These amazing zero-waste buildings were grown from mushrooms

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Could the buildings of the future be grown instead of built? Brunel University student Aleksi Vesaluoma has found a way to grow living structures using mushroom mycelium . Vesaluoma worked with architecture firm Astudio to create these Grown Structures, which offer a waste-free , organic alternative to conventional construction materials When mycelium grows on organic materials such as straw, it binds the matter together like glue. Aleksi Vesaluoma and Astudio mixed oyster mushroom mycelium with cardboard and poured the material into tube-shaped cotton bandages. These tubular forms were then placed inside a ventilated greenhouse for four weeks to grow and strengthen. This process turns organic waste into nutrients for the growth of the mycelium – and it’s completely waste-free, since the structure is 100% biodegradable. Related: 3D-Printed Mycelium Chair Sprouts Living Mushrooms! Grown Structures have prompted several attempts at commercialization in the USA and the Netherlands. The fact that the fungi which grow on the structures can also be eaten makes the project perfect for pop-up restaurants . + Brunel University London + Astudio Via Dezeen

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These amazing zero-waste buildings were grown from mushrooms

Tipping points accelerated climate change in the last Ice Age, new research shows

June 27, 2017 by  
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Could reaching environmental tipping points really impact the Earth’s climate all that much? New research from an international team of four scientists says yes. Their study is the first to show that in our planet’s past, gradual changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations led to tipping points that then set off temperature spikes of as much as 10 degrees Celsius in only a few decades. Scientists led by Xu Zhang of the Alfred Wegener Institute were able to show how sudden changes in our climate, or Dansgaard-Oeschger events, came from CO2 concentrations that rose gradually. Researchers had known temperatures shot up thanks to Greenland ice core samples, but they weren’t sure why – and the new study provides some answers. Zhang said in a statement, “With this study, we’ve managed to show for the first time how gradual increases of CO2 triggered rapid warming .” Related: Scientists warn of uncontrollable climate change amid drastic Arctic melt The team drew on a climate model to find how interactions between the atmosphere and ocean currents led to the temperature spike of 10 degrees Celsius, or 18 degrees Fahrenheit, in Greenland during the last Ice Age, which ended around 11,700 years ago. Here’s how it works. Increased CO2 strengthened Central America trade winds, and the eastern Pacific Ocean warmed more than the western Atlantic Ocean. From there more moisture left the Atlantic, so the salinity and density of that ocean’s surface waters increased. These changes resulted in an abrupt amplification of the circulation pattern of the Atlantic, which according to Zhang can lead to sudden temperature increases. Will we see rapid changes if we hit tipping points today? Gerrit Lohmann of the institute and the University of Bremen said, “We can’t say for certain whether rising CO2 levels will produce similar effects in the future, because the framework conditions today differ from those in a glacial period. That being said, we’ve now confirmed that there have definitely been abrupt climate changes in the Earth’s past that were the result of continually rising CO2 concentrations.” The journal Nature Geoscience published the research online this month. Via the Alfred Wegener Institute and New Atlas Images via Coen Hofstede

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Tipping points accelerated climate change in the last Ice Age, new research shows

South Africas first Green Star museum is an eco-friendly literary treasure

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

One of South Africa’s literary treasures has transformed into an eco-friendly gem. Designed by Intsika Architects , the National English Literary Museum is the first five-star Green Star-certified Public & Education building in the country. Located in the university town of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, this eco-friendly museum meets impressive energy and water-saving targets, and also met social objectives through local job creation in construction. The 10,812-square-meter National English Literary Museum was completed in June 2016 for R145 million. Set with a park within a pedestrian-friendly area, the massive building is broken down into smaller elements, while selective massing responds to human scale. As a true community resource, the new library offers numerous public gathering spots and amenities such as a mini-theater, outdoor amphitheater , exhibition area, archives, library, and museum offices. Visual displays about the building’s sustainability initiatives teach visitors about the library’s water and energy savings, as well as green roof efficiency. To meet targets of reducing potable water consumption by more than 95% below benchmark, the library harvests and reuses rainwater from the roof for irrigation, toilet and urinal flushing; features xeriscaped indigenous landscaping to reduce irrigation needs; and installed water meters to monitor water consumption. Stormwater detention ponds capture and slowly release stormwater to prevent erosion in the river system. Daylighting is maximized indoors and a low-energy heat-recovery system provides cooling and heating simultaneously to different parts of the building. Where possible, materials were recycled and sourced locally, and include recycled rubber, recycled bamboo flooring, low-VOC paints, coconut mosaic wall cladding, and recycled plastic carpets. The green roof helps insulate the interior—the green-roofed archives tucked below ground don’t need air conditioning—and gabon walls and natural stone cladding used as thermal massing stabilize indoor temperatures. + Intsika Architects Images by Rob Duker

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South Africas first Green Star museum is an eco-friendly literary treasure

World’s greenest and healthiest office crowned in Washington, D.C.

June 22, 2017 by  
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The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) headquarters in Washington DC was just named the greenest and healthiest office on the planet! Perkins+Will designed the groundbreaking interior, which has received both LEED and WELL Platinum Certification under WELL Building Standard. The 8,500-square-foot office features human-centric design elements that reduce stress, increase air quality, mask sounds and regulate the body’s physiological processes. Employees have no assigned seats, but choose available workplace environments that support specific daily tasks. The interior includes meeting spaces and private areas that can be reserved for several hours at a time. Related: GSK’s US Headquarters Awarded Double LEED Platinum in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard Biophilic design strategies employed throughout the space include the use of natural materials , architectural forms, patterning, and state-of-the-art monitoring systems to create a world-class working environment. ASID staff participated in the design process by wearing sensors that measured speech patterns and body movement when they interacted with each other. These sensor readings were compared to show how their interactions changed as a result of the new office design. Related: NBBJ Unveils New Plans for Biosphere Greenhouses at Amazon’s Seattle HQ “We began this project with a clear goal of showcasing the many ways design can positively affect the health and well-being of employees while boosting resource efficiency ,” said ASID CEO Randy W. Fiser. “At ASID, we believe in research-based results in design and placed an emphasis on third-party validation of the space,” he added. + Perkins+Will + American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)

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World’s greenest and healthiest office crowned in Washington, D.C.

The Tesla of solar electric yachts launches in New Zealand

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The future of boating is electric – and silent. That’s what Dutch company Soel Yachts says, and they’re bringing electric travel to the seas with their SoelCat 12. Inhabitat covered the boat’s design last year , and now the company is launching their sustainably-powered yacht in New Zealand . The yacht is kind to the environment not simply in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions , but in the reduction of noise pollution as well. The SoelCat 12, which was built in New Zealand, is powered by the sun. Soel Yachts describes the boat as the ‘ Tesla on the water,’ noting while cars are transitioning over to being powered by electricity , the same movement largely hasn’t occurred in boating. They want to revolutionize the boating industry, and are debuting the SoelCat 12, designed in partnership with Naval DC , in Auckland, New Zealand this week. Related: Solar-powered yacht sails silently for a cleaner, greener eco-tourism experience The company says it wasn’t enough to just stick an electric motor on a boat. They kept electric propulsion in mind as they designed the SoelCat 12, evidenced for example in the highly efficient lines of the hull. Traveling at a speed of eight knots, the yacht can run simply on battery power for six hours. Reducing the speed to six knots, the boat can travel for 24 hours – even at night when the yacht’s solar panels aren’t harvesting energy. The boat’s systems can be monitored on a phone or tablet, allowing boaters to see their energy use as in a Tesla, according to Soel Yachts. Soel Yachts co-founder Joep Koster said in a statement the SoelCat 12 “reduces all disturbing sound and CO2 emissions in our harbors, lagoons, and oceans .” The solar electric yacht quietly glides through waves, minimizing disturbance in the form of noise pollution to marine life. And the yacht is still useful even when it’s not in use. Soel Yachts says the boat can become a mobile power station, offering energy for as much as five homes, even in remote locations. + Soel Yachts + Naval DC Images courtesy of Soel Yachts

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The Tesla of solar electric yachts launches in New Zealand

This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Abita Brewing Company has been a tastemaker since 1986, both in terms of craft beer – you’ve probably sipped their Purple Haze – and in sustainability . Before Heinekin opened a carbon neutral brewery or Sierra Nevada installed a Tesla Powerpack system , Abita invested in clean tech because they felt it was the right thing to do. Inhabitat visited brewery headquarters in Abita Springs, Louisiana and spoke with President David Blossman and Director of Brewing Operations Jaime Jurado about the decision to go green well before other breweries in the United States. Abita was the first brewery in North America to put in an energy-efficient Merlin Brewhouse – or the vessels in which beer is brewed – back in 2001. Craft beer wasn’t as big back then – Blossman said business was “sideways at best” but Abita took a chance and installed the expensive brewhouse because they figured craft beer would eventually take off. Related: San Diego brewery unveils beer made from 100% recycled wastewater Jurado said, “Dave made decisions on renewable tech long before anyone else did.” One such decision was the installation of a rooftop solar array atop their bottling facility. Every year the solar panels generate around 116,180 kilowatt-hours (kWh), avoiding around 81.3 tons of carbon dioxide. 25 percent of the bottling plant’s roof is covered in the photovoltaics, which provide around five to seven percent of all the electricity Abita consumes. A wastewater treatment plant behind the brewery provides more power. The plant treats all the brewery wastewater, and bacteria anaerobically produce biogas , which comprises 17 percent of the natural gas the brewery uses. Although the Merlin brewhouse was forward-thinking when Abita first installed it, they recently put in the Krones EquiTherm brewhouse, which is even more energy- and water-efficient. It was the first one installed in the United States, and also allows for more flexibility in the types of beer Abita can brew. Heat from the brewhouse is recovered and reused; Jurado said, “We use a lot of heat but we recover a majority of the heat so we net out saving energy .” Breweries also use carbon dioxide (CO2) in their process, and it has to be heated to stay in a gas state. Meanwhile, warm water used in the packaging process needs to be cooled, so Abita came up with a system to accomplish both tasks and reduce electricity costs by around $6,000 a year. With the energy recovery system, they can use CO2 in a non-contact way to turn it into gas and cool the water. Even beyond the brewing process, Abita considers the environment . Jurado said, “Our bottle is not the industry standard bottle, which is called the long neck. You see them in Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser, Shiner products. Dave uses the heritage bottle which uses 11 percent less glass and 11 percent less energy.” The squatter bottle isn’t as noticeable on the shelf, but as Jurado said, “11 percent spoke a language.” The recyclable bottle requires less paper for labels and is still the standard 12 ounces. Plus more cases of beer inside heritage bottles fit on trucks. But the most sustainable packaging is stainless steel kegs, according to Jurado, which can be refilled over and over. Larger breweries only have around nine percent of sales in kegs, but they comprise 30 percent of Abita’s sales. Blossman told Inhabitat, “If you’re going to do something, you want to use less natural resources whether that be in natural gas or grain or water – they’re all important.” As many breweries do, Abita gives their spent grain – or the grain leftover after the brewing process – to farmers for feed. But the brewery is located close to dairy farmers so their spent grain doesn’t even have to travel that far. Abita Brewing Company fits right in to the town of Abita Springs, Louisiana, which recently became the first in the state and 24th American city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. In St. Tammany Parish, where Abita is located, there are currently only three electric vehicle charging stations, but Abita Springs will soon have the fourth, sponsored by the brewery. The brewery has also given back in the form of charity beers, such as the Save Our Shore pilsner they brewed following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. They raised over $600,000 that went towards restoring coastal wetland habitats and helping struggling fishermen and their families. If you want to find out more about green brewing at Abita, check out their website . + Abita Brewing Company Images courtesy Abita Brewing Company and via Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat

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This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool

Dibdo Francis Kr’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Today marks the official debut of Diébédo Francis Kéré’s spectacular rainwater-harvesting Serpentine Pavilion . The 2017 pavilion was unveiled on a perfectly sunny day – but when it rains the roof will protect protect visitors from drizzle while funneling precipitation it into a central waterfall and storing it for irrigation in the surrounding park. The pavilion is inspired by the culture of Kéré’s home village of Gando in Burkina Faso even as it plays with experimental construction techniques and embraces the climate in Britain. Diébédo Francis Kéré, who runs Berlin-based Kéré Architecture , is the first African architect to construct a Serpentine Pavilion . Kéré cited trees as his design inspiration. The pavilion is topped by a massive canopy – visitors can walk underneath and be safe from the rain while at the same time experiencing the weather through a transparent roof and wall openings that allow the wind to blow through. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof The roof is made of wood , supported by a hidden steel frame. Raindrops that fall on the pavilion are funneled into an oculus, creating a waterfall. Then the water enters a drainage system on the floor for use in irrigation later. The walls are made from prefabricated wooden blocks. At night the blocks create an intricate play of shadow and light as the gaps twinkle from movement inside the pavilion. Trees offer a place to gather in Burkina Faso, and Kéré hopes his Serpentine Pavilion in London will also offer a space for people to visit and share their experiences. In his design statement he spoke of his aim for the Pavilion to “become a beacon of light, a symbol of storytelling and togetherness.” And in his video on the pavilion’s design, he spoke of his desire for the pavilion to be inclusive and offer a space for all. + Kéré Architecture + Serpentine Galleries Via ArchDaily Images © Kéré Architecture, Photography © 2017 Iwan Baan ; © Erik Jan Ouwerkerk; © Enrico Cano; and © Simeon Duchoud

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Dibdo Francis Kr’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today

Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Although the mahogany cladding on the Tonke Woodline Camper may seem like a blast from the past, this camper is designed for the modern road warrior. The camper is entirely powered by solar energy , and it comes with a large battery bank and water tank for those looking to go completely off-grid . Hand built in the Netherlands, the camper offers a compact, but comfortable living space. The interior comes with all of the basic necessities – a spacious sleeping area, kitchenette with a large, double-door fridge, and small latrine. Strategic storage throughout the interior helps keep the space clutter free. The dining table with ample seating backs up to the rear doors, which open to provide stellar views. The camper also has a number of windows, which flood the interior with natural light , making the living space light and airy. Related: Solar-powered EarthCruiser camper expands at the push of a button Designed to be used as a sturdy ride for on-the-go travel or just a simple home addition, the camper van’s Mercedes Sprinter base comes installed with four remote-controlled electrical jacks that can lift the camper off its base in order to use the truck’s cargo bed. This feature, along with its compact size, makes the Tonke Camper convenient to ship virtually anywhere in the world. + Tonke Woodline Camper Via Uncrate

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Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living

South America’s first luxury sleeper train is a traveler’s dream come true

June 20, 2017 by  
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Travelers looking to explore Peru in style can now jump aboard South America’s first luxury sleeper train – the Belmond Andean Explorer . The train’s interior was designed by London-based Muza Lab to pay homage to the golden age of train travel, enhanced with vibrant colors and textures inspired by the local Peruvian culture and landscape. According to the founder of Muza Lab, Inge Moore, the train’s interior is designed to take travelers back to another age of train travel: “We design journeys, and with Belmond Andean Explorer, we have distilled the romance, nostalgia and freedom of the train voyage. The train is a place of transition where time seems to slow down between the departure and the arrival. Our vision was to design somewhere to ponder and dream, a space where the beauty of the land can infuse the soul.” Related: You won’t believe the interior of Japan’s jaw-dropping new train Although the name and the design of the Belmond Andean Explorer are new, the 16-carriage train was originally the Great South Pacific Express. During the renovation process, the design team worked hard to renovate the space while retaining some elements out of respect for train’s long history. The train’s original timber walls were painted soft, neutral tones to help create an open, airy feel that runs throughout the interior. However, it’s not quite a minimalist color palette; touches of vibrant colors and varying textures are found throughout the train thanks to the various Peruvian crafts and artistry that were found locally. In fact, most of the design touches were locally sourced – from the timber floors and roman blinds to the hand-crafted woven textiles. The sleeper cabins were designed to provide a luxurious travel experience. Once again using local culture for inspiration, each cabin is named after Peruvian flora and fauna. In addition to the comfortable beds and soft Saffiano leather seats, vibrant tapestries can be found in each car as well as baby alpaca blankets for extra chilly nights. Even the smallest detail speaks to the country’s rich culture, such as the brass room keys in the shape of the Chakana Cross – a symbol of the Incan civilization as well as the train’s crest. Outside of the private sleeper cars , guests can also enjoy watching the beautiful landscape pass by from the rounded outdoor deck of the Observation Car, called Ichu after the tall grasses that grow on the Peruvian plains. There are also two dining cars, a serene spa, and an old-world piano bar named after the herb Maca. + Muza Lab + Belmond Andean Explorer

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South America’s first luxury sleeper train is a traveler’s dream come true

Michelin unveils airless 3D-printed tires that last virtually forever

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Fear not the flat tire, road trippers! The future of tire technology is rolling into reality, thanks to Michelin’s Vision tire. The 3D-printed tire does not need to be inflated, and it’s designed to last through the entire lifetime of a vehicle. It’s also equipped with high-tech sensors and it’s 100% biodegradable to boot. Michelin used 3D printing technology to create an airless tire modeled on alveolar structures – like as the air sacs found in human lungs. This means that the tire’s interior is structurally solid, while the outer layers are more flexible, which prevents blowouts and flat tires. The tire is printed from organic , recyclable, biodegradable materials and it can be recycled when it has reached the end of its product life. Related: Continental Tire looks to dandelions for a more sustainable tire 3D printing allows the tire’s treads to be customized to meet the needs of a specific vehicle , and Michelin minimized the amount of rubber used in the tire to enhance its sustainability. Embedded sensors keep track of each tire’s wear and proactively order reprints for smooth driving. Michelin imagines an eventual product that incorporates butadiene – a major component of modern synthetic rubber that is derived from wood chips or straw. Although Michelin has not discussed when these tires will be available for purchase, the company believes that the concept may soon become a reality. Via Yanko Design Images via Michelin

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Michelin unveils airless 3D-printed tires that last virtually forever

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