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.

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

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

Following are the nine honorable mentions:

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

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

Images: Arquitectum

Japanese Dolphin Slaughter to Continue Despite Current Suspension

from Green Options by Daniel Hohler

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

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

Read more of this story »

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

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

Lazy Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

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

axis mundi unveils conceptual design for MoMA tower


conceptual tower for MoMA new york by axis mundi

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

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

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

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

Zero carbon building planned – TeleText


24dash

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

all 8 news articles »

The Schweeb: Personal Pedal Power Pod

from Green Options by Christopher DeMorro

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

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

Read more of this story »

Four ‘eco-towns’ given go ahead

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

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


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

Major genetically modified crop production countries, 2006

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

Tiny Molecular Bowls Pull Carbon Dioxide Out of the Air

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Coal-fired Plant

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

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

Read more of this story »

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

from Green Options by Ruedigar Matthes

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

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

Read more of this story »

Electric Horizon: Alfred Deakin Eco-Innovation Lectures

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

San Francisco Bay Overrun by Alien Seaweed Forest

from Green Options by Derek Markham

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

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

Read more of this story »

Magic watch with floating hands costs $265,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

Appliancist via TFTS

Black & White Clock uses OLEDs, looks simply stunning

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

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

Kibardin Design, via technabob

MIT developing fabrics capable of taking pictures

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

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

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

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

Via MIT News, via GizmoWatch

WaterTherapy shower head envelops you with soothing colors

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

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

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

Guglielmi, via Born Rich

Redesigned London Bridge would be a farming and business hub

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

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

Check out more of the Chetwood design below.

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

from Green Options by Rhishja Larson

White Rhino photo

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

Almeisen Tower is a Solar Concentrating Skyscraper

Almeisen Tower is a Solar Concentrating Skyscraper July 13, Dubai

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

Avenue2 Consortium Wins A2 Maastricht Project with Groene Loper Plan

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

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

image

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

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

image

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

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

image

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

ExxonMobil Invests $600 million with Algae Company Synthetic Genomics

from Green Options by Joanna Schroeder

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

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

from Green Options by Jennifer Lance

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

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


The Infrastructurist

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

and more »

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

from Green Options by Mridul Chadha

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

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

Read more of this story »

quadrangle architects: ‘green ribbon’ gardiner expressway toronto

ecdm: ZAC bords de seine housing project

from Designboom – Weblog

1 person liked this


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

.

Indian tiger park ‘has no tigers’

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

More Food Waste to be Turned Into Energy in California

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell your mom.

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

New Glass Prevents Birds From Colliding with Windows

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Bird flying in window

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

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

Read more of this story »

Student Works: Ecotone Hydro Park

from InfraNet Lab by lsheppard

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

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

Insurers Attempt to Reduce Risks of Carbon Capture & Storage

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


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

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

Plantagon is a gigantic vertical farm in a dome

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

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

Plantagon via Inhabitat

Estimated global marine fish catch, 1950 -2001

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

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

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

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

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

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

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

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

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

image

G.M. Is Going Green. Literally.

from Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia

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

7 Quadrillion BTUs of Free Energy Available

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


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

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

Read more of this story »

Light + strong concrete = tall, green buildings

Light + strong concrete = tall, green buildings July 8

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

Tornado Tower Features Energy Generating Façade

Tornado Tower Features Energy Generating Façade July 8

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

Freeway Air Pollution Is So Much Worse Than You Thought

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

GM Builds the First Chevrolet Volt

from Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia

chevrolet_volt

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

closed_dealership

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

eurocondom_3.jpg

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!

euro_condom_ingo.jpg

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

corn_field

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:

Scotland:

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

image

Moore Street Housing

North Glasgow College
RMJM

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
JDDK Ltd

The Tyneside Cinema
Fletcher Priest Architects

Work Space
Malcolm Fraser Architects Ltd

North West:

13b Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE
Allies and Morrison

image

13b Paradise Street, Liverpool ONE

BDP Manchester Studio
BDP

image

BDP Manchester Studio

Liverpoool One Masterplan
BDP

Midland Hotel
Union North

Paradise Street Bridge
Wilkinson Eyre Architects

The Schaefer House
MBLA Architects & Urbanists

North:

Three Towers
Union North

Yorkshire:

1 North Bank
BDP

Castle Hill Hospital
HLM Architects

Castleford Bridge
McDowell & Benedetti

image

Castleford Bridge

Charles Street Car Park, Sheffield
Allies and Morrison

York St John University, De Grey Court
Rivington Street Studio

Wales:

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

Curve
Rafael Vinoly Architects

image

Curve

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)

image

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

East:

Anglesey Abbey Visitor Centre
Cowper Griffiths Architects

Clay Field
Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects

image

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
DSDHA

Private House
dRMM

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

image

Scott Building

Wessex:
Anchor Store, Bristol
Stanton Williams

image

Anchor Store, Bristol

The Apprentice Store
Threefold Architects

Merchants Academy
Penoyre & Prasad LLP

Meads Reach Bridge
Niall Mclaughlin Architects

South:

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

Hind House
John Pardey Architects

image

Hind House

The Mountbatten Building, University of Southampton
Jestico+Whiles

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
DSDHA

Private House
Allies and Morrison

Private House
Simon Conder Associates

Quarterhouse
Alison Brooks Architects

Runnymede Civic Centre
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios LLP

London:

5 Aldermanbury Square
Eric Parry Architects

image

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

Hothouse
Ash Sakula Architects

House in Belsize Park
Eldridge Smerin

House in Highgate Cemetery
Eldridge Smerin

image

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

image

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
Grimshaw

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:

Denmark:

Fuglsang Kunstmuseum, Lolland
Tony Fretton Architects

France:

Zenith, Saint-Etienne
Foster + Partners

Ireland:

Burren House, Dublin
Niall McLaughlin Architects

Wexford Opera House
Keith Williams Architects

The Netherlands:

Hoogvliet Heerlijkhied, Rotterdam
FAT

Spain:

Bodegas Protos
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

image

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

image

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

image

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.

Garrett awards 100th Green Star – Architecture and Design

via greenstar location:australia – Google News on 4/16/09

Garrett awards 100th Green Star
Architecture and Design, Australia
Sustainable design remains “critically important” in the current tough economic times, environment minister Peter Garrett said while awarding the 100 th Green Star rating to Stockland’s Sydney headquarters yesterday. The building is also the first

Spam ‘produces 17m tons of CO2’

via BBC News and Sport Search: energy on 4/16/09


Spam wastes enough energy to power more than 2.4m homes every year, a study finds.

Causes of sea level rise from climate change

via Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no> on 4/17/09


Causes of sea level rise from climate changeA significant sea level rise is one of the major anticipated consequences of climate change. This graphic explains the causes of sea level change according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It explains the IPCC’s A1 scenario family, which consists of three scenarios on future use of fossil energy sources, including scenario A1F1, which involves the use of fossil-intensive energy sources. This resource also includes the graphic ‘Components of Mean Sea Level Rise for the Scenario A1F1’ which shows the projected sea level rise in metres by 2050 and by 2100 for Greenland, glaciers, expansion, the Antarctic, and the total sea level rise.

London Bar Pumps Gin and Tonic Into The Air: Please Breathe Responsibly

via Gizmodo Australia on 4/16/09

https://i2.wp.com/cache.gawker.com/assets/images/gizmodo/2009/04/alcoholic-architecture.jpg

Starting today and running through the 25th, A temporary bar dubbed “Alcoholic Architecture” is popping up in London offering a cloud of breathable gin and tonic to it’s patrons.

World’s first solar-powered city planned in Florida

via DVICE by Kevin Hall on 4/15/09


World's first solar-powered city planned in Florida

What better place than the Sunshine State for the world’s first solar-powered city? Called Babcock Ranch, the 17,000-acres-large community will have its energy needs supplied by a $300 million, 75 megawatt solar-powered generator. The city will also integrate a Smart Grid for powering electric vehicles.

While construction won’t begin until later this year, Floridian city planners have some ambitious numbers for the solar community: 19,500 homes, 20,000 permanent jobs, 6 million square feet of retail/industrial space and 8,000 acres reserved for open space and greenways.

The biggest hurdle, though, may come after construction when it comes time to populate Babcock. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of incentives city planners offer — electric vehicles aren’t cheap, after all.

Council in street lamp blackout

via BBC News and Sport Search: energy on 4/15/09


A council agrees to switch off 4,500 street lights during the night in an attempt to save money.

Future-proof homes for a warmer world

via New Scientist – Online News on 4/15/09


See how architects are trying to future-proof homes against the higher sea levels and more frequent hurricanes our changing climate is bringing our wayhttp://feeds.newscientist.com/c/749/f/10897/s/3e31502/mf.gif

Biofuel versus fossil fuel

via Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no> on 4/15/09Biofuel versus fossil fuel


About Biofuel versus fossil fuel

The Seven Sins of Greenwashing

via Green Options by Sonya on 4/15/09

http://go635254.s3.amazonaws.com/ecochildsplay/files/2009/04/freephototeddybear-300x225.jpg

A new report claims that the increasing number of ‘all-natural’ and ‘organic’ products on the market may be guilty of “the seven sins of greenwashing”.

TerraChoice Environmental Marketing released its report The Seven Sins of Greenwashing today. The report defines greenwashing as “the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.”

Read more of this story »

Cracking The Green Code

via Green Options by Jennifer Kaplan on 4/15/09

http://go635254.s3.amazonaws.com/ecopreneurist/files/2009/04/eco-align-logo-tm-250.jpg

EcoAlign, the group that brought you the research that found that consumers pay attention to the ENERGY STAR label, just released their third report of the Project Energy Code series, Cracking the Green Code. This report, like other EcoAlign research is a provocative and thought-provoking exploration of the “causes and consequences of effective communications in the energy and environmental space.”

The report starts by saying that marketers “are cracking their proverbial heads open trying to figure out new ways to make green behaviors more enticing to the masses.”  While I’m not so sure marketers are trying to make behaviors more enticing (aren’t we trying to make our products and services more enticing to consumers who behave in a relatively predictable way….), I do find consumer reports of “greenness” and the paradoxically non-green behaviors they exhibit perplexing; hence, the “green gap.”  But, in this report EcoAlign suggests that green messaging can be effective for about 75% of the US Population.

In this study, EcoAlign (many of whose clients are utilities) classified utility consumers in four groups and then analyzed three (the forth group was not sufficiently represented in the research group.) Although the report focuses on utility consumers, it seems reasonable to assume the analysis can be extended to all consumers:

  1. The Individualistic Consumer (estimated 30% of U.S. population). These are consumers who are self-centered and primarily concerned with the financial bottom-line.  It is suggested that no-nonsense fiscally responsible products and services that provide a sense of control over energy and energy-related financial expenditures (and all green consumer behavior?) is likely to get their attention if properly messaged.

Read more of this story »

Recycled Paper is a Good Start, But This is Even Better

via Green Options by Paul Smith on 4/2/09

These days it seems everybody has some sort of recycled/eco friendly paper offering. So what’s the big deal about a Swedish offering making it’s US debut on Earth Day this year?

White Lines Carbon Neutral Swedish Paper

White Lines factory reuses their carbon emissions in a closed loop, making for zero CO2 emissions, for one. Then they offset what they can’t reuse (transportation, etc) via planting trees in Africa, as coordinated by environmental consultancy U&W (interestingly pronounced “You & We” in Swedish) The wood used for the paper comes from locally sourced, sustainably managed forests, and woodchip waste from sawmills. And every package tells you the precise carbon footprint, the materials traced back to the source.

And then it gets interesting.

Read more of this story »

Living Walls and Green Roofs Pave Way for Biodiversity in New Building

via Green Options by The Guardian Environment Network on 4/2/09

Living wall at the Musée du Quai Branly

Under recommendations from the UK Green Building Council, otters could return to urban rivers, bats could roost under bridges, swifts could flock to office blocks and peregrine falcons soar above cathedrals. Written by Felicity Carus and shared via the Guardian Environment Network.

What do the Westfield shopping centre, Canary Wharf and a Victorian museum have in common? They are all at the vanguard of a move to encourage biodiversity in buildings that could take on an unprecedented scale if guidelines published today are adopted.

Read more of this story »

Formaldehyde in New Home Is 10 Times the Safe Level

via Green Options by Linda Kincaid, MPH, CIH on 3/28/09

RespiratorWe recently tested several new homes for formaldehyde in the air. The newest home, advertised as a “green” home, had 300 ppb of formaldehyde. Children in homes with only 30 ppb can have decreased lung function. Between 60 ppb and 120 ppb, children are more likely to have asthma and chronic bronchitis. At 100 ppb, most adults experience eye, nose, and throat irritation.

Of homes that were less than 2 years old, every home we tested had at least 100 ppb of formaldehyde. The newer homes had 200 – 300 ppb.

The 300 ppb concentration we found in the newest home is equal to the 15-minute Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) for occupational exposures. A worker in that home should wear a respirator to remain inside the building for more than 15 minutes. An employer that exposes workers to 300 ppb of formaldehyde should have a Hazard Communication Program to inform workers about chemical hazards and ways to avoid illness.

Read more of this story »

Quality Fail

via FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments by failblog on 3/28/09

fail owned pwned pictures

Dear Guests,
Our tap-water is filtered and checked directly at the hotel.  Regular monthly checks by and independent company guarantee the utmost quality.  We don’t recommend to drink it.

Submitted by Meg Y

Black Cars Won’t Be Banned in California

via Green Options by Stephen Boles on 3/28/09

//www.flickr.com/photos/artchick2004/235353805/)After a frenzied week of mayhem in the blogosphere about a potential ban of black cars in California, the LA Times is reporting that this issue has been laid to rest by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Red flags were raised when CARB released their “Cool Cars” initiative that outlined a number of methods to reduce automotive greenhouse gas emissions. One such method was to mandate that all automotive paints had to contain a reflective coating that would reduce the amount of absorbed solar radiation. Less absorbed solar radiation would reduce the temperature inside the vehicle, requiring less use of fuel-hungry air conditioners.

The CARB report specifically stated that ‘jet black remains an issue’ because dark colors absorb far more radiation than light colors. This statement generated outrage amongst a range of right-wingers, libertarians, and probably a lot of people who just like the color black.

Read more of this story »