Nearly all of the German Pavilion is recyclable

January 13, 2022 by  
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The exhibits at this year’s Expo 2020 Dubai (postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic), feature a range of innovative designs from around the world. Working within the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” the German Pavilion highlights sustainable features that cater to the desert environment .  Architects at LAVA accepted the challenge to make a temporary structure for millions of visitors that spoke to the concepts of connectivity, sustainability and local relevance. The result is a pavilion that stands as an example of creating more with less.  Related: Innovative i-Mesh fabric takes shape at Expo 2020 Dubai “The key question was how to design a temporary exhibition and event space for up to three million visitors in a desert environment that was sustainable,” said Tobias Wallisser, director of LAVA. “LAVA’s solution linked the expo theme of connectedness with our approach of ‘more with less,’ with humans interacting with nature and technology at its heart.” Using the minimum amount of material for construction was a goal from the start, so the team created a series of vertically-stacked cubes with minimal site impact that provide maximum space. The ensemble represents connectedness while serving function in providing an open space and large atrium for visitors to explore individually or as a group.   “Architecture isn’t purely a façade. Of course we wanted the building to be Instagrammable ,” said Wallisser. “But also innovative, thought-provoking, with an effective experiential quality. The hardware of the building creates a journey for visitors from around the world.” Overall, the structure mirrors the design of local courtyard houses that close the outer façade and face the activity inward. The positioning of the building’s components creates a passive design for natural airflow. However, the flexibility of the canopy roof and open-able, single-layer ETFE membrane façade results in a hybrid air conditioning system with notable energy savings. The natural shading from the hot desert sun decreases heat inside the building while simultaneously minimizing the bulk required to support the structure. The technical canopy provides filtered natural light that resembles a forest canopy. The materials are malleable to move with the wind and adapt to local changing weather conditions.  Besides minimizing the amount of materials, the team carefully selected parts that could be recycled. As a result, 95% of the pavilion will be recycled after the six-month exhibition ends in March 2022.  “An efficiently stacked volume of space, responding to the local environment with an intelligent climate management system,” said Alexander Rieck, director of LAVA. “This project shows how buildings can be optimized, made intelligent, be reconfigured and can adapt to changing users, environments, temperatures , acoustics and light.” + LAVA Photography by Andreas Keller and Taufik Kenan

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Nearly all of the German Pavilion is recyclable

Biophilic Belgian Pavilion features futuristic sustainable design

November 12, 2021 by  
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The theme of Expo 2020 Dubai is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” In line with this, the Belgian Pavilion, called The Green Arch, seeks to be exemplary in the realm of sustainable development. The architects, Vincent Callebaut Architectures and Assar Architects, have used futuristic design through greenery, solid timber construction and passive energy to showcase how developments in architecture will give rise to environmentally-friendly cities. Located in the “Mobility District” of the Expo site, the building serves several purposes. By organizing the main exhibits on higher floors, the ground level is left open for use by the public and features delectable Belgian gastronomy. The pavilion also maximizes the prevailing west-east winds of Dubai and creates a well-ventilated covered space with 3D-printed white concrete street furniture. Related: WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion The Green Arch is also a “bridge-building” that links the Mobility and Sustainability districts at Expo 2020. The pavilion is formed of two pillars and a vault with double curvature, also known as a hyperbolic paraboloid. The paraboloid that envelopes the project is made of 5.5 linear kilometers of spruce cross-laminated timber ( CLT ) and forms a giant mashrabiya, an intricate perforated screen that controls sunlight and filters in cool breezes, taking a modern approach to Middle Eastern vernacular latticework. The pavilion is powered by renewable energy and uses a large photovoltaic canopy to produce electricity and heat water for the building. The playfully cantilevering balconies and extensive rooftop not only provide views to other parts of the Expo site but also house over 2,500 plants, shrubs and trees, which are drip-irrigated and create the pavilion’s refreshing microclimate through evapotranspiration. Through educational scenography, visitors embark on an immersive experience through the country in 2050, encompassing the theme of a technologically advanced and eco-friendly Belgium in the decades to come. A futuristic escalator is designed to simulate the experience of a space-time tunnel, casting the guests to the future and into the exhibits that showcase how the nation’s three regions, Brussels , Flanders and Wallonia, are working towards a smarter, greener future. Upon the completion of the Expo 2020 event, the pavilion will not be destroyed. “The building will not be doomed to destruction,” said Pierre-Yves Dermagne, the Belgian Federal Minister for the Economy. “Everything has been done so that it can be rebuilt , I hope, in Belgium.” + Vincent Callebaut Architectures and Assar Architects Images courtesy of Nizar Bredan, Greg O’Leary, and Vincent Callebaut

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Biophilic Belgian Pavilion features futuristic sustainable design

Scotland’s plastic ban may fail due to UK’s internal strife

November 12, 2021 by  
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The Scottish government has announced it will ban the sale of plastic straws, cutlery and polystyrene food packaging next year. This is part of a larger plan to reduce plastic waste and cut pollution. The ban will include all polystyrene food packaging containers and their lids, as well as balloon sticks, plates, coffee stirrers and other single-use plastics. Although the Scottish government has pledged to enact the ban on June 1, doubts abound due to its entanglement in U.K. climate policies. The ban itself is parallel to a similar ban planned across the U.K. Individual countries within the union have expressed their doubts about the ban’s effectiveness, prompting the move for individual policies. Related: Innovative biomaterials to help the world replace plastic The U.K. is accused of being slow to enact key climate decisions. In 2020, England banned plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers, but the ban has yet to begin. The U.K. is still consulting on the matter, in a process that seems to be taking a lifetime. Due to such delays, the Scottish government is worried the ban could be undermined by the U.K. market’s internal rules. Under U.K. market rules, all the countries in the union have to wait for a harmonized move on climate matters, since they share the same market and customers. According to Lorna Slater, a Scottish Green Party Minister, the climate disaster is an emergency and should be addressed fast. Slater says there is no time to waste since the oceans and landfills are already overwhelmed by plastic waste. “Every year, hundreds of millions of pieces of single-use plastic are wasted in this country,” Slater said. “They litter our coasts, pollute our oceans and contribute to the climate emergency. That has to end and this ban will be another step forward in the fight against plastic waste and throwaway culture.” Slater has expressed her fears over the matter, saying that if the ban is implemented in Scotland alone, it might be sidestepped by people shopping in England. The minister has written to other ministers to see whether the U.K. could consider allowing Scotland to make independent policies on the matter.  The U.K. and its four member states have been criticized for being reluctant to implement these bans. Already,  the E.U. and its 27 member states  have banned single-use plastics. The U.K. is now under pressure to speed up its process to avoid littering the region. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Scotland’s plastic ban may fail due to UK’s internal strife

7 countries vow to end new oil and gas exploration

November 12, 2021 by  
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Yesterday at  COP26 , seven countries and one Canadian province joined forces as the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance. BOGA members committed to stop exploring for and producing  oil  and gas. Since none of the seven is a major oil or gas producer, the pledge seems more symbolic than practical for solving the climate crisis. But  Costa Rica , Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden, Wales and Quebec are bravely taking the lead as BOGA’s core members. Portugal, New Zealand and California were dubbed associate members for their “significant, concrete steps” in reducing oil and gas production. Related: Will promises from world leaders at COP26 actually happen? “If we want to address the climate crisis, we need a managed but decisive phase-out of oil and gas production,” said Andrea Meza, the minister of environment and energy of Costa Rica, in a statement. Costa Rica — which doesn’t produce oil or gas — and Denmark founded and are co-chairing the new alliance.  Denmark  is the European Union’s biggest oil producer, but that’s not saying much, as they produce less than 1% of the United States’ 2019 oil output. In addition to ending exploration and oil drilling, BOGA members have promised to decrease all fossil fuel production in line with the  Paris Agreement  timeline. Lars Koch of ActionAid Denmark said BOGA presented a test for oil-producing countries. “If they don’t become members of this alliance, what they are actually saying is, ‘We don’t mean what we say about 1.5,’” he said, as reported by Grist. “It is just pure, deep greenwashing.”  Despite a lot of nice words in Glasgow, most of the world’s major economies are still on track to produce way more oil, coal and gas than the Paris Agreement  global warming  target can bear: about 110% of that target, according to a report the United Nations released last month. In the U.S., the Biden administration plans to open 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to drilling next week and to lease huge tracts of public lands for new gas and oil development early next year. So, uh, how are we cutting  emissions  in half by 2030? Via Grist Lead image via Pixabay

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7 countries vow to end new oil and gas exploration

This futuristic design uses recycled bottles, coffee and oranges

October 20, 2021 by  
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Dubai Expo’s Italian Pavilion is a futuristic, sustainable creation. The 38,000-square-feet (3,500-square-meter) masterpiece opened on Oct. 1 at Dubai Expo 2020. Designed by Carlo Ratti Associati ( CRA ) and Italo Rota Building Office, the Italian Pavilion stands out for its creativity in utilizing sustainable materials. Thanks to its innovative design and materials, the building has already won Best Entrepreneurial Project of the Year at the Construction Innovation Awards. Related: WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion These innovative materials include 2 million recycled plastic bottles that form a multimedia facade. The designers also used recycled algae, coffee grounds and orange peels as building materials. Recycling, reusing and renewing are at the core of the design. The roof is probably the most outstanding part of the entire design. It uses three boat hulls that could set sail immediately after Dubai Expo. According to Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab, the Pavilion addresses issues that architectural designs have failed to address for many years. “Our design for the Italian Pavilion deals with what I believe is architecture’s most important challenge today: advancing the double convergence between the natural and the artificial. It anticipates issues and suggests strategies that will be increasingly crucial for the future of our cities as we address the consequences of the current climate crisis ,” Ratti said. The facade is fitted with LEDs that can be lit to transform the entire building into a multimedia surface. According to the designers, the bottles that make up the surface can be used again after the expo ends. But what about the coffee grounds and orange peels used in the design? The coffee and orange peels were left to dry and turned into powder used to coat suspended pathways. The setting of the Italian Pavilion on a five-meter-high dune made out of locally sourced sand also speaks to the design’s sustainable focus. + CRA Images © Michele Nastasi

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This futuristic design uses recycled bottles, coffee and oranges

Vertima’s environmental consulting helps businesses go green

October 20, 2021 by  
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Businesses worldwide have begun looking for ways to increase the sustainable components of their companies while decreasing the environmental impact of inefficient buildings,  waste  and pollution. One Canadian company has stepped in to act as a consultant for businesses looking to make those kinds of changes, and it’s called Vertima.  Started in 2008 by Josée Lupien and Jean DesRosiers, Vertima is a group of environmental strategies professionals that have the answers companies are looking for regarding everything from building materials to air quality inside the office. Related: Google’s first retail location earns LEED Platinum certification The team at Vertima offers expert advice in its collaborations with real estate developers, manufacturers and training organizations. One of its top goals is to support businesses as they seek to achieve LEED ® certification. Vertima also guides businesses toward carbon-neutral practices and helps them become more eco-responsible. The company has analyzed and validated over 1,000 products with environmental properties and features and has completed more than 91 sustainable building certification projects, including LEED, WELL and Green Globes. The team has developed over 250 collaborative workshops on integrated design processes (ICP) and trained over 950 professionals in the construction industry. To entice businesses to invest time in listening and learning through the training programs, Quebec’s Commission des partenaires du marché du travail has recognized the program in a way that gives training credits to employees who participate. Vertima training is also approved by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) for those maintaining their LEED® specialized professional designation. According to the Vertima website, “We offer high-quality professional consulting services to meet the needs of our clients and create economic,  environmental  and social value through each mandate.”  Most recently, Vertima completed the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management for the Place Ville Marie (PVM) business campus. Ivanhoé Cambridge, the client on the project, is the first company in Canada to obtain the certification. It’s a standard that highlights PVM’s commitment to the highest standards for cleaning and sanitization, emergency preparedness, health service resources and air and water quality management to respond to the pandemic and meet the future needs of PVM’s occupants. In another recent project, the team offered guidance for the environmental requirements and performance during construction of the new Maison Radio-Canada, owned by Broccolini, and similarly for the Ericsson corporate campus, a LEED® gold-level project of MONTONI. “We want to make a difference by facilitating the implementation of environmental strategies within companies,” said Lupien, LEED Fellow, WELL AP, President of Vertima. “Through our team of passionate and highly skilled professionals, we create economic value for any company that wants to update its certifications or environmental practices.” + Vertima Images via Vertima and Pixabay

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Vertima’s environmental consulting helps businesses go green

The world’s first self-sustained floating lounge, Aqua Pods

September 28, 2021 by  
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Aqua Pods, designed by Emirati-owned Aquatic Architects Design Studio (AADS) and produced by Innovative Marine Ventures (IMV), are the world’s first self-sustained multi-purpose floating lounge. The Aqua Pod AP EX1 model comes with a marine e-commerce application to provide consumers with personalized experiences and services. The pods can be used for leisure, entertainment, aquatic sports, tourism and retail off the coast and along the Dubai Water Canal shoreline. The AP EX1 model was designed to align with UAE’s Vision 2021, a multi-faceted initiative to improve the country. It aims to shift from oil as the nation’s primary income, to other means that are more efficient and eco-friendly. Related: Kiribati Floating Houses address rising waters and land limitations One of the six core components of the program is healthy environment and sustainable infrastructure . Aqua Pods aim to contribute to this venture, while taking a consumer-centric approach and exploring the concept of aquatic architecture. The sleek, floating modules are fully solar-powered to utilize the abundant desert sun, thus reducing greenhouse emissions. Additionally, to obtain fresh water, the pods contain a reverse osmosis water purification system to desalinate up to 100 liters of water daily without disposing the brine back into the sea. This is an optimal alternative to typical desalination systems in the Middle East that dump brine consisting of high concentrations of salt and chemical residues back in the ocean that threatens marine life, particularly when the dense solution sinks to the ocean floor Thanks to the multifunctional nature of the Aqua Pod, it is benefits the economy . It can be used for a multitude of activities and serve various industries to bridge on- and off-shore services. The design team has been insistent on creating an integrated commercial marine ecosystem to pioneer the future of floating retail, tourism, leisure and logistics. The floating developments can offer personalized experiences for events, water sports and tourism within the traditional and modern waterways of Dubai . The self-sustained AP EX1s can also be adapted to provide medical ambulatory services or deliveries along the canal, serve as recharge stations for marine vehicles and house cultivation systems such as hydroponics . In fact, the 45 sqm Aqua Pod EX1 model can even be expanded by 25 percent to suit the needs of the customers. AADS and IMV explore floating structures as a means of adapting to rising sea levels and climate change. The AADS team hopes that their projects will spark conversations on the necessity of urban floating developments in coastal regions and to prepare for the inevitable increase in water levels and diminishing coastline . Not only will this approach create resilient cities, but will support progressive, flexible economies around the world. + AADS Images via AADS

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The world’s first self-sustained floating lounge, Aqua Pods

Building integrated solar panels from Dubai produce clean energy and color

October 31, 2017 by  
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The United States could obtain 40 percent of its energy solely from rooftop solar (with sufficient political will). But what if solar panels could also boost architectural aesthetics? Dubai -based Emirates Insolaire hoped to do just that with their Kromatix technology, providing an alternative to the blue or black panels that adorn many roofs. Plus, their solar products aren’t limited to rooftops — they can also be integrated in balconies or facades. Emirates Insolaire, a joint venture of Dubai Investments PJSC and SwissINSO , is changing our vision of solar with their Kromatix technology, developed with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology . Emirates Insolaire offers Kromatix solar glass in gold, green, or terracotta, with an opaque finish that hides the power-generating technology inside. Solar transmittance varies among colors, but Emirates Insolaire said it is always greater than 85 percent. They also offer Kromatix modules manufactured with their solar glass that have an average efficiency of above 15 percent. Related: Discreet new SolarSkin panels completely blend in with their environment The company doesn’t use pigments to color their solar glass, but rather “a complex nano-scale multilayer deposition by plasma process,” and say the color will remain stable as time passes. According to Emirates Insolaire’s website, “The colored appearance results from the reflection of a narrow spectral band in the visible part of the solar spectrum. The rest of the solar radiation is transmitted to the solar panel to be converted into energy .” The thickness of the solar glass is between 3.2 and eight millimeters. SwissINSO says the Kromatix colored solar panels can be integrated on facades and rooftops of all sorts of structures, from private homes to high-rise buildings. Electrek also reported the Kromatix products are affordable; they estimated a 5.5 kilowatt solar system would cost between $1,300 and $1,500 per home. They said not counting tax credits or incentives, the system would cover the cost of coloring in a little over one and a half years. Emirates Insolaire’s products have been installed across Europe, including at this school in Copenhagen . + Emirates Insolaire Via Electrek Images via Emirates Insolaire

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Building integrated solar panels from Dubai produce clean energy and color

Uber deploys 50 Tesla electric vehicles to Dubai

October 9, 2017 by  
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Under the UberONE service, which utilizes only electric vehicles, Uber will add 50 new Tesla electric cars to its ride-sharing fleet in Dubai. “We are tremendously excited to be the exclusive ride-hailing partner for this fleet of premium electric vehicles in Dubai, in partnership with Dubai Taxi Corporation, and for the clean vehicle technology to deliver our driver-partners and riders with more efficient, less-polluting mobility,” said Chris Free, General Manager for Uber UAE. “We will continue to work hand in hand with Dubai Taxi Corporation to bring innovative infrastructural solutions to Dubai and grow the city’s smart mobility ecosystem.” This expansion announcement by Uber builds upon Tesla’s entrance into the United Arab Emirates market earlier this year, in which it signed a deal to provide 200 Model S/X self-driving vehicles to the Dubai Taxi Corporation. Uber’s electric moves in Dubai are only its latest in a global campaign to encourage greater use of electric vehicles by its drivers. In London , Uber, which is currently not authorized to work in the city, announced a program to shift its 40,000 London-based drivers to using electric cars. In Oregon, a similar program empowers Uber EV drivers as electric ambassadors who educate their passengers about electric vehicles. Related: Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona In addition to its reinforcement of ride-hailing fleets, Tesla has recently begun customer deliveries of its Model X and Model S vehicles in Dubai. The wealthy emirate features prominently in Tesla’s regional strategy and for that reason, the company has invested in charging infrastructure in Dubai as well. Dubai itself has taken several important moves towards a more sustainable society, including a massive solar power park which will contain the world’s tallest solar tower , and a plan to build 500km of bike lakes . As for its taxi services, Uber will have competition; the first flying taxis have officially started testing in Dubai. Via Electrek Images via Tesla, Elliott Brown/Flickr ,  Brandon/Flickr , and Michiel2005/Flickr

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Uber deploys 50 Tesla electric vehicles to Dubai

Getaway is launching new tiny house rentals in Washington DC and Boston

October 9, 2017 by  
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Getaway tiny houses  are expanding, and we couldn’t be more excited. Until now, you could only rent one of the off-grid houses outside parts of Boston and New York, but now you can also spend the night away from the hustle of  Washington DC . Getaway is also expanding in Boston, so you will have even more options for a weekend escape outside of Beantown. At $99 a night, users of Harvard Innovation Lab startup’s Getaway houses get a hotel-level experience in the middle of a forest. The cabins have no Wi-Fi or TV, which helps you completely disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. All other aspects of the structure were designed for ultimate comfort. Related: Harvard student startup unveils third tiny house that can be rented for $99 a night The majority of the structure are located within two hours from the city, with a special series of three cabins located on New York harbor beaches accessible by public transport and a half-hour drive from Prospect Park. The company recently closed a round of funding to the tune of $15 million, and is set to expand in Boston by 20 houses this fall. + Getaway House Lead photo by Roderick Aichinger

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Getaway is launching new tiny house rentals in Washington DC and Boston

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