Old Red Goes Green: Recycled Wall Brick Built to Save Water It might look like your typical old red clay house-building brick on one side, but turn it over and there is a shift that hints at a deeper design change – one that is eco-friendly but also expressive in a way that most walls or brick are not. Designed by Jin-young Yoon to be made from recycled plastic and decomposed leaves, this brick is green from the ground up (so to speak). More than just its composite materials, however, built-in grooves are designed to funnel water for gardening or even long-term underground storage. In a world where water is becoming the next hot-button resource destined to become scarce, it seems like a good time to start thinking about our most basic building materials and structures (such as bricks and walls) and see how they might shift to accommodate an ever-growing need for homes to have access to nature’s most vital resource.
Solar panel roads 'could solve energy crisis' Asphalt roads and car parks would be torn up and replaced with glass solar cell panels capable of generating enough power to support local communities, under the scheme. A US firm is currently working on a prototype panel that could be embedded into existing roads, having won a $100,000 grant from the US Department of Transportation. The panels would also be covered with a mosaic of small lights, which could be illuminated to provide road markings and warning messages to drivers. They could also be embedded with heaters to keep the road clear by melting snow and ice. With each 12 ft by 12 ft panel capable of producing 7.6 kilowatt hours of power each day, the company Solar Roadways calculates that resurfacing the entire US interstate highway network would meet the country's energy needs three times over. A four-lane, one-mile stretch of road made from the panels could generate enough power for 500 homes, it claims.
Building The Bionic City: The Ultimate Smart City EmailShare 109EmailShare ‘Ocean City’ concept by Arup Biomimetics in Australia // Source: inhabitat.com Albert Einstein once said, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” Leonardo da Vinci exemplifies the pertinence of Einstein’s comment, for as an illegitimate child da Vinci was exempt from receiving a formal education and thus self-taught; learning much of what he knew from his personal observations of the natural world. We will never know how much more advanced our society would be today had the greater majority of da Vinci’s prolific body of scientific observations and inventions been preserved and distributed for the benefit of humankind. Documented in the Codex Atlanticus, which atlas-like in breadth collates da Vinci’s inventions from the period 1478 to 1519, one such idea is that of a city that embeds the principles of a natural ecosystem. Source: dswei.com Biomimicry Workshop at Biosphere 2 // Source: hoklife.com How might The Bionic City look?
Awesome DIY Reuse Ideas The mantra reduce, reuse, recycle has been an effective phrase for years now, and companies like Terracycle have been successful following the model of reuse and reduction. Operating under founder Tom Szaky’s belief that “there is no such thing as trash,” Terracycle has found innovative ways to reuse everything from computers to drink pouches. With a creative eye and a bit of elbow grease, the endless possibilities that reuse offers can easily make their way into your home. Finding a new purpose for items you already have not only reduces your overall environmental impact, but it also gives you a way to become a frugal and funky visionary. Furniture is built to last Not to mention that furniture is also incredibly expensive. A sturdy piece of furniture is meant to last for years and to often be used by multiple households, so start your redecorating endeavors with a treasure hunt at a local thrift store. Free is the magic number! Hire an expert Fab fashion finds
Junk House Employs Google Earth in Upcycling Local Scrap This remarkable work of recycling reverses a few common practices when it comes to the building process. First, it started with reuse rather than design: the architects of Dutch firm 2012 Architecten sought scraps before deciding what the structure should look like. Second, it does not take on ‘trash chic’ look of its materials, instead sporting a contemporary appearance built on ‘superuse’ that lowers transportation and construction costs as well as environmental impact. Using a combination of Google Maps and local contacts, the designers and clients scoured areas within a few square miles to find scrapyards, unofficial junk piles, strange surplus trash and more – they also polled friends, family and colleagues to collect parts like broken umbrellas and busted billboards. In the end, the finished house is mostly made up of recycled material, each element analyzed then fit into an evolving layout.
We'll Never Run This Economy On Renewables (We'll Never Have To) SHAREConference/CC BY-SA 2.0 Whenever we talk about pushing for 100% renewables, naysayers start arguing that we can never run our current economy without energy intensive fossil fuels. But they forget one simple thing: We don't have to. In a world where you can address a conference from your own bedroom, or order your groceries or even publish a book without ever getting dressed, the old way of doing things just seems, well, increasingly old. Cheap Fossil Fuels Shaped Our WorldviewThe economy of today is structured the way it is because it was built on the false assumption of cheap fossil fuels. Don't Replace Fossil Fuels. Just because the dinosaur economy is coming to an end does not mean we can, or will, return to a pre-fossil fuel economy. Virtual Industries Create Real JobsFor the last 6 years I've operated a viable business using little more than a laptop, a desk, a lamp and an internet connection. I'm not saying the shift to a smarter, cleaner economy is inevitable.
What our civilization needs is a billion-year plan Artist’s concept of a Kardashev Type 2 civilization (credit: Chris Cold) Lt Col Garretson — one of the USAF’s most farsighted and original thinkers — has been at the forefront of USAF strategy on the long-term future in projects such as Blue Horizons (on KurzweilAI — see video), Energy Horizons, Space Solar Power, the AF Futures Game, the USAF Strategic Environmental Assessment, and the USAF RPA Flight Plan. Now in this exclusive to KurzweilAI, he pushes the boundary of long-term thinking about humanity’s survival out to the edge … and beyond. — Ed. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force or the U.S. government. It isn’t enough just to plan for two or 20, or even the fabled Chinese 100 year periods. We need to be thinking and planning on the order of billions of years. Artist’s impression of a red giant engulfing a Jupiter-type planet as it expands (credit: NASA) Beyond the solar system
The World’s First Vertical Forest: An I’d like to introduce you to the world’s first Bosco Verticale (Italian for Vertical Forest), which is being built right now in Milan. According to Christopher Woodward, a writer for the Financial Times, it’s “the most exciting new tower in the world.” This vertical forest will span across two towers that have fabulous balconies designed to house these trees. The pictures below are an image of how it’s projected to look, although I wonder if once the project is completed if it will take a decade for the trees to grow to that height. When it’s all said and done, this vertical forest will consist of 900 trees, 5,000 bushes and 11,000 plants. This forest, designed by architect Stefano Boeri, will allow the greenery to get shade in the summer, sunlight in the winder and protection from the wind while it cleans the air, produces oxygen and cuts down on all the noise pollution in Milan. Via: [Amusing Planet] [Treehugger]
Wood, Stone & Glass Home Brings the Outside Indoors Many architects talk of responding to the site and integrating their buildings with the surrounding natural environment, but few execute that intention with the compelling completeness shown in this house design. Moreover, the decisions that shaped this unique home were driven as much by sustainability and energy savings as they were by aesthetics and formal considerations. The glass roof that spans the main structure allows natural lighting deep into the Base Valley House while providing a way for breezes crossing the site to pass through and cool the structure. Encased in wire mesh, stone retaining walls continue seamlessly from outdoors through the inside of the house, providing structural support to hold back surrounding dirt.
Made in IBM Labs: Collaboration Aims to Harness the Energy of 2,000 Suns Today on Earth Day, scientists have announced a collaboration to develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable of concentrating solar radiation 2,000 times and converting 80 percent of the incoming radiation into useful energy. The system can also provide desalinated water and cool air in sunny, remote locations where they are often in short supply. A three-year, $2.4 million (2.25 million CHF) grant from the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation has been awarded to scientists at IBM Research (NYSE: IBM); Airlight Energy, a supplier of solar power technology; ETH Zurich (Professorship of Renewable Energy Carriers) and Interstate University of Applied Sciences Buchs NTB (Institute for Micro- and Nanotechnology MNT) to research and develop an economical High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system. The prototype HCPVT system uses a large parabolic dish, made from a multitude of mirror facets, which are attached to a sun tracking system.
Off-Grid Sustainable Housing : Timeless Earth Solutions All housing and community spaces will be built as beautiful, clean, ‘living’, functional, efficient, sustainable and regenerative Several aspects of living successfully in community are addressed to provide workable options for our members: Zoning: In order to maintain a sense of freedom while maintaining a respect for the space and privacy of other members, zoning by use will be employed. Although community involvement, participation and celebration is encouraged, so is respect for members’ desire for quiet, focus, contemplation, meditation and rest. Thus, separate zoning will be provided for the following. Private ZonesMeditation, contemplation and quiet zonesMusic, dancing and celebration zonesIndustrial zonesCommercial zonesRecreation and sports zonesEvent zonesResidental zonesSpiritual zonesResort/Retreat zonesHealing zone Bio-Architecture is a major feature we seek to incorporate in all our buildings regardless of design or material types. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Earth Home Plans and Designs - the Basics Building a basic, minimalist earth home is not a difficult task, at least not for somebody who is prepared for this type of eco-friendly dwelling. Nevertheless, sometimes it is more beneficial to ask for help from someone who has some experience in planning, designing and eventually supervising the construction of an earth home. Below is a list of some basic rules and that should be adhered to if one wants to succeed at building an earth home. How to plan and build a basic earth home? Finding the right kind of soil is the first requirement. This rough guide to building an earth home covers only basic rules of construction. Further eco-friendly technological improvements can be employed, for example solar panels, wind turbines or rain water collection systems. Reasoning Reasonableness ... Conservation of energy, low cost and having a low carbon footprint are three of the main reasons people build earth homes.
Subtle Subterranean House is Underground & Understated Many underground homes have relatively extreme designs, either due to ultra-wealthy clients who give their architects a (literal or at least metaphorical) blank check to design a luxury dream house, or because of existing conditions (for instance; retrofitting an old military base and/or missile silo to be a new home). This modest alternative shows the power of simplicity in a nonetheless remarkable minimalist home in the ground. BCHO Architects started by carving a basic box-shaped void into the earth, holding a place for the space with likewise simple retaining walls of rough and raw board-formed concrete. A side stairway starts the sequence of movement down into this space, slowly taking into increasingly more enclosed areas. The displaced soil from the digging process was used for the rammed-earth parts of the final structure. There is also a heavy-and-thick theme that runs throughout the different materials, structures and supports of the home.