Mid-century modernism and sustainable design meet in two desert homes

February 28, 2017 by  
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Two new residences in Palm Springs by o2 Architecture  combine the best of mid-century modernism  and 21st-century sustainable design. The team brought to life an unbuilt project by Arizona modernist architect Al Beadle designed in 1970s, while combining mid-century modernism and sustainable design in the o2 House, located just a few steps away. The two structures, each in its own way, fit into the rocky desert landscape of Arizona . Originally named Palisades Dos, the Beadle House is built primarily out of steel, concrete and glass. Originally designed by modernist architect Al Beadle, the house stays true to the late architect’s meticulous drawings and schematics. Lance O’Donnell of o2 Architecture worked with Mike Yankovich of local design-build firm Better Built to bring Beadle’s work to the modernist community of Palm Springs. The house features a large, gravity-defying second floor that cantilevers over the desert landscape. Related: Midcentury modern ranch is renovated into a spacious energy-efficient home The second building, o2 House, is a 3,664-square-foot sprawling residence that celebrates mid-century modernism and marries it with contemporary sustainable design practices. Natural ventilation and a solar energy system complement the interior design. Both houses were part of the architect’s Miele Chino Canyon Project. + o2 Architecture + Better Built Via Architizer

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Mid-century modernism and sustainable design meet in two desert homes

IKEA’s Lena Pripp-Kovac talks to Inhabitat about their sustainability program

November 29, 2016 by  
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IKEA is working hard to create an environment that can help everyone live a sustainable life. That’s why they say “to change everything, we need everyone.” So far, the company has set aside one billion dollars to move the company toward not just becoming energy positive by 2020, using solar and wind, but also to invest in people and a sustainable supply chain. We sat down with Lena Pripp-Kovack, Sustainability Manager of Range and Supply for IKEA of Sweden in Älmhult, where IKEA’s first store popped up in 1958, to talk all about how IKEA is changing the world for the better—one EKTROP sofa at a time. Inhabitat: Tell us about your role at IKEA Lena Pripp-Kovac : My responsibility is range and supply from a sustainability point of view. Sustainability has two parts. One is building sustainably, which is the materials we use, how they were produced and how they were transported. The other is the function of the product, which means, does this product actually contribute to a more sustainable life at home? The way we think about it is that there is a built-in function and a function that actually provides for a more sustainable life. Are there any exciting projects going on at IKEA that you want to share with us? Lena Pripp-Kovac: A lot of the things we are working on right now have to do with circularity: prolonging the life of products and prolonging the life of materials. We work closely with our suppliers and the whole supply chain, and we spend a lot of time investing in research to determine how to use materials from secondary sources. I don’t want to call it waste because it is actually a resource. That’s why we work today with an increasing number of recycled materials, even using our own waste. So we collect waste from our stores and produce new products. We also look into how to design products today to prolong their lifespan. We think we’ve come far, but we still think we can reduce a lot in terms of material use. Then we have our bigger goals for the company, which is to become fully renewably powered. We have, I think, 700,000 solar panels now, and we are working with our suppliers who also have energy saving goals and renewable energy plans. We are investing 1.5 billion euros in renewable energy; our goal is to be energy positive by 2020. We are also on a journey to transform our cotton to be more sustainable. Last year we reached the goal of ensuring that all of our cotton, no matter where it is sourced, is now more sustainable than previous sources. The next step is to find other alternatives for textiles; we believe that a lot more things will come from wood. The transformation of materials I think is the next big thing for IKEA from here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7ENnyudY6w And then you go over to sustainability at home, which is more about behavior. We just had a meeting with lots of people around what’s an attractive sustainable lifestyle. That I find interesting. What does it mean to have a sustainable life? You hear a lot about the big solar and wind projects at IKEA, but how are you making the more behind-the-scenes things, like textiles, more sustainable? Lena Pripp-Kovac: The textile journey is a big one. The first goal we had was to source all the cotton from more sustainable sources. That required that we consolidate our supply chain, and it changed the way we look at dyeing and water treatment plants. This is very critical. The Better Cotton Initiative is based on working with farmers on the ground to reduce fertilizers, reduce pesticides, change the water irrigation system, and ensure that farmers get better yields and money – the social aspect of things. We started working on this 10 years ago because we knew it would take time to transform things with farmers. If we went out and said we’d only buy organic, we would buy everything on the market and no one else would have the availability, so it didn’t transform conventional cotton. Which is the biggest part of the problem. We actually felt that the biggest change we could make was to transform the conventional cotton to be better than just buying organic cotton. Which means when you go into an IKEA store it is very seldom that you see a collection that says that this “the” sustainable collection. Because we believe in three things: one, we should have the greatest possible impact. We want to make things efficient and innovate, since we have the capacity to do that, and provide greater access to people with thin wallets. The last part is extremely important. If sustainability is expensive and only for people with big wallets, we don’t define it as sustainable. Low prices ensure access to (all) people. You also have to make sure that does not equal disposable. That’s more about the behavior than the product itself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNvUeb3OoVY How is IKEA working towards making the supply chain and workers’ lives better? Lena Pripp-Kovac: What makes us different is that when you ask someone how many suppliers they think we have, they often think thousands and thousands and thousands. But we have around – last year we calculated about 978 suppliers in furniture – and we work very long term. The average time is 10 or 11 years. We always said when we pick a supplier it should be a strategic fit and we should stay with them for a long time. The first thing we do is work with our IWAY code of conduct , which sets conditions like fair wages and safety and environmental requirements on the factory floor. When that is done we do an audit; we have 90 auditors that are trained – they trace forests, or go into factories to do an audit. We also have a little team of calibration auditors who make sure we all audit the same way. That is our ongoing schedule. We audit usually once a year, always unannounced, but we are also present every month at the supplier in case something comes up very visibly for IKEA people. We also have third party auditors to see that we are true to our own self. Our third party auditor finds the same results. On a third level, we also have unannounced audits, which means that we at IKEA don’t know [when they will happen], nor does the supplier know. The third party just shows up. Then we both get the results and discuss them. It’s of course important that you don’t just see that as police activity – it is a result that we share and go through to improve things. The development programs that we set up are designed to track suppliers biggest supply change. [In] Bangladesh, for example, compared to the garment industry which has maybe 500 suppliers, we have seven suppliers: one is ceramic, one is highly industrial – just a machine weaving – and one is lots of women making carpets. We have also worked a lot with working conditions. But since we’ve been there since the ’90s, we know their journey and we picked a journey together. We see social entrepreneur projects from time to time at IKEA. Is there any plan to expand these types of special collections? Lena Pripp-Kovac: We will expand the number of projects, but what makes these projects strong is that they are small. The fact that we can work with them and have two, three or four stores supporting that project, we learn from them and they learn from us. It is almost a co-creating situation. There is a region in Malmö where there are a lot of migrant people, refugees coming in. There is a fantastic entrepreneur there working with helping women and introducing them into society. So that’s one project connected to one store where they get textiles and they can sew things and just have them in one store. Are you seeing a lot of demand for a sustainable supply? Lena Pripp-Kovac: If you want to be part of a long term solution in society, you have to drive things to that end. It is part of our mission to create a better everyday life for the many people, and sustainability is strong there. It is a request we see, but in certain specifics. Sustainability doesn’t need to be grey and boring, and it is a complex issue, so we are working on making it understandable and attractive. That’s one of our biggest challenges – to communicate – because the biggest way that consumers have been educated over the years is to just put a label on something. But that’s not enough – you need to communicate more. To really crack what is a sustainable lifestyle requires more than a label. How can we get involved with sustainability at IKEA? Lena Pripp-Kovac: The best thing is to share what a sustainable life is for you. Get the conversation going – it is much more than just sorting waste. How can we make it fun and not just a chore? We believe in access for the many. Everybody should be able to live a sustainable life. We need to see things with a different core value. Even if you buy something that is affordable, it should still have a value. Why do you just keep things that are expensive? There should be other values. + IKEA Images via Kristine for Inhabitat and IKEA

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IKEA’s Lena Pripp-Kovac talks to Inhabitat about their sustainability program

Hackers just attacked a major public transit system and demanded $70,000

November 29, 2016 by  
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On Friday, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation System was attacked by hackers who left a message reading “You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted” on the system’s computers throughout the city. Their demand? A payment of $70,000 from the city – or they would release the system’s data on the web. So-called “ransomware” attacks have become more and more common in recent years. Hackers will encrypt a computer’s data, demanding a payment from the user in an untraceable cryptocurrency like Bitcoin with threats to permanently erase the computer’s files if their conditions aren’t met. Antivirus and security professionals recommend taking the exact approach that Muni seems to be embracing: keep frequent backups of your system and refuse to pay. Related: Lava Mae’s big blue bus brings mobile showers to San Francisco’s homeless population As of Sunday, the system appeared to be restored and gates to Muni stations were once again operational. The agency is declining to address further questions about the hack or how its systems were restored, saying simply that the situation is subject to an ongoing investigation, but that “Neither customer privacy nor transaction information were compromised.” The incident did result in one unexpected benefit for passengers: rides on the trains were free throughout the day on Saturday. Via Mashable Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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Hackers just attacked a major public transit system and demanded $70,000

Scientists may have finally found a cure for the common cold

November 29, 2016 by  
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Could the common cold soon be a thing of the past? Scientists have created a breakthrough nasal spray that could block the virus as it tries to enter through the nose, where more than 90% of pathogens get in. The vaccine is called SynGEM , and it treats Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), one of three viruses that cause 80% of common colds. According to Mucosis , the Dutch company developing SynGEM, around 200,000 people die from RSV each year. RSV is especially dangerous for the elderly and children . The vaccine works for rats and mice, and researchers are beginning human trials at Imperial College London . Researchers say if the humans currently testing SynGEM develop antibodies, the scientists will be able to know the vaccine is truly working. Related: 44-year-old British man could be first to receive HIV cure Imperial College London professor of experimental medicine Peter Openshaw said in a statement, “We will first test whether the vaccine induces the right sort of immunity in humans, and, if it does, then test whether it will prevent infection in adult volunteers. Previous research has shown that boosting immunity in the nose and lungs may be the best way of increasing defense against RSV, blocking the virus from gaining entry to the body.” Openshaw has been researching colds and the flu for 30 years, and according to The Independent is hopeful the vaccine could be a major breakthrough. The second trial phase, which could occur in 2017, will test the vaccine in even more people. 54 adults would receive SynGEM in the second trial and 54 would receive a placebo. Via The Independent Images via anna gutermuth on Flickr and Claus Rebler on Flickr

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IKEA Better Shelter refugee house pops up in west London

November 15, 2016 by  
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Design Museum installed the 17.5-square-meter IKEA Better Shelter outside the South Kensington Underground station in west London, close to the Design Museum’s new location on Kensington High Street. Nominated in the Beazley Designs of the Year’s Architecture category, the Better Shelter was selected for its socially beneficial design, a characteristic that Design Museum curator Gemma Curtain says is at the core of the Beazley Design Award. IKEA’s temporary shelter was developed in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency. Thousands of Better Shelters have been deployed worldwide, from Botswana to Greece, where they serve as temporary homes, registration centers, medical facilities, and food distribution points. Related: United Nations to send 10,000 flat-packed IKEA shelters to refugees worldwide Each flat-pack structure meets the basic needs of living, such as privacy and security, and is designed to last for at least three years and accommodate five people. The house-like shelters are made with a sturdy galvanized steel frame with semi-hard, recyclable polymer plastic walls and lockable doors. A rooftop solar panel charges an indoor LED lamp, which includes a USB port that can charge a mobile phone. Though the Better Shelter is designed for temporary housing, each unit can be anchored to the ground and withstand harsh elements. Every structure can be easily set up without tools in four hours and can be expanded upon thanks to its modular design. Better Shelter will be on display outside the London tube until November 23, 2016, after which it will be moved to the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition that runs from November 24, 2016 to February 19, 2017. The Award winners will be announced on January 26, 2017. + Better Shelter Via Dezeen Images via Design Museum , by Luke Hayes

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IKEA Better Shelter refugee house pops up in west London

3D-printed eggs could radically change how conservationists monitor endangered species

April 5, 2016 by  
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When it comes to monitoring endangered species , the less invasive the method the better. Conservationists have used camera traps and drones to gain insight into wildlife populations, but flashes and buzzes can change animal behavior. Now scientists may have just developed a less obtrusive monitoring device: a 3D-printed egg equipped with sensors. Read the rest of 3D-printed eggs could radically change how conservationists monitor endangered species

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IKEA meets aggressive better cotton pledge. What’s next?

December 16, 2015 by  
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Brands from Adidas to Nike are cottoning to sustainable sourcing. Can 30 percent of the world’s supply meet Better Cotton Initiative standards?

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IKEA meets aggressive better cotton pledge. What’s next?

5 lessons from the field of technology and conservation

December 16, 2015 by  
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What does it take to be “wired in the wild?” Tech from Autodesk, Esri, Google, IBM and Microsoft makes the link between conservation and science.

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5 lessons from the field of technology and conservation

Jumpstarting sustainability — without big ideas, money or executive support

August 21, 2015 by  
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You don’t need a multimillion-dollar budget or an environmental activist as a CEO to catalyze change for the better at your company.

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Jumpstarting sustainability — without big ideas, money or executive support

United Nations signs on to bring 10,000 flat packed IKEA shelters to refugees world wide

March 25, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of United Nations signs on to bring 10,000 flat packed IKEA shelters to refugees world wide Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Better Shelter , eco design , green design , ikea , refugee shelters , solar powered flat pack shelters , sustainable design , United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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