Reclaimed materials and a massive green wall transports Denali shoppers to the great outdoors

November 9, 2018 by  
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Earlier this fall, Connecticut-based, multidisciplinary design practice Pirie Associates completed a biophilic store that evokes the image of a romantic, aging barn bursting with lush greenery. The newly opened Providence, Rhode Island store was created as the eighth brick-and-mortar location for the outdoor clothing and gear retail chain Denali . The store sits next to Brown University on Thayer Street and brings together a massive, low-maintenance vertical green wall with a predominately timber material palette to pull the outdoors in. Most of the materials were reclaimed in keeping with the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Sheathed within a brick-and-steel envelope that complements the surrounding urban fabric, the new Denali Providence store greets passersby with full-height glazing on the ground floor. Though the shop might seem like the average brick-and-mortar building from the outside, shoppers are treated to a visual surprise in the woodland-inspired interior with a double-height space filled with 20 birch tree poles — with the bark intact — as well as a large vertical green wall filled with New England plants and overhead skylights that provide natural light. The design aims “to transport customers to a new state of mind with a biophilic interior ‘kit-of-parts’ [that Pirie Associates has] now used in several locations,” the firm said in a press release. To lure people upstairs, two 32-foot-tall birch tree poles were strategically positioned through the U-shaped stairwell and stretch upward from the ground floor to the ceiling of the second level. Related: Nearly 10,000 plants grow on NYC’s largest public indoor green wall Apart from the paint, electrical equipment and HVAC, most of the materials used to construct the store were reclaimed or recycled and were often locally sourced. Salvaged materials include the barn doors, corrugated sheet metal and the nearly two dozen birch tree poles. The vertical green wall that spans two stories was designed for low maintenance and is integrated with a self-irrigation system. + Pirie Associates Photography by John Muggenborg via Pirie Associates

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Reclaimed materials and a massive green wall transports Denali shoppers to the great outdoors

California waters could open soon to offshore wind farms

October 24, 2018 by  
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With 3,427 miles of coastline , one would think establishing wind farms in California would be a cinch. As it turns out, the depth of the waters has kept the idea of offshore wind in this area at bay. Energy companies have been eagerly awaiting the curtain fall from government regulators that was finally announced on Friday by the U.S. Department of the Interior. While turbine installation will prove to be a challenge because of unique terrain demands, offshore wind turbines could help California’s plans to reach 100 percent green energy by 2045. If all goes as planned, the wind farms could be operating within the next six years. “We are early in the process here,” explained California Energy Commission member Karen Douglas. “Offshore wind has potential to help with our renewable energy goals.” California’s first ever offshore wind auction, allowing energy companies to lease waters in certain areas of the Pacific Ocean, was announced alongside two other wind farm initiatives already underway in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. So what’s slowing down California’s state officials and utility companies? “They would be in much deeper water than anything that has been built in the world so far,” Douglas said. Because the ocean’s depths are substantial — even close to shore — California’s coastline is not ideal for offshore wind farms . Related: World’s most powerful wind turbine installed off the coast of Scotland Regardless, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management ( BOEM ) followed up on the announcement with a “call for information and nominations” from energy companies looking to develop the offshore technology. Submissions will be accepted over a 100-day period that will close on Jan. 27, 2019. The state’s new wind farms will be concentrated within proposed areas off of Central and Northern California. In total, the 658 full and partial blocks on the Outer Continental Shelf that are offered for commercial wind energy leasing cover an area of 1,073 square miles (687,823 acres). The announcement is good news for Gov. Jerry Brown and his office of environmental reformers. In September, the governor signed a bill that mandated California’s energy reliance be supplied solely through renewable sources by 2045. The addition of offshore wind turbines could propel this shift to happen much faster than expected, as the state is now able to look beyond land-based wind farms and solar panels to meet demand. Via The New York Times , NOAA and BOEM Image via Lars Plougmann

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California waters could open soon to offshore wind farms

Massive turbines and blades for America’s first offshore wind farm land in Rhode Island

July 14, 2016 by  
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Although the United States is not new territory for wind farms , Deepwater Winds’ Block Island Wind Farm will be the first in the nation to be located offshore. The project calls for construction to take place through late summer, with the wind farm generating renewable energy  for the local community by the end of the year. The Block Island Wind Farm is expected to generate 125,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, providing 90 percent of power utilized on the island with a potential to supply electricity to the mainland. Related: Deepwater Wind breaks ground on the U.S.’s first offshore wind farm Five Haliade nacelles were built at GE Renewable Energy’s new plant in Saint-Nazaire, France to be shipped to the U.S. for the wind farm. Each massive machine weighs 400 tons and is the size of a bus. It holds all the power-generating components of the wind turbine, including a massive permanent magnet generator. Each of the five nacelles will support three 240-foot-long blades weighing 27 tons apiece. All 15 blades and five nacelles docked in Rhode Island last week after their long journey via cargo ship across the Atlantic. Eric Crucerey is the GE Renewable Energy project director in charge of delivering turbines to the site of the Block Island Wind Farm. Given the size and price tag of the wind energy farm , he takes his work very seriously. “My job is to be ready for everything, understand any weaknesses in Plan A and always have a Plan B,” he said. “’Never give up’ is my motto.” Luckily, he has numerous partners to help coordinate the project, including the folks who transported the wind turbine parts via truck, which sometimes meant building their own roads to maneuver the massive blades. The bases for each of the five wind turbines have already been built, completed last fall. Once the turbines are mounted this August, each one will stand 330 feet (100 meters) above the water’s surface, with a total height twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, their French cousin. + GE Reports Images via GE Renewables , LM Wind Power , and Deepwater Wind

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Massive turbines and blades for America’s first offshore wind farm land in Rhode Island

America’s first offshore wind farm to be completed by the end of this year

March 24, 2016 by  
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Known to Americans of the makers of appliances like refrigerators, General Electric (GE) is currently collaborating with clean energy company Deepwater Wind on an innovative new project: America’s first offshore wind farm, located south of Rhode Island near Block Island. The companies announced that they plan to finish the wind farm this year . Read the rest of America’s first offshore wind farm to be completed by the end of this year

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US cities and states are twisting test results to downplay lead levels in municipal water

January 26, 2016 by  
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  Although Flint, Michigan is perhaps the most prominent example of contemporary water pollution in the United States, it unfortunately is not alone. According to leaked documents disclosed to the Guardian, “every major US city east of the Mississippi” is at risk of contaminated water due to weak regulations that undervalue the presence of lead in a municipal water supply. Submitted by an individual with comprehensive knowledge of pollutant regulations in the United States, the documents demonstrate that water boards in cities including Detroit and Philadelphia, as well as the entire state of Rhode Island, have been using lead level assessment methods that the Environmental Protection Agency have critiqued as misleading. Read the rest of US cities and states are twisting test results to downplay lead levels in municipal water

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US cities and states are twisting test results to downplay lead levels in municipal water

Tack Studio reinvents the modern lamp for space-starved mobile city-dwellers

January 20, 2016 by  
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Matthew Lim, designer-founder of Tack Studio and senior at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) launches the Tack Lighting System on Kickstarter, a lamp that is designed to meet the modern demands of city-dwellers. “Many of the things we own do not cater to our specific needs,” says Lim. “Tack is a distillation of lessons learnt from more than 20 earlier prototypes, making it relevant and useful for its users.” Space is a luxury for city-dwellers. As living quarters shrink in urban environments, one space now has to fulfill different purposes. Users can orient Tack in various positions using a magnetic wall mount and adjust its brightness to create the ideal space for all sorts of activities. A reading space can be instantly transformed into an ambient setting for relaxation. Read the rest of Tack Studio reinvents the modern lamp for space-starved mobile city-dwellers

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Deepwater Wind breaks ground on the U.S.’s first offshore wind farm (finally)

July 27, 2015 by  
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While offshore wind farms have been operational in Europe since the 1990s, efforts to establish any such projects off the U.S. coast have stalled amid funding and environmental concerns. And so, some eight years after it was proposed, Deepwater Wind , located 30 miles off the coast of Rhode Island —is set to become the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. Work on laying the foundations for the project began today, and the 30-megawatt wind farm is expected to be up and running next year. Read the rest of Deepwater Wind breaks ground on the U.S.’s first offshore wind farm (finally)

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Could this simple new ring empower women to protect themselves against HIV?

July 27, 2015 by  
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For decades now women have had multiple options when it comes to maintaining control of their reproductive system, but the same cannot be said when it comes to protecting against STDs, particularly HIV. And in regions of sub-Saharan Africa where the prevalence of HIV is particularly high—some 26 percent of the population of Swaziland carry the disease—it has become strikingly clear that throwing condoms at the issue isn’t a solution. Which is why there is significant hope that a vaginal ring currently undergoing trials—the Dapivirine ring—will be able to provide women with HIV protection they can control. Read the rest of Could this simple new ring empower women to protect themselves against HIV?

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Pneuhaus’ temporary Bubble Dome is made from hundreds of TPU balls

July 13, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Pneuhaus’ temporary Bubble Dome is made from hundreds of TPU balls Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bubble dome , Buckminster Fuller , geodesic dome , inflatable architecture , lightweight structure , Pneuhaus , rhode island , temporary architecture , temporary pavilion

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Pneuhaus’ temporary Bubble Dome is made from hundreds of TPU balls

Sharks have been discovered living inside an active volcano

July 13, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. There’s little doubt that sharks are a force to be reckoned with, but it turns out that the natural world can provide something more baffling and fearsome that any made for TV movie: a phenomenon that can only reasonably be termed a “sharkcano.” A group of scientists surveying Kavachi , a very active volcano 60 feet below the ocean’s surface near the Solomon Islands, were stunned to discover that there are two species of shark living in the hot, highly acidic waters within the crater. Read the rest of Sharks have been discovered living inside an active volcano Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: active volcano , deep sea exploration , kavachi , marine life , National Geographic , sharkcano , sharks in volcano , Solomon Islands , underwater volcano

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