Foldable, lightweight kayak assembles in 10 minutes

February 24, 2017 by  
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For all the joy they can bring out on the water, traditional kayaks are bulky, heavy and often cumbersome to transport. But that’s all about to change thanks to the Justin Case Kayak , a foldable, lighweight kayak design made with 3D-printed materials that can be assembled in just 10 minutes. Most kayaks are long, bulky and heavy, making transport extremely difficult. The Justin Case Kayak prototype is designed for water lovers by fellow adventurers who wanted to make kayaking easier, simultaneously enabling better access to nature and spontaneous adventure. Related: Modular kayak with an off-color name breaks down into three portable pieces  The team behind Justin Case developed their prototype based on optimal functionality. With the foldable design , kayakers of any level can easily carry their kayak folded up in its carry case, making impromptu water excursions easier than ever. The compact design is optimal for storage as well, easily hidden from view unlike most kayaks. The lightweight carbon fiber frame is held together with 3D printed connectors, and covered in a water and tear-proof ripstop skin. The prototype development process was green-minded throughout, focusing on using as little material as possible while providing a long-lasting product. Via Justin Case Kayak Images via Justin Case Kayak

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Foldable, lightweight kayak assembles in 10 minutes

Dakota Access Pipeline 99 percent finished, says Energy Transfer Partners

February 24, 2017 by  
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After months of protests by Native Americans and supporters worldwide, the Trump administration ignored the pleas of so many American citizens and gave permission for the hotly contested Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward. And Energy Transfer Partners didn’t waste much time doing just that. The group said in a recent statement that the oil pipeline is now 99 percent finished. Federal authorization came earlier in February and Energy Transfer Partners got to work. In March or April, oil could start flowing through the $3.8 billion pipeline, which will transport Bakken crude oil from North Dakota oilfields through the Midwest. The oil will end up at refineries near the Gulf of Mexico. The part of the pipeline that runs so close to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation is the last to be completed. Related: Standing Rock protesters evicted by police at gunpoint White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the White House is communicating with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. In a press briefing yesterday, a reporter asked if the President had been briefed on the Standing Rock situation, and Spicer replied, “Our team has been involved with both the tribe and the governor there, and so we are not only – we are constantly in touch with them. And I think we feel very confident that we will move forward to get the pipeline moving.” But tribe chair Dave Archambault II said Spicer’s claims aren’t true. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement yesterday and quoted Archambault II as saying, “[Spicer’s] claim is absolutely false. We repeatedly asked for meetings with the Trump administration, and never received one until the day they notified Congress that they were issuing the easement. I was on a plane to Washington, D.C. when the easement was issued. It was an insult to me and to the Tribe. I cancelled the meeting upon hearing this news. We have since filed a lawsuit for the immoral and illegal issuance of the easement and suspension of the environmental impact study.” Via Reuters Images via Standing Rock Rising Facebook

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Dakota Access Pipeline 99 percent finished, says Energy Transfer Partners

Couple converts 16-year-old van into a compact solar home on wheels

February 24, 2017 by  
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An increasing number of digital nomads are replacing their conventional houses with practical, mobile homes powered by renewable energy technologies . Freelancer photographer Norbert Juhász and his fiancée Dora, a writer, have joined the fray with a 16-year-old van they transformed into a solar-powered home on wheels, and they’re driving it from Budapest to Morocco. While the exterior of the van is unremarkable, its interior packs all the amenities the couple needs on their journey. A multifunctional seat turns into a bed for two and includes a storage space and electrical system underneath. Opposite the bed is a small kitchen unit with a gas cooktop, gas cylinder, sink and a large water tank with a pressure-sensing pump. The tank is connected to an extra hook-up that leads to the rear of the van, where the water is used for quick showers. An L-shaped cabinet accommodates a refrigerator and more storage spaces, and features another section that doubles as a seating structure. Related: How this photographer escaped the grid with her tiny Teardrop Trailer The vehicle is powered by a 12-volt electrical system charged by either the 250-watt solar panels mounted on the roof, or the engine’s generator. Excess energy can be stored in 200-Ah batteries attached to an inverter. The couple spent around $7,200 for the van’s transformation, including its custom-made furniture. They will travel through Southern Europe all the way to Morocco, and document their journey on the Rundabella website and Facebook page . + Norbert Juhász + Rundabella Via Treehugger Photos by Norbert Juhász

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Couple converts 16-year-old van into a compact solar home on wheels

Mountain-inspired skyscrapers unveiled for Zhengzhou

February 23, 2017 by  
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London-based architecture firm Tonkin Liu recently revealed their competition-winning designs for the Cradle Towers in Zhengzhou , China. Centered on a large green space, this collection of five mixed-use towers is designed with a swooping sculptural form to mimic the nearby Songshan mountains. This urban “mountainscape” will be partly covered in greenery and feature a responsive skin to control solar shading and maximize energy efficiency. Located in a city regarded as China’s cradle of civilization, the 434,000-square-meter Cradle Towers pay homage to the city’s ancient past with its nature-inspired form and simultaneously looks to the future with its contemporary design. The five tapered towers will be built at different heights atop a podium . The towers surround a central park with a large man-made lake that will double as an ice skating rink in the winter. Related: 5+design stacks a dramatic mountain-inspired mixed-use project atop a transit hub in Shenyang The mixed-use buildings will comprise offices, apartments, and a hotel. The podium base will contain retail and leisure open to the public. The fritted glass facade will feature a responsive skin that changes to minimize solar heat gain . The facade has a subtle color gradation and transitions from dark at the podium base to light at the tops of the building, “establishing the podium as a heavy mass and blending the lantern-like tips of the towers with the sky,” write the architects. Each building will be topped by a landscaped rooftop. + Tonkin Liu Via ArchDaily

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Mountain-inspired skyscrapers unveiled for Zhengzhou

Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

February 23, 2017 by  
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Philippe Starck is one of the most influential designers of modern times – and he’s applied his signature style and environmental ethos to develop a striking new residential building in Ecuador . The slender YOO Quito tower, created in collaboration with property entrepreneur John Hitchcox, real estate developer Tommy Schwarzkopf and architecture studio Arquitectónica , is expected to feature several sustainable strategies, including low-impact materials, a volumetric design to mitigate solar exposure, and a number of green terraces to reduce the heat island effect . In 1999, Philippe Starck and John Hitchcox partnered to create YOO , design firm that works with international developers on high-end residential and hospitality projects throughout the world. Their latest endeavor brought together several international firms to design and build four new landmark buildings for Quito . Related: Philippe Starck’s New Wind and Solar-Powered Home Produces 50% More Energy Than it Consumes The YOO Quito building has a slender undulating silhouette with vegetation dominating its base and top floor. For interior spaces, the designers coupled traditional regional design with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Glass, metal, concrete , foliage and a neutral color palette dominate both the interior and exterior of the building. The building’s vegetal covers are designed to “obstruct, filter and reflect solar radiation,” according to Yoo Quito literature, “fighting the heat in [sic] sunny days and maintaining heat in the winter.” They also provide protection against noise. Transparent glass ensures ample natural light, while smart technology throughout further reduces the building’s energy requirement. When complete, YOO Quito is expected to be the tallest building in the city. + Uribe & Schwarzkopf + YOO + Arquitectónica

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Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

New map reveals the world’s most toxic countries

February 22, 2017 by  
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Just about every country in the world grapples with pollution , no matter how rich or poor they are. But you may not be aware of just how toxic your locale is. The Eco Experts from the United Kingdom recently cross-referenced data to rank the countries of the world by toxicity on a new map , and some of the results may surprise you. To create their map, The Eco Experts scrutinized data for 135 countries on carbon emissions , air pollution levels, and energy consumption, along with how much the countries draw on renewable energy . They also considered how many people have died from poor air quality . Bringing together all the individual rankings, The Eco Experts determined which countries are most damaging the environment and risking public health . Related: New Google Timelapse shows how humans have destroyed Earth over 32 years They ranked Saudi Arabia as the world’s most toxic country, with the highest recorded air pollution levels. Other oil-rich countries like Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates topped the list as well. The United States ranked 66, doing better than countries like Canada, China, or Russia but worse than India and the United Kingdom. One surprise was that Nordic countries like Iceland and Norway guzzle more energy than others. Meanwhile, the top five least toxic countries are all located in Africa . The world’s least toxic country is Kenya , followed by Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Cameroon. In a press release, Jon Whiting of The Eco Experts said, “This research is a way of naming and shaming the worst offenders around the world. Their lack of action against emissions not only puts their populations at risk of deadly pollution-related diseases but also threatens the future of our planet. These threats are not distant concerns for future generations; their effects are being felt now and lives are already being lost. This research highlights the need for every country to act fast and put more investment into renewable energy alternatives.” + The Eco Experts Images courtesy of The Eco Experts

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New map reveals the world’s most toxic countries

German architecture students and refugees build a beautiful timber community center

February 22, 2017 by  
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Architecture students from Germany’s University of Kaiserslautern teamed up with 25 refugees to build a timber community center for a refugee camp in Mannheim, Germany. Completed as part of the “Building Together—Learning Together” program, the 550-square-meter structure breathes new life into the bare-bones surroundings with a beautiful new gathering space. The design/build project prioritized ecological and cost-effective design without compromising construction quality. The timber community center was created in response to the desolate conditions of the Mannheim refugee camp located on the former American Spinelli Barracks. To aid in the refugee crisis , 18 architecture students teamed up with 25 refugees to design the new building, from concept to final build. The students lived at the refugee camp and worked intensively for six weeks from mid-August to the end of October to realize the project and help teach their new coworkers basic building skills and German. Related: Self-shaping shelters that could revolutionize emergency housing The community center is made almost entirely of lightweight untreated timber , with the larger components prefabricated in a hangar of the former military facility and later assembled onsite. The main walls are clad in Douglas fir while the latticework walls are used as structural support, allowing for natural ventilation and light while also creating a beautiful dappled play of light and shadow. The center wraps around a small garden courtyard as well as a large outdoor events space. Built-in seating is arranged around this area, shielded from the elements by a two-meter-wall canopy and partitions. The center also includes a pair of storerooms that can be adapted for different uses in the future. + Atelier U20 Via ArchDaily Images © Yannick Wegner

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German architecture students and refugees build a beautiful timber community center

Earth, air and fire inspire deep green interior of Ecuador’s twisted tower

February 22, 2017 by  
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Design firm Arquitectónica transformed an 18-story tower in Quito, Ecuador into a slender urban sculpture that twists upwards to meet the sky. The building’s animated exterior is matched by a deep green interior designed by Marcel Wanders , and belongs to a larger scheme comprising four major developments conceived in collaboration between leading experts in real estate development, industrial design and architecture. The architects achieved the twisting shape of the tower by displacing the floor plates, generating the impression of movement. Nestled between two orthogonal buildings, the Oh Residences introduce an element of playfulness and surprise to the neighborhood. Related: Marcel Wanders Unveils Plant-Sprouting Swing for Droog The interior design, inspired by Ecuadorian flora and fauna , offers diverse spaces that reference three classical elements–earth, air and fire. The areas referencing earth use authentic natural materials , while sensations of serenity, softness and tranquility dominate the spaces where air is the main motif. Contrasts that combine crafts, patterns and colors mark the spaces with fire as the thematic guide. + YOO + Marcel Wanders + Arquitectónica + Uribe & Schwarzkopf

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Earth, air and fire inspire deep green interior of Ecuador’s twisted tower

Self-sustaining island eco-lodge in Florida has its own desalination system

February 21, 2017 by  
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For those looking to get away from the chaos of modern life, a stunning luxury eco-lodge is currently on the market. The solar-powered Melody Key Lodge is a timber home located on 5.24 acres of secluded island paradise, just 25 miles from Key West, Florida. But if you’re on a tight budget, you might not want to read on. The breathtaking lodge previously owned by an undisclosed rockstar comprises a three-story timber structure with three bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The top open floor, which houses the gourmet kitchen, dining area, living and lounge space, offers beautiful 360-degree views of the ocean. Lucky guests will be able to choose between a dip in the pristine beaches or the adjacent freshwater pool. Related: For $2.3 million, this breathtaking self-sufficient Scottish island could be yours The home, which is listed for $6,900,000, is perfect for wealthy folks looking to go off grid . In addition to its integrated solar system and backup generator, there’s also a desalination water system. Add in all-you-can-eat seafood, and off-grid living has never been so luxurious. + Engel & Völkers Florida Keys Via Uncrate  

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Self-sustaining island eco-lodge in Florida has its own desalination system

Dibdo Francis Kr unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof

February 21, 2017 by  
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Burkina Faso-born architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has been selected as this year’s designer of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion —making him the first African architect of the annual pavilion. Kéré, who leads the Berlin-based practice Kéré Architecture, unveiled preliminary designs of a pavilion strongly influenced by the rural vernacular of his home country. Designed to mimic the functions and form of a large tree, the temporary pavilion will be topped by a large wooden disc that offers shelter and will help collect rainwater. Now in its 17th iteration, the annual Serpentine Pavilion commissions an international architect to build his or her first structure in London on the lawns of Kensington Gardens . Kéré draws from his experience in socially engaged and ecologically responsible design in his pavilion proposal that aims to connect visitors to nature, to Burkina Faso architecture, and with one another. The steel-framed pavilion is built mostly of wood and will be accessible via four separate entry points that lead to a central open-air courtyard. Related: BIG selected to design the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion Kéré wrote in his architect’s statement: “In Burkina Faso , the tree is a place where people gather together, where everyday activities play out under the shade of its branches. My design for the Serpentine Pavilion has a great over-hanging roof canopy made of steel and a transparent skin covering the structure, which allows sunlight to enter the space while also protecting it from the rain. Wooden shading elements line the underside of the roof to create a dynamic shadow effect on the interior spaces. This combination of features promotes a sense of freedom and community; like the shade of the tree branches, the Pavilion becomes a place where people can gather and share their daily experiences.” The pavilion’s design promotes natural ventilation for cooling in the summer. An oculus funnels collected rainwater from the roof to create a “spectacular waterfall effect” before it drains into a tank for reuse as park irrigation. The 2017 Serpentine Pavilion will be open to the public from June 23 to October 8, 2017. + Serpentine Galleries Images via Serpentine Galleries

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Dibdo Francis Kr unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof

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