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

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

Singapore rolls out the world’s first fleet of self-driving taxis

August 25, 2016 by  
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The world’s first driverless taxis just launched today in Singapore, beating Uber to the road by a matter of weeks. According to Phys.org , the autonomous vehicle software startup nuTonomy will offer certain members of the public a free ride, which they can order using their smartphones. While Uber’s first self-driving cars are set to launch this month in Pittsburgh, nuTonomy is the first company to actually roll out its self-driving fleet in a move designed to reduce congestion on the city streets. For now, nuTonomy officials told Phys.org they are starting small with a fleet of six cars on the road. By the end of the year, that number should double, and by 2018, the company hopes to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore. They hope their model will be adopted in cities around the world. “For now, the taxis only will run in a 2.5-square-mile business and residential district called “one-north,” and pick-ups and drop-offs will be limited to specified locations, according to Phys.org. “And riders must have an invitation from nuTonomy to use the service. The company says dozens have signed up for the launch, and it plans to expand that list to thousands of people within a few months.” The cars will not be completely driverless for now. Using modified Renault Zie and Mitsubishi 1-MiEV electric vehicles, nuTonomy will dispatch two people with each taxi – a driver who can take over the wheel if necessary, and a researcher who will monitor the car’s various computers from the back seat. “Each car is fitted with six sets of Lidar—a detection system that uses lasers to operate like radar—including one that constantly spins on the roof. There are also two cameras on the dashboard to scan for obstacles and detect changes in traffic lights,” writes Phys.org. Doug Parker, nuTonomy’s chief operating officer, said that eventually, driverless taxis could shrink the number of cars on Singapore’s roads from 900,000 to 300,000. “When you are able to take that many cars off the road, it creates a lot of possibilities. You can create smaller roads, you can create much smaller car parks,” Parker said. “I think it will change how people interact with the city going forward.” + nuTonomy Via Phys.org

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Singapore rolls out the world’s first fleet of self-driving taxis

Flexible ConFlexPave concrete is tougher, thinner and lighter than conventional mixtures

August 18, 2016 by  
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Scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have developed a new concrete mixture that is stronger than traditional recipes but also flexible , which helps it reduce skid resistance once installed. The research team behind the cleverly named ConFlexPave say its unique properties mean it could cut installation time in half for new roads, parking lots, and other paved surfaces. The time savings come from the ability to precast slabs of ConFlexPave, which are thinner and lighter than traditional concrete mixtures. The secret to ConFlexPave’s strength and flexibility is the polymer microfiber it contains, which allows the slabs to bend under pressure without cracking. The new concrete was developed by a team working at NTU-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre (I³C) at NTU Singapore. Researchers say the flexible concrete slabs will speed up construction timelines, as well as cut down on maintenance over time, making for a more sustainable product. NTU Assistant Professor Yang En-Hua, lead researcher on the study, said the key to developing this next-generation building material was understanding how all the components interact with one another mechanically on a microscopic level. “With detailed understanding, we can then deliberately select ingredients and engineer the tailoring of components, so our final material can fulfill specific requirements needed for road and pavement applications,” said En-Hua in a statement . Related: Scientists develop wonder nanomaterial that can produce energy, clean water, and hydrogen ConFlexPave’s unique composition puts it in another category than traditional concrete mixtures used in many building projects , which are heavy and prone to damage. “The hard materials [in ConFlexPave] give a non-slip surface texture while the microfibres which are thinner than the width of a human hair, distribute the load across the whole slab, resulting in a concrete that is tough as metal and at least twice as strong as conventional concrete under bending,” said En-Hua. So far, the research team has tested slabs of the new flexible concrete that are the size of a tablet computer. Over the next three years, the team will scale up testing with larger installations on the JTC campus, where ConFlexPave will really be put through the paces (from foot traffic as well as vehicles). Via Archinect Images via Nanyang Technological University and Shutterstock

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Flexible ConFlexPave concrete is tougher, thinner and lighter than conventional mixtures

The Hague’s elegant new light rail station masters curved glass and steel

August 18, 2016 by  
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The new station features a sculptural roof that lends it a distinctive appearance but maintains a connection to the human scale. A long viaduct leads trams to the station over 12 meters above ground level, the slender design reducing its impact on the surroundings – particularly the Bezuidenhout-West residential district. Related: Gargantuan Solar-Powered Rotterdam Centraal Station Opens Anew The steel construction enables spans of 35 meters between the pillars, which maintains unobstructed views at ground level and allows the project to subtly blend into the existing urban fabric. The canopy provides protection for passengers walking between the HSE departure station and the main hall of The Hague Central Station. + ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects Photos by ProRail via ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects

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