Redwoods, condor sanctuary are damaged in California wildfires

August 28, 2020 by  
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The beloved giants of Big Basin Redwoods State Park have been facing massive wildfires in California. Fortunately, many survived, proving how tough and resilient these trees can be, although there has still been considerable damage. Meanwhile, a condor sanctuary has also been devastated, with experts fearing the loss of some of these critically endangered birds. Big Basin’s redwoods have stood in the Santa Cruz Mountains for more than 1,000 years. In 1902, the area became California’s first state park. The trees are a combination of old-growth and second-growth redwood forest, mixed with oaks, conifer and chaparral. The park is a popular hiking destination with more than 80 miles of trails, multiple waterfalls and good bird-watching opportunities. Related: Arctic wildfires rage through Siberia Early reports of the Santa Cruz Lightning Complex fires claimed the redwood trees were all gone. But a visitor on Tuesday found most trees still intact, though the park’s historic headquarters and other structures had burned in the fires. “But the forest is not gone,” Laura McLendon, conservation director for the Sempervirens Fund, told KQED . “It will regrow. Every old growth redwood I’ve ever seen, in Big Basin and other parks, has fire scars on them. They’ve been through multiple fires, possibly worse than this.” Scientists have done some interesting studies on redwoods, including one concluding that redwoods might be benefiting from climate change . A warming climate means less fog in northern California, which allows redwoods more sunshine and therefore more photosynthesis. Researchers have also looked into cloning giant redwoods, which could save the species if they burn in future fires. A sanctuary for endangered condors in Big Sur also suffered from the wildfires. Kelly Sorenson, executive director of Ventana Wildlife Society, which operates the sanctuary, watched in horror as fire took out a remote camera trained on a condor chick in a nest. Sorenson saw the chick’s parents fly away. “We were horrified. It was hard to watch. We still don’t know if the chick survived, or how well the free-flying birds have done,” Sorenson told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’m concerned we may have lost some condors. Any loss is a setback. I’m trying to keep the faith and keep hopeful.” The fate of at least four other wild condors who live in the sanctuary is also still unknown. Via CleanTechnica , EcoWatch and KQED Image via Anita Ritenour

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Redwoods, condor sanctuary are damaged in California wildfires

Modular hanging suites are built to drop into any setting

August 21, 2020 by  
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Located in the tourist-friendly Spanish village of Santa Maria de Palautordera, the Drop Box N-240 is a transportable, modular suite that is ready to “drop” into practically any location via crane. The models, designed by In-Tenta, are manufactured offsite, transported and quickly assembled. Along with wood as a renewable and sustainable building material for the frame, suites come with either natural wood cladding or composite panels made of cement and wood particles as exterior finish. The hotel property provides views of the Montseny Massif mountain range in Montseny Natural Park, included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. This park is located in the Catalan pre-coastal mountain range, 25 kilometers from the stunning Mediterranean Sea and 50 kilometers from bustling Barcelona. Related: This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days In a project designed to increase in size without interfering with the natural environment, the prefab suite is suspended in the middle of the forest with a panoramic view over the trees. The floor plan includes a living room, a fully equipped bathroom and a platform with space for a queen-sized bed. The pod-like suite and attached terrace is installed like a treehouse , elevated over a metal structure to adhere to the sloped terrain while minimizing impact upon the site. The entire layout is designed for minimal occupation of land, giving the rooms a small, yet comfortable, ambiance. The cement-wood combination panels are low-maintenance, non-toxic, impermeable to water and aren’t susceptible to damage from living organisms. There are also several colors to choose from to customize the suite. The design company can also customize the floor plan depending on a client’s needs. In the case of the Santa Maria de Palautordera property, the entrance door is made of the same cement and wood mixture that makes up the rest of the facade, rather than the default transparent glass. The standard Drop Box N-240 layout includes a kitchen and a shower, but this particular suite ditched the kitchen and swapped a shower for a bathtub to save space. + In-Tenta Photography by estudibasic via In-Tenta

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Modular hanging suites are built to drop into any setting

Airy Santa Monica Canyon home embraces views of nature and art

May 27, 2020 by  
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Reclaimed materials, a world-class art collection and an indoor/outdoor lifestyle combine in this recently completed Los Angeles residence designed by Santa Monica-based firm  Conner + Perry Architects . Built for  Los Angeles natives, this luxurious four-bedroom family home with large windows and a natural material palette was thoughtfully inserted into a wooded Santa Monica Canyon. Salvaged materials taken from the old existing home on-site and felled wood found on the property have been repurposed into beautiful focal elements for the house, such as the grand entry doors and outdoor furniture.  Designed to embrace the “quintessential California indoor/outdoor experience,” the two-story Santa Monica Canyon home opens up with fully pocketing glass exterior walls to a central courtyard with a pool and outdoor shower. Extended canopy-like cantilevered eaves protect from the sun. The charred wood ( Shou Sugi Ban ) siding, copper, exposed steel and concrete materials that wrap the home’s exterior were selected for their organic nature and their low-maintenance, climate-compatible qualities.  To pay homage to the history of the site, which was used as a Forestry Service test station for Eucalyptus tree testing in the 1910s and 1920s, the architects  salvaged  much of the original 1940s cabin that once occupied the property. Related: New Santa Monica City Services Building will produce more energy than it uses The home interior takes cues from nature and includes a mix of massangis gray  limestone  and French oak used for the floors, weathered brass, blackened steel elements and a variety of marble and tiles. The warm yet restrained palette also provides a neutral backdrop for the clients’ world-class art collection; the interior floor plan was designed to frame views of either the art pieces or landscape views. “Each of them has described the house as having a magical or mystical quality, allowing light in at the right moments, as well as the shadows of the trees , and a calming mirroring effect,” Kristopher Conner, Conner + Perry Architects co-founder, said. + Conner + Perry Architects Images by Taiyo Watanabe

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Airy Santa Monica Canyon home embraces views of nature and art

The Kincade & Getty Fires: How to Help When Climate Change Strikes

October 28, 2019 by  
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The city of Santa Rosa, California, is mostly evacuated today, … The post The Kincade & Getty Fires: How to Help When Climate Change Strikes appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The Kincade & Getty Fires: How to Help When Climate Change Strikes

$87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions

August 23, 2019 by  
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Mountain lions in Southern California will have a safer place to roam by 2023 thanks to an $87 million bridge being designed northwest of Los Angeles and spread out above the busy 101 Highway. California is the only state in the country where shooting the creatures for sport is banned . But a March study published in the journal Ecological Applications suggested mountain lions could be extinct within 50 years if changes to their environment don’t happen. Related: Utah plans $5 million wildlife bridge over deadly I-80 highway “ Animals were able to move around through different parts of the mountains until humans cut them off with giant roads,” said Beth Pratt of the National Wildlife Federation. “GPS tracking shows that the animals are largely isolated in their own small areas, unable to mingle. Segmentation impacts animals both large and small: lizards and birds up to mountain lions.” Once the project is completed, the wildlife bridge will connect various sections of the Santa Monica Mountains, hopefully giving mountain lions and other wildlife better protection. It is designed to blend into the scenery, so the creatures won’t know they are on a bridge. Pratt stressed this ecological environment needs to be rebuilt for the sake of all animal welfare and thinks the wildlife bridge is a good idea. “This is an animal that is particularly beloved in California ,” Pratt said. “We want these animals on the landscape, and the population will go extinct if we don’t do something soon.” The project has been 20 years in the making, with the National Park Service closely studying the area during this time. It wasn’t until about a decade ago the idea became a reality; funds totaling $13.4 million have been raised by private contributors, according to The Guardian. The project has caught the attention of actor Leonardo DiCaprio , who has been a supporter of the project, as well as other big names around the world. About 9,000 comments were posted in favor of the project, and only 15 were against it when the public was given the opportunity give feedback. “We’re doing this in LA, a city of 4 million people,” Pratt said. “If LA can do it, it can work anywhere. Even in a giant city , we’ll make a home for a mountain lion.” + Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains + Clark Stevens Via The Guardian Design and images via Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains and Clark Stevens Architect/Raymond Garcia Illustrator

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$87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions

Modern desert home is a sculptural extension of the landscape

March 23, 2018 by  
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Specht Architects completed the Sundial House, a modernist home that derives its name from the changing play of light and shadow indoors. Set atop a ridge in Santa Fe , New Mexico, the award-winning residence is built to look and feel like a sculptural extension of the landscape with impressive panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Oriented for optimal views of the Sangre de Christos mountains, the Sundial House makes the most of its views with large expanses of glass protected by the cantilevered roof. The home is organized around two perpendicular board-formed concrete walls. The landscape design reinforces the sense of order and rhythm laid out by the architectural elements. Related: Passive VOLKsHouse is an Affordable Net-Zero Energy Home in Santa Fe “The house enhances a feeling of connection to the site, both physically, and temporally, and provides a true sense of shelter,” wrote the architects. The indoor-outdoor relationship is strengthened not only through glazed walls and a skylight, but with the addition of courtyards as well. + Specht Architects Via Dezeen Images by Taggart Sorensen

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Modern desert home is a sculptural extension of the landscape

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

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