Wind-powered cargo vessel promises sustainable ocean shipping

October 28, 2020 by  
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Oceanbird is a massive sailing cargo ship designed to reinvent sustainable ocean shipping and reduce transatlantic travel emissions by 90%. The Swedish collaborative project is still in its sea trials stage but is poised for full-scale production by late 2021 and deliveries by 2024. Conceptually, the wind-powered cargo vessel is designed for car and truck shipments and will have the capacity to carry up to 7,000 cars at a time. Wallenius Marine, the company responsible for Oceanbird (along with the Royal Institute of Technology, SSPA and the Swedish Transport Administration), believes in the future of zero-emissions shipping using wind as the main energy source. Oceanbird shows that major sustainable changes are possible in the maritime shipping industry, which currently  accounts for 90% of global freight. While seafaring began with sails, diesel engines have become the mainstay over the past 100 years, accomplishing faster crossings at the expense of the environment. The project brings together experts in both the private and public sectors. Related: Retractable solar sails to help power “world’s most eco-friendly cruise ship” This new ocean freighter will be 200 meters long by 40 meters wide with an average speed of 10 knots on a typical Atlantic journey. Its 80-meter-high sails are twice the height of the largest sailing ships on the seas today. The design features a combination theme where the hull and five rigs, specially designed for ocean sailing, work together as one. A transatlantic crossing will take about 12 days, compared to conventional vessels that take around eight days. The project is co-financed by the Swedish Transport Administration, while the Royal Institute of Technology is contributing expertise in aerodynamics, sailing mechanics and performance analysis. Similarly, SSPA is developing new testing methods, aerodynamic and hydrodynamic simulation and risk simulation. The learning gained from these experts will be used to develop sailing vessels in other capacities to further advance sustainable methods in various maritime industries. + Oceanbird Images via Oceanbird

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Wind-powered cargo vessel promises sustainable ocean shipping

Greenhouse-inspired home harvests rainwater for backyard garden

October 28, 2020 by  
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In the idyllic town of San Miniato in the region of Tuscany, Italy, local architecture firm  LDA.iMdA architetti associati  has completed a multifunctional home that takes inspiration from the structural technology in greenhouses. The client’s dream of growing a vegetable garden served as a major design influence for the contemporary dwelling, which features a gabled shape optimized for harvesting rainwater that can be reused for irrigating the expansive rear garden. The project, dubbed La casa nell’orto (or House in the Orchard), also incorporates eco-friendly materials such as prefabricated wood self-supporting panels and is elevated off the ground to  reduce the impact on the landscape .  Set on a long and skinny east-west plot, the House in the Orchard follows the shape of the site with its rectilinear volume that spans an area of 84 square meters. The main entrance, located on the west side of the plot, includes a short flight of steps leading up to the front door. The minimalist gabled shape, based on a child’s basic drawing of a house, was created with a lightweight frame — inspired by technology typically used for  greenhouses  — overlaid with an ecological polyolefin sheet selected for high solar reflectance. Like a greenhouse, the  gabled  volume emphasizes an indoor/outdoor connection and was constructed with large expanses of glazing. The operable glazing also promotes natural ventilation. The architects took a house-within-a-house design approach to the interior layout by inserting a smaller gabled structure that comprises the main living functions, including an  open-plan  living area, dining area and kitchen, as well as a bedroom, bathroom and storage space. An even smaller gabled volume set behind the main living structure serves as an indoor greenhouse.  Related: Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse “This project is part of the research we are investigating for: how the figurative synthesis of an architecture is often recurrent in the architect’s work, and how it can be an important element of investigation in finding answers or models for a contemporary fluid and dynamic society,” the architects explained in a press statement. The House in the Orchard was also designed with the intent of hosting events such as the StudiAperti 2019. + LDA.iMdA architetti associati Photography by MEDULLA studio

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Apartment complex will be infused with vegetation to create a vibrant ‘garden city’

September 11, 2019 by  
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Malmö-based architect Jonas Lindvall has been chosen by the Swedish coastal city of Ystad to construct a plant-filled apartment complex. Slated for the Trädgårdsstad neighborhood, the Brf Leanderklockan will be comprised of 18 two- and three-story apartments that will incorporate the existing flora from a nursery that was formerly located on the site. The Brf Leanderklockan development will feature 18 units within the northern part of the new district in Ystad’s Dammhejdan area. Considering that the site was formerly occupied by a plant nursery, the new urban development will incorporate the existing vegetation to create a lush, nature-like atmosphere for residents. Related: A modern home in South Korea is embedded into its environment via an expansive green roof The complex will consist of three separate blocks, with each one containing six apartments . The units will range in size from 850 square feet to 1,500 square feet and will have open-plan layouts. Most of the apartments will boast a flexible design layout that allows them to easily be converted into live/work spaces or multi-generational homes. Some of the larger units will feature double-height ceilings with mezzanine floors, and most of the units also have spacious private terraces or patios accessible through sliding glass doors. Although the concept is quite minimalist and contemporary, the new complex will also feature plenty of green space . As part of the local council’s plan to create a “green neighborhood” in the area, much of the original vegetation from the former nursery will be preserved, including hanging vines, trees and bushes, in order to create a vibrant, verdant environment for future residents to enjoy. + Jonas Lindvall Renderings and drawings by Lindvall A & D

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Apartment complex will be infused with vegetation to create a vibrant ‘garden city’

New credit card limits spending based on carbon emissions

May 6, 2019 by  
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This Spring, the Swedish financial tech company Doconomy launched the first ever banking service and credit card to manage your personal finances and your daily carbon emissions . The DO Black Card is a collaborative effort with Doconomy, Mastercard and the UN Climate Change Secretariat. The card complements users’ existing banking services, but the accompanying app tracks the carbon emissions associated with each DO card purchase and caps the cardholder and the limits they set for themselves. Not only is the DO Credit Card the first to explicitly track carbon emissions associated with personal finance purchases, the physical card is also made from bio-sourced materials and printed with Air-Ink, a recycled ink made with air pollution particles such as the soot found in chimneys. Related: Lyft vows to help customers find electric vehicles with Green Mode In 2015, 175 countries signed onto the United Nation’s Paris Agreement, pledging to cut their carbon emissions. Big companies are also developing policies to reduce emissions, switch to renewable energy or engage in cap and trade programs. Citizens around the world are increasingly aware of the impacts of climate change and are making greener choices in their every day lives, such as reducing their plastic use. However, as Doctonomy mentions,  money is our most “powerful tool to tackle climate change in our daily action.” Through the launch of this card, the “banking with a conscience” company set out to reduce unsustainable consumption, cut carbon emissions and compensate for unavoidable emissions. “People are also thinking about the environment in their daily lives, including making more informed decisions about what they buy. That’s why we are pleased to welcome this initiative being undertaken by Doconomy,” said UN Climate Change executive secretary, Patricia Espinosa. Cardholders also have the opportunity to donate directly to the United Nation’s certified green projects , such as replacing traditional wood stoves with fuel efficient stoves in Malawi, or building wind farms in India. Card holders also receive credits for making “ environmentally-friendly ” purchases with participating stores. + Doconomy Via Dezeen Image via Mynewsdesk

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New credit card limits spending based on carbon emissions

How IKEA plans to deliver its goods via electric trucks & vans

March 29, 2019 by  
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The Swedish retailer already has accomplished an electric vehicle last mile goal in Shanghai.

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How IKEA plans to deliver its goods via electric trucks & vans

How IKEA plans to deliver its goods via electric trucks and vans

March 29, 2019 by  
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The Swedish retailer already has accomplished an electric vehicle last mile goal in Shanghai.

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How IKEA plans to deliver its goods via electric trucks and vans

Baux unveils sustainable acoustic panels made out of chemical-free pulp

February 22, 2019 by  
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Acoustic products manufacturer  Baux has just unveiled a truly innovative design for some stylish, plant-based acoustic panels. Made out of chemical-free pulp material sourced from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees, the decorative Baux Acoustic Pulp panels can be used to soundproof various environments such as homes, restaurants office spaces, classrooms and more. Launched during this year’s Stockholm Design Week, the eco-friendly Baux Acoustic Pulp panels were made possible through a collaboration between Baux, Swedish industrial design studio  Form Us With Love and scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). The revolutionary design was based on more than 25 years of research, utilizing state-of-the art technology while keeping material usage to a minimum. Related: Beautiful sound-absorbing EchoPanels are made from recycled plastic bottles The panels are made through a complex process that is similar to making paper. The process begins with wood from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees. Cellulosic fibers from the wood are broken down into a liquid cellulose to form a chemical-free pulp. The material is then modified to be fire- and water-repellent. The result is an extremely resilient material that is durable and suitable for any number of environments. But not all of its design is practical functionality; the panels are also quite decorative. At the end of its manufacturing process, the pulp is colored with non-genetically modified wheat bran, giving the panels a pleasant neutral and natural hue that is suitable for almost any interior design scheme. Currently, the panels come in three patterns: Sense, Pulse, and Energy, which are all cut using advanced laser-cutting technology. The company is reportedly planning to experiment with other natural dyes such as lingonberries, blueberries and beetroot. According to Baux CEO Fredrik Franzon, the innovative design of the eco-friendly panels is completely in line with the company’s commitment to creating building materials that are “sustainable, surprisingly functional and remarkably beautiful.” “In the face of climate change , environmental pollution and excessive consumerism, we as an industry can no longer afford to ignore the part we play,” Franzon explained. “Designing and prototyping for the future is not enough. We need to create a sustainable future today. The Acoustic Pulp sound absorbing panel is the result of our deep commitment to this vision.” + Baux + Form Us With Love Via Dezeen Images via Baux

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Baux unveils sustainable acoustic panels made out of chemical-free pulp

Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down

February 22, 2019 by  
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From its natural ingredients to its carbon-neutral operations and its eco-friendly packaging, you’re going to want to lather up with Lather. First spied by Inhabitat at this year’s Indie Beauty Expo, Lather’s long line of sustainable skincare products have made themselves a new home in our medicine cabinets. Founded in 1999, Lather was started by Emilie Hoyt after she battled with migraines — which were partially caused by the harmful ingredients found in conventional skincare and cosmetics. Hoyt is an “explorer at heart” with a deep appreciation for nature, so she drew upon this passion when creating a wellness brand that emphasizes natural ingredients while also keeping the planet in mind at every stage of production. Related: These are our favorite beauty retailers from the Indie Beauty Expo In addition to using ingredients straight from nature, Lather does not test on animals, nor does it work with manufacturers that do. Furthering its commitment to sustainability, Lather is a carbon-neutral company that uses EcoPure, recycled materials and soy-based inks in all of its packaging. As if that wasn’t enough to love, Lather also supports eco-focused charities such as the Baobab Guardians Program, which “employs and empowers women and works hard to ensure the survival of the oldest trees on Earth.” It’s hard to narrow down the products to our favorites, but we must say that the bamboo lemongrass body scrub is one of the most popular Lather products for good reason. The scrub has become an essential part of our showering routine — the scrub suds up to cleanse you while also gently exfoliating skin and emitting a really pleasant, natural fragrance. Follow this up with the matching body lotion for a refreshing scent that invigorates you and a moisturizer that leaves your freshly exfoliated skin at its softest. Along the lines of keeping your skin happy and hydrated, we recommend keeping Lather’s Hand Therapy with you at all times. This restorative lotion is made with shea, oats and olive. The scent is earthy in a pleasant way, and the cream helps relieve cracked hands and dry cuticles. Lather also offers a multitude of face cleansers that target various skin concerns, from dryness to oily textures and sensitivity to blemishes. There are also different formulas, such as gels, creams, oils, and soap bars. We tested the Ultra Mild Face Wash. It’s a powerful cleanser that removes makeup with ease without leaving skin feeling dry or tight. We weren’t in love with the smell, but we didn’t hate it, either. We followed this face wash with the Ultra Light Face Lotion, which doesn’t have much of a scent to it. It was perfect for a daily moisturizer — hydrating enough to banish dryness, but light enough to wear all day without feeling heavy or greasy. Overall wellness is a prime factor behind all of Lather’s products, which is why the company developed a gel based pain reliever for muscle aches and pain. The gel provides temporary pain relief with formulated herbal extracts used by the native tribes of Northern Mexico. The gel is incredibly fast acting once its massaged onto joints or muscles and has a lingering cooling and heating effect that is felt almost instantly thanks to the menthol, camphor and capsaicin in the product. While the scent is powerful, it’s not overbearing and definitely worth it as this gel can quickly alleviate pain. We have made this our go-to pain relieving gel. While Lather is designed to enjoy at home as its own act of self care, the company’s passion for wellness extends in-store, too. From free Pamper Parties for groups to indulge in an afternoon of natural  skincare to relaxation stations with cozy seating and “5-minute stories” from a machine that offers short stories for guests to read, Lather encourages clients to take a moment to breathe and enjoy each passing moment. The brand’s ethos to care about yourself and the environment is evident through and through. + Lather Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Lather. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down

Saving the environment one hair wash at a time

February 22, 2019 by  
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In the ongoing dialogue surrounding water consumption and saving water, the length of your shower, how you water your yard and even your toothbrush usage probably come up. But there is another water-thirsty activity that should be added to the discussion — hair washing. Think about it. Daily shampooing by billions of people is destined to strain resources. So taking a moment to consider the ways you can cut back on the suds, the water and the money going down the drain can be the best way to help the environment. Frequency Your hairdresser recommends washing your hair twice daily, often followed by using a conditioner. Between the energy and water consumed, that’s a big hair care footprint. In addition to shorter showers, consider cutting back the frequency of your hair washing to every other day or even a few times each week. Dry shampoo and leave-in conditioner can help provide the look and feel you’re used to in between washings. Specially formulated to omit the use of water altogether, dry shampoo is a quick and easy way to get out the door faster without wasting time and water in the shower. Leave-in conditioner can keep the frizzies at bay with a expedited and no-water-required application. Hot water reduction Heating water is a major household expense and we’re often paying for a service we don’t need, such as washing clothes in hot water that will be just as clean in a cold wash. When it comes to hair washing, consider turning down the heat a bit in favor of cost savings. Of course, slashing your time in the shower will not only save on water-heating costs, but water consumption costs as well. Even better than turning the shower down is turning it off in between wetting your hair and rinsing out the shampoo. For greater results, adopt a less rigid hair-washing schedule altogether. Related: Compensation for conservation: water markets are economists’ answer to scarcity Product consumption While we’re on the conversation of conservation , give a little thought to the amount of hair products you’re using as well. Try cutting back on the amount you apply, since most people use a much larger amount than they need. This not only helps minimize the shampoo that heads down the drain, but offers cost savings too. Water conservation If you’re already cutting back on shower time, think of other ways you can conserve the water you use in your shower. After all, you wouldn’t be the first person to collect your sudsy runoff in a bucket as you bathe. As long as your hair products are earth friendly, the water you collect can be used to water plants , wash animals or irrigate the lawn. Also look into low-flow shower heads that either restrict the flow of water coming out or force air through the shower head so it feels like you’re getting a full stream with only half the water usage. While we’re on the topic of showers, they are almost always a better choice for the planet than baths. An average 10-minute shower uses around 20-25 gallons while a bath averages 35-50 gallons. Outside the home While your morning ritual is likely the culprit for most of your excess hair-washing water consumption, also implement a plan for when you are away from home. Conserving water at the hotel or the gym is still saving water, so keep it up when you’re out. Also, start a dialogue with your hairdresser who’s likely had the conversation before. Ask what he or she is doing to minimize water consumption and resources (think about how many heads get washed each day.) Yes, it might feel like you’re breaking some sort of code to head to the stylist without washing first, but if they are going to do it anyway, there’s no reason to wash twice. Alternately, wash at home and ask them to wet with a spray bottle instead of a full wash during your cut. Types of hair products More and more products are finding their way into the market that aim to satisfy the growing consumer desire for no-water, all-natural solutions to hair care. Remember that all those suds head straight down the drain and into the local water system, so choose non-toxic shampoos and conditioners that are biodegradable. Do it for the fishies and for the purity of the water your family drinks. While biodegradable products are better for the environment , remember that they are also better for you. Your scalp is skin, after all, and skin is the biggest organ in your body. With a high absorption rate, your skin takes in all kinds of chemicals and toxins in daily life. Don’t let your hair products be one of them. In addition to the ingredient list, look at the packaging of your shampoo and conditioner. Use an all-in-one product instead of separate ones to automatically cut plastic waste in half. Better yet, find a refillable option for serious waste-reduction points. There are a host of alternate products that can also aid in the clean-hair goal both in and out of the shower. Many people find success with natural products like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and clay. Baby powder can also work as a dry shampoo in a pinch. Images via Shutterstock

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Henning Larsens energy-efficient Kiruna Town Hall opens to the public

November 30, 2018 by  
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The northern Swedish town of Kiruna, that’s famously uprooting itself, has just inaugurated its new town hall — Kristallen, dubbed The Crystal — in the relocated city center three kilometers to the east. Designed by Danish architecture firm Henning Larsen , The Crystal is an energy-efficient homage to Kiruna’s existing town hall that was designed by the Swedish architect Arthur von Schamlensee. Conceived as the town’s “living room”, the circular building was built with recycled materials from the original structure, including the iconic 1958 bell tower and original door handles from the main entrance. Located nearly 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle , the Swedish town of Kiruna was founded atop the world’s largest iron ore mine, a site that provides 90 percent of Europe’s iron ore. However, a century of mining operations has destabilized the area, leading to rifts and sinkholes that have threatened to swallow the town. As a result, the state-owned mining firm Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara (LKAB) proposed demolishing the old town and relocating its estimated 18,000-person population to a new site three kilometers east. Henning Larsen, Temagruppen, WSP and UiWE won the competition to design the new town hall , called Kristallen (The Crystal), an important landmark located at the heart of new Kiruna. The building creates a distinction between the inner and outer volumes, each catering to its community and civic functions, respectively. The inner core of the community-oriented building offers public exhibition rooms, workshops and social common spaces. The outer volume includes staff offices for various municipality departments and is sheathed in a sleek circular glass and natural stone facade engineered to deflect winds and heavy snowdrifts. The angular forms seen on the exterior and interior of the building also reference the geometry of the iron minerals critical to the town’s identity. Related: Kjellander + Sjöberg designs a climate-optimized urban development in new Kiruna “The building we are opening today is not just exciting in form – It is also designed to meet high environmental standards. It is in other words a very modern city hall, which in the future will become a living room for Kiruna. It is a place for meetings, work, art and culture in equal measure,” said King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. + Henning Larsen Photography by Hufton + Crow via Henning Larsen

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