NBBJ to design Tencents futuristic Net City in Shenzhen

June 17, 2020 by  
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Global design firm NBBJ has won an international competition to design Net City, a 2-million-square-meter masterplanned Shenzhen district for Tencent, China’s largest internet company. Envisioned as a “city of the future,” Net City will prioritize “human-centric” and sustainable design through the inclusion of an extensive public transit network, a green corridor and energy-generating systems. The abundance of greenery will also help the project meet the goals of China’s Sponge City Initiative so that stormwater runoff is collected and managed throughout the campus. Developed for the 320-acre peninsula along Shenzhen’s Dachanwan, Net City was created to meet Tencent’s growing office needs in the upcoming years. The mixed-use masterplan covers roughly the same size and shape of Midtown Manhattan and will be centered on a new Tencent building that is surrounded by a living quarter with schools and an assortment of retail spaces and other amenities. The buildings will range in height from single-story structures to three-story towers as part of an overarching design vision for differentiated spaces with strong sight lines to nature. Related: MVRDV designs a sustainable “urban living room” for Shenzhen “A typical city calls for simplistic and efficient zoning to keep everything under strict control and facilitate the flow of goods, cars and people,” said Jonathan Ward, design partner at NBBJ. “This principle was driven by a love for the industrial age machine. In today’s computer-driven world, we are free to imagine a highly integrated city that brings ‘work, live, play’ closer together to foster more synergy between people. This fits in perfectly with the collegial, collaborative culture of Tencent.” A public transit network with a subway, bus and shuttle system as well as a folding green corridor for pedestrians, bicycles and autonomous vehicles will shape a pedestrian-friendly environment. General vehicles will be diverted underground. In addition to an abundance of green space ranging from recreational parks to wetlands, Net City will also include rooftop solar panels, green roofs and environmental performance trackers to reduce the district’s overall environmental footprint. + NBBJ Images via NBBJ

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NBBJ to design Tencents futuristic Net City in Shenzhen

LEED Platinum Sonoma Academy building takes cues from Californias landscape

April 14, 2020 by  
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Private college-prep high school Sonoma Academy has elevated its reputation for sustainability with its newly achieved LEED Platinum certification for the Janet Durgin Guild & Commons building, an award-winning student and education center that champions a net-zero energy approach. Designed by architectural firm WRNS Studio and built by Silicon Valley-based XL Construction, the low-carbon building is a powerhouse of sustainable systems including solar panels , a living roof and stormwater management. Crafted as an “extension of its surroundings,” the building takes cues from the Californian landscape with its natural material palette of timber either reclaimed or FSC-certified and sourced from responsibly managed forests. Located in Santa Rosa, California, Sonoma Academy’s Janet Durgin Guild and Commons houses a hybrid maker space, an indoor/outdoor student dining area with an all-electric commercial kitchen, student support services and a teaching kitchen/meeting room overlooking the school’s productive gardens and the maker classroom patio. Designed to follow the school’s principles of creativity, inclusivity and innovation, the 19,500-square-foot, Y-shaped facility emphasizes health and well-being by providing constant connections to nature, daylighting and natural ventilation throughout. A low-VOC materials palette provided the foundation for the project, which is built primarily of steel, glass and timber.  Related: This high school in California embodies sustainability at every possible level Special attention was also given to water conservation and management systems, which have been designed to double as teaching tools. Stormwater runoff is captured on the green roof and in terraced rain gardens, then funneled into a 5,000-gallon cistern. This system provides water for toilet-flushing to offset approximately 180,000 gallons of municipal water use per year, accounting for 88% of the building’s total non-potable water demand. Using a net-zero energy approach that employs low- and high-tech strategies, the architects have designed the building to be 80% naturally lit and to decrease the high-energy-component demand by at least 75%. Rooftop solar arrays and geo-exchange ground source heat pumps power the building with renewable energy, while passive systems — such as deep overhangs and operable windows with high-performance, low-E glazing — keep the building naturally cool. The Janet Durgin Guild & Commons is also targeting WELL Education Pilot and LBC Material and Energy Petals certifications. + WRNS Studio Images via WRNS Studio

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LEED Platinum Sonoma Academy building takes cues from Californias landscape

Natufia’s hydroponic garden embraces farm-to-table eating

April 14, 2020 by  
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Farm-to-table is a practice that includes collecting food as close to the source as possible, therefore ensuring the greatest amount of nutrients and best quality. With that in mind, one company, Natufia, has taken the idea a step further with its indoor hydroponic garden systems.  Natufia is a temperature-controlled garden that fits inside your kitchen, providing the freshest herbs and vegetables possible and the shortest distance from “farm” to table. This hydroponic garden easily grows plants, nurturing them from pod to maturity. Once the system is in place, simply order seed pods and place them into the nursery trays to germinate. You then move them into the two pull-out racks that hold up to 32 unique plants at once, so you can personalize the garden to suit your family’s needs. You can grow everything from kale and basil to chamomile and cornflowers. Related: This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive From there, the system is automatically monitored, controlling temperature, hydration, humidity, nutrient distribution, water, pH, air circulation and even music that science suggests supports healthy growth. In addition to convenience, the plants are non-GMO and certified organic . That means they come without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or environmental pollutants. Natufia seeds are also Demeter-certified, which is the highest biodynamic certification available. When your plants are ready, the only thing left to do is pick the perfect amount for your meal as you pull ingredients together. Leaving the rest on the plant makes your food last longer and saves room in the refrigerator. Plus, the garden system allows for less trips to the market, zero packaging waste and limited transport emissions compared to other food options. The fully automated closed system that recycles water for up to 10 days to boost water savings is another eco-friendly benefit. Once you’ve harvested all you can from your plants, you can simply order more seed pods online. + Natufia Images via Natufia

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Natufia’s hydroponic garden embraces farm-to-table eating

Modular Aquatecture panels can harvest rainwater from the sides of buildings

December 16, 2019 by  
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In response to the severe water shortage that recently gripped Cape Town, South African-born designer Shaakira Jassat of Studio Sway has developed Aquatecture, a building facade panel designed to harvest rainwater runoff as well as moisture from the atmosphere. Developed with modern, urban settings in mind, the modular panels feature a compact profile and stainless steel construction with attractive perforations made for optimal rainwater collection. Jassat’s focus on innovative, water-conserving design are in part inspired by the fears of Day Zero — a reference to the day when severe water shortage would force municipal water supplies to be switched off — and threats of reoccurring droughts throughout South Africa . “As the threat to earth’s natural resources rises exponentially, our ‘available-on-demand’ mentality needs to change,” the designer said. Jassat’s recent projects “reconsider the value of water” and range from a small-scale tea machine that condenses water vapor from the air to the large-scale Aquatecture rain-catching panels. Related: TREDJE NATUR develops sidewalk tiles to capture and reuse water runoff To combat potential drought, Jassat proposes equipping buildings with Aquatecture panels to collect falling rainwater that is then funneled into a tank and pumped back into the building’s gray water system for later use. The panel’s perforated pattern not only takes aesthetics into account, but it is also designed to optimize rainwater collection. The slim profile of the panels would also make it easy to insert into dense urban environments. Research models of the Aquatecture panels and Jassat’s other works were recently presented at Dutch Design Week. Jassat, who is presently based in the Netherlands, was also selected to participate in the Bio Art Laboratories in Eindhoven and has been studying the water-harvesting characteristics of air plants as part of an ongoing ‘Embracing Water’ project in urban environments. + Studio Sway Photography by Ronald Smits, Angeline Swinkels and Alexandra Hsu via Studio Sway

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Modular Aquatecture panels can harvest rainwater from the sides of buildings

Central Park to undergo $150M LEED Gold-targeted redesign

September 25, 2019 by  
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To cap the Central Park Conservancy’s 40-year renewal of Central Park, the nonprofit has unveiled designs to update the park’s north end with a LEED Gold -targeted recreational facility, a new pool, skating rink and other amenities. The $150 million project also aims to repair the site’s damaged ecology and hydrology using environmentally responsible practices. The groundbreaking for the transformative project will take place in spring 2021 and construction is expected to reach completion in 2024. Designed with input from more than a year of extensive community engagement, the redesign for Central Park’s north end will replace the Lasker Rink and Pool that were built in 1966. The position of the rink and pool will also be changed; the facilities currently obstruct access between the Harlem Meer and the scenic Ravine to the south. In repositioning the pool and the rink building, the waterway will be reestablished and will once again flow overland through the Ravine into the Meer. To reconnect visitors to the water, a curvilinear boardwalk will be installed across a series of small islands and the new freshwater marsh. Related: Sustainable Central Park with energy-producing trees unveiled for Ho Chi Minh City In addition to improved biodiversity and landscape integration, the project will feature a new facility built into the topography of the site. The LEED Gold-seeking building will be built with locally sourced, natural materials of stone, wood and glass. Demolition debris will be recycled and reused on site wherever possible. Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass punctuated by slender wood columns will let in natural daylight to reduce reliance on artificial lighting and will create a seamless visual connection to the outdoor recreation areas. The roof will be landscaped to offer additional public gathering space and mitigate the urban heat island effect. “The fundamental premise of the design derives from the restoration’s leading objective: repairing the damaged ecology and hydrology of the site, a goal that filters through every aspect of the project’s commitment to sustainability and the highest standards of environmentally responsible construction practices,” reads the Central Park Conservancy press release. “By building into the slope to insulate the interior of the pool house, orienting the structure and its overhangs to shade the interior in summer and admit sunlight in winter and providing ‘ stack ventilation ‘ through the operable glass facade, the design’s passive climate control minimizes the use of energy for heating and cooling.” + Central Park Conservancy Images via Central Park Conservancy

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Central Park to undergo $150M LEED Gold-targeted redesign

3 Green Building Solutions That Will Save You Money

January 8, 2019 by  
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You might think that going green means choosing the environment … The post 3 Green Building Solutions That Will Save You Money appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How I Cured My Caffeine Addiction (and you can, too!)

January 8, 2019 by  
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Most people won’t leave the house, can’t make it through … The post How I Cured My Caffeine Addiction (and you can, too!) appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How I Cured My Caffeine Addiction (and you can, too!)

This contaminated, post-industrial site will become a massive park in Florida

October 16, 2018 by  
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New images have been unveiled of international design firm Sasaki’s proposal for transforming a 180-acre, post-industrial site in Lakeland, Florida into a privately funded park with aims of becoming “one of the greatest urban landscapes in the country,” according to the firm. Billed as a future “Central Park” for Lakeland, Bonnet Springs Park will begin with a comprehensive remediation process to heal the damaged and contaminated landscape. Spearheaded by Lakeland realtor David Bunch and his wife Jean with the backing of philanthropists Barney and Carol Barnett, the sprawling park will be a vibrant new destination for residents. It is slated for completion by 2020. Located near downtown Lakeland, the land for Bonnet Springs Park is currently underutilized and has accumulated tons of trash. More than 80 acres of land are contaminated with arsenic and petroleum hydrocarbons. With the help of a 20-person advisory committee that has helped remove 37 tons of trash from the site, the 180-acre landscape is now entering its environmental remediation phase, which includes stockpiling contaminated materials into safely capped hills, constructing  wetlands for filtering pollutants and creating stormwater management strategies. Although the park is privately funded, hundreds of Lakeland community members have been invited to add their feedback and input on the design. Sasaki’s masterplan includes heritage gardens, a canopy walk, a welcome center, nature center, event lawn, walking and biking trails, non-motorized boating activities and a sculpture garden . The new buildings in the park will be designed to harmonize with the landscape, with some of them partially buried into the terrain. A plan will also be put in place to ensure the economic sustainability and continued maintenance of Bonnet Springs Park. Related: Solar-powered POP-UP Park takes over underused Budapest square “Bonnet Springs Park, from a planning and design perspective, presents a rare opportunity to transform a significantly challenged urban plot of land in an effort to improve Central Florida’s quality of life for generations to come,” noted the architecture firm. “Sasaki’s designs will improve the site’s ecological health, foster unique harmonious architectural design and set the park up for self-sustaining , economic success.” + Sasaki

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A California beacon of sustainability gets a LEED Platinum refresh

August 8, 2018 by  
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An inspiring beacon for recycling in El Cerrito, California has recently received a sustainable revamp that includes newly minted LEED Platinum certification. Redesigned by Berkeley-based architecture practice Noll & Tam Architects , the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center (RERC/Center) was overhauled following extensive community involvement and now features a more user-friendly environment with educational opportunities and a greater holistic approach to sustainability. The facility aims for net-zero energy use and is equipped with renewable energy systems as well as passive design strategies, including solar panels and 100% daylighting autonomy. Originally founded by a group of local volunteers in the early 1970s, the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center has become a source of community pride that has attracted visitors from neighboring communities, including the wider San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Inspired by the facility’s industrial uses, the architects incorporated corrugated steel, reclaimed timber and other durable materials into the building, while local quarry borders and existing concrete retaining blocks used on site allude to the old quarry in which the Center sits. “The design of the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center was inspired by the community’s devotion to environmental stewardship, the Center’s functional requirements, and its unique natural setting,” reads the project statement. “It was important to create a strong sense of place for the community, a great place for the gathering and interaction of the Center’s diverse users and visitors, and a demonstration project for zero net waste, net zero energy use, restoration and regeneration, and maximizing community value.” Related: NYC’s New State-of-the-Art Recycling Facility to Eliminate 150,000 Annual Truck Trips Taking advantage of the local temperate climate and cross ventilation, the Center operates in passive mode for most of the year. A 12 kW photovoltaic array provides more than enough electricity to power the building to achieve net-zero energy usage. The Center is also equipped with an additional 8.8 kW solar array to offset electricity needs from electric car charging stations and the recycling industrial equipment. A rainwater cistern, native gardens and rain gardens handle stormwater runoff on-site. + Noll & Tam Architects Images by David Wakely

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A minimalist home in Portugal emphasizes stunning valley views

August 8, 2018 by  
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Architects and their clients are often surprised when their visions don’t quite align after the initial ideas are transformed into renderings, specs and floor plans. But when MJARC Arquitectos met with a couple who wanted a house in Douro Valley in Marco de Canaveses,  Portugal , it was a euphoric meeting of minds. All parties shared the same vision — a pristine and absolute articulation of minimalist architecture. With a setting as picturesque as this one, highlighted by sweeping views of the rolling curves of vineyard -covered valleys and the mesmerizing Douro River, the goal was to leave the undulating landscape unscathed. The house was constructed as close to the terrain as possible, with the upper levels providing more encompassing vistas. The “crouching building” concept drove the choices for the size, design and exterior accouterments of the home. Related: Derelict property transformed into a vibrant, sunny hostel in Portugal The interior is warm and inviting, with an open floor plan that gracefully flows from room to room, clad in a combination of deep wood shades, rustic stones, concrete and stark, black accents. The pool is designed to give the illusion of it flowing directly into the river. The views from every level focus on the surrounding forest and foliage and achieves the symbiosis with nature desired by all parties. To accommodate the tastes of the homeowners’ visitors throughout the year, MJARC Arquitectos incorporated sustainable construction and energy sources as well as clever spaces that could easily be adapted for multiple uses. The roof is even topped with lush greenery, a welcome addition to the home. The combined efforts on this project not only thrilled the architects and clients — the house was recently nominated for an award in the Home category by the World Architecture Festival , where it is one of 18 finalists. The winner will be announced at ceremonies scheduled for November 28-30 in Amsterdam. + MJARC Arquitectos Images via João Ferrand

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