Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

June 25, 2019 by  
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Friends Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco were traveling together in Morocco when they got the idea. Nancy couldn’t help but notice that Hannah could fit everything she needed into one backpack, whether they were traveling, trekking or going out to dinner. The result was époque evolution , a sustainable fashion company focused on creating eco-friendly, versatile clothes made from organic, upcycled, deadstock and post-consumer waste recycled fibers. They work with mills and factories that are committed to ethical practices and a smaller collective carbon footprint. To top it all off, the clothes are beautifully low-maintenance (goodbye, dry cleaning and toxic chemicals ). A review of the époque évolution clothing I got a chance to try the best-selling Orion Leggings and the Go To Tank for myself, and let me say I have found my new wardrobe staples. These pants have the power to turn the humble legging from what was previously a simple, lazy solution to a dependable companion for really any activity ( yoga class , traveling, grabbing some dinner and so on). The slit on the bottom gives it an added fashion appeal as well as the ability to show off your footwear in a trendy way. The Go To Tank has a slight opening in the back, which isn’t totally noticeable but provides some much-needed breathability if you’re wearing it to hike or work out. You could easily dress it up, as the merino wool fabric is antimicrobial and thermo-regulating (meaning going straight from the gym to anywhere else is completely doable). Even better, it’s made from deadstock material, meaning the fabric would have otherwise ended up in the landfill . Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think The leggings are crafted from econyl®, a 100 percent recycled nylon fiber made from old fishnets and carpets, and the tank is made from a deadstock wool blend of 80 percent wool merino and 20 percent polyester. Both are machine washable and quick-drying. What’s more, my Orion Leggings and Go To Tank came packaged in a biodegradable mailer from The Better Packaging Co . At $98 and $68 respectively, the leggings and tank may take a chunk out of your paycheck, but once you consider the quality, eco-consciousness and ethical ramifications, you’ll be happy you’ve made the investment. They go with practically everything, so you’ll spend less time choosing what to wear and more time living your life, enjoying the outdoors or exploring. An interview with the founders Check out our interview with the founding members, Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco, below. Inhabitat: What was the inspiration behind creating a line of clothes using sustainable fabrics? Nancy Taylor: I am incredibly passionate about changing the fashion industry and disrupting its outdated practices. After spending years of my career working in the corporate fashion world and traveling overseas to visit factories, I was hopeful that there was a different model for doing business. Since then, I’ve been focused on trying to be part of the solution, rather than contributing to an already toxic industry. Hannah Franco: It’s time. The industry needs a change, and we wanted to offer a unique take on sustainability. We believe eco can be chic, easy-care and impressively functional. Incorporating these elements, we set out to create products that make shopping sustainably an obvious choice for customers. Inhabitat: What are some of your favorite fabrics that the company works with? Taylor: I’m a huge fan of merino wool in general and am particularly obsessed with our perennial wool fabrication. It’s blended with a recycled poly and it’s also machine washable, which means no dry cleaning! Franco: Nancy took the words out of my mouth — I’m addicted to merino wool. It’s quick-drying and antimicrobial — in other words, it doesn’t stink — and anything that makes my life easier is considered a win in my book. Our new organic cotton is creeping up as a favorite now, as well. Our Oeko-Tex certified Standard 1000-certified finish keeps the cotton looking perfectly crisp all day, and I do love a breezy white shirt. Inhabitat: Fashion is one of the most environmentally damaging industries. Can you talk about the sustainable practices, factories and ethical treatment of workers you implement in your production process? Taylor: It was a big topic of discussion when we first launched — identifying and implementing our parameters for what we have called “responsible” production. This encompasses our raw materials, the factories and the people that produce our clothes, all the way down to our packaging . The hard part was that these choices weren’t always black and white. For example, our evolve soft fabric is not a recycled raw material, but the production mill’s best practices are really amazing and include using state-of-the-art, eco-compatible technologies in a fully solar-powered facility. In the end, it was a better choice than working with a large mill using only recycled raw materials without carefully taking into account their entire environmental footprint. We aim to look at the complete picture and tell that story, educating the customer on why her choices matter. Inhabitat: With fast fashion , another practice negatively impacting the environment, what is the importance of investing in high-quality clothes like your products and moving away from the cheap stuff? Taylor: Investment pieces that last and key staples that women will wear again and again are the focus of our brand. You don’t need more clothes, just the right clothing that functions well. We share this narrative with our customers and show them how to style a piece season after season. Franco: There are already enough clothes out there. We wanted to contribute in an area where we felt the industry could be moved forward — clothing produced more sustainably and offering greater function. When you invest in quality pieces that you wear season after season, you have more time to live your life and focus on better things (e.g., spending time with family and friends, pursuing boss lady career goals) than stressing over a wardrobe. Plus, packing for travel is a breeze when you rock minimalist style. Inhabitat: What is the significance of your clothes being low-maintenance as well? Taylor: We all live incredibly busy lives, and a woman’s clothing should never slow her down. The easier a wardrobe is to care for, the more time this gives her back in her day. Franco: The low-maintenance and versatility of our products go hand in hand. For example, our jet set trouser is a perfect work pant, but it’s also ideal for any travel destination, and you can even hop on the yoga mat in them. Just because a piece of clothing is low-maintenance doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. You can have both! + époque évolution Images via époque évolution

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Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours

June 25, 2019 by  
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Canadian company DROP Structures is on a mission to allow people to “drop” the company’s incredible cabins (almost) hassle-free in just about any location. One of the most versatile designs is the minimalist Mono, a tiny prefab cabin that runs on solar power and can be set up in just a few hours. Although the minuscule 106-square-foot cabins take on a very minimalist appearance, the structures are the culmination of years of engineering and design savvy. According to Drop Structures, the cabins, which start at $24,500, typically require no permit. Thanks to their prefabricated assembly, they can be installed in a matter of hours. Related: Low-energy prefab cabins are inspired by the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv’ Built to be tiny, but tough, the Mono tiny cabins are clad in a standing seam metal exterior, which was chosen because the material is resilient to most types of climates and is low-maintenance. The cabins also boast a tight thermal envelope thanks to a solid core insulation that keeps the interior temperatures stable year-round in most climates. The Mono features a pitched roof with two floor-to-ceiling glazed walls at either side. This standard design enables natural light to flood the interior space and create a seamless connection between the cabin and its surroundings. The interior space is quite compact but offers everything needed for a serene retreat away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The walls and vaulted ceilings are made out of Baltic Birch panels that give the space a warm, cozy feel. The biggest advantage of these tiny cabins is versatility. The structures can be customized with various add-ons including extra windows or skylights, a built-in loft, a Murphy bed and more. They can can also go off the grid with the addition of solar panels . + DROP Structures Via Dwell Images via DROP Structures

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These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours

Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

March 18, 2019 by  
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Architect Beatrice Bonzanigo from Milan-based firm IB Studio has unveiled a stunning, off-grid micro home that is transportable and adaptable to virtually any climate. The tiny structure, called Casa Ojalá, is just shy of 300 square feet but is equipped with a manual mechanical system that allows the space to be configured into as many as 20 different layouts. According to Bonzanigo, the flexible and transportable design of Casa Ojalá was inspired by the need to offer an alternative to the “world of static architecture.” Its versatility opens up a world of opportunity not only in terms of low-impact architecture , but also in offering an off-grid experience that lets occupants completely immerse themselves into the natural world. Related: This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world “Casa Ojalá is a sustainable, minimal, compact and flexible product for a new comfort, away from TV or air conditioning,” explained IB Studio, which is led by Bonzanigo and Isabella Invernizzi. “The boundary between inner and outer space no longer exists. Outdoor is a substantial, fundamental and precious part of it.” The structure is a round volume with a simple layout comprised of two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room and a bathroom. A wrap-around, open-air terrace is used to provide a seamless connection between the micro home and its surroundings, no matter where they may be. To create its flexible design , the main structure is equipped with a manual mechanical system made up of ropes, pulleys and cranks that control the sliding wooden walls and fabric partitions. This system allows the structure to be continuously transformed into a fully-customized space, with private rooms or even one large outdoor platform. Built on a track, the house is completely mobile and can be easily assembled on-site. In terms of its sustainability, the structure is made out of eco-friendly materials along with socially-sustainable fabrics and wood features. The design’s footprint is minimal, and the project was also designed to be completely self-sustaining. The design calls for a rainwater collection system and can be installed with photovoltaic panels to generate solar energy. The Casa Ojalá design is slated to be presented during this year’s Milan Design Week. + IB Studio Via Dezeen Images via IB Studio

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Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

"Like a fly in amber:" two meteorites with ingredients for life

January 12, 2018 by  
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Two meteorites crashed to our planet in 1998 after billions of years in the asteroid belt. And they had something in common besides reaching Earth the same year: they were the first meteorites we’ve found to have both complex organic compounds like amino acids and hydrocarbons, and liquid water . They may have come from the asteroid Hebe and the dwarf planet Ceres. Around 20 years after the two meteorites – Zag and Monahans – plummeted to Earth, landing in Texas and Morocco, laboratory equipment is powerful enough to scrutinize blue salt crystals on the meteorites, according to The Open University . The 4.5-billion-year-old meteorites contained what the university described as the building blocks for life: liquid water and complex organic compounds together. Scientist David Kilcoyne at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) compared the discovery to a fly in amber for the encapsulation of rich chemistry, according to the laboratory . Related: New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system The salt crystals have been preserved at NASA’s Johnson Space Center , with experiments performed in what Queenie Chan of the center and The Open University described in a statement as the cleanest laboratories on Earth. Avoiding contamination was crucial so scientists could determine what compounds originated from space . The crystals were around two millimeters in size and contained organic solids and water traces a mere fraction of the width of human hair. The salt crystals could have come from Ceres, based on space observations and their organic chemistry – seeded by water- or ice-spewing volcanic activity, per the laboratory. Yokohama National University associate professor Yoko Kebukawa said, “Combined with other evidence, the results support the idea that the organic matter originated from a water-rich, or previously water-rich parent body – an ocean world in the early solar system , possibly Ceres.” Chan said, “Everything leads to the conclusion that the origin of life is really possible elsewhere.” The journal Science Advances published the research this week. 13 scientists from institutions in the United States and Japan contributed. Via Berkeley Lab and The Open University Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech and Queenie Chan/The Open University, U.K.

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"Like a fly in amber:" two meteorites with ingredients for life

New discovery suggests humans are 100,000 years older than previously thought

June 8, 2017 by  
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The surprising discovery of fossilized remains of five early humans in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco has led archeologists to believe that Homo sapiens originated 100,000 years earlier than previously thought. What’s more, the remains — which are estimated to be 300,000 years old — are resettling all former notions of how and where modern humans evolved. Dissatisfied by previous archeological findings in Morocco in the 1960’s, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the National Institute for Archeology and Heritage in Morocco renewed the dig site. The excavation resulted in the discovery of partial skeletal remains of five people — three adults, one adolescent, and one child. Stone tools, animal bones and signs of fire use were also found. The researchers then used thermoluminescence to date the objects, which is how they learned that the objects are between 300,000 and 350,000 years old. Until this discovery, the oldest known samples of H. sapiens were discovered in Ethiopia and dated back 150,000 to 200,000 years. Because there was a lack of evidence showing Neanderthals and “archaic” Homo Sapiens (humans that pre-date H. sapiens) diverged from a common ancestor, scientists figured H. sapiens emerged rather suddenly. The remains that were found, however, now point to the possibility of an early version of H. sapiens who originated in northwest Africa approximately 300,000 years ago. This challenges the “rapid emergence” theory, which is why this discovery is so spectacular. Related: Archaeologists uncover 3,400-year-old Egyptian necropolis Archeologists now assume that after diverging from a common ancestor, a group of archaic H. sapiens spread across Africa , gradually acquiring traits that would come to characterize modern-day humans. These conclusions appear in two separate studies which were published today in the science journal Nature . Scientists describe the fossils and artifacts found at the site in the first paper and analyze and date the stone tools in the second paper . As Gizmodo reports , many groups of humans existed around the same time but it was Homo sapiens who eventually prevailed and spread out across northern Africa between 60,000 to 70,000 years ago. They then continued to migrate into Asia, Australia and North and South America . Though there is still much to discover about where humans originate, a big piece of the puzzle has been solved which will undoubtedly help archeologists learn more in the future. + Nature Via Gizmodo Images via Max Planck Gesellschaft

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New discovery suggests humans are 100,000 years older than previously thought

LEGO celebrates Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday with Guggenheim Museum kit

June 8, 2017 by  
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Visionary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright – who was born on June 8th, 1867 – designed and built over 500 buildings over the course of his lifetime. To celebrate the beloved architect’s 150th birthday, LEGO is releasing 740-piece lego set that lets architecture lovers recreate one of Wright’s most iconic works – NYC’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The custom lego set is highly detailed, recreating the museum’s beautiful modernist curvaceous facade and even has the building’s eight-story annex tower sitting adjacent to a stretch of NYC’s 5th Avenue Museum Mile, complete with tiny yellow cabs. The kit even includes a scaled replica of the Guggenheim sign, which features Wright’s own architectural lettering. Related: LEGO Announces Model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House “This accurately detailed Lego model faithfully recreates the curves and distinctive lines that have made this building an architectural icon for the last half-century,” said LEGO. Although the Guggenheim set is a celebration of one of the architect’s most iconic building, it’s not the first time that LEGO has shown the architect some love. Six years ago, the company released a 2,276-piece version of his beautiful Robie House . This isn’t the first time LEGO has released the Guggenheim museum, either, but the previous set was much smaller and less detailed than this newest set. The Guggenheim Museum will also be celebrating the architect with architecture-themed tours and various activities throughout the month of June. + LEGO Via Dezeen Images via LEGO and Wikimedia Commons

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LEGO celebrates Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday with Guggenheim Museum kit

Trump nominates BP oil spill lawyer as DOJ environmental attorney

June 8, 2017 by  
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Who better to stand for the environment than a lawyer who represented BP after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy? At least, that appears to be President Donald Trump’s logic. This week he nominated Jeffrey Bossert Clark , who has consistently worked against climate action , for the role of Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources at the Department of Justice . Clark is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C. Over his career he’s challenged the scientific basis of climate policies , according to InsideClimateNews. His career is littered with work against the environment, not for it. He successfully defended BP after Louisiana parishes challenged the company over their multi-billion settlement of claims over Deepwater Horizon. But representing BP after America’s worst oil spill is just part of it. Related: Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding Clark represented the United States Chamber of Commerce in lawsuits attacking the government’s power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions . He’s argued in court multiple times it’s inappropriate to form government policies based on scientific consensus given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change . InsideClimateNews said Clark was prominently involved in challenges from industry to the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding offering a scientific basis for efforts to regulate greenhouse gases . Natural Resources Defense Council Director of the Climate & Clean Air Program David Doniger said of Clark, “He has a long history of opposing climate action for corporate and ideological clients. I would expect that history would require him to recuse himself from cases as over the Clean Power Plan , where he filed an amicus brief against the rule.” In the George W. Bush administration Clark served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department, from 2001 to 2005. Senate confirmation is required for him to serve in the Trump administration . Via InsideClimateNews Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump nominates BP oil spill lawyer as DOJ environmental attorney

COP22 Marrakech welcomes visitors with low-carbon Ark22 gate

November 9, 2016 by  
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Described by the designers as a cross between minimalism and baroque , the beautiful gate is a “pointillist composition” constructed from repeated singular elements, the timber planks, strategically stacked to create a cohesive mass. The identical 3-by-4-inch boards were sourced from local, sustainably managed forests and were not produced specifically for the event; rather they were “temporarily diverted from their regular journey.” The resulting mass is a 164-foot-wide, 49-foot-tall monument that is porous to allow views, light, and cooling breezes to pass through. Related: COP22 kicks off in Morocco with controversial presence of fossil fuel industry representatives “Both Ark and Damocles sword, each blade of wood is suspended in time,” writes Stephane Malka Architecture. “Each timber is showing both the fragility and the potential power of forces: The scenography highlights the singular unity and the whole, stressing the importance of each of the actions taken by the parties to take concrete action towards environmental disasters.” After the conference, the low-carbon structure will be completely dismantled and rebuilt as a pavilion in Marrakech’s Agdal garden, while other materials will be distributed to local associations and reused. + Stephane Malka Architecture + Oualolou+Choi Images by Laurent Clement

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COP22 Marrakech welcomes visitors with low-carbon Ark22 gate

California’s BrightSource Energy inks deal for massive new solar farm in China

September 28, 2016 by  
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As part of the country’s ongoing bid to invest in renewable energy, China’s state-run utility this week inked a deal with Oakland-based BrightSource Energy to build a massive new solar mirror farm. The technology, which uses thousands of mirrors to concentrate sunlight and heat water to power a steam turbine, is the same design used in BrightSource’s Ivanpah power plant outside of Las Vegas. The main advantage of thermal solar plants over traditional solar panel arrays is that they’re able to generate far more power that photovoltaic panels. These power plants can be massive, producing hundreds of megawatts of energy – an advantage that makes them competitive with coal-burning plants in a way that many renewable plants aren’t yet. The Ivanpah plant produces a whopping 392 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 140,000 California homes. Another mirror farm under construction in Morroco, slated to the be world’s largest when complete, will generate 580 megawatts and serve 1.1 million people. Related: Ivanpah: The World’s Largest Solar Thermal Plant Just Switched Online for the First Time This deal certainly won’t be the last of its kind for the Chinese government. Right now, BrightSource Energy is committed to a 135-megawatt pilot project in China’s northwest Qinghai province. It’s also going to include energy storage in the form of molten salt tanks, which are able to retain heat and produce power even after the sun has gone down. Another American company, SolarReserve, is also in the process of building a mirror farm in China. Related: Morocco switches on phase one of the world’s largest solar plant If it seems strange that these American companies are focusing on exporting their expertise abroad, it’s because the US has been slow to adopt the technology. Apart from a few high-profile projects like Ivanpah, thermal solar farms haven’t really taken off. That’s due in large part to a drop in costs for traditional solar panels and natural gas. Hopefully, as thermal solar plants gain acceptance in China and the rest of the world, they’ll see a resurgence in the US as well. Via Fortune Images via  BrightSource Energy

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California’s BrightSource Energy inks deal for massive new solar farm in China

Dubai to build the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant

June 6, 2016 by  
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Once again, Dubai is seeking to lead the way in the clean energy sector. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) recently announced their intention to build a massive concentrated solar power plant that would generate a staggering 1,000 megawatts (MW). That would nearly double the current record holder for the largest concentrated solar plant, the Noor-Ouarzazate complex in Morocco, which will generate 500 MW by 2018. DEWA CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer announced the plant could be operational in 2030, the year the country hopes to obtain 25 percent of energy from clean sources. Private companies to be selected will build and operate the plant. The first stage, to be finished in 2021, will generate 200 MW. Related: Record-breaking solar prices in Dubai prove cheaper than coal According to Al Tayer, ” several thousand ” heliostats will reflect radiation to a tower. He said a huge advantage of concentrated solar power is the thermal heat generated can be easily stored, so the plant could continue to produce electricity at night. The project will employ thermal storage for ” eight to 12 hours daily .” Al Tayer said , “…we constantly work, led by the vision of our wise leadership who instructed us to prepare to bid farewell to the last drop of oil. This is based on a vision that recognizes the significance of renewable energy in achieving a balance between development and sustainability. DEWA continues building projects to achieve this vision and consolidate sustainability to ensure a brighter and happier future.” The plant could help the country achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. The strategy aims for energy from 75 percent renewable sources by 2050. As a step towards that goal, DEWA is working to provide energy from 61 percent natural gas, 25 percent solar power, 7 percent “clean coal,” and 7 percent nuclear power by 2030. Via Phys.org Images via Wikimedia Commons and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority Facebook

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