This new energy concept from Sweden can make any building net zero

October 11, 2017 by  
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A new Swedish energy concept can turn any building into a net zero energy structure. Pioneered by Malmö-based company Innenco , the concept utilizes a building’s thermal mass to drastically reduce energy use by around 85 percent. With their active elements systems, heat pumps, chillers, and adding solar panels , Innenco can bring new or existing buildings to net zero energy consumption. Inhabitat spoke with CEO and founder Jonathan Karlsson to find out more. Innenco, which stands for innovative energy concept, dramatically slashes a building’s energy use. Karlsson told Inhabitat, “Our vision is to create possibilities to make new net zero constructions in an efficient way, giving everyone the capability to do so.” Their technology changes how a building operates for vastly improved energy efficiency . Related: California city could become the first Zero Net Energy city in the U.S. It starts with their active elements system: pipes are integrated into the frame construction to utilize a building’s thermal mass. Adding heat pumps and chillers to the system allows Innenco to get four to six times greater efficiency in heating and cooling . At this point they’re able to reduce energy use by 85 percent, so to cover that last 15 percent, they install Innenco Quantum Solar panels. “This makes an investment in solar cells much lower than a traditional system, and we can get net zero for a really cost-efficient investment,” Karlsson told Inhabitat. Buildings with the Innenco system installed tend to maintain a temperature of around 22 degrees Celsius, or around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Innenco has already seen their concept work in the real world. They’ve installed their system in homes, offices, schools, and industry premises. Karlsson said they were excited to discover they could utilize a really high rate of thermal mass in industry buildings, and think their concept could translate well to skyscrapers . They’ve worked in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Spain, and the Netherlands, with projects coming up in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. They provide maintenance, and their energy concept can be installed as new buildings are built or integrated in old ones. Karlsson said sustainability projects should deliver social, environmental, and economical benefits, all three of which Innenco aims to offer with their concept. “Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is a really high goal for us,” Karlsson told Inhabitat. “It’s the climate condition; it’s really necessary to figure out how we can help the planet.” Innenco hopes to introduce their energy concept to other markets too, such as the United States. You can find out more on their website . + Innenco Images courtesy of Innenco

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This new energy concept from Sweden can make any building net zero

Folkets House pavilion is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs

October 10, 2017 by  
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This palm-shaped temporary pavilion recently popped up at the Enskifteshagen Park in Malmö, Sweden , as an inclusive space where refugees and longtime residents of Sweden can learn new skills, find jobs and make connections. The pavilion, named Folkets House (“People’s House), was designed for the Opportunity Space Festival in Malmö, as the winning proposal for the design competition organized by the Van Alen Institute , the City of Malmö, White Arkitekter , Skanska , Individuell Människohjälp , and Architects Sweden. Architects and designers Rik Ekströmof ARExA,  Gustav Fagerström of Walter P Moore,  Milad Barosen of the Milou Group and Nathan King of the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design teamed up to design the structure, which was influenced by Swedish 19th-century labor union buildings. Related: Beautiful timber pavilion unfolds like origami The pop-up structure is shaped by curved wooden beams that radiate from its center and shelter a large space under a thin skin. It is meant to host a range of programs, workshops, and other activities organized by Van Alen Institute. At night, the building is transformed into a beautifully lit gathering space where refugees and immigrants can mingle with locals. “We believe that Folkets House will signal the beginning of new opportunities and inspiration for working people of all nations who come together in Malmö — Sweden’s cultural melting pot,” said Rik Ekström of the Folkets House team. + ARExA + Walter P Moore + Milou Group + VT a+d + Van Alen Institute Lead photo by Nazim Benli

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Folkets House pavilion is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs

IKEA’s new augmented reality app could totally change the way we shop

September 13, 2017 by  
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Ever purchased a piece of furniture, only to find out later it didn’t fit the style or size of the room? Swedish furniture maker IKEA is tackling this problem with a free augmented reality (AR) application that utilizes Apple’s new ARKit technology . The app will let users experience how sofas, armchairs, coffee tables and other furnishing items will fit into their homes in augmented reality. According to the IKEA press release, all products experienced through the app are 3D and true to scale. This ensures “every choice is just the right size, design and function.” Said Michael Valdsgaard, Leader Digital Transformation at Inter IKEA Systems, “IKEA Place makes it easier to make buying decisions in your own place, to get inspired and try many different products, styles, and colors in real-life settings with a swipe of your finger. Augmented reality and virtual reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet. Only this time, much faster.” Users will also have the option of capturing the setting in the app and sharing it as an image or a video with friends. Related: IKEA’s SPACE10 lab is bringing a pop-up vertical farm to London IKEA is the first home furnishing company to build on Apple’s new technology to create an AR app that ensures customers are confident with their purchases. Reportedly, the app has a 98 percent accuracy as it scales products based on room dimensions. “The AR technology is so precise that you will be able to see the texture of the fabric, as well as how light and shadows are rendered on your furnishings,” says the press release. “ARKit gives us the opportunity to help shape the development of AR as an accessible tool for real-life decision making,” added Valdsgaard. “ARKit gives us the opportunity to help shape the development of AR as an accessible tool for real-life decision making,” added Valdsgaard. Beginning late-September, users with an iOs 11 may download and enjoy the app. In total, 2,000 IKEA products will be available to experiment with. The first release will focus on larger furniture products, including all sofas, armchairs, footstools, coffee tables and top-selling “storage solutions” that can be placed on the floor.  Data collected from the application will also play a role in the launch of new product lines. “Now, technology has caught up with our ambition. AR lets us redefine the experience for furniture retail once more, in our restless quest to create a better everyday life for everyone, everywhere,” said Valdsgaard. To use the IKEA app, all one needs to do is: upgrade their device to iOS 11, download the IKEA Place app for free from the Apple store, scan the floor in your home, browse the list of available products in the app, select a chosen furniture item to experience, and move and place the product into the space. It is that simple! + IKEA  Images via IKEA

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IKEA’s new augmented reality app could totally change the way we shop

Massive new data center to be built in chilly Norway to offset energy use

August 21, 2017 by  
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Every like and tweet costs energy, which isn’t great for climate change. That’s why the American-Norwegian data company Kolos is building a new data center in northern Norway. Designed to be the largest in the world, it will be powered strictly by renewable energy sources and the cold climate and low humidity will help offset energy demands. Kolos partnered with architecture design firm HDR to finance and design the center, which will make internet use significantly more sustainable. Data centers require huge amounts of power due to their cooling demands, so why not put one in a fjord that sits within the Arctic Circle ? Kolos’ proposal will be a fortress of data, the design of which is inspired by Norway ‘s spectacular landforms, mountains and glaciers. Related: How Sweden plans to heat homes with internet searches Kolos says the new facility will rely mostly on wind and hydroelectricity harvested from the surrounding waterways to meet its energy needs, reducing energy costs by 60 percent. The project will provide a record-breaking 1,000 MW of power and about 2000 to 3000 new jobs. + Kolos + HDR Via New Atlas

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Massive new data center to be built in chilly Norway to offset energy use

Video footage of rare all-white moose in Sweden

August 15, 2017 by  
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The rare appearance of a white moose is being celebrated by animal enthusiasts worldwide, as the majestic animal is estimated to be one of just 100 living in Sweden . Hans Nilsson, who has been tracking the elusive creature for three years, captured the footage on August 11 in the province of Varmland. As soon as it was uploaded, the video went viral. The BBC reports that the white moose is not albino but lacks color due to a genetic mutation. True albino animals are unable to produce melanin and have pink or red eyes. Animals with leucism, on the other hand, have a snowy white coat and dark-colored eyes. Moose are extraordinary animals , standing approximately 6.5 feet high at the shoulder. Some moose can weigh up to 1,800 pounds, and males have massive antlers that can span up to 6 feet end to end. Moose can also run up to 35 miles per hour. Related: Nova Scotia’s Sacred Albino Moose Killed by Visiting Hunters Unicorns sadly remain fictional, but at least white moose are real. Via BBC Images via Hans Nilsson

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Oregon just approved the nations first tax on bicycles – and cyclists are furious

July 19, 2017 by  
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Riding a bike is good for your health and the environment – so you’d think governments would go out of their way to encourage cyclists, right? Wrong. Oregon — a state known for its avid bicycling culture – just approved the nation’s first statewide bicycle tax . The new excise tax will require consumers to pay $15 for bikes that cost over $200 with a wheel diameter of at least 26 inches. The Washington Times reports that the $5.3 billion transportation package is expected to be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. Both anti-tax Republicans and environmentally conscious consumers are frustrated by the development. It is “an unprecedented step in the wrong direction,” said BikePortland publisher Jonathan Maus. “We are taxing the healthiest, most inexpensive, most environmentally friendly, most efficient and most economically sustainable form of transportation ever devised by the human species.” Related: Sweden wants to fight waste with new tax breaks for repairs According to Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier, the tax is an effect of Governor Brown’s “endless obsession with finding new and innovative ways to take money out of the pockets of Oregon taxpayers.” There are numerous reasons bikes are better for the environment than automobiles. For instance, bicycles require fewer natural resources to create , emit zero emissions, cut down on health care costs (30 minutes of cycling a day is estimated to save $544/year ) and help combat noise pollution — in addition to other benefits. This acknowledged, why should consumers who strive to get healthier and benefit the environment pay more money to do so? Via Washington Times Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Oregon just approved the nations first tax on bicycles – and cyclists are furious

C.F. Mller Architects designs Danish school that optimizes learning through design

July 6, 2017 by  
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The built environment has a huge impact on shaping on lives, especially when it comes to learning. With that principle in mind, C.F. Møller Architects designed and recently completed the Herningsholm Vocational School, a Danish school that focuses on the creation of optimal learning and study environments. Green space, designed by C.F. Møller Landscape, is woven throughout the school to provide opportunities for outdoor work and learning. Winner of a 2014 architectural competition , the design for the 4,700-square-meter Herningsholm Vocational School is an independent building placed within an existing campus cluster of educational buildings . The school comprises three building volumes of varying scales under one roof arranged in an angular layout. Diverse and flexible learning spaces were created to match opportunities for alternative learning styles and unconventional uses. Mobile furnishings allow teachers and students to mold their learning space to their needs. Related: C.F. Møller unveils eco-conscious highrise in Sweden Outdoor urban and learning spaces tie the buildings together and include the Plaza, a quiet green study garden, and a semi-public front garden. A variety of common study spaces dot the school and range from more open environments for workshop uses to quieter nooks for individual study. Natural light fills the school through carefully oriented glazed facades optimized for energy efficiency. In a nod to environmental sustainability, two depressed pockets of greenery in the Plaza offer seating in the dry weather but double as natural infiltration and retention basins to relieve the sewers during rainfall. + C.F. Møller Architects Images by Martin Schubert

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C.F. Mller Architects designs Danish school that optimizes learning through design

Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

June 22, 2017 by  
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Sweden just took a huge step towards becoming even greener than they already are. A new law passed by the country’s parliament will slash carbon emissions all the way down to zero by 2045. The move makes Sweden the first country to upgrade its carbon goals since the 2015 Paris Agreement . A cross-party committee prepared the law, which then passed with an overwhelming majority, bringing the goal to become carbon neutral from 2050 down to 2045, and puting in place an independent Climate Policy Council. The law calls for an action plan that will be updated every four years. Related: Norway moves up zero emissions target to 2030 According to New Scientist, Sweden already obtains 83 percent of its electricity from hydropower and nuclear energy . They met a goal to obtain 50 percent of energy from renewables eight years before their target. They’ll work to meet this new carbon neutral objective in part by focusing on transportation , such as through increasing use of vehicles powered by electricity or biofuels . Sweden aims to slash domestic emissions by a minimum of 85 percent. And they’ll offset any other emissions by planting trees or investing in sustainable projects in other countries. Femke de Jong, European Union Policy Director at Carbon Market Watch , said Sweden has a high chance of success, and other countries in Europe could follow suit. “With the Trump decision to get out of the Paris Agreement, Europe is more united than ever and wants to show leadership to the world,” de Jong said. Public resistance can be an obstacle to cutting emissions, but according to New Scientist in Sweden there’s an unusually high amount of support for environmentally friendly policies. But de Jong warned the country must also show leadership in forests, not simply emissions. They were recently accused along with France, Finland, and Austria of attempting to weaken rules to obscure emissions from burning wood and deforestation . Via New Scientist Images via Håkan Dahlström on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when

June 22, 2017 by  
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We humans have done a pretty good job of trashing the Earth all by ourselves, but we don’t often stop to consider external threats – like asteroids . A 1908 asteroid explosion over Tunguska, Siberia ravaged 800 square miles, and Queen’s University Belfast astrophysicist Alan Fitzsimmons said another asteroid collision is simply a matter of time, which could have devastating consequences if we remain unprepared. He said most of us don’t think about asteroids as a threat to our existence. We now remember the day of the 1908 asteroid strike as Asteroid Day . It’s June 30, and Fitzsimmons is joining other experts like physicist Brian Cox and International Space Station astronaut Nicole Stott to call attention to the threat. Fitzsimmons says it’s not a matter of if an asteroid will impact the Earth, but when. He said a strike like the Tunguska one today could demolish a mayor city – and a larger asteroid strike could be even more devastating. Related: NASA rolls out new asteroid detection program to defend Earth from destructive meteors Fitzsimmons said in a statement, “Astronomers find Near-Earth Asteroids every day and most are harmless. But it is still possible the next Tunguska would take us by surprise, and although we are much better at finding larger asteroids, that does us no good if we are not prepared to do something about them.” He said experts have gotten much better about detecting Near-Earth Asteroids, and have found more than 1,800 objects that could be potentially hazardous. But there are more out there – and we need to be prepared. Fitzsimmons is part of a European Research Council-funded project, NEOshield-2, whose mission is to figure out how to deflect the hazardous asteroids. Asteroid Day events will be live streamed here . There will be conversations with space agencies like NASA and a Neil deGrasse Tyson-narrated video series on scientists laboring to protect Earth from asteroids, to name a few. The organization says it will be the first 24-hour live broadcast about space ever. Via Queen’s University Belfast Images via Asteroid Day

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Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when

132-year-old lobster returned to ocean after living in tank for 20 years

June 22, 2017 by  
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Did you know it’s National Lobster Month? Residents in Hempstead, New York are celebrating the occasion by releasing a captive lobster back into the ocean . Louie the Lobster is 132 years old, but he has spent the last couple of decades living at Peter’s Clam Bar in Long Island . Louie, who could’ve fetched a fair sum at 22 pounds, will get to live out the rest of his life in the wild. Louie lived in a tank at Peter’s Clam Bar for around 20 years. Owner Butch Yamali obtained the lobster when he bought the restaurant four years ago. He says a customer recently tried to purchase Louie for $1,000 for a Father’s Day dinner, but Yamali couldn’t take the money, saying Louie has become like a pet to him. Related: 95-year-old lobster saved from the supermarket gets to live out his days in an aquarium And apparently he’s happy to see Louie find a new home in the sea. Hempstead held a pardoning ceremony for the lobster as he was lowered into his new home in the Atlantic Ocean . In a ceremony for Louie, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said, “Today I’m announcing an official pardon for Louie the Lobster. Louie may have faced a buttery fate on a seafood lover’s plate, but today we are here to return Louie to a life that is better down where it’s wetter.” While sending animals to the wild from captivity right away isn’t always the best idea, Louie did live in the ocean for over 100 years before he was caught. Lobster Institute executive director Robert Bayer said, “He’ll be just fine. There aren’t many predators who want to eat a big old lobster like that. Hopefully, he finds a mate – and lives happily ever after.” Around a year ago Larry, another incredibly old lobster who’d been living at Peter’s Clam Bar, also found a new home in the ocean. Via TreeHugger and Fox 5 New York Images via Peter’s Clam Bar Facebook

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