Danish home champions wood over concrete for lower carbon emissions

December 21, 2018 by  
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Danish architecture firm Tegnestuen LOKAL recently completed TK-33, a modern and energy-efficient home that promotes building materials considered more sustainable than those typically used in Danish residential construction. To reduce the carbon footprint of the project, the architects designed the home with a timber structure rather than the more commonly used load-bearing concrete walls. Triple-glazed windows and a flexible floor plan also add to the home’s environmentally friendly cachet. Designed for an older couple, the TK-33 home is located on the outskirts of a small town north of Copenhagen . The single-story home spans 130 square meters with two bedrooms and a centrally located, open-plan living area that connects to a spacious L-shaped deck. The flexible layout allows the homeowners to easily adapt rooms to new uses without the need for renovation. Full-height glazing pulls the outdoors in while a natural materials palette ties the home to the rural landscape. Driven by a desire to reduce carbon emissions in Denmark, the architects focused on replacing the most emission-heavy elements of typical Danish construction with more eco-friendly alternatives. In place of brick-clad concrete — commonly used for outer walls that the firm said account for nearly 30 percent of the total emissions associated with the construction of a typical home — the architects used a wooden frame clad in a thin layer of brick shingling. The slim brick facade is Cradle-to-Cradle certified and highly durable to ensure longevity. Related: Copper-clad Copenhagen landmark boasts Denmark’s most energy-efficient laboratories “Eliminating emissions during construction, allowing for flexibility in the use of the house and facilitating reuse of the entire envelope makes for a house and a building technique that could decrease the emissions from the single-family house industry in Denmark greatly,” the architects said. “The house can be naturally ventilated and installations are pragmatically limited to the central core containing two bathrooms and a laundry room, lowering overall costs during construction.” + Tegnestuen LOKAL Photography by Jan Ove Christensen and Peter Jørgensen via Tegnestuen LOKAL

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Danish home champions wood over concrete for lower carbon emissions

Nature-inspired art gallery is built from bamboo and reused bricks

December 21, 2018 by  
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Belgium- and Brazil-based design practice CRU! architects channeled its passion for bamboo architecture and natural building materials into an art gallery in Catuçaba, a rural community about three hours east of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Spanning an area of 1,184 square feet, the project was commissioned by the owner of Fazenda Catuçaba , an idyllic farmhouse-style hotel that includes an operational organic farm. Building on Fazenda Catuçaba’s environmentally friendly practices, the art gallery was constructed mainly of bamboo and reused fired bricks. More than just an exercise in sustainable architecture, the art gallery for Fazenda Catuçaba was also created as a social building project to benefit the local community. With help from the architects, a community eco-building cooperative constructed the project and provided training and job development opportunities for the local residents. The cooperative constructed the entire bamboo structure, while local workers from Fazenda Catuçaba’s on-site farm carried out the excavation work, foundation work and brick laying. The design of the art gallery draws inspiration from the differing architectural styles of its two neighboring structures: the Fazenda Catuçaba’s colonial Portuguese-styled farmhouse and the Occa, an indigenous communal space built by an Amazonian Indian tribe. As a result, the exterior of the gallery features colonial Portuguese-inspired white walls and blue doors while the interior is marked by narrow passageways and courtyard evocative of Amazonian Indian architecture. A fountain installed in the patio connects to the river and strengthens the building’s connection with nature. Related: This breathtaking Tulum art gallery was created by Peggy Guggenheim’s great-grandson “The gallery is entirely based on the golden proportion — the width and height of the different parts correspond to the rules set by the Greek and Roman architects such as Vitruvius,” explained lead architect Sven Mouton. “It is meant to be a humble construction that fits the colonial style of the surrounding, but that also refers to the occa nearby. A Portuguese face with an Indian heart. Since art can be considered sacred, the spiritual language of a monastery arch-way was used to house the exhibitions. In the original sense a gallery was a covered walk or passageway, narrow and partly open along a wall.” + CRU! architects Photography by Nelson Kon via CRU! architects

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Is a flexitarian diet right for you?

December 21, 2018 by  
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Going vegan or vegetarian might be a good choice for your health  — as well as the environment — but not everyone wants to take the extreme measure of cutting meat and other animal products completely out of their diet. So, over the past five years, many who want to live a healthy life and/or do their part in the fight against climate change have opted for the flexitarian diet. What is flexitarianism? Flexitarianism doesn’t go as far as veganism or vegetarianism, but it does include some of the same principals. Basically, a flexitarian is someone who has a flexible plant -based diet, which means that meat and other animal products are not a part of their regular diet, but they do eat them occasionally. Usually, people who identify as flexitarians adopt the lifestyle for health reasons or to lessen their environmental impact —or both. Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner created the Flexitarian Diet to help people get the benefits of eating like vegetarians while still being able to enjoy meat and other animal products in moderation. There are no specific rules in the flexitarian lifestyle—no calorie counting or tracking of macronutrients— and the focus is on what you can eat instead of what you can’t, which makes it all the more appealing to many people. However, there are a few basic principles that Blatner based the diet on: eat mostly plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains), get your protein from plants instead of animals, eat natural foods instead of processed foods, limit refined sugar and sweets, and occasionally incorporate meat and animal products. Overall, the goal is less meat, more plants. Related: Look out meat industry— flexitarianism is on the rise What are the health benefits? There are many health benefits when you eat flexitarian. Because most plant-based foods have fewer calories and higher fiber content, this diet can help you lose weight. Eating mostly fruits, veggies, nuts and whole grains can also lead to an increased life expectancy compared to people who regularly eat meat. Studies have shown that a vegetarian diet can lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and the reap the same benefits. On the flip side, there have also been studies that indicate eating red meat can lead to an increase of cancer . A flexible eating pattern also tends to lead to a lower body mass index (BMI), a lower risk of breast cancer, and lower blood glucose levels compared to people who eat meat regularly. What are the risks and drawbacks? Because vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, you can run the risk of a deficiency when you switch to flexitarianism. So, you might need a B12 supplement. When you reduce or cut out meat from your diet, you might also have lower stores of minerals that are best absorbed from animal foods, like zinc and iron. However, you can remedy this by eating plenty of nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. If you aren’t eating fatty fish, you might not be getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, which means you need to up your intake of things like walnuts and flaxseeds. There is also a myth about vegetarianism or flexitarianism that you won’t get enough protein without eating meat. This simply isn’t true. In fact, most people who eat a standard diet eat way more protein than they need to. Plus, you can get the protein you need by eating soy products, rice and beans, and even a peanut butter sandwich. In order to avoid nutritional deficiencies, it is a good idea to carefully plan your meals to make sure you include enough whole foods— and the right amount of meat and animal products— so you are getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals. Related: A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat How to get started Starting the flexitarian lifestyle isn’t as simple as eating less meat and magically becoming healthier. Theoretically, you could eat a pop tart for breakfast, chili cheese fries for lunch, and a veggie burger with chips and a soda for dinner, and that would follow the vegetarian or flexitarian “rules”. But, there would be zero health benefits. It’s not just about eating less meat, but also making smart food choices overall. So, in addition to reducing meat consumption, you are also adding nutrient-rich foods to your daily diet, while keeping the processed foods to a minimum. Instead of trying to drastically change overnight, it is better to take steps towards the flexitarian lifestyle. Start by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store ( avoid the aisles ) during your next shopping trip, and load up on fresh produce and nuts. Then, try cut your meat-eating down to two to three days a week. No matter how small the change, it will be a step in the right direction. And, the best part is, you don’t have to say no to your mom’s famous meatloaf at your next family dinner. Via EcoWatch , Healthline Images via Shutterstock

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The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought

April 9, 2018 by  
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New reports show that nearly twice as much crude oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota last November than originally estimated. TransCanada spokesperson Robynn Tysver said that roughly 9,700 barrels of oil leaked instead of the estimated 5,000 barrels. This new information means the leak is among the biggest onshore spills in the United States since 2010. There are 42 gallons in one barrel of oil, so instead of 210,000 gallons as was originally estimated, around 407,700 gallons leaked in what TransCanada refers to as the Amherst incident . This means the spill was the “seventh largest onshore oil or petroleum product spills” reported to the United States Department of Transportation since 2010, according to Aberdeen American News. Related: Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision TransCanada started utilizing the pipeline again 12 days following the leak. Tysver told American News, “The remediation work on the property has been completed. We have replaced the last of the topsoil and have seeded the impacted area.” The Amherst incident cost the company around $9.57 million, according to the news publication, citing an updated pipeline safety administration report. TransCanada said on their website they sampled groundwater at 12 monitoring wells and there “was no impact to groundwater.” The Keystone Pipeline connects oil fields in Alberta, Canada to refineries in the United States; Reuters described it as a 590,000 barrel-per-day pipeline. Aberdeen American News said according to a preliminary report, the pipe may have been damaged in 2008, during construction. Reuters said they had reviewed documents revealing Keystone has leaked far more oil, and more frequently, “than the company indicated to regulators in risk assessments” before operations started in 2010. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration , part of the Department of Transportation, could release the final report on the leak in the upcoming few weeks. Via Aberdeen News and Reuters Images via TransCanada

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The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought

ASU’s SHADE House is an Affordable Eco Home for Suburban Living in the Southwest

July 5, 2013 by  
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SHADE isn’t just shelter from the sun – it stands for Solar Homes Adapting of Desert Equilibrium, which is the name of an eco house designed in collaboration between Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico . The stand-alone energy and water efficient house addresses the unique challenges presented by the suburban sprawl of southwestern cities like Phoenix and Albuquerque. The project is designed to work in harmony with the desert while providing an affordable housing option for the growing population in the Southwest. Read the rest of ASU’s SHADE House is an Affordable Eco Home for Suburban Living in the Southwest Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptability in architecture , Arizona State University , desert appropriate design , flex space , flexible floor plan , indoor outdoor spaces , irvine , modularity in architecture , movable walls , passive heating and cooling , radiant cooling , shade , solar decathalon 2013 , solar homes adapting of desert equilibrium , solar photovoltaic panels , southwest suburban sprawl , sustainable house , Thermal storage , university of new mexico , us department of energy        

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