Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape

August 19, 2019 by  
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In the Indonesian city of Tangerang, Jakarta-based design studio RAW Architecture has completed the School of Alfa Omega, a new school that emphasizes a connection with the outdoors. Set on a former rice paddy, the project has been a challenging endeavor — not only was the first phase expected to be ready for occupancy just six months from the design commission, but the muddy site conditions and the tight budget of less than $1.2 million also posed concerns. By combining low-cost materials and design inspiration from the local vernacular with easy-to-follow modular designs, the architects were able to successfully complete the first phase in just four months and within budget. The School of Alfa Omega caters to 300 students ranging from preschool to high school and is divided into three levels of preschool, six levels of elementary school, three levels of junior high school and three levels of senior high school. For ease of construction, the architects designed modular classrooms of equal size that are arranged in clusters. Related: Cooling breezes blow straight through a low-energy brick house in Indonesia “The brief of the project was to design a school with a value where ‘every child is [considered] a genius’; to be functioned in a curriculum system that does not rely solely on academic scores,” the architects explained. “The school aims to explore all of the students’ potency — even of those laid outside the ‘formal education realms’ such as craftsmanship, applied art, ecological awareness, social sensibility, etc., hence it is also required the establishment of growing talent classes.” To mitigate the swampy conditions and risk of flooding, the architects elevated the steel-framed school on stilts. In addition to the use of steel and concrete for durability and strength, the architects turned to locally sourced materials to bring down costs and relate the building to its surroundings. Wavy walls of locally sourced red brick — found to be more sturdy than the linear form — add visual interest. A thatched roof of local bamboo with long overhangs help shade outdoor spaces. Tall ceilings, porous brick walls, balconies and large openings were also integrated into the design to promote natural ventilation and optimize natural lighting in the school. According to the architects, the materials and design help the building remain at a stable interior temperature of 27 degrees Celsius year-round. + RAW Architecture Photography by Eric Dinardi via RAW Architecture

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Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape

Delaware becomes first ‘no-kill’ state for animal shelters

August 13, 2019 by  
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Nicknamed “The First State,” Delaware has racked up even more kudos: it has recently been named the first and only no-kill animal shelter state in the country. According to the Best Friends Animal Society website , a nonprofit animal welfare group, a no-kill community “is one that acts on the belief that every healthy, adoptable dog and healthy cat should be saved, and that its focus should be on saving as many lives as possible through pet adoption, spay/neuter, trap-neuter-return and other community support programs rather than achieving a specific numerical outcome.” Related: 7 ways to be a sustainable and eco-friendly pet owner In order to be considered no-kill, a state must report at least a 90 percent save rate for all cats and dogs entering shelters , the website explains. The nonprofit organization’s website also says the group is committed to aiding homeless pets from coast to coast. “That means leading local no-kill initiatives, working to end breed discrimination, eliminating puppy mills and keeping community cats (stray and feral felines) safe and out of shelters through TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs,” the site reads. Adding to the excitement, Brandywine Valley SPCA said it was also recognized by Best Friends for its leadership and dedication with the no-kill shelter plan. “The Brandywine Valley SPCA has a live release rate of 95 percent for the more than 14,000 animals a year we intake,” Linda Torelli, marketing director of Brandywine Valley SPCA, told CNN . “Within Delaware, we intake more than 60 percent of the animals entering shelters and more than four times the next largest shelter, so our policies have had a significant impact on the state becoming no-kill.” In 2018, about 733,000 dogs and cats were killed in animal shelters across the country, because the animals didn’t find homes. But Best Friends believes this can change in the U.S. by 2025 if everyone commits. Some of Delaware’s programs that earned the state its place as the first no-kill state include adoption events, trap/neuter/spay programs for cats that might not be adoptable, low-cost veterinary clinics, education programs and behavioral training for dogs that need additional attention. If you’re interested in working on a no-kill resolution for your community or state, you can obtain important information and guidelines from the Best Friends website . + Best Friends Animal Society Via CNN Image via Thomas Park

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Delaware becomes first ‘no-kill’ state for animal shelters

Trump administration moves to weaken Endangered Species Act amid global extinction risks

August 13, 2019 by  
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It’s no secret that endangered species around the globe continue to face extinction, and the dilemma could get worse with the recent revamp of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) . On August 12, the Trump administration unveiled new changes to the ESA, which was first passed in 1973. The new ESA rules will change how federal agencies implement portions of the conservation law, making it easier to remove recovered species from the protected list and allow for more drilling and development. First proposed in July 2018, the changes will allow federal agencies to weigh economic factors into decisions on assigning species protections. The law previously prohibited this. The administration believes the new changes will  “modernize” and “improve” the law, lifting regulatory burdens while continuing to protect species . Karen Budd-Falen, the Interior Department’s deputy solicitor for fish, wildlife and parks, said the changes will “ensure transparency” in the ESA process and “provide regulatory assurances and protection for both endangered species and the businesses that rely on the use of federal and private land.” However, environmentalists have a different view and believe the new rules only help industry and will continue hurting ecosystems , ultimately resulting in their downfall. Alarmingly, a three-year United Nations study found up to 1 million species wildlife are at risk of extinction by human actions if current trends continue. The changes to the ESA could speed up the process. Related: 1 million species are at risk of extinction, says new UN report Today, the ESA protects more than 1,600 plants and animals, as well as the habitats important to their survival, according to one report. The ESA has prevented 99 percent of listed species from becoming extinct . “The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal ? recovery of our rarest species,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, an ex-oil and gas lobbyist, said. “The Act’s effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation.” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra promised to battle the new ESA changes in court. “I know that gutting the Endangered Species Act sounds like plan from a cartoon villain, not the work of the president of the United States, ” Healey said during a call with journalists. “But unfortunately, that’s what we’re dealing with today.” Via Huffington Post Image via Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

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Trump administration moves to weaken Endangered Species Act amid global extinction risks

Geothermal-powered bus station will use anti-smog blocks to fight pollution

August 13, 2019 by  
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The Polish city of Lublin will soon be home to an environmentally friendly bus station that not only offers a new and attractive public space, but also combats urban air pollution. Designed by Polish architectural firm Tremend , the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station in Lublin will be built near the train station and aims to revitalize the area around the railway station. The contemporary design, combined with its environmental focus and green features, earned the project a spot on World Architecture Festival’s World Building of the Year shortlist.  Located close to Folk Park, the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station was designed as a visual extension of the neighboring green space with a lush roof garden and large green wall that wraps the northern facade. Greenery is also referenced in the series of sculptural tree-like pillars that support a massive flat roof with large overhanging eaves. Walls of glass create an inviting and safe atmosphere, while the administration rooms will be provided with tinted windows for privacy.  To reduce energy demands, the building will be heated with geothermal energy and outfitted with energy-efficient LEDs . Meanwhile, motion detectors will be used to activate the lighting to ensure energy savings. A rainwater collection and treatment system will also be used to irrigate the plants that create a cooling microclimate and improved air quality. Air quality is further improved with the use of “anti-smog blocks,” a modern photocatalytic material containing titanium dioxide that breaks down toxic fumes.  Related: Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands “Architecture of public places is evolving in my opinion in a very good direction,” says Magdalena Federowicz-Boule, President of the Tremend Board. “Combining different spaces, open shared zones favors establishing contacts. The communication center, which is to be built in Lublin, is to revive it for revitalization district and become a meeting place where people will be able to meet and spend together time in an attractive environment with green areas. The project is also a response to problems, related to environmental protection and city life, such as smog , water and energy consumption, noise. It is an image of how we perceive the role of ecology in architecture.” + Tremend

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Geothermal-powered bus station will use anti-smog blocks to fight pollution

From Woodstock to sustainability — a journey

August 13, 2019 by  
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It’s been 50 years since the iconic music festival, which took place on the cusp of the first Earth Day. What’s the connection?

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From Woodstock to sustainability — a journey

City of Berkeley bans natural gas in new buildings and homes

July 23, 2019 by  
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The Californian city of Berkeley has become the first in the country to pass a ban on natural gas piping in new buildings, including private homes. Although it is considered cleaner than oil, natural gas is still a fossil fuel and contributes to global warming . New buildings in Berkeley, with few exceptions, will have to rely on electricity for heating water and kitchen appliances starting in January 2020. The natural gas ordinance was spearheaded by councilmember Kate Harrison, who told the San Francisco Chronicle , “It’s an enormous issue. We need to really tackle this. When we think about pollution and climate change issues, we tend to think about factories and cars, but all buildings are producing greenhouse gas .” Related: California is the first US state to require solar energy for new houses The legislation passed unanimously, but some critics outside of the city town halls and council meetings argue that electricity prices are higher than natural gas . The mandate will come at an expense to homeowners and renters in the Bay Area’s already stifling housing market. The ordinance also comes with funding for a two-year position for one staff member in the Office of Planning and Development who will oversee the implementation of the ban. David Hochschild, chairman of the California Energy Commission, reported that at least 50 other cities throughout the state of California are considering such a ban in hopes of addressing the contribution that buildings make to climate change and to encourage higher usage of electricity and renewable energy. Berkeley has a history of progressive bans, including becoming the first city in the country to ban smoking in restaurants and bars back in 1977. Earlier this year, the city banned single-use plastic utensils in restaurants (such as plastic forks). Restaurants and cafes throughout the city must use compostable utensils for takeaway meals and beverages. The city also passed an ordinance adding a 25 cents tax onto single-use cups, such as coffee cups. Via San Francisco Chronicle and NRDC Image via Pixabay

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City of Berkeley bans natural gas in new buildings and homes

Burberry joins catwalk of companies with Science-Based Targets

June 26, 2019 by  
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The luxury fashion giant sets targets to cut supply chain emissions for the first time.

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Burberry joins catwalk of companies with Science-Based Targets

A magical field of solar-powered lights takes over a California landscape

June 10, 2019 by  
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Internationally acclaimed Britain-based artist Bruce Munro recently unveiled his largest site-specific project to date: Field of Light at Sensorio, a sprawling art installation that covers a hilly, countryside landscape with more than 58,800 stemmed fiber-optic lights powered by solar energy. Located in Paso Robles, California, the illuminated composition opened to the public May 19 to mark the launch of the first phase of Sensorio , a new destination for immersive art. Installed across a multi-acre landscape, Bruce Munro: Field of Light at Sensorio is a walk-through artwork that gently illuminates the landscape with “subtle blooms of morphing color.” Munro was inspired to create the installation after a 1992 camping tour of Australia’s red desert center, where he reflected on how different a desert looks after the rains trigger flower blooms. He sought to recreate that phenomenon with a field of lights that would only bloom after dark. His first iteration of Field of Light was created in 2004, in Wiltshire, U.K.; since then, he has been invited to temporarily recreate Field of Light around the world. Field of Light at Sensorio is Munro’s largest-ever exhibit and his first U.S. exhibit entirely powered by solar . “Munro’s oeuvre aims to transcend time and space by inspiring moments of awareness, inviting viewers to contemplate a world larger and more mysterious than their own existence,” a press release noted. Artworks by Munro have been exhibited in permanent collections of museums around the world. Related: Studio Roosegaarde’s laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky Munro’s Field of Light epitomizes the Sensorio concept, which was created as a thought-provoking destination that explores the intersection of art , technology and nature with “amusing, mystical and kinetic experiences.” Future phases of Sensorio will include exhibits and buildings to be put into place by 2021 as well as a future hotel and conference center. Field of Light at Sensorio will remain on display until January 5, 2020. + Bruce Munro Photography by Serena Munro

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A magical field of solar-powered lights takes over a California landscape

German circus goes cruelty-free by replacing animals with holograms

June 6, 2019 by  
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The circuses of the future will have bright lights, virtual-reality technology and one especially awe-inspiring feature: consent from all entertainers. German-based Circus Roncalli is leading the way by becoming the first circus to use 3D holograms of animals instead of forcing live animals to entertain crowds. Circus Roncalli has been around since 1976 but led the pack by dropping live circus animals from its acts as early as the 1990s. Last year, founder and director Bernhard Paul invested half a million dollars (USD) to develop the holographic animal performances that have recently gone viral on social media. Related: New Jersey first state to ban wild animals in circuses His shows now feature acts by holographic elephants , horses and large goldfish and attracted over 600,000 attendees in the first year alone. With ticket prices between $32 and $78 USD per person, his investment was well worth it. Animal rights advocates and circus enthusiasts have jumped on his success, touting Circus Roncalli as the future of the circus and using it as an example to advocate for the end of animal abuse in entertainment. Many governments are also passing laws that prohibit the use of animals for entertainment. “Thankfully, the public is voting with their feet, and increasingly visiting shows where the performers get to choose instead of being forced to perform ,” said Jan Creamer from Animal Defenders International. “This is the future of circus — a performance everyone can enjoy and for which intelligent, sentient beings are not used and depicted as objects of entertainment.” Paul claims his years of success are due to the skills of his human performers, including amazing acrobatic tricks, and the circus animals are an added feature that the crowds love. Not all entertainment acts have the available cash to invest in large light shows; however, with increasing awareness and support for animal rights, other circuses should look to Circus Roncalli as inspiration. Via The Dodo and WSVN Miami Images via Circus Roncalli ( 1 , 2 )

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German circus goes cruelty-free by replacing animals with holograms

Korvaa is the worlds first headphones grown from bio-based materials

May 31, 2019 by  
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Move over plastic and aluminum — the headphones of the future may be built from fungus and biosynthetic spider silk. Helsinki-based multidisciplinary design studio Aivan recently unveiled Korvaa, the world’s first headphones made exclusively from microbially grown materials. Created using synbio (short for “synthetic biology,” an interdisciplinary branch of biology and engineering), Korvaa is the first physical implementation of the technology and marks a potential shift away from a fossil fuel-based economy and toward a more sustainable, circular “bioeconomy.” Aivan designers created the Korvaa in collaboration with synbio scientists, industrial designers, artists and filmmakers. The team chose headphones as their first physical implementation of synbio technology because of its compact form and incorporation of different material properties, from hard surfaces to mesh fabric. The name Korvaa originates from Finnish, in which the noun “Korva” means ear and the verb “Korvaa” means to substitute, compensate or replace. ”We’re looking at these different materials and their properties, trying to figure out how to use them, and what to make out of them — as opposed to designing an item and then figuring out what materials we want to use,” said Aivan product designers Saku Sysiö and Thomas Tallqvist. “Process-wise, it’s almost like something out of the stone age. It sets this particular project apart from any other contemporary, wearable-tech project.” Related: These sustainable headphones debuted just in time for Earth Day Two versions of the Korvaa headsets have been created. Each headset consists of six microbe-grown components with different properties: enzymatically produced, lignin-free cellulose; 3D-printed biodegradable microbial bioplastic PLA for the rigid headset frame; a leather-like fungal mycelium for the soft foam material inside the headset; biosynthetic spider silk for the mesh-like material inside the earphone; a composite of fungal mycelium and bacteria cellulose; and protein foam with plant cellulose. The documentation of the processes for creating both headphones will be displayed at the Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale 2019 from now until September 19 as well as at Helsinki Design Week 2019 from September 5 to September 15. + Aivan Via Dezeen Images via Aivan

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Korvaa is the worlds first headphones grown from bio-based materials

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