Taming plastic waste with silica plastic blocks

June 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

In a bid to curb plastic waste pollution, India-based company Rhino Machines has invented a way of using plastic to make construction blocks. The silica plastic blocks (SPBs) are strong enough to build a house and can be useful in reducing world pollution problems. As the company behind this new technology, Rhino Machines experimented to determine the viability of making construction bricks from waste plastic and foundry dust. According to the company, they conducted experiments in collaboration with R+D Labs to prove that SPBs can be used to replace traditional construction blocks. Why recycle plastic waste? This experiment came from the need to find a permanent solution to India’s growing plastic waste problem. According to 2012 estimations by the Central Pollution Control Board of India (CPCB), India generates close to 26,000 tons of plastic a day. Additionally, as  The Economic Times  reports, over 10,000 tons of plastic waste go uncollected each day. This plastic waste litters streets, landfills and the seas. Furthermore, as non-biodegradable waste, the plastic ends up polluting rivers, agricultural land and even estates. The plastic waste pollution problem is not limited to India. According to a 2017  National Geographic  publication, over 91% of the plastic waste produced globally is not recycled. The same publication points out that as of 2018, the world has generated over 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic since plastic began being mass-produced. About 6.3 billion metric tons of this waste ends up as waste in landfills , oceans and rivers. National Geographic also points out that if the global community doesn’t contain the current trend of plastic waste pollution, landfills will house 12 billion metric tons of plastic waste by 2050. All the problems caused by plastic waste are now pushing scientists and innovators to look for solutions that will create a sustainable world. Although some countries have banned single-use plastics , the current amount of plastic waste still takes an enormous toll on the environment. Technologies such as SPBs can help significantly reduce this waste. The convergence of plastic waste pollution problems and a need for urban housing developments also presents a unique opportunity for SPBs. According to the United Nations,  55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas . In urban areas, high population density leads to exacerbated plastic waste problems. The U.N. further estimates that about 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. By using available plastic waste to build housing for the growing urban population, SPBs could help reduce world plastic pollution.  How are SPBs made? When Rhino Machines started the SPB project, its objective was to attain zero waste through the reclamation of foundry waste . Initially, the experiment tested using foundry dust with cement to make bricks. This experiment resulted in 7-10% waste recycled for cement bricks and 15% waste recycled for clay bricks. The company realized the experiment required using resources such as cement , soil and water, which was not justified by the waste recycled. Further research led the team to use foundry dust with plastic waste to boost the project’s sustainability. Using plastic waste as a bonding agent eliminated the need for water and cement during mixing. Why SPBs? Building with SPBs contributes to the environment in two ways. Producing the blocks requires a mixture of about 80% foundry dust with about 20% plastic. Consequently, the project does not need water or cement. This means that the blocks use less natural resources while also reducing inorganic waste. The experiment to produce SPBs also uncovered additional positive revelations. Apart from the fact that these blocks are sustainable, they also offer the construction industry a strong building alternative. According to  Technology Times , SPBs are 2.5 times stronger than normal red clay blocks. Additionally, as SPBs are made from waste, “the cost of production can easily compete with the commonly available red clay brick or the CMU (concrete masonry unit).” Rhino Machines approached several organizations including hospitals, schools and local municipal corporations to collect clean plastic for the project. In about four months, the company collected over six tons of plastic waste and 15 tons of foundry dust. This collection helps demonstrate just how much plastic waste is available to be used in the production of SPBs. Furthermore, the company is “preparing to come up with an ecosystem solution so that the foundries across the country can develop and distribute” SPBs. As described in a statement from Rhino Machines, this is part of an effort to bring SPBs to impact zones that are part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), “a Government of India initiative for businesses to undertake philanthropic causes and give back to the community.” As the research and experimentation shows, SPBs have the potential to relieve plastic waste concerns not only in India but all over the world. If industries can adopt this new building technology , we may have hope for a future with less plastic pollution. Images via R+D Studio

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Arrivals zero-emissions buses are designed for social distancing

June 23, 2020 by  
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U.K. startup Arrival has unveiled the Arrival Bus, an eye-catching electric bus crafted to not only improve public perception of public transportation but to also respond to health concerns in the coronavirus era. Engineered for flexibility and worldwide adoption, the Arrival Bus features wraparound digital screens for easy identification and flexible seating so that passenger capacity can be controlled to follow social distancing rules. The sleek design concept also allows for the installation of plexiglass dividers between passengers and no-touch stop requests via a smartphone app. Founded in 2015, Arrival champions itself as a producer of electric commercial vehicles designed to help cities meet their net-zero emissions targets worldwide. In addition to the new Arrival Bus design, the startup recently unveiled designs for its electric delivery vans. Although there are no Arrival products currently on the road yet, the company plans to deploy 1,000 Microfactories — low-footprint automotive production facilities with Arrival assembly technology — around the world by 2026 to build all of the electric vehicles in its portfolio.  Related: Designers propose sustainable housing in response to COVID-19 lifestyle changes “We are very excited to bring the Arrival Bus to markets around the world and make the passenger experience of bus travel a positive one,” said Ben Jardine, chief of product for Arrival Bus. “By working in partnership with businesses to develop the entire ecosystem around our vehicles, we are supporting their goals of making public transport appealing whilst achieving carbon neutrality.” Arrival plans to create an integrated public transportation ecosystem that not only includes buses but also cars for sharing, taxis, delivery robots and charging infrastructure. Arrival expects to deploy the Arrival Bus in upcoming months. The electric vehicles will be built in local Microfactories using modular construction for flexibility. The use of an aluminum chassis with integrated mechanical parts will also streamline the production process, while the minimalist interior design will make the vehicle easy to clean. + Arrival Images via Arrival

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Arrivals zero-emissions buses are designed for social distancing

Watch for ADM to pioneer biofuels, more carbon capture projects

May 13, 2020 by  
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Watch for ADM to pioneer biofuels, more carbon capture projects Heather Clancy Wed, 05/13/2020 – 02:57 Although decarbonization of industrial processes remains a big technical challenge, food processing and commodities giant Archer Daniels Midland recently adopted new commitments to cut its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2035 — with additional carbon sequestration projects and changes to its transportation fleet figuring largely in that strategy. ADM also has pledged to decrease energy intensity by 15 percent over the same timeframe. “Our new goals are ambitious yet achievable,” said ADM chairman and CEO Juan Luciano, in a statement when they were revealed in late March. “The greenhouse gas emissions we’ll save will be the equivalent of those from charging every single smartphone on the planet 250 times.” The new commitments , the culmination of a 1.5-year planning process, aren’t officially science-based targets but they are “more aggressive” than the 2 degrees Celsius reduction scenarios suggested by the Paris Agreement, according to ADM’s chief sustainability officer, Alison Taylor. The new commitments do not yet cover Scope 3 emissions, although that it is a forthcoming priority for the company, she said. We hope in this trajectory of 15 years there will be technologies that come online that we don’t even know about today. ADM’s new board-level sustainability and corporate responsibility committee — as well as the whole executive council — played a role in setting the new goals, she said. A feasibility study conducted by consulting and engineering firm WSP Global summarizes the best courses of action — now and over the next 15 years — that are most viable. “It gives me faith that this will be taken seriously,” Taylor told GreenBiz shortly after the new strategy was revealed. ADM’s list of potential options (as identified by that study) is comprehensive and includes many measures you’d expect for near-term improvement such as renewable energy procurement, investments (although limited) in on-site generation technology including solar, wind, nuclear and battery storage and ongoing energy “treasure hunts” for identifying energy efficiency and reduction opportunities. Flipping the switch Another major focus will be “fuel switching,” both for its industrial facilities and transportation fleet. This is a daunting task: ADM, which has about 40,000 employees in 200 countries, operates more than 330 food and ingredient manufacturing facilities worldwide. It owns more than 1,800 barges, 12,000 rail cars, 360 trucks, 1,200 trailers, 100 boats and 10 oceangoing vessels. Its leased fleet is just as massive. According to the WSP assessment, about 46 percent of ADM’s energy consumption in 2018 (28.6 million MWh) was attributable to coal and 33 percent (20.7 million MWh) came from natural gas. As of that time, about 8 percent (5.2 million MWh) came from biogenic sources such as biodiesel, ethanol, biogas and biomass — a percent you can expect to increase as ADM works toward its new reduction goals. And ADM is exploring all of its options including biomass, although that would require capital expenditures and the construction of substantial storage facilities to handle the feedstock. If ADM transitioned its industrial energy loads entirely to biomass, it would require more than 500 trucks daily of fuel, according to the study. It’s more likely, instead, that the company will opt for multiple options that also include biogas, renewable natural gas and — potentially in the future — hydrogen. “We hope in this trajectory of 15 years there will be technologies that come online that we don’t even know about today,” Taylor said. To see our company looking at the future, this was rewarding for employees. ADM is already testing emerging technologies within its transportation fleet. In late February, it announced a plan to outfit five trucks with a fuel system from Optimus Technologies that allows conventional engines to run on 100 percent biodiesel. They’ll be part of a year-long pilot: Each vehicle will travel an estimated 160,000 to 180,000 miles, with the technology expected to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 500,000 pounds on each truck. For perspective, that’s a reduction of about 80 percent over traditional diesel. The fuel itself will come from an ADM refinery in Jefferson, Missouri. Indeed, it’s worth noting that ADM is still one of the largest biodiesel and biofuels producers in the world. It stands to benefit from that sort of transition. An early adopter of industrial carbon capture When it comes to removing existing atmospheric carbon, ADM is digging into emerging carbon capture and sequestration solutions. It is already operating a commercial-scale installation at its corn processing and biofuels facility in Decatur, Illinois, that is capable of storing up to 1 million tons of CO2 annually. The CO2 is being injected into a saline reservoir that’s almost 1.5 miles underground. This isn’t something it can do indefinitely: The project can store up to 5.5 million tons in total, and it’s only slated to run up to five years initially. Realistically, this isn’t something that ADM can do everywhere. The right combination of geological considerations is necessary for this sort of installation. But the 45Q tax credit for carbon removal projects has made this more feasible, Taylor said, and the approach is being evaluated elsewhere. “We can demonstrate to our colleagues that this technology can be scaled up,” she said. When I spoke with Taylor in early April, I asked about whether the rollout of the new goals might be delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the company could have waited until later this spring, she said the team decided to push forward to help keep the ADM workforce focused on the long term, even amid the short-term crisis. “To see our company looking at the future, this was rewarding for employees,” Taylor said. “It’s giving them confidence about the future.” Pull Quote We hope in this trajectory of 15 years there will be technologies that come online that we don’t even know about today. To see our company looking at the future, this was rewarding for employees. Topics Food & Agriculture Corporate Strategy Decarbonization Corporate Strategy Sustainability Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off An ADM carbon storage facility. Close Authorship

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Here’s what fringe consumers tell us about the post-pandemic marketplace

May 13, 2020 by  
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Here’s what fringe consumers tell us about the post-pandemic marketplace Deonna Anderson Wed, 05/13/2020 – 00:06 For years, communications firm Shelton Group has been gathering data about “fringe” consumers through intensive, manual social media analysis about both environmental and social sustainability. Why? Because while the fringe tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the trends, eventually some ideals of fringe consumers become mainstream. As just one example of a once-nascent idea, Shelton Group pointed to the call by buyers for consumer brand companies and others in the consumer products value chain to transition away from plastics that eventually end up in the ocean. “The important piece of that is this is where you as a business and as a company and as a brand can take a look and understand something, that if it comes at you as a surprise, it’s a threat,” said Susannah Enkema, vice president of research and insights at Shelton Group, during last week’s GreenBiz webcast about what fringe consumers can tell us about the post-pandemic marketplace. “But if you understand it now, you can turn that threat into an opportunity, And that’s really the power of the fringe,” Enkema continued, before sharing findings from Shelton Group’s most recent report, ” Seeing into the Future: Leveraging fringe consumer insights to build a sustainable brand in a post-COVID world .” Between March and mid-April, Shelton Group observed trends on social media — including Twitter, Reddit and Instagram — to gather insights about what might happen after the COVID-19 pandemic. It first shared the findings during the webcast. The important piece of that is this is where you as a business and as a company and as a brand can take a look and understand something, that if it comes at you as a surprise, it’s a threat. In the report, Shelton Group defines the fringe as a “subset of individuals who live on the fringes of society in terms of their beliefs and behaviors,” also noting that they tend to be activist-oriented. Additionally, the firm polls mainstream consumers to further gather data about trends. “We have over the last few years seen a shift towards sustainability that we haven’t haven’t seen before, and it’s kind of two-fold,” said Suzanne Shelton, president and CEO at Shelton Group, during the webcast. “There’s a social proof or social pressure kind of aspect to this, in which pre-COVID, 42 percent of us wanted to be seen as buying green products,” Shelton continued. “But beyond that, we’ve also seen pre-COVID that 86 percent of us expect companies to stand for something more than just making money.” As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and recession, fringe consumers can give businesses a sense of what their expectations might be when this is all over and we go back to a “new normal.” Here are a few key takeaways. Shelton said businesses have two options — return to “business as usual” or “embrace the responsibility consumers have given them to tackle large scale issues like climate change,” noting that business leaders should choose the second option for a number of reasons. Further, Shelton said, businesses need to get involved in the right way and start rethinking sustainability so that they’re not doing the bare minimum. Consumers need to know that businesses have some “skin in the game.” “In this new COVID world, what we’re seeing in the fringe that is quickly becoming mainstream is that those ideas are amplified,” she said. “What we’re seeing clearly in all this listening that we’re doing right now, again fringe and mainstream, is that businesses are sort of acting in one of four ways and therefore, they are getting categorized in one of four ways by consumers.” Shelton noted that there is a hierarchy in the four ways consumers are categorizing businesses. The businesses that are donating small aid that takes advantage of pandemic-induced losses are ranked low while those going beyond minimizing losses — such as those that shifted their manufacturing to produce masks or hand sanitizer — are ranked the highest. Consumers are paying attention to these actions, and as citizens, they’re paying attention to “the system” — the government, economic system, etc. — which the fringe has said needs to be changed for years. That idea is becoming more mainstream, as the pandemic has exposed the flaws of the current models and to point to a specific system, capitalism. During the webcast, Shelton said right now is the time for companies to step up their sustainability efforts. “As you think about your 2030 goals and 2040 goals, I think you need to go way beyond or else you’re going to live in this bucket forever and be seen as, ‘Yeah, they’re doing alright but they could be doing more,’” she said. Pull Quote The important piece of that is this is where you as a business and as a company and as a brand can take a look and understand something, that if it comes at you as a surprise, it’s a threat. Topics Consumer Trends COVID-19 Corporate Strategy COVID-19 Corporate Strategy Sustainability Strategies Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Andrii Yalanskyi Close Authorship

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The robotic, hybrid-electric future of agriculture

May 12, 2020 by  
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The robotic, hybrid-electric future of agriculture Shane Downing Tue, 05/12/2020 – 00:15 While many around the world, ordered indoors amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, are coming up with innovative ways to plant small victory gardens in, around and on top of their homes, plenty of change is afoot in big ag — much of it driven by new technologies. A recent IDTechEx webcast, “Electric Vehicles and Robotics in Agriculture: $50 Billion Market Soon,” provided a brief overview of a 215-page report , “Electric Vehicles and Robotics in Agriculture 2020-2030,” that the research firm published in February. According to IDTEchEx Chairman Peter Harrop, agriculture’s forthcoming shift to both electrification and robotics is a result of three overarching trends: looming labor shortages; the need for precision farming; and advancements in automation. First, Harrop talked about how labor shortages in places such as the United Kingdom and Japan will require robots to be used to keep up with production demands. “The United Kingdom is seriously moving into more labor shortages and more pressure for automation because of leaving the European Union,” he said. “[That makes] it much easier for high-skilled people to move to Britain and almost impossible for low-skilled people to move to Britain.” Harrop compared that to what’s going on in Japan, where the average age of a farmer is about 70 years old. Young people’s “refusal” to live and farm in rural communities is a “serious problem,” Harrop said, but it’s not unique to Japan. Across the world, farmers are aging. Rather than following in their footsteps to the fields, younger generations are instead choosing to flock to cities. Giants of the agricultural [industry], such as John Deere, are saying that electric power gives far better controllability and opportunities for automation and precision seeding and other things like that. To help address the void being created by demographic trends, Harrop highlighted a number of enabling technologies that will help the agriculture industry continue to feed a growing world population, despite a lack of willing or available human workers. Those technology advancements pertain to powertrains, vectored traction, battery systems, supercapacitors, power electronics, solar body work and transportable zero-emission microgrids. However, one technology looms above the rest: electrification. “Giants of the agricultural [industry], such as John Deere, are saying that electric power gives far better controllability and opportunities for automation and precision seeding and other things like that,” Harrop said. “[Those technologies are] not going to be possible without the precision of electric vehicles.” Whereas the IDTechEx report includes and analyzes dozens of cutting-edge technologies, prototypes and farm vehicles, Harrop touched on these companies during the webcast: Small Robot Company : The England-based technology company is developing three farmbots — Tom, Dick and Harry — that autonomously will plant, feed and weed arable crops. More so, they’ll be controlled and directed by Wilma, the artificial intelligent (AI) “brain” behind the operation that’s capable of recording exact locations of each plant. Kubota : The Japanese company unveiled its so-called “dream tractor” in January. Although it isn’t for sale yet, the fully autonomous X Tractor prototype has four tread-covered wheels individually equipped with in-wheel motors, giving the tractor both an acute turning radius and the ability to travel over various terrains, including rice paddies. eWind : Based in Oregon, eWind has developed an airborne wind energy system (AWES) called Tethered Energy Device (TED). According to the company, TED will produce enough energy to power an entire farming operation (or roughly five American homes) on a device small enough to fit in the back of a pickup truck. The technology is still in the testing stages; however, Harrop said that it’s “a company that’s specializing in the needs of farmers.” (Image: Kubota’s “dream tractor” prototype) Harrop says that smaller electric farm vehicles, including pure electric and plug-in hybrid options, will enter mainstream markets before larger vehicles, because smaller pieces of equipment can more easily achieve parity with existing diesel options. In places such as California that have stricter limitations on diesel emissions, however, electric farm vehicles might replace diesel-burning equipment regardless of price points in order to stay compliant with local environmental and health regulations. Whereas many enabling technologies and agtech vehicles that Harrop covered in his webcast will be put into practice within the next decade, he stressed that the industry’s all-electric, fully automated robotic future remains decades away. Although he said that agtech’s leap to automation will be easier than the commercial car industry’s leap to automation, for example, he said it will still be “very expensive.” “But later,” he continued, “it’s going to come down in price. It really is not going to be widely possible to do full automation, full robotics, until about 2030.” Pull Quote Giants of the agricultural [industry], such as John Deere, are saying that electric power gives far better controllability and opportunities for automation and precision seeding and other things like that. Topics Transportation & Mobility Food & Agriculture Electric Vehicles Robotics Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Small Robot Company is developing three farmbots — Tom, Dick and Harry — that will autonomously plant, feed and weed arable crops. Close Authorship

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Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

March 27, 2020 by  
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Mumbai-based firm  Sanjay Puri Architects  has just completed work on a beautiful hotel in northern India known for wine production. Built on a base of locally-sourced natural stone, the Aria Hotel is a stunning design carefully stacked onto the landscape that boasts several passive and active features to make it incredibly  energy efficient . Located in the ancient city of Nashik in the northern Indian region of Maharashtra, the  beautiful hotel  is located right on the banks of the Godavari River. The idyllic location includes the river on one side and rising hills on the other, providing guests with a beautiful area to reconnect with nature. Related: Rundown lodge near the Nile River is now a solar-powered eco-resort According to the architects, no soil was taken out of the site or brought into the site during the construction process to protect the natural topography. Stacked multiple levels high, the hotel is built on a base of locally-sourced natural black basalt stone . The north side of the building includes several modules with large balconies that look out over the river. Throughout the suites as well as the common areas, the hotel boasts an abundance of natural light  thanks to several floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Additionally, the spaces, including the main courtyards, are naturally ventilated, further reducing the hotel’s energy usage. The hotel meets an estimated 50% of its energy needs thanks to a rooftop solar array . In addition to its clean energy generation, the hotel was installed with a rainwater collection system that provides water for irrigation. All of the luxury units boast large rectangular balconies that are angled to frame the incredible views of the river landscape. However, these angled outdoor spaces with overhanging roofs were also specifically designed to provide shade and  minimize heat gain  throughout the interior spaces. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via v2com Photography by Dinesh Mehta and Sanjay Puri

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The Expandable House helps adapt to rapid urbanization

March 5, 2020 by  
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Singapore-based design firm  Urban-Rural Systems  has developed an innovative housing prototype that fights urban sprawl while simultaneously providing better infrastructure for rural-to-urban migrants. Implemented in phases, the project recently completed its second phase this year in Indonesia with the construction of its first Expandable House prototype. True to its name, the dwelling can be flexibly expanded to increase its built area from a single-story, 36-square-meter unit to a three-story, 108-square-meter  mixed-use  building equipped with sustainable decentralized systems such as rainwater harvesting and photovoltaic systems.  The Expandable House (“‘rumah tambah’ in Bahasa Indonesia, or ‘rubah’ for short”) targets rapidly urbanizing regions on the fringes of cities and towns. As the designers explained in a project statement, these are regions where the impact of rapid urbanization “is most directly felt: where land is still relatively cheap, new industrial jobs are springing up, rural migrants often first arrive in the city, and infrastructure is often inadequate to support them.” Additionally, the designers said, “The expandable house tries to respond to this dynamic situation by allowing the dwelling to be flexibly configured around the fluctuating patterns of resource consumption and expenditure, or metabolism, of its residents.” To meet these needs, the Expandable House features a roof that can be raised as well as a floor and foundations strong enough to support up to three floors. This model not only allows for flexible financing — owners can expand their home from a single-story unit to a multi-story unit as needed — but also encourages vertical growth to reduce urban sprawl. The adaptable housing system also incorporates  rainwater  and solar harvesting systems, passive design principles, on-site sewage systems, as well as food production systems to promote self-sufficiency and small-scale business growth.  Related: Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape Developed in three phases, the Expandable House project began with the Phase 1 design at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. Phase 2 oversaw construction of the prototype in  Indonesia  that began in 2018, with the first floor of 36 square meters, and concluded earlier this year after all three floors were built along with the technical systems, including rainwater harvesting and photovoltaics. Phase 3 will involve piloting the Expandable House on a larger-scale in a project dubbed Tropical Town, also in Indonesia.  + Urban-Rural Systems (URS) Images © Carlina Teteris

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Recyclable aluminum facade wraps BBC Studios new reusable pavilion

November 19, 2019 by  
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BBC Studios, the commercial arm of the BBC group and the biggest producer of TV content in the U.K., has recently unveiled a new, reusable pavilion with a striking facade of fully recyclable, raw aluminum . Installed at Croisette 18 for MIPCOM 2019, the annual TV trade market in Cannes, the new BBC Studios stand comprises two floors of flexible work and hospitality spaces to accommodate the company’s business meetings and events across the four-day market. The building is wrapped in a rippled facade made entirely of aluminum scales angled to let in light and to give the pavilion its dynamic appearance. Previously housed in the Palais venue at MIPCOM, the BBC Studios pavilion marks the company’s first new business space at the four-day event in 20 years. Like the company, the structure has also been fully funded commercially. The overall project direction for the pavilion came from London-based agency Cheerful Twentyfirst , with creative direction provided by Christine Losecaat. Related: Dramatically twisted timber weaves together in the Steampunk pavilion To create a reusable building that could be shipped and installed anywhere in the world, BBC Studios turned to Yorkshire-based Stage One for the construction and detailed design. London-based Giles Miller Studio crafted the sculptural facade, while Universal Design Studio served as the design lead and the interior designers for the project. “From the outset of the brief, it was clear that BBC Studios and Cheerful Twentyfirst had a shared sense of vision and ambition,” said Steve Quah, CEO of Cheerful Twentyfirst. “A project of this huge scale requires a close partnership and trust in delivery. Together with our unique team of collaborative experts — Christine Losecaat MBE, Giles Miller Studio, Universal Design Studio and Stage One — we are proud to deliver a truly unique and exceptional creative project, one that fulfills all our wildest imaginations.” + BBC Studios Images via Cheerful Twentyfirst

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Certified Passive House in New York generates all of its own energy

August 13, 2019 by  
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In New York’s Hudson Valley, a beautiful new beacon for sustainable, net-zero design has taken root. New York-based North River Architecture & Planning recently added another energy-efficient build to its growing portfolio of environmentally friendly projects — the Accord Passive House, a modern home that has not only achieved PHIUS+ Certification but also boasts no net energy costs annually. Located in the hamlet of Accord, the contemporary house is sensitive to both the environment as well as the local culture and history. The architects drew inspiration from the rural farm buildings for the design of a gabled , barn-like house that emphasizes connection with the outdoors and flexible living spaces accommodating of the homeowners’ changing needs. As with traditional farm buildings, the construction materials were selected for longevity, durability and low-maintenance properties. Related: Architect designs and builds his dream Passive House in New York Galvanized corrugated steel siding wraps the exterior, while a trowel-finished concrete slab is used for the floor inside and is visually tied to the xeriscaped pea gravel patio that requires no irrigation. “Trim materials inside and out were chosen for their adaptive reuse and low resource extraction properties, including the use of engineered lumber for trim work, salvaged white oak slats and carmelized cork throughout the project,” the firm added. “The cork was used inside and out for its sustainable harvest and broad utility for acoustics, water resistance and insulation value.” Topped with a 9kW photovoltaic array, the impressive net-zero energy build was also created to show how Passive House design can be beautiful, resilient and comfortable without incurring sky-high costs. The firm said it has achieved “a competitive price per square foot relative to regional costs for this market niche.” During construction, the architects hosted open-house learning events to promote open-source sharing of energy-efficient design methods and solutions with the local community. + North River Architecture & Planning Photography by Deborah DeGraffenreid via North River Architecture & Planning

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Certified Passive House in New York generates all of its own energy

Danone North America’s Merijn Dols on circular food systems

July 12, 2019 by  
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The senior director of open innovation and circular economy for food at Danone North America at Danone, Merijn Dols, came to Circularity 19 to talk about a circular food system. “The circular economy is big in the construction and built world — but food has been lagging,” he said. How can we push it forward? There’s a lot of innovation and design going on in food already, Dols pointed out. So corporations need to focus on creating food lasts longer and is healthier.

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