The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Eisack Valley of Italy, an old “pair farmstead” structure partly built into the hillside years ago still remains. The new owner decided to turn this classic property into a proper home after living inside it for two years as it was, and chose Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten for the redesign. The partially underground extension is topped by a grassy green roof that serves as an homage to the old design as well as a minimal approach to interacting with the natural environment. A newer building was constructed to connect to the older structure, causing the entire house to extend from east to west, hidden within the mountain. Both buildings are linked using a natural stone staircase, and two long skylights serve as limited visible proof of the underground home. From the southern vantage point, a side of concrete and glass serves as a window, making the outer valley visible from inside. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina As would be expected in an underground dwelling, the interior decoration is made up of natural colors. Wooden planks line the walls, and the ceiling is primarily made from the same exposed concrete visible from the green roof . Furnishings also consist of shades of brown, and the home includes a clean-lined, minimalist kitchen. There are views of the Eisack Valley and Dolomites Mountains from both the living and sleeping rooms. Although the home is mostly underground, the architects managed to include high ceilings and open spaces within the home, adding a modern element. Occupants enjoy natural light throughout the house thanks to the large skylights . The architects hoped that this home would forge a connection between the old and new, adding a modern twist to the house while maintaining respect for the original historical property. Using eco-conscious materials  — such as natural stone, exposed concrete, steel and wood — that complement the surrounding mountainous region, the architects created an extraordinary home that has only increased in historic value. + Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten Via ArchDaily Photography by Oskar DaRiz via Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

Scientists find a way to produce renewable energy from snow

April 18, 2019 by  
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Solar panels have trouble producing renewable energy whenever it snows. With winters expected to increase in severity because of  climate change , generating power in the cold, snowy season will likely become a major issue in years to come. Fortunately, scientists from UCLA just invented a way to produce energy from snow. The researchers call their handy device a snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator (snow TENG). It works by generating power via static electricity. As explained by the lead scientist on the project, Richard Kaner, static electricity happens when a material that likes to give up electrons comes into contact with a material that captures them. Snow naturally carries a positive charge and gives electrons away freely, making it the perfect material to generate power. According to UCLA , the snow TENG is made out of silicone, which has a negative charge and actively captures positive electrons. Once the material gains positive electrons, the device gathers those charges and turns them into electricity. “The device can work in remote areas, because it provides its own power and does not need batteries,” Kaner shared. Kaner noted that the device does much more than produce renewable energy . The snow TENG can also calculate snow fall averages and tell you wind speed and direction. Kaner and his team hope to integrate their device into existing solar panels, which would give homeowners the option of producing plentiful energy throughout the year, not just in the warmer seasons. In addition to generating electricity, the device can also be used to track performance in winter sports. The TENG can monitor things like jumping, walking or running and can be easily added to the bottom of shoes given its flexibility. With further development, it is possible that the snow TENG will lead to other athletic monitoring devices that are completely self-powered. It is unclear when Kaner and his team plan to make their device available to the larger public. They produced the prototype using a 3D printer , an electrode and some silicone, making it one of the cheapest renewable energy devices on the market. + UCLA Via Gizmodo Image via Pixabay

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Scientists find a way to produce renewable energy from snow

These sneakers are painted with cast-off blood from slaughterhouses

April 18, 2019 by  
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When you think of materials suitable for making shoes , blood probably doesn’t come to mind. If you think it’s not possible though, you’d be wrong. To prove it, nat-2  designer Sebastian Thies and Eindhoven-based designer Shahar Livne have teamed up to create sustainable sneakers made from real blood. Your first question is likely, “Where does one source blood from to make shoes?” The answer is both weirdly easy and sustainable, as the blood comes from slaughterhouses. This blood would normally wash right back into sewers and waterways. The project, called the Experimental Line, came about after Livne previously create a bio-material that resembled leather from bones and fat sourced through meat-industry waste piles at slaughterhouses in the Netherlands. He then used the blood as a colorizer and plasticizer. Related: nat-2 creates a completely vegan sneaker made from coffee Bringing in some materials previously developed for other shoes in the nat-2 lineup, Thies contributed cork insoles, which are sustainably harvested without cutting down trees. Real rubber outsoles leave behind a small environmental footprint, too. Even the glue is water-based. As a sixth-generation footwear professional, Thies has contributed to other shoe designs sourcing unique, organic, natural or vegan materials like milk, fish leather, natural felt, recycled leather and many vegan luxury alternative materials such as stone, wood, corn, cork, glass, fungus, coffee, grass, flowers and natural rubber. The sneakers are sold in 100 percent recycled paper packaging and come with a limited-edition poster, which is silkscreen printed with unique, real-blood pigment showing the sneaker silhouette, by Shahar Livne, and signed by both designers. Although the duo set a goal of creating a sneaker focused on sustainability, they also hope to highlight the lack of sustainability in animal-based industries while finding ways to improve those practices. True to the world of art, nat-2 and Livne are challenging the consumer to consider the dichotomy of beauty and repulsion while also bringing attention to the disrespectful treatment of both animals and the environment. While these blood sneakers are both a statement for the environment and against animal cruelty and irresponsible business practices , they are wearable art sure to initiate conversation. + nat-2 Images via nat-2

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These sneakers are painted with cast-off blood from slaughterhouses

Attenborough Effect inspires people to drastically reduce single-use plastics

April 18, 2019 by  
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There are plenty of films that have documented the harmful effects of single-use plastics , but one documentary in particular has resulted in lasting change. A new study found that Blue Planet II, narrated by David Attenborough, has inspired people in the U.K. and the U.S. to use 53 percent fewer single-use plastics over the last year. Inspired by what is being dubbed the Attenborough Effect , people are investing in reusable bags for groceries and other packaging like never before. The study, which interviewed more than 3,800 people in the U.K. and U.S., discovered that the majority of participants have cut down on single-use plastics — definitely a move in the right direction. Related: Simple tips to reduce single-use plastic According to TreeHugger , the individuals who reduced their dependency on these inefficient plastics were inspired by a desire to improve the environment for future generations and a need to curb individual waste. While many of the people in the study have cut down on plastic use , there was an important discrepancy in age groups. Older individuals, between 55 and 64 years of age, put more value in things that are affordable. Younger people, between 16 and 24, put greater stock in sustainability . For the researchers, this trend was not surprising, given that younger generations have been raised in a more eco-friendly culture. “What is important to note is that the younger generations grew up during the height of the sustainability crisis with high-profile, environmentalist documentaries widely available on the content platforms they prefer over conventional TV,” Chase Buckle, who led the study for the Global Web Index, shared. Considering that the entire world is dealing with single-use plastic waste , it is great that younger people have an appreciation for sustainable practices. If trends like this continue, there may come a day when single-use plastics are a thing of the past, especially as these younger individuals grow up and become active in politics. Exactly how much this will impact the world of single-use plastics is yet to be seen, but it is definitely encouraging knowing that more and more people are actively making choices that benefit the environment over their own wallets. Via TreeHugger Image via Shutterstock

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Attenborough Effect inspires people to drastically reduce single-use plastics

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