Innovative window solar charger is designed for apartment dwellers

June 13, 2019 by  
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Just months ago, the innovative team at Grouphug revealed the adorable Solar Cat that made the world go “Aww.” Now, the New-York based tech company has just released a very practical Window Solar Charger designed to let apartment dwellers generate their own solar energy in order to power their devices. Recently launched on Kickstarter , the Window Solar Charger was conceived from the idea that everyone should be able to generate their own clean energy. While homeowners have much more control over their power sources, renters and people on the go often have very little options to live a truly sustainable lifestyle. Related: Meet Solar Cat, a cute and creative take on renewable energy After years of being frustrated with how hard it is to adapt solar energy in her own NYC apartment, Grouphug’s founder and lead product designer, Krystal Persaud, decided to invent a personal solar-powered charger geared toward those apartment dwellers who want to be more sustainable. Essentially, the charger is a 13-inch-by-10-inch bamboo frame with four thin solar panels. The charger can be hung in any window to soak up direct sunlight into the battery that is built into the frame. After approximately eight to 10 hours of sunlight, phones and other small devices can be plugged directly into the frame’s USB port. Devices can be charged day or night, and on average, a full battery can charge iPhones two times and Android phones one to one-and-a-half times. + Grouphug + Window Solar Charger Kickstarter Images via Grouphug

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Innovative window solar charger is designed for apartment dwellers

A 1989 Airstream is converted into a modern home on wheels for a family of 6

June 5, 2019 by  
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Colorado-based Timeless Travel Trailers has unveiled a bevy of stunning converted Airstreams , but its latest design is by far one of its best. Re-configuring a 30-year-old, 37-foot Airstream Excella for a family of six was challenging to say the least, but the designers came through in spades, creating a sleek, contemporary home on wheels complete with plenty of seating and sleeping space for the family. Families often dream of hitting the road in a beautiful RV, but when it comes to large families, the logistics of traveling with so many can be a headache. Thankfully, when the design team was approached by a New York family about renovating an old Airstream that would be able to comfortably hold their family of six, the Colorado-based company took the challenge head on. Related: Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals After cleaning up the Airstream’s signature aluminum cladding on the exterior and interior, the designers went to work creating a comfortable living space. Having gutted the original interior, the team custom-built three sofas that would fit in the living space. Not only do the sofas provide ample seating, but two of the couches fold out into a full-sized bed. Additionally, there are four bunk beds in the master bedroom, two of which convert into a king-sized bed. With the sleeping and seating spaces taken care of, the designers then focused on creating special touches for the family’s needs. On the main wall of the interior, they installed a pop-up projection screen with a stereo system for the ultimate movie nights. Adjacent to the living room, the contemporary kitchen is light and airy thanks to marble veneer waterfall countertops and white cabinetry. Across the aisle, a nook was built out with a small bar that includes a wine chiller and hide-away liquor storage that lifts up from the counter at the push of a button — a perfect feature to help the adults unwind. + Timeless Travel Trailers Images via Timeless Travel Trailers

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A 1989 Airstream is converted into a modern home on wheels for a family of 6

Repurposed shipping containers turned into solar-powered Cycle Hubs

June 4, 2019 by  
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Bustling urban areas around the world are seeing a major increase in bicyclists cruising through their streets, some of them on very expensive electric bikes. To offer extra security for these pricey rides, savvy company Cyclehoop has come up with the an innovative solar-powered bicycle storage center made out of repurposed shipping containers — Cycle Hub. A leader in the world of bicycle parking solutions and infrastructures, London-based Cyclehoop is constantly working to provide cyclists with secure storage and proper infrastructure. They work in a wide range of products, from locks and racks to solar-powered riding paths. Related: An elegant car center in Thailand is made from 8 repurposed shipping containers The company’s most recent addition is the Container Cycle Hub, a repurposed shipping container that safely stores bicycles. The cube-shaped container is small enough that it just takes up a single car parking space, but is still spacious enough to hold 24 bikes. The interior of the bike hub is installed with “gas assisted two tier racks” that pull out so that the bike can be easily wheeled into place before being elevated up to the top rack. The hub’s sliding doors open and close with a mechanical lock for easy, keyless access. The doors are made out of perforated panels and allow natural light to filter through the interior, but are opaque enough to reduce the visibility from the outside. The containers are also equipped with solar-powered motion-sensor lights for added visibility and security. + Cyclehoop Via Treehugger Images via Cyclehoop

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Repurposed shipping containers turned into solar-powered Cycle Hubs

Solar-powered houseboat boast spectacular interior design

June 3, 2019 by  
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From dingy, fishy-smelling bolt-hole to eco-friendly luxury barges, houseboats have come an amazingly long way over the years. And if you’re dreaming of sailing through some of the world’s best waterways, the Chinampa Houseboat can be yours for just over $200,000 . The beautiful one-bedroom boat is not only solar-powered , but it boasts a spectacular interior design made up of reclaimed furniture and retro pieces. Listed by the UK Real Estate Company Aucoot, the beautiful 58-feet by 11-feet widebeam canal boat is truly a floating piece of art. Designed by its current owners, who work in landscaping and fashion, the houseboat’s interior is a serene oasis that is achieved by ample natural light, high ceilings, and above all, carefully selected pieces of reclaimed furniture . Related: A solar-powered houseboat designed for the water-loving adventurer To give the space a unique and sophisticated living space, the design-savvy owners carefully chose a collection of reclaimed furnishings . For example, the galley kitchen was built with a repurposed plans chest, along with an iroko hard wood countertop. The living room and bedroom are both bright and airy spaces thanks to ample windows and a double-pitched sky light that floods the interior with natural light . The spaces are filled with various mid-century chairs and a large bookcase that keeps the living area clutter-free. For a long soak after a long day of sailing, there is a gorgeous light-filled bathroom that comes complete with a luxurious full sized rolltop cast iron bath with claw feet and antique brass taps and shower fittings. To top off the incredible design, the houseboat is powered by 4x 130w solar panels that allow the boast to go completely off-grid . Additionally, the boat is water-ready year-round thanks to quality insulation and a high-performance heating system. Via Aucoot Images via Aucoot

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Solar-powered houseboat boast spectacular interior design

Treehouses made from shipping containers offer the ultimate glamping getaway in Portugal

May 31, 2019 by  
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Looking for respite from the noise and stress of the big city? Check out these gorgeous shipping container treehouses located in Portugal. Tucked into a dense forest in the northern coastal region of Viana do Castelo, the unique glamping accommodations are comprised of two repurposed shipping containers that have been renovated to provide a truly serene retreat. Located in the northern coastal region of Portugal , Viana do Castelo is known for its amazing beaches as well as its mountainous landscape farther inland. Related: Harbor town in Germany unveils urban-chic hostel made out of repurposed shipping containers The shipping container treehouses have been tucked into a pristine hillside facing a large river that cuts through the forestscape. To minimize their impact on the environment, the architects placed the structures on large metal supports. Guests at the shipping container lodgings can choose from two accommodations. Bungalow T1 is the smallest container, with one bedroom with a double bed, along with a kitchenette, bathroom and a small living area. The largest treehouse also has one bedroom, but offers more sleeping options thanks to a pull-out sofa in the living room. Both accommodations have spacious, suspended balconies with all-glass facades offering stunning views of the natural landscape. The complex also has an on-site restaurant and bar as well as a designated barbecue area and playground for children. For active adventures, guests can enjoy long walks or rent bicycles to explore the nearby village. + Glamping Hub Images via Glamping Hub

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Treehouses made from shipping containers offer the ultimate glamping getaway in Portugal

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

A decaying shop in Cambodia gains a new life through adaptive reuse principles

May 23, 2019 by  
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Phnom Penh-based firm  Bloom Architecture has unveiled a beautiful renovation of a decaying building in Kampot, Cambodia. Ages ago, the building housed a family-run store, but the space had been abandoned for years. To preserve its historical significance in the riverside town, the architects focused on maintaining the building’s original features as much as possible while turning it into a home and restaurant. The result is 3,444 square feet of breezy interior spaces with an  adaptive reuse strategy that blends the best of traditional Chinese shophouse typology with modern day comfort. Located next to the city’s river, the building is a local landmark for the community. When the owners wanted to adapt the structure into a new family residence on the top floors and a restaurant on the ground floor, they tasked Bloom Architecture with the job of preserving the building’s historical character through adaptive reuse. To bring the older building into the modern age, the firm focused its renovation plans on retaining the original features. Starting with the exterior, which is marked by two floors of large arched openings, the facade was put through a deep cleaning and fresh paint job with a natural exterior that blurs the boundaries between the old and the new. A new wooden roof overhang juts out over the top floor, providing shade for the upper balcony . Related: An ancient Jaipur palace property is transformed into a modern restaurant After years of decay, much of the interior was in pretty bad shape, so the firm went about gutting everything that was not salvageable. However, the team was able to reuse wooden panels from the original house; these panels were repurposed into custom furniture and windows. The ground floor is open and airy with various seating options. Wooden tables and chairs of all shapes and sizes fill the dining area, which boasts double-height ceilings with exposed wooden beams. The original brick walls were lightly coated in white paint, letting the various red-hued tones shine through to offer contrast to the all-white columns and wooden door frames. A large metal spiral staircase runs through a central courtyard all the way up from the restaurant to the private living quarters. This stairwell was essential to the design, as it allows  natural light  to reach the lower levels and aids in natural ventilation, cooling the interiors off during the searing summer months. At the top of the staircase is what the architects call “the nest” — an open-air terrace that provides stunning views of the mountainous landscape of Kampot. + Bloom Architecture Images via Bloom Architecture

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A decaying shop in Cambodia gains a new life through adaptive reuse principles

Little Caesars debuts vegan sausage

May 23, 2019 by  
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Vegetarians have finally pushed Little Caesars past its tipping point. After years of clamoring for better vegetarian and vegan pizza options, Little Caesars is now offering a plant-based sausage, or impossible meat, made by California-based Impossible Foods . This is the first time a national pizza chain has offered a vegan meat substitute. Before vegans get too excited, note that initially only three markets will feature the faux sausage: Fort Myers, Florida, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Yakima, Washington. However, the new Impossible Supreme Pizza will still not be 100 percent vegan as it’s topped with dairy cheese. Little Caesars is not the first place most vegans would look for a meal. But as demand for plant-based products grow, even meat-heavy restaurants are taking notice. Last year sales in plant-based products increased 17 percent, compared with a 2 percent overall growth rate in the grocer sector, according to Nielson. “It’s here to stay,” said Little Caesars CEO David Scrivano. Impossible Foods’ vegan sausage is made from similar ingredients to their burgers, such as legume hemoglobin derived from soy. According to the company website, “Although heme has been consumed every day for hundreds of thousands of years, Impossible Foods discovered that it’s what makes meat taste like meat. We make the Impossible Burger using heme from soy plants — identical to the heme from animals — which is what gives it its uniquely meaty flavor.” Even meat eaters might want to try the pizza made with this impossible meat. According to Medical News Today , a recent study showed that eating red meat even occasionally could shorten your life. Red and processed meat consumption has been linked to diabetes, coronary heart disease and some types of cancer. So the less meat you eat, the better for you, and the better for animals. Impossible Foods reports that more than 7,000 restaurants now offer their products, including such traditionally vegan-unfriendly chains as White Castle, Burger King and Red Robin.  The company is increasing its production capacity at its Oakland, California manufacturing plant. This summer a second production line will double its output. Via CNBC Image via Michael Rivera

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Little Caesars debuts vegan sausage

Stay home from work to save the planet, study says

May 23, 2019 by  
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Need an excuse to stay home from work? How about new research findings that a shorter work week is essential to combating climate change ? European think tank Autonomy recommends that employees in the U.K. work far fewer hours in order to avoid a climate crisis. In fact, the think tank recommends people work only nine hours per week! Although a nine-hour work week might sound too good to be true, there are many experts who are pushing for a four-day work week as a compromise. After the economic recession in 2008, Utah became the first state in the U.S. to experiment with a mandatory four-day work week — and found many benefits. The newest findings are based on greenhouse gas emissions and efforts to decarbonize the economy. Autonomy is careful to say that a reduced work week is only one out of many ingredients that should go into a comprehensive and urgent plan to reduce carbon emissions. Related: 9 ways to introduce nature into your dull workspace “Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies — a shorter working week being just one of them,” Autonomy director Will Stonge told The Guardian. “This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like.” The benefits of working reduced hours include both environmental and social impacts. With a shorter work week, fewer people would commute, which would significantly reduce transportation-related carbon emissions and improve air quality . According to the report, a “1 percent decrease in working hours could lead to a 1.46 percent decrease in carbon footprint.” Additionally, fewer workers would also mean fewer goods produced and resources used, which would ultimately be more sustainable than our current rate of over-consumption. Being overworked also encourages unsustainable habits by stressed and rushed employees, such as driving instead of walking or buying ready-made meals packaged with single-use plastic instead of cooking. Evidence also suggests that working shorter hours would improve employees’ mental health and well-being without losing productivity. Employees would have more time to exercise, cook, relax and build social ties, enabling improved focus while on the job. Employers likely aren’t going to buy the argument for a nine-hour work week any time soon, but the report confirms similar findings that “the climate crisis calls for an unprecedented decrease in the economic activity that causes GHG emissions,” or in other words, the “necessity to be lazy” — or at the very least a reconsideration of how industrial societies have defined lazy. Via The Guardian Image via Freddie Marriage

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SAOLA offers sustainable sneakers sourced from algae and recycled plastic

May 22, 2019 by  
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Although admittedly late to the game, fashion is working towards cleaning up their act when it comes to corporate responsibility and sustainable sourcing of materials and manufacturing of products. But, consumers have to look for it. Fortunately, the shoe industry in particular is getting downright competitive in their efforts to bring sustainable footwear to the market. Unfortunately, for many manufacturers, the eco-friendly label means little more than incorporating an organic thread here or a renewable resource there. For newcomer SAOLA, though, sustainable fashion is front and center. The french company is not only new to the sustainable fashion realm, but has only been in business a few years. Rather than fighting the trends, they’re setting them with their eco-friendly sneakers, some of which are entirely vegan. The efforts can be seen in every component of the shoes, from top to bottom. Related: These sneakers are painted with cast-off blood from slaughterhouses Starting with the uppers made from 100 percent recycled PET, the company pours 3 to 4 plastic bottles into each shoe. The shoelaces are sourced from 100 percent organic cotton to avoid cotton grown using chemicals. A plant-based foam created from algae biomass makes up the insoles and outsoles that brings a wafer-light feel to the sneaker, skips the petroleum used in traditional shoe production and makes use of the unwanted algae in areas where it blooms. Renewable cork sourced without cutting down any trees makes up a removable liner inside the shoe. SAOLA is dedicated to the environment with a commitment to donate 3 percent of every sale to environmental conservation groups. The current product line offers styles for both men and women with suede-look tops and trendy color options including grey, chocolate, camel, olive and navy. They offer low cut and mid-height designs with styles costing about $100. + SAOLA Images via SAOLA

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