Electric vehicle networks need to be open, smart, clean and equitable

June 19, 2018 by  
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A new collaborative EV charging agreement was unveiled in Portland this week.

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Electric vehicle networks need to be open, smart, clean and equitable

Metal-clad Treehouse for "no-commute lifestyles" mimics Portlands forests

February 15, 2018 by  
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With projects like LEVER Architecture’s recently completed Treehouse, it’s little wonder Portland, Ore. scores high marks for livability and sustainability. Located on the Marquam Hill campus of the Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU), Treehouse caters to those interested in a “live/work/no-commute lifestyle”. Designed for mixed use , the seven-story houses 69 apartment units as well as retail on the ground floor. Taking cues from the forest, Treehouse is wrapped in a textured metal skin that mimics the color and form of tree trunks. The facade’s consistent texture and pattern give the building a dynamic depth and appearance that changes throughout the day. “The design bridges the urban and topographical qualities of the campus by placing the building as an “in the round” object in the forest,” wrote the architects. “Instead of cutting into the hill, the building form is carved to follow the landscape. A continuous carved building skin is achieved by eliminating the expression of floor levels by incorporating all expansion joints into the custom window surrounds.” Related: Nation’s tallest timber building to rise in Portland The apartment units are clustered around a compact central core housing the stairs and elevator. Glazing can be found on all sides of the irregular octagonal building and maximize daylight into the studio and one-bedroom units. A rain garden landscape and deck on the lower level handles all stormwater runoff. + LEVER Architecture Via ArchDaily Images via LEVER Architecture

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Metal-clad Treehouse for "no-commute lifestyles" mimics Portlands forests

Staggered volumes help make Portland’s Slate building an energy-efficient marvel

August 15, 2017 by  
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Portland, Oregon’s new mixed-use development , known as Slate, consists of a shifting stack of volumes that reflect the vibrancy and complexity of the neighborhood. The development, designed by Works Progress Architecture for co-developers Urban Development Partners and Beam Development , earned  LEED Gold certification as an energy-efficient complex that takes the curtain-wall system to the next level. The 10-story development has six floors of apartment units, up to four floors of co-working office spaces and around 7,800 square feet of retail space at street level. Its modular, rectangular shapes have a sculptural quality on the east and west elevations, while a flat, clean look dominates the north and south side of the building. Related: Oregon’s Largest Education Building Achieves LEED Platinum Certification The architects worked closely with the glazing contractor to create a unitized curtain-wall system. Dallas Glass installed Wausau Window and Wall Systems, which can be put in place in a fraction of the time needed to install field-glazed systems. Related: Cherokee Mixed-Use Lofts is a LEED Platinum Award Winning Design The facade was thermally improved to respond to the challenges of Portland ‘s climate. This thermal barrier is combined with solar-control, low-e, insulating glass to achieve a high performance for solar heat gain control, condensation resistance and high visible light transmittance. The system also facilitates optimal natural ventilation in order to reduce the reliance of HVAC systems. + Works Progress Architecture Photos by Joshua Jay Elliott , courtesy of Works Progress Architecture

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Staggered volumes help make Portland’s Slate building an energy-efficient marvel

Vancouver on track to kill wasteful single-use packaging

June 29, 2017 by  
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Vancouver , Canada wants to become a zero-waste city – no easy feat for an area with over 600,000 people. But as part of its Greenest City Action Plan , the city is exploring options to limit single-use packaging, like all those coffee cups, plastic bags and foam take-out containers littering our landfills . This summer they’re launching a pilot program to allow restaurants to fill take-out orders in reusable containers brought by patrons. Vancouver is teaming up with Vancouver Coastal Health to allow retailers and restaurants to fill orders in customer-brought containers. They pointed to container share programs in San Francisco, New York City, and Portland as examples of alternatives to the single-use waste issue in the past. Vancouver Coastal Health will work to ensure food safety and health for the program. Related: Insidious single-use coffee pods banned in German city Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement, “Vancouver is on track to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, and taking these next steps to reduce coffee cups, Styrofoam , and plastic bags from our landfills will take our environmental leadership to the next level.” He called for city residents to weigh in on reducing single-use packaging waste. If you live in Vancouver, you can find out about zero waste events or sound off on your ideas here . Even though Vancouver is taking large strides towards becoming a zero waste city, they’ve got a long way to go. According to city officials, 2.6 million coffee cups are tossed into the garbage every single week there, while around two million plastic bags end up in the trash. They also frequently find foam in Vancouver shoreline cleanup projects. But the effort to prioritize a zero waste future is a positive step, as the city encourages its citizens to shift their thinking on waste . Via the City of Vancouver ( 1 , 2 ) Images via Wikimedia Commons and Takahiro Sakamoto on Unsplash

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Vancouver on track to kill wasteful single-use packaging

Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel

June 22, 2017 by  
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Imagine zipping between cities in mere minutes—all from the comfort of your hotel suite. That’s the futuristic vision of the $130 million Hyperloop Hotel, a proposal built upon Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One high-speed train system currently in development. Designed by University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate architecture student Brandan Siebrecht, the Hyperloop Hotel envisions seamless transport between 13 cities with a proposed flat fee of $1,200. The visionary Hyperloop Hotel won the student section of this year’s Radical Innovation Award , an annual competition for futuristic hotel designs. Siebrecht’s winning design uses reclaimed shipping containers as mobile, customizable hotel rooms that zip between cities at near-supersonic speeds through tubes and dock at designated hotels. Guests could travel across the U.S. without leaving the comfort of their pods and handle the entire process, from reservation to travel arrangements, with their smartphone. Siebrecht created the design for America’s 13 largest cities including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Sante Fe, Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston. He drew inspiration from Musk’s Hyperloop test track, the DevLoop, located just outside Las Vegas. If successful, the high-speed train could zip travelers from Philadelphia to New York in 10 minutes. Related: Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for the Hyperloop Guests can customize the layout of the repurposed modular shipping container hotel rooms. Each hotel room includes areas for sleeping, bathing, living, and flex. Siebrecht estimates that the construction cost of each docking hotel between $8 and $10 million, and believes construction of his hotel concept feasible within the next five to 10 years. + Radical Innovation Award Via Business Insider

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Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel

SCAD students save a piece of American history with vintage train car restoration

June 22, 2017 by  
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The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)’s award-winning tradition of historic preservation hit another home run for Preservation Month. SCAD students salvaged a piece of American history that would have otherwise disappeared when they restored of a rare 1911 wooden passenger train car. The students turned the railroad preservation project into an educational opportunity and intentionally left parts of the train car in its found state to teach visitors about the preservation process. Owned by the nonprofit Coastal Heritage Society , the decrepit rare train car was originally brought to the Georgia State Railroad Museum from the city of Augusta. As part of a spring student project, three graduate and eight undergraduate SCAD students carefully restored the 1911 train car to complement the SCAD Museum of Art, an adaptive reuse project that turned an 1853 antebellum railroad depot into a modern museum. The train car is currently displayed alongside the museum. Related: SCAD Students Transform an Atlanta Parking Garage into Ecologically Responsible Micro-Housing Community “SCAD knows well the stories of Georgia’s railways—our award-winning SCAD Museum of Art rises proudly from the ruins of the nation’s oldest surviving antebellum railroad depot,” said SCAD President and Founder, Paula Wallace. “Now, the nation’s premier preservation design program helps narrate another tale for the appreciation of railfans for generations to come.” Students’ preservation work included replacing the train car’s exterior wood siding, refinishing woodwork, and stripping the original mahogany panels of layers of paint and shellac. + Savannah College of Art and Design Images by Dylan Wilson

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SCAD students save a piece of American history with vintage train car restoration

Portland debuts newly designed thief-proof bike racks

June 13, 2017 by  
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Portland , Oregon is home to more bike parking spaces on city streets than any other city in North America. But that also means there are more opportunities for bike thieves . So the city is rolling out a new bike rack design to deter would-be crooks. Bike burglars in Portland have recently attacked not a bike’s lock, but the rack to which it’s connected. Bike owners lose their ride, and the city has to replace the racks. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), which wants city residents to feel their bikes are safe, turned to a new design to thwart thieves. Related: Crazy SkunkLock makes would-be bike thieves vomit From the outside the new racks don’t look like anything special – CityLab described them as tubular arches. But inside there is a “free-floating, steel-wire cable routed through the hollow steel piping of the rack,” according to PBOT communications specialist Hannah Schafer. “This makes it difficult to cut through, because the wire moves when the blade attempts to get purchase.” Then, 10 inches above the ground is a bar spanning the bottom of the rack for extra security. The bar prevents a thief from unscrewing bolts to slip a U-lock around the bottom of the rack, according to Schafer. She told CityLab, “In addition, if a potential thief were to cut through the bike rack and wire rope, the bar makes it difficult to pry the rack apart and slip a U-lock off.” Radius Pipe Bending manufactures the new bike racks for the city. PBOT said they’re not able to replace all 7,000 racks currently in the city with the new design – the new racks cost around $5 more than the old ones – but new installations and maintenance will feature the new robber repellent design. Check out the city’s schematic here . Via CityLab and the Portland Bureau of Transportation Images via BikePortland.org Facebook and Portland Bureau of Transportation

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Portland debuts newly designed thief-proof bike racks

The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai

June 13, 2017 by  
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The world’s first self-driving supermarket just landed on the streets of Shanghai – and it could be coming to your neck of the woods in the near future. Developed by the folks behind the Wheelys bike cafe , the Moby is a solar-powered market on wheels that actually helps the environment by filtering smoggy air. It’s also packed with artificial intelligence, it features drone delivery, and it’s open round-the-clock without staffing. Wheely’s Moby Store is the future of shopping. Instead of driving to the store and waiting in line, the store will come to you – and you can check an app to see if a Moby is nearby. The Moby is powered by the sun and is able to run autonomously – although stores will be controlled by remote or human drivers until self-driving vehicles are legalized. Related: New Wheelys 4 bike café cleans smoggy air and turns coffee grounds into fertilizer Shopping at Moby couldn’t be easier: you just step in, take what you need and head out. All purchases are automatically tallied without the need for a checkout counter. Or you can order a drone delivery – each store has 4 drone pads for quick delivery. Moby keeps track of what is purchased and uses artificial intelligence to restock inventory. When the store needs to be restocked, it will drive itself to the warehouse and fill up. The Moby Store can also operate as a mini pharmacy and coffee shop, features first aid devices (like a defibrillator), and provides an ATM in addition to the usual grocery fare. Lest you miss the interaction with a clerk, shoppers will be greeted and helped by the holographic store assistant, Hol. If the store doesn’t have what you need – or if you have a special order – you can just tell Hol and it will be ready for you next time you drop by. The Moby store was developed in cooperation with Himalayafy and Hefei University and it’s currently in beta testing in Shanghai. + Wheelys

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The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai

UPS rolls out first e-bike delivery in the United States

December 8, 2016 by  
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The United Parcel Service (UPS) recently announced their first e-bike delivery program in the United States. Continuing wide-ranging sustainability efforts, the company chose Portland , Oregon to host their environmentally-conscious program. 109 years ago, UPS got its start delivering messages and packages via bicycle . Although the company eventually steered towards delivery by automobiles and airplanes, bikes may now be making a comeback, according to UPS Senior Vice President for Global Engineering and Sustainability Mark Wallace. On November 21, UPS’s special electronically-powered tricycle started making deliveries in Portland, a city the company chose because they already deliver via bicycle there seasonally. Related: This solar-powered e-bike has a top speed of 30 mph Portland mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement, “Portland, like all cities, is looking for ways to fight urban congestion and pollution. It’s great when a company like UPS brings us a unique solution that will help us combat climate change and protect the environment.” UPS’ e-bike could allow the company to ramp up sustainable delivery, as they can carry more, travel further, and navigate hills easier than traditional bikes. Deliverers can either pedal the bike or allow the electric motor powered by a battery to do the work. According to UPS, the e-bike is most energy-efficient when a human is pedaling and relying on battery power at the same time. UPS tested e-bike delivery service in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, where they evaluated both bicycle and on-foot delivery methods. The successful experiment saw emissions reduced and traffic eased, according to UPS, and in 2015 it was announced the program would continue for two more years. UPS will now assess the e-bike’s design and reliability, and how well the bike fits into Portland. Should the pioneering pilot project work, the company hopes to deploy more e-bikes, possibly as soon as 2017. + United Parcel Service Images courtesy of United Parcel Service

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UPS rolls out first e-bike delivery in the United States

The ultimate sustainable rain jacket is here

July 3, 2016 by  
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A new rain jacket from Columbia is being touted as the world’s first eco-friendly, high-performance jacket without the use of any toxic perfluorinated compounds. Called the OutDry Extreme EcoShell, the fabric is a breathable and sustainable solution to extreme weather. Not only has the Portland, OR sportswear company eliminated PFCs, but it’s also found a way to make the garment from 100% recycled content.

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The ultimate sustainable rain jacket is here

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