Dibdo Francis Kr’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today

June 20, 2017 by  
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Today marks the official debut of Diébédo Francis Kéré’s spectacular rainwater-harvesting Serpentine Pavilion . The 2017 pavilion was unveiled on a perfectly sunny day – but when it rains the roof will protect protect visitors from drizzle while funneling precipitation it into a central waterfall and storing it for irrigation in the surrounding park. The pavilion is inspired by the culture of Kéré’s home village of Gando in Burkina Faso even as it plays with experimental construction techniques and embraces the climate in Britain. Diébédo Francis Kéré, who runs Berlin-based Kéré Architecture , is the first African architect to construct a Serpentine Pavilion . Kéré cited trees as his design inspiration. The pavilion is topped by a massive canopy – visitors can walk underneath and be safe from the rain while at the same time experiencing the weather through a transparent roof and wall openings that allow the wind to blow through. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof The roof is made of wood , supported by a hidden steel frame. Raindrops that fall on the pavilion are funneled into an oculus, creating a waterfall. Then the water enters a drainage system on the floor for use in irrigation later. The walls are made from prefabricated wooden blocks. At night the blocks create an intricate play of shadow and light as the gaps twinkle from movement inside the pavilion. Trees offer a place to gather in Burkina Faso, and Kéré hopes his Serpentine Pavilion in London will also offer a space for people to visit and share their experiences. In his design statement he spoke of his aim for the Pavilion to “become a beacon of light, a symbol of storytelling and togetherness.” And in his video on the pavilion’s design, he spoke of his desire for the pavilion to be inclusive and offer a space for all. + Kéré Architecture + Serpentine Galleries Via ArchDaily Images © Kéré Architecture, Photography © 2017 Iwan Baan ; © Erik Jan Ouwerkerk; © Enrico Cano; and © Simeon Duchoud

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Dibdo Francis Kr’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today

IKEA is launching its virtual reality app this fall

June 20, 2017 by  
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Ikea’s been playing with augmented reality (AR) for a few years now – in 2014 they released an AR catalog so shoppers could see what furniture would look like in their homes without ever leaving their couch. Now they’re teaming up with technology giant Apple to create an AR app . Leader of Digital Transformation at Inter Ikea Michael Valdsgaard claims this will be the “first augmented reality app that will enable you to make buying decisions.” Using the app, customers could check out how Ikea furniture looks in their home before they buy a thing. If users do want to buy the pieces, it remains unclear whether they will be able to purchase pieces directly through the app – Valdsgaard said that’s the ambition but can’t “promise [the payment facility] will work in the first version.” That first version should be rolling out as soon as fall of this year. Related: IKEA teams up with NASA to design out-of-this-world space saving furniture That first AR app will feature around 500 to 600 products so customers can see how they fit in their homes. And Valdsgaard said in the future when Ikea launches new products, they will show up in the app before stores. Ikea will draw on Apple’s AR expertise to roll out the app. Valdsgaard said it’s not enough to understand sofas to venture into AR – and he said the Ikea app will become the world’s largest AR platform overnight. Although Valdsgaard indicated technology will be an important element of Ikea moving forward, the AR app doesn’t seem to be a move to phase out stores. He told Di Digital, “The stores are our greatest assets. We have almost 400 of them and we want to complement them in as many ways as possible, through mobile, social media , AR, and third-party e-commerce players. One thing will not replace the other, but we’ll try as many things as possible.” Via Business Insider Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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IKEA is launching its virtual reality app this fall

Ingenious hand-pumped Scorkl lets you breathe underwater for 10 minutes

June 19, 2017 by  
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Scuba  diving may seem like too much of a hassle, what with all the equipment, training and money you need to make it happen. A new product – that’s like something straight out of a James Bond movie – called  Scorkl  opens up the underwater world by combining the best of scuba diving with the ease of snorkeling. A hand pump refills the underwater breathing device that’s roughly the size of a water bottle, giving you 10 minutes of uninhibited exploration. The Scorkl is a lightweight device you put to your mouth to breath in air while underwater – no scuba diving certification necessary. The Australia -based company says their cylinder is manufactured to the same standards and specifications as a cylinder you’d use to scuba dive, but it can be refilled with a Scorkl hand pump. The device also comes with a scuba tank refill adapter so it can be refilled from a scuba tank. A pressure gauge on the Scorkl lets users know how much air they have left – they’ll be able to swim freely through the water for around 10 minutes. Related: The Easybreath Snorkel Mask Lets You Breathe Comfortably Through Your Nose Underwater Scorkl is crowdfunding on Kickstarter , and it appears there are a bunch of people out there who are drawn to the freedom offered by the device – the company set their goal at $22,765 but have already raised over $370,000. One Scorkl costs $199 – that’s 33 percent off the retail price. A Scorkl and pump are being offered at a discount price of $398. At this point you’re probably wondering about safety . The company says the Scorkl is safe and can be used by anyone, but untrained divers should be cautious when swimming with it, and shouldn’t go below 9.8 feet in depth or use it more than five times in a single day. Trained divers should be able to go further than 9.8 feet drawing on what they learned during their certification process. The device is accompanied by an information kit warning users and offering tips to avoid pulmonary damage. The company says the Scorkl is designed for shallow diving , and they recommend not using it below 32 feet, even though it technically can go to depths of around 65 feet. You can check out the campaign here . + Scorkl Images via Scorkl Facebook

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Ingenious hand-pumped Scorkl lets you breathe underwater for 10 minutes

Made from sewage, these "popsicles" reveal the scale of Taiwan’s water pollution

June 8, 2017 by  
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We wouldn’t eat these “popsicles” if we were you. Concocted by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui and Cheng Yu-ti, a group of students from National Taiwan University of the Arts , the frozen treats comprise sewage from 100 different locations across the East Asian island nation. Hung and company froze their samples—bottle caps, plastic wrappers, and all—to illustrate the scope of Taiwan’s water-pollution problem. To preserve their creations, they dipped the popsicles in a polyester resin. They even designed wrappers for each frozen non-treat based on the locations they sampled from. Unappetizing “flavors” include “Yang-tzu-chou Drainage,” “The Large Ditch in Tianwei,” and “New Huwei Creek.” Related: Residents go nearly two weeks without safe drinking water in this Texas town Hung said they chose to make the popsicles to illustrate the importance of clean water. (Popsicles are, after all, mostly H2O.) “They’re made out of sewage, so basically these things can only be seen, not eaten,” Hung told Mashable . “[Having] pure water, a clean water source is actually very important.” + Polluted Water Popsicles Via Quartz A post shared by ??? (@yongbin.zhou) on May 25, 2017 at 6:45am PDT

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Made from sewage, these "popsicles" reveal the scale of Taiwan’s water pollution

Your Currency for Change: How to Focus Environmental Giving

June 8, 2017 by  
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By Kate Williams, CEO of 1% for the Planet Currency is something we normally think of in narrow terms: the bills or coins we fish out of wallets and pockets to pay for our morning cuppa. But we can also think of it in broader terms: the influence…

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Your Currency for Change: How to Focus Environmental Giving

98-year-old man donates $2 million in stock for 395-acre wildlife refuge

June 8, 2017 by  
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98-year-old Russ Gremel purchased $1,000 of stock in a pharmacy chain around 70 years ago. That chain was Walgreens, and Gremel’s small investment made him rich. But instead of using that money for himself, he decided to donate all of his stock to the Illinois Audubon Society , and they’re putting it to good use in the 395-acre Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary to protect wetlands in Amboy, Illinois . Decades ago Gremel bought $1,007 of stock in Walgreens on his brother’s advice to invest in drugstores, as people would always need medicine and women would always buy makeup. Then Walgreens exploded, and Gremel could have cashed out for millions of dollars. But he didn’t want to keep the money, telling the Chicago Tribune he’s a simple man who likes to eat stew and oatmeal and last drove a 25-year-old Dodge. Related: Colorful Hawai’i Wildlife Center Protects and Rehabilitates Endangered Species on the Big Island The Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary is home to around 200 bird species, rare turtles , and over 400 plant species. The Illinois Audubon Society was able to purchase the land with money from Gremel and a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, as well as their own funds. Gremel had planned to leave his stock to the Illinois Audubon Society, but then decided to give it away while he was still living so he could see the property they’d buy with it. That property doubles the area of wetlands protected in Amboy. Gremel said in a video he wanted to use the money to do good in the world. “That’s what money is for,” he said. “If you can’t do good with it, don’t have it.” He considers nature to be incredibly important; he grew up hiking and camping and then was a scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America for over 60 years. Illinois Audubon Society Executive Director Jim Herkert told the Chicago Tribune of Gremel’s donation, “It’s allowing us to protect a really valuable and important piece of property and fulfill one of Russ’ wishes that we could find a place where people could come out and experience and enjoy nature the way he did as a kid.” Via the Chicago Tribune , SaukValley.com , and EcoWatch Images via screenshot

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Desert Twins produce water through condensation in driest place on Earth

May 29, 2017 by  
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One in 10 people on Earth lack access to safe water , which is why artist Ap Verheggen has been working so hard to address water scarcity over the last decade or so. He and the rest of the SunGlacier team, invited by the Dutch Ministry of Defense, recently tested their idea of making water from thin air in what they describe as the driest, hottest place on the planet: the Sahara Desert . They were able to accomplish the feat solely with the power of the sun and a bit of basic physics. Take a closer look at their groundbreaking Desert Twins , designed specifically for this project, after the jump. From an ice-making leaf in the desert to a solar-powered desert waterfall , SunGlacier has pioneered creative, artistic approaches to the lack of water in Earth’s dry areas. They recently made water from air in Mali with the solar-powered Desert Twins, two devices built for the Sahara Desert test. One device makes water, the other houses an energy unit. Condensation enables the devices to create water. Related: Produce your own water from thin air with SunGlacier’s solar-powered DC03 But it’s much harder to pull water from air in the Sahara than it is in the Netherlands, where SunGlacier is based. According to the team, air in Mali on a summer day only has around half the water vapor of a dry summer day in the Netherlands. They faced several days of challenges as they tinkered with their devices, adding insulation and re-configuring cooling air streams before they finally succeeded in producing any water. The team knew their design could operate in ideal conditions, but the Mali success shows it can work just about anywhere in the world. SunGlacier says their device is “probably the world’s first artificial water well to work entirely off the grid .” SunGlacier intends to keep improving their technology, and say in the future they plan to focus on cleaning and enriching water with salts and minerals, and water storage. Their goal is to build a machine that is able to operate without electricity or a liquid water source, much like a well. + SunGlacier Via SunGlacier Images courtesy of SunGlacier

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Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

May 19, 2017 by  
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This minimalist bath house allows inhabitants of Karlshamn, Sweden, to enjoying the sea all year round. White Arkitekter designed the timber-clad building to age naturally for low-maintenance facilities that straddle both the water and the land. The town’s first bath house was carefully situated to soak up as much sunlight as possible all winter long, while protecting visitors from the chilly winter winds. Local organization Kallbadhusets Vänner (Friends of the Bath House) worked with local sponsors and the municipality to realize a project which would allow people to enjoy the sea all year round. Kallbadhus is located along a beach promenade, close to the public swimming hall . Sitting at a height of three meters above sea level, the sharply angled timber-clad volume straddles solid land and water while offering views of the sea. Related: Tiny Norwegian Prefab Bathhouse is Clad in Sustainable Kebony Wood Two glulam beams provide structural support for a small bridge that links the building to the beach. A common room with an adjoining terrace is flanked on one side by the women’s sauna and the by the men’s sauna on the other. The architects designed the saunas to receive optimal amount of sunlight while simultaneously offering protection from the wind. The exterior cladding is treated with a grey-pigmented oil which allows the wood to age naturally. + White Arkitekter Via World Architecture News

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Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

Minimalist Leyda House takes inspiration from local farmer’s huts

May 19, 2017 by  
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When Chilean architect’s Alfredo González Briceño and Ignacio Rojas Hirigoyen were contracted to build a country home in Chile’s Leyda Valley, they were inspired by the fertile nature of the well-known wine-producing region. Using the panoramic views of vineyards as a focus for the home’s layout, the architects designed a timber-clad minimalist structure tucked into the rolling hillside with optimal light to enhance the incredible views of the landscape. Using the area’s agricultural atmosphere as inspiration, the architects based the home’s simplistic design on the “ephemeral shelters” commonly found on the nearby strawberry fields, “We saw on these light constructions a very strong formal guide, with a very impressive visual value, on how this low-cost countryside house could be solved.” The team decided to forgo the typical bells and whistles found in weekend homes, instead choosing to focus on a simple, but strategic design that would showcase the home’s natural setting. Related: Chilean Folding House allows owners to control the temperature to adapt to the season Tucked into the rolling hillside of the valley, the elongated home is clad in dark timber, creating a no-fuss monolithic figure that melds easily into the landscape. The home faces the south, which allows for spectacular views of the vineyard-covered valley that leads to a coastal mountain range in the background. Large windows in different shapes and sizes are found throughout the design, including multiple openings in the roof that allows light to flood the interior – as the architects describe it – with “a gentle sunbath.” On the interior, the two bedrooms, each with its own bath, are located at either end of the home, and separated by the living and dining areas. The interior ceiling and flooring are covered in light wooden planks, further creating a strong connection to nature. + Alfredo Gonzalez Briceño + Ignacio Rojas Hirigoyen Via Dwell Photography by Rodrigo Daza  

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Minimalist Leyda House takes inspiration from local farmer’s huts

LEED Gold house puts a modern twist on historic Aspen architecture

May 17, 2017 by  
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Architecture firm Rowland + Broughton designed Game On, a stunning modern home sensitive to historic context and the environment in Aspen, Colorado. Crafted as a contemporary take on the West End neighborhood’s late 19th century architecture, the elegant new home uses smart technology to achieve LEED Gold certification. Solar panels power over half of Game On’s energy needs and stormwater management is seamlessly integrated into the design. Since Game On is located in a historic neighborhood, the architects prioritized site context in the design process to achieve approval from the City of Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission . The original site contained a historic miner’s cabin that the architects preserved but moved to the northwest corner. The relocation allowed the lot to be split in half with the new build located on the southern half. The architects designed the new home with white fiber-cement siding for a clean and contemporary appearance and also added a traditional front porch and gabled roof to reference the neighborhood’s historic context. The 4,291-square-foot home consists of the main dwelling and a detached garage. The home is optimized for entertaining thanks to its open-plan layout that can accommodate a large number of guests. “Pure in form and with modern articulation, it’s modern and efficient with no unused space,” wrote the architects. Related: Black Magic home sits lightly in a mountain oasis The LEED Gold-certified home is outfitted with home automation technology and powered by solar panels mounted on the garage roof. The interior features natural materials , energy-efficient fixtures, and eco-friendly finishes free of harmful chemicals. The house design minimized erosion and site impact during construction. Stormwater runoff is managed onsite and drained into the bocce ball court, which filters the water before it flows to the aquifer. + Rowland + Broughton Via Dezeen Images via Rowland + Broughton

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