Innovative Future Tree was built by robots and 3D-printing

July 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Robotic construction has taken another step forward with the Future Tree, a recently completed timber canopy built with robots in a project by Gramazio Kohler Research and ETH Zurich . Completed in October 2019, following 2 years of planning and approximately 4 months of construction, the Future Tree is a study of complex timber structures and digital concrete. The tree-like canopy was installed over the courtyard of the office building extension of Basler & Hofmann in Esslingen, Switzerland. An industrial robot was used to fabricate and assemble the Future Tree’s 380 timber elements made from acetylated pine wood and fitted with full-threaded screws and tension cables to form a reciprocal frame. The structure’s canopy-like crown is supported by a single, trunk-like concrete column and anchored to the office building on two sides while cantilevering on the opposite corner. Related: Robots weave an insect-inspired carbon-fiber forest in London “The frame’s geometry is informed by its structural behaviour, differentiating its flexural rigidity by playing with the opening of the reciprocal knots to achieve a higher stiffness in the cantilevering part,” Gramazio Kohler Research’s explained. “To integrate geometric, structural and fabrication concerns we developed a custom computational model of the design.” Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the project is Future Tree’s reinforced concrete column, which was made with a novel fabrication process called “Eggshell” that combines an ultra-thin, robotically 3D-printed formwork with fast-hardening concrete. As the first built example using this fabrication process, Future Tree “shows [how] non-standard concrete structures can be fabricated efficiently, economically and sustainably,” according to Gramazio Kohler Research. Because the formwork — which is 3D-printed to a thickness of 1.5 millimeters using a robotic arm — is filled with fast-hardening concrete in a layer-by-layer casting process to minimize hydrostatic pressure, it can be recycled and reused after the concrete has hydrated. + Gramazio Kohler Research Images by Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich and Basler & Hofmann AG

See original here:
Innovative Future Tree was built by robots and 3D-printing

Could a private car ban make NYC more livable?

July 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

When COVID-19 brought New York City’s traffic to a shadow of itself, Vishaan Chakrabarti, former New York City urban-planning official and founder of Manhattan-based design firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) , drafted an ambitious plan for a car-free future. Dubbed N.Y.C. (“Not Your Car”) , the proposal calls for banning private cars to create a more livable city via cleaner air, fewer car deaths and greater space allocated to the pedestrian realm. PAU’s reimagined roadways would also bolster infrastructure for cycling, ride-sharing and public transportation.  According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign , over half of New York CIty’s households do not own a car, and the majority of people who do own cars not use them for commuting. However, the amount of space that Manhattan devotes to cars adds up to nearly four times the size of Central Park, as seen in a diagram shared in The New York Times . PAU’s proposal asserts that banning private cars would not only reduce traffic but would also improve life for almost everyone who lives and works in dense American cities by freeing up space for new housing, parks and pedestrian promenades. Related: London creates massive car-free zones as the city reopens “In the case of New York City, the air in the Bronx and Queens, which are largely populated by immigrants and people of color, is more polluted than the other boroughs due to traffic sitting idle on the roads leading to Manhattan,” PAU explained. “Among other ailments, long-term exposure to polluted air is thought to increase the deadliness of COVID-19 , which is a direct result of structural racism in the city. By improving air quality, and thus reducing the health risks that invariably come along with it, the city can begin to tackle the environmental racism that plagues our communities.” The plan also offers suggestions for reengineering car-free roads with two-way bike lanes with protective barriers, dedicated bus lanes, larger dedicated trash areas to replace parking spaces, and additional crosswalks. Bridges would also be rethought; the seven-lane Manhattan Bridge, for instance, could replace four car lanes with bus lanes, paths for cyclists and a pedestrian promenade, while the remaining lanes would be used for taxis and ride-share vehicles. Local communities would also be encouraged to take part in deciding how to reclaim their car-free roads. + Practice for Architecture and Urbanism Images via Practice for Architecture and Urbanism

Read more here: 
Could a private car ban make NYC more livable?

Flow of plastic waste in the ocean could triple by 2040

July 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

New research by The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ has found that the plastic flow into the oceans could triple by 2040 without immediate action. But the study, “Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution,” also outlines solutions that could cut this plastic waste by more than 80%. According to the researchers, the methods currently used to deal with plastic pollution are less effective unless they are consolidated and accompanied by new technology and more research. The report shows that if governments continue addressing plastic waste as they are currently, the amount of plastic waste flowing into oceans could only be reduced by 7% in the next 20 years. With no intervention, the plastic waste entering the ocean could grow from 11 million to 29 million metric tons by 2040. Because plastic lasts for hundreds of years, the cumulative amount pf ocean plastic could reach 600 million tons (the equivalent weight of 3 million blue whales) by that point. Related: Record high amount of microplastic found on seafloors “Breaking the Plastic Wave” identifies eight measures that could reduce plastic waste by 80%. The proposed measures include reducing plastic production and consumption, substituting plastics with biodegradable alternatives, designing product packaging for recycling , increasing recycling, increasing waste collection rates and reducing plastic waste exports. More technological advancements, business models and research and development are needed to completely eliminate plastic waste in the oceans, according to the study. Although many of these methods are already being applied by some governments, the report proposes a more consolidated approach. The researchers estimate that governments could save up to $70 billion and reduce plastic-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2040 by adopting these measures together. According to Martin Stuchtey, SYSTEMIQ’s founder, the plastic pollution problem is solvable if action is taken now. “Our results indicate that the plastic crisis is solvable,” Stuchtey said. “It took a generation to create this challenge; this report shows we can solve it in one generation.” + Breaking the Plastic Wave Image via Sergei Tokmakov

Originally posted here: 
Flow of plastic waste in the ocean could triple by 2040

AMD’s energy-slashing feat

July 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on AMD’s energy-slashing feat

AMD’s energy-slashing feat Heather Clancy Fri, 07/17/2020 – 01:00 It isn’t often I have the mindspace to proactively follow up on every commitment proclaimed by the companies I cover. But I recently paused to catch up about one that has particular relevance as more companies act to address their Scope 3 emissions reductions, those generated by supply chains and customers: AMD’s bold pledge back in 2014 to improve the energy efficiency of its mobile processors — the components used in notebook computers and specialized embedded systems, such as medical imaging equipment or industrial applications — by 25 times by 2020. Not-so-spoiler alert: The fact that I’m bringing it up should be a big hint that the company has delivered. In fact, AMD overachieved the goal, delivering a 31.7 times improvement with its new Ryzen 7 4800H processor. In layperson’s terms, that means that the chip consumes 84 percent energy, while taking 80 percent less compute time for certain tasks. For you and me, that means batteries last longer. For companies buying entire portfolios of devices based on these processors, they will see their electricity consumption reduced. (The specific reduction you’d see by upgrading 50,000 laptops would be 1.4 million kilowatt-hours.) Consider this perspective from tech research analyst Bob O’Donnell, president of TECHnalysis Research: “Lower energy consumption has never been more important for the planet, and the company’s ability to meet its target while also achieving strong processor performance is a great reflection of what a market-leading, engineering-focus company they’ve become.” Indeed, when I chatted with Susan Moore, AMD’s corporate vice president for corporate responsibility and government affairs, she told me it took “a full company focus and a lot of innovation” by the AMD engineering team to make the goal happen. Note to others attempting the same sort of thing. Although the company had pretty good visibility into what it would be able to pull off early on during the six-year period, there were plenty of questions marks, and it took unwavering support (and faith) from AMD CEO Lisa Su to keep true, Moore said.  Actually getting there took some very specific design changes, outlined in a blog by AMD Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster. Here are some of them: Investments in new semiconductor manufacturing processors (specifically 7 nanometer technology) Changes to the real-time power management algorithms The integration of the central processor and graphics architecture into a common “system on a chip” (among other architecture changes) Changes to the interconnections between the components (its proprietary approach for this is called the Infinity Fabric) Moore said close collaboration with customers (such as the original equipment manufacturers using AMD chips for their computers) was also critical. “A large part is the ability to sit down with likeminded organizations,” she noted.  Plus, disclosure. AMD decided to declare its progress year to year. (Here’s the report card from 2018, for an idea of how it shared the information.) “That was definitely a risk, but we thought it was very important that is was something that we talk about along the way, so we did measurements every year,” Moore said.  I wish every company were that transparent. Topics Information Technology Energy & Climate Energy Efficiency Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of AMD Close Authorship

Read the original:
AMD’s energy-slashing feat

Solar-powered coastal home opens up to views of the Arabian Sea

July 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Solar-powered coastal home opens up to views of the Arabian Sea

Mumbai-based architecture firm Architecture BRIO has transformed a decrepit coastal property into a solar-powered luxury home with a strong connection to the outdoors. Because the property was originally cut off from views of and access to the coastline by a tall boundary wall, the architects raised the site by 5 feet with demolition material from the original structure as infill, thus minimizing landfill-bound waste . Palms, pines and other thick vegetation surround the new contemporary building that the architects have aptly named the House in a Beach Garden. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/House-in-a-Beach-Garden-Architecture-BRIO-2-889×592.jpg" alt="aerial view of elevated black home surrounded by lush palm trees" class="wp-image-2274888" Located in the coastal town of Alibaug, just south of Mumbai , the House in a Beach Garden was built above the existing foundation of the former structure, which was completely demolished. The new 320-square-meter, four-bedroom house comprises two floors and is oriented toward the west to face views of the sea. The ground floor, which is flanked by outdoor verandas on the east and west, houses the living room, dining room and kitchen. The staircase is located in a double-height skylit space at the heart of the home and leads up to the four bedrooms, one of which can be converted into a den. Related: A Mumbai industrial complex becomes a modern, mixed-use campus <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/House-in-a-Beach-Garden-Architecture-BRIO-5-889×592.jpg" alt="black home with slatted screens over the top-floor windows" class="wp-image-2274891" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/House-in-a-Beach-Garden-Architecture-BRIO-7-889×592.jpg" alt="black staircase under a skylight" class="wp-image-2274893" An indoor/outdoor connection is emphasized throughout the house. In addition to the outdoor living areas that open up via glazed doors on the ground floor, glass sliding doors were installed in all bedrooms to open the interiors up to expansive views, from the sea and the beach on the west side to a palm orchard on the east. Aluminum sliding screens create a second skin around the upper floor to provide privacy and protection from the sun. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/House-in-a-Beach-Garden-Architecture-BRIO-6-889×649.jpg" alt="three hanging lights against a gray wall" class="wp-image-2274892" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/House-in-a-Beach-Garden-Architecture-BRIO-1-889×592.jpg" alt="aerial view of coastal home with solar panels on roof" class="wp-image-2274887" Next to the front garden, the architects have also placed a 20-meter-long swimming pool that points in the direction of the sea and is flanked by a row of palms. A solar photovoltaic array tops the home. + Architecture BRIO Photography by Edmund Sumner via Architecture BRIO

Read more from the original source:
Solar-powered coastal home opens up to views of the Arabian Sea

Green-roofed Hive home opens and closes with the sun

July 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Green-roofed Hive home opens and closes with the sun

Ahmedabad-based  Openideas Architecture  has completed Hive, an adaptable and sustainable family home that takes inspiration from nature in more ways than one. Located in Vesu, an up-and-coming area in Surat, Gujarat, the luxury home was commissioned by a client who sought to manufacture a flawless home inspired by his work with diamond industry machinery. Informed by extensive solar and site studies, the 600-square-meter residence’s name comes from its honeycomb-inspired facade embedded with solar sensor-based modules that open and close in response to lighting conditions.  When the client approached Openideas Architecture, he brought with him a nearly 90-point brief that covered everything from the structural materials and landscaping to sustainability needs and a year-long solar study. In response, the architects conducted an in-depth analysis of external temperature, humidity, solar radiation, cloud cover and wind pattern conditions that informed the creation of the V-shaped, metal-framed home, which opens up to greenery on multiple levels. In addition to a sunken court and stepped garden, the home features a walkable  green roof  with varying slopes and pockets of greenery dispersed throughout. The most eye-catching feature of the home is the  honeycomb-inspired  facade with a unique opening mechanism engineered to optimize sunlight exposure and thermal comfort levels inside the home. “Analyzed as per the structure, function and mechanism, its design is based on structural strength, transformability and biomimicry ,” noted the architects, who also took inspiration for the modules from the doors of airport buses. As the modules open and close, the sun creates changing patterns of light and shadow indoors.  Related: Honeycomb shading keeps Büro Ole Scheeren’s skyscrapers naturally cool in Singapore In contrast to the metal-clad exterior, the  open-plan  interior includes a mix of wood and stone that create a sense of warmth. As a continuation of the expressive facade, the indoor furnishings and structures feature strong geometric shapes and clean lines.  + Openideas Architecture Images by FABIEN CHARUAU

Read more: 
Green-roofed Hive home opens and closes with the sun

‘Floating’ Kayak Point makes a home in the trees

June 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on ‘Floating’ Kayak Point makes a home in the trees

Sometimes architecture means not building, or at least not in the traditional sense. Presented with logistical challenges, the team at Christopher Wright Architecture used innovation and creativity to create Kayak Point, a house perched in the trees along the Puget Sound coastline in Washington state. The clients, one of whom is originally from Switzerland , came to the architects with an idea in mind. They wanted a house that combined Swiss design elements with modern touches all nestled within a wooded coastal lot. With a focus on craftsmanship and attention to detail, they developed a plan for a strong yet environmentally-sensitive home with the smallest footprint available . Portions of the home don’t sit on the ground at all. Suspended slightly above ground, support beams run across the bottom of the home’s center to provide the needed structure. Related: Hawk Nest House combines rammed earth and local stone As with most architectural design, the plan changed and evolved as the team studied the available land. Construction only being allowed on a small portion of the property meant finding ways to work around the challenge. The single-story structure presented an even larger challenge in the form of massive cedar trees that the clients wanted to be kept intact. With such a small available building area, the home had to be situated directly in those trees, but digging a traditional foundation would have endangered the tree roots below ground. To avoid this, the entire center of the house was elevated instead.  “We wanted to create a home that seems to belong where it is–as if it could have always been there–but does not necessarily blend or disappear. Here, I like the strength of the simple form set against the natural landscape,” said architect Christopher Wright. To further this goal, cedar clads the entire structure, both inside and out. An outdoor space connects the expansive views to the function of the interior. For interior design, Kayak Point encompasses natural elements combined with a streamlined, cozy vibe that invites the owners to relax and enjoy the view. The architects catered to requests for a TV viewing area, fireplace and large European -style kitchen, each focusing on dynamic lighting and deliberate lines for a finished home cemented into refined tranquility. + Christopher Wright Architecture Photography by Anna Spencer and Ben Benschneider  

Original post:
‘Floating’ Kayak Point makes a home in the trees

Environmental racism in America

June 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Environmental racism in America

The stretch of land along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is riddled with petrochemical plants spewing smoke into the air. Huge pipes pump chemicals above and below the highway to load boats in the river. This former plantation land’s modern nicknames are Cancer Alley and Death Alley because of the pollution-induced illness rife in the riverside communities. People familiar with environmental racism won’t be surprised to learn that Saint James Parish, in the heart of this area, is predominately Black. This is some of America’s most polluted air, with eight major industrial plants in 103 square miles and a new, enormous plastic project on the horizon. The cancer rate here is 700 times the national average. All around the country — and, in fact, the world — toxic plants are placed by the least affluent and most vulnerable populations, most of whom are people of color. These low-income communities tend to have the least political power to keep pollution generators out of their backyards. The term environmental racism Environmental racism is not a new concept. But with the Black Lives Matter movement thrusting all forms of racial inequity into the public eye, it’s time to take a look at what it means and how we can create change. Related: Low-income housing in flood zones traps families in harm’s way Benjamin F. Chavis, Junior, former president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), defined the term in his 1983 work, “ Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States .” The NNPA is an association for Black-owned newspaper publishers. Chavis described environmental racism as deliberately targeting communities of color for siting toxic waste facilities that expose people to life-threatening pollutants and poisons. Chavis acknowledged different types of racism, but noted, “environmental racism is a particularly insidious and intentional form of racism that negatively affects millions of Black, Native Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans, as well as people of color around the world.” Environmental racism means that people of color feel a disproportionate impact from things like toxic waste dumps, pollution and chemical plants that expose them to pollutants, known carcinogens and contaminated water at a much higher rate than more affluent White neighborhoods. The problem is intensified by officials failing to enforce environmental laws, for example, the thousands of Black children exposed to lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan in the last decade while officials assured everybody the water was safe. Types of environmental threats that communities of color face Whether they are threats to the water , air or land, people of color face them all. According to a 2012 NAACP study , communities of color breathe in 40% more polluted air than White neighborhoods. Much of this is from coal plants. While only 13% of the U.S. population is Black, 68% live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. That’s 12% higher than for White people. Associated problems include higher risks of birth defects, heart attacks and asthma. Black communities suffer from unusually high levels of asthma. Black women are 20% likelier to have asthma than non-Hispanic White people, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health website. In 2014, Black people were almost three times more likely to die from asthma-related causes than White people. Children are hit especially hard, with a much higher rate of asthma-related hospitalization and death. In addition to coal plants, low-income Black communities are disproportionately located near other types of toxic sites. In rural areas, this could be farm runoff. “Swine CAFOs are disproportionately located in black and brown communities and regions of poverty,” stated a study by researchers at School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. CAFOs, or concentrated animal feeding operations, are an innocuous-sounding euphemism for animals packed tightly together, living sad and squalid lives around enormous manure lagoons. People who live near these air- and water-polluting operations often suffer from eye, nose and throat irritation, depression, stress and decreased quality of life. In North Carolina, CAFOs center on pigs. In California’s San Joaquin Valley, dairy farm waste, including pesticides , has upped the asthma rates in Black and Brown communities. Environmental racism and COVID-19 The novel coronavirus has preyed especially hard on people of color. Patients with underlying conditions are up to 12 times as likely to die of COVID-19 than those that were healthy before contracting the novel coronavirus. A CDC report released June 15 cited heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease as the most common underlying conditions contributing to COVID-19 deaths. Black communities have a much higher rate of many conditions that predispose people to dying of COVID-19. These include diabetes, asthma, tobacco exposure, strokes, high blood pressure and cancer. Racism leads to and aggravates all of these conditions, from breathing in more pollution and experiencing more stress in the first place, to having less access to healthcare for early diagnosis and treatment of illness. Via Food is Power and The Guardian Images via Pixabay

Read more: 
Environmental racism in America

This dreamy eco villa runs on solar and wind energy

June 8, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on This dreamy eco villa runs on solar and wind energy

Located inside the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in the municipality of Tulum in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Casa Bautista is a private oasis hidden in the coastal rainforest and completely powered by  solar  and wind energy. The  reserve  area can be found less than 40 miles from the center of tourist-friendly Tulum. It was established as a natural reserve in 1986 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site shortly after. This region is known for its natural limestone cenotes, archaeological ruins and, thanks to the healthy coral reef just off the coast, incredible snorkeling. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment One of the most unique aspects of this  eco resort’s architectural design is the color. To build the main structure, designers used an organic blue cast concrete that reacts to sun exposure throughout the day. Depending on the time of day and sun exposure, the color tones of the house range from various shades of blue to light pink and orange. Aimed at providing sustainable luxury, Casa Bautista is built on raised cross-shaped columns to reduce environmental impact on-site and to provide undisturbed views over the dunes between the property and the Caribbean sea. Terraces and pergolas situated throughout the house are made of locally-sourced wood, and an extended L-shaped floor plan provides natural cross  ventilation . The L-shape protects much of the interior from gaining too much sun exposure, while simultaneously providing adequate natural light during the day. Thanks to the cross breeze generated from the open design, only the bedrooms need air conditioning. A spiral staircase made with the same color-changing blue concrete connects all three levels of the structure. The middle floor and large roof terrace house much of the interior living space, while a pool and outdoor dining room are located on the top floor. A small tower off the master bedroom can be used as an additional space for work or meditation. Terraces also include a folding mechanism that can be raised and lowered to turn the residence into a “robust closed box” in the event of a hurricane. + PRODUCTORA Images via Onnis Luque

Original post:
This dreamy eco villa runs on solar and wind energy

Solar-powered Lowell Justice Center will be Massachusetts first LEED Platinum courthouse

June 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Solar-powered Lowell Justice Center will be Massachusetts first LEED Platinum courthouse

Half-an-hour north of Boston, the Massachusetts city of Lowell has recently welcomed the new Lowell Justice Center, a modern facility on track to become the state’s first LEED Platinum-certified courthouse. Designed by Boston-based Finegold Alexander Architects , the $146 million courthouse has consolidated a series of courts and service offices that had formerly been located in outdated and dysfunctional buildings across Lowell and Cambridge. The Lowell Justice Center also serves as a new and welcoming civic landmark that emphasizes transparency, local history and community. Located on a 3.2-acre site within Lowell National Historic Park, The Lowell Justice Center serves as the cornerstone of the city’s Hamilton Canal District development masterplan. The 265,000-square-foot modern building comprises 17 courtrooms , a variety of office spaces and a two-story entrance lobby that can accommodate waiting lines of over 100 people at any time. Related: Renzo Piano reveals designs for Toronto courthouse targeting LEED Silver “The justice center is designed to create a welcoming and calming environment, featuring generous natural daylight, warm finishes and public art that reflects the diverse history and culture of Lowell,” said Moe Finegold FAIA, principal in charge for Finegold Alexander Architects, in reference to the quadrilingual quotations and words about justice that decorate the building as well as the natural material palette and artwork that pay homage to Lowell’s textile history. The courthouse is also universally accessible with sloped walkways and offers easy access via public transportation, car or bicycle. Ample glazing reflects the courthouse’s values of transparency while letting abundant natural light into the building to minimize reliance on artificial lighting. The center has also been designed in response to its site and to follow passive solar principles to meet high standards of energy efficiency. In addition to highly insulated walls and high-performance mechanical and lighting systems, the courthouse also contains a chilled beam HVAC system and photovoltaic panels to help achieve performance targets 40% better than code. + Finegold Alexander Architects Photography by Anton Grassl Photography via Finegold Alexander Architects

Read the rest here: 
Solar-powered Lowell Justice Center will be Massachusetts first LEED Platinum courthouse

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1153 access attempts in the last 7 days.