Copenhagens new eco-friendly bicycle hills hide parking for thousands of bicycles

November 6, 2019 by  
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Danish architectural firm COBE recently completed a one-of-a-kind public space in Copenhagen that not only serves as a multifunctional meeting place, but also provides covered parking for over 2,000 bicycles. Inaugurated in late August, Karen Blixens Plads is one of the largest public spaces in Copenhagen and measures over 20,000 square meters in size. The elevated undulating terrain helps break the large space down into small zones for activities and helps channel and slow rainwater to improve the area’s stormwater management. Located between the University of Copenhagen and the Danish Royal Library’s buildings at the university’s South Campus, Karen Blixens Plads is a multifunctional urban space that serves as a public square and a university plaza. Working in collaboration with CN3 and EKJ, COBE used 3D modeling to design the three “bicycle hills” constructed as cast concrete shells clad with hand-laid tiles in colors referencing the exteriors of nearby university buildings. Large openings punctuate the undulating load-bearing structure to create an airy, light-filled space underneath. In addition to bicycle parking , the new public square includes an outdoor auditorium with seating for up to 1,000 people. Simple and durable materials were used to minimize maintenance, while lighting and furnishings were kept to a minimum. Related: A striking new gateway to Copenhagen celebrates green transit and Danish design “All in all, we have created a unique space based on three main principles: improving the connection between landscape and urban space , integrating optimal green spaces with a large capacity for bicycle parking and creating a space that offers good social meeting places and learning environments,” says COBE’s founder, Dan Stubbergaard. “The almost cathedral-like form of the bicycle hills further offers an aesthetic experience in its own right, both when people park their bikes and when they meet at the hills for lectures, group work, concerts or Friday afternoon socializing.” + COBE Images by Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

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Copenhagens new eco-friendly bicycle hills hide parking for thousands of bicycles

High-tech wetsuit protects divers and surfers from toxic elements in the oceans

November 6, 2019 by  
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With ocean waters being polluted at an astonishing rate, swimmers, divers and surfers are putting their lives at risk simply by entering the water. Vissla and Surfrider have collaborated on a slightly depressing solution aimed to keep water-lovers safe. The Rising Seas Wetsuit is a high-tech body suit that uses nanotechnology to block the absorption of any harmful pollutants in the water. Additionally, Nitrile pads on the stomach, elbows and knees help surfers maintain their grip on the board, even in seriously slimy conditions. Unfortunately, despite concerted efforts around the world to stave off any more damage, oceans are becoming suffocated with harmful bacteria, viruses, algal blooms, oil spills, trash — you name it. It is becoming common practice to close beaches due to the presence of harmful bacteria. Related: Yves Béhar recycles wetsuits and boat sails into ocean-friendly bags The innovative wetsuit is designed to allow divers and surfers to enjoy the waters, no matter how toxic they become . According to the design team, the Rising Seas Wetsuit includes a built-in bio-defense system that offers an impenetrable level of protection to the wearer while they are in the water. The futuristic wetsuit is made out of an Anti-R material that uses nanotechnology to block the absorption of harmful pollutants. The suit includes sensors that monitor the water conditions for bacteria levels, radiation and overall toxicity. All of this information is displayed on a digital LED display that is controlled by a touchscreen control panel on the forearm. The system allows swimmers and divers to access information easily and set preferences, such as alerts for extreme conditions. It also comes with satellite GPS services that provide location-based swell charts and current weather information. According to Vissla, the wetsuit is in the concept stages, and the team emphasized that this is a project they “never want to make a reality.” But its design is meant to draw attention to the extremely urgent issue of ocean pollution and rising sea levels . + Vissla + Surfrider Via Uncrate Images via Vissla

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Norwegian Air introduces SkyBreathe app to help reduce annual CO2 emissions

October 23, 2019 by  
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True to its fame as Norway’s most sustainable airline and as the two-time International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) recipient of the “Most Fuel-Efficient Airline on Transatlantic Routes” award, Norwegian Air is ambitiously targeting a carbon emissions reduction of 140,000 tons per year. It will do so by leveraging the SkyBreathe fuel efficiency app. SkyBreathe was developed by the European Union’s Clean Sky project , the largest European research program dedicated to reducing aircraft emissions and noise levels. The SkyBreathe app analyzes entire flight operations via big data algorithms to consider air traffic control constraints, flight paths, payloads, weather conditions and other similar variables. The information is then transferred to aircraft systems, thus enhancing Norwegian Air flight paths with improved fuel efficiency . Related:  Eco-resort in Finland charges guests based on their carbon emissions “At Norwegian, we’re continuously working to find new tools to reduce both CO2 emissions and fuel consumption,” shares Stig Patey, Norwegian’s fuel savings manager. “With the SkyBreathe app, we receive large amounts of data for each flight, and this data provides relevant information about how we can fly smarter and even more efficiently.” Indeed, by determining fuel consumption, SkyBreathe assists with optimizing flight performance while saving on costs. To date, the app enables Norwegian Air to save up to 3,700 tons of fuel and reduce emissions by 11,600 tons per month. “With SkyBreathe, we receive instant feedback after each flight, where we can easily see how we have performed, what we have done well and what we can improve for the next flight ,” explains Fergus Rak, London Gatwick Airport’s base chief captain. “This is a smart tool that benefits both us and the environment.” Since 2008, Norwegian Air’s young fleet has been consistently implementing green approaches, with the ultimate goal of making the entire airline carbon neutral by 2050. In fact, ICCT analysis over the years has found Norwegian Air fuel consumption to be approximately 33% more fuel-efficient than the industry average.  Via Norwegian Images via Norwegian

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Pizza Hut is testing plant-based Incogmeato sausage pizzas served in round boxes

October 23, 2019 by  
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The plant-based meat wave is sweeping the nation, and Pizza Hut is the latest fast food franchise to join the meatless bandwagon. The alternative protein pizza will be unveiled in Arizona and will feature MorningStar Farm’s “Incogmeato” Italian sausage. The new menu item will be placed in more sustainable, circular boxes rather than the customary square ones. Featured in a Garden Specialty Pizza on a hand-tossed crust alongside banana peppers, mushrooms and onion toppings, the Incogmeato Italian sausage is 100 percent meat-free. The new pizza is certain to delight flexitarian , vegetarian and vegan taste buds. Related: Pizza Hut unveils a zero-emissions delivery truck that makes pizzas on the go Forward-thinking innovations, where food is concerned, are nothing new for Pizza Hut. “We innovate for human’s sake and we’ll win on taste — period,” said Marianne Radley, Pizza Hut’s chief brand officer. “When we talk about feeding more possibilities, we mean it.” As for the signature round boxes, Pizza Hut partnered with sustainability company Zume. Not only will the round box be industrially compostable , but its round shape will cut back on packaging sizes, making it more environmentally friendly. The round box, which has been in development for the past two years, will also snap shut to ensure fresh delivery and will likewise interlock with other round boxes for stackable stability. With less bulk, the round box is also easier to carry and store in the refrigerator when there are leftovers. “This revolutionary round box — the result of a two-year journey — is the most innovative packaging we’ve rolled out to date,” said Nicolas Burquier, Pizza Hut chief customer and operations officer. “The round box was engineered to make our products taste even better — by delivering hotter, crispier pizzas.” Alternative meat substitutes have been growing in popularity across the United States. According to a recent joint report from Plant-Based Foods Association and the nonprofit Good Food Institute (GFI), the U.S. retail market of plant-based foods is worth $4.5 billion and, in the past year alone, grew five times faster than all retail food sales. What’s more, total plant-based meat sales now exceed $800 million, with a 2 percent share of U.S. retail packaged-meat sales that continues to grow. For a limited time, the Incogmeato pizza and its signature, sustainable, round box will “test” launch first in a single branch location of the Grand Canyon State — 3602 E. Thomas Road in Phoenix. Customers can purchase the new item for $10 in-store, while supplies last. Proceeds will go to Arizona Forward, a sustainability organization. + Pizza Hut Via CNN Image via Pizza Hut

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Pizza Hut is testing plant-based Incogmeato sausage pizzas served in round boxes

A striking new gateway to Copenhagen celebrates green transit and Danish design

October 14, 2019 by  
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Earlier this summer, Copenhagen officially opened Køge Nord Station, a stunning new transportation landmark that raises the bar for beautiful urban infrastructure. Designed by COBE and DISSING+WEITLING architecture , the transit hub features a futuristic 225-meter-long covered footbridge that connects the new double-track high-speed rail line between Copenhagen and the city of Ringsted with the existing commuter urban-suburban S-train line. The 9-meter-wide footbridge spans the width of the Køge Bugt Highway and is punctuated with multiple windows to provide 180-degree panoramic views of the highway and the cultural landscape. Completed in less than three years after its groundbreaking, the Køge Nord Station is the result of an international competition that drew 38 submissions from around the world. Described by COBE and DISSING+WEITLING architecture as a “unique example of Danish architecture and engineering,” the firms’ winning design includes a vision plan, a train station, parking and transit facilities and the project’s crown jewel — the eye-catching covered footbridge . Installed in six sections, the footbridge is clad in 48,000 square meters of anodized aluminum panels and can carry up to 1,800 people. Related: Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagen’s harbor To provide a comfortable and attractive commuter experience for the 8,000 passengers expected to use the station daily, the interior of the covered bridge is lined with cozy timber and emphasizes a sense of continuous flow with curvaceous lines and open views to the north as well as with smaller south-facing apertures in the interior wood panels.  ”People spend many hours of their life in transit ,” said Jesper B. Henriksen, architect and partner at DISSING+WEITLING architecture. “That’s why we sought to give the footbridge a quality that goes beyond the purely functional and practical. The interior space is covered with wooden slats that provide a warm, tactile experience in transit and waiting situations. It is, quite simply, a welcoming and inviting space, unlike what you often see in stations and transport facilities. The interior space is contrasted by the smooth, cool aluminum exterior that enters into a dialogue with the infrastructural expression of the place.” + COBE + DISSING+WEITLING architecture Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST via COBE

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A striking new gateway to Copenhagen celebrates green transit and Danish design

The Skai hydrogen-powered aircraft produces zero emissions

October 7, 2019 by  
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Alaka’i Technologies has launched a zero-emissions aircraft with six rotors, electric motors and hydrogen fuel cells as well as a range of 400 miles or four hours. The helicopter-meets-drone aircraft was designed to be piloted either in person, remotely or autonomously, with ample space for up to five passengers. The most impressive feature — that it runs on hydrogen fuel cells — gives this aircraft the potential to become one of the greenest modes of air transportation. The hydrogen fuel cells allow Skai to travel farther and carry more weight, and they are 95 percent reusable, with 99 percent of the remaining materials being recyclable. An Airframe parachute feature adds an additional level of safety, and there is no need for long runways thanks to the vertical take-off and landing capabilities. Related: Germany premieres the first hydrogen-powered train in the world So who exactly designed this futuristic, environmentally friendly aircraft ? The creators are an impressive team of nationally recognized aerospace experts, engineers and veteran pilots that have completed top-level positions at organizations such as NASA and the Department of Defense. Alaka’i Technologies has been around since the 1990s, earning recognition with its development and testing of the world’s first Fly-By-Light aircraft. These days, the company is focused on transportation though hydrogen-powered mobility. For Skai, Alaka’i Technologies teamed up with Designworks, the design studio for the BMW Group. This collaboration promises a sleek, fashionable design in line with the luxury and style for which BMW is known. Skai also offers so much more than commercial air travel. Brian Morrison, the co-founder, president and chief technology officer of Alaka’i Technologies, suggested that this eco-friendly aircraft can provide affordable and responsible solutions to “everything from relieving traffic congestion to delivering supplies during natural disasters.” Currently, Skai is in testing with the FAA, pending certification. The company plans to launch the piloted version of the aircraft initially and follow with an autonomous version. + Alaka’i Technologies Via Uncrate Images via Alaka’i Technologies

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Honda makes largest renewable energy purchase of any automaker

September 25, 2019 by  
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Multinational auto manufacturer Honda Motor Company, headquartered in Tokyo, recently made the largest renewable clean energy purchase by any car maker. The electricity will be utilized to offset emissions from its United States factories, thus enabling Honda to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent in its North American manufacturing plants. With widespread public debate and mounting regulatory pressures, automakers have no choice but to shift their business models to address the carbon dioxide reduction challenge. It is no wonder then that a growing number of automobile companies are turning to renewables, like wind and solar, to achieve sustainable returns. Related: Beautiful, solar-powered EV charging stations promise to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes According to Honda, it currently obtains about 21 percent of its North American operations’ power from low- or zero-emission power sources.  But it hopes to improve upon that, thanks to clinching the car industry’s largest renewable energy purchase. Honda’s new clean energy deal involves the purchase of wind power from an Oklahoma wind farm as well as sourcing energy from a Texas solar farm. Projections show that, with this clean energy purchase, Honda can annually offset 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equal to “100,000 U.S. households’ worth of CO2-emissions from household energy usage,” as described in Honda’s press release. Honda revealed, “Two Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs) will secure 320 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar power totaling over 1 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable electricity annually.” How do VPPAs operate? Honda explained that VPPAs are “a way for Honda to purchase renewable energy in locations where it is unable to purchase renewables from the local electric utility.” The automaker buys “electricity from a renewable energy supplier, but the clean energy does not go directly to Honda’s facilities; instead, it is sold into the electricity grid where the clean power is generated.” In effect, Honda’s ‘virtual purchase’ of that “renewable energy adds more clean energy into the nation’s grid,” which decreases fossil fuel dependency and any accompanying carbon dioxide emissions. Honda’s VPPA purchase essentially “de-carbonizes” the electricity grid. Analysts say VPPAs are becoming an ever-popular means for large corporations seeking to meet carbon dioxide emission reduction goals.  Tech giants, like Google and Microsoft, for instance, have historically purchased VPPAs as well. Business industry pundits forecast an uptick of VPPA procurements in the next couple of years as renewable energy policy intensifies. Aligned with its revitalized green mission, Honda’s long-term plans go far beyond clean energy purchases, as it continues its commitment to sustainability. The company similarly announced plans to electrify two-thirds of its manufactured vehicular fleet so that they are charged via renewable energy by 2030. + Honda Motor Company Image via Honda Motor Company

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MAD Architects unveils solar-powered Hyperloop transit system

September 18, 2019 by  
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The avant-garde architecture of Beijing-based MAD Architects has merged with Hyperloop’s futuristic transportation technologies to unveil a new, solar-powered rapid transit system. Designed with an emphasis on sustainability, the elevated, tube-based infrastructure will promote car-free living, incorporate urban farming and harness renewable energy to minimize its environmental footprint. The versatile system is designed for easy integration in a variety of environments, from dense urban centers to remote deserts. MAD Architects’ collaboration with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (Hyperloop TT) is meant to transform the future of travel by showing how the transportation infrastructure can complement the natural environment and bring people closer to nature. The Hyperloop concept, which was popularized by Elon Musk in 2012, is a proposed mode of transportation that uses a pressurized system of large tubes, through which pods carrying people or freight can be pushed at high speed without lag from air resistance. MAD Architects and HyperloopTT’s vision expands on this idea with the integration of sustainable systems and green public space, which can be built along the tops of the tubes as well as underneath them. Related: Hyperloop TT announces plans to build a working line in the UAE “The pylon design minimizes the system’s physical footprint by lifting its functions almost 7 meters above ground,” explained MAD Architects of the versatile pylon design that doubles as structural support. “This eliminates the possibility of collision with road traffic, which in turn decreases the cost of land acquisition. It is composed of a single-mold fiber glass structure, proving its efficiency in both its development and usage.” The base of each pylon is designed to accommodate organic urban farming activities and solar-powered LED grow lights. The Hyperloop TT system would also be powered with solar and wind energies. Flexible solar panel skin modules would be affixed to the system and used to power the Hyperloop, LEDs and interactive information boards. Bladeless wind turbine forests would be installed at certain sections to create an additional source of power and reduce energy costs. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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Electric Scooters: Dirty or Green Transportation?

August 23, 2019 by  
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The pros and cons of electromobility

July 17, 2019 by  
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To those of us who concentrate on sustainability and green options for travel, electromobility appears to be a godsend — but the increasingly popular electromobility lifestyle still holds good and bad traits. Thankfully, as the market continues to grow, electric vehicles such as e-bikes and scooters only continue to improve since they were first introduced, and electric cars continue to get more and more sophisticated and efficient each year. While there are obvious benefits to using or even owning one of these trendy vehicles, the electromobility industry still has some kinks to work out. Here are the pros and cons to consider before embracing electromobility. Pro: less utilization of fossil fuels Though the extraction of different kinds of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) present different levels and types of impact on the environment, they all have one thing in common: emitting harmful pollutants and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burned. These pollutants can include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that contribute to acid rain, smog and soot. While the burning of fossil fuels poses serious issues, it doesn’t stop there. The only ways to extract these fossil fuels from the Earth is by mining or drilling, and both have the potential to generate significant air and water pollution , inflict serious health issues to workers or the local community and alter ecosystems. Offshore drilling poses risks of oil spills that can absolutely devastate ocean life. As the transportation sector as a whole relies almost exclusively on fossil fuels, it is responsible for a majority of the hidden environmental costs that the fossil fuel industry implements on the Earth. According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy , “In general, EVs produce fewer emissions that contribute to climate change and smog than conventional vehicles … EVs typically produce fewer life cycle emissions [emissions from vehicles over the course of its life from production to disposal] than conventional vehicles, because most emissions are lower for electricity generation than burning gasoline or diesel.” Con: batteries Replacing harmful fossil fuels with electric vehicle batteries comes at a cost. Producing these large lithium batteries requires natural resources from lithium and nickel mines, which can emit pollutants such as sulfur dioxide into the air and pose health risks to workers. Most batteries, especially in smaller EVs like scooters and e-bikes, have a limited lifespan. After disposal, batteries can end up in landfills to release toxins into the environment or in the ocean to harm sea life. Related: We love electric scooters — but is the Bird trend actually bad for the environment? Pro: improved air quality The potential to dramatically improve air quality is arguably the biggest draw for electromobility from an environmental perspective. The lack of exhaust systems in electric vehicles means less carbon dioxide emissions and less greenhouse gas buildup in our atmosphere. According to the U.N. , air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths around the world and, “Transport contributes approximately one quarter of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, which is set to reach one-third, growing faster than any other sector.” The majority of car growth in the world is expected to take place in developing countries, most of which don’t have any type of vehicle emissions standards or programs incentivizing low-emission transportation. U.N. Environment is working to sponsor 50 countries and cities around the world to introduce electric cars and electric methods of public transportation. Con: energy use Even though electric vehicles don’t emit as much carbon dioxide, the batteries still need to be recharged regularly. As the demand for electric modes of transportation grows, so does the need for energy — and not all energy comes from renewable sources. For this reason, many owners of electric cars opt to install solar panels onto their homes to charge the vehicles from inside their garages at a much lower cost both financially and to the environment. Pro: decreased expenses Just the knowledge alone that their vehicle is better for the environment is enough for some consumers when it comes to purchasing an electric car, scooter or bike, but the reasons to make the investment into electromobility go far beyond peace of mind. A 2018 study from the University of Michigan revealed that in no U.S. state is it cheaper to use gasoline than electricity. Operating an EV in the United States, according to the study, was $485 per year, while the cost for operating a gas-powered car was $1,117. That means on average, gasoline-powered vehicles cost twice as much as electric ones. Because EVs don’t require oil either, oil changes aren’t necessary, meaning maintenance time and cost is significantly reduced as well. If all that still doesn’t convince you, some EV owners are eligible for a tax break as high as $7,500 depending on the individual tax situation and type of vehicle. The EPA website can help you estimate just how much money you could save by making the switch. Images via Airwheel , Trinity eRoller , RJA1988 and Markus Roider

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