Cheap, durable and natural furniture from PlayWood

November 23, 2021 by  
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Italian design company PlayWood is setting a new standard for sustainable furniture. They have products that are modular, recyclable and built from responsibly-sourced natural materials . At the most basic level, PlayWood is wood furniture. However, everything about it challenges the typical waste in the furniture industry, from material selection to the end-of-life disposal.  Related: Furniture made from the sea plant eelgrass The birch wood used in the products comes from forests with sustainable certification. PlayWood also incorporates scrap from other industries in an effort to upcycle waste . Production methods guarantee a resulting hypoallergenic and non-toxic product that is safe for everyone, including children. Each product is put through rigid certification to ensure it.  The wood is formed into sheets, similar to plywood. From there, the design elements shine. Where typical furniture takes a hard, inflexible form, PlayWood relies on an innovative 3D connector that provides a modular element. Basically, the sheets and connectors can result in endless design variations, so consumers can use and reuse the pieces as a desk, an organizer or a bookcase.  With this ability to customize and change the use of the materials, PlayWood is produced for a long lifespan. The company’s mission contributes to a slow circular design . It states they “offer high quality products made with passion and respect for tradition by expert craftsmen at an affordable price.” PlayWood products are developed and manufactured by Italian craftsmen in alignment with the next European ecological transition plan guidelines. Inasmuch, they are environmentally friendly and recyclable after a long life. Even the shipping for domestic and international customers guarantees 100% recycled materials and space-saving transport design, resulting in minimal-packaging waste.  “PlayWood designs and creates furniture in the name of sustainability to the planet’s well-being,” the company stated. “This is the commitment of PlayWood: hearing the needs of the Earth and of the people.” In addition to a planet-focused process for sourcing materials and designing a multi-use, durable product , PlayWood has streamlined the purchasing model with direct and customizable orders between the company and the customer. PlayWood is also taking the required steps to obtain the B-Corp certification, a certification that affirms the company’s commitment to sustainable practices from the manufacturing to delivery to the consumer . + PlayWood Images via PlayWood 

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Cheap, durable and natural furniture from PlayWood

Solar program has customers saving money from renewable energy

November 15, 2021 by  
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Making the individual choice to invest in renewable power is a good decision for the sake of the environment . Some areas make it easy to tap into solar, wind, water and other renewable energy options by paying a few extra bucks on your monthly bill. Other areas don’t offer the option at all, or available options are cost prohibitive. Joule Assets has set out to change that paradigm with a program called community source solar, and it’s changing the framework of the power structure in New York.  Joule Community Power, also known as Joule Assets, is a company dedicated to increasing the amount of, and access to, renewable energy options. Basically they act as a mediary between cities and energy users on one side and energy providers on the other side. In this role, they work with municipalities and power companies to negotiate lower energy rates based on the numbers. In New York that means representing entire communities where a large number of customers can acquire lower energy rates than individuals can obtain.  Related: Renewable energy is growing too slow to stop climate change More than simply a bulk energy, cost-savings option, the community choice solar program maintains a focus on diversifying the types of energy available, with an emphasis on solar and other renewable energy. A recent contract with supplier Luminace is the largest solar generation supply agreement dedicated to community choice solar ever. It’s expected to produce approximately 24,600 megawatt hour in the first year of operation. A second contract with BQ Energy brings that total up to a combined 31,000 megawatt hour of community solar supply in the first year of operation for New York communities.  Most green energy programs work as an opt-in system where customers choose to participate. This system typically captures about 5% of customers. The community choice solar program through Joule will largely be offered as an opt-out program instead. That means everyone will be signed up and only those who choose not to participate will be excluded from the program. Planners anticipate this will capture about 90% of customers.  “Without having to lift a finger, our residents will be able to gain benefits from renewable energy while saving money ,” said Marbletown Supervisor Rich Parete. “This is an amazing benefit for our town and the result of some terrific collaboration.” In addition to making it easier to access energy that is sourced from solar, the community choice solar program also saves the customer money, estimated at up to 10% of their standard utility costs. The combined contracts will service more than 4,500 households and small businesses. Between 35% to 50% of those customers fall into the low to moderate income range, which provides a unique opportunity to allow these typically underrepresented households the chance to participate in renewable energy programs without extra expense. “Hudson Valley Community Power will be the first opt-out community solar program that explicitly prioritizes LMI residents for solar benefits,” said Jessica Stromback, CEO of Joule Assets. “We have already brought thousands of New Yorkers monthly savings on their utility bills while promoting clean energy, and these deals will help those who need it most.” BQ Energy develops renewable energy with a unique business model. Rather than buying and using large expanses of land for solar fields, it puts a focus on using unappealing land areas such as landfills and brownfield sites. “We are arguably the most experienced and successful landfill solar developer in the U.S. ,” the company said. “This year, we have added 175 MW of new projects to our development portfolio. We take pride in our ability to transform unusable land into operating solar projects that benefit local communities.” As a service provider, the company benefits from expanding its client base. “Repurposing landfills and brownfields to start generating new, clean energy is at the core of our mission and a benefit we are thrilled to expand upon in the Hudson Valley ,” said Paul Curran, Managing Director of BQ Energy. “Knowing that the majority of our capacity is going to low-income residents adds a social value element to our environmental efforts.” The programs offer an immediate increase in customer base for solar power providers, boosting the households they serve by thousands almost instantly. It also puts the “ power ” in the hands of community leaders when it comes to making decisions about the types of energy they want at a local level. Joule Community Power is dedicated to “empowering local decision-making, enabling access to cleaner and cheaper energy and making it easier for New Yorkers to transition to renewable electricity . Through community choice aggregation (CCA), Joule helps municipalities join together to aggregate the buying power of residents at large enough scale to negotiate more favorable terms of their energy contracts, decrease electricity costs, designate renewable generation sources, choose clean energy, increase consumer protection, select a default energy services company, support local renewable generation and deliver the benefits of solar, or other renewables, to entire communities.”   The combination of the opt-out programs, participation at the municipal level and the commitment from the solar energy providers will allow large communities with a varied population to transition into clean energy and is an automatic way to work towards climate goals for the country. Joule hopes the system sets an example for expansion across the United States and around the world.  + Joule Assets  Image via Joule Assets  

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Solar program has customers saving money from renewable energy

Seoul green city has food within a 10-minute walk anywhere

November 15, 2021 by  
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Hyundai Development Company hired UNStudio in 2019 to design a green, mixed-used neighborhood in Seoul, Korea , a 10-minute city for the new digital economy. That means mixed-use spaces, green energy and digital packages for residents who are expected to live, work and play in the 504,000 square meter neighborhood. Project H1’s added technology lifestyle package is designed to go beyond traditional smart city models to serve residents in ways that free up time for leisure. Digital infrastructure also can manage energy production and consumption, communal spaces and local food production. Will it work? The plan is to create all desired amenities from a larger city, including food within a 10-minute walk of anyone’s home within the development. “For the H1 masterplan, we have aimed to create the ultimate contemporary 10-minute city , where the daily life experience of the residents is the top priority,” said Ben van Berkel of UNStudio who helped head the project. “We do this through the inclusion of a rich density of uplifting, curated on-site experiences that provide an extensive range of options for how they can spend their living, working and leisure time, thereby also saving them the time needed to travel elsewhere in the city — because with time that is saved, more time is created.” The plan proposes to achieve these goals through System Design, which focuses on flexibility, adaptability and arranging components of a neighborhood according to varying needs. “We have taken an approach of ‘flexible urban density.’ This enables the multi-functional use of public space and employs mixed-use organizational models to ensure that the residents can meet, connect and socialize, both in planned and spontaneous scenarios,” added Berkel. “The components of the masterplan not only encourage the creation of strong community bonds, the proposed digital service packages also create an unprecedented level of convenience for the residents.” + UNStudio Images via WAX & Virgin Lemon

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Seoul green city has food within a 10-minute walk anywhere

Aeon is a point between two worlds

November 15, 2021 by  
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From the steel door entrance, to the soft lines, to the stark contrast in the interior design , Aeon is all about embracing and breaking boundaries.  The two buildings that make up Aeon, a hotel and wellness center, repeatedly return to the theme of connected, yet separated. The architects at noa* network of architecture describe the balance as a place “where two worlds meet. Between past and future, between dream and reality, between inside and outside: noa* makes the invisible lines visible, which become part of the full picture and, above all, instead of a separation, a connection between two worlds.” Related: French wood house builds a connection with its environment Aeon sits nestled in the Italian countryside, surrounded by views from the Sciliar, to the Rittner Horn, to the Merano Alps and the Dolomites. The 500 year old farmhouse, inn and barn served as inspiration for the project. In honor of the site’s history, the team focused on minimal site impact with an artificially-created hill that essentially creates an underground connecting tunnel. More visible is a stone above-ground walkway between the two structures.  The layouts and exterior look of the buildings nod to the past as well. “The creation of an ambivalent tension between the centuries-old tradition of the rural complex and an exclusively modern statement was the basic principle underlying the design process,” explained Architect Christian Rottensteiner. The team emphasized the importance of keeping the green surroundings instead of consuming it with architecture. One building houses a public gathering area that includes a restaurant , bar and wellness area. The other building is a hotel with 15 guest suites and between the two is a courtyard. The primary building material was wood sourced from trees on the property. They feature gabled roofs and a striking façade design that appears different from each angle of approach. Uniquely-shaped trapezoid windows offer eye-catching visual appeal, providing natural light throughout the space. Once inside the buildings , the interior design elements take center stage with a stunning use of contrasting blue and creamy white coloring that shifts at eye level. It’s a clear defining line that offers an atmosphere of mystery yet familiarity. “The past has grown like stone, wood and nature,” said Interior Designer Patrick Gürtler about the color choices. “The future, on the other hand, is veiled, mysterious and artificial (i.e. it is intangible like the sky, the night or the ocean). In between is the moment, a sharp, unconditional break, but also a point of contact.” This idea of breaking away while staying connected is seen in the transition when the blue and cream colors flip between the wellness area and the other public spaces.  “We have carefully chosen the fabrics , woods and colors that play both with and against each other at the same time,” added Gürtler. + noa* network of architecture  Photography by Alex Filz and Andrea Dal Negro

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Aeon is a point between two worlds

Baserange goes the extra mile for eco-friendly clothing production

August 20, 2021 by  
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The key to any successful business is the partnerships made along the way. For Baserange, its goal to manage a transparent, ethical and environmentally -friendly garment company is supported by a network of similarly-minded factories. Baserange was started in 2012 by Blandine Legait and Marie-Louise Mogensen. The original product line focused on undergarments, but the collection now includes an assortment of clothing options. With the focus on diversity, inclusion and natural beauty for the customer, the intimates and basics line matches that philosophy with a dedication to working with sustainable manufacturing facilities. Related: KADA’s sustainable clothing line is designed to empower women Up and down the collection, careful material selection means finding producers who rely on traditional techniques while providing  natural materials  that are soft, breathable and comfortable. With this in mind, Baserange obtains silk and linen from a second-generation family-operated factory in Turkey dedicated to checking supply certifications and creating materials that are long-lasting yet compostable at the end of their usable life.  Another family-owned factory in Porto, Portugal highlights fair trade working conditions and support of working women. The factory relies on renewable energy and works directly with Baserange to make the most of material  waste  saying, “They’ll do a set with just those leftover colors. Once we did bras with a cup in one color, a cup in another color, and the elastic in a third color.” Another textile mill, in France, relies on 80%  solar power  to run the factory. The buildings are made from reclaimed lumber from the surrounding area.  This close working relationship with nearby producers has resulted in an eco-friendly life cycle for Baserange’s clothing, starting with the fact that regular visits to the factories have a low transport footprint. The dyes are OEKO-TEX certified. The cotton is GOTS certified. The bamboo fabrics are FSC certified . Other natural fibers used in the clothing line include silk, linen and wool sourced in traditional ways to make yarn from yak, alpaca and mohair.  In a statement, the company summarized saying, “Baserange offerings are produced with respect for the environment and people. They are committed to clean production and ethical sourcing to minimize the environmental impact on both the producer and the wearer of the garments.”  + Baserange Images via Baserange 

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Baserange goes the extra mile for eco-friendly clothing production

LEGO Hand Bag turns you into a minifigsorta

October 19, 2016 by  
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The rectangular paper bag is like regular shopping bags in many respects. It’s just the right size for hauling your LEGO store loot, and sturdy enough to stand up on its own. Inside the bag are two handles, placed on opposite long sides of the bag. However, that’s where the similarities end, because the LEGO Hand Bag has one additional amusing feature. Related: LEGO releases set with stay-at-home dad and working mom minifigures When a person is holding the bag by its built-in handles, their (human) hands are covered up by bright yellow plastic hands resembling those of a LEGO minifigure . While the illusion works best when the customer is wearing a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, the promotional bag can make anyone look like they belong in LEGOland or, at the very least, like an extra from the LEGO movie. The kooky bag has been making its way around the internet for the past several days, but there’s still no word of an official response from the folks at LEGO HQ. Surely, they’ve seen it by now, so we can only hope they are deep in discussions over what kind of check to cut for the design duo who created what LEGO’s own advertising department didn’t think to attempt. Via Junho Lee and Hyun Chul Choi Images via Hyun Chul Choi and LEGO

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LEGO Hand Bag turns you into a minifigsorta

SolarCity announces plan to give "green" Airbnb hosts $1000

October 19, 2016 by  
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Airbnb hosts will be eligible for a rad new incentive when they install SolarCity panels on their homes, thanks to a new partnership between the two companies. Hosts can receive $1000 when they go solar and existing SolarCity customers will receive a $100 travel credit if they become Airbnb hosts. The collaboration hopes to boost the home-sharing company’s image as environmentally-friendly, especially among millennial customers. On Tuesday, the partnership was proudly announced as a continuation of Airbnb ’s mission to reduce traveler consumption, when compared to hotels. A collaborate survey between the company and Cleantech Group revealed that, in just the last year, Airbnb’s guests reduced water consumption by 4.2 billion gallons, produced 37,000 metric tons less of waste, and saved enough greenhouse gases to equal keeping 560,000 cars off of the road. Related: SolarCity’s new Buffalo plant will create 5,000 jobs in New York “We know specifically that our guests are looking for this when traveling,” said Airbnb’s head of global policy Chris Lehane to Fortune . They especially know that being clean and green is important to millennial visitors, who make up a significant portion of their customer base. Airbnb hosts had better jump on the deal quickly, as the incentive will drop to $750 after March of 2017. + Airbnb , SolarCity Via Fortune Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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SolarCity announces plan to give "green" Airbnb hosts $1000

Woman discovers venomous viper in a bag of lettuce

November 17, 2015 by  
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An Israeli woman shopping at a supermarket last month made a discovery straight out of our worst nightmare. When another customer asked if she noticed anything “strange” about a bag of lettuce, she quickly realized it was housing a snake. In a situation that would leave some passed out on the floor and others rushing out the door with a resounding “nope!”, the woman did some investigating and learned that the slithery invader was indeed a venomous viper. Read the rest of Woman discovers venomous viper in a bag of lettuce

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Woman discovers venomous viper in a bag of lettuce

How to make energy efficiency programs grab consumers

August 20, 2015 by  
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The problem with energy efficiency programs may be their emotional appeal. They need to make the customer feel as if they are solving a problem.

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How to make energy efficiency programs grab consumers

Buffalo Exchange Thinks Outside the Bag for Sustainability

December 3, 2013 by  
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Instead of a bag for carrying their purchases, Buffalo Exchange shoppers are encouraged to accept a 5-cent token, which is then donated to a charity of the customer’s choice.

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Buffalo Exchange Thinks Outside the Bag for Sustainability

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