Colorado meth lab transformed into a minimalist artist retreat with rammed earth walls

April 23, 2018 by  
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A former meth lab in North Boulder, Colorado has received a new lease on life as an artist retreat with a beautifully minimalist design. Denver-based tres birds workshop designed the Swoon Art House with a careful eye on environmental stewardship, using “100 percent renewable resources” including rammed earth walls and geothermal wells. Created as part of the Swoon/ Boulder Museum Contemporary Art International Artists Residency , the 7,000-square-foot Swoon Art House merges forward-thinking design and technology with ancient construction techniques. Designed like a sculpture in itself, the artist retreat features two long structures set at an angle to one another. Round metal roofs top the building and contrast with the 30-inch-thick rammed earth walls created using soil from the site. Four vertical geothermal wells power the building’s heating and cooling system. Related: Tattoo shop-turned-distillery renovated using materials reclaimed on-site The first building houses two lofted bedrooms with bathrooms and a full kitchen for artists in residency. A small glass-walled passageway leads to the second building, which serves as an art studio. Energy-conserving windows line the studio walls, while hidden storage spaces add to the clean, minimalist feel. “The structure, from the physical design to the flow of energy, is based on the circle,” the architecture firm said. “The circle holds particular significance in ancient and modern culture, symbolizing that which is without a beginning or an end.” + tres birds workshop

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Colorado meth lab transformed into a minimalist artist retreat with rammed earth walls

Evaporative off-grid toilets don’t need plumbing, water or electricity

April 20, 2018 by  
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2.6 billion people around the planet don’t have access to safe toilets . Not only does this impact health , but empowerment as well: women and girls “face high rates of violence when they don’t have access to safe and dignified sanitation ,” according to protein biochemist and entrepreneur Diana Yousef, CEO of change:WATER Labs . She’s working on a solution: a portable, off-grid toilet. “80 percent of disease around the world is attributable to poor sanitation,” Yousef said in a Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards YouTube video ; she’s a 2018 finalist . Indigenous groups, people living in poverty, or refugees don’t have many options to deal with an absence of proper sanitation, according to change:WATER. So they’re working on a low-cost, off-grid, compact, environmentally safe toilet able to evaporate 95 percent of sewage sans energy with the help of a simple polymer membrane. Users wouldn’t need plumbing or water to flush the toilet. Related: Ergonomically-correct ‘Wellbeing Toilet’ Helps You Poop the Right Way Cartier Women’s Initiative says that membrane acts like a sponge, “soaking up and accelerating the evaporation of liquid contents without the use of power or heat…The vapors released are pure clean water, while the dried solids left behind are safely contained inside the membrane.” This volume reduction means toilets only have to be serviced once or twice in a month. Yousef said in the video the toilet sends waste water back into nature “in its purest form” in an attempt to promote a “cycle of use and re-use in a more efficient, sustainable, low-carbon way.” Field deployment could happen later this year; Yousef has three pilot partnerships in the United States, Central America, and in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the initiative. change:WATER is up for potential funding from the Chivas Venture (you can vote for them on the Chivas website ). Yousef said funding would allow change:WATER to get working toilets to 10,000 families by 2019. + change:WATER Labs Via the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards and Chivas Venture Image courtesy of change:WATER

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Evaporative off-grid toilets don’t need plumbing, water or electricity

Green-roofed Argentinian home boasts a thermally efficient envelope

April 12, 2018 by  
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Buenos Aires-based IR arquitectura crafted a home that feels as if it grew out of the landscape. Set in a clearing in Tortuguitas, Argentina, the timber-clad AA House embraces nature with its green roof, inner courtyard with a polycarbonate roof, and large openings framing the outdoors. Thermal efficiency was a guiding design principle that informed everything from site orientation to material decisions. Built of locally sourced wood , AA House appears as a cluster of pitched timber boxes framed on each side by forest. The main living areas and bedrooms are laid out linearly on an east-west axis and face north to “guarantee the best solar incidence range,” wrote the architects. The common areas and greenhouse-like courtyard occupy the heart of the home and separate the master bedroom on the east side from the children’s bedrooms on the west end. Related: Award-winning renovation slashes mid-century home’s carbon footprint by 80% Earth walls finished with clay fill the spaces between wall studs and lend the advantage of high thermal mass by absorbing heat during the day and dissipating it at night. Vertical strips of timber clad the facade with matching vertical timber louvers installed over most of the glazed openings save for the large glazed wall on the north side of the living room that’s shielded by a deep overhang and left open for uninterrupted views. + IR arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images © Federico Cairoli

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Green-roofed Argentinian home boasts a thermally efficient envelope

Two men build a floating "Fatberg" in Amsterdam

March 9, 2018 by  
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Friends Mike Thompson and Arne Hendriks have created a floating island made of fat, a “ Fatberg ” as they call it. With a current weight of over a metric ton, the car-sized Fatberg began as one drop of fat in a glass of water in 2014. Today, the Amsterdam sight is one to behold, and Thompson and Hendriks hope to someday pull it to the North Pole. Why? The Fatberg is part art-project, part political-statement, part ridiculous-human-experiment. “Basically we’re doing this because fat is a very interesting material—it’s probably the most iconic material of time,” Hendriks told Gizmodo . “It’s organic, but it speaks about energy. It speaks about health. It speaks about over-consumption. It speaks about beauty.” The Fatberg in Amsterdam is not related to the fatberg discovered clogging the sewers beneath the streets of London in 2013. London’s fatberg was a product of improper waste disposal, with fat and grease congealing in the underworld. Amsterdam’s Fatberg is a deliberate creation, composed of various animal and plant-based fats. Its creators hope to someday add human fat, sourced from post-liposuction donations, though this remains an artist’s dream at the moment. Related: Boston man crosses harbor in a pumpkin boat To create the Fatberg, Thompson and Hendriks cut their collected solid fat, boil it into a sludge, then pour it on their creation, which floats at its own dock. Although it is not yet strong enough to carry a human, it does seem to have provided a habitat and food source for seagulls. To this end, Thompson sees the Fatberg as serving a practical purpose. “We’re talking about a floating energy reserve,” Thompson said. “We can maybe replace these melting icebergs with this floating energy reserve that allows us to store energy for times ahead. Because who knows what the future holds.” Via Gizmodo Images via Fatberg

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Two men build a floating "Fatberg" in Amsterdam

Stormwaters sweep beneath this coastal beach house raised above dunes

March 5, 2018 by  
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Rather than elevate this coastal beach home on stilts, New York-based Raad Studio sought a more natural method to protect the building from floodwaters. The home, located in Sea Bright, New Jersey, is raised on artificial dunes planted with beach grasses, while stormwaters are safely channeled through an opening beneath the home. To further complement the surroundings, the Beach House was built with local maritime construction techniques and clad in locally sourced timber. Surrounded by stunning views, the Beach House is bookended on two sides by water with the Atlantic Ocean on one and the Navesink River on the other. “Our design team sought to balance an embrace of outdoor natural beauty while seeking to accommodate the site’s vulnerability to storms,” write Raad Studio. “The design solution that resulted is the marriage of landscape and architecture.” Taking inspiration from the dunes in the parkland to the north, the architects used a design by Dirtworks Landscape Architecture to create artificial dunes made from sand piled atop a concrete foundation and stabilized with beach grasses and other plants. “By restoring our idea of the original natural state to the site, we created a set of hydrodynamic dunes with penetrations that allow water to sluice through the land, while simultaneously elevating the house well above the historic high water mark,” wrote the architects. Related: This high-tech solar funnel allows plants to grow deep underground The modern Beach House is built to look like two stacked timber boxes wrapped in Alaskan yellow cedar and ample glazing that make the most of landscape views. A stairway descends down the dune to a pool deck. The light-filled interior is oriented around outdoor views with the common areas on the ground floor and two bedrooms and bathrooms on the upper level. + Raad Studio Via Dezeen Images via Raad Studio , by Robert Wright

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Stormwaters sweep beneath this coastal beach house raised above dunes

The North Face unveils a geodesic tent that can withstand 60 mph winds

February 12, 2018 by  
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Known for its high-quality outdoor gear, The North Face just unveiled a dream tent designed to meet the needs of even the most intrepid camper. The Geodome 4 is a unique geodesic dome tent that’s built to withstand the harshest elements – including 60 mph gusts of wind. The North Face has a reputation for producing amazingly sturdy camping gear and clothing. This time, however, the company has created a masterpiece when it comes to tougher-than-nails tent design . The lightweight structure is just over 11 kilograms, making it easy to carry and store. For set up, it comes with just five main poles and one equator, allowing for fast and easy assembly. The interior also comes with handy internal hangars for gear storage. Related: Stay in a cozy geodesic dome at this amazing Patagonia retreat The strategic geodesic form creates enough interior room (230 x 218 cm) for four people to sleep comfortably, and with a height of of just over 6 feet, there’s enough space to stand up. The dome shape not only provides ample room, however, as the ultra-efficient shape helps the tent withstand nature’s harshest weather. The dome form helps it stand up against strong winds and the dual-layer water-resistant exterior helps to keep the tent dry in bad weather. Unfortunately, the North Face Geodome 4 Tent is only available on the Japanese market at the moment, but with some luck, will be coming to a store near you some time soon. + The North Face Via Hi Consumption

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The North Face unveils a geodesic tent that can withstand 60 mph winds

‘Food in the Nude’ project in New Zealand supermarket reduces plastic use

February 7, 2018 by  
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A New Zealand grocery store, New World Bishopdale , is attempting to slash their plastic use creatively with a new “Food in the Nude” project. And no, it’s not about people getting naked. It’s about serving produce without a pile of packaging. According to SUPERMARKETNEWS , New World Bishopdale has installed a refrigeration shelving system for displaying vegetables and fruit without plastic packaging . New World Bishopdale is having fun with cutting plastic. Owner Nigel Bond told SUPERMARKETNEWS in his 30 years in the grocery store industry, they’ve received the most positive customer feedback ever as a result of the store’s Food in the Nude program. It’s comprises a pretty simple change: display produce sans polluting plastic packaging. Related: 100% biodegradable, edible packaging is so much better than plastic “Customers hailing from the USA tell us that it reminds them of shopping in Whole Foods back home…The new system works by misting the produce with water to keep it fresh. Vegetables are up to 90 percent water and studies have shown that misted produce not only looks better and retains its color and texture, it also has a higher vitamin content,” Bond told SUPERMARKETNEWS. “We’ve also installed a reverse osmosis system that treats the water by removing 99 percent of all bacteria and chlorine, so we are confident that the water we’re misting with remains pure. The misting is electronically controlled and provides great in-store theater; children just love it.” He said because the system helps keep the fruit and vegetables fresh, less are wasted. Other New World stores could follow; New World Wigram has already made the switch. New World Bishopdale is also offering reusable string bags for weighing and carrying produce without plastic. New World hopes to get rid of all single-use plastic bags in their stores by the end of this year. In an October press release , they said they’re taking steps like giving away two million long-life reusable bags to customers, introducing a voluntary donation for plastic bags that will go towards environmental causes, and continuing a rebate for the use of reusable bags in North Island stores which they said “has resulted in a 20 percent reduction in plastic bag use.” Via SUPERMARKETNEWS and New World Images via Depositphotos and New World Bishopdale

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‘Food in the Nude’ project in New Zealand supermarket reduces plastic use

Elon Musk releases historic video of Starman cruising the stars in a Tesla Roadster

February 7, 2018 by  
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In what may be the greatest car commercial of all time, SpaceX has released a video portraying the journey of the mannequin Starman and Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster riding the Falcon Heavy rocket through space. SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket currently in use, on February 6, 2018 from Cape Canaveral as hundreds of thousands of people gathered from across the world to witness a part of history. The Roadster, which is attached to the rocket’s upper stage, will now be subjected to intense radiation in the Van Allen belt zone beyond Earth’s atmosphere before being launched into an elliptical orbit of Mars . As majestic as he is now, Starman was very nearly trapped on Earth as launch day conditions forced hours-long delays. Even after the rocket ignited on the planetary surface, those involved were apprehensive. “If it goes, don’t clap,” Jeff Lucas, a NASA communications staffer, told the launch audience, according to the Guardian . “Don’t clap until you see those orange flames clearing the tower.” When it became clear that the rocket had launched successfully, David Bowie’s Life on Mars began to play at the SpaceX launch center. Related: SpaceX to launch reused rocket in a historic first for NASA While some critics have questioned the value of hitching a car to the world’s most powerful rocket , the now-iconic images speak for themselves. The fact that the Falcon Heavy was strong enough to allow for the extra weight of a car, simply for the fun of it, is further demonstration of the rocket’s power. “If we are successful, it’s game over for other operators of heavy-lift rockets,” said Musk prior to launch, according to the Guardian . Though the game is still far from over, Starman is a hero, not just for one day , but for the foreseeable future. Oh man, I wonder if he’ll ever know… Via The Guardian Images via SpaceX

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Elon Musk releases historic video of Starman cruising the stars in a Tesla Roadster

How one couple adapted a 204-square-foot tiny house for their new baby

February 7, 2018 by  
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What’s it like to live in a 204-square-foot space with a baby? Samantha and Robert Garlow of SHEDsistence know, and they’re sharing their story. After designing and constructing their SHED tiny house in Yakima, Washington , the couple moved into it with their cat in early 2016. Then they welcomed their first baby, Aubrin, last year. Sounds pretty tight, right? We checked in with Robert to get the low-down on their experience living with a tiny baby in a tiny home. Over 14 months, the Garlows designed and built their tiny house , working mostly during weekends. They moved in on January 31, 2016. Robert told Inhabitat, “We were tired of throwing money away in the form of rent and we had no interest in taking on a 30-year mortgage in addition to our six-figure student loan debt. A tiny house was mentioned as a joke until we began to realize it would help us achieve many of our goals and we liked the challenging idea of designing, building, and living in a tiny space. At the end of the day we knew it would be a memorable experience that we would learn a lot from and those are the best projects to take on.” Related: Meet the Tiny House Family Who Built an Amazing Mini Home for Just $12,000 Their 24-foot long, eight-foot-six-inch-wide, 13-foot-five-inch-tall tiny home includes a bathroom, living area, and kitchen, with a loft above. The stairs to reach the loft include storage , and they also dedicated 24 square feet for a storage room for their outdoor gear. They spent around $30,000 on materials. “Our mindset as to what is possible has changed,” Robert told Inhabitat. “What we expected to be a challenge has been effortless and rather than ‘surviving’ this experiment we are thriving. The biggest takeaway has been that good design makes all the difference. Careful, custom design based on the inhabitants’ ergonomics, needs, and aesthetics is paramount to making a space the size of many peoples’ master bathrooms a fully functioning home for a family. Everything has a place and a purpose (or two). We have everything we need and nothing that we don’t, which has led to an incredible liberating experience we hadn’t know beforehand.” But what happens when you have a baby in said tiny home? The Garlows made a few changes to welcome baby Aubrin, such as a loft net and door – with space for their cat to travel in and out. For sleeping, they started with a bedside bassinet and have since created a loft crib . Aubrin is now over eight months old. On their blog , the Garlows pointed out they’ve only ever raised a baby in a tiny house – “and without anything to compare it to, we have nothing but positive things to report. There is great peace of mind in knowing that we are raising our daughter in the cleanest, most healthy house we have ever lived in and the ability to always keep an eye on her is an added bonus.” The Garlows have used the tiny house to “ design the life we wanted ” – living in their tiny space enabled them to take extended parental leave, and Robert has been able to work from home and raise their baby. What about when Aubrin gets a little bigger? In a blog post , the couple said they’d utilize the tiny house for as long as it works for them, and then perhaps repurpose it as necessary. If they decide to move out of SHED tiny house, they said they could use it as studio or guesthouse, to name a few options. When asked what advice he’d give to people considering switching to a tiny home, Garlow told Inhabitat, “Commit to it. Tiny houses are an amazing life hack; a tool that can unlock incredible opportunities that would otherwise not be possible for many people, family or not.” He also recommended people custom design their homes to work for them – and construct them if possible, saying, “Not only do you save a lot of money but you gain an incredible experience and wealth of new knowledge throughout the process.” You can learn more about the Garlows’ journey here . They recently released the second edition of their book, Built With Our Hands , with a long appendix about their two years of calling the tiny house home, and the small things they’d change. You can order it here to read more and see their floor plans. + SHEDsistence + SHEDsistence Book: Built With Our Hands + SHEDsistence Facebook + SHEDsistence Instagram Images courtesy of Samantha and Robert Garlow/SHED tiny house ( 1 , 2 )

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How one couple adapted a 204-square-foot tiny house for their new baby

The Nuclear Doomsday Clock is as close to midnight as it has ever been

January 25, 2018 by  
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Today, the world is the closest it has ever been to doomsday since since the nuclear arms race of the ’50s. Scientists and researchers moved the Doomsday clock – an indicator for how close humanity is to nuclear annihilation – to 2 minutes to midnight today. Researchers at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists cited the threat between North Korea and the United States, facilitated by President Trump’s harmful rhetoric, as the main reason for the shift. The closest we have ever been to midnight was in 1953, during the height of the nuclear arms race between the US and the USSR – when it was also 2 minutes to midnight. Last year, the clock ticked to 2.5 minutes to midnight, from an all-time distance of 17 minutes to midnight in 1991. Related: Several scientists predict the apocalypse will occur uncomfortably soon According to concerned scientists, the rhetoric between the leaders of the US and North Korea has gone a long way towards threatening all of humanity. But the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement and denigrating the nuclear deal with Iran has also contributed to the problem. “Divorcing public policy from empirical reality endangers us all. What we need is evidence-based policy making, not policy-based evidence making,” said theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Via CNN Images via Deposit Photos and Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

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