Worlds first circular-economy business park mimics nature to achieve sustainability

November 20, 2017 by  
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The Triango sustainable business park in Paris, designed by  RAU Architects , SeARCH , and karres + brands , embraces the idea of a  circular economy  using inspiration from nature. The idea behind the proposal is to create facilities that can behave dynamically throughout their period of use and to use materials that can be used over and over again in the future. The new campus will include over 41 acres (167,000 square meters) of modular offices , incubators , and ateliers, organized around a central park. It is marked by public spaces and inter-building connections, fostering synergy and a new way of working. Related: ICEhouse designed for continuous reuse will be 100% Cradle to Cradle certified A robust framework forms the spine of the master plan, with three characteristic zones defined by unique site qualities. The urban zone is a compact strip, where, transparent, active, ground floors and open public spaces, consisting of gardens and green atria , create a lively urban character. This space has a large production greenhouse which will provide energy-neutral food and ingredients used in the products of the companies working in the area and for small local shops and restaurants. The organic zone includes innovative outdoor areas for new ways of work and recreation, while the landmark zone forms a striking façade towards the adjacent highway. + RAU Architects + SeARCH + karres + brands

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Worlds first circular-economy business park mimics nature to achieve sustainability

Nebraska grants TransCanada approval to build the Keystone XL pipeline

November 20, 2017 by  
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Nebraska just gave the go-ahead for Keystone XL , allowing TransCanada to clear the last regulatory hurdle for the hotly contested oil pipeline . After a nine-year battle, TransCanada can move forward with the project against which thousands have protested. However Nebraska’s Public Service Commission didn’t approve the company’s preferred route – but an alternative route TransCanada portrayed in the past as unworkable. Nebraska approved a permit for the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline in a three to two vote. But the state approved an alternative route that would move the oil pipeline east – which would avoid more of Nebraska’s Sandhills region. It would still cross parts of the Ogallala aquifer, the primary source of drinking water for Nebraska and a large part of the Great Plains. The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil every day from the Alberta tar sands to Texas refineries. Related: Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision This decision could complicate the process for TransCanada, as they may have to arrange easements from landowners, according to The Washington Post . Environmental activists are vowing to continue the fight. CREDO Action Deputy Political Director Josh Nelson said in a statement, “This shortsighted and dangerous decision is a slap in the face to the people of Nebraska and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who weighed in this year urging the Public Service Commission to stop the pipeline. But the nearly decade-long fight to stop Keystone XL does not end today. Pipeline fighters have been told time and time again that this pipeline is a done deal. We did not stop fighting when Trump tried to force the pipeline’s approval earlier this year and we will not stop now.” The approval comes mere days after TransCanada’s Keystone 1 pipeline spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota. Via The Washington Post and CREDO Action Images via chesapeakeclimate on Flickr and Depositphotos

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Nebraska grants TransCanada approval to build the Keystone XL pipeline

The world’s first space nation officially in orbit with new satellite

November 16, 2017 by  
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Space is now officially home to the known universe’s first “space nation”. Asgardia launched its very first satellite, Asgardia-1, into orbit on November 12, 2017. Only about the size of a soccer ball, the satellite traveled aboard a NASA commercial cargo vehicle to make its two-day journey from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to the International Space Station. The “nanosat” contains .5 terabytes of data from 18,000 of Asgardia’s 114,000 citizens to demonstrate the nation’s ability to store data independently of any earthbound state or corporation; it also contains items of national heritage, including Asgardia’s flag, coat of arms, and developing constitution. Named after Norse mythology’s city of the skies, Asgardia was founded by Russian scientist Dr. Igor Ashubeyli in October 2016. Since the country’s founding, people of many nationalities have signed up to become Asgardians. “I really want to be able to see if human beings are able to have more opportunity to express their opinions,” said Rayven Sin, an Asgardian artist based in Hong Kong , according to CNN . “The society we live in now — everything seems to be either capitalism or communism — there’s a lot of conflict. As a human being, I would hope (to see) if we could have other ways (of living). For a better life, and for more options.” Related: The isolated Pacific graveyard where spaceships go to die Once properly prepped and equipped at the International Space Station , Asgardia-1 will take flight and enter orbit on its own, where it is expected to remain for five to eighteen months before it burns up. However, this is only the beginning of Asgardia’s story. The space nation plans to seek official recognition from the United Nations as an independent nation, a challenging feat to say the least, as well as constructing orbiting habitats on which Asgardians can live. Even Ashubeyli acknowledges the challenges ahead. “We have to be like a normal country. All countries have problems, and soon we will have the same problems,” he said to CNN . “But we will have more than normal countries because we are not on Earth.” Via CNN Images via James Vaughn/Asgardia

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The world’s first space nation officially in orbit with new satellite

This light-filled tiny house is made almost entirely of reclaimed wood

November 9, 2017 by  
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Proving that repurposed materials can be used to create gorgeous design, this 26-foot-long Legacy tiny home is made almost entirely from reclaimed wood . New Hampshire-based builders Wood & Heart designed the house with a compact yet sophisticated living area enhanced by an abundance of natural light thanks to three large skylights. From the exterior to the interior, the tiny space was designed to offer all of the comforts of a “regular” home. The structure is clad in cedar wood siding that contrasts nicely with Shou Sugi Ban -style charred cedar trim, giving the home a nice rustic feel. Related: The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber Wood accents line the interior – including black walnut and African mahogany counter tops, 3? solid hardwood oak flooring, floating black walnut shelves and a wooden dining table. Covering the space is a ceiling made entirely from rough-sawn planks of reclaimed timber. Three large skylights and 13 Andersen windows provide the space with plenty of natural light . The living space is warm and comfy, with a sleeping loft and full-size pull-out sofa for guests. The kitchen, although compact, has enough space to make a nice meal with a four-burner stovetop and a 24-inch ceramic farmhouse sink. Of course, ample storage space is found throughout the home. Wooden planks cover the length of the interior’s flooring until the bathroom, where honeycomb geometric tiles take over. The bathroom was also built with a reclaimed accent wall. The Legacy, which can be hauled on any standard trailer, is currently on sale for $85,000 including all of the furniture, appliances and decor. + Wood & Heart Building Co. Via New Atlas Images via Wood & Heart Building Co.

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This light-filled tiny house is made almost entirely of reclaimed wood

Kepler data reveals 20 potential habitable worlds

November 2, 2017 by  
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Many people once thought Earth was unique in outer space in its ability to support life. Recent discoveries could shatter that notion, like one new analysis of information from the Kepler Space Telescope . An international team led by Susan Thompson of the SETI Institute has discovered there might be 20 worlds where life could dwell. There could be as many as 20 habitable planets in space , according to this new discovery. One of the most promising worlds is KOI-7923.01. It’s 97 percent Earth’s size, and has a year comprised of 395 days. It is a bit colder than Earth – think more tundra and less tropical island – but it is warm enough, and it’s big enough to hold liquid water so crucial for life. Jeff Coughlin of the NASA Ames Research Center told New Scientist, “If you had to choose one to send a spacecraft to, it’s not a bad option.” Related: First hints of water detected on Earth-sized TRAPPIST-1 planets Many of the habitable worlds orbit stars similar to the sun. The star KOI-7923.01 orbits is a little colder than the sun, and that fact together with the exoplanet’s distance away makes KOI-7923.01 cooler than Earth. The time to complete an orbit varies among the potentially habitable worlds – at 395 days, KOI-7923.01 takes the longest. Some of the worlds finish an orbit in mere Earth weeks, or months. The quickest orbit is just 18 Earth days. Coughlin told New Scientist his team is around 70 to 80 percent sure these habitable worlds are solid candidates – they’ll need to confirm their hunch with further observations, such as from the Hubble Space Telescope or ground-based observatories. The original Kepler mission unearthed the planets, but it gazed at the same part of the sky for just four years until its reaction wheels broke, hindering its aiming ability. That means we’ve only glimpsed the planets just once or twice, and, according to New Scientist , the signals could be wobbly. The scientists recently submitted their research to a journal in the middle of October. Via New Scientist Images via NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle and NASA/W. Stenzel

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Kepler data reveals 20 potential habitable worlds

Dead rabbits found at Iowa wind farm likely used to lure and kill eagles

November 2, 2017 by  
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In a story that may have come  two days late , a local landowner-farmer in Delaware County, Iowa was shocked to discover over a dozen deceased rabbits, each with their necks broken, scattered beneath wind turbines on their land. The land is leased by RPM Access, a company that owns several wind farms throughout the state. “I don’t understand who would do something like this? I really don’t,” said Linda Slobodnik, an environmental consultant for RPM Access, according to KWWL News . Slobodnik, who has stated that this act of violence is the most disturbing incident she has seen in her 10 years in the wind industry, believes the rabbits were used to lure in eagles or other birds to the turbines, likely to kill them as well. Why would someone seek to lure and kill eagles, using dead rabbits as bait? “There are a lot of anti-wind people. At this time, we are looking at new places for projects, and I am thinking that possibly someone would like us to not build another wind farm in the area,” said Slobodnik. “I think there is a lot of people who will speak against the wind turbines. I think a lot of what they do is out of ignorance,” said RPM Access Project Manager, Kevin Lehs, according to KWWL News . Despite some local resistance, Iowa has made enormous progress towards a clean energy economy, primarily through wind power , which provided more than 36 percent of all electricity used in 2016. As it stands, Iowa is the most wind-powered state in the United States . Related: The world’s first floating wind farm just switched online Although the dead rabbits were deliberately placed, it is true that wind turbines can kill local wildlife. It is estimated that 300,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year. That may sound like a lot, but it’s important to see these numbers in context. Wind power kills 1/15th the number of birds that fossil-fuel generated power does each year. Glass buildings in cities are also frequent bird killers. And, of course, outdoor and feral cats kill hundreds of millions of birds annually. Via Elektrek and KWWL News Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Dead rabbits found at Iowa wind farm likely used to lure and kill eagles

Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

October 31, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to stay in an earthbag dome home , here’s your chance. When Lisa Starr first purchased land in Joshua Tree, California, she wasn’t thinking about vacation rentals. Instead, the artist and drum medicine woman sought a place not too far from the coast where she could build a sustainable life for herself. After deciding to build in accordance with the Iranian architect Nader Khalili’s affordable and disaster-resilient superadobe methodology, she recruited volunteers and CalEarth alumni to first work on a few practice domes that eventually evolved into the “village” that can be booked through Airbnb. This extra income comes as an unplanned perk, but her real dream – to pursue her work as an artist – required building a couple more domes. After completing the practice homes, Starr and her crew of interns, volunteers and CalEarth alumni worked on her personal space – a 1,360 square foot dome home two connecting hallways. The 18″ thick walls, comprised of 15 percent cement and 85 percent earth, provide the thermal mass to keep the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter, according to her Facebook page . Starr told Inhabitat she believes in sticking with “traditional Nader” – focusing on being creative with smaller structures rather than 20- to 30-foot domes. Khalili, who founded CalEarth to share his design and life philosophy with others, promoted sustainable homes that could be built with materials found on site. And that’s exactly what Starr was able to accomplish. She says she sourced 75 percent of the materials used in her dome structure from her own land. Related: Build your own disaster-proof home with materials of war While her home is private, guests have access to a “rustic yet luxurious camp-like experience” in the village. With expansive views and open skies day and night, “star gazing is a must,” says Starr. The village includes two 8-foot “Sleep Pod Earth Dome” structures with storage or a cave-like space for a child to sleep in. Each pod, which comes with a full size mattress, bedding and solar-powered ceiling light, can accommodate up to a family of four. In winter, tea light heaters keep the space warm at night. The communal area includes a shaded outdoor kitchen and kiva fire pits, along with a shower house and outhouse complete with a flushing toilet and sink. Guests are encouraged to bring their own bottles to refill with potable water available on site. Now Starr is working on building another 12-foot dome structure to use as a studio, honing in on her original intention. She has been living at Bonita Domes for four years now, and though it comes with its challenges, she says her dream has catapulted forward. + Bonita Domes on Facebook + Bonita Domes on Airbnb Images via Bonita Domes and Dylan Magaster

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Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

For the first time ever, scientists spotted an object from outside our solar system

October 26, 2017 by  
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Until recently, every asteroid and comet that zipped by Earth came from within our solar system. That just changed, as scientists discovered an object with a trajectory not tied to our Sun. The direction of its approach suggests the asteroid came from Vega, one of the closest stars beyond our Sun. Based on limited observations, astronomers now believe this is the first visitor of its kind to be observed. The preliminary findings were published earlier today by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center (MPC) . Said Gareth Williams, the MPC’s associate director, “If further observations confirm the unusual nature of this orbit, this object may be the first clear case of an interstellar comet.” When the object — named A/2017 U1 — entered the solar system , it moved at 26 km (16 miles) per second. At that speed, it could travel 8,200,000,000,000,000 km (more than 850 light years) in 10 million years. Related: Earth’s water may not have originated with comet collisions after all Researchers failed to see it approach the Sun on September 9, partly because of the path of its approach and also because it is estimated to be just 160 meters (525) across. On October 18, however, observers using the PANSTARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii noticed something peculiar about its orbit. After attention was given to the comet, it was later declared to be an asteroid. Reportedly, the PANSTARRS asteroid entered the solar system from the direction of the constellation Lyra. That’s very close to Vega, a star located 25 light years away. If calculations are correct, it took the asteroid nearly 300,000 years to reach Earth . When it passed by our planet on October 14th, it was 24,000,000 km (15,000,000 miles) away. Now, A/2017 U1 is headed out of the solar system, never again to return. Via Sky and Telescope Images via NASA/JPL/Horizons 1 , 2

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For the first time ever, scientists spotted an object from outside our solar system

Melbourne architects upcycle 1960s warehouse into stunning energy-efficient home

October 25, 2017 by  
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Melbourne-based Zen Architects  converted a rundown 1960s warehouse into a gorgeous, energy-efficient home . The green-centric architects focused the ethos of the project on retaining and reusing as much of the warehouse’s original materials as possible while simultaneously creating an ultra-efficient, light-filled family home. The architects focused the project on using whatever they could from the almost 60-year-old space to create a contemporary home. The original frame and open layout of the 2,583-square-foot warehouse was kept as it was in order to start with an open slate. To begin the project, the design team carefully stripped various original features from the warehouse such as light fixtures, sprinkler pipes, doors, cladding, and roof sheeting – all to be repurposed into the new home, which has a 6.1 star energy rating. Related: Perkins + Will overhauls a boring concrete warehouse into beautiful LEED Gold offices The existing concrete floor of the warehouse was kept in tact for two reasons: to retain the industrial character of the building and for the energy-efficient benefits that come along with a concrete base. The living space was carefully crafted into the open layout to create a comfy living area down below with the bedrooms on a newly created “floating” mezzanine level installed in the roof’s volume between the existing trusses. Plywood pods were used to create spaces for the bedrooms and en suite bathrooms, which are reached by a wooden staircase. A continual sense of light and space was achieved by strategically placing windows and glazed panels that provide a seamless connection between the interior living space the outdoor areas. To add open-air space within the living area, the architects created a north-facing interior courtyard, which in addition to flooding the interior with natural light , provides natural heat to the interior during the wintertime. To waterproof the space, the architects laid a new ground level slab that drains rain water to a storm water pit. The slab is hidden under a timber deck made of recycled wood that runs through the interior and exterior spaces. + Zen Architects Via Dwell

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Melbourne architects upcycle 1960s warehouse into stunning energy-efficient home

Melbourne architects upcycle 1960s warehouse into stunning energy-efficient home

October 25, 2017 by  
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Melbourne-based Zen Architects  converted a rundown 1960s warehouse into a gorgeous, energy-efficient home . The green-centric architects focused the ethos of the project on retaining and reusing as much of the warehouse’s original materials as possible while simultaneously creating an ultra-efficient, light-filled family home. The architects focused the project on using whatever they could from the almost 60-year-old space to create a contemporary home. The original frame and open layout of the 2,583-square-foot warehouse was kept as it was in order to start with an open slate. To begin the project, the design team carefully stripped various original features from the warehouse such as light fixtures, sprinkler pipes, doors, cladding, and roof sheeting – all to be repurposed into the new home, which has a 6.1 star energy rating. Related: Perkins + Will overhauls a boring concrete warehouse into beautiful LEED Gold offices The existing concrete floor of the warehouse was kept in tact for two reasons: to retain the industrial character of the building and for the energy-efficient benefits that come along with a concrete base. The living space was carefully crafted into the open layout to create a comfy living area down below with the bedrooms on a newly created “floating” mezzanine level installed in the roof’s volume between the existing trusses. Plywood pods were used to create spaces for the bedrooms and en suite bathrooms, which are reached by a wooden staircase. A continual sense of light and space was achieved by strategically placing windows and glazed panels that provide a seamless connection between the interior living space the outdoor areas. To add open-air space within the living area, the architects created a north-facing interior courtyard, which in addition to flooding the interior with natural light , provides natural heat to the interior during the wintertime. To waterproof the space, the architects laid a new ground level slab that drains rain water to a storm water pit. The slab is hidden under a timber deck made of recycled wood that runs through the interior and exterior spaces. + Zen Architects Via Dwell

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Melbourne architects upcycle 1960s warehouse into stunning energy-efficient home

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