The Tesla of solar electric yachts launches in New Zealand

June 21, 2017 by  
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The future of boating is electric – and silent. That’s what Dutch company Soel Yachts says, and they’re bringing electric travel to the seas with their SoelCat 12. Inhabitat covered the boat’s design last year , and now the company is launching their sustainably-powered yacht in New Zealand . The yacht is kind to the environment not simply in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions , but in the reduction of noise pollution as well. The SoelCat 12, which was built in New Zealand, is powered by the sun. Soel Yachts describes the boat as the ‘ Tesla on the water,’ noting while cars are transitioning over to being powered by electricity , the same movement largely hasn’t occurred in boating. They want to revolutionize the boating industry, and are debuting the SoelCat 12, designed in partnership with Naval DC , in Auckland, New Zealand this week. Related: Solar-powered yacht sails silently for a cleaner, greener eco-tourism experience The company says it wasn’t enough to just stick an electric motor on a boat. They kept electric propulsion in mind as they designed the SoelCat 12, evidenced for example in the highly efficient lines of the hull. Traveling at a speed of eight knots, the yacht can run simply on battery power for six hours. Reducing the speed to six knots, the boat can travel for 24 hours – even at night when the yacht’s solar panels aren’t harvesting energy. The boat’s systems can be monitored on a phone or tablet, allowing boaters to see their energy use as in a Tesla, according to Soel Yachts. Soel Yachts co-founder Joep Koster said in a statement the SoelCat 12 “reduces all disturbing sound and CO2 emissions in our harbors, lagoons, and oceans .” The solar electric yacht quietly glides through waves, minimizing disturbance in the form of noise pollution to marine life. And the yacht is still useful even when it’s not in use. Soel Yachts says the boat can become a mobile power station, offering energy for as much as five homes, even in remote locations. + Soel Yachts + Naval DC Images courtesy of Soel Yachts

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The Tesla of solar electric yachts launches in New Zealand

This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool

June 21, 2017 by  
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Abita Brewing Company has been a tastemaker since 1986, both in terms of craft beer – you’ve probably sipped their Purple Haze – and in sustainability . Before Heinekin opened a carbon neutral brewery or Sierra Nevada installed a Tesla Powerpack system , Abita invested in clean tech because they felt it was the right thing to do. Inhabitat visited brewery headquarters in Abita Springs, Louisiana and spoke with President David Blossman and Director of Brewing Operations Jaime Jurado about the decision to go green well before other breweries in the United States. Abita was the first brewery in North America to put in an energy-efficient Merlin Brewhouse – or the vessels in which beer is brewed – back in 2001. Craft beer wasn’t as big back then – Blossman said business was “sideways at best” but Abita took a chance and installed the expensive brewhouse because they figured craft beer would eventually take off. Related: San Diego brewery unveils beer made from 100% recycled wastewater Jurado said, “Dave made decisions on renewable tech long before anyone else did.” One such decision was the installation of a rooftop solar array atop their bottling facility. Every year the solar panels generate around 116,180 kilowatt-hours (kWh), avoiding around 81.3 tons of carbon dioxide. 25 percent of the bottling plant’s roof is covered in the photovoltaics, which provide around five to seven percent of all the electricity Abita consumes. A wastewater treatment plant behind the brewery provides more power. The plant treats all the brewery wastewater, and bacteria anaerobically produce biogas , which comprises 17 percent of the natural gas the brewery uses. Although the Merlin brewhouse was forward-thinking when Abita first installed it, they recently put in the Krones EquiTherm brewhouse, which is even more energy- and water-efficient. It was the first one installed in the United States, and also allows for more flexibility in the types of beer Abita can brew. Heat from the brewhouse is recovered and reused; Jurado said, “We use a lot of heat but we recover a majority of the heat so we net out saving energy .” Breweries also use carbon dioxide (CO2) in their process, and it has to be heated to stay in a gas state. Meanwhile, warm water used in the packaging process needs to be cooled, so Abita came up with a system to accomplish both tasks and reduce electricity costs by around $6,000 a year. With the energy recovery system, they can use CO2 in a non-contact way to turn it into gas and cool the water. Even beyond the brewing process, Abita considers the environment . Jurado said, “Our bottle is not the industry standard bottle, which is called the long neck. You see them in Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser, Shiner products. Dave uses the heritage bottle which uses 11 percent less glass and 11 percent less energy.” The squatter bottle isn’t as noticeable on the shelf, but as Jurado said, “11 percent spoke a language.” The recyclable bottle requires less paper for labels and is still the standard 12 ounces. Plus more cases of beer inside heritage bottles fit on trucks. But the most sustainable packaging is stainless steel kegs, according to Jurado, which can be refilled over and over. Larger breweries only have around nine percent of sales in kegs, but they comprise 30 percent of Abita’s sales. Blossman told Inhabitat, “If you’re going to do something, you want to use less natural resources whether that be in natural gas or grain or water – they’re all important.” As many breweries do, Abita gives their spent grain – or the grain leftover after the brewing process – to farmers for feed. But the brewery is located close to dairy farmers so their spent grain doesn’t even have to travel that far. Abita Brewing Company fits right in to the town of Abita Springs, Louisiana, which recently became the first in the state and 24th American city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. In St. Tammany Parish, where Abita is located, there are currently only three electric vehicle charging stations, but Abita Springs will soon have the fourth, sponsored by the brewery. The brewery has also given back in the form of charity beers, such as the Save Our Shore pilsner they brewed following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. They raised over $600,000 that went towards restoring coastal wetland habitats and helping struggling fishermen and their families. If you want to find out more about green brewing at Abita, check out their website . + Abita Brewing Company Images courtesy Abita Brewing Company and via Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat

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This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool

Sweden’s legendary ICEHOTEL taps solar power to stay open year-round

September 13, 2016 by  
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The sparkling, chilly beauty of northern Sweden’s ICEHOTEL brings in thousands of visitors each year, only to melt away each spring. That will all change with a new addition projected to open this December, which will stay open into the sunny summer months thanks to a rooftop solar panel addition. Guests will be able to enjoy both the fire of the midnight sun and their icy accommodations at the same time. The ICEHOTEL has been operational for 26 years, with the same routine of preparing the destination each winter and shutting down each spring. The new hotel wing will be open 365 days a year in response to customer demand for a cool place to stay after a late night hike or dogsled adventure in the sun. Related: ICEHOTEL unveils breathtaking rooms carved from solid ice During the summer months, the addition will generate power from the sun day and night via photovoltaic rooftop panels provided by partner Solkompaniet. When the seasonal sun sets, the collection of 20 suites, ice bar, and gallery will join the rest of the ICEHOTEL, which is three times its size, for the winter rush. “We’ve created many temporary ice experiences in the past, and we’ve seen an increasing interest for visiting ICEHOTEL not just in winter,” stated founder Yngve Bergqvist. “Every summer we have international visitors who arrive in Jukkasjärvi and ask us where they can see ICEHOTEL – I look forward to being able to point it out to them!” + ICEHOTEL Via Design Curial Images via Asaf Kliger

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Sweden’s legendary ICEHOTEL taps solar power to stay open year-round

Green Road Trip Tips For The Summer

July 18, 2016 by  
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Ah, summer! The season of barbecues, picnics, camping, delicious fresh fruit and summertime adventures. One of my favorite things to do through the summer is take a road trip — with family, friends and sometimes even a short solo journey. I find…

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World’s first intelligent suitcase can recognize and follow its owner

July 12, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyHJiTdoHs4 Olive is more than just a place to store your clothes when you go on vacation — it actually interacts with its user and navigates itself through crowded hallways and terminals. With a Segway-like two-wheeled balancing system, it maintains perfect balance and maneuverability even surrounded by heavy foot traffic. The robot is able to recognize and follow its owner using a 3D image processing system and built-in proximity sensors. With the turn of a knob, the suitcase can be transformed into a two-wheeled vehicle that tired travelers can use to propel themselves quickly. Related: Case of Bass Turns Vintage Suitcases Into Travel-Themed Boomboxes That’s not all that Olive can do. The bag is equipped with an alarm that will alert you if you accidentally leave it behind, as well as an automatic lock to keep your travel gear safe when it’s not in use. If your bag gets lost? Not a problem — it’s equipped with GPS and 3G/4G technology so you can track it no matter where the bag is in the world. The suitcase even comes with a partner app that automatically weighs your luggage for you, helping you avoid costly extra fees at the airport. As if that weren’t all good enough already, it’s also equipped with a 10,000 mAh battery so you can keep your phone and devices charged throughout your journey. Recently, Olive was awarded first place at Germany’s Start Up World competition in the service robotics category. Though Olive isn’t yet ready for mass production, the creators are looking for investors to help bring their vision of “one person, one robot” to life. + Olive

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Paris redesigns its famous squares to make them pedestrian and bike friendly

April 14, 2016 by  
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Floating catamaran hotels are perfect for a low-impact getaway

April 5, 2016 by  
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This project, developed by Salt & Water design studio, aims at promoting low-impact tourism on inland waters. Consisting of small, floating catamarans, the floating hotel is a perfect solution for tourism without any violation of the natural harmony of the place itself. Floating hotel consists of two different parts – a central floating base and multiple apartment catamaran units. The central floating construction consists of reception, restaurant, event hall, offices for staff and a café). Each apartment is an innovatively-designed catamaran which can be easily separated from the dock and navigated, allowing guests to choose the perfect location for their vacation. Each catamaran consists of a salon, a galley, a bathroom, a hall with storage space and a sleeping area. The main idea is to allow users to enjoy their visit through a navigation at a very slow speed and with an uninterrupted view of the nature around. For this reason the catamarans have this unusual shape with large windows in the front. Catamarans-apartments can be considered as “frames of the nature” – connecting the guests with the water and the sky and isolating them from the everyday’s stress. The design won the Millennium Yacht Design Award . + Salt and Water The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Charming off-the-grid teardrop trailer is perfect for the eco-minded adventurer

March 10, 2016 by  
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Foldable Wide Path Camper is a whole different kind of bike trailer

October 25, 2015 by  
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The streets of Paris will go car-free for one day in September

August 24, 2015 by  
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France is declaring itself the leader of sustainable transportation , making the streets of Paris car free for one entire day. On September 27th, A Day Without Cars (Paris Sans Voiture) will make the French capital a pedestrian and bicycle paradise. Organized by the government, tourists and locals alike will be able to enjoy Paris even more- without traffic congestion, the honking of horns or car exhaust. Read the rest of The streets of Paris will go car-free for one day in September

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