Platio unveils next-gen solar sidewalk that can charge electric vehicles

February 14, 2018 by  
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The sidewalks of the future could be paved with solar panels – and the clean energy they generate could power electric cars . Hungarian startup Platio recently installed a 50-square-foot solar sidewalk made of recycled plastic at an EV charging station in Budapest. Platio installed a 720 watt peak capacity (Wp) system on a sidewalk at one of the facilities of the logistics real estate company Prologis . Platio co-founder Miklós Ilyés said a team set up the system in a single day. When the clean energy from the paving system isn’t being utilized to charge cars, it helps power an office building nearby. Related: Recycled plastic paving company Platio installs first 3 solar systems Ilyés said , “As e-mobility rapidly emerges, the demand for more energy will grow soon as well. Local, independent renewable energy sources can supplement or even decentralize the utility grid .” Platio’s Solar Pavers integrate solar cells into paving elements comprised of recycled plastic. People can walk on Platio’s pavers, so the system integrates unobtrusively into the charging station. The company says their product doesn’t need a special foundation, and it can be upgraded with many smart functions. The company manufactures their power-generating systems in addition to installing and monitoring them. In a press statement, the company said: “The developers of Platio wanted to demonstrate that by turning energy-absorbing paved areas into huge walkable solar arrays , energy production can be achieved at large scale without taking up useful space or altering the cityscape.” Inhabitat has covered Platio in the past – when they installed their systems on a sidewalk in Kazakhstan, pontoons in Sweden, and smart benches where people can charge their phones in Budapest. + Platio Images courtesy of Platio

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Platio unveils next-gen solar sidewalk that can charge electric vehicles

Stay in a cozy geodesic dome at this amazing Patagonia retreat

January 23, 2018 by  
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Set in the stunning landscape of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, EcoCamp Patagonia is a sustainable retreat made up of upscale geodesic domes . Offering amazing views of the surrounding nature (including the park’s majestic granite towers), the domes operate on renewable energy and were built to be low-impact on the landscape. Tucked into the otherworldly landscape of the Andes mountain range, the award-winning EcoCamp operates completely on environmentally sound principles. The guest accommodations as well as the common spaces are run on solar and hydraulic energy . All waste is either composted or recycled. Additionally, the meals are made with locally-grown food and the ecocamp works closely with the local community on sustainability issues. The camp’s environmental profile is so strong that it has earned ISO14001 certification since 2007 and ISO 9001 certification since 2012. Related: EcoCamp Patagonia is a Gorgeous Geodesic Campground in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park The glamping domes were built off the ground on elevated platforms to minimize impact on the landscape . Their design was inspired by the indigenous Alacalufe nomads who are known to leave no traces when they travel. The green color of the domes not only helps reduce solar radiation, but also blends the complex into the environment. Each dome is insulated with thick walls and heated with propane heaters. There are four types of guest domes on offer – from standard accommodations to swanky Suite Dome Lofts. They all come with quality amenities like comfy beds, private bathrooms and skylights that flood the interiors with natural light . Guests can mingle in the Community Domes or take a class in the Yoga Dome. The lodge also offers hiking excursions through the amazing mountainous landscape of the Andes. + EcoCamp Patagonia Via Dwell Images via EcoCamp Patagonia

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Stay in a cozy geodesic dome at this amazing Patagonia retreat

Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials

January 22, 2018 by  
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The four pavilions of the Naked Gallery resort in China were built using a combination of locally available natural and recycled waste materials. Xiaohui Designer Studio designed the complex as an eco-friendly space that “includes 75% of sustainable and renewable materials , 75% recyclable materials, and 75% of work by local craftsmen.” The designers utilized locally available stones, the soil excavated from the other sites in the resort, and bamboos abundant at the foot of Mount Mogan where the resort is located. The materials of the formwork and the joists of Naked Gallery are collected from the waste materials from other structures, which helped reduce the generation of waste and alleviate the influence of the architecture on the natural environment. Related: Luscious eco-resort design in China inspired by the Silk Road The resort consists of four pavilions. Local craftsmen built the complex using traditional building techniques which helped cut construction costs and increase construction efficiency. In fact, the transportation fees and construction waste were both cut by 90% during the building process. + Xiaohui Designer Studio Via Archdaily Photos by Youkun Chen    

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Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials

Acoustic tractor beams could allow humans to levitate in the near future

January 22, 2018 by  
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Researchers from the University of Bristol are taking us into the future with a new discovery that could pave the way for human levitation. The powerful new technology uses tractor beams of sound to levitate liquids or even large objects – like a human beings – in mid-air. It’s like something straight out of a science fiction movie. Up until now, acoustic tractor beams could only lift tiny objects – anything larger than the wavelength would become rapidly unstable. But this new technology utilizes acoustic vortices that shift rapidly to hold and move objects. It’s kind of like trapping an object in a powerful tornado of sound, with a silent eye and loud sound on the exterior. By quickly changing the rate of rotation, scientists can stabilize the tractor beam and even manipulate it to hold larger objects. Related: $70 DIY acoustic tractor beam moves objects with sound Besides being exciting in terms of sci-fi fun, the technology could also have some immediate useful applications like moving surgical instruments or drug capsules in the body. “In the future, with more acoustic power it will be possible to hold even larger objects. This was only thought to be possible using lower pitches making the experiment audible and dangerous for humans,” said Senior Research Associate Dr. Mihai Caleap. + Physical Review Letters Via Phys.org Images via Physical Review Letters

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How to Safely Recycle Unwanted or Unusable Ammunition

January 16, 2018 by  
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Whether it’s old, corroding ammunition, or rounds that wouldn’t fire … The post How to Safely Recycle Unwanted or Unusable Ammunition appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How to Safely Recycle Unwanted or Unusable Ammunition

YouTuber designs a DIY solar device to help power Puerto Rico

January 5, 2018 by  
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Swaths of Puerto Rico still lack electricity . Jehu Garcia, film-making equipment company owner and YouTuber , wondered how he could help. He’s built his own do-it-yourself version of a Powerwall , and tackled the Puerto Rico power issue with his technical know-how by building a solar generator , and providing information for others to also build the DIY generators. Garcia created a solar generator , which he explained in his video is “essentially a small, lightweight, portable Powerwall .” The solar generator is a box “containing batteries , an inverter, a solar charge controller, and all kinds of different connectors to get the power in and out.” His 13-minute video details how to make the device, and the text below includes links to the various components a builder would need – costing around $550, a figure which includes the cost of a solar panel , an extension cord to connect the device to the panel, and around six light bulbs. “This is a complete system ready to deploy in Puerto Rico to light up a home and to give at least power communications or medical devices,” Garcia said in his video. The device can be equipped to offer around one kilowatt-hours worth of battery. Related: More than 20 organizations launch Solar Saves Lives to power clinics and food markets in Puerto Rico Garcia called for people to build the solar generators, and send completed devices or parts to Javier Camacho, a contact of Garcia’s in Puerto Rico. Camacho recorded a video sharing his experience on the island, saying, “We are at the mercy of the people that can actually put the grid on – or, we could help them. We could make something.” Camacho has access to a maker space, according to Garcia, with people who could build the solar generators. OZY reported there have been 15 installations so far. + Jehu Garcia on YouTube Images via Jehu Garcia on Instagram ( 1 , 2 )

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Google and BIG unveil designs for new green-roofed tech campus in Sunnyvale

January 5, 2018 by  
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Google and BIG have teamed up for yet another massive and spectacular Google campus—this time in Sunnyvle’s Moffett Park. Google recently unveiled plans for a new BIG-designed campus last month, following the acclaimed architecture firm’s work on Google’s Mountain View and London campuses . Located on Caribbean Drive, the 1.04-million-square-foot project could accommodate 4,500 employees and feature eye-catching terraced buildings topped with accessible green roofs. Designed to foster community and healthy living, Google’s new Sunnyvale campus will be flush with green space including on its roof. Unsurprisingly, the project will target LEED Gold and is expected to rack up points through its native, low-irrigation landscape and promotion of eco-friendly transit like cycling to work. Related: Google unveils giant green ‘landscraper’ for London HQ The massive site could also accommodate more than just office space. “Housing is part of our thought process in Moffett Park,” Mark Golan, chief operating officer of Google’s global real estate investments & development unit, told The Mercury News . “A new mixed-use community where you have live-work capabilities, makes a lot of sense. Housing and transportation are two huge issues for the Valley overall, and they are huge issues for Google. One of the best ways to address this is by creating mixed-use communities that allow people to live close to where they work, which allows for a vibrant community and also helps the transportation.” The project is not expected for completion until 2021 at the earliest. + BIG Via ArchDaily Images via Google

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How the world’s first floating city could restore the environment

December 27, 2017 by  
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The world got a little closer to the first floating city when the Seasteading Institute signed a memorandum of understanding with the French Polynesian government earlier this year. Not only could floating cities offer a sustainable place to live, but they could also potentially help coral reefs recover and provide a habitat for marine life, according to Joe Quirk, Blue Frontiers co-founder and Seasteading Institute seavangelist. Inhabitat spoke with Quirk and architect Simon Nummy to learn more about the vision for the world’s first floating city. Quirk told Inhabitat, “We think of cities as being a blight on the land and polluting the oceans. Floating cities are so different because they could actually be environmentally restorative.” For example, an increase in ocean temperatures has caused much of coral bleaching . Quirk said the mere presence of a floating city could help combat this issue. He said, “The corals could actually recover if we could just lower the temperature a little. Our engineers at Blue Frontiers have devised a plan to position the platforms to create some shadows to lower the temperatures. So as the sun moves about, you get enough light on the ocean floor to spark photosynthesis, but you lower the heat just enough to have a restorative effect.” Related: World’s first floating city one step closer to reality in French Polynesia Solid floating structures can also increase the amount of sea life by serving as a habitat, according to Quirk. He said platform floors, that would be below water level, could be made of glass, creating an aquarium apartment or aquarium restaurant. There are currently a few visions for what the floating cities might look like from different designers, as seen in the images. Nummy, who won the Seasteading Institute’s Architectural Design Contest, told Inhabitat, “The intent is for an architecture derived from nautical technology and sensibility, combined with a deep respect and willingness to learn from the culture and knowledge of the original seasteaders, the Polynesians.” The goal is for the floating city, which will be placed around one kilometer, or a little over half a mile, from shore inside a protected lagoon, to be 100 percent renewable and 100 percent self-sufficient. Floating solar panels could help power the city, and Quirk said as water cools panels, they could generate 20 percent more energy than their landlocked cousins. 20 percent of the floating city could be comprised of solar panels. Another goal is to not discharge any water into the lagoon – waste water is to be treated and recycled. Food could be cultivated in sea farming systems. “Each building strives for energy independence and the architecture results from this; energy efficiency and passive strategies are vital,” Nummy told Inhabitat. “Polynesian architecture is primarily about the roof and we have tried to interpret this in a contemporary, sensitive way that both reflects local precedents while harvesting rainwater and discretely maximizing the opportunities for photovoltaics and vertical axis wind turbines .” The floating city could be designed to look like a natural island, featuring green roofs and buildings constructed with locally-sourced materials – potentially bamboo, coconut fiber, or local wood like teak. Nummy told Inhabitat, “The buildings are designed to connect to nature and embrace the magnificent Tahitian views. Walls are to be louvred or openable whenever possible.” 2020 is the goal for construction of the floating village, which would include around 15 islands 82 by 82 feet. Quirk said the first floating city could be kind of like the first iPhone – rather bulky and expensive – but they aim to drive down the price with later iterations. Two to three years after 2020, they hope to double the amount of platforms – from around 15 to around 30 – and then triple the amount two to three years after that. Quirk said, “Island nations and coastal nations are already suffering from sea level rise , and this is a realistic way for them to adapt.” + Seasteading Institute + Blue Frontiers + Blue21 Images courtesy of Blue Frontiers, Blue21, and Simon Nummy

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OLIO launches revolutionary food sharing app to reduce waste

December 26, 2017 by  
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OLIO  is an online app designed to reduce food waste through social networking . After creating an account, OLIO users can upload photos and descriptions of foods, such as extra vegetables, surplus canned goods, or leftover meals, that they wish to share. Since launching in the United Kingdom in early 2016, OLIO has gained 322,000 users, with more than 400,000 food transactions made on the app. A third of OLIO’s regular users are from low-income households. “[The food system] is clearly absolutely bonkers and needs to be fixed,” said OLIO co-founder Tessa Cook, who was inspired to create the app to deal with what she describes as “one of the biggest problems facing humanity today,” according to the Independent . One-third of all food produced globally is wasted, while in the United Kingdom, the average family discards £700 worth of food each year. Cook was inspired by one incident in which she sought to share leftovers on the street, but could not find someone. “I thought, this is perfectly delicious food . I know there is someone within 100 meters who would love it. The problem is they don’t know about it,” she said. Related: France is the world’s most sustainable food country When Cook realized there was no food-sharing app, she and Saasha Celestial-One, an American former investment banker, co-founded OLIO after raising £1.65 million (~$2.2 million) in investor funding. OLIO is now collaborating with cafes and supermarkets to reduce food waste , while positively impacting business and consumer behavior. Sharing apps like OLIO have highlighted the positive possibilities of a networked society. “These have made visible the kind of opportunity within all this stuff around us, and they can be really powerful,” said Joe Iles, editor-in-chief of Circulate , a magazine which promotes the idea of a circular economy, in which materials and products are reused . Via the Independent Images via OLIO and Depositphotos

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OLIO launches revolutionary food sharing app to reduce waste

Enchanting Christmas tree nursery is made from 16,000 recycled drink cartons

December 22, 2017 by  
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A glowing Christmas wonderland has popped up in Hong Kong with an inspiring environmental story. Local studio AaaM Architects transformed 16,000 recycled drink cartons into a festive Christmas tree nursery aimed at raising environmental awareness and promoting recycling. Named ‘Jungle All the Way’, the collection of 36 festive trees was created with the help of over 1,600 primary school students and is located in the courtyard of a revitalized heritage building. The 16,000 recycled drink cartons were collected by local primary schools over the past few years. With the help of the students, AaaM Architects flattened and refolded the cartons and, after combining them with plastic and aluminum, used them to create three-dimensional Christmas trees . Eight different “species” of trees of varying heights were made. Public visitors are also encouraged to participate and add their own recycled products to the installation. “The reality and necessity for public participation in order to bring true changes and awareness laid the root for the concept of a nursery forest, where it was spatialized for social interactions and engaging experience to take place,” wrote the architects. “[We] rethought the temporary installations not as a decorative end product, but as a catalytic instrument in both material and ideological terms among the waste recycling process and its education to achieve true sustainability .” Related: Top 10 crazy christmas trees made from bottles, bikes, shopping carts and more! The 36 trees are laid out into the shape of a giant Christmas tree visible from above. An experiential path leads visitors through the forest and is punctuated by key messages, benches, and public engagement areas. The trees are lit from within for a glowing effect. All materials will go back into the recycling process after the exhibition ends. + AaaM Architects

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