If you eat seafood, you’re probably eating fleece microfibers

February 7, 2017 by  
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If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors (or simply like to feel warm and cozy throughout the day), you’re probably a fan of synthetic fleece jackets. But what you might not know is that every time one of these items runs through the wash, it releases thousands of microscopic plastic fibers into the water supply. These microfibers end up being eaten by fish and marine life – where they eventually end up back on our plates. A study last year from the University of California Santa Barbara , in collaboration with the clothing company Patagonia, shows that every time polyester fleece jackets are run through the wash without detergent, up to 2 grams of these fibers could be shed. It’s worse for top-load washing machines, which release seven times more fibers than the front-load variety. Unlike clothes dryers, which can capture loose fibers in lint traps, loose material in washing machines ends up simply being washed down the drain. Unfortunately, these microfibers are so small that wastewater treatment plants can’t filter them out. Instead, they end up being released into the environment, where they’re eaten by wildlife. Related:  Patagonia says synthetic fibers (including their own) are polluting the oceans Are these microscopic bits of plastic harmful when ingested? It’s not entirely clear. Some studies have show certain species can’t cope well with the microfibers: water fleas who inadvertently eat fleece fibers are more likely to die, and common crabs that have ingested the tiny bits of plastic eat less food overall. But further research is needed to show if humans who eat fleece-filled seafood suffer any ill effects. Unfortunately, short of avoiding fish altogether, it’s impossible to know whether you’re ingesting microfibers or not. For now, the only real solution is to either avoid washing your fleece when possible, or rig your washing machine with a filter to catch microfibers before they enter waterways. Sadly, that won’t do much unless everyone who wears synthetic fleece takes this advice to heart. Via NPR Images via Kelly and StockSnap  

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If you eat seafood, you’re probably eating fleece microfibers

Former opium den in Singapore reinvented as luxury waterfront hotel

February 7, 2017 by  
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The newly opened Warehouse Hotel in Singapore is undoubtedly posh, but it’s very different from the average luxury hotel. Set on the Singapore River, the Warehouse Hotel is housed in a heritage building, a former godown, which dates back to 1895 and has a surprising sordid history as a former hotbed for secret societies and underground activities. Zarch Collaboratives led the redesign of the 121-year-old building, converting it into a 37-room boutique hotel with state-of-the-art amenities, while paying homage to the area’s industrial past. Located on Havelock Road along the Singapore River, the historic godown was originally built for business purposes on the Straits of Malacca trade route. In the early 20th century, the area was notoriously known as the operating neighborhood of Chinese and Fujianese secret societies and was rife with gambling dens, prostitutes, and moonshine operations. While much of that history has disappeared and been replaced with the upscale Robertson Quay neighborhood, Zarch Collaboratives and interior design consultant Asylum Creatives wove playful references to the godown’s colorful history during the meticulous restoration and renovation process. Related: WOHA’s solar-powered SkyVille in Singapore boasts a deep-green public skypark Painted bright white, the Warehouse Hotel’s distinctive and symmetrical facade features the original peaked roofs with restored louvre windows, cornices, doors, moldings, and Chinese characters on the leftmost gables. The interior blends the warehouse’s utilitarian aesthetic, like exposed brick and vaulted ceilings, with modern decorations that allude to the area’s industrial and vice-filled past. Naked light bulbs and pulley systems, commonly found in godowns, are suspended from the ceiling of the double-height lobby. A set of handcuffs and other interesting trinkets are visibly displayed next to the check-in counter, while every room is equipped with a “Minibar of Vices” with local treats. + Justina Via ArchDaily Images via Justina

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Former opium den in Singapore reinvented as luxury waterfront hotel

How to get off the grid and live rent-free

February 7, 2017 by  
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Many people dream of living off the grid, rent-free — and a select few have turned that dream into a reality. It takes more than just a stack of solar panels and a tiny house though – you need a plan that provides for all of the necessities of daily life. If you’ve ever wanted to make the leap to off-grid living but weren’t sure where to start, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to transitioning to a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle. READ MORE: Greenmoxie Tiny House lets you live mortgage-free and off-grid in a luxurious 340 sq. ft. on wheels 1. Decide on your living space You can’t live off-grid if you have nowhere to live. How you acquire this living space is dependent on your resources and style. Those who seek the thrill of the open road would do best in a self-sufficient mobile home. For the DIY type, building your own, as Elizabeth Pearson did in Spain , might be the challenge you need. For those who are not particularly crafty, a prefabricated model like those sold by Big World Homes or Green Moxie would be more your speed. READ MORE: Luxurious tiny home lets owner live off-grid and rent-free If you seek to settle down, think about where you would like to live and why. Are you seeking to abandon civilization entirely or do you simply want to live a more self-sufficient life? Are you willing to pay more for an ideal location near family and friends or are you flexible with your location? If money is not an issue, there are open plots of land even in the world’s most expensive real estate markets . If you seek dirt for dirt cheap, you have options. READ MORE: World’s first off-grid Ecocapsule home to hit the market this year, shipping in 2016 Do you want to support the growth of a new community or do you want to join one that already exists? If you are of the apocalyptic mindset, there are plenty of places to hunker down with those who also feel the end is nigh. If you wish to learn from the cutting edge of off-grid experimentation before you dive in, check out communities like the Off-Grid Experimentation Village . Of course, there are always the Earthship communities to learn from and join. READ MORE: Tiny Off-Grid Hawk House has Soaring Views of the California Mountains If you want to start your own off-grid community, do some research into establishing a land trust. This institution allows for greater community control and provides protection from the encroachment of commercial interests onto the land. If you can’t wait to navigate the red tape, you, like this tiny-house building Australian couple , may find landowners willing to let you use their land in exchange for your time and energy. 2. Harvest and harness water OK, you have your living space. All that hard work planning for and acquiring somewhere to live off-grid has made you thirsty. Living off-grid requires you to harvest and harness the most out of the limited, invaluable resource that is water. This can be achieved through low-tech methods such as the installation of rain barrels, the cultivation of living mulch, and the construction of swales. Water capture can also be facilitated via the design of your living space, as demonstrated by the stepped roofs of Bermuda or bowl-shaped roofs in Iran. If you are hoping to live on the cutting edge of the 21st century, try integrating water saving technologies like the hydroponic systems used by Farm 360 in Indianapolis . Similarly, if your off-grid adventures brings you close to the ocean, modern desalinization methods like that pioneered by SAROS can achieve water self-sufficiency for far less cost than was once imagined. 3. Grow your own food Thirst quenched, time for some grub. If you are living on the road, off the grid, you likely do not have much space to grow your own food. As you meander around the world, it would be worth it to park your home on an idyllic organic farm . In exchange for your labor, you may acquire some nourishing produce, new friends, and a beautiful place to enjoy your tiny porch. READ MORE: Stunning Moon Dragon is a fairytale-like tiny house that goes off-grid If you are settling down in one space, planting perennials will provide you with consistent, nutritious food for years to come. Typical perennial plants include fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and even mushroom patches . A less common but a nonetheless important component of an off-grid diet is perennial vegetables , like sorrel, asparagus, and sylvetta arugula. Although it’s not quite ready yet, perennial wheat may soon find its way to an off-grid homestead near you. 4. Gather your tools and materials You’re satiated. Now it’s time to get to work. If you are living off-grid, you need a well-equipped tool shed and workshop. Open Source Ecology , a project that aims to create open blueprints for the essential tools to build civilization, is an excellent resource to guide the construction of a community toolbox. You will still need to acquire raw materials and a 3D printer, but once the initial investment has been made, you can support others in the establishment of new off-grid communities. READ MORE: Luxurious tiny home in New Zealand is off-grid and 100% self-sustaining 5. Install alternative energy Tending your garden, helping your neighbors, and living the life can be hard work. After a productive day, it’s time to settle in for the evening to enjoy a book or some Netflix. To illuminate your sanctuary and power your viewing, you will need a source of energy. Fortunately, there is no shortage of means for you to acquire that which you need. Solar energy, becoming cheaper by the day, is well suited for mobile off-grid living and that rooted in one place. The wind has got your back, providing power for your vehicle and your village . Even jellyfish are pitching in to support your off-grid dreams. Essentially, the resources are there. There are many paths towards the off-grid lifestyle of your dreams; all you have to do is take that first step and the rest will likely fall in place. Images via Greenmoxie Tiny House, , Walden Studio , Tomas Manina , Image via Alex Wyndham , Zyl Vardos , Living Big in a Tiny House , Wikimedia, J Wynia , Steve Johnson , Flickr/Jules , Flickr/Lisa at Sierra Tierra, and Sean Church

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How to get off the grid and live rent-free

Modern renovation reconnects London home with its beautiful rear garden

February 7, 2017 by  
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An extensive renovation reconnected this semi-detached, multi-occupancy house in Chiswick, London , with its beautiful rear garden and introduced much needed natural light into the interior space. AU Architects renovated the house by balancing traditional detailing and modern design, creating a contemporary family dwelling that breathes. The architects were tasked with creating a large open-plan ground floor reception space with visual connections to the rear garden and upper bedrooms. This visual openness is enhanced by a large sliding sky-frame door that opens onto a charming garden terrace. A green lighting system maintains the feeling of spaciousness at night. Related: Traditional London house gets a whimsical, fox-shaped extension The design team also created a new basement with a full-height glass surface on the side of the stairwell that reduces sound travel. Polished concrete and natural materials create visual variety that add the refinement of modern design to the warmth of a family home. + AU Architects Photos by David Butler

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Modern renovation reconnects London home with its beautiful rear garden

DIY: Pocket Hand Warmers for Chilly Days

September 9, 2013 by  
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The first leaves of autumn have begun to fall, and although it’s not officially fall yet, you may be feeling a bit of crispness in the air in the early morning or after sunset. Days will soon grow shorter, and hands will be thrust into pockets to keep them warm during morning commutes—to work, to school, or even just walking the dog . Soft fabric hand warmers are perfect for such chilly days, and can be tucked into pockets and mittens of all sizes. They’re super-easy to make, and you can decorate them in any way you like. Read the rest of DIY: Pocket Hand Warmers for Chilly Days Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autumn , barley , chill , cold , DIY , fall , Felt , flannel , fleece , hand warmers , handwarmers , pocket hand warmers , pocket warmers , pockets , rice , sewing , velvet , winter        

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DIY: Pocket Hand Warmers for Chilly Days

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