Retro electric motorbike with 40-mile range fits in the trunk of a car

May 22, 2017 by  
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Urban mobility is seeing something of a renaissance. As cars congest and pollute cities, people are rethinking how to get around. One company based in Singapore , seeks to inject a little fun and imagination into urban travel. Vanda Electrics is offering a small electric motorbike called the Motochimp that they claim will open your eyes “to the surreal in everyday spaces, as you meander through streets and dreamscapes.” The future of urban mobility isn’t all sleek electric cars or pioneering flying cars . Vanda Electrics infuses a sense of playfulness into a commute with their Motochimp, a foldable motorbike that can be packed into a car trunk. The unconventional vehicle was designed to celebrate spontaneous joy rides and “defy boredom and faceless urban transport.” From the website, it appears the motorbike will come in at least three bright colors: red, blue, and yellow. Related: Hyundai foldable electric Ioniq scooter will make your commute awesome The bike’s draw isn’t only its funky design , but the nearly 40 mile range it can get on one charge. The company also says the battery charges rapidly. The zero emissions vehicle will be able to cruise through the streets at speeds of 20 miles per hour. Jonny Smith of YouTube channel Fully Charged drove the Motochimp around and said the quirky vehicle is like the “child of a tube of toothpaste, Lego, and a packet of Pez candy.” He also likened the bike to a 1960’s coffee machine. According to Treehugger, the motorbike is expected to enter production in 2017 and could be released in the United Kingdom and possibly the United States by 2018. The price is yet unclear; Smith said the Motochimp could cost around $1,600 while Auto Express put the price tag closer to $2,000. Treehugger pointed out with prices that expensive, the Motochimp isn’t likely to be a vehicle for the masses, but could offer a fun alternative for those who want to ditch their cars. + Vanda Electrics + Motochimp Via Treehugger Images via Motochimp Facebook

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Retro electric motorbike with 40-mile range fits in the trunk of a car

China claims major energy breakthrough with ‘flammable ice’

May 19, 2017 by  
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China has claimed a major energy breakthrough, but its eco credentials are dubious at best. Researchers say they managed to extract gas from flammable ice in the South China Sea. A frozen mix of natural gas and water known as methane hydrates, the ‘breakthrough’ is expected to revolutionize the future of energy . We’re not sure that’s a good idea. Flammable ice could be our planet’s final great source of carbon-based fuel , according to the BBC. Vast deposits can be found under essentially every ocean. But it’s incredibly difficult to extract gas from flammable ice – in part because it catches fire so easily – a lighter held up next to the ice will do the trick. Related: Japan Successfully Taps ‘Flammable Ice’ as an Energy Source for the First Time Japan so far has led the way in working to mine the potential energy source, but China’s latest efforts could mark a milestone on the path to extracting gas from methane hydrates. Chinese media said the country had succeeded in extracting an average of 16,000 cubic meters of gas per day in the South China Sea. Scientist Praveen Linga of the National University of Singapore told the BBC, “Compared with the results we have seen from Japanese research, the Chinese scientists have managed to extract much more gas in their efforts. So in that sense it is indeed a major step towards making gas extraction from methane hydrates viable.” But Linga warns extraction must be done carefully. Methane could escape from the methane hydrates during extraction, which could harm the planet as methane holds greater potential to affect climate change than carbon dioxide, according to the BBC. It’s hard to tell if flammable ice extraction will fall into the pitfalls of the oil and gas industry, with greed taking precedence over our planet. The BBC also described flammable ice as a very energy intensive source of fuel. Linga says there’s still a long way to go, and he said realistic commercial options might be ready in 2025 at the earliest. Via the BBC Images via William Winters, USGS and U.S. Geological Survey on Flickr

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The breeze blows straight through this stunning tropical home in Singapore

May 1, 2017 by  
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House 24 makes the most of a challenging plot by opening up to its idyllic surroundings in Singapore . Park + Associates Pte Ltd designed the multi-generational home to embrace the tropical climate using rhythmic timber screens. A courtyard provides privacy, and a peaceful pool helps to passively cool the home. The house sits on a triangular plot in Singapore, near a lushly landscaped state-owned park. The architects saw the shape of the site as the main design driver and envisioned a courtyard residence that offers privacy while providing expansive views of the surroundings. Related: This Secret Garden House in Singapore is full of elegant surprises The project features timber craftsmanship in the form of wooden screens that create patterns of light and shadow that reflect the project’s tropical locality. A row of full height sliding doors along the first-floor corridor opens up to the swimming pool , which helps to passively cool down the air flowing into the home. A series of timber screens line the west-facing walkway on the second floor to protect it from the direct and harsh tropical sunlight. Related: A tropical paradise grows inside this lush Singapore home The team redefined the conventional entry sequence and transformed it by forming a more layered and sequential experience through the use of courtyard screens fronting the street. This space marks the transition between the public and private space and offers a serene atmosphere. The project has won the A’ Design Award in the Architecture , building and structure design category. + Park + Associates Pte Ltd Via A’ Design Award and Competition

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The breeze blows straight through this stunning tropical home in Singapore

Singapore’s giant vertical farm grows 80 tons of vegetables every year

February 10, 2017 by  
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This vertical farm in Singapore grows a whopping 80 tons of veggies every single year. The farm was founded by Panasonic , and it uses LED lights to quickly and efficiently grow produce indoors without depending on unpredictable weather conditions. Panasonic believes indoor farming is a key to the future that could solve food supply issues worldwide. Panasonic started their indoor farm in a 2,670 square foot space and initially produced 3.6 tons of vegetables per year. But the company’s Agriculture Business Division assistant manager Alfred Tham recently told Business Insider that the farm has quadrupled its square footage and food output. Related: Futuristic Japanese indoor vertical farm produces 12,000 heads of lettuce a day with LED lighting Vertical farming allows Panasonic to make the most of the warehouse space, although they do grow their plants in soil in contrast to many vertical farms. They source their LED lights from a local company. Rather than depending on sunlight or rain showers, the farmers can control the indoor farm’s climate – including pH levels, temperature, and oxygen. 40 varieties of crops grow in the indoor farm – from mizuna to romaine lettuce, mini red radishes and Swiss chard. But the goal is to start cultivating 30 additional varieties by March of this year. Right now the flourishing farm accounts for just 0.015 percent of produce grown in the country, but Panasonic hopes to boost that statistic up to five percent. As Singapore currently imports more than 90 percent of its food, indoor farms could enable the island nation to become more self-sufficient. Panasonic is selling the indoor farm’s produce under the brand name Veggie Life, and a three ounce bowl of greens goes for around $5 in grocery stores. They also sell their produce to local restaurants. Via Business Insider Images via Panasonic ( 1 , 2 )

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Singapore’s giant vertical farm grows 80 tons of vegetables every year

Chinese fishery installs immense floating solar farm for extra income

February 6, 2017 by  
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A fishery in eastern China now doubles as a solar power station. An immense array of photovoltaic panels has been installed across 300 hectares to generate not only clean electricity , but additional money for the fishery. Lines of solar panels stretch over the waters of a fishery in Cixi City, which is in the Zhejiang Province in eastern China . People’s Daily Online reports with a 200 megawatt (MW) capacity, it is the biggest solar power station constructed on a fish farm in the country. The panels will be connected to the state grid and will provide the fishery with an annual income of 240 million RMB, which is around $34 million. Fish should still be able to thrive in the waters underneath the panels; People’s Daily Online says the panels will provide shade, but PV Magazine also noted they were intentionally spaced out to allow sunlight to filter through, which is necessary for the fish to grow. Related: $11 million floating solar testbed in Singapore will be the largest in the world The huge station can generate enough power for 100,000 households, and could maybe even replace 7.4 tons of coal, according to People’s Daily Online. The solar panels should generate an impressive 220 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. PV Magazine reports there’s a similar 120 MW installation in China in the Jiangxi Province, but clearly the Cixi City project is much larger. The new solar system certainly wasn’t cheap; it cost 1.8 billion RMB, or $260 million. But Electrek reports the floating solar farm will pay for itself in about seven or eight years. The fishery turned renewable energy plant could offer a model for other fisheries or coastal areas around the world; PV Magazine reports construction just finished in late 2016, so it’s time to see how the fish farm functions with solar panels atop their pond. Via Electrek , People’s Daily Online , and PV Magazine Images via Max Pixel and screenshot

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Austin Maynard Architects restores a beach shack in their crusade against McMansions

February 6, 2017 by  
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Austin Maynard Architects is taking a stand against McMansions. Tired of seeing Australia’s handsome old shacks demolished to make way for less culturally interesting housing, the Australian architecture firm completed a beautiful renovation and addition to an old beach shack in the town of Lorne. The restored project, called the Dorman House, is a lovely celebration of the Australian beach shack vernacular with stunning ocean views and a modern and eco-friendly design. The Dorman House comprises two parts: the restoration of an old post-war beach shack that remains mostly unchanged, and the addition of a contemporary new extension. The clients, Kate and Grant, had asked Austin Maynard Architects to preserve the original shack and add an extension that would allow for clear and elevated ocean views without dominating or damaging the existing structure. Although the simplest solution would have been to bulldoze the existing shack and start anew, the architects and clients sought the more sustainable solution. “Modest, humble shacks are being replaced with incongruous and unnecessary McMansions ,” wrote the architects. “Increasingly we see a duplication of the suburban home where once stood the shack. Through this process we not only lose important parts of our built heritage, we also lose a significant part of our social and emotional diversity. We lose parts of ourselves. At Austin Maynard Architects we do our best to avoid the simple temptation of demolishing and replacing. Where extensions are required/desired, we aim to retain and respect the existing shack and its scale.” Related: Gorgeous solar-powered THAT House is an eco-friendly rebel “with just enough space” The new extension is an elevated timber box that sits atop the original shack and comprises an open-plan kitchen, dining, and living room accessed via a spiral staircase. The interior is lined with Silvertop Ash and opens up to gorgeous ocean views and breezes through full-height windows. Most of the glass faces north and all windows are double glazed with thermally separated frames, while solar shades are in place to minimize solar heat gain in summer. The exterior cladding will develop a gray patina over time. The structure directly below the timber box is clad in polycarbonate and is used as a light-filled bedroom. Recycled timber decking was used in the construction and locally sourced materials were also used wherever possible. + Austin Maynard Architects Images via Austin Maynard Architects

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Austin Maynard Architects restores a beach shack in their crusade against McMansions

This Secret Garden House in Singapore is full of elegant surprises

October 27, 2016 by  
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Wallflower’s client commissioned the home design for the upscale area of Bukit Timah in central Singapore. Rising to the request for a “luxurious, tropical, contemporary family home,” the design team produced a unique, airy space with a mostly open floor plan and multiple decks and terraces to take advantage of the region’s temperate climate. The home has a sunken basement and a long swimming pool , which work together to open up the ground-level areas of the house on the sloped lot. Related: Sunny Side House transforms a narrow lot into an airy family home The home’s predominant shapes are rectangular, with an L-shaped footprint comprised of smaller boxes. Interspersed throughout the structure, though, are expansive round skylights that invite wide bright spotlights to dance around the home’s interior, adding curves to what is otherwise a very angular space. The home also features a protected interior atrium, where two-story trees grow in front of a dense privacy wall, offering the homeowners a uniquely cozy living space without sacrificing daylight or views of nature. Perhaps one of the best features about the home itself is the rooftop terrace, which stretches the length of the building’s elegant L shape. With a clear glass perimeter protecting from missteps, the deck features multiple lounging areas and plenty of greenery , a nod to the home’s lush surroundings. Just off in the distance, high-rises obscure the mountainous view, but the Secret Garden House offers plenty of other delicious sights, without the eyestrain. + Wallflower Architecture + Design Via ArchDaily Images via Marc Tey

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This Secret Garden House in Singapore is full of elegant surprises

$11 million floating solar testbed in Singapore will be the largest in the world

October 26, 2016 by  
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Could floating solar offer a viable renewable energy option for island countries? Singapore authorities are testing out 10 solar panel systems on what will be the largest floating solar testbed in the world at the Tengeh Reservoir. As Singapore boasts 17 freshwater reservoirs , floating solar could be a perfect option for the country to generate its own clean energy. Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and Public Utilities Board (PUB) are behind the project. The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) will help evaluate the different systems in the testbed. Eight enterprises from small local companies to large international corporations are participating in the $11 million project. Related: The UK prepares to fire up the largest floating solar farm the world has ever seen As the solar panels will block some sunlight from reaching creatures living in the reservoir, project monitors will scrutinize how the systems impact biodiversity . They’ll also see if the panels influence water quality and evaporation. Because the water beneath the panels could cool them, they may be able to operate more efficiently than those placed on rooftops or the ground. In a speech, Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said “Given our geography, solar photovoltaic systems are a key technology in Singapore’s efforts to harness renewable energy. Floating photovoltaic systems, those installed over our water bodies, not only help to overcome land constraints, but also have the potential to reduce evaporative losses from our reservoirs.” He said the testbed will be operational by the end of 2016. The 10 systems will undergo tests for a minimum of six months, and ultimately two will be selected to be scaled up and tested in a second phase. According to EDB , “The success of this project will pave the way for Singapore to conduct mass scale deployment of floating solar PV systems.” Via Channel NewsAsia Images via screenshot

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A tropical paradise grows inside this multigenerational home in Singapore

October 6, 2016 by  
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Like many traditional Asian homes, the 1,494.7-square-meter Cornwall Gardens is a courtyard house where the main rooms of the home open up to a central outdoor space. Cornwall Gardens’ courtyard features a large swimming pool, waterfall, and Koi carp pond, all ringed by natural rocks and green foliage. “The setting provides daylighting, natural ventilation , and passive cooling,” said Chang Architects. “It offers an ecological-friendly environment that promotes general wellness for all. Working with the existing terrain, built-ups that contributed to the site coverage are utilised as planters for tropical fruit trees, to cool ambient temperature, and to insulate the interiors.” The main rooms of the home overlook the central courtyard and have access to natural light and fresh air. Some of the climbing vines that hang over the homes provide shade from the sun and double as privacy screens. The basement level, where the Koi carp pond, swimming pool, and a waterfall are located, also features the dining room (next to the pool), kitchen, lounge, bedroom, and sun decks. A bridge connecting the lounge and dining area separates the Koi pond from the swimming pool. The first story houses the three additional bedrooms and the library and also has access to the driveway, while the second story contains the grandparents’ suite, a gym, dining, and a small extra bedroom. The accessible roof is covered in a series of terraced gardens . Rooms can be expanded and converted to accommodate additional family members as needed. Related: Atelier Sacha Cotture Clads Filipino Courtyard House in Low-Cost Bamboo and Solar Panels The home is clad in a charcoal timber façade that extends into the interior and has the ability to filter air pollutants . The front door was made from recycled railway sleepers. Rainwater is captured and recycled for irrigation and the verdant landscaping has attracted many fauna and flora to the area. + Chang Architects Via Dezeen Images via Chang Architects

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This nature-filled community is a smart housing solution for Singapores aging population

August 29, 2016 by  
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Developed as a prototype for senior assisted living, Kampung Admiralty conforms to Singapore’s dense urban setting with a mixed-use scheme that layers three programmatic functions onto a 0.9-hectare site. The first stratum is the People’s Plaza, a fully public area on the ground plane open to the surrounding community with a central open-air courtyard located at the heart of the building. Protected from traffic noise, the People’s Plaza is designed for festivities and events and also connects to food and retail on the second story. Childcare facilities are integrated into the building to bring young and old together for intergenerational living . Related: Visionary Homefarm combines retirement homes and vertical urban farms A Medical Center located above the People’s Plaza offers Kampung Admiralty residents immediate access to specialists. The top-most level gives way to greenery in the intimate Community Park, where residents can exercise or care for their plots in community gardens . Housing is also placed in the upper stratum and comprises 104 studio apartments for singles and couples spread out across two 11-story blocks. In addition to access to nature, the building is faced with generous amounts of glazing to allow for optimal views, natural light , and ventilation. + WOHA Architects Via WAN Images via WOHA Architects

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