These Christmas lights are made of trash left on Canary Island beaches

October 27, 2017 by  
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While some associate Christmas with crass consumerism, Spanish architect Fernando Menis from the Canary Islands believes it’s a great opportunity to reuse discarded objects. To prove the idea, Menis designed Christmas lights out of recycled summer waste for the coastal town of La Oliva on the island of Fuerteventura. Colorful floats, surfboards, buckets, beach toys and even plastic bottles abandoned on local beaches will have a second life as very unusual Christmas decorations on the exotic island. Instead of classic “White Christmas” snowflakes and snowmen, the architect proposed more appropriate marine decor that fits into the local context. La Oliva is traditionally linked to the sea and fishing, so Menis dreamt up giant squids, hibiscus flowers, palm trees, boats and jellyfish garlands – all lit with energy-efficient and environmentally friendly LED technology. Some of the lights are even powered by small solar panels. Menis also wants to bring his oceanic Christmas theme to the sea by supplying fishing boats navigating near the coast with recycled garlands that light up at night. Related: How to Green Your Holidays With Eco-Friendly Christmas Decor The project will be realized with the citizen participation – In fact, its assembly will involve the inhabitants and especially the local kids. What a great way to have fun and celebrate Christmas while creating real value with objects that tourists discard upon leaving the island. + Fernando Menis Images courtesy of Fernando Menis Architects

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These Christmas lights are made of trash left on Canary Island beaches

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Incredible green dreamscape made of recycled threads takes over a Taipei lecture hall

October 12, 2017 by  
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Taipei’s lush jungle landscape has crept indoors in the form of a “green dreamscape.” MVRDV and Argentinian textile artist Alexandra Kehayoglou transformed a 180-person lecture hall into an incredible sight with wall-to-wall carpets woven out of recycled threads that mimic natural textures like moss, water, trees, and pastures. Located at JUT Group’s head office, this public wall-covering artwork references Taiwan’s sub-tropical environment while providing acoustic control and an unforgettable lecture backdrop. Sprawled out across a 240-square-meter lecture hall, the massive installation looks surprisingly lifelike from afar. The variety of textures, shapes, and patterns evoke a diverse plants palette ranging from delicate flowers on the carpet floor to thick mosses clinging on the far back wall. Alexandra Kehayoglou created the site-specific textile work using discarded threads from her family’s carpet factory in Buenos Aires. The unique artwork was made with a laborious hand-tufting technique and took over a year to complete. Related: Amazing landscape carpets transform your living room into a lush, grassy meadow “The interior is literally a green dream,” says Winy Maas , MVRDV co-founder. “Together with the artwork, it represents the natural landscape of Taiwan and at the same time, acts as an acoustic intervention. In the midst of the hyper-urban condition of Taipei, audiences will be surrounded by this green dreamscape.” The interior design builds on the research of MVRDV and their think tank, The Why Factory , into the potential of future transformable elements. + MVRDV + Alexandra Kehayoglou Images via MVRDV

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Incredible green dreamscape made of recycled threads takes over a Taipei lecture hall

Sleep among the treetops in a nomadic hotel design with minimal impact

October 12, 2017 by  
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Reconnection with nature doesn’t always mean roughing it on a campsite. Environmental consulting firm EoA Inc created Living the Till, a unique treetop hotel resort concept that rescues guests from the stresses of everyday life by elevating them into the tree canopy. Conceived as a nomadic resort, the Till can be easily assembled in a variety of environments and then disassembled and moved without impacting the environment. Described by the team as a camping on a “hovering, transparent magic carpet,” Living the Till comprises a series of conical tents suspended on ropes tied to nearby trees. A large net stretched taut and secured to trees is placed beneath the tents. Bridges between the trees provide access between campsites. “Living the Till allows for seasonal inhabitation in remote areas, such as the stunning and perfectly preserved forests of Ecuador, Malaysia, Borneo, the Amazon, California, Australia, or Japan,” wrote the designers. “The concept was inspired by the air plant Tillandsia, which lives in harmony with a host tree. Conceived as a temporary nomadic structure, the Till can be assembled and taken down in pristine, coveted areas by a small team of climbers with simple tools without impacting the environment during the process or duration of a guest’s stay.” Related: Gorgeous Robin’s Nest Treehouse Hotel immerses you in nature Living the Till was recently honored as this year’s Radical Innovation Award winner. The design team was awarded a $10,000 reward at the New Museum last week. Founder of Radical Innovation John Hardy commended the project as “the perfect antidote to city dwelling.” Play Design Hotel , located in Taipei, received the second place prize of $5,000. + Radical Innovation Award Images via EoA Inc

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Sleep among the treetops in a nomadic hotel design with minimal impact

Students build a low-cost yet high-quality sustainable home from recycled materials

October 4, 2017 by  
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Affordable and sustainable housing is possible—and Studio 804’s many projects are proof. Working together with University of Kansas architecture students, Studio 804 produced their latest design/build project, called 1330 Brook Street, in a working-class neighborhood in the city of Lawrence. As with their previous projects, the energy-efficient home is designed with LEED standards in mind and makes use of passive solar strategies to save on energy. The three-bedroom, two-bath home is located on an undesirable urban infill site in the East Lawrence community. Although the 1,300-square-foot home is decidedly contemporary , the architects were careful to integrate the dwelling into the existing neighborhood fabric. The handsome yet understated home is clad in insulated metal panels salvaged from a scrapped tennis center project in town. The cedar boards used for the roof overhangs were reclaimed from railroad bridge trestles. “As we design toward LEED Platinum standards, we are integrating passive strategies for lighting and sun shading,” wrote Studio 804. “With an exterior screening system and concrete floor for thermal mass, the southwest glazing allows optimal temperatures year round. We are also selecting materials based on a desire for longevity and ease of maintenance, including the re-purposed metal panel cladding system and insulated glass units for the southwest glazing.” Related: Kansas University students build net-zero home with LEED Platinum and Passive House certification The ADA-compliant home features a flexible open-plan interior—save for the fixed kitchen—with plenty of built-in storage space to give the homeowner control over the use and layout of the space. The light-filled home also opens out to a small “outdoor room” on the south side, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. A rooftop array of 16 solar panels provide up to 4.8 kilowatt-hours of power—expected to meet the home’s energy demands—while low-flow fixtures and LEDs help reduce energy needs as well. + Studio 804 Via Dezeen

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Students build a low-cost yet high-quality sustainable home from recycled materials

The world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant just popped up in the middle of London

September 28, 2017 by  
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The mobile recycling factory of the future just landed in the 19th century courtyard of the historic Somerset House in Central London. Trashpresso is a giant solar-powered recycling plant that transforms discarded plastic bottles into architectural tiles. The machine is the brainchild of Pentatonic , a furniture and design company based in Berlin and London committed to using only post-consumer waste in their products – from chairs made from “felted” plastic to glassware made from smartphone screens. Trashpresso is the world’s first off-grid, industrial grade recycling solution designed to be mobile and functional in isolated locations where traditional recycling plants aren’t a feasible option. “Our non-negotiable commitment to the consumer is that we make our products using single materials. That means no toxic additives and no hybridized materials which are prohibitive of recyclability,” explains co-founder Johann Bodecker. Trashpresso made its global debut this week at the Design Frontiers exhibition during the London Design Festival . Visitors to Design Frontiers were invited to contribute their trash and watch the Trashpresso process from start to finish – from the sorting of plastic bottles to the compression of shredded PET into solid hexagonal tiles. Enormous black spheres made of recycled plastic were also installed in the courtyard, lending an imposing presence to the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court. Throughout the week, the black spheres were gradually covered in the architectural tiles created by Trashpresso, with the public taking part in the installation. Large spheres made of metal mesh contained more plastic bottles, calling attention to the ongoing problem of tons of plastic a year entering our oceans. Starbucks UK recently announced a partnership with Pentatonic to turn their coffee shop waste into furniture, with their Starbucks Bean Chair reinterpreted with upcycled textiles and a frame made from plastic bottles and plastic cups. The Trashpresso machine debuting at Design Frontiers boasts upgraded engineering designed for global transportation. An earlier version of Trashpresso was previewed in Shanghai for World Earth Day by Pentatonic collaborator and investor Miniwiz , which is based in Taiwan and specializes in upcycling. Trashpresso was the featured installation at Design Frontiers, a new exhibition featuring more than 30 designers showcasing projects and products pushing the frontiers of innovation and material use. + Pentatonic + Design Frontiers + London Design Festival Coverage

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The world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant just popped up in the middle of London

Klaas Kuiken turns common green bottles into incredible vases with this clever trick

September 27, 2017 by  
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Dutch designer Klaas Kuiken has found a way to transform everyday glass bottles into incredible vases. He begins by wrapping wire around the bottles, and then he heats them up and uses an air compressor to inflate them into fantastic sculptural shapes. Kuiken was inspired to create his Bottles Collection , after being captivated by the small distinct details found in the mass-produced green bottles. He began to cut into the bottles and found that the thickness was different in most of the bottles. These little irregularities prompted the designer to turn the “flaws” into something uniquely beautiful. Related: Birdhouse Roof Tile: Cozy Nesting Site For Birds Brings Wildlife to Your Home To breathe new life into the products, Kuiken created a unique glass blowing system using a modified oven and a compressor. He begins the process by wrapping each bottle tightly with wire before placing them in his homemade oven. As the compressor gently blows air into the bottles, the glass begins to warp, bulging more on the thinner spots and less where it’s thicker. After countless experiments (some of which resulted in explosions and cracked glass), the designer finally achieved the right balance, resulting in beautiful, one-of-a-kind glass vases . The Bottles Collection has 17 different models – which were recently on display at the London Design Festival – and they can be purchased online . + Klaas Kuiken Photography by Masha Bakker

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Klaas Kuiken turns common green bottles into incredible vases with this clever trick

Ancient papyrus scroll offers insight into Great Pyramid of Giza mystery

September 27, 2017 by  
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Ancient Egyptians moved more than 170,000 tons of limestone to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Archaeologists have long puzzled over just how they accomplished that feat, but papyrus rolls found by a French-Egyptian team offers some insight. In 2013 , researcher Pierre Tallet came across papyrus written by men who helped with the Great Pyramid of Giza’s construction. The papyrus was found in a set of caves used for boat storage in Wadi-al-Jarf, in a remote desert area. Tallet said in the Channel 4 documentary Egypt’s Great Pyramid: The New Evidence , aired this month, “Since the very day of the discovery it was quite evident that we have the oldest papyrus ever found in the world.” Related: Newly discovered Kazakhstan pyramid may be older than certain Egyptian pyramids Among the documents was the journal of an official never heard of before, named Merer. Tallet has spent the past four years deciphering Merer’s words, including his claim that stone was brought to the pyramids via boat – which adds up, since archaeologists found boat remains near the pyramids. Boats transported limestone to the building site via canals dug for that purpose along the Nile River. Then, according to IFLScience, the stone blocks were rolled on special tracks to arrive at the site. The limestone came from Tora, around eight miles away from Giza, and granite used in the great pyramid came from even farther: more than 500 miles south in Aswan. According to IFLScience, the same kind of boats that brought the limestone to the site could have been used to bring granite from Aswan. The Great Pyramid, Pharaoh Khufu’s tomb, was constructed more than 4,000 years ago, and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that remains intact. Via The Independent , IFLScience , and Smithsonian.com Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Ancient papyrus scroll offers insight into Great Pyramid of Giza mystery

5 challenges to scaling the circular economy

September 20, 2017 by  
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International import barriers and trust issues can create barriers — or opportunities — for increasing the use of recycled materials.

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5 challenges to scaling the circular economy

New forest resilience bond blazes a trail

September 20, 2017 by  
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A public-private partnership can address this burning problem.

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New forest resilience bond blazes a trail

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