Everloops sustainable toothbrush comes with replaceable bamboo bristles

March 26, 2020 by  
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Mexico City-based NOS has come out with a design to address one of the many causes of plastic pollution that consumers tend to overlook: toothbrushes. The company’s Everloop toothbrush combines a reusable, recycled plastic handle with replaceable bristles made from compostable bamboo . The sheer number of plastic toothbrushes that end up in landfills every year is a much larger problem than most people realize. Most dentists, as well as the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend replacing toothbrushes every three or four months or whenever the bristles begin to fray. Seeing as there are over 300 million people living in the United States, that means there are about 1 billion plastic toothbrushes tossed into the garbage every year in this country alone. Related: Tooth — the eco-friendly toothbrush made from recycled and biodegradable materials The plastic handles on typical toothbrushes are regularly found during beach cleanups, and the tiny nylon bristles have the potential to contribute to microplastics in the ocean. Some modern designs aim to take the plastic out of disposable toothbrushes and replace it with bamboo handles. This is a step in the right direction, but it still leaves the issue of regular pollution every three months when it’s time to replace the toothbrush, especially considering many bamboo toothbrushes still have nylon bristles. NOS aims to stop this endless toothbrush pollution with its unique redesign of the bristle component. The head and base of the Everloop toothbrush is made of recycled plastic from other discarded toothbrushes, with a clipping mechanism that easily opens and closes to replace the bristles (made entirely out of natural bamboo) when it’s time to change them. The disposed bamboo bristles are 100% compostable. Each toothbrush comes with a set of eight bamboo bristles to be replaced every three months, enough for at least two years. Even the packaging, made from thermoformed paper pulp, can be safely composted . + NOS Images via NOS

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Everloops sustainable toothbrush comes with replaceable bamboo bristles

Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming

March 26, 2020 by  
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In summer 2019, a surprising sight popped up on a New Hampshire lake — ICEBERG, a floating, iceberg-shaped pavilion made of locally sourced wood and recycled plastic. Created to raise awareness on the issue of polar ice melt, the temporary installation was the work of  Bulot+Collins , an international architecture firm that guided over a hundred Beam Campers to build the project on-site. The environmental installation also doubled as a play space with a resting area for sunbathing and a staircase that leads to a diving platform.  ICEBERG was designed and built for  Beam Camp , a summer camp in Strafford, New Hampshire that teaches campers hands-on skills and creative thinking through large-scale collaborative projects selected through an annual worldwide design competition. In 2019, Bulot+Collins’ ICEBERG project was chosen and built in three weeks by 104 campers between the ages of 10 to 17.  Located in the middle of Willy Pond, the 700-square-foot ICEBERG pavilion features a slanted wood frame buoyed by a series of empty barrels. The structure is covered in locally sourced plywood panels clad in recycled HDPE tiles manufactured on-site by the campers with a process exclusively developed by the architects for the project. Recycled plastic was melted and molded into triangular shapes and then covered in a mix of resin and thermochromic paint to simulate the appearance of a melting iceberg : the hundreds of tiles turn from different shades of blue in the cold to a polar white in the heat.  Related: ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C. In addition to its striking visual appearance, ICEBERG served as a play space with a sunbathing area and a 10-foot-tall diving platform. “As architects accustomed to working in an environment where the designer, the client and the users are often three distinct parties, we were stimulated to have the future users play an active role in the building process of the project,” note the architects. “This blurring of boundaries familiarized campers with the subtle implications of building a space, and allowed them to evolve in a structure that they constructed with their own hands.” + Bulot+Collins Images via Bulot+Collins

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Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming

Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

March 12, 2020 by  
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Just outside Kaohsiung’s city center, Taiwanese architecture firm Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute has completed Comfort in Context, a contemporary new home nestled in a lush hillside. Crafted as a respite in nature, the building is set far back from the road and is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing to take in mountain views. Nature also informed the design and orientation of the home, which relies on cross breezes and strategically located roof eaves to stay naturally cool while minimizing the use of electricity. Though strikingly contemporary in appearance, the design of Comfort in Context relies on age-old passive design principles for providing a comfortable living environment year-round. Oriented east to west, the home features a facade that mitigates unwanted solar gain at all times of the day while taking advantage of southwesterly winds to combat Taiwan’s hot and humid summers. In winter, the neighboring hills protect the building from cold winds. Related: Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan “Nature doesn’t have to be the second thought for an architect in 2020, it must always be his or her first,” the firm explained. “The earth isn’t getting any better and everyone needs to do everything they can to reduce the emissions of their projects.” To further reduce the carbon footprint of the home, the architects planted a number of Taiwanese beech trees around the property. Environmentally friendly recycled materials were also used for the building structure, facade, finishes and interior. By building with the existing landscape to minimize site impact, the architects were able to reduce construction costs. As a result, more resources were diverted to the clients’ most important space in the house: the open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen that occupy a large part of the ground floor. The upper floor contains a spacious master bedroom, secondary bedroom, two atriums and five balconies. + Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute Photography by Moooten Studio / Qimin Wu via Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute

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Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

March 12, 2020 by  
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Just outside Kaohsiung’s city center, Taiwanese architecture firm Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute has completed Comfort in Context, a contemporary new home nestled in a lush hillside. Crafted as a respite in nature, the building is set far back from the road and is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing to take in mountain views. Nature also informed the design and orientation of the home, which relies on cross breezes and strategically located roof eaves to stay naturally cool while minimizing the use of electricity. Though strikingly contemporary in appearance, the design of Comfort in Context relies on age-old passive design principles for providing a comfortable living environment year-round. Oriented east to west, the home features a facade that mitigates unwanted solar gain at all times of the day while taking advantage of southwesterly winds to combat Taiwan’s hot and humid summers. In winter, the neighboring hills protect the building from cold winds. Related: Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan “Nature doesn’t have to be the second thought for an architect in 2020, it must always be his or her first,” the firm explained. “The earth isn’t getting any better and everyone needs to do everything they can to reduce the emissions of their projects.” To further reduce the carbon footprint of the home, the architects planted a number of Taiwanese beech trees around the property. Environmentally friendly recycled materials were also used for the building structure, facade, finishes and interior. By building with the existing landscape to minimize site impact, the architects were able to reduce construction costs. As a result, more resources were diverted to the clients’ most important space in the house: the open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen that occupy a large part of the ground floor. The upper floor contains a spacious master bedroom, secondary bedroom, two atriums and five balconies. + Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute Photography by Moooten Studio / Qimin Wu via Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute

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Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

LEED Gold-certified Azurmendi crowned Worlds Most Sustainable Restaurant

March 6, 2020 by  
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Three-star Michelin restaurant Azurmendi has once again been crowned the “World’s Most Sustainable Restaurant” by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Noteworthy for its renewable energy systems that offset the building’s carbon footprint, the LEED Gold -certified restaurant has also distinguished itself as a leader of sustainable development with its proactive community role in encouraging knowledge-sharing and a circular economy. Located in Spain near the town of Bilbao, Azurmendi is also currently working on a germplasm bank to host over 400 local seed varieties of vegetables to show the importance of preserving genetic diversity.  Helmed by owners Eneko Atxa and Gorka Izagirre, Azurmendi was developed with the belief that all parts of the restaurant’s operations should be holistically considered, from the land it sits on to the surrounding Basque cultural heritage. Completed in 2010, the bioclimatic building was designed to minimize site impact and incorporate local and recycled materials as well as cutting-edge renewable energy systems. In addition to being recognized as the World’s Most Sustainable Restaurant by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2014 and 2018, Azurmendi also earned LEED Gold certification and is the first sustainable restaurant of its kind on the Iberian Peninsula. Related: Eco-friendly Brae restaurant and retreat targets net-zero energy in Australia Along with adherence to passive solar conditions to minimize energy usage, Azurmendi is equipped with highly efficient insulation, energy-efficient fixtures and high-performance glass that improves energy savings by 50%. The building draws power from photovoltaic solar panels as well as geothermal energy, which is used to power the climate control systems. Rainwater is collected and stored in tanks large enough to cover 100% of irrigation and toilet needs. To further reduce its carbon footprint, the owners planted 700 native trees around the restaurant. They have also joined an initiative promoted by the City of Larrabetzu to recycle all of the restaurant’s organic waste into compost that is then used by local farmers to fertilize their fields. Azurmendi works closely with several producers in the area for local ingredients, which are picked up by a single truck in one trip to reduce carbon emissions. + Azurmendi Images via Azurmendi

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LEED Gold-certified Azurmendi crowned Worlds Most Sustainable Restaurant

Roaming shipping container museum brings contemporary art through Panama

March 6, 2020 by  
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Panamanian architect Héctor Ayarza has figured out a cool and sustainable way to bring art to the masses. His fantastic Wandering Museum is a roaming structure made out of two reclaimed shipping containers . The project helps bring certain works of art from the Museum of Contemporary Art throughout neighborhoods in Panama City. The project began as a collaboration between the Panama City-based Museum of Contemporary Art and Ayarza. Hoping to showcase certain pieces that may not have permanent space in the museum itself, the team decided to create a sustainable way to bring a selection of contemporary art collections to people in various locations throughout the city. They did this by turning to recycled shipping containers. Related: Spectacular new shipping container museum nestles near China’s Great Wall Towed on the flatbed of a truck, the lightweight Wandering Museum travels easily through the city streets. While it is on the road, the traveling museum is instantly recognizable thanks to its multicolored design. Bright stripes of red, orange and green cover the shipping containers’ exteriors, bringing a fun, vibrant feel to the project. Once parked, the shipping containers are laid out in a perpendicular formation. The entrance is through one end of the first shipping container, which is painted black inside. This is the main exhibition space, with a  minimalist atmosphere that emits the same contemporary style of the permanent museum. The second shipping container has interior walls that are clad in a low-cost particle board with various shelves. There is also a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard, where visitors can leave messages. An entire side of the container can be completely left open, inviting art-lovers to explore the interior contents while also socializing in the make-shift courtyard space between the two structures. + Héctor Ayarza Via ArchDaily Photography by Fernando Alda via Héctor Ayarza

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Roaming shipping container museum brings contemporary art through Panama

Solar-powered home embraces tree canopy views in all directions

March 4, 2020 by  
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In the coastal township of Barwon Heads, Australian architecture firm Peter Winkler Architects has completed the Green Velvet House, a family’s solar-powered home that sensitively responds to the landscape in more ways than one. Positioned for passive solar design and to maximize views over the surrounding tree canopy, the sustainable dwelling was engineered to minimize impact on the existing terrain. In addition to walls of glass that let in natural light and ventilation, the home draws power from a rooftop solar array and minimizes its environmental footprint with rainwater collection tanks for irrigation and toilet-flushing. Nestled into an existing depression in the site, the Green Velvet House rises to a height of two stories with 580 square meters of living space. Its minimalist appearance — a facade of cement sheets and floor-to-ceiling glazing divided by exposed structural timbers — helps to reduce the building’s visual impact on the landscape. “In response to the program, we have minimized the building footprint by efficiently consolidating the form, rather than creating a sprawling building that overtakes the site,” the team explained. Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne To keep the focus on the outdoors, the solar-powered home is surrounded by walls of glass and terraces that invite the owners outdoors on multiple floors. The outdoor spaces and the interiors are protected from unwanted solar gain by generous eaves and horizontal screens. The main living areas and the guest bedroom are located on the ground floor, while the upper floor is reserved for the more private areas, including the master suite and two children’s bedrooms. Plywood walls and a sealed fiber-cement ceiling reference the exterior materials and lend a sense of warmth to the interiors. Recycled “Grey Ironbark” hardwood columns and beams are also featured throughout the building. For energy efficiency, the Colorbond tray deck roof is fitted with a 10.26 kW photovoltaic system . The aluminum sliding doors are also outfitted with double glazing, while the double-hung, sashless windows can be opened for natural ventilation. Three 5,000-liter water tanks were installed beneath the north deck to store rainwater for garden use and toilet-flushing, while other stormwater runoff is retained in bioswales. The home is also equipped with hydronic heating, wood-burning fireplaces and a Sanden heat pump with a 315-liter water tank. + Peter Winkler Architects Photography by Jack Lovel via Peter Winkler Architects

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Keep your cat safe with these eco-friendly cat toys

February 5, 2020 by  
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Veterinarian Lynn Bahr’s coworkers laugh at her when they see her mouth full of cat toy. “When I’m designing toys, I put everything in my mouth. If my cat is going to chew on it, or my dog is going to chew on it, I’m going to chew on it first. I feel it, I taste it. I just really pretend that I’m a cat.” The pet product industry has long thought that dog owners would shell out for products, but cat owners were stingier. “Cats have always been sort of a second-class citizen and not much thought has been put into products for them. Now, that’s changing,” says Bahr, founder of Dezi & Roo  pet  product company. As cat product lines become more robust, people are growing more concerned about exactly what’s in those toys. The demand for safe, eco-friendly products is growing. Dangerous ingredients for cat toys Unfortunately, no US regulatory body is responsible for tracking  toxins  in pet toys. This means manufacturers are expected to self-regulate. With many pet toys made overseas, it’s even harder to rely on any standards. Polyvinyl chloride  (PVC) is used to make auto parts, pipes, polyvinyl flooring, raincoats, shower curtains, shoes and pet toys, among other common products. And while you probably wouldn’t chew on your shower curtain, your cat may be chomping PVC toys. Manufacturers often use  phthalates — linked to liver and kidney troubles — to soften toys and make them more flexible. PVC is nicknamed “the poison plastic” for its unfortunate tendency to leach ingredients. Bisphenol-A (BPA), another common plastic ingredient, has been linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. Lead, a neurotoxin, is still used in some imported toys, especially those that are painted. Eco-friendly, non-toxic cat toys So, what should you look for in the ultimate cat toy? Something safe for cats and that won’t cause environmental harm or clog a  landfill  for the next millennium. Instead of a plastic ball, check out  Billy Bob the Cork Ball . Made by From the Field pet product company, these balls are marinated in primo  catnip . Dharma Dog/Karma Cat  toys from Distinctly Himalayan are handmade by women’s collectives in Nepal , crafted from Himalayan and New Zealand wool and non-toxic dyes. Their packaging is also eco-friendly. Choose from adorable toys shaped like octopi, dolphins, snakes and starfish. Strictly Himalayan also manufactures cute pet beds and baskets. The baskets are made from seagrass and water hyacinth sourced in Vietnam. “Being sustainable and fair trade is actually very serious for us, and has been for decades,” Jennifer Neufeld, co-owner of Distinctly Himalayan, said. “We’re members of the Fair Trade Federation and Pet Sustainability Coalition.” Etsy  has a whole department of green cat toys. This is the place to get something really special to express your cat’s personality. You can get handmade fabric  sushi  rolls, zombie sharks and pot leaves stuffed with catnip here. About half of  Dezi & Roo’s line is eco-friendly. You can choose little felt clouds with stuffing made from post-consumer and BPA-free plastic bottles, or paper ring toys. The Hide and Sneak — which resembles a rectangular tube made from paper sacks with cardboard entries at each end — is a top seller. Bahr recommends dusting toys with silver vine, a catnip alternative. Dezi & Roo processes the silver vine in the US, then tests it for mold, yeast,  salmonella  and E. coli to ensure your pet’s safety. Making your own cat toys is another excellent option, allowing you to reuse and  recycle  things around the house. Holly Tse and her cat Furball wrote  Make Your Own Cat Toys  so other cats could have endless entertainment while reducing their carbon paw prints. Their cat crafts use old clothes and items from your recycling bin. Bahr says a good homemade toy can be as simple as wadding up some paper, dusting it with silver vine, and throwing it across the room for your cat to chase. DIY cat toy concerns Before you get too creative with your recycled toys, remember that cats often swallow things they shouldn’t. Part of the reason is just how they’re made. Those adorable sandpaper tongues are covered with backward-facing barbs designed for grooming. But those barbs can act like Velcro, forcing Kitty to swallow something before they — or you — know it. This can lead to illness, expensive vet visits, and death. So, tempting as it is to let your cat play with fun and inexpensive things like dental floss, rubber bands and hair ties, keep these easily-swallowed items away from them. Also, if your cat seems low-energy or has diarrhea after eating catnip, you might have got a moldy batch, or catnip treated with  pesticides . Find a reliable source of regular, US-grown catnip. Play with your cat Cats love to play. “I think the thing that really propels me is how many owners say their cats don’t play,” Bahr says. She blames a lack of good products, rather than your cat being too mature. This is especially tragic if you have an indoor cat. Instead of dooming your cat to life as a couch potato, try buying or making some new,  environmentally friendly toys for them. Also, supervised play is best. It bonds you with your cat, and if Kitty starts chewing up something they shouldn’t, you’ll be there to intervene. Via Lynn Bahr , Earth Easy and Pet MD Images via Teresa Bergen and Distinctly Himalayan

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Keep your cat safe with these eco-friendly cat toys

Church Stone Shelter welcomes hikers in Finland

January 28, 2020 by  
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In the celebrated nature reserve of Kintulammi, Finland, architect Malin Moisio of Tampere-based architecture studio Arkkitehtitoimisto TILASTO has created the Kirkkokiven laavu — the Church Stone Shelter — as a free and welcome respite to hikers. Built mainly from wood and recycled materials, the minimalist and contemporary shelter was inspired by a large natural boulder located close by. The project’s name takes inspiration from the history of the boulder, which once served as a primitive church for local horse shepherds in the 18th century. Developed as part of a network of free shelters in the Kintulammi nature reserve, the Church Stone Shelter primarily serves as a place for rest and meal preparation rather than overnight stays. To improve accessibility, the hiking shelter can also be reached by a wheelchair-accessible path that leads from a nearby parking area. Related: Glowing, celestial-inspired shelter communes with nature in Denmark Constructed from a vertically placed 5-by-5-inch timber frame, the gable-roofed shelter, with its rectangular floor plan, evokes the image of a house with a hearth at its heart. This familiar form, combined with the predominant use of warm-toned timber, gives the shelter its welcoming and cozy quality, while its tall, vaulted ceiling recalls the sacral spaces of a church. Both gable ends are completely open to the outdoors to emphasize a fluid connection with nature; small windows of varying sizes provide carefully framed views of the forest. The use of timber, which is treated with a natural blend of tar and linseed oil, also helps blend the building into its wooded surroundings. The wooden walls were placed atop a plinth made of recycled paving stones. The steeply pitched roof is felted. “The building was developed in cooperation with the city-owned Ekokumppanit Oy and the Parish of Tampere who contributed to the building materials,” the architect said. “All the construction was done on site without electricity, mainly with hand tools. Within a short period of time, the Church Stone Shelter has become an iconic symbol of the Kintulampi Hiking and Nature Reserve.” + Arkkitehtitoimisto TILASTO Photography by Malin Moisio and Julia Kivela? via Arkkitehtitoimisto TILASTO

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Church Stone Shelter welcomes hikers in Finland

Eco-house in Chile thrives in every season

January 2, 2020 by  
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Karina Duque had a unique conundrum to overcome when it came to the design of the KDDK House. Located in Frutillar, Chile , the eco-home’s site had views of lush greenery, in the form of meadows and forests, that presumably made the property so attractive to the landowners. These green views, however, could only be found in the opposite direction of the sun’s natural course. In a region that often saw rainy weather, designing a house that could allow for high-quality indoor livability while avoiding a dark or gloomy interior in such a location was quite the challenge. First, the designer placed the home on the highest point of the property to allow for the best views while also creating the greatest potential for natural sunlight to filter indoors for the greater part of the day. Even better, the elevated building site as well as reflective windows and organically inspired colors and materials help immerse and disguise the home among its lush property. Related: An angular timber cabin is hidden inside an ancient mountain forest The architect took inspiration from the architecture of German settlers, turning to simple lines, an elongated volume, a gable roof and skylights for a contrasting yet relaxing design. This style came with another perk in the form of ample space for a loft that could store heat. The team used painted, locally manufactured zinc for much of the exterior and certified larch roofing for the access corridor. These materials contrasted and complemented the interior, which was painted bright white to make the spaces brighter on those gloomy days. Cellulose insulation (typically made from recycled paper fiber ) for the roof, walls and under the windows helps to maintain heat during cold days, and natural cross-ventilation regulates the indoor temperature during hot days. The addition of a combustion stove in the kitchen serves as a primary heat source during the coldest winter days. In the summer, the iron-and-glass screens fold open to reveal a pleasant outdoor terrace. + Karina Duque Photography by Fernanda Castro via Karina Duque

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