Cities around the world lay the groundwork for a zero-waste future

September 18, 2018 by  
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Cities around the world are pledging to reduce waste over the next 12 years in an effort to curb global warming and eventually become zero-waste cities. During the Global Climate Action Summit, the C40 announced a new initiative that encourages cities to eliminate waste production and end the practice of waste burning. So far, 23 cities have agreed to become zero-waste and will work toward that goal by “reducing the amount of municipal solid waste disposed to landfill and incineration by at least 50 percent … and increase the diversion rate away from landfill and incineration to at least 70 percent by 2030,” according to C40 . Each city has agreed to cut down on waste that ends up in landfills by at least half over the next decade. The cities — which include San Francisco, Catalonia, Auckland, Dubai, Copenhagen, London , Montreal, New York City , Milan, Rotterdam, Sydney, Paris , Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Washington D.C. and Vancouver — also pledged to reduce waste generation by 15 percent and encourage alternative waste management practices by 2030. Related: 19 mayors, thousands of buildings, zero carbon emissions by 2030 Reducing the amount of waste disposal and incineration is an important step in fighting global warming. Scientists believe that the new initiative could cut global carbon emissions by around 20 percent as cities begin to recycle and compost waste instead of dumping it into landfills or burning it. The 23 cities who signed the zero-waste declarations hope that they will lead by example and encourage other municipalities to do the same. The EPA says that incinerators and landfills significantly increase the amount of greenhouse gases around the globe. These practices also encourage companies to acquire new resources and materials, leading to an endless cycle of waste disposal. In addition to cutting down on waste, increasing recycling and reusing materials also contributes to a better economy. Instead of wasting old materials, recycling and reusing keeps the items in the system for longer periods. This reduces the need to purchase new materials and manage waste. + C40 Image via Patrick Tomasso

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Cities around the world lay the groundwork for a zero-waste future

We love electric scooters but is the Bird trend actually bad for the environment?

September 18, 2018 by  
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The debut of electric scooter programs in cities such as Austin, Washington D.C. and San Diego has been making headlines with promises of cleaner air , but is this really the case? Between LimeBike, Waybots, Spin and Bird, which has been newly introduced to the Los Angeles area, there is a plethora of companies jumping on the trend of promoting eco-friendly scooters to city planners and residents. With public transportation methods significantly improving in environmental efficiency — and the majority of distances traveled by scooter being walkable distances — the carbon footprint might not be as small as scooter-share programs are claiming. “Today, 40 percent of car trips are less than two miles long,” said Travis VanderZanden , founder and chief executive of Bird. “Our goal is to replace as many of those trips as possible, so we can get cars off the road and curb traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.” The scooters are the latest trend to enter the app-based mobility market, which has passengers whimsically racing through city streets at a $1 rental price, plus 15 cents for every minute after. Related: Paris launches electric scooter sharing program with Coup and Gogoro While Bird is assuming that half of its scooter rides are replacing mile-long car trips, Phil Lasley, who has been studying traffic, bicycle and pedestrian issues for the Texas A&M Transportation Institute said , “We honestly don’t know yet.” According to his evaluations, it is possible that the scooters are replacing short drives but with quantities still uncertain. He said there are many other aspects to consider. “Are these trips taking away from other bicycle trips? Are they taking away from transit? Are they taking away from walking?” Lasley asked. For instance, a mile-long trip to the office means that the 15-mph vehicle would charge for a minimum of 4 minutes plus extra for time in traffic. This exceeds the average public transportation fares for cities such as Austin and L.A., where the average full-fare ticket only costs $1.25 to $1.50 and can get you a lot farther. City bike-share programs are available at comparable rates to those of public transportation, as seen with L.A.’s new bicycle advertising campaign . The green transit platform is promoting the city’s carbon-free single rides at the same cost as a bus or metro ticket, while daily users of a monthly plan are seeing fractions of a dollar for their commute cycles. It goes without saying that owners of bikes, non-motorized scooters and skateboards are at a monetary and ecological advantage in comparison to those using electric scooters. Related: Gogoro revs up Smartscooter expansion with $300 million in new funding From an economic standpoint, Bird and LimeBike rides might be behind compared to alternatives such as buses, trains and bikes. But according to a Bird press release on its Austin launch, “Riders were able to prevent 445,334 pounds of carbon emissions.” LimeBike similarly claimed an estimated 8,500-pound reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in Austin in just two weeks. “With the launch of Lime-S, we are expanding the range of affordable, space-efficient and environmentally friendly mobility options available to D.C. residents,” said Jason Starr, a LimeBike executive for the company’s Washington D.C. division, back in March. With competing green vehicles focusing on both affordability and environmental friendliness, many people are looking to “space-efficien[cy]” to account for the hype of electric scooters. The space efficiency feature makes electric scooters fun to ride and easy to park anywhere, but it also means that chargers are driving long distances to pick up the scooters one by one. Each morning, electric scooters are dropped off en-mass at various hubs throughout the city. From there, riders can take the vehicles and drop them off wherever they wish within the city. Scooters now litter random sidewalks, storefronts and restaurant walkways — rarely in a collective group. At night they are “captured” (in the case of Birds) by the company’s chargers, who are individual citizens signed up to make money by collecting, powering and redistributing the scooters to the hubs each morning. Each scooter has a price tag on it, with those more difficult to collect scoring the charger a higher paycheck. The higher valuations on the remote scooters means that chargers are likely to drive farther to and from the stranded scooters, consuming more gas and emitting more carbon dioxide in the process. Similarly, morning commuters who wake up to find an empty dropping pad might eagerly run back to their reliable, personal vehicles instead of public transportation, because they are in a time-crunch. Whether these factors are being taken into account by the companies in their statistics is unclear. Related: Lyft is making all their rides carbon neutral Their popularity is as much their undoing as it is their achievement according to Haje Jan Kamps, portfolio director at venture capital firm Bolt. The entrepreneur recently published a piece on TechCrunch about the business models e-scooter companies would need to adopt in order to succeed. “They are currently in a massive scaling mode and so the only concern they have, really, is to get as many scooters on the roads as possible and as many rides as possible for each individual scooter,” Hamps said. “There is a real risk that some of the things like reusability or recyclability might be first on the chopping block.” The scooters are estimated to have a two-year life span , meaning they could end up in landfills at the end of their short life-cycle. This is something that Lasley agreed with. “It appears that these services are being heavily used,” he said, adding that the more popular they become, the more waste they will create. While we want to love the fun idea of electric scooters , it is clear that some things need to be improved. For these new companies, a learning and improvement process is to be expected. We are eager to see where these companies are headed in terms of creating a more eco-friendly product. Via Austin Monitor , The Washington Post ( 1 , 2 ) and  Chester Energy and Policy Images via Elvert Barnes ( 1 , 2 ), Luis Tamayo and Tim Evanson

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We love electric scooters but is the Bird trend actually bad for the environment?

Kengo Kumas competition-winning aquatic center connects land and sea in Copenhagen

March 28, 2018 by  
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Kengo Kuma & Associates beat out the likes of BIG and 3XN Architects in a design competition for a new waterfront cultural center that will form part of Copenhagen’s artificial Paper Island (Papirøen). Chosen unanimously by the jury, Kuma’s winning scheme will offer leisure and recreational facilities housed within pyramidal volumes echoing the roof profiles of Christiansholm island. The buildings will also be built of brick in reference to traditional Danish craft. Revealed earlier this year, Kuma’s designs for the Papirøen Waterfront Culture Center were created in collaboration with Danish subcontractors Cornelius Voge, Soren Jensen engineers and Niels Sigsgaard. The 53,820-square-foot complex will be developed as part of COBE’s competition-winning masterplan for Paper Island . The masterplan and the waterfront cultural center are slated for completion by 2021. “The new Waterfront Cultural Center with Harbor baths at Paper Island is to highlight the significance of water in the history, culture and vibrant urban life in Copenhagen ,” wrote Yuki Ikeguchi, Partner in charge. “Our focus in design is to create an experience, and not just a standalone object, in the form of the landscape, art and architecture that are unified and defined by the water. Our design proposal strives to offer the diverse experiences of water in various states and conditions such as reflection of light and shadow, steam and flow that appeal to human senses.” Related: COBE Architects to transform Copenhagen’s Paper Island into a bustling cultural hub The cultural center is located on a corner site and will offer expansive views of the water inside and out. Skylights punctuate the cone-shaped buildings to let natural light into the ground-floor pools. The perforated brick facade also allows diffused light inside. + Kengo Kuma & Associates Via ArchDaily Images via Kengo Kuma & Associates

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Kengo Kumas competition-winning aquatic center connects land and sea in Copenhagen

This hand-built island is the start of Copenhagens parkipelago of floating public spaces

March 14, 2018 by  
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A tiny wooden island floating in Copenhagen harbor is bringing life and interest back to the city’s waters. Australian architect Marshall Blecher and Magnus Maarbjerg of Danish design studio Fokstrot designed CPH-Ø1, an experimental floating island park buoyed by recycled plastic bottles that could bring about more floating public spaces all along the city’s waters. Created as a prototype for the Copenhagen Islands project, the 215-square-foot timber island is punctuated by a single linden tree and is temporarily located in Sluseløbet. Launched last year with support by Kulturhavn365, CPH-Ø1 first served as a resting area for adventurous Copenhageners who are invited to moor alongside the island by boat or kayak. The public space also doubles as a small events venue and, according to Dezeen , will host a lecture series next month about the future of harbor cities. CPH-Ø1 was constructed by hand in Copenhagen’s boat building yards using traditional wooden boat building techniques with locally and sustainably sourced materials. Related: Copper-clad Copenhagen landmark boasts Denmark’s most energy-efficient laboratories CPH-Ø1 is the first in what the designers hope will be a ‘parkipelago’ of nine islands that offer creative public spaces in the harbor, particularly in forgotten and unused areas. Future iterations may include a floating sauna island, floating mussel farms, floating gardens, and even a floating sail-in cafe—all of which will be open to the public. The islands can be connected together or float separately. + Copenhagen Islands Via Dezeen Images via Fokstrot

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This hand-built island is the start of Copenhagens parkipelago of floating public spaces

MVRDV redesign of Europes largest urban shopping center breaks ground in France

March 14, 2018 by  
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Construction has kicked off on Lyon Part-Dieu, MVRDV’s competition-winning design for Europe’s largest downtown shopping center that promises much more than retail therapy. Conceived as an antidote to the existing mall’s car-centered design, the new shopping center will emphasize the public realm with a human scale and pedestrian friendly experience. The mall will be integrated into the urban fabric and bring in greenery with landscaped areas from the ground floor to the public green roof. Founded in 1975 in the 3rd arrondissement of Lyon , the 166,000-square-meter Lyon Part-Dieu shopping center is now undergoing a contemporary makeover. “Lyon Part-Dieu, we draw this facade with big pixels which we hope will give a more human scale not just to the mall, but the whole site,” says Winy Maas, MVRDV co-founder. “In 2020, Lyon Part-Dieu will be both a place for everyday life and shopping, but also culture and relaxation in a reinvented setting.’’ The most eye-catching element of the redesign is the “ pixelated ” facade where the facade subtly transitions from concrete to glass to open the interior up to the outdoors. The concrete facade will also be covered in “depolluting coating” to improve outdoor air quality . Related: MVRDV unveils solar-powered Milestone building that looks like a crystal rock While retail will reign king at Lyon Part-Dieu, the new mall also offers plenty for the non-shopper including restaurants, cinema, and public parks. Big outdoor stairwells and escalators provide access to the public green roof and park. The project is slated for completion in 2020 and the buildings will remain open during construction. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV redesign of Europes largest urban shopping center breaks ground in France

Copper-clad Copenhagen landmark boasts Denmarks most energy-efficient laboratories

January 19, 2018 by  
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Copenhagen’s recently completed Maersk Tower boasts the nation’s most energy-efficient laboratories, where waste energy is captured and reused. Designed by C.F. Møller Architects , this new city landmark is a pioneer within energy-efficient laboratory construction and boasts a variety of sustainable design elements from an innovative facade with movable climate shields to multiple green roofs. The copper-clad building was created as an extension of Panum, the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Seven years in the making, the 42,700-square-meter Maersk Tower sports a triangular and organic form clad in glass and copper-covered shutters that reference the city’s many copper church steeples. The vertical massing also leaves space for a new publicly accessible campus park with a zigzagging ‘floating path’ providing pedestrian and cyclist access to different parts of campus. Laboratories make up over half of the building, which also houses offices, shared facilities, an 18,000-square-meter foyer, canteen, auditoriums, and classrooms. “To create architecture for world-class health research, it is important to design a venue with many opportunities to meet—both across different professional groups and across the public domain and the research community,” wrote the architects. “This will help to disseminate the research activities, leading to knowledge sharing and inspiration for new and groundbreaking research.” To that end, all the shared facilities are grouped together in the low base on which Maersk Tower sits. An open atrium with a continuous spiral staircase joins 15 floors and promotes views of the outdoors and visual connectivity indoors. Every floor features an open “Science Plaza” that serves as natural gathering spaces. Related: Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food Natural light and ventilation are optimized throughout the building and views of greenery can be enjoyed from every floor. Copper shutters that adjust as needed provide protection from solar heat gain. Lush green roofs that top the tower and the low base help combat the urban heat island effect . + C.F. Møller Architects Images by Adam Moerk

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Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food

January 9, 2018 by  
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C.F. Møller has unveiled new renderings for the New Islands Brygge School, an innovative lower-secondary school that takes a more hands-on and experimental approach to learning. Located in the heart of Copenhagen , the 9,819-square-meter school will teach children how to harvest and cook the food grown in the rooftop garden. In addition to a landscaped roof, the building will feature rooftop solar panels and an array of energy-saving technologies. C.F. Møller Architects won the bid to design New Islands Brygge School in a competition last year. The school combines physical, sensory, and experience-based learning, which informed the architects’ vision to create a building that blurs the line between indoors and out. The triangular-shaped school takes design and material inspiration from the city, port and commons. Since food is a major theme of the school, a double-height dining hall is placed at the heart of the school to serve as the focal point and main hub. Two kitchens flank the canteen area. Students also interact with food in other ways through greenhouses and urban gardens, and even in outdoor kitchens and a campfire for open-air cooking. Physical activity is also important in the curriculum and so the architects created multiple outdoor recreation areas on the roof that include a running track, parkour area, and enclosed ball pitch. Related: Nation’s first K-8 urban farm school teaches kids how to grow their own food “The school’s interior and outdoor spaces are designed to be in close contact with each other,” wrote the architects. “Each class has direct access to the roof landscape from their home area, while the school’s natural science area is linked to an outdoor area with a biology garden, greenhouse for physics and chemistry, and the gardens.” The building is built to follow the strictest Danish low-energy code 2020 and includes ventilation with heat recovery, natural ventilation , day-light-controlled lighting, and a highly insulated envelope. + C.F. Møller Images via C.F. Møller

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Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food

SLA unveils year-round ski slope to cap Copenhagens massive trash incinerator

January 4, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm SLA has unveiled final designs for the much-anticipated park and ski slope that will top the currently operational Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant in Copenhagen, Denmark. BIG , which masterplanned the incredible project, is also behind some of the ski slope designs. The all-weather green roof will be open throughout the year with a variety of programming from hiking trails and climbing walls to ski slopes and viewing platform for taking in the city skyline. The 170,000-square-foot park is essentially a massive green roof , a plant-covered building system that SLA has won numerous accolades for, including the 2017 Scandinavian Green Roof Award for Copenhagen’s Mærsk Tower and SUND Nature Park. Challenges for the Amager Bakke’s multipurpose green roof include steep slopes, safety concerns, and the facility’s byproduct heat that can reach as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit in certain areas. “The project to create an attractive and green activity rooftop park on top of Amager Bakke has been very challenging,” said SLA partner Rasmus Astrup, according to ArchDaily . “Not only because of the extreme natural – and unnatural – conditions of the site and the rooftop itself, which put severe stress on plants, trees and landscape . But also because we’ve had to ensure that the rooftop’s many activities are realized in an accessible, intuitive and inviting manner. The goal is to ensure that Amager Bakke will become an eventful recreational public space with a strong aesthetic and sensuous city nature that gives value for all Copenhageners – all year round.” Related: Denmark fires up its Copenhill power plant, with ski slopes set to open next year The rooftop park is designed to become a lush environment welcoming to a great diversity of flora and fauna. Visitors will also be able to help seed the park with seed bombs . Construction has broken ground on the Amager Bakke Rooftop Park, which is slated for completion in September 2018. + SLA Via ArchDaily Images via SLA , except where noted

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SLA unveils year-round ski slope to cap Copenhagens massive trash incinerator

Denmark fires up its Copenhill power plant, with ski slopes set to open next year

October 24, 2017 by  
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Six years ago, Bjarke Ingels Group unveiled plans for a ski slope power plant that could provide the city of Copenhagen with electricity, hot water, and a steady stream of recycled materials. It’s a wild design, and we never thought it’d see the light of day – but fast forward to 2017, and Copenhill is nearly complete. The waste-to-energy plant is currently operational, and by the end of next year it will be topped with 30 rooftop trees, the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall, and a 600-meter ski slope. Inhabitat recently traveled to Copenhagen for a first look inside this landmark building – hit the jump for our exclusive photos. When it officially opens next year, the Amager Bakken waste-to-energy plant will process 400,000 tons of waste annually to provide 160,000 homes with hot water and 62,500 homes with electricity. The new plant replaces the aging Amager Resource Center, and it’s able to produce 25% more energy while cutting CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons per year. Despite the fact that the plant effectively burns trash, its emissions are remarkably clean thanks to advanced filtration technology – the air in the plant’s vicinity is actually healthier than in Copenhagen’s city center. The plant will also enable the city to salvage 90% of the metals in its waste stream, and it will yield 100,000 metric tons of ash that will be reused as road material. Did we mention that it’s designed to blow enormous smoke rings? BIG Project Manager Jesper Boye Andersen told Inhabitat that “The completion date is after summer 2018, we are still pushing for the smoke rings, and we have proven that the technology works.” The building’s facade is made up of staggered metal planters that vary in size and shape to carefully control solar exposure. When it rains, each planter will drain into the one below it to sustain a flourishing vegetated wall. Copenhill’s roof will made from an artificial turf material, and it will be open to skiers and snowboarders all-year-round. In addition to the ski slope, the roof will feature a cafe, a running path, and the world’s largest artificial climbing wall, which will measure 86 meters tall by 10 meters wide. According to recent estimates, the total cost of the plant will be 4 billion DKK (about $632 million). It was financed by five nearby municipalities that will benefit from the energy, hot water, and other resources it produces. + BIG + Amager Resource Center Inhabitat was invited to Denmark by Visit Copenhagen , which paid for meals and lodging for 3 days

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Denmark fires up its Copenhill power plant, with ski slopes set to open next year

Incredible Algae Dome absorbs sun and CO2 to produce superfood and oxygen

September 5, 2017 by  
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Industrial agriculture is blamed as a major cause of greenhouse gas, but what if there was a way to sustainably produce food that could help solve some of the world’s toughest environmental problems? That’s what the folks at SPACE10 , a Copenhagen-based future-living lab, tackled with the futuristic Algae Dome, a four-meter-tall food-producing architecture pavilion that pumps out oxygen in a closed-loop system. Powered by solar energy, the Algae Dome offers a sustainable and hyper-local food system that can pop up almost anywhere with minimal impact on the environment. Architects Aleksander Wadas, Rafal Wroblewski, Anna Stempniewicz, and bioengineer Keenan Pinto created the Algae Dome, which was presented at the CHART art fair in Copenhagen last week. Although SPACE10 has experimented with growing microgreens before, the team targets an even smaller food with the Algae Dome—micro-algae. Praised as a future “superfood,” micro-algae is said to contain twice as much protein as meat and is packed with vitamins and minerals, with more beta carotene than carrots and more iron than found in spinach, according to SPACE10. Even better? Micro-algae are among the world’s fastest-growing organisms and can be grown with sunshine and water almost anywhere, all while sucking up carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen in the process. Related: SPACE10 creates an open-source Growroom you can build at home During the three-day CHART art fair, the Algae Dome produced 450 liters of micro-algae and provided an interactive architectural experience that was part food system, part furniture, and wholly educational. The large amount of food was produced in a surprisingly small amount of space thanks to the design that featured 320 meters of coiled tubing, showing off the flow of emerald green micro-algae. Visitors were invited to sit inside the pavilion and enjoy a “breath of fresh air” created by the micro-algae as it converted carbon dioxide into oxygen. Packets of delicious spirulina (a type of blue-green algae) chips, created by SPACE10’s chef-in-residence Simon Perez, were placed around the pavilion to give passersby the chance to try the superfood. “In the future, different species of microalgae could be used as a form of nutrient-rich food, as a replacement for soy protein in animal feed, in the development of biofuels, as a way to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and as a method of treating industrial wastewater,” said SPACE10. “In other words, microalgae could help combat malnutrition, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels , help stop the destruction of the rainforest, improve air quality, and reduce pollution. Little wonder that microalgae has been dubbed the future’s sustainable super crop.” SPACE10 sees the Algae Dome as the prototype for food-producing architecture that could pop up virtually anywhere, from bus stops to apartment complexes. + SPACE10 Picture credit: Niklas Adrian Vindelev

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Incredible Algae Dome absorbs sun and CO2 to produce superfood and oxygen

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