Lessons from China’s ambitious green building movement

August 28, 2017 by  
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The nation seeks to grow this sector fivefold by 2030 with help from

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Lessons from China’s ambitious green building movement

How the factory of the future saves energy

August 28, 2017 by  
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Thanks to data, sensors and software, it may be closer than you think.

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How the factory of the future saves energy

How the factory of the future saves energy

August 28, 2017 by  
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Thanks to data, sensors and software, it may be closer than you think.

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How the factory of the future saves energy

China’s Binhe Yellow River Bridge unveils a rainbow waterfall of LED light

August 24, 2017 by  
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China’s Binhe Yellow River Bridge just fired up a stunning new lighting system that bathes the structure and the river below in a prismatic array of colors. Designed by Philips , the array creates the impression that a waterfall is running right under the bridge. The long-life LED system provides energy savings of up to 75 percent while cutting operation and maintenance costs . The double-cable suspension bridge spans the entire width of the Yellow River – the sixth longest river system in the world. Completed in 2016, the bridge connects the city center of northern China ‘s Yinchuan City with the Binhe New Area. Related: Philips announces the most affordable LED light bulb ever, yours for under $5 The bridge’s unique architectural design is complemented by a Philips Color Kinetics array that can display up to up to 16.7 million colors. Lights are installed all along the 98-meter-tall towers, lanes and cables that span 218 meters, creating a captivating rainbow effect. + Philips Lighting

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China’s Binhe Yellow River Bridge unveils a rainbow waterfall of LED light

Harvard researchers just developed self-healing rubber

August 22, 2017 by  
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You’ve heard of self-healing concrete and even the potential of a self-healing starship , but what about rubber that repairs itself? The invention now exists, thanks to researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). In a new study published in Advanced Materials , the research team reveals how they developed a hybrid rubber with both covalent and reversible bonds that is capable of repairing itself. While self-healing materials aren’t new (researchers at SEAS created self-healing hydrogens which rely on water to incorporate reversible bonds that promote self-healing), this is the first time engineers have created a self-healing rubber. The task was difficult, as rubber is made of polymers often connected by permanent, covalent bonds. Because the bonds are strong, they never reconnect once broken. The researchers overcame this by making the bonds connecting the polymers reversible, so the material could break and reform. Related: This rubber-jointed LED table lamp can bend in any direction like Gumby To mix covalent and reversible bonds, the researchers developed a molecular rope (called randomly branched polymers) which tied the two types of bonds together. This rope allowed two previously unmixable bonds (“like oil and water,” according to Li-Heng Cai, a corresponding author) to be mixed homogeneously on a molecular scale. It was this step that produced the self-healing rubber. Unlike typical rubber, the self-healing variety redistributes stress so there is no localized point of trauma that results in cracking. When the stress is released, the material “snaps back” to its original form and the cracks repair themselves. Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has already filed a patent for the technology and is seeking commercialization opportunities. This means that in the very near future, objects that utilize rubber are likely to become more durable. Cai, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS, Jinrong Wu, a visiting professor from Sichuan University, China , and author David A. Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, developed the hybrid rubber as a team. Their research was supported by the National Science Foundation, Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the National Institute of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “There is still a lot more to do. For materials science , it is not fully understood why this hybrid rubber exhibits crazes when stretched,” Weitz said. “For engineering, the applications of the hybrid rubber that take advantage of its exceptional combination of optical transparency, toughness , and self-healing ability remain to be explored. Moreover, the concept of using molecular design to mix covalent and reversible bonds to create a homogenous hybrid elastomer is quite general and should enable development of tough, self-healing polymers of practical usage.” + Advanced Materials Via GreenCarCongress Images via Pixabay ,  Peter and Ryan Allen/Harvard SEAS

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Harvard researchers just developed self-healing rubber

Trump administration disbands climate change advisory panel

August 22, 2017 by  
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Donald Trump’s administration appears determined to sweep away federal efforts to address climate change . The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the administration would disband the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment , a group comprised of academics, officials, and representatives from corporations. Committee chair Richard Moss said the risky move could hurt the economic prospects of the next generation. The charter for the 15-person advisory panel, established in 2015 for the National Climate Assessment , expired over the weekend on Sunday. On Friday, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ben Friedman told the committee chair they wouldn’t be renewing the panel. Related: Trump’s USDA staff told to use ‘weather extremes’ instead of ‘climate change’ The National Climate Assessment is supposed to come out every four years in accordance with a 1990 law calling for the assessment, but has only come out three times since. The next assessment is scheduled for 2018. The Washington Post reported the Trump administration has been going over the Climate Science Special Report, which is crucial to the next National Climate Assessment. Scientists from 13 federal agencies said in the special report that human activity likely led to a global temperature increase from 1.1 to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit between 1951 and 2010. NOAA communications director Julie Roberts told The Washington Post in an email that the move to disband the panel “does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority.” But the advisory panel’s job was to help translate National Climate Assessment findings into guidance for officials in both the public and private sectors, so the decision could leave state officials with little guidance on how to consider climate change in infrastructure . Seattle mayor Ed Murray said the move is “…an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality.” Via The Washington Post Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Derek Liang on Unsplash

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Trump administration disbands climate change advisory panel

Will China’s Ban on Importing Waste Affect Your Recyclables?

August 18, 2017 by  
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The recycling industry got some big news last month when the World Trade Organization announced that China is intending to stop importing 24 different types of solid waste by the end of the year, including commonly accepted curbside recyclables…

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Will China’s Ban on Importing Waste Affect Your Recyclables?

Chinese researchers develop flexible salt-powered batteries

August 14, 2017 by  
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As the world rushes to transition to a new energy economy, researchers are uncovering novel methods to harvest energy from mundane, everyday sources. A research team in China has created a new battery that could be safely used in wearable or implantable devices, thanks to its use of salt-based electrolytes. This breakthrough could drastically improve the quality and safety of battery-dependent medical technology and may even pave the way for sweat-powered devices. In order to be effective, implantable or wearable batteries need to be flexible to allow functional bending on organic surfaces. In prior iterations, these batteries usually included a mix of toxic chemicals that serve as the electrolytes through which electrical charge can flow. This new battery uses non-harmful electrolytes such as sodium sulfate and saline. Because there is less of a concern regarding leakage of these chemicals, the battery’s design does not require extra material to protect humans from exposure and is significantly less bulky. Related: Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva One particularly interesting implication of a salt-based battery is the idea that the batteries could prove effective at harvesting sweat and other salty bodily fluids to power a workout assistant device. The researchers also noted that the batteries have a marked ability to convert dissolved oxygen into hydroxide ions, which could prove useful in medical applications.  “We can implant these fiber-shaped electrodes into the human body to consume essential oxygen, especially for areas that are difficult for injectable drugs to reach,” said researcher Yonggang Wang. “Deoxygenation might even wipe out cancerous cells or pathogenic bacteria since they are very sensitive to changes in living environment pH. Of course, this is hypothetical right now, but we hope to investigate further with biologists and medical scientists.” Via Engadget Images via Deposit Photos , Tim Simpson/Flickr  and Andy Armstrong/Flickr

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Chinese researchers develop flexible salt-powered batteries

Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwicks tree-covered mountain architecture in Shanghai

August 8, 2017 by  
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Shanghai’s “tree-covered mountains” are coming to life as evidenced in #donotsettle project’s latest video. Filmed with a DJI Mavic Pro drone, architects Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost’s footage shows a sneak peek into the construction progress of the Heatherwick Studio-designed project for M50, the city’s contemporary art district. The six-hectare plot will feature staggered, mountain-like volumes enveloped by 1,000 trees. Par for the course for Shanghai’s futuristic cityscape, this unusual 330,000-square-meter mixed-use development will comprise housing, offices, retail, a hotel, and a school. As seen in the drone footage, trees have already been installed on the undulating building’s columnar planters. The planting will help soften the appearance of the concrete volume once they mature. Related: Heatherwick Studio wants to build a tree-covered mountain in the middle of Shanghai “Conceived not as a building but as a piece of topography , the design takes the form of two tree-covered mountains, populated by approximately one thousand structural columns,” said Heatherwick Studio . “Instead of being hidden behind the facade, the columns are the defining feature of the design, emerging from the building to support plants and trees.” The development is slated to open in 2018. + Heatherwick Studio Via ArchDaily Images via #donotsettle

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Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwicks tree-covered mountain architecture in Shanghai

The 2,500-year-old bracket that protects China’s Forbidden City against earthquakes

July 27, 2017 by  
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The presence of earthquakes in China has resulted in timber-framing practices that put European design to shame. As early as 500BC, builders in China developed disaster-resistant structures with interlocking flower-shaped brackets called dougong that reduce the impact of earthquakes on buildings. These joints are so effective, they have helped the Forbidden City in Beijing withstand 200 earthquakes in 600 years. Specialist carpenters decided to find out how the Forbidden City has survived so many earthquakes, including the 20th century’s deadliest quake. They constructed a scale model of a structure atop a shake table. To strive for accuracy, they drew on traditional techniques and tools. They then put the structure, a fifth of the size of buildings in the Forbidden City, through simulated earthquakes. The largest earthquake we’ve ever recorded in history had a 9.5 magnitude. But the scale model withstood not only that but a 10.1 magnitude simulated earthquake – and in a video showing the quake, didn’t fall down. Related: Japanese Levitating House System Could Protect Homes From Earthquakes (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Secrets of China's Forbidden City This will rock your world. Posted by Channel 4 on Thursday, July 20, 2017 Dougong are often found nestled beneath the eaves and roof, and in case of a quake, they transfer roof weight to the supporting columns found on these old buildings. They don’t need nails or glue to hold together. The brackets don’t shake apart easily, but also aren’t so stiff they’ll shatter under pressure. Multiple joints help them remain stable. One of the more mind-boggling aspects of the test was that the columns of the building designed like those in the Forbidden City were freestanding, and weren’t sunken into foundations. They wobbled in a 10.1 magnitude simulated earthquake, but didn’t collapse in the video. Dougong can be glimpsed on palaces and temples , for example, and according to People’s Daily Online was utilized widely during the Spring and Autumn Period in Chinese history, which spans from around 770 to 476 BC. Via Channel 4 and Core77 Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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The 2,500-year-old bracket that protects China’s Forbidden City against earthquakes

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