Free at last: Canada passes Act to prohibit dolphin and whale captivity

June 13, 2019 by  
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This week, Canada’s parliament passed a long awaited Act that will prohibits whales, dolphins and porpoises from being bred or contained in captivity. Originally proposed in 2015 by then Senator Wilfred Moore from Nova Scotia, the legislation received broad support from the public and considerable pressure from animal rights groups. “Nothing fantastic ever happens in a hurry. But today we celebrate that we have ended the captivity and breeding of whales and dolphins. This is news to splash a fin at,” Humane Canada said in a tweet. The Senate voted to pass the “Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act” last year, and on Monday the House of Commons finally approved the legislation. The fine for breaking the new law is about $150,000. Related: German circus goes cruelty gree by replacing animals with holograms The legislation does contain exceptions, including mammals that are already held in captivity, those contained for injury rehabilitation and those held for licensed scientific research. Hopefully, these exceptions will have effective oversight that will not lead the way for companies to exploit as loopholes. The legislation will impact a few sites in Canada, including Marineland, which currently has 61 whales, dolphins and an orca. Marineland originally opposed the Act but has since agreed to go along with the legislation. The Act will also impact the Niagara Falls Amusement Park and a zoo . The Vancouver Aquarium also announced last year that it would no longer display dolphins and whales after public pressure. “The public told us they believed the continuing importation and display of these intelligent and sociable mammals was unethical and incompatible with evolving public opinion and we amended our bylaws accordingly,” said the Vancouver Park Board in a statement. In the U.S., amusement parks like SeaWorld continue to host dolphin shows despite protests . Animal rights activists have been campaigning for this change in Canada and throughout the world under the hashtags #freewilly and #emptythetanks. Via NPR Image via skeeze

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Free at last: Canada passes Act to prohibit dolphin and whale captivity

Twisting brick facade fronts an innovative courtyard house near Chicago

June 12, 2019 by  
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In a Chicago suburb full of traditional gabled rooflines, California-based architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa has inserted a modern dwelling that puts a sculptural twist on a humble and overlooked building material: Chicago “Common” brick. Historically considered unattractive and only fit for unseen areas such as chimney flues, Chicago “Common” brick is given renewed attention in a recently completed courtyard house , dubbed the Thayer Brick House. Not only does the contemporary home use the brick for almost its entire facade, but it also shines the spotlight on the local resource with a sculptural, street-facing facade that’s made with twisting columns of stacked brick. Made from indigenous Michigan clay, Chicago “Common” brick has long been considered undesirable and cheap due to its variations and irregularities. Instead of the classic red color, the prosaic material takes on a more yellow hue and has been traditionally used for areas hidden from the street, such as the side and back walls, chimney flues and structural support behind the facades. In making Chicago “Common” brick highly visible in the Thayer Brick House, Brooks + Scarpa is celebrating a local material and inviting passersby to reconsider unexpected uses for everyday materials and concepts. Related: A mountain refuge in Spain is brought back to life with brickwork “By using the familiar in an unfamiliar location and application, the material becomes perceptually both old and new at the same time,” the firm said. “This makes one more aware of not just the building, but also our sense of place. There is a sense of discovery, something spontaneous and unexpected. The object is important, but it’s the experience that has a profound impact and leaves something that lasts well beyond the mere physical and visual existence of the building. This gives us the opportunity to not only learn about design but also about ourselves, our collective cultures and our place in society.” The use of Chicago “Common” brick helps contextualize the building and gives the building an unexpected appearance. The street-facing facade is made up of columns of brick rotated at varying degrees to make the courtyard look open or closed depending on where the viewer stands. Passersby can see the full effect of the facade, which has a moire-like pattern that appears to move as one walks past it. The sculptural facade also has the added benefit of reducing glare and providing privacy to the fully glazed interior volume. + Brooks + Scarpa Photography by Marty Peters and Brooks + Scarpa

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Twisting brick facade fronts an innovative courtyard house near Chicago

5 Recommendations When Building an Energy-Efficient House

June 12, 2019 by  
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There are two ways to create an energy-efficient house: Make … The post 5 Recommendations When Building an Energy-Efficient House appeared first on Earth911.com.

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5 Recommendations When Building an Energy-Efficient House

Maven Moment: The Produce Vendor

June 12, 2019 by  
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Part of the fun of shopping with Mom was hearing … The post Maven Moment: The Produce Vendor appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: The Produce Vendor

Should I Replace My Roof Before Going Solar?

June 7, 2019 by  
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If you have decided to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) … The post Should I Replace My Roof Before Going Solar? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Should I Replace My Roof Before Going Solar?

Innovative micro-house uses digital fabrication on low-cost timber construction

June 6, 2019 by  
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Can digital fabrication unlock a new frontier in low-cost timber construction? All signs point to yes in the IBA Timber Prototype House, a micro-architecture project that’s been playfully described as “a log cabin turned on its side” by its designers at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction at the University of Stuttgart . Designed to meet PassivHaus standards, the airtight and highly sustainable building system was developed as part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Thueringen and is currently on show in Apolda until September 29. The IBA Timber Prototype House shows how computational design and fabrication technologies can turn low-cost timber construction into an environmentally friendly, economical and architecturally expressive way to build. The mono-material building consists of a series of staggered upright spruce timber frames with thin slits that serve as stress-relief cuts to prevent splitting and dead-air chambers to increase insulation values without compromising structural capacity. Digital fabrication and five-axis CNC milling also allowed for the creation of precision-cut airtight joints for connecting the timber elements so that no metal fasteners or adhesives were needed in construction. “Conventional building systems have a vast array of different materials embedded in them, which often have very high embedded energy costs and are difficult to separate for recycling ,” explains the ICD team. “In contrast, this research draws on traditional joinery, and a system was developed that relies purely on wood elements for structural connections and airtight enclosure, minimizing system layers and ensuring easy disassembly for end-of-life recycling. Furthermore, the project sources all the wood from within the state of Thueringen, where the demonstrator was built, allowing the team to minimize the embodied energy costs associated with moving materials over transportation networks.” Related: This geometric pod is an ultra-light micro-office on wheels The tiny building’s curving walls and roof are also a result of digital fabrication, while simulations of the home’s energy efficiency—the house achieves a U-value of 0.20 W/(m^2K) without additional insulation—have indicated that the prototype should perform up to PassivHaus standards even during cold German winters. + ICD Photos by Thomas Mueller

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Innovative micro-house uses digital fabrication on low-cost timber construction

How to celebrate World Environment Day

June 5, 2019 by  
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Today, June 5, is World Environment Day! There are many ways that you can celebrate today, and you can use the celebration as a start to building more healthy, environmentally friendly habits. Here are some suggestions for fun activities and behavior changes to consider today and every day. Group activities for World Environment Day Plan a clean-up Get together with friends and neighbors for a clean-up activity in your area, such as at a beach, park or river. Get outside Getting outside doesn’t necessarily help nature , but taking the time to enjoy it and remember why it is essential to protect in the first place is a great way to honor the environment. Find a local hiking group or coordinate a picnic in the park. If your friends aren’t as excited about outdoor activities as you are, search for outdoorsy MeetUp groups in your area and meet some new, like-minded friends. Write to your senators What environmental issues are important to you and your family? This year, the theme of World Environment Day is “Air Pollution.” Find out what your local government is doing to protect the air quality in your area and write to your senator or representatives about your concerns. Healthy personal habits you can start now Use less water Small changes in how you use water at home can add up to a significant difference and conserve a lot of water in the long run. Turn off your tap when you are brushing your teeth. Be mindful of how long your shower is. When washing dishes, fill up a pot or large mixing bowl with warm water and dish soap. Use that water to scrub all of your dishes at once, and then turn on the tap only to rinse. Do not keep the tap running the whole time to wash and rinse each dish individually. Walk more You’ve heard it a million times, but have you implemented more walking in your own life? Consider the places you go often, like work, and figure out if there are ways that you can walk — even if it is only once or twice a week. Walking is great for your health, cuts down on transportation-related carbon emissions and allows you to get to know your neighborhood in a completely different way. Carpool Take the time to discuss with friends, family and coworkers before an event or activity and find out how you can cut down on the number of cars. For places that you go frequently — like work — get to know who lives near you and decide if you can agree on a schedule to carpool. Switch your light bulbs Every time a light bulb burns out in your house, switch to a long-lasting LED bulb . These light bulbs reduce your energy consumption and last a very long time. Buy energy-efficient appliances When possible, choose ENERGY STAR-rated appliances. It is an extra cost upfront, but it will significantly reduce your energy bill long into the future. Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home Keep fridge coils and AC vents clean If the coils on your refrigerator and the vents on your air conditioner are kept clean, they won’t need to use up additional energy just to cool to the regular temperature. Recycle e-waste When your cellphone or laptop breaks, bring it to an e-waste recycle facility rather than letting it sit around your house or tossing it into the trash. Shut off your devices When you are finished using it, turn off your computer and monitor. Avoid overcharging your cellphone or leaving it to charge overnight. Ideally, shut off your TV and other appliances through the main switch or outlet, not just the remote, so that you break the circuit and save energy . Switch to sustainable products Consider the products you use at home, like cleaning supplies and toothpaste . Switch to something more eco-friendly, ideally made from natural, biodegradable materials in plastic-free or fully recyclable packaging. Via News 18 Images via Riccardo Chiarini , Brian Yurasits and Arek Adeoye

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How to celebrate World Environment Day

LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

June 5, 2019 by  
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The University of California Santa Barbara boasts not only a beautiful campus near the ocean, but also recently completed student housing that’s been certified LEED Platinum . Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing was created to take advantage of the region’s ideal coastal climate to reduce energy demands. In addition to the use of passive design principles, the project employs several other sustainable strategies such as bioswales, solar water heating, and increased insulation. The project is 20 percent over California’s Title 24 requirements. Spanning an area of 95,000 square feet, the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing comprises seven structures that augment the existing housing volumes and student facilities located at the university’s 15-acre North Campus. LOHA designed the new housing clusters to align with the existing community’s scale and character while creating an environment that would encourage greater social activity. Related: These stunning student housing apartments are inspired by tiny homes “UCSB dormitories have typically pushed circulation to their exterior envelope, with an inert central courtyard accessible only from within the building,” explain the architects. “LOHA’s design inverts this circulation scheme, designing a reductive exterior edge with an open, lively interior courtyard containing all building circulation, encouraging movement throughout the complex. Social hubs (reading rooms, gathering spaces, dining) are dispersed and floated above others. This distribution of spaces creates varied student experiences to generate a healthy campus culture.” Durability was a major driving feature in the design as well. The San Joaquin Student Housing complex’s street-facing facade is clad in corrugated metal panels, while the interior-facing elevations are covered in painted plaster punctuated by aluminum fins that support the elevated walkways finished with industrial cable mesh. Aluminum sunshades provide protection from unwanted solar gain and passive fresh air intake units are installed at each unit’s entryway. The project also boasts a built environment that’s over 90 percent permeable, a boon for stormwater management and for preventing onsite heat island effects. + LOHA Photos by Bruce Damonte

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LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

A 1989 Airstream is converted into a modern home on wheels for a family of 6

June 5, 2019 by  
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Colorado-based Timeless Travel Trailers has unveiled a bevy of stunning converted Airstreams , but its latest design is by far one of its best. Re-configuring a 30-year-old, 37-foot Airstream Excella for a family of six was challenging to say the least, but the designers came through in spades, creating a sleek, contemporary home on wheels complete with plenty of seating and sleeping space for the family. Families often dream of hitting the road in a beautiful RV, but when it comes to large families, the logistics of traveling with so many can be a headache. Thankfully, when the design team was approached by a New York family about renovating an old Airstream that would be able to comfortably hold their family of six, the Colorado-based company took the challenge head on. Related: Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals After cleaning up the Airstream’s signature aluminum cladding on the exterior and interior, the designers went to work creating a comfortable living space. Having gutted the original interior, the team custom-built three sofas that would fit in the living space. Not only do the sofas provide ample seating, but two of the couches fold out into a full-sized bed. Additionally, there are four bunk beds in the master bedroom, two of which convert into a king-sized bed. With the sleeping and seating spaces taken care of, the designers then focused on creating special touches for the family’s needs. On the main wall of the interior, they installed a pop-up projection screen with a stereo system for the ultimate movie nights. Adjacent to the living room, the contemporary kitchen is light and airy thanks to marble veneer waterfall countertops and white cabinetry. Across the aisle, a nook was built out with a small bar that includes a wine chiller and hide-away liquor storage that lifts up from the counter at the push of a button — a perfect feature to help the adults unwind. + Timeless Travel Trailers Images via Timeless Travel Trailers

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A 1989 Airstream is converted into a modern home on wheels for a family of 6

An energy-optimized extension pierces a renovated brick bungalow

June 4, 2019 by  
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Having outgrown their single-story bungalow, a family approached Ghent-based architectural firm WE-S architecten for an expansion and renovation that would also bolster the home’s energy performance. The architects responded with an unusual proposal: an extension that appears to pierce straight through the existing structure at an angle. Clad in brick , the House TlL in Pittem, Belgium now spans 3,025 square feet with an east-west addition that follows site-specific passive design principles for improved energy performance. The clients’ former bungalow was not only poorly insulated , but also suffered from poor space allocation: a seldom-used indoor garage had occupied about a quarter of the home’s footprint. After conducting site studies, the architects removed the indoor garage and placed it to the front of the brick house in a covered parking pad as part of the new extension. Part of the volume is cut out of the building to maximize daylight, while the covered terrace protects the interior from cold westerly winds. Related: A mountain refuge in Spain is brought back to life with brickwork Walls of glass bring natural light and air into the interiors, which have been renovated to look bright and airy. White-painted walls and a palette of natural materials with pops of greenery help achieve a minimalist aesthetic. The roofline has also been raised to heighten the spacious feel and bring additional light indoors. An open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen occupy the heart of the brick house. The raised roofline allows for the creation of two rooms on the upper floor, one of which serves as a bedroom. “The project tries to interweave the existing bungalow within its environment with certain simplicity in planning and materialization,” explain the architects in a press release. “Variable room heights play a game of compression and decompression, which has its center of gravity in the double-height living space .” + WE-S architecten Images via Johnny Umans

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An energy-optimized extension pierces a renovated brick bungalow

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