Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion electric sedan concept takes aim at Tesla’s Model S

February 19, 2018 by  
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With a driving range of 413 miles, Volkswagen’s latest concept sedan aims to beat the Tesla Model S at its own game. Volkswagen has released teaser photos of its new I.D. Vizzion concept, and it features a fully-autonomous system that lets passengers sit back and let the car do the driving. The I.D. Vizzion concept is the latest from the family of I.D. electric cars that VW has released, which started with the I.D. hatchback in late 2016. While the previous I.D. concepts have been previews of VW’s future electric models, the I.D. Vizzion takes it a step further by being the first to feature fully autonomous technology, which VW is going to debut next month at the Geneva Motor Show . Related: Volkswagen may offer more electric cars than any other brand Inside the I.D. Vizzion doesn’t have a steering wheel or pedals. Instead a “digital chauffer” is responsible for piloting the vehicle. The concept car drives, steers and navigates autonomously in traffic, while the passengers are given the freedom to do other tasks. The I.D. Vizzion concept also features a virtual host, which the passengers can interact with via voice or gesture controls. The system also automatically knows the personal preferences of the passengers. The I.D. Vizzion concept is the largest of all the I.D. concepts and previews a premium electric sedan. The concept is powered by two electric motors that generate a combined 302 horsepower that’s sent to all four wheels. A 111 kWh lithium-ion battery gives the concept a driving range up to 413 miles. VW has yet to announce when the production version of the I.D. Vizzion concept will arrive, but the first I.D. model, the hatchback, will go on sale in 2020. The electric hatchback will then be followed by the I.D. Crozz electric SUV and then the microbus-inspired I.D. Buzz . By 2025 VW plans to introduce more than 20 electric vehicles. +Volkswagen All images © Volkswagen

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Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion electric sedan concept takes aim at Tesla’s Model S

IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at the age of 91

January 29, 2018 by  
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IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad died over the weekend at the age of 91. Kamprad founded the global behemoth in 1943, when he was just 18 years old. Though he became one of the richest people on the planet, he lived frugally, buying used clothes , eating lunch at his own stores and even moving from country to country in order to pay lower taxes. Kamprad stepped down from the company in 2013, after helping to build IKEA into a $44 billion company . The founder of IKEA and one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, Ingvar Kamprad, has passed away at the age of 91. A post shared by IKEA Today (@ikeatoday) on Jan 28, 2018 at 2:26am PST IKEA is arguably one of the most important design companies in the world, providing contemporary furnishings at an affordable price point to homes across the planet and changing the way we shop for furniture. Kamprad founded IKEA as a small mail order company and then moved to retail in the 40s. IKEA’s first store opened in Almhult, Sweden in 1958. Today, there are 411 IKEA stores in countries ranging from Saudia Arabia to Slovakia and beyond. Related: IKEA’s billionaire founder only buys used clothes – because they’re cheaper Kamprad was obsessed with innovation and affordability, which helped him build IKEA into the furniture giant that it is today. That frugality seeped into his personal life, as well. He was known to pocket salt and pepper packets from restaurants, bought his clothing at flea markets and recycled his tea bags. Kamprad’s life hasn’t been without controversy. He has received criticism for dodging Swedish taxes, and was a Nazi sympathizer in his youth, a decision that he called the “greatest mistake of his life”. Via Dezeen images via Wikimedia and Deposit Photos

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IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at the age of 91

Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

October 31, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to stay in an earthbag dome home , here’s your chance. When Lisa Starr first purchased land in Joshua Tree, California, she wasn’t thinking about vacation rentals. Instead, the artist and drum medicine woman sought a place not too far from the coast where she could build a sustainable life for herself. After deciding to build in accordance with the Iranian architect Nader Khalili’s affordable and disaster-resilient superadobe methodology, she recruited volunteers and CalEarth alumni to first work on a few practice domes that eventually evolved into the “village” that can be booked through Airbnb. This extra income comes as an unplanned perk, but her real dream – to pursue her work as an artist – required building a couple more domes. After completing the practice homes, Starr and her crew of interns, volunteers and CalEarth alumni worked on her personal space – a 1,360 square foot dome home two connecting hallways. The 18″ thick walls, comprised of 15 percent cement and 85 percent earth, provide the thermal mass to keep the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter, according to her Facebook page . Starr told Inhabitat she believes in sticking with “traditional Nader” – focusing on being creative with smaller structures rather than 20- to 30-foot domes. Khalili, who founded CalEarth to share his design and life philosophy with others, promoted sustainable homes that could be built with materials found on site. And that’s exactly what Starr was able to accomplish. She says she sourced 75 percent of the materials used in her dome structure from her own land. Related: Build your own disaster-proof home with materials of war While her home is private, guests have access to a “rustic yet luxurious camp-like experience” in the village. With expansive views and open skies day and night, “star gazing is a must,” says Starr. The village includes two 8-foot “Sleep Pod Earth Dome” structures with storage or a cave-like space for a child to sleep in. Each pod, which comes with a full size mattress, bedding and solar-powered ceiling light, can accommodate up to a family of four. In winter, tea light heaters keep the space warm at night. The communal area includes a shaded outdoor kitchen and kiva fire pits, along with a shower house and outhouse complete with a flushing toilet and sink. Guests are encouraged to bring their own bottles to refill with potable water available on site. Now Starr is working on building another 12-foot dome structure to use as a studio, honing in on her original intention. She has been living at Bonita Domes for four years now, and though it comes with its challenges, she says her dream has catapulted forward. + Bonita Domes on Facebook + Bonita Domes on Airbnb Images via Bonita Domes and Dylan Magaster

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Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home

October 31, 2017 by  
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When Faulkner Architects was tasked with building a family home just outside San Francisco, the clients emphasized the importance of the environment. The Truckee-based architecture firm set about creating a striking site-specific dwelling with a small energy footprint. The result is an AIA award-winning three-bedroom home, called Miner Road, that’s wrapped in sheets of Corten Steel—chosen for its low maintenance and the way it “refresh[es] every time it rains, just like the landscape,” says architect Greg Faulkner. Located in Orinda on a sloped eight-acre site with large oak trees, Miner Road takes over the footprint of a former home that once stood on the property. The mature oak trees informed the orientation of the home and provide shade, while glass walls frame the trees’ large gnarled branches. Large cutouts in the weathering steel facade let in ample natural light and views of the landscape. Related: Green-roofed home with rusting walls appears to grow out of a Finnish forest “This bridging between interior and exterior is major feature of the main living space, and an entire wall is devoted to connecting the two visually,” wrote Faulkner Architects. In contrast to the weathering steel facade, the interior is bright and modern, and focuses on a natural materials palette , from the abundant use of white oak to white gypsum walls and basalt floor tiles. The home’s mechanical and electrical systems are designed at a 44.9% improvement over code and include a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels. + Faulkner Architects Via Dezeen

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Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home

Try These 10 Eco-Friendly Home Goods Replacements

October 9, 2017 by  
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You can do a huge part to reduce your personal … The post Try These 10 Eco-Friendly Home Goods Replacements appeared first on Earth911.com.

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10 Products to Green Your Picnic

June 9, 2017 by  
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Dreaming of dining barefoot in the park or feasting with silky sand beneath your toes? Before you head off to frolic in the summer sun with picnic basket in hand, be cognizant of your personal impact. Try these sustainable swaps when planning your…

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A goodbye from Inhabitat founder Jill Fehrenbacher

June 7, 2017 by  
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After 12 years as the Editor-in-chief of Inhabitat.com, I say goodbye today — as I step down from running Inhabitat in order to focus on my soon-to-be-expanding-family. This change is bittersweet for me, as Inhabitat has been one of the central focuses and passions in my life for more than a decade. I started Inhabitat.com back in 2005 as a way to explore the power of design to improve the world for the better – first quitting my digital marketing job and then dropping out of grad school to focus on all of my energy, money and attention on growing the website. For years I put all of my blood, sweat and tears into growing Inhabitat to be the premiere website for green design and innovation, and I believe that our website has really made an impact in shaping the global conversation around what design can and should be. I worked on Inhabitat through the births of my two children, and even launched a parenting website the day before my first son was born – merging my personal and professional lives in a way that might not have been entirely healthy! I roped my husband into penning columns for Inhabitat , my kids made videos and starred in sponsored promotions , and this endeavor has always been more like my third child rather than just a job for me for more than a decade. But now that I have a real third baby coming, I realize I needed to make more time for my growing family. Inhabitat’s wonderful Managing Editor Mike Chino , who I have had the pleasure of working with for almost 10 years, will be taking over the leadership of this website moving forward. I want to thank him, and all of the amazing and inspiring people I have worked with over the past 12 years, who helped to make this site what it is today. First, the current Inhabitat team of Mike Chino , Tafline Laylin , Kristine Lofgren and Lucy Wang – thank you guys so much for all of your hard work, creativity and amazing ideas that you bring to Inhabitat on a daily basis. I know the site will be in great hands with their talents and I can’t wait to see how it evolves. I also want to give shout outs to my early partners in the fledgling years; creative-powerhouses Sarah Rich and Emily Pilloton – you guys have both gone on to do so many incredible and inspiring things, but Inhabitat to this day is still shaped by your input from so many years ago. I have so much gratitude for the Inhabitots and Ecouterre Managing Editors Jasmin Malik Chua and Beth Shea , and the many awesome editors and project managers I had the good fortune to work with over the years. And thank you to our early investor Thomas Ermacora for supporting the website, business advisor Shayne McQuade , and the folks at out parent company Internet Brands for taking a chance on our boutique website back in 2011. Finally, thank you to all of the readers, without whom Inhabitat wouldn’t be possible. I have met so many amazing people, and had so many inspiring conversations through the course of this project, and Inhabitat owes a lot to all of you. I look forward to seeing how Inhabitat evolves in the coming years. If you want to reach me, you can find me on social media and at my personal email address JillFehrenbacher at gmail.com

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A goodbye from Inhabitat founder Jill Fehrenbacher

Disturbing photoshoot imagines our meals in a climate change-induced dystopia

April 25, 2017 by  
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If countless scientific studies can’t convince climate change deniers of the imminent threat to the world, perhaps a stark glance into our future food supply might do the trick. Artist Allie Wist has created a bleak photo series, called Flooded , which provides an alarming depiction of a dystopic dinner party set in the age of massive flooding caused by rising sea levels . Wist and her team, made up of photographer, Heami Lee , stylist Rebecca Bartoshesky , and food and recipe specialist C.C. Buckley, shot the images in areas threatened by rising sea levels . As for the menu, the team decided to put the focus on relatable dishes and their future potential demise. Using some of the most common recipes found in the New York and New England area, the dystopic photoshoot depicts how these beloved dishes would look in a flood-filled future. Related: What you need to know about Sea Level Rise Wist told Gizmodo that her inspiration for the series came from the common disconnect people seem to have between climate change and its effects on their personal lives, “Climate change is a really abstract phenomenon for a lot of people. They don’t really associate it with their daily lives. I think food is one of the most intimate substances we encounter. It can lend an emotional intensity and connection that people won’t have to these abstract scientific concepts.” + Allie Wist Via Gizmodo Images via Allie West

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Disturbing photoshoot imagines our meals in a climate change-induced dystopia

Harvest fresh veggies all year-round with the energy-efficient GrowBox mini farm

December 6, 2016 by  
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With headlines like ” Glyphosate found in Cheerios, Kashi cookies and other popular food items ” and ” Are you eating Monsanto weed killer for breakfast? ” plaguing the news, more and more of us are looking for ways keep our families healthy by growing our own food at home. GrowBox is a new hydroponic solution that lets you cultivate and harvest up to 50 edible plants in an indoor environment all year-round. There’s no need to worry about sunlight or water because the whole system is optimized and automated, and you never have to be concerned about carcinogenic pesticides because you control exactly what goes into your personal farm every day. Developed by Opcom Farm , GrowBox is a new indoor farming system that allows users to grow fresh veggies right in their own homes. Made up of four LED lamps, a water tank and pump, and a tray that holds up to 50 plants at a time, the robust kit comes with everything you need to start your own mini farm including seedling sponges, starter seeds, nutrition packs, pH capsules, a pH meter, and an insect net. Opcom is committed to using only non-GMO seeds and pesticide-free nutrients that come from a leading American manufacturer. In addition to being able to grow and harvest throughout the colder months, GrowBox gives even the blackest of thumbs an agricultural edge with an easy-to-use “Auto” mode that provides your plants with precisely the right amount of light, water and nutrients they need when they need it. The unit’s components are also flexible so that you can adjust the heights of the lamps and tubes to accommodate your flourishing crops. The unit also has an area that is specially designed to grow nutrient-rich sprouts. RELATED: Revolutionary Green Wheel hydroponic garden grows food faster with NASA technology For a large garden with such a high yield, the GrowBox ‘s energy and water usage stats are actually quite impressive. According to Opcom, the system uses less than $0.11 per day of electricity (based on $0.12 per KWH), or about the same as your cable box. That means that per week, it uses less electricity than drying two loads of laundry in an electric clothes dryer. Because the unit operates on a hydroponic gardening system, it also uses 90 percent less water than a traditional garden. While it’s actually quite space-efficient considering that it can grow so many plants simultaneously, the GrowBox isn’t exactly petite. Measuring in at about 4′ x 2’, the unit takes up a sizable chunk of real estate (that many urban dwellers simply can’t spare). For those looking for a more vertical solution, Opcom does offer the slender and tall GrowWall , which holds up to 75 plants while taking up less floor space. But we’d love to see an even more space-efficient model catering to urban apartment dwellers from Opcom in the future. At $499, the GrowBox certainly isn’t cheap, but if you consider that a bunch of spinach can cost about $3 in many urban areas, and that the GrowBox lets you grow 50 plants at a time ($3 x 50 = $150), you can see how quickly this investment begins to pay for itself. + Opcom Farm Note: Opcom supplied the author of this article with a sample GrowBox unit in exchange for an unbiased writeup.

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Harvest fresh veggies all year-round with the energy-efficient GrowBox mini farm

Google says it will run entirely on renewable energy by next year

December 6, 2016 by  
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Google just announced that it will be fully powered by renewables before the end of 2017. The tech giant has been growing its solar and wind investments over the years, and is now making a final push to achieve 100 percent renewable energy through additional purchases. Google initially announced its 100-percent goal in 2012, and this week’s announcement confirms the company will hit the target next year. Under the umbrella of an initiative dubbed “Google Green,” the tech company says its aim for 100 percent renewable energy is “just the beginning.” Starting with its first contract for a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa in 2010, the California-based company has grown to become the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. According to this week’s announcement, Google is purchasing around 2.6 gigawatts of wind and solar energy. “Over the calendar year globally, for every unit of energy we consume, we’re purchasing the equivalent amount or more of renewable energy” in 2017, said Neha Palmer, head of energy strategy at Google’s global infrastructure division. Related: The world’s renewable energy capacity is now higher than coal Many tech giants are targeting 100 percent renewable energy, but Google has taken a strong lead with this announcement. By comparison, Apple reached this milestone for its US operations and data centers in early 2015 and had, at that time, achieved 87 percent renewable energy for its global operations. Google started off following in Apple’s footsteps but quickly surpassed its progress by making their data centers 50 percent more efficient than the industry standard. Additionally, Google cites the falling prices of solar and wind projects as the primary reason for the business decision, although reducing the company’s carbon footprint and contribution to the effects of climate change were also important factors. Via GTM Images via Tony Webster/Flickr and Google

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Google says it will run entirely on renewable energy by next year

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