Give goods, find goods, and do good on National Thrift Shop Day

July 13, 2017 by  
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If you’re the type of shopper that lives for finding hidden gems in vintage stores, mark August 17th on your calendar. That’s when National Thrift Shop Day returns to encourage everyone to support their local thrift shops and score secondhand goods. New York City is taking this initiative a step further by bringing awareness to the day’s charitable component and reminding us why it would do a world of good if we went the thrift store route instead of buying brand new. Through its donateNYC program, the New York City Department of Sanitation helps New Yorkers “give goods, find goods, and do good” for their community – and they’re making it really easy for everyone to do their part. Read on for 10 great things you can find on Thrift Store Day – and where you can go to pick them up. Thrift stores have long been a place where anyone can hand off items that are no longer wanted or needed instead of throwing them in the trash. In this way, others who can’t afford these items at their original prices have a chance to own them at a lower price. Necessities like clothes, housewares, books, electronics and furniture are just some of the goods people can buy. Related: Sweden opens an entire mall full of reclaimed goods Oftentimes, these thrift shops are run by charitable organizations that use the money collected from purchases to fund initiatives that further help those in need. Goodwill , for example, backs “programs that provide education, skills training and career development that help people earn jobs in communities nationwide.” Not to mention, this practice of donating, upcyling, and buying secondhand goods reduces the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills, the energy and resources consumed by waste management, and the amount of money flying out of our pockets. It’s a win all around. If you’re not sure where to drop off your unneeded goods, donateNYC eliminates that hassle for you. A directory of participating shops and a map of your nearest drop-off locations can be found online, as well as through the free donateNYC app for Apple and Android . The program is part of NYC’s 0X30 initiative , which aims to send zero waste to landfills by 2030, and it’s an excellent resource on National Thrift Shop Day and every other day of the year. Below are some of the cool items you can find in thrift shops around NYC, courtesy of donateNYC. Vintage Clothing St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Council Thrift Shop Vintage Thrift Housing Works Goodwill The Salvation Army Handbags Housing Works Purses for Nurses Goodwill Vintage Thrift Bicycles Recycle-A-Bicycle Building Materials/Appliances Big Reuse Rebuilding Together NYC Salvage Store Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Electronics Lower East Side Ecology Center Jewelry CancerCare Arthritis Foundation Vintage Thrift Housing Works Hour Children Goodwill Textile Scraps FABSCRAP Furniture Refoundry Housing Works Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Big Reuse The Salvation Army Vintage Thrift Hour Children Housewares/furnishings St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Council Thrift Shop Vintage Thrift Housing Works Goodwill The Salvation Army Hour Children Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Books/Records Big Reuse Goodwill The Salvation Army Hour Children Housing Works Council Thrift Shop St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Cancer Care + donateNYC Images via Depositphotos and donateNYC

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Give goods, find goods, and do good on National Thrift Shop Day

Siemens and AES start new energy storage company to rival Tesla

July 13, 2017 by  
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Tesla’s no longer the only big company in the energy storage game. Back in April, Mercedes-Benz started to deliver home energy storage units in Germany, and now technology giants Siemens and AES are creating a new energy storage company, Fluence . The venture could reach consumers in more than 160 countries. AES and Siemens intend to draw on their knowledge of the power industry to offer energy storage technology in Fluence. Although the new venture will operate independently of its parent companies, according to a press release, it will draw on technology both have developed, like the AES Advancion and Siemens Siestorage technologies. AES CEO Adrés Gluski said of the move, “This will accelerate the integration of renewables into the energy network of tomorrow.” Related: New on-demand energy system generates and stores power in one device In combination, the two companies have either deployed or been awarded 48 projects in 13 countries to install 463 megawatts of battery-based energy storage . AES has been deploying energy storage systems for 10 years, in seven countries. Siemens has been around for much longer. The company was founded in 1847 and boasts a sales presence in over 160 countries. Which means Fluence stands to do well, on a global level. According to the press release, “The company will empower customers around the world to better navigate the fragmented but rapidly growing energy storage sector and meet their pressing needs for scalable, flexible, and cost-competitive energy storage solutions.” And the energy storage market is growing at a steady pace. According to IHS Markit , the sector could expand from three gigawatts (GW) in installed capacity in 2016 to 28 GW just around six years later, in 2022. That’s enough power to run roughly 18.6 million households. The companies expect after regulatory approvals, the transaction will close later in 2017. + Fluence Via Siemens and AES Images via AES Energy Storage on Twitter and Siemens

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Siemens and AES start new energy storage company to rival Tesla

This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets

June 30, 2017 by  
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New Yorkers looking for a place to cool off during the summer will do well to duck into Long Island City’s MoMA PS1 – and it’s not just because the museum’s galleries are air-conditioned. A new interactive installation there, called Lumen , is an experience well-worth the trip. Lumen feels like a bright underwater landscape with 250 jellyfish-like tubular structures that interact with light, heat and movement. As the sun sets, colorful solar-powered lights come on, transforming the entire courtyard with an otherworldly vibe. Designed by Jenny Sabin Studio and debuting to the public June 29, Lumen is the winner of The Museum of Modern Arts and MoMA PS1’s 18th edition of the Young Architects Program and will serve as the setting for the 20th season of the Warm Up outdoor concert series this summer. The project integrates various disciplines, including biology, materials science, mathematics, engineering and design, to produce an artistic micro-climate that is both environmentally responsive and beautiful. The canopy is made of over 1,000,000 yards of digitally knitted and robotically woven fiber. During the day, the sun shines through the gaps in the canopy’s fabric to create murals of light and shadows against the concrete walls.Because the design requirements called for shade, water and seating, a responsive water system was incorporated into the hanging fabric tubes. Called stalactites, the tubes spray a fine mist when bodies draw near. In addition, 100 recycled spool stools (also robotically woven) provide a place to rest tired feet after a day roaming through the galleries, meeting another criteria that designs incorporate sustainability and recycling in its elements. The recycled fabric absorbs solar power over the course of the day and then emits it at night. Related: MoMA PS1 unveils futuristic solar canopy that reacts to heat, sunlight, and movement Lumen appeals to the senses; the soft white fabric is juxtaposed against the hard wooden seats and floors engraved with white geometric patterns. The installation invites visitors to play among the hanging fabric as water hits their skin. Lumen exudes both weightlessness and levity as the canopy sways in the breeze during the day and then almost an eeriness when it morphs into a photoluminescent wonderland. Once the Warm Up music series kicks off July 1, custom lighting incorporated into the installation’s design will complement the shows to provide both a visual and aural experience. All of which should make for one vibrant summer. Lumen will be on view at MoMA PS1’s courtyard from June 29 though August 27. + Jenny Sabin Studio All images by Dorkys Ramos for Inhabitat

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This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets

China’s largest bike share launches air-purifying bicycles for 20 million citizens

June 30, 2017 by  
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In the near future, 20 million people will be able to clean the air as they cycle. To fight air pollution and create a healthier environment for future generations, eco-innovator Daan Roosegaarde just partnered with Chinese bike-sharing giant ofo and leading Chinese design platform TEZIGN to make his smog-free bicycles available to millions of consumers. Roosegaarde’s highly-anticipated Smog Free Bicycles inhale dirty air, clean it, and then release fresh air into the environment. The bicycles work similarly to Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower by providing “a healthy and energy-friendly solution for urbanites, combatting both traffic congestion and pollution issues in the city.” Both the Smog Free Tower and the smog-free bicycles are part of Roosegaarde’s larger vision to fill cities with fresh air. At present, the project is being developed in China and the Netherlands. Roosegaarde , a Dutch artist and innovator, first unveiled the concept for a Smog Free Bicycle at a TED talk. It wasn’t long before excitement grew for the innovation, resulting in the progress made thus far. In a statement, Roosegaarde said, “ Beijing used to be an iconic bicycle city. We want to bring back the bicycle as a cultural icon of China and as the next step towards smog free cities.” Related: Daan Roosegaarde’s smog-sucking tower will clean the skies of China The news was announced at a press conference at the World Economic Forum / AMNC17, in Dalian. Further details about the project will be revealed in coming months. There’s still a long way to go to slash pollution and traffic in China, but the Smog Free Bicycle offers a creative approach to the problem. + Studio Roosegaarde Images via Studio Roosegaarde , Pinterest

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China’s largest bike share launches air-purifying bicycles for 20 million citizens

Maidan Tent aims to improve life in refugee camps with pop-up public space

May 1, 2017 by  
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A Milan-based design studio created a portable pop-up building that aims to improve the lives of refugees. Named the Maidan Tent , the multifunctional 200-square-meter structure can host up to 100 people and is designed for easy installation and transportation to allow for deployment in almost any refugee camp . The design team also teamed up with Austrian nonprofit Echo100Plus to launch a crowdfunding campaign that hopes to donate the first-ever Maidan Tent to the Ritsona refugee camp in Greece. Most refugee camps are only designed to meet the basic necessities of survival, with public gathering spaces often overlooked. The Maidan Tent design team wants to fill this gap with their design of a beautiful airy tent named after the Arabic word for a public square. The tent is made up of eight subdivided areas that provide a diversity of spaces, including outdoor shaded verandas, semi-private spaces, and a large open common space in the center. The large openings on all sides of the tent allow for natural ventilation . The Maidan team writes: “The structure is designed with the following psychological aspects in mind: The round shape forms a center and is open to every side, inviting people from every direction. Subdivision into various zones make it possible to form various relation – ships and a sense of common ground. The multi-functional public space is flexible and can be quickly adapted to people’s needs. The Maidan tent is 4 meters high and has an area of 200 square meters that can accommodate more than a hundred people.” Related: German architecture students and refugees build a beautiful timber community center The Maidan Tent is designed for all climate zones and weather types and the aluminum skeleton is covered with a strong Pe + Pes textile that is resistant to water, strong winds, and fire . You can help bring the first Maidan Tent to Ritsona refugee camp, home to 700 refugees, by submitting a pledge to their Indiegogo campaign here . + Maidan Tent

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Maidan Tent aims to improve life in refugee camps with pop-up public space

New type of fabric harvests energy from the sun and movement

September 16, 2016 by  
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What if your clothes could harvest energy to power your smartphone? Eight Georgia Tech engineers pioneered a new type of hybrid textile that can harvest energy from two sources: the sun and movement. There could be several applications for the innovative fabric , including in clothing, curtains, or tents. The engineers utilized a ” commercial textile machine ” to weave the “hybrid power textile” or “hybrid energy fabric.” The fabric can harvest solar energy through solar cells made of polymer fibers. Triboelectric nanogenerators generate energy from movement. These materials are interwoven with wool . The resulting fabric is “highly flexible,” lightweight, and breathable, according to researchers. The journal Nature Energy published their research online earlier this week. Related: Never do laundry again: researchers create self-cleaning textiles! Paper co-author and Georgia Tech professor in Materials Science and Engineering Zhong Lin Wang said in a statement, “This hybrid power textile presents a novel solution to charging devices in the field from something as simple as the wind blowing on a sunny day.” To test the fabric, the engineers essentially created a flag with it and then drove around in a car as the flag blew in the wind out the window. Although the day was cloudy, a four by five centimeter piece of the fabric gathered enough energy to charge a “2 mF commerical capacitor” to two volts in just one minute. Next the engineers plan to encapsulate the fabric so it’s not harmed by moisture or rain. Early tests show the fabric can be used over and over, but the researchers want to test it further to see just how durable it might be over long periods of time. They think the fabric could be scaled up, as many of the materials used are inexpensive. The polymer fibers utilized are also “environmentally friendly.” + Georgia Tech Images via Georgia Tech

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New type of fabric harvests energy from the sun and movement

A beginner’s guide to ethical fashion

August 13, 2016 by  
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Fast fashion is devastating for the environment and for the people who are forced to labor to make those $5 shirts. It also has become so ubiquitous that it can be difficult to avoid. We’ve created this handy guide to ethical fashion, so you can shop ’til you drop and still feel good about your choices.

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A beginner’s guide to ethical fashion

Upcycled Sony headphone wires create fashionable travel accessories

July 23, 2016 by  
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Usually, broken headphones just end up in the trash — but a new collaboration between Sony and London fashion label Auria aims to change that. The two brands recently debuted the world’s first line of travel accessories created from discarded headphone wires. The new collection features colorful passport covers, sunglasses cases, beach totes, smartphone cases, and even beach-ready flip-flops.

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Upcycled Sony headphone wires create fashionable travel accessories

Satva’s organic yoga-inspired clothing supports education for young girls in India

June 30, 2016 by  
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http://youtu.be/tzHkyvcL77c Designed in California, Satva’s line of organic women and children’s clothing stands the test of time. The brand encourages an active, healthy, and less wasteful lifestyle with outfits that double as both yoga and everyday wear. Their price point is competitive too — yoga brands like Lululemon that don’t advertise as using ethically-sourced or organic materials charge nearly twice as much as Satva. Made with GOTS certified organic cotton free of chemicals, heavy metals, or allergens, Satva is also an affordable clothing option for people with skin sensitivities. We tried a couple of items and the cotton is breathable and great for exercising, yet functional enough for day-to-day wear. The yoga-friendly Amber Strap Tank , for instance, also doubles as a warm undershirt in winter. Satva in Sanskrit is defined by purity and a steady, calm and peaceful mind. Puja says: “Satva is an organic lifestyle company that lives it mission to create a balance of people, planet and product. Every eco conscious & socially responsible step is considered on the way to production. We are very proud of the work we can do in the communities of India to bring educational opportunities to young girls and agricultural advancements to our organic cotton farmers- and it’s all possible because of our eco-conscious customers who choose to shop sustainably.” To learn more about Satva and the “Blossom for Change” program, visit them here . + Satva

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Satva’s organic yoga-inspired clothing supports education for young girls in India

New sweet potato could alleviate hunger for "millions"

June 30, 2016 by  
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Each year, the World Food Prize Foundation honors individuals who contributed to “improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food throughout the world.” This year’s laureates include a team of three from the International Potato Center and the founder of HarvestPlus . The four researchers are credited with making sweet potatoes more nutritious , which could impact over 10 million people in Latin America, Asia, and Africa . The foundation described the four laureates – Maria Andrade, Robert Mwanga, Jan Low, and Howarth Bouis – as ” biofortification pioneers .” According to World Food Prize Foundation President Kenneth Quinn, biofortification is “the process of breeding critical vitamins and micronutrients into staple crops, thereby dramatically reducing hidden hunger and improving health for millions and millions of people.” Related: This weird breed of mutant corn could solve world hunger The International Potato Center has researched sweet potatoes since 1988. The three laureates from the center bred and introduced a sweet potato fortified with Vitamin A. Andrade, of Cape Verde, and Mwanga of Uganda bred the sweet potato. Low, an American, designed programs to introduce the sweet potato. Nearly ” two million households ” across 10 African countries have planted or purchased their fortified sweet potato. HarvestPlus founder Bouis, an American, has worked on biofortification for 25 years. His organization focused on fortifying beans, pearl millet, wheat, and rice with zinc and iron; and cassava, maize, and sweet potatoes with Vitamin A. A deficiency in this critical vitamin can result in premature death and blindness, something the newly-enriched sweet potatoes can combat. Quinn said , “The impact of the work of all four winners will be felt around the globe, but particularly in sub Saharan Africa. It is particularly poignant that among our 2016 recipients are two African scientists who are working on solutions to tackle malnutrition in Africa, for Africa.” Past prize honorees include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, former President of Ghana John Kufuor, and controversially in 2013, a Monsanto executive . Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons and the World Food Prize Foundation

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New sweet potato could alleviate hunger for "millions"

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