Silver Oak becomes worlds most sustainable winery

June 2, 2020 by  
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After a devastating fire ravaged the Silver Oak Winery in California’s Napa Valley nearly 15 years ago, the owners turned tragedy into opportunity when they rebuilt the facility to target the most stringent sustainability standards in the world. After achieving LEED Platinum certification, the redesigned winery has now also earned Living Building Challenge (LBC) Sustainability Certification from the International Living Future Institute — making it the world’s first LBC-certified winery. Sagan Piechota Architecture led the redesign of the Silver Oak Winery with sustainable services provided by international engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti . Founded in the early 1970s, the family-owned Silver Oak Winery now covers 105 acres of land in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley and is dedicated to producing only Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery is the largest building globally to achieve Living Building Challenge certification and meets requirements of all seven LBC performance petals including site/place, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. Related: LEED-seeking winery in Uruguay is built almost entirely of locally sourced materials “The Living Building Challenge is considered to be the world’s most rigorous green building standard,” said Thornton Tomasetti in a press statement. “It encourages the creation of a regenerative built environment and is based off of actual rather than modeled or anticipated performance. Silver Oak was awarded the certification after more than five years of planning and construction.” The Silver Oak Alexander Valley project comprises two buildings — the tasting room with event spaces and offices and the production and administration building — totaling over 100,000 square feet. All materials used were vetted to meet the Red List Imperative, which restricts the use of the most harmful chemicals. Rooftop solar panels power all of the winery’s energy needs, while solar thermal energy systems and CO2 heat pumps provide heating. To minimize water consumption, the winery uses recycled hot water systems and a water-management system that captures and treats rainwater as well as wastewater for reuse. + Silver Oak Winery Photography by Damion Hamilton

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Silver Oak becomes worlds most sustainable winery

Satellites show hope for Brazil’s disappearing Atlantic forest

August 2, 2019 by  
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While international media focuses on the important and devastating losses in the Amazon rainforest, an extensive forest biome along Brazil’s eastern coast is rapidly disappearing. The Mata Atlântica biome hosts incredible biodiversity and is critical for fighting climate change through its massive contribution to carbon sequestration. It is considered one of the most threatened large tropical forest ecosystems, but a new study finally reveals a glimmer of hope — the area of deforestation is bad, but not as bad as it used to be. According to the joint report by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research and Fundação SOS, heavily deforested areas have nearly 10 percent more forest cover than previous years. Their findings are based on innovative satellite mapping. Related: Deforestation and climate change combined may split Amazon in two “Just as important as analyzing the loss of Mata Atlântica in the last [most recent] period is to look at the historical series and think about prospects going forward,” said André de Almeida Cunha, an ecology professor at the at the University of Brasília. The forest used to stretch down Brazil’s eastern coast and through Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. Now, it has been reduced to small, fragmented protected areas. The majority of deforestation is because of cattle grazing and land clearing for other agribusiness as well as real estate development. “Mata Atlântica is still the most threatened biome,” explained Pedro Brancalion, a researcher at the University of São Paulo. “The [deforestation] process we see in the Amazon began 500 years ago in Mata Atlântica. There is still deforestation [underway] in Mata Atlântica [today] where biodiversity losses have not been offset by reforestation initiatives.” While the report shows that some reforestation efforts have been successful, not all reforestation is equal. Throughout Brazil and much of the world, some reforestation initiatives have focused on planting monocrop trees for agriculture, such as eucalyptus or palm oil. While these trees are better than nothing, they are eventually harvested and do not provide the benefits of biodiversity . Via Mongabay Image via ICLEI América do Sul

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Satellites show hope for Brazil’s disappearing Atlantic forest

LEED-seeking winery in Uruguay is built almost entirely of locally sourced materials

February 26, 2019 by  
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Nestled in the bucolic countryside of Garzón, Uruguay, the boutique winery Bodega Garzón produces estate-grown premium wines while keeping sustainability in mind. Designed by Argentina-based architecture firm Bórmida & Yanzón , the winery optimizes energy efficiency with insulating green roofs that total nearly an acre in size, rainwater harvesting and reuse, as well as a high-efficiency HVAC with heat recovery. Fitted with state-of-the-art technology, the 205,000-square-foot development is currently pursuing LEED certification. Set on property formerly overgrown with invasive species and marked by rocky and steep slopes, the Bodega Garzón winery has reintroduced the landscape to native species and more productive uses. Not only does the state-of-the-art winery encompass 500 acres of vineyards, but it also boasts a production facility, a tasting room for visiting guests, retail space, a wine club, an open-fire 120-seat restaurant, and caves for barrel storage, tours, private dining, and events. Views of the idyllic countryside are optimized in the design and placement of the buildings. As part of the winery’s commitment to sustainability, over 90 percent of the construction materials were locally sourced and include granite, concrete and stone. An earthy and natural material palette of raw steel, honed marble, brass accents, leathers, and rich textiles give the interiors, dressed by California-based Backen Gillam & Kroeger Architects, a luxurious and polished feel. The designers were also careful to select recycled and rapidly renewable materials, such as Forest Stewardship Council-certified timbers. Related: An award-winning winery in British Columbia elegantly steps down a hillside The 19 varieties of grapes grown on site — including the brand’s flagship Tannat and Albariño grapes — are connected to drip irrigation that uses recycled surface runoff harvested in newly dug man-made pond systems. All stormwater runoff is treated before leaving the site and recycled for not only all of the irrigation, but for cleaning the outdoor areas and for the water pond as well. + Bórmida & Yanzón

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LEED-seeking winery in Uruguay is built almost entirely of locally sourced materials

Swedish architect surprises mum with dazzling corrugated aluminum home

October 18, 2016 by  
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‘House for mother’ is made from two adjacent cabins, a home and a studio, that are slightly shifted from each other to make the most out of a narrow plot. All exterior walls and couple of gable roofs are wrapped completely in corrugated aluminum, a sturdy, durable and recyclable construction material that reflects daylight, making the house shine- literally. Although it’s undulated skin gives it a cold appearance, the home’s core is cozy and soft thanks to a warm color palette and natural materials. Related: Young Architect Builds Awesome Green Retirement Home for Her Mum in Uruguay The two  cabins  are united on the interior with a thick coat of white paint over the walls. The dwelling’s formal simplicity was balanced with warm, textured materials like cork, wool and plywood for the walls. ‘House for mother’ is Malmö -based Förstberg Ling’s first built house and started as a part of a housing exhibition in Linköping. + Förstberg Ling Via This is Paper Photos by Markus Linderoth

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Swedish architect surprises mum with dazzling corrugated aluminum home

Blind "bird man" of Uruguay recognizes 3000 unique bird songs

June 13, 2016 by  
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In the warmer seasons and biomes of the Earth, birds envelop the sonic landscape with uniquely composed songs and calls that identify the species present, even if unseen. Bioacoustics and ornithological expert Juan Pablo Culasso has so refined his ability to recognize these sounds that he is now able to differentiate between 720 species of birds by ear. 29-year-old Culasso was born blind, though able to sense changes in light, and has always relied on his ears to explore the world around him. Culasso also possesses the rare gift of absolute, or perfect, pitch, which enables him to identify a particular note simply by hearing it. Through his unique abilities, Culasso can identify over 3,000 unique bird sounds. Perfect pitch is less about the ear than it is about the brain’s capacity for identification and interpretation. “It’s not that these people hear more, they hear the same as anyone else,” says Alicia Munyo, head of the phonology department at Republica University in Montevideo, Uruguay. “It’s that their brain has a great capacity to interpret sounds and their nuances, much more than normal people do.” Culasso recalls his perfect pitch in childhood, in which he could identify the musical note for sounds made by stones tossed into the water. His father introduced his young son to the world of birds by reading aloud encyclopedia articles that were accompanied by audio cassettes of bird sounds. Related: Shocking study reveals 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic Culasso, encouraged by field work with an ornithologist, began recording bird sounds as a teenager. “At that moment, I felt as if I had been doing this forever without knowing it. I fell in love with that task,” he says. Culasso has used his skills to produce nature documentaries, assist scientific studies, and in 2014, was granted a $45,000 prize from Nat Geo TV. Most of this money was invested in audio equipment, so that Culasso can better complete his work. He also recently completed a two month expedition in Antarctica. “I keep adding sounds to my list,” he says. “In Antarctica, I recorded sea lions, seals and a melting iceberg.” Via Phys.org Images via Juan Pablo Culasso  and Flickr

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Blind "bird man" of Uruguay recognizes 3000 unique bird songs

Beautifully renovated Lisbon home integrates indoor and outdoor life

June 13, 2016 by  
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The architects completely restored the three-story structure, including an attic, two exterior patios and a large terrace on the middle floor, transforming it into a comfortable single-family home. They brought new life to the beautiful detailing and rustic quality of the structure, but have also reorganized and adapted the spaces to better suit the needs of a modern family. Related: Recipients for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture Named for 2013 The entry area provides access to both the upper and lower floors, the latter of which houses the service areas and parking. The main living spaces, together with the dining room and kitchen, are located on the first floor and have direct access to the central terrace. The top floor accommodates three bedrooms, while the attic is meant to be used as an open-plan play area. + Fragmentos de Arquitectura Photos by Francisco Nogueira

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Beautifully renovated Lisbon home integrates indoor and outdoor life

Circular bridge in Uruguay lets drivers slow down and enjoy the view

January 25, 2016 by  
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Uruguay now gets almost 95 percent of its energy from renewable sources

December 7, 2015 by  
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As the world awaits news from Paris about the next international climate deal, some smaller nations are taking big steps toward a future filled with clean and renewable energy that doesn’t contribute to global warming. Last week, Uruguay reported huge gains in clean energy infrastructure that directly translated into cost savings . In less than 10 years, the developing country has reduced its environmental impact and energy costs simultaneously by implementing enough clean energy infrastructure to get 94.5 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Read the rest of Uruguay now gets almost 95 percent of its energy from renewable sources

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Young Architect Builds Awesome Green Retirement Home for Her Mum in Uruguay

April 2, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Young Architect Builds Awesome Green Retirement Home for Her Mum in Uruguay Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Casa Abierta , family home by the sea , FSC wood , japanese aesthetics , nordic inspiration , organic lavender oil , Punta Rubia , Rosario Talevi , sustainable wooden home , Uruguay        

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Scientists in Uruguay Genetically Engineer Sheep to Glow Under UV Light

May 1, 2013 by  
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When you can’t sleep and need to count sheep to drift off, try wrapping your brain one of these eerie glowing lambs from South America. Scientists from the Animal Reproduction Institute of Uruguay (IRAUy) have genetically engineered nine animals to light up under UV light by incorporating a gene from the Aequorea victoria jellyfish . The research is intended to help easily identify genetically modified processes in animals. Read the rest of Scientists in Uruguay Genetically Engineer Sheep to Glow Under UV Light Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aequorea jellyfish , alejo menchaca , animal reproduction institute of uruguay , bioengineer , genetically modified animals unit , glow , growth hormone , insulin , irauy , lamb , Medicine , pasteur institute , sheep , south america , south atlantic news agency , uv light        

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