5 major ways millennials are changing office culture and design

April 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Millennials are changing office culture in visible ways — you can see it in the design sensibilities of modern workplaces and the thoughtfulness of office layouts. But they are also making figurative improvements which can be a little more difficult to see at first glance. Read on to learn how this younger generation stands to change the workplace, and even the economy, as we know it. 1. Flatter company hierarchy and open offices In both a literal and a figurative sense, millennials want to flatten the average company model. The quintessential office — cubicles at the bottom and high-powered offices at the top — presents physical and psychological barriers to workplace harmony and productivity. It doesn’t have to be that way. Millennials seem to understand this. Employees who had direct interaction with their managers within the last six months report being up to three times more engaged than workers who had no interaction with company leaders. This engagement gap is something millennial employees are trying to change for good. From open offices to more frequent opportunities for feedback and exchanging ideas, millennials crave flatness in company structure and communication channels. Open-door policies don’t mean anything, after all, if your CEO’s office is inaccessible. Millennials also prefer to work in an environment with great natural lighting — probably because this, too, contributes to a sense of openness and harmony. 2. The vanishing office The office is vanishing — not completely or overnight, but certainly with time. It’s all about allowing employees to do their work in familiar, comfortable or novel environments. You have probably heard of communal work spaces, which offer an interesting middle-ground between a home office and a company campus. Home offices are booming, too, thanks to millennials. In one survey, 85 percent of millennial respondents indicated they would prefer telecommuting from home or elsewhere 100 percent of the time, versus commuting to a central location. There are plenty of ways for employers to support this new way of working — even in the smaller details like outfitting home or satellite offices. Many companies provide their employees with allowances to buy furnishings, decorations or electronics for their spaces at work, and the same concept can apply for telecommuters. A stipend for remote workers can help them create a unique work environment at home, which contributes to their productivity and makes them feel more connected to the company’s home base. 3. The rise of the side-hustle Depending on whom you ask, this is either a gift of market-driven society or a symptom of it. Either way — and whether out of necessity or the sheer pleasure of developing new skills — millennials are encouraging a new aspect of the economy. The side-hustle isn’t the second job that parents and grandparents knew. It might not be incredibly lucrative, but the side-hustle does provide an opportunity to develop skills, pursue interests and gain a new stream of income in addition to a full time job. According to many economists, a side-hustle economy might soon become reality. 4. Building a brighter future with technology Many jobs that require repetitive motion or manual labor may soon be performed by machines. What comes after that? According to some experts, one solution includes taxes on the robots , which would fund a citizen stipend known as “ universal basic income .” Even now, polls are finding a majority of millennials to be in favor of UBI, since it could help many underemployed college graduates find some financial security as they monetize their skills. We’re getting ahead of the point, but the fact remains: millennials have been extremely quick to read the writing on the wall when it comes to technology and the future of the world economy. They’re envisioning a future where everyone is free to pursue talents and passions, while also learning to integrate these passions with our work responsibilities. 5. Companies that benefit the world Millennials want to spend their time working for organizations that contribute to the common good in some way. They see the challenges facing the world, and recognize the importance of the triple bottom line : social, environmental and financial sustainability. They’ve also given  more of their earnings to charity than their parents’ generation. It doesn’t stop there. When it comes to the physical environment of the workplace, green design is very much in demand. The younger generation wants to work in spaces with eco-friendly lighting, solar power and even down-to-earth structural designs using recycled materials. The point of all this is that young people seem to see a better way of doing things when it comes to working. Step one is to make work more comfortable and relevant for the people doing it. Step two is to make it relevant to the rest of the world. Via NBC News , OnRec , Flex Jobs , Market Watch , SF Gate , The Street and Generosity Images via Brooke Cagle , Marc Mueller , Bruce Mars , Johnson Wang , Scott Webb , RawPixel.com and Deposit Photos

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5 major ways millennials are changing office culture and design

Outside Van’s Powerstation is a rugged yet luxurious tiny home on wheels

April 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Although Outside Van ‘s motto may be “Life is simple in a Van,” their latest model is anything but. The Powerstation is a powerhouse of off-grid living – a tiny home on wheels that can go practically anywhere. The souped-up camper van combines high-tech functionality with a comfortable cabin-like living space, all for the low price of $320,000. The team behind Outside Van takes 4×4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans and turns them into custom-made adventure vehicles. In this case, a client requested an off-grid vehicle for mountain biking outside of Las Vegas. The result is a rugged home on wheels that sleeps six and comes with plenty of room for bike storage. Related: Nondescript VW van hides a gorgeous and chic mobile home The van was designed to offer optimal off-grid functionality combined with all the comforts of home. Although compact, the living and sleeping space has enough space for a queen-sized bed, a two-person bench, and a bamboo cafe table, in addition to offering several strategic storage options. The kitchen is outfitted with a large custom-made galley with a stainless-steel refrigerator and bamboo cabinets. As far as technology, the van contains $24,000 worth of impressive power-generating gear, including battery packs, solar panels, and a diesel-based heating system. A 100W Solar Roof Rack is used to power the van’s electricity and charge electronics. LED lighting was installed for the interior and gear storage lights. According to Erik Ekman, chief executive officer of Outside Vans, this off-grid van is the ultimate purchase for anyone looking to explore the remote areas of the world, “There’s not an RV on the planet that can take you where this van can, and keep you out there off the grid for a long time,” says Ekman. “Our goal is to consistently make the best and most expensive vans we can. We’re not interested in cutting corners.” + Outside Van Via UnCrate Images via Outside Van

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Outside Van’s Powerstation is a rugged yet luxurious tiny home on wheels

Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for plastic binge awareness

April 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

Design collective Luzinterruptus worked their artistic plastic magic last month with an illuminated plastic bottle installation at Singapore’s I Light Marina Bay , dubbed “Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival.” The massive glowing artwork, called Transitable Plastic, comprised seven movable walls hung beneath the Esplanade Bridge, one of the busiest transit areas in the bay. Designed to raise awareness about the “plastic binge,” the interactive artwork required visitors to physically move the plastic walls out of the way in order to get to the other side. Installed for approximately four weeks, Transitable Plastic was created with over 20,000 recycled plastic units collected from the community and local businesses including hotels, restaurants and shopping malls over the span of a month. Luzinterruptus vacuum packed the plastic bottles to create larger panels that were then strung together to form seven large walls. These makeshift walls were hung from metal scaffolding. The installation took 10 days to complete. Related: Historic French building stuffed with plastic bags looks ready to explode “We [lit] the piece with a cold, neutral light which enhanced the glint of the plastic material and brought out the color of the labels allowing to easily guess which are the city’s most popular beverage brands,” wrote the designers. “As visitors entered the piece, landmarks disappeared so they had to get the plastic out of the way in order to avoid getting stuck in the corridors and to get to the other side, a healthier, more open place where they could breathe fresh air. A more-than-a-minute-long walk among plastics which could bring about a bit of asphyxia and inevitably the thought of plastic and its related problems.” Transitable Plastic was fully disassembled at the end of the event and the materials were sorted and recycled. + Luzinterruptus Images by Colossal Pro

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Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for plastic binge awareness

Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint

April 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

A new fashion exhibit in Queens underscores the ongoing water-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan . “Flint Fit” comprises a series of garments inspired by the “power and necessity of water, manufacturing history of Flint, and resiliency” of the people of Flint, who have had to cope with the effects of lead poisoning since 2014. Visual artist Mel Chin  — with an assist from Michigan-born, New York City–based fashion designer Tracy Reese —  conceived of the clothing to highlight the water crisis. Flint has had to resort to bottled water for everything from drinking to bathing, which has also created a tragically bountiful waste stream. Chin enlisted Unifi , which makes recycled textiles, to clean, shred and transform more than 90,000 used water bottles into a performance fabric known as Repreve . To manifest Reese’s designs, Chin turned to the commercial sewing program at St Luke N.E.W. Life Center  in Flint, where at-risk women stitched the pieces. The items include a trench coat, a wide-leg jumpsuit and swimwear. Chin said, “By opening the door for new ideas, Flint Fit aims to stimulate creative production, economic opportunity and empowerment on a local scale.” Jay Hertwig, Unifi’s group vice president for global brand sales, said the brand was “proud to be a part of this exciting moment in art-fashion history.” He continued, “At Unifi, we’re able to transform plastic bottles into Repreve for products that people enjoy every day. And we’re thrilled that Repreve is playing a key role in such a positive movement that came from something so catastrophic.” Part of Chin’s All Over the Place exhibit at Queens Museum , “Flint Fit” will be on display through August 12, 2018. + Flint Fit + Queens Museum

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Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint

This fine-dining chef transforms food waste into creative gourmet dishes

April 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Around one third of food produced in America is thrown out. But Tim Ma, a former electrical engineer-turned-chef, incorporates food scraps others might throw out, like kale stalks or carrot peels, into dishes at Kyirisan , his Washington, D.C. restaurant. Ma told NPR , “I’m in this fine-dining world, but I spend a lot of time going through my garbage.” It’s spring in THIS bowl ?? A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Apr 7, 2018 at 12:40pm PDT Carrot tops aren’t tossed out at Kyirisan, a MICHELIN Guide 2018 Bib Gourmand awardee . Oh no, they’re given new life in pesto, blended up with basil, parsley, pistachios, water, oil, scallions, and sautéed garlic. Carrot peels become garnishes after they’re fried up into strips. And those kale stalks you might throw out? After being braised and fried, they might find their way into a salad with duck confit, radishes, and pickled shallots at Kyirisan. Can you improve on perfection? #rhetoricalquestion #always!!! New set-up for the carrots with miso bagna cauda, with black vinegar, honeyed pistachios, and this silky carrot purée. A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Mar 2, 2018 at 2:31pm PST Related: OLIO launches revolutionary food sharing app to reduce waste NPR said a signature dish of Ma’s, crème fraiche chicken wings with sudachi and gochujang, got its beginnings as an experiment to use up food scraps. At his previous restaurant , Ma would pour sauce he’d created on wings leftover from whole chickens ordered for the restaurant, and serve them to staff. They were so popular they’re now on the Kyirisan dinner menu. Hudson Valley Magret Duck Breast, with three mushrooms, charred shishito, and onion soubise. #duckforgoodluck ????! A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Feb 16, 2018 at 12:05pm PST Reducing food waste makes sense environmentally and economically for Ma. He told NPR, “At the end of the day, it’s a business decision. You do this as a function of saving every penny that you can, because the restaurant margins are so slim right now.” Part of what inspired him to cut food waste was his experience with his first restaurant in Virginia, which almost went under months after opening. He realized he could make changes: for example, instead of ordering in bulk via large distributors, he would order just what he needed from local sellers. Then this happened! A post shared by Tim Ma (@cheftimma) on Sep 11, 2016 at 12:37pm PDT Ma told NPR, “I walk through the restaurant and see, this is what I have and I think about tomorrow and today. How much of something do I really need?” + Kyirisan Via NPR Image via Jackelin Slack on Unsplash

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This fine-dining chef transforms food waste into creative gourmet dishes

This Earth Day, take a fresh look at paper

April 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

Sponsored: Recycled paper, if sourced correctly, can help to reduce the overall environmental impact of offices and businesses.

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This Earth Day, take a fresh look at paper

Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that chomps plastic for lunch

April 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Could we solve the plastic pollution crisis with a mutant enzyme? At a trash dump in 2016, Japanese researchers discovered the first known bacterium that had evolved to consume plastic . The Guardian reported an international team of researchers, building on that finding, began studying the bacterium to understand how it functioned — and then accidentally engineered it to be even better. A new plastic-eating enzyme which could solve one of the world's biggest environmental issues has been discovered by scientists at the University of Portsmouth and @NREL Read more: https://t.co/40SOf85ZW6 @PNASNews #environmentalscience Video credit: @upixphotography pic.twitter.com/U56vcpMoeW — University of Portsmouth (@portsmouthuni) April 16, 2018 Research led by University of Portsmouth and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) teams engineered an enzyme able to break down plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). NREL said the bad news about the find of the bacterium in the Japanese dump was that it doesn’t work quickly enough for recycling on an industrial scale. But while manipulating the enzyme, the international team inadvertently improved its ability to devour plastic. Related: Newly discovered plastic-eating bacteria could help clean up plastic waste around the world John McGeehan, University of Portsmouth professor, told The Guardian, “It is a modest improvement — 20 percent better — but that is not the point. It’s incredible because it tells us that the enzyme is not yet optimized. It gives us scope to use all the technology used in other enzyme development for years and years and make a super-fast enzyme.” This mutant enzyme begins degrading plastic in a few days, a sharp contrast to the centuries it would take for plastic bottles to break down in the ocean . “What we are hoping to do is use this enzyme to turn this plastic back into its original components, so we can literally recycle it back to plastic,” McGeehan told The Guardian. “It means we won’t need to dig up any more oil and, fundamentally, it should reduce the amount of plastic in the environment .” Chemist Oliver Jones of RMIT University, who wasn’t part of the research, told The Guardian this work is exciting, and that enzymes are biodegradable , non-toxic, and microorganisms can produce them in big quantities. He said, “There is still a way to go before you could recycle large amounts of plastic with enzymes, and reducing the amount of plastic produced in the first place might, perhaps, be preferable. [But] this is certainly a step in a positive direction.” The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the research. Scientists from the University of Campinas in Brazil and the University of South Florida contributed. + University of Portsmouth + National Renewable Energy Laboratory Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that chomps plastic for lunch

This stunning brick "cave house" in Vietnam is open to the elements

April 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Vietnamese firm H&P Architects has created a unique “cave” fit for human habitation. Their “Brick Cave” townhouse has three levels of brick walls, each one with apertures that create a playful atmosphere of light and shadow throughout the interior. Pockets of greenery accent the brick construction throughout the house, and a vegetable garden on the roof caps off the structure. Built on a corner lot in ?ông Anh, Vietnam, the home is nestled on the street and blends into the urban landscape. The architects chose to use brick in the construction to create not just a unique home design, but one with an ecological shade system. The multiple walls both filter natural light into the home and shade the interior from the region’s searing summer heat. Related: H&P Architects’ Bamboo Homes Float Above Rising Flood Waters on Recycled Oil Drums The idiosyncratic design is a labyrinth of walkways, stairs and angles illuminated by streams of natural light. In fact, to use the sun to the home’s advantages, the architects conducted a number of studies on the sun’s daily positions in relation to the house. Although the apertures may appear a bit random at first sight, they were strategically implemented to keep the home cool in the summer heat while providing as much natural light as possible. According to H&P Architects , the unconventional combination of bricks and greenery was essential to connect the home to its surroundings: “Brick Cave encompasses a chain of space…with random apertures gradually shifting from openness/publicity to closeness/privacy and vice versa. The combination of ‘close’ and ‘open’ creates diverse relations with the surroundings and thus helps blur the boundaries between in and out, houses and streets/alleys, human and nature.” In addition to having various openings, the walls are slanted inwards. This represents another conscious choice on the part of the architects–the slanted walls provide better viewing angles of the surrounding area and add a sense of nature to the design, letting in elements such as rain and wind. Harsh elements are commonly to blame for house flooding in this region, so the architects wanted a resilient design that would aid in protecting the home by letting the elements pass through it rather than crash into it, essentially creating a safe shelter. + H&P Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Nguyen Tien Thanh

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This stunning brick "cave house" in Vietnam is open to the elements

Light-filled family home sensitively embraces a British Islands native landscape

April 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

When DLM Architects was asked to create an energy-efficient and sustainable family home in St Peter Port of Guernsey, the site’s densely planted vegetation proved both a boon and a challenge. The local planning department had imposed many site restrictions due to the number of protected trees, but after four years of negotiation the architects managed to settle on a solution resulting in a beautiful and light-filled dwelling with a sensitive environmental footprint. Named ‘The Glade’ after the its location in a clearing surrounded by forest, the new-build family home occupies a spacious 3,230 square feet of living space spread out across two floors in a roughly L-shaped plan. To preserve privacy and views from and to neighboring properties, the home is partly sunken into the site’s natural topography with the basement set into an existing swimming pool excavation from the previous build. Guernsey granite and reclaimed brick , mostly sourced on site, clad the ground floor. Cladding is split on the upper floor, with the eastern side featuring a steel-framed cantilever covered in a living wall of 4,000 plants of 13 native species to camouflage the building into the tree canopy. The living wall also doubles as an extra layer of insulation while providing a buffer from acoustic and air pollution from the nearby roads. A double-glazed link housing the staircase separates the plant-covered east wing from the west end where the second level is clad in cedar. Related: Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials Open-plan living is prioritized throughout the home, as is ample glazing to maintain a fluid connection with the outdoors. A natural materials palette is also used throughout the interior. “A skin of locally reclaimed brick is coated with lime slurry, raw pigment plasters line the walls, with grey limestone to the floors, oak joinery, machined brass ironmongery, a bespoke raw steel staircase and furnishings and a reclaimed granite trough as the cloakroom sink,” wrote the architects. “Where possible local materials and fabrication has been utilised delivering a soft traditional character within a contemporary envelope.” + DLM Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Peter Landers

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Light-filled family home sensitively embraces a British Islands native landscape

Stunning ash staircase ties together an eco-conscious home in Mexico City

April 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Located on a brownfield , the Cuernavaca House has an impressive eye for both sustainability and beauty—so much so that the project was long-listed earlier this year for the 2018 RIBA International Prize . Architectural practice Tapia McMahon designed the light-filled residence that fills out the entire plot, making room for light wells, greenery, and spacious rooms within. Repurposed materials and energy-saving solutions are present throughout the family home that’s beautifully tied together by a winding ash staircase. An aggregate of recycled materials and concrete form the Cuernavaca House’s structural walls. The walls’ high thermal mass keep the city’s heat at bay during the day. For a warmer touch indoors, exposed concrete is paired with an abundance of timber from wooden floors and large timber bookshelves to the twisting central ash staircase lit from above. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to take advantage of cross breezes, views, and natural light. Related: This Mexico City home is built around a gorgeous vertical garden The open-plan layout helps promote the flow of natural light and breezes. The office and guest bedroom are located on the ground floor and an expansive living area occupies the first floor above, while the main bedrooms are placed on the upper levels, as is a large roof terrace with a daybed. Greenery punctuates the home, from the roof terraces to the balconies, and is irrigated with collected rainwater . + Tapia McMahon Via Dezeen Images via Rafael Gamo

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Stunning ash staircase ties together an eco-conscious home in Mexico City

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