redhouse studio is making a mobile machine that recycles old buildings

January 25, 2018 by  
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Did you know that buildings are responsible for 39 percent of the United States’ carbon emissions? Architect Chris Maurer of redhouse studio told Inhabitat he loves being an architect, but finds it difficult to reconcile that figure. To help lighten the construction industry’s footprint, Maurer is teaming up with NASA , MIT , and the University of Akron to create the Biocycler: a mobile machine that literally recycles old buildings. The machine will use living organisms, not glue, to bind construction waste into durable bricks that can be used to build brand new structures. Read on for a closer look at this groundbreaking project. Maurer was inspired to create the Biocycler in part through his experience at demolition sites throughout Cleveland. “We do many projects that are adaptive reuse to preserve old buildings, but even then the demolition waste can be quite extensive,” he said. During a design/re-build project at Kent State University, the team was dismayed at how much waste their preservation project produced. “We dropped the material ourselves at the landfill ,” Maurer said. “It was hard to do (it was hard to see it all go to waste) but there was no economically feasible way to use the materials.” Related: New self-healing concrete uses fungus to fix cracks The Biocycler could change all that. redhouse plans to experiment with fungal mycelium and calcite-producing microbes as building and binding materials in the Biocycler. Maurer explains that “A symbiosis of the microbes and fungi can be made to feed each other and [they] are working towards using the microbes as bio-signals to tell us things about the structure and air-quality within it.” The incorporation of fruiting fungus (i.e. mushrooms) could serve the additional purpose of food production. “Where food security is an issue, we are looking to make mushroom production the main activity and the bio-materials the secondary output,” he said. redhouse studio is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the construction of a proof of concept. “Truth be told, we’re already recycling buildings, or at least materials,” said Maurer. “The kickstarter will lead to a mobile unit to put these processes on display and get closer to building entire structures out of the waste.” redhouse has already constructed and tested bricks and panels from recycled materials, as well as some model prototypes, and hopes to complete a full-size structure in 2018. Related: Church built for $35k stays naturally cool in Malawi Prior to starting the Cleveland-based studio in 2014, Maurer served as director for studioMDA in Malawi and MASS Design Group in Rwanda, where he came to more fully understand the value and potential of sustainable design. “[In Africa], we needed to innovate with limited resources,” said Maurer. Related: This company wants to turn food waste into building materials — here’s how redhouse has worked for commercial clients, such as the Hulett Hotel in Cleveland , while also developing humanitarian design projects, such as the Bioshelter , a prefabricated home that mitigates waste while providing food security and economic opportunity through crops grown on-site. As with much of the studio’s work, the Bioshelter was conceived to be as self-sustaining as possible. “We are constantly looking for new resource loops, finding benefits to waste streams,” he said. Change can sometimes be uncomfortable for the mainstream consumer, particularly if it includes the words “fungus” and “microbe.” Nonetheless, Maurer believes the time has come for fresh, green solutions to global problems. “Think about the pro-biotic craze right now,” he said. “People are waking up to the fact that antibiotic medicines and sanitizers can be dangerous, and that you want the right kinds of microbes around.” Similarly, biological building materials can also be pro-biotic. “There are many organisms that can be used in bio-materials that naturally battle pathogens,” he said. “We want them on our team.” Related: These amazing zero-waste buildings were grown from mushrooms To complete a project as ambitious as the Biocycler, collaboration is key. “ Architecture is by nature collaborative,” said Maurer. “Through our network in biomimicry, we’ve learned the advantages of working with biologists in addition to engineers.” redhouse is collaborating with scientists at NASA and MIT to create the Biocycler, which may only be the beginning of a revolution in smart, living building materials. “When you consider all the possibilities of the materials – bio-luminescence, radiation protection, self cleaning, pathogen protection, etc, it sounds sci-fi, but we’re not that far out from some of these features,” he said. With a Biocycler proof of concept in action, redhouse will have taken us another step further into this sustainable, bio-future. + The Biocycler on Kickstarter + redhouse studio Images via Keith Hayes/redhouse studio

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redhouse studio is making a mobile machine that recycles old buildings

Big efficiency for small and medium buildings

May 20, 2016 by  
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Most commercial real estate consists of small and medium buildings waiting to be engaged on sustainability. Here’s how IMT and COSE did it in Cleveland.

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Big efficiency for small and medium buildings

Urban materiality and a new network of sustainable cities

September 29, 2015 by  
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From Cleveland to Karachi, growing cities around the world are zeroing in on the most pressing environmental and social risk factors.

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Urban materiality and a new network of sustainable cities

Top 10 cities in the U.S. for urban farming

June 15, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Top 10 cities in the U.S. for urban farming Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: austin , boston , chicago , Cleveland , community agriculture , community farm , community food , community garden , CSA , detroit , farm stand , farmer’s market , garden , local food , Minneapolis , New York. , organic food , Portland , San Francisco , Seattle , urban agriculture , urban farm , urban garden

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Top 10 cities in the U.S. for urban farming

How Earth Day came to be

April 22, 2015 by  
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Happy Earth Day ! Today is the day that many of us will contemplate our concerns over climate change, environmental destruction or dangers to our food supply, but do you know how this holiday first came to be? 42 years ago, the word “environment” was rarely used in daily conversation, until a picture in  Time Magazine changed everything. Read on as we take a look back to the late 1960s to see  why Earth Day started in the first place and how far society has come in caring for this planet we call home. Read the rest of How Earth Day came to be Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: central park , Cleveland , cuyahoga river , earth day , earth day history , environmental destruction , first earth day , gaylord nelson , history of earth day , how did earth day start , how earth day came to be , New York. , Pollution , republicans , smog , the story of earth day , when did earth day start , who started earth day

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How Earth Day came to be

Handsome lakeside cabin supports a cantilevered timber gallery in Wisconsin

April 22, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Handsome lakeside cabin supports a cantilevered timber gallery in Wisconsin Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aging cedar , basswood , cabin , cantilevered , clear basswood , family retreat , gallery , Lake Superior , lakeside cabin , paper-resin composite , Salmela Architects , sauna , timber cabin , timber gallery , V-shaped roof , wisconsin

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Handsome lakeside cabin supports a cantilevered timber gallery in Wisconsin

Lake Erie Sees Tons of Toxic Green Algae Due to Climate Change and Agriculture

July 23, 2013 by  
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For some areas of the world, climate change means hurricanes, tornadoes, or drought. In Ohio, alterations in temperature, wind patterns, and water circulation translate into tons of toxic algae floating in Lake Erie . Back in October of 2011 when these NASA images were taken, nearly one-fifth of the lake was covered with the slimy cyanobacteria, killing marine life by depriving the water of oxygen, and producing a number of other foul byproducts that caused sickness, death, and gender switching in other species. Aided by agricultural practices from farmers spreading phosphorus-based fertilizers, the algae blooms could potentially become a regular occurrence according to a postmortem analysis of the 2011 bloom by the Carnegie Institution for Science . Read the rest of Lake Erie Sees Tons of Toxic Green Algae Due to Climate Change and Agriculture Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture , algae , biofuel , BLOOM , canada , Carnegie Institution for Science , Cleveland , Climate Change , global warming , great lakes water quality agreement , lake erie , nasa , OHIO , phosphorous , US        

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Lake Erie Sees Tons of Toxic Green Algae Due to Climate Change and Agriculture

100% Electric Cars Are Now Outselling Plug-in Hybrids in the US

July 23, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock Range anxiety isn’t holding back the electric car . Sales figures are in for the first half of 2013, and they show that 100% electric cars, buoyed by the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf , are outselling their plug-in hybrid counterparts in the US. It’s the first time that electric car sales have even come close to catching up with any kind of car with a gas engine, and it challenges the assumption that recharging time and range anxiety are preventing people from buying electric cars. Read the rest of 100% Electric Cars Are Now Outselling Plug-in Hybrids in the US Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 100% electric car , electric car , electric vehicles , ev , EVs , green cars , hybrids , model s , Nissan Leaf , plug-in electric , plug-in hybrid , tesla , tesla model-s , Tesla Motors        

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100% Electric Cars Are Now Outselling Plug-in Hybrids in the US

Rubbee Electric Drive Gives a Boost to Any Pedal-Powered Bike

July 23, 2013 by  
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Today’s electric bikes represent a great alternative to traditional pedal-powered bikes, especially when you’re traversing a hill or on a hot summer day. The biggest drawback is the larger investment over a standard bike, not to mention the dilemma of what to do you do with your old pedal-powered bike once you’ve purchased an e-bike. Rubbee has created a unique and easy way to convert just about any traditional bike into an electric bike with a small motor that can be added above the rear wheel. Read the rest of Rubbee Electric Drive Gives a Boost to Any Pedal-Powered Bike Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: battery , bicycles , e-bike , electric bike , electric drive , electric motor , green transportation , kickstarter , Rubbee , Rubbee electric drive        

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Rubbee Electric Drive Gives a Boost to Any Pedal-Powered Bike

Proposed Red Line Park Could Be Cleveland’s Answer to The High Line

July 18, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Proposed Red Line Park Could Be Cleveland’s Answer to The High Line Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Cleveland , HIGHLINE , landscape , new york city , pedestrian , railroad , Rails to Trails , Rapid Recovery , Rotary Club , the red line , urban gardening        

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Proposed Red Line Park Could Be Cleveland’s Answer to The High Line

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