If you’re itching to bring life back to your garden after this year’s brutal winter season, you’ll enjoy Capital Garden Services’ infographic for DIY ideas on revitalizing your garden blooms. This graphic outlines a wide range of ideas from the pragmatic to the artistic to help you nourish your soil and beautify your flowerbeds. These easy and useful tips can serve as guidelines for the novice gardener or as a checklist of reminders for the more advanced green thumbs. Read on for the full list to get a jumpstart on gardening this spring. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Jumpstart your green thumb with these DIY garden projects for spring Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: capital garden services , diy garden projects , garden , garden infographic , Gardening , infographic , reader submitted content

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INFOGRAPHIC: Jumpstart your green thumb with these DIY garden projects for spring

The benefits of tying executive compensation to sustainability

August 15, 2013 by  
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While it appears to be an emerging trend, there's still a wide range of ways in which it's implemented.

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The benefits of tying executive compensation to sustainability

4 ways to make transportation fuel systems more sustainable

August 15, 2013 by  
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Here's what came out of a series of discussions among fleet operators, vehicle manufacturers, energy producers and civil society.

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4 ways to make transportation fuel systems more sustainable

How the largest IT companies view sustainable supply-chain issues

March 12, 2013 by  
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IT companies around the world face a wide range of issues, from conflict minerals to human trafficking.

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How the largest IT companies view sustainable supply-chain issues

Microsoft’s carbon pricing scheme: A progress report

February 12, 2013 by  
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An update on Microsoft's internal carbon fee, by its chief architect.

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Microsoft’s carbon pricing scheme: A progress report

The State of Green Business, 2013

February 12, 2013 by  
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  While companies engage in a wide range of sustainability initiatives, the costs to the environment continue to grow.

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The State of Green Business, 2013

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