Sweden is on track to meet its 2030 renewable energy goals this year

July 9, 2018 by  
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Sweden’s ambitious goal to provide renewable and affordable energy by 2030 is expected to become reality a little ahead of schedule. The Swedish Wind Power Association (SWPA) says its members are on track to generate 18 terawatt-hours of electricity every year by the end of 2018, making it possible for the nation to reach its renewable energy goals 12 years early. In 2015, Sweden joined with 16 other world powers to develop the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development . The plan focused around four parts: humanitarian development, environmental sustainability , long-term economic planning and advancing peace. With this framework, Sweden developed a 17-part plan to end poverty, provide clean water and sanitation and combat global climate change. Related: Nearly all new US energy capacity came from solar and wind in early 2018 While many of the plans are still in progress, at least one could be achieved in 2018. Representing Sweden’s wind energy industry, the SWPA projects the number of wind turbines alone could provide clean and affordable power to the nation as soon as December. The organization says 3,681 wind turbines will be operational across the country by the final days of the year. This would fulfill two goals of the Swedish energy plan : ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy service and substantially increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. If the energy industry hits the projections, the future is bright for the Nordic nation. The additional power boost comes as demand for energy access is set to spike. According to the International Energy Agency, electricity needs could jump by up to 37 percent worldwide over the next 22 years. To help developing nations answer their electricity needs, Sweden’s next major milestones are to double renewable energy efficiency rates, partner with other countries to improve renewable energy and supply energy to the world’s least developed nations and islands. Via Business Live and  Bloomberg Image via Timmy L.

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Sweden is on track to meet its 2030 renewable energy goals this year

Origami-inspired Aqualagon water park is a site-sensitive extension of the landscape

July 9, 2018 by  
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With their bright, multicolored slides and tubes, most water parks stick out like unsightly sore thumbs in the landscape—but that’s not the case for the site-sensitive Water Park Aqualagon in Villages Nature Paris Marne-la-Vallée, France. Designed by Paris-based Jacques Ferrier architecture , the enclosed water park features a folded and glazed design that takes inspiration from the Japanese art of origami and is largely informed by site conditions. Conceived as an extension of the forested landscape, Aqualagon features full-height glazing, lush greenery, and renewable systems including geothermal energy and water recycling. Spread out across 86,000 square feet next to a large body of water, the Water Park Aqualagon meets the High Quality Environment standard , a certification for green buildings in France. Site studies that mapped the direction of the winds and the path of the sun informed the position and layout of the water park’s multifaceted, glazed building. To make the most of cooling cross-breezes in summer and to protect against cold northeasterly winter winds, the aquatic park opens up towards the west and backs up to the forest. The orientation also optimizes sunlight in winter while minimizing solar gain in summer. The light-filled interior features water slides and multiple pools integrated into a naturalistic landscape of stone-covered terrain, living trees and waterfalls. Continuous outdoor terraces project from the building towards the lake; these walkways overlook stunning views of Villages Nature Paris Marne-la-Vallée. A transparent dome tops the water park and offers a remarkable space for visitors to swim while basking in views of the sky. Related: PHOTOS: Cacheuta Thermal Water Park is a summer escape wedged in Argentina’s Andes Mountains “Like an origami sculpture, our proposal for the aquatic park resembles an unfolding landscape, culminating at around 35 meters. It is a built landscape, rising into the sky,” explains Jacques Ferrier architecture. “The structure is clearly visible from the surrounding area – it becomes a point of reference and a symbol of Villages Nature.” + Jacques Ferrier architecture Images by Luc Boegly

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Origami-inspired Aqualagon water park is a site-sensitive extension of the landscape

A couple turns a Mercedes Sprinter into a solar-powered home on wheels

July 9, 2018 by  
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Traveling road warriors Andre and Marissa converted a 2017 Mercedes Sprinter van into a beautiful, chic home on wheels  named the Bluebird for their on-the-go adventures. The solar-powered van’s interior was revamped with reclaimed wood and is now equipped with all of the comforts of home including a queen-sized bed, kitchenette, ample seating space and plenty of storage. The High Top Mercedes Sprinter was strategically retrofitted into an efficient tiny home on wheels. The couple made a space-efficient kitchenette using refurbished wood for cabinets and added a touch of color with a fun mosaic backsplash. The kitchen comes with running water, a propane stove and a 45-quart refrigerator. For extra seating and dining space, the front driver and passenger seats swivel around from the driver’s area. A queen-sized bed is located in the back of the van and surrounded by storage. Related: San Francisco is too expensive – so this couple hit the road in an amazing renovated van Best of all, the Bluebird is outfitted to go off the grid . The couple installed two solar panels that are connected to a Yeti 1250 generator. The van runs almost entirely on solar energy . The tiny home’s energy use is also reduced thanks to LED lights and a set of Thinsulate curtains that help maintain a warm, toasty interior on colder days. In addition to creating an off-grid residence, the couple focused on designing the ultimate adventure home on wheels. The “garage” area under the bed is 36 inches high, so it fits quite a bit of gear for kayaking, rafting, skiing and climbing — there is even a bay for bike storage. There are also various cabinets and cubbies for small equipment like climbing ropes, helmets and shoes. After exploring in the van for a while, Andre and Marissa are now selling their beloved Bluebird for $108k in order to start a new transformation project. + Joyful Vans Via Tiny House Talk Images via Joyful Vans

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MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center

May 24, 2018 by  
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Albania’s controversial Tirana Pyramid—a former monument to the country’s communist leader—will finally be repurposed after years of decay. MVRDV  has officially unveiled designs to transform the pyramidal structure into a large green technology education center. The pyramid will be opened up to the surroundings and filled with natural light and greenery, ultimately making the interior more welcoming to the public. Set in the center of the city, the Tirana Pyramid originally served as a museum honoring the legacy of Enver Hoxha, the long-time leader of communist Albania. Following the collapse of Communism in 1991, the concrete communist monument was repurposed for a variety of uses, from a nightclub to a NATO base, during the Kosovo War. In recent years, developers have called for the Tirana Pyramid’s demolition, which stirred controversy among its architects and the greater populace, many of whom had developed an attachment to the monument despite its increasingly decrepit and vandalized appearance. Rather than demolish the unique structure, MVRDV aims to preserve the silhouette while making the 127,000-square-foot building more accessible. “Though in the past, there were plans to transform this monumental building into a national theatre, this never materialised which left this fantastic building in ruin for more than a decade,” says Winy Maas , co-founder of MVRDV. “It is a symbol for many Albanians. For the older generation, it is a memory to the cultural events during communist times, for the recent generation it became the place to celebrate the new era. We will open it up to its surroundings as a structure in the park, that can be populated by people, trees, and containers for co-working. We will make the beams accessible and safe so that we can all climb to the top and celebrate the structure, with views of the city of Tirana. We create an inhabited monument.” Related: BIG unveils designs for bow tie-shaped National Theater of Albania In addition to natural light , the architects will introduce greenery to the building atrium. The team will also make the facade roof—a popular hangout spot for young people—officially available to all visitors, populating it with pavilions and other pop-up structures conducive to temporary events and sightseeing. The project is slated for completion in 2019. + MVRDV Renderings by MVRDV, Exterior image by Gent Onuzi and Wikimedia

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MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center

New 3 in 1 Roof solar tiles power your house for half the price of a Tesla roof

April 13, 2018 by  
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Tesla is getting all the attention when it comes to solar roofs , but some competitors out there are innovating in ways that even Elon Musk hasn’t thought of. 3 in 1 Roof , for instance, offers insulation, extreme wind protection and solar power, all in one. The solar roof system comes in a huge range of finishes, has a lighter load than traditional slate tiles, and is the first to claim zero heat transference into the attic – so it reduces your heating and cooling costs while providing you with clean, green energy. All at about half of the price of a Tesla solar roof. The Ft. Lauderdale-based company calculates that its offering will be about $11 less than Tesla’s solar roof per square foot. It’s also lighter than traditional slate roofing at just 110 pounds per 10 square feet, which means that architects can engineer homes with structures designed to support lighter loads. The roofs are designed to eliminate condensation between the attic deck and insulation, preventing mold and rot. The roofs are also hurricane resistant, standing up to winds at 200 mph. Related: Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof Because of the highly UV-resistant surface and durable foam insulation, 3 in 1 Roofs should last 300% longer than traditional products and can save you up to 38% on your HVAC costs. If you want to nab one, the company is accepting $500 deposits and guarantees it will be ready for installation in 2019 – or you get your deposit, plus $500 back. You can also get a free car station charger if you are one of the first 1,000 to place an order. + 3 in 1 Roof

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A British billionaire is building the world’s biggest battery to rival Elon Musk’s

March 16, 2018 by  
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British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is building the world’s biggest battery in South Australia, knocking Elon Musk’s battery project from the title. South Australia is home to a 100MW battery the size of a football field, which switched online last November. Gupta plans to build his own 120MW battery at a storage facility at Whyalla Steelworks , which he purchased last year. A once-in-a-lifetime storm caused blackouts throughout South Australia in 2017, prompting the state to secure its energy grid against future disruptions. The state began investing in renewable energy – and it’ll invest $7.8 million into Gupta’s project. The SIMEC ZEN Energy storage facility will be located 186 miles north of Adelaide in Port Augusta. Gupta’s GFG Alliance bought the struggling steelmaking giant Arrium last year, of which the Whyalla Steelworks is a part. Related: Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early Musk pledged last year to build a South Australia battery facility in 100 days – or the project would be free . He built it in just 63 days, and the project switched online last November. Musk’s battery is connected to a wind farm operated by energy firm Neoen, and it provides enough energy to power 8,000 homes for 24 hours during a blackout. Via Phys.org Images via GFG Alliance and Tesla

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Goodyear unveils a living moss tire that cleans the air as you drive

March 6, 2018 by  
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The future of transportation is looking mighty green. Goodyear just revealed a new tire called Oxygene that integrates living moss to help improve air quality while you travel. Goodyear didn’t just stop there – Oxygene is 3D-printed out of recycled tires and includes technology to help keep pedestrians safe. While we’re excited about any eco-friendly innovations in mobility, this tire is particularly exciting because tires are such a toxic part of the transportation system. The Oxygene tire has moss growing in the tire’s sidewall, which absorbs moisture through the tread to feed the plants inside. The moss sucks in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, and the energy generated by that photosynthesis also powers a light in the tire that alerts pedestrians whether the driver is turning, stopping, etc. Related: Goodyear’s crazy new spherical tires prove moving sideways is actually a giant leap forward The tire is made of recycled tire powder using 3D-printing . It also has built-in connectivity that could come in handy with autonomous vehicles in the future. With over 300 million tires hitting landfills in the US every year, Goodyear’s tire is a sustainable solution to a serious problem. The tire concept was revealed at this year’s Geneva International Motor Show , and while it may remain just a concept, it opens the conversation to what is possible. + Goodyear Via and Clean Technica Images via Goodyear

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Daan Roosegaarde reveals vision for air-purifying Smog Free Drones

February 28, 2018 by  
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Studio Roosegaarde ‘s Smog Free Project continues to create bubbles of clean air throughout the world – the team recently opened a Smog Free Tower in Park Jordana in Kraków, Poland . But Daan Roosegaarde isn’t through innovating new ideas to clean our skies. In an exclusive interview with Inhabitat, Roosegaarde shared the first art impressions for Smog Free Drones, which could create personal pockets of fresh air. Imagine a small gizmo gliding above your head, scrubbing the air as it goes. That’s essentially the Smog Free Drone, or Smog Free Floatable. This new artistic vision from Studio Roosegaarde is still very much in the early stages, but Roosegaarde says they do think it is possible. He tells Inhabitat, “The Smog Free Project is a movement: we’ve done the Smog Free Tower, Smog Ring , Smog Free Bicycle, but at the same time we also wanted to make it personal, make it portable. That’s why we came up with the notion of the floatable; that it would be like a buddy floating above your head, giving you clean air as you walk through the polluted city.” Related: INTERVIEW: Designer Daan Roosegaarde on smog temples, space trash, and what’s next The Smog Free Drone could function as an alternative to a stiff face mask; Roosegaarde described it as “sort of like a Pac-Man moving through the city and keeping you safe.” There are technical challenges to the project: battery life, safety, and sound are a few. But these could be tackled, Roosegaarde thinks, and with enough time and energy, the Smog Free Drones could become reality. “The artist impression we made is also an open call to the community,” he says. “This is our idea, we think it’s possible, we don’t know. If someone wants to make it or knows how to make it, call us or do it yourself, I don’t really care as long as it’s realized. Why not?” The design of drones themselves could assist the idea’s realization. Roosegaarde says, “Drones already have a sort of air flow, because they need to stay up in the air. You might be able to make use of that to design the thermodynamics underneath, or above your head.” So far the Smog Free Tower has been a success in Kraków , which Roosegaarde described as one of Europe’s most polluted cities — worse than Beijing on some days. And while Studio Roosegaarde is continually taking measurements to test the tower’s performance, in Poland there was another surprise indicator of clean air around the tower: little dogs . “Apparently, of the animals they’re having the most trouble with the smog because their noses and lungs are small. They were somehow attracted by the tower, so there were a lot of these really small dogs hanging around, like they were having a secret meeting, and enjoying the clean air,” said Roosegaarde. “Maybe that’s the quality of a good design: that it always triggers something beyond the control of the designer, and you just have to surrender to that.” Overall, the tower’s design is the same as the ones in China and the Netherlands, but Studio Roosegaarde made a few minor alterations in terms of production, and can also monitor the tower online. It’s in a public park , so anyone can freely access the clean air. “We’ve calculated that we can make the park between 20 and 70 percent more clean than the rest of the city in terms of clean air,” Roosegaarde said, adding that the Smog Free Tower in Kraków might become a permanent urban fixture. Studio Roosegaarde held a symposium at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK) with local creatives and activists to discuss creating change around air quality . Roosegaarde said, “It is as much unique technological innovation as social and political innovation. I think the summary of all these dialogues is that we live in an economical system which is all about money and time. And we all want a new economical system which is about clean air, clean water , and clean energy . But how do we get there? What’s the price of clean air? Who is going to decide that? It was incredibly fascinating for me to learn from that, and I hope we have way more conversations.” Stay tuned for more smog vacuum cleaners popping up around the planet — Roosegaarde said they will be launching the Smog Free Project in Mexico, Colombia, and India in upcoming months. And will it be an Inhabitat reader who helps bring the vision for Smog Free Drones to life? We’ll be excited to find out! + Studio Roosegaarde + Smog Free Project Images courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde

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Daan Roosegaarde reveals vision for air-purifying Smog Free Drones

New paper-based batteries can be discarded with zero ecological impact

February 20, 2018 by  
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Forget lithium – this Barcelona-based company is creating batteries with paper. Fuelium is developing paper -based batteries designed for disposable diagnostic devices, OZY reported . Unlike regular batteries, Fuelim batteries don’t create toxic waste that requires complicated recycling processes. What’s not to love? Paper, carbon, and non-toxic metals: those are the ingredients for Fuelium’s batteries. These won’t be powering cars right now; the company says their paper-based batteries are suited for powering in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) applications, or tests that can detect diseases with blood or tissue samples . Fuelium says their batteries are geared for “single-use electronic devices which can be disposed of without recycling.” Regular single-use diagnostic tests are thrown out after utilizing under one percent of their batteries’ charge, according to OZY. But Fuelium’s paper batteries, according to the Autonomous University of Barcelona’s Research Park , “only generate the amount of energy needed for each application and do not contain heavy metals or are harmful to health .” Related: This revolutionary new paper battery is powered by bacteria Fuelium’s batteries can be customized for different applications with voltages between one and six volts, and power between one and 100 milliwatts. They’re cost-effective and can be easily integrated as the battery materials are compatible with manufacturing processes for rapid diagnostic tests. Any liquid sample can activate the paper-based batteries, according to the company, which suggests their product could be used in the areas of infectious disease, veterinary medicine, and women’s health, to name a few. Scientists Juan Pablo Esquivel, Neus Sabaté, and Sergi Gassó of the Microelectronics Institute of Barcelona started Fuelium in 2015, and according to OZY, they have signed their first contract. Esquivel told OZY their paper-based batteries are small and inexpensive, and don’t require recycling; instead, they can be tossed out with zero ecological impact. + Fuelium Via OZY Images via Self-Powered Engineered Devices and Dan Taylr on Flickr

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New paper-based batteries can be discarded with zero ecological impact

Tesla is selling its solar products in Home Depot stores starting in July

February 2, 2018 by  
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Getting your hands on a Tesla Powerwall is a bit more challenging than simply running to the local hardware store – but that’s about to change. Tesla just announced that it will sell its solar products at Home Depot . Solar panels ? Check. Powerwalls ? You bet. Even Solar Roofs? You got it. It’s all happening in 800 stores by July of this year. Home Depot has 2,200 stores across the US, which can help Tesla go a long way towards reaching new customers. In July, 800 of these stores will have Tesla kiosks, staffed by Tesla employees, with interactive demonstrations, information and purchasing capabilities. Related: Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof The move is smart for several reasons. First, when Tesla bought SolarCity , it was going door-to-door to move its products. This was expensive. Additionally, Tesla has advertised its products in Tesla showrooms, but that targets a specific customer with relatively few locations. Initial reports say that the kiosks will be limited to selling solar panels and Powerwalls, with the Solar Roof coming as production ramps up. It’s all part of Elon Musk’s plan to make adding solar to a home an easy and seamless process. + Tesla Via Clean Technica Images via Deposit Photos and Tesla

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