Valser is using carbon capture technology to carbonate its beverages

December 28, 2018 by  
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Valser, a Coca-Cola-owned brand of sparkling water based in Switzerland, is embracing new climate capture technology. Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland (the bottling plant that makes Valser) has partnered with Climeworks, a pioneering company that captures carbon dioxide, to use the new technology to carbonate its water . Climeworks has already partnered with a greenhouse that uses CO2 to help plants grow faster, and since the beverage industry is one of the only existing markets that uses carbon dioxide , it seemed like the natural next step. But, the technology won’t stop there. Christoph Gebald, co-founder and director of Climeworks, says that other applications are coming, including making carbon-neutral fuel or concrete to make plastic , shoes and fish feed. But, it’s the greenhouse and beverage industries that use carbon dioxide on a large scale, and this is how Climeworks hopes to scale up its technology. At Climeworks plants, the company uses its one-of-a-kind  technology to capture CO2 inside shipping containers by pulling air inside of them and then processing it through filters — working almost like an incredibly powerful tree. When a filter gets full, the team heats the collector and release the gas in a pure form so it can be injected into deep underground storage. Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide The amount of carbon dioxide in the air is higher than it has been for millennia (about 400,000 years to be exact), and this new process from Climeworks will help address this problem. But, putting the CO2 into beverages instead of underground still allows the fizz to come out when you open the bottle. To help impact climate change , the amount of carbon dioxide we need to remove from the air could be around 10 billion tons per year — according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — and the global food and beverage industry produces about 6 million tons annually. So there is still a long way to go. “The beverage industry is really the bridge from today — no existing market — to enabling us to further work down our cost curve and industrialize the technology,” says Gebald. “It’s really the missing bridge between startups and, one day, climate-relevant scale to remove carbon from the air.” Sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is currently a more expensive option than resorting to other sources, but it does make sense for some locations. Once the technology becomes cheaper, it will become a more attractive option for other businesses. Via Fast Company Images via ExplorerBob

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Valser is using carbon capture technology to carbonate its beverages

Harbor town in Germany unveils urban-chic hostel made out of repurposed shipping containers

December 28, 2018 by  
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Berlin-based Holzer Kobler Architekturen and Kinzo Architekten have collaborated on Germany’s first upcycled hostel and its nothing short of spectacular. The Dock Inn is made out of multiple repurposed  shipping containers that have been carved out to create 64 guest rooms which all feature a vibrant interior design that mixes urban chic with industrial charm. Located in Warnemünde, Germany, the Dock Inn shipping container hostel is surrounded by the local harbor and shipyard. According to the designers, the rough charm of the industrial location was the perfect place to pay homage to the shipping containers’ former life at sea. Related: Gorgeous Catalan building renovated into an eco-friendly hostel in Barcelona The hostel design used the industrial nature of the containers to create a modern, contemporary hostel with a vibrant urban feel. A maritime theme runs throughout the space, which is filled with reclaimed furnishings, to pay homage to the containers’ seafaring past. The hostel’s various shipping containers were configured in a way to house 64 rooms with 188 beds, with most looking out over the harbor. There are varying sizes of guest rooms, from private rooms to dormitory-style spaces that have eight single beds. The rooms are compact, but with sleek interiors that give off a sophisticated, contemporary aesthetic. Bright red walls contrast nicely with all white linens in some rooms, while upholstery made of natural materials in muted colors give off a nice earthy feel in other rooms. Throughout the interior, large windows allow natural light to flood the interior spaces. The hostel also has a number of social areas such as a large lounge, computer room, galley kitchen, on-site restaurant and even a spa on the rooftop level. Throughout the common areas, the designers used several reclaimed materials such as the old shipping pallets that were configured into ample seating space in the lounge. + Holzer Kobler Architekturen + Kinzo Architekten + The Dock Inn Photography by Max Schroeder and Sebastian Dörken

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Harbor town in Germany unveils urban-chic hostel made out of repurposed shipping containers

Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world

December 12, 2018 by  
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The microplastics problem in the oceans has made its way to sea turtles in a big way. A new study from researchers at the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory along with Greenpeace Research Laboratories has found microplastics in the guts of every single turtle they tested — a total of 102 sea turtles. The researchers tested more than 100 sea turtles from all seven species and three different oceans , and they were looking for synthetic particles less than 5 mm in length. The most common thing the team found were fibers, which most likely came from clothing, tires, cigarette filters and fishing equipment. Related: Microplastics have made their way into human poop “The effect of these particles on turtles is unknown,” said lead author Emily Duncan from the University of Exeter’s Center for Ecology and Conservation. “Their small size means they can pass through the gut without causing a blockage, as is frequently reported with larger plastic fragments.” Duncan added that future work should focus on the effects of microplastics in aquatic organisms , and researchers should look for possible contaminants, bacteria or viruses as well as how the microplastics affect turtles on a cellular level. The researchers found more than 800 synthetic particles in the turtles , but since they only tested part of the gut, they believe the total number of particles could be 20 times higher. They don’t know how the turtles ingest the particles, but they think the sources are polluted seawater and the digestion of polluted prey or plants. Professor Brendan Godley, the senior author of the study, said that the ingestion of microplastics isn’t the biggest threat to sea turtles at the moment, but it is a clear sign that we need to do a better job governing global waste . Penelope Lindeque from Plymouth Marine Laboratory said that during their work over the years, researchers have found microplastics in all of the marine animals they have studied. This turtle study is just more evidence that we need to reduce the amount of plastic waste, so we can maintain clean and healthy oceans for future generations. + University of Exeter Image via Jeremy Bishop

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Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world

Here’s your opportunity to join the Inhabitat team as a writer!

November 28, 2018 by  
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Inhabitat, a leading website in green design and sustainable living, is seeking remote writers to contribute two or more articles per week with a focus on breaking environmental news, green design/architecture and/or sustainable lifestyle features. An ideal candidate is an avid environmentalist and excellent writer with the ability to meet deadlines and communicate professionally with editors and sources. Learn more below. Requirements: Ability to meet strict deadlines Understanding of design and environmental trends and terms Excellent communication skills Familiarity with AP Style Strong grasp on grammar and writing mechanics Experience interviewing sources Passion for the environment and sustainability Pay: $20 per 300-word news story $30 per 300-word gallery story $50 per 800-word feature story Higher compensation available for stories with original photography and/or interviews Potential traffic bonuses of $150-$300 per story! To Apply: Send us an email (editor@inhabitat.com) with a short explanation as to why you are interested in joining our team as well as which types of stories you’d be interested in contributing (news, design and/or features). Please include at least one relevant writing sample and a resume. We look forward to hearing from you! Image via Rawpixel

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A 1972 Airstream becomes a bright, 198-square-foot home for a family of four

October 16, 2018 by  
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Minimalist living in a tiny home is quite common for a couple, but when designing a compact space for a family of four (plus a fur baby), strategic planning is essential. When Colleen and Zachary Cashio purchased a 1972 Airstream trailer that was just 31 feet long, they knew they had a big renovation project on their hands, but they took it head on with some impressive DIY skills. Today, the Steady Streamin’ Cashios is a space-efficient, sophisticated home, which was handcrafted to meet the needs of the family. At one time, the Cashio family was following the path toward the “American Dream” when they had a revelation — they needed to simplify . The couple realized that they wanted to teach their two kids about the importance of enjoying life and experiences without the distractions of material things. Related: Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals The big chance to renovate their lifestyle came in the form of a 1972 Airstream Sovereign. Naturally gifted in the DIY department, the ambitious couple did all of the work on the Airstream conversion themselves. After buying the trailer, they gutted the interior and started with a hollowed-out shell. In the process, they did find a few structural issues, but they were able to take off the shell and fix some of these problems thanks to Zach’s welding skills. The trailer was then outfitted with a new electrical system (thanks to Colleen’s father and father-in-law) with LED lighting , new ultra-efficient windows and an elastomeric reflective rooftop coating to insulate and cool off the Airstream’s interior. Once the basics were all in place, they began to layout the design  of their new living space. They decided to go with a black and white color scheme that added a contemporary feel to the living space. All-white walls and natural light open up the compact space, and strategic storage was installed wherever possible to curb clutter. The living space is light and airy with a sofa nested into the curved shape of the trailer. The sofa has ample storage underneath for kids toys, magazines and more. The kitchen, which is quite large for a tiny home of this size, was installed with a black and white backsplash and wooden countertops to add a modern touch. The bedroom, which fits a king-sized bed, is located past the kitchen and bathroom. You can follow the family’s journey in their sleek, minimalist Airstream home on their website or Instagram . + Steady Streamin’ Cashios Via Apartment Therapy Photography via Colleen Cashio

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A 1972 Airstream becomes a bright, 198-square-foot home for a family of four

Studio Roosegaardes laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky

October 12, 2018 by  
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A dazzling neon green light show is illuminating the night skies in Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s latest large-scale art installation, the Space Waste Lab Performance. Created as part of the Space Waste Lab , the performance uses real-time tracking information to render the space waste floating above our heads visible with bright green LEDs that follow the movement of the drifting waste. The series of live installations kicked off on October 5 in the Dutch city of Almere and aims to call attention to the problem of space waste as well as sustainable upcycling solutions. According to Studio Roosegaarde, there are currently more than 29,000 items of space waste  — approximately 8.1 million kilograms worth — floating around the earth. Classified as objects greater than 10 centimeters, the waste comprises anything from parts of broken rockets to chipped-off satellite pieces. The drifting junk poses a danger to current satellites and can disrupt digital communications, however there is no clear plan on how to fix the growing issue. In response, the Dutch design studio launched Space Waste Lab with support from the European Space Agency to bring attention to the issue and find ways to upcycle the waste into sustainable products. The Space Waste Lab Performance that launched early this month marks the first phase of the living lab. Created in compliance with strict safety and aviation regulations, the large-scale light show uses cutting-edge software and camera technology to track pieces of drifting space waste in real time with high-powered, neon green LEDs that project a distance of 125,000 to 136,000 miles. “I’m a strong believer in cooperation between technologists and artists,” said  ESA Director Franco Ongaro about Space Waste Lab. “Artists not only communicate vision and feelings to the public but help us discover aspects of our work which we are often unable to perceive. This cooperation is all the more important when dealing with issues like space debris, which may one day impact our future and our ability to draw maximum benefits from space. We need to speak in different ways, to convey not just the dry technological aspects of technology, but the emotions involved in the struggle to preserve this environment for future generations.” Related: Daan Roosegaarde unveils mind-expanding 295-foot SPACE installation in Eindhoven Space Waste Lab will be open to the public at Kunstlinie in Almere until January 19, 2019 and is complemented by the “Space @ KAF” exhibition next door. The Space Waste Lab Performance will be exhibited after sunset on the nights of October 5 and 6; November 9 and 10; December 7 and 8; and January 18 and 19, 2019. The surrounding street and commercial lights will be turned off at those times to enhance the experience. Phase 2 of the program begins after January 2019 and will study ways to capture and upcycle space waste. + Studio Roosegaarde Via Dezeen Images via Studio Roosegaarde

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Studio Roosegaardes laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky

Eco-friendly Scarborough Home is designed to follow the sun

October 9, 2018 by  
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Set into a steep hillside in Christchurch , the Scarborough Home makes the most of its challenging location by embracing site-specific design. The modern family home is the work of New Zealand architectural practice Borrmeister Architects , which capitalized on the property’s stellar ocean views with a pavilion-like design. Modestly sized at 250 square meters, the breezy, passive solar dwelling also boasts environmentally friendly features including solar panels, rainwater retention tanks and a sculptural roof designed to follow the arcing path of the sun. Building on an extremely steep hillside required the architects to implement a strict 1.2-meter grid that informed the massing of the three-story Scarborough Home. On the basement level, stone walls anchor the home to the ground and appear like a natural extension of the rock face. In comparison, the upper two levels take on a more pavilion-like feel with massive walls of high-performance glass sheathed behind cedar sliding screens to mitigate unwanted solar gain. A lightweight, sail-inspired roof tops the building and is supported by two tree-like timber and steel structures. The open-plan living areas — including the kitchen, dining area and lounge — as well as a study and bathroom are placed on the top-most level. Three bedrooms, bathrooms, a sauna and the laundry room are located on the floor below. Outdoor living is emphasized with large connecting decks, a swimming pool, an outdoor shower and a vegetable garden. Related: Post-earthquake passive solar home is built around resilience “The brief was for a relaxed, playful home open to the sun, capturing the views to the beach and to the uphill park, whilst also providing shelter from the prevailing winds and incorporating easy driveway access and parking,” the firm explained. To meet the client’s wishes for an environmentally conscious home, the architects used locally sourced, low-maintenance, natural materials for construction. In addition to solar roof tiles and a  rainwater harvesting system, the Scarborough Home includes automatic overhead louvers and an ultra-low emission log burner. + Borrmeister Architects Images by Sarah Rowlands

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Eco-friendly Scarborough Home is designed to follow the sun

A giant tree grows inside CRAs renovated farmhouse proposal

October 9, 2018 by  
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Italian design office Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled designs for the Greenary, a renovated farmhouse that will be designed around a large, leafy, 50-year-old Ficus tree. Rising to a height of nearly 33 feet tall, the perennial tropical plant will anchor the main living area while the various living quarters will be arranged around the upper canopy. The adaptive reuse project is the first step in CRA’s competition-winning master plan and factory for Mutti, one of the leading tomato brands in the world. Located in a bucolic region in Italy’s “Food Valley” close to the city of Parma in northern Italy, the new Mutti master plan “strives to integrate nature and the built environment,” according to the architects. The Greenary will serve as a private residence located a few hundred meters from the new Mutti factory, a massive building that will process up to 5,500 tons of tomatoes a day. Both buildings will be designed around the concept of biophilia and connection with nature. “The Greenary is not a treehouse or a house on a tree, but a house designed around a tree,” explained Carlo Ratti Associati in its project statement. “Life unfolds in sync with that of a 50-year old Ficus, a perennial tropical plant housed in the middle of the farmhouse south hall. All around the tree, a sequence of interconnected rooms creates six domestic spaces — three above the entrance, three below it — each of them dedicated to a specific activity: from practicing yoga to listening to music, to reading and eating together.” Related: Thousands of tomato-sauce jars to turn into “tomato architecture” at Mutti In addition to the Ficus tree, which thrives in indoor environments, the house will feature a mainly timber palette, from the structural beams and stairs to the various furnishings. Large windows will flood the interior with natural light while framing views of the rural surroundings. Completion for the master plan is slated for 2023. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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A giant tree grows inside CRAs renovated farmhouse proposal

Former businessman bicycles down the Thames River to stop plastic pollution

July 31, 2018 by  
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Dhruv Boruah, a former management consultant turned environmental hero is cleaning up the Thames River in London on a floating bicycle. The endeavor, named The Thames Project , is more about striking up conversations with passersby and raising awareness than it is about removing all of the plastic waste from the canals — an impossible feat for the one man show that is Boruah. The self-constructed rig, made up of a bamboo bicycle with yellow floats on either side, a rudder and a pedal-powered propeller in the front, has retrieved thousands of kilograms of plastic waste since beginning the project in 2017. “It’s a great conversation starter, and then I can tell them about my work, the plastic and how it all starts here in the canals,” he told CNN while on one of his “off-road cycling” missions. Related: A massive five-ton plastic waste whale breaches in a Bruges canal The 35-year-old philanthropist was impassioned by a yacht racing expedition from London to Rio de Janiero that left him thinking a lot about the dangers of plastic pollution . It was on this undertaking that Boruah had learned of the fortunate rescue of two turtles who were tangled in plastic in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. “Plastic is now in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat,” he explained. “You have to care because it’s about you, your health and the health of your children. Why are we destroying this planet for them?” Boruah’s bicycle nets are often filled with single-use plastic items such as styrofoam containers and water bottles. These get broken down into tiny microplastics over time that not only pollute the oceans, but also affect our air and food. When he is not striking up conversations with curious onlookers, Boruah is working with councils, businesses and communities to educate and encourage them to take action against plastic pollution. + The Thames Project Via CNN Images and video via Dhruv Boruah

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Former businessman bicycles down the Thames River to stop plastic pollution

This gabled home wraps around an existing pine tree in Mexico

July 31, 2018 by  
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The magnificent pines of Mazamitla, Mexico are more than just scenic background for this single-family home—one of the trees has been integrated into the architectural design itself. Architects Alessandra Cireddu and Carlos M. Hernández of Barcelona-based design practice Espacio Multicultural (de) Arquitectura (EMA) crafted the ‘House Around a Tree,’ a single-story abode punctuated by a mature pine tree. The house further embraces the landscape with its use of natural materials and an outdoor, cantilevered terrace that opens up to northwest-facing views of the village below and forest and mountains beyond. Set on a steeply sloped site, the House Around a Tree matches its narrow and linear plot with its rectangular mass. Measuring over 65 feet in length and nearly 20 feet in width, the home has an introverted appearance at first glance—a thick, nearly 10-foot-tall wooden door marks the entrance and, along with the opaque stone side wall , insulates the home from outside street views. The home interior, however, is an entirely different story. Stepping past the entrance takes visitors into an airy void punctuated by the mature pine tree, while large glazing on the southwest side of the home brings sweeping landscape views into the living spaces and bedroom. Related: A cypress tree grows through this hillside home in Los Angeles “The gable roof evokes the geometry of the traditional houses of the region, which is trimmed by a void which contains the pine,” explain the architects. “The natural location of the pine divides the house into 2 areas: the first one on the east side where the main room with bathroom and dressing room is located and separated from the rest of the house; the second one on the west side where we find the public areas, two bedrooms and a wooden volume containing the wet areas (laundry, half bath and full bathroom) that breaks with the constant linearity of the project both inside and outside.” + EMA Images by Patricia Hernandez Fotografia

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This gabled home wraps around an existing pine tree in Mexico

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