12 Million Homes Powered By German Off-Shore Wind

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer
Germany’s position as the world wind leader was consolidated today with an announcement of 40 offshore wind farms to be built in German waters more than 12 miles off the coast. The goal is to get a total of 25,000 megawatts just from ocean-sited wind power by 2030. This would provide the first half of that; from a 12,000 MW wind farm. Germany is only just starting to dip its toes into off-shore wind production. It signed its first offshore wind project of just 15 megawatts a few months ago with the Alpha Ventus project that was co-financed by German energy giants Vattenfall, E.on and EWE and subsidized by the German government. Read more of this story »

In Seoul, Subway Riders Learn a New Way to Walk

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry
subwayseoul Starting October 1, riders of  Seoul Metropolitan Subway must walk on the right through stations, ending the longstanding Korean habit of walking on the left. The move is aimed at reducing pedestrian congestion and traffic accidents, though we had to check to make sure there’s no Korean equivalent to April Fool’s Day anytime in mid-September.

Environmentalism as a Step in Individual Evolution

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan
Environmental care is a practical, worldly thing. But it is also a step in one’s personal evolution. On the one hand, it is a practical response to the environmental problems we are facing. It is also a foresighted response to the issues (economic and environmental) that we might be facing if we don’t think more about the environment we live in and rely on. But, on the other hand, it is much more than that. Read more of this story »

Australia is #1 — New World Leader in Global Warming Emissions

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan
Australia has passed the US as the new world leader in CO2 emissions per capita. That is not the only climate change problem in Australia, though. Read more of this story »

Arizona Project Uses Algae to Turn Coal Pollution Into Biofuel

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest electricity provider, has secured $70.5 million in stimulus funds toexpand an innovative project that turns carbon dioxide emissions from a coal power plant into biofuel using algae. While part of the funds will be used to scale up the algae processing portion, some of the funds will also be used to investigate the potential benefits of turning the coal into a gas prior to burning it for power. The concept of creating two products — electricity and fuel — from the same process is known as cogeneration. In this case, the cogeneration also helps to reduce environmental pollution. It’s an idea that has been gathering support as a way to make coal less polluting while finding an additional revenue source to pay for the pollution control itself. In fact, a while back I reported on a similar pilot project in Oregon. Read more of this story »

off architecture: jean moulin high school

lycee jean moulin will be built into the hilly landscape of revin in france all images courtesy of off architecture the architectural reconstruction project of lycee jean moulin in revin, france is to be completed by off architecture in association with duncan lewis scape architecture and jeans giacinto. located within a vast and undulating terrain with many curves, the architects want to install the new building into the topography of the landscape. they will utilize the constraints of the slope, so the school is elevated and recedes upwards, creating a pattern of movement. through incorporating the architecture into hilly surroundings, they want to ensure that the users of this new college will benefit from the natural qualities of the surrounding environment. the project is set to be completed for 2012. an aerial view of the architecture’s receding layers grass will be placed on the roofs of each level so that the building blends in with the green landscape appearing like a hill itself

It’s the end of the world as we know it

image
Dubai’s mega-project The World – a series of man-made islands in the shape of the major landmasses on the planet – is officially canceled, reportsTimesOnline.com

GreenSun Develops Colorful Solar Panels that don’t need Direct Sunlight

from Green Options by Jeff Kart
Solar power comes in many forms, from rigid to thin film. The panels are shiny, gleaming and ready to harness the power of the sun. They’re also usually silver. Yet they also come in colors, not just for looks, but for efficiency. Read more of this story »

Li�ge-Guillemins train station: a ticket to tomorrow

image Photo by Neil Pulling It is majestic, daring � and a destination in itself. This glorious new station in Belgium is the future of train travel, writesJonathan Glancey.

Prefab Resources, Tiny House Ideas, and Small Dwelling Design Links

from Green Options by Lucille Chi
Check out the prefab community blooming online these days! Tiny House Village is trying to connect communities of creative small dwellings. Ideas are abound for these eco communities with Resources For Life’sSmall House Society. Tiny House design has a great set of resources all linked here as well. Check out the plethora of architectural resources, Read more of this story »

loop.ph: sonumbra

as part of the ‘in praise of shadows’ exhibition at the V&Aloop.ph will be exhibiting sonumbra inside the jones gallery. sonumbra is an experimental body of work which explores how alternative sources of energy and low cost lighting can be crafted to provide light and shade for a community of people. parasols constructed from strands of lights laced together, have the potential to offer shelter from the sun by day and provide light for a local community at night through energy which has been collected from solar cells that have been embedded within its canopy. the use of the low cost, flexible, organic solar cells is a collaboration with riso DTU, the national laboratory for sustainable energy in denmark. the installation runs during london design week from september 19th to september 27th. the parasol-like form hanging down from the ceiling display of the architectural textile’s flexibility the form behaves like a fabric and can be draped, bent and folded

NBBJ: dalian stadium

image credit: li fang NBBJ has finalized their proposal for the new dalian shide football stadium in dalian, china. the structure is designed with principles of organic architecture in mind, modeling itself after a garden by having only what is needed to thrive. the design imagines if the ground were folded open to create two garden walls to contain the venue. this concept creates a strong visual impact and leaves both ends open to overlook the ocean and mountains nearby. the exterior of the walls are clad with living plants that naturally change colour throughout the year, while the inside features giant LED panels. a roof made from a flexible cable system covers the stadium and is interwoven with fabric to shield the fans from the elements. the design is an attempt to improve the in-stadium experience, rather than focus on the exterior form like many other modern stadiums. the stadium will have 40,000 seats and intends to set a new standard for sustainable stadium architecture. http://www.nbbj.com image credit: li fang

How Straw Bale Building Will Go Mainstream

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer
Building houses out of straw is as old as, well, as old as the medieval nursery story about the Three Little Pigs, and their houses; one of Bricks, one of Straw and something… it’s been a while. Straw building has a long long history. It is a great natural insulator. But it’s not so easy for the average builder to access straw, these days. You’ll not find straw insulation at your local hardware store. Read more of this story »

Google Reveals Plans to Develop More Efficient and Cost-Effective Solar Thermal Technology

from Green Options by Beth Graddon-Hodgson
Solar Thermal As if Google isn’t already doing enough for the world of technology, they’re actually joining the solar technology movement in order to help increase the progress, which they believe has been disappointing to date.  Their goal is to use mirror technology for solar energy that will be cheaper and therefore more accessible to the masses, so cost isn’t such a contributing factor to why many are unable to make their homes a little bit greener. Read more of this story »

Water withdrawal and consumption: the big gap

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Water withdrawal and consumption: the big gapFreshwater use by continents is partly based on several socio-economic development factors, including population, physiographic, and climatic characteristics. Analysis indicates that: – Annual global freshwater withdrawal has grown from 3,790 km3 (of which consumption accounted for 2,070 km3 or 61%) in 1995, to 4,430 km3 (of which consumption accounted for 2,304 km3 or 52%) in 2000 (Shiklomanov, 1999). – In 2000, about 57% of the world’s freshwater withdrawal, and 70% of its consumption, took place in Asia, where the world’s major irrigated lands are located (UNESCO, 1999). – In the future, annual global water withdrawal is expected to grow by about 10-12% every 10 years, reaching approximately 5,240 km3 (or an increase of 1.38 times since 1995) by 2025. Water consumption is expected to grow at a slower rate of 1.33 times (UNESCO, 1999). – In the coming decades, the most intensive rate of water withdrawal is expected to occur in Africa and South America (increasing by 1.5-1.6 times), while the least will take place in Europe and North America (1.2 times) (Harrison and Pearce, 2001; Shiklomanov, 1999; UNESCO, 1999).

Renault unveils space buggy-style Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle

from DVICE by Adario Strange
Renault unveils space buggy-style Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle Renault rocked the auto world today by showing off the new Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle. The car’s futuristic design brings to mind visions of a space exploration surface buggy, sporting hexagonal wheel coverings and headlights as well as neon yellow trimmings. The company’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, said, “[Twizy’s] distinctive layout combines advantages of both two- and four-wheel vehicles, offering maximum agility with stability.” Renault won’t commit to releasing this exact vehicle design to the public, but hopes to use the 15kW (20hp) electric motor that powers the Twizy in vehicles scheduled to hit the market in 2011. Via Renault

White House Unveils Landmark Fuel Economy and Emissions Standards

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Today the Obama Administration released a 1,200 page document of proposed regulation changes that will drastically alter the fuel economy and emissions standards that auto manufacturers are required to meet in the US. Although it could be an incredibly contentious topic, it seems that so far the proposal has gained wide support from all sides of the spectrum including environmental organizations and industry lobby groups. The changes — which would alter both the Department of Transportation’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules — call for what amounts to about a 5% increase in fuel economy standards per year from 2011 to 2016 starting with 27.3 mpg in 2011 and ending with 35.5 mpg in 2016. In addition to the new economy standards, the White House has outlined the first ever greenhouse gas emissions limits for new cars sold in the US. Starting with model year 2016, each manufacturer’s new car fleet would have to meet an average limit of 250 grams of carbon emitted per mile driven. Read more of this story »

Dubai 2010 video depicts a futuristic Arabian metropolis

from DVICE by Adario Strange
Dubai 2010 video depicts a futuristic Arabian metropolisThe ever-growing state of Dubai recently took the wraps off its new, 7.6 billion-dollar Dubai Metro project. Other than its whopping price tag, what makes the project special is that it claims to offer the longest driverless metro system in the world.

Along with Dubai’s new metro system and adventurous architecture, the city’s residents also hope to make the city one of the world’s first truly sci-fi metropolises. Perhaps the most ambitious vision of the area’s future comes from Dubai-based post-production house Rolling Thunder via its “Dubai 2010” trailer that features everything from flying cars to the requisite mirror maze of sci-fi-style buildings. You can check out the full trailerhere.

Via The National

Dead Forests to Fuel Vehicles

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Here’s a resource we’ll have plenty of as ever wider swathes of our forests get decimated by pests like the Pine Bark Beetle. Dead trees. In an adaptation eerily reminiscent of Thomas Edison’s dictum We live like squatters, not as if we owned the property” a university has invented a technology to harvest one of the horrific effects of climate change.

The University of Georgia Research Foundation has developed an innovative way to turn dead trees into a liquid fuel and has licensed it to Tolero Energy in California. We could be driving on our dead forests as soon as 2010.

The technology represents a leap forward for the biofuels industry. Not only does the resulting biofuel need no additional refinement before blending with diesel fuel, but it is a naturally very low-sulphur biofuel.

And it would prevent additional CO2 from being released if the forest was left to decay.

But the biggest leap is in thinking of using a non-food source (at least for us humans) of biomass that we will have an ever increasing abundance of, as our climate gets worse and worse. And it doesn’t take scarce water resources to grow. Quite the contrary. Droughts and rising temperatures are all it needs.

Dead trees are one of the major sources of waste biomass, says Tolero CEO Chris Churchill.

Read more of this story »

Skyscraper Bridges

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: “Skyscraper Bridges” by Raymond Hood (1929), as seen in the project PDF for Rael San Fratello‘s Bay Line].

$1.1 Trillion to Cut Carbon Emissions in India

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


The United Nations stated a couple weeks ago that developed (rich) countries need to provide developing countries with about $500-600 billion a year to control global warming. This was a big increase from other predictions.

Big portions of these funds need to go to India, a large developing country that includes about one sixth of the world’s population. A new study shows what is needed to significantly cut growth in greenhouse gases in this top country.

Read more of this story »

Mercury-Laden CFLs to Overwhelm Minnesota’s Recycling Program

from Green Options by Dave Dempsey

A surge in the number of mercury-bearing energy-efficient light bulbs in use in Minnesota is expected to overwhelm recycling programs in the next few years and there’s no plan yet on how to recycle more of them.

Fluorescent light bulbs use only one-fourth as much energy per unit of light produced as incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. One CFL bulb contains 5 milligrams of mercury, about one-fifth the amount in a watch battery.

Read more of this story »

Extreme agricultural statuary

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: “Endothelium” by Philip Beesley].

I mentioned a recent issue of Mark Magazine the other day, but I deliberately saved one of the articles for a stand-alone post later on. That article was a long profile of the work of Philip Beesley, a Toronto-based architect and sculptor, whose project the “Implant Matrix” BLDGBLOG covered several years ago.

In issue #21 of Mark, author Terri Peters describes several of Beesley’s projects, but it’s the “Endothelium” that really stood out (and that you see pictured here).

[Image: “Endothelium” by Philip Beesley].

Celebrating the Life of a Scientist that “Fed the World”

from Green Options by Steve Savage

Norm Bourlag (center) consulting with IRRI researchers

Dr. Norman Borlaug passed away this weekend at 95.  He left behind an amazing legacy of contribution to humanity.  It is likely that he saved more human lives than any other person in history.  He did it by developing far more productive wheat than had ever been grown.  His “short stature” wheat had shorter, thicker stems so that it could hold bigger heads of grain that would otherwise “lodge” (collapse over on to the ground where it can’t be harvested).  It was also resistant to the devastating wheat disease called “Stem Rust.”  This wheat ended up feeding millions of people around the world, particularly in Pakistan and India in the 1960s.  Borlaug’s breakthrough was a key part of the “Green Revolution” and it did much to address the hunger and poverty issues of the time.  For this, and his life-time of additional work Bourlag recieved the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Metal .  Only Martin Luther King, Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa have received all of these commendations.  He was also awarded theNational Medal of Science and a host of other awards from around the world.  There is an excellent article about the life and career of this remarkable man in the Des Moines Register.

Read more of this story »

Liquid-Filled LED Bulbs: 360 Degree Light

from MetaEfficient Reviews by Justin
Liquid-Filled LED Light Bulbs: HydraLuxLiquid-Filled LED Light Bulbs: HydraLux

I’ve been testing a new LED bulb called the HydraLux. These unique bulbs are filled with a clear liquid coolant (a non-toxic paraffin oil). Other LED bulbs use large metal fins or fans for cooling purposes. The advantage of using a liquid coolant is that the LED bulb can produce 360° light like a regular incandescent bulb. (more…)

Control4 readies first smart grid energy/home control module

from DVICE by Stewart Wolpin
Control4 readies first smart grid energy/home control module
Local power companies all over the country are helping to built a 21st century smart grid, complete with smart meters, which talk back to the grid, attached to your home. Control4 is getting ready to deploy its home Energy Management System (EMS) EC-100 so you can monitor and control not only your home’s energy consumption via data provided by the smart meter, but your A/V system, security, lights, HVAC, etc.

In March 2010, the EC-100, which has a 5-inch LCD touchscreen, will be initially deployed by the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative in Austin, TX, in 35,000 homes in the first wave and an additional 30,000 in a second wave. The control module actually displays your energy use in a variety of sub-categories (lighting, kitchen, air conditioning, etc.) in dollars, and lets you automate your home to conserve energy. For instance, as the sun comes up, an expanded EMS Control4 Home Area Network (HAN) system could automatically lower the shades or, when you leave a room or your house, the system automatically adjusts the thermostat to use less power – in other words, your house could run on energy-saving cruise control.

In case you’ve never heard of them (honestly, I hadn’t until I got to Atlanta for CEDIA), Control4 sells arguably the most affordable and simplest home automation system around, along with a whole bunch of inexpensive modules to control everything from your A/V system to window blinds, all controlled using the ZigBee wireless control spec from your HDTV via one simple remote.

As the smart grid/smart meter trend grows, Control4 will supply the EC-100 to local power companies to distribute or sell at a subsidized price to their customers, or perhaps sell them directly to consumers. All to be decided.

1.27 million displaced by China’s Three Gorges Dam: report

Beijing (AFP) Sept 13, 2009 – China has relocated 1.27 million people to make way for the controversial Three Gorges dam development, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, state media reported

$900 Billion to Cut China’s Emissions with Wind Power

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


As mentioned in previous posts, the United Nations is calling on rich (developed) countries to provide developing countries with $500-600 billion a year in support to tackle climate change. A recent report declares that India needs $1.1 trillion in the next several years to cut emission growth by 50-60% by 2030. Another report from the last week says that China could cut its emissions by 30% by 2030 as well with $900 billion of investment in wind energy.

Read more of this story »

Volkswagen’s Diesel-Hybrid L1 Concept Gets 170 MPG, Available by 2013

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

Volkswagen will display an updated version of its 1-Liter concept this week at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. The diesel-hybrid car which only weighs around 800 lbs gets an jaw-dropping 170 MPG. So who wants one?

It was seven years ago when VW first announced the idea. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch–currently the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Volkswagen Group–drove a prototype of the car from Wolfsburg to Hamburg. It was the world’s first car to travel 100 kilometers on just a single liter of fuel. But the concept wasn’t ready for production as the body’s carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) was too costly for consideration.

Read more of this story »

Finalists of the UPTO35 Competition Revealed

image In June 2009, OLIAROS, a young Greek property development company, issued a call for architects up to 35 years old to submit proposals for the design and construction of a model, affordable student housing complex in Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio (KM), an area in the historic center of Athens, Greece. Finalists have just been announced – view them at Bustler

Dirty coal is here to stay

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Dirty coal is here to stayCoal producers are already taking advantage of the oil shortage and might even more in the future. In 2004 43 % of the electricity produced in the world came from coal.

Certified Emission Reductions

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Certified Emission ReductionsOne certified emission reduction unit is equivalent to a one-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (measured in CO2 equivalent). Circles have only been drawn for countries that have issued more than 50,000 CERs. Certified Emission Reduction units issued by host parties.

Growth in America’s ‘Dying Cities

image
Anne Trubek at Good Magazine has penned a piece on feral houses, inspired by James D. Griffioen’s beautiful photosFeral houses are no longer domesticated, having reverted to a different state, like horses in the west who roam free of any rider, stable, or whip. They are not, nor are their neighborhoods, as many like to call them, �dead.� These cities, as Griffoen shows us, are teeming. Growth is everywhere. – Good

Boeing Says 787 Will Fly This Year

from Wired: Autopia by Jason Paur

boeing_787_construction

It’s a headline we’ve read before, but Boeing says the oft-delayed 787 Dreamliner will fly before the end of the year and the first of them will be delivered to customers by the end of 2010.

Boeing claims this timeline will allow it to reinforce the area where the wing joins the fuselage. A structural problem was uncovered earlier this year during stress tests of the composite airframe, and it looked like it mightdelay test flights until next year. But Pat Shanahan, general manager of Boeing’s commercial airplanes business, says the problem has been solved, according to the Wall Street Journal. Boeing says the new timeline also adds “several weeks of schedule margin” to the testing and certification margin.

“This new schedule provides us the time needed to complete the remaining work,” Jim McNerney, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. “The design details and implementation plan are nearly complete, and the team is preparing airplanes for modification and testing.”

Boeing says the static test that uncovered the problem will be repeated to ensure the fix works, and fatigue testing will be conducted to ensure the long-term durability of the solution. Installation of the modification is expected to begin “within the next few weeks,” the company said.

The 787 has continued ground tests at Boeing’s Paine Field facility in Everett, Washington. One of test planes (Serial No. 2) seen taxiing around the field is painted in the livery of All Nippon Airways, Boeing’s first customer for the plane. But because of extensive testing and an “inordinate amount of rework and unique and extensive modifications,” Boeing says the first three aircraft off the assembly line will have no commercial value. Those airplanes must therefore be written off as an R&D expense.

Zaha Hadid’s Futuristic Burnham Pavilion for Chicago

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

As part of the Burnham Plan Centennial celebrations, the Burnham Pavilion by Zaha Hadid Architectstriggers the visitors’ curiosity and encourages them to consider the future of Chicago. The design merges new formal concepts with the memory of Burnham’s bold, historic urban planning. Superimpositions of spatial structures with hidden traces of Burnham’s Plan are overlaid and inscribed within the structure to create unexpected results.

Zaha Hadid Architects - Burnham Pavilion

Click above image to enlarge
The Burnham Pavilion by Zaha Hadid Architects, Photo: Michelle Litvin

Inside A Fish Hospital. Yes, A Fish Hospital

from Gizmodo Australia by Adam Frucci

Patit Paban Halder runs a hospital solely for fish in Chandannagore, India. Basically, he has 32 aquariums in his home, and he treats ailing fish with his wife and son. (more…)

INDEX design awards at code 09 preview


traditional stoves in india

the aim of the INDEX: award is to generate more design to improve life and enable
a higher quality of life all over the world.

based in denmark, the award comprises five categories – body, home, work, play
and community that together span the spectrum of human activity and are relevant
and understandable to people all over the world. as the biggest design award in the world,
the total award sum amounts to 500,000 euros financed by the state of denmark. this year,
there are 72 finalists chosen from 720 nominated designs from 54 countries.

the winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on 28 august 2009 at the newly
opened koncerthuset (concert house) of the danish national broadcasting corporation.
followed by an international traveling exhibition of winners and finalists.


‘chula’ smokeless stove

one of the finalists include ‘chulha’ a smokeless stove by philips design team in india
and the netherlands.

New Shipping Rules Agreed To Protect The Antarctic

from Green Options by Chris Milton

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed new rules which ban the transportation and use of heavy grade oils by ships in the Antarctic Ocean.

MAD architects: ‘hutong bubble 32’, beijing


‘hotong bubble 32’
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects

old beijing is composed of hutongs, alleys of communal courtyard homes.
MAD architects has suggested a type of new urban lifestyle by inserting the modern
architectural structure ‘hutong bubble 32’ into a traditional hutong building.
‘hutong bubble 32’ includes a bathroom since residents of hutongs usually have limited space
with no indoor bathroom, and includes a staircase to the roof garden.
taking the shape of a bubble, it is attached to the wooden column and brick structure
of the old building.


the bubble latching onto the side of the old hutong building
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


the bubble’s reflective surface
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


the walk-out to the rooftop garden
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


stairwell to the rooftop garden
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © shuhe
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects

patrick morris: sky planter


‘sky planter’

designed by central saint martins graduate patrick morris, ‘sky planter’
provides a solution to fussy plants in small spaces or a way to use
plants as design elements. the ‘sky planter’ made of ceramics locks the
plant and soil into the place and hang from a ceiling or wall-mount.
a reservoir hidden in the top waters plants gradually.

World’s Most Efficient Solar Technology Coming Early 2010

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

The long-awaited commercial deployment of the world’s most efficient solar technology looks like it will now be near Phoenix, in a 1.5-megawatt, 60-unit deployment of Stirling Energy Systems’ solar thermal collectors.

Announced late last week, the 60-dish Maricopa Solar project will be the first commercial-scale solar facility built using Stirling Energy Systems/Tessera Solar’s SunCatcher concentrating solar technology.

The SunCatcher consists of a solar concentrator in a dish structure that supports an array of curved glass mirrors. Iterations of the SunCatcher have been among the world’s most efficient machines for solar-to-grid electric conversion for twenty years, most recently breaking the record last year with the highest-ever conversion rate of 31.25%.

Read more of this story »

Philips Biotower Puts Farming In The Kitchen (With Style)

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

According to Philips designers, if you’re the type who grows a bit of basil on the windowsill, you’ll be addicted to raising your own crustaceans in no time. (more…)

Robot Bear Holds You In Its Arms, Only To Rip You Apart Afterwards

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

Yes, that’s how these bots roll. I mean, look at it. All cute and nice, dressed up as a nurse bear, designed to hold you in his soft-skinned arms. And then tear you apart in little tiny bits. (more…)

City of Fees and Services

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: A parking meter photographed by shooting brooklyn, via a Creative Commons license].

A story I missed earlier this summer reports that Oakland, California, is making up for falling tax revenue by “aggressively enforcing traffic violations.”

    The decision is driven by the city’s budget woes, which deep cuts to city services alone did not solve. Falling sales and property, property transfer and hotel taxes have contributed to a $51 million decline in revenues.
It’s worth asking, though, whether paying “aggressively” increased fees and fines for our everyday use of the city – whether this means road tolls and garbage collection fees or suddenly unaffordable parking meters – is the best financial model for a post-taxation metropolis.

How Many Folding Bikes Does It Take To Fill A Parking Space?

from Gizmodo Australia by Sean Fallon

Forty-two. It takes forty-two Brompton folding bikes to fill a parking space. One of the world’s great mysteries is finally solved. [Boing Boing Gadgets(more…)

BIG: new national library in astana, kazakhstan


the new national library astana, kazakhstan by BIG architects
all images courtesy BIG architects

BIG architects were awarded first prize in an open international competition to design
kazakhstan’s new national library in astana, named after the firstpresident of the republic
of kazakhstan, nursultan nazarbayev, encompasses an estimated 33.000m2. the winning
proposal was chosen by the prime minister of kazakhstan k. masimov together with
astana’s  akim i.tasmagambetov and a council of architects. the circular organisation
of the archive at its inner core combines the clarity of a linear organisation
with the convenience of an infinite loop.

Climate Change Performance Index 2008

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Climate Change Performance Index 2008The Climate Change Performance Index developed by Germanwatch is calculated using three weighted indexes: *Emissions trends for energy, transport, industry and residential account for 50 % of total rating; *A country’s current emissions level (CO2 emitted per primary energy unit, primary energy unit per GDP, primary energy unit per capita) is given a 30 % weight in the overall evaluation; *Climate policy (national and international) weighs 20 %.

Acacia Trees to Save Africa, and the World?

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


Acacia trees, excellent for Africa’s depleted soil and helpful in counteracting climate change, may be the trees of the future for Africa. A very unique tree, it may help Africa in many other ways as well.

Read more of this story »

ensamble studio: house hemeroscopium


house hemeroscopium by ensamble studio
image courtesy ensamble studio

built in just seven days, house hemeroscopium by ensamble studio consists of seven
prefabricated elements. the combination creates an architectural space of alternating
heaviness and lightness, balance and instability.

house hemeroscopium embraces a domestic space and a distant horizon. this is done
through a combination of facilities, which contains the living spaces, bedrooms and kitchen.

based on the basic principle of the lever, the design reinterprets the concept of weight.
the counterweight is a 20-tonne block of granite which is entrusted with the task of
balancing the whole system, which also is an aesthetic characteristic.


house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio

HFCS and Mercury: An Interview with an FDA Whistleblower

from Green Options by Cate Nelson

I first heard of Renee Dufault through Mother Jones print magazine back in June. In their “Children of the Corn” article, they named her as the researcher who first uncovered mercury in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Even before this news came out, you may have already cut the HFCS from your family’s diet. But manufacturers are sneaky. There is the corn sweetener in things you wouldn’t even suspect: ketchup, yogurt, salad dressing. Actually, condiments are the biggest culprits when it comes to the mercury/high fructose corn syrup link.

Beautiful Glass Shard Spire Set To Dominate London Skyline

from Gizmodo Australia by Danny Allen

Feast your eyes on these latest visualisations of The Shard (aka London Bridge Tower), a 310-metre skyscraper currently under construction. When finished in 2012, it will be the tallest building in the UK, and one of the tallest in Europe.(more…)

Russia’s Northeast Passage Open to Commercial Shipping

from Green Options by Tom Schueneman

Two cargo ships set out last week from the port of Vladivostok to traverse Russia’s Northeast Passage, marking the first time commercial ships have attempted the normally ice-bound route across Russia’s Arctic shore without the aid of icebreakers.The two ships, Fraternity and Foresight, owned by German shipper Beluga Shipping GmbH, received permission to travel the route last Friday.

Bound for the Netherlands from South Korea, the route will cut 4,000 nautical miles from the typical 11,000-mile route through the Suez Canal, helping realize a “considerable” reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, said Niels Stolbert, president and CEO of Beluga.

Read more of this story »

Are There Any Risks In Building Green?

from Green Options by Chris Bacavis

In a stark contrast with how construction used to be thought of, the green building movement has been a shift away from the traditional concerns about money and time. The betterment of our planet, as it turns out, is quickly becoming a bigger priority. Since March of this year, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program has seen around 20,852 new LEED registered and certified projects.

Most of this can be attributed to the fact that builders view green buildings as more economical in the long run, and recent incentives on the part of the government have added an extra encouragement.  But while these positives have been talked about pretty often, there are some risks associated with going green that still leave many builders wary.

Read more of this story »

Concept Urbanistan: Void deck

void deck typically found under apartment blocks in Singapore. The void deck occupies the ground level, while apartments are usually on the second floor onwards. Sometimes, events like Malay weddings, Chinese weddings or even funeral wakes are held in such places. Void decks also facilitate the travelling through the apartment buildings on the ground level, rather than travelling around them. via
images via arkitera

artificial trees to cut carbon

imageEngineers say a forest of 100,000 “artificial trees” could be deployed within 10 to 20 years to help soak up the world’s carbon emissions. BBC

Eye Protection Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Picture by: dunno source. Submitted by: dunno source via Fail Uploader

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 includingzerocarbon 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

.

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 …

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.

Read more of this story »

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).

Read more of this story »

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?

Read more of this story »

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.

Read more of this story »

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.

Read more of this story »

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.

Read more of this story »

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.

Read more of this story »

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.

Read more of this story »

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!

Read more of this story »

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.

Read more of this story »

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.

Read more of this story »

Solar plane to make public debut

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

Australia greens up its hospitals – Construction Contractor

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

and more »

UNstudio: retreat exhibition at kunstfort asperen opening june 28th

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


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

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

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

here is a sneak preview.


exterior of kunstfort asperen
photo © katrien franken
image courtesy UNstudio

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


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

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


‘retreat’ section
image courtesy UNstudio


‘retreat’ elevations
image courtesy UNstudio


‘retreat’ core
image courtesy UNstudio

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


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

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

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

from Green Options by Leslie Berliant

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

a- asterisk: ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


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

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

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


estimated population increase by 2035


skyscrapers in shanghai

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

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

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


vertical plan of shanghai 2035


air level of ‘shanghai’ 2035


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


aerial view of ‘shanghai 2035’ concept design


‘shanghai 2035’ positioned over the city’s skyscrapers

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

The WWF living planet index for freshwater

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

BIG: Tallinn’s New City Hall

from AMNP

big-tallinn-town-hall-7.jpg

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

Bjarke Ingels, BIG, Partner-in-Charge:

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

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

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

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

China Heating Up Global Competition for Solar

from Green Options by Jennifer Kho

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

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

Read more of this story »

Water and Energy – A Crisis and An Opportunity

from Green Options by Paul O’Callaghan

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

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

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

from Green Options by Amiel Blajchman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: ashatsea (Creative Commons)

menis arquitectos: jordanek music hall

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

Green timber scheme ‘discriminatory’ – Architecture and Design

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

and more »


Human Health Endangered by Australian Drought

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

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

Read more of this story »

World’s largest solar array planned for the Sahara Desert

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

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

Next100 via Inhabitat

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects


mixed used tower
image courtesy moho architects

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

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

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

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

Read more of this story »

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

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

Fire Evacuation Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

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