Reclaimed Laranjal House sits in an orange orchard

May 19, 2022 by  
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Laranjal House by Alves Architects is located in a field of orange trees on the premises of the company Zircom, S.A. The house is part of an industrial installation created by the demolition company. The challenge from Zircom to the architects was to reuse materials used from the demolitions to build a modern space for staff lunch breaks. Zircom is exploring a circular economy for its demolition materials. The project deepened and explored new possibilities of using reused materials, such as even in the structural components. Related: Home in Vietnam is surrounded by a beautiful koi pond Furthermore, the shape of the building is defined by a set of trusses from the demolition of a building in Lisbon. The reddish color of these trusses becomes a feature of the structure. It maintains an open space in the center of the building that looks out through steel-case windows on the orange fields. As a result, it’s a lovely place to eat your lunch. It also gives Zircom the chance to explore various ways in which they might define new projects through use of reclaimed demolition materials. Additionally, modular wooden elements with metallic fasteners make up the ceiling and walls of the structure. Outside, there is an outer cork coating used as siding. Meanwhile, the interiors use a reclaimed wood planking . Also, Zircom will use the space for conferences and team meetings. As a result, it retains a simple feel, even though the finishes give it a relaxed, high-end look. Flexible-use furniture allowed the functional division of the space in two areas. First, there are tables for six people, for smaller groups and for brief work sessions. Second, there is the large communal table, for larger groups. Even the furniture , the outdoor decking and the steel was reclaimed for this project. The project was a collaboration between Zircom with Lisbonwood and Pedro Marques Alves located in Portugal . + Alves Arquitectos Images via Ana Barros

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Reclaimed Laranjal House sits in an orange orchard

Protect bees this World Bee Day on May 20

May 19, 2022 by  
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Where possible and within reason, adopt a more tolerant attitude to feral bee colonies in buildings, and of hived bee colonies in ones neighborhood. If we want bees, we need to make space for them.- Dr. David Heaf, The Bee-friendly Beekeeper A world without bees would be void of flowers and food. In fact, it would be void of all living things. Bees are essential to the ecosystem and a crucial component of our food supply . There’s no denying the buzzing busy bees deserve at least one annual day of recognition for all they do, so mark your calendar for May 20 and join in the celebration. Related: Dog toy and treats from Project Hive help save bees   Why are bees important? There are around 20,000 kinds of bees in the world, and many of them get a bad rep as pests or stinging predators. But bees are a vital contributor to pollination. Effective pollination increases the amount and quality of crops, plus improves plants’ resistance to pests . Flowers rely on bees and other pollinators to do the job they can’t always do themselves — spread the seed from one plant to another. If you’re not familiar with the process, bees pick up pollen from the male part of one flower. They then transfer that pollen onto the female part of another flower, resulting in reproduction. This allows plants to produce fruits and seeds.  Simply put, without bees, this essential link in the food chain would leave a void that would starve out plants. Next to go would be all the animals who rely on plants, including humans. In short, bees are directly responsible for one-third of the world’s food. Then, of course, there is the added benefit of honey, produced by the darling of the bee world: honey bees. Because of their importance in the production of food , bees are also an essential part of the economy, providing support for farmers small and large around the globe. “According to the estimates of the international study conducted in 2016 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the annual global production of food that depends directly on pollination was worth between $235 and $577 billion,” according to WorldBeeDay.org. Did you know? Honey is the only insect-produced food that humans eat.  A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers every time it heads out to collect nectar.  Bees maintain a constant temperature of 92 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit in their central brood nest, regardless of what the outside temps are. Bees have five eyes. They can fly at speeds of 15 to 20 miles per hour. The buzzing sound bees make is caused by the rapid flapping of wings — an unimaginable rate of over 11,000 times per minute. Only female bees sting.  Why are bees in danger? In recent years, scientists noted an alarming decrease in the number of bees. Annual counts showed a reduction of up to 30% year over year. While much of the conversation is on honey bees , dozens of bee species are in decline around the world. Extensive research has uncovered some primary causes for the decline as well as factors scientists expect to create continued trouble for bees. Climate change is a factor for bees, as it is for the rest of the plants and animals in the ecosystem. The loss of habitat is also affecting the bees. The introduction of non-native plant species, especially invasive plants , is another big problem. Similar to the issues wild fish endure with the release of hatchery-growth fish, native bees are being introduced to diseases from commercially-managed bees and the practice changes the natural diversity of the bee population. Perhaps the most notable issue, however, is the use of pesticides with bees directly ingesting the toxins.   How you can help the bees As mentioned, bees are great for the food supply as a whole, but they’re also wonderful backyard companions. They provide pollination for wild and domestic plants like fruit trees, berry bushes and the vegetable garden. So what you do in your own yard can benefit you at a hyper-local level, a.k.a. your own garden.  To help the bees, always plant native plants. You can find them online, in a local nursery or through the county extension office. You can also take cuttings from wilderness areas or from members of the community . Be sure to emphasize nectar-bearing flowering plants for the bees to enjoy. Preserve the blooms as long as possible by postponing mowing meadows and other areas with flowering plants until after the blooms have died off.  Another way to draw in the benefits bees provide is to create a cozy home for them. You can buy or make bee houses or even take up beekeeping with hives. For a fun and decorative touch, check out Mason bee houses.  Since pesticides are a significant concern, help the bees by committing to only buying organic foods . Additionally, find alternatives to bee-harming pesticides in your own yard.  Finally, support the beekeeping industry by buying local honey and other hive products such as wax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis and venom.  This year, salute bees by sharing information with others and doing something good for our buzzing buddies. Happy World Bee Day!  Via World Bee Day Images via Pexels

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Protect bees this World Bee Day on May 20

CANON headquarters features modular, energy-efficient design

May 10, 2022 by  
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The building for the new CANON Production Printing Netherlands headquarters focuses on energy efficient design and Canon’s Kyosei philosophy: living and working together for the common good. Designed by BroekBakema Architects and M+R interior Architecture, the HQ is equipped with sun-resistant facades. It also features a tight envelope with triple glazing.  Renewable energy is created through rooftop solar panels and energy savings are achieved through the use of LED lighting.  Related: UNStudio designs K-pop entertainment’s new HQ in Seoul Moreover, by relying on an efficient heat pump and heat and cold storage (ATES), the building earned a Breeam Excellent Design Certificate. The flow of the building was designed to be modular as needs of use potentially change in the future. There is even the opportunity to add entire floors in a green space known as Green Plazas. These areas are provided as gathering spaces and function to connect one floor to another. They bring the outdoors inside with copious plants for a garden environment.  Furthermore, large glass surfaces throughout the atrium area provide an abundance of natural light to work spaces. The interior space relies heavily on natural materials such as sustainably-sourced wood . Designers also relied on green design principles for the furniture. They extended the life of existing pieces by covering them with sustainable upholstery selections. The building includes sitting areas, a restaurant , meeting areas, a boardroom, conference center and auditorium that seats 170 people. It was a priority for the design team to merge the interior and exterior design of the building with the natural surroundings. They describe the building as a “Gesamtkunstwerk in which the applications of CANON’s printing technique have been translated into parts of the interior.” Signage throughout the site reminds visitors the project was designed to match CANON’s corporate identity. Also incorporated into an onsite forest walk are sculptures and art from CANON’s collection.   + BroekBakema architects and M+R interior architecture Images via Herman de Winter

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CANON headquarters features modular, energy-efficient design

Clothes that rely on local workers and sustainable materials

May 5, 2022 by  
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In relation to environmental responsibility of the fashion industry, that doesn’t mean changing styles with the seasons, but rather changing the entire concept of fast fashion. As consumers become increasingly aware of the damage traditional fashion is having on the planet, they are demanding garments that make a positive impact. Enter Catherine Fisher Clothing, a brand dedicated to the craft of making clothes with an emphasis on ethical and sustainable design. “My collection has arisen from an artistic impulse that is now also a business,” said Founder Catherine Fisher. “I wanted to make sure that the positive impacts of this project outweigh any negative ones. When I began to learn about the human rights abuses and environmental devastation committed by the apparel industry historically and today, to catastrophic consequences, I certainly did not want to become even a small part of that reality. I want to be part of the change.”  Related: Sylven New York has vegan shoes made from apples As a result, Catherine Fisher Clothing (CFC) seeks out natural and ethically-sourced fabrics. Materials such as high-quality organic cotton , linen and hemp are thoughtfully chosen for their durability and versatility. CFC buys fabric and notions directly from the producer or through importers. Some of these vendors include Baird McNutt Irish Linen in Ballymena, Ireland and Organic Cotton Plus in Texas , U.S. When Fisher started the company, she dug into learning about all the options. She did this rather than relying on industry standards, which are often greenwashed. For example, bamboo is very resource consuming to turn into fabric. While it is a quickly renewable resource and a great option as a wood-like product for furniture and flooring, bamboo requires a lot of water and chemicals to convert into fabric. Similarly, Fisher discovered zippers are often a combination of metal and polyester. Therefore, they’re difficult to recycle and means they are not a biodegradable option. Instead, Fisher relies on buttons made from natural materials including Corozo nuts from Peru. Furthermore, the traditional manufacturing line is crafted by family-owned business Golden Thread Designs in Scarborough, Maine . Hand embroidery and accessory cutting and sewing is done by Maine Artist Olivia Dwyer of Olivia Halo Designs. Keeping production local provides control over working conditions and minimizes transport emissions.  Moreover, the company focuses on reducing waste through effective pattern designs. They also focus on slow fashion that provides long-lasting and versatile clothing.  “These timeless, season-less designs are intended to stand the test of trends . We believe fewer and better is not only sensible; it’s responsible,” Fisher said. The sustainability movement is seen in the labeling and packaging of products, as well as the stationary used in the office. Packaging materials and hang tags are made from 100% recycled and recyclable materials by EcoEnclose and Colonial Tag and Label. All stationery is printed on Neenah Environment recycled paper stock using vegetable-based inks by FSC-Certified Penmor Lithographers in Maine. “Brands that recognize the positive energy sewn into the fibers of a sustainable slow fashion garment create a deeper connection to the wearer, offering them a feeling of enjoyment and pride that never washes out,” Fisher said. + Catherine Fisher Clothing Images via Lissy Thomas Photography and Catherine Fisher Clothing

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Clothes that rely on local workers and sustainable materials

SimpliiGood serves first vegan salmon made from spirulina

May 2, 2022 by  
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SimpliiGood, an Israeli food and technology startup, is developing the first vegan smoked salmon from spirulina. The plant-based salmon dish will taste, smell, and feel like salmon. The startup is working to ensure that the color and texture of the dish match accurately with sea salmon, but without the toxicity associated with sea animals, such as mercury and other industrial wastes. SimpliiGood is owned by Algecore Technologies Ltd., a company that specializes in cultivating and harvesting spirulina. The blue algae are hailed as one of the plants that can help replace traditional protein sources. Although spirulina grows naturally in lakes, it can also be farmed in environments that are tough for many plants to grow. Algecore Technologies runs spirulina farms in Israel, where the algae grow under controlled environments to prevent toxification. Related: 11 vegan meal delivery services to eat from The only ingredient to be used in this new vegan salmon is spirulina . This product will join a list of other plant-based meats served by the startup including burgers and chicken nuggets, as well as popsicles, ice cream, and crackers enhanced by spirulina. “Our spirulina can act as a complete replacement for animal-based protein or be easily integrated into existing food products as an added-value ingredient, as it has a neutral flavor and maintains its full nutritional value,” Lior Shalev, CEO and co-founder of Algaecore, said. “This project marks an exciting milestone in our company’s product line expansion as we enter the fish substitute market.” To make their new dish a reality, SimpliiGood has partnered with innovation lab FoodNxt and the Israeli Innovation Authority, a government ministry that aims at bringing R&D within Israel . SimpliiGood will provide the raw materials, specifically spirulina, while the other partners will add flavors and aromas to the dish. Spirulina is a rich protein source with many nutrients. It is a source of antioxidants, vitamin B12, and minerals such as iron. Although the spirulina market is still young, the plant is just getting recognized for its true value. Globally, more people are starting to adopt the plant not just for its protein , but also for its health benefits. Via VegNews Lead image via Pexels

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Zero-emission hydrogen-powered ferry coming to San Francisco

April 22, 2022 by  
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Sea Change, a zero-emission ferry, will soon start operation in San Francisco Bay. The ferry is fully propelled by hydrogen fuel cells, making it the first of its kind to be used for public transport. The 70-foot-long vessel will ferry 75 passengers per trip and service several stops along the San Francisco waterfront. Built at All American Marine shipyard in Bellingham, Washington , the ferry was tested by the U.S. Coast Guard. Related: First of its kind apartment complex in San Francisco “We’re here in the water, under hydrogen fuel cell power and it’s the first commercial vessel in the world that’s got that propulsion system,” said Pace Ralli, chief executive of Switch Maritime. Sea Change marks an industry milestone as the world rushes toward zero emissions . Previous years have seen the introduction of clean energy for trucks, cars, trains and luxury boats, but passenger ferry has fallen behind. Considered one of the best clean energy options, hydrogen fuel cells only emit water and heat. However, using hydrogen cells presents challenges due to bulky cell systems and cost. Ralli says he first came up with the idea for the ferry while living in New York. In a bid to decarbonize maritime travel, he thought of developing the hydrogen fuel-powered ferry. “There was a project in California that was being sponsored by the California Air Resources Board, and they were working on hydrogen fuel cell as a method for decarbonizing ships, so we joined up with them and funded their project in 2019,” Ralli said. The ferry is powered by three hydrogen fuel cell stacks that propel the system. It can navigate at speeds of up to 20 knots, and the automated system is operated via a digital touchscreen, which initiates communication with the engine. “This is going to be the next standard in fuel-cell driven vessels. They’re clean, they’re efficient and they make sense economically on scale,” said All American Marine project manager Jeff Sokolik. Via Reuters Lead image via Pexels

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Health and wellness come first at this apartment complex

April 19, 2022 by  
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A building represents architectural elements, tradition, culture, nature, function or any number of other things. But in an era of sustainable focus, the industry is beginning to focus on land management, better use of resources, energy-efficiency , green spaces and more. Since housing shortages abound in most areas, new construction gives builders the opportunity to highlight health and wellness for residents, but also the planet. This balance was the goal of Oppenheim Architecture in the design of a new apartment tower in South Florida, dubbed Metropica. The location is the site of a former mall parking lot. The combination of using an established development and choosing to build high instead of wide resulted in a minimal-site-impact during construction.  Related: 3D printing is behind plans for futuristic Sunflower Village Furthermore, embracing nature inside and around the building was a primary goal for the Oppenheim Architecture team. Green spaces within reach of the apartments invite residents to embrace the outdoors through plants .  “The concept of the façade was set forth for gardens to be grown by the individual residences ,” explained Founder and Principal Chad Oppenheim. “The outdoor spaces are an opportunity for people to grow their own food , flowers and connect to nature.” Health and wellness was another primary focus for the team. In addition to landscaped terraces and a pool , the building is equipped with wellness-related amenities like a state-of-the-art fitness center. There is also classic luxury amenities such as a club room with a lounge, screening room and 24 hours concierge service.  A press release for the project stated: “Residences in the lushly landscaped ONE Metropica Residences are marked by stunning features, including floor-to-ceiling impact glass windows, imported porcelain tile throughout, smart home technologies, designer plumbing fixtures by Hansgrohe and a choice between two elegant finish palettes: nature and minimal .”  Therefore, Metropica is transforming a traditionally suburban area into a pedestrian-friendly development. There is a direct connection to open spaces and the surrounding Everglades ecosystem .  In collaboration with the globally-acclaimed YOO Design Group for interior design and the creative team of Metropica Development, LLC, ONE Metropica Residences are actually phase one of a 65-acre master planned community in Sunrise, Florida. The high-rise stands 28 stories high and provides 263 residences. Apartments range in size from 961 to 2,022 square feet. They are available for purchase now and at least 75% of the units are sold.  When completed, Metropica will encompass approximately four million square feet. There will be many amenities, including restaurants , retail shopping and entertainment for residents and visitors to enjoy.  “We are extremely proud to be delivering our first residential building to the market,” said Bernard Werner, president of Metropica Development, LLC. “Our buyers have embraced our vision for this extraordinary community and its three key pillars: nature, wellness and happiness.”  + Oppenheim Architecture  Images via Oppenheim Architecture and Robin Hill

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Health and wellness come first at this apartment complex

Rivendell net-zero energy house optimizes solar energy

April 18, 2022 by  
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Surrounded by lush scenery in Harvard, Massachusetts is the Jenson-DeLeeuw Net-Zero Energy House by Paul Lukez Architecture. The dwelling is often referred to as Rivendell by the owners, a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien’s elvish village in Middle Earth. Rivendell uses various systems to harness copious amounts of solar energy and features several passive design strategies that allow for thermal comfort and airflow. The project uses a dual clean-energy system that generates and conserves solar energy. The angled roof maximizes the energy production of 56 photovoltaic roof panels, which produce 21,000 kWh of solar power each year. 16kWh Sonnen batteries store surplus energy and are part of a split heating and cooling system. This solar energy system is a lower-cost alternative to standard HVAC systems and is more eco-friendly. Rivendell also has a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of -23, meaning that it produces 23% more clean energy than similar-sized homes. As a result, the excess energy can be used in cloudy weather or to power the owners’ Chevrolet Bolt electric car. Related: Zero Energy Ready Homes can bring you net-zero energy bills Passive design strategies are key in optimizing the home’s thermal comfort. During the warmer months, the large roof overhangs shield the interior from the intense summer sun. Additionally, the open floor plan and high ceilings enhance airflow and cool the space with natural breezes. Conversely, in the winter, the project’s large south-facing windows bring in natural light and warmth from the low-angled winter sun. This is supplemented by insulated walls and a wood stove in the living space for extra heating on colder days. The architects created a thermal envelope using Huber Engineered Woods’ Zip System. This high-efficiency sheathing enhances insulation and prevents moisture buildup. Visually, the weathered wood cladding alludes to the wooded, rocky landscape and reinforces Rivendell’s connection to the site. By maximizing solar energy and creating a thermal envelope through passive design strategies, the Jenson-DeLeeuw house successfully achieves net-zero principles and creates a comfortable living environment . Its self-sufficiency also prevents cutting down trees in the woods for the installation of utility infrastructure. Alongside its incredible efficiency, the Rivendell house also creates visual connections to its surroundings and celebrates the beautiful scenery. + Paul Lukez Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Greg Premru

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Rivendell net-zero energy house optimizes solar energy

This sustainable kitchen remodel maximizes efficiency

April 15, 2022 by  
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A Mar Vista kitchen remodel by Sato Architects is showing how even tiny post-war tract houses can be made sustainable. The original 1,000-square-foot house home had never been renovated or updated. With a limited budget, Sato Architects transformed the kitchen by adding just 75 square feet and reconfiguring the nearby dining room and living room into an open concept floor plan. The completed renovation features all new finishes and appliances. The idea was simple but ambitious — create a new floorplan for the main living area and build a sustainable new kitchen all while employing best practices to reduce the remodel’s environmental impact. To achieve this, materials   were donated and reused as much as possible, and new finishes were selected for their sustainable attributes. Related: Pixie Retreat: Behind the scenes in a raw commercial kitchen Rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo , cork, and Kirei board were used throughout the project. Salvaged Kirei board makes up several accents and the locally-made cabinets. Meanwhile, the flooring features cork and bamboo. Each material’s durability and recycled content factored into decision-making. To conserve energy, windows and doors were replaced with dual-paned low-E glazing . With a small budget, the architects focused on areas with maximum environmental impact. Appliances and heating systems were also selected for efficiency, and LED lighting was installed. Richlite cladding made of recycled paper and resin on the exterior and high R-value insulation contribute to the project’s energy efficiency. The adjoining deck connects to overhangs to reduce solar gain, and the garden outside is all drought-resistant or edible. Each thoughtful feature pulls its weight as part of this remodel. Thinking about a sustainable renovation project of your own? Use the Mar Vista project as inspiration for creating a more eco-conscious space with efficient appliances, sustainable building materials and minimal environmental impact. Explore more about this project via Sato Architects. Additional images are also featured on Dwell. + Sato Architects Via Dwell Photography by Brandon Shigeta

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This sustainable kitchen remodel maximizes efficiency

Art installation raises concerns on the rising sea level

April 15, 2022 by  
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St. Petersburg, Florida is already struggling with the effects of significant rising sea level. TIDAL, created by The Urban Conga, is an art installation that uses play to spark conversations about this important topic related to climate change. TIDAL art installation was installed in the Florida community of Shore Acres in St. Petersburg. They chose that location because they are already dealing with the effects of rising sea level and is at high risk of experiencing more challenges as time goes on. Related: 8 boxes that explore the effects of habitat destruction on birds If we remain on our current trajectory, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that the area’s sea rise could reach over nine feet by 2100. This is nearly five times what the average sea level rise should be worldwide within that time frame. It is enough to cause disastrous and irreversible damage. “The way this information is presented often makes climate change a challenging topic for people to want to hear about or discuss, as it is usually spoken of in ways that make people feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed,” the designers explained. As a result, TIDAL was designed to be interactive, using key data points from NOAA to spark a dialogue around climate change in the area. The design uses play methodologies as tools for breaking down barriers and fostering discussion. Furthermore, the TIDAL installation sits at the entryway to the new Shore Acres Community Recreation Center. The work was designed as an ever-changing community landmark that responds to the people, the surrounding landscape and the interactions between them. Additionally, the design of the form was generated using data from NOAA. It indicates the projected sea-level rise of nine feet relative to the resilient goal of a two-foot rise in the next 78 years. TIDAL’s design also takes the average tidal patterns of the area to create a series of flowing pillars that reflect and refract the surrounding context. The pillars act like breaking waves along the main pathway to the building. As people walk by each pillar, they illuminate, revealing perforated data points generated from the local tidal patterns. The pillars then fade away, just like ocean watermarks left behind on piers as the tides change. As people continue to pass by, they begin to see themselves reflected on the work itself. Similarly, the angle at which they view the work begins to change its color . “These experiences evoke an internal reflection through the playful interactions of the work,” the designers said. The goal is to present the information in a way that people can visually understand how they interact with climate change can make a huge difference. Therefore, TIDAL is made of recyclable polycarbonate and aluminum made locally. These help mitigate the carbon footprint of the artwork. The work also contains low-powered lighting and sits within a permeable planter bed to help with rainwater collection. + The Urban Conga Photography by Maria Flanagan

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Art installation raises concerns on the rising sea level

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