Solar-powered Austin home embraces sustainability in more ways than one

November 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

In South Austin, Miró Rivera Architects has completed the Westridge Residence, a contemporary home with an emphasis on sustainable design. Built for a family of four, the sculptural home features rounded roofs on its two structures — the main house and a detached garage with a guest apartment — connected with a trellis of rebar suspended in a natural curve. To minimize its environmental footprint, the house is powered with solar and geothermal energy and was built with durable, long-lasting materials to minimize long-term maintenance. Set on the flattest part of a wooded sloping site in the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, the Westridge Residence was designed to follow the natural terrain and minimize site impact. To take advantage of the site’s natural beauty, the home opens up to the outdoors with large windows, glazed sliding doors and outdoor decks on both levels. The outdoor Ipei deck that connects the two buildings also conceals five 2,000-gallon rainwater storage tanks that are used for irrigation and to compensate for seasonal evaporation loss in the adjacent 40-foot-long swimming pool. Related: Solar-powered Austin home can save owners nearly $100K in energy costs The main house includes an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen as well as the master suite on the ground floor. The upper level contains two bedrooms, a playroom with a kitchenette, a small media room and a flex room in addition to the open-air covered deck. The detached guest house contains an open-air carport, workshop and storeroom below; the upper level holds a home office and a guest apartment with a bathroom and kitchenette. To reduce the home’s energy demands, the architects specified “double wall” construction for a highly insulated envelope with R-21 walls and R-30 ceilings. Installation of Energy Star-certified lighting fixtures and appliances as well as a 6.8-kW rooftop solar system and a geothermal loop field have translated to energy savings of approximately 22 percent annually as compared to an energy model from a baseline case study. During construction, waste was minimized and recycled wherever possible. In the revegetation of the landscape, invasive species were replaced with native plants. + Miró Rivera Architects Photography by Paul Finkel | Piston Design and Cris DeWitt via Miró Rivera Architects

View original here: 
Solar-powered Austin home embraces sustainability in more ways than one

High-tech wetsuit protects divers and surfers from toxic elements in the oceans

November 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

With ocean waters being polluted at an astonishing rate, swimmers, divers and surfers are putting their lives at risk simply by entering the water. Vissla and Surfrider have collaborated on a slightly depressing solution aimed to keep water-lovers safe. The Rising Seas Wetsuit is a high-tech body suit that uses nanotechnology to block the absorption of any harmful pollutants in the water. Additionally, Nitrile pads on the stomach, elbows and knees help surfers maintain their grip on the board, even in seriously slimy conditions. Unfortunately, despite concerted efforts around the world to stave off any more damage, oceans are becoming suffocated with harmful bacteria, viruses, algal blooms, oil spills, trash — you name it. It is becoming common practice to close beaches due to the presence of harmful bacteria. Related: Yves Béhar recycles wetsuits and boat sails into ocean-friendly bags The innovative wetsuit is designed to allow divers and surfers to enjoy the waters, no matter how toxic they become . According to the design team, the Rising Seas Wetsuit includes a built-in bio-defense system that offers an impenetrable level of protection to the wearer while they are in the water. The futuristic wetsuit is made out of an Anti-R material that uses nanotechnology to block the absorption of harmful pollutants. The suit includes sensors that monitor the water conditions for bacteria levels, radiation and overall toxicity. All of this information is displayed on a digital LED display that is controlled by a touchscreen control panel on the forearm. The system allows swimmers and divers to access information easily and set preferences, such as alerts for extreme conditions. It also comes with satellite GPS services that provide location-based swell charts and current weather information. According to Vissla, the wetsuit is in the concept stages, and the team emphasized that this is a project they “never want to make a reality.” But its design is meant to draw attention to the extremely urgent issue of ocean pollution and rising sea levels . + Vissla + Surfrider Via Uncrate Images via Vissla

Original post:
High-tech wetsuit protects divers and surfers from toxic elements in the oceans

Sead Pod offers grassroots solution to air pollution and global warming

November 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Gardening should be good for the environment, adding oxygen to the air, nutrients to the soil and filtering water for consumption. But plastic and toxins have become ubiquitous, leaving the home gardener to make intentional choices about which products to use. That’s where Sead Pod comes in, a vertical garden made using sustainable practices and recycled materials . Sead (Sustainable Ecology, Adaptive Design) Pod offers a simple plastic planter for bringing gardens into the smallest spaces while reusing plastic, which is problematic for the environment. The pod simply clips on to any chain link fencing, providing water efficiency from the vertical garden design while diverting plastic from the landfill. Related: This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive “The Sead Pod represents a new way of thinking about green design in an urban context,” said Bryan Meador, Plant Seads’ Founder and Chief Design Officer. “By reimagining existing architectural elements like chain link fencing as a tool in the fight against climate change, we’re able to leap into the green movement immediately, fighting climate change at the grassroots level and making our cities cleaner, healthier, and more livable—right now.”  Based in Kingston, New York, Meador is familiar with the limitations of urban gardens so he designed the Sead Pod to jump start the urgency of climate change. What he described as “the sluggish response of government and multinational companies” lead him to take action, experimenting with 3d printing and rapid prototype development to finalize the design . Proving his self-labeled impatience, Meador had the Sead Pod designed, manufactured and released in less than nine months. “Our generation is the first to be born into Climate Change. This crisis is not hypothetical to us, and we’re tired of waiting around for others to address this issue in a meaningful way,” Meador said in a press release.  With lofty goals of tackling CO2 emissions at a grassroots level, the Sead Pod gives everyone the ability to contribute to the solution. Imagine every chain link fence in your community covered in greenery and you begin to see the potential. The pods also connect to chain link material the size of a picture frame and Sead Pod offers five sizes of sead frames to suit the needs of every home and office. They are designed to be durable for long-term use even when exposed to harsh elements, not to mention, they are recyclable at the end of their life cycle. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thursday, October 31, 2019 8:59 PM PDT. + Plant Seads Images via Plant Seads

Original post: 
Sead Pod offers grassroots solution to air pollution and global warming

Aluminum cans vs plastic bottles: which is best for the environment?

October 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Aluminum cans vs plastic bottles: which is best for the environment?

We’ve all been guilty of buying an unsustainable beverage every once in a while, but when faced with the perplexing conundrum of whether to grab that plastic bottle or aluminum can, which do you believe to be more environmentally-friendly ? The history of plastic goes back to the early 1900s when the first fully synthetic plastic was invented as an alternative to the shellac used in electronic insulation. During World War II, plastic production increased by 300% in the United States as it was used for everything, from nylon in ropes and parachutes to plexiglass in airplane windows. After the war, commercial use of plastic had completely taken off and incorporated into virtually every product and market in modern life. By the 1960s, the first occurrence of plastic pollution in the oceans was recorded. Related: This rechargeable camping headlamp is made out of sustainable wood and recycled aluminum Today, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 80% of the marine debris found in our oceans originated as land-based trash that was not recycled. Over 90% of the plastics found in the ocean is comprised of microplastics, which commonly end up ingested by aquatic animals, often killing them through choking or toxicity. The National Geographic Society found that 91% of the world’s plastic was not recycled in 2018. That alarming statistic means that all but 9% of plastic waste ends up either in landfills or in the ocean. Plastic bottles are made from petroleum, or “crude oil.” Oil drilling, also known as fracking, wastes water, releases methane into the atmosphere, produces oil spills and generally wreaks havoc on the environment. Plastic bottles are typically too thin to recycle into more plastic bottles, but the material can be made into fibers for things like carpets, clothing and sleeping bags. In 2018, the recycling rate for plastic bottles was just over 29%. The use of aluminum cans was first introduced to the general public in 1959 by Coors. About five years later, Royal Crown Cola brought aluminum into the soft drinks game with their RC Cola and Diet Rite. Since then, they’ve been used for everything from energy drinks and sparkling waters to sodas and wine. Aluminum offered an affordable alternative to steel as well as a more convenient surface for company printed text and graphics. Aluminum cans can be recycled into more cans in a true “closed-loop” recycling process. In 2018 the recycling rate for aluminum cans was 49.8%. The liquid inside the aluminum can benefit from the material as well, since aluminum blocks light, moisture and oxygen from permeating the outside. This makes the drinks more sustainable , as they have a longer shelf-life. Lightweight cans have only decreased in weight over the years, with the first aluminum cans weighing about three ounces per unit and modern cans weighing less than half an ounce. Typically recycling programs value aluminum over plastic or glass, with the former holding $1,317 worth of value per ton of recyclable material versus plastic’s $299 per ton. This allows more municipal recycling programs to stay in service. IFC International, a global management consulting and technology company, found in a 2016 study that the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation and refrigeration of aluminum are 7 to 21 percent lower than that of plastic and 35 to 49 percent lower than glass. The easy-to-recycle aluminum material doesn’t stop there; the shiny stuff’s strength is another advantage. According to the Aluminum Association , four six-packs can hold up a two-ton vehicle thanks to the packaging’s aversion to rust, corrosion and ability to withhold carbonation pressure. This stamina allows companies to package and transport more product using less material. Related: Prada jumps into the sustainability realm with six Re-Nylon bags made from recycled plastic waste When it comes to the amount of recycled material found in cans versus plastic bottles, aluminum has the upper hand, as well. In 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency found that aluminum cans contain three times the amount of recycled content than plastic. They also estimated that aluminum cans are made up of 73% recycled material on average.  Aluminum doesn’t occur in nature and is primarily comprised of bauxite rock, which is primarily found in Australia, India and Brazil. Collecting bauxite comprises of open-pit mining, which usually involves moving or bulldozing large amounts of vegetation and surface rocks. This type of mining negatively affects ecosystems and creates air and water pollution , which can cause health issues for wildlife and humans. Not to mention, the combination of electrolysis and chemical processing that it takes to turn bauxite into conventional aluminum takes a large amount of heat and energy. However, the Aluminum Association assures that land conservation has become an important focus among bauxite mining. Topsoil from the site is stored to be replaced after the process is finished, so “an average of 80 percent of the land mined for bauxite is returned to its native ecosystem.” So how can you make sure you’re not contributing to plastic or aluminum pollution? Always reach for that reusable water bottle before going out! Fill it with water, soda, juice or whatever you like. For those unavoidable times when you end up with plastic or aluminum waste, get some inspiration for recycling through Inhabitat! Images via pasja1000 , gepharts3d , filmbetrachterin , Enriquehgz , Mr.TinDC

See original here:
Aluminum cans vs plastic bottles: which is best for the environment?

Unfavorable times for the electric scooter industry

October 24, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Unfavorable times for the electric scooter industry

Once billed as an environmentally-friendly and enterprising venture, the electric scooter-sharing micromobility business has not lived up to the promising hype but is now looking dismal. Could this be the end for e-scooters? By commuting via e-scooters, it was hoped they would reduce traffic volume, promote zero-carbon transport and improve air quality by mitigating pollution . Instead, there have even been numerous complaints regarding cluttered sidewalks and claims about the injuries they cause due to irresponsible riders. Not to mention, they have an average lifespan of less than a month per e-scooter together, with an average of three and a half rides per day, their cost-effectiveness and sustainability are coming into question. Related:  We love electric scooters — but is the Bird trend actually bad for the environment? However, e-scooter economics have been grabbing headlines, especially since the two major players, Bird and Lime, are projected to financially lose big time. Lime, for instance, is experiencing a troubling downturn to the tune of $300 million in operational costs because of “depreciation of its e-scooters and how much it costs to run warehouses that repair and position the vehicles,” according to The Information . Similarly, its competitor, Bird, has likewise lost approximately $100 million in the first quarter of this year while revenues shrank to just $15 million. Consequently, Bird is trying to drum up more investment capital just to stay afloat, thus hinting at the startup’s overvaluation. Perhaps even more worrisome is the perspective that these e-scooters, despite being electric, are in fact environmentally unfriendly. Repeatedly manufacturing, purchasing, transporting, repairing and replacing a continuous array of e-scooters with short lifespans do not collectively translate to a reduced carbon footprint .  As for those e-scooters that find themselves inoperable and beyond repair from vandalism or theft, their parts are not likely to be recycled but improperly disposed of. Finally, the lithium-ion batteries that power these e-scooters have associated environmental risks, thereby raising concerns about just how eco-friendly they are after all. Interestingly, e-scooters have now entered the radar of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). “This is a new item coming into scrapyards. ISRI is working to educate its members about e-scooters and advises them to be on the lookout for these devices,” says Mark Carpenter, ISRI assistant vice president of communications and marketing. “Facilities need to be aware the scooters contain batteries that can pose a safety hazard, and those must be removed before handling.” The environmental hazards that e-scooters pose, coupled with their poor economic feasibility, have understandably sparked skepticism. It remains to be seen whether the labor and cost intensive e-scooter business model will prove to be anything but wasteful in their net sustainability. Via Gizmodo and The Information Image via Lime

See original here:
Unfavorable times for the electric scooter industry

Designer invents self-testing HIV kit made out of recycled plastic

October 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Designer invents self-testing HIV kit made out of recycled plastic

One of the largest obstacles in HIV prevention is the lack of clinics and resources in developing countries around the world. Now, British product designer Hans Ramzan has unveiled a solution that could potentially save thousands of lives. CATCH is a low-cost, self-testing HIV kit, partly made from recycled plastic, that is designed to help individuals check for HIV in their own homes, reducing the need to travel miles to the nearest clinic. As a leading cause of death around the world, HIV infected about 1.7 million individuals in 2018 alone , and nearly 40 million people are living with HIV globally. Despite these massive numbers, early detection is nearly impossible for many who live in rural areas that don’t have clinics nearby. Due to the lack of resources that would otherwise help patients detect HIV in its early stages, many people develop AIDS, which often leads to death. The situation is dire and has been for years, but CATCH might be able to change that. Related: New study claims climate change could be linked to heart defects in newborns CATCH is a low-cost testing kit that allows individuals to face fewer long trips to the nearest clinic. The innovative finger kit is extremely intuitive and can be used by anyone. In just three simple steps, people can check their status. The first step is to slide the disinfectant sleeve over the finger. Then, push down on the pipette/needle-top. and finally press the button to see the result. Made partly out of recycled plastic , the design is eco-friendly and affordable. The production price of one CATCH kit is £4 (approximately $5). According to Ramzan, the innovative design was inspired by his own experience of losing someone. “After witnessing my aunt pass away due to a life-threatening illness, it was heart-breaking,” Ramzan said. “If she had her illness caught earlier, perhaps her chances of survival would have been greater. That’s when something clicked — too many people are dying due to late diagnosis.” + Hans Ramzan Images via Hans Ramzan

Original post: 
Designer invents self-testing HIV kit made out of recycled plastic

Calm Booth is a soundproof office retreat made out of recycled plastic bottles

October 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Calm Booth is a soundproof office retreat made out of recycled plastic bottles

The stresses of work often make us want to crawl under our desks. Now, one innovative firm is providing offices with a designated place to tune out the noise and find inner peace. Designed by New York-based firm ROOM , the Calm Booth, which is made out of 1,088 recycled plastic bottles , was created for companies that want to provide their employees with a space to enjoy a moment of peace while working. According to the designers, the inspiration for the Calm Booth came from the common difficulty that workers face when wanting to find a moment of  peace during a long, hectic workday. The booth is designed to be a place where “meditation meets privacy,” allowing workers to enjoy a respite to relax and refocus during the day. Related: Upcycled plastic bottles are used to create this durable emergency shelter ROOM has long been known for its soundproof booths that are designed to create private spaces for office use . But this time around, it is partnering with a meditation app, called Calm, to create a soothing space that has an extensive library of meditation soundtracks, from nature soundscapes to music to “nap stories.” The Calm Booth is a simple structure clad in a crisp, white facade with a frosted, acrylic privacy door. The booth is made soundproof thanks to three layers of insulation made with more than 1,000 recycled plastic bottles . On the interior, the space is minimalist with a simple, green forest print on the walls. The booth also comes with a small shelf, a built-in Ethernet port, soft motion-enabled LED lighting and a ventilation system. According to the American Institute of Stress , work-related stress accounts for high absenteeism in offices around the country. Hopefully, companies will begin to take notice that providing a place for workers to practice mindfulness within the office is both beneficial to employees as well as the bottom line. Creating that space with recycled materials is better for the planet, too. + ROOM Architects Images via ROOM Architects

Read the original post: 
Calm Booth is a soundproof office retreat made out of recycled plastic bottles

Stroodles lets you eat your straw

October 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Stroodles lets you eat your straw

Now you can one-up your most eco-conscious friends. Instead of composting your straw after you finish your drink, now, you can just eat it. Stroodles , a new straw made out of pasta, solves the ethical straw problem. Made in Italy, the pasta straws are made out of only two ingredients: durum wheat and water. So vegans are in luck, but people with Celiac disease aren’t. Other than a possible starchy taste, Stroodles are flavorless. If you choose not to eat your Stroodle, it will decompose in days rather than a month, like a paper straw, or never, like a plastic straw. Stroodles are stronger than paper straws, lasting up to an hour or two in a cold drink without getting soggy. But don’t use a Stroodle in a hot drink, as it will turn into an ordinary noodle. Related: Tooth: the eco-friendly toothbrush made from recycled and biodegradable materials The UK-based company donates a share of sales to Ocean Plastic, an organization fighting plastic waste, and other charities. When they arrive from the supplier, workers manually sort the pasta straws. Those deemed imperfect or inferior are donated to food banks through City Harvest and, presumably, turned into spaghetti . According to the Stroodles website, “With Stroodles, you don’t have to change behaviours and compromise on your drinking experience. By stroodling your drink , you can do good, the easy way. We call this ‘drink-easy.’” Americans alone use about 500 million plastic straws per day. Around the world, countries, states and cities are banning single-use plastics, including straws. Stroodles has picked the right moment to turn the world on to pasta straws. As they claim, “Stroodles is not just another straw company! Stroodles is a movement. Stroodles is here to help fight plastic waste and straws are just our first channel of choice. We want to inspire the world and show how easy it is to do good – with just one Stroodle at a time.” + Stroodles Images via Stroodles

See the original post: 
Stroodles lets you eat your straw

Recycled plastic to soon pave Los Angeles roads

October 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Recycled plastic to soon pave Los Angeles roads

To better manage plastic waste , Los Angeles is in talks with Technisoil, an innovative manufacturing company, to viably incorporate plastic into the city’s roads. Typically viewed as an ecological scourge, plastic waste can also be seen as a valuable resource when repurposed. Substituting asphalt road materials with upcycled plastic waste could spell cost savings for both road construction and waste management endeavors. Because plastic does not degrade easily, it has now become a significant environmental threat, often entering our oceans and harming marine life. At the same time, road maintenance can be a costly enterprise. To address the two key global issues of excess plastic waste and sustainable road maintenance, Los Angeles and Technisoil are jointly piloting the use of recycled plastic in road construction plans. Related: $87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions The innovative method will be tested at the corner of West First Street and North Grand Avenue. First, plastic waste will be fragmented into pellets. These pellets will next be melted into a type of oil-based material, called bitumen. Bitumen is the petroleum-based binding agent in asphalt. Thus, the “plastic oil” will then be mixed in with other paving materials to create a type of plastic-infused asphalt. What are some advantages to these plastic roads? First, they are a less expensive alternative when compared to bitumen or traditional asphalt. Because plastic-suffused asphalt reduces the amount of petroleum in asphalt, these roads require less time to assemble, making them a more financially feasible choice. Similarly, these roads have a lower carbon footprint because the repurposed plastic produces less emissions. These plastic roads are durable, have a longer lifespan and are seven times stronger than regular asphalt, translating into less need for road maintenance. Environmentalists worry that the plastic will leach into waterways. But both the city of Los Angeles and Technisoil claim they’ve performed tests that prove otherwise. The timing is opportune for Los Angeles to leverage recycled plastic because China has ceased accepting recyclables from the City of Angels. Rather than having plastic accumulate in Southern California landfills, this venture promises to effectively utilize plastic while concurrently alleviating waste management and road construction costs. Should this process prove successful, it will be a model that other cities across the U.S. can implement as well. Doing so will bring the nation closer to mitigating plastic pollution while simultaneously helping to improve the country’s vast network of roads that have yet to be repaired or updated. “This is an exciting technology and a sustainable technology,” said Keith Mozee, assistant director at the Department of Street Services. “And it’s something that we believe going forward could be game-changing if we deploy on a large scale.” Via The Architect’s Newspaper Image via Giuseppe Milo

Continued here: 
Recycled plastic to soon pave Los Angeles roads

Fashion collaboration repurposes leather offcuts into eco-friendly home and lifestyle products

October 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Fashion collaboration repurposes leather offcuts into eco-friendly home and lifestyle products

Award-winning design studio OPENUU has joined forces with RIL CREED, a sustainable handbag fashion brand, to create two collections for home and lifestyle using upcycled genuine Italian leather . Using scraps of leather that would otherwise be thrown away, these two special collections are combating the wasteful ways of the modern fashion industry and giving new life to forgotten fabrics. The two companies came together for the project after realizing the negative impact that fashion waste has on the environment. They were specifically alarmed by the sobering fact that about 50 percent of natural leather hide is wasted (often destined for landfill) and up to 95 percent of the textiles that end up in landfills each year could have been recycled. Related: Fashion brands ranked for toxic textiles and sustainability Through their experiences in the design world, OPENUU and RIL CREED have found ways to turn otherwise wasted pieces of durable materials into beautiful, upcycled pieces that can be used in everyday life. The products are unique, sustainable and limited-edition. The first collection celebrates the combination of understated luxury and practical durability. Dubbed “Amber Home,” the decorative cushions are made from 100 percent upcycled leather and fabric offcuts from factories. The design and production of this collection of home goods benefited from OPENUU’s interior decor expertise as well as RIL CREED’s proficiency in leather handbag production. For the second collection, “Willow Travel,” OPENUU and RIL CREED took inspiration from watching the sunsets in different cities during their summer travels. The series of travel accessories was produced using the same initiatives of responsible leather and fabric upcycling. In an effort to challenge the monotone look of traditional travel wallets, these passport holders and ID holders come in bright, playful colors that will appeal to a wide range of travelers. + OPENUU + RIL CREED Images via OPENUU and RIL CREED

See more here: 
Fashion collaboration repurposes leather offcuts into eco-friendly home and lifestyle products

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1663 access attempts in the last 7 days.