These Christmas lights are made of trash left on Canary Island beaches

October 27, 2017 by  
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While some associate Christmas with crass consumerism, Spanish architect Fernando Menis from the Canary Islands believes it’s a great opportunity to reuse discarded objects. To prove the idea, Menis designed Christmas lights out of recycled summer waste for the coastal town of La Oliva on the island of Fuerteventura. Colorful floats, surfboards, buckets, beach toys and even plastic bottles abandoned on local beaches will have a second life as very unusual Christmas decorations on the exotic island. Instead of classic “White Christmas” snowflakes and snowmen, the architect proposed more appropriate marine decor that fits into the local context. La Oliva is traditionally linked to the sea and fishing, so Menis dreamt up giant squids, hibiscus flowers, palm trees, boats and jellyfish garlands – all lit with energy-efficient and environmentally friendly LED technology. Some of the lights are even powered by small solar panels. Menis also wants to bring his oceanic Christmas theme to the sea by supplying fishing boats navigating near the coast with recycled garlands that light up at night. Related: How to Green Your Holidays With Eco-Friendly Christmas Decor The project will be realized with the citizen participation – In fact, its assembly will involve the inhabitants and especially the local kids. What a great way to have fun and celebrate Christmas while creating real value with objects that tourists discard upon leaving the island. + Fernando Menis Images courtesy of Fernando Menis Architects

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These Christmas lights are made of trash left on Canary Island beaches

Magical Frost Light burns on the power of melting ice

September 26, 2017 by  
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Watching ice melt has never been cooler. Dutch architecture firm Edhv Studio transforms melting ice into electricity in Frost Light, a beautiful and brilliant lamp that harnesses the power of natural energy. The renewable light source taps into the magic of thermodynamics and shows how energy can be harvested from unexpected places. Frost Light is made up of four main components: an LED with hidden wires inside a metal plate, a block of ice, a base of solid aluminum, and a long metal funnel that extends to an upturned ice block mold. When the ice block is set on the metal plate, the melting process and resulting temperature difference generates enough electricity to power an LED for approximately three hours. The water drips down the funnel into a bucket that serves as a mold for new ice blocks. Related: Incredible ICEHOTEL shows off stunning fantasy-like rooms carved from ice and snow Frost Light was created as part of design collective Dutch Invertuals’ Power Play, an exhibition that addresses how natural energy can be transformed into valuable products or objects. The eye-catching melting ice lamp also made a recent appearance as part of Dutch Invertuals’ Harvest exhibition for futuristic designs at the London Design Fair earlier this month. + Edhv Studio

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Magical Frost Light burns on the power of melting ice

Floating Cloud lamp adds levitating magic to any room

August 14, 2017 by  
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Take your home to new atmospheric levels with this incredible floating cloud lamp. Designed by Richard Clarkson Studio and Crealev , Floating Cloud is a magnetically levitating ambient lamp that adds a magical touch to any room it hovers in. The designers just announced a limited production run of these unique and fluffy lamps—read on for more details and to see the cloud come alive. Floating Cloud is the latest iteration of an ongoing collaboration between Richard Clarkson Studio’s cloud-themed designs and Crealev’s innovative levitation technology. Made from PETG and hypoallergenic polyester fiber, the fluffy cloud-like mass floats approximately 2.75 inches off its base using magnetic levitation. The Cloud is entirely wireless and the base is powered with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. The cloud spins and bobs side-to-side for a “more realistic atmospheric experience,” while hidden sound-reactive RGB LEDs create the powerful illusion of a storm cloud with lightning. To reduce weight and size, the Floating Cloud does not include a speaker, however it will react to existing sound systems and voices. The Cloud flashes to the beat of the music in four different styles using an embedded microphone. An infrared remote controls a range of ambient lamp modes from white to colored versions. Related: This water-filled lamp makes it rain in your home “The Cloud is held in place using both rare earth magnets, electromagnets, and a location sensor,” write Richard Clarkson Studio. “There is a discrete infrared locating beam in the center of the Cloud, which, if obstructed by an object (such as a hand) will result in the Cloud “falling off” it’s levitating balance point. In such an event the Cloud has a soft felt bottom to cushion the fall. To return the Cloud to its floating position, use your fingers to pry the Cloud off the base and with two hands hold the Cloud roughly in position, slowly move the Cloud from side to side until you feel it ‘lock’ in place.” The studio has released a limited 100-unit production run of the Floating Cloud, available on their website for $4,620 USD . + Richard Clarkson Studio

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Floating Cloud lamp adds levitating magic to any room

Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva

August 10, 2017 by  
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In addition to aiding digestion, it turns out saliva can also power batteries. Researchers at Binghamton University discovered this while inventing a small, paper-based battery that generates energy when mixed with a drop of saliva. The batteries, which are more like tiny microbial fuel cells, are inexpensive to make and could be used in natural disasters and remote settings where on-demand power is hard (if not impossible) to come by. As a result, access to medical care and screenings in rural settings could improve. Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Science Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi spent the past five years developing the micro-power sources. His ultimate goal was to find a way to power medical diagnostic tests in poverty-stricken regions; finally, he succeeded at developing paper-based bacteria -powered batteries “On-demand micro-power generation is required especially for point-of-care diagnostic applications in developing countries,” said Choi. “Typically, those applications require only several tens of microwatt-level power for several minutes, but commercial batteries or other energy harvesting technologies are too expensive and over-qualified. Also, they pose environmental pollution issues.” Related: Indian startup pioneers new battery swapping system for electric buses The batteries contain freeze-dried exoelectrogenic cells which generate power when saliva is added. Astonishingly, with just one drop of spit, the paper batteries can produce enough power for low-power biological sensors in just a matter of minutes. Eureka Alert reports that a benefit of freeze drying the cells is that they can be stored for a long time before use. This means they can be stocked in medical clinics around the world. An additional perk is that the required biological fluid (saliva) can be easily obtained anywhere, anytime. At present, the battery can only produce a few microwatts of power per square centimeter. However, Choi and his research assistant, Maedeh Mohammadifar, are working on boosting the output. In the future, the team hopes to make the paper batteries more robust so they can sustain devices other than LED lights when connected in a series. The paper, “A Papertronic, On-Demand and Disposable Biobattery: Saliva-Activated Electricity Generation from Lyophilized Exoelectrogens Preinoculated on Paper,” was published in Advanced Materials Technologies. + Binghamton University Via Eureka Alert Images via  Binghamton University , Pixabay

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Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva

These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k

May 10, 2017 by  
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Meet ÖÖD , a gorgeous prefab abode that doesn’t compromise privacy for stellar views. Clad in mirrored glass, this sleek tiny home blends into its surroundings and offers all the living essentials built into a compact 18-square-meter footprint. Designed primarily for use as pop-up hotel rooms, the moveable and modular ÖÖD has far-reaching applications and is even under development for off-grid solutions. Designed and manufactured in Estonia, the ÖÖD houses were specifically developed for hotel usage and holiday housing. Its small footprint allows for easy installation anywhere in Estonia without the need for a building permit. Each unit accommodates two to three people and can be slotted seamlessly into urban and rural landscapes. Built primarily from steel, insulated glass , and thermally treated wood, the ÖÖD home features a studio layout with a large custom-made bed, kitchenette, living area, and bathroom. Home automation is built in as is adjustable floor heating and LED lighting. Homeowners would only need to hook the unit up to an Internet cable, water, sewage, and an electricity supply though off-grid solutions are currently being developed. An LG heat pump with moisture separator provides heating and cooling. Related: Prefab and low-budget CabinCube Hotels can pop up almost anywhere Installation of the ÖÖD only takes eight hours to complete. According to Nordica Flight Magazine, each unit costs 33,000 euros (VAT excluded) and includes custom-built Estonian furniture. ÖÖD homes have only been installed in Estonia thus far—the first unit debuted last fall—but the company plans to expand to international markets. + ÖÖD Images by Maris Tomba and Anton Toomere

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These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k

Modpools turns shipping containers into amazing swimming pools

April 28, 2017 by  
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We’ve seen shipping containers transformed into homes , shops , and even urban farms – but Modpools gives these repurposed structures a whole new life as backyard swimming pools . Modpools are easy to install and transport, and they come with a series of cool features including heaters, jets, portholes, and LED mood lighting you can control with your smartphone. Modpools are available in 8′ x 20′ or 8′ x 40′ container sizes and they can be installed in no time. By adding a divider, users can even create a temporary or permanent hot tub section. These customizable all-in-one pool systems ship with ready-to-use, built-in pool equipment and a high-tech Ultraviolet system that keeps the water clean without the need for chemicals. Related: ScottWhitbyStudio transforms a shipping container into a pop-up cinema You can install Modpools above ground with raised decking, partially underground with retaining walls, or at ground level. This makes them versatile and easy to adapt to different topographies and backyard sizes. You can add a special touch to your prefab swimming pool by adding a window to the side of the shipping container. + Modpools Via Curbed

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Worlds greenest terminal opens at Oslo airport

April 28, 2017 by  
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Nordic Office of Architecture recently completed the world’s greenest airport terminal with their new 115,000-square-meter extension that’s doubled the size of Oslo Airport. As the world’s first airport building to achieve the BREEAM Excellence sustainability rating, the renovated Oslo Airport boasts an array of energy-efficient strategies as well as on-site energy harvesting systems. The most notable energy-saving measure is the airport’s collection and storage of snow for reuse as coolant during the summer. The recent expansion is a continuation of Nordic’s work on the Oslo Airport, which the architecture firm designed in 1998. The Oslo-based design studio’s 300-meter-long extension preserves the building’s simple and iconic appearance while increasing airport capacity from 19 million to an anticipated future capacity of 30 million. New design elements also improve the passenger experience, such as the reduction of walking distances to a maximum of 450 meters, and the overhaul of the existing train station at the heart of the airport. Artificial lighting is minimized in favor of natural lighting to improve passenger comfort and reduce energy demands. Related: Zaha Hadid unveils plans for world’s largest airport terminal in Beijing In addition to the use of natural lighting and the reuse of snow as a summer coolant, the architects reduced the airport’s carbon footprint by 35 percent with the use of environmentally friendly and recycled materials . The new pier is entirely clad in timber sourced from Scandinavian forests, while additional natural materials, green walls, and water features, can be found throughout the interior. Recycled steel and concrete mixed with volcanic ash were also used. Improved insulation has helped the building achieve Passive House-level performance standards and, coupled with on-site energy harvesting, slashed energy consumption by over 50 percent as compared to the existing terminal. + Nordic Office of Architecture Images by Ivan Brodey

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Add a skylight to any room with these amazingly realistic LED panels

April 15, 2017 by  
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Installing a skylight in a room with little light or a lack of windows can now be as easy as hanging a picture, thanks to the amazing faux skylights by Simar Design . The beautiful panels can bring the look of the sky – be it day or night- into any room. Illuminated with LED lights , the panels can accurately imitate the color, light and look of any time of day by coupling lights with imagery from leading photographers. Simar Design came up with the faux skylight concept when thinking about how daylight can have a profound effect on mood and well being. With many studies linking nature with the effect of relaxation, Simar sought to bring nature inside. The target audience for the screens was to those who are unable to get outside, such as the terminally ill in hospitals, or the immobile in retirement homes. Exposure to blue sky scenes with bursts of fluffy clouds, fronds of green foliage or vines of flowers could help foster the healing process, and give hope to patients. Related: Studies Prove that Desk Plants Can Improve Worker Concentration and Productivity The panels are powered by LED technology , combined with stunning imagery by leading photographers. Pieces can vary in size to suit any room, and last from 50,000 to 100,000 hours. That’s 20 to 40 years of use at 7 hours a day. The best part, is the imagery is completely changeable, and can be switched out at a moment’s notice, making it versatile for any needs. Simar Design’s faux skylight can brighten a drab hotel room, add a place of contemplation for patients, create a imaginative scene for kids, or simply bring a bit of nature to a dark room. + Simar Design Via V2

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Add a skylight to any room with these amazingly realistic LED panels

Historic Missouri church rises from the ashes with an eco-friendly twist

April 3, 2017 by  
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When the 2011 catastrophic fire ravaged the historic Westport Presbyterian Church in Kansas City , much of the church’s structure and finishes were completely destroyed. Fortunately, however, the original limestone facade survived in good condition. Rather than knock down the building and start anew, Kansas City-based design firm BNIM reconstructed the iconic church, from the painstaking restoration of sacred components to the creation of a new addition that features modern and eco-friendly elements. Built in 1905, the 27,000-square-foot multi-story Westport Presbyterian Church is one of the most iconic buildings in Kansas City’s historic Westport community. BNIM and the community came together to rebuild the church and tackle the challenges of preserving original elements while crafting a space that was also dynamic and progressive. Parts of the church considered not sacred were deconstructed and large amounts of salvaged material —from the reclamation of 40,000 feet of pinewood framing material to the reuse of original limestone—were used in reconstruction. The restored and renovated church features a new addition with a 150-seat sanctuary, 40-seat chapel , gathering space, fellowship room, 3,000-square-foot multipurpose room, a 1,000-square-foot street-facing “community room”, administrative offices and office space that will be leased to a Westport area nonprofit. The renovation includes energy saving elements such as LEDs and contemporary stormwater management practices. All stained glass was restored and reinstalled in contemporary mounting. The project won an AIA Kansas Merit Award and an AIA Kansas City Citation Award. Related: Stunning see-through church is made from stacked weathered steel “This is one that put a smile on all our faces,” said an AIA Kansas City jury member. “There was a fire, and it destroyed just about everything on this church except for the stone walls. For the community to come together and rebuild this, and do it in such a thoughtful, elegant, and modern way, was something the jury really applauded.” Another jury member added: “It wasn’t just a restoration, it was a repositioning of the whole church itself. It made for a better building, and we think more connected to the community.” + BNIM Images via BNIM

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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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