Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station

September 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

As more people purchase electric vehicles (EVs) – and countries move to ban sales of gas-guzzling cars – the world will need more charging stations . German company Sortimo plans to build what’s been described as the world’s biggest EV fast-charging station – with 144 charging ports. It is slated for construction near the A8 highway in Germany . 4,000 cars a day could be charged at Innovationspark Zusmarshausen, Germany’s upcoming charging station, according to the company. 24 of the 144 charging ports could be supra-superchargers with charging capacities of 350 kilowatts (kW), which beats out the Tesla Supercharger with its capacity of around 150 kW. According to Sortimo, Innovationspark Zusmarshausen could offer savings of 29.5 million liters, or around 7.8 million gallons, of fuel , and could save nearly 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. Related: This electric car charging tower can power up a dozen EVs at the same time Innovationspark Zusmarshausen goes beyond the typical vision of a gas station. According to FAZ, the station could also feature offices, shopping, and eateries; Sortimo said people could order food before they arrive so they could eat while their car charges. Commuters might be able to park and charge their vehicles simultaneously in DC parking, perhaps even while working in the offices onsite. Images of the planned station suggest it could be topped with green roofs , and Sortimo mentions in their press release that Innovationspark Zusmarshausen “is very close to nature and architecturally aware of the environment,” so they envision people resting in a park at the charging station as well. As you may have guessed, renewable energy is part of the plan for the massive charging station. Sortimo said solar power can be stored at the station and used during peak times “in a network of surrounding companies and private households.” The charging stations are also integrated into Innovationspark Zusmarshausen’s thermal station management, according to Sortimo, so waste heat can help supply the buildings. FAZ said engineering firm Steinbacher Consult is also behind the design, technology, and operation. A translated version of the German press release suggests the charging station, which is receiving support from the Ministry of Transport, will be constructed in 2018. Via Sortimo , FAZ , and CleanTechnica Images via Sortimo

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Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station

Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

September 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Australia’s first carbon positive and zero waste home to achieve a “10 Star” energy rating has popped up in Cape Paterson, Victoria. Designed in collaboration with Clare Cousin Architects , this impressive dwelling is one of the latest projects produced by The Sociable Weaver , an innovative design and build company that creates affordable, beautiful, and sustainable architect-designed homes for the masses. The coastal home, called the ’10 Star Home’ after its energy rating, is naturally heated and cooled thanks to passive solar strategies and maintains comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, even in mid-winter. Built in the green coastal development The Cape, the 10 Star Home is permanently open to the public as a display home to educate architects, builders, and students on sustainable architecture . The Sociable Weaver and Clare Cousin Architects considered all aspects of the home, from the building materials to the bedsheets, to achieve their stringent requirements for sustainability, affordability, and social responsibility. The architects even worked with suppliers to reduce packaging delivered to the construction site, and recycled and reused material wherever possible, such as composting plasterboard off-cuts in the garden. A five-kilowatt rooftop solar panel powers the home, which experiences minimal energy loss thanks to superior under-slab insulation, industrial concrete floors that improve thermal mass, and double-glazed windows. The hardwood used is FSC-certified . Non-toxic materials line the interiors, from natural sealants and paints for the floors, walls, and ceilings, to organic and sustainable furnishings like the organic cotton bedding. The display home is fully furnished and decorated with hand-selected products that are stylish and beautiful, yet meet high environmental standards. Related: A Tiny Timber Box in a Tiny Urban Flat Makes Room for a Couple’s First Child In addition to environmentally conscious building practices, the 10 Star Home is designed to inspire a more sustainable lifestyle. The architects followed Building Biology principles to create an edible garden where occupants are encouraged to compost and grow their own food. To keep the home healthy and non-toxic, the 10 Star Home is also equipped with a “green switch” that turns off all power to the home, except for the fridge, so that occupants can reduce the impact of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) at night. “Through Life Cycle Analysis by eTool, modelling shows that over the lifetime of the home, the 10 Star Home will not only negate its carbon footprint but will positively exceed it,” said The Sociable Weaver, according to Dezeen . “This equates to 203 kilograms of carbon emissions saved per year per occupant, equivalent to planting 9.55 million trees or removing 48 million balloons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” + The Sociable Weaver + Clare Cousin Architects Via Dezeen Images via The Sociable Weaver

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Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger

September 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The Free Store, a non-profit organization and grocery store based in Wellington, New Zealand, is serving food for free and aiding in the fight against food waste . Originally started as a two-week-long art project by artist Kim Paton in 2010, the store has now grown into a more permanent institution, stocking its shelves with surplus food from bakeries and supermarkets. In redistributing free food that would otherwise have gone to waste, the Free Store has proven to be a valuable community space. “There are no conditions on who can come to The Free Store,” said co-founder and director Benjamin Johnson. “There are no criteria. Anybody can come for whatever reason and take whatever they want.” Food waste is a major social problem in New Zealand , as it is in much of the industrialized world. Kiwis, or residents of New Zealand, dispose of approximately $625 million worth of food (120,000 tons) each year. Globally, it is estimated that total food waste weighs up to 1.3 billion tons. Meanwhile, people still go hungry. “We saw the potential in an untapped food supply. You had food that was perfectly good to eat, and then you had people that were hungry . We could facilitate a connection between the two,” said Johnson. Related: Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods The Free Store is made possible through support from volunteers , donors, and around 65 suppliers, located around Wellington city center eager to put their surplus food to good use. According to Johnson, the Free Store distributes between 800 to 1,500 food items each weeknight between 6 PM and 7 PM, averaging about 250,000 food items; that amounts to $1 million worth of food saved per year. Since its establishment, the Free Store has spread to four locations throughout New Zealand, adapting their model and funding structure to fit each area. “All you need is a space to operate from, surplus food, people who need the food and will come and take it, volunteers, and a committed group of people who can actually do it,” said Johnson. “There has to be local ownership. In every area where there’s a Free Store, there needs to be a deeply rooted community of people.” + The Free Store Via EcoWatch Images via The Free Store

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The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger

New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system

September 13, 2017 by  
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The presence of water on Earth used to help set our planet apart from others, but not anymore. NASA researchers recently uncovered evidence of water on Vesta, the second biggest body in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars . Essam Heggy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told Inverse, “The more we search, the more we find ice and water in the solar system, and the more we realize water is not unique to our planet.” Recent discoveries – like that of water on Mars or hints of water on TRAPPIST-1 planets – have us questioning what we thought we knew about H2O in the solar system. It’s likely found on the dwarf planet Ceres and the moons Europa and Enceladus, too. Researchers used information from NASA’s Dawn mission , which explored Vesta between 2011 and 2012, to uncover the best evidence for water on the large asteroid we’ve found yet. Related: Scientists just discovered snow on Mars Led by Elizabeth Palmer of Western Michigan University , three researchers scrutinized the Dawn data. The probe discovered regions that were unusually smooth; the researchers think the surface variations weren’t only the result of cratering processes, like on the Moon, connecting them with high hydrogen concentrations, strongly suggesting Vesta is home to ground ice. Heggy, who was part of the research, said Vesta was once thought to be a dry body. These findings suggest we were probably wrong about that. The presence of ice in an asteroid belt opens up intriguing possibilities, since asteroids can easily be knocked out of their orbits to other areas of the solar system. Heggy said comets transport water molecules throughout solar systems. Could asteroids play a role in transporting water too? Even if that’s true, Heggy said it’s too early to guess how they might have impacted Earth’s water supply during its primordial days. The journal Nature Communications published the research online yesterday. Via Inverse Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech ( 1 , 2 )

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New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system

The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is being built in the UK

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Very soon, the UK will be home to the world’s largest wind farm . The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that DONG Energy  is building a 1,386 megawatt wind farm called Hornsea Project Two. Once completed, the massive project will provide enough energy to power 1.3 million homes. Thanks to record low prices, offshore wind is now cheaper than gas and nuclear energy. This resulted in a  UK-low strike price of £57.50 per MWh, making wind an attractive investment. The Hornsea Project Two will be located 89 kilometers off the Yorkshire coast and slightly north of Hornsea Project One, a 1,200 MW offshore wind farm in the North Sea off the coast of England. The equivalent of 1.3 million UK homes are expected to receive power from the Hornsea Project Two, and up to 2,000 jobs during construction and 130 jobs during the 25-year operation life of the project will be created. “We’re delighted to be awarded a Contract for Difference for Hornsea Project Two, which is another important step towards fulfilling our vision of making offshore wind the most competitive form of electricity generation,” Said Samuel Leupold, the Executive Vice President and CEO of Wind Power at DONG Energy. “We have always promoted size as a key driver for cost. The ideal size of an offshore wind farm is 800-1,500MW, and therefore it is natural that Hornsea Project Two will deliver record-low costs to society. At the same time, the low strike price demonstrates the cost saving potential of developer-built offshore grid connections, which in the UK is included in the project scope.” Related: Revolutionary floors made from waste wood pulp generate clean energy DONG Energy UK’s Managing Director, Matthew Wright, added, “This is a breakthrough moment for offshore wind in the UK and a massive step forward for the industry . Not only will Hornsea Project Two provide low cost, clean energy to the UK, it will also deliver high-quality jobs and another huge boost to the UK supply chain.” The Hornsea Project One will begin operation in 2020, and Project Two in 2022. According to UK Minister for Energy and Industry, Richard Harrington, the UK’s latest investment is evidence that the country has “placed clean growth at the heart of the Industrial Strategy to unlock opportunities across the country while cutting carbon emissions . He said, “The offshore wind sector alone will invest £17.5bn in the UK up to 2021 and thousands of new jobs in British businesses will be created by the projects announced today. This government will continue to seize these opportunities as the world moves towards a low carbon future, and will set out ambitious proposals in the upcoming Clean Growth Plan.” + Dong Energy  Via Clean Technica Images via Dong Energy , Shutterstock

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The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is being built in the UK

How hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Hurricane Irma recently hit islands in the Caribbean with the force of a Category 5 storm. And now, NASA satellite images reveal how the devastating storm turned formerly green islands into a dull brown. NASA captured Hurricane Irma’s destruction from space via satellite imagery . They compared images from late August, before the storm, with images snapped in the last couple of days in September. The pictures show how islands once bursting with greenery are now brown. There are a few reasons this might have happened, according to NASA. Hurricane winds could have ripped away vegetation, allowing satellites to capture more bare ground. Or, salt spray from the storm could have dried out leaves while they were still on trees, giving them a brown appearance. Related: NASA researcher says Harvey flooding pushed Houston down two centimeters Over 30 people died in the Caribbean due to Irma, according to Weather.com . ABC News reported 11 people perished from the storm in the United States. Virgin Gorda, pictured above, is one of the islands that now looks mostly brown, although NASA Earth Observatory said the south and west of the island is slightly greener, perhaps because hills in the center shielded those areas from Irma’s winds. In the images of Virgin Gorda, the ocean after Irma looks bright blue in comparison with the ocean color before the storm; NASA said that could be because “rougher surfaces scatter more light, and appear brighter and lighter.” The island of Barbuda, shown above, endured an especially devastating hit from Hurricane Irma; 95 percent of the its structures have been damaged, according to Time . Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Gaston Browne said the destruction was heart-wrenching. Antigua fared a little better – the vegetation on that island seems to be relatively intact in satellite images. NASA Earth Observatory said Irma’s center passed to the north, and Antigua didn’t face as much damage. Via NASA Earth Observatory and The Verge Images via Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

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How hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands

Desperation and fear mount in Irma-ravaged Caribbean

September 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Over the past few days, Hurricane Irma has devastated islands in the Caribbean, Cuba , and parts of Florida. The Category 5 hurricane has since downgraded to a tropical storm, but the damage it caused will take years to recover from. On the island of Barbuda, for example,  “95 percent” of buildings were destroyed. Others, like Saint Martin and Barthelemy, have no water or electricity and food resources are running low. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’08x2NaWvTOxUX90CIZOdGA’,sig:’uqVCatca-d4wvEpEybaIWAYAXm9rhRToDSdClNU1oyA=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’845717730′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); Media coverage of the islands of Saint Martin and Barthelemy show extensive amounts of damage. Reuters reports that many streets remain submerged, boats and cars are piled on top of each other in multiple locations, and numerous houses have had their rooftops ripped off. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’e3nfT1wLSZ1a3dcHo2hX8w’,sig:’V00rpNIu06KQzy4dsUOcV07rpWebm3vc9QJ3US6w_2k=’,w:’594px’,h:’386px’,items:’845705546′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); To make matters worse, looting is rampant. One Saint Martin resident told BFM TV that she heard gunshots and had seen several people breaking into homes and shops to steal food .  According to the French interior ministry, police forces have been boosted on the two islands following close to 500 reports of violence and looting following Irma’s passing. 11 people have also been arrested for “malicious actions.” Related: Trump’s USDA staff told to use ‘weather extremes’ instead of ‘climate change’ Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’puQKjadATepuXcWxqYS-8Q’,sig:’okRdWoZCR1eoCZpiCMcjCy7_oRi5RmM_fyT8xB7HBi8=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’845690278′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); Between the two islands, at least 10 people have been killed . The Caisse Centrale de Reassurance, a state-owned reinsurance group in France , said Irma will go down as one of “the most damaging disasters in decades on French territory.” Losses total a staggering 1.2 billion euros, or $1.44 billion USD. + National Hurricane Center Via Reuters Images via  National Hurricane Center,  Pixabay

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Desperation and fear mount in Irma-ravaged Caribbean

Hurricane Jose strengthens to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4

September 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Hot on the heels of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is yet another natural disaster, Hurricane Jose. The “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane is located east of the Leeward Islands and is forecasted to transit west-northwest into the Atlantic Ocean in the coming days. This is the first time in history two hurricanes with 150-plus mph winds have been recorded at the same time. According to the National Hurricane Center , Jose has sustained winds near 150 mph.  As a result, Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy — islands that were just battered by Hurricane Irma — are now on a Hurricane Watch as of Friday at 11 a.m. When Irma passed over Barbuda, a tiny Caribbean island of 1,800 residents, 95 percent of the buildings were destroyed, said Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Cuba and south Florida are now preparing for the destruction Irma is expected to unleash. Related: This image of Hurricane Irma from space will blow your mind This is the first time on record two hurricanes with 150-plus mph winds have been recorded at the same time, said Colorado State University meteorologist  Philip Klotzbach . And, it turns out humans deserve most of the blame. For years, scientists have warned that unsustainable habits would exacerbate climate change , resulting in melting glaciers, rising sea levels , and worsening natural disasters due to increased precipitation and a few other factors. The only silver lining from this situation might be that the events inspire more people to invest in sustainable initiatives. + National Hurricane Center Via CNN Images via National Hurricane Center, Pixabay

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Hurricane Jose strengthens to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4

Origami-inspired clothing line that grows with kids wins Dyson award

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The cost of keeping a growing child clothed is oftentimes staggering, which is why this expanding origami-inspired range of children’s clothing was awarded this year’s UK  James Dyson award . Ryan Yasin, frustrated by the waste in the children’s clothing industry, used scientific principles he studied for his degree in aeronautical engineering to produce incredible clothing that grows with the child who wears it. The origami-inspired line is called Petit Pli, and the London-based postgraduate describes it as “the most advanced kids’ clothing in the world.” The clothing is made from distinctive pleated lightweight fabric which is machine washable, waterproof and recyclable . One article of clothing will fit a three-month-old until he or she is three years old. According to a recent survey by Aviva , parents spend an average £2,000 on clothing before their child reaches the age of three. This is because most children grow seven sizes in their first two years of life. Not only does mass production of garments put huge pressure on the environment through waste, water consumption, and carbon emissions , it takes a toll on parents’ wallets. The Guardian reports that the trousers and tops Yasin designed mimic version of sought-after clothing by legendary Japans designer Issey Miyake . However, Yasin’s version can be worn for years and are incredibly durable. The Petit Pli clothing line employs the negative Poisson’s ratio, which Yasin studied at London’s Imperial College. Materials that have this ratio (known as auxetics) become thicker and can expand in two directions at the same time.So far, the designer has created more than 500 prototypes for Petit Pli and intends to use his £2,000 ($2,615.63 USD) prize money from the Dyson award to partner with investors and expand the business. Reportedly, he is in talks with major retailers in the UK and hopes to sell the clothing in stores within a few months. Related: James Dyson Wants to Use His Famous Vacuum Technology to Clean Rivers Said Yasin, “It’s just great to have that backing and recognition of my solution. The prize money is an added bonus, but I know how I will use it. In addition to supporting my R&D, it will help me form an interdisciplinary team of experts to take Petit Pli to the next level: putting it in the hands of parents worldwide and making a tangible difference to the way we consume resources in the fashion industry .” The designer will keep the garments at an affordable price while ensuring everyone along the supply chain is paid ethically . The Petit Pli line will now be entered into the international competition of the James Dyson Award. Winners will be announced in October, and the top invention will receive £30,000 ($39,225.00 USD) in prize money. + Petit Pli Via The Guardian Images via Petit Pli 

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Origami-inspired clothing line that grows with kids wins Dyson award

Colorful hut made of 2,500 LEGO-like bricks invites visitors to return to their childhood

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Montpellier’s summer  Festival des Architectures Vives is a fun annual event that sees various architectural installations from emerging designers tucked into various courtyards around the city. This year’s exhibitions are all unique, but one funky hut made of 2,500 plastic bricks brings some vibrant color to the event. Created by Atelier Micromega , La Madeleine is a large cube structure that invites adults and kids alike to explore its LEGO-inspired fun. The yearly event is aimed at fostering the relationship between historic urban environments and contemporary architecture . Every year, various teams of young architects and designers install their unique installations in the city’s many courtyards. The 2017 edition is showcasing ten emerging design firms whose work was designed to reflect this year’s theme of “emotion.” Related: These LEGO-like recycled plastic bricks create sturdy homes for just $5,200 Atelier Micromega, whose team includes five young architects, installed La Madeleine in hopes of bringing visitors back to their childhood. Thousands of colorful plastic bricks were used to create the hut, complete with an open-air skylight in the ceiling. Some of the bricks on the interior are interchangeable so visitors can modify the bricks to change the hut’s interior during their visit. According to the team, their design was inspired by nostalgia, “The installation rests on architecture, space and matter to play with our nostalgia. It invites the visitor to be moved by traveling through it, interacting with it, echoing his childhood memories. The smooth, perfect cube refers to adulthood. The world that it contains: evolutionary, creative and malleable appeals to the child, making the space of the cave his cabin.” After the event, all of the plastic bricks will be donated to several child-care facilities around Montpellier as well as the national charity organization, Les Restos du Coeur . + Atelier Microméga Via v2com Photography via Paul Kozlowski  

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Colorful hut made of 2,500 LEGO-like bricks invites visitors to return to their childhood

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