Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

May 11, 2020 by  
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According to the United Nations, 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030. In response to the growing challenge of urban populations and their accompanying carbon emissions, Italian design practice Luca Curci Architects has proposed The Link, a self-sustainable “vertical city” with the goal of net-zero energy operations. Designed to accommodate 200,000 people, the futuristic proposal will be presented to cities around the world. The proposed Link project comprises four buildings, the largest of which would serve as residences with apartments, villas, common areas and a variety of green spaces within 300 floors. The 1,200-meter-tall residential tower would be connected to three other buildings that range from 650 to 850 meters tall and house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, retail and other amenities. The architects want to blanket the vertical city with more than 120,000 trees and 2 million plants of over 150 species to help clean the air, reduce the urban heat island effect and provide residents with a closer connection to nature. Related: Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future “It is the first smart city ‘conscious oriented’ that will prevent urban sprawl , produce and storage energy, improve air quality, increase urban biodiversity and create a healthier lifestyle,” architect Luca Curci said. The city temperatures, humidity levels, carbon dioxide levels and lighting systems would be managed with an AI-equipped urban operating system.  The Link would be powered by several renewable energy systems, including wind and solar. The city would also make room for on-site food production and farming that follow zero-waste policies so that each community can create its own food supply. All transport would be entirely powered by renewable energy systems; external and internal docks for public transit systems would be located in the tower basements. Each tower would also be equipped with drone ports. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

May 11, 2020 by  
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According to the United Nations, 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030. In response to the growing challenge of urban populations and their accompanying carbon emissions, Italian design practice Luca Curci Architects has proposed The Link, a self-sustainable “vertical city” with the goal of net-zero energy operations. Designed to accommodate 200,000 people, the futuristic proposal will be presented to cities around the world. The proposed Link project comprises four buildings, the largest of which would serve as residences with apartments, villas, common areas and a variety of green spaces within 300 floors. The 1,200-meter-tall residential tower would be connected to three other buildings that range from 650 to 850 meters tall and house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, retail and other amenities. The architects want to blanket the vertical city with more than 120,000 trees and 2 million plants of over 150 species to help clean the air, reduce the urban heat island effect and provide residents with a closer connection to nature. Related: Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future “It is the first smart city ‘conscious oriented’ that will prevent urban sprawl , produce and storage energy, improve air quality, increase urban biodiversity and create a healthier lifestyle,” architect Luca Curci said. The city temperatures, humidity levels, carbon dioxide levels and lighting systems would be managed with an AI-equipped urban operating system.  The Link would be powered by several renewable energy systems, including wind and solar. The city would also make room for on-site food production and farming that follow zero-waste policies so that each community can create its own food supply. All transport would be entirely powered by renewable energy systems; external and internal docks for public transit systems would be located in the tower basements. Each tower would also be equipped with drone ports. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

LEED Platinum Sonoma Academy building takes cues from Californias landscape

April 14, 2020 by  
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Private college-prep high school Sonoma Academy has elevated its reputation for sustainability with its newly achieved LEED Platinum certification for the Janet Durgin Guild & Commons building, an award-winning student and education center that champions a net-zero energy approach. Designed by architectural firm WRNS Studio and built by Silicon Valley-based XL Construction, the low-carbon building is a powerhouse of sustainable systems including solar panels , a living roof and stormwater management. Crafted as an “extension of its surroundings,” the building takes cues from the Californian landscape with its natural material palette of timber either reclaimed or FSC-certified and sourced from responsibly managed forests. Located in Santa Rosa, California, Sonoma Academy’s Janet Durgin Guild and Commons houses a hybrid maker space, an indoor/outdoor student dining area with an all-electric commercial kitchen, student support services and a teaching kitchen/meeting room overlooking the school’s productive gardens and the maker classroom patio. Designed to follow the school’s principles of creativity, inclusivity and innovation, the 19,500-square-foot, Y-shaped facility emphasizes health and well-being by providing constant connections to nature, daylighting and natural ventilation throughout. A low-VOC materials palette provided the foundation for the project, which is built primarily of steel, glass and timber.  Related: This high school in California embodies sustainability at every possible level Special attention was also given to water conservation and management systems, which have been designed to double as teaching tools. Stormwater runoff is captured on the green roof and in terraced rain gardens, then funneled into a 5,000-gallon cistern. This system provides water for toilet-flushing to offset approximately 180,000 gallons of municipal water use per year, accounting for 88% of the building’s total non-potable water demand. Using a net-zero energy approach that employs low- and high-tech strategies, the architects have designed the building to be 80% naturally lit and to decrease the high-energy-component demand by at least 75%. Rooftop solar arrays and geo-exchange ground source heat pumps power the building with renewable energy, while passive systems — such as deep overhangs and operable windows with high-performance, low-E glazing — keep the building naturally cool. The Janet Durgin Guild & Commons is also targeting WELL Education Pilot and LBC Material and Energy Petals certifications. + WRNS Studio Images via WRNS Studio

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LEED Platinum Sonoma Academy building takes cues from Californias landscape

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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Expandable camper converts into a two-story home via a pop-up roof

April 14, 2020 by  
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Living on the road typically means having to sacrifice some living space, but one savvy camper company has designed an expandable truck that adds more space on demand. Dutch company Haaks has a long history of creating comfortable and functional campers built for off-grid living, but now it has outdone itself with the Opperland — a wooden camper with a pop-up roof that allows it to become a two-story tiny home. Haaks’ campers are designed to provide travelers with a strong connection to nature. The campers are modular concepts built with eco-friendly materials, such as sustainably sourced wood, and come with solar panels and other off-grid features . Additionally, the compact campers can be easily transported to any dream location. Related: 7 transforming mobile homes for adventuring in the great outdoors Measuring just 13 feet long and 7 feet wide, the box-like Opperland offers less than 100 square feet of living space on the ground floor. But once it is set in place, the compact camper ‘s unique system snaps into action to offer way more than what meets the eye. Once it has been driven by its accompanying Fiat Ducato truck to the desired location, the compact camper slides easily off of the flatbed. A set of hydraulic legs sets the camper firmly on level ground, but it remains elevated off the landscape to reduce its footprint. Once in place, a push of a button opens a pop-up roof, converting the box into a two-story tiny house . The Opperland comes with all the amenities needed to live out your tiny home dreams. The upper floor houses a bedroom, while the ground floor has space for a kitchen complete with an induction cook-top, a refrigerator and ample counter space. The corner next to the kitchen is outfitted with a small sofa and a dining table. To connect the cozy interiors to the great outdoors, the end wall of the camper can be folded up to open the living area to the natural surroundings. A small staircase at the end of the kitchen leads to the upper floor bedroom. The sleeping loft features enough space for a double mattress. Underneath, a small bathroom includes a toilet and shower. Although the basic Opperland camper has been created to provide most of the necessities required to live on the road, the camper, which starts at $107,150, can also be customized. + Haaks Via New Atlas Images via Haaks

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Eco-friendly house uses only 19% of the energy it creates

January 27, 2020 by  
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Lexington, Massachusetts is known for its historical landmarks, but now the city is also home to a powerhouse of  energy-efficient design . Designed by Stephanie Horowitz of  Zero Energy Design,  the Lexington Modern Residence is a contemporary 4,400 square-foot home that not only generates its energy through solar power, but is strategically built to significantly reduce its overall energy consumption. In fact, the design is so efficient that the home only uses 19% of the energy it generates. The prolific team behind Zero Energy has long been recognized as a leader in  sustainable design . Not only do their projects maintain the highest standards in green architecture, but their signature modern aesthetics blend into nearly any environment. Related: Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy One of their latest designs, the Lexington Modern Residence, is a stunning example of how creating a sustainable home doesn’t mean sacrificing luxury. Completely powered by a 10kW rooftop  solar electric system , the home also boasts several energy-reducing strategies to create a highly insulated shell. For example, a high-performance building envelope and high-efficiency mechanical systems enable the home to consume only 19% of the energy it generates. The  layout of the family home  was intentionally created to make the most out of the landscape’s natural topography. Its sculptural volume is comprised of a series of cubed forms clad in various materials such as white stucco, wood siding and fiber cement panels. These exterior facades designate the use of the interior spaces found within. From the exterior, these areas are connected via open-air pathways, decks and patios. The interior of the four-bedroom home enjoys multiple strategic  passive features , as well as refreshingly modern interior design. The large open-space layout of the living area enjoys an abundance of natural light thanks to several triple-paned windows and a massive six by 16-foot Passive House (PHI) certified skylight. + Zero Energy Via Houzz Photography by Eric Roth Photography

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Eco-friendly house uses only 19% of the energy it creates

Sherpa Light for indoor farming wins CES 2020 Innovation Award

January 27, 2020 by  
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Developed with the tagline “Grow whatever your heart desires, wherever you are,” Sherpa Light is a tunable artificial light source with the potential to replicate the exact sunlight conditions needed to grow any plant from around the world. Using tunable, full-spectrum LEDs , the device was created to emit different lighting intensities depending on the plant’s cellular structure to optimize growth. Korea-based design studio  Sherpa Space  developed the Sherpa Light and recently showcased their prototype product at CES 2020, where it was named an honoree of the event’s Innovation Award. Sherpa Space was founded to enhance plant growth through technology. The designers say that sunlight falls short of producing the optimal light settings that different plants need at different growth stages. They believe that their artificial lights, which use an adjustable combination of narrow-band LEDs, are best suited to generating the right light conditions — such as intensity, photoperiod, and quality — needed to optimize plant health, from growth and flowering to the enhancement of leaf quality and the concentration of desired chemicals in plants. “Much like how a baby first needs breastfeeding and later switches to solid foods, plants also need different lights and nutrition at different growth stages for maximum growth,” the designers said in a project statement. “For instance, flowering can be promoted in many crops by changing the wavelength given to a plant. Sherpa Space’s unique competitive advantage lies in our ability to convert light wavelengths with minimal energy loss. Using the quantum dot technology, we can provide lights of specific wavelengths optimized not only for each plant but also for each growth stage. As a result, we maximize crops’ nutrient compositions and productivity.” Related: This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive The designers also say that Sherpa Light could be the key to recreating the desired flavor components of certain fruits and vegetables that are typically only enjoyed in the region where they’re grown. For instance, they claim that mangos grown with Sherpa Light in Canada could taste just as good as those in India. There is no word yet of when this product will be made available for sale or testing.  + Sherpa Space Images via Sherpa Space and Inhabitat

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Volkswagen reveals plans for mobile electric car charging robot

January 27, 2020 by  
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As the number of electric cars continues to increase, the need for charging stations increases with it. Often, finding a charging station not only involves planning to be at the location before the car runs out of battery power, but also being able to pull into one of the (typically shared) spots to complete the actual charge. Volkswagen is developing a mobile robot that eliminates the need to plug into a charging port, bringing the charge directly to your vehicle regardless of which parking space you choose.  Using an app or V2X communication, the owner simply lets the portable charger know the car is ready for a boost. The robot, equipped with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors maneuvers through the parking garage, dodging obstacles until it locates the vehicle. The robot pulls a trailer that holds a mobile energy storage device. Once delivered to the vehicle, the robot autonomously attaches the charging unit to the car, initiating the charge. At that point, the robot is free to deliver charging devices to other cars. When the car is sufficiently charged, the robot comes back to disconnect the charging station and return it to its charging dock.  Related: Mercedes Benz presents a luxury electric car The system is currently in prototype form, and a manufacturing date has not been set. However, Volkswagen has a history of electric car innovation that leads us to believe it’s only a matter of time before the charging station comes to the car rather than the car having to track down a plugin. “The mobile charging robot will spark a revolution when it comes to charging in different parking facilities such as multi-storey car parks, parking spaces and underground car parks because we bring the charging infrastructure to the car and not the other way around. With this, we are making almost every car park electric, without any complex individual infrastructural measures,” Mark Möller, Head of Development at Volkswagen Group Components, said. + Volkswagen Images via Volkswagen

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Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy

December 17, 2019 by  
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The formerly industrial borough of Harbugh in Hamburg, Germany will soon get a strikingly modern and eco-conscious facelift thanks to Neuländer Quarree, a new mixed-use community planned for the area. Cape Town-based architecture and design firm SAOTA won the architectural competition for the project with its design of a net-zero energy development powered by geothermal wells, wood pellet-fuelled cogeneration plants and photovoltaic panels. The project was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the Residential Future Project category of the World Architecture Festival, a global architectural awards program and festival, earlier this month. Created in collaboration with Cologne-based BeL Architecture and Berlin-based ROBERTNEUN Architects, the new Neuländer Quarree design aims to revitalize the Harburg inland port with mixed programming and an attractive streetscape with contemporary architecture rooted in historic context. The development will span a site of approximately 44,000 square meters and include 400 apartments, a hotel, offices, retail trade and a technology park with space for businesses, manufacturing and crafts. Related: LAVA designs carbon-neutral LIFE Hamburg with an edible green roof “What sets this project apart is the introduction of communal roof gardens and a variety of social functions on the roof, including sports facilities with running and walking routes, outside dining areas, toddler and kids play areas, an outside cinema and a large area dedicated to urban agriculture,” said Phillippe Fouché, director of SAOTA, in a press release. “As a public gesture, the design introduces a raised public enclave which allows visual access to the canal, the steps leading to it also double as urban seating and meeting place, creating an inclusive urban interface.” Sustainability is also a key feature of the net-zero energy community and part of the overarching goal of promoting “long-term commitment to future residents and users.” In addition to the sculptural buildings, the waterfront development will be defined by attractive public spaces and retail to attract residents and visitors alike. Construction on Neuländer Quarree is scheduled for 2020 with planned completion in 2023. + SAOTA Images via SAOTA

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Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future

December 5, 2019 by  
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Italian architecture firm Luca Curci Architects has unveiled the Vertical City, a futuristic proposal for urban development comprising a series of modular, zero-energy skyscrapers anchored into the ocean floor. Envisioned as a completely self-sufficient settlement, the utopian city promises “healthier lifestyles” for the vertical city-building’s residents. The thought experiment was recently presented for the first time at the Knowledge Summit 2019 in Dubai last month. The Vertical City proposal comprises a super-tall, mixed-use residential building at its core surrounded by and connected to three civic-oriented towers and three crescent-shaped leisure buildings. All buildings would be built using modular, prefabricated elements that can be repeated horizontally as well as vertically. The Vertical City can also be expanded in parts and would be anchored into the sea bed close to the mainland. Related: WOHA unveils a lush, net-zero Singapore Pavilion for the 2020 World Expo The cylindrical buildings in the development are clad in photovoltaic glazing and punctuated with hexagonal openings that promote circulation of light and air. The central, 750-meter-tall residential tower would consist of 10 modular layers — each layer consists of 18 floors and includes a mix of homes, offices, stores and other facilities — to host a total of 25,000 people. The building would also offer more than 200,000 square meters of green space, which includes the public garden at the top of the building. “We will build a new way of living,” Luca Curci said in a press statement. “More sustainable . With more interconnected communities programs. Deleting suburbs. Reducing poverty.” In addition to the 25,000 people housed within the central residential tower, the Vertical City would service over 100,000 people who would travel to the city for work, school and medical care in the three adjacent towers that house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities and educational institutions. The three crescent-shaped buildings, called the Moons, offer lifestyle amenities such as hotels, wellness and spa centers, sport centers and shopping malls. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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