IKEA’s new air purifying curtain will decrease indoor pollutants

February 21, 2019 by  
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IKEA has discovered a unique way to decrease indoor pollutants with a new air purifying curtain. The Sweden-based company has developed a material that absorbs and breaks down hazardous substances in a process similar to photosynthesis in order to improve indoor air quality. Atmospheric pollution is a major issue across the planet, especially in dense, urban environments. Scientists estimate that close to 90 percent of the world’s population lives in areas that suffer from poor air quality . IKEA hopes that its new curtain, called the GUNRID, will help reduce those numbers and cut down on air pollutants in homes. Related: IKEA and Little Sun team up to design sustainable, off-grid tools “Besides enabling people to breathe better air at home, we hope that GUNRID will increase people’s awareness of indoor air pollution , inspiring behavioral changes that contribute to a world of clean air,” Lena Pripp-Kovac, IKEA’s head of sustainability, shared. According to IKEA , the curtain was developed using state-of-the-art technology that is akin to how plants naturally filter air. The chemicals that filter pollutants are activated via light, both artificial and natural sunlight. IKEA worked with scientists in Asia and Europe to develop the curtain and hopes to use the same technology in other products down the road. IKEA has a long history of developing eco-friendly practices. For the past several years, the company has been reducing the use of hazardous materials in its factories, which has greatly decreased its carbon footprint. The company plans to further cut its impact on the environment by 70 percent over the next decade. The furniture outlet has also put in place several initiatives to combat air pollution . This includes the Better Air Now! Program, which recycles rice straw and turns it into materials that are used in IKEA products. Farmers usually burn rice straw, producing fumes that decrease air quality in regions across the globe. Customers will be able to purchase the GUNRID curtain at some point in 2020. It is unclear how many future products will feature the same technology, but it will be interesting to see what IKEA comes up with. Hopefully, other companies will follow IKEA’s lead and develop air purifying products of their own. + IKEA Images via IKEA

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IKEA’s new air purifying curtain will decrease indoor pollutants

An air conditioner powered by outer space and help from the sun

January 30, 2019 by  
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Stanford researchers are testing a way to cool buildings without fossil fuels, while generating electricity at the same time.

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An air conditioner powered by outer space and help from the sun

We tried the new Impossible Burger at CES heres what we thought

January 8, 2019 by  
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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 is in full swing in Las Vegas. While smart home technology, televisions and wearable tech takes center stage, many surprising innovations are grabbing media attention. Take, for instance, the latest iteration of an Inhabitat favorite — the Impossible Burger. We tried the newest recipe from Impossible at this year’s CES ; keep reading for our thoughts. Delicious in tacos or served as a classic burger, the Impossible Burger has become a favorite for vegetarians and vegans since its inception in 2016. Now, the company is debuting a new and improved recipe that boasts a flavor and texture identical to meat with a smaller impact on our planet than its animal-based counterpart. Related: Impossible Burgers to hit grocery stores in 2019 The new recipe is gluten-free and remains free of animal hormones or antibiotics. The kosher-and halal-certified “meat” will please a wide array of people with dietary restrictions. In addition to its striking resemblance in taste and texture to meat, a serving of the new Impossible Burger offers the same amount of bioavailable protein and iron as a serving of traditional ground beef. It also boasts 30 percent less sodium and 40 percent less saturated fat than the original recipe. The original recipe used wheat in its ingredients, while the new burger is made with soy. We tasted the first round of patties made with the new recipe at Las Vegas ’ Border Grill. Executive chef Mike Minor praised the meat substitute, mentioning the smell and flavor of the new Impossible Burger is “addicting” to himself and his fellow chefs. With this in mind, we couldn’t wait to dig in. Our burger was cooked medium well and looked shockingly identical to a real beef patty cooked the same way. We could already see the juiciness and charred bits before taking a bite, but we were still surprised with how delicious the burger was. It tasted like a high-end burger made from animal protein — it was juicy, tender and full of flavor. As we all know, meat has a huge carbon footprint . With a meat alternative that mimics real meat so closely, the Impossible Burger could transition hardcore meat eaters to a plant-based alternative that saves water, energy and animal lives without compromising the distinct flavor and texture that so many other alternatives miss the mark on. The new recipe is rolling out to select restaurants starting Jan. 8, 2019 and will hit grocery store shelves later this year . + Impossible Images via Impossible

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We tried the new Impossible Burger at CES heres what we thought

Aleph Farms has created the first lab-grown steak

December 25, 2018 by  
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The demand for meat alternatives continues to grow as millions switch to vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets for health, ethical and environmental reasons, and food companies around the world are starting to focus their efforts on plant-based and lab-grown products that can take the place of animal-sourced meats. Aleph Farms recently reached an important milestone in cellular meat production by serving up the first lab-grown steak, made from isolated cow cells and grown into a 3D structure. According to the company, the steak has the same texture as conventional meat, and it also has the same smell. But, they still need to refine the taste and thickness. The current prototype is 5 mm thick, and a small strip costs $50, but Aleph Farms co-founder and CEO Didier Toubia says that is a huge step in the right direction because five years ago, the first lab-grown beef burger cost $283.500. “The cost would come down as the production process was moved from the lab to a scalable commercial facility,” said Toubia. The steak probably won’t be commercially available for another three or four years. But, when it does hit the market, Toubia believes that it will catch on like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger and help bridge the gap between people who do not want to completely give up meat and the need to reduce global meat consumption. Related: 3D-printed vegan steak could aid world hunger relief efforts The industry that is making alternatives to animal-sourced meats is booming, growing at a rate of 20 percent a year. The demand is so high that companies can’t keep up, and the gigantic U.S. meat industry is starting to take notice. Meat companies learned a lesson from the plant-based milk revolution, and they are focusing their efforts on shaping the regulatory environment for their new competitors. Joshua Tetrick, co-founder of the food company Just, says that cell-based meat will upend the market because the process will be able to feed people around the world. “Probably the biggest obstacle outside of the scientific ones is getting folks used to the idea that we don’t need to slaughter animals en masse and deal with our waste to enjoy a nice Turkey dinner for Thanksgiving,” Tetrick says. Via NPR , Treehugger Image via Shutterstock

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Aleph Farms has created the first lab-grown steak

How addressing energy used in food processing contributes to more sustainable agriculture

July 25, 2018 by  
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Greater energy efficiency beyond the farm gate and more sustainable processes inside the farm are the two sides of the same coin.

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How addressing energy used in food processing contributes to more sustainable agriculture

Shocker! Cities are learning to evolve their transportation plans

July 25, 2018 by  
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In the face of changing technology and markets, urban transportation departments are adapting.

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Shocker! Cities are learning to evolve their transportation plans

A call to action to clean-economy entrepreneurs

July 25, 2018 by  
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Can 1,000 or more innovators and startups persuade governments to step up the pace of climate action?

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A call to action to clean-economy entrepreneurs

Marriott plans to save 1 billion plastic straws a year

July 25, 2018 by  
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Stirring up plastics and tourism.

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Marriott plans to save 1 billion plastic straws a year

Century-old Japanese townhouse reborn as Blue Bottle Coffees first Kyoto location

June 6, 2018 by  
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Japanese architecture firm Schemata Architects has unveiled Blue Bottle Coffee’s first outpost in Kyoto  – and it’s housed in a century-old building. Following the aesthetic of the previous Schemata-designed Blue Bottle cafes in Tokyo, the newest location features a minimalist and modern design that takes inspiration from the surrounding urban fabric. The two-story structure was carefully overhauled to allow for new functionality while preserving and exposing historic elements. Completed in March this year, the Blue Bottle Coffee Kyoto Cafe is located near the base of Kyoto’s forested Higashiyama mountains and along the approach to Nanzen-ji Temple, a Zen Buddhist temple and one of the historic city’s top tourist attractions. The cafe was built inside a traditional Japanese townhouse (known as ‘machiya’) consisting of two separate buildings. Schemata Architects renovated the buildings into a ‘Merchandise building’ and a ‘Cafe building’ with a total floor area of nearly 3,500 square feet. As was typical of traditional Japanese architecture at the turn of the 20th century, the original floors of the machiya were raised nearly 20 inches off the ground. To create a seamless appearance and to accommodate patrons with special mobility needs, the Blue Bottle Cafe’s architects demolished the raised wooden floors and made them level with the ground. The new floors feature terrazzo containing the same type of pebbles used outside. The same terrazzo material was also used in the counters and benches. Related: Tokyo capsule hotel gets a Finnish-inspired refresh and sauna “The floor inside the counter is also level with the customer area to maintain the same eye level between customers and staff following the same concept as the other shops, while integrating Japanese and American cultures at the same time,” said the architects. “The continuous white floor is stripped of all unnecessary things and the structure is stripped of existing finishes to expose the original roof structure and clay walls, and one can see traces of its 100-year old history throughout the large, medium and small spaces in the structure originally composed of two separate buildings.” The second floor has been converted into an open-plan office with glass frontage. + Schemata Architects Images by Takumi Ota

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Century-old Japanese townhouse reborn as Blue Bottle Coffees first Kyoto location

MIT engineers just unveiled living, glowing plants

December 13, 2017 by  
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Glowing plants might sound like the stuff of science fiction – but a team of MIT researchers just grew a crop of watercress that emits emit dim light for almost four hours. Postdoctoral researcher Seon-Yeong Kwak led a team of engineers and scientists to instill the plants with the same enzyme that makes fireflies sparkle. MIT chemical engineering professor Michael Strano said, “The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp – a lamp that you don’t have to plug in. The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself.” Plant lamps or even tree street lights could brighten our world in the future thanks to recent research on glowing plants. The plants are illuminated by luciferase – the same enzyme that helps fireflies shine. Luciferase acts on the molecule luciferin to give off light. The team put these three components into nanoparticle carriers to get them to the correct part of a plant. The scientists showed they can also turn off the light by adding nanoparticles with a luciferase inhibitor, so they think they could eventually create plants that stop emitting light in response to conditions like sunlight. Related: 5 Bioluminescent Species that Light Up the World Past experiments to create light-emitting plants attempted to genetically engineer plants to express the gene for luciferase, according to MIT . But it’s a process that takes a lot of work for very dim light – and it’s often limited to just one plant type. The new MIT process can work on any kind of plant; so far the scientists have demonstrated it with watercress, kale, arugula, and spinach. They hope to be able to spray or paint the nanoparticles on leaves with future iterations, so trees or large plants could serve as light sources. The journal Nano Letters published the research online in November. Scientists from the University of California, Riverside and the University of California, Berkeley contributed to the work. + Nano Letters + MIT News Images via Seon-Yeong Kwak

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MIT engineers just unveiled living, glowing plants

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