Green foods could clean up the construction industry

July 23, 2018 by  
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We’ve all heard of eating our vegetables, but what about building with them? A new study by Lancaster University ‘s B-SMART program will examine the effects of incorporating root vegetables – yes, vegetables – into cement production for a stronger and more sustainable way of building. The project, funded by the European Union, has brought academic and industrial stakeholders together in order to identify “biomaterials derived from food waste as a green route for the design of ecofriendly, smart and high performance cementious composites.” The program has proved successful insofar as creating a much more durable concrete mixture, with far fewer CO2 emissions from the process – all by adding some nutritious beets and carrots. Professor Mohamed Saafi, lead researcher at Lancaster University, reveals the cement is “made by combining ordinary Portland cement with nano platelets extracted from waste root vegetables taken from the food industry… this significantly reduces both the energy consumption and CO2 emissions associated with cement manufacturing.” This news comes none too soon for developers in urban areas contending with new green regulations enforced by governments both nationally and internationally. If recent trends continue, concrete production – which accounts for approximately 8% of CO2 emissions worldwide – will double in the next 30 years. Related: UN Environment and Yale present a sustainable tiny home in NYC According to Saafi, when root vegetable nano-platelets, such as those found in beets and carrots, are introduced into concrete, “the composites are not only superior to current cement products in terms of mechanical and micro-structure properties but also use smaller amounts of cement.” The initial tests have attributed this to an increase in calcium silicate hydrate, the compound which reinforces the cement, thanks to the vegetable extracts. The new concrete mixture also boasts a longer-lasting, less corrosive body and denser micro-structure, also attributed to its green food invigoration. So next time you don’t feel like eating your vegetables, just remember – they could make you stronger, too. Via Phys.org Images via Shutterstock

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Green foods could clean up the construction industry

This caf in Vietnam is a modern-day Hanging Gardens of Babylon

March 22, 2018 by  
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This glass and steel building in Vietnam –a present for the owner’s wife- is filled with beautiful hanging plants that bring life into the interior. Architecture studio Le House designed An’garden Café as a mix of industrial design inspired by Vietnam’s traditional coffee shops and a dream-like interior landscape. With its verdant interior, the building reminds of Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Providing a serene environment amidst the noisy streets of Ha Noi, the project is an exclusive space that brings visitors enjoyment from both coffee fragrance and picturesque surroundings. Related: Beijing cafe shaped like a greenhouse is filled with air-purifying plants The glass-and-steel structure, along with simple cement walls, are placed in an almost decorative and seemingly random way. Plants were introduced to soften the rough industrial look of the place and harmonize the indoor environment. An’garden Café has two floors with a mezzanine suitable for those who want to focus on their work. A wooden-framed curtain on the ceiling partly blocks natural light , with the top floor receiving the most sunlight during the day. A small pond with aquatic plants is placed right under the staircase, on the ground floor. + Le House Via Archdaily Photos by Hyroyuki Oki

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This caf in Vietnam is a modern-day Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Herzog & de Meuron designs a Horizontal Skyscraper for Moscow

March 22, 2018 by  
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Building on an urban waterfront often means compromised views for existing structures, but that’s not the case for the “Horizontal Skyscraper” in Moscow . As part of an urban revitalization plan for an abandoned historic brewery, Herzog & de Meuron unveiled designs for two new residential blocks that will be elevated 115 feet into the air and supported by slender white stilts. By raising the contemporary additions, the Swiss architects guarantee coveted panoramic views for residents and a preserved visual connection between the historic buildings and the Moscow River. Founded in 1875, the brick-clad Badaevskiy Brewery buildings that fell in disrepair after in the 2000s will be restored and renovated for new retail and community ventures such as a food market, clothing shops, a co-working space, gym, and childcare facilities. Herzog & de Meuron will lead the six-hectare heritage building restoration effort in addition to the new “Horizontal Skyscraper” envisioned as “a piece of city lifted up in the air.” Related: Herzog & de Meuron are upcycling a historic gasometer into a stunning residential tower The glazed and raised residences will comprise approximately 1.1 million square feet of apartments with glazed facades and private balconies. Eight “sky villas” on the upper level will also have private roof access. The architects have also planned for a new pedestrian-only public park that sits beneath the apartments and around the supporting stilts that the designers likened to “trunks of trees.” + Herzog & de Meuron Via ArchDaily Images via Herzog & de Meuron

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Herzog & de Meuron designs a Horizontal Skyscraper for Moscow

11 green building materials that are way better than concrete

July 8, 2016 by  
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1. Straw Bales Rather than relying on new research and technology, straw bale building hearkens back to the days when homes were built from natural, locally-occurring materials. Straw bales are used to create a home’s walls inside of a frame, replacing other building materials such as concrete, wood, gypsum, plaster, fiberglass, or stone. When properly sealed, straw bales naturally provide very high levels of insulation for a hot or cold climate, and are not only affordable but sustainable as straw is a rapidly renewable resource. ®Flickr/Willie Angus 2. Grasscrete As its name might indicate, grasscrete is a method of laying concrete flooring, walkways, sidewalks, and driveways in such a manner that there are open patterns allowing grass or other flora to grow. While this provides the benefit of reducing concrete usage overall, there’s also another important perk — improved stormwater absorption and drainage. 3. Rammed Earth What’s more natural than the dirt under your feet? In fact, walls that have a similar feel to concrete can actually be created with nothing more than dirt tamped down very tightly in wooden forms. Rammed earth is a technology that has been used by human civilization for thousands of years, and can last a very long time. Modern rammed earth buildings can be made safer by use of rebar or bamboo, and mechanical tampers reduce the amount of labor required to create sturdy walls. 4. HempCrete HempCrete is just what it sounds like – a concrete like material created from the woody inner fibers of the hemp plant. The hemp fibers are bound with lime to create concrete-like shapes that are strong and light.  HempCrete blocks are super-lightweight, which can also dramatically reduce the energy used to transport the blocks, and hemp itself is a fast-growing, renewable resource. ®Flickr/Carolina Zuluaga 5. Bamboo Bamboo might seem trendy, but it has actually been a locally-sourced building material in some regions of the world for millennia. What makes bamboo such a promising building material for modern buildings is its combination of tensile strength , light weight, and fast-growing renewable nature. Used for framing buildings and shelters, bamboo can replace expensive and heavy imported materials and provide an alternative to concrete and rebar construction, especially in difficult-to reach areas, post-disaster rebuilding, and low-income areas with access to natural locally-sourced bamboo. 6. Recycled Plastic Instead of mining, extracting, and milling new components, researchers are creating concrete that includes ground up recycled plastics and trash, which not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but reduces weight and provides a new use for landfill-clogging plastic waste. 7. Wood Plain old wood still retains many advantages over more industrial building materials like concrete or steel. Not only do trees absorb CO2 as they grow, they require much less energy-intensive methods to process into construction products. Properly managed forests are also renewable and can ensure a biodiverse habitat. RELATED: Energy efficient timber cabin in Norway 8. Mycelium Mycelium is a crazy futuristic building material that’s actually totally natural – it comprises the root structure of fungi and mushrooms. Mycelium can be encouraged to grow around a composite of other natural materials, like ground up straw, in molds or forms, then air-dried to create lightweight and strong bricks or other shapes. ®Flickr/Zack Detailer 9. Ferrock Ferrock is a new material being researched that uses recycled materials including steel dust from the steel industry to create a concrete-like building material that is even stronger than concrete . What’s more, this unique material actually absorbs and traps carbon dioxide as part of its drying and hardening process – making it not only less CO2 intensive than traditional concrete, but actually carbon neutral. ®Flickr/Alan Stark 10. AshCrete AshCrete is a concrete alternative that uses fly ash instead of traditional cement.  By using fly ash, a by-product of burning coal, 97 percent of traditional components in concrete can be replaced with recycled material. ®Public Domain Pictures 11. Timbercrete Timbercrete is an interesting building material made of sawdust and concrete mixed together. Since it is lighter than concrete, it reduces transportation emissions, and the sawdust both reuses a waste product and replaces some of the energy-intensive components of traditional concrete. Timbercrete can be formed into traditional shapes such as blocks, bricks, and pavers.

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11 green building materials that are way better than concrete

New Hubble images finally reveal what the Crab Nebula hides in its core

July 8, 2016 by  
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Legions of scientists have studied and taken images of the Crab Nebula — in fact, it’s one of the most-studied object in space. But until now, astronomers have never been able to glimpse the object at the heart of the massive gas cloud. Until now. New Hubble images have revealed a fast-moving neutron star at the heart of the nebula. The Crab Nebula , which lies 6500 light years away from Earth, was created by a supernova long ago. A massive star in the Taurus constellation exploded at immense speeds, creating the expanding cloud of gas we see today, called a supernova remnant. Most images of the nebula focus on the intense colors and shapes of the nebula’s outer filaments, but what’s going on in the heart of the cloud may be even more interesting. It turns out that when the original star making up the nebula exploded, it left behind its inner core, a strange and exotic object known as a neutron star . While this star has roughly the same mass as our sun, it only measures a few tens of kilometers across — an incredible density made possible by the compression of the subatomic particles that make up the star. Until now, it’s been almost impossible to capture this star’s movement on camera due to its high speed: it rotates approximately 30 times per second. Related: NASA captures shockwave of a massive supernova for the first time ever To capture the neutron star, astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to take three high-resolution images about 10 years apart each. Those images were combined together to create a sort of time-lapse showing bright “ripples” in the center of the nebula; bands of light are actually caused by the radiation of electrons spiraling through the star’s magnetic field at nearly the speed of light. This isn’t the first time the Crab Nebula has made history . The supernova explosion that created the cloud was one of the first such events in recorded human history.  In the year 1045, astronomers in Japan and China noticed a bright new star in the night sky said to be nearly as bright as the moon. That bright light was caused by the distant explosion, and over the next several years it gradually faded until it was invisible to the naked eye. Luckily, it’s still possible to see with the help of the Hubble . Via Gizmodo Images via ESA/Hubble  

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New Hubble images finally reveal what the Crab Nebula hides in its core

Is cement a building block or roadblock to sustainability?

June 16, 2016 by  
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The industry needs to set ambitious climate goals. Carbon capture and storage is just one way to reach them.

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Is cement a building block or roadblock to sustainability?

Vienna set to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper

March 3, 2015 by  
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Architecture firm Rüdiger Lainer and Partner has unveiled plans to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper in the Seestadt Aspern area of Vienna. The 276ft, 24 story HoHo tower will house a hotel, apartments, restaurant, wellness center and offices, and 76 percent of the structure will be constructed from wood, which will save a phenomenal 2,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions over similar structures built out of steel and concrete. Read the rest of Vienna set to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Austria , cement , CO2 emissions , concrete , Green Building , hoho , Rüdiger Lainer and Partner , steel-concrete , Sustainable Building , vienna , wood building , wooden building , wooden skyscraper

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Minnesotan Man Builds World’s First 3D-Printed Concrete Fairytale Castle in His Own Backyard

August 28, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Minnesotan Man Builds World’s First 3D-Printed Concrete Fairytale Castle in His Own Backyard Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printed castle , 3d printer , 3D printing , 3d-printed architecture , andrey rudenko , cement , cement layers , concrete castle , rebar

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Studio RMA’s Hi’ilani EcoHouse is America’s First Carbon-Neutral Concrete Structure, and it’s Volcano-Adjacent!

August 14, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Studio RMA’s Hi’ilani EcoHouse is America’s First Carbon-Neutral Concrete Structure, and it’s Volcano-Adjacent! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon-neutral , cement , concrete , cooling , Green Building , hawaii , heating , Hi’ilani EcoHouse , hurricanes , insulation , LEED platinum , net zero , rainwater harvesting , SCIP , Solar Power , Studio RMA , volcanoes        

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Studio RMA’s Hi’ilani EcoHouse is America’s First Carbon-Neutral Concrete Structure, and it’s Volcano-Adjacent!

Amazing Cooking Strainer Portraits Mysteriously Pop Up in London

July 19, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Amazing Cooking Strainer Portraits Mysteriously Pop Up in London Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , Cement Bleak , cooking strainer , Isaac Cordal , public art , spanish art , standard materials , urban installations

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