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.

VeruTEK’s Got the Green Nano-Clean for Toxic Dumps

from Green Options by Tina Casey

VeruTEK\'s patented plant extracts can dissolve and oxidize toxic substances.

Cleaning up a toxic dump the conventional way is a messy business, and VeruTEK Technologies, Inc. is one company that offers a more sustainable path to remediation.  Instead of excavating and trucking the contaminated soil to landfills, Connecticut-based VeruTEK has developed plant extracts, nanometals produced from plant extracts, and other natural substances that dissolve and oxidize contaminants in place.

Last summer VeruTEK announced the latest in a string of successful remediation projects.  The site was contaminated with up to an inch of toxic chemicals such as volatile organic compounds and petroleum hydrocarbons.  Three months after completion of the project, the contamination was reduced to non-detectable limits.  With an estimated 294,000 more toxic sites in the U.S. waiting for remediation, alterna-clean companies like VeruTEK have their work cut out for them.

Read more of this story »

Stunning Shanghai Corporate Pavilion Made From Used CD Cases

from Gizmodo Australia by Sean Fallon

With the Shanghai World Expo 2010 fast approaching, architects are jumping in on the “Better City, Better Life” theme with concepts like this Shanghai Corporate Pavilion. The plans include many green features, including a structure made from recycled CD cases. (more…)

Reality-Augmenting Terminator Vision Contact Lenses Nearly Here

from Gizmodo Australia by Matt Buchanan

Amazing and terrifying all at once, reality augmenting contact lenses are nearly real. Like, they’re almost here. Circuits and antennas and LEDs in a contact lens, generating virtual imagery, Predator style. In your eyeball. (more…)

John Wardle Architects and Office dA to Design Melbourne’s New Architecture School Site

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

John Wardle Architects and Office dA have been named the winners of the competition to design thelandmark new Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning site at the University of Melbourne.

Architecture Faculty Building University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects and Office dA

Click above image to enlarge
Winning design for the new Architecture Faculty Building of the University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects and Office dA

Japan To Spend $US21B On A Power Plant In F%#king Space

from Gizmodo Australia by Adam Frucci

Holy shit, Japan is getting prepped to drop $US21 billion on a solar power station in space, one that will beam enough energy back to Earth to power 294,000 homes. With no cables. (more…)

Mercedes Launches its First Ever Production Fuel Cell Vehicle

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

Mercedes has dipped its toes into the world of hydrogen power (video) with the launch of its first-ever production fuel-cell vehicle, the B-class F-cell.

An initial fleet of 200 zero-emission models will be finished by the end of the year and delivered to lease-only customers throughout the US and Europe in early 2010.

Speaking about the launch, a Mercedes spokesman said, “2009 is the year in which we are establishing further milestones where sustainable mobility is concerned. The B-Class F-cell is taking on a pioneering role as the world’s first fuel cell powered automobile to be produced under series production conditions.”

Read more of this story »

BMW’s New Vision: 155-MPH Plug-In Hybrid

from Wired: Autopia by Tony Borroz

bmw_concept

We were as shocked as anyone when BMW announced it was quitting Formula 1 to devote more resources to developing cleaner, greener automobiles. There was some skepticism, but BMW wasn’t blowing green smoke. It’s serious about building eco-friendlier pavement-peeling cars.

First up is a slick 356-horsepower all-wheel-drive plug-in diesel-hybrid concept that BMW claims accelerates like an M3, sips gas like a Toyota Prius and can go 31 miles on battery power alone. It’s called the Vision Efficientdynamics Concept, and we’ll see it later this month at the Frankfurt auto show.

No, Vision Efficientdynamics Concept doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But the name aside, BMW has a dynamite idea on its hands here.

The EfficientDynamics is a 2+2 four-door hybrid that combines M Series performance with better fuel efficiency and less emissions than you see in many compacts. BMW performs this magic by marrying its ActiveHybrid technology with an extremely economical engine and excellent aerodynamics. The result is a concept car with a top speed governed at 155 mph and a zero-to-62 acceleration time of 4.8 seconds. More impressive, the car gets 62.2 mpg and emits a Prius-like 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

Power comes from a 1.5-liter direct injection 3-cylinder turbodiesel engine and an electric motor on each axle. The engine was small to squeeze in between the rear seat and the rear axle, which should make the Efficientdynamics Concept very agile. The diesel puts out 163 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Add in the motors and total output is 356 ponies and a stump-pulling 590 pound-feet, though you can only get that much power in short bursts. The car has all-wheel-drive when running in electric mode. BMW says the car can run on the diesel engine, either one of the electric motors or any combination of the three.

The lithium-polymer battery pack sports 98 cells. It delivers 8.6 kilowatt-hours for driving the car, and BMW says the serial arrangement of cells has gross storage capacity of 10.8 kilowatt-hours. The pack weighs 187 pounds and BMW says it doesn’t need an active cooling system. BMW says the battery recharges in 2.5 hours at 220 volts.

All that tech is housed in a body designed with some serious inspiration from BMW’s Formula 1 cars. BMW says the Vision has a drag coefficient of 0.22, aided in part by the myriad vanes and ducts. People are going to love it or hate it, but you’d expect nothing less from BMW even without controversial designer Chris Banglearound anymore.

So far the Vision is just a concept. Still, BMW has made it clear it plans to make sustainability a cornerstone of its lineup, so we’re sure to see some of the technology in road cars before long.

Images and video: BMW

Pump Hydro Underground to Store Wind Power

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Pumped hydro storage is a simple technology already in wide use. Pump water up a hill when you have available energy, let it fall when you need its power.

But Riverbank Power; a new start-up founded by a former wind developer who wants to develop large-scale energy storage, is trying out a new idea. Instead of using hills for the height, it will go the other way. Down into the ground.

Their Aquabank would let gravity drop water underground to turn turbines and make hydro electricity. That electricity would be sent from underground to the grid day time. At night, when excess wind is available; wind powered electricity would gently push the water back up to replenish its surface source.

Video after the jump:

Read more of this story »

Sep 2, 2009 (yesterday)

LAVA Architects Win Masdar Eco City Center Competition

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

German-Australian practice Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) recently won the first prize in theMasdar Eco City Center Competition for Masdar, United Arab Emirates.

LAVA already succeeded in the first stage of the competition earlier this year, and collaborated with Kann Finch GroupArupTranssolar, and a team of international experts for the second stage challenge.

This is how LAVA explains its concept for ‘Masdar Plaza, The Oasis of the Future’:

The City of the Future

The future well being of cities around the globe depends on mankind’s ability to develop and integrate sustainable technology.

Masdar City is the city of the future; positioned at the forefront of integrating sustainable technology into modern architectural design. Rome, Athens, Florence; most great historical cities have had the plaza, forum, or square at their epicenter – where the life, values, ideals, and vision of the population evolved. Equally, the center of Masdar must be an iconic beacon that attracts global attention to sustainable technology.

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

Click above image to enlarge
Perspective Plaza Day (Image: MIR)

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

Click above image to enlarge
Perspective Plaza Evening (Image: MIR)

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

Click above image to enlarge
Perspective Plaza Night (Image: MIR)

Oasis of the Future

We see Masdar Plaza as “The Oasis of the Future”: a living, breathing, active, adaptive environment; stimulated by the social interaction of people, and spotlighting the use and benefits of sustainable technology.

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

Click above image to enlarge
Bird’s View Masdar (Image: Simon)

How Many Solar Panels Would It Take To Power The World?

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

After seeing how many nukes would it take to obliterate humanity instantly, I wanted some good news. Like, how many solar panels would it take to power the entire world? The entire surface of Africa, maybe? Actually, it’s surprisingly less.(more…

cox architects: melbourne rectangular stadium

the melbourne rectangular stadium by cox architects is the latest sports facility to go up in the sports
capital of australia. the stadium will have a capacity of 30,000 spectators when complete in 2010, when it
will house the melbourne victory soccer team and melbourne storm rugby club. designboom was lucky
enough to get a tour of the building under construction back in july. the building’s key design feature is
its bubble-like bio-dome which will be covered with thousands of LED lights. the roof is inspired by
buckminster fuller’s geodesic dome and its unique cantilevered design will provide excellent sightlines
while covering the seats. the stadium will also house a sports medicine facility and administration complex
for many of the city’s sports organizations.

Trends in capture fisheries and aquaculture

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Trends in capture fisheries and aquacultureThe levelling off of the global fisheries catch reflects a growing decline in most major fishing areas. Today, these fishing areas are producing lower yields than in the past, and it is unlikely that substantial increases will ever again be possible (FAO, 2000). Inland and marine aquaculture production grew by about 5% annually during the 1950s and 1960s, by about 8% per year during the 1970s and 1980s, and by some 10% per year during the 1990s (FAO, 2000). Most aquaculture is developed in freshwater environments, primarily in Asia. The development of inland aquaculture is seen as an important source of food security in Asia, particularly in land-locked countries.

Equilibrium Concept Makes Our Hearts Beat Faster

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

equilibrium1

A new concept aims to create an “intense” ownership experience by using emerging technologies to strengthen the emotional bond between man and machine.

Bob Romkes, a designer at Britain’s Royal College of Art, penned the Equilibrium concept as a luxury car for the future. In an era when customization equals personalization, Romkes sees a chance for an emotional connection with a vehicle that’s mass-produced.

“I wanted to create an emotional connection with the vehicle without using customization,” Romkes told Autopia. “So that even though it will be mass produced and your car can look the same as your neighbor’s car, you still feel strongly connected with yours.”

To achieve a strong attachment between car and driver, Romkes used sensors to connect with and respond to the driver’s heartbeat from the moment he or she approaches the car in the parking lot. On initial approach, the car’s interior lights begin to glow and the door opens slightly to invite the driver to step inside.

“The vehicle needs you to operate, by using your heartbeat as the driving source,” Romkes told Autopia. A database of user inputs help the car to nurture the relationship. “Over time it studies your driving characteristics and adapts itself to make the experience even more smooth and natural.”

The glowing, “breathing” light on Apple laptops and the startup sequence of Romkes’ Sony VAIO laptop were both subtle rituals that he observed as inspiration for the Equilibrium. “It is amazing how such small elements can bring an extra dimension to a product,” he told Autopia. “It moves the product from static to dynamic and it brings a human factor as well. It is very subtle and I think most people experience this unconsciously.”

Far from a kinder, gentler Christine, the Equilibrium is a technical tour de force that mimics animate objects using technology from the not-so-distant future. Romkes pointed out the paradox that so many would-be supercar owners face: at the time in your life when one has the means to buy a dream car, one is also constrained by the priorities of family and functionality.

With the Equilibrium, “it is possible to have best of both worlds: a spacious interior and still an aerodynamic and relatively compact exterior. I decided to emphasize these two points by making a ‘one volume’ architecture without a shoulder-line and with covered wheels.”

Floating seats allow for easy customization of the car’s interior and seats that absorb impact. It is with “Rubber Metal,” a  flexible mixture of rubber and glass made through nanotechnology, that the wheels can simultaneously be covered and connected with the steering mechanism.

“This made me think of an external steering mechanism, where the exterior ‘skin’ can function as ‘artificial muscle structure’ and pull the wheels from the center around their axes,” Romkes told Autopia. “This way, the body can be placed close to the wheels. Because the material is flexible and attached to the wheels it can function as an external suspension system as well.”

Images: Bob Romkes. The Equilibrium concept uses technologies from the near future to forge a connection between car and owner.


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Swiss Zinc-Air Battery Company, ReVolt, Chooses Portland, Oregon For US Headquarters – Wants $30M in Stimulus Funding.

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Setting its sights on the burgeoning US market for car batteries, cutting-edge Swiss zinc-air battery company,ReVolt, has decided to take advantage of Oregon’s generous business tax credits for development of next generation car technologies.

Announcing that it has selected Portland, Oregon as the location for its US headquarters and manufacturing center, ReVolt said it expects to create as many as 250 new jobs there. The partnership represents a coup for Oregon and Portland in the race to be the future electric car capital of the world.

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Reconnecting North and South Korea a Win For Foster+Partners

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


With a startling green master-plan that will one day connect North and South Korea, Foster+Partners has won an international competition to design an extensive mixed-use scheme for two Korean islands near Seoul.

That it is bold, green and innovative is no surprise. Foster+Partners is known for visionary sustainable architecture – such as their Teatro Del Agua. It harvests sea spray and wind to naturally cool an outdoor amphitheater.

But this is perhaps their most extraordinary scheme ever. How often does an Architectural firm get to connect a communist and a capitalist country? With the world’s longest bridge? Incredible.

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Water Scarcity Started 15 Years Ago

Canberra, Australia (SPX) Sep 02, 2009 – New analysis shows that the water scarcity being experienced in southeast Australia started up to 15 years ago. While the results from the work by senior CSIRO researcher, Dr Albert van Dijk, may not surprise many people, it provides scientific evidence of the shift.

Water requirements for food production 1960-2050

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Water requirements for food production 1960-2050The requirements for water in agriculture in developing countries will need to increase in order to meet the Millennium Development Goal 1, target 2 ‘Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger’. To decrease hunger the outputs in agriculture will need to increase, and thus the water use. The data has been calculated for developing countries with minimum set of calories.

LEGO Micro-Scales Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House

I love Lego’s Frank Lloyd Wright Collection has a mini model of the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, but I’m more in love with the model of the Fallingwater house built over a waterfall.

Wind farm ‘kills Taiwanese goats’

A Taiwanese farmer says more than half of his herd of goats may have died of exhaustion because of noise from a wind farm.

Philips offers Lumiblades in first OLED lighting ‘experience kit’

Philips offers Lumiblades in first OLED lighting 'experience kit' A new way of lighting your world is coming. Organic LEDs (OLED) are getting more practical every day, and now Philips is offering its Lumiblade OLED panels for sale online. These uncommonly thin panels might find their way into a lamp someday soon, but they’re not quite ready yet — it would take about ten of these $229 fixtures for a lamp, so the price still needs to come down before they’re anywhere near being practical.

You can live the future (sorry, couldn’t resist) by ordering the panels now, but they’re marketed as an “experience kit,” so those without a modicum of patience need not apply. Beyond this experimentation phase, Philips says starting next year, there will be useful lighting products using these 10,000-hour, highly efficient OLEDs. Exciting stuff, because soon there will be entire walls made of these dimmable panels.

Philips, via OLED Info

Downsizing WTC

http://www.nypost.com/seven/05212009/news/regionalnews/new_glimpse_of_wtc_low_rise_compromise_170311.htm

Will the #2 and #3 World Trade Center towers be downsized to 6 storey retail podiums? Maybe so, if the Port Authority has it’s way. Head on over to the NY Post for more info [click the title of this post].

UNStudio/ Ben van Berkel’s Design Selected for New Hotel Tower in Frankfurt

Yesterday, UNStudio was selected in the competition for a 110 meter tall hotel tower in Frankfurt, Germany.

From the six projects presented, the jury, chaired by Prof. Johann Eisele, chose the designs by UNStudio – Ben van Berkel (Amsterdam), and Kohn, Pedersen, Fox (New York) and recommended proceeding with the UNStudio design for further development.

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Melbourne’s Roof Top Garden Competition Awards Botanical Traditions

The ‘Growing Up Competition’ was recently held and run by the Committee for Melbourne ‘Future Focus Group’.

The competition called for a design for a roof top garden for one of 3 buildings in the Melbourne CBD. The competition was open to all registered Architects, Members of AILA (Australian Institute of Landscape Architects) and AILDM (Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers) members.

In our current climate, green roofs are proven to provide significant reductions to the urban heat island effect, aid storm water management, provide important habitat links, reduce the energy demands of buildings as well as providing social and amenity value to buildings. However, there are very few roof top gardens in Australia.

The ‘Growing Up Competition’ encouraged designers to demonstrate innovative and cost effective ways to retrofit roof gardens in Melbourne.

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Energized about our first Google PowerMeter partners

Earlier this year I blogged about energy information and a tool our engineers developed called Google PowerMeter, a Google gadget that can show consumers their personal electricity consumption right on a home computer. Our software relies on “smart meters” (or other metering devices) as a data source. Over the past several months we’ve been looking to partner with utilities that are installing (or have already installed) this equipment in their customers’ homes. We’re energized by our very first Google PowerMeter partners:

Our initial partners include utilities with millions of customers as well as smaller ones. They are rural and urban, privately held and municipally run. Some are in the United States, others in Canada and India. They all have one thing in common — a desire to serve their customers by providing access to detailed information that helps save energy and money. For now, Google PowerMeter is only available to a limited group of customers, but we plan to expand our roll out later this year. Our utility partners are leading the charge to make the electricity grid smarter and we look forward to working with them and others.

In addition to utilities, we’re also seeking partnerships with companies that can enable the implementation of our software. Our first such partner is Itron, a leading meter and data management company that serves over 8,000 utilities and is helping some of their customers, including San Diego Gas & Electric, integrate with Google PowerMeter. If you’re a utility or company with a smart meter project that might be interested in plugging in to our efforts, visit our website for more information.

Posted by Ed Lu, Engineering team

St. Louis Pulls Plug on Pilot Recycling Program

The City of St. Louis has pulled the dozens of 300-gallon recycling dumpsters it had placed in alleyways last March out of commission. Jill Hamilton, the city’s recycling program manager, said the program was never intended to be permanent.

Rather, it was considered a pilot program, serving about 3,200 of the city’s 147,000 households, to see if the economics could make a full, permanent effort viable. The answer is: apparently not. Or, at least, not right now.

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Metropolis Next Generation Prize for French Wind Turbine Design

Metropolis Magazine today officially unveiled the winning proposal of its 2009 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition. French-designed project “Wind-it” by Nicola Delon, Julien Choppin, and Raphael Menard seeks to install wind turbines in existing electrical transmission towers.

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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects’ Malmö Courthouse Completes

Construction has finished on schmidt hammer lassen architects’ striking design for a new District Court inMalmö, Sweden. The completed scheme includes a new 10,000 sq m courthouse adjacent to the existing 3,000 sq m listed court building.

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Energy Efficiency Is Good For Business

Why bother improving energy efficiency? We know we should, but how do you articulate why? Of course, if there is an ROI case to be made then the analysis is easy. But really, it seems to beg a larger issue. Is there a reason beyond ROI?

Whatever the industry, managing costs is good for business, and increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy costs does just that. Given rising energy prices and a growing awareness of the importance of energy conservation, a carefully conceived energy management strategy may well be one of the most important steps a business can take to sustain and grow business.

Furthermore, research by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors suggests that companies with a clear energy management strategy have a competitive advantage. Companies that lead in energy management achieved superior stock and financial performance over “laggards.” They even achieved significant financial premiums in stock prices over competitors. This from the National Environmental Education Foundation:

Companies have been engaging in energy-efficiency strategies for years as a means to control costs. Increasingly, a body of evidence suggests that companies that take a systematic and strategic approach to energy management can enjoy a broad array of tangible and intangible benefits of interest to investors. As financial analysts and institutional investors come to understand this energy-value connection, energy management is becoming another measure by which they assess companies.

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Household Energy Use to Triple by 2030, Due to Power-Hungry Electronics

myuibe, via flickr.Experts call energy efficiency the low-hanging fruit, because it’s cheaper to cut power use than create new energy from fossil fuels like coal.

But our creature comforts — like iPods, cell phones, PCs and plasma TVs — are sucking the life out of advances in energy efficiency around the world, the International Energy Agency says.

In other words, too much fruit is rotting on the vine.

The IEA says in a new “Gigawatts and Gadgets” report that electricity consumption from power-hungry electronics could cause household energy use to triple by 2030. That means increased greenhouse gases from electric generation, and increased electric bills for creating that power.

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0-14 tower progress

http://www.archdaily.com/22200/in-progress-0-14-tower-by-reiser-umemoto/

Arch Daily features photos of the construction progress of the 0-14 Tower in Dubai by Reiser + Umemoto [click the title of this post to follow the link].

‘Dragonfly’ vertical farm towers over NYC with plants, livestock and labs

'Dragonfly' vertical farm towers over NYC with plants, livestock and labsLast week’s Canadian resort-style vertical farm has nothing on the insane, Belgium-designed “Dragonfly” for New York City. The architects at Vincent Callebaut envision a structure that resembles the wing of the insect it’s named after, and it’s designed to contain residential, office, farming and research spaces — and everything in-between. Really, it’s more like an arcology than a vertical farm, though most of it will be dedicated to growing and studying produce and livestock, with solar and wind power supplying the structure.

Will something like the Dragonfly ever be built? Probably not, though if it was it’d dramatically change the New York skyline from its seat on Roosevelt Island. With 132 floors it’d be a monster, standing almost 2,000 feet tall. Check out the gallery below for more of the Dragonfly.

David Attenborough: Our planet is overcrowded

The veteran TV naturalist tells New Scientist he loves humans as much as other wildlife – but not when global populations are out of control

3 Steps To Recycling Buy-In

question on a LinkedIn hotel group was asked the other day: How does your housekeeping team encourage guests to recycle? Do you place separate bins in the guest rooms for paper, glass etc.? How can you do this while maintaining a 4 and 5 diamond look? And it made me think about what advice to give about getting buy-in for recycling programs. In this case, from both staff and consumers.

It seems to me that the topic of how to effectively implement recycling programs is essentially the same regardless of business size. At its most basic, there are three components to implementing a successful recycling program:

  1. Make it easy.
  2. Communicate the expectation of recycling.
  3. Communicate the how and why of the program to employees.

Starting with making it easy, it may seem self-evident, making recycling easy for patrons and staff is the number one action you can take to facilitate a recycling program.You can do this by providing clearly marked containers throughout the room and locating them in places where people need them, such as near sinks, kitchens and minibars. As to the issue of matching the aesthetics of the facility, as long as the recycling bins are just as aesthetically pleasing as your existing trash cans (or hidden in cabinets) I do not see how they detract from the ambiance. That brings me to the second point.

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Top five new green technologies – Building Sustainable Design

Top five new green technologies
Building Sustainable Design, UK
As well as saving raw materials, thin-film is easier to mass-produce and contains less embodied energybecause it is made at lower temperatures. The drawback is that it is less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. 

Zero-carbon eco home is light years ahead – guardian.co.uk


guardian.co.uk

Zerocarbon eco home is light years ahead
guardian.co.uk, UK
The dream of zerocarbon living is being realised on an estate in Denmark. Andrew Purcell takes a tour of the world’s first Active House Active House: an ultra efficient house in Denmark that captures more energy than an average family needs to heat 

The FIM supports World’s 1st Zero Carbon, Clean Emission GP – Examiner.com


Examiner.com

The FIM supports World’s 1st Zero Carbon, Clean Emission GP
Examiner.com
It aims to drive low-carbon technological innovation forward, proving that clean-emission transport technologies have matured and can be fun, fast and exciting. A number of independent teams from all over the world have already confirmed their entries