C.F. Mller’s stunning Low Energy Center in London showcases an innovative use of steel

September 14, 2017 by  
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Europe’s largest new residential heat network – the Greenwich Peninsula Low Energy Center in London – saves over 20,000 tons of carbon every year. C.F. Møller Architects and British artist Conrad Shawcross  designed the groundbreaking facility, which is clad in hundreds of triangular panels that fold and flow across the surface of the tower. The center won this year’s coveted GAGA Architecture Award for the most innovative and effective use of galvanized steelwork. The Greenwich Peninsula Low Energy Center sits at the entrance of the peninsula next to the Blackwall Tunnel Approach. It houses boilers and CHP that provide heat energy to the businesses and homes due to be built in the coming years Its impressive appearance can be attributed to Conrad Shawcross. The artist designed the facade of the 160-foot (49 meter) high tower as a way of communicating commitment to sustainable and affordable energy for all. Related: C.F. Møller Architects designs Danish school that optimizes learning through design The perforated steel panels create a Moiré Effect , and facilitate animated patterns of light at night. Named ‘The Optic Cloak’ the structure is formed of hundreds of triangular panels – each the size of a London bus – folded across the surface of the tower forming complex geometric patterns. + C.F. Møller Architects + Conrad Shawcross Photos by Mark Hadden

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C.F. Mller’s stunning Low Energy Center in London showcases an innovative use of steel

Are algae-powered oxygen bars on the horizon?

October 18, 2016 by  
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While the idea may seem strange at first, these pods could actually be the answer to the increasing problem of urban pollution and carbon emissions . The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in big cities, and a recent study from WHO found that a staggering 92% of the human beings on the planet are already being exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution . That’s a lot of people who could benefit from a quick daily dose of purified air. The design of the structure does more than simply purify the air. It also uses semi-transparent Teflon membranes to reduce noise and visual stimulation – creating a quiet, isolated escape for tired visitors who want to relax and recharge. The algae fountain in the center consists of a series of photobioreactors filled with five cubic meters of water and algae. Surrounding the core photobioreactor would be ten rail-bound relaxation chairs placed in a circle, to allow quiet time for study and reflection – it’s sort of an oxygen bar meets library. The chairs can be shifted individually in order to facilitate social gatherings or to create a more private personal space. This innovative design impressed us so much that it took both the Grand Prize and the Healing Spaces Prize in Inhabitat’s recent Biodesign Competition . Related: Biodesign Competition winners announced – algae takes center stage An urban escape from pollution wouldn’t be the only benefit to this design. We could also harness elements of this design to help reduce overall atmospheric CO2 – a pressing issue at a time when existing carbon sinks worldwide are disappearing. Deforestation could potentially lead to a massive increase in unabsorbed carbon dioxide pollution. Researchers predict that deforestation in the Amazon, has already led to a 12% increase in carbon emissions worldwide since the 1960s, and that will only increase as farming and logging continue in the region. Environmental changes such as drought have severely impacted the ability of trees to store carbon and have even caused them to release it into the atmosphere instead. + Ádám Miklósi

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Are algae-powered oxygen bars on the horizon?

8 inexpensive earth homes almost anyone can afford

October 18, 2016 by  
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1. Dome-shaped earth bag house keeps residents cool in Colombia La Casa Vergara’s uncommon dome shapes may captivate the eye, but what’s underneath is most impressive. The Bogota home, built by architect Jose Andres Vallejo , is made from “ earth bags ,” or tubular bags stuffed with – you guessed it – earth. These bags are stacked atop each other and encased in concrete on both sides, which work together to prevent both earthquake and water damage. Exposed timber beams and plentiful daylighting make everyday living a bit greener and the $28 per square foot price tag puts the home within many buyers’ price range. 2. A green-roofed Hobbit home anyone can build in just 3 days These charming hobbit-like dwellings are prefabricated by Magic Green Homes and can be constructed in just three days. Sized at 400-square-feet, the green-roofed living spaces are so easy to assemble, practically anyone can do it. They require no heavy equipment to build, instead utilizing perforated flaps that are screwed and sealed together. Magic Green Homes adapt to any topography around the world, making this a dream come true for nearly anyone. 3. Build your own disaster-proof earth home using materials of war For anyone who is interested in building their own earth home, yet doesn’t know where to start, the guidance of Cal-Earth might come in handy. The California-based group teaches others DIY methods for creating your own dwelling using sustainable and disaster-proof materials. The group specializes in reusing materials of war and fortifying homes located in areas at risk of natural disasters. Sandbags packed with earth, barbed wire for tension, and stabilizing materials such as cement, lime, or asphalt emulsion all come together in a comfortable home that can withstand the elements. 4. Passive solar orphanage constructed with earth bags Orkidstudio , an organization that specializes in humanitarian design, opened up an orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya that is made entirely out of earth bags. The passive solar structure absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night, creating a comfortable space for the children and staff inside. The orphanage is clad in recycled timber and features running water sourced from an on-site rainwater collection system. Not only did the project come together to produce an inviting and efficient facility, but it was put together in only eight weeks by a team of UK architecture students. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=522&v=U9b-h_cCdO8 5. Earth Home Builder machine “3D prints” entire homes from bags of earth Building low-cost, environmentally friendly homes is a sign of moving in the right direction and the Earth Home Builder makes the process amazingly efficient. Working similarly to a 3D printer , the skid-operated machine can fill bags of earth at a rate of 400 bags per hour. Given that only 30 bags can be filled at the hands of humans, the machine could revolutionize access to affordable and responsible housing. United Earth Builders , who developed the technology, are working to find non-profit partners to help bring earth homes to the masses. 6. Budget-minded rammed Earth home in Mexico One family in Mexico opted to create a multi-colored home on a budget with the help of architect Tatiana Bilbao ’s expertise. The rammed earth dwelling is mesmerizing inside and out, thanks to the clever practice of adding pigment to the material before layering the walls from the ground up. The distinct effect only adds to the temperature control qualities of the home, which is essential during the hot Mexican summers. Ajijic House features floor-to-ceiling windows and two open terraces to take advantage of the breathtaking coastal views. Indoors, the use of locally-sourced pine wood flooring allows the family to enjoy beautiful details in their home without breaking the bank. 7. Luxurious Triksa Villa combines rammed earth, bamboo and recycled wood When building using earthen materials, it is possible to create a home that would rival the most luxurious of vacation spots. Chiangmai Life Construction has built the Triksa Villa in northern Thailand, a stunning structure made from part rammed earth, and part mixture of clay and concrete for the foundation. Adobe brick walls keep the space a comfortable temperature while the bamboo roof gives the company sustainable material bragging rights. Recycled hardwood and a lavish outdoor pool setting shatter any preconceived notion that green building materials cannot produce an eye-catching slice of paradise. 8. Rural Ghana home built from rammed earth and recycled plastic In the countryside of Ghana lies this unique home made from rammed earth , recycled plastic, and fortified against the elements using natural materials. The home was constructed from student Anna Webster’s winning design through a Nka Foundation building competition. She states, “We aimed to overcome the negative associations of these materials and move away from the primitive image of building with earth by applying a modern design aesthetic.” Plastic waste is repurposed into window screens and roof materials and the sturdy rammed earth walls are covered in a cassava starch sealant to prevent exterior water damage. The home cost just $7865 to construct and serves as an example of what can be done with found materials and a little creativity. Images via Nka Foundation , Chiangmai Life Construction ,  United Earth Builders ,  Jose Andres Vallejo ,  Cal-Earth ,  Tatiana Bilbao ,  Orkidstudio , Green Magic Homes

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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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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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Thousands of origami birds come together in Paris largest urban mural

July 8, 2016 by  
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The massive Lunar Cycles mural was installed on a building slated for demolition at the end of the year to make room for a new housing development. Before beginning her installation , Mademoiselle Maurice applied 500 liters of black paint to the front of the 140-meter-long building to create a sharp contrast for the rainbow-like, geometric patterns created by the origami. The artist spent over 150 hours folding thousands of origami birds, and also added 2,000 “Maurigamis,” a kind of two-dimensional painted origami, as a solution to weeks of rain onsite. Related: Madamoiselle Maurice’s Unique Urban Origami Brightens Up The Streets Of Vietnam and Hong Kong The final design was created with input from the community, including previous inhabitants of the demolition-slated building. The colorful and ephemeral artwork symbolizes the process of change and pays homage the hundreds of residents temporarily uprooted by the building project. “It was a big trauma for a lot of them because they spent their lives there, sometimes even there since they were born,” the artist said in an interview with Wide Walls . “They will come back later into the new building, but waiting for that they can say goodbye to their home with colors and with the evocation of changes.” Lunar Cycles opened to the public late last month and will be taken down late August 2016. + Madamoiselle Maurice Via Wide Walls Images via Mathgoth Gallery

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Thousands of origami birds come together in Paris largest urban mural

Scientists say the world is “one crop breeding cycle away from starvation”

March 30, 2016 by  
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If we don’t make some serious changes to our agricultural system, the world may find itself out of food before the year 2050 . In a new report, crop scientist Stephen P. Long of the University of Illinois says “We have to start increasing production now, faster than we ever have. Any innovation we make today won’t be ready to go into farmers’ fields for at least 20 years . . . that’s why we say we’re one crop breeding cycle away from starvation.” Read the rest of Scientists say the world is “one crop breeding cycle away from starvation”

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Mid-century Dutch farmhouse gets a bold contemporary makeover

March 30, 2016 by  
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100 million roses grown for Valentine’s Day produce 9,000 metric tons of CO2

February 11, 2015 by  
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Roses may be red, but they’re definitely not green according to research from Scientific American . As millions of partners exchange bunches of red roses in the run up to Valentine’s Day , they may want to consider that the traditional flower of love has an environmental impact worse than most other crops. In fact, according to environmental flower site Flowerpetal.com , the 100 million roses grown for a typical Valentine’s Day in the US produce some 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of 100 million roses grown for Valentine’s Day produce 9,000 metric tons of CO2 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon dioxide , carbon footprint , carbon impact of roses , carbon impact roses , CO2 , crops , environmental impact , environmental impact roses , flowers , pedal-powered washing machine , pesticides , red roses , roses , roses pesticides , Valentine , valentine roses , valentine’s day , Valentine’s Day Gift

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100 million roses grown for Valentine’s Day produce 9,000 metric tons of CO2

America’s Dirtiest Power Plants Could Be Exempted from the Clean Power Plan

August 11, 2014 by  
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President Obama’s Clean Power Plan could be all smoke and mirrors, as some of the country’s dirtiest power plants might end up exempted from it. The Huffington Post reports that some of the most polluting fossil-fueled power plants in the United States (located on Indian reservations in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah) are excluded from the Environmental Protection Agency’s calculations used to set the the carbon emissions rate cut goals for their respective states – because rules in each state don’t apply to Indian reservations. Read the rest of America’s Dirtiest Power Plants Could Be Exempted from the Clean Power Plan Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: clean power plan , CO2 , coal , coal power , emissions , Pollution , power plant

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