These bold, eco-friendly bathrooms reduce water usage by 80%

August 3, 2018 by  
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Hong Kong-based design practice Ida&Billy Architects have completed an unusually eye-catching bathroom redesign for a Guangzhou shopping mall that boasts striking looks and sustainable elements. Crafted with human comfort in mind, these renovated toilets at the TaiKoo Hui mixed-use development are almost a destination in themselves due to the colorful patterned aesthetic, sculptural clean lines and adherence to green design principles. In addition to the use of recycled materials and gray water recycling systems, the eco-friendly bathrooms also feature air-purifying indoor plants. Tucked underground, the bathrooms at TaiKoo Hui are designed to embrace their subterranean location with a modern grotto-like appearance featuring curved doorways and openings. White paint brightens up the curved walls while LED strips illuminate the space. The original bathroom layout was preserved during the renovation to minimize structural and piping changes. The original sandstone and gray tiles were crushed and turned into aggregate for the newly cast dark gray terrazzo floors. “The sustainable design toilet aims to raise the environmental awareness in the public realm and to become the role model of sustainability in the commercial and retail sector,” the architects explained in their project statement. “The design aims to tie back to nature, formally as well as environmentally. Sustainability, spatial sculpting and human comfort drive the whole design.” Related: 8 toilet designs that could save millions of lives around the world The architects chose glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GRG) panels (made with recycled content) to create the curved surfaces that seamlessly connect the walls to the ceilings in the eco-friendly bathrooms. Aided by two fans for circulation, indoor plants improve indoor oxygen levels and bring a splash of green to the windowless space. Collected and filtered gray water is used for irrigation. The waterless urinal and water-saving toilets are estimated to save water usage by 80 percent and reduce waste by 60 percent on a daily basis. + Ida&Billy Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Ida&Billy Architects

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These bold, eco-friendly bathrooms reduce water usage by 80%

The Goldtree House is designed for sustainable family living

August 3, 2018 by  
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When kids hit their teens, your house suddenly feels smaller. The atmosphere is hectic, groups of friends traipse in and out, and parents often retreat to a bedroom for peace and quiet. However, one clever family with teenage twins got ahead of the curve, asking Hartree and Associates Architects to remodel their home to accommodate these changes and create a private apartment for the parents down the road. The owners of the Goldtree House, a 1950s home in East Fremantle, Australia, wanted the renovation to include ample space for their children to entertain guests, as well as help the house withstand frequently inclement weather. They also needed a revamp that adhered to their firm budget while providing the best views of nearby Fremantle Harbor. The first step was removing the existing roof and constructing a new top story. The added level includes a new master bedroom, plenty of living space, and a kitchen with sweeping views all around. The owners envision this level as their private “apartment” many years in the future. The ground level is devoted to the needs and tastes of teenagers and their friends. The internal spaces were simplified and revamped to include ample views of the surrounding landscape as well as optimum sunlight and a current of internal breezes. The floor plan easily flows from the entryway to the great room for adolescent games and socializing. It also provides easy access to the terrace, thriving garden and pool, the latter of which was designed to eliminate the need for a privacy fence. Related: A 1950s house receives a bioclimatic renovation in Mexico Besides a photovoltaic solar panel array , the home also includes eco-friendly water and energy management through natural air ventilation, energy-efficient fixtures and equipment, and native garden plants that require minimum watering. Two wind turbines and storage batteries for power are also part of the home’s green technology. The twins were involved in the renovation from inception through completion, which gave them a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. They proudly share the outcome with their friends. + Hartree and Associates Architects Images via Robert Frith

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The Goldtree House is designed for sustainable family living

A beautiful "canopy of light" resurrects the Guangzhou East Railway Station in China

June 23, 2017 by  
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One of the biggest railway terminals in China recently received an extensive renovation that shelters the main entrance with a beautiful “canopy of light.” The Architectural design and Research Institute of SCUT renovated the landmark Guangzhou East Railway Station by installing artificial landscape elements, repairing the public spaces , and introducing a series of amenities that meet the requirements of a modern railway station. The station was constructed in the mid 1990s, and it suffered from poorly organized of circulation and ventilation routes. Guangzhou won the bid to host the 2010 Asian Games, which provided it with the opportunity to upgrade the station and convert it into the valuable public space it’s supposed to be. Related: Renovated Paris Rail Station Will House 1000 Start-Ups! The architects cut several openings into the floor to allow natural light to filter inside. They moved the main entrance from the ground floor to the upper level and created a curved glass canopy that protects pedestrians from excessive sunlight and rain. All the metal elements are modular , and they were prefabricated in local factories and installed on site. A recent renovation round, executed six years after the Asian Games, introduced smaller elements like a loop-shaped kiosk, translucent curtains beneath the roof and other public amenities. + Architectural design and Research Institute of SCUT Photos by Liky Lam

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A beautiful "canopy of light" resurrects the Guangzhou East Railway Station in China

Doctors warn cities that LED street lights can cause serious health issues

June 23, 2017 by  
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Many cities have shifted to LED lights in a bid to be more energy and cost efficient, but LED lights have another price, and it comes at our health. This week, the American Medical Association (AMA) issued an official statement, in which they warn that cities need to consider resident’s health when installing the bright lighting because it can cause damage to our sight and disrupt our circadian rhythms. Think of it as living with a bunch of giant computer screens blaring around your neighborhood, and you get the idea. The AMA unanimously adopted an official policy  giving cities guidelines for installing lighting that takes human health into account. These guidelines include keeping lighting at a temperature of 3000 Kelvin – within the warmer spectrum of light that humans are accustomed to. The guidelines also call for dimmer lighting that isn’t so harsh on our vision. Related: A Simple Change in Lighting Could Be the Secret to Beating the Monday Blues It’s easy to forget about how much of an impact lighting has on our health because it is so ubiquitous. But bright LED lighting, particularly bright lighting in the cooler temperature spectrum, can actually damage our retinas and contribute to glare that can cause temporary, or even permanent vision loss. Blue-spectrum lights and lights above the 3000k recommendation can also impact our sleep by disrupting human circadian rhythms . Essentially, your body thinks it is morning even though you are trying to get some sleep, which can lead to all kinds of problems, from fatigue to even an increased risk for breast cancer. These bright lights can impact wildlife as well, disrupting bird migration, feeding and sleep behaviors. And let’s not forget that the dark sky is vanishing at an alarming rate. The AMA calls for efficient lighting that minimizes the blue spectrum and that is shielded to protect against glare. It also calls for dimming during non-peak periods, like the early morning. Via CNN images via Flickr and  Pixabay

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Doctors warn cities that LED street lights can cause serious health issues

Enchanting tiny home combines French rustic charms and modern luxuries

June 23, 2017 by  
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French rustic charms and modern luxuries come together in this beautiful tiny home on wheels. France’s tiny house company Baluchon has outdone themselves again in their latest build called the Ostara, a tiny home built on a six-meter trailer. Currently located near a horse farm in Toulouse, the light-filled timber abode looks surprisingly spacious despite its small size and sleeps two in a loft bedroom. Custom built for clients Nathalie and Sebastien, Ostara was named after the stable close to the tiny home’s location. Although charming and rustic on the outside, the spruce -clad Ostara makes a grand impression with its large French doors flanked with curtains that open up to a light-filled living room. A large 1.8-meter-long sofa forms the living room’s focal point and can also comfortably lodge an overnight guest. A small bookcase, wood-burning stove , and a small dining table that accommodates three people is located to the left. To the right of the living room is the kitchen with a full-size sink, pantry, two-burner stovetop, fridge/freezer, and a gorgeous extendable wooden countertop. The bathroom with a full-size shower and composting toilet are tucked into the end of the home. Related: Fully-furnished tiny house from France easily fits a family of three A corner staircase with built-in storage leads up to the mezzanine with a large loft bed . Multiple double-glazed openings, including a broad bay window and one-meter-wide circular window, punctuate the home and provide views of the horses and rural surroundings. Sheep wool, cotton, linen, hemp, and wood fibers were used for insulation. The home is made from locally sourced materials. Baluchon’s beautiful homes are only delivered in France due to the company’s desire to limit carbon emissions. + Baluchon Via Tiny House Talk

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Enchanting tiny home combines French rustic charms and modern luxuries

Spiky sweets shop makes extraordinary use of the common traffic stopper

June 23, 2017 by  
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This new ice cream shop in Pozna?, Poland is a treat for the stomach—and the eyes. Clad in nearly a thousand white traffic cones, this spiky mobile shop for LODOVNIA is the creative work of local studio mode:lina architects . The eye-catching facade shows off an extraordinary use of an ordinary object, and references the conical shape of the ice cream cone. Completed this month, the LODOVNIA ice cream shop is a 35-square-meter building currently docked in the heart of Pozna?’s Stary Browar. Its sculptural facade is a response to the shop’s central location in the Courtyard of Art and LODOVNIA’s signature product: ice cream served in a cone. Nearly one thousand white traffic cones protrude out of the shop’s facade in five directions, giving it a whimsical and prickly appearance. Large glazed panels allow passersby to peek into the shop and also reflect Stary Browar’s surrounding architecture. In contrast to the white cones, the rest of the facade is painted black. Related: Hedgehog Concert Pavilion Makes Traffic Cones Beautiful “The interior is a black and white composition as well, warmed by triangle-shaped elements made of natural plywood,” wrote mode:lina. “Both the triangles and the shape of a sport cone further connect with the letter V in LODOVNIA’s logo, which makes the architectural result consistent with the ice cream shop’s visual identity system.” + mode:lina Images by Patryk Lewin?ski

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Spiky sweets shop makes extraordinary use of the common traffic stopper

"World’s saddest polar bear" will get temporary reprieve from tiny mall cage

November 14, 2016 by  
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Pizza the polar bear , known as the “world’s saddest polar bear,” will get a temporary reprieve from her cage at the Grandview Mall Aquarium in Guangzhou, China . As the mall makes minor alterations, Pizza will temporarily return to her birthplace, according to the aquarium . But many animal rights organizations say the sorrowful polar bear should not have to live in a mall at all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yuRaNlx0bk “Pizza the polar bear will temporarily leave Guangzhou and return to her birthplace,” The Grandview Mall Aquarium said on their social media account on WeChat . The three-year-old polar bear was born at a zoo in Tianjin, a city in northeastern China, according to The Guardian. The mall did not state when Pizza would return, but in the meantime, their facilities will undergo renovations. The New York Times said Pizza’s enclosure will be doubled as part of the alterations, based on an article in The Guangzhou Daily. Related: “World’s saddest polar bear” offered new home at UK wildlife park Several other animals, including beluga whales, arctic foxes, walruses and a wolf also live at the Grandview Mall Aquarium, and animal rights campaigners say their predicament should not be forgotten. Capital Animal Welfare Association Director Qin Xiaona told The New York Times, “We still want to see the aquarium closed once and for all, to see all the animals moved.” Back in October, three Chinese organizations and Humane Society International (HSI) spoke out about Pizza’s ongoing plight, pointing to videos of the polar bear pacing and swinging her head as confirmation of her declining mental state. The groups said the mall should be shut down. HSI campaigner Peter Li told The Guardian, “No amount of renovation could ever make a shopping mall a suitable place for this animal.” He said it would be cruel and heartless to return Pizza to the Grandview Mall Aquarium. Via The Guardian and The New York Times Images via screenshot

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"World’s saddest polar bear" will get temporary reprieve from tiny mall cage

Futuristic office in China captures the awesome spirit of the Internet

July 6, 2016 by  
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Located inside an existing 20,000-square-meter industrial building, the recently completed Cloud DCS office and product gallery is the first part of a larger master plan with similarly futuristic buildings. The celestial-inspired office space features a curvaceous interior with a gradient of seven shades of blue to symbolize the fluidity of the Internet. Images of clouds are printed onto several surfaces as a nod to the company’s cloud computing software. Related: Shanghai Dragon: Futuristic Office by Morphosis “We wanted to capture the idea of flying through the sky, like when you look outside the window of an airplane,” said Italian architect Alberto Puchetti of Arboit Ltd. according to Azure Magazine . The space eschews hard edges for rounded corners to create a seamless and continuously flowing effect. The river-like flooring is complemented with white translucent stretch fabric that lines the ceilings and illuminated by colored LEDs . A large meeting room with oval windows sits at the center of the room like a nucleus overlooking at the different areas of the single-level space. + Arboit Ltd. Via Azure Images via Arboit Ltd.

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California solar energy generation jumped 1,378% in 5 years

July 6, 2016 by  
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Look out, world, California is coming to save you. A recent report shows that solar energy generation in the Golden State has exploded since 2009 , along with zero emission vehicle use and other renewable resource reliance. We might just have a chance at fighting climate change , after all. Findings from nonprofit group Next 10 ’s most recent California Green Innovation Index were released late last month, revealing how green the state has become in the last few years. Along with the startling 1,378 percent rise in solar energy, renewable energy of all sorts accounted for 25 percent of all retail electricity sales. This high energy efficiency helped lead to a 20 percent lower electric bill for residents, on average, in 2014 alone. Related: MIT’s groundbreaking new transparent film stores solar energy in glass or clothing Zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) have seen a 244 percent jump in registrations over the last two years, hinting toward a trend that could put a serious dent in our fossil fuel reliance within the next decade. F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10, said, “ California is not only the fourth-most energy productive economy in the world, the state also leads in key clean tech indicators, like clean tech patents and investment. Much of the rest of the nation is following our lead.” Via Clean Technica Images via Flickr , Next 10

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California solar energy generation jumped 1,378% in 5 years

SunFire fights energy poverty in Africa with parabolic solar kits

July 6, 2016 by  
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The main element of the new Clean Energy Kits is the SunFire12 parabolic cooker . Measuring nearly four feet wide, the cooker concentrates sunlight onto a focal point, where black pots or pans best suited to absorb heat are placed. SunFire says it takes 12 minutes to boil 0.3 gallons (or one liter) of water. This might seem like a lot of time to westerners accustomed to easy energy access, but the additional time spent cooking comes with the benefit of being free and clean. One cooker can easily provide a meal for up to six people, according to the company, requires no maintenance, and boasts a 10-year lifespan. In communities the SunFire folks have visited, local people have told them, “the trees are running away from us”. They’re alluding to deforestation sweeping across Africa as demand for cooking fuel increases alongside population growth. Addressing this, the SunFire Rocket converts “small amounts of food into large pots of food.” Using 50 percent less fuel than a standard wood-burning device and “virtually smokeless,” the Rocket is said to be South Africa’s most efficient wood-burning stove. It is included in the kit for use on days when the sun doesn’t shine. Related: Solar Sister empowers women to bring solar energy to rural Africa Completing their Clean Energy Kits are insulated SunBags, or heat retained bags, which can be used to complete the food-cooking process without using fuel, thereby conserving resources. SunFire says their bags save time for other activities and money, retain nutrients and flavor, and act as “bush fridges” in places that lack electricity to keep food cool. Menzies told Inhabitat, “SunFire believes the best way to make Solar Cookers more accessible is by inspiring entrepreneurs to create small Solar Cooker businesses in their own communities.” This would make a difference at the grassroots level and create new jobs in rural areas. “It still seems incredible to me that there are 3 billion people or just over half the world’s population forced to use firewood to cook when Solar Cookers can easily do the job,” he said. “I aim to spend my life making the tech more readily available where it’s most needed and created SunFire to change the world one meal at a time.” + SunFire Solutions

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SunFire fights energy poverty in Africa with parabolic solar kits

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