Google will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2018

October 13, 2017 by  
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After 10 years as a carbon-neutral company, Google has announced that all of its data centers and offices will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy , mostly from solar and wind sources. The corporate giant made quick progress towards meeting their goal, which was set in 2016 and will be fulfilled by 2018. In its 2017 Environmental Report, Google, self-described as the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, declared that in making its big shift to clean energy, it had pioneered “new energy purchasing models that others can follow” and “helped drive wide-scale global adoption of clean energy.” “We believe Google can build tools to improve people’s lives while reducing our dependence on natural resources and fossil fuels,” said Google executive Urs Hölzle. Google’s rapid shift to clean energy is welcome not only for the influence it may have on other companies but also for its impact on Google’s energy consumption, which was estimated in 2015 to be as large as the city of San Francisco . In line with its sustainability focus, Google has also launched an initiative to add air quality sensors to Google Street View vehicles and plans to change its waste disposal systems to ensure that the company adds nothing to landfills. Half of Google’s 14 data centers have already reached that particular milestone. Related: Alphabet X to beam wireless service to Puerto Rico with a fleet of balloons Most of Google’s renewable energy is purchased from an outside provider. However, they are making important moves to provide some of their own in-house energy, including the company’s recent acquisition of the Tellenes wind farm in Norway. The 12-year deal to provide 100 percent of the energy produced will power Google’s data centers in Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland . Google expects to purchase power as soon as it is available, which is expected in fall 2017. Via Inverse Images via Wikimedia Commons   (1)  and Robbie Shade/Flickr

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Google will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2018

Germany expects to add 900 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2017

July 24, 2017 by  
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Germany’s offshore wind boom is accelerating. The Federal Republic has already brought online a total of 626 megawatts (MW) of new offshore wind capacity in the first six months of 2017 and industry groups said in a recent joint statement that they expect to see total installations of 900 MW by the end of the year. If Germany hits the 900 MW mark in 2017, it would exceed the 818 MW added in 2016. At the current rate of expansion, Germany could be on track to blow past government targets of 6,500 MW for 2020, the industry groups said. The country’s installed offshore wind total is already at 4,729 MW from 1,055 turbines. Related: Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to boost offshore wind 5-fold within the next decade The industry groups said that the offshore wind industry is moving away from the era of costly subsidies to becoming more commercially viable and bringing costs down for consumers. “This paradigm shift offers the next government chances to lift expansion targets to at least 20 gigawatts (20,000 MW) up to 2030 and at least 30 GW to 2035, utilizing the economic and industrial political potential of offshore wind,” the industry groups said. Germany’s offshore wind farms delivered 8.48 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity to the grid in the first six month of 2016 — producing more electricity than was generated in all of 2015 (8.29TWh). Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia 1 , 2 , 3

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Germany expects to add 900 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2017

C&A debuts world’s first Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold T-shirts

May 12, 2017 by  
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A chain of clothing stories in Belgium has launched the world’s first Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold T-shirts . Available in two styles for women in up to 17 different colors, C&A’s tees mark the company’s first foray into apparel for the so-called “circular economy,” where products are designed to be reused or recycled rather than thrown away. The shirts, which comprise 100 percent organic cotton , represent what C&A calls a “positive ecological and social level never before seen for a fashion garment.” California’s Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute , which manages the certification mark, defines C2C Certified products as items that have been optimized for human and environmental health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, carbon management, water stewardship, and social justice. Ratings are based on four levels: Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Related: First Cradle to Cradle Platinum certified product is reclaimed Bark House shingle C&A worked with McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry , the recently formed Fashion for Good initiative, and two India-based factories to develop the tees based on Cradle to Cradle Certified criteria. Both Cotton Blossom and Pratibha Syntex, C&A said, needed minimal improvement in those areas. “In nature, the ‘waste’ of one system becomes food for another,” Jay Bolus, president of certification services at MBDC, said in a statement. “The two new T-shirts illustrate the possibility by which we can transform what is currently a take-make-waste industry to one that is regenerative and closed loop to progress us toward a positive future. We worked closely with Cotton Blossom and Pratibha Syntex and throughout their supply chains to ensure the resulting apparel is not only attractive, accessible and affordable—but also a positive design.” C&A’s shirts, which will appear in stores in June, use only materials that have been deemed safe for cycling as biological nutrients, making them safe enough to compost at home at the end of their lives. Two additional styles, one for women and another for men, will debut in Brazil and Mexico in September. Related: Freitag announces that their 100% compostable denim is about to hit shelves “We are very proud to introduce our first Gold level Cradle to Cradle Certified T-shirts,” said You Nguyen, director of brands, womenswear collections, at C&A. “Taking inspiration from nature, these shirts were designed with their next life in mind. This means they can be reused recycled—or you can literally throw your shirts onto the compost pile.” Nguyen added, “We believe in fashion with a positive impact and are excited to provide our customers with stylish products and render sustainable fashion available at great value.” + C&A

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C&A debuts world’s first Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold T-shirts

‘Artificial blowhole’ harvests power from ocean waves

May 12, 2017 by  
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Wave energy comes in many forms: at Inhabitat we’ve written about buoys , floating sea walls , and floating platforms . But Australia -based Wave Swell Energy (WSE) takes a novel approach to harvesting power from ocean waves using what CEO Tom Denniss calls an artificial blowhole. WSE’s artificial blowhole is a concrete column resting in the sea; waves rushing in and out of a central chamber cause air to have a positive or negative pressure. The pressure changes allow the air to pass by a turbine , generating clean power . All the moving parts are above the water line for ease of maintenance. Related: The UK’s first wave energy plant will produce enough energy for 6,000 homes The company says they’ve based their technology on the idea of an oscillating water column. But the difference between their technology and that of other organizations is their turbine is only hit by air flowing from one direction. This means the turbine design is simpler, more reliable, and more durable. The design also yields a higher energy conversion efficiency, according to the company. Their blowhole can produce up to one megawatt (MW) of power; as wave conditions and weather change, the average output is around 470 kilowatts. Its capacity factor – or ratio of average to peak power – is around 47 percent, much greater than the 30 percent achieved by other wave power systems. That means WSE could offer their electricity for around seven cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is roughly competitive with coal. The WSE technology has the added side benefit of producing desalinated water . By the middle of 2018, they plan to test their technology near King Island, a land mass home to under 2,000 people between Australia and Tasmania. Denniss also has his sights set on Hawaii. The company aims to scale up rapidly – within the next five years they hope to deploy systems able to produce 100 MW or greater. They also think they can lower the price in the future to four cents per kWh. + Wave Swell Energy Via New Atlas Images via screenshot and Wave Swell Energy

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‘Artificial blowhole’ harvests power from ocean waves

Colossal landforms discovered under Antarctic ice sheet are 5X bigger than any on Earth

May 10, 2017 by  
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Colossal landforms recently found beneath the Antarctic ice sheet have surprised scientists. An international team found these eskers, or ridges of land similar to those left behind by ancient ice sheets , with satellite images and radar data – and it turns out they are far bigger than anything else like it on Earth. Some are as large as the Eiffel Tower and they might be contributing to Antarctic ice shelf thinning. The ancient Scandinavian Ice Sheet of the Pleistocene epoch was one of the biggest glacial masses of that time, and left behind eskers for us to see. The ice sheet was around 9,800 feet thick, but for thousands of years landforms under the sheet mitigated precipitation and evaporation so ice would continue to cycle through the ocean, according to ScienceAlert. Related: World’s most massive canyon may be hidden beneath Antarctic ice Now scientists have uncovered evidence of the landforms beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. But these subglacial features are a staggering five times larger than the eskers left behind we can see today. The scale of the eskers is shocking but they may also hold implications for the stability of the ice sheet. The Université libre de Bruxelles explained the “oversized sediment ridges actively shape the ice hundreds of kilometers downstream, by carving deep incisions at the bottom of the ice.” These gashes open up weak spots that are more susceptible to damage from warm ocean water. Researchers once thought ice shelves thinned only once they hit the ocean, but this new discovery means instability could impact the ice sheet even while it’s still on land. ScienceAlert pointed out we might not be able to halt the Antarctic ice sheet thinning, but a better understanding of the process could help us understand what will happen as the sheet thins. Nature Communications published the team’s research online yesterday. Scientists from institutions in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Norway contributed to the study. Via ScienceAlert and Université libre de Bruxelles Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Colossal landforms discovered under Antarctic ice sheet are 5X bigger than any on Earth

Bruges just built a two-mile-long underground pipeline for beer

September 19, 2016 by  
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The Belgian city of Bruges is renowned for its historic architecture and cobbled streets – however the narrow winding roads also make traffic a nightmare. That was a major problem for De Halve Maan brewery, which moves a million gallons of beer each year to their bottling plant outside of town. Now, an underground pipeline will help ease traffic congestion by pumping the beer directly to the facility. The series of bundled pipes can transport up to 1,060 gallons of beer per hour. The owner of the De Halve Maan, Xavier Vanneste, had the idea when he saw construction workers installing cable networks in the city’s center. However, building the pipeline was no easy feat . It took three years to obtain the permits, raise funds, and finally construct the line. Due to the historical significance of many sites in the city, the route needed to be thoroughly researched before any pipe was laid. All in all, it costs $4.5 million to build, with about $335,000 crowdfunded from online beer lovers. Related: Beer made from harvested fog wets whistles of parched communities in Chile In order to preserve the beer’s taste and satisfy food safety requirements, the pipeline uses high-density polyethylene, a tough, food-grade plastic. Between batches, the pipes will be sterilized with jets of cleaning solution. The pipe began pumping beer beneath the streets of Bruges this summer. + De Halve Maan Via The Guardian Images via De Halve Maan and Wolfgang Staudt

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Bruges just built a two-mile-long underground pipeline for beer

This gigantic flower carpet in Brussels is made of 600,000 blooms

August 29, 2016 by  
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All told, around 600,000 different blossoms were used to create the display. The influence of Japanese illustrations is obvious when you look at the tapestry from above; it incorporates common motifs found in Japanese art such as koi and cranes. Illustrations of flowers dotting the image represent the passage of the seasons. Related: A Gigantic Carpet Made Entirely From Flowers Just Popped Up in Brussels! The flower carpet is a tradition within Brussels , blanketing the city square every two years with begonias. The carpet is 77 meters long and 24 meters wide, and it takes about 120 volunteers four hours to assemble. The tradition began in 1971 and has continued until this day . Each flower carpet is accompanied by a specially composed musical theme, and the event is marked by an evening concert and light show. Unfortunately, the carpet lasts only a few days before the flowers fade and it has to come down again. This year’s carpet has already come and gone , but if you’d like to stop by and see it for yourself, start planning your 2018 summer vacation! Via Fubiz

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This gigantic flower carpet in Brussels is made of 600,000 blooms

New Zealand’s solar-powered Te Oro Music and Arts Center is inspired by traditional Maori design

July 11, 2016 by  
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The Center was built in a suburban car park which the architects redesigned with a master plan that includes four key facilities on the southern edge. Te Oro, Ruapotaka Marae, Glen Innes library and a Community Hall will share a landscaped space which will extend into Maybury Reserve and the re-development of Ruapotaka Marae. Related: Beautiful Roma music center in Hungary shows how socially-conscious design can cultivate talent The building was conceived a large wooden canopy that floats over performance and learning spaces for an ethnically diverse young population. Several hang-out and “kai” spaces, workshop and teaching areas, dance studios, music classrooms, recording studios are combined and connected by a simple looping circulation route. Installed on the roof are 256 solar panels which reduce the energy consumption of the Center by more than 50 percent. Rainwater is harvested and used for toilet flushing and landscape irrigation. Related: Striking Green-Roofed Concert Hall Sprouts in Soignies, Belgium The ground surfaces feature imprinted traditional Maori graphic device – the manaia – which connect different spaces. Three separate volumes of the Center house different functions-performance, music, and visual arts. Local ethnic groups carved the timber blades that face the concrete columns, while a series of LVL portal “ribs” enclosed in a facade of ACP comprises the superstructure. The facade was clad in faceted panels made from solid timber . + Archimedia Photos by Patrick Reynolds

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New Zealand’s solar-powered Te Oro Music and Arts Center is inspired by traditional Maori design

Stacked timber beams act as multi-use office furniture in this renovated barn in Belgium

May 25, 2016 by  
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A multifunctional furniture object, which can act as a shelving system, seating area, library and a staircase is nestled in a small renovated barn in Belgium. Studio Farris Architects converted the old structure into a contemporary office that marries modern design with rural architecture. The brick exterior of the pitched-roof barn in West Flanders, Belgium, was restored to its original splendor, hiding an unlikely contemporary interior. The architects repaired the brick facade and added a large…

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Stacked timber beams act as multi-use office furniture in this renovated barn in Belgium

This ultra-compact micro kitchen unfolds like a Swiss Army knife when it’s time to cook (VIDEO)

May 22, 2016 by  
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Ana Arana International Contemporary Furniture Fair during NYCxDesign week, Small apartment? No worries with #anaarana's Gali kitchenette all-in-one with everything you need to store, prep and cook food in a super-compact form. #icff #nycxdesign #interiordesign #nyc #design A video posted by Yuka (@yukatory) on May 14, 2016 at 11:21am PDT stove, microwave, trash can, storage, a countertop, a sink I live alone in a very small apaartmnet but my kitchen is huge, and I’m always thinking…

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