This LEED Gold wastewater treatment center is helping a community rethink poo

June 13, 2018 by  
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As anyone who’s been to a community meeting knows, the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) syndrome is often a frustrating roadblock. So when Vancouver-based firm PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication was approached to build a wastewater treatment center in the middle of a residential neighborhood in British Columbia, the project predictably ran up against some challenges. Fortunately, the architects turned widely held perceptions of the sewage treatment plant on their head with the design of the Sechelt Water Resource Centre, a stunning LEED Gold -certified facility with a built-in educational component that shows the public the fascinating lifecycle of its waste. The multimillion-dollar Sechelt Water Resource Centre replaces the Ebbtide Wastewater Treatment Plant, an aging facility that was noisy and infamous for its odors. The new treatment center not only contains its smells and sounds more effectively, but also discharges 10 times less solid waste into Trail Bay and is more cost-efficient to operate. Moreover, resources — including biosolids, heat and reclaimed water — that were once wasted are now reused for industry, parks and agriculture. “The LEED Gold-certified Sechelt Water Resource Centre (SWRC) rethinks traditional municipal wastewater treatment by creating a transparent space in the residential heart of Sechelt that engages the public in meaningful ways,” PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication said in a statement. “Instead of sequestering this essential service behind a locked chain-link fence, the facility reveals mechanical and biological systems that clean wastewater, encouraging the public to witness their role in the hydrological cycle. The current incarnation of flush toilet infrastructure — by way of magic, a sort of ‘disappearing’ by water — is no longer viable in our times.” Related: Bicycle highway in the Netherlands built using recycled toilet paper The wastewater treatment center tells the story of the water recycling process through the teaching facility, botanical garden and sewage treatment plant. The waste moves from primary treatment to a plant-based filtration system and finally through UV disinfection, after which the water is redirected to industry. The greenhouse , located in a striking glass structure with a roofline inspired by surrounding residential architecture, grows a variety of plants including tomatoes and roses fed by treated water. The office spaces are clad in charred cedar in reference to the carbon used in filtration, while the heavy equipment areas are sheathed in sulfur-yellow cement board. + PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication Images by Martin Tessler

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This LEED Gold wastewater treatment center is helping a community rethink poo

Earthling Survey: Why Do You Recycle?

June 13, 2018 by  
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Express your opinion and help drive environmental change. Every week, … The post Earthling Survey: Why Do You Recycle? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earthling Survey: Why Do You Recycle?

Infographic: 8 Ways to Use Less Paper

June 13, 2018 by  
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In the United States, we use more than 90 million … The post Infographic: 8 Ways to Use Less Paper appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Infographic: 8 Ways to Use Less Paper

Earth911 Interview: Healthy Climate Alliance Plan to Remove Carbon Dioxide From the Atmosphere

June 13, 2018 by  
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The Healthy Climate Alliance has a bold and achievable plan … The post Earth911 Interview: Healthy Climate Alliance Plan to Remove Carbon Dioxide From the Atmosphere appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Interview: Healthy Climate Alliance Plan to Remove Carbon Dioxide From the Atmosphere

New study suggests that plastic waste may be transformed into usable energy

June 12, 2018 by  
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A new study from the Earth Engineering Center (EEC|CCNY) at the Grove School of Engineering of the City College of New York suggests that plastic waste can effectively be converted into usable fuel and energy rather than being dumped in a landfill or polluting the ocean. Researchers found that the addition of non-recycled plastics (NRPs) to a chemical recycling process known as gasification results in the production of crude oil -based fuel. It also reduces pollution, both plastic and emissions, in contrast to traditional methods of disposing of plastic waste, such as incineration or dumping. Plastic is a product derived from crude oil and, as such, contains significant latent energy that can be harnessed using the right technology and technique. “This study demonstrates that because carbon- and hydrogen -rich plastics have high energy content, there is tremendous potential to use technologies like gasification to convert these materials into fuels, chemicals and other products,” study co-author Marco J. Castaldi told Phys.org . As concerns rise over plastic pollution, scientists are looking to reframe plastic as a resource rather than waste . “Plastics have an end-of-life use that will be turning waste into energy, which is something we all need and use,” study co-author Demetra Tsiamis told Phys.org. Related: UN releases first “state of plastics” report on World Environment Day Gasification uses air or steam to heat plastic waste. This results in the creation of industrial gas mixtures called synthesis gas, or syngas. This syngas can either be converted into diesel and petrol or burned directly to generate electricity . This process is preferable to incineration of plastic waste because it allows for the storage of potentially usable energy that otherwise would be wasted through incineration. Gasification is also better for air quality, producing much lower levels of sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions. + Earth Engineering Center Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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New study suggests that plastic waste may be transformed into usable energy

Students compete to design energy-efficient, battery-powered rail vehicles

June 7, 2018 by  
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Students in Sweden showed off creative designs for energy efficient , battery-powered rail vehicles at the Delsbo Electric competition in late May. One team set a new record, for the “lowest energy consumption per person-kilometer ever for a man-made engine driven vehicle.” According to an emailed statement, the winning vehicle could transport a person around 1,640 feet with the energy of a single Google search. Dalarna University students won the Delsbo Electric 2018 competition with the Eximus III, which transported six people from Delsbo to Fredriksfors and back on a track around two miles long. The average weight of the passengers was over 110 pounds, and the vehicle speed was more than six miles per hour. Eximus III’s energy consumption was 0.63 watt-hours (Wh) per person-kilometer, the lowest ever recorded for a man-made vehicle powered by an engine. Related: Swedish students design one of the world’s most energy-efficient rail-bound vehicles Students also competed for the HHK Innovation Award, given by experts from company Hudiksvalls Hydraulikkluster (HHK). Linköping University students nabbed that prize for Helios, which boasted a vehicle body and wheels comprised almost entirely of wood  and a windshield made from recycled plastic . Solar panels atop the roof provided clean power. Emil Fernlund, a member of the team, said in a video , “Our whole approach is based on sustainable design . We want to show that you can build energy efficiently and use renewable materials .” Chairman of the HHK Innovation Award jury and HHK Cluster Manager Paul Bogatir said in a statement, “Helios is a beautiful concept and it inspires the industry and the world to think about energy efficiency during the whole product life cycle — not just when the product is in use.” One team, from the Chalmers University of Technology , showed off a prototype for a Maglev train that could travel on existing tracks. While it’s not ready to be implemented yet, the students hope people will be able to ride it in a few years. + Delsbo Electric + Linköping University Images courtesy of Hudiksvalls Hydraulikkluster / Delsbo Electric

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Students compete to design energy-efficient, battery-powered rail vehicles

UN releases first "state of plastics" report on World Environment Day

June 6, 2018 by  
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The United Nations has released its first-ever global plastics report on June 5th, World Environment Day. Well-timed and thematically coordinated, the UN “state of plastics” report debuted for this year’s theme, “Beat Plastic Pollution.” Officially named Single-Use Plastics: A Roadmap for Sustainability , the report documents the efforts of more than 60 countries to fight plastic pollution by implementing bans or taxes on single-use plastic items, concluding that such policies are the most effective means to reduce plastic usage. “The assessment shows that action can be painless and profitable — with huge gains for people and the planet that help avert the costly downstream costs of pollution,” head of UN Environment Erik Solheim wrote in the report. “Plastic isn’t the problem. It’s what we do with it.” In addition to assessing policy solutions, the report also outlines the current state of plastic recycling and disposal. According to the report, only 9 percent of plastic is recycled, while 79 percent of all plastic ends up in landfills, garbage dumps or in the natural world. Twelve percent is incinerated, resulting in pollutants that enter the atmosphere and affect environmental health. Of particular concern is the use of plastic bags, which often block water ways, provide disease-spreading insects with a place to breed and harm wildlife. Related: Pilot whale dies in Thailand with more than 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach Of the countries that have implemented plastic bag bans or taxes, 50 percent were not able to provide data to effectively evaluate the policy impact. Thirty percent of the total countries reported that their policies reduced the use of plastic bags within a year of implementation, while 20 percent said that their policy changes had little effect. This lack of impact may be due to poor enforcement or simply that consumers don’t have access to affordable alternatives. The report highlights the success of Morocco , in which an enforced ban resulted in the seizure of 421 tons of plastic bags and a near-total replacement of plastic bags with fabric. The report recommends that bans and taxes be supplemented with improved waste management, a circular plastic production and consumption model, and financial benefits dispersed to businesses and consumers to encourage the development and adoption of plastic alternatives. + UN Environment Via Ecowatch Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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UN releases first "state of plastics" report on World Environment Day

‘House of Trash’ proves how waste can transform into beautiful home design

May 30, 2018 by  
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Taipei-based engineering firm Miniwiz is already known as a pioneer in technology for the  circular economy , but now it is determined to find a new place for old waste — back into our homes. The innovative company has recently teamed up with homeware company  Pentatonic to create the House of Trash, a home design exhibit that showcases everyday decor and furniture made from post-consumer waste. Already known internationally, The House of Trash celebrates Miniwiz’s expansion into the Milan market. Located on Foro Bonaparte in the center of the city, the home is filled with various prototype products designed by Pentatonic . According to its description, the space is a 360-degree real-world demonstration of what can be achieved by converting consumer waste into usable products. Related: Miniwiz’s Stylish Re-Wine Desktop Lamp is Made from 100% Trash Everything from food packaging and coffee cups to furniture and artwork in the house is made with trash. Also on display will be prototypes of Pentatonic’s AirTool Soft, which is a line of modular fabric components woven from trash on Italian looms. Additional displays include recycled pieces by multidisciplinary Italian architect, Cesare Leonardi and an art series, “We’re All In This Together,” by famed graffiti artist, Mode2 . After its unveiling, the home will become a permanent place where the sustainably-minded companies can display their latest  green innovations . The space will allow people and companies of all backgrounds to come together and collaborate on ideas that address sustainability, recycling and eco-consciousness. According to Miniwiz founder Arthur Huang, Milan is the perfect setting to find a real market for the innovative “trash technologies.” He said, “There is no better place than Milan to engage designers and architects with our trash innovation and circular technology.” + Miniwiz + Pentatonic Images via Miniwiz

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‘House of Trash’ proves how waste can transform into beautiful home design

This luxury Miami home brings the tropical landscape indoors

May 30, 2018 by  
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Cape Town-based architecture firm SAOTA has completed a luxury waterfront home in Miami that boasts envious views toward the Atlantic Ocean and Miami Beach. Sandwiched between the Indian Creek Canal and Pine Tree Drive in the city’s historic Collins Waterfront district, the expansive home—called the Pine Tree Residence—prioritizes an indoor-outdoor living environment. The home also derives inspiration from the firm’s South African roots with its emphasis on the outdoors and “easy-living.” Completed as SAOTA’s first project in Miami, the Pine Tree family home is punctuated with palm trees and continuous views of water throughout. To take advantage of the site’s strong linear proportions, the architects installed large windows that allow for views straight through the home. The porosity of the home and the layout allow homeowners to enjoy views of the outdoors from almost any vantage point in the home. The Pine Tree home also overlooks the activity of the canal ; however, punched anodized aluminum screens can be used to ensure privacy when needed. “The design is as much about containment as it is about the views through the many living spaces, towards the Atlantic Ocean and world-renowned Miami Beach,” says SAOTA director, Philip Olmesdahl. “While the overall contemporary architectural design is a key focus of the SAOTA design team, the use and connectivity of the spaces is the primary driver – how the house lives.” The pool dominates the home’s footprint and the amount of water on the site is about half of the six-bedroom house. The large pool courtyard offers a buffet of entertaining options and includes a hot tub, barbecue area, bar, and even a two-story waterslide that serves as a focal point at the pool pavilion. Related: Foster + Partners unveil plans for a pair of hurricane-resistant high rises in Miami The interior is awash in natural light and the spaces were designed in collaboration with Nils Sanderson. The contemporary and harmonious finishes and furnishings establish the home as a calm retreat from stressful city life. Warm tones are achieved through a mixture of timber and other materials such as callacatta and limestone.  Raymond Jungles designed the landscape. + SAOTA Images via SAOTA

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BIG designs a high-end tiny house that goes off-grid

May 18, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has revealed images for the firm’s first-ever tiny house—the A45—designed for the prefab-housing startup Klein . Inspired by the traditional A-frame cabin, the A45 takes on an angular form conducive to rain run-off and easy construction. The 180-square-foot timber cabin boasts a completely customizable interior design and can be built within four to six months in any location. Constructed in Upstate New York, the prototype for the A45 tiny house is clad in blackened pine with a triangular glazed end wall to immerse homeowners in nature even when they’re indoors. The triangular floor-to-ceiling window—made up of seven glass pieces—and the soaring 13-foot-tall ceiling help create a sense of spaciousness despite the structure’s small 180-square-foot size. The cabin is slightly elevated on four concrete piers in order to minimize site impact and to give homeowners the freedom to place the tiny home in areas without heavy machinery. “The resulting crystal-like shape gives A45 an ever-changing appearance,” said BIG in a statement about their modification of the traditional A-frame cabin. “Upon entering, the 180 [square-foot] interior space reflects a minimal Nordic abode prioritized for ‘hyggelig’ comfort and design.” The subtle natural material palette, from the exposed timber frame built of solid pine to the Douglas Fir floor planks and the space-grade insulating natural cork walls, further emphasizes the Scandinavian aesthetic. Cedar clads the compact bathroom, and the fixtures were sourced from VOLA. Related: This tiny timber cabin was built from construction waste for under $30K The A45 tiny house comprises 100% recyclable materials including the timber frame, wall modules, and subfloor. The home get all of its power from  solar panels, and the service equipment is hidden from view in the back. The cozy interior is furnished with a Morsøe wood-burning stove and handcrafted Nordic furniture including pieces by Carl Hansen and a bed fitted with Soren Rose Studio’s Kvadrat fabrics. Københavns Møbelsnedkeri designed the petite kitchen. + Bjarke Ingels Group + Klein Via AD Images via BIG

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