Electric motorboat features a sleek Danish design

April 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Copenhagen-based Rand Boats has earned an international reputation for developing modern, affordable motorboats that are designed to be respectful to nature. Now, the company has unveiled the Leisure 28, a sleek motorboat built out of recycled plastic that runs on an all-electric motor . For many people enjoying a bit of fun in the sun, putting up with the hostile sounds and polluting smoke generated by motorboats is just a regular inconvenience when it comes to spending time on the water. Whether small lakes or large seas, these whirring beasts have ruled the waterways for decades, often at the cost of clean water and air. Related: Cool retro boats restored with electric motors Now, boat manufacturers are looking for a better, more eco-friendly way of boating. For Danish company Rand Boats , this means building sleek, minimalist boats with all-electric systems. Already well-known for its sustainable boat designs, Rand Boats’ latest project, Leisure 28, is outfitted with an electric propulsion system that lets it run up to 45 mph for up to two hours. In addition to providing boaters with a more eco-friendly electric motor, Rand Boats also ensured the materials used to manufacture its boats are environmentally sound. In fact, in most of its boats, the company uses materials developed from recycled plastic and bio-based hybrids in order to minimize the environmental impact of its fleet of cruisers. Not only is the sustainable boat created to bring a little more peace to the waterways thanks to its quiet motor, but it can also become the ultimate party boat. Leisure 28 was crafted to accommodate up to 12 people who can enjoy a nice outdoor lunch on the built-in adjustable dining table. When not in use, the table can be folded into a relaxing, king-sized sundeck to sit back and soak up some rays. There is also a sufficient kitchen and bar area on the top deck as well as a small cabin with enough room for a queen-sized bed below deck. + Rand Boats Via Uncrate Images via Rand Boats

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Electric motorboat features a sleek Danish design

Experts warn against panic-buying chicks

April 3, 2020 by  
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In these toilet paper-hoarding times, people are doubting supply chains and worrying about food security. Chick purchases are on the rise in the midst of COVID-19, but this is not the time to start a backyard chicken farm, experts warn. “If you’re thinking of buying chicks, do your work ahead of time,” said Marisa Erasmus, an assistant professor of animal sciences at Purdue University. “Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. These animals are going to grow up and have very specific needs. They are reliant on us to provide for them and we have to be sure we can do that.” Related: Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats For many consumers now, the thought of a fresh egg supply — without perilous grocery store trips fraught with worries of coronavirus transmission — is alluring. But chicks aren’t machines; they’re living creatures that require care. Nor is chicken farming a quick fix. Chicks take five or six months to mature before they start producing eggs, so chick hoarders will be waiting until October for those omelets. Chickens also require a comfortable, safe home. They need a coop to shelter them from weather and predators. It should be dry, have good air circulation and, as they grow to adult size, provide at least two square feet per chicken. The coop should have perches, where chickens can happily hang out. Like all animals, chickens are prone to illness and injury. Would-be chicken farmers need to plan for how they will deal with their birds’ wellness needs. Ordinances vary by city. Before you start your avian enterprise, check with your town or county authorities. Many cities limit the number of backyard chickens, require certain types of shelter or restrict flocks to hens only. Some places entirely ban rearing poultry in your yard. If you don’t factor in quality of life , your chickens may not even produce eggs, Erasmus said. “Poultry, including chickens, sometimes have the reputation of being ‘bird-brained,’” she said.  “But anyone who has experience raising chickens will tell you they are intelligent and complex creatures who have the capacity to experience suffering and contentment.” + Purdue University Image via Pixabay

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Experts warn against panic-buying chicks

These recycled plastic tracksuits are naturally dyed with plants

April 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Environmentally conscious clothing companies are few and far between, with the fashion industry as a whole being one of the top polluters on Earth. But with the planet in mind, PANGAIA (pronounced Pan-guy-ya) creates fabrics that are responsibly made to the benefit of the environment and your wardrobe. The newest addition to the PANGAIA lineup is the tracksuit collection consisting of hoodies and track pants. The 15 colors range from standard gray and off-white to strikingly bright shades of orange and green, each of which are naturally dyed with plant-derived colors. The non-toxic, natural dyes are made from food waste, plants, fruits and vegetables to achieve the richly toned hues. As an example, the pink track pants are colored with a natural dye extracted from roots and rhizomes of Rubia cordifolia . The Rennet yellow track pants and hoodies are colored with a natural dye extracted from Gall Nut of Quercus infectoria . Related: PANGAIA presents FLWRDWN, a down alternative made from biodegradable wildflowers According to the company, 100 billion articles of clothing and 500 billion plastic bottles are produced annually, with half ending up in landfills. Instead of contributing to the waste, PANGAIA turns discarded plastic, mostly from single-use water bottles, into yarn and then into long-lasting clothing. To add softness and comfort, it combines 45% recycled cotton with 55% organic cotton, grown without damaging pesticides and herbicides that pollute the soil and water. “The organic raw cotton we use holds the transaction certificate from the Control Union, meaning that the yarn is processed according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS),” the company stated. “All trims, labels and threads are either recycled or responsibly sourced.” Additional consideration is taken for the product packaging, which is part bio-based and able to break down at a compost facility in 24 weeks. PANGAIA has a history of sustainable material development, with a variety of products made from plants. For example, it has produced a seaweed fiber that is naturally organic and easily biodegradable, and the company spent 10 years developing FLWRDWN, a goose and duck down alternative made from flowers. Similar products are available as part of the botanical dye T-shirt line, all of which are colored from dyes created from food waste and natural resources. For example, PANGAIA’s Sakura Tee is dyed from excess Japanese sakura cherry blossoms after they are collected for making tea. PANGAIA reports its “supplier dyes textiles in a way that uses less water, is non-toxic and biodegradable.” To ensure transparency throughout the manufacturing process, each garment tag includes blockchain technology that shows the full history of the garment. A blockchain cannot be altered and provides a record of each stage of the journey, with complete traceability and authenticity. The new tracksuits are made in Portugal. + PANGAIA Images via PANGAIA

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These recycled plastic tracksuits are naturally dyed with plants

Volkswagen revamps classic 1960s microbus into a cool electric ride

March 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Volkswagen campers have been the choice of many road warriors since the 1950s. Now, the iconic car manufacturer has just unveiled an electric option of the classic T1 Samba Bus. Although the new-and-improved microbus still boasts its original hippie-era coolness, the revamped e-BULLI is now powered by a 61kW electric motor. Since the 1960s, the T1 Samba Bus has been a symbol of road adventures across the globe. With enough seating to fit a large family or group of friends, the iconic microbus has been a top VW model for decades. Related: These campers made from 1970’s VW Bugs are the cutest things ever Now, the German car manufacturer has decided to bring the Samba into the 21st century by electrifying the beloved van. While keeping the recognizable shape of the 21-window body, VW added a 61kW electric motor. And lest you think that the new electric system will slow the van down, not to worry. The state-of-the-art electric motor actually provides twice as much power as the original engine. The new version of the VW classic was made possible by a collaboration with eClassics , a firm specializing in electric car conversions. Working closely with VW, the company replaced the engines in the Samba Bus models Type 1, 2 and 3 to run on 82-horsepower electric motors instead of the Sambas’ original 43-horsepower four-cylinder motors. The motors work with a 45-kilowatt-hour battery pack, which can charge from empty to 80% in less than an hour. The e-BULLI comes with an estimated range of 124 miles. As far as speed, it can reach a top speed of 81 miles per hour. The new electric system provides drivers with an extra-smooth ride. According to the company, “Compared to the T1, riding in the e-BULLI feels completely different. This is further enhanced by the chassis, which has also been redesigned: multi-link front and rear axles with adjustable shock absorbers and coilover struts, plus a new rack-and-pinion steering system and four internally ventilated disc brakes contribute to the new dynamic handling being transferred to the road with serene poise.” With its eight seats and convertible fold-back top, the van still retains its classic style with a few twists. The exterior is painted in a mix of “Energetic Orange Metallic” and “Golden Sand Metallic Matte”. Inside, the seating and the central driver console area have been restored with modern materials, and the interior lighting systems were updated with LED lighting . If you’d like to get one of these electric VW vans to hit the open road, it will cost $69,500. Unfortunately, they are only available in Germany at this time. + VW Via Dezeen Images via VW

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Volkswagen revamps classic 1960s microbus into a cool electric ride

Green-roofed Honey Bee Research Centre targets LEED Gold

March 25, 2020 by  
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Toronto-based architecture firm Moriyama & Teshima Architects has unveiled renderings for the new Honey Bee Research Centre, a state-of-the-art research and education facility for promoting honeybee health and awareness that’s slated for completion next month. Developed for the University of Guelph, Ontario College of Architecture, the new center will not only host scholars and researchers, but also welcome visitors of all ages from around the world to its multifunctional Discovery and Learning Space. The project’s mass-timber architecture is reflective of its sustainable mission and will target LEED Gold certification. The Honey Bee Research Centre (HBRC) spans 19,200 square feet to include research and events programming both inside and out. The building will seamlessly blend into its natural landscape with an accessible green roof featuring a trail that leads to an Interpretative Tower, a public space that doubles as a solar chimney. Inside, the adaptable building will emphasize flexibility to adjust to the needs of the center for years to come.  Related: Urban Beehive Project creates a buzz around honeybee education “Designed to high energy performance and LEED Gold standards, the mass timber HBRC will be a demonstration of sustainability, reinforcing the importance of climate change and its relationship to the vital role of honey bee health and well-being,” the architects explained. “The facility will utilize passive design techniques and features such as natural ventilation, a high performance envelope and mechanical systems, and landscape features such as rain gardens and a green roof system.” As a research center and home for honeybees , HBRC will host working hives and agricultural plots. To further the notion of a “productive and social landscape,” both the rooftop and surrounding grounds will be planted with pollinator-friendly flora and edible gardens to sustain “Pollinator Pathways” for local species such as bees, butterflies, birds and more, while providing attractive gathering spaces for employees and visitors alike. + Moriyama & Teshima Architects Images via Moriyama & Teshima Architects

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Green-roofed Honey Bee Research Centre targets LEED Gold

Airbus’ electric flying taxi is on track to soar next year

October 9, 2017 by  
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Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle projects are really taking off, and Airbus is on track to start flying their VOTL, the CityAirbus, in 2018. The multi-passenger aerial taxi – that will be designed to one day operate autonomously – will be powered by electric motors. The CityAirbus could allow commuters to escape the traffic below in an affordable, environmentally friendly new mode of travel . Airbus announced they just finished their first full-scale testing for the CityAirbus’ propulsion system, describing the testing phase as successful. This means they’re on track for their first flight, scheduled for the end of next year. Related: Airbus and Italdesign unveil modular urban land and air transport system CityAirbus chief engineer Marius Bebesel said in a statement, “We now have a better understanding of the performance of CityAirbus’ innovative electric propulsion system, which we will continue to mature through rigorous testing while beginning the assembly of the full-scale CityAirbus flight demonstrator.” The CityAirbus boasts what Airbus describes as a four-ducted propeller configuration, which boosts safety and helps yield a low acoustic footprint. 100 kilowatt electric Siemens motors and four batteries help the CityAirbus get from point A to point B. As many as four people will be able to ride in a CityAirbus, which will cruise at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour, or around 75 miles per hour, along fixed routes. In the beginning a pilot will fly the VTOL, but Airbus plans for the vehicle to one day pilot itself. Airbus said there are benefits to adding a third dimension of travel to urban transportation , such as opening up accessibility for underserved or remote areas of a city . Self-piloted vehicles in particular can operate around three times faster than a typical road vehicle, and are energy efficient , running off electricity. Airbus said their VTOL method of travel will be quick and affordable. Via Airbus Images via Airbus ( 1 , 2 )

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Airbus’ electric flying taxi is on track to soar next year

Airbus’ flying electric taxi is on track to soar next year

October 9, 2017 by  
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Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles are really taking off, and Airbus is set to launch a VTOL taxi by next year. The multi-passenger CityAirbus is powered by electric motors – and it’s designed to one day operate autonomously . The CityAirbus could allow commuters to escape traffic by turning to an affordable, environmentally friendly new mode of travel . Airbus announced they just finished their first full-scale testing for the CityAirbus’ propulsion system, describing the testing phase as successful. This means they’re on track for their first flight, scheduled for the end of next year. Related: Airbus and Italdesign unveil modular urban land and air transport system CityAirbus chief engineer Marius Bebesel said in a statement, “We now have a better understanding of the performance of CityAirbus’ innovative electric propulsion system, which we will continue to mature through rigorous testing while beginning the assembly of the full-scale CityAirbus flight demonstrator.” The CityAirbus boasts what Airbus describes as a four-ducted propeller configuration, which boosts safety and helps yield a low acoustic footprint. 100 kilowatt electric Siemens motors and four batteries help the CityAirbus get from point A to point B. As many as four people will be able to ride in a CityAirbus, which will cruise at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour, or around 75 miles per hour, along fixed routes. In the beginning a pilot will fly the VTOL, but Airbus plans for the vehicle to one day pilot itself. Airbus said there are benefits to adding a third dimension of travel to urban transportation , such as opening up accessibility for underserved or remote areas of a city . Self-piloted vehicles in particular can operate around three times faster than a typical road vehicle, and are energy efficient , running off electricity. Airbus said their VTOL method of travel will be quick and affordable. Via Airbus Images via Airbus ( 1 , 2 )

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Airbus’ flying electric taxi is on track to soar next year

Ole Scheeren’s modular office building looks like a giant Jenga tower

October 6, 2017 by  
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Architect Ole Scheeren unveiled images of his first project in Europe- a residential tower that will offer panoramic views of Frankfurt’s skyline. The designer will overhaul an entire 1970s office block to create 200 living units on the banks of the River Main. The modular apartments will be inserted into the framework of the building, with some recessed and others cantilevering out into space. The Riverpark Tower will be developed in cooperation with GEG, one of Germany ’s most prestigious real estate investment platforms. It will house 220 units on 23 floors, ranging in size from small apartment to four-room suites. Related: Thailand’s tallest building opens with new green spaces for Bangkok “This project is about the positive reinterpretation of an existing structure,” said the architect. “It’s quite a serious intervention, prompted by necessity not ambition,” he added. Modular , glass-fronted units will be inserted into the existing, free-spanning structural framework. They will cantilever out at some points, introducing an element of irregularity to the silhouette. New loft apartments will occupy the space at the four corners of the building which will be cut away at the top. + Buro Ole Scheeren Via Dezeen

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Ole Scheeren’s modular office building looks like a giant Jenga tower

Tesla nears halfway mark on world’s largest battery installation in South Australia

October 2, 2017 by  
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Tesla just announced that the world’s largest battery installation is about halfway finished. The 100MW/129MWh utility-grade battery bank near the site of the 100MW Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia will be the largest system connected to an energy grid. This massive undertaking was inspired by a bet between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Australian software billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, who could not believe that Tesla was able to install its grid-tied battery systems as quickly as it claimed. Musk, confident in his company’s work, promised to install the world’s largest battery bank in 100 days or the State of South Australia would receive it for free. The clock is now ticking. After accepting the challenge, Tesla participated in a competitive bidding process to unlock a $115 million renewable energy fund from the State of South Australia , which has suffered disruptive blackouts in recent summer seasons. After estimating that the world’s largest battery bank would cost $32.35 million, excluding labor costs and taxes, Tesla was awarded the contract in partnership with the French company Neoen, which owns the Hornsdale Wind Farm on which the battery bank is being built. Musk made clear that the negotiation phase did not count towards the 100 days deadline. The stakes are high; if Tesla fails to complete its task within 100 days, it could suffer a loss of $50 million or more. Related: Tesla is shipping hundreds of Powerwall battery systems to Puerto Rico Last Friday, Tesla officially announced the start of its 100-day challenge, though it would seem that the company gave itself a bit of a head start. The battery bank, which is being built at the Tesla/Panasonic Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada , is nearly halfway complete as is the installation of batteries into the bank. “To have that [construction] done in two months … you can’t remodel your kitchen in that period of time,” said Musk at a kickoff event, seeming to acknowledge the absurdity of the situation. If any company is up to this kind of challenge, one based on a bet between billionaires, it’s Tesla. Via Ars Technica Images via Tesla

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Tesla nears halfway mark on world’s largest battery installation in South Australia

This living hammock is an incredible seat made of soil-less plants

October 2, 2017 by  
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Ever imagine swinging from the trees in a hammock made of plants? Spanish artist Ainhoa Garmendia is making the fantasy into reality. Her Naturalise installation features a hammock made out of soil-less living plants woven into a sturdy fabric. The piece is a statement that calls to fight our contemporary throw-away culture in favor of something lasting and living. “We are very used to short-life objects. We were taught that recycling is good, when the real solution is just not to produce waste. We take advantage of plants’ benefits, while they have many structural and functional characteristics to be applied when they are still alive” said Ainhoa Garmendia in an interview with Inhabitat. “Naturalise is a verb, an action and a process of creating objects that keep growing and are alive” explained the artist added. To realize Naturalise Ainhoa Garmendia chose Tillandsia Usneoides (known also as a Spanish Moss), a plant that needs no soil to grow and requires little water. Its long, soft fibers are a perfect medium for the hand weaving realized by the artist herself. The Naturalise hammock can be seen as a metaphor. The suspended in-air object made of plants, a typical earthly material, embodies an idea of reconnection with nature, bringing the idea of sustainability and eco-awareness to a new level. Related: Asif Khan creates spectacular furniture with flowers The Naturalise living hammock was first showcased in Milan at “I see colors everywhere” exhibition at La Triennale di Milano curated by the clothing brand United Colors of Benetton and Fabrica communication research center fore Milan Fashion Week 2017. + Ainhoa Garmendia Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat

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