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

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.


GM Builds the First Chevrolet Volt

from Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia


General Motors started building the first pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles today. The significant milestone marks the first time engineers are assembling a vehicle that looks like the car slated to start rolling off an assembly line next year.

These cars, known as integration vehicles, are key to the Volt’s development because they are used to refine things like driving dynamics. They also get shaken down and beaten up to ensure the range-extended EV is road-ready. So far all we’ve seen are prototypes and test mules based on the Malibu and Cruze like the one we drove last month. The cars GM started building today at its technical center outside Detroit are the real deal.

“The purpose for the integration vehicle builds is two-fold,” GM spokesman Rob Peterson told Wired.com. “First, they validate our production design, vehicle safety and performance capabilities. Just as important, the build activity provides valuable insight into the final vehicle assembly process to ensure a high-level of build quality and manufacturing efficiency when production begins in November 2010.”

Engineers will assemble the first of the integration vehicles by hand, a process that will take about two weeks. Production will ramp up to a rate of 10 a week by mid-July, and Peterson says GM plans to have 80 cars on the road by fall. Early next year, GM will begin building “several hundred” more pre-production vehicles at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant that will produce the Volt we’ll see in showrooms by the end of 2010.

Photo: General Motors

NYC Giving Times Square to Pedestrians

from Green Options by Becky Striepe

New York City barricaded Broadway around Times and Herald Squares on Sunday night, turning stretches of Broadway into pedestrian plazas.

[Times Square Billboards. Creative Commons photo by Matt Mendoza]

With pedestrian traffic in Times Square up over 200% from 1980, the area was as riddled with people jams as it was with traffic jams. City officials think that re-routing auto traffic to Sixth and Seventh Avenues will open the area up, ease air pollution, and help businesses.

Read more of this story »

Vacant Auto Dealers Present A Great Opportunity

from Wired: Autopia by Tony Borroz


With General Motors shuttering umpteen dealerships and Chrysler shutting umpteen more, we’re about to see a lot of idle real estate out there. Parcels of land with big, expansive buildings and acres of asphalt will be up for grabs.

It raises an interesting question. Namely, what should we do with that land?

We’re talking about vast expanses of real estate. Check out the Google Map The New York Times put togetherand you’ll see what we mean. The folks over at Planetizen wondered what should be done with it all and came up with five ideas:

  • Ask the locals what the community needs.
  • Create urban gardens.
  • Establish “walkable, vibrant places and improve current communities.”
  • Use the land to host farmers’ markets and local events.
  • Build solar and wind energy parks and electric vehicle charging stations.

Those are all nifty ideas. But we know our fearless readers here at Autopia can do better. What would you do with that land? Build an indoor electric go-kart track? Set up an EV dealership to cash in on the coming craze? Establish re-education camps for sub-prime mortgage lenders? Or maybe you’d follow one of Planetizen’s ideas. Let us know.

Use the Reddit Widget below to let us know what to do with all this soon-to-be-vacant real estate and garage space.

Photo: Flickr / thomas.merton

Raise Your BPA Level 60 Percent!

from Green Options by Cate Nelson

For the first time, a study proved that using polycarbonate plastic increases your blood levels of bisphenol-A. And not just a little bit, either. After a week of using these materials for beverages, study participants had a 60 percent increase in the level of BPA in their blood.

Bisphenol-A has been linked to early onset of pubertylow sperm count and infertility, and its carcinogenic effects may include breast cancer. It has also been linked to heart disease and diabetes. You’ve heard all of this, I’m sure.

But how ’bout this? Bisphenol-A was first developed as a synthetic hormone. It’s an endocrine disruptor. It affects our children. It affects our adults. And the FDA still refuses to require removal from food contact materials?!

Read more of this story »

GreenGT’s 400-hp Electric Racer Ready For Le Mans

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

The GreenGT was designed specifically for kicking butt at the 24 hours of Le Mans.

With 400 hp and a top speed of 171 mph, the electric race car concept pushes 1,475 lb-ft of torque up to 100 mph then drops it to 590 lb-ft for high-speed traction. All this and it’s powered by two 30kW lithium-ion batteries charged by flexcell photovoltaic solar panels.

Read more of this story »

Autodesk helps cities track their carbon emissions

from Green Options by Reenita Malhotra

Last week, at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in Seoul, Autodesk, Inc., a world leader in 2D and 3D design and engineering software, announced that it will collaborate with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and the Microsoft Corporation, to provide visualization technology for Project Two Degrees. Project Two Degrees is an Internet-based application that provides cities with a set of tools to measure, compare, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a local level.

Autodesk joins forces with the Clinton Foundation to build sustainable cities

Autodesk will provide the technology, initially based on Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise, that will act as the model-based visualization environment used to view, evaluate and compare the results of analysis and monitoring in the C40 city. Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise software is a powerful mapping solution for delivering information more quickly, easily, and cost-effectively via the web.

Green Building Elements had a chance to speak with Brett Smith of Autodesk and Olivia Ross of the Clinton Foundation.  Here is what they had to say.

GBE: How does the software track emissions?

Brett Smith (Autodesk): The Project 2° Emissions Tracker is designed to measure as many municipal and corporate activities as possible. Users enter data on emission producing activities such as fuel and electricity consumption, vehicle traffic, waste production, industrial processes and air and sea vessel fuel use. The software then converts the data into greenhouse gases, including tons of CO2 equivalent, taking into consideration the source and type of activity.

Read more of this story »

Digging for New Material: Bioplastics are Growing Into the Green Economy

from Green Options by Jeffrey Berlin

As the Economist wages the largest debate about bio-fuels in memory, another market opportunity appears to be showing itself in the bio production space as well. Bio plastics have been sprouting up in various applications, but a recent study puts the total market of green packaging at $43.9Billion by 2013. The highest growth gains in this market will be in bio plastics for reasons of price stability and increased capacity the report said. Bio plastics will, it is reported, preform at an annual growth rate of thirteen percent. This spells big news for an industry which currently holds only about .1% percent market share.

Part of the reason for this growth will be due to policy changes which restrict the use of some of the most environmentally damaging materials, but the largest effect seems to be coming from packaging producers themselves. Corporate social responsibility leader Coca Cola has developed a new bottle which is composed of around thirty percent bio plastics with the intended goal of developing a one hundred percent renewable option in the future. Likewise, Wal-Mart has begun sourcing toys and children’s goods made from bio plastics.

The draw is that decomposition coupled with less petroleum based material seems to be better environmentally, but some counter this analysis. According to the Guardian Newspaper, foods producers in the UK such as Innocent Drinks have chosen to stop using bio plastics due to lack of recycling options for the products at present. Likewise there have been claims that bio plastics can be environmentally damaging on par with their petroleum based counterparts. Recent innovations have made it so less energy is needed to create bio plastics and thus it seems the growth of the sector makes environmental sense. Followers of Bill McDonough’s cradle to cradle concept often tout the re-usability and closed-loop life cycle of these products, while others derided their historically slow decomposition rates.  Some applications in the burgeoning bio plastics space are:

Read more of this story »

DOUBLEXPOSURE Photographers Exhibit Impacts of Climate Change

from Green Options by Adam Williams

Photographers have long held a useful key to effecting change.

Think of Ansel Adams and his influence on early 20th Century government leaders in the United States; he helped demonstrate the value of nature and the need for national parks.

Think of the Farm Security Administration photography effort of the 1930s, led by Roy Stryker (photographers included: Dorothea LangeWalker EvansGordon Parks).

Now, think of DOUBLEXPOSURE, and the work of two photographers who are pairing work that “brings the viewer into panoramas of glaciers once grand but now receding. The compelling comparisons put into stark view the fact of melting glaciers.”

Read more of this story »

Light Bulb Condom

from AMNP


I’m sure that many of you saw this earlier this month – but the “Euro Condom”, designed by Ingo Maurer, was just brought to my attention this morning and I HAD to pot it on AMNP. Long story short: new European guidelines have banned frosted incandescent bulbs, because the frosted bulbs give off less light [which is absurd]. In response, designer Ingo Maurer has developed the “Euro Condom”, an opaque silicon “condom” that you stretch over a clear incandescent bulb to give it the frosted effect.

The Euro Condom consists of a thin, heat-resistant silicone cover that turns a clear bulb into a frosted one. Frosted bulbs will be banned by the new EU guideline on light sources beginning September 2009, because they are said give off less light than clear bulbs.

But according to the specifications of various manufacturers the difference, measured in lumens, is negligible or not existing. – Protect yourself from stupid rules, use the Euro Condom!


My ninjas, PLEASE! This is definitely a story that should make you smile – and brighten up your day if you’re here in the rainy North-East. I mean – there’s even an illustrated step-by-step condom-like set of instructions….brilliant.

.:Euro Condom by Ingo Maurer -> via Dezeen

Hawaiian Garbage-to-Energy Plant Recycles Derelict Fishing Nets for Electricity

from Green Options by Tina Casey

Fishing Nets Like These are Being Recovered to Make Electricity in Hawaii

Now that Oprah has turned her spotlight on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that great mass of garbage floating in the ocean has finally caught the public eye.  An upcoming ocean garbage expedition to the patch, dubbed Project Kaisei, should draw even more attention when it launches this summer.  Project Kaisei’s aim is to explore the feasibility of collecting and recycling the garbage patch, which mainly consists of plastics, into diesel fuel.  How feasible is it?  A modest derelict fishing net recycling program in Hawaii provides some tantalizing clues.

Read more of this story »

London Yields: Urban Agriculture

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: The King’s Vineyard, London, by Soonil Kim, one of many projects featured in London Yields: Urban Agriculture].

One of the many benefits of being in London this week is that I get to stop by the Building Centre, one of my favorite urban galleries and architectural exhibition spaces, to check out their new show London Yields: Urban Agriculture.
While imagining what it might be like to eat extremely local food, grown right there in your city – a line of 96th Street Honey, for instance, or, in light of Times Square’s recent (but unfortunately temporary) pedestrianization, perhaps a Times Square Tomato (why not agriculturalize parts of Times Square?) – we also need to ask how we might make such a vision come true.
How can a city like London be at least partially turned over to food production – so that London Fields might produce southeast England’s newest yields of meat, fruit, and vegetables?
I have to admit that urban agri-utopianism is easily one of the most seductive visions of the 21st century city that I’ve yet seen – from farming new medicinal plants on the rooftops of schools to hybridizing sci-fi flowers on vast and heavily perfumed highway-farms stretching across one borough to another – and it’s hard not to get excited when thinking about such things.

Another Argument Against Ethanol

from Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia


The ethanol industry is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of ethanol that is blended into gasoline, saying it will boost demand, create jobs and foster development of cellulosic fuels.

BusinessWeek argues otherwise in a column by Ed Wallace, who calls ethanol a scam that should be abandoned. He argues the ethanol industry is “quickly failing” and says, “Don’t let anybody mislead you: The new push to get a 15 percent ethanol mandate out of Washington is simply to restore profitability to a failed industry.”

The Renewable Fuels Association has said the success of corn-based ethanol will hasten the development of cellulosic ethanol. “In order to have a second generation of ethanol fuel,” it argues, “you have to have a first-generation.” Wallace flatly accuses the ethanol industry of lying to make its case and lays out a laundry list of reasons why ethanol is a dead-end that Washington must stop traveling.

The industry says Wallace is wrong on every count and offers a point-by-point rebuttal.

Wallace offers the following reasons why ethanol isn’t worth pursuing:

  • Using ethanol creates more smog than regular gasoline, a point he says the EPA conceded in 1995.
  • Independent studies show ethanol is a net energy loser, though some research suggests there is a small gain.
  • Fuels blended with ethanol reduce fuel efficiency 30 to 40 percent.
  • Aside from the food-for-fuel debate, “the science seems to suggest that using ethanol increases global warming emissions over the use of straight gasoline.”
  • Ethanol-laced gasoline “is already destroying engines across the country in ever larger numbers.”

Wallace, who also is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, spoke to several mechanics in suburban Fort Worth who said they’re seeing more cars with fuel pumps, intakes and other components damaged by ethanol-blended gasoline.

“Not one mechanic I’ve spoken to said they would be comfortable with a 15 percent blend of ethanol in their personal car,” he writes. “However, most suggest that if the government moves the ethanol mandate to 15 percent, it will be the dawn of a new golden age for auto mechanics’ income.”

Growth Energy, an ethanol industry trade group, takes issue with every point.

“In his column, Mr. Wallace fails in his journalistic duty to provide readers with the facts,” the organization writes. “He relies on anecdotal evidence in support of his erroneous claims while completely ignoring the large body of scientific literature that supports the use of higher blends of ethanol in vehicles.”

It offers the following rebuttal:

  • Evidence suggests increased use of ethanol brought a 5 percent decrease in ground-level ozone between 2001 and 2007.
  • Every gallon of ethanol produced delivers one-third or more energy than is used to produce it.
  • “Study after study” has shown ethanol has minimal impact on food prices, and rising food prices are the result of rising energy costs. As for the issue of global warming emissions, Growth Energy says a study in the Journal of Industrial Ecology states “the ethanol industry currently is producing a fuel that is as much as 59 percent lower in direct-effect lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.”
  • The push to increase the amount of ethanol blended with gasoline is needed because the industry is producing more ethanol than can be used under current government regulations. The current limit is “arbitrary” and “threatnes to block research and development into cellulosic and future generations of biofuels.”

You can read Wallace’s column here and Growth Energy’s full rebuttal here. The EPA has extended the public comment period for the proposal to increase the amount of ethanol blended with gasoline. More information about that is available here.

POST UPDATED 7:15 p.m. Eastern time May 26 to include additional information from Growth Energy.

POST UPDATED 1 p.m. Eastern time May 27: Ed Wallace dropped us a line to say he stands by his column and takes issue with some of Growth Energy’s points. He says the 5 percent reduction in smog can be attributed to the replacement of old vehicles with newer, cleaner models. About 5 percent of the nation’s fleet isturned over annually, he says. He also says a Congressional Budget Office report released last month shows ethanol production increased the price of food by 10 to 15 percent. He’s written a follow-up column; you can find it here.

POST UPDATED 1:15 p.m. Eastern time May 27: The Environmental Working Group, a health and environmental research and policy organization, just sent us an email challenging Growth Energy’s claims. In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the organization makes many of the same claims Wallace does and says Growth Energy makes “numerous fundamental errors of fact and interpretation, both in its arguments advocating for ethanol increases and in its supporting data.” You can read the letter here.

Photo: Flickr / tlindenbaum

Burj Dubai cranes to be down by August

Burj Dubai cranes to be down by August May 25, Dubai

The cranes atop the Burj Dubai will be dismantled by August 2009, according to a senior Emaar executive.”The project is expected to open by the end of the year,” said Greg Sang, Project Director at Emaar Properties. “But we are still looking at all of the programming elements. After lowering all the cranes in August, we still have to finish all the fitouts, As of now, the basic core and shell is all finished in Burj Dubai. But every floor is at a different stage of being completed.”…more

Integrated sustainability design

Integrated sustainability design May 25, South Africa

Zonk’izizwe (meaning ‘all nations’) Town Center transforms one of the last remaining vacant sites in its location, into a one-of-a-kind mixed-use destination. Situated midway between Johannesburg (the economic hub of Africa) and Pretoria (the capital of South Africa), it will be developed as a new town centre, connecting these two populous and fast- growing cities…more

Mumbai to Join Asia Mega-City Club with 100 Storey Skyscraper

Mumbai to Join Asia Mega-City Club with 100 Storey Skyscraper May 26, Mumbai

The Metropolitan Region Development Authority in Mumbai is taking bids on an iconic 100-plus-story building in the city’s Wadala district. The tender calls for an interstate bus terminal and tower to be built on 35 hectares of land. Pre-qualifications for tenders have been asked for submission by July 2. Only construction companies with an annual turnover of US$600million will be accepted, while shortlisted firms who meet this criterion will then be asked to submit their bids…more

Dubai Tall Emblem Structure

Dubai Tall Emblem Structure May 26, Dubai

Cesar Bobonis-Zequeira, Ivan Perez-Rossello and Teresita del Valle designed ‘Utopia One’ for the Dubai tall emblem structure competition in Zaabeel park.The tower and its elements are composed of materials that resemble a smooth sculptural piece that are integrated into the park. The base behaves as a single unit housing the programmed spaces, entry areas and existing walkways. Form creates a courtyard intended for gatherings and general leisure…more

Early Exposure to Gas Appliances May Increase Risk of ADHD

from Green Options by Derek Markham

Preschoolers exposed to pollutants from gas-powered appliances are more likely to exhibit attention and cognitive disorders, according to a new study from Spain.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that early childhood exposure to indoor air pollution, specifically NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), led to lower scores on cognitive tests and was found to affect the child’s ability to pay attention.

Read more of this story »

2009 RIBA Award Winners Announced

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) recently announced the winners of the 2009 RIBA Awards. RIBA Awards for architectural excellence have been presented across the country with 103 buildings in the UK and Europe winning awards (97 in the UK and six in the rest of the EU).

The RIBA Award-winning buildings range from an Observatory at Kielder in Northumberland to the Liverpool One regeneration and retail master plan, from a private house at Dungeness to Wexford Opera House in South East Ireland. Health centers, notably for Cancer, are well represented here as are retail buildings in their many forms, including John Lewis in Leicester and the Reiss and Monsoon headquarters in London. Seaside buildings and regeneration projects also feature in various guises. The architects whose work has been honored this year range from small practices to large, international ones. There are also some multiple winners such as Allies and Morrison (4 awards), Hawkins/Brown (3 awards), BDP (3 awards), Niall Mclaughlin Architects (4 awards) and Penoyre & Prasad (3 awards).

RIBA President Sunand Prasad said about the 2009 RIBA Award winners: “The RIBA Awards are a thermometer to indicate the state of health of British architecture and for 2009 the results are good: both quality and quantity have been maintained. This year’s list accurately reflects both the diversity, and the workload of UK architecture, with more schools and health buildings than usual winning awards.  It is particularly heartening to see more schemes that are about regenerating our cities, towns and countryside.  These awards, which are judged on a regional basis, reflect and reward the good things that are going on all across the UK, and they also form the basis of what promises to be another interesting year for the RIBA Stirling Prize.”

The 97 UK buildings that have won an RIBA Award are:


Beatson Institute New Cancer Research Facility
Reiach & Hall Architects

Drummond House – The Shed
LJRH Architects

Moore Street Housing
Richard Murphy, Elder & Cannon, JM, Page/Park


Moore Street Housing

North Glasgow College

Pollock Civic Realm
Archial Architects Ltd

The Potterrow Development
Bennetts Associates

The Printworks
Cameron Webster Architects

Northern Ireland:
Fallahogey House
McGarry-Moon Architects Ltd

The Knockbreda Centre
Penoyre & Prasad/TODD Architects

Cardinal Hume Catholic School
GWK Architects

North East:

Gateshead Heritage at St Mary’s
Design Service, Gateshead Council

Kielder Observatory
Charles Barclay Architects

The Place
Reid Jubb Brown Architecture

Saltholme Wildlife Reserve and Discovery Park

The Tyneside Cinema
Fletcher Priest Architects

Work Space
Malcolm Fraser Architects Ltd

North West:

13b Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE
Allies and Morrison


13b Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE

BDP Manchester Studio


BDP Manchester Studio

Liverpoool One Masterplan

Midland Hotel
Union North

Paradise Street Bridge
Wilkinson Eyre Architects

The Schaefer House
MBLA Architects & Urbanists


Three Towers
Union North


1 North Bank

Castle Hill Hospital
HLM Architects

Castleford Bridge
McDowell & Benedetti


Castleford Bridge

Charles Street Car Park, Sheffield
Allies and Morrison

York St John University, De Grey Court
Rivington Street Studio


Penderyn Distillery Visitor Centre
David Archer Architects

Ruthin Craft Centre
Sergison Bates architects

West Midlands:

Bournville Place
Stanton Williams

Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College
Nicholas Hare Architects LLP

The Pavilions
Ross Sharpe Architects Ltd

East Midlands:

82 Derngate
John McAslan & Partners

Rafael Vinoly Architects



David Wilson Library
Associated Architects LLP

Highfields Automotive and Engineering Training Centre – Public Space
Hawkins/Brown Architects

John Lewis Department Store & Cineplex
Foreign Office Architects (FOA)


John Lewis Department Store & Cineplex (check out the Archinect ShowCase feature on this project)

Level Centre
Clash Associates Ltd

The Minster School
Penoyre & Prasad LLP

New Art Exchange
Hawkins/Brown Architects


Anglesey Abbey Visitor Centre
Cowper Griffiths Architects

Clay Field
Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects


Clay Field

Gillespie Centre
Van Heyningen and Haward

House at Piper’s End
Niall McLaughlin Architects

The Long Barn Studio
Nicolas Tye Architects

Moller Centre for Continuing Education & Churchill College Music Centre

Private House

The Taylor Library
Wright & Wright Architects

South West:

Falmouth School and Design & Technology Building
Urban Salon Ltd

Pencalenick House
Seth Stein Architects Ltd

Scott Building
Nicholas Burwell Architects


Scott Building

Anchor Store, Bristol
Stanton Williams


Anchor Store, Bristol

The Apprentice Store
Threefold Architects

Merchants Academy
Penoyre & Prasad LLP

Meads Reach Bridge
Niall Mclaughlin Architects


Burnham Copse Primary School
Hampshire County Council & Architecture & Design Services

Hind House
John Pardey Architects


Hind House

The Mountbatten Building, University of Southampton

New Biochemistry Department, University of Oxford
Hawkins\Brown Architects

Queen’s & Stanhope House
Rick Mather Architects

Westwell Manor Farm Stable Conversion
Munkenbeck+Marshall Urbanism Limited

South East:
Craddock Cottages Development
Stephen Taylor Architects

Deal Pier
Niall Mclaughlin Architects

Pond Meadow Special Needs School

Private House
Allies and Morrison

Private House
Simon Conder Associates

Alison Brooks Architects

Runnymede Civic Centre
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios LLP


5 Aldermanbury Square
Eric Parry Architects


5 Aldermanbury Square

14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Julian Harrap Architects

100 VE, Unilever London Headquarters
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Arts Council England: National Office
Caruso St John Architects

Block 3, Tarling Estate Regeneration
S333 Architecture + Urbanism Ltd

City of London Information Centre
Make Architects

Frame House
Flacq Architects Limited

Gap House
Pitman Tozer Architects

Garden Pavilion
Andrew Pilkington Architects & Designers

Ash Sakula Architects

House in Belsize Park
Eldridge Smerin

House in Highgate Cemetery
Eldridge Smerin


House in Highgate Cemetery

Imperial College Central Library
A-EM Studio Ltd

Kentish Town Health Centre
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Kew Treetop Walkway
Marks Barfield Architects

Kings Cross Construction Skills Centre
David Morley Architects

Kings Place
Dixon Jones Ltd

Lumen URC and Community Centre
Theis and Khan Architects

Maggie’s Centre, London
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

New Street Square
Bennetts Associates

One Vine Street
Allies and Morrison

Reiss Headquarters
Squire and Partners


Reiss Headquarters

St. Benedict’s School, Ealing
Buschow Henley

St Martin-in-the-Fields
Eric Parry Architects

St Mary Magdalene Academy
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

UCL Cancer Institute: Paul O’Gorman Building

Urban Housing, Finsbury Park, London, UK
Sergison Bates Architects

The Yellow Building
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
The six RIBA Award buildings in the European Union are:


Fuglsang Kunstmuseum, Lolland
Tony Fretton Architects


Zenith, Saint-Etienne
Foster + Partners


Burren House, Dublin
Niall McLaughlin Architects

Wexford Opera House
Keith Williams Architects

The Netherlands:

Hoogvliet Heerlijkhied, Rotterdam


Bodegas Protos
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners


Bodegas Protos

Images: RIBA

Skyscrapers Going Up For Sale Fall Far In Price, Amid Distress

Skyscrapers Going Up For Sale Fall Far In Price, Amid Distress May 21, New York

A 40-story skyscraper sits on a prime corner in the wealthiest U.S. commercial market, blocks from Rockefeller Center and Central Park. It recently sold for $100,000. The 1330 Avenue of the Americas building — which sold for close to $500 million three years ago — was auctioned in April 2009 for the minimum to a Canadian pension fund unit after owner Harry Macklowe defaulted on a $130 million loan…more

Madrid’s ‘Distrito C’ Self Shading Solar Office

Madrid’s ‘Distrito C’ Self Shading Solar Office May 21, Madrid

Distrito C is an ambitious project designed to consolidate 40,000 employees in Madrid from Spain’s largest company, Telefonica. The complex includes four phases of three buildings each, for a total of twelve structures. The design and materials for the buildings are identical so as to streamline the construction process and keep time and material waste to a minimum…more

Foster + Partners wins Stockholm Slussen masterplan competition

from Bustler.net News by Bustler


Click above image to enlarge

Following up on our recent article announcing the finalists of the Slussen urban redesign competition, and news that Lord Norman Foster was awarded Prince of Asturias award, today it was announced that Foster + Partnershave been selected.  Images and text have been provided by the architects…

Foster + Partners and Berg Arkitektkontor, part of C.F. Møller Architects, have been appointed to design a masterplan for the heart of Stockholm, transforming the waterfront area of Slussen from an urban aberration to a popular destination. The proposal will bring new life to the area, linking the islands of Södermalm and Gamla Stan and stripping away the layers of history to reclaim a valuable city quarter.

Samoo Architecture PC co-Designs Winning Project, Taekwondo ‘One’, Design-Build Competition

from Bustler.net News by Bustler


Samoo Architecture PC, with the project lead Samsung C & T Corporation and Samoo Architects & Engineers in Seoul, Korea, have been awarded first prize and the building/construction commission for the newTaekwondo Park World Headquarters in Muju, Korea.

This is the first article in a series looking at the effect of built environment on air quality and vice versa. Air quality has always been an issue. Effects have generally been localised to a discrete area for example cooking smoke, bushfires and volcanic ash. These emissions while causing atmospheric pollution were small enough to be absorbed by plants and algae or broken down to inert substances.

Since the industrial revolution we have exceed the capacity of these natural processes to limit the build up of pollution. This has not generally been seen as an issue given the homogenous distribution of the pollution globally has reduced its’ visible and short term environmental impact.

Since the acknowledgement that CFC’s were causing significant environmental damage and the successful global response to mitigate their usage we have turned to the substantially more complicated issue of greenhouse gas emissions and their potential to render the planet uninhabitable by humans.

With regard to the built environment a similar scenario has been at play but has received much less attention. In particularly the build up of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) emitted by practically all processed building materials.

According to the American EPA VOC’s have been shown to cause health problem including conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.

The increased concentration of VOC’s has not necessarily been caused by the increased usage of emitting material. The move from naturally ventilated buildings to air conditioning and the improved weather sealing of buildings have both reduced the air change rate within buildings and consequently the indoor air quality.

These internal and external air quality issues will be investigated in subsequent articles to see how they affect current and future building design.

Pic flikr user Vancityallie