Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

July 14, 2017 by  
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The Bluebonnet Studios social housing development in Austin supports a healthy lifestyle through the design. The property, designed by Forge Craft Architecture + Design , provides housing for the homeless, low-income veterans and local musicians. It features forward-thinking sustainable elements such as recycled and locally-sourced materials, a well insulated envelope, optimal orientation, low-flow fixtures and occupancy sensors. The architects worked with a difficult site and a very tight budget, which required a close collaboration between the design, construction, and ownership teams, as well as help of sustainability experts like Pliny Fisk and Jason McLennan . An important aspect of the design was access to natural light , which the team provided by creating a light well that runs through the center of the building. This emphasis on daylight also allows for most of the building to be functional without artificial light in the event of a power outage – including all circulation. Heating and cooling are provided by centralized LG VRF units tied to individual apartment thermostats. Each thermostat is coupled to both window sensors and door-triggered occupancy sensors . All the interior finishes and products were regionally sourced, recycled and healthy. On top of the building, a green space allows for outdoor activities. Related: Top 6 Green Supportive and Low-Income Housing Projects Of the 107 single-occupancy units, 22 are reserved for the area’s homeless and low-income veterans, while five are dedicated to local musicians. Each resident received a small package of tools, including a recycling bin, recycling magnet, green cleaning recipes, and recommendations for conservative thermostat settings to help residents keep their homes green. Additionally, a green housekeeping program provides a dispensing station with Green Seal certified cleaning chemicals for maintenance staff and janitorial contractors. + Forge Craft Architecture + Design Photos by Paul Bardagjy

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Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

This Texas supermarket is growing its own veggies in a shipping container farm

May 25, 2017 by  
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A Texas chain of supermarkets isn’t just in the business of selling vegetables; it’s growing them, too. Based in Dallas, the H-E-B -owned Central Market has joined forces with Controlled Environment Agriculture Advisors , a self-described “horticulture disrupting” firm, to raise some of its produce in a custom-built onsite shipping container—a first for an American food retailer. The 53-foot-long “Growtainer” features 480 square feet of climate-controlled and food-compliant vertical space designed to achieve a higher yield in a shorter time than conventional methods, according to GreenTech Agro, the system’s manufacturer. Related: Belgian supermarket unveils plan to sell food grown on their own rooftop garden “We spent over a year discussing [Central Market’s] concerns and objectives, and when I was sure we were all on the same page, we began the design and manufacturing process,” said Glenn Behrman, founder of GreenTech Agro and CEA Advisors, in a statement. The miniature farm comes with a modular, self-contained series of LED-lit aluminum “ GrowRacks ” that supports any number of cultivation levels. Related: Pop-up shipping container farm puts a full acre of lettuce in your backyard It also offers an intelligent water-monitoring system, as well a zoned irrigation system that meets the needs of different varieties of produce at different stages of growth. The Growtainer is part of Central Market’s efforts to “produce the freshest, unique, gourmet leafy greens and herbs for Central Market customers at the retail level,” the supermarket said. The hyper-local vegetables are marketed under the label “Store-Grown Produce.” Related: Freight Farms are super efficient hydroponic farms built inside shipping containers “CEA Advisors is proud to be working with the Produce Team at Central Market, all committed to innovation and focused on food safety, unique products, and the customer experience,” Behrman added. + Central Market + Growtainer Via AndNowUKnow

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This Texas supermarket is growing its own veggies in a shipping container farm

8 tiny folklore-inspired cabins pop up in the Welsh countryside

May 25, 2017 by  
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Eight spectacular tiny homes inspired by local folklore and traditions are waiting for you in the Welsh countryside. The pop-up cabins represent the winning designs of the Epic Retreats competition, which invited architects and designers to create glamping-style tiny homes based on local Welsh traditions. The results include a huge stovepipe hat cabin, a dragon-inspired retreat, a mini observatory, and a tiny space inspired by traditional mining sheds that are available for a luxury off-grid adventure. As part of the competition rules, each cabin design had to be built for less than £11,000 (approx $14,000). Additionally, the competition, which was a collaboration between Best of Wales , Cambria Tours , and George + Tomos Architects , required that the cabins be geared towards the glamping trend, meaning that they had to include basic vacation home features. All of the eight winning designs include a double, king-size or circular bed, a living area with a wood-burning stove and hob, as well as an en-suite bathroom. Related: Luxury off-grid Autonomous Tents can pop up almost anywhere in the world As part of the fun event, 200 lucky guests will be staying at the cabins this summer. “The unique cabins, complemented by our country’s stunning landscape, make for an unbeatable experience,” said Llion Pughe, one of the two founders of the project. “We look forward to welcoming our first guests this summer, who will get to see Wales in a completely unique setting.” Recently unveiled in the picturesque rolling green hills of the Wales countryside, the cabins will be moved between two locations this summer. The event, which coincides with the Wales’ Year of Legends , a year-long tribute to the country’s many mythologies, will exhibit the cabins in southern Snowdonia for the month of June, and afterwards, they will be moved to Ll?n Peninsula from mid-July until mid-September. + Epic Retreats Via Dezeen

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Uber inks deal to demonstrate on-demand flying taxis at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai

April 26, 2017 by  
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Getting from point A to point B in a car traveling on the ground is so 2017. Instead, Uber is working on a future where people will zip across cities in the sky. The company plans to test their on-demand flying car service, called Uber Elevate, in Dallas and Dubai by 2020. Uber wants customers to be able to press a button and summon a high-speed flying vehicle to transport them around a city through a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) network. They claim their zero-emissions vehicles will be electric and quiet, taking off and landing vertically – like a helicopter . Uber is developing the vehicles with five partners , including aviation companies like Bell Helicopter and Embraer . Related: Uber is working on flying electric cars to disrupt transportation again And they’ve already got a few cities on board. Uber has an agreement with Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, including a joint study into pricing, routes, and people movement. Uber aims to launch an Uber Elevate Network demonstration at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. They also aim to initiate a pilot program in Dallas the same year before full-scale operations in Texas in 2023. Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said, “What started as a simple question: ‘Why can’t I push a button and get a ride?’ has turned, for Uber, into a passionate pursuit of the pinnacle of urban mobility – the reduction of congestion and pollution from transportation, giving people their time back, freeing up real estate dedicated to parking and providing access to mobility in all corners of a city.” The BBC noted the technology isn’t proven yet, but Uber thinks their flying car service could cost around the same as their car transportation system. Regulation and safety are two other major hurdles Uber must leap before their technology can take to the skies. Via the BBC and Phys.org Images via Uber ( 1 , 2 )

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Uber inks deal to demonstrate on-demand flying taxis at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai

Wind energy goes big in Texas

April 4, 2017 by  
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Renewable wind energy is responsible for over 22,000 jobs, $60 million in land lease payments and more than 12 percent of electricity in Texas.

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Wind energy goes big in Texas

How electric cars could save Australia’s grid

April 4, 2017 by  
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Just think of them as batteries you drive, ones that could help balance supply and provide energy during peak demand periods.

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How electric cars could save Australia’s grid

Incredibly preserved 1950s Time Capsule House in Dallas could be yours

September 29, 2016 by  
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Originally designed by renowned architect Gordon Nichols in 1954 and restored by its current owner, graphic designer Carlos Cardoza in 1994, the four-bedroom house features an open-plan layout , original cabinetry, a retro swimming pool and vaulted ceilings. Related: Award-winning renovation slashes mid-century home’s carbon footprint by 80% It is located at 11016 Pinocchio Drive, one among several roads in Dallas named after Disney characters and part of a post-war development project built in the 1950s by the National Association of Home Builders. Cardoza restored the house and embraced bubblegum colors, sci-fi shapes and technicolor textiles as some of the trademarks of the era. Thanks to his efforts, the house looks as if it hasn’t aged a day. Via My Modern Met Photos via Virginia Cook Realtors

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Incredibly preserved 1950s Time Capsule House in Dallas could be yours

Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia

September 29, 2016 by  
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Research on chimpanzees , the great ape thought to be most closely related to humans, is at last coming to an end. Last summer the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared captive chimpanzees endangered, which effectively made most chimpanzee research illegal. Now nine chimpanzees have moved from a Louisiana lab to a Georgia mountain sanctuary . Hundreds more are set to follow, and the sanctuary needs your help. Samira, Buttercup, Latricia, Charisse, Jennifer, Emma, Gracie, Gertrude, and Genesis were born at a lab. The New Iberia Research Center used these animals for medical testing for around ten years. Now they’ve been set free, and have been placed in a new home at Project Chimps . Related: NIH promises to retire remaining research chimps Tucked into the Georgia mountains, Project Chimps is a 236-acre sanctuary. Chimpanzees who live there will reside in groups, and be able to play with toys and puzzles. The chimpanzee sanctuary offers indoor cooled and heated spaces for the animals and ” acres of outdoor space ” so the chimps can explore and climb trees. There’s even a “water feature” meant to imitate streams chimpanzees would experience in Africa. Right now the sanctuary has room for 80 chimpanzees. But with over 200 more on the way, Project Chimps will be expanding to include room for 300 chimps. To accomplish this exciting feat, they could use the help of supporters. Caring for each chimp costs the sanctuary around $20,000 every year. If you want to help Project Chimps, you can donate money on their website. The sanctuary also has an Amazon Wish List if you’d like to know exactly what you’re giving to the chimpanzees and staff. You can also donate money specifically to help the sanctuary move the chimps the 16-hour drive from the lab to the sanctuary. For $200, you can send the sanctuary a picture or letter they’ll put in the transport trailer to give the chimpanzees ” something interesting to look at during their trip .” + Project Chimps Via The Christian Science Monitor Images via Project Chimps Facebook and Pixabay

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Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia

Artificial surfing parks expected to flood the world ahead of 2020 Olympic Games

September 6, 2016 by  
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Since the announcement of surfing being added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games , surf parks are expected to become a growing attraction , riding the sport’s rising wave of popularity. Encouraging newbies to learn how to surf on artificial waves is similar to using manmade or maintained snowboarding and skiing slopes. And the technology just keeps getting better. Surfing is a skill which takes years to master. And not everyone has access to the ocean to practice their craft. Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association , told The New York Times , “If you’re in the ocean for an hour, and you get six, seven waves, you’re very lucky. Learning to surf is like learning to play the guitar when you can only strum once every 30 seconds.” Related: $8M artificial floating surf park proposed for Melbourne’s waterfront Surf parks are not a new invention, but the technology behind creating the perfect waves continues to improve. Doug Coors, developer of the NLand Surf Park in Austin, Texas, told the New York Times his park utilizes a hydrofoil to make waves, a large blade that cuts through the water. He calls it “a chairlift motor with a snowplow on it.” The water is sourced from a rain catchment and filtration system, and the system overall is less energy-intensive than previous generations of wave-makers. As technology improves, companies are finding ways to fit attractions into smaller spaces in cities all over the world, increasing accessibility and ramping up interest in the sport. Coors acknowledges some surfers may be excited about the expanding attractions, but others worry it will diminish the beauty of the sport. He says, “Surfing the way it is today is fantastic and I really don’t want to get in the way of that. The idea is to introduce more people and grow the sport, but do it in a responsible manner.” Head over to The New York Times for the full story. Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia

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Artificial surfing parks expected to flood the world ahead of 2020 Olympic Games

Obama expands Hawaii marine reserve to double the size of Texas

August 26, 2016 by  
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President Barack Obama will issue a proclamation to expand the existing Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument (PMNM), off the coast of Hawaii, to four times its current size . At 582,578 square miles (1.5m sq km), the new borders will make the protected area twice the size of Texas and the largest protected marine area in the world. The move is intended to protect animal and plant life as well as the world’s deepest and northernmost coral reefs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nlpDHSJ06o Hawaii’s governor David Ige requested the expansion of the marine reserve earlier this year in response to a community-driven effort to protect what has been called “one of the earth’s last best examples of a healthy marine ecosystem.” Enlarging the already protected area will provide further safeguards for the biodiverse region, parts of which have been designated as a marine reserve for decades. PMNM was originally established in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument , and the name was updated the following year. Related: Chile is creating the largest protected marine park in the Americas Initially, the protected area covered 140,000 square miles, including 10 islands and atolls that are home to 7,000 species. Among the ocean creatures living in the protected area are green sea turtles, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, Laysan and Nihoa finches, the Nihoa millerbird, Laysan duck, seabirds such as the Laysan albatross, as well as numerous species of plants and arthropods. Obama has made marine protections something of a priority during his tenure. In 2014, he ordered the expansion of another South Pacific Ocean marine reserve . Since marine reserves close even more ocean territory to commercial fishing, industry leaders are criticizing the decision, claiming political motivations are trumping scientific findings. Obama will travel to Hawaii next week to mark the proclamation ordering PMNM’s expansion and highlight the importance of protecting the world’s oceans. Via The Guardian Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 )

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