Blood-powered lamp: think twice about turning the lights on

from DVICE by Adam Frucci
Blood-powered lamp: think twice about turning the lights onNormal lamps run on electricity, so you probably don’t think much about having them on all day. But a lamp that runs on human blood? Yeah, you’ll think twice about turning that on.

In order to use the Blood Lamp, you need to break the glass top. Then you drop the included tablet into the liquid, stab yourself with the broken glass and let a drop of your blood fall in. And then you get your precious light. Not so glib about light now, are you?

MAD Unveils Taichung Convention Center With Solar Skin

image
Beijing-based MAD Architects recently recently unveiled their design for a new convention center in Taiwan with a �skin� that will naturally ventilate the structure and generate energy from solar power. The Taichung Convention Center center is intended to become a new local landmark and help redefine the cultural landscape of the city, while also drawing attention to sustainable development and growth. Inhabitat.

Green Watch turns you into a walking environmental sensor

from DVICE by Michael Trei
Green Watch turns you into a walking environmental sensorBig cities use sensors in strategic spots to monitor environmental conditions, but they’re not much help when there’s a localized problem far from the nearest monitoring station. La Montre Verte (The Green Watch) from a French group called Fing, turns regular citizens into walking sensors, by sending data by cellphone about noise and ozone levels, which can then be compiled and mapped to show trouble spots. A pilot program was completed in Paris earlier this year, followed up by a much larger test last week at the Picnic ’09 conference in Amsterdam. And yes, it even tells the time.

My only question is what happens to the noise sensor if you go out clubbing? Not to mention how the ozone readings looked around some of Amsterdam’s famous “coffee shops”.

ZEROprize for green buildings – Times Online

Flickr: Breakmould
Flickr: Breakmould

ZEROprize for green buildings
Times Online
If, after a year, it is zerocarbon, $1 million is yours. But the brief throws up all sorts of problems. Do you retrofit from the inside or outside? 

Google climate change tools for COP15

from The Official Google Blog by A Googler
In December of this year, representatives from nations around the globe will gather in Copenhagen to discuss a global agreement on climate change. The objective is to reduce global warming emissions sufficiently in order to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change and to support the global community in adapting to the unavoidable changes ahead. Denmark will act as host for this fifteenth Conference of the Parties under the United Nations’ Climate Change Convention, known as COP15.

In collaboration with the Danish government and others, we are launching a series of Google Earth layers and tours to allow you to explore the potential impacts of climate change on our planet and the solutions for managing it. Working with data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we show on Google Earth the range of expected temperature and precipitation changes under different global emissions scenarios that could occur throughout the century. Today we are unveiling our first climate tour on Google Earth: “Confronting Climate Change,” with narration by Al Gore. Stay tuned for more tours in the coming weeks!

Together with the Danish government, we’re also launching our YouTube COP15 channel. On the channel, you can submit your thoughts and questions on climate change to decision-makers and the world through an initiative called “Raise Your Voice.” These videos will be broadcast on screens around the conference in December and rated by viewers of the channel. The top-rated contributions will be aired globally during the COP15 CNN/YouTube debate on December 15th, and the top two submissions will win a trip to Copenhagen. We look forward to seeing your videos!

Posted by Benjamin Kott, Green Business Operations and Jonas Vang, Industry Analyst

Massive dust storm transforms Sydney into an alien world

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
Massive dust storm transforms Sydney into an alien worldEver wonder what it’d be like to live on Mars? Australians got a little taste of it on Wednesday, as a massive dust storm 310 miles wide and 620 miles long swept over the country’s eastern states, carrying over 75,000 tons of red dust in a gale that was visible from space. The skies turned orange and everything turned red from the dust, and luckily there were some intrepid photographers on the scene in Sydney to bring us the alien-looking landscape. It’s the worst dust storm Australia’s experienced in 70 years.

Ultrasonic dishwasher cleans your plates with waves of sound

from DVICE by Michael Trei
Ultrasonic dishwasher cleans your plates with waves of soundOwning a dishwasher may have been a hallmark of modern living 40 years ago, but French appliance maker De Dietrich thinks it’s overdue for a 21st century update.

Traditional dishwashers are one of the biggest energy hogs in most homes, using plenty of electricity and water to get your dinner plates clean. They also use detergents that can be harmful for the environment. Ultrasonic cleaning on the other hand, uses a process called cavitation where tiny bubbles created by bombarding an object with ultra high frequency sound literally scrub the surfaces clean.

Ultrasonic cleaners have been around for years, but they are used mostly in the jewelry and electronic industries. De Dietrich’s Oris dishwasher moves the process into our daily lives, saving both water and electricity, while using no polluting detergents.

Emergency Climate Control: Geoengineering Risks

from Green Options by Michael Ricciardi

Earth\'s upper atmosphere_NASA

With the news that climate change is occurring at a faster rate than climate models have predicted, geoengineering solutions have been brought to the fore and are being taken more seriously. The main focus of these emergency geoengineering strategies is a reduction in “shortwave” radiation entering the Earth’s atmosphere via the solar wind.

The short-term goal here is an overall reduction in global atmospheric temperatures to slow, or even reverse, warming trends. These solutions include increasing the amount of reflective particles surrounding the Earth by placing reflective particles (”mirrors”) outside the atmosphere. Such a solution may be justified to quickly curtail an emergent crisis–such as the rapid disintegration of the polar icecaps. Another strategy is to blanket the upper atmosphere with sulfur particles to block shortwave energy from reaching the Earth’s surface, thus producing a pronounced cooling effect (of variable duration).

However, in a recently published paper, Climate Engineering Responses to Climate Emergencies by Blackstocket al, this and other controversial strategies are analyzed in terms of feasibility, short-term impact, and also, the potential risks and dangers. The authors are also calling for a study phase. The major criticism in the paper is that current geoengineering strategies focus on a reduction of temperature without due consideration of the impact on precipitation, which also drives climate change. The cooler the surface temperature, in general, the less overall precipitation ( due to the fact that there is less energy for evaporation). Focusing only on temperature reduction, via incoming solar radiation, could backfire, leading to a shift in global hydrology cycles and, possibly, drought. Also, sulfur in the atmosphere combines with water to form sulfuric acid–the primary source of “acid rain”–a problem dramatically reduced since the passage of the Clean Air act.

Read more of this story »

What’s wrong Frank?

imageIs Gehry pissed? slate

Fab2Farm Could Be the Next ‘Beatles’ of Solar

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

Fab2Farm


The idea looks like a cool new version of the old SimCity computer game. You link a city to a solar manufacturing plant to a solar farm. The plant employs the people, the farm collects the energy and the city is up and running.

But this isn’t a game, it’s a pitch from Applied Materials, a Fortune 500 company known for making computer microchips.

They call it the best idea in the last 4 billion years.

Read more of this story »

The Daily Dig – Temporary Vertical Algae Bio-Reactor Edition

. The leaders of the world’s two biggest carbon emitting countries both talked about global warming yesterday. But Hu Jintao talked about the importance of nuclear power–which almost certainly has to play a major role in a low-carbon economy–while Obama omitted all mention of it. (Env. Capital) [SButtonZ button=”digg”] The current transportation bill …

Floor 124 of Burj Dubai to be Open to Tourists

Floor 124 of Burj Dubai to be Open to Tourists Sept 23, Dubai

There will be an observation deck on the 818-metre Burj Dubai, on the 124th floor of the 160-floor building, officials have announced.  In addition to a 360-degree glass observation deck, an open-air balcony will also be available for those who have no fear of heights.  Shaun Killa, a Dubai architect and member of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, said that observation decks were the most important part of any giant skyscraper...more.

Beacon of US$7billion project revealed

Beacon of US$7billion project revealed Sept 23, Jeddah

At 60 m tall, the Breakwater Beacon provides an unmissable centerpiece for the US$7billion King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST), inaugurated at Thuwal Point in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  Designed by HOK, KAUST encompasses a total area of more than 36million sq m, the University campus occupies about 16 million sq m on land, and the remaining area is a vibrant offshore ecosystem...more.

Different sources of danger and their impacts to the environment

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Different sources of danger and their impacts to the environmentContaminated groundwater can adversely affect animals, plants and humans if it is removed from the ground by manmade or natural processes. Depending on the geology of the area, groundwater may rise to the surface through springs or seeps, fl ow laterally into nearby rivers, streams, or ponds, or sink deeper into the earth. In many parts of the world, groundwater is pumped out of the ground to be used for drinking, bathing, other household uses, agriculture, and industry.

U.S. Air Force Ditches Toxic Paint, Goes Green with PreKote

from Green Options by Tina Casey

The U.S. Air Force is using PreKote, a nontoxic coating, to replace harsh chemicals in its corrosion control efforts.

The U.S. Air Force, which has been soaring into the wild green yonder on alternative fuels and othersustainability measures, has added paint to its roster of more earth-friendly maneuvers.  At Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, the Air Force has been easing away from toxic formulas, using PreKote to protect its aircraft from corrosion.  PreKote is a propriety nontoxic base coating manufactured by Pantheon Chemical of Phoenix, Airizona.

The new coating replaces highly toxic and potentially carcinogenic anti-corrosion products based on chemicals such as hexavalent chromium, which the Department of Defense has targeted for elimination throughout the armed forces, using the force of an urgently worded memorandum issued last spring.

Read more of this story »

WHY  Wally-Hermes Yachts


WHY Wally-Hermès Yachts
all images courtesy
Hermès

WHY Wally-Hermès Yachts is the new company created by french luxury brand
Hermès and monaco based yacht maker Wally, dedicated to a new lifestyle of living
on the sea.

designing a boat with a new concept is not an utopia.
at every turn the yacht offers maximum space, durability and cutting-edge technologies.
the exchange with Wally and Hermès was rooted deeply in terms of know how and sharing
the same philosophy of this new concept.

Hermès was involved in every step of the process from concept to realization, considering
both the outside and inside were just one of the many things. as always just like with all
their designs they paid special attention to detail, developing the overall architecture
of the vessel evaluating issues of speed and spaciousness.


WHY Wally-Hermès Yachts


WHY- photovolatic panels which cover the roof surface

the boat is contained in a triangular hull measuring 58m x 38m. there is no superstructure.
the initial idea of this hull was confirmed by the ramform hull which they discovered,
redesigned and adapted to fit the concept of the wheel house that emerges from the silhouette
of the ship. the interior of the yacht is fitted out with water resistant buffalo leather using
the calpinage technique.

the yacht which took years in the making has been tested in gotebourg, sweden,
in a specialised tank testing facility, to see how it would perform in big seas.
the outcome is that, in full swell, the bow moves a tiny bit and the stern stays
completely still. anchored, the boat creates a totally flat surface behind it, like an
olympic-size pool where you can swim in total peace. on the bow, there’s a seawater
pool 25 metres long that follows the curve of the bow.

the environmental and ecological advantages are a strong point of the boat WHY.
different sources of energy are managed by a central computer.

the yacht is powered using a diesel electric engine. a surface of the photovolatic
panels which measure approximately 900 square meters provide the solar electricity
generated which covers part of what is needed to subsist the boat.

an encounter,
… the concept was developed by president and CEO of Wally luca bassani antivari,
artistic director of Hermès, pierre-alexis dumas and design director of Hermès
gabriele pezzini.

a special WHY team has been built to reply to any needs.

http://www.why-yachts.com


WHY – when sunlight is let in


‘everybody’s dream is to live on an island, in complete freedom, without constraint,
with the independence that only self-sufficiency can provide. a piece of land with
a beautiful villa partly fulfils this aspiration because it is static. a yacht offers the freedom
to move, but does not have the space of a property. WHY has it all: space, stability, movement,
independence, peace. WHY goes even further. this revolutionary concept of the moving island
is developed with the latest and most advanced sustainable technologies, recycling thermal
energy, as well as any organic and inorganic waste. the architecture of the whole project
fits perfectly in the environment – there are no excesses, nothing is superfluous, the impact
on the sea is minimum. a new and unique way to live on the sea while caring about it,
protecting it, and loving it. all this has always been my dream too, and when I met
pierre-alexis dumas I realised that this dream could come true thanks to the common values
and ethical principles we share.’

luca bassani antivari, president and CEO of Wally

‘from the invention of the compass to block capitals, from the rudder to the first steps on
the moon, man discovers and pursues his dreams. with its feet on the ground and its head in
the stars, Hermès, since its creation in 1837, has grown, generation after generation, through
innovative projects, executed with high standards and an artisan spirit.I have always thrived on
the dreams of great visionaries like magellan, jules verne, saint-exupéry and paul klee.
like theirs,
the path of Hermès is to pursue its dreams… excelling itself, learning, pushing
ever further
the quest for excellence and the celebration of beauty in the world. a world we
must protect.
today, Hermès steps into the marine world with Wally. we quickly recognised
our common values,
the values of well-made, singular, functional, refined and elegant objects.
this encounter was just
what we needed to inspire us to brave the open seas. together, with
luca bassani antivari, we
hope to open a new path, to offera new lifestyle that is different,
serene, contemplative and respectful
of the environment, moving slowly on the water,
combining the pleasure of sailing and absolute
comfort. Wally Hermès Yachts – WHY – is the
union of our dreams, the green path that carries
us away in its wake…’
pierre-alexis dumas, artistic director of Hermès


WHY Wally-Hermès Yachts


WHY – deck

‘over the course of your discussions coasting against the current,
how did you come up with the idea of a triangular hull?’

pierre-alexis dumas: my inspiration is still the greek caïque, roomy, generous and slow.
this eulogy to slowness is demonstrated in such a magnificent way.
a pared-down craft with nothing superfluous about it. we needed a stable hull in order
to hold the sea comfortably. the idea of a triangular hull, which doesn’t exist in the world
of leisure boating, came from the utilitarian merchant marine.

luca bassani antivari: I came across a picture of a supertanker while reading a professional
magazine. a cable-handling vessel, used in the geo-mining and seismological industry in
the north sea, invented by a norwegian naval engineer, roar ramde, and fully patented.
there was nothing new about this ship. it had been in use for twenty-five years.
as soon as I saw it, I picked up the phone and called my consultant naval architect,
mauro sculli. he looked in the RINA, the italian naval classification registry: never seen or heard
of before in the world of yachting! it was perfect. we had our hull. we bought exclusive rights
to the concept, patented strictly for yachting.


WHY – deck




‘did this new territory require you to come up with a new way to design a boat ?’

pierre-alexis dumas: WHY addresses the very real problem of consumption, which is
today exacerbated by the global context. we provide an answer in a field where clients
are responsible for setting an example, embracing a new ethic. what this market needs is
a boat designed with the environment in mind. this new way of moving on water must give
way to a new way of managing energy, its sources and uses, how to recycle it, etc.
the same goes for the choice of materials; we have to limit the effect on the environment.

gabriele pezzini: we didn’t design a boat, we gave shape to an idea. the sea is one of the last
spaces where people can indulge in absolute freedom. deciding to live on the sea means
rethinking everything that’s been done before. you need to start from scratch! for example,
we provide a real jogging track inspired by coastal paths running around the ship.
above all, we had to transpose and translate functions into forms, and vice versa, by merging
the viewpoints of Hermès and Wally.

‘what are the environmental and ecological advantages of WHY ?’

pierre-alexis dumas: ours requires less power at cruising speed than a boat of equal size.
its diesel-electric motorisation is the most efficient motorisation out there today,
and the surface of the photovoltaic panels, almost 900 square metres, covers part of what’s
needed to subsist on the boat! we’re also looking into a telescopic wind-turbine system
and a retractable mast with a computer-operated sail measuring over 200 square metres
that will produce at least 30 % of the energy used to propel the boat.


full size scale model rear


full size scale model front

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

NASA’s return to the moon ‘unsustainable,’ says review

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
NASA's return to the moon 'unsustainable,' says reviewThe budgetary review of NASA ordered by President Obama has found that the program needs quite a bit more money than previously thought to reach its goal of getting back to the moon by 2020: $3 billion more yearly is needed, the panel of experts say, on top of NASA already contested annual budget of $18 billion. The goal of “back to the moon within the next decade” was set during the Bush administration.

The panel has thus deemed the trajectory NASA is currently following “unsustainable” and calls for a “flexible path.” NASA was already hoping to reduce its operating budget by retiring its fleet of space shuttles in 2010 and — in a most radical step — ceasing operations on the International Space Station in 2015.

It’s not like NASA itself is about to shutter its doors, but what happens next is anyone’s guess. The review board proposed a series of alternatives along said “flexible path,” including going to one of Mars’s moons instead (and not by 2020), seeking more help from foreign nations, redesigning the Ares lunar rockets, or more seriously pressing the challenge of space exploration into the private sector.

News.com.au, via redOrbit, via Fast Company

sander architects: edible restaurant

los angeles based sander architects recently unveiled their design for a restaurant with an edible facade. grace restaurant will be located in the rectory of the decommissioned st. vibiana’s cathedral, LA.

the proposal features the addition of a triangular piece of property adjoining the rectory, which will include a new kitchen on the first floor with cooking facilities and a private chef’s table on the upper floor.

Tilt Shift Photograpy

from Design + Build by Jordan

Tilt Shift photography refers to taking photographs using a tilt/shift lens – a lens that can change angle in relation to the sensor/film in a camera, rather than being parallel to it. Traditionally the lens is used to take full length photos of buildings without having the lines in the building converge towards the top. The lens would adjust to bring the lines into parallel again.

In recent times there has been a shift towards use of the lens to force the focus onto a specific spot within the photo, and also provide really, really shallow depth of field. The result of this is photographs in which the scene actually looks like a miniature model of the scene.

It has even become so popular there are various tutorials showing you how to fake the effect in photoshop for those who can’t afford the (admittedly expensive) lens.

Here’s  few examples of the effect… what do you think of it? Does it have potential as a graphical presentation technique for architectural work?




jacques herzog, ricky burdett, stefano boeri, william mcdonough: milan expo 2015 – conceptual masterplan


masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron

yesterday the conceptual masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015 was unveiled.
the challenging project is dedicated to the theme ‘feeding the planet, energy for life’.
the five architects stefano boeri, richard burdett, mark rylander, jacques herzog
and william mcdonough illustrated the development, stylistic lines and creative principles
that will shape the area where the expo is to be held.

the expo they envisioned will be a planetary botanical garden open to the citizens of milan
and the world. a place for a fresh encounter between farming and the city that will feed
milan literally, spiritually and intellectually. a vast agrofood park built on an orthogonal
grid, surrounded by water ways and punctuated by striking landscape architecture.


masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron


masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron


masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron

BMW: augmented reality to help with car repairs

BMW have developed a concept for augmented reality glasses, which assist mechanics in performing maintenance on the company’s cars. the glasses point out the part that needs replacing, the screws that need turning, while an audio track talks the mechanic through the steps of the repair.

Monopoly board game uses Google Maps in its latest incarnation

from DVICE by Addy Dugdale
Monopoly board game uses Google Maps in its latest incarnationMonopoly, perhaps the most time-consuming board game in the history of board games, is about to go online. On September 9, Hasbro is launching Monopoly City Streets, a live, worldwide version of what may or may not be what The Donald used to play as a nipper.

Players will get a nifty $3 million to start with, and will be able to put just about any type of building anywhere they want, thanks to the wonders of Google Maps. I particularly like the fact that the owner of the board above has erected a football stadium slap-bang in the the middle of Mayfair, probably London’s most exclusive barrio. This is definitely one for renegade town planners.

Monopoly City Streets Via Daily Mail

Workers Of The World, Meet Your Robot Replacements

from TechCrunch by Erick Schonfeld

Popout

Industrial robots are nothing new, but they are getting more and more sophisticated. Watch the video above of the swarming robot warehouse pickers made by Kiva Systems. They are like orange industrial Roombas that go out and find inventory in a warehouse and bring it back to human workers to pack for shipping. Don’t fear them. Really, they are just here to help.

Zappos and Staples use the systems, which are dispatched and controlled by a central computer, and can also detect each other to avoid collisions.

Speaking of Roombas, Kiva Systems might soon have competition from MIT Robotics professor and iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks. (iRobot manufactures the Roomba robot vacuum). Brooks recently got $7 million in funding from Jeff Bezos and others for his latest venture, Heartland Robotics. The company is still in stealth, but its homepage hints at what it is working on:

Heartland Robotics is combining the power of computers – embodied in robots – and the extraordinary intelligence of the American workforce, to increase productivity and revitalize manufacturing.

They sound so friendly!

When are they going to create a blogging robot so I can take day off?

(Hat tip to Hizook. Video by IEEE Spectrum Online).

International Treaty Establishes Plant Arks around Globe

from Green Options by Kay Sexton

corn varieties

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) may not sound snappy, but its long-term aim is easily expressed: to act as a vegetable ark.  Part of the treaty requires the developed world to fund the preservation of diverse species of food crop around the world.

The funding is provided by richer nations, which have often become variety poor, and given to other nations, which are often poorer but have a wide range of plants which could act as an ‘agricultural insurance’ by maintaining biodiversity in essential crops.

The crops being preserved in this way include potatoes in Peru, corn and beans in Cuba and oranges in Egypt. The varieties need to be preserved to ensure that the planet has a range of foods that are more likely to be able to adapt to challenges ranging from climate change to pollution, from salination to the loss of pollinators like insects to the ability to resist diseases and predators.

Can the Internet Help Fight Climate Change?

from Green Options by Govind Singh

Internet and Climate Change

Last week, the Internet celebrated its 40th birthday! Forty glorious years that saw not just the transition from ARPANet to the now popular Internet but also Web 2.0 and what not! The Internet has been a revolution–in the making! The Internet that we know of today has been around for a little over a decade. That is also the time period when awareness and action on the “global” climate crisis has been phenomenal. And the link, evident!

herzog & de meuron: elbe philharmonic hall in hamburg

the elbe philharmonic hall, hamburg will include 2 concert halls, a 5 star hotel
and apartments. the design of the new building was produced by herzog & de meuron
in conjunction with höhler and werner kallmorgen

like a large glassy wave, the concert hall seems to float above the former
kaispeicher warehouse. two large auditoriums capable of holding 2,150
and 550 visitors will be created in the new glass structure. the almost 100 meter
tall performance place will host concerts of classical music, music of the 21st
century and sophisticated entertainment music.

California Adds 8,600 MW New Renewable Power: Meets RPS Goals

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Since the Renewable Portfolio Standard began in 2002, the California Public Utilities Commission has now approved contracts for more than 8,600 megawatts of new renewable energy, nearly all of it solar, signed with the state’s largest utilities. Most of the state’s renewable energy already on the grid till now has been wind power.

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Steel ‘Velcro’ Made By Germans Supports 35 Tons, 800 Degree Heat

from Gizmodo Australia by Jason Chen

If your Velcro jacket fasteners were made of this German-engineered steel “Velcro”, you’d be able to withstand 35 tons worth of force—provided your skin and bones don’t tear first. (more…)

La Grande Architecture of Hollywood

image Curbed LA talks to Morphosis’ Kim Groves about their design for the Hollywood extension campus of Emerson College. Curbed LA

Total population: access to an improved water source

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Total population: access to an improved water sourceThe 2004 global image sadly shows that the lack of access to clean water remains a burden for the poorest countries, preventing them accelerating their development. Essentially handicapping most sub-Saharan African countries, the map shows some curious trends, such as Romania, which remains far behind all other European countries.

India Continues to Argue Against Emission Cuts Even as Emissions are Set to Quadruple by 2030

from Green Options by Mridul Chadha

The Indian government released a report recently which predicted a fourfold increase in carbon emissions output in the next two decades. According to the government report, India’s carbon emissions would increase to 4 to 7 billion tonnes from last year’s level of 1.4 billion tonnes by 2031.

India’s environment minister, however, preferred to point out another finding in the report. The report predicts almost 100 percent increase in per capita emissions but the minister noted that even with a 3.5 to 4 tonnes per capita output it would remain below the global average. The globally agreed limit of per capita emission for sustainable development is 2 tonnes.

That is the argument that the Indian government has put forward frequently in order to dodge international pressure to reduce its carbon emissions. India maintains that its per capita carbon emissions are way below those of the developed countries and thus it would be unfair to ask it to set mandatory emission reduction targets.

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Vultures Killed and Sold as Roasted Chicken

from Green Options by Rhishja Larson

Barbecue chicken image for roasted vulture article

A disturbing incident in Eket, Nigeria reveals that unsuspecting roadside barbecue patrons may have been eating vulture meat instead of chicken.

Hungry buyers tempted by the scrumptious sizzle of meat cooking over a charcoal fire may want to think twice before buying a snack from one of these outdoor roasting vendors. What they think is chicken could actually be … vulture.

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Where The Hell Is Waldo, The $130,000 Red Algae Hunting Robot?

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

$130,000. That’s how much Waldo—an autonomous underwater robot from the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida—costs. Now they have to find it, and the bloody thing doesn’t even wear a white and red striped sweater. (more…)

BIG to Design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

Copenhagen-based BIG, in collaboration with ARUP and Transsolar, was awarded the first prize in the international competition to design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion, the regional headquarters for theShenzhen Energy Company.

Shenzhen International Energy Mansion by BIG

Click above image to enlarge
Rendering of the competition-winning design for the new Shenzhen International Energy Mansion by BIG, ARUP, and Transsolar

Americans Want More Fuel-Efficient Cars, US Hybrids Up 48%

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Total US hybrid sales jumped 48.6% in August from last August, buoyed up by Cash for Clunkers.

We Americans did the right patriotic thing with our clunker money last month, it turns out. We bought more American. And we bought more hybrid cars.  Ford was the big winner, making a big dent in Toyota’s hybrid sales.

Consumer reports tells us that 80% would rather buy US cars and 46% of us now prefer fuel efficient cars.

Read more of this story »

Extreme Environments

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
Opening today in Paris is a new exhibition called Uninhabitable? Art of Extreme Environments. Featured artists include Catherine RannouConnie Mendoza, and Studio Orta, among many others.

[Image: From Numerical Desert by Connie Mendoza].

Rannou’s work has ranged from speculative building projects for spatially challenging sites in the city (seen below) to her work Colonisation 2041, featured in the exhibition. This latter project is “an installation reflecting the active and actual occupation that the development of scientific stations in Antarctica represents; energy dependence, waste management, roads and tunnels, planes, tractors, helicopters, and building materials all point to a form of ‘urbanisation’ that is clearly in progress.”

[Image: Parentheses, an “habiter dans les interstices de la ville,” by Catherine Rannou].

Meanwhile, Connie Mendoza produces diagrammatic artworks, analyses of the optical landscapes of mirages, and fascinating quasi-documentary photo-projects, including the stunning Moon Landscapes and Numerical DesertNumerical Desert, which will be on display in Paris, explores the Atacama Large Millimeter Arraythrough black-and-white photos; it comes with “drawings based on the data of the astronomical observation of stars and galaxies in coverage of the whole southern celestial hemisphere.” She’s also got a blog.

[Image: Antarctic Village by Studio Orta].

Studio Orta’s work touches on political questions associated with empty landscapes – including the question of whether or not one could ever be a citizen of Antarctica. Their Antarctic Village, for instance, pictured above, falls somewhere between an experiment in extreme camping and a stab at temporary utopian space unaffiliated with national governments.

    Antarctic Village is emblematic of Ortas’ body of work, composed of what could be termed modular architecture and reflecting qualities of nomadic shelters and campsites. The dwellings themselves are hand stitched together by a traditional tent maker with sections of flags from countries around the world, along with extensions of clothes and gloves, symbolising the multiplicity and diversity of people.

For more information about the exhibition, check out the website.

(Thanks to William Fox for the tip!)

Lotus Has Big Plans for a Small Engine

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

lotus_range_extender

The guys at Lotus Engineering have built an itty-bitty engine that runs on just about anything and is, they say, perfect for range-extended hybrids.

Rather than modify a current engine, as General Motors is doing for the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Automotive is doing with the Karma, Lotus started from scratch and designed an engine specifically for series hybrids. Technical Director Simon Wood says the 1.2 liter three-cylinder Range Extender is better than anything the competition might have because it offers high thermal efficiency, low fuel consumption, multi-fuel capability and low cost. The aluminum engine also is super light, weighing just 123 pounds

mike and maaike: atnmbl

the atnmbl by designers mike and maaike is a vehicle concept for the year 2040 that is an autonomobile,
a title that merges autonomy and automobile. the concept is an automated vehicle that instead of driving,
the user simply answers the question ‘where can I take you?’ while this seems futuristic, the technology
exists to have cars think for themselves. GPS, sophisticated sensor, and navigation databases will allow
driverless vehicles to operate on the same roads we have today. the vehicle is electric with solar cells on
the roof to assist in producing energy. inside there is a large wrap around seating bank for seven with no
driver’s seat or steering wheel. the car focuses on allowing users to enjoy quality time on the road,
with the option to socialize, watch movies, work, sleep or surf the web. the car has large windows that
allow the rider to enjoy the view and an interior that is designed more like a domestic space than
a traditional car interior.

http://www.mikeandmaaike.com

Freshwater alkalinity: 1976-2008

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Freshwater alkalinity: 1976-2008Alkalinity is commonly used to indicate a water body’s capacity to buffer against acidity; that is, the ability to resist, or dampen, changes in pH. Thus, alkaline compounds in water, such as bicarbonates, carbonates, and hydroxides, lower the acidity of the water and increase the pH. Alkalinity (as CaCO3) was analysed for all sampling stations available at the continental level. Concentrations remained reasonably steady between the two decades for Africa, Asia, South America and Australasia, but significant increases were noted for European and North American rivers, which may indicate a shift towards reduced acidic impacts at the continental scale. Overall, during the last 30 years , alkalinity has decreased in North America and Europe, but has significantly increased in Asia. Examination of the outflow stations in 82 monitored river basins indicate a decrease in bicarbonate concentrations between the two decades , in the northern latitudes, including North America, Europe and Asia. For the period 1976-1990, European rivers displayed the highest concentrations of calcium at a continental level, with concentrations varying between 2 mg and 50 mg per litre for major rivers. Comparing the two decades, observations of surface water showed an increase in calcium concentrations in the Laurentian shield region of North America, and in the rivers of the north central European region.

This Is The World’s Oldest, And Perhaps Slowest, Air Race

from Wired: Autopia by Jason Paur

bennett_cup

A pair of French aeronauts touched down yesterday in western Portugal less than three miles from the Atlantic to win the oldest, and perhaps simplest, aeronautical race in the world.

The two men left Geneva on Saturday and traveled 984 miles in 85 hours and 12 minutes — an average speed of just over 11 mph — to win the 53rd running of the Gordon Bennett Cup. The race is straightforward: everyone departs from the same location and, once airborne, is free to go wherever the winds carry them. Whoever goes the furthest wins.

Sigg Company Shamefully Admits Its Aluminum Sigg Bottles Contain BPA

from Green Options by John Chappell

The Sigg Company recently admitted that its aluminum bottles, long touted as an alternative to chemical leaching plastics, actually contain bisphenol-A (BPA) in their liner. The announcement has left customers around the world outraged.  Especially damning is evidence that the company knew as far back as 2006 that the bottle liners contained BPA, yet failed to disclose this fact to consumers.

Radical BMW Land Yacht uses a sail to steer

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
Radical BMW Land Yacht uses a sail to steer From designer Stefan Radev comes a wind-powered vehicle called the BMW Blue Dynamics Land Yacht. It’s got a huge sail in back for steering, seats one and all-in-all is appropriately reminiscient of a boat. We have to say, we’re loving the concept vehicles flying the BMW flag this week — not to mention that swanky “augmented reality” space for mechanics.

Military testing out fancy new airless tires

from DVICE by Adam Frucci
Military testing out fancy new airless tiresWhat you’re looking at might just be the tire of the future. At least that’s what the military thinks, as it’s testing out prototypes of this new airless tire.

The advantages of airless tires are obvious: they can’t be punctured and they never go flat. But it clearly takes a lot of science to get the proper material that can stand up to the pressure of a multi-ton military vehicle sitting on top of it. I look forward to when these things are the standard on normal cars we see on the highways.

Scientific American via Make

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris Presents the Winners

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The winners of the Paris 2009: Dance School for Moulin Rouge competition have recently been revealed. Competition organizer Arquitectum invited architects to design a reinterpretation of the ‘new Moulin Rouge’, the most famous cabaret in the world and a symbol of what is an important piece of Parisian life. The new facilities should enhance the quality of the show and the performance of the dancers. The competition presented an opportunity to propose a new vision for a long standing tradition.

The jury reviewed 290 proposals from all around the world and decided that the winner of the first prize was the team comprising Andrew FortuneIsaac Cobo i Displs, and Daniel Coll i Capdevilla from the UK. Second prize went to David Mulder Van Der Vegt and Max Cohen De Lara from The Netherlands, the third prize was awarded to Walter Sánchez and Dario Rodríguez from Argentina. The judges also selected nine honorable mentions.

An exhibition of the winning entries and honorable mentions will open to the public at the Moulin Rouge, 82 Boulevard de Clichy in Paris on October 6.

These are the three winning projects:

1st Prize: Andrew Fortune, Isaac Cobo i Displs, Daniel Coll i Capdevilla (United Kingdom)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
1st Prize: Andrew Fortune, Isaac Cobo i Displs, Daniel Coll i Capdevilla (United Kingdom)

2nd Prize: David Mulder Van Der Vegt, Max Cohen De Lara (The Netherlands)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
2nd Prize: David Mulder Van Der Vegt, Max Cohen De Lara (The Netherlands)

3rd Prize: Walter Sánchez, Dario Rodríguez (Argentina)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
3rd Prize: Walter Sánchez, Dario Rodríguez (Argentina)

Following are the nine honorable mentions:

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Stanislas Elluin, Clemence Gauchet, Stephane Girard, Catherine Segonzat (France)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Alfredo Favio De León Méndez, Carolina Gisella Patino Acosta (Ecuador)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention:Juraj Karasek, Viktor Fucek (Slovakia)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Anton Shatalov, Boris Shatalov, Evgeny Kovalev, Artyom Elli, Anton Kulakovsky (Russia)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention:Jean Baptiste Andre, Remy Poux (France)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Denise Ampuero Carrascal, María Fé Aguirre Alvarez, Gloria Andrea Rojas Oliveros (Peru)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Everardo Riestra, Jaime Salas, Eder Martínez, Isabel Ortega (Mexico)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Hideaki Nishimura, Sarah Takemura (Japan)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Calabro Manuel (France)

Images: Arquitectum

Japanese Dolphin Slaughter to Continue Despite Current Suspension

from Green Options by Daniel Hohler

Last Tuesday, EcoWorldly Staff Writer Bryan Nelson wrote an article on the suspension of dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. The suspension came off of Japanese local media swarming on Taiji, after the award winning documentary film “The Cove” put the spotlight on the small Japanese village that slaughters thousands of dolphins every year.

Ric O’Barry, the dolphin trainer and activist who brought the location to the attention of filmmakers, returned to the site of the slaughter this week, just as the annual “hunt” would normally begin. However, this time with all of the media attention, no dolphins were killed in the first 2 days of the season.

Read more of this story »

Historical trends in carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature, on a geological and recent time scale

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Historical trends in carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature, on a geological and recent time scaleThe most recent geological history, in the last hundred thousand years, has been characterised by cycles of glaciations, or ice ages. The historic temperatures, through these times, have been low, and continental ice sheets have covered large parts of the world. Through ancient air, trapped in tiny bubbles in the Antarctic ice, we have been able to see what the temperature cycle was at that time, and also the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2). The more recent history, from the middle ages and up until now, show increasing temperatures, rising as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age (LIA), around 1850. With the industrial era, human activities have at the same time increased the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases, and scientists have been able to connect human activities as one of the drivers to climate change and global warming. The top part of the CO2 measurements, the observations, are what is referred to as the ‘Mauna Loa curve’ or the ‘Keeling curve’.

Lazy Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

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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

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.

big-tallinn-town-hall-1.jpg

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

big-tallinn-town-hall-2.jpg

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

big-tallinn-town-hall-3.jpg

big-tallinn-town-hall-4.jpg

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

China Heating Up Global Competition for Solar

from Green Options by Jennifer Kho

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

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

Read more of this story »

Water and Energy – A Crisis and An Opportunity

from Green Options by Paul O’Callaghan

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

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

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

from Green Options by Amiel Blajchman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: ashatsea (Creative Commons)

menis arquitectos: jordanek music hall

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

Green timber scheme ‘discriminatory’ – Architecture and Design

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

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

Submitted by: dunno source via FAIL Uploader

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

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

Canadian seal hunt ‘collapsing’

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

charlie davidson: ‘uni’ table


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

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

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


an exploded view of the table
image courtesy of charlie davidson


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

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

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

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

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

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

UN warns of ‘megadisasters’ linked to climate change

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

MIT Researchers Discover Why Concrete Breaks Down

from Green Options by Ariel Schwartz

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

Read more of this story »

eVolo 2010 Skyscraper Competition

from AMNP

dsky_b.gif

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

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

All Aboard the Wind-Powered Railway

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

train_windmills

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

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

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

First Spaceport Ever Begins Construction This Friday

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

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

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

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

Though harnessing them is another issue.

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

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

Read more of this story »

Saudi’s Kingdom hires Emaar for kilometre-high skyscraper

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

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

Ideas Competition for the Bering Strait Project Announces Winners

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

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

image

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

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

These are the jury’s winners:
Professional Category:

1st Prize (USD 55,000):

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

image

Diomede Archipelago

2nd Prize (each USD 25,000):

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

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

image

Bridge the Memory

image

Bridge the Memory

image

Bridge the Memory

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

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

The Tipping Point: China Takes Major Steps Toward Electric Vehicles

from Green Options by Ruedigar Matthes

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

Supermarket installs power-generating parking lot

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

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

Via Daily Mail

Huge Electric Semi Would Transform Trucking

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

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

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

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

from Green Options by Jennifer Lance

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

Read more of this story »

monolab: rotterdam city tower

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

http://www.monolab.nl

When the ruins begin to sing

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

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

began to sing.

(Thanks to Steve Silberman for the link!)

XERO Project Green Building Concept: Veggie Does Dallas

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

Well-connected – Timber Trades Journal

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

The Folly of Building-Integrated Wind

The Folly of Building-Integrated Wind June 10

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

Russia Tower Site To Become Car Park

Russia Tower Site To Become Car Park June 12, Moscow

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

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

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

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

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

Babcock & Wilcox, via Treehugger

Zero Waste Week

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

More Urban Sprawl

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

MAD: Al Rostamini HQ

from AMNP

mad-al_rostamini_hq-1.jpg

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

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

Report: Climate Change Already Killing 300,000 People Annually

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

dry, cracked earth in draught-stricked Africa

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

RMJM architects: ‘capital gate’ tower, abu dhabi


‘capital gate’ by RMJM architects
image courtesy RMJM architects

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

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

lara calder architecture: ‘eco house’


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

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

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

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

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


24dash

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


One Container Ship Pollutes As Much As 50 Million Cars

from Green Options by Christopher DeMorro

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

Read more of this story »

160 Syrian villages deserted due to climate change: study

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

flynn talbot: ‘horizon’


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

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

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

Energy cost of various construction materials

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

Hurry Up and LEED

from AMNP

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

stefano merlo: ‘blade of grass’


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

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

how green is ‘green’? – 24dash


24dash

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

Green contractors more likely to win work

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

$100 Trillion Dollar Wallpaper

from AMNP

the_zimbabwean_newspaper_faaa5_22619.gif

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

trillion_dollar_campaign_zimbabwean_newspaper_yatzer_1.jpg

Zero Energy Houses Creating a New Design Vernacular:

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

The deep Butterfly Roof

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

Google Opens New Aussie Headquarters

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

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

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

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

from Green Options by Tina Casey

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

Faucet Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Submitted by Jessy R

Hilarious Infrastructure

from AMNP

inescapable-interchange.png

[original comic via xkcd]

I mean, who doesn’t like infrastructure jokes?

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

I also enjoyed this comic by xkcd.

Risk Management Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Submitted by Anthony G