Denmark to end subsidies for renewables much sooner than anyone thought possible

April 28, 2017 by  
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The renewable energy industry is performing extremely well in Denmark . The country’s energy minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said it’s performing so well, they’ll be able to stop providing state support for clean energy providers in just a few years. Denmark’s renewable energy industry will be able to stand on its own, and Lilleholt said he could not have predicted this outcome even last year. Denmark’s renewable energy industry needed subsidies for over 40 years. But soon they’ll be able to survive without a boost from the government. According to Lilleholt, the country’s experience shows it’s no longer cheaper to produce coal than renewables. The milestone is even more crucial right as the direction of global energy policies is uncertain while United States President Donald Trump embarks on an ill-advised attempt to revive coal . According to Bloomberg, the president has “made clear he’s an enemy of wind power .” Related: Denmark just broke its own wind power record for the second year in a row Lilleholt said technology will help clean energy become even more efficient and said “already today, it’s impossible to build a new coal power plant without support.” A government-appointed panel gave him the findings on the energy future of Denmark, and said the country is set to meet power needs entirely with renewable energy by 2050. Half the country’s energy requirement could be supplied by renewables as soon as 2030. The panel thinks a large amount of new capacity will be constructed without subsidies. Industry members seem just as surprised as Lilleholt. Outgoing CEO of engineering firm Danfoss Niels B. Christiansen thinks the price of producing renewable energy could fall below market electricity prices between 2020 and 2030, saying, “A year ago, it was debatable whether renewable energy costs could drop so low. But everyone’s now thinking that it will probably happen sooner.” Denmark is home to both the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer and world’s largest offshore wind farm operator, Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Dong Energy A/S . Via Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons and courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S

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Denmark to end subsidies for renewables much sooner than anyone thought possible

NASA snaps worrying images of new crack in large Greenland glacier

April 17, 2017 by  
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One of Greenland’s biggest glaciers could be in trouble. A Netherlands university professor pointed out a new chasm in the Petermann Glacier, as seen in satellite images . NASA’s Operation IceBridge recently went over to check it out and captured photographs that don’t look too good. Scientists say the crack is in an unusual place, and aren’t sure what caused it. Delft University of Technology professor Stef Lhermitte provided coordinates for Operation IceBridge, which flew over the rift to snap pictures. The significant crack is close to the center of Petermann Glacier’s floating ice shelf, which is a strange place for it to be according to scientists. The new chasm is not too far away from another longer and wider rift snaking towards the center of the ice shelf from the eastern side wall, and if the two intersect, a chunk could break off. Related: Iceberg Twice the Size of Manhattan Breaks Off Greenland Glacier There may be some hope – a feature NASA called a medial flowline could “exert a stagnating effect on the propagation of the new rift toward the older one.” Petermann Glacier has seen ice islands break off in the past, in 2010 and 2012. The 2010 chunk was over four times the size of Manhattan, and according to Massachusetts representative Edward J. Markey was the “largest piece of Arctic ice to break free in nearly half a century.” Since those two events the glacier has grown back a bit, but should another ice island break off, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland’s Jason Box told The Washington Post it could be over two times as big as Manhattan, or 50 to 70 square miles big. Lhermitte, after looking at NASA’s recent images, told The Washington Post, “From these images alone, it is difficult to already say anything about what exactly caused the crack on this unusual spot.” Via The Washington Post and Mashable Images via NASA/DMS/Gary Hoffmann and NASA/Kelly Brunt

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NASA snaps worrying images of new crack in large Greenland glacier

Green-roofed wooden tower in Lagos maximizes daylight and natural ventilation

April 17, 2017 by  
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This green-roofed wooden tower planned for Lagos features a perforated envelope inspired by indigenous cultures of the area. Hermann Kamte & Associates designed the experimental structure as an alternative to the massive concrete buildings that dominate the city. By contrast, the wooden tower emphasizes passive design principles that marry indoor and outdoor living. The building was designed for the Plan B: City Above the City competition. Each floor provides a variety of residential units surrounded by a belt of lush greenery. Divided into 4 parts, the new building sits atop an existing housing estate, with sky gardens and other amenities separating the old and the new. A rooftop garden provides panoramic views of the city and functions as an informal gathering space and restaurant. Related: Shanty Megastructures envisions a colossal vertical slum in the heart of Lagos The wooden envelope incorporates traditional patterns from the Yoruba culture, and it provides protection from direct sun while giving the project a unique appearance. The entire structure is designed using LVL timber for both load-bearing and non-load bearing elements. + Hermann Kamte & Associates

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Green-roofed wooden tower in Lagos maximizes daylight and natural ventilation

San Francisco bike shop lets you trade in car for e-bike

April 17, 2017 by  
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A new bike store in the Bay Area of San Francisco has come up with an interesting way to get people to reduce their transportation footprint. Electric bikes make a great alternative for commutes in cities like San Francisco , but many people find the hefty price tag of an e-bike prohibitive. The New Wheel solves that by allowing patrons to trade in their old vehicles for an e-bike – and a healthier lifestyle. San Francisco’s 74 hills don’t make for pleasant bike commutes – unless you’ve got an e-bike to help you. The New Wheel is making it easier for people to obtain e-bikes. Patrons can bring in their old cars, and the bike shop will take notes on the car’s condition and mileage, and send the information to Roadster.com . 48 hours later they make patrons an offer, and will even come pick up the old car and deliver a check. Ideally patrons will spend some of that money on an e-bike at The New Wheel, but aren’t required to do so. Related: Propella’s lightweight electric bike rides like a regular bike Shop co-founder Brett Thurber told Fast Company, “We’ve always been in the business of trying to figure out ways to get people out of cars and onto bikes. With all the traffic and even parking, it’s not convenient anymore, in many instances, to own a car. I think the thing we’re up against is just habit.” The New Wheel has adopted other ideas from the car industry to help people get used to the idea of owning a bike as their main vehicle. They offer financing for e-bikes and allow people to trade in their old e-bikes. They even offer roadside assistance; if bikers get a flat tire The New Wheel will pick them up twice a year and give them a free ride up to 30 miles. + The New Wheel Via Fast Company Images via Pixabay and Tom Lowenthal on Flickr

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100-foot spinning sails harvest wind to power ships

March 15, 2017 by  
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For the first time in nearly a century, a ship is about to be fitted with a set of “spinning sails” that harness the wind to help power it across the ocean—a technology that could significantly green up the process of trans-oceanic shipping. As The Guardian reports, the spinning or rotor sail was first invented in 1926 by German engineer Anton Flettner, who installed them on two ships, including one that crossed the Atlantic. The “sails” are actually rotating columns that work with the prevailing winds to generate forward thrust for ships. This modern trial of a new take on old technology is backed by Maersk, Shell ’s shipping arm and one of the largest shipping companies in the world. One Maersk tanker ship will be outfitted with two of the nearly 100-foot-tall spinning sails – which are manufactured by Finland’s Norsepower . How, exactly, do they work? The spinning sails employ a principle known as the Magnus effect , in which wind passing through the spinning rotor sail accelerates on one side, while decelerating on the other. The movement of the sail generates a “thrust force” perpendicular to the wind. Electricity from the ship powers the turning of the sails, and the force generated by the sails lets the ship’s engine throttle back to lower fuel consumption. Using these sails could theoretically cut the fuel consumption of global shipping by as much as 10 percent. Related: Wind energy supplied all of Denmark’s power needs in one day Add to that the fact that, when the winds are right, each of these sails can produce about 3 megawatts of power while only requiring 50 kilowatts to operate, and the ships also have a source of renewable energy on board. The rotor sail only failed during its first go-around in the 1920s because it couldn’t compete with diesel power at that time. Now, as the price of fossil fuels is on the rise and climate change is here, this technology could be ready to set sail. Via The Guardian Images via Norsepower

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100-foot spinning sails harvest wind to power ships

Tiny woven hut invites Danish public to experience urban gardening

January 25, 2017 by  
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The city of Aarhus, Denmark is not about to let a little concrete keep its citizens from experiencing the pleasures of urban gardening. Architect Steffen Impgaard created The Green Embassy, a wooden gardening hut open to the public so that those lacking their own green space can still enjoy the thrill of growing their own food. Working in collaboration with project Taste Aarhus, a culinary initiative geared to celebrating the city’s role of European Region of Gastronomy 2017, Impgaard designed the hut to resemble a seed as a metaphor for the new initiative, which seeks to make the city “sensuous and palatable”. The gardening space will be open for two years to serve as the headquarters for Taste of Aarhus team members, as well as a creative workshop for green-loving citizens. Related: Autonomous concept car features an urban garden on wheels Made out of woven willow sticks, which filter natural light into the interior, the structure’s shape and materials were chosen to create an optimal site for greenhouse gardening. Although the pavilion was designed to be noticeable to passersby, its natural materials make the hut an unassuming presence in the public square where it’s located. + Steffen Impgaard Via Archdaily Images via Kirstine Mengel

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Tiny woven hut invites Danish public to experience urban gardening

MAP Architects masterfully restores access to a 700-year-old medieval ruin

January 24, 2017 by  
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Denmark’s oldest surviving medieval site is finally accessible to the public thanks to an elegant architectural solution. MAP Architects restored access to the 700-year-old Kalø Slotsruin with a minimally invasive entrance and staircase that allow views of the archaeological layers and surrounding landscape. The extremely challenging task of creating access without damaging the ruins was made possible through the 3D scanning of every single brick and computer generated models. The Danish Ministry of the Environment, with support from Realdania , commissioned MAP Architects to design visitor access to Kalø Slotsruin, a Danish archeological gem located on an isthmus projecting from the Jutland peninsula. The 38-square-meter intervention is a timber zigzagging staircase that winds up the three-story high and two-story deep brick tower that has lacked an internal structure for centuries. The strategically located landings allow visitors to view the historical layers of construction up close and culminate in a pathway that opens up the sky. Related: Visitor center disguised as a hill to welcome visitors to Denmark’s historic Kalø Castle Ruins “The desire to allow the visitor to ‘touch’ the archaeological layers of the tower, and simultaneously ‘leave’ the ruin and ‘levitate’ in the landscape was pivotal,” write the architects. “The architectural gesture is the geometric result of connecting openings and landings, while aiming to offer the richness of the archaeological site and the surrounding landscape.” Clad in the ash wood , the steel-framed staircase is supported with only four points to minimize damage to the historical monument and entrances are made through the existing eroded openings. The staircase was prefabricated offsite in seven large pieces and then assembled in place with a crane. The project has been nominated for the 2017 European Mies van der Rohe Award . + MAP Architects Via ArchDaily Images © David A. Garcia and Bjørn Pierri Enevoldsen

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MAP Architects masterfully restores access to a 700-year-old medieval ruin

Flexible Una Pavilion is designed to be super stable and easy to construct

January 24, 2017 by  
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All the elements of this multi-purpose pavilion in Brazil contribute to its structural stability and the ease of its construction. Brazilian architecture office Apiacás Arquitetos designed the Una Pavilion using standardized elements, achieving a high degree of programmatic flexibility. The pavilion is located in a residential condominium near São Paulo in Brazil. Surrounded by a lush rainforest with a running stream nearby, the building had to be elevated from the ground in order to avoid flooding. Metal connections were used to assemble the wooden elements, including large pivot doors that make up the facade. Related: Ecocentric cantilevered home was designed to conform to the sloping Brazilian landscape Interspersed wooden slats facilitate a visual connection to the forest, while protecting the interior from excessive sun and rainfall. The minimalist wood furniture follows the constructive logic based on simplicity. + Apiacás Arquitetos Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Leonardo Finotti

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Flexible Una Pavilion is designed to be super stable and easy to construct

World’s largest CO2 sink stores 27,000 grams of carbon per square meter

January 16, 2017 by  
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Natural areas that capture and store carbon on Earth are becoming an increasingly precious resource, and researchers may have found the mother of all of these in an unlikely place – a small bay in Denmark they claim holds a world-record amount of carbon . According to Phys.org , seagrass and underwater meadows have the capacity to store large amounts of carbon dioxide that has garnered the attention of scientists looking to find ways to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. While meadows of this kind of seagrass are found throughout the world, scientists have pinpointed one meadow in Denmark, which they say is the most efficient. The meadow is located in a bay called Thurøbund on the island of Thurø in the South Funen Archipelago of Denmark , a place where Professor Mariann Holmer of the University of Southern Denmark says has special conditions that add to its carbon capturing capabilities. Related: Breakthrough technology turns coal plant CO2 into baking powder Many seagrass meadows around the world have been investigated. Recently, I was part of a study investigating and measuring carbon storing capabilities of 10 seagrass meadows in the Baltic Sea. No place comes even close to Thurøbund,” says Professor Holmer . “It is a very protected bay—and also very productive. So the seagrass thrives and when the plants die, they remain in the meadow. They are buried in the sediment, and in this process, their carbon content gets stored with them. In Finland, the seagrass grows in open coast areas, which means that the dead plants are much more often washed out to sea, taking the carbon with them. Once the carbon has been taken out to the sea, it is unclear what happens to it.” To put it into perspective with some numbers, Thurøbund stores 27,000 grams of carbon per square meter, and the highest numbers found in other locations around the world have never been more than 10,000 to 11,000 grams per meter squared. Via Phys.org Images via Arnaud Abadie and James St. John , Flickr Creative Commons

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World’s largest CO2 sink stores 27,000 grams of carbon per square meter

Visitor center disguised as a hill to welcome visitors to Denmarks historic Kal Castle Ruins

January 5, 2017 by  
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The beautiful historic ruins of Kalø Castle are unmissable, but its planned visitor center might not be too easy to spot. Danish architectural firm Arkitema Architects unveiled their winning proposal for the historic site’s visitor center, a hill-shaped building designed to blend into the surrounding hilly landscape. The unusual building is crafted as an extension of the Mols Bjerge National Park in Denmark to keep focus on the ruins and existing architecture. Located in eastern Jutland just 20 kilometers from the Danish city of Aarhus , the Kalø Castle Ruins are a major tourist attraction that holds a dramatic history dating back to the 14th century. Thus a new visitor center was needed to accommodate the approximately 150,000 tourists that visit the ruins annually. Arkitema Architects designed a building to meet that scale of need but wanted to preserve the existing views. The resulting design is one that disguises the visitor center as a natural landform. Related: This green-roofed visitor center will be nestled under a hill in Denmark The gently sloping hill-shaped building will be constructed of timber and brick and cover two floors connected by a large staircase that doubles as a meeting point. The visitor center will also house an exhibition area, gathering space, and a restaurant with panoramic views of the ruins. The roof will be accessible to visitors as well. The project is slated to open to the public in 2019. + Arkitema Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Arkitema Architects

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Visitor center disguised as a hill to welcome visitors to Denmarks historic Kal Castle Ruins

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