Artist’s incredibly realistic stone animals are begging to be cuddled

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

In a world of angst-driven, politically-minded art , stone artist Akie Nakata is giving us some artwork we’d just love to cuddle. The Japanese artist paints cutesy animals onto smooth rocks, creating images so realistic it’s hard to fight the urge to reach out and pet them. Nakata starts her artistic process by collecting stones of all shapes and sizes. Once she finds inspiration in its shape, she begins the process of painstakingly creating the palm-sized creatures. She spends an astonishing amount of time on each project, perfecting each brush stroke so the finished product has a realistic appearance. Related: These artists create mind-bending artwork solely from autumn leaves https://youtu.be/PjyefLV2Mrk She explains that her methodical process is inspired by her spiritual respect for nature and is what keeps her enjoying the work, “What I paint on stone is inspired by the stone itself,” she explains. “In order to bring out the living being that I feel in the stone to its surface, I proceed very carefully. I consider step by step, for example, whether I am positioning the backbone in the right place. Does it feel right? Am I forcing something that disagrees with the natural shape of the stone?” You can find the artist’s work on  Instagram , Facebook , and her website . + Akie Nakata Via Laughing Squid All images via Akie Nakata

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Artist’s incredibly realistic stone animals are begging to be cuddled

Stunning mountain passive house uses burnt cedar cladding

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Tucked into the sloping mountainside near historic Park City, Utah sits a modern, passive solar dream home marked by a plunging roof that slices through its middle. The 2100 square foot residence designed by Salt Lake City-based Axis Architects features a bevy of environmentally-friendly features, including charred cedar cladding that is weather, insect and fire-proof and keeps the home comfortable while helping it blend into the rugged surroundings. The home was built by Benchmark Modern, fitting seamlessly into a challenging lot sloped and limited by Park City’s land use requirements. To help it blend in, the architect’s used shou sugi ban cedar to clad the home. The sloping roof cuts through the interior of the space, dividing public and private areas. Red cedar soffits line the underside of the roof and help extend the home horizontally into the environment. This cedar also extends to the interior, blurring the line between inside and out. Related: Seattle’s Palatine Passive House consumes 90% less energy than a conventional home The architects incorporated passive solar design with 95 percent efficiency, solar power generation, LED lighting, radiant heating and smart features controlled through the owner’s phone. The owners worked with the designers to create an open space on the interior that had as few doors and storage spaces as possible. Custom cabinets in the kitchen and open cubbies in the bedroom turn storage into beautiful displays. The extended roofline and positioning help block the hot summer sun while allowing winter light to reach the interior. Large windows on the rear and sides allow for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. This beautiful home is currently for sale by Sotheby’s International Realty for $2.4 million. + Benchmark Modern + Axis Architecture images via Sotheby’s International Realty

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Stunning mountain passive house uses burnt cedar cladding

New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80%

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

An innovative new project called LIFE+ Methamorphosis is pioneering a new sustainable biofuel for cars . Car company SEAT and water management company Aqualia have transformed wastewater into the alternative fuel . Powered with this biofuel produced during one year at a treatment plant in Spain, a vehicle could circumnavigate the globe 100 times. SEAT and Aqualia came up with a creative answer to the issues of pollution from traditional car fuels – which have led to traffic restrictions in cities like Madrid – and reusing water , a scarce resource. To make their biomethane , wastewater is separated from sludge in treatment plants, and then becomes gas after a fermentation treatment. Following a purification and enrichment process, the biogas can be utilized as fuel. Compared against petrol, production and consumption of the biofuel releases 80 percent less carbon dioxide, according to SEAT . The new biofuel works in compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled cars. Related: Africa’s newest sustainable biofuel grows on trees The project aims to show feasibility at industrial scales through two waste treatment systems. The UMBRELLA prototype will be set up in a municipal waste treatment plant serving Barcelona. The METHARGO prototype will create biomethane at a plant handling animal manure. The biogas made with the second prototype can be utilized directly in cars or could be added to the natural gas distribution network, according to the project’s website . A mid-sized treatment plant can handle around 353,000 cubic feet of wastewater every day, which could yield 35,000 cubic feet of biomethane, according to companies involved with the project. All that biomethane could power 150 vehicles driving around 62 miles a day. SEAT will supply vehicles to test the biofuel over around 74,500 miles. The European Commission is funding the project. Other companies participating include Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas , Gas Natural , the Catalan Institute for Energy , and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area . Via New Atlas Images via SEAT and LIFE+ Methamorphosis

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New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80%

Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

The far reaches of northern Vietnam are beautiful but heartbreakingly poor. Children of the Hmong ethnic minority who live in the villages routinely suffer from lack of access to healthcare and education. Vietnamese architecture firm 1+1> 2 has provided a ray of hope for those in Lung Luong village in the remote Thai Nguyen Province with the construction of a beautiful new school made from local materials including rammed earth and bamboo. The school’s beautiful swooping and colorful form is an inspiration to the village and serves as a welcoming haven protected from the harsh elements. The Lung Luong elementary school is sited on a mountain peak and constructed to replace a poorly insulated structure that was piercingly cold in days of heavy rain and draught. Under the leadership of architect Hoang Thuc Hao, the villagers excavated part of the peak to create an even foundation. The excavated soil was recycled into rammed earth bricks used to build the school’s structure. The soil bricks’ thermal properties help maintain a temperate indoor climate year round. Locally sourced timber and bamboo were also used in construction and existing trees were protected during the building process. The elementary school is spread out across the mountaintop, covering an area of over 1,400 square meters. The orientation and placement of the buildings and the swooping colorful bamboo canopy above optimize natural lighting, ventilation, and sound insulation. The school comprises classrooms, playgrounds, gardens, multipurpose rooms, a medical room, library, kitchen, toilets, and dormitory. Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier “The goal of this project is to create a school with conveniences striving against the harsh nature,” write the architects. “The classrooms are compatible with the mountain, spaces between them are slots which makes everything appears like an architectural picture pasted on the terrain. The corridor connects all functional areas. The foundation of the buildings respects the natural terrain which means that they wind up and down as the mountain path.” + 1+1> 2 Via ArchDaily Images © Son Vu

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Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

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