Beautiful timber pavilion unfolds like origami

July 31, 2017 by  
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There’s something irresistibly charming about bringing the paper art of origami to life in large scale. Architects Manuel Bouzas Cavada, Manuel Bouzas Barcala and Clara Álvarez Garcí drew inspiration from folded paper in Origami, a temporary installation for the architecture and design festival Concéntrico 03 in Logroño, Spain. Built of timber panels, this ephemeral pavilion is a beautiful structure that glows from within and delicately unfolds to reveal a multifaceted interior. Selected as the winning proposal for the festival’s information kiosk, Origami is constructed from 39 folded wooden panels joined together with hinges. The Garnica panels are self-supporting and the installation is assembled without any supporting structures or sub-structures—gravity keeps the hinged components in place. Though simple in design, the pavilion is strikingly beautiful thanks to its intricate facade that resembles a bejeweled treasure chest. Related: Larger-than-life pineapple origami structure pops up on a historic UK landscape Gaps between the timber panels allow light to seep through, giving Origami the appearance of a glowing lantern at night. The jury wrote: “The project has been selected for its iconic character and singular geometry, and was highlighted as a landmark in the festival. Based on the concept of pattern and using the technique of origami, the pavilion opens up to its surroundings. Its disposition provokes new interpretations of space and activity in the plaza. The pavilion and its surrounding areas are transformed throughout the day and during the night with the differing light.” + Concéntrico 03 Via ArchDaily Images via Concéntrico 03 Facebook

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Beautiful timber pavilion unfolds like origami

Affordable home geothermal energy systems come to upstate New York

July 17, 2017 by  
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When you think of home renewable power systems, geothermal energy probably isn’t the first source that springs to mind. But new company Dandelion , which starts after time at Google’s moonshot factory X , aims to power houses with the clean , free source “right under our feet.” They’re offering their systems beginning in northeastern America. The Dandelion team launched their company independent of Alphabet this month, offering geothermal heating and cooling for homes. They come in and replace cooling, heating, and hot water equipment with their geothermal systems, including underground pipes and a heat pump, which gather energy from the earth. The company describes geothermal cooling and heating as the most efficient method of such climate control for the home. Related: St. Patrick’s Cathedral unveils state-of-the-art geothermal plant Affordability was one of Dandelion’s main goals. They say many homes haven’t yet adopted geothermal systems due to the hefty cost associated with setup. In contrast, Dandelion’s system costs $20,000. On their website they say they’ve partnered with a leading financing company to install the systems with zero costs upfront followed by low monthly payments. The company also designed a better drill to install the systems. In the past, geothermal systems were installed with a wide drill that was intended for water wells more than 1,000 feet into the ground. The Dandelion team designed a slender drill that can create one or two deep holes a few inches wide – with less waste. Their new drill lets them put in ground loops in under one day. Overall, putting in their geothermal systems takes two to three days. Dandelion’s heat pumps will last around 25 years, while the closed-loop piping can last for a minimum of 50. The system comes with a smart thermostat enabling homeowners to regulate the temperature inside. The team is starting with 11 counties in New York – they say regions with cold winters and hot summers are ideal for home geothermal systems. + Dandelion Via Kathy Hannun on Medium Images via Dandelion Facebook and Dandelion

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Affordable home geothermal energy systems come to upstate New York

Indian Railways launches first train with solar-powered coaches

July 17, 2017 by  
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Train travel in India just got a little greener. Last week Indian Railways rolled out their first train outfitted with rooftop solar panels – in the Delhi area notorious for its pollution . The solar panels will completely power fans, lighting, and display systems in the coaches. The government expects the move will save them around 5,547 gallons of diesel every single year. The train, a 1600 HP DEMU, is just the first of several more trains with solar-powered coaches to come. Indian Railways will install solar panels on 24 other trains in the upcoming six months. In the past, a diesel-fueled generator provided electricity for a train’s lighting and fans, but the new solar system includes a smart MPPT inverter so these features can be cleanly powered even during the night. According to Indian Railways, the solar panels will slash carbon dioxide generation by nine metric tons per coach per year. Related: Indian Railways installing rooftop solar panels on 250 trains 16 solar panels generating 300 watts each offer a 4.5 kilowatt peak capacity for each coach. The system can generate around 20 kilowatt-hours of clean power per day. A 120 AH battery system will store excess power generated during peak hours. Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said the railways are committed to conserving the environment and using more clean energy . The government’s press release on the trains pointed to other measures the railways have taken to become more environmentally friendly, such as the use of bio-toilets , biofuels, and wind energy. Jakson Engineers, under the guidance of the Indian Railways Organization for Alternative Fuels (IROAF), developed the new train solar system. Managing director Sundeep Gupta told Business Standard is was no easy feat to attach solar panels to trains that will move at speeds of 80 kilometers per hour, which is around 50 miles per hour. The train has a lifetime of around 25 years. Via Quartz India and Government of India Images via screenshot and Ministry of Railways on Twitter

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Indian Railways launches first train with solar-powered coaches

Oozing hagfish spill covers highway with slime in Oregon

July 17, 2017 by  
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The images seem as though they were lifted from some horror show in which alien creatures paralyze highways and melt cars wherever they fall. In a stranger-than-fiction twist, something quite similar actually occurred in Depoe Bay, Oregon . A truck hauling eels known as hagfish for their ghoulish appearance overturned on an Oregon state highway last week, leaving the roadway covered in a debilitating layer of ooze. “What to tell the #drycleaner?” tweeted the Oregon State Police as the clean-up team worked to clear the road. The hagfish that spilled across the highway were en route to port, from which they would be shipped to Korea ; there, hagfish are considered a delicacy. As the truck driver tried to slow down near road construction, containers of hagfish, 7,500 pounds of eels in total, slipped from the truck bed, hitting the pavement and nearby passing cars. The highway was shutdown for several hours as state and local authorities bulldozed and hosed the unlucky hagfish and their accompanying slime off the road. Related: The Biomimicry Manual: That Crafty Green Chemist, the Hagfish When hagfish are agitated, they excrete a large amount of the slime observed in the pictures of the flooded highway and wrecked cars . This slime production is actually encouraged by intentionally distressing the hagfish, as their slime is used in some cuisines in a similar manner as one might use egg whites. It only takes one hagfish a few seconds to transform a five-gallon bucket of saltwater into a sticky, slimy mess. This slime can also be used as an unexpected natural fiber , which can be processed into a replacement for oil-based polymers. Via the Seattle Times Images via NOAA Photo Library and Oregon State Police

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Oozing hagfish spill covers highway with slime in Oregon

Germany: A Recycling Program That Actually Works

July 11, 2017 by  
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In 2009, President Obama was inaugurated, Facebook had 360 million users, and the iPhone was still a rather new invention. In 2017, President Trump was inaugurated, Facebook has hit 2 billion users, and we have a robot that disassembles old iPhones…

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Germany: A Recycling Program That Actually Works

The Hatchery announces new $30M food incubator for ‘global culinary capital’

July 11, 2017 by  
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A food incubator planned for Chicago’s East Garfield Park could provide much-needed economic growth for a struggling community. Nearly 40 percent of households there live below the poverty level, according to the Chicago Tribune . But the $30 million facility, being built by The Hatchery , could create 150 jobs in its first year, and in five years offer 900 jobs. The organization expects to break ground on the facility later this year. The Hatchery is a non-profit food business incubator started by three Chicago organizations: Accion Chicago , IFF , and Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago . They offer financing, production space, and other resources for startup food businesses, and the new $30 million facility could help them assist even more people in the community. Related: Rooftop wheat fields elevate Chicago’s urban farming scene to exciting new heights 75 to 100 entrepreneurs will be able to start their businesses in The Hatchery’s planned space, which will be around 65,000 square feet. The City of Chicago is providing around $8 million for the venture, largely through tax increment financing, and large food companies like Kellogg Company and Conagra Foods have also pitched in undisclosed amounts. Shared kitchen spaces will help businesses get on their feet, and as they grow they’ll be able to rent one of the 56 private production spaces. Event spaces, meeting rooms, and food storage will also be found inside The Hatchery, where entrepreneurs will be able to receive coaching and training. Accion Chicago will relocate their headquarters to the new facility. Locals will be able to obtain job training or go to food classes there. The space will also host a neighborhood market. Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised the project in a press release, saying, “Chicago is the global culinary capital and The Hatchery will give our local entrepreneurs access to food and beverage companies that operate across the world.” Construction is slated to begin in October or November of this year, and the space could open in 2018. + The Hatchery Chicago Via the Chicago Tribune Images via The Hatchery Chicago Twitter and The Hatchery Chicago Facebook

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The Hatchery announces new $30M food incubator for ‘global culinary capital’

Biodegradable PawPods: a better way to bury your pet

June 26, 2017 by  
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Burying a beloved pet is never easy. But PawPods offers a thoughtful, biodegradable option for burying deceased animals with their bamboo and rice husk pods. Similar to eco burials for humans, PawPods allow pets to return to the earth with dignity. PawPods CEO Ben Riggan had a terrible experience after he had to put down a cherished dog. His pet was given back to him in what he called a glorified plastic bag, and Riggan said the experience bothered him and he couldn’t let go of it. He was determined to create an alternative so others wouldn’t have to experience what he did. On his website he said, “I decided to create a company to provide a better way for pets to come home, whether they will be buried or cremated.” Related: Space Burial Service Will Launch Your Pet’s Remains into Outer Space The result was PawPods. These pet caskets are made of bamboo powder, corn starch, and rice husks, and will fully break down in three to five years. They’re sturdy – Riggan said he didn’t want to offer flimsy paper caskets like others on the market. PawPods are also designed to be painted and decorated so families can grieve through art, and have a therapeutic experience as they say goodbye. PawPods offers several different sizes, from a $9.99 fish pod to a $149.99 large pod designed for medium dogs or large cats . The products have a seeded wildflower leaf on them so a pet grave can be adorned with color in the spring. They also come with a sympathy card. The company also offers two $39.99 urns – a heart-shaped one and traditional one. The urns are designed to hold ashes and will biodegrade as the pods do or can be displayed. These come with a seeded sympathy card that can be buried in place of an urn if the family wishes. + PawPods Via TreeHugger Images via PawPods Facebook

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Biodegradable PawPods: a better way to bury your pet

Brilliant woodland pavilion pushes the envelope of timber in tension

June 26, 2017 by  
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Architectural Association students of the Design & Make program are pushing the envelope on lightweight timber construction. In the program’s most recent annual project, students completed the Sawmill Shelter, an experimental pavilion that uses tension to hold the structure together and create a sturdy roof resistant to snow loads and wind uplifts. Located in Hooke Park of Dorset, England, the sculptural structure’s roof was built from locally sourced Western Red Cedar. The Sawmill Shelter was designed and built by students En-Kai Kuo, Evgenia Spyridonos, Eleni McKirahan, Rolando Madrigal, Trianzani Sulshi, Paolo Salvetti, and Diego Saenz Penagos. In addition to serving as the 2016-2017 Design + Make project, the experimental pavilion is also a prototype for structural systems planned for the new campus lecture hall and library. The structure was built atop an existing 50-square-meter concrete slab on which the campus sawmill is placed. The students built the Sawmill Shelter using 38-by-38-millimeter laths of Western Red Cedar sourced from Hooke Park and assembled from shorter sections held together with glued finger-jointed scarfed splices. “The structure adjusted, each lath carries up to two tonnes of tension, demonstrating the remarkable strength of wood under tension,” reads the project description. The laths were tensioned to create a “stiff net of wood” clad in CNC-milled aluminum panels for a striking and lightweight anticlastic timber net roof spanning nearly 11 meters. Related: Super-local energy-efficient Caretaker’s House is built from locally grown and felled timber Student En-Kai Kuo also helped lead the large-scale steam bending of whole tree to create unusual structural columns. Eighteen bent trees, made of Douglas fir and larch, support one end of the Sawmill Shelter. + Design + Make Via Dezeen Images by Valerie Bennet, Evgenia Spyridonos and Kevin Kim

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Brilliant woodland pavilion pushes the envelope of timber in tension

SolarGaps’ new solar blinds shade windows and generate clean energy

May 11, 2017 by  
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What if your window blinds could power your home in addition to shading its rooms? That’s the idea behind SolarGaps’ new solar blinds. These smart blinds designed to track the sun can be controlled via an app , and the company says their product will slash energy bills by as much as 70 percent. SolarGaps’ smart solar blinds, created by Ukrainian inventor Yevgen Erik, could revolutionize how we live our lives indoors, and obtain the energy we consume in our homes. The company says the blinds are extremely efficient can generate 100 watts of power per 10 square feet of a window – enough energy for three MacBooks or 30 LED light bulbs, according to the company. Related: National laboratory scales up quantum-dot solar windows that can power entire buildings The company also says the installation process is simple enough for homeowners to do themselves using SolarGaps’ instructions – and after the blinds are plugged in, the renewable energy they generate begins to power home devices. Their app allows users to change the angle of the blinds, lower or raise them, or check out how much energy they are generating. The blinds are made with solar cells from SunPower and come with a 25 year lifespan. The outer part is made with Aluminum . SolarGaps says they’ll work in a wide variety of climates and temperatures, from negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit up to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. The company also markets their groundbreaking blinds as affordable, and able to generate more electricity than competing smart blinds currently on the market. They’re currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter; a XS Sized Set is $390, 50 percent off the retail price, and measures 36 by 36 inches, or 32 by 36 inches. SolarGaps is also offering small, medium, large, extra large, and extra extra large sizes, as well as two custom bundles. You can check out the campaign here . + SolarGaps Images via SolarGaps Facebook and SolarGaps

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SolarGaps’ new solar blinds shade windows and generate clean energy

Dakota Access pipeline springs first oil leak – before completion

May 11, 2017 by  
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Before the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was even completed, it suffered its first leak. On April 6, the $3.8 billion project spilled 84 gallons of crude oil at a South Dakota pump station, enraging members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other activists who protested its development for nearly one year. The Guardian reports that the leak was quickly contained and cleaned. However, critics of the spill say that the environmental travesty could have been prevented had state officials listened to concerned members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and those who support them. The pipeline was in its final stages of preparing to transport oil when the leak occurred. Beginning in April of 2016, thousands of people gathered near Cannon Ball, ND, to protest the DAPL ’s development. The main concerns continue to be that its construction could contaminate the Missouri river and that a portion of land the DAPL runs through was promised to the Standing Rock Sioux in an 1851 treaty. Though the Obama administration halted the DAPL’s development in December of 2016, President Trump ordered it to resume shortly after his inauguration. Activists were forcibly removed from the protest grounds. Jan Hasselman, a lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said, “They keep telling everybody that it is state of the art, that leaks won’t happen, that nothing can go wrong. It’s always been false. They haven’t even turned the thing on and it’s shown to be false.” “It doesn’t give us any pleasure to say, ‘I told you so.’ But we have said from the beginning that it’s not a matter of if, but when. Pipelines leak and they spill. It’s just what happens,” she added. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has fought Energy Transfer Partners and the U.S. government in court, argues that the project requires a full environmental study to assess the risks. Because President Trump has financial ties to the oil company, however, it is unlikely such an assessment will be conducted. Standing Rock Sioux tribe chairman Dave Archambault II said the spill is just one more sign the courts should intervene. “Our lawsuit challenging this dangerous project is ongoing, and it’s more important than ever for the court to step in and halt additional accidents before they happen – not just for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and our resources but for the 17 million people whose drinking water is at risk,” he said in a statement. Related: Major oil spill 150 miles from DAPL protest validates Standing Rock concerns Neither the company nor the state have made a public announcement about the spill . According to Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with the South Dakota department of environment and natural resources, this is because the spill was relatively minor as it was caused by a mechanical failure at a surge pump. “It’s not uncommon to have a small release at a pump station,” said Walsh, adding that the company responded immediately and cleaned up the liquid petroleum. Via The Guardian

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Dakota Access pipeline springs first oil leak – before completion

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