Growth industry

Planting millions of trees to absorb CO2 in Africa

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 …

Chinese airline wants spare ‘barstool-style’ seating to carry 40% more passengers

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
Chinese airline wants spare 'barstool-style' seating to carry 40% more passengersChina’s Spring Airlines is in a bit of a pickle. The air carrier has enjoyed a steady increase in passengers since its start in ’05 thanks to low fares (which means next to no complimentary in-flight amenities), and now its fleet of 13 planes can’t handle all the prospective customers. The airline already has 14 new jets on the way, but that’s not enough, officials say.

The solution? Make passengers stand! Well, not completely, but close enough. “It’s just like bar stools. The safety belt is the most important thing. It will still be fastened around the waist,” Spring Airlines’ Zhang Wuan told China’s CCTV. The new arrangement, according to Spring Airlines, would allow 40% more passengers on every flight and help reduce the carrier’s cost by up to 20%, which would in turn lower fares.

Spring Airlines president Wang Zhenghua may even want to take the idea further, after talking with China’s vice premier, Zhang Dejiang. “He suggested that, for a lower price, passengers should be able to get on a plane like catching a bus, with no seat, no luggage consignment, no food, no water, but very convenient,” Mr. Zhenghua said.

That kind of reasoning is entirely opposite to most airlines, which seek to recoup losses through luxury servicesand optimized routes while still providing comfort. Still, it’s just a proposal for the time being. Spring Airlines wants to submit its plan by the end of the year.

Via Sky News

we are not from kalamazoo: children’s hospital africa


design for the children – hospital africa by we are not from kalamazoo
image courtesy we are not from kalamazoo

here is we are not from kalamazoo‘s proposal for the design for the children
competition in east africa.

the hospital has been defined in zones; a children and family quarter, a surgery wing,
and an exam and education quarter. the strips of program are then tied together around
courtyards, which are the social knots of the project. the series of courtyard gardens,
each with individual characters, are connected by covered walkways and relate to
the program of the surrounding rooms.

in the first phase there are three courtyards defined by the central ‘serviced’ spine, two
branches of rooms and the rectangular perimeter wall.


design for the children – hospital
image courtesy we are not from kalamazoo

the materials of the project are the most commonly used around east africa ; pallet
of sun dried earth bricks, corrugated steel mono pitch roofs and wooden frame windows
have been selected due to easy construction using local knowledge, low cost
and easy availability, easy maintenance, and environmental suitability.

the services (water and electricity) are located in a central spine upon which serviced
rooms are placed, hence limiting the need for excess plumbing and wiring, and connecting
them directly under the source of supply of water and electricity, the v shaped-roof.


design for the children – hospital courtyard with raintanks
image courtesy we are not from kalamazoo

rain water is collected by means of two mono-pitch roofs forming a ‘v’ shaped valley
which channels rain water into water-butts that can supply water during the dry seasons.

photo voltaic cells are located on the roofs and supply power through a power hub
and the central spine of the building to the rooms that need it.

natural ventilation is achieved in three ways. first by offsetting the roofs from the top
of the walls, hence allowing a free circulation of air throughout the building.
second, by using narrow plan depths of 3.5 meters, ensuring efficient cross ventilation.


design for the children – hospital
image courtesy we are not from kalamazoo

solar shading for the rooms is provided by the courtyard typology, overhanging
eaves and narrow windows. in the family courtyard, the trees also offer a wide natural
solar shading

thermal lag, which keeps interiors cool in the sun and warmer at night, is ensured
by the high thermal mass of the brick.

sheltered spaces for the rainy season are created along the courtyards, under the generous
overhanging eaves.


design for the children – hospital
image courtesy we are not from kalamazoo


design for the children – hospital courtyard
image courtesy we are not from kalamazoo


design for the children education room
image courtesy we are not from kalamazoo

Rethinking Food Production for a World of Eight Billion

from Green Options by Earth Policy Institute

old farmer in lingbao chinaby Lester R. Brown

In April 2005, the World Food Programme and the Chinese government jointly announced that food aid shipments to China would stop at the end of the year. For a country where a generation ago hundreds of millions of people were chronically hungry, this was a landmark achievement. Not only has China ended its dependence on food aid, but almost overnight it has become the world’s third largest food aid donor.

As noted in Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, the key to China’s success was the economic reforms in 1978 that dismantled its system of agricultural collectives, known as production teams, and replaced them with family farms. In each village, the land was allocated among families, giving them long-term leases on their piece of land. The move harnessed the energy and ingenuity of China’s rural population, raising the grain harvest by half from 1977 to 1986. With its fast-expanding economy raising incomes, with population growth slowing, and with the grain harvest climbing, China eradicated most of its hunger in less than a decade—in fact, it eradicated more hunger in a shorter period of time than any country in history.

While hunger has been disappearing in China, it has been spreading throughout much of the developing world, notably sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Indian subcontinent. As a result, the number of people in developing countries who are hungry has increased from a recent historical low of 800 million in 1996 to over 1 billion today. Part of this recent rise can be attributed to higher food prices and the global economic crisis. In the absence of strong leadership, the number of hungry people in the world will rise even further, with children suffering the most.

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Americans Waste 500,000 Years In Traffic Jams (But That’s Good News!)

There’s more good news on the roads front, as congestion continues to decline–albeit slowly–in US cities. A new report from the Texas Transportation Institute finds that in 2007 Americans wasted an average of 36.1 hours stuck in traffic, down from the 2005 peak of 37.4 hours. Collectively, the numbers are still …

Delhi’s Air Pollution Levels Rising Again

from Green Options by Dr Vandana Prakash

When I was looking at Delhi’s environment almost a decade back, Delhi was entering its bitter battle against being the ‘fourth most polluted city’ in the world. Much thought and action (or shall we say reaction) was devoted to the problem. Delhi was able to remedy both its ‘fourth most polluted’ status and its air quality with unprecedented ‘hyper-activity:’ remarkable for being so well concerted across the different levels and different arms of the government.

Delhi Smog

Picture: Delhi Smog in January 2009

As I revisited the problem more recently, I was both shocked and saddened to see a decline so visibly and so quickly. Examining Delhi’s data, in January this year, I found an increase in vehicular pollution. I was not expecting this to happen in face of the phenomenal and difficult measures that Delhi had undertaken: like relocation of industries out of residential areas (something that had come about as a result of the developmental dream for Delhi in the 1950s) and conversion of the entire fleet of Delhi Transportation Corporation (DTC) buses into Compressed Natural gas or CNG (resulting in the largest CNG-operated public transportation in the world).

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Mobile pollution sensors deployed

Cyclists, buses, cars and even pedestrians become mobile pollution detectors in a UK-based scientific project.

CEBRA: vaeksthuset botanical garden

the danish architecture firm CEBRA designed the vaeksthuset botanical garden for aarhus university.
the project was created for a building competition restoring existing buildings and designing a new one on
the campus. the greenhouse project will cover around 29,600 sq. ft. providing an expansive area of flora
and fauna at the university. inside the building will feature a series of round pods each inspired by natural
forms. the largest dome is the greenhouse covered in a pointed glass roof. next to this is an facilities
complex with some office space, cafes and more greenery. the third space is an uncovered outdoor garden
partly shaded by a long glass corridor connected to the facility greenhouse.

http://www.cebra.info

Nearly-completed Shanghai high-rise falls over

Nearly-completed Shanghai high-rise falls over June 28, Shanghai

A nearly-completed 13-storey Shanghai apartment building toppled over, killing a worker and raising concerns in China’s largest city over construction standards.  Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng ordered a full investigation into the cause of the incident, which occurred in the southwestern part of the city.  A 28-year-old migrant worker, surnamed Xiao, who entered the building to collect his tools, was killed after trying to jump out of a window as the building fell…more

Could Chicken Feathers Be The Salvation Of Hydrogen?

from Green Options by Christopher DeMorro

Unless you are a vegetarian, you probably agree that chicken is delicious. But could this fowl have a future in automobiles? According to a presentation made at the 13th Annual Green Chemical and Engineering Conference this weekend…maybe. It seems that carbonized chicken feathers can hold hydrogen quite well; better than carbon nanotubes or metal hydrides currently being tested as hydrogen carriers. Could this solve the infrastructure problems currently holding hydrogen technology back?

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On Newly Car-Free Broadway, Vendors Disappointed By Slow Sales

We love the idea of turning Broadway into a pedestrian mall–it’s a win for New York City and there’s plenty of evidence that increasing foot traffic on a street generally translates into higher sales for local merchants. But when we checked in with about 20 business owners and street vendors …

arons en gelauff architecten: annie MG schmidt house


one of the silo’s rooftops will house an open playground
image courtesy of arons en gelauff architecten

annie MG schmidt house designed by arons en gelauff architecten, is the winner of the
adaptive reuse design competition for two former sewage treatment silos in amsterdam’s
zeeburg district. the design which is named after holland’s most famous author of children’s books,
annie MG schmidt (1911-1995), is a multi-functional cultural center that will house a range of
facilities including a media centre, movie theatre, tower room and shops. this project gives new life
to the silos, transforming them into places of activity and leisure. one of the silo’s rooftops
will house an open playground, with restaurant praq op ‘t daq built on the other.

the overall plan is a collaboration between AM and de alliantie develpment companies,
annie MG schmidt huis foundation, restaurant praq, arons en gelauff architecten,
landscape architect rob aben and janneke hooymans.

the project is set to be completed in 2012.

These Are the Winners of the Seastead Design Contest

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The Seasteading Institute has crowned the winners in its first Seasteading Architectural Design Contest. The Contest, which ran from February 1st to May 1st, invited participants to design the floating city of their dreams. The winning design was awarded a $1000 grand prize, and there were four additional $250 prizes for specific categories.

Seasteads are permanent, stationary structures specifically designed for long-term ocean living. Entrants into the contest were provided with a 3-D model of TSI’s patent-pending base platform, on which they built creative architectural designs for a new society of ocean pioneers. The specifics of the design, aesthetics, and intended use were entirely up to each designer.

Entrants ranged from amateur 3D designers to professional architects and architecture students. 41 qualified designs were entered, including sports arenas, medical facilities, universities, hotels, and residences. The designs were judged by a panel of TSI staff, volunteers and board members.

The Winning Designs:

$1,000 Grand Prize: The Swimming City by András Gyõrfi (Runner Up: Seagull Hotel by Matias Perez)

image

Click above image to enlarge
Grand Prize: The Swimming City by András Gyõrfi

Official: Toyota Prius is Now the Biggest Selling Car in Japan

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

The latest Japanese car sales figures reveal that the Toyota Prius hybrid has now become the top selling vehicle in Japan.

According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, in June the company sold 22,292 units of its flagship hybrid vehicle, a sharp rise of almost 400% over the same month last year (when 6,231 cars were shifted) and more than twice as much as the 10,915 sold in May.

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Seven designs that were never built

Seven designs that were never built June 30

Before arriving in Dubai, most people do a cursory Google Image search to get a sense of what the city will look like. More often than not, they mostly see artist’s renderings of buildings that may never get as far as breaking ground; a visual feast of some of the craziest, most ambitious ideas for buildings in the world. The question is: will this tradition continue, even at a slower pace, or have the region’s property developers developed a permanent taste for economic feasibility?…more

Excessive withdrawal of renewable water resources

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Excessive withdrawal of renewable water resourcesThe countries known to be experiencing stress or scarcity of water per capita are roughly those which are excessively using their renewable water resources (North Africa, Middle-East and central Asia including Afghanistan and Pakistan). Excessive use is also of concern in some of the northern European countries such as Germany, Denmark or Poland. More so, as a consequence of damming, the Tigris and Euphrates in the eastern mountains of Turkey are now considered as major hotspots where violence could easily erupt if a clear mechanism for resolving conflict is not put in place. Turkey holds the dominant position since both the Tigris and Euphrates rise in its eastern mountains. Both rivers then flow through Syria and Iraq before draining into the Persian Gulf. Syria and Iraq are thus dependent on Turkish cooperation for the amount of water they receive. Turkey is carrying out a US$32 billion water development scheme called the Grand Anatolia Project (GAP), which involves construction of several dams in its underdeveloped south-east, for irrigation and to generate hydro electric power (HEP). This will definitely have a negative impact on the downstream riparian states of Syria and Iraq; however it also presents an opportunity for collaboration on water-use. Tensions tend to escalate and erupt whenever Turkey undertakes damming of the rivers. This has made Syria and Iraq continue to lobby the Arab League states to unite against Turkey on the GAP issue. In retaliation, both states have also supported the minority Kurdish Workers Party in its struggle against the Turkish government, prompting Turkey to threaten to cut off the flow of water to Syria and Iraq on more than one occasion.

Americans Save One Quarter Billion Dollars with Energy Efficient Homes

from Green Options by Ruedigar Matthes

One quarter billion dollars is a lot. An awful lot. Most people will never even come near that amount of money, but that’s what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Americans saved this past year by switching over to energy efficient homes.

In the EPA’s announcement on July 3, it was reported that 17 percent of all single family homes built across the nation in the year 2008 received the EPA’s Energy Star approval rating, which means that a homes are at least 15 percent more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30 percent more efficient than standard homes. The percentage of Energy Star homes was up from 12 percent in 2007.

The increase in Energy Star rated homes shows that home builders and home buyers are investing in homes that save money and the environment. “Every year more Americans decide to cut their energy bills and help keep the air clean in their communities by buying a new home that has earned EPA’s Energy Star,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

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Saying It With Solar: eSolar’s Independence Day Display

from Green Options by Jennifer Kho

Solar is already a source of power. Now some hope solar projects’ striking appearance can also make them a powerful marketing tool.

For the Fourth of July, concentrating solar-thermal startup eSolar programmed a quarter square mile of mirrors in Lancaster, Calif., to form the American flag and the Statue of Liberty.

The point? To celebrate Independence Day, and to help lobby for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, which would enact a carbon cap-and-trade program and other emission-reduction measures if approved and signed into law. The House of Representatives passed the controversial bill last month, and the Senate is now considering it.

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Climate Change Shrinks Sheep 5% in 25 Years

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Wild sheep on the island of Hirta off the shore of Scotland are smaller than 25 years ago, and scientists have found climate change to be the cause.

On average these wild sheep are weighing in at 5 percent smaller than 25 years ago, an indication that climate change can have a rapid effect on natural populations and a sign of possible more widespread changes in future, researchers said on Thursday.

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SPF architects: aria di zhuhai, china


the zhuhai opera house by SPF architects
image courtesy SPF architects

the zhuhai opera house by SPF architects is located in the city of zhuhai in guangdong
province, china. the project design brief required the ability to seat 1500 people, provide
a large plaza gathering space, rehearsal hall, restaurants and other public amentities.

the primary element of the design, a critical geographic and cultural element of zhuhai city,
is a stone – specifically the ‘dieshi’ which means ‘stacking rock’. the concept develops
the opera house as 3 stacked dieshi: part of a master plan based on the principle of ‘balance’
from five element theory, a traditional chinese philosophy. a red, sandstone plaza invites cultural interaction, and a forest is planted behind the site – the embodiment of growth and sustainability.
the shape of the center stone comfortably houses the opera house auditorium, its curvature
lending perfectly to the intimacy of the space.

hong kong bamboo scaffolding

bamboo has long been used as an assembly material in china, particularly hong kong,
because of its versatility. one of the most interesting applications of the wood is its structural
function for scaffolding. extremely eco-friendly and cost-effective resource, it continues to be
used for this purpose because it is durable enough to support the weight of builders,
their equipment and materials, but is lightweight itself. unlike typical metal scaffolding,
bamboo can also be cut and tailor-made to suit any contour of construction – it can be configured
into a variety of shapes and follow irregular architectural features of a building,
and takes very little time to build-up. it is light and easily transportable to other sites
and no machinery is required to assemble the scaffold and put it in place.
when one job draws to a close, bamboo can easily be recycled and used for another project.

U.S. Military Targets Toxic Enemy #1: Hexavalent Chromium

from Green Options by Tina Casey

Department of Defense Phasing Out Hexavalent ChromiumIf hexavalent chromiumdoesn’t ring a bell, think chrome, the stuff that puts the shine on everything from bathroom faucets to motorcycles.  If that still doesn’t help, maybe Erin Brockovich does.  In the 1990’s, the former legal clerk fought to expose hexavalent chromium contamination in drinking water, in the small California town of Hinkley.  The result was a record-breaking settlement and a major motion picture.  Fast forward to April 2009, and the U.S. military is adding a new chapter to the Brockovich book.  The Department of Defense has issued a formal memo requiring an aggressive across-the-board reduction in the military’s use of hexavalent chromium, otherwise known as chromium 6.

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Genetically Engineered Viruses Remove Trace Metals

from Green Options by Amiel Blajchman

University of British Columbia Professor Scott Dunbar of the school’s Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering has pioneered a way to genetically engineer viruses to bind with minerals.

Along with colleagues, his team has developed a method to selectively “breed” a viral family to bind to specific minerals. In other words, they are developing viri that can find and bind to a chosen mineral in a sludge pile!

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Cities Worldwide Should Follow Los Angeles’ Example of ‘Coal-free Electricity’

from Green Options by Mridul Chadha

Los Angeles’ Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has announced that his city will not buy electricity produced in coal fired fired power plants from 2020 instead the city will switch to cleaner energy sources to fulfill its power demands.

California has no coal-fired power plants and Los Angeles will stop buying coal generated power that it buys from other states. The 40 percent power that comes from coal-fired power plants will be taken from power plants running on cleaner sources like natural gas, nuclear energy and hydro power. This is in addition to the city’s energy efficiency plans under which it seeks to reduce energy consumption by 1 percent every year for the next ten years.

Los Angeles has set a great example for the big cities which are busy economic centers with huge energy demands. Energy consumption in rapidly growing cities of the developing countries is growing at astronomical rates. Usually the simple solution is to produce more energy, set up coal-fired power plants since coal is easily available and cheap. However, long term solutions to this energy problem are often overlooked. Countries eying faster economic growth must explore such alternatives and work to develop them as they hold the key to the problem of not just energy consumption but rising carbon emissions and climate change as well.

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3LHD architects: miramare business center


miramare business center  rendering by freya

the miramare business center in zagreb, croatia is one of 3LHD architects latest projects. the studio won
first prize in the public competition to design the structure this past may.  the building site sits in between
zagreb’s classical center and a more modern area dominated by public and social buildings. their design
aims to unify these two side of the city with two interacting volumes. the first is a smaller tower with
5 floors and a taller one with 20 floors. in between the two buildings is a semi open atrium connecting the
interior with the public space. commercial facilities are placed in the main floor which serves as the main
access to the centre. the upper portions of the two towers are for businesses and the top floor has a
panoramic viewpoint. to distinguish the building the architects will clad the faced in glass modules which
are pulled in and out to create a rich texture.

http://3lhd.com

Corridors of Power

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
After the National Security Agency “maxed out the capacity of the Baltimore area power grid,” according to an article in The Register – itself citing The Baltimore Sun – due to the near-endless electrical needs of its wire-tapping supercomputers, the NSA has begun planning the construction of a brand new, $2 billion data center in the deserts of Utah.

[Image: Photo by Thundered Cat].

Indoor plants lift office workrate – The Full Story

Indoor plants lift office workrate
The Full Story
Recognition of the role of indoor plants is growing, with the Green Building Council now awarding two points towards green star ratings for indoor plant 

and more »


Biofuels Perform Effectively As Jet Fuel

Le Bourget, France (SPX) Jun 29, 2009 – Boeing and a team from across the aviation industry have released high-level elements of a study that shows that sustainable biofuels analyzed in a series of pioneering test flights performed favorably in comparison to petroleum-based fuel.

The Thinnest Buildings In The World Come With Toilets To Match

We knew that Japan probably has the thinnest houses in the world. Of course, the toilets match. Just looking at the girl inside makes me anxious: (more…)

Virtually Waterless Laundry Washing Machine

from Green Options by Keith Rockmael

At one point, it seems as though virtually everyone has sat in front of washing machine and watched the soaked clothes tumble through the suds. That tradition may be a thing of the past if a new “virtually waterless” laundry machine finds its way to the mainstream.

Although only in prototype stage, this new machine may be able to save up to 90% of water compared to a conventional machine and will also cut carbon emissions. Created by Xeros, this machine replaces the old school idea of cleaning clothes. The technology goes with full on chemistry advances by replacing the majority of the water with reusable nylon polymer beads, the machine can clean clothes in less time than traditional machines, and we see these waterless wonders then you can thank Professor Stephen Burkinshaw, from the University of Leeds who made the discovery that certain types of polymer beads could be used for cleaning.

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