These amazing zero-waste buildings were grown from mushrooms

June 27, 2017 by  
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Could the buildings of the future be grown instead of built? Brunel University student Aleksi Vesaluoma has found a way to grow living structures using mushroom mycelium . Vesaluoma worked with architecture firm Astudio to create these Grown Structures, which offer a waste-free , organic alternative to conventional construction materials When mycelium grows on organic materials such as straw, it binds the matter together like glue. Aleksi Vesaluoma and Astudio mixed oyster mushroom mycelium with cardboard and poured the material into tube-shaped cotton bandages. These tubular forms were then placed inside a ventilated greenhouse for four weeks to grow and strengthen. This process turns organic waste into nutrients for the growth of the mycelium – and it’s completely waste-free, since the structure is 100% biodegradable. Related: 3D-Printed Mycelium Chair Sprouts Living Mushrooms! Grown Structures have prompted several attempts at commercialization in the USA and the Netherlands. The fact that the fungi which grow on the structures can also be eaten makes the project perfect for pop-up restaurants . + Brunel University London + Astudio Via Dezeen

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These amazing zero-waste buildings were grown from mushrooms

Tipping points accelerated climate change in the last Ice Age, new research shows

June 27, 2017 by  
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Could reaching environmental tipping points really impact the Earth’s climate all that much? New research from an international team of four scientists says yes. Their study is the first to show that in our planet’s past, gradual changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations led to tipping points that then set off temperature spikes of as much as 10 degrees Celsius in only a few decades. Scientists led by Xu Zhang of the Alfred Wegener Institute were able to show how sudden changes in our climate, or Dansgaard-Oeschger events, came from CO2 concentrations that rose gradually. Researchers had known temperatures shot up thanks to Greenland ice core samples, but they weren’t sure why – and the new study provides some answers. Zhang said in a statement, “With this study, we’ve managed to show for the first time how gradual increases of CO2 triggered rapid warming .” Related: Scientists warn of uncontrollable climate change amid drastic Arctic melt The team drew on a climate model to find how interactions between the atmosphere and ocean currents led to the temperature spike of 10 degrees Celsius, or 18 degrees Fahrenheit, in Greenland during the last Ice Age, which ended around 11,700 years ago. Here’s how it works. Increased CO2 strengthened Central America trade winds, and the eastern Pacific Ocean warmed more than the western Atlantic Ocean. From there more moisture left the Atlantic, so the salinity and density of that ocean’s surface waters increased. These changes resulted in an abrupt amplification of the circulation pattern of the Atlantic, which according to Zhang can lead to sudden temperature increases. Will we see rapid changes if we hit tipping points today? Gerrit Lohmann of the institute and the University of Bremen said, “We can’t say for certain whether rising CO2 levels will produce similar effects in the future, because the framework conditions today differ from those in a glacial period. That being said, we’ve now confirmed that there have definitely been abrupt climate changes in the Earth’s past that were the result of continually rising CO2 concentrations.” The journal Nature Geoscience published the research online this month. Via the Alfred Wegener Institute and New Atlas Images via Coen Hofstede

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Tipping points accelerated climate change in the last Ice Age, new research shows

South Africas first Green Star museum is an eco-friendly literary treasure

June 27, 2017 by  
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One of South Africa’s literary treasures has transformed into an eco-friendly gem. Designed by Intsika Architects , the National English Literary Museum is the first five-star Green Star-certified Public & Education building in the country. Located in the university town of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, this eco-friendly museum meets impressive energy and water-saving targets, and also met social objectives through local job creation in construction. The 10,812-square-meter National English Literary Museum was completed in June 2016 for R145 million. Set with a park within a pedestrian-friendly area, the massive building is broken down into smaller elements, while selective massing responds to human scale. As a true community resource, the new library offers numerous public gathering spots and amenities such as a mini-theater, outdoor amphitheater , exhibition area, archives, library, and museum offices. Visual displays about the building’s sustainability initiatives teach visitors about the library’s water and energy savings, as well as green roof efficiency. To meet targets of reducing potable water consumption by more than 95% below benchmark, the library harvests and reuses rainwater from the roof for irrigation, toilet and urinal flushing; features xeriscaped indigenous landscaping to reduce irrigation needs; and installed water meters to monitor water consumption. Stormwater detention ponds capture and slowly release stormwater to prevent erosion in the river system. Daylighting is maximized indoors and a low-energy heat-recovery system provides cooling and heating simultaneously to different parts of the building. Where possible, materials were recycled and sourced locally, and include recycled rubber, recycled bamboo flooring, low-VOC paints, coconut mosaic wall cladding, and recycled plastic carpets. The green roof helps insulate the interior—the green-roofed archives tucked below ground don’t need air conditioning—and gabon walls and natural stone cladding used as thermal massing stabilize indoor temperatures. + Intsika Architects Images by Rob Duker

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South Africas first Green Star museum is an eco-friendly literary treasure

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