Rammed-earth walls make up a beautiful retreat hidden in the Zhejiang mountains

October 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Hidden in the misty mountains of Zhejiang , a new eco-sensitive resort made from local materials entices visitors with spectacular views and laid-back charms. International architecture firm kooo architects designed the Retreat Village, which comprises a cluster of luxury suites, for their client Hangzhou Origin Villa Hotel & Resort in the Dashan Village in Zhejiang, China. Taking inspiration from the local vernacular, the architects used local materials and techniques, such as rammed-earth construction, to create a resort that blends into its surroundings. Completed over the course of two years, the new Retreat Village is located on a remote, rural mountain. Although most of the original village architecture was built from rammed earth walls using local soils, the architects decided to only use rammed earth for a portion of the new construction so as to keep the interior from feeling too dark and constrained. The earthen walls are complemented by a natural material palette of bamboo, red bricks, stone and carbonized wood. To reduce site impact, the architects used locally produced as well as recycled materials and carefully sited the buildings to follow the natural contours of the mountain. Each of the buildings point in different directions to preserve privacy and to maximize views. An indoor- outdoor living experience is also emphasized in the design. Moreover, the use of natural materials and careful siting help make the village disappear into the landscape. Related: MAD’s ethereal Yiwu Grand Theater will “float” on Zhejiang waters “There is no light coming from this lonely village’s surrounding at night, so one can feel sufficient brightness even with a minimum amount of lighting,” adds the firm. “We kept the lights that can illuminate the entire space uniformly, such as downlights, to the minimum, and used all-directional soft umbrella-like lights such as free-standing lamps and table lights throughout the space. These fixtures project soft arches of light and shadow, illuminating the seamless finish and rounded edges of the walls and ceilings. Wrapped with the warmth of light, the rooms feel more calming and comfortable.” + kooo architects Images by Keishin Horikoshi / SS

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Rammed-earth walls make up a beautiful retreat hidden in the Zhejiang mountains

Light your pumpkins the EEK-o-friendly way this Halloween

October 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

With spooky season upon us, consider illuminating your jack-o’-lanterns in an eco-friendly way. But what are some good light sources to place within or even near pumpkins? You, of course, want to avoid toxins from certain sources, so here are some of Inhabitat’s sustainable suggestions this autumn. Soy or beeswax candles Steer clear of paraffin, because it is a petroleum-based product that produces soot. Paraffin candles have also been known to release acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, formaldehyde, naphthalene and toluene — all of which are toxins . Instead, choose “cleaner” candles made either of soy or beeswax. These options are all-natural, burn at lower temperatures, and last longer — ensuring a healthier light to place within your carved pumpkins. Related: Time to put the flame out — scented candles can cause disease and poor air quality Flameless LED artificial lights LED lights can be in the form of tea lights, string lights, even bike lights — making them wonderful choices for your jack-o’-lanterns. They are, after all, more energy-efficient and have longer lifespans than other types of artificial lighting. They are also a safer choice for inside a pumpkin because they don’t emit much heat, thereby lowering the risk of fire. They can operate at a wide range of temperatures — whether hot or cold — without significant degradation. For these reasons, LED lights are safer and more budget-friendly for a sustainable Halloween. Solar lights Go green this year by utilizing your garden decor to fashion a solar-powered jack-o’-lantern. How does one solarize pumpkins? First, you’ll have to allow your solar garden lights to collect energy from the sun throughout the day. While your yard’s solar lights are soaking up the sun, that is when you can cut out the bottom of your carved pumpkins. Then, at night, you can place those jack-o-lanterns atop the now-glowing solar garden lights. Voila! Your yard will come alive with solarized jack-o’-lanterns to ghoulishly light up your Halloween night . So this Halloween, if the kids are asking why your pumpkins have bigger smiles, goofier faces or even epic expressions, you can explain that it is all because they are all lit up in EEK-o-friendlier ways. Via Chester Energy and Policy Image via David Menidrey

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Light your pumpkins the EEK-o-friendly way this Halloween

When in Rome, recycle more to earn free metro and bus travel tickets

October 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Rome’s Mayor Virginia Raggi recently unveiled an eco-friendly pilot initiative that is gaining popularity in the Eternal City. Called “Ricicli + Viaggi” (or the “Recycle + Travel” program), consumers who recycle empty plastic bottles earn credits toward free public transportation travel tickets. How does it work? Commuters who recycle empty plastic bottles via a designated compactor will then earn accrued credit-points, redeemable as free digital travel tickets. For a standard ticket, one must recycle 30 empty plastic bottles. That same standard ticket, which is good for one metro ride or 100 minutes on a Roman bus, costs about 1.50 euros. Related: Indonesia accepts plastic bottles in exchange for free bus rides The environmentally friendly campaign is widely appealing for good reasons. Empty plastic bottles no longer have to accumulate on Roman streets, and the travel tickets awarded are digital rather than paper. In other words, litter is minimized. Many Romans approve of this new way to save cash, and it couldn’t come at a more critical time. A 2017 study, conducted by consultancy group Expert Market, found that Italy ranked fourth among The Most Wasteful European Countries. The Eternal City has gained notoriety for its dysfunctional waste management. With only three major landfills — one that shut down in 2013 and the other two ravaged by frequent fires — Rome has since been spiraling into decline with refuse spewing all over the streets after years of neglect. Both tourists and residents have long complained about the garbage littering ancient monuments, the burgeoning vermin infestations and the lack of sanitation strategy as successive mayors from different parties have struggled unsuccessfully to resolve the Italian capital’s waste crisis. Prior to the trash-for-tickets program, recycling was patchy and very inefficient. “The situation has been quite disastrous,” president of environmental group Legambiente Stefano Ciafani said. “Rome has failed to create an efficient system for differentiated waste collection, as Milan has done, and it has not built the recycling plants that are fundamental for a city where three million people live.” But there has been a ray of hope ever since Raggi entered office in 2016 as the first female mayor in Roman history. While Raggi has had a stormy start battling deeply entrenched ways, this new pilot initiative of swapping plastic for transit credits is a step in a more positive, eco-friendly direction. Of course, with Ricicli + Viaggi still in its infancy, there are at present only three public transportation metro stations in Rome offering the recycling compactor machines. Despite that, more than 350,000 bottles have been recycled so far, and it is hoped the numbers will continue to rise. Raggi happily shared, “We are the first major European capital to present this innovation.” The Eternal City’s roll-out follows at the heels of similar programs already in place in both Beijing and Istanbul. + Ricicli + Viaggi Via BBC and Phys.org Image via Juan Enrique Gilardi

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When in Rome, recycle more to earn free metro and bus travel tickets

This 1973 Airstream could be yours for $68,900

October 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A clean, modern design. Plentiful storage. An abundance of natural light. What more could you want in a tiny home on wheels? Renovated by DIY experts Nate and Taylor, from Augustine Along the Way, this 1973 Airstream has a new life as Mattox . Mattox is a 25-foot Airstream trailer with a gorgeous interior design featuring bamboo hardwood floors and plenty of plants. The ambitious duo put a ton of work into renovating the old Airstream , and now, the shiny little home can be yours for just $68,900. Inside and out, Mattox is a beautiful example of a DIY Airstream renovation. Starting with the trailer’s signature aluminum exterior, Taylor and Nate polished its formerly dull facade into a gleaming, mirrored finish. The Airstream even comes with a retractable rolling awning that provides a shaded, open-air place to dine or simply enjoy the fresh air just outside the front door. Related: A dull, 26-year-old Airstream becomes a bright, cozy home on wheels Although Mattox’s gleaming exterior is impressive, its interior design is what shines the brightest. The compact living space feels bright and open thanks to an abundance of windows and a fresh coat of white paint on the walls and ceiling. Contrasting nicely with the all-white background, beautiful and ultra-durable bamboo hardwood floors with eucalyptus backing run the length of the interior. Just across the front door, the kitchen sits at the middle of the Airstream. The kitchen includes everything one would need to create culinary masterpieces, including a two-burner stove and a new refrigerator. The Zellige tile backsplash adds an earthy touch. Facing the kitchen and beside the entrance is the lounge area, which comes complete with a custom, built-in couch with storage underneath. In fact, most of the furniture in the Airstream was custom-made to use every inch of space strategically . This includes the two-person, drop-down walnut dining table and small desk area complete with book storage. In the back of the classic trailer is a bedroom big enough for a full-sized bed. This space also fits in plenty of storage both underneath the bed and in a small closet near the entrance. For those adventurers out there who would like to take Mattox on the road, rest assured that the Airstream’s mechanical systems have also been completely renovated. New tires, brakes, bearings, propane hook-ups, fresh water hook-up and more will give you peace of mind while you are exploring. + Augustine Along the Way Via Tiny House Talk Images via Augustine Along the Way

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This 1973 Airstream could be yours for $68,900

Save the Duck introduces new winter line of outerwear

October 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

When you’re wearing clothing made from fur or leather, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it comes from an animal, but even vegetarians and vegans have an easier time closing their eyes to what’s hidden inside winter’s ubiquitous puffy jackets. Fortunately, brands like Save the Duck are making it possible for humans to stay warm and stylish without causing ducks pain and suffering. This month, the Italian clothing brand is revealing new designs. They’re kicking it off with a special brand dinner hosted by stylist Rachael Wang at the eco-luxury 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge . The collection features cruelty-free outerwear, including faux fur coats and feather-free down puffer jackets. Some of the new jackets are also waterproof. Save the Duck rounds out the collection with tees and sweats. The company promises, “In addition to providing animal free, ecological fabric, Save the Duck‘s penchant for bold color combines seamlessly with clean silhouettes and genderless, unisex pieces this fall.” You can choose basic black, but why not light up the winter in a bright yellow hooded puffer vest or a deep red fake fur coat? Related: The 2019 Redress Design Awards showcased the very best of emerging eco-designers Down is the soft feathery layer that grows closest to a duck’s skin, mostly on the chest. Manufacturers love the ease of working with these feathers, since they lack quills. Usually feathers are removed during slaughter, but ducks and geese being raised for foie gras or meat are sometimes plucked repeatedly while they’re alive. Save the Duck developed a synthetic down from recycled polyester they call Plumtech. The company designs all its jackets to be lightweight and easy to pack, as well as to spare the suffering of birds . The company Forest SRL owns the Save the Duck brand. Its roots go back more than a hundred years, to when tailor-turned soldier Foresto Bargi started experimenting with a water-repellent material he learned about during his time in the First World War. Now his grandson Nicolas Bargi runs the company. He launched the Save the Duck brand in 2011 to address people that are sensitive to environmental issues and sustainable living. One of his great victories was partnering with Kuntai A. Joisher, the first vegan Indian climber to reach the top of Mount Everest. Save the Duck managed to design a jacket that would withstand sub-zero temperatures and wicked winds. Even better, at press time the company estimated they helped save 17,975,456 ducks so far. + Save the Duck Images via Save the Duck

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Save the Duck introduces new winter line of outerwear

The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

October 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch nonprofit dedicated to eliminating plastic pollution in the oceans, recently announced its first success. After years of trials that left its engineers scratching their heads over design challenges, the nonprofit’s newest prototype device has consistently collected plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . Following years of repeat returns to the drawing board, The Ocean Cleanup has finally experienced its first success of consistently capturing and collecting plastic, thanks to the self-contained System 001/B prototype. As an added bonus, not only was the prototype able to collect large, visible items but also microplastics as small as one millimeter. Related: Trash-collecting device returns to Great Pacific Garbage Patch “After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage , which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights,” said founder and CEO Boyan Slat. “Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point. Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.” The patch, located in the waters between Hawaii and California, is infamous as the area with the largest accumulation of plastic debris. As a trash vortex, its circular motion draws litter into itself, trapping all the junk into a concentrated mass. The hazards are compounded by the leaching out of noxious chemicals linked to health problems. Marine life is also harmed, with numerous reports of disruptions in feeding and migrating patterns, ultimately threatening species’ survival and reproductive success. The need to remove the plastic waste polluting the Pacific Ocean inspired Slat to establish The Ocean Cleanup in 2012. The nonprofit’s engineers have since been striving to develop a device to rid the ocean of the garbage. The various device prototypes employ a passive system that moves with the currents while catching plastic refuse. The nonprofit aspires to develop more prototypes in hopes of deploying a future fleet of ocean debris-collecting systems. The collected plastic will, in turn, be recycled onshore and sold to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. The recycling revenue will be reinvested into the nonprofit’s expansion plans for further ocean waste management and sanitation. + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Stunning boho-style tiny house comes with open-air bar

October 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Byron Bay-based tiny home builders, Little Byron , have unveiled a gorgeous tiny home design that not only has an ingenious living and sleeping area, but also includes an open air bar area. The Banjo tiny home is just 23 feet long and 8 feet wide, but its breathtaking, space-efficient design makes it seems so much bigger. The stunning time home on wheels was built for one of Little Bryon’s clients who was looking to have a guest home on their property for visitors, but ultimately had plans to move into the beautiful space down the road when her children left the nest. Related: This gorgeous tiny home features a greenhouse and wooden pergola The tiny home is a beautiful design that pays homage to typical tiny home practicality, namely natural light. The home is built with an abundance of windows that really open up the space, creating a vibrant, healthy interior space. Not only are there large operable windows in just about every corner of the home, including the bedrooms and bathroom, but there is a massive window in the middle of the living space that opens outward. Definitely at the heart of the home, the farmhouse-style kitchen is where the design really shines. With plenty of storage space in the form of open shelving under and above the counterspace, the kitchen is both functional and beautiful. On the other side of the kitchen is the dining area. Instead of the typical window ledge, a small table top was installed to create a dining or work area. The large window swings open horizontally to provide a wide open space that not only brings in more natural light and air, but really connects the interior to the exterior. The rest of the home and its interior design is equally as sophisticated. White walls and wooden flooring and trim give the home a fresh, modern vibe. A double height ceiling also opens the interior space, while providing room for a sleeping loft on one side of the home, accessible by ladder. The living space is a space-efficient design that sees the living room pulling double duty as a comfy lounge and bedroom. The very unique bunk-bed design sees the living room, with a small sofa, suspended off the ground floor on a wooden platform. Below the space is the master bedroom, which has enough space for a queen-sized bed. + Little Byron Via Tiny House Talk Images via Little Byron

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Stunning boho-style tiny house comes with open-air bar

Mirage Architecture envisions a solar-powered glass cube for Lithuanias national concert hall

October 3, 2019 by  
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In response to an international design competition for Lithuania’s National Concert Hall in Vilnius, Iranian architecture firm Mirage Architecture Studio designed a conceptual solar-powered venue sheathed in a double skin facade. Dubbed Tautos Namai, the cuboid building proposal houses art inside and out — the exterior transforms into a vibrant artwork at night with holographic displays. Per the competition’s brief for sustainability, the conceptual project would not only produce more energy than it uses but would also minimize site impact and be built of recycled materials. In February 2019, the Vilnius City Municipality announced an international competition for a concert hall to be located on Tauras Hill, a popular park that offers a sweeping view of the city. To preserve the proportions of the old trade union palace and reflect the natural surroundings, Mirage Architecture Studio proposed a glass cube with a transparent outer shell and an opaline inner shell.  Related: Steven Holl’s solar-powered concert hall plays up the dramatic contrast between new and old “One reflecting the outside, and the other reflecting the enigmatic atmosphere inside,” explained the architects of the facade. “These glasses are made of photovoltaic tiles and produce a wide range of solar energy . So, in addition to creating a sense of belonging in the unconscious of the audience, an inexpressive and semi-transparent state of truth within it appears in mind. And all of this happens on the daytime. But at night time, the project has another story to tell. The Lithuanian National Music House is shining like a diamond using more than 18,000 holographic display; thus, the building’s appearance will never be reiterative at night, displaying a variety of surreal and abstract images.” The multifunctional, 550-capacity concert hall would be tucked underground, while the above-ground spaces could be used for artist workshops, training venues and other purposes. To reduce environmental impact, structural materials would be recycled from the previous building on site, site impact would be minimized wherever possible and recycled natural materials would be used for acoustic padding on the walls of the hall. Mirage Architecture’s submission did not win the competition; Spanish architecture firm Arquivo was recently announced the winner. Still, the design is an innovative way to combine solar power and art under one roof. + Mirage Architecture Studio Images via Mirage Architecture Studio

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Mirage Architecture envisions a solar-powered glass cube for Lithuanias national concert hall

Geometric pavilion with an inverted living garden holds court in a public square in Annecy, France

September 27, 2019 by  
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Almost 10 years ago, New York-based Behin Ha Design Studio erected an incredible green-walled living pavilion made out of recycled milk crates in the heart of Governors Island. Now, the plant-loving designers are back at it, unveiling a beautiful, inverted garden pavilion in a public square in Annecy, France. Installed in the Notre Dame plaza in the old city center of Annecy, the 330-square-foot Living Pavilion is a modular system of dairy crates. Assembled in a three-sided geometric shape, the recycled milk crates serve as the framework for the inverted garden. The exterior shape of the Living Pavilion, with its hipped and gabled roof, was meant to pay homage to the historic buildings of Annecy. With three immense openings, visitors are invited to enter under the pavilion to enjoy the suspended, lush garden planted on the interior walls. Related: A tiny, 96-square-foot rustic pavilion brings the outdoors in The geometric design gives the structure the potential to become a public or private shelter that is open to fresh air yet protected from harsh elements. The crates that make up the structure were strategically planted with drought-tolerant Liriope plants, which are resilient to almost any type of climate and can naturally cool the interior. Like the original installation in Governors Island in 2010, the most recent version of the Living Pavilion uses multiple milk crates to create a planting system for the garden. The drought-tolerant plants are initially cultivated in the crates in an upright position. Once the vegetation has grown, the planted crates are then installed upside-down to form walls. At the end of the Annecy installation, the crates can be removed and cultivated in another environment. According to the designers, the modular system creates a full-circle lifecycle for the structure. The design ensures that the pavilion can be easily disassembled and reassembled in another location while protecting the plants during the transition, allowing for regeneration of the same pavilion year after year. + Behin Ha Design Studio Photography by Aurelien Vivier and Behin Ha via Behin Ha Design Studio

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Geometric pavilion with an inverted living garden holds court in a public square in Annecy, France

Tooth: the eco-friendly toothbrush made from recycled and biodegradable materials

September 26, 2019 by  
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As ubiquitous as morning coffee is the practice of brushing your teeth. We know you’re conscientious about water consumption by turning off the faucet while you brush, but there’s that seldom-discussed issue of toothbrush waste, mostly plastic , that equates to around 1,000,000,000 toothbrushes heading to the landfill annually, and that’s just in the United States. Luckily, some passionate designers from London have decided to develop a sustainable option to divert waste from landfills. They call it Tooth, a last-for-a-lifetime toothbrush handle with replaceable heads. Unlike the 98 percent of toothbrushes that are not biodegradable, the Tooth replacement heads will break down. The main portion of the brush head is made from locally sourced sugar beets that have been turned into Floreon. The bristles are made from Nylon 4; both products are 100 percent biodegradable . Related: Your guide to eco-friendly toothpastes The handle is contoured out of recycled aluminum , a durable metal that eliminates the need to create virgin aluminum and the carbon emissions that come with it. The handles are also 100 percent recyclable when they are no longer useful. Tooth has a lifetime guarantee as long as you remain a subscriber. Select one of four colors including ash, charcoal, rose, or gold, and choose from three bristle firmness options. You can also get a recycled steel stand to keep your Tooth aired out and to avoid contact with germs lurking on countertops. There’s also a travel case that protects the Tooth and stores up to three additional replacement heads. Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three months, so with a subscription, Tooth will automatically send a replacement head directly to your house every three months; you can go ahead and cross that chore off the list. Because the company is sustainably focused, your shipment will arrive in eco-friendly packaging. With recycled cardboard , plastic-free labels and a flat design, everything can go into the recycling upon receipt. Tooth is currently an active and fully funded Kickstarter campaign , due to expire on October 18. Shipments are expected for April 2020. + Tooth Images via Tooth

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Tooth: the eco-friendly toothbrush made from recycled and biodegradable materials

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