Foster + Partners Bloomberg HQ opens in London as worlds most sustainable office building

October 25, 2017 by  
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Bloomberg’s new European headquarters—billed the “world’s most sustainable office building”—opened yesterday in London. Designed by Foster + Partners , the 3.2-acre Bloomberg HQ achieved a BREEAM Outstanding rating with a 98.5% score that the architects say is the “highest design-stage score ever achieved by any major office development.” The nine-story headquarters is estimated to save 73 percent in water consumption and 35 percent in energy consumption when compared to typical office buildings. Clad in nearly 10,000 tonnes of English sandstone and bronze, the massive Bloomberg HQ mitigates its size by carving out a public pedestrian arcade between its two buildings, while bronze fins give the buildings human scale and also allow for natural ventilation and protection from solar gain. Located between the Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral, the city block-sized development is also meant to blend in with and respect its historic surroundings. In addition to the pedestrian Bloomberg Arcade, the building features three public plazas and ground-floor restaurants to engage the urban fabric. Site-specific art installations, from artists like Cristina Iglesias and Olafur Eliasson , punctuate the development. Related: Bloomberg’s new London HQ rated world’s most sustainable office “From day one, we talked with Mike Bloomberg about creating an elegant stone building that responds to its historic setting yet is clearly of its own time and which would be a good neighbour in the City of London in every sense of the word,” said Lord Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners. “We wanted the building to have an integrity and continuity of expression both inside and out, creating an inspiring, innovative, dynamic and collaborative workplace for Bloomberg that embodies the core values of the company. Above all, we had a shared belief with Bloomberg that we should provide the highest standards of sustainability and wellbeing for its occupants, as well as create major new public spaces at ground level, making a significant contribution to the daily life of the City of London and its inhabitants.” + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , photos by Neil Young

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Foster + Partners Bloomberg HQ opens in London as worlds most sustainable office building

Frances first Vertical Forest will add a hectare of forest to Paris skyline

October 25, 2017 by  
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Stefano Boeri Architetti’s Vertical Forests continue to take root around the world, with the latest project planned for Paris . Designed for Villiers sur Marne in east Paris, Forêt Blanche will be a 54-meter-tall tower built predominately of timber. Two thousand trees, shrubs, and plants will cover the wooden facade—a green surface equivalent to a hectare of forest. Forêt Blanche recently won the Marne Europe — Villiers sur Marne competition along with a dozen other structures of the Balcon sur Paris project designed by the likes of Kengo Kuma Architects and Oxo Architectes. The first French Vertical Forest will be a mixed-use building comprising residential apartments stacked on top of offices and retail on the lower levels. Terraces and balconies will allow occupants to enjoy the ample greenery and panoramic city views. Related: China’s first vertical forest is rising in Nanjing In addition to Forêt Blanche, the architects’ Balcon sur Paris submission also included La Cour Verte, a building with a lush hanging garden. James Corner Field Operations and Atelier Paul Arène led the landscape architecture vision. Forêt Blanche will join a growing number of Vertical Forests built or currently planned for cities around the world, from Asia to Europe. + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Frances first Vertical Forest will add a hectare of forest to Paris skyline

Oxford, UK to create first zero-emissions zone in the world

October 12, 2017 by  
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Oxford , England, with its history of learning dating back to the 11th century, is now shifting into the future with an electric-vehicle only zone in the city center. In banning all internal combustion engine vehicles, the city is establishing what it says is the first zero-emissions zone in the world. Starting in 2020, six streets in Oxford’s city center will be free of smaller gas-guzzling vehicles, including buses and taxis. By 2035, the ban will have expanded to all fossil-fuel powered vehicles and will encompass the entire city center. While such a dramatic change in the city center’s urban design may encourage less driving, thus less greenhouse gas emissions, the zone was inspired by a need to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide, most of which comes from car exhaust, by three-fourths. Chronic exposure to nitrogen dioxide can cause respiratory problems and eye irritation. Data from the World Health Organization also indicates that Oxford is one of eleven British cities to exceed the safe limits of toxic particles known as PM10s and PM2.5s. A “step change” is urgently needed to prevent air pollution from “damaging the health” of Oxford residents, said city councilor John Tanner. Related: GM’s plans for “all-electric-future” spell doom for fossil fuel industry The switch-over plan is expected to cost Oxford city government, bus companies, and local businesses approximately £7 million to replace the fossil-fuel consuming vehicles, including all municipal vehicles, with electric vehicles. An additional £7 million will be spent to build compliance infrastructure , such as CCTV cameras with plate number recognition technology. Those who still choose to bring their old fashioned vehicles into the city center after the ban will face a significant fine. To sustain such a project, Oxford would require sustained commitment from local, regional, and perhaps federal government. Via The Guardian Images via  Martijn van Sabben ,  Giuseppe Milo

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Oxford, UK to create first zero-emissions zone in the world

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

London’s sewer-dwelling ‘fatberg’ will be converted into biofuel

September 20, 2017 by  
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IT’s not the only monster lurking in the sewers. Beneath the streets of London lies the now-notorious “fatberg,” a congealed mass of grease, oil, wet wipes and sanitary products that weighs as much as 11 double-decker buses. Thames Water Utilities has confirmed that the 820-foot-long fatberg will be removed from its subterranean lair and converted into biofuel . “It may be a monster, but the Whitechapel fatberg deserves a second chance,” said Thames Water waste network manager Alex Saunders. “We’ve therefore teamed up with leading waste to power firm Argent Energy to transform what was once an evil, gut-wrenching, rancid blob into pure green fuel.” Fatbergs appear when its necessary ingredients (fat, sanitary products, grease, etc.) are flushed down the toilet or the kitchen sink. They then meet and stick together. The notorious fatberg of London came together under Whitechapel Road and has damaged the area’s Victorian-era sewage system. Only about one-third of the mass has been removed for processing. The Museum of London hopes to receive part of the fatberg, which is heavy and solid, for display. “The discovery of this fatberg highlights one of the many issues London has to deal with as it grows and evolves,” said Sharon Ament, Director at the Museum of London. “Our year-long season, City Now City Future, explores what the future holds for people living in urban environments.” Related: Startup is developing kelp farms in the open ocean to make carbon-neutral biofuel Although this is not the first fatberg discovered, its conversion into fuel is breaking new ground. “It’s the perfect solution for the environment and our customers as we work towards our target to self-generate 33 per cent of the electricity we use from renewable sources by 2020,” said Saunders. “It also means the Whitechapel fatberg will get a new lease of life as renewable, biodegradable fuel powering an engine instead of causing the misery of sewer flooding. Even though they are our worst enemy, and we want them dead completely, bringing fatbergs back to life when we do find them in the form of biodiesel is a far better solution for everyone.” Via Alphr Images via Alphr

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London’s sewer-dwelling ‘fatberg’ will be converted into biofuel

Taste the future with IKEAs SPACE10 LOKAL hydroponic food pop-up in London

September 12, 2017 by  
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Ever wondered what the future of food looks like? IKEA’s SPACE10 lab believes food production will be smarter and more efficient, and they’re going to show us how with their LOKAL pop up in Shoreditch. Set to launch during the London Design Festival next week, the six-day LOKAL pop-up will be an interactive public event that lets the public “enjoy a taste of the future” with their high-tech hydroponics farm and gastronomic workshops that sustainably serve up delicious and nutritious food, right where it’s grown. Hydroponics is at the heart of LOKAL. The highlight of the pop-up will be a hydroponics farming system with artificial lights and computerized automation that grows food optimized for freshness, nutrients, and taste. SPACE10’s system can grow vegetables three times faster than traditional methods with 90 percent less water, less waste, and without the need for soil and sunlight in a much more space-efficient footprint. Modified LED lights allow for year-round indoor growing and the system will be run solely on renewable energy in the future. In addition, smart sensors on the system facilitate machine learning so that healthier food can be grown faster while the data is fed into Google Home. “People [can] basically talk to the plants and hear how they are doing, if they need anything or simply let kids and grownups learn about sustainable food,” said Simon Caspersen of SPACE10. Related: Incredible Algae Dome absorbs sun and CO2 to produce superfood and oxygen The six-day LOKAL pop-up program is open to the public and features five parts with a mixture of hosts starting with SPACE10’s LOKAL Salads, where visitors can find a futuristic salad bar that provides meals of hydroponic microgreens topped with delicious locally sourced ingredients. Hirsch & Mann will host the tactile Meet Your Greens section that playfully educates about the benefits of locally sourced food and hydroponics. Technology Will Save Us ’ Grow Your Greens Workshop is a hands-on activity for kids where they’ll learn to grow their own take-away plant hydroponically. The Food Preservation Workshop hosted by Farmdrop focuses on the latter half of the food cycle with lessons on reducing food waste and how fermentation preserves food. SPACE10 will also host SPROUT, an experiment to make local farming more accessible to people with voice technology. The LOKAL pop-up will run September 18 to September 23—you can find more details on their Facebook event page . + LOKAL Pop up + SPACE10 Images via SPACE10

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Taste the future with IKEAs SPACE10 LOKAL hydroponic food pop-up in London

Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

September 12, 2017 by  
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Mother Nature has reclaimed a former gravel extraction area in Maasvalley Riverpark, a 2,500-hectare nature reserve straddling the Belgium-Netherlands border. To help visitors fully experience the revitalized area, De Gouden Liniaal Architecten designed a small observation tower that blends into the landscape with its rammed earth walls. Built of locally excavated materials, the Observation Tower Negenoord is the first public earthen building in the Benelux region. The 46-square-meter observation tower is located on a small hill in the heart of the former gravel mine, Negenoord. Although the tower features a sandblasted concrete core, it is clad in external walls built of locally sourced ochre-colored earth, clay, and gravel created with rammed earth building techniques and stabilized with mortar made of volcanic rock. Over time, the external walls will slowly erode away to reveal the gravel aggregate; the gravel content is also visible in the sandblasted concrete core. “To guarantee the quality of the construction, the design team was supported by an international team of experts: Cratterre/ Vessières&Cie/ BC Studies,” wrote the architects. “The earth-consultants analyzed different local materials, tried different mixes and evaluated them on compression force, abrasion, color and appearance. The chosen mix consisted of 20% gravel, 40% ochre-colored earth, and 40% clay , stabilized with Trasslime. Through its materialization, the building tells us about the location it’s built. and becomes strongly anchored in its environment.” Related: Giant timber periscope tower offers lakeside views to everyone — even those with disabilities Roughly triangular in plan, the observation tower features three staircases with landings that offer different views of the landscape. The rammed earth construction took seven weeks to complete, with about 20-meters-cubed of rammed earth finished every week. + De Gouden Liniaal Architecten Via ArchDaily Images by Filip Dujardin

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Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

Megacities could save $505 million a year thanks to trees

August 30, 2017 by  
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Trees offer enormous monetary benefit to megacities , or those urban areas where over 10 million people reside. New research led by Theodore Endreny of SUNY’s College of Environmental Studies and Forestry highlights the idea that cities shouldn’t overlook the immense value of these plants: every year they could offer a payoff of $482 million in lowered air pollution , $11 million in stormwater remediation, $8 million in carbon dioxide sequestration , and $500,000 savings on heating and cooling costs. The researchers looked at Los Angeles, Beijing, Tokyo, Mumbai, Buenos Aires, Moscow, London, Istanbul, Mexico City, and Cairo. They built on estimates from the i-Tree model developed by the United States Forest Service , which analyzes environmental benefits from trees, with local data. They found median tree cover in all the cities was 21 percent, with potential tree cover at 19 percent. Tree cover varies by megacity – for example, in Cairo tree cover is just 8.1 percent while in Moscow it’s 36 percent. Tokyo claims the prize for greatest tree canopy cover per person, according to CityLab. Related: California street trees are worth $1 billion, says USFS and UC Davis The benefits each megacity reaps from trees varies some as well. Cairo doesn’t receive much precipitation so they don’t benefit that much from stormwater remediation. And Mumbai’s energy expenditures aren’t as high as other megacities’ so it doesn’t benefit as much in that area. Los Angeles got the most benefit from trees sequestering carbon dioxide. The researchers suggest cities plant more trees to nearly double the benefits gleaned from the leafy canopies. And as nearly 10 percent of humans live in megacities, the move could serve millions of people. The journal Ecological Modelling made the research available online at the end of July. Six researchers at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the Parthenope University of Naples contributed to the study. Via CityLab Images via Laith Abdulkareem on Unsplash and Florian ? on Unsplash

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Megacities could save $505 million a year thanks to trees

Build your own BIG-designed LEGO House with LEGO Architectures newest kit

August 30, 2017 by  
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As if playing in a LEGO wonderland wasn’t enough, we just got wind of another reason to get excited over the BIG-designed LEGO House’s grand opening next month. The iconic toy company just unveiled official images of a new LEGO Architecture kit that’ll let you build your very own LEGO experience center at home. The 774-piece model replica of the nearly complete LEGO House in Billund, Denmark will be sold exclusively at the center when it opens on September 28. The new LEGO House, also known as the “House of the Brick,” will be an experience center where fans can learn about the history of the company, the philosophy of LEGO play, and interact with LEGO through a wide variety of hands-on experiences. Starchitect Bjarke Ingels , an enthusiastic LEGO fan, was tapped to design the LEGO House project and drew inspiration from the modularity of the toy brick. Related: BIG’s LEGO House tops out with opening date in September The nearly completed LEGO House was created as “a cloud of interlocking LEGO bricks…a literal manifestation of the infinite possibilities of the LEGO brick,” said Ingels. The 774-piece LEGO Architecture kit is a small-scale replica of the stunning building that, when assembled, will form 21 stacked white bricks complete with the classic eight-knob LEGO brick-shaped Keystone, colorful surfaces, glazing in the form of translucent bricks, and an interior public square. The kit takes 197 steps to complete. Full instructions and product description can be found here . + LEGO Architecture Via ArchDaily

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Build your own BIG-designed LEGO House with LEGO Architectures newest kit

Thomas Heatherwick’s London Garden Bridge officially scrapped

August 16, 2017 by  
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Plans to build Thomas Heatherwick ‘s controversial Garden Bridge in London have been officially scrapped. The Garden Bridge Trust charity – created to build and run the bridge  – just announced the end of the project due to the lack of support by London mayor Sadiq Khan. Khan’s reasoning, according to his earlier statement, was led by the project’s spiraling construction and maintenance costs. A financial inquiry into the Garden Bridge project found that the initial estimated costs escalated from £60 million ($77 million) to over £200 million ($259 million). This was determined to be too large of a financial risk to London taxpayers. Related: Architects and artists sling harsh criticism at Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge project Khan withdrew his support for the project following the recommendations of the report which also raised concerns about the fairness of the process of choosing the architects– it was said that Heatherwick Studio and Arup were favored by the procurement system. Heatherwick first unveiled the design for the Garden Bridge in 2013 as a verdant structure that would span the River Thames between Temple and South Bank. “The Garden Bridge has not found its right moment, but I hope one day it will and that London continues to be open to ideas that make life here better,” said a statement from Thomas Heatherwick. + Heatherwick Studio Via Dezeen

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