Architects turn waste wood into a 3D-printed cabin in upstate New York

May 11, 2020 by  
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A stunning cabin in upstate New York is making waves thanks to groundbreaking technology that allowed it to be 3D-printed with wood waste. Headed by architects Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic, HANNAH was able to repurpose wood from ash trees damaged by an invasive beetle species to build the Ashen Cabin, a modern, tiny cabin completely constructed using 3D-printing of timber and concrete. Located in Ithaca, New York, the innovative cabin definitely stands out for its distinct shape. Ash wood cladding connects it to the lush woodland setting, while whimsical features, such as curved wood paneling and thick, triangular concrete pillars, create a futuristic, almost spaceship-like, feel. The prominent use of ash wood was specifically chosen to make use of damaged ash wood trees. Related: 3D-printed micro cabin in Amsterdam welcomes anyone to spend the night Tunneling into the trees’ bark to lay eggs, the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat to America’s ash tree population. In their wake, these ruthless beetles leave 8.7 billion trees across the country so damaged that they cannot even be used by sawmills as lumber. Specifically, nearly one in 10 ash trees in New York state are destroyed by the pesky insects. But now, working with innovative design methods, HANNAH has discovered a remedy that can’t quite protect the trees from their beetle nemesis but enables a sustainable way to use the waste wood . Zivkovic explained, “Infested ash trees are a very specific form of ‘waste material’ and our inability to contain the blight has made them so abundant that we can — and should — develop strategies to use them as a material resource.” To begin the project, the firm decided on a two-tier process, first building a robotic platform that was specifically designed for processing the irregular ash trees and a separate system for using 3D-printed concrete. The first step was repurposing a six-axis robot arm found on eBay to cut pre-shaped planks that fit together like puzzle pieces. The repurposed robot allowed the designers to work with the otherwise worthless wood waste. The second step involved creating a solid, eco-friendly base for the cabin. Again going with a highly innovative processing strategy, the team manufactured nine interlocking, 3D-printed concrete segments that were used to form the footing, cabin floor, chimney and interior fixtures. This method avoided the need to build a large frame and base for the cabin. Using the minimum amount of concrete possible, the designers were able to reduce the project’s overall footprint while providing a strong, resilient base. With the durable concrete base and unique shaping of the wood volume, the cabin shows just how fun and functional sustainable architecture can be. + HANNAH Via The Architect’s Newspaper Photography by Andy Chen and Reuben Chen via HANNAH; drawings by HANNAH

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Architects turn waste wood into a 3D-printed cabin in upstate New York

ChopValue recycles 25 million chopsticks into furniture and decor

March 19, 2020 by  
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A Canadian-based company called ChopValue has found some unique ways to reuse single-use chopsticks — think of it as upcycling food utensils into chic, sustainable decor and housewares. The process starts in coordination with restaurants by collecting used chopsticks. The wood then goes through a micro-manufacturing process, which turns it into usable material for other products. ChopValue keeps the production carbon-neutral while maintaining an overall carbon-negative status for the company. Consumers can select products with complete transparency regarding the overall carbon footprint and number of recycled chopsticks that were used to make a specific item. Related: Kwytza chopstick art transforms single-use chopsticks into stylish home decor The founder of ChopValue, Felix Böck, developed and engineered the innovative material while earning his PhD. The idea came one night while having sushi, when Böck and his partner were discussing their frustrations over construction waste in the city. They looked down at their chopsticks and were instantly inspired; the rest is history. Taking an interest in the environment and corporate responsibility, Böck hopes to lead by example and inspire others to rethink resource efficiency. The company offers a variety of decor items, including a hexagonal display shelf and honeycomb-shaped pieces that can be used as a single unit or in conjunction with other tiles for a geometric look. There is also a selection of cutting board options with designs specialized for charcuterie boards, cheese and cracker displays or butcher blocks. There’s even a zero-waste kit that comes with a cheeseboard, coasters, key chains, toothbrushes, chopsticks, stainless steel straws and straw cleaners; the kit comes in a box that can be used to donate used chopsticks back to the company. As an incentive, the company will get you a product equal to the amount of chopsticks you donate. For example, 75 chopsticks will net you a 75-chopstick coaster. In addition to the standard selections available on the website, ChopValue can produce custom wood furniture and other items. For example, a community table created for Little Kitchen Academy diverted 33,436 disposable chopsticks from the landfill. Another big project saw the creation of wall paneling, restaurant tables and entrance flooring for Little Bird Dim Sum that utilized more than 330,000 disposable chopsticks. According to the company, its efforts have recycled more than 25 million chopsticks to date. ChopValue has created a virtual interactive trade show booth in partnership with WireWax as a result of the many canceled trade shows stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. Check it out while scrolling through the website, and it might just inspire the designer in you. + ChopValue Images via ChopValue

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ChopValue recycles 25 million chopsticks into furniture and decor

Earth Day 2020 goes digital

March 19, 2020 by  
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Earth Day will take a surprising turn this year by relocating to the internet. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, events for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 will be digital. “At Earth Day Network, the health and safety of volunteers and participants in Earth Day events is our top concern,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “Amid the recent outbreak, we encourage people to rise up but to do so safely and responsibly — in many cases, that means using our voices to drive action online rather than in person.” Related: How Earth Day began and how it helps the planet To keep track of the global Earth Day conversation across several digital platforms, participants will use the hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EarthRise. Interested people can follow Earth Day Network’s social media accounts (@earthdaynetwork) for live coverage. Individuals and groups may also participate in environment-related online teach-ins, virtual protests and social media campaigns. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in 1970 after a devastating oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast. He wanted to capture the energy of the student antiwar movement to shift public awareness and policy around the environment . His coalition originally chose April 22 because it fell between spring break and final exams. At the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans, or 10% of the country’s population at that time, participated in events related to environmental science. “Our current pandemic demonstrates that governments must embrace science early,” Rogers said. “As we see now, many governments were slow to respond or even indifferent about the science of the coronavirus pandemic. But the last few weeks have also demonstrated that our society, even at the international level, is capable of mass shifts across all sectors to meet a crisis head-on. We must apply the same scale and urgency of our response to climate change .” Because the pandemic is affecting regions in different ways, some people might choose in-person gatherings to celebrate Earth Day. People should take precautions and check current guidelines from the World Health Organization before planning or attending gatherings. + Earth Day Image via NASA

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Earth Day 2020 goes digital

Bushwick bartender makes gorgeous necklaces from NYC’s trash

November 20, 2019 by  
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When she’s not slinging brews behind a Bushwick bar, designer Lorelei Christensen is scouring some of New York City’s darkest corners looking for debris that she can transform into shiny little pieces of eco-jewelry . Her company, Piece and Gathering , features necklaces that are made by encasing discarded items — anything from cigarette butts to chewed gum — in delicate glass pendants. Christensen, who has been working on her eco-jewelry collection for four years, often works late nights at a local bar. But during her free time, she can be found scouring for trash from specific locations, such as Central Park , Brooklyn Bridge and Bushwick, to use in her innovative creations. Related: This jewelry is made with upcycled gold from Dell computers “Collecting the debris is so interesting. I find surprising, funny, beautiful and disgusting things every single time. I can’t wait to find more people like me who will not only enjoy, but also profit from this new form of treasure seeking,” she explained. To create her designs, Christensen hand-crafts her pieces by encasing the discarded trash she finds in a clear, bio-resin surrounded by delicate, golden frames. In addition to her wearable items, she also makes small art pieces out of certain items she finds. A cool bauble for any occasion, the eco-jewelry also comes with a tag that identifies where the trash was sourced. The collection certainly gives new meaning to “statement piece.” Soon, the ambitious designer will be launching a Kickstarter that will specifically feature a select few pieces that were found at the top of the Empire State Building, the base of the Statue of Liberty and the streets of the World Pride Parade. For now, you can keep up with Christensen’s work on her Instagram page, Piece and Gathering . + Piece and Gathering Images via Piece and Gathering

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Bushwick bartender makes gorgeous necklaces from NYC’s trash

Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

October 29, 2019 by  
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One of the biggest complaints about urban living is the lack of space to grow your own veggies, but this automatic home garden can fit in nearly any kitchen space. Recently launched on Kickstarter, Verdeat is an indoor garden system that uses soil-less, organic plant cultivation to grow up to 76 plants. Additionally, the innovative gardening system is made out of 95 percent recycled materials and is designed for zero waste. Although there are quite a few home garden systems on the market, Verdeat stands out in that it is designed to be flexible. The garden comes in three different sizes to better suit your needs. The system is arranged in a tower shape, made up of one, two or four stacked trays that use a soil-free organic system for cultivation. Each tray is suitable to a certain type of growth using a natural substrate (such as coconut fiber). For lighting, the system has an integrated lighting system that mimics sunlight and promotes faster growth. Related: This sleek lamp provides light and grows food Depending on the size, the trays are arranged precisely for seeds or microgreens but can also be ordered to include a tray of small potted plants, perfect for strawberries, flowers, peppers, onions and more. No matter the size, the entire system is designed to be user-friendly and produce zero waste . Better yet, the garden system is nearly 100 percent self-sufficient for weeks at a time. Almost entirely maintenance-free, the gardening tower only needs to be watered every 1 to 3 weeks. To make it even easier, there is even a handy app to take care of the plants while you are away from home. The app monitors the amount of water, energy and nutrients and adjusts automatically according to the needs of the plants. This precise system allows Verdeat to grow plants without generating unnecessary waste. + Verdeat Via Yanko Design Images via Verdeat

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Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

Building the built environment to mimic nature

February 4, 2019 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: Innovative author Janine Benyus on how biomimicry and “the genius of biome” can fight rising emissions.

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Building the built environment to mimic nature

High-rise living in Utrecht to be transformed by a sustainable vertical village

January 18, 2019 by  
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A trio of high rises are expected to outreach Utrecht, Netherlands’ tallest building and be a beacon of sustainable urban living in the historic city. The MARK Vertical Village, designed by a consortium of architects and developers, won a recent high-rise development contest and the team plans to break ground starting in 2021. The residential buildings will surround an urban forest and feature extensive greenhouses at their pinnacles. Urban agriculture will also be integrated into every level , making fresh fruits and vegetables widely available to all residents and dramatically reducing their food chain and carbon footprint . The buildings themselves will be climate neutral, meaning their everyday operation will not emit greenhouse gases. This is an important feat, considering buildings and construction account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Related: “Vertical village” built almost entirely of wood to rise in Paris In addition to biodiversity, the complex also encourages social and economic diversity. About 60 percent of the residences will be reserved for renters, with the remaining available for ownership or senior housing with at-home care options. The more than 1,125 residences will be listed at a variety of rent scales, which aims to address rising concerns about affordable housing in the city. In response to frequent criticism that high-rise living generally promotes feelings of isolation , the MARK purposely encourages a collective lifestyle and sense of community . The design features numerous communal spaces such as restaurants, pools, shared laundry facilities, gyms, work spaces and artist studios. Residents will also have extensive bike facilities and a fleet of 100 shared cars. Construction for the innovative high-rise complex is expected to finish in 2023. The three buildings will be 80 meters (262 feet), 100 meters (328 feet) and 140 meters (459 feet), which is 28 feet higher than Utrecht’s current tallest building — the Dom Tower. “We all realize that if we build something higher than the Dom Tower, it also has to become something special,” chief architect Alderman Klaas Verschuure said in a statement. The Netherlands-based consortium of architects, designers and developers behind the project includes Karres en Brands , Stadswaarde , Koopmans Bouwgroep , J.P. van Eesteren , KCAP ; Geurst and Schulze . + MARK Images via Karres en Brands, Studio A2 Vero Visuals, de Architekten Cie, KCAP and Geurst & Schulze

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High-rise living in Utrecht to be transformed by a sustainable vertical village

Washed Ashore: 4 Innovative Products From Upcycled Marine Plastic

December 4, 2018 by  
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Every minute, one garbage truck full of plastics is added … The post Washed Ashore: 4 Innovative Products From Upcycled Marine Plastic appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Washed Ashore: 4 Innovative Products From Upcycled Marine Plastic

Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments

November 21, 2018 by  
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In a bid to save, rather than tear down, a historically significant bridge in the Netherlands, Delft-based cepezed architects unveiled an adaptive reuse scheme for turning the defunct bridge into a base for energy-neutral dwellings and a conference center. Created in collaboration with Expericon, Hollandia Infra, Mammoet and the IV-Group, this innovative proposal was the result of a consortium that sought to sustainably redevelop the structure, which spans the river Lek near Vianen. Although the plan did not pass planning approval, the team hopes that its designs will serve as inspiration for similar adaptive reuse projects in other locations. Originally built in 1936, the arch bridge over the river Lek was once one of the most important connectors between the north and south sides of the Netherlands. Starting in 2004, however, the historic bridge was rendered obsolete after the completion of the larger Jan Blanken-bridges. The consortium was put together in hopes of restoring and reusing the bridge so as to avoid the cost and labor of dismantling and removing the existing structure. The plan — informed by the consortium’s focus on “ sustainability , circularity and uniqueness” — proposed turning the ramps of the bridge into zero-energy apartments that would bookend a centrally located catering and conference pavilion. The design would use efficient and lightweight materials for the new construction; an abundance of glass would also be installed to take advantage of impressive landscape views and to bring ample natural light indoors. The industrial heritage of the bridge would be celebrated through the preserved architecture. Related: Urban Nouveau proposes to turn a historic Stockholm bridge into housing and a park “With the inevitable further modernization, beautiful old constructions on a variety of locations frequently go out of use,” said cepezed director Jan Pesman in a project statement. “With smart solutions, we can often think up and design unique new destinations for them. We really love such challenges; reuse provides the historical settings with new layers of meaning and the new functions with an enormous added value. Moreover, it is plainly sustainable, of course.” + cepezed Images via cepezed

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Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments

Brooklyn SolarWorks can turn almost any rooftop into a sun-powered oasis

April 30, 2018 by  
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Brooklyn SolarWorks wants to help bring solar power  to  New Yorkers . Stunning new renderings of the company’s Solar Canopy envision how city dwellers might benefit from this innovative product. The Solar Canopy offers solar in spots where traditional  solar panels can’t go because of fire codes or obstacles. Beyond just generating clean energy , the canopy could create new living spaces and redefine urban solar. Brooklyn SolarWorks’ Solar Canopy, designed with SITU Studio , has been around for a while, popping up around New York City in Park Slope, Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy to name a few. The new renderings paint a picture of what urban solar power could look like; for example, a relaxing rooftop dining area. Related: Durable canvas cloth with embedded solar cells generates 120 watts per square meter The Brooklyn SolarWorks website  says the company is “capable of putting solar panels on almost anything. Whether you have ample roof space free of obstacles or your roof is littered with vent pipes, skylights, and hatches, we will likely be able to figure out a solar solution.” The Solar Canopy is one of those solutions. By raising solar panels nine feet above rooftops, the company can work around restrictive fire codes. Brooklyn SolarWorks uses different panels depending on the job at hand; two of the most popular are Silfab’s SLA-M 310 Wp Monocrystalline panels  that offer “100 percent maximum power density” and  LG NeON 2 355W panels , which use thinner wires for a more aesthetically-pleasing appearance. You don’t have to leave your couch to check out the Solar Canopy; Brooklyn SolarWorks offers an immersive 3D model  that you can explore with virtual reality goggles. Find out more about the company and its innovative products on the Brooklyn SolarWorks website . + Brooklyn SolarWorks Images courtesy of Brooklyn SolarWorks

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Brooklyn SolarWorks can turn almost any rooftop into a sun-powered oasis

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