‘Salmon Gold’: Apple promises to embrace fish-friendly gold mining

August 19, 2019 by  
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Tech giant will source gold for its gadgets from miners registered under the Salmon Gold partnership, which combines mining with habitat protection for wild salmon.

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‘Salmon Gold’: Apple promises to embrace fish-friendly gold mining

Your favorite playlist has a carbon footprint

May 24, 2019 by  
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You would think streaming music is more eco-friendly than CDs, tapes and records, right? Afterall, there’s no waste. A new study by the Universities of Glasglow and Oslo calculated the carbon footprint associated with downloading and streaming music and the answer is surprising. According to data from 2015 and 2016, music streaming accounted for 200 to 350 million kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions . The study used data records from the Recording Industry Association of America. First, researchers took the total number of streamed and downloaded songs and multiplied it by the amount of electricity it takes to download 1 gigabyte of data. Each gigabyte is equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to light one light bulb for an hour. Next researchers investigated what kind of fuel sources are typically fueling music streaming sites— such as coal or renewable energy — and averaged the carbon dioxide emitted. Related: Music festivals and events can set the stage for sustainability The totals do not reflect the carbon footprint of data storage and processing centers, nor the electricity it takes to power your cellphone or steaming device, so the comprehensive contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is actually much higher than the study initially indicates. Music streaming giant, Spotify, did not respond to The Rolling Stone journalist’s request for comment, but they did publish a sustainability report in 2017, which promised to work toward carbon neutrality. By 2018, the new sustainability report indicated that they had closed almost all of their data centers and reduced their carbon footprint by 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide . In actuality, Spotify shifted to using Google Cloud services, which means that now Google data centers are responsible for the emissions, not that emissions have necessarily been cut. Streaming competitors Apple and Amazon have recently invested in renewable energy options for their centers. Data centers in general are responsible for 2 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to the airline industry. Music lovers who want to be more sustainable should buy full albums rather than streaming individual songs, especially if you plan to hit that repeat button a lot. According to their calculations, streaming 27 songs uses more energy than manufacturing the disc. For those of you who can’t imagine hopping in a time machine and buying a CD again, the authors suggest that downloading songs for offline listening could reduce the associated energy consumption. Via Rolling Stone Image via PhotoMIX-Company

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Your favorite playlist has a carbon footprint

Prada announces a ban on fur

May 24, 2019 by  
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Prada has announced that it will finally ban the use of all fur in future fashion lines. The major fashion company joins a growing list of designers who have been successfully pressured by animal rights advocates to ban fur from their products. Starting in 2020, the company will no longer introduce items with fur, but those currently in circulation will still be available for purchase. Prada’s decision comes as interest in ethical and sustainable fashion mounts among consumers. “The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy — reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States — is an extension of that engagement,” head of Prada Miuccia Prada said in a statement . “Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products.” Related: Burberry vows to stop burning unsold clothes and using real fur With this major victory, animal rights groups now plan to focus their attention on urging Prada, as well as other companies, to ban exotic skins, such as alligator and snakeskin items, from future lines. PETA has already purchased enough stock in the fashion company to suggest shareholder resolutions that would allow a vote on the use of exotic skins. Prada has experimented with fur alternatives, including using materials from teddy bear manufacturer Steiff; however, environmentalists also argue that many fur alternatives utilize microplastics , which do not biodegrade and wreak havoc on waterways and marine ecosystems. Via EcoWatch Images via Shutterstock

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Prada announces a ban on fur

Episode 135: Changing the narrative on consumption, Apple’s gang of four

August 10, 2018 by  
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In this episode, how the corporate world can get down to work on plastics, the science of behavioral economics, and how Akamai, Etsy and Swiss Re are benefiting from Apple’s renewable energy procurement strategy.

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Episode 135: Changing the narrative on consumption, Apple’s gang of four

Is vertical farming the future for agriculture or a distraction from other climate problems?

August 10, 2018 by  
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Vertical farming promises a more equitable, resilient food system. But is it just a trend that perpetuates our current problems?

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Is vertical farming the future for agriculture or a distraction from other climate problems?

Holds water: Harvesting rain could help Caribbean countries after hurricanes

August 10, 2018 by  
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A new model of this ancient technology could improve communities’ access to fresh water both after storms and day-to-day.

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Holds water: Harvesting rain could help Caribbean countries after hurricanes

Dramatic fountain and plaza define Foster + Partners newest Apple Store in Milan

July 30, 2018 by  
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Foster + Partners has unveiled images of Milan’s newest Apple Store—and it’s just as strikingly gorgeous as we expected. Building off of Apple’s “Town Square” retail store concept and the city’s legacy of impressive public piazzas, the Apple Piazza Liberty Store features a new public plaza where locals and visitors can gather and enjoy views of a new dramatic fountain. The store is sunken below grade and includes a spacious, light-filled interior with mature live trees set in raised planters. Located off of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, one of the most popular pedestrian streets in the city, Apple Piazza Liberty grabs attention with its stunning fountain made up of two rectilinear pools and vertical water jets. Visitors can observe the fountain from the broad stone steps of the Amphitheater leading down to the sunken Apple Store or enter the fountain through the 26-foot-tall glass-covered entrance enveloped by dramatic views and sounds of cascading water. “[It’s] an immersive recreation of the childhood game of running through fountains, the experience changes throughout the day as sunlight filters through the water, while at night the glass ceiling creates a kaleidoscopic effect, with the water falling down the walls, and its reflections travelling infinitely up the sky,” explain the architects in their press release. Stefan Behling, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, adds: “The fountain is an expression of child-like excitement that speaks to each one of us. In its simplicity, it echoes the idea of walking into a big fountain without getting wet, and the joy of being alive.” Related: Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store glows like a paper lantern in Macau The fountain’s waterfall effect can be seen below-grade in a second wall of water at the base of the Amphitheater . The Amphitheater steps and surrounding plaza were paved with Beola Grigia, a luminous local stone from Lombardy, and flanked by 21 new Gleditisia Sunburst trees. Inside, the interior is “metaphorically carved from the same stone as the plaza above,” with a stepped ceiling and skylights that let in natural light. + Foster + Partners Images by Nigel Young/ Foster + Partners

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Dramatic fountain and plaza define Foster + Partners newest Apple Store in Milan

Timber wedding venue in China mirrors the mountainous landscape

July 30, 2018 by  
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When charged with adding a multi-functional building to a mountain resort in China, Shanghai-based firm  AIM Architecture used the stunning landscape as inspiration. Located slightly away from the resort’s existing buildings, MuWeCo stands out for its dramatic vaulted roofs that mimic the outline of the mountain range in the background. The Fushengyu Hot Springs Resort is tucked into the remote foothills of the Luo Fu Shan range in Sichuan, China. The resort has multiple buildings, including the main spa building  and various villas and small apartments that cater to guests looking to enjoy the picturesque setting. Related: Elegant Japanese wedding chapel mimics curved leaves The resort management wanted a new building on-site to provide extra space for practical uses such as a wedding hall , exhibition area or conference rooms. However, the building’s design was completely inspired by nature. According to the project description, the architects’ concept aimed to create an open space that put the focus on the majestic, mountainous landscape. To blend the building into this stunning backdrop, the architects created a series of striking sloped roofs that evoke the feeling of being under a tent. The dramatic design continues throughout the interior, where the curved ceiling panels dotted with tiny lights create a vibrant atmosphere. The walls of the building are clad almost entirely with glass panels, allowing optimal natural light to flood the interior while providing endless views of the surrounding scenery. The interior is spacious and open, with warm timber and cork paneling and flooring made out of local river stones, again creating a strong connection with nature. To really soak in the surroundings, guests are invited to enjoy the views from the large open-air deck, which provides 360-degree views of the mountain range in the background. According to the architects, they drew inspiration for MuWeCo’s design from the resort ‘s incredible setting and from the desire to ensure complete and total relaxation for guests: “People visit spas for rest and relaxation, and this design opportunity allowed us to re-imagine nature and landscape as public spaces, and our relationship to both. The architecture provides a contrast for the stunning scenery, and has proven to be a lasting and beautiful space for wellness.” + AIM Architecture Via Archdaily Images via AIM Architecture

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Timber wedding venue in China mirrors the mountainous landscape

After a makeover, this local shack becomes the envy of the neighborhood

July 30, 2018 by  
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Nearly everyone has strolled through a darling neighborhood and suddenly come across an orphan house. Sitting silently, often in the shadows of the prettier houses, there’s a neglected home that once had dignity. A family of four discovered such a home in an Iowa City neighborhood, and with some TLC and help from Neumann Monson Architects , they transformed it into a star of the community. Seeking a tranquil neighborhood near the University of Iowa campus, the family found the unpolished jewel, built in the ’60s, on a quiet street lined with lovely modest homes. It was a smaller, 1,300-square-foot home, and years of high-turnover renters had left their mark, earning the abode the local moniker of “ The Shack .” Related: O2 Studio renovated an old Netherlands home into a gorgeous energy-neutral villa Determined to change that image, the family embarked on a mission of a cosmetic makeover that would also embrace the home’s carbon-neutral potential. After commissioning Neumann Monson Architects for the project, the family wanted to create a guest room and recreation room in the formerly unfinished 500-square-foot basement. Then, the team expanded the ground floor from 1,300 square feet to 2,500 square feet with a slab-on-grade modification. All these upgrades used standard post and beam construction coupled with steel wood framing and steel columns. To sustain the eco-friendly theme, the home’s walls and ceilings were lined with insulated sheathing and foamed-in-insulation, creating R-24 walls and an R-40 roof. Upgraded windows take full advantage of natural light without sacrificing the mid-century spirit. A new tongue-and-groove bleached cedar ventilated rain screen beautified the home’s exterior. Energy-saving renovations also included new super-efficient climate control systems, such as LED lighting , EnergyStar appliances and a closed-loop, horizontally-bored geothermal system with fresh air energy recovery. An 8.4kW photovoltaic array powers the LED lighting, mechanical systems and energy-efficient appliances. The family enjoys the credit they receive from the utility company for their home’s surplus energy, but they love the homey ambiance of the neighborhood even more. A nearby property is undergoing a similar overhaul, so their success appears to be contagious. + Neumann Monson Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Integrated Studio

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After a makeover, this local shack becomes the envy of the neighborhood

Computer modeling informed the whimsical design of this experimental home

July 30, 2018 by  
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At first glance, this house in Prague may look like a fanciful and whimsical work of art with little regard for practicality, but a deeper inspection reveals that careful computer modeling and budgeting actually informed its unusual design. Czech architect and co-founder Jan Šépka of the local practice Šépka Architekti designed this organic abode, called the House in the Orchard, as one of his latest experimental residences in the country. Raised on a stalk like a mushroom, the modernist three-story home was crafted in response to the steeply sloped site and comprises a living area of 861 square feet. Designed for one of Šépka’s old friends on the outskirts of Prague, the House in the Orchard is raised on a concrete pillar to mitigate the steep slope and to avoid the high construction cost of a traditional foundation. The three-story dwelling’s asymmetrical shape was conceived through  computer modeling and is split into triangular spaces for stability. To create the home’s concrete-like appearance, the architect layered a gray, waterproof skin atop polyurethane sprayed on top of plywood sheets; the final effect gives the structure its deceptively heavy look. A ramp on the upper part of the slope leads to the entrance and the first floor, which consists of the living area, kitchen and dining room with a wood-burning stove and a large window that frames views of the landscape to the north. Modernist furniture is mixed with custom plywood furnishings designed by Šépka. Related: Sprawling Villa H in Prague adapts to a steep plot with a creative 3-level layout A plywood staircase with open treads and a metal railing leads up to the second floor where the bedrooms and bathroom are located. The study can be found on the top floor. A large skylight in the study draws natural light deep into the home. + Šépka Architekti Via Wallpaper* Images by Tomáš Malý

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Computer modeling informed the whimsical design of this experimental home

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