Recycled plastic to soon pave Los Angeles roads

October 18, 2019 by  
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To better manage plastic waste , Los Angeles is in talks with Technisoil, an innovative manufacturing company, to viably incorporate plastic into the city’s roads. Typically viewed as an ecological scourge, plastic waste can also be seen as a valuable resource when repurposed. Substituting asphalt road materials with upcycled plastic waste could spell cost savings for both road construction and waste management endeavors. Because plastic does not degrade easily, it has now become a significant environmental threat, often entering our oceans and harming marine life. At the same time, road maintenance can be a costly enterprise. To address the two key global issues of excess plastic waste and sustainable road maintenance, Los Angeles and Technisoil are jointly piloting the use of recycled plastic in road construction plans. Related: $87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions The innovative method will be tested at the corner of West First Street and North Grand Avenue. First, plastic waste will be fragmented into pellets. These pellets will next be melted into a type of oil-based material, called bitumen. Bitumen is the petroleum-based binding agent in asphalt. Thus, the “plastic oil” will then be mixed in with other paving materials to create a type of plastic-infused asphalt. What are some advantages to these plastic roads? First, they are a less expensive alternative when compared to bitumen or traditional asphalt. Because plastic-suffused asphalt reduces the amount of petroleum in asphalt, these roads require less time to assemble, making them a more financially feasible choice. Similarly, these roads have a lower carbon footprint because the repurposed plastic produces less emissions. These plastic roads are durable, have a longer lifespan and are seven times stronger than regular asphalt, translating into less need for road maintenance. Environmentalists worry that the plastic will leach into waterways. But both the city of Los Angeles and Technisoil claim they’ve performed tests that prove otherwise. The timing is opportune for Los Angeles to leverage recycled plastic because China has ceased accepting recyclables from the City of Angels. Rather than having plastic accumulate in Southern California landfills, this venture promises to effectively utilize plastic while concurrently alleviating waste management and road construction costs. Should this process prove successful, it will be a model that other cities across the U.S. can implement as well. Doing so will bring the nation closer to mitigating plastic pollution while simultaneously helping to improve the country’s vast network of roads that have yet to be repaired or updated. “This is an exciting technology and a sustainable technology,” said Keith Mozee, assistant director at the Department of Street Services. “And it’s something that we believe going forward could be game-changing if we deploy on a large scale.” Via The Architect’s Newspaper Image via Giuseppe Milo

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Recycled plastic to soon pave Los Angeles roads

Proposed Florida bill could require prescription for sunscreens in effort to save coral reefs

October 18, 2019 by  
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In a bid to protect the Sunshine State’s reefs from coral bleaching , a new legislative bill has been proposed that requires a physician’s prescription for sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, on grounds that these chemicals are harmful to marine coastal environments. The two ingredients are found in roughly 80 percent of all commercially available sunscreens. Discouraging their widespread use can help protect Florida’s fragile coral ecosystems. Following in the footsteps of Hawaii and Key West , all over-the-counter sunscreens will need to be free of both oxybenzone and octinoxate to be deemed safe enough for use, because both chemicals contribute to coral reef bleaching and the compromised health of reef aquatic life. If approved, the bill will take effect in 2020. Related: Pacific heat wave threatens coral reefs in Hawaii and other regions Coral reefs are a valuable asset to the Sunshine State. They are beneficial for environmental and economic reasons, such as protecting coastal communities from wave action and storm surges, providing ecosystem biodiversity, serving as a food resource and offering commercial tourism opportunities. What’s more, Florida is “the only state in the continental United States to have extensive coral reef formations near its coasts. These reefs extend over 300 miles,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) . Coral reef activities promote tourism and businesses that “generate $3.4 billion and support 36,000 jobs in the region each year.” Reputed to be the third-longest coral barrier reef in the world, Florida’s celebrated reefs, sadly, have not been faring well in recent years due to a combination of factors: warming ocean temperatures, acidification, rising sea levels, erosion, pollution, coastal development, offshore oil and gas drilling, dredging, boat groundings, propeller and anchor damage, unsustainable fishing activities, invasive species and infection and disease. Because the coral reefs are left at a delicate tipping point, a patchwork of restoration efforts, largely from marine conservation groups, have attempted to revitalize them. It is hoped this bill can help save the fragile ecosystem. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are harmful to corals. As documented by a NOAA study published in the journal Environmental Contamination and Toxicology , they damage coral DNA, beget aberrant growth and defective development in young coral, exacerbate coral bleaching vulnerabilities and ultimately prevent the coral from reproducing properly. Because both oxybenzone and octinoxate accumulate in coral tissue, the coral become highly susceptible to infection and disease, likewise culminating in reef degradation. Critics complain the new legislation will increase skin cancer risks; however, the bill’s proponents argue for a shift toward “reef-friendly” alternative sunscreens. The National Park Service , for instance, recommends “titanium oxide or zinc oxide, which are natural mineral ingredients.” Neither titanium oxide nor zinc oxide have been found to be harmful to coral reefs, making both appealing as eco-friendly substitutes. Via CNN Image via Shutterstock

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Eco-friendly crematorium is envisioned for Santa Monica

September 5, 2019 by  
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Experimental architect Margot Krasojevi? has proposed a fantastical, solar-powered crematorium in Santa Monica that would not only use renewable energy for cremation, but would also give people the option to turn the ashes into tattoos, a concrete reef or even fireworks. In addition to the solar-powered cremation chamber, the design includes an open-plan chapel with a congregation area and an “animated zoetrope garden of remembrance” featuring holographic projections of the deceased. Because Margot Krasojevi?’s ECO CREMATION – Holographic Recycling Cremation project was envisioned for Los Angeles , the architect took inspiration from the city’s piers, boardwalks and coastline to create the undulating architecture and landscape. According to the architect, an average of 20,000 kilograms of wood are used every year for funeral pyre cremations. To reduce the environmental footprint and operating costs of the crematorium, Krasojevi? proposes powering the facility with solar energy and a backup generator fueled by biomass, biogas or a CNG or PNG backup burner. Parabolic reflectors would be installed around the solar cremation chamber to ensure the strongest solar concentration. Related: Entrepreneur sells mushroom suits that decompose your body after death “As the intention is to provide an ecologically friendly pyre, the solar chamber uses combined layers of dichroic and Fresnel glass to concentrate on the sun’s rays,” the architect explained. “The dichroic panels give the illusion of a burning fire, which is an aesthetic used in ceremonial cremations if requested — a spiritual, ceremonial alternative to an open burning fire that pollutes the environment. Once again, the origin of funeral cremations and their current uses throughout the world are addressed by the portrayal of smart material reflecting a dynamic light during the process.” After processing, the ashes can be stored for collection underground or used to memorialize the deceased by transforming them into tattoos, fireworks or a concrete mixture for the creation of an ocean reef. All services would be provided at and by the crematorium. Metals collected from the ashes would be recycled or sold for industrial purposes. At night, the landscape around the crematorium would be illuminated by digital projections of the deceased. + Margot Krasojevi? Architects Images via Margot Krasojevi? Architects

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Three visions unveiled for the future of La Brea Tar Pits

September 3, 2019 by  
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The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) has unveiled three preliminary masterplan concepts for the world-famous La Brea Tar Pits — the only consistently active and urban Ice Age excavation site in the world. Copenhagen-based Dorte Mandrup , New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro and New York-based WEISS/MANFREDI were selected as the finalist teams in the NHMLAC-hosted “ideas incubator” in June 2019 and have presented their visions at the museum at the La Brea Tar Pits for public viewing through September 15. All three designs emphasize improving community access to the 12-acre site in addition to the creation of sustainable infrastructure and careful site preservation. Because NHMLAC is in a public/private partnership with the County of Los Angeles , all masterplan visions will emphasize the integration of the county-owned, 23-acre Hancock Park with the 12-acre La Brea Tar Pits site. Although the integration of green space with the museum collections is integral to all three proposals, each campus vision is distinct. Dorte Mandrup suggests interweaving the park, the tar pits and a lush landscape of prehistoric plants and trees as well as a Pleistocene solar pixel mural to emphasize the world’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Related: $87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions On the other hand, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s “light touch” focuses more on museum activities and will feature a publicly accessible dig site supported by a mobile “digital rig” that can anticipate current and future digs in the park, a new light-filled lobby and an “Archive Block” that allows visitors to peer inside the Research Lab. WEISS/MANFREDI’s proposal is centered on the design of a triple mobius pedestrian pathway to connect the La Brea Tar Pits with Hancock Park, which will be surrounded by enhanced amenities. The three proposals are currently on view at the La Brea Tar Pits museum through September 15 as well as on its website . The public is encouraged to provide feedback onsite or online. In addition to public feedback, NHMLAC will consider input from a jury that it has assembled to help the selection of the one firm that will lead the masterplanning effort. + La Brea Tar Pits Images via Dorte Mandrup, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and WEISS/MANFREDI

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$87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions

August 23, 2019 by  
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Mountain lions in Southern California will have a safer place to roam by 2023 thanks to an $87 million bridge being designed northwest of Los Angeles and spread out above the busy 101 Highway. California is the only state in the country where shooting the creatures for sport is banned . But a March study published in the journal Ecological Applications suggested mountain lions could be extinct within 50 years if changes to their environment don’t happen. Related: Utah plans $5 million wildlife bridge over deadly I-80 highway “ Animals were able to move around through different parts of the mountains until humans cut them off with giant roads,” said Beth Pratt of the National Wildlife Federation. “GPS tracking shows that the animals are largely isolated in their own small areas, unable to mingle. Segmentation impacts animals both large and small: lizards and birds up to mountain lions.” Once the project is completed, the wildlife bridge will connect various sections of the Santa Monica Mountains, hopefully giving mountain lions and other wildlife better protection. It is designed to blend into the scenery, so the creatures won’t know they are on a bridge. Pratt stressed this ecological environment needs to be rebuilt for the sake of all animal welfare and thinks the wildlife bridge is a good idea. “This is an animal that is particularly beloved in California ,” Pratt said. “We want these animals on the landscape, and the population will go extinct if we don’t do something soon.” The project has been 20 years in the making, with the National Park Service closely studying the area during this time. It wasn’t until about a decade ago the idea became a reality; funds totaling $13.4 million have been raised by private contributors, according to The Guardian. The project has caught the attention of actor Leonardo DiCaprio , who has been a supporter of the project, as well as other big names around the world. About 9,000 comments were posted in favor of the project, and only 15 were against it when the public was given the opportunity give feedback. “We’re doing this in LA, a city of 4 million people,” Pratt said. “If LA can do it, it can work anywhere. Even in a giant city , we’ll make a home for a mountain lion.” + Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains + Clark Stevens Via The Guardian Design and images via Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains and Clark Stevens Architect/Raymond Garcia Illustrator

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Vegan Fashion Week is coming to Los Angeles

January 25, 2019 by  
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Just a few days before Fashion Week begins in New York, the world’s first Vegan Fashion Week will debut in Los Angeles. Starting on February 1 with a party at the LA Natural History Museum, Vegan Fashion Week will be a four-day event that will feature fashion shows, exhibitions, a talk from Nobel Prize-winning climate scientist Robert Lempert and discussion panels about topics like animal rights , social justice and technology. French stylist Emmanuelle Rienda is curating the event, and the theme will be “facing our time.” The idea is to explore the challenges of climate change through art, nature and science. Related: British Fashion Council commits to a fur-free London Fashion Week “Vegan Fashion Week will be a tribute to the animals and an ode to the end of animal exploitation in all forms,” Rienda told Dezeen . “I want to ignite conversations and debates within the industry by educating, elevating and drawing connections between our most important values: our respect for human life, animal rights and the environment.” Animal activist group PETA and the non-profit group Fashion Revolution are supporting the event, which hopes to bring vegan avant-garde fashion to Los Angeles . Organizers also aim to empower vegan designers and show that “cruelty-free is the new luxury.” In addition to the fashion show and discussion panels, there will also be a two-day fair at the California Market Center, where visitors can purchase vegan beauty products and designer pieces. Related: LA City Council unanimously agrees to ban the sale of fur Rienda admitted that the vegan label can come across as aggressive and judgmental, especially in the world of fashion. She is hoping that the vibe for the event will be “very inclusive and open.” Vegan designers and non-vegan brands looking to change their environmental impact will all be part of Vegan Fashion Week. Rienda said that it’s not about being vegan, it’s about what designers are doing to improve their labels and evolve. She added that being vegan isn’t just about the animals. Instead, it is about being good to humans and all other beings on the planet. Vegan Fashion Week will take place in locations throughout the Los Angeles area from February 1 to February 4. + Vegan Fashion Week Via Dezeen Image via Shutterstock

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Vegan Fashion Week is coming to Los Angeles

Solar-Powered smart home in LA can be remotely controlled with a phone

January 3, 2019 by  
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Los Angeles-based general contractor and real estate development firm LA Build Corp has recently completed a single-family custom home that combines luxury modern design with energy-saving smart home technologies. Located in West Hollywood’s Kilkea Drive, the contemporary dwelling is equipped with a full home automation system that allows the homeowners to control multiple aspects of the house—from the sound systems to the window shades—with a touch of a button on their smartphones. Set on a lot with a spacious backyard, the house on Kilkea Drive takes advantage of its large lot and southern California’s temperate weather with a design that emphasizes indoor/ outdoor living . The open-plan interior is coupled with operable walls of glass that not only flood the rooms with daylight but also provide unfettered views of the backyard that pull the outdoors in. The outdoor terrace appears as a seamless extension of the indoor living area and is a continuation of the home’s material palette and neutral color scheme. Natural materials including San Quentin black beach pebbles, Cedar, ipe, and Kebony Wood—sourced from Delta Millworks—are used inside and out for cohesion.   Building on the popularity of home automation, LA Build Corp installed a full home automation system that allows all parts of the home from the lighting and irrigation to the entertainment systems to be controlled remotely. The air conditioning system operates at 97% efficiency. Rooftop solar panels power the home and heating for the outdoor two-lane lap pool with a spa and a wading pool. Related: Geothermal-powered Halifax home uses automation for energy savings As mentioned in the project’s press release: “This home really epitomizes the Los Angeles lifestyle and celebrates the increase in popularity of home automation and efficiency. By incorporating details such as a living room fireplace with a glass back wall, large open windows, exterior landscaping in the interior, etc., LA Build Corp was able to take California’s year-round lifestyle and build a home that is suited for every season and current to today’s home building trends.” + LA Build Corp Images by Sky Photography LA

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Solar-Powered smart home in LA can be remotely controlled with a phone

The Kind Lab creates greener toothpaste that doesn’t come in a tube

September 4, 2018 by  
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A tube of toothpaste is not the easiest thing to recycle . But what if you didn’t have to worry about recycling the tubes at all? The Kind Lab, a company based out of Los Angeles , has officially launched a zero-waste toothpaste that doesn’t come in a plastic tube. The company calls its product Bite Toothpaste Bits, and it could revolutionize the way we brush our teeth. The Kind Lab, a company started by Lindsay McCormick, makes the toothpaste tablets out of natural ingredients by hand. These plant-based components have been tested in clinical trials and performed well in both cleaning and protecting teeth. The company does not include fluoride in its toothpaste, making it safe for children to use, too. Bite Toothpaste Bits are molded into tablets and packed in a small jar. When you’re ready to brush your teeth, you simply pop a tablet in your mouth, wet your toothbrush and start brushing. The tablet dissolves into a paste as you brush and completely eliminates the need for the traditional toothpaste tube. The company has decided to go with a subscription-based approach for the Bite Toothpaste Bits, which means you can sign up for regular refills of toothpaste. The tablets currently come in two different flavors: mint and mint charcoal. The bottle is reused every month, and the refill tablets arrive in 100 percent biodegradable cellulose, which also cuts down on waste . The bits are ideal to bring along while traveling. Following a demonstration video that went viral, The Kind Lab has received so much attention that new orders can take three to six weeks to ship. Overall, the wait can be worthwhile, as Bite is an innovative solution to a growing problem of recycling old toothpaste tubes. It is estimated that people discard around 1 billion tubes of toothpaste every year, but these toothpaste tablets offer a zero-waste alternative. + Bite Via Core77 Images via Lindsay McCormick

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An old bungalow is transformed into an award-winning home with a modern extension

July 18, 2018 by  
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Los Angeles-based Edward Ogosta Architecture has breathed new life into a 70-year-old bungalow by adding a modern extension fitted with massive windows. Named the Rear Window House, the Culver City home spans 1,450 square feet and was commissioned by clients who sought extra space for their growing family. The new addition respects the local architecture — predominately low-slung bungalows from the post-war era — and maintains the 3:12 roof slope shared by the existing house and surrounding residences. Wrapped in asphalt roofing shingles, the Rear Window House extension consists of a master suite along with a new laundry room, closet and library. The volume juts out toward the backyard and embraces the landscape with extruded aluminum window frames and a covered back porch with a concrete platform. The house’s axial path to the backyard was formed with the careful positioning of the addition, which was placed parallel to the existing garage. “Influenced by the California minimalism practiced by the Light and Space movement of the 1960s, Ogosta sought to create moments of clarity that conjure a serene, meditative experience,” said the firm in a project statement. “Through a careful sequencing of new spaces and strategically located apertures, Rear Window House opens itself up to become deeply integrated with the rear garden.” Related: Culver City Eco House fights back after being decimated by landslide The interiors of the existing home were updated to match that of the new addition. Inside, the architects added bleached oak floors and white walls to achieve a clean and minimalist aesthetic. The large windows pour an abundance of natural light inside; the most striking use of glazing can be seen in the master suite where a window wall offers the homeowners a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience. The Rear Window House, completed in 2016, received a 2018 AIA National Small Projects Award . + Edward Ogosta Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Steve King

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An old bungalow is transformed into an award-winning home with a modern extension

The Eye of the Storm dome home can withstand hurricanes and it’s officially on the market

July 18, 2018 by  
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Beachfront homes on Sullivan’s Island off Charleston, South Carolina are among the most magnificent dwellings in the country. With vistas that seem to extend beyond infinity and backyards bordering Charleston Harbor, these upscale houses offer the ideal trio of magnificent ocean views, peace and tranquility – except, that is, during hurricane season . After Hurricane Hugo demolished his parents’ prized home on the island in 1989, George Paul, a builder and designer of dome structures , rebuilt the home, called Eye of the Storm, in collaboration with architect X Dilling in 1991. Now the hurricane-defying 650-ton dome home is up for sale by Pareto Real Estate with a price tag of $4.9M. The unique house, located at 2851 Marshall Blvd on Sullivan’s Island, stands out in the crowd of conventionally constructed homes and is situated only 230 feet from the water. Built from concrete, steel, and glass, the home takes the shape of a striking white dome, and it sits on a nearly ½-acre land parcel. Related: Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs The 3,571-square-foot home has three bedrooms and four baths on the upper level. The main floor has an open, freeform living, dining, and kitchen space that provides unhindered views of the surrounding areas since support beams are not necessary in domed configurations. The showcase fireplace design reflects the lines of the dome’s exterior. Extravagant granite counters were added to the kitchen in a 2018 restoration. To accommodate beachcombing guests, an additional bathroom, two shower rooms and a storage room comprise the 526-square-foot ground floor. Curved concrete walls throughout the home create a flow akin to that of the steady, mesmerizing ocean currents . A secluded, 159-square-foot deck borders the master bedroom and an enormous 889 square feet of deck space embraces the back of the home. Oversized glass openings on decks and balconies provide views that vary from fantastic to fearful, depending on the weather. + Dwell Images via Michael D. Royal/Pareto Real Estate

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The Eye of the Storm dome home can withstand hurricanes and it’s officially on the market

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