Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station

September 14, 2017 by  
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As more people purchase electric vehicles (EVs) – and countries move to ban sales of gas-guzzling cars – the world will need more charging stations . German company Sortimo plans to build what’s been described as the world’s biggest EV fast-charging station – with 144 charging ports. It is slated for construction near the A8 highway in Germany . 4,000 cars a day could be charged at Innovationspark Zusmarshausen, Germany’s upcoming charging station, according to the company. 24 of the 144 charging ports could be supra-superchargers with charging capacities of 350 kilowatts (kW), which beats out the Tesla Supercharger with its capacity of around 150 kW. According to Sortimo, Innovationspark Zusmarshausen could offer savings of 29.5 million liters, or around 7.8 million gallons, of fuel , and could save nearly 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. Related: This electric car charging tower can power up a dozen EVs at the same time Innovationspark Zusmarshausen goes beyond the typical vision of a gas station. According to FAZ, the station could also feature offices, shopping, and eateries; Sortimo said people could order food before they arrive so they could eat while their car charges. Commuters might be able to park and charge their vehicles simultaneously in DC parking, perhaps even while working in the offices onsite. Images of the planned station suggest it could be topped with green roofs , and Sortimo mentions in their press release that Innovationspark Zusmarshausen “is very close to nature and architecturally aware of the environment,” so they envision people resting in a park at the charging station as well. As you may have guessed, renewable energy is part of the plan for the massive charging station. Sortimo said solar power can be stored at the station and used during peak times “in a network of surrounding companies and private households.” The charging stations are also integrated into Innovationspark Zusmarshausen’s thermal station management, according to Sortimo, so waste heat can help supply the buildings. FAZ said engineering firm Steinbacher Consult is also behind the design, technology, and operation. A translated version of the German press release suggests the charging station, which is receiving support from the Ministry of Transport, will be constructed in 2018. Via Sortimo , FAZ , and CleanTechnica Images via Sortimo

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Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

September 14, 2017 by  
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Australia’s first carbon positive and zero waste home to achieve a “10 Star” energy rating has popped up in Cape Paterson, Victoria. Designed in collaboration with Clare Cousin Architects , this impressive dwelling is one of the latest projects produced by The Sociable Weaver , an innovative design and build company that creates affordable, beautiful, and sustainable architect-designed homes for the masses. The coastal home, called the ’10 Star Home’ after its energy rating, is naturally heated and cooled thanks to passive solar strategies and maintains comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, even in mid-winter. Built in the green coastal development The Cape, the 10 Star Home is permanently open to the public as a display home to educate architects, builders, and students on sustainable architecture . The Sociable Weaver and Clare Cousin Architects considered all aspects of the home, from the building materials to the bedsheets, to achieve their stringent requirements for sustainability, affordability, and social responsibility. The architects even worked with suppliers to reduce packaging delivered to the construction site, and recycled and reused material wherever possible, such as composting plasterboard off-cuts in the garden. A five-kilowatt rooftop solar panel powers the home, which experiences minimal energy loss thanks to superior under-slab insulation, industrial concrete floors that improve thermal mass, and double-glazed windows. The hardwood used is FSC-certified . Non-toxic materials line the interiors, from natural sealants and paints for the floors, walls, and ceilings, to organic and sustainable furnishings like the organic cotton bedding. The display home is fully furnished and decorated with hand-selected products that are stylish and beautiful, yet meet high environmental standards. Related: A Tiny Timber Box in a Tiny Urban Flat Makes Room for a Couple’s First Child In addition to environmentally conscious building practices, the 10 Star Home is designed to inspire a more sustainable lifestyle. The architects followed Building Biology principles to create an edible garden where occupants are encouraged to compost and grow their own food. To keep the home healthy and non-toxic, the 10 Star Home is also equipped with a “green switch” that turns off all power to the home, except for the fridge, so that occupants can reduce the impact of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) at night. “Through Life Cycle Analysis by eTool, modelling shows that over the lifetime of the home, the 10 Star Home will not only negate its carbon footprint but will positively exceed it,” said The Sociable Weaver, according to Dezeen . “This equates to 203 kilograms of carbon emissions saved per year per occupant, equivalent to planting 9.55 million trees or removing 48 million balloons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” + The Sociable Weaver + Clare Cousin Architects Via Dezeen Images via The Sociable Weaver

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Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

Montreal supermarket is Canada’s first to grow produce on its own rooftop garden

July 21, 2017 by  
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When the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent began pushing for green roofs , a supermarket wondered if it could do regulations one better. Fast-forward a few years and IGA Extra Famille Duchemin now claims to be the first grocery store in Canada to sell produce grown on its own roof. High above its LEED Gold-certified retail space, IGA’s 25,000-foot garden features more than 30 different varieties of certified-organic produce, including tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, kale, eggplant, and basil. Speaking to the Ottawa Citizen , co-owner Richard Duchemin said he decided to perceive Saint-Laurent’s requirement not as a burden but an opportunity. Related: New York City unveils massive green-roofed film and fashion hub in Brooklyn Not only does a green roof help regulate the temperature of the building below it, saving energy, but it also feeds into consumer demand for food with a smaller carbon footprint. “People are very interested in buying local,” he said. “There’s nothing more local than this.” The garden, which is irrigated using water reclaimed from the store’s dehumidification system, has also become a mini-Eden for birds, bees, and other embattled urban fauna. Duchemin compares IGA’s produce-laden roof to those “little boxes where [supermarkets] grow herbs,” but on a grander scale. “We pushed it further because we know we’re able to sell what we produce here,” he added. Related: Green roofs cool co-working shipping container office in Brazil If proven successful, GA Extra Famille Duchemin could even kick-start a trend across Canada. Pierre St-Laurent, executive vice-president for Quebec at Sobeys , which owns the IGA chain, is said to be following the store’s progress with great interest. Photos via Facebook Via Ottawa Citizen

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Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials

July 21, 2017 by  
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Architecture studio tenfiftyfive paired modern luxury with sustainable and nature-centric design in their design of this gorgeous house extension in Melbourne. Named the Park House, this Instagram-worthy dwelling is built around two mature gumtrees and clad in timber to blend into the surroundings. More than just a pretty picture, this stylish abode also boasts energy-efficient principles as well as a natural-materials palette largely foraged from recycled and salvaged items. Completed as an extension to an old heritage house, the Park House sports a sleek modern facade with simple, clean lines and a strong attention to detail. The boxy, top-heavy structure features a cantilevered first floor punctuated by protruding black steel windows that contrast beautifully with the timber facade. Full-height glazing wraps around the ground floor to let in an abundance of natural light and blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Fencing along the lot provides privacy. Related: Breezy addition keeps cool in Melbourne’s summers with smart passive design A large open-plan living room with a kitchen and dining area dominates the ground floor, while bedrooms are placed in the more closed-off upper floor. The use of timber is continued inside the home, where it can be seen in an exposed recycled wood ceiling in the living space as well as in the furnishings, stairway, and feature wall support built from old Oregon rafter. Some of the red brick used on the kitchen wall was recycled from garden paving and is complemented by a Statuario marble countertop. A green wall above the windows in the dining area adds a splash of nature indoors. Concrete floors with in-built hydronic heating provide thermal comfort as well as a noise barrier between floors. + tenfiftyfive Via Architecture and Design Images via tenfiftyfive

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Barcelona set to double tree population in major urban greening push

May 18, 2017 by  
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You may think there isn’t much space for a centuries-old, built-out city like Barcelona to radically greenify itself with double the amount of trees and expanded green space. But that’s exactly what the city aims to do. They recently rolled out a Plan of the Green and Biodiversity Barcelona 2020 , including ambitious goals that could offer ideas to other dense cities needing greenery too. Air pollution , heat, and climate change are among the reasons Barcelona needs to become a greener city. But they have a plan – their 2020 goals could see twice the number of trees flourishing in the city, alongside park space increased by two thirds. Overall each citizen could receive nearly 11 square feet of extra green spaces . The plan aims to provide Barcelona with 108 acres of new green areas by 2019 and more than 400 acres by 2020. Related: Paris allows anyone to plant an urban garden How will the city accomplish this feat? First, they’ll plant five new gardens , which will later be connected to open spaces already in place to form thriving plant-filled corridors. Green roofs will also help keep the city cool. Creepers will snake across bare walls. And in spaces waiting for construction, the city will plant temporary gardens. CityLab reports some of the new gardens are already being built, and their designs reveal how to find space in a city where one might think space would be lacking. For example, the largest garden will be planted around a city square once filled with cars. That traffic will now be diverted to tunnels. Another garden is more controversial – the city will clear out a courtyard block filled with squatted 1920’s workshops to make way for greenery. One garden will green up a scrap of ex-industrial semi-wasteland. Slowly the city is filling up with new flora and fauna – local architecture firm JORNETLLOPPASTOR drew up many of these images around five years ago. Green corridors planted in the past have been successful; a 2000 one restored life to a stream formerly dirty. As climate change raises temperatures, a city that already reaches around 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer stands to benefit greatly from the air-cleaning, cooling plants. Via CityLab Images via Ajuntament de Barcelona

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Libeskind unveils zero-emissions university building designed in collaboration with students

March 14, 2017 by  
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A new building with exciting geometry and eco-friendly design is inspiring students at Leuphana University at Lüneburg, Germany. Architect Daniel Libeskind recently completed the New Central Building, a landmark university structure designed in collaboration with the students as part of the tradition at Leuphana University to involve students in campus changes. Topped with a green roof and powered by renewable energy, the light-filled sculptural building will operate at zero emissions . Created in the same gleaming and angular aesthetic common to Libeskind’s designs, the 13,000-square-meter zinc-clad New Central Building serves as a major university hub that promotes cross-disciplinary interaction and learning for students and faculty. The massive structure comprises four interlocking sculptural forms, each housing four programs: the Student Center that spans the height of the building; the three-story Seminar Center; the 1,100-seat Libeskind Auditorium; and the seven-story Research Center. Students contributed to the design process in seminars held by Professor Libeskind and other teachers at the university. Student participation spanned a wide spectrum, from the building and landscape design to the way-finding systems and interior design . “The idea for this project was to create a hub that would inspire the students through multiple connected spaces, infused with natural light and exciting new geometries,” said architect Daniel Libeskind. “It was a true creative collaboration by incorporating students ideas about program and design elements into the final design.” Related: Daniel Libeskind unveils spectacularly green physics center at Durham University In addition to aesthetics and a community-oriented design, the new student hub focuses heavily on sustainability. The energy-efficient New Central Building is powered by renewable energy and includes green roofs that can be seen from the interior, a gray water system , and an innovative structural Cobiax system. The zero-emissions building exceeds the EnEV (Energieeinsparverordnung = Energy-Saving Regulation), a standard that sets energy requirements for new buildings in Germany and also serves as a demonstration project of the Bundeswirtschaftsministerium (Federal Ministry of Economy) for energy-optimized design. + Daniel Libeskind Images via TK

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New York City unveils massive green-roofed film and fashion hub in Brooklyn

February 23, 2017 by  
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Two warehouses in Brooklyn ‘s Sunset Park will soon be transformed into state-of-the-art, affordable production spaces for film, television production and garment manufacturing. The green-roofed Made in NY Campus, designed by WXY architecture + urban design , will modernize the industrial waterfront site and create several pedestrian-friendly spaces and public plazas. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the City’s commitment to the $136 million overhaul expected to create 1,500 jobs. Conceived by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the project will include a comprehensive planning and investment strategy aiming to renovate the site’s aging infrastructure and introduce quality manufacturing and public spaces . WXY architecture + urban design re-envisioned two existing warehouses and public spaces at Sunset Park as a new green-roofed film and fashion hub with 300,000 square feet of new production spaces. Related: New photos reveal Domino Sugar Refinery’s terraced form rising on the East River The Made in NY Campus will offset the city’s lack of filming spaces and provide high-ceiling sound spaces and various other production areas, along with new facilities for fashion and garment manufacturing industry. It will be one of three business campuses in the new Sunset Park District Plan, including the renovated Brooklyn Army Terminal to be completed this fall. + WXY architecture + urban design Renderings by nightnurse images

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Green roofs cool co-working shipping container office in Brazil

January 3, 2017 by  
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The practice of building with shipping containers has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years, with today’s designs continuing to push the architectural envelope. Brazil-based Rodrigo Kirck Arquitetura used the repurposed material to create Container, a stunning co-working space cooled in part by two rooftop gardens. The structure’s monolithic warehouse-esque volume was created by stacking two overlapping containers on top of each other, at various lengths. The entrance is located under a cantilevered block, with the co-working spaces primarily located on the upper floors. This was a strategic measure to optimize the amount of natural light on the interior space, subsequently reducing the building’s reliance on artificial lighting . Related: Shipping containers are transformed into a colorful office and showroom in China The containers are topped with two large garden roofs , which were installed for their ability to reduce solar radiation and capture reusable rainwater. Additionally, the architects wanted to create a green connection of “urban gentleness” with the neighboring buildings. The design strategy not only called for using the repurposed building material as the main envelope for the building, but also to serve as a focal point on the interior. Similar projects typically tend to hide the containers’ rather cold aesthetic, but the designers instead chose to highlight the industrial aesthetic by painting the interior a soothing white. Building on the Container’s philosophy that “being is more important than having”, the space is open and uncluttered, and emits a quiet creative serenity. Focusing more on sustainability and local respect than decoration, the walls are free from art or additional clutter. The only marking is the Container logo, which pays homage to the architect’s indigenous origin and connection with his native city of Itajaí. + Rodrigo Kirck Arquitetura Via Archdaily Photographs by Alexandre Zelinski

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San Francisco may be first US city to pass legislation for green roofs on new buildings

September 19, 2016 by  
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30 percent of all the land area in San Francisco is comprised of rooftops, but most are underutilized, according to the San Francisco Planning Department . City supervisor Scott Weiner is offering a solution that builds on the measure passed earlier this year to require rooftop solar . If new legislation introduced September 6 is approved, San Francisco would be the first city ” to pass requirements for green roofs .” The San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously approved the legislation Weiner introduced. The existing solar mandate requires 15 percent of rooftops on buildings with 10 stories or less to include solar panels. The new legislation would go a step further: 30 percent of new roofs could be turned into green roofs or a blend of green roof and solar panels. Owners could include two square feet of living roofs or a blend of living roofs and solar as opposed to one square foot of rooftop solar panels. According to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities , their 11th Annual CitiesAlive Conference, hosted in San Francisco in 2013, helped inspire the legislation. Related: Santa Monica to require rooftop solar panels on all new buildings In a statement, Weiner said, ” Climate change and our continuing drought demand that we take aggressive action to improve our city’s sustainability…Rooftops are one of the last untapped environmental resources in our growing city, and we need to be strategic about how we activate these spaces. Our solar requirement was a great step, and by adding green roofs to the mix, we will make our buildings greener, our air cleaner, and our city healthier.” The next step is a vote from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors set to occur later in 2016. If they pass the ordinance, new buildings could start adhering to the new legislation January 1, 2017. The 14th Annual CitiesAlive Conference will take place in November in Washington, D.C. + Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Images via Peter M. on Flickr and San Francisco Planning Facebook

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Vincent Callebauts Botanic Center fights urban smog and harvests clean energy

September 12, 2016 by  
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Despite its garden-inspired name, the Botanic Center in Brussels was built in 1977 from 274 identical concrete modules with nary a plant in sight. Architect Vincent Callebaut’s envisioned renovation , which he calls “metamorphosis,” transforms the building into a new symbol of sustainability for the city. “Our ambitions are as follows: to imagine a vegetal envelope on the three façades of the Botanic Center; to bring biodiversity back into the heart of the City; and with the help of botanists, to select plants that will color the building according to seasons,” writes Callebaut. The design calls for 274 planter beds with overhanging and climbing plants installed onto the 274 existing concrete models. Drip irrigation would be used to water the beds and maintenance need only be performed twice a year. Callebaut estimates that the 10,000-plant facade and green roofs could capture close to 50 tons of carbon dioxide a year and improve building insulation. Related: Futuristic oceanscapers are floating villages 3D-printed from algae and plastic waste In keeping with his theme of metamorphosis, Callebaut topped the proposed Botanic Center renovation with a “Chrysalis,” a lightweight structure made of arched glulam and steel cables. The curved addition can play host to a variety of programming and overlooks city views through large glazed openings. Twelve “gills” on the roof extend southwards to help improve solar exposure for the 600-square-meter photovoltaic array on the roof. Over 40 vertical axis wind turbines are also located atop the Chrysalis and could generate 32,340 kWh per year. Callebaut estimates that the total annual output of renewable energies could reach 128,340 kWh per year, enough to cover part of the existing building’s needs or ensure self-sufficiency for the Chrysalis’ new spaces. + Vincent Callebaut Images via Vincent Callebaut

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