Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide

September 13, 2018 by  
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Air quality sensors are coming to a Google Street View car near you. The tech giant just announced plans to introduce sensors from a San Francisco company called Aclima that test air quality in cities and towns all across the globe. The Google Street View cars take photographs and incorporate them into Google Maps. Aclima is installing the air quality sensors in Google vehicles based in Mexico City, Houston and Sydney. The sensors will detect amounts of carbon dioxide , nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide wherever the cars go. The goal is to map out where pollution is becoming a problem and inform users about which areas of towns and cities have the poorest air quality. Related: Google hits its incredible 100% renewable energy goal A few months ago, Aclima installed some air quality sensors in London to test whether or not they would work with Google’s vehicles. All of the company’s hard work paid off and directly led to the partnership and expansion. This is not the first time Aclima has worked with Google and its Street View division. In 2015, Aclima helped Google determine the air quality on the company’s campus in California . Aclima has also used the cars to test air quality around the Bay Area. Since collaborating with Aclima three years ago, Google’s cars have traveled about 100,000 miles in California. So far, the sensors have generated more than a billion points of data, a lot of which can be used to plan future urban development projects. For example, developers can use the data to pinpoint where pollution problems exist and build neighborhoods in places where the air quality is higher. Google plans to have the sensors installed in its fleet by the end of this fall. Google Earth Outreach manager Karin Bettman said, “These measurements can provide cities with new neighborhood-level insights to help accelerate efforts in their transition to smarter, healthier cities .” + Aclima + Google Via Tech Crunch , Fast Company Image via Aclima

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Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide

Beautiful, light-filled home slots into a skinny lot in Vancouver

September 3, 2018 by  
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Faced with a unique lot size of 20 by 200 feet, Canadian design studio Randy Bens Architect was challenged to create a home with a sense of expansiveness despite the property’s back lane-like dimensions. Tapped by boutique builder Moosehead Contracting, the architects teamed up with Falken Reynolds Interiors to complete the Saint George House, a project that proves that beautiful and innovative design is possible even on challenging sites. Interested buyers and design lovers will get the chance to tour the modern home next month during Vancouver’s Interior Design Show. Spanning an area of 2,200 square feet, the Saint George House is split into two volumes, both of which are clad in standing-seam metal and topped with a slanted roof. The lower level houses an open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen and also spills out to a sunny deck with ample entertaining space through massive sliding glass doors. The larger upper volume cantilevers over the deck and contains the private areas, including three bedrooms. Bringing natural light indoors was key to making the home feel spacious, as was the minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired palette of white walls and light-colored timber. Boasting a style that Falken Reynolds Interiors calls “Canadian Nordic,” the bright and airy home is furnished with Bocci lighting, Corian Solid Surface and Quartz, and Bensen furniture with exclusive Raf Simons fabrics. Pops of color, warm textures and connection with the outdoors help establish the home’s cozy character. Related: Couple builds dream solar-powered home on an awkward lot in Rotterdam “The unique site of the 2,200-square-foot (204-square-meter) Saint George Street house inspired us to get creative with our design process and visually create more space,” said Chad Falkenberg, principal of Falken Reynolds. “For example, natural light was a big focus, so we strategically placed 11 skylights to wash walls with natural light and draw the eye into the room, amplifying spaciousness using the technique of Atmospheric Perspective.” + Randy Bens Architect Images by Ema Peters

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Beautiful, light-filled home slots into a skinny lot in Vancouver

Net-zero home brings sustainable design to a walkable Iowa City neighborhood

August 31, 2018 by  
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A 1960s home has been reborn into an eco-friendly abode with an impressive net-zero energy footprint. Designed by local architecture firm Neumann Monson , the Koser II is a single-family home that combines forward-thinking sustainable strategies within a contemporary envelope in a leafy and walkable Iowa City neighborhood. Powered by solar and geothermal energy, the home doesn’t sacrifice comfort or luxury in its pursuit of energy efficiency — it even includes a beautiful backyard pool. Covering an area of 2,850 square feet (including a 420-square-foot finished basement), the Koser II house is mainly spread out over a single level. To provide privacy, the street-facing facade is primarily clad in dark cedar planks and punctuated with few windows. A long slatted timber screen near the entrance also shields the home from views and frames an outdoor dining area. In contrast to its introverted exterior, the home’s interior is bright and airy with full-height glazing that lets in plenty of natural light and views. “The design bears the mark of the 1960s home that came before it,” the architecture firm explained. “Removing the existing house’s superstructure and incorporating its slab-on-grade foundation into the new construction makes the most of the predecessor’s limited potential. Additional foundations and a concrete collar support exterior walls of nine- and 10-foot pre-cut studs. Their height differential provides adequate slope to the 14-inch truss-joists spanning the 20-foot width. Operable windows extend to the ceiling plane, maximizing daylight penetration and encouraging cross-ventilation .” Related: After a makeover, this local “shack” becomes the envy of the neighborhood The renovated home also features foamed-in-place insulation and a continuous rigid insulation shell with R-24 walls and an R-40 roof. The light-filled interior is supplemented by LEDs at night and equipped with EnergyStar appliances. Radiant floor heating is complemented with a geothermal climate control system connected to an underground horizontally bored loop. A rain garden in the backyard mitigates stormwater runoff, while a 10.08kW solar array brings the home to zero-energy building performance. + Neumann Monson Images by Cameron Campbell Integrated Studio

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Net-zero home brings sustainable design to a walkable Iowa City neighborhood

This beautiful tiny home doubles as a tasty doughnut shop

August 31, 2018 by  
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Although we’ve seen a lot of tiny homes from Tiny Heirloom that make our design-loving hearts flutter, its latest masterpiece is making our mouths water. The prolific tiny home builders have just unveiled the ‘Kentucky Donut Shop’ — a compact structure that has been custom designed to let the owners of KY Son Eats bakery make and sell their doughnuts from one beautiful, sophisticated tiny house. The gorgeous tiny home and doughnut bakery was custom built for a couple who dreamed of selling their tasty products from a home on wheels. Tiny home design is challenging at any level, but the team at Tiny Heirloom went above and beyond to create a 275-square-foot space that would enable the owners to run a business without sacrificing the comforts of home. Related: Tiny Heirloom unveils ‘The Goose’ — a custom tiny home with stunning interiors From the outside, the tiny house looks like any other compact living space on wheels. Built on a 34-foot-long trailer, the exterior is clad in cedar siding, with the exception of the blue panels that frame the front door. On the interior, pine tongue and groove panels, engineered wood flooring and a beetle kill ceiling create a cabin-like aesthetic. The living area is flooded with natural light thanks to an abundance of windows. At the heart of the home is the professional-grade kitchen , which features stainless steel countertops and top-of-the-line appliances, such as a large baker’s oven, various sinks and a flat-top grill. There is also a microwave, deep fryer and large refrigerator. To avoid clutter and keep the shop organized, there is plenty of shelving space. As impressive as the spacious baker’s kitchen is, the designers didn’t sacrifice on the family’s main living areas when building the tiny home. Adjacent to the professional kitchen is the living room, which has a comfy couch and a small kitchenette, so the family can make a quick snack without having to use the larger kitchen. The home’s two bedrooms are located on sleeping lofts reached by two small ladders that can be stowed away when not in use. Now, the talented family can fully enjoy their time at home, even when they are hard at work. + KySon Eats Bakery + Tiny Heirloom Via New Atlas Images via Tiny Heirloom

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This beautiful tiny home doubles as a tasty doughnut shop

BIG weaves green roofs into a mixed-use development on stilts in Miami

August 16, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled designs for a massive mixed-use development that is elevated into the air on thin stilts. Located in the central Miami neighborhood of Allapattah, an industrial, working-class district mainly comprised of produce suppliers, the major complex will serve as a new landmark destination in the city. Dubbed Miami Produce, the project will activate the site with urban farming, restaurants, storefronts, co-working offices, co-living apartments and educational programming. Covering an area of 125,000 square meters, the Miami Produce development takes cues from its industrial surroundings, which can be seen in the buildings’ large industrial-sized floor plates that the architects say “provide maximum programmatic flexibility.” The first phase of the project will see the restoration of the existing produce warehouses, linear buildings that run the length of the site and will be renovated to house educational and commercial programs. A series of passages will be cut through the buildings to improve circulation and provide better access to the nearby metro station. The spaces between the buildings will be landscaped to create three different public spaces: campus, street and garden. To increase site density, the architects plan to add four linear warehouse -like buildings elevated on slim pillars and arranged on the perimeter of the site, creating a large open courtyard in the center. The structures will include two volumes for residential, one for offices and another for hotel. Each building will be topped with unique green roofs that offer recreational opportunities. Related: Foster + Partners unveil plans for a pair of hurricane-resistant high rises in Miami Four more buildings will be stacked in a staggered formation atop the elevated structures. “[These] buildings float above the roofs’ capes and span over the openings below, creating gateways that open up to the surrounding neighborhood while providing light and air to the rooftops,” Bjarke Ingels Group said. “The buildings function as a three dimensional urban framework designed to activate the neighborhood with varying programs and environments.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Images via BIG

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BIG weaves green roofs into a mixed-use development on stilts in Miami

UNStudio unveils twisting Green Spine high-rise proposal for Melbourne

August 14, 2018 by  
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Dutch architecture practice UNStudio and Australian firm Cox Architecture have unveiled “Green Spine,” their proposal for the $2-billion Southbank Precinct overhaul in Melbourne, Australia. Selected as part of a shortlist that includes the likes of BIG and OMA, UNStudio and Cox Architecture have envisioned a twisting, greenery-covered high-rise for the 6,191-square-meter Southbank by Beulah site. The mixed-use development will be integrated into the urban fabric with a wide array of programmatic features and indoor-outdoor spaces. The twisting “Green Spine” refers to the landscaped space on the street level that appears to seamlessly flow upward to wrap around the two towers and culminates in the “Future Gardens” at the top of the residential tower. The low podium will comprise the majority of the mixed-use spaces and be open to both residents and the wider community. The podium will include a marketplace, retail, entertainment areas and a BMW experience center. The development’s various podiums will cater to the city’s temporary exhibitions and are flexible enough to accommodate different uses from art shows to festivals. “This multifaceted spine is created by the splitting open of the potential single mass at its core, thereby forming two separate high rise structures and causing them to reveal the almost geological strata of their core layers as they rise above a light-filled canyon,” explains UNStudio. “As a result of this design intervention, the towers that result on either side can enjoy porous city views and vastly improved contextual links. The orientation of the Green Spine enables an extension of the public realm on the podium, the continuation of green onto the towers and facilitates orientation to the CBD and the Botanical Garden at the top of the towers.” Related: UNStudio designs cocoon-like pavilion made of 100% recyclable materials The landscaped buildings are expected to mitigate the urban heat island effect, absorb noise and fight against air pollution . The “Green Spine” will be constructed with materials and textures local and native to Australia. The buildings’ high-performance glass facade follows passive design strategies, while external shading fins control solar gain. Energy and water usage will also be minimized wherever possible. + UNStudio + Cox Architecture Images via UNStudio

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UNStudio unveils twisting Green Spine high-rise proposal for Melbourne

Studio Gang to sustainably grow Toronto with this energy-efficient tower

July 20, 2018 by  
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American architecture practice Studio Gang has unveiled designs for One Delisle, a new residential tower that marks the firm’s first foray in Canada. Located in downtown Toronto on the corner of Yonge and Delisle, the project is envisioned as a standout architectural icon that combines a striking hive-like design with energy-efficient performance. The proposed building intends to achieve Tier 2 of the Toronto Green Standard. Inspired by plant growth, the sculptural, 16-sided One Delisle features eight-story modules stacked together in a spiraling formation to reach a height that surpasses 500 feet. The 550,000-square-foot building will comprise 263 residential units as well as a two-story base with retail space and restaurants. The area around the tower will also be redesigned to include wider landscaped sidewalks, an expanded park and other improvements for a more pedestrian-friendly experience. The main street character will be preserved to respect the existing neighborhood architecture. “Responsive to the surrounding streetscape, the tower is rectilinear at its base to fit within the city grid and address its corner condition at Yonge Street and Delisle Avenue, transforming into a multifaceted cylindrical shape as it rises to expand views, capture more sunlight and minimize shadows on the street,” the firm said. “The full-block revitalization will utilize a district energy system that allows the new construction to share mechanical loads with existing commercial buildings, offsetting energy use .” Related: Amazing Hive comes alive with sights and sounds in Washington, D.C. One Delisle, along with the newly developed Delisle Park, will provide greater density to one of the city’s most important nodes at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue. In addition to greener outdoor spaces for the public, residents will enjoy access to balconies and spacious terraces carefully angled for protection against wind and sun. Different floor plate sizes and configurations allows for a variety of residential options. The project is slated for completion in 2023. + Studio Gang Images via Norm Li/Studio Gang

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Studio Gang to sustainably grow Toronto with this energy-efficient tower

LEED Platinum housing for the homeless takes over a formerly vacant L.A. lot

July 6, 2018 by  
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Los Angeles-based design practice Michael Maltzan Architecture  has transformed a vacant suburban lot into the Crest Apartments, a LEED Platinum -certified permanent supportive housing center that assists homeless individuals and veterans. Commissioned by the Skid Row Housing Trust, this striking light-filled property promotes healthy lifestyles with its inviting, community-focused design. In addition to serving the homeless, the 45,000-square-foot development also offers major benefits to the local community and environment with its stormwater management system that captures and treats over 90 percent of the site’s rainwater runoff. Located in Los Angeles’ Van Nuys neighborhood, the $23.6-million Crest Apartments building consists of 64 units, half of which are allocated for homeless veterans. Also included are supportive services and community space for residents such as the social services offices, a communal kitchen, laundry room, conference room, residents’ lounge and an outdoor community garden. The building was constructed with a prefabricated timber frame constructed by CTF California TrusFrame and clad with LaHambra Integral Color Plaster. To let in natural light and views of the city, the architects punctuated the white exterior with aluminum-framed Arcadia windows and glazed sliding doors. The Suniva Optimus Series Monocrystalline solar modules and Heliodyne solar thermal collectors help offset the building’s electricity needs. “The building’s arching form stretches the length of the site, creating a sheltered courtyard with four residential floors above,” says Michael Maltzan Architecture. “The low points of the building touch down at both the front and back of the site, creating a physical relationship to the smaller-scale single-family residences to the south, and the commercial facades to the north. The lobby and reception are positioned at the front to welcome residents and visitors and activate the street. Inviting, light-filled spaces throughout the building form a network of healthy community connections that support residents.” Related: Michael Maltzan’s Prefab Star Apartments in Downtown LA Residents at the Crest Apartments also enjoy access to a landscape of native , drought-resistant plantings that form a self-sustaining ecosystem supportive of a variety of uses. The low-irrigation landscape is also fitted out with two bioswales , infiltration trenches and permeable paving to manage almost all of the building’s stormwater runoff on-site. + Michael Maltzan Architecture Images via Iwan Baan

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LEED Platinum housing for the homeless takes over a formerly vacant L.A. lot

Red List expands to 26,000 endangered species

July 6, 2018 by  
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Japanese earthworms, the Mauritian flying fox and the Bankoualé Palm are joining over 26,000 species categorized as “endangered.” The latest International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) Red List report  now identifies 26,197 plants and animals facing extinction, out of 93,557 facing serious environmental threats around the world. Australia’s reptile population possibly faces the most threats of all species. 975 reptiles native to the island — nearly every cold-blooded animal living there — have joined the list. In addition, seven percent of those are threatened with extinction due to changing environmental factors , including invasive species and climate change. Estimates from ICUN blame 600 million reptile deaths on feral cats, while a one-degree temperature change could cut the Bartle Frere cool-skink population by half over 30 years. Related: Conservationists sound alarm over US House bill that weakens Endangered Species Act While Australia is facing a mass extinction of reptiles, other areas across Asia could lose species over time. The Mauritian flying fox, an important pollinating species on Mauritius and Réunion, was also added to the endangered species list. Deforestation , cyclones, poaching and death from power lines have significantly reduced the population. In Japan, three species of earthworms were also added to the Red List and face extinction. Nuclear fallout from both World War II and the nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima, combined with over-farming and city growth, are threatening the species. Animals also aren’t the only species that face extinction before the century’s end. The Bankoualé palm, a plant native to Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen, may also be relegated to textbooks. Between deforestation, drought , destruction from farming and water redirection, the palm could disappear entirely from Yemen first, leaving the Horn of Africa as its only remaining habitat. Although the outlook is grim for the newly endangered species , all hope is not lost. The ICUN is actively working with local populations to ensure both plants and animals can continue to thrive for generations. In Mauritius, a task force is working with farmers to protect crops and orchards with nets and other deterrents, reducing the need for population culling. Via ICUN

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Red List expands to 26,000 endangered species

Massive handmade bamboo-and-rattan "fish trap" springs up in Taipei

May 31, 2018 by  
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A giant handmade pavilion created in the image of an ancient fishing tool has popped up at the entrance of Taipei’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Rising to a height of nearly 30 feet, The Trap is a temporary installation designed by Taiwanese artist Cheng Tsung Feng that pays homage to the fishing tools and materials used by various ethnic groups in Taiwan. The movement of people through and under the structure is meant to evoke the crowds of fish caught in a fish trap. Completed this month, The Trap was commissioned as part of MOCA’s “The Charismatic Rebirth of Yore” exhibition. Artist Cheng Tsung Feng , who has a history of working with natural and locally-sourced materials, found inspiration in fish traps, an ancient Taiwanese fishing tool made of bamboo and rattan. During his research, FENG discovered huge variations in the traps created by different ethnic groups because of differences in available materials, culture and the type of catch. Despite these differences, he found that the site-specific fish traps were united by common production practices. Handmade from thin strips of bamboo, rattan and steel, The Trap is anchored over the MOCA’s entrance and features arched openings to mirror the historic building’s existing arches. Gaps between the rattan strips give the piece a lightweight feel and let dappled light shine through. The artwork measures nearly 92 feet long and more than 65 feet wide. Related: A twisting infinity-loop roof tops this prefab bamboo pavilion “These intangible cultures hidden behind tangible objects are like living things that can grow in response to the environment,” Cheng Tsung Feng said. “In this installation art, we relocated the fish trap from thousands of natural rivers to Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art, a 100-year-old man-made building. And replaced various kinds of fishes with the crowd of people. What will this traditional wisdom evolve after adapting to distinct environments and prey?” The installation will be on display until July 22, 2018. + Cheng Tsung Feng Images by Sheng Da TSAI

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Massive handmade bamboo-and-rattan "fish trap" springs up in Taipei

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