Denmark’s artificial island for green energy to power 3M homes

February 8, 2021 by  
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The government of Denmark has approved plans for an artificial island in the North Sea to act as a clean energy hub for the country. The island, which will be built about 50 miles offshore, is expected to produce and store enough renewable energy to power 3 million homes along with multiple industries. The project is expected to cost about $34 billion, 51% of which will be funded by the Danish government. The other amount will be provided by the private sector. The project will happen in two phases. The initial phase will see the island producing 3 gigawatts of electricity. Upon completion, the facility is expected to produce 10 gigawatts. The island will be equipped with high walls on three sides, with one side remaining open for service docking. Related: 3XN unveils Denmark’s first climate-positive hotel for Bornholm island The proposed island will be the size of 18 football fields in its first phase and will link to offshore wind turbines. The facility will also generate green hydrogen , which will be used in the aviation, shipping and industrial sectors. Besides the proposed island, the Danish government is also exploring plans to build another artificial energy island in the Baltic Sea. “This is truly a great moment for Denmark and for the global green transition,” said Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s Energy Minister. “(The island) will make a big contribution to the realization of the enormous potential for European offshore wind .” The news comes shortly after Denmark announced it would stop its search for gas and oil in the North Sea. Denmark has a legal target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 70% below 1990s levels by 2030. To meet its targets, Denmark will need to implement new energy policies and investments. The project will not only help cut down carbon emissions but will provide the energy needed to sustainably power the country’s industries. + Danish Energy Agency Via Reuters and Yale Environment 360 Image via Danish Energy Agency

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CleanAirZone debuts a bio-based air purifier at CES 2021

February 8, 2021 by  
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At the virtual CES 2021, air purification R&D company CleanAirZone showcased its Bio-Based Air Purifier, a new product that it claims can even eliminate coronaviruses, including COVID-19, with natural biotics and enzymes derived from nature. The green technology uses the company’s proprietary BioCAZ solution to capture and neutralize a variety of indoor air contaminants without the need for filters. According to the firm, the product has been tested against an extensive list of viruses and does not produce harmful wastes or byproducts in the process. Marketed as the “only biotechnology capable of capturing and digesting 99.99% of contamination in the air,” the CleanAirZone system uses the same types of bacteria that have been used to clean the atmosphere for billions of years. The filter-free system first captures and stores pollutants within a grounded area inside the device using an electrical charge that attracts ultrafine particles of 0.00006u, after which the contaminants are “digested” by natural enzymes in the BioCAZ solution dissolved in water. The process of oxidation neutralizes the compounds without any harmful byproducts.  Related: IKEA’s new air purifying curtain will decrease indoor pollutants Designed for home and office use, the CleanAirZone Air Purifier has a minimalist appearance. The base Model 85 provides healthy air in spaces up to 700 square feet, while a proposed Model 300 purifies spaces up to 2,000 square feet. The cylindrical machine measures nearly 30 inches in height and a diameter of 15 inches and plugs into a standard 110/220 outlet at a consumption rate of 0.6 kW per day. Preserving the right level of solution in the machine — 6 ounces of BioCAZ Solution every four months — is the only maintenance needed. According to the company, the “living bio-system” purification technology has been tested by Assured Bio Labs in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to be highly effective against coronaviruses , mold spores, smoke-derived VOCs and other tested viruses and bacteria. The company currently has 300 Model 85 prototypes for pilot customers and has not yet revealed an official launch date. + CleanAirZone Images via CleanAirZone

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CleanAirZone debuts a bio-based air purifier at CES 2021

Wadden Sea World Heritage Center promises great views and research opportunities

February 8, 2021 by  
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The Wadden Sea, known for being the largest unbroken system of tidal flats and wetlands on Earth, stretches from Denmark and Germany through the Netherlands. Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these coastal wetlands merge with Lauwersmeer National Park to create a rare landscape met by the Dutch village of Lauwersoog. What started out as a favorite casting-off point for local fishermen has since become a popular tourist destination for visitors wanting to experience the iconic landscape. It is also where Danish firm Dorte Mandrup is rounding out its third project on the Wadden Sea, the Wadden Sea World Heritage Center. “The new Wadden Sea World Heritage Center pays homage to the historic maritime activity in Lauwersoog,” Dorte Mandrup explained. “At the same time, it presents a contemporary expression that enriches the diversity of the buildings in the area.” Along with this project located in the Netherlands , Dorte Mandrup is also the designer of the Wadden Sea Center in Denmark and the Trilateral Wadden Sea World Heritage Partnership Center in Germany. Related: Flowing marine research center inspired by tsunami waves Home to more than 10,000 species of plants and animals , including a range of endangered migratory birds, the ecosystems found inside this region are completely unique. It is also one of the only natural habitats in the Netherlands for native seals. “Drawing inspiration from the endless cycle of the tide, the gradual spiral-like incline — like the continuous rising and falling of the water surface — offers a stunning 360-degree view of the sea, the Lauwersmeer and the surrounding landscape as visitors ascend through the building,” the firm said. “It almost gives you the feeling of being one with the sea.”  Visiting guests will have a chance to enjoy the views and learn about the Wadden Sea environment at the center, which will also serve as a research hub for students and scientists. One of the most important conservation projects that will take place at the center will be the study and rehabilitation of local rescued seals. The seals will have a home on the second floor of the building, where a large underwater tank gives visitors the chance to view the animals from above and below. Water-based research will culminate in an outdoor field station and water garden that also serves as a viewing platform and recreation area for both researchers and visitors. Part research base, part museum, the Wadden Sea World Heritage Center will provide an important and delicate intersection for understanding and appreciation between humans and nature. + Dorte Mandrup Via ArchDaily Images via The Wadden Sea World Heritage Center and Dorte Mandrup

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Bee-killing pesticide approved for emergency use in the UK

January 12, 2021 by  
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The U.K. government is reversing a ban on a dangerous pesticide. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and British Sugar lobbied hard to get a product containing neonicotinoid thiamethoxam sanctioned for emergency use on sugar beets. Not only is this chemical thought to kill bees, but rainwater will wash it from fields into rivers. Last we heard, fish weren’t requesting neonicotinoid thiamethoxam any more than were insects, many of which already face serious declines. Matt Shardlow, chief executive of the conservation group Buglife, was one of many environmentalists unhappy with the decision. “In addition, no action is proposed to prevent the pollution of rivers with insecticides applied to sugar beet,” Shardlow said . “Nothing has changed scientifically since the decision to ban neonics from use on sugar beet in 2018. They are still going to harm the environment .” Related: Flea treatments are poisoning England’s rivers Beet yellows virus is carried by aphids and has a ruinous effect on sugar beet crops. The U.K. has tracked this disease with national surveys since 1946, charting the effects of chemicals, farm hygiene and other factors on the changes and developments in virus yellows disease. Treating sugar beet seeds with neonicotinoid thiamethoxam is one approach used to control this disease . “Virus yellows disease is having an unprecedented impact on Britain’s sugar beet crop, with some growers experiencing yield losses of up to 80%, and this authorization is desperately needed to fight this disease,” said Michael Sly, chairman of the NFU sugar board. “It will be crucial in ensuring that Britain’s sugar beet growers continue to have viable farm businesses.” He emphasized that pesticides would be used in a limited and controlled way. In 2018, the EU decided to protect bees by banning outdoor uses of thiamethoxam. But now 11 countries, including Spain, Denmark and Belgium, have signed emergency authorizations to use this controversial chemical. Via The Guardian and Pest Management Science Image via Kurt Bouda

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Bee-killing pesticide approved for emergency use in the UK

Humane Society UK finds top brands selling real fur disguised as faux fur

December 23, 2020 by  
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The Humane Society International (HSI) U.K. has warned shoppers to be wary of purchasing faux fur products online, even from leading brands including Amazon , eBay, Shein and Romwe, among others. This warning follows a recent HSI investigation, which revealed that online retailers are selling items labeled to contain faux fur despite actually including real fur. In the investigation, HSI’s undercover shoppers purchased various faux fur products; the items were then subjected to laboratory tests to determine whether they contain animal fur. As it turns out, most of the items were made with real fur. In the investigation, a beanie hat was purchased at £13.99 (about $18.79) from Amazon U.K., a pair of faux fur fluffy sliders at £16.99 (about $22.82) from eBay, a faux fur key chain from Shein at £2.49 (about $3.34), and faux fur pompom earrings, also £2.49, purchased from Shein were all found to contain real animal fur. Related: Denmark’s top fur cooperative is closing “Fur is cruel, which is why most Brits don’t want to buy it,” HSI Executive Director Claire Bass said. “So it’s really concerning that yet again we’ve found popular online shopping websites selling an alarming number of products described as faux fur which have turned out to be trimmed with real fur from fox, mink, raccoon, dog, and rabbit.” Other brands found to be selling misleading products include Just Your Outfit, Danielli and Boho Styles, all of which were found to sell “faux fur” products that contain real animal fur. Some products were even labeled “ vegan ” and “cruelty-free”. Fur farming is currently illegal in the U.K., but there is no ban on selling fur products. HSI has been running the Fur Free Britain campaign, which has gained momentum, with animal rights groups, celebrities and even politicians fighting to stop the sale of animal fur products entirely. “Fur-farming is rightly banned in the U.K., but for as long as animal fur from overseas is allowed to be sold here, we remain complicit in the cruelty, creating a minefield for shoppers who wholeheartedly reject that cruelty,” Bass said. “We urge the government to bring forward plans to implement a fur sales ban in the U.K. so that British consumers can trust that their ethical purchasing decisions are not in vain.” + Humane Society International Via VegNews Image via Marcus Bellamy

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3XN unveils Denmarks first climate-positive hotel for Bornholm island

December 2, 2020 by  
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On the tiny Danish island of Bornholm, Hotel Green Solution House (GSH) will raise its eco-friendly charms with a new climate-positive wing designed by Copenhagen-based firm 3XN and its green think-tank, GXN. Slated for completion in summer 2021, the new extension will be entirely built, clad and insulated with timber materials for a carbon-neutral footprint. The hotel wing will incorporate upcycled materials from construction offcuts for the furnishings and surfaces. Opened in 2015, Hotel GSH was designed by 3XN and GXN to serve as an inspiring leader in green hospitality. An all-timber build was selected for the new wing for a reduced carbon footprint ; according to the International Environment Agency, approximately 40% of the world’s carbon emissions are attributed to the construction industry, with steel and concrete responsible for a total of 16%. Related: Low-impact geodesic dome hotel immerses guests in Patagonian nature “It is a privilege to work with a developer who is completely uncompromising in her approach to sustainability and the circular economy . In this way, the project is making the impossible a reality,” said Kasper Guldager Jensen, architect and partner at 3XN and founder of GXN. “In addition to creating the foundation for a successful business, I hope that the new project can help to show others the potential of wood construction. If we in Denmark want to be able to achieve our climate goals, the construction industry needs to think and act differently, and there is therefore a great need for lighthouse projects like this.” The new hotel wing at Hotel GSH will feature 24 rooms, a conference room and a rooftop spa. In addition to the use of upcycled materials, debris from local granite quarries in Bornholm will be repurposed as temperature-regulating décor in the conference room. The timber building will reduce its energy footprint with operable windows that let in natural daylight and ventilation. All components of the building are designed with reversible joints so that they can be reused in the future rather than end up as demolition waste. Construction of the new hotel wing is expected to begin this fall. + 3XN Images via 3XN

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University in Germany designs an alpine hut from reeds

October 28, 2020 by  
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A team of craftspeople and students from the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Building Material, Building Physics, Building Technology and Design have created an alpine hut designed from sustainable, renewable reed material. The project, SkinOver Reed, is meant to research the feasibility of the material as facade and roof cladding for use in high-altitude Alpine regions. Also known as thatch , reed is a carbon-neutral resource, known generationally for its rapid growth, short process chain, low-energy demand, low emissions and lack of pollutants. According to the designers, reed generates better water quality where it grows and helps to provide home to many different animals in the natural environment. It is harvested by cutting off the dead part of the plant, which is replaced by natural growth every year. Using the dead reed as cladding requires no need for any further treatment. At the end of its life, the construction material can be composted, closing the life cycle organically. Related: Prefab alpine shelter boasts phenomenal views and a small footprint The SkinOver Reed project was developed after two years of research, with reed chosen for the facade and roof to help generate a monolithic, three-dimensional design with a single material. The prototype thatched hut was built in Austria using local reed and wood with a foundation of stone from an existing building. The team researched examples of contemporary thatch architecture from France, Denmark and Sweden for inspiration and insight into building with reed. The first hut was completed in 2019, so the team spent summer 2020 monitoring, documenting and analyzing the effects of last winter’s cold weather on the reed. Long-term, they plan to implement both permanent and periodic measurements to monitor the hut’s aging process, hopefully inspiring other architects to see the favorability and quality of renewable materials like reed. The project has already garnered favorable attention, as it was shortlisted in the small building category for the Dezeen Awards 2020. + University of Stuttgart Via Dezeen Images via University of Stuttgart

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Amazon hands Mercedes-Benz its biggest electric vehicle order to date

August 28, 2020 by  
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Amazon hands Mercedes-Benz its biggest electric vehicle order to date Katie Fehrenbacher Fri, 08/28/2020 – 00:00 German auto giant Mercedes-Benz announced its largest order of electric vehicles to date Friday: 1,800 electric delivery vans for retail giant Amazon to use across Europe. The deal shows how companies are increasingly paying attention to ways to decarbonize transportation including buying more zero-emission commercial vehicles. In particular, the market for electric last-mile delivery vehicles is starting to grow quickly as logistics companies such as FedEx and Amazon, as well as retailers such as IKEA, set and strive to hit climate goals.  Mercedes-Benz, a subsidiary of Daimler, has been a longtime partner of Amazon, as well as global shipping companies. Two years ago, Amazon bought 20,000 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans to launch its local franchised shipping program in the United States. However, those were internal combustion vehicles. The world’s largest automakers have been relatively slow to build and market electric trucks and buses, citing a lack of demand from customers and technology that isn’t ready for prime time. That’s left an opening for startups such as Rivian, which has a deal to sell Amazon 100,000 electric trucks.  But Mercedes-Benz appears to be making up for lost time. The automaker also announced Friday that it’s joining the Climate Pledge, an initiative coordinated by Amazon and firm Global Optimism that commits signatories to achieving the objectives laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement by 2040, a decade earlier than the agreement’s 2050 goal. Mercedes-Benz says it will become net carbon-neutral by 2040.  Amazon plans to use the 1,800 electric delivery vans — 1,200 e-Sprinter vans and 600 e-Vito vans — to deliver goods in countries in Europe. European countries including England, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Sweden are acting aggressively to decarbonize transportation emissions and are more swiftly adopting electric trucks compared to the U.S. Mercedes-Benz says by the end of the year it will offer five electric vehicle models and 20 plug-in hybrid vehicle editions. Its vehicle and battery production also will be carbon-neutral, using clean energy. Amazon is adding 1,800 electric delivery vehicles from Mercedes-Benz as part of our journey to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world, and we will be moving fast to get these vans on the road this year. Transitioning to electric vehicles after decades of making gas and diesel-powered ones won’t be easy. The German auto industry is losing jobs and profits as it refashions its factories to make electric vehicle drive trains, and reduces production of the traditional engine and gas tank.  At the same time, big companies such as Amazon increasingly are making global climate commitments in an effort to stay competitive, protect their brands, meet mandates and retain employees. Amazon plans eventually to have all of its shipments to customers become net-zero carbon, with 50 percent of all shipments net-zero by 2030. Electrification of its fleet will play a large role in those goals. In the release, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that Amazon is buying the electric vans from Mercedes-Benz in an effort “to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world.” Pull Quote Amazon is adding 1,800 electric delivery vehicles from Mercedes-Benz as part of our journey to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world, and we will be moving fast to get these vans on the road this year. Topics Transportation & Mobility Daimler Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Amazon Close Authorship

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Ugakei Circles sustainable nature park set to open in 2021

August 5, 2020 by  
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It’s no secret that tourism is often an incredibly important component to a destination’s economy. In the past, overconsumption and polluting modes of transport have given tourism a bad name. Now more than ever, the future of tourism is focusing on sustainability, and Inabe, a city located between two of Japan’s busiest cities (Kyoto and Nagoya), is no exception. This is the setting for Ugakei Circles, a sustainable tourism project set to open in spring 2021, consisting of overnight glamping cabins, estuary camping sites and a centralized communal area. The project is a collaboration between Danish and Japanese design teams focused on sustainable tourism development and low-impact, regenerative tourism. Related: Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences Responsible for the project are Danish architects Tredje Natur, Japanese engineers Structured Environment and sustainability experts Henrik Innovation. The plan is to build the new park on an existing campground using only renewable materials and repurposed building waste . Design plans for the center building and the central courtyard feature optimal micro-climate conditions with wind protection and an optimized roof profile that catches the sun rays in the winter and provides shade in the summer. The park will include an overnight section that accommodates permanent Nordic cotton tents and cabins suited to glamping as well as a public river plateau where guests can pitch their own tents. All guests can take advantage of the property’s hiking routes, ocean views, mountain creeks and several natural waterfalls. There is an education center for children and adults to learn more about the nature that surrounds them through activities, a community hub, reception area and spaces for shops and workshops. The nature park proposal highlights the importance of outdoor activity and circular gatherings, as early civilizations in Denmark and Japan often centered their communities around the universal shape. “We believe the future is about circularity,” said Flemming Rafn Thomsen, lead architect and co-founder of Tredje Natur. “Our proposal is composed by a family of circles that define a series of sustainable communities. The master plan and buildings embody a unique environment and a regenerative ‘hygge’ experience in nature. It is our hope that our project will become the base camp for a new type of regional nature-based development that promote sustainable awareness and brings the gift of nature to many urban dwellers.” + Tredje Natur Images via Tredje Natur, Structured Environment and Henrik Innovation

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Ugakei Circles sustainable nature park set to open in 2021

This fashion boutique in India is crafted from recycled materials

August 5, 2020 by  
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Located in Gujarat, India, this boutique shop designed by Manoj Patel Design Studio is completely made out of recycled materials . The 350-square-foot space, completed in 2020, sells fine women’s wear and combines two rooms together to create a contemporary consumer experience using reused traditional and scrap materials. Not only do the sustainability features make this project cost-effective and environmentally responsive, it has introduced a series of unique wall patterns and buying conditions for the owner’s clients. When customers enter the store, their attention is immediately grabbed by the dark, contrasting colors in the ceiling mural and the bright, green accent walls. A custom arrangement of earth-toned waste clay tiles adds texture and a dramatic effect to the walls by resembling old-fashioned floor and ceiling interiors. Related: This green wall uses upcycled clay tiles for natural cooling Materials include reused clay roof tiles, recycled beer bottles , recycled window shutters, unused sample tiles, wasted metal rings and old mirror cladding. The client, a fashion designer, provided their own reclaimed fabrics to reupholster the seating as well. The designer chose these specific upcycled materials for both their longevity and their aesthetics. The layout, which combines two older rooms to form the studio, incorporates graphics and material frames in various sections to give guests a different perspective when viewed from particular angles. One such accent area is meant to resemble the traditional designs of Indian saris, while another uses reclaimed glass bottles to reflect the pattern of a necklace. Recycled table legs are used as door handles, and the clothes-hanging area was constructed by turning old metal rings into floral hooks. Broken tiles are arranged into mosaics, depicting flowers and leaves on the studio’s floor. Architect Manoj Patel is passionate about climate-responsive architecture, and his firm has continued to reflect recycled construction techniques, nature preservation and sustainable building materials since it opened in 2015. + Manoj Patel Design Studio Photography by Tejas Shah Photography via Manoj Patel Design Studio

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