12 Million Homes Powered By German Off-Shore Wind

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

In Seoul, Subway Riders Learn a New Way to Walk

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

Environmentalism as a Step in Individual Evolution

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

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

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

Arizona Project Uses Algae to Turn Coal Pollution Into Biofuel

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

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

off architecture: jean moulin high school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

loop.ph: sonumbra

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

NBBJ: dalian stadium

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

How Straw Bale Building Will Go Mainstream

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

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

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

Water withdrawal and consumption: the big gap

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

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

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

White House Unveils Landmark Fuel Economy and Emissions Standards

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

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

Dubai 2010 video depicts a futuristic Arabian metropolis

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

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

Via The National

Dead Forests to Fuel Vehicles

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

Skyscraper Bridges

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

$1.1 Trillion to Cut Carbon Emissions in India

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


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

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

Read more of this story »

Mercury-Laden CFLs to Overwhelm Minnesota’s Recycling Program

from Green Options by Dave Dempsey

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

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

Read more of this story »

Extreme agricultural statuary

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

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

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

[Image: “Endothelium” by Philip Beesley].

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

from Green Options by Steve Savage

Norm Bourlag (center) consulting with IRRI researchers

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

Read more of this story »

Liquid-Filled LED Bulbs: 360 Degree Light

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

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

Control4 readies first smart grid energy/home control module

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


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

Read more of this story »

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

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

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

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

Read more of this story »

Finalists of the UPTO35 Competition Revealed

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

Dirty coal is here to stay

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

Certified Emission Reductions

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

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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.

Read more of this story »

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.

Read more of this story »

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.

Read more of this story »

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

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

Following are the nine honorable mentions:

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Stanislas Elluin, Clemence Gauchet, Stephane Girard, Catherine Segonzat (France)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Alfredo Favio De León Méndez, Carolina Gisella Patino Acosta (Ecuador)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention:Juraj Karasek, Viktor Fucek (Slovakia)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Anton Shatalov, Boris Shatalov, Evgeny Kovalev, Artyom Elli, Anton Kulakovsky (Russia)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention:Jean Baptiste Andre, Remy Poux (France)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Denise Ampuero Carrascal, María Fé Aguirre Alvarez, Gloria Andrea Rojas Oliveros (Peru)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Everardo Riestra, Jaime Salas, Eder Martínez, Isabel Ortega (Mexico)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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Honorable Mention: Hideaki Nishimura, Sarah Takemura (Japan)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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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

Picture by: fnc777. Submitted by: fnc777 via Fail Uploader

zaha hadid architects: chaoyangmen SOHO III


chaoyangmen SOHO III by zaha hadid architectszaha hadid architects recently unveiled plans of their project chaoyangmen SOHO III,
located in the city center of beijing. with the headquarters building of the ministry
of foreign affairs on its east and chaoyangmen soho I and II on its north, it is surrounded
by different urban amenities including outdoor space, offices and residential spaces.
the total construction area of the project is 334,000 square meters, of which 166,000
and 86,000 square meters are designated for offices and retail uses respectively.the project is designed based on the traditional chinese courtyard, an inner space within
a building. chaoyangmen SOHO III  was conceived as a series of continuous and flowing
volumes that coalesce, which fuse and pull apart as stretched bridges to create a world
of continuous mutual adaptation.


chaoyangmen SOHO III – inner courtyard


chaoyangmen SOHO III  aerial view rendering

Manhattan Population By Day, Manhattan By Night

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

I love NYC to bits. But when I see the millions of people shifting in and out Manhattan in a pretty pretty graphic like this, I feel vertigo. And then, when I see the subway statistics, I feel panic.(more…)

Solar Phone Concept Charges On Your Wrist

from Gizmodo Australia by Jason Chen

Speaking as a guy who rarely goes outside, this concept would be very much the same as a regular phone, but it is a neat looking flexible device that doubles as a watch when not in use.(more…)

European Freight Train Trials Use Faux Satellites, Railways

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

siemens

Investigators in Germany are testing a satellite navigation system that promises faster, safer freight transport on Europe’s railways. All they needed to perform the trials were eight fake satellites and one mock 86-acre rail yard.

The European Union claims their Galileo satellite navigation system — a competitor and complement to the US’ Global Positioning System and Russia’s GLONASS – is so accuratethat it can be used to implement an automated train control (ATC) system at railyards. With ATC, individual freight cars can automatically be classified onto appropriate trains, saving time and decreasing the possibility of railyard accidents.

There’s only one problem: Galileo won’t be ready for another four years. As a result, engineers at Siemens had to create a reasonable facsimile of the system in order to test their ATC technology.

Siemens’ RailGATE project (GATE is an acronym for “application center for ground transportation” in German) is taking place on 17 miles of faux railway at the company’sWegberg-Wildenrath testing facility (shown above).  “The aim is to explore potential applications for the future Galileo satellite system in rail-bound transportation and to make it even more reliable in future,” the company said in a statement.

In order to simulate the signals from the Galileo satelite, Siemens built eight signal generators they call “pseudolites” which transmit the same signals that trains would receive from Galileo. During the trial, trains are being shunted and classified in a series of test tracks that mimic real-world applications, such as in a busy depot with multiple arriving trains or in a wooded forest where reception may be blocked.

Should the tests be successful they may revitalize the EU’s rail freight, a sector of transport where Europe lags behind much of the rest of the world. Freight transit by rail has declinedfrom a high of 21 percent in 1970 to a low of 8 percent in 1998. The European Commission White Paper on Transit envisions a world where Galileo and ATC lead a shift in freight transit from funny-looking flat-front trucks to relatively more efficient trains.

Photo: Siemens AG. The Wegberg-Wildenrath testing facility now features eight “pseudolites” to test the EU’s incomplete Galileo global satellite navigation system.

jun yasumoto: phyto purification bathroom


‘phyto purification bathroom’
image courtesy jun yasumoto
japanese born, paris based designer jun yasumoto developed ‘phyto purification bathroom’
together with alban le henryolivier pigasse and vincent vandenbrouck.

formodesign: house on the water


house on the water by formodesign
image courtesy formodesign
house on the water by polish firm formodesign is a proposal for a single family home.
designed with sustainability in mind the house takes into consideration water desalination,
energy accumulation, ventilation methods, water recycling, heat and energy consumption,
tidal and solar energy.

Indian land ‘seriously degraded’

At least 45% of Indian land is environmentally “degraded”, air pollution is rising and flora and fauna is diminishing, according to a report.

Orbis is like a Segway that actually fits on city sidewalks

from DVICE by Michael Trei
Orbis is like a Segway that actually fits on city sidewalksSegways have had a tough time in big cities, mostly because the city planners can’t seem to decide whether they should be ridden on the street or the sidewalk. Here in New York City they remain banned, as their wide stance would be a nightmare on our jammed sidewalks.The Orbis Urban Mobility Vehicle might be one answer. Looking kind of like a one wheeled Segway, the Orbis’ handle can be folded around the wheel, making it somewhat portable. This means that you can hide away your geeky transportation device once you get to work. Unfortunately, you’ll still look like a total dork when riding it.

Killer Ants Under Attack in Australia!

from Green Options by Jace Shoemaker-Galloway

Destructive and deadly ants are being attacked down-under from up above. As part of theNational Fire Ant Eradication Program (NFAEP), the Australian government is going high-tech to eradicate the fire ant.  NFAEP, which began in 2001, is a national program used to control and eradicate fire ants.   In 2001, 65,000 nests were discovered.

Read more of this story »

Lasers to Help Whip Wind Energy into Shape

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

How do you make a better wind turbine? With lasers, of course.

The Manassas, Virginia-based Catch the Wind(TSX-V: CTW.S) has signed an agreement to work with the National Renewable Energy Lab in Boulder, Colorado, to test the company’s Vindicator laser wind sensor.

Read more of this story »

Animal proteins: the good, the bad and the ugly

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library byUNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Animal proteins: the good, the bad and the uglyMeat imports in 2005 and Meat consumption displayed as kilograms of CO2 equivalents per 100 kilocalories of product for major countries around the world.

chris boardman: intelligent bike concept

cyclist chris boardman unveiled his latest cycle concept to the world’s media yesterday. the new ‘intelligent’ bike counts calories as you pedal, plays music and uses a solar-powered motor when you get tired.

The Pentagon’s War Against Carbon

from Green Options by Joe Walsh

There is a good conversation going on over in another corner of the web about the key hurdles that the White House faces in getting climate change legislation through the Senate. One of the issues I raised in that context is that outside of the Northeast and West Coast, climate change is still a “granola” issue and that supporters will need to grab on to some other arguments (i.e., national security, peak oil and the economy, etc.) if they are going to get a win. That change in tone began in earnest with Sunday’s NYT front-pager, but just because it is smart politics does not make it good policy.

Read more of this story »

Cloud-Generating 1900-Ship Armada To Sink Climate Change

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

The Copenhagen Consensus Centre—a respected European think tank which used to be skeptic on climate change—is now advising that we should spend $US9 billion in building 1900 cloud-generating ships like the one above. Why? To cool down Earth: (more…)

RMJM architects: green development, istanbul, turkey


green development atasehir district, istanbul turkey by RMJM architects
image courtesy RMJM architects
international firm RMJM architects unveiled plans of their 1 billion USD development
in istanbul, which will be one of the ‘greenest’ projects in turkey.

UK Supermarket Turns 5,000 Tons Of Meat Into Energy

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

It’s an odd week for fuel sources. On the heels of a Mountain Dew powered engine, UK supermarket Tesco is getting flack for turning meat into energy–yah, you read that right.

The food chain is burning 5,000 tons of inedible meat for fuel. The biomass processing is being handled by the Cheshire-based PDM Group. The meat-energy is then used to power UK homes via the National Grid.

In fact, Tesco says they dispose of enough old meat to power 600 homes a year!

Read more of this story »

Number of extra skin cancer cases related to UV radiation

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library byUNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Number of extra skin cancer cases related to UV radiationThe most widely recognised damage occurs to the skin. The direct effects are sun burn, chronic skin damage (photo-aging) and an increased risk of developing various types of skin cancer. Models predict that a 10 per cent decrease in the ozone in the stratosphere could cause an additional 300,000 non-melanoma and 4,500 (more dangerous) melanoma skin cancers worldwide annually.

(more…)

axis mundi unveils conceptual design for MoMA tower


conceptual tower for MoMA new york by axis mundi

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

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

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

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

Zero carbon building planned – TeleText


24dash

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

all 8 news articles »

The Schweeb: Personal Pedal Power Pod

from Green Options by Christopher DeMorro

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

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

Read more of this story »

Four ‘eco-towns’ given go ahead

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

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


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

Major genetically modified crop production countries, 2006

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

Tiny Molecular Bowls Pull Carbon Dioxide Out of the Air

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Coal-fired Plant

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

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

Read more of this story »

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

from Green Options by Ruedigar Matthes

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

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

Read more of this story »

Electric Horizon: Alfred Deakin Eco-Innovation Lectures

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

San Francisco Bay Overrun by Alien Seaweed Forest

from Green Options by Derek Markham

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

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

Read more of this story »

Magic watch with floating hands costs $265,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

Appliancist via TFTS

Black & White Clock uses OLEDs, looks simply stunning

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

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

Kibardin Design, via technabob

MIT developing fabrics capable of taking pictures

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

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

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

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

Via MIT News, via GizmoWatch

WaterTherapy shower head envelops you with soothing colors

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

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

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

Guglielmi, via Born Rich

Redesigned London Bridge would be a farming and business hub

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

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

Check out more of the Chetwood design below.

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

from Green Options by Rhishja Larson

White Rhino photo

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

Almeisen Tower is a Solar Concentrating Skyscraper

Almeisen Tower is a Solar Concentrating Skyscraper July 13, Dubai

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

Avenue2 Consortium Wins A2 Maastricht Project with Groene Loper Plan

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

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

image

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

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

image

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

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

image

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

ExxonMobil Invests $600 million with Algae Company Synthetic Genomics

from Green Options by Joanna Schroeder

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

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

from Green Options by Jennifer Lance

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

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


The Infrastructurist

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

and more »

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

from Green Options by Mridul Chadha

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

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

Read more of this story »

quadrangle architects: ‘green ribbon’ gardiner expressway toronto

ecdm: ZAC bords de seine housing project

from Designboom – Weblog

1 person liked this


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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Indian tiger park ‘has no tigers’

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

More Food Waste to be Turned Into Energy in California

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell your mom.

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

New Glass Prevents Birds From Colliding with Windows

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Bird flying in window

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

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

Read more of this story »

Student Works: Ecotone Hydro Park

from InfraNet Lab by lsheppard

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

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

Insurers Attempt to Reduce Risks of Carbon Capture & Storage

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


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

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

Plantagon is a gigantic vertical farm in a dome

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

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

Plantagon via Inhabitat

Estimated global marine fish catch, 1950 -2001

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

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

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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G.M. Is Going Green. Literally.

from Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia

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

7 Quadrillion BTUs of Free Energy Available

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


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

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

Read more of this story »

Light + strong concrete = tall, green buildings

Light + strong concrete = tall, green buildings July 8

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

Tornado Tower Features Energy Generating Façade

Tornado Tower Features Energy Generating Façade July 8

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

Freeway Air Pollution Is So Much Worse Than You Thought

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

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

Fire Evacuation Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

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