Earth911 Podcast, Dec. 14, 2018: EnergySage on the State of Solar

December 14, 2018 by  
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Vikram Aggarwal, founder and CEO of home solar comparison-shopping service … The post Earth911 Podcast, Dec. 14, 2018: EnergySage on the State of Solar appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Dec. 14, 2018: EnergySage on the State of Solar

BIG designs a high-end tiny house that goes off-grid

May 18, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has revealed images for the firm’s first-ever tiny house—the A45—designed for the prefab-housing startup Klein . Inspired by the traditional A-frame cabin, the A45 takes on an angular form conducive to rain run-off and easy construction. The 180-square-foot timber cabin boasts a completely customizable interior design and can be built within four to six months in any location. Constructed in Upstate New York, the prototype for the A45 tiny house is clad in blackened pine with a triangular glazed end wall to immerse homeowners in nature even when they’re indoors. The triangular floor-to-ceiling window—made up of seven glass pieces—and the soaring 13-foot-tall ceiling help create a sense of spaciousness despite the structure’s small 180-square-foot size. The cabin is slightly elevated on four concrete piers in order to minimize site impact and to give homeowners the freedom to place the tiny home in areas without heavy machinery. “The resulting crystal-like shape gives A45 an ever-changing appearance,” said BIG in a statement about their modification of the traditional A-frame cabin. “Upon entering, the 180 [square-foot] interior space reflects a minimal Nordic abode prioritized for ‘hyggelig’ comfort and design.” The subtle natural material palette, from the exposed timber frame built of solid pine to the Douglas Fir floor planks and the space-grade insulating natural cork walls, further emphasizes the Scandinavian aesthetic. Cedar clads the compact bathroom, and the fixtures were sourced from VOLA. Related: This tiny timber cabin was built from construction waste for under $30K The A45 tiny house comprises 100% recyclable materials including the timber frame, wall modules, and subfloor. The home get all of its power from  solar panels, and the service equipment is hidden from view in the back. The cozy interior is furnished with a Morsøe wood-burning stove and handcrafted Nordic furniture including pieces by Carl Hansen and a bed fitted with Soren Rose Studio’s Kvadrat fabrics. Københavns Møbelsnedkeri designed the petite kitchen. + Bjarke Ingels Group + Klein Via AD Images via BIG

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Pyramidal floating buildings envisioned for a self-sustaining city on the sea

April 30, 2018 by  
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As the world’s first floating city draws closer to completion, designers like Pierpaolo Lazzarini have begun drawing up their own utopian sea-based societies as well. The Italian designer recently unveiled plans for Wayaland, a floating self-sustainable community comprising solar- and wind- powered pyramidal buildings. Lazzarini hopes to turn the futuristic scheme into reality with a crowdfunding campaign that offers people the chance to stay in a yet-to-be-completed floating module for €1,000 ($1,200) a night. Inspired by ancient Mayan architecture, the pyramidal buildings comprise stacked prefabricated modules that can be adapted for a variety of purposes, from housing to entertainment. Powered by solar and wind energy, each relatively lightweight structure would be built from a combination of fiberglass , carbon and steel. The submerged floating basement would house the engine that propels the buildings, energy storage, and other service equipment like desalinators. Related: World’s first floating city one step closer to reality in French Polynesia Lazzarini hopes to jumpstart his floating city dream with a crowdfunding campaign targeting €350,000 ($423,000), the amount he says is necessary to build The Waya Suite, a residential floating module measuring 1,076 square feet over two floors with an expected delivery date of 2022. Supporters can pre-order a night on the home for €1,000 ($1,200) a night. + Wayaland Via New Atlas Images via Pierpaolo Lazzarini

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These colorful hexagonal wall tiles are made from sound-absorbing "wood wool"

April 29, 2018 by  
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These colorful hexagonal wall tiles by Form Us With Love strike a brilliant balance between sustainable materials, economy and functionality. The modular tiles are available in a variety of different colors and can be assembled in various patterns to create a gorgeous mural on your wall. The tiles are made from wood fibers mixed with cement and water, and they have sound-absorbing properties that can actually improve the acoustics of a room. Form Us With Love collaborates with different manufacturing companies to create everyday objects, furniture, and lighting products that challenge conventional design initiatives. For the production of these hexagons, they work with the only manufacturer of wood wool in Sweden – a 20-man traditional family business called Traullit . The tiles are made from wood slivers which are known primarily as excelsior or wood wool in North America. The material is mainly used for packaging, cushioning, insulation, and even stuffing teddy bears. The process of making wood wool cement is very simple: wood slivers are cut from local tree logs and then get mixed with some water and cement, which acts as a binder and provides strength. The mixture is then put into a mold and left to dry into shape. The result is a material that is environmentally friendly, moisture and sound absorbent, and fire and water resistant. + Form Us With Love

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These colorful hexagonal wall tiles are made from sound-absorbing "wood wool"

Huge graveyards of abandoned bikes are piling up in China after sharing craze reaches peak

April 2, 2018 by  
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Bike-sharing took off in China , where many city dwellers battle smog and bikes offered a potential clean alternative. Now, without the infrastructure to support them, and an over-saturation in the sharing market, abandoned bikes have piled into massive graveyards in cities like Shanghai and Beijing  – forcing us to ask: are bicycles polluting metropolises they were intended to aid? The Atlantic reported  bike sharing growth surpassed demand and  Deutsche Welle (DW) said  that bikes are piling up into massive graveyards. 16 to 18 million bikes hit streets in China from around 60 companies, TIME said , and most cities weren’t prepared to handle the influx. There aren’t any set docking stations or bike stands, so most bikes are just parked on the side of the road, according to the publication. Back in December, Fortune reported the co-founder of bike-share startup Ofo , Zhang Siding, said, “The bike-sharing phenomenon has grown very quickly in the last few years, but the layout and infrastructure [of] cities in China aren’t something that can be changed as quickly to accommodate this new trend.” Related: China’s largest bike share launches air-purifying bicycles for 20 million citizens Bike graveyards have grown as some bike-sharing companies fold, and their surplus bicycles sprawl in vacant lots. DW said police now have to gather unwanted vehicles from roads and parks, and pile them in fields out of city centers. According to Fortune, last year Ofo launched a credit score system: users would be penalized for antisocial behavior like traffic violations or bike dumping, and rewarded for positive behavior, like reporting damaged or lost bikes. If users’ points were all deducted, they’d be barred from the service. They were also reportedly working with interest groups in cities to come up with new strategies — for example, in Guangzhou, traffic wardens or local groups can send feedback to the company if bikes are accumulating and Zhang said, “we’ll send people down to deal with it.” Health and air quality benefits are still present with bike-sharing, and The Atlantic said the trend is still popular, and bike-sharing will likely keep growing — just maybe at a slightly more sustainable rate. Via The Atlantic , TIME , Deutsche Welle , and Fortune Images via Philip Cohen on Flickr , Chris on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump bewilders scientists, says ice caps are "setting records"

January 29, 2018 by  
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The president of the United States raised eyebrows once again over his thoughts on climate change . In an interview with British journalist Piers Morgan on United Kingdom television channel ITV, Donald Trump said ice caps are setting records – without offering data to back up his statement. Morgan asked Trump, “Do you believe in climate change? Do you think it exists?” Trump said, “There is a cooling and there is a heating and look, it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming . Right? That wasn’t working too well. Because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records, okay, they’re at a record level.” Related: This map shows how uninformed Trump’s global warming tweet is There are several errors in Trump’s statement, for which he failed to offer scientific evidence. Reuters spoke with a few scientists about Trump’s claims, and World Glacier Monitoring Service director Michael Zemp told them, “ Glaciers and ice caps are globally continuing to melt at an extreme rate…maybe [Trump] is referring to a different planet.” Trump also talked about the Paris Agreement in the interview, saying, “Would I go back in? Yeah, I’d go back in. I like, as you know, I like Emmanuel,” referring to the president of France Emmanuel Macron . “I would love to, but it’s got to be a good deal for the United States.” Bloomberg pointed out Trump made similar remarks following a meeting with Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway. So what are some of Trump’s beliefs on the environment ? The president told Morgan, “I’ll tell you what I believe in. I believe in clean air, I believe in crystal clear, beautiful water, I believe in just having good cleanliness.” Via The Independent , Bloomberg , and Reuters Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Pixabay

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Trump bewilders scientists, says ice caps are "setting records"

The majority of the National Park Service board just resigned

January 17, 2018 by  
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The majority of the 12-person National Park System Advisory Board (NPSAB) resigned this week because President Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke was unwilling to meet with them, according to NPR . Democrat Tony Knowles, former governor of Alaska, said in a resignation letter “…from all of the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside.” The National Park Service (NPS) advisory board was first authorized in 1935, and today more than three-quarters of its members have left their seats. In the January 15 letter Knowles said that he will remain dedicated to the success of America’s national parks, but “For the last year we have stood by waiting for the chance to meet and continue the partnership between the NPSAB and the DOI [Department of the Interior] as prescribed by law. We understand the complexity of transition but our requests to engage have been ignored and the matters on which we wanted to brief the new Department team are clearly not part of its agenda.” Related: Ryan Zinke recommends shrinking two more national monuments Nine board members signed that letter, and all of their terms were set to expire in May. Today a tenth member – whose term doesn’t expire until 2021 – resigned as well. Project Concern International CEO Carolyn Hessler Radelet submitted a similar letter to Zinke. According to The Washington Post , this move means the federal government lacks a functioning body to “designate national historic or natural landmarks.” The publication said it also shows how federal advisory bodies have been marginalized in Trump’s administration . Zinke suspended outside committees back in May of last year for his staff to review their work. Interior spokesperson Heather Swift said boards restarted in an email to The Washington Post earlier this month, but didn’t provide other details. The two people remaining on the board at this time are University of Maryland professor Rita Colwell and Harvard University professor Linda Blimes, who told The Washington Post she didn’t resign as she’s currently conducting research funded by the National Park Foundation and wants to finish. Their terms are up in May. Via NPR and The Washington Post (1 , 2 , 3) Images by Casey Horner on Unsplash , Gage Skidmore on Flickr and NPS

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The majority of the National Park Service board just resigned

Over 20,500 people have signed a petition to keep Starbucks out of Yosemite

January 16, 2018 by  
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Should Starbucks be present in a national park like Yosemite ? More than 20,500 signers of a Change.org petition don’t think so. The petition says opening the Starbucks would pave the way for more undue development and the national park “will lose its essence, making it hardly distinguishable from a chaotic and bustling commercial city.” The idea of a Starbucks in Yosemite National Park has people livid. “National parks are some of the only free, clean, beautiful and pollution free places we have left. Multi billion dollar corporations don’t belong!” said petition signer Rebekah Stevens of Mariposa, California on Change.org. Signer Felicia Flick of Foresthill, California said, “John Muir would roll in his grave.” People saying they’re from places all over the United States and the world have signed the petition to be sent to representative Tom McClintock, senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, and the Yosemite National Park Administration. Related: White House kills ban on bottled water at National Parks The Starbucks would be part of Base Camp Eatery , Yosemite Hospitality’s renovated food court. Yosemite Hospitality is a corporate subsidiary of Aramark , and senior director of corporate communications David Freireich told Thrillist , “The petition is not an accurate representation or reflection of what is being planned. The Starbucks offering will occupy existing space. No new structures or free-standing stores are being built as part of the food court renovation.” National parks right now aren’t free of corporations, according to National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson, who told Mashable , “Many of our current concessioners are multi-national corporations. Concessioners fill a vital role in helping the National Park Service carry out its mission. Private companies are drawn to working with NPS in order to offer services to park visitors, which are not provided directly by the government. Concessioners specialize in these operations and are thus able to provide quality services at reasonable prices.” Aramark became a concessioner at Yosemite in 2016 under a 15-year contract . People continue to sign the petition – at time of publication the number was just over 20,500. Find out more here . Via Change.org , Thrillist , and Mashable Images via Pixabay and Aniket Deole on Unsplash

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Chinese company unveils wild new electric SUV with a 370-mile range

January 16, 2018 by  
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Need detachable headlights or augmented reality in your car ? Chinese automaker GAC Motor has you covered. They unveiled a concept car at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit that boasts these features – and a range of 370 miles on one charge. The Verge and Engadget covered the compact new-energy SUV, the Enverge, that GAC debuted as part of their effort to start selling cars in America next year. Gull-wing doors and a flatscreen dashboard are among the flashy features included in the Enverge. The concept car offers virtual reality screens in side windows and removable fog lamps – dubbed G-Torches – that also serve as flashlights for exploring. Related: One of China’s largest car makers just broke ground on a $6.5 billion EV park Here comes to the moment to reveal our Enverge concept car! Tailor-made for North American market, Enverge, the first compact new-energy concept SUV, looks stunning! @NAIASDetroit #GACMotor #Enverge #SUV #Detroit #NAIAS pic.twitter.com/4YfDC5T8JO — GAC MOTOR (@Gac_Motor) January 16, 2018 And then there’s the alleged range of the car – which at 370 miles on one charge is farther than the Tesla Model 3 , The Verge pointed out. The 71 kilowatt-hour battery can be charged wirelessly – and 10 minutes could reportedly provide drivers with a range of 240 miles. The Enverge is a deadly looking electric car from a company you’ve never heard of https://t.co/ME0ypmdeA9 pic.twitter.com/ulQuVbcXsx — The Verge (@verge) January 15, 2018 Will the Enverge see the light of day beyond car shows? That remains to be seen – in a press release GAC Motor seemed to indicate they presented the car to show off “the company’s cutting-edge technologies and tremendous potential in the fields of vehicle electrification, networking, and intelligent system.” The company also unveiled the GA4 sedan , designed as a family car. GAC Motor sold around 500,000 cars in China last year. Inhabitat covered GAC Motor last year when they started construction on a $6.5 billion electric vehicle park to manufacture EVs and self-driving cars. GAC Motor is reportedly talking with Fiat Chrysler about distributing cars in America. The company said they showed their cars at the auto show to demonstrate “the brand’s sincerity and determination to enter the North American market” – a move which could happen in 2019. Via The Verge , Engadget , and GAC Motor/PRNewswire Images via GAC Motor/PRNewswire

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Most active volcano in the Philippines sends locals and tourists fleeing

January 16, 2018 by  
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Mount Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines , sent lava billowing down its slopes on Tuesday and prompted an evacuation of more than 21,000 locals who live in threatened areas. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, lava flowed as far as 1.2 miles from the crater while ash from the volcanic activity spread to several communities in the northeastern Albay Province, where Mayon is located. Although the sight of an active volcano is breathtaking, authorities have advised that people remain beyond the 3.7-4.3 mile danger zone around Mayon. “They say it’s beauty juxtaposed with danger,” Office of Civil Defense regional director Claudio Yucot said, according to CBS News . Of the at least 21,800 people to be displaced by Mayon’s most recent eruptive episode, over 16,800 have taken shelter in 22 schools throughout the region. Others found safety at the homes of relatives far from the danger zone. Locals have expressed concern for their livestocks, which authorities have met by setting up evacuation areas for animals such as pigs, poultry, water buffalo, and cattle.  Despite the vivid display of danger, the volcano’s current lava spell was sparked by lava fragments splitting from the lava flow, not from an explosive eruption from within the crater. Further, scientists have not observed the level of volcanic earthquakes that would indicate an imminent eruption. If such an eruption were to appear imminent, authorities say that they are ready for a large-scale evacuation operation. Related: Scientists construct new theory of Yellowstone’s supervolcano hotspot Mayon has erupted about 50 times in the past 500 years, often with great strength. Its first recorded eruption was in 1616 while the most destructive occurred in 1814, when 1,200 people were killed and the town of Cagsawa was buried. The most recent episode before the current occurred in 2013 when an eruption of ash killed five people who attempted to climb the volcano despite warnings. While Mount Mayon may be the most active, it certainly is not the only volcano in the Philippines. Mayon is a part of the Ring of Fire, an area in the Pacific in which seismic faults are plentiful and often produce earthquakes and volcanic activity. Via CBS News Images via Denvie Balidoy/Flickr and Tom Falcon/Flickr

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