Self-sustaining Shade House helps combat urban pollution

April 13, 2020 by  
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Bangkok-based architectural firm,  Ayutt and Associates design , has unveiled a stunning  self-sustaining home  in the Thai capital. The Shade House is a three-story home covered in the firm’s signature perforated facade that allows for optimal natural light and airflow, while simultaneously providing privacy for the homeowners. Additionally, the design incorporates several passive and active technologies, as well as an abundance of indoor pocket gardens that allow the homeowners to enjoy a serene, natural forest-like atmosphere inside their own home. Tucked into a quiet neighborhood behind the massive high rises in Bangkok, the Shade House was designed to be a serene living space for a family who wanted to live in an urban area but retain some personal  green space  to enjoy in their day-to-day lives. Accordingly, the architectural team came up with an ingenious home design that would be based on creating an “individual natural ecosystem.” Related: Spain’s San Telmo Museum Boasts a Perforated Green Façade At over 10,000 square feet, the Shade House is comprised of two main towers connected by an indoor/outdoor walkway that leads to various access points inside the home. The home’s exterior shell is made up of a perforated facade  created using aluminum panels and white slender steel rods. This system allows the home to enjoy ample sun and air ventilation, as well as a natural cooling system. In fact, according to the architects, the home allows the interior spaces to be around seven degrees cooler than the outside temperature. The  interior layout  of the home was also designed to take advantage of the natural atmosphere. The first floor of the home is designed as a “garden villa.” Separate from the family’s main living areas, this space is meant to be a welcoming social area, or can be closed off to be used as a guest home. The second floor contains the family’s main living spaces, as well as the “pool villa” that features a large swimming pool and outdoor area. Elevated off the first floor, the main living room, kitchen and dining spaces look out over the tree canopy, creating the sensation of being high up in a treehouse . The private bedrooms are located on the top floor, which rises way up over the treetops to provide a sense of privacy and relaxation. Throughout the home, an abundance of greenery has been strategically planted at virtually every corner. Between the outdoor plantings, indoor pocket gardens and a  green roof , the total vegetation currently covers 90% of the home and is expected to grow 150% larger than its beginning site over the years, eventually covering the home’s expansive exterior. + Ayutt and Associates design Via Archdaily Images via Ayutt and Associates design

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Self-sustaining Shade House helps combat urban pollution

Sherpa Light for indoor farming wins CES 2020 Innovation Award

January 27, 2020 by  
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Developed with the tagline “Grow whatever your heart desires, wherever you are,” Sherpa Light is a tunable artificial light source with the potential to replicate the exact sunlight conditions needed to grow any plant from around the world. Using tunable, full-spectrum LEDs , the device was created to emit different lighting intensities depending on the plant’s cellular structure to optimize growth. Korea-based design studio  Sherpa Space  developed the Sherpa Light and recently showcased their prototype product at CES 2020, where it was named an honoree of the event’s Innovation Award. Sherpa Space was founded to enhance plant growth through technology. The designers say that sunlight falls short of producing the optimal light settings that different plants need at different growth stages. They believe that their artificial lights, which use an adjustable combination of narrow-band LEDs, are best suited to generating the right light conditions — such as intensity, photoperiod, and quality — needed to optimize plant health, from growth and flowering to the enhancement of leaf quality and the concentration of desired chemicals in plants. “Much like how a baby first needs breastfeeding and later switches to solid foods, plants also need different lights and nutrition at different growth stages for maximum growth,” the designers said in a project statement. “For instance, flowering can be promoted in many crops by changing the wavelength given to a plant. Sherpa Space’s unique competitive advantage lies in our ability to convert light wavelengths with minimal energy loss. Using the quantum dot technology, we can provide lights of specific wavelengths optimized not only for each plant but also for each growth stage. As a result, we maximize crops’ nutrient compositions and productivity.” Related: This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive The designers also say that Sherpa Light could be the key to recreating the desired flavor components of certain fruits and vegetables that are typically only enjoyed in the region where they’re grown. For instance, they claim that mangos grown with Sherpa Light in Canada could taste just as good as those in India. There is no word yet of when this product will be made available for sale or testing.  + Sherpa Space Images via Sherpa Space and Inhabitat

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Sherpa Light for indoor farming wins CES 2020 Innovation Award

Volkswagen reveals plans for mobile electric car charging robot

January 27, 2020 by  
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As the number of electric cars continues to increase, the need for charging stations increases with it. Often, finding a charging station not only involves planning to be at the location before the car runs out of battery power, but also being able to pull into one of the (typically shared) spots to complete the actual charge. Volkswagen is developing a mobile robot that eliminates the need to plug into a charging port, bringing the charge directly to your vehicle regardless of which parking space you choose.  Using an app or V2X communication, the owner simply lets the portable charger know the car is ready for a boost. The robot, equipped with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors maneuvers through the parking garage, dodging obstacles until it locates the vehicle. The robot pulls a trailer that holds a mobile energy storage device. Once delivered to the vehicle, the robot autonomously attaches the charging unit to the car, initiating the charge. At that point, the robot is free to deliver charging devices to other cars. When the car is sufficiently charged, the robot comes back to disconnect the charging station and return it to its charging dock.  Related: Mercedes Benz presents a luxury electric car The system is currently in prototype form, and a manufacturing date has not been set. However, Volkswagen has a history of electric car innovation that leads us to believe it’s only a matter of time before the charging station comes to the car rather than the car having to track down a plugin. “The mobile charging robot will spark a revolution when it comes to charging in different parking facilities such as multi-storey car parks, parking spaces and underground car parks because we bring the charging infrastructure to the car and not the other way around. With this, we are making almost every car park electric, without any complex individual infrastructural measures,” Mark Möller, Head of Development at Volkswagen Group Components, said. + Volkswagen Images via Volkswagen

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Volkswagen reveals plans for mobile electric car charging robot

Amazing plant pods can grow more lettuce in a 1010 room than a farm can grow on 1/2 acre

May 2, 2018 by  
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Do you live in a tiny apartment and want to grow your own food ? Aggressively Organic has an answer. The Indiana-based company offers Micro Growth Chamber Systems that can grow more lettuce in a 10-by-10-foot room than an organic farm can grow on a half-acre. The systems use less water, too — a typical Aggressively Organic plant only requires watering once every few weeks. To feed the nearly 10 billion people that could be living on planet Earth by 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates food production globally will have to increase by 50 percent . The organization also said world hunger seems to be on the rise. Aggressively Organic seeks to tackle food insecurity one micro-garden at a time by giving people the tools they need to grow their own food – whether that’s in an office, dorm room or small studio apartment. Their growth systems are even suitable for people who lack gardening experience. Even cats can’t resist our delicious #BokChoy in our Micro Growth Systems. #hydroponics #AggressivelyOrganic A post shared by Aggressively Organic (@aggressivelyorganic) on Nov 7, 2017 at 7:31am PST Related: This hexagonal indoor farm grows more food in less space with 90% less water Aggressively Organic’s systems employ hydroponics in a simple form without filters or pumps. Their product consists of a foldable cardboard chamber, a liner, a coconut coir disc in which seeds are planted, reusable net cups to hold the plant, and a nutrient solution. There’s no electricity required, although growers can place their indoor gardens under a desk lamp if they can’t keep them in a windowsill. The system is extremely water efficient – it takes 25 gallons of water to grow a head of lettuce in the ground, but Aggressively Organic can produce the same amount of lettuce with 16 ounces of H2O. It’s really this simple to make a huge difference. Are you growing your own food yet? #AggressivelyOrganic A post shared by Aggressively Organic (@aggressivelyorganic) on Nov 8, 2017 at 4:42pm PST Aggressively Organic is currently manufacturing their systems and plan to begin a “Beta 2” round of orders this month. The company will offer different options of its Micro Growth Chamber Systems: a nine pack, which includes nine systems, 108 refills of seeds of your choosing and a grow light for $119; a six pack, with 72 refills and a grow light for $92; or a three pack, with 36 refills and a grow light for $74. Learn more on the Aggressively Organic website . + Aggressively Organic Images courtesy of Aggressively Organic

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Amazing plant pods can grow more lettuce in a 1010 room than a farm can grow on 1/2 acre

Scientists harvest the first ever Antarctic vegetables

April 5, 2018 by  
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Fresh, local produce might have seemed like an impossibility in Antarctica — until now. The experimental greenhouse EDEN-ISS at Alfred Wegener Institute ‘s Neumayer-Station III recently harvested their first crops: 18 cucumbers, 70 radishes, and nearly eight pounds of lettuce. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) described this achievement as the “first harvested Antarctic salad.” The EDEN-ISS indoor farm serves two purposes: first, to provide fresh produce for the Neumayer-Station III’s wintering crew. Second, to act as a test run for growing food in harsh climates, not just on Earth, but for missions to the Moon and Mars in the future. Scientists planted the seeds in the middle of February, and the first harvest was a success. Related: Arctic town grows fresh produce in shipping container vertical garden There’s no soil necessary in this indoor garden , where scientists grow plants with a closed water cycle and optimized light. DLR engineer Paul Zabel, one of the few people on Earth who can now add ‘Antarctic gardener’ to their resume, said they had to overcome some unexpected issues like minor system failures and the “strongest storm for more than a year,” but he was able to solve the problems and harvested the first crops. EDEN-ISS is around 1,312 feet away from Neumayer-Station III, and DLR said Zabel spends around three to four hours a day in the greenhouse . He’s also able to communicate with a DLR Institute for Space Systems control center, located in Bremen, which can remotely monitor plant growth — and can monitor it entirely on stormy days when Zabel can’t make it to the farm. DRL said this “bridging is possible for up to three days.” Scientists wintering at the station had used up their vegetables from their last delivery near February’s end, so they welcomed fresh produce from EDEN-ISS. Station manager Bernhard Gropp said in DLR’s statement, “It was special to have the first fresh salad of the Antarctic…it tasted as if we had harvested it fresh in the garden.” + EDEN-ISS + German Aerospace Center Images via DLR and DLR German Aerospace Center on Flickr ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 )

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Scientists harvest the first ever Antarctic vegetables

7 Seed-Starting Tips for Smarter Indoor Gardening

January 31, 2017 by  
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Spring is just around the corner. I repeat, spring is just around the corner. Can you believe that winter is already almost over? Do you know what that means? It means we’ll get more sunshine (and maybe even some more rain) and it will be time to…

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The best indoor gardens to gift this year

December 6, 2016 by  
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It may be difficult to imagine gardening in the dead of winter, but thanks to modern technology it’s more possible than ever before. With holiday shopping in full swing, our eyes have been peeled for the brightest innovations in home agriculture. From full-on self-watering vegetable gardens , to mushrooms that grow from a log and a bonsai version of the redwoods , we were thoroughly impressed. Here are some of the finest indoor gardens to give your green-thumbed (and even black-thumbed) loved ones this year. Veritable Smart Garden – $142 Even those with the blackest of thumbs can grow a full vegetable garden from the comfort of their own home. The Veritable garden runs on a fully functioning autonomous system that provides water, light and nutrients to itself. It’s the perfect gift for wannabe gardeners with no outdoor space. Plantini Mini Plant House – $38 This stunning metal structure contains everything you need to grow magnificent violas housed in a luxurious sanctuary. The Plantini is a timeless and easily-assembled flat-packed plant house. Artisan Moss Preserved Green Wall – $45 to $650 These gorgeously preserved moss “plant paintings” require no light or watering at all. Handcrafted with 100 percent sustainably harvested moss, green plants and branches, these pieces are carefully preserved with non-toxic food-grade methods and pigments. As long as they aren’t exposed to too much sunlight, they will serve as beautifully verdant wall art for decades. IKEA Greenhouse – $30 Good design and affordability are baked into  IKEA’s PS 2014 Greenhouse . The lightweight hot house can be attached to a wall or rested on a tabletop. Fill it with herbs or flowers and it will instantly brighten any room. Its compact, one-door design allows for greens to flourish on a wall or next to a window, even in winter. Swiss designer Nicolas Cortolezzis conceptualized the piece for IKEA as a take on the “traditional Swiss chalet” and a “symbol of simplicity and harmony with nature, values that seem more important than ever.” Oyster Mushroom Log – $30 No need to forage for mushrooms when you have this. Anyone can enjoy freshly picked oyster mushrooms all-year-round with this clever kit. Watch these mushrooms sprout right out a beautiful, rustic log every two months. Bonsai Redwood Forest – $75 Invite one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders indoors. The Bonsai Dawn Redwood Forest kit comes with everything the real place contains — redwood tree and moss seeds, soil, river stones, as well as bonsai scissors, a mini rake, a growing box, and step-by-step directions. Succulent Wall Planter – $110 Succulents are a divine gift, since they are bright, sculptural and also quite easy to maintain. This fantastic DIY kit beautifully showcases living succulents nested within a rustic wooden frame. It can be displayed as verdant wall art or as a chic centerpiece. Edible Flowers Seed Kit – $45 This flowering garden doubles as decor and cooking ingredients. The kit includes four varieties of edible flower seeds that, once planted, sprout from stunning glass vials nested in wooden blocks. + Inhabitat’s 2016 Green Holiday Gift Guide + Inspiring Gifts for the Green Thumb

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Non-profit creates open-source drinking water filter for 1/10th of the cost

December 6, 2016 by  
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The high-tech vision of open-source software meets low-tech design at non-profit organization OHorizons,  an international coalition of  innovators working to solve persistent global challenges. The team’s most recent invention is the open-source Wood Mold, designed to allow even the least experienced person to create a BioSand Filter that can deliver clean water at 1/10th of the cost of the traditional method. The Wood Mold is designed to be accessible by anyone who has  the DIY , open-source construction manual that OHorizons offers for free online. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dwX9oXcrvc The team of technical, social, and commercial professionals  at OHorizons creates simple, easily implemented, low-tech applications that empower communities without the need for external capital or expertise.When designing new products, they follow certain principles to ensure wide adoption. The design must be simple, low-cost, locally sourced, flexible to meet the needs of different communities, and open-source (available to the public, non-proprietary). As such, the Wood Mold is accessible by anyone via the open-source, online construction manual. Literacy, technical skills, or electricity is not required, though the user needs some way to acquire the blueprint. OHorizons collaborates with local organizations that are already active in local community development, including LEDARS Bangladesh , which supports the construction and distribution of the Wood Mold manual in that country. OHorizons also supports projects in Ecuador, Kenya , and Mali. Related: Researchers design cheap mercury-free LED foil to purify water Over the past year and a half, over 400 people or organizations have downloaded the Wood Mold Construction Manual to create their own locally sourced BioSand filters. As a result of these distributed Wood Molds and the collaborative work to utilize them, 5,500 people have gained access to  sustainable safe drinking water access in their homes in 2016. Based on their success so far, OHorizons has set the ambitious goal of providing 1 million people in Bangladesh with safe drinking water access, via the Wood Mold BioSand filters, by 2021. + OHorizons

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Smart Taiga Tower is like having an 80 square foot garden right inside your home

October 11, 2016 by  
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People with limited space know all about the struggle: you want fresh produce but you lack the yard for a big garden and those indoor gardens take up all your counter space.  That’s why we are all about the genius Taiga Tower. It’s a smart home garden that fits in any space and leaves your counters free for chopping up all those fresh herbs you’ll be growing. It’s clever design is big enough for 50 plants – like having an 80 square foot garden inside. Better yet, it has full-spectrum LED lighting and a self-watering system built-in, so even the blackest thumb doesn’t have to suffer in a fresh produce-free nightmare. It even hooks up to an app so you can control everything from your phone. Like I said, genius. https://vimeo.com/183591660#at=121 + Taiga Tower 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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Smart Taiga Tower is like having an 80 square foot garden right inside your home

Why I Chose Container Gardening (And You Should Too)

June 16, 2016 by  
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The first time I ate a garden grown tomato, I felt like I had taken a bite of sunshine. I was desperate for more. Unfortunately, decades with a black thumb had proven I couldn’t keep a plant alive if I tried — and so my quest began. I spent years…

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