Asia’s largest organic rooftop farm can grow 20 tons of food annually

September 15, 2020 by  
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Organic urban agriculture, renewable energy and beautiful landscaping come together at the Thammasat University Rooftop Farm (TURF), Asia’s largest organic rooftop farm that spans 236,806 square feet. Bangkok-based landscape architecture and urban design firm  LANDPROCESS  designed the productive landscape in response to both the Thai capital’s sprawling urbanization and rising food and water scarcity concerns amid the climate crisis. Equipped with solar panels that produce up to 500,000 watts per hour and rainwater harvesting systems for irrigation, TURF grows more than 40 edible species of crops, including rice, indigenous vegetables, fruit trees and herbs. Located in the  Bangkok  subdistrict Bowon Niwet, TURF’s zigzagging terraced design that merges the earthwork of rice terraces with modern green roof technology takes inspiration from traditional agricultural practices found across Southeast Asia. The cascading terraces not only help organize the different crop areas but are also engineered to absorb, filter and slow down rainwater runoff 20 times more effectively than conventional concrete rooftops. The runoff collects at the bottom of the landscape in four retention ponds capable of holding over 3 million gallons of water total. TURF can provide up to 80,000 meals — 20 tons of organic food — each year for the 40,000 campus residents. The campus canteen collects food waste and uses it for  compost  on the urban farm. TURF also serves as an educational resource for the university and hosts year-round workshops on sustainable agriculture for students and the surrounding community. Social spaces are also built into the landscape, from intimate seating areas to a terraced amphitheater with universal outdoor access to the second-floor auditorium. Related: Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok “As lush green turns to dry brown, TURF is a realistic, but hopeful solution, putting urban dwellers back in tune with  agricultural  practices,” a press release states. “Lessons on Thai agriculture, landscape and native soil are embedded into TURF, educating future leaders to adapt and embrace climate challenges, by building sustainable cities for generations to come.” + LANDPROCESS Photo credit: Panoramic Studio / LANDPROCESS

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#degrowth art series exposes greenwashing in the food industry

July 20, 2020 by  
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While reaching for products with an “eco-friendly” label may seem like the better choice in any situation, well-intended consumers should always be aware of “greenwashing” — the process of conveying false or misleading impressions about how environmentally sound a product is (typically with the intention to overcharge). The presence of greenwashing often comes from a business’ PR or marketing team to persuade buyers that its products are eco-friendly. It doesn’t just apply to products, either; greenwashing tactics are sometimes used to convince the public that a company’s policies and procedures are sustainable, as well. Enter Quatre Caps, an image studio from Spain that aims to bring social awareness back to food. Quatre Caps’ new art series, #degrowth, reflects on consumer-projected concepts and habits, such as carbon footprints and local consumption. The two trendiest goals in the food market, healthier diets and environmentally friendly consumption, tend to be grouped under the same umbrella despite not pursuing the same objective, according to the studio. Related: Explore eerie wonders at the Museum of Underwater Art Eco-labels, mainly the labeling systems used for food and consumer products to determine levels of eco-friendliness, have increased rapidly in recent years. These labels can be quite misleading, Quatre Caps says. The studio believes the key to restructuring the buying process and becoming more aware of the negative externalities of choice in purchasing comes from being faster and smarter than offending advertising agencies. Doubting initial information and doing the research as to which companies and products are truly eco-friendly is one way to achieve this, and understanding that good intentions aren’t the same as good actions is another. This thoughtful art series is aptly named, as the term “degrowth” is based on critiques of the global system which pursues growth at all costs, regardless of human exploitation and environmental destruction. The #degrowth collection is a reflection of the different carbon footprints that certain consumer-based choices produce, depending on factors like origin, agricultural technique and packaging. + Quatre Caps Images via Quatre Caps

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Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

May 13, 2020 by  
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For this year’s Bangkok Design Week, which took place in February 2020, Thai design firm Plural Designs created the Everlasting Forest Pavilion, a temporary, tunnel-like structure built of biodegradable materials that promotes sustainable ideas and products to the public. Created in collaboration with a team of multidisciplinary experts, the pavilion champions the idea of environmentally friendly architecture and circular living as part of a larger vision for sustainable urban living. Installed in front of Bangkok’s Grand Postal Building, the Everlasting Forest Pavilion follows a “BCG” concept named after its three zones of Bio Economy, Circular Economy and Green Economy. Each zone is a showcase of innovative products and ideas and seamlessly connects to the next space. The pavilion’s circular form reinforces the idea of circular living with its tunnel-like architecture; the pavilion is centered on an “Everlasting Forest”, a densely planted green space with a walkway. All materials used in construction are eco-friendly, biodegradable and made from waste material. Related: Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis The first zone visitors encounter is the Green Economy, which introduces a variety of eco-friendly materials including lightweight fiber rebar, or glass-fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP), as a durable and low-carbon alternative building material to steel. The second zone is the Circular Economy , where examples of plastic waste upcycled into new, value-added products are showcased. Examples of uses for biodegradable and eco-friendly bioplastics are shown in the third zone, Bio Economy. The pavilion also includes a rest zone. As an extension of the project, a Smart Recycling Center was installed nearby to show the public how to responsibly sort and manage waste generated at the event. The architects said, “Everlasting Forest Pavilion is a space demonstrating the co-habitation between man-made structures and their surrounding environment including buildings, green spaces and daily life objects, whose resources and waste are all sustainably managed and utilized.” + Plural Designs Images via Plural Designs

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Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

Eco-friendly Fun, Education, & Advocacy While Staying Home

April 21, 2020 by  
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Responsibly social distancing yourself from others during the coronavirus pandemic … The post Eco-friendly Fun, Education, & Advocacy While Staying Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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LEED Platinum-targeted Santa Monica apartments are powered by solar energy

January 30, 2020 by  
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Los Angeles-based design practice KFA Architecture has recently completed Pico Eleven, a new multi-unit residential housing project designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification. In addition to the building’s inclusion of solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and passive solar strategies, Pico Eleven has also dedicated approximately one-third of its units to affordable housing, with four units set aside for very low-income households. Located near Downtown Santa Monica, the housing project reflects its waterfront environment with reclaimed timber siding that recalls the rustic California beach house aesthetic. Nestled into a sloping hillside just blocks from Downtown Santa Monica , Pico Eleven comprises 32 units spread out across four floors and is organized into three distinct masses that step down the slope. The 33,000-square-foot building also includes two levels of subterranean parking with space for 64 vehicles. Eleven of the 32 units — which mainly comprise one- and two-bedroom units — are reserved for rent control, while four units are designated low-income. Related: Eco-friendly crematorium is envisioned for Santa Monica To take advantage of the building’s proximity to the waterfront, the architects have added three upper-level decks with sweeping ocean views and amenities including built-in barbecue grills, gas fire pits and outdoor seating. Outdoor space is further integrated into the design with the private patios that come with every unit as well as the inclusion of two large, open courtyards with drought-tolerant landscaping. Open floor plans and expansive glazing on the sides of every residential unit also give residents access to ocean cross breezes and plenty of natural light. In addition to an emphasis on cross ventilation and daylighting throughout Pico Eleven, the architects have added photovoltaic panels to the roof to generate electricity for the entire building. All units come with energy-efficient appliances and residents have access to two electric vehicle charging stations as well.  + KFA Architecture Images via KFA Architecture

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This cool electric skateboard is made from recycled plastic

January 30, 2020 by  
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Native of Porto, Portugal, designer João Leão was becoming more and more concerned about the abundance of plastic waste he saw clogging up his city’s beautiful coastline. Inspired to act on the issue, the ambitious designer decided to find a way to clean the ocean by using that waste to create an innovative product. As a result, Leão created the PET MINI — an electric skateboard made completely out of plastic waste. Founder of the design studio Maker Island , Leão has made a career out of  creating innovative and collaborative designs that are geared toward addressing local problems on a global scale. But with his latest invention, Leão is trying to address an issue close to his heart — Porto’s plastic waste. Related: New line of men’s swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic “It all started with two problems, the plastic waste I was seeing being gathered on the beaches of my hometown, Porto, and the increasing commute times due to the high increase of people on the city and poor public and personal transportation infrastructures,” Leão explained. The resulting design is the PET (Personal Electric Transport) skateboard. The process began by experimenting with various types of discarded plastic. By examining the most common types found in Porto’s waters — ABS, PP and PET HDPE — Leão was able to better understand the mechanical and aesthetic properties of each. Finally, he discovered that the most suitable type of plastic for creating the electric skateboard was HDPE. From there, Leão began to outline the design itself. Using the body of an armadillo as inspiration, he first created the electronics enclosure, which is a series of modular pieces that run along the underside of the board. The enclosure is durable enough to protect the board’s electronic components without affecting the smooth ride of the deck. The deck of the board was 3D-CNC milled at the local VIVA Lab using recycled thermoplastics as the main manufacturing material. The PET MINI electronic skateboard weighs just over 17 pounds and is 75 centimeters long. With a top speed of 21 miles per hour, the board can go up to 22 miles with a single charge time of almost 2 hours. Built for under $550, the innovative board is comparable to other commercial electric skateboards on the market that typically cost about $1,700. +  João Leão Images via João Leão

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Pamper your partner with these eco-friendly gift ideas

December 18, 2019 by  
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Getting your significant other a holiday gift can be a daunting task, but if you go green, you’ll win every time. Here are Inhabitat’s recommendations for eco-conscious gifts that will show your partner and the planet plenty of love this holiday season. Repast Supply Co.’s wooden kitchenware and dining furniture Repast Supply Co. is a woodworking company that plants 10 trees for every piece of furniture it builds. Its furniture includes credenzas, dining tables, side tables, seating and benches. The Repast Supply kitchenware product line includes wooden rolling pins, ravioli boxes, bigolaros, polenta boards, cutting boards and wine totes. As an added bonus, it has recipes on its website for dishes like gluten-free ravioli with port-poached pear filling or ricotta-goat cheese ravioli with radishes for the refined palate. Any of these items are a great set-up for many romantic dinners to come. Related: Eco-friendly subscription boxes to gift this holiday season JOCO reusable, glass coffee cups JOCO has been a strong advocate for the “Refuse all plastic, stop disposable waste” message. The company has thereby created reusable coffee cups “designed for a lifetime of use,” thanks to being 100 percent plastic-free and certified non-toxic. Moreover, these reusable cups are “made by artists, not machines,” for they have been “artisan-blown.” Besides the coffee cups, JOCO also offers bottles, glassware and accessories. Accessories include silicone thermal sleeves and splash-safe lids that are 100 percent BPA-free. Recycled glass artworks Upcycling glass is a good way to minimize waste and create eco-art for all to enjoy. For example, Kitras Art Glass makes hand-blown ornaments from recycled glass. Refresh Glass , meanwhile, has rescued over 1.5 million bottles and continues to upcycle them into gifts, like self-watering planters, carafe and glass sets and personalized glass sets. EvrBottle similarly gives bottles new life as tumblers, vases, lamps, jars and candle holders. Bureo sunglasses and skateboards All of Bureo’s products are made from recycled fishing nets . Its top-sellers include skateboards and sunglasses, and it also has the first Jenga game ( called Jenga Ocean ) made from 100 percent recycled fishing nets. Bureo’s gift sets include insulated canteens, flying discs, mugs and surf fins, all made from recycled fishing nets as well. ReFleece ReFleece sources reclaimed textiles from the outdoor industry and makes felt from recycled bottles. The company makes all of its products in the U.S., too. ReFleece merchandise to gift this holiday season includes zippered pocket pouches, slim wallets, e-reader cases, iPad sleeves and wine totes. Personal care products from The Humble Co. Vegan , cruelty-free and certified organic, The Humble Co. has many eco-friendly and socially responsible products on offer. The Humble Brush is described as “the world’s most-sold bamboo toothbrush with a handle made from 100 percent biodegradable, sustainably grown bamboo.” The toothbrushes can be accessorized with a bamboo storage case or a bamboo stand to hold the Humble Brush. The Humble Co. also has natural toothpastes, including tablets, and non-toxic mouthwash that would all make for great stocking-stuffers. Because bamboo is The Humble Co.’s material of choice, it also sells bamboo cotton swabs and reusable, natural bamboo straws. Sleep masks and bedding from SOL Organics For a good night’s rest, consider organic cotton eye masks. Optimal health depends on getting enough sleep, and that can be helped with a sleep mask that both fits comfortably and blocks out the light. Plus, with organic cotton as the material, your partner will sleep better knowing it is eco-friendly. SOL Organics ‘ sleep mask is a fair-trade eye mask that is made of 100 percent organic cotton and has the GOTS certification. SOL Organics’ product inventory also includes sheets, bedding bundles, duvets, downs, and even robes and towels. Birdhouse succulent planter For those who love birds, plants, gardens or all of the above, then Shop Succulents’ living succulent birdhouse kit planter is sure to be a well-loved gift. Made from natural wood and supplied with succulents to plant atop for a green roof , this birdhouse will certainly make your partner smile. Cork yoga mats Yoloha cork yoga mats are comfortable, biodegradeable and recyclable. They also have a great non-slip grip, and cork is naturally antibacterial. With a Yoloha cork yoga mat, your partner can better their personal health and wellness and that of the planet, too. Images via Shutterstock, Repast Supply , JOCO , Jana , Bureo , ReFleece , The Humble Co. and Yoloha Yoga

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Eco-friendly Gifts for Kids

December 18, 2019 by  
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Eco-friendly gifts for kids? Yes, even when shopping for kids … The post Eco-friendly Gifts for Kids appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: The Feast of the Seven Fishes

December 18, 2019 by  
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For me, growing up as an Italian-American in the 1960s, … The post Maven Moment: The Feast of the Seven Fishes appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Easy & Eco-friendly ‘Experience’ Gift Ideas

December 9, 2019 by  
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