PICO microgarden lets you grow anywhere from home to car

April 22, 2020 by  
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Indoor gardening offers all the same benefits as a garden in the ground outside. Namely, fresh food and a  low environmental impact . But not everyone has the natural space for a garden, which is where indoor planting comes in for the win. While there are many systems and techniques you can implement inside the home, PICO stands out as a versatile option that you can place anywhere and still achieve growing success.  Most plants need to be located near a window for light. Often this means taking up limited tabletop or bookcase space. PICO is different because, while setting it on a tabletop is an option, it will also mount to vertical surfaces. In fact, it comes with a magnetic mount, which could be used on a refrigerator or desk, plus a standard wall mount and Velcro option for mounting to windows, mirrors and other surfaces. There are also three color options to match nearly any decor. The unit comes fully assembled. All you have to do is add a bit of soil and a few of your favorite seeds. There is no membership or seed pod to purchase. Watering is stable and consistent with a water reservoir and easy fill spout. A transparent window in the front allows you to easily see when more water is needed, typically about once each week. From there, the system automatically wicks water from the reservoir through the soil, using an on-demand system that replenishes moisture as the soil dries out.  With location and watering figured out, the last major component for successful indoor growth is proper lighting. PICO is equipped with a multi-spectrum growing light that conveniently extends from the compact planter design. As your plant grows, the light extends up to one foot higher for consistent light.  PICO is the newest addition to the  urban gardening product line from Altifarm Enverde, the company that previously released two larger versions of in-home garden systems. While PICO is not intended to provide high quantities of food, it’s automatic functions and placement versatility make it an option for growing readily available herbs, visually pleasing succulents, or fragrant mini roses. PICO is currently trending on a Kickstarter campaign that will close on May 17th. Shipments are expected immediately following the end of the campaign.  + Altifarm Enverde  Images via Altifarm Enverde

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PICO microgarden lets you grow anywhere from home to car

Natufia’s hydroponic garden embraces farm-to-table eating

April 14, 2020 by  
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Farm-to-table is a practice that includes collecting food as close to the source as possible, therefore ensuring the greatest amount of nutrients and best quality. With that in mind, one company, Natufia, has taken the idea a step further with its indoor hydroponic garden systems.  Natufia is a temperature-controlled garden that fits inside your kitchen, providing the freshest herbs and vegetables possible and the shortest distance from “farm” to table. This hydroponic garden easily grows plants, nurturing them from pod to maturity. Once the system is in place, simply order seed pods and place them into the nursery trays to germinate. You then move them into the two pull-out racks that hold up to 32 unique plants at once, so you can personalize the garden to suit your family’s needs. You can grow everything from kale and basil to chamomile and cornflowers. Related: This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive From there, the system is automatically monitored, controlling temperature, hydration, humidity, nutrient distribution, water, pH, air circulation and even music that science suggests supports healthy growth. In addition to convenience, the plants are non-GMO and certified organic . That means they come without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or environmental pollutants. Natufia seeds are also Demeter-certified, which is the highest biodynamic certification available. When your plants are ready, the only thing left to do is pick the perfect amount for your meal as you pull ingredients together. Leaving the rest on the plant makes your food last longer and saves room in the refrigerator. Plus, the garden system allows for less trips to the market, zero packaging waste and limited transport emissions compared to other food options. The fully automated closed system that recycles water for up to 10 days to boost water savings is another eco-friendly benefit. Once you’ve harvested all you can from your plants, you can simply order more seed pods online. + Natufia Images via Natufia

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Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

March 26, 2020 by  
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Known for their love of infusing modern structures with an abundance of greenery, the prolific Paris-based practice  Vincent Callebaut Architectures has just unveiled their latest sustainable design. Slated for the Island of Cebu, The Rainbow Tree is a modular timber tower draped in layers of lush vegetation to become an “urban forest” for the city. Thanks to the design’s strong sustainability features, which include passive bioclimatism and advanced renewable energies, the tower will be a  LEED Gold design . Slated to be a sustainable icon for the fairly remote island of Cebu, the Rainbow Tree will be a 32-story, 377-foot-high tower built almost completely out of solid wood. The building’s volume will be comprised of 1,200  CLT modules , inspired by the local Nipa Huts made out of wood, bamboo and palm leaves traditionally found throughout the Philippines. Related: Vincent Callebaut wins bid to sustainably revive Aix-les-Bains’ ancient thermal baths All of the modules, which come with basket-style balconies, will be prefabricated off-site in a factory to reduce energy and construction costs. Once on-site, the innovative design will be implemented with several passive bioclimatic features and advanced  renewable energies . To save energy, the tower will be double insulated thanks to an interior and exterior cladding made of all-natural materials such as thatch, hemp and cellulose wadding. The tower’s name and design were inspired by the Rainbow Eucalyptus, an iconic and colorful tree native to the Philippines. To bring the nature-inspired design to fruition, the  timber building  will be clad in vegetation native to the island. Using plants sustainably-sourced from local tropical forests, the tower will be covered in more than 30,000 plants, shrubs and tropical trees. Many of the plants will change color through the season, giving the city a living “rainbow” throughout the year. The Rainbow Tree will be a mixed-use property, split between office space and luxury condominiums. Interior spaces will be flooded with natural light and include several vertical walls. Guests and residents to the tower will be able to enjoy the building’s eateries, swimming pool and fitness center. Adding to the building’s amazing sustainability profile, residents will also have access to an expansive  aquaponic farm  that will span over three levels. Combining fish farming and plant cultivation, the Sky Farm is slated to produce up to 25,000 kilos of fruit, vegetables and algae and 2,500 kilos of fish per year — the equivalent to almost 2 kilos of food per week for each family residing in the tower. + Vincent Callebaut Architecture Images via Vincent Callebaut Architecture

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myfoods smart greenhouses can grow nearly 900 pounds of produce a year

February 4, 2020 by  
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At CES 2020, French startup myfood presented a smart greenhouse that it says can grow up to 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of organic fruits and vegetables a year with only a few hours of work a week. Combining permaculture principles with smart technology to monitor plant health, the myfood smart greenhouses aim to change people’s relationships with food as a means of reducing the global carbon footprint . The startup has distributed nearly 200 smart greenhouses in 14 countries around the world and hopes to target the North American market next. Based in the French commune of Molsheim, myfood was born as a reaction against the agro-food industry’s intensive use of pesticides and fertilizers that have contributed to the loss of biodiversity and negatively affected human health. To reconnect people with nature, myfood developed a series of compact smart greenhouses to give communities around the world the opportunity to cultivate a healthy and diverse diet with fresh produce year-round from the comfort of their homes. Related: 3-hectare desert farm in Jordan can grow 286,600 pounds of veggies each year myfood currently has three types of smart greenhouses. For urban dwellers, the startup developed the 3.5-square-meter City smart greenhouse that can produce up to 100 kilograms of fruit and vegetables and can fit atop a rooftop, terrace , large balcony or small garden. Single urban dwellers with a very small living footprint can consider the 0.65-square-meter Aerospring Vertical Garden, which can grow up to 40 kilograms of fruit and vegetables a year in a small pot. The largest option, which is best suited for a single-family home with a yard, is the 22-square-meter Family smart greenhouse that can grow up to 400 kilograms of fruit and vegetables a year and is ideal for four people. All myfood structures are designed for easy and quick installation and are equipped with LED lighting and other energy-efficient systems that can be monitored remotely from a smartphone. Buyers also have the option to customize their smart greenhouses to best suit their needs, from off-grid applications to winterizing. “ Climate change requires a profound change in our consumption habits to limit our carbon dioxide emissions,” said Mickaël Gandecki, myfood co-founder. “To easily cultivate in a sustainable and efficient way, we employ both a synergy between fish and plants, as well as an approach inspired by nature and based on cutting-edge agronomic research. The connected and intelligent features enrich the experience by collecting parameters useful for managing the greenhouse. A dedicated social network supports users from the launch of the project, to the first harvests and beyond.” + myfood Images via myfood

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myfoods smart greenhouses can grow nearly 900 pounds of produce a year

Denmarks first timber parking garage will be enveloped in greenery

January 7, 2020 by  
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Danish architecture studios Open Platform and JAJA Architects have won an open competition to design Denmark’s first all-timber parking garage in the coastal city of Aarhus. Designed with a reduced environmental footprint, the new multilevel parking garage will be built from cross-laminated timber and partly enveloped in greenery to help contribute to the country’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The facility has also been kept deliberately compact so as to make room on the site for a “green and creative oasis” comprising public and commercial pavilions. Created in collaboration with Rama Studio and Søren Jensen Engineers, the proposed timber parking garage will be located in Aarhus’ South Harbor neighborhood. Spanning an area of 19,300 square meters over six floors, the building will be set on the northeastern half of the site to make room for a small park. The architects plan to blur the boundaries between the building and adjacent landscape by installing a vertical garden and lush planters along the side of the wooden facade.  ”In this project, we minimize the building’s footprint and work with wooden construction and bound carbon,” said Niels Lund Petersen, architect and partner in Open Platform. “Together with the planting of a new urban forest, we secure Aarhus’ contribution to a life-long CO2-balance .” The project will further reduce its carbon footprint by encouraging green transportation; the ground floor of the building will include charging stations, cargo bicycle rentals, carpooling stops and parking spots dedicated to carpooling vehicles. The building is also connected to existing infrastructure onsite, such as the high line, Kulkransporet. Related: A striking new gateway to Copenhagen celebrates green transit and Danish design In addition to a total of 700 parking spots, the CLT parking garage will include 2,000 square meters of public facilities, including a gym, a gallery and a cafe. These spaces will be located on the ground floor and first floor of the building, as well as in the park pavilions and along the outdoor staircases and balconies. Diverse programming will help establish the building as a “hub for activity [and] creativity.” + Open Platform + JAJA Architects Images via Open Platform and JAJA Architects

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Denmarks first timber parking garage will be enveloped in greenery

Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse

December 23, 2019 by  
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In the historic center of Oberhausen, Berlin-based architectural firm Kuehn Malvezzi has created a job center topped with a greenhouse in an unprecedented example of “building-integrated agriculture” in Germany. Named Altmarktgarten Oberhausen, the mixed-use facility symbolizes old and new: the brick-and-steel material palette references the area’s historic architecture, while the greenhouse serves as a place for innovative urban farming research. For a reduced environmental footprint, the architects installed systems for recycling rainwater, gray water and waste heat from the building operations. Created in collaboration with landscape architects atelier le balto and awarded the winner in a 2016 architecture competition, the mixed-use facility was constructed on the site of an old market hall at Oberhausen’s Altmarkt. The first five stories of the building function as a job center, while the top floor and rooftop greenhouse are used by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT). An interior courtyard with a vertical garden helps visually connect the sawtooth-roofed greenhouse with the brick building below. The vertical garden — which comprises hardy climbing plants, like the crimson glory vine and common hop, on a galvanized steel structure — are complemented with a bed of small shrubs and ground cover plantings. Related: A “floating” greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home “The building, designed by Kuehn Malvezzi, blends confidently but calmly into the historical city,” the architects said. “The specificity of this important urban location results from the tension between the physicality of the brick building and the filigree lightness of the rooftop greenhouse planned in cooperation with Haas Architekten. From the regularity of its structure, the greenhouse on each of the three sides of the street forms its own conclusion, which responds sensitively to each context.” To access the greenhouse, visitors are led from a lime tree-lined market square, past the courtyard with the vertical garden and up a steel staircase to the roof. Operated by the municipality, the publicly accessible greenhouse overlooks views of Oberhausen’s historic center and the city beyond. + Kuehn Malvezzi Photography by Hiepler Brunier via Kuehn Malvezzi

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WOHA unveils a lush, net-zero Singapore Pavilion for the 2020 World Expo

September 5, 2019 by  
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Singapore-based architecture firm WOHA has unveiled plans to create a net-zero energy green oasis for 2020 World Expo Singapore Pavilion in the Dubai desert. Dubbed “Nature. Nurture. Future.,” the self-sufficient Singapore Pavilion will run entirely on solar energy and solar desalination systems. The temporary structure will symbolize a “forward-looking Singapore” emphasizing livability and sustainability. Appointed to the project by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore’s land use planning and conservation agency, WOHA will integrate the 1,550-square-meter pavilion with greenery, renewable energy systems, a food market, interactive multimedia stations and informative displays on Singaporean culture and industries. Plants will grow on all levels of the multi-story structure: tropical trees, shrubbery and orchids on the ground plane; a hanging garden suspended from the solar canopy; and vertical gardens that grow along the three structural “cones” anchoring the building. Related: New images show greenery engulfing Singapore’s tropical skyscraper Visitors will be guided through the pavilion on a meandering canopy walk that weaves through the cones and leads to the open sky market platform with panoramic views of the surroundings, a gathering area and an eatery serving Singaporean cuisine. A variety of exhibits and programs are embedded into the walk, which concludes at the Ground Galleria with a display on Singapore’s design culture and a retail area. The interior is kept comfortably cool thanks to shade from the solar canopy, fine mist fans and the evapotranspiration from the abundant vegetation. “The uniqueness of the Singapore Pavilion is that despite its location in the desert, it is green, soft and alive, demonstrating the great potential of the respectful, seamless integration and co-existence of nature and architecture,” the architects said. “It represents a captivating and forward-looking Singapore, one that is sociable, sustainable and livable, and shows a way architecture can make a meaningful contribution to the fight against the effects of climate change .” + WOHA Architects Images via WOHA

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WOHA unveils a lush, net-zero Singapore Pavilion for the 2020 World Expo

MVRDV designs a Dutch office building covered in potted plants

August 15, 2019 by  
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MVRDV has unveiled designs for the Green Villa, a striking mixed-use building draped in greenery for the Dutch village of Sint-Michielsgestel. Created in collaboration with Van Boven Architecten , the four-story Green Villa will be located on the town’s southern edge and will use a grid “rack” system to host a wide variety of potted plants, bushes and trees, including the likes of forsythia, jasmine, pine and birch. The project will be a landmark project for the village and will promote sustainability with improved biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Located on a corner lot next to the Dommel River, the 1,400-square-meter Green Villa will house a new ground-floor office space for real estate developer and client, Stein, as well as five apartments on the three floors above in addition to underground parking. The building shape relates to the existing urban fabric with its adoption of the mansard roof shape used on the neighboring buildings. A new architectural typology is also put forth with the use of a strikingly lush facade that will help the structure blend in with the nearby river, fields and trees. Related: MVRDV designs BREEAM excellent-seeking sustainable research lab for Amsterdam “This design is a continuation of our research into ‘facade-less’ buildings and radical greening,” explained Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “The idea from the nineties of city parks as an oasis in the city is too limited. We need a radical ‘green dip’: as will be shown soon in a book by The Why Factory with the same title, we should also cover roofs and high-rise facades with greenery. Plants and trees can help us to offset CO2 emissions , cool our cities and promote biodiversity.” The Green Villa will be defined by a square grid four bays wide and three bays deep, in which modules for bedrooms and living spaces will slot inside. The facade will be made up of a “rack” of shelves of varying depths to support a “three-dimensional arboretum,” and each plant will have its own nameplate with additional information. The plants will be watered year-round with a sensor-controlled irrigation system that uses recycled rainwater . Construction is scheduled to start in 2020. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV designs a Dutch office building covered in potted plants

Greenery-filled renovation rethinks Indonesian colonial architecture

August 14, 2019 by  
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Indonesian architecture firm Kantor Gunawan Gunawan has transformed a century-old Dutch Colonial house into the PB House, a modern home with a strengthened connection to nature. The house, which has been handed down for three generations, has been updated to meet the needs of the new family while paying homage to historical elements. Indonesia’s lush tropical greenery has also been brought indoors with full-height glazing that pulls in garden views and frames a massive green wall . Following the typical Dutch Colonial style, the house was originally designed in quarters, with many rooms arranged along a main axis and joined together by a long hallway. To modernize the space, the architects knocked down most of the walls and created a large open-plan living area, dining space and kitchen that measures 10 meters by 6 meters. The ceilings were also raised to create a more airy feel. Related: Cooling breezes blow straight through a low-energy brick house in Indonesia To bring greenery into the 300-square-meter house, the architects had to grapple with the challenging narrow site, which only allowed for a small sliver of landscaping along the house. Making the most of a constrained footprint, the architects added a huge green wall on the west side that is framed through tall glass sliding doors in the living room. The walls of glass have also been installed throughout the house to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. The exterior of the building was given a fresh coat of paint, a black door and new window seals. It was also spruced up with original mosaic glass but has otherwise been kept the same. In contrast, the interior of the home has been completely transformed. “Using white, gray, orange and dark wood pattern, Kantor Gunawan Gunawan creates a consistent color palette throughout the whole house,” the firm noted. “The furniture is also consistently made of the same walnut material as the door and wall background. The dark wood and gray marble flooring also set the tone of a cozy and welcoming living area, as it also extends to the pantry table and to the wooden decking at the terrace.” + Kantor Gunawan Gunawan Photography by Mario Wibowo Photography via Kantor Gunawan Gunawan

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Greenery-filled renovation rethinks Indonesian colonial architecture

Coca-Cola to offer Dasani water in aluminum cans and bottles to reduce plastic waste

August 14, 2019 by  
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Could green be the new blue? The Dasani bottled water brand hopes so. Owned by The Coca-Cola Co., Dasani wants to up the ante for more sustainable packaging with a product lineup including aluminum bottles and cans — available as early as this fall. The new changes are part of Coca-Cola’s Global World Without Waste efforts to make 100 percent of its packaging completely recyclable by 2025. It also plans to manufacture its bottles and cans with an average of 50 percent recycled material by 2030. Related: San Francisco airport bans all plastic water bottles “While there is no single solution to the problem of plastic waste , the additional package and package-less options we are rolling out today mark an important next step in our effort to provide even more sustainable solutions at scale,” said Lauren King, brand director of Dasani, in a news release Tuesday. Come fall, the company is releasing aluminum can options to the northeastern U.S. The canned water will expand to other areas in 2020 and will be joined by the addition of new aluminum bottles of water in mid-2020. The new HybridBottle, also released in 2020, will be made with a mixture of up to 50 percent of a renewable, plant-based material and recycled PET. Other innovations in the lineup include “lightweighting” across the Dasani package portfolio to help reduce the amount of virgin PET plastic acquired by the Coca-Cola system. Labels are also changing and will read “ How2Recycle ” on all Dasani packages in an effort to educate and encourage consumers to recycle after use. As mainstream consumers continue to focus on reducing plastic pollution , large companies like Coca-Cola say they want to reduce their waste. Incidentally, Coca-Cola produced 3.3 million tons of plastic in 2017, according to a recent report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Plenty of environmental activists have pointed the finger at companies such as Coca-Cola, too. For instance, a study published by Greenpeace referred to Coca-Cola as “the most prolific polluter” compared to other top brands. Why? During several beach clean-ups held around the world, Coca-Cola products were among the most collected. + The Coca-Cola Co. Via CNN Image via Coca-Cola Co.

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