Solar plane to make public debut

Swiss adventurer Bertrand Picard is set to unveil a prototype of the solar-powered plane he hopes one day to fly around the world.

Australia greens up its hospitals – Construction Contractor

Australia greens up its hospitals
Construction Contractor
The Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) new Green Star – Healthcare v1 environmental rating tool will help owners and operators of healthcare 

and more »

UNstudio: retreat exhibition at kunstfort asperen opening june 28th

retreat exhibition, kuntsfort asperen june 28th – september 20th, 2009
curators: ben van berkel and caroline bos/ UN studio
http://www.kunstbus.nl


UNstudio’s installation in the fort
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

on june 28th the exhibition ‘retreat’ curated by ben van berkel of and caroline bos/ UNstudio
will be open to the public at kunstfort asperen. 12 artists were invited to exhibit works which
provide surprising interpretations on the theme of retreat from differing disciplines
and perspectives.

participating artists include: tobias rehberger, frank havermans, ann lislegaard, pipilotti rist,
absalon, andrea zittel, a.p. komen/karen murphy, cosmic wonder, jerszy seymour, lucy orta,
hans op de beeck and sandra backlund.

here is a sneak preview.


exterior of kunstfort asperen
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

retreat – away from daily routine
for ben van berkel and caroline bos the kunstfort asperen and its surroundings was
the starting point for the theme retreat. the fortress has lost its original function, whereby
the perception of place and space has changed. this transition from defense post to idyllic
place forms the premise of the exhibition. the theme, although reflecting today’s
socio-economic realities, was in fact chosen prior to the current global crisis.


‘open my glade’, 2000 installation by pipilotti rist
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

according to ben van berkel en caroline bos, ‘each in their own way has invented solutions
for people in need of a refuge. but each also shows that the solution and the situation you seek
to escape are interwoven, and that there is a painful fragility to the human that no shelter
can cover up.’


‘retreat’ section
image courtesy UNstudio


‘retreat’ elevations
image courtesy UNstudio


‘retreat’ core
image courtesy UNstudio

unstudio has designed a spatial installation which reinterprets the organization of
the fort and forms the binding element between the exhibited works. the structure winds
through the fort like a ribbon, playing with the changing perceptions and experiences
of the space, both literally and symbolically. the material and the diamond structure
of the installation reflect the exhibited artworks which are installed around the fort.


UNstudio’s installation in the fort
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

credits:
architectural installation: ben van berkel and caroline bos
with christian veddeler and arndt willert, gary friedman
curating: ben van berkel and caroline bos
production: machteld kors, cas bool and eric otten
building and engineering: p&p gmbh fuerth, odenwald
graphics: bloemendaal & dekkers, amsterdam
advisory board: jan brand, jose teunissen, ole bouman,
tom van gestel, meta knol, catelijne de muijnck, anne van der zwaag

Sears Tower Reaches for Heights of Efficiency With $350 Million Retrofit

from Green Options by Leslie Berliant

sears towerThe Sears Tower loomed large during my childhood in the Chicago suburbs. I remember when it opened in 1973. We took a special trip downtown to see it. According to my aesthetics as a seven year old, it wasn’t very elegant and I preferred the John Hancock Tower with its swanky restaurant on the 95th floor and proximity to Marshall Fields. Then the company my dad worked for was bought by Coldwell Banker, a subsidiary of Sears at the time, and his office was moved to the Tower. I spent some quality daddy-daughter time there, and one memorable summer got paid the incredibly generous sum of $8 an hour to take the train to the city every day, do some filing and hang out downtown.

But the Tower, in my mind, never had much to distinguish it other than a great view from the 103rd floor, its height of 110 stories and the convenience of the train station. But now everything is changing.

By the end of the summer, it will no longer be the Sears Tower. It will be called the Willis Tower, named for the global insurance broker. But more importantly, the building will undergo a $350 million efficiency and renewable energy retrofit that will reduce the base building electricity use by up to 80 percent – 68 million kilowatt hours annually or 150,000 barrels of oil every year. The retrofit will also create more than 3,600 jobs in the Chicago area.

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a- asterisk: ‘shanghai 2035′ concept design


‘shanghai 2035′ by a – asterik
all images courtesy a – asterik

‘shanghai 2035′ was developed by japanese firm a- asterik is a concept design for
the future of shanghai city.

in 2009, the population of shanghai increased to 24.5 million. the city today has
a rare situation that can not be seen in any other countries. their population is raised
by the pace of 3 billion every year causing an aging society  and a divide between
the rich and the poor, yet building construction is growing at a rapid rate.


estimated population increase by 2035


skyscrapers in shanghai

after the olympic games in 2008 an urban renewal planning project was established.

shanghai 2035 aims to enhance the city’s appeal and improve city life for the future.
the project features two elements an ‘air’ city and ‘ground’ city that will prevent the
loss of green and the land. the network will promote the correlation between the life
in the air level and the grand level.

making the most of the tall buildings and extending the verticality and the availability
of publicized facilities to 300m up in the air. while  preserving the current buildings
and historical buildings, the new city layers will function not only as the infrastructure
of the air level and the ground level, but also the high quality network refined by the
object and the operation of the city.


vertical plan of shanghai 2035


air level of ‘shanghai’ 2035


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035′ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035′ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035′ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035′ concept design


‘shanghai 2035′ positioned over the city’s skyscrapers

credits:
project name: shanghai 2035
location: shanghai china
principle use: urban concept
site area: 6 340km2
design: a – asterisk (nobuhiro nakamura)
collaboration with: ouvi inc (shin yokoo)
design period: oct 2008 – jun 2009
photographer: shuhei kaihara
perspective: gao dayong

The WWF living planet index for freshwater

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
The WWF living planet index for freshwater‘The over-exploitation and mismanagement of fisheries, particularly when combined with other man-made stresses, can lead to the collapse of regional fish faunas. In many countries, aquaculture is rapidly increasing in response to declining natural fisheries, often exacerbating the degradation of inland and coastal ecosystems through habitat alteration, pollution and the introduction of alien species’ (Revenga et al., 1998). The Freshwater Species Population Index measures the average change over time in the populations of some 194 species of freshwater birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Between 1970 and 1999, the Freshwater Species Population Index fell by nearly 50%, which is a very rapid decline in population indices. The harvest of freshwater fish is likely to increase either through capture fisheries or aquaculture (otherwise known as ’fish-farming’). In many developing countries, freshwater fish provide a significant contribution to the diets of local communities. In Africa and Asia, fish provide 21% and 28% of all animal protein, respectively (Revenga et al., 1998). The figures are more significant in landlocked countries, where data on the fish caught are often not formally recorded, and their importance is not fully known. In 1999, reported fish production from inland waters totalled 28 million tonnes, with contributions of 8.2 million and 19.8 million tonnes from capture fisheries and aquaculture, respectively. With major under-reporting from subsistence fisheries, these figures could be twice as high (FAO, 2000). ‘The introduction of the non-native Nile Perch to Africa’s Lake Victoria in 1954, combined with pollution loading and increased water turbidity resulting from agriculture and industrial development, has greatly reduced indigenous fish populations. Kenya, for example, reported only 0.5% of its commercial fish catch as Nile Perch in 1976. Five years later, the proportion was 68%. Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world, has lost an estimated 200 different endemic cichlid species found nowhere else, while the remaining 150 are endangered. Two-thirds of the freshwater species introduced into the tropics worldwide have become established’ (Revenga et al., 1998)

BIG: Tallinn’s New City Hall

from AMNP

big-tallinn-town-hall-7.jpg

The Bjarke Ingels Group has won an international competition to design Tallinn’s [Estonia] new city hall on a 35,000 square meter plot near the Linnahall building. The new design presents a cluster of volumes, housing different administrative offices and interconnecting to form atrium and/or courtyard spaces that would seem to connect to more public plazas surrounding the structure.

Bjarke Ingels, BIG, Partner-in-Charge:

There is a saying that success has many fathers. That is especially true when designing such a crucial public building and public space as a town hall. The design needs to be shaped by input from neighbours  and users, citizens and politicians. Paradoxically we architects often find ourselves isolated from this crucial dialogue at the moment of conception, due to the anonymity of the architectural competition. Since this was a 2 stage competition, we already had our first feedback from the jury – causing us to dramatically rearrange our design to fit the citizens’ needs. As a result we have envisioned a very elastic structure – capable of adapting to unexpected demands. We see it as the first conversation in a design dialogue we look forward to continue.

big-tallinn-town-hall-1.jpg

The design emphasizes openness, and connections with the surrounding city. Located within the tower/spire shown, the city council looks out onto the city and outdoor public spaces – while at the same time, those outside can get a glimpse at the inner workings or the city’s government. To give those inside, and out, a better/more interesting view, the ceiling of the tower is to be tiled with a reflective surface – creating a kind of ‘periscope’ effect. This gives the city council a reflection of the city overhead – maybe a constant reminder of who/what they’re working for – and possibly gives the average citizen the ability to look in on meetings as they’re taking place, as if looking over the shoulders of their representatives.

big-tallinn-town-hall-2.jpg

The periscope is a form of democratic tower, where even the average Tallinn citizen on the street gets to enjoy the overview from the top. From a distance the silhouette of the town hall tower enters the family of Tallinn’s historical spires including those of the Niguliste Museum-Concert Hall, Toomkirik, Kaarli Kirik, Pühavaimu Kirik, St. Olav Church and the current town hall.

big-tallinn-town-hall-3.jpg

big-tallinn-town-hall-4.jpg

::images + quoted text courtesy of the Bjarke Ingels Group::

China Heating Up Global Competition for Solar

from Green Options by Jennifer Kho

There’s no question that China is a force to be reckoned with in the solar industry. The country is the largest silicon-based solar-cell producer in the world, with Chinese and Taiwanese production accounting for 39 percent of global production last year, compared with 28 percent from Europe, according to a report the Worldwatch Institute released last week.

But while China had long been considered a potential game-changer in solar, companies’ growth had previously been slowed by a silicon shortage that hit newcomers more dramatically than incumbents. Even so, Chinese manufacturers overtook German and Japanese companies in 2007. Now that plenty of silicon is available, could the country’s dominance grow even larger? Or will some Chinese manufacturers struggle to differentiate themselves and suffer more than the rest of the market during an oversupply of panels?

Read more of this story »

Water and Energy – A Crisis and An Opportunity

from Green Options by Paul O’Callaghan

This post was written by Paul O’Callaghan, founding CEO of the Clean Tech consultancy, O2 Environmental Inc. and lecturer on Sustainable Energy at the BC Institute of Technology.

inside renewable energy podcastAny plan to switch from gasoline to electricity or biofuels is a strategic decision to switch our dependence from foreign oil to domestic water’.

So says Dr. Michael Webber of the University of Texas at Austin in an interview with Steven Lacey on the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast this week.

Webber comments on the links between water and energy, the potential conflicts, but also about the potential opportunities which arise when you start to understand these links and realize that saving water saves energy, and saving energy saves water.

Read more of this story »

The Opening of the Northwest Passage is Happening Today, not in 10 years!

from Green Options by Amiel Blajchman

Last week’s confirmation of climate change by the White House has only further raised the stakes for the Arctic. As detailed in formerposts, one of the significant effects of our changing climate is the thinning of the ice pack in the Arctic, and the subsequent opening of the Northwest Passage. As the Northwest Passage opens, so too will we see an upsurge in the demand for shipping and the rush to access oil, gas, and mineral resources. [More…]

Significantly for observers, commercial fleets are beginning to view the Northwest Passage as a viable option for getting from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

“The ice is more favourable than in past decades,” said Capt. Georges Tousignant of Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, “It’s navigable, it’s not that high-risk.”

And it’s not just Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping that is interested in navigating the Northwest Passage, the Canadian Coast Guard has seen an increase in the number of ships that entered the Northwest Passage. The longer that good shipping conditions continue, the more companies that will view the Passage as a viable transit route.

Unfortunately for the polar bears and infrastructure built reliant on permanent ice in the north, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that ice melt rates have increased. In May of 2009, ice melted at a rate of about 54,000 square kilometers per day throughout the Arctic. Average May ice melt has traditionally been closer to 47,000 kilometers per day.

The implications of all this ice melt is that similar to the long-term melting of permafrost, there will be less of the dangerous multi-year ice that impedes shipping every year. And therefore every year there will be increased shipping, and increasing attention to the viability of the Northwest Passage.

With increasing attention being paid to the Northwest Passage, watch for its status under international law to become a point of contention along with other northern concerns such sovereignty and related territorial claims.

Image: ashatsea (Creative Commons)

menis arquitectos: jordanek music hall

spanish architecture studio menis arquitectos won the competition for the jordanek music hall in torun,
poland. the city is embarking on the project in an effort to win the bid to become the european capital for
culture 2016. the new music hall aims to bring a world-class venue to the UNESCO protected old town in
torun. the building site’s on a large plot, most of which will be used for park space. to keep the building
unimposing, the architects kept it as low as possible. brick will be used on the interior to recall the brick
facades of the historic buildings nearby and the exterior will be a light concrete that is intentionally cracked
to reveal the red brick inside. fernando menis designed the interior space to be very flexible, modelling it
after the polish dish zurek (a soup served in a hollowed out bread bowl). 2 halls dominate the space,
a smaller one seating 1000 and the main one, which seats 3000. however these two halls are parallel and
can be combined for big performances. the music hall is set for completion in 2012

Green timber scheme ‘discriminatory’ – Architecture and Design

Green timber scheme ‘discriminatory’
Architecture and Design
The new scheme is part of the GBCA’s ongoing review of the Green Star environmental rating tools for buildings. The framework was developed in consultation 

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Human Health Endangered by Australian Drought

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Due to climate change; one of the now dried up lakes in Australia is gradually turning into Sulphuric Acid.
murrayriverdrought
The Age is reporting that there are fears people living in towns around the lakes may suffer from acid dust, blowing off the bare lakes as rising acidity threatens to wipe out ecology in the lakes. The lake-bed soils turn into sulphuric acid when exposed to the air, and record low flows down the Murray are exposing the beds.

Read more of this story »

World’s largest solar array planned for the Sahara Desert

from DVICE by AdamFrucci
World's largest solar array planned for the Sahara DesertThe Sahara Desert gets a lot of sun. In fact, it gets so much that if a mere 0.3% of its area was used for a solar plant, it could power all of Europe. So it only makes sense that 20 German companies are looking into doing just that.

The plan would be to scatter solar collectors all across northern Africa in politically stable countries rather than putting them all in one spot. It’ll take years to build everything as well as $555 billion in funds, but in the long run it’ll be well worth it.

Next100 via Inhabitat

Chinese projects focus on the economics of heat recovery – Engineer Live

Chinese projects focus on the economics of heat recovery
Engineer Live, UK
To achieve that, and depending on the precise brief, in-house teams run emissions assessments, source and manage carbon portfolios, and design staff/customer engagement programmes. To meet net zero carbondioxide reductions, carbon offsetting is part 

moho architects: mixed use tower in san jose de costa rica


mixed used tower, san jose costa rica
image courtesy moho architects

rising above the skyline of san jose in costa rica, this mixed use tower by spanish firm
moho architects will be a new landmark, providing crucial amenities for the city, sheltered
from the local climate. the concept is driven by a progressive environmental strategy that
is expected to establish new benchmarks for the region.

the building offers an ideal model of sustainable urban living by reducing reliance on
transport and balancing energy consumption between its mixed-use program of day
and night time activities. program include  mixed commercial and retail spaces together
with a business centre, offices, conference rooms, hotel floors and casino. the tower rises
25 floors consisting of a viewing platform and restaurant providing panoramic views
over the city.

the tower splits and creases independently as it rises into the sky. this ‘head split’ configuration,
permits natural lighting, while sky courts filled with vegetation punctuate at intervals the tower
and mitigate the hot climate.

the development will take advantage of a number of sustainable energy strategies and key
to the energy performance of the building are its wooden brise-soleil facades, designed to
filter solar gain and to encourage daylight to permeate the complex.  the tower is intended to
be a paradigm for passive environmental control, providing an alternative to the more conventional models
of sealed and air-conditioned glass stumps. the layered facade cuts air-conditioning load
and the plan encourages daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting.

the project is currently in the schematic design phase and is expected to be completed in 2012.


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects

Two Thirds of Americans Would Refuse to Give Up iPod – Even if it Ruined Environment

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

An astonishing new survey has revealed that more than 60% of Americans would refuse to stop using their iPods, even if they knew it was seriously damaging the environment.

The survey, which quizzed more than 1,000 people across the US, found that, whilst the majority of Americans are making efforts to buy greener products, most wouldn’t do so if it meant compromising on convenience or comfort.

Read more of this story »

Reforestation, town of Galma and surroundings, Niger 1975 and 2003

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Reforestation, town of Galma and surroundings, Niger 1975 and 2003In 1970s and 1980s – years of environmental crisis, there were few trees remaining in Niger. Wind-blown sands razed farmers’ young crops and they often had to plant crops three times to succeed. Since the middle of the 1980s in the most densely populated parts of Niger farmers have begun to protect and manage young trees and bushes regenerating on their cultivated fields. This is natural farmer-managed forest regeneration. Some trees fix nitrogen from the air on their root system, which helps to maintain and improve soil fertility. Improved soil fertility leads to higher crop yields. The trees and bushes protect crops against wind and sand and farmers now often need to sow only once, which increases the length of the growing season. Women are perhaps the biggest winners. They spend much less time now on the collection of firewood than they did 20 years ago – about 0.5 hours/day now instead of 2.5 hours/day in 1984. They also now own 80% of the goats and sheep, which provides them with income. Fodder is much less of a problem now than 20 years ago as the trees produce seedpods and leaves, which are a major source of fodder in the dry season. The most important incentive for tree regeneration by farmers was a change in perception of ownership of the trees. In 1985 the perception was that trees were owned by the State, but farmers now perceive an exclusive right to their on-farm trees. Farmer-led tree regeneration has happened on at least 5 million hectares – once barren, sandy soils almost devoid of vegetation now has 20, 40 or more trees/ha. This is a spectacular scale, unique for the Sahel and probably even unique for Africa. It is not spread evenly. It is strongest in the regions with higher population densities.

Fire Evacuation Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

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