World’s first zero-emissions hydrogen train aces maiden voyage

March 24, 2017 by  
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The world’s first hydrogen-powered train recently took its maiden voyage, reaching 50 miles per hour in a passenger-free trial run on a test track in Salzgitter, Germany. The zero-emission Coradia iLint train leaves only water vapor in its wake, is completely silent, and integrates many different innovative elements to propel it down the track. These include clean energy conversion to create electricity, flexible energy storage via batteries, and smart management between traction power and available energy. It’s based around the frame of a regular diesel train and designed to run on traditional, non-electrified tracks with a combination of sustainable operation and high performance. “This test run is a significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation,” said Dieder Pfleger , vice president of Alstom Germany and Austria—the company that manufactures the train . “With the Coradia iLint and its fuel cell technology, Alstom is the first railway manufacturer to offer a zero-emission alternative for mass transit trains. Today our new traction system, so far successfully proved on the test ring, is used on a train for the first time – a major step towards cleaner mobility in Europe.” Related: Germany unveils world’s first zero-emission hydrogen-powered passenger train White tests of the train at the Salzgitter plant only go up to 50 miles per hour, testing at a facility in Velim, Czech Republic have seen the train travel up to nearly 90 miles per hour. Hydrogen gas used for testing the train is essentially a waste byproduct of industrial processes, and the company has plans to use wind energy to produce the hydrogen fuel needed in the future. + Alstom Images via Alstom

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World’s first zero-emissions hydrogen train aces maiden voyage

Czech zoo to remove horns from rhino herd after poacher attack in France

March 16, 2017 by  
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A zoo in the Czech Republic announced Tuesday that it plans to preemptively remove the horns from its herd of rare rhinos. The decision comes a week after poachers broke into a French zoo, shot dead an endangered white rhino and hacked off its horn. As extreme as it sounds, the surgery could be potentially lifesaving. “It’s for the sake of rhino safety,” Andrea Jirousova, spokeswoman for the zoo in the central Czech town of Dvur Kralove nad Labem, told AFP . “The attack put us on alert, the danger is really intense.” The March 7 death of 4-year-old Vince from Thoiry Zoological Park outside Paris sent shockwaves through the wildlife community. Experts say that the animal’s death likely marks the first time a rhino has been killed in a zoo. The message the tragedy sent was chillingly clear: No living rhino, not even one held in captivity, is safe from poachers. The Dvur Kralove zoo currently houses 21 black and southern white rhinos, including three calves who will be excluded from the surgery. At up to $60,000 per kilogram, rhino horn sells more on the black market than gold or cocaine. Most of the demand for horn comes from China and Vietnam, where it’s prized for its purported medicinal and aphrodisiac properties. Related: Poachers broke into a French zoo to kill a rhino and steal its horn Jirousova said that the rhinos would be kept under anesthesia for the procedure, which involves removing the horns with a chainsaw, then filing down the edges. The move, she added, is entirely unprecedented. “We have never done this because of poachers,” Jirousova added. “We did it for other reasons like transport or health concerns.” Via AFP Photos by Flowcomm and Son of Groucho

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Czech zoo to remove horns from rhino herd after poacher attack in France

Twin live and work cubes demonstrate superior material and spatial economy

December 8, 2016 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of shortening your commute to mere steps, take a look at this brilliant project in the Czech Republic. Petr Stolin was commissioned to design two identical buildings using structural insulated panels (SIPs) – one for living, and one for working. The corresponding design, called Zen Houses, demonstrates a flair for spatial and material economy without compromising on style. Located in a rural landscape outside Liberec, the double-story cubes, which are just 10 meters wide, are clad in transparent acrylic sheets that reveal simple timber framing and surprisingly voluminous interiors. The two buildings, which lie side-by-side, were constructed with a variety of low-budget materials that give them something of a shabby chic aesthetic, including chipboard, plywood, wooden beams, raw metal and rubber. The cubic buildings are connected by a simple walkway and create a series of public, semi-public and private areas between them. They are carefully designed to frame views of the surrounding landscape, while ensuring plenty of natural light reaches the interiors. Related: Green live / work space is a modern update to the vernacular barn The interior of the studio half of the duplex is finished in white, while the residential building is finished in black – providing a subtle distinction between the two. Each building has a half-mezzanine, which increases the interior volume and living space. Its minimalism was inspired by Japanese design . “The experimental character of the houses was the conceptual starting point,” the architects write in their design brief. “Yet the deliberate austerity of the achieved forms definitely brings new lifestyle qualities to an environment built in this way.” + Petr Stolin Architekt

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Twin live and work cubes demonstrate superior material and spatial economy

Czech archaeological museum springs out of the ground like a modern-day cave system

November 29, 2016 by  
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In a project that joins modern architecture with ancient archaeological finds, the Czech Republic’s new Archeopark in Pavlov houses a museum where visitors can get an up-close look at many Paleolithic-era tools as well as skeletal remains of early humans and their artwork. The brainchild of Czech architects Radko Kv?t and Pavel Pijá?ek , the museum’s design is unique, as multiple parts of the structure appear to spring forth from the ground themselves, just as their precious archaeological treasures did. The Archeopark museum opened this year, with more than 10,000 square feet of exhibits that tell the story of early human evolution, and most of the museum is actually underground. Paleolithic artifacts are common to this region of Europe, and the majority of the items on display within the Archeopark were found within a small radius of the museum site. Exhibits include early tools made from stone and bone, the skeletal remains of anatomically modern humans, as well as the artwork produced by those same civilizations. Related: Poland’s National Museum in Szczecin wins World Building of the Year 2016 The museum ‘s design is decidedly modern, with sharp and unexpected angles at every turn. From the outside, the museum structures appear cold, harsh, and blank—concrete shapes dotting the site like a child’s discarded jacks. Oak and glass round out the building materials, confirming the museum’s understated style. Inside the museum, pitched ceilings with odd angles, winding pathways, and the occasional skylight produce an atmosphere more cavelike than modern, perhaps in a direct attempt to remind visitors that they, too, are a part of human evolution. Via Yatzer Images via Gabriel Dvo?ák for Radko Kv?t Architecture

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Czech archaeological museum springs out of the ground like a modern-day cave system

France is an affordable tiny house that snaps together in just 3 hours

September 13, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBodaWCdADs Despite its patriotic coloration and name, Tiny House France was assembled in the Czech Republic just south of Prague. The structure was built from 21 insulated panels connected with threaded rods. This setup makes it easy to assemble and disassemble the home as needed. The house is topped with a classic gabled roof and is elevated off the ground, no foundation necessary. Related: How to build a compact and multifunctional Cheryl Cabin with just $3K of materials The house is split into three main spaces partitioned by color. The section painted blue houses the bedroom and “night zone”, a decision motivated by the architect’s belief that the color blue “is the most suitable for a good night’s sleep.” The communal area with multifunctional seating and a table are located in the white-colored “day zone” and divided from the bedroom by a multifunctional partition that doubles as shelving. The final red-colored “heating zone” contains the wood-burning stove and kitchenette. + Pin-Up Houses Images via Pin-Up Houses

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France is an affordable tiny house that snaps together in just 3 hours

Mind-bending mountain chalet looks as if it could tip over at any moment

September 8, 2016 by  
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Though the former chalet was demolished, Znameni Ctyr Architekti integrated local architecture features into their design of Chalet Saint Peter rather than create a completely modern design. The new mountain chalet blends together traditional alpine architecture with contemporary elements to create a comfortable and attractive home that blends in with its forested surroundings. The home spans four stories, two of which are built into the sloped terrain and constructed with a sturdy granite flagstone base. A copper roof fans out overtop the home. The majority of the building is made with a laminated spruce frame clad in vertical and diagonal strips of red cedar that will develop a beautiful patina over time. Oak-framed windows punctuate the exterior and are mostly rectangular save for the small angled windows on the attic level. The interior is also finished almost entirely in wood. Rather than place the communal levels on the ground floor and tuck the bedrooms on the upper levels, the architects reversed this arrangement and placed the kitchen, living room, and dining area on the first floor, which boasts the best landscape views. The attic, located on the floor above, also contains a small living area. Related: Viereck Architekten’s green-roofed mountain chalets offer 360-degree views of the Alps “The gable walls of chalets in Krkonose mountains are often stepwise overhanged above the ground level. Our design utilizes this characteristic element and transforms this stepwise overhang into a gradual extension of the gable wall in the outward direction, so the crest of the roof is visibly longer than the actual length of the house and its base,” write the architects, adding that this setup also helps prolong the lifespan of the wood. “This house with its low ceiling height and careful placement in the sloping terrain acts as if the house had grown from the surrounding nature, and the main attention itself by the viewer is drawn by a silhouette of the roof massing.” + Znameni Ctyr Architekti Via ArchDaily Images via Znameni Ctyr Architekti , © Tomas Soucek

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Mind-bending mountain chalet looks as if it could tip over at any moment

5 exotic, eco-friendly Homestay locations to satisfy your wanderlust

September 8, 2016 by  
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Traveling the world and keeping a sensible budget may seem like contradictory missions, but new options in the hospitality sharing industry make global exploration much more practical. Homestay is one site which allows travelers to live with hosts in their unique corners of the world. As they say, you can live like, and with, a local in one of their 50,000 featured homestays, spanning 150 different countries and sporting surprisingly eco-friendly details. Spending your vacation at an eco-lodge in South Africa or a “peace home” in Nepal without breaking the bank is entirely possible, thanks to growing home-sharing networks. Here are some environmentally-conscious options to consider during your next spell of wanderlust. 18th Century rural house in Florence, Italy Hostess Francesca invites guests into her rural, but renovated, home in the hills just 27 kilometers from Florence. Visitors have free range of her extensive organic garden and ample kitchen space in each of her four available apartments to cook a delicious meal. Restaurants and chianti tastings abound in the nearby towns and a hot tub is available for sunset soaks amongst the grunts of wild boars, songs of crickets, and glittering starlight. Francesca invites people to “Bring with you the people you love, is there anything better that is worth living for?” Chilekatessen house built on the hills of Valparaíso, Chile Set in the hills of Valparaíso lies Chilekatessen house, a six bedroom abode with a gorgeous view of the bay and close proximity to public transportation and all the luxuries of city life. Hostess Maria Teresa shares her home and her passion for gardening and cooking with guests, as well as with her young son, Uwe. Private terraces, gardens, and ample daylight brighten the unassuming rooms. Maria Teresa says eco-tourism is her forte, after having traveled and lived across Europe, making this homestay perfect for the conscientious traveler. Charming bungalow in Jatiluwih, Bali Staying at Adiana’s eco-lodge in Bali drops you right in the middle of paradise. Visitors will find themselves mesmerized by the location on the slope of Mount Batukaru, the second highest mountain in Bali. This bungalow home is just minutes away from the Pura Luhur Batukaru Temple, a space for reverence, meditation, and blessings. Each of the four available rooms carry their own flair; some provide views of lush, tropical gardens and spring water ponds, while others face a spellbinding nearby rice terrace. “Peace home” eco-resort in Chitwan, Nepal The Shanta Ghar “peace home” is found in the grasslands of Madi, in the Chitwan District of Nepal. Surrounded by lush jungle, visitors can opt to lounge in the garden with the mango and lemon trees or venture into the wild on birdwatching tours or jungle camp excursions. The eco-resort is proudly constructed from local Sal wood, using traditional Nepali carpentry. Guests can choose between rooms in the main house, deluxe suites with private balconies, or round rooms in the “stone house.” A shared living room allows for mingling while you chow down on vegetarian fare made during Nepalese cooking courses. Swell Eco-Lodge on Wild Coast, South Africa The Wild Coast region of South Africa ’s Eastern Cape offers beauty, relaxation, and adventure. Hostess Lee-Ann invites families visiting her Swell Eco-Lodge to share in the view of rolling hills and the sounds of the sea. Wildlife aficionados will enjoy the sights of whales jumping, others the sight of cattle roaming a landscape steeped in history. The lodge features modern Rondavel structures with bright and artistic interior decorating. Both sea-facing and garden-facing rooms offer a place to relax in between outdoor adventures and enjoying a “green way of life.” + Homestay.com Images via Homestay.com

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5 exotic, eco-friendly Homestay locations to satisfy your wanderlust

Only four Northern White Rhinos remain on the planet

July 29, 2015 by  
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Nabire was a 31-year-old Northern White Rhino who called Czech Republic’s Dvur Kralove Zoo home until her death , which was announced Tuesday. Nabire suffered from uterine cysts, which made it impossible for her to breed naturally, and a ruptured cyst led to her demise. In December 2014, the world’s Northern white rhino population dropped from six to five after the 44-year-old male named Angalifu died at the San Diego Zoo. With Nabire’s passing, there are now just four of the rhinos left on earth – three females and one male. Because none of the females are capable of carrying babies, there is a ticking clock on the survival of this subspecies . Read the rest of Only four Northern White Rhinos remain on the planet

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Only four Northern White Rhinos remain on the planet

Printed Nest offers free plans for 3D printable bird feeders

May 7, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. You’ve heard of guerrilla gardening , but now a company from the Czech Republic is encouraging global urbanites to 3D print birds nests and install them in random places. Printed Nest spent two years perfecting designs of small oval nests to give city birds a safe space to rest. Then they made their open-source design available to anyone who has access to a 3D printer. Judging by the video, these birds love their colorful new homes. Read the rest of Printed Nest offers free plans for 3D printable bird feeders Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printed nests for urban birds , 3D printing , Animals , city birds , conservation , green design , guerrilla nesting , nests for city birds , open source design , Printed Nest , sustainable design , urban birds

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Printed Nest offers free plans for 3D printable bird feeders

Czech Republic’s prefab pavilion is built around a swimming pool to keep cool at the 2015 World Expo

March 30, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Czech Republic’s prefab pavilion is built around a swimming pool to keep cool at the 2015 World Expo Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , 2015 Milan Expo , 2015 world expo , Chybik + Kristof , czech republic , czech republic pavilion , Federico Diaz , green roof , Jakub Nepras , Luke Rittstein , Maxim Velcovsky , modular architecture , modular design , Prefab , prefab architecture , swimming pool , world expo

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Czech Republic’s prefab pavilion is built around a swimming pool to keep cool at the 2015 World Expo

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