Research center sits lightly near turtle nesting grounds in Australia

April 27, 2020 by  
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When architect Richard Kirk was tapped to lead the design for the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, he knew that his team at the international architecture firm KIRK would need to tread lightly. The project’s coastal site, located in Bargara, Queensland, is home to one of the most significant seasonal nesting grounds for the loggerhead turtle. To minimize landscape impact, the architects designed the center with a prefabricated glulam timber frame that is wrapped in low-maintenance copper and wood to visually blend the building into the surroundings. As one of Australia’s most important turtle nesting grounds, the Mon Repos beach and environs have been used as a key turtle research center for over 40 years. Starting in 2017, KIRK masterplanned the entire beachside in addition to the redevelopment of the Mon Repos Turtle Centre to fulfill the center’s two main roles: an interpretative center during the day and a briefing center at night during the turtle nesting season. As a result, the landscape needed to be reconfigured with a set of pathways and boardwalks to provide safe and non-intrusive access to the beach after dark. Related: Sea turtle rescue center mimics the natural ecosystems in Turkey The structure was also designed for minimal site impact . The center is constructed from prefabricated and locally sourced glulam timber. The external folded copper cladding was selected for its ability to withstand the corrosive sea air and seasonal cyclones for a lifespan of over 40 years. The copper as well as recycled tallowwood cladding and screens will develop a patina over time to blend in with the dune landscape. The building houses a large gathering area, an interpretative space with an immersive theater and research office spaces that all have access to natural ventilation and daylighting. “The superstructure is a 9.6m x 9.6m diagrid,” the architects explained. “This was found to be the most efficient structural design to reduce the overall material use and increase spans between glulam ‘tree’ columns. The diagrid also informed the plan shape, creating a multifaceted series of triangular folds for protected openings to limit light spill while enhancing the mystery of the arrival experience. The diagrid pattern is celebrated throughout the interior and implies the intricate patterns of the turtle carapace.” + KIRK Photography by Scott Burrows via KIRK

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Research center sits lightly near turtle nesting grounds in Australia

Modern farmhouse targets net-zero energy in Vermont

April 27, 2020 by  
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On a hillside meadow in rural Vermont, local architecture firm Birdseye has completed Bank Barn, a new residence that, from afar, might look like any another agricultural building. But it is actually a modern farmhouse strategically engineered to meet future net-zero energy targets. The architects drew inspiration from the regional farm structures built into the banks of hills to create the gabled dwelling, which is clad in weathered cedar and topped with a durable metal roof. An intensive energy consultation and modeling informed all parts of the design. The resulting project features an electricity-based energy system that is expected to achieve net-zero energy operations, pending a future 18 kW solar array. Set into a steep slope, the 4,566-square-foot Bank Barn comprises three levels with the lowest floor — containing the garage, pool room and support spaces — below grade and flanked by two 160-foot linear concrete retaining walls. The long walls support an extended plinth for the floor above that houses an open-plan living area, kitchen and dining room with access to the rear outdoor deck as well as a spacious office that looks out over a green roof atop the garage. A central, freestanding steel staircase leads up to the three en suite bedrooms located on the upper floor. Related: Sublime net-positive energy farmhouse pays homage to the local vernacular Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass surround the home, filling the interior with natural light and uninterrupted views of the outdoors. To keep the focus on the landscape, the architects used a subdued palette of exposed steel, plaster, concrete and wood for the minimalist and modern interiors. “Early in the design process, the house was modeled to assess the design in terms of energy efficiency , thermal comfort and visual comfort,” the architects explained. As a result, the home boasts an airtight envelope with thermally separated r-40 walls, an r-60 roof, closed-cell polyurethane foam cavities and triple-glazing throughout. The house draws power from geothermal heating and cooling through water-to-water and water-to-air systems as well as heat recovery ventilators. + Birdseye Photography by Jim Westphalen Photography via Birdseye

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Should you make sourdough starter?

April 27, 2020 by  
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Because the pandemic has ushered in a back-to-the-kitchen movement, social media is filled with gorgeous, professional-looking loaves of sourdough bread. Is it easy to make a sourdough starter? Should you jump on the sourdough bandwagon? Here’s what you need to know about making a sourdough starter. Initial reservations Making sourdough starter has one big advantage. It only requires two ingredients: flour and water. It’s like magic, how these two ingredients , plus time, can produce yeast. Really, it’s more like science. As it says on the King Arthur Flour website, “Wild yeast is in the air around us. It settles on kitchen work surfaces and in your ingredients, including flour. Add liquid to flour, and this wild yeast is activated and starts to produce carbon dioxide bubbles. This growing army of gas bubbles, effectively trapped by gluten within the dough, are what ultimately make sourdough bread rise.” Related: How to bake bread Together, the yeast and lactobacilli form a harmonious symbiotic relationship right on your countertop. Making your own yeast out of thin air is especially popular now, since the yeast supply chain has dried up as the pandemic turns us into a nation of home bakers. But as I read online guidance about how to create my starter, I had some reservations. First, I don’t have filtered water. I drink good ol’ Oregon tap water that has some small amount of chlorine , which isn’t good for sourdough starter. Second, my online sources advised keeping the starter at room temperature, which they claimed was 70 degrees. Not in my house, which currently ranges between the upper 50s and low 60s. My third reservation was that you must constantly “feed” the starter with flour, each time discarding much of the starter. In the name of science (and this article), I endeavored to persevere. The starter would just have to deal with my water. Next, the temperature. The King Arthur Flour website advised those living in cooler houses to “try setting the starter atop your water heater, refrigerator or another appliance that might generate ambient heat. Your turned-off oven — with the light turned on — is also a good choice.” It was just too creepy to put the starter on the water heater in my dungeon-like basement, and no way am I leaving my oven light on for a week. We’re also trying to conserve energy , here! So the fridge it was. Unfortunately, the top of my fridge doesn’t seem any warmer than the rest of the house. How to make your own sourdough starter The process for making sourdough starter is quite simple. It is also perfect for sheltering in place, because starter likes a regular schedule. Though I consulted many websites, I decided to go with King Arthur as my guru. It has a five-day program to turn your flour and water into sourdough starter. On day one, you combine one cup of pumpernickel or whole wheat flour with one-half cup water in a non-reactive container with at least one-quart capacity. This means crockery, glass, stainless steel or food-grade plastic. I used a blue plastic mixing bowl. Unfortunately, I only had all-purpose flour, so I used that. This isn’t the time to be running out to the shop for one ingredient, right? You mix your flour and water until you can’t see any flour. Use cool water if your house is warm or warm water if your house is cool. Cover loosely with a kitchen cloth and set the starter somewhere warm. On day two, discard half the starter (or save that for a recipe to reduce food waste). Add a cup of all-purpose flour and one-half cup of water to the remainder. Stir well, re-cover and return the starter to its warm spot. By day three, your starter is supposed to start bubbling and increasing in size. Its appetite soars, and it demands two flour feedings a day, spaced 12 hours apart. Each time you feed, you must reduce the starter to about one-half cup before adding the new flour and water. Sometime after day five, the starter is supposed to be very lively and will have doubled in size. “You’ll see lots of bubbles; there may be some little ‘rivulets’ on the surface, full of finer bubbles. Also, the starter should have a tangy aroma — pleasingly acidic, but not overpowering,” according to King Arthur. Now, your starter is ready to become sourdough bread. You’ll use some in the bread recipe and keep the rest in your fridge, where it needs to be fed once a week and used for future loaves. You might want to name your starter — it could be around for a long time. The famous Boudin Bakery in San Francisco is still using the yeast Isidore Boudin collected in 1849. Hardcore bread lover Seamus Blackley, with the help of an Egyptologist and a microbiologist, managed to collect 4,500-year-old yeast off ancient Egyptian pottery for his loaves. So treat your starter well. Cooking with sourdough starter discard What is the reality of joining this long line of sourdough bakers ? Is it as romantic as it sounds? You might spend a lot of time asking yourself if your sourdough is really bubbling yet, whether it’s supposed to smell this way and what on earth are you going to do with all the discarded starter, especially as you move onto feeding and discarding twice a day. Related: Bakers yeast and sourdough starter — it looks alive to me! The first day, I added some starter discard to a regular cornbread recipe, pretending it was just more flour. It was a little hard to stir in, but for the most part, it worked out okay. My most successful dish was vegan sourdough pancakes, which involved following this recipe from Food52 and stirring in a ripe banana. They tasted more like delicious flat donuts than pancakes. My low point came when I tried to fashion a flatbread out of starter. The stomachache-inducing flatbreads wouldn’t cook all the way through. As I made my fifth attempt, my back aching, smoke alarm screeching and my husband and quarantine-mate sniping at my starter — “That (bleep) is like (bleeping) glue!” — I realized it was not the lifestyle moment those Instagram bakers had promised. The main event: sourdough bread All this feeding the starter eventually leads to making delicious sourdough bread. Theoretically. “When your starter has doubled in size, you see bubbles breaking on the surface, and it feels somewhat elastic to the touch, it’s ready to bake with,” King Arthur explained. But woe to us in cold houses. As I read down to the comments section, another cool-home dweller said his took two weeks to bubble sufficiently! Meanwhile, my starter has eaten nearly all of my flour, so there won’t even be enough to bake a loaf with. At press time, I’m trying to decide between A) trying my luck with my prepubescent starter and remaining flour to make a mini loaf, B) aborting the mission and turning all the starter into pancakes or C) throwing it all in the compost . A more persistent soul could add option D) going to the store and buying more flour to see the process through. Another option? Try making a “mini starter” , which requires much less flour but also takes longer to yield enough discard to make anything. But let’s assume you’re in a warmer house and have a bubbly, delightful starter. Now you’re in for a long process of kneading, folding, autolyzing (letting your dough rest), watching like a hawk for sufficient rising and eventually baking a delicious loaf. Best of luck to you. Here’s the Clever Carrot’s guide to that multistep process. The verdict I was not sufficiently committed to sacrificing all my flour to the voracious starter, nor did I have the right container. I thought all those upright glass vessels that look like vases were just for show on social media. As it turns out, they help you watch the starter. Maybe mine doubled in size and dropped back down when I wasn’t looking. Who knows? It’s in an opaque bowl atop the fridge covered with a tea towel. This experiment will also tell you more about what kind of person you are, if you don’t already know. Good candidates for making starter include people who love being in the kitchen, who take pride in their cooking or who have kids at home that enjoy culinary science experiments. If you cannot commit to your sourdough starter, it could just lead to a lot of food waste . Some of us lack the patience and interest. For the last 15 years, whenever I wanted a quick bread fix, I’ve made baking powder biscuits from a recipe in PETA’s The Compassionate Cook. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. My slightly more ambitious bread-making friend swears by this no-knead bread recipe . These might be better options if you don’t feel confident in working on a sourdough starter. The biggest thing I learned from making my own starter is how lucky I am that Trader Joe’s sells sourdough loaves for $3.99. Even my neighborhood boutique bakery that charges $7 or $8 a loaf seems like a bargain now. If you’re like me, you can consider making sourdough starter an exercise in bread appreciation. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat, Tommaso Urli , Thomas Bock , Oscar S , Richard Klasovsky

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Sea Turtle Rescuers: Volunteers Patrol for Hatchlings Disoriented by Light Pollution

January 11, 2019 by  
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In the dark of night, teeny sea turtles emerge from … The post Sea Turtle Rescuers: Volunteers Patrol for Hatchlings Disoriented by Light Pollution appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Sea Turtle Rescuers: Volunteers Patrol for Hatchlings Disoriented by Light Pollution

Solar vs. Nuclear: Battle for the Best Carbon-Free Power

January 11, 2019 by  
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Sponsored Article: Brought to You by  EnergySage Over the last … The post Solar vs. Nuclear: Battle for the Best Carbon-Free Power appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Turtle hatchlings spotted on Mumbai beach for the first time in nearly 20 years

March 30, 2018 by  
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Plastic and trash used to pile five feet high in some spots on Versova Beach in Mumbai , India, but in 2015, local lawyer Afroz Shah launched what the United Nations described as the “world’s largest beach cleanup project” — and people recently spotted Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings there. The Independent and The Guardian said it’s the first time turtle hatchlings have been glimpsed on the beach in years. Week 127 . Fantastic news for Mumbai . We got back Olive Ridley Sea Turtle after 20 years. Historic moment Nested and Hatched at our beach. We facilitate their journey to ocean. Constant cleaning helps marine species. Marine conservation centre needed at @versovabeach pic.twitter.com/j79xCKamNh — Afroz Shah (@AfrozShah1) March 22, 2018 Around 80 to 90 turtle hatchlings recently crawled towards the sea at Versova, guarded by volunteers who The Guardian said slept in the sand to protect the baby turtles from birds of prey or dogs. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies Olive Ridley turtles as vulnerable , and they may not have been born at this Mumbai beach for almost two decades. Related: Tiny treadmills for turtle hatchlings help scientists evaluate their stamina Scientist Sumedha Korgaonkar, who’s finishing a PhD on Olive Ridley turtles, told The Guardian it is possible small amounts of the animals nested on the beach in the past; she can’t be sure because “regular patrolling for turtle nests is not done in Mumbai.” However, she added, “Beach cleanups definitely have a positive effect on nesting turtles.” Yes yes .. We did it .. Thank you Afroz . Here is the journey . lovely Mumbaikars . we did . Urban cities getting our olive Ridley turtle back . pic.twitter.com/vg4ZJe5cTk — Clean Up Versova (@versovabeach) March 22, 2018 Shah has been leading volunteers to clean up the 5,000 tons of trash at Versova for more than two years. Around 55,000 people reside near the beach, and Shah started by offering to clean up communal toilets and picking up waste on his own. He told The Guardian, “For the first six to eight weeks, nobody joined. Then two men approached me and said, very politely, ‘Please sir, can we wear your gloves?’ Both of them just came and joined me. That’s when I knew it was going to be a success.” Shah’s effort flourished into a national movement; everyone from slum dwellers to politicians to school children to celebrities has joined in. UN Environment head Erik Solheim said in a 2017 press release , “What Afroz Shah has achieved on Versova beach is nothing short of remarkable. These 100 weeks of hard work and determination by Afroz and countless volunteers goes way beyond dealing with a local crisis. This has inspired what is becoming a nationwide and global movement to turn the tide on plastic and waste.” Via The Independent , The Guardian , and UN Environment Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Hundreds of sea turtles found dead near El Salvador

November 9, 2017 by  
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Why did hundreds of sea turtles perish near El Salvador ? The country’s ministry of environment and natural resources found 300-400 dead turtles in Jiquilisco Bay, so they took samples to try and determine why the animals died. National Geographic floated fishing and algal blooms as two reasons for the sea turtle die-offs. Around 300 to 400 sea turtles died near El Salvador, according to MARN . Locals began seeing the turtles the end of October; MARN announced the die-off on Twitter in early November. Several turtle species reside in the area, but so far it looks like ridleys have been the species most hit. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies ridleys as vulnerable. Related: Unusually high number of humpback whale deaths prompts NOAA inquiry A red tide , or harmful algal bloom, led to turtle deaths in El Salvador in 2006 and 2013. Turtles can die after ingesting the blooms. But it’s not yet clear if a red tide caused these deaths. On November 3, MARN said they collected samples from seawater and the turtles’ tissues, and also took blood samples from a living turtle. The fishing industry has been to blame for turtle deaths in the past during shrimp trawling, as turtles can get caught in the nets. But a month-long moratorium began October 17, so the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative ‘s Mike Liles said fishing probably didn’t cause the 300 to 400 turtles to perish. Liles did say the practice is still dangerous for the creatures. This recent event is one of the biggest turtle die-offs El Salvador has experienced. Liles said large-scale die-offs could just get more common as industrial agriculture runoff worsens red tides. Conservation Ecology Lab ecologist Alexander Gaos agreed and said more conservation programs are needed. Via National Geographic Images via MARN El Salvador on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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Adorable Crocheted Cozies Make Pet Turtles Stand Out

April 11, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Adorable Crocheted Cozies Make Pet Turtles Stand Out Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , clothes for pets , costumes for pets , cozies , crocheting , handicraft , knitting , pets , reptiles , tortoise , tortoise cozy , tortoise sweater , turtle , turtle cozy , turtle sweater        

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Madrid’s Atocha Station Doubles as an Indoor Botanical Garden and Turtle Sanctuary

August 21, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Madrid’s Atocha Station Doubles as an Indoor Botanical Garden and Turtle Sanctuary Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “botanical garden” , Atocha Train Station , eco design , green design , indoor garden , madrid , sustainable design , turtle sanctuary

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Madrid’s Atocha Station Doubles as an Indoor Botanical Garden and Turtle Sanctuary

The audioJar Turns Mason Jars into a Transparent Speaker System

August 21, 2012 by  
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Designer Sarah Pease gives the humble mason jar a high-tech makeover with the “ audioJar “. Using the glass container as a housing for open-source speakers, the audioJar  takes readily available household items and grants them a second life as an audio system. Jar sizes can be mixed and matched with different cork feet, resulting in a simple, modernist twist to the DIY aesthetic Read the rest of The audioJar Turns Mason Jars into a Transparent Speaker System Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: audiojar , core77 , david a. mellis , DIY , fab speakers , mason jar , open source , rhode island school of design , sarah pease , speaker

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