Everloops sustainable toothbrush comes with replaceable bamboo bristles

March 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Mexico City-based NOS has come out with a design to address one of the many causes of plastic pollution that consumers tend to overlook: toothbrushes. The company’s Everloop toothbrush combines a reusable, recycled plastic handle with replaceable bristles made from compostable bamboo . The sheer number of plastic toothbrushes that end up in landfills every year is a much larger problem than most people realize. Most dentists, as well as the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend replacing toothbrushes every three or four months or whenever the bristles begin to fray. Seeing as there are over 300 million people living in the United States, that means there are about 1 billion plastic toothbrushes tossed into the garbage every year in this country alone. Related: Tooth — the eco-friendly toothbrush made from recycled and biodegradable materials The plastic handles on typical toothbrushes are regularly found during beach cleanups, and the tiny nylon bristles have the potential to contribute to microplastics in the ocean. Some modern designs aim to take the plastic out of disposable toothbrushes and replace it with bamboo handles. This is a step in the right direction, but it still leaves the issue of regular pollution every three months when it’s time to replace the toothbrush, especially considering many bamboo toothbrushes still have nylon bristles. NOS aims to stop this endless toothbrush pollution with its unique redesign of the bristle component. The head and base of the Everloop toothbrush is made of recycled plastic from other discarded toothbrushes, with a clipping mechanism that easily opens and closes to replace the bristles (made entirely out of natural bamboo) when it’s time to change them. The disposed bamboo bristles are 100% compostable. Each toothbrush comes with a set of eight bamboo bristles to be replaced every three months, enough for at least two years. Even the packaging, made from thermoformed paper pulp, can be safely composted . + NOS Images via NOS

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Everloops sustainable toothbrush comes with replaceable bamboo bristles

Volkswagen revamps classic 1960s microbus into a cool electric ride

March 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Volkswagen campers have been the choice of many road warriors since the 1950s. Now, the iconic car manufacturer has just unveiled an electric option of the classic T1 Samba Bus. Although the new-and-improved microbus still boasts its original hippie-era coolness, the revamped e-BULLI is now powered by a 61kW electric motor. Since the 1960s, the T1 Samba Bus has been a symbol of road adventures across the globe. With enough seating to fit a large family or group of friends, the iconic microbus has been a top VW model for decades. Related: These campers made from 1970’s VW Bugs are the cutest things ever Now, the German car manufacturer has decided to bring the Samba into the 21st century by electrifying the beloved van. While keeping the recognizable shape of the 21-window body, VW added a 61kW electric motor. And lest you think that the new electric system will slow the van down, not to worry. The state-of-the-art electric motor actually provides twice as much power as the original engine. The new version of the VW classic was made possible by a collaboration with eClassics , a firm specializing in electric car conversions. Working closely with VW, the company replaced the engines in the Samba Bus models Type 1, 2 and 3 to run on 82-horsepower electric motors instead of the Sambas’ original 43-horsepower four-cylinder motors. The motors work with a 45-kilowatt-hour battery pack, which can charge from empty to 80% in less than an hour. The e-BULLI comes with an estimated range of 124 miles. As far as speed, it can reach a top speed of 81 miles per hour. The new electric system provides drivers with an extra-smooth ride. According to the company, “Compared to the T1, riding in the e-BULLI feels completely different. This is further enhanced by the chassis, which has also been redesigned: multi-link front and rear axles with adjustable shock absorbers and coilover struts, plus a new rack-and-pinion steering system and four internally ventilated disc brakes contribute to the new dynamic handling being transferred to the road with serene poise.” With its eight seats and convertible fold-back top, the van still retains its classic style with a few twists. The exterior is painted in a mix of “Energetic Orange Metallic” and “Golden Sand Metallic Matte”. Inside, the seating and the central driver console area have been restored with modern materials, and the interior lighting systems were updated with LED lighting . If you’d like to get one of these electric VW vans to hit the open road, it will cost $69,500. Unfortunately, they are only available in Germany at this time. + VW Via Dezeen Images via VW

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Volkswagen revamps classic 1960s microbus into a cool electric ride

Green-roofed Honey Bee Research Centre targets LEED Gold

March 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Toronto-based architecture firm Moriyama & Teshima Architects has unveiled renderings for the new Honey Bee Research Centre, a state-of-the-art research and education facility for promoting honeybee health and awareness that’s slated for completion next month. Developed for the University of Guelph, Ontario College of Architecture, the new center will not only host scholars and researchers, but also welcome visitors of all ages from around the world to its multifunctional Discovery and Learning Space. The project’s mass-timber architecture is reflective of its sustainable mission and will target LEED Gold certification. The Honey Bee Research Centre (HBRC) spans 19,200 square feet to include research and events programming both inside and out. The building will seamlessly blend into its natural landscape with an accessible green roof featuring a trail that leads to an Interpretative Tower, a public space that doubles as a solar chimney. Inside, the adaptable building will emphasize flexibility to adjust to the needs of the center for years to come.  Related: Urban Beehive Project creates a buzz around honeybee education “Designed to high energy performance and LEED Gold standards, the mass timber HBRC will be a demonstration of sustainability, reinforcing the importance of climate change and its relationship to the vital role of honey bee health and well-being,” the architects explained. “The facility will utilize passive design techniques and features such as natural ventilation, a high performance envelope and mechanical systems, and landscape features such as rain gardens and a green roof system.” As a research center and home for honeybees , HBRC will host working hives and agricultural plots. To further the notion of a “productive and social landscape,” both the rooftop and surrounding grounds will be planted with pollinator-friendly flora and edible gardens to sustain “Pollinator Pathways” for local species such as bees, butterflies, birds and more, while providing attractive gathering spaces for employees and visitors alike. + Moriyama & Teshima Architects Images via Moriyama & Teshima Architects

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Stunning home on Spanish island built partially underground

March 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Formentera-based  Marià Castelló Architecture  has become known for creating incredible homes that deftly combine contemporary design with nature-based inspiration. The firm’s latest project is the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer, a family home that was partially built deep underground into the rocky terrain to use the landscape as natural insulation to  reduce its energy usage . Local architects have used the natural beauty of Spain’s Balearic islands as inspiration in their  home designs  for years. In addition to the spectacular scenery, the island’s Mediterranean climate allows designers to use several passive features to create energy-efficient buildings that blend into the natural landscape. Related: This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year Located in the beach town of Migjorn, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer was built on a rocky landscape overlooking the expansive coastal views. Although the terrain would be normally considered a challenge for any type of construction, the team from Marià Castelló Architects used the rocky topography to their advantage, “burying” part of the home deep underground. The underground floor of the home was created by digging an elongated cavity reminiscent of a stone quarry. The shape of the tunneled space is horizontal, which was strategic in providing a base to create several transversal walkways and hovering patios on the upper floors of the design. Walking up from the underground level, the home design features several indoor/outdoor spaces lined by  natural rock  as the main walkway leads up to the home’s main courtyard. The upper levels of the home, which sit perpendicular to its underground base, are comprised of three light modules in cubical volumes. These bright white cubes with large glass facades give the home an undeniable contemporary feel, but once inside the  light-filled space , an array of natural features speak to the home’s incredible setting. Throughout the open-plan living space, there are walls of sculpted rock, locally-sourced limestone, pine and fir wooden elements, recycled cotton panels and several more  natural materials.  Even the rocky gravel was saved from the excavation process to be repurposed into the outdoor spaces around the home. Using the landscape also allowed the home’s design to take advantage of several  bioclimatic passive systems that not only insulate the home, but add substantially to its energy efficiency. Additionally, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer is equipped with an integral rainwater collection system that reroutes, collects and filters rainwater for reuse. +  Marià Castelló Architecture Images via Marià Castelló

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Stunning home on Spanish island built partially underground

Adidas unveils lightweight hiking shoe made from ocean plastic

March 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Long-distance hiking never looked so comfortable thanks to Adidas’ new shoes made especially for adventure. The Terrex Free Hiker Parley shoes are constructed using a sustainable combination of the company’s Boost technology and Parley for the Oceans’ recycled plastic material. The shoes will form to the shape of the wearer’s feet while providing a sleek look to match almost every style. This is the first in Adidas’ Terrex Free Hiker collection to incorporate Parley Ocean Plastic yarn, which is made from upcycled plastic waste collected from coastal areas. Adidas is a founding member of Parley for the Oceans, a global network that helps raise awareness for the oceans by collaborating among mindful brands and environmental groups. Related: New line of men’s swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic Adidas’ Boost technology offers energy-return cushioning, even on rocky surfaces, and the mid-cut profile with a rubber outsole provides an adaptable grip on every type of terrain. The company’s signature Primeknit fabric makes the shoes water-repellent, lightweight and form-fitting to hug all the right spots of your feet (almost like a sock). Don’t let the breathable material fool you — these kicks are just as equipped for comfortable, long-distance hiking as they are for normal, everyday wear. This allows consumers to go from the rugged outdoors to the city sidewalks and urban settings to natural landscapes without missing a beat. “We believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives, and our latest shoe in the Terrex collection does just that,” said Tim Janaway, general manager of Adidas Outdoor. “The Terrex Free Hiker Parley represents both sustainability and performance, empowering you to get outside and challenge yourself, without challenging the environment .” The men’s and women’s designs weigh just 400 grams and 340 grams, respectively, and will retail for $200. All of Adidas’ Parley products are made using a yarn material spun from discarded plastic pollution collected from coastal areas, such as the Maldives, by beach cleanups run by partner organizations. + Adidas Images via Adidas

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Adidas unveils lightweight hiking shoe made from ocean plastic

Clear doesn’t mean clean for Venice’s canals

March 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Images of dolphins cruising Italian ports and swans floating beneath picturesque bridges in Venice’s famous canals are popping up on social media feeds. But clearer  water  doesn’t necessarily mean cleaner. Unfortunately, two weeks of lockdown isn’t enough to reverse centuries of human impact on Venice’s canals. Boat traffic kicking up natural sediment is the main cause of the canals’ usual murkiness. “The low turbidity of the water does not mean cleanliness,” Pierpaolo Campostrini, the managing director for the Consortium for Managing Scientific Research on Venice Lagoon System, told ABC News. “The transparency is due to the absence of sediment resuspension.” Cold water is probably also contributing to the canals’ clarity, as it’s not warm enough for the synthesis of organic compounds from  carbon dioxide . Related: Coronavirus and its impact on carbon emissions Water pollution can be invisible. “ Pollution  can impact how water appears, but perfectly clear water can contain toxic substances,” Kristen Thyng, assistant research professor at Texas A&M University, told Afar. Italy has been on lockdown since March 9, when Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a national quarantine. At the time of writing, Italy has more than 59,000 confirmed  coronavirus  cases. This is the second-highest national rate after China. Venice is in northern Italy, where factories usually cause air pollution. Because the nationwide lockdown has prompted the temporary closure of many industries, air quality has improved. The European Space Agency has captured clearer skies from its satellites. However, chemical analysis would be necessary to say exactly how much both air and water quality have improved in Italy during the pandemic. Citizens of Venice were still recovering from record high tides last November, which prompted the Italian government to declare a state of emergency. Many shops and hotels  flooded , and St. Mark’s Square, a tourist favorite, was underwater. Unfortunately, most locals aren’t able to appreciate the canals’ current beauty. Lockdown means they can only leave their homes for necessities, work and  health  circumstances. + ABC News Via Afar Image via Gerhard Gellinger

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Clear doesn’t mean clean for Venice’s canals

Wisconsin’s hidden eco-wellness hotspot

March 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Madison,  Wisconsin  is defined by water. It’s only one of two cities in the US built on an isthmus (the other is Seattle), and it has five lakes. The population of just over a quarter million is overwhelmingly young and educated, thanks to the massive University of Wisconsin. Mad City is one of the Midwest’s more progressive places and regularly features on “best of” lists. But you have to be tough to live here. Winter temperatures regularly dive below freezing, while summer temperatures often top 90 degrees. Outdoor activities in Madison Madison’s outdoor recreation revolves around its lakes. If you like kayaking , stand up paddleboarding or water skiing, you’re in luck. This is also a place to try more extreme water sports, such as wakeboarding, kiteboarding and flyboarding (where water can propel you almost 50 feet in the air). Those who are looking for something more contemplative will enjoy a trip to  Olbrich Botanical Garden . The 16 acres look their best in spring and summer, but even in winter you can enjoy orchids blooming in the sun-filled glass Bolz Conservatory. The garden’s 30-foot high Thai pavilion was a gift from the Thai royal family. The red lacquer and gold leaf structure was built in  Thailand , shipped by sea, rail and truck to Madison, then reassembled by Thai artisans without using screws or nails. At the  UW Madison Arboretum , you can meander through woodlands, wetlands, savannas and restored prairies on more than 17 miles of  trails . You can also see rare effigy mounds built more than 1,000 years ago. The arboretum features events like fungi workshops and expert-led nature walks. In the winter, it’s a popular place to snowshoe and cross-country ski. Wellness in Madison The Garver Feed Mill building is the latest wellness star in the Madison scene. After the US  Sugar  Company constructed this brick behemoth in 1906 for beet sugar processing, it became known as the Sugar Castle because of its dramatic arched gothic windows. Later it was a factory for formulating livestock feed, before sitting derelict for a couple of decades. But just last November, it reopened as a spectacularly popular event space, site of the farmers’ market during winter, and home of wellness providers and artisan food makers. The whole building is gorgeous, with lots of exposed brick walls, big windows and chandeliers. For the perfect wellness-focused day at Garver, take a class at  Perennial Yoga , eat a healthy meal at plant-based Surya Café, then visit  Kosa Wellness Spa & Retreat  to relax in the steam room and sauna or to get an Ayurvedic treatment.  “Something society doesn’t afford us is quiet and space,” said owner Shilpa Sankaran, who aspires to provide Madison with just that. “Where do you hear your own voice? That’s where the remedy lives, in our own knowing.” She sources most of her spa products from Wisconsin and has a special interest in supporting women in business. Women in  India  who have escaped sex trafficking manufacture the spa’s robes. I especially liked how they left some of the more attractive graffiti in place on the treatment room walls from the years that squatters filled the building. If art uplifts you, the  Chazen Museum of Art  on the UW campus houses lots of work by famous artists, including Miro, Picasso, and Louise Nevelson, plus interesting installations by UW art faculty. This big  museum  is free and well worth visiting. Dining out in Madison Madison is an easy town for vegetarians and  vegans . The  Green Owl Café , Madison’s first all-veg restaurant, is a cheerful and comfortable hangout spot for bowls, veggie burgers, vegan wings and vegan desserts like lava cake and coconut cream pie.  Surya Cafe , in the Garver Feed Mill, features more adventurous — some might say startling — combinations, such as a curried cauliflower waffle with maple-cumin kale and mango jalapeno sauce. Himal Chuli serves Nepali food, with several veggie and tofu-based options. The roti is so excellent I ordered a second serving.  Ian’s Pizza has several locations and is one of my favorite Madison eateries. You can custom order a gigantic salad with more than 40 mix-in options, and they often have vegan slices. For vegan dessert, don’t miss  Bloom Bake Shop . This bakery has a whole case of vegan cupcakes. Public transit Since Madison is largely a college town, you’ll find lots of public transportation and  bikes . It’s known as an extremely bikable city, so if you like biking, check out Madison  BCycle , the local bike share program. This program is designed for short trips of under an hour. If you want a bike for longer-term use, the  Budget Bicycle Center  rents various kinds of bikes. Metro Transit  is Madison’s bus company, serving the greater Madison area. Eco-wellness lodging The white dome of the Capitol filled my window at the  Madison Concourse Hotel . In addition to this stunning view and a convenient downtown location, the Concourse has been refining its eco measures for a decade. The  hotel uses energy-efficient lighting, offers reusable glass cups instead of plastic in guest rooms and is a member of REAP Food Group, which works on shortening the distance from farm to table. The Concourse’s Ozone laundry system and high-efficiency water heaters save an estimated 400,000 gallons of water per year. For an out-of-town sojourn, the  Holy Wisdom Monastery  in nearby Middleton has private rooms in its retreat house and two additional secluded hermitages.  Holy Wisdom offers the choice of a communal spiritual experience or lots of solitude as you hike trails through its prairies or read in the  library . You can even wear a silence tag if you want to take a silent retreat, and people won’t talk to you. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Wisconsin’s hidden eco-wellness hotspot

Ibiza home uses passive, bioclimatic systems to reduce energy use

March 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Spain’s idyllic Balearic Islands are an inspiration for artists and architects alike. One Formentera-based architect Marià Castelló has just used Ibiza’s spectacular beauty to craft a modern home. Tucked into the island’s hilly San Mateo region in the north, Ca l’Amo is a serene retreat comprised of five cube-like volumes that use several passive, bioclimatic elements to reduce the project’s environmental footprint. The San Mateo plains were once filled with terraced landscapes used for agriculture , but over the years, the area has regrown its native pine and juniper forests. Using this natural landscape as inspiration, Marià Castelló designed Ca l’Amo, a contemporary home shaded by natural vegetation . Built upon two existing dry stone walls, the home’s white cladding and natural limestone terraces give it an undeniably Mediterranean feel. Related: Architects revamp a 100-year-old warehouse into a dreamy off-grid refuge in Ibiza The five rectangular volumes are spaced to provide openings between each, creating a harmonious connection between the indoors and outdoors. The dwelling features a swimming pool and covered lounge area on one end, where residents can make the most of the Mediterranean climate. This first volume is then connected linearly to the following four volumes, which contain the shared and private living spaces. The interior spaces reflect the same openness of the exterior. With walls of sliding glass doors, each volume can be opened up to the elements. A minimalist interior includes white walls and cross-laminated timber accents. Outfitted with sparse pieces of custom-designed furniture, the living spaces put all of the focus on the natural setting. Further putting nature at the forefront of the design, the residence was designed to reduce energy usage through the implementation of several passive and bioclimatic design elements. The separate volumes and open spaces were designed to take full advantage of natural light and air ventilation, while the home was strategically positioned to use the vegetation and sun path to keep the interior spaces cool and comfortable year-round. Additionally, a rainwater collection system includes a cistern that can store up to 200 metric tons of water for reuse. +  Marià Castelló Architecture Via Wallpaper* Images via Marià Castelló

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WOHA to transform polluted swamp into green university

March 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

For nearly 50 years, Bangladesh-based nonprofit  BRAC  has championed change for good, and now the NGO will take its do-gooding a big step forward with the establishment of BRAC University in Dhaka. Designed by Singaporean architecture firm  WOHA , the university will be a beacon of environmental and social sustainability as well as a catalyst for positive change in the local community. Slated for completion in 2021, the development will accommodate over 10,000 students on a site that has been remediated from polluted swampland.  In addition to serving as a place of learning, BRAC University will become a showcase of sustainable low-tech solutions for mitigating Bangladesh’s intense summers and heavy monsoons. Key to the design will be the abundance of greenery that blankets the building, which translates to over 26,000 square meters of landscaping that grows both vertically and horizontally to help cut out glare and dust and promote natural cooling to reduce dependence on air conditioning. The architects will also remediate the swamp grounds into a bio-retention pond filled with lush native landscaping that will further enhance a comfortably cool microclimate through evaporate cooling.  Due to Dhaka’s density, the roughly 88,000-square-meter university will rise to a total of 13 stories. Rooms will be based on nine-by-nine-meter structural  modules  to ensure flexibility so that classrooms can combine to former larger units or be subdivided as needed. A “single-room-thick design” also gives every classroom easy access to cross ventilation and daylighting. Gathering spaces will be open and airy yet sheltered from the elements.  Related: WOHA revamps Singapore office with lush ‘pocket parks’ A large recreational sky park known as the “University Green” will crown the roof of the university and comprise a recreational field, a swimming pool and a 200-meter running track beneath a large photovoltaic canopy. Harvested  solar  energy will be used to power giant High Volume Low Speed (HVLS) fans, common area lights and student laptops.  + WOHA Images via WOHA

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WOHA to transform polluted swamp into green university

A Brisbane cottage is sustainably updated to gracefully age in place

March 20, 2020 by  
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In Brisbane’s leafy suburb of Paddington, Australian architectural practice Shaun Lockyer Architects has created a contemporary and sustainable addition that provides a striking contrast to the original cottage it sits beside. Dubbed Sorrel Street, the concrete-clad extension is a deliberate counterpoint to the local vernacular while respecting the scale of the neighborhood. Sustainability and the client’s desire for limited maintenance also informed the design, which features green roofs, substantial thermal mass, LED lighting and low-E glass throughout. Completed in 2016, Sorrel was commissioned by clients who wanted their suburban home reworked to better meet the needs of their children, one of whom has limited mobility. As a result, the architects altered the sloping site to create a flat lawn that opens to the northwest side. The need for flat land also led the architects to place the contemporary addition to the north of the cottage so that the main living spaces could flow out to the level garden. Related: A 1920s cottage gets a new lease on life as an urban barnyard house “The project explores the juxtaposition between historical context and contemporary architecture within a broader subtropical paradigm,” Shaun Lockyer Architects explained. “In a somewhat controversial decision, the call was made to ‘leave well enough alone’ and make a clear distinction between the small, original cottage and the new work, keeping their respective personalities distinct.” The renovated, predominately single-story home is centered on the kitchen and comprises all the main sleeping and living areas on the upper level, while only the garage, storage, offices and media room are on the lower floor. To minimize energy use, the home is equipped with deep eaves and strategically placed windows and skylights for cross-flow ventilation and natural lighting. The insulating green roof and thick concrete walls help maintain stable indoor temperatures, while timber flooring and furnishings lend a sense of warmth throughout. + Shaun Lockyer Architects Photography by Scott Burrows via Shaun Lockyer Architects

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A Brisbane cottage is sustainably updated to gracefully age in place

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