New global bee map gives scientists a conservation baseline

November 24, 2020 by  
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Bees are crucial pollinators for crops that humans consume, but their populations are on the decline. Now, a new, global bee map is tracking more than 20,000 bee species on Earth to help aid in their conservation. Many scientists worked together on the map, including John Ascher of the National University of Singapore, who compiled a checklist of all known bee species. He and other researchers cross-referenced several datasets about bee life on every continent except Antarctica, which doesn’t support bee life. Related: New solar farm in Indiana boosts local pollinators The study concluded that bees are more prevalent in dry, temperate areas away from the equator. More bees make their home in the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere. The U.S., Africa and Middle East are popular with bees. These creatures prefer deserts to forests, since trees don’t offer as many food sources. “People think of bees as just honey bees, bumble bees, and maybe a few others, but there are more species of bees than of birds and mammals combined,” Ascher said. “The United States has by far the most species of bees, but there are also vast areas of the African continent and the Middle East which have high levels of undiscovered diversity, more than in tropical areas.” Honeybees have been well studied, but scientists have little information on more than 96% of bee species. While bee colonies are famous, many people might be surprised that some types of bees are solitary insects. “Many crops, especially in developing countries, rely on native bee species, not honey bees,” said study researcher Alice Hughes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Yunnan. “There isn’t nearly enough data out there about them, and providing a sensible baseline and analyzing it in a sensible way is essential if we’re going to maintain both biodiversity and also the services these species provide in the future.” The study’s authors hope that combining all of this bee data will be an important step toward conservation. + Science Daily Via BBC Image via Rebekka D

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New global bee map gives scientists a conservation baseline

MVRDV unveils sustainable Chengdu Sky Valley masterplan

November 24, 2020 by  
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MVRDV has revealed designs for Chengdu Sky Valley, a competition entry for the Future Science and Technology City, which is a planned district on the outskirts of Chengdu, China. Guided by sustainable and placemaking principles, the masterplan seeks to differentiate itself from the country’s other high-tech cities with an emphasis on retaining the existing agricultural landscape, promoting self-sufficient lifestyles and designing with site-specific analyses in mind. Developed as part of Chengdu’s Eastward Development Strategy, the planned Future Science and Technology City will be developed on a rural swath of land adjacent to the new Tianfu International Airport with access to the city’s Metro Line 18. Rather than raze the rural area, the architects sought to retain and enhance the existing landscape — characterized by agricultural fields, rolling hills and scattered villages — while embedding new areas of development in between preserved farming areas.  Related: MVRDV designs a sustainable “urban living room” for Shenzhen “The dichotomy between the existing rural landscape and the future science and technology campus demands a solution that balances tradition and innovation, past and future, young and old, East and West, technology and agriculture,” MVRDV explained. “The design therefore preserves the agricultural valleys, incorporating this activity as a key component of the Future Science and Technology City. New buildings are clustered on the hills, and shaped in a way that amplifies the valley skyline, augmenting the appearance of the Linpan landscape.” MVRDV’s tech taskforce, MVRDV NEXT, developed a series of digital scripts to analyze the site’s topography. The site analyses informed decisions on several parts of the design: which areas should be designated for agricultural zoning versus new building development; the optimization of pathways and bridges to ensure accessibility across the entire site while never exceeding a slope of 4%; the shape and height of human-made hills; and building height limits. As a result, the design features three main valleys — the Knowledge Valley, the Experience Valley and the Venture Valley — around which seven mixed-use developments will be clustered. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV and Atchain

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MVRDV unveils sustainable Chengdu Sky Valley masterplan

UNStudio designs sculptural, driverless metro stations for Doha

October 1, 2020 by  
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UNStudio has completed the first 37 stations for Qatar Railways’ Doha Metro, one of the most advanced and fastest driverless metro systems in the world. With phase one and three metro lines — Red, Green and Gold — now complete, citizens of Doha who previously relied primarily on cars now have access to an efficient and reliable public transit service that will grow over time. To create a strong station identity for the new metro network and encourage public transit habits, UNStudio tapped into urban design principles to turn the eye-catching stations into attractive public spaces rooted in Qatari architecture and culture. In collaboration with the Qatar Rail Architecture Department, UNStudio has created a vision for all stations in the new Doha Metro Network based on an extensive set of design guidelines, architectural details and material outlines as laid out in the newly developed ‘Architectural Branding Manual.’ The comprehensive manual provides a framework for the design of different station types that respond to local contextual differences while integrating visually cohesive elements shared across all stations, including wayfinding , passenger flow and daylight penetration.  Related: Zaha Hadid’s 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar adapts for future use The concept design for all of the Doha Metro stations are rooted in the notion of Caravanserais, a type of roadside inn for travelers (caravanners) historically common across the Middle East, including in Qatar . With dramatic vaulted ceilings, a rich mother-of-pearl effect interior and uniquely Qatari ornamentation and material palette, the Caravanserai-inspired stations strengthen Qatari identity while encouraging social interaction within beautiful public spaces. “We are going to move differently in the future,” said Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. “Mobility is changing fast, from the introduction of autonomous vehicles to urban cable cars and the Hyperloop . The mobility hubs of the future have to respond to and cater to these changes. In order to encourage the use of more sustainable forms of transport, these stations not only have to ensure smooth passenger flows, but they need to truly appeal to the public; to be places they want to visit and return to.” + UNStudio Photography by Hufton+Crow via UNStudio

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UNStudio designs sculptural, driverless metro stations for Doha

Earth911 Inspiration: Peter M. Hoffmann on Choosing the Middle Road

February 28, 2020 by  
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This week’s quote is from Peter M. Hoffman, professor, researcher, … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Peter M. Hoffmann on Choosing the Middle Road appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Peter M. Hoffmann on Choosing the Middle Road

Floating, nest-inspired Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa opens

February 6, 2020 by  
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One of the most eagerly-awaited floating hotels has finally opened their doors. Located on Sweden’s remote Lule River, the Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa is a nest-inspired, circular building that floats on the water during the summer months and is suspended on top of the frozen lake during winter. Designed by architectural team Johan Kauppi, Annkathrin Lundqvist and Bertil Hagström, the striking design incorporates several luxury cabins built with all-natural, sustainable materials . While there are several floating spas located around the world, this particular project is certainly one of a kind. Located on the Lule River in Swedish Lapland, guests to the hotel and spa will be able to enjoy a spectacularly idyllic region often referred to as Northern Europe’s last remaining wilderness. Related: Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact The remote solitude is the perfect backdrop for an otherworldly spa experience . The circular building, which is reached by a wide wooden walkway that leads from the lake’s shore, features a spa, saunas, a hot bath and indoor and outdoor showers. In the middle of the circular building is an outdoor cold bath that, set at 39 degrees Fahrenheit, is sure to get your heart pumping. Guests can choose from a wide-range of holistic treatments geared towards relaxation and wellness. The hotel offers six wooden Scandinavian-inspired cabins, which were all built with natural and sustainable materials , that will float on the water during summer or stand frozen on the ice in the winter months. There is also a larger cabin located nearby and a private suite with loft space  nearby. All of the structures feature large walls of glass as well as open-air wooden decks to take in the incredible surroundings. Besides the treatments on offer, guests to the unique hotel will be able to enjoy a wide array of activities. Dog sledding through the snow-covered forests is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For those visiting during the months of August to April, the northern lights fill the night sky over the hotel. + Arctic Bath Via Design Boom Images via Daniel Holmgren and Pasquale Baseotto

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Floating, nest-inspired Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa opens

Century-old building is reborn as a LEED Platinum home in San Francisco

February 6, 2020 by  
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When architect Jonathan Feldman of Feldman Architecture began remodeling his home in San Francisco in the early 2010s, the growing green building movement in the city inspired him to turn his residence — dubbed ‘The Farm’ after its overgrown backyard — into a testing ground and laboratory for sustainable design. From installing renewable energy systems to sourcing sustainable materials, his pursuit of green, net-zero energy standards earned the project LEED Platinum certification. Purchased with the intent of green renovation, the 1905 historic home that Feldman and his wife, Lisa Lougee, renovated was rebuilt from the inside out to merge the building’s classic Edwardian features with more contemporary elements. Critical to the project’s success was the addition of new windows and skylights as well as an open-floor plan to undo the home’s closed-off character. The basement was also transformed to include a usable backyard and deck. Related: Green-roofed San Francisco townhouse features an indoor swing In pursuit of LEED Platinum certification, Feldman worked with the San Francisco building department to allow an unprecedented type of water system in the city: a water recycling system that includes both rainwater and gray water harvesting with tanks tucked below the rear deck. A heat recovery ventilation system pumps fresh air into the home with minimal energy loss, while solar thermal panels partially heat the mechanical system. All materials are sustainably sourced and non-toxic. Water and electricity monitoring can be accessed via panels throughout the home or smartphone technology. “The key to achieving LEED Platinum or any kind of green standard is to identify and commit early on to the features of interest,” said Feldman, who strives to reach net-zero energy with many of his firm’s projects. “We didn’t push for the passive house standard because we didn’t believe it made sense for this particular project.” + Feldman Architecture Photography by Matthew Millman via Feldman Architecture

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Century-old building is reborn as a LEED Platinum home in San Francisco

Energy-efficient Indian home features beautiful greenery

January 24, 2020 by  
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Mumbai based architecture and design firm,  unTAG  has just unveiled a stunning home built for a retired teacher looking to spend retirement in his home village of Dakivali, India. Working within the man’s limited budget, the architects employed several low-cost,  passive strategies  such as building the home in the middle of a lush bamboo field to use the vegetation as natural insulation. Spanning two levels, the 1,400 square feet home was constructed using  low-cost , locally-sourced materials, with the main material being concrete. The resulting aesthetic is a monolithic exterior, which contrasts nicely with the surrounding vegetation. Related: A modern home in India stays naturally cool without AC In addition to the concrete’s innate  sustainable aspects , the home boasts several passive strategies to achieve optimum thermal comfort. Strategically located westward, the home was built in the middle of an existing bamboo grove. Abundant greenery envelopes the home, adding an extra layer of insulation that protects from the harsh summer sun. According to the architects, the large trees also help create a comforting microclimate for the interior, lowering the temperature by up to 5°C. The house’s entrance is through a landscaped courtyard with a large concrete  jaali  screen. A common feature in Indian architecture, the screen helps keep interior spaces private, while allowing pleasant breezes to flow through the interior. Additionally, the home was built with several seating areas, both covered and open-air, which let  natural light  filter into the living space. Adding to the home’s thermal mass, the various terraces are painted white to reduce heat gain. For the interior, large walls were built with  locally-manufactured bricks  and covered with natural plaster, while the floors were made out of natural stone. The home also features several rain collection drains that channel runoff into tanks where it is used as irrigation for landscaping. According to the architects, the main objective of the home was to provide a comfortable family home for a retired man to spend his years reconnecting with nature. The home’s simple but effective  passive strategies will also let him live with low operating costs, adding to his quality of life. The architects explained, “Inhabiting this meek abode, our dear client is a proud owner of a village home, exemplary of an affordable luxury, which he enjoys residing, nurturing and aging gracefully with it. This humble home of a farmer exemplifies that sustainability need not always come at huge costs, but can be practiced at grass root level too, through simple DIY solutions.” + unTAG Via Archdaily Images via unTAG Architecture & Interiors

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Energy-efficient Indian home features beautiful greenery

UK-based company is making home delivery as green as possible with e-cargo bikes

May 28, 2019 by  
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Electric Assisted Vehicles Limited unveiled its new e-cargo bike designed to reduce the carbon footprint of urban home deliveries. The Project 1 eCargo bicycle, nicknamed P1, has a range of 7-20 miles depending on battery size, making it a great addition to any courier or food delivery service with little to no carbon emissions. At just under 6.5 feet in length and 3.4 feet in width, the quadricycle can easily wind its way through streets and roads without causing added congestion. A stable platform allows for the transportation of 330 lbs of cargo. The P1 is peddled and steered like a regular bicycle and a thumb switch makes the vehicle accelerate to 6 mph. A turn crank operated by pedal adds the extra electrical assistance necessary to tackle longer journeys, all with zero carbon emissions . The bikes are compatible with charging stations, as well as can be charged offsite due to the removable batteries. Related: Meet ‘Blade’, the world’s first 3D-printed hypercar “We’ve created a vehicle with Project 1 that will lead on to an entire range of mobility solution vehicles. All highly functional, exceptionally environmentally aware, easy and great fun to use. Also, they have to be very cool to look at which is another crucial cultural point,” says Nigel Gordon-Stewart, managing director of EAV. The company is working to make the P1 completely weather resistant so the vehicle can be usable year-round, regardless of bad weather. EAV is also considering ways to add more passengers and make the vehicle rentable with an app. Businesses can rest assured that the modular chassis design allows for the customization of the P1 whether it needs to be extended, shortened or widened. DPD, the UK’s leading parcel delivery company, worked alongside EAV to help develop the quadricycle. DPD’s CEO commented on the partnership, saying, “Our aim is to be the most responsible city centre delivery company, which means neutralising our carbon footprint and developing smarter, cleaner and more sustainable parcel delivery services. Not only does the P1 look amazing, it is also incredibly smart, flexible and future-proofed. As a result, the P1 is perfect for UK city centres and we are really looking forward to adding it to our rapidly expanding zero emission fleet in July.” + EAV Images via EAV

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UK-based company is making home delivery as green as possible with e-cargo bikes

11 key funding lessons for social enterprises attracting growth-stage capital

June 26, 2018 by  
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How investors and entrepreneurs can find their way in the ‘Missing Middle.’

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How fast fashion can slow its destructive pace

June 26, 2018 by  
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The industry is notoriously unsustainable.

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