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.

kevin cyr: camper cart


‘camper kart’ concept by kevin cyr
all images courtesy
kevin cyr

we recently featured the work of kevin cyr, here is another project of his titled ‘camper cart’.
the pop up camper is affixed to a shopping cart which can be pushed to a chosen location
and opened to serve as a functioning habitat for an urban camper.  the project investigates
habitats and housing, recycling and ecology; exploration and mobility.

How Much Water are You Really Using?

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


In a press release by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today, we can see that people in developed countries actually use several times more water than they “use” — the water used indirectly to create our products is several times more than the water we use ourselves. According to the WWF, “German households use 124 litres of water a day directly, individual Germans use 5288 litres of water a day when the water requirements of producing their food, clothes and other consumption items are included.”

Read more of this story »

Australia Award for Urban Design 2009

image Award Winner: Sydney’s Paddington Reservoir Gardens The winners of Australia�s most prestigious award for excellence and innovation in urban design were announced. The Australia Award for Urban Design highlights the best of design in the built environment and acknowledges the critical role of good urban design in the development of Australia�s towns and cities. Bustler

a.asadov architectural studio: olympic rings island, sochi

russian architecture studio a.asadov have designed a series of island complexes to be built in the city of sochi ahead of the winter olympic games there in 2014. among the proposals is this one made up of five round ‘islands’ each with a tower in the middle. from a bird’s-eye view they make the olympic rings emblem.

the dark blue tower is europe and the ‘cold of scandinavian winter’. the black ring africa ‘is based on african sculpture’. the shape of the red tower uniting south and north america ‘resembles brazilian carnivals, aztec sacrifice and indian conquest’. the tower of the yellow ring, asia ‘is like a chinese pagoda’. the last continent on the emblem, noted by green color, is australia and ‘it’s nature’.

Australian Parliament OKs 20% by 2020 Renewable Energy Target

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Compromise plan has some Greens opposing passage

The Australian government’s ruling coalition has come to terms on an agreement that would quadruple the renewable energy target set by the previous government in 2001 and is in line with the renewables target set by the European Union in 2008. The coal-centric Australia currently gets eight percent of its electricity from renewables, including hydroelectric power.

Read more of this story »

Gargantuan NOAH ‘Arc’ Proposed To New Orleans With Straight Face

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

How do you know when your building plan has gotten unnecessarily crazy and pretentious? When it’s named after a Biblical figure who was fabled to save life as we know it…that might be a clue.(more…)

Driverless Taxi System To Make Air Freshener Trees Obsolete

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

We’ve heard about automated transport pods for years, but London’s Heathrow Airport has just opened the first complete system, a $US41 million network to take air travellers to their cars.(more…)

emmanuelle moureaux architecture & design: ‘kaleidoscope’ exhibition


photo by hidehiko nagaishi

emmanuelle moureaux architecture + design designed offices and showrooms of
nakagawa chemical CS design center, in tokyo which displays 1100 colors in the space.
the ‘kaleidoscope’ exhibition which was recently held at the center focused on
one color at a time such as yellow, red, green, blue or black. every month, the space
displayed a different color, changing hues like a kaleidoscope. the exhibition
aimed to rediscover ordinary colors.


photo by hidehiko nagaishi

U.S. Energy Use Drops in 2008 [Infographics]

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Americans used more solar, nuclear, biomass and wind energy in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Read more of this story »

4 Million Pounds of Space Junk Polluting Earth’s Orbit

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

space junk

Millions of nuts, bolts, pieces of metal and carbon, and whole spacecraft from thousands of missions and launches form an orbiting garbage dump spinning around the Earth at speeds up to 22,000 mph.

After the recent collision between a Russian and U.S. satellite, concern for the growing hazard of space junk is becoming even more acute within the international space community. In recent months, NASA and the European Space Agency have both diverted resources into monitoring space debris and researching ways of mitigating and—some day—removing it.

Read more of this story »

Handsome and thoughtful

image Jonathan Glancey provides his verdict on the proposed design for the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow airport, to be designed by Norman Foster Guardian. He also takes the opportunity to celebrate dashing designs of the jet age in this slideshow.

State Takes Lazy Way to Cut Carbon 13%

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer



Utah’s move to a four-day workweek of 10 hour days for government workers has cut energy usage by 13 percent, and once they figure out how to turn off giant office air conditioning and heating units while they’re out of the office, it could rise to the hoped for 20%. Out of a state budget of $11 billion, they have saved $3 million on electricity and gas for 125 state-owned buildings.

Read more of this story »

This Is Why They Make Travel Adapters

from Gizmodo Australia by Danny Allen

Future Darwin Award nominee or desperate genius? Maybe both. But shoving things into what looks like a UK 220V outlet is probably not going to end well. Just ask the guy in this retro UK electrical hazards PSA: (more…)

zaha hadid architects: chaoyangmen SOHO III


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


chaoyangmen SOHO III – inner courtyard


chaoyangmen SOHO III  aerial view rendering

Manhattan Population By Day, Manhattan By Night

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

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

Solar Phone Concept Charges On Your Wrist

from Gizmodo Australia by Jason Chen

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

European Freight Train Trials Use Faux Satellites, Railways

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

siemens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jun yasumoto: phyto purification bathroom


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

formodesign: house on the water


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

Indian land ‘seriously degraded’

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

Orbis is like a Segway that actually fits on city sidewalks

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

Killer Ants Under Attack in Australia!

from Green Options by Jace Shoemaker-Galloway

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

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Lasers to Help Whip Wind Energy into Shape

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

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

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

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Animal proteins: the good, the bad and the ugly

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

chris boardman: intelligent bike concept

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

The Pentagon’s War Against Carbon

from Green Options by Joe Walsh

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

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Cloud-Generating 1900-Ship Armada To Sink Climate Change

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

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

RMJM architects: green development, istanbul, turkey


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

UK Supermarket Turns 5,000 Tons Of Meat Into Energy

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

Number of extra skin cancer cases related to UV radiation

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

(more…)

axis mundi unveils conceptual design for MoMA tower


conceptual tower for MoMA new york by axis mundi

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

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

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

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

Zero carbon building planned – TeleText


24dash

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

all 8 news articles »

The Schweeb: Personal Pedal Power Pod

from Green Options by Christopher DeMorro

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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quadrangle architects: ‘green ribbon’ gardiner expressway toronto

ecdm: ZAC bords de seine housing project

from Designboom – Weblog

1 person liked this


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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Indian tiger park ‘has no tigers’

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

More Food Waste to be Turned Into Energy in California

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell your mom.

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

New Glass Prevents Birds From Colliding with Windows

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Bird flying in window

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

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

Read more of this story »

Student Works: Ecotone Hydro Park

from InfraNet Lab by lsheppard

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

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

Insurers Attempt to Reduce Risks of Carbon Capture & Storage

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


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

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

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

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

Read more of this story »

Plantagon is a gigantic vertical farm in a dome

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

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

Plantagon via Inhabitat

Estimated global marine fish catch, 1950 -2001

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

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

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 …

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

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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

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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.”

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Cracking The Green Code

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

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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.

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