This colorful prefab school was created in only 13 months

May 13, 2020 by  
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When  Crossboundaries  was tapped to design the Jinlong School, an educational campus with classrooms and dorms in Shenzhen’s newly established Pingshan district, the Beijing-based architecture firm was challenged by a limited budget and a scheduled opening date in only 13 months. To adhere to the tight deadline, the architects enlisted a local Shenzhen-based factory to prefabricate the majority of the school’s construction. Prefabrication not only allowed the architects to meet the brief’s budget and timeline, but also kept on-site construction waste to a minimum as well.  Completed in January 2020, the Jinlong School comprises 36 classrooms, dormitories, sports facilities, a canteen, office space, a theater, a library and other amenities on a compact 16,000-square-meter site. Following a five-month design period, construction took place from November 2018 to August 2010; approximately 75% of the project used prefabricated components. Created to help ease  Shenzhen’s  public school shortage, the campus is expected to enroll 1,620 students by 2025.  To show that prefab architecture doesn’t have to be boring, the architects created a dynamic facade punctuated with different colors and windows of varying sizes with protruding metal frames. Yellow accent colors were used to define areas of socialization, such as common areas in the dorms, while the color blue indicates circulation spaces such as hallways and stairwells. The dormitories and classrooms were primarily built from prefabricated components and the public spaces, such as the running track at the heart of the campus, were mainly constructed with conventional techniques. Related: MVRDV designs a sustainable “urban living room” for Shenzhen The campus design also responds to Shenzhen’s subtropical climate with the public areas mostly open to the outdoors to promote access to natural ventilation and daylight. “We were extremely intrigued to take on this project, to create a human, people-oriented school within all those limitations, and at the same time to still be as creative as possible, in designing a space that provides a solution for a realistic problem that we all have to face in quickly expanding cities in the future,” Hao Dong, Founding Partner of Crossboundaries, said. + Crossboundaries Images by Yang Chaoying

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This colorful prefab school was created in only 13 months

How to celebrate Earth Day virtually in 2020

April 17, 2020 by  
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With social distancing in full force this Earth Day , the 50th anniversary of this environmental movement is certainly one for the history books. Just because you can’t go outside in large groups this year doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of inventive ways to celebrate Earth, though. The Earth Day 2020 theme is “climate action,” and while we aren’t able to come together physically this year, technology is presenting some unique opportunities to show your love for the Earth virtually. Learn the history The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, when 20 million Americans (about 10% of the U.S. population at that time) took to the streets and college campuses to protest environmental ignorance and promote environmental awareness. The movement, now recognized as the world’s largest civic event each year, launched the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Related: How Earth Day began and how it helps the planet Take a virtual tour Because many of us are now homeschooling kids, Google has created 360-degree tours of 113 different national park sites, including monuments, historic sites and shorelines. The Nature Conservancy also features a series of virtual field trips designed for grades 5-8. Live webcams have also gained popularity since social distancing began. People may be staying indoors for the most part, but animals are still keeping up with their daily routines. Check out live feeds of marine animals at Monterey Bay Aquarium or a series of different feeds, from remote locations throughout Africa to rescue animal facilities around the world, with Explore.org . Earthx , in partnership with National Geographic, is streaming everything from speaker series to film festivals to student activities via its website. Participate in a running challenge A healthy running challenge that raises awareness for the environment is a win-win to celebrate this year’s Earth Day. The 2020 Earth Day Run presented by The Virtual Run Challenge encourages participants to spend the month of April (though you can start anytime) to collectively run the distance of the equator — 24,901 miles. Log your running and walking miles every day and connect with others for a common goal; participation is free. Related: Orca Running offers a Social Distance Run Virtual Strides is celebrating Earth Day by hosting the 5K/10K/Half-Marathon Earth Run virtually. After runners (or walkers) finish their course, they can upload results and photos to the website. Registration isn’t free, but a portion of the proceeds from the race (around $4 from each registration) will be donated to EarthShare, a non-profit that supports critical environmental causes. In the past, the organization has raised more than $300 million for programs benefiting air, land, water, wildlife and public health. Download the Earth Challenge 2020 app By downloading the Earth Challenge 2020 app , you’ll help gather critical environmental data near your area, providing scientists and other “citizen scientists” with research to help maintain a cleaner planet. Users measure air quality and plastic pollution where they are and add each reading to a global database. Related: Earth Day 2020 goes digital For example, Earth Challenge 2020 launched its monarch butterfly project on April 1 with a goal to fill 1 billion data points before the month’s end. When users launch the app, they are able to snap pictures of insects that they see, submit them to be verified and allow scientists to better understand the distribution of butterflies and migration patterns. This kind of knowledge is essential to identify the different regions that need habitat restoration. Take action From April 20 to April 25, more than 100 speakers from five continents will participate in the largest online climate conference ever held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Topics ranging from climate finance and agriculture to circular economy and politics will be discussed and can be viewed virtually via the partnership program We Don’t Have Time . Sign up with the official Earth Day website volunteer database for the latest resources and information on at-home or online activities as well as ways to spread the word to your friends. You can also create your own “act of green” and share it with the rest of the Earth Day community. The official Earth Day website also has a planning guide to help get people inspired and organized; check the map for ideas and to see how other people around the world are celebrating. Spread the word Digital tools are making it easier than ever to connect, especially through social media. You can bring your friends, teachers and family together to raise awareness and do their own part for the environment. Utilize Vote Earth to take the pledge to vote for climate candidates . The global initiative has already mobilized millions of people who wish to show their concern for the Earth and demand change at the polls. Sign up on the website to pledge to vote for candidates who support sustainability in your next election, and you’ll have the option to receive automatic email reminders to vote. + Earth Day Images via Carl Heyerdahl , University of Michigan School of Environment and Sustainability , Arek Adeoye , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

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Zero Labs handcrafts electric version of the classic Ford Bronco

March 24, 2020 by  
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Sometimes what’s old is new again — only better. According to those who have personally ridden in and driven the world’s first 100% Electric Classic Ford Bronco, this seems to be the case. Reimagined by Adam Roe, CEO and founder of Zero Labs, the electric Ford Bronco appears to be art, luxury and performance all wrapped up into one green package . Combining the spirit of the past with a focus on a cleaner future, there will be a limited initial run of around 150 vehicles produced. Related: Goodyear reCharge tire concept targets sustainability Produced is an ill-fitting word, because these vehicles aren’t pumped out on an assembly line; instead, each electric vehicle is handcrafted. At first glance, the body design recalls a different time, with each project starting with an original 1966-77 First Generation Ford Bronco. However, the goal isn’t to simply pop an electric system into an old vehicle. Instead, the focus is on creating an experience that provides a sustainable four-wheel drive vehicle that embraces the passion for the classic Ford Bronco design. This achievement doesn’t leave performance at the curb though. Perhaps the new electric Broncos are out of the running for a speed competition or distance award, but few people will be able to say they’ve been four-wheeling in a Bronco that barely makes a sound and uses no fuel. In addition, a high-quality 2.0 chassis with independent front and rear suspension creates a comfortable ride. Features include an integrated roll-cage and modern conveniences that are endlessly customizable, from vegan leather seats to walnut or bamboo dash inserts. The manual transmission is more for the fun of driving than performance, because the clutch can shift gears but isn’t necessary for the electric vehicle to come to a stop. Owners can expect a range of around 190 miles from a full 70 kWh battery pack. Optional dual motors offer up to 600HP. Handcrafted in a warehouse in Hawthorne, California , the electric Ford Broncos are already in “production” with anticipated delivery dates at the end of 2020. They are available in two versions from stock factory steel to carbon fiber that is lighter and faster with increased range. Prices for the luxury experience range from $185,000 to $240,000. + Zero Labs Images via Zero Labs

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Zero Labs handcrafts electric version of the classic Ford Bronco

What US utility customers can learn from the PG&E ownership battle

November 21, 2019 by  
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There’s a battle raging over the ownership of PG&E Corp., one of the nation’s largest utilities, with cities, hedge fund managers and even customers all in the running.

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How to mend and repair your clothes

May 14, 2019 by  
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There are many benefits to clothing repair. Fixing a hole in your favorite jeans or re-attaching a broken button can extend the life of the piece, which is better for the environment and your wallet. From hemming jean bottoms to fixing zippers, here is a quick look at all of the ways you can repair your own clothes . Sewing kit If you are serious about clothing repair, you should have a sewing kit on standby. A good kit includes items like needles and thread, scissors, a tape measure, a seam ripper, spare buttons and sewing pins. You can even put together a traveling sewing kit for whenever you are on the road and face a clothing emergency. Buttons Repairing a button on your favorite shirt can seem daunting at first, but it is actually a fairly straightforward process. According to The Spruce , there are two basic styles of buttons that are commonly used on shirts. The trick is picking the right type of button and the right size. Fortunately, you can usually reference other buttons on the shirt when selecting the perfect fit. The first type is called flat buttons. These are, well, flat and have exposed threads. These are the most commonly used buttons on shirts. The other type is called a shank button, which hides the thread. These are typically used in heavier pieces of clothing. Jean repairs Denim requires a substantial amount of water just to make one pair of jeans, so you should treat all of your jeans with care to keep them in top shape for many years. Rips Jeans often develop holes after extended use. Before you toss your favorite pair of pants, you can extend their life by repairing those rips and tears. All it takes is a patch of fabric  similar in color to the jeans and some thread. You can use a fusible patch, though you will likely need to sew it in place if you want it to last. Related: How to sew together ripped jeans Zippers Broken zippers are another common issue with jeans. Replacing a zipper is a little tricky, but it can be done. You will need a replacement zipper that matches the old fabric and some thread. Start by removing the old zipper entirely. Then, cut the new zipper to fit, and sew it in place. Belt loops Hardy belt loops are a requirement for a good pair of jeans , but they can fail after constant tugging. To repair a belt loop, you will need some denim thread, scrap fabric and a sewing machine. Start by patching the hole where the loop broke off. Once that is done, simply sew the old loop back into place, making sure you use plenty of thread to keep it strong. Mending Most clothing mends you will need to make are either for the seams or hems of your favorite clothes. Seam mending Seams are the most integral part of a piece of clothing . Seams can be curved or straight, or they can run into each other at intersections. The issue with seams is that they frequently rip, especially in areas you do not want exposed. Luckily, you can easily repair seams with some thread or by using fusible fabrics . Fusible alternatives remove the sewing element and are a great option for those less experienced in mending. There are a variety of fusible options on the market, so make sure you shop around for the right type before you start a project. Hem mending There are many reasons why people choose to hem clothing. The most common hem is done on jeans and helps prevent the bottoms from dragging on the ground. Jeans that are too long can trip people and will result in frayed ends. Hemming is also used to make pieces of clothing, like skirts, fit better and look more custom-made. Related: 11 ways to be more self-sufficient Common stitches By learning some simple, common stitches, you can easily repair a variety of fabrics. Running stitch If you only learn one sewing technique, it probably should be a running stitch. According to Life Hacker , the running stitch is a fundamental technique and one of the most basic stitches out there. By learning a running stitch, you can easily sew patches, fix hems and mend holes in clothing. This type of stitch basically runs in and out of the fabric without ever doubling back on itself. Back stitch A back stitch is basically a running stitch with a slight twist. This type of sewing technique is ideal if you need something that is both strong and flexible. This includes attaching zippers or fixing tears in fabrics in areas that take a lot of stress. When sewing a back stitch, you always take one step back with every stitch you make. This results in a line of thread on the backside of the item and a running stitch on the front. Whip stitch A whip stitch is slightly more advanced than the previous two techniques but still easy to perform. These stitches can repair torn seams, pockets that have come undone and split hems. A whip stitch is ideal whenever you are sewing two pieces of fabric together, like the opening of a pillow case. The threads will be visible in a whip stitch, so make sure you select a color that closely matches the original fabric. With these basic stitches and methods in mind, you are on your way to becoming an ace at basic clothing repair. Best of all, this will save you money and the planet’s resources. Images via Shutterstock

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BIG’s Copenhagen recycling center looks like it will double as a neighborhood ski slope

February 20, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of BIG’s Copenhagen recycling center looks like it will double as a neighborhood ski slope Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Amagerforbraending , BIG Architects , big designs , big ski slope recycling plant , bjarke ingels , copenhagen , fitness , park , picnic , recycling depot , recycling square , running , syndhavns recycling center

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BIG’s Copenhagen recycling center looks like it will double as a neighborhood ski slope

Silicon Valley tilt-up office gets amazing net zero retrofit

February 20, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Silicon Valley tilt-up office gets amazing net zero retrofit Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , Architecture , efficient design , green design , Green Remodel , net zero tilt ups , RMW architecture & interiors , silicon valley architecture , Solar Power , zero net energy architecture

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The Largest Solar Plant in the US is Officially Up and Running

November 25, 2014 by  
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The largest solar plant in the United States is officially fully operational. The Topaz Solar project in San Louis Obispo County, California completed its final 40-megawatt phase last month, making it the first 500-plus megawatt farm in the country. All told, the project now includes an astounding 9 million solar panels across 9.5 million square miles and generates 550-megawatts of clean, solar energy. Read the rest of The Largest Solar Plant in the US is Officially Up and Running Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: biggest solar in the US , Carrizo Plain National Monument , largest solar plant US , largest solar power US , midamerican solar , San Louis Obispo solar , Solar First , solar plant , Topaz Solar , us solar , US solar plants , US Topaz Solar

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The Largest Solar Plant in the US is Officially Up and Running

“We Are Running Out of Time” – New Reports on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

September 9, 2014 by  
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Two new reports have been released this week that demonstrate the consequences of inadequate action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Tuesday the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its report on current greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, and on Monday PwC released its Low Carbon Economy Index 2014 . The WMO report states atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations “reached a new record high in 2013, propelled by a surge in levels of carbon dioxide,” and the PwC report argues that current efforts to reduce carbon emissions actually have us on track for a 4°C warmer world by 2100, instead of the only 2°C (3.6°F) increase we are aiming for. Read the rest of “We Are Running Out of Time” – New Reports on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2 degree temperature increase , 2014 , carbon dioxide , carbon emissions , carbon reduction measures , Climate Change , global warming , greenhouse gas bulletin , IPCC , Low Carbon Economy Index , methane , nitrous oxide , Price Waterhouse Coopers , pwc , reports , un climate summit , WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud , world meteorological organization

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Boy Scout Leaders Destroy 200 Million Year-Old Rock Formation in Utah State Park

October 21, 2013 by  
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In the running for today’s “humans are the dumbest species” award are three Boy Scout leaders from Utah . During a recent church camping trip in Goblin Valley State Park, a place known for unique red rock formations known as “goblins,” the men took it upon themselves to topple a stone formation that was nearly 200 million years old. As if that decision wasn’t questionable enough, they also videotaped the act and then posted it on Facebook. By publicizing their destructive behavior, the men may have opened themselves to felony charges. Read the rest of Boy Scout Leaders Destroy 200 Million Year-Old Rock Formation in Utah State Park Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ancient rock formations , boy scout leaders , boy scout leaders destroy ancient rock formation in Utah , boy scout leaders topple Utah goblin , boy scouts , conservation , environmental destruction , felony charges , goblin valley state park , rock formations , Utah        

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