Old power station in Berlin is converted into off-grid arts center that runs on energy generated by woodchips

October 9, 2019 by  
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The former industrial town of Luckenwalde now has a beautiful new arts center that not only aims to bring a little vibrancy back to the German region, but a whole lot of sustainability. Artist Pablo Wendel just unveiled E-Werk , a defunct power station that he has turned into an innovative arts center that is projected to run on recycled wood chips rather than coal. Although an artist at heart, Wendel obviously has an admirable talent and passion for creating machinery that generates clean energy. Over the last five years, he has created numerous wind sculptures and mobile battery packs that can usurp energy from supply points. His patented Kunststrom (art electricity) system is what will be used to bring power to the local grid as the old building used to. This time, however, it will be powered by recycled wood chips. Related: Uber transforms 19th-century industrial buildings into hub for futuristic tech To create a system of clean energy for E-Werk, he developed a series of woodchip-burning machines that are compatible with the power station’s pre-existing mechanics. This means that the massive 107,000 square-foot interior has the potential to not only generate its own power, but could possibly become a functional power station that generates clean energy for the surrounding area. “At first, people were skeptical, but Kunststrom has moved far beyond an idea. We forget to talk about how much energy is needed to make art, how much energy museums use through lighting , cleaning, conservation and transport . They spend much more of their budget on this than they do on young artists. I’m offering art as a power supply,” the artists explains. Currently, the building’s eight studios have been already rented to local artists, who can make use of the welding kits, milling machines, lathes and drills. Wendel says that he hopes E-Werk is the first of many similar projects to help Luckenwalde regenerate its urban landscape through sustainable practices, “One day we hope E-Werk will power the whole of Luckenwalde as it used to.” + E-Werk Via Wall Paper Images via Kunststrom

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Old power station in Berlin is converted into off-grid arts center that runs on energy generated by woodchips

Old Paris railway site will transform into a carbon-neutral ecosystem neighborhood

September 23, 2019 by  
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An abundance of green will soon take over the heart of Paris with the transformation of the city’s old railway site, Ordener-Poissonniers, into a lush 3.7-hectare “ecosystem neighborhood.” The mixed-use masterplan will be spearheaded by Danish landscape architecture practice SLA and French architecture firm BIECHER ARCHITECTES , who won an international competition with the “Jardin Mécano” (“Mechanical Garden”) proposal for a sustainable urban development emphasizing bioclimatic design. In addition to the creation of large public parks, the neighborhood will include carbon-neutral architecture and renewable energy systems. Located in the 18th arrondissement, the new “ecosystem neighborhood” will pay homage to the former railway site by preserving its industrial heritage while injecting new functionality to the underused area. The mixed-use masterplan will include housing for 1,000 residents — half of which will be for social housing, 20 percent for intermediate and the remainder for private housing — as well as 13,800 square meters of office space, new school buildings, an industrial design incubator for SME, a nine-screen cinema complex, urban farming areas and plenty of restaurant and retail space. Related: Benjamin Fleury creates affordable, modern apartments with a low-energy footprint in Paris “The Ordener-Poissonniers project will act as a green generous gift to the city of Paris,” said Rasmus Astrup, partner in SLA. “In the transformation of the old post-industrial railway site, we have especially focused on the values and the qualities we want the new development to give back to the neighborhood. By combining the strong industrial character with innovative, nature-based designs and public ecosystem services, we create a new standard for nature in Paris — where nature is everywhere and where humans, plants and animals can live and flourish together.” To minimize the development’s environmental footprint in the long run, the buildings will be optimized for wind and solar conditions. Other sustainable features include photovoltaic panels mounted onto the roofs, planting plans that promote biodiversity and the use of natural materials and prefabricated low-carbon concrete floors. The project is slated for completion in 2024. + SLA + BIECHER ARCHITECTES Images via SLA

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Old Paris railway site will transform into a carbon-neutral ecosystem neighborhood

Selgascano designs plant-filled creative office campus for Second Home Hollywood

June 26, 2019 by  
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London-based creative business Second Home is opening its first U.S. location that’ll deliver bold designs and a lush, jungle-like environment to Los Angeles. Set to open in September 2019, Second Home Hollywood will transform the historic site of the Anne Banning Community House in East Hollywood into an inspiring, 90,000-square-foot urban campus for creatives and entrepreneurs. Designed by Madrid-based firm Selgascano , the adaptive reuse campus was conceived as an “indoor/outdoor wonderland” with bold and brightly colored spaces that draw inspiration from Southern California’s architectural legacy. Second Home Hollywood marks Second Home’s sixth site created in partnership with Selgascano and will host 250 diverse organizations and teams in a dynamic, plant-filled environment that’s a contemporary interpretation of L.A.’s early 20th century bungalow court residences. The campus will include the first U.S. branch of Second Home’s critically acclaimed bookshop Libreria; a 200-person auditorium; post-production facilities; a publicly accessible restaurant and roof deck; outdoor terraces; 30 interior studios and offices; and 60 single-story, oval-shaped garden studios unified under a sinuous yellow roof plane. As with Second Home’s creative workspaces in London and Lisbon, Second Home Hollywood will also feature unconventional materials, bold furnishings and an abundance of foliage — the L.A. campus will include 6,500 plants and trees that will transform the existing 50,000-square-foot parking lot into an urban woodland. The plantings selected will include 112 different drought-tolerant species native to Southern California. ‘Smart Controller’ technology will be used to optimize irrigation strategies and save water. Other environmentally friendly aspects include the use of cross-laminated timber in the workspaces, reclaimed bricks and materials and the semi-subterranean placement of studios to help reduce the need for heating and cooling. Related: Striking London workspace wraps offices in bubble-like acrylic walls To celebrate the opening of Second Home Hollywood in September, Second Home is partnering with the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County to temporarily install the Second Home Serpentine Pavilion by Selgascano at La Brea Tar Pits, where it will be on display from the end of June to November. The five-month installation will be accompanied with cultural programming open to the public. + Selgascano Images via Second Home

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Selgascano designs plant-filled creative office campus for Second Home Hollywood

Industrial building is reimagined as a zero-carbon paragon for Paris 2024 Olympics

June 19, 2019 by  
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In anticipation of the upcoming Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, French architectural firm Jakob + MacFarlane has set its sights on reinventing a large, post-industrial facility into an innovative beacon for carbon-neutral design. Located directly adjacent to the planned site for the Olympics in Quartier Pleyel, the existing building is a towering relic of Saint-Denis’ industrial past that now lies at the intersection of major metropolitan projects. The zero-carbon, adaptive reuse proposal, dubbed Odyssee Pleyel, is one of the winning proposals in Reinventing Cities , a competition created by C40 Cities that asked architects to sustainably transform vacant and abandoned spaces in cities around the world. Spanning an area of over 15,000 square feet and rising to a height of nearly 79 feet, the Hall de décuvage Pleyel was previously used to remove electric transformer windings. Rather than tear down the building, Jakob + MacFarlane suggests retrofitting the structure into a carbon-neutral landmark for the city, as it is prominently located on the perimeter of the 2024 Olympics site. In addition to renovating the existing structure, the architects suggest adding a modular wood construction structure and renewable energy systems to ensure energy self-sufficiency. Related: Eiffel Tower site to become a pedestrian-friendly garden “Reflecting the historical industrial heritage of Saint-Denis, the Odyssee Pleyel project showcases thought-leadership in the global clean energy transition in a quest to become a carbon-neutral development,” the architects said. “The Odyssee Pleyel bears witness to the human, technological and cultural achievements of this area. The Energy Plug building is an excellent example of reinventing a former industrial site into a reflexive building of the future.” Topped with hybrid photovoltaic and thermal solar cells, the Odyssee Pleyel would also tap into rainwater collection and reuse to minimize resource demands. Excavated soil from the Grand Paris Express — the Pleyel district is to host one of 72 stations for the 2023 transport project — would be reused and integrated into the Odyssee Pleyel construction site. Most importantly, the zero-carbon building would encourage ecological innovation and awareness by hosting workshops, clean energy start-ups and educational programs on topics of sustainability. + Jakob + MacFarlane Images via Jakob + MacFarlane

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Industrial building is reimagined as a zero-carbon paragon for Paris 2024 Olympics

A decaying shop in Cambodia gains a new life through adaptive reuse principles

May 23, 2019 by  
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Phnom Penh-based firm  Bloom Architecture has unveiled a beautiful renovation of a decaying building in Kampot, Cambodia. Ages ago, the building housed a family-run store, but the space had been abandoned for years. To preserve its historical significance in the riverside town, the architects focused on maintaining the building’s original features as much as possible while turning it into a home and restaurant. The result is 3,444 square feet of breezy interior spaces with an  adaptive reuse strategy that blends the best of traditional Chinese shophouse typology with modern day comfort. Located next to the city’s river, the building is a local landmark for the community. When the owners wanted to adapt the structure into a new family residence on the top floors and a restaurant on the ground floor, they tasked Bloom Architecture with the job of preserving the building’s historical character through adaptive reuse. To bring the older building into the modern age, the firm focused its renovation plans on retaining the original features. Starting with the exterior, which is marked by two floors of large arched openings, the facade was put through a deep cleaning and fresh paint job with a natural exterior that blurs the boundaries between the old and the new. A new wooden roof overhang juts out over the top floor, providing shade for the upper balcony . Related: An ancient Jaipur palace property is transformed into a modern restaurant After years of decay, much of the interior was in pretty bad shape, so the firm went about gutting everything that was not salvageable. However, the team was able to reuse wooden panels from the original house; these panels were repurposed into custom furniture and windows. The ground floor is open and airy with various seating options. Wooden tables and chairs of all shapes and sizes fill the dining area, which boasts double-height ceilings with exposed wooden beams. The original brick walls were lightly coated in white paint, letting the various red-hued tones shine through to offer contrast to the all-white columns and wooden door frames. A large metal spiral staircase runs through a central courtyard all the way up from the restaurant to the private living quarters. This stairwell was essential to the design, as it allows  natural light  to reach the lower levels and aids in natural ventilation, cooling the interiors off during the searing summer months. At the top of the staircase is what the architects call “the nest” — an open-air terrace that provides stunning views of the mountainous landscape of Kampot. + Bloom Architecture Images via Bloom Architecture

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A decaying shop in Cambodia gains a new life through adaptive reuse principles

Little Caesars debuts vegan sausage

May 23, 2019 by  
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Vegetarians have finally pushed Little Caesars past its tipping point. After years of clamoring for better vegetarian and vegan pizza options, Little Caesars is now offering a plant-based sausage, or impossible meat, made by California-based Impossible Foods . This is the first time a national pizza chain has offered a vegan meat substitute. Before vegans get too excited, note that initially only three markets will feature the faux sausage: Fort Myers, Florida, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Yakima, Washington. However, the new Impossible Supreme Pizza will still not be 100 percent vegan as it’s topped with dairy cheese. Little Caesars is not the first place most vegans would look for a meal. But as demand for plant-based products grow, even meat-heavy restaurants are taking notice. Last year sales in plant-based products increased 17 percent, compared with a 2 percent overall growth rate in the grocer sector, according to Nielson. “It’s here to stay,” said Little Caesars CEO David Scrivano. Impossible Foods’ vegan sausage is made from similar ingredients to their burgers, such as legume hemoglobin derived from soy. According to the company website, “Although heme has been consumed every day for hundreds of thousands of years, Impossible Foods discovered that it’s what makes meat taste like meat. We make the Impossible Burger using heme from soy plants — identical to the heme from animals — which is what gives it its uniquely meaty flavor.” Even meat eaters might want to try the pizza made with this impossible meat. According to Medical News Today , a recent study showed that eating red meat even occasionally could shorten your life. Red and processed meat consumption has been linked to diabetes, coronary heart disease and some types of cancer. So the less meat you eat, the better for you, and the better for animals. Impossible Foods reports that more than 7,000 restaurants now offer their products, including such traditionally vegan-unfriendly chains as White Castle, Burger King and Red Robin.  The company is increasing its production capacity at its Oakland, California manufacturing plant. This summer a second production line will double its output. Via CNBC Image via Michael Rivera

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Stay home from work to save the planet, study says

May 23, 2019 by  
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Need an excuse to stay home from work? How about new research findings that a shorter work week is essential to combating climate change ? European think tank Autonomy recommends that employees in the U.K. work far fewer hours in order to avoid a climate crisis. In fact, the think tank recommends people work only nine hours per week! Although a nine-hour work week might sound too good to be true, there are many experts who are pushing for a four-day work week as a compromise. After the economic recession in 2008, Utah became the first state in the U.S. to experiment with a mandatory four-day work week — and found many benefits. The newest findings are based on greenhouse gas emissions and efforts to decarbonize the economy. Autonomy is careful to say that a reduced work week is only one out of many ingredients that should go into a comprehensive and urgent plan to reduce carbon emissions. Related: 9 ways to introduce nature into your dull workspace “Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies — a shorter working week being just one of them,” Autonomy director Will Stonge told The Guardian. “This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like.” The benefits of working reduced hours include both environmental and social impacts. With a shorter work week, fewer people would commute, which would significantly reduce transportation-related carbon emissions and improve air quality . According to the report, a “1 percent decrease in working hours could lead to a 1.46 percent decrease in carbon footprint.” Additionally, fewer workers would also mean fewer goods produced and resources used, which would ultimately be more sustainable than our current rate of over-consumption. Being overworked also encourages unsustainable habits by stressed and rushed employees, such as driving instead of walking or buying ready-made meals packaged with single-use plastic instead of cooking. Evidence also suggests that working shorter hours would improve employees’ mental health and well-being without losing productivity. Employees would have more time to exercise, cook, relax and build social ties, enabling improved focus while on the job. Employers likely aren’t going to buy the argument for a nine-hour work week any time soon, but the report confirms similar findings that “the climate crisis calls for an unprecedented decrease in the economic activity that causes GHG emissions,” or in other words, the “necessity to be lazy” — or at the very least a reconsideration of how industrial societies have defined lazy. Via The Guardian Image via Freddie Marriage

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Eisack Valley of Italy, an old “pair farmstead” structure partly built into the hillside years ago still remains. The new owner decided to turn this classic property into a proper home after living inside it for two years as it was, and chose Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten for the redesign. The partially underground extension is topped by a grassy green roof that serves as an homage to the old design as well as a minimal approach to interacting with the natural environment. A newer building was constructed to connect to the older structure, causing the entire house to extend from east to west, hidden within the mountain. Both buildings are linked using a natural stone staircase, and two long skylights serve as limited visible proof of the underground home. From the southern vantage point, a side of concrete and glass serves as a window, making the outer valley visible from inside. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina As would be expected in an underground dwelling, the interior decoration is made up of natural colors. Wooden planks line the walls, and the ceiling is primarily made from the same exposed concrete visible from the green roof . Furnishings also consist of shades of brown, and the home includes a clean-lined, minimalist kitchen. There are views of the Eisack Valley and Dolomites Mountains from both the living and sleeping rooms. Although the home is mostly underground, the architects managed to include high ceilings and open spaces within the home, adding a modern element. Occupants enjoy natural light throughout the house thanks to the large skylights . The architects hoped that this home would forge a connection between the old and new, adding a modern twist to the house while maintaining respect for the original historical property. Using eco-conscious materials  — such as natural stone, exposed concrete, steel and wood — that complement the surrounding mountainous region, the architects created an extraordinary home that has only increased in historic value. + Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten Via ArchDaily Photography by Oskar DaRiz via Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

Scientists find a way to produce renewable energy from snow

April 18, 2019 by  
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Solar panels have trouble producing renewable energy whenever it snows. With winters expected to increase in severity because of  climate change , generating power in the cold, snowy season will likely become a major issue in years to come. Fortunately, scientists from UCLA just invented a way to produce energy from snow. The researchers call their handy device a snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator (snow TENG). It works by generating power via static electricity. As explained by the lead scientist on the project, Richard Kaner, static electricity happens when a material that likes to give up electrons comes into contact with a material that captures them. Snow naturally carries a positive charge and gives electrons away freely, making it the perfect material to generate power. According to UCLA , the snow TENG is made out of silicone, which has a negative charge and actively captures positive electrons. Once the material gains positive electrons, the device gathers those charges and turns them into electricity. “The device can work in remote areas, because it provides its own power and does not need batteries,” Kaner shared. Kaner noted that the device does much more than produce renewable energy . The snow TENG can also calculate snow fall averages and tell you wind speed and direction. Kaner and his team hope to integrate their device into existing solar panels, which would give homeowners the option of producing plentiful energy throughout the year, not just in the warmer seasons. In addition to generating electricity, the device can also be used to track performance in winter sports. The TENG can monitor things like jumping, walking or running and can be easily added to the bottom of shoes given its flexibility. With further development, it is possible that the snow TENG will lead to other athletic monitoring devices that are completely self-powered. It is unclear when Kaner and his team plan to make their device available to the larger public. They produced the prototype using a 3D printer , an electrode and some silicone, making it one of the cheapest renewable energy devices on the market. + UCLA Via Gizmodo Image via Pixabay

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Boutique Ibiza hotel sports a checkerboard facade to take in cooling breezes

March 27, 2019 by  
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Barcelona-based studio Ribas & Ribas Architects has transformed an old apartment building into Hotel Sir Joan Ibiza , a contemporary and chic boutique hotel designed with sustainability in mind. Located in the heart of the Spanish island of Ibiza, the building has been restyled to include 38 rooms and suites dressed to reflect the island’s nautical elements, from stripped wood yacht floors to porthole-inspired vanity mirrors. Its eye-catching, checkerboard-like facade features openings that take advantage of natural light and ventilation, while greenery can be enjoyed in abundance from ground-level green screens to rooftop gardens. In refurbishing the old apartments into a high-end hotel, Ribas & Ribas Architects wanted to refresh the image of the building with a minimalist white and glazed facade that evokes contemporary Ibizan architecture. Tel Aviv-based Baranowitz + Kronenberg designed the hotel’s interiors with luxurious fittings that pay homage to Ibiza’s yachting heritage and upscale club culture, from the highly polished stainless steel wall panels that emulate sunlit waves to the Carrara marble and wood details found in every bathroom. “For reasons of sustainability , the openings in the façade have been designed in order to achieve ventilation and lighting in accordance with the category of the building they will house,” Ribas & Ribas Architects explained in a project statement. “The exterior spaces of the building have been improved, providing them with abundant vegetation in order to ameliorate the visual from the outside and acoustically isolate the users of the hotel. In the west communication core, a vegetal wall is created, formed by a xtend mesh that connects with the roof, hiding the perimeter of the installations and creating a striking green volume.” Related: Centuries-old stable is converted into a self-sustaining dream home In addition to 38 rooms and suites, the hotel also includes two penthouses with views of Ibiza’s port and Old Town. On the ground floor, guests also enjoy access to a pool , cabanas and two restaurants. + Ribas & Ribas Architects Photography by LLuis Casals via Ribas & Ribas Architects

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Boutique Ibiza hotel sports a checkerboard facade to take in cooling breezes

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