These incredible self-deploying buildings pop up in 8 minutes flat

July 5, 2017 by  
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In the future, buildings could build themselves. Ten Fold Engineering , based in the United Kingdom, is offering self-deploying structures that open up in under 10 minutes solely with the help of a hand-held battery-powered drill. Their 689-square-foot structures could be used as medical clinics or eco hotels or tree houses – to name a few. Ten Fold’s ready-to-use structures offer a glimpse into the future of construction : buildings that can be deployed or folded up in a matter of minutes by anyone. They can be easily relocated and customized to fit a customer’s needs: from offices to mobile supermarkets to beach huts, the options for Ten Fold’s shelters are numerous. Related: Hex House is an affordable, rapidly deployable solar home for disaster victims The structures can travel on a standard truck, and can be popped open with little power in eight minutes. The company says they’re fully equipped as soon as they’re opened and can be stacked on top of each other. No foundations are necessary, and Ten Fold says the structures can be deployed on sloped or uneven ground. According to the company, “The components are modular so almost any arrangement of panels, doors, windows, and service pods is possible.” The buildings include 689 square feet of mobile space with 706 cubic feet of storage. Ten Fold’s structures can even be equipped to go off-grid , with space either inside or via bolt-on modular pods for clean energy like solar power , batteries, and water storage or treatment. The company says their units are durable and have a long lifespan, and can be designed to meet “modern BREEAM and LEED energy, material, and production stability standards. The company is able to accomplish all this through a family of pin-jointed linkages that can move with little power consumed. They are licensing their technology , saying they aim to bring it to people for whom it will make a difference. The mobile structures begin at £100,000, or around $129,330. + Ten Fold Engineering Images via Ten Fold Engineering Facebook

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These incredible self-deploying buildings pop up in 8 minutes flat

Pavegen unveils world’s first energy-harvesting smart street in London

June 30, 2017 by  
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An underutilized street in London’s West End has been transformed into a colorful outdoor space exhibiting sustainable technologies , and right down the center runs Pavegen’s energy-generating pavement . The company, which has been around since 2009, has seen their pavement that harvests power from footsteps installed in 150 projects, but now their product is part of what they describe as the world’s first smart street. Walkers traversing the pavement can connect to an app and see how their footsteps in Bird Street have generated electricity . Pavegen installed a 107-square-foot array in Bird Street to harness and convert the power of footsteps into electricity, which will supply energy for lights and bird sounds in the area. Bluetooth Low-Energy transmitters are also part of this array, so that users can interact with the array via apps. People can see their steps on the energy-harvesting pavement translate into discounts, vouchers, and clean electricity. Related: Pavegen’s kinetic walkway in South African mall will power rural villages Pavegen CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook said in a statement, “With installations in Washington, D.C. and at vital transport hubs including Heathrow, being able to demonstrate how our technology can bring to life the retail shopping experience is a vital step for us. As retailers compete with online, technologies like ours make being in the busy high street more exciting and rewarding for people and brands alike.” Other sustainable technologies on Bird Street include Airlabs’ CleanAir bench, which sucks nitrogen dioxide from the air to create a clean air bubble. Airlite air-purifying paint was also used in Bird Street. Pop-up shops offering shopping or dining beckon visitors. The outdoor space is meant to offer a vision for healthier urban areas. Transport for London Director of City Planning Alex Williams said the innovative Bird Street concepts could be brought to other areas of London, bringing 21st century thinking to improve urban streets. + Pavegen Images courtesy of Pavegen

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Pavegen unveils world’s first energy-harvesting smart street in London

The Tesla of solar electric yachts launches in New Zealand

June 21, 2017 by  
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The future of boating is electric – and silent. That’s what Dutch company Soel Yachts says, and they’re bringing electric travel to the seas with their SoelCat 12. Inhabitat covered the boat’s design last year , and now the company is launching their sustainably-powered yacht in New Zealand . The yacht is kind to the environment not simply in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions , but in the reduction of noise pollution as well. The SoelCat 12, which was built in New Zealand, is powered by the sun. Soel Yachts describes the boat as the ‘ Tesla on the water,’ noting while cars are transitioning over to being powered by electricity , the same movement largely hasn’t occurred in boating. They want to revolutionize the boating industry, and are debuting the SoelCat 12, designed in partnership with Naval DC , in Auckland, New Zealand this week. Related: Solar-powered yacht sails silently for a cleaner, greener eco-tourism experience The company says it wasn’t enough to just stick an electric motor on a boat. They kept electric propulsion in mind as they designed the SoelCat 12, evidenced for example in the highly efficient lines of the hull. Traveling at a speed of eight knots, the yacht can run simply on battery power for six hours. Reducing the speed to six knots, the boat can travel for 24 hours – even at night when the yacht’s solar panels aren’t harvesting energy. The boat’s systems can be monitored on a phone or tablet, allowing boaters to see their energy use as in a Tesla, according to Soel Yachts. Soel Yachts co-founder Joep Koster said in a statement the SoelCat 12 “reduces all disturbing sound and CO2 emissions in our harbors, lagoons, and oceans .” The solar electric yacht quietly glides through waves, minimizing disturbance in the form of noise pollution to marine life. And the yacht is still useful even when it’s not in use. Soel Yachts says the boat can become a mobile power station, offering energy for as much as five homes, even in remote locations. + Soel Yachts + Naval DC Images courtesy of Soel Yachts

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The Tesla of solar electric yachts launches in New Zealand

This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool

June 21, 2017 by  
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Abita Brewing Company has been a tastemaker since 1986, both in terms of craft beer – you’ve probably sipped their Purple Haze – and in sustainability . Before Heinekin opened a carbon neutral brewery or Sierra Nevada installed a Tesla Powerpack system , Abita invested in clean tech because they felt it was the right thing to do. Inhabitat visited brewery headquarters in Abita Springs, Louisiana and spoke with President David Blossman and Director of Brewing Operations Jaime Jurado about the decision to go green well before other breweries in the United States. Abita was the first brewery in North America to put in an energy-efficient Merlin Brewhouse – or the vessels in which beer is brewed – back in 2001. Craft beer wasn’t as big back then – Blossman said business was “sideways at best” but Abita took a chance and installed the expensive brewhouse because they figured craft beer would eventually take off. Related: San Diego brewery unveils beer made from 100% recycled wastewater Jurado said, “Dave made decisions on renewable tech long before anyone else did.” One such decision was the installation of a rooftop solar array atop their bottling facility. Every year the solar panels generate around 116,180 kilowatt-hours (kWh), avoiding around 81.3 tons of carbon dioxide. 25 percent of the bottling plant’s roof is covered in the photovoltaics, which provide around five to seven percent of all the electricity Abita consumes. A wastewater treatment plant behind the brewery provides more power. The plant treats all the brewery wastewater, and bacteria anaerobically produce biogas , which comprises 17 percent of the natural gas the brewery uses. Although the Merlin brewhouse was forward-thinking when Abita first installed it, they recently put in the Krones EquiTherm brewhouse, which is even more energy- and water-efficient. It was the first one installed in the United States, and also allows for more flexibility in the types of beer Abita can brew. Heat from the brewhouse is recovered and reused; Jurado said, “We use a lot of heat but we recover a majority of the heat so we net out saving energy .” Breweries also use carbon dioxide (CO2) in their process, and it has to be heated to stay in a gas state. Meanwhile, warm water used in the packaging process needs to be cooled, so Abita came up with a system to accomplish both tasks and reduce electricity costs by around $6,000 a year. With the energy recovery system, they can use CO2 in a non-contact way to turn it into gas and cool the water. Even beyond the brewing process, Abita considers the environment . Jurado said, “Our bottle is not the industry standard bottle, which is called the long neck. You see them in Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser, Shiner products. Dave uses the heritage bottle which uses 11 percent less glass and 11 percent less energy.” The squatter bottle isn’t as noticeable on the shelf, but as Jurado said, “11 percent spoke a language.” The recyclable bottle requires less paper for labels and is still the standard 12 ounces. Plus more cases of beer inside heritage bottles fit on trucks. But the most sustainable packaging is stainless steel kegs, according to Jurado, which can be refilled over and over. Larger breweries only have around nine percent of sales in kegs, but they comprise 30 percent of Abita’s sales. Blossman told Inhabitat, “If you’re going to do something, you want to use less natural resources whether that be in natural gas or grain or water – they’re all important.” As many breweries do, Abita gives their spent grain – or the grain leftover after the brewing process – to farmers for feed. But the brewery is located close to dairy farmers so their spent grain doesn’t even have to travel that far. Abita Brewing Company fits right in to the town of Abita Springs, Louisiana, which recently became the first in the state and 24th American city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. In St. Tammany Parish, where Abita is located, there are currently only three electric vehicle charging stations, but Abita Springs will soon have the fourth, sponsored by the brewery. The brewery has also given back in the form of charity beers, such as the Save Our Shore pilsner they brewed following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. They raised over $600,000 that went towards restoring coastal wetland habitats and helping struggling fishermen and their families. If you want to find out more about green brewing at Abita, check out their website . + Abita Brewing Company Images courtesy Abita Brewing Company and via Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat

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This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool

Michelin unveils airless 3D-printed tires that last virtually forever

June 20, 2017 by  
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Fear not the flat tire, road trippers! The future of tire technology is rolling into reality, thanks to Michelin’s Vision tire. The 3D-printed tire does not need to be inflated, and it’s designed to last through the entire lifetime of a vehicle. It’s also equipped with high-tech sensors and it’s 100% biodegradable to boot. Michelin used 3D printing technology to create an airless tire modeled on alveolar structures – like as the air sacs found in human lungs. This means that the tire’s interior is structurally solid, while the outer layers are more flexible, which prevents blowouts and flat tires. The tire is printed from organic , recyclable, biodegradable materials and it can be recycled when it has reached the end of its product life. Related: Continental Tire looks to dandelions for a more sustainable tire 3D printing allows the tire’s treads to be customized to meet the needs of a specific vehicle , and Michelin minimized the amount of rubber used in the tire to enhance its sustainability. Embedded sensors keep track of each tire’s wear and proactively order reprints for smooth driving. Michelin imagines an eventual product that incorporates butadiene – a major component of modern synthetic rubber that is derived from wood chips or straw. Although Michelin has not discussed when these tires will be available for purchase, the company believes that the concept may soon become a reality. Via Yanko Design Images via Michelin

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Michelin unveils airless 3D-printed tires that last virtually forever

New self-driving electric RoboBuses are launching in Finland this year

June 14, 2017 by  
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The world is becoming increasingly automated, and a new self-driving bus in Finland is evidence of this. Beginning in the fall of 2017, the Finnish capital will launch a new autonomous electric “RoboBusLine.” According to the City of Helsinki the line “represents a shift from an experimental phase to regular, scheduled public transit service with self-driving buses.” Not only will the self-driving vehicles reduce the costs of transportation and improve access to public transit – they will also reduce the amount of cars that are on the road and slash emissions. In August of 2016, the Sohjoa project (an EU-financed initiative by the six largest cities in Finland, Finnish universities and transportation authorities) launched two EasyMile EZ10 electric minibuses in Helsinki. Reportedly, the initiative is part of the EU-financed mySMARTLife program, in which European cities are encouraged to develop energy-efficient mobility to reduce energy consumption in cities by 10-15 percent. So far, the electric minibuses have been tested in real traffic conditions – and they will continue to be monitored in urban areas until August 2017. Each bus has an operator on board in case of an emergency and travels at about 7 mph (11 km per hour), learning the route and accruing knowledge as it transits . Said Sohjoa project manager, Oscar Nissin of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, “We focus on a number of aspects including sensor technology, user experience, and how to complement overall public transit services with self-driving buses.” Once the self-driving trials are complete, the Finnish cities of Espoo and Tampere will launch the buses to shuttle passengers from Helsinki’s Mustikkamaa recreational Island to Helsinki Zoo. Project leader and Metropolia’s smart mobility program director, Harri Santamala, explained that the “RoboBus will allow us to test operation in everyday public transit conditions. It will be used to study the long-term operability of self-driving buses and customer behavior. Related: The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai Finland is an ideal location for a self-driving bus to launch, as the country’s law does not state that a vehicle has to have a driver. Additionally, autonomous buses could offer a solution to a persistent problem in Helsinki: transporting riders from a regular public transit stop to their homes. A press release says, “Automated, remote-controlled bus service could markedly reduce the costs of the last-mile service and improve access to public transit . The ultimate goal is to increase public transit use and so to reduce cars and needs to drive in the city.” Because the electric minus is in a competitive bid process, the route, its launch date, and schedule will be announced at a later time. + Helsinkin RoboBusLine Image via Helsinkin RoboBusLine

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New self-driving electric RoboBuses are launching in Finland this year

7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa

June 14, 2017 by  
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Gallivanting across Africa in search of majestic and fascinating wild animals is at the top of many people’s bucket lists, and thankfully, there are more ways than ever to safari with an eco-friendly and socially conscious mindset. We found seven safari lodges that were created with heavy consideration for conservation and community: the only heavy footprint left is that of a gentle, gigantic elephant as he passes by. Chem Chem Safari Lodge This Tanzanian lodge , located within the Burunge Wildlife Management Area, prides itself on a “slow safari” ethos, with options including wilderness picnics, walking safaris with a private guide, and lessons in identifying wildlife tracks, as well as meetings with the lodge’s anti-poaching team . The tent-style suites and main house toe the line between rustic and glamorous and were crafted to bring to mind vintage safari lodges. A pool, spa , gourmet restaurant, and viewing tower make returning after a day of flamingo watching and safari-going a little easier. Greystoke Mahale Operated by Nomad Tanzania , one of East Africa’s original safari companies, Greystoke Mahale will make visitors feel as if they have ventured to a magical place where beaches, forests, and mountains exist in harmony. The native chimps are the main attraction here, but with the beach of Lake Tanganyika at your feet and Mahale Mountains behind you, it’s an ideal location for exploring waterfalls, swimming, and having kayaking adventures. Image © Exploring Tourism Zimbabwe Pamushana Lodge Pamushana Lodge , part of the conservation-focused Singita resorts family, has won multiple Leading Safari Lodge awards, and this Zimbabwe retreat gives back in a major way. As the ecotourism arm for a 130,000-acre reserve, Singita manages the lodge on behalf of an environmental trust: all proceeds from the lodge benefit conservation and community partnership efforts. The local culture is honored in small ways, such as the beaded and adorned throw pillows , as well are more dramatic ways, including the preservation of a diversity of habitats from grasslands to broad-leaf forests. Related|Solar-powered safari lodge is a gorgeous green retreat in Botswana Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Not that you could ever get tired of seeing the usual suspects (giraffes, elephants, rhinos, lions, etc.) in real life, but the Grootbos Nature Reserve in South Africa offers alternate experiences including a marine safari to see the marine Big 5, a botanical 4 x 4 tour, or shark cage diving. The land is home to 791 plant species , including 100 endangered plant species, and milkwood forests that are over 1000 years old. Duba Plains Part of the Great Plains Conservation Camps, Duba Plains opened in March 2017, but it is already gaining a following for both its conservation and environmental stewardship as well as its proximity to plentiful wildlife (lions and buffalo are common sights). The rooms at the camp, located in Botswana ’s Okavango Delta, were built on recycled railway sleeper decking to provide prime and varied animal viewing access. Campi Ya Kanzi The only safari lodge on a 283,000 Maasai -owned reserve, Camp Ya Kanzi (aka Camp of the Hidden Treasure) shouldn’t remain hidden to you or your fellow safari adventurers: the expansive view of Kilimanjaro is reason enough to plan your visit. Stay in a tented cottage or tented suites or rent an entire private villa with a swimming pool supplied by rainwater . Image © SteppesTravel UK Camp Nomade Camp Nomade , located in Zakouma National Park in Chad , is exclusive in more ways than one: it’s only available from mid-December to mid-April each year when the park dries up, and can only host a maximum of eight visitors per week. With 360-degree views and the feeling of being plopped down in the middle of all the safari action, lucky visitors can look for buffalo, elephants , lions, leopards, baboons, and more. Lead image via Camp Nomade

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7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa

LeapHome unveils sustainable, super-efficient Frame prefab

June 12, 2017 by  
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LEAPfactory , the Italy -based company known for building gorgeous prefabricated structures in extreme locations , just unveiled their very first LeapHome . Frame is a two-story, 1,400 square foot house built with minimal impact on the environment . The home’s design is super energy efficient , so it can easily go off-grid . LEAPfactory was inspired by the idea of living in harmony with nature to create Frame. The home can be customized and configured according to a buyer’s desires and budget, and includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study area, a kitchen, dining area, an outdoor terrace, and a double height living room. Forest Stewardship Council certified wood , metal sheet cladding, and finishes made with ecological materials comprise the home that includes prefabricated components. Related: LEAPfactory unveils prefab snowboard school at the foot of Mont Blanc The outdoor shell of the home was designed with energy efficiency in mind, so the home doesn’t consume as much power as others do. Solar energy powers the home, which heats water with a solar thermal system. LED lighting and radiant technology electric systems recycle heat in Frame. According to the company’s website , “The structure is designed to maximize air circulation and distribute heat and humidity.” LEAPfactory says the home could potentially be set up in off-grid configurations – sewage can be independently managed thanks to a biological liquid waste treatment system and other sanitation systems. Panoramic openings in the home also serve to connect an inhabitant with nature. Large sliding glass doors, a bay window , a skylight, and a vertical ribbon window can all be part of the design . LEAPfactory co-founders Stefano Testa and Luca Gentilcore said in a statement, “Living immersed in nature represents one of the most important choices to embrace a new style of life. We like to think that we can combine the comforts of a modern home with the profound freedom and the pioneering spirit of a life in perfect harmony with the environment that surrounds us.” LEAPfactory’s process allows them to go from a design to a fully furnished and functioning house “within weeks” according to their website . + LEAPfactory + LeapHome Images courtesy of LEAPfactory

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LeapHome unveils sustainable, super-efficient Frame prefab

Shigeru Ban Architects unveil plans for the worlds tallest hybrid timber building

June 6, 2017 by  
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Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban just unveiled plans for the world’s tallest timber hybrid high-rise, the Terrace House . Slated for Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighborhood, the angular structure will have multiple tiers of abundant greenery rising up through a latticework frame made out of locally-sourced timber . According to the design description, “meticulously engineered timber” will be used to create the building’s latticework frame , which will be interspersed with an abundance of greenery rising up from the ground floor. The proposed design will create not only the world’s largest timber hybrid structure, but will be a luminous icon for Vancouver’s growing cityscape. Ban’s proposed design will hold court right next to the city’s famed Evergreen Building , designed by late architect Arthur Erickson . Related: Nation’s largest cross-laminated timber academic building is an icon of sustainability The stunning project, which will be led by Vancouver-based developer PortLiving , was carefully crafted by Ban to stand out for its cutting-edge design without taking away from the existing architecture, “We have brought together the best of the best – a team of true experts in creative collaboration, working together for the first time ever on a single project. The result is truly a once-in-a-lifetime project setting new standards in design and construction,” said Macario Reyes, founder and CEO of PortLiving. “Every detail has been considered right down to the specific foliage on the terraces. It only made sense to bring on Cornelia Oberlander to continue her vision and create continuity between the Evergreen Building by Arthur Erickson and Terrace House by Shigeru Ban.” Although Ban’s design is sure to be a stellar icon of timber architecture , it won’t be the city’s only wooden wonder; the world’s current tallest timber building, Brock Commons , was completed in Vancouver just last year. + Terrace House + Shigeru Ban Architects Via Archdaily Images via PortLiving

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Shigeru Ban Architects unveil plans for the worlds tallest hybrid timber building

German community bands together to convert old WWII bunker into a ‘green mountain’

May 29, 2017 by  
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Hamburg residents are taking their community’s urban design into their own hands – and the results are amazing. A team of local residents and architects are planning to convert a WWII bunker into Hilldegarden , a mixed-use community space topped with a rooftop garden covered in lush greenery. The massive bunker was originally used to launch anti-aircraft fire at enemy planes, but has since been occupied by a number of businesses. The space has been home to a popular nightclub, a music school, retail spaces, offices, etc. The new project would see the space continue its mixed-use atmosphere, but topped with a massive public rooftop garden with walking trails. Related: Century-old WWI bunker is reborn as a contemporary alpine shelter Working with a number of local design studios, the community has created a proposal that would extend the bunker by almost 200 feet to add space for more facilities such as a kindergarten, community center, and even a hotel. A building permit was recently issued that approved the proposed additional space. However, the most spectacular part of the proposal is the massive, terraced roof top. The greenery would be staggered into a winding walkway that leads up to the roof, creating an artificial hill that would provide a beautiful 360-degree view of Hamburg. The green space would be open to the public, inviting people to stroll around the “green mountain.” The garden would use a number of sustainable techniques to operate, including a grey water-collection system for irrigation. Part of the public garden will be dedicated to urban food production where residents can apply to run their own garden plots. According to the organizers behind the project, “The Hilldegarden will offer a view to all. For a new, more symbiotic city. Housing plants, trees, bees, birds. Symbolizing reunion, learning and collaboration. And a bit of plain hedonistic pleasure. Funded by investors. Made for everyone.” + Hilldegarden Via Archdaily Images via Hilldegarden

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German community bands together to convert old WWII bunker into a ‘green mountain’

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