Domed, desert eco-dwellings are built of organic papier-mch

July 15, 2020 by  
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Illinois-based design studio i/thee has teamed up with Los Angeles firm Roundhouse to create Agg Hab — short for Aggregate Habitat — an experimental eco-dwelling built from papier-mâché. The project, which the designers say is possibly the world’s largest self-supporting papier-mâché structure, functions as a prototype for a semi-subterranean house integrated into the desert of Clarendon, Texas. Made with nearly 200 liters of glue and 270 pounds of paper, Agg Hab measures over 20 feet in length and 8 feet wide and stands at a height of 4.5 feet. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-3-889×593.jpg" alt="irregular paper domes in the desert" class="wp-image-2274847" Developed as part of an exercise to push the possibilities of construction with as few resources as possible, Agg Hab follows a simple design and construction process that began with the excavation of two “mirrored convexo-concave” holes, each 4.5 feet deep. The designers then cast each hole with multiple layers of organic papier-mâché mixture — comprising recycled paper and non-toxic glue — to create dome-shaped shells spanning over 20 feet in length. The 4-millimeter-thick shells were flipped over and set atop the holes to create the roof of the semi-subterranean dwelling.  Related: Spectacular rammed-earth dome home is tucked deep into a Costa Rican jungle <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-6-889×667.jpg" alt="rammed-earth and paper dome interior with large opening" class="wp-image-2274850" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-8-889×666.jpg" alt="round skylight bringing light into a paper dome home" class="wp-image-2274852" “Together, the holes, matched with their respective shells, create a semi-subterranean house in which the negative and positive expressions of a series of excavated forms take on a reciprocal relationship to create multiple habitable spaces,” the designers explained. “The result of this process is a formal and phenomenal experience derived from the earth itself. There are no perfect lines or manufactured shapes or colors in the design. Instead, the formal language of the habitat follows cues from those found in nature: the contours of the domes perfectly matching those of the excavated dirt; the surface of the paper stained with a plethora of natural, earthen tones.” <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-9-889×667.jpg" alt="people resting against earth and paper walls of a dome home" class="wp-image-2274853" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-10-889×667.jpg" alt="people looking into skylight of a dome home" class="wp-image-2274854" Large circular openings have been cut into parts of the papier-mâché shells to let in light and views of the desert. The Agg Hab eco-dwelling serves as a prototype for a larger project the designers are working on.  + i/thee Photography by Neal Lucas Hitch via i/thee <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-4-889×592.jpg" alt="aerial view of two elongated, irregular paper domes in the desert" class="wp-image-2274848"

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Domed, desert eco-dwellings are built of organic papier-mch

New solar farm in Indiana boosts local pollinators

July 15, 2020 by  
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Goodbye, dirty old coal-fired power plant. Hello, sunshine,  bees  and butterflies. That’s what the folks of Logansport, Indiana are saying as they trade their last coal power plant for a new 80-acre, 16-megawatt solar farm complete with a pollinator habitat. Inovateus Solar, headquartered in South Bend, is developing the solar installation for Logansport Municipal Utility (LMU). The project will take place on former  farmland  near the city’s light industrial area. LMU aims to reduce its carbon emissions and help stabilize customer costs. The solar farm will generate enough power for about 3,700 homes. Related: Celebrate National Pollinator Week from June 22-28 Power purchase agreement The old  coal -fired power plant toiled for over 120 years before recently shutting down. In its wake, Alchemy Renewable Energy financed a 30-year power purchase agreement with LMU. Alchemy is a portfolio company of Monarch Private Capital. Founded in 2016, Alchemy’s projects include building solar installations in North Carolina, Florida and Texas. A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial arrangement where the developer is responsible for designing, permitting, financing and installing a solar energy system on a customer’s property. The customer pays little or nothing for the setup but agrees to pay a fixed rate to the developer for the power generated. The developer gets the income from  electricity  sales as well as tax credits and incentives earned by the renewable energy system. After the term of the agreement — typically 10 to 25 years — the customer can buy the solar installation, extend the PPA or get the developer to remove the system. The contract between LMU and Alchemy Renewable Energy allows LMU to purchase the  solar  power at a fixed kilowatt-hour rate with no upfront capital costs. LMU has the option to eventually buy the solar energy system. “Inovateus is excited to be working with Alchemy to develop LMU’s first solar energy installation for the citizens and businesses of Logansport,” Jordan Richardson, Inovateus Solar’s business development manager, said in a press release. “We want to thank the City of Logansport, LMU, the Logansport Utility Service Board, Alchemy, Cass County, and all the residents who helped us to design a solar system that will create local  jobs  and enhance the city’s natural habitats.” Bees and butterflies The plan is to complete the solar installation construction in early 2021, then plant a  pollinator  seed mix underneath the solar panels. This mix will attract bees and butterflies more than traditional groundcover, which will be beneficial for these species and local farmers. Inovateus will partner with Fresh Energy and the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund for this phase of the project. Combining beneficial insects and solar is part of a growing trend. “Pollinator-friendly solar is rapidly emerging as a best practice for all solar farms build on arable soils or prime farmland,” Rob Davis, director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy, told Inhabitat. “Within the last year, Clif Bar, Aveda, Dr. Bronners, Organic Valley, Perdue Farms, Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Denison University, University of Dayton, and many more have announced or build and  seeded  pollinator-friendly solar project.” According to Davis, the 80-acre project site will plant more than 40 species of pollinator-friendly plants, including sky blue aster, purple coneflower, crimson clover, goldenrod and lemon bee balm. The project will benefit local  butterflies , bees and farmers, too. “We have about 430 species of bees, 140 species of butterflies, thousands of moth species…and many species of flower-visiting flies, wasps, ants, and beetles,” said Dr. Brock Harpur, an entomologist at Purdue University. “These new landscapes can provide nesting sites and food sources for pollinators that need it most.” Attracting more pollinators will also benefit certain  crops , Davis said. “Having a diverse assemblage of pollinators (not just one or a few species) can dramatically improve crop yield. By providing food and habitat for pollinators, we can, potentially, boost the number of pollinators in an area and help surrounding farms be pollinated more efficiently.”  Plants  will also benefit the solar panels by creating a cooler micro-climate. Deep-rooted plants can boost resilience to both drought and heavy rains. Celebrating solar After continuously operating coal-fired smokestack power plants for 122 years, Logansport closed its last one in 2016. The  city  looks forward to a solar future. In fact, people are so excited about it that Mayor Chris Martin signed an official proclamation naming June 26 as Bird & Pollinator-Friendly Solar Day. Fittingly, this date falls within National Pollinator Week. “We are proud to work with Inovateus Solar to bring the first ever solar energy project to Logansport,” said Martin. “How exciting to be a part of pioneering this clean, alternative energy source right here in our community that will help curb LMU energy costs for our consumers. The creation of a bee and butterfly  habitat  will also be a great environmentally friendly addition to the city’s west side!” + Rob Davis and Dr. Brock Harpur Images via Schuler Publicity

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New solar farm in Indiana boosts local pollinators

Two ways P&G is working toward its packaging goals

May 5, 2020 by  
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Two ways P&G is working toward its packaging goals Deonna Anderson Tue, 05/05/2020 – 11:33 Procter & Gamble’s Tide laundry detergent brand first introduced in January 2019 its “Eco-Box,” which has been compared to a wine box because of its design made from paperboard with a tap for dispensing, in an effort to reduce the plastic in its packaging. In mid-May, the Eco-Boxes are becoming available for other fabric care product lines, including Tide purclean, Downy, Gain and Dreft. The initiatives are related to P&G’s current sustainability goals introduced in 2018, Ambition 2030, which include a commitment to make its packaging 100 percent recyclable or reusable by 2030.  Each business unit within P&G has its own approach, and the Eco-Box was one way P&G’s Fabric Care division set out to meet its packaging goal.  To be clear, the Eco-Box package still includes plastic — with the bag that holds the liquid detergent itself — but uses 60 percent less of it than the traditional packaging for P&G’s detergent brands. I think perfection is [figuring] out the technologies to make this so that that bag and tap are also just easy curbside recycling. “We’ve moved to a huge reduction in plastic, but [the plastic bag] not curbside-recyclable,” said Todd Cline, section head for P&G Fabric Care’s research and development team. “I think perfection is [figuring] out the technologies to make this so that that bag and tap are also just easy curbside recycling,” he continued. “But there’s just not technologies for that yet today, to create bags to hold liquids that are puncture-resistant and will survive all of the shipping.” In the meantime, P&G has a stopgap solution for collection and end-of-life processing in place. When the Tide Eco-Box launched, P&G partnered with TerraCycle to offer a recycling option for the inner bag. That program will continue, now including the full Eco-Box portfolio. Cline said P&G uses life cycle assessment (LCA) to guide its work, “particularly as it comes to sustainability,” noting that from an LCA standpoint, P&G is making a huge reduction in its carbon footprint and amount of plastic that’s going to landfills through the Eco-Box packaging effort.  “For us, that’s a technical trade-off at the start. But it’s one of those that if we waited for perfection … we would be sitting on this technology that could have a really great benefit from a sustainability standpoint, but holding it until it’s perfect,” Cline said, referring to the need to engage TerraCycle on collection.  When the new Eco-Box detergents hit the market — the products will be available online only from major U.S. retailers — Cline said they will continue to test and iterate on the packaging to improve it. All paper, no plastic In a different part of the company, P&G Beauty, the packaging strategy is likewise taking another turn away from plastic: toward all-paper packaging. Indeed, these are just two recent examples of how P&G is working to meet its 2030 goal. “This is just one of many innovations that P&G is working on to address the problem of plastic waste. This is an important step forward, and there is much more to come,” wrote Anitra Marsh, associate director of global sustainability and brand communications with P&G Beauty, by email. Two of those beauty and personal care brands are Old Spice and Secret, which will launch all-paper packaging for their aluminum-free deodorants this month at 500 Walmart stores in the U.S. “As the largest retailer in the world partnering with the largest deodorant and antiperspirant brands in the U.S., we know this new paperboard package has the potential to have significant positive impact and lay the groundwork for even broader impact,” said Jason Kloster, senior buying manager for body care and grooming at Walmart, in a press release. Marsh said P&G co-designed the all-paper deodorant packaging for its Secret and Old Spice products with consumers interested in cutting back on plastic waste. The package format contains 90 percent post-consumer recycled content and 10 percent new paper fibers. P&G developed package prototypes then shared the designs with consumers to see which options were “most appealing and easy to use.” P&G isn’t the only company trying to eliminate plastic packaging for deodorant. Across the pond in London, a company called Wild raised $621,775 in seed funding for its refillable no-plastic deodorant packaging — made from durable aluminum and bamboo pulp — after a successful pilot launch in 2019. Marsh said it took less than a year to bring P&G’s all-paper, plastic-free deodorant packaging to market. During the development process, the first package design did not pass a key recyclability test because the glue used for the label diminished the quality of the recycled paper pulp. “We quickly went back to the drawing board to find another label glue that doesn’t impede recycling, and this is what we are using now in our Old Spice and Secret paper tube packages that are launching in May,” she said. The deodorant hit the shelves May 1, and P&G will continue to evaluate the recyclability and repulpability of the packaging this summer, according to Marsh. “We are aiming for 100 percent recyclability,” she said. Pull Quote I think perfection is [figuring] out the technologies to make this so that that bag and tap are also just easy curbside recycling. Topics Circular Economy Design & Packaging Circular Packaging Packaging Recycled Paper Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Tide, Dreft and Gain detergents in eco-box packaging

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Two ways P&G is working toward its packaging goals

To increase recycling rates, empower consumers and skip the guilt trip

September 26, 2019 by  
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Messaging has to change.

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To increase recycling rates, empower consumers and skip the guilt trip

School’s back in session and Wisdom Supply Co. is teaching a lesson to reduce plastic waste

September 19, 2019 by  
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The B corp is working to to provide affordable, zero-waste school supplies.

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School’s back in session and Wisdom Supply Co. is teaching a lesson to reduce plastic waste

Climate action’s triple dividend

September 19, 2019 by  
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Reducing future losses, increased productivity, and social benefits — that’s a pretty healthy ROI.

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Climate action’s triple dividend

The Sparkle Paper Saver Notebook teaches kids about recycled paper and sustainable living

May 14, 2019 by  
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Australian-based company Paper Saver has been using its products to help recycle paper since 2015. Its original Paper Saver notebook has a plastic sleeve inside, where leftover scratch paper can be inserted and used as pages. When the pages are full, the paper can be easily taken out, recycled and replaced with new pieces. It’s an innovative idea that has since allowed tens of thousands of people alike reduce their paper waste, according to the site. Now, the company is supplementing its sleek, faux-leather notebook with a brightly-colored kids edition called the Sparkle Paper Saver, launched on Kickstarter in May 2019. Using the blank back sides of their used craft paper (or any other kind of paper), kids can make and re-make their own notebooks. Here’s how it works: 1. Collect a pile of the used papers (old printouts from work, spreadsheets, drafts, bills, itineraries, used coloring and activity sheets, school notices — the list is endless!). 2. Fold the papers in half. 3. Insert papers through the functionally-designed binder, which is made of spring steel to ease the paper insertion, yet durable and strong enough to secure all the paper. Related: Recycling can get kids free books in Southern Italy It’s an interactive way for kids to learn about recycling and reusing while inspiring their creativity at the same time. Along with the notebook, supporters of the Kickstarter campaign will also receive three Environmental Awareness Woven Stickers to decorate with, each designed with images conveying a different environmental message: a melting ice cream cone for climate change , a solar daisy for renewable energy and fish in a bottle for ocean pollution. The package also includes The Paper Saver Organizer, which can be inserted into the notebook binder and includes a pencil case, cardholders and a pocket. Apart from finding new ways to recycle, Paper Saver’s goal with the new kids’ edition is to expose children at a younger age to the state of our environment while giving them tools to make less wasteful choices. Hopefully, that will translate into more sustainable decisions as they grow up and become active members of society, because it arms them with the knowledge to apply what they learned with Paper Saver’s fun notebook to other aspects of life. + Paper Saver Images via Paper Saver

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The Sparkle Paper Saver Notebook teaches kids about recycled paper and sustainable living

Solving the recycled plastics puzzle

September 21, 2017 by  
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What will it take for recycled plastic to become as common as recycled paper? Here’s how the Closed Loop Fund envisions supply chain circularity.

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Solving the recycled plastics puzzle

Utilities grapple with the rooftop solar revolution

September 21, 2017 by  
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The complex truth behind painting utilities as the “bad guys” stopping the transition to clean energy.

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Utilities grapple with the rooftop solar revolution

Researchers invent paper that can be printed with light and reused 80 times

February 6, 2017 by  
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In an effort to fight the detrimental environmental impact of inkjet printing, researchers have invented a new type of “paper” that can be printed with light and re-written up to 80 times. Their invention employs the color-changing chemistry of nanoparticles, which can be applied via a thin coating to a variety of surfaces – including conventional paper . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnCyTb6bgJA Researchers from Shandong University in China, the University of California, Riverside and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently published a study detailing the invention of light-printable, rewritable paper. “The greatest significance of our work is the development of a new class of solid-state photo-reversible color-switching system to produce an ink-free light-printable rewritable paper that has the same feel and appearance as conventional paper, but can be printed and erased repeatedly without the need for additional ink,” explains Yadong Yin, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Riverside. “Our work is believed to have enormous economic and environmental merits to modern society.” Why not just use recycled paper, you might ask? As Phys.org explains, the chemicals used in paper production are a leading source of industrial pollution, and abandoned paper makes up about 40 percent of the contents of landfills. Recycled paper contributes to the pollution problem through the process of ink removal. Add to that problems around deforestation, and the case for minimizing paper usage is a strong one. Related: Should your family give up paper towels? The new light-printable paper lends itself perfectly to applications where printed information is only needed for a short time, and it could be applied to any medium used for this purpose. “We believe the rewritable paper has many practical applications involving temporary information recording and reading, such as newspapers, magazines, posters, notepads, writing easels, product life indicators, oxygen sensors, and rewritable labels for various applications,” Yin said Via Phys.org Images via UC Riverside and Aidenvironment , Wikimedia Commons

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Researchers invent paper that can be printed with light and reused 80 times

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