20-foot shipping container converted into off-grid oasis deep in the Catskills

June 7, 2018 by  
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The beautiful Contanium shipping container cabin , just a two-hour drive from NYC, is proving that going off-grid doesn’t have to mean going bare bones. Available for rent on Airbnb, the solar-powered container cabin offers peaceful solitude with all of the comforts of a luxury cabin, including a comfy sofa bed, kitchenette, writing desk, wood-burning stove, and outdoor hot tub. The 20-foot shipping container is perfect for a summer weekend away or even a winter wonderland experience. The container is highly insulated for the cold New York winters, and a wood-burning stove helps the interior stay warm and cozy at all hours of the day and night. The solar-powered cabin comes installed with a composting toilet and a gravity-feed water system. Low-energy windows also provide natural light while reducing heat loss in the wintertime. Large sliding glass doors open onto the patio in the warmer months, letting guests enjoy nature right outside their living space. Related: This amazing shipping container hotel can pop up anywhere in the world Inside the cabin’s beautiful woodsy interior, guests can enjoy the comforts of home. The lights are controlled by a touch-activated LED lighting system . A small but sufficient sofa bed can be folded up for seating space. The kitchenette, although compact, is fully stocked with top-of-the-line appliances. The bathroom is just 40 feet away and is a modern, sophisticated take on the traditional outhouse, with lots of natural light, pine paneling and an open shower stall. The outdoor patio has a large seating area positioned around a fire ring. Additionally, a yoga platform and hammock all but guarantee a rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit. Outside, guests will enjoy a wood-fired hot tub made out of a 120-gallon galvanized metal tub, which can be filled up with stream water. Besides staying in a beautiful eco-friendly cabin , guests will have a breathtaking natural forest to explore. The cabin sits on 20 acres of woodland with various trails to choose from, including one that leads to a 30-foot waterfall just 100 yards north. + Contanium Cabin Via 6 Sq Ft Photographs via Airbnb

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20-foot shipping container converted into off-grid oasis deep in the Catskills

A historic Shanghai mansion hides a spectacular modern bookstore

June 7, 2018 by  
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Although Shanghai doesn’t have the historic cachet that Beijing does, the ultra-modern Pearl of the Orient has its fair share of adaptive reuse projects. Case in point is the recent transformation of an old mansion into a modern bookstore in the city’s Huangpu District. The multi-story Sinan Bookshop, designed by local architecture firm WUtopia Lab , combines multiple functions with an artistic and contemporary design that’s rich in a variety of hues and textures. Commissioned by the Shanghai Century Publishing Group and the Yongye Group, the new Sinan Bookshop is housed in Building 25, one of the Sinan Mansions built in the 1920s and 1930s for the city’s elite. Today, the Sinan Mansions are undergoing massive redevelopment in a somewhat controversial process. Many of the historic buildings will be knocked down and rebuilt with faux-renovations for high-end retail or apartments that cater almost exclusively to the rich. However, the Sinan Bookshop — which the architects say is housed in the original building — is thankfully accessible to all and will offer educational spaces for the general public. “The goal was to provide a space for learning and thinking for the general public living in the city,” the architecture firm wrote. “Considering one’s mind, thoughts, perception and sub-consciousness, Sinan books is seen as a person with a system of acquiring knowledge while discovering oneself and the surrounding.” Related: Architects squeeze an ethereal art gallery into a narrow Shanghai alleyway The bookshop is entered through the second floor, which also houses a cafe, cashier and books on literature and Shanghai. The first floor contains books on history and philosophy, as well as an outpost of the London Review Bookshop. An exhibition hall and books on art can be found on the third floor. A multipurpose events space is located on the fourth floor and is designed to host cultural saloons or debates. A rich mixture of colors and textures — from herringbone parquet floors to forest-green hues to shades of salmon — is woven throughout each floor. + WUtopia Lab Images by CreatAR Images

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A historic Shanghai mansion hides a spectacular modern bookstore

Dutch town helps out rare bat species by installing "bat-friendly" streetlights

June 7, 2018 by  
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Street lighting can impact bats’ feeding patterns and internal compasses, as well as the activity of their insect prey, but a town in the Netherlands is taking steps to help the bats out. Zuidhoek Nieuwkoop , a housing development of around 90 sustainable homes near the Nieuwkoopse Plassen nature reserve, has installed what are thought to be the world’s first bat-friendly streetlights. The red LED  lights from Signify , formerly Philips Lighting, brighten the road for humans, but the the bats still perceive the light as darkness. The town and surrounding area are part of the Natura 2000 , a network of nesting and breeding sites for rare and threatened species across the European Union. These sites don’t all exclude human activities; in fact, most of the land is privately owned. The approach to conservation on these sites revolves around “people working with nature rather than against it,” according to the European Commission. Related: Bat bridge provides shelter for our winged friends in the Dutch town of Monster Bat-friendly lighting could fit that bill. Zuidhoek Nieuwkoop , according to Signify, is a key feeding ground “for some rare bat species.” The energy-efficient streetlights emit red with a wavelength that won’t interfere with the flying mammals’ internal compasses. The lighting is based on 2017 research from Wageningen University , the Netherlands Institute of Ecology , and Philips Lighting. Nieuwkoop city council member Guus Elkhuizen said, “Nieuwkoop is the first town in the world to use smart LED street lights that are designed to be friendly to bats. When developing our unique housing program, our goal was to make the project as sustainable as possible, while preserving our local bat species with minimal impact to their habitat and activities. We’ve managed to do this and also keep our carbon footprint and energy consumption to a minimum.” + Signify + Zuidhoek Nieuwkoop Images courtesy of Signify

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Dutch town helps out rare bat species by installing "bat-friendly" streetlights

Global tourism’s carbon footprint is four times bigger than we thought

May 7, 2018 by  
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For the first time, researchers have quantified the  carbon footprint of global  tourism around the world – and their findings show that tourism’s impact is roughly four times greater than previously thought. The research, led by the Integrated Sustainability Analysis supply-chain research group at the University of Sydney , accounted for all components of the tourism industry, from travel to souvenirs. The group found global tourist activity is growing faster than international trade and already accounts for one-tenth of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The impact analysis took a year and a half to finish and included approximately one billion global supply chains. “Our analysis is a world-first look at the true cost of tourism—including consumables such as food from eating out and souvenirs—it’s a complete life-cycle assessment of global tourism, ensuring we don’t miss any impacts,” study co-author Dr. Arunima Malik told Phys.org . Not surprisingly, the researchers identified air travel as the major contributor to the overall emissions from global tourism. Related: 7 exotic off-grid Airbnb rental homes for adventurous travelers As much of the world experiences a period of strong economic growth, there is concern that this will result in greater greenhouse gas emissions. “We found the per-capita carbon footprint increases strongly with increased affluence and does not appear to satiate as incomes grow,” lead researcher Manfred Lenzen told Phys.org . The researchers recognize that high-level actions must be taken to counteract the ever-increasing emissions trend in tourism. “Given that tourism is set to grow faster than many other economic sectors, the international community may consider its inclusion in the future in climate commitments, such as the Paris Accord , by tying international flights to specific nations,” co-author Ya-Yen Sun told Phys.org . “ Carbon taxes or carbon trading schemes—in particular for aviation—may be required to curtail unchecked future growth in tourism-related emissions.” All this, however, will most certainly result in increased costs for air travelers. + University of Sydney Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos 1, 2

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Global tourism’s carbon footprint is four times bigger than we thought

Stay in a cozy geodesic dome at this amazing Patagonia retreat

January 23, 2018 by  
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Set in the stunning landscape of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, EcoCamp Patagonia is a sustainable retreat made up of upscale geodesic domes . Offering amazing views of the surrounding nature (including the park’s majestic granite towers), the domes operate on renewable energy and were built to be low-impact on the landscape. Tucked into the otherworldly landscape of the Andes mountain range, the award-winning EcoCamp operates completely on environmentally sound principles. The guest accommodations as well as the common spaces are run on solar and hydraulic energy . All waste is either composted or recycled. Additionally, the meals are made with locally-grown food and the ecocamp works closely with the local community on sustainability issues. The camp’s environmental profile is so strong that it has earned ISO14001 certification since 2007 and ISO 9001 certification since 2012. Related: EcoCamp Patagonia is a Gorgeous Geodesic Campground in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park The glamping domes were built off the ground on elevated platforms to minimize impact on the landscape . Their design was inspired by the indigenous Alacalufe nomads who are known to leave no traces when they travel. The green color of the domes not only helps reduce solar radiation, but also blends the complex into the environment. Each dome is insulated with thick walls and heated with propane heaters. There are four types of guest domes on offer – from standard accommodations to swanky Suite Dome Lofts. They all come with quality amenities like comfy beds, private bathrooms and skylights that flood the interiors with natural light . Guests can mingle in the Community Domes or take a class in the Yoga Dome. The lodge also offers hiking excursions through the amazing mountainous landscape of the Andes. + EcoCamp Patagonia Via Dwell Images via EcoCamp Patagonia

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Stay in a cozy geodesic dome at this amazing Patagonia retreat

Amazon opens new grocery store sans checkout lines

January 23, 2018 by  
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You’ll never wait in checkout lines at Amazon’s new grocery store, Amazon Go . Shoppers enter the store via an app , grab the food they need, and then simply walk out. The first Amazon Go just opened for business in Seattle . Amazon is opening up their first Amazon Go, an 1,800-square-foot physical grocery store. People scan an app on their smartphones to enter, pick up whatever food they want to buy, and leave without the hassle of waiting in line. Once through the doors, users don’t need the app to shop – Amazon said in a video they drew on “ computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, much like you’d find in self-driving cars” to make the concept a reality. The Next Web said cameras on store shelves track what customers grab. Related: You can now buy tiny shipping container homes on Amazon What can you purchase inside an Amazon Go? Similar to a regular old grocery store of the past, customers can pick up staples like milk and bread, alcohol, and ready-to-eat snacks, breakfast, lunch, or dinners to start. The company will also offer Amazon Meal Kits, which include ingredients to cook a meal for two people in around half an hour. #AmazonGo opens on Monday, January 22 in Seattle. Get the app to enter the store. See you soon! https://t.co/jt7quQ4rke pic.twitter.com/shIyrifZyk — Amazon.com (@amazon) January 21, 2018 The New York Times said there are no baskets or shopping carts – customers place the items they want in a bag they walk out with. And while there aren’t cashiers, an Amazon Go store still requires staff – to stock shelves, help shoppers with any technical issues, help them find items, and check identification in the beer and wine section. Amazon unveiled plans for Amazon Go back in late 2016 – but had to delay the launch because of some technical difficulties, according to The Next Web. But it appears they’re ready to go with this first location, which is at 2131 7th Avenue, and is open Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 9 PM. The app works for Android or iOS. Amazon has not yet said whether they’ll open more Amazon Go stores, or utilize the technology in other ways — like selling it to other retailers. + Amazon Go Via The Next Web and The New York Times Images via Amazon Twitter and Amazon

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Amazon opens new grocery store sans checkout lines

Foster + Partners unveils LEED Gold-targeted PGA TOUR HQ in Florida

January 23, 2018 by  
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Foster + Partners has unveiled designs for the new PGA TOUR headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The sleek, light-filled building will be equipped with sustainable biophilic design features that will help the project obtain its targeted LEED Gold certification. Surrounded by greenery, the building will be placed within a large freshwater lake in a nod to the iconic ‘Island Green’ 17th hole at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. Located to the south of the Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass, the 187,000-square-foot PGA TOUR headquarters will serve as the new Global Home for the professional golf platform. The new headquarters will also consolidate all the offices —currently spread out across multiple buildings—under one roof. The new building will stress a sense of openness, transparency, and flexibility for a greater collaborative environment. “Inspired by the lush greenery of TPC Sawgrass and the beautiful Floridian light, the new PGA TOUR headquarters is designed as an extension of its surrounding landscape,” said Nigel Dancey, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “As the Global Home of the PGA TOUR, it brings the organization under one roof for the first time, and signifies the progressive spirit of the TOUR.” Twenty-foot-wide bridges connect the two building bays and allow for informal meetings, while flexible workspaces cater to the increasingly mobile workforce. Related: Foster + Partners’ Apple Park Visitor Center opens to the public Natural light and air pours into the headquarters through glazed facades and five large skylights. Axial landscape views are welcomed into the building, and employees will have access to a 1.3-kilometer running track in the middle of the woods. Rooftop solar panels will power a portion of the building’s energy needs, while deep roof overhangs mitigate solar heat gain. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners

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Foster + Partners unveils LEED Gold-targeted PGA TOUR HQ in Florida

Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials

January 22, 2018 by  
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The four pavilions of the Naked Gallery resort in China were built using a combination of locally available natural and recycled waste materials. Xiaohui Designer Studio designed the complex as an eco-friendly space that “includes 75% of sustainable and renewable materials , 75% recyclable materials, and 75% of work by local craftsmen.” The designers utilized locally available stones, the soil excavated from the other sites in the resort, and bamboos abundant at the foot of Mount Mogan where the resort is located. The materials of the formwork and the joists of Naked Gallery are collected from the waste materials from other structures, which helped reduce the generation of waste and alleviate the influence of the architecture on the natural environment. Related: Luscious eco-resort design in China inspired by the Silk Road The resort consists of four pavilions. Local craftsmen built the complex using traditional building techniques which helped cut construction costs and increase construction efficiency. In fact, the transportation fees and construction waste were both cut by 90% during the building process. + Xiaohui Designer Studio Via Archdaily Photos by Youkun Chen    

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Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials

Acoustic tractor beams could allow humans to levitate in the near future

January 22, 2018 by  
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Researchers from the University of Bristol are taking us into the future with a new discovery that could pave the way for human levitation. The powerful new technology uses tractor beams of sound to levitate liquids or even large objects – like a human beings – in mid-air. It’s like something straight out of a science fiction movie. Up until now, acoustic tractor beams could only lift tiny objects – anything larger than the wavelength would become rapidly unstable. But this new technology utilizes acoustic vortices that shift rapidly to hold and move objects. It’s kind of like trapping an object in a powerful tornado of sound, with a silent eye and loud sound on the exterior. By quickly changing the rate of rotation, scientists can stabilize the tractor beam and even manipulate it to hold larger objects. Related: $70 DIY acoustic tractor beam moves objects with sound Besides being exciting in terms of sci-fi fun, the technology could also have some immediate useful applications like moving surgical instruments or drug capsules in the body. “In the future, with more acoustic power it will be possible to hold even larger objects. This was only thought to be possible using lower pitches making the experiment audible and dangerous for humans,” said Senior Research Associate Dr. Mihai Caleap. + Physical Review Letters Via Phys.org Images via Physical Review Letters

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Acoustic tractor beams could allow humans to levitate in the near future

Retractable solar sails to help power "world’s most eco-friendly cruise ship"

December 15, 2017 by  
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Peace Boat has been sailing the world since 1983, laboring to build a culture of peace through education. Now they have unveiled a new Ecoship , designed by Oliver Design , that could take to the seas in 2020. A closed-loop water system, whale-inspired hydrodynamic hull, and retractable solar sails are among the features that make this vessel, according to Oliver Design , the “world’s most eco-friendly cruise ship .” Cruise ships aren’t typically known for sustainability . The average ship generates around 80,000 liters of sewage every day, and with outdated filter systems, minimally-treated sewage is often dumped into the water. Japan-based Peace Boat set out to create an alternative: an energy efficient , nature-inspired vessel that obtains some power from 10 retractable wind generators and 10 retractable photovoltaic sails. Their goal is zero discharge and almost zero waste operations with a closed waste loop and closed water loop. Related: Norwegian billionaire funds world’s largest yacht to scoop up plastic Spain-based Oliver Design came up with plans for the 60,000 metric ton ocean liner that can fit 2,000 passengers. A plant kingdom aboard will span five decks, absorbing surplus water and capturing carbon dioxide, with organic onboard waste serving as compost. Vertical farms will produce vegetables for voyagers to eat. The Ecoship should see an around 40 percent carbon dioxide reduction compared with a typical cruise ship built before 2000, and around 30 percent against current designs. There will be kinetic floors and 750 kilowatts of solar power generation on the vessel. The ship’s hybrid engine can also obtain power from liquefied natural gas or diesel. The liner should see a 20 percent cut of propulsion energy and 50 percent cuts on electricity load, according to Ecoship . The vessel will host Peace Boat’s educational journeys, but will also serve as a floating laboratory committed to research on the ocean , climate , and green technologies. It’s set to be delivered in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. + Peace Boat + Ecoship + Oliver Design Via Oliver Design and Ecoship Images via Oliver Design and Ecoship

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Retractable solar sails to help power "world’s most eco-friendly cruise ship"

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