Couple transforms a fire truck into a cozy camper for traveling Europe

June 15, 2018 by  
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When Anna and Sebastian Schlüter decided to take a break from working in Berlin to embark on their long-awaited trip around Europe, traveling via fire truck wasn’t the first thing on their minds. But on the advice of Sebastian’s father, and after coming across a deal on a 1987 Mercedes-Benz fire truck, the duo found themselves in a year-long conversion project that turned the vehicle into a cozy travel camper. Nicknamed ‘ Bombero ’ (Spanish for “fireman”), the converted fire truck took about a year to complete and has provided the perfect travel wheels for Anna and Sebastian, who have visited 19 countries and counting thus far. Purchased for approximately $14,700 USD, the 30-year-old Mercedes Benz fire truck conversion involved a gut-renovation that decreased the 11-ton vehicle to a weight of 7.5 tons. The couple initially parked the vehicle on the Schlüter family farm in Nottuln, Germany, where it was worked on with help from Sebastian’s brother and father, who has experience with converting a Unimog into a camper . Thanks to Sebastian’s father’s experience and many helping hands, the project was relatively low-cost. Sebastian handled the engineering and construction, while Anna led the interior design. The cost of materials, some of which were gifted or found in secondhand shops, is estimated at around $29,520. In addition to emptying out the interior, the Schlüters made the fire truck more livable by lifting up the roof to add extra windows and inserting insulation and wiring. Custom-made upholstery, a mix of birch , oak and spruce as well as decorative elements like porcelain door knobs make the space cozy and inviting. The fire truck was outfitted with all the necessities, such as a full-size bed, closet, dining area, a bathroom and a full kitchen with an oven and electrical appliances. The off-grid home is also equipped with a gas tank, fresh water and gray water tanks and rooftop solar panels. Related: The Beer Moth is a Sweet Room in a Refurbished Fire Truck in Scotland “Many decisions were very deliberately led by quality over price — keeping in mind that anything that keeps you from having to fix it while on the road will give you peace of mind and let you enjoy traveling rather than being stressed out and having to find solutions while in a foreign country,” explained the couple. “This decision paid off very well — no items, besides the brake lights, has broken down during the last 11 months! Not one thing!” Anna and Sebastian hit the road with their dog, Lotta, in June 2017 and have clocked more than 10,000 miles in their ongoing trip around Europe. You can follow the Bombero Travel adventure here . + Bombero Travel Via Dwell Conversion image copyright Anna Schlüter, all others copyright Seraia Photography

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Couple transforms a fire truck into a cozy camper for traveling Europe

Historic Zhuhai sugar factory to be reborn as a low-carbon cultural hub

June 4, 2018 by  
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A new adaptive reuse project is looking to save a sweet piece of history in China. International design firm Woods Bagot  unveiled plans to revitalize the disused Hongqi Zhen Sugar Factory in Zhuhai’s Jinwan District, turning it into a spectacular new cultural park. Designed to include a sugar industry museum and a chocolate factory (among other facilities), the mixed-use development will aim to offset its carbon footprint with solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Located in the Pearl River Delta in south China’s Guangdong province, Zhuhai is one of China’s premier tourist destinations and has even been nicknamed the Chinese Riviera. The revitalization project will tap into the existing tourist infrastructure and offer a wide suite of attractions on a 78,877-square-meter plot. A large park will occupy the heart of the project and will be ringed by landscape features including a floral garden walk, a sculpture garden, a farming experience, and scenic waterscapes and wetlands transformed from former industrial waterbodies. The development is divided into different thematic zones that range from the bustling retail street to the tranquil wedding lake and wetland boardwalk. “It is a privilege to create a place where a whole community can capture and celebrate their proud industrial history,” said Charlie Chen, Studio Leader at Woods Bagot. “At the heart of our strategy is a desire to inspire and engage the diverse people that will enjoy the site – from locals and former factory workers to tourists, families and children alike. The result will be a showcase of old and new, and provide Zhuhai with a rich cultural landmark for generations to come.” In addition to diverse retail and restaurant offerings, the firm plans to add a boutique hotel , wedding venue, and start-up offices. Related: MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center One of the firm’s major design goals is to repurpose as many of the existing sugar factory buildings as possible. New buildings will be designed to match the industrial aesthetic and will only rise two to three stories in height in order to differentiate themselves from taller historic architecture. Murals and other artistic installations will commemorate the site’s history. + Woods Bagot Images via Woods Bagot

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Historic Zhuhai sugar factory to be reborn as a low-carbon cultural hub

These stunning student housing apartments are inspired by tiny homes

June 4, 2018 by  
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Student housing has come a long way since the days of crowding two roommates into a confined space with a couple of beds and a single desk. Case in point: this impressive student housing complex designed by Amsterdam-based firm Standard Studio  that uses the principles of tiny home living . Located in Rotterdam, the Hermes City Plaza apartments offer 218 beautiful 200-square-feet units incorporated with various multi-functional and ultra-efficient features. The purpose of the project was to create housing for first year Erasmus students who are new to the city. Looking to go beyond the usual cramped and cold student housing , the architects decided to create a series of independently functioning units, which are all less than 200 square feet. Inspired by the  tiny home movement , these apartments feature space efficiency, natural light and smart storage. Related: Why these floating dorms made from shipping containers are the future of cheap student housing Each unit comes with a fully equipped living space, meaning there is a full kitchen and bathroom. No more flip-flopping it to the typical shared community bathrooms! The apartments have an open layout that connects the living room to a small kitchenette and dining area. Space efficiency was essential at every step and forced the designers to get creative. There wasn’t enough room to put a full sink in the kitchen, so the team installed one large sink that straddles the kitchen and the bathroom. A half-partition that separates the two spaces pulls double duty as a mirror for the bathroom and a chalkboard for the kitchen. All the cabinetry was custom-built out of renewable bamboo , and LED strips light up the space when natural light isn’t available. The design takes advantage of vertical space with high ceilings and a sleeping loft . The loft is reached by stairs and has built-in closets and shelving. In fact, most of the apartments’ furnishings provide dual functionalities. The living room, for example, has one large multipurpose unit that incorporates a sofa, a desk and storage. The space offers students a feel of independent living, but there are some shared amenities meant to foster a strong sense of community. Residents can enjoy a rooftop terrace , music room, TV rooms, a laundry area and a communal study area. + Standard Studio Via Treehugger Images via Standard Studio

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These stunning student housing apartments are inspired by tiny homes

These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design

May 30, 2018 by  
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Located just north of Joshua Tree National Park, two tiny cabins clad in weathered steel give off the impression that they’ve been abandoned in the beautiful desert landscape. But, in reality, the Folly Cabins ‘ humble facades conceal a complex system that makes these tiny structures, created by architects Malek Alqadi and Hillary Flur, powerhouses of off-grid design. Alqadi says that he has been fascinated with creating sustainable systems since his days as an architectural student. After visiting the Joshua Tree area, he was inspired to convert his dream into reality by building a pair of tiny houses that operate completely off the grid . Alqadi and Flur bought an abandoned single-story home that dated back to 1954, then began bringing their sustainable vision to life. They built two tiny cabins on the site, keeping them strategically separated to create a void that helps the structures blend into the surrounding environment. Related: Couple converts $7,000 Joshua Tree cabin into a sophisticated desert oasis The architects salvaged the original building’s steel cladding for the project and raised the pitched roof to expand the interior space. The main cabin, which is just 460 square feet, includes a living and dining area, a kitchen, a bathroom and a spacious sleeping loft. Along with adding more space, the high ceilings enable hot air to pass through the tiny homes’  solar-powered skylights . The smaller cabin has a ladder on its side that leads up to an open-air terrace, or “stargazing portal.” This beautiful little space is equipped with a heated queen-sized bed and is the perfect place to watch the stars in between sunset and sunrise. There is also a mini-fridge, a movie projector and bio-ethanol fireplace for guests to enjoy. The tiny cabins are powered by a freestanding “solar tree” that Alqadi and Flur assembled by themselves. “We dug a seven-foot hole to reinforce the solar tree. There was no way we were climbing up twenty feet to put panels on the roof in the desert sun in the middle of summer,” said Alqadi. “We could have dug a well,” he added, “but there was no promise we’d find water. So I spent my money on something we could rely on—using the sun as our utility company.” A open-air deck with a firepit juts out from the two tiny houses, providing an ideal space for guests to enjoy the spectacular night skies of Joshua Tree. The deck also has an outdoor rain shower and a soaking tub, which are both connected to the property’s greywater system . The Folly cabins are available for rent for short-term stays throughout the year. Although they are meant to be a place to completely disconnect, the tiny homes do have some modern amenities guests can choose to use. Alqadi says that the cabin’s design is “about allowing people to experience sustainability” and that he “added amenities and technologies, like Wi-Fi, to stay connected, but you have the option to completely disconnect and enjoy nature.” + Folly Folly Cabins + Malek Alqadi Via Dwell Photography by Sam Frost Studio and Brayden McEwan

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These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design

Canada set to purchase Kinder Morgan pipeline for $4.5 billion

May 30, 2018 by  
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The Canadian government is planning to buy the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from major energy corporation Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion in an effort to secure its construction. The controversial project, which would triple the current capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline and run from the tar sands of Alberta to the Pacific Coast, is a major priority for Ottawa . The pipeline has suffered delays due to opposition from indigenous communities and environmental groups. Alberta and British Columbia have also been at odds over the potential environmental risks of the project. With the Canadian government’s financial and political support, the project is more likely to move forward. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project would vastly increase Canada’s ability to export oil to Asia. Canada possesses the world’s third largest oil reserves, but 99 percent of its oil exports are sold in the U.S.  While the government’s takeover of the project has reassured its backers that it will be built, with construction starting in August, it also raises the stakes for Ottawa. “It’s a chess move that allows the project to proceed and positions it as a national interest,” infrastructure expert Matti Siemiatycki told the Guardian . “[But] it’s also highly risky because now the government bears the risk.” The government intervention to save the project is based on the idea that investing in oil today will pay off in the future, something that is far from certain. “The pipeline expansion presumes there’s going to be a high demand for oil going forward for decades — but there’s significant risk that that may not prevail because of changing technologies and changing demand,” explained Siemiatycki. Related: The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought Meanwhile, environmental and indigenous groups continue their opposition. “The cost that they did not calculate in their $4.5 billion purchase is that Indigenous frontlines will stop this pipeline,” Tsleil-Waututh member and Coast Salish Watch House spokesperson Will George said in a statement. “The Watch House will continue to stand in the way of pipeline development, and I will continue to meet the responsibility passed on to me by my ancestors to protect the water and land.” In a statement, Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema asserted that “Trudeau is gambling billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on an oil project that will never be built — a project that Kinder Morgan itself has indicated is ‘untenable’ and that faces more than a dozen lawsuits, crumbling economics and a growing resistance movement that is spreading around the world.” Even with government support, it remains to be seen whether the project will ultimately be completed. Via the Guardian Images via Bureau of Land Management Alaska (1, 2) and William Chen

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Canada set to purchase Kinder Morgan pipeline for $4.5 billion

Scientists uncover giant canyons under the ice in Antarctica

May 29, 2018 by  
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Researchers have discovered three large canyons frozen beneath the ice of Antarctica , each of which is hundreds of kilometers in length. The canyons, which move through tall mountains that lie beneath the snowy surface of the southernmost continent, were discovered through radar and may serve a key function in Antarctic ice flow. “These troughs channelize ice from the center of the continent, taking it toward the coast,” study co-author Kate Winter told the BBC . “Therefore, if climate conditions change in Antarctica, we might expect the ice in these troughs to flow a lot faster toward the sea. That makes them really important, and we simply didn’t know they existed before now.” The three canyons are the Patuxent Trough, the Offset Rift Basin and the Foundation Trough, the largest of the three, which is more than 350 kilometers long and 35 kilometers wide. The bottom of the Foundation Trough is buried beneath two kilometers of ice. All three canyons are located beneath and across the high ice ridge known as the ice divide that runs from the South Pole toward West Australia. This divide is similar to other continental divides, such as those found in North America , in which water, or ice, flows toward different bodies of water based on which side of the divide it falls. Related: Scientists dash to explore Antarctic ecosystem hidden by ice for 120,000 years These newly-discovered canyons have altered scientists’ understanding of Antarctica’s future in a warming climate . “People had called this area a bottleneck,” study co-author Tom Jordan said . “The thought was that if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to collapse, then ice could flood out from the east. But the mountains we’ve found effectively put a plug in that bottleneck.” The data, much of which was unobtainable through satellite imagery, was gathered using radar and sensors attached to planes that surveyed the continent from above. “Remarkably, the South Pole region is one of the least understood frontiers in the whole of Antarctica,” researcher Fausto Ferraccioli said. “Our new aerogeophysical data will … enable new research into the geological processes that created the mountains and basins before the Antarctic ice sheet itself was born.” + PolarGAP Project Via BBC Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Scientists uncover giant canyons under the ice in Antarctica

This sustainable district in Sweden features carbon-positive towers

May 29, 2018 by  
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Stockholm-based Kjellander Sjöberg Architects  recently won a competition for Nacka Port, a new district between Nacka and Stockholm . Envisioned as a sustainable destination, the urban block would consist of a rich mix of programmatic functions including residential, retail and public spaces that are easily accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. In addition to new green space, the architects plan to insert “carbon positive” towers constructed from renewable materials that promote a healthy microclimate and sustainable lifestyle. Located between the commercial center of Sickla köpkvarter and the district of Hammarby Sjöstad, Nacka Port is ripe for redevelopment with its turn-of-the-century industrial buildings, such as the Klinten paint factory, and backdrop of greenery. Furthermore, the site is located at the intersection of two main traffic routes. The architects designed the new urban block, named “Klinten,” as a “city within a city” and an attractive destination for both residents and visitors at all hours of the day. Two proposed towers feature terraced levels that step down to a shared podium and anchor the site. The staggered glazed facades face the south and will have communal and private terraces dressed in greenery. In addition to residences, the mixed-use development includes a market, restaurants, a bike-cafe, coworking spaces, a hotel and gym, artist studios, workshops and other communal facilities. “The block is designed to generate local urban life, where one feels at home with the freedom to take personal initiatives, where residents are encouraged to use the outdoor environment for co-creation or just meet and socialize,” the architects said. Related: World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden To engage users from multiple directions, the team surrounded the site with attractive green space and strategically located the buildings to maximize sight lines from the surroundings. “The core of the Nacka Port concept focuses on creating a positive vision of the future needs of both humans and our planet,” the architects said. “Nacka Port will be a place to connect and create an inspiring urban and sustainable lifestyle.” The planning process for the project has already started, and the official binding development plan is expected in 2020. + Kjellander Sjöberg Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Kjellander Sjöberg Architects

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This sustainable district in Sweden features carbon-positive towers

How is Project Drawdown reversing global warming in 2018?

May 21, 2018 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. In this episode: Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, senior writer of Project Drawdown, says that reversing climate change is achievable, but “up to us.”

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How is Project Drawdown reversing global warming in 2018?

Source materiality: How to approach ESG material disclosure

May 21, 2018 by  
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You might not be getting rewarded for all of your sustainability work.

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Source materiality: How to approach ESG material disclosure

17 organizations feeding the world through regenerative agriculture

May 21, 2018 by  
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Re-building resilience, one community at a time.

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17 organizations feeding the world through regenerative agriculture

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