Biomimicry helps nature-lovers and fragile wildlife co-exist at the Votu Hotel in Brazil

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Biomimicry helps nature-lovers and fragile wildlife co-exist at the Votu Hotel in Brazil

The Maraú Peninsula is a 25 mile long bar of pristine Brazilian sand, flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the tranquil Camamu Bay on the other, where one glorious beach gives way to another. With such stunning landscapes, it’s no wonder hip Brazilians are flocking to these shores. But the native mangrove forests here are one the world’s most endangered ecosystems, and great care must be taken to preserve them. GCP Arquitectura and Urbanismo’s Votu Hotel takes an unusual approach to that challenge: biomimicry––sustainable innovation inspired by nature’s proven wisdom. According to Indian legend, the peninsula’s namesake, Maraú, was a peaceful fisherman who lived in with his beautiful wife, Saquaíra. One day, while Maraú was out fishing, his neighbor, Camamu, came ashore, and he and Saquaíra fell deeply in love. Camamu took her away in his canoe, and when Maraú returned to discover her abduction, he desperately begged the gods for a faster one. They granted his lovesick plea, and away he went after her at top speed, surfing the waves and sculpting the peninsula´s curved beaches and bays as he went. Today, the region is a dreamy wonderland of rich, golden sands, rugged white cliffs, nodding coconut palms, cool waterfalls, teeming coral reefs, tranquil mangrove forests and restingas ––special forests that grows on shifting coastal dunes. Unfortunately, humans are having a massive impact on the landscape. Less than 5% of the original forest cover remains, yet 40% of its plants and 60% of its vertebrates––including a long-hair maned sloth, giant armadillo, giant otter, and unique local populations of cougar, jaguar, and ocelot––are found nowhere else in the world. New species are discovered frequently: over a thousand new flowering plants, a black-faced lion tamarin recently believed extinct, and a brightly blonde-haired capuchin monkey in recent years. Meanwhile, the mangroves and estuaries provide critical nurseries for the fish, crustaceans, and mollusks that feed these populations. Inhabitating such a precious and endangered habitat requires the region’s hotels to care for it just as they care for the visitors who come here. The Votu Hotel, designed by GCP Arquitectura and Urbanismo , embraces the challenge using biomimicry, an innovative approach to design that is in accordance with nature. GCP even has a biologist on staff––Alessandro Araujo, a Certified Biomimicry Specialist educated by Biomimicry 3.8 ––and it’s her job to enhance natural processes already at work here by tapping nature’s proven solutions ––those favored for hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Related: 6 groundbreaking examples of tech innovations inspired by biomimicry The GCP team sought to maintain and support the region’s native species while minimizing air conditioning and electricity consumption, and good water management, ventilation, and thermal comfort were also critically important. These requirements were made challenging by the vulnerability of these shores to heavy rain, floods, coastal erosion, high temperatures, salt spray, and high humidity. To solve these problems, Araujo looked at species that solve these same kinds of challenges. Prairie dogs, for instance, are social rodents that live in large colonies or towns where outside temperatures can reach 100°F in the summer and -35°F in the winter. They rely on long underground burrows to insulate them from such extremes. GCP borrowed this concept for Votu, using concrete walls and a roof garden to buffer heat. The burrows also leverage a natural process called the Bernoulli principle, in which air flow is slowed by the prairie dogs’ earthen mounds, increasing pressure and forcing air to flow quickly through the tunnels. Votu’s team mimicked this clever strategy by optimizing the position of each bungalow using computer modeling, and placing a semi-permeable guardrail in front of the prevailing winds, slowing them and drawing air into ventilation ducts below the roof. The bungalow shell itself was inspired by another biological champion, the saguaro cactus, which relies on long spines and accordion-like folds to mitigate extremes of heat and exposure. The deep folds offer partial shade, cooling air on the shaded side and creating a gradient that facilitates circulation and minimizes heat absorption. The Votu bungalows mimic this strategy with vertical, wooden, self-shading slats. Local species were consulted as well. The little houses rest on stilts, just as the native mangroves and restinga forest trees do, preserving the natural topography and allowing the unimpeded flow of rainwater and tides. Meanwhile, the kitchen takes inspiration from the toco toucan, a local bird that experiences large temperature swings, from hot days to cool nights. The large, vascularized toucan beak is an extremely efficient thermal radiator, offering the greatest thermal exchange known among animals. Heat from the kitchen is dissipated the same way: as it rises, it is drawn into a copper coil that passes through the rooftop soil. Air cools in the shade of a roof garden, and eventually returns to the kitchen: a natural air conditioner requiring no additional energy. Biomimicry is known for its reliance on a simple set of Life’s Principles, and GCP is dedicated to following them. One Araujo particularly loves is “Be resource efficient,” which the team did by relying on multifunctional design, low energy processes, recycling, and fitting form to function. The bottom of Votu’s concrete structure doubles as the bathroom wall, for instance, while the upper part forms the roof. In front of the hotel, a thicket of bamboo intercepts any run-off from the bungalows or tidal wash from the beach, acting as a living filter against salinity, bacteria, or pollutants. In back of the bungalows, graywater goes into the banana circle, while blackwater passes through a biodigester and biofilter, ending in a compost pile that fertilizes a fruit-bearing orchard for the guests to enjoy. GCP’s approach to conservation and tourism may seem unusual, but biomimicry has been growing in popularity among architects for a long time. And after all, these ideas are proven winners, nature’s survivors. Why reinvent the wheel? And maybe, just maybe, such bio-inspiration will let nature’s wild places continue to survive and thrive as we enjoy them. + GCP Arquitetura & Urbanismo

Excerpt from: 
Biomimicry helps nature-lovers and fragile wildlife co-exist at the Votu Hotel in Brazil

Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

In the not-so-far future when  electric vehicles (EV) rule the road, don’t expect to sit around in line waiting for your battery to charge. That’s because electric automaker Tesla recently filed a patent for a mobile battery swapping technology that could replace a depleted battery in under 15 minutes. In 2013, the company toyed with the idea of building stationary rigs that can replace a car’s battery pack. However, that idea never took off. Now, the EV maker is improving on the concept and has filed a patent application for a more compact, mobile version that would be placed in strategic locations where Superchargers aren’t always available. As Elektrek reports, Tesla’s original system was designed to be autonomous, while the newer one can be operated by technicians. Additionally, the original battery swap service claimed a 90-second swap, whereas the new one says “less than fifteen minutes” is more plausible. Says the patent application, “In some implementations, the battery swap system is configured for use by one or more technicians, who will monitor certain aspects of the system’s operation and make necessary inputs when appropriate. For example, the battery -swapping system can be installed at a remote location (e.g., along a highway between two cities) and one or more technicians can be stationed at the location for operating the system. This can reduce or eliminate the need for the system to have vision components, which may otherwise be needed to align the battery pack or other components. Using techniques described herein it may be possible to exchange the battery pack of a vehicle in less than fifteen minutes.” As can be seen from the application figures, the patent application references swapping Model S and Model X battery packs. Both vehicles’ battery packs have been designed to be easily swappable. Model 3’s battery pack is not, on the other hand. Because the company aims to expedite the process in 15 minutes or less, it is unlikely the system will apply to more complicated swaps. Related: Tesla to TRIPLE number of Superchargers by end of 2018 When Tesla CEO Elon Musk last mentioned the battery swap system, he said it would likely be developed to support commercial fleets — if pursued at all. Now that plans for Tesla’ all- electric Semi-Truck have been shared, Musk’s vision is coming into focus. + Tesla Via Elektrek Images via Tesla , Pixabay

Read the original here:
Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

How the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Preserves the Environment

August 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on How the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Preserves the Environment

Breathtaking surroundings, historic structures, screams of delight — this is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. An amusement part and a beach might seem like a combination that simply can’t be environmentally friendly, but step right up and see…

Excerpt from:
How the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Preserves the Environment

Three-fourths of sunscreens don’t work as they claim and may contain harmful chemicals

May 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Three-fourths of sunscreens don’t work as they claim and may contain harmful chemicals

Before heading to the beach, most people make sure to pack a bottle of sunscreen. After all, the ultraviolet rays can be seriously damaging and no one wants to get  skin cancer . But it turns out some ingredients in hundreds of common sunscreens don’t work as well as advertised, according to a new report released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Additionally, 73 percent of 880 sunscreens that were tested contain “worrisome” ingredients people may not want to slather on their skin. Authors of the report , which was released on Tuesday, examined the SPF protection, chemical ingredients and overall safety and effectiveness of numerous sunscreens , moisturizers, and lip balms. Then, they compiled a list of the best- and worst-rated products to help consumers make the best – and healthiest – choices when preparing to have fun in the sun. Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the environmental advocacy group and lead scientist of the 2017 Sunscreens Guide, said of the findings, “Sunscreens are really mismarketed, and as a result, people who depend on them think they are far more powerful than they really are.” According to dermatologist Dr. Dawn Davis, who did not participate in the report and works at the Mayo Clinic, the SPF is a ratio of how long a person without sunscreen can be in the sun without becoming red. In his own words, “if you’re standing on the equator at high noon and it would usually take your skin one minute without sunscreen to become red and irritated, SPF 15 means you can stand in that same sun exposure for 15 minutes.” Related: Hawaii aims to ban coral reef-killing chemical sunscreens Most sunscreen brands offer products with high SPF, sometimes even over 100. Thought to be beneficial, they are actually misleading, says Lunder. “People who buy high-SPF products are more likely to get burned because they assume they’re getting better and longer-lasting protection,” she said. It is for this reason that she supports the American Academy of Dermatology’s recommendation to choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 (which would block 97% of UVB rays) and suggests one reapply it every few hours. SPF protection can also vary, depending on its age, how it has been stored and lab tests find that SPF levels can vary wildly. There is also something to be said about the questionable ingredients in certain sunscreens. While most chemicals in the product create a barrier to prevent damage from UV rays, other chemicals create damaging effects. Two ingredients, in particular, oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, consumers should avoid. According to Lunder, oxybenzone “is a hormone disruptor that mimics body hormones and affects reproductive tract and other hormones.” And Retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, has been linked to the development of skin tumors under direct UV light. More research needs to be conducted on the latter, but authors of the report advise consumers to avoid sunscreens that contain both ingredients. All in all, the report recommends sunscreen products that are safe and offer adequate sun protection. The EWG says outdoor enthusiasts should look for three things: an SPF between 30 and 50 to protect from UVB rays, zinc oxide and titanium oxide to ward off UVA rays, and no oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. + Environmental Working Group Via CNN Images via  Bella Mecia , Pixabay

View original post here:
Three-fourths of sunscreens don’t work as they claim and may contain harmful chemicals

Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

May 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

This minimalist bath house allows inhabitants of Karlshamn, Sweden, to enjoying the sea all year round. White Arkitekter designed the timber-clad building to age naturally for low-maintenance facilities that straddle both the water and the land. The town’s first bath house was carefully situated to soak up as much sunlight as possible all winter long, while protecting visitors from the chilly winter winds. Local organization Kallbadhusets Vänner (Friends of the Bath House) worked with local sponsors and the municipality to realize a project which would allow people to enjoy the sea all year round. Kallbadhus is located along a beach promenade, close to the public swimming hall . Sitting at a height of three meters above sea level, the sharply angled timber-clad volume straddles solid land and water while offering views of the sea. Related: Tiny Norwegian Prefab Bathhouse is Clad in Sustainable Kebony Wood Two glulam beams provide structural support for a small bridge that links the building to the beach. A common room with an adjoining terrace is flanked on one side by the women’s sauna and the by the men’s sauna on the other. The architects designed the saunas to receive optimal amount of sunlight while simultaneously offering protection from the wind. The exterior cladding is treated with a grey-pigmented oil which allows the wood to age naturally. + White Arkitekter Via World Architecture News

Continued here: 
Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

Contemporary Atlantic house celebrates the history of its coastal landscape

January 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Contemporary Atlantic house celebrates the history of its coastal landscape

Bates Masi + Architects completed a stunning eco-sensitive home that offers more than just rugged good looks. Located in Amagansett, New York overlooking the ocean from which the home gets its name, the Atlantic is a contemporary beauty that celebrates the maritime, military, and architectural history of the coastal landscape. The house takes design cues from the old military stations that once lined the coast, from the exposed beams used for storage to use of natural weather-resistant materials. The 2,300-square-foot Atlantic house faces the Atlantic Ocean as well as low sand dunes and the historic Life Saving Station. The station, which was built over a century ago, holds historical significance as the place where a guard discovered Nazi invaders coming ashore during World War II. The lifesaving station’s lookout towers and elevated decks provide panoramic views for the crew members, while the use of rugged materials protects the structure from succumbing to the elements. Related: Bates Masi Architects unveil tiny, daylit Beach Hampton House The Atlantic is also built with those same materials, chosen for their ability to withstand the coastal climate. Cedar, bronze, and weathering steel clad the home and will develop beautiful patinas over time: the cedar siding will lighten; bronze bars will turn dark brown then green; and the weathering steel will gradually rust to protect itself from further corrosion. The home was raised above the flood plain to reduce risk and to minimize the building impact on the landscape. Bedrooms are located on the lower levels, while the main living areas are placed atop and overlook stunning elevated views of the ocean. + Bates Masi + Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Bates Masi + Architects

Continued here:
Contemporary Atlantic house celebrates the history of its coastal landscape

Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California

December 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California

Locals strolling Huntington Beach recently in Southern California came across a weird sight: thousands of gelatinous pink sea creatures had appeared on the sand. People described the creatures as squishy, almost like jellyfish , and bewildered National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, according to NBC Los Angeles . The appearance of the unusual creatures sparked social media speculation. Ryan Rustan, a local, posted that the creatures were like little water balloons that popped underfoot. Beachgoer Don Coursey posted on the Huntington Beach Community Forum on Facebook that the creatures burrowed in the sand. Related: Octopuses are taking over the oceans, and no one knows why Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lieutenant Claude Panis said the creatures might have washed up due to El Niño , and that there were also more stingrays closer to the shore than normal at this point in the year. He told The Orange County Register, “There’s all kinds of weird things happening. It’s just strange.” Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lieutenant Eric Dieterman said people had seen the creatures in the past, but there hadn’t been so many before. So, what are they? California State University, Long Beach professor Christopher G. Lowe told KTLA the university’s expert on invertebrates said the creatures are sea cucumbers. University of California, Irvine associate professor Matt Bracken said the creatures are pelagic tunicates, also known as sea salps. He told The Orange County Register, “These marine invertebrates look sort of like jellyfish, but they are actually more closely related to vertebrates (e.g., humans) than to other invertebrates. They occasionally bloom off the California coast.” Via the Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register Images via Don Coursey on Facebook and Ryan Rustan on Facebook

Excerpt from:
Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California

New super batteries could charge phones in seconds and electric cars in minutes

December 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on New super batteries could charge phones in seconds and electric cars in minutes

A scientific breakthrough at the University of Surrey could completely change how we charge our devices. Researchers developed a new material that could be used to create supercapacitors 1,000 to 10,000 times more powerful than conventional batteries . The new super batteries would also be safer, faster charging, more efficient, and greener. The breakthrough is made possible by a special type of polymer that is, surprisingly enough, adapted from the principles used to make soft contact lenses. Supercapacitors have long been considered a superior alternative to batteries – able to charge and discharge energy incredibly quickly. However, until now, the materials used for these devices have had a poor energy density that limited their usefulness. This new, denser polymer could change all that. This groundbreaking new technology could allow electric cars to finally become competitive with conventional vehicles. Cars equipped with the new supercapacitors could be charged in minutes, taking no longer than the time it takes to fill a normal vehicle with gasoline. It could also completely transform our household devices and appliances, allowing phones and laptops to charge in mere seconds. Related: MIT’s new carbon-free supercapacitor could revolutionize the way we store power The development seems to confirm what Elon Musk has been predicting for years : that supercapacitors are likely the future of electric transportation. With this new breakthrough, it’s only a matter of time before faster-charging EVs capable of traveling far longer distances hit the market. Via The Daily Mail Images via Myrtle Beach TheDigitel and Pixabay

Here is the original: 
New super batteries could charge phones in seconds and electric cars in minutes

Hyperloop One plans an underwater version of supersonic tube transportation

August 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Hyperloop One plans an underwater version of supersonic tube transportation

Imagine the Port of Los Angeles moved 10 miles off shore with ships docking at floating stations and cargo containers transported underwater from the coast via supersonic tubes. The coastal areas where the Port of Los Angeles used to take up miles of space has been transformed into parks, residential areas, office complexes and beaches. That is the future envisioned by L.A.-based startup Hyperloop One that is developing the technology to realize Elon Musk’s dream of moving passengers and cargo at supersonic speeds through evacuated steel tubes. “We’ve been talking to a lot of the port authorities around the world about re-engineering their ports in this kind of fashion,” Peter Diamandis, a Hyperloop One board member and CEO of the X-Prize Foundation, told Business Insider . He said clearing the land along the coast could create the conditions for a “huge real estate boom.” Diamandis said that in Long Beach, near where he lives, there is a “beautiful California coastline that is basically covered with ports or cargo containers and ships. Imagine if you could regain all of that coastline for parks and homes and beaches by taking the port and putting the port 10 miles off shore.” Related: Hyperloop One opens the world’s first Hyperloop factory Diamandis also confirmed to Business Insider that Hyperloop One is discussing underwater passenger travel. He said that there have been proposals to transport passengers underwater between Norway and Sweden. Hyperloop One is also involved in a partnership with a Russian company to build a Hyperloop in Moscow and possibly beyond and is exploring the possibility of a route between the Finnish capital, Helsinki, and the Swedish capital, Stockholm. On May 11, Hyperloop One conducted the first live trial of the technology at a test site in the Nevada desert about 10 miles north of Las Vegas. The Propulsion Open Air Test (POAT) involved a sled that was propeled by electromagnets to a top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h) along a track measuring 1,500 feet (457 meters) long. + Hyperloop One Via New Atlas Images via Hyperloop One

See the original post here:
Hyperloop One plans an underwater version of supersonic tube transportation

Here’s your sustainability summer reading list

July 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Here’s your sustainability summer reading list

If green business is your trade, take these books on a train, a plane or to the beach.

Continued here:
Here’s your sustainability summer reading list

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1055 access attempts in the last 7 days.