West Antarctica’s bedrock is rising, providing some protection to melting ice

June 22, 2018 by  
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It seems that most news concerning Antarctica’s ice sheets is bad news, with two of the world’s fastest melting glaciers shrinking away in the continent’s western region. Fortunately, this same region is also home to an unusual geological feature that may provide some relief to the effects of climate change. In a new study published in the journal Science , researchers examined how the Earth’s surface seems to expand when heavy objects, such as glaciers , are no longer present and pushing down on the ground. According to data gathered from GPS sensors, the land beneath the Amundsen Sea Embayment in western Antarctica is rising at a rate of about two inches per year, one of the fastest rising rates ever recorded. As is often the case, the discovery of western Antarctica’s rising bedrock was made somewhat by chance. “[Study co-author] Terry Wilson and colleagues were extremely wise and lucky,” study co-author Valentina Barletta told Earther . “They had the really, really good idea [to place those sensors] with very few indication[s] that there might have been something special.” The researchers concluded that the land beneath the Amundsen Sea Embayment springs back because of a relatively fluid mantle beneath the surface, which is more capable of responding to changes above. Related: Scientists uncover giant canyons under the ice in Antarctica “This study shows this region of Antarctica has a very short memory,” Antarctica researcher Matt King told Earther, likening the local geological phenomenon to memory foam. Understanding the impact that rebounding land can have enables researchers to more accurately assess ice loss, the measurement of which has been incomplete due to a lack of knowledge about rising rock. The study also provides some hope to those who live in coastal areas, which may benefit from the potential slowing of melting ice by its rising higher than the warmer water . Via Earther Image via Depositphotos

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West Antarctica’s bedrock is rising, providing some protection to melting ice

Find your zen in this tiny cabin tucked into New Zealand’s idyllic landscape

June 13, 2018 by  
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Located just outside Kawarau Falls near Queenstown, New Zealand, a tiny, off-grid  cabin conceals a truly luxurious and light-filled interior with a striking, jet-black facade. Designed by local architect Anna-Marie Chin, Tom’s Cabin, which can be rented through Airbnb , is strategically built to provide amazing views of the idyllic landscape while fitting in with the local vernacular. The 1,291-square-foot off-grid  cabin , which was voted New Zealand’s best small home in 2016, offers a serene retreat tucked into the natural landscape around Kawarau Falls. The low-lying volume with a “tilted” sloped roof mimics the landscape of the rolling hills, and the jet black exterior gives the cabin a contemporary, sophisticated feel. The simple gable form of the rooftop also provides an ultra-tall entryway, which is clad almost entirely in glass to provide stunning views from the small wooden deck. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The interior space is surprisingly well-lit by natural light . Using a simple color and material palette, the interior walls of the cabin are clad in plywood paneling, punctuated with large windows. Concrete floors and black accents create a seamless cohesion with the exterior. Various space-saving features and custom-made furniture provide the interior with plenty of storage . The cabin has three bedrooms and can accommodate up to six adults, with additional bedding available for small children. A large fireplace and underfloor heating keep the interior temperatures warm and cozy year round. For additional amenities, guests can enjoy the outdoor cedar hot tub after a long day of hiking or biking. In case of inclement weather, the cabin comes equipped with high-speed internet and a projector for movie night. + Tom’s Cabin Airbnb + Anna-Marie Chin Via Dwell Photography by David Straight

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Find your zen in this tiny cabin tucked into New Zealand’s idyllic landscape

Ryuji Kajino converts an 80-year-old barn into a gorgeous atelier

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architect Ryuji Kajino from Malubishi Architects has just unveiled the Tiny Atelier — a one-room work studio crafted with the remnants of an 80-year-old timber barn that previously stood on the same site. The minimalist work space, which was created for a designer who makes accessories from dried flowers, was built with timber, old beams and roof tiles repurposed from the existing barn. Located in Kurashiki, Japan, the work space was built for a designer who lives on a hilltop lot that overlooks the Seto Inland Sea in the distance. A covered porch leads from her home to the new studio, which is surrounded by greenery. In fact, the artist grows the flowers for her accessories in the onsite garden. Related: The Cornelia tiny house is a peaceful writer’s studio built with reclaimed wood The architect wanted to retain as many of the materials from the old barn as possible. The structure includes a new pitched roof topped with tiles from the existing barn. Inside, exposed log beams on the timber-lined ceiling pay homage to the former building. Vertical wooden boards  clad the petite studio, except for the front door, which has a diagonal pattern and custom-made chestnut handle. Large windows provide an abundance of natural light as well as beautiful views of the valley below. The room’s biggest window sits in a timber frame constructed with both old and new wooden pillars, again marking the transition from past to present. The office design embraces minimalism with sparse furniture and a wraparound white shelf built high up on the wall to provide space for drying flowers. According to the architect, re-using the barn’s old materials enabled him to create the atelier space as a nod to the local history. “Utilizing the materials that can be used by existing barns, we inherited the history that this site had been walking on,” explained Kajino, “but also aimed at a new architecture mixed old and new materials as a future architectural building.” + Ryuji Kajino Via Dezeen Images via Ryuji Kajino

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Ryuji Kajino converts an 80-year-old barn into a gorgeous atelier

Croatia Pavilions Cloud Pergola is one of the worlds largest 3D-printed structures

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architect Bruno Juri?i?  has unveiled one of the world’s largest and most complex 3D-printed structures at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale . Dubbed the Cloud Pergola / The Architecture of Hospitality, this massive, site-specific structure for the Croatian Pavilion features 300 kilograms of 3D-printed biodegradable plastic. The immersive cloud-like installation invites visitors to reflect on the topics of hospitality, climate change and sociability. The Cloud Pergola is a contemporary take on the classic Mediterranean pergola structure, a space where “the private and public merge.” Curated and authored by Bruno Juri?i? in collaboration with Arup , Ai-Build and Alisa Andrašek, the innovative pavilion’s main focus is the ‘Cloud Drawing,’ a 3D-printed structure built of voxels arranged in a fluid-like mass using over 100,000 extruded elements. A “multi-agent algorithm” that was built with data on cloud formation and site-specific environmental data was used to inform the design’s lattice-like form and arrangement. The Cloud Pergola is complemented with artwork that helps create an immersive experience. Vlatka Horvat’s wall-based work ‘To Still the Eye’ explores the “notion of horizon as a physical manifestation of distance and as a metaphor for the future, wanting to address this sense of possibility,” while artist Maja Kuzmanovi?’s ‘Ephemeral Garden’ is an audio installation. “I wanted the pavilion to push the boundaries of the aesthetics, spatial and tectonic consequences of emerging paradigms of augmented intelligence at the cross-over between architecture, art, and engineering by presenting a full-scale pergola structure made using 3D robotic fabrication and automated design protocols,” said Bruno Juri?i? in a statement. “The Cloud Pergola was envisioned as a paradigm for what architecture should stand for in the 21st century.” Related: Vatican City’s first-ever pavilion debuts at the Venice Architecture Biennale Arup and the 3D manufacturing team of Ai-Build also developed a simple assembly sequence for the Cloud Pergola, which will be put on tour after the end of the Venice Biennale. The Croatian Pavilion will be exhibited for the entire duration of the Architectural Biennale, until November 25, 2018. + Croatian Pavilion Images by Jan Stojkovic

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Croatia Pavilions Cloud Pergola is one of the worlds largest 3D-printed structures

These fish and meat options are the most environmentally costly

June 12, 2018 by  
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Farmed seafood, wild-caught fish , or livestock : which one is the most environmentally costly to produce? A University of Washington -led study probed that question by scrutinizing 148 life-cycle assessments for animal protein production. Lead author Ray Hilborn, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences professor, said in a statement , “If you’re an environmentalist, what you eat makes a difference. We found there are obvious good choices, and really obvious bad choices.” (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); The environmental costs of producing meat, seafood Which food type is more environmentally costly to produce — livestock, farmed seafood, or wild-caught fish? New research from the University of Washington takes a comprehensive look at the environmental impacts of different types of animal protein production. Read more: http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/06/11/choice-matters-the-environmental-costs-of-producing-meat-seafood/ Posted by University of Washington News on Monday, June 11, 2018 Scientists drew on four metrics to compare environmental impacts of different animal proteins: greenhouse gas emissions , energy use, potential to add excess nutrients like fertilizer into the environment, and potential to emit substances that help cause  acid rain . They used 40 grams of protein — around the size of an average burger patty — as their standard amount . Related: Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat Industrial beef production and farmed catfish were the most environmentally costly in general, according to the university. Farmed mollusks such as scallops, oysters, or mussels and small wild-caught fish were the least environmentally costly. The university said capture fish choices like pollock, the cod family, and hake also have relatively low impact, and farmed salmon performed well. But there were differences across animal proteins — for example, the researchers said livestock production consumed less power than most seafood aquaculture as continual water circulation uses up electricity. Farmed tilapia, shrimp, and catfish used the most energy. Beef and catfish aquaculture generated around 20 times more greenhouse gases than chicken , farmed salmon, farmed mollusks, and small capture fisheries. “When compared to other studies of vegetarian and vegan diets, a selective diet of aquaculture and wild capture fisheries has a lower environmental impact than either of the plant-based diets,” according to the university. The journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment published the study this week. Four University of Washington scientists and one scientist from company Avalerion Capital contributed. + University of Washington + Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment Images via

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These fish and meat options are the most environmentally costly

New study suggests that plastic waste may be transformed into usable energy

June 12, 2018 by  
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A new study from the Earth Engineering Center (EEC|CCNY) at the Grove School of Engineering of the City College of New York suggests that plastic waste can effectively be converted into usable fuel and energy rather than being dumped in a landfill or polluting the ocean. Researchers found that the addition of non-recycled plastics (NRPs) to a chemical recycling process known as gasification results in the production of crude oil -based fuel. It also reduces pollution, both plastic and emissions, in contrast to traditional methods of disposing of plastic waste, such as incineration or dumping. Plastic is a product derived from crude oil and, as such, contains significant latent energy that can be harnessed using the right technology and technique. “This study demonstrates that because carbon- and hydrogen -rich plastics have high energy content, there is tremendous potential to use technologies like gasification to convert these materials into fuels, chemicals and other products,” study co-author Marco J. Castaldi told Phys.org . As concerns rise over plastic pollution, scientists are looking to reframe plastic as a resource rather than waste . “Plastics have an end-of-life use that will be turning waste into energy, which is something we all need and use,” study co-author Demetra Tsiamis told Phys.org. Related: UN releases first “state of plastics” report on World Environment Day Gasification uses air or steam to heat plastic waste. This results in the creation of industrial gas mixtures called synthesis gas, or syngas. This syngas can either be converted into diesel and petrol or burned directly to generate electricity . This process is preferable to incineration of plastic waste because it allows for the storage of potentially usable energy that otherwise would be wasted through incineration. Gasification is also better for air quality, producing much lower levels of sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions. + Earth Engineering Center Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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New study suggests that plastic waste may be transformed into usable energy

Dutch town helps out rare bat species by installing "bat-friendly" streetlights

June 7, 2018 by  
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Street lighting can impact bats’ feeding patterns and internal compasses, as well as the activity of their insect prey, but a town in the Netherlands is taking steps to help the bats out. Zuidhoek Nieuwkoop , a housing development of around 90 sustainable homes near the Nieuwkoopse Plassen nature reserve, has installed what are thought to be the world’s first bat-friendly streetlights. The red LED  lights from Signify , formerly Philips Lighting, brighten the road for humans, but the the bats still perceive the light as darkness. The town and surrounding area are part of the Natura 2000 , a network of nesting and breeding sites for rare and threatened species across the European Union. These sites don’t all exclude human activities; in fact, most of the land is privately owned. The approach to conservation on these sites revolves around “people working with nature rather than against it,” according to the European Commission. Related: Bat bridge provides shelter for our winged friends in the Dutch town of Monster Bat-friendly lighting could fit that bill. Zuidhoek Nieuwkoop , according to Signify, is a key feeding ground “for some rare bat species.” The energy-efficient streetlights emit red with a wavelength that won’t interfere with the flying mammals’ internal compasses. The lighting is based on 2017 research from Wageningen University , the Netherlands Institute of Ecology , and Philips Lighting. Nieuwkoop city council member Guus Elkhuizen said, “Nieuwkoop is the first town in the world to use smart LED street lights that are designed to be friendly to bats. When developing our unique housing program, our goal was to make the project as sustainable as possible, while preserving our local bat species with minimal impact to their habitat and activities. We’ve managed to do this and also keep our carbon footprint and energy consumption to a minimum.” + Signify + Zuidhoek Nieuwkoop Images courtesy of Signify

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Dutch town helps out rare bat species by installing "bat-friendly" streetlights

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate

May 4, 2018 by  
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Kilauea, the most active volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, erupted late yesterday after a spate of earthquakes . The state’s governor, David Ige, declared a local state of emergency. There are active volcanic vents on the Makamae and Mohala streets, and hundreds of residents have been ordered to evacuate. The eruption on Thursday took place at Kilauea volcano’s East Rift Zone — and Hawaii News Now said Leilani Estates subdivision residents fled with little but the clothes they were wearing. There was another eruption on Friday, and at least a dozen more earthquakes have shaken the area. Related: After 250 earthquakes in 24 hours, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano might erupt In the wake of the eruption, schools have closed, and so has a geothermal power plant. The Hawaii Fire Department reported “extremely high levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas detected in the evacuation area.” The County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency has ordered mandatory evacuations for multiple subdivisions, and Gizmodo reported  that around 1,700 people reside in the immediate evacuation area, although more than 10,000 people live in the volcano’s vicinity. Emergency shelters opened at community centers. Ige has activated Hawaii’s National Guard, and Hawaii senator Brian Schatz said on Twitter that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is mobilizing resources and is monitoring “for forest fires , power outages, and water supply disruption.” Hawaii News Now spoke to Ikaika Marzo, who was one of the first people in Leilani Estates to see active lava , and he reportedly saw fountains about 100 feet high. Another local resident told the news outlet, “My family is safe, the rest of the stuff can be replaced. When I bought here 14 years, I knew that this day would eventually come. But the reality is sinking in now.” + County of Hawaii Via Hawaii News Now and Gizmodo Images via U.S. Geological Survey

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Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate

This all-weather bicycle highway could fulfill the dreams of bike commuters everywhere

April 30, 2018 by  
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Architect Richard Moreta just unveiled the MINILOOP, an enclosed cycleway that could be a dream come true for bicycle commuters. Envisioned as the “ideal zero-emission transportation system,” the MINILOOP is designed to harness renewable energy and supply excess power to the local city grid. Geared to satisfy even the most fair-weather cyclists, the cycleway would be enclosed in a weather-resistant elevated pipeline and it’s designed to cater to bicycles and e-bikes . Inspired by the Hyperloop , the MINILOOP is designed for easy, world-wide reproduction and it can be modified to suit different climates – from an open-air design for temperate climates to a more insulated design for places with extreme weather. “MINILOOP helps create less traffic and pollution simultaneously; by both taking more conventional motor vehicles off the road and giving more vertical space to grow plants to further filter the air,” the architects wrote. “It also minimizes traffic and cycling incidents, creating safer environments for families and commuters.” Related: Shanghai flying car tower to clean the air with a 50,000-plant vertical forest The designers also included an optional additional circuit for small electric vehicles as part of their vision for moving cities toward a lower carbon footprint . To encourage surrounding communities to adopt greener transportation options, each MINILOOP would also be equipped with electric bicycle and vehicle charging stations, as well as electric bicycle rentals. + Richard’s Architecture + Design

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This all-weather bicycle highway could fulfill the dreams of bike commuters everywhere

Zaha Hadid Architects designs robot-assisted vaulted classrooms for China

April 19, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects unveiled designs for Lushan Primary School that blends forward-thinking construction techniques with deference to ancient Chinese culture. Located in the remote and beautiful countryside 160 kilometers northwest of Jiangxi’s capital Nanchang, Lushan Primary School will serve 12 local villages and offer a curriculum that focuses on the creative arts and STEM subjects. To reduce construction time and demands, the campus buildings will be housed in a series of modular vaulted spaces built with local in-situ concrete techniques and formwork prepared by an industrial robot on site. Created for children aged 3 to 12 years, the Lushan Primary School is expected to accommodate approximately 120 students within 9 classrooms. In addition to teaching spaces, the campus will also include a dormitory and utility buildings, all of which will be housed within a series of barrel and parabolic vaults optimized for landscape views and natural light. The cantilevered roofs help mitigate the solar gain of Jiangxi’s sub-tropical climate and provide a covered space for outdoor teaching. A long central courtyard between the classrooms serves as the school’s main circulation space and play area. “The barrel and parabolic vaults act as the school’s primary structure and enclosure, with each vault performing as an individual structural element,” wrote the architects. “To minimise construction time and also reduce the number of separate building elements required to be transported to the school’s remote location, ZHA proposes to combine the local skills of in-situ concrete construction with new advancements in hot-wire cut foam formwork that can be prepared on site by an industrial robot to create the barrel and parabolic shaped moulds. The modularity of the vaults enables moulds to be used multiple times, further accelerating the construction process and reducing costs.” Related: New images capture Zaha Hadid’s luxury High Line condos in NYC In a nod to the region’s long history with high-quality ceramics dating back to the Ming Dynasty, the vaulted buildings will feature a ceramic external finish laid in a dark gradient of tones that contrasts with the whitewashed interiors. The school is situated on a peninsula and will be elevated five meters above the 50-year flood level. A natural water catchment area surrounds the school for protection and also offers space for outdoor teaching spaces and sports facilities. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Zaha Hadid Architects and VA

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