Studio Gangs Solstice tower in Chicago is shaped by the sun

September 17, 2019 by  
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In Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood rises Solstice on the Park, a 26-story residential tower with an angular design that has been shaped by solar studies. Created by local architectural practice Studio Gang Architects , the 250-unit modern building is highly site-specific to minimize energy demands — a sustainable approach that earned the project two Green Globes in the Green Globes Certification ranking. The apartment complex is also topped with a green roof and optimized for expansive views of Jackson Park to the south and Chicago’s skyline to the north. Completed in 2018, Solstice on the Park catches the eye with the angled cuts in its facade that were created in response to optimum sun angles in Chicago’s latitude — 72 degrees in summer and 42 degrees in winter. The inward incline helps mitigate unwanted solar gain in summer, while maximizing solar advantage from the low sun in winter time. This approach allows natural light to fill the building — thus reducing reliance on artificial lighting — without straining the heating and cooling systems. Related: Studio Gang to “sustainably grow” Toronto with this energy-efficient tower Tilting the facade inward also created opportunities for landscaped terraces , where residents can enjoy indoor-outdoor living and city views. The sloped, floor-to-ceiling expanses of glass also play a trick on the eye and make the treetops of the nearby park look closer and larger. The non-glazed portions of the residential building are clad in Rieder non-combustible, glass fiber-reinforced concrete panels, measuring 13 millimeters thick each. The selected textured concrete panels are of a variety of colors, from liquid black to beige, as a sensitive nod to the district’s existing architecture characterized by sandstone and brick tones. The angled design gives the 250-foot tower a decidedly modern edge without looking out of place with the city’s boxy high-rises. + Studio Gang Images via Rieder

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Studio Gangs Solstice tower in Chicago is shaped by the sun

Canada unveils its first chemical-free public outdoor pool and it’s gorgeous

September 13, 2019 by  
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Toronto-based architects, gh3* have just unveiled a stunning chemical-free natural pool in the city of Edmonton, Alberta. The Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool, which replaced an existing pool that dated back to the 1950s, was incorporated with several innovative natural filtration processes that uses a combination of stone, gravel, sand and botanic filtering to keep the waters clean and pristine. The project was a massive undertaking from the start. The old pool and infrastructure had to be completely gutted to make room for the new, completely chemical -free swimming pool. The whopping 64,465 square foot complex is made up of seasonal pavilion and landscaped pool area that accommodates up to 400 swimmers. In addition to the main swimming area, there is also a kids pool. Next to the outdoor area, a large contemporary building houses the universal changing rooms, along with showers and bathrooms. There is also a sandy beach and picnic area, as well as a volleyball court and exhibition space. Related: Chemical-free community swimming pool is filled with recycled rainwater filtered through plants To create an all-natural swimming pool that was safe for swimmers, the designers had to work within Canada’s ultra strict regulations for public swimming pools. To completely avoid the use of chemicals was challenging, but the team worked with several experts to create a balanced ecosystem where plant materials, microorganisms and nutrients come together to create a system of “living water.” The pool water is filtrated in two ways: using a biological-mechanical system or using the constructed wetland and gravel filter filled wtih Zooplankton . These soil-free systems allow for a chemical and disinfectant free filtering system in which water is completely cleaned via a natural process as it circulates. The system entails a long circulation process that sees the water flow through a sand and stone pond first, then a hydro botanic pond. Adjacent to these ponds, a granular filter PO4 adsorption unit was installed that runs along the gabion walls that run the length of the pool, allowing the water to circulate from one end to the other unnoticed. The entire system allows for a natural, chemical-free cleaning process that is entirely eco-friendly and safe for swimmers. The natural swimming pool is the firm’s latest addition to the Edmonton area. In 2015, the designers unveiled a gorgeous glowing mirrored pavilion in the same area. + gh3* Photos via gh3*

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Canada unveils its first chemical-free public outdoor pool and it’s gorgeous

The planet is losing an area of forest cover the size of the UK each year

September 13, 2019 by  
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The rate of world deforestation continues to accelerate, despite governments’ promises to reverse it. Now, the world loses 64 million acres a year of forested land, which is equivalent to the size of the United Kingdom, according to a new study by Climate Focus . Thirty-seven governments as well as many multinational companies, NGOs and groups representing indigenous communities have signed the New York Declaration on Forests since it sprang from the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in 2014. This declaration pledged to cut the deforestation rate in half by 2020 and to end it by 2030. Unfortunately, this feel-good, non-legally binding declaration has been hugely unsuccessful. Since the declaration was penned, tree cover loss has skyrocketed by 43 percent, while tropical primary forests have been slashed. The world is now in worse shape than when the well-intended pledge was made. Some countries are making an effort. Indonesia slowed its rate of deforestation by a third between 2017 and 2018. Some countries, such as Ethiopia, Mexico and El Salvador, are determinedly planting trees. But these attempts are overshadowed by deforestation in much of Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. Major forests in these regions saw marked decreases in tree cover between 2014 and 2018. Latin America lost the most forest by volume, but Africa experienced the greatest increase in the rate of deforestation. Of course, the recent Amazon wildfires are bringing deforestation to a whole new level. Climate scientists worry about feedback loops, where climate change makes trees drier, leading to increased flammability and more fires and carbon dioxide, which in turn makes things drier, hotter and even more flammable. “Deforestation, mostly for agriculture, contributes around a third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions,” Jo House, an environmental specialist at the University of Bristol, told The Guardian . “At the same time, forests naturally take up around a third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This natural sink provided by forests is at risk from the dual compounding threats of further deforestation and future climate change . The continued loss of primary forests at ever-increasing rates. despite their incalculable value and irreplaceability, is both shocking and tragic.” + Climate Focus Via The Guardian Image via Robert Jones

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The planet is losing an area of forest cover the size of the UK each year

Canadas largest shipping container market welcomes crowds in Toronto

September 12, 2019 by  
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The people of Toronto are enjoying the country’s largest shipping container market, courtesy of local firm LGA Architectural Partners . Located on a two-block, 2.4 acre site, the Stackt market is comprised of various repurposed shipping containers, configured to make the most of the space in order to create a vibrant market area that serves as a community hub. The project is located at Bathurst and Front Streets. The lot is slated to be converted into a public park in the future, but in the meantime, LGA Architectural Partners collaborated with the local council to utilize the space to build the temporary market. Accordingly, the shipping container project had to be designed to not only serve as a community-centered public space but also in a way that it could be dismantled and installed in another area in the future. Related: Repurposed shipping containers turned into solar-powered Cycle Hubs The design of the Stackt market was focused on creating a welcoming social hub for the community. The multiple repurposed shipping containers are strategically stacked to create an open, light-filled market punctuated with several open-air courtyards. The ground level is comprised of a network of detached buildings with single- and double-height interiors that house a number of retail shops as well separate containers that have been installed with the basic utilities needed to support the businesses, such as heating and cooling systems, water infrastructure and more. The top containers are arranged in grid-like formations to create side passageways and courtyards that can be used for cultural events. The third story of containers are arranged in a staggered design that adds a unique, eye-catching dynamic to the marketplace. The market contains anchor and pop-up stores as well as several food and beverage spots, including an onsite brewery . All of the storefronts have a uniform design to create a cohesive look to the market and reduce visual clutter. While some of the stores are permanent, pop-up spaces will change with the seasons. According to Janna Levitt, partner at LGA Architectural Partners, the prime focus of the shipping container project was to create a lively space that currently meets the needs of this community and possibly another one down the road without leaving a permanent impact on the landscape . “As our world becomes more digital, retailers are looking for unique physical spaces and experiential opportunities for their customers,” Levitt said. “Shipping containers suggest an unusual and immersive retail experience while also offering a practical and sustainable building solution. Their inherent modularity means that the project can be disassembled and deployed elsewhere to create future Stackt developments, while leaving the site unscathed.” + LGA Architectural Partners Photography via Industryous Photography

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Canadas largest shipping container market welcomes crowds in Toronto

How to Negotiate With a Contractor for Green Building Projects

August 22, 2019 by  
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If you’re planning a green renovation or remodeling project, you … The post How to Negotiate With a Contractor for Green Building Projects appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How to Negotiate With a Contractor for Green Building Projects

This luxury resort in Canada is recognized globally for its contributions to eco tourism

May 29, 2019 by  
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The Fairmont Chateau Lake Lodge in Alberta, Canada is setting the bar high when it comes to sustainable eco tourism . As a popular accommodation choice for outdoor enthusiasts with an unparalleled location inside Banff National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), preserving the national wildlife around the resort is of the utmost importance. The hotel was the very first in Canada to receive the highest possible rating from the Hotel Association of Canada’s Green Key Eco-Rating Program in 2005, and won the award again in 2016. The business also holds an award from the 26th Annual Emerald Awards recognizing outstanding environmental achievements for its sustainability program. Activities around the resort include guided mountain tours, skiing, canoeing, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, rafting, ice-skating and scenic hiking. Guests can enjoy amenities such as a luxury spa and multiple dining options. Related: Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences Over the past ten years of operation, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Lodge has implemented a “No Net Negative Environmental Impact” incentive for its eco tourism hotel operations, with full transparency and results reported annually to Parks Canada. The resort also purchases half of its total energy from wood biomass-generated Green Power and uses energy efficient heating sources throughout the property. 80 percent of the hotel operations use energy-efficient lighting, holiday decorations use LED lighting and free parking is awarded to guests driving hybrid vehicles. Each year the resort helps celebrate the World Wildlife Fund Earth Hour to raise awareness for environmental issues by switching off all of the lights on the property for one hour.   Water-saving fixtures installed at the hotel save 3.9 gallons of water per toilet flush and 1.5 gallons of water per minute in the shower. The new fixtures along with the construction of a water treatment plant helped the hotel decrease its water consumption by 38 percent between 1995 and 2015. Guests are encouraged to do their part by reducing their towel and linen usage, which saves both water and electricity . The Fairmont CAREs Program — Westslope Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project works to preserve Canada’s wild trout population; the hotel has donated $12,000 to the cause since 2012. The resort’s culinary program works with Ocean Wise , a local conservation program that allows consumers to make sustainable choices when purchasing seafood. All possible food and beverage containers are recycled , as well as all paper products, batteries, light bulbs, electronics and toner cartridges. The hotel also works with suppliers and vendors to reduce the amount of packaging for delivered products. + Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Via Dwell Images via Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

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This luxury resort in Canada is recognized globally for its contributions to eco tourism

The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Eisack Valley of Italy, an old “pair farmstead” structure partly built into the hillside years ago still remains. The new owner decided to turn this classic property into a proper home after living inside it for two years as it was, and chose Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten for the redesign. The partially underground extension is topped by a grassy green roof that serves as an homage to the old design as well as a minimal approach to interacting with the natural environment. A newer building was constructed to connect to the older structure, causing the entire house to extend from east to west, hidden within the mountain. Both buildings are linked using a natural stone staircase, and two long skylights serve as limited visible proof of the underground home. From the southern vantage point, a side of concrete and glass serves as a window, making the outer valley visible from inside. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina As would be expected in an underground dwelling, the interior decoration is made up of natural colors. Wooden planks line the walls, and the ceiling is primarily made from the same exposed concrete visible from the green roof . Furnishings also consist of shades of brown, and the home includes a clean-lined, minimalist kitchen. There are views of the Eisack Valley and Dolomites Mountains from both the living and sleeping rooms. Although the home is mostly underground, the architects managed to include high ceilings and open spaces within the home, adding a modern element. Occupants enjoy natural light throughout the house thanks to the large skylights . The architects hoped that this home would forge a connection between the old and new, adding a modern twist to the house while maintaining respect for the original historical property. Using eco-conscious materials  — such as natural stone, exposed concrete, steel and wood — that complement the surrounding mountainous region, the architects created an extraordinary home that has only increased in historic value. + Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten Via ArchDaily Photography by Oskar DaRiz via Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

Scientists find a way to produce renewable energy from snow

April 18, 2019 by  
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Solar panels have trouble producing renewable energy whenever it snows. With winters expected to increase in severity because of  climate change , generating power in the cold, snowy season will likely become a major issue in years to come. Fortunately, scientists from UCLA just invented a way to produce energy from snow. The researchers call their handy device a snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator (snow TENG). It works by generating power via static electricity. As explained by the lead scientist on the project, Richard Kaner, static electricity happens when a material that likes to give up electrons comes into contact with a material that captures them. Snow naturally carries a positive charge and gives electrons away freely, making it the perfect material to generate power. According to UCLA , the snow TENG is made out of silicone, which has a negative charge and actively captures positive electrons. Once the material gains positive electrons, the device gathers those charges and turns them into electricity. “The device can work in remote areas, because it provides its own power and does not need batteries,” Kaner shared. Kaner noted that the device does much more than produce renewable energy . The snow TENG can also calculate snow fall averages and tell you wind speed and direction. Kaner and his team hope to integrate their device into existing solar panels, which would give homeowners the option of producing plentiful energy throughout the year, not just in the warmer seasons. In addition to generating electricity, the device can also be used to track performance in winter sports. The TENG can monitor things like jumping, walking or running and can be easily added to the bottom of shoes given its flexibility. With further development, it is possible that the snow TENG will lead to other athletic monitoring devices that are completely self-powered. It is unclear when Kaner and his team plan to make their device available to the larger public. They produced the prototype using a 3D printer , an electrode and some silicone, making it one of the cheapest renewable energy devices on the market. + UCLA Via Gizmodo Image via Pixabay

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These are the best 7 tips to follow for a more eco-friendly backyard

April 17, 2019 by  
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Incorporating and eco-friendly lifestyle to your home can be easier than you think, especially when it comes to your backyard. While we do our best to use energy efficient light bulbs, reduce the use of everyday plastics and limit food waste throughout our homes, why not bring our environmental awareness to the place where we have celebrations and weekend barbecues— our backyards. The backyard is the best place to add our eco-friendly touch and transform into a thriving sustainable environment . An eco-friendly backyard is a great way to create a beautiful space for you and your family to enjoy all year long. Follow these seven tips to turn your backyard into a place that respects the environment without breaking your budget. Save Water Conserving water is a great way to make your backyard more eco-friendly. You can install large water tanks in your backyard that hook up to the gutters in your house. The tanks will fill up whenever it rains . If you do not want a large tank consuming space in your yard, consider buying a smaller one that you can empty more frequently. You can use the recycled water for a number of different applications. This includes watering your garden, drinking (after it has been filtered) and other household projects. Not only is this a good move for the environment, but it can also save you on future water bills. Related: Eco-friendly replacements for common bathroom products Incorporate Ground Cover Different types of ground cover, such as moss and clover, are good alternatives to traditional grass lawns . These varieties of ground cover require far less mowing and water through the hot summer months. Moss is great for shady areas of your backyard, as it will keep its color in the summer heat and feels great underfoot. For other areas of the lawn that get more sun, consider adding some clover as a grass replacement. Clover smell sweet, is resistant to drought, and is great for the soil. Clover also requires less mowing and you can even let it bloom to attract bees . Go Native According to Better Homes and Gardens , you should always pick native trees and plants when selecting flora for your backyard. Trees and plants that are native to your area will attract butterflies, birds and wildlife, and are more suited for the local environment. These plants also come equipped to handle diseases and pests that are common in your location. After they take root, native flora is also easy to maintain. These plants typically do not need extra fertilizers or pesticides because they are already accustomed to the soil. They also require less watering and tend to do well with the natural weather patterns. Use Wood Composite Lumber If you are building a new deck or adding on to an existing structure, consider using wood composite instead of traditional lumber. Wood composite is made out of recycled plastic and reclaimed lumber. According to Tata and Howard , the end result is a sturdy product that is more durable than natural wood and easier to maintain. This type of wood will also last longer than the traditional alternative, which makes it friendly to your budget. Using recycled plastic is also great for the environment and helps reduce the amount of trash that ends up in our landfills . Best Mowing Practices When mowing your grass, only cut off a third of the grass length each time. You should also mow more frequently as this will allow your lawn to retain water. After you mow, consider leaving the clippings in the lawn or try mulching them in. The clippings are mostly made of water and have high concentrations of nitrogen. If you simply cannot leave the clippings behind, you can always add them to your compost pile instead of throwing them in the trash . Related: Tips and tricks to make spring cleaning more eco-friendly Avoid Harmful Pesticides It is no secret that pesticides are bad for the environment and people’s health . Several pesticides that were once widely used, such as DDT, have since been outlawed and deemed hazardous. For best practices, it is recommended that you avoid using pesticides in your backyard. Instead, try pesticide alternatives like natural herbicides or wildlife for pest control. If you need to fight mites or other bug infestations, you can use oil-based sprays or soaps that work as natural insecticides. If you are in need of some exercise or want to soak up some sun, you can always go the old fashioned route and pull weeds by hand. You can also introduce certain types of insects into your garden, like praying mantises or lacewings, which are great at eating pests, creating the ultimate eco-friendly backyard. Build A Compost Composting cuts down on garbage production and gives you a high quality fertilizer for your garden. Better yet, starting a compost pile only requires some soil and a warm location. You can build a compost pile out in the open or invest in a bin if you are concerned about aesthetics. Compost bins are affordable and come in a variety of styles to match existing décor. You can put all kinds of things in a compost pile. From veggie scraps and eggshells to newspapers and lawn clippings, anything that rapidly decomposes is ideal for composting. These types of items will attract the right kind of bugs, which then will turn the waste into fertilizer. A compost pile typically takes around six to nine months to produce fertilizer. Images via Shutterstock

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CRA grows a sustainable pavilion out of mushrooms in just 6 weeks

April 17, 2019 by  
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Could the houses of the future be grown from mushrooms? Italian architectural firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) broaches this question with The Circular Garden, a sustainable pavilion made of mushrooms that — true to the project name — was grown out of the soil in six weeks and will return back to the soil at the end of its lifecycle. Created in partnership with global energy company Eni, the mushroom structure was on display at Milan Design Week 2019’s Fuorisalone at Brera’s Orto Botanico, the city’s botanical garden. The Circular Garden is constructed from mycelium, the fibrous root of mushrooms , which was grown in the two months before the debut of the pavilion. With help from leading mycology experts, such as the Dutch Krown.Bio lab, CRA injected spores into organic material to start the growth process and then shaped the material into a series of 60 self-supporting, 4-meter-tall arches that add up to a record 1-kilometer-long mycelium. The design of self-supporting arches was inspired by the works of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who famously used the “inverted catenary” method in his design of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. “Nature is a much smarter architect than us,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab. “As we continue our collective quest for a more responsive ‘living’ architecture, we will increasingly blur the boundaries between the worlds of the natural and the artificial. What if tomorrow we might be able to program matter to ‘grow a house’ like a plant? Milan’s amazing botanical garden , in the center of the city, seemed the ideal place for such an experiment.” Related: Paris has a new underground — a massive farm for mushrooms and veggies Visitors are invited to explore the Circular Garden, whose arches form four architectural “open rooms” in the garden. While most temporary exhibition pavilions generate large amounts of waste, CRA’s pavilion is largely biodegradable and its elements will be reused; the mushrooms, ropes and wood chips that make up the structure will be shredded and returned to the earth, and the small metal elements will be recycled. The installation is part of the INTERNI Human Spaces exhibition and is open to the public from April 9 to 19, 2019. + Carlo Ratti Associati Photography by Marco Beck Peccoz via Carlo Ratti Associati

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CRA grows a sustainable pavilion out of mushrooms in just 6 weeks

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