The Value of B Corp Certification: Grand Central Bakery

April 30, 2020 by  
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You may know that B Corp certification has something to … The post The Value of B Corp Certification: Grand Central Bakery appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The Value of B Corp Certification: Grand Central Bakery

Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis

March 18, 2020 by  
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According to the World Air Quality Index of 2019, the city of Bangkok suffers from unhealthy levels of air pollution most of the year. In a bid to raise awareness about air quality and the urban heat island effect, Thai design collective Shma Company created Safezone Shelter, an ephemeral pavilion filled with air purifying plants and technology to create a welcoming gathering space for passersby. Shaped like a cloud, the sculptural intervention was briefly installed in front of the Grand Postal Building during Bangkok Design Week 2020.  In contrast to the brutalist architecture of the Grand Postal Building, the 150-square-meter Safezone Shelter features a futuristic, organic shape with a white nylon covering to evoke the appearance of a cloud. The white textile allows light to diffuse through while hiding the interior from outside views. Inside, the designers created an unexpected oasis filled with tropical plants, informational signage and seating, which also includes part of the postal building’s steps.  Related: Architects design giant air purifying towers to fight Delhi’s air pollution To create a cooling microclimate, the designers engineered the pavilion to pull in hot, polluted air with fans and pass it through dense vegetation to capture dust particles. This “pre-filtered wind” is then passed through a dust filter plate and a cooling plate to purify the air . In addition to the cool air flow generated by fans, the trees, shrubs and ground cover help keep the pavilion’s interior temperatures to between 72 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A humidifier maintains humidity levels of 50% to 70%. Recorded nature sounds, such as the sounds of water and birds, are also played inside the space. “All of these inventive methods could further be applied to solve air pollution in other kinds of design,” the designers explained. “Looking wider at an urban scale, bus stops, recreational space under expressways and skywalks also have a potential to be revitalized with such purification systems. At the end, even high-rise buildings might become old-fashioned when a better choice like an air purifier tower could be constructed.” Safezone Shelter was put on display from December 2019 to February 2020.  + Shma Company Images via Shma

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Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis

Pixie Retreat: Behind the scenes in a raw commercial kitchen

March 18, 2020 by  
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I’ve been vegetarian since childhood and have met people with many different takes on a healthy plant-based diet. The raw foodists I’ve encountered have blown me away with the innovation it takes to come up with a menu beyond salad while limiting cooking temperatures to no more than 118 degrees. The raw food philosophy is that heat breaks down food’s nutritional value, while low temperatures allow food to retain enzymes and vitamins, leading to the body’s ability to prevent and fight disease and generally thrive. So when Theresa Keane, co-owner of Pixie Retreat , invited me to tour her Portland, Oregon raw food kitchen, I was intrigued. Her team produces a full vegan, organic , gluten-free and mostly raw menu on a commercial scale. Not only do they supply Pixie Retreat’s three Portland retail locations, they’ve also started wholesaling to local stores. Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at a commercial raw food kitchen. The early years Pixie Retreat was built on a dream and a lot of hard work, trial and error. Keane co-founded the business with Willow O’Brien in 2008. At the time, they wanted to make and sell healthful and delicious food , but were new to the dining business. “We didn’t know what we were doing,” Keane said. “We never worked in kitchens, Willow and I. She didn’t even know how to make food. She made tea and stuff like that.” They started out sharing a commissary kitchen with other vegan businesses. That’s where they met Anna Clark, who later became their third business partner. Clark, a pastry chef, was the only one with formal culinary training. After 9 months in the commissary kitchen, they rented a house and ran Pixie Retreat out of it, working late into the night while filling wholesale orders. Keane described a time when an engineer acquaintance stopped by. Their setup left him shocked. “We had eight refrigerators, freezers, 20 dehydrators,” Keane said. “He said it’s amazing you don’t burn this house down. Every night, the power would trip off. We couldn’t even turn the heat on because it would trip the power.” A spotless, modern raw food kitchen They’ve come a long way. Now headquartered in Southeast Portland’s industrial district, the Pixie Retreat RAW’r Laboratorie & Makery is both a retail outlet and the site of their commercial kitchen. The small front part has a seating area and a case of premade wraps and goodies. “We’re grab-and-go style, because that’s how people are living,” Keane said. “We’re not a sit down-like service restaurant . We’re into flavor, satisfaction and integrity of our ingredients. Plating is not my forte.” Customers can also custom-order kale- or millet-based bowls and coconut cream puddings with toppings. The millet is one of several cooked ingredients available. A big white curtain hangs behind the counter, obscuring the kitchen. “That’s more for health department reasons,” Keane said, indicating the curtain. “And to protect the magic back there.” We step through the curtain and find three workers preparing food in an extremely well-organized kitchen. It’s Thursday, one of the big assembly days for delivering to the two other Pixie Retreat outlets. Tacked up on the door of the walk-in dehydrator are long to-do lists for each day of the week. Keane introduced me to her staff and to each machine, many of which were specially made or adapted to the needs of a mostly raw food kitchen. The walk-in dehydration room is the most exciting and unusual. Keane opened the door, releasing a smoky smell. Inside are trays and trays of eggplant bacon strips, which stay in there for 72 hours. Pixie Retreat bought the dehydrator from a former kale chip entrepreneur who devised tools to streamline raw food making. Keane estimated the walk-in dehydrator is 75% more efficient than the company’s former multiple-dehydrator setup. Pixie Retreat has a Robot Coupe Blixer, which is an industrial-strength food processor. “This tool is a game changer,” Keane said. “I mean, it’s expensive like a car, but it paid for itself in labor. I love this tool so much.” The company uses it to blend ingredients for pizza dough, macadamia nut cheese and raw onion bread. Pixie Retreat makes raw chocolate in its chocolate machine, melting it down at a temperature of 108. The chocolate winds up in treats like chocolate salted “karmals”, “almond butta cups” and dehydrated, oat-based chocolate chip cookies. Other interesting tools include an Italian fruit press repurposed for squeezing excess moisture out of sauerkraut and a specially made enormous cookie-cutter to cut onion bread into uniform squares while minimizing waste . Raw and vegan at home The Pixie Retreat kitchen is cool but daunting. What about the average person who wants to add more raw food into their diet without shelling out for a Blixer? “Make nut milk ,” Keane said. “That’s where I would start.” You’ll need a nut milk bag, available online or in some grocery stores’ produce departments. She recommended starting with hazelnuts or almonds. For flavor and sweetness, add sea salt, vanilla and a Medjool date. Put it all in your blender. “Kick it up on high. Blend it. Then you put it in the nut milk bag and you squeeze it out.” Dry out the pulp and use it as a nut flour for baked goods. Related: How to choose the healthiest, most sustainable milk alternative After you master nut milk, try making nut cheese. Keane recommended blending buttery macadamia nuts with water, Italian seasoning, lemon juice and sea salt for a plant-based ricotta. Going national Pixie Retreat scaled back from wholesale for a while to focus on retail locations. But it has just relaunched, selling chocolate “karmal”, salted “karmal” and raspberry “l’il puddin” at New Seasons stores in Portland. Made with organic young coconut meat and Irish moss, these raw desserts are packed with nutrients . Soon, Pixie Retreat plans to introduce nationwide cold shipping of the “l’il puddin’”. Currently, customers across the U.S. can order sweet or savory Pixie snack boxes . But Pixie Retreat’s goals go far beyond Portland or even the U.S. When I asked Keane about the company vision, she immediately said, “Global. That’s the dream. We want to be the fast food of the future.” + Pixie Retreat Images via Josh Chang and Marielle Dezurick / Pixie Retreat and Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Pixie Retreat: Behind the scenes in a raw commercial kitchen

Hello Wood unveils a tiny cabin that sleeps up to 8 people

February 19, 2020 by  
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Most cabins are designed to let people enjoy a bit of quiet time, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, for those social butterflies who believe that getting back to nature doesn’t have to mean sacrificing time with friends, Hello Wood has created the beautiful Grand Cabin. Located near Csóromfölde, Hungary, the cabin’s looming A-frame volume was built from panels of prefab wood . Although the pitched-roof shape was inspired by traditional Czech-style mountain lodges, the cabin has an undoubtedly modern aesthetic thanks to the two blue and red capsules that flank the cabin’s jet-black exterior. Related: Solar-powered POP-UP Park takes over underused Budapest square The entrance to the cabin is through a cathedral-like entrance created out of multiple glass panels, which flood the interior with natural light . At first sight, the interior living space looks like any typical cabin of a similar build, but this cozy, 324-square-foot retreat actually sleeps up to eight people comfortably, far more than similar cabins of this size. The minimalist interior is comprised of one open central area, which is arranged to be the social, shared space. However, on either side of this main room, there are a number of room dividers that can be used to create additional sleeping quarters. Additionally, the two colorful boxes seen from the exterior are actually two large bedrooms with built-in bed platforms. According to the Hello Wood team, the Grand Cabin was designed to not only provide a serene space for people looking to reconnect with nature from the comfort of a beautiful tiny cabin but also to provide a way that they can do just that while being surrounded by friends and family. The studio said, “Our concept is about a small cabin that contains a fully equipped community space inside by expanding the A-frame with sleeping capsules — fitting 8+ people. It’s a house for you and all your friends.” + Hello Wood Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Tamás Bujnovszky via Hello Wood

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Hello Wood unveils a tiny cabin that sleeps up to 8 people

Bamboo electric bike is designed for Kathmandu locals and tourists

February 19, 2020 by  
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Designer and Fulbright scholar Lance Rake has teamed up with local bamboo builders at Abari in Kathmandu to design an electric cargo bike made out of sustainable materials. The resulting design is the Habre Eco Bike, a three-wheeled bicycle made out of locally sourced bamboo that was strategically crafted to provide locals and tourists with an alternative vehicle that would not only let them move around town easily but would also help reduce the city’s notorious pollution. Kathmandu is considered one of the most polluted cities in Asia. On most days, its hectic streets are filled bumper-to-bumper with gas-guzzling vehicles that add to the air contamination levels, which have begun to affect the city’s famed historic sites. Related: BIY 2 lets you build your own bamboo bicycle in just five hours In 2019, Rake was granted a global Fulbright to develop a solution to the burgeoning pollution issue. Working with local designers from Abari, who are specialists in bamboo architecture, Rake came up with an electric bicycle with a purpose that would be two-fold: help the locals make eco-friendly deliveries around the city and act as a sort of tuk-tuk-like taxi to transport tourists looking to explore various Kathmandu landmarks. Working with local artisans and materials, Rake and Abari founder Nripal Adhikari went through several stages while designing the Habre Eco Bike. Kathmandu’s streets are not always paved smoothly, and there are several steep areas. Therefore, the bike had to be sturdy and rugged enough to withstand the intense urban traffic as well as rough, rural landscapes. Often working with scarce tools and relying on the skills of local builders, the final prototype was developed out of a steel platform that was turned into the frame for the three-wheeled cargo bike. Regional bamboo was then tested in various conditions to find the best configuration that would provide optimal handling and comfort. Once the main frame had been designed, the team went on to build the large front basket, which can be used for passenger seating or cargo space. + Abari + Lance Rake Images via Lance Rake

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Bamboo electric bike is designed for Kathmandu locals and tourists

Ultra-narrow Wood Lane house looks like a ship wedged between Londons brick buildings

November 28, 2017 by  
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This narrow house , home of architect Mike Russum , looks like a ship wedged in-between traditional brick townhouses in north London . The architect maximized the potential of the 22-foot wide plot by inverting the conventional layout used in tiny spaces and combining prefab building methods with site-built construction. The house, named Wood Lane, has been long-listed for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) House of the Year award. Russum and his partner decided to build their home after they inherited some money in 2006. It took nearly a decade to get over various hold-ups to complete the building. Located on an extremely narrow plot–only 22 feet wide– the project required a creative organizational approach. Related: Super skinny 1.8-meter-wide house slots into a narrow Tokyo lot The architects extended the upper floors out towards the pavement. The structure was constructed off-site and placed them on top of the lower section, which was built from bricks infilled with concrete and supported by steel beams. The double-height living space on the upper floors contains an open plan space with combined kitchen, dining and living space with an elevated crystalline conservatory on the south side and an external terrace above the entrance. The elements for the living space are made by cold formed timber and resin boat building technology which ensures quality and space efficient construction. The upper ground floor houses the study that opens to a full-width terrace overlooking the garden. Two en-suite bedrooms occupy the lower ground floor. All the furniture is custom-designed by Birds Portchmouth Russum , working together with the architect’s wife, interior designers, and artist Sally Cox. The nautical look of the building makes it stand out from the surrounding architecture and stop passersby in their tracks. The residence also featured on the Channel 4 series Grand Designs: House of the Year. + Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects + RIBA House of the Year 2017 Via The Telegraph

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Ultra-narrow Wood Lane house looks like a ship wedged between Londons brick buildings

Trump administration wants to end uranium mining ban near the Grand Canyon

November 3, 2017 by  
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The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most beloved national parks , attracting over four million visitors annually — but President Donald Trump’s administration doesn’t seem to care about that. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently proposed lifting a ban on new uranium mining near the national park, as part of a broader effort, according to Reuters, to do away with regulations hindering development after a March executive order from the president. The Forest Service , which is under the USDA and manages the land that could be re-opened to uranium mining , prepared a report in response to Trump’s Executive Order 13783 titled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.” They proposed lifting the mining ban, put in place in 2012 to protect the watershed around the Grand Canyon. Related: Big Oil celebrates Trump’s goal to open up drilling in national parks Uranium mining pollutes water, and impacts animals and plants as it removes water sources, according to Earthjustice . The Center for Biological Diversity reports past uranium mining in the Grand Canyon area “has polluted soils, washes, aquifers, and drinking water.” They said that according to nonpartisan polls, 80 percent of Americans and 80 percent of Arizona voters back permanent protection in the Grand Canyon region from new uranium mining. According to Reuters, global demand and prices for uranium are weak. The new report even says uranium mining doesn’t generate revenue for America, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Havasupai Tribal Chairman Don Watahomigie said in a statement, “This is a dangerous industry that is motivated by profit and greed with a long history of significantly damaging lands and waters. They are now seeking new mines when this industry has yet to clean up the hundreds of existing mines all over the landscape that continue to damage our home. We should learn from the past, not ignore it.” Via Reuters , the Associated Press , Earthjustice , and the Center for Biological Diversity Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Trump administration wants to end uranium mining ban near the Grand Canyon

BIGs looping station design in Paris turns bridge into public space

March 24, 2017 by  
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Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group and French studio Silvio D’ascia Architecture unveiled new renderings of their competition-winning designs for a loop-shaped metro station in Paris. Created as part of Société du Grand París’ Grand Paris Express project, the Pont de Bondy station is one of 68 new stations planned for the redevelopment that will expand the existing metro system by 200 kilometers. The sculptural station will include a bridge and tunnel wrapped around a giant atrium next to the riverbank.

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BIGs looping station design in Paris turns bridge into public space

Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona

February 22, 2017 by  
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Just shy of two months after Uber’s autonomous cars were banned in California, the company is rolling out its second round of experimental autonomous vehicles on the roadways of Arizona. Uber’s most-recent experiment is happening on the streets of Tempe Arizona, where locals have the option to ride in one of the company’s self-driving Volvo XC90s – along with two Uber engineers in the front seats for safety purposes. Uber’s operation on the streets of San Francisco lasted only a week due to a dispute over regulations, but the company could benefit from less restrictive regulations in the Grand Canyon State. Uber and California went their separate ways because the state’s DMV threatened legal action for the improper licensing of test vehicles. When Uber refused to apply for the necessary permits, the state just up and revoked their license. It didn’t take the company long to hit the road in Arizona, where Governor Doug Ducey put out a big welcome mat for them in the form of an executive order. Signed in August, 2015, the order directed several government agencies to “undertake any necessary steps to support the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles on public roads in the state. According to The Verge , he also “empowered” universities to launch pilot programs for self-driving cars. Related: Uber launches self-driving cars in Pittsburgh After nearly a year of rumors that the company was planning to experiment with autonomous cars, Uber confirmed suspicions when it announced and began testing the vehicles on the streets of Pittsburgh in September 2016. Pricing for the Arizona pilot project remains the same as UberX service in other cities, and the Volvos can carry up to three passengers along with the “safety drivers.” Riders will have the option to cancel their request if they feel nervous when a self-driving car shows up, allowing them to opt for a human-piloted vehicle instead. Via The Verge and Engadget Images via Uber, Dilu , Wikimedia Commons and Foo Conner , Flickr Creative Commons

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Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona

Sustainability as a "Grand Strategy" for the nation

December 18, 2016 by  
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Mark “Puck” Mykleby, a former Marine and the Co-Director at the Strategic innovation Lab, spoke at VERGE Hawaii 2016 about and his recent book The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity,

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Sustainability as a "Grand Strategy" for the nation

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