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Retrofitting our Skyscrapers For Food and Power

Retrofitting our Skyscrapers For Food and Power
Nicolai Ouroussoff writes about all the new glass towers architects are designing in New York these days; they are lovely things, but what will power them or feed their occupants in years to come? Green roofs won't do it, they are too small. Daekwon Park has a great idea, seen in the 2008 Evolo skyscraper competition: a way to reunite the isolated city blocks and insert a multi-layer network of public space, green space and nodes for the city. Clipping onto the exterior of existing buildings, a series of prefabricated modules serving different functions would be stacked on top of each other, adding a layer of green space for gardening, wind turbines or social uses to make new green façades and infrastructures. There are modules for vertical gardens and connections to other buildings through a network of skywalks; Wind turbine units and program units that could serve many public functions.

Hydrogen-Producing Skyscraper Harvests Energy From Bolts of Lightning | Hydrogen power is an exciting alternative energy source because it burns clean and emits only water vapor and heat -- however the tech is crippled by the fact that it takes a lot of energy to produce hydrogen fuel. This eye-popping Hydra Tower aims to solve the hydrogen conundrum in the most logical awesome way possible -- by harnessing bolts of lighting to smash molecules of water into hydrogen and oxygen. The spire's sinuous exoskeleton is made from graphene, a carbon super-material that is 200 times stronger than steel and highly conductive to heat and electricity - the better to channel incredible amounts of energy straight from the sky. Part lightning spire and part futuristic super-tower, the Hyrdra Skyscraper was designed by Milos Vlastic, Vuk Djordjevic, Ana Lazovic, Milica Stankovic, and was an honorable mention in the 2011 Evolo Skyscraper Competition. + Evolo Skyscraper Competition

EQUITY GREEN: Water Cube Fuses Energy Efficiency With Bubble Architecture You want bubbles? You got it! Get ready for this little beauty. Beijing is building an aquatic center for the 2008 Olympic Games...with the outside facade being a little bubbly. This is pretty crazy! Once they figured out how the steel frames and connectors were to be used in forming the bubble structure, two layers of plastic film called ETFE (Ethylene TetraFluoroEthylene) were used to fill in the spaces between the steel frames. The cool thing about the ETFE cladding is that it allows more light and heat penetration than glass, translating into a 30% decrease in energy costs! ++Wired Report [website]

15 Energy Efficient Designing Tips for Home 15 Energy Efficient Designing Tips for Home Energy efficiency is often the number one concern for home owners. How can you design a beautiful home that still helps you save each month on your energy bill? Listed below are 15 energy efficient designing tips that will give your home beauty and help you save money. Choosing fans over light fixtures. When choosing fixtures for your home, choose to add fans in each room instead of decorative lighting. When designing an energy efficient home, use the tips above to help you.

Simon Dale: How I built my hobbit house in Wales for just £3,000 By Daily Mail Reporter Updated: 21:26 EDT, 21 September 2011 Fed up with huge mortgage payments, Simon Dale decided to take matters into his own hands – literally. Armed with only a chisel, a chainsaw and a hammer, the 32-year-old moved his family to a hillside in Wales and started digging. The result is a wooden eco-home – constructed in four months and costing just £3,000 – which would look perfectly at ease alongside the Hobbit houses in The Lord Of The Rings. Finished article: Simon Dale's family home which he built in four months for a cost of £3,000 Nestled: The moon rises on the house which is roofed with grass and blends in to its woodland surroundings Cosy home: The house is heated by a wood burner and a solar panel provides power Mr Dale, who has no experience in carpentry or architecture, created his sustainable family home using scrap wood for floors, materials scavenged from skips and by diverting water from a nearby spring. From scratch: Simon Dale building his 'hobbit house'

IBN WAGENINGEN ATRIUM - green architecture, sustainable lifestyle, do-it-yourself, creative environmental options, craft, organics, gardening, planting, flower pots, reusing, old and vintage, nature, environmental news, recycling tips, Nissan’s electric automobile (EV) is set to go on sale in Japan, the U.S. and Europe next year. The blue hatchback had a sporty design and a recharging opening in the front. Nissan has promised that the Leaf, which goes into mass-production as a global model in 2012, will be about the same price as a gas-engine car such as the 1.5 million yen ($15,000) Tiida, which sells abroad as the Versa, starting at about $10,000. August 03, 2009 An Earthship is a type of home made of natural and recycled materials. Earthships are built to utilize the available local resources - energy from the sun, rain. The Earthship costs next to nothing to operate annually and is independent of all municipal utilities.

The "Go Green" Guide for Industries Achieving energy efficiency by ‘going green‘ has now become the most sought after methodology to not only bring down operational costs but strengthen the customer interest and loyalty towards the company as well. This is the result of the growing awareness amongst common men as they are now keen to ensure that industry operations are contributing to raising the environmental safety – even if they aren’t part of a green industry. Many companies in the manufacturing sector are now under the radar of both governmental legislations and customers to clean up and go green. Here are a few ideas that will enable these businesses to achieve energy efficiency and go green! Eliminate Waste by Adopting Cleaner Production Implementing a cleaner production strategy will help bring down the levels of waste generated through improved process management, good house-keeping, new or modified production process/equipment/technologies and by producing useful by-products. The Power of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”

Detox Towers Finalist 2011 Skyscraper Competition BIOMSgroup / Maria-Paz Gutierrez United States Buildings are currently the highest single contributors to anthropogenic climate change accruing to approximately 45% of the world’s current energy consumption. Projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimate that advancements in buildings’ energy efficiency could potentially reduce anticipated global carbon emissions up to 30% by 2030. Yet, emerging global economies are projected to increase exponentially energy, water consumption and toxic emissions due to the unforeseen density and scale of new constructions. Next-generation building technologies thus bear undeniable responsibility to streamline accelerated innovation of building technologies to diminish the ever growing pressures on ecosystems. The embracing of live matter vis-à-vis resistance to biological agents can unfold unforeseen opportunities of sustainable architecture efficiency.

Crazy rooms Lofted Forest Home: Organic Curves & Natural Materials Good things come to those who wait – particularly in a work of uniquely detailed and highly curved architecture. Nearly a decade in the making, this structure by Robert Harvey Oshatz is much like a tree house – lofted toward the top of the canopy around it – only bigger, grander, more complex and curved than most any tree house in the world. The perimeter of the structure is pushed out into the forest around it, curving in and out to create views as well as a sense of intimacy with the coniferous and deciduous tree cover. The curved, organic mix of materials continues to the interior of this elevated forest home – a conceptual play on the fluidity and complexity of music (the source of inspiration for the architect and client in the design).

Plantagon Breaks Ground on its First 'Plantscraper' Vertical Farm in Sweden! Several years ago a Swedish-American company called Plantagon unveiled plans for a series of massive skyscraper greenhouses that stood to transform urban farming in large cities. While the spiraling vertical farms seemed too good to be true at the time, Plantagon broke ground on its very first vertical farm a few weeks ago in Linkoping, Sweden! The "Plantscraper" will grow and supply fresh vegetables while creating solutions to some of the most vexing city pollution issues. The design that was finally decided upon for the first Plantagon is no longer a sphere but an elegant tower - click through our gallery to see it. Plantagon seems to have traded in its initial geodesic dome design for a sheer tower that both contains and showcases the plants growing inside. Inside the massive glass walls, vegetables will be grown in pots and then transitioned to trays positioned around a giant central helix. + Plantagon Via treehugger

‘Hydropolis’ Competition Entry / Margaux Leycuras, Marion Ottmann, Anne-Hina Mallette Designed by architecture students, Margaux Leycuras, Marion Ottmann, and Anne-Hina Mallette, from the architecture school of Nantes, they recently won a prize in a competition organized by the Foundation Jacques Rougerie. Their ‘Hydropolis’ proposal answers to this competition, in the category rising waters, by a project located in the Nile Valley which aims to exploit the phenomenon of rising waters instead of suffering the consequences. More images and the students’ description after the break. Problem In the past, the Nile Valley lived to the rhythm of the rise of the water level, taking the advantage offered by silt to fertilize its farmlands. This dam has a negative impact on the ecosystem. Concept In order to solve these problems and restore the ecosystem in the Nile valley, we develop an alternative project to the Aswan Dam which takes advantages from the contributions of the flood while controlling the river. For five months, the rice will grow its feet in the water.

Hobbit Houses: 15 Grassy Hill-Shaped Dwellings “In a hole in a ground lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing to sit on or eat: It was a hobbit hole and that means comfort.” This line by J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the beloved The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings fantasy novels, has inspired hundreds of copycat underground hobbit homes around the world – and is itself inspired by ancient Viking hill houses. The World’s First Hobbit Motel (images via: For tourists the world over, New Zealand will forever be associated with The Lord of the Rings, since it served as the filming and production location for the film version of the saga. Modern Hobbit Home in Switzerland (images via: toxel) From outside, this home is like any other hobbit hole: half-hidden in a grassy hill, sheltered from the elements and blending in seamlessly with its surroundings. Rent-a-Hobbit-Hole: Hebridean Earth House (images via: webecoist) Hobbit Shed

Geoff Lawton's Zaytuna Farm Video Tour (Apr/May 2012) - Ten Years of (R)Evolutionary Design Paradise Dam, April 2012, from the now-climaxing food forest Zaytuna Farm Video Tour, duration 41 minutes Having spent the last few years seeking to establish and assist projects worldwide, and hearing some readers requesting more info on our own permaculture base site, I thought it high time I take a moment away from promoting other projects to shine a little light on our own work! It had been a long time since I last visited Zaytuna Farm. Geoff’s long term strategies are becoming evident, and it really is a sight, and site, to behold! Diagram of Zaytuna Farm – click for larger view Aerial shot of Zaytuna Farm Photo: Joel Bruce Geoff Lawton at the Zaytuna Farm entrance Before Geoff took on the 66 acre farm, back in 2001, it had been a cattle property for many years. An early shot of Paradise Dam and the first straw bale buildings (Photo: Geoff Lawton) In contrast, the April 2012 shot of Paradise Dam The Paradise Dam swale takes excess water off to infiltrate and hydrate the site

2010 Professional Awards | Crosswaters Ecolodge Honor Award EDSA, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL USA Client: Longmen Mt. Nankun Zhongheng Ecotourism Development Co. Ltd. Close Me! Close Me! The goal for Crosswaters Ecolodge was the development of the first ecotourism destination in China and the creation of an experience that would draw a worldwide audience eager to learn about the surrounding ecosystems while giving back to the local community. It is tremendously inspiring to see a project in China that is designed as a celebration of its natural and cultural place. Longmen Mt. Site and Context The Nankun Shan Mountain Nature Reserve lies within the Nankun Shan Forest Park located in Central Guangdong, 80 miles from Guangzhou. Crosswaters Ecolodge was the first project implemented as part of a 10-year overall ecotourism plan for the Nankun Mountain Reserve. Analysis The development team employed a cutting-edge, quadruple bottom line approach which desires to: Planning and Design Crosswaters also celebrates the rich garden history of China.