axis mundi unveils conceptual design for MoMA tower


conceptual tower for MoMA new york by axis mundi

manhattan based firm axis mundi has unveiled a conceptual alternative design for MoMA tower.
founder of the firm john beckmann sees this as the time to rethink the tall buildings
that have become synonymous with new york city’s identity.

‘instead of disguising the rich potential of towers that have a mix of uses, we looked
for a way to express that diversity,’
beckmann noted. the firm used parametric computer
modeling software to test a wide range of possibilities. out of this iterative process they
proposes a new way to organize and express tall buildings: the vertical neighborhood.

World’s First International Commission on Ecosystem Loss Launched in Nairobi

You are invited to attend the launch of the world’s first international commission on the catastrophic loss of the world’s ecosystems. Legislators will argue that Governments are failing to stop the destruction of the world’s ecosystems at a summit in Nairobi on the 18/19 July.

Zero carbon building planned – TeleText


24dash

Zero carbon building planned
TeleText
hemp cladding panels on campus this summer. The crop used for the straw absorbs CO2 as it grows so buildings can be seen as having a zero carbon footprint.
Balehaus: Homes of the future could be built from strawDaily Mail

all 8 news articles »

The Schweeb: Personal Pedal Power Pod

from Green Options by Christopher DeMorro

I hate traffic. To me, there are few things worse in the world than having to sit idling in traffic, moving at an inch an hour, all because some dimwit blew out a tire. It is part of the reason I consider myself a country boy at heart. At least to me, the city is a nice place to visit, but I could never live there.

But a new, novel idea involving pedals and a monorail system has the potential not only to eliminate traffic, but emissions and accidents as well. Called simply The Schweeb, this self-enclosed, pedal-powered personal pod is already in use at an amusement park in New Zealand. Geoffrey Barnett and his team of designers see the Schweeb not only as a vehicle of amusement, but as a replacement for personal motor vehicles in traffic congested cities.

Read more of this story »

Four ‘eco-towns’ given go ahead

Four ‘eco-town’ sites have been announced and will go through to the next stage of planning.

Building green in a global economy that is in the red – REjournals.com


Building green in a global economy that is in the red
REjournals.com
There are massive amounts of “embodied energy” in the materials, the labor, and the supporting infrastructure for an existing building. 

Major genetically modified crop production countries, 2006

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Major genetically modified crop production countries, 2006Some regions report increases in some crops and positive financial returns have been reported for genetically modified cotton in studies including South Africa, Argentina, China, India and Mexico. In contrast, the US and Argentina may have slight yield declines in soybeans, and also for maize in the US. Studies on GMOs have also shown the potential for decreased insecticide use, while others show increasing herbicide use.

Tiny Molecular Bowls Pull Carbon Dioxide Out of the Air

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Coal-fired Plant

The discovery of a tiny bowl-shaped molecule which collects carbon dioxide right out of the air has beckoned some creative solutions to global warming.

By genetically engineering microbes to manufacture the handy molecule, scientists hope to make it useful as an industrial absorbent for CO2 capture. That could help clean up smokestacks from dirty coal-fired power plants, but it’s also possible that the molecules could be used for pulling carbon dioxide right out of the ambient air.

Read more of this story »

A New Report Shows That Wind is More Popular Than the Beatles

from Green Options by Ruedigar Matthes

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It could be many things: God, love, E.T., or even Michael Jackson. But today, right now, it is wind. Wind has always been around. I think that few would argue with that. But wind power, on the other hand, has been hidden from mankind’s view for centuries. But now wind power is on the rise, especially in America. And a new report shows that wind power is more popular than the Beatles…or not.

The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a report today, which came on the same day that Secretary Chu announced the selection of 28 new wind energy projects for up to $13.8 million in funding – $12.8 million of which will be Recovery Act funds.

Read more of this story »

Electric Horizon: Alfred Deakin Eco-Innovation Lectures

from Sustainable Melbourne by Kate Archdeacon
Shai Agassi, founder of Better Place, shares his inspired vision of freeing cars from oil, reducing harmful exhaust, and ushering in a new era of sustainable transportation. He will discuss the economic factors, industry dynamics, geopolitical pressures, and mounting environmental concerns that are combining to drive this profound change, as well as the challenges we […]

San Francisco Bay Overrun by Alien Seaweed Forest

from Green Options by Derek Markham

A fast growing invasive seaweed that grows up to an inch a day is turning San Francisco Bay into a ‘jungle’ of kelp.

When you think of wakame (if you do at all), you’re probably imagining miso soup or a macrobiotic diet, but this variety of kelp (Undaria pinnatifida) is one of the world’s worst invasive species. Native to Japan, China, and Korea, wakame was found to be inhabiting New Zealand about 20 years ago, and recently has been making itself at home in coastal areas of Europe. San Francisco Bay is its latest victim, and the alien seaweed is posing a threat to native species there.

Read more of this story »

Magic watch with floating hands costs $265,000

from DVICE by CharlieWhite
Magic watch with floating hands costs $265,000You might be too cool to wear a watch, but this wrist wizardry could make you reconsider that notion. The Louis Vuitton Tambour Mysterieuse Calibre LV115 watch appears to defy the laws of physics with its floating movement and suspended hour and minute indicators. How is this even possible?

The secret lies in two transparent sapphire disks supporting the hour and minute hands. Mysterieuse, indeed. The gold and steel masterpiece is completely mechanical, crafted of 115 hand-mounted parts, and runs for eight days on a winding.

Because the watch costs just over a quarter of a million dollars, Louis Vuitton lets you customize it however you want, and even includes a fancy trunk to store it when it’s not adorning your wrist. Just be sure to hire an armed guard to accompany you when you wear such a precious thing.

Toshiba and Electrolux team up to make a snail-inspired vacuum cleaner

from DVICE by AdamFrucci
Toshiba and Electrolux team up to make a snail-inspired vacuum cleanerVacuum cleaners, by and large, are boring looking. They’re utilitarian devices that are designed to do their jobs and then sit in the closet without being seen. But Toshiba and Electrolux decided that they didn’t like that, so they teamed up to design a vacuum cleaner that you wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen in your living room.

The result of their partnership is the Escargot Cyclone Vacuum Cleaner. It weighs a mere 4.6 pounds, making it easy to tote around, and it has a 50-watt high-suction power plant that brings plenty of power to your cleaning. And if you’re in Japan, you can grab one for a mere $113.

Appliancist via TFTS

Black & White Clock uses OLEDs, looks simply stunning

from DVICE by CharlieWhite
Black & White Clock uses OLEDs, looks simply stunningJust look at what innovative things you can do with OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes). Designer Vadim Kibardin created this caseless clock, placing the four individual digits on a wall. A light sensor switches the numerals from black to white, displaying the correct time, day or night.

It’s simple and beautiful. Kibardin is currently searching for a manufacturer for his prototype, and we hope he finds one.

Kibardin Design, via technabob

MIT developing fabrics capable of taking pictures

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
MIT developing fabrics capable of taking picturesWhat you see there is a cross-section of an “optoelectronic” fiber. It’s a light-sensing strand MIT is developing that it says could capture an image. Led by Associate Professor Yoel Fink of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the research is still far from yielding any real-world applications, but the project just hit a milestone, namely using the fabric to take a rough snap of a smiley face.

In the future, the group can see the fibers used in multiple ways, including being weaved into a soldier’s garment. Since the fibers can capture an image, he could observe his surroundings through a heads-up camera feed instead of having to swivel around.

The fibers also one-up cameras as they have the potential to be far more durable. “We are saying, ‘instead of a tiny, sensitive object [for capturing images], let’s construct a large, distributed system,'” Fink told MIT News, “While the current version of these fabrics can only image nearby objects, it can still see much farther than most shirts can.”

Well, sci-fi-ish project or not, he’s got a point there.

Via MIT News, via GizmoWatch

WaterTherapy shower head envelops you with soothing colors

from DVICE by Michael Trei
WaterTherapy shower head envelops you with soothing colorsThere’s nothing quite like a long soothing shower to calm your frazzled nerves following a hectic day. The cascading warm water creates a wonderful tactile sensation, even though in most bathrooms there’s little else to stimulate your other senses.

The WaterTherapy shower head from Guglielmi adds a visual element, with multi-colored LEDs behind each of the 480 nozzles controlled by any of eleven different monochromatic and multi-colored light programs. That sounds like a whole lot more fun than other LED equipped shower heads we’ve seen, which only let you know how hot the water is.

Now all they need to do is add speakers playing Handel’s Water Music, or Hillary Duff’s Come Clean to round out the effect.

Guglielmi, via Born Rich

Redesigned London Bridge would be a farming and business hub

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
Redesigned London Bridge would be a farming and business hubLaurie Chetwood of London’s Chetwood Architects won first prize for her redesign of the London Bridge across the Thames. The contest, run by the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) and the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects (WCCA), called for a bridge that would take the design back to the earlier function of bridges. That is, serving as a hub for meeting and commerce on top of joining two shores.

Chetwood’s design satisfies this goal with two focused spires: one that acts as a vertical hydroponic farm, while another serves as a commercial center for products, produce, eats and residential space. Of course, it wouldn’t be a futuristic design if it wasn’t sustainable, so it’ll be powered by solar and wind energy, and take advantage of natural cooling techniques to lower the strain all around.

Check out more of the Chetwood design below.

African Rhinos Sold to the Highest Bidders – and Sentenced to Death

from Green Options by Rhishja Larson

White Rhino photo

Conservationists and animal rights organizations are outraged at what looks like a potential trend in species management (or mismanagement) of the Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherum simum). 10 of 200 White Rhinos sold at auction last week have already been killed by “trophy hunters.” And earlier this year, Dwesa Nature Reserve sold the right to kill 6 White Rhinos to the highest bidder.

In the case of the Dwesa hunt, the rhinos were killed by Vietnamese clients of African Scent Safaris, which, according to their website offers an “unforgettable African hunting experience.” These patrons had the rhino horns exported to Vietnam, where illegal wildlife trade is active.

Outraged against the last week’s proceedings, Animal Rights Africa is calling for prospective tourists coming to visit the country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to boycott the Kruger National Park.

Read more of this story »

Almeisen Tower is a Solar Concentrating Skyscraper

Almeisen Tower is a Solar Concentrating Skyscraper July 13, Dubai

Architect Robert Ferry unveiled a stunning design for a sustainable spire in Dubai that requires zero energy and produces zero waste and zero emissions. The Almeisan Tower is a concept created for Za’abeel Park that generates all of its own energy using concentrating solar power technology. The tower itself is actually a solar power tower (much like Solar One in California) that uses heliostats positioned at the top of the tower to direct sunlight onto a central receiver…more.

Avenue2 Consortium Wins A2 Maastricht Project with Groene Loper Plan

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The Steering Committee for the A2 Maastricht project in Maastricht, Netherlands recently announced that the project will be carried out by the Avenue2 Consortium, which consists of Ballast Nedam and Strukton. The decision to award the contract to Avenue2 also signals the approval of the Groene Loper (Green Boulevard) plan. The Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the City of Maastricht, Limburg Provincial Authority and the Municipality of Meerssen were all represented in the steering committee.

image

Winning concept in the A2 Maastricht project: the Groene Loper (Green Boulevard) plan by the Avenue2 Consortium (Ballast Nedam, Strukton, ARCADIS Nederland, West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, Humblé Architecten, dGmR and Bex* Communications)

The Groene Loper plan gets its name from a stretch of greenery that will weave its way through the city from north to south along the current A2 zone. Over a distance of 2.3 kilometers, a two-carriageway tunnel with four lanes each will provide extensive underground traffic capacity. Above the tunnel, a peaceful and safe park boulevard with 2,000 linden trees will be developed, restricted to local traffic only.

image

The quiet and safe park lane is created with an emphasis on pedestrians and cyclists. This means more room and better quality of life for inhabitants, flora and fauna. Such a streetscape profile is possible because of the strategically chosen stacked tunnel format, providing a great deal of freedom for the design of the public realm. This stacked format, with two tunnel tubes on top of each other, creates a narrow profile that can still handle large traffic volumes with optimum traffic flow through. Local traffic and through traffic are separated from each other to help reduce lane changes within the tunnel.

Two unique city entrances are created at the mouths of the tunnel. They will be recognizable as two sloping areas in the landscape. They will transform the current A2 zone into a connective space for the city.

image

The consortium partners Ballast Nedam and Strukton enjoy the support of a number of leading firms includingARCADIS NederlandWest8 Urban Design & Landscape ArchitecturedGmR and Bex* Communicatie.

ExxonMobil Invests $600 million with Algae Company Synthetic Genomics

from Green Options by Joanna Schroeder

ExxonMobil has been slow to invest in biofuels. Actually, until now, they have not invested in them at all while their competitors have spent the last year making what they hope are strategic investments. Well, slap me silly, but today ExxonMobil announced a $600 million investment with J. Craig Venter (best known for mapping the human genome) whose company, Synthetic Genomics is developing a photosynthetic algae biofuels program. This venture includes more than $300 million invested in Synthetic Genomics specifically and $300 for other projects Venter is developing. This investment should cover five-to-six years of research.

Now, I should clarify, that the partnership is with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) just like ExxonMobil Chemical Company is working with Electrovaya to produce the Maya 300. It’s not unusual for the oil companies to use or create offshoot companies for their renewable energy investments. For example, Valero, which has been extremely active in biofuels investments now has a division branded as Valero Renewables.

As reported by Earth2Tech, Emil Jacobs, vice president of R&D for Exxon’s Research and Engineering Co., said in a call with reporters that it will likely take billions of dollars in additional investment to commercialize the technology for distribution in Exxon’s existing infrastructure. Within 5-10 years, Jacobs expects the project to be producing “large quantities” of transportation fuel.

Read more of this story »

BC Wildlife Officials to Tourists: Don’t Put Seal Pups in Your Car

from Green Options by Jennifer Lance

This post contains additional media. Click here to view the full post.

A tourist from Calgary found a lone seal pup while in British Columbia.  She thought the pup needed rescuing, so she put it in her car wrapped in a blanket then called the police.  Most likely, the pup was not abandoned. Canada.com explains:

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, mother seals will often leave their pups shortly after birth. They will often return to their pups within 24 hours provided conditions are right, one of those being that humans aren’t nearby.

Read more of this story »

From the UK: 20 Bold Schemes That Could Save The World – The Infrastructurist


The Infrastructurist

From the UK: 20 Bold Schemes That Could Save The World
The Infrastructurist
It could be come as centerpiece for new sorts of social interaction, maybe includingzero-carbon potlucks and climate change encounter groups. though it 

and more »

No Coal, No Nuclear, Only Renewable Energy For Scotland By 2030

from Green Options by Mridul Chadha

According to a new study, Scotland could shut down all its coal and nuclear power plants in the next 20 years and fulfill all its energy needs using renewable sources.

The study commissioned by a consortium of environmental groups and conducted by an independent engineering consultant will soon be presented to the Scottish government. The study hold significant importance as the government has set ambitious goals for cutting carbon emissions and switching to renewable energy sources for power generation. The research studies and evaluates five different scenarios to predict the energy demand and generation trends over the next 20 years.

Read more of this story »

quadrangle architects: ‘green ribbon’ gardiner expressway toronto

ecdm: ZAC bords de seine housing project

from Designboom – Weblog

1 person liked this


an overview of the new housing project
image courtesy of ECDM architects

located in the issy les moulineaux, france, ZAC bords de seine by ECDM architects
is a project which includes housing, shops and some services. it draws on the idea of building
an intelligent living space that turns to its surrounding environment and weather elements for assistance.
light, views, outdoor space and transversal ideas were essential in the design of this site.
rather than create a few situations running through each other, all parts of this architectural unit interact
with one another to make a cohesive unit.


rooftop gardens and lush plants utilize rain water to their benefit
image courtesy of ECDM architects

taking advantage of alternate resources, rain water is collected through the buildings’ rooftops
and stored below for irrigating vegetation later.


trees are planted on the interior of the buildings and grow through skylights brining the outdoors in, the large circular skylights also invite sunlight in
image courtesy of ECDM architects

suspended terraces that allow for gardening to green the space
image courtesy of ECDM architects


trees are incorporated into the design of the indoor parking lot
image courtesy of ECDM architects

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Indian tiger park ‘has no tigers’

One of India’s main tiger parks admits it no longer has any tigers.

More Food Waste to be Turned Into Energy in California

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

“Clean your plate. There are people starving in Africa.” 

That’s what mom always said. But it turns out that leftover food also can feed a hunger for electricity.

A wastewater treatment plant in California is receiving support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to turn more food scraps into energy at a wastewater treatment plant.

The East Municipal Bay Utility District, or EMBUD, project will be the largest of its kind in America, where food waste is the second-largest source of municipal solid waste.

In Oakland, California, EBMUD’s main wastewater treatment plant was the first sewage treatment facility in the nation to convert post-consumer food scraps to energy via anaerobic digestion.

EMBUD already uses anaerobic digestion to turn food waste from San Francisco and Contra Costa County restaurants and commercial food processors into green energy. The facility plans to up its intake of scraps from 90 tons per week to 200 tons per week.

This post contains additional media. Click here to view the full post.Anaerobic (without oxygen) digestion works by using bacteria inside the digester to decompose the food. The digester captures the biogas and uses methane, a potent greenhouse gas, to power the treatment plant. What’s left can be used as compost, which is great for San Francisco, which recently signed the first mandatory composting law in the nation.

Anaerobic digesters also are being considered for use at large cattle farms in Michigan, where the waste product is manure. A similar methane-capturing process also is used to create landfill gas.

Tell your mom.

(Image Credit: EPA. In Oakland, California, EBMUD’s main wastewater treatment plant was the first sewage treatment facility in the nation to convert post-consumer food scraps to energy via anaerobic digestion.)

New Glass Prevents Birds From Colliding with Windows

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Bird flying in window

A new exterior film for glass has been developed which can be seen by birds but not humans. It could be used to help prevent the needless deaths of billions of birds which collide with windows annually.

Collisions with windows are estimated to be the most common cause of bird death worldwide aside from habitat loss. The numbers of deaths are staggering, outranking deaths by domestic cat, hunting, vehicular collisions, and wind turbine accidents combined. Thus, preventing bird-window collisions could be the simplest way to significantly reduce bird fatality around the world.

Read more of this story »

Student Works: Ecotone Hydro Park

from InfraNet Lab by lsheppard

[Hydro park adds a public park, animal habitats and water treatment to an existing dam ]

A recent thesis project at McGill University by Tania Delage takes Lebbeus Woods’ idea of the borderline and the ecological phenomena of the ecotone as an opportunity to cross-breed infrastructure, ecology and public amenities.

Insurers Attempt to Reduce Risks of Carbon Capture & Storage

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


In January the Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services AG launched two insurance products to cover liabilities for Carbon Capture & Storage.

It is now processing four submissions from some of the 10 to 15 European companies planning to have plants running by 2015. Additional companies in Europe, United States, Australia, China and Japan were also expressing interest in the coverage, a sign companies are beginning to explore implementing the as yet largely undeployed technology.

“There is a ‘fog of war’ surrounding the actual risks of CCS,” John Scott, head of risk insights at Zurich Global Corporate, said. “Operators need certainty. It is difficult as a business person to make any long-term investment decisions unless you have certainty about the costs of risks,” John Scott said.

“Actually, the most challenging thing is what happens beyond 50 years or when a storage site is sealed. Who then bears the risk?”

Read more of this story »

Plantagon is a gigantic vertical farm in a dome

from DVICE by AdamFrucci
Plantagon is a gigantic vertical farm in a domeEating locally is all the rage these days, especially for city dwellers looking to shrink their carbon footprint. But it’s tough to do that in a city, as farmers need to drive their goods in from the country, and that takes energy.

The Plantagon is a design for an enormous urban greenhouse, placing a spiraling vertical farm in the heart of a city. Is this really feasible? I’m not sure, but if it is I would sure like to live near one.

Plantagon via Inhabitat

Estimated global marine fish catch, 1950 -2001

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Estimated global marine fish catch, 1950 -2001Fishing production dramatically increase through the century peaking in late 1980s. At this time there were major declines in several fish populations in different areas of the world. The catch reported by governments is in some cases adjusted to correct for likely errors in data.

Jakarta Bersih! – Nunc Architects Wins Visionary Architectural and Urban Design Competition

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The design concept “Jakarta Bersih!” by Dutch firm Nunc Architects has won the first prize in the international architectural and urban design competition “Gotong Royong City: Envisioning the Future of Jakarta”. The competition was hosted by the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) 2009 in collaboration with Ikatan Arsitek Indonesia (Indonesian Institute of Architects Jakarta Chapter).

From the competition theme: “This 4th Biennale takes the theme of ‘Open City: Designing Coexistence’. The idea of the Open City is understood as ‘an urban condition that enables diverse cultures and lifestyles to coexist’. It ‘balances integrating and segregating forces to encourage distinct communities and groups to settle, interact, and establish the dynamic relationships that we call urbanity’. A number of sub-themes will examine this Open City hypothesis in greater detail, and one of these has been identified as ‘Gotong Royong’. ‘Gotong Royong’ is usually translated into English as ‘reciprocity’ or ‘mutual assistance’. In Indonesia the term is applied across political, social, economic and cultural spheres. The aim of this competition is to focus the possibilities of this rich term onto urban and architectural matters. We seek to investigate the capacities of this term to serve as a relevant principle of urban life generally, to revive its fortunes as an indigenous principle for thinking and action in the extended metropolitan region of Jakarta.”

Nunc-partner Johan Krol said: “Our plan shows that by relocating a part of the overpopulated Kampung into our buildings, more open green spaces are created in the kampungs. By doing so we improve the living standards and reduce the risk of flooding. The autonomous vertical communities are linked to a waste treatment center. These centers handle all types of waste that the poorest residents of Jakarta can collect and trade of. In this way we provide work and income as part of the informal economy.”

Floor Moormann explained the billboard facade concept: “The facades of these buildings are designed as huge billboards. The revenue from this 70 meters high advertising will be used to facilitate and finance the cleaning communities; commerce as charity.”

The jury was comprised of: Stephen Cairns (Edinburgh University, subcurator IABR 2009); Kees Christiaanse(KCAP Rotterdam, curator IABR 2009); Winy Maas (MVRDV, the why factory); Vedran Mimica (Berlage Institute Rotterdam); Andrea Peresthu (TU Delft); and Daliana Suryawinata (SHAU Rotterdam, the why factory, subcurator IABR 2009).

The second prize went to “Let’s Catch the Water! Jakarta Sponge City” by mamostudio + UPH University, the third prize to “Field Estate: A Platform for Symbiotic Urbanism” by GABPA architects.
FIRST PRIZE: Jakarta Bersih!
NUNC architecten

image

G.M. Is Going Green. Literally.

from Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia

gm_logo_greenSomeone at General Motors has come up with the brilliant idea of changing the company’s iconic blue logo green. The struggling automaker thinks it will show consumers it is a leaner, greener operation focused on fuel efficiency and quick action

7 Quadrillion BTUs of Free Energy Available

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Up to 50 percent of all fuel burned in the US goes unused into our atmosphere as wasted heat; the US Department of Energy has found. The total, a mind boggling 7 quadrillion BTUs; exceeds the current output of all other US renewable sources – such as solar, wind and geothermal, combined.

We could use this potential waste heat capacity to generate 46 GWs of new, clean electricity annually.

Read more of this story »

Light + strong concrete = tall, green buildings

Light + strong concrete = tall, green buildings July 8

As cutting costs remains the overwhelming pre-occupation for construction industries throughout the globe, maximising space by building tall offers an attractive solution. Secondary aggregate can allow the innovative and sustainable design of tall buildings to go hand in hand with cost efficiency. A 2009 study conducted by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) shows that more tall buildings were completed in 2008 than ever before…more

Tornado Tower Features Energy Generating Façade

Tornado Tower Features Energy Generating Façade July 8

The Tornado Tower is a spectacular modern and unique design that is characterized by a rotating facade, which generates power from high altitude winds. The exterior of the tower is outfitted with curved fins that harness the wind to generate clean energy to power the arts center and the surrounding city as well. Pairing function and aesthetic, the roof of the tower boasts an undulating sea of pearls that meld into clouds, from which unparalleled views of the city are possible…more

Freeway Air Pollution Is So Much Worse Than You Thought

A couple of new findings tell an unsettling story about the health effects of living near freeways–and that “near” is a lot farther away than you might think. Finding #1: Pregnant women living near highways or busy roads are more than twice as likely give birth “very preterm” at 30 or …

Closing the Climate Change Accounting Loophole — With a Billboard – Huffington Post

Closing the Climate Change Accounting Loophole — With a Billboard
Huffington Post, NY
a less-than-honest tally of our carbon dioxide costs – an accounting mistake that is already having enormous impacts in every corner of the US and world. The market price of emitting this pollution has long and, quite irrationally, been zero

Canadian seal hunt ‘collapsing’

Canada’s fishermen catch only 25% of this year’s seal quota, blaming falling prices for seal pelts and an expected EU ban on seal products.

charlie davidson: ‘uni’ table


the ‘uni’ table is cut from a single pieces of plywood
image courtesy of charlie davidson

charlie davidson, who previously participated in our designboom mart tokyo, has designed ‘uni table’,
made from sustainable plywood. for the design, davidson chose to use the
alpha system / traditional wood cut style joint that takes into account structural loading,
re-assembly and ease of manufacturing. to minimize the use of plywood, he came up with a solution
where a pair of legs could be cut from two smaller pieces of ply, which results in a jigsaw-like
connection to key the leg components together. the two pairs of legs are then joined together
with two side rails held in place by the alpha system. the table top then locks into the side rails.

the top is cut from the underside, using a standard 3 degree tapered cutter normally used in
machining wooden moulds that require a draft angle. this produces the tapered edges around the
tabletop’s edge and cuts the angled holes into which the legs locate and fiction locked into place.
the round cut maple’s natural beauty is maximized by the large table surface,
with its curved sides flowing with the grain of the veneer.


an exploded view of the table
image courtesy of charlie davidson


detail of the alpha system which locks the legs and table top together
image courtesy of charlie davidson

Closer to the sun: Satellite solar is out of this world

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

This is a notch up from high-altitude wind turbines.

It’s another type of space race, to be the first company to get solar satellites into orbit.

U.S. companies are aggressively researching the technology, reports Yale 360. One firm called PowerSat in Washington state has filed for patents to link as many 300 shiny satellites together in space, beam the energy to one big satellite, then transmit the power back to Earth.

The star trek also includes using solar-powered thrusters to launch satellites into orbit 22,000 miles above our planet.

This post contains additional media. Click here to view the full post.A California utility called PG&E also has signed a deal with Solaren for 200 megawatts of space-based solar power in 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Read more of this story »

UN warns of ‘megadisasters’ linked to climate change

Geneva (AFP) June 16, 2009 – The United Nations on Tuesday raised the prospect of “megadisasters” affecting millions of people in some of the world’s biggest cities unless more is done to heed the threat of climate change.

MIT Researchers Discover Why Concrete Breaks Down

from Green Options by Ariel Schwartz

The old saying “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” may not apply to sidewalks for much longer now that MIT researchers have figured out why concrete breaks down. As a result of the discovery, structures like buildings, bridges, and yes, sidewalks, could last for hundreds of years longer than they currently do. A nuclear waste container built to last 100 years could, for example, last 16,000 years.

Read more of this story »

eVolo 2010 Skyscraper Competition

from AMNP

dsky_b.gif

[’09 2nd place: The living bridge, Nicola Marchi + Adelaïde Marchi]

The eVolo Skyscraper Competition has definitely evolved into a really interesting way to test and showcase new ideas for high-rise buildings – a typology that is most definitely due for some real innovation.

All Aboard the Wind-Powered Railway

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

train_windmills

The marriage of railway operators and wind farms could bring renewable energy to more people and energy-saving, higher-speed locomotives to America’s rails.

Freight company BNSF is considering allowing power companies to use its railroad rights-of-way (such as theChicago-to-California Transcon) to route transmission lines from remote wind farms to major cities. In exchange, BNSF would get lower electric bills and a constant source of power for their locomotives should BNSF go electrtic, according to RailwayAge Magazine.

The concept makes sense. Railroad rights-of-way tend to be largely hidden from view but they also lead to major population centers, and they could pass big midwestern wind farms. A wind-and-rail combination would position rail companies to benefit from any future “cap-and-trade” emissions policies. It also could cut emissions as diesel locomotives are replaced with electric trains, and investments in wind power would help further offset emissions.

First Spaceport Ever Begins Construction This Friday

This newly-released image shows the sun rising over Spaceport America. It’s not build yet, but you are looking at the future. The beginning of the real future, the stuff dreams are made of. (more…)

High-Altitude Winds Hold Sky-High Promise for Meeting Electricity Needs

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

High-altitude winds hold enough energy to power the world 100 times over.

Though harnessing them is another issue.

You’ve heard of commercial wind turbines in farm fields, offshore turbines on the water, even small wind turbines on the rooftops of homes, but high-altitude winds are also being studied as a potential energy source.

The first-ever study of high-altitude winds by the Carnegie Institution and California State University says winds in the jet stream, about 30,000 feet up, would be the ideal source to exploit. And the sky over New York is a prime spot, along with population centers in the eastern United States and East Asia.

Read more of this story »

Saudi’s Kingdom hires Emaar for kilometre-high skyscraper

Saudi's Kingdom hires Emaar for kilometre-high skyscraper June 14, Jeddah

Kingdom group signed Dubai-based Emaar to develop and supervise the construction of a kilometre-high tower in Jeddah. The Jeddah Kingdom City and Kingdom Tower will comprise 23 million square metres (247 million square feet) of commercial, residential and office space on 530 hectares of land near Jeddah’s international airport. The centrepiece of the project will be taller than any building completed or under construction in the world…more

Ideas Competition for the Bering Strait Project Announces Winners

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The Bering Strait Project international ideas competition recently announced the winning concepts in the professional and student categories. The Bering Strait Project attempts to span the Bering Strait betweenRussia and the United States via a bridge or a tunnel which would create an overland connection linking Asia, Africa and Europe with North America and South America.

image

Possible route of Intercontinental Peace Bridge across the Bering Strait (Wikipedia)
Promotion video of Bering Strait Project (Source)

Not many images of the winning concepts have been published yet – we keep on adding them as they come in. Add your entry by sending images to .

These are the jury’s winners:
Professional Category:

1st Prize (USD 55,000):

Diomede Archipelago: TALLER 301 – Julian Restrepo (Colombia), Pablo Forero (Colombia), Manuela Mosquera (Colombia), Susana Somoza (Venezuela), Tomas Jaramillo (Colombia)

image

Diomede Archipelago

2nd Prize (each USD 25,000):

Bering Strait: Rachdi Manal (France), architecture OFF (France)

Bridge the Memory: Jaeik Sim (Republic of Korea), Hyunwook Woo (Republic of Korea), Daekwon Park (Republic of Korea), Jonghyuk Lim (Republic of Korea), Dongjin Lee (Republic of Korea)

image

Bridge the Memory

image

Bridge the Memory

image

Bridge the Memory

EATURE-Australia’s carbon farmers in quiet revolution – Reuters

FEATURE-Australia’s carbon farmers in quiet revolution
Reuters
Carbon farmers are adopting zero or minimum tillage, which does not plough the soil, increasing stock rotation to allow land to rest, sometimes for years, and avoiding bare earth with year-round cover with crops, native grasses and weeds. 

The Tipping Point: China Takes Major Steps Toward Electric Vehicles

from Green Options by Ruedigar Matthes

With over 1.3 billion people, it is no wonder that China is the “tipping point” when it comes to electric vehicles (EV). At least that’s what Better Place CEO Shai Agassi says.

Better Place, a venture-backed company that aims to reduce global dependency on oil, doesn’t sell cars but infrastructure. The company recently unveiled a battery swap system in Tokyo that makes refueling an EV easier than filling up at the pump. The $500,000 station allows drivers to travel long distances without having to stop to charge their battery, eliminating EV’s ever present “range anxiety.” Batteries are quickly and easily swapped out so drivers can get back on the road.

But infrastructure is just part of the picture, and Agassi says that China is taking steps toward green-lightingelectric cars in a big way. “Once China does it, you don’t have a choice,” Agassi said.

Read more of this story »

Supermarket installs power-generating parking lot

from DVICE by AdamFrucci
Supermarket installs power-generating parking lotA supermarket in England is setting up a high-tech parking lot that’ll generate energy from cars driving on it. The free juice will power the cash registers and lights inside the store.

The system will work via a series of plates that, when driven over, will create a rocking motion underground which turns generators. As more cars drive over it, more energy is generated, about 30kw of energy an hour. It’s a smart idea, and we’ll have to wait and see if it catches on elsewhere.

Via Daily Mail

Huge Electric Semi Would Transform Trucking

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

When you think about the fuel-efficient vehicles we’ll need as we descend the other side of Hubberts Peak you think of an electric car, right? You just don’t think of a hybrid diesel electric Semi Truck, do you? 

Well, luckily, somebody is thinking about this fuel-efficient Semi, because we will still need to transport stuff even as the oil age slowly comes to an end.

Kioko Muthui has designed a humungous concept vehicle that would operate as a Series Range extended EV – a bit like the Volt – but instead of gas to run the onboard ICE, using a tiny amount of diesel.

Like the series hybrid Volt, this internal combustion engine is used only to generate electricity to run the truck as an EV, never to power the vehicle.

Read more of this story »

Smart Grid vs. Renewable Energy: Where Should We Invest?

from Green Options by Jennifer Lance

Smart Grid Technology Meeting energy needs while being efficient and using environmentally responsible technologies is probably the single greatest change that needs to happen to alter the effects of climate change now.  In the United States and the European Union, governments are backing smart grid and renewable energy programs. Undoubtedly, the two technologies go hand-in-hand, but where should we put our efforts (and dollars/euros) first?

Read more of this story »

monolab: rotterdam city tower

the dutch architecture firm monolab design a true high rise for rotterdam in the city’s maas harbour.
the tower is designed to give the city a contemporary high-rise that is iconic and practical. the tower
would stand 450 m tall in the city’s harbour connected to the land via a series of walkways where there
would also be a parking lot and another building project. the building’s façade would use photovoll glass
that harnesses solar energy to power the building. the tower also does away with a central core for
elevators and stairs by placing these elements of the outside. the interior of the tower would be filled with
a combination of office, residential and special commercial programming such as observation decks, gym
and restaurants.

http://www.monolab.nl

When the ruins begin to sing

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Images: Three aerial photos of suburban Arizona by Daquella Manera, used through a Creative Commons license].

Malfunctioning fire alarms going off inside foreclosed homes have become a major distraction for fire departments in suburban Arizona, according to ABC15 News.
Fire fighters, however, cannot legally enter a property unless they see smoke or have obtained the owner’s permission. But in an era of bank ownership and rampant foreclosure, even finding the owners can take weeks.
The result is that “neighbors have to listen to the alarm until the battery dies, which can take days.”
First we were surrounded by ruins, and then those ruins

began to sing.

(Thanks to Steve Silberman for the link!)

XERO Project Green Building Concept: Veggie Does Dallas

Somewhat like a vegetarian version of the Dragonfly building in Manhattan, the XERO Project is a proposed idea of bringing local agriculture, orchards, gardens and food stalls into the city of Dallas, all under one roof. (more…)

Well-connected – Timber Trades Journal

Well-connected
Timber Trades Journal, UK
There are two issues around carbon [in building] – embodied energy and operational energy. [Traditionally] about 20% of a building’s carbon is embodied and 80% is operational, but we now have buildings where the ratio is more like 60:40,” he said – and 

The Folly of Building-Integrated Wind

The Folly of Building-Integrated Wind June 10

The appeal of integrating wind turbines into our buildings is strong. Rooftops are elevated above ground, where it’s windier; the electricity is generated right where it’s needed; and wind energy can make a strong visual statement. Dozens of start-up wind turbine manufacturers have latched onto this idea since it fits well with a strong public sentiment to shift from fossil fuels to renewables. What’s not to like about it?…more.

Russia Tower Site To Become Car Park

Russia Tower Site To Become Car Park June 12, Moscow

The planned 600 metre plus tower to stand in Moscow, the Russia Tower, has been officially junked with the site set to be transformed into a car park making it one of the most notable victims of the current global recession. The developer was expected to begin construction of the tower early 2009 but has struggled to raise the $2 billion in financing required, thanks to the relative weakness of the Russian economy compared to China and India…more.

Will Babcock & Wilcox’s tiny reactor make nuclear power practical?

from DVICE by PeterPachal
Will Babcock & Wilcox's tiny reactor make nuclear power practical?In the long march toward a green power grid, a lot of eyes are turning toward nuclear power. While the problem of what to do with the waste remains unresolved (waste is typically stored on-site), a new, more compact reactor design might make the issues of cost and construction time less of a concern. Babcock & Wilcox’s small-scale reactor is one-tenth the size of a normal one, and it’s able to generate 125 MW of power.

B&W says the power will cost less than $5,000 per megawatt. With an average home consuming about 1 kW, the reactor could lead to some seriously cheap power — possibly even cheaper than this mini reactor from Hyperion.

All of this, of course, puts aside the issue of nuclear waste, which would be presumably the same amount as a normal-size reactor. At least B&W has equipped the pint-size reactors to be able to store waste on-site for their entire 60-year lifespan. That seems to be good enough for the Obama administration (for now), so if this new design can help get us on the road to safe, practical nuclear power, we say bring it on!

Babcock & Wilcox, via Treehugger

Zero Waste Week

from Sustainable Melbourne by Kate Archdeacon
Could you survive a week without throwing anything away?   An invitation from the Ethical Consumer Guide to join the “Zero Waste Week” trial. Can we live with zero rubbish for one week?  It’s a basic concept,  yet may be not-so-basic to implement. Join us on a […]

More Urban Sprawl

from Sustainable Melbourne by Virginia
Melbourne’s urban sprawl will push another 50,000 houses into surrounding farmland in the next 15 years, putting further pressure on Melbourne’s stretched transport system. Despite Government planning policies backing increased city density, almost half of all new housing expected in Melbourne over the next decade will be built on Melbourne’s fringes where there is little […]

MAD: Al Rostamini HQ

from AMNP

mad-al_rostamini_hq-1.jpg

For starters – I think we can all agree that this project warrants a resounding “My ninja, please“. I mean, look at it…

Located in Dubai [I’m sure you’re shocked, as am I], the Al Rostamini Headquarters by MAD appears at first glance [from the water] to appear to be a fairly standard, boxy tower – with some elliptical holes in the facade. That is, until you notice that this ‘box’ appears to be floating at the waters edge, suspended above open public space along the coast. 9 large diagonal tubes are used to achieve this affect – pushing up and out of a tree-filled park space to hang the tower out towards the waterfront. Pretty siiick.

Report: Climate Change Already Killing 300,000 People Annually

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

dry, cracked earth in draught-stricked Africa

The first-ever report exclusively focused on the global human impact of climate change indicates that more than 300 million people are seriously affected by climate change at a total economic cost of $125 billion per year.

Earlier today, former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum, announced the results of a report on the human impact of climate change. The study, Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis, emphasizes the present impacts of a changing climate, pulling the debate away from a focus on “future generations.”

Speaking at a press conference in London, Mr. Annan said, “Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. As this report shows, the first hit and worst affected are the world’s poorest groups, and yet they have done least to cause the problem.”

Read more of this story »

RMJM architects: ‘capital gate’ tower, abu dhabi


‘capital gate’ by RMJM architects
image courtesy RMJM architects

construction has reached the half way point for ‘capital gate’ tower designed by new york
firm RMJM architects. located in abu dhabi the slanted tower will consist of a large internal
atrium including a tea lounge and swimming pool suspended 263 feet above the ground. due
to its posture, the 35-story capital gate is being constructed on top of a 7-foot-deep concrete
base with a dense mesh of reinforced steel. the steel exoskeleton known as the diagrid sits
above an extensive distribution of 490 piles that have been drilled 100 feet underground to
accommodate the gravitational, wind and seismic pressures caused by the lean of the building.

the iconic tower will be the centerpiece of the capital centre development, an 2.2 billion USD
business and residential micro city being constructed around the thriving abu dhabi national
exhibition centre.

lara calder architecture: ‘eco house’


‘eco house’ by lara calder architecture
image courtesy lara calder architecture

australian firm lara calder architecture designed ‘eco house’ which was awarded first
prize last year in the future competition 2008 held by australian green.

Air New Zealand’s Biofuel Flight Cuts Emissions By 65%

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

At the Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington, Air New Zealand’s Chief Pilot Captain David Morgan announcedthe company’s findings on a test flight from last December. Powered by a combination of biofuel and jet fuel, the test resulted in a fuel savings of 1.2%. It also cut CO2 emissions by over 60%!

While a 1.2% fuel savings doesn’t seem like much, that is over 1 ton of fuel!

The test was conducted using a commercial 747-400 fitted with Rolls Royce engines. Rolls Royce had certified the fuel — a 50:50 blend of standard Jet A1 fuel and synthetic paraffinic kerosene derived from jatropha oil.

Read more of this story »

The Creo House: Zero-carbon and affordable – 24dash


24dash

The Creo House: Zero-carbon and affordable
24dash, UK
The aim of the building is to highlight ways in which zero carbon buildings can be affordable, not just in terms of the materials used, but equally in terms of reduced energy consumption. The Creo House will have a space-saving, air source heat pump 


One Container Ship Pollutes As Much As 50 Million Cars

from Green Options by Christopher DeMorro

Much ado and attention has been paid to the pollutants emmitted from the tail pipes of cars and trucks in recent years, both here in the U.S. and across the pond in Europe. With an estimated 250 million passenger vehicles in the U.S. alone, it would seem that cars would be a major contributor to pollution and air quality issues here and abroad. But newly released data from Europe suggests that a single container ship may cause as much pollution as 50 million cars and release as much as 5,000 tons of sulfur oxide into the air annually. And there are 90,000 such ships of varying sizes across the world at any one time.

Read more of this story »

160 Syrian villages deserted due to climate change: study

Damascus (AFP) June 3, 2009 – Some 160 villages in northern Syria were deserted by their residents in 2007 and 2008 because of climate change, according to a study released on Tuesday.

flynn talbot: ‘horizon’


‘horizon’ interactive light wall installation by flynn talbot
image courtesy flynn talbot

australian designer flynn talbot designed ‘horizon’, an interactive light wall installation,
as part of the smart light sydney festival 09.

‘horizon’ is a mix of sky inspired patterns and contemporary lighting effects. instead
of purely programmed effects, visitors are invited to interact and modify the patterns
of light. the installation is double sided so it affects both the street scene and the whole
interior of the gallery. it explores light vs. space and the effect that colour has on people
and their surroundings.

Energy cost of various construction materials

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Energy cost of various construction materials
CO2 emissions are not directly deducible from energy costs. Concrete for instance is a very CO2-intensive material due to the emissions from chemical processes involved in its production, despite the relatively low energy costs per cubic metre.

Hurry Up and LEED

from AMNP

http://archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=3524

The number of scheduled LEED exams has gone through the roof, as people are trying to pass the test before the new system goes into effect. Ninjas still think LEED is a money game, making it about the wrong kind of green [click the title of this post for more, via the Architects’ Newspaper].

yasuhiro yamashita / atelier tekuto: ‘village of beauty and health’


‘village of beauty and health’ by tekuto yasuhiro yamashita
image courtesy atelier tekuto

many precious, old japanese traditional wooden houses sit abandoned and neglected
all over japan. atelier tekuto, working together with keio university took notice of these
old traditional wooden houses in shimane, a prefecture famous for izumo taisha, japan’s
oldest shrine and the iwami ginzan silver mine, which has been designated a world
heritage site. these houses were transported and relocated to fujisawa city, a commuter
located in a suburb of tokyo, where they are in high demand. in doing so, this project
hopes to boost the value of these old houses, cut back on carbon dioxide emissions
and revitalize these two areas through this mutually beneficial arrangement. those who
move into and live in these transplanted villages will be blessed with ‘beauty’ and health.
the focus is on agriculture and how to incorporate it into one’s lifestyle, allowing one to
achieve beauty in a healthy  way. in a sense, this project is a kind of environmental village
that is not zoned according to function. instead, the location of each building is determined
by an algorithm based method that ensures the use of natural energy and the optimization
of vegetation for agricultural purposes. they believe that this represents one possible method
of urban planning for the 21st century.


concept of ‘village of beauty and health’
image courtesy atelier tekuto

a settlement based around medical facilities, food and shelter
each village is equipped with medical facilities, food and shelter, which is comprised
of 30 to 40 units. the total number of family units would be about 100. the diameter of
the entire village should be less than 200m, encouraging residents to walk around
the three villages, enabling villagers to interact and complement each other.

stefano merlo: ‘blade of grass’


‘blade of grass’ by stefano merlo
image courtesy stefano merlo

italian designer stefano merlo has created ‘blade of grass’ an outdoor lighting solution,
that imitates the form of blades of grass. the aim was to design a lighting source that
could be easily integrated in any natural environment  and become part of it.

how green is ‘green’? – 24dash


24dash

how green is ‘green’?
24dash, UK
The company, which has in the past few months attained the ISO14001 environmental standard, maintains that domestic ventilation solutions which seem ‘green’ on paper often are not when embodied energy is factored into the equation, particularly for 

Green contractors more likely to win work

Construction firms who can prove their green credentials are more likely to win work

$100 Trillion Dollar Wallpaper

from AMNP

the_zimbabwean_newspaper_faaa5_22619.gif

I hate to say that this is ‘cool’, as it reflects some very serious issues caused by Robert Mugabe and his [essentially] terrible leadership of Zimbabwe – but, this is a great idea for protesting/speaking out. We’ve all heard some thing or another about currency so worthless it’s only good for wallpaper – but where have you seen itactually used for wallpaper? And as a political statement?

trillion_dollar_campaign_zimbabwean_newspaper_yatzer_1.jpg

Zero Energy Houses Creating a New Design Vernacular:

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

The deep Butterfly Roof

The traditional gabled roof that we are all familiar with was engineered to slough off snowfall. But in an uncertain post peak oil future of possible energy shortages and water shortages, more and more houses are showing up with roof-shapes engineered to harvest their own rainwater, and support solar power generation.

Google Opens New Aussie Headquarters

google hq.jpgYesterday, while I was soaring on my way to Computex, Google decided to throw a little party to celebrate the opening of their new Australian Headquarters in Pyrmont. I hope they had a drink for Gizmodo..

Strategic options for climate change mitigation Global cost curve for greenhouse gas abatement measures

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Strategic options for climate change mitigation Global cost curve for greenhouse gas abatement measures
This graphic attempts to show ‘all in one': the various measures for greenhouse gas reduction with both reduction (in CO2 equivalent) and cost (in Euros) quantified. Read from left to right it gives the whole range of strategic options ranging from low hanging fruit, such as building insulation, in green (coming with economic savings) to the increasingly higher hanging ones, such as afforestation, wind energy, in red. * Carbone Capture and Storage

DARPA HEDLight Program Saves Up to 87% with New Lights for U.S. Navy

from Green Options by Tina Casey

U.S. Navey to junk old light bulbs for high-efficiency HEDLight systems.After a year-long demonstration project, the U.S. Navy is poised add its own contribution to reducing the military’s carbon bootprint – or carbon wake, as the case may be.  The Navy stands to gain up to 87% in savings for shipboard lighting, by switching from conventional light bulbs to high efficiency LED and HID systems developed throughDARPA under the HEDLight (High Efficiency Distributed Lighting) program.  One recent retrofit has been accomplished by Ohio-based Energy Focus, Inc. Saving energy is just part of the picture: the quantum leap to HEDLight is also expected to yield significant gains in the Navy’s strategic efficiency.

Faucet Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Submitted by Jessy R

Hilarious Infrastructure

from AMNP

inescapable-interchange.png

[original comic via xkcd]

I mean, who doesn’t like infrastructure jokes?

A few more of these over at The Infrastructurist: America Under Construction – a site that I just visited for the first time today that’s definitely worth checking out.

I also enjoyed this comic by xkcd.

Risk Management Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Submitted by Anthony G

European Parliament votes for `zero carbon` building rule – Environmental Expert (press release)


Sofia Echo

European Parliament votes for `zero carbon` building rule
Environmental Expert (press release), Spain
All new homes, shops and offices built in the European Union could have to meet tough ‘zero carbon‘ building standards from 2019 after the European Parliament voted to strengthen rules designed to ensure buildings generate renewable energy onsite. 
Europe sets 2019 deadline for zero-energy new buildings Energy Efficiency News
all 211 news articles

Humanity’s carbon budget set at one trillion tonnes

from New Scientist – Online News

To avoid dangerous climate change, we must burn no more than 25% of remaining fossil fuel reserves, two comprehensive new studies show

What smart meters will do for you

Smart meters will let you monitor gas and electricity use

from BBC News and Sport Search: energy

A revolution in the way you think about and use energy in your home is about to get underway, the Energy Retail Association says.

Wind Turbine Output Boosted 30% by Breakthrough Design

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Passive structure design of “Wind Energizer” by Leviathan Energy reportedly increases wind turbine efficiency 30% in field tests.

Technological advancements in wind energy efficiency have generally come incrementally and usually made via a process of increasingly large wind turbine blades. Put simply, the model has been: longer blades = more output per turbine.

But that pattern of incremental improvements may be a thing of the past if Leviathan Energy has anything to say about it. Leviathan Energy has completed initial testing on their Wind Energizer unit and is reporting gains in wind turbine output in the ballpark of 30% — and as much as 150% at lower wind speeds.

The principle theory at work is that by placing passive objects around a wind farm it will change the circulation around a large wind turbine. The advancement is not in the turbine itself, but rather in the area around it, as such, units can be adapted to any wind turbine from any manufacturer.

“This is a disruptive technology,” Leviathan Energy CEO Dr. Daniel Farb told me via telephone from Israel last week. “We are changing the environment of the wind turbine; this is a very different approach.”

Read more of this story »

Russia To Ring The Arctic With Floating Nuclear Power Stations

from Gizmodo Australia

Poor Mr. Polar Bear. When he’s not jumping from melting ice chunk to ice chunk trying desperately not to drown, he’s avoiding the floating Russian nuclear power stations and their potential toxic waste.

Property Council says high-rise is the solution

from CTBUH Global News

April 30, BrisbaneBrisbane could see more than 1000 new 20-storey apartment towers dotted across the skyline in the next 20 years. While understanding some residents may be concerned at dramatic changes, Property Council state executive director Steve Greenwood agrees with Lord Mayor Campbell Newman that Brisbane city needs to “go up if we can’t go out”…more

Islands at the Top of the World – Airships Revisited

from InfraNet Lab by neeraj

[Luxury cruises by Airship Ventures Zeppelin NT over San Francisco]

As energy costs rise and resources continue to deplete, seemingly defunct technologies tend to resurface. Airships are one such innovation, garnering more attention in recent years after decades of dormancy. Airships are ‘lighter than air’ structures that remain aloft with a lifting gas, such as helium. Propelled in a similar fashion to boats – using rudders and propellers, airships are presently used for advertising, tourism and aerial observation. New innovative research, however, is improving the speed and maneuverability of airships, making them a competitive means of transport in a fuel starved economy.

[Strato Cruiser Concept design by Tino Schaedler and Michael J Brown]

Jetfuel currently accounts for twelve percent of the CO2 emissions in the United States. With increases in air travel, once ‘impractical’ alternatives such as biofuels and airships are becoming viable solutions to lower fossil fuel consumption. The Spirit of Dubai, an airship primarily used for advertising, boasts that it uses less fuel in a week than a Boeing 767 consumes by traveling from gate to runway. The low fuel consumption has incited explorations into the cargo transporting ability of airships, particularly when speed is not vital. Airships are also useful for ‘hovering’ – sparking design interests from surveillance and observation to an ‘internet airship’ that can provide wireless access to mobile computer users.

[Lockheed Martin\’s solar powered HAA]

Recently, Lockheed Martin was contracted by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Air Force to construct a prototype airship that would be solar powered. Termed the HAATM (High Altitude Airship), the airship is an unmanned structure that is located high above the jetstream (where the airs are calm) to provide surveillance and weather monitoring. The large surface areas of airships (which greatly increases their drag) provide an ideal site for solar farming – harnessing energy while transporting goods and people.

[Aeros\’ Aeroscraft ML866]

[Aeros\’ Aeroscraft ML866 – size comparison]

The Russian company, Ros AeroSystems is developing a high altitude airship that can carry 1200 kg – effectively transforming the routes that cargo is distributed. With an average daily power consumption of 100-230 kW, the ‘Berkut’ is equipped with solar cells to reduce energy consumption and increase endurance.

The American company Aeros has developed an ‘aeroscraft’ that can cruise at speeds of 200km/hr. An aeroscraft is a partially buoyant airship that also has gas cells that allows it to control lift while in the air or on the ground. Further, the 64m aeroscraft is being examined and tested to carry loads up to 60 tons. While unable to seat large number of passengers (currently seating only 20), the aeroscraft ML866 comes equipped with mobile program – conference rooms, libraries, hotel rooms, etc., effectively absorbing the grey goo of airport urbanism within the transport vessel itself.

[Manned Cloud, a flying hotel proposed by French designer Jean-Marie Massaud]

While airship travel is appealing, there are still some challenges to overcome before air cruises become universal. First, is the reliance on helium. While helium is the second most abundant element in the observable Universe, it is quite rare on Earth. Although hydrogen gas is more buoyant than helium, it does not have the non-flammable characteristics of helium. Secondly, the load capacity of airships needs to increase to make these viable for mass transport. Currently, they are ‘luxurious’ only because they have more space than load capacity. By increasing their passenger and cargo capacity, they can attract a larger-than-luxury consumer base. The last obstacle to overcome would be traveler’s patience. Perhaps being in an island on top of the world will be worth the week long trip to Europe.

High-rise plan to halt the sprawl

from CTBUH Global News

April 30, MelbourneMelbourne could house an extra million people within existing boundaries by accelerating multi-level development on main tram and bus routes, according to an ambitious plan before the State Government. A draft report, obtained by The Age, proposes a radical rethink of the urban planning system in a bid to overcome persistent obstacles to higher-density housing development…more

Office block to be carbon neutral – Sydney Morning Herald


Sydney Morning Herald

Office block to be carbon neutral
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Grocon chief executive Daniel Grollo said the Pixel Building went a step further than “carbon zero” projects by guaranteeing all carbon used in the construction of the $6 million, four-storey office block would be offset over the life of the building, ..

Less than 25 per cent understand zero-carbon challenge, says report – Architects’ Journal

from zero carbon – Google News

Less than 25 per cent understand zero-carbon challenge, says report
Architects’ Journal, UK – Christopher Sell
The consultation, which aims to find a practical definition of zero carbon, was launched by the Communities and Local Government consultation in December 2008, following calls from industry that existing definitions ofzero carbon were unworkable for 
Zero Carbon Hub releases report on zero carbon definition Building Sustainable Design
Zero carbon homes report released PlanningResource (subscription)
all 4 news articles

How one in 1,000 can equal 50%

from BBC News and Sport Search: energy

What do you do when that family snapshot of your child playing on a golden beach is ruined by the ugly car park to the right of the picture? Crop it out. Unfortunately, statistical pictures are also heavily cropped to alter the stories they tell, says Michael Blastland in his regular column

3XN: Saxo Bank

from AMNP

3XN has recently completed construction of the Saxo Bank Headquarters in Copenhagen – a ‘young dynamic internet bank’ that was founded in 1992 and focuses on online-trading.

The architectural design is based on Saxo’s cutting-edge profile and branding. The lines of the building design define a sharp balance between reliability and dynamic expressiveness in dialogue with the local plan. The building is shaped like two blocks with the end walls pointing towards the canal, joined together by facades that are withdrawn from the end walls. The facades are shaped like double curved glass that wave like a piece of textile.

While most clients only deal with the bank through the interwebs, the bank decided that the image and physical presence of the new headquarters was of great importance – based partially on ‘a strong conviction that architecture and design affect each staff member’s performance and awareness of the company’. The interior is therefore open and transparent, emphasizing a sense of community. The plan centers around a large atrium space – with a large spiraling staircase corkscrewing up  the height of the building.

::Thanks to Lise for contacting AMNP about this project::

.:all images + info courtesy of 3XN->

World’s Largest Commercial Solar Power Tower Goes Online

from Green Options by Sean Sullivan

Now we’re cooking.

Operation of a new Spanish solar thermal plant just kicked into high gear, taking the title as the world’s largest commercial tower-type collector.

Read more of this story »

Going Green Fail

from FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments by pizzaburger

Zaha Hadid’s Genesy floorlamp takes inspiration from the trees

from DVICE by AdamFrucci

This is the Genesy Floorlamp, designed for Artemide by legendary designer Zaha Hadid. It’s huge and awesome and you can’t afford it.

Apparently, it was inspired by trees and their roots and canopies. I can sort of see that, but to be fair, there’s no touch dimmers on trees. Nor are there two types of lightbulbs. But hey, it’s close enough.

Via DesignBoom

Preservationists, developer square off over Century Plaza Hotel – Los Angeles Times

from “embodied energy” – Google NewsPreservationists, developer square off over Century Plaza Hotel
Los Angeles Times, CA – Ken Hively


Moe maintains that the building contains a great deal of “embodied energy,” the energy required to manufacture the materials, transport them to the site and assemble them into a building. He has recently been speaking to groups nationwide about this 

Norway May Ban Gas Cars After 2015

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Norwegian Finance Minister, Kristin Halvorsen, and her Socialist Left Party have put forth a plan that would disallow the sale of new cars that run solely on gasoline after 2015.

Under the plan new cars such as hybrids, that run partially on gas, would still be allowed to be sold in the country, but any cars that only use gas as their power source would be illegal. Cars already on the road would be unaffected.

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FBI Adds Environmental Terrorist to Most Wanted List

from Green Options by Kay Sexton

In a double first for the FBI, a domestic terrorist has been included on the international most-wanted list, and he’s an environmental activist too.

The man in question is Daniel Andreas San Diego who’s 31 years old and describes himself as an animal rights extremist. The crime that got him onto the list is the planting of nail bombs in San Francisco in 2003. It’s alleged that San Diego was involved in the campaign that targeted researchers involved in animal testing.

San Diego also has links to SHACStop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, and in January, in the UK, lengthy prison sentences were given to seven members of the organisation after an investigation over several years by Kent police.

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SolveClimate: California Puts Fuel on World’s First Low-Carbon Diet

from Green Options by SolveClimate

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Thursday, April 23, at SolveClimate.

California regulators tonight approved the world’s first low-carbon fuel standard, a bold set of performance-based fuel rules that are being closely watched in more than a dozen other states and countries, as well as in Washington.

Many of the program’s details are still in flux, to be worked out by the Air Resources Board before the standard takes effect in 2012.

The goal was clear, though: achieve a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2020. Fully implemented, California’s LCFS is expected to cut those emissions by 15 million metric tons a year.

“The big picture is we want to incentivize the use of electricity for vehicles. … We want to incentivize innovation,” said Air Resources Board member Daniel Sperling.

Read more of this story »

Hancock Tower Auctioned Off for Half-Price

from CTBUH Global News

April 20, BostonSince it was planted in the landfill of Boston’s Back Bay district in the 1970s, I.M. Pei and Henry N. Cobb’s John Hancock Tower (1976) has been an emblem of spectacular but problematic commercial architecture. Excavation for the tower cracked the masonry of H.H. Richardson’s neighbouring Trinity Church, faulty curtain walls rained glass onto surrounding streets, and the building swayed excessively. In 2009, it’s a ready symbol of today’s vertiginous commercial real estate market…more

iCrete Mixes Stronger Concrete With Less Cement

from CTBUH Global News

April 21, CaliforniaiCrete, based in Beverly Hills, California, has developed a proprietary algorithm for designing concrete mixes that it says can reduce portland cement content by 10%–40% without compromising strength. Cement production is energy-intensive; in a concrete mix with 12% cement, the cement is responsible for 92% of the embodied energy of the mix. In addition, extra cement usually increases early strength gain but can compromise long-term durability and cause other problems…more

KLAUS: On Starchitecture

from AMNP

Our ninja KLAUS, from the GSD, has hit us up with the latest from his site KLAUS: Cartooning the GSD and Other Issues – taking Koolhaas to task on the concept of the ’starchitect’, in hilarious fashion.

They’re like New Yorker cartoons, but for architects – and without having to deal with the pretentious-ass New Yorker. Plus, you’ve got to love KLAUS’ old-school French/Belgian comic style – reminds me of comics I read when I was a kid.

Renovate, Don’t Demolish – The Post-Standard – Syracuse.com

from “embodied energy” – Google News


The Post-Standard – Syracuse.com

Renovate, Don’t Demolish
The Post-Standard – Syracuse.com, NY
Each of the structures on the Near Westside, no matter how neglected, represents
embodied energy. Most were constructed of excellent materials (such as old-growth wood), and the craftsmanship in the intricately detailed woodwork, fireplaces and
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