These magenta greenhouses grow plants faster while generating clean energy

November 8, 2017 by  
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Could a new rose-colored glass change the world of greenhouse design? A UC Santa Cruz spinoff called Soliculture has discovered that covering greenhouses in magenta solar panels allows plants to grow better while generating electricity more efficiently and at less cost than with traditional photovoltaic systems. The pinkish panels are a new technology called Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs). A bright magenta luminescent dye is embedded into the panel glass. The dark color absorbs blue and green wavelengths of light and transfers the energy to the photovoltaic strips, where electricity is generated and used to power the greenhouse’s fans, heaters, watering systems, etc. The idea behind the technology is to convert greenhouses into ultra-efficient food production systems that can operate completely off-grid . Related: Solar-powered aquaponic greenhouses grow up to 880 lbs of produce each year The team behind Soliculture conducted a study to compare the growing conditions of traditional, transparent greenhouses with the new magenta-clad buildings. Using a variety of plants, including 20 varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons, limes, peppers, strawberries and basil, the researchers monitored both photosynthesis and fruit production in both structures. The results of the study showed that 80 percent of the plants weren’t affected by the magenta light, and 20 percent of the inventory actually grew better. Even better, the tomato plants grown in the WSPV houses required 5 percent less water. According to Soliculture co-founder Prof. Michael Loik, the colored panels were a bit of an experiment,”I thought the plants would grow more slowly, because it’s darker under these pink panels,” says Loik. “Plants are sensitive not just to the intensity of light but also to color. But it turns out the plants grow just as well.” + Soliculture Via New Atlas Images via Soliculture and Elena Zhukova/UC Santa Cruz

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These magenta greenhouses grow plants faster while generating clean energy

Two giant volcanic eruptions formed Yellowstone’s iconic caldera

October 27, 2017 by  
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Researchers now believe the sprawling Yellowstone caldera was created by two massive eruptions from the supervolcano that occurred approximately 630,000 years ago. Geologists from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) made this discovery when they uncovered new evidence of the two massive eruptions in the Santa Barbara Basin, which was uniquely suited to capture a long-lasting record of volcanic activity. The record suggests these two closely spaced eruptions from the Yellowstone supervolcano altered the planet’s climate in the wake of an ice age and created the 45 x 30 mile Yellowstone caldera that can be seen today. The evidence for the two massive eruptions was found in two layers of ash and shell sediments off the coast of Santa Barbara, California . 630,000 years ago, the underwater conditions of the Santa Barbara Basin were ideal for preserving records of volcanic activity because of a nutrient-rich environment which allowed single-celled organisms known as foraminifera to thrive. The microscopic shells of the foraminifera contain temperature-sensitive oxygen isotopes, which allows scientists to determine the temperature of the sea at a particular point in the past. Related: NASA considers puncturing Yellowstone supervolcano to save life on Earth Based on the record of foraminifera shells, researchers determined that the Santa Barbara Basin cooled approximately 3 degrees Celsius after each of the super-eruptions, due to ash and volcanic gases in the atmosphere blocking sunlight. Although the world at the time was warming in the wake of an ice age, the two eruptions delayed this climate shift significantly. “It was a fickle, but fortunate time,” said Jim Kennett, geologist and lead author of the study published by the Geological Society of America . “If these eruptions had happened during another climate state we may not have detected the climatic consequences because the cooling episodes would not have lasted so long.” Via New Atlas Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Two giant volcanic eruptions formed Yellowstone’s iconic caldera

Striking apartment complex is made of 48 raw shipping containers

October 27, 2017 by  
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While some designers choose to mask the rough aesthetic of shipping containers with sophisticated cladding, Danish firm Arkitema Architects are proudly putting the metal boxes at the forefront with the design of a new apartment complex in Denmark. Beat Box is a funky complex comprised of 48 containers whose simple and raw appearance was blends in nicely with the former industrial neighborhood of Musicon, just outside of Copenhagen. The Beat Box apartment complex uses 48 containers to create 30 light-filled apartments. Spanning over three blocks in a semi-circle shape, the modern complex will face two of the most central streets in the city. The ground floor will be enclosed with large glass panels to create a strong connection between the structure and its urban environment. Related: This shipping container hotel is so cool you’ll forget its a shipping container The rough exteriors of the shipping containers will be retained, while the interiors will be converted into modern living spaces of various sizes. Large glazed windows and doors will be built into the containers to bring natural light into the units, some of which will have balconies. Future tenants will also be able to enjoy amenities such as a bbq patio and ample bike parking. Thanks to the efficiency of building with shipping containers , construction of the Beat Box project will be a fairly straightforward. Additionally convenient is that the complex will be built in a way so that the structure will be flexible , meaning that the containers can be reconfigured in years to come if necessary. Retaining the rugged exterior of the containers is an integral part of the design, which is focused on creating a sustainable icon for the neighborhood’s revitalization goals, which aims to add 1,000 jobs and 1,000 homes to the Musicon area over the next 15 years. The ambitious urban plan is counting on various sustainable architectural projects accommodate the new population, which will hopefully see the previously industrial area converted into a thriving avant-garde community. + Arkitema Architects Via Archdaily Images via Arkitema Architects

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Striking apartment complex is made of 48 raw shipping containers

How the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Preserves the Environment

August 2, 2017 by  
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Breathtaking surroundings, historic structures, screams of delight — this is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. An amusement part and a beach might seem like a combination that simply can’t be environmentally friendly, but step right up and see…

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How the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Preserves the Environment

"Crown jewel" wildlife refuge is about to be decimated as Trump starts border wall

July 19, 2017 by  
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A 2,000 acre wildlife area known as the “crown jewel” of the national refuge system is about to be gutted as Trump begins construction on his border wall . US Customs and Border patrol has quietly been preparing to start the 18-foot tall border wall in the Santa Ana National Refuge in southern Texas, according to an anonymous official. The refuge is home to 400 bird species and hundreds of animals, including the endangered ocelot – but if the wall is constructed as planned, it will decimate the sanctuary. UCB has been working quietly under the radar to start the project. One official, however, felt that the project shouldn’t start without public input. “This should be public information,” the official told the  Texas Observer . “There shouldn’t be government officials meeting in secret just so they don’t have to deal with the backlash. The public has the right to know about these plans.” Related: Mexican architect proposes stunning purple bridge in defiant response to Trump’s border wall The Department of Homeland Security picked the refuge as the place to start the border wall because it is already owned by the federal government, so there is no conflict with private land owners to worry about. This week, workers have been drilling to extract soil samples in order to prepare for construction, would could begin in January. The wall will be 18-feet-tall and 3-miles-long through the refuge. In order to accommodate a road along the south of the wall, along with light and surveillance towers, the refuge land will be cleared, devastating all fauna and flora. “Republicans are making a grave mistake supporting Trump’s bizarre fantasy of a border wall,” said Brian Segee, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Throwing billions of dollars at the border wall boondoggle and demolishing an iconic wildlife refuge won’t make our country safer. But it will be a disaster for people and communities, and tragically sacrifice the fragile borderlands environment and endangered species like jaguars and ocelots.” Via the Texas Observer images via the US Fish and Wildlife Service

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"Crown jewel" wildlife refuge is about to be decimated as Trump starts border wall

Taipei transforms subway cars into ultra-realistic swimming pools and sports fields

July 19, 2017 by  
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No diving, please! Taipei is getting into the sporting spirit by transforming the interiors of its subway trains into mini sports arenas to celebrate the 29th Summer Universiade Games . The fun artwork, which is shockingly realistic, was inspired by the major sporting events that will take place during the event such as swimming, track and field, soccer, baseball and basketball. Photo by huei_0804 The 29th Summer Universiade Games will be held in Taipei from August 19th to August 30th. To celebrate the event, the city has transformed the interior of the city’s MRT trains to resemble sporting arenas . The city really went all-out to create lifelike settings – the swimming train, covered in what looks like inches of flowing water, is shockingly realistic. Related: Beijing’s futuristic new subway stations are straight out of Blade Runner Each of the subway trains has also been equipped with a FAQ box that will provide information about the scheduled events as well as rules and interesting facts related to the sport portrayed in each carriage. The fun campaign, which is sponsored by The Department of Information and Tourism and EasyCard Corporation, encourages subway riders to take selfies to post on Instagram to generate awareness of the sporting event. + Taipei Tourism Via This is Colossal Images via Taipei Tourism and Instagram

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Taipei transforms subway cars into ultra-realistic swimming pools and sports fields

Vertical Line Garden engulfs visitors in a flurry of colorful kinetic tapes

July 19, 2017 by  
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Canadian design studio BACKOFFICE found a surprising and fun new use for commercial barrier tape for the Vertical Line Garden, a kinetic installation bursting with color that changes dramatically with the light and wind. Developed for the 2017 International Garden Festival in Quebec , the Vertical Line Garden offers a twist on the formal traditional garden, using “contemporary ready-made means and hyper un-natural materials.” The multi-sensory and interactive pavilion comes to life as the pavilion’s hanging barricade tapes move about in the wind and generate a flurry of sound and color. Now in its fourth iteration, the Vertical Line Garden began in 2014 as an exercise in horizontal elements. Today’s version is the most spatial of the four iterations and is entirely vertical with added color and pattern. The installation is built of mass-produced safety and construction materials including commercial barrier tape, a timber frame , and a net. These man-made elements create great contrast with the cultivated Les Jardins de Métis and also communicate the theme of environmental protection and safeguarding. Related: Intriguing ION2 installation in Seattle responds to the movement of passersby BACKOFFICE writes: “The main material forming the installation , barricade tape (barrier tape), is typically used to delineate a perimeter and keep people out of a particular area or zone. Here however it is used precisely to bring visitors into the space and entice them to inhabit it.” To encourage people to stay and use the space, custom-fabricated bent-metal and canvas lounge chairs are provided. The billowing canopy that engulfs the interior is a dazzling display of color, light, and pattern. + BACKOFFICE Images by Martin Bond

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Vertical Line Garden engulfs visitors in a flurry of colorful kinetic tapes

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance Summit to gather corporate renewable energy leaders at VERGE 17

April 13, 2017 by  
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The 2017 Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) Summit will gather corporate buyers, service providers, developers, financiers, utilities and non-profit organizations in Santa Clara, CA, September 17-19, 2017, ahead of GreenBiz Group’s VERGE 17 conference and expo, to identify opportunities to accelerate corporate procurement of renewable energy.

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Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance Summit to gather corporate renewable energy leaders at VERGE 17

Lessons from California’s drought

September 1, 2016 by  
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Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute and Felicia Marcus, CA State Water Resources Board speak on a panel at VERGE 15 in Santa Clara.Check out GreenBiz’s next event: VERGE 16, Sept. 19-22 2016 in Santa Clara, CA.

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Lessons from California’s drought

$10k reward to find horrible person shooting sea otters

August 30, 2016 by  
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Someone is shooting sea otters near Santa Cruz, California and they need to be brought to justice. Federal and state agencies are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the offender(s), as the southern sea otter is a “fully protected” species often threatened by coastal tanker traffic and oil spills . The question on everyone’s lips is: what kind of monster shoots a sea otter? Three male sea otters, two sub-adults and one adult, were found dead in Aptos, between California ‘s Santa Cruz Harbor and Seacliff State Beach in mid-August. Initial necropsy findings show they sustained gunshot wounds several days, even weeks, before being discovered, leading officials to believe they died between late July and early August. Related: Santa Cruz team proposes that sea otters could help slow global warming The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are spearheading the search for information, encouraging citizens who see something to say something. Southern sea otters, also called California sea otters, are protected as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act , as well as under California’s Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are also considered blindingly adorable by this author and a suspected majority of the worldwide population. Because of these protections, killing a southern sea otter is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and a potential jail sentence. Anyone with information can call the CalTip line at 1-888-334-2258 or the Special Agent of the USFWS at at 650-876-9078. If someone finds a deceased otter, they are encouraged to leave the body where it is, take a photo, and immediately contact the CDFW at 831-212-7010. Images via  Wikipedia , Flickr

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$10k reward to find horrible person shooting sea otters

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