Tag Archives: Green

Visionary eco-resort design for the Philippines features rotating seashell towers

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Visionary eco-architect Vincent Callebaut has just unveiled images of his latest ecological masterpiece and it’s jaw-droppingly stunning. Nautilus is a futuristic 27,000-square-meter eco-resort designed for Palawan, Philippines. The beautiful self-sustaining complex, which would include various research centers, shell-shaped hotels and rotating apartment towers, is designed to be a shining example of how resilient tourism can allow travelers to discover the world without destroying it.

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Callebaut designed Nautilus to be a resilient, self-sustaining community that includes a series of rotating apartments and luxury hotels, along with a elementary school and sports center. Also on site would be a scientific research and learning center for travelers who’d like to collaborate with engineers, scientists, and ecologists in actively taking part in improving the local environment. It’s a pioneering collaborative concept focused on using real-world education to foster and spread the idea of responsible ecotourism – or as the architect describes it – “a voluntary approach to reimburse ecological debt”.

Related: Vincent Callebaut’s Twisting Citytree Towers Generate More Energy Than They Consume

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Using the principles of biomimicry, the design is inspired by the “shapes, structures, intelligence of materials and feedback loops that exist in living beings and endemic ecosystems.” The construction and operation of the complex would work under a “zero-emission, zero-waste, zero-poverty” ethos, using 100 percent reused and/or recycled materials from the surrounding area. All of the materials used in the construction would be bio-sourced products derived from vegetable biomass. Microalgae and linseed oil would be used to manufacture organic tiles, while any wood used would be locally-sourced from eco-responsible forests.

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Even the luxury lodgings would be self-sustaining, playing a strong role in the design’s net-zero energy profile. The main tourist village would be built on telescopic piles that produce ocean thermal energy as well as tidal energy. This energy, along with photovoltaic cells, would produce sufficient energy for the the village, which will also be installed with vertical walls and green roofs to increase the buildings’ thermal inertia and optimize natural temperature control.

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To the west, twelve small spiral towers with a total of 164 units are designed to be built on rotating bases that turn on their axis according to the course of the sun, fully rotating 360 degrees in one day, providing optimal views of the surrounding environment and taking advantage of a full day of natural light.

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On the east side, the complex would have 12 small snail-shaped “museum-hotels” constructed with recycled concrete. The hotels will feature various exhibition spaces on the bottom floors and guests rooms on the upper floors.

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At the heart of the resort will be Origami Mountain, slated to house a scientific research center and nautical recreation area. The building would be constructed using a Cross Laminated Timber framework that would be layered to create a number of undulating ramps that fold out like a massive origami structure.

+ Vincent Callebaut

+ Nautilus Eco-Resort

Images via Vincent Callebaut

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America’s largest urban farm to be planted in Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh, once a site of heavy industry, could soon be home to the biggest urban farm in the United States. The 23-acre Hilltop Urban Farm will be located in the city’s Southside, an area underserved by supermarkets, where it could help supply nutritious, fresh produce to those who otherwise would have little access.

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Coal, steel, and manufacturing once boomed in Pittsburgh, until the city experienced an industrial decline in the 1950s. The healthcare industry has recently helped revive the city, but neighborhoods on Pittsburgh’s outer ring have yet to see a comeback. That’s where the Hilltop Alliance, the group behind the Hilltop Urban Farm, is working. The city is also home to the largest percentage of people living in areas with low-supermarket access for cities with 250,000 to 500,000 people, according to a 2012 report from the United States Department of the Treasury.

Related: 20 kids transform a rough Pittsburgh neighborhood with solar art & charging station

The Hilltop Urban Farm could offer an answer to the issues these Pittsburgh residents face. The farm will occupy space that was once filled with low-income housing – and according to Aaron Sukenik, Hilltop Alliance executive director, the land “was just kind of sitting there, fenced and looking very post-apocalyptic.”

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Soon it will be home to a farm where people will grow winter peas and other produce. There will be a fruit orchard, and an almost one-acre youth farm. There will be a 3.36-acre farmer incubation program, and a 57 plot community garden. There will also be a 3.31 community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm. Also part of the urban farm will be a 200-person events barn and a farm market building, where a seasonal farmer’s market will occur.

According to the Hilltop Urban Farm Facebook page, green infrastructure, energy-efficient buildings, stormwater management, and native plants will be part of the design. Hilltop Urban Farm is slated to open in 2019.

Via Reuters

Images via Hilltop Urban Farm Facebook

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Dozens of Japanese cities and towns quietly go off-grid

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Dozens of cities and towns in Japan have quietly shifted from traditional utility-based grid power system to a more local, resilient model of generating and storing energy where it is used. After significant damage caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, many Japanese municipalities rebuilt to be more equipped for the 21st century through the country’s National Resilience Program. The Program offers 3.72 trillion yen ($33.32 billion) in funding each fiscal year to be distributed to local communities seeking to become more self-reliant and locally empowered.

earthquake, natural disaster, Higashi Matsushima

“Since Fukushima, there has been a gradual elaboration of policies to realize that kind of local autonomy, local consumption paradigm,” said Andrew Dewit, a professor of energy policy at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. Although the Resilience Program was designed for recovering from and adapting to natural disasters, it has blossomed into a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. “At the time of the Great East Japan earthquake, we couldn’t secure power and had to go through incredible hardships,” said Yusuke Atsumi, a manager at HOPE, a utility created to service this new localized energy model. Under the old system, a “blackout at one area would lead to wide-scale power outages. But the independent distributed micro-grid can sustain power even if the surrounding area is having a blackout.”

Related: Japan’s new mushroom solar farms produce sustainable energy and food

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In its recovery from the earthquake, which destroyed 75 percent of its homes and killed 1,100 of its residents, the city of Higashi Matsushima constructed micro-grids and decentralized renewable power generation that currently allows the city to produce 25 percent of its power needs without tapping into the main grid. Additionally, the city has installed batteries capable of storing enough energy to run the city for three days without access to the grid.

“We are moving towards a day when we won’t be building large-scale power plants,” said Takao Kashiwagi, renewable energy luminary who serves as head of the New Energy Promotion Council and designed Japan’s first smart city. “Instead, we will have distributed power systems, where small power supply systems are in place near the consumption areas.” In light of the program’s success, the Japanese government seeks to increase funding for the Resilience Program by 24 percent in the next fiscal year.

Via Reuters

Images via Save the Children Canada/WikimediaDepositPhotos, and Pavel Ahmed/Flickr

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Unique temporary shelter in Greece offers an elevated camping experience

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Well, this is different. Studio Genua and hiboux  ARCHITECTURE designed this contemporary wooden shelter, which acts as a short-term residence for farmers and harvesters—or a summer beach lodge. Called Tragata, the elevated lodgings provide a place for people to relax and enjoy panoramic views of the natural surroundings.

Tragata shelter, temporary structure, wooden shelter, Greece, hiboux ARCHITECTURE, Studio Genua, green architecture, timber, storage space, hammock, panoramic viewsPhoto by Marianna Xyntaraki

Located in Cephalonia, Greece, the structure functions as a transformable space raised from the ground. Its permanent timber frame and detachable panels are made from locally-sourced materials and were assembled on site.

Related: Temporary Wooden ‘Hangout’ Provides Shelter for Festival-goers in Eindhoven

Tragata shelter, temporary structure, wooden shelter, Greece, hiboux ARCHITECTURE, Studio Genua, green architecture, timber, storage space, hammock, panoramic viewsPhoto by Marianna Xyntaraki

Parts of the roof can be folded open to offer views of the night sky and provide shading during the day. A hidden storage space sits underneath the floor plane and can be used to store mattresses and other equipment that is not easy to transport. A hammock is placed between the ground and the deck.

Tragata shelter, temporary structure, wooden shelter, Greece, hiboux ARCHITECTURE, Studio Genua, green architecture, timber, storage space, hammock, panoramic viewsPhoto by Marianna Xyntaraki

Related: 14 amazing timber structures explore the future of wood as a building material

The modular structure is easy to construct, opening up the opportunity to build similar structures that offer such elevated camping experiences. Tragatas are designed to combine the feeling of isolation and openness while adapting to the needs of their temporary inhabitants.

+ hiboux ARCHITECTURE

+ Studio Genua

Via Archdaily

Lead photo by Marianna Xyntaraki

Tragata shelter, temporary structure, wooden shelter, Greece, hiboux ARCHITECTURE, Studio Genua, green architecture, timber, storage space, hammock, panoramic viewsPhoto by Merle Sudbrock
Tragata shelter, temporary structure, wooden shelter, Greece, hiboux ARCHITECTURE, Studio Genua, green architecture, timber, storage space, hammock, panoramic viewsPhoto by Marianna Xyntaraki
Tragata shelter, temporary structure, wooden shelter, Greece, hiboux ARCHITECTURE, Studio Genua, green architecture, timber, storage space, hammock, panoramic viewsPhoto by Marianna Xyntaraki

Tragata shelter, temporary structure, wooden shelter, Greece, hiboux ARCHITECTURE, Studio Genua, green architecture, timber, storage space, hammock, panoramic viewsPhoto by Marianna Xyntaraki

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Surf artist battles massive tides to paint powerful mural in the Bay of Fundy

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Sean Yoro has a passion for creating art on precarious surfaces, but this time the intrepid street artist – who paints on a surfboard in the water – had to contend with 28-foot tide changes to create his latest piece. Yoro (known as Hula) has just unveiled a mural of a woman that disappears underwater when the tide rises (about one foot every 15 minutes) in the Bay of Fundy.

Most of Yoro’s work is usually done in undisclosed locations for legal reasons, but this time, the artist was invited by the team behind Discover Saint John to create the mural on Minas Basin, an inlet in the Bay of Fundy. The task was not easy, however, considering the area can have 28-foot tide changes in a single day.

Related: Andreco paints climate change mural ahead of COP21 in Paris

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Needless to say, even though he didn’t have to skirt authorities this time around, it wasn’t easy painting the 30 by 45 feet mural. “It was really challenging to adapt to the tide changes, from the dangerous rip currents to the quick rate of rising and dropping water levels, averaging 1 foot every 15 minutes,” Yoro told CNN. “I had to use several calculated formulas to know the rate of the tides coming in or out every day, and use this information to know what speed I could paint for that tide change, which helped (me) pace myself in order to get the proper details finished in the figure.”

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Another major challenge was finding paint that would adhere to the concrete wall in such damp conditions. He was determined to use nontoxic paint for environmental reasons, but had to experiment with various types mixed with sealers to come up with a special formula that would dry quickly and withstand the water levels as he worked.

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Unfortunately, Yoro’s beautiful artwork is sure wash away. The mix of sun, saltwater, and algae will most likely eat away at the paint over time, but Yoro hopes his work will last at least two or three months.

+ Sean Yoro

Via CNN

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Dubai to expand massive solar park to include world’s tallest solar tower

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There are 2.3 million photovoltaic panels at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park near Dubai. And now the massive solar farm is about to get a 700 megawatt (MW) extension, which will include the addition of an 853-foot solar tower, the world’s tallest.

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The first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park became operational in 2013 with 13 MW. It now has a capacity of 200 MW, after the second phase was launched in March this year. But the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has big plans for the solar park: by 2020, they plan to increase capacity to 1,000 MW, with the aim to increase that number to 5,000 MW by 2030. The solar park is the world’s biggest single-site concentrated solar power (CSP) project.

Related: Phase 3 of world’s largest solar park slated to begin this month

DEWA recently awarded the 14.2 billion AED fourth phase of the solar park to a consortium including ACWA Power in Saudi Arabia and Shanghai Electric in China. They won the contract with a bid of 7.3 US cents per kilowatt-hour.

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DEWA CEO HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said in a statement, “Our focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar power bids in Europe and the Middle East. This was evident today when we received the lowest CSP project cost in the world.”

CSP has been more expensive than traditional solar power in the past, which is one of its downsides. But CSP projects also have the ability to store some of the power as heat for later use.

In 2030, the solar park could cover 83 square miles, and slash carbon emissions by 6.5 million metric tons a year.

Via New Atlas and Business Wire

Images via AETOS Wire and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – DEWA Facebook

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Raindrop makes rainwater harvesting at home beautiful and easy

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Traditional rain barrels are often clunky eyesores, which is why Studio Bas van der Veer designed a beautiful modern alternative that we love. Meet Raindrop, a stylish drop-shaped rain barrel with a built-in watering can. The award-winning design was recently unveiled during the three-day spoga+gafa 2017 fair in Cologne and will be ready for sale by 2018.

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Eight years ago, Van der Veer introduced his stylish drop-shaped design as ‘A Drop of Water’ as part of his thesis for the Design Academy Eindhoven. Several iterations and awards later, Raindrop was created. This sleek and polished design complements a wide variety of homes and comes in a variety of sizes and functionalities. His current collection includes the Raindrop Mini, a smaller rain barrel for limited spaces like balconies, as well as the larger Pure Rain model that even includes a birdbath. Raindrop is expected to be available for sale early next year and will be produced by pottery label Elho.

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Related: 3 ways to capture water for your backyard garden (that won’t break the bank)

Since Van der Veer traded size for style, Raindrop won’t hold as much as a traditional rain barrel of the same height. The modern drop shape is “a symbolical reference to what the design contains: water,” says Van der Veer. The Raindrop models can be easily attached to drainpipes with diameters up to 50 to 80 millimeters. A convenient watering can integrated into the design collects water directly from the pipe. There is also a faucet at the bottom of the barrel.

+ Studio Bas van der Veer

Via ArchDaily

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