Ennead designs a striking nature preserve to protect Chinas most important river

March 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Ennead designs a striking nature preserve to protect Chinas most important river

Ennead Architects and Andropogon Landscape Architects have won an international competition for the Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Preserve. The proposed design takes the shape of an undulating sculpture mimicking the curves of Asia’s longest river while referencing “biomorphic anatomy.” The building will be clad in translucent PTFE panels and engineered with sustainable, energy-efficient technologies such as geothermal heating and cooling loops. The purpose of the Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Preserve is to rescue critically endangered species and to restore the natural ecology of Yangtze River, which has been plagued by pollution and construction. The project also aims to engage the public and raise environmental awareness with immersive exhibit experiences. To achieve these goals, the 427,000-square-foot nature reserve building, which will sit on a 17.5-hectare site on an island at the mouth of the Yangtze River, will consist of a dual-function aquarium and research facility, bringing together efforts to repopulate the endangered Chinese Sturgeon and Finless Porpoise. Ennead Architects and Andropogon Landscape Architects proposed a dramatic design for the building that takes cues from nature. Split into three wings united around a central spine, the structure will be built with a cross-laminated timber structural system wrapped in a lightweight PTFE skin, which will fill the interior with daylight. Inside, constructed wetlands landscaped with local flora and aquatic plants provide a beautiful connection with the outdoors, sequester carbon and serve as a biofiltration system for aquarium water, “resulting in a new paradigm of environmental equilibrium,” the designers said in their press release. Related: Ennead Architects break ground on celestial Shanghai Planetarium The landscape design in and around the buildings mimics the natural shoreline ecosystems found throughout the Yangtze River basin and provides opportunities for breeding and raising Chinese Sturgeons and Finless Porpoises. Visitors will be able to view these pools from suspended walkways that weave throughout the campus grounds. + Ennead Architects Images via Ennead Architects

Read the rest here: 
Ennead designs a striking nature preserve to protect Chinas most important river

Santa Barbara home is surrounded by wooden screens for natural climate control

March 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Santa Barbara home is surrounded by wooden screens for natural climate control

Indoor-outdoor living never looked so good! This modern design by Shubin Donaldson takes full advantage of the beachy climate of Santa Barbara, California. Wooden screens and a central skylight flood the entire beach house with natural sunlight while keeping the space protected from the ocean winds. “Environmentally, the home is cooled passively by ocean breezes, lit evenly during the day by daylight, and ipe wood screens minimize sun load on the extensive view windows,” the designers said. The unique structure also uses stacked volumes of steel, concrete and glass to create the look and utilize the space. Related: Circular, solar-powered beach house is a sustainable holiday retreat Because the client was an industrial designer, it allowed for a special collaboration with the architects of Shubin Donaldson. “He came to SD knowing that our design values were in-sync, and this stunning home is the result of a very productive and satisfying client/architect relationship.” The suburban building site was generally narrow and oddly shaped, so the designers had quite a challenge on their hands. “These constraints resulted in a unique formal solution deploying a concrete and steel structural frame to maximize the formal responsiveness of the structure,” according to Shubin Donaldson. To address the limited space, the beach house stacks different living spaces on top of each other, creating three separate floors. The garage, den and laundry room sit on the ground floor, while the second floor houses the bedroom and terrace . The main sitting area was built into the third floor. This stacking design not only takes full advantage of the residential hilly area but the lovely ocean-side location as well. Thanks to the elevated flooring, the owners enjoy vast wrap-around views. Outside of the main structure extends a wooden planked deck, perfect for enjoying the California weather. The beautiful patio has additional privacy thanks to a well-manicured landscape of native plants such as cacti and palms. A majority of the concrete walls were left uncovered and exposed, adding another modern aspect to the design. A gorgeous response to a challenging site while also utilizing eco-friendly options, the Skyline Residence is truly a one-of-a-kind design. + Shubin Donaldson Via Dezeen Photography by Jeremy Bittermann via Shubin Donaldson

The rest is here:
Santa Barbara home is surrounded by wooden screens for natural climate control

New sweet potato dye spares bugs and pleases vegans

March 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on New sweet potato dye spares bugs and pleases vegans

Cochineal beetles are rejoicing this month as the Hansen sweet potato proves a viable alternative for producing the carmine color crushed beetles have long added to foods and cosmetics . Chr. Hansen, a bioscience company based in Denmark and founded in 1874, developed and commercialized the Hansen sweet potato™ Ipomoea batatas . “For the first time, we’ve created a whole new variety of vegetable to create the natural color our customers are asking for,” said Jakob Dalmose Rasmussen, vice president of commercial development at Chr. Hansen Natural Colors. Vegetarians have long wanted an alternative to this common coloring, but the sweet potato took time to develop. “Over 10 years ago, we discovered a promising pigment in a root vegetable’s tuber, but the plant’s pigment content was on the low side. We took this plant and embarked on a process of selective breeding using traditional, non-GMO methods. The result is a plant-based , brilliant red that gives our customers a natural alternative to carmine and synthetic colors,” said Dalmose Rasmussen. Related: California becomes the first state to ban animal-tested cosmetics Chr. Hansen launched its FruitMax® line of concentrates to provide a variety of red coloring options. “Strawberry red is a popular shade for food products — from cakes to confectionery to milkshakes,” noted Dalmose Rasmussen. “But until now it has been nearly impossible to make a fire-engine red color with no risk of off-taste without using carmine.” Cochineal beetles live on cacti in Latin America. Their color comes from carminic acid, a substance which deters predation and makes up almost a quarter of the insects’ weight. The Incas and Aztecs both used the beetle for dye. Once Spaniards arrived in the New World, they quickly discovered that the cochineal beetle dye was far superior to anything they had in Europe, and dried bugs became the second most valuable export after silver. It’s still big business. In 2017, Peru exported more than $46 million dollars’ worth of carmine. Over the centuries, people have used the beetles to dye everything from cardinals’ robes to modern lipsticks. As the Hansen sweet potato gains popularity, perhaps the cochineal beetles will be able to relax on their cacti. While some studies indicate that plants also feel pain, the legless tuber could neither run nor be reached for comment. + Chr. Hansen Via Food Navigator Image via Aunt Masako

View original here: 
New sweet potato dye spares bugs and pleases vegans

The environmental problem with toilet paper and what to use instead

March 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on The environmental problem with toilet paper and what to use instead

Having access to soft, fluffy toilet paper is one of those modern conveniences that makes life in the 21st century that much easier. But did you know that using this luxury could be doing more damage to the environment than driving a large, gas-guzzling SUV? On average, every American uses three rolls of  toilet paper  each week (28 pounds per year), meaning that just 4 percent of the world’s population is responsible for 20 percent of total tissue consumption. This is destroying forests and impacting climate change in a significant way. “The Issue with Tissue” A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council titled “The Issue with Tissue” said that many toilet paper manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Georgia Pacific use wood pulp from Canadian forests and zero recycled content when making their at-home toilet paper. “Most Americans probably do not know that the toilet paper they flush away comes from ancient forests, but clear-cutting those forests is costing the planet a great deal,” Anthony Swift, director of the NRDC’s Canada Project, said in a news release. “Maintaining the Canadian boreal forest is vital to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change .” What is toilet paper made of? Companies use different ingredients to make tissue products, but the typical main ingredient is paper pulp. It can come from a variety of sources, like post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content or wheat straw and bamboo . However, the most common source of paper pulp by far is wood, AKA virgin fiber, because it has never been used in another product. Virgin fiber is “environmentally destructive” according to the NRDC. The two types of virgin pulp are softwood and hardwood, with softwood coming from spruce and other coniferous trees and hardwood coming from deciduous trees. Spruce and other coniferous trees are found in places like the southeastern U.S. and the Canadian boreal, and they produce long fibers that strengthen the tissue. Related: Evaporative off-grid toilets don’t need plumbing, water or electricity Without getting too scientific, making pulp from virgin fiber requires a mill that makes logs into wood chips, plus an energy-intensive chemical process to separate the wood fibers. To whiten the pulp, it also has to go through a chemical bleaching process. Making toilet paper from 100 percent virgin fiber “generates three times as much carbon as products made from other types of pulp,” according to the NRDC report. Manufacturing a single roll of toilet paper also uses 37 gallons of water , and transporting the paper can waste loads of gas. Sustainability scores The NRDC report gave “sustainability-based scores” for different at-home toilet paper brands. Because they use zero recycled content in their products, brands like Charmin Ultra, Quilted Northern, Kirkland, Up & Up Soft and Strong and Angel Soft received an “F.” Scott 1000, Scott Comfort Plus, Cottonelle Ultra and Trader Joe’s Super Soft Bath Tissue received a “D.” Brands that scored an “A” because they use recycled paper include 365 Everyday Value 100% Recycled, Earth’s First, Natural Value, Green Forest, Seventh Generation and Trader Joe’s Bath Tissue. The report concluded that when it comes to using sustainable components, Procter & Gamble was the worst paper company in the U.S. P&G has yet to comment on the report. A Georgia-Pacific spokesperson said that the company does use recovered fiber in addition to virgin wood, and a Kimberly-Clark spokesperson said the company’s goal is to cut the virgin pulp content in its products in half by 2025. Eco-friendly alternatives Who Gives A Crap This company began with crowdfunding back in 2012, and it has been growing ever since. It offers  eco-friendly toilet paper made from 100 percent recycled paper as well as no added inks, dyes or scents. Who Gives A Crap claims its 3-ply is as “soft as unicorn kisses and as strong as 1,000 ponies,” and you can buy it in bulk at just $1 per jumbo roll, which is 400 sheets. This company also donates 50 percent of profits to help improve sanitation and build toilets in developing countries. Family cloth This might be an option that is out of most people’s comfort zone , but in the spirit of cloth diapers comes family cloth —  wiping with fabric swatches , which are then placed in a wet-dry bag and laundered so they can be reused . Bidet attachment For some reason, Americans haven’t fallen in love with alternatives like bidets as many Europeans have. This is unfortunate, because bidets have amazing environmental benefits. Plus, they are great for personal hygiene. Related: How to upgrade your toilet with a handheld bidet sprayer If you aren’t familiar with a bidet attachment, it is a fixture that you add to your toilet seat. It will wash your bum and genitalia with water after you use the toilet. You can greatly reduce the need for toilet paper in your house by adding a bidet attachment to your toilet. If everyone in America reduced their toilet paper use by just one roll per week, it would save thousands of trees and have a significant environmental impact. Images via Shutterstock

Original post:
The environmental problem with toilet paper and what to use instead

This Ecuadorian home uses the natural elements of rammed earth as a foundation

March 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on This Ecuadorian home uses the natural elements of rammed earth as a foundation

Rammed earth is a building technique that uses packed raw materials from the earth like gravel, sand, silt or clay to build walls and foundations. Casa Lasso, designed by Rama Estudio in San Jose, Ecuador utilized the rammed earth approach (or “tapial”) to create five strong walls made of natural elements to both protect the home from strong winds and improve the thermal quality inside the home. The rammed earth provides added support for the wooden-beamed roof every 70 centimeters. Glass windows make up the upper closures of the structure, giving the entire area the potential for  sunlight  to shine through and light up the living areas. Speaking of living areas, there is room for six beds, all built into the rammed earth framework, in the communal area. There is also a master bedroom with pivoting panels to either integrate or close off the spaces. Much of the furniture and shelving in the kitchen and bedroom is built into the structured wall, ensuring that no space is wasted, no matter how small. The designers built the rustic fireplace into the lowest part of the home, with the intention of creating a centralized space that would “embrace” the area. Casa Lasso also uses a waste management system that connects solids and liquids into an internal irrigation and fertilizer network, meaning that there is no sewage system. Using pivoting panels, occupants have the option of closing the doors for added warmth and security or creating an extended and almost unblocked view of the outdoor area beyond the property. The area around the house is surrounded by eucalyptus plantations, making the land arid and soil difficult to grow in. Designers chose to plant native species in small landscaped islands throughout the property in order to combat this dilemma. As a result of the rammed earth building technique, Casa Lasso maintains an organic color. The combination of brown earth tones from the wooden panels, the large beams making up the roof and natural stone work makes this home blend in beautifully with the native landscape. + RAMA Estudio Via ArchDaily Photography by Jag Studio and  Andrés Villota via RAMA Estudio

View original post here: 
This Ecuadorian home uses the natural elements of rammed earth as a foundation

Solar-powered Menai Science Park offers sweeping views of Wales

March 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Solar-powered Menai Science Park offers sweeping views of Wales

U.K. architectural practice FaulknerBrowns Architects has completed the Menai Science Park (M-SParc), the first dedicated science park in Wales with a focus on the sectors of low-carbon energy, ICT (information and communication technologies) and the environment. Located west of the Menai Straits on the island of Anglesey, North Wales, the £15.5 million (nearly $20 million USD) campus includes co-working spaces with offices, laboratories and workshops. Designed to encourage innovation, the solar-powered building is wrapped in large, glazed panels that let in an ample amount of natural light and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The Welsh Government and the nearby Bangor University established the Menai Science Park to support emerging and existing businesses in the science and technology sectors. The building is strategically located close to the main arterial route on the island for easy access to local businesses, including the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station. Existing and emerging businesses are invited to rent the individual tenancy spaces in Menai Science Park and join a commercial community built on sharing knowledge and expertise. To encourage collaboration, the architects inserted a multipurpose “open innovation space” that serves as a meeting point, events venue and a touch-down space connected to the main circulation “ring” linking all of the individual tenancies. “[The building] is defined by the concept of a folded ribbon of white material which extends out of the surrounding landscape, twists and bends to form the edges of the space, before arcing back down into the site,” FaulknerBrowns Architects said. “Thermoformed Corian, a material typically used in laboratory benching, offered the right combination of plasticity and durability to create the ribbon in the form of fluid rainscreen panels.” Related: A former Czech distillery is transformed into a vibrant co-working space The campus was also created with a strong focus on sustainability and nature. The building is not only formed around a central landscaped courtyard but is also clad in large glazed panels that frame views of the outdoors, including the spectacular Snowdonia mountain range in the southeast. Photovoltaic panels have been installed on the ground level and combined with traditional cloddiau stone walls, which the architects said “offer a visible commitment to low-carbon energy.” + FaulknerBrowns Architects Images by Richard Chivers via FaulknerBrowns Architects

See the rest here: 
Solar-powered Menai Science Park offers sweeping views of Wales

Ocean cities add ‘blue’ to green engineering

March 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Ocean cities add ‘blue’ to green engineering

As urban areas grow in population and footprint, many coastal cities are creating land where there once was ocean . This so-called “reclaiming” of land is not new — in fact, civilizations have been building land on top of bodies of water dating back to the Ancient Egyptians . However, urban planners and city dwellers are increasingly looking for ways to build more sustainably without damaging ecosystems and without increasing flood risk. A new trend, called blue-green infrastructure, marries ecosystem science and green engineering to develop city plans that maximize water and land ecosystems with the dual purpose of reducing disaster and creating more livable cities. What is blue-green infrastructure? Blue-green infrastructure is physical urban planning that prioritizes water management (blue) and natural spaces like parks (green) to reduce flooding, improve quality of life and adapt to climate change . Typically, architects, engineers and urban planners will utilize landscape, street and building designs to complement natural water cycles that are historically disrupted by concrete. Examples include strategic green roofs, rain gardens and parks that are designed to address and absorb water flow issues. Why do coastal cities need this? Blue-green infrastructure can have many benefits for all cities. By designing infrastructure to accommodate the natural flow of water (and additional water based on flood predictions), cities can reduce the costs of water damage, improve the aesthetics of their districts and create an environment that is more livable for both city dwellers and nature. For example, parks can increase the health and social connectivity of neighborhoods, but also reduce heat island effect and absorb rain water that would otherwise flood streets and sewers and run off into the ocean. While all cities are at risk of polluting their watersheds, coastal cities have the additional responsibility of protecting the ocean. Related: Reimagine a resilient future with this nature-based tool Blue-green ocean cities Coastal cities, and especially those built upon reclaimed land, damage nearshore areas with pollution and sediment that smother ecosystems and disrupt natural connectivity between habitats. This means not only disrupted movement for migratory species like birds and whales, but also disrupted interactions within life cycles. For example, along tropical coasts there is an intricate relationship between coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves. Fish that sustain the reefs and supply commercial fisheries often use the mangroves as a nursery to lay eggs. Young fish hatch in the mangroves and move out to sea grasses to mature before migrating to live in the reef. Creating land on top of these interconnected habitats can cut off this natural pattern and negatively impact species, ecosystems and fishing industries. According to The Independent , land reclamation in Singapore has damaged approximately 40 percent of all reef flats. Reclamation and urban planning done in Singapore without consideration for reefs since the 19th century has caused some species like the porites astreoides to die off completely and cause significant biodiversity loss to the reef overall. However, green engineering, with an understanding of and respect for these ecosystems, promises significant reduction in such detrimental impacts. Related: Can the Cayman Islands save the Caribbean’s remaining coral reefs? In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a multi-year project is underway to restore this essential eco-connectivity by digging channels into the remains of a failed marina development project. This will improve the flow and quality of water and revitalize the reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves that had suffered significantly. Ecologists and green engineers: a partnership By understanding these important ecological linkages, engineers and architects can prioritize low impact development and build in ways that reduce impact or even improve conditions. Chinese urban planners, for example, have undertaken an initiative to retrofit 80 percent of all cities into “ sponge cities ,” which will absorb and reuse an ambitious 70 percent of all rain water . The coastal city of Lingang in Shanghai , for example, uses rooftop gardens, wetland parks and permeable pavements that slow down rain water and allow it to be absorbed into plants or evaporated into the atmosphere. This massive plan isn’t accessible for all cities though, and cost the struggling city of Lingang (rebranded as Nanhui New City) an investment of approximately $119 million (USD). The future is blue-green With ongoing debt and funding concerns, few cities can prioritize blue-green infrastructure, and investors are often more comfortable with what they know — highways, utilities, etc. Blue-green elements are typically considered extras, added to blueprints for visual appeal but the first to be slashed when budgets are cut. Successful examples of green infrastructure and sustainable urban planning will help build confidence internationally. Other challenges, certification mechanisms and knowledge sharing networks, such as 100 Resilient Cities , encourage and incentivize conversations not only between scientists and engineers but between municipalities and regions. These initiatives, if backed with funding, will continue to push coastal cities to design with nature, test their results and share models for a new blue-green future. Images via Shutterstock

The rest is here: 
Ocean cities add ‘blue’ to green engineering

Atelier COLE completes eco-friendly bear sanctuary in Vietnam

March 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Atelier COLE completes eco-friendly bear sanctuary in Vietnam

Phnom Penh-based Atelier COLE recently completed an environmentally friendly bear sanctuary that not only promotes wildlife conservation but also champions affordable prefabricated design. Located in Cát Tiên National Park in the south of Vietnam , the inspiring project was in part influenced by the hard-to-reach location that made the delivery of supplies difficult and time-consuming. As a result, the architects turned to lightweight gabion wall construction that has the added benefit of reducing the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary’s environmental footprint. Created in collaboration with Cát Tiên National Park, Free the Bears and Building Trust International, the Vietnam Bear Sanctuary comprises a series of modular and easily replicable buildings that house bears rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and bear bile industry. Drawing from experience working for wildlife organizations worldwide, Atelier COLE adeptly studied the site and oriented the buildings east to west to follow passive solar principles and minimize overheating. The gabion walls — assembled from steel mesh and locally sourced stones — were stacked one meter from the roof line to allow for cross ventilation, while roof cut outs let natural light into the bear dens. “We wanted to reduce the concrete usage, and we started developing wall ideas,” David Cole, director of Atelier COLE, explained. “We knew there were some parameters; it was necessary to keep the steel mesh and concrete finish inside the bear dens, as it was easy to clean down, preventing infection and contamination. We simply took the mesh material and used it to create gabion walls with high thermal mass. The inside could be rendered and the outside could be untreated to give a natural sandy color found around the site. The mesh sheet sizes which were available led to a modular design. This essentially led to the foundation of the building blocks for the whole project. We utilized a steel frame structure to support a green roof and built the bear houses with internal courtyards to give ample space for fruit trees, providing a food source for the bears.” Related: Atelier COLE’s Bamboo Trees combats illegal Moon Bear trade in Laos The Vietnam Bear Sanctuary consists of six bear houses with forest enclosures, an education center, a hospital, quarantine and administrative buildings. Over 40 sun bears and moon bears currently live on-site. As the green roof , which will grow down the roof fascia, and the courtyard plants become lusher, the sanctuary will blend into the forest. + Atelier COLE Images by Elettra Melani via Atelier COLE

More here:
Atelier COLE completes eco-friendly bear sanctuary in Vietnam

Why You Should Ditch Antiperspirant: 6 Natural Deodorants That Work

March 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on Why You Should Ditch Antiperspirant: 6 Natural Deodorants That Work

Deodorant or antiperspirant is something most of us apply daily. … The post Why You Should Ditch Antiperspirant: 6 Natural Deodorants That Work appeared first on Earth911.com.

Continued here:
Why You Should Ditch Antiperspirant: 6 Natural Deodorants That Work

These are the most endangered species in the world

January 14, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on These are the most endangered species in the world

As 2018 ended, it brought to light the reality that some  animals — after existing on Earth for millions of years — are gone for good. At the end of last year, scientists announced that three bird species went extinct, and there are even more species that could vanish in 2019. Unlike past mass extinctions , which were the result of things like asteroid strikes and volcanic eruptions, the current crisis is mostly caused by human activities. The Earth is currently losing animal species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate, meaning we could see 30 to 50 percent of the planet’s species going extinct by 2050. Related: 10 species at risk of extinction under the Trump administration According to the Center for Biological Diversity , we are in the middle of the planet’s sixth mass extinction of plants and animals, and this latest wave of species die-offs is the worst we have experienced since the loss of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. “Our results confirm that there is a growing wave of extinctions sweeping across the continents, driven mainly by habitat loss and degradation from unsustainable agriculture and logging,” Birdlife chief scientist Stuart Butchart told USA Today . We have an abundance of animals that help the world’s ecosystems thrive, but what will happen when more animals become endangered and go extinct? Eco2 Greetings has created an interactive map that highlights the animals that have recently become endangered and critically endangered, and it also shows where their natural habitats are based. The world’s most critically endangered species include Vaquita (population 30), Javan Rhino (63), Sumatran Rhino (80), Amur Leopard (84), Cross River Gorilla (250), Malayan Tiger (295), Sumatran Tiger (400), Mountain Gorilla (880), Yangtze Finless Porpoise (950) and Sumatran Elephant (2,600). The world’s most endangered species are North Atlantic Right Whale (325), Indochinese Tiger (350), Black-footed Ferret (370), Amur Tiger (540), Borneo Pygmy Elephant (1,500), Ganges River Dolphin (1,500), Indus River Dolphin (1,816), Galapagos Penguin (2,000), Bengal Tiger (2,500) and Sri Lankan Elephant (3,250). The existence of these animals is in our hands. So now the question is what can we do to boost these numbers and save these species? + Eco2 Greetings Image via Bernie Catterall

See original here:
These are the most endangered species in the world

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1070 access attempts in the last 7 days.