New York City bans polystyrene foam starting January 1

January 4, 2019 by  
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New York City has officially become the largest jurisdiction in the United States to ban polystyrene foam food and beverage containers. On January 1st, the city’s new policy went into effect after a five-year lobbying and litigation effort from the plastics industry to upend the city’s environmental initiative. Back in 2013, the City Council authorized the statute that states NYC restaurants, food vendors and stores can’t possess, sell or offer polystyrene foam containers for food and beverages. In addition, stores can’t sell or offer “packing peanuts,” which is polystyrene foam used in shipping. They added the ban on the peanuts because they are difficult for both consumers and sanitation officials to dispose of sustainably . Even though the policy took effect on January 1st, businesses will have a six-month warning period to make the necessary changes before the sanitation department starts to enforce the ban. After June 30th, violators will be facing a $250 fine for their first offense. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world In anticipation of the new rule, many NYC food service establishments have already abandoned polystyrene containers and switched to more environmentally friendly options. Some of the substitutes are containers made from aluminum, compostable paper or easily-recycled plastics. Since hitting the market in the 1970s, polystyrene foam food and beverage containers have been an environmental problem because of their brittle composition, which means they break down into tiny pieces and litter the city streets, park, and beaches. To make matters worse, the foam gets flushed into storm drains and gets into local waterways, where fish and birds mistake the foam pieces for food. And, if the containers do make it to a landfill , they can survive for more than a century. The price of more environmentally-friendly containers is nearly the same as the polystyrene foam. However, if businesses with an annual gross income under $500,000 can’t find a substitute with a comparable price, they can obtain a waiver from the ban. Via NRDC Images via felixgeronimo

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New York City bans polystyrene foam starting January 1

MVRDV to transform an Amsterdam office complex into a green residential zone

January 4, 2019 by  
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In response to Amsterdam’s increasing housing demands, prolific Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has designed Westerpark West, a sustainable proposal to transform the former ING office complex into a new residential zone flush with green space. Located in the Amsterdam Brettenzone, directly west of the city’s popular Westerpark, MVRDV’s master plan envisions a neighborhood of approximately 750 homes that will range in size, building typology and price. Westerpark West will also follow an “innovative energy master plan” that combines district heating with seasonal thermal energy storage. Spanning an area of 70,000 square meters, the Westerpark West master plan will include twelve buildings, five of which will be designed by MVRDV. To reconnect the isolated area to its surroundings, the architects will work with London-based landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman to extend the landscape of the Westerpark onto the site and align the plot structure with the street patterns found to the south. MVRDV has also enlisted architecture firms TANK, Blauw, KRFT, Studio Maks, and DoepelStrijkers to design the architecture of Westerpark West. A number of existing office buildings on site will also be transformed into comfortable, energy-efficient housing. An abundance of outdoor green space will tie together the buildings and include front gardens and loggias as well as balcony gardens and roof terraces. The master plan also includes catering facilities, a child daycare center, as well as three underground parking garages with charging points and car sharing. Related: Shipping container village for startups pops up in Amsterdam “Amsterdam urgently needs housing in all sorts of sizes and price ranges, for both purchase and rental,” says Nathalie de Vries, co-founder of MVRDV. “Given the large number of homes that this project adds to Amsterdam-West, we have focused entirely on architectural diversity. The public space will be green and closely connect with the Westerpark. The combination of park and urbanity is unique to Amsterdam. Where else can you live in a park in the middle of the city?” + MVRDV Images © CIIID

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MVRDV to transform an Amsterdam office complex into a green residential zone

Indonesia unveils first zero-waste restaurant built with sustainably sourced materials

December 20, 2018 by  
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Eliminating food waste is an arduous task for restaurants around the world. But one new eatery in Bali, Ijen , has implemented various strategic methods to become Indonesia’s first zero-waste restaurant. In addition to only serving sustainably sourced food and providing leftover food scraps to local farms, the forward-thinking restaurant was almost entirely built with reclaimed materials . Ijen is part of the Potato Head Beach Club , which has locations in Jakarta, Bali, Hong Kong and Singapore. The zero-waste restaurant is located on the grounds of the Jakarta location. The design and operation of the open-air venue was designed to reflect the company’s ethos of running hospitality zero-waste venues with absolute minimal impact on the earth. Related: Zero Waste Bistro offers four days of sustainable food and design in NYC Ijen’s building materials feature a number of sustainable products mostly made from reclaimed materials. The interior furnishings include items made out of old motorcycle foam remnants and ethically-sourced Mersawa wood. The flooring was made from a cement mix comprised of broken plates and glassware. The candles found throughout the restaurant were with used cooking oil. Deadstock cloth napkins were given new life thanks to a local dye house. Even the menus are printed on sustainably harvested paper bound to boards made from recycled tires provided by local flip-flop brand Indosole. Additionally impressive is the restaurant’s commitment to working with local fisherman and farmers to provide sustainable farm-to-table menu options . Executive Chef Wayan Kresna Yasa works with local fisherman to source fresh fish caught using a hand-reeling process. Vegetables are farm-fresh, and rice served at the restaurant is provided by the UNESCO-protected Jatiluwih terraces. Although the kitchen strives to use all of its stock, there are a variety of methods used to reuse any leftover food scraps. Ijen staff members meticulously separate organic and inorganic waste. Additional food remnants are fed to pigs at local farms or composted on site . Shellfish shells are powdered and used in animal feed or fertilizer. All dry goods are sent to be recycled through a local responsible waste management service. + Ijen Restaurant Via Treehugger Images via Potato Head Beach Club

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Indonesia unveils first zero-waste restaurant built with sustainably sourced materials

BIG and WeWork design a nature-inspired school for kids in NYC

November 5, 2018 by  
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Creative co-working giant WeWork and acclaimed architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group have teamed up to reimagine education starting with the launch of WeGrow, a new school in the heart of New York City that encourages education through play. Designed for children between three and nine years of age, the light-filled learning landscape is a tactile environment filled with custom-made curved architecture and movable furnishings. The theme of nature runs throughout and can be seen everywhere from the woodsy palette of timber surfaces and shades of green to the Laufen-tiled vertical garden filled with leafy plants. Located in WeWork’s headquarters in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the first WeGrow school spans 10,000 square feet and boasts a variety of communal spaces, which make up more than half of the school’s footprint. Designed to foster “natural education” by promoting activities centered on discovery and collaboration, WeGrow hopes to “undo the compartmentalization found in traditional schools … by interweaving learning with playing spaces,” Bjarke Ingels Group said. “The school environment becomes a third teacher that unleashes the superpower of each child.” In addition to diverse playscapes, the school consists of four classrooms , flexible workshops, community space, a multipurpose studio, an art studio and a music room. Hard corners are eschewed in favor of round, organic forms, like the curved storage units built with three different shelving levels for each age group. Sound-absorbing “clouds” made from felt and decorated with nature-inspired patterns hang from the ceiling and are illuminated with Ketra bulbs that change in color and intensity depending on the time of day. Felt is also used in the lobby and in the lounge. Related: WeWork opens gorgeous WeLive co-living apartments on Wall Street “From the lobby to the classrooms, WeGrow is lit by Gople Lamp and Alphabet of Light — flexible lighting systems designed by BIG Ideas and manufactured by Artemide to create ambiance effects that form comfortable, natural lighting throughout the school day,” Bjarke Ingels Group said in a project statement. “Playful and transparent, yet homelike and structured, WeGrow nurtures the child’s education through introspection, exploration and discovery.” + BIG Images by Laurian Ghinitoiu and Dave Burk via BIG

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BIG and WeWork design a nature-inspired school for kids in NYC

UN Environment and Yale present a sustainable tiny home in NYC

July 13, 2018 by  
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U.N. Environment and Yale University’s School of Architecture has unveiled an innovative tiny home that explores the intersection of policy and eco-conscious design. The Ecological Living Module, located at the U.N. Plaza in New York City, is a sustainable dwelling that embodies many of the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals , several of which are under review this month at the U.N. High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Designed by an interdisciplinary group of engineers, architects and designers from the Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture, the 22-square-meter tiny home includes integrated systems for on-site water collection, solar energy generation (using less than 1 percent of toxic semiconductor materials), micro-agricultural infrastructure, natural daylighting, plant-based air purification, passive cooling and cross-ventilation and various other cutting-edge technologies that allow the home to function off-grid. In addition to being powered solely by renewable energy with a net-zero footprint, the housing module is composed primarily of locally sourced, bio-based renewable or recyclable materials. Several of the materials used to construct the particular model on display were reused or repurposed from previous projects. Related: 10 eclectic tiny homes built with 99% scrap At a minimum, the living tiny house module includes a kitchen, bathroom, dining area and sleeping space for four people, and it can be adapted for both domestic and commercial needs. The project demonstrates what can be accomplished in a small space with a minimal environmental footprint. The tiny home symbolizes the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals and brings sustainability closer to home and to the forefront of our lives. U.N. Environment’s communications officer Sophie Loran said, “We really enjoyed the work that went into this project because it brought together such a wide variety of experts interested in making sustainability real for people.” Related: Architecture students build a tiny CLT classroom in just 3 weeks One billion people currently inhabit informal settlements across the globe, and many more live in structures that are not environmentally friendly. Communities faced by rapid economic growth and urbanization are increasingly facing the need for new infrastructure solutions in order to grow sustainably. “Everybody on this planet has a right to a decent home, but the housing sector uses 40 percent of the planet’s total resources and represents almost a third of global greenhouse gas emissions,” said U.N. Environment Head Erik Solheim. “In the face of a growing world population, smart new housing solutions, such as the Ecological Living Module, will be needed to balance our need to house everybody while protecting our planet’s ability to support life.” In addition to examining where we live, the exhibition calls attention to how we live, namely, how our daily at-home habits impact the planet. As visitors move through the various spaces within the tiny home, they will have the opportunity to learn more about energy-efficient lighting and appliances, urban farming , composting toilets and methods for reducing water consumption and food waste. In the bathroom, visitors will be exposed to information about avoiding hygiene products containing microbeads and videos about various initiatives to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems. In the kitchen, they can explore information on global campaigns to reduce food waste or to redirect it from landfills to livestock food. Some of the Sustainable Development Goals embodied by the tiny house include “Responsible Consumption and Production,” “ Clean Water and Sanitation ” and “Climate Action.” After exploring how eco-conscious home design can directly support these goals, visitors can apply similar sustainable technologies and techniques to their own homes, making sustainability initiatives more personal and approachable. Related: Solar-powered mountain home is a sustainable prototype for Aspen development The tiny home exhibit will be on display at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City until July 18, after which it will be moved to the U.C. Berkeley campus. This first demonstration unit contains location-specific features that consider the climate and context of New York. Plans for future applications, including an adaptation in Kenya, will likewise incorporate features that cater to the local climate and culture. By demonstrating the practicality and benefits of eco-conscious affordable housing, the Ecological Living Module showcases the ability of sustainable design to meet the challenges of the 21st century. + U.N. Environment + Yale University Images via U.N. Environment

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UN Environment and Yale present a sustainable tiny home in NYC

Renzo Piano-designed condo to become first high-end residential Zero Waste Building in NYC

July 2, 2018 by  
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Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano’s first residential building at 565 Broome Soho is nearing completion in New York City—and it’s expected to become the city’s first high-end residential Zero Waste Building. That eco-friendly distinction—achieved through the diversion of over 90 percent of waste from landfills, incinerators and the environment—will be complemented by other green features such as ample daylighting, electric vehicle charging stations, and refillable water bottle stations created with the goal of eliminating all plastic water bottle use in the building. The light-filled, zero-waste condo will be sheathed in low-iron glass and embrace 360-degree panoramic views of the Hudson River, One World Trade Center and beyond. Developed by global real estate firm Bizzi & Partners Development, Aronov Development and Halpern Real Estate Ventures, 565 Broome Soho comprises 112 residences that range from studios to four-bedroom condominium homes. Renzo Piano Building Workshop worked alongside Parisian interior design firm Rena Dumas Architecture Interieure to create an airy, light-filled building that hearkens back to the early industrial Soho lofts. Tall ceilings soar to heights of over 10 feet, while floor-to-ceiling ultra-transparent glass windows emphasize the spacious feel. Residents will be treated to a diverse suite of amenities that include a heated, 55-foot indoor swimming pool ; a fitness center; steam rooms and a sauna; and lush spaces like the landscaped outdoor terrace and the interior landscaped lounge with a 92-foot-tall ceiling and living green wall . The building will also be equipped with automated parking technology. Related: Renzo Piano reveals designs for Toronto courthouse targeting LEED Silver The residential interiors will be dressed with six-inch white oak plank floors, custom wood entry doors, a custom-designed kitchen with white oak cabinetry and high-end fixtures, and Calcacatta Caldia marble slab walls and flooring in the master bathrooms. Pricing at 565 Broome Soho starts at $2,075,000 for a 990-square-foot bedroom and goes up to $40,500,000 for the penthouse residence at 6,655 square feet. + Renzo Piano Building Workshop Images by Noë & Associates with The Boundary

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Cool micro studio in Budapest makes the most out of 344 square feet

September 25, 2017 by  
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Space-efficient design is of the utmost importance when creating livable tiny spaces like this beautiful 344-square-foot studio located in Budapest, Hungary. The compact space was designed by Studio Bunyik for the homeowner who likes to socialize at home. Using bespoke furniture pieces by local company Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop to designate individual spaces, the design team shrewdly created an open floor plan that manages to make the most out of the small interior. The micro space was outfitted with all of the comforts of home, including a fully-equipped kitchen and dining area, study, and lounge. The spaces are all divided with singular furniture pieces , creating a comfy and functional living space that doubles as an office during the day and entertaining space on the weekend. Related: At Just 150 Sq. Ft., This Tiny Real Estate Office is One of NYC’s Smallest Workplaces The wooden furniture was all hand crafted by a local furniture company, The Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop. All of the furniture was designed to give the homeowner a space for all of his hobbies and passions as well as functional pieces like his work station or wooden ladder that leads to the sleeping loft. + Studio Bunyik + Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop Via Dwell Photography via Bence Farkasinszki  

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Cool micro studio in Budapest makes the most out of 344 square feet

Artist Ai Wewei to install fences around 300 sites in New York City

August 22, 2017 by  
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Ai Weiwei is returning to New York City – and he’s planning to install fences around 300 sites in one of his largest public art projects to date. According to the artist, “Good Fences Make New Neighbors” is a reaction to “a retreat from the essential attitude of openness” in American politics. The exhibition opens on October 12 and it was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the organization. All in all, the project will comprise 10 major fence-themed installations in addition to scores of smaller works. Said Nicholas Baume, the Public Art Fund’s director and chief curator, “This is the most ambitious that we’ve undertaken since I’ve been here. Certainly, it’s the most distributed throughout the city.” In the past, the Public Art Fund commissioned major artists like Alexander Calder and Sol LeWitt to produce thought-provoking masterpieces. Related: Miami Artist Smashes $1 Million Vase by Chinese Dissident Ai Weiwei “In Protest” Ai Weiwei was inspired by Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” to build the fences – and they will be located in multiple boroughs, including Manhatten , Queens, and Brooklyn. Some of the sites include Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, and the Cooper Union building in Manhattan. + Good Fences Make Good Neighbors + Ai Weiwei Via New York Times Images via Ai Weiwei and Public Art Fund

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Artist Ai Wewei to install fences around 300 sites in New York City

Floating Cloud lamp adds levitating magic to any room

August 14, 2017 by  
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Take your home to new atmospheric levels with this incredible floating cloud lamp. Designed by Richard Clarkson Studio and Crealev , Floating Cloud is a magnetically levitating ambient lamp that adds a magical touch to any room it hovers in. The designers just announced a limited production run of these unique and fluffy lamps—read on for more details and to see the cloud come alive. Floating Cloud is the latest iteration of an ongoing collaboration between Richard Clarkson Studio’s cloud-themed designs and Crealev’s innovative levitation technology. Made from PETG and hypoallergenic polyester fiber, the fluffy cloud-like mass floats approximately 2.75 inches off its base using magnetic levitation. The Cloud is entirely wireless and the base is powered with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. The cloud spins and bobs side-to-side for a “more realistic atmospheric experience,” while hidden sound-reactive RGB LEDs create the powerful illusion of a storm cloud with lightning. To reduce weight and size, the Floating Cloud does not include a speaker, however it will react to existing sound systems and voices. The Cloud flashes to the beat of the music in four different styles using an embedded microphone. An infrared remote controls a range of ambient lamp modes from white to colored versions. Related: This water-filled lamp makes it rain in your home “The Cloud is held in place using both rare earth magnets, electromagnets, and a location sensor,” write Richard Clarkson Studio. “There is a discrete infrared locating beam in the center of the Cloud, which, if obstructed by an object (such as a hand) will result in the Cloud “falling off” it’s levitating balance point. In such an event the Cloud has a soft felt bottom to cushion the fall. To return the Cloud to its floating position, use your fingers to pry the Cloud off the base and with two hands hold the Cloud roughly in position, slowly move the Cloud from side to side until you feel it ‘lock’ in place.” The studio has released a limited 100-unit production run of the Floating Cloud, available on their website for $4,620 USD . + Richard Clarkson Studio

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Floating Cloud lamp adds levitating magic to any room

Elon Musk just announced he got verbal approval to build a New York to DC hyperloop

July 20, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk just announced that the New York City to Washington D.C. hyperloop is happening. Taking to Twitter, Musk said that he has received verbal approval to build an underground hyperloop, with at least a dozen entrance/exits in each city. Once completed, riders will be able to travel from city center to city center in under 30 minutes. Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017 Musk added – again, on Twitter – that there is still work to do to get official approval, but he is “optimistic that will occur rapidly.” The project will be built by The Boring Company at the same time as the Los Angeles hyperloop. Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017 Related: Hyperloop One exhibits exciting first images of full-scale test track Right now it takes four hours to drive between New York City and Washington DC, or three hours by train. The hyperloop would dramatically decrease transportation time, though specifics on how it would all would are still sketchy – and, of course, verbal approval is a far cry from having signatures on the dotted line. No doubt Musk will update us as things develop. via Inverse

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Elon Musk just announced he got verbal approval to build a New York to DC hyperloop

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