Biodegradable tableware made from wheat bran debuts at Toronto’s Green Living Show

March 25, 2019 by  
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This week, Toronto citizens learned that wheat bran is good for more than enhancing digestive regularity. An innovative Polish company displayed its disposable, biodegradable tableware made from unprocessed wheat bran at Toronto’s Green Living Show. While an ordinary disposable plastic plate could take 500 years to break down, Biotrem’s tableware biodegrades through composting within a single month. They’re made from compressed wheat bran, a by-product of the cereal milling process. Biotrem can make up to 10,000 biodegradable plates and bowls from one ton of wheat bran. Related: Shellworks upcycles leftover lobster shells into biodegradable bioplastics The wheat bran tableware can handle hot or cold food, liquid or solids and is microwave-safe. From picnic spots to barrooms, the new biodegradable cups and plates could decrease landfill -bound garbage. Wheat farmer and miller Jerzy Wysocki devised the process of turning wheat bran into plates. Every time he milled wheat, Wysocki found himself with excess wheat bran. Through trial and error, he discovered that mixing the bran with water, then heating and pressurizing it resulted in a sturdy material. He started what would grow into Biotrem with a single machine that he built on his farm . Biotrem’s production plant in Zambrow can currently produce about 15 million biodegradable bowls and plates per year. They also make disposable cutlery, which combines wheat bran with fully biodegradable PLA bio-plastic. So far, Biotrem products are available in a dozen European countries, the U.S., Canada, South Korea and Lebanon. Transform Events & Consulting, based in Charlottestown, Prince Edward Island, distributes Biotrem products to the Canadian market. The event company introduced more consumers to wheat bran plates at this month’s Green Living Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. “As event organizers, we see just how much plastic waste is generated at events of all kinds, especially festivals,” said Mark Carr-Rollitt, owner of Transform Events & Consulting. “We are thrilled to partner with Biotrem to offer a well-designed, viable alternative to single use plastics.” Via Biotrem Images Biotrem

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Biodegradable tableware made from wheat bran debuts at Toronto’s Green Living Show

COBE unveils LEED Gold-seeking affordable housing units in Toronto

March 11, 2019 by  
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Danish architectural firm COBE has unveiled a new mixed-use residential development in Toronto designed for LEED Gold certification. Created in collaboration with Toronto-based architectural firm architectsAlliance , the project will comprise three buildings — two designed by COBE — set in West Don Lands, a former industrial area on Toronto’s waterfront. The housing development will consist of 761 market rental apartments, including 30 percent affordable rental units indistinguishable in design from the others. Designed to celebrate the area’s different building typologies, the mixed-use residential buildings are made up of three architectural styles stacked one atop of another. The first layer at the street level will be a contemporary take on the redbrick warehouses found in the neighboring Distillery District; the middle layer is an interpretation of the Canary District warehouses north of the site; and the uppermost section is built of light concrete in reference to the existing industrial silos found on the harbor front. The resulting towers will be an “urban ensemble of unique structures,” the architects said. These three architecturally distinct layers are stacked and staggered to make way for large landscaped terraces to serve as shared outdoor amenity spaces, where residents can enjoy urban farming  and al fresco dining as well as landscape gardens, a playground and a pool area. This strong sense of community is strengthened in the center-most building containing additional amenities such as a cinema, fitness center, spa and music and childcare facilities; the other two buildings will also have local resident lounges and dining areas. Publicly accessible retail and restaurants will be located on the ground floor. Related: Former concrete factory is reborn as a unique music-inspired high school in Denmark “We want to create attractive homes that appeal to many different types of people,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE. “We have been working alongside the client team to develop a concept of radical mixed-use that provides all residents with a generous apartment, flooded with light through floor-to-ceiling windows  and access to attractive amenity spaces.” The project is expected to begin construction in mid-2019 with completion scheduled for early 2022. + COBE Images by COBE

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COBE unveils LEED Gold-seeking affordable housing units in Toronto

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

This modern vacation home embraces indoor-outdoor living in Ontario

May 25, 2018 by  
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The boundary between indoors and out are blurred to beautiful effect in the Bear Stand Residence, a family retreat located approximately three hours northeast of Toronto, Ontario. Designed by Bohlin Grauman Miller in association with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson , the 3,300-square-foot holiday home is wrapped in glazing and natural materials in order to feel like an airy extension of the surrounding forest. Sitting along the shores of Contau Lake, the Bear Stand serves as an escape from city life for residents Sharon Leece and Joe Migrath. The couple lives and work in Shanghai but sought a forested retreat that they could share with their young daughter as well as family and friends. When in Shanghai, the family also offers the house as a vacation rental. “We wanted to build a West Coast-style property, as we love the open, airy, inside-outside connectivity of the modernist design approach there,” Leece said. “We felt the land was the perfect place to envision an authentic cabin aesthetic, visually connected with the environment.” Before Bohlin Cywinski Jackson principal Robert Miller started the design process, he joined the clients in a multi-day camping trip on the property to get a feel of the land. The time he spent with the couple was critical to shaping the vision for the house, which is designed to embrace the surrounding lake and forest at every turn. Related: The net-zero Frick Environmental Center is officially one of the world’s greenest buildings In addition to the master suite, the Bear Stand can accommodate a minimum of 12 guests in three guest suites, a bunk room with four beds and a den. The two-story home is oriented on an east-west axis to parallel the lake and an adjacent granite rock-face that rises up to the south. A double-height living room and dining area forms the heart of the home, while nearly all of the bedrooms — save for one guest bedroom — are located upstairs. The material palette echoes the wooded environment, from the black fiber-cement panels and stained cedar siding to the indoor fir windows and walnut flooring. Large windows open the home up to the outdoors. The house also includes a private sauna, ofuro soaking tub, hot tub and a screened porch. The American Institute of Architects  recently recognized the home’s excellence with a 2018 Housing Award. + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Images by Nic Lehoux

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This modern vacation home embraces indoor-outdoor living in Ontario

Portable 3D skin printer can form skin tissue to heal deep wounds in minutes

May 3, 2018 by  
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Need medical assistance after a blaster fight on a spaceship? This new handheld, portable 3D printer could help. Scientists at the University of Toronto created the 3D skin printer that feels like it came straight from a science fiction movie. The device, according to the university , “forms tissue in situ, depositing and setting in place, within two minutes or less.” This new portable 3D skin printer looks like a white-out tape dispenser, in the description of the university, but instead of a tape roll, the printer includes “a microdevice that forms tissue sheets.” Bio ink comprised of protein-based biomaterials like collagen and fibrin runs along the tissue sheets in vertical stripes. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the dermis, and fibrin, another protein, is part of wound healing. Navid Hakimi, study lead author and PhD student, said in the statement, “Our skin printer promises to tailor tissues to specific patients and wound characteristics.” Related: New 3D-printed algae could revolutionize the way we make things Many current 3D bioprinters are “bulky, work at low speeds, are expensive, and are incompatible with clinical application,” according to associate professor Axel Guenther. In contrast, this handheld printer is about as big as a small shoe box and weighs under one kilogram. The university said the device “also requires minimal operator training and eliminates the washing and incubation stages required by many conventional bioprinters.” The journal Lab on a Chip published the research last month; researchers from the Ross Tilley Burn Center at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center contributed. The team’s work isn’t finished — they aim to add multiple capabilities to the skin printer such as “expanding the size of the coverable wound areas.” They’re also planning further in vivo studies with the Sunnybrook team, and are shooting for clinical trials in humans in the future. + University of Toronto + Lab on a Chip Images via Liz Do and courtesy of Navid Hakimi via GIPHY

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Portable 3D skin printer can form skin tissue to heal deep wounds in minutes

The world’s biggest Arctic lake isn’t as resistant to climate change as scientists thought

March 29, 2018 by  
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Scientists used to think Lake Hazen, located around 560 miles away from the North Pole in Canada , was beyond the reach of human impact. But new research led by geographer Igor Lehnherr of the University of Toronto Mississauga reveals the High Arctic lake is reacting to climate change . Lehnherr said in the university’s statement , “Even in a place so far north, it’s no longer cold enough to prevent the glaciers from shrinking. If this place is no longer conducive for glaciers to grow, there are not many other refuges left on the planet.” Lake Hazen park staff and visitors noticed the lake’s lack of ice in the summer; in the past, it was rare for the ice to melt completely during that time. Their reports sparked this new study, as did the realization that glaciers melted more in summer than they were growing in the winter, according to Lehnherr. Related: The melting Arctic is already changing the ocean’s circulation Scientists drew on research dating back to the 1950s for a study that is “the first to aggregate and analyze massive data sets on Lake Hazen,” according to the university. Lehnherr said on his website , the Environmental and Aquatic Biogeochemistry Laboratory , “What our study shows is that even in the High Arctic, warming is now occurring to such an extent that it is no longer cold enough for glaciers to grow, and lake ice to persist year-round.” Since Lake Hazen is so big, theoretically it should show more resilience to climate change compared to smaller bodies of water or ponds, Lehnherr said in the university’s statement. His website said he and his team had hypothesized Lake Hazen would be “relatively resilient to the impacts of Arctic warming” and the “finding that this was not the case is alarming.” Lehnherr said in the university’s statement, “If this lake is exhibiting signs of climate change, it really shows how pervasive these changes are.” The journal Nature Communications published the research online this week; scientists from institutions in Canada, the United States, and Austria also contributed. + University of Toronto Mississauga + Environmental and Aquatic Biogeochemistry Laboratory + Nature Communications Images via Pieter Aukes and Igor Lehnherr

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The world’s biggest Arctic lake isn’t as resistant to climate change as scientists thought

10 things you need to know about living in the 2018 Airstream Globetrotter travel trailer

March 29, 2018 by  
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Have you ever dreamed of packing your bags and hitting the road on an Airstream adventure? You’re not alone. The Airstream is a modern marvel that promises freedom, comfort and self-sufficiency – and it has captured the hearts of dreamers, explorers, and design-savvy travelers for decades. We recently had the chance to take a brand new 2018 Airstream Globetrotter for a trip along the rugged coastline of California – read on for 10 things we learned on the way. 1. Don’t fear the tow Prior to this trip, I had never towed a vehicle before – so the prospect of flying down the freeway with a 3-ton, $100,000 aluminum bubble made me just a little nervous. Still, I found myself at Bay Area Airstream Adventures with a media loan* for a 2018 Globetrotter and a Nissan Titan. Their knowledgeable, friendly team taught me everything I needed to know, sat me in the driver’s seat, and I hit the road just in time for rush hour. Despite the traffic, the trip went smoothly. The Nissan Titan has plenty of power, and the Airstream team coached me to make slow starts, gradual stops, and “unapologetically wide right turns.” Once I made it through San Francisco and hit the Pacific Coast Highway, the rest of the drive was a breeze. 2. The world is your oyster The Globetrotter can adapt to pretty much any environment – but when it came time to select a campsite, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Costanoa KOA is an eco-adventure resort set amidst one of the most scenic stretches of California’s coastline. Located about an hour south of San Francisco, Costanoa is the perfect home base for exploring the region’s rocky coastline, lush green hills, and prime surf breaks. Elephant seals populate Año Nuevo State Park to the south, while the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse lies just a few miles to the north. The campground has the feel of a cozy coastal village with communal fireplaces, wooden lodges, a restaurant and a general store. It also offers full RV hookups and it’s great for kids, with activities ranging from nature hikes and whale watching to falconry presentations and photography tours. 3. It has all the comforts of home This isn’t your grandfather’s airstream . The wood-heavy interiors of yesteryear have evolved into a light, bright space lined with skylights and panoramic windows. The Globetrotter packs pretty much every amenity you could want – including air conditioning, heating, a full kitchen, a microwave, a refrigerator, a Polk sound system, and two TVs with satellite cable. 4. Bring your friends Thanks to some seriously impressive interior design, the Globetrotter is able to sleep six people. The master bedroom holds a queen-size mattress, another bed slides out from the sofa, and the dining table lowers and locks to create an additional sleeping platform. There’s plenty of room to comfortably lounge and sleep with four people, although I can imagine the quarters get pretty close at full capacity. 5. Smart storage saves the day Organization is the key to living in a tiny home – and Airstream packed clever space-saving features into every nook and cranny of the Globetrotter. Eye-level cabinets are lined with lights and mirrors so that you can easily find what you’re looking for. Additional storage can be found beneath the banquette seating, within the wardrobe, under the sink, and even below the queen bed, which conveniently lifts upwards. 6. It’s chef approved Despite its small size, the Globetrotter’s kitchen can make short work out of even complicated multi-course meals. The oven is topped with three gas burners, and a microwave slides stealthily out of a side cabinet. A full sink makes cleanup a snap, and it can be covered up with Corian insets to create additional counter space. It’s crab season in California, so we whipped up a seafood feast with a pasta course and a blood orange salad. 7. It’s off-grid ready Thanks to smart systems design, the Globetrotter is equally adept at plugging into the grid or ‘boondocking’ in the middle of nowhere. It can tap into district water at a campsite, or you can draw upon its 39-gallon freshwater tank. Heating is provided by an electric heat pump or a propane furnace. The refrigerator can run on electricity or gas, and the roof comes ready to accept a solar array. These systems maximize the trailer’s flexibility and comfort in a wide range of environments and conditions. 8. But there’s definitely a learning curve It takes knowledge and experience to maximize your efficiency – especially if you’re camping off-grid. Knowing which systems to activate at what time can spell the difference between a comfortable stay and a dead battery. Fortunately, there are lots of resources available online to help light the way. 9. Get ready to measure your footprint With all the luxuries that the Globetrotter provides, it’s easy to forget that you’re working with certain constraints. A handy panel keeps the score, measuring the Globetrotter’s battery charge and fresh water levels (critical when boondocking) as well as how much room is left in the gray and black water tanks. Having access to this information really makes you consider the resources you use – and the waste you produce. 10. It’s built for the long haul The Globetrotter appeals to a certain kind of traveler. It takes some effort and knowledge to get it to its location, set it up, and operate it efficiently, so it’s not as quick or easy as tent camping. But it’s definitely more comfortable, durable, and versatile – and with the right setup and practices, it can serve as a cozy, stylish, and modern home on wheels practically indefinitely. + 2018 Airstream Globetrotter + Bay Area Airstream Adventures + Costanoa KOA Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat Full disclosure: Airstream and Nissan Titan loan provided by Bay Area Airstream Adventures and JMPR Public Relations . Costanoa KOA reservation provided by Allison + Partners

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10 things you need to know about living in the 2018 Airstream Globetrotter travel trailer

Conservationists sound the alarm to address ‘America’s wildlife crisis’

March 29, 2018 by  
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A coalition of conservationist groups have called for urgent action to address the drastic decline in American wildlife . According to the groups’ recently released report, one in three animal species in the United States is vulnerable to extinction, while one in five face a severe threat amid a serious decline in American biodiversity. “Fish, birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates are all losing ground,” Collin O’Mara, chief executive of the National Wildlife Federation, told the Guardian . “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to prevent these species from vanishing from the earth.” Over 1,270 species native to the United States are listed as at-risk under the Endangered Species Act, which include such iconic creatures as the grizzly bear and the California condor. In their recent report, the National Wildlife Federation, American Fisheries Society and the Wildlife Society argued that the actual number of at-risk species is significantly higher. The difference in numbers is accounted for by the data source. While federal authorities document species on a case-by-case basis, the report relies on data from  NatureServe , which determines the health of any particular species on a sliding scale. Related: Spending bill would open the world’s largest intact temperate forest to logging Some kinds of animals have fared worse than others. 40% of all freshwater fish in the United States are now endangered or at-risk while amphibian populations shrink within their known territory by 4% each year. “This loss of wildlife has been sneaking up on us but is now like a big tsunami that is going to hit us,” Thomas Lovejoy, a biologist at George Mason University who advised the report, told the Guardian . Species decline can be attributed to a variety of factors, including habitat loss, increased spread of disease, climate change , and pesticide use. The report emphasizes the need for a federal response to deal with this crisis, citing successful examples of species recovery efforts throughout the United States. This increased threat to biodiversity is not unique to the United States. “ Extinctions are ramping up, and if that continues it will be one for the history books for the whole planet,” environmental scientist Erle Ellis told the Guardian . The world is getting very humanized and I’m very concerned about the cost to biodiversity . It’s a challenge that will face us throughout this century and beyond.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Conservationists sound the alarm to address ‘America’s wildlife crisis’

Perkins+Will designs LEED Gold-seeking academic building for York University

March 21, 2018 by  
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Perkins+Will has won a design competition for the Toronto’s York University School of Continuing Studies, an eye-catching building that will target impressive eco-credentials. The design, which beat out a shortlist of seven proposals, is expected to meet a minimum certification of LEED Gold with potential for net-zero energy and net-zero carbon. The $50.5 million School of Continuing Studies will break ground in 2019 on York University’s Keele campus. Proposed for a corner lot near the new York University TTC subway station, the 9,000-square-meter School of Continuing Studies will include 39 classrooms, student lounges, workspaces , and staff rooms. The dramatic building twists into a sharply angled geometric form informed by the campus public realm, existing circulation patterns, and solar studies. Solar panels integrated into the prismatic facade are placed for optimized solar orientation. Related: Perkins + Will’s KTTC building blends beauty and sustainability in Ontario “The design balances the needs of the school itself, the larger campus , and the planet, setting a new standard for sustainability, design excellence, and student experience on Canadian campuses,” wrote Perkins+Will. Abundant natural lighting, glazing, and an emphasis on transparency throughout the building will help encourage students to interact. The building envelope is expected to meet Passive House standards with the goal of reducing embodied carbon and improving occupant health. + Perkins+Will Images via Perkins+Will

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Perkins+Will designs LEED Gold-seeking academic building for York University

Beautiful cedar-clad Bridge House crosses a ravine in Ontario

February 27, 2018 by  
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This elegant  timber house bridges a ravine near the shores of Mary Lake in Port Sydney, Ontario. Architecture firm LLAMA urban design created the inspiring home to have minimal impact on the landscape and to celebrate the beauty of the surrounding environment. The house is located two hours north of Toronto , and it sits across the steepest part of a wide ravine. Its overall length – 124 feet – creates a strong linear gesture that allows the residents to immerse themselves in the surrounding landscape. The home is held aloft by an inverted V–shaped glulam structure, and the architects used locally sourced wood and unstained cedar siding for the exterior cladding. Related: This Iowa home built across a ravine is heated and cooled by the earth The main façade of the house faces the lake and creates a feeling of being among treetops. The second façade faces the forest and features expansive transparent surfaces. An inverted V–shaped Glulam structure holds up the house and connects the interior social area with the roof deck. + LLAMA urban design Via Archdaily Photos by A-Frame studio/ Ben Rahn

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