Glowing Wishing Pavilion is made with 5,000 recycled plastic bricks

April 13, 2020 by  
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To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival of 2019, Hong Kong-based studio Daydreamers Design crafted a glowing lantern-inspired pavilion that also raises awareness of environmental issues. Dubbed the Wishing Pavilion, the temporary installation was constructed from 5,000 bricks made of recycled high-density polyethylene, the same type of plastic commonly used in water bottles. Manufactured in seven colors, the plastic bricks created a gradient evocative of a flame, an effect enhanced by the use of sound effects, music and LED lights at night. Commissioned by the Government of Hong Kong, the Wishing Pavilion served as the anchor pavilion for the “Mid-Autumn Lantern Displays 2019” at the Victoria Park Soccer Pitch No. 1, Causeway Bay from September 13 to September 27, 2019. Daydreamers Design created the pavilion as an evolution of its 2019 “Rising Moon” project, which also called attention to environmental issues. The pavilion’s 5,000 recycled plastic bricks are arranged to form a rounded, lantern-like structure stretching 18 meters in diameter and 6 meters tall, with no foundation work needed. The modular design allowed the designers to swiftly assemble the pavilion in just 12 days.  Related: 30,000 recycled water bottles make up this 3D-printed pavilion The pavilion’s lantern-like shape references two Mid-Autumn Festival traditions: releasing candle-lit lanterns with people’s wishes written on the sides into the night sky and burning tall, purpose-built structures for good luck and good harvests. Unlike these practices, Daydreamers Design’s eco-friendly pavilion is fire-free. The recycled plastic bricks were stacked to create a flame-like gradient ranging from yellow to red. The stacks also form a double-helix layout centered on a “burning lantern” sculpture. The pavilion opens up with a 7.5-meter circular skylight to frame the full harvest moon. “Mid-Autumn Festival, falling on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, is when the families reunite to celebrate autumn harvests, light up lanterns and admire the bright moon of the year,” the designers explained. “The rituals and celebration continued for 2000 years; the famous poem by Li Bai signifies the value and meaning of Mid-Autumn Festival. Wishing Pavilion intends to embrace the tradition, recall the harmonious union and raise awareness to today’s social challenge.” + Daydreamers Design Images via Daydreamers Design

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Glowing Wishing Pavilion is made with 5,000 recycled plastic bricks

UK bees and wildflowers thrive during lockdown

April 13, 2020 by  
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While humans stay at home and the workforce cuts back to only those who provide essential services, mowing the verges along roadsides in the U.K. is not a top priority. This coronavirus -induced oversight may prove to be beneficial for the U.K.’s bees, butterflies, bats and wildflowers. Much of the U.K.’s natural meadows have long been converted to housing estates and farmland, so the country’s 700 wildflower species find few places to grow freely. Roadside verges — narrow grassy strips along the highways — are a last haven and home to about 45% of U.K. flora. Related: Planting wildflower strips across crop fields could slash pesticide use The lockdown coincidentally benefits a campaign by Plantlife , a wild plant conservation charity. Its road verge campaign calls on officials to reduce the cutting schedule from four cuts per year to only two. As Plantlife’s website points out, the U.K. has 238,000 hectares of road verges but only 85,000 hectares of wild grassland. “It’s a real opportunity for verges to flower again, some for the first time,” Trevor Dines, Plantlife’s botanical specialist, told The Guardian. “If the lockdown ends in late May, drivers will see great swaths of oxeye daisies and ladies bedstraw.” Various councils around the U.K. have already delayed or scaled back mowing, including Flintshire in Wales, Somerset in southwest England, Newcastle in the northeast and Lincolnshire in eastern England. These areas can expect explosive wildflower displays this spring, featuring oxeye daisy, wild carrot, yellow rattle, betony, meadow crane’s-bill, greater knapweed, harebell and other varieties that will thrill pollinators like butterflies, bees and bats. “This will certainly be good for pollinators,” said Dines, who is also a beekeeper. “Last year, we already saw improvement in the areas where councils were cutting less. I had my best ever year for honey.” Colorful flowers will also boost mental health . “People are desperate for wildlife and colour right now. Let’s see what the public response is. For lots of commuters, myself included, verges are the only chance to see wild plants.” Via The Guardian Image via Phil Gayton

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UK bees and wildflowers thrive during lockdown

Fostering and adopting pets during the pandemic

April 13, 2020 by  
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As COVID-19 sweeps the U.S., animal shelters have seen an upswing of interest as more animal lovers adopt or foster pets. While some people don’t want to add to the chaos of a quarantined household, others recognize this as a perfect time to bring home a furry friend. “I think it’s particularly timely because of the isolation of people,” said Nat Hardy, founding dean of Arts & Humanities at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. He recently adopted Buddy Twain from a Hannibal, Missouri shelter. Buddy’s surname honors Mark Twain, also from Hannibal. “Being closed in, you’ve got the time to bond. You have more patience and the time to do it.” Related: 7 ways to be a sustainable pet owner The pandemic has caused a spike in both animal adoptions and fosters, in part due to shelters sending out desperate emails asking people to step up and help these homeless pets. And the public responded. A recent call for emergency fosters by the Animal Care Centers of New York City received more 3,500 applications. The Humane Society of the U.S. has asked that states declare animal shelters essential services, but governmental response has varied and many shelters have temporarily closed. Others have drastically scaled back on services. Some employees have even made emergency plans to shelter in place inside the animal shelters, if necessary, for up to a month, to care for the pets. So every animal safely placed in a private home is one fewer for shelter workers to worry about. Adopting vs. fostering While adopting is forever, fostering means providing a temporary home for a shelter animal. “Fostering helps animals who are not yet ready for adoption have a home environment to heal and grow,” said Laura Klink, public information manager at the Oregon Humane Society. “During the current pandemic, fostering is even more critical as many shelters have stopped adoptions and have limited staff to care for the animals. At OHS, foster parents are helping some of our pets who need medical care , behavior help and to free up space in the shelter so we can be ready to respond to our community’s needs.” For people suddenly quarantined at home, fostering can be a wonderful way to help give stressed animals a break from noisy shelters. It makes sense to foster rather than adopt if the pandemic has brought your life to a sudden halt. Those who usually work 12-hour days in an office might be suited to fostering while working at home. If you can’t commit long-term, consider fostering rather than adopting; shelters don’t want to see a huge surge in post-pandemic returns of adopted pets . What does it take to be a good foster parent? Klink explained it is important to consider your environment. “Do you have other pets in the home?” she asked. “Are there young children in the home? Do you have a spare bedroom or bathroom where you can separate your foster pets?” You also need to ask yourself how comfortable you are managing medical and behavioral issues. Adoption by appointment Gone are the days — at least for now — of stopping by shelters and spending unhurried time with possible candidates for your new pet. Now, the shelters that remain open offer adoption by appointment. It’s more of a gamble to peruse online listings, pick a pet and make that fateful appointment, but sometimes it turns out to be a perfect match. Hardy had been thinking about adopting a dog anyway, since Stephens is such a pet-friendly campus, where both students and faculty bring their pets to school. With the quarantine looming, the emails from rescue shelters spurred him to action. He started looking online. “I finally found Buddy in a Hannibal Missouri rescue shelter. I saw his mug shot from the shelter, and he looked like quite a character.” He applied to adopt the orange dog — who he guesses might be a year or two old, and possibly a retriever/Irish setter mix — and made the 90-minute drive to Hannibal. “We’ve been together ever since. He doesn’t like me leaving out of his sight. I think he was in the shelter a long time. So now he’s totally living the dream.” Resources for fostering and adopting Foster families and individuals should have some experience with pet care. But even if you’ve had dogs and cats all of your life, you might need help. “Fostering is very rewarding but can also be challenging and stressful,” Klink said. “It’s important to ask for help and advice since you don’t know these animals like you know your own pets. Foster parents are truly a lifeline for shelter pets.” Whether you’re fostering or adopting a new pet into its forever home, you can find resources online. Petco Foundation , a national nonprofit animal welfare organization, offers educational livestreams from a team of experts. You can virtually attend a cat and kitten Q&A session, or help your new canine get into a happy routine with positive dog training. Petco Foundation even suggestions fashionable fosters to follow on Instagram. The ASPCA is another digital treasure trove with many pet care articles. Images via Tatiane Vasconcelos Taty , Fuzzy Rescue , Madeline Hardy and Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Fostering and adopting pets during the pandemic

We Earthlings: LED Light Bulb Lifetime Savings

March 17, 2020 by  
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You can make a big difference in how much energy … The post We Earthlings: LED Light Bulb Lifetime Savings appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: LED Light Bulb Lifetime Savings

Light your pumpkins the EEK-o-friendly way this Halloween

October 10, 2019 by  
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With spooky season upon us, consider illuminating your jack-o’-lanterns in an eco-friendly way. But what are some good light sources to place within or even near pumpkins? You, of course, want to avoid toxins from certain sources, so here are some of Inhabitat’s sustainable suggestions this autumn. Soy or beeswax candles Steer clear of paraffin, because it is a petroleum-based product that produces soot. Paraffin candles have also been known to release acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, formaldehyde, naphthalene and toluene — all of which are toxins . Instead, choose “cleaner” candles made either of soy or beeswax. These options are all-natural, burn at lower temperatures, and last longer — ensuring a healthier light to place within your carved pumpkins. Related: Time to put the flame out — scented candles can cause disease and poor air quality Flameless LED artificial lights LED lights can be in the form of tea lights, string lights, even bike lights — making them wonderful choices for your jack-o’-lanterns. They are, after all, more energy-efficient and have longer lifespans than other types of artificial lighting. They are also a safer choice for inside a pumpkin because they don’t emit much heat, thereby lowering the risk of fire. They can operate at a wide range of temperatures — whether hot or cold — without significant degradation. For these reasons, LED lights are safer and more budget-friendly for a sustainable Halloween. Solar lights Go green this year by utilizing your garden decor to fashion a solar-powered jack-o’-lantern. How does one solarize pumpkins? First, you’ll have to allow your solar garden lights to collect energy from the sun throughout the day. While your yard’s solar lights are soaking up the sun, that is when you can cut out the bottom of your carved pumpkins. Then, at night, you can place those jack-o-lanterns atop the now-glowing solar garden lights. Voila! Your yard will come alive with solarized jack-o’-lanterns to ghoulishly light up your Halloween night . So this Halloween, if the kids are asking why your pumpkins have bigger smiles, goofier faces or even epic expressions, you can explain that it is all because they are all lit up in EEK-o-friendlier ways. Via Chester Energy and Policy Image via David Menidrey

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Light your pumpkins the EEK-o-friendly way this Halloween

LEED Platinum Sitka captures the Pacific Northwest spirit with a lush, fog-enabled courtyard

October 2, 2019 by  
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Local architectural practice Runberg Architecture Group has raised the bar for sustainable design in Seattle with the completion of Sitka, a LEED Platinum-certified multifamily development on target to achieve Seattle’s 2030 Challenge for Planning goals of reducing water and energy use. Built to use nearly a third less energy than the typical baseline design, the 384-unit development features numerous energy-saving systems — Sitka is the nation’s first multifamily project to use a Wastewater Heat Recovery system — as well as a stunning courtyard that mimics the Pacific Northwest landscape with a running stream, tree-covered hilltops and a lounge that resembles a treehouse. Located in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, Sitka is a seven-story building centered on an outdoor courtyard. Runberg Architecture Group drew inspiration from Northwest Modernism and the landscapes of the nearby San Juan Islands to create the project. A sloping green roof and rooftop community garden help capture stormwater runoff as well. The tree-filled courtyard also features a fog system and a treehouse, designed by Seattle’s Lead Pencil Studio, that includes a working fireplace with views of the courtyard. Related: Energy-efficient house embraces panoramic views of Puget Sound “Our mission is to design places where people want to be,” said Brian Runberg of the project’s human-centered design. “When creating Sitka, we asked ourselves what was missing from most of South Lake Union — what would make people feel good about spending time here — and it was green space . We wanted to create an oasis for residents and neighbors in the midst of the hard cityscape.” To minimize energy usage, the architects strategically broke up the building mass to allow natural light and ventilation into the courtyard and interiors. The development also includes LED lighting, EnergyStar appliances, recycled and locally sourced materials, low-flow toilets and fixtures and a high-efficiency 14-foot-diameter fan in the fitness center, all of which contribute to the development’s energy goals. + Runberg Architecture Group Images by Christophe Servieres and Michael Walmsley via Runberg Architecture Group

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LEED Platinum Sitka captures the Pacific Northwest spirit with a lush, fog-enabled courtyard

Earth911 Podcast, Sept. 9, 2019: Lighting, Satellite Dishes, and Vampire Electronics

September 9, 2019 by  
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Thinking of replacing your lightbulbs, upgrading to a satellite TV … The post Earth911 Podcast, Sept. 9, 2019: Lighting, Satellite Dishes, and Vampire Electronics appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Sept. 9, 2019: Lighting, Satellite Dishes, and Vampire Electronics

Earth911 Quiz #50: The Circular Life of LED Bulbs

February 21, 2019 by  
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The light emitting diode, or LED, has roared into our … The post Earth911 Quiz #50: The Circular Life of LED Bulbs appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #50: The Circular Life of LED Bulbs

Clyde Mews eco-village champions sustainable housing alternatives in Melbourne

January 23, 2019 by  
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Melbourne recently became home to Clyde Mews , an inspiring “eco-village” that champions sustainable, community-focused living in close proximity to the city center. Created as an alternative to resource-intensive, car-centric developments, Clyde Mews features attractive, pedestrian-friendly design and energy-efficient housing. Designed by local architecture firm Six Degrees Architects for property development company Excelon Group, the eco-friendly development includes eight contemporary townhouses fitted out with sustainable elements — such as solar panels and water-efficient appliances — inside and out. Located in the center of Thornbury near a mix of services and amenities, Clyde Mews includes eight dwellings clustered around a shared green space with an urban garden and a  reclaimed timber boardwalk. As a medium-density development, the project consists of six double-story, family-centric townhouses and two apartment units ranging in size from one to three bedrooms. In addition to the tight-knit community atmosphere, the design also stresses resident privacy through the careful consideration of layouts and window placements. Clyde Mews’ contemporary yet grounded appearance is achieved through a material palette consisting of recycled brickwork, black steel, stained glass, cyclone fences and sustainably harvested natural wood. All dwellings benefit from a 30,000-liter underground rainwater storage tank that collects and stores rooftop runoff for reuse in flushing toilets, filling washing machines and irrigating the communal garden. Each house is equipped with Canadian Solar photovoltaic solar panels as well as Fronius solar inverters. Related: Zaha Hadid unveils futuristic designs for “New Moscow” Inside, the Clyde Mews homes are outfitted with Aerotron ceiling fans, hydronic heaters and reverse-cycle air conditioners that work in tandem with passive design features to minimize energy use without compromising on comfort. Examples of passive heating and cooling include high thermal mass exposed concrete floors that absorb sunlight during the day and dissipate the heat at night; cross ventilation; an abundance of natural light through double-glazed windows; and a pitched roof design with operable roof vents to allow hot air to escape. Energy-efficient fixtures range from LED lightbulbs and high-star-rating V-ZUG or Miele appliances. + Six Degrees Architects Photography by Alice Hutchison via Six Degrees Architects

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Clyde Mews eco-village champions sustainable housing alternatives in Melbourne

This high-tech LED lighting could grow veggies in space

January 22, 2019 by  
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Move over, freeze-dried foods and Tang. The astronauts of tomorrow may be growing veggies in their spacecraft or even on the moon and Mars. OSRAM , a global high-tech lighting company, showed off its PHYTOFY horticultural lighting system at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) . PHYTOFY RL uses LED lights that can be tuned, controlled and scheduled for different research applications. NASA is experimenting with PHYTOFY at the Kennedy Space Center to create plant recipes, which could eventually be used at the international space station. “While space is limited on spacecraft, NASA hopes to eventually scale up to larger growing areas, such as the lunar surface, the Martian surface or even during space transit,” said Steve Graves, strategic program manager for urban and digital farming. Related: Can vertical farming feed the world and change the agriculture industry? The PHYTOFY system includes an electric light unit, control gear and software. “The ability to control and schedule spectra, dosing plants photon by photon, is extremely innovative, especially when put into the hands of plants scientists,” Graves said. Despite the allure of space, OSRAM isn’t giving up on this planet. The plantCube is an Earth-based example of horticultural tech in OSRAM’s CES 2019 display. This hydroponic “smart garden,” made by agrilution, uses OSRAM’s LED technology to make it easy to grow greens and herbs. “With the plantCube, we meet two different global trends: the desire for people living in big cities to have a healthy diet alongside a switch to local food production,” Maximilian Lössl, co-founder of agrilution, said. “With this closed system, you are able to reduce water consumption and keep the use of fertilizers to a minimum, while eliminating the need for pesticides.” One of OSRAM’s breakthroughs — both in outer space and on Earth — is using different wavelengths of light to control plants’ growth cycles. Plants can then be harvested more or less frequently, as needed. “Light recipes” can also increase the nutrients and vitamins in plants and alter their flavors. OSRAM continues to collaborate with labs and universities to fine-tune and explore applications. + OSRAM Images via OSRAM

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This high-tech LED lighting could grow veggies in space

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