Beautiful P+R building can house hundreds of bicycles in the Netherlands

March 20, 2017 by  
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Park and ride buildings aren’t often beautiful, but this recently completed facility in Zutphen is a stunning exception. MoederscheimMoonen Architects created the stylish P+R facility near a railway station in the Netherlands’ Noorderhaven district. Built to reference the town’s industrial past, the contemporary building accommodates 375 parking spaces and has spots for over 600 bicycles . Located next to the town’s train station, the unique park and ride structure pays homage to the town’s historic warehouses and traditional industries through its design and choice of materials. One side of the building features a large gabled facade with wooden shutters to mimic the appearance of a factory warehouse. On the other side of the building are two helix-shaped ramps that hide the car’s vertical transport with a sculptural design. In a nod to the nearby steel bridge over the River IJssel, the structure is mounted on a series of “playfully positioned” galvanized columns. Related: Corridor-free high school in the Netherlands bathes students in natural light Ample natural light and ventilation passes through the building due to the slatted facade. The wooden slats were installed at different angles and combined with strips of red steel to create a playful and dynamic appearance. Vertical LED strips illuminate the building at night. + MoederscheimMoonen Architects Images by Harry Noback (HN) and Bart van Hoek (BvH)

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Beautiful P+R building can house hundreds of bicycles in the Netherlands

Breathtaking seaside hotel in Thailand practices radical reuse, grows 100% of its produce

March 20, 2017 by  
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Overlooking a private bay along the Northern Coast of Koh Samui, Thailand, The Tongsai Bay Hotel boasts more than luxurious seaside accommodations. The award-winning family-owned resort was built within a 28 and a half acre landscape that remains home to 66 different species of birds and other wildlife. The green retreat maintains its virtuous mission by growing 100 percent of its produce and turning all food waste into fertilizer and a cleaning solution for its facilities, donating the rest to the island’s stray cats and dogs. This breathtaking oasis demonstrates how hotels can thrive within a completely natural habitat. Originally built in 1987, the environmentally-sensitive design of The Tongsai Bay was in many ways ahead of its time. Not a single tree was felled or damaged during construction, allowing the natural fauna and flora to flourish for all these years. 66 different species of birds and all sorts of wildlife, including lizards, can be found roaming the property at any given time. With 28 acres of lush green space, the owners could have filled the property with many more rooms for more revenue per square meter, but their passion for preserving the natural environment was more important. There is not a bad view in sight at The Tongsai Bay. Each of its 83 rooms, villas and cottages are enveloped in greenery and welcome a breathtaking sea view. And there are no motorized water sports allowed on the premises. Mini sail boats, paddle boards and kayaks are available, helping to maintain a serene environment for guests and the exotic wildlife that call this place home. The Tongsai Bay ‘s three restaurants are supplied daily with native produce sustainably grown on the farm located just a short drive from the main site. Everything from lemongrass, lettuce, eggplants, limes and bananas are produced on the farm and served in a rotating menu. They have even reused the hotel’s old bathtubs as planters. Any food waste is then transferred back to the farm. The vegetable scraps are soaked, broken down, and liquified into all-natural veggie cleaning solution used to clean the hotel toilets. The rest of the waste, including fish scraps, are placed into an open air fertilizer that is then used to grow new vegetables on the farm, thereby completing this impressive reuse cycle. Anything leftover that is mildly edible for consumption is donated to the large community of stray dogs and cats on the island. There are no insecticides, toxic cleaners, or chemical fragrances in sight at The Tonsai Bay. Bilimbi and kaffir lime , though too sour to eat, make incredibly effective cleaning solutions, both of which are native to Thailand and grown plentifully on the Tonsai Bay farm. They are peeled, broken down and liquified into a completely natural citrus cleaner and a room freshener for oil burners. Even textiles are reused: ripped bed sheets, for instance, are turned into napkins for their restaurants. Although tourism is Thailand’s largest industry, green practices are still not common practice. In most establishments, “takeaway” food is given to customers in Ziploc-like plastic bags and even smoothies are adorned with plastic handles. The Tongsai Bay is one place that has taken the environmental education of their staff very seriously, training them to recycle and minimize waste every day. Guests are also guided to do the same, with colorful separated trash and recycling bins peppered throughout the property. With rooms starting at $260 per night, The Tonsai Bay may not be affordable for everyone, but it is a shining example of green hospitality. We hope to see more hotels around the world embrace a self-sustaining model as grand as this. + The Tongsai Bay All images by Laura Mordas-Schenkein for Inhabitat

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Breathtaking seaside hotel in Thailand practices radical reuse, grows 100% of its produce

Artist’s incredibly realistic stone animals are begging to be cuddled

March 20, 2017 by  
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In a world of angst-driven, politically-minded art , stone artist Akie Nakata is giving us some artwork we’d just love to cuddle. The Japanese artist paints cutesy animals onto smooth rocks, creating images so realistic it’s hard to fight the urge to reach out and pet them. Nakata starts her artistic process by collecting stones of all shapes and sizes. Once she finds inspiration in its shape, she begins the process of painstakingly creating the palm-sized creatures. She spends an astonishing amount of time on each project, perfecting each brush stroke so the finished product has a realistic appearance. Related: These artists create mind-bending artwork solely from autumn leaves https://youtu.be/PjyefLV2Mrk She explains that her methodical process is inspired by her spiritual respect for nature and is what keeps her enjoying the work, “What I paint on stone is inspired by the stone itself,” she explains. “In order to bring out the living being that I feel in the stone to its surface, I proceed very carefully. I consider step by step, for example, whether I am positioning the backbone in the right place. Does it feel right? Am I forcing something that disagrees with the natural shape of the stone?” You can find the artist’s work on  Instagram , Facebook , and her website . + Akie Nakata Via Laughing Squid All images via Akie Nakata

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Artist’s incredibly realistic stone animals are begging to be cuddled

Stunning mountain passive house uses burnt cedar cladding

March 20, 2017 by  
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Tucked into the sloping mountainside near historic Park City, Utah sits a modern, passive solar dream home marked by a plunging roof that slices through its middle. The 2100 square foot residence designed by Salt Lake City-based Axis Architects features a bevy of environmentally-friendly features, including charred cedar cladding that is weather, insect and fire-proof and keeps the home comfortable while helping it blend into the rugged surroundings. The home was built by Benchmark Modern, fitting seamlessly into a challenging lot sloped and limited by Park City’s land use requirements. To help it blend in, the architect’s used shou sugi ban cedar to clad the home. The sloping roof cuts through the interior of the space, dividing public and private areas. Red cedar soffits line the underside of the roof and help extend the home horizontally into the environment. This cedar also extends to the interior, blurring the line between inside and out. Related: Seattle’s Palatine Passive House consumes 90% less energy than a conventional home The architects incorporated passive solar design with 95 percent efficiency, solar power generation, LED lighting, radiant heating and smart features controlled through the owner’s phone. The owners worked with the designers to create an open space on the interior that had as few doors and storage spaces as possible. Custom cabinets in the kitchen and open cubbies in the bedroom turn storage into beautiful displays. The extended roofline and positioning help block the hot summer sun while allowing winter light to reach the interior. Large windows on the rear and sides allow for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. This beautiful home is currently for sale by Sotheby’s International Realty for $2.4 million. + Benchmark Modern + Axis Architecture images via Sotheby’s International Realty

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Stunning mountain passive house uses burnt cedar cladding

New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80%

March 20, 2017 by  
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An innovative new project called LIFE+ Methamorphosis is pioneering a new sustainable biofuel for cars . Car company SEAT and water management company Aqualia have transformed wastewater into the alternative fuel . Powered with this biofuel produced during one year at a treatment plant in Spain, a vehicle could circumnavigate the globe 100 times. SEAT and Aqualia came up with a creative answer to the issues of pollution from traditional car fuels – which have led to traffic restrictions in cities like Madrid – and reusing water , a scarce resource. To make their biomethane , wastewater is separated from sludge in treatment plants, and then becomes gas after a fermentation treatment. Following a purification and enrichment process, the biogas can be utilized as fuel. Compared against petrol, production and consumption of the biofuel releases 80 percent less carbon dioxide, according to SEAT . The new biofuel works in compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled cars. Related: Africa’s newest sustainable biofuel grows on trees The project aims to show feasibility at industrial scales through two waste treatment systems. The UMBRELLA prototype will be set up in a municipal waste treatment plant serving Barcelona. The METHARGO prototype will create biomethane at a plant handling animal manure. The biogas made with the second prototype can be utilized directly in cars or could be added to the natural gas distribution network, according to the project’s website . A mid-sized treatment plant can handle around 353,000 cubic feet of wastewater every day, which could yield 35,000 cubic feet of biomethane, according to companies involved with the project. All that biomethane could power 150 vehicles driving around 62 miles a day. SEAT will supply vehicles to test the biofuel over around 74,500 miles. The European Commission is funding the project. Other companies participating include Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas , Gas Natural , the Catalan Institute for Energy , and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area . Via New Atlas Images via SEAT and LIFE+ Methamorphosis

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New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80%

Margot Krasojevi 3D prints recycled plastic into a delicate Lace LED lamp

January 11, 2017 by  
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Architect and designer Margot Krasojevi? shows off the beautiful possibilities of 3D printing in her latest work, the Lace LED. Made from recycled post-consumer plastics, the LED light diffuser gets its lace-like quality from its layers of geometric shapes that fan out from a central point. The Lace LED is designed as a suspended work of kinetic art . The diffuser is hinged on a pivot that rotates within a frame to create different patterns of light and shadow. “These complex shapes direct LED light through the entire pattern, which diffuses, deflects and refracts light creating a moving shadow whilst focusing it,” write Margot Krasojevi? Architects. “The form is the antithesis of the mass-produced recycled bottles and waste used in its fabrication.” Related: Designer David Grass 3D-Prints Light Bulbs in the Shape of Modern Cityscapes The diffuser’s intricate parametric pattern was created from a digital modeling program. In addition to recycled plastic , the Lace LED is 3D printed in ceramic, polymer, silver, and brass. + Margot Krasojevi? Via v2com Images via Margot Krasojevi?

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Margot Krasojevi 3D prints recycled plastic into a delicate Lace LED lamp

Lexus unveils mind-blowing car covered with 41,999 LEDs

December 9, 2016 by  
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Here’s something you’ve probably never seen before: a vehicle covered with 41,999 LED lights. Lexus engineers were having way too much fun when they created the 2017 LIT IS , a psychedelic vehicle that changes colors in a snap and responds music with a mind-blowing light show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8jSdgT3Drc&feature=youtu.be The funky LIT IS is meant to turn heads. The car is covered with enough LED strips to span half a mile if they were arranged end to end. In numbers, the car has 57 pixels per meter and 55 megabits per second for streaming, and the LEDs on the car generate 175,000 lumens. Related: Lexus shows off the world’s first car with a human heartbeat The LIT IS jams with its surroundings via three modes. One mode simply loops graphics to flaunt the car’s design. Another mode reacts to music , allowing the car to sync to any tune. The third responds to a gaming console controlled by a user. The car looks super cool, but why go to all the effort to apply 41,999 LEDs by hand? Lexus designed the Lexus LIT IS for UK singer Dua Lipa’s “Be the One” music video . “Through this responsive technology and the animations, an expressive car was turned into an actual vehicle for expression,” Lexus said in a statement. The car company effusively describes their LIT IS as a “character and visual anchor” in the music video’s story. Unfortunately you won’t be able to purchase the stunning LIT IS anytime soon. While such a vehicle would be way too distracting on today’s roads, we’ll hold on to the hope that once all cars are autonomous , we’ll be able to trick out our rides with 41,999 LEDS. For now, we’re left with just one question: why didn’t Lexus apply that last LED light to cover the car with an even 42,000 LEDs? We may never know. Via The Verge Images via Lexus

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Lexus unveils mind-blowing car covered with 41,999 LEDs

Researchers design cheap mercury-free LED foil to purify water

November 22, 2016 by  
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Utilizing light to purify water isn’t a new idea, but Ohio State University researchers recently developed a portable, cheap way to cleanse water with light anywhere in the world. Their LED foil prototype has the potential to revolutionize water purification with deep-ultraviolet (UV) light. Deep-UV lights are already used to purify medical equipment and water, but such light usually comes from cumbersome mercury lamps. By putting LED lights on metal foil, the Ohio State researchers may have avoided the problems usually associated with purifying water with deep-UV light. They designed their LEDs to glow with that sterilizing deep-UV light, and when their flexible prototype is folded around objects and energized, it could kill dangerous microorganisms. Related: Groundbreaking affordable, paper-thin filter removes viruses from water Roberto Myers, materials science and engineering associate professor at Ohio State, said in a statement, “Right now, if you want to make deep ultraviolet light, you’ve got to use mercury lamps. Mercury is toxic and the lamps are bulky and electrically inefficient. LEDs, on the other hand, are really efficient, so if we could make UV LEDs that are safe and portable and cheap, we could make safe drinking water wherever we need it.” The LED foil could offer a more environmentally friendly light to purify water. The researchers are confident they will be able to scale up their prototype; their goal is to transform nanophotonics, a study centered around how objects just nanometers big interact with light, into a profitable industry. “People always said that nanophotonics will never be commercially important, because you can’t scale them up,” said Myers. “Well, now we can. We can make a sheet of them if we want.” The journal Applied Physics Letters published the researcher’s paper on the LED foil. The researchers will continue working to make the LEDs shine brighter. Via New Atlas Images via Brelon J. May courtesy of The Ohio State University and Wikimedia Commons

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Researchers design cheap mercury-free LED foil to purify water

Spectacular Lucky Knot bridge in China twists and turns like a Mbius Strip

October 27, 2016 by  
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Located in the megacity Changsha’s rapidly developing New Lake District, Lucky Knot spans the Dragon King Harbor River and serves as an auspicious icon for the region. The steel-framed bridge stretches 185 meters in length and 24 meters in height and is painted red—a color symbolizing good luck and happiness in Chinese culture. The bridge’s unusual shape combines the principles behind the Möbius Strip and Chinese knotting, a decorative handicraft art typically made with red rope, and often used as auspicious wall hangings. The Lucky Knot’s eye-catching design isn’t the only way it stands out from most pedestrian bridges . Public engagement was a big focus of the design, which was crafted with recreational, ecological, and tourist activities in mind. Multiple landing platforms and cutouts, as well as the bridge’s multiple swooping levels that connect to different heights like the riverbank and the elevated park, encourage a sense of play. An LED light show brings the bridge to life at night. The undulating bridge offers stunning views of the river, Meixi Lake, the city of Changsha, and the surrounding mountains. Related: Bat bridge provides shelter for our winged friends in the Dutch town of Monster “The Lucky Knot is more than a bridge and a connection between two river banks. Its success lays in bringing cultures together, and in the fusion of history, technology, art, innovation, architecture and spectacle,” said NEXT architects Beijing partner Jiang Xiaofei. + NEXT architects Images © NEXT architects / Photography: Julien Lanoo

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Spectacular Lucky Knot bridge in China twists and turns like a Mbius Strip

KODA is a tiny solar-powered house that can move with its owners

October 3, 2016 by  
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Made primarily of concrete, the portable KODA prototype is constructed with factory-made components selected for their strength and energy efficient properties. Its sturdy structure allows the tiny home to be assembled on different surfaces without the need for foundations. Quadruple glazing and vacuum-insulated concrete walls minimize energy demands and help maintain a comfortable internal temperature. All finishing materials are non-toxic. The homes are modular and can be connected to create a larger living space. KODA maximizes its 25-square-meter footprint with an open-plan living area bathed in the natural light that pours through a glazed front facade. The full-height glazing is slightly set back to make room for a built-in terrace and to shield the interior from harsh solar gain. The kitchen, bathroom, and loft bedroom are located near the rear of the home for more privacy and are lit by LEDs at night. Rooftop solar panels power the KODA unit and are capable of generating more energy than the home needs. While the prefabricated home was designed with water, sewage, and electricity hookups, it can also be used off the grid for short periods of time. A built-in IT system also enables the home to learn from and adjust to its different surroundings. Related: Luxurious tiny home lets owner live off-grid and rent-free “In our minds KODA can become whatever you want: a city centre home, a lakeside summer house, a cosy café, an office, workshop or studio or even a classroom,” writes Kodasema. “Its clever design provides the inspiration to make best use of every square inch of space and envisage how the built-in components, even the walls, can be adjusted to meet their purpose most effectively.” Kodasema has plans of selling the home in Estonia later this fall at 85,000€ (VAT not included). The price, which is dependent on add-ons, includes the furniture and technical systems, such as the automated IT functions, heating and ventilation, electricity, and water. The design collective has not yet announced plans to sell KODA internationally. + Kodasema Images via Kodasema , lead image © Paul Kuimet, other images by Tõnu Tunnel

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