Green roofs top Marmormolen’s sustainable timber architecture

January 17, 2022 by  
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The timber design for Copenhagen’s upcoming large commercial building Marmormolen shows sustainable architecture leadership from designers Henning Larson and Ramboll. Lush with green roofs , a waterfront garden and more, the project shows what a commercial building can be to a community. Marmormolen, which will break ground in 2022 and open in 2024, was created to be a combination retail, office and public programming space. It will be one of the largest contemporary wood structures in Denmark . The building integrates into the innovative district of the Nordhavn waterfront, which has replaced a traditionally industrial neighborhood with a residential and tech district complete with self-driving bus test routes and recycled brick buildings. Related: University under a hill in India has a green roof Marmormolen features an open green plaza out front to welcome visitors and includes lush rooftop gardens and promenades. The building blends seamlessly with the waterfront via a park that extends to the water. Marmormolen measures 28,000 square meters with eight stories and is primarily being built for the AP Pension company. “Today, it is imperative that architecture challenges our usual notion of structures and materials,” said Soren Ollgaard, Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen. “The construction industry is a major emitter of CO2, and we therefore also have great opportunities to make things better.” Henning Larsen is collaborating with AP Pension to prioritize the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals in creating the building. Green urban space surrounds Marmormolen on three sides. The building has a full height of eight stories on the street side where train tracks cross, stepping down to three stories toward housing on the opposite side. This is possible because the building is built of cubes with individual rooftops featuring terraces, gardens, butterfly houses and beehives. The rooftop can even produce vegetables for the cafeteria. “Workplaces used to be very interior and exclusive, but people today want to feel they are a part of a more diverse community and open up to their surroundings. With Marmormolen we want to create more than a great office building, we also want it to give something back to the city and makes the building come alive – even outside office hours,” said Mikkel Eskildsen, Associate Design Director and Lead Design Architect on the project. The ground floor will house an auditorium, various markets and public meeting spaces. On upper, more private levels, workplaces enjoy views of the city skyline and the sea. A large courtyard tops the center of the building with planted gardens. + Henning Larsen and Ramboll Images via Henning Larsen and Ramboll

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Green roofs top Marmormolen’s sustainable timber architecture

New ACME Pavilion employs sustainable CLT construction

January 17, 2022 by  
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Design house ACME’s director Friedrich Ludewig drew on the inspiration of Alpine architecture and nearby Olympic Park to guide the design of The Pavilion at Stratford Square in east London , a gently undulating pavilion made using cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction. The building has two interior levels inside a glass facade. The levels are occupied by Haugen, a delicatessen, brasserie and café inspired by Alpine dining, with an interior design concept created by award-winning creative studio Afroditi Krassa. The ground floor also features an information area, which directs visitors to sights such as the nearby mobile orchard display The Hothouse by Studio Weave and garden designer Tom Massey. Related: Life-sized elephant sculptures are roaming London Outside, a comfortable tiered and partially covered seating area in the shape of an outdoor amphitheater allows visitors to rest or view public events. Water fountains and an art piece by Troika decorate the open square in front of The Pavilion. The timber structure of the pavilion is lightweight thanks to CLT and glue-laminated timber panels that carry low embodied carbon. The architect worked on the master plan for Olympic Park and nearby bridges 15 years ago and was familiar with the area’s flow and needs. The Pavilion needed to be a building that “says hello from all sides,” Ludewig said. This meant eschewing a flat roof to enhance The Pavilion’s views through drops and vantage points. A rooftop garden conceptually connects to the nearby park and site’s origins. The building’s outdoor steps comprise several broad staircase-style seating areas that connect with other terraces , seating areas and native wildflower gardens, which sit beneath a beautifully curved roof. The light weight of the structure determined construction methods and materials, which are all wood except for glass windows and a shallow concrete foundation. The ease and relaxed feel of using a space with so much exterior functionality fits the project’s purpose of creating a resting place for passersby. + ACME Via Wallpaper Images via © Hufton + Crow

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Scientists are cleaning art with bacteria

December 30, 2021 by  
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After centuries of trying different techniques and using various chemicals to clean art, scientists found an eco-friendly solution that already exists in the natural world. Bacteria were thought of as art’s greatest enemy. They are evil, microscopic monsters intent on doing damage to the delicate canvases created by the hands of great art masters throughout history. But maybe not. Scientists have learned how to use helpful bacteria to clean and restore great art from the past. Recently, the technique has been used on carvings etched by Michelangelo. Related: What causes zombie plants? The Italian National Agency for New Technologies (ENEA) started experimenting with microorganisms. They performed a “biocleaning” on tombs in Florence, Italy created by the hands of Michelangelo to remove centuries of gunk and grime from the stone . The restored statues are just one more piece of evidence that this type of art restoration is potentially far more effective than anything ever used in the past. It all started back in the 1990s when Giancarlo Ranalli, a microbiology expert, worked in Pisa with the Technical Commission for Restoration to examine how microorganisms damage art. He worked with a team of restorers attempting to undo the damage done to the Camposanto Monumentale, a historic cemetery full of original plaster paintings and carvings. The cemetery was heavily bombed during WWII and restoration of the site proved to be extremely difficult due to animal glues used on the artifacts in the past. Normal methods of restoration just were not working. The chemicals traditionally used in such projects had little to no effect. Finally, someone on the project asked Ranalli a question: “Dr. Ranalli, can’t you do anything with your bugs?” And so, Ranalli gave it a shot. He covered the frescoes that needed to be restored with organic matter. He then experimented with various “ bugs ” until he landed on one that did the exact thing he wanted it to do: consume all the organic material, leaving the stone beneath it untouched. The “bugs” accomplished what decades of restoration attempts had failed at. There is an entire world of bacteria out there to explore. Ranalli successfully used Pseudomonas stutzeri, strain A29, to clean away animal glue. To determine which bacteria can get a restoration job done, a microscopic Hunger Games is carried out in true dramatic fashion. All the potential bacteria candidates are placed together in an environment where they compete for a single source of food . The food source is the target contaminant they will ultimately be tasked with removing. Whichever bacteria win this fight for the food source and learn how to use it to fuel and fed themselves will become cleaning microorganisms once they are thoroughly vetted and tested to ensure that they will not spread beyond the specific art in question, won’t infect humans and won’t cause damage to materials that should be preserved. The method works. A team of restorers in Spain was charged with removing centuries of animal glue, left over from previous restorations, from the glorious Santos Juanes Church. They decided to try Ranalli’s miracle bug, the animal glue-devouring Pseudomonas , to remove the black film of age from the interior of the church . Centuries of dirt were eaten away by the bacteria to reveal glorious details that were covered up before. So when faced by the tombs of the Medici Chanel in Florence, restorers turned to Giancarlo Ranalli for help. You know, the “bug” guy. The tombs were tricky indeed. Full of actual human remains, the tombs also have gorgeous marble statues carved by Michelangelo. Traditional methods would not work. Ranalli’s bacteria did. Silvia Borghini is the conservator at the National Roman Museum. She said that bacteria has really gotten a bad rap over the years because it’s associated with infection . However, it offers up a lot of benefits as well. “Only a very small number of bacteria are pathogens,” Borghini told CNN. “More than 95% of bacteria are not harmful to humans .” She recently used bacteria-laden gel on the statues in the garden at the National Roman Museum, meticulously applying the material to the marble with a toothbrush . She says the bacteria is “easy to apply and afterwards, the artifacts stay clean.” “It doesn’t harm the environment, it’s not toxic for us [humans] or the flora in the garden. It’s perfect,” Borghini said of the bacteria. It’s a marriage of science and art that could truly change the way great works are restored and preserved in the future. This unique biotechnology could solve many problems that chemical solutions have not been able to effectively address. And best of all, it’s organic . The bacteria do their thing and then they’re removed, leaving nothing behind but restored art. It is truly a fascinating example of what is possible when the power of the natural world is harnessed. Via Popular Science and CNN Lead image via Pexels

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Scientists are cleaning art with bacteria

House in the Forest is cork-cladded with an all-natural pool

December 27, 2021 by  
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The House in the Forest designed by El Fil Verd is a remarkable example of a passive house that benefits from natural materials , ultra-efficiency and an all-natural pool, without sacrificing views of the surrounding Garraf Natural Park on the coast south of Barcelona.  Architect Elisabetta Quarta Colosso from El Fil Verd Estudi addressed the placement of the home to maintain the picturesque views from every room, while making the most of passive design . To achieve this, she placed large windows on the south side, backed with a wall that is painted black for heat control and a manually-controlled venting system that pulls air in and out as needed. A small, wood-burning stove warms the space during sunless winter days, while natural ventilation cools during the hot summers.   Related: Pool house uses traditional Spain “pedra en sec” design The entire outside of the home is clad in cork panels, which serve to further insulate the home and provide energy-efficiency , while blending into the natural environment. Inside the cork exterior, the team used aerated concrete blocks that are lightweight and made from sand and lime, but offer highly-effective insulative qualities. The blocks were treated with lime and silicate paints on the interior, rather than adding to construction costs by finishing the walls in an additional material. The surrounding landscape is kept natural with native plants like olive trees, pines, mastic trees and palm hearts. Tree placement also offers natural shading from intense summer heat. Below the house, a natural pool overlooks the forest. It requires no chemicals since the water is naturally filtered through plants along the edge.  A rainwater collection system stores roof runoff in a collection tank. The water is then used for watering the garden and supplementing the pond.    With manual systems for controlling the ventilation, highly efficient insulation and use of natural lighting, the energy consumption is low. However, the house is equipped with solar panels to cover those needs. + El Fil Verd Via YouTube Images via Milena Villalba

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House in the Forest is cork-cladded with an all-natural pool

What should you do with all your holiday trash?

December 27, 2021 by  
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The holiday season is filled with social events with family, friends and co-workers. All that celebrating is not only hard on the waistline, but the environment too. So after all that sipping candy cane cocktails, wrapping gifts and dipping strawberries in the chocolate fountain, be sure to reduce, reuse and recycle along the way.  Conscientious purchasing Waste begins with purchasing. If you’re in charge of the event, or have any influence in the matter, start by finding party supplies that are low waste. Rent plates and glassware or use the real stuff in your home instead of single-use disposables. When it comes to food and drink, buy containers made from glass or metal whenever possible. Better yet, make your own juices with a power or manual juicer. Watch for the copious plastic wrapped around food, gifts and decorations and refuse to buy items stuffed with plastic foam (Styrofoam).  Related: Need eco-friendly holiday gifts for friends? We’ve got you covered. Compost unwanted leftovers With good planning, you can achieve minimal food waste , but there will always be some to dispose of. While you’re scraping plates after the big meal or when you’re disposing of the seeds from your peppers and skins from your onions, remember the compost pile loves all plant-based scraps. You can also toss in undyed toilet and paper towel rolls and brown paper bags. Recycle where you can Recycling is a tricky industry. There are some materials that are widely accepted in nearly every market. For example, glass, cardboard and metal can commonly be recycled curbside or at a drop-off facility. Plastic is more location specific. However, most recycling services accept large jugs. Others may take smaller containers like those used for yogurt, salsa and sour cream. Again though, since only about 10% of plastic is actually recycled, your most eco-friendly choice is to make those foods from scratch and make every effort to avoid plastic at the purchasing level.  Holiday wrap and bows are another sticking point. Most paper-only wrap can be recycled while anything with glitter and other finishes cannot. To minimize waste, use classic wrapping paper and real ribbon you can reuse for years to come. Bonus points for relying on jute or other natural materials . At the end of your gift-unwrapping frenzy, sort the ribbons and bows from the tissue paper and wrapping paper. Crush all boxes and recycle them with paper. Identifying items that can be recycled in your area is only a portion of the task. The next step involves ensuring you recycle correctly. For example, all items, including food containers, should be clean and dry before going into the bin. Food remnants can actually pollute the entire recycling line, meaning that perfectly good cardboard and paper might have to be pulled out and thrown away if soiled. Similarly, keep small items out of the recycling. Although caps might be technically the right materials for recycling, they can jamb machines and cause big problems during processing so make sure they’re attached to the container rather than left loose.  Items that cannot be recycled curbside include lights , ribbons, electronics, bubble wrap and cellophane, along with wrapping paper, cards and gift bags that are any material other than basic paper.  Other Materials If plastic foam makes its way on scene, check your community for places that recycle it. You may have to pay a few dollars for the service.  If your strand lights are garbage, check for community collection events rather than throwing them into the trash can. These events are commonplace at home improvement stores.  Electronics can be donated to a local recycling center or mailed in to an e-waste recycler. Some large stores recycle household batteries. Check with Lowe’s if you have one in your area. Other batteries are often accepted at the recycling center, such as car batteries. Plastic film like that used for Ziploc storage bags, shopping bags and as the shrink wrap around toilet paper and paper towels can be collected and dropped at select locations. Get online to see which stores in your area provide the service. Also watch when you enter grocery stores as there is often a drop box near the entrance. If you live in a state with a beverage bottle, make sure you keep them separate from other debris. Provide an easy deposit spot for your guests and return them for recycling after the party. If your state is one that still hasn’t adopted this practice, write your state representative asserting the idea and then be sure to properly recycle each glass, aluminum and plastic container.  Make a donation pile If you don’t plan to save used holiday bags and unused wrapping paper, put it in the donation pile. Also include any items in good working condition that you replaced during the holiday season. This might be cookware, clothing, tools, electronics or bedding, for example. What about your tree? If you have a live tree this year, you can keep it in a pot and move it outside to plant in the spring. If you’ve cut a tree for the season, be sure to responsibly recycle it. Most city yard waste recycling companies offer pickup of most trees in the weeks following Christmas. This is an easy fix. All you have to do is remove all ornaments and lights and drag it to the curb on pickup day. Be sure to remove every strand of tinsel too. Trees larger than eight feet tall may need to be cut down in size. Avoid placing trees in plastic bags. Note that flocked trees cannot be recycled in this way and will end up in the landfill.  Lead image via Pexels

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What should you do with all your holiday trash?

Belgium’s new timber community center centers modular design

November 30, 2021 by  
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Marc Koehler Architects designed Edegem, Belgium’s newest community center, as a symbol of sustainable design to represent this city south of Antwerp and its commitment to restoring the city for a sustainable future. The Edegem community center features timber construction with gardens , solar and heat pump systems, and a greywater system. It includes a library, community center, book cafe and exhibition space. The most important thing about the new Edegem community center, however, is how it allows Belgium’s government to explore new sustainable construction methods and future-proof public buildings by creating modular , adaptable spaces. Related: Red brick firehouse in Belgium runs on solar power Opened in September 2021, the Edegem community center building was integrated with the Huis Hellemans exhibition center and its garden next door. The open spaces in the new community center that are now used as a library can be rearranged to work as mixed media, relaxing, work and meeting spaces in case the needs of the public change with time and technology . According to Marc Koehler Architects, “The building reinvents the small-town cultural center for the digital age as a curated landscape of opportunities for inspiration and communication.” Timber was the building material of choice because the Belgian government wanted to explore alternative building technologies, flexible architecture and prefab construction. While timber is sometimes considered less sustainable as a resource, as a building material, it is healthy because it regulates humidity, absorbs noise, insulates a building, and is a bio-based resource that stores CO2 in its structure. The community center has a smart ventilation system, green roof , and is designed to be future-proof, with bookshelves that can be replaced by other media or reading and meeting spaces. The goal was to maintain the livability and viability of Edegem’s historic center as an inclusive place for all ages. + Marc Koehler Architects Images via Marc Koehler Architects and © Dennis De Smet

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Art installation in Milan shows how much CO2 trees capture

November 22, 2021 by  
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Natural Capital is one of the largest data visualizations ever created, and it is suitably impressive. This installation has been erected in the famous historical botanical garden in Milan, the Orto Botanico di Brera. It shows exactly how plants absorb emissions in a way that’s beautiful, informative and poignant. Each tree species is matched with a sphere that shows how much CO2 the trees can capture and store. This installation is the result of a collaboration between design office Carol Ratti Associati (CRA) and energy company Eni. Natural Capital will examine the key role that trees play in creating oxygen and by showing how much CO2 each tree species can capture and store. The installation is spread out over 500 square meters of garden, a striking series of floating bubbles. Related: How many trees are needed to offset a city’s carbon emissions? Eni is committed to protecting forests as part of its decarbonization strategy. Each large globe showed exactly how much CO2 would be in the air if the trees weren’t here to collect it. You can visually see how much dangerous gas would be in the atmosphere for each and every single tree. It’s a lot to take in and that’s exactly what this installation is all about. The entrance to the garden has a giant sphere that’s right on the ground. This is the amount of CO2 that is produced, on average, by a human body every single year. Humans need nature and that’s why we must preserve nature. Together, CRA and Eni plan to explore circular economy and sustainability paradigms. This data visualization is an excellent reminder of how important forest ecosystems are. + Carlo Ratti Associati Photography by Marco Beck Peccoz

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Art installation in Milan shows how much CO2 trees capture

Visit Milwaukee with our eco travel guide

November 1, 2021 by  
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A flotilla of around 20 kayaks slowly paddles along, a comical number considering we’re all trying to listen to a history talk about the buildings lining the Milwaukee River. “Steve, we can’t hear you!” we yell at Steve Schaffer, assistant archivist of Milwaukee County Historical Society as his kayak drifts backwards behind a moored boat. For the voyage, the Milwaukee Kayak Company has issued us each a can of beer, a bag of cheese curds and a laminated piece of paper showing historic photos of Milwaukee buildings. Schaffer is explaining Milwaukee through a megaphone I suspect came from a dollar store. Some would say it’s a miracle we’re paddling on this river, once a totally industrial waterway. The Milwaukee River connects here with the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic, or KK, as people call it for short. By the early 1900s, Milwaukee had the nickname “Machine Shop of the World.” It cranked out steam engines, electrical equipment, mining shovels, automobile frames, agricultural machinery, bricks and beer to build and fuel a nation. Then it shipped those goods down its rivers and across the Great Lakes — water quality being collateral damage. A few of the things you might find in the river back then were animal hides, gross castoffs from meatpackers, miscellaneous toxic chemicals and municipal sewage. You would not find kayakers or, God forbid, swimmers. Related: Wisconsin’s hidden eco-wellness hotspot “The idea of a river being used for recreation was just completely alien to anybody in the city until the 1960s,” said Schaffer. “They began to think how can we engage people with what is basically a dreary and dead industrial artery? That’s when things began to change.” A half century later, on a beautiful blue sky day in early October, Milwaukee is ready for paddlers. But swimmers? Judging from the smell in some places, the too-frequent belly-up fish sightings and the scum of trash on top, I’m going to wait on that. But you’ve got to give Milwaukee credit for coming this far. The city has invested millions in cleaning up both the toxic sediment that you can’t see and the trash that you can. The 50-foot vessel Lynyrd Skymmr plies Milwaukee’s waterways several times a week, collecting floating debris. Lake Michigan recreation While the river is still cleaning up and catching on with residents and tourists, Lake Michigan is a big recreational draw. The weekend I was in town, 2,680 people took in early morning views while running the Lakefront Marathon. A series of beaches and parks are scattered along the long shoreline, providing chances to rent a bike, paddleboard, kayak or canoe. You can also play golf or tennis, lawn bowl, take a sailing lesson, visit a lighthouse or eat Milwaukee’s famous frozen custard. If you’re in Milwaukee during June or July, you might catch Summerfest, the world’s biggest music festival with grounds overlooking the lake. Black Cat Alley Vibrantly colored street art packs Milwaukee’s favorite pedestrian thoroughfare. Black Cat Alley, a private alley on the East Side, boasts more than 20 murals by two dozen artists ranging from Milwaukee locals to a Berliner. It’s open 24/7 and is a popular backdrop for selfies, family portraits and wedding shoots. During the two days I visited, I saw artist Mi Salgado up on a ladder painting honeycomb on her mural one day and adding darling fuzzy bees the next. Beyond the usual yoga At one end of Black Cat Alley, about thirty cats lounge, frolic and gaze out a storefront window at passers-by. If you read their lips, they might just be saying meow, or maybe they’re inviting you in to have a cup of coffee, take a yoga class or even adopt one of them. The Sip & Purr Cat Café welcomes visitors to get to know their friendly, adoptable cats. Brittany Curran , who goes by B, started leading the weekly Sip & Purr yoga classes last year. Teaching amongst cats is a dream come true. “ Yoga is a great way for folks to connect with their bodies, minds, spirits and breath,” said B, who has two cats of her own, Cici and Guapo. “When there are cats involved, there is also a layer of comedy.  These cats never fail to do the unexpected, and we laugh a lot in cat yoga. I think some deep healing comes into play as well, because cat purrs are known to lower stress hormones in people and even heal bones! They are magical little creatures.” If having cats pounce and leap over your forward bends is too lively, try doing yoga in a cemetery . Beautiful and historic Forest Home Cemetery offers yoga classes during the summer. They even throw in a mini tour. This cemetery is the final resting place of many of Milwaukee’s beer barons, and is also a certified arboretum. If you’re not a yogi, consider visiting Forest Home for a guided tree walk or history tour. Alice’s Garden Back in 1948, Milwaukee planners decided to build a freeway along a route once used by the Underground Railroad. Neighborhoods on the city’s north side were torn down to make space, and people displaced. Then the project was cancelled. But in 1972, out of the ruins of these wrecked neighborhoods, community members planted a garden . And it’s still thriving. On my visit to Alice’s Garden Urban Farm — named for former executive director of Milwaukee Extension Alice Meade-Taylor, who was a big community gardening advocate — Eugene Bivens showed us his garden patch. Surrounded by giant collard greens, cosmos and other plants both edible and decorative, he told my group about the 90 or so people from Cameroon, Scotland, Jamaica, the Middle East and other places who now garden here. Bivens said he inherited his green thumb from his mother, who grew up in Haiti. Neighborhood kids play basketball in the garden’s court, and sometimes a youngster helps Bivens garden in exchange for fresh vegetables . “I think gardening should be taught in every school,” Bivens told us. Public events at the garden include farmers’ markets and labyrinth walks. Getting around During pleasant October weather, I found Milwaukee easily walkable. But if you want to get places faster, you can take the bus, streetcar or ride a bike . For short hops, try Milwaukee’s nonprofit bikeshare system, Bublr Bikes. The sturdy blue bikes have three speeds and are equipped with baskets that carry up to thirty pounds and lights for night riding. To rent by the day or week, stop by Milwaukee by Bike . If you prefer a guided tour, this bike shop also offers a two-hour city skyline bike tour that leads you to local highlights like the lakefront and the Bronze Fonz statue (“Happy Days” was filmed here), or a tour of Milwaukee’s historic breweries. Vegan food I was happily surprised by how easy it was to find vegan food in Milwaukee. All-vegan On the Bus , located in the bustling Milwaukee Public Market , is a must for hearty lunchtime sandwiches and dairy-free ice cream. Beerline is a bright vegetarian café with a nice big patio that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its vegan crepes are especially good. If you want the German beer hall experience, Lakefront Brewery has vegan options tucked between the meaty standards. The night I was there, they served vegan bratwurst. Other days you might find a vegan fry bread taco or vegan chicken tenders. Its spot right on the Riverwalk lent itself to a pleasant walk back to my downtown hotel after a night at the beer hall. Where to stay Travel Green Wisconsin promotes sustainable travel in the state. Quite a few hotels scored higher than the minimum 30 points to make the list. Here are some conveniently located downtown. The upscale Hilton Milwaukee City Center , which has AAA Four Diamond status, scored 56 points on the green certified scale. The Pfister scored 63 points. This grand Victorian hotel has a spa , Energy Star light fixtures, windows and appliances, low-flow bathroom fixtures and, according to my sources, ghosts. I stayed at the Saint Kate Arts Hotel which, at 45 points, could be greener. But this newish hotel is fabulously artsy, with a gallery on the ground floor and interesting art, a ukulele and record player in every room. Rooms come with several albums, and the invitation to switch them out whenever you want to listen to something new. The hotel obviously saved a truckload of bargain bin vinyl from the landfill. I settled on 1960s Brazilian instrumentals as a soundtrack for my Milwaukee stay. Photography by Teresa Bergen

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Denmark hotel inspires green design through woodwork

November 1, 2021 by  
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In order to meet climate goals, the building industry needs to emphasize innovation and modern sustainable architecture practices. A new development located in Rønne on the Danish island of Bornholm has set out to do just that with the Hotel Green Solution House (Hotel GSH).  The building stands out among the rest, not only because of its green design elements, but because the structure, built and clad doesn’t follow traditional architecture in the area. It does, however, meet the certification standards of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). Related: KAJ Hotel is a one-room boathouse rental that exudes hygge The project is the newest wing of the Hotel Ryttergården and features 24 rooms, a conference room and a roof spa. Designed by 3XN/GXN, Green Solution House absorbs CO2 at every level with its wood material, a natural process that is expected to earn the project a positive carbon footprint. In addition to the wood selection, the team incorporated upcycled waste , such as construction offcuts that were repurposed in the furniture and surfaces, and debris from a nearby granite quarry that was put to use in the conference room.  “It is a dream to work with a developer who is completely uncompromising when it comes to sustainability and the circular economy,” said Lasse Lind, architect and partner in GXN. “This hotel will not look like others in Denmark and sustainability will be a central part of the experience. Through the project, we have collaborated with local companies, from craftsmen to material producers, who have all embraced the ambition to build completely climate-friendly, and who are helping to show the way for the rest of the country.” The area of Bornholm is booming with industry and tourism, even with the detrimental effects of the pandemic on both. Hotel GSH’s Director Trine Richter hopes the project shows the potential for continual growth in the area with a focus on passive design , energy-efficiency and natural building materials.  “Even though the hotel industry is having a hard time right now, we are full of expectation that the Danes will continue to spend their holidays in Denmark , and that companies will continue to demand meetings and conferences with a sustainable set-up,” said Trine Richter, director of Hotel GSH. “We are excited about the prospect of setting new standards for Danish commercial construction with this new climate-positive building, where the load-bearing structure will be made from wood. Everyone talks about it – we build it.” The layout of the building takes advantage of natural light and ventilation so energy needs are low. The entire development was designed with a cradle-to-cradle mindset. For example, elements throughout the space were designed for reuse with reversible joints to allow them additional life at another project site in the future instead of adding to construction waste.  “I hope that this project can help to show others the potential of wood construction,” said Lind. “If we want to be serious about achieving our climate goals , the construction industry needs to think and act differently, and therefore there is a great need for projects like this.” + GXN/3XN   Photography by Adam Mørk

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Denmark hotel inspires green design through woodwork

6 things to do with your fall leaves

October 26, 2021 by  
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‘Tis the season of colorful landscapes, on the trees and on the ground. While you may have a native hillside that flows through the cycles of the seasons without intervention, if you have a lawn with trees, the season equates to clean up time to avoid patchy grass caused by wet, matted leaves when spring rolls around. Although removing leaves is a part of autumn chores, you can choose to send them straight to the yard debris cart, bag them up for waste removal or give the leaves a second life around your home. Here are some inspiring ways to make the most of this fall’s natural material. Compost If you don’t already have a compost pile, fall is the perfect time to start. You don’t need to have a fancy compost bin, although it can harness the contents and increase efficiency. The process works naturally even if all you do is throw compost layers in the corner of the yard. Just remember it will break down best with thin layers of different kinds of materials. Include green layers such as grass clipping and organic material from the kitchen like vegetable peelings and wilted lettuce .  Related: 12 things you should never compost Mulching Trees store much of their nutrient base in their leaves. By using your leaves as a mulch, those nutrients transfer to the soil and other plants , contributing to the cycle of nature. Instead of using large leaves, chop them smaller by using the mulch setting on your lawn mower. Simply “leaf” them on the ground and drive over them with the mower set a few inches above the ground. If the leaves are finely mulched, you can leave them on the grass as an additive for the growth period in the spring. However, any clumps of leaves will result in bald spots so make sure the mulch is lightly applied.  Leaf mulch can also be used to amend the soil in your garden beds. Apply it along with any fall fertilizers to balance out the nutrients. This will attract earthworms who will do the rest of the work in breaking down the materials into a rich soil for next season.  Also, apply leaf mulch to flower beds. This natural layer helps moderate ground temperature and water absorption. Plus, they do a great job of suppressing weed growth. Again, it’s best to run large leaves through a mulcher first. Use the leaf mulch around trees, berries, flowers, shrubs and other plants.  Thanksgiving table décor Bringing the outdoors in is a quintessential part of the Thanksgiving tradition. Make a centerpiece with a carved out gourd or pumpkin as a candle holder and surround it with colorful dried leaves. Use more dried leaves to make placemats for family and guests. Simply cut a rectangle of clear shelf liner and press leaves onto the sticky side. Add names, kids’ handprints cut out of paper, stickers or other decorations and then cover with a top sheet, pressing the two pieces together. You can also have the kids help make place markers by writing guests names on dried leaves.  Another option for the centerpiece is to decoupage leaves to the outside of a canning jar. Adorn it with a ribbon made from a natural material like jute and place a candle inside.   Wreaths Leaves are easy to source and easy to use for DIY wreath making. Create a circular wreath made entirely of leaves by feeding a needle with thread through the center of dozens of mostly-dried leaves. Once you’ve completed a long strand, use wire or rope to attach it to a wire wreath form.  For a different look, use large or small leaves to design a wreath by laying them flat on the form. Overlap the leaves as you work around the circle . Then adorn the leaf base with burlap ribbon, dried berries or other natural materials.  Make a banner Dried leaves can be decorated any number of ways with markers, paints or layers of natural color from other leaves. Have a leaf-decorating party and display your fanciful creation by attaching them to a piece of rope with clothespins. Hang your dangling creation across the mantle or above the dining table.  You can also make a banner by cutting felt pieces into banner shapes or simply using fall-colored paper . To each piece attach pinecones, leaves, twigs and acorns into the shape of letters, with the final banner spelling out “Thanks” or “Thanksgiving.” Attach the pieces together by punching holes in the top to feed through rope or yarn.  Stuff a scarecrow The outdoors might need a little seasonal attention too. Keep the leaves close to their source and spook away the wildlife with a scarecrow in your yard. Once you have the basic design in place, stuff your scarecrow’s clothing with copious amounts of leaves until you achieve the bulk you’re looking for. Top it with a burlap sack or paper bag, also stuffed with leaves, for the head.  Via DoItYourself , The Old Farmer’s Almanac , The Spruce   Images via Pexels

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6 things to do with your fall leaves

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